Had an interesting discussion with a Nets fan (Shane) this morning on whether it’s Andrew Bynum or Brook Lopez who presents the best trade-bait for Dwight Howard… here ’tis:
Shane: What’s your feel on the Dwight Howard situation? It’s weird as hell to see someone prefer the Nets over the Lakers, who’re the preeminent franchise in NBA history…
Don: I think if he’s traded, then he goes to the Lakers. If the Magic hold onto him in the misguided hope he stays… he’s a Net.
I just don’t see them biting on a deal based around Lopez… but my gut is saying that Otis Smith really is that delusional (thinking that Dwight *might* stay in Orlando).
Shane: I think Lopez and MarShon and whatever they can get with picks is a pretty solid haul if the Lakers aren’t moving Gasol and Bynum for him. What do you think about the report that Kobe and Howard talked, and that turned him off from joining the Lakers?
Don: I think it’s BS.
Ken Berger reported on that: “Despite assertions to the contrary, the Lakers remain firmly on Howard’s list of three teams he’s asked to be traded to, along with the Nets and Mavericks, multiple people familiar with the situation said.”
And I think that if you’re Orlando, Lopez simply doesn’t work as a centerpiece. It’s not a bad deal per se, but not when you can have Bynum. Bynum/Gasol is ridiculous, and I’d be very surprised if Kupchak considered it.
Shane: I value Bynum and Lopez very closely because of Bynum’s injury history…
Don: Well, you may well do – and that’s obviously your prerogative… but Lopez isn’t anywhere near the player Bynum is. Once upon a time it was a near thing. Not any more.
Lopez isn’t exactly injury free either…
Shane: He has a foot issue that Robin Lopez bounced back from very well and hasn’t had any chronic problems with. I don’t think it’s a huge deal. Bynum is a very good player, no doubt, but when he’s hurt as often as he is, his value is hugely mitigated.
He’s also played with terrible teams offensively. Would love to see how he’d do with Deron. I feel like his rebounding will bounce back now that his calcium deposit was removed. His defense will still be an issue, and Bynum clearly has the edge there.
Don: Fair ‘nough. That’s your opinion – you asked for mine. Mine is that Bynum’s substantially more valuable. He’s only 6 months older than Lopez, and is playing All Star level basketball at the moment. He’s uninjured, healthy – and probably the second best center in the league.
Shane… Bynum has the edge on Lopez in any metric you care to use.
Shane: Not saying your opinion is invalid or that I’m necessarily right.
Lopez is clearly a better offensive player, while Bynum has the edge defensively and on the boards. He’s a great player, better than Lopez clearly. But knee injuries on big men are serious issues.
Don: As of now, Lopez isn’t as good on offense.
Again, I understand what you’re saying about playing with an elite point – but that’s not something Bynum has the advantage of, and you have to remember that Bynum plays with Kobe/Gasol – which has it’s advantages (you can’t really double team Drew), and disadvantages (less looks on offense).
Both are in very different situations, but simply looking at them ‘as-they-are’, as I stated before: Bynum has the edge on Lopez by any measure.
Some areas only a bit, others by a substantial margin.
Shane: Kobe and Gasol are both much better passers than anyone Lopez has played with besides Vince Carter during his rookie season. He’s never had a PG who knows how to competently run a pick and roll. Odom worked great with Bynum as well.
I would agree that Bynum is the 2nd best center in the league while healthy. But how long will he hold up, especially with increased minutes? After a while freak injuries stop being freak injuries and have to be classified as chronic. Look at his games played record. It’s astounding how many games he’s missed. That’s a huge loss of value.
Don: True… but Kobe and Gasol also take a far larger slice of the offense than anyone Lopez has to contend with.
His potential is far, far greater than that of Lopez. Brook simply isn’t a guy you’d build around – whereas Bynum may well be.
It comes down to: do you want the guy who’ll possibly spend more time on the floor, be a good piece – but nothing more. Or the guy who is a greater chance of injury (and this is the true variable), but could be a cornerstone…
Funny how we’re discussing this, and it’s Lopez who isn’t playing today.
What are your thoughts?