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February 23, 2011

Quick Take on Landry Trade

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 7:10 pm

While it has been overshadowed by the day’s other trade, according to multiple reports the New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings have come to terms on a deal that sends Carl Landry to the Bayou in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton and cash. By all accounts, the Hornets have been very aggressive leading up to the deadline in their search for bench production. Landry is a fine sixth man, as he showed with the Houston Rockets, and the price isn’t excessive. Nonetheless, the fit of this deal doesn’t seem right to me.

While Landry and New Orleans starter David West score in very different ways–West is the master of the pick-and-pop, while Landry is more of a post scorer–they’re both undersized four-men. That makes Landry a good insurance policy in case West, who can opt out out of the final season of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, heads elsewhere. But for the remainder of this season, it will be difficult for Hornets coach Monty Williams to use the two players together in the frontcourt. That kind of pairing could be a disaster at the defensive end of the floor, since neither West nor Landry is especially effective as a help defender.

Because West plays 35 minutes a night, and because New Orleans is weak in the middle behind starting center Emeka Okafor, West is sure to end up playing some five next to Landry to allow the newcomer to play the 20-25 minutes a night his play merits. Because of the defensive shortcomings, I’m not sure that’s much of an upgrade on the trio of Jason Smith, Aaron Gray and DJ Mbenga. Landry will help–especially in the 13 or so minutes he’ll get to play at his natural position–but not as much as a player that better fit the Hornets’ needs might have done.

You can contact Kevin at kpelton@basketballprospectus.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kpelton.

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