By now, most of you have noticed a couple of patterns. Seth Pollack is loyal, somewhat cynical, and predisposed to skepticism about trades made by the Suns (at least in the past year). I, on the other hand, have been fairly optimistic about every move.
Let's look at them in detail. Trust me folks, this is cathartic. At least for me.
I hope Seth isn't offended that I'm paraphrasing him liberally in this post.
When Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick were picked up last summer, Seth
was least excited disliked the Hedo move most of all. He questioned Hedo's fit with the offense next to Nash, pointing out that while both are willing passers they both need the ball in their hands most of the time to be effective. While one had the ball, the other would become a spot-up shooter. Guess who ended up with the ball?
I, on the other hand, focused more on whether the Suns could rebound and play defense with Hedo at the 4. I used a few stats and historical numbers, meshed them together, and concluded that the Suns defense wouldn't be so bad after all. I was wrong. Dead wrong. The Suns defense was historically horrible.
And by December, the rotation was untenable. A move HAD to be made for more size.
When Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mikael Pietrus were acquired from Orlando for Hedo and JRich, Seth then disliked the move because of the chemistry shake up and because Vince Carter was a corpse. He hated the Carter move, and warned people that the Suns just needed more time to mesh - that Hedo was never given a full chance to succeed here. He also questioned Gortat's impact, pointing out that Lopez was a better player (or at least a better prospect).
I again focused on the numbers and concluded that Carter and Richardson were statistically a wash, and that Gortat and Pietrus were better than Hedo and Clark for the Suns. I noted that the Suns really needed help on defense and rebounding, and that Gortat and Pietrus would supply it.
Well, Seth was right about Carter. Carter is terrible. Horrible. A shadow of himself. Kudos to Gentry for not caring about the contract and effectively benching Carter the last few weeks.
On the other hand, at least through today, I was more correct about Gortat's impact. Gortat has provided consistency and skills to the C position that the Suns have not seen in a long, long time. He leads the entire league in double-doubles from a bench player after only a quarter-season with the Suns. Since the new players took hold, the Suns have become a top-10 defense along with their top-7 offense. Not bad at all.
Yet, Gortat might not be a long, long term option. He may even be 34 instead of 27. Lopez has skillz and is still only 22. Seth may still be right that Lopez > Gortat.
So, Seth has a much better track record than me when it comes to what will work and what won't.
And he hates the Brooks acquisition.
I, on the other hand, tend to let the past go, focus on the future and consider everything with a positive spin.
So it's no wonder that I think Aaron Brooks will thrive here, even though I was a huge Dragic fan and (along with rsavaj and DIM) dreamed of the day Dragic would lead the team in the post-Nash era. That dream was probably more tenuous for me than for either of them, but it was still there.
I hope Goran succeeds in Houston, I really do.
But more than that, I anticipate Aaron Brooks will shine in Phoenix. I anticipate big-point production from him, along with just as many dimes as Dragic produced. I also hope that Gortat, Dudley and Pietrus can hide his defensive deficiencies enough that his offensive production is a plus. I see the second unit no longer being "white knuckle" time. I see the second unit finally having a go-to scorer when the shooters aren't making their shots. Gortat, Warrick, Duds and Pietrus need a scorer and playmaker around them.
The Suns are better today than they were yesterday. I do just want to give Goran and DIM a hug though.
Quite the lively conversation these trades generate.
So far, from what I can tell, reaction is pretty mixed although the polling shows 58% opposed to the trade.
There's some understandable attachment to Goran and there's some understandable excitement for Brooks. There's also plenty of typical thrill that any trade brings. New is always fun.
My own reaction is headed more towards the skeptical as the hours pass. Shocking, I know.
It's not so much that I hate giving up Dragic because while I think he's had a down year and I am fairly confident he can be a decent NBA player, I never was sold on him being a potential All-Star (remember those conversations from November?) and was even uncertain about his ability to be a good starter.
The problem I am having is with Brooks.
As I dig into his numbers I am not impressed. He put up big point totals on a pretty average team that didn't have a lot of other scoring options. He wasn't extremely efficient and has declined this season from as he lost his job to Kyle Lowry.
Do people really believe that a guy who couldn't beat out Kyle Lowry (no offense) can be the replacement for Steve Nash?
Brooks is a small point guard which hurts him on defense and hurts his ability to score at the rim (57.5% shooting at the rim this yr vs. 68% for Dragic). His three-point shooting -- like Goran's -- has fallen from almost 40% down to about 28%. And Brooks in his big breakout season last year was 39th in the league among point guard in assist rate (min 25 min/gm).
Doesn't finish well at the rim. Doesn't set up his teammates. Isn't shooting the ball well from long range. Tell me again why this guy was worth a 1st round pick and giving up Dragic?
Not to mention the pickle the Suns put themselves in because he's a restricted free agent. If Brooks plays well over the last 27 games other teams can offer him more money and drive up the price for the Suns to match. If he plays poorly the Suns either cut their losses and admit defeat (like they did with Hedo) or they sign him to a deal anyway and pray he improves.
As always, we'll just have to wait and see what happens to really know. In the mean time, here's some links to chew on along with audio from the Lon Babby and Lance Blanks press conference:
Great break down from Valley of the Suns
We’ll take a closer look at the aspects of the game where Dragic is more effective than Brooks, and vice versa. Both point guards are struggling mightliy this season, and Brooks missed 25 games with an ankle injury, so we’ll delve into this year’s and last year’s stats to see how they stack up in a handful of different categories.
More thoughts from me (b/c you can't get enough)
Does that mean Goran Dragic was the source of all the Suns' second unit woes? With Aaron Brooks stepping in, we are about to find out if the season-long struggles were the result of Dragic's poor play. Or perhaps there were more issues at work that didn't show up quite so glaringly as the contrast between the two-time MVP and the third-year player.
And a handy list of all the trades that went down across the NBA
There were a flurry of NBA trades before the deadline on Thursday. To help you catch up on all the went down, we provide a brief recap of every deal that happened over the past 48 hours.
From the Rocket's fan perspective
Dragic brings some defense, a pass first facilitator mentality, and a semi-reliable jump shot. He should fit smoothly into the rotation as Kyle Lowry's back up and solidify possible defensive lapses at the point guard position. In all the action I've seen Dragic in, he's been a reliable back up and managed to steady Phoenix's offense while spelling Steve Nash. This pick up strengthens our backcourt as a more traditional one. What we lost, essentially, was points in this trade.