A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for November 2011

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #18 – Sacramento Kings

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Demarcus Cousins

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
#20 - Atlanta Hawks 
#19 - Golden State Warriors

#18 – Sacramento Kings

Best assets: PF/C Demarcus Cousins (young, projects as borderline starter to legitimate all-star), 2012 SAC 1st, SG Tyreke Evans (young, projects as borderline to legitimate starter), PG Jimmer Fredette (young, projects as borderline to legitimate starter), 2013 SAC 1st, RFA SG Marcus Thornton (young, projects as borderline to legitimate starter), PF JJ Hickson (young, borderline starter), PF Jason Thompson (young, borderline starter), SF Donte Green (young, projects as bench player to borderline starter), C Hassan Whiteside (young, projects as non NBA player to borderline starter)

Bad contracts: SF John Salmons (3 years, 24 million), Francisco Garcia (3 years, 18.3 million)

Total Trade Value Ranking: #18

Financial Grade: B

Management Grade: C+

Overall synopsis: The Kings are one of the most “volatile” teams on this list. Meaning that I wouldn’t be surprised if they either rose to the top 10 or fell to the bottom 5 within a year. They are built on prospects who could either be extremely valuable or completely valueless soon. How does this list try to judge the Kings with that in mind? By valuing their assets with that in mind. A player like Demarcus Cousins is neither valued as much as a surefire star or as small as a future ‘get him off my team’ enigmatic headcase – but somewhere in the middle out of the possibility he goes in either direction. The fact that the Kings have the chance of these guys getting them and carrying them to a contending era puts them above a team like the Portland Trailblazers who at the moment, don’t appear to have any chance of hitting those heights anytime soon with Lamarcus Aldridge and very little else. Overall I believe the Kings are headed in the right direction, it’s just their headed into an ocean storm with a dinky motor boat. They might still get there… or they could be blown off and either drown or float back to the shore they started. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by jr.

November 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Why Dwight Howard getting traded before Christmas is more likely than you think

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In the wake of the lockout ending, we’re already hearing talks of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets offering Brook Lopez, 2 1st round picks and a willingness to take a bad contract in Hedo Turkoglu, for Dwight Howard.

On the surface this seems like all but fruitless early negotiations. What most of us are expecting is Orlando holds onto Dwight Howard for half a season to see if they contend again and then tries a Brook Lopez trade if they need to – similar to what the Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony.

There’s a reason why the Magic could be pre-emptive and deal Dwight: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

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NBA Fan Q&A: Golden State Warriors

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Unfortunately this will have to be one of the last fan Q&As for this series, the news that the lockout is over means that to get this done by the start of the season, I’ll have to… power through the remaining Franchise Rankings. I’m glad to have got to Golden State fans however since they brought, as I would’ve expected:

Q: How do you feel about your team’s upside going forward? If everything goes right, how do the Warriors make the leap to contention in the next half decade?

turk3d: I like it. I’m excited about our new ownership (being here from the start) and our new coach Mark Jackson and look forward to what he brings to the mix. I think this will be a year of evaluation while at the same time an attempt to make a leap to the playoffs if we have a season. If not, I’m in hope for the next draft and the possibility of one or more trades being made that will improve this team over the long haul.

FireNellieQuick: A: They have to make moves. Its clear the current team isn’t going anywhere. Lacob and Co. have been busy acquiring smart, less athletic players in an effort to drive down the teams’ selfishness or basketball ignorance. As it stands, that transition is still a work in progress. We either need Monta, one of our key players, to buy into that type of basketball, or we need to find someone else who will. The only way the W’s leap into legitimate contention is if they find a good defensive C and address their situation with Monta. Adding depth at the guard spots would be nice as well.

Coxy: Not very promising. I’m a huge believer in defense and bigs, and we currently have neither. We need to make a huge splash trade wise for a franchise changing big, or hopefully get lucky in landing a big in the draft. As is, the best we can hope for is an above average season that lands us in the playoffs so we look more attractive for players in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

NBA Franchise Power Rankings – #19: Golden State Warriors

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Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors

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
#21 - Indiana Pacers
#20 - Atlanta Hawks

#19 – Golden State Warriors

Best assets: PG Stephen Curry (legitimate starter), SG Monta Ellis (legitimate starter), PF/C Ekpe Udoh (young, projects from borderline starter to legitimate starter), SG Klay Thompson (young, projects from borderline starter to legitimate starter), PF/C David Lee (expensive legitimate all-star), SF Dorrell Wright (borderline starter), RFA Reggie Williams (borderline starter), 2013 GS 1st

Negative assets: C Andris Biedrins (3 years, 27 million)

Draft picks owed: 2012 1st to Utah (top 7 protected)

Total Trade Value Ranking: #20

Overall synopsis: The Warriors are a bit like the inverse version of the Atlanta Hawks, which is why they’re ranked next to them. The Hawks are built on two big men in Josh Smith and Al Horford, the Warriors are built on two guards in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. Smith and Ellis are in similar positions as headache inducing personalities who are likely on their way out for a more complimentary piece sooner than later. The Warriors, as has been the case for about 3 decades, are in desperate need of size and defensive contributers to compliment their offensive talent. As with many of the teams listed before them, the fundamental question confronting the Warriors is “How do we climb from here?”. Are they headed towards a playoff knockout team with an unbreakable ceiling, or can they build a team with 55 win instead of 45 win potential. Here’s what they have: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Another movie analogy – The NBA Lockout and Pulp Fiction

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Image of London mural painted by Banksy, deriv...

