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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OT: NBA February 2014

In total, 14 former Lakers are under contract with other teams—more if training camp invites and traded draft picks are included:
Charlotte Bobcats: Ramon Sessions, Josh McRoberts, Jannero Pargo and Chris Douglas-Roberts (training camp invite)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Earl Clark
Clippers: Matt Barnes, Antawn Jamison
Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley (drafted 42nd overall in 2009, traded immediately to the Miami Heat)
Indiana Pacers: Andrew Bynum
Miami Heat: Toney Douglas (drafted 29th overall in 2009, traded immediately to the New York Knicks)
Milwaukee Bucks: Caron Butler
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ronny Turiaf
New York Knicks: Metta World Peace
Oklahoma City Thunder: Derek Fisher
Phoenix Suns: Gerald Green (training camp invite)
San Antonio Spurs: Shannon Brown
Utah Jazz: Malcolm Thomas (training camp invite)
Washington Wizards: Trevor Ariza

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 04:05 PM | 740 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nba

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   601. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4662366)
Melo has definitely been getting better - he's outgrown or outperformed a lot of the criticism for me.
(flipmode is the squad)
   602. smileyy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4662368)
Great player having a great year.


...and winning 30 games. In the East.

I think you meant "Good player having a very good year."
   603. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4662370)
Ray Felton arrested on felony gun charges. The '13-'14 Knicks everybody!

You know what? I walked into my apartment last night and lo and behold, there was a gun there. I think it was Andrea Bargnani's.

Broken record, but you're never going to build a championship team around Carmelo Anthony. Is not. Going to happen. The Knicks should have traded him at the 2012 trading deadline -- as noted herein then.

Of course the only system he'll fit into is Melo-Ball; didn't everyone notice how much he pouted and sulked at the height of Linsanity? The Knicks haven't had a run like that since the 90s, and Melo was in street clothes.
   604. Jimmy P Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4662371)
It's probably worth noting Felton's wife called the cops on him, and that they're going through a divorce.

Gotta say, that's a pretty awesome thing to do from a vengeful wife. Left Eye Lopes burning down Andre Rison's house tops it, but I'm not sure much else does. Especially if Felton does jail time.

   605. Jimmy P Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4662372)
So, what's the difference between Melo and stat head fave Kevin Love?
   606. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4662373)
morally undermined

That's a good term. Melo's undermining of Lin and D'Antoni so he could take back over and launch at will was indeed "immoral" in a basketball sense.

It's ultimately Dolan's fault for enabling the immorality, but still.
   607. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4662380)
So, what's the difference between Melo and stat head fave Kevin Love?

Well, for starters: 35 points in TS%, 5.2 TRB/36, and 1.3 A/36.

There's probably more.
   608. Kurt Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4662385)
Gotta say, that's a pretty awesome thing to do from a vengeful wife. Left Eye Lopes burning down Andre Rison's house tops it, but I'm not sure much else does. Especially if Felton does jail time.


She's alleging he threatened* her with the gun; which I think makes it different from tattling on someone to get revenge.

*I'm assuming the normal use of "threatened" as most people would understand the term, not "I felt threatened by the gun in his nightstand/cabinet/pocket".
   609. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4662387)
So, what's the difference between Melo and stat head fave Kevin Love?

Well, for starters: 35 points in TS%, 5.2 TRB/36, and 1.3 A/36.

There's probably more.


Besides the fact that you can't compare players of different races?! [ducks]

But for serious: in addition to what SBB said, Love crushes Melo in WS/48 and PER prefers Love to Melo by a couple points.

82games simple rating: Love +15.2 vs Melo +11.8.

That is to say: both have been very good this year.
   610. AROM Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4662395)
Carmelo is currently 14th in WS48 at .182. He plays more minutes than the guys ahead of him, so he's 9th in win shares. I'd call that a great player, or else the definition of great player is so elite to only include the top 5-10 guys.

Kevin Love has greater stats than Carmelo, but his .276 WS48 is higher than Lebron James. I can't buy that. He's a terrible defender so his WS48 should be knocked down a bit. I'm not sure how much, but it would have to still be higher than Carmelo, just too big a gap and Melo is no Tony Allen himself.

Love cannot be as great as those stats say because I don't think it's possible to be truly that elite and not be able to lead your team to a winning record (27-29). Trade him for Lebron or Durant and Minnesota would be a contender.

But 27-29 in the good conference is miles ahead of 21-36 in the weak one. Then there's the pythag issue, which says Minnesota should be 35-21.



   611. smileyy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4662414)
Then there's the pythag issue, which says Minnesota should be 35-21


Which clouds the issue further. Is Love a victim of that, or a contributor to that?
   612. smileyy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4662415)
I'd call that a great player, or else the definition of great player is so elite to only include the top 5-10 guys.


Some part of "great", at least IMO, has to be "More than 21-36 in a historically bad conference" It's not like the Knicks have played IND and MIA 18 times each.
   613. bibigon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4662416)
Love is completely unprecedented in his commitment to losing. He's never been .500, he's never made the playoffs. His teams have underperformed their pythag every year of his career. Nobody has ever come close to losing this much for this long and then won a title with the original team. Pierce is the leader I think, and he was around .500 for his career - Love is in low to mid .300s. Tiny Archibald is only HOFer I've been able to find to go any length of time without making the playoffs, and the advanced metrics don't like him all that much, so it's unclear what he shows.

He's also missed a lot of games, so we have some decent samples of the Timberwolves with and without him. They go from like a 26% winning percentage to a 34% - i.e. nothing especially drastic (approximate since I haven't run these numbers in a couple weeks). Plus that's completely excusing him for the fact that he missed all those games.

He may be a great player, but it's a real problem for stuff like WS and RAPM that he grades out as a top ~5 guy I think.
   614. Manny Coon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4662417)
A big reason Kevin Love's WS is so high is because drtg credits him as a very good defender because of his very high defensive rebound rate, but in reality he's fairly weak defender. Love is a very good player, but I think he's more in the tier of Curry, Griffin or George this year than Lebron, but all of those of guys are clearly ahead of Melo.

I really wish WS used something other than drtg to measure defense; Love, Millsap and Boozer being top 20 in defensive value is silly.

Now if someone could give a good explanation for why Love's team is so inexplicably terrible in close games and why it's largely Love's fault, that would dump him down a good bit more.
   615. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4662421)
Carmelo is currently 14th in WS48 at .182. He plays more minutes than the guys ahead of him, so he's 9th in win shares. I'd call that a great player, or else the definition of great player is so elite to only include the top 5-10 guys.

Carmelo fails the criteria of "compatability with other championship-caliber players." I don't know how you measure that by numerical metrics, but he gets an "F" in it.

He's not good enough to win a championship as the #1 guy he insists on being.(*) And his game is very hard to meld with the caliber of #s 2 and 3 he needs. He's an isolation, high usage, ball stopper who's not particularly efficient. It's tough to win with that as your #1 guy.

That will change as his prime comes to an end and he still sees himself ringless, but that doesn't do anything for the here and now.

(*) Talk is cheap. It's easy to say you want to win championships. But he hasn't shown the willingness to sacrifice a single thing to win one. If he really wanted to win a championship, he would have made it work with Lin and D'Antoni and Walsh, stood up for them against Dolan, and taken a run. He did exactly the opposite. At the Knicks' 21st century peak, he sulked and pouted and blew it up. There's no getting around that ... and obviously his and the organization's resume since they gave him run of the building doesn't come close to justifying the sulking and pouting.
   616. Manny Coon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4662427)
Speaking of Win Shares Kyle Lowry is sixth in the league behind only Durant, Lebron, Love, Curry and Griffin. How much of the real deal is he, how many guys jump to that level at his age? Goran Dragic is the same age and has made a huge jump as well, he is 12th in WS and is 11th in WS48. What is the chance either of these guys keeps it up for several seasons?
   617. The District Attorney Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4662435)
I totally get the point that Melo literally can't win for losing... if the team is good but less than championship caliber and he's good, he's "just not good enough to get you over the hump"; if the team is bad and he's good, then he only prospers when the spotlight is off; if the team were bad and he were bad, presumably he would shoulder the blame for the team as we're seeing with Love, and for "tuning out."

I get all that, but I do think that middle one is pretty much right. I think he's happy when the team revolves around him, and he's happy to defer to All-Stars and Olympians, but he's unhappy deferring to mortals. The thing is that you do have to do that in basketball, not because the guy you're passing the ball to is "better" than you, but because there's game theory in it. The nature of the NBA salary cap in general, and the specific coaches/teams he's played for, have only enabled the impression that a Melo team has to be All About Melo. If you did put Melo on a team with a star whom he acknowledged is as good as he is, I think he'd be even more amazing. (Which is not the Bulls. :P) Especially since he has become a better spot-up shooter.

If you want to drain all of the psychology out of that and say that Melo is a great player but simply not LeBron/Durant level, that's fine too. I think it's less technically accurate, but in terms of how you'd proceed to build your team, it ends up being the same thing.

Apparently ESPN2's Max Kellerman said he'd rather have Bosh than Love. After thinking about it, I concluded that I'd rather have Love right now solely due to age difference. With each at his peak, I would rather have Bosh. I think it's a close one, and an interesting point to ponder. I see it as more a statement about Bosh's possible underratedness than Love's possible overratedness. You'd still have to contort a helluva lot to place Love any worse than the 3rd best PF in the league. (Although the Starters yesterday gave it a shot by throwing Dirk and Duncan into the mix, on the "if it were one game..." criteria.)
   618. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4662438)
I think he's happy when the team revolves around him, and he's happy to defer to All-Stars and Olympians, but he's unhappy deferring to mortals.

He doesn't need to defer; he needs to blend. He couldn't blend with 2010-11 Amare, a very, very good player -- and he really hasn't blended with any Knicks since. He affirmatively and petulantly disdained blending with the Linsanity Knicks, choosing to blow them up instead.

He gets a very low grade at blending. Elite players blend.
   619. bibigon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4662440)
There's nothing super implausible about Lowry's season to me. His FG% is only a bit above career norms, it's mostly that he's taking more 3s (and hitting them at a better rate than usual). Three point shooting often improves into a player's mid to late 20s, so there's nothing super striking about his profile.

Some regression is always a good bet, but his improvement could be more sustainable than a lot of other guys.
   620. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4662481)
Re: Felton

Went to school with his wife and we were pretty close for a time so the craziest thing today has been seeing people refer to her as a ##### or in some other negative light. Regardless of what one may think of her allegedly turning the weapon in, the pressing issue is that Felton is a ####### idiot for having a gun in NY.

