Hall of Famer
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:03 pm
Location: Golden State
Poster Credit: 59
Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:07 am
I got you. For a John Hollinger article, it's not a bad read. Here you go:
Trade analysis: Pacers may hit home run in long run
Whoa … Where'd that come from?
Even the most brazen rumormongers were taken by surprise Wednesday when the Warriors and Pacers agreed on an eight-player trade that sends Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod to Indiana for Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.
On the surface, this looks like a classic "grass-is-greener" trade.
Contrary to the expectations of many, Dunleavy and Murphy haven't meshed with new coach Don Nelson and his wide-open system, though Dunleavy has raised his level of play.
Meanwhile, the mutterings about chemistry problems in Indiana long have centered on Jackson -- especially since his arrest on felony charges in October -- and Harrington has endured an unexpectedly bumpy ride in his first campaign since rejoining the Pacers.
Why? Because, while Jackson, Dunleavy, Murphy and Harrington are the four names in all the headlines, the guy who could make the trade a home run for the Pacers is Diogu.
The 6-8 second-year forward has had trouble getting minutes in Nelson's perimeter-oriented, smallball-friendly system. But while he's averaged just 13.1 minutes a game in 17 appearances, Diogu has played brilliantly when given the chance.
Per 40 minutes, his numbers jump off the page -- 22.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. He's shooting 53 percent from the floor and 79.6 percent from the line, with the last number particularly important because he draws so many fouls in the low post. Overall, his PER of 18.8 is easily the highest of any player in the trade.
Based on his rookie season stats from a year ago, this season's numbers don't seem like a fluke. Diogu's rookie year PER of 15.8 also beats the 2006-07 rating of anyone else in the deal, as his percentages were nearly identical and his 40-minute numbers (18.8 points, 8.9 boards) weren't too far off.
So why didn't Diogu play more? Nelson's system obviously had a lot to do with it, but so did Diogu's defense. He can block shots, but he's a bit short for a power forward and, like most other young players, he struggles at that end of the floor. Paired with another developing big man in Andris Biedrins, Diogu had nobody to cover for his mistakes, so it was easier in many cases to leave him on the pine.
As a Pacer, however, he'll be paired with one of the best frontcourt defenders in the league in Jermaine O'Neal, and when O'Neal checks out another elite defender, Jeff Foster, will check in. As a result, Indiana should be much better positioned to mask Diogu's defensive shortcomings than Golden State was.
Also, the Pacers' post-oriented attack is much more in keeping with Diogu's skill set than the freewheeling system Nellie ran in Golden State. So if anything, his already prodigious output may increase now that he's joining the Pacers, at least on a per-possession basis.
There might be other dividends for Indy as well. With this deal, the Pacers have an even bigger logjam in the frontcourt, with O'Neal, Foster, Murphy, Diogu, Maceo Baston and David Harrison. A trade of one of them for a wing player would be the obvious follow-up to this move.
And if Murphy's jumper can find the net consistently, he may provide spacing for O'Neal to go to work down low.
Golden State fans will point out they didn't come out of this empty-handed, either. For starters, Jackson and Harrington are better defenders than Murphy and Dunleavy -- the difference isn't huge, but it may prove important given how horrid the Warriors' defense has been of late.
The Warriors also got themselves into better shape contract-wise. The deals that GM Chris Mullin handed out to Murphy and Dunleavy had become notorious albatrosses in Oakland, while the contracts of Harrington and Jackson expire a year earlier and are slightly less onerous.
And Golden State upgraded the point guard position behind Baron Davis by getting Jasikevicius (to replace McLeod), an important consideration given how injury-prone Davis is.
Nonetheless, it's shocking to see the Warriors include such a talented prospect as Diogu as a throw-in, especially considering a year earlier they wouldn't budge on putting him into a deal for Ron Artest.
It's not like including him was necessary to balance the scales. Going by 2006-07 PER, the three highest-rated players in this deal all went to Indiana. In fact, Murphy has outrated Harrington in four of the past five seasons (including this one). And while Jackson is preferable to Dunleavy on talent, he is a huge question mark in the chemistry department -- not to mention a guy who has to stand trial in Indianapolis in February.
So if you take Diogu and Powell out of the trade, this deal starts looking a lot more reasonable -- Golden State upgrades the backcourt a bit, gets a slight improvement in the cap situation, takes on a bad apple in the locker room and makes a slight downgrade from Murphy to Harrington. That seems fair.
But to throw in Diogu on top of it? That's absurd. Or it's genius, if you're looking at it from Indiana's perspective.
The other names are nice and all, but 10 years from now I have a feeling that we'll be looking back on this deal as the Ike Diogu trade. And if you're a Warriors fan, you probably won't be looking back fondly.
It puts a slight damper on the trade... but that's how I've always looked at it. Giving up Diogu is the only part of the trade I regret. And, still, he's got a long way to go before he becomes a star.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD