Wednesday, January 14

The J-Rich Trade: A Look Back

It’s been just over a month since the Bobcats shipped Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a second round pick to the Suns for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary. Almost immediately, the Bobcats were being slammed by the pundits, with statements like these:

In terms of how everyone is playing right now, and how much money they make, you could make the case that of the six assets changing hands -- Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, a 2010 Charlotte second-round pick, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Sean Singletary -- the Suns got the three best. – Henry Abbott, ESPN’s True Hoop
Phoenix Suns GM Steve Kerr has faced a lot of questions during his short stewardship of the Suns, but the only question to ask after Wednesday's trade with Charlotte is whether he was wearing a ski mask.

This is the danger when you hire Larry -- that he'll almost immediately want to trade everyone on his roster and that the people in charge won't have enough spine or clout to wave off his requests. Clearly, the Bobcats don't qualify on the latter point. – ESPN’s John Hollinger
What a difference a month makes. There is little debate that this trade has been a success for the Queen City Cats. The team is playing .500 ball since the trade, much better than the 7-16 to start the year. All of the progress can not be attributed to the trade, but the additions have provided a tremendous lift to the team. Even with Raja suffering a strained groin and getting off to a slow start, he and Diaw have been instrumental in the recent (modest) success.

The team gave up a tremendous 3-point shooter/mediocre defender that seldom created for others. His preference to be a spot up shooter makes him a perfect fit for the defenseless Suns, but his impact on his teammates has been nowhere as palpable as the incoming duo. Both incoming starters have averaged more assists per game since the trade than Richardson and Diaw’s ability to pass from both the high post and internally have freed Emeka of ball handling and helped him produce at a higher level. The addition of a power forward capable of guarding both on the block and the perimeter has been a welcome addition and again helped Mek avoid foul trouble. The common question with J-Rich’s departure was where would the points come from, but Mek’s increased production along with the addition of Boris have almost completely covered the missing scoring and are doing so at a higher field goal percentage.

Raja’s defense has helped to shore up a shaky perimeter defense and after shooting miserably in his first four games with the team, he’s shooting just a shade under fifty percent from the field. Bell is not the scorer that Richardson is, but he’s more productive in almost every other facet of the game. Bell was instrumental in handcuffing Thunder rookie OJ Mayo, holding him to seven points and ending his double digit scoring streak at 25, just a day after Richardson and the Suns got lit up by Portland’s Brandon Roy for 52 points. One game doesn’t make the case, but it is symbolic of what the organization was thinking when they pulled the trigger on this trade.

The best part for the Bobcats is that Diaw’s numbers are not aberrations as some have suggested. His per 36 minute averages are actually below some of his past seasons. The pace of play plays a role, but there is little reason to think he cannot continue to play at this level. Boris excelled when given the chance to start in Phoenix and he’s doing it once again in Charlotte. The team has made him an integral part of the offense, a role that he relishes and thrives in. As team chemistry grows, his assist numbers should see a bump as his turnovers see a dip. It’s only been one month, but unlike the pundits, the Bobcats and their fans aren’t asking for a mulligan.

Phoenix Suns forum taking a look back, but without the consensus.
In fairness to the talking heads, here's my reaction the day after.

1 comment:

K-Man said...

Don't forget the DUI for Richardson almost right after he was traded... HA HA HA