Evaluating the Marcus Camby trade

My cousin and I were talking about the recent trade and have come up with the following conclusion. Denver is screwed and the Clippers are going to make the playoffs next year. What are the Nuggets thinking? They just happened to be on the better end of the tightest Western Conference in the modern era and they give away the one player who can give them some sort of defensive presence because they did not want to pay luxury tax. Nugget fans, that is a classic example of a team managing by the plus and minus of the accounting ledger instead of with a commitment to the W/L column. How ironic that the Nuggets trade Camby to a team that is notorious for a front office that has not pulled the trigger on a deal because Donald Sterling didn't want to cut those checks. Clippers fans, things just got a whole lot brighter. Yeah, there is no Elton Brand, but Camby is not half bad and it works out well for the Clips and here is why. (Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby left)

For starters, the Clippers have had some of the absolute worse drafting in basketball, and I would say worst, but we all know that Minnesota is the winner of that one. The Clippers give up a second round pick that would have been a complete waste of a pick anyway. It would be one of those picks where management finds out they are on the clock, throw a bunch of pieces of paper with names on them and Donald Sterling and Elgin Baylor throw darts at the pieces of paper and see what name they hit. Don't believe that is how they draft? How about their draft records of Yaoslav Korolev, Melvin Ely, and Michael Olowokandi, the player who is in those drunken NBA debates about who was the worst #1 pick of all time, Kwame Brown or Kandi man? The Clippers could have given up a first round pick and this deal would have been heavily in the Clippers favor. Bottom line is, Clippers got great value for giving up nothing. The LA teams are stealing...errr...I mean, trading really well!

The Clippers shouldn't be too disappointed for losing Brand. I am a firm believer in a player doing what is best for himself. I can sympathize with Brand (or maybe it was David Falk) with his decision to go to Philly. The guy has a devastating Achilles injury and no one knows how he is going to come back and play. I see Clipper fans rolling their eyes, but would you really want to invest $80 million+ in a guy who hasn't played in a season and might not be up to where he was? If he came back and couldn't produce like he used to, it would tie up finances for a long time. Err on the side of caution and move in a different direction. Camby is a one year rental, and if you are Mike Dunleavy that is something you can easily work with.

Lets just think about if Brand came back, the Clippers don't have the cap room to sign Camby, and Kaman becomes less productive. Obviously a healthy Brand > Camby, but Kaman needs the ball to produce. Kaman averaged 15.7 ppg this past season compared to the 06'-07' season where he averaged 10.1 ppg and increased his field goal percentage to 48% from 45%. Clear proof that he needs the ball to be effective. This is clearly a plus on Kaman's end.

Camby is an excellent complementary player next to Kaman. He was slow on the weak side rotation, but he played on the Nuggets. There was a reason he was a defensive player of the year and why he was such a coveted asset when he played for the Raptors and Knicks. I expect Camby to help Al Thornton grow and having a promising player like Thornton as your backup is something I'm sure Mike Dunleavy likes to see when looking down the bench. Camby can play the 4. I would not be surprised if Dunleavy used Camby as the 5 and put Thornton in at the 4 and tried to play some small ball that B.Davis is used to. It makes the options very problematic. Two seven footers in the front make it a pretty tough matchup for a lot of teams. Camby can play outside more instead of having to matchup down low like he had to do in Denver. It will leave him to shoot the 15-18 ft jumpshots that he loves and leave Kaman a lot of room down low to do what he does best, posting up. Camby doesn't need the ball to score, he will find his way. If Camby isn't spotting up for a mid-range jumper, he is crashing the boards for an offensive rebound. Defensively, both Camby and Kaman will be great. The mere presence of both in the lane will be enough to discourage opposing guards from driving in the lane and make it tougher for opposing bigs to just power the ball inside. Mike Dunleavy is going to be a very happy coach with a lot of options.

If you are worried about Camby's 9.1 ppg not being enough. Al Thornton averaged around 18 points in the last month of the season and will get his reps in the summer league and be ready to continue that upward trend into the 08'-09' season. To add to all of this, if Eric Gordon can be an effective scorer, it will lighten the load even more for Camby and he can focus on the defensive end. The Clippers losing Maggette was the biggest blow to their rotation. It is hard to find a player right now who can match Maggette's contribution, but it isn't devastating. The Clippers are coming out next year as a clear playoff contender. If they live up to expectations they should be the team that replaces the Nuggets in the playoff seeds. The Nuggets hurt themselves from that perspective too. They fueled a Clipper team that is desperately trying to make moves, and when the Clipper faithful thought it would be a long shot, the Nuggets said, "Here, take our 8th spot."

And the Western Conference arms race continues...


Picture Sources: nba.com Getty Images (first), hoopsvibe.com (second), nba.com (third), daylife.com (fourth)

No comments: