Alright. I'm bored. Draft is Thursday, July 1 is coming apace, but all there is to read about basketball are Lakers, Amar'e is gone, Sarver is cheap - endless arguments about what the Suns should do, what they can do, and what is possible.
The subject that causes the most dissension is the subject of one Amar'e Stoudamire. Some love him, some hate him, some think he's a max player, some don't. But what I haven't seen is a point by point comparison of Amar'e and some of the possibilities to replace him, So to kill a week or two, I thought I would do that.
For the purposes of this discussion, I am going to compare Amar'e to the usual suspects - Dirk, Bosh, Boozer, and Lee. Where available, I will be using standardized data, such as points per 40 minutes. When comparing, I prefer having an even playing field with as few variables as possible. Of course, each player plays for different teams, in different systems, with different supporting casts, making apple to apple comparisons difficult.
This one, on the surface, is easy.
Dirk averaged 25.0 ppg on 48.1% shooting. Per 40 min = 26.7
Bosh averaged 24.0 ppg on 51.8% shooting. Per 40 min = 26.6
Amar'e averaged 23.1 ppg on 55.7% shooting. Per 40 min = 26.7
Lee averaged 20.2 ppg on 54.5% shooting. Per 40 min = 21.7
Boozer averaged 19.5 ppg on 56.1% shooting. Per 40 min = 22.7
The top 3 are nearly identical, Boozer and Lee are about 20% less in equal minutes.
I am not all that familiar with the systems and style they all play - I watch the games against the Suns, I watch the nationally televised games, and I watched the playoffs. Obviously, Bosh and Lee didn't make the playoffs, and Boozer and Dirk only stuck around for one series. But some of the comments I've read have to do with how much the team relies on them to score, how many opportunities they have, the ability to create their own shots, Utah and Toronto are not generally offensive powerhouses, but this should be the fun part of the discussion.
Dirk - 536 on 586 attempts for 91.5%
Bosh - 470 on 590 attempts for 79.7%
Amar'e - 489 on 632 attempts for 77.1%
Lee - 268 on 330 attempts for 81.2%
Boozer - 285 on 384 attempts for 74.2%
Lee and Boozer shoot about half the FT's of the other guys. Dirk is the obvious winner here, and Amar'e was below his career averages this last season.
7% Avg/40 min % of shots
Amar'e 1.16 6.5%
Bosh 1.01 5.5%
Boozer .94 5.7%
Lee .69 4.1%
Dirk ,54 2.7%
SHOT LOCATION (All per 40 min)
At Rim ATT
- Amar'e 5.7 8.3 67.0%
- Boozer 5.3 7.8 67.9%
- Lee 5.1 7.8 66.1%
- Bosh 4.1 6.5 63.9%
Dirk 2.2 3.4 63.3%
- Amar'e 2.1 3.8 54.0% <10 feet
- Bosh 1.8 3.7 49.8%
- Boozer 1.3 2.7 49.2%
- Lee 0.9 2.0 45.3%
Dirk 0.6 1.3 45.4%
10-15 Feet 16-23 Feet
- Dirk 2.0 4.6 43.3% 4.1 8.8 46%
- Amar'e 0.7 1.7 44.4% 1.9 4.5 42%
- Boozer 0.9 2.0 43.6% 1.9 3.9 44%
- Lee 0.8 1.6 49.6% 2.3 5.2 43%
- Bosh 1.3 2.8 43.9% 2.2 5.0 43%
Numbers are remarkably similar - Amar'e is the best at the rim, Dirk is the best from far away. Big surprise there. Boozer is better at the rim than I thought, and so is Lee, who is also very good from 15-23 feet. I won't go into the 3 point range, although Dirk is a 42.1% 3 point shooter.
There are a lot of other offensive numbers we could look at, but these players are similar in their production, with Dirk, Bosh, and Amar'e the superior offensive players. But then, nobody really complains about Amar'e on the offensive end, do they?
This is where Amar'e has gotten the most criticism lately. His rebounding numbers were sub-standard in both the Portland and Lakers series, although they were good in the Spurs series. I will maintain that this was more a question of assignments and duties - in the Portland series, he was chasing Lamarcus Aldridge around the perimeter, and against the Lakers, he was variously in a zone, or guarding Odom. Even so, Amar'e has never been mistaken for a defensive powerhouse.
One particular thing I've noticed is that when the ball goes to the floor, Amar'e bends at the waist, without bending his knees. I wonder if this is something to do with his surgeries - it would make sense. My impression is that Boozer is more of a hustle rebounder - I'm not sure about the other guys. Comments on this would be welcome - how could this be improved? How did Rodman do it? I watched Rondo gather rebound after rebound just by positioning himself, apparently with a knowledge of how his team mates shots would come off the rim. Is that something you can learn? Does focusing on rebounding cost you on the offensive end? These are questions I have been trying to figure out for myself.
Per 40 min OR DR TR
Boozer 2.7 10.4 13.1
Lee 3.0 9.6 12.6
Bosh 3.3 8.8 12.0
Amar'e 3.2 7.1 10.3
Dirk 1.1 7.1 8.2
Statistically, Amar'e isn't too bad, although his defensive rebounding is not too good. Let's keep in mind that Amar'e also improved a LOT in the last third of the season. At any rate, none of the other players are a dramatic improvement.
Let's compare steals, assists, and blocks.
Per 40 Stl Asst BL
Amar'e .73 1.2 1.17
Dirk .92 2.9 1.04
Bosh .68 2.6 1.08
Lee 1.13 3.9 .53
Boozer 1.26 3.7 .54
This illustrates another common complaint about Amar'e - his assists are much lower than the others. This could be attributed to his ability to go to the rim - there is not as much need to give it up if you can score it. I do believe that he got better in this area as the season went along, but the data I'm looking at doesn't really allow a good comparison. Amar'e is the best blocker of the group, but toward the bottom in steals (all of Amar'es numbers have been better in these categories in years past.)
Other things I noticed - Amar'e is durable. Now, I know he was out for a season with the knee surgeries, and for half a season with a detached retina. But he doesn't have the little, nagging injuries - he played 82 games this year, and most seasons, he plays a lot of games. The same is true of Dirk and Lee, but Bosh and Boozer seem to have a lot of injuries - Boozer only played 37 games in 2008-09.
I looked at power forwards in various categories - Dirk and Amar'e are the best PF scorers in the league, with Bosh right behind. Amar'e is middle of the pack in rebounding - but one of the best guys out there in both scoring and rebounding is Kevin Love from Minnesota. He's not a free agent, but he's not big money, either. I've read that they still are hopeful about Darko, so maybe he would be available in a trade involving LB - sure would be great if we had a GM, wouldn't it?
Of course, you can go around with this stuff infinitely. The fact remains, Amar'e is still one of the best power forwards in the game - the discussions have to be about his knees and money. Lee may be a bargain - but with the demand far greater than the supply, I think all of these guys will get max money.
I should also mention that the Suns getting any of these guys is iffy, at best. A Sign and Trade presupposes that both players want to go to the respective teams - the lure of playing with Wade will probably be more attractive to Bosh or Boozer than the opportunity to play with Nash for a couple of years. I think coming to Phoenix would cost Dirk at least 6 million a year - Cuban will be throwing money at him. Realistically, we might be able to get Lee - for a lot of money.
For reference, I would recommend reading dking97's post about what the Suns can and can't do - a working knowledge of what is possible is mandatory for an intelligent discussion. The current CBA is designed to let us keep Amar'e, if we want him - we can give him more money, bigger raises, and a longer contract than any other team.
So, let the bloodbath begin.