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The Thrifty Man's CWebb

People seem to be analyzing the Chris Webber trade en masse right now as the team has struggled through 21 games.

Webb, you see, is putting up 18.8 and 10 per 40 minutes in Philly. Dancing partners Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner and Corliss Williamson, on the other hand, are struggling to get minutes in Emperor Adelman's rotation. No trades involving those guys (the flexible parts) seem to be on the horizon.

So the conventional wisdom among The Cowbell Kingdom is that Petrie lost that trade, that Lord Geoffrey got duped.

Wrong.

Kenny Thomas isn't Chris Webber's replacement - Shareef Abdur-Rahim is. And with Webb still on this team, the Kings don't sign Reef and Reef doesn't sign with the Kings.

So let's compare apples to apples. Let's compare Reef to Webb.

How about scoring efficiency? Courtesy of the invaluable stats page at Knickerblogger.net, here's how the fours match up so far this season:

         eFG    FT%   TS%
Reef   55.5    77.2   60.3
Webb  42.3    85.2   46.9

It's not even close. Reef is 11th in the league in True Shooting, which factors three-point shooting and free throws into the shooting percentage equation. Reef is also 13th in the L in effective field goal percentage. Webb? 190th and 189th, respectively.

This season, Reef is the most efficient shooter on the Kings. He's putting up 17.7 points per 40 on only 12.5 FGAs and 5 FTAs. B-52 isn't far behind on eFG or TS%, and The Congressman has been near the top of the league (and tops among bigs) each season in SAC.

Webb? Other than Kevin Ollie, he's the worst shooter getting burn on the Sixers. Completely inefficient on offense.

What about rebounding?

        OREB  TREB  RebR
Reef     2.3    7.9   11.9
Webb    2.5   10.1  14.7

Webb is the superior rebounder of the two, even given the spaghetti knees. Both teams are bad defensive rebounding teams. But Webb certainly isn't prolific - he's 41st in the league in rebound rate, while Reef is at 76th.

Reef has topped a 14.0 RebR twice in his career, while Webb has averaged 14.6 for his career. Mayce has always been the superior boarder.

Let's look at defense, using 82games:

         O-eFG  O-Pt40   O-PER
Reef     .424      15.3    12.2
Webb    .512      18.8    16.5

It's absolutely striking how good Shareef has seemingly been on defense this season. An opponent eFG of .424? That's insane, especially considering Sacramento's overall defensive weakness. (By the way, if you're not familiar with it, PER is a stat created by the great John Hollinger that attempts to sum up all the box score numbers in one stat. 15 is the average, 20+ is very good, 25+ is elite and 30+ is MVPesque.)

Reef isn't the passer or ball-handler Webb is, but he's fit in just fine in the offense. Reef is averaging 3.9 assists and 2.3 turnovers per 40.

Webb, who has gone from being a point-forward in The Rick Adelman Experience to a best supporting actor nominee in The Allen Iverson Show, is being very un-Webber, averaging 3.6 assists and 2.6 turnovers per 40.

Without doubt, if the two players flipped teams, Webb would be beating Reef in this category.

People will also bring up leadership, fire. They'll say Webb wasn't afraid to take the last shot, that Webb could be counted on when the game was on the line.

Here's the clutch play (less than five minutes left in fourth quarter or overtime, neither team leads by more than five points) figures for the two guys, also from 82games:

            eFG    Pts40    FoulDraw%
Reef     .571    26.5             22.2
Webb    .429    25.5              6.7

Essentially, in the closing moments of a tight game, Reef scores more than Webb while taking a lot fewer shots and getting to the line a lot more. Leadership? Fire? How about clutch play?

All that said, here are the numbers that matter:

            05/06 Salary     06/07 Salary      07/08 Salary
Reef                 $5M               $5.4M                $5.8M
Webb           $19.1M             $20.7M                $22.3M

Case closed. Reef > Webb.

(Note: I decided to write this after reading a rather good outsider synopsis of Reef's passivity at Free Darko. My approach to explaining The Future is obviously very different, but I think both help to get you an understanding of who Shareef Abdur-Rahim is in the NBA.)