BucksNation: Where a billion fewer fans happens
I just thought of something. Remember how last season the Bucks were making such a big deal out of the "one billion" new Bucks fans? Does that mean BucksNation just experienced a population decline of epic proportions? I guess so.
I say good riddance to them. Those "billion new fans" weren't really Bucks fans at all, and anyway, I was a little annoyed at the way the Bucks marketing campaign focused on their Chinese pseudo fanbase at the expense of the hardcore Antlerhead lifers who comprise the heart and soul of BucksNation.
Back to Yesterday's Trade
Yesterday I hastily produced a Win Chart comparing the 2007-08 performance of Richard Jefferson with that of Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. The chart had all the correct information, but I put it together so fast it turned out unreadable. I apologize. Let me reset that with a new and better chart.
Reviewing the Conclusions Drawn
The chart basically outlines the below average contribution made to the Nets by Richard Jefferson and the even further below average contributions made to the Bucks by Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.
Technically, Richard Jefferson's play had a slightly more negative impact on the Nets success than either Yi or Simmons individually had on the Bucks success. But that's only because Jefferson played a lot more minutes than either Yi or Simmons. In fact his percentage of Net playing minutes about equaled the combined percentage of Buck minutes consumed by Yi and Simmons. Technically then, if you add Yi's Win Contribution with Simmons' Win Contribution and compare that new number to Jefferson's Win Contribution, you get a better picture of the present value of the trade for each team. (Correction: Bobby Simmons play was actually so bad that even though he consumed half the playing time that Jefferson consumed, he had a larger negative impact on the Bucks than Jefferson had on the Nets.)
As I said yesterday, the ultimate "winner" or "loser" of this trade will be determined by two things: whether Jefferson can get back to his old elite level of play and whether Yi's level of play can ascend. If neither event happens, then the trade will have provided a slight advantage to the Bucks. If, on the other hand, Jefferson can resurrect himself, the Bucks will have made a great trade. But, if Jefferson continues his downward descent and Yi's play ascends in the same manner as Yao's or Dirk Nowitzki's did (each took a huge leap upward in production following their rookie seasons) then the Bucks will have made yet another colossal blunder.
That said, local sports director Joe Schmidt made an interesting point on the radio this morning. If you think about it, Yi was something of a lazy malingerer. Around midseason he came up with a slew of excuses and wussified injuries that he seemed unwilling (rather than unable) to play through. In fact, as Schmidt pointed out, at the time of his injuries Yi made comments indicating he was more interested in getting ready to play in the Olympics than he was in helping the Bucks.
I guess I kind of gave Yi a "cultural differences" pass on that one. I probably would not have if he were an American player. In fact, I know I would not have. Maybe the Bucks are better off without Yi no matter what direction his career takes. Of course, if he becomes an All-Star, however unlikely that will be, no one will remember his malingering attitude, they'll just remember that the Bucks traded him after one season.