16 August 2007

Don't Free Keyon


Keyon Dooling wants you to keep him in Orlando. Also, he wears his sunglasses at night.

The Nuggets/Magic trade rumors heated up yesterday when John Denton reported that Denver may ask for both Pat Garrity and Keyon Dooling in exchange for Reggie Evans and J.R. Smith. Two days ago, I supported the idea of obtaining Evans. Now that Keyon's name has been brought up as bait, I've done a 180. Or, as Tracy McGrady might say, I've done a 360.

I concede that Keyon is not a great player, and I believe many would argue that he isn't even a good player. So as an individual player, he may not have much value. But as part of the Magic team, he has it in spades.

The Magic had good defensive numbers last season, although they may be more a reflection of slow pace than of actual ability. Keyon is an outstanding perimeter defender, capable of keeping pace with opposing point guards and forcing them into making bad decisions. True, the Magic have Dwight Howard and Tony Battie, two well-regarded defensive anchors, guarding the low blocks. But they're the last line of defense against an opponent's penetration. Keyon lowers the opponent's ability to get into the paint, saving Dwight and Tony some energy that they can later spend on the offensive end... okay, maybe just Dwight.



Dooling's ability to defend Kobe Bryant and the league's other premier guards would be sorely missed if he is traded.
Photo by Mark J. Terrill, the Associated Press

By including Dooling in a trade for Reggie Evans, the Magic would break-even at best; that is, they'd shore-up a need for rebounding while creating another need for perimeter defense. Consider also the Magic's other wing players: Trevor Ariza, Carlos Arroyo, Keith Bogans, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, and Hedo Turkoglu. Of those, only Ariza and Bogans are above-average defensively, and Bogans wasn't a rotation player last season and doesn't figure to be one this season. We can't expect Trevor Ariza to guard every opposing shooting guard or small forward. If the Magic trade Dooling and don't get a good defender in return, there would be no way for the Magic to contain the more potent backcourts in the East: Billups and Hamilton of Detroit; Hinrich and Gordon of Chicago; and Kidd and Carter of New Jersey. Why bother?

Keyon's familiarity with Stan Van Gundy's system should also be considered when determining whether or not to trade him. Whereas Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo will need time to adjust to running Stan the Man's offense, Dooling will not, as he played under Van Gundy in Miami for one season. His numbers were not spectacular -- per-game averages of 5.2 points and 1.8 assists -- but they did indicate efficiency; Keyon averaged fewer than one turnover per game. His assist ratio -- the likelihood that his touching the ball would lead to an assist -- was 22.4, the second-highest mark of his career. Additionally, his Player Efficiency Rating of 12.6 that season matches his previous career-high, which came during his rookie season with the Clippers.

It's easy to see why the Magic want Reggie Evans, but it should be even easier to see why they need Keyon Dooling. The Nuggets are smart to have an interest in him as well. Not only does his style fit-in with coach George Karl's run-and-gun system, but he's torched the Nuggets before, averaging 19.5 points per game on 61% shooting in the teams' two meetings last season.

Like all clich├ęs, the phrase "you don't know what you have until it's gone" became so because it's so frequently true. Magic fans may experience that feeling next season if the team trades Keyon Dooling.

4 comments:

OVERWADED said...

I like Dooling.

He been injuried a lot while he's been here though. That's not the issue, because we have managed without him before.

Another thing to consider; for over half of the season last year, most Magic fans didn't want to see Dooling on the floor. He struggled playing the 2 spot. He doesn't have the size, offensive game, or the abilities of a 2 guard. Brian Hill played him out of position for most of the season. Even his defense was nearly ineffective, because he can't defend most of the 2 guards of the league. Kobe...Carter...PLEASE. Now, Billups, and Hinrich he could help out with. Hamilton and Gordon he might be able to bother, since they're smaller 2 guards.

We can use Dooling, but at a point guard, and to defend point guards.

As for the 2's and 3's, who are the real scoring threats of the league, the 2's will be thrown Bogans, Redick, and Ariza. And the job defending the 3's will fall on Turk, Rashard, and Ariza.

On a rare case, if a team goes small against us, I could see Dooling defending the off guard, but otherwise, he needs to stay at the point.

Ben Q. Rock said...

Bogans and Ariza are good defenders, but I'm against playing Keith Bogans unless it's garbage-time. He's terrible. To me, he's almost as bad as Garrity. Keeping Dooling means fewer minutes for Bogans, and that's just fine with me.

OVERWADED said...

Bogans has been a solid defender and shooter everywhere he's played.

He didn't play last year.

Just a few seasons ago, he was considered an equal to Deshawn Stevenson. The difference is, Stevenson has been given a chance play.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he earned the starting spot over Redick.

I do have a question, how can he be compared to Pat Garrity?

Ben Q. Rock said...

I've never been a Bogans fan. He played his way out of the rotation last season, and Brian Hill's decision to bench him was one of the few great things he did. His .386 three-point percentage last season is deceptive because he shot just .306 from February through April. He's just a bad player. I've also never bought into the argument that he's a standout defender. Hell, Redick matched Bogans in defensive PER allowed last season; opposing shooting guards posted PERs of 16.1 when being guarded by Redick or Bogans. So he's a three-point shooter who can't shoot and a defensive stopper who can't stop anybody. Why is he useful?

I compare him to Garrity because they're both useless players without whom the Magic would be better off. My wording there is probably stronger than it needs to be, but he really needs to go.