SH Blog: The 3-Man Weave, Week 1

Adding a tough, veteran ballhandler and confident scorer to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant would be fun to watch, especially the way this Thunder team is scoring this season. Dating back to his days at Georgia Tech and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Bynum has always been an underdog and adding that mentality to an Oklahoma City team that already has a chip on its shoulder would only further their competitiveness, specifically in the second unit when Westbrook is off the court, where they could use a diminutive guard to make things happen (a la Harden, in a way) even more than Reggie Jackson and Eric Maynor have done this season.

Bynum is playing just 18 minutes per game and averaging 9 points (45%) and 3.2 assists, but he’s capable of breaking out on any given night. Watching him come off the bench as a spark plug for the Thunder would be a treat, and I actually think it would make them the more dangerous team this season, given the ability to plug him into a talented squad that he’d fit well with off the bat.

That being said, Jefferson to the Spurs is a more than worthwhile topic of conversation. He would provide not only a big man in the middle for this year, but for when Duncan retires as well. I’d be very happy for Al Jeff to get to play down in San Antonio for Popovich and I’d like to see what he can do, especially if they can stay completely healthy down the stretch heading into the playoffs and he and Duncan can get some time together.

I just think it helps the Thunder more immediately.

Maxwell Ogden: Both of these moves would improve each respective teams on paper. Each would improve the respective teams on the court, as well. The difference here is one move would significantly deplete a team of depth and the other would add it. The difference here, however, is that the Spurs would be pairing two All-Star caliber big men in a league in which small ball is consistently overcome by dominant bigs.

It just so happens that there aren’t very many dominant bigs.

Will Bynum would change everything in Oklahoma City and further solidify the Thunder as the top dogs in the Western Conference. With that being said, Al Jefferson consistently flirts with 20 and 10, while Tim Duncan is playing better than any other power forward in the NBA. Together, they’d own a significant advantage over an interior of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

Besides, how much depth would San Antonio actually lose? Their perimeter is a never-ending crop of talent.

Ben BaroffIf the Spurs are able to acquire Al Jefferson from the Jazz, it’s going to be hard seeing any other team come out of the West – even the Thunder with Will Bynum – especially if the road goes through San Antonio.

If  the Spurs could swap out Steven Jackson, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills for Jefferson, that would give SA four players in the top-30 of the Hollinger PER ratings – the most of any team. Jefferson is 27th overall, and just a fraction away from the top-20. To score high on this scale you have to be a solid player across the board, which is exactly what Jefferson is.

Big Al doesn’t get a lot of PR out in Utah, so to give you an idea of the talent group he resides in, he is sandwiched between Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins and David West, LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee.

Pretty good company.

If healthy, the Spurs go-to lineup would be Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, Jefferson and Duncan.

Wow.

Aside from Jefferson’s talent and scoring acumen, two big factors at play here are that he replaces a late-game liability in Tiago Splitter (a train wreck at the free throw line) and is a perfect matchup against OKC’s Kendrick Perkins, a player who never gets his due for the instrumental role he played in defeating the Spurs in last years WCF.

If Pop really wants to stick it to Stern, then he needs to go get Big-Al.

Lay-it-up: What has been your biggest disappointment from the first half of the season? Most pleasant surprise?

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  3. Dan says

    Yeah…you lost me when you said that Kendrick Perkins was the key to the Thunder’s playoff run last season. Perk was consistently awful throughout the playoffs.

    Dumping Splitter for Al Jefferson would basically be a lateral move. They would give up a younger player with a favorable contract for a guy that, as stepxxxxz points out, is a liability defensively. I agree that he is more talented than Splitter and would improve the Spurs’ offense in the paint, but I’m not sure that he really makes the Spurs better overall.

  4. stepxxxxz says

    well, consider this a minority opinion but Id rather have splitter than jefferson ……watch utah games this year and watch Big Al NEVER PLAY A SECOND of defense. I shudder to think of pop dealing with that. Maybe pop can get al to play D……….if anyone can………but i dont like this chemistry at all. I have always seen jefferson as among the most overrated players in the leauge, big or small. Splitter is having a terrific year………and honestly, Id rather have his defense and intelligence than Al posting up …..and his ball stopping routine offensively.

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