Thursday, February 24, 2005

C-Webb. C-Webb Run. C-Webb Jump.

What, you thought I was gonna talk about Kwame Brown’s triumphant return to the court? C’mon now. Obviously, the big story today (so far) is Chris Webber’s trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. What does this mean for C-Webb? How about the other Kings and Sixers? Here are the folks who are most affected by the trade:

Chris Webber, PF – I keep going back and forth on this one. First, the biggest negative is that his assists will likely suffer. I know he’s a great passer for a big man, but assists are a lot easier to rack up when you’re kicking out to Peja (44.3 FG%) and Bibby (46.6 FG%) than when you’re dishing to Willie Green (36.6%), Iverson (41.6%) and Korver (41.7%). But with him and AI the real focus of the offense (presumably), you’d have to think that he’d get more shots, and improve his points, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, in Sacramento, despite being surrounded by scorers, he still shot the ball 19.9 times a game this year, good for 6th in the league. Don’t look for that number to increase much.

Of course, one thing this doesn’t change for Webber is his knee problems. He’s still a major injury risk. He’s probably not too happy about this move, either, which doesn’t bode well for his last third or the year. All in all, I’d say a slight dip in assists, and maybe a slight dip in FG% are in the works. But a lot is going to depend on if Philly continues the AI-dominated offense. But we’ll get to that next.

Allen Iverson, G – While we haven’t talked about him much this year, AI has been absolutely incredible. No big blowups with anyone, a new position that he’s handled incredibly well, and playing his heart out for a meddling Atlantic division team, AI has been amazing this year. His points (29.6) are his highest since ‘01-02, his FG% (.416) is his best since ‘00-01, his assists (7.6) and FT% (.817) are his highest ever. Now, enter a creaky-kneed, temperamental PF who will take nearly 20 shots a game. A couple years ago, I’d say that this could be a disaster, but now that AI is showing some newfound maturity and a great attitude, I’m a little excited about the possibilities. Look for a slight uptick in assists, and maybe even FG% for AI.

The rest of the Sixers – You know that old joke: "This is an A-B conversation – you’re C." Well, this is now an A-B basketball team, and the rest of the team is just C through, um, L, I guess. Sure other players on the squad will have some value – Korver will still get his fair share of 3’s, Andre Iguodala should maintain his steals numbers – but no one will really be gaining any value, at least immediately. The one possibility of someone gaining value would be if Coach Jim O’Brien decides that he likes the athletic defense of Samuel Dalembert complimenting Webber better than Marc Jackson. If Dalembert starts seeing over 30 mpg, he’ll gain a ton of value.

Peja Stojakovic – Get outta here, Webber! Peja might be the biggest beneficiary of this deal, if he can get himself healthy. His numbers have fallen pretty much across the board this year now that Webber’s back playing, but now he can again become a focal point on the offense. The injury is going to be a major question mark, however. In fact, we might even recommending selling high on Peja right now – somebody in your league is going to think he’ll return to last year’s numbers now, but considering all the games he’s missed already, combined with some true stinkers (9 pts vs. Dallas on 2/11, 6 vs. Portland on 1/18), I can’t see him returning to last year’s form.

Brad Miller, Mike Bibby, Cuttino Mobley – Until Peja returns, this is their show. All three should post very high numbers in points and assists. Once Peja does in fact return, they should be back to about normal, though. Miller stands to gain the most probably, as he’ll be counted on for pretty much all of the inside presence. Bibby and Mobley will be counted on to score a little more, and that should suit their owners fine. But there are no wild swings in value here.

On a strictly basketball level, I love this deal for the Sixers. They are taking a big risk with Webber’s contract, but they know their window is closing with AI. He’s only 29, but his body is breaking down all over with all the banging he gets. Should Shaq actually miss a lot of time, the East is totally wide open, which might not be the case for another 5 or 10 years as the Pacers, Heat, Pistons, Wizards, Bulls and others are only getting stronger.

For the Kings, though, watch out. This is the beginning of the end. Petrie knew he wasn’t going win any championships with a team that peaked 2 or 3 years ago, so they’re going to start over. This was the first piece to fall. Peja will be gone after his contract expires, and they’ll be left with a core of Bibby, Mobley and Miller. They could do worse, but they won’t be a top-flight team again for awhile.


Post a Comment

<< Home