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Monday, August 06, 2018

OT - 2018 NBA Thread (Pre-Season Edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about: Trying to get one of us hired as the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 06, 2018 at 03:38 PM | 590 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   201. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5741713)
Thibs really seems to have an invulnerable self-conception that is wildly at odds with my views of his value, as a coach or an executive. And I have no faith in him to do something good for the the team that is not part of his totalizing vision of basketball, which vision I feel strongly has aged out of relevance.
   202. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5741727)
One other note- Phil brought Ron Harper, Horace Grant, and John Salley to LA with him. Doc brought Pierce, Big Baby, and Nate Robinson to the Clippers. When coaches have that kind of sway, they tend to use it, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
   203. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5741733)
Thibs really seems to have an invulnerable self-conception that is wildly at odds with my views of his value, as a coach or an executive.


Two questions:

1. What leads you to believe that he has an invulnerable self-conception? Not saying you're wrong, but I have never had that reaction.
2. He won a ton of games in CHI, has turned the Wolves from awful to pretty good quickly, and is regarded as a big part of Boston's title run. Why is your view of his value as a coach low? (or are you just saying it's at odds with him being invulerable? I guess that's pretty uncontroversial)
   204. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5741735)
So, the short version. I think it's natural to leverage positive relationships in transactions and Thibs/Layden have done a lot of other stuff that doesn't show an unhealthy preoccupation with Chicago players.

Absolutely. Some of the positives are you have guys who already understand and know your system, your coaching style, your practice routines, etc. They might also have some chemistry, since they've played together before.

Again though, we're talking about 4 players: Butler (at worst, a top 20 player in the league on a great contract; acquired for a completely reasonable trade package), Gibson (likely overpaid, but not a ton, and he sure seemed like a good fit and was worth his deal last year), then Deng and Rose, who are both vet minimum deals. There's a very good chance there'll be better players than them at similar price points (i.e. Nwaba just signed with the Cavs for $1.5mil; he's a nice defensive wing who has some offensive limitations but could be a fit on a team where shots are at a premium), but at that price you're just as likely to get nothing than something.

Thibs really seems to have an invulnerable self-conception that is wildly at odds with my views of his value, as a coach or an executive. And I have no faith in him to do something good for the the team that is not part of his totalizing vision of basketball, which vision I feel strongly has aged out of relevance.

IOW, you dislike the moves he's making because he's the one making the moves. I feel like you're assigning a motive to him beyond just wanting to win - do you think he's prioritizing winning his way over winning?
   205. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5741737)
We're on the same wavelength today, berg. Both my posts were written before I'd see you writing similar thoughts.
   206. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5741744)
We're on the same wavelength today, berg. Both my posts were written before I'd see you writing similar thoughts.



Maybe we were brainwashed by Thibs.

ICE ICE ICE
   207. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5741745)
What are Thibs' good moves? Or rather, good moves that he made that another executive wouldnt've? Gibson, I guess; that's worked out well. But that's it. Patton was at best a poor pick; too soon to say about the kids this year.

I think totalizing coaches are always victims of their own press.
   208. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5741746)
I think you guys are really glossing over how exceptionally bad Derrick Rose has been for years.
   209. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5741750)
Oh he also signed Aaron Brooks and John Lucas- didn't he have both of those guys in Chicago?
   210. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5741755)
What are Thibs' good moves? Or rather, good moves that he made that another executive wouldnt've? Gibson, I guess; that's worked out well. But that's it. Patton was at best a poor pick; too soon to say about the kids this year.

I think totalizing coaches are always victims of their own press.


Well, he traded for an All-Star. Why wouldn't that count?

Even if he only gets credit for Gibson in his first off-season, signing a productive starter to a 3-year deal is a solid free agency haul.

I think you guys are really glossing over how exceptionally bad Derrick Rose has been for years.


This one very well could come back to haunt. All I'm saying is that it hasn't yet. They gave up nothing for him and he has hardly played.

Oh he also signed Aaron Brooks and John Lucas- didn't he have both of those guys in Chicago?


Same for Brooks- he barely played. I forgot they ever signed Lucas, but he only played 11 minutes before becoming a coach. I'm just not going to get that worked up about what a GM does with the 15th spot on the bench.
   211. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5741757)
That's all fine Berg but the initial comment from Mouse was:
There are many things to dislike about the Thibs experience, but honestly the obsession with the Ghost of Players Past is the one that is a bridge too far for me.

And we're talking 6 players now!
   212. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5741760)
And we're talking 6 players now!


Sure. But one is exceptional (Butler), one is good (Gibson), two are TBD (Deng and Rose), and two are irrelevant (Brooks and Lucas). Why does it matter if he does it if it isn't bad?
   213. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5741763)
This discussion seems similar to what an argument about Belichick signing white wide receivers would be like.

"He keeps doing the same thing!"
"It's working."
"He should cast a wider net!"
"But it's working."
"It's so predictable! Anyone could do it!"
"But it's working."
"There's no way this can work!"
"But it's working."

   214. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5741769)
But one is exceptional (Butler), one is good (Gibson), two are TBD (Deng and Rose), and two are irrelevant (Brooks and Lucas). Why does it matter if he does it if it isn't bad?

I think several of us are arguing it either is already/or will end up bad.
   215. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5741773)
My point is that ANYONE would have made that Butler trade. You don’t need to have coached Butler to want to have him on your team. I’m looking for things Thibs has done that only Thibs could’ve done. And I’m not seeing any good performance as POBO.
   216. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5741778)
Also that Wiggins deal is his too.
   217. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5741784)
I think several of us are arguing it either is already/or will end up bad.


Fair enough. They went from 31 to 47 wins, so it's not already bad. Maybe it will end up bad. It's possible that I'm being too empirical and missing the big picture. Please call me out for being wrong if this goes horribly south this year.


My point is that ANYONE would have made that Butler trade. You don’t need to have coached Butler to want to have him on your team. I’m looking for things Thibs has done that only Thibs could’ve done. And I’m not seeing any good performance as POBO.


That seems like a weird way to argue it. It's like saying that it's only a good move if it seemed like a bad move when you did it. 29 teams had a chance to trade for Butler and one did it. They get credit for those wins. Would you say that Magic doesn't get any credit for recruiting Lebron because everyone wanted Lebron (or does building a relationship with a player, like Magic did with Lebron and Thibs did with Butler count as a FO skill)?

Also, I think this argument is a stretch, but one could reasonably argue that having Deng makes Butler, in his walk year, happier. Butler said he viewed Deng as a role model in CHI, so might as well try to improve the chances of re-signing him.

Lastly, I'm not so pro-Thibs that I can't laugh at this, from Reddit:

Game 5 of the Western Conference. first round. Warriors and Timberbulls, 10 seconds left. Joakim Noah misses both his free throws but Butler grabs the board.

Deng looks at Thibbs on the sidelines, his hunchback is protruding as angry spit oozes from his lip. KAT has the ball in the post against Steph Curry but passes it out anyway to Deng.

Deng looks at coach.

“Witness me...”

Deng drives through the lane and dunks over Kevin Durant. He falls from the rim, his knees have exploded, his back has been ripped apart. Blood covers the floor. Thibbs nods his head in approval as Derrick Rose sits on the sideline in a suit.

“I am awaited in Valhalla,” Deng says with his last breath.

Warriors win 127-92
   218. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5741785)
My point is that ANYONE would have made that Butler trade. You don’t need to have coached Butler to want to have him on your team. I’m looking for things Thibs has done that only Thibs could’ve done. And I’m not seeing any good performance as POBO.

So? He's the one who made the deal. Anyone could have made the Kawhi trade, or the Irving trade, or any other trade of an All Star, but because they didn't that means we can't evaluate those GMs on those deals?

If we're talking hypothetical trades, no one's as good as Ainge anyway.

   219. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5741786)
Also that Wiggins deal is his too.


This criticism is very fair. It has nothing to do with the TimberBulls narrative, but it's my biggest complaint about him or Taylor or whoever led that push.
   220. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5741794)
Sure. But one is exceptional (Butler), one is good (Gibson), two are TBD (Deng and Rose), and two are irrelevant (Brooks and Lucas). Why does it matter if he does it if it isn't bad?


This is a very fair point. However, we here started joking about the Deng and Rose moves months (maybe years) before they happened; and as soon as they were possible they felt inevitable.

Maybe it is perception and not reality, I fully acknowledge that. Maybe the moves he has made have been all good, but I still don't like how it feels to me. I do appreciate the victories tough I must admit.

But like I said I want a POBO (not a coach, but the guy in charge) to be a heartless SOB making moves with no mercy at all (but with good PR to make it seem not so bad). My problem with Thibs (and in fact all with similar power) is when they get both roles and the goals start to get confused, feelings get involved an it turns into a mess in the long run.

But I freely admit the Thibs experience has in net been a huge positive for the Wolves. I am just worried about where it goes from here(looking at you KAT).
   221. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5741799)
But like I said I want a POBO (not a coach, but the guy in charge) to be a heartless SOB making moves with no mercy at all (but with good PR to make it seem not so bad). My problem with Thibs (and in fact all with similar power) is when they get both roles and the goals start to get confused, feelings get involved an it turns into a mess in the long run.

But I freely admit the Thibs experience has in net been a huge positive for the Wolves. I am just worried about where it goes from here(looking at you KAT).


Agree with all of this. I would rather have a FO exec who has personnel power separate from Thibs. My main concern is what happens if Butler leaves after this season. As long as Butler and KAT are on the team and under 35, I think they'll be good.
   222. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 10, 2018 at 06:53 PM (#5741859)
This criticism is very fair. It has nothing to do with the TimberBulls narrative, but it's my biggest complaint about him or Taylor or whoever led that push.


I'm in the Unimpressed with Thibodeau camp and vehemently in the Wiggins Doesn't Make Your Team Better camp, but I'm not sure this is fair--at the time it was signed almost everyone in this thread was either in favor of giving Wiggins the max, or at least saying "well, if it's that or lose him, I guess you have to give him the max."

I said at the time that I would have traded him rather than maxing him, but (a) I was pretty damn near alone, and (b) several years' worth of preseason predictions have established me quite firmly as pretty clueless about basketball. So I think the attitude that Minnesota had to max Wiggins out because Wiggins actually turning into a superstar is pretty much their only path to genuine contenderdom was definitely the prevailing opinion and may well have been right. In a sample size of one, just because the naysayer happened to be right this time doesn't prove anything. :)
   223. Tin Angel Posted: September 10, 2018 at 07:00 PM (#5741865)
Question- what is a league average eFG%? Wiggins was at .481 last year. I was going to suggest a 3 that averages around 20 per game must be valuable, but...considering what he gives away on defense I'm not sure he's even better than Harrison Barnes.
   224. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 10, 2018 at 07:00 PM (#5741866)
I don't think Thibodeau is a bad coach (and I don't think any coach can make Minnesota play strong defense, because Towns and Wiggins don't give a #### about team defense and they are who they are). I just don't think he moves the needle nearly enough as a coach to make it worthwhile to give him roster control. Or his high salary, for that matter.
   225. aberg Posted: September 10, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5741877)
Question- what is a league average eFG%? Wiggins was at .481 last year. I was going to suggest a 3 that averages around 20 per game must be valuable, but...considering what he gives away on defense I'm not sure he's even better than Harrison Barnes.


It was .521 last year and the worst team (PHX) was .495. His defense was not nearly as bad last year, but it was still more "acceptable" than a plus. Without a doubt, he has been a net negative so far. The case for him is that he has the athleticism and some individual skills that are indicative of a transcendent player. With each passing year, it looks less likely that he'll get to that level, and now looks basically impossible. I'd be happy with him being average at this point, and I think Barnes is pretty easily better.
   226. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 08:17 PM (#5741909)
Fair enough. They went from 31 to 47 wins, so it's not already bad. Maybe it will end up bad. It's possible that I'm being too empirical and missing the big picture. Please call me out for being wrong if this goes horribly south this year.

To clarify with the "is/could go bad" talk I was just talking about the ex-Bulls.
   227. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5741910)
I'm in the Unimpressed with Thibodeau camp and vehemently in the Wiggins Doesn't Make Your Team Better camp, but I'm not sure this is fair--at the time it was signed almost everyone in this thread was either in favor of giving Wiggins the max, or at least saying "well, if it's that or lose him, I guess you have to give him the max."

I think lots of people weren't sold. I found this from me before it happened, and I'm pretty sure I was out on it quickly thereafter.

This isn't exactly a ringing endorsement!
1156. jmurph Posted: July 20, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5496705)
This isn't a surprise obviously, but the Wolves are apparently working on a designated rookie-scale extension with Wiggins, which will mean 5 years and almost $150 million. That will be an interesting one to follow- I'm worried about his lack of growth so far, but for some reason I'm still a believer that he'll be worth it eventually.
   228. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: September 10, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5741991)
I think there’s plenty to question Thibs about from roster selection to the Teague trade to the Wiggins extension to KAT not getting enough touches. I don’t think there’s enough criticism of the Rose deal here. As for it not hurting them, he played 24 min/game in the playoffs. Tyus Jones played less than half that (he didn’t get hurt, right?)

We will see. I think to the extent they got better was Butler and KAT continuing to improve. I’m not sure Thibs deserves credIt for either.
   229. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:26 AM (#5742070)
a few thoughts that might be worth throwing into the conversation:
1: MIN improved from 31 to 47 wins, but their pythag only went from 38 to 47. that's still a significant improvement, but it may not have been as big an improvement as it appears on the surface.
2: most of that improvement was simply replacing zach lavine (below average starting G) with jimmy butler (top 15 player in the league).
3: with butler, MIN was 37-22; without him they were 10-13.
4: thibs absolutely should not be coach AND POBO. noone* should.
5: *except for brett brown. i'm sure he'll be the guy who can make it work.
6: it's worth remembering that thibs is also known as 'the backup PG whisperer'
7: they should trade wiggins.
8: they should trade butler.
9: they should trade jones.
10: they should keep teague.
   230. kubiwan Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5742085)
most of that improvement was simply replacing zach lavine (below average starting G) with jimmy butler (top 15 player in the league)


Certainly Thibs had nothing to do with that....
   231. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5742088)
My point earlier, which was poorly made, is that Thibs brings nothing to the table as POBO (add the Dieng extension and the Alrdich signing!), and it's increasingly clear to me, at least, that he brings nothing much to the table as a coach, either. So if he is alienating Towns, he has to go. Now, we don't know that he's alienating Towns, and maybe their relationship is fine, but I would be worried. My sense is that Thibs is an extremely brittle and inflexible thinker, who overvalues personal loyalty and shows no interest in learning. His Timberbulls are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.

That said, I'll take 47 wins over what this pathetic franchise has been doing, yes I will. I just worry about the future, if Taylor takes too long to pick Towns' side.
   232. maccoach57 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5742094)
Not saying this to be snarky, because I am wrong about stuff all the time, but I seem to remember several guys here thinking Minnesota hiring Thibodeau was a huge deal, in large part because they had Sam Mitchell in the "idiot" category. This was familiar to me as a Lakers fan, since young and saber-inclined Lakers fans made Byron Scott an object of mockery from the day he was hired until the day he was fired, and saw hiring Luke Walton as being a huge deal.

Walton is OK, and I think Scott was a bad coach, but what has happened here with the Lakers just adds to my belief that with a few exceptions, coaches are just not that big of a deal in the NBA. With the Lakers:

1. The team D did not get notably better until last year when they made some personnel changes.
2. A lot of the initial improvement was simply that teams that go 17-65 almost always get a little better and Kobe Bryant retired.
3. A lot of people in the fanbase thought D'Angelo Russell would blow up post-Kobe and post-Byron playing for saber coolie and Popovich guy Kenny Atkinson in Brooklyn. But Russell's numbers hardly changed at all.

So this:

2: most of that improvement was simply replacing zach lavine (below average starting G) with jimmy butler (top 15 player in the league).
3: with butler, MIN was 37-22; without him they were 10-13


Sort of sums up a lot of my views on Minnesota. I get not liking Thibodeau and wanting a different guy, but the NBA is a talent league. If they can keep Butler and Towns and upgrade the roster 3-8 and/or Wiggins gets better, they will move up, with or without Thibodeau. If they can't, they won't, with or without Thibodeau.
   233. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5742111)
Let's talk Barneys! Is there actually anything interesting to say about them before we know how healthy Kawhi is? What do people think of the Nurse signing?
   234. JJ1986 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5742115)
Popovich guy Kenny Atkinson
Budenholzer-guy.
   235. jmurph Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5742116)
What do people think of the Nurse signing?

I'm sure someone has already made this point, but I'm curious who the coach would be if they had made the Kawhi deal first? Maybe Bud takes that offer afterall?
   236. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5742137)
I think to the extent they got better was Butler and KAT continuing to improve. I’m not sure Thibs deserves credIt for either.

I think if there's a single coach in the league that should ever get any sort of credit for a player improving on their watch, it is absolutely Thibs with Butler. That wasn't all in Minnesota, of course, and I'm not quite ready to go as far as robin as his coaching theory*....I really am not a Thibs defender. It was time for him to go in Chicago. I just am missing some of these specific criticisms, especially for things that appear to be wrong.

*I think coaching can, and even does, have a big impact. I just think we, as outsiders, do a terrible job of identifying what and how much impact there really is.

   237. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5742139)
I read Spivey's point as "Butler, and KAT continuing to improve", not "Butler and KAT continuing to improve".
   238. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5742141)
I need to settle down and just get ready for the season. I'm very excited for the Wolves, even if I'm grouchy about Thibs, and even more excited for my local Barneys.
   239. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 11, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5742202)
Sort of sums up a lot of my views on Minnesota. I get not liking Thibodeau and wanting a different guy, but the NBA is a talent league. If they can keep Butler and Towns and upgrade the roster 3-8 and/or Wiggins gets better, they will move up, with or without Thibodeau. If they can't, they won't, with or without Thibodeau.


I think most everyone here agrees that Thibodeau is Just Another Coach. The problem is with giving Just Another Coach personnel control and a gigantic pile of money. See also Rivers, Doc.

FWIW I agree substantially with rr about this: that while there are better and worse fits between rosters and coaches, almost all NBA coaches are fine; very few are really bad and very few are really good, compared to other NBA coaches. This is not because coaching doesn't matter in basketball, nor because coaching in the NBA isn't that hard--having a truly bad coach is a catastrophe, in any professional sport. Rather it's because people in the category of "capable of coaching adequately at the NBA level" rise pretty quickly to the top. That category represents the tip-top of the entire profession, and for the most part, differences within that category are marginal.

Some coaches are hardasses while others are easygoing; some specialize in developing young players and others specialize in keeping veterans focused. So as a team's needs change, frequently what they need out of their coach changes too. But in terms of being so bad, or so good, as to meaningfully impact one season's W-L record as opposed to any of ten other available coaches, that's rare.

edit: For what it's worth I think Jason Kidd was a genuinely bad coach and Milwaukee should improve significantly from having Just Another Coach in his place. But then again, Joe Prunty didn't move the needle for them at all after the usual dead coach bounce.
   240. aberg Posted: September 11, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5742218)
1: MIN improved from 31 to 47 wins, but their pythag only went from 38 to 47. that's still a significant improvement, but it may not have been as big an improvement as it appears on the surface.


They also went from 31 to 37 pythag wins in Thibs's first year with very little roster change.
   241. JJ1986 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5742219)
Did Thibodeau sign the Gorgui Dieng extension? That's the move the really made no sense.
   242. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: September 11, 2018 at 07:41 PM (#5742509)
Yep, Thibodeau started the Minny job in the 2016 offseason, a year before Dieng signed his extension.
   243. maccoach57 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 08:39 PM (#5742538)
Couple of points:

I agree with PASTE, as I have said. I think most NBA coaches, especially now, know what they are doing. I think a few guys--Kerr, Popovich and Stevens being the obvious candidates--make a pretty big difference. A few, maybe Kidd most recently, are negatives. But mostly they are pretty smart guys, who know what they are doing, and are backed by massive and detailed infrastructures. As PASTE says they have different strengths. When Minnesota hired TT I said I would like him better on an older team.


*I think coaching can, and even does, have a big impact. I just think we, as outsiders, do a terrible job of identifying what and how much impact there really is.


Perhaps. Looking at a few basics:

LAKERES UNDER SCOTT:
30TH IN DRTG 111.6/100 29TH IN ORTG 101.6/100
LAKERS UNDER WALTON:
30TH IN DRTG 113/100 23RD IN ORTG 106/100
12TH IN DRTG/108/100 23RD N ORTG 106.5/100

These numbers suggest to me that the main thing is personnel, not Walton. I do think his personality is pretty good for working with young guys, and with Magic and LeBron in the saddle, Walton may not last that long.

Minnesota has been 27th in DRTG both years under Thibodeau. They were 12th in ORTG under Mitchell, and went 10th then 4th under TT. That suggests to me that organic improvement by Towns and adding Butler are the keys, nothing that Thibodeau is doing.

This is not to day that TT, Walton or any coach is not having an impact. I just doubt that it is a notable impact as compared to 25 other guys.




   244. tshipman Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:01 PM (#5742557)
I agree with PASTE, as I have said. I think most NBA coaches, especially now, know what they are doing. I think a few guys--Kerr, Popovich and Stevens being the obvious candidates--make a pretty big difference. A few, maybe Kidd most recently, are negatives. But mostly they are pretty smart guys, who know what they are doing, and are backed by massive and detailed infrastructures. As PASTE says they have different strengths. When Minnesota hired TT I said I would like him better on an older team.


I dunno if it's just that I'm apparently his agent, but why is Spoelstra out of these conversations when Stevens is in?
   245. tshipman Posted: September 11, 2018 at 09:20 PM (#5742577)
LAKERES UNDER SCOTT:
30TH IN DRTG 111.6/100 29TH IN ORTG 101.6/100
LAKERS UNDER WALTON:
30TH IN DRTG 113/100 23RD IN ORTG 106/100
12TH IN DRTG/108/100 23RD N ORTG 106.5/100

These numbers suggest to me that the main thing is personnel, not Walton.


Lakers under Scott: 12.9 transition percentage (15th)
Lakers under Walton: 19.5 transition percentage (1st)
   246. maccoach57 Posted: September 11, 2018 at 10:13 PM (#5742622)
Kobe retiring is just as good an explanation for the improvement and they srayed stuck at 23rd on O.
   247. jmurph Posted: September 12, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5742797)
I dunno if it's just that I'm apparently his agent, but why is Spoelstra out of these conversations

What's the pro-Spoelstra case? I'm not sure how to think about the Heat post-LeBron- they've been basically irrelevant, but he's also been hamstrung by some bizarre personnel decisions.
   248. jmurph Posted: September 12, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5742904)
(For the record I mean the above as a genuine question. I'm aware of the generally consistent defensive performance, for instance, and the generally unimpressive offenses, but haven't dug around on him/the Heat all that much.)
   249. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 12, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5742942)
Spoelstra seems to be doing reasonably well with the players he’s had, but it’s hard to see from Miami’s records (especially in the East) since LeBron left a lot of evidence that he’s personally adding several wins a year by being that much better than other coaches.
   250. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: September 12, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5742991)
Spoelstra is a legitimately excellent coach, but as maccoach and others have said, most NBA coaches are at least some kind of excellent. He did a magnificent job designing and drilling the switchy, hyper-modern defenses of the LeBron-era Heat teams, which shows an impressive level of flexibility and pragmatism with his schemes (which, I think, is far more of an important factor in the Warriors' Jackson -> Kerr leap than anything to do with managing personalities or "joy"). But I think I agree with
it’s hard to see from Miami’s records (especially in the East) since LeBron left a lot of evidence that he’s personally adding several wins a year by being that much better than other coaches.

Especially since "other coaches" includes guys like Malone and Joerger and Kenny Atkinson and Fizdale and Budenholzer and Brett Brown etc etc.
   251. jmurph Posted: September 12, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5742996)
Spoelstra seems to be doing reasonably well with the players he’s had

I lean this way, too, because (and I've probably gone on about this too many times, so forgive me), I think they've made a ton of bad decisions in free agency post-LeBron, yet they're still relatively competitive. I don't love WS, but just for a hilarious way to illustrate that point, Kelly Olynyk led them in WS last season! And they were still the 6 seed.
   252. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: September 12, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5742998)
the Sixers didn’t think [david griffin) was a good fit because they “want to make collaborative decisions instead of a GM who will have the final say”—as though those two things are mutually exclusive. Then again, in fairness, the Sixers’ front office has been run by two different, powerful factions over the last five years—first Sam Hinkie, then the Colangelos. (It’s wild when you check the calendar and realize all this started not that long ago, in 2013; the Process ages in dog years.)
Whatever you think about Hinkie or the Colangelos, it was obvious what the Sixers were trying to accomplish with those moves. But right now, as a league source familiar with ownership’s thinking put it, “I’m not sure they know what they want.”

That’s troublesome.
link
   253. jmurph Posted: September 12, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5743015)
I'm always skeptical when teams seem to think they've cracked some code for how to do basic things differently. Just hire a highly regarded assistant GM from a highly regarded front office for ####'s sake.
   254. aberg Posted: September 12, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5743043)
Those pull-quotes make it sound like whoever is running the GM search has no cursory idea of management structure. They "want to make collaborative decisions," but the complaint is that different people in the org want different things, and no one is empowered to make a final decision. Isn't the point of collaboration that people will bring different ideas to the table? "I'm not sure they know what they want" sounds like they're saying that there are competing interests. No kidding!
   255. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: September 12, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5743087)
“The Process” was hardly guaranteed to work, but this gang of idiots is going to doom it to failure. I’m convinced the Sixers will not win a title. I would be surprised if they win the conference once.
   256. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 12, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5743127)
I don't love WS, but just for a hilarious way to illustrate that point, Kelly Olynyk led them in WS last season! And they were still the 6 seed.


That may say more about the Eastern Conference than it does about Miami.

Of course, you could also try putting it this way: the team whose WS leader was Kelly Olynyk finished with the same record, in the same conference, as the team whose WS leader was Giannis Antetokounmpo.
   257. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: September 12, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5743154)
I mean, I get making fun of goofy, slow-footed non-stars leading any team in a composite impact stat. But seven-footers who are rarely ever in the wrong place and who have both shooting range and enough handle to drive and dish off closeouts are really, really useful—even when they're goofy, slow-footed non-stars.
   258. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: September 12, 2018 at 11:15 PM (#5743341)
Here are the minutes leaders for the 2017-18 Heat (44-38):

Josh Richardson (40th pick, 3rd NBA season)
Goran Dragic (fine)
Tyler Johnson (undrafted FA)
James Johnson (30 year old journeyman)
Wayne Ellington (30 year old journeyman)
Kelly Olynyk (goofy slow-footed non-star)
Justise Winslow (offensively challenged)
Hassan Whiteside (head case)
Bam Adebayo (20 year old rookie, also offensively challenged)
Dion Waiters (laughingstock chucker)
Dwyane Wade (corpse)

That roster should probably go like 25-57. In a vacuum, Dragic might be the only actually good player (it's hard to tell with Richardson and Johnson since they've only played with the Heat), and he's not that good. Taking that team to a 44-38 record is pretty crazy.

I also agree that Spo did a good job with the Heatles. I know, talent wins, but James and Wade are pretty redundant talents on paper.

All that said, I'm not confident he's a move the needle guy, which seems to be defined mostly as someone who constructs a contender that on paper really shouldn't be a contender (Pop, Stevens, and Kerr are the only guys who I think have done this recently -- Kerr because any reasonable deconstruction of the Warriors on paper before they got there would not have resulted in calling them a contender I don't think. You could argue Dwane Casey if you think the Raps were actual contenders, which I suppose might be a defensible position.)
   259. tshipman Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:11 AM (#5743362)
What's the pro-Spoelstra case? I'm not sure how to think about the Heat post-LeBron- they've been basically irrelevant, but he's also been hamstrung by some bizarre personnel decisions.


1. Won playoff series and championships while making adjustments on the fly for the matchup when he did have elite talent.
2. Won regular season games without elite talent. The Heat have averaged 44 wins the last three years with a team whose best player has been Goran Dragic and with *significant* roster holes.
3. Has constructed a consistently good defense despite not having elite defensive talent. The Heat have ranked 6th, 1st and 3rd in opponent 3pers attempted during that time frame, finishing in the top 10 in defense all 3 years.
4. Guys improve when they come to Miami and decline when they leave. Deng and Wade fell off cliffs when they left. James Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Kelly Olynyk have all improve significantly.
5. Spo consistently puts guys in a healthy environment. The Heat have finished 3rd, 1st and 1st the last three years in the number of corner 3s.

   260. PJ Martinez Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5743383)
I'm with 259 on Spoelstra. Probably a top 5 coach in my book.

Speaking of rankings, the Crossover's top 100 players for the upcoming season is pretty fun.
   261. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5743399)
258 really illustrates what I said earlier about the bad personnel decisions in the past few years. Which for some reason is not a common opinion of the Heat's front office.
   262. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5743406)
Speaking of rankings, the Crossover's top 100 players for the upcoming season is pretty fun.

This is interesting, thanks for posting. These things are made for arguing, I think, but one quibble came up pretty quickly: I'm pretty sure I'd take every single player ranked 79-100 before I'd take #78 Serge Ibaka.
   263. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5743409)
Ball missed 30 games during his rookie season because of a left knee injury. He reportedly received a platelet-rich plasma injection to strengthen his knee after sitting out the Lakers’ final eight games. The PRP shot also kept him away from basketball activities for a month during the offseason. That he had specifically suffered a meniscus tear wasn’t reported until two days before free agency officially began. Ball said on the show that the PRP shot wasn’t enough.

“That didn’t work, so the last option is surgery,” he said. Ball further explained to his father, LaVar: “They’ve got to take [the meniscus] out. They said they could repair it, but it would take me six months to get back. But if they just take it out, it will only be six weeks.”
link
   264. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5743442)
Just because Olynyk looks goofy doesn't mean he's good - he's an above average starter. As 257 notes - he's a 7-footer with range who can create for others -- and he's consistently graded out well as a positional defender.

The Heat FO have a solid eye for talent (beyond the coments above - Whiteside was a min wage guy who came off the scrap heap) -- that they then overpay to keep.
   265. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5743468)
The Heat FO have a solid eye for talent (beyond the coments above - Whiteside was a min wage guy who came off the scrap heap) -- that they then overpay to keep.

Yeah that's a good summary.

Also, UNCLE on the Olynyk talk guys, I'm a Celtics fan and am well aware he's a perfectly good player! It's still funny that he led a 6th place team in WS.
   266. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5743679)
Speaking of rankings, the Crossover's top 100 players for the upcoming season is pretty fun.

This is interesting, thanks for posting. These things are made for arguing, I think, but one quibble came up pretty quickly: I'm pretty sure I'd take every single player ranked 79-100 before I'd take #78 Serge Ibaka.

Here's a second quibble: Tyreke Evans didn't make the list. I'd have him in the top 60.
   267. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5743703)
I've had Kyle Anderson on my mind lately, which may say something about me.

Anyway, I feel like the consensus on this board is that he should play the four - but I disagree. He seems to me like a player whose competitive advantages are length and smarts/instincts - and the former strength dissipates when he faces big men (who may then have the muscle to beat him up in the post). Conversely, when I've watched him forced into a stopper role against wings, it's a little like when teams run on an outfielder with an iffy arm but a lightning fast release - they challenge him but consistently have off-nights. (How much was Kyle versus the Spurs, I dunno.) [Sidebar: this isn't that different from the Robert Covington story on D, where it was initially thought that he'd lack the lateral quickness to stay in front of people on the perimeter, but his length and technique more than made up for it. Please correct me here Steve and STEAGLES...]
   268. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5743712)
The only argument I'd have on Evans is that he's coming off a career year, it'd be unrealistic to think that he's actually *that* good. 17-18 Evans is certainly top 60, though - and '18-19 might be as well. Absolutely top 100, at minimum.
   269. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5743720)
Khris Middleton at 28 seems pretty high (err, low? I mean his ranking should be worse) to me. Not wildly so, but top 30 is a stretch, I think.
   270. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5743722)
Ha! From the blurb on Wall:
As always, Wall (19.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.6 APG) has paid careful attention to the perception of his standing relative to his peers, noting in an August interview with NBA Sports Washington that “a lot of guys don’t talk about me being a top-five point guard.”
   271. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5743754)
Sidebar: this isn't that different from the Robert Covington story on D, where it was initially thought that he'd lack the lateral quickness to stay in front of people on the perimeter, but his length and technique more than made up for it.

Another thing to note about Covington is that he has lightning-quick hands and tremendous hand-eye coordination defensively. For most defenders, once the ballhandler gets a step it's over. But Covington can recover because he has a rare ability to poke the ball away from odd angles and even against an opponent with a tight handle. He's led the league in deflections each of the past two years.

EDIT: For some reason the links are defaulting to non-existent preseason stats no matter what. Just change the "Season Type" filter to "Regular Season" to make it work.
   272. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5743763)
How have the Celtics not already waived Bird?
   273. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5743783)
271 - Agree! But while Anderson is no Covington, it's similarly a strength ... 40th of 282 in 16-17, 23rd of 275 in 17-18 among players with 1000 or more minutes.

--

272 - I think because they don't want to set a precedent in the event they've a better player who is charged in a similar case. Might be unrelated, but didn't they bring MGH in the other for a workout?
   274. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5743796)
If teams retired names instead of numbers the Celtics wouldn't be in this mess.
   275. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5743805)
The local reporters are suggesting they have to go through the league's investigation/review process in order to be able to void the contract under the league's new domestic abuse rules.

(Also holy ####, just read the details. That's some monstrous ####.)

   276. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5743811)
275 - thanks, murph
Yeah, it is.
   277. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5743814)
How have the Celtics not already waived Bird?

The writing sure seems to be on the wall—official team comments have been terse and vague, of course, but have talked about being "deeply disturbed" and "most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim". I would guess that they are talking out their options with the league based on how the investigation goes: waiving him through the normal procedure when they're just over the tax line doesn't make sense if there's any chance the league might grant them an exception.

The reporting suggests a really ugly incident, though: I had liked Jabari Bird's on-court impact as an athletic, hard-working prospect, but I have fully written him off: his alleged domestic assault is WAY over the line.
   278. jmurph Posted: September 13, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5743815)
I should I also caveat that I don't know if that contract bit is true- it was from a reporter's tweet. Oh and he added this, so it's clearly just speculation:
Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
To be very clear, this is simply a guess for how this is handled in terms of the cap/contract. The Celtics have announced they are working with the NBA and local authorities from here.
   279. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:57 PM (#5744069)
Speaking of rankings, the Crossover's top 100 players for the upcoming season is pretty fun.


I am amused that Rubio and Teague are consecutively ranked.
   280. Booey Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5744085)
re: SI top 100 -

Obviously they don't have the star power of the Warriors, Rockets, or Celtics, but I'm satisfied with the entire Jazz starting lineup cracking the top 60: Gobert-14, Mitchell-34, Favors-51, Ingles-56, Rubio-57. I'm (probably irrationally) hopeful that Exum can stay healthy and make a big leap and that Crowder can return to his Boston form to give them even more depth.

Guys who I think were a little too high:

- The Celtics duo of Horford (16) and Irving (17). I think our consensus last year had them each about 10 spots lower, which feels about right to me (I think Horford was actually in the 30's on our list, but I'm fine bumping him up a bit after last years playoffs. Still not top 20 IMO, though).

- Middleton (28). Already covered by jmurph. Probably about 10 spots too high.

