I thought this was a good article that deserves its own thread.
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After you're done reading, check out the movie Moneyball (2011).
Let’s play a game: Should the Knicks trade Jeremy Lin? And if they did, what could they get?
Three days ago, that seemed like the world’s most preposterous question. Now, with Mike D’Antoni gone, and his replacement Mike Woodson already talking about replacing Lin in the starting lineup and building his offense around Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, it’s far from far-fetched. Of course, the NBA trade deadline just passed, so no deal could happen until the off-season.
Excuse me while I go put on my Nomex blazer. I got a lot of angry, but polite and thoughtful, feedback from irate Lin fans when I suggested that D’Antoni’s departure could spell bad news for Lin. So let me ask politely: don’t kill the messenger. Let’s take this thought experiment on its own terms and actually make a reasonable attempt at determining Lin’s trade value.
If you’ve got your own trade proposal, please add it to the comments below. If you think the mere thought of trading Lin is too ridiculous to even contemplate (0r even if you think it’s an awesome idea,) click on this poll.
So what is Lin worth? Let’s head straight to the stats. My friend John Hollinger creates NBA analytic stats and the most useful tool for this kind of comparison is Player Efficiency Rating. It tallies a player’s positive accomplishments such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, as well negative ones such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. It’s expressed on a per minute basis and adjusted for a team’s scoring pace, so that a player on a low-scoring team isn’t penalized. The league average is 15.
PER is a solid stat that does a good job of equating the contributions of players at different positions. According to PER, the top six players in the NBA are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili and Dwight Howard.
What does PER say about Lin?
* His PER is 20.37, which ranks him 34th overall in the NBA.
* The five players just ahead of him are Tim Duncan, Marcin Gornat, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Garnett, and Josh Smith.
* The five players just behind him are Pau Gasol, Andrea Bargnani, Ersan Ilyasova, David Lee and Drew Gooden.
*Lin is the highest ranking Knick, ahead of Tyson Chandler (50th), Carmelo Anthony (55th), Steve Novak (60th) and Amare Stoudemire (85th.)
*Lin ranks 10th among point guards, just behind Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, and Lou Williams and ahead of Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Brandon Jennings. Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook are the top three point guards according to PER.
Of course, Lin is a special case. He’s got a much smaller body of work than most of these players. You can look upon that as a positive—he can only improve. Or a negative—it’s just a small sample and teams will make defensive adjustments.
Lin is also a very attractive player from a salary cap point of view. He’s making around $613,000 this year, pro-rated for the shortened season. At the end of the season, he becomes a restricted free agent which means that the Knicks could secure him to a contract of $5 million (the team’s mid-level exception) or less before any potential trade. Lin also has a unique marketing appeal both in the U.S and internationally that increases his appeal.
Let’s look at some recent comps of actual trades. Golden State guard Monta Ellis, who ranks below Lin in PER Lin at 49th, was traded at the deadline for oft-injured center Andrew Bogut. On the low end, Cleveland’s young point guard, Ramon Sessions brought Laker veteran Derek Fisher.
Here are eight players who have either been on the block recently or otherwise provide an interesting trade pairing for Lin. I did not attempt to match salaries, which would need to be done under the NBA salary cap rules.
Would you trade Jeremy Lin for any of these eight players?
Rajon Rondo, Celtics (17.85 PER, 67th) The 26-year old Rondo was the subject of swirling trade rumors this week, the most notable being a deal for Pau Gasol.
Pau Gasol, Lakers: (20.18 PER, 35th) One of the keys to the Lakers championship teams, Gasol is skilled and versatile, but he’s also aging and expensive, which may be why he wasn’t dealt.
Andrew Bynum, Lakers: (22.29 PER, 14th) The Lakers were reluctant to trade Bynum, a favorite of owner Jerry Buss, in a deal for Dwight Howard. Bynum is young and has great potential, but is also injury prone.
Josh Smith, Hawks: (20.38 PER, 33rd) The eight-year veteran is reportedly disgruntled at the Hawks’ lack of progress toward real championship contention, and there were conflicting rumors about whether he demanded a trade
Chris Bosh, Heat: (18.65 PER, 58th) If the Heat fail to win the championship, they might be inclined to move 33.3% of their Big Three. One rumor had the high-paid Bosh going to Houston for Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry.
Stephen Curry: Golden State: (PER 21.52, 23rd) The Knicks coveted the sharp shooting Curry in the 2009 draft, and his name was mentioned in connection with a Rajon Rondo deal that didn’t get much traction.
Brandon Jennings: Milwaukee: (PER 18.84, 58th) With Monta Ellis now in Milwaukee, the Bucks might consider dealing Jennings, a shoot-first point guard very similar to Curry, Ellis’ backcourt mate with the Warriors. The Knicks passed on Jennings in that 2009 draft.
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves: (14.86 PER, 134th) Possibly the closest comp to Lin when off-court factors are considered, Rubio has a huge following in Spain, and has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief NBA career. A torn ACL ended his season prematurely, although he is expected to recover fully.
If you were the Knicks GM, what would teams have to give you to get Lin? Share your trade scenarios below.