Analysis on the Jason Richardson and Boris Diaw/Raja Bell trade

There were two trades that went down in the NBA today. The Hornets, Wizards, and Grizzlies were involved in a trade. The impact of that trade is relatively minor so I will focus on the big trade that went down today. The trade was Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a 2nd round pick from Charlotte to Phoenix for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary.

Lets start off with Charlotte. I have no idea what they are doing with this trade. They give up their top scorer for two mediocre scorers in Diaw and Bell. Diaw is signed until the summer of 2011 and has an option for the 2011 and 2012 season. Bell is signed until the summer of 2010. So cap space was not the motivation. They couldn't even fake like they were going for Lebron because Diaw's 9 million is still on the books during the summer of 2010. The rotation of Richardson, Augustin, and Felton was working out really well for Larry Brown. It is a little surprising that they broke that rotation up. I expect the Bobcats to make Bell part of that 3-man rotation, but it will be with Bell playing a much smaller role than in Phoenix. The acquisition of Diaw makes a little more sense, and he will be the backup for Okafur. It bolster's Charlotte's size, but I can't justify giving up my top scorer for two role players that would fit in well with a championship calibur team. Clearly, Charlotte is nowhere near a championship, but they still took these two players on. It is at best, and I stress the word 'best', a linear move for the Bobcats.

For the Suns, this has continued the trend of good players moving West. Jason Richardson gives the Suns a chance to compete with the best teams in the West. The West is so good on paper, if you were to try and rank the teams without seeing them play, you could legitimately make a case for the top 6 teams in the West to be in multiple positions in the West. Jason Richardson averages 18.7 ppg and 4.1 rebs a game and has about 2 3-pointers a game. He is also a decent defender who will cause a lot of matchup problems for teams. He will be able to body up the the SG or SF on any team they play. That includes the Kobe's and Odom's, the T-Mac's and Artest's, and the Roy's and Outlaw's of the West. Not to mention the East's SG's and SF's. Shaq and Amare will provide good interior defense, and being able to have a 3-man rotation of Hill, Barnes, and Richardson provides a strong combination of defense and offense whenever any of the 3 are on the floor. It also gives them a tremendous amount of versatility in their offense. They have a strong inside presence in Shaq which allows Stoudamire more freedom, and putting gunners like Grant Hill, Richardson, and Barnes on the perimeter will stretch defenses thin. Throw in a penetrating pass-first point guard in Nash, and the Suns looks like a pretty good team.

Nash said that he was sad to see Raja Bell leave because Bell was Nash's best friend, but I don't think Nash will be disappointed with the player he is getting in return. The Suns are not in the cellar of the West anymore. The West has become ultra competitive. I am too young to make a claim that this is the strongest a conference has been, but I can't imagine that a conference in the past has surpassed the current Western Conference in talent by much. There is no doubt that as an NBA fan this has been one of the most exciting time periods to follow the league. The competition between the teams will ensure that teams will be fighting all season long for playoff seeding. This mitigates some arguments people make about the NBA season being too long, and the teams not caring. I think we can be safe in assuming teams will be fighting until June.



Paul Johnson said...

Ok, I tire of this.

Jason Richardson is a bad defender. Bad. Bad knees. Bad effort. Not good. Sure, he is tall. Great. Marvelous. Good shooter, pure scorer. Fabulous. But look, the Suns scoring issues are not the result of personnel issues. Its the hybrid Shaq-inside-outside-occasionally run and gun business Terry Porter is trying to run. Epic fail.

I think this is the calculation made by Charlotte- swingmen that can score are a dime a dozen. Bigger players and great on the ball defenders are rare. The risk for them is that Diaw is a very inconsistent player. But they need more frontcourt depth because Shawn May cannot stay healthy. They don't really lose any wing depth- Raja can shoot the three and is a much better defender than Richardson. This is particularly necessary given that neither Augustin nor Felton has the size to match up with bigger guards, necessitating that at least one wing defender be really great. In their offense, they already have an athletic swingman. Richardson isn't that much better at shooting 3's than Bell.

I actually like this deal more for Charlotte. Yea, I said it.

Anonymous said...

The door is closing on Phoenix. They traded for someone that will put them in immediate contention for the championship. Great deal for Phoenix. Nothing more needs to be said.