- Paul George (11). He's not WAY too high - I think he's legitimately top 20 - but I'd definitely take several of the bigs in the top 20 ahead of him in real life (Draymond at 13, Rudy at 14, Jokic at 18, Towns at 19).
   281. smileyy Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5744517)
Did anyone watch the WNBA finals? I caught two games of it (one in person!) and really enjoyed . OTOH, I really enjoyed it in a different kind of way than I do the NBA. I was amazed at the number of "layups" that were scoop shots after someone wormed their way into the lane. Lots of jumpers in the paint and out to 15' too. Also, Breanna Stewart is really good at basketball.
   282. smileyy Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5744532)
I agree -- Draymond >> George

I'd put Draymond in the top-10 and take him over Butler.
   283. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5744614)
I think Horford vs Draymond is an interesting comp, given how much similarity there is between their on-court contributions (the ability to anchor a defense; play inside and out on both ends; and outstanding secondary playmaking which enables lots of extra spot-up looks for guards). They look different doing it, both for reasons of physique and body language, and I haven't checked out how (dis)similar their box score stats are, but I think both of them are far more valuable for how their games let their teammates play to their strengths than for any sort of individual dominance.

(I will preemptively grant that, being an SF-based Celtics fan, there are lots of additional environmental reasons that would incline me towards this comp; nonetheless, I don't think I'm crazy here. YMMV.)
   284. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:39 PM (#5744615)
My very late two cents on Thibs:
I think if there's a single coach in the league that should ever get any sort of credit for a player improving on their watch, it is absolutely Thibs with Butler.
The biggest impact Thibs was supposed to have was on Wiggins. Butler was a 30th pick that turned into a bulldog defensively. Wiggins came into the league with a reputation for athleticism and an expectation that he could be good defensively right away. Instead, he's been kind of a sieve, and if he's gotten better, it's so incremental that you have to squint to see it. I don't expect a Thibs team to be creative or interesting offensively, but I did absolutely expect them to defend. That hasn't happened. Yes, the team is better, but that's because they have some actual good basketball players on their team. If they're not buying into the Thibs defense then, you know, the ceiling is the floor, or something. They'll be good enough that fans and ownership can dream about the next step, but they'll never take that next step.

I'm with 259 on Spoelstra. Probably a top 5 coach in my book.
Spoelstra is who Thibs fans think Thibs is.
   285. tshipman Posted: September 14, 2018 at 07:48 PM (#5744651)
I think Horford vs Draymond is an interesting comp, given how much similarity there is between their on-court contributions (the ability to anchor a defense; play inside and out on both ends; and outstanding secondary playmaking which enables lots of extra spot-up looks for guards). They look different doing it, both for reasons of physique and body language, and I haven't checked out how (dis)similar their box score stats are, but I think both of them are far more valuable for how their games let their teammates play to their strengths than for any sort of individual dominance.


It's interesting because Draymond is more independent on how he generates value on defense, while Horford is more independent on offense.

I think Draymond is probably the better player overall, but they're both players that function better in a team context and are difficult to disentangle from their teammates. I think Draymond's DPOY level defense is more valuable than Horford's above-average at both level, but I think both players are better on a good team than a bad one.
   286. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: September 14, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5744666)
Did anyone watch the WNBA finals? I caught two games of it (one in person!) and really enjoyed . OTOH, I really enjoyed it in a different kind of way than I do the NBA. I was amazed at the number of "layups" that were scoop shots after someone wormed their way into the lane. Lots of jumpers in the paint and out to 15' too. Also, Breanna Stewart is really good at basketball.


Watched a bit, being in Seattle and all figured I should. In general whenever I watch women's basketball I think two things: 1) man, these women are ALOT better than they were collectively 20 years ago and 2) man, these women are not playing the same game as the men (scoop shots and push shots are still common for example).

Stewart is really good. If any current WNBA player could moonlight on a men's D1 high major it's her, right? Maybe Griner as well, at least for another couple years. The women seem to peak earlier than the men, at least in my perception.
   287. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: September 14, 2018 at 08:54 PM (#5744674)
Did not watch the Finals due to travel, but watched the WNBA playoffs prior to that and...wow, it was really enjoyable. Tons of close games and insane moments + short series made for exciting times.
   288. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: September 14, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5744687)
I've had Kyle Anderson on my mind lately, which may say something about me.

Anyway, I feel like the consensus on this board is that he should play the four - but I disagree. He seems to me like a player whose competitive advantages are length and smarts/instincts - and the former strength dissipates when he faces big men (who may then have the muscle to beat him up in the post). Conversely, when I've watched him forced into a stopper role against wings, it's a little like when teams run on an outfielder with an iffy arm but a lightning fast release - they challenge him but consistently have off-nights. (How much was Kyle versus the Spurs, I dunno.) [Sidebar: this isn't that different from the Robert Covington story on D, where it was initially thought that he'd lack the lateral quickness to stay in front of people on the perimeter, but his length and technique more than made up for it. Please correct me here Steve and STEAGLES...]

covington is better at the 4 than the 3.

someone studied this a few years ago and found that nearly everyone who plays multiple positions is more valuable when they're at the bigger one. anderson may be an exception, but i doubt it.

Khris Middleton at 28 seems pretty high (err, low? I mean his ranking should be worse) to me. Not wildly so, but top 30 is a stretch, I think.
career 39% 3P shooter
just averaged 20, 5 and 4 on 46/36/88 shooting
set career highs in usage (24%) and efficiency (58% TS%) last year
reputation as an elite defender
defends 4 or 5 positions
+8 net rating for his career

sure, 28 is aggressive, but it's pretty easily defensible.


man, that's a weird ####### list, though. every BOS player (except kyrie, who's probably where he belongs) and LAL player (except lebron) is too high. a bunch of aging veterans are overrated (iggy, marc, dirk, ibaka, tucker), but so are a bunch of young players who haven't done anything remarkable yet (ingram, brown, vanvleet, murray, sabonis).

it's like a parody of what baseball hall of fame voting was like 10 years ago. stat favorites get 40% of the vote, scout favorites get 40% of the vote and don mattingly stays on the ballot for 15 years because 20% of the electorate live in new york and haven't cared about baseball for at least the last decade.
   289. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:13 PM (#5744705)
Butler > Draymond > Horford for me. Butler has had two years in a row with like top 5 advanced stats. He’s underrated at this point.
   290. Harlond Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:36 PM (#5744729)
The women seem to peak earlier than the men, at least in my perception.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi say hi.

