As we slog through the non-basketball portion of the year, we like to shift gears and look at different subjects. Something that had interested me is the NBA’s standing in terms of economics and popularity. Based upon the reports that the NBA salary cap will be lowered the next few seasons, it seems pretty clear that the NBA revenues are not growing. I was wondering whether this dip in revenues was reflected in attendance. Thanks to Basketball-Reference.com we have some readily accessible attendance data. For fun, I took the attendance of each franchise from the start of this decade (2000-01) and again in mid-decade (2004-05), finally also adding this last season (2008-09), to see the progression of attendance. It’s an interesting sampling because the NBA was pretty popular in 2000-01 and the U.S. was still riding in the stock market bubble, while in 2004-05 and 2008-09 are very different times as well. Continue reading Attendance Review…
1. Whither AI?: Allen Iverson is no longer a star player. He can still get off a ton of shots, he still has problems getting to practice and complaining to coaches, and he still has an attitude and style of play that get him attention. At the end of the day, however, AI’s greatest asset, shot creation, has really declined steadily since he turned 30 (and was traded away from Philadelphia). Some of this decline is due to the fact that Iverson will never again on be on a team that needed him as much offensively as the old Sixers did. Still, the stats and objective observation of Iverson both indicate that AI’s a notch below the famous player he was. Despite all this, we all care where Iverson ends up. For many people, this is because Iverson still has a flashy game, tons of tattoos, and the old attitude.
I’m not under the misimpression that Iverson’s a star but he is an interesting player at an interesting time in his career and I am also interested where he ends up. He’s not a star but he still has some value and he is still perceived to be a star by the casual fan (if not by most teams). Also, Iverson does not seem to accept the fact that he’s no longer the star. These tensions create a fascinating scenario where a player’s demands and baggage are larger than his actual value, yet the player is not likely to compromise because the decline in value is a relatively new development and runs contrary to his decade long star appeal. Continue reading Quick Thoughts…
7/8 Signed Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed comes to Boston with the express goal of giving them another shot at the title in 2009-10. At this point, Boston is playing a risky game. Bringing Wallace to Boston gives the Celts another key player approaching his mid-30s. Wallace will be 35 the coming season and coming off of his worst season since 1997-98. He’s still pretty good but Wallace did decline slightly in nearly every category and his free throw rate, never a strength, was a career low by far. That being said, Wallace can still play pretty well and, as a role player, should be quite valuable for 2009-10. The price isn’t bad either (a reported three years and $18 million). Wallace doesn’t put the Celtics back up with Cleveland and Orlando but if the older guys are healthy and can still play, Boston isn’t far off.
7/9 Re-signed Anderson Varejao
The reports are not quite clear on the value of this deal Patrick McManamon from the Akron Beacon Journal reported that the deal has a potential value of about six years and $50 million but, without incentives, is five years and $37 million. Through his early 20s, Varejao hasn’t really improved but has held steady and should be able to do the same the next five years. In short, the contract has his value pegged pretty perfectly. Continue reading Transactions: 6/30-7/9…
6/25 Traded Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to Golden State for Jamal Crawford
For the Hawks, this is a clear win trade. Crawford is a gunner but can be useful, while Law never developed and Claxton appears to be done with his knee issues. The question now is what role Crawford will fill with the Hawks. He’s not really a point guard but the Hawks didn’t really have Mike Bibby dominate the ball anyway. Still, Crawford is a volume shooter and not quite as good a ball handler as Bibby, so he’s not an ideal replacement. The perfect solution would be to bring in Crawford as the designated scorer off the bench and bring back Bibby, provided that Bibby’s contract demands are sane (i.e. two or three year deal at $8 million per). If Bibby won’t take a decent contract, then they can slot Crawford into the point guard and hope that he adjusts to the role better than he did as a young player in Chicago and a solid backup point would become a must. In short, this is a nice little free talent grab but the Hawks still have a little work to do to make the pieces fit.
6/25 Traded Aleksandr Pavlovic, Ben Wallace, a future conditional second-round pick, and cash to Phoenix for Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq’s name is obviously bigger than his talent at this point but the guy can still play and will be an asset, especially compared to do the flotsam and jetsam that they sent to Phoenix. O’Neal’s acquisition raises a number of questions:
-Can Shaq still play?
Sure. Shaq had a surprisingly good year, leading the NBA in field goal percentage, playing his most games (75) since 1999-00, and his most minutes since 2004-05. Moreover, his per-minute stats are in line with his Miami years. So, Shaq, as he is currently constituted is a top-10 center and better than Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Continue reading Transactions 4/23-6/29…