NBA

The Great NBA Point Guard Migration

Trade One

Atlanta trades PG Jeff Teague to Indiana
Indiana trades PG George Hill to Utah
Utah trades the #12 pick in the 2016 draft to Atlanta

We knew the Hawks were shopping Teague, as playing Dennis Schroeder over him in the playoffs was a fairly big tip off. But we didn’t know the Pacers were open to moving Hill. He has been their main constant over the last half decade, even somehow leading Indiana to 38 wins without Paul George last year. It seems strange they’d want to move on, but both point guards’ playing styles are similar and last season’s stats reflect that.

George: 12 PPG, 3.5 APG, 4 RPG, 1 SPG, 44/40/76 shooting
Teague: 16 PPG, 6 APG, 3 RPG, 1 SPG, 44/40/84 shooting

Teague also played fewer minutes per game and is two years younger. With Paul George in his prime and Myles Turner showing promise, skewing the team younger around them makes sense.

Conversely, the Jazz could go for a veteran leader to help their younger, unproven talent. Hill is that. Dante Exum is still healing from ACL surgery and he’s unquestionably a better option than Trey Burke or Raul Neto. He works defensively as well, and will presumably bring a much stronger immediate impact than whatever the #12 pick would.

Speaking of that pick, it’s a solid pickup for Atlanta, who didn’t want Teague (whose contract expires after the season) long-term. Indiana plans to extend his contract but they’ll have to pay, something the Hawks clearly weren’t interested in. The pick will come much cheaper and make it easier to repay their free agents this summer like Al Horford and Kent Bazemore.

As crazy as it seems, this swap actually looks like it will benefit everyone. Most trades appear lopsided at first, especially in three-teamers, where one team normally gets a comparatively raw deal. Time will tell, but at first glance this looks like a fair deal where everyone made a smart move they can be happy with.

Trade Two

Chicago trades PG Derrick Rose, SG Justin Holiday, and a 2017 2nd round pick to New York
New York trades C Robin Lopez, PG Jose Calderon, and PG Jerian Grant to Chicago

This is one is just sad. Rose was the hometown kid, destined to be the hometown hero. A whole lot of bad breaks later, he’s being shipped off to the Knicks. What he’s destined to become there is impossible to say.

It’s still unclear what Rose is. Last season was wildly inconsistent. He could show flashes of the MVP-level play he had before the injuries, but mostly his shooting and efficiency dropped and it was clear his athleticism wasn’t 100% back full-time.

2010-11 Rose: 25 PPG, 8 APG, 4 RPG, 1 SPG, 45/33/86 shooting
2015-16 Rose: 16 PPG, 5 APG, 3 RPG, 1 SPG, 43/30/80 shooting

Efficiency was never how Rose got things done, but his athleticism created opportunities mostly for himself but also his teammates that counterbalanced low percentages. This was perfect for a defensive team where he was essentially the only true scorer. Unfortunately, that was five years ago.

This leaves two scenarios for Rose and the Knicks. And in true Knicks fashion, neither of them are ideal.

Scenario 1: Rose never reclaims his position as an all-star caliber point guard. He’ll be a decent, if inefficient point guard that will have to take a backseat to Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. That’s not quite what you’d like from a player you gave up a quality center and a young guard to get.

Scenario 2: Rose becomes what he used to be, or something close to it. He’s an elite athletic scorer once again. That’s great, but uhhhhh, there’s still a problem. Now New York has two or possibly three players capable of being lead scorers, including one who’s already shown he’s uncomfortable sharing that role. Some difficult would have to be made to keep everyone happy. Good luck with that.

As for the Bulls, Jimmy Butler’s unofficial role as team leader is now official. The new point guards will step aside to his ball dominance and he’ll be free to play more like a James Harden, assuming he works on his three point shooting. The arrival of Lopez probably means that Joakim Noah won’t be returning, and Pau Gasol seems unlikely as well.

One can assume this is part of Fred Hoiberg’s plan to get younger and faster. Nikola Mirotic would move to the four spot full time alongside Lopez. Chicago will need to add more shooting around Butler and his attacking but you can see where the team is headed. Moving Rose is an unfortunate situation for personal and emotional reasons, but seems to make sense for basketball reasons.

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