Every Monday during the NBA season The Hoops Manifesto and its Bloguin bredren team up to answer some of the burning questions from the world of the NBA. In this edition we critique the trade deadline moves, comment on superstars teaming up for a ring and determine whether Dennis Rodman is Hall of Fame worthy.
1) Of all the trades that have gone down in the past week, which team(s) do you think made the best move(s) and which team(s) made the biggest trade blunder(s)?
“I’ve already written about what a blunder I feel the Celtics made by trading away Perkins, so no sense beating that dead horse. The best move I believe, surprisingly, was done by Denver. They had no bargaining power whatsoever in the Carmelo Anthony trade – everyone knew he wanted to be traded and they knew there were only one or two teams he was willing to play for – yet the Nuggets still were able to get plenty of value in return from the Knicks.” – Jeff Fox
“Sam Presti, as always, did a great job at the deadline. It’s been clear for some time that Jeff Green, while a nice young player, isn’t going to cut it at the four and they really needed a good defensive-minded big to help them get beyond the first round, and you can’t do much better than Kendrick Perkins. While we saw Jeff Green get abused by Tim Duncan, we’ve seen Perk frustrate Duncan countless times. They also shored up their frontcourt with the acquisition of Nazr Mohammed. As for trade blunders. What was Daryl Morey thinking? Was it bring your kid to work day and he let his son run the phones for him because Morey is one of the more respected GMs and I can’t imagine why he’d trade one of the better perimeter defenders in the league for a draft bust in Hasheem Thabeet. His second act was trading the All-Star caliber Aaron Brooks for Goran Dragic. Trust me, it was more tragic than Dragic. His team wasn’t going to make much noise anyway, but now they aren’t even an afterthought. Brooks was a nice foundation that they could build on and it looks like they are just scrapping it and starting over.” – Michael De Leon
“The team that unquestionably made the best move was the Utah Jazz. Instead of falling where the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and the Phoenix Suns are now – losing a star player for nothing – or falling where the Denver Nuggets currently reside – having demolished a season with drama – the Jazz traded Deron Williams right after reports came out that he may leave in 2012 when he becomes a free agent. The Jazz now have something to build for the future. Utah has a nice, young point guard in Devin Harris, a young stud with a lot of potential in Derrick Favors and draft picks to build around. Utah has been one of the most stable franchises in professional sports. They may still be able to hold that title with a quick turnaround. The Boston Celtics made the worst trade. The move is strikingly reminiscent of the Orlando Magic’s trade earlier this season. In both deals, size and defense in the post was sacrificed for perimeter offensive firepower. This trade reflects a move to counter the Miami Heat’s superior perimeter players. But in this move, the Celtics nullified their advantage against Miami of better post play. If the Celtics face a team with size like the Lakers or Spurs in the Finals, can they really rely on Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal at this stage in their careers.” – Diego Quezada
“I really like the move Oklahoma City made in acquiring Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder pretty much said they are prepared to go for the win this year with the team they have and teach their young stars what it takes to win in the playoffs. I have no doubt Perkins is going to increase their level of defensive play (if he gets healthy). Similarly, I don’t like the Celtics move for this year. Boston gave up a big part of their defense and post presence in trading away Perkins. That is going to come back to haunt them in the postseason.” – Philip
2) Are you a fan on the recent trend of “superstars” joining forces on the same team in pursuit of a ring?
“I don’t like it myself, especially when it comes to fruition due to a player forcing his way out of town. When it happens more organically – like with the Celtics “Big Three” – it is easier to stomach, but still not preferred. Players seem to feel that the destination (winning a championship) is more important than the journey (failing and struggling before they win a title). A championship ring doesn’t make a player great, rather HOW they got the ring defines their career. Winning one as “the man” on a team means far more than winning one with a star-studded, stacked team, especially if the star went about constructing the team himself through less than honourable means.” – Jeff Fox
“No and I think it’s ruining the game. Back in the day, if you and your supporting cast weren’t good enough then you needed to try harder or your GM needed to get some talent around you. But joining forces to try to take a shortcut to a ring is just ridiculous. And as a player, I would always have that in my psyche, that I couldn’t get it done without having to join together and make some super team. If you look at some of the most dominant championship teams, they didn’t have more than one superstar with maybe a sidekick and a good mix of role players, and if it was good back then, then I think it’s good enough to win now. It looks like Carmelo Anthony tried to take a shortcut this week, when he was probably in a better position to win with the Nuggets. The Nuggets had one of the better starting fives in the league, had a reliable point guard, one of the best frontcourt tandems in the league and good mix of role players that made up one of the deepest benches in the league. His previous team was a pretty good defensive team, and putting Anthony and Amar’e on the same team is putting two defensive liabilities together, and you need defense to win championships. Ask LA, Boston, San Antonio and Chicago.” – Michael De Leon
“Yeah, O.K. This is a trend? Even when Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Gary Payton and Jason Kidd all recently pushed their way for (seemingly) better situations? If you want to go even farther back, Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have also done it. And yet now, this is a sudden trend that is destroying the NBA? Please. Kevin Durant will stay in Oklahoma City. Why? Because the Thunder made the right moves, stockpiling young talent. Tim Duncan stayed in San Antonio for the same reason. A small market team can keep superstar players if it makes the right moves.” – Diego Quezada
“It is an interesting dichotomy. We all want our players and superstars to do whatever it takes to win, yet we see joining up with other superstars as a cop out or taking the easy way out. In a way it is, and in a way it is not. I do not know how to feel about it. If guys were traded together (like Boston), people do not really complain. It is when they move in free agency that problems arise. I do not know how to feel about it. It still takes a team to win a title.” – Philip
3) Dennis Rodman is one of this year’s finalists for induction into the Hall of Fame – should he get in the Hall?
“Abso-lutely – and it’s about time. I’ve long been championing Dennis Rodman getting into the Hall of Fame. We are constantly told how important defense and rebounding are, yet it’s one-dimensional scorers who get the accolades, the money and, often, election into the Hall of Fame. It’s about time someone like Rodman gets in.” – Jeff Fox
“When Dennis wasn’t busy being a malcontent and drawing all the wrong kinds of attention to him and his team, he was one of the best power forwards in the game. I didn’t like him much because he decided to trash David Robinson and the Spurs team when he left, but let’s be honest, the man was a beast. His rebounding numbers are off the charts and he led the NBA in rebounding for seven consecutive seasons. However, he was a bit one-dimensional, and someone like Artis Gilmore, who has been passed over again and again, was more of a complete player and put up better overall numbers. So I think Rodman should make it in, but if I had my way, Gilmore would have made it in before him.” – Michael De Leon
“My criteria for choosing Hall of Fame people is that if I have to think about it, then the player shouldn’t be in. Dennis Rodman deserves to be in, no doubt. Throw out any statistics and accolades this player has earned. He could defend any position on the court with the same intensity and skill. Rodman is one of the best defensive players to ever walk this planet. He may have been mediocre on the offensive end, but there are a lot of people in the Hall of Fame who were spectacular offensively and mediocre defensively.” – Diego Quezada
“I am very glad Rodman got on the ballot. I am a big defender of Rodman’s career. But now that he is on the doorstep, I find it difficult to legitimize how one-dimensional his game was. I think Rodman was one of the best rebounders of our generation and certainly of all-time. But he gave you so little on the offensive end, that it makes you think again about his credentials.” – Philip
4) Game of the Week – pick the winner – Tues, Mar 1st – New York @ Orlando
Record so far: 7-7
Consensus: Orlando (unanimous)