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The Ron Strugano Trilogy, Part Three

1/30/2007
Here is the third installment of my ongoing battle with Ron Strugano, head of CBS Fantasy, over fair trades that he continually shoots down. When you get to the end, it's pretty clear that this will likely be the last installment of our saga. Which is fine by me...after this I've said everything that needs to be said. If Ron's too hardheaded to 'get it' despite all of my efforts, then there's no chance of him ever getting it. God bless him.

Here's the deal: Carlos Boozer / David Lee for Lebron James

Boozer is actually ranked pretty close to Lebron. Lebron is a huge disappointment to those who drafted him first overall (and nearly everybody did). He's a category killer in free throws...9 attempts per game at 69.6% and it's getting worse -- the last 22 games he's shooting 67%. Overall, it kills the contribution he brings in other categories. He only ranks 16th overall. Boozer: 19th.

So looking at the numbers, it's hard to justify why the 52nd ranked player is not more than enough to compensate for the difference between the 16th and 19th ranked players. But this is Ron we're talking about...so all logic is out the window. Here's the dialogue:

JIM: "I'm looking for feedback on a Lebron for Boozer and David Lee deal that got shot down. here are all of the 2-for-1 deals that i've seen go through in cbs leagues over the last month involving lebron or dirk, marion, or kg (all equivalent of better F's than lebron). This represent the market for a lebron-type player. Boozer (ranked 23rd on the season on a per game basis) and Lee (53rd) are well within the range of fairness in context of these other accepted deals, specifically much closer than Lebron for Kirilenko and Josh Smith, a deal that was approved by CBS.

Lebron (rk 12th) for Kirilenko (59th) and Josh Smith (35th) - CBS APPROVED
Lebron for Hinrich (63rd) and Okafor (45th)
Marion (3rd) for Duncan (34th) and Mobley (123rd)
Marion for Josh Howard (27th) and Jameer Nelson (105th) - CBS APPROVED
Marion for Artest (39th) and Tony Parker (50th) - CBS APPROVED
KG (4th) for Bosh (42nd) and Josh Smith (35th)
KG for Bosh (42nd) and Brevin Knight (55th)
KG for D Howard (29th) and A Miller (48th)
Dirk (10th) for J Howard (27th) and Okafor (45th) - CBS APPROVED
Dirk for Hinrich (63rd) and Deron Williams (44th) - CBS APPROVED"

RON: "All those trades have 2 solid players. Who is David Lee. A few good weeks does not make him a good player. Channing Frye is taking time from him now and with eddy curry he is the 3rd best big man on an average team."

JIM: "You're right Ron, a few good weeks does not make a good fantasy player, but how about 40 games? That's half the season. Lee ranks 50th on the year, higher than Kirilenko, higher than Hinrich, Brevin, now Andre Miller (who's according to you is better than Caron Butler so I guess your response makes a lot of sense) a lot higher than Jameer or Mobley. Lee is even better over his last 20 games than the first 20, and even if you took only the games where he didn't start, he'd still rank 60th. Is it too much to ask that you have a basic grasp of roto value? Take away the names and look at the numbers and it's a perfectly fair deal. You hold Lebron up way too high -- right now Lebron is 13th and Boozer is 19th...how can the 50th rated player not be good enough to make up the difference? Oh yeah, the guy getting Boozer/Lee was dead last in REB...he'd be getting two guys in the top 10 in that cat in one deal. He's sent out multiple offers involving Lebron...obviously he's hurting with him and is motivated to deal him.

Oh yeah, the two guys you say are better big men than Lee: Curry ranks 126th, Frye 166th. Who would you rather have on your FANTASY team?"

Like I did with that Butler/Brad Miller for Camby/Andre Miller deal, I solicited feedback on the forums at fantasybasketballcafe.com just to prove that I wasn't being completely unreasonable in believing that this was a fair deal. Here's the complete, unedit response to my question, 'Would you veto: Boozer/D Lee for Lebron?'

"I dont know how many times I have to say this, maybe I should add it to my sig...If you need to ask if a trade needs to be vetoed then it doesnt. Its only when you are 100% sure that there is collusion that you should veto a trade. For the record on BBM, lebron is ranked 15 boozer is 24 and David Lee is 56. Seeing that Boozer is a C and david lee should be way better than any available free agent, I dont see how its even concievable that this could be vetoable especially when this trade would help the guy getting rid of Lebron strengthen one of his weakest stats."

"Nope, not veto material IMO."

"In a keeper I would, but not in a 1-year league by any means."

"Not veto worthy."

"Not at all."

"agreed"

"no"

"This thing is only vetoable if you don't look at the numbers. If all you know is "Lebron is the best player, maybe ever", and that Boozer is his one-time sidekick who only contributes in points, FG% and rebounds and Lee is just a rebound-only sixth man, then you would veto this. If you just go by hype and player type, then you wouldn't really differentiate this trade from a Garnett-for-Curry-and-Fortson trade, which is clearly vetoable. Of course, if you look at the numbers in a deeper way, you see that Lebron is not all that fantastic, and Boozer and Lee are both much better than you might expect (or have expected in the preseason). This trade is too close to be vetoable."

"I wouldn't veto in either (keeper or not). Boozer is 25, Lee 23, Lebron 22. There is a reasonable chance Lebron keeps a high TO rate and low FT%, therefore making his 3 year average value at or below Boozer's and the same potentially for Lee. Most keeper leagues are not going to be played for 8 years from now, when Lebron will have an age advantage over Boozer. But by then, as Lee has shown, he could be an efficient machine - 60+% / 80+% / 0 / 15 / 12 / 2.5 / 1 / .5+ / 1.9, which is about 3 round value or better. Which would make the deal vetoable, from the other end"

Once again, unanimous agreement that this trade is more than fair. I should mention that this is a big-money deal where $1,600 goes to the winner. Getting Lebron and then flipping him for someone like Garnett or Marion was probably my only chance of winning this league. So the fact that Ron killed the deal simply because he doesn't understand David Lee's roto value pretty much killed any chance of me winning. That's the bottom line.

RON: "Players get traded and move like stocks on how they play. Miller was better then Caron going into this year. Caron is probably the most improved player in regards to stats this year, but who knew. PG's have the ball in their hands all the time and thus its easier for them to get stats, especially for running teams like the nuggets.

Lee puts up 10 points and 10 boards. Thats a whopping 20 points a game. Its great for nba stats, but bad for fantasy stats. If you want to get a player of lebrons caliber you need to give up 2 quality fantasy players.

If you want to included sarcasism is your responses, I will stop answering. I never question your deals, who you are, or what you do for a living."

JIM: "This is not H2H. Lee is ranked 54th on the year in roto. This is a fact. There are only 53 players that have been better than him in this format. Of course he's not going to look as good in h2h when you don't account for his 60% FGP and 81% FTP.

Caron was higher than Miller last year as well, and that was in a season where Caron didn't start at the beginning of the year. Take his numbers once he became a starter and he was 36th last season. Miller was 64th. So going into this year, Caron starting point was around 36th and definitely above Miller. At the time you made that statement, Caron was 24th and Miller was 45th. He had outperformed Miller by a significant level over a period of 100+ games. Did I know Caron would be a top 15 player this year? No. Did I know that he would outperform Andre Miller? Absolutely.

Relative to those other two-for-one deals that I sent you, Boozer was the best Player A and Lee was among the best Player B's in that deal. Most of those deals are far inferior roto combo's than Boozer/Lee, and most were for better roto players than Lebron. I just don't see how you can approve some and not others, simply because you don't realize that David Lee is a SOLID roto fantasy player.

You could criticize my job all you want, but the fact is my job doesn't impact you at all. Your ability to do your job impacts me significantly. Put yourself in my shoes. Consider the fact that CBS takes half the pot off the top...wouldn't you expect to be treated fairly and that logic be behind the decisions that are made on deals that impact one's ability to try to improve one's team and win the prize money? And if the reasons for killing a deal are illogical, wouldn't you expect to hear about it? In this deal, the guy getting Boozer and Lee improves by +4 pts in the standings. Getting Lebron didn't even help me initially -- I'd have to make 1-2 additional deals to get any benefit. But in either case, the deal may be the only chance the either he or I has to win this league. By trying to protect him from making a lopsided deal, you are negatively impacting his chances of winning, and mine with it. The only guy you are protecting is the guy currently in first place. How is that fair? Is this what we're giving $1,400 to CBS for?

You have to understand, that at this point of the year with half the season in the bag and the trade deadline coming up, owners have widely different views on player values on their respective teams. Across the 8 categories, I may over/under value a given category +/- 40% based on my ability or inability to gain any ground there. This is what creates the basis for trades. The fact is that I would do ANY trade that improves my chances of winning, regardless of the players involved. If Lebron for Boozer was +4 for me and the numbers put me in better shape to win, then I would gladly trade Lebron for Boozer straight up. It's the guys that are able to understand this and look beyond simply the names involved that have the most sucess in roto.

The fact is Boozer/Lee for Lebron passes every reasonable test that you should have in place for assessing these deals. 1) Is collusion involved? No. 2) Are both owners trying to rationally improve their teams? Yes. 3) Is it reasonable for each guy to value one set of players over another? Yes. Honestly, I don't know how you kill any deal that meets these three criteria.

And for the record, in addition to the Caron/Andre Miller thing, you've been 100% wrong on every topic we've ever talked about:

1. Raymond Felton is equal to Steve Nash (Felton 66th, Nash 6th)
2. Dwight Howard is equal to Shaq (D Howard 36th, Shaq 263rd)
3. Al Harrington is equal to Andre Iguodala (Al 95th, Iggy 31st)
4. Josh Smith can't hold a candle to Chris Bosh (Smith 30th, Bosh 40th)
5. Mike Miller can't hold a candle to Josh Smith (Miller 29th, Smith 30th)
6. Andre Miller is better than Caron Butler (Andre 57th, Caron 12th)
7. David Lee is not a solid basketball player (Lee 54th)

Most of these are so far off that is wasn't like you just got unlucky and it could've swung either way. And some are so off-base that you'd have a hard time picking which one is the most ludicrous.

If you were to interview a guy for one of your commish positions and gave him the above as a true-false quiz, what would you do if they answered each of the above 100% wrong? Even if they were the nicest guy in the world, you'd probably look for some other position in the company where they'd be a better fit, wouldn't you? I have nothing personal against you, Ron, but based on our conversations I can't help but conclude that you just don't grasp basic roto player value. How could anybody come up with a different conclusion? That would be fine -- most people don't -- except for the fact that you are in a position where you are supposed to grasp basic roto player value, and the people who paid money to join your league are giving CBS 50% of it with the expectation that the commissioners deciding their fate have a basic understanding of roto player value. I don't think I've ever crossed any line or asked for anything unreasonable other than a fair chance to win the leagues I paid to compete in."

RON: "i hope you feel better now. We are done talking the rest of the season."

1 comments:

  1. Eric said...:

    In my opinion, that the commissioner would refuse to interact with you for the remainder of the season (and before the trade deadline) on his own personal whim (i.e. no vulgarity or threats) is grounds for a complete or partial return of any league fees by CBS Sportsline. I play in 4 CBS leagues and would already be demanding better treatment from the fantasy department higher-ups. Screw Ron, go above him!

 
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