Friday, February 19, 2010

Props to: Boston's mid season trade.

Boston made some significant moves today,  acquiring guard Nate Robinson and forward Marcus Landry in a trade with the New York Knicks. The Celtics sent guards Eddie House, J.R. Giddens and forward Bill Walker to the big apple in return.

The simplest way to dissect this trade is in point form. So here we go;

 What Boston has lost in this trade - 
  •  The Celtics have lost a stone cold 3 point assassin in House and the franchise record holder for three-point field goal percentage in a single season, when he hit 44.5 percent from the 3 point line during the 2008-09 season. As a Celtic Eddie posted good numbers 7.8 points, 1.4 assists and shot 41.2 from deep. House came up big on occasion riding hot streaks for 20 plus games when the Celtics needed them. 
  • A capable ball handler and point guard, House was never a true fit as the Back up for Rondo. As Boston needed a great back up PG for their now all star starting guard, house remained a decent fit but was always more of an offensive threat, sharp shooter and three point specialist. An asset to be sure, but not as valuable an asset as a true back up point guard.

  • The loss of Bill Walker and JR Giddens to the Knicks may seem incidental. These are two young guys who got glimpses of playing time but were always destined to earn their spot on a team stacked with veteran and experienced players. I believe Walker especially could have come to form a great young nucleus with Rondo as the next generation front court for the Celtics - although it is hard to gauge from his small amount of minutes. It is Walker's unrealised potential that is the most maligned loss of this team transaction.
What Boston has gained in this trade -  
  •   Eddie House and Nate Robinson are similar in several respects. Both have played the point. Both can hit the 3. Both are able to distribute the ball. That is where the similarity ends. At 5' 9 Robinson is a player not to be taken lightly because of his small stature. Aside from being a 3 time slam dunk champion, Nate can back up his title as a devastating attacking player with frightening speed and very solid 3 point shot. His ability to place pressure on the ball can lead to significant gains when it translates to offense.
  • Now here is a scary thought. Doc Rivers goes with a small front court with Robinson and Rondo. Both have devastating speed and the hops to finish strong. Nate is  better from deep but Rondo's 3 has shown significant improvement. You are the other team with both these guys running at you on the break. Who do you guard? Do you double team one when they can pass to the other? Or any of the Back court who all know how to finish. Nate creates an instant match up nightmare for teams vulnerable to a smaller lightening quick guard tandem. This is just one possibility that Robinson creates, as a injection of instant offense who can draw defenders and dish to the open man with the best of them.

  • Boston now has great options at both guard positions. Rondo is the starting point guard and will remain so. Robinson will begin his time in Boston's buck up PG with  Marquis Daniels the combo guard / third point guard option. Ray Allen is the 2, backed up by Daniels. 
  •  Coach Doc Rivers has great standard guard configurations, but the potential for creating new match ups (read the second point) that will certainly make teams redress their strategies for playing the green and white.
  •  Marcus Landry is an important acquisition for the fact he gives Boston a back up for Paul Peirce at the 3 spot. He is young and his energy will be much needed in team stacked with veterans. In backing up the small forward position he will get minutes, because that is where this Celtics team is weakest. Given time and opportunity, Coach rivers would be smart to give this young player the opportunities he needs. 

The Verdict - As good as 'E- House' was and as important as his role was in the 07' - 08' championship, his never gave the Celtics the dynamic back point guard they so desperately needed. Nate Robinson is a high impact / high energy player who throws a spanner in the works for the opposition, in drawing attention he will free up the other players around him to some degree. But to put up the numbers the Celtics would love to see, Robinson needs to buy into what the C's are doing and taking on a role that helps the team as a whole. That said, Boston now has the danger player it needs. When their shoot falters they have a genuine offensive threat who has a record dropping big numbers (41 this season in Atlanta with the Knicks) on other teams. Coach Rivers will, at one time or another, come to utilise Robinson in this way. Landry is an unknown but offers some relief for Boston at the 3 spot mainstay Peirce. If Landry pays off, they have a potential young player to play a role for this team in the long term.

The Boston Celtics have gained more than they have lost, and due to recent team issues a change of some kind was inevitable. This kind of team alteration may be exactly what is needed to return to the Celtics swagger that has had taken a serious battering since christmas day '09 against the magic. 

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