Steve Nash Trade Rumors: Rating His Compatibility With Dwight Howard And The Magic

Over at ESPN.com Professor John Hollinger has created a statistic designed to determine which NBA player's games are most complimentary on the court to Dwight Howard's. To determine the "Dwight Howard Teammate Rating" we take a look at a few skills that Professor Hollinger suggested a key complementary player to Howard will have: ball-handling and distribution skills; strong 3-point shooting; a low defensive rebound rate; and the ability to create shots. To create a numerical statistic that will reference all of these categories we will add a player's usage rate (USG%) to how many 3-point attempts they take per 100 shot attempts (3pt./100), then add ten times their pure point rating (PPR), subtract their defensive rebound rate (DRB%), and add three times the difference between their 3-point shooting percentage (3pt.%) and a league average 30% 3-point shooter. We will also at times consider other statistics that I believe to be extremely beneficial for any teammate of Howard to posses, namely steal rate (STL%), free throw percentage (FT%), and fourth quarter scoring (4Qr.Pts.)

As we get closer to the March 15 trade deadline we'll take a look at possible trades that the Orlando Magic could make to improve their roster. We'll be using the Dwight Howard Teammate Rater to see what players that the Magic may be looking to acquire might be the best fits alongside Howard and whether the trades should improve the Magic.

Steve Nash: Two-Time MVP

Last night Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns gave up at least 30 points to James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant. While even in their heyday the Suns were never considered a stalwart defensive team tough losses like their 11-point beat down by Oklahoma City last night have become routine for the team that Steve Nash lead to 62 wins in 2004-2005, fueling speculation that the Suns ought to trade the two-time MVP for picks and young players. Despite the fact that the Suns are 17-21 and Nash recently turned 38, teams across the board are undoubtedly inquiring about Nash's availability- but most of the teams who have the mixture of high draft picks and young assets the Suns desperately need are hesitant to trade for Nash given that he will be an unrestricted FA after this season.

Magic fans might be hesitant to consider trading for an aging point guard who, like Howard, could leave the franchise with nothing at the end of the season, but despite the Suns' mediocrity Nash has managed to put together another All-Star season dishing out 10.9 assists per game to go along with 13.8 points on 54% shooting. In fact despite being surrounded by a 39 year-old Grant Hill, Howard's former back-up Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, and Channing Frye, Nash has been able to keep his PER only a hair short of his 2004-2005 MVP campaign.

The Trade:

Steve Nash and Channing Frye to the Orlando Magic; Jameer Nelson, JJ Redick, Ryan Anderson, and the Magic's 2013, 2015 draft picks to the Phoenix Suns

The key to this trade package might be the two draft picks, given that if Howard and Nash do choose to depart from Orlando those picks will almost certainly land in the high lottery. The Magic undoubtedly will attempt to do this trade without parting with rising star Ryan Anderson, but it's difficult to imagine a package of Nelson, Redick, and draft picks trumping what the Trailblazers or Knicks could offer Phoenix. But Phoenix might find the combination of Anderson, Orlando's sweet-shooting power forward who leads the league in made three-pointers this season and the potentially high draft picks the Magic can offer intriguing. In addition Nelson offers them a capable starter at point guard with a similar, if much-diminished, skill set to Nash, while Redick would offer them a much needed upgrade on the wing. Also, given how important cutting costs has been to Suns owner Robert Sarver through-out his tenure, Nelson and Redick's team-friendly contracts and Anderson's low-paying rookie contract could be a boon. Furthermore, if the Suns desired to commit more fully to rebuilding they would likely have little difficulty finding willing trade partners for Nelson and Redick.

On the Magic's end it may seem like a lot to give up for what could be a Nash rental, but if Howard leaves for nothing over the summer the Magic will be stuck in the rebuilding process for the foreseeable anyway so it could be worth it to take a roll of the dice on teaming up Howard and Nash. The departure of Anderson might sting for Magic fans, but the Magic would receive another forward who would be more than capable of lighting it up from the perimeter when Howard is doubled in Channing Frye, and a Nash-Richardson-Turkoglu-Frye-Howard starting five has a much higher ceiling than the Magic have now. For a team that's currently the number three seed in the East, that has to sound promising, especially considering Miami's struggles containing elite point guards and centers. Losing JJ Redick might actually be the more troubling concern as it would leave the Magic even more dependent on serious contributions from end-of-the-bench players like Von Wafer and Quentin Richardson, but Nash and Howard both have a tendency to make their teammates look much better.

Dwight Howard Teammate Rater

Jameer Nelson

Jameer Nelson

USG%

3pt./100

PPR

DRB%

3pt.%

Dwight Howard Teammate Rating

NBA Career

22.0

28.2

3.82

10.0

0.385

103.9

2011-2012

18.7

36.5

4.92

9.4

0.330

104

We already examined Nelson's Dwight Howard Teammate Rating last week, and found that for his career he rates out at a pretty high 103.9 for his career. But amazingly despite Nelson's regressions and career low shooting percentages he's managed to keep his game tailored around Howard's and still sports a respectable 104 Dwight Howard Teammate Rating so far this season.

JJ Redick

JJ Redick

USG%

3pt./100

PPR

DRB%

3pt.%

Dwight Howard Teammate Rating

2011-2012

19.5

43.2

2.53

8.5

0.461

127.8


JJ Redick's value to the Magic organization has been debated for years. Despite locking Redick up to a 3 year, $20 million contract in the summer of 2010, Redick has remained the Magic's backup shooting guard and the question remains whether the organization sees him as their future in the backcourt. But this year Redick's stunning 127.8 Dwight Howard Teammate Rating again shows how his game is almost perfectly tailored to fit alongside Howard's. In addition, Redick is often the Magic's top perimeter defender.

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

USG%

3pt./100

PPR

DRB%

3pt.%

Dwight Howard Teammate Rating

2011-2012

21.5

55.3

0.74

14.6

0.421

105.9



Anderson's 105.9 Dwight Howard Teammate Rating exemplifies why the Magic are so hesitant to part with the third-year player, as it is one of the highest ratings we've come across yet for a frontcourt player. Although Anderson doesn't create much for others, he also rarely turns the ball over and is easily as good a three-point shooter as nearly anyone in the league. In addition, his rating doesn't take into consideration Anderson's tenacity on the offensive glass or youth.

Steve Nash

Steve Nash

USG%

3pt./100

PPR

DRB%

3pt.%

Dwight Howard Teammate Rating

2011-2012

20.7

26.9

10.7

9.3

0.404

176.5

It's easy to see both why the Magic ought to be trying their hardest to pair Nash with Howard given his astonishing 176.5 Dwight Howard Teammate Rating and why Nash would be such a good compliment alongside Howard. While Nash's .404 three-point percentage and 20.7 usage rate this season are certainly nothing to scoff at, it's Nash's rare ability as a playmaker and a point guard, as evidenced by his off-the-charts 10.7 pure point rating, that would make Howard and Nash such a dominating pairing. And consider that Nash's numbers this season are deflated by playing with such an offensively inept team- with Howard drawing double teams in the post Nash's three-pointers per hundred attempts, three-point percentage, usage, and pure point rating are likely to rise. Nash is also well known around the league as a selfless, team-first leader with an ability to get his shot off at nearly any time- key attributes the Magic ought to be looking for.

Channing Frye

Channing Frye

USG%

3pt./100

PPR

DRB%

3pt.%

Dwight Howard Teammate Rating

2011-2012

20.1

43.0

-1.09

22.1

0.344

65.4

While Frye's Dwight Howard Teammate Rating stands at a rather pedestrian 65.4, Magic GM Otis Smith would be wise to look beyond only this season's statistics. Given that the Suns lack a dominating post player like Howard, open looks from the perimeter for Frye this season have been few and far between. Similar to Anderson and Rashard Lewis, Frye could excel in Orlando's system as a weak-side perimeter threat with a dead-on three pointer. If Frye can feast on Howard's double teams and shoot anywhere near the 0.439 from downtown he posted alongside Stoudemire in 2009-2010, the Magic might not miss Anderson much at all. Frye's Dwight Howard Teammate Rating in his lone season alongside Stoudemire, which might be his greatest comparison, was a much higher 97.3.

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