There are two things that I need to get out of the way before we get to the meat and potatoes here.
1. I have never felt that Juan Dixon was bringing a whole lot to the team. His +/- was ranked 11th, his defense is poor, and I have never understood the “he’s a good shooter” angle. In 131 games with Portland, he shot 43% from the field and 37% from three point. That’s a good shooter? No, that’s nothing special. His career averages are 41% from the field and 34% from 3pt. Again, that’s nothing special, if not below league-average. His PER is 11.43, far below league average. I’ll grant him this, he ate up a bunch of minutes at a relatively cheap salary which I’m ashamed to admit Portland has needed the past few seasons.
2. I am an Oregon Duck alumni with close ties to the Althletic Department, and have very fond memories of Freddy Jones. Or “Fred” Jones, as he’s apparently known by now. I am a few years younger than my co-author and was a few years older than Freddy at U of O, but he was one of the rocks of Oregon basketball’s heydey and I’ve seen him play live more times than I can count. I am realistic about his skills but nonetheless excited to have him on Portland’s roster.
Now a few notes about the trade:
- I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that thinks “don’t we already have Freddy on the roster? His name is Travis Outlaw.” But they play different positions, so I suppose you can get by with two uber-athletic streaky players in the same rotation. Freddy got a chance to start for several games two years ago after the Artest/Pistons brawl and put up some good numbers. But he’s never been consistent.
- However, I like what Freddy brings to the team. It’s clear that he’ll be a part of the second line along with Sergio, Webster, Outlaw and LaMarcus. There’s not a lot of defense there, but that’s four legitimate threats running the break. I worry a little about Freddy and Webster’s dual abilities to disappear, and there will be nights when that lineup gets abused like a blowup doll at a bachelor party, but they’ll be fun to watch.
- Freddy’s defense is nothing spectacular, but it’s an upgrade over Juan Dixon. He’s bigger and stronger, and you don’t have to worry about your backcourt being waaay too small like you did with Juan. This also allows Roy to slide over and play some PG without having a defensive liability alongside him in the backcourt.
- Freddy is listed as a “G/F”, but he will definitely play the “2” in Portland. Let’s get that out of the way right now. A byproduct of this is that any backup minutes that Martell Webster was getting at the “2” will probably go away; he’s going to primarily play as a “3” for at least this season. And speaking of Martell Webster, if Darius Miles does indeed come back next season, I don’t see where Webster would get minutes.
- Throwing in that Freddy committed to not excercising his player option in 2 seasons AND that Portland gets future considerations, and this deal just keeps looking better and better.
I’ll be participating in a Q&A session with the guys over at RaptorsHQ, one of the Toronto Raptor blogs, to share thoughts as well and will let you know when they post it.