January 27, 2006

Minnesota No Longer Wally's World

I don’t even know where to begin. Trade speculation involving Wally Szczerbiak is nothing new, but I guess I just didn’t actually think the Wolves would pull the trigger. I’m excited that the Wolves finally made a move to shake up the team, because honestly, the squad we had out there was not going anywhere but home early. Will that change now? It’s hard to say. The trade doesn’t really make the Wolves better. They lose Wally’s shooting and Kandi’s lack of effort, but they get Ricky’s defense and explosiveness, and Blount’s rebound ineptness.

I see this trade in three parts. It’s the only way, for me, that I can break it down and judge it. So let’s go!

Michael Olowokandi for Mark Blount

One bad egg for another. Kandi doesn’t try, he’s a failure, and he’s stupid. He’s one of the worst 1st overall picks the NBA has seen in the last 10 years. He’s too inconsistent to be a contributor on any team. In Mark Blount we get a better scorer, but a guy who loves to give the ball to the other team and is a worse rebounder than Spudd Webb – well okay, he’s not that bad. This is really just a swap of two guys who aren’t working on their respective teams. I personally think anything to get rid of Kandi is a good thing, although in Blount we take on 4 years and $28 million, which isn’t great, but it could’ve been worse.

Wally Szczerbiak for Ricky Davis

Good players having great seasons, changing places just to shake things up. Wally is arguably the best pure shooting in the NBA right now. He’s again in an exclusive club, being one of the only players in the league who shoots 50% from the field, 40% from 3’s, and 80% from the charity stripe. He’s improved his defense and his ability to create his own shot, but both are still weaknesses. In Ricky Davis we get both of those things. He’s a very good wing defender, averaging over 1spg, and he loves to penetrate. He’s a good shooter, but not nearly as reliable as Wally, but then again who is? The one thing Davis does that Wally doesn’t is make plays. Ricky is a good passer who likes making plays (5.3apg). His playmaking should allow Marko to get open shots when he’s not handling the ball.

Dwayne Jones and a 1st Round pick for Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, and two second rounders

This is where this deal gets a little dicey. I like Banks and Reed looks to be a young athlete with some upside, but losing the first round draft pick is tough to handle. We gave up a pick to get Kandi and we sent another pick to the Clippers for Marko. Now we’ve given another one away. For a team that hasn’t had any draft picks over the past 5 years, it’s hard to swallow giving another one up. What upsets me more is that we took two second rounders. We haven’t made a good second round pick since Doug West, and that was in 1989. We’ve never been a great drafting team and we’ve been especially bad in the second round. I think Marcus Banks will prove to be a good point guard, assuming he doesn’t go JR Rider on us. Justin Reed is a toss up, he’s not a good outside shooter having spent most of his college career in the post. He’s tough, he works hard, and he’s got a lot of energy. That’s assuming he ever sees the court.

Overall, I like the trade. I hate to see Wally go, but I’m more excited to see Ricky Davis in blue and white. He’ll ghetto it up a little bit, ala Spree from two years ago, and he’ll give KG another energy guy who likes to make exciting plays. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re done dealing, because it seems like they have a lot of moveable pieces, but who knows, we’ll see. Oh, and I almost forgot the Skita trade. We got lucky and got a 2nd round pick for his bench-warming ass.

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