Tuesday, August 2
"A.D. may be a better player, but check out my ARM HAIR!"
With Rick Brunson rumored to be donning the green and gold, here’s a quick look at how he stacks up with Antonio Daniels, the man we hope he can come close to replacing.
Brunson’s an NBA nomad; should he leave the Clippers this summer he will don his eighth jersey in nine seasons. Remember, though, Daniels is also a vagabond – to a lesser extent – having joined his fifth team in nine years this summer.
Having said that, most of you are wondering one thing: “Can the Sonics find another diamond in the rough with Brunson, as they did with AD two years ago?” Here are some answers.
1. 3-Point Shooting. This is really the only area where Brunson has a noticeable edge on AD. After starting his career as a relatively poor shooter, Brunson has stepped up in the past four seasons, consistently hitting at least 35% beyond the arc. AD has never been a good shooter from deep, as his 30% mark of a year ago attests.
2. Rebounding. A small advantage. Per 48 minutes, Brunson has beaten AD almost every year of their collective careers.
3. Assists and Steals. Again, per 48 minutes, Brunson averages better figures than AD, by a nearly 3 assist, .5 steal margin.
1. Nearly everything else. Okay, it’s not quite all that bad, but it’s obvious that Brunson is nowhere near the player AD is/was, and I don’t just mean last year. AD has consistently posted better point/FGA numbers, better effective field goal percentage, higher FT percentage, field goal percentage, assist:turnover percentage, and just about any other percentage you can think of. Of note, AD gets to the line more often, does not commit nearly as many fouls, and turns the ball over half as often as Brunson.
Curiously, these guys have some parallels. Both drafted in 1998; both 6’4”; both nearly 200 pounds; both played on a number of teams; and both had career years last season. However, Brunson’s career year was starting 39 games for the Clippers, while AD’s was being named one of the best sixth men in the NBA for a team that nearly knocked off the NBA Champs (grrrr).
My conclusion? Brunson is no AD, but he does not have to be in this new Sonic era. Ridnour is going to play more minutes, so Brunson’s time will be no more than 15 minutes per game, unlike AD’s 27 mpg of a year ago. He may cost the Sonics a victory or two relative to AD over the course of the season, but not more than that. If Seattle can get him for a low salary, they should do it.