Monday, November 3, 2008

Breaking down Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups

Why the Nuggets traded Allen Iverson

While it was an intriguing experiment the first season and a half, it became clear that the Nuggets were not going to contend for a championship with AI and Melo. With Iverson in a contract year at age 33, Denver decided the risk of signing Iverson long-term was not worth it, especially as they try to avoid the luxury tax.

Why the Nuggets acquired Chauncey Billups

Billups is a better fit on this team than Iverson. He is a pure PG and it should not surprise if Melo averages close to 30 points this year now that Iverson isn't taking his shots. He is also a sound defensive player, and his penchant for the big shot should remind us of Sam Cassell's Milwaukee days. No more Iverson means no more Anthony Carter in the starting lineup, which is music to Denver's ears. J.R. Smith should be a starter now, and his size and age are very ideal for what Denver is trying to accomplish.

There is also the issue of money. Billups is making only 11 million this year, compared to Iverson's 21. While Billups has 3 years and 36 million left on his contract after this year, it's probable that Iverson would have been commanding even more than that in free agency. Denver also almost certainly gets some additional luxury tax savings from buying out Antonio McDyess.

One final reason: while Iverson is a former regular season MVP, Billups is a former Finals MVP. His championship experience and playoff resume far exceed Iverson's. He's been part of a winning program and one has to hope he will pass on some of that to Melo. Lord knows Iverson did zilch for Melo's maturation (and may have even hindered it).

Why the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups

Joe Dumars is eager to rebuild this team, and Billups' four year contract was not aiding matters (though his 4th year is a team option that would almost certainly be declined). Dumars is not afraid to make moves in the best interest in the franchise, and Billups value was only going to go down from here. Assuming Iverson is a goner next season, Rodney Stuckey is officially the PG of the future in Detroit.

Why the Pistons acquired Allen Iverson

Iverson's expiring contract along will be a great asset to the team. Along with Sheed's expiring deal, the Pistons will be able to be players in Summer of LeBron as they'll get to make a pitch for their arch nemesis, as well as their original nemesis (Wade), although the player they end up with is likely to be the player they should have drafted in the first place in 2003 (Chris Bosh). On the plus side, Dumars didn't mortage this season either and the Pistons will at least have an interesting angle en route to their annual playoff collapse.

Biggest Winner

J.R. Smith
Smith is finally out of Iverson's shadow and he should be poised for a breakout season.
Smith averaged 23.0 pts per 36 minutes last season, compared to Iverson's 22.8, so he is more than ready to fill the scoring void. He isn't the playmaker Iverson is, but that's what Billups is for. One would hope that Billups forces Smith to go to the basket more since Billups will be mostly a long jump shooter and will continue to be one as he ages.

Biggest Loser

Jamaal Tinsley
So much for that trade to Denver, eh? I guess we know now why talks died weeks ago. This guy is officially screwed, as I can't imagine there being another team in the league willing to pick him up. With LeBron and co entering free agency in two years, never has a player picked a worse time to have a 3 year deal.

The Future of Denver

C: Nene (26) 3 years/31 million (or 4 years/43 million if he doesn't opt out)
PF: Martin (32) 3 years/47 million
SF: Anthony (24) 3 years/47 million
SG: Smith (23) 3 years/15 million
PG: Billups (32) 3 years/36 million

Denver has some huge commitments, but after the starting lineup nearly the entire team has an expiring contract or is working on a veteran's minimum contract.

I have to think this trade is the main reason Linas Kleiza didn't get the extension he was looking for a couple days ago. Kleiza may have to prove he belongs with this team, otherwise I have a feeling he could be dealt at the deadline.

The Future of Detroit

C: Wallace (34) 1 year/14 million
PF: Johnson (21) 2 years/7 million
SF: Prince (28) 3 years/30 million
SG: Hamilton (30) 4 years/44 million* (or 3 years/33 million)
PG: Iverson (33) 1 year/21 million

Maxiell (25) 5 years, 22 million (4 year/20 million extension recently signed)
Brown (26) 2 years/8 million
Stuckey (22) 3 years/6 million
Afflalo (23) 3 years/4 million

Other than Rip, the Pistons are a group of young, reasonably signed players. Stuckey will not be looking at a new contract until after the summer of 2010.

Speaking of Rip, he signed a contract extension shortly after the Iverson trade. I'm sure his conversation with Joe Dumars went something like this earlier today.

Rip: **** this I'm out.

Joe: How about an extension so you'll play good soldier?

Rip: Kay.

I thought it was interesting that Rip's extension came after the team picked up Iverson, you would think there wouldn't be any pressure to get a deal done with your former top scorer when you just picked up one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. I guess this was to show fans they are committed to NOT re-signing Allen Iverson unless he plays ridiculously well with Rip (and even then, it'd probably only be a one year deal). It gives Rip slightly more job security, but let's not forget Billups was not too far into his deal before getting the axe. I'm guessing Dumars felt that at age 30 Rip is still capable of two more Riplike seasons before he has to sell high on him.

Rip also could have opted out at the end of this year, and Detroit wants around to at least have the option of deciding he fits in with the new look Pistons when that time comes. I don't know how serious the talk is, but there's word Hamilton could become the sixth man in Detroit and let Stuckey start with Iverson. I think that's something we look at maybe two years from now when he's a bit older, but not when he's 30 years old and still in the prime of his career.


Anonymous said...

Great read.
What do you think JR Smith's ceiling is? Will he ever turn into a multiple all-star?

Rashidi said...

Not unless he becomes a serviceable defensive player and becomes more selfless on offense.

That would go a long way towards seperating him from the average gunner.

Depends on his conference too, as the west is so deep at the guard spot. CP3, Deron, and Roy are the young all-star guards, and let's not forget Kobe is only 30.

Btw, Smith is one of the reasons the age limit exists for the draft. He was taken something like 20th overall but if he entered the draft last year he would have been a top 10 pick. He is only 23 years old, compared to 22 year old Rodney Stuckey who is really overhyped despite not having shown very much by comparison.

When you think about it, Smith is only 3 years older than the much hyped Kevin Durant, who is also a black hole with defensive issues. The question is going to be whether Smith can take another step forward, as Durant will eventually grow as a player to the all-star status envisioned for him.

JohnDoe8865 said...

Where do you think AI ends up next season as a FA if he doesn't stick with Detroit?

Anonymous said...

Iverson is really underrated, when he has the opportunity to be a pure point, he is still better than all but 5-6 pgs in the league even "pure". Look what he did in the olympics, he got blamed but if you actually watched he was the only reason they kept it together enough to even when anything. I could also point out allstar games and the fact he has averaged 7+ assists plenty of times. Sure he is BETTER at sg doesn't mean he isn't a very good pg.

J.r. Smith has the tools (speed athleticism quick hands) to be a great defensive player, but his role model is Carmelo, who didn't play any D in college or even highschool so I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

nogster here...
great great read rashidi..i 100% agree with all you said..
just right on point.
this trade is good short term for denver as billups is a better fit for them, and carmello should be poised for a monster scoring season now he has an actual pg to play off. and im happy as i am a jr smith fantasy owner, so i couldnt be happier..
but its a great trade long term for the pistons..dumars shows his gm savvy again... A.I gets a shot to compete for a title with the pistons, and then he is off the either way its win win for detroit..they either win big with him, and keep him, or see him off and take his massive contract off the books. i say the latter is the plan, then they will hand stuckey the keys..
great trade detroit. great post rashidi.

Rashidi said...

The thing is with Iverson his form of setting up teammates is driving into the teeth of the defense and finding the open man.

It's a stark contrast from finding Rip Hamilton running off a double screen.

Iverson has also been an overrated defensive player for years. He doesn't bring much to that end other than his gambling.

One thing to like is they now have someone who can battle LeBron in the playoffs, as he should be able to exploit Mo and Boobie (hereafter known as "Moobie") in ways Billups wouldn't have been able to.

And I suppose that on paper, this team is significantly better than the one he took to the Finals back in 2001. Of course, Michael Curry is no Larry Brown.

Rashidi said...

As a FA, if AI leaves Detroit...

I'm guessing Philly is out of the question even though Andre Miller is a FA and they actually have players they couldn't surround him with (developed Iggy/Young/Dalembet/Lou plus Brand).

I think a real possibility is a Charlotte reunion with Larry Brown, as Raymond Felton is a FA and may not want to stick around with the season he's having. Jordan as the GM doesn't hurt either. Iverson/J-Rich/Crash/Okafor isn't a bad core at all.

Atlanta is a slight possibility as Bibby is a FA but I don't think he fits well with the core, plus they were too cheap to meet Josh Childress' or J-Smoove's demands, much less what AI would ask for.

J-Kidd is a FA and if the season is a flop you know Mark Cuban will try anything.

Orlando's PGs are so bad that Hedo Turkoglu does the majority of the ball handling. Turk is a FA. Maybe pick up Iverson via sign/trade or something and move Nelson for an actual PF, sliding Lewis back to the three.

The worlds best video game team (Houston) would love him over Rafer Alston and who knows, maybe he'd take the MLE to make it a big 4.

Out of those teams, Charlotte makes the most sense if he's gonna leave Detroit. If they succeed he'll likely stick around on maybe a two year contract.

The ball is ultimately in Detroit's court because teams won't be looking to shell out big money with Bron/Wade/Bosh on the horizon, so chances are it could be to a capped out contender via sign/trade.

Rashidi said...

Also, I definitely think it's lost in the shuffle that Allen Iverson just joined a team that has been to the Conference Finals every year since 2003. Forget LeBron, Iverson is a great matchup for Rajon Rondo and this could potentially push the Pistons over the Celtics in a playoff series.

Then again, I just can't get over the idea of Amir Johnson matching up with KG; Detroit needs McDyess back at all costs.