Author Archive

What Is Going On?

July 2, 2008

Oh, the thrills of being a Warriors bandwagoner. As a convert, this is a whole new lesson in what it’s like rooting for a franchise that isn’t as plain-vanilla competent as the Spurs.

Thursday: Warriors draft Anthony Randolph.

Emotions: Mild outrage, significant frustration, mainly confusion, but also that first little twinge of worry.

Monday: Baron opts out.

Emotions: Uh oh. He’s just calling Mullin’s bluff … right?

Tuesday: Warriors throw max money at Arenas.

Emotions: Whoa, what the — huh? That’ll never work, what are they doing? (Frantic IM discussions ensue.)

Later Tuesday: Baron agrees to sign with clips.

Emotions: It’s like when you’ve been dating a girl for a while and think things are going well, but then one week you notice she’s acting a little weird, and before you even think to ask if something’s wrong, you suddenly find yourself getting dumped.

Wednesday: Warriors make huge offer to Brand.

Emotions: Still recovering from the desolation of losing Baron for nothing, and without time yet to talk yourself into the remaining attractive options (hello, Josh Smith) or come to grips with a team suddenly out of playoff contention, this awesome F.U. to the Clips is too much to process. Somehow you know it’ll never work, but at least you can hope. And, hell, maybe something good — a sign and trade that nets Thornton? — comes out of this whole mess.

In the end, though, the Warriors’ loss is shaping up to be the Spurs gain, since suddenly Maggette is finding himself stuck taking a mid-level exception, with the San Antonio the front-runner. Corey “22 Points Per Game” Maggette for the same price as the Kings paid for Beno and the Mavs paid for Diop? I guess it’s even-stevens for me.


The Return of Agent 0?

July 1, 2008

Christ, following the Warriors is just as nerve-wracking off the court as on it. Word is that the Warriors have called Baron Davis’ bluff by throwing a max offer at Gilbert Arenas.

Sean: what are your thoughts on arenas?
me: he’ll end up back in washington. he’s a good fit there, the town loves him, and he’s not worth the max to anyone else. i.e., he’d be a bad fit for the warriors because he distributes even less than baron
Sean: golden state already offered it
me: huh?

No story yet, just a mention of it on ESPN’s rumors page. I’m not even sure how to process this. At least my season tickets would be more entertaining than if the horrifying ‘Sheed-Billups rumor had come to pass.

UPDATE: Ah, here are a couple links: Janny Hu at SF Gate lays the groundwork for the possibility that it’s no coincidence that Elton Brand and Baron Davis both unexpectedly opted out. If I understand the cap situation correctly, Brand would have to take a pay cut to make room for Baron’s big deal, and recent quotes from Brand about emulating the Celtics Unbuntu success indicate he’d be willing. And both Baron and Brand are aspiring movie producers, for what that’s worth. Also, the WaPo is reporting that the Wizards will offer Arenas a max deal for six years (one more than G.S. can offer), but the Kings are willing to “trade their entire team” to land Arenas. Crazy shit.

Welcome to the Jungle: George Hill Highlights

June 30, 2008

Who is George Hill?

June 28, 2008

A “prototypical Spur,” according to the Express-News, George Hill was apparently the Spurs first choice at 26 all along. (Suck it, Chad Ford!)

I at least recognized Hill’s name because I kept seeing it on Among players who used 28% or more of his team’s possessions, Hill had the highest offensive rating in the country. Will it translate to the NBA? Tough to say, since Hill only played against two prominent NCAA teams: Marquette and NIT runner-up UMass (he hung 30 on them in a IUPUI win).

But, as a 6-2 guard, his numbers were spectacular: 54.5% FG, 45% 3PT, 81.2% FT, 6.8 boards, 4.3 assists, and 21+ points a game. That alone sure makes him sound like a potentially solid back-up.

There’s more evidence of why he fits the Spurs mold in the E-N article, as well as the fact that he passed on scholarships to Florida, Indiana, and other marquee programs to stay close to family. Hell, I’ll just quote pretty much the whole thing, below the fold: (more…)

One Uninformed Assessment

June 28, 2008

The rush after the draft to award grades, decide who won and lost, etc., is my least favorite part of the whole process. Franchises spend millions on scouting and analysis and often get it wrong. I really don’t see how a journalist thinks he knows any better.

More useful, for purposes of looking back, is to record how I felt about these prospects going into draft day. So based on a mix of college games I watched, stuff I read, and general NBA consensus, here’s my impression of the 2008 draft class, broken down by categories that are probably similar to how most fans think about these guys (draft position in parentheses):

Franchise Saviors

Potential championship cornerstones

  • Michael Beasley (2)
  • Derrick Rose (1)

Could Be Great

Ceiling seems to be second or third best guy on a really good team

  • Kevin Love (5)
  • DJ Augustin (9) — a personal bias since I watched him so much and think he’s got the PG gene
  • OJ Mayo (3)

Bust Alert

  • Russell Westbrook (4)
  • Eric Gordon (7)
  • Anthony Randolph (14) — as a Warriors fan, this felt like the worst pick of the draft. Any of the bruising post players still available would’ve helped G.S. on the glass. Not this guy.
  • Alexis Ajinca (20)
  • Serge Ibaka (24)
  • D’Andre Jordan (35) — back when he was slotted as a lottery pick

Intriguing But Risky

  • Joe Alexander (8)
  • Danilo Gallinari (6)
  • Marreese Speights (16)

Could Go Either Way / Not Enough Info

  • Jerryd Bayless (11)
  • Kosta Koufos (23)
  • Donte Greene (28)
  • Nicolas Batum (25)

Why Aren’t People Higher on These Guys?

  • CDR (40!)
  • Darrell Arthur (27)

Quality Role Players

  • Brandon Rush (13)
  • Ryan Anderson (21)
  • Courtney Lee (22)
  • Mario Chalmers (34)

Serviceable Big Men

  • Brook Lopez (10)
  • Roy Hibbert (19)

The Giant Mess of 2nd Tier Bigs

  • Jason Thompson (12)
  • JJ Hickson (19)
  • Javale McGee (18)
  • Robin Lopez (15)
  • Ante Tomic (44)

Others of Note

  • Joey Dorsey (33) — seems like a guy this strong and coordinated will find a place in the league
  • George Hill (26) — Another year, another “Who?” pick for the Spurs, but possibly this draft’s Rodney Stuckey. Deserves his own post.

Spurs Feva?

June 26, 2008

From Chad Ford, this is just bizarre:

The Spurs sent an e-mail to every team in the league at 3:30 p.m. saying that they were willing to move the 26th pick. The e-mail asked league executives to “E-mail us your interest and your offers to 26.”

That’s the first time I’ve heard of something like this in all of my years covering the draft. Make your Spurs pitch below in our comments section.

You know what this means, right? We’re not far off from…

Draft Master-Debating, Part IV

June 26, 2008

I won’t let Reid suck me into an endless back and forth over who compares best to whom, but I have to say: don’t write off Hinrich just yet. By every account, last year’s Bulls team was a phenomenal train wreck, almost to a man. Their record, their defensive performance, and their individual numbers were all complete aberrations from where everyone thought they were headed this time last year.

Just to stay focused on Hinrich, his PER by year since entering the league: 13.1, 15.3, 15.5, 17.0, 13.1.

Assuming he was healthy, that sudden plummet is practically unheard of for an NBA player who saw no significant change in his role on a team. That said, he slid right with the team, and didn’t step up to right the ship.

What these numbers mean, then, is purely a matter of interpretation. If you believe that Rose has the force of personality to take such a huge leadership role at such a young age (a la Chris Paul), then it makes sense to get an asset back for Hinrich and hand Rose the red captain’s cape.

