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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

OT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, some of whom still care about baseball playoffs, but all of whom agree the Celtics gave up too much for Irving.

Here’s the thread’s top 50 players ranking.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 1909 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   1. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5549791)
   2. Harlond Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5549799)
I watched Cleveland-Chicago last night. Love couldn't buy a bucket and struggled with Robin Lopez's size and strength, though he was good on the boards as always. If Wade took an uncontested shot, I can't recall it. Lebron and Wade both were way off in their passing, leading to a number of turnovers and runouts. Rose fell asleep on D. They made Chicago look pretty good.
   3. jmurph Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5549806)
I watched Cleveland-Chicago last night. Love couldn't buy a bucket and struggled with Robin Lopez's size and strength, though he was good on the boards as always. If Wade took an uncontested shot, I can't recall it. Lebron and Wade both were way off in their passing, leading to a number of turnovers and runouts. Rose fell asleep on D. They made Chicago look pretty good.

I said something about this in the previous thread, but they seem to be planning to rely on a number of bad players in their rotation. LeBron is going to have to do a lot every night for them to succeed, which doesn't seem like the best plan to keep the guy fresh.
   4. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:49 AM (#5549811)
Apparently the Pistons don't match up well with the Warriors. Who knew?
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 11, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5549840)
I'm thinking about getting League Pass for the first time. Can anyone tell me if they discount it later in the season, like MLBTV does?
   6. jmurph Posted: October 11, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5549853)
I'm thinking about getting League Pass for the first time. Can anyone tell me if they discount it later in the season, like MLBTV does?

I think it's a while before it goes down, like almost the halfway point?
   7. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 11, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5549936)
I was pretty optimistic about the Lakers winning 35 games, but after watching Ingram be terrible yet again, I'm going the other way. His offensive game doesn't seem to have developed at all.
   8. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 11, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5549942)
I paid for League Pass a couple years ago and was sorely disappointed. Not so much with the blackouts; I can deal with those. But the service just sucked. Constant skipping and stuttering and wildly varying video quality. I ended up switching to a pirating service last year and it is FAR better quality than the real product. Which is sad. I have no objection to paying $200+ for the service, but for that much money it damn well had better work. And from what I heard from the few people I know who had League Pass last year, it didn't improve.
   9. jmurph Posted: October 11, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5549950)
I stream League Pass (through a Fire Stick, on my iphone, sometimes on my macbook), and so far the various apps seem to be working a lot better than last year. Who knows if that will last.
   10. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 11, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5549979)
League Pass was terrible watching games on replay last year.
   11. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5549982)
croatian. larry. bird.

Embiid’s supporting cast this season is drastically improved, with two no. 1 picks—Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz—joining podcaster J.J. Redick to form one of the more beguiling rosters in the league. Philadelphia has three legit generational talents on one roster. How do you defend this team? How do you not love them already?

Simmons has Jason Kidd’s vision and Tracy McGrady’s body; Fultz is James Harden 2.0; Redick and fellow veteran new arrival Amir Johnson will teach the kids how to be in the NBA; role players like Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and T.J. McConnell, all worshipped by fans, can finally settle into actual roles (Croatian Larry Bird, 3-and-D wing, and solid backup point guard, respectively). There are interesting little subplots all over this team—Furkan Korkmaz has been filling it up in the preseason, Justin Anderson is a useful rotation guard, any team would like a guy like Richaun Holmes coming off the bench. They play fast (fifth in the league in pace, last season), and they play fun, and their rabid fan base has walked through the desert with them for more moments like this.

   12. jmurph Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:00 PM (#5549988)
Markelle ####### Fultz is now a "generational talent?" Holy ####.
   13. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5550026)
Staying healthy is a talent, so I guess so far Embiid is a generational talent. And ... yeah ... Fultz? Really? And of course Simmons has the tools, but can we wait to see it in action for more than ten minutes?

It may be preseason, but some posters are clearly in mid-season form already. :)
   14. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5550033)
If you don't want to click through, the gimmick is a best case/worse case preview. That's the "best case scenario" for the Sixers, the worst case is fairly obvious.
   15. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:31 PM (#5550036)
To be fair, that's the Best Case Scenario section of that article. But, by definition, there can't be 3 generational talents at one time.
   16. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:31 PM (#5550037)
I mean even under "best case" three generational talents on the same team that are within a few years of each other is by definition impossible, right?
   17. stevegamer Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:47 PM (#5550054)
I mean even under "best case" three generational talents on the same team that are within a few years of each other is by definition impossible, right?


Nope. Let's say Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and (insert preferred baseball generations talent here) all ended up on the Birmingham barons at the same time, that could be very possible. Now, they may not all be generational baseball talents, but still generational talents.
   18. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5550063)
Thanks for the League Pass comments. I have a Fire Stick so I may give it a shot.
   19. jmurph Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5550064)
Describing someone's "talent" as best case/worst case is still a weird frame.
   20. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 11, 2017 at 02:57 PM (#5550068)
If you don't want to click through


Wait a minute I have to click through to comment? What on Earth is the world coming to??? ;)
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5550171)
I said something about this in the previous thread, but they seem to be planning to rely on a number of bad players in their rotation.


This is one of the flaws with GM LeBron's "The team must have at least 5 players past their prime who make 8-figure salaries" principle.
   22. TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History Posted: October 11, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5550193)
I bought League Pass last year, watching on an Apple TV, and it worked great, but it's going to be highly network dependent. One thing that made the experience much better was my use of unblock-us, so I got to watch the Barneys and Wolves when they were blacked out locally. Too, there were no ads or studio banter; during breaks in play, you just got to listen to the arena feeds. It was very soothing, actually.
   23. MHS Posted: October 11, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5550232)
Yabusele is terrible. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off. It appears he has no concept of positioning or spacing. I would be stunned if Theiss wasn’ ahead of him in the rotation ahead even from day 1. Theiss to me looks like a legit NBA player.

As to the over under,I’d take the under... BIG. They have too much youth getting too many minutes and too much roster turn over to expect 50 wins. I think things will be a bit ugly early but improve as the season goes on.

Depending on how the season plays out, injuries, player development and cohesiveness I see a clear path to the finals.

I think last year they were road locked by Cleveland. Maybe they are this year too but I see roads to victory. Last year I didn’t.
   24. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 11, 2017 at 06:56 PM (#5550434)
So Andrew Wiggins finally signed his max contract. Which contract, his or Embiid is going to be a bigger anchor? I think it is fairly close, but I give the nod to Embiid, because I just don't think the guy can stay healthy. Wiggins likely won't be worth it, but still.

Note: I think both contracts are gambles the teams should make, but man am I glad it is not my money (and sad I don't have that kind of money to throw around).
   25. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 11, 2017 at 07:25 PM (#5550494)
Well, if Wiggins never gets any better than he is now, his max contract will still be tradeable two or three years down the line; he'll still be young enough other teams can dream on him. The Wolves wouldn't get much of a haul back, but they would easily enough find someone to take the contract and toss them something back.

Whereas if Embiid's career is soon ended by injuries, the Sixers are stuck--but it's not fully guaranteed so they're not actually stuck with a max contract. Still, I think the downside risk is greater for the Sixers even after accounting for that.
   26. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5550620)
joel embiid: still pretty good.
   27. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5550622)
croatian larry bird: NBA range.
   28. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:42 PM (#5550632)
Whereas if Embiid's career is soon ended by injuries, the Sixers are stuck--but it's not fully guaranteed so they're not actually stuck with a max contract. Still, I think the downside risk is greater for the Sixers even after accounting for that.


True, but the upside reward, whew! It ain't my money, but roll the dice.
   29. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:44 PM (#5550634)
joel embiid: still pretty good.
16 FTAs in 10 minutes; ho/hum.
   30. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:59 PM (#5550655)
I know it's the Nets in pre-season, but I still think T. J. McConnell has a place in the NBA as Sparky McSpark-Spark off the bench. Sorry to go a 57i66135 on you all.
   31. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 09:31 PM (#5550695)
I know it's the Nets in pre-season, but I still think T. J. McConnell has a place in the NBA as Sparky McSpark-Spark off the bench. Sorry to go a 57i66135 on you all.
he plays hard, he doesn't turn the ball over, he doesn't take bad shots, he just doesn't make many mistakes, period.

if he improves his 3P shot, either off the catch or off the dribble, he'll be able to hang around the league for another 15 years.
   32. Sean Forman Posted: October 11, 2017 at 10:12 PM (#5550742)
I'm off the ledge.
   33. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:22 PM (#5550808)
the only embiid highlight you need to see.
   34. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:37 PM (#5550840)
i remember the name god shammgod, but i was so young when he played that for a while, i half-thought i made his name up. he's real. the internet is awesome.

here's a fun 11 minute video on his legacy. it's worth it.

God Shammgod is responsible for creating one of the most vicious crossover moves in NBA history.

What is "The Shammgod?" When was it first used? How do today's NBA players still use the move?

Watch the video above to find out.
   35. tshipman Posted: October 12, 2017 at 01:02 AM (#5550893)
There are six days left until the start of the NBA season.

Happily, there are six teams that people think of as contenders: Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, Boston, Cleveland, and Golden State.

I propose that we talk about each of these teams, one for each day.

I will try to do a write up for each team, and of course, I encourage other people to do the same.

I propose that we follow the Vegas line order, just as a quasi objective resource.

OKLAHOMA CITY


Outgoing: Enes Kanter, Ersan Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo, Joffrey Lauvergne, Domantas Sabonis, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, Cameron Payne
Incoming: Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Patterson plus some slop

What is this team good at?

That's a good question, to be honest. I don't have an answer, but I have three questions. Their best five players look like: Westbrook/Roberson/George/Carmelo/Adams. Last year they were 16th on offense and 10th on defense. They were bad at a lot of things on offense: 24th in eFG%, and 19th in Turnovers. But they were first in ORB% and 10th in FT/FGA. On defense, the strength was rebounding as well--3rd in DRB%, about average in EFG% and TOV%, and bad at FT/FGA.

Last year they loved transition. They got rebounds (3rd in DRB%), got out on the break (16% of their possessions on offense), but couldn't close the deal (1.08 PPP/transition, 21st in the league). Let's talk about the last part of that first. You have to imagine that the goal remains to be a good defensive rebounding team, continue to get on the break, but do a better job of finishing. Paul George averaged 1.12 PPP in transition, so that makes sense. Carmelo was ... not as eager to run. He had just 1.8 transition possessions per game, and only scored .92 points per possession. A big question for how effective they can be on the break will be how willing Carmelo will be to run. George is a willing rim runner. Will Carmelo be? The Knicks have consistently been 26th or worse in pace during his tenure.

Let's talk about defensive rebounding. The Thunder had an identity: Adams and Kanter beat people up on the boards, right? Actually, not so much. Adams was amazing: a 79.9% dREB rate, and the team was 1.9% better when he was on the court than when he was off of it. Kanter was the other way around. OKC was better on the defensive glass when he was out of the game. Oladipo had better on/off numbers than Kanter did, actually. Carmelo was neutral for the Knicks last year, and in 2012-2013 (the infamous Melo as PF year), he was actually a positive--with a 1% higher DRB rate when he was on court than off it. I think the right question about the Thunder's rebounding is ... will they be better than they were last year?

The Thunder were pretty good at getting to the FT line last year: .220 FT/FGA. They lost Kanter, who was above that line, but also jettisoned Oladipo, who was below it. Paul George and Carmelo have been great at this--with Free Throw rates above 30% for their career. There's a big "But" coming. Last year they both posted below average numbers for their career. Carmelo came in at 26%, and George was at 28%. To be sure, they should still add FT attempts, even if they trend down. FTA have a virtuous feedback cycle, and the Thunder are replacing Kanter and Oladipo, who combined for 439 FTA last year, with two guys who combined for 739 last year. Will the Thunder lead the league in FTA, or at least be in the top 5?

Overall: the Thunder want to be a team that gets out on the break. To do that, you need to rebound, and get Carmelo on board. They should also be great at drawing FTs. On defense, they should remain a good rebounding team, and probably remain average to below average at everything else. In the half court, look for them to de-emphasize offensive rebounding, and get better at shooting.

What is this team bad at?

The Thunder were an awful shooting team. They took an average number of 3 pointers, but were the worst in the league at shooting it. They took the 4th most free throws, but were 26th in percentage. Westbrook led the team in attempts at 7.2 attempts per game, but only made 34%. Andre Roberson was 4th in attempts, and shot an unbelievable 24.5%. Clearly, with their offseason, the Thunder hope to improve this. Paul George hit 195 threes at a 39% clip and Melo was good for 151 three pointers at a 36% rate. However, while Melo and George will help, the offense will still be unusually light on shooting. Roberson and Adams can't really hit from range, and Westbrook should take far, far fewer threes than he does. If you were to simply add Melo and George's 3pers attempted from last year, assume they hit at 40% combined, and remove Oladipo and Kanter's attempts, the Thunder would still only hit 35% of their threes next year. Last year, that would have been good for 20th in the NBA, and that's with the rosiest possible assumptions.

So yeah, I think it's fair to say that they'll still be a bad shooting team.

What else?

Well, you may or may not have heard, but the Thunder significantly overperformed their pythag last year. Their expected win/loss was only 43-39, but they finished 4 games better at 47-35. Their formula for closing games was Westbrook plus four defenders. Will they bench Melo down the stretch of games? Seems unlikely. So how will they approach the end of close games this year? I think the "alpha" stuff in the NBA is overrated, but this is something that they'll have to figure out. Generally, teams regress to their pythag, so the Thunder will have to fight that to keep getting better.

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 51.5
ESPN RPM: 49.5

So what do you think?


My best guess: 49 wins and the second round
   36. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:28 AM (#5550974)
Great writeup, tshipman! Some good stuff in there that I didn't know before (like that Melo doesn't run in transition, and that rebounding is an important question for them).

I'm inclined to be bearish on OKC.

1) Everyone speaks as though they now have three stars. They have two stars, and an above average player who thinks he's a superstar and also plays the same position as one of their actual stars. In theory Melo should be a fantastic third banana on this team, stretching defenses and knocking down open shots that Westbrook and George create for him. In practice he's going to take too many shots that Westbrook and George should be taking. (I actually think this team may be better if they staggered minutes so that Melo plays whenever Westbrook and George sit; they don't really have a better offensive strategy for their bench than 'toss Melo the ball and let him chuck.')

2) No one else on this team can shoot. It was a problem last year, it will be a problem this year.

3) This team is very top heavy, the bench still looks very weak and that will cost them some games in the Western Conference.

4) They should at least be better on defense this year, right?

5) When you're making an over/under bet you have to properly factor in the possibility that one of the stars gets hurt and misses significant time. Westbrook and George have both been durable throughout their careers so it's not a huge risk. But I would bet slightly under on 51.5 wins for OKC even assuming full health from both of them. If either of them misses 15 games, forget it. So this is an easy under for me, and I honestly don't think they're contenders (i.e., rounded to the nearest integer their probability of winning the title this year is 0%, IMO.)
   37. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 12, 2017 at 10:14 AM (#5551007)
LeBron might not play opening night. Boooo! I want my Kyrie driving the lane with LeBron closing in as the help defender moment! Ah well. If LeBron is in street clothes, I wonder if he'll wear his Yankees hat.

   38. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5551024)
Great idea, tship, and nice write-up. I feel like I need to sort out my predicted standings first, so I'll do that today (not that anyone else should feel required to do that!).

The main thing I keep kicking around about OKC is Paul George: there is a gap between his reputation among smart people in NBA circles (Zach Lowe being a prominent example of a guy who has George as, I think, a top 10-15 player) and smart people here, and I'm not totally sure whose side I'm on. So, not to oversimplify it, but I think their ceiling turns on who he is on that team.
   39. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5551107)
[35]: great writeup
The main thing I keep kicking around about OKC is Paul George: there is a gap between his reputation among smart people in NBA circles (Zach Lowe being a prominent example of a guy who has George as, I think, a top 10-15 player) and smart people here, and I'm not totally sure whose side I'm on. So, not to oversimplify it, but I think their ceiling turns on who he is on that team.
his offense never grew and his defense took a huge step back after his injury.
Happily, there are six teams that people think of as contenders: Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, Boston, Cleveland, and Golden State.
MIN should be in there, too. butler is a legit top 10 player; teague is still really good; and if towns, wiggins or their defense takes a step forward, they will be the 2 seed in the west.
   40. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5551134)
MIN should be in there, too. butler is a legit top 10 player; teague is still really good; and if towns, wiggins or their defense takes a step forward, they will be the 2 seed in the west.

I think we're going to have the most variance with the Wolves when we all do predictions. I'm not 100% sure they're even a playoff favorite.
   41. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5551145)

OKC is a top-heavy team for sure, but hopefully they will be able to stagger their guys, regardless of who's starting. I would love to see Adams get to a double-double average--feels like he can go beyond last year's 11 and 8.

What are the opinions on Donovan? To me he seems like a guy who has come up to speed pretty quickly as an NBA coach.

Big picture, I will be surprised if they get out of the second round.

   42. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5551154)
SB Nation preview/write-up of OKC. My favorite part:

“We feel really good about the momentum that’s been created,” Presti said at the Thunder’s exit interviews last May. “We’re trying to do something here that I don’t think there’s a ton of examples of in the NBA.”

And then he blindsided the league twice to trade expendable parts for George and Anthony.

“As an idiot, I’m impressed,” center Steven Adams told me.
   43. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5551157)
I don't think synergy is the problem with OKC. Melo and George know it's Westbrook's team, Olympic Melo is a fine player, I'm not worried about him Melopolizing the offense. Also, Melo leading the offense when Westbrook sits is a big upgrade from last year's junior high dance party where everyone stood around awkwardly with no idea what to do (with the consequence that Westbrook couldn't really sit).

I am down relative to consensus on George and Melo as individual players, but if Donovan can figure out some basic sets to run with these people (which he couldn't do as easily last year with Westbrook and the island of misfit toys, so I'm not holding that too much against him), then I think they can coexist just fine.
   44. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5551160)
Which team(s) is Minnesota definitely better than:

Portland
Clippers
Utah
Denver
   45. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5551168)
I am down relative to consensus on George and Melo as individual players, but if Donovan can figure out some basic sets to run with these people (which he couldn't do as easily last year with Westbrook and the island of misfit toys, so I'm not holding that too much against him), then I think they can coexist just fine.

They didn't run many sets when he had Durant and Westbrook, either.
   46. yo la tengo Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5551170)
On Donovan, Carmelo, and staggering time. Any chance Carmelo is talked into being the big dog on the second unit - in addition to being a starting player? Would that even work?
   47. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5551173)
They didn't run many sets when he had Durant and Westbrook, either.

I think we have to conclude at this point that Westbrook (and pre-Warriors Durant, to be fair) just doesn't want to play that way.
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5551175)
Which team(s) is Minnesota definitely better than:

Portland
Clippers
Utah
Denver


Regular season Thibs with talent and pedal to the metal: all 4 of them.

Only one that I think might be better is LAC, but that's a big question mark. I don't see any of the other 3 being better in almost any circumstance.
   49. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5551177)
They didn't run many sets when he had Durant and Westbrook, either.


Rookie coach with two superstars who don't necessarily get along super well, one of whom is in a contract year? Seems like a high degree of difficulty for a coach. I think the jury is still kind of out on Donovan.
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5551182)
Memphis Grizzlies‏ @memgrizz 54m54 minutes ago

"We are proud that @aa000G9's #9 jersey will hang in the rafters of @FedExForum alongside Zach’s one day.”
http://on.nba.com/2xB5yWx
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5551184)
Rookie coach with two superstars who don't necessarily get along super well, one of whom is in a contract year? Seems like a high degree of difficulty for a coach. I think the jury is still kind of out on Donovan.

I kind of like the Thunder, but this is my biggest question. A greater coach, or maybe even just a more creative one, would probably be able to do one of those greater than the sum of the parts things; I don't know that Donovan is that coach (tbf, he could be, but I don't think it's likely).
   52. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5551185)
Don't have the numbers in front of me, but subjectively, Carmelo killed teams shooting off the dribble/catch from 3 as the trailer in transition. If Westbrook pushes and George fills the lane he can still excel in that role, especially if he's matched up against a 4 in the regular season who may forget he needs to play him out there.
   53. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:17 PM (#5551191)

Only one that I think might be better is LAC, but that's a big question mark. I don't see any of the other 3 being better in almost any circumstance.


LAC is going to be fascinating to watch this year. Teodosic is super fun. Another game for Milos!
   54. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5551196)
Which team(s) is Minnesota definitely better than:

Portland
Clippers
Utah
Denver


I'm not feeling the love on Denver, although Millsap is obviously a great addition. Who is running their offense and protecting the rim? Or guarding point guards for that matter?

I would probably slot Minnesota over Utah as well, especially for the regular season.
   55. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5551197)
Regular season Thibs with talent and pedal to the metal: all 4 of them.

Only one that I think might be better is LAC, but that's a big question mark. I don't see any of the other 3 being better in almost any circumstance.

Interesting! I think I have Denver above Minnesota, too, and maybe Portland. I continue to really dislike nearly all of their offseason moves, except the Butler trade.

The Clippers- I can't decide how I feel about them. Health will obviously be a huge variable for them, but also, is DeAndre/Blake/Gallinari really going to be a thing that works?
   56. TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5551198)
Which team(s) is Minnesota definitely better than:

Portland
Clippers
Utah
Denver

I can see the argument for all four, but also for none of them, because I Have My Suspicions about Thibs.
   57. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5551205)
I'm not feeling the love on Denver, although Millsap is obviously a great addition. Who is running their offense and protecting the rim? Or guarding point guards for that matter?

They were pretty good last year, just missing the playoffs, and were 31-26 (edited; 29-22 in the games he actually played after the lineup change) after they reinserted Jokic into the starting lineup and started featuring him more. And they added Millsap, as you note. I don't think they'll be great or anything, but they seem like a pretty safe bet for that 5-8 group.

My larger point with that question was that I don't see a ton of separation among Minnesota, Denver, Portland, Utah, and the Clippers. I have Utah as the odd team out at this point, but it wouldn't shock me if they somehow beat out one of those teams.
   58. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:34 PM (#5551213)
An excerpt from Jack McCallum's new book

It looks like it's going to be about Jerry West's Lakers and about the current Warriors with West, obviously, serving as the nexus. I won't complain about the Warriors' success, but man, Joe Lacob is such a douche. I only take solace in the fact that all the guys who own NBA teams are douches. Jeannie Buss actually seems all right and I suppose there might be one or two more depending on how charming you think Mark Cuban's act is or if you like Jordan, but mostly it's a collection of douches.
   59. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:37 PM (#5551215)
Well, the odd team out is going to be whichever team is hardest hit by injuries.

So yeah, Utah is the most likely.

Because injuries happen, as much as they suck, here's a wacky prediction for this year: one of {Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, Sacramento, Lakers} makes the playoffs. I wonder what kind of odds I could get on such a bet?
   60. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5551227)
Well, the odd team out is going to be whichever team is hardest hit by injuries.

So yeah, Utah is the most likely.

I don't know, the Clippers employ both Blake and Gallinari.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5551272)
K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop

Fred Hoiberg said Zach LaVine has been cleared for “unpredictable movements” but not contact. Same timeline (late Nov./early Dec.)
11:10 AM - 12 Oct 2017


Never heard it phrased like that before.
   62. aberg Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5551442)
Fred Hoiberg said Zach LaVine has been cleared for “unpredictable movements” but not contact. Same timeline (late Nov./early Dec.)


Unfortunately, my genetics did not clear me for "unpredictable movements."
   63. JJ1986 Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:38 PM (#5551445)
I've got Memphis in. I like them more than Utah or New Orleans and about the same as Portland and the Clippers.
   64. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:48 PM (#5551459)
I officially have zero clue (other than GSW will win another title - yawn). Below GSW I can make a case for a variety of different outcomes.
   65. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5551462)
I continue to really dislike nearly all of their offseason moves, except the Butler trade.

Their deep bench is terrible, with Crawford and Shabazz particularly cringe-inducing as the backup wings, but the Butler trade makes up for a lot of shortcomings on the back end of the roster. Every other starter* might be better than the 2nd best player on last year's exceptionally-average Bulls, so I'd expect the Wolves to have a top-5 starting lineup as long as Wiggins and Towns can defend at least somewhat adequately this year.

On a related topic, I'll probably watch the Wolves more than any other team this season. The Bulls are arguably both the worst and the least interesting team in the league from a dispassionate point of view, and I doubt I'm enough of a masochist to subject myself to watching them for long stretches at a time. Between Thibs, Jimmy Butler, Taj, shadow Bull Gorgui Dieng [I'll never understand why the Bulls didn't draft him], Aaron Brooks, Jamal Crawford, and Marquis Teague's brother, rooting for the Wolves should feel like rooting for the Bulls anyway.

*I'm counting Dieng as the starter here, even though Taj may well get the honor and play just as many minutes. Either way it doesn't make a big difference.

I mean even under "best case" three generational talents on the same team that are within a few years of each other is by definition impossible, right?

Nope. Let's say Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and . . .

Am I the only one who remembers that this actually happened??? Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky teamed up in the early 90s and were treated like heroes.
   66. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:26 PM (#5551506)
Alright I'm going to jump in with predictions and random thoughts on a few teams:

East:
1. Toronto - One last hurrah before they get very old.
2. Boston - This is mostly a "not Cleveland" pick. I think they'll be fine, but the depth is soooo young. 50 wins.
3. Cleveland - Horrible defense. Bad bench. Bad guards. But LeBron is pretty good. Wade or Love off the bench makes sense but I don't think they'd ever do it.
4. Washington - If Beal stays healthy again I think they could climb a spot, but I'm skeptical where else they can find improvement.
5. Charlotte
6. Miami - Roughly everyone on this team is individually overrated, but they are deep in competent NBA players.
7. Milwaukee
8. Philadelphia - I figure Embiid will play 55-60 games once in his career, so why not this year? This is more about the dreck below them.
9. Detroit - I have nothing to say about any of the teams from here on down in the east.
10. Indiana
11. Orlando
12. Brooklyn
13. New York
14. Atlanta
15. Chicago - I only came up with 14 teams, took me two minutes to figure out who was missing. It was Chicago. I have nothing else to add.

West:
1. Golden State - 66 wins.
2. Houston - I'm mildly skeptical of the Paul/Harden pairing, but the team is just solid throughout, so I think they'll be fine.
3. San Antonio - I don't believe they'll be this good but I'm too much of a coward to pick them below 3rd.
4. OKC
5. Portland - As discussed above, I think 5-9 will be really close, separated by just a few games.
6. LAC
7. Denver
8. Minnesota - Bad bench. Still not enough shooting. Wiggins/Butler don't really complement each other. Taj looks toasty. But Butler. And I think Towns will be great this year.
9. Utah - Overly simplistic question, but where do the points come from?
10. New Orleans - The roster continues to make no sense. First coach fired?
11. Dallas
12. Sacramento - Upside of being in the battle for the 8 spot.
13. LAL
14. Memphis
15. Phoenix - This to me is the least covered disaster in the league. What are they doing? 7 straight seasons out of the playoffs, and they obviously won't get there this year.

Cleveland over Washington
Golden State over Houston

Golden State over Cleveland (I would take the field against these two meeting again, but they are the two individual teams most likely to make it.)

MVP: LeBron
COY: Pop
ROY: Simmons
   67. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:54 PM (#5551539)
Ugh, my comments in my predictions were overwhelmingly negative. I'm actually very excited about the year! Random non-Celtics things I'm most looking forward to:

- Towns!
- Seeing how much Denver can improve.
- Watching Utah against good offensive teams, especially Golden State and Houston.
- A (hopefully) healthy Isaiah Thomas going on a vengeance tour in the 2nd half.
- Portland's backcourt
- Lonzo and Simmons
- The Warriors- still not boring.
- I'll mostly be rooting against them, but OKC should be interesting.
   68. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:55 PM (#5551540)
Well, the odd team out is going to be whichever team is hardest hit by injuries.

So yeah, Utah is the most likely.


Utah does have a new training staff, so hopefully it helps. But even in best case scenario I don't see how they score enough to be better than the Wolves.

I am irrationally high on Donovan Mitchell's potential though. Even knowing he's a two-foot jumper and short if he's not a PG, I think he could be an all star.
   69. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 12, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5551592)
jmurph, my only quibble with your picks is that if Toronto gets the top seed in the East, Casey will get Coach of the Year.

When it comes to which games I choose to watch, my top five teams for preference, assuming health, will be:

1. Milwaukee
2. Minnesota
3. OKC (but I'll probably only watch them on next-day replays and skip any minutes Westbrook sits)
4. San Antonio
5. Boston

Philly might actually crack the top five for as long as Embiid lasts, but in his particular case I don't think you can reasonably assume health.

Denver, Portland and Washington are also teams I'll enjoy watching. Is it weird that I'm not that interesting in watching the Warriors? I'll only watch them when they're playing another elite team. Otherwise they'll just be either blowing everyone out or autopiloting the first 43 minutes and then putting a pesky opponent away, which just isn't that interesting.

I love watching Chris Paul play, and absolutely detest watching James Harden play. So Houston's an ehhh for me, vastly improved over the past few years when I would avoid them like the plague.
   70. aberg Posted: October 12, 2017 at 06:47 PM (#5551599)
Is it weird that I'm not that interesting in watching the Warriors?


The Warriors are fun to watch in the same way that the Dunk Contest is fun to watch. You can be amazed at the "whoa he did that!" element of the exhibition, but competitive element is usually secondary.
   71. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 12, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5551608)
Oh, and another tip I've picked up over the past couple years for League Pass watching: when deciding which game to watch, check who played yesterday and who didn't. Games in which either team is on the back end of a back-to-back are invariably lower quality.
   72. zenbitz Posted: October 12, 2017 at 07:57 PM (#5551635)
The joke in SF is who will have more losses this year? The Warriors or the 49ers?
   73. KronicFatigue Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:05 PM (#5551837)
The Warriors are fun to watch in the same way that the Dunk Contest is fun to watch. You can be amazed at the "whoa he did that!" element of the exhibition, but competitive element is usually secondary.


What's a crazier thing to watch live, the dunk contest or the home run derby? Back before the internet, I remember the dunk contest as 20% setting up a dunk, 10% missing dunks, 60% of old retired guys holding up 10's and falling over themselsves and 10% of the dunks. The Home Run derby, best I can tell, is a bunch of home runs. Now I just get the highlights after the fact for both.

3 point contests are cool b/c at least you see the rythem of makes and misses. And taking so many shots in a row is a skill onto itself.

Back to the Warriors....how do they lose regular season games? I imagine it's some combination of 1) other team being crazy hot, 2) they being cold, 3) mental laziness 4) physically tired from too many games in short time. Is that the gist of it? Last year they took some time incorporating Durant, but this year, I just can't really wrap my head around them losing many games (even by Warriors standards). I feel like the last piece to their dynasty puzzle is to re-break the Bulls record, but win the title in that year.
   74. tshipman Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:45 AM (#5552961)
San Antonio Spurs

Outgoing: Dewayne Dedmon, David Lee, Jonathon Simmons, the last spark of youth
Incoming: Rudy Gay, Social Security checks, Joffrey Lauvergne (in order of likelihood to help the team win games)

What is this team good at?

Defense. Last year they were the top ranked defense over all, with elite marks put up on EFG% (2nd), DRB% (6th) and FT/FGA (6th). They even forced turnovers (9th). They were basically good at all of it. They forced their opponent into difficult 2p shots (2nd in 2p FG%), took away the 3, and closed out hard. They did that primarily on scheme--this is a team that started Pau Gasol for 39 games. San Antonio played two bigs, stayed at home on their man, and did a great job at closing out hard without fouling.

Up until game six of the Western Conference Semis, this was also a team that was excellent at having Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi was an unquesitoned star that broke out on both ends of the floor last year. The Spurs had a 10 point better oRTG with Kawhi on the floor than off it. Oddly, for a guy who made his rep as a defender, they were better with him off the court on defense, mostly due to opponent 3p shooting, but also due to the Spurs generating a lot more turnovers.

Finally, this team is elite at shot selection. The Spurs were 10th in eFG%, but were first in 3p%. Why? Take a look at how many of their threes were from the corner. Guys like Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson got 70% of their limited attempts from the corner, but even the volume guys got their volume from the corners. Patty Mills was second on the team in 3pers attempted--28% were from the corner. Danny Green had 32% from the corner. Overall, the team took 27% of its 3pers from the corner and hit 43% of those shots. That percentage led the league.

What is this team bad at?

Well, you can nitpick at some stuff. The Spurs are not really great at anything on offense. They're kind of middle of the pack at turnover percentage and offensive rebound percentage. They don't really get out on the break, mostly due to all the tall and old guys. They don't draw FTs. Probably the main thing you can ding them for is that they're driven by a system, which means that they're a litle more vulnerable in the playoffs.

When teams have some time to prepare, the Spurs don't have the same success on defense. The team's offense was very consistent from the regular season to the playoffs. They fell off a bit on the 3p shooting, but it was on the same looks. They just went from hitting 43% of corner 3s to 38%. That's probably random. More concerning was that the defensive scheme that worked great in the regular season ... didn't work well in the playoffs. They went from second in eFG% in the regular season to 12th in the playoffs. Their rebounding, turnovers and fouls stayed the same, but their opponents got more threes (33 per game, up 10 from the regular season) and made more of them (38%, up from 34% in the regular season). Is that random noise, oppoents, or were they getting broken down more often?

What else?

Hey, have you heard that these guys are old? 7 guys on their 15 man roster were born before 1990. The Spurs are a very deep team, but even that depth has cracks. The offense cratered without Kawhi on the court. Most notably, they turned the ball over a ton when Kawhi wasn't playing. There just wasn't a secondary ball handler, and the two bigs floundered without someone to get them the ball. If Kawhi is out for an extended period of time, can they keep their head above ground?

Tony Parker's injury also reveals an interesting dynamic. Last year, Patty Mills played the plurality of the point guard minutes, and the team was notably better when Mills was leading the team than when Parker was there. Will Mills continue to play well when tasked with going against the opposing starter?

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 53.5
ESPN RPM: 52.6

So what do you think?

Well, it's hard to say given the Kawhi injury. If Kawhi misses a significant chunk of the season (30 games or more) then they'll struggle to get to 45. If he's there for almost the whole year, I'll put them at 52.

   75. jmurph Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5553019)
Zach Lowe's annual crazy predictions column is up, and is great as always. He throws out a couple of random, fun trade ideas:

DeAndre to the Wiz
Cousins for Whiteside
Bledsoe to Denver for Mudiay, Hernangomez, etc.
   76. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5553026)
Great writeup again, tship. I just don't have anything to add. Gregg Popovich is a wizard, what else can you say?

I forgot Mudiay was still around, honestly. What a disaster.
   77. smileyy Posted: October 13, 2017 at 12:52 PM (#5553169)
I was about to ask if Mudiay brings anything to the table for anyone. Is he even a cromulent backup PG? He's still only 21.
   78. Harlond Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5553233)
I watched some of the Clippers-Kings game last night, mainly to see Teodosic. He can pass alright. He had 6 assists in 23-some minutes, but DeAndre had two lobs that he wasn't able to finish. Defensively, Teodosic appears genuinely surprised every time his man changes directions. He's pretty good at jumping the passing lanes on the weakside.
   79. aberg Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:47 PM (#5553281)
Here's a question- which team is more likely to go over their Vegas total, Utah 39.5 or Denver 43.5?

I think I'm slightly more confident in Denver. Millsap helps cover Jokic's defensive flaws. In turn, Jokic helps with the playmaking that Murray and Harris don't have at an elite level. Both guards and Chandler can shoot enough to give adequate spacing for Jokic to operate. I like Barton and Lyles as rotation players off of the bench who maintain some flexibility. They have a bunch of players who do more than one thing well, which is something I always like because it helps protect against slumps or injuries. Mike Malone is a really good coach and they always have the altitude in their favor at home.

Utah should be so good defensively that it seems like it would be hard to be under .500. They're good defensively at every level. The question I have about them is spacing at the end of games. They will be so low scoring that lots of games will be close. With Rubio running the offense, the Wolves were always bad in close games because defenses can shrink the court late in games. I fear that Utah might meet the same fate. They're very dependent on Hood taking another step forward. I'm also more comfortable with Denver's health given the last several years of injuries in Utah.

I guess my question is whether those doubts amount to a 4-game difference. Denver could finish with 43 wins to Utah's 40 and still get the lesser of that bet. What do you all think?
   80. jmurph Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5553286)
Here's a question- which team is more likely to go over their Vegas total, Utah 39.5 or Denver 43.5?

I think I'd have both slightly over, which isn't helpful to you! I have Denver in 7th, Utah in 9th, so probably .500 for Utah, and maybe 45-46 for Denver.
   81. aberg Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5553305)
their opponents got more threes (33 per game, up 10 from the regular season) and made more of them (38%, up from 34% in the regular season). Is that random noise, oppoents, or were they getting broken down more often?


Also, 10/16 postseason games were against GS and HOU, who are prolific 3Pt teams. I think that might have a lot to do with those stats.

I'd have them over 52 pretty comfortably. They're a 61 Win (60 Pythag) team that lost only role players. I don't know what to think of Gay, but at least he gives them some offensive flexibility. Lots of smart basketball people are optimistic about Murray and Bertans, which could help with some of the age-related decline.

You alluded to the fact that some of their old guys- Parker, Ginobili, Gasol- were showing signs of age last year. I agree, but if they already were eroding, do we expect them to erode to the tun of 8-1 more losses this year? I think they have enough depth that they won't have to lean as heavily on any of them if they become unplayable. Leonard is so good that I think a lineup of Mills-Green-Leonard-Gasol-Aldridge with Murray, Anderson, and Bertans in support is still in the neighborhood of 52 wins. Whatever they squeeze out of Parker and Ginobili is a bonus. I have them at 56 wins.
   82. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5553307)
how do you people expect UTA to replace the 39 PPG on 60% TS% that they lost when haywaeryd and hill bolted? for a team that relied so heavily on efficient execution at the league's slowest pace, UTA losing their two most effective scorers seems like a recipe for disaster.

   83. tshipman Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5553308)
Utah should be so good defensively that it seems like it would be hard to be under .500. They're good defensively at every level.


I don't think this is actually true. Utah is highly dependent on one player: Gobert. When Gobert was out of the game, they allowed a 110 opponent ORTG. That decline came exclusively from eFG%. Utah actually rebounded a slightly higher percentage with Gobert out. Utah's system is built around funneling opponents to the rim, but if Gobert is out, they really struggle on defense.
   84. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5553309)
Keith Van Horn‏ @Coach_Keith44 14h14 hours ago

1 time I snuck in the hallway just to watch how fast Majerus could eat 2 Crown Burgers in the coaches locker room. A minute thirty.
   85. aberg Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5553331)
Jason Caffey went from being a bench warmer for a Champion Bulls team to being a starter for a garbage Warriors team.

A generation later, Justin Holiday went from being a bench warmer for a Champion Warriors team to being a starter for a garbage Bulls team.

Justin Holliday is bizarro Jason Caffey!
   86. tshipman Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:20 PM (#5553334)
Also, 10/16 postseason games were against GS and HOU, who are prolific 3Pt teams. I think that might have a lot to do with those stats.


I mentioned opponents (although I misspelled it). They allowed more 3pers to the Grizzlies than they did during the regular season as well.

I'd have them over 52 pretty comfortably. They're a 61 Win (60 Pythag) team that lost only role players. I don't know what to think of Gay, but at least he gives them some offensive flexibility. Lots of smart basketball people are optimistic about Murray and Bertans, which could help with some of the age-related decline.


I think that those role players were a big part of their success last year. I didn't talk about this in the write up, but their top five 2 man pairings by differential last year were: Mills/Simmons; Mills/David Lee; Ginobili/Lee; Gasol/Green; and Dedmon/Leonard.

Only one of those pairings will be around next year. Maybe that doesn't matter, because Pop can mix and match so well. However, when I look at that, I see a team who was very dependent on role players, and role player performance levels vary dramatically from season to season. Last year the Spurs rolled all sixes. You have to expect that to not go as well.

Further, no one knows when Kawhi will be back. That team was bad offensively without Kawhi. They had huge problems with turnovers due to not having enough ball handlers on the court whenever Kawhi is out.

You alluded to the fact that some of their old guys- Parker, Ginobili, Gasol- were showing signs of age last year. I agree, but if they already were eroding, do we expect them to erode to the tun of 8-1 more losses this year? I think they have enough depth that they won't have to lean as heavily on any of them if they become unplayable. Leonard is so good that I think a lineup of Mills-Green-Leonard-Gasol-Aldridge with Murray, Anderson, and Bertans in support is still in the neighborhood of 52 wins. Whatever they squeeze out of Parker and Ginobili is a bonus. I have them at 56 wins.


I look at backup PG as a big issue for the Spurs. Until Parker gets back, they look to have turnover problems. They had a 15.6% turnover rate when Murray was in the game last year. That would have been 4th worst in the regular season last year. Mills has never played more than 22 minutes per game. Are you really going to stretch him out to 35 with Parker out?

I would agree with 56 with Kawhi ... but when is Kawhi back? He's been out the whole preseason. Is he back on game 1? No one's said anything. Given that, I hedged down.

(Would like to emphasize that I appreciate the dialogue and am not trying to be argumentative. I think you make fair points.)
   87. Booey Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5553343)
1 time I snuck in the hallway just to watch how fast Majerus could eat 2 Crown Burgers in the coaches locker room. A minute thirty.


Crown Burgers are huge and piled high with pastrami. Myfitnesspal lists them at almost 900 calories a piece (they've been featured on Travel Network's Man Vs. Food). I am equally impressed and disgusted by Majerus' feat.
   88. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5553367)
I wouldn't actually bet money on Utah either way, but I will say that I really like their acquisition of Ricky Rubio, I think he will make their offense better than we call think it will be (i.e., just kinda bad, rather than a disaster) and they'll be in the playoffs if their good players stay healthy. It's the health issue that makes me leery of them.

I don't actually love Denver because they're the exact opposite of Utah--Millsap is a much needed upgrade on Gallinari on defense, but but I can't see how they're going to stop good opponents from scoring as they please. I'd go over on 43.5 for Denver but I'd probably go under 45. They're going to be a very fun team to watch though.

e: Denver would be the 4 or 5 seed in the East and may or may not make the playoffs in the West.
   89. aberg Posted: October 13, 2017 at 04:32 PM (#5553405)
I would agree with 56 with Kawhi ... but when is Kawhi back? He's been out the whole preseason. Is he back on game 1? No one's said anything. Given that, I hedged down.


Yes, I agree with this statement. I have been pretty optimistic about his health just because I haven't heard anything about long-term issues and have therefore assumed it's more related to foregoing unnecessary mileage. Since the Spurs keep things under wraps, it's possible that he's much more hurt and they just haven't said it publicly.

FWIW, I didn't think anything came off as argumentative and I also enjoy the discussion.

I wouldn't actually bet money on Utah either way, but I will say that I really like their acquisition of Ricky Rubio, I think he will make their offense better than we call think it will be (i.e., just kinda bad, rather than a disaster) and they'll be in the playoffs if their good players stay healthy. It's the health issue that makes me leery of them.


My opinion on Rubio is that he creates baskets that wouldn't exist for any other PG, and takes away baskets that would exist for any other PG. I still think the cumulative effect is positive, but it creates real issues that lots of coaches in MN (including a couple of decent ones) were not able to gameplan around.
   90. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5553559)
how do you people expect UTA to replace the 39 PPG on 60% TS% that they lost when haywaeryd and hill bolted? for a team that relied so heavily on efficient execution at the league's slowest pace, UTA losing their two most effective scorers seems like a recipe for disaster.


They did add a great playmaker, but they will need Hood to stay healthy and take a step forward and Favors to stay healthy and regain his previous form. Favors lost quite a bit of weight to hopefully stay healthy, so maybe it will work out for him. I think if things go reasonably well they could slip to say 20th in offensive rating instead of closer to last.

Assuming decent health, they should be better defensively than last year, adding Rubio and Sefalosh and no longer playing Diaw or Lyles.

Crown Burgers are huge and piled high with pastrami. Myfitnesspal lists them at almost 900 calories a piece (they've been featured on Travel Network's Man Vs. Food). I am equally impressed and disgusted by Majerus' feat.


And so so worth it. I will be stopping at there or Astro/Apollo next time I'm in Utah for sure. That's also about the only place I actually like fry sauce too.

EDIT: 538 is very high on Jazz.

https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/918940691157438464

46 wins but still 8th in the West.
   91. aberg Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:53 PM (#5553569)
They did add a great playmaker, but they will need Hood to stay healthy and take a step forward and Favors to stay healthy and regain his previous form. Favors lost quite a bit of weight to hopefully stay healthy, so maybe it will work out for him. I think if things go reasonably well they could slip to say 20th in offensive rating instead of closer to last.


FWIW, I think a lineup of Rubio-Hood-Ingles-Favors-Gobert and a bench highlighted by Neto, Johnson, Burks, Mitchell, and Jerebko pretty easily gets to .500. What I'm less sure about is whether that assortment of players will be available for anything close to a full season. I would still take the over on them, but I'd be a lot more comfortable with it if their stars had a better health record.
   92. Booey Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5553571)
And so so worth it.


Totally. Though as much as I love the greasy, cheesy, pastrami fixed explosion of calories and deliciousness that is Crown Burger, the thought of pounding down two of them in a single sitting - let alone in a minute and a half - is just awe inspiring.
   93. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:04 PM (#5553579)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are preparing to ship forward Richard Jefferson and guard Kay Felder to the Atlanta Hawks, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania.

The Hawks will receive two future second-round picks and cash considerations in return, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who also reports that Atlanta intends to waive both Jefferson and Felder once they clear waivers.
As reported by NBA.com, I like this deal for the Hawks. Not sure about the Cavs end though :)
   94. tshipman Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:18 PM (#5553596)
EDIT: 538 is very high on Jazz.

https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/918940691157438464

46 wins but still 8th in the West.


538's projections are kind of junky, in my opinion.

Kevin Durant is projected for 25 minutes per game!
Russell Westbrook is a better defender than Mike Conley or Chris Paul!
Dirk and Jokic are plus defenders!
James Harden and Chris Paul will combine for 60 minutes per game at Point Guard!


They're heavily relying on BPM, and heavily regressing playing time assumptions. This leads to accuracy in a large sample, but distortions in the particular.
   95. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:55 PM (#5553609)
FWIW, I think a lineup of Rubio-Hood-Ingles-Favors-Gobert and a bench highlighted by Neto, Johnson, Burks, Mitchell, and Jerebko pretty easily gets to .500. What I'm less sure about is whether that assortment of players will be available for anything close to a full season. I would still take the over on them, but I'd be a lot more comfortable with it if their stars had a better health record.


Oh yeah, I would not bet any real money on them going over .500 for that reason, but I do have some optimism their health will be better than past years.
   96. MHS Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:08 PM (#5553734)
Amazing write ups tship. For the record I’m under on both the spurs and the OKC.

I don’t have a model, but intuitively I think OKC has a coaching issue and not enough ball to go around. Also, as mentioned their shooting just isn’t good enough and both Melo and George are dramatically overrated.

I also think Spurs frankly don’t have enough talent and are going to be outgunned too often. Pop is amazing but the team is on fumes.
   97. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:29 PM (#5553750)
Joel Embiid draws foul, tells heat Bench to get Whiteside out because he can’t guard me


as amazing as his physical potential is, as amazing as his skillset is, the most amazing thing about embiid is how he can do these things without being hated by the people he does them to.
   98. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 14, 2017 at 12:13 AM (#5553762)
I would suggest taking a look at Embiid's three tweets since the game too. Man I hope he can stay healthy because the league is a much better place with him dominating on the court and talking trash off it.
   99. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: October 14, 2017 at 12:50 AM (#5553766)
I'll join the chorus: these write-ups have been great.

When Kawhi gets back, the Spurs will have one of just ten players with more career steals than fouls. Jimmy Butler is the only other active player with that distinction:

Player               WS  STL   PF
Jason Kidd        138.6 2684 2572
Maurice Cheeks    103.5 2310 2258
Allen Iverson      99.0 1983 1777
Mookie Blaylock    71.8 2075 1687
Gus Williams       67.9 1638 1637
Kawhi Leonard      55.4  705  697
Jimmy Butler       49.3  583  567
Don Buse           34.9 1160  967
Ronnie Brewer      30.4  622  545
Lester Conner      28.6 1085 1036
Clinton Wheeler     1.1   63   63 


Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/13/2017.
   100. tshipman Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:41 AM (#5553777)
Thanks for the kind words, guys. Flipping the page for the next one.
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