Not that I know the answer on this issue. But Sue Bird is 37, I think, and killing it. She coulda done more with the face mask though.
   291. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 15, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5744841)
Did not watch the Finals due to travel, but watched the WNBA playoffs prior to that and...wow, it was really enjoyable. Tons of close games and insane moments + short series made for exciting times.


Seeing NBA twitter get really into the WNBA has me thinking I'm going to start following it this next season. At this point the only reason I'm still debating it is I already spend so much time watching MLB and NBA I haven't wanted to add a third league to follow.

I'm also not sure what team I should adopt as a favorite. Maybe Phoenix since I live in Tucson but since I didn't grow up here I don't really have an attachment to Arizona teams.
   292. smileyy Posted: September 15, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5744849)
The Phoneix Mercury are really good.
   293. PJ Martinez Posted: September 15, 2018 at 07:53 PM (#5744943)
Butler and his agent Bernie Lee are planning to meet with Thibodeau on Monday in Minneapolis for what's expected to be a serious conversation on the franchise's fragile state, sources said.
Butler's partnership with young star Karl-Anthony Towns has been strained and remains an obstacle to 2018-19 team's success --- and perhaps the ability to sign Butler to a new contract next summer, league sources said.

The Timberwolves are negotiating a rookie extension with Towns now that could be completed before the start of the season. Rival executives believe that Butler could come available on the market by the February trade deadline if Minnesota fears that it will lose him for nothing in July free agency.
Owner Glen Taylor has significant concern with the broader franchise culture under Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden -- so much so that Taylor considered changes in the offseason, league sources said. Taylor has privately second-guessed his decision to give Thibodeau full control of basketball operations as a part of hiring him as coach, league sources said.
   294. TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one Posted: September 15, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5744955)
Taylor has privately second-guessed his decision to give Thibodeau full control of basketball operations as a part of hiring him as coach, league sources said.

NO ####
   295. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 15, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5744998)
I dunno. It seems pretty clear that come next summer Thibodeau will be gone and Butler will walk. It seemed like earlier this summer was the correct time to fire Thibodeau and hire a worthwhile GM who can then decide what to trade Butler for, and possibly unload Wiggins too if anyone will take his contract, re-up Towns and go from there.

One thing I wonder: if "The Timberwolves" are negotiating an extension with Towns... actually, I wonder two things about that:

1. What's to negotiate? The Wolves presumably have offered Towns whatever is the maximum they're allowed to. So presumably the "negotiating" consists of trying to persuade him to sign, right?
2. Who exactly is doing this negotiating--Thibodeau, or Taylor?

I have a real hard time imagining Thibodeau trading Butler away.

Overall, I feel like there's plenty enough ball for Towns and Butler..... but not for Towns, Butler and Wiggins.
   296. Booey Posted: September 16, 2018 at 12:20 AM (#5745011)
1. What's to negotiate? The Wolves presumably have offered Towns whatever is the maximum they're allowed to. So presumably the "negotiating" consists of trying to persuade him to sign, right?


What other choice does Towns have? Isn't he a restricted free agent? So his other option would be to refuse to sign the extension, sign with some other team after the season for less money and then have the Wolves match it anyway, right?
   297. tshipman Posted: September 16, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5745055)
I dunno. It seems pretty clear that come next summer Thibodeau will be gone and Butler will walk. It seemed like earlier this summer was the correct time to fire Thibodeau and hire a worthwhile GM who can then decide what to trade Butler for, and possibly unload Wiggins too if anyone will take his contract, re-up Towns and go from there.


Seriously disagree here. The Wolves were a 52 win team with Butler healthy last year. Further, they got better by getting rid of their biggest weakness (Crawford). You don't blow that up. You don't trade Wiggins at the low point of his value.

I've said this before, but there's a non-negligible chance for 60 wins with this team. Further, due to KAT, they actually have some good matchups against the best teams in the West.

1. What's to negotiate? The Wolves presumably have offered Towns whatever is the maximum they're allowed to. So presumably the "negotiating" consists of trying to persuade him to sign, right?


Player options, vesting bonuses ... lots of stuff to negotiate. Dunc'd on podcast is good for these kinds of details.
   298. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: September 16, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5745072)
the biggest question is whether towns would rather have the 5 year rookie supermax (30% of the cap), or if he pushes for a 3+1 bridge deal that would either let him leave MIN as an unrestricted free agent after 7 years, or if he chooses to stay, he could qualify for the full veteran megamax (40% of the cap).


MIN's (lack of) cap management is also a major issue. wiggins, teague and dieng are going to make 62MM next year. butler will be able to get 35+MM, which would put MIN over the cap before even considering a towns extension. adding another 30MM for towns would put them 20+MM into the luxury tax by the time they filled out their roster.


the way i see it, MIN has two semi-realistic options:
1: trade butler for a combination of picks and young players that might form a competitive core with towns and wiggins at some point. or:
2: trade wiggins, commit to contending with butler and towns in the near-term, and accept that it will turn ugly at some point in the long-term.
   299. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: September 16, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5745109)
I realize it'd be nice if Butler was 2 years younger, but I think they just have to max him out. We've seen last year and the year before what Minnesota is without him, and they're a 35 win team. I think it's more likely that the ~10th best player in the NBA will maintain max-level value in his early 30s than whatever other option they have to try to get that value.

Hell, I think there's a very good chance (over 50%) that Butler in 3 years is still better than Towns.
   300. PJ Martinez Posted: September 16, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5745163)
I just noticed that the lowest career 3-point percentage in Boston's starting five belongs to Gordon Hayward, at .368. (The others: .370, .379, .388, .434.)

I really wish opening day would just get here already.
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