A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Pau Gasol

Thoughts on the Rejection Part 2 and another revised deal to make Paul to the LA Lakers work

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English: David Stern, commissioner of the Nati...

David, what ... have... you ... done? (Image via Wikipedia)

The mess the NBA got itself into in rejecting the Chris Paul to the LA Lakers trade got bigger yesterday when the NBA rejected the 2nd offer submitted by the Lakers, Rockets and Hornets.

The problem with the 2nd offer is it was by most reports, insulting similar to the 1st one. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Hornets “revisions” included sign and trading Jason Smith and Marcus Banks to the Lakers in the deal. Which changes nothing for the Hornets – it just adds to the luxury tax bill the Lakers would pay.

If Dell Demps thought that’d be enough or that the PR mess of veteoing this trade again would pass the same trade on the 2nd try, he was incredibly naive. He tried to put lipstick on a pig.

What Stern actually came out and said yesterday before this 2nd veto, is that he rejected the initial deal because it’s non-beneficial to the future of the Hornets financially. The NBA is trying to sell the team – and thus the most logical move in the post Paul era is to have a team full of young players on rookie contracts and a salary floor payroll. This trade leaves the Hornets with multiple long term contracts for veteran, short term players.

The Hornets didn’t make the trade the owner(s) wanted. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

December 11, 2011 at 11:55 am

8 thoughts on the Lakers’ demise

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1. I feel the Lakers’ loss quite a bit more than the Spurs’. Maybe it’s just me being an Angeleno, but then again, I never felt that sold on the Spurs. The team played so different from their Tim Duncan-peak game, it was hard to look at them as a scrappy champion. The Lakers, after last year’s emergences from late season mediocrity felt like they’d be tough to kill.

2. With that said, the funny thing about a dynasty-type team that has been shown to perform better in the biggest game is that eventually, it’s inexactly one of those situations where the team will sputter.

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Written by Matt Johnson

May 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

2011 POY Watch – End 1st Round

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The Player of the Year Watch continues past the regular season factoring in all of the playoffs and coming up with the player that truly had the best overall season. After each round, I will update the rankings.

Player (last rank)

1. Dwight Howard (1)

What’s that you say? The Magic lost in the first round to the lightly regarded Hawks, shouldn’t he drop? Well, dude played great though. I’m not going to drop him just because his team disappoints. I’ll admit though that this does leave him out of sight and out of mind while others have a chance to up their rep. Excellent chance he ends up slipping a bit by the end of June.

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Written by Matt Johnson

May 3, 2011 at 11:10 am

Dwight Howard in Tragic Kingdom

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Image by Carmela Nava via Flickr

And so here we are. Again. Another star at the crossroads.

Odd that a year ago at this time, the idea of superstars changing teams seemed such a longshot, and now it feels so inevitable in the case of Dwight Howard. A lot’s happened in a year, true, but there is more to it than that.

Here today, gone tomorrow

With the apparent trend toward superteams in Miami and New York, there is a fear that every superstar will seek join or form a superteam. This trend though is quite a bit more fragile than most realize. What makes joining such a team sexy to players, is the idea that by simply joining with talent, great team success is sure to follow immediately. This idea is strongly influenced by what happened in the ’07-08 season where the Boston Celtics essentially jettisoned the vast majority of their team to acquire two stars (Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett), and went from being a 24 win team, to having the single best season of the past decade. Then there was also the Lakers acquisition of Pau Gasol and their subsequent move from a solid team to a potential dynasty. These ideas seem to prove that stars who don’t win are simply suffering from a lack of supporting talent around them.

Suppose though that these nouveau superteams fell on their face? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

May 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

2011 POY Watch – End Regular Season

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The playoffs have begun, and now we will start to get into why I so stubbornly called this the “POY Watch” instead of the “MVP Watch”. By far the most meaningful award we could have for a player is one that factors in regular and post-season. That award doesn’t exist, so I say we make one up.

For those interested, during last off-season I ran a project over on RealGM I called the Retro POY project where we determined the player having the best season for all seasons back to ’54-55, the first year of the shot clock era. My post on this blog introducing the project and summarizing key findings is here.

During the playoffs, I’m going to jettison the weekly format of the regular season and instead do a round-by-round format. At the conclusion of all series for a given round, I will make an updated POY Watch. So that means there will be four more POY Watches after this one.

Without further ado, here are my rankings based on the whole regular season and nothing but the regular season.

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

2011 NBA POY Watch 4/11

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My weekly MVP rankings for the duration of the regular season. However, I’ll continue updating this as we go through the playoffs.

Player (last week’s rank)

1A. Derrick Rose (1)

1B. Dwight Howard (2)

A cop out? Maybe. I typically hate it when people make ranked lists and then insist they can’t choose. Dude, if you don’t know what your opinion is, why am I here? So I get it. If you insist on a 1 & a 2, then go by the letter suffix I put on there which keeps the same order as last week.

Bottom line though is that this week I have to make up my mind and commit to who my MVP pick is – but I haven’t yet made up my mind. Keep going back & forth. Very clearly, there are people on both extremes I find silly. No, Rose is not willing his team on pluck alone to best in the league status. No, Rose statistics aren’t bad – they are quite good, and the idea that just because there is no one stat that puts Rose on top, he can’t be #1 is bizarre (Out of the billions of people on earth, we have stats putting Rose easily in the top 10 that don’t factor in the intangibles of leading a team with great chemistry, and this is definitive proof against him?).

Give me a few more days…then I’ll give you my MVP and emphasize once against how wrong it is that the most prestigious individual award in the game doesn’t factor in the playoffs.

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 4/4

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My weekly MVP rankings for the duration of the regular season. However, I’ll continue updating this as we go through the playoffs.

Player (last week’s rank)


1. Derrick Rose (1)

I’m in the middle of a mental war with myself here for who I give the top spot to. Rose appears to hold on this week, but in reality I’ve changed my mind several times since breakfast.

Also, don’t ask me to justify Rose’s first Player of the Month coming in March. I really don’t know how that can be retconned with the NBA’s previous choices.

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 3/28

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My weekly MVP rankings

Player (last week’s rank)
1. Derrick Rose (1)
Rose’s Bulls continue to be on an absolute tear. Very clearly at this point, they’ve been the most impressive team of the regular season, and that’s before you even factor in the injuries to the 2nd & 3rd best players on the team. Many said we’d never again give an award to an Iverson type guy, but this is a perfect storm. Oh also, just because I’m a told-you-so kind a guy, with the recent articles talking about the similarities between Rose & Iversons’s MVP year, if you have read my Derrick Rose, the MVP race, and the Isiah-Iverson Team Model piece from February, well, there it is.

2. Dwight Howard (3)

Howard and his Magic now appear to be doing exactly what I said they needed to do for him to make a game of the MVP race. I want you to consider for a second: When the end of the month comes around in a few days, Howard probably wins Player of the Month again, right? That would make it two months in a row, and 3 months total for the year. If he and his team keep it up and he wins a 4th POM, could you really defend selecting Rose as MVP ahead of Howard? Howard’s got better stats by any metric I know of, no one I know thinks Rose is a better player, no one I know would draft Rose ahead of Howard. If he truly get 4 POMs to Rose’s zero, and Rose wins the MVP, doesn’t it seem like a certainty that a lot of the people who vote for Rose will deny it later?

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Written by Matt Johnson

March 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The NBA Trade Value Power Rankings – February 2011

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A couple months ago, I wrote this column hypothesizing in short that NBA teams could best have their positions in the league going forward evaluated by total trade value. Trade value encompasses all types of players and assets, just as an entrepreneur’s net worth encompasses alternate types of companies. Because types of assets are tradeable or one another if equally valued, it is the value that matters. The teams with the most net value will always be in the strongest position, as if they have the most money in their bank.

Now is a good time to rank the 30 teams in the league. For one, I plan to update the list once every 6 months – one mid-season in February and one mid-offseason in July after the draft is ideal. The former is after players have made their changes to the list, the latter after GMs have.

Secondly, the trade deadline is this week. Trade value is on the mind.

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Kobe Theory and the Drowned Plant

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Image via Joelk75 on Flickr

Somewhere in Los Angeles, a rumor starts. The disgruntled star everyone is talking about getting traded, Carmelo Anthony, they say he’s coming to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum.

I don’t take the rumor seriously at all, but in a town where Pau Gasol can materialize out of thin air, I never say never.

Enter Plaschke

Of course the fans are for it. Melo is candy to them. Bigger star, and a guy who does what they value – score. They’ll trade for him without a second thought for how he’ll fit with the team. I don’t think much about it, until I see an article from LA Times institution Bill Plaschke, a writer I’ve enjoyed for a long time. He’s for the trade. I’m reading along muttering to myself until I see this part and my jaw drops to the floor:

The Lakers are near the top of the league in rebounding but are only 15th in the league in field goal percentage in the fourth quarter of games they trail. Kobe needs help closing, and Anthony gives him that help. The Lakers’ offense needs a second option outside, and Anthony can take that shot. The Lakers don’t shoot as well as their biggest rivals, and Anthony would fix that.

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm