Friday, July 25, 2008

Losing Josh Childress, Gaining Maurice Evans

Aside from that, how was the play?

So now we move on.

Separating the basketball part of Losing Josh Childress from the infrastructural part is both easy and hard.

You can justify the millions of reasons why it made sense to let Chill ride off into the Grecian sunset, but you can't divorce the way the Hawks seemed to have handled the whole thing.

But---since we spent yesterday mourning and promised to move on to the hardcourt part of the equation, we will.

But we can't forget---and something tells us we won't be allowed to, either.

So, what does Losing Josh Childress mean for the Hawks in terms of wins and losses? How does a player who this writer always considered to be a role player (albeit a good and productive role player) have a significant impact on the team's fortunes for next season?

For those who want to wax rhapsodic about the emotional part of looking over and not seeing #1's trademark afro I say that will not carry over at all next season. As soon as the ball is tossed up in the first game, that part of Losing Josh Childress will cease to exist.

The on the court game, however, will be noticed.

At 6'8, Childress provided a very long defense along the perimeter and excellent rebounding from the 2/3 position that he was asked to man coming off the bench. He scored without needing a play run for him through his hustle and excellent length and athleticism. He even ran the point a bit for the team after the Bibby deal and Mike's subsequent injury.

Statistically, according to ESPN's John Hollinger's PER system, Childress ranked 9th among all small forwards last season (17.84), between Josh Howard and a resurgent Hedo Turkoglu and ahead of such names as Gerald Wallace, Andrei Kirilenko, Luol Deng, Kevin Durant, and Tayshaun Prince.

Although he averaged 29.9 mpg (a major thorn in his paw, by the way), and having to adjust to the uncertainty of coming off the bench, he managed to be very productive and efficient in his time on the floor.

He was one of a few players in the backcourt area that could average 50% FG and 80% FT shooting, and given the grief he took about his shooting style, them's some good numbers. Good things happened when Chill was on the floor, as his Roland Rating was one of only three Hawks with a positive rating (Johnson, Smith).

He was/is a glue guy, a player who supplements the contributions of the core players. The best do this efficiently and consistently, just like Childress.

Now, how much to pay a glue guy has been defined by deals to Shane Battier (6/36, 11.69 PER), and most recently James Posey (4/25, 12.08 PER), so one could say that Childress' supersized Euro offer was more than the Hawks should have paid, but one look at the numbers he put up and the numbers of his supposed contemporaries and maybe we labeled the guy too fast.

At any rate, Losing Josh Childress will be felt---but it will mostly on the court as the Hawks will scramble to replace that key production off the bench.

Hawks Sign Mo Evans

Billed as the replacement for Josh Childress at a bargain price (3 years and 7.5 million), Evans is a considerably less productive player than the man he replaces.

Shorter (6'5 to Childress' 6'8), and older (30 to 25) Evans must now try to fill the shoes of the ultra-efficient sixth man. To compare, Evans had a 13.96 PER according to Hollinger and that was close to his previous season high two years prior.

His shooting is considerably worse than Childress. His career high of .481 was 90 points less than Childress. 90 points. Wow.

Across the board, Evans' rate numbers are worse than Childress. He is said to be a tenacious defender, thereby making up for some offensive shortcomings but his Roland Rating was -3.8.

Color us unimpressed with the signing, as it looks like the Hawks replaced a thriving, growing, productive player who could start on many teams with a firmly entrenched bench player, who shouldn't start anywhere.

Realistically, I don't think we can expect Evans to get better with age, and certainly not taller/longer--and his spike last year might have been his last.

To put the next three years of Evans at age 30, 31, and 32 against what might have been the prime of Childress (25, 26, and 27) is to say that the Hawks have some more to do to replace Childress, but if signing less productive guys at a discount prices to fill the minutes is how they plan to do it, it sure won't make people forget about Losing Josh Childress.

No comments: