Grading the MCW-Knight Trade

Phoenix Suns

Received: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall

In 2012 the Suns had drafted Kendall Marshall, who at the time was regarded as the second best point guard in the draft. It was definitely a weak draft for point guards, but most draft experts predicted better production from the former Tarheel. It’s difficult to say how much he will impact the game for Suns, since he’s not very quick. This hurts him a lot defensively and limits his offensive potential as well.

The biggest piece the Suns got in this trade is obviously Brandon Knight, who was having a career year. He arguably should have been named an All-Star over Kyle Korver. He’s only 23 years old, averaging almost 18 PPG, 5 APG, and 4 RPG. All of those are career highs, as is field goal and 3 point percentages. Per ESPN.com, he’s tied with Steph Curry at 16th in the league for 3 point percentage.

The biggest question is on Knight will replace Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. Let’s compare Knight and Dragic, since Knight will be playing most of his minutes. First let’s look at their defensive and offensive rating scores. Remember, a higher offensive rating is a better score, but a higher offensive rating is a worse score.

As you can see Knight has the better defensive rating by 6 points and a worse offensive rating by 8 points, per Basketball-Reference.com. We can explain part these ratings party by understanding, the pace of each player’s team. Per ESPN.com, the Suns have the second largest pace factor, which is the number of possessions a team uses in a game, in the league at 99.3, only behind the Warriors. The Bucks are ranked 14th in the league for pace factor.

Knight’s offensive numbers and defensive numbers are likely to both be higher due to the high octane Suns’ offense. That being said, he still is somewhat of a better defender than Dragic. He also is a better shooter from 3 point land. Dragic is the better passer and floor general. The largest difference between the two players is their age. Knight is only 23 and Dragic is in his prime at 28. Besides all that, the players are similar in a lot of ways, which makes it seem very plausible that Knight will play well in Phoenix too.

Overall, the Suns didn’t have to give up very much for Knight. They have up a protected first round pick that is top 5 protected from the Lakers. The biggest issue is if they can resign Knight after this year. He will be a restricted free agent, so the chances are high that do resign him.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks

Received: Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee

The Bucks starting five has some crazy length now with Michael Carter-Williams. Ennis and Plumlee are nice young pieces, but both will be role players for most of their career. Ennis has spent most of his early NBA career on the bench for a crowded Suns’ backcourt. He might be able to be a starter eventually but not anytime soon. His ceiling might be like George Hill, though that is being somewhat generous.

It is a little puzzling why the Sixers traded the former rookie of the year. However, his numbers have gone down from a year before. Also, it is important to note that Sixers’ roster is probably the weakest in the league. A player’s numbers get inflated on a bad team, and this can be applied to MCW.

Which team is third in the league in 3 point field goal percentage? Did you guess the Bucks? Well if you did, major props. Knight and Mayo definitely help in that field, but now with MCW replacing Knight that percentage should fall down. Let’s see where MCW gets most of his points on the court from:

Per Basketball-Reference.com

There is some silver lining for MCW on the Bucks. They don’t shoot that many threes. They are ranked 25th in the league in three point attempts. Yet, there is something else that should worry Bucks’ fans about Carter-Williams. His turnovers. He’s third in the league in turnovers at 4.2 TOPG, per ESPN.com. If he can lower his turnovers and improve his shooting, then MCW can make a huge jump. From these past two years, I have my doubts on him improving in these categories. Nonetheless, he’s only 23 and still has plenty of time to put his game together. Knight is also 23 and was having an All-Star year. Hence, the Bucks probably lost this trade, although they got deeper.

Grade: C-

Philadelphia 76ers

Received: 2015 Protected 1st Round Pick (from LAL)

Doesn’t this smell like a typical Sam Hinkie trade? Trade current talent for draft picks. They traded former rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. However, Hinkie doesn’t believe that he is the future point guard for the team. Let’s examine what exactly they got in return for him.

The pick the received is a top 5 protected pick from the Lakers. Per RealGM.com that pick will turn into a top 3 protected pick the next two years if they Lakers finish with a top 5 pick. Currently the Lakers have the fourth worst record in the league. They have five less wins then the 5th worst team. Hence, they are likely to finish with a bottom four record. So even if a team with a better record jumps within the top 3, they will still have a top 5 pick.

A top four pick would be ideal in this year’s draft, but since that’s not possible for the Sixers, they will probably get the pick the year after. The Lakers will get Kobe next year, a top pick, a healthy Ranlde, and possibly some key free agents. As a result, the Lakers will have a better record that this year, but it’s still likely to be a top ten pick. Will that be player picked be better than Carter-Williams? It’s hard to say, but so far Hinkie has drafted quite well.

Grade: C+