April 01, 2011
It's been a month since teams were allowed to sign available free agents to a playoff-hoping roster, and five weeks since last February's trade deadline. That's a good enough sample size, for us at least, to check in with the more significant movers to see how they've acclimated.
Understand that most of these breakdowns come predicated on per-minute and pace-adjusted stats, which allow us to more easily compare players switching to teams with disparate styles of play, or roles that either pump up their ability to add stats, or dull their per-game offerings. So don't get after me with the, "his assists have actually gone down, genius"-comments. Per-minute, pace-adjusted. Percentages, and all that.
Also, watching heaps of games.
Click the jump for the Western Conference.
The former Timberwolf hasn't played much in Dallas, as his debut coincided with the return of Rodrigue Beaubois(notes). He's yet to play over 100 minutes and has provided the usual Corey Brewer takes: "I guess he's good?"-defense and iffy outside shooting.
The only All-Star in Charlotte's history had noticeably taken fewer chances with his battered body in his final half-season in Charlotte, and you couldn't blame the guy. And while the man they once called "Crash" hasn't exactly gone willy-nilly to the hole in Portland, his activity level has risen, so much so that he's forced the Blazers into running a small starting lineup with Wallace in it.
Per-minute, Randolph has played at a nearly All-Star level for the Timberwolves, which has to be terribly frustrating for Knicks fans. Even accounting for Minnesota's heightened pace and his unfamiliarity with what the Timberwolves still call "the triangle offense," Randolph has come through with great numbers. Per game? Double-figure points, five boards and 50 percent shooting in only 18 minutes per game in Minnesota.
Deron Williams'(notes) replacement in Utah has been a disappointment. His shooting hasn't been sound, and his assist-making has suffered. The latter is to be expected while working in a new system and dealing with new teammates, but his new teammates are good (at least, better on offense than his former Net teammates), so you'd think he'd sustain his numbers.
His 3-point numbers have gone up, but Chandler's spike in turnovers and decrease in overall shooting percentage have led to a decline in production in Denver for the former Knick. He's nearly been the same player as a Nugget, but the rise in turnovers is enough to make a difference, especially for someone like Chandler who rarely has the ball.
Felton is averaging more assists in his time with the Nuggets, and though he won't make an All-Star team anytime soon, his ability to spell Ty Lawson(notes) with above-average play while his reserve counterpart on the other team falls well short has put the Nuggets over the top several times over the last month. His turnovers have also dropped, which is a surprise for a point guard on a new team. Unfortunately, his free-throw shooting has also fallen to a strange 58 percent.
The former Knick lottery pick has been fantastic in his time as a Nugget, which is surprising because he's still playing through a nagging knee injury. His 3-pointers and free throws have been about the same in Denver. His turnovers have shot up, but he's also rebounding more and his percentage on 2-pointers has improved considerably. His aggression has gone up, slightly, on both ends as well. Nice to see.
Mozgov has played just a full game's worth of action in Denver, and he's come through with a nice line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and six fouls with three turnovers. Of course, that's in 47 minutes. Spread out over eight games. So what I'm saying is that you can completely expect the same sort of production should he play 47 minutes on Friday night. Book it.
The backup big man has kept up the underrated production in Oklahoma City, coming through with over 13 points, nine rebounds and a block for every 36 minutes he plays. This man contributes, he's the perfect reserve center.
Emo Mo has actually seen his assist ratio go down with the Clippers, a bit of a surprise considering all the lob-ready hands that surround him. He's shooting nearly 40 percent from long range again, which is good, and his joie de vivre far outstrips Baron Davis'.(notes) And that's what wins you championships. French phrases.
Here's what's so infuriating about Thornton's return to form in Sacramento: Marcus' per-minute and efficiency stats in his time spent playing deserved minutes with the Kings are exactly what we expected of the second-year guard should he have taken in those minutes with the Hornets prior to the trade. But Monty Williams refused to play him, which is a shame because he could have regularly expected over 20 points per game, offered up with good percentages. His D isn't great, but he's won and kept the Kings in more than a few games already.
Landry has almost completely mirrored his efficiency statistics as a member of the Hornets, making up for in scoring areas what he's lacking in rebounding. Landry has been terrible as a rebounder in New Orleans, but his scoring touch from all over is badly what New Orleans needed as it deals with the unforeseen season-ending knee injury to David West(notes). Landry might be falling short in some areas of the floor, but he's exactly what the Hornets need in other areas.
The rookie's minutes have actually gone down in Utah, working amongst that loaded front court, but his play has improved, and he is a true defensive force in his first year, a rarity and admirable quality. Favros' tally: 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and a block in about 18 minutes.
The former Celtics center has been coming through with the same box score production as he did in Boston, which isn't a good thing, because Perkins was in full rehabilitation mode in Boston this year. It was an expected thing, though, because Perk is still working his way back into both shape and health, while learning a new system on either end. He's a good watch, though, as OKC funnels its D into his long arms and Serge Ibaka's(notes) jumpin' legs, and he still sets a good screen. Great trade for the Thunder.
The defender's shooting marks have fallen off the table in his return to Memphis. Battier is shooting well under 30 percent from long range, and he's hardly making up for bad offense on the glass. But he defends well, and is still playing better than Hasheem Thabeet(notes) would have.
The athletic guard has been a huge part of Houston's turnaround over the past month, as his offense has shot way up following the trade that sent him from Phoenix to Houston. Dragic is making a ridiculous 55 percent of his 3-pointers as a member of the Rockets, who have boasted the NBA's best statistical offense since the trade deadline. He's dropped his turnovers, too.
Last year's Most Improved Player has turned his year around in Phoenix statistically, raising his 3-point percentage back up to 37 as a member of the Suns. But his decision-making and defense remain as dodgy as ever, and the Suns are reeling.
Peja is hitting two threes for every five he takes, and he never turns the ball over. Beyond that, he's not much of an all-around force to be reckoned with. Still, he's found a place on a very good Mavericks team.