(Note: This column was originally titled "The Chris Bosh Conundrum" when I started writing it a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, an article was published by Andrew Sharp with the EXACT SAME NAME. Because I was late publishing mine, I decided it would be prudent not to plagiarize the guy, so the name has been changed. In other news: Read his article as well. It's excellently written with much more empirical data. That is all.)
In my most recent column, I roughly estimated a 99% probability that one of the four "big name" power forwards likely to be on the market this summer will end up with the Knicks (or, in the case of David Lee, back with the Knicks). Any of these men would be a good choice for the Knicks frontcourt, but this column is going to rank them objectively (yeah fucking right) and numerically within a system I created partially using David Thorpe’s (ESPN.com) method to compare players and partially through my own two-cents regarding which areas of basketball expertise will be most valuable to the Knicks going forward.
Let's get into it!
Let’s weigh in:
26 years old
357 games experience
Relevant Numbers (per 40 minutes):
True Shooting: 58.7%
Player Efficiency Rating: 22.57 (3rd among power forwards)
28 years old
501 games experience
Relevant Numbers (per 40 minutes):
True Shooting: 59.4%
Player Efficiency Rating: 21.29 (9th among power forwards)
26 years old
502 games experience
Relevant Numbers (per 40 minutes):
True Shooting: 58.9%
Player Efficiency Rating: 24.95 (1st among power forwards)
27 years old
505 games experiences
Relevant Numbers (per 40 minutes):
True Shooting: 61.5%
Player Efficiency Rating: 22.40 (4th among power forwards)
So that’s how they statistically stack up against each other.
What should we make the criteria for subjective analysis? I’ve decided to break it down as such (again, borrowed largely from David Thorpe):
- Inside Scoring
- Pick and Roll
- Garden Welcome
- P&T Welcome
- Price Tag
The one caveat that will present itself at the end is that I will not offer a conclusion; that is up to you guys. What I’ll try to do is numerically analyze, on a scale from 1-10, which players are most valuable in each category. The end number will represent an estimate of which players would be most valuable in orange and blue next year, and which players we would like to see other GMs take interest in.
The first category is shooting.
(Note: I’m going to avoid using statistics and metrics as much as I can. While I’m a firm believer in statistics, I’m not going to say that someone is better than someone else at finishing at the basket because one does so at a 62.50% clip and the other only does so at a 61.90% clip. That’s just silly. I’ll only resort to statistics if there is a significant outlier and statistics would help me to elaborate.)
Lee: Coming into the NBA as an energy man with virtually no jumpshot, David Lee has now pulled himself even, if not surpassed the other names on this list. We’ve all be watching him all year, cringing in November every time he took a 16 footer. Now, when he shoots that same shot we laugh at defenses for sagging off him. He has improved leaps and bounds in just this season alone and is now an above-average midrange shooter.
Boozer: Always a reliable jumpshooter, Boozer has not deviated. He is the standard among in-the-arc shooting power-forwards.
Bosh: This is probably going to be the most boring category. Bosh is also a very solid midrange shooter. He gets an extra point in this category because he’s taller than the first two and can get his shot off over just about anyone.
Stoudemire: Like Lee, Amare came into the league without a jumpshot and, like Lee, it was created and nurtured by D’Antoni’s regime to the point that he should not be left wide open. Probably the worst shooter of the bunch, but not glaringly.
Inside ScoringLee: David Lee, for the past three years, has been the Gold standard for finishing around the rim. If you have watched the Knicks since the 2006 NBA draft, you have heard
Boozer: Another phenom in terms of finishing in the immediate basket area, Carlos Boozer is similar to David Lee in this regard. As gigantic a man as he is, his touch around the hoop is feathery and his dunking ability is impressive.
Bosh: Hilariously, the worst of the four at finishing around the basket, Bosh is no slouch. His problem, I suspect, is that he weighs about as much as Boozer’s right leg, so he can’t muscle his way to the cup the same way a Boozer or Howard would. Bonus points for being the best driver and isolation player on the list, but it doesn’t make up for his overall meekness.
Stoudemire: Amare is pretty average with his left hand and decent with rolling the ball in using English. He gets around the hands of defenders ably and cannot be shoved around due to his size and toughness. His dunking: unparalleled in this league or any other. Dwight Howard is taller and more muscular, but no one dunks with the ferocity of Amare Stoudemire. Also worth mentioning is that he gets the ball from the best passer in the league, so most of his touches around the basket are simple simon.
Lee: With full use of both hands, a variety of strange flip moves and the ability to draw and absorb contact while finishing, Lee is spectacular in the pick-and-roll game. He sets solid screens, not often called for illegal use. He darts down the lane and catches the ball with soft hands, often finishing with a dunk. Exemplary.Boozer: Carlos is another great pick-and-roll player, similar to David Lee in almost every way. I would say he’s slightly better at muscling his way in but slightly worse at finishing with his "off" hand. Bosh: Christopher has skills in the pick-and-roll game, but often chooses to pop the jumper rather than drive to the hoop. He can devastate offensively when mixing the two up and is extremely difficult to guard. He sets the worst screens based solely on his frame. Stoudemire: Blessed with Steve Nash running his pick-and-roll, Stoudemire often gets the lane entirely cleared for him to show off his impressive array of dunks.
(sorry guys, they’re the best four in the NBA)
Lee: David Lee is a top-5 rebounder in the NBA. This year his offensive rebounds have gone down, but that has a lot to do with the number of 3-pointers the Knicks launch nowadays. He’s still combines unbelievable multiple-jump capability with fantastic hands.
Boozer: Carlos Boozer is also a pretty excellent rebounder, finagling his way into the top 5 this year, but I would not put him on the same level as Lee.
Bosh: Another great rebounder, I’d say he’s slightly worse than Boozer. For his height and intelligence, he should get his hands on more balls pause.
Stoudemire: It’s a shame this dude doesn’t get more boards. It’s sad when you’re a top-5 athlete in the NBA, you’re 6’10" and you surprise people when you pull down 12 rebounds in a game.
Lee: The best passer of the bunch, David Lee hit 9 assists in two straight games this year, prompting us to recognize him as the best passer on the team! Although this may be a stretch, he is a gifted dishwasher with the ability to find open teammates for an open 3-pointer or thread a pass to find a cutter. Leads all NBA centers (I know, I know) in assists per game.
Boozer: One step below Lee in terms of his ability to dish, Boozer is very rarely a ball-stopper and has a silly move (of which David Lee has adopted a variation) where he takes the ball above his head, Statue-of-Liberty-esque, and cuts toward the rim. When he sees a man is waiting to draw the charge, he whips the ball out to either side and hits a Korver or an Okur for an open three-ball. Everyone on the Jazz is good at passing. Just saying.Bosh: Meh. He’s almost always in a 1-on-1 situation because he is the primary offensive weapon for the Raptors. He’s not a terrible passer, but his assist/turnover ratio is very slightly below one, which indicates an area in need of improvement.
Stoudemire: A certifiably poor passer, Stoudemire ranks behind notable black holes at the four slot: Zach Randolph, Elton Brand and, yes, Al Harrington in assists per 36 minutes. His assists/turnover ratio is absolutely horrifying at 0.38 and it shows no sign of improving. In my opinion, this is the kryptonite preventing Stoudemire from being worth a max contract.
DefenseLee: Look, none of the following guys are any good on defense really, but each one brings one thing to the table. David Lee’s "thing" is effort. Now, I know you may think I’m a homer for saying that, as Lee usually looks like he could give a shit less about defending his man, but just consider the types of behemoths he has defended this season: Shaquille O’Neal, Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez, Andrew Bogut, etc. The list goes on. He is a 6’9" dude who weighs about 250 and has absolutely dismal timing in terms of drawing offensive fouls and blocking, but the 2008-2009 season showed he brings it on defense, to some degree, most nights. 2009-2010 showed us that he is an offensive phenom who often has to carry his lottery (oops!) team to the 100-point mark most nights. Guys like that are typically prone to defensive lapses, to which we were treated on a nightly basis courtesy of David Lee. Boozer: Boozer’s "thing" that he brings to the table is mass. He is an extremely strong man who can bang in the post with most of ‘em, despite giving up height to many post players. He’s overrated defensively because he’s on a good team, but I’m grasping for straws here.
Bosh: Chris Bosh, from what I can tell, is terrible in the post. He’s awful defending players who outweigh him (Wilson Chandler is close), but the "thing" he brings to the table is pick-and-roll defense. He is light on his feet and uses it to his advantage when assigned to bottle up guards or put a stop to big men cutting to the cup. Again, grasping for straws.
Stoudemire: Amare is awful on defense, but the "thing" he brings to the table is shot-blocking. He’s not half as good as he should be, of course, but he’s athletic enough that he can get a block or two a game. A couple years ago he averaged a solid two per game (that was when D’Antoni had them using about 400 possessions a night), and could conceivably hit that mark again. I must remind you, the rest of his defensive game is not good.
IntangiblesLee: David Lee, up until this year, was always a blue-collar type of dude who cleaned the glass with ferocity. He always dove for loose balls and did his best to defend big men despite Liam Neeson releasing the kraken, so to speak, with regularity. None of this changed this season, but he added something to his arsenal; bitching at refs. Lee might be top five in the league at bitching to the refs for no-calls and for picking up lazy fouls. While this doesn’t mean his intangibles are bad, it has to mean something.
Boozer: Carlos Boozer, by all accounts, is a strong locker room guy. He is a vocal dude on the floor and plays hard night after night. The only blemish here is him shady-ducking the Cavaliers for
Bosh: Seems to be a pretty strong character guy, but I’m dubious about some of the quotes he floats out to the media. He’s always saying something, about once a month, that would offend me if I were on his squad. Maybe it’s something about how his team didn’t try (which they don’t), or maybe it’s something like "The Dallas Mavericks next year? Hm; now that would be interesting!" It’s always something with this Avatar.
Stoudemire: I’ve read stuff about him not getting along with Mike D’Antoni, plus he’s the furthest thing from a leader there is. Bottom marks!
I’ll go right into the numbers after a quick explanation. "Garden Welcome" represents what type of reception each guy would get upon being introduced to the starting line-up in his first game next year. Warm? Cold? Omnivorous?
This section is highly dependent on the next category, but this is representative of how the Posting & Toasting would receive each player upon the signing. My estimates:
My estimate for how much each player would cost to acquire or re-acquire.
Lee: $11,500,000 per year (5 year deal)
Boozer: $14,000,000 per year (5 year deal)
Bosh: MAXIMUM (5 year deal)
Stoudemire: MAXIMUM (5 year deal)
So that concludes my assessment of these four gentlemen. Let me tally up the final scores for each dude and display them below for a hot sec.
Hmmmm, dubious at best. David Lee is by no means the best player of the bunch, but the Garden as well as P&T reception really lifted him up. As for Bosh, the P&T reception truly sank his numbers, putting him after Carlos Boozer (which is just plain alarming).
What’s the moral here, guys?
Nobody likes Chris Bosh.
In all seriousness, each and every one of these free agent scenarios is reliant on far too many variables to grade each player, which is why I’m leaving it up to you guys. I’m sure this will be at least a slightly polarizing issue. Who do you think is the best option? Make sure to take finances as well as Postingandtoasting.com-friendliness into account. Word aaapppp.