LATE PICK UP P(OWE)LEASE

Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
03/03/11 10:18 am EST

Though word had leaked well ahead of time that the Sixers wouldn’t be players at the trade deadline, and the current roster is playing so brilliantly right now and so completely annihilating expectations it requires some serious mental gymnastics to hold a pessimistic thought about them for too long, it was still kind of maddening to sit back last week and watch other squads make team-improving moves the Sixers (probably) had the pieces to make but didn’t.

Take Kendrick Perkins.  It’s a matter of fact that the most gaping hole on the 7-6 is a good center who preferably doubles as a strong defensive presence.  Which is exactly what Perkins is.  And to acquire Perkins, the Thunder moved only Nenad Kristic and Jeff Green, the latter of whose game was described like so by polymath blogger Matt Yglesias:

You might think a starter on a good team like Oklahoma City could be the extra athletic wing player Boston needs, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny once you realize that . . . Jeff Green is a bad basketball player. His three point shooting (.304) is bad, and he’s a poor rebounder. His field goal percentage (.437) is also bad. He’s bad. He’s a young guy, and was a starter on a quality young team, so he gives the superficial appearance of being one of the good young players of the Oklahoma City Thunder. But he’s not. He’s a bad player, and it’s just a coincidence that he had some good teammates

So that was the main piece Sam Presti and OKC surrendered to get an above average, battle-tested center whose departure from Boston was so painful for his teammates it caused a near mutiny.

Yglesias’ wasn’t alone in his analysis.  Numbers whisperer Dave Berri thought the trade so ludicrously one-sided, he imagined it happening thusly:

“Hi Danny, this is Sam Presti calling”

“Hi Sam. What can I do for you?”

“Remember a few years ago when I gave you Ray Allen”

“Well, you didn’t give me Ray…

“Hold on, let me finish. Remember when I gave you Ray Allen. And you then were able to trade for Kevin Garnett; which then allowed you to win an NBA title. Remember all that?”

“Not sure I would say you gave me Ray Allen. But I did appreciate doing business with you.”

“That’s great. How about you do something to show your appreciation?”

“Again Sam, what can I do for you?”

“How about you take the two worst players on my team? And in return give me a big man that can help me contend for a title?”

“If I do this, can we say we’re even?”

“Sure Danny. Great doing business with you. And maybe we will see each other again in June.”

 

This begs the question: if it was a young wing the Celtics wanted, or felt they needed to hang with the Miamis of the world, ie Miami, then why not build a Perkins trade around Thaddeus Young? who is decidedly not bad, and at worst, better than Jeff Green.  The Sixers could have thrown in Spence Hawes to meet the Celtics terrible white center requirement.

I understand Danny Ainge might have been loathe to trade intra-division, especially to a team they could see in the first round of the playoffs, but given the scope of the Celts ambition this season, I doubt they’re worried about the possibility of losing to the Sixers in a first round playoff matchup. (Which isn’t to say they shouldn’t be)

So I don’t think the fact this trade never happened is Boston-attributable: I think the Sixers could have swung it and didn’t.  My sense is we just overrated our players and decided to sit out this one.  I heard Ed Stefanski say to Mike Missanelli last week something to the effect of “We really feel like we had good players all along, and now they’re finally coming together under Doug Collins” which is about 30 percent true and 70 percent the wishful thinking of the guy who hand selected those players and is simultaneously trying to convince us, and himself, that they’re better than they are as a way of vindicating his pre-Thorn GM/President tenure.  He’s evidently succeeded in convincing himself of this, and it seems Thorn too.  As for the fan base, I think we see through it: we mostly, correctly, understand the reason the Sixers are suddenly within shouting distance of good is they’re benefiting from the caliber of coaching job people write books about. And that’s the beginning and end of the story.  The players are fungible.

But while we didn’t hit on Perkins (or Gerald Wallace or Gregg Oden or Marcus Camby –and yeah, the last two were rumored to be available) we still have one more chance to tighten up the roster: veteran buyout season.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t look too promising either. What seemed a couple weeks ago to be a decent crop, has, through players not actually being bought out (Pryzbilla, Rip Hamilton, Renaldo Balkman) and potentially helpful bought-out guys getting snatched up faster than you can say “Yep Miami, Mike Bibby is the answer for you” by contenders (Mike Bibby, Troy Murphy), transmogrified into a poo poo platter of has beens, never weres , and who’s he’s.  The kind of guys who a team would pay to stop showing up.

One name stands out above the rest of what’s around though.  A former Celtic.  A guy who’s averaged 7 and 5 for an NBA champion.  A guy who’s 27 years old and has only 3,179 regular season minutes on the odometer.  A guy who’s pretty much average.

A guy named Leon Powe

The case for Powe is pretty simple.  If acquired, the guys he’s likely to take minutes from are Spencer Hawes and Mo Speights.  And he’s better than them.

OK, that might be understating his case.  Though Mr. Powe hasn’t had a healthy season in two years, he put together a quietly terrific little run from ’07-08 to ’08-09.  He was roughly twice as productive as an average four over that period (.212 WP48 in ’07-08 and a .187 WP48 in ’08-09) and produced 8.4 wins in reserve minutes those two years.  This is more than Speights and Hawes have produced in their careers.  Combined.

Projecting reserve minutes over 36 minutes is a dangerous game, but what the hell.  I’m feelin’ lucky.  Here’s LP’s numbers from those two seasons spread over 36 minutes.

’07-08: 19.8 points/10.1 rebounds/.629 TS%

’08-09: 15.8 points/ 10.1 rebounds/ .591 TS%

And he plays defense.  And he’s 27.  And his presence will allow us to play Hawes and Speights less.  And give Brand’s old legs some rest before the postseason.

If we want to give the two seed a run for their money, we need some more interior muscle.  And what’s fallen in our lap, but a Powe man’s Elton Brand.  It’s a slam dunk move.

(OK, OK. He tore his left ACL and meniscus two years ago, never came all the way back from it, then tore his right meniscus in January.  Nobody’s perfect.  Glass houses, man.)


 
 
 

6 Responses to “LATE PICK UP P(OWE)LEASE”

  1. Sean
    3. March 2011 at 11:05

    Two things: wondering how Powe, who wasn’t used much at all by Cleveland (the worst team in the NBA) would be helpful in the stretch run – if anything the team needs another guy who can defend 7-footers, while Powe is an undersized big.

    And also, Thad might be more productive than Jeff Green overall, but he has proven over and over again that he’s nowhere near as good as a “3” as he is as a “4”. I’ve been on the Thad playing-on-the-perimeter bandwagon for what seems like forever, but his lack of ball-handling and shooting makes him a liability in that position right now. He couldn’t back up Pierce. Not sure Green can either, but the point is a Thad move for Boston doesn’t make sense.

  2. J.p.
    3. March 2011 at 13:36

    F the P(owe)lease!

  3. Sean
    3. March 2011 at 15:12

    Yep, exactly what I was thinking. I would have offered Young and Hawes for Perkins, throw in a 2nd rounder or something if they really want it…

    I think we could have made up a better package for Deron Williams also: Holiday, Turner, Speights, 2 future 1st rounders.

    Imagine a starting lineup of Deron Williams, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Kendrick Perkins.

  4. Jerome
    3. March 2011 at 17:04

    no you dont give up a future could be all-star in holiday for a deron williams your forgetting holiday is only 20 he is capable of being better than williams soon and might as well give it time because with the team you jus mentioned isnt beating boston or miami so why not jus give it a little more time rather then give our best guys up…I like the Powe idea though

  5. Jason
    3. March 2011 at 18:05

    Saying you don’t give up Jrue Holiday for Deron Williams is so dead on. Jrue Holiday is young so his future is so wide open. He may even turn into the second best point guard in the league, like Deron Williams is!

    I like your logic. It makes total sense.

  6. Sloetry
    4. March 2011 at 07:17

    plus the issue with Deron Williams is will he give you that signature on the dotted line in the not too distant future. Perkins would be solid, no doubt on D. But would we get offense from him? Thad puzzles me….he’s such a spark, gets points, seems to make difficult shots a lot but the ball handling is an issue. He’s certainly got the right coach right now to maximise his potential. A player that will probably shine when Holiday has made those improvements as a point guard over the coming few seasons and feeds the ball better and better.
    There are so many upsides to so many players on the Sixers that the growth into the playoffs over the next few years will get deeper as the players themselves continue to grow. Can you imagine a team where talent just grows through experience as individuals and as a team, but where everyone is going through that growth at the same time. This is why Chuck was wrong to say avoid the playoffs, and we don’t need to trade away young assets to get better players now. Growth will make this team. Yes, EB and AI are over paid and those are the issues, but right now, the majority of things are headed in the right direction.

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