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Saturday, January 04, 2014

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - January 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about:

the Beatles…

... and video games.

The District Attorney Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:45 PM | 673 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   301. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4639970)
Oden is actually playing and it sounds like he's playing well!
   302. Publius Publicola Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4639984)
He can't be playing that well. The Heat are down at the half to the Wizards by 21 points
   303. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4639993)
The Heat are a +3 with him on the court.
   304. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4640010)
Oden didn't play in the first half.
   305. Kurt Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4640020)
I'm not sure I see the point in LeBron playing 41 minutes in a game his team trailed by 25 after the first quarter. They're going to be the first or second seed; why would he ever play 40+ minutes?
   306. Publius Publicola Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4640022)
Why were they down 25 after the first quarter?
   307. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4640024)
Because of Jan Vesely's new approach.
   308. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4640036)
The Heat are a +3 with him on the court.
It was an exciting 8 minutes.
   309. Publius Publicola Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4640037)
Jared Sullinger with a 20/20 in a win against the Raptors. First one for the C's since Garnett's first year there.
   310. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4640051)
Minnesota lost another close game. They've been so bad at winning those games. The Kings won by three points behind an excellent game by Rudy Gay who has been really good for them.
   311. theboyqueen Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4640065)
I could see [Demarcus Cousins] peaking later in his career like Zach Randolph, after he has some time to get his head on straight and becomes more consistent.


Demarcus can be the hub of a tremendous offensive team (he is already, since the Gay trade). He has actually been an incredibly consistent player this year, and I think he has declared exactly what he is, which is high usage offensive and rebounding force. He is also a solid 1 on 1 defender. What he absolutely cannot be, whether for lack of the appropriate skills, intelligence, or attention span, is the hub of an effective team defense. He is pound-for-pound the worst team defender I have ever seen, and trying to develop this is likely to be a waste of time and effort. If he had a Gasol/Bogut/Ibaka/A.Davis/Hibbert type to anchor the defense alongside him that team would be a completely different animal. Admittedly, these guys are not common.
   312. andrewberg Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4640069)
The wolves didn't blow the game late tonight, at least. They actually closed well after they played crap defense and trailed by 10-15 for most of the game. Fwiw, Barea was in during the comeback.
   313. theboyqueen Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:57 PM (#4640080)
Embiid would be quite an addition to the Kings, if that were somehow to happen.
   314. The District Attorney Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:26 AM (#4640086)
An oral history of Hoop Dreams (extraordinarily long, but that's appropriate, right?)

If the Cavs had made the playoffs this year like I think most people were expecting, we would at least know whether LeBron was ever willing to give them the time of day. Given the disaster they have become (highlighted by what looks very likely to be the worst rookie season ever by a #1 pick), that will now be a hypothetical people will always wonder about.
   315. andrewberg Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:10 AM (#4640093)
Some of the stats from the bulls-magic 3ot game are pitiful. How did harkless only get 1 shot, 3 boards, and 0 assists in 46 minutes?
   316. Manny Coon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4640094)
Clippers-Dallas game was crazy tonight. Clippers were up 12 in third quarter, Dallas took the lead by the end of the quarter, and then Dallas went up 17 with about 5 minutes left and then Clippers came back to win 129-127.
   317. tshipman Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4640096)
DeMarcus has really turned it on this year. If he keeps it up, this will be a better year than his patron saint, Derrick Coleman, ever had.

Not sure if I would want to build a team around him, but he's an undeniable talent.

Would you rather time:
DeMarcus or LaMarcus?
For next year and for the rest of their career. Ordinarily ROC would favor the younger guy, but he's also the knucklehead.
   318. RollingWave Posted: January 16, 2014 at 04:10 AM (#4640112)
Terrence Jones kinda outplayed Anthony Davis tonight, and the Rockets needed all of it too, another frustrating as hell win for the Rockets. they must lead the league in "win that felt like losses"

That should not be a problem tomorrow when they inevitably gets steam rolled by OKC though.
   319. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4640138)
I'm not sure I see the point in LeBron playing 41 minutes in a game his team trailed by 25 after the first quarter. They're going to be the first or second seed; why would he ever play 40+ minutes?


I think the only defense is that it was their first game in 4 days, I think. But I otherwise completely agree with this. There is almost nothing that could happen, barring major injury to Lebron, that could cause them to slip below the 2 seed.

On the other hand, they could very highly value home court this year after Indy played them so tough last year.
   320. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4640183)
My fiancee got me tickets to last night's Heat-Wizards game as a Christmas gift, thoughts follow:

-This was my second time seeing LeBron play in person. First time was a Wizards-Cavs game from '09 or '10 where I literally sat in the last row in the arena just for the chance to see LeBron. Back then I was hoping/praying he would come to the Knicks and even though a really bad Wizards team somehow managed to beat a powerhouse Cavs team LeBron was just clearly physically superior to everyone. You didn't see that as much tonight. There were flashes, like the dunk on Gortat (IIRC) in the third but then there were moments where you thought he was going to break away and then Nene blocks his shot. For the most part LeBron, and MIA in general, looked pretty listless. As an aside, watching LeBron in person you really pick up on his Nomaresque wrist band tic that happens every time there's a lull in play.

-I think MIA missed Mario Chalmers. Cole deserves a hell of a lot of credit for the improvements he's made this year and, in isolation, he actually played pretty well but MIA's offensive system, at its simplest level, is built on finding that good/great shot and taking it. Cole was a bit slower on the trigger than Chalmers would be and there were a few times I (And the rest of my relatively pro-Heat section) got frustrated with him dribbling off an open 3 point shot.

-Greg Oden played great. I was surprised that he was still able to get up and down the court relatively quickly and after I stopped holding my breath thinking he was going to crumble into a million pieces at any second it was a lot of fun to see him out there. Everyone talks about his potential ability to guard guys like Hibbert, but the thing that actually caught my eye was the dimension he brings to their PnR game. The WAS wings had a hard time getting around his picks because of his size and guys eventually resorted to trying to push him out of the way. Speaking of which, Nene got away with a really dirty play in the 3rd quarter when he got frustrated with Oden and just pushed him in the back while he was mid-air going for a rebound. I think Cole ended up going to the line because he was the one who got knocked out of bounds by Oden after the push, but it was really an attack on Oden. You never like to see that sort of play, but especially with a guy with Oden's injury history. As someone who was weaned on the 90s Knicks and given the score of the game...I was surprised Nene wasn't sent a message at any point.

-Wade was awful. "Is he known for always quitting on plays? It doesn't seem like he's trying at all tonight" Those were my fiancee's words after Wade dribbled the ball off his foot in the 3rd and hesitated for a second before deciding he felt up to picking up a slowly rolling away loose ball that would otherwise result in a turnover.

-The seats in the Verizon Center are terrible. The seats themselves are small and uncomfortable and there's not a lot of room to maneuver the aisles. This was also the first time I've been to a basketball game and been asked to wait for a stoppage in play before I can return to my seat.

-For the most part, WAS did a great job of moving the ball and knocking down every open shot they earned. Wall was spectacular and Beal played a good game as well. One thing I would be concerned about if I was a WAS fan is that the MIA run in the second half was built almost entirely off of WAS mistakes. MIA did seem like they decided to care a bit, but at the same time WAS players were doing things like passing the ball directly into MIA's hands. No excuse for that.

EDIT: Ray Allen looked d-u-n in this game. Just checked his stats and saw that he's having a pretty bad year. It was kind of funny watching him guard Beal last night because Allen was the guy Beal was often compared to leading up the draft and Beal is just so much bigger/more physical that it looked strange.
   321. tshipman Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4640229)
This was also the first time I've been to a basketball game and been asked to wait for a stoppage in play before I can return to my seat.


This is fairly common and something the league wants to have happen. Not doubting you when you say it hasn't happened before.
   322. Manny Coon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4640281)
Watching on the TV I was pretty impressed with Oden's mobility considering all he's been through, I was expecting him to plod around like Andrew Bynum but he was moving around pretty good, both up and both the floor and in tighter spaces in on defense. It's hard to not expect his knees to blow up at any minute, but if they somehow don't he can help a team.

As for the amount of minutes Lebron played, Miami did get back within 9 points by the end of the third quarter despite being down by 34 earlier in game, the fourth quarter didn't go as well for them, but they had legit shot to come back and win the game.
   323. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4640318)
My fiancee got me tickets to last night's Heat-Wizards game as a Christmas gift, thoughts follow:

-This was my second time seeing LeBron play in personFirst time was a Wizards-Cavs game from '09 or '10 where I literally sat in the last row in the arena just for the chance to see LeBron. Back then I was hoping/praying he would come to the Knicks and even though a really bad Wizards team somehow managed to beat a powerhouse Cavs team LeBron was just clearly physically superior to everyone. You didn't see that as much tonight. There were flashes, like the dunk on Gortat (IIRC) in the third but then there were moments where you thought he was going to break away and then Nene blocks his shot. For the most part LeBron, and MIA in general, looked pretty listless.


On Friday, one of my bosses at work, I think looking to cheer me up after I lost my father on New Years', took me and one of my colleagues to Heat-Nets, in his off-the-charts-amazing fourth row seats. LeBron was playing hard, and while I've seen him live before (including one of his great games, the Cavs-Celtics playoff game where he went mano-a-mano with Paul Pierce), nothing prepared me for how amazing he was up close. Scary strong, scary fast. Taller than you think. Narrow waist, wide shoulders. Amazing body control. So much more talented than anyone else on the floor. But, you also saw the listlessness you describe - plays where he takes off and just hangs around the top of the key, times where his eyes are fixed somewhere in section 113 or on Rihanna's breasts, etc. I've never seen a great athlete seem so checked-out at times. And this was a game where he was going all-out, when Wade was sitting but the Heat were trying to avoid losing both ends of their NY swing.

Incidentally, sitting in the bling seats at the Barclays center for a marquee game was one of the most terrific times I've ever had. I would go back again on my own dollar; Yeah, its $500, but its a lot more fun than a weekend in Vegas or Miami. The people watching was INCREDIBLE. Forget the celebrities, its just a totally different crowd than suits at the Garden; lots of folks from entertainment and media, and wealthy black men of all stripes - executives, performers. Business was being done all around us. A mix of gorgeous young women and perfectly coiffed 45 year old wives.

As a fan, seeing a game with that many all-time greats from the same distance as you might watch a pick-up game at the gym was ridiculous; just being able to HEAR the players talk and call things out; watching Garnett do his Peyton Manning impression on defense, Pierce chipping at Livingston after a screw-up, LeBron running at the Bosnian dude who head-locked him and looking back for a teammate to "hold me back".
   324. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4640333)
My condolances, 'zop.
   325. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4640336)
'zop, sorry for your loss.

Incidentally, sitting in the bling seats at the Barclays center for a marquee game was one of the most terrific times I've ever had. I would go back again on my own dollar; Yeah, its $500, but its a lot more fun than a weekend in Vegas or Miami. The people watching was INCREDIBLE. Forget the celebrities, its just a totally different crowd than suits at the Garden; lots of folks from entertainment and media, and wealthy black men of all stripes - executives, performers. Business was being done all around us. A mix of gorgeous young women and perfectly coiffed 45 year old wives.


I know that you grew up in New York like me and probably have gone to a bunch of Knicks games at MSG and so maybe you experienced the same excitement and maybe the word is surprise at the Barclay's. It's just a very different crowd from what you get at MSG. You describe it well. Lots of fun. I sort of feel like jumping ship and following the Nets.
   326. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4640349)
'zop, sorry to hear about you dad. May he RIP.
   327. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4640359)
The seats in the Verizon Center are terrible. The seats themselves are small and uncomfortable and there's not a lot of room to maneuver the aisles.


I think I've posted this before here, but Wizards games are absolutely the worst day-game experience out there. I've been to 10-12 MLB stadiums, 5 or 6 NBA arenas, 3 NFL stadiums, and a bunch of college hoops/football games. Nothing comes close. It's just terrible all around: food, music, the giant ####### sound-barrier-breaking loud-### flames that shoot out during pre-game intros, the seats, everything.
   328. Kurt Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4640365)
I thought Nets games at the Meadowlands were much worse than Wizards games.
   329. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4640367)
I thought Nets games at the Meadowlands were much worse than Wizards games.


Surely anything that happens at the Meadowlands is in its own category (kidding, I've never been to a Nets game).
   330. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4640382)
Some of the stats from the bulls-magic 3ot game are pitiful. How did harkless only get 1 shot, 3 boards, and 0 assists in 46 minutes?

And some are ridiculous. 60 minutes for an injured Jimmy Butler! Noah had a great game. For Orlando, Oladipo, Harris and Nelson were all awesome. This is the 2nd 3OT game the Bulls have played this year A.R. and both have been quite entertaining. To bad every other game makes you want to jab out your eyes.

This was also the first time I've been to a basketball game and been asked to wait for a stoppage in play before I can return to my seat.

Blackhawks have been doing here in Chicago for awhile and I always wondered why the Bulls don't follow suit. There's actually more stoppages in the NBA than the NHL (I think), so it shouldn't be that hard to implement.

It really is amazing that Oden hasn't played in over 4 years. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. Since the Bulls have no chance of beating the Heat this year, I am 100% on the Oden bandwagon.

   331. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4640384)
BTW, DJ Augustin has not been a total train wreck with the Bulls (and he also played well last night), which has really surprised me.
   332. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4640387)
All Star jerseys have sleeves. I wish I could say that no matter what the NBA isn't going to make this happen, but I'm just not sure anymore.
   333. kpelton Posted: January 16, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4640602)
Augustin is one of those guys who seems to play much better when given extended minutes, so I'm not surprised he's been better in Chicago than his last two stops.
   334. chris p Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4640690)
is it a coincidence that the nets started playing better when lopez went down? not that he's bad (he isn't), but having him and an old and less mobile version of garnett on the floor together for extended minutes is probably not a good plan.
   335. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4640750)
Lopez is kind of weird. He can play O but not D, and his identical twin brother can play D but not O. What is it with that? Did one get the right brain and the other the left?
   336. GregD Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4640780)
sorry to hear it, 'zop.
   337. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:37 PM (#4640785)
Kevin Durant's FT rate bothers me as a basketball fan.
   338. GregD Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4640788)
The Knicks' play tonight bothers me as a basketball fan.
   339. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4640790)
The Knicks' play tonight bothers me as a basketball fan.

Terrible team gets blown out by title contender. News at 11.
   340. chris p Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4640796)
jeff green basically sucks ... there was some discussion that the celtics were trying to get harden for perkins ... but it's still a good trade. perkins is nothing more than a big slow goon. one of the great things about the nba in the deemphasis of big fat clowns like perkins.
   341. rr Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4640799)
Houston scored 73 in the first half and 19 in the second half. Wonder if that is a record.
   342. It's a shame about Athletic Supporter Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:55 AM (#4640804)
Houston scored 73 in the first half and 19 in the second half. Wonder if that is a record.


A difference of 54 is indeed, according to the ESPN game recap.
   343. The District Attorney Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4640817)
Lopez is kind of weird. He can play O but not D, and his identical twin brother can play D but not O.
The Gasols are similar (although not twins, obviously.)
   344. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 17, 2014 at 08:02 AM (#4640832)
Lopez is kind of weird. He can play O but not D, and his identical twin brother can play D but not O.


Transporter accident.
   345. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4640987)
Transporter accident.


The only solution for which is a radical, un-tested scientific procedure that trespasses on territory that should be the sole province of God Himself.
   346. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4641128)
Thibodeau served as an assistant to Jeff Van Gundy on the Knicks during many playoff battles with the Bulls' dynasty.

"I was always sitting there saying, ‘When’s he going to take them out?’ He never did," Thibodeau said. "And you know what? That was great coaching. And (Gregg)Popovich was the same way with (Tim) Duncan early on in his career. Pop and Phil are two of the best, maybe the greatest of all-time, both of them.

"I think how you pace your team is important. It’s easy to look at a box score and say, ‘Oh, that’s too much.’ But what you don’t see is the days off in practice. You don’t see what you have a guy do in practice. You may not have contact in practice. You may do shooting. You may do film. There’s a lot of things that go into it. I think I have a pretty good understanding after 24 years how to pace a team."


All fair points, Thibs, but do you really think it's a coincidence the number of injuries, and recurring injuries, that your team has suffered would make you at least consider that, perhaps, just maybe, there's a reason for it?
   347. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4641268)
I really enjoyed this little discussion between Pelton and Ford on Embiid.

I expected it to be a debate, so the fact that Pelton is also so high on Embiid really surprised me. It also has me wondering if I should want Embiid even more than Wiggins or Parker...
   348. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 17, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4641371)
I have 2 worries with embiid.
1. Fouls!!
2. Tyrus Thomas, though Joel has several important advantages
   349. Kurt Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM (#4641433)
   350. chris p Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4641443)
should mark jackson be on the depth chart at pg for the warriors?
   351. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:26 AM (#4641447)
This Laker season has been for ####, but I gotta admit, LA v BOSTON still gets my blood up, so tonight's crazy win was a very nice moment in an otherwise utterly forgettable season.
   352. sardonic Posted: January 18, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4641456)
David Lee is such a frustrating player to have on your team. He's great as a trigger puller finishing a pick and roll and flashes a nice mid range jumper, but every straight post up or ISO drive to the hoop makes me cringe. He has to get blocked at the rim more than every other decent 6'9" player in the rim combined.
   353. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 06:12 AM (#4641460)
As a LeBron homer, it pains me to see Durant (deservedly) opening up a gap in the MVP race.
   354. Publius Publicola Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4641557)
Durant complained during pre-season that he always comes in second and is tired of it. He was the second pick in the draft, he lost in the Finals, he was second in the MVP vote. I'm happy for him that he will finally win something. He seems like a good guy who works hard on his game.
   355. Manny Coon Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4641573)
So anyone think the Clippers will be eager to trade Griffin for Melo after last nights game? Melo did have about as good a 4-23 shooting game in a blowout home loss as you can have.
   356. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4641581)
I have 2 worries with embiid.
1. Fouls!!
2. Tyrus Thomas, though Joel has several important advantages


What's the Tyrus connection?

Embiid does seem risky for how raw he is still (and the fouls are a big part of that) but the fact he's already so productive combined with his size and athleticism and the fact he's so new to basketball is making him really intriguing.

If Wiggins looked like the transcendent prospect predicted he'd be an easy #1 even with Embiid's upside, but so afar sounds like he's more "just" a typical potential top pick talent.

I still probably take Wiggins or Parker, despite his defensive problems, over Embiid though.
   357. rr Posted: January 18, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4641651)
With the Lakers being where they are, I have watched these top college guys a bit and have a few impressions, which may be dead wrong--not a draftnik:

Embiid: I see the points about fouling and learning curve, but to me he's the guy. He has the stuff you can't teach--wingspan, height, athletic ability, and has some footwork already. Looks like the frame could add muscle. Looks to me like he could be a very high-level two-way guy for 10 years once he adjusts to the pro game.
Wiggins: I don't see a James-level impact player there. James' set of physical traits is incredibly rare, and he's smart, too. But I think Wiggins is going to be very, very good--a consistent All-Star type of guy.
Parker: I think he will be good quickly, but I think Wiggins' ceiling is a bit higher.
Randle: I think he will be good in a Zach Randolph kind of way if things break right for him, and I don't mean that negatively.
Smart: I have some doubts--see some issues with lift, shooting. He is big and tough, and there are things to like about him.

Saw Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine when AZ played UCLA. Things to like there but they are raw. Have never seen Exum or Vonleh.
   358. PJ Martinez Posted: January 18, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4641704)
Roy Hibbert has blocked five shots in the first eight minutes of the IND/LAC game.
   359. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 18, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4641737)
Good post, robinred. Ford says Gordon reminds him of a young AK47, but I'd expect some more steals and blocks...

And for some great NBA clips: Vesley is...not a great FT shooter.

Josh Smith doing Josh Smith things.

And Paul George is just pure awesome.

Jazz 1st half against the Wolves also is one of the worst you'll ever see, including Favors missing 2 dunks in a row and Evans missing 4 tip ins.
   360. Publius Publicola Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4641743)
Marcus Smart = Mitch Richmond? If that's as good as he is, I'll take him. He has a ready-made NBA game and body. You just have to plug him in.
   361. Publius Publicola Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4641744)
That Josh Smith video is so typical. What an airhead. He played like a dummy again tonight but the Pistons won anyways.
   362. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4641754)
Embiid was awesome today. He's definitely THE guy.

Smart is very hard for me to peg. He can't really shoot and his handle looks clearly below average for a 1, same with his passing, but watching him he does all of the intangible-y things on the court. In addition, you see the big rebound/steal numbers and you watch him play and it's clear he's got a nose for the ball. Also, while I don't think he's a great athlete, he did display some impressive ups a couple times in today's game. He might be a guy whose future really depends on where he is and what role he's asked to play. I could imagine him blossoming on a team that has a high USG PG who can really shoot, which puts less pressure on him to create on offense and just focus on getting the ball on cuts or on the move and then maybe cross matching on defense and wreaking havoc.
   363. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4641755)
Smart is very hard for me to peg. He can't really shoot and his handle looks clearly below average for a 1, same with his passing, but watching him he does all of the intangible-y things on the court. In addition, you see the big rebound/steal numbers and you watch him play and it's clear he's got a nose for the ball. Also, while I don't think he's a great athlete, he did display some impressive ups a couple times in today's game.
that description of smart sounds a bit like dwayne wade.
   364. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 19, 2014 at 01:04 AM (#4641778)
[363] Heh...kind of funny you say that because after I wrote it, I felt like that's who I was describing and while he doesn't quite have Wade's freakish wingspan, I am interested in seeing how the rest of his numbers look come combine.
   365. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 19, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4641922)
Kendall Marshall has been putting up some pretty solid numbers.
   366. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 19, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4642009)
Tyrus v. Joel. Both late developing big men, Embiid is quite a bit taller. Here are their pace adjusted per 40 #s, from draftexpress:
25.9 mpg, 18.3 pts, 7.1-11.6 60.8% from the field, 4.2-6.4 65.7% from the line, 4.2 orb, 9.5 drb, 13.7 reb, 1.9 ast, 1.5 stl, 2.7 to, 4.6 blk, 3.8 pf, 30.8 PER
21.9 mpg, 19.2 pts, 7.0-10.3 67.7% from the field, 5.2-7.7 67.1% from the line, 4.1 orb, 9.0 drb, 13.1 reb, 2.4 ast, 1.7 stl, 3.8 to, 4.5 blk, 6.5 pf, 29.7 PER
   367. rr Posted: January 19, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4642109)
I think you are brushing over "quite a bit taller" and the difference between 60.8% and 67.7% (actually 68.7 now, and 70% from 2-point range
--he is 1/4 on 3s) from the floor too lightly. Olajuwon was at 67.5% in his last year at Houston. Anthony Davis was at 62.3% his year at Kentucky.

So, yeah, I guess Embiid could be Thomas. He could also be 90-95% of Anthony Davis. I would take the chance, myself.
   368. Publius Publicola Posted: January 19, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4642114)
Yeah, Embiid is better than Thomas. Not Olajawon though. Probably more like Mutombo.
   369. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4642287)
I think Embiid will be better as well ... though that's of course not saying much of anything. (And I didn't mean to brush over the significant height difference... the difference between a tweener forward and a true center. Plus, we know that Thomas turned out to be a space cadet - that fear is not yet present with Embiid and certainly not a certainty.)

Put another way - I liked Thomas a lot coming out of school and I like Embiid as well. But that's a surprisingly similar statline.
(I would be willing to brush over the difference between 61% and 68% shooting, actually - just as you glossed over Embiid's relative deficiencies in A/TO and foul avoidance.)
   370. rr Posted: January 20, 2014 at 02:41 AM (#4642472)
just as you glossed over Embiid's relative deficiencies in A/TO and foul avoidance.)


If you can prove that foul avoidance is a long-term problem that guys simply don't overcome, then I will certainly look at that more carefully. Embiid does turn the ball over a lot, but then, so does Dwight Howard, even now.

The things to me that are a big deal about Embiid is that he is a 7' guy with really long arms, good feet, well-coordinated, and athletic, who, like Olajuwon, has played some other sports, took up basketball late, and seems to be a quick study. Embiid has come on very strong this year. That obviously doesn't mean that Embiid is going to be Olajuwon, but I don't think he is going to be Tyrus Thomas, either. Pelton points out that Embiid is actually more the age of a sophomore than a freshman, which may work against him. Embiid is a year older than Parker and almost the same age as Smart, as per Pelton.

As to the shooting percentage, here is a comment from Pelton:

Embiid has made 69.7 percent of his attempts inside the arc. That would place him among the best NCAA finishers of the past decade and a half. And those raw stats don't consider that Kansas has played the nation's most difficult schedule.

Factoring that in, the history of NCAA-to-NBA translations suggests Embiid's performance is equivalent to making 60 percent of his 2-point attempts in the NBA, which would be incredible for a rookie. (Per Basketball-Reference.com, just five rookies have shot better than 60 percent on 2-pointers in the past decade.) In fact, part of the reason Embiid's WARP projection isn't higher is that the system assumes he's shooting so well from the field that it has to be partly fluky. If he can keep it up the rest of the season, he'll dramatically improve his projection.
   371. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4642554)
Again, no one thinks or would think Embiid will turn out to be TT. However, the comp is one that first occurred to me by watching, not by looking at stat lines or anything and it raised a red flag with me, as if an unhealthy degree of his advantage right now stems strictly from (temporary) physical dominance. Anyway, as to other points:

Fouls and turnovers: I "like" that these are both sins of comission, which are preferable to things like not getting steals, or not getting blocks. But, they do matter. As to fouls, specifically:

I looked at the DX database for eventual NBA players who ever posted a season with at least 6pf/p-adj.40 over a minimum of 15 mpg over the last 10 years... all of these guys spent less time on the court per game in college during the seasons in question than Embiid - a credit to the high caliber of Joel's play, but also a bad sign in that you expect foul rates per minute to drop with higher minutes per game numbers. There's bias here, in that I'm ignoring guys who didn't make the league - but ... c'mon ... Embiid is pretty good. Anyway, these are all seven.

Shavlik Randolph consistently posted high foul rates at Duke (5.9-6.3 is each of his three seasons), along with plummeting on court production in other respects. Fouls have stayed very high as a pro (162 in 981 min). Very athletic big man who never really developed from prep standing.
Roy Hibbert here, as in most things, represents a best case scenario for development. Averaged 5.8 fouls per 40adj in 15.8 minutes as a freshman, but that dropped to the 3.9-4.7 range over the next three seasons. Averaged 4.0-5.4 fouls per 40adj as a pro, if you exclude a foul marred rookie season - so foul prone, but workable. Not nearly as athletic/graceful as Embiid, but the only seven footer here.
Short, squad Ken Dorsey had super high foul rates his first two years at Memphis, but knocked that down to a manageable level his last two years in school. Athletic markers were better than you'd think, but way old for school and not a great comp here. Very foul prone, problematically so, as a pro.
Sean Williams had foul problems as a sophomore, after more normal numbers as a freshman and junior. In the NBA, commits a foul every six or seven minutes. Smaller than Embiid and athletic enough to sort of support a stint with playing the three (that few other than SW would have thought wise), substance abuse and low on court IQ have killed his NBA career.
Ivan Johnson, as a 22 year old at Oregon, averaged 7.0 pf/40adj. Not a great comp for Embiid for a few reasons, he does represent an instance where someone cut the heck out of their foul rate (~5 per 40dj in the NBA).
Kenneth Faried is another really good scenario. His first year at MSU, commited 6.2/40adj in 20.2 mpg, which he knocked down to 3.6 to 4.4 in starter minutes over the next three years. In the NBA, his foul rate has been perfectly fine - one every ten minutes or so. Not very similar to Embiid athletically.
Markieff Morris had serious foul problems his first year at Kansas (6.9; 15.6 mpg), but knocked that down to ~5/40adj over the next two seasons. As a pro, has reduced this further (rate over three seasons: 5.8, 4.4, 3.7). He's a stretch four without Embiid's athleticism markers.

So, not great comps in terms of finding similar players, in terms of size or experience; some guys did neutralize their foul problems, but that wasn't the norm. Ideally, I'd now pull the numbers for guys ~ 7' who meet certain criteria in terms of class ranking and on/or athleticism and see how their foul rate changed over time.
   372. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4642585)
Oh! Unsaid above: top prospects (unless you want to count Randolph at one point, or maybe Hibbert) don't post foul rates which are this high.
   373. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4642598)
On the other hand... I only looked at the last 10 years. Olajuwon averaged 6.4 pf/40 as a freshman and turned out okay.
Non pace adjusted freshman numbers for HO, pace adjusted for JE:
JE: 21.9 mpg, 19.2 pts, 7.0-10.3 67.7% from the field, 5.2-7.7 67.1% from the line, 4.1 orb, 9.0 drb, 13.1 reb, 2.4 ast, 1.7 stl, 3.8 to, 4.5 blk, 6.5 pf
HO: 18.2 mpg, 18.1 pts, 6.9-11.3 60.7% from the field, 4.4-7.8 56.3% from the line, 5.4 orb, 8.1 drb, 13.5 reb, 0.8 ast, 2.0 stl, 3.1 to, 5.4 blk, 6.4 pf
   374. It's a shame about Athletic Supporter Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4642607)
DeMarcus Cousins?
   375. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4642629)
From 5.2 at UK to the high fours as a pro. Link
   376. rr Posted: January 20, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4642709)
Ideally, I'd now pull the numbers for guys ~ 7' who meet certain criteria in terms of class ranking and on/or athleticism


Well, there really aren't very many guys who are ~ 7' with Embiid's kind of athleticism. Another point I would make is that all those other guys are Americans, I am pretty sure, and presumably had been playing ball longer than Embiid has. So, I think it's possible that Embiid will have a different kind of learning curve in this area, and, as you see, Olajuwon had an almost identical foul rate to that of Embiid in his first year playing major-college ball at Houston. Given that Oluajuwon played college ball over 30 years ago, maybe that doesn't matter as much as recent comps do, but I think it tells us something.

So, going back to what I said before, ISTM that an NBA team would have a pretty good shot to teach Embiid enough to cut his fouls down to a workable number (although I would guess that it will be a big deal as a rookie), but a lot of stuff that he has going for him are things that can't be taught and that very few guys have. Basically, if you can't have James or Durant, I think the next best thing to have is an athletic two-way big.

If I ran Utah and I got the #1 pick, I would take Parker. But as of now, if I ran any other lottery teams, I think I would go with Embiid.
   377. kpelton Posted: January 20, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4642724)
Probably worth noting that this year's increase in NCAA fouls will muddy the data. I can't seem to track down current hard numbers, but looks like an increase of around 10-15%.
   378. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4642726)
If I ran Utah and I got the #1 pick, I would take Parker. But as of now, if I ran any other lottery teams, I think I would go with Embiid.


Is this based just on talent and fit for the roster, or are you also including his marketability and increased likelihood staying there long-term as a Mormon? Parker looks good enough that I would not blame the Jazz for choosing him over Embiid, but an Embiid who reaches his upside looks like someone who could make teams true contenders...
   379. rr Posted: January 20, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4642731)
Tom Cervo-

(BTW, I liked MST3K), pretty much yeah. Utah has Favors and Kanter, so if they brought in Embiid they would have to restructure again. Also, based on what I have seen of Parker, he looks like a pretty solid bet to me. And yeah, I think the Mormon thing is a pretty big deal, although you and Booey should correct me if you think I am wrong about that. Seems to me that if they add Parker to what they have, they are looking pretty good, and the marketing/PR would be a nice plus.

As to Embiid, I am advocating for him pretty hard in the back-and-forth with DK, obviously. Like I have said, I have watched a lot of ball in my life. I have not seen many guys with Embiid's wingspan, height, footwork, and athletic ability. To me, those things are a bigger deal than negative markers about foul rate and TOs, given Embiid's background. But as I said kicking this off with that earlier post, I am not a draft expert. Maybe I am overrating Embiid.
   380. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4642748)
The shift in college officiating this year certainly skews the numbers, and it likely accounts for a substantial part of Embiid's crazy-high foul rate and shooting percentage, at least relative to similar past players. After years of allowing arm bars and hands permanently affixed to hips, this year just about any contact results in a whistle (the No Contact Athletic Association?). Last week I watched UCLA-ASU, and both teams were in the double bonus by the 8 minute mark. It was not a physical game.

Glancing at KenPom, it looks like the difference in officiating has been worth approximately 4 points per 100 possessions in favor of the offense (I basically looked at the #25 AdjO each year since 2003; in every past year it was consistently around 111.5, give or take a point, and this year it's 115.3). There's also been a shift away from interior defense in college basketball in recent years. A 60% fg% used to rank around 10th nationwide, but since 2010 the number needed to crack the top-10 is about 65%. I'm not sure how exactly to account for these changes, though I'd temper the enthusiasm with respect to Embiid's offensive performance a bit.

