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Archive for October 2011

NBA Fan Q&A: Indiana Pacers

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With their ranking of #21 on the NBA Franchise Power Rankings, I asked Indiana Pacers fans on RealGM how they felt about their team:

Q: Are you satisfied with the direction of the team? A lot of people criticize the Pacers for having a ceiling as 1st or 2nd round knockout, without a true superstar to help them contend. Would you trade Danny Granger for a top 5 draft pick next season if you could?

Miller4Ever: The way we are headed is positive. Our young talent crop is promising with the rare true center Roy Hibbert, the guard tandem of Darren Collison and the newly acquired George Hill, energy man Tyler Hansbrough, and the unlimited ceiling of Paul George. The Pacers as they are now won’t make noise in the playoffs for at least another year, and Granger is not getting younger. The team doesn’t have a scorer of Granger’s caliber currently, but there is a great balance of skills from everyone else. If he were to be traded (a top 5 pick is great value for him) somebody would be able to step up.

pacers33granger: A: It’s hard not to be at least satisfied with the direction of the team. Bird and Morway did all they could really with what they had post-brawl. The team has interesting talent at nearly every position and I think pretty much any Pacer fan is intrigued by how Frank Vogel was able to run the team after his mid-season promotion. The team lacks any true star power, but it has the makings of the 90s Pacers teams who may have won a title had they not played during the Jordan era. I think next season would really depend on if I’d be for a Granger move. If we didn’t fill our PF need this year through free agency or a trade and made little progress I’d definitely think about it with the talent in next years draft.

jowglenn: Absolutely. Given where we were a few years ago (dunleavy, murphy, o’neal, granger, no other youth of any note) to where we are now, I’m thrilled. We now have youth, no bad contracts, cap space. Would I trade Granger? Maybe. Depends who it is available in the draft and how we think they will be in the NBA. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #21 – Indiana Pacers

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Previous rankings:

#30 - Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction)
#29 - Phoenix Suns
#28 - Denver Nuggets
#27 - Detroit Pistons
#26 - Milwaukee Bucks
#25 - Philadelphia 76ers
#24 - Houston Rockets
#23 - Portland Trailblazers
#22 - Toronto Raptors

#21 – Indiana Pacers

Danny Granger in October 2009

Image via Wikipedia

Total Trade Value Ranking: #22

Best assets – SF Danny Granger (borderline all-star), C Roy Hibbert (legitimate starter), SF Paul George (young, projects as borderline starter to legitimate all-star), PG Darren Collision (borderline starter), PG/SG George Hill (borderline starter), PF Tyler Hansbrough (borderline starter), SG Brandon Rush (borderline starter), 2012 1st, 2013 1st, AJ Price (bench player)

Other chips: SF James Posey (old expiring)

Bad contracts: SG Dahtnay Jones (2 years, 5.6 million)

Finanical Grade: A+

Managerial Grade: B-

Overall synopsis: The Pacers are a team who’s ranking could change by a month from now because they are prime position for a free agency score once the lockout ends which I’ll address later, but for the purposes of this list they are ranked on their present position. Like teams such as Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Houston, the Pacers have taken a lot of criticism for being “mediocore”, an 8th seed last year without much hope of scoring in the draft to rise on the list. A list based most on total trade value tries to capture this tangibly by counting their draft picks as only marginally valuable compared to other teams near them like Toronto and Cleveland’s. But despite a series of 30 W+ seasons, the Pacers have done an excellent job finding impact players and assets with lesser draft spots. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thumbs up for meritocracy in the 2011 World Series and MLB playoffs

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Albert Pujols

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I’m generally not a MLB guy, but this has been a good year for the sport. Not only did they get an all-time regular season final day, but the playoffs have been enjoyably close with lots of “moments” like the Chris Carpenter-Roy Halladay Game 5 duel, Nelson Cruz’s big home runs and the Albert Pujols 3 HR game – with the World Series being all around outstanding. But the real reason I like the way thing have turned out, regardless of the winner, is it all feels deserved.

Last year, despite how much I like the San Francisco Giants franchise, the result of their World Series win was wholly unsatisfying. As with most people I felt like the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies’ roster was clearly better – matching the Giants pitching but adding star hitting. But the Giants got hot at the right time and beat them and then dispatched the Rangers much faster than they should have.

This year on the other hand, everything has made sense with the rosters each team put on the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Responding to Magic’s Lebron comments and Bill Reiter’s takedown of ESPN ranking Lebron the #1 player in the league

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LeBron James

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

On the eve of Magic Johnson providing another meaty quote about Lebron’s 2011 Finals, Bill Reiter at foxsportsflorida.com wrote a very good and clear article about the fallacy of still putting James on a pedastal after a frankly embarrasing shrinking act in the playoffs. As Reiter quotes, Magic said to a crowd at the University of Albany:

Veering from his point that it’s better to be remembered for off-court accomplishments, Magic said, “There’s going to always be great players in basketball. There’s going to always be guys who win championships in the NBA — except LeBron.”

Followed by: “Everybody’s always asking, ‘Who is better between Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron?’ I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? Kobe, five championships; LeBron, zero.'”

Followed by: “Stop trying to compare him to Michael Jordan. Come on, man, six championships for Jordan. You know that Michael averaged over 30 points every playoff series? Don’t try to touch that.”

Reiter responds in part by saying

If only stats mattered, and rising to the moment did not, Joe Montana would not be the greatest quarterback of all time. His winner-take-all intangibles would pale in comparison to someone like Dan Marino.

If this logic held, Wilt Chamberlain would be the Michael Jordan of the NBA. No one ever has, or will, compete with Wilt on the statistical plane. Yet there’s a reason serious basketball people look at Jordan, Magic, Kareem, Russell and a slew of others with a higher level of respect.

That’s why “Mr. October” means something in baseball.

Closing matters. Winning matters. Otherwise it’s all just a glorified version of fantasy sports.

This is so clear — as is the fact LeBron so ferociously undermined his own natural talent with mental weakness and big-game frailty — that stating that fact no longer constitutes dangerous ground for most informed basketball and sports people.

I completley agree with both Magic and Reiter Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

NBA Fan Q&A: Toronto Raptors

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From now on after a ranking of players on the NBA Franchise Power Rankings, I will post quotes from the fans – taken from RealGM.com, most of the time. With the Raptors ranking at #22 here,  I debute a roundup of their answers to 6 of my questions from fans of the team:

Q: Do you believe extending Bryan Colangelo was a good idea, and why?

J-Roc: No, GM’s are a dime a dozen and he blew his change here.

J Dilla: No. Handed out rich contracts to crappy players. Promoted and extended Jay Triano. Gave away Bosh for nothing when he could’ve had a young asset in Michael Beasley. Has a flawed vision of building an NBA basketball team.

pass first: Great decision. BC is the man. I like his track record despite what other people say.

witnessraps: Extending Bryan Colangelo was absolutely a good decision. The guy is a proven winner and has a great track record of drafting, and the 2012 draft is where we plan to make noise. People need to understand that things don’t always work out on the first try, he now has another chance to build this team into a contender and I like where we are right now.

Silk Wilkes: Yes. The options out there were limited and a 2-year contract gives him a short period of time to prove himself. It’s a now or never deal. However, if he fails and they extend him again I would be scratching my head.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #22 – Toronto Raptors

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Andrea Bargnani dunk Toronto Raptors Miami Heat

Image via Wikipedia

Previous rankings:

#30 - Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction)
#29 - Phoenix Suns
#28 - Denver Nuggets
#27 - Detroit Pistons
#26 - Milwaukee Bucks
#25 - Philadelphia 76ers
#24 - Houston Rockets
#23 - Portland Trailblazers

#22- Toronto Raptors

Best assets – C Jonas Valanciunas (rookie, projects as legitimate starter to borderline all-star), 2012 1st, 2013 1st, C Andrea Bargnani (legitimate starter), SG DeMar DeRozan (young, projects as legitimate starter to borderline all-star), PF Ed Davis (young, projects as legitimate starter), PG Jerryd Bayless (young, projects as bench player to borderline starter), PF Amir Johnson (borderline starter), SF James Johnson (bench player), SG Sonny Weems (bench player)

Negative assets – SF Lina Kleiza (3 years, 13.8 million), PG Jose Calderon (2 years, 20.2 million)

Other chips: SG Leandro Barbosa (borderline starter, expiring)

Total Trade Value Ranking: #21 (Feb. 2011 ranking: #25)

Financial Grade: A-

Managerial Grade: C

Overall synopsis: The Raptors are making their way through the post Chris Bosh abyss. The problem with Bosh’s absence is of course, not simply that they lost him, but that they got almost literally nothing for him. Since a perenniel all-star is the most valuable thing you can have, that left a crater in their overall trade value and sent them years back.

Yet, the team has still accumulated a solid group of young players. Behind legitimate starter Andrea Bargnani and the advanced statistics friendly Amir Johnson, they have a number of players to starter to all-star potential in DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Ed Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

The top 50 players of all time (by my standards)

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Bill Russell posing with other NBA Legends and...

Almost there, Bill (Image via Wikipedia)

If you’re a RealGM member, you probably know about this project, attempting to rank the top 100 players of the post shot clock era. (which among other reasons, allows us to avoid the impossible task of ranking George Mikan against everyone). We just completed the top 50, (note: Chris Paul made 50th, the thread hasn’t updated yet). I have some greivances about the overall list – let’s just say it’s 90% right and 10% wrong, but that 10% sticks out to a perfectionist. But shortly after it started I decided to update my own list one at a time in coordination with the main one, it is found halfway down the linked thread. This is my analysis in short at the halfway point, with 50 spots finished:

Tier 1 – The Greatest of All Time contenders

1. Michael Jordan

2. Bill Russell

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

These are the 3 players I primarily consider for greatest of all time candidcy. None need much introduction if you are a basketball history fan. Read the rest of this entry »