It seems every time I go into a post, there are outcries to trade Big Al. Whether it be because of his large contract, his defense, or his being not as efficient as we want him to be. But seriously think about this for a second. It makes absolutely NO sense to be trading Big Al. If we trade one of our bigs this year, it would be Paul Millsap. Not that I don't like Paul, that option just makes the most sense
Think about it, even though Favors could play center, and does a great job at it, he insists that he is a Power Forward. Personally, I agree with him, and think he should be starting there, regardless of if we have Millsap or not, but that's personal opinion.
I'm not going to go into much statistical depth, as there are a ton of posts that already have, but basically last year's Big Al could've been a 2nd option on a contender, but he wasn't necessarily efficient enough to make the team win as a first option. He puts up Dwight Howard-type numbers (minus a few rebounds, because we have so many crazy rebounders, Howard just has himself and lucky bounces to the other guys on the team), with less efficiency. But we were one of the worst 3 pt shooting teams in the league. If our players can develop shooting, and our other guys that we brought in (Mo and Marvin Willams and Kevin Murphy) can shoot consistently, I think that turns Big Al into a 1st option easy, as long as he keeps his great court vision sharp.
We bang on Big Al for his Defense, and he IS slow, but pair him with Favors instead of an undersized Millsap, and I think we could cover up those weaknesses. As much as I like Millsap, he is undersized, and can sometimes be just as ineffective on D as Big Al. I'm not saying get rid of Millsap, I really want to keep both of the players (mainly because Millsap can play at the 3 and open up minutes for Kanter), but if one has to go, it feels like it makes more sense to get rid of Millsap.
The third thing people bang on is his contract. He IS arguably the best player on the team this year (unless one of our young guys has a breakout year, and even then...), and his contract expires this year too. That sounds pretty good to me, and If we could get him on one of those front-loaded contracts, I'd really like to see him retire as a Jazz man. The problem with trading him ****this year**** (triple underlined) is that we don't really have anyone who can match his production ****this year****. He's the closest thing we have to a first option scorer (and could actually become one this season), and we want to get rid of him? Nobody else has the offensive polish that Big Al has. Millsap already contributes as much as he can, and I personally don't think Millsap can carry the team throughout the whole season the way Big Al does. He was too inconsistent last year, and I don't think too much will change this year.
The last reason I think we should keep him is because he seems like he could be a Dirk-type player. I don't mean doing crazy fadeaways and shooting 3s all the time, but I mean the way Dirk avoids serious contact (at least while he's not in the playoffs). Big Al doesn't get fouled often. Part of that could be the refs, but I think he avoids contact on purpose, so as to not get injured, and not miss games. It also extends how long he'll be able to put up big numbers. We could always count on him off of the bench to provide some scoring.
As a closing idea though, I think it would be awesome if we created a set of plays around Big Al's game. Instead of letting him ISO, have the other players moving around, cutting, screening, etc, while he works his moves. That way it usually either ends up in 2 pts by big al, or a dish to an open man. Then you can reset the play if it doesn't work, and rinse and repeat. The post-ups usually only take 10-15 seconds off the clock, it would slow our pace down, as far as when we get a shot off during the shot clock. But I feel it would make the offense much more efficient. Of course you have to design the plays so that the other players don't interfere with Big Al's post moves, but it should be possible.