Atlanta Hawks: Down the road, Dampier might be best of rest

'Damp' might be best of big men left once he's released.

'Damp' might be best of big men left once he's released.

There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for the remaining free-agent centers. Understandable considering it wasn’t a deep crop of free agents to begin and it quickly thinned out after Shaq finished off the second wave of signings and now really looks to be shrug-worthy with Kwame Brown in Charlotte.

Brown’s signing also seems to mean Erick Dampier is the odd center out in Charlotte from among Nazr Mohammed and DeSagna Diop. As training camp approaches, the Hawks will look to see which vets are waived and presumably they’d be interested in Dampier if he’s let go since he’s probably a better option than the other centers on the market (comparisons below).

Dampier is owed $13 million in non-guaranteed money next season so Charlotte could waive him to clear salary but Bobcats GM Rod Higgins says he’s seeking to trade Dampier after Sept. 13. No team is going to pay Dampier that salary so he’ll become a free agent one way or the other.

From the AP via Yahoo! Sports:

Higgins’ next big move involves Dampier, acquired last month in a five-player deal that sent Chandler to the Mavericks. Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract is a big chip for the Bobcats, who are desperately trying to get under the NBA’s luxury-tax payroll threshold of $70.3 million.

Charlotte could simply waive Dampier and get under that figure, and they had planned to do that and re-sign him. Because Charlotte is over the salary cap, it only can offer Dampier $2.2 million this season, what’s left over from the $5.7 million midlevel exception after the Bobcats struck a two-year, $7 million deal with point guard Shaun Livingston a day after the Dampier trade.

The 35-year-old Dampier rejected that offer, but agent Dan Fegan said his client hasn’t completely ruled out returning to Charlotte if he’s waived.

“It’s not a closed deal from our perspective,” Fegan said. “I understand what Rod Higgins is trying to do. I have a good relationship with Rod, and I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

The potential problem for the Hawks, of course, is if Dampier turned down $2.2 million from Charlotte he wouldn’t be inclined to sign for the minimum. Atlanta’s team salary is roughly $2.7 million under the luxury-tax threshold so there’s some wiggle room above his vet minimum of $1.35 million. Dampier wouldn’t come with the potential headaches that spooked them with Shaq so, who knows, maybe the Hawks would offer Dampier more than the minimum if it came to that.

So far the minimum looks to be the market price for Josh Boone, Francisco Elson and Brian Skinner. Here’s a statistical comparison of the four centers’ production per 48 minutes last season along with their opponents’ production per 48, via 82games.com. For Elson and Skinner, I used their 2008-09 statistics since they didn’t play significant minutes in 2009-10. These numbers come with the usual disclaimers about context, role, etc.

eFG%=effective field goal percentage
iFG%=inside field goal percentage

Dampier (1280 minutes played)

FGA=8.0
eFG%=.630
FTA=3.8
iFG=83%
REB=15.0
AST=1.2
TO=2.3
BLK=2.9
PF=5.7
PTS=12.3
PER=15.8

Opponent counterpart vs. Dampier

FGA=14.1
eFG%=.500
FTA=4.6
iFG=49%
REB=14.0
AST=2.1
TO=2.4
BLK=1.6
PF=4.2
PTS=17.5
PER=17.0

Boone (1045 minutes played; stats are for roughly 500 minutes played at center)

FGA=8.7
eFG%=.618
FTA=3.5
iFG=82%
REB=13.4
AST=1.3
TO=1.4
BLK=2.3
PF=5.8
PTS=11.9
PER=16.9

Opponent counterpart vs. Boone (at center)

FGA=14.2
eFG%=.516
FTA=8.0
iFG=55%
REB=13.4
AST=3.7
TO=3.3
BLK=1.9
PF=5.0
PTS=20.0
PER=20.5

Skinner (roughly 340 minutes played at center)

FGA=8.4
eFG%=.397
FTA=3.3
iFG=55%
REN=12.2
AST=1.6
BLK=2.7
PF=5.9
PTS=8.5
PER=8.7

Opponent production vs. Skinner (at center)

FGA=14.3
eFG%=.495
FTA=7.2
iFG=56%
REB=15.9
AST=2.6
TO=3.0
BLK=2.6
PF=4.5
PTS=19.1
PER=18.7

Elson (977 minutes played, all but a handful at center)

FGA eFG% FTA iFG REB AST TO BLK PF PTS PER

FGA=8.2
eFG=.509
FTA=1.9
iFG=51%
REB=11.3
AST=1.5
TO=2.4
BLK=1.8
PF=7.2
PTS=9.9
PER=11.8

Opponent counterpart vs. Elson

FGA=13.1
eFG%=0.572
FTA=6.0
iFG=57%
REB=13.9
AST=2.3
TO=2.6
BLK=1.9
PF=5.9
PTS=19.4
PER=20.7

A comparison of the four centers via basketballreference.com shows that Dampier comes out ahead in true shooting percentage (accounts for free throws), rebounding percentage, block percentage, offensive and defensive ratings and win shares. He’s good on the offensive glass, efficient scoring at the rim (and smart enough to almost never attempt shots away from the basket), doesn’t foul very much despite the good block rate and has the size to contend with the East’s post bangers.

Boone’s Synergy numbers as a post defender are pretty solid, suggesting he can hold his own down there with his length and relatively slight frame. He’s still only 25, too. But there doesn’t look to be an upward trend in his production. And it’s not like the Hawks are looking to give out a long-term deal, anyway.

Dampier spent years as a starter in the Mavericks’ winning program. Boone was a rookie on New Jersey’s ‘06-’07 playoffs squad. Elson played 20 postseason games for San Antonio’s 2007 champion. Skinner’s teams were bounced from the first round three out of four times; he was a bit player for Philadelphia’s ‘02-’03 team that made the second round.

Dampier seems to be a pretty low-maintenance vet. During the 2006 Finals, us hacks kept trying to bait him into verbally sparring with Shaq after he’d once famously called him “Ericka” Dampier. Dampier wouldn’t bite and was dang near emotionless when talking about. As I recall, he ended up being pretty solid off the bench against the Heat after not playing in the West finals.

So I guess all of this is a long way of saying Dampier appears to be a better option than the vet free agents available at the moment. I’d give Dampier the edge over Boone because of his size, defense, efficient scoring and an amazingly single-minded focus on his role. He’s a solid pro who might come at a reasonable price, which of course means there should be a market for him once he’s finally released.

MC

208 comments Add your comment

Progeny

August 25th, 2010
6:46 pm

Sautee

August 25th, 2010
6:47 pm

Best of a bad lot, eh?

Sounds like it’s right up the ASKG’s alley.

tjhook

August 25th, 2010
6:49 pm

Just sign Boone and call it a day. Once the team ignored Shaq and Brown, bringing in anyone other than a youngster is just plain ignorant. You need someone with an upside to join the roster. They can at least be a good practice body. Although we have one of those with Josh Powell. So maybe we do consider Bryan skinner now.

tjhook

August 25th, 2010
6:50 pm

God, the Hawks are bottom-feeding now… what say everyone about this trade suggestion: Marvin Williams and Jamal crawford to Denver for Carmelo Anthony.

UGA

August 25th, 2010
6:50 pm

Is Mo Evans in your opinion an upgrade over Damien Wilkins or Rodney Carney?

Michael Cunningham

August 25th, 2010
7:03 pm

@UGA: my opinion? they are comparable players but Wilkins and Carney are better fits as true wing players. you get more rebounding and size with both guys.

jason

August 25th, 2010
7:06 pm

we should sign dampier becuase he is scary in the paint

Najeh Davenpoop

August 25th, 2010
7:19 pm

All these guys are Hall of Famers compared to Jason Collins and Josh Powell.

Harry Hawk

August 25th, 2010
7:24 pm

Dampier looks like he’s enjoying that dunk a little too much.

Funny stuff.

Rondo

August 25th, 2010
7:32 pm

Kwame Brown shouldn’t have made news MC. ASG-Sund sign Dampier

Rondo

August 25th, 2010
7:34 pm

Release Collins and RandMo and sign Dampier and Boone

Tommy Wright 3rd

August 25th, 2010
7:38 pm

MC,

Please take Boone and Skinner off the list please..Both are around 6 ft 8…Why get smaller? You do understand that Hortford is 6 ft 8? WE HAVE THE SMALLEST FRONT COURT IN THE NBA!!

Big Ray

August 25th, 2010
7:40 pm

They’ll go cheapest route possible. Welcome to the ATL, Brian Skinner. You can even come on crutches and not play. So long as you dress.

JoJo the Godfather

August 25th, 2010
7:46 pm

MC…Any chance you can throw Za Za’s numbers up there so that we can see who has better stats between Za Za & Dampier?

My guess is that they are very similar players…Which leads me to believe that if you can sign Dampier for less than Za Za, then at the end of the day, you’ve made a good business decision…Worry about the tax at the end of the year…If this guy is better than Pachulia, Powell & Collin, and won’t disrupt the clubhouse, then you go get him.

