I've been out of the loop for the last day and a half or so, being brainwashed about which grad school I should attend. Subsequently, I missed the D-League trade deadline the other day, and this move; the Albuquerque Thunderbirds traded center Kurt Looby to the Maine Red Claws for forward Trey Gilder.
Looby started the year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before being traded to the Thunderbirds, and is an excellent shotblocker and rebounder whose offensive game is a work in progress. How excellent? Well, he's third among qualified centers in per-minute rebounding (14.4) and fourth in per-game rebounding (7.9), and second among qualified, non-NBA centers in both per-minute (5.57) and per-game (3.08) blocks. Both of those per-game numbers are improvements over last season. Also improved is his shooting and scoring, although he's still just under seven points a game. Still, I noticed a nice jump hook the other day against Dakota, so his offense is coming along (he's been playing basketball for even less time than Hasheem Thabeet). It also should be noted that he's turning the ball over more this season. For more information on Looby,
consult your local library read Scott's profile of him from this past offseason.
Gilder began the year on the Memphis Grizzlies' roster, but was cut before his salary became guaranteed. He played for the Colorado 14ers last season, and then as with the Red Claws came off the bench a large number of games (he's actually started more this season, but it's close) despite being talented enough to start. I wrote a profile of Gilder this past offseason, so I recommend reading it to get a larger picture of his game. In a nutshell, he's athletic, works hard, rebounds well and can create his own shot on offense. He also has been improving his shot; while he didn't have much of an outside game last year, his three-point percentage has shot up to 38.9 this season. He's also blocking more shots this year (1.2 per game compared to 0.7 with Colorado) and averaging one more assist per game (2.4 vs. 1.4).
Both of these players are pretty solid, then. What does this trade do for their respective teams?
Trading Looby leaves Shagari Alleyne as Albuquerque's only "true" center. I will say that Alleyne looked decent against Hasheem Thabeet the other day, but he's played only three regular season games this year and never more than 20 minutes in any of them. This definitely hurts the Thunderbirds' depth, as their likely backup center options are Sasha Cuic and Marcus Hubbard, both of whom make me sad inside. (They also could use the 6'9" Gilder, I suppose, but his skill-set doesn't really fit at center.) Still, acquiring Gilder will be a solid frontcourt scoring option for a team that was previously (and might still be) a bit backcourt-heavy.
Looby, meanwhile, gives the Red Claws a strong center with Paul Davis not around. They've been starting T.J. Cummings at that position, but he's a bit undersized and may be more of a power forward. I suspect this was more a move to acquire Looby than to get rid of Gilder, because the latter had been playing well of late, with the exception of one "off" game last week. Maine likely will miss his versatility, as neither Cummings nor Darnell Lazare have much of a midrange or outside game. It also leaves Billy Thomas as the primary (only?) bench scoring option, a role which he seems able to fill about three times a month. Expect Morris Almond, Maurice Ager and Russell Robinson to continue playing heavy minutes.