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Thoughts on Chalmers

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Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts {everybody}!!!

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1). Tell me all your thoughts on Chalmers. Cuz I'd really like to hear them - in my Dishwalla voice. Also, that Dishwalla video was during the peak "make love to the camera" phase of music videos. High comedy.

1a). Okay, let's get started here.

2). Pour one out for the Grizzlies resident Slovenian. When your playing days are at an end, may you retire to Lake Bled and find a nice Slovenian woman who will cook you potica.

3). Pour two out for the female thirst in Memphis. I don't know if female Grizzly fans will ever forgive Chris Wallace for trading Beno.

3a). That's three we've poured out so far, and we haven't even gotten to Memphian Jarnell Stokes, whose promise remained unfulfilled. The modern NBA is quickly moving away from Stokes' skill set, even as his time to prove himself dwindles. Stokes has an NBA body, but doesn't do any of the things - defend the rim, shoot from outside, guard in space - a modern NBA big needs to do. I still think he has a place in this league, but he must develop a reliable skill beyond rebounding and looking good in a suit (not a joke, dude cleaned up nice) to stick.

4). For Miami, this trade is solely about saving money. They trimmed about $2mm from their payroll, and will save multiples of that in luxury tax payments - some estimates as high as $10mm in total savings. Memphis stays about $2.3mm below the luxury tax line, per my uncharted spreadsheet.

5). The fact that Josh McRoberts, who would be a perfect fit in Memphis, is not included in this trade is either an indictment of the Grizzlies trade assets, or shows the team's unwillingness to punt yet on any part of their "core." I use that term loosely.

6). In the offseason, I had suggested a Jeff Green for Mario Chalmers and Josh McRoberts trade. That was before Justise Winslow fell into the Heat's lap.

7). For Memphis, this is a trade on the periphery. Swapping Beno for Mario is probably a talent neutral trade, but perhaps more of a gamble than it appears on the surface, which is a strange thing to say given that Chalmers is younger, a better defender, and has played deep into the playoffs. For this trade to succeed, Chalmers has to prove to be a better fit than Beno.

8). Chalmers is not a better shooter than Beno overall, but he takes a higher volume from 3 pt range, and that's where this trade works for Memphis. When the ball swings to Beno his first instinct is to take two dribbles and shoot a midrange shot.

9). Chalmers, on the other hand, will shoot the shot, and he has had plenty of reps shooting rhythm above the break threes, something that is not incredibly easy to find.

10). 48% of Chalmers' total career shots have been threes, more than DOUBLE Beno's career mark. This rate has declined in Chalmers' post-Lebron years, but even his 37% last year is better than any year of Beno's career.

11). Shooting comfort is a trait integral to both players. It isn't Beno's fault that he is an extremely good mid-range shooter. It isn't his fault that shooting 51% from mid-range is worth the same number of points in the long run as shooting 34% from 3 point range. It isn't Beno's fault that the extra steps a defender must sprint to contest a three point shot mean he is a few more steps away from defending Gasol and ZBo in the paint.

12). People - maybe all people - like yelling at Mario Chalmers.

13). Chalmers has been poor this year, particularly from 3 pt range, shooting a mere 9% (not a typo).

13a). Repeat, not a typo. You don't get dumped in a trade like that unless your team has lost its use for you.

14). But there is little to glean from nine games, and Chalmers' career numbers are decent. His struggles have come in a post Lebron-era that has seen his Usage rate tick up slightly as his 3 point attempts declined (both quantity and the share of his overall attempts).

15). The hope is that injuries to offensive hubs like Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade put too high a burden on Chalmers, and encouraged him to freelance a little too much with the ball.

16). The smoking gun to this theory is that the post Lebron decline in 3P% has occurred at the same time as Chalmers has increased the share of threes he takes from the corner, presumably an easier shot. Perhaps Chalmers is the rare player who is better at above the break threes. Perhaps it is a one year blip.

17). Or perhaps 29 year old Mario Chalmers is simply not as good a shooter as 25 - 27 year old Mario Chalmers.

18). I tend to think that this decline is a combination of:

a). not playing next to Lebron.

b). being a player who only stays in his lane when yelled at

c). age regression

19). So there's the gamble. Does Memphis have enough leadership (read: guys who will shall we say, encourage, Chalmers to do mostly good Chalmers things), and is Chalmers interested in playing for a team that isn't located on South Beach? I'm skeptical that Chalmers can serve as the primary ball handler on effective bench units, but his better defense will probably help enough to make him an upgrade to the bench regardless.

20). Chalmers can also theoretically play next to Conley, and gives them the secondary ballhandler this team desperately needs. Courtney Lee has been particularly poor shooting so far, and he provides nothing in the way of ballhandling, unless you consider one dribble into a midrange jumper "ball handling."

21). RIP Jordan Adams minutes.

22). James Ennis is a sneaky pickup too. Immediately surplus to the requirements when Justise Winslow fell to the Heat in the draft, but in just over 1,000 minutes last year (ie, the amount I had hoped Jordan Adams would get last year), he showed a good shot distribution (75% of his shots came at the rim or from 3 point range), if not the accuracy to match.

23). Also this.

24). Swapping Ennis for Stokes is perhaps talent neutral, but it does give Memphis a much needed - and ever sought-after - athleticism boost. Despite the cluttered wing rotation, Ennis probably has a clearer path to playing time than Stokes did as the fifth best center on the team. I think Ennis might be able to play power forward down the road in small lineups.

25). But that would require playing him, which won't happen.

26). And then there's this. In theory, everyone not named Gasol or Conley is tradable now, and I mean everybody. Lee might be the team's best shooter, but I think there should be an internal awareness that his aversion to shooting threes is not going away. With Chalmers, Tony Allen, and Jordan Adams able to soak up 48 minutes between them, perhaps Courtney Lee, paired with another salary, could bring back a larger salary.

27). And that includes Chalmers. Perhaps this is just the first move of many. Acquiring Chalmers $4.3mm expiring salary might help Memphis with the next deal. This trade is cost neutral next year, preserving Memphis' theoretical cap room in the summer.

28). I keep coming back to Charlotte as a theoretical trade partner. They have a dearth of shooting guards, and a defensive system that places value on perimeter defense. They have a few nice players, including Jeremy Lin and Cody Zeller. The former would provide valuable passing to a team who has been awful in that department, while the latter would provide a smidgen more spacing to a big rotation starved for it.

29). Then there's MKG, who the Hornets won't trade, but I choose to live in a world where there's a 1% chance they might. The Hornets desperately want to make the playoffs. Would they be willing to trade a player who cannot play for them this year, for two who can? Half of their top six are free agents this summer, and adding a bit of certainty to their roster next year might prove too valuable to pass up. Charlotte's cap space is probably less valuable than any other team's in the league. A package like Tony Allen and Jeff Green for MKG would help them start someone other than P.J. Hairston, a player who they inexplicably declined a third year option on even while their coach moved him into the starting lineup.

29a). This is not a trade Memphis will do. It is also not a trade that Charlotte would do, but it is the type of trade that both teams should consider.

30). I'd throw out other theoretical trades, but the most important part of a trade is not how good your assets are. It's whether the other team can talk themselves into your assets solving their problem. If you think the 3-5 Grizzlies are desperate, check in on the 3-4 Hornets, 1-7 Kings, and the 1-6 Pelicans.

31). In the end, this trade doesn't solve Memphis' biggest structural problem and that is the fact that Memphis is playing four bigs, often at the same time, whose best position is probably center. I don't know how you craft a functional NBA offense while that is the case, unless those centers come with elite rim protection, and none of Wright, JaM Green, and ZBo check that box. This team will improve as Gasol does, and JaM can probably improve some in-season as he starts making better decisions.

32). Will that be enough? Will the addition of Chalmers stabilize the bench enough to turn them from a bleeder of points to a small net negative? Will James Ennis give the front office the theoretical wing depth to turn make them comfortable with a two for one swap that brings in the ephemeral "shooter" Memphis has craved?

33). I've thrown out a lot of "theoreticals" here. Let's see how it all shakes out.