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Numbers to Know: Breaking down the big Draft week trades

How will Russell Westbrook fit with the Lakers? What will Jonas Valanciunas bring to New Orleans? The stats provide answers.

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the fourth time in the last five seasons. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

As is the case every year, the Draft is when the offseason player movement really gets started. And so far this week, we’ve had several trades involving players already under contract.

Here are some numbers to know about the veterans on the move. None of these trades will take place until Aug. 6, at the end of the free agency moratorium.

Lakers-Wizards Blockbuster

To the Lakers: Russell Westbrook, 2024 2nd rounder, 2028 2nd rounder

Oh boy! Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are three of the most talented players in the league, and Westbrook is going home. But the Lakers’ new big three (set to be paid a total of $121 million next season) all have the same weakness, and spacing is going to be an issue. It will also be interesting to see how the Westbrook addition affects what was the league’s No. 1 defense. He led the Wizards with 2.6 deflections per game last season, but he can lose focus off the ball.

  • There were 201 players who attempted at least 200 shots from outside the paint last season. Among them, James (48.4%), Westbrook (41.9%) and Davis (36.4%) ranked 159th, 193rd and 201st in effective field goal percentage on those shots. They’re three of the 12 players who shot worse than 40% on at least 150 mid-range attempts.
  • Westbrook led the league with 415 total isolation possessions, according to Synergy tracking. He ranked last in both points per possession (0.78) on isolations (minimum 100 possessions) and points per possession (0.71) as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (minimum 300 possessions).

Russell Westbrook traded to Lakers in Draft Night deal

To Washington: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, 22nd pick (Isaiah Jackson)

This seems like a move made with the idea that Bradley Beal is sticking around. The Westbrook-Beal combination wasn’t terrible (the Wiz outscored their opponents by 1.0 points per 100 possessions in their 1,374 regular-season minutes together), but adding three vets that should fit relatively well alongside Beal should raise Washington’s ceiling. In a separate deal (which could be rolled into the Lakers trade), the Wizards sent the 22nd pick (Jackson) to Indiana for Aaron Holiday and the 31st pick (Isaiah Todd). They also added shooter Corey Kispert with the 15th pick in the Draft.

  • Caldwell-Pope was assisted on 89.0% of his baskets, the fifth highest rate among 177 players with at least 200 total field goals. He shot 103-for-245 (42.0%) on catch-and-shoot 3s, a mark which ranked 22nd among 86 players who attempted at least 200. Kuzma (119-for-317, 37.5%) ranked 65th.
  • Harrell scored 1.43 points per possession as a roll-man, the best mark among 37 players with at least 100 roll-man possessions.
  • Holiday had a true shooting percentage of 54.8% after the All-Star break, up from 47.0% before the break. That was the 10th biggest jump among 197 players with at least 150 field goal attempts both before and after the break.
  • Kuzma averaged just 0.8 deflections per 36 minutes, fifth fewest among 251 players who played at least 1,000 minutes.
  • Kuzma shot 43.2% from 3-point range in the first half of games and just 29.2% in the second half. That was the second biggest half-to-half drop among 137 players with at least 100 3-point attempts in each half.

 

Pelicans clear space, Grizzlies move up

To Memphis: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, 10th pick (Ziaire Williams), Lakers’ 2022 pick (protected 1-10)

The Grizzlies are taking on a ton of salary (they could have had more than $20 million in cap space) to play the long game, moving up seven spots in this draft and adding a pick next year. This trade means that they’ll have to decline the $13 million team option on Justise Winslow.

  • Adams ranks 12th all-time in offensive rebounds per game (3.5). Last season, he grabbed 13.2% of available offensive rebounds while he was on the floor, the eighth highest mark among 312 players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game.
  • Bledsoe took 48.6% of his shots from 3-point range last season, up from 30.6% in 2019-20. That was the biggest jump among 110 players with at least 500 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons. His 34.1% ranked 67th among 73 players with at least 300 3-point attempts.
  • Adams (from 58.2% and 44.4%) and Bledsoe (from 79.0% to 68.7%) saw the second and sixth biggest drops in free throw percentage among 123 players with at least 100 free throw attempts in each of the last two seasons.

To New Orleans: Jonas Valanciunas, 17th pick (Trey Murphy)

Valanciunas made 21 3-pointers (on 57 attempts) last season. That’s 20 more than Adams has made in his eight-year career, so the offensive fit alongside Zion Williamson is a little better. Valanciunas probably won’t do much to help a defense that has ranked in the bottom 10 in each of the last three seasons, but this end of the deal is mostly about going from $57 million (guaranteed) owed Adams and Bledsoe over the next two seasons to just $14 million owed Valanciunas next season. The Pelicans can now go shopping.

  • Valanciunas scored 1.03 points per possession on post-ups, a mark which ranked ninth among 30 players with at least 100 post-up possessions, according to Synergy tracking. For the third straight season, he was one of exactly five players who shot 65% or better on at least 200 attempts in the restricted area and 50% or better on at least 100 attempts elsewhere in the paint.

Contenders make a swap

To Brooklyn: Jevon Carter, 29th pick (Day’Ron Sharpe)

In Carter, the Nets get a bulldog of a guard who’s under contract for two more seasons and who has shot a solid 40% (94-for-235) on catch-and-shoot 3s over the last two years. The pick also gives them a guy they can keep on a relatively cheap contract (they need a lot of those given the top of their roster) for up to four years.

  • Carter had an assist/turnover ratio of 4.44 last season, up from 2.63 in 2019-20. That was the second biggest jump among 280 players who played at least 500 minutes in each of the last two seasons.

To Phoenix: Landry Shamet

As noted, Carter is a solid shooter off the catch. But Shamet (also 40% on catch-shoot attempts over the last two years) will give the Suns a little more movement and volume, making him a good fit in the Phoenix offense.

  • Shamet shot 41.5% from 3-point range after the All-Star break, up from 35.8% before the break. That was the 10th biggest jump among 116 players with at least 100 3-point attempts both before and after the break.

Rubio on the move again

To Cleveland: Ricky Rubio, 2022 2nd rounder, cash

Rubio (on a $17.8 million expiring contract) gives the Cavs some much-needed perimeter defense. We’ll see how the backcourt rotation with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton shakes out, or if all three are still around come October. Sexton averaged 24.3 points per game last season, but could certainly benefit from Rubio’s passing.

  • He had an effective field goal percentage of 45.4%, the fifth worst mark among 196 players with at least 400 field goal attempts.

To Minnesota: Taurean Prince

Prince (also with one more year on his contract) gives the Wolves some much-needed shooting at the forward position.

  • Prince had a free throw rate of 23.2 attempts per 100 shots from the field, up from 12.0 in 2019-20. That was the biggest jump among 183 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons.

Plumlee to Charlotte

To Charlotte: Mason Plumlee, 37th pick (JT Thor)

With Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo free agents, the only centers the Hornets had under contract (6-foot-7 PJ Washington probably can’t be a full-time five) were two guys — Vernon Carey Jr. and Nick Richards — taken in the second round last year. Plumlee is an upgrade (on both ends of the floor) from Zeller, with just one guaranteed season left on his contract.

  • Plumlee saw the biggest jump in free throw percentage (from 53.5% to 66.9%) among 123 players with at least 100 attempts in each of the last two seasons.

To Detroit: 57th pick

The Pistons gave Plumlee a two-year, $16.1 million contract (with a third, non-guaranteed year) last year. Then, with Isaiah Stewart looking like a real keeper, they moved down 20 spots in the Draft to unload Plumlee on the Hornets.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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