For those of you who don’t want to read another post about the Jeff Green trade (and I promise, I didn’t want to re-visit this), the Celtics are one of a handful of teams interested in signing Corey Brewer. Brewer is reportedly speaking to a number of coaches today, and will make his decision after those conversations. If you do want some more Green trade talk, read on.
If you want to support the Jeff Green/Nenad Krstic trade, I’m okay with that. Really, I am. I may not agree with you, but if you apply reasoning to your argument I won’t at all want to hit you over the head with a 2×4. I’ve even gotten over the trade’s initial shock, and have started talking myself into the Nenad Krstic era. I’m a Celtics fan, and thus I have no choice. But please, if you’re making the argument that the Celtics won the trade — and especially if you’re getting paid to make the argument, by a respected establishment such as the Boston Herald — use strong facts to support your opinion.
Gerry Callahan supported the trade today (Boston Herald). Here was his argument:
- Jeff Green was the best player in the trade. No explanation. He just is.
- Actually, there was an explanation. It was just a crock of shit.
- “He’s a good defender.” — Umm, no. According to Zach Lowe, Green’s “presence on the court has consistently turned the Thunder into a porous defensive team. When he’s on the bench, the Thunder are pretty stingy. When he’s on the floor, they’re the Raptors.” And Lowe’s right. The Thunder were six points better when Green was on the bench.
- “He’s averaging 15 points per game this season.” — Great. Does he do it efficiently? Or does he do it while compiling a below-league average PER and an efficiency rating which ranks him between Chuck Hayes and Baron Davis? Hint: it’s the latter.
- “For his career, Perkins averages 6.1 boards a game. Green, the swingman, pulls down 5.7.” — Callahan conveniently forgot to add that Perkins pulled down those 6.1 boards in 22.3 minutes per game, while Green pulled down his rebounds in 34.4 minutes per game. This season, Perkins has rebounded 19.1% of all misses. Green has rebounded 8.9% of all misses. In other words, Perkins is approximately twice the rebounder Green is, and has been for Green’s entire career.
- “Dwight Howard might be glad to see Perkins go west, but the Celtics looked around the East and here’s what they saw: a lot more 2-guards and small forwards who presented matchup problems than centers.” — A valid point, perhaps. As the theory goes, the Celtics aren’t worried about Dwight Howard, because his teammates are all struggling. They aren’t worried about Zydrunas Ilgauskas, for obvious reasons. They aren’t worried about Joakim Noah, because he’s not a true scoring threat. They are worried about Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, but who says the Lakers even make the championship? They’re worried about Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Luol Deng. Which would make sense… if Green could defend any of those players. All evidence says he can’t. At every position Green has played this season, his opponents have a better PER than Green. That’s not ideal, folks. Also, this Callahan point neglects to mention how the Celtics stockpiled big men this offseason, presumably because they felt size was the blueprint for winning.
- Callahan admires how Ainge has no heart. He means that Ainge makes trades purely for basketball reasons, and nothing else. That’s true. “He could have traded Perkins for Rickey Green or Shecky Greene or Mr. Green Jeans, and I probably would have applauded because he would have done it for the right reason,” wrote Callahan. I hope that part’s not true, although Mr. Green Jeans might be a better rebounder than Jeff Green.
- “Together, Shaquille O’Neal, ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Nenad Krstic can fill the void left by Perkins.” — Not even a disclaimer about Shaq’s fragile health? Alrighty, then. Or a sentence describing how Krstic will help? Fair enough.
- “The Celtics are a better team today than they were a week ago, and once they wipe away the tears, even Perkins’ old teammates will see it.” — But why, Callahan? For a bunch of cockamamie reasons you provided to sing Jeff Green’s praises? Because the Celtics now rely on Shaquille O’Neal as a starting center, despite his paper-mache body? Because Krstic can fill in admirably, even though Callahan only mentioned Krstic’s name once and did not point out a single way he can help? Again, I’m okay with saying the Celtics won the trade. Just make a decent argument, please.
I still don’t love the Perkins trade. I just feel the C’s gave up too much size, which had been their calling card and becomes even more important in the playoffs. But I can see why people are excited about adding Jeff Green, a first-round pick and Nenad Krstic (a serviceable center who’s certainly more offensively inclined than Perk). I can also see why people are excited about using Luke Harangody’s roster spot to add Troy Murphy, even if A) the C’s could have added Murphy while keeping Perk, and B) Murphy does not at all replace the type of size and toughness Perk provided, though I understand Murphy does other things Perk never could.
But to all those writers out there who support the Jeff Green trade, and especially those making money from a reputable newspaper, just support yourself with reasons that actually make sense. Tell me Green’s versatility off the bench will allow Doc Rivers to experiment with new lineups, and that Green gives the Celtics much-needed athleticism. Tell me you believe Green could thrive in a new role, perhaps because he normally defends small forwards better than power forwards. Tell me Boston’s system will help make him a better defender.
Tell me Nenad Krstic is better than people gave him credit for, or (and I’d disagree with this, but still) that his offensive advantages over Perk nullify his defensive shortcomings. Tell me Krstic is actually a smart and willing defender, even if he doesn’t have the pure size or strength to limit Dwight Howard all by himself. Tell me that the first-round pick the Celtics acquired in the trade will help in the future. Tell me Krstic’s contract comes off the books this season, which is nice. Tell me getting rid of Nate Robinson was awesome.
But don’t tell me the Celtics won this trade because “Jeff Green averages 15 points per game,” or because, “for his career, Green, a swingman, averages almost as many rebounds as Perkins.” Using those points to support your claim don’t provide any real analysis. In fact, Gerry Callahan, those points only serve to make you look ignorant.
UPDATE: Jackie MacMullan also takes the pro-trade argument, except she does such a better job than Callahan.