And I Can't Stop Having These Visions

A look inside the madness of my mind--sports, politics or daily life--with humor and pop culture and music references embedded.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Amar'e Treatise

Well lets get a few things out of the way.
1) Wow, after using WordPress for my WDW blog, going back to Blogger is no fun.
2) With that being said, I am slightly out of touch on the NBA due to my internship last fall. I've seen every Cavs game, but have watched very few other games. Obviously, I wish I could see some Suns games right now in order to give more accurate analysis, but I do not have that luxury.
3) I doubt I will be covering new ground. I closely read all of Windhorst's stuff on and John Krolik is an amazing writer for ESPN Truehoop at Cavs: The Blog. Therefore, I'm sure my opinions are somewhat based upon analysis I have already read from them.
4) I won't be proofreading this. I'm sure there will be times I say 'we' when I mean the 'Cavs'. I'm sure there will be misuses of your. I just want to get my thoughts out there. If you leave a comment about an error, I'll gladly correct it.

Alright... here goes the stream of consciousness:

The assumption is that the trade is Z/Hickson for Amare. The further assumpion is that Z will be immediately bought out and can rejoin the Cavs in 30 days. That makes the trade essentially JJ Hickson for Amare Stoudemire. (P.S. If this trade goes through, I'm really going to have to spend 15 minutes learning how to spell Stoudemire without having to look it up.)

Amare is 20/8 in the bank. I repeat... 20/8 IN THE BANK. Anytime JJ hits either one of those numbers, it is cause for jubilation. From the simplest standpoint, it is a no-brainer. But let's delve deeper.

COMPLAINT: Amare doesn't play defense.


From Krolik's manifesto: Amare and Hickson's team defensive numbers are virtually identical on a per 100 possession basis (They give up 111.6/111.1 points while on the floor respectively.) Thus, it wouldn't be a noticeable downgrade. However, you must imagine that Stoudemire will be playing 30+ minutes as opposed to the 20 minutes that Hickson currently is.

But we'll come back to that in a bit.

COMPLAINT: Amare and Shaq can't coexist.


I don't have any film to watch to be able to make a definite decision. This is what I know. Amare makes a good amount of his points off of the high screen roll with Nash. Varejao makes a good amount of his points off the high screen roll with LeBron. It is much believed that Varejao can't play with O'Neal (which is part of the reason for JJ starting), and the Mo-Parker-James-Varejao-Shaq lineup is still the most used lineup, but many of those minutes were from the first 6 games when the Cavs were still trying to figure out how to play together.

But look at JJ's stellar play recently. Most of it he is scoring like Varejao, except using thunderous dunks instead of crazy behind his head circus layups like Andy. He is either running the high screen roll or cutting weak side off of penetration. I don't see why Amare would be hampered here. But... it is by far the biggest risk.

But that does lead to...

COMPLAINT: Where do the Cavs find minutes for Amare?


Like I said above, Stoudemire and Varejao get most of their points off of the high screen roll. This means they cannot play together. Well they could, but results could be disastrous.

Orrr.... would they?

According to JJ and Varejao have combined to be the frontcourt for about 160 minutes (counting only units that have played together for more than 5 minutes to compensate for sample size). The only one that has a negative rating is Gibson-Parker-James (23 minutes) and I think the reason is pretty obvious. Surrounding LeBron with two players who are unreliable from more than 10 feet and two players who are unreliable from inside the 3-point arc seems like a pretty bad idea.

So break it down like this. (Once Z is resigned after the 30-day waiting period.)

Center: Shaq - 20, Z - 20, Amare - 8
Power Forward: Amare - 22, Varejao - 26

So you cut Amare's minutes by 3-5 or so which is probably good with his knees/injury history, and you cut Varejao's minutes by about 4 which will allow him to be even more of a pest down the stretch. Plus you only have to combine Andy/Amare for 8 minutes (or less if the Cavs go to a small lineup with LeBron at the 4) which should be sustainable as long as players like Mo and Delonte are on the floor.

COMPLAINT: Oh wait, that's pretty much all of the complaints about Amare.

RESULT: Personally, I don't think the Cavs need to make a trade to win the title this year. They match up favorably with all the teams in the East (as I wrote about for LeBrowns Town way back in August) and have shown they can beat the Lakers. Don't forget that except for the anomoly of last year, the Cavs have owned the Lakers since LeBron came to the North Shore.

However, this trade is as much for long term as it is for this year. Look at the Cavs Salary Numbers. Let's assume the Cavs stand pat and LeBron resigns this summer. His salary will be somewhere around $17mil and escalating each year. With all the contracts the Cavs have, that will put them right around the projected salary cap of 54 mil. And they will have no Center. Sure they will have Shaq's bird rights and be able to go over the cap to resign him for a year or two, but that is not a long term solution. Same with Z. (However if they do trade Z and then resign him after PHO releases him, Z does lose his bird rights, so the Cavs would have to use an exception, either the Bi-Annual or the Minimum Salary. There's also a Veteran exception but I honestly have no clue how that works or if Z would qualify for it if he is bought out.) So next year isn't that bleak really... BUT

2011/2012 is. Again no center (except for a 40/36 year old Shaq/Z if resigned as detailed in the last paragraph), but the only players that would be on the roster in this hypothetical scenario is LeBron, Mo, Varejao, Daniel Gibson, and JJ Hickson, and they would still be almost at the cap (or probably over since who knows what will happen with the CBA for that season).

There are two types of assets in the NBA. Young talent and expiring contracts. The main young talent the Cavs have is JJ Hickson. After Shaq/Z expire this offseason, the most valuable expiring contracts for next year are Delonte's 4.5 mil and Moon/Parker's 3 mil. Sorry, I don't see getting many quality players for 6 mil of Moon and Parker.

It is for THAT reason that the Cavs must make a trade for SOMEONE. They need another quality player locked up long term. Amare fits that bill (whether he opts out or not) and is only two years older than LeBron.

For this year Amare is High Risk, because the Cavs can win the Title without him. But for the future, he is neccesary.

Bye JJ, its been fun.