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Pistons, Jazz talked trade before deadline

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

The Jazz weren’t proactive at the deadline, but they did engage some teams with offers and potential offers, including Toronto and Detroit,3 according to sources around the league.

3. The Jazz were known to be interested in Brandon Knight ahead of the 2011 draft, but it’s unclear if the teams have discussed a Knight deal at even casual levels.

If the Jazz and Pistons discussed a Brandon Knight trade, I’d guess Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, both of whom have expiring contracts also came up. But both teams had so many expendable pieces, it’s fairly fruitless to speculate too deeply about could-have-been trades.


  • Mar 13, 20131:36 pm
    by The Rake


    This question was meant for this post, not the other–
    Hypothetical question: What happens if on Draft night Pistons are looking for a PG and both Burke and MCW are on the board? Size, athleticism, upside vs. leadership, numbers, local product. I wonder. Also, if that is the case, where does that indeed leave Brandon Knight? I still don’t know if its too soon to give up on him as a PG, guy would be a Jr. in college right now and probably dominating. Unfortunately, the Pistons don’t seem to act in any strict accordance with specific philosophies (giving a player time to develop at one spot, for ex.) in the past 5 years or so. Troubling. Couple that with a team that lacks in so many areas, including Coach and what happens?

    • Mar 13, 20132:16 pm
      by Huddy


      I would prefer to sign Jose and not be looking for a PG.  If we are looking for a PG I would choose Burke.  If our strength is our front court I would like to see the Pistons draft a PG that distributes the ball well and leads instead of one that relies on athleticism.  For that same reason I want to keep Jose and I would be worried about Burke being undersized.
      whatever we do at tPG leaves Brandon Knight right where he is now at SG.
      Brandon Knight has shown much more promise at SG.  Why would we assume he is a better PG than SG but just needs more time at point if he already produces better at SG?  It isn’t wrong for the organization to move him to a role that he fits better in.

      • Mar 13, 20133:02 pm
        by The Rake


        I like Calderon, but if I’m him, I’d stay away from this team. We are a mess and clearly not close to contending. Why would he waste prime years staying here? I don’t see it happening. I think we just go with full on youth movement in every way. There aren’t any FAs that I am truly clamoring for this year. Primarily when considering that we have so many holes. What do we really trust on this team right now? Monroe? Even he has holes. Drummond? Upside is huge, love him, but unproven. Certainly not Singler as more than a complimentary role player giving you 18-20 a night (minutes). We have too many holes not to continue to develop kids and hope that in 2-3 years all of it comes together (ala the Thunder). Hence, we need to attempt to draft a young star. For personal reasons, I love Burke, but realistically, I’m not sure that he’s the answer. We need a strong 3 and maybe even a 2. Stuckey, please be gone. A bag of chips would be a steal if we can get them.

        • Mar 13, 20133:41 pm
          by Huddy


          The only barrier to Calderon signing is how much of a contract the market demands for him.  He hasn’t shown any signs needing to play for a contender and has been faithful to a bad team his whole career (not that he doesn’t want to win but it doesn’t seem like his prime directive).  Calderon has given every indication that he likes the organization and would resign with us especially because he has realized that the Pistons really want him and did not just trade for him because his contract is expiring.  If we draft a SF resigning Calderon doesn’t move us away from a youth movement in any way, BK starts at SG and Singler moves to a role player position where he belongs.  Calderon is a part of the youth movement in that he is a veteran that can run the offense and create plays for the young players.  You need players like him to foster growth in young guys.
          We need to attempt to draft a young star?  Is there an argument against that?  Of course thats the goal.  The Thunder are not a great example.  Their young talented players began their careers as stars with little growth needed, which is much different than our draft picks that are far less polished. 

          • Mar 13, 20134:25 pm
            by The Rake

            Respect what you said on Calderon. I like him, just not sure that he’ll want to be here. I’m not in the Detroit market, so I don’t really know what he wants. As for Thunder already being stars…umm, I’ll just let that one go. Westbrook a born star? Harden? Not necessarily. Anyway, certainly only care what we do here in the D. Seems we have much more questions than answers as a team and organization. Everything from roster to where we’ll be playing (downtown?) in the next 3-4 years could be influx. That is equal parts scary and interesting.

          • Mar 14, 201312:48 pm
            by Huddy

            Westbrook: All Rookie 1st team, 3 time all star in 5 years, a 15 5 and 5 guy his rookie year followed by a 16 5 and 8 guy his second year?  yeah Russell Westbrook is quite different in production since the beginning of his career than Brandon Knight our young star.  I think Knight can grow, but he is obviously much different than Westbrook.
            James Harden:  His stats are hard to compare because he was a 6th man to start his career and as soon as he was given a starting role he blew up into an all star,  I don’t think he would have done that starting his rookie year or anything but his production is just different.
            KD: I’m sure you are aware of his value and the fact that he is worth more to a team than any 2 or 3 (maybe more) players on almost every team in the league, which is something the Pistons are miles away from having.
            So yes, the Thunder as a terrible example to compare with the Pistons growth.  We are much more likely to succeed because of putting together pieces that work together like we did in our last championship than we are to rely on star power.
            Not really sure what the location of the arena has to do with anything, but it will remain at the Palace by every indication it is a great facility and all reports of it moving a generally quickly refuted.  If it did move it would be to a new facility, so it is either staying in a nice one or moving to a new nice one not really anything that a FA would worry about.  But the roster changes this summer and beyond are going to be interesting.

  • Mar 13, 20132:28 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    The Jazz and Pistons discussed a trade involving Stuckey…

    • Mar 13, 20133:39 pm
      by deusXango


      …Stuckey and who Jodi? Did you just throw that out there, and can’t substantiate that statement with facts, or follow up?

      • Mar 13, 20135:11 pm
        by Jodi Jezz


        That was a fact…

        • Mar 13, 20138:38 pm
          by Tiko


          no its not its just u talking out of your ass.  if it involved Stuckey then he’d be gone.. Stuckey’s got no trade value and Utah doesn’t have a single bad contract for Dumars to turn them down… anyone on any contract is better than Stuckey.. stop thinking he has any value around the league…

        • Mar 14, 20131:34 am
          by tarsier


          And the discussion went as follows.

          Dumars: You want Stuckey?
          O’Connor: No.
          Dumars: Well he’s available in case you change your mind.
          O’Connor: Don’t worry about it. I won’t.
          Dumars: But I hear you may be trying to move one of Jefferson and Millsap.
          O’Connor: You want to throw in Monroe? I mean, I don’t really need him, but we can three-team it to turn him or Favors/Kanter into something I want more.
          Dumars: I can throw in Jerebko.
          O’Connor: How about Knight?
          Dumars: I can throw in Maxiell.
          O’Connor: How about a pick? I know it would take a while to come through because of the Ben Gordon debacle, but that would at least get my attention.
          Dumars: I can throw in a second rounder.
          O’Connor: Well I can see where this is going. But it’s the trade deadline. And my time could be better spent picking my nose than carrying on with this conversation.
          Dumars: I can offer Maggette
          O’Connor: [laughter in background] Oh, is this thing still on? Whoops. [click] 

    • Mar 13, 20133:50 pm
      by Ryank


      Probably right…  I can’t see them bringing in Jefferson unless it’s to clear cap space though.   He’s a good player, but not a position to spend huge amounts of money on if the plan is still to run with Monroe and Drummond.  Three bigs is great, but not three bigs with max/near max deals 3 years from now.

      • Mar 13, 20134:27 pm
        by The Rake


        Contract issues are going to loom large here with us, also. Any way you cut it, Monroe is not a max player. No way, no how. We pay that, then we doom ourselves in other ways. I don’t want to lose him, but’d rather have him a reasonable deal. We have a lot of things to iron out as a unit.

        • Mar 13, 201310:32 pm
          by oats


          I thought some one would jump on this before I did, but Greg is already worth a max deal. Players are worth whatever the market deems they are worth, and the going rate for a young big man who is a fringe All Star candidate is a max deal. He turns it over too much, but his assist to turnover ratio is actually pretty darn good for a big man, and his ability to pass out of the high post should make him a solid PF. Monroe has also been a terrible defender, but that’s largely due to his playing center. He sucks at defending the post, but he is actually quite good at defending the pick and roll and spot up shooting. That seriously bodes well for his ability to be competent guarding the 4. If he Monroe’s shot gets a little better and he can play decent defense at the 4 he is actually a huge bargain at that price, which would be about 4 years for $58 million. Even if not then he’s at least on par with Roy Hibbert who got that deal already, and a much better value than Rudy Gay’s salary. Detroit will pay him, and assuming that a 22 year old makes some progress as he approaches his peak he will be a steal. Keep in mind he’s putting up a 16 and 10 already, I don’t even remotely understand how he could not be worth a max deal.

          • Mar 14, 201312:03 pm
            by T Casey

            He’s questionable on defense, still inconsistent going into his 4th year, plays soft too often, and routinely gets outplayed by quality centers. For what he brings, he’s currently worth about 8-9 mil. Now if he becomes a 20 and 10 guy, then okay he’s worth that much. But if he tests the market and pulls close to a max offers, I’d be really worried about matching them. There are too many payers sucking up too much money on their teams these days with max contracts who don’t deserve them at all. And, atm, Monroe doesn’t deserve one either based solely off his production.

          • Mar 14, 201312:19 pm
            by oats

            A 16 and 10 from a young big man is easily worth at least $12 million and probably closer to the $14.5 million a max deal is worth, even with bad defense. I think playing PF will help his D considerably and there will be no question that he is worth the max. Even if not, normal progression for a 22 year old would make him well worth a max deal. If he doesn’t pan out then every team in the league wants a productive young big man, and most of them won’t balk at a max deal on him. Good players can be moved, even while over priced. Rudy Gay got a decent return despite being wildly over priced, and at worst Monroe will be slightly over priced but younger and playing a more coveted position. There really isn’t another way to look at it. He puts up a 16 and 10 and is one of the best passing big men in the league. The market value for that is a max deal, he will almost definitely get one from someone and Detroit would be dumb not to match it.

          • Mar 14, 201312:44 pm
            by oats

            I want to expand on my point a bit. Monroe’s biggest flaw defensively is that he is terrible at defending the post. Drummond will be the one picking up the best post scorer on the opposing team next year, so that problem will be gone. The main reason it has been a problem is that he is often guarding guys much bigger and stronger than him, but at the 4 he will no longer be at such a large disadvantage in terms of strength. He’ll still suck at it, but he should do better and he will do it less often.
            The other huge flaw in his defense is that he is terrible in help defense. This problem is magnified by playing center. The guy closest to the hoop is the one most likely to need to give help, and Monroe is bad at it. Luckily, at PF he won’t be doing it too often.
            Monroe is actually really good at guarding spot up shooting and defending the pick and roll. Both of those skills bode well for him defending power forwards. He still won’t be a good or even average defender, but going from a terrible defender to merely a pretty bad one makes him worth a max deal. We’re talking about a 22 year old in a sport where players typically peak around 26-27. For him to be this productive already you absolutely give him a max deal to hold on to him.

  • Mar 13, 20135:17 pm
    by Brandon Knight


    Why not trade for Andrea Bargnani? He is a good player, I like him! So our line up would look like this:

    PG Jose Calderon or a PG from the draft 
    SG BK7
    SF Andrea Bargnani
    PF Greg Monroe
    C Andre Drummond

    What do you guys think?

    • Mar 13, 20135:37 pm
      by oats


      Bargnanai is not a good player. In fact, he’s a terrible player. He is shooting 40% from the field and 31% from 3. His 4.6 rebounds a game would look slightly less terrible at the 3 than at the 4, but let’s just agree that is still disappointing for a 7 footer. Throw in the fact that he is an awful defensive player who will likely look even worse trying to chase around wing players, and it just sounds awful. Throw in the fact that he is on the books for $10.75 million next year, and has an ETO the year after he would be really dumb to use when he is making $11.5 million, and you are paying an awful lot for awful basketball.

    • Mar 13, 20135:37 pm
      by Reaction


      Horrible idea… do you understand how bad our defense would be with the exception of Drummond?

    • Mar 13, 20138:27 pm
      by The Rake


      David Kahn, is that you? Can’t be Brandon Knight. Bargnani is a baaaaad fit in the D.

    • Mar 13, 20138:52 pm
      by Vince


      “Why not trade for Andrea Bargnani? He is a good player”

      This is why I can never take you seriously. There is a reason Toronto has been trying to get rid of him for so long, he is absolute garbage. 

  • Mar 13, 20137:10 pm
    by Jeremy


    great story…well except for the fact that it says nothing at all…still great stuff.

  • Mar 13, 20137:13 pm
    by Adam


    Is anyone actually watching U of M basketball? I doubt it when everyone thinks Burke is some sort of answer for us at PG. Nowhere near ready for the pro game. 

    • Mar 13, 20138:32 pm
      by The Rake


      @Adam – Apparently you aren’t a scout. Dude is going in the lottery this year. We can debate whether or not he’s a fit for Pistons, sure. But guy won Player of the Year in the Best conference in college ball and is the favorite for National POY. I wouldn’t say he’s “nowhere near ready for the pro game.” Must be a Sparty…

    • Mar 13, 20138:45 pm
      by Jon


      what more do you want from a college point guard to show he’s ready. anyone who knows anything about basketball will tell you he is by far the most polished pg in college 

  • Mar 14, 20132:22 am
    by Haan


    Oats, it’s obviously true in one sense that a player is worth what the market deems him to be worth, but it also can be quite false.  Rake’s got a point that a max deal for Monroe could well be a mistake, ie, for Detroit.   A deal may be perfectly justified for the player, but a mistake from the point of view of an individual team.  If you don’t get sufficient production from a player to justify the pressure put on your budget for the rest of the roster, then it’s a bad signing for you, even if a max deal for the player is warranted when you take all teams into account.  I like Monroe, but I’m inclined to think that Drummond needs to be the centerpiece.  Does Monroe fit well enough with that plan (and with AD!) to justify a max deal?  Maybe, but it’s iffy.

    • Mar 14, 20137:30 am
      by oats


      First off, Monroe’s production at his age suggests that he isn’t a great example of a player not deserving what the market deems him to be worth. He’s a 22 year old that puts up a reasonably efficient 16 and 10. Last year he was more efficient when he put up a 15 and 10. It seems reasonably likely that Monroe is having a slightly off year shooting while also being the primary focus for defenses. At the start of last year the scouting report said Stuckey gets to the hoop and Prince shoots more than he should, so stop them from doing their thing. This year it said Monroe can beat you by scoring in the paint, so stop him and make certain you box him out. I think that between giving him better team mates and the natural progression of a 22 year old, Monroe can get more productive. Monroe should eventually be an 18 and 10 guy, maybe a 20 and 10 guy. That is most definitely a max player.
      So, if the concern shouldn’t be about Monroe’s production then it’s based on his fit next to Drummond. Just for the record, we’re complaining about a young player who has proven he can be productive as a stater not playing well with a young player that hasn’t started a single game. Drummond’s early production in limited minutes is great, and I fully expect him to be able to extend that out. Still, the fact that Monroe is already a good starter means he is ahead of Drummond development wise. Basically we are talking about pushing Monroe out in the hopes that Drummond does what Monroe already has done. I’m not the only one finding this idea a bit odd? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s more likely that Drummond is the guy you should build around because he has looked like a truly special talent, I just don’t think we should be planning on throwing Monroe out until Drummond’s actually proven he is worth it. If Drummond is as good as we think he is, how good he’d almost have to be to push Monroe out the door, then he is a superstar player. If he is that good, it won’t matter too much if Monroe is a good fit next to him. Those guys play well with pretty much anyone next to them.
      Ok, that out of the way, let’s talk about Monroe’s fit next to Drummond. It seems to stem from the idea that Drummond should be paired with stretch 4 like Howard was. This idea seems to neglect that there aren’t many examples of that actually happening. We have Orlando, and maybe Indiana. The problem with the Pacers example would be that Drummond is much more athletic than Hibbert, and that added athleticism gives the team other ways to get him points than just posting him up. So we have one real example of a defensive center like Drummond getting paired with a stretch 4, but usually one of the two has at least a mid range game. From 16′ to 23′ Monroe is only 33%. That isn’t good, Last year he shot a much more respectable 43% in that range. Fine, his attempts were really low last year, but his average over the two years is 36%. 36% isn’t good enough just yet, but I think I’ve mentioned that Greg is still 22 and developing.
      Drummond could actually get in the high post from time to time and act as a cutter, similar to what the Clippers do with Blake Griffin. Plus, Monroe’s ability as a passer suggests he can play out of the high post and make some tight passes to Drummond and manufacture space that way. That’s exactly what he did in Georgetown by the way. Plus, Drummond is a great roll man in the pick and roll. He’ll get his points. I guess Monroe might see his points drop some, but who exactly is creating the space for Monroe this year? Maxiell can’t shoot and has been awful, and he rarely plays with CV. Monroe’s been doing this without that space already, so what exactly is the problem? They should be surrounded by shooters at the other 3 positions, but the team is actually working on putting that together anyways. Knight can shoot, Calderon can shoot, Singler can shoot, and Middleton is starting to look like he can shoot. The team is rumored to be looking at guys like OJ Mayo and JJ Reddick in free agency, as well as Gary Harris in the draft. Yep, more shooters.
      As I already mentioned, I think Monroe’s terrible defense will look less terrible at PF. His weak spot as a defender is in post up situations, and power forwards do less of that on average than centers. I suspect his issues are largely due to not being particularly strong for a center, but at the 4 he will actually be quite good. Zach Randolph will destroy him there, but that’s about it. For all the talk about stretch 4s, Monroe’s one of the best big men at guarding spot up shooting. Maybe that won’t extend all the way out to the 3 point line, but it does suggest he won’t struggle as much as would be expected. His ability to defend pick and roll men suggests that Monroe is not as slow footed as most seem to think either. I don’t put much faith in the combine numbers, but I feel like pointing out that Monroe actually tested out better than David West as far as running times go. West is currently looking quite good on defense, although that may have something to do with having a guy like Roy Hibbert at his back. Thankfully, Drummond projects as a more athletic version of Hibbert defensively. 
      I’m not saying it’s a given that Monroe and Drummond can play together. It really isn’t. Neither guy can shoot well. I personally believe you bet on talent working it out, but there is an off chance that they don’t. Fine. Let’s give Monroe his money and then watch these guys for a few years. Who knows what happens. Maybe they turn into a young version of Gasol and Randolph. Maybe they don’t. Maybe Drummond does not make the kind of leap we’re currently expecting, or maybe Monroe turns into a 20 and 10 guy. Maybe Drummond is the expendable one. Maybe Drummond is better but can net a much better haul, so much so that he has to be the guy to go. Or maybe you are right and Monroe is the one to move. In that case he’ll still be a young big man that can get you a 16 and 10. Even on a max deal, a deal the market says he is worth by the way, he will still have significant trade value. Explain to me how rolling with Monroe and Drummond for the next few years isn’t the best move. Why not max Monroe, evaluate the two together, and then try to move one of them if it isn’t working out? If we can get a super star now, then by all means trade Monroe. The only guy like that I can think of who is looking to be on the move is the oft injured Kevin Love, and I’m not certain I want to build around a guy with his injury problems. So maxing Monroe is the only logical decision right now, and then give these guys a few years to see how they look together.

      • Mar 14, 201311:48 pm
        by Haan


        Oats, that’s a lot.  Not sure there’s much I disagree with.

        My initial observation concerned a formal curiosity: A (Rake?) says X does not deserve a max contract; B (Oats?) says if X signs a max contract he deserves it.  There needn’t be a contradiction here (and both could be right, in one sense) because different things are meant.

        That aside, what of Monroe’s future.  You request: “Explain to me how rolling with Monroe and Drummond for the next few years isn’t the best move.” 

        On the whole, I don’t think I disagree; the difference may simply be that I don’t find it as obvious as you seem to.

        It’s important to note the contrasts involved in various scenarios.

        1) Sign Monroe to a max deal rather than let him walk.

        That one’s obvious to me: sign him.

        2) Sign Monroe to a max deal rather than making a good trade involving him before getting to the  point of signing.  

        That one’s quite a bit more murky to me.

        You seem to suggest that trading him in the near future or trading him after a max deal, perhaps after the experiment with AD has proven wobbly, are rough equivalents.  I’m not so sure.

        I’m inclined to think there’s a pretty good chance that Monroe’s optimal value is now or in the near future.  If so, now may well be the optimal time for trading him for the piece who makes the whole roster come together.  You seem skeptical of such a trade being available, probably with good reason.  But if a trade involving Monroe and Aldridge were available, I’d have to give it serious thought over the option of signing him for a maz.

        Why might his trade value diminish?  First, the NBA seems headed for a place where very good players who don’t fit the budget/ principal roster needs (Rudy Gay, Josh Smith) are losing value (but, yes, I do agree Memphis made quite a solid trade).
        Secondly, Detroit’s now dealing from a position of strength, with no pressing budget worries and no compelling reason to jettison one of the big two.  That may not be the case moving forward, so that Monroe’s trade value may diminish for organizational reasons (I have the impression Atlanta experienced some of the discomfort of being under pressure of dealing Josh Smith at the deadline).
        Thirdly (and related to #2), Monroe could be exposed in the role of complementary star to AD [I here not addressing the wisdom of treating AD as centerpiece, an issue you raised).  Briefly speculating on the AD-Monroe issue, the GS announcers made an unfair yet interesting comparison between Monroe at PF (IF he doesn’t develop a good shot) and Carlos Boozer.  My understanding of the comparison was that Monroe could evolve as a guy with strong post moves who doesn’t shoot well, a guy who rebounds (but maybe less with AD picking off a goodly number of the easy ones under the basket) but plays subpar D, especially against quicker PFs who shoot well.  A moderately enhanced Boozer with a long term max deal could be an albatross for a team attempting to rebuild around AD.

        All in all, I’d want to keep Monroe (for whom I have great respect) and sign him to a max deal.  But I’d be all ears if it sounded like the trade that could make the roster function optimally were being offered, a possibility which I regard as more likely in the next year or so then four years down the line.

  • Mar 15, 20136:38 am
    by Haan


    In addition, if you make a good trade now which pulls the roster together (with the addition of a wing through other means as well as the retention of JC or drafting of a PG), you have the benefit of having a smoothly functioning roster moving forward, rather than ill-fitting pieces for a long stretch 3-4 years?).  That may sound question begging given that part of the debate concerns whether AD and Monroe can do well together.  My point here is that you need the organization to make an astute judgment about what lies ahead.   If it turns out they don’t click, you want the organization to have seen it coming.  Seeing it coming may well mean making the right trade in the near future.  That needn’t be a trade for a superstar, which you allude to, but merely a trade for the guy who fits here.  When Stackhouse was traded for Rip, I thought we were stepping down in talent; credit to Joe for seeing early on that Rip would be the far better fit.

    I realize there are reasons for not trading which I haven’t discussed, which is why I wouldn’t regard trading Monroe as the obvious thing to do.  But it would be a serious option to consider.

    • Mar 15, 201311:28 am
      by oats


      Ok, fair point. It seems we aren’t way too far off on our thinking here, so I’ll try to explain where I’m coming from. Unfortunately, I tend to do that by being long winded.
      To argue against the Boozer comparison is fairly simple. Boozer is 6’9″ and actually relied on athleticism more than people acknowledge. Boozer got banged up a few times, and now he has lost a step. Monroe meanwhile is 6’11″ and his game seems to have very little to do with athleticism. Even if Greg’s game is based more on athleticism than I think, he still has well above average height for a power forward to fall back on. He’s a safer bet to age well than Boozer was. That was definitely the best argument against signing Monroe I’ve seen, but I see Boozer as a guy that injuries caused to age faster than would be expected. Health is just too hard to predict to be of much use in projections. Besides all that, it wasn’t his post rookie deal that he became a contractual albatross, it was the one following that. Greg should maintain his value through out his next contract the way Boozer did. Utah only really lost trade value when it became apparent Boozer wanted out and he was nearing the end of his contract. There aren’t many examples of guys on their first post rookie deal having their value drop off dramatically, and usually if they do it’s in that final year. With Greg on a 4 year max deal the team won’t face that point until after the summer of 2016. That gives the team plenty of time to evaluate him and Drummond before making any decisions.
      I brought up the Drummond as the centerpiece thing because that’s the only way it makes sense to me to move Monroe without getting a centerpiece guy back. The reason for that is simple, Monroe still could develop in to a centerpiece guy. For him to be this productive and this young we have to be aware that he could get better. We’re talking about a guy who could be Zach Randolph 2.0, but with better passing and less of a head case. I’d bet against it, but he has a chance to be a franchise player. If you aren’t getting someone who is more likely to do that then I don’t see the point of moving Greg.
      I like Aldridge, but he isn’t that centerpiece guy and he never will be. Production wise, Aldridge 5 years ago was pretty similar to Monroe. He took a few more shots and played more minutes but still was worse on the boards. So even if Drummond cuts in to his rebounding, Monroe still matches up pretty favorably to Aldridge 5 years ago. Aldridge never made a huge jump, instead he polished his game slowly and eventually started taking more shots. In short, production wise he’s the kind of player you should expect Monroe to be in 5 years. I get that he does it a little differently, but the end result is about the same level of production. So we’d be giving up Monroe to get an older version of him, and I don’t get the appeal of that. This team won’t likely be good until Drummond, Knight, and who ever the draft pick ends up being starts closing in on their peaks. That’s about 5 years away. Aldridge will be 32 and declining or soon to be declining but Monroe will be 27 and peaking. If we’re getting Aldridge and using Drummond to get Dwight or Marc Gasol I’d get it because you change when the window to be competitive is. No one seems to be suggesting that though, they just want to get older at power forward to make the playoffs but not really compete in them. The team can and should do better than old Monroe in a trade, especially since tarsier was right that Millsap gives you about 90% of what Aldridge does but can be had while retaining Monroe.
      I see this team as in the talent acquisition portion of the rebuild, not the make the pieces fit portion. Aldridge is not a clear cut talent upgrade, and the team will have to give a sweetener to get him. To me that is at best a lateral move, and I just don’t see the point in it. This is actually part of why I hate the trade Monroe ideas that get thrown out so often, and I know you’re not to blame for it, but everyone seems to be calling for a new power forward. The point of moving him should be to get a significant talent upgrade for the team, which means they should be looking at guys in any position. I can’t recall seeing anyone suggest moving Monroe for Rondo, and I’d seriously have to consider that idea. I’m not saying we definitely should do that, I’m just saying it seems strange that no one seems interested in making that kind of proposal. It’s usually Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson, or LaMarcus Aldridge for Greg. Love makes sense, he’s better than Monroe. Anderson is a downgrade and the only reason to want him is you want to flank Drummond with a stretch 4. Aldridge is a temporary upgrade but over time it will get to be a lateral move.
      Finally, I need to restate just how unlikely I think Monroe not fitting is. There really aren’t many examples of really good players not fitting together. I guess the best example is the Lakers debacle, but this seems like one of the few instances of a coach killing his team. Their insistence on running the offense through Kobe instead of through Gasol and Howard in the post is confusing, as is their tendency to tell the guy who is actually a skilled low post player (Gasol) to get out to the high post instead of having the better athlete go there and work as a cutter like what Griffin does for the Clippers. But that situation involves two guys with a more similar skill set than Greg and Drummond. Neither of the Gasol and Howard tandem has ever played anywhere but the low post. Greg actually played out of the high post at Georgetown, and his passing skills combined with his ability to put the ball on the floor from there and get off shots suggest he will be fine. Besides that, there are way more examples of talented players fitting in even if their games suggest a potential problem. I believe you bet on talent, and let them figure it out. Monroe and Drummond are both talented players, and their skill sets are different enough that you should let them figure out how to play together. Also, keep in mind that by waiting we’ll have some idea of what Knight will be, what Drummond will be, and what the new lottery pick will be. We’ll have a more complete view of what the team needs, and that also suggests waiting makes sense. I’m just not convinced a potential drop off in Greg’s trade value warrants moving him when I think the odds of the pairing not working out are so incredibly small. Now if we are getting a clear upgrade then I’m listening.

  • Mar 15, 20133:11 pm
    by Haan


    Thanks for your response.  It looks like the conversation’s moved on, so I won’t go into great length.  The size disparity of Monroe and Boozer is an important consideration; in fact, it’s the main one I had in mind in depicting GS’s Jim Barnett comparison as unfair, although interesting.  Also, yes, I had thought about the age difference with Aldridge and it’s an important point. 

    A point of difference between us seems to be that I think a Monroe trade could well be an upgrade without being a talent upgrade, namely an upgrade in roster fit.  Lateral trades often accomplish that (making the Monroe for Rondo suggestion interesting, except that I’m not keen on Rondo). 

    Interesting contention about really good players being able to work well together.  Maybe so, if there’s space for both on the floor.  Plenty of cases of a player being blocked, like young Steve Nash being traded to Dallas.  Even when both are on the court, both might not flourish.  An example might be Jrue Holliday coming into his own with Igluadala leaving.  With the Pistons, I thought the great, but aging, Webber was a terrific facilitator in their 16-4 run, but evidently Billups wasn’t willing to co-exist in that role (and a still very productive Webber struggled earlier to co-exist with AI).  At a lower, lesser, level Rip and Gordon couldn’t make it work although I think they had initial good will, let alone Rip and AI.  Stuckey performing subpart alongside Bynum is a current example, although neither are great.  At the center position, I’d need to look back at the history of Wilt and Nate Thurmond with the Warriors prior to the trade of Wilt.  In soccer, it happens routinely that a really good player can’t find his sweet spot because someone else is camped there — the recent history of the Dutch national team provides illustrations of suboptimal performances among outstanding forwards. 

    I do hope you’re right that Monroe emulating Aldridge’s shooting is a reasonable expectation.   It strikes me that certain skill sets are surprisingly resistant to significant upgrading.  Court vision’s the main example (see Stuck, BK), but even something as mechanical as free throw shooting rarely improves dramatically (with Karl Malone as a striking exception).  I agree that Monroe has a number of the attributes of an effective high post operator (passing), but the quickness and shooting concerns me. 

    Finally, you mentioned earlier that AD’s never started (although supposedly he was going to just when he got hurt).  But does that tell us something about Monroe’s attitude towards shifting to PF?  Might the coach have been deferential towards his best player?  It’s great when a guy like Cabrera embraces a position shift that could make him look bad; I’m not sensing the same eagerness/ willingness from Monroe, which could be a factor.

    • Mar 15, 201311:31 pm
      by oats


      I don’t know if you will see this since it isn’t on the front page any more, but I’ll try anyways. Your argument about space on the floor is mostly valid, but a lot of your examples don’t seem like great fits. Holliday wasn’t held back by Iggy, or at least not just Iggy. He played with another point guard in Louis Williams, a point forward in Iggy, and an emerging point forward in Evan Turner. He pretty much always shared the court with 2 of those ball dominant players. Yeah, there is a limit to how many ball dominant guys you can have. There is also a limit to how many volume shooters you can have. Those guys don’t add possessions or shots for your team, and there are only so many possessions for them each to do their thing. That’s where the counter becomes obvious, Drummond is not a ball dominant player. He scores off of the pick and roll, off put backs, and off cuts to the basket. He’s a really low usage player, and that makes him different from all of the guys in the list you gave. Not only that, his skill set and Monroe’s skill set differ more than they are similar. That suggests they could eventually gel. The hope is for them to resemble the Memphis front court, although the division of labor would be different. Monroe gets Randolph’s scoring and Gasol’s passing while Drummond gets Gasol’s defense.
      Monroe probably won’t get all the way to Aldridge level shooting, but it is realistic to think he’ll get up to average. He’s not one of those guys who can’t shoot free throws, and his stroke looks solid. Lots of guys have successfully extended their range after getting in to the league, and I would bet Monroe knows how big of a key that is for him. What’s more, even without that shot he has actually played out of the high post quite a bit. That was his spot on the floor in the Georgetown offense, and he saw what that did for his passing angles. Between that and the fact that Monroe is decent lowering his shoulder and driving to the hoop suggests he will be able to adjust to going back to the high post. What’s more, a few possessions a game Drummond can switch to the high post and operate as a cutter, similar to how the Clippers use Blake Griffin.
      As for the Rondo trade idea, even I don’t know if I’d do it. The point of that suggestion was just that everyone focuses so much on getting a power forward that they aren’t always accomplishing the main goal of moving Monroe, and that goal should be improving the team’s talent level. Maybe Rondo wasn’t the best example of that since he has such odd limitations to his game, but it makes the point that maybe we should be looking for an upgrade at another position. Plus, Rondo has been rumored to be available pretty much every year, so that suggestion didn’t seem as far fetched as saying we should trade for someone like Paul George. I use George here just because I really like Paul George and I think there is about a 0% chance Indy would move him.
      The Monroe not wanting to play PF is an interesting idea, although the report later in the day that Monroe was interested in adding Drummond suggests it isn’t right. I’d actually have guessed that anyways. I think Monroe has some idea of how bad he is defending the post and probably doesn’t really want to get banged around as much as centers get banged around. I suspect that Drummond was on the bench because Frank and Dumars had a plan to bring Drummond along slowly, and when Drummond showed he was much more ready than expected Frank decided to just stick with is preseason plan. I just think it’s more likely that Frank was completely unprepared for Drummond being that good than Monroe wanting to stay a center.

  • Mar 16, 201310:34 am
    by Haan


    Thanks for those comments, Oats.  Just a few responses.  Good point about Drummond, but I hope that he becomes more ball dominant as he develops more post moves (a side effect of which could be spacing issues with Monroe).  The soccer example I gave may not be of much interest in this context, but I find it striking because it provides a kind of test tube.  Players functioning at a very high level with their club teams regularly struggle with their national teams because of spacing issues; it also can happen that a player outperforms club level because of the complementarity in the national team.  So my following of soccer biases me to think that complementary matters a lot., even among great players (which initially seemed like what you denied).  But I do hear your counter regarding Drummond.

    Considering dealing one of two very talented young centers likely is so rare that finding another young big in return could be problematic.  If a trade occurs, it might make sense to deal for a star at a different position.

    btw, I regard Monroe being traded in the near future as extremely unlikely.  You’d need to make a high risk, all things considered, move, which could easily backfire publicly.  Can’t see Joe doing it anytime soon.

    I saw the Monroe story concerning Drummond (but wasn’t thinking about it as I wrote).  I confess this may well be obstinate, but I don’t necessarily take that as signifying Monroe’s eager to move.   Let me try what may well be a far-fetched defense.  Studies show that while we demand less of ourselves than others, we freely place burdens on our future selves equal to what we expect from others.  What if last year’s Monroe keenly felt the need for more size, so encouraged the team to check out Drummond.  Drafting the guy who was once rumored to be going #2 may have seemed like a distant prospect.  Then AD’s drafted.  What if Monroe envisioned developing a strong shot and not needing to go up against the atheletic big guys who crush him on D?  He’d still want AD.  As the season started (and he struggled a bit), he may have become worried about losing part of the best part of his game, operating offensively beneath the basket.  He talks to Frank about this concern, but is assured it won’t be an issue this season (he can still defer the burden to his future self).  As the season progresses, it increasingly becomes an issue that AD should start at center.  But Frank — convinced AD should be brought along slowly, seeing that AD’s fitness provided a reason to avoid conflict with GM, and responding to GM’s concerns — holds offs on moving AD to starting center, or even to playing AD and GM together much.  There’s at least a little direct evidence for this speculative scenario in a comment made by GM earlier this year, which worried me, something about shooting not being his game.  Beyond that, the principal evidence is simply what actually happened: AD didn’t start, AD and GM didn’t play much together, even though so many pleaded for what seemed like the obvious thing to do.

    I’ve enjoyed our exchange (even though I think it’s time to rejoin the present threads) which is restoring my confidence in the possibilities of online forums.  At times, a forum like this can encourage a level of discourtesy that you wouldn’t often encounter in real life.  But at its best, a forum like this provides a chance for enthusiastic and expert exchanges that aren’t possible elsewhere, certainly not for someone like myself who no longer lives in Michigan.

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