Rondo

August 25th, 2010
7:55 pm

I have a strange feeling that ZaZa will be the heart and soul of the hawks next season.

ryan

August 25th, 2010
7:57 pm

This might be nail in the coffin for ASG they don’t have any money it would be lucky if they survive the rest of the year.

Sautee

August 25th, 2010
7:57 pm

KevinM,

From the last blog……

You said this: “And let’s clear up one thing: Al should not have been an all-star last year.”

Kevin, do you think you know the NBA better than the Head Coaches? Just a yes or no question.

In my opinion, beyond his production, Al was chosen because of all the intangibles he brings on both ends of the court. If “intangibles” is low on your list of reasons for being chosen as an All-Star, ok, but note that it was obviously NOT low on the list of head coaches (who tend to treasure that sort of thing).

So who do you think got jobbed by the coaches picking Al?

an atl fan

August 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah man im so tired of this team. one of our best seasons and it ends with squeaking by a bad bucks team and getting blown out by orlando. what did we do to stop this? fire woody. sign jj. so basically no improvements from last year!?!?! hahahahahaha im a big atl fan but man….. these hawks will always be losers, but i know imma be watching their first game come BB season. *sighs* gonna be a long season fellas

newkid

August 25th, 2010
8:09 pm

jim

August 25th, 2010
8:13 pm

you don’t see the “good” teams looking to pick up any of this garbage

Ray

August 25th, 2010
8:33 pm

@Michael Cunningham…..I really believe that it’s Dampier that the Hawks are really after. I think that if they grab him, they will honestly have a legit center on their team. A true 7 footer. I’m just hoping that Charlotte will dump him soon because i think that the chances of them trading his $13 million dollar salary is slim to none. Hawks, lets make the right pitch and get this man when he becomes available

NES

August 25th, 2010
8:52 pm

MC, i agree this is curtain call time and right when the hawks need to be working overtime to securing his services here, guess what, the GM Sund is on VACATION! just great, no wonder nothing gets done. I will say this, i bet they won’t sign Dampier either because his salary takes the hawks into luxury tax bracket, and ASG can’t pay that tax! We needed a GM who should have been just a little creative and traded iso joe and Bibby or Evans for available talented players who now are on other teams, too late to do anything but pay ISO JOE 120 million dollars and can’t improve the team for the next few years–what a joke of a contract!

UGA fans are so...

August 25th, 2010
9:07 pm

It is evident that Michael Jordan is trying to justify picking Kwame Brown #1 by signing him for the Bobcats. Does Kwame Brown have pictures of MJ & is using them to have a job in the NBA?

Rev in Tampa

August 25th, 2010
9:11 pm

It appears that the Hawks would not be able to do anything toward signing Dampier before Sept. 13. Is that correct?

Rev in Tampa

August 25th, 2010
9:16 pm

The question I am asking myself (and everybody else) is how does Dampier compare to Joe Smith? Joe was supposed to be an experienced, solid vet to give relief to Al & Zaza, but he did not contribute all that much. If Al rotates into the PF position from time to time, the Hawks will need more contribution from the spot that Joe Smith held last year.

N.D.T.K.A.

August 25th, 2010
9:20 pm

As I recall, before Dampier signed with Dallas about 5 or 6 years ago. The Hawks brought Dampier to wine and dine him as a free agent (pre-ASG of course). I just don’t get the feeling that ASG and Sund are going to go after a guy like Dampier that could contribute without causing any commotion. Sund reacts to slow and Dampier want wait around for a vet minimum salary when there definitely be a market for his services if he is waived by Charlotte.

Rev in Tampa

August 25th, 2010
9:21 pm

@Harry Hawk – “Dampier looks like he’s enjoying that dunk a little too much.”

Yea, it is certainly a two-handed dunk.

N.D.T.K.A.

August 25th, 2010
9:24 pm

Dampier is a true center and is bigger and more physical than ZaZa, so he will never fill the shoes of Joe Smith at the PF spot. ZaZa or Al Horford would have to slide to PF if Dampier were signed.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 25th, 2010
9:24 pm

“The question I am asking myself (and everybody else) is how does Dampier compare to Joe Smith?”

Dampier can defend centers and block shots, two things Joe Smith can’t do. At his peak, he’s also a better rebounder, although it remains to be seen whether he will be willing to put in the effort to do so. Effort has been a problem for him throughout his career, at least when he wasn’t playing for a contract.

I Heart Atlanta

August 25th, 2010
9:37 pm

MC
Any shot We actually make a run at him or is this just us searching for something?
And when will Dampier be waived?
Thanks MC

Rev in Tampa

August 25th, 2010
9:37 pm

N.D.T.K.A., thanks for reminding me that Joe Smith played PF. I had lumped him in as another big man = center.

Melvin

August 25th, 2010
10:01 pm

MC, nice try but this team is set. Maybe Pape might be sign but I doubt if we see any additional players added to this team.

longtimehawkfan

August 25th, 2010
10:02 pm

I say get Dampier…he’s a keeper, and definitely improves the team….other guys are overhyped….I believe Sund will make right decision…..you guys are overlooking that Woody had no offensive strategy…and Dampier would thrive in motion offense off the bench

i_am_soulstar

August 25th, 2010
10:03 pm

I’d take Dampier over anyone else left. He’s an above average rebounder who could actually solve our problem of guarding Dwight. That’s worth most of the MLE alone.

SteveW

August 25th, 2010
10:13 pm

Well, we have 2.7m left before luxury tax + 3m from draft day, + all of the MLE + the 3.66m Trade Exception – I think Horford and Smoove would be very happy if we acquired Dampier – I say Rick, getter done!

Looking at it from Sund’s viewpoint, it is wise to wait and see who is waived, or who we can get for a 2nd pick etc. – Some teams have too many C’s, and we might be surprised who they ditch.

If we get Josh Boone – dude grabbed 20 boards against us in one game last year! I think maybe Josh and Al can help develop him, if he’s willing to learn.

At this point, I say – bring on the season!

SteveW

August 25th, 2010
10:32 pm

I think Pape Sy is a Mo’/Jamal replacement hopeful for next year – on the cheap – 2nd picks only get $450,000.00 or so per year – smart move by ASG/Sund and Drew.

Barring injury, I feel good about these Hawks for years to come. ‘011-’012 Hawks for example:

PG – Teague 23 – Now in his 3rd year – should really begin to blossom
SG – JJ – 30 – Probably still an All-Star
3rd G – JoCrawford – 23 – Hopefully he’s as good as I think he is…
SF – Marvin – 25 – Come on Marv’!We’re counting on you.
PF – Smoove – 26 – Should be an All-Star
C- Horford – 25 – All-Star
Back up C- ZaZa – Still only 27
Back up PG – Bibby – 33 – maybe he goes out gracefully

We’ll probably have a 1st round pick around #20, so we might get some help there.

The future looks bright for Hawks B’ball well into the future….I like it!

KevinM

August 25th, 2010
10:41 pm

NDTKA, I remember Dampier being recruited by us, and we were about to offer him that Kenyon Martin/Eddy Curry type of offer. I think we were lucky to avoid all those dudes.
Sautee, my point for stating for Al not being an all-star was pointed to Smoove, who had a very good year, put up better numbers, but was slighted. I know its about position and demand, but Horford’s numbers don’t stand out any more than Shaq’s numbers. I like Al, and I would like to see what he could produce at PF. To me, they’re both all-star type players, but really, Al had no better season than Noah, who is the king of those intangibles.

drmaryb (*_*)

August 25th, 2010
10:55 pm

Hugh?

MC

How cam Damp be owed 13M but his contract is not guaranteed?
I’m sloow … So, can you expound upon that?

I love his size and cool temperament – seems like a lunch pail guy.

Big Ump

August 25th, 2010
11:11 pm

drmaryb

I left you a post in Big Ray Blog today.

OK

August 25th, 2010
11:21 pm

OK Rick, Damp & Pape Sy. MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Barton

August 25th, 2010
11:22 pm

Are there no solid 7 footers with good footwork and low post moves somewhere in the world? I just don’t understand how there can be only (about) 4 dominant centers in the NBA (Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan and Darko Milicic). What happened to the Jeff Fosters who would go in and collect 12 boards no matter who was at center? What happened to elite athletes making the NBA? There really is no one who can play a more solid, fundamental and productive game than Jason Collins? I would rather trade draft picks and get an undersized Tyler Hansbrough than have Jason Collins – at least I know Hansbrough is going to bust his behind to play a solid, fundamental and productive (be a contributing factor) game.

I think my idea of the NBA is caught in some fantasy world where there are hidden gems waiting to be unearthed and polished and I think I’m disappointed because every other team in the NBA seems to find them except the Hawks. I’ll indulge the curious reader. Starting line-up [Bibby, JJ, Smoove, Marvin, Horford]. Majority were drafted in the top 10.. Bibby came after his prime and Johnson was a budding superstar elsewhere (I guess…) – Salim Stoudemire (who was touted to be more productive in the NBA than JJ Redick) never panned out, neither did Acie Law, Sheldon Williams. All I see there is Al Horford. It is just incredibly frustrating to me how the league is set up right now, where 3 teams have a chance at winning a title every year. Teams just can’t play above their level for a series anymore (if they even could before).

I guess you would just think that after all these years with more and more talented players entering into the league, you would get a little more balance across the board. Similar to how college teams are no longer safe against 15 and 14 seeds because of the players they have across the board. I know it’s only one game and not a series, but it speaks to my point a little bit. Someone please tell me everything will be OK and that Larry Drew will put these pieces together into an offense as ingenious as the triangle.

an atl fan

August 25th, 2010
11:35 pm

man even if we go to the playoffs i smell a 1st round exit. we’re not gonna offer any more new players. biggest free agency in history and the hawks come out with nobody!?! we get a player who did nothing in the playoffs? the best we could hope for is a top pick, and we all know how bad we are at drafting

E43

August 25th, 2010
11:42 pm

hasheem thabeets name was tossed in many hawks mock drafts. i think it would be really easy to deal him from memphis being that he was at some point in the d-league. he may not be the superstar we want but i think that his defense and size(7ft 3) can bother guys like dwight. (6ft 11) he is young and i think he can be fit into our system the way they deal with mario west and jason collins

Grandad

August 25th, 2010
11:44 pm

Mary Ellen

Dampier’s contract is what they call a dust chip.
It’s not guaranteed. Therefore whomever ends up
with his contract can/will *cut him.
*[not sure of the date on which he must be cut]
That’s why someone would trade for him just as
Charlotte did. To get rid of unwanted contracts.
Example:
we could trade Marv & Bibby for Dampier then cut him.
We would no longer be bound to those *contacts.
[Marv & Bibby] = the numbers would work.
However we would not want to do the trade as we would
get nothing in return. however if a team just wanted to
shed contracts, that is a way to go.

Now, once he is cut, why do we want him?
No one can prove that he is worth bringing in.
I have no doubt that Zaza is better.
Plus, I say he is no better than Cheeseburger, AKA J Cheeze.

Also Paps will be the 13th man on the roster.

To improve the roster means we make a trade.

Rev in Tampa

Sept 13th is 60 days from the date he was traded from Dallas.
After that date he can be included with multiple players in a trade.

cp

August 25th, 2010
11:47 pm

If Damp is released Sund needs to move fast. If Damp turns down an offer just go after Boone and call it a day. We need a legit back up sf because Mo is just too small but if we sign a big I doubt we go after a backup sf. We shouldn’t have signed Collins and Powell. I would rather have had Damp and Boone along with a guy like Carney to play backup sf.

Section 303

August 25th, 2010
11:58 pm

Whatever….just pick one of these stiffs and be done with it.

Would not have said this about Francisco Elson 2 or 3 years ago, but that was 2 or 3 years ago. The Hawks, of course, would never think of picking him up back then since he had something left to give at that time.

This offseason blows.

Grandad

August 26th, 2010
12:00 am

Barton

Your point is well taken.
Well, except for the Darko milicic part.

If you notice Team USA doesn’t have a decent center.

Most of the best true centers in the world are;
from other countries, particularly European nations.
US players tend to play a more athletic game & work
on fundamentals less.
Our system lends itself to that. [AAU]
Other countries work on skills and training
as they would any other sport (tennis, soccer).
Our country has 7 ftrs. but are rarely ready
to play when they reach the pros.
Even in college the coach is there to “win quick”,
And rarely has a chance to spend time teaching.
High school coaches [now] are out of the equation.
*[AAU, basketball recruiting academies - "Oak Hill"]

But you sir are correct:
Where have all the centers gone?
Even the good ones call themselves power forwards:
Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, et al. [Neither from the USA]

Grandad

August 26th, 2010
12:03 am

*[Pape Sy]* will be our 13th man on the roster.

drmaryb (*_*)

August 26th, 2010
12:11 am

Big Ump

Thanks, I’ll go check that out tonight. What up Big Ump Baby?

Grand-Daddy

Thanks for explaining that, so if we trade Marv & Bibby then we would have to keep Damp …. Mmmmh IDK if he is worth those two. He might be if we think we can make a run at a title right now, but we would still be strapped for cash to add others.

That’s a lot to give up, and the Bobcats would still be 13M over the cap, unless the make some more trades. But Marv might do well in Charlotte – his alma mater. Maybe he can take those night classes and get his degree after all.

But, that’s a lot to give for a 35 year old C with no upside, but it might make the Hawks better NOW! G-Daddy, what do you recommend?

Oh Yeah, I reported that idiotic comment already! TS really need some seious help! Geez!

drmaryb (*_*)

August 26th, 2010
12:19 am

All Hands on Deck!

What is Damp doing with his left hand?

Is that called double-Dippin’?
Or, it that a sky-hook?