Re: Melo

After years of hating Melo I've come around on him this year. The past 2 years he's been a truly great scorer and this year he has even increased his effort level on defense to the point where I won't say he's good and I hesitate to say he's average but he's definitely not bad. I never find myself screaming at him about lazy switches and zoning out. It's been really pleasant and I do think he's legitimately a Top 10 player. The Bulls would be crazy not to go after him. Of course, the downside to having Melo is that he HAS to play Melo-ball. If you value aesthetics over all else...maybe you don't want him on your team, but those concerns aside the guy has actually developed into a superstar. Yes, the Knicks' record sucks, but JR Smith, Bargnani, Amar'e, Felton, Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. have actually been THAT bad.
   621. smileyy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4662482)
[618] Great players improve their teammates.
   622. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 25, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4662492)
With Kevin Love on the court, the Wolves have outscored opponents by 358 points this year. That +358 figure ranks 8th in the league, and 1st among all players outside the dominant starting lineups in Indiana and Golden State. By both aggregate and per-36 plus/minus, Love (+358/+6.7) ranks ahead of Durant (+345/+5.8), LeBron (+251/+4.7), and CP3 (+251/+6.5). That doesn't mean he's better than they are or as good, but it's awfully impressive. The Wolves are worse than those other teams because they're atrocious when he's not on the court (not his fault) and they've been terrible in close games (somewhat his fault but tough to say how predictive it is).

The Wolves have underperformed their pythag record every year Love has been there, so there's probably something to the idea that he fundamentally is not as good in late-game situations as his overall stats would suggest. The enormity of the disparity this year still seems like a fluke though. I don't think any team has ever underperformed to this extent for a period of multiple years.

Melo is suffering a similar fate to a lesser degree. The Knicks are +62 with him on the court (+1.1 per 36). That's not great, but it's certainly better than I expected given their putrid record. The Knicks have been crushed this year with Amdre'e Stargnani at power forward, and Stoudemire in particular (-197/-8.3). I don't think Melo is a top-5 or so player, but there's no shame in being in that 8-15 range. Put him in a good situation like replacing David West, David Lee, or Z-Bo on their teams and I think he'd be able to fit in and help them contend.
   623. andrewberg Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4662495)
Re: Melo

I think he "blended" very well with Kidd, Chandler, Novak, pre-injury Shumpert, and others a couple of years ago because their talents matched his. The Knicks have made a bunch of moves that seemed incompatible as they were making them- it's not revisionist history to question the Melo/Amare pairing, the Lin eschewing, or the Bargnani trade- and they worked out as poorly as it seemed they would at the time. Are we really blaming Melo for not making other players capable of things they were fundamentally never capable of being? As a basketball player, Melo is the sum of his on-court performances. Until about 2011, I think that made him a slightly inefficient gunner with defensive issues. For the last couple of years, his offensive efficiency has improved to the point where he's basically what Durant was before he took the leap as a playmaker (big SF who scores brilliantly, rebounds very well, passes just ok, defends selectively).

Note that there is a smattering of Twolves fans united in the belief that Melo does not deserve the blame for an incompetent FO. I'm not sure that I agree with NJ's comment that you have to play Melo-ball with Melo, but I'm not sure I disagree with it either. I would love to see what he would look like on a more balanced team at this point in his career.

Re: Love

That stat in 613 about his win % is a little skewed because the team has been historically atrocious in the couple of long stretches in which he was injured. A fair chunk of his healthy games were those first two years when he was a backup to Al Jefferson on some miserable teams. Hard to blame him for that.

Also, the idea that Durant would instantly make the Wolves a contender implies that Love is mostly to blame for the late game struggles and/or pythag deficiency (conversely- if Durant was on the team, would still be possible to have horrible late-game luck? The definition of luck would indicate "yes"). I don't have enough evidence to feel very strongly either way about that argument. I have seen Love play a couple hundred times and there is nothing in his game that makes me think it's obvious that a team with him as a primary offensive weapon would struggle at the end of games. If someone wants to make an argument that it is true, there should at least be some support for WHY it is is true.

With all of that said, I agree with the general principle that Love is in the second "band" of star players behind Lebron and Durant, and that Melo is in the band after that. Fit issues aside, if you put two players as good as them on the same team, that would be a hell of a team.

Speaking of Win Shares Kyle Lowry is sixth in the league behind only Durant, Lebron, Love, Curry and Griffin. How much of the real deal is he, how many guys jump to that level at his age? Goran Dragic is the same age and has made a huge jump as well, he is 12th in WS and is 11th in WS48. What is the chance either of these guys keeps it up for several seasons?


Slim to none. Ryan Anderson, Nene, Gerald Wallace, and Luol Deng finished seasons in the top 10 in WS in the fairly recent past. They're career years. That doesn't make them flukes; they're just not likely to repeat.

   624. bibigon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4662500)
With all of that said, I agree with the general principle that Love is in the second "band" of star players behind Lebron and Durant, and that Melo is in the band after that. Fit issues aside, if you put two players as good as them on the same team, that would be a hell of a team.

Assuming that "second band" players means top 10ish, but not top 5 (or so), can you name a prior perennial second band player who didn't go .500 or make the playoffs in his first six years in the league?

It's not dispositive obviously - maybe Love is really by far the unluckiest player in the history of the NBA with respect to teammates, management, and pythag vs. real record. But I'm curious if there's any precedent?
   625. Booey Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4662507)
Then there's the pythag issue, which says Minnesota should be 35-21


Yeah, but how much is that pythag boosted by all their beatdowns of the Jazz? Take those away and they're probably close to .500. ;-)

Seriously, no team has owned the Jazz this year like the Wolves, for some reason.
   626. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4662525)
I don't understand why the Kevin Love discussion/question even exists. Ricky Rubio is an incredibly limited player. That's the biggest problem to me. Maybe I'm completely off base and the numbers don't support it but it seems blatantly obvious. The Wolves suck late because they have a PG who makes Rondo look like Steph Curry and when defenses lock in it's very difficult to get good possessions when you're carrying that kind of dead weight.

Agreed with whoever said the only surefire way to get Melo not to play Melo ball is by pairing him with someone he respects as an equal.
   627. kpelton Posted: February 25, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4662533)
The numbers are very clear that Rubio is the issue with Minnesota's late-game offense. He's a disaster in clutch situations, and Barea is slightly worse. But the Timberwolves have actually been worse in clutch defense this year.

Replacement level

I'm not sure that a all-replacement-level team doesn't go winless, or below .050 winning percentage.

If you look at the performance of players signed as free agents for the minimum (my de facto definition of replacement), it's consistent with my standard, which is that an all-replacement team would go 10-72. Obviously teams have been worse than that -- the Sixers are much worse than that right now -- with some above-replacement players, but they typically have players far worse than replacement either hanging around on guaranteed contracts or underperforming in the season in question. There's also the issue of bad teams simply quitting in terms of effort that's not really an issue when measuring the value of an individual replacement player.

In basketball I basically treat absolute win shares and wins above replacement as the same thing. It may not be exactly right, maybe the replacement team wins 5 games or so, but it's close enough.

For most players, sure. Besides really injury-prone guys, it mostly matters right at the line of replacement level. And that's where a lot of the players in the original discussion (late first rounders/early second rounders) live.
   628. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4662534)
Agreed with whoever said the only surefire way to get Melo not to play Melo ball is by pairing him with someone he respects as an equal.

People need to sort of stop and reflect upon that (true) statement. "I'm gonna hog unless I respect my best teammate as an equal" isn't exactly the stuff championships are made of. And of course as it's played out, hardly shockingly, this attitude has resulted in "I'm gonna hog."
   629. villainx Posted: February 25, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4662543)
The Knicks as a team are pretty awful. What star could come and do that much better than how they performed with Melo? And not bad luck exactly, but just seems the bad luck and bad execution happens at the most inconvenient time. I keep thinking the Knicks should luck their ways to two or three more wins, but they just keep losing.

I happen to like Melo as a player. And I blame the coach and FO more than Melo.
   630. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4662545)
People need to sort of stop and reflect upon that (true) statement. "I'm gonna hog unless I respect my best teammate as an equal" isn't exactly the stuff championships are made of. And of course as it's played out, hardly shockingly, this attitude has resulted in "I'm gonna hog."

Disagree here. I used to feel this way, but I think that he's improved a lot since coming to NY and is now, in fact, good enough to build a championship team around. It just take a very particular mix of players.
   631. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4662546)
People need to sort of stop and reflect upon that (true) statement. "I'm gonna hog unless I respect my best teammate as an equal" isn't exactly the stuff championships are made of. And of course as it's played out, hardly shockingly, this attitude has resulted in "I'm gonna hog."


Kobe has 5 championships. He's a better and more willing passer than people give him credit for, but still, just saying.
   632. The District Attorney Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4662549)
I don't see it in "ballhog" terms at all. I assume Melo gets as many shots per game as anyone in the league, so he can't really ask for more, and he should be getting that many shots. I see it in "happiness" terms. When he feels like he's getting slighted on offense, he starts doing other things (defense/rebounding) less. He's "not into it." When he feels like he's getting his due, he starts doing those unselfish things more.

But, as I said, I do think he'd welcome the offense often running through another player, if he agreed that that guy really was capable of doing as much as he does. Which he obviously did not with, e.g., Lin. (Since Melo is a superstar pro athlete and has to have a huge ego to do his job, I'm sure he'd rank himself above some guys whom we'd rank him below. But I don't think he's nearly crazy enough to rank himself #1 above everybody.)
   633. bibigon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4662550)
I don't understand why the Kevin Love discussion/question even exists. Ricky Rubio is an incredibly limited player. That's the biggest problem to me. Maybe I'm completely off base and the numbers don't support it but it seems blatantly obvious. The Wolves suck late because they have a PG who makes Rondo look like Steph Curry and when defenses lock in it's very difficult to get good possessions when you're carrying that kind of dead weight.
Because top 5 players (which is what win shares and RAPM indicate of Love), occasionally win half their games even without a great or good PG.
   634. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4662551)
People need to sort of stop and reflect upon that (true) statement. "I'm gonna hog unless I respect my best teammate as an equal" isn't exactly the stuff championships are made of. And of course as it's played out, hardly shockingly, this attitude has resulted in "I'm gonna hog."

Kobe has 5 championships. He's a better and more willing passer than people give him credit for, but still, just saying.
I think that, for perimeter scorer-type players, their instinct is to try and will their teams to victory by raining shots. Just in the last decade, we've seen guys like Kobe and Iverson, Wade, Durant, Kyrie Irving, Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady all do the same thing when they were on bad-to-middling teams: shoot like crazy. It's easy to argue, given that those teams weren't very good, that they'd be better if only the star was "different," but the problems with those teams weren't because the stars were selfish, it's because the rest of the team wasn't good.
   635. kpelton Posted: February 25, 2014 at 10:49 PM (#4662558)
Because top 5 players (which is what win shares and RAPM indicate of Love), occasionally win half their games even without a great or good PG.

And occasionally, teams with a +3.9 point differential win half their games.
   636. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4662563)
Listening to Monday's ep. of The Starters where Love's perceived inability to score in the fourth relative to other top PF was being discussed. In light of that, and above discussion, here are clutch stats (per 48 min) for the four guys they discussed, per 82games:
[here, clutch = 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points]

Love: 10.3-27.9 from the field, 37.0 FG%, 45.4 eFG%, 60% ast'd, 7% blk'd, 6.2 FTM, 31.6 PTS
Blake: 8.5-21.0 from the field, 40.5 FG%, 40.5 eFG%, 65% ast'd, 5% blk'd, 10.5 FTM, 27.5 PTS
Dirk: 13.2-32.7 from the field, 40.4 FG%, 41.2 eFG%, 39% ast'd, 2% blk'd, 12.1 FTM, 39.1 PTS
Aldridge: 8.9-27.2 from the field, 32.9 FG%, 33.6 eFG%, 46% ast'd, 4% blk'd, 13.4 FTM, 31.6 PTS
   637. bibigon Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4662568)
And occasionally, teams with a +3.9 point differential win half their games.
I'm not sure what this is getting at. Point differential is obviously wildly important in winning basketball games, but it's not the whole story. To some degree, it's salient that Love's teams always underperform their point differential, even without Ricky Rubio. That's not dispositive that there's something being overrated about Kevin Love, but it's a weird data point about him.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting Love is a loser and a bad player. I'm just wondering if maybe he's like the 15th best guy in the NBA rather than the 2-4th. (WS/RAPM ranks). Maybe he's the unluckiest guy in the history of the NBA of course, somebody has to be (not being sarcastic there).
   638. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4662574)
Dirk: 13.2-32.7 from the field, 40.4 FG%, 41.2 eFG%, 39% ast'd, 2% blk'd, 12.1 FTM, 39.1 PTS
Considering Dirk is taking less than 16 shots a game, that (per 48) 32.7 FGA is impressive. I wonder who is losing shots. Monta?
   639. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4662578)
Monta is taking 23.6 fga and 19.2 FTA for 35.9 pts.
   640. andrewberg Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4662579)
Agree with Kp that Rubio accounts for much of the late game problems and there has been extra bad luck this season on top of that. For anyone interested with LP, wolves are in a close one at Phoenix tonight. No Martin or pek means love and Rubio will win or lose it.
   641. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4662582)
To some degree, it's salient that Love's teams always underperform their point differential, even without Ricky Rubio. That's not dispositive that there's something being overrated about Kevin Love, but it's a weird data point about him.


He's been a full-time starter for four seasons, of which one was mostly lost to injury. That's not nearly enough of a data set to make the point you're implying.
   642. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4662583)
I'm just wondering if maybe he's like the 15th best guy in the NBA rather than the 2-4th. (WS/RAPM ranks).

Serious question, have you tried coming up with a list of 14 players better than Love? LeBron, Durant and Paul are obviously better. But who are the other 11?
   643. kpelton Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4662586)
Point differential is obviously wildly important in winning basketball games, but it's not the whole story.

In general, sure, but in this case the question of why Kevin Love can't lead a good team isn't asked in the first place if they've played to their differential. So I would say here it is the whole story.

That said ... I had no idea the Wolves' late-game issues were so bad pre-Rubio. Here's their record in games Love has played (I think) within five points in the last 5 minutes, year by year:

2008-09 6-18
2009-10 3-16
2010-11 4-28
2011-12 8-19
2012-13 1-5
2013-14 2-18

OOF
   644. King Mekong Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4662587)
615/623

I think the question of how you would build a championship team around Melo is an interesting one, I think you'd want a good PNR/Defense big like Tyson Chandler and a good 3p % PNR point guard like maybe a Damian Lilliard. Then two good wing 3p%/Defenders like maybe a JJ Reddick and a Trevor Ariza/Kawhi Leonard type.
   645. bibigon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4662591)
Serious question, have you tried coming up with a list of 14 players better than Love? LeBron, Durant and Paul are obviously better. But who are the other 11?
Sure, here goes:

LeBron, Durant, Paul, George, Curry, Griffin, Melo, Anthony Davis, Dirk, Aldridge, Dwight.

That's eleven, which is where I admittedly run out of steam. Depending on the the question, Lowry and Dragic might belong in the above category, although neither really has a track record, so I'll keep them out. A couple other guys grade super well defensively by some metrics, like Wall, Conley, and Kawhi, and I think it's plausible they're better as well, but I wouldn't put them there

So maybe not 15th, but somewhere in the 10-12 range, depending on what you think of Aldridge I guess.
   646. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:07 AM (#4662592)
643, POOMA but isn't it typical that teams who run their offense through bigs struggle more in close and late situations because it's not as simple getting the ball to your big as it is to a wing or point? I'm not sure if they struggle to the extent exemplified by the records you posted but if the effect is there it may need to be accounted for.
   647. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4662594)
Eek. Dragic fouls out with 3:46 remaining. Help us, Ish Smith, you're our only hope.
   648. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4662597)
Not a good game for Dragic, but I thought before that last foul he was going to win this game. T-Wolf interior D just sucks.
   649. andrewberg Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4662599)
This whole discussion of Love in the clutch has been rendered moot now that we've entered the Shabazz era.
   650. bibigon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:16 AM (#4662600)
That said ... I had no idea the Wolves' late-game issues were so bad pre-Rubio. Here's their record in games Love has played (I think) within five points in the last 5 minutes, year by year:
This is what I meant. Kevin Love being below .500 in a single season doesn't mean much. Kevin Love never having a .500 season in six years, and having a career .332 winning percentage is a little more troubling.

#646, why does that need to be accounted for? Isn't that kind of the whole point? That there's something about Love that's causing the Wolves to struggle in close & late situations? (Or generally - he doesn't have a great W% in blowouts either).
   651. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4662601)
That last shot by Love was pretty clutch. Of course, it was a 7 point lead, not five. Boooo.
   652. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4662602)
LeBron, Durant, Paul, George, Curry, Griffin, Melo, Anthony Davis, Dirk, Aldridge, Dwight.

That's eleven, which is where I admittedly run out of steam. Depending on the the question, Lowry and Dragic might belong in the above category, although neither really has a track record, so I'll keep them out. A couple other guys grade super well defensively by some metrics, like Wall, Conley, and Kawhi, and I think it's plausible they're better as well, but I wouldn't put them there


LeBron, Durant and Paul are a given. Love is clearly a superior offensive player to George IMO and while George is a better defender I do wonder how awesome Love's team's record would be if he could play with the best defensive C in basketball. Curry/Love/Griffin seems like a toss-up to me. Love is a lot like Melo in terms of the shape of his value/performance but with a huge rebounding advantage and a more efficient scorer so I'm not sure how Melo lands ahead of him on your list. Anthony Davis is too soon, but eventually will get there. Dirk, not at this stage. Aldridge I don't agree with at all unless he's secretly an awesome defender because Love scores a lot more than him and there is an efficiency chasm there not to mention the far superior job Love does on the boards. Dwight is a much better defensive player and Love is a much much better offensive player. I would take him over Dwight as well.

Also, there's no way in hell Kawhi Leonard belongs anywhere near this conversation and I don't see how you can ding Love for his team's performance and casually toss in John Wall for consideration while remaining logically consistent.

I think there's a top level with LeBron and Durant. There's a second level with Paul. And then there's a third level and Love is on that third level.
   653. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4662603)
#646, why does that need to be accounted for? Isn't that kind of the whole point? That there's something about Love that's causing the Wolves to struggle in close & late situations? (Or generally - he doesn't have a great W% in blowouts either).

I think my point was that there may not be anything wrong with Love beyond whatever the typical issues are with big men. so I don't think he needs to be dinged any more/less than other bigs when looking at his stats.
   654. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:25 AM (#4662604)
Well. As much as that sucked, in the bigger picture it's great to hear Bledsoe didn't have any soreness after yesterday's 3-on-3 game. Felt good enough for some 2-on-2 today. Word is, he's back in two weeks.
   655. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:28 AM (#4662605)
After Dragic fouled out, Suns were outscored 18-6. Woof.
   656. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4662607)
Love wasn't clutch tonight - he missed the assist that would give him his second triple double in three games. 33/13/9, 3 3s, 2 blk, 9 point win at Phoenix where his starting teammates were Rubio, Budinger, Brewer, and Cunningham.

NJ is correct (652), though I probably like Love more than he does (I have Love handily over Blake, for instance). I've got Love at fourth or fifth overall.
   657. bibigon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:43 AM (#4662613)
#652, I obviously disagree with your assessment about a lot of those guys relative to Love, but I don't think it's a slam dunk or anything. I would take all those guys other than Aldridge ahead of Love, which is why I put him in the 10-12 range there, which didn't count Aldridge, Kawhi, Wall, Conley, Lowry, or Dragic, and left room for one more "wiggle" guy.

But obviously this is pretty speculative, as the question of how much to ding a guy for an inability to win games is a tough one to eyeball.
   658. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:44 AM (#4662614)
It seems like the Sixers have lost their last 25 games by double digits, but actually they've only lost 16 of their last 25 games by double digits.

Losses by >4 points: 21
Losses by 1-4 points: 0
Wins by 1-4 points: 4
Wins by >4 points: 0
   659. bibigon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:46 AM (#4662615)
The Sixers are amazingly going to make those of us who faded Simmons, and bet the over 17.5 wins really have to sweat it out. If they fail to go over, it will rank as one of the most amazing achievements I can remember.
   660. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 26, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4662618)
Hey, they may have lost to the Cavs and Bucks by a combined 49 points in the last week, but they only lost to the Mavericks by 12!
   661. tshipman Posted: February 26, 2014 at 01:59 AM (#4662632)
The Sixers are amazingly going to make those of us who faded Simmons, and bet the over 17.5 wins really have to sweat it out. If they fail to go over, it will rank as one of the most amazing achievements I can remember.


Have you seen his NFL picks? It's never a bad idea to fade Simmons.
   662. rr Posted: February 26, 2014 at 02:10 AM (#4662634)
I see Minnesota a lot; they are one of my League Pass teams. My criticism of Love is that IMO he is not a particularly good defensive player, but I would still take him over almost anybody outside of James and Durant, and Paul. Love seems to like the guys he plays with as guys, but they don't complement him that well in some ways as players, particularly Pekovic, and Rubio, while he is fun to watch and likable, is just not that good.

As to Anthony, he certainly has his faults, but like Bryant has at times in his career, I think Anthony gets too much crap for his weaknesses. New York's problems are higher up the chain than Anthony.
   663. Manny Coon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 03:18 AM (#4662640)
But the Timberwolves have actually been worse in clutch defense this year.


So what is the cause of this? I've seen a lot of explanations for why their offense struggles late in games, but if they kept defending well late in games they would be winning a lot more games. Are Love and Pekovic too slow? Does Rubio go from a very good defender to a poor one? Is a defense driven by rebounding and forcing turnovers worse late in games than the rest of the game?
   664. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 26, 2014 at 07:41 AM (#4662650)
I hear Love's late and close numbers, but if anyone has him below Melo because of "clutch" play, they haven't seen Melo down the stretch this year. Dude's been brutal with the ball and game in his hands this year. Brutal.

That doesn't really impact my opinion of him, but it is what it is.
   665. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4662708)
My criticism of Love is that IMO he is not a particularly good defensive player

Totally agreed. And, as much as I like both he and Pekovic, that's a little slow and hulking in some situations.

One thing to note when we look at Love (or anyone at his position), power forward probably has the highest replacement level of any spot on the court. It's not that hard to come up with a decent alternative there.

Honestly, Love's [individual] clutch numbers (this season) look fine to me. The biggest demerits are:
* only 12-21 from the line
* rebounding goes down on both boards (particularly offense)
The big stories this season for Minny wrt poor clutch performance are, as noted many other times, is Rubio's implosion. 3-18 shooting in the clutch without other superlative things going on to make up for it -and- terrible, terrible clutch defense. When Love is on the floor in clutch situations, their DRtg is 131.4. (Super small sample - when Shved is on the floor in those spots, it's 184.4)
   666. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4662713)
Dude's been brutal with the ball and game in his hands this year. Brutal.

Except when he gets to the line (which he's done often) but, yeah - brutal.

The T-Wolves clutch offense has been better than that of the Knicks. The T-Wolves clutch defense has been a flaming trainwreck into an orphanage.

(Again, clutch definition and #s from 82games):
In clutch situations with Love on the floor (98% of team minutes in that situation) v. the Knicks with Melo (95%) - note, teams tend to be less efficient in these situations...

MIN ORtg 99.3 DRtg 131.4
NYK ORtg 89.0 DRtg 98.1
   667. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4662714)
I think we should post our top 25 or so players in the game and crowdsource them.

The criteria is not past career value or prospective future value, but value right now. Imagine that the NBA redesigns their playoffs, say creating 8 teams from scratch for the postseason and stocking them through a draft. You get to keep the player until your squad is eliminated or wins the playoffs, so nobody cares what they'll do next year.

The top probably starts out Lebron-Durant-Paul, but maybe Durant gets a first place vote this year. I'll think it through and post my list.
   668. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4662731)
Complicating note: some players gain or lose relative status in the framework of an 8 team league v. a 30 team league. To take a hypothetical example, if you had a 12' tall jump shooter, who only shot threes (out of pity) but could hit them at a 40% clip no matter whether he's playing against an All-Star or a prep... he's more valuable in a small league. (Let's set aside both physics and defense here.) For a more real world example, I think Melo's skills scale well to more advanced competition. OTOH, usage rates will have to shift here as well - which can work the other way.
   669. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4662732)
OK, here's my list.

1 LeBron James
2 Kevin Durant
3 Chris Paul
4 Stephen Curry
5 Blake Griffin
6 Paul George
7 Tim Duncan
8 Roy Hibbert
9 Dwight Howard
10 Kevin Love
11 Dirk Nowitzki
12 Damian Lillard
13 Tony Parker
14 Andre Iguodala
15 Chris Bosh
16 Joakim Noah
17 Serge Ibaka
18 Anthony Davis
19 John Wall
20 LaMarcus Aldridge
21 James Harden
22 Carmelo Anthony
23 Kyle Lowry
24 Goran Dragic
25 DeAndre Jordan
   670. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4662734)
If an 8 team league complicates things, then scratch that, assume the usual 16 teams in the playoffs. The difference is Kevin Love gets to play and some crappy guys on the lower seed Eastern teams don't.
   671. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4662739)
To take a hypothetical example, if you had a 12' tall jump shooter, who only shot threes (out of pity) but could hit them at a 40% clip no matter whether he's playing against an All-Star or a prep...


That guy might play well with one of my favorite players in one of those video games where you build a custom player. I created ####### Johnson, a 7'7 skinny point guard who absolutely could not shoot from anywhere. If he had an open dunk he'd still brick it. But he was maxed out everywhere else and contribute quadruple doubles in assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks.
   672. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4662740)
Damn nanny. Johnson's first name was pronounced "Os-Wee-Pay".
   673. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4662785)
I never messed with body types. Was always about building up garbage programs into powerhouses...

That said, the Breaking Madden series on sbnation gave me a fair amount of joy this football season. The punter who could kick a ball through the clouds, the day offsides was legal, BEEFTANK...
Recommended reading and (GIF) viewing.
   674. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 26, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4662835)
AROM, that's a pretty good list. Off the top of my head, I'd drop Igoudala, Dragic, and Jordan for Marc Gasol, Russell Westbrook and Boogie Cousins or Andre Drummond.
   675. AROM Posted: February 26, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4662880)
Yeah, Marc Gasol definitely should be on my list. I'm not sure if I'd put the others on the top 25 or just outside it. On Westbrook, he's definitely on it last year and likely again next year, but I would not bank on him right now.

I started by looking at basketball reference and taking a list of the top 100 qualified players by WS48, then made my subjective adjustments. That gives you basically everyone over .100 in WS48. It's not a perfect metric and some guys under .100 might actually be good players, but I feel confident enough that nobody under .100 is actually a top 25 player.

Chris Paul and Marc Gasol missed the list because they didn't have enough minutes played. I recognized Paul's absence and made sure he was on my list, but forgot about Gasol. I'd probably put him between 12-14 and bump the others down.
   676. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4662904)
1 LeBron James
2 Kevin Durant
3 Chris Paul
4 Stephen Curry
5 Blake Griffin
6 Kevin Love
7 Tim Duncan
8 Marc Gasol
9 Chris Bosh
10 Carmelo Anthony
11 Paul George
12 Roy Hibbert
13 Dirk Nowitzki
14 Dwight Howard
15 Joakim Noah
16 James Harden
17 John Wall
18 Anthony Davis
19 Andre Igoudala
20 LaMarcus Aldridge
21 Damian Lillard
22 Tony Parker
23 Serge Ibaka
24 Goran Dragic
25 Kyle Lowry

   677. bibigon Posted: February 26, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4662906)
I want to suggest replacing WS/48 with ASPM here (download the spreadsheet - much easier than the chart). Insofar as you're using a box score stat, the regressions are much sounder for individual players, something even Oliver has endorsed.

I use WS/48 as an eyeball test myself, but it's a habit I want to get out of, less I come to believe all the best defensive players in the league play for the Pacers (even Scola!)
   678. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4663046)
Kings to sign Royce White to a 10 day contract.
   679. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4663065)
As to Anthony, he certainly has his faults, but like Bryant has at times in his career, I think Anthony gets too much crap for his weaknesses. New York's problems are higher up the chain than Anthony.


Agreed that the issues are higher up. Also, I would add that both are terrible in identifying guys to play with them. For me, Melo deserves more of those criticisms - Kobe busts his ass working out [possibly to an unhealthy level] and can/could play defense at a high level. Any issues I have with Kobe, are really just issues with those in the media.
   680. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 26, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4663147)
Udrih to the Grizz.

Granger, according to gossip, to the Clips.
   681. steagles Posted: February 26, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4663172)
Granger, according to gossip, to the Clips.
i'm not disappointed or anything, but i think granger is making a mistake if he has anything at all left in the tank. there's basically 6 weeks left in the season, and with the lack of talent on the roster and the fact the sixers play at a really high pace, if granger could have put up 15+ PPG with some semblance of efficiency that probably would have gotten him another multi-year contract as a mid-high tier free agent.

   682. steagles Posted: February 26, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4663191)

Christopher A. Vito @ChrisVito 4 minutes ago

#Sixers starters tonight vs. Magic: Hollis Thompson, Thad Young, Henry Sims, James Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams
   683. steagles Posted: February 26, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4663217)
byron mullens is the worst basketball player i have ever seen in my life. it's like watching a caricature of a homeless man's spencer hawes.
   684. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 26, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4663247)
I'm glad you abandoned hyperbole; this is correct.
   685. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4663284)
4 Stephen Curry

4 Stephen Curry


I'll be posting my own list, but for now: have you guys heard of defense? AROM, I know you have, because you've got a guy averaging under 14 per game on 46% shooting in your top ten, and I suppose, NJ, you have him in your top 12....so.....?
   686. nick swisher hygiene Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4663291)
ok, so the Thunder must need Perkins......
   687. The District Attorney Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4663292)
I want to suggest replacing WS/48 with ASPM here (download the spreadsheet - much easier than the chart).
Interestingly, this ranks alleged single-handed-team-ruiner Ricky Rubio as the 28th best player in the league.

I have no clue in the universe how that's derived, but, there you go.
   688. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4663294)
ok, so the Thunder must need Perkins.....

Or not need Westbrook? Just kidding.
   689. kpelton Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:35 AM (#4663306)
685 - Are we sure Curry's a bad defender? Obviously he doesn't provide as much defensive value as even an average big man, but I think the perception that he's a below-average defender at his position is somewhat outdated. He's on the No. 3 defense in the league and RAPM has him slightly better than average defensively.
   690. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4663309)
Agreed, Kevin. He's the guy I've got roughly even with Love at 4/5.
   691. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: February 27, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4663321)
   692. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 27, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4663337)
i'm not disappointed or anything, but i think granger is making a mistake if he has anything at all left in the tank. there's basically 6 weeks left in the season, and with the lack of talent on the roster and the fact the sixers play at a really high pace, if granger could have put up 15+ PPG with some semblance of efficiency that probably would have gotten him another multi-year contract as a mid-high tier free agent.
Danny Granger's made over $60 million in the NBA already and he's never played in a Conference Finals or Finals game. At this point, he's probably more worried about staying healthy and playing deep into the playoffs than his next contract. Win-win for both Granger and the Clips.
   693. puck Posted: February 27, 2014 at 02:57 AM (#4663342)
691. Der-K can't picture being a non-imager Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4663321)
BB-ref added shooting % by distance for '00-'01 on.


Wow, that's fun!
   694. zempf Posted: February 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4663508)
If you guys have any thoughts on the shooting % by distance stuff, let me know since the guy who wrote it is in the office next to mine & feedback is always good.
   695. bibigon Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4663536)
685 - Are we sure Curry's a bad defender? Obviously he doesn't provide as much defensive value as even an average big man, but I think the perception that he's a below-average defender at his position is somewhat outdated. He's on the No. 3 defense in the league and RAPM has him slightly better than average defensively.
I agree with this. The Warriors defense is very strong, and there's a big gap between them at #3 and #4. Bogut and Iguodala are great defenders obviously (although neither has played that many minutes). We know Lee is a pretty terrible defender, and Thompson's reputation varies.

It seems strange to be confident that both Curry and Lee are bad defensively when they're 2nd and 3rd on the team in minutes, and the team is so great defensively overall. Especially so when the various defensive metrics all like Curry actually (which is largely a function of his steals).

It's plausible of course that we're all wrong about Lee, and he's actually not a sieve, but that seems less likely to me.
   696. andrewberg Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4663556)
#Sixers starters tonight vs. Magic: Hollis Thompson, Thad Young, Henry Sims, James Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams


Hoya saxa!

   697. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 27, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4663669)
Sloan papers are here. Let's split them up and assign book reports.
   698. Spivey Posted: February 27, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4663687)
Since we're bringing up Curry's defense, I think Lee is a good one too. I don't watch as much NBA as many here, but I don't find Lee to be a sieve by any stretch. Perhaps he was in New York, or is and I'm just missing. He's not a big rim protector, which is why you want to pair him with someone exactly like Bogut.

The other thing is the starting 5 of the Warriors is extremely long. Bogut, Lee, Iggy, Klay, and Curry. That length at all 5 positions really adds up and I think makes a few of them better than the sum of the parts.

I think Golden State is a legit title contender if they're healthy going into the playoffs.
   699. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 27, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4663689)
Who is ready for Jimmer-mania?
   700. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 27, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4663714)
*raises hand meekly*
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