Artest for Maggette?

It has been reported that the Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers have discussed the trade of Ron Artest for Corey Maggette. Although it has also been reported this trade is not going to happen it doesn’t stop us from looking at who would get the better of this hypothetical deal.

Each of these players primarily plays small forward and is currently playing his eighth season in the NBA. Artest, though, is much younger than Maggette. Artest was born on November 13, 1979 while Maggette’s birthday is November 12, 1979. As you can see, Maggette is one day older so such a trade would be a bit of a youth movement for the Clippers.

In addition to being the same age, each player offers a similar level of productivity on the court. Entering this season each player has averaged about fifteen points and five rebounds per contest. On a per-minute basis Maggette is a more prolific scorer and better on the boards. Maggette is also a more efficient scorer, but a bit more prone to commit turnovers.

If we look at each player’s career wins production we again see similarities. Coming into the 2006-07 campaign Maggette had played seven seasons and produced 33.9 wins. His career Wins Produced per 48 minutes [WP48] was 0.132, which is a bit above the average mark of 0.100. Artest has also played seven seasons. Across these years he has produced 28.7 wins and has a career WP48 of 0.100. In other words, for his career Artest has been an average NBA player (given this, why is his misbehavior tolerated?).

This season Artest is playing a bit better. His WP48 after 27 games stands at 0.134. Maggette, though, has posted a WP48 of 0.144 after 29 contests. So Maggette, whether we look at this season or each player’s career, appears to be slightly more productive. These players, though, are not major stars and the differences we see are simply not large enough to dramatically impact final outcomes for either team.

So what would motivate this trade? Each team is floundering in the Western Conference. The Clippers expected to contend this season, but as noted yesterday, have not met this expectation. This trade, though, doesn’t fix the problem this team is having (which I noted yesterday was with Chris Kaman’s performance).

The Kings have a slightly better record than the Clippers, but are also not contending. Looking at the productivity of the King’s players – which one can see HERE – we see a team led by Kevin Martin. Martin’s WP48 of 0.242 actually exceeds the production of Kobe Bryant this season. That does not mean that Bryant is playing poorly, but that Martin is truly becoming one of the better guards in the game. Unfortunately he plays on a team that is going to struggle to even make the playoffs.

In the past the Kings were led in wins production by Mike Bibby and Brad Miller. Both of these players have been below average this season. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who is capable of being above average, has also played very poorly. The Kings are getting above average performances from John Salmons, Kenny Thomas, and Artest. But it’s not enough to turn this team into a contender.

Would Maggette change this outcome? He might offer a bit more than Artest, but again, it’s not enough to significantly change where the Kings will finish in the final standings. In sum, the key for both the Kings and Clippers is to get players who produced in the past to once again contribute. Having Maggette and Artest switch places will probably do nothing to change the fortunes of either team.

– DJ

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

Wins Produced and Win Score are Discussed in the Following Posts

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say