Let’s get right to it. In my mind, there were 3 key questions to Seattle’s summer:
1. Should we sign Ray Allen?
2. Should we sign Nate McMillan?
3. Should we sign Vladimir Radmanovic?
The first two are in the books and now it’s time to decide Radman’s fate. I’ve been looking at the figures for awhile, and floating from the “Don’t give that Eurotrash a 7-year contract” camp to the “Without Radman, we’re screwed” camp, and back again.
I’ve come to this opinion:
Vladimir Radmanovic, while uniquely talented offensively, ain’t worth $50 million.
Let’s face it, you can count on one hand the number of guys in this league who can do the things Radman can. Hit 3’s? Yes. Run the court? Yes. Play matador defense? Youbetcha. I know this is going to sound crazy, but Vladimir is truly a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki, or a rich man’s Tim Thomas.
The major knock against Radman is his defense, and it’s justified. His Defensive Rating (courtesy of basketball-reference.com) measures out to 109 points per 100 possessions. Without context, that’s a meaningless stat, so here’s some context:
Donyell Marshall, 105
Keith Van Horn, 108
Tim Thomas, 111
Tayshuan Prince, 104
Reggie Evans, 105
Nick Collison, 107
Basically, Radman’s on the lower end of the scale, which is what you’d expect. However, 82games.com expands their statistics to include when players are on and off the court. When Vlade was on the court last year, the Sonics allowed 109.9 pts/100 poss. When he sat, they allowed 110.9, indicating he didn’t hurt the team at all. Interestingly, Sugar Ray’s nemesis, Bruce Bowen, posted nearly identical figures (you can see them here).
However, you can look at the stats even more closely, and see how his opponents did against him with Vlade on defense. In reality, he made average players into stars, as indicated by the fact that players averaged 24, 20, and 26 pp48 min. at SF, PF, and C with Radman on defense. Compare that to almost any other Sonic, and you’ll see that Vlade is inferior. In fact, I’d wager that when Vlade wasn’t wearing sweatpants, the other 4 players on the court saw their defensive numbers get better, simply because the other team was feeding Vlade’s guy.
Folks, Vlade’s defense is what will always relegate him to sixth-man status for any legit playoff team. With Rashard Lewis’ contract due for renewal after next season, the Sonics cannot afford to tie themselves down to Sugar Ray and Vlade. Lewis has another 5-7 years of greatness before he starts to fade. Vlade does not.
Just say no, Rick.