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Friday, May 21, 2021

NBA 2021 Playoffs+ thread

I estimate there are maybe 10-12 Primates left on this site, and they all post in the NBA thread.

Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: May 21, 2021 at 01:07 PM | 3881 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clutch, narratives, nba, off topic, redemption

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   1401. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2021 at 11:18 PM (#6024677)
Imagine if we get Atlanta and Utah in the Finals.

The battle of the Bogdanovics!!!
   1402. smileyy Posted: June 16, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6024681)
Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic team up somewhere. Who says no?
   1403. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 12:35 AM (#6024684)
Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic team up somewhere. Who says no?


Not Doncic. It would connect his legacy to The Process, which is what every basketball-playing kid in Slovenia dreams of.
   1404. Thok Posted: June 17, 2021 at 12:41 AM (#6024686)
whoever actually wins the championship this year may well be the weakest winner in the last 10+ years.


I don't know; I feel like Phoenix has the same vibe right now that Dallas did in the 2010-2011 season, and their major issue appears to have time to resolve itself while Clippers-Jazz goes to 7 games.
   1405. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 17, 2021 at 12:59 AM (#6024687)
I mean Dallas 10/11 is the weakest winner of the last 10+ years. So I am not sure that is the strongest of rebuttals.
   1406. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:27 AM (#6024688)
Last year, after the first round only 2 of 7 series were viewed as highly competitive going in (Toronto/Boston and Miami/Boston; obviously some of the ones with a foregone conclusion didn't get there). This year, it's likely to be 6 of 7 (everything but the Sixers vs the 4/5 seed in the east). I suppose if Brooklyn is sufficiently dominant against the Bucks and Sixers they might be a prohibitive favorite in the Finals.


Oops.
   1407. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:46 AM (#6024690)
That was the most pathetic performance by the Jazz in the last decade+. Other embarrassing performances they were clearly the inferior team (Warriors, Rockets) or probably about even and missing a vital player (Bogey vs. Nuggets). They played with little effort and made so many unforced mental mistakes in a do-or-die game at home against the Clippers without Kawhi.

Niang and Favors have been unplayable this series. Clarkson has been about 80-90% of the time because he's just so ####### stupid on the court. And for some reason Quin thinks Miye Oni should get minutes in non-garbage time minutes despite being one of the very worst players in the league.

The second Favors replaces Gobert every Clipper just rushes at the rim. I love Favors and thought he'd be a great backup center, but I think he's basically lost all athleticism and is just toast.
@SethPartnow
Utah's DRTG with Favors on the floor this series? 143.8
   1408. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:28 AM (#6024691)
Playoffs: Yeah, I think if I had to bet money today, I would put it on Phoenix.

Utah: I see the point about Favors, but he only played 6:27 (notably with a -7) and like I said--Mitchell put up Jordan numbers in G1 and G2, and he was 6/19 tonight. That said, if Leonard can't go, I think Utah still advances. George deserves a lot of credit for how he played tonight, and Morris certainly picked a good time to have a career night.

James/schedule/Twitter/injuries: shipman makes a good point in that starting on Christmas was not in James' interest, but it was in the interests, of, say the 10th-best guy on Orlando or the 9th-best guy on Minnesota. And those guys pay NBPA dues. I am personally less interested in the playoffs now than I was prior to all the new injuries + the Paul thing. But if I rooted for the Hawks or the Suns, I would feel differently.
   1409. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:44 AM (#6024693)
Utah: I see the point about Favors, but he only played 6:27 (notably with a -7) and like I said--Mitchell put up Jordan numbers in G1 and G2, and he was 6/19 tonight. That said, if Leonard can't go, I think Utah still advances. George deserves a lot of credit for how he played tonight, and Morris certainly picked a good time to have a career night.


Yeah, Snyder finally cut back on Favors' minutes tonight. Rudy can't go 48 so he probably had to play that 6:27 but it's rough. Mitchell is playing with one healthy foot/ankle so I can't get too mad at him for tonight. I think it's really hard for him to drive and attack the rim with it, hence taking so few twos, but he also took just some really dumb hero ball threes late in the game.
   1410. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 08:30 AM (#6024699)
This is incredible:
Justin Russo @FlyByKnite
Utah's shot 40% from three in their three losses this series. They're at 40.6% for the series. Just an unreal shooting team.
   1411. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 08:59 AM (#6024704)
I'm hopeful Paul is there for at least part of the next series. If Brooklyn makes it to the finals I wonder how healthy they'd be. Harden was not good in Game 5, but his hamstring didn't seem to be bothering him. Of course, he seemed like maybe he was protecting it by not really doing any quick movements. Conceivably Irving could even be healthy by the Finals.
   1412. asinwreck Posted: June 17, 2021 at 09:17 AM (#6024705)
According to ESPN Stats & Information research:

Philadelphia became the only team to lose back-to-back 18-point leads in playoff games in the past 25 seasons.

The 22-point halftime deficit the Hawks overcame was the third-largest halftime rally in NBA postseason history.

The 76ers were 165-0 in the past 25 seasons when leading by at least 25 points at any point in the game (regular season or playoffs).

At one point, Philadelphia had a win probability percentage of 99.7 (the highest it got in Game 4 was 95.5%).
   1413. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6024708)
I keep seeing people say things like "yeah Simmons and the FTs and not shooting isn't great but he was still +whatever last night," and sure enough, you go to BBRef and discover that all of his positive +/- for the night aligns with Embiid's. Weird how that works.

Like, what if instead, the guy on a max contract who took 4 FGs in 38 minutes, went 4-14 from the line, didn't make a shot in the 2nd half while his team collapsed actually was terrible like your eyes thought he was?
   1414. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:40 AM (#6024720)
Simmons for DeAnglo Russell, who says no.
   1415. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6024723)
Philly says no to that. Simmons for McCollum and a first could be fair for both teams.
   1416. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6024725)
What's Ben Simmons doing next to Lillard?
   1417. Rally Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:53 AM (#6024726)
It will be interesting to see what kind of changes Moray makes with this team. I'd say if they lose this series there is less than a 1% chance he'll just run it back and hope for better results. Simmons is probably good as gone.

Anyone know what is the biggest lead ever blown, at any point in the game, by an NBA team?
   1418. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6024730)
I was pondering a McCollum/Simmons swap last night too. I assume Simmons would play a Draymond-style smallball 5 next to Lillard, plus maybe run the offense when Dame sits.
   1419. Booey Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:03 AM (#6024731)
#1417 - IIRC, the 1996-1997 Jazz had the biggest comeback ever when they were down 36 pts in the 3rd quarter to the Nuggets and came back to win in OT.

That wasn't a playoff game, though. Were you looking for the playoff record?
   1420. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:05 AM (#6024732)
Nurkic + Simmons on the floor at the same time seems like a problem on offense.
   1421. Rally Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:06 AM (#6024733)
Either playoff or regular season.
   1422. Rally Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6024734)
Here's one list.

https://nbahoopsonline.com/History/Records/comebacks.html

Not sure how complete it is, but looks like the Sixers blew the 4th largest lead ever blown last night.

   1423. Booey Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:34 AM (#6024737)
#1422 - Wasn't the Sixers biggest lead 26? That would be tied for the 24th biggest blown lead according to that list.

Edit: Oh, you meant in the playoffs. Nevermind, then.
   1424. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 12:02 PM (#6024743)
i've said these things before:

-- embiid should not be playing 8-10+ minute stretches. his shifts should be kept to a tight 6-minutes, and maybe that'll keep him fresh in the 2nd half. it might also help to limit how much momentum opponents can get when he's out of the game.

-- tharris should be playing 40+ minutes per game. maybe 45+. it's not like he's ever tired from running or playing defense or taking too many shots.

-- simmons should just make his ####### FTs. crikey.

-- nerlens noel would fit so much better than dwight howard.


last night was the first time in the last 5 years that i've felt like a simmons/embiid core might not be worth the trouble. this team has lost some jawbreaking playoff games over the last few years.
   1425. Powderhorn™, moonstruck rascal Posted: June 17, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6024749)
Here's one list.

https://nbahoopsonline.com/History/Records/comebacks.html

Not sure how complete it is, but looks like the Sixers blew the 4th largest lead ever blown last night.
I don't see it on that list, but the '89 Lakers came back from being down 29 in this game.
   1426. yo la tengo (the poor man's Ron Darling) Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6024756)
I know that Trae Young is no Luka Doncic, but I have to imagine that the Hawks front office does not feel too terrible about that draft day maneuver right now.
   1427. GregD Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6024758)
What's Ben Simmons doing next to Lillard?


There are a number of players who are less valuable than Simmons whom I would never trade for Simmons since it's so hard to figure out if he'd worsen, perhaps notably, a team by his extraordinary limitations. Seems that the Blazers would be much worse after that swap straight up, leaving aside given up a draft pick
   1428. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6024759)
Last night I went to the Dodger game and the restaurant I was at beforehand had the Sixers-Hawks game on tv. I left near the end of the third quarter. I never even thought about looking up the final score and only found out from checking this thread that the Sixers actually lost. Holy crap that must have been an epic collapse.
   1429. Paul d mobile Posted: June 17, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6024767)
I just got an update that Zion is not happy in New Orleans, and that some of his family members want him to play for a different team.

I don't know if that will lead anywhere... but if Zion gets traded this summer for being unhappy, I'm going to start to think that the NBA has a real problem (unless he's traded to Toronto for a bag of beans, then all is good in the world).
   1430. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:00 PM (#6024771)
I'm going to start to think that the NBA has a real problem


There's a problem that owners and GMs are too cowardly to stand up to their players who are on fixed contracts. For all the criticism of Jim Buss, much of it valid, when Kobe demanded a trade he was like "lmao, no, you have a contract; you can play for the Lakers or not at all" and he kept Kobe on the team.
   1431. PJ Martinez Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6024773)
Simmons for Ingram: who says no?
   1432. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:17 PM (#6024780)
The Pelicans have had a ton of top line talent come in and out of that organization dating back to Chris Paul's early days, and have mostly squandered it. Zion's played for 3 coaches in 3 years. It's a dysfunctional organization. Jrue deal wasn't awful, but they do have Bledsoe for another year and gave Adams an extremely unnecessary contract extension. The trade was weird too, as his offensive profile doesn't line up well with a team with Bledsoe and Zion. I think Adams is a solid player, but in a post-center world, I don't understand why you're giving him that kind of money when you can get 85% of the contribution for little investment.

The team just doesn't seem to understand how to construct an NBA roster. Seems like they may let Lonzo walk, for probably about a similar amount of money to what Adams got paid.

I'd be very skeptical if I were Zion that this is an organization you can win things with.
   1433. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6024782)
Nurkic + Simmons on the floor at the same time seems like a problem on offense.


I'd trade Nurkic. Probably to the Pels.
   1434. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6024783)
The team just doesn't seem to understand how to construct an NBA roster.

True but on the other hand they appear to have also made Zion unhappy, so you know, gotta hear both sides.
   1435. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:31 PM (#6024785)
I'd trade Nurkic. Probably to the Pels.

I laughed.
   1436. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6024786)
here's what i came up with.


fwiw, if the sixers are not completely out on simmons after this, they still have the ability to package tharris with a jrue holiday of future picks to get a better third piece -- someone like lavine, mccollum, beal or siakam. ...or they can do it if there's no market for simmons and they don't want to run this #### back again.
   1437. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: June 17, 2021 at 03:48 PM (#6024801)
https://twitter.com/kirkgoldsberry/status/1405608752145895425

@kirkgoldsberry
Durant Defenders Since 2013-14. What Jumps Out?


too bad it is illegal for bud to put giannis on durant
   1438. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:08 PM (#6024804)
For all the criticism of Jim Buss, much of it valid, when Kobe demanded a trade he was like "lmao, no, you have a contract; you can play for the Lakers or not at all" and he kept Kobe on the team.


That was actually Jerry Buss, and the story that he and Bryant later told to media honks about it was that Old Man Buss (this is what I call him when he comes up on the thread) told Bryant that he (Bryant) was like the NBA equivalent of The Hope Diamond, and "if you have the Hope Diamond, you hold on to it.")

Where the Lakers did take a stand with Bryant was not trading Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd in 2007, which supposedly was on the table and for which Bryant pushed hard. The other thing is that the team developed unexpectedly and was at the top of the West standings before the Pau deal. Going into the 2007-8 season, most people had the Lakers 6-9 or so in the West again, but the team was actually doing quite well and then adding Pau cemented their status as a top-tier contender. But Bryant had already backed off the trade demand by then anyway.

I just got an update that Zion is not happy in New Orleans, and that some of his family members want him to play for a different team.


I don't know if that will lead anywhere... but if Zion gets traded this summer for being unhappy, I'm going to start to think that the NBA has a real problem (unless he's traded to Toronto for a bag of beans, then all is good in the world).
There's a problem that owners and GMs are too cowardly to stand up to their players who are on fixed contracts.


I don't really agree with either of these statements. LeBron James' handling of his career, whatever one's opinion of it, has IMO really shown the other top-tier players that they, not the owners or the GMs, in some respects have ultimate power. This is because, as we have discussed any number of times, the nature of the sport, which is that 1-2 guys, if they are good enough, can dramatically and immediately alter the arc of a franchise. That is not true of baseball or football to nearly the same degree for obvious reasons (knowing nothing at all about hockey or soccer, I cannot speak to those sports) so it is simply good business to accommodate stars as much as possible. Zion Williamson is probably one of the 20 or 25 most valuable basketball players on the planet and there are not many guys like him; and although they are not all the same, New Orleans can always find a GM or a coach. So trying to make Williamson happy is being smart, not cowardly. And again, while the star clusters in Brooklyn and LA lend credence to the small markets are screwed narrative, Atlanta, Utah, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Philadelphia are all in contention late in the playoffs with draft-built teams.

To connect the two in a way, pretty much everybody except Lakers fans my age and up have forgotten that the young Magic Johnson, way back in 1981, pretty much gave Old Man Buss a "him or me" speech about Paul Westhead, and Buss, recognizing where his bread was going to be buttered, canned Westhead and brought in Pat Riley even though Westhead had already won a title.

All that said, and while I think spivey's points are very well-taken, Williamson probably needs to to be a little patient and elevate his own play before he starts talking about getting out of NO. For all the #### Davis caught about forcing his way to LA, he was in NO for seven years. The NO FO needs to work with/placate Williamson (if this is true) but I do agree that they should not trade him.



   1439. nick swisher hygiene Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:08 PM (#6024806)
1437–Yeah, it seems obvious to me too. Giannis is basically Durant’s size and a much better athlete. All the “Superman” articles about him a few years back emphasized great hips, lateral quickness. But those who watch him the most here seem to think it’s a no-go.

So is it that he can no longer guard KD, due to some decline in ability not visible to the casual observer, or is it that he’s no longer in a scheme / with a coach that lets him do so effectively?
   1440. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#6024807)
@wojespn
·
1m
Rick Carlisle -- who led Dallas to the 2011 NBA championship -- informed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban today that he won't be returning as coach next season, Carlisle told ESPN. Carlisle had two years left on his contract. He spent 13 seasons as Mavericks coach.
   1441. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#6024812)
Whoa.
   1442. PJ Martinez Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6024813)
In a statement texted to Woj, Carlisle says he's "excited about the next chapter of my coaching career."

Hmm...
   1443. asinwreck Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6024814)
Dearly hoping for many leaks out of the Mavericks' offices in the coming days. Related, who will be hiring Carlisle's successor?
   1444. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6024815)
Luka was upset about Nelson leaving, how does he feel about this?
   1445. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:24 PM (#6024817)
Here you go Moses:
Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
There had been simmering tension between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle that was a concern within the Mavs organization. The expectation was that he'd return next season, but he'd have been on the hot seat.
   1446. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:25 PM (#6024820)
It will be surprising if he's not strongly linked to the Celtics (I think I predicted that when Stevens vacated the role? Didn't really expect it to happen, though, I admit).

I... don't tend to enjoy his teams so I'm not really thrilled about that, though I of course acknowledge he has a great reputation.
   1447. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6024821)
I know that Trae Young is no Luka Doncic, but I have to imagine that the Hawks front office does not feel too terrible about that draft day maneuver right now.

I know what you're trying to say and I don't mean to jump down your throat, but....I mean, they'd be extremely wrong if they think they're better off with Young (and Reddish, who's not even playing) than with Luka just because they are lucky enough to be in the East and played the shitass Knicks in the first round instead of the Clippers...

The Hawks would have been better this past year, and every year in the future, and may even be the favorites in the East right now if they had Luka.
   1448. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6024823)
It will be surprising if he's not strongly linked to the Celtics


Makes sense. Lowe is a big Carlisle fan.
   1449. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6024828)
The Hawks would have been better this past year, and every year in the future, and may even be the favorites in the East right now if they had Luka.

I couldn't remember the details of the trade and had to look it up: the Hawks got the 2019 Mavs 1st rounder, too, which turned into Cam Reddish, who appears to be a miss. If they don't whiff on that pick you'd still obviously rather have Luka, but it could at least get a little interesting.
   1450. jmurph Posted: June 17, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6024830)
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Carlisle had two years left on his contract in Dallas, but there are five other coaching openings in the NBA and possibly more forthcoming. He'll easily land another job.

Rumblings about Milwaukee as a destination -- IF the Bucks make a change -- have been circulating for weeks.
   1451. smileyy Posted: June 17, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6024832)
I'll revise 1402 to Luka/Zion.

Great, now it sounds like I'm writing or proposing slash fiction.
   1452. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 17, 2021 at 05:11 PM (#6024834)
On a podcast when asked what was the best coaching opening Hollinger snarked Milwaukee.
   1453. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6024836)
Milwaukee: Like I said, I think Budenholzer is gone if they do not make the Finals, especially since Brooklyn and Philly (and now the Clippers and maybe Phoenix) have the star injury issues. This could be Milwaukee's moment; they may never get another shot this good. They might see Carlisle as the guy to get them over the top.
   1454. aberg Posted: June 17, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6024837)
Dallas is testing the limits of how screwed a franchise can be if it has a top-5 player on a cheap contract at its core. Front office mess? Check. Coaching questions? Check. Bad relationship with star? Check. Bad reputation around the league and in public? Check. History of poor drafting? Check. Bad cap situation? Check. Bad fits around star player? Check.

The only thing they seem to have going besides Luka is Cuban's willingness to reach into his own deep pockets.
   1455. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: June 17, 2021 at 05:46 PM (#6024842)
[Milwaukee] might see Carlisle as the guy to get them over the top.
This seems like the best available fit on both sides.
   1456. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 08:53 PM (#6024861)
I'll revise 1402 to Luka/Zion.

Great, now it sounds like I'm writing or proposing slash fiction.
tell me about it. my dajuan blair/reggie evans story just got optioned by netflix.
   1457. smileyy Posted: June 17, 2021 at 08:56 PM (#6024863)
Down 14, the Nets have the Bucks exactly where they want them.

