I came across this information from NetsDaily, and when I read the title I did a double take. “It couldn’t have been straight up could it?” I said to myself. When I realized it was a proposed straight up deal, I was initially shocked. The Nets just turned down the #2 pick of the 2008 draft because they didn’t want to give up a role player who will more than likely be cut by the Nets. There was (and probably still is) a bit of outrage, and I was right there with them…
Then I thought about it some more, and you know what? This is a very smart move by Rod Thorn. I’m not even talking about the cap situations, which you guys probably already know about (only $500,000 of Dooling’s contract counts against the books if he is dropped by the 29th vs. Beasley’s nearly $5,000,000). This was a smart move because the Nets already have a better version of Michael Beasley on their roster, Yi Jianlian (and if you want to talk about salary, Yi’s contract for next year is about 1 million less than Beasley’s). This isn’t a joke either, I am dead serious.
Now, I am all about upgrading the huge hole at the PF spot (because there is one), but Beasley isn’t the one to do it. Preferable, we need an inside guy to start the game with a “stretch 4” coming off the bench. Yi is that “stretch 4.” Bringing in Michael Beasley doesn’t fix that problem, since he basically does the same thing as Yi. Don’t believe that Beasley is a stretch 4? He shot 104 threes last year. What’s worse he shot 27.5% while shooting over 100 threes. That’s not the only similarity (with Yi winning out) between the two
Here are a few numbers from the fantastic tool, MySynergySports (a tool that tells you how successful a player is in certain situations – and even lets you watch video of it):
- Michael Beasley – 325 possessions (24.5% of total)/.83 PPP (Points per possessions)/10.2% Turnovers
- Yi Jianlian – 90 possessions (12.5%)/.71 PPP/6.7% Turnovers
- Michael Beasley – 76 possessions (5.7% of total)/.71 PPP/14.5% Turnovers
- Yi Jianlian – 108 possessions (15%)/.86 PPP/10.2% Turnovers
- Michael Beasley – 344 possessions (25.9% of total)/.86 PPP/5.8% Turnovers
- Yi Jianlian – 224 possessions (31.1%)/.88 PPP/4.5% Turnovers
So what does all this information tell us? Well both players love to spot up, with Yi being more effective at it (scoring more points per possession), but it is not by much, so you can say they are basically the same. Beasley likes to work out of ISO sets and is more effective than Yi at it, while Yi likes to post up more and is more effective at that. The big thing for me is the whole ISO thing. The Nets don’t need a PF to work out of ISO sets (and more importantly, there probably won’t be a ton of opportunities to do it). They need someone who is willing to post up and work inside the paint with Brook Lopez.
I know what you are thinking, “Yi has always shown glimpses on offense, but he’s soft. Beasley is tougher.” Hmm…nope. Turns out Yi is a better rebound, willing to take more charges (though they both don’t do it much), and he blocks more shots. Here is the breakdown from Hoopdata.
Ok fine. Maybe Yi is a little tougher, but remember how bad Yi was on defense? Michael Beasley HAS to be a better defender, right? Not so fast my friend…
Now, the top is Beasley’s numbers and the bottom is Yi’s. Not that it matters though, because they rank exactly the same overall on defense (I didn’t have the room to post the whole thing, but bascially Beasley holds his man to a lower shooting percentage, and Yi is able to force more turnovers, leveling everything out). I didn’t watch a ton of Heat games, but I did watch just about every Net game, and being tied with Yi on anything to do with defense isn’t a good thing at all.
In my opinion, this should bascially end any discussion of should the deal be made. Do the Nets need a power forward? Yes, very much so. Should it be Beasley? No. Yes, the Nets could trade for Beasley then move Yi, but that doesn’t make sense either, since you can argue that Yi fits what the Nets do and the personal better than Beasley does (at a lower cost).