Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  February 22, 2008

Some thoughts on how the trade deadline shook out, and other stuff.

• Commenter Drrayeye says he is a “doubting Thomas,” but I think the Kurt Thomas to the Spurs was a deal works for both sides, the Spurs in the short term and Seattle in the long term. Jonesonthenba has a great take on this trade, and in the comments made a great point:

The crazy thing about Kurt Thomas is that Presti got a first round pick for taking in, and then got a first round pick for sending him out. To say that worked out for him would be an understatement.

• The usual brilliant stuff from friend-of-the-site KD over at the Yahoo blog the other day about why the Mavs will be better with Kidd:

I beg of you, dear reader: keep this post in mind when cable TV swoons over an improved Mavericks team over the season’s last two months. The answers to their resurgence won’t come in the singular form of Jason Kidd, and they won’t be articulated with nausea-inducing bluster like “that championship focus,” or some twaddle about “leadership.”

No, the Mavs will be better because they were already a championship-level team to begin with, one that was playing below expectation and limiting the minutes of its best players. That stops, now.

• And I like what Cleveland did yesterday to boost their offense. I’ll let Mike from Knickerblogger explain:

But looking at who they gave up, it’s addition by subtraction. Consider the league average for TS% is typically around 54% (53.7% at this moment), and look at who’s heading out of Cleveland: Drew Gooden (48.7%), Larry Hughes (46.7%), Donyell Marshall (42.7%), Shannon Brown (43.3%), and Cedric Simmons (21.0%). Only Ira Newble (52.2%) has a TS% anywhere near the median….Enter Wally Szczerbiak (TS% 57.3%) and Joe Smith (TS% 51.5%), both of who should provide an offensive boost to Cleveland. Szczerbiak has never had a problem scoring efficiently, and at 30 years of age is still near the top of his game. Suddenly the Cavs look to have the makings of a strong offense: LeBron, Szczerbiak, Gibson, Ilgauskas, Varejao, Smith, Damon Jones, all have TS% above 50%. And although Ben Wallace is shooting poorly (TS% 39.1%) he’ll help the defense as well. With Ilgauskas, Wallace, Varejao, and James the Cavs have enough defense to make up for the guards.

Now, add a little motion to that offense and maybe you’ll have something. Particularly in the East.

• I’m not sure what they are doing in Chicago anymore. Sure, you get rid of Wallace so you can finally play the kids, but at what cost? Larry Hughes? Drew Gooden playing the worst ball of his pro career? I wrote this last time I filled in at TrueHoop, just a few days after Skiles was dumped, but here’s my question for Chicago’s brass: What kind of team are you trying to build? Boylan isn’t the long-term coach, so they need to decide what kind of team they want, bring in a coach to execute it and build toward it. Right now I don’t see that master plan, just a lot of flailing around.

• Lot’s of Kobe for MVP talk. I have a hard time getting into that debate only because the definition of MVP is nebulous and varies from voter to voter. Best player in the league? Best player on a good team? Best player on the best team? Honestly, I think Kobe deserves an MVP, but as much for his “body of work” more than just this year. I think you can make a good case for CP3 or LeBron. KG will get some votes, too. I’d like to see KG get one someday for the same “body of work” reasons. But this may be Kobe’s year.

Of course, with a couple months between now and the end of the season a lot of things can change.

• Ever wonder what guys shoot on the midrange jumper? Well, someone over at APBRmetrics used the NBA HotZones thing and crunched the numbers.

Your top 10: 1. Jose Calderon 56.1% (115-205); 2. Steve Nash 52.9% (83-157); 3. Derek Fisher 519% (97-187); 4. Jason Kapono 517% (74-143); 5. Malik Allen 513% (81-158); 6. Dirk Nowitzki 507% (136-268); 7. Dorell Wright 503% (76-151); 8. Kevin Garnett 500% (94-188); 9. Mo Williams 496% (112-226); 10. Channing Frye 491% (79-161).

Two interesting other numbers: 75. Richard Jefferson 39.4% (113-287); 76. Kobe Bryant 39.2% (133-339).

• Don’t look now, but my Matadors of Cal State Northridge are looking pretty good now. Great pressure defense (defensive rating of 93.3, 29th in the land), a team that shares the ball on offense and presses the pace (75.4 possessions per game, 10th fastest in the nation). Only one NCAA bid coming out of the Big West, so the Matadors have to win the tournament, but they are in a good position. Which means you’re going to be stuck reading more about them.

• If it’s sunny out, my Sunday plans include some Long Beach State baseball.