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Friday, December 18, 2020

NBA 2020 Season kick-off thread

I estimate it would take 10-12 Primates to beat James Harden in a wing eating contest.

Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: December 18, 2020 at 02:28 PM | 2730 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: best shape of his life, nba, off-topic

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   1701. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:26 PM (#6006662)
Man, LaVine's jump shot is so purty.
   1702. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:32 AM (#6006667)
Like I said: James should have sat this game out. Give Utah credit; they may be the 1990 Pistons. They need to prove it in the Spring, but they are looking like that right now: 25-7 PYTH, 1st in Net Rtg, 4th in ORTG, 2nd in DRTG.
   1703. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:00 AM (#6006675)
Teague has been atrocious, which was easy to see coming. If they ever have Walker, Tatum, Brown, and Smart available at the same time, I think they'll look a lot better. It probably wouldn't hurt to make a smaller trade for more guard depth.


I know a team with a gently used Spanish Unicorn that would be willing to give him up for assets.
   1704. NJ in NJ Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:44 AM (#6006687)
Jeremy Lin would be a good pickup for Boston.
   1705. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6006691)
As with any Celtics roster moves the last few years, the answer to some degree depends on what you think their timeframe is. If they're trying to maximize winning this year, trading a boatload of 1st round picks and Jaylen Brown for James Harden is probably a good move. If you're trying to balance winning this year with winning over the rest of Tatum and Brown's prime, which is I think what Ainge is at least attempting, it's less clear...

I think Ainge is trying to thread the needle of not backslipping this year while positioning the team for the rest of the J&J prime, and through that lens trading for Harden doesn't make much sense, as it would cost a lot of assets, eat up any cap they might have had, while adding a real flight risk in the middle of that window. Whether or not you think it's a good approach, I don't think the Cs starting the year worse than they did would have shifted much of the calculus in not trading for Harden.


Hasn't this been basically the exact same argument the last....however many years? It was asset collecting for someone like AD, then that didn't happen. I mean, I'm not saying Ainge isn't trying to do both here - win now and continue to win - but the defenses of Ainge haven't changed. Brown and Tatum aren't on their rookie deals anymore.
   1706. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6006696)
Hasn't this been basically the exact same argument the last....however many years? It was asset collecting for someone like AD, then that didn't happen. I mean, I'm not saying Ainge isn't trying to do both here - win now and continue to win - but the defenses of Ainge haven't changed. Brown and Tatum aren't on their rookie deals anymore.

I'm not sure I even understand what the critique is here? But the fact is for the previous 4 seasons they did thread the needle, just just haven't won a title. Which is also true of nearly every single team over the last decade that hasn't employed LeBron or Steph/Durant. They found a way to add Horford, Hayward, and Kyrie without trading what started as "the Nets picks" and turned into Brown/Tatum, in spite of people saying they should trade them all for Butler, who has since been on 3 teams, or George, who didn't want to be there, or Davis, who didn't want to be there... etc.

Some of those moves worked well, some of those moves were disrupted by leg bone explosions, I don't know. They were very good while simultaneously developing young guys, it worked great. Didn't get over the final hurdle. Now they are playing like absolute trash. Life is a rich tapestry.
   1707. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6006697)
There are too many sports writers/podcasters from Boston, too many who live in Boston, too many fans, many of us obnoxious, too much discussion, I completely and totally understand why the Celtics are fun to dunk on.
   1708. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6006700)
Jeremy Lin would be a good pickup for Boston.

Hell yes I'd take that. The thing with Teague that is so specifically maddening is he's just a beat late on every single play. The pass is always too late, the decision to shoot is always too late, even just moving, dribbling, everything requires a pause after he catches it. It's so hard to watch.
   1709. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6006702)
I don't think it is (edit: necessarily) a criticism of Boston to say getting Harden midseason is not the sort of thing they would do. I think it is just a statement.
   1710. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM (#6006703)
I remember Teague mostly from his Wolves days. He was annoying then and has clearly severely regressed.
   1711. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:03 AM (#6006704)
I remember Teague mostly from his Wolves days. He was annoying then and has clearly severely regressed.

Yeah I watched a lot of those Wolves years, too, and should have been better prepared for this, but I wasn't!
   1712. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6006708)
I'm not sure I even understand what the critique is here?

All I'm saying is this feels like the exact same discussion we had here when the Celtics didn't try to trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George. It was always kicking the can down the road...now's not the time because of this or that.

That's not to say I'm criticizing Ainge. That specific post I responded to could have been posted at any time in the past 4ish years with just the name of the guy they didn't trade for subbed in. I found it amusing.

But the fact is for the previous 4 seasons they did thread the needle, just just haven't won a title.

Now, if one wanted to criticize them here, it would be that they never did take that next step to actual contender when they had all those valuable assets - some of that not their fault, sure, but also they made specific choices along the way. Brown/Tatum are still young, could get better, but they're expensive and it's probably harder now to add a guy like all those guys they didn't trade for (unless someone forces their way there). OTOH, being a decent team with hope for years without having to do a total teardown/rebuild is a good thing*.

*As the fan of a team that's in constant teardown/rebuild, I would absolutely trade the last X number of C's years with Bulls years and the C's still absolutely have a better base to build on.
   1713. spivey 2 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:23 AM (#6006709)
I'm not sure the Celtics would have traded Brown for Harden, I'm not sure they should have, and I'm not sure that would have been enough.

The Rockets really got a ton of assets from the Nets. Now they're pretty far away assets, which not all owners are patient enough to value fully, but I think there may have been a fair amount of adding on to Jaylen Brown that would have been necessary.

I think with how Tatum and Brown have developed, if anything it's vindicated the Celtics holding those specific assets tightly. I'd hesitate to have ever called them true title contenders over the last 3-4 years, but they had a few years they could have gotten out of the East if a few things broke differently.
   1714. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:26 AM (#6006711)
If getting to the conference finals 3 out of 4 years doesn't make one a contender, I'm not really sure what we're doing here. Last year they were one of two teams in the league who were top 5 in both offense and defense. They were a contender, they just lost.

(EDIT: Sorry, this was in response to Moses, not spivey.)
   1715. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6006716)
Hasn't this been basically the exact same argument the last....however many years? It was asset collecting for someone like AD, then that didn't happen. I mean, I'm not saying Ainge isn't trying to do both here - win now and continue to win - but the defenses of Ainge haven't changed. Brown and Tatum aren't on their rookie deals anymore.


That's what I was trying to ask with my question. The idea is always, win now, win forever, but what if you're not winning?

Boston is not a good team. Both Js have been active, and they're still losing. That doesn't seem to deter folks, which is interesting.

Edit: Boston was not a contender in any of the years where they made the ECF. The East is just awful.
   1716. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6006717)
Boston is not a good team. Both Js have been active, and they're still losing. That doesn't seem to deter folks, which is interesting.

Man I just really don't like to watch James Harden play basketball. Give me another example I might have a different answer!
   1717. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6006721)
Edit: Boston was not a contender in any of the years where they made the ECF. The East is just awful.

This is at least an ethos, I just disagree (well, I don't disagree that the East is generally awful).
   1718. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6006722)
Which was the year they were a contender?

Last year when they couldn't beat a high school defense?
The two years they lost to the Cavs when the entire east was dogshit, and any of those teams were 10 point underdogs to the Warriors?
   1719. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6006723)
Yes.

EDIT: Were the Clippers contenders last year?
   1720. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6006724)
What does "a contender" even mean?
   1721. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6006725)
EDIT: Were the Clippers contenders last year?


This is an interesting question. I'm going to say no, because while in many ways they met traditional benchmarks for contention, the issues that blew up on them in the second round last year were always going to happen. They fell apart at the first sign of adversity, which definitely would have come later in the playoffs had they made it that far.

Coaching often reveals itself in the playoffs.
   1722. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:07 PM (#6006727)
Tship I legit give you credit, you also made these predictions in the moment (being down on the Clippers, I mean). But big picture, every coach isn't Spoelstra, and only one team gets to have LeBron. In the moment, the best that the 29 other teams can do is try to assemble a top 4 or 5 team who is good on both sides of the ball.
   1723. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6006729)
All I'm saying is this feels like the exact same discussion we had here when the Celtics didn't try to trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George. It was always kicking the can down the road...now's not the time because of this or that.

Moses I'm really not trying to be a jerk, I enjoy the conversation, but that you haven't reflected on this is just baffling to me. The first team that traded for Butler completely imploded, largely due to him! Then he went to the Sixers, a team that was worse than the Celtics. Then he left in free agency for a destination of his choosing. The team that traded for George did nothing and then he forced a trade to LA. Meanwhile the Celtics were better than all of those teams, "kicking the can," while, you know, actually winning basketball games.

The two Butler trades were for worse pieces than everyone wanted Boston to trade for Butler. Just objectively. The George trade (to OKC) was for worse pieces. And you're still making this argument.
   1724. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6006730)
Let me turn it around. Were the 2002 Nets a contender?
   1725. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:15 PM (#6006733)
They had the 17th best offense in the league. This seems like a point in my favor.
   1726. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6006734)
Is that a no? They made back to back Finals!
   1727. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6006735)
In all seriousness, of course they were contenders, they were by far the best team in the East in a two conference system that places an Eastern team in the Finals. The disparity of the conferences at the time, though, was extreme, much more so than the last few years of the NBA, making it very unlikely that they would beat the Lakers or Spurs.
   1728. spivey 2 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#6006738)
This is an interesting question. I'm going to say no, because while in many ways they met traditional benchmarks for contention, the issues that blew up on them in the second round last year were always going to happen. They fell apart at the first sign of adversity, which definitely would have come later in the playoffs had they made it that far.


Eh. That's the narrative. But basketball, especially basketball today, is streaky.

When Rivers got fired, Pelton did a story (link). And really, the Clippers underperformed on shot making and Denver significantly overperformed on shot making the last 3 games. Over the whole of that playoff series vs. the Nuggets, the Clippers got "substantially better shots". And I will also argue have better shooters.

I think with the Golden State dynasty over, the slate of contenders and fringe contenders is decently large this year, and was last year.
   1729. Fourth True Outcome Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:33 PM (#6006739)
Would the Celtics be a contender if they'd flipped Jaylen Brown and picks for James Harden? Harden is better than Brown, but the team would still be terribly young/thin roster-wise.

As for the Ainge stuff, yes, it's exactly the same line that's been used to defend him when they didn't spend their assets to get Butler/George/AD/whoever. It'll continue to be the line if he keeps the roster focus on Tatum and Brown for the next few years, as it looks pretty certain they will. If they win a 'chip or two in that window, it will have been worth it, if they don't it won't, but it's premature to declare it a bad strategy unless you fundamentally think the two aren't good enough to ever lead a contender.
   1730. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6006741)
Would the Celtics be a contender if they'd flipped Jaylen Brown and picks for James Harden? Harden is better than Brown, but the team would still be terribly young/thin roster-wise.


Yes. James Harden is very good at basketball.

When Rivers got fired, Pelton did a story (link). And really, the Clippers underperformed on shot making and Denver significantly overperformed on shot making the last 3 games. Over the whole of that playoff series vs. the Nuggets, the Clippers got "substantially better shots". And I will also argue have better shooters.


Yeah, I maybe did not state this very well. But basically, while the Clippers got a bit unlucky vs. Denver, those issues were present, and the fact that Doc gave minutes to Lou Will and Harrell they didn't deserve would have killed them against AD or Bam as well.
   1731. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6006742)
If the Clippers weren't a contender last year, you need to find a different word. Because that would mean there was one contender last year, and while that is occasionally the case in the NBA (basically) I don't think it reflects the last couple of seasons.

EDIT: They were top 5 on both sides of the ball during the season, best record in the West, their best player was a two-time Finals MVP, their coach had been to the Finals twice, their second best player was an All NBA guy, that's a contender however you look at it. Also they choked in the playoffs. Both things can be true.
   1732. spivey 2 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#6006745)
Zion Williamson is averaging 25.3 pts/game on .659 TS% at the age of 20.

Some of the concerns about him early in the year have gotten better. He's finishing at the rim still crazy often, and back at an elite level (67.6%). His unassisted field goals have gone way up this year, and he's slightly improved his Assist% while reducing his TO%. His conditioning looks better, and he's playing 32.7 min/game.

His defense is still not great but I'm hopeful he can get to at least passable there, and if he does, his offense is so god damn unstoppable he'll be a star or superstar even with just ok defense. I do worry that his defensive rebounding and rim protection, which I thought would have been better, are such that he'll usually need a C next to him. But there are a lot of bigs who want to play outside the paint these days.
   1733. asinwreck Posted: February 25, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6006749)
On the heels of Utah's impressive win over the Lakers comes this news:
Utah Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey on Wednesday denied allegations of making bigoted comments during an exit interview for former player Elijah Millsap in 2015.

While issuing a series of posts Wednesday on Twitter about how bigotry "is still very well present" and is a problem that needs to be addressed, Millsap alleged that Lindsey "made bigot remarks in my exit interview while conversing with Q. Snyder 'if you say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.'"

In a statement to the Deseret News about the allegation, Lindsey said: "I categorically deny making that statement."
   1734. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6006754)
The plantation mentality is much more widespread in the NBA than just in Utah. I have no idea of the truth of this statement, but certainly that mentality is pretty broadly shared in some NBA front offices.
   1735. jmurph Posted: February 25, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6006759)
Jeeeeeesus, that's terrible. Gonna be interesting to hear Snyder's response.
   1736. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:14 PM (#6006762)
Boston: As I have said, I do not think that Boston can win the title if their two best guys are Tatum and Brown. I have also said that they have plenty of time to prove me wrong. One thing that the Boston situation shows (again) is that the NBA is a rough and capricious gig in terms of actually winning a championship. I don't like Ainge at all, but he's I think he's smart. I do actually like Stevens, and I think he is a good (if a bit overrated in some quarters for the reasons that jmurph mentions in 1707) coach. They have done a lot of things right, and we should be aware that they are likely at a low point right now, and we need to take that into account in evaluating them. One underrated aspect of their issues is Hayward IMO. Suffers the catastrophic injury, then bails and is now playing more like his old self. Maybe some of that is on Ainge, but a lot of that was bad luck.

All that said, I would push back a bit against justifying the Butler and George stuff based on what happened with them elsewhere. The NBA is a talent league, and Butler and George are very talented players. Coaches and GMs get paid big money to make stuff work, so the idea would be that Ainge/Stevens could create an environment to make it work. Maybe given Butler and George's personalities it was impossible. But if I were a Boston fan, I think I would have wanted them to take the chance.

Lindsey: I don't know that I would use the term "plantation mentality" but I agree with a lot of what shipman is suggesting. I find it a bit unlikely, however, that a NBA Exec would say those exact words in an exit interview in this era. Something insensitive or dismissive--yeah. But "cut your black ass" would be words that, if said, would be more likely to be exposed by a text/phone recording. YMMV.
   1737. NJ in NJ Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6006765)
I find it a bit unlikely, however, that a NBA Exec would say those exact words in an exit interview in this era.

1. 2015 was 5 years ago and I do think sensitivity around these things is growing at a rapid rate (at least for the % of the population who cares)

2. There have been enough cases of various coaches/personnel folks in various sports using these threating coming out of late that I wouldn't be entirely shocked.

3. All that said, while I don't think there's any motive for Millsap to lie here, I do think the slight possibility that some aspect of what was said was misheard exists. That's the best case scenario for Lindsey.
   1738. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:35 PM (#6006769)
1737/NJ

I certainly would not be shocked, and your points are well-taken.
   1739. tshipman Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6006772)
Sadly, 2015 was 6 years ago, which is really weird because 2008 was just a couple years ago.
   1740. Fourth True Outcome Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:52 PM (#6006776)
I, for one, find time's relentless march to be more and more personally galling.

I also agree with NJ on all points.
   1741. NJ in NJ Posted: February 25, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6006778)
So many typos. Geeze.
   1742. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6006802)
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley -- a Most Improved Player candidate -- is being suspended 12 games by the NBA for conduct stemming from charges in offseason, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
   1743. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 05:49 PM (#6006808)
1. 2015 was 5 years ago and I do think sensitivity around these things is growing at a rapid rate (at least for the % of the population who cares)
i don't buy this at all. donald sterling was removed from the NBA in 2014. the danny ferry thing happened in 2014. the idea that anyone around the NBA might not have been sensitive to this is ridiculous.
   1744. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:00 PM (#6006814)
this is great refereeing.
   1745. asinwreck Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6006820)
Bruce Brown is the Nets' best center.
   1746. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:26 PM (#6006826)
I was actually pretty impressed with Beasley's apology.
   1747. Harlond Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:24 PM (#6006833)
Utah Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey on Wednesday denied allegations of making bigoted comments during an exit interview for former player Elijah Millsap in 2015.

While issuing a series of posts Wednesday on Twitter about how bigotry "is still very well present" and is a problem that needs to be addressed, Millsap alleged that Lindsey "made bigot remarks in my exit interview while conversing with Q. Snyder 'if you say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.'"

In a statement to the Deseret News about the allegation, Lindsey said: "I categorically deny making that statement."
What I don't understand is why Lindsay would threaten to cut Millsap in an exit interview. If it's an exit interview, haven't they already cut him? And if they haven't already cut him, why would Millsap describe it as an exit interview?
   1748. Laser Man Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:55 AM (#6006842)
I think they conduct "exit interviews" with everyone at the end of the season. It doesn't mean he was cut - in fact, he played for the Jazz in the 2015-16 season.
   1749. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:48 AM (#6006844)
Kane Pitman @KanePitman
I asked Giannis why he swapped jerseys with Zion: "There is a lot of value in jerseys. When I take a tech, that's $2000, so now I have a jersey I can sell for a little bit more. If I don't sell it I can give it to my kids and they can sell it." He did clarify he was joking
CBS NBA @CBSSportsNBA
Kyle Lowry's agent denies 76ers trade rumors, but that doesn't mean something isn't quietly cooking ... cbssports.com/nba/news/kyle-…
Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
James Dolan once complained to Adam Silver about being mocked in animation series nydailynews.com/sports/basketb…

   1750. jmurph Posted: February 26, 2021 at 07:15 AM (#6006848)
Kane Pitman @KanePitman
I asked Giannis why he swapped jerseys with Zion: "There is a lot of value in jerseys. When I take a tech, that's $2000, so now I have a jersey I can sell for a little bit more. If I don't sell it I can give it to my kids and they can sell it." He did clarify he was joking

This is great.
   1751. NJ in NJ Posted: February 26, 2021 at 08:55 AM (#6006859)
[1750] I sometimes wish they would have local reporters do the postgame check-ins they do with the studio crews at the end of national games. Giannis always comes across stiff in these, but I've seen enough of his local reporter interviews to know that he's actually engaging and has some personality. Can't help but think he's being hurt by unfamiliarity with the interviewers as well as the interviewers asking terrible questions.
   1752. asinwreck Posted: February 26, 2021 at 09:24 AM (#6006861)
Yeah, these exit interviews are an exit from the season, not severance. Porzingis made headlines by blowing off his last exit interview with the Knicks.
   1753. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: February 26, 2021 at 09:55 AM (#6006865)
Man I just really don't like to watch James Harden play basketball. Give me another example I might have a different answer!

I used to feel that way too, and that's definitely a fair reason for not wanting him. Having said that, he's a much more enjoyable player to watch on the Nets now than he ever was in Houston (the fact that he can be like that, also makes me retroactively dislike Houston Harden even more).
   1754. PJ Martinez Posted: February 26, 2021 at 10:16 AM (#6006868)
   1755. jmurph Posted: February 26, 2021 at 10:40 AM (#6006872)
That's 150% Porter's fault, run to the ####### rim. He looks totally clueless way too much of the time.

   1756. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 26, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6006878)
This makes it look worse, and it was actually Jamal Murray who posted it.

Honestly, it seems like players forget sometimes that the best shot in basketball is an open dunk or layup. There were 3 guys who could have gotten layups there.
   1757. tshipman Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM (#6006882)
All three guys on that fast break were awful. Two guys ran to the same wing, and the ball handler stopped before he had to.
   1758. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6006885)
I think it's incredibly dumb that Jimmy Butler isn't an All-Star. This relates to an issue I've always had with All-Star voting across multiple sports -- the pervasive belief that decisions should be based on something like the first 1/3 or so of a season. It's how you end up with absurdities like Shea Hillenbrand, 2-time All-Star. At the very least, voters should take into account performance since the last All-Star selection. Butler's been one of the top 5 players in the East over the past year, particularly including the most recent playoffs, and him missing a few weeks with COVID shouldn't effectively keep him out.

That's 150% Porter's fault, run to the ####### rim. He looks totally clueless way too much of the time.

I've brought this up here before, but I continue to think the Nuggets should trade MPJ. I recognize that he's a great scorer with the potential to be among the best, but he's just so unreliable defensively and such a space cadet in general that his fit with Jokic is terrible. To maximize his value, MPJ should be playing PF alongside a defensive C. Long-term I think he could be a really good fit in San Antonio next to Poeltl, for example.
   1759. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6006886)
Late to the party, but on "contender", if Kawhi Leonard's shot doesn't go down and Toronto loses in OT, would anyone have argued that the 2018-2019 Raptors were a contender? I think not. A team with a history of playoff underperformance, who lost before they even had a chance to face the juggernaut Bucks let alone the Warriors.

It's not a dichotomy here. OK, some teams do have a 0% (or 0.0001% or whatever) championship probability, but the recent Boston teams clearly were well above 0% (probably in the 2-5% range?) -- it's fundamentally just semantic what you choose to call a contender and what you don't.
   1760. jmurph Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:37 PM (#6006889)
This relates to an issue I've always had with All-Star voting across multiple sports -- the pervasive belief that decisions should be based on something like the first 1/3 or so of a season.

I mostly disagree with this, but I get the stance. I think going just on a given season's performance is a perfectly reasonable way to approach a game that happens every year. Also in the NBA, usually more than half the season is in the books by the time the All Star break rolls around.

I think if it was a more serious game I'd probably have a different opinion.
   1761. tshipman Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6006892)
I've brought this up here before, but I continue to think the Nuggets should trade MPJ. I recognize that he's a great scorer with the potential to be among the best, but he's just so unreliable defensively and such a space cadet in general that his fit with Jokic is terrible. To maximize his value, MPJ should be playing PF alongside a defensive C. Long-term I think he could be a really good fit in San Antonio next to Poeltl, for example.


I agree with this. MPJ's value was never higher than this offseason. I would have 100% cashed out if I were Denver. Not making an offer for Harden was borderline malpractice.
   1762. jmurph Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6006896)
I'm not sure what the consensus is on Porter? So I don't know if I'm with it or not, but I don't see him as a lock to be a star. I think he's incredibly talented offensively, I watch the Nuggets quite a bit, but I'm not certain he's going to improve at the many things he's currently very bad at. And then aren't there still medical questions?

EDIT: So I guess I'm saying, health aside, I think keeping Porter long term is fine and I think you're always going to get offense from him, and there's also a chance he turns into a star. But I'm really high on Murray and Jokic is a superstar now. If you could get someone on Murray's level or better now, to go with those two, I think that could push them pretty close to the LAL/LAC level in the playoffs.

   1763. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6006906)
I think that could push them pretty close to the LAL/LAC level in the playoffs.


Otherwise known as "determining who will lose to Utah in the WCF." ;- Also, not trying to be a dick, but as you know, Denver beat the Clippers last year.

That said, I certainly see your point.
   1764. tshipman Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6006908)
Speaking of Utah making the WCF:

Vernon Maxwell
@VernonMaxwell11
·
2h
It’s understandable to brag and celebrate having the best record in February when your franchise’s biggest accomplishment is food poisoning MJ.
   1765. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 26, 2021 at 03:43 PM (#6006915)
The Lakers have signed Damian Jones to a 10-day.
   1766. asinwreck Posted: February 26, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6006917)
Durant will miss the ASG and be re-evaluated afterwards.
   1767. asinwreck Posted: February 26, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6006924)
Josh Lewenberg
@JLew1050
The Raptors announce that 6 members of the coaching staff, including Nick Nurse, will not be on the bench beginning with tonight's game vs Houston due to the health and safety protocols.
   1768. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: February 26, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6006925)
[MPJ's] fit with Jokic is terrible.
I don't entirely agree—Porter has a fine nose for space on the offensive end, getting more unscripted points from random cuts and finding space on broken plays than most players, and Jokic is better and finding him on those than most. That said, his defensive questions are real and Denver's guard rotation isn't a great fit with him either, so I agree that Denver's highest-upside moves mostly involve trading him for as much value as possible.
   1769. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: February 26, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6006926)
Durant will miss the ASG and be re-evaluated afterwards.
Sabonis getting the new all-star roster spot, and Durant's starting spot is taken by the next-highest eastern conference vote-getter in Durant's position group; in this case, Tatum.
   1770. tshipman Posted: February 26, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6006928)
So who gets to pick the team now? Durant was the second vote getter ... at one point it was Curry.
   1771. Fourth True Outcome Posted: February 26, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6006936)
Are any other stars selected but injured? They should have two non-playing players pick the teams, and then spend the game with headsets on as if they were playing a video game. It's not a serious game anyway, let's have fun with it.
   1772. asinwreck Posted: February 26, 2021 at 09:29 PM (#6006946)
Luke Kornet.....has....hit three threes against the Suns in the third quarter.
   1773. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 27, 2021 at 09:20 PM (#6006998)
Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
Just what the world wanted, and needed: five more minutes of Sixers-Cavs.

   1774. asinwreck Posted: February 28, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6007046)

@ShamsCharania
The Bulls-Raptors game tonight has been postponed.

@ShamsCharania
Due to positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within Raptors, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed.

   1775. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 28, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6007058)
Andrew Wiggins has been basically been invisible in this game.
   1776. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 28, 2021 at 10:40 PM (#6007060)
This was a very good weekend for Dennis Schroder and his agent, as the Lakers were supposedly thinking about extending him.
   1777. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: February 28, 2021 at 10:42 PM (#6007062)
Didn't catch LAC/MIL, but I see that Paul George responded to the playoff-vibe in the game by going 7/21 and 2/10 on 3s. Both teams struggled from the arc.
   1778. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 28, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6007063)
This was a very good weekend for Dennis Schroder and his agent, as the Lakers were supposedly thinking about extending him.

The Lakers are going to pay him. They don't have a lot of avenues to get anyone nearly as good as him.

What do people think of Phoenix right now? After an 8-8 start, they are 14-3. They haven't played a lot of games against the best teams in the West (1-0 against the Jazz, 0-1 against the Clippers, and have yet to play the Lakers).

Are they a real contender?
   1779. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 01, 2021 at 07:50 AM (#6007067)
I think it depends on where you draw the line. I don't think they are an inner circle contender, but then again last year I would not have said the Heat were such and they made it to the finals.

I think Phx is a pretty good team and I expect them to make it through the first round of the playoffs, but that is as far as I feel good predicting. Past that I think health, matchups, and who is playing well matter enough that I am not sure how much further I expect them to go. I wouldn't be shocked to see them in the Western Conference finals, but I would be surprised to see them come out of the West.
   1780. spivey 2 Posted: March 01, 2021 at 09:22 AM (#6007072)
The Knicks!!! are in the 4 seed currently, and the Spurs are the 5 seed in the West. Some of that is good teams underperforming, and I think those teams will climb. But the middle to low playoff seeds are pretty weak.

I guess for me that puts Phoenix in that pile of teams that can win a series, could push a good team, maybe even win the series, but isn't likely at all to beat 2-3 of those kind of teams in a row.
   1781. asinwreck Posted: March 01, 2021 at 09:32 AM (#6007074)
If Chris Paul doesn't break down in the second half of the season, the Suns could go a couple rounds deep in the playoffs.

I should just prepare a macro of "If X doesn't break down in the second half of the season," as the density of games scheduled ought to produce some pioneering efforts in load management.
   1782. NJ in NJ Posted: March 01, 2021 at 09:36 AM (#6007075)
The thing with RJ Barett is that the shot doesn't go in. And it doesn't go in from like everywhere on the court. Almost half his 3s are from the corner and he is shooting 28.6% on them.

In the shock of all shocks, RJ Barrett now up to 37% from the corner. Who could have ever thought that a guy who dramatically improved his FT shooting from Y1 to Y2 wouldn't suddenly turn from a 35.6% corner 3 shooter to a 28.6% one?

RJ now up to 43.5/34.5/72.9 Y2 splits after 40.2/32/61.4 in Y1. Last 30 games he's 45.2/40/71.8. All while playing in lineups that are custom designed around the principle of "Who are the absolute worst guys we can put around someone who isn't particularly athletic and isn't a great shooter?"

I don't have dreams of RJ being a star, but I think he's made legitimate progress in Y2 that makes his overall future far more interesting than it appeared a year ago.

EDIT: BUT...if I DO want to dream about RJ being a star, it would be a Jimmy Butler type.
   1783. PJ Martinez Posted: March 01, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6007077)
If Chris Paul doesn't break down in the second half of the season, the Suns could go a couple rounds deep in the playoffs.
I've been thinking lately about where Paul ranks on the list of all-time NBA point guards, and I'm curious where folks here would have him at this point. There's still time on this one, of course, but: higher or lower than Steph Curry?
   1784. jmurph Posted: March 01, 2021 at 10:12 AM (#6007080)
I've been thinking lately about where Paul ranks on the list of all-time NBA point guards, and I'm curious where folks here would have him at this point. There's still time on this one, of course, but: higher or lower than Steph Curry?

It's seemed for years to me that Paul is going to retire with, safely, the best career point guard numbers of all time. But all of the other guys in that conversation also have somewhere between a bit more and miles more team playoff success than he does.
   1785. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 01, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6007084)
Is CP the best player to not win a championship? Ignoring the playoffs he is way up there as one of the best PG of all time, but the playoffs are the elephant in the room.
   1786. jmurph Posted: March 01, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6007085)
Still Barkley maybe? Who else is on the list? The Jazz guys obviously.
   1787. NJ in NJ Posted: March 01, 2021 at 10:52 AM (#6007087)
I think that list is definitively Barkley, Paul, Malone and Stockton in some order.
   1788. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6007111)
John Wall tonight:

14 PTS
0 REB
0 AST
0 STL
0 BLK
0 3PM
4-16 FG

He is the first player with a 10/0/0/0/0/0 statline on 25% shooting or worse since JR Smith in 2012. Wall is the first starter to do so since 1985. pic.twitter.com/J8N7O15Is2

— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 1, 2021
   1789. spivey 2 Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:22 PM (#6007113)
Paul/Curry still has 2 or 3 chapters left in that book. A ring from either of them changes the narrative of each of their careers a ton. Curry's peak is inner circle, but a few monster years in his 30s and a playoff run or two changes him from a peak guy to just an all-time great PG period.

I'd probably got Magic, Curry, West, and Paul. In that order. I feel like Jerry West is traditionally ranked as a SG, though looking at his stats and the teams he was on, he was probably a PG almost his whole career. Maybe my perception is off there, but at least that's how I'd ranked him previously. Of course, positions are fluid.

I don't think there's a ton separating those 4 though. And Paul's playoff numbers are significantly better than his success. But those other guys have a lot of playoff success (individual and team).
   1790. jmurph Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:22 PM (#6007115)
More on Wall: 27 minutes. And 5 TOs. -33 in his minutes. That's really an incredible night.
   1791. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:25 PM (#6007116)
The Lakers are going to pay him. They don't have a lot of avenues to get anyone nearly as good as him.


Is Schroder even good? He's an offense first point guard who is not great at getting others involved and isn't efficient himself. Like, I would rather have Delon Wright, Monte Morris or Dinwiddie than Dennis Scroder.
   1792. aberg Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#6007123)
This does not sound ideal:

“We have to build good habits from day one, and I don’t think we are in the right way, to be honest,” Rubio said after the 118-99 loss to Phoenix on Sunday night dropped them to 7-28 on the season. “I can be here and be positive like we’re trying to be and it’s OK. But we have the worst record in the league. We lost way too many games by 20-plus, and I don’t feel like this is building something. It’s hard. You always have to take positive things and of course, we want to get better, but at one point we got to start wanting to change something, and it’s not happening.”
   1793. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: March 01, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6007155)
Schroder: I was skeptical about him when they got him and mentioned that here, but he is seen as being a key part of the team now. The fact that the losing streak stopped immediately when he came back just adds to that, and neither Portland nor Golden State is a gimme (few games are in today'a league). The vibe is that his speed, and his presence allowing James to play off-ball are a big deal. He was +32 last night, and his On/Off numbers were very good last year and are again now. I am not sold, but I am sure that he will get an extension soon, locking him up for the majority of the James/Davis years.

Phoenix: I agree with what everyone said. I am pretty confident that the West champ will be one of the LA teams or Utah, and that player availability will play a big role. That said, Chris Paul continues his awesome career.

Best player never to win a title: NJ has the right four. You could argue all day about the order.

All-time PGs: I think Oscar Robertson could be evaluated as a PG as well. Most people tend to see West as a SG in these types of rankings, but the game was ofc very different in those days. I think Magic, Curry and Paul are the best three PGs post-merger, with Payton, Stockton, and Thomas next. I would still put Magic #1, but you can make a case for either of the other two. Curry's impact from 2014-2018 was right there with Magic's from 1984-1988.
   1794. aberg Posted: March 01, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6007157)
Best player never to win a title: NJ has the right four. You could argue all day about the order.


It would be fun to do the "Best player never to be the best player on a Championship team" list. You add some of the late-career ring chasers to the obvious list of guys who never won. Kidd, Robertson, Payton, Robinson (not a chaser, but gets on the list). Maybe Paul Pierce (I know he won finals MVP, but KG was the best player on that team).


Kobe, obviously [ducks].
   1795. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: March 01, 2021 at 03:22 PM (#6007158)
I think Kobe was the best player on 2009-2010 teams, but I said at the time (yes, we actually had threads here about the 2009 Finals) that it was a 1A/1B thing. Pau was a lot closer to Kobe than many people think, but IMO Kobe was the guy on those teams.
   1796. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6007159)
It would be fun to do the "Best player never to be the best player on a Championship team" list. You add some of the late-career ring chasers to the obvious list of guys who never won. Kidd, Robertson, Payton, Robinson (not a chaser, but gets on the list). Maybe Paul Pierce (I know he won finals MVP, but KG was the best player on that team).


Probably just Oscar Robertson, right? That's kind of boring. Either him or Pippen.

In addition to Kobe, you could be spicy and go for Durant or David Robinson.
   1797. NJ in NJ Posted: March 01, 2021 at 04:16 PM (#6007169)
Complete list of rookie guards with a Usage rate north of 25% who had a higher TS than Immanuel Quickley currently does:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Kyrie Irving

That's it. That's the list. 25th pick!!!!
   1798. asinwreck Posted: March 01, 2021 at 04:54 PM (#6007172)

@wojespn
Atlanta has dismissed Lloyd Pierce as coach, sources tell ESPN.

This seemed inevitable for a while.

@wojespn
Sources: The Hawks are hopeful assistant Nate McMillan will choose to become the interim head coach. McMillan is meeting with Lloyd Pierce and rest of Hawks coaching staff now. McMillan has been fiercely loyal in his support of Pierce.
   1799. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: March 01, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6007175)
@wojespn
Atlanta has dismissed Lloyd Pierce as coach, sources tell ESPN.
ATL's offseason was a literal coach killer.

rondo was a terrible signing; gallinari was a bad fit, imo. okungwu was a poor draft pick (imagine if they had haliburton instead). bogdanovic was fine, but he's been out since the 2nd week of the season.

   1800. aberg Posted: March 01, 2021 at 05:37 PM (#6007177)
rondo was a terrible signing; gallinari was a bad fit, imo. okungwu was a poor draft pick (imagine if they had haliburton instead). bogdanovic was fine, but he's been out since the 2nd week of the season.


I get the OO pick and it was pretty popular at the time. The rest of the moves felt like the result of a mis-evaluation of where the roster was and you can add the Capela trade to that list. They had this interesting young core of Young at point, Huerter and Reddish on the wings, and Hunter and Collins the front court is an interesting starting point.

It's definitely not a finished product. I can see why you'd want another guard who can initiate the offense, defend, and play next to Young. I can see why you'd want another shooter on the wing. I can see why you'd want a combo forward who can help toggle between big and small lineups. I can see why you'd want a defensive center who can help with rim protection and rebounding. They spent about $200m and a first round pick to add Rondo, Bogdanovic, Gallinari, and Capela, which is not only way too much, it raised expectations in a way that doesn't fit the timeline of those other players.

I know Collins is about to get expensive and Young won't be far behind that, but they could have used that cap space to soak up contracts and take on more draft capital. That would give them another year or two to better assess the development from those players. Any contracts they'd take on would probably be off the books before they would combine with their younger guys to push them into the tax. Then, they could either make those picks or package them to fill whatever holes they end up having later. They rushed unnecessarily and Pierce probably won't be the final casualty.
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