Is the David Andersen acquisition a big deal? At face value, Franchise argues not so much, but worries the underlying philosophy behind it should concern fans...
Signs that the NBA Off-Season doldrums are upon us:
A post on David Andersen's impending arrival in Toronto generates over 100 comments.
The news came down yesterday afternoon that Mr. Andersen had been dealt from the Houston Rockets to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick. The pick, was one Toronto had acquired from the Clips in exchange for Hassan Adams.
As well, it's been speculated that the Rockets paid Toronto upwards of $3M to take Andersen off their hands so to some this is one of those "might as well pull the trigger" type deals, especially because Andersen plays center and Toronto is in need of some depth at that position.
Myself, I immediately reacted harshly to this deal and many wondered why.
For them, this was letting go of a pick that was never probably going to be used, not to mention it wasn't an option for another four seasons essentially, and since Houston basically paid for Andersen's salary and the team needed a back-up 5, why not?
To me that all makes sense.
I agree, financially this was a win for both teams (Houston, now paying a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax saves a few million even if they did send $3M to Toronto), and the second-round pick is fairly meaningless.
Perhaps we do put too much weight on the draft here at the HQ, but I'm a bit loathe to give up a pick whether it's the 15th or 55th considering how devoid of talent this team is. Every year guys like Wes Matthews (a player we repeatedly expressed interest in as a late second-round pick in 2009) go undrafted so I'm not sure why as a team you wouldn't want that extra "kick at the can" no matter where it fell among 60 picks. It's one thing if we were talking about a Raptors' squad that was poised to win 50 plus games and fighting for a spot in the conference finals next season. Then, good riddance. But we're not, and considering Houston PAID to get rid of Andersen, why did Toronto even need to throw the pick in?
As the Arsenalist puts it in this rather humourous take of the call between Morey and Colangelo, it almost feels like BC felt he was getting too good of a deal so needed to include something!
And really, this is my issue with the trade.
Why David Andersen?
If a team that's found diamonds in the rough year-after-year essentially pays to get rid of a player, isn't that a bit of a warning sign?
As the FanHouse's Tom Ziller discussed in a post this morning, Andersen was so bad last year that Houston spent much of the season "playing 6'6 Chuck Hayes at the center position with Andersen earning less than 900 minutes on the season."
He continues by saying that Andersen "didn't appear to be an NBA-level player, with middling shot-creation skills, mediocre rebounding and reportedly dreadful defense."
So let me get this straight. A team that has been labeled as soft the past four seasons (if not longer), that is seriously lacking in defense and rebounding, goes out and gets someone who fills none of these voids?
And that's why I hate this deal.
Not because Toronto gave up way too much for Andersen, or that I think the Raps necessarily would have grabbed the next Michael Redd with the fifty-whateverish pick from the Clips, but because this move does nothing to sway my notion that Colangelo has moved away from his "acquiring offensively skilled players that don't fit together." This is the same type of logic as the Jason Kapono and Hedo Turkoglu signings, albeit for a fraction of the cost.
Of course if I'm going to argue that Andersen was a bad choice for Toronto, I should probably offer some other suggestions in his stead.
Via the free agency route, with whatever little is remaining from the mid-level post-Kleiza, I'm sure the Raptors could make an offer to shot blockers like Steven Hunter and Sean Williams (although admittedly not the best apple), a solid rebounder like Josh Boone, or a vet like Marcus Haislip or Joe Smith. Or what about getting a non-traditional center, someone who's proven rugged enough to man that spot in limited minutes such as Anthony Tolliver?
Here's another thought - why not go with what you have Bryan?
To me the Andersen move is another Maceo Baston-ish acquisition, one that's fine if you're looking for a 12th man, but the scary thing is that Andersen might actually play a good chunk of minutes next year. All the intonations I heard from the Raptors' coaching staff seem to indicate that Bargs is going to get some time at the 4 next season, perhaps where they think he's better suited, so that means at the 5, Amir Johnson will probably get some time, and so will Andersen.
To me, Andersen becomes another band-aid type solution and is a lose-lose looking at things from two perspectives.
1) If he does play major minutes, he's not effective enough to make a difference on the court where this team needs it, and takes minutes from guys like Alabi, Davis and even Dorsey, the team's supposed future.
2) If he doesn't play major minutes, why even make this deal? Why not as mentioned, grab a free agent with upside to fill out the bench, or an experienced vet who provides the intangibles the team needs?
And on the latter point, why not just re-sign Rasho?
Let's put this into perspective statistically looking at last year's totals over 36 minutes (best metric I could find for an apples to apples compare) with some addition stats like Rebounding Rate, PER and Wins Produced included:
Name Pts Reb Ass Blks Stls FG% FT% RRate PER Wins Prod
Andersen 14.8 8.4 1.8 0.6 0.5 43% 69% 13.4 12.11 -0.8
Nesterovic 14.2 7.8 2.2 1.5 0.9 54% 20% 12.7 14.44 0.3
There really isn't a hell of a lot of difference here, except that when factoring in defense and other shooting intangibles, Rasho wins out on both PER and wins produced.
So unless Rasho suddenly has a ridiculous price tag, or wants to return to Europe, I'm not sure how Andersen is an upgrade here.
In any event, this move doesn't really swing the pendulum one way or another for next year I'd argue, but to me it continues to demonstrate Colangelo's "short-term" mentality and inability to get pieces that fit.
That's why I had to laugh when he recently took a shot at Bosh on the Fan590, saying Bosh was difficult to build around and that "no matter what type of player we brought in, it didn't seem to have the right mix with him as that centerpiece."
Give me a break Bryan.
Hedo, Jason Kapono, a broken down JO and the likes of Ukic and Jawai constitute trying to find "the right mix?"
We tried shitty players, crappy players, European crappy players, underachievers, European underachievers, D-Leaguers, Kangaroos, Dolphins, Office Furniture, Waffle Fries...
The bottom line is that Colangelo failed to pair Bosh with a single All-Star during his tenure, think about that for a second.
Yes, maybe Bosh started dogging it a bit towards what he knew was the finish line in Toronto, and he's acting like a bit of a Timmy right now, but it's not like BC surrounded CB4 with Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, or even Baron Davis and Chris Kaman.
To me, moves like Andersen are a microcosm of what we as Raptors' fans have been dealing with the past few seasons.
However there is one big plus to acquiring Andersen.
He's got a wicked Youtube mix: