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Offseason Targets: Small Forward

By:
Published: June 16, 2011

Andre Iguodala and Wilson Chandler might be too hard to pass up if they are available

Last offseason, the small forward position was overhauled as Trevor Ariza was brought in via trade and Quincy Pondexter was selected with the 26th pick of the NBA draft. The two brought athleticism and a much needed defensive mentality to the position, but were suspect at times on the offensive end. Ariza shot under 40% from the field for the second straight year (30% from three), and hit just 70% of his free throws. Pondexter, meanwhile, was in and out of the rotation and showed flashes of being a poor man’s Bruce Bowen as he worked on his deep shot, in particular the corner three.

In the playoffs, we caught a glimpse of the Trevor Ariza that we all were expecting when the Hornets first made the trade. His percentages rose across the board, as did his scoring (from 11ppg to 15.5) and his rebounding (5.4 to 6.5). The question that most Hornets fans have is whether the playoff series was a sign of things to come or was it an aberration? Did Ariza finally turn the corner and figure out how to be more aggressive in Monty’s system or was he just amped up because it was the playoffs and he was facing his former team?

Ariza had a stretch in January where it looked like he turned the corner, putting up over 13PPG while shooting 45% from the field and 38% from deep. For no reason in particular, the wheels fell off in February and March as Ariza played awful before finally picking his game back up in April and through the playoffs. Demps has said in the past that CP3, West, and Okafor are the core of this team, meaning that Ariza is likely viewed as a piece that will be moved if a substantial upgrade becomes available. The possibility also exists that Ariza can be moved to sixth man or (to a lesser degree) shooting guard, should an elite small forward be acquired.

Draft

1. Jerome Richmond, Illinois

Ironically, Richmond likely projects as a Trevor Ariza-like player in the NBA. Incredibly athletic and feisty on the defensive end, Richmond is just oozing with potential. Like Ariza, he also lacks polish and adequate ball handling skills. He just turned 19 three months ago and likely wouldn’t contribute until the 2012-13 season, but the Hornets have a chance to get their hands on a player with tremendous upside before he develops any bad NBA habits that take years to unlearn. If they take Richmond and are patient, he has the pedigree and the potential to be a starting small forward 2-3 years down the road.

2. Jimmy Butler, Marquette

A physical, hard working player who has the potential to be a lockdown defender and an adequate enough player on offense to demand respect, Butler could turn into a Sam Young/Ryan Gomes type of player. The true question with Butler is whether he can play the four in the NBA. If he can, he goes from a below average athlete at small forward to an above average athlete at power forward, making him more of a weapon for a team that will get out and run. Like any prospect who may still be available at No. 45, Butler is limited, but he has the tools to crack the rotation.

3. Chandler Parsons, Florida

Full disclosure, I have played with Parsons more than 100 times (Mostly while he was a senior in high school) and he has embarrassed me on dozens of occasions, so I have plenty of incentive to trash him here. But I won’t. Parsons is a uniquely unselfish player who can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court. He stood in the shadows of Nick Calathes (both in high school and in college), but finally came into his own this year at Florida.

To be honest, I never thought that Parsons had the potential to be an NBA player, mostly due to his lack of foot-speed, but he really impressed me this year at Florida and could make it in the NBA as an 8th or 9th man if he takes his perimeter game to the next level. There is no reason that he can’t become some kind of Ryan Anderson/Mike Miller hybrid on the offensive end, but the concern will always be that there is not a position that he can defend on the defensive end.

Others: Justin Harper, Richmond; Kyle Singler, Duke; Justin Holliday, Washington

Free Agency

1. Wilson Chandler (Nuggets)

Chandler is a restricted free agent, but most believe that he would be the odd man out if Denver had to choose between him and Aaron Afflalo. Chandler spent much of his time with the Knicks playing power forward prior to Amare Stoudamire’s arrival, before transitioning to the small forward position both in New York and in Denver. Some argue that he can play shooting guard, and there is some evidence to that, as one of Denver’s best units was a unit that saw Chandler at the 2 (Lawson- Chandler- Gallo- Martin- Nene).

But the numbers show that Chandler was far more effective on both ends of the court playing small forward. His shooting percentage was 19% higher while playing the three and his defense on opposing small forwards was superb (a 9.7 PER for opposing SF’s). So the question becomes what to do with Ariza if Chandler comes aboard. Do you try to play the two together or do you move Ariza to the bench? Perhaps you try to move Ariza for some size or you package him in a deal for a shooting guard that fits nicely alongside Chandler. I don’t know the answer, but it would be a good problem to have.

2. Tracy McGrady (Pistons)

It seems like a big fall from Chandler to McGrady, but there is a reason for that. After Chandler, you have a bunch of guys who would just be marginal upgrades to Ariza or whose differential would be negligible (T. Prince, S. Battier, AK47, Caron Butler, etc.). Bringing in a guy like that would just lead to the same musical chairs that we saw at the shooting guard position last year. If you aren’t going to bring in a significant upgrade, you have to look to a guy who will have a clearly defined role.

I believe McGrady would find that role on this team as a reserve small forward who handles the ball and dictates the offense. It is becoming clear that Jarret Jack is more of a two-guard, so why not pair him with another player in the second unit that could handle the PG responsibilities? A foursome of Jack, Q-Pon, T-Mac, and Landry would compliment each other extremely well off the bench and like Marion and Peja did for the Mavs, T-Mac would bring that veteran hunger for a ring.

3. Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (Pacers)

Another vet that I think has plenty in the tank if he is being asked to play a reserve role, Dunleavy can bring ball handling and shooting to the second unit. Like McGrady, he could fit well with Jack and Q-Pon, bringing an added dimension to the team. Dunleavy also has an incredibly high basketball IQ and is the type of player that will never hurt his team provided that he stays healthy.

Other possibilities: Luc Mbah a Moute, Jamario Moon, Kelenna Azubuike, Shawne Williams, Derrick Brown, Josh Howard

Trades

1. Andre Iguodala (Sixers)

Iggy makes just over 13 million next season and is seen as expendable by his current team, mostly because they have young guys on much cheaper contracts that can take his place. Like Chandler, the question with Iggy is whether he and Ariza can co-exist. Another question is whether the Hornets have the resources to acquire the man known simply as “Iggy.” If Ariza is part of the package, then there is no problem. However, what if it is a straight swap of Mek for Iggy?

More likely than not, such a trade would only occur if the Hornets had Emeka’s replacement in their back pocket. Pipe dreams of Tyson Chandler float through all of our minds, but if Demps can somehow make that a reality, then a Mek for Iggy swap might not be out of the question. It would be the types of bold moves that would show CP3 that we are all in with him, hopefully setting the table for a long term extension to be signed prior to the summer of 2012.

2. Jared Dudley (Suns)

If Phoenix does the smart thing this summer and trades Steve Nash to a contender, then they could look to blow the whole thing up. One of the guys who benefits most from Steve Nash’s presence (and not so much from PG of the future Aaron Brooks) is Jared Dudley. Dudley would fit in perfectly on this team, bringing much needed three-point shooting and scoring to the wing position.

The question is whether or not the Hornets would have to take on a horrible contract to get Dudley. They might have to eat the contract of Josh Childress just to get in the sweepstakes or perhaps just Mickael Pietrus would be enough. Use our TPE to absorb Pietrus’s contract, then pick up the option on David Anderson’s contract and send him and Q-Pon for Dudley. David Anderson wants to play overseas next year, so Phoenix negotiates a buyout, thereby dumping 9.8 million dollars of salary in a rebuilding year and picking up a player for the future in Q-Pon.

3. Corey Maggette (Bucks)

His contract is awful (2 years/21 million remaining), but he is a terrific scorer off the bench and he gets to the line a ton. The Hornets would be fools to take on Maggette and let him eat up all of their space, but perhaps the Bucks can throw in some assets for us to take him off their hands. They have the number 10 pick in the upcoming draft and they also have some pieces that would look good on this roster, specifically Larry Sanders, Ersan Illysova, and Carlos Delfino.

A trade that sends Ariza out of town, along with Anderson, and some TPE’s for Illysova, Maggette, a future first, and Larry Sanders would sit fine with me. Illysova gives you a lot of things that Ariza does at 35% of the cost, Maggette becomes your bench scorer, and Larry Sanders reaches his ceiling of Theo Ratliff/Ben Wallace in the next two years.

Conclusion

The coaches have to go back and look at the tape to see if Trevor Ariza’s offensive game is salvageable or if he is destined to be a 40/30/70 guy in this league. If it is the latter, the team has to look hard at finding an upgrade or replacement. Q-Pon has showed that he is willing to work and improve, meaning that he has the chance to be a regular in the rotation next year, with an outside shot of being a fringe starter in a year or two.

There are some quality options available on the market, and quite frankly, the Hornets would be better served if Ariza could play shooting guard, but he can’t. The free agent crop of shooting guards is weak, while the crop of small forwards is probably the strongest of any position. Therefore, if Ariza could net the Hornets a quality big man or shooting guard in a trade, the Hornets might go after a guy like Prince or Butler to fill the void he leaves behind. But the Hornets have to decide first on Ariza, and due to his up and down play, that will be a tough decision to make.

40 comments
J
J

The Celtics wants out of the frist round i know demps will be on the phone to make that deal happened i hope that kid from BYU or that Charles Jenkins from Hofstra

J
J

I wonder for the time being does a team like the Hornets thats up for sale kinda scare top free agents to signing here.But i hope Chouest & others buy this team before august.

J
J

why do we keep Okafor he's a power forward not a center.We've to sign Dalembert

crazyb1125
crazyb1125

trade for iggy but avoid giving up ariza. make ariza your starting SF and iggy your starting SG. Defense heaven with those two on the same team. trade both green and bellini with cash and get taller defensive SG and SF to back them up.

Brandon
Brandon

in terms on the dwight howard sweepstakes. We offer the best for him. laker off injury prone andrew bynum and aging lamar odom. Plus jerry buss isnt that interested in superman. New Jersey offers no rebounding brook lopez a few bench players and some picks. chicago can offer joakim noah or boozer and luol deng. new york can offer nothing. miami offers chris bosh and some draft picks. We can offer jarret jack, trevor ariza, emeka okafor, and two or 1 first round draft picks. All of which are under 30. Ariza and jack arent even in there prime yet. Emka Okafor is an older joakim noah.

mlozio
mlozio

Draft Goudelock, sign W. Chandler, trade Ariza + Jack for Iggy. PG Paul / Goudelock SG Iggy / Belinelli SF Chandler / Q-Pon PF Landry / West C Okafor / Gray

J
J

We've to get Delonte West for his Defense and Earl Watson to be part of the PG rotation

Jose X
Jose X

It's not that the mavs don't want Tyson it's if they can't sign him. They have like 5 players to resign and I don't think they going to sign all of them. So if Tyson is out there we should make a push to get him. With him in the lineup we won't lose anything on the offensive end cuz Paul and Tyson can play great two ball that's been proven. And we will gain on the defensive end with his length and high energy. And I love AK47, he's a great across the board guy. He can still fill up the stat sheet people when given the time. But with that said I still would not take him over a Wilson Chandler. I think he is a nice fit here. He can play at least 3 different spot on the floor. And he is a young guy which is good for long term. We get more bang for our buck with Wilson.

J
J

AK47 is old he's not been the same player for years but Dalembert is a good choice or DeAndre Jordan if we can't get Chandler

Vernon
Vernon

AK47s best years were at PF, he would be a great defensive addition if we cant resign Landry and/or lose West, he could play good minutes at the 3/4. Also did I mention he was a defensive BEAST when he used to play PF...

J
J

You trade Okafor for Iggy then sign Wilson Chandler,Marc Gasol or Tyson Chandler,then re-sign Landry,MBenga and Pondexter and Sign Earl Watson for the 3rd PG spot in the rotation and draft PF Rick Jackson of Syracuse @45 in the Second C:Tyson Chandler,Gray,MBenga PF:West,Landry and Jackson SF:Ariza,Wilson Chandler,Pondexter SG:Iggy,Green and Delonte West PG:Paul,Jack,Watson I forgot 2 other signings resign Willie Green and Sign Delonte West

Brandon
Brandon

Wilson Chandler is 23. I like the Anthony morrow trade.

James Grayson
James Grayson

I still think that if we find a scoring option at the 2-guard that keeping Ariza wouldn't be such a bad thing. Of course, we'd have to find another shooter so that if Trevor is doing so poorly on offense that Monty can have that shooting option for his rotation. But Ariza to me is a big reason why our defense was able to make the jump that it did. His offense is a black hole, but again, if we find a scoring 2-guard then maybe he won't need to take as many shots.

Joe P
Joe P

I believe Ariza is a keeper. He's a top defender, and hits shots in the playoffs. If his market value is down, fine. If Chandler is a real possibility, without giving up Ariza, I'm excited. Players' three point shooting gets better with age. If Arz/WChan are getting blown by by particularly quick back-courts, a belli/green type off the bench can help. I would guess that the Hornets could create a lot of turnovers with Paul at the helm of that defense. And no one disputes that Chandler is a scorer of the ilk that we haven't seen on the Hornets in a while.

504ever
504ever

There is no way I want the Hornets to pick up one of those horrible contract SFs, and thankfully no way managment will do it. They just dumped the old management groups' bad contracts. They aren't about to trade for another! Nor do I see them picking up McGrady. But if you are looking for an older back-up SF for the short-term, why not Grant Hill? He should be cheap, just comming off a $3.25M contract, and not cost you a piece you already have; he is an unrestricted free agent. He sure played well when I saw him. I like Wilson Chandler a lot, and don't see why you discount his ability to play SG like he did in Denver. Maybe he moves to SF for some of his 2nd unit minutes? I don't see Ariza going any place as the Hornets needs an upgrade at starting/back-up SG and back-up C. I don't see teams trying for Ariza when there are so many other options at SF and Ariza was so inconsistent last year. His value as a piece is so low, I can't see him helping the Hornets acquire anything in the tight SG marketplace. And he is too expensive to use to get a back-up C.

J
J

Ariza for Bynum&Ben Wallace the dumbest trade ever

J
J

Okafor has to go we need a 7ft @ center if we've to keep up with the Lakers

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

You're crazy. Trade Trevor Ariza? He is one of the best defenders in the league and showed that it is a playoff' player. It is ideal for the Hornets. I think it should be beyond question. Our currency exchange should be Emeka Okafor. Trevor Ariza is staying. Mostly because our biggest problem is in the SG position, where Green and Belinelli has no ability to take as a starter.

Hordan
Hordan

Draft Justin Holiday. Sign Wilson Chandler. Sign Shannon Brown. Trade Trevor Ariza for Will Bynum+Ben Wallace Paul/Bynum Brown/Jack/Holiday Chandler/Pondextor/Holiday West/Landry Okafor/Wallace

J
J

I perfer that kid Marshon Brooks from Providence watching those youtube videos make you want to make a deal with the Celtics because they want to dropout of the frist round but i would like this team to trade Okafor for Iggy or Monte Ellis and sign Marc Gasol we do need a big man at PF in the Second rd draft Rick Jackson of Syracuse he's 6'9 with an 7ft frame or Trey Thompkins from Georgia 6'10 with an 7'2 frame or Jamie Skeen of VCU 6'9 I know this subject is about Small forwards but Wilson Chandler in free agency is a good choice

JCS
JCS

I like Jerome and the Justins, and Iggy or J-Dud would be great, but frankly, your free agency picks turn me off. You guys keep dropping Wilson Chandler's name like he's "that guy" yet no one has provided a compelling write up and I've yet to find any of his accolades. Please advise. As for T-Mac, I'd love him in a Hornets uni if he wasn't a tin man. Many moons ago, NBA fans felt that he had potential to be the next Scottie Pippen, but the inconvenient truth was he never had the heart. Ever. As for Dunleavy, I am floored as to why you would even mention the name. Both he and his father have had some of the most unimpressive NBA careers of all time. Hornets should avoid him as well as his DUKE brethren Maggette and Singler, just like they avoid the devil.

Danny V.
Danny V.

Am I the only person who would want Marc Gasol over Tyson? Taller and with the Grizz trying to grab so many things at the same time seems like a max contract could pull him in. Trade Okafor and a future 1st for Iggy, pick up Gasol in FA. All the sudden we have ourselves a contending team. Am I super crazy? Could we afford Marc and AI2? Ehhh well it would be a Hell of a offseason. Cp3/Jack Iggy/Marco Ariza/Qpon West/Landry Gasol/Gray Coolio.

Eman5805
Eman5805

Trading for Iggy. Wish I'd thought of that. *strokes chin hairs*

Jalil
Jalil

Scratch that....Draft Nolan Smith, Sign Wilson Chandler and then Move ariza to SG then we can be alright unless we want to trade him to get a big man PG: CP3, Nolan Smith, Jarrett Jack SG: Ariza, Jarrett Jack, Nolan Smith SF: Wilson Chandler, Quincy Pondexter PF:Carl Lanndry, Dwest, Jason Smith C: Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray

Jalil
Jalil

Draft Scotty Hopson Sign Wilson Chandler and package Trevor Ariza and a pick in a deal for a good SG like to the Nets for Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar or maybe keep him and make him play SG but id like it if we made the trade PG: CP3, Jardan Farmar SG: Anthony Morrow, Jarrett Jack, Scotty Hopson SF: Wilson Chandler, Quincy Pondexter, Scotty Hopson PF: Carl Landry, Dwest, Jason Smith C: Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gary

42
42

The top free agents are scared by the fact that we have $10m/year to offer them BEFORE they are scared by who's writing the check and the possibility of needing mail forwarded to get said check.

CarnbY
CarnbY

Being an undersized center does not make you a PF...

MaxALM
MaxALM

Yeah I didn't realize Wilson is only like 23. I could definitely see him fitting in with the Bees

MaxALM
MaxALM

The Clips are very high on Jordan, so he won't be available. Dalembert I agree would be a good choice

MaxALM
MaxALM

In addition to that stellar lineup, we should also trade air for LeBron, Dwight Howard, and Durant. Those guys are hungry for championships as well!

Vernon
Vernon

No way that the mavs are going to let go of TC, he is the perfect foil for Dirk.

42
42

Agreed on the contracts.

42
42

Next time try saying why he trade wouldn't work, how it would hurt more than help, or how another trade helps more than it hurts more than the one cited. It's easy to see a problem. It's hard to find answers. Those are not reason to approach insulting. Thanks, J. So, what's the issue with the trade as you see it?

crazyb1125
crazyb1125

I agree can anyone say.... Javale McGee maybe Roy Hibbert, maybe as a back-up D.Jordan

MaxALM
MaxALM

The Lakers won't be the team to beat next season. Or the season after that.

42
42

Do you mean the Mavs?

Jose X
Jose X

The problem with keeping Ariza at SG is that he can't shoot! And he is not one of the best defenders in the league. He's a good defender yes but if we can use him to get a SG that will put points on the bored well that's what we should do. I like Wilson as our SF and if we can get Tyson back we should trade Oka in a package with Ariza. The hornets need to make some moves to keep Paul here cuz bottom line is that Paul is the guy we really need

Joe P
Joe P

I always appreciate your editorial, ftJes. I wouldn't support Ariza for Bynum/BWall either. Wallace is a worse version of Kurt Thomas at this point (nice career though) and I'm scared of Bynum's injury history, plus, I'm high on the Ariza bud, and think he would be hard to replace. Unless the player is a bigger star, another center isn't much of an up grade over borderline star center Oak. The Oak is an ironman. Yes I do realize which injury prone center is an NBA champ right now. Shrug?