Monday, March 30, 2015

Revisiting the Michael Carter-Williams Trade, Or Sam Hinkie Strikes Again

Boom, Drop
Here's the combined numbers from Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan, AKA a career NBA vagabond and a guy the team got for very little: 12 for 29 from the field, 4 for 10 from three point range, 7 for 7 from the line, 35 points, 4 boards, 6 assists, 3 turnovers and 4 steals. Admittedly, in an overtime loss to the Lakers, which might be the worst defensive team in the league, but still.

Here's the combined numbers from Carter-Williams and O.J. Mayo: 1 for 11, 4 for 4 from the line, 0 for 4 from three point range, 4 for 4 from the line, 6 points, 6 boards, 7 assists, 4 turnovers and 1 steal. In a 13-point loss to the Hawks.

OK, I get it: small sample size! Let's look at the 16 games since the deal that Dub has played for the Bucks. 13.5 / 3.4 / 5.4 on 39% from the floor, with 3.3 turnovers per game. On the positive, 1.9 steals and 80.5% from the line is acceptable, though in 30+ minutes a game, it's not exactly exciting. (Canaan and Smith? 12.1 / 2.6 / 3.0 for the former, 11.7 / 2.9 / 6.3 for the latter, with 1.7 steals and percentages around 40% from the field, and 4.6 turnovers mitigating the good.)

The point? The Sixers may or may not be worse off in the here and now for trading Dub. He is far better on defense than either of the men now in rotation, and it's unfair to think that a straight up comparison of numbers would tell the whole story, given the Sixers go-go pace. From the eye test, the club is better on offense and worse on defense since the deal, and the continued offensive breakout of Nerlens Noel is in no small part to the fact that Smith seems to delight in throwing him alley oops at any and all opportunities, whether it's a statistically sound play or not.

But the bigger issue is, of course, what *else* the team got in the Dub trade, which was the Lakers' conditional first round pick. Dub is now the starting point guard on a team with real NBA players, currently competing for a playoff spot, and statistically, he's still the same (very) flawed player he was in Philadelphia. The Bucks' won-loss record with him is 6-15; overall, it's 36-38.

I realize that after 20 games is not really a fair time to call a trade a win. If Dub comes up huge in a first round Bucks playoff win (they are currently 6th in the East, and not very likely to slide out of the playoff picture), maybe things start to look a little different. But so far, this looks like a stone cold theft for the Sixers, an artful escape from a PG that was never going to be part of an upper tier team, and selling incredibly high on a flawed asset.

Considering this is part of a continuing series of deals in which Hinkie seems to be winning in a walk... the point comes around as to when this all starts translating to actual wins and losses, rather than just a shuffling of chips. Dub was his pick after all, and while it was a weak draft in which there were no clear better pick behind him (seriously, any draft in which the 22nd overall pick, the Dookie Mason Plumlee, is the best player so far is clearly a crap draft for the ages). Dennis Schroeder at 17 looks strong at PG, Giannis Antotokounmpo is something of a sensation at 15, and Rudy Gobert at 27 also looks like a defensive hammer... but the fact is that Hinkie drafted the Rookie of the Year at 11, then dealt him for what might be the sixth pick in a monster draft.

And replaced him with NBA chattel, and honestly didn't even hurt the current on-court project.

Dude's a witch, honestly...

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