If you've ever spent a day in the life of Arron Afflalo you'd know he's an early riser. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that his deal came together first thing this morning. With a few more meetings to go in Los Angeles, it could prove to be quite an interesting day. It wouldn't be too shocking if most players and front office types want to figure their situations out before the long weekend.
Afflalo has been around the league and will turn 30 shortly before the 2015-16 season. He was originally drafted by Detroit, then made his way to Denver and Orlando before being sent back to the Nuggets for two-thirds of a season. Ultimately he spent the last chunk as playoff insurance for the Trail Blazers. Afflalo graciously accepted his role coming off the bench. A rash of injuries later, he gutted things out as starter, until the Blazers finally faded from the playoffs.
Afflalo is no stranger to Triangulation, of course. In college at UCLA he was introduced to the Pyramid of Success. Certainly the tenets of the Pyramid and the philosophies of the Triangle will overlap and Afflalo's leadership qualities will help rear some of the youngsters kicking up dirt in the stables.
Carmelo Anthony (ever heard of him?) reportedly lobbied to have Afflalo join the Knicks along with a few others. The pair achieved some success together in Denver, and Carmelo seems to really thrive when familiar faces and strong voices are present (see Martin, Kenyon; Chandler, Tyson; Kidd, Jason; Wallace, Rasheed; Novak, Steven; Cambus, Marcy; Pullups, Chancey).
If you're wondering what to expect from Afflalo, he likely steps in as a starter who is around league average in most facets of the game. While he is very solid on right corner 3-pointers, he only shot 35.4% on catch-and-shoot threes overall last season (scarcely better than Tim Hardaway Jr). That implies he lacks some consistency. When you look at his jumper, there are a lot of moving parts, so it shouldn't come as a too much of a surprise.
Afflalo has a nice little post-up game off either baseline, creating space using his shoulders and body, and that can be counted on when the match-up is right. Although he doesn't get to the line much (2.5 attempts per game), he has shot nearly 82% for his career. Afflalo is just one of those rare birds that doesn't weigh down the rest of your team with bad decision-making, and that makes him a useful component anywhere in the league. He tends to hold the ball a little more than I'd like, but it's possible the Triangle will help him see passes and rotations coming, thusly increasing everyone's productivity. Another good thing is that when he gets it going, he can still fill it up on a given night.
And of course he uses daggers to assassinate other basketball teams. Who wouldn't want a professional murderer in their corner?
Afflalo's defense has long been lauded as stellar, and reputation goes a long way in the NBA, but he isn't a lockdown defender by any stretch of the imagination. Opponents shot 42.5% against him on field goal attempts where he was the primary defender. According to NBA.com that's 1% better than the league average. He was about 4% better than league average against three point shots, which implies he's a little more aware of getting out to shooters. Running open shooters off the line isn't everything though, and Afflalo shouldn't be counted on to transform the Knicks' paltry defense.
Given the very short terms of his contract, you'd expect Arron to lay it all out there this season and see if he can't get close to some of his Orlando numbers, where he was a borderline All Star. If he can give you 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal or block every night, he'll be a perfectly reasonable player. That seems to be a microcosm of the way Phil Jackson has approached team building up to this point. Just diplomatic and calm. Quick to get somebody on a good deal. With any luck the Knicks will be able to capitalize a time or two more in spendthrift ways that allow flexibility moving forward.