This morning, Grantland’s Bill Simmons dropped Part I of his 2015 trade value column. I remember reading them religiously in high school, inspiring me to be a writer. I recommend you go check it out - a bit of comedy, some pop culture references, youtube clips and some interesting ideas on basketball and some of his most valuable players in the league. This is the first one since 2013, so he has a ton of updating before actually getting to the list.
In part one, two members of the New Orleans Pelicans made the list. Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson were both found on the outside looking in on Simmons’ top 60 list. Holiday was found off the list after being ranked 40 in his last iteration, while Ryan Anderson was found in his 2015 honorable mention. Here are the small blurbs on both players:
Jrue Holiday (no. 40) is Darren Collison with better defense and a better agent
Ryan Anderson (awesome shooter, fell off a cliff defensively)
Jrue is Darren Collison? I went to basketball reference for the comparison and sure enough…via Basketball-Reference.com
After watching people mock Sacramento for letting go of Isaiah Thomas and signing Collison as a replacement, looking at his numbers next to Holiday is a bit concerning. Collision profiles as more of a backup point guard, and thrived more in that role. Sacramento loves him so much, they’ve been rumored to be interested in Deron Williams (although that seems to be a love affair that predates Collison) as well as the recently released Jordan Farmar.
Still, I have some hope for Jrue, more than I ever did for Collison. Age aside (I don’t think that matters much considering they played nearly the same amount of time), I would like to see Holiday in an up-tempo offense without a ball-handling wing beside him. Holiday has the things you want in a point guard - the size to defend opposing point guards, the ability to get to the rim, the ability to stretch the floor, and he isn’t a turnover machine. We've seen what having a faster offense has done for Jeff Teague and Goran Dragic, perhaps the same magic can work for Holiday.
Did he deserve to fall off of Simmons’ list? In a word? Yes. Holiday has been injured for parts of the past two seasons and never made that leap the Pelicans and the basketball collective expected when he was traded two seasons ago. I’m holding out hope for Holiday improving the way Jeff Teague/Mike Conley did rather than a superstar seems more likely at the moment: little improvements year by year, allowing him to max out as this do-it-all point guard that can serve as a number three player on a title team (I hope). No shame in that at all, really.
As for Ryan Anderson, seeing him ranked in the honorable mention is a testament to how valuable stretch fours are in the league. He’s a phenomenal shooter and offers the Pelicans someone who can come off the bench and carry a second unit. He’s having a down season this year, shooting 41% from the field and 34% from three, but he’s still a dangerous outside shooter on a nice contract. His 2.29 ORPM ranks him fifth among all power forwards, so yeah, he's really good on that side of the basketball.
However, the defensive side of the ball is such an issue for him. The Anthony Davis-Ryan Anderson duo sits with a defensive efficiency of 106.2, while the Omer Asik-Ryan Anderson combination sits at 114.7 defensively. Opponents are shooting 56.4% on two pointers this season against Anderson, 64.5% on shots less than six feet and 59.0% on shots less than 10 feet. ESPN’s real-plus minus ranks him 99 out of 100 power forwards with a -3.61 DRPM. It’s been ugly this season for Anderson on the defensive end.
As for other Pellies, I'm not shocked Omer Asik didn't make the list, as he's entering free agency, he offers very little on the offensive end, his numbers while protecting the rim have dropped a bit and he's been nicked up a bit this season. Tyreke Evans? I'm a bit more curious. He's still 25 years old, he can attack the basket at will and he continues to provide a bit of everything for the Pelicans. I imagine his lack of a "position," defense (not bad, but not great), and his contract were all negatives in his argument for making the list. Oh well.
Projecting forward on Simmons’ trade value column, I believe Anthony Davis will be ranked second behind Stephen Curry, in a post that briefly mentions New Orleans’ "questionable" building around him that will probably annoy some, if not all of the fanbase. We’re not going to get into the second part, but I think the second ranking will be perfect for Davis, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if we saw Davis get the number one ranking.
Glad to see some Pelicans make the list. What do you think about Holiday and Anderson missing the top 60?