On the flip side, there’s a decent chance that a less overbearing, less tyrannical, and less bald coach could get this roster playing like it’s 2006-07 all over again. And that team was widely considered to be one young dynamic post scorer away from making some serious noise. Plug Beasley into that Baby Bulls team and what happens?

So how to decide which scenario is correct? I think it all comes down: do you believe Rose’s leadership is more important than Beasley’s potential to “get it” in a couple years and become an absolute monster. You have to trust the Bulls on their internal evaluations that show they do believe that, but it’s surprising to me that they’re that desperate. Maybe so.

As for Beasley, there’s really no telling how his personality will develop. Shaq was goofy, too, but he worked hard enough to ride his his talent to 2.67 titles (thanks to the refs, the 2006 and 2002 titles are docked .67 championships each). Melo’s pedigree as an NCAA champion was second to none this decade, and now he’s staring at five straight first-round exits.

In short, if Rose’s season approached anything Chris Paul did in college, indicating a combination of fantastic leadership and once-in-a-decade talent, I would have no problem with him #1. But he didn’t quite got there. And that’s why you take the PF who just had the most dominant college season since … Tim Duncan?

*I feel like I have to mention that our speculation based on these surface numbers is a far, far cry from what NBA teams have access to, so we’re basically guessing the weather by just looking at the clouds.

Looming Draft Question #4: Logjam in the Middle

June 26, 2008

If you try to create you own mock draft, as Reid and I are doing for a drinking game tonight, you’ll see that the sure-fire lottery picks dry up around the 10 slot. From there, everything gets clogged to hell. By my count, 14 players are in the mix for the 11 draft slots between 10 and 20.

By picks 21 and 22, teams are looking at definite role players, like Courtney Lee and Ryan Anderson. But the 13 players in contention for the middle of the first round are all considered potential impact players, including a whole chunk of big men with TUP.

Here’s the 11 picks: NJ, IND, SAC, POR, GS, PHX, PHI, IND, WAS, CLE, CHA.
Here are the 14 players: Koufos, Speights, Westbrook/Bayless (at least one will go top 9), Augustin, Chalmers, Arthur, Rush, Greene, Tomic, Jordan, Randolph, Hibbert, R. Lopez, McGee.

Meaning, barring any surprise picks (likely) or more trades (inevitable), at least three guys considered borderline lottery material will slip into the mid to late twenties. My selective memory of history here says that one of those will probably become the sleeper of this draft (sleepers if you count CDR). Think: Rajon Rondo, Danny Granger, Josh Howard, Marcus Williams, Jameer Nelson, and so on. Not stars, but great picks that late.

Looming Draft Question #3: How good can Kevin Love be?

June 26, 2008

For months I refused to believe that a fat Backstreet Boy could be legit in the NBA. Throw in that he plays for the constantly over-hyped UCLA, and I figured he was just the next great white hope.

But then I watched him play a little, saw that the chin beard was douchiest part of his personality, and heard he already dropped 15 pounds this off-season. Then I saw his numbers, and if I’m going to argue that Beasley’s astounding stats have to factor into his evaluation, the same holds true for Love.

And Love was off the charts. He was among the most efficient offensive players in the country, shooting over 60%, with 3-point range, and taking care of the basketball. A big part of that was his dominance on the offensive glass, and that’s the big question mark: will NBA bigs erase that advantage? Or does the former big boy still know how throw his weight around?

Looming Draft Question #2: Why can’t the Sonics, Wolves, and Heat work out a deal?

June 26, 2008

The Sonics want Beasley, the Wolves would be more than happy with Love, and Pat Riley seems determined to draft Mayo.

So why haven’t I heard rumors about the simplest solution? CBA throw-ins aside, the basic configuration should be: the Sonics give up something to the Wolves to swap picks 3 and 4, then Seattle takes on Mark Blount’s terrible contract to trade the 3 for the 2 with Miami. Everyone wins.