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Friday, October 05, 2018

OT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom knew the old thread would get closed, thus detracting from what this site is really about: the baseball playoffs, maybe?

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 05, 2018 at 03:43 PM | 6856 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   4601. Booey Posted: January 10, 2019 at 11:46 PM (#5804414)
Flip
   4602. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM (#5804417)
Oof. Ref show ending of what's been a great game (Spurs-Thunder).
   4603. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:11 AM (#5804419)
Russell Westbrook: 24 points, 21 assists, 11 rebounds so far.
   4604. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:19 AM (#5804421)
141 to 141 as we head into double overtime.

LaMarcus Aldridge has set a new career high with 49 points. Westbrook has a 24-24-13 triple double. The Spurs are 16 of 17 from the 3-point line.
   4605. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:21 AM (#5804422)
I support players getting to play where they want.

Trying to trap players into wherever they were drafted is awful for teams and players.

Plenty of small market clubs have kept their stars (San Antonio, Memphis, Detroit, OKC and others). Well run teams make the playoffs. Poorly run teams by and large do not, regardless of their market size.

EVERY team, large or small, has to draft well to win a championship. Even the LBJ Miami teams had Wade as their #2 guy.

Exactly. The draft IS hard. And that's why teams that have no other path for acquiring stars are at such a disadvantage. I actually DON'T think the Lakers made poor choices with their draft picks, but I DO think that other teams making those same choices would have been screwed. They'd have continued sucking until they finally did hit on a star or two. Maybe in 5 more years, maybe in 10. LeBron wasn't going to come walking through that door to bail them out of their rebuild. And if LBJ didn't, someone else would have. It was pretty much inevitable that the Lakers were going to land a big star sooner or later. That's certainly not the case everywhere.


Like how Cleveland screwed up two out of four first rounders and then made the Finals?
Or how Milwaukee picked John Henson, Jabari Parker, Rashad Vaughn, Thon Maker, DJ Wilson and Donte DiVincenzo in the first round in 6 out of the last 7 years?
Or how Indiana has gotten value out of exactly one draft pick in the last 5 years, and it's Myles Turner?

Well-run teams win games. Poorly run teams do not. You would think the Lakers and Knicks combining to miss the playoffs for the last million years would help dissuade people of the notion that market matters so much.

For crying out loud, Hayward leaving was the best piece of luck for the Jazz in the last 5 years.
   4606. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:26 AM (#5804423)
After 3 quarters at home vs OKC, the Spurs are.....14/15 from 3.

Do we credit Pop for this?


Obviously it's Billy Donovan's fault.
   4607. maccoach57 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:36 AM (#5804426)
(and admit it, you were too)


George, unlike James, was seemingly a logical candidate to come to the Lakers. What James did went against what he had done in the past when he had changed teams. Also, Leonard AFAIK has never actually been directly quoted as saying he wants to be here, and even if he had, I think it is important to remember that both George and Leonard were born in LA. So the idea that they might want to play here is not some heinous market advantage. Most FAs or prospective FAs get linked, at least speculatively, to their hometowns.

It's not that EVERYONE specifically wants to play in LA or Miami or wherever,


The key word here is "wherever." I think you should own what you are actually talking about, since you have been conflating several types of player movement: trades, Top 5 guys changing teams, old guys ring-chasing in Houston in the 2000s, "acceptable" markets like, again, Houston, etc. What pisses you off is that Top 10-20 guys with choices seem not to sign in cold-weather/non-bling markets, (except LeBron James, of course, who, unlike Paul George, did want to play in his hometown, and, uhh, Paul George) like your team's, or like Minnesota or Milwaukee, and that the Lakers, partly because many young people with money like living in SoCal, and for various reasons at various times, have gotten a sequence of big stars over the last 50 years without drafting them, and have combined those stars with guys they did draft into a wall full of banners. That's it (that, and Gordon Hayward bailing on the Jazz to play for his college coach on a team with excellent roster assets and an easier path to the Finals). But IMO if FA were actually an issue or a massive disadvantage for teams like Utah, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, et al, then the league would look a lot different than it does right now.

And while I am of course a Lakers fan, it is actually probably mostly a good thing that the league is run the way it is. If the NBA's internal economic rules were more like MLB's, we might very well see Lakers or Knicks superteams, or Mark Cuban or Steve Ballmer having a $500M payroll and signing James, Durant, and Davis all at the same time. In a way that's not really fair to guys like James, but then guys like him can make a lot of money off the court even if their salaries for what they do on it are capped.

As to what happens next: I think Leonard is as likely as not to stay with Toronto, and if Durant goes to New York and they suddenly have Durant and Zion Williamson, well, who could begrudge the Knicks fanbase at this point (although it would kind of suck to see James Dolan suddenly in contention)? Another rumor is Durant and Leonard together on the Clippers--Durant is supposedly yet another guy who admires Jerry West. As to Davis, Lowe was saying that Boston will be all-in on him, and if he does actually end up on the Lakers, well, LeBron James is a draw. And who knows--maybe Durant will stay with Golden State or go somewhere else.

As to the earlier convo about Davis: NO got to draft him in part because of The Veto, so they caught the kind of break that is part of any sports championship, but have not done much with it, even though, as noted, they are in a market with some real plusses.
   4608. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:34 AM (#5804431)
tship, you missed or ignored so many of my points that I can't even address them all.

No worries though. I'll stop. I shouldn't have brought it up.
   4609. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:13 AM (#5804435)
tship, you missed or ignored so many of my points that I can't even address them all.


To be honest, it's a little difficult to follow your argument.

"The Lakers didn't make bad picks, BUT other teams making those same choices would be screwed." What?

Or maybe it's from 4580: "Yep. If they whiff on their draft picks, they suck. Period. The plan B that more desirable teams use (clear cap space and sign a max caliber free agent or two) just isn't available."

Except no one hits on the draft every year, and a LOT of current teams have multiple misses in a row. Seriously, just look at the Bucks. They hit one 1st round pick in 7 years, and their last good draft pick before that was 2005 (!).

But maybe the Bucks are different because hitting on Giannis so so great. Well, the Pacers have hit one draft pick in 5 years.

The Nets haven't even HAD a 1st round draft pick and they're likely to make the playoffs.

It's simply not true that small market teams don't have outs. Having access to FA players is both a blessing and a curse, as Hayward himself indicates. If Hayward had stayed in Utah and had the same injury, he would have absolutely crippled the Jazz's cap situation.



   4610. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:22 AM (#5804436)
The Nets haven't even HAD a 1st round draft pick and they're likely to make the playoffs.


I admit I haven't been paying attention to them at all, but I'm shocked to find out that the Nets are a .500 team?!? How is that happening? Their team is ENTIRELY composed of castoffs, and maybe one Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, right?
   4611. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:29 AM (#5804438)
I think part of the problem is that speculation and coverage about trades and free agency heavily focus on big markets—far more heavily than the actual trades and free agency signings. We constantly hear about how player X will, or might end up in big market Y; and then on top of that, national outlets publish further speculation about how big market Z can make a big splash by signing player W. The dialogue is skewed.

To look at Utah in particular, while it has several of the disadvantages a market can have, it also hasn't had max cap space since... well, I honestly can't remember. ≈13m in 2016 is the closest I can find, though that site doesn't go very far back. But the Jazz seem to prize continuity, draft well, and have generally run out excellent teams with strong veteran players. Market affects aside, the team has (at least in the recent past) actively made roster-building choices that have constrained its ability to play outside of drafting and trading.
   4612. Paul D(uda) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:35 AM (#5804443)
Kobe stating before the draft thay he'd only play for the Lakers didn't hurt.
   4613. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5804460)
To be honest, it's a little difficult to follow your argument.

"The Lakers didn't make bad picks, BUT other teams making those same choices would be screwed." What?


How is that hard to understand? You answered it yourself later in the same post:

Except no one hits on the draft every year, and a LOT of current teams have multiple misses in a row. Seriously, just look at the Bucks. They hit one 1st round pick in 7 years, and their last good draft pick before that was 2005 (!).

But maybe the Bucks are different because hitting on Giannis so so great. Well, the Pacers have hit one draft pick in 5 years.


I'm saying that for many other teams, they'd have to keep whiffing and whiffing on draft picks until they finally hit on one, like the Bucks did with Giannis and the Pacers did with George. They weren't going to be bailed out by a free agent like the Lakers were. The rebuild would have taken longer. Possibly a lot longer (see Kings, Sacramento).

I'm fine debating as long as people want to. Or I'm fine dropping it as soon as people want to. I really don't care either way. What I do find annoying though is when people respond to what they assume I mean rather than what I actually said. Things like this:

I support players getting to play where they want.

Trying to trap players into wherever they were drafted is awful for teams and players.


Where did I say or imply otherwise? In any conversation, ever? While I'll PERSONALLY be less interested in the NBA if Giannis leaves Milwaukee, Kawhi leaves Toronto, AD leaves New Orleans, etc, I've never once said that they shouldn't be allowed to or that the league should do more to prevent it.

Having access to FA players is both a blessing and a curse,


Huh? Of course crippling injuries to max contract players would be a catastrophic blow to any team. That doesn't mean that every team in the league wouldn't rather have access to major free agents than not.

I think you should own what you are actually talking about


RR, I think I'm pretty straight forward with what I'm talking about. I'm not dancing around what I REALLY mean. I'm saying that I think bling markets (as you put it) have a pretty sizable team building advantage since they have a much better chance at picking up star free agents, plus they can trade for other teams stars with less trepidation since they'll have a better shot at re-signing them. Obviously a teams market isn't the ONLY thing that matters, and I never said it was. Competent management is always crucial, of course, and I've mentioned that many times. But you've got to compare apples to apples. Comparing well run small market franchises who hit on their draft picks to poorly run large market franchises who whiffed on theirs is NOT a fair comparison. When I say that small markets are at a disadvantage when it comes to free agents, listing small markets who are good because of their DRAFT PICKS is not disputing that claim in any way. If I say that bling markets have an advantage provided they have competent management, then naming bling markets who are bad because they DON'T have competent management (NYK, BRK, CHI) doesn't dispute that point.

More than half the teams in the league make the playoffs, so just running out a list of "Here's some small market teams in the playoffs, and here's some big market teams that aren't!" doesn't mean anything. For all the teams who are competing for playoff spots but aren't serious title contenders, I think ones like LAL, LAC, MIA, BRK, and HOU have a better shot are picking up the guys(s) needed to take them to the next level than ones like IND, CHA, POR, UTA, SAC, MIN, and NOP do. Sure, a well run team like Portland can make the playoffs every year, but that just means they're stuck on the 45 win treadmill and a first or second round exit every season. What can they do to improve to serious contender status? If one big signing is all they need (and it probably is), why aren't they ever linked to anyone? Wouldn't that be a great destination for players who just want to win? Ditto with Utah, Indiana, etc.

That's what I'm REALLY saying. Nothing more, nothing less.
   4614. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5804464)
EVERY team, large or small, has to draft well to win a championship. Even the LBJ Miami teams had Wade as their #2 guy.


Yes, but a team like Miami only had to draft ONE star. Wade alone was only enough to make them a 45-ish win team. Then they were able to rely on free agency and trades to pick up the Shaq or LeBron/Bosh needed to push them over the top. The Jazz or Pacers or Blazers would have had to draft ALL of those guys to get to the same place.
   4615. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5804479)
Well, the Pacers have hit one draft pick in 5 years.

The Pacers are good right now because they hit on Paul George in 2010. I think they're probably a point on Booey's side of the argument.
   4616. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5804486)
Or how Milwaukee picked John Henson, Jabari Parker, Rashad Vaughn, Thon Maker, DJ Wilson and Donte DiVincenzo in the first round in 6 out of the last 7 years?


I was thinking that same thing, by way of explaining why Milwaukee is unlikely to win a championship with Giannis, because they've so badly blown every other first round pick besides the Greek Freak.

But, then, again: that 7th pick was Giannis freakin' Antetokounmpo. Which got me to thinking: if you were a down-and-out franchise right now--or two years ago, let's say--would you trade seven first round picks--one of them the #2, the others all in the 10-17 range--for Giannis Antetokounmpo?
   4617. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5804489)
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo 4m4 minutes ago

LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 56 points in Thursday's 2OT win against the Thunder.

It was the most points by any player without attempting a three-pointer since Shaquille O’Neal scored 61 on his 28th birthday on March 6, 2000.
   4618. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5804509)
Joker may have made the pass of the year last night.

While putting up another triple double. He fun.
   4619. spivey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5804526)
The market stuff matters a bit, but money, playing time and playing in a good situation, and wins I think are factors 1-3. Yeah, LeBron wanted to come to LA, but is in a bit of a unique position as a global icon who also is on his last big contract and has pretty much won everything. The Lakers had what looked like some young, interesting pieces too.

The Spurs are a small market team, and pulled Aldridge - which doesn't mean a ton now, but he was someone pretty much the whole NBA that had cap space wanted. So it's not just keeping players, but also getting players.

I saw LeBron's comments on Cleveland vs. Miami in terms of recruiting players. I view that through a different lens. Who are the best players he got join him in Miami after the Heatles formed? 37 year old Ray Allen? 33 year old Battier. They got the standard old ring chasers, just like the Spurs were getting and just like Golden State has had the market on the last few years. With Cleveland, even though they've had LeBron, they've been a few cuts below from a quality perspective those teams all were, so there is less incentive to pure ring chase. LeBron was also doing very non-committal short term deals which I think would have impacted the ability to recruit. Not that Cleveland really was going to get any big difference makers in free agency anyways since they were way over the cap. FWIW, the biggest star that LeBron's presence has brought in was Love to the Cavs. That was a trade, but still IIRC had to be kind of signed off on by Love because they wanted to make sure he was open to resigning.

Since Davis has come up, I've not seen anything his whole career that suggests that Davis wouldn't stay in New Orleans if they were competitive. He's never complained or done any of that, and always seems focused in the interviews I've seen about talking about how their team can take it to the next level.
   4620. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5804556)
The Spurs are a small market team, and pulled Aldridge - which doesn't mean a ton now, but he was someone pretty much the whole NBA that had cap space wanted. So it's not just keeping players, but also getting players.