Image via Wikipedia

It looks like the NBA lockout will be resolved soon. The players and owners are once again talking, with a new mediator in Jim Quinn instead of Jeff Kessler who was shady, ill spoken and a few months removed from being tossed out of the NFL negotiations. 

I have a Pulp Fiction analogy I thought was amusing.

If you’ve seen the film, you’ll remember how in the 3rd “segment”, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are returning from a hit with an informant in custody. Winnfield has a gun pointed at him because he’s well, kind of out of control. The gun goes off and blows the informant’s head off, getting blood all over the car and forcing them to park their car at a Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino)’s house, and the trio is immediately facing a disaster if they don’t clean up the mess before his wife gets home.

This is pretty much what happened during the last couple weeks of the lockout. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

Make this trade: Danny Granger for the Minnesota 2012 1st (owned by the LA Clippers)

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Chauncey Billups & Danny Granger

Danny Granger would be an excellent fit on the LA Clippers (Image by Jeremy Andrews via Flickr)

I had planned to wait until the lockout ends to make posts about offseason fake trades, but why not single out individual ones – I can just revisit them later. I love this trade in particular:

The LA Clippers trade:

Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 1st

Ryan Gomes (2 years, 8 million)

Randy Foye (4.2 million expiring)

The Indiana Pacers trade:

Danny Granger (3 years, 39 million)

Why should both teams do this?

First, the Clippers side: I truly believe the Clippers are closer to becoming not only good, but a title contender than people give them credit for. The model for building a contending starting lineup is almost always the same. You have your double team magnet superstar, your 2nd all-star caliber scoring – and then beside them, three more key ingredients: Size in the frontcourt, shooters on the perimeter, and enough athleticism to rotate hard defensively. Here’s what the Clippers could be looking at after this trade: A future superstar in Blake Griffin and high end 2nd option in Eric Gordon, surrounded by one of the best PG shooters in Mo Williams, one of the best SF shooters in Danny Granger, and one of the biggest frontcourts in the league with the Deandre Jordan and Chris Kaman C combination. Gordon, Granger, Griffin and Jordan are all athletic players, giving the team fast defensive rotations. Granger I believe could have standout perimeter potential if conserving his energy and fouls more than he does as a 1st option in Indiana. He has the length, basketball IQ and attitude for it.

Is this team missing anything? The biggest hole is a true PG, but the amount of teams who’ve won titles with score first PGs, let alone contended, is surprisingly high. If you have a number of players that willingly move the ball and the offensive star power to create open shots, you don’t *need* a true PG. I believe this team would be fine without that model. After that, the next biggest weakness is likely perimeter scoring off the bench. The team would have a number of ways to address this. PG Eric Bledsoe and SF Al-Farouq Aminu are young players who could either develop into those contributers or be dealt for them. They could also look into an MLE signing to back up one of those positions. Furthermore, Rome was not built in a day and everyone in the immediate core has years left. Granger is 28, but his longevity going forward may be underrated. He has under 15 thousand minutes played total, giving him the legs of a 25 year old player – furthermore, with his height and shooting ability he’s built to still valuable as spot up SF after he loses a step in his mid 30s. Otherwise, if the team failed next year from youth and an undeveloped bench, they’d have years to address this.

This is an aggressive move, especially in light in the team trading the 2011 1st round pick to swap Baron Davis for Mo Williams and having it blow up in their face by Cleveland winning the lottery with it and selecting Kyrie Irving. That’s a sunk cost that has to be forgotten. It should have no implications on future decisions. The Minnesota pick could end at 1st overall and will be for sure if there’s no season, true. But so far the most impressive prospects in college have been SG Jeremy Lamb and PF Anthony Davis – both whom would make no sense for the Clippers beside Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin. C Andre Drummond is in the mix, but he’s looked incredibly raw in college and appears to have a questionable basketball IQ. There’s a chance he could be a Deandre Jordan type C long term. Still, Drummond becoming Dwight Howard 2 on another team is the biggest risk the Clippers make by this trade. The question is whether the reward of making this trade is worth it.

To me it is. This can be one of the most complete teams in the league right now and all the pieces would be there for the Clippers to be relevant for the next decade, while still leaving valuable trade assets in the bank to be flexible modifying the team if it needs to be. When you have the chance to build a complete roster on the table, you have to take the chance before it goes away.

Now, for Indiana: Although they had a respectable 8th seed playoff run next year and everyone generally likes their team and how hard they play – You have to consider the big picture. Where are the Pacers going from here? What is their upside? Can they be anything more than a playoff knockout led by Granger? They are an ideal supporting cast for a great team, but lacking the centerpieces and will be picking low enough in the draft to have no chance at getting one. Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward. Trading Granger now for the Minnesota pick puts them right in the mix for those star prospects, with possibly two picks deep in the lottery including their own if the team’s record slides to the bottom of the league without Granger. If they land a Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond and they reach stardom, to go along with Paul George at his natural SF position, Roy Hibbert at C and another good 2012 prospect from their own draft pick – now that’s one hell of a young core with upside to reach the top of the league. As an additional benefit, the Pacers are bleeding money as much as anyone in the league – this helps them cut salary commitment long term.

This trade achieves what both teams want. The Clippers get the stud veteran to compliment their youth as they try to move up the NBA ladder now, and the Pacers give themselves the long term upside they presently lack. Make this trade!

Written by jr.

November 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Don’t freak out yet (on the union dissolving)

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I’ve avoided posts about the NBA lockout because there’s a) A lot of them, b) Most of them are boring, and c) I don’t have anything new to say about it

I will say this. As much as today seemed like the worst case scenario – The union dissolved in order to take the NBA owners to court in anti-trust lawsuits – Let me talk you off the ledge at least for a few days: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

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