A player the Bucks should be interested in
If the Bucks are ever going to rise to prominence again, it is imperative that they seek out, find, and acquire undervalued assets. You can't wait around for the draft, and you certainly cannot count on "cap space". To my mind, there is no more undervalued asset in the NBA today than Knicks PF David Lee. By every statistical measure, this guy's got it. To me, he's the new Dave Cowens. Yet the Knicks seem willing to get rid of him (probably because he doesn't have a big "name" or an overbloated contract).
What he does have are productive numbers. He's in the top 10 in the entire Association in productive efficiency, with an Eff48 of 30.28. And his on-court and Win statistics are exceptional, especially when you consider how bad the Knicks are, and when you compare his numbers to those of his teammates. Moreover, according to 82games "Player Pair" statistics, no matter who you combine him with on the awful Knicks, you get a positive result. That's an astonishing statement about his worth.
He's the only Knick player with a Win percentage of at least 50%, and most of the rest aren't even close. And look at his Win statistics compared to his frontcourt mates on the Knicks. His backup Channing Frye's Win percentage is only 40%. And the much more highly regarded (and completely overrated) Eddy Curry's Win percentage is an abysmal 39%. Lee is a difference maker.
If all that is not enough, consider that he would bring to the Bucks in general, and Andrew Bogut in particular, the very qualities they most need in a power forward. He's rugged, athletic, and he rebounds like a banshie. He would add toughness and glass production that the Bucks desperately need, and he would help cover up the weak areas in Andrew Bogut's game. He would be a great addition.
How would such a deal get done? Two possible ways. The Knicks reportedly are interested in both Yi Jianlian and Mo Williams. I have said that I would not trade Yi Jianlian because it would constitute a cave-in to pressure. But I will make an exception. If the Bucks can make a deal for a proven commodity like Lee, I would do it. If such a deal were made, it would not constitute a cave-in by the team, it would be a successful parlay. The Bucks will have traded a highly speculative asset in Yi and gotten in return an asset who has proven his productive value. You'd have to do it.
What about a sign-and-trade for Mo Williams? Obviously this would leave the Bucks without a proven point guard, and the salary numbers would somehow have to be made to match up. Nevertheless, I would make the deal in a heartbeat. I think the upgrade in Lee would more than compensate for the perceived downgrade at the point guard position (I say perceived because, as I pointed out in my last post, the Bucks really haven't been successful with Williams at the point). I think you can get an equivalent Mo Williams far more easily than you can get an equivalent David Lee.
As always, a move like this would require a great deal of guts from Larry Harris. I can hear the reaction from casual Bucks fans now... who the fuck is David Lee? Well, I'll bet Spurs fans asked similar questions earlier this decade... who the fuck is Emmanuel Ginobli?... who the fuck is Tony Parker? Three championships later, and I think those fans of that small market team know who those guys are. They're highly productive players, and they're winners. So is David Lee.