The Spurs are one of the best run and most successful teams in the league, have the best or 2nd or 3rd or whatever best coach of all time, and during Duncan's entire million year run as an all time great player they basically signed one elite free agent, Aldridge, at the end of the run. I think they're practically exhibit A for small markets not attracting free agents.
   4621. spivey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5804581)
The Spurs are one of the best run and most successful teams in the league, have the best or 2nd or 3rd or whatever best coach of all time, and during Duncan's entire million year run as an all time great player they basically signed one elite free agent, Aldridge, at the end of the run. I think they're practically exhibit A for small markets not attracting free agents.


Did they have cap space to sign others? I don't remember exactly, maybe they did some years, but mostly I didn't think so. Even with Aldridge they had to make some moves, trading Splitter and I think another guy. They felt like pretty much all of their run they were always operating near the cap and didn't have room for big splashes, and even needed guys to take pay cuts to keep the team together. Which I think makes this sort of analysis hard, as it's often a crapshoot who has what space when.
   4622. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5804600)
money, playing time and playing in a good situation, and wins I think are factors 1-3.


I agree, as I have when others in the past have called markets "the tie-breaker." Thing is, in a league with max contracts where all the suitors are going to be offering roughly the same amount of money, and in a sport where superstars themselves have such a disproportionate impact on a teams W/L record that winning will basically follow these guys around wherever they go, I think these tie-breakers are going to come into play almost every time.

I've mentioned before that I'd love for the Jazz to get Kemba. They have enough money potentially coming off the books that they could offer him a big contract. They could provide a good shot at winning. But they won't be the only team that offers him a big contract or a shot at winning, so they have no chance. They won't even be in the conversation.

There's never going to be only one team offering a max contract (unless the player in question isn't worth a max contract and the team offering it is being stupid). Nor is there ever going to be just one suitor that has a decent enough supporting cast to be good once a superstar is added. Thus the "tie-breaker" ends up being invoked a lot more often than not.
   4623. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5804608)
Did they have cap space to sign others? I don't remember exactly, maybe they did some years, but mostly I didn't think so. Even with Aldridge they had to make some moves, trading Splitter and I think another guy. They felt like pretty much all of their run they were always operating near the cap and didn't have room for big splashes, and even needed guys to take pay cuts to keep the team together. Which I think makes this sort of analysis hard, as it's often a crapshoot who has what space when.

Right but I think cap space is part of the argument- I think Booey has made this point before? It doesn't make sense for Utah to carve out cap space and chase free agents if they know they can't even get a meeting. Teams like that use their cap in different ways.
   4624. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5804610)
I think a lot of this is theoretical, as others have hinted at, because so many of the major market teams have been so poorly run for years, even decades in some cases. The Clippers, Bulls, Sixers, Knicks, Suns, and Nets, just off the top of my head, were either for long periods or still are just totally incompetently run.
   4625. It's TFTIO's Monster, Actually Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5804627)
I mean, I don't think it's clear that there is or is not a market size effect that is distinguishable from other effects. Too, how are we defining "market size"? It just seems like narrative and not data. Not that I have a problem with narrative! But I do think it's best to distinguish the two, particularly when talking about perhaps changes in league policies.

I'd like to see tax harmonization, myself, but that's never ever gonna fly.
   4626. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5804632)
The Pacers are good right now because they hit on Paul George in 2010. I think they're probably a point on Booey's side of the argument.


Paul George is not on the team. They had to identify who they wanted to get in trade--that's management. Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis were not exactly hot commodities.

But that doesn't even scratch the surface of how much I disagree. Do you know who the top +/- player on the Pacers is?

It's not Oladipo this year. He's missed time and has a negative net rating.

It's Cory Joseph. Who's played more minutes than Oladipo or Sabonis. Another guy they traded for. Their other top guy is Thad Young.

Another crazy thing about the Pacers--their top 12 guys have a positive on court rating. THAT'S INSANE. That's not due to just drafting well. It's due to doing everything BUT drafting well.
   4627. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5804633)
I think part of the problem is that speculation and coverage about trades and free agency heavily focus on big markets—far more heavily than the actual trades and free agency signings. We constantly hear about how player X will, or might end up in big market Y; and then on top of that, national outlets publish further speculation about how big market Z can make a big splash by signing player W. The dialogue is skewed.


You also hear about players preferred destination lists, and about the teams who are able to secure meetings with free agents. You never hear about teams who call up an agent with an offer but are basically laughed off the phone. Then you hear people say, "No wonder Player X left! His team never even tried to pick up another supporting star to help him!" Well, maybe they did. You just don't hear about it because they were never even able to secure a meeting with any of their targets.
   4628. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5804637)
Paul George is not on the team. They had to identify who they wanted to get in trade--that's management. Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis were not exactly hot commodities.

But that doesn't even scratch the surface of how much I disagree. Do you know who the top +/- player on the Pacers is?

Oh I thought the trade was terrible at the time! Turns out I was wrong about that. But I'm not sure how we're disagreeing, here. They hit a homerun with the Paul George pick, couldn't get him to stay so preemptively traded him for two guys who turned out to be very good. They also hit a homerun with the Turner pick. They've also done lots of other things well, as you note.
   4629. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5804641)
#4626 - Not one bit of that disputes my point that the Pacers are at a disadvantage when it comes to signing star free agents, tship. Kudos to them if some of their trade acquisitions who looked like spare parts at the time ended up developing into way better players than anyone expected, but that's not what I (or anyone that I remember) was talking about. I - and others - have mentioned the importance of good management many times.

That's not due to just drafting well. It's due to doing everything BUT drafting well.


Well, and picking up free agents. Which is what I've been talking about the entire time. Every team is equally capable of internal player development.
   4630. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5804649)
Oh I thought the trade was terrible at the time! Turns out I was wrong about that. But I'm not sure how we're disagreeing, here. They hit a homerun with the Paul George pick, couldn't get him to stay so preemptively traded him for two guys who turned out to be very good. They also hit a homerun with the Turner pick. They've also done lots of other things well, as you note.


Booey's thesis, if I am reading him right (and it's hard to do because he keeps adding weird codicils and provisos) is this:

Small market teams have a harder time getting and keeping stars, because small market teams can't get stars in free agency. If a small market team drafts a star, that star is more likely to leave because small market teams can't surround them with talent. All of this makes it harder for small teams to contend.

He's getting pushback on the following points:
1. It's not at all clear that free agency is an advantage unique to large market teams. Durant and LeBron, the two biggest free agents of the last ten years, both made very idiosyncratic decisions. Durant went to a team that wasn't traditionally considered a large market team, and who had never previously landed a big FA.
2. Small market teams have more options than the draft. Khris Middleton and Victor Oladipo, to use two examples of stars on small market teams, were acquired by trade.
3. It's not at all clear that FA is better for contending. FA contracts are some of the riskiest in the sport, and have worked out poorly for a number of teams. Chris Paul's extension appears like a good example of this.

Booey didn't make this argument but I will:
I think market size is a bad proxy. Utah has a uniquely hard time bringing in talent because Utah is really cold, really white, and really Mormon, and all of those things are downsides for a lot of NBA players. But that's not a small market thing, that's a Utah thing.
   4631. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5804652)
Okay, I'm not 100% sure I'm on board with Booey, though I think he's probably largely right about the market desirability thing (which is an argument he has made, to your last point), but in any case I think the Pacers are very clearly a story about success through the draft. And also shrewd trades... built on their success through the draft.
   4632. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5804663)
tship, my thesis can be summed up by the following 2 points:

1) Good management is crucial. For everyone. No team is appealing with a trainwreck of a front office.

2) Provided they have competent management, bling teams have a team building advantage because they have a greater chance of picking up stars via free agency or trade, whereas non bling teams - even the ones with equally good management - have to rely more on the draft and internal player development. Bling teams have an equal opportunity to build via the draft and internal player development, but non bling teams DON'T have an equal opportunity to build through free agency and trades. IOW, bling teams have more options, and more margin for error.

I feel like almost every follow up question could be answered by referring to those 2 points. "Then why are bling teams like the Knicks, Nets, and Bulls bad?" Bad management. See point #1. "Why are the Bucks, Jazz, Pacers, Spurs, etc playoff teams then?" See point #2. Good management, drafting, and player development.

Everyone knows why Utah isn't appealing to some, tship. But that doesn't explain why so many other markets aren't appealing either. Is it also just an Indiana thing, and a Portland thing, and a Toronto thing, etc? Plus I've repeatedly stressed that I'm talking about market DESIRABILITY rather than market SIZE. It's others who keep insisting on talking about size (heh), not me. Size is just one of several factors that contribute to desirability.
   4633. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5804714)
2) Provided they have competent management, bling teams have a team building advantage because they have a greater chance of picking up stars via free agency or trade, whereas non bling teams - even the ones with equally good management - have to rely more on the draft and internal player development. Bling teams have an equal opportunity to build via the draft and internal player development, but non bling teams DON'T have an equal opportunity to build through free agency and trades. IOW, bling teams have more options, and more margin for error.


I don't think this is true. Teams with good management (and really, good ownership) have an advantage. Sometimes, idiosyncrasies like LeBron being born in Akron outweigh bad management or overcome it, but not for long.

Well-run teams largely get good players, whether by trade or not.

You keep fixating on free agency, but in the entire history of the league, LeBron, Shaq and Durant are the only three guys who have won a championship after moving in their prime as FAs. Three dudes over 20 years just isn't a problem that requires solving.

By far the best way to build a team is through acquiring players *before* they break out as stars, and teams can do this either through the draft or through pre-extension trades. Bling markets just do not have an advantage here.

Being a bling market gets you LeBron, but it also gets you Carmelo, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.
   4634. Rally Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5804729)
The Spurs are 16 of 17 from the 3-point line.


Unreal. Finished the game 16 for 19. That doesn't even happen in 3 point shooting contests.
   4635. Rally Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5804731)
New record for 3 pt% in a game, with a minimum of 10 3 pointers made. Previous record was Bulls in 2005, 14 for 17 against the Celtics. 6 teams have shot 80% or better from 3 with minimum 10 made.
   4636. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5804733)
You keep fixating on free agency, but in the entire history of the league, LeBron, Shaq and Durant are the only three guys who have won a championship after moving in their prime as FAs. Three dudes over 20 years just isn't a problem that requires solving.


Bosh. But yeah, if you focus solely on championships won, that list is always going to be small by definition simply because there are only so many titles to go around, and a couple of dynasties each decade usually win most of them. I'm talking about a teams chances to build a championship CALIBER team. Obviously not all - or even most - championship caliber teams will actually end up winning a title(s).
   4637. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5804736)
I'm talking about a teams chances to build a championship CALIBER team. Obviously not all - or even most - championship caliber teams will actually end up winning a title(s).


Okay, extend it to teams who make the finals or who make a conference finals.

How many guys is it over the last 20 years?

(also, come on with the Bosh stuff--clearly LeBron had a little more to do with it)
   4638. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5804737)
also, come on with the Bosh stuff--clearly LeBron had a little more to do with it

Given how the Heat have done in free agency lately, Miami's status as a bling city seems to have started and ended with LeBron's tenure there.
   4639. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5804740)
Given how the Heat have done in free agency lately, Miami's status as a bling city seems to have started and ended with LeBron's tenure there.

Thank you! I've been saying this for years to a chorus of "Riley always gets his man," kind of nonsense from various NBA writers.
   4640. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:44 PM (#5804747)
Okay, extend it to teams who make the finals or who make a conference finals.

How many guys is it over the last 20 years?


Dude, I'm at work. I'm not going to go look up every Finals and conference finals team from the last 20 years. You're welcome to do the research if you want.

But if we're including players who forced trades - and I think we should, since that's another area where I mentioned that bling teams have an advantage (I haven't fixated solely on free agency in this conversation) - in addition to free agents, we have Horford and Paul from last year alone, plus we would have had Kyrie and Gemini Hopscotch if they hadn't been injured.

And again, I'm talking about opportunities, not after-the-fact results. If say, Melo and Amare didn't accomplish as much as NYK thought they would, that doesn't mean they weren't still big pick ups at the time.
   4641. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5804751)
Dude, I'm at work. I'm not going to go look up every Finals and conference finals team from the last 20 years. You're welcome to do the research if you want.


YOU are the one who says there's this big advantage. Surely you have tons of examples. Surely you're not just making this up as you go.

But here, let me do the work for you.

Here's who it adds to look at guys who signed in their prime with conference finalists.

Steve Nash (with a team that isn't a "bling" team)
Carlos Boozer (WHO SIGNED WITH THE FREAKING JAZZ)
Chauncey Billups (with another team that isn't a "bling" team)

So yeah, spare me with this unfair advantage.
   4642. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5804760)
Carlos Boozer (WHO SIGNED WITH THE FREAKING JAZZ)
Chauncey Billups (with another team that isn't a "bling" team)


Oh please. Neither Boozer nor Billups had ever made an All Star team when the Jazz and Pistons signed them. They BECAME All Stars with those teams (hence that whole "internal player development" point I mentioned a couple of times). At the time, neither was considered the kind of superstar pick up we've been talking about. You keep bringing hindsight into the conversation, which doesn't make sense for the purpose of the argument.

Whatever, though. The "respectfully disagreeing" phase of this conversation is apparently over, so I don't see any point in continuing. You "win", if that's what you want to hear.
   4643. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5804784)
You keep bringing hindsight into the conversation, which doesn't make sense for the purpose of the argument.


"Hindsight" is necessary for the purposes of empirical evaluation.

If we don't benchmark to something, then it's just about opinion and we can't have a conversation.

If your opinion is that being a "bling" market is a huge advantage, and I disagree, then the only way I can talk to you is to construct a test. To me, let's look at the results of conference champions and see how much of a structural advantage it was, is a fair test. You made this claim: "bling teams have a team building advantage because they have a greater chance of picking up stars via free agency or trade." The best way to evaluate that is to look at results. If "bling teams" have a team building advantage, surely we'd see that in the results.

In this way, I check my own biases, and try to add value to the conversation.
   4644. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5804785)
You keep fixating on free agency, but in the entire history of the league, LeBron, Shaq and Durant are the only three guys who have won a championship after moving in their prime as FAs. Three dudes over 20 years just isn't a problem that requires solving.


I think you are drawing the circle awfully narrowly. I'd include the following:

Kareem to the Lakers
Chamberlain to the Lakers
Walton to the Celtics
Gasol to the Lakers
Artest to the Lakers
Malone to the Lakers
Erving to the 76ers
McGinnis to the 76ers
Boozer to the Bulls
Wilkins to the Celtics
Horford to the Celtics
Hardaway to the Suns

as possible inclusions.
   4645. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5804788)
I admit I haven't been paying attention to them at all, but I'm shocked to find out that the Nets are a .500 team?!? How is that happening? Their team is ENTIRELY composed of castoffs, and maybe one Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, right?


So the Nets have had 1st round picks. In the years they didn't outright give their pick to Boston, there were swaps. They've made trades to take bad contracts that have brought on 1st and 2nd round draft picks.

After Levert went down, the Nets lost a bunch of games. However, they've played a lot better once they put Kurucs into the starting lineup. He's a rookie they drafted in the second round who is 6'10", plays very good defense and can shoot threes. He's given them a lot of depth (the Nets bench play a lot and are able to score). Dinwiddie and Russell have been great, sometimes alternating good games, sometimes both having a good game. Allen, Joe Harris have developed well and there is good veteran presence to guide the team through the rough patches, but they play well as a team and seem like they have great chemistry. I'm really excited to see what they do next.

Before the season, I thought they would tank since they finally own their pick. At the beginning of the season (before Levert went down) I though maybe eight seed, and after he went down I thought they should go back to tanking, get rid of expiring contracts for draft picks and find a way to get out of Allen Crabbe's player option. Now they've extended Dinwiddie, and are fighting for a sixth seed.
Russell still worries me - I'm still not sure what sort of money he deserves. They will offer Durant and Leonard the max in the offseason, but I don't think that's likely they'll take it.
   4646. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:19 PM (#5804790)
"Hindsight" is necessary for the purposes of empirical evaluation.

If we don't benchmark to something, then it's just about opinion and we can't have a conversation.


Then may I ask where you even got those 3 names (and JUST those 3 names) in 4641? Off the top of my head, not only are you missing all the Celtics from last year (Horford, Irving, Halberd - all big pick ups at the time, whether they actually played or not), you're missing Boozer with the Bulls (he was a bigger name when he signed with the Bulls than he was when he signed with the Jazz and CHI did make an ECF). You're missing Aldridge with the Spurs (made the WCF in 2016 - Yes, I know that a big name signing with SAS is a point for your argument). You're missing Malone and Payton with the 2004 Lakers (both old, but still All Star caliber players when they signed).

So yeah, I'm sure I could come up with more if I thought about it longer or looked it up. I'm not sure what criteria you were using in your search engine, but it didn't seem to work.
   4647. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5804792)
Some side points:

In a league where at any given point, maybe only 5 players truly matter, something 3 of them do over 20 years is a big deal.

I think the effect we see is that teams like Portland now can end up kind of stuck if max free agency is inaccessible to them (I think Portland is a good example here since they have been the same team for a few years with only a few moves around the margins). You can do well with trades but the best way to get more wins per dollar (important in the salary cap era) is to get a guy worth more than the max (especially in a world where draftees are so young they don't contribute a ton typically on rookie contracts, which is a big difference from MLB or NFL).

So, like, if Portland had the same story but played in NY or LA they'd have extra outs. Even if you don't get Durant or James, maybe you get a Goofball Heffalump and he ends up improving to be worth more than the max (obviously not in this timeline).

Yes, this carries a downside and lots of people are overpaid, but in a universe where 1 team succeeds and 29 teams fail each year, you have high beta risks available to you other teams don't. I think the magnitude of the advantage is probably not that huge, but it's there.

Also, worth noting that if "playing close to home" is relevant to some degree, obviously more NBA players grow up in LA than in Salt Lake City.
   4648. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5804798)
If your opinion is that being a "bling" market is a huge advantage, and I disagree, then the only way I can talk to you is to construct a test. To me, let's look at the results of conference champions and see how much of a structural advantage it was, is a fair test. You made this claim: "bling teams have a team building advantage because they have a greater chance of picking up stars via free agency or trade." The best way to evaluate that is to look at results. If "bling teams" have a team building advantage, surely we'd see that in the results.

In this way, I check my own biases, and try to add value to the conversation.


If we're including all trades, Garnett and Allen to the Celtics and Gasol to the Lakers are a few obvious additions.
   4649. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:02 PM (#5804803)
But Portland hasn't had cap space, either, and when the one time they did in the Lillard era, instead of going big game hunting, they gave big money to Evan Turner, Alan Crabbe, et al. Maybe it is because they decided that was the best level of player they could land; more likely it was an overreaction to the cap spike. The point is, there are very few potential all-stars who change teams; when they do, there are very few teams with both cap space and a decent roster to form sensible landing points. We don't have enough of a sample size to say anything based on statistical data about whether small markets are at a meaningful disadvantage, controlling for roster building.

Personally, I think that money and winning are far better explanations for nearly every big name move I can remember, with market desirability a real but minor factor. It has been at least indirectly claimed that small market teams don't bother clearing the cap space since they don't have a chance anyway, which is plausible but also begging the question. And history is also a terribly unreliable source of truth here: before signing Horford and Hasslehoff in consecutive years, the Celtics' biggest ever free agent signing was either Xavier McDaniels or a completely washed Dominique Wilkins. And lots of Boston fans and media were fixated on the idea that Boston was too cold and too unsexy a market to ever land a big free agent. In fact, even if they had wanted to, the Celtics went (literally) decades without the cap space to pull a splashy move.

My personal belief is that given a few good years of development from Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and some cap-clearing moves, Utah absolutely could sign an all-star free agent. It would be a lovely thing to be proven right (the Jazz are one of my favorite teams), but unless they make those cap-clearing moves and make a serious bid in free-agency, we'll never know, and all the old narratives will keep on rolling.
   4650. Tin Angel Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:04 PM (#5804804)
I don't understand how you can include trades in a discussion like this, unless it's a Carmelo type situation where the player is demanding to go to a certain market. I don't think either the Garnett or Gasol situations were like that.
   4651. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5804805)
If we're including all trades, Garnett and Allen to the Celtics and Gasol to the Lakers are a few obvious additions.
FWIW, Garnett refused to sign with Boston until after they made the Allen trade (which cost them a top-five pick). Minnesota's franchise player agreed to the trade to play with a pair of all-star wings, not to play for a famous team on a coast.
   4652. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5804812)
I don't understand how you can include trades in a discussion like this, unless it's a Carmelo type situation where the player is demanding to go to a certain market. I don't think either the Garnett or Gasol situations were like that.


That's why I initially didn't, except with players who specifically requested trades (Irving, Paul). I added Garnett/Allen and Gasol afterwards when tship quoted one of my posts mentioning trades, in case we wanted to expand to that avenue. I do understand why it might not be pertinent to do so.
   4653. billyshears Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:04 PM (#5804827)
If we don't benchmark to something, then it's just about opinion and we can't have a conversation.

If your opinion is that being a "bling" market is a huge advantage, and I disagree, then the only way I can talk to you is to construct a test. To me, let's look at the results of conference champions and see how much of a structural advantage it was, is a fair test. You made this claim: "bling teams have a team building advantage because they have a greater chance of picking up stars via free agency or trade." The best way to evaluate that is to look at results. If "bling teams" have a team building advantage, surely we'd see that in the results.


This isn't right - actual results aren't a control group, and there is no way to construct one. Booey never said that "bling" markets were the only factor in building a contender, just a significant one. If "bling" markets were no factor, or even a smaller factor, the actual results might be even more heavily skewed towards teams that possessed advantages other than their market (such as strong management).
   4654. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5804829)
I remain unclear what exactly is being argued at this point. No one is saying that the attractiveness/size of a market doesn't matter, and no one is saying that it is the only thing that matters. Beyond that we seem to be having an impassioned conversation where goalposts have no fixed location.

I think a lot of this is, as some have pointed out, that some markets have much more media gravity than others, and dominate the NBA discourse. That clearly influences players to some degree, but who knows what, and almost every single player movement decision is going to have its own unique parameters of player history, team rosters/cap space at decision time, etc. etc. So long as the NBA is a league where maybe five-to-ten players truly move the needle at any given time and only a few of those are available/potentially available, such moves will get endlessly discussed, and the Knicks/Lakers/etc of the world will get more than their fair share of breath spilled. Will all due respect to everyone here, I doubt we're really going to get to the bottom of this one with the tools and information available here.

   4655. Booey Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:27 PM (#5804831)
Will all due respect to everyone here, I doubt we're really going to get to the bottom of this one with the tools and information available here.



Well, not with THAT attitude. Maybe after a couple dozen more posts though... ;-)


I gotta head out. Friday night. Stuff to do and all. Good conversation, gents.
   4656. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:31 PM (#5804833)
Maybe after a couple dozen more posts though

I mean it's pretty clear to me that the only real solution would be for us all to collectively GM a team so we can a) prove how much smarter than the median GM we all are and b) get the information we are not privy to here so that we can settle this one. Anyone know Glen Taylor?
   4657. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:35 PM (#5804834)
I mean it's pretty clear to me that the only real solution would be for us all to collectively GM a team so we can a) prove how much smarter than the median GM we all are and b) get the information we are not privy to here so that we can settle this one. Anyone know Glen Taylor?


Who here is the best at sincerely promising to improve?
   4658. It's TFTIO's Monster, Actually Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:09 PM (#5804843)
I did some programming for one of the Taylor companies about 20 years ago, does that count?
   4659. maccoach57 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:20 PM (#5804845)
Kobe Bryant draft demands: The Urban Legends surrounding this have multiplied over the last two decades, but the bottom line is 12 teams passed on him, and even if he had publicly announced he was only going to play for the Lakers, if those teams had thought he was going to be as good as turned out to be, one of them would have taken him anyway.

Bling and Cold Markets: As berg's little slap at me suggests, there is a meta-element here, in that as a Lakers fan, I may well underrate the advantages the team has. OTOH, as a Utah fan, Booey clearly IMO overstates the issue, and throws examples at it that IMO don't work, like:

Clyde Drexler going to Houston: Drexler grew up in Houston, went to the University of Houston and joined his college running buddy The Dream for a late-career ring chase in Houston, which, kind of surprisingly in some ways, worked out. Drexler coached at UH for two years and lives there now.

Payton and Malone going to the Lakers: They took miniscule contracts for very late-career ring chases after long careers in Seattle and Utah, had bad experiences, and came up short. Malone then retired and Payton eventually ring-chased successfully in Miami in 2006.

Garnett to Boston: This was mostly covered, but I would add that Garnett clearly likes Minnesota. He bailed so he could win.

Pau Gasol to the Lakers: I don't recall Pau clamoring to be on a coast--the deal was made because the Grizzlies were stuck developmentally IIRC. The deal worked for the Grizz since they got Marc Gasol, and older Pau bailed on the Lakers for San Antonio because the team started to suck and he didn't like Jim Buss and Mike D'Antoni. Also, Kobe Bryant was ######## then about wanting out of LA--unless they got another star.

Recent FAs: Durant and Horford refused to meet with the Jim Buss FO, and James may as well have back in 2014. LA natives DeMar DeRozan, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George re-upped in Toronto and OKC. As to James v. 2018, well, James is a unique figure in NBA history, and he made a unique and IMO idiosyncratic decision to come here. But I think he did it in part because Lakers management has a legend in the saddle and promised him they would clear enough cap space to sign a max guy in 2019. I don't think it was simply Lakers Exceptionalism that drew him in.

Booey also dismisses the Knicks/Bulls/Heat/Nets etc, which IMO is a mistake. If bling mattered that much, I think at least one of teams would have some star power. They don't.

So, I think the bottom line for me is that being in a bling market matters a little, but only if you have a lot of other stuff to sell. Being in Utah probably hurts a bit, for the reasons tship mentioned, but if it were a massive disadvantage, the Jazz would not have the franchise history that they do.

As to the Lakers, they have had multiple moments in franchise history where they combined timing, smarts, luck and money to build multiple-banner-earning teams. So has Boston. I think being in LA clearly helped a little with that, but it is not that big of a deal, because it has also happened in San Antonio, Detroit, Chicago, and Miami--and it has never happened for the Clippers, and it has not happened for the Knicks since Richard Nixon was POTUS. Portland, one of Booey's put-upon franchises, would quite likely have 3-5 banners today had they drafted Jordan and/or Durant instead of Bowie and Oden.

This isn't a personal thing; I like Booey and he is a great contributor to this thread. But I think he is overstating this issue.



   4660. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5804848)
Will all due respect to everyone here, I doubt we're really going to get to the bottom of this one with the tools and information available here.
Maybe it's all just variance?
   4661. maccoach57 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 08:08 PM (#5804851)
If I say that bling markets have an advantage provided they have competent management, then naming bling markets who are bad because they DON'T have competent management (NYK, BRK, CHI) doesn't dispute that point.


Perhaps, but I think you are overstating the impact of the advantage, as noted, and the fact that several bling market teams are bad and several non-blings are good argues in favor of that. Also, one thing that makes the NBA a rough ride is that "competent management" is not enough. Luck and timing are key as well, and the Spurs are probably the best example of combining great management with luck and timing.
   4662. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:33 PM (#5804863)
Kevin Huerter, folks!
   4663. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:48 PM (#5804865)
but the bottom line is 12 teams passed on him, and even if he had publicly announced he was only going to play for the Lakers, if those teams had thought he was going to be as good as turned out to be, one of them would have taken him anyway.


This is a good point. Obviously Charlotte would have rather had Kobe, but they got Vlade in return, traded LJ for Mason, and the next two years were the winningest in franchise history.

   4664. maccoach57 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:53 PM (#5804866)
I wonder if Jordan were 30 and playing now if he would try to engineer a Charlotte superteam...
   4665. Tin Angel Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:10 PM (#5804871)
Warriors up by 26 on the Bulls...after the first quarter.
   4666. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:13 PM (#5804872)
I think this Jim Boylen character may be struggling to reach the Chicago basketball team.

Not sure tho.
   4667. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:25 PM (#5804874)
Doncic tonight... whew. Hit 3 go ahead buckets (on 3 shots) in the last 90 seconds. 29, 8 and 12.
   4668. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5804893)
This is why Utah has problems getting free agents.
   4669. Tony S Posted: January 12, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5804894)
In a league where at any given point, maybe only 5 players truly matter, something 3 of them do over 20 years is a big deal.


This is essentially what it boils down to.

It's all but impossible to win an NBA title without a dominating, top-five player. You can win a World Series with a lot of good players and no great ones -- the 2015 Royals being the most recent example. You can win a Super Bowl with a non-elite quarterback, or even a mediocre one -- Nick Foles, Peyton Manning in Denver, Joe Flacco. But what was the last NBA team to win a championship without a one-percenter? Seattle in 1979?

So bling markets don't have to score all that often to ensure dominance -- they just have to get the right elite player at the right time, and boom, they're title contenders. And while the sample size is relatively small, it does happen more often than random chance. To echo what others have said, you never hear speculation about an elite player looking to go to Portland or Utah when his free agency kicks in.

But there's no good way to get around that, really, short of severely restricting player movement, which I don't think anyone here advocates. It's just the nature of the sport.

   4670. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5804900)
It's all but impossible to win an NBA title without a dominating, top-five player. You can win a World Series with a lot of good players and no great ones -- the 2015 Royals being the most recent example. You can win a Super Bowl with a non-elite quarterback, or even a mediocre one -- Nick Foles, Peyton Manning in Denver, Joe Flacco. But what was the last NBA team to win a championship without a one-percenter? Seattle in 1979?


San Antonio 2014
Dallas in 2011
Detroit 2004

It's not that uncommon.

There's just as good a case based on past sample that a great coach is as necessary as a great player. Ty Lue is probably the only guy thought to be a bad coach (and that's slightly unfair) who's won a ring in the last 30+ years.
   4671. Booey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5804902)
#4668 - Pfft. That's why players should be LINING UP to play here. If they're willing to accept a 75% discount, we'll even let them perform INSIDE the giant slinky.
   4672. Booey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5804903)
San Antonio 2014
Dallas in 2011
Detroit 2004

It's not that uncommon.


I think the 2011 Mavs are a (slight) stretch. Dirk finished 6th in MVP voting, 10th in WS, 7th in WS/48, etc. Maybe he wasn't a top 5 player anymore, but he was juuust outside of it.

Besides, I wouldn't describe 3 times in almost 40 years as "not that uncommon." Even if you throw in both Bad Boys Pistons titles (I don't think Isiah was ever really a top 5 player and he certainly wasn't by the time they won their championships), that's 3-5 times in almost 40 years. I'd say that mostly confirms the OP's point.
   4673. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2019 at 12:50 PM (#5804907)
I think the 2011 Mavs are a (slight) stretch. Dirk finished 6th in MVP voting, 10th in WS, 7th in WS/48, etc. Maybe he wasn't a top 5 player anymore, but he was juuust outside of it.

Besides, I wouldn't describe 3 times in almost 40 years as "not that uncommon." Even if you throw in both Bad Boys Pistons titles (I don't think Isiah was ever really a top 5 player and he certainly wasn't by the time they won their championships), that's 3-5 times in almost 40 years. I'd say that mostly confirms the OP's point.


I think I'd probably throw in both the 2009 and 2010 Lakers as well. Kobe wasn't really a top five player by that point anymore.

Another way to look at it is that since the illegal defense rule changes (approx 2003), there have been 5/15 titles won by a team without a top 5 player. There were probably just two in the previous 30 (the Bad Boys years), so that seems like the rule changes might have had a large impact on the problem.

Again, I'd say that a great coach matters as much as a great player, and there's never any proposals to restrict coaching salary, or to give teams the ability to hold on to their own coaches.
   4674. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5804910)
If you are focusing on FA, the argument is simple: O'Neal and James coming to the Lakers without a second star (except the executives--West and Johnson) in place. Durant seems to like the Bay Area, but I think he liked 73-9 more. That ignores a lot of context and a lot of other guys, but it is still O'Neal and James. I think focusing on "speculation" is pointless. It is reasonable to focus on who guys take meetings with. If Durant meets with New York but not with Indiana or Portland, that is a reasonable thing to point out.

If you are focusing on team-building in general, the argument is weak. Utah had Stockton and Malone for 20 years, makes the playoffs year after year, made The Finals twice. Portland has been pretty well-run in general, but they missed on Jordan and Durant to draft Bowie and Oden. That is a huge, huge deal. The impact of both errors can be measured in decades.
   4675. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 12, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5804912)
[4668] If Robin Lopez can go to Chicago despite a prosecutable history with Benny, anything is possible.
   4676. Booey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5804916)
It is reasonable to focus on who guys take meetings with. If Durant meets with New York but not with Indiana or Portland, that is a reasonable thing to point out.


Exactly. And that kind of thing happens all the time. Obviously getting meetings doesn't guarantee that you'll sign anyone, but NOT getting meetings does guarantee that you won't. I don't remember the Jazz ever even getting a meeting with an All Star free agent (other than their own) in my almost 30 years of fandom. Off the top of my head I can't think of any recent ones that Portland or Indiana got either, though I haven't paid as close attention to them. I guess that Portland did pick up a past-his-prime Scottie Pippen 20 years ago.

If you are focusing on team-building in general, the argument is weak. Utah had Stockton and Malone for 20 years, makes the playoffs year after year, made The Finals twice. Portland has been pretty well-run in general, but they missed on Jordan and Durant to draft Bowie and Oden. That is a huge, huge deal. The impact of both errors can be measured in decades.


drafting + internal player development + trades with more confidence they'll resign + free agents > drafting + internal player development + trades with less confidence they'll resign + no free agents except those that other teams didn't want
   4677. Booey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5804918)
I think I'd probably throw in both the 2009 and 2010 Lakers as well. Kobe wasn't really a top five player by that point anymore.


He was really close. Actually finished 2nd and 3rd in MVP voting in those years. Plus Gasol was probably right around the top 10-ish. I don't think they're a great example of title teams without top end star talent.
   4678. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5804924)
And that kind of thing happens all the time.


Sure. It happened to Jim Buss more than once.

drafting + internal player development + trades with more confidence they'll resign + free agents > drafting + internal player development + trades with less confidence they'll resign + no free agents except those that other teams didn't want


Perhaps, but the evidence (like, say, the NBA standings) strongly suggests that you are dramatically overstating the possible effects of this dynamic. I think one of your biggest disconnects is that you focus too much on the idea that it is a systemic thing and not enough on individual actors. Hayward didn't leave because he hated Salt Lake City and was dying to have lunch at Quincy Market. He left because he liked the Boston roster and future and because they have Brad Stevens. Yes, James "took his talents to South Beach" but he loves Northern Ohio--as he proved by coming back for four years. The seeds for The Heatles were sown at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and James' friendships with the Banana Boat Brothers seem to be very real. When OKC was here to play the Lakers, Paul George was ofc asked a lot of questions about not coming here, and one thing he said was that he can hang out in LA all summer--like a lot of NBA guys, he has a house in LA and he ofc can live here after he retires should he so choose. George likes Westbrook, Adams, Presti, and Donovan, and his life in OKC revolves around basketball, not around the city.

James and O'Neal specifically wanted to be around movie business people. O'Neal of course made a few bad tween-audience movies in the late 1990s, and James has signed two movie deals since he came here, one for a "Space Jam" reboot.That was a big draw for those guys, but NBA stars with that interest can get involved in it without living here during the season, especially now.

Finally, of course, staying with the team that drafted you through the first 6-7 years of your career is heavily incentivized, and that is why everybody in this era does it, including James, Durant, and Davis.
   4679. PJ Martinez Posted: January 12, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5804929)
As Blake finished his warmup, Steve Ballmer was on the sideline watching and waiting. When Ballmer saw Griffin finish, he started walking towards him. Blake saw Ballmer and sped up, running away to the Pistons locker room as Ballmer yelled “Blake! Blake!” with his hand out.
   4680. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 12, 2019 at 03:05 PM (#5804931)
But there's no good way to get around that, really, short of severely restricting player movement, which I don't think anyone here advocates. It's just the nature of the sport.


Getting rid of the max salary would help without forcing the player to go somewhere against his will.
   4681. spivey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5804932)
Barea is out for the year, which hurts Dallas' already slim playoff chances.

As for the Lakers, I'm not sure how many more games they can afford LeBron to miss. The teams that I expect to crumble are mostly already behind them in the standings, and the Pelicans and Utah both seem situated to potentially play better in the second half.
   4682. Booey Posted: January 12, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5804945)
Sure. It happened to Jim Buss more than once.


Yep. A couple of times, compared to dozens of times for many teams. I think that actually illustrates my point well: the Lakers score meetings with so many of the top free agents that it's actually noteworthy when they DON'T (and remember, this is when they were winning like 25 games a year). It seems almost obligatory that every major free agent needs to meet with LAL.
   4683. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:08 PM (#5804956)
Getting rid of the max salary would help without forcing the player to go somewhere against his will.
i think the max is pretty close to where it needs to be. 25%-35% of the salary cap is high enough that teams are wary of giving it to borderline players. what needs to change is the minimum salary.

if the NBA raises the rookie minimum to ~2MM, their combined cap holds would be too expensive for teams to be able to sign 3 max free agents in one offseason after gutting their roster.

i would also recommend capping non-max contracts at 3/2 years and 20% of the salary cap. this would prevent both "lebron" compromises:
1: the MIA compromise where lebron (and wade and bosh) took ~2MM less per year so they could add udonis haslem and mike miller.
2: the CLE compromise where lebron negotiated a series of 1+1 deals that kept CLE in a perpetual state of limbo.

assuming a 100MM cap (for ease of purpose):
mid-level max: 20MM ; 3/65 ; 2/42
<7 year max: 25MM ; 5/140 ; 4/110
7-10 year max: 30MM ; 5/170 ; 4/130
10+ year max: 35MM ; 5/210 ; 4/150

capping non-max contracts would have at least two other major effects:
1: it creates the potential for mid-level free agents to provide as much surplus value as lebron/durant/harden/davis.
2: it provides an even stronger incentive for players to sign for the max wherever they can get it, because it would no longer be possible to take a small discount.

   4684. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:18 PM (#5804957)
A couple of times, compared to dozens of times for many teams


Dozens? There aren't "dozens" of FAs--or even FA cycles--that fit the parameters of this discussion.

James' injury: There are now rumors that James could be out several more weeks, maybe until March. I think it is possible that Magic/Pelinka and James have decided that the team would be better off in the lottery. Seems weird and I may be dead wrong ofc. But if so, I also kind of get it.

   4685. JC in DC Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:30 PM (#5804960)
Can't imagine what will happen to this thread if LAL wins the lottery.

I saw a report that Chicago will keep Boylen. Is that old news?
   4686. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:34 PM (#5804961)
I think it is possible and that Magic/Pelinka and James have decided that the team would be better off in the lottery. Seems weird and I may be dead wrong ofc.


It says a lot about LeBron's seeming invincibility that when he gets injured and leaves the lineup for weeks-to-months (for the very first time in his career, at age 34!), the thought "maybe the Lakers would just rather be in the lottery" this year enters even mostly-rational minds before the thought "maybe LeBron James has finally broken down" does.
   4687. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:45 PM (#5804964)
4686: Look at the gameboard:

They are not a true title contender even with him.
The West is a jungle and he would probably need to be going 38-40 a night to lock in a playoff berth.
The lotto pick could be used to add a player and/or as a trade asset to go after another high-end guy.
He is signed for three years guaranteed--not a 1+1.
He is old and it is a groin injury, so this is a chance for him to rest his whole body for a long time without it drawing negative league and media attention.

Downside is that it will probably expose Ingram and Ball further and hurt their trade value.

So, sure maybe he is "broken" and I am not "rational." But this isn't a ruptured Achilles, and there is a tactical case to be made for holding him out even if he could come back sooner.
   4688. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:50 PM (#5804967)
Definitely true. And you didn't even mention the Zion factor.

Then again, as a wise man once said, there's no such thing as a minor groin injury. A serious groin injury can absolutely be a 2-3 month recovery, especially if "recovery" means playing 38 minutes a night on an NBA floor.
   4689. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5804968)
I'd be surprised if the Lakers want to miss the playoffs any season with LeBron. More likely since he's older and said he heard a pop when he injured it it's just more serious than they thought.
   4690. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5804969)
I expect that it is both: the injury is bad (groins are as you note brutal, even for once-in-generation guy and he is 34) and that the FO looked at it with James and said, "Well, if we finish 11th, maybe that is not so bad."
   4691. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5804970)
I'd be surprised if the Lakers want to miss the playoffs any season with LeBron. More likely since he's older and said he heard a pop when he injured it it's just more serious than they thought.
__________
Quite possibly. But the big question for the Lakers is "How do we get another guy for 2019-2020" not "How do we get into this year's playoffs" even though James is 34.
   4692. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 12, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5804972)
I definitely won't be surprised if it gets to mid-February and they're 5 games out of the playoffs and they just shut him down for the year.

11th isn't thinking ambitious enough--they're only four wins/two losses out of 14th place right now! If LeBron doesn't play the rest of the year (and especially if by March they've shifted fully into tank mode and shut down a couple other guys too), they absolutely can get a nontrivial chance of landing Zion--and if not Zion, then at least a top-ten, possibly top-five pick that will come in very handy in pursuit of, for instance, Anthony Davis.
   4693. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5804973)
It says a lot about LeBron's seeming invincibility that when he gets injured and leaves the lineup for weeks-to-months (for the very first time in his career, at age 34!), the thought "maybe the Lakers would just rather be in the lottery" this year enters even mostly-rational minds before the thought "maybe LeBron James has finally broken down" does.


I mean, this is kind of the template for how GOATs become mortal.

They get an injury that they never had an issue with before. The injury takes longer to heal. It comes back, and feels worse than it did before.

It would be a shame, because LeBron is probably the best human to ever have a claim to something like the best all time for a sport, but it's kind of the template for how athletes age.
   4694. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:05 PM (#5804974)
11th isn't thinking ambitious enough--they're only four wins/two losses out of 14th place right now!

Which would still only put them with the ninth-highest lottery odds; the 14th-place Grizzlies would be in the playoffs in the East right now.
   4695. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5804980)
@roundballrockNBA
MIN has signed Keith Bogans to a 10-day contract.
   4696. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:50 PM (#5804982)
@SBondyNYDN
Enes Kanter: “When I think of the playoffs, my nipples get hard.”
   4697. maccoach57 Posted: January 12, 2019 at 09:40 PM (#5804987)
On another note, Griffin dropped 44 on the Clippers in LA. Det 109 LAC 104.
   4698. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 12, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5804998)
It would be a shame, because LeBron is probably the best human to ever have a claim to something like the best all time for a sport, but it's kind of the template for how athletes age.


Honus Wagner?
   4699. maccoach57 Posted: January 13, 2019 at 12:22 AM (#5805001)
Manu Ginobili
   4700. maccoach57 Posted: January 13, 2019 at 12:23 AM (#5805002)
James Harden
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