If the Bucks face the Sixers in the next round, that win probability graph is going to look like a rollercoaster with all the blown leads.
   1458. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6024890)
Brooklyn’s entire offense right now seems to be “Kevin Durant hits miraculous contested mid-range jumper.”
   1459. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:31 PM (#6024893)
Nobody can say that Jrue Holiday was afraid to shoot 9 step back threes in an elimination game
   1460. asinwreck Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:32 PM (#6024894)
With Harden walking the ball up every possession, the Nets' offense looks more like a pre-ABA set than anything they did in the regular season.
   1461. phredbird Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6024896)

i am completely mystified by IKEA's ad campaign with the goofy robots.

back to your regularly scheduled program.

durant is killing it but the bucks are at home and giannis is actually playing within himself, so it might not be enough ...
   1462. smileyy Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:38 PM (#6024900)
If the Bucks want a point guard who can shoot 1-10 from 3 in the playoffs, I'm sure the Pels would listen to an offer for Bledsoe.
   1463. mike f Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:46 PM (#6024909)
Pat Connaughton with a -13. The Bucks’ bench is brutal.
   1464. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:53 PM (#6024913)
I love Khris Middleton
   1465. PJ Martinez Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:55 PM (#6024914)
Man, I would love to see Milwaukee come back after all that and win this series.
   1466. spivey 2 Posted: June 17, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6024915)
When Milwaukee plays like this, even with bad shooting... SPROTS!!
   1467. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:05 PM (#6024916)
That was actually Jerry Buss


My bad. Of course Jerry was still alive and running things back then.
   1468. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 17, 2021 at 11:58 PM (#6024921)
Middleton delivered big-time. Let's see about Game 7.
   1469. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: June 18, 2021 at 12:17 AM (#6024924)
I didn't and don't want to start #### so I didn't mention it at the time, but it being pointed out a few pages ago that Khris has had bad playoff series really rankled me. He has, I won't argue that, but bringing it up intimates that he's unreliable beyond the vagaries of being a jump-shooter against playoff defense. His playoff line for the last 3 years is essentially identical to his regular season stats, which are (I hope we can agree) very good.

I just refreshed and you're intimating it again rr. Why?
   1470. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 18, 2021 at 12:53 AM (#6024925)
I just refreshed and you're intimating it again rr. Why?


"Let's see about Game 7" meant "Let's see what happens" not "Middleton is likely not to play well." Sorry if that wasn't clear, and I can see why you read it that way.

That said, this gets back to basic thread dynamics:

1. People defend their guys against perceived snark; I have done it a zillion times. The most recent example we saw of things getting a little tense around that sort of thing was the Ainge/shipman stuff, not a player, (I did it myself in that discussion when somebody called the Lakers "clownshoes") but it is the same principle.
2. At the same time, this is not a team site like Silver Screen and Roll or Brew Hoop, and I am not trying to diss "Khris." But my personal opinion is that Milwaukee's biggest problem in postseason has not been Budenholzer or Antetokounmpo; it has been the lack of a reliable #2 or #3 option who can generate O when the money is on the table and things are tight, and if Middleton is a "jump shooter against playoff defense" then that might be part of the problem. The fact that the Bucks got rid of Bledsoe to bring in Holiday suggests that Horst may think along these lines, too. Middleton has come up short in some big games, and I have said so. Ditto another guy in a similar role: Paul George. But George and Middleton have been coming up huge the last week, and their teams would not be one win away from the conference Finals without them, so I want to give credit for that.

If Middleton shoots poorly in G7 and Milwaukee loses, that does mean that Middleton is not good enough to be Antetokoumpo's wingman or that he choked or whatever. But it does mean that another opportunity to put a banner on the wall during Antetokounmpo's prime will be gone, at a moment when the other contenders are banged up, and that is a pretty big deal.

Finally, like I said, I don't take predictions seriously, but I actually did pick Milwaukee to come out of the East because they have a healthy star in his prime and the best team balance among the three contenders (four, now--Atlanta is a contender in a practical sense) and if I thought Middleton were a huge problem, I would not have said, "Yeah, Clippers/Bucks."
   1471. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: June 18, 2021 at 07:24 AM (#6024926)
I just feel like, everybody has off shooting games occasionally so bringing it up about Khris seems like singling him out as specifically unreliable, which I don't think he is. That's for sure me being defensive of my guy and not worth harping on, but like I said, not trying to start anything, just curious where you were coming from.

Anyway, Khris has been as good if not better than Jrue as a facilitator in this series-- I don't know what's going on with Jrue but his decision-making has been brutal at times.
   1472. yo la tengo (the poor man's Ron Darling) Posted: June 18, 2021 at 08:27 AM (#6024930)
re 1447 - Moses, it did not feel like you were jumping down my throat and my post was too brief to outline my thinking regarding Trae and Luka. I see a more well thought out piece along these lines in The Ringer here - https://www.theringer.com/2021/6/18/22539399/2018-nba-draft-deandre-ayton-trae-young-playoffs

I was simply suggesting that the fact that the Hawks are still alive probably makes them feel a bit better about their decision than they have been feeling about it. Trae <<< Luka for sure but Trae is developing into something pretty special it seems
   1473. asinwreck Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6024931)
Sam Presti just got an aging guard on a huge contract along with draft picks? Who could see that coming?

Also, welcome back to Boston Al Horford.
@wojespn
The Celtics are trading Kemba Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 draft and a 2025 second-round draft pick to Oklahoma City for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick, sources tell ESPN.
   1474. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:21 AM (#6024932)
Where is Kemba going, I wonder.
   1475. PJ Martinez Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6024934)
I don't hate Walker-for-Horford as a first step toward reshaping the roster but I hate that Stevens included the first-round pick to get it done (and/or to get Brown). Moses Brown had a decent year (and one giant half against Boston, as I recall), but I don't know... I hope this means that Thompson is headed elsewhere and there's a lot of Rob Williams and Moses Brown taking turns at the 5 next year.

This comment from one of the better Celtics-focused amateur analysts out there is probably correct, I suppose: "Ultimately the evaluation of this trade depends on what they do with the flexibility they’ve added and, possibly, Horford’s contract."
   1476. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6024935)
I had just assumed that you couldn't trade during the playoffs, but obviously you can. What do the Celtics do now for PG?
   1477. spivey 2 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:36 AM (#6024936)
Anyway, Khris has been as good if not better than Jrue as a facilitator in this series-- I don't know what's going on with Jrue but his decision-making has been brutal at times.


Agree with this. Throw on the fact that Middleton is their only reliable jump shooter in the core rotation right now (only 6 guys played real, non-garbage time minutes last night), and throw on he's actually a better defender than Jrue against the specific type of larger wing that dominates the top 10-15 players in the NBA, and I would be open to seeing what market there is for Jrue.

Holiday is a good defender of PGs, can cross match some, and is definitely our best dribbler against pressure, and is good at getting his own shot at the rim. Also seems like a good man for some of the stuff he's been doing in the community already. But, if they had Chris Paul instead of him, they'd be title favorites (assuming health) and would probably be done with this series. I still favored the Holiday deal because he should give them probably 4 years of contention (this plus 3 more).

I guess a lot of it comes down to this - if Middleton isn't a reliable #2, what does a reliable #2 look like? He's probably, say, the 22nd or so best player in the NBA. Does a lot of things well. Elite shooter, creates his own shot very well for a #2, defends well, rebounds well, creates pretty well for a #2/#3 option. Of course, a lot of this applies to Paul George who you also called out, except he's probably closer to like the #13th best player in the NBA. Middleton's on/off has been massive in the playoffs pretty much his whole career, because Milwaukee's best offense pretty much always involves him being on the court. So, if your thought is, if your #2 needs to be like AD level good, a top 10 player, then yeah, he's not that. But, I don't think your #2 needs to be that good, if you're good down the rest of the roster. I mean, Phoenix and Utah don't even have 1 guy as good as AD. Frankly I'm not sure Giannis is much better than AD, I put them pretty similar, as playoff performers go. Milwaukee have gotten almost nothing from their guys 4-7 on the offensive side of the court, and in a lot of respects, haven't gotten much from Jrue Holiday. Forbes is one of the best shooters in the league. Connaughton, Tucker aren't good offensive players but they've missed a ton of open 3s.

But that said, they also need a floor general to help run an offense in crunch time. None of their big 3 are really comfortable being that. Of course, it seems like Bud finally told Giannis to stop shooting 3s after Game 3, as he's shot 5, 4, and 0 in the next 3 games. 5 and 4 isn't great, but my recollection of those are many are late in shot clock shots, which are ok.

We don't have the money, but a guy like Lonzo Ball would fit really well (in addition to the current big 3, not as a replacement for Jrue).
   1478. jmurph Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6024937)
Well I hate everything.
   1479. PJ Martinez Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6024938)
What do the Celtics do now for PG?

I imagine they'll add someone, but Pritchard and Smart with the various wings also handling the ball a bunch seems mostly fine to me. They need more talent, and if they can get it at point guard, great, but personally I'd like to see the team put facilitators and defenders (edit: and/or spot-up shooters! hard to get all three, of course) in that position rather than scorers; they've got enough scoring at the wing spots.
   1480. DCA Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6024939)
but I hate that Stevens included the first-round pick to get it done

That was my first reaction, but then I looked it up and Kemba costs $10m more per year than Horford ($9m next year $11m in 22-23), which is a lot.
   1481. spivey 2 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:47 AM (#6024940)
I mean, I can easily imagine a world where Kemba bounces back and they rehab his value to get another first. But, I guess my thought is I feel like the accumulation of mid-late first round picks should be over for OKC. I feel like my observation is it's pretty difficult in the draft to turn multiple picks into moving up, and I think I'd probably stop wanting Gilgeous-Alexander to play with a revolving G-League team. From that perspective, having a vet like Kemba could actually be good for their super young team.
   1482. PJ Martinez Posted: June 18, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6024942)
1480: Also 2022-23 is only partially guaranteed for $14.5M. So it's a lot of savings, and yeah, hence the pick. Hard to get excited about savings as a fan, though.

Edit -- one thing w/r/t timing (though obviously it's a long time between now and August): "Kemba Walker has a 15% trade bonus that becomes voided. If Walker was dealt after the new cap calendar year (8/6), the bonus would have been worth $3.2M."
   1483. jmurph Posted: June 18, 2021 at 10:02 AM (#6024944)
Yeah, reasonably good case it’s a smart move due to the cost savings. But ditto what PJ said, also man I just like Kemba.

I also like Horford, he was very good and by all accounts a good teammate his first time around.
   1484. DCA Posted: June 18, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6024946)
But that said, they also need a floor general to help run an offense in crunch time. None of their big 3 are really comfortable being that.

That's kind of a major indictment of Jrue. Even if he slides over to the 2 for a truer point guard, he still needs to be able to run the offense at that level of cost of acquistion, salary, and roster role.

Looking at who might be available next year ... if Kyle Lowry is ready to step down into a 25 mpg coming-off-the-bench-and-closing-games role, on a ring-chasing salary, he would be a good fit. After that, Spencer Dinwiddie? Rubio? Dragic? Haven't looked at the cap math, but anyone good, you might have to trade (or S&T) Brook Lopez or Donte + Connaughton to pay them. I suppose that whoever it is only has to be better than Donte, which isn't a super high bar, but there doesn't seem to be a lot out there that fits the bill.
   1485. spivey 2 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 10:29 AM (#6024947)
That's kind of a major indictment of Jrue. Even if he slides over to the 2 for a truer point guard, he still needs to be able to run the offense at that level of cost of acquistion, salary, and roster role.

Looking at who might be available next year ... if Kyle Lowry is ready to step down into a 25 mpg coming-off-the-bench-and-closing-games role, on a ring-chasing salary, he would be a good fit. After that, Spencer Dinwiddie? Rubio? Dragic? Haven't looked at the cap math, but anyone good, you might have to trade (or S&T) Brook Lopez or Donte + Connaughton to pay them. I suppose that whoever it is only has to be better than Donte, which isn't a super high bar, but there doesn't seem to be a lot out there that fits the bill.


Yes, I agree. I also don't know that Lopez and DiVincenzo are viewed as great assets. I mean, they're good players, and Divincenzo is definitely underpaid, but he's hitting restricted FA in a year and will probably want something like 4/50 or 4/60. But yes, those are kind of what I was thinking. Conley is another. But, Conley probably will get paid more to stay in Utah than we can pay him, and Lowry probably can play in Philly or LA if he wants. I don't see great fits.
   1486. SteveF Posted: June 18, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6024949)
One option for the Bucks is to just get the matchup they want and have Middleton post up (e.g. Shamet). He's actually halfway decent at that if he gets a guy he can shoot over.

Ideally Giannis would have an actual post game and you'd just have him do that instead, but...
   1487. DCA Posted: June 18, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6024953)
I also don't know that Lopez and DiVincenzo are viewed as great assets.

I was thinking more along the lines of: they are rotation players on Bucks team that doesn't have many (enough) of those.

Trying to think of the last champ that didn't have either LeBron or a lot of quality depth.
   1488. asinwreck Posted: June 18, 2021 at 11:06 AM (#6024954)
The Bulls are in desperate need of a point guard and have most often been tied to Lonzo Ball with recent reports that they will try to get Vasilije Micić's rights from the Thunder. I imagine Boston and the Knicks will also have interest in Ball, who won't be coming to Chicago unless the Pelicans are interested in a sign-and-trade deal for Markkanen. (I have given up trying to figure out what the Pelicans think is sensible roster construction.)

Lowry's been linked to Philadelphia and Miami. Conley is probably staying in Utah. The guy whose future interests me most is Spencer Dinwiddie. He's certainly leaving Brooklyn and is coming off a knee injury, but he's under 30. What kind of contract will he get, and who is going to give it to him?
   1489. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 12:07 PM (#6024957)
I mean, I can easily imagine a world where Kemba bounces back and they rehab his value to get another first. But, I guess my thought is I feel like the accumulation of mid-late first round picks should be over for OKC. I feel like my observation is it's pretty difficult in the draft to turn multiple picks into moving up, and I think I'd probably stop wanting Gilgeous-Alexander to play with a revolving G-League team. From that perspective, having a vet like Kemba could actually be good for their super young team.

counterpoint:
SGA is a trap who's going to sign a max extension this summer, and instead of keeping him, OKC would be better off trading him so they can bottom out immediately.
   1490. PJ Martinez Posted: June 18, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6024964)
OKC would be better off trading him so they can bottom out immediately
I love the expansive, Process-inflected definition of "bottom out" here. I guess finishing second-to-last in the conference with a record of 22-50 and straight-up sitting the high-priced veteran who was playing too well doesn't count?
   1491. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 01:45 PM (#6024966)
I love the expansive, Process-inflected definition of "bottom out" here. I guess finishing second-to-last in the conference with a record of 22-50 and straight-up sitting the high-priced veteran who was playing too well doesn't count?
anything is possible when you start a 19 year old, 7'1, 175 lb center who shoots 34% from the field.
   1492. asinwreck Posted: June 18, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6024968)
I have seen reports of Poku's weight as high as 200 pounds, which makes me wonder if he was wearing cement shoes at his physical.
   1493. PJ Martinez Posted: June 18, 2021 at 02:37 PM (#6024976)
OKC now have 36 picks in the next 7 drafts.

18 firsts and 18 seconds.

The NBA roster size is 15 players.
   1494. Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: June 18, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6024979)
MVP ballots have been released. I had expected the one first ballot going to Embiid was from a local guy, but no. Max Haupt's ballot seems mostly insane, but just about everyone else's ballots are in general agreement.
   1495. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: June 18, 2021 at 03:36 PM (#6024981)
Milwaukee: My point has been that since Antetokounmpo isn't Jordan or James, or Curry, or even Leonard, in terms of being a creative fulcrum on O, I think that they have needed a guy in the 2 or 3 who create his own O better Middleton and Bledsoe/Holiday can and that they have needed somewhat better guys as the 2nd and 3rd best players. The tendency has been to blame Budenholzer for tactical weaknesses and not shortening his rotations, and maybe that is the case, I suppose. And Middleton going 11/16 in an elimination game sort of renders that point moot right now. And yes, it is a high bar. Looking at the last decade, James, as great as he is, has only won with Wade, Irving, and Davis on his team. Middleton is probably a better two-way guy over 82 games than Irving, but Irving can really create his shot when you need it, as he was doing in this series until he got hurt, and as he did in Cleveland in 2016. Golden State won once Curry/Thompson/Green; in that case Curry was the superelite O guy and Green was a Top-5 defender. Then, of course, Golden State had Curry and Durant. The 2012 OKC team, which didn't even win, had Durant, Harden, and Westbrook.

The two teams Leonard lead to titles, the 2014 Spurs and the 2019 Raptors, were kind of unusual champs, as were the 2011 Mavericks, if Phoenix or Utah wins they will be as well. The 2009-10 Lakers teams had Bryant as the superelite O fulcrum guy, but since he was not as good as Jordan and James, they needed Gasol and Odom, plus Bynum, who was good when he could actually get out there. Going back further, Jordan had Pippen ofc, Magic had Worthy and Kareem. Bird had McHale, Parish, and Dennis Johnson, who is largely forgotten now I think but who was very good in his time.

So, it seems clear that our Bucks guys think I am unjustly bagging on Middleton, but the larger point is that while Antetokounmpo is a great player, they have IMO needed to be a little stronger in the 2/3 spots in terms of shot creation and overall talent. But maybe Middleton has just had some bad games at the wrong times and that is changing now, and this is Milwaukee's time. We will, as I said to start this little exchange, see.

Walker: Have received two texts today from Lakers fans speculating about Schroder heading back to OKC in a sign-and-trade and Walker coming here.
   1496. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: June 18, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6024982)
Walker: Have received two texts today from Lakers fans speculating about Schroder heading back to OKC in a sign-and-trade and Walker coming here.

wat
   1497. spivey 2 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6024985)
Re: rr

That's fair. I think that it is really, really hard to get one of those guys, especially given they have so little in the way of young/draft assets. Though I know Milwaukee was a team being thrown about in the Harden trade. He has his playoff demons as well, but I'd definitely have wanted to deal Middleton for Harden if it was on the table. Now, maybe it wasn't. And some of the pick deals like Jrue's will likely end up not being very great since Giannis supermaxed. That is one bouquet of picks that I think is almost a guarantee to be amazing, though, unless they try to quickly unload all 3 of these guys in a year or two before they've really fallen off, a la Boston.

FWIW, Middleton's stats are on par with Irving's this series, and Irving in the Boston series a couple years back. Of course, a healthy portion of that has been in the last 2.5 games since Irving has been out.

Middleton got a ton of grief after the Miami series last year, and it wasn't a good one, but I remembered saying here at the time then and still feel now is more that the issue is they needed another Middleton, not to get rid of Middleton (ofc if he's the centerpiece of a deal where you get a top 10 guy, you do it). Jrue Holiday needs to start playing like Middleton.
   1498. GregD Posted: June 18, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#6024987)
Milwaukee: My point has been that since Antetokounmpo isn't Jordan or James, or Curry, or even Leonard, in terms of being a creative fulcrum on O, I think that they have needed a guy in the 2 or 3 who create his own O better


I agree with this. I just think the takeaway is more about Giannis' limitations than about Middleton's. Middleton could be #2 on a championship team with a truly elite #1.
   1499. asinwreck Posted: June 18, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6024988)
Walker: Have received two texts today from Lakers fans speculating about Schroder heading back to OKC in a sign-and-trade and Walker coming here.

Three questions:
Why would the Lakers do that?
Why would the Thunder do that?
Why would Schroder do that?
   1500. spivey 2 Posted: June 18, 2021 at 04:30 PM (#6024990)
Kemba Walker had a bad year, but is a massive improvement over Schroder, imo. Unless they've got a gentlemen's agreement to get someone like Lowry, etc, I think this makes a lot of sense. They could really use a 3rd scorer, and their team defense I think is good enough to protect him.
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