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06 July 2005

Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the Spurs?

During today's ESPN.com chat Chad Ford said the following regarding SAR:

The problem is that several other teams like the Spurs are talking sign-and-trade with the Blazers. That allows them to pay more money. The Blazers are trying to work out a Rasho Nesterovic for Abdur-Rahim swap.

I will assume that, as Spurs fans, you are familiar with The Solid Slovenian and his abilities. Shareef is a 28 (Dec birthday) year old 6'-9" 245# smower forward. He is probably best known as being a good player on very bad teams. He's never been on a team with a winning record. Now, if we apply the same logic that some Spurs fans apply to Kevin Garnett we will come to the conclusion that his team's lack of success diminishes the relevance of his stats. He must not be a leader. He's certainly not a gamer. He's definitely doesn't want to win.

That, of course, is a load of shit. The truth, as I see it, is that SAR is a very good offensive player:

19.8 PPG on 15.2 FGA --> 1.303 PPFGA (Timmeh's career number is 1.324)
6.6 FTAPG / 81.6% FT
0.2-0.7 from 3 / 30.6%
46.9% FG
8.1 RPG
0.8 BPG
1.1 SPG
2.7 APG
2.8 TOPG

What stands out to me is how efficient a scorer he is. There is some truth that one should be wary of player that scores a lot of points on a bad team. That's why I like to look at points per FGA or shot attempt; it gives you a better idea of how good a scorer the player is. My favorite whipping boy, Antoine Walker, has a career PPFGA of 1.065 (please sign him Isiah; it would make my summer). Spot the difference folks.

I also like the fact that he gets to the line and shoots a high percentage from the charity stripe. He only averages 1.1 less FTA per game than Duncan. He's a good 3P% shooter for his size; which is a blessing when one takes less than 1 a game but a curse when one takes 5 a game (hi Antoine!).

I cannot say much about his defense, other than he's certainly not none for it. I don't think he can guard most 3s, which makes him a back up to Duncan (though Duncan could obviously play C when SAR comes off the bench). As long as he provides consistent effort and good rotations his offensive abilities will more than make up for any deficiencies on the defensive end.

So, assuming Chad Ford isn't full of it, should the Spurs make the trade? Well, it depends. On a lot of things. I'm all for it given the following conditions:

A) Pop and Company are reasonably certain that Nazr can and will improve his defensive rotations and pick and roll defense AND that they can extend him for a reasonable price (no more than $7.5 million a year).

B) Pop and Company are going to further emphasize fast break offense next season. A lineup of Parker, Ginobili, Bowen, SAR and Tim would be one of the fastest in the league (and loaded with finishers).

C) Pop and Company are prepared to deal with The Curse of the Solid Slovenian.

One obvious positive aspect of this deal is the fact the Spurs would still have the MLE available. Assuming this trade goes down, here's how they should use it (assuming Scola excepts the LLE):

Offer the entire MLE to Stephen Hunter. Yes, I'm serious. I love this guy. He has a lot of tremendous upside potential. He's 23. He's a legit 7'. He can run the floor. He's athletic. Freakish, even. He's got a little bit of mean streak in him. And he blocked 4.5 shots per 48 minutes last year. That's, uh, like a lot and stuff. Like, uh, 3rd in the NBA. Granted, Tim tore him apart in the playoffs, but I think you can at least somewhat teach one-on-one defense. You can't teach being a 7' gazelle-like ball swatting machine.

Maybe PHX matches. Fine. Make them use up their financial reserves. Now somebody get Danny Ferry on the horn and convince him to offer Joe Johnson a max contract.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.