A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘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 »

The Denver Nuggets: An impressive team, but one not made for the playoffs

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Nenê of the Denver Nuggets

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One of the most impressive teams of the young 2011-2012 NBA season is the Denver Nuggets. They’re the ultimate team over star story, playing as well without Carmelo Anthony as they ever did with him. They presently have a 12-5 record after 4 straight impressive road wins, and have the 4th highest the adjusted point differential (SRS) in the league. Their secret? A combination of phenomenal ball movement between highly efficient outside shooters and inside finishers, always finding the best shot on the floor – to go along with the highest defensive turnover % in the league and the league’s fastest pace, a devastating combination. It’s the ultimate George Karl team, a coach who’s always favored teams with a high amount of turnovers defensively and fastbreak counter-punch points, forced due to an ultra aggresive help defense scheme on the perimeter.

But there’s a difference between the Nuggets proving an Anthony type centerpiece is unneeded for success in the regular season and doing so in the playoffs. The first is a nice story, but if you don’t have the second, it means nothing at the end of the day. And I don’t believe the Nuggets are built to carry this success to the postseason, a place where many of Karl’s fastest and most aggressive teams have played below their regular season results.

The main problem is an overwhelmingly perimeter based offense. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

January 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

2012 NBA Draft Scouting Analysis: Anthony Davis – A shotblocking savant, but does he have the offensive talent to be a star?

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Anthony Davis pick

Fear the Unibrow

Anthony Davis is the early frontrunner for the #1 pick in the June 2012 draft, according to the usually accurate mock draft sources on ESPN.com and Draftexpress.com. He’s in the middle of a spectacular shotblocking season (4.55 a game), is rebounding well (10.3 a game) and is scoring at a highly efficient rate (63% FG). This is enough to currently lead college players in PER, an impressive feat for a freshman. He also has a model character and attitude off the court and a tight focus and motor on it. The combination of youth, elite production this early, character points and the rarity of a big man who impacts the game defensively is enough for him to make him the likely pick.

My breakdown of Anthony Davis follows below. My philosophy is based on “NBA skills” – What is guaranteed from the player, what they might be able to develop, and what they won’t have. Physical tools like athleticism and length, and individual ball skills, only go as far as helping the player achieve these NBA skills – rather than act as their own, separate entities as often they are treated in the draft process. If this tools can’t lend themselves to a clear NBA skill, they are useless. What good is Al-Farouq Aminu’s athleticism and length when it doesn’t lend itself to any specific NBA skills? What good is Adam Morrison’s shooting skill if he doesn’t have the physical and mental make-up talent to use it effectively?

First, I will look at Anthony Davis’ guaranteed NBA skills: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

January 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

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

Harrison Barnes, O.J. Mayo, and the perils of illogical projections

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Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving at the 2010 N...

Harrison Barnes (right), standing beside Kyrie Irving (left) Image via Wikipedia

Last week I made a post about Andre Drummond, the frontrunner by miles to be the #1 draft pick in 2012. This post will be about Harrison Barnes, who has nearly as high a profile as Drummond at this point and is even getting some #1 pick talk himself.

First of all, I like Harrison Barnes as a future NBA player. He has size, can shoot the ball, and seems like he has a great head on his shoulders. After a disastrous start to his freshman season at UNC, he turned it around and produced at a solid level the 2nd half. But it’s clear to me that he’s not the player he was projected to be out of high school. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm