Let me start by outright stating I'm in no way a Hedo Fan, however I've been forced to write the counter argument because the level of Hate-On has become ridiculous. Last nights interview, "Ball!" and those stupid Pizza Pizza "Yes Coach!" commercial definitely doesn't endure him to anyone.
I never thought Hedo would be a great fit on this team, but not for the same reasons most of you have. I currently don’t feel his current salary is the issue, nor his points production. Hedo is an ultra rare class of the position of "Point Forward", and with the guards the Raps have right now, this "Point Forward" position isn’t required. However on a team like Orlando, especially when Nelson is on the bench, it’s where Hedo shines. Having only watched a handful of Magic games this year, including last nights against Boston, they’re showing how much they miss a Hedo.
I really think there’s only 4 other "point forwards" in the NBA: LeBron James, Lamar Odom, Boris Diaw, Andrei Kirilenko. LeBron’s in a different universe, and really he’s a unique position onto himself. We can argue the value of a Point Forward, but they’re all relatively similar. They can all do everything just decently enough. All are about 6’9ish, can handle the ball, can pass, can shoot with some range, can drive a little and grab some boards.
Diaw: FGA: 9.2, FG 46.2%, 3% 32.7, FT 75.7%, R 4.8, A 3.7, TO 2.3, PPG10.5
Odom: FGA: 8.6, FG 43.5%, 3% 30.1, FT 67%, R 9.9, A 3.7, TO 1.8, PPG, 9.6
Kirilenko: FGA: 8.2, FG 49.5%, 3% 33.9, FT 71.9%, R 4.6, A 2.7, TO 1.3, PPG 11.7
Hedo: FGA: 10, FG 40.1%, 3% 38.9, FT 80%, R 4.6, A 4.5, TO 1.8, PPG 12.6
It’s funny how eerily similar their stats are. Yes Hedo is struggling with the FG%, but his career FG% isn't that great to begin with. Clearly he is a better play maker and has a bit more range. Fan expecations just aren't in line with reality here.
"He’s being paid too much"
Salary (over the length of remaining contract):
Diaw: 9M, 9M, 9M
Odom: 7.5M, 8.2M, 8.9M, 8.2M
Kirilenko: 16.4M, 17.8M
Hedo: 9M, 9.8M, 10.6M, 11.4M, 12.2M
Salary for Hedo is right in the same ball park, but yes a bit over paid, and crazy length for the contract. BUT it doesn’t bother me as much as it’s bothering most of you. People are so upset over the total value of the contract, however, as much as we think we can predict future returns on a player we can’t. What I mean is, Hedo’s performance is relatively stable over his career, and it doesn’t mean that this team won’t lose Jose or Jack to injury or trade, which in that case the value of Hedo would rise. Think back over the last two years where we’ve had to use AP and Delfino at the point position. In the reverse scenario, even if he was performing well right now, it wouldn’t necessarily mean the value of the contract was good, as he could get hurt at any point or then suck later. You wouldn't go around saying what a great contract and we've got Hedo locked in for 5 years if he was playing well, so you can't really do that when he's not playing well now (which I still disagree about). The longer the contract the greater the risk, yes. But there’s also no indicator’s as to what the salary cap will be in 3 or 4 years time. In the NBA, the relative % of team salary is way more important that what the exact number is. We just know it’s going down next year. So long story short, I’m okay with the contract. I definitely don’t love it, and it’s 2 years too long, however I understand why it needs to be there.
"But we could have used the money to sign someone else!"
Who in that crop 1) Would have come here (or stayed), 2) Made this team better?
"But what about 2010 F/As"
Ok say we did nothing over the summer. This team is worse than the previous year. We lose Bosh. You think we’re going to sign future F/As? Best case scenario is, BC gambles to improve this team and have a chance to resign Bosh and have ok seasons the next few years.
Hedo is a gamble not just for today, but for the future. He was the best F/A available last season, and I’m okay with doing something vs. nothing. The alternate universe could have been very very ugly for the franchise. We could have kept last years team, but I much prefer this one. Even if it means including Hedo.