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Friday, October 15, 2021

NBA 2021-2022 Season Thread

I estimate there are maybe 10-12 Primates left on this site, and none of us want to post this thread.

Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 15, 2021 at 11:39 AM | 4178 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: get me out of philly, nba, off top

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   1801. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: January 11, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6060608)
Here's a quote that illustrates what PJ said in 1773.

Collins is a good player, but the points about Atlanta's defense are spot-on. Capela's been playing hurt this year, and DeAndre Hunter's still out with a wrist. Collins is okay on D, not the main problem at least.

Bogdanovich is the guy I'd be looking to move. He's older than everyone else in the rotation, makes $18 million, and I'm not sure he's any better than Huerter.
   1802. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 11, 2022 at 12:14 PM (#6060610)
from an ESPN podcast with windhorse and marc spears:
SPEARS: I think it’s a longshot, and it’s not because of Ben, it’s because I’m hearing that they want to include Tobias Harris.

WINDY: Me too

SPEARS: That’s a lot of money, man. So it’s already complicated enough to trade Ben Simmons, but I can only imagine Travis [Schlenk] getting that call from Daryl Morey like, wait wait wait, can we just talk to you about Ben? Why are you trying to pass Tobias to me?

WINDHORST: That is the word out there, that because they can’t necessarily get an All-Star that they want in return right now, that as the Sixers have continued their talks, they have talked to teams about trading Tobias and Ben. That $72 million, which means you’d need $56 million or so to trade out to make it happen, you’d have to trade a minimum of $56 million to trade for those two guys. You may say to yourself, this is what I said to myself, Tobias is not having a terrific season, and I do think that’s partially because he doesn’t have Ben.

They have made due with guys who are not really point guards. I know that Tyrese Maxey has had a good year and people are excited about him, but he’s not a true point guard. [Harris is] putting up good numbers, but his shooting is down, and he just hasn’t had the same impact. So I ask the question Spears, why would they want to do that? Why would, Tobias Harris is a good player, he’s on a contract that’s too high probably, but he’s a good player, why would they want to do that?

SPEARS: The gist I’m getting is Atlanta was interested until they brought Tobias’ name up. [ESPN]
...
WINDHORST: [...]one of their options is they want to make a run at James Harden next summer. Harden can opt out of his contract, he elected not to extend, obviously there’s the connection with Daryl Morey, they tried to get him in a trade last year. [...] some executives in the NBA believe one of the endgames for Ben Simmons is that he’s traded for James Harden in a sign-and-trade next summer


   1803. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 11, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6060617)
I find myself asking why Harden would rather play in Philly than Brooklyn. Kyrie fatigue? To play with Embiid? I'm not saying he shouldn't or those reasons are bad, I'm just curious why.

He didn't sign the extension because it never made sense to sign it before. Doesn't mean he'd want out. Now, if they're saying he does want out (or would rather play elsewhere) that's fine, but is that what they're saying?

For Philly, this goes back to, can they really waste a year of healthy Embiid? Harden ain't getting younger (and may not be getting skinnier) either.
   1804. jmurph Posted: January 11, 2022 at 12:56 PM (#6060618)
Both guys are among the best at their positions, but Harden and Embiid isn't exactly a seamless offensive pairing.

I mean, they're both great, I think if that's an option you obviously go for it, I'm just saying.
   1805. aberg Posted: January 11, 2022 at 01:22 PM (#6060623)
I'm not sure Jackson Jr is the 2nd star they want him to be. But he's young and they have some maneuverability to get another very good player.


Maybe Jackson isn't a #2 guy, but Bane might be. They have had a bunch of guys overperform what is expected of them, but every time I watch the Grizz, he's the guy who jumps out at me as so much more dangerous than I ever expected. He's so aggressive and decisive.

They're only 18th in days missed due to protocols (so it doesn't count the other injuries to Brook and Dante), but by value they're 3rd per Pelton (as of a week ag


Minnesota is 4th on this list and somehow still .500. Finch has been a lot better than I expected. He somehow has KAT playing the hardest and smartest he has played in the NBA. The focus is on the Towns/Edwards/Russell "big 3." Edwards and Russell have both be surprisingly good, but the lineup data all points to Towns/Vanderbilt/Beverley as being the engine for the team's success. They can finish the first half with a winning record with a win against NO tonight.
   1806. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: January 11, 2022 at 01:45 PM (#6060631)
Tying a couple threads together:

Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris make a combined $72M.

Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Goran Dragic make a combined $72M.

I'm betting Philly would make that trade but Toronto wouldn't. I like the prospect of Ben Simmons and Goran Dragic, two players who refuse to suit up for their current teams, being traded for each other.
   1807. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 11, 2022 at 03:12 PM (#6060648)
Finch has been a lot better than I expected.


Yes. He has been really good. I liked the game where he pulled Ant early in a quarter because of defensive indifference, and Ant after a pretty good game admitted the coach was right to do so.

Finch can seemingly connect with the core of the team and is getting great effort and defense out of the team. I am shocked, honestly.
   1808. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 11, 2022 at 03:17 PM (#6060649)
I would not do this (because of Tobias) but it works under the trade machine. Simmons on the Jazz would also be very funny.
   1809. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 11, 2022 at 03:53 PM (#6060656)
I would not do this (because of Tobias) but it works under the trade machine. Simmons on the Jazz would also be very funny.
mike conley: 34 years old
joe jingles: 34 years old
bojan bogdanovic: 32 years old
jordan clarkson: 29 years old


ben simmons: 25 years old
   1810. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 11, 2022 at 04:10 PM (#6060659)
Young and not able and not willing to shoot is still not able and not willing to shoot.
   1811. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 11, 2022 at 04:42 PM (#6060666)
And not like Gobert can go and play outside the paint like Embiid could. Simmons is everything they could want defensively and would help them get out in transition more, but their offense is elite because of shooting and they'd be losing nearly all of it, and on top of it would have to take back Tobias' horrific deal? I think they'd be back to Rubio teams where they couldn't score at all in the playoffs.
   1812. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6060667)
I don't think Tobias Harris's deal is THAT much worse than Conley's deal.

63 million remaining vs. 105 million remaining.
34 vs. 29
   1813. DCA Posted: January 11, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6060670)
Because Tobias Harris belongs on the Kings.

