Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Inauspicious Offseason

Supposedly the reason NBA owners locked out players for all of last year's preseason and a quarter of the regular season was because owners were sick of paying under-performing players in a sport/ country/ global economy of declining revenue. So it seems odd that the very transactions that seemed to spur the lockout are occurring again less than seven months after it ended.

Take Joe Johnson to the Nets. The idea was that Johnson would keep Deron Williams (check) and attract Dwight Howard. With yesterday's signing of Brook Lopez the earliest the Nets could acquire Howard now is January 15. In other words, the Nets have essentially kept their roster intact and added a 31 year old two-guard, whom save for a slight uptick during the lockout season, has been exhibiting declining production while entering the fourth year of a $120 million contract (grant it, the Hawks, not the Nets, offered Johnson the contract).

The Nets however are an exception with respect to spending because their owner Mikhail Prokhorov is post-Communist-country-collapse-I-got-in-on-unregulated-previously-state-run-and-controlled-industries rich, which in comparison to wealth one accumulates from inventing the iPhone is like the difference between iPhone-inventor rich and cool Paleo app-inventor rich. So while money is of little consequence to the Nets, reckless spending does have a collateral effect on the rest of the league as other free agents have grounds to demand excessive compensation, which . . .

Explains Ryan Anderson getting $36 million over four year in a sign and trade with the league-owned Hornets. Here's the thing with Ryan Anderson--he's an awesome fantasy basketball player because he shoots like 8 threes a game and at 6'10" can't help but have 8 or so uncontested defensive rebounds bounce his way. In real life, Anderson is a good* NBA player. The asterisk is because his success is predicated on him being on the court with another player that demands double teams (Dwight Howard), which allows Anderson to reverse-cherry pick at the three point line and loaf around until he gets his baker's dozen wide open looks. On the other side of the court Anderson needs a teammate to fulfill a role that only Dwight Howard can--guard multiple big men--to accommodate for Anderson's passive resistance to defensive confrontation.  

In New Orleans, the other offensive threats will be 19 year old rookies and maybe Eric Gordon, which means Anderson will have to find a way to create his own shot. This is fine in theory but much like when the Jazz asked for more than long-distance hoisting from Mehmet Okur, execution proved to be where the challenge laid. In the end, those more penurious owners will continue to gripe as they and their colleagues pay based on past performance and ignore the circumstances that allow a player like Ryan Anderson to go for 16 and 8 in the regular season but have a PER that places him as being worth about half the average player in the playoffs (which, likely incoincidentally was when the Magic were without Dwight Howard).


  1. Yea man I was real suspicious of the offseason too.

  2. man fuck eric gordon real talk