A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘2011

The Clippers trade for Chris Paul: The Other Shoe and Unnecessary Risk

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The Chris Paul trade saga is over – with Paul being traded for Eric Gordon, Minnesota’s 2012 1st unprotected, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman. In other words, David Stern got everything he wanted from the Clippers.

Including Eric Gordon in this trade was a failure by the Clippers. Not because Paul isn’t worth assets like that. But because the Clippers were largely bidding against themselves. Where did the Hornets have to turn to as leverage? Unlike the Magic, they almost surely couldn’t make Paul play this season – the cord between the player and the franchise had already been all but severed. Paul didn’t appear interested in resigning in either Boston or Golden State. Only the Lakers/Houston deal and their Kevin Martin and Luis Scola package was sitting out there

And it was incredibly obvious that taking the Minnesota draft pick over those players was the direction Stern wanted the Hornets to go. Teams that trade a star in this fashion commonly want to start over and draft young future stars on rookie contracts – which the Hornets are now in a great position to do.

Here’s the problem with this trade now: If Gordon was kept, not a lot would be put on the table by the Clippers. Their future was in fine shape as long as a superstar Griffin and the best under 25 SG and possible superstar Gordon remained on the team, and Deandre Jordan at center nice to have too. The Minnesota pick was a luxury, but not a necessity long term. Trading it for Paul was a relatively low risk, high reward move – the right move.

But with this move the Clippers are legitimately risking that sure bet for long term prosperity – and it certainly is a risk. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

December 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

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

NBA Mock Draft Version 2.5 – With pre draft grades and comparisons

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Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving looks like the 1st overall pick (Image by Chamber of Fear via Flickr)

This will be my final mock draft unless a game changing trade occurs. The picks are based on what I have heard through the usual suspects on the internet – Chad Ford (ESPN.com), Jonathan Givony (Draftexpress.com), Ryan Feldman (thehoopsreport.com), Ken Berger (CBS.com), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo.com) with a big scoop of my own instincts. Truthfully they did most of the leg work for the actual order. I added grades for each pick and comparisons. Consider that my contribution. Here is the Mock Draft 2.0:

EDIT – Why  not. Here’s the Mock Draft 2.5, edited the morning before the draft with all the latest information. For optimal accuracy.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Kyrie Irving

There’s been talk lately of Cleveland switching to Derrick Williams #1 to pair him with Brandon Knight, perhaps a better pair together than Irving and a non PG at 4. The problem I see with that is the chance Knight doesn’t make it to #4 with Utah’s interest in him at #3. I say they take Irving.

My Grade: A. The correct choice, Irving is not only one of the best bets for all-star production in the draft, but gives the Cavaliers a badly needed leader for the post Lebron era. No need to overthink it, take Irving.

NBA Comparison: Mark Price

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Of Intangibles vs Talent: Jonas Valanciunas vs Donatas Motiejunas in the 2011 NBA Draft

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Physical map of Lithuania. Click on the image ...

Who will be the 2011 NBA Draft's best C from Lithuania? (Image via Wikipedia)

In the 2011 draft there is really only one complete prospect: PG Kyrie Irving. The rest of the prospects split into two general groups: Talented offensive players with positional, defense, or effort level question marks, and more limited offensive players who are A grade in effort and defensive willingness.

Two Lithuanian Cs in the top 20 draw my eye in particular representing these two groups – and the talent vs intangibles debate in the draft in general: Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas.

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2011 NBA Mock Draft, Version 1

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I’m going to be writing a handful of pieces about the 2011 draft over the next month. My short prognosis of it is its an Ichiro Suziki draft, not a Mark McGuire one: Don’t expect any home runs, but it should be a very nice draft to get a single or double. In other words, no superstars but lots of players fitting in the solid starter to solid bench player category.

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Written by jr.

May 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm