On paper, this looks good. Especially when you look at per-minute stats. In almost all categories, Blake far out-paces incumbent Derek Fisher, even though he played last year as a backup PG on two teams. Effective FG%, assist %, average assists, 3-point shooting, defensive rating, all point to Blake as the superior player. Oh, and he's 6 years younger. And he's only going to cost you $4 million a year. He's enough of a vet that I think Phil will trust him with the offense and I think he will help their ball movement more than Fisher. Not that Fisher was bad, obviously, he proved last season he has some major playoff chops, but Fisher expends so much energy on defense and is getting to the point where, on the offensive end, the ball is really put into play by Kobe. So like I said, on paper, it works.
I just don't have a good gut feeling about this. I'll give you one stat. Win shares. Fish's last year's were the worst since he was in Utah. Last year, he was at a 3.9. But guess what Blake had. For the Clippers, he was at 0.9. These are numbers from basketball-reference.com (plug!). You can look them up. Fine, you say, the Clippers flat out didn't win. Well look at Portland: and that with what he had in L.A., and he comes out at 3.3. And you look at his history, and that's pretty much his ceiling (outside of one good season, his previous season in Portland). I don't know what it is about this guy, his stats tell a good tale and I'm sure he's a great guy, but the dude just isn't a winner. It's like asking someone the difference between Patrick Ewing and Robert Horry. I know that is an absurd comparison, but Horry has eight rings.
And that in with Fisher's playoff chops, and I don't know if L.A. didn't find someone who's not even as good as Fish, much less a replacement. I don't know. And even though he's 6 years younger than Fish, he is still 30. What you see is what you get. And do know they could have had Luke Ridnour for cheaper? I understand that at this point, Luke is regarded as a backup PG, but his win-share was 6.2 last year, and 3.4 the year before on an absolutely MORIBUND team, I mean, they lost Redd that year, they fired their coach, it was a mess. And he had a higher win-share than Blake.
I don't know. To me, Blake is a backup PG, and L.A. is overpaying for him when they could have had Ridnour. Of course, what they really need is someone to step in and be the PG of the future, and Luke is 29. What about a 26 year-old who had a win-share of 6.5 last season? That would be Raymond Felton, someone else who's regarded as a marginal starter. But he is only 26. And who knows if Brown developed him right. Or a 28 year-old who had a bad year last year for a dysfunctional, but otherwise is around a 5 win-share? That would be Chris Duhon. Or a 24 year-old with a 4.3 win-share last season? That would be Kyle Lowry. I mean, I hate to look at just one number and tell the tale of a guy. But I have a hard time understanding how L.A. came to the conclusion that Steve Blake was their guy.