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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 | 1410 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   101. tshipman Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:42 AM (#5553778)
Houston Rockets

Outgoing: Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverly, Corey Brewer, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Ryan Anderson, Tyler Ennis, Montrezl Harrell, Ryan Anderson
Incoming: Chris Paul, Tarik Black, PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute

What is this team good at?

AHNALYTICS, ERH-NEH.

Last year, the Rockets were number one in 3p and FT attempted. They were fifth in shots attempted at the basket, but second in converting there. They were second in offense overall, largely by excelling at those areas. In terms of Four Factors, they were 3rd in 3FG% and second in FT/FGA. Like a lot of analytically inclined teams, they didn't pay as much attention to ORB% (where they were 10th), or TOV% (where they were 24th). They actually led the league in the percentage of shots that were dunks, but at only 7.6% of shots, it was not all that significant a factor in their success.

In addition to this spreadsheet dream team, the Rockets added Chris Paul, one of the most divisive players of his generation. By the stats, CP3 is a top 5 player in the NBA, even now as he approaches his age 32 season. He led the Clippers to the fifth best offensive performance in the league last year, and did so in impressive fashion: his team was 11.5 points better on offense when he was in the game than when he was out. The Clippers put up an ORTG of 118.8 when he was on the court--all time NBA great status. Perhaps most impressively, the Rockets were able to obtain him for just one player who had a positive net rating last year: Pat Beverly.

Like any D'Antoni team, the Rockets looked to run. Despite being a below average rebounding team (21st in the league), they were second in the league in transition attempts at 18% of possessions. The Rockets also excelled at running plays out of the pick and roll. They were in the 93rd percentile for plays finished by the PnR ball handler and the roll man. They avoided post ups (just 2.1% of possessions) and favored ISO when they couldn't generate other looks, where they consistently generated quality looks thanks to the 7th highest FT rate out of ISO plays.

What is this team bad at?

Hey, have you heard that this team was coached by Mike D'Antoni?

The Rockets were just 18th overall on defense, and they generally didn't really have a lot to hang their hat on there. The best thing you could say about the Rockets on defense was that they didn't foul people. They had a lot of things you could point to--indifferent rebounding, giving up a ton of 3pers--but for me, the most concerning was in how they defended inside the arc. The Rockets allowed 29% of shots to come at the rim (15th) and gave up the worst percentage in the leage from that space (69%).

In the playoffs, however, the defense wasn't really the problem. It was the offense. They got to the rim, but couldn't finish. They were third in the playoffs at attempts from 0-3 ft, but they went from finishing 67% of their shots at the rim in the regular season to just 60% in the playoffs. Some of that was the length they faced in San Antonio, but some of it seemed to be them being more willing to go it alone. The Rockets went from 9.4% of their shots being taken in ISO situations in the regular season to 10.8% in the playoffs. Their points per possession declined significantly from 0.95 to 0.90. They got to the line less out of isolation and turned it over more.

The real issue however, was that teams were able to check the transition game in the playoffs. The Rockets went from getting 18% of their possessions in transition during the regular season to just 14% in the playoffs. Their points per possession also declined: from 1.08 to 0.98. In the playoffs, teams were able in large part to "figure out" the Rockets by just avoiding transition opportunities. Chris Paul avoided transition as part of his natural state: the former Lob City had just 12.4% of their possessions in transition for the regular season and just 9.3% in the playoffs. Will the Rockets be able to keep up the tempo in the playoffs next year, or will Paul's walk-it-up tendency exacerbate the defense's desire to keep things slow?

What else?

One interesting subplot is that the Rockets will always have a HOF caliber talent at PG. Both Chris Paul and James Harden had a dramatic impact on their team's offense when they sat. Now, barring injury, the Rockets never have to have a time when both players sit. This represents a beautiful opportunity for a natural study. Do HOF PGs still have the same impact even when playing with lesser teammates?

Finally, Houston was exceedingly fortunate last year with injuries. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson both played 70 games. To those injury questions, they are adding Chris Paul, who seems to always miss a few games. All of these guys are getting older, too.

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 54.5
ESPN RPM: 55
538: 57

So what do you think?

I think the Rockets have the highest upside of any team not named the Warriors. Vegas has them at 12/1 to win the title, which I think is low given that Cleveland is 7/2 and Boston is 8/1. It's interesting to see if CP will truly change who he's been as a player. I think the Rockets were lucky last year in health, and I look for that to change this year. I put them at a repeat of last year and 55 wins.


(Thanks to everyone for the discussion and kind words. I'm learning a lot about each of these teams when doing these write-ups. I hope some of this is new to people as well)
   102. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:43 AM (#5553779)
flip
   103. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:45 AM (#5553780)
One last thing on the Spurs, I know there is smoke about "a new LMA" after a come to Jesus talk with Pop, but... it's preseason but 12-19 from two, 0-2 from three, 2-2 from the line is basically the same LMA. It's really hard to be an effective offensive player without shooting threes or getting to the line, basically everything has to go right and even then what you get is 26 points on 22 possessions which is hardly game-changing.
   104. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:49 AM (#5553781)
I think the Rockets have the highest upside of any team not named the Warriors. Vegas has them at 12/1 to win the title, which I think is low given that Cleveland is 7/2 and Boston is 8/1. It's interesting to see if CP will truly change who he's been as a player. I think the Rockets were lucky last year in health, and I look for that to change this year. I put them at a repeat of last year and 55 wins.


This makes sense to me. The Rockets basically have to upset the Warriors and survive two coinflips (the Finals and in whichever top-four-in-the-West other series they play). If we assume Cleveland and Boston are the teams most likely to come out of the East, the odds of one of them winning are just beating the Warriors (so 4x as likely) which is basically what the odds say (plus some extra bonus of the W's getting upset earlier).
   105. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 14, 2017 at 03:56 AM (#5553785)
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.


Joel Embiid @JoelEmbiid
And keep caring about stats and not your team success..... your +/- was ass @youngwhiteside #Softy

Joel Embiid @JoelEmbiid
My bad y’all , I thought I was using my burner account #TheProcess

Rudy Gobert @rudygobert27
pic.twitter.com/2hUs24GkFI
   106. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 14, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5553798)
I assume the "a brand new LMA!" smoke was/is all about the Spurs' desire to trade him and everyone else's apathy about trading for him.

The real issue however, was that teams were able to check the transition game in the playoffs. The Rockets went from getting 18% of their possessions in transition during the regular season to just 14% in the playoffs. Their points per possession also declined: from 1.08 to 0.98. In the playoffs, teams were able in large part to "figure out" the Rockets by just avoiding transition opportunities. Chris Paul avoided transition as part of his natural state: the former Lob City had just 12.4% of their possessions in transition for the regular season and just 9.3% in the playoffs.


Two questions about this:

1) All of their games in the playoffs were against San Antonio and OKC. How effective were those teams at stymieing transition?

2) More generally, do teams tend to do worse in transition in the playoffs? That is, is there a notable tendency for scoring in transition to be a more effective tactic against bad teams? Is the Rockets' gap in this regard wider than most teams', or is relying on transition for a lot of your points a strategy that helps you win regular season games but hurts you in the playoffs?
   107. tshipman Posted: October 14, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5553815)
Two questions about this:

1) All of their games in the playoffs were against San Antonio and OKC. How effective were those teams at stymieing transition?


That's a chicken and an egg thing. OKC was good at not giving up transition in the regular season--12.8% of possessions. But they got better against Houston (10%).

The Spurs were middle of the pack--13.5%, but they gave up 16% in the playoffs.

For all that teams knew the key to stopping the Warriors was avoiding transition, the Warriors still improved their percentage of transition opportunities in the playoffs to 20%. So I think some of it was the teams they faced, and some of it was the Rockets not trying to get on the break hard enough.

2) More generally, do teams tend to do worse in transition in the playoffs? That is, is there a notable tendency for scoring in transition to be a more effective tactic against bad teams? Is the Rockets' gap in this regard wider than most teams', or is relying on transition for a lot of your points a strategy that helps you win regular season games but hurts you in the playoffs?


No, or at least not universally. The Warriors, for example, increased their transition rate. Maybe there's a slight tendency for a dropoff, but you can look and see for yourself here.
   108. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5553886)
do teams tend to do worse in transition in the playoffs?
TEAM                   GP |       FREQ           |
|------------------------+----+----------------------|
Golden State Warriors  17 20.3% | WWWWWWWWWWWW |
Golden State Warriors  82 18.5% | WWWWWWWWWW:  |
Houston Rockets        82 18.0% | WWWWWWWWWV   |
Washington Wizards     13 17.5% | WWWWWWWWW;   |
Cleveland Cavaliers    18 16.5% | WWWWWWWW;    |
Cleveland Cavaliers    82 16.3% | WWWWWWWW.    |
Oklahoma City Thunder  |  16.3% | WWWWWWWW.    |
Oklahoma City Thunder  82 16.3% | WWWWWWWW.    |
Washington Wizards     82 15.6% | WWWWWWWc     |
Toronto Raptors        10 14.9% | WWWWWWh      |
Milwaukee Bucks        82 14.9% | WWWWWWh      |
Atlanta Hawks          |  14.6% | WWWWWWc      |
Houston Rockets        11 13.9% | WWWWWV       |
Indiana Pacers         82 13.9% | WWWWWV       |
Indiana Pacers         |  13.8% | WWWWWh       |
Milwaukee Bucks        |  13.6% | WWWWW!       |
Toronto Raptors        82 13.4% | WWWWW;       |
Portland Trail Blazers |  13.4% | WWWWW;       |
Boston Celtics         18 13.4% | WWWWW;       |
Chicago Bulls          |  13.3% | WWWWW:       |
Boston Celtics         82 13.0% | WWWWH        |
Atlanta Hawks          82 12.9% | WWWWV        |
Chicago Bulls          82 12.8% | WWWWh        |
Los Angeles Clippers   82 12.4% | WWWW;        |
San Antonio Spurs      16 12.0% | WWWH         |
San Antonio Spurs      82 12.0% | WWWH         |
Portland Trail Blazers 82 11.5% | WWWc         |
Memphis Grizzlies      |  11.5% | WWWc         |
Memphis Grizzlies      82 10.6% | WW!          |
Los Angeles Clippers   |  |  9.3% | W;           |
Utah Jazz              82 |  9.0% | W            |
Utah Jazz              11 |  8.9% | H            


In retrospect, I should have kept points/possession in the table along with frequency, but I'm too lazy to go back and redo it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Transition frequency tended to stay pretty similar for most playoff teams. The Rockets seem to have the biggest delta in either direction. The Warriors are ridiculous.
   109. tshipman Posted: October 15, 2017 at 01:12 AM (#5554288)
Boston Celtics

Outgoing: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson and Avery Bradley
Incoming: Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes

What is this team good at?

Uh, good question. This is possibly the team with the most roster turnover in the association. Everything I'm writing here is projection, speculation and uncertain. One thing that everyone says about the Celtics is that they're well coached. It's impossible to really find "coaching" in the stats, so I'll start from the POV that the behaviors that the Celtics emphasized were by design, not a residue of personnel, and use that as a jumping off point.

I was surprised to learn that the Celtics were the best defense in the NBA against the Pick and Roll. In particular, they excelled against the roll man, allowing just 0.94 points per possession. They didn't switch, to avoid the roll, like the Rockets or the Warriors. They seemed to fight through it, playing them relatively honestly. It represents a different philosophy than a lot of the league, and from some of the top teams like the Warriors and the Cavs. However, it's been a durable approach--they were 6th in the league in 2015-2016. Look for the Celtics to have the same approach against the roller in 2017-2018--and the same success.

In 2017, the Celtics had the 8th ranked offense, and it was built on a broad foundation of success. The Celtics took the third most threes, resulting in a high eFG%, took an above average number of FTs, and avoided turnovers. When you look at the roster churn, the Celtics are dropping their top 3 three point shooters who accounted for 19 3s per game. The guys they're bringing in took 15.7 per game, or about 18% fewer. Will they pick up threes from existing roster guys, will the new guys bomb away with new aplomb, or will there be a drop off next year? It's hard to say.

What is this team bad at?

Well, they certainly didn't earn many Tommy Points on the defensive glass last year. They had the 27th ranked DRB% last year. There are some reasons for optimisim there. Their worst on/off rebounder was Isaiah Thomas last year, with a differential of nearly 5%. While Kyrie had a bad rebound rate, IT had an awful one. Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris were slight negatives as a rebounder, but on much better rebounding teams. Maybe they bring some of that with them to Boston. Aron Baynes and Amir Johnson look to be roughly equivalent. Perhaps the most promising news for the defensive glass is that Avery Bradley will not be in Boston. The Celtics had a truly abysmal 73.1 DRB% when he was on the court last year. Maybe addition by subtraction will solve the issue.

Perhaps you could also point to a hidden weakness from last year. The Celtics had the second best three point percentage allowed. However, we know that this is mostly random variation. They allowed an average number of three pointers, and opponents shot a below average percentage, both at the corners and above the break. If variance swings back the other way, look for a decline. Kyrie Irving has also historically struggled to stay with his man on screens, particularly in the regular season, so if opposing teams shoot a higher percentage against the Celtics, look to regression as the primary culprit, with personnel second.

What else?

The Celtics ran the third fewest Isolation plays in the regular season at just 5% of plays. Kyrie, by contrast, iso'd on 21% of his possessions at a ridiculous efficiency--1.12 points per possession. Who wins that tug of war?

Gordon Hayward was one of the best cutters in the league last year. He cut on 9% of his possessions last year for a ridiculous 1.44 points per possesion. Will that make the move to Boston? If not, Hayward may look much worse while remaining the same player.

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 53.5
ESPN RPM: 49
538: 47

So what do you think?

I think Boston overachieved last year. They won 53, but had the pythag of a 48 win team. I also think that they improved compared to where they would have been had they done nothing. This is a hard team to project, as the entire dynamic of the team has changed. I don't love Kyrie's game, and I think Hayward likely had his career year last year. The stat projections give them a much lower ceiling than any of these other contenders. I have them at 48 wins, and almost as many trade rumors at the deadline.
   110. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 15, 2017 at 09:12 AM (#5554306)
tshipman - I didn't mention it before, but your write ups are fantastic. Very well done. Thank you so much for writing them.
   111. PJ Martinez Posted: October 15, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5554309)
Yeah, let me add to the chorus: nice work on these.

A thought on one of your points in this latest entry: there is obviously some, or maybe a lot, of variance in opponent three-point percentage. FWIW, though, the Celtics "have ranked in the top five in opponent 3-point percentage in each of the last 10 seasons," as John Schuhmann noted earlier this month. Last season, also per Schuhmann, Boston's "opponents took only 21.5 percent of their threes from the corners, the fourth lowest rate in the league." A defensive scheme can presumably have some effect on the latter percentage, at least, which would in turn have some bearing on the former number. And perhaps there are other ways to affect the overall figure. There is, as I understand it, some relationship between three-point defense and overall team defense.

It's still a good bet that the Celtics will be at least slightly worse or less fortunate with respect to this number next year, if only because being second-best in the league is hard to repeat, and, as you note, they've had so much personnel turnover. But at this point it doesn't really seem coincidental to me that the team has been good at this since Thibodeau and Garnett arrived. Stevens and co. seem to have picked up where those guys left off in this regard.
   112. tshipman Posted: October 15, 2017 at 01:18 PM (#5554342)
Thank you guys for the nice words.

A thought on one of your points in this latest entry: there is obviously some, or maybe a lot, of variance in opponent three-point percentage. FWIW, though, the Celtics "have ranked in the top five in opponent 3-point percentage in each of the last 10 seasons," as John Schuhmann noted earlier this month. Last season, also per Schuhmann, Boston's "opponents took only 21.5 percent of their threes from the corners, the fourth lowest rate in the league." A defensive scheme can presumably have some effect on the latter percentage, at least, which would in turn have some bearing on the former number. And perhaps there are other ways to affect the overall figure. There is, as I understand it, some relationship between three-point defense and overall team defense.


I mean, this is a POV, but I am skeptical. They allowed a low percentage of their threes from the corners, but opponents hit a low percentage on those corner 3s as well. They allowed 21% of 3pers to come from the corner, exactly the same as the Wizards. Opponents hit 34% against the Celtics and 41% against the Wizards. The Celtics allowed a *higher* percentage of assisted shots there as well, so they were allowing better shots, just getting better outcomes.

The Wizards allowed the 11th worst opponent percentage, despite having nearly identical fundamentals on 3p defense to Boston (they were only separated by 9 3pers on the season).

If you think it's a sure thing that Boston allows a better percentage than Washington next year, I smell a wagering opportunity.
   113. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 15, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5554348)
Tship has single-handedly saved the 2017 pre-season thread. He is Russell Westbrook, the rest of us get traded for Carmelo.
   114. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: October 15, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5554349)
OK, let's try the silly prediction contest. Just for fun, here are 10 questions about the NBA season, worth a max of 10 pts each.

1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games]
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each]
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded]
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season]
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3]
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3]
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push]
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3]
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025]
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2]
   115. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 15, 2017 at 02:36 PM (#5554350)
Brown's plan is for Fultz to come off the bench to start the season. Pointed to the fact Fultz didn't played much in preseason.
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) October 15, 2017
since 2003, the only number one overall NBA draft picks who were healthy enough to play who did not open their rookie seasons as starters were Anthony Bennett and Andrea Bargnani

link
   116. covelli chris p Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:25 PM (#5554354)
They didn't switch, to avoid the roll, like the Rockets or the Warriors. They seemed to fight through it, playing them relatively honestly.
it's worth tuning in to celtics games just to watch marcus smart fighting through screens.
   117. PJ Martinez Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5554357)
115: After watching Fultz in the preseason, I wondered whether he would end up coming off the bench. If Embiid can play 50 or so games, the Sixers probably compete for a playoff spot in the East, and Fultz does not look ready to help a team that is trying to win.

112: What do you think of the other stat that I mentioned, that Boston has been top five in that category ten years in a row? A fluke, in your view? (I ask that sincerely.)
   118. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: October 15, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5554369)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 68
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] John Wall and Kyrie Irving
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] Yes
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Marvin Bagley
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Russell Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] Golden State
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 4
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] .395
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 16
   119. tshipman Posted: October 15, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5554373)
112: What do you think of the other stat that I mentioned, that Boston has been top five in that category ten years in a row? A fluke, in your view? (I ask that sincerely.)


Yes, total fluke. The 2014 and 2017 Celtics had one player in common--noted 3p stopper Kelly Olynyk. In 2015 and 2016 the Celtics gave up more corner 3s than the NBA average. That certainly isn't part of any grand plan to defend the 3p line. They got lucky that opponents shot a bad percentage.

You can see the difference by looking at another team:
The Spurs were 5th last year in three point percentage, 1st the year before that, and .... 24th in 2015.

By comparison, look at 3p attempts instead: Spurs were 3rd last year, 1st the year before that, then 1st, 2nd, 5th, before slipping to 10th.

Their 3p defense hasn't changed since 2011. Their percentages have swung a fair bit.
   120. PJ Martinez Posted: October 15, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5554385)
Well, whatever case exists for it not being a fluke certainly wouldn't involve player-continuity -- it would involve continuity of defensive schemes put in place by Thibodeau, who joined the team before the 2007-08 season. But maybe that's a stretch.

In other news: Marcus Morris will miss the first week, and Jayson Tatum is likely to start on opening night against Cleveland.
   121. tshipman Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5554409)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 40
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? Kyrie Irving (a stone-cold lock), DeMarr DeRozan
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? This is just, will Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond or Anthony Davis get trade. Going to say no.
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Earl Watson, Suns
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Probably that Slovenian kid, Dončić
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Westbrook all the way.
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? I have GS at 69 wins, so I will say Golden State.
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? He only played 3 over 45 his last year with Thibs. Going to definitely go low, and say 2.
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? 0.400
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 20 Techs.
   122. JJ1986 Posted: October 15, 2017 at 08:57 PM (#5554486)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 54
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? No, but Howard gets bought out.
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Luka Doncic by the Atlanta Hawks.
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? DeRozan
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? 3 worst
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 3
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? .380
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 18
   123. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2017 at 08:58 PM (#5554488)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 58
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? Kyrie and Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? No
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Doncic
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Russell Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? Three worst teams
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 0
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? .389
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 12
   124. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2017 at 09:05 PM (#5554499)
Taking my shot at being the Most Wrong Poster on the 10 questions:

1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 26
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Kyrie and Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] Yes
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? I know absolutely nothing about amateur basketball, so I'm just looking at the first mock draft google showed me and saying Michael Porter
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] This question could be equally well phrased as "Will Russell Westbrook play at least 65 games this season?"
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] Warriors, easy
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 9
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] .388
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] A lot of this rides on just when and to whom he'll be traded... I'll be optimistic and say 19

I think it's quite plausible that in Cleveland, a team that let's be honest was coached by LeBron James, Kyrie followed LeBron's lead in playing most of the regular season in Chill Mode; and that in Boston, where the team is coached by Brad Stevens and takes preparation and effort seriously for every regular season game, Kyrie may well be more consistently engaged and have a career year. At least in the regular season.
   125. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 15, 2017 at 10:07 PM (#5554579)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 65
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Kyrie and Wade
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] Yes.
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Michael Porter
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] James Harden
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] Golden State
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 3
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] 37.1
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 22
   126. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 11:51 PM (#5554758)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 57
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Kyrie and Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] No.
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Alvin Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Michael Porter
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Devin Booker
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] Golden State
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 2
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] 38.9
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 11
   127. tshipman Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:50 AM (#5554779)
Cleveland Cavaliers

Outgoing: Kyrie Irving, Richard Jefferson, dreck, and David Griffin
Incoming: Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and somehow and inexplicably: Jose Calderon.

What is this team good at?

These Cavs are elite at two things: being in the East and having LeBron James.

What is this team bad... oh. Too cute? Okay, let's take it seriously.

The 2017 Cavs were an elite offensive team. The foundation of that was built at the three point line. They were second in attempts, and second in percentage. That spacing allowed for the Cavs to also convert 2p shots at a high percentage. Like with every team of his since he's come into the league, that starts with LeBron. With LeBron on the court, the Cavs were elite offensively, posting a 118 oRTG. In the playoffs, that delta increased, with the Cavs posting historically great offensive numbers with LBJ in the game, and worst in the league type numbers in the 120 minutes he sat. Every other player on the Cavs is hard to evaluate because of LeBron's greatness. With LeBron on the court, the Cavs posted a .561 eFG%. LeBron + shooters = a great offense.

However, one interesting wrinkle about Cleveland last year was how good they are at a play that's fallen out of favor with the NBA cognoscenti. The Cavs led the league in isolation plays, with 11.9% of their plays being finished after a clear out, with a strikingly high 0.99 points per possession. They were by far the highest both in terms of frequency and in PPP. The Cavs mostly traded isolation play for cuts. They had one of the lowest rates of plays finished by a cutter. If LeBron or Kyrie has the ball on one side of the floor, you have to keep the space by the rim open.

Another long time advantage for LeBron teams: they often always avoid fouling on defense. Last year's Cavs were no exception, with opponents taking the third fewest three throws of any team. Of course, this starts with LeBron, who habitually avoids fouling (and is perhaps called for fewer fouls than a neutral party might observe). But the discipline to avoid fouls truly does extend up and down the roster. Tristan Thompson was the player wtih the highest number of fouls per game, and he committed just 2.3 per game. As a consequence, the Cavs almost always have all their players available for their preferred substitution pattern.

What is this team bad at?

Let's not sugarcoat it. The Cavs are a bad defensive team. They have few players who are committed and capable on that end. LeBron, who once deserved to win a DPOY, displayed bad habits, picking up players late, loafing on switches, and not getting back. Kyrie last year died on the first screen almost every possession in the regular season. The Cavs were 3.2 points worse on defense with Kyrie on the court. The root cause of their defensive troubles often looks to be lineup. The Cavs were awful at forcing turnovers (29th in the league) and bad at rebounding (22nd). Typically, you would expect a team that plays small to pick up more turnovers and a team that plays big to pick up more rebounds. The Cavs awkwardly sandwiched themselves into being bad at both. The bench units were the chief culprit as players like Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and Richard Jefferson were simply not fast enough to get into the passing lanes.

The Cavs also showed poor discipline in transition. For a team that did not attempt to get on the offensive glass, they allowed a high number of transition attempts and allowed opponents to finish at the highest rate in the NBA (14.7% of possessions in transition, 7th worst in the NBA, 1.18 PPP in transition allowed). In the playoffs, rather than flipping a switch, they fell down, giving up more transition opportunities (16%). Every other team who gave up more transition got more offensive rebounds except one: the Kings. When you're being compared to the Kings on defense, it's an area that needs improvement. Transition defense is about scheme and effort. Perhaps the issue is that too many guys are trying to sneak an offensive rebound, but from what I saw in the playoffs, there was also a distinct lack of effort to get back on defense. Those bad habits have to change if they want to win the finals.

What else?

I haven't talked about the new guys that much. That's because I don't think they matter that much. Ultimately, the Cavs are built around LeBron and shooters. Wade, Rose and Crowder aren't really the kinds of players you look to slot in around LeBron. Maybe the offense changes with Kyrie out to feature more cuts, like the Miami motion machine. I thought that offense worked because so many guys cut and slid. Not sure if it can work with just one guy who likes to cut. I think that Lue and LeBron gravitate towards more shooting as the answer. If the new guys can spot up to provide space for LeBron, they'll fit in. If they can't, they will sit.

Isaiah Thomas is an interesting fit on this team. Unlike the rest of the new guys, he can spot up and play off ball very effectively. Will he be the same shooter after the injury? He won't get the volume of possessions he got last year, but he can add the most value on offense.

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 54.5
ESPN RPM: 49
538: 56

So what do you think?

I think the Cavs are in a remarkably tenuous position, concealed by their tremendous success over the last three years. One thing I have noticed as a fan of the Lakers is that when the wheels come off a dynasty, it happens in a particular way. The team gets old, and is unable to replenish their depth with young players. They get brittle on defense, prone to breaking in big moments. The main stars might be as good as ever on offense, but small flaws creep into their game which didn't exist before. The Cavs, to me, sit at the razor's edge: they can tip over into a first round exit at any moment, and no one is willing to accept it as a possibility.

I say 49 wins and a first round exit.
   128. stevegamer Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:26 AM (#5554784)

1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 42
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Irving and Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] Yes, assuming you mean sometime before the deadline.
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Budenholzer
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Doncic
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] 3 Worst
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 3
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] 42%
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 13

   129. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:25 AM (#5554788)
I'm actually a little ashamed at how confident I am that the Celtics are going to end up winning 48-50 and the Cavs are going to win 55 and everyone is finally going to see that Uncle Drew has no clothes.

EDIT: Listened to the Haralabob and Simmons season preview podcast and there was a part where Simmons was making a pro-Kyrie argument (and credit to Simmons that his Kyrie view isn't Celtics bias as much as it is Kyrie bias as he's always been a big fan) that LeBron on-off numbers are wonky because of the extent to which his teams are built around him. Acknowledging that I am a LeBron fanboy, I feel that those numbers really just reflect that the guys he plays with often times aren't that good.
   130. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:25 AM (#5554793)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 41
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? John Wall and Kyrie Irving
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? No
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Brett Brown
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Marvin Bagley
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Russell Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? Golden State Warriors
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 1
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? .393
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 17
   131. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5554827)
I say 49 wins and a first round exit.


A second round exit would not shock me. But first round? As whose hands? Milwaukee's?
   132. Willard Baseball Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5554829)
1. Embiid plays 36 games.
2. Irving and John Wall.
3. No
4. Alvin Gentry
5. Michael Porter, JR.
6. Russell Westbrook
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Butler plays 4 games of 45 + minutes.
9. .404
10. Cousins gets 14 techs.
   133. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:59 AM (#5554833)
I think you guys are too bearish on Lonzo's FG%. He's a good finisher at the rim and he's pretty selective about when he takes his perimeter shots so I expect him to be an efficient, low volume scorer. He's not a gunner at all from what I can tell.
   134. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:07 AM (#5554836)
I think the Cavs are in a remarkably tenuous position, concealed by their tremendous success over the last three years. One thing I have noticed as a fan of the Lakers is that when the wheels come off a dynasty, it happens in a particular way. The team gets old, and is unable to replenish their depth with young players. They get brittle on defense, prone to breaking in big moments. The main stars might be as good as ever on offense, but small flaws creep into their game which didn't exist before. The Cavs, to me, sit at the razor's edge: they can tip over into a first round exit at any moment, and no one is willing to accept it as a possibility.

I say 49 wins and a first round exit.

Even though our predictions count for nothing and I don't know any of you in real life, I'm still not bold enough to make this prediction, but I mostly agree. Well, not a 1st round exit, that seems unlikely, but I would take the East field against the Cavs in the playoffs. This is just not a particularly talented group of players outside of LeBron. If Isaiah comes back fully healthy and can approximate his output from last year, then they'll probably be the clear favorites. But neither of those seem likely, by the accounts we're getting.
   135. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:14 AM (#5554839)
FiveThirtyEight's team predictions are interesting. They have 8 teams in the West projected to be better than the 2nd best team in the East, Boston. Not by record, but by "CARM-elo," which is a combination of Elo rankings and their CARMELO player projections.
   136. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5554840)
I think you guys are too bearish on Lonzo's FG%. He's a good finisher at the rim and he's pretty selective about when he takes his perimeter shots so I expect him to be an efficient, low volume scorer. He's not a gunner at all from what I can tell.


I agree that he very well may get to be an efficient low volume shooter--but he's a 19 year old rookie right now and probably going to suck in his first season. I'm high on his capacity to learn, but he does have to learn.

As for the Cavs, I can easily see them getting swallowed whole by drama surrounding LeBron's impending departure as the season's end draws near. That's aside from the fact that they honestly don't look very good apart from having LeBron. Replace LeBron with even a good player, say a theoretically healthy Khris Middleton, and how many games do they win? 40 if Isaiah Thomas is actually healthy by January?
   137. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5554847)
I need to take into account that Lonzo is a special, special case, but I really wonder how he's going to work out. In the spring I read some article that said a good indicator of NBA success was 2-point field goal attempts. (Obviously I can't find that article right now, and I didn't do any actual research myself.)

Anyway, I looked at all this year's prospects, and I looked at drafted players from years past, and Lonzo was like way, way lower in 2point attempts/40 minutes than anyone else I had on the list. Again, all the projections systems loved him and I get he's a special case, but that did make me wonder if he'll have a little extra trouble adjusting athletically to start his career. But of course, maybe he's smart enough to deal with these limitations and not take enough shots to really blow up his percentages.
   138. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5554854)
115: After watching Fultz in the preseason, I wondered whether he would end up coming off the bench. If Embiid can play 50 or so games, the Sixers probably compete for a playoff spot in the East, and Fultz does not look ready to help a team that is trying to win.

Yeah, they're trying to win, in the sense that they're no longer trying to not win. They can't be making a decision about Fultz starting or not based on whether they think they're making a playoff push, not at the point of the year. Now, that doesn't mean that it's unreasonable to have him start on the bench, especially since the rest of the team is also so inexperienced. It's just a bad sign about Fultz in general (that may or may not mean anything).
   139. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5554855)
I'll do this poll, but how does the new All Star game rules impact who's starting for the "East" in the All-Star game? Are fans still picking 10 starters, with 5 from each conference?
   140. tshipman Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5554856)
I think you guys are too bearish on Lonzo's FG%. He's a good finisher at the rim and he's pretty selective about when he takes his perimeter shots so I expect him to be an efficient, low volume scorer. He's not a gunner at all from what I can tell.


Bunch of small ballers in the NBA thread.
   141. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5554914)
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn 41m41 minutes ago

Sources: Memphis plans to waive or trade guard Wade Baldwin -- 17th overall pick in 2016 NBA Draft -- before roster cutdown deadline today.
   142. John M. Perkins Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5554936)
-10 points for all above for thinking there will be Conferences in the 2018 All-Star game.
   143. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5554943)
All Stars are still selected by conference. The captains just select how the teams are divided up.
   144. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5554944)
   145. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5554955)
Hmmm, I had not read this before. I imagine money and winning trumps all, but I wonder if this, and trading Isaiah after everything that went on with him, will hurt the Celtics in player negotiations going forward:
Jae Crowder, who says he’s thankful for the opportunity the Celtics gave him, still gets emotional when he remembers the day he was traded to Cleveland. Crowder was in Houston with his ailing mother, who passed away five minutes after he told her about the deal.
   146. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5554975)
Ok, thanks, good enough for me to do my predictions:

1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 41
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Kyrie/Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] No
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Luka Doncic
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] 3 worst
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 3
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] 39.5%
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 15
   147. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5555023)
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn 11m11 minutes ago

LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs are engaged in talks on a contract extension, league sources tell ESPN.

Adrian Wojnarowski‏ @wojespn 6m6 minutes ago

Aldridge can exercise opt-out for '18-19, become free agent. A deal before midnight would allow him to opt-in at $22M and extend 3 years.
   148. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:41 PM (#5555045)
If anyone but the Spurs were locking up Gasol and Aldridge long term... boy, I don't know.
   149. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5555047)
Do it Spurs! Do it! Do it now!
   150. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5555106)
The only thing I can make of it is that maybe Pop isn't planning on coaching much longer.
   151. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:54 PM (#5555128)
The only thing I can make of it is that maybe Pop isn't planning on coaching much longer.

It never gets talked about but Pop is getting pretty old now and he has Team USA duties. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is his last year.
   152. TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5555141)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 49
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? Irving, Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? Yes
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Hornacek
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Doncic
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? GSW
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 11
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? 37
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 11
   153. smileyy Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:48 PM (#5555172)
My fingers are still crossed for LeBron -> SAS and Pop extending his tenure to coach him. I'm sure they could make LeBron and Kahwi work together on the court somehow.
   154. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5555179)
They are probably the two most versatile two-way players in the NBA--or at least two of the top three, with Giannis--so, uh, yeah, I think a way to play them together could be figured out.

No way in hell LeBron would go to the Spurs, though. Popovich being there is a bug for him, not a feature. LeBron expects to effectively be the coach of the team he plays for.
   155. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5555182)
I do not think that is true at all, re: LeBron and Pop.
   156. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5555189)
LeBron/Pop feels like an end of career move for LeBron, but I don't think he's anywhere near there yet. I think it's another big market or (less likely) Cleveland.
   157. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5555198)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 52
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? Irving, Wall
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? Yes
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Fred Hoiberg
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? Michael Porter
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Russell Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? Golden State
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 21
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? 41
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 15
   158. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:35 PM (#5555212)
In his last column, Lowe made a really compelling LeBron to HOU argument that serves as my current expectation for how his free agency will play out.
   159. smileyy Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:39 PM (#5555217)
HOU seems pretty logical if he's going to leave Cleveland, despite what my heart wants.
   160. smileyy Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5555218)
I mean, its going to be a playoff-contending Western Conference team, right?
   161. smileyy Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5555219)
Good god the East will be bad.
   162. madvillain Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5555220)
My auction style fantasy draft is tonight and I'm seeking some info from Berg and Steagles:

Steagles, is Redick going to get his shots up? What's his minutes looking like?

Berg: Do you see Thibs running Butler out there 38+ a night? Who is his primary backup (does he even have one)?
   163. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5555230)
Yeah I don't get this LMA deal at all. So he's opting in for 18-19 and they're giving him two additional years for $50 million.
   164. aberg Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:06 PM (#5555234)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? [10 points for within 5 games, 5 points for within 10 games] 45
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? [5 pts each] Kyrie/Derozan
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? [10 pts -- see here; down to Harrison Barnes, Chris Bosh explicitly excluded] Yes
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? [10 pts if first coach, 5 pts if fired at all by end of season] Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Michael Porter Jr
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? [10 pts if #1, 5 pts if in top 3] Westbrook
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? [10 pts, 5 pts for all if a push] GSW
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? [10 points if within 1, 5 points if within 3] 6
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? [10 points if within .010, 5 points if within .025] .391
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? [10 points if exact, 5 points if within 2] 17
   165. aberg Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5555235)
Berg: Do you see Thibs running Butler out there 38+ a night? Who is his primary backup (does he even have one)?


Honestly, you or Moses would probably have a better read on that. Wiggins played 37.2 MPG last year and led the league in total minutes, so it doesn't seem like he has changed his mind about playing guys lots of minutes. 38 pg? maybe a little less. In the preseason, it has looked like the second unit will be made up of Jones-Crawford-Muhammad-Bjelica-Dieng. That's not actually a bad bench unit and if they keep one of Butler/Wiggins out there to be the offensive focal point, they might be able to take advantage of some bad benches.
   166. madvillain Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5555236)
Honestly, you or Moses would probably have a better read on that. Wiggins played 37.2 MPG last year and led the league in total minutes, so it doesn't seem like he has changed his mind about playing guys lots of minutes. 38 pg? maybe a little less. In the preseason, it has looked like the second unit will be made up of Jones-Crawford-Muhammad-Bjelica-Dieng. That's not actually a bad bench unit and if they keep one of Butler/Wiggins out there to be the offensive focal point, they might be able to take advantage of some bad benches.


Thanks, that answers my question perfectly. I was really asking if he'd be their primary scorer in any lineup, and it seems he might be.
   167. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:13 PM (#5555239)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play this season? 55
2. Who will be the starting guards for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game? DeRozan, Kyrie.
3. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded midseason? Yes (McCollum)
4. Who will be the first coach fired during the season? Gentry
5. Who will be the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft? No clue, so I'll just go with NBADraft.net (Michael Porter)
6. Who will lead the NBA in missed field goals? Devin Booker
7. Who will have more wins: the Golden State Warriors, or the three worst teams in the league combined? Three worst.
8. In how many games will Jimmy Butler play 45 or more minutes? 6, with most of them in OT games.
9. What will Lonzo Ball's field goal percentage be? .440
10. How many technical fouls will DeMarcus Cousins get this season? 24
   168. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:59 PM (#5555264)
I'm surprised you have Jae Crowder as a non-spot-up-shooter, tship. Anecdotally, almost all of his offense last season came off of spot-ups, cuts, and driving closeouts (I suspect a deep dive into his efficiency numbers would mainly reveal that Al Horford is an underrated playmaker, but that's a topic for another day). The numbers seem to back it up, too: per stats.nba.com, 43.6% of all his shots were 0-dribble 3pt attempts, which he hit at a cool 40.4%. He should see some success cutting off LeBron as well: a plurality of his 2pt attempts came off of 0 dribbles as well, and he shot 62.8% on those.
   169. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:04 PM (#5555265)
The Knicks finished preseason ranked 30th among NBA teams in defensive rating, 29th in offensive rating & 30th in assist-to-turnover ratio.

— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 15, 2017
   170. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:14 PM (#5555269)
As a Suns fan since the Walter Davis years, I suppose I should be thrilled to have Booker in purple and orange. No many players can score like he does. And he's still two weeks shy of turning 21!

This is where I let fly with a Stephen A. Smith-esque "BUT!"

BUT! Booker doesn't do anything else! Fewer than 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. PER of 14.64. Not a good defender.

Still, the kid scored SEVENTY POINTS on night. And if you don't like the team deliberately fouling late to get him more scoring opportunities (which worked - 28 in the 4Q), that's still 42 points after three!
   171. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:29 PM (#5555280)
Steagles, is Redick going to get his shots up? What's his minutes looking like?
he's old, so he probably won't play 35 minutes per game and he'll probably get some DNP-rest and he might get injured, but the guy can shoot and embiid draws a ton of attention to create space for him. i think he shot 13/15 from beyond the arc in the preseason.

   172. aberg Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:42 PM (#5555290)
BUT! Booker doesn't do anything else! Fewer than 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. PER of 14.64. Not a good defender.


Someone did a side-by-side of Booker and Wiggins earlier this summer. Their development and current states are shockingly similar, both for good and ill. The biggest surprise to me was that Booker has a lower 3Pt % than Wiggins. Given his pedigree as a pure shooter and his good form, it seems possible that he can get to 40%. If he does that, the other limitations become less concerning and you have a really good player.
   173. madvillain Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:19 PM (#5555318)
The Knicks finished preseason ranked 30th among NBA teams in defensive rating, 29th in offensive rating & 30th in assist-to-turnover ratio.


My buddy and I were eating breakfast coming back from camping on Sunday and were doing some quick roster analysis of various teams, googling starting lineups and all that. The Knicks' announced starting five is: Sessions, Hardaway Jr, Lee, Zinger, Kanter. That is an absolutely putrid defensive starting five. It has to be one of the worst of all time. Lee is a solid defender but he's going to get outmuscled at the three quite often and he isn't as quick as he used to be either. The rest of those guys are just turnstyles. Porzingis I guess is alright, but playing him next to Kanter negates it.
   174. PJ Martinez Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:08 PM (#5555349)
Silver says the one-and-done rule as currently constituted is not going to last much longer. It's not clear what will replace it, but it sounds like he sees players becoming draft-eligible sooner, as they used to, though possibly with other wrinkles.
   175. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5555357)
If I were running the NBA I would at least be thinking seriously about the viability of moving toward what the NHL does: a combination of affiliated minor league teams and ability for teams to draft a guy out of high school and let him go to college for X number of years while retaining his rights, with the very best prospects able to go straight into the NBA from high school.
   176. Fourth True Outcome Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:28 PM (#5555488)
The Knicks' announced starting five is: Sessions, Hardaway Jr, Lee, Zinger, Kanter.

It's bad enough as is, but I forgot Courtney Lee was on the Knicks and thought for a minute they were planning to play David Lee as a bullyball three. That would truly be a sight to see.
   177. tshipman Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:40 AM (#5555531)
Golden State Warriors

Outgoing: Ian Clark, Matt Barnes
Incoming: Omri Casspi, Nick Young, Jordan Bell

What is this team good at?

Death by a thousand cuts. I mean it literally. People think of the Warriors as this home-run hitting team dribbling into a heat-check three, but they actually owed a lot of their success to their movement off ball. They literally had (over) 1000 plays last year that ended with a cut. They led the league by far in that play type--more than 250 more plays than the next highest team. They finished at a ridiculous rate: 1.33 points per possession. The Warriors were actually more lethal in half-court plays that ended with a cut to the basket than they were in transition (1.21 PPP). That elite rate continued in the playoffs, where they finished 10% of their plays on the backdoor play. In a way, it's the Warriors in a microcosm: you sell out to prevent them getting a clean three, and instead they shrug and go backdoor for an even higher percentage look. Those plays, even more so than their all-time shooting, led them to the best offense of last year and maybe of all time.

Unlike other contenders, the Warriors were elite on both sides of the ball. They finished with the second rated defense, despite being 29th in defensive rebounding. How did they do it? They played elite defense against the pick and roll. It's not often talked about, but the teams that actually do the best out of PnR basketball are looking to finish with the roll man. The Clippers, Rockets and Raptors all finished in the top 5 for both halves of the PnR in terms of PPP and frequency. They averaged 1.13 PPP when the roll man finished and just 0.93 when the ball handler finished. The Warriors switched nearly every PnR that they saw, and defended both halves excellently. They allowed just 0.81 PPP from the ball handler and 1.01 from the roll man. What's more, they allowed the second fewest possessions ended by the roll man, so they forced more shots from the ball handler in the midrange.

The foundation of the Warriors success on both sides of the ball is how they handle screens. On defense, they switch, relying on athleticism and team work to smother both sides of the PnR. On offense, they use screens off ball to set up shots. If teams overplay the screen, they quickly switch to cutting backdoor. In this, they are one of the most unique teams in the NBA. No one else is capable of being as successful at switching on defense, and no one else has off-ball movement to punish the opponent on offense.

What is this team bad at?

The Warriors are the rarest team: a great defense that is bad at rebounding. Of course, a lot of this is by design. When they go to the death lineup, Draymond/Durant/Iguodala/Thompson/Curry, they lose the rebounding battle by 11%. Despite that, it's obviously worth it, as they outscore their opponents by 23 points/100 possessions. You can actually see this cleanest in Iguodala's on/off numbers. Iguodala, more than any other player, is the key to the death lineups. He has the worst net on/off rebounding numbers of any of Golden State's core players. When Pachulia was on the court, the Warriors rebounded like an average NBA team: their 76.6 DRB% with Pachulia would have been 15th over a full season. Still--the hidden weakness of the Warriors is their poor rebounding. If you can get small enough to guard them on defense while retaining the edge on the glass, you can beat them up.

The next area of weakness is their turnover rate. They were just 22nd in the NBA in turnovers. In their losses, it was even more pronounced, as they threw the ball away two more times in losses than wins. That was the next largest split after three point shooting. If you want to beat the Warriors, hope they miss their threes and force turnovers on your own end. Perhaps one of the reasons the Warriors comparatively avoid the PnR is the turnover frequency. Nearly twenty percent of their turnovers came out of the PnR, and they were the only team in the top five for PnR turnovers in plays finished by both the roll man and the ball handler.

What else?

Unlike most teams off their third finals in a row, the Warriors look comparatively fresh. Obviously, there are no replacements for talents like Curry or Durant, but every other spot on their roster seems to have redundancy with a young player. Instead of loading up on veterans like West or Pachulia, the team seems relatively content to try out young players and give 2nd round picks major playing time. Patrick McCaw was relatively overmatched as a rookie, but looks to project as a solid NBA backup in his second year. Jordan Bell has impressed in summer league, and the bench remains chock full of vets ready to go.

It will be interesting to see how Kerr manages minutes over the course of the season. The schedule has fewer back to backs than ever, but the Warriors also have less to play for in the regular season than ever before. They've capped a three year run that ranks tops in league history--will they really feel pressure to add another?

Projected wins:
Vegas Line: 67.5
ESPN RPM: 62
538: 63

So what do you think?

I say 69 wins and a fourth trip to the finals. I will say, if you had to construct a team to beat them, however, it would look a lot like the Houston Rockets.
   178. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:09 AM (#5555555)
I guess the Spurs are locked into their team now, especially if Rudy Gay picks up his option next year. I thought they had a chance for a max player next year but the Gasol contract and Aldridge opting in have nixed that.
   179. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:53 AM (#5555569)
Alright, let's do this:

1. CLE
2. TOR
3. WAS
4. BOS
5. MIL
6. PHI
7. MIA
8. CHA
9. DET
10. BRK
11. ORL
12. IND
13. ATL
14. CHI
15. NYK

CLE over CHA
TOR over MIA
WAS over PHI
MIL over BOS

CLE over MIL
WAS over TOR

CLE over WAS

1. GSW
2. HOU
3. OKC
4. SAS
5. UTA
6. DEN
7. MIN
8. LAC
9. POR
10. MEM
11. NOP
12. DAL
13. LAL
14. SAC
15. PHX

GSW over LAC
HOU over MIN
OKC over DEN
UTA over SAS

GSW over UTA
HOU over OKC

HOU over GSW

HOU over CLE

MVP: LeBron
DPOY: Gobert
6MOY: Gordon
ROY: Simmons
COY: Snyder
MIP: Saric
   180. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:09 AM (#5555582)
Yeah, might as well engrave my stupidity into the rock that is the internet:

West:

Dubs
Houston
Denver
San Antonio
OKC
Minnesota
Utah
Clippers
Portland
Memphis
New Orleans
Dallas
Lakers
Kings
Suns

East:

Boston
Cleveland
Milwaukee
Washington
Miami
Toronto
76ers
Hornets
Pistons
Nets
Magic
Pacers
Hawks
Bulls
Knicks

GS over Clips
Houston over Utah
Minnesota over Denver
Spurs over OKS

GS over Spurs
Houston over Minny
GS over Houston

Celtics over Hornets
Cavs over 76ers
Bucks over Raptors
Wizards over Miami

Wizards over Boston
Bucks over Cavs

Wizards over Bucks

GS over Wizards

MVP Curry
DPOY Gobert
6MOY Teodosic
ROY Bogdan Bogdanovic
COY Malone
MIP Rodney Hood



   181. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:19 AM (#5555591)
1. CLE
2. BOS
3. WAS
4. TOR
5. MIL
6. CHA
7. PHI
8. DET
9. MIA
10. BRK
11. ORL
12. IND
13. NYK
14. CHI
15. ATL

CLE over DET
BOS over PHI
WAS over CHA
TOR over MIL

CLE over TOR
WAS over BOS

WAS over CLE

1. GSW
2. SAS
3. UTA
4. HOU
5. OKC
6. MIN
7. POR
8. DEN
9. LAC
10. MEM
11. DAL
12. NOP
13. SAC
14. LAL
15. PHX

GSW over DEN
SAS over POR
UTA over MIN
HOU over OKC

GSW over HOU
SAS over UTA

GSW over SAS

GSW over WAS
   182. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5555600)
Excellent. I came here specifically to scold you all for not posting predictions yet and leaving me on an island, but that is no longer the case!

Looks like the biggest variance, just eyeballing it, will be Toronto in the East and Utah in the West.
   183. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:29 AM (#5555604)
I will say, if you had to construct a team to beat them, however, it would look a lot like the Houston Rockets.

What about Houston makes you say that? I'd lean towards a more defensive, slower team, like San Antonio. I just don't think you're going to outgun the Warriors 4 times in 7 games.
   184. TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:40 AM (#5555609)
GSW
HOU
SAS
DEN
OKC
LAC
UTA
POR

MIN
MEM
SAC
DAL
NOP
PHX
LAL

GSW over POR
HOU over UTA
LAC over SAS
OKC over DEN

GSW over OKC
HOU over LAC

GSW over HOU

TOR
WAS
CLE
BOS
CHA
MIL
PHI
DET

who cares?

TOR over DET
WAS over PHI
MIL over CLE
BOS over CHA

TOR over BOS
WAS over MIL

WAS over TOR

GSW over WAS
   185. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5555611)
Jeez, I've started a run on Wizards optimism!
   186. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5555616)
Silver says the one-and-done rule as currently constituted is not going to last much longer. It's not clear what will replace it, but it sounds like he sees players becoming draft-eligible sooner, as they used to, though possibly with other wrinkles.

I think eliminating the one-year post high school rule, adding another round to the draft, and continuing to grow the D League makes a lot of sense for teams.
   187. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:17 AM (#5555625)
Warriors
Rockets
Spurs
Thunder
Wolves
Nuggets
Grizzlies
Clippers

Blazers
Jazz
Pelicans
Mavs
Lakers
Suns
Kings

Warriors in 4
Rockets in 5
Spurs in 6
Thunder in 5

Warriors in 6
Rockets in 5

Warriors in 5

Cavs
Celtics
Wizards
Raptors
Bucks
Heat
Hornets
Sixers

Pistons
Pacers
Magic
Nets
Knicks
Hawks
Bulls

Cavs in 4
Celtics in 6
Wizards in 5
Bucks in 6

Cavs in 5
Wizards in 6

Cavs in 6

Warriors in 5

MVP: Steph
RoY: Dennis Smith
CoY: Fizdale
6MoY: Milos
MIP: Jamal Murray
DPoY: Gobert
   188. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5555629)
EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Boston
2. Cleveland
3. Toronto
4. Washington
5. Milwaukee
6. Miami
7. Charlotte
8. Orlando

9. Charlotte
10. Detroit
11. Brooklyn
12. Atlanta
13. Indiana
14. New York
15. Chicago


WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Golden State
2. Houston
3. San Antonio
4. Oklahoma City
5. Denver
6. Clippers
7. Minnesota
8. Memphis

9. Utah
10. Portland
11. Sacramento
12. Lakers
13. New Orleans
14. Dallas
15. Phoenix

FIRST ROUND
(1) Boston over (8) Orlando, 4-1
(2) Cleveland over (7) Charlotte, 4-2
(3) Toronto over (6) Miami, 4-3
(4) Washington over (5) Milwaukee, 4-2

(1) Golden State over (8) Memphis, 4-0
(2) Houston over (7) Minnesota, 4-2
(3) San Antonio over (6) Clippers, 4-2
(5) Denver over (4) Oklahoma City, 4-3


SECOND ROUND
(1) Boston over (4) Washington, 4-2
(2) Cleveland over (3) Toronto, 4-2

(1) Golden State over (5) Denver, 4-0
(2) Houston over (3) San Antonio, 4-2


CONFERENCE FINALS
(1) Boston over (2) Cleveland, 4-2
(1) Golden State over (2) Houston, 4-1


FINALS
Golden State over Boston, 4-0


MVP: Kevin Durant
RoY: Dennis Smith
CoY: Brad Stevens
DPoY: Rudy Gobert

I didn't quite have the balls to call Kyrie for MVP, but I was tempted to. Partly to be a contrarian, partly because I think it's in the realm of possibility: Kyrie has a career year away from LeBron and wins or nearly wins the scoring title, Boston has a good year and gets the 1 seed, and the best players on Golden State and Houston split votes.
   189. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5555639)
Just wanted to add that I came very close to picking WAS over CLE for my ECF result so it seems like a good amount of us feel there's a path for the Bullets.
   190. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5555641)
I think eliminating the one-year post high school rule, adding another round to the draft, and continuing to grow the D League makes a lot of sense for teams.

From a business perspective, it would be a nice boost to G-League ratings/attendance knowing that The Next Big Thing for your team was playing somewhere nearby and getting a chance to watch them and start pinning your hopes to them.
   191. TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5555650)
MVP: Durant Chris Paul
RoY: Smith
CoY: Brooks
DPoY: Gobert
   192. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:36 AM (#5555655)
For me, when I'm doing these predictions, it's to try to figure out where the unexpected leaps in quality are going to come from and to try to avoid the NBA blogosphere echo chamber. I guess I'm coming down on the Nuggets and Wizards making those unexpected leaps. I think Porter will continue to improve and, I swear to god I don't know why I think this is so, I think there's a good player locked inside of Kelly Oubre waiting to come out. For Denver, I think their offense is going to overwhelm teams this season and Millsap will be the defensive anchor they need for Malone to build a system around. I hate the Cavs defense and I see Wade and Rose as causing more harm than good. Wade and Rose pushing Smith and Thompson to the bench is exhibit A for how I think they will erode the Cavs. And, boy, the Spurs look rickety. So, so rickety.
   193. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5555660)
Psst, Paste, you've got Charlotte twice and no Philly.
   194. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5555662)
#188, Should that be Philly for 9th in the east?
   195. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5555665)
Kendrick Perkins is going to play in the G-League for the Cavs affiliate this year. Still a chance of rekindling that Perkins-Mo Speights feud! Perkins is only 32, which is about 10 years younger than I assumed he was.
   196. tshipman Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5555687)
What about Houston makes you say that? I'd lean towards a more defensive, slower team, like San Antonio. I just don't think you're going to outgun the Warriors 4 times in 7 games.


If there are no injuries, beating the Warriors requires you to win 4 games in a series where you're less talented. You can just hope the Warriors low-roll for four games from 3. However, I feel like you have more chances if you force turnovers (Rockets were 8th in steals and added CP3), and add variance on your own side.

In Warriors losses, they make about 3 three pointers fewer than their opponents. You can get there either by hoping the Warriors low-roll, or by hoping your own team high-rolls. Cleveland has had the most success by doing both.

I'm surprised you have Jae Crowder as a non-spot-up-shooter, tship. Anecdotally, almost all of his offense last season came off of spot-ups, cuts, and driving closeouts (I suspect a deep dive into his efficiency numbers would mainly reveal that Al Horford is an underrated playmaker, but that's a topic for another day). The numbers seem to back it up, too: per stats.nba.com, 43.6% of all his shots were 0-dribble 3pt attempts, which he hit at a cool 40.4%. He should see some success cutting off LeBron as well: a plurality of his 2pt attempts came off of 0 dribbles as well, and he shot 62.8% on those.


Jae Crowder has only had one year where he's been a plus shooter. I am skeptical that he will continue last year.
   197. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5555750)
I was just trying to do the math on this yesterday, and now D'Antoni spells it out nice and easy. I get staggering the minutes, but only 18 together doesn't seem ideal to me:
Paul will log 32 to 33 minutes and Harden 34 minutes a night. "I will have a Hall of Fame point guard on the floor at all times, I promise you that," D'Antoni says.

Paul will come out of the game after five minutes of the first quarter, earlier than at any other point in his career. Harden, who prefers to play the entire first quarter, will now have to take a seat with two and a half or three minutes left. By D'Antoni's estimation, Paul and Harden will play 18 minutes together, including the final five of every game. That requires Harden to sit for the first four minutes of the final quarter.
   198. MHS Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5555756)
1. TOR
2. CLE
3. WAS
4. BOS
5. MIL
6. CHA
7. ORL
8. DET
9. MIA
10. IND
11. PHI
12. ATL
13. BRK
14. NYK
15. CHI

TOR over DET
CLE over ORL
WAS over CHA
BOS over MIL

BOS over TOR
CLE over WAS

BOS over CLE

1. GSW
2. HOU
3. MIN
4. OKC
5. UTA
6. DEN
7. SAS
8. LAC
9. POR
10. MEM
11. DAL
12. NOP
13. SAC
14. LAL
15. PHX

GSW over LAC
HOU over SAS
MIN over DEN
HOU over UTA

GSW over OKC
MIN over HOU

GSW over MIN

GSW over BOS

MVP: John Wall
   199. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5555801)
What about Houston makes you say that? I'd lean towards a more defensive, slower team, like San Antonio. I just don't think you're going to outgun the Warriors 4 times in 7 games.

I think I agree with this in terms of style, and I think if you've looked at recent results the Spurs (when healthy) seem to give Golden State some of the most trouble.

But I think that Houston just has more talent now, assuming Chris Paul continues to be excellent. I think they were close teams with the Spurs a bit better last year. But then the Spurs mostly tread water, and if anything maybe got a tick worse. Houston added Paul, as well as PJ Tucker.

I'm excited for the season, though I do think that Golden State will probably need an injury to really be beatable. You never know, though. They really played their game very well in the playoffs, and weren't missing shots. I think it's possible to beat a healthy Golden State team best out of 7. You're not going to do it if they play their A game in that series, though. So, I do think there is still some intrigue - because they can't just show up. They do have to play well, and if they do, you tip your cap.

Anyways, I have Golden State winning it all. I could see anything happening in the East. West I think will probably shake out in order: GSW, HOU, SAS, OKC. But I think realistically more fun matchups in the 2nd round would be GSW/SAS, HOU/OKC. I just don't see OKC giving GSW trouble, though I think they could beat the Spurs or Houston.
   200. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5555806)
I was just trying to do the math on this yesterday, and now D'Antoni spells it out nice and easy. I get staggering the minutes, but only 18 together doesn't seem ideal to me

Why not? Seems like it's still a ton of time (including crunch time) for them to learn over the season how to play together, and really they're both so ball dominant that it makes sense to ensure all minutes are covered by one of them when healthy. Seems like the 18 together is just a product of neither of them will be on heavy minutes.
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