Zach Lowe of Grantland has just written a characteristically thorough and instructive look at the conundrum the Warriors are facing in trying to trade for Kevin Love. He concludes that the Warriors should make the deal happen, regardless of the pain of swallowing Kevin Martin’s contract.
He might prove right about that in the end, but for what it’s worth I believe he’s made several crucial errors in his analysis.
The difference between the Wolves’ top 5 offense and the Warriors’ offense last season was not the difference between Love and Lee. It was the difference between Pekovich and Bogut. (And Adelman and Jackson.)
Pek is a dominant inside scorer and free throw shooter, who WANTS THE BALL, and DEMANDS A DOUBLE TEAM.
Bogut is the exact opposite. A player who is afraid to catch in traffic, and petrified to attack the rim in pick and roll. So petrified he usually doesn’t even look at Curry in the pick and roll, let alone actually roll. A player who is on the verge of out-Biedrinsing Biedrins in his determined avoidance of the free throw line, and agonized paralysis once he gets there.
Bogut averaged 1 free throw attempt a game last year. ONE. And shot 34%.
Big Pek averaged 4.6 FTA, and shot 75%.
And averaged over 17 points a game.
Do you think Big Pek attracted the defense’s attention away from Kevin Love at all? With Bogut, it was the exact opposite. His defenders barely looked at him. And when Curry and Lee ran pick and roll, Bogut’s defender was front and center under the rim. Eyes forward. Waiting.
Lowe seems to think Curry/Bogut pick and roll with Love spreading the floor will become a thing if the Warriors do this trade. It makes you wonder if he’s ever even watched the Warriors play. If he had, he would know that there is no such thing as Curry/Bogut pick and roll. There is Bogut high pick, followed by Bogut standing at the top of the key while Curry receives a vicious blitz. Followed by one of three actions: 1) Curry swings the ball to a third player on the wing; 2) Curry waits out the double, then returns to Bogut for another pick that will hopefully free him for a quick jumper; or 3) Curry passes to the wide open Bogut at the top of the key, who stands there with the ball, or takes one or two hesitant dribbles, until he can find a teammate to dump it off to.
I won’t even mention the fact that Kerr has stated his intention to use Bogut posted up in the triangle. Because hopefully the real NBA coaches on the Warriors staff (Alvin Gentry) will disabuse him of that notion fast.
The fact of the matter, lost to Lowe, is that acquiring Kevin Love will do nothing to open up the Warriors pick and roll. When Love is Curry’s pick and roll partner, he will encounter the same monstrous obstacle parked and waiting at the rim that David Lee did: Bogut’s man. (And if you think Love will be better at finishing over that obstacle than Lee, you will be sorely disappointed.)
As for Andrew Bogut pick and roll, THERE IS NO SUCH THING. No matter how well Love spreads the floor.
What the acquisition of Kevin Love will open up for Curry and the Warriors, is PICK AND POP. And that, admittedly, will be the most lethal pick and pop in the league, and an incredible boon to Stephen Curry’s game.
But will that addition to the offense be enough to overcome the utter hamstringing of the Warriors’ finances created by Kevin Martin’s horrid and useless contract? Lowe himself points to the many new holes in the Warriors roster that will be created by the deal. No one to shield Curry from guarding point guards. No money for a veteran back-up point guard. No money for a sixth man. (Oh, is KMart going to be the sixth man? Well then, as noted in my last post, the Warriors will be starting 3 non-scorers alongside Curry and Love, and I will bet any amount of money that the Warriors will not be a top 10 offense, let alone a top 5 offense, playing that way. So what was the point again?)
One final point. Lowe utterly fails to consider the biggest of all holes in the Warriors roster that this trade will both create, and prevent the Warriors from being able to fix:
Andrew Bogut and Kevin Martin.
Who will stand in for them, come playoff time?