Welcome to the next installment of "Cap'n Hack's Not Necessarily Wolves Specific Basketball Thoughts." Though, this one is pretty important to Wolves related news, what with Rubio coming over and all, so maybe I should have waited on that title, but since "not necessarily" does not mean "never ever," I'm sticking with it. ANYWAY, let's begin.
Fact: Creating a shot for yourself is less valuable that creating shots for yourself and the four other guys on the floor with you.
Opinion: Ball movement is way more fun to watch than Iso basketball.
That, my friends, is why the Knicks are idiots for going to get Melo instead of Deron Williams. It's why I'd much rather have Steve Nash than Zach Randolph. It's also why there's no such thing as a superteam until we see signs up to play with Chris Paul next off-season, why I'm excited about the post-Monta Ellis era in Golden State and why Ricky Rubio is untouchable while Mike Beasley is surplus to requirements in MN. 1<5. Basic math, people.
With all the young talent at the point guard spot, we might be in for a golden era in NBA basketball (assuming there is NBA basketball sometime within the next few years). It also allows for interesting ways to construct a roster. If you have an elite distributor, it significantly reduces your need to add guys like Hedo Turkoglu to your team just to have an extra guy creating shots for you. You don't need two iso scorers if you know how to free up your point guard with a simple pick (and don't let your point guard take on LeBron James by himself for no apparent reason). If he gets space, your team will get a shot. In an off-season that might see the amount of money teams can use to fill up their rosters substantially cut, the value of guys like that will only go up.
Think about it, what's the most expensive role to fill, relative to value for a team? For me, it's not close--it's iso scorers. What's cheap? Rebounders, shooters, defensive specialists, etc. You know, just those guys that I like to call everyone else in the NBA. For the purposes of this post, I won't even argue with that system of attaching value to players. It is what it is, and will probably be that way for a while. With that in mind, getting someone who is going to create as many open looks for his cheap, replaceable teammates is probably the most useful kind of player to have in the NBA today. So, hey, congratulations on bringing a guy like that to the Target Center!
The argument against loading a team up with efficient scorers who don't create for themselves is invalidated by a dominant point guard. Kevin Love can't carry a team as the #1 scoring option, but he sure kicks ass in the Ray Allen "I'm going to make whatever shots you can get me, and am willing to take a whole bunch of them" role. Michael Beasley is a really bad first option, but if Ricky Rubio is picking his spots for him, you can bet most of them will be at the rim and not long 2s with a hand in his face. Hell, you don't even need Beasley for that. Anyone who's fast and likes dunking can do that job. High usage, low efficiency players are all but useless when you've got a first class distributor. It's all about making good shots, not creating bad ones.
So, that's fantastic news for anyone with a good pass-first floor general running the show. If you have CP3, Ricky Rubio, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, or someone else to ably fill that role, and an ounce of competence in the Front Office (here's where you'll really find out if Kahn is worth a damn--this isn't a hard team to build), you should have a playoff team. Fill these teams with guys who can make open looks and not leak points on the other end, and there's no excuse for being in the lottery. Sadly, that's exactly where a couple of these guys should expect to be next year. Now, the Wolves and Nets have an excuse. They haven't had much time to assemble the aggressively simple model I've just explained. If I'm Kahn, I'm trading Beasley for the first 3 point shooter I'm offered as long as he can tread water defensively, finding out if the Randolph/Love frontcourt combo can work consistently, and telling Wes Johnson that he's making 500 3s every single day until the season starts. A Randolph/Love/Wes/Webster/Ricky starting 5 with Darko or Pek/Williams/3pt shooter/Ridnour rounding out the rotation might actually be halfway decent, and by the time Rubio's got a hang of this NBA thing, should bust out of the lottery. That team is fast, and if Wes and Ricky turn into the defensive players we hope they can be, it's actually not bad on that end, either. Team building is about maximizing value. The presence of a great passer makes a huge difference for a team. Make some shots, Wolves.