In terms of an NBA player comparison, I'd describe Embiid as Emeka Okafor with a handle. Okafor is 2 inches shorter, but they're closer than that by the more important measures of wingspan and standing reach. In college Okafor was similarly athletic, with the ability to run the court and effortlessly throw down a dunk or chase down a block. He was successful in the post, though mostly by virtue of being bigger, stronger, and more athletic than his opponents. Embiid is already better at putting the ball on the floor and passing out of a double team than Okafor ever has been. At his peak Okafor was consistently a -1 on offense and a +4 on defense according to RAPM, which made him a top-50 player though never an All-Star. If Embiid's superior handle makes him a +1 on offense to go along with a +4 on defense, that's basically Marc Gasol. I'd take him with the #1 pick.
   381. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4642759)
Tom Cervo-

(BTW, I liked MST3K), pretty much yeah. Utah has Favors and Kanter, so if they brought in Embiid they would have to restructure again. Also, based on what I have seen of Parker, he looks like a pretty solid bet to me.


I really want Netflix or Amazon to relaunch MST3K, but the movies I really want to see them rip are probably too expensive to ever happen (Twilight, Michael Bay films, M. Night Shyamalan, etc.). I also like imagining Tom Cervo as Fransisco Cervelli.

And yes, I would be ecstatic if the Jazz do manage to draft Parker. From what I've seen, his game reminds me of Carmelo Anthony, but I'm holding out hope that with good coaching he will be smarter on offense and give better effort on defense.

And yeah, I think the Mormon thing is a pretty big deal, although you and Booey should correct me if you think I am wrong about that. Seems to me that if they add Parker to what they have, they are looking pretty good, and the marketing/PR would be a nice plus.


I'm not Mormon (though most of my family are), and I'd still love having a Mormon on the Jazz who is a potential star. The hype in Utah would be insane, and I'm sure there will be a bit of backlash against him by non-Mormon Jazz fans in Utah, but if he performs I think it would be minimal. It also helps that he didn't go to BYU.

I'm still worried that he won't be as excited about Utah as a lot of Jazz fans are assuming, but of course that's something the Jazz FO can find out before the draft. If he is interested in staying long-term and they don't get that vibe from Embiid or Wiggins, then I think Parker would have to be the choice.

As to Embiid, I am advocating for him pretty hard in the back-and-forth with DK, obviously. Like I have said, I have watched a lot of ball in my life. I have not seen many guys with Embiid's wingspan, height, footwork, and athletic ability. To me, those things are a bigger deal than negative markers about foul rate and TOs, given Embiid's background. But as I said kicking this off with that earlier post, I am not a draft expert. Maybe I am overrating Embiid.


Yep, and it's hard not to compare him to Hakeem with his background, size, footwork, and obviously the fact that he models his moves off of The Dream's. No prospect, no matter how good, is likely to become The Dream of course. But it's in the back of my mind, though this also means I'm likely overrating him, as it's hard not to do with talented young centers.

And I'm guessing the NBA is rooting for Parker to the Jazz and Embiid to the Lakers as their potential next great center.
   382. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4642760)
i don't want to #### on embiid. he's played well enough to be in the discussion (and maybe even the favorite) to be picked #1 overall, but the NBA is an outside-in league right now and that really limits his upside, imo.

this is an era of high usage, high efficiency perimeter scorers, and traditional bigs are limited both by the fact that it's hard for them to increase their usage% because they are not primary (or even secondary) ball handlers and also that even if they do increase their usage, it's really hard for them to maintain their efficiency because they wind up taking tougher and tougher shots.

even if embiid shoots 60% from the field, blocks a handful of shots, plays 30 minutes and grabs 12 rebounds per game, if his usage% isn't over 20, all that makes him is another deandre jordan or andre drummond. that's a really solid player, but it's not shaq and it's not olajuwon.

which is basically just saying that embiid's likely upside is actually fairly limited, even if his physical potential is almost limitless.
   383. Booey Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4642766)
And yeah, I think the Mormon thing is a pretty big deal, although you and Booey should correct me if you think I am wrong about that.


I don't think you're wrong, and I'd be fine with it if the Jazz used the Parker/Mormon thing as a tie-breaker if they considered him basically equal to Embiid/Wiggins/whoever. I just don't want them to put TOO much emphasis on that if one of the other top picks looks clearly better come draft time. Fitting in with the local culture might be important in re-signing him, but having a good team is usually an important factor in whether free agents re-sign too, so if a different player has a better chance of making the Jazz a contender by the time his rookie contract is up, then that's what they should be looking for, first and foremost.

And as others have pointed out, Parker is a black man from a big city; Salt Lake is a small (by NBA standards), predominantly white city. Mormon or not, it may not be his cup of tea anyway.
   384. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4642769)
- How on earth would Embiid get to the Lakers?
- Didn't know the growth in fouls was that large. Hmmm.
- Make no mistake, I'd consider Embiid for the #1 pick. Fouls aside, I really, really like mobile, good rebounding, shot blockers with the potential to be good on-man defenders as well (I know everyone does, but I probably overrate them because of personal preference.) - plus he's an efficient scorer with potential as a passer. However, really high foul rates are not to be waived away - ignore at your own risk, no matter how easy it is to craft a narrative that they'll go away.
- I don't like having my own draft rankings this early. Too much still to learn and once I rank things, those rankings can either get sticky or I can be overly responsive to short-term changes. Just watching and learning as best as I can for now. The luxuries you're afforded when you're not a pro...
   385. theboyqueen Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4642775)
even if embiid shoots 60% from the field, blocks a handful of shots, plays 30 minutes and grabs 12 rebounds per game, if his usage% isn't over 20, all that makes him is another deandre jordan or andre drummond.


If (for the sake of argument) Embiid has Olajuwon's skills then it would be idiotic not to design an offense around him. This is an era of high usage, high efficiency perimeter scorers because those are the best players right now. I think Hakeem (or Shaq) would be even more dominant in this era than in the one he played in.

Incidentally, why did you pick Drummond/Jordan and not Anthony Davis or (league leader in usg%) Demarcus Cousins?
   386. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4642778)
- How on earth would Embiid get to the Lakers?


It's unlikely of course, but Lakers have been awful the last two months and I could see that continuing. Plus, though they have the 10th worst record now, I could easily see the Pelicans, Knicks, Cavs, and Kings finishing with better records.
   387. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4642785)
385 - He did say "if the usage rate isn't over 20"... Davis and Cousins blow past that.
Also, betting on someone having Olajuwon's growth path isn't that much less crazy than betting on a TT style blowout.
   388. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4642795)
All the TT talk still makes me upset; even though he clearly shoulders the majority of the blame, I can't help but wonder if his career would have gone differently with a difference organization and coaching staff.

---

I didn't follow up on any of the Thibs and minutes stuff, but there was plenty of stuff on twitter with people taking him to task the other night playing Noah/Butler up 30 with 5 minutes left. It's moments like that where he earns most of the criticism for not knowing how to manage minutes with injury/injury-prone players.
   389. Manny Coon Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4642796)
even if embiid shoots 60% from the field, blocks a handful of shots, plays 30 minutes and grabs 12 rebounds per game, if his usage% isn't over 20, all that makes him is another deandre jordan or andre drummond. that's a really solid player, but it's not shaq and it's not olajuwon.


Unlike those guys he is a capable FT shooter, which I think holds down amount of touches they get and shots they take. It actually sounds a lot like the player Greg Oden was going to be or maybe young Dwight Howard. Again not Shaq or Olajuwon, but a very valuable player.
   390. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4642800)
Agree on the FT, Manny. Also, his shot looks good - I think he can tighten up his FT% further with relative ease.
   391. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4642803)
In addition to his FT ability, he also looks quick/athletic enough that he could develop into a monster on P&R (so a lot like Dwight here), especially if his FT ability means he could develop a decent to good midrange jumper.
   392. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4642805)
Don't see him having Howard's strength, mind you. (no shame there)

Least favorite high lottery guy: Aaron Gordon. Snooze...
   393. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4642806)
Primer RT:
GiannisAntetokounmpo ?@G_ante34 9m
I just taste for the first time a smothie..MAN GOD BLESS AMERICA????
   394. Manny Coon Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4642807)
Andrew Bynum's usage is around 20 for his career. Bynum was always bit slow to be a really great defender though and obviously his health and attitude issues were problem.
   395. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4642809)
Don't see him having Howard's strength, mind you. (no shame there)

Least favorite high lottery guy: Aaron Gordon. Snooze...


Agreed. Is Dwight the strongest player since Shaq? I would also add that while I think Embiid will be aesthetically more pleasing to watch than Dwight, I would be surprised to see him match Dwight's peak, which really has gotten undervalued due to Dwight's personality and all the trade/free agency drama.

And I hope you're wrong about Gordon (graduated from Arizona last May and I don't want another high pick disappointment), but I wasn't impressed in the bit I've seen of him nor with his statistical profile.
   396. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4642824)
I'd be surprised if any given player matched Dwight's peak - as I agree with you on how it's undervalued.
I'd like to be wrong on Gordon as well, though that's more my wanting to live in Lake Wobegon.
   397. Manny Coon Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4642826)
Is Dwight the strongest player since Shaq?


The actual answer is probably someone like Joey Graham or Shelden Williams or Kwame Brown, someone really strong but couldn't play basketball all that well.

Maybe NBA All-Star Saturday needs a strong man competition to decide this. Howard, Love, Griffin, Pekovic, Chuck Hayes and Reggie Evans can have some kind race where they pull trucks or perhaps Kia Sorrentos. They could also have weight classes for guys like Eric Bledsoe and Rajon Rondo.
   398. PJ Martinez Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4642846)
Is this reliable?
@BrettNBA Jabari Parker unlikely to enter NBA draft this year, reports Sam Smith. NBA executives feel he'll return for his sophomore year at Duke.

Kinda crazy if so. Whatever his ceiling may be, Parker is one of the most NBA-ready freshmen I've ever seen.
   399. Publius Publicola Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4642850)
Maybe, but most Duke guys aren't one-and-done-ers. The only reason Irving left early, I think, is because the injury hye suffered his freshman year highlighted to him the need to grab a contract quick, because he couldn't risk another in college.

Validation, OTOH, it seems he takes nobody but one-and-done-ers.
   400. rr Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4642855)
However, really high foul rates are not to be waived away - ignore at your own risk, no matter how easy it is to craft a narrative that they'll go away.


You are doing as much narrating here as anyone else is, and no one has predicted that Embiid will be Olajuwon. Simmons did a nice job in TBOB of pointing out how unlikely Olajuwon's career was. If you think Wiggins and Parker or some other guy is a better #1 pick than Embiid is when draft day rolls around, then so be it.

As to what STEAGLES said, two-way bigs who anchor your interior D and can play some efficient O/post up/roll to the hoop are still extremely valuable, even with the current emphasis on spreading the floor. Embiid's length and mobility will make him a very good player IMO even if his O is not all that great. And I agree with theboyqueen--an era to some extent defined by who the best players are.

- How on earth would Embiid get to the Lakers?


The Lakers have hurt their tanking chances by lucking into these two road wins by hitting 57% of their 3s, but given their record, schedule, "talent base", and the competitive ecology of the West, they could easily have the 4th-7th worst record, and would therefore have a shot at lucking into the Top 3 picks. Kobe's return date is still unknown--he will be "re-examined some time in February"--and it is questionable how much, if any, he will really help when he does re-appear. The injuries to Blake and Farmar have hurt a bit--but they are still just Blake and Farmar on their best days. The Lakers are 16-25; it is not that hard to see them at 28-54 or so when the season is done. Their PYTH is 14-27, and Utah and Sacto both have more front-line young talent than the Lakers do.

My guess is that Milwaukee will get the #1 pick but that they may not take Embiid with it.
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