Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Al Jefferson to Utah

Boozer out, Jefferson in. I think this is a done deal, so I will comment on it, first from a basketball perspective, then a general one.

Jefferson is younger, a bit taller, and longer than Boozer. He gets slightly fewer boards, but more offensive ones. While he isn't much of a one-on-one defender, he does block significantly more shots. Also, some of his defensive inabilities may be because of the defensive system (or lack of a system) that the Timerwolves ran. Okur is not going to help clean his mistakes, but with two shot-blockers on next years roster (Al and AK), the Jazz can be tougher inside. His defensive rating is significantly worse than Boozer's (108 to 102), but I think Sloan can help him get back to his Boston days when he was a 103. The Wolves really had no defensive personnel, so that could be part of it (defensive rating is a measure of how many points a player gives up per 100 minutes, the lower the better).

On offense, Al scores more, but has a worse shooting percentage (Carlos has the 56th best effective field-goal of all time). Again, I think this will increase as a result of Utah's best-shot offense and better passing from the point position. Free throws are a problem, but they are for many bigs. I think the starkest immediate difference is that Carlos is a superior passer, but you can see that in his first year in Sloan's system, he increased his assist average 50% and his assist % by 6 percent. Al has slowly become a better passer, and he is comparable to pre-Utah Boozer.

So you get a younger, longer Boozer, with the ability to go up against bigger players (he has played the 5 before). He is signed through three years, with his salary going up to $15 million. The best part is, because the Jazz got a trade exception from the Boozer deal (they can trade for players without sending back equal salary), they only give up picks (which Minnesota prefers). And any time you can add a starting big for a few non-lottery future draft picks, it's a good deal.

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