Let's start with the details.
Portland receives: $2.3 million trade exception, Conditional 1st round pick
NOLA receives: Jerryd Bayless
As SBNation's Blazer's Edge reported first yesterday, the pick is top-7 protected in 2011, top-8 protected in 2012, 2013, and 2014. After that, the first round pick becomes two second round picks (2015 and 2016). For all intents and purposes, unless the Hornets are really, really bad this year (Chris Paul going down bad), they'll be handing their 2011 first round draft pick to Portland.
My gut reaction was one of elation. My gut has also been known to alternate between "stupid" and "hungry," though, so fair warning. Let's be jumpsing.
I've been talking of the Hornets' expiring trade exceptions for a while now (initially accumulated through the Rasual Butler, Hilton Armstrong, Tyson Chandler, etc. trades, though some have expired). It seemed like New Orleans would never get around to using them, but this trade was indeed facilitated by a trade exception, since New Orleans has no outbound salaries. It's good to see the team make use of an asset that many teams see waste away (and "many teams" includes former incarnations of the Hornets' front office).
We'll talk more about Jerryd Bayless, the player, over the next few days. For now, a cursory look at Bayless' statistics in 2009-2010
Bayless isn't the most efficient scorer from the field, but due to his extremely good free throw figures, he posted decent true shooting. He creates a lot of offense, and he took good care of the ball last year. It's important to note that his statistics saw a significant spike in efficiency from his rookie to sophomore years. Essentially, Jerryd Bayless is Jannero Pargo, if Jannero Pargo was good at what he did (though the way they get their shots and the location of their shots is quite different).
Bayless has also seen significant time at point guard. Via 82games.com, a break down of his minutes in 2008-2009, and 2009-2010:
Point Guard: 433 minutes
Off Guard: 157 minutes
Point Guard: 513 minutes
Off Guard: 708 minutes
Bayless is certainly the favorite to back up Chris Paul full time. There's a case for Bayless as a full time off guard that creates shots for himself, but it's unlikely he gets that role with Belinelli and Thornton already aboard (and no, I don't think this trade indicates that Thornton is available). Bayless has shown that he can be efficient as a lead guard, so he should get the role. Willie Green will hopefully be relegated to third string shooting guard, and Curtis Jerrells will presumably take up the same role at point.
Was acquiring Bayless worth the first round pick though? That's a little more complicated.
The odds are pretty good that Portland acquires the 1st in 2011 or 2012. I'm essentially treating this trade as a mid-round selection for Jerryd Bayless. And given that, we can examine the trade for a range of potential draft pick values.
Referring back to this "quantifying the draft" post, the average 8th pick produces 13.4 win shares over his first four years. The average 16th pick (where the Hornets would land if all the "just missing the playoffs" predictions come true)* produces 9.0 win shares over his first four seasons. If we treat Bayless as a "rookie" for the purposes of this exercise and project his next four seasons (2010-2014), the trade looks quite decent. Bayless produced 2.7 win shares in 2009-2010 over 1300 minutes. If we assume a slight uptick in games played or a reasonable growth curve for a 22 year old, 12 win shares over four years is a reasonable expectation.
*Which they won't, guys!!!
It's very important to note the disparity in risk here. Even if we know what the 9th pick or 17th pick or 238th pick produces on average, it's exactly that: an average. There's a real possibility that a player produces close to nothing. With Bayless, that risk is minimized compared to a rookie. We know what he can do at the NBA level. That relative lack of risk has to be factored into any average win share - expected win share analysis.
(Much of this analysis is based on placing faith in Bayless' 2009-2010 season. Monty Williams is once again Bayless' coach and will likely use him in similar (if not more expanded) roles).
Another way to look at it: let's say the Hornets struggle this year and finish with the NBA's 20th best record. They'd have the 10th selection in June. Obviously draft quality and depth varies from year to year; from our current perspective in October 2010, however, we'd expect the 10th selection to produce around 12 win shares from 2010-2014, with a size-able standard deviation. We expect Jerryd Bayless, similarly aged to a 2011 college senior, to also produce around 12 win shares from 2010-2014, with a much, much smaller standard deviation.
Essentially, the Hornets took their June 2011 pick in October 2010 and lowered their risk significantly. And that's in one of the worst case scenarios.
Top it all off with the fact that Jerryd Bayless still has the potential to become a borderline-star type player himself and that the Hornets fill a desperate need position immediately. Interestingly, I really do think this is a trade that benefits both teams. Portland clears roster space, gets a first rounder for a guy that perhaps wasn't the greatest fit, and acquires a trade exception (and if there's a front office that'll know what to do with one, it's theirs).
I wasn't initially a fan of Dell Demps' last trade, but Jason Smith is gradually turning me into a believer. This one I loved the moment I saw it, and the numbers back it up.