Stein: Magic strongly considering trading Howard pre-season

via Marc Stein’s twitter account:!/ESPNSteinLine/status/142454581790650369

As for teams in the hunt, the top two teams at this moment are:

  • The Nets, whose primary trade chip is a 7’2″ jump shooter with poor defensive and rebounding skills, and
  • The Lakers, whose primary trade chip is a 7’1″ knee injury waiting to happen, and that’s suspended for the first five games of the season for throwing at elbow at a guy that may literally be half his weight.

Now, I know I rag on Brook often (most recently two sentences ago), but I do wonder if the narrative of Brook outstripped the reality somewhere along the way. In the summer of 2011, Brook fought a nasty bit of mononucleosis, never really recovered, and still didn’t miss as much as a quarter all season. Despite seeing his field goal percentage sink into the low 40%’s in the middle of the season, he still finished the year with 49.9% shooting on over 20 points per game. Only one other center matched those numbers, and the Nets are trying to trade for him now.

As for Brook’s rebounding, his rebound rate shrunk from 15.8% his rookie season to 13.5% his sophomore campaign to 10% last year. That’s an anomaly, not a rule. With Humphries and mononucleosis gone, his rebound rate should be closer to the first two numbers than the third.

As far as this past summer? Oh, you know, just working out with Hakeem Olajuwon.

Brook is still one of the most talented offensive centers in the league, a premier low-post scorer in a league that has few of them. Is he a top-20 player in the NBA? Absolutely not. But let’s not act like he’s worthless, or a throw-in trade chip that’s a major step below some of the other talent the Magic could acquire.