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All Quiet on the Bonzi Front

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No news on Bonzi, except that all the teams we've mentioned before (Sacramento, Detroit, Denver) are still trying to get him.

I've had the feeling since about late December (when Kevin Martin started his breakout) that Bonzi Wells would not be a King past June. It almost seemed like Wells wasn't a rental - he was a placeholder during an audition for Martin and Francisco Garcia. And I think those guys passed, especially when you factor in how much more important shooting range is with Peja Stojakovic out of town.

I know a lot of Kings fans are going to be upset when the inevitable happens and Bonzi Wells is not a Sacramento Kings. I think most of this is based on how well he fit in here - he provided rebounding when we didn't have it, toughness where we were weak, and a tremendous amount of clutchness we usually only get from Mike Bibby a couple times a year.

But you can't base a five-year contract on emotions, and that's all the love for Bonzi is. Emotions.

To prove it, a statistical comparison of Bonzi and Martin in 2005-06:


Player  Pts/40  3P%  eFG  TS%  I% IeFG  J% JeFG  RbR  AsR  ToR FTR OEff DEff
Wells     16.8 .222 .471 .507 50% .601 50% .340 13.9 14.9 13.0  21  101  101
Martin    16.3 .369 .540 .604 33% .641 67% .489  8.0 11.8  9.9  34  116  107

Here's a brief key, though I've explained most of this stuff before:

Pts/40: Points scored per 40 minutes.
3P%: Three-point percentage.
eFG: Field goal percentage, accounting for the added value of three-pointers.
TS%: Field goal percentage accounting for threes and free throws, or another way of looking at points per shot.
I%: Percentage of field goal attempts taken near the basket. (Generally considered less than 10 feet.)
IeFG: Effective field goal percentage on inside shots.
J%: Percentage of field goal attempts coming on jump shots.
JeFG: Effective field goal percentage on jump shots.
RbR: Estimate of percentage of total available rebounds taken in by player.
AsR: Percentage of individual possessions resulting in an assist for the player.
ToR: Percentage of individual possessions resulting in a turnover for the player.
FTR: Measures the frequency and accuracy of free throw attempts. FTMade/FGAtt
OEff: Points scored per 100 individual possessions. (League average was 106.)
DEff: Points allowed per 100 individual possessions. (League average was 106.)

As you can see, Martin is many times better than Bonzi on the offensive end. I mean, Martin shoots a better percentage on jump shots than Bonzi does overall! And Bonzi takes far more shots inside. It's not even close.

It'd be one thing if post offense was a need the Kings had. No one is going to dress down a shooting guard who takes a full half of his shots from inside 10 feet and gets almost 14 percent of all available rebounds. But, hello Ron Artest and Shareef Abdur-Rahim? Even though we saw Jump-Shooter Ron in his half-season in Sacramento, we know he's one of the best post-swings in the game. And as he proved again in Sacramento last season, Shareef is one of the best offensive post-bigs in the game. We're covered there, Bonzi!

This team needs a third shooter in the starting lineup, not a third post option. (And we, like the rest of the free world, are assuming Shareef will be the opening day starter. There is no justice in the world if the opposite is true.) Some team - like Detroit - needs a post option they won't get from Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, or Rip Hamilton. They don't need another shooter. So Bonzi Wells would be a much better option for the Pistons over Kevin Martin.

But we're not talking about the Pistons. We're talking about the Kings. And Kevin Martin is the only logical choice.

Also, since I have these around and someone once them pretty, I post the season summaries for the two guys in question:

Each vertical bar represents one game, and they are in order with all DNPs taken out. They measure the players' Game Score, which is a John Hollinger measure of single-game performance not dissimilar to PER. It takes points, made shots, missed shots, turnovers, assists, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, steals, blocks, and free throws all into account. Anything around 15 and up is considered good. Around 20 and up is very good. 25 and up is stellar. 30 is beyond fantastic. (Mike Bibby went over 30 four times this season, with a high of 33.8 at Philadelphia. Artest went over 30 once, againt Seattle in March.) The red line is a five-game average for the Game Scores.

These graphs show that despite a significant disparity in minutes per game and starts (starting and playing lots of minutes helps your ability to get a high score), Bonzi and Martin both went over 20 an equal amount of teams. Neither were models of consistency, and both had their bad stretches (typically coming off injuries). But nothing there says Bonzi is the better answer right now.

If I know Kings fans (and I think I do), we're going to tire of this debate rather quickly. I can already see Marty McNeal questioning the move, Marcos Breton wondering aloud if it's a cost-cutting manuever, and Grant Napear struggling to defend Geoff Petrie.

But remember - if Bonzi skips town, the Kings aren't losing an All-Star for nothing. They're getting a damn good youngster into the starting lineup. They're developing their own All-Star.