(per the trade machine, Collins can't be traded until this Friday, so using Gallo + Jalen Johnson as a stand-in).
   1814. DCA Posted: January 11, 2022 at 06:28 PM (#6060684)
Another trade I'd like to see: Raptors load up

Add picks as necessary for balance
   1815. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2022 at 07:07 PM (#6060693)
Apologies for this not being a trade idea, but here is an interesting few graphs about the per-minute defense impact (at least by Darko DPM) Rob Williams has had for the Cs over the last year. This year has been pretty mediocre for the Cs on every front, but Timelord has quietly been excellent. Even if he never figures out a way to create offense for himself, he's a force on defense, on the glass, and is genuinely perhaps the best passer on the Celtics, a fact I mean more as a compliment to him than damning the rest of the roster, though it's certainly true both ways.
   1816. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: January 11, 2022 at 07:40 PM (#6060695)

I don't think Tobias Harris's deal is THAT much worse than Conley's deal.

63 million remaining vs. 105 million remaining.
34 vs. 29


I do not care for Tobias at all. Was relieved when he signed with Sixers as Jazz rumored to be after him, and though last year he was much better than I thought he could be, most other years his team has been a negative with him on the court (including this year). I guess he could pull a DeRozan and make me look stupid, but even with age I'd much much much prefer Conley's deal. Getting off Clarkson's contract otherwise would be great.
   1817. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2022 at 08:01 PM (#6060699)
Apologies for this not being a trade idea, but here is an interesting few graphs about the per-minute defense impact (at least by Darko DPM) Rob Williams has had for the Cs over the last year. This year has been pretty mediocre for the Cs on every front, but Timelord has quietly been excellent. Even if he never figures out a way to create offense for himself, he's a force on defense, on the glass, and is genuinely perhaps the best passer on the Celtics, a fact I mean more as a compliment to him than damning the rest of the roster, though it's certainly true both ways.



Robert Williams ON: 32.14% opponent 3p%
Robert Williams OFF: 37.29% opponent 3p%

Data from here:
   1818. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2022 at 08:26 PM (#6060704)
Well, I saw somewhere else (source: uh, forget whose twitter, couldn't find it, trust me) that players he is guarding are shooting ~8% worse than expected on the shots they take, so unless that's truly aberrant from three (at least according to this bozo's eye test it isn't, as his crazy wingspan affects a lot of long shots when he gets pulled out on the perimeter) then, as quarterback of the defense, he needs to exhort his teammates to return to their nigh-magical closeout ways.
   1819. asinwreck Posted: January 11, 2022 at 08:53 PM (#6060705)

Maybe Jackson isn't a #2 guy, but Bane might be. They have had a bunch of guys overperform what is expected of them, but every time I watch the Grizz, he's the guy who jumps out at me as so much more dangerous than I ever expected. He's so aggressive and decisive.

Watching the Grizzlies go to work on the Warriors in the first half, this is worth quoting. Brooks was having a nice season before getting hurt. They've continued to play well, just as they did when Morant was hurt and now with Adams in COVID protocols. I've seen three games over the past month, and have been impressed by their defense every time.
   1820. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: January 11, 2022 at 09:57 PM (#6060715)
NJ and JC don't post anymore but Chris Herring has written a book called "Blood in the Garden" about the 1990s Knicks.
   1821. asinwreck Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:06 PM (#6060719)
This Memphis-Golden State game is so much fun to watch. It makes me hope they meet up in the playoffs.
   1822. SteveF Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:12 PM (#6060721)

Robert Williams ON: 32.14% opponent 3p%
Robert Williams OFF: 37.29% opponent 3p%

Data from here:

Some context:

Robert Williams ON: .428 Def 3PAr
Robert Williams OFF: .378 Def 3PAr

Robert Williams ON: .092 Corner 3 frequency - defense
Robert Williams OFF: .085 Corner 3 frequency - defense

Robert Williams ON: .336 AB3 frequency - defense
Robert Williams OFF: .293 AB3 frequency - defense

So you'd expect the on/off 3PFG% to be lower based on where the 3 point shots are coming from. MAYBE you can argue that's due to defense, but then 3 pointers are usually at least middling quality shots and the Celtics seem to give up more 3PA with him on the floor, even if ~80% of those extra 3 point shots are coming from above the break.
   1823. tshipman Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:39 PM (#6060725)
Since the NBA as a whole shoots 34% on above the break 3s, it's exceptionally unlikely that a given player can influence that by nearly 2%.

My point wasn't to #### on Robert Williams, who looks like a pretty decent young player, it's just that everyone should be skeptical of big defensive splits for low-minute players. Some huge percentage of the time, when guys are getting hyped up for defensive metrics, particularly when that guy doesn't have an excellent reputation, it's just opponent 3p%.
   1824. GregF Posted: January 11, 2022 at 11:19 PM (#6060731)
The lack of a permanent GM to pull the trigger remains a problem, but does Morey’s attempt to dump Harris make the Blazers a better option than before? They can assemble enough salary with McCollum/Covington/Nurkic, and don’t have much to lose dumping expiring contracts from a team struggling to make the play-in.
   1825. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 11, 2022 at 11:52 PM (#6060734)
it's just that everyone should be skeptical of big defensive splits for low-minute players

One of the points in the twitter thread I linked, though not the tweet I linked so I doubt anyone saw it, was the point that although he was better per-minute last year than this, he's held up at a similar impact level going from 20 mpg to 30, and has done it for 2000 minutes now. Dunno just how good he is, but it's not unreasonable at this point to think he's pretty good, and a lot of fun to watch do it with his athleticism and comically long arms. He's all dunks and blocks, but he's gotten a lot smarter at it over the last couple of years, particularly defensively.
   1826. SteveF Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:03 AM (#6060735)
Since the NBA as a whole shoots 34% on above the break 3s, it's exceptionally unlikely that a given player can influence that by nearly 2%.

Obviously. My point is that you should expect teams to shoot worse from 3 with Williams on the floor because of where the shots are coming from. It's not a question of whether there should be regression, but of how much.
   1827. jmurph Posted: January 12, 2022 at 07:31 AM (#6060746)
Oh yeah I'm sure the 3pt stuff will wash out eventually but Williams is genuinely a really skilled defender, and has great hands on the lob. He's the only consistent source of joy on that team this year (I'm not out on everyone else, but let's just say it comes and goes).
   1828. asinwreck Posted: January 12, 2022 at 09:56 AM (#6060759)
We discussed a page back how many officials have entered the protocols. ESPN did a story on Tier 1 staff coming down with COVID.
Sources told ESPN that this season there have been more than 500 confirmed COVID-19 cases among 2,400 total Tier 1 staff -- anyone working within 15 feet of players -- across the NBA. The vast majority of cases among Tier 1 staff have also come within the past month, with more than 450 cases occurring from Dec. 7 to Jan. 10, sources said.

Such positions include equipment managers, player development staffers, video coordinators, analytics staffers, security staffers, scouts and those who work in player health positions, including athletic training staffers who double as their team's respective COVID-19 protocols officers.

General managers across the league point out that while players can often be replaced by G-League backups, replacing core staffers who handle unique roles can prove to be much more challenging and impactful on day-to-day operations [....]

Said an Eastern Conference general manager: "The rising caseloads are stretching other team staff [to the limit]."
   1829. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 12, 2022 at 10:40 AM (#6060769)
Why the #### is the Bulls/Nets game tonight in Chicago starting at 9pm local time? I mean, I know it's because it's on ESPN, but that's ridiculous.
   1830. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 12, 2022 at 10:43 AM (#6060770)
Why the #### is the Bulls/Nets game tonight in Chicago starting at 9pm local time? I mean, I know it's because it's on ESPN, but that's ridiculous.
if it's on ESPN, it's not starting until 9:20.
   1831. asinwreck Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:02 AM (#6060775)
I wonder if the league scheduling the makeup game between the Nets and Blazers had something to do with it. The flight west was the reason the Nets' game the day before in Brooklyn was rescheduled to noon ET.
   1832. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:23 AM (#6060779)
Were it back to back for the Nets, maybe? I think it's just cause ESPN flexed it into that spot. Regardless, Bulls played yesterday so I would expect an ugly or lifeless game (also both Harden and Irving are questionable).
   1833. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:26 AM (#6060780)
Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry ·2h

Memphis Grizzlies Since December 1st

#1 Record (18-4)
#1 Net Rating (+12.6)
#1 Def.Rating (102.6)
#1 Rebound % (54.0)
#1 Off. Reb% (34.7)
#1 Fast Break PPG (17.4)
#1 Paint PPG (57.1)
#1 2nd Chance PPG (19.0)
#1 Opp. 2nd Chance PG (11.0)
#1 Opp. TO% (16.5)
#1 Pts Off TO (20.7)



---

Washington Wizards guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center Montrezl Harrell got into a physical altercation at halftime of Tuesday night’s home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and their tussle needed to be separated by teammates, sources tell The Athletic.

Sources said Harrell became upset with Caldwell-Pope for not passing him the basketball on a play before the first half concluded, and the two started jawing during the walk to the locker room. As the two exchanged words, Harrell and Caldwell-Pope took swings toward each other — with neither connecting — and became entangled before teammates separated them, sources said.
   1834. jmurph Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:46 AM (#6060783)
If I'm a (relatively) normal sized human like KCP and I'm picking guys to get into physical altercations with, Harrell is pretty far down my list.
   1835. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:52 AM (#6060785)
He's the only consistent source of joy on that team this year (I'm not out on everyone else, but let's just say it comes and goes).


Do Celtics fans generally like one of Tatum or Brown over the other? As an outsider, I see plenty to like about both (Tatum's scoring, athleticism, defense, Brown's steady improvement). The talk of breaking them up seems crazy to me, they are both young and should be cornerstones.
   1836. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:32 PM (#6060789)
Not really, they're both interestingly different players, both on the court and in terms of persona, and also still seem like they could be complimentary pieces (and seem to like each other). The "Is it time to split up the Jays!?" noise seems to be primarily a sports media creation in response to the up-and-down season they're having, but I, and most Cs fans I know, are glad the front office hasn't budged on its line that it is building around both of them and only looking to adjust the surrounding pieces.

I do agree with jmurph that Timelord has been the one consistent source of joy on the team, but the key word there is consistent. Tatum was out with covid, Brown has struggled with his hamstring issue, and pretty much everyone else has struggled to play well, get playing time, or both. And then there's Rob Williams, who is finally playing starter minutes, living up to his potential (so far), and just spends his time collecting stocks, making surprisingly quick good passes for a big man, and yamming it all over dudes. In a year where almost everything about the team has felt like a struggle, he's been a ray of light.
   1837. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:40 PM (#6060791)
Sources said Harrell became upset with Caldwell-Pope for not passing him the basketball on a play before the first half concluded, and the two started jawing during the walk to the locker room.


Something about using the full "basketball" here instead of just "ball" strikes me as pretty funny. Like listening to NPR talk about the Super Bowl and referring to "the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football Conference, with a record of 14 victories and just two defeats...."
   1838. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 12, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6060795)
Shams has a lot of weird tics in his writing. Usually the articles are edited a lot better than the tweets, but I laughed at that too.
   1839. spivey Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:12 PM (#6060804)
My first reaction last time you mentioned this, and this time, is that Milwaukee hasn't even had it that bad compared to other teams. And I was sort of right. They're only 18th in days missed due to protocols (so it doesn't count the other injuries to Brook and Dante), but by value they're 3rd per Pelton (as of a week ago) - which makes sense since all their best players have all missed time (though every single Bulls player has missed time, but they did get some cancelled games to help it out).


I guess I have 2 thoughts wrapped up there. I'm annoyed at how it's affecting the season for Milwaukee, but also me as a fan. My interest in turning on a random game is reasonably lower than a normal year. And I'm not exactly sure how to divide out the reasons to why, but the fact that at least one team is likely playing with a severely compromised roster and maybe both of them are is a big factor.
   1840. spivey Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:19 PM (#6060805)
I think the reason to break out Tatum/Brown is simple - for both being very good, ball dominant wings - neither is good at passing or making their teammates better on the offensive end. And neither is hyper efficient enough to make up for it (like Kawhi or Durant are).

Now, I don't think you just break them up for breaking them up's sake because large wings are gold in this league. And because I can see hoping you get a good PG or another guy who can help with the overall team passing, and they'll each continue to slightly improve at passing over time. But when your two main ball-handlers and shooters are averaging a combined 6.7 assists, it's not great. They're actually 4th and 5th on the team in assists/game, and that doesn't even include Robert Williams.
   1841. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:35 PM (#6060809)
Also you could get a king’s random for either.
   1842. asinwreck Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:48 PM (#6060813)
Boston's need for a point guard rivals what the Bulls experienced at that position last season. What kinds of upgrades on Schröder are possibilities if the Celtics want to keep this core together.

I had no idea what Brad Stevens's tendencies will be in his new role. That said, I can't resist putting out the idea that trading contracts led by Al Horford for John Wall and future picks would be fun to watch from the perspective of someone who is neutral on the Celtics.

The best storyline would be a Kyrie return.
   1843. PJ Martinez Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:55 PM (#6060816)
It would be nice to have Wall this season instead of Horford, but that contract next year... Hard to see that being worth it.

As for Tatum and Brown, I'm much more opposed to trading the former than the latter -- I find it hard to imagine that trading Tatum would ultimately benefit the team, whereas I think it's at least conceivable that they could deal Brown for a player of similar quality who helps offset some of Tatum's weaknesses, rather than compounding them. Part of what I find weird about the talk of "breaking them up" is that it seems to posit that trading one or the other is a more or less equal proposition. But Tatum is a year and a half younger; a better playmaker (low bar here, of course) even though he's generally up a position relative to Brown, who is sometimes in the backcourt; a better defender, in my opinion; and has a better track record with regard to injuries. Their three-point numbers are comparable, but Tatum's form and free-throw shooting lead me to suspect that, this current half-season aside, he will generally have an edge there, too.

I think the team's problems are more an issue of talent than fit, though it may be a bit of both. There's an impatience with the team, partly because they play in Boston and partly because they reached the Conference Finals a few times early in Brown and Tatum's careers. But, of the key players, only Smart is old enough where you wouldn't necessarily expect any significant improvement going forward. I wouldn't mind if Udoka simply made Smart, the Jays, and the Williamses his starting and closing five and tried to build some continuity -- that may never be a championship-quality five, but it's fun (if sometimes, also, frustrating) to watch players develop. Obviously, the front office should look to improve the roster, but I'd prefer patience to haste.
   1844. spivey Posted: January 12, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6060820)
I agree Tatum has shown more to me on passing, creating for himself, etc. But you'd also get a lot more for him, I think. But star-for-star deals rarely happen. And 4 quarters for a dollar trade rarely make you better. So, it's hard to see a deal that would work well. I think Simmons + Maxey for Jaylen Brown absolutely does. But, that assumes you get a hungry, motivated Simmons who doesn't pull similar bullshit in 12 months.
   1845. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2022 at 03:05 PM (#6060821)
The archetype of "not quite all-NBA" scorer is really tough to work with. CJ McCollum, Brown, Brandon Ingram maybe, even Klay Thompson fits here, I think.

They're too good to just trade them away. If you want to win, they should be like the third or fourth best player on your team. However, they will command a salary at or near the max, which makes it hard to keep them, and makes it hard to acquire better players than they are.
   1846. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 12, 2022 at 04:43 PM (#6060830)
I think the team's problems are more an issue of talent than fit, though it may be a bit of both. There's an impatience with the team, partly because they play in Boston and partly because they reached the Conference Finals a few times early in Brown and Tatum's careers. But, of the key players, only Smart is old enough where you wouldn't necessarily expect any significant improvement going forward. I wouldn't mind if Udoka simply made Smart, the Jays, and the Williamses his starting and closing five and tried to build some continuity -- that may never be a championship-quality five, but it's fun (if sometimes, also, frustrating) to watch players develop. Obviously, the front office should look to improve the roster, but I'd prefer patience to haste.

Agreed with all of this, and to extend the point about Udoka a bit, whatever his player choices he needs to stop relying on an 8.5 player rotation. Part of the team's closing issues may well have to do with both Jays appearing gassed at the end of a lot of games, and it's preventing the younger players from getting meaningful minutes during a season when the team needs more help and also isn't contending.

I was on board with the idea this season to start Smart at PG and see if a trio of him, Tatum, and Brown could be enough distribution, but it hasn't really succeeded (and they don't have the shooters to really pull it off anyway, but I don't think any of the three has shown flashes of really being able to be a lead distributor for a team). But they're young enough that's fine, and I would much rather see the team hold onto Brown and Tatum, at least for a few more years, as they're still young, and see if they can get a better surrounding cast around them. Hopefully getting under the tax this season to reset the repeater penalty will let Brad open things up a bit, because I'd love to see what the Jays would look like playing next to a pass-first PG and with a few better-than-average shooters. They'd be in a better place if any of Ainge's recent draft picks had really hit, but so it goes.
   1847. smileyy Posted: January 12, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6060834)
[1845] I agree with your general sentiment and also am getting hung-up on some of the details between:
"not quite all-NBA"
and
they should be like the third or fourth best player on your team
.

If somebody is not quite all-NBA and are the 4th best player on your team, that suggests that there are probably two all-NBA players on your team, and probably another "not quite" player, which feels like an embarrassment of riches. I don't think the 4th best player on the Suns or Bucks last year was anything close to all-NBA, but I could be wrong.

That said, it's likely that all-NBA voting and other sentiments are biased towards guys who can score but are lower-value in other areas. I think this is where the conflict lies. Looking at BPM and VORP, neither Brown, McCollum nor Ingram should even be within sniffing distance an all-NBA team but I'm sure they'll get votes.

So yeah, Jaylen Brown probably is the third or fourth best player on the Celtics, among Tatum, Williams and Horford (who BPM seems to like a lot), and, well, the Celtics aren't exactly winning, so maybe you're onto something.


Sorry to be kind of nit-picky, this just got stuck in my brain.

   1848. smileyy Posted: January 12, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6060836)
For a little more context, here's who bask-ref has as 16-20 in BPM and VORP, guys who are "not quite all-NBA". I'd go down through 30, but I'm feeling lazy and just grabbing these guys off the leaders page.

BPM
Domantas Sabonis
Trae Young
Robert Williams
Kristaps Porziņģis
Dejounte Murray

VORP
James Harden
Donovan Mitchell
Dejounte Murray
Tyrese Haliburton
Zach LaVine

I'm actually not sure what to think of these in terms of the arguments you and I were making. Could some of these guys really be the third-best player on a Finals team? I guess title contending is a pretty high bar these days.

Taking a quick scan, talent seems pretty well distributed in the NBA these days. DAL is the only team with 2 players in the top-20 BPM, and UTA and BRK for VORP.
   1849. PJ Martinez Posted: January 12, 2022 at 05:53 PM (#6060843)
Are those all-in-one stats really so authoritative that one can use them as clear benchmarks? I don't really have a detailed opinion on that question, but my general sense is that no all-in-one basketball stat is *that* good -- they're handy as shorthand, but even the best ones (as I understand it) have their blind spots and flaws. Right?
   1850. SteveF Posted: January 12, 2022 at 05:59 PM (#6060846)
I guess that Simmons for Lillard trade is probably not happening at the deadline.
   1851. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2022 at 06:12 PM (#6060847)
If somebody is not quite all-NBA and are the 4th best player on your team, that suggests that there are probably two all-NBA players on your team, and probably another "not quite" player, which feels like an embarrassment of riches. I don't think the 4th best player on the Suns or Bucks last year was anything close to all-NBA, but I could be wrong.

That said, it's likely that all-NBA voting and other sentiments are biased towards guys who can score but are lower-value in other areas. I think this is where the conflict lies. Looking at BPM and VORP, neither Brown, McCollum nor Ingram should even be within sniffing distance an all-NBA team but I'm sure they'll get votes.

So yeah, Jaylen Brown probably is the third or fourth best player on the Celtics, among Tatum, Williams and Horford (who BPM seems to like a lot), and, well, the Celtics aren't exactly winning, so maybe you're onto something.


Sorry to be kind of nit-picky, this just got stuck in my brain.


You didn't think Kris Middleton was "not quite all-NBA"? I would characterize him as the Bucks' third best player last year in the playoffs, and the closest thing to that kind of role that we're talking about.

Specifically I'm saying that the scoring guard who is not quite all NBA is hard to make work as the second best player.

I'm actually not sure what to think of these in terms of the arguments you and I were making. Could some of these guys really be the third-best player on a Finals team? I guess title contending is a pretty high bar these days.


This is definitely part of the issue. You have to be really good to consistently be a contender. You need either two top five guys (Shaq/Kobe or LeBron/AD), or you need one of those guys plus two top 20 guys. Scoring guards who aren't good enough to be All-NBA have a tendency to get overpaid, which makes it harder to find the third guy.
   1852. smileyy Posted: January 12, 2022 at 06:29 PM (#6060850)
Specifically I'm saying that the scoring guard who is not quite all NBA is hard to make work as the second best player.


I definitely agree. They get paid the max and don't do enough to help you win.

I guess I don't see that kind of player as a top-25 player in the NBA (not quite all-NBA), but like I said, those types of players may be overrated by voters. On that note, none of those guys you mentioned got a single vote in last year's all-NBA voting, so maybe calling them not quite all-NBA is significantly overrating them. Klay Thompson did get votes in 2019.
   1853. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2022 at 06:35 PM (#6060851)
I guess I don't see that kind of player as a top-25 player in the NBA (not quite all-NBA), but like I said, those types of players may be overrated by voters. On that note, none of those guys you mentioned got a single vote in last year's all-NBA voting, so maybe calling them not quite all-NBA is significantly overrating them. Klay Thompson did get votes in 2019.


Yeah, I think my language is kind of imprecise. I'm thinking of the guy who gets into the all-star game from time to time, but never really gets all-NBA consideration. Klay is like the best version of that archetype, but that's kind of how I think of Jaylen Brown right now. Maybe he gets better from here!
   1854. smileyy Posted: January 12, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6060856)
Yeah that sounds about right to me!
   1855. asinwreck Posted: January 12, 2022 at 07:12 PM (#6060858)
On the bright side for Portland, I don't think they have to worry about their 1st-round pick conveying to the Bulls this year.
   1856. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 12, 2022 at 07:18 PM (#6060859)
Gina Mizell @ginamizell
Can confirm via a league source ESPN’s report that Ben Simmons’ agent Rich Paul met today with Sixers front-office brass Daryl Morey and Elton Brand. Trade deadline is now less than a month away.
Noah Levick @NoahLevick
Doc Rivers says he doesn’t think Ben Simmons is any closer to returning to the Sixers, but he isn’t sure. Rivers notes Simmons “does come into the facility. ... Hopefully we’ll know sooner or later.”
   1857. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:09 PM (#6060866)
Damian Lillard To Have Surgery On Abdominal Injury Thursday

Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard is planning to have surgery soon to deal with lingering pain from his abdominal injury, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Windhorst adds that Lillard may be able to return this season after the surgery, but that’s still up in the air.


At least it explains why he has had a down year. But yeah, no trade here for Simmons I would guess.
   1858. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6060867)
Noah Levick @NoahLevick
Doc Rivers says he doesn’t think Ben Simmons is any closer to returning to the Sixers, but he isn’t sure. Rivers notes Simmons “does come into the facility. ... Hopefully we’ll know sooner or later.”


Doc always sounds like a clueless ex boyfriend. "I'm not sure if we're getting back together. She does come back to the apartment from time to time because her name is on the lease. Hopefully we'll get back together soon."
   1859. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:20 PM (#6060868)
At this point I want the game of chicken to go on as long as possible, both sides stubborn and so convinced they are right that Simmons never gets traded - it would be funny, in a grim sort of way.
   1860. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:25 PM (#6060870)
Doc always sounds like a clueless ex boyfriend. "I'm not sure if we're getting back together. She does come back to the apartment from time to time because her name is on the lease. Hopefully we'll get back together soon."
you're not wrong.
   1861. PJ Martinez Posted: January 12, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6060871)
Right on cue, Brown and Tatum both scored thirty tonight.

In related news, the Pacers need to trade everyone on their roster over 26 who isn't named Lance Stephenson.
   1862. tshipman Posted: January 12, 2022 at 09:55 PM (#6060877)
In my ongoing confusion over just what is a flagrant foul, this was apparently just a single T on Ingles.

Someone make it make sense.
   1863. Hombre Brotani Posted: January 12, 2022 at 10:14 PM (#6060879)
Doc always sounds like a clueless ex boyfriend.
I've come around to the idea that Doc Rivers is basically a lesser version of Rick Adelman.
   1864. asinwreck Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:02 PM (#6060883)
Quite a few airballs in this Bulls-Nets game.
   1865. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:29 AM (#6060889)
This Laker team is just so awful defensively. I think they need to play Howard more until Davis comes back. The Kings scored a combined 72 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and shot 55% in this game.

Russell Westbrook has shot 20% in the last three games. He is 0-16 from 3P% in his last 6 games. He does have 27 assists in his last 4 games with only 4 turnovers.

I hate that this team is wasting a LeBron year when there might not be that many off them left. Just a horrible team to watch on a daily basis.
   1866. tshipman Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:36 AM (#6060891)
I hate that this team is wasting a LeBron year when there might not be that many off them left. Just a horrible team to watch on a daily basis.


Like, this is true, of course, but given that LeBron allegedly was the driver behind the Westbrook move, it's kind of LeBron the GM wasting a year of LeBron the player's prime.

Btw, how wild is it that the *first* year of LeBron's Laker contract will end up being the worst?
   1867. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:57 AM (#6060894)
Btw, how wild is it that the *first* year of LeBron's Laker contract will end up being the worst got his coach, GM, franchise legend team president and nearly every one of his teammates run the #### out of town?
ftfy.
   1868. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 13, 2022 at 01:08 AM (#6060895)
Like, this is true, of course, but given that LeBron allegedly was the driver behind the Westbrook move, it's kind of LeBron the GM wasting a year of LeBron the player's prime.

Even if he weren't the driving force (he may very well have been), at the very least the Lakers ran this by LeBron to get his opinion/approval. It has always seemed obvious that he is not a good fit for the Lakers.

What is/was it that LeBron saw in Westbrook that made him think that he'd be useful. LeBron knows the type of guys who are good fits for him, everybody does. What was he thinking? I would love to know what he was thinking.

It's not just that Westbrook was a bad move. It is pretty much the worst possible move that the Lakers could have made. Like almost anything they did instead would have been better.
   1869. bob gee Posted: January 13, 2022 at 08:23 AM (#6060907)
My guess for the Lebron situation: he thought he would have to take time off (either when sitting during the game or when he wasn't playing as hard in the regular season) and Russ could push the ball up fast and get it either to a center (DAJ, Dwight) or out to one of the wings.

Russ' bad games this season look considerably worse than I've seen the past few years, but this shouldn't be unexpected. He knows what happened in Houston (Russ became the defacto center on offense, and they left him wide open on 3s), but I'm guessing Lebron got blinded by Washington not looking awful so often.
   1870. spivey Posted: January 13, 2022 at 08:47 AM (#6060908)
Like, this is true, of course, but given that LeBron allegedly was the driver behind the Westbrook move, it's kind of LeBron the GM wasting a year of LeBron the player's prime.


The Lakers don't strike me as a very analytically savvy organization, but you'd really hope that even if he was the driver of this, and wanted it, you could have your ops people sit down with him and explain why it won't work. I know that may be tough, but I don't think Miami makes this deal. You don't have to make a deal just because LeBron wants it. David Griffin probably does.
   1871. jmurph Posted: January 13, 2022 at 09:27 AM (#6060910)
Speaking of Griffin, I was just thinking about ###### the Pelicans are with the Zion situation. So he's extension eligible this summer, which they obviously have to do. So then he's effectively not really tradeable until that kicks in, which is the 23-24 season. And by then, worst case we could be looking at a guy who is totally hopeless and who is about to have a giant guaranteed salary for five years.

What the hell are they supposed to do?

   1872. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:39 AM (#6060918)
Speaking of Griffin, I was just thinking about ###### the Pelicans are with the Zion situation. So he's extension eligible this summer, which they obviously have to do. So then he's effectively not really tradeable until that kicks in, which is the 23-24 season. And by then, worst case we could be looking at a guy who is totally hopeless and who is about to have a giant guaranteed salary for five years.

What the hell are they supposed to do?
trade him to the lakers for 3 conditional first round picks and his little brother.
   1873. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 13, 2022 at 11:19 AM (#6060924)
Last night was a good example of how scary the Nets can be when their big 3 are all playing, even with Kyrie not playing that well. It also was a good demonstration for Bulls fans the difference between great players and good players having great years - though honestly the Thibs vs Heatles years should have made that clear, too.

It obviously didn't help the Bulls that DJJ went down right at the start* and that they were already playing without many of their best defenders** but they couldn't get a stop to save their lives last night. That's the real problem and hard ceiling for a team with Vuc*** as the main big; he helps the offense flow but I find myself wondering if the Bulls would be better off with say Myles Turner instead of Vuc.

*Seriously, the 4 spot is cursed for the Bulls this year. Williams, Green, Cook, DJJ, and Caruso are the guys who have all spent time there. I'll be shocked if DJJ didn't blow out his knee - which also hurts them for upgrading this year since his expiring deal was key to matching salaries in just about any deal for a real 4.

**It's crazy to me how integral Caruso really is to the Bulls defensive scheme. He's been the difference between the Bulls being a top 10 or a bottom 10 defense. Which makes me wonder, how good defensively would a backup wing have to be to be seriously considered for DPOY (I'm not saying he should be - the minutes played matter).

***Marc Jackson ####### sucks as an announcer for so many reasons, yet I found myself hating him most of all last night for pronouncing Vucivec with that first "ch" sound as a soft s over and over, even with Pasch constantly saying it correctly right after him almost every time. I mean, he's called "Vooch" for short, not "Voos".
   1874. tshipman Posted: January 13, 2022 at 11:46 AM (#6060930)
I still believe that there's a world where Westbrook + LeBron makes sense. Westbrook worked with Harden just a couple of years ago, and the idea of Westbrook screening as a tiny center and short rolling is theoretically great. Westbrook + AD theoretically also provided a world where LeBron could rest more.

Obviously none of this worked out in reality, mostly because Westbrook didn't buy in and because the Lakers insisted on rolling out lineups that didn't have a prayer.

@spivey: your point in 1870 that Miami wouldn't do this is well taken. I would also say that if Miami did it, they wouldn't have dicked around with DeAndre Jordan for two months.

Speaking of Griffin, I was just thinking about ###### the Pelicans are with the Zion situation. So he's extension eligible this summer, which they obviously have to do. So then he's effectively not really tradeable until that kicks in, which is the 23-24 season. And by then, worst case we could be looking at a guy who is totally hopeless and who is about to have a giant guaranteed salary for five years.


You're gonna play a little piano, you're going to call in to some podcasts, you're going to go hard for that play in game. Maybe fire the coach again, just to see if you like it.
   1875. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 13, 2022 at 11:47 AM (#6060932)
wojbomb:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn ·18m

ESPN Sources: The Atlanta Hawks are trading forward Cam Reddish to the New York Knicks for a deal that includes a protected 2022 first-round pick via Charlotte. Knicks also acquire Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick via Brooklyn in trade.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn ·17m

New York is including Kevin Knox in trade to Atlanta, sources tell ESPN.


So this is a challenge trade of sorts? Or what are the Hawks doing? Also not quite sure I follow all the moving pieces. Shams is surprisingly silent so far.
   1876. Mike A Posted: January 13, 2022 at 11:48 AM (#6060933)
Hawk fans are apoplectic over the Reddish for Knox/protected 1st trade, I'm kinda...whatever. Hawk fans loved Cam. But as someone on Reddit posted: 'The idea of Cam Reddish is better than the player.' Looking at EPM, he's sitting at 36th percentile offense and 10th percentile defense, so...yeah.

Still, you can't help but watch Reddish and see potential. But he's about to get paid, and the Hawks couldn't afford he and Hunter without going over luxury tax. And I personally like Hunter's upside more, though of course he's had a lot of issues as well.

I think it's worth the shot for the Knicks to see if Thibs can tap Reddish's potential. And it does feel like the Hawks could have gotten more. I'm thinking there's more to come.
   1877. asinwreck Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:02 PM (#6060936)
The cavalcade of fouls the Bulls committed in the first quarter led me to think they were not going to be able to mount an effective defense over 48 minutes. This is not a complaint against the officiating, merely recognition that the reach-in fouls reflect Billy Donovan's concerns about defensive slippage over the past month.

They were lucky to keep it as close as they did in the first half, as Kyrie was ice cold. What's funny is the Bulls were facing a team with its own recent struggles on defense. The Nets couldn't get stops against a badly depleted Blazers team, but they clamped down effectively in the third quarter and were off to the races.

Tomorrow, the Bulls contend with the Bucks. Even before all the injuries, Giannis was going to be a formidable challenge. With Williams and Green out, he could have a double-double by the end of the first quarter.


   1878. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:03 PM (#6060937)
***Marc Jackson ####### sucks as an announcer for so many reasons, yet I found myself hating him most of all last night for pronouncing Vucivec with that first "ch" sound as a soft s over and over, even with Pasch constantly saying it correctly right after him almost every time. I mean, he's called "Vooch" for short, not "Voos".

but did he say "voo-see-vitch" or "voo-say-vitch" or "voo-see-veetch" or "voo-say-veetch"?

and did he say "neek-oh-la" or "nick-uh-la"?
   1879. asinwreck Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:04 PM (#6060938)
A moment of silence for the end of the Kevin Knox era at Madison Square Garden.
   1880. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:09 PM (#6060939)
Reddish has definitely shown flashes. He showed nothing at Duke, so there were plenty of predictions that he'd bust, and he's definitely avoided that fate. But the Hawks had to make a choice about their team going forward, and Cam is the odd man out.
   1881. asinwreck Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:11 PM (#6060940)
I hope Bol Bol is OK.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Denver's Bol Bol trade with Detroit has been voided, sources tell ESPN. The Pistons didn't pass Bol on his physical with team.
   1882. PJ Martinez Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:27 PM (#6060944)
the Hawks had to make a choice about their team going forward, and Cam is the odd man out
Still seems weird to me, except as a prelude to something else by Atlanta -- there's still a decent amount of time before the deadline, and a late first-rounder wouldn't seem to accomplish much for the Hawks, a team that I should think is trying to get better in the short term.
   1883. tshipman Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:43 PM (#6060948)
I think it's just literally a $$ move. Cam costs 12 million if you sign him to the extension. If you don't want to pay him next year, this is your last chance to get something of value.

The alternative for the Hawks is not keeping him, it's losing him for nothing in RFA.
   1884. . . . . . . Posted: January 13, 2022 at 12:57 PM (#6060951)
Agree with 1883, and $12M for a 6'8" 22 year old who seems to be a true talent ~85% FT shooter has positive value, and hence the trade.
   1885. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: January 13, 2022 at 01:01 PM (#6060952)
I agree that the timing is weird. The Hawks have a lot of playable guys, so they should be trying to package a few to get someone better. Maybe the Blazers will finally move CJ now that Dame is out for the year (although CJ's not a great fit for Atlanta).
   1886. DCA Posted: January 13, 2022 at 07:32 PM (#6060998)
Trying to think of who could really use McCollum this year. Miami, but there's no way to take on his salary without shedding someone more critical. Memphis? I think this would make sense for both teams if McCollum comes back full strength by the deadline.
   1887. tshipman Posted: January 13, 2022 at 07:43 PM (#6060999)
I tried to get the Bucks to work, but they don't have the right size salaries.

The Lakers won't work unless the Blazers take back Russ, which ... lol.

Cleveland actually kind of works, assuming that the Blazers take back Rubio and Markkannen.

Utah could work, but requires the Blazers to take back Jordan Clarkson or Bojan + Ingles.

Nuggets might make sense, but again, would require the Blazers to do a 3 for 1, which is pretty hard midseason.

I kinda think CJ doesn't get traded?
   1888. spivey Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:39 PM (#6061009)
CJ is a negative asset on that contract imo. Now, if you're contending, you can afford to have good players who are negative assets. But if you're contending, you're likely already over or near the cap so are probably having to deal good players to match salary.

CJ I think has some playoff upside because he can create his own shot and is a tough shot maker, but like, at least as far as the regular season goes, I don't see how he's better than Seth Curry or Bojan. I just don't think CJ is that good. He scores pretty well. But he doesn't play make, or rebound, or defend. So he basically just gives you scoring. But his career TS+ is 99 and it's been under 100 four of the last 5 years. Because he's iffy from 2 because he doesn't get to the rim, and he doesn't shoot free throws. I mean, I think he is a good player. But I think he's good like 80th best player in the NBA good. Not getting the max good.
   1889. PJ Martinez Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:41 PM (#6061010)
On Thursday, Giannis Antetokounmpo led both the Bucks and Warriors in:

- Points
- Rebounds
- Assists
- Blocks

He is the first player to do that while playing under 30 minutes since at least the 1973-74 season (via @EliasSports).
   1890. spivey Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:43 PM (#6061011)
I didn't watch any of the game, but it must be noted for posterity that the Bucks were beating the Warriors (with everyone but Draymond) 77-38 at halftime tonight.
   1891. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 14, 2022 at 01:00 AM (#6061017)
1706. Fourth True Outcome Posted: January 05, 2022 at 06:36 PM (#6059812)
On a slightly different tack, I've been trying to figure out what player in the league currently should wear the number i.
1707. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 05, 2022 at 06:39 PM (#6059814)
[1706] I nominate Bol Bol.


Feeling pretty good about this one.
   1892. PJ Martinez Posted: January 14, 2022 at 07:46 AM (#6061023)
The Knicks trading Kevin Knox, the No. 9 pick in the 2018 draft, means the Charlie Ward Curse continues.

The last Knicks first-round pick to secure a second contract with the team was Charlie Ward, who was drafted in 1994.
   1893. PJ Martinez Posted: January 14, 2022 at 08:54 AM (#6061029)
Seems like a "hey, the Heat are really good" moment is around the corner (on the heels of the extensive "hey, the Bulls are really good" and "hey, the Cavs are really good" coverage). They've got a pretty soft schedule for a month, they tend to get attention at the trade deadline, and, in both the standings (behind Chicago) and by Net Rating (behind Cleveland), they've been the second-best team in the East so far.

Are they really good? I haven't watched them much at all.
   1894. spivey Posted: January 14, 2022 at 08:58 AM (#6061030)
I think the Heat showed me enough to say that if Butler and Bam are 100% healthy and in form for the playoffs, they're really good. But, I'm not sure if that's not the case. I'm sure they'll foul 4 times every possession, but I don't know if that's enough to beat good teams in the playoffs unless they've got everyone. Per basketball-ref, they've already played a pretty easy schedule.

One thing is they have managed to convince PJ Tucker to shoot more. His FGA is up to 7.8/36min this year, which is normal for a guy in his role, and goes a long way to preventing the 5-on-4 basketball the Bucks had to play much of the playoffs he was on the court.
   1895. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 14, 2022 at 10:56 AM (#6061045)
The Heat feel like the cliche "better in the playoffs" team - or at least I think I thought that going into the year. Even with their injury issues, they're now 5th in ORtg and 7th in DRtg and that's a contender, assuming health. I don't think they're as fun to watch as some of the other teams, but their roster fits together really, really well. They're the type of team that I think can match up with just about anyone else out there.

I think the most "fun" conference Finals we could have would be GS/MEM and BKN/MIL, assuming they're all healthy.
   1896. jmurph Posted: January 14, 2022 at 11:22 AM (#6061052)
Memphis seems like it will be a good test of the "depth doesn't matter as much in the playoffs" cliche. I guess I'm skeptical they'll beat anyone good? But they're a fun story either way.
   1897. tshipman Posted: January 14, 2022 at 11:42 AM (#6061059)
The Heat are really hard to get a read on because their players have missed so much time. Bam's played 18 games. Jimmy's played 23 games.

Their theoretical starting lineup of Lowry/Robinson/Butler/Tucker/Adebayo is +9, but in a tiny number of minutes and against some pretty bad teams.

Some of their depth pieces (Strus, Caleb Martin, Vincent) have outplayed rotation players which makes it complicated to figure out going forward.

With all of that though ... are they really better than Milwaukee? Hard to see it. Brooklyn? Depends on Harden. Chicago? Yes, for me. Cleveland, Yes, at least this year.
   1898. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 14, 2022 at 11:55 AM (#6061063)
are they really better than Milwaukee? Hard to see it. Brooklyn? Depends on Harden. Chicago? Yes, for me. Cleveland, Yes, at least this year.

Agree with all this, but will add I think they could beat MIL or BKN even if those teams were full strength. I wouldn't pick them to, but I could absolutely see it. Of course, it's easier to beat BKN in the playoffs even if Harden is great* because Kyrie could miss half the series.**

*Since he's come back, he's averaging 27.3/8.4/10.8.
**During the Nets/Bulls game, ESPN kept talking about his availability for the rest of the year - while completely dancing around the fact that his availability is 100% his own damn fault - and kept saying the Nets could pay a fine and have him play in home games. Well, that doesn't appear to be true:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn ·23h
To be clear on the hypothetical ability for a team to pay a fine for an unvaccinated player to play in a marketplace that local ordinances forbid: NBA memo to organizations on September 1 says that teams must follow local laws and players who don't comply won't be able to play.
   1899. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: January 14, 2022 at 12:06 PM (#6061066)
This season has really reinforced in my mind that Spo is the best coach in the league. It just doesn't matter who he has available. A few nights ago they were playing the 5th game of a Western Conference road trip in Phoenix, against the full-strength, well-rested Suns. They were missing Butler, Bam, and Dedmon. So what happened? The Heat won in a rout, naturally. Their starting lineup of Lowry, Strus, Caleb Martin, PJ Tucker, and Omer Yurtseven outplayed Phoenix's regular starters. Yurtseven nearly had a triple double. And they got 65 points from the bench.

Bam has missed 23 out of 41 games, leading to Dedmon and Yurtseven playing over 1,000 combined minutes -- half of all available minutes at Center. Miami is +10 per 100 possessions in those minutes. It's ridiculous.
   1900. spivey 2 Posted: January 14, 2022 at 12:06 PM (#6061067)
Agree with all this, but will add I think they could beat MIL or BKN even if those teams were full strength. I wouldn't pick them to, but I could absolutely see it. Of course, it's easier to beat BKN in the playoffs even if Harden is great* because Kyrie could miss half the series.**


I agree with this, though I'm not sure they have the juice to beat Milwaukee, and Brooklyn, and whoever comes out of the West. I think if Butler has a poor shooting series, or is just up against a bigger defender like Giannis or Draymond that he can't bully, I question their ability to get buckets. But maybe they won't have to. Milwaukee and Brooklyn could easily meet before the conference finals again this year. I was pretty surprised to see Memphis hop Utah in the West standings, which I thought had locked in the top 3 for good.
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