Thursday, November 18, 2004

A 'sweet' deal?

Oh lord, I really need to work on my headline writing.

As was reported in the Trib this morning (and bantered about in the comments of my previous post...I love when people leave comments!), Knicks GM Isiah Thomas has gone against earlier stances of his by admitting he'd now be willing to throw in PF Michael Sweetney in a proposed Eddy Curry deal. Sweetney is basically the only good young prospect the Knicks have, so I'm sure Bulls GM John Paxson was laughing at any other trash-combo that Isiah threw together previously for Curry.

Sweetney is kind of undersized and underappreciated around the league, but Knicks fans in the know really like him. Looking at his advanced statistics last year compared to Curry, you can see why:

Player Age G MPG FG% FT% P/40 R/40 A/40 PSA AST TO USG REB PER D-PER
Curry 22 73 29.5 0.496 0.671 19.9 8.4 1.3 1.08 5.5 14.3 20.4 12 14.78 1.1
Sweetney 22 42 11.8 0.493 0.724 14.5 12.7 1.1 1.09 6.6 15.1 15.4 18.2 17.13 2.22

All stats from John Hollinger's 2004-05 Pro Basketball Forecast.
PSA  - pts. per shot attempt (tops - B. Barry, 1.34)
AST - assist ratio (Damon Jones - 42.1)
REB - rebound rate (Fortson - 21.9)
USG - Usage rate (Iverson - 34.5)
PER - Player Efficiency rating (15.00 is an average starter)
D-PER - Defensive PER (which I haven't looked at much to be honest, and don't really trust yet)

Get the book, it'll explain everything a lot better! (and who else heard Kenny Smith at halftime talking about difference in number of possesions? Getting analytical on us Kenny, I like it)

These two are very comparable players since they have the same age and playing style, and these stats show some stark differences. Sweetney is the far better rebounder, and (from what I've read) also a better defender. He still needs to work on taking care of the ball, for if you're anywhere near Curry in those categories you need help. And probably doesn't have the post moves (or move) that Curry has, which accounts for Curry's higher usage rate.

I even tried to look at Sweetney subjectively tonight since they were on TNT, and at least saw that Sweetney wasn't half-retarded, which is a what I think the standard barometer should be when evaluating a Bull prospect from now on. Didn't get to see much of him, but noticed that for the most part he does look like he knows what he's doing, and the stats above seem to verify it too. Some other observations included seeing former Bull Jamal Crawford have a pretty good day, culminating in a bank-in three to win it, and ensuring that I'll get to hear a few "WHY DID WE TRADE CRAWFORD?!?!?!" calls to the radio tomorrow morning. 

Another observation was laughing at the Knicks' awful help defense. Curry won't help there, but sometimes Isiah sees something shiny around the league and must have it. After my initial look at Sweetney (and I would really like to hear a Knicks' fan's perspective) , I'm starting to hope that Isiah gets his man.  

This could all be Sam Smith-esque fantasy rumors. But it would be ironic if the Bulls traded Curry for Sweentey after they traded Elton Brand  4 years ago to facilitate Curry's arrival, when Sweetney basically maxes out as Elton Brand. But at this point getting that kind of talent for Curry would be pretty good.