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Archive → May, 2010

Nobody voted for Ben Wallace for the All-Defense teams, and that’s OK, Ted

Sorry, Ted Kulfan, I usually enjoy your articles, but when two of your first three paragraphs are:

NBA coaches aren’t nearly as intelligent as I thought they were.

and

But the league’s other 29 coaches? They’re a lot dumber than I thought.

… you’re off to a bad start. NBA coaches make plenty of mistakes, and I’m definitely prone to second-guessing them, too. But they’re not idiots. They all know a lot more about basketball than I do, and more often than not, their decisions are right – even the bad coaches’.

So, what’s so seriously objectionable that you’re so up in arms with nearly every coach (the exception is John Kuester, by the way)? Oh, you’re upset Ben Wallace didn’t make an All-Defensive team.

I thought Dwight Howard and Andrew Bogut deserved the recognition, but I definitely wouldn’t object to Wallace or Tim Duncan. I do object to your logic, though.

After pointing out 52 players received votes besides Wallace (irrelevant because the teams are position-specific), you lists some big men who received votes:

Jermaine O’Neal, Luis Scola (you’ve got to be kidding), Jared Dudley, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Brendan Haywood and Ersan Ilyasova.

Scola, Dudley and Ilyasova are forwards, so they’re irrelevant to this discussion. And you’re right: Wallace had a better defensive year than O’Neal and the Gasols.

But here’s the kicker:

I’m not saying Ben Wallace should’ve been voted onto the prestigious first or second teams. Centers such as Dwight Howard (defensive player of the year) and Tim Duncan earned their spots.

But not one vote for Ben Wallace?

So, you wouldn’t have voted for Wallace, either? But you’re upset that nobody else did?

Basically, the issue isn’t that the voters are wrong. Your problem is a few votes that went to the Gasols and O’Neal – which actually should’ve gone to Duncan – didn’t go to Wallace.

I’m sorry. That’s absurd and overly homerish.

But one throwaway line is even more absurd:

Tayshaun Prince was the only Piston to get a vote. Which is fine.

No, that’s not fine.

Prince far from deserving. He wasn’t that good defensively this year. I’d say he was average, give or take. And he only played 49 games, meaning his overall defensive contributions were pretty lacking.

You can’t slam Scola (a pretty good defender, I think) and say Prince getting a vote is fine. Again, it’s overly homerish.

Defend Rodney Stuckey all you want, just don’t say he doesn’t get enough respect from the officials

I was tweeting with Steve Kays (@SteveKaysNBA) tonight about Rodney Stuckey. Steve knows his stuff, but I thought he was short-changing Stuckey with his last two tweets:

It’s not that I don’t think he’s good, but I just can’t see him ever being a good team’s #1 option. Doesn’t finish well … enough around the rim, or from 15+ feet. He’d make for an ok SG, or a great 6th man.

I’ll concede Stuckey’s not a great outside shooter, of course. (Not that I expect it, but the way Stuckey has improved each year, I think it’s possible he can make himself into a solid perimeter shooter).

But I thought it was unfair to criticize Stuckey’s low percentage at the rim (49.3, according to HoopData.com). That ranks 58th of the 66 point guards who played at least 41 games.

But I figured Stuckey’s percentage was unfairly low because he didn’t get enough respect on foul calls. At least, that’s what we’ve been told for months.

I admit, I never really noticed Stuckey not getting foul calls he deserved. But because John Kuester made Stuckey not getting enough respect his campaign of the second half of the season, I figure there was some weight to it. Kuester just doesn’t strike me as someone who would passionately crusade about something like that if he didn’t believe it – unlike someone like this guy.

But when I looked at the data closer, there isn’t evidence Stuckey is disadvantaged. In fact Stuckey sits right on the line of how many free throws you’d expect him to shoot based on the number of shots he takes at the rim.

Shots at rim compared to free throw attempts for point guards during 2009-10 season

image 

Parting thoughts

So, I don’t have an excuse for Stuckey’s low percentage at the rim. Point Steve.

But I still think Stuckey could end up the No. 1 player on a good team (assuming it’s a balanced, not superstar-led, team). I just have to figure out another reason I believe it.

Pistons have NO chance of trading for Chris Paul

A silly idea typically resigned to imagination and the far-reaches of the Internet, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press last week raised the possibility of the Pistons trading for Chris Paul (to clarify, he said it came from fans).

In a word, no.

It’s completely unrealistic. The Pistons don’t have the assets, and more importantly, New Orleans is aiming to build around Paul, not trade him to start rebuilding.

So, not only do you have to match the value of one of the league’s best players, you have to offer enough to convince the Hornets to change their plan.

For some perspective, I asked Joe Gerrity and Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 what it would take to land Paul.

Gerrity thought it would take this trade:

Paul and Emeka Okafor for Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell, 10 first-round picks and 15 second rounders.

Schwan’s idea was a bit more modest:

Paul and Okafor for Daye, Jerebko, Prince, Stuckey, Chris Wilcox, a re-signed Will Bynum and five first-round picks (with the trade coming after the Pistons pick this year, so they can send consecutive first rounders).

Their answers may seem excessive at first glance, but I don’t think they’re out of line. Remember, New Orleans won’t be calling Detroit to offer Paul. And if the Pistons call, they have to wow the Hornets, or all they’ll hear is a dial tone.*

*Not really. I’m sure they’ll use cell phones, but a dial tone makes a better line than saying they’ll just hear a “click.”

To be even more accurate, I bet Joe Dumars would text the offer. In that case, the Hornets probably just wouldn’t respond to a bad offer. But saying his text won’t draw a response is an even worse line.

Phone technology is ruining writing.