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Friday, October 05, 2018

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

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

Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 05, 2018 at 03:43 PM | 6856 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   101. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:44 AM (#5762927)
Interesting thought exercise, but as noted, it works better if you set parameters:

1984 playing style/rules, or 2003 playing style/rules, or 2018 playing style/rules?
Each guy in his best year, like Bill Simmons' playing-the-aliens-to-save-humanity exercise?
If the 1984 guys are playing today's game, do they get some time to work on the 3-ball and do they have analytics guys/modern coaching, etc.?

This is partly an age thing, but I think being dismissive of any team that has Jordan, Olaujuwon, Stockton and Barkley in some sort of hypothetical like this one is recency bias. I am confident that if Jordan and Stockton were each 28 years old and playing today, they would both be decent-to-good, or even very good in Stockton's case, behind the arc.

   102. covelli chris p Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:51 AM (#5762929)
I think Jordan, Stockton, and Dream play in any era. Barkley ain't bad either.
don't forget durrant
   103. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:55 AM (#5762930)
Stockton shot 38% from deep for his career, close to 40% if you leave out his first few years (during which he shot 3's very rarely and probably has some higher-than-normal fraction of clock-running-down heaves in there). Jordan, Barkley, and Hakeem, sure (although Jordan had a few non-embarrassing years from 3 as well, it wasn't a strength for his whole career).


Stock shot 1.5 3's per game. He didn't exactly hunt the shot. He shot 2200 for his career. The Houston Rockets last season, shot 3470. I'll take my chances with him spacing the floor.

Though to be fair, all the 90's guys would see their percentages drop with the extended arc. Most their best seasons came with the shorter distance.


Thank you! I really wish BBREF would add an asterisk on those seasons or something. People seem to frequently forget about that.

OTOH, that '84 team has a lot of guys with a great mid-range j. It's only a bad shot in today's game because most players can't hit it with regularity.


This however, I strongly disagree with.

The midrange is a bad shot because it's easy to recover if you help. That's why so many guys fade on their midrangers--so that way the help doesn't bother you as much. A modern defense that plays with ICE principles is going to be able to double literally every midranger.
   104. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5762969)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play? 48, and I hope this is low.
2. What will Markelle Fultz's FG% be? under 40%
3. Who will be the first coach fired? I will say the Phoenix coach, who apparently is someone named Igor Kokoskov. (That is not a joke).
4. Which rookie will have the most total points? (NOT points per game) Ayton
5. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded (see here), with the explicit exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh? Yes, I still think the Blazers will trade McCollum at some point).
6. How many triple-doubles will LeBron James have? 10
7. Which Clown or Bastard will score the most points this year: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, or Michael Beasley? Beasley
8. Who will lead the league in missed field goals: Russell Westbrook, or the field?
9. Pick two players who will make the All-Star game for the first time. Tatum, and Aaron Gordon.
10. How many 3-pointers will Ben Simmons make this year: 0, 1-4, 5-19, 20-81, or 82+? 5-19
   105. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5762996)
Votto, in #8 above are you suggesting a tie?
   106. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5763100)
Bulls suck.

---

1. How many games will Joel Embiid play? 65
2. What will Markelle Fultz's FG% be? 39.1%
3. Who will be the first coach fired? Hoiberg
4. Which rookie will have the most total points? (NOT points per game) Doncic
5. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded (see here), with the explicit exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh? Yes
6. How many triple-doubles will LeBron James have? 12
7. Which Clown or Bastard will score the most points this year: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, or Michael Beasley? Beasley
8. Who will lead the league in missed field goals: Russell Westbrook, or the field? Field
9. Pick two players who will make the All-Star game for the first time. Simmons, Jokic
10. How many 3-pointers will Ben Simmons make this year: 0, 1-4, 5-19, 20-81, or 82+? 20-81
   107. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5763104)
I'll be in Chicago on November 3rd, and I am considering going to see the Bulls lose to the Rockets.
   108. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5763108)
Interesting thought exercise, but as noted, it works better if you set parameters:

1984 playing style/rules, or 2003 playing style/rules, or 2018 playing style/rules?
Each guy in his best year, like Bill Simmons' playing-the-aliens-to-save-humanity exercise?
If the 1984 guys are playing today's game, do they get some time to work on the 3-ball and do they have analytics guys/modern coaching, etc.?

This is partly an age thing, but I think being dismissive of any team that has Jordan, Olaujuwon, Stockton and Barkley in some sort of hypothetical like this one is recency bias. I am confident that if Jordan and Stockton were each 28 years old and playing today, they would both be decent-to-good, or even very good in Stockton's case, behind the arc.

I think you'd have to pick a year for each team, rather than getting the best year of each player. I'd probably go with 1990 for the 84 draft class and 2009 for the 2003 class.

I can understand why someone might reflexively say that shooting gives the 2003 class the edge, but I don't see it. There are no strong outside shooters off the dribble in the 03 class, and the great catch-and-shoot guys probably wouldn't play much. This would be a more appealing argument for a class like 2007 (Conley, Durant, Dudley, Horford, M Gasol) or 2012 (Lillard, Beal, Middleton, Draymond, Brow).
   109. Booey Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5763110)
Stock shot 1.5 3's per game. He didn't exactly hunt the shot. He shot 2200 for his career. The Houston Rockets last season, shot 3470. I'll take my chances with him spacing the floor.


This isn't really a fair way to look at it, IMO. Teams in general shot way less 3's back in the 90's, but that doesn't mean that trend would continue today if those players were suddenly 30 years younger and able to suit up again. The good shooters from back then would take a lot more than 1.5 three's per game if they were playing today, even ones with pass-first mentalities like Stock. CP3 is a pretty good modern comp as a pass-first guy, and he took 6.5 three's per game last year in Houston's trey heavy offense, and between 4.3 and 5.0 his last 3 years with the Clips.

I will say the Phoenix coach, who apparently is someone named Igor Kokoskov. (That is not a joke).


Yeah, he's the first foreign born head coach in NBA history. He had a pretty good reputation as the Jazz's assistant coach the last few years. I was sad to see him go, but happy that he's getting his shot as the top dog. Aren't expectations pretty low for Phoenix, though? I hope (and think) that they'll cut him a little slack his first year if the team isn't very good.
   110. jmurph Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5763111)
I watched a little of Phoenix and Golden State last night, and the Suns were certainly more entertaining than they looked last year. The ball moved well, Ayton is pretty mobile (I'm pretty sure I'd never seen him play), they were finding some decent shots. I still don't like most of their other young guys but at least they appear to have a plan.
   111. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5763118)
I still don't like most of their other young guys but at least they appear to have a plan.

They fired their GM yesterday, so maybe there's a plan or maybe it's about to change again.
   112. Booey Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5763141)
I can understand why someone might reflexively say that shooting gives the 2003 class the edge, but I don't see it. There are no strong outside shooters off the dribble in the 03 class, and the great catch-and-shoot guys probably wouldn't play much.


That was my thought too. It would certainly be a major factor with some different draft classes, but by modern standards, the '03 team actually aren't that great of shooters. The guys with the highest 3-pt percentages (Korver, Jones, Hinrich) are all role players who aren't gonna get many shots. As far as the big minute stars go, LeBron and Melo are okay at 3's but nothing special. Bosh is fine for a big, but again, not great overall. And Wade is flat out bad.
   113. jmurph Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5763145)
They fired their GM yesterday, so maybe there's a plan or maybe it's about to change again.

I mainly meant on the court, but yeah, there's that.
   114. NJ in NJ Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5763147)
1. I think you have to pick a year for each class and use that.

2. I think '84 wins because Bosh and Melo are, IMO, clearly a level below the rest so you end up witha team with 3 of the best 4 and 4 of the best 6 ('84) vs. LeBron's team ('03).
   115. JJ1986 Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5763165)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play? 59
2. What will Markelle Fultz's FG% be? .395
3. Who will be the first coach fired? Mike Malone
4. Which rookie will have the most total points? (NOT points per game) Trae Young
5. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded (see here), with the explicit exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh? Yes
6. How many triple-doubles will LeBron James have? 6
7. Which Clown or Bastard will score the most points this year: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, or Michael Beasley? Rondo. I don't think the other 3 make it through the season in the rotation.
8. Who will lead the league in missed field goals: Russell Westbrook, or the field? Field
9. Pick two players who will make the All-Star game for the first time. Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum
10. How many 3-pointers will Ben Simmons make this year: 0, 1-4, 5-19, 20-81, or 82+? 1-4
   116. aberg Posted: October 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5763173)
I left the hypothetical between the drafts really vague because I like reading the debates. I like Dandy's suggestion of taking them in roughly year 6. I'm not sure the rules would ultimately matter, but I agree that the 03 team would do better by modern rules because the zone would help keep them from getting punished inside. The one thing I would add is that I don't think Lebron and Wade are getting enough credit as efficient offensive creators. It's not 3 or nothing. They are two of the greatest scorers of all time without elite three-point accuracy. Still, believing in the 03 team requires you to think of Melo as an inner-circle guy, which he isn't.

If you want to contrast the 84 juggernaut with a shooting team, how about 09? You start Curry, Harden, Derozan, Taj, Blake. That draft is chalk-full of PGs (Teague, Collison, Jrue, Lawson, Rubio, Tyreke) and stretchy shooters (Danny Green, Carroll, Meeks, Mills, Jerebko, Casspi, Beverly, Ellington, Budinger). Plus, you'd have to find a spot in the lineup for Jonny Flynn, who is better than Curry.
   117. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5763194)
Plus, you'd have to find a spot in the lineup for Jonny Flynn, who is better than Curry.


<sobs>

Even back then I wanted Curry in that spot.

<shakes fist>
   118. jmurph Posted: October 09, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5763287)
The question on everyone's mind, who gets back to the Finals first: LeBron or James Jones?
   119. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: October 09, 2018 at 02:43 PM (#5763295)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play? 52
2. What will Markelle Fultz's FG% be? .420 (for the culture)
3. Who will