A Substitute for War

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Posts Tagged ‘Golden State Warriors

Should the Warriors resign Harrison Barnes?

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The Warriors will face an obstacle to keeping their possible two time champion team together when Harrison Barnes becomes a restricted free agent. Barnes has youth, size and a 3 point shot which is a combination teams are coveting and this summer there could be too much surplus capspace for him to not get a max deal. Not only is there hundreds of hundreds of millions of yearly salary to dish out after the established all-stars like Kevin Durant, Al Horford, DeMar Derozan are gone, but the market favors younger players over win now veterans because many win now teams like Cleveland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City if they resign Durant, Toronto if they resign Derozan will be the few teams without capspace. This could make under 25 starters like Barnes or Bismack Biyombo the real second tier instead of veterans like Luol Deng and Dwight Howard.

Golden State keeping Barnes is likely to require matching a max contract. On one hand his role on the team is expendable. On a roster full of elite defenders and passers advancing basketball past old school fascinating with points per game his attributes are closer to the latter. Hitting 38% of wide open 3s could be not too hard to replicate. In the 25 games he started due to Barnes injury, Brandon Rush hit 49% of his 3s.

On the other hand when going 73-9 and possibly winning back to back titles, there’s an argument for not fixing what’s not broken. When a five man unit nicknamed “The Lineup of Death” exists the team may want to keep it together. Sure Barnes is the second guitarist of the lineup, but a 3 point shooting SF with the weight to guard PFs in the post still is important part of its matchup nightmare. While the Warriors have left Yay Points 2 point jumpshot creating-favoring teams in their dust, every once in a while Barnes height and ability to get a few buckets that way helps them and adds one more backup plan to their offense. Barnes gives them one more talented player.

An argument against Barnes is opportunity cost. A year from now the hiking cap combined with Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Jason Thompson’s buyout coming off means without the Warriors could be in a great free agency position if they’re not paying 40 million combined to Barnes and Festus Ezeli. However more likely than not if they need to trade Barnes’ contract a year from now as a 25 year old with the same strengths there will be takers out there. Furthermore the goal is to play the cards in front of them and go for the three peat if they win this year. The rest can be dealt with later.

Whether it’s worth resigning him may come down to the Warriors pockets next season. Keeping all of Barnes, Ezeli, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa could mean paying Dan Gilbert levels of luxury tax. If the cost of resigning Barnes is losing Ezeli for example, a strong argument could be made to let him go. But if the Warriors owners are willing to pay whatever cost it takes, keeping the whole roster from a 73-9 team could make sense.

Written by jr.

June 10, 2016 at 11:50 am

The Warriors dominance and good players

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The Warriors are off to a 14-0 start and a threat to beat the Bulls 72-10 record. They were 5 wins from the Bulls last year and now look more potent. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have so far gone to another level.

Much has been made of the Draymond Green at center lineup with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes. The lineup is a +/- monster and won them the Finals last year. An excellent RealGM article by Jonathan Tjarks reveals how hard it is to match up with the lineup. If you have a lineup like Kevin Love-Timofey Mozgov or Lamarcus Aldridge-Tim Duncan playing both leaves them too slow to chase Barnes and Green on the perimeter or in transition. Going small with Kawhi Leonard or Lebron James at center means leaving all-star talent in Love, Aldridge or Duncan on the bench in place of perimeter players not talented enough to beat the Warriors. You have to break your own legs to match up with the Warriors small lineup.

This is all true. However perhaps why Green messes up the opponent so much is because that’s what elite players do. Against Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins in a playoff series most teams won’t have a matchup either. Draymond Green was too short to guard Davis last year and he went off. The Warriors just had to beat them in spite of Davis’ numbers. Likewise for stars at other positions such as Russell Westbrook or of course, Curry himself.

As revolutionary as the Warriors style of play, the underlying reason for success may be the same as always. Having better players than the opponent. It’s just part of the reason why players such as Green, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson are great is the value of defense and spacing.

Consider the defensive talent of the Warriors. Draymond Green is a defensive player of the year caliber power forward. Andrew Bogut per minute has a case for the best defensive center in the league. He is blocked from DPOY conversations by not playing as many minutes. Green and Bogut finished top 2 in ESPN’s DRPM last year. Compare Green to some of the other best defensive big men of this decade: Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka, Tim Duncan. Who had a better defensive partner than Bogut? Howard played with an offence-first player in Rashard Lewis. Noah covered for Carlos Boozer on defense half the time, when not paying with the excellent Taj Gibson. Hibbert and Gasol played with David West and Zach Randolph. Both smart responsible defenders, but not Bogut. Tim Duncan had a quality defensive partner in Tiago Splitter, but Duncan this decade is not quite as dominant as in his prime on defense. Ibaka played with Kendrick Perkins in the Thunder’s best defensive season, another quality defender but not special.

Add in a defense first backup center in Festus Ezeli and the Warriors may have the best defensive frontcourt in the last 10 years, since Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace in Detroit and Tim Duncan and David Robinson in San Antonio. Not that the Warriors defensive talent ends there. They have one of the premiere defensive wings of this generation in Andre Iguodala and plus defenders like Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston.

This is a special defensive core. Most of us are not used to a defensive team who plays at the fastest pace in the league because we presume it limits their upside on the defensive end. But what if this defensive reduction IS happening to the Warriors, it’s just they’re so talented that after the reduction they’re still the best defensive team. Maybe if playing a grit and grind style and pace like the recent Pacers, Grizzlies and Bulls, they would be lapping any recent team on defense, not just matching them.

And with so much defensive talent they only needed so much offense to be dominant and they have more than enough. Curry who is playing at one of the great offensive levels of anyone in history. Klay Thompson’s combination of all-star level scoring and floor spacing makes him one of the most potent offensive SGs. Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green are providing efficient possessions of floor spacing. Of the two sides there is probably less dynamic talent on offense than defense. But as long as Curry and a full lineup of shooters is around it doesn’t matter.

Written by jr.

November 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Basketball

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Yes, Klay Thompson has been one of the most valuable players in the league

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Klay Thompson and the Warriors front office has been making a lot of bloggers like me look bad. At the time giving up a good shooting guard for a superstar power forward felt like a no brainer.

It’s only been a month and a half but Klay Thompson’s play so far has vindicated the Warriors. Klay is both putting up all-star box score statistics and has dominant +/- statistics.

Just how valuable this version of Klay is if he keeps it up may actually be understated. Because Klay provides a high amount of non-boxscore value.

Half of what makes the Warriors so good isn’t captured in raw statistics. Andrew Bogut’s value on defense goes beyond his 2.2 blocks a game. His positional spacing on help defense will affect plays without him leaving the ground. In addition Warriors fans claim he is a player who’s offensive value goes far beyond his usually pedestrian scoring numbers in areas like picks and directing the floor. In addition to passing which has showed up in a solid 3 assists a game this year. As a Raptors fan I have seen Amir Johnson’s real value playing positional defense and rolling to the rim in always the right place go under appreciated the years. I believe Amir Johnson has one of the 5 best Raptors careers of all time by never averaging more than 10.4 points or 7.5 rebounds a game for the team. It appears Bogut’s value is the Warriors version of this but even better.

Likewise Draymond Green is now an above average player statistically but boxscore stats will miss on his real value. Draymond is arguably one of the best defensive players at the 4 despite averaging an average 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Furthermore he also spaces the floor as a 36.7% 3pt shooter on 4.9 attempts a game. The league is increasingly prioritizing players who either space the floor or defend. Draymond does both in addition to a now solid scoring game.

This is in addition to Andre Iguodala who’s defensive impact hasn’t been captured by box score stats for years. In addition to fitting intelligently offensively.

Now we get to Klay Thompson. On one hand Klay Thompson also holds ‘non-boxscore’ value like the above. As the best shooter at his position his floor spacing will make offenses better. He is also an above average defender for the position. If you could quantify “spacing+defense” Klay has a case to lead the Warriors. Although I feel Bogut is the most important defender he doesn’t provide floor spacing. Players like Green and Thompson have a more balanced combination of spacing and defense as one of the best shooters at their respective positions. Whether Thompson’s league leading shooting at SG provides more spacing the rarity of a 3pt shooting PF like Green is up for debate.

But thus what makes Thompson’s value scary is he does this while looking like an all-star in the box-score too. Thompson is scoring 21.2 points per game in 33.1 minutes per game which is 23 points per 36 minutes. The efficiency is there unlike previous seasons with a .579 TS% and a well above average 112 ORTG. Klay’s rebounding and assists are up with 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He has a 20.4 PER and his 2.6 Win Shares so far ranks 15th in the league. Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green provide star spacing or defense value while only putting up average statistics. Klay Thompson does it while also adding all-star statistics.

Consider the case of Lamarcus Aldridge who’s value I have often found to be one of the most fascinating in the league. Aldridge is scoring 22.8 points per game at .518 TS% after 23.2 points on .507 TS% last season. His shot selection relies heavily on inefficient long 2 point jump shots hence the below average TS%. In a normal case this would be the sign of an overrated scorer compared to efficient 3pt shooters or scorers at the rim. However Portland is an intelligent analytics team who has been able to build back to back top 5 offenses around Aldridge. The key is spacing. Portland sacrifices Aldridge’s efficiency to make his teammates more efficient. His midrange shooting spaces the the floor when players drive to score in the paint. His skills in the post demands double teams that allows Portland to pass the ball to open 3pt teammates. Portland uses the 2011 Dallas Mavericks model which used Dirk Nowitzki’s floor spacing and ability to draw doubles to masterfully open up space for teammates. In addition to this Aldridge appears to use his physical tools and intelligence to be an above average defensive player for his position. Compare this to Al Jefferson who has similar scoring statistics to Lamarcus Aldridge. Jefferson however does not provide spacing value when he fills space in the post or steps out for midrange shots teams leave him open to take. Defensively he is a negative contributor. Aldridge’s “spacing+defense” combination is positive and Jefferson’s is negative. Jefferson is the less valuable player for reasons box score stats miss.

I thought Paul George might have been the 3rd most valuable player last regular season for the same reason. By the end of the year his scoring stats were a good not great 21.7 points per game on .555 TS%. George added 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals per game. He wasn’t the 3rd best statistical player in the league with standouts like Steph Curry, James Harden and Blake Griffin. But at SF George provided arguably defensive player of the year caliber impact in addition to spacing the floor by hitting 36.4% from 3 on 6.3 attempts a game. By spacing the floor and playing defense he already made a huge difference to the Pacers. When adding the tangible value of scoring near 22 points a game at above average efficiency it makes his impact last year superstar caliber in my opinion.

The reason I bring this all up is Klay Thompson is putting up better offensive statistic than Lamarcus Aldridge and Paul George did last year because of efficiency. He does it while showing up in the spacing and defense comparable to players like Aldridge, Bogut, Green or George. That’s why Klay may be one of the 10 or 15 most valuable players in the league this year.

Written by jr.

December 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Free agency advice column: Ask Dr. Offseason

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Dear Dr.

We just got back together with Lebron James and are SO EXCITED. But what should we do next? Should we make the leap for Love? Minnesota keeps asking us for Andrew Wiggins. We love the idea of Wiggins being our defensive, Scottie Pippen-like compliment to Kyrie Irving and Lebron James. We think this could be like when the Lakers added a young James Worthy to a team with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on it. It may take a few years, but is it worth giving that up for Kevin Love?

– Dan, Cleveland, OH

Dear Dan, I understand why you would be scared to pull the trigger, but you have to make this deal for Love.
First, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Andrew Wiggins is not a guarantee to be a star like Kevin Love. Consider the dichotomy between these two players. Love in college was labelled as having a ceiling beneath star, because despite all the skill, strength, feel for the game and motor in the world, his average athleticism was supposed to limit him. Wiggins is getting called a guaranteed star because he has all the athleticism in the world, despite skill, strength, feel for the game and motor being concerns. Do you see where I’m going with this? If it goes wrong, Wiggins may not be a star for the inverse reason of why Love is one.

Secondly Dan, it’s just about age. To be honest your team with Lebron, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Anderson Varejao and Chris Anderson, isn’t good enough. The supporting cast members are either too young or too old Dan. Rosters like the Spurs and Thunder are more talented and deeper.

The problem is the cost of waiting 2 or 3 years for Wiggins and Bennett to develop. Lebron will have his 12th season next year. Here’s some 12th seasons of recent superstars:

Shaquille O’Neal: 2003-2004
Kevin Garnett: 2006-2007
Kobe Bryant: 2007-2008
Tim Duncan: 2008-2009
Dirk Nowitzki: 2009-2010

All had a relatively short window by this point, to win a title at their apex. Like them Lebron will remain an elite player after he slightly declines, but the Cavs should want to strike when the iron is hottest, while Lebron is still at a greatest of all time level.

Kevin Love is perfect for the Cavaliers, Dan. He’s old enough to immediately contend now and young enough to be a star until Lebron is in his late 30s. With Lebron, Irving, Love and shooters like Allen and Miller, the Heat become the most unstoppable offense in the league. To me this is a no brainer. Love is the way to go.

Dear Dr.

We have a chance for Love, but when they kept asking for Klay Thompson, we backed out of it. We love how Klay and Steph fit together in the long run and don’t feel the difference between David Lee and Kevin Love is worth an all-star caliber starting SG. Are we making the right decision Dr.? Or are we thinking with our hearts instead of our heads?

– Joe, Oakland, CA

Joe, this is crazy. Think about what you’re doing because it’s crazy. I can’t see where you’re coming from here at all.

Look Klay Thompson is an exciting shooting guard and David Lee’s production is underrated, but this is a superstar you can trade for. As complex and wonderful as the NBA is, succeeding is as simple as getting multiple, mid 20s superstars at the same time. When you team up a pair like Steph and Love everything falls into place around them. Not to mention having defensive talent like Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut is perfect for those two. If the Warriors make this move they’re as big a title contender as anyone, instead of looking at a 5th or 6th seed season.

I can understand the argument that Klay Thompson and David Lee combined may be as productive as Kevin Love next year, even if I’d disagree. Where this really becomes a no brainer is the long term. Neither player’s current value is constant. David Lee is 31 and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2 years. Klay Thompson is on his rookie scale, but judging by Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons deal, will be on a maximum salary as soon as he can get it. In other words, eventually instead of Lee and Klay, Lee expires and Klay’s salary means that you can’t replace Lee’s production on the free agent market. The Warriors just end up with Klay Thompson instead of the superior Kevin Love. In the long run a superstar is the way to go. Superstars are the biggest financial bargains available, with how the CBA restricts their real value. Kevin Love will give you more bang for your buck than Klay making the same salary.

I have to be honest Joe, I haven’t liked the Warriors moves much since you came aboard, with a short-sighted Andre Iguodala deal leading the way. But Kevin Love is all but fallen into your lap. If you get him contending will be easy. The history of the NBA says target the superstars, always target the superstars. The Warriors are far more likely to regret turning down Love than jumping for him.

Dear Dr.

Kevin Love wants out of here. I know we haven’t been able to give him everything he wants, but he was our hope to get back to the playoffs. Without him, now what? We go back to the lottery? We end up in the middle of the league, picking 13th or 14th in the lottery but not making the playoffs? This doesn’t sound good to me. We’re still damaged from David Kahn, what if we had Stephen Curry and Kevin Love right now? I don’t know what to do

– Flip, Minneapolis, MN

Flip, you just have to pick up the pieces and make the best decision you can. Here’s my advice: Don’t worry about fit. Just get the most valuable assets and make it work later.

I wouldn’t be so bent on the Klay Thompson and David Lee package if I were you. Klay is going to get a max salary soon and will lose a lot of his value to a franchise. Lee becomes less valuable when he expires. Those players still leave your roster with a lot of work to do.

As for a potential Cleveland offer of Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, I’m mixed. Although I’m lower on Wiggins talent than most, I’m higher on Bennett’s and feel he could be an all-star PF for you. On the whole it’s a decent move to trade Love for those two, giving you young talent around Ricky Rubio and Nik Pekovic long term.

You could also trade Love to the Chicago Bulls for a package like Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic. The problem is this is a lot of good but not great. Taj Gibson is 29 so he’s not the most youngest of pieces to rebuild with. Still it gives the Wolves potentially 3 starting caliber players and if you want to win, it’s an option.

Of your options I say holding out for the Cleveland kids is the best way to go. Yeah you may not win the most games next year, but in the long run you could have starters at SF and PF, along with cap flexibility to rebuild the team with. You wouldn’t be starting from ground zero.

Dear Dr.

WOW, this is a disaster. We thought we were getting Chris Bosh for sure if Lebron James left Miami, but then he resigns in Miami? We traded away Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik just to make this happen, so now what should we do? How do we rebound?

– Daryl, Houston, TX

Daryl, this is a tough spot for you. Chris Bosh was the perfect player for your team and what’s more, holding out so long to sign Bosh or Carmelo only to get neither, along with Chandler Parsons offer sheet putting you on the clock, severly limits your options. Sure, you could go after Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza, but do they fit a team with Parsons? You could wait for Goran Dragic or Rajon Rondo next summer, but do they fit with James Harden?

I’d have loved to see Isaiah Thomas on the Rockets but then BAM, Phoenix signs him, off the market.

So I don’t have a solution for you Daryl. Maybe you should try the less sexy but safe option. Call up Danny Ainge and see if he wants to trade you Jeff Green for your capspace. Yeah he’s not Chris Bosh, but he spaces the floor, is competent defensively and can be a glue guy. You have an awesome team Daryl with Harden, Dwight Howard, Parsons and Patrick Beverly. Jeff Green may be a rebound guy but maybe he’ll turn into Mr. Right.

Dear Dr.

Dr, I don’t know what to do. Lance is one of the most exciting players we’ve had, we’re a team that needs this talent and dynamic ability. But he can also be an egotistical jerk and rubs our players the wrong way. Last year his rise to prominence led our team chemistry to fall apart. Sometimes we watch Lance’s antics and are like wow, is this really us, didn’t we swear this off after Ron? But if we let him go, we don’t feel we’re a sexy enough option for other free agents and may just end up with a drip. We tried bringing in Evan Turner as a replacement and BOY, that did not turn out. I’m not letting Sam Hinkie trade me a player again, the 76ers give it up so easy, no wonder they only have losers to trade. Dr, what should I do?

– Larry, Indianapolis, IN

This is one of the toughest decisions of the summer, Larry. I agree Lance has a negative influence on your team. I have to be honest Larry, before Lance became a star, the Pacers were like a Christian rock band. Yeah they weren’t the coolest band around, but they had good chemistry, played hard and didn’t mess around with distractions. But Lance becoming a star is like if the band hired a non-Christian guitarist who was a sex addict and brought drugs with him on tour. He made their band sound better, but soon enough his negative influence led the others to slip and to fight with each other. Maybe it’s time to go back to your Christian rock band roots.

But on the other hand, this league is about talent Larry. You can’t just walk up against teams like the Spurs and Lebron’s Cavaliers and expect to win on hard work and chemistry. You need dynamic players and game changers. That’s why giving up on Lance is so hard. He has the star upside to take you over the top.
Here’s what I recommend: I say resign Lance. But here’s what you do. Play out next season and see if the Pacers can get it together and become elite again. If the team self-destructs in chemistry, then just trade Lance after next year. His talent and youth will make him have trade value and you’ll get assets for him. By resigning Lance, you can try the “no Lance” option at a later date. But if you let Lance go, you’ll never have the chance to go back and try it with him again.

Why I don’t like the Andre Iguodala move for the Warriors

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Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Warriors swooped in at the last minute to sign Andre Iguodala to a 4 year, 48 million contract, one of the summer’s biggest free agent fishes. To do so of course, they used 2 1sts, 3 2nds and Brandon Rush to trade Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins’ contracts to Utah in what ended up a 3 way S&T with Denver.

The more I think over this move, the more awful it looks for the Warriors.

My first concern is that the Warriors essentially paid a tax for a cash advance. Jefferson and Biedrins were set to expire next summer, giving the Warriors tons of capspace. The Warriors essentially said “We want to spend that capspace a year early” – and paying the 2 1sts, 3 2nds and Rush, was the tax for immediacy.

Do the Warriors need to be paying for immediacy? Stephen Curry’s youth gives them a long window of relevance, while Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are years from their prime. While a team like the Timberwolves are desperate to end a playoff drought and appease the fans, the Warriors magical 2nd round season last year, should’ve given them a grace period to take a step back next season. The Warriors fans have supported far, far worse. Patience was a luxury the Warriors had. There was nothing wrong with barely holding onto a playoff spot next year, then using capspace and draft picks next summer, to try and best 2012-2013.

The motive for improving in 2013-2014, is if it gave them a chance at the championship next year. But with San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, Memphis and Los Angeles Clippers potentially all challenging 55 wins or more next season, the Warriors may a longshot to even finish higher than their 6th seed this season. In fact it may be as likely that they fall back to 7th or 8th due to a team like Dallas or Minnesota, then move up. It does not appear that the Warriors are a true title contender. If the Warriors believe this move can make them a 2013-2014 Finals or title contender, it is a deep, hail mary throw that’s likely to be batted down.

One of the reasons why, is that they didn’t add Iguodala to the team who ended last season. Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry’s expected departure, counteracts part of the value of adding Iguodala. Iguodala should improve the Warriors defensively, but he is worse than either Jack or Landry are offensively, let alone both of them combined. They are more efficient scorers than Iguodala and Iguodala’s lack of spacing on the wing, may hurt the Warriors offense. I would argue the impact of the Iguodala acquisition is it prevents the Warriors from taking a big step back next season, not that it moves them upwards in the Western ranks. And is that worth the price they paid to Utah?

A counter to the “cash advance” criticism of the Iguodala trade, may be that the advanced-metrics heavy Warriors management really, REALLY wanted him, to the point of figuring if they let the opportunity to sign him now pass, as good of one wouldn’t be there when the capspace came in 2014. But this is dangerous. Iguodala is a good player, but how good? They spent 12 million a year on him. For them to feel “Iguodala is so good that we have to get him now”, it would imply that the 12 million spent next summer wouldn’t match up to him in value, or that essentially, Iguodala for 12 million a year is a must have bargain. Even for the most advanced-metrics heavy teams, is Iguodala with his offensive flaws, really the caliber of player that 12 million a year is a bargain? He would have to be a maximum caliber player if not and then some, for that to be true.

Especially considering my other major concern with signing Iguodala, is that he’s 30 next January. The history of free agents getting paid huge to produce in their 30s, is dicey. Iguodala also relies on athleticism far more than skill, meaning he may be a player who ages less than gracefully. When a somewhat comparable SF in Gerald Wallace was traded from Charlotte to Portland in 2011, he was 5 months younger than Iguodala is now. Wallace played like a star his first half season in Portland, slipped a bit but maintained a above average caliber of play in 2011-2012 split between Portland and Brooklyn, then totally fell apart in 2012-2013. Scarily, Iguodala has actually played more total minutes in the NBA than Gerald Wallace – not the Wallace at the time of the 2011 trade, but Wallace as of today, 2 and a half years later. Iguodala is not necessarily Wallace – he’s arguably a more cerebral player and has a closer to respectable jumpshot, but Iguodala is a major risk to decline at some point during this contract. He’ll turn 32 halfway through his 3rd season and 33 halfway through his 4th. Iguodala may be a contract where the value is in the 1st or 2nd year of his contract, while living with the last few years are a price paid for that value provided early. This isn’t a huge problem, but it further disputes the idea of Iguodala on this contract being such a valuable get that they had to pay the steep cash advance-tax just to sign him now.

The Warriors having 12.3 million of capspace to spend in the summer of 2014, would’ve given them a fair chance of replicating Iguodala’s production in 2014-2015, whatever it ends up being. Or if there’s any difference, certainly not one worth the cost of losing 2 1sts, 3 2nds and Brandon Rush. Thus you have a case where the return on investment of the package they sent to Utah, is almost solely in improving their team in 2013-2014. Unless the Warriors seriously surprise by becoming a contender next season, I just don’t see how supercharging next season, is at all worth it for them.

There are times when sacrificing long term assets for wins in the short term makes sense – such as arguably what Brooklyn did this summer, arguably giving them a real chance at the NBA title. But at least by my reading of their roster qulity, I don’t see next season as the right year for Golden State to sacrifice their assets for. In a few years losing that cap and asset flexibility to do so just so they could further guarantee themselves a playoff knockout season this year, could hurt them and be regrettable. To use a poker analogy cliche, the Warriors pushed a lot of chips in the pot while holding a decent, but not great hand. If they folded their cards this season, they may have left themselves more chips to bet on better hands. A key to NBA success is knowing what seasons to spend your chips on and what seasons to be conservative. The assets the Warriors spent now could’ve been saved for a more realistic title window when their young players hit their late 20s. While the season remains to be played and Iguodala has his fans, I don’t like this move for the Warriors whatsoever.

Written by jr.

August 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

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

Chamberlain Theory: The Real Price of Anarchy in Basketball

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Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a bas...

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A recent post by ElGee over at Back Picks talks about something I’ve been wanting to chime in on, and I want to go over it and then point something out that I haven’t seen discussed, other than in conversations I’ve had with ElGee and a few others.  The back story:

Braess’ Paradox

The Price of Anarchy is a game theory concept describing the difference between actual and optimal performance in a network where individuals in the network behave selfishly.  One of the amazing counterintuitive epiphanies relating to this is called Braess’ Paradox which describes how in a transportation system, building a new road can actually slow traffic down.  I’m going to skip an explanation of exactly how this is so and go straight to the analogy to basketball because it’s most relevant, and actually easier to understand.

People in the basketball world started talking about this when Brian Skinner wrote a paper and gave a talk at the Sloan Sports Analytics conference last year.  Skinner broke down the situation admirably:  If you keep running the same play, even if it’s easily the best play you have, the opponent is going to catch on, and it’s not going to be as effective.  Hard to argue with the man, he’s clearly right – but how big of a problem is this?

Ewing Theory…is not caused by Braess’ Paradox

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