When I first heard about Ben Wallace going to Cleveland, I thought to myself: well Cleveland will be playing amazing interior defense, and they'll have more shooters on the floor. I get the idea. But this is one of those trades, I thought to myself, that you'll have to have some vision to appreciate. It's a trade that comes with some basketball theory, as opposed to one of those where you can just look at the statistics and declare Cleveland a winner.
You have no idea how many people wrote me emails saying essentially "Drew Gooden > Ben Wallace -- so how could Cleveland be getting better?"
ESPN's John Hollinger has completed his review of the statistics however, and thanks to the production of Joe Smith, Cleveland has, surprisingly to me, come out smelling like a rose even in terms of straight PER. Hollinger writes:
Answer me this: Would you rather have Larry Hughes (12.0 PER) or Wally Szczerbiak (16.0)? Shannon Brown (8.5) or Delonte West (10.1)? Donyell Marshall (8.5) or Ben Wallace (12.1)? Drew Gooden (12.8) or Joe Smith (17.4)?