Q: How about this: Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic for Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza? The Wolves need a shooting guard. Pek is playing out of his mind. Williams still has the reputation value of a #2 pick. Gordon is pissed about being traded to New Orleans and has only played 2 games this year, with a “knee contusion” that wasn’t really a contusion. He’s probably not even injured. Trade machine says it’d be legal. Why don’t both teams help themselves and do this deal?
– Andy G
Patrick J: I’m a big Eric Gordon fan, but if the Wolves traded for Gordon, wouldn’t they be unduly inviting future problems with David Stern? I mean, Gordon’s boycott has gone on long enough that Stern would be happy to trade him.
That said, you know (1) Stern wouldn’t trade the centerpiece of The Chris Paul Trade for Derrick Williams, and (2) he’s going to punish Gordon at every opportunity for the rest of his career. Does Gordon know who he’s messing with? Mikhail Prokhorov is the only NBA guy I MIGHT fear more than David Stern. Maybe. Do we really want to be on the wrong side of that beef?
What’s scarier, that this scenario doesn’t seem farfetched or that David Kahn might not even consider it before pulling the trigger on a deal?
Q: Wolves fans are still in shock from Nikola Pekovic’s recent production. I don’t want to dwell on sample size (tiny) or spin a theory of why Pek emerged now (RUBIO!!). In light of what he’s shown recently, what I’m interested in is his ceiling. It’s hard to get your mind around this, but given how unstoppable Pek has been in the paint recently, is his “probably won’t happen but could” upside somewhere in the Scola/Marc Gasol vicinity? Another possible comp is ENES KANTER–I see similarity, both in build and style.
AG: I hate making Pek comparisons, because I’m not sure there is one. Scola and Gasol produce 4 to 5 times as many assists as Pek (since they pass the ball, sometimes) so that’s one difference. But they also don’t have the brute strength (nobody does) post game that can put together a field goal percentage of over 60. On the one hand, I think a low-post scorer is the perfect complement to Kevin Love’s perimeter shooting. On the other hand, I don’t know that Kevin Love will ever fully accept his offensive destiny as a shooter (even though he was just voted into the three-point competition–which would seemingly turn on a light bulb).
Regarding David Stern, I guess the question is, what is he going to “do” to the team that trades for Eric Gordon? Jokes aside, the worst I could see happening is rigging the lottery for the Hornets to win it with our pick. But that doesn’t really hurt the Wolves, it’ll just upset their fans. On Prok, I agree–I think that vengeance is a consideration when, say, Dallas is recruiting Deron Williams this summer. But for Eric Gordon trades, I think Stern is just going to take the best offer. Can New Orleans get more than D-Thrill and Pek, right now?
Q: APROPOS this topic: Have we seen the last of Darko in Minny? It’s hard to imagine him ever playing again, except at the end of blowouts or in spot minutes against long centers.
AG: I think what you just described at the end there is what it’s come to for Darko on the Wolves. Adelman saw enough: 44 percent field goal shooting, 45 percent free throw shooting, and assist-to-turnovers of 1 to 3.5 = yer done.
Q: Why hasn’t Wesley Johnson been subject to this sort of critique?
PJ: Based on pure logic you might speculate it’s because Adelman doesn’t believe he has a Pek to Johnson’s Darko. (Wow, that ended up sounding dirtier than I thought it would.)
Q: So, how down on Mike Beasley must Adelman be to keep playing Johnson while Beas sits?
– Patrick J
But seriously, that’s a good question. One of the prerequisites for a “ball movement offense” is having players at each spot that can make shots when the ball comes their way. With Ricky being Ricky, I don’t think the Wolves can afford to have another offensive player as inept as Johnson on the floor. Mike can hit jumpers from any spot–is it that difficult to incorporate him into the offense? His defense can be bad (strangely, he plays better on superstars, perhaps due to FOCUS issues with lesser opposition) but not nearly bad enough to justify Johnson starting in his spot.
Getting back to the original email though (and now that we’ve brought Mike Beasley into this), what about Rubio + 2008’ers? It’s the best draft class in recent memory, and even sans Rose and Westbrook, we’d have a lot of market share. Think about it:
PG – Rubio
SG – Gordon
SF – Beasley
PF – Love
C – Randolph
Rubio-Gordon would be, without question, one of the best defensive backcourts in the NBA. Gordon-Beasley-Love would all convert jumpers off of Rubio dimes. (Eds. note: You could swap O.J. Mayo for Gordon in that sentence and it would still read the same.) Randolph would add a vertical element for the Rubioops…I suppose Randolph’s interior defense would be a question mark, but that’s small fries in a badass lineup.