A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for March 2012

My 2012 NBA Draft Big Board – Ranking the top 30 (March 2012)

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This is my preliminary ranking of the top 30 prospects in the 2012 draft. I will repost a list in June before the draft.

My method is based on evaluating players’ skillsets. A players’ statistics can help illuminate these skillsets, but producing in the NCAA is not a necessity, nor does it guarantee success in the NBA. I see impressive statistics matching an impressive prospects as coorelation, rather than causing that ranking.

I have also included statistical and stylistic comparisons for each player in the NBA. The stylistic comparison may be above or below that player’s production in the NBA, it’s meant more to simply *how* they will play and look in the NBA. The statistical comparison is under the assumption of the opportunity to play starting caliber (30-36) minutes, thus judging the player and not their situation.

1. PF Anthony Davis – The clearcut #1. Can be the best defensive big man in the league, and the value of that cannot be understated when you look at the history of championship teams in the NBA. Offensively he is coming along with good touch, instincts and a ballhandling and shooting perimeter game that is coming along. Finally, has a perfect humble character – the type you build a franchise around culturally. He may put up 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game one day, resembling Miami usage Chris Bosh offensively and Tim Duncan defensively. Read the rest of this entry »

Why the Chicago Bulls are so much better than the LA Clippers: The devil is in the details!

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Wizards v/s Clippers 03/12/11

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now the Bulls and Clippers are on the opposite side of a snowball. The Bulls are 1st in the league and keep the wins snowballing even when Rose misses games, while the Clips have been slipping badly since Chauncey Billups’ season ending injury and are on the verge of falling out of a playoff seed and considering firing their coach.

The Bulls and Clips are a neat pair to compare because of their lineup makeup. Their best players Derrick Rose and Chris Paul for most, are a near draw – Paul more valuable this because of the games Rose has missed. Blake Griffin and Carlos Boozer is a good comparison, both high end offensive talents and rebounders who are weak defenders. Again, Griffin appears to have had the better season if any.

Paul and Griffin have clearly been more valuable than Rose and Boozer this year. Thus the massive difference between their caliber of play has to come from the rest of the team. This is a good message for those who think success in the NBA is just about how good your 2 best players are. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

March 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Basketball

The Nets trading a lottery pick for Gerald Wallace: Not as insane as it looks

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Gerald Wallace

Image via Wikipedia

The most controversial deal of trade deadline day involved the New Jersey Nets trading their surefire top 10 draft pick (top 3 protected) this season for Gerald Wallace, who will be 30 this year and a free agent in a year and a half assuming he opts in this summer.

Under normal circumstances this would be one of the worst trades of all time. You just don’t trade a high lottery pick for a declining, soon to be free agent like Wallace. It’s about return on investment. Your return for a lottery pick could last a decade. Wallace’s return would be a year and a half – in other words, pointless unless you can contend for a title in that time, and the Nets of course can’t. This is also why I hated Portland’s initial move for Wallace, although they did a fantastic job reversing their course with this trade.

On the surface it looked like this was a panic move to make Deron Williams resign instead of bolting to Dallas once their Dwight Howard card dried up with his opt-in. A feeble attempt to prove they are a “win now” team.

However I believe the truth may be more complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

March 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

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Why I believe bad draft picks happen

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at the end of the Yao Foundation charity baske...

"Oops" (Image via Wikipedia)

Just about everyone knows that the NBA Draft is inprecise. Every year seems to have 1 or 2 *complete* busts picked top 10, as in players who aren’t getting minutes in the NBA within a few years. For example in the last few days 4 lottery picks from the 2009 draft were given up on a team for the 2nd time in their careers – Hasheem Thabeet (#2), Jonny Flynn (#6), Jordan Hill (#8), Terrence Williams (#11) were Rockets a few days ago and now, not so much. A 5th lottery pick Earl Clark (#14) is also essentially a hopeless, epic bust. From the 2010 draft Wesley Johnson (#4), Ekpe Udoh (#6), Al-Farouq Aminu (#8), Cole Aldrich (#11), Xavier Henry (#12) and Ed Davis (#13) also look like “Um… could we have a mulligan on that one?” picks.

What made these busts? In many cases, predictable mistakes. Thabeet, Udoh and Hill had very little feel for the game offensively and terrible hands, making them hard players to fit into a lineup – they were also very old for prospects. Flynn, Williams and Aminu had physical advantages in college that no longer existed in the NBA, leaving only their lack of skill. Johnson and Henry are good examples of how a 40% NCAA 3pt line shooter is not a guaranteed to be a sniper in the NBA, as the quantity of players who can shoot at that rate is much much higher with the shortened line in college. And so on.

What I’ve toyed with for some time is how much to blame scouts. I don’t want to insult scouts, partly because I have little knowledge of the decisions they’ve made individually, and because it just seems inherently logical that the people paid to do this for a living and who thus spend full time jobs looking at these prospects, should be better at this than anyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

March 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Make this trade: Eric Gordon for Derrick Williams or Evan Turner

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English: Eric Gordon

Image via Wikipedia

The Hornets’ Eric Gordon situation is dangerous. With all due respect to the franchise, they’re the last place a young player will be excited about playing. They’re years of rebuilding from competing, don’t have an owner or stability, and play in front of the smallest crowds in the league. Thus a struggle to extend Eric Gordon has not been a surprise.

Gordon may sign his contract this summer. Turning down a huge post rookie deal contract in favor of a one year qualifying offer is a risky decision, even if his heart is with playing in a good situation like the Indiana Pacers’. Yet if you’re the Hornets, even signing Gordon to a maximum contract or close to it isn’t a winning decision. Gordon is an ideal 3rd wheel in the NBA, paying him like a franchise player may come back to bite them by making him a negative value contract. A huge financial commitment also hurts their ability to sell to a new owner.

That’s why I like the idea of Derrick Williams or Evan Turner for the Hornets. As the 2010 and 2011 #2 picks, they’re all-star talents coming off the bench in supporting roles. Although they’ve had their moments, until they get a more consistent volume of touches it’s unlikely they’ll be stars. That can happen on a team as desperate for go-to offensive talent as the Hornets. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

March 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized