Alan Hahn wrote an interesting blog about whether the Trevor Ariza trade or the Eddy Curry trade hurt the Knicks more. Although Ariza has grown to be a starter for the Western favorite Lakers, Hahn says the traded draft picks for Curry were more damaging to the franchise. Throw in that Curry’s contract still hampers the team (and could cost them either Lee or Robinson) and it’s a no-brainer. But on the Ariza side Hahn adds:
Try not to dwell on what might’ve been, Fixers. Look instead at Wilson Chandler, who is very similar to Ariza but already possesses the jump shot Ariza has had to work to achieve, and understand why we make the point here at the Fix that the franchise needs to surround Wil and Danilo Gallinari with the right kind of veterans, the right kind of atmosphere.
In the broader view, having a young forward in Chandler does ease the loss of Ariza, especially when you consider that Francis’ contract (which turned into Randolph) is already freed up for 2010. However I disagree with Hahn’s notion that Chandler is “ahead” of Ariza at the same age. Compare their per-minute stats:
Player G MP FGA FG% 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS TS%
Ariza 194 3659 9.7 .472 0.2 .160 4.6 .644 2.6 4.4 7.0 2.1 1.8 0.5 2.2 3.8 12.2 51.9
Chandler 117 3420 13.7 .433 3.6 .326 2.8 .762 1.4 4.7 6.0 2.1 0.9 1.0 1.7 3.5 15.1 50.8
Chandler does possess the jump shot that Ariza had to work on. At the same age, Ariza had no three point range at all. This year Trevor hit 31.9% of his threes, while not an ideal number, it is light years ahead of where he was 3 years ago. However Ariza’s rebounding, steals, and free throw attempts per minute dwarfs Chandler’s – all signs of better physical ability. In fact at the same age, Chandler’s ability to hit free throws and three point shots still doesn’t make him as efficient a shooter as Ariza, because of the imbalance in free throw attempts (at witnessed by their TS%).
The two are different sides of the same coin. Ariza was a slasher who had to develop an outside shot to become a more complete player. Meanwhile Chandler has an outside shot that took a few seasons for Ariza to develop, but to become a better overall player he needs to gain the ability to get to the line more often. In the paint Chandler often turns to spin moves and turn around jumpers instead of taking the ball to the hoop and drawing contact. But even if Chandler does gain this ability, he’ll still be a tad behind Ariza defensively. Trevor averaged 2.5 stl/36 this year, something that Chandler isn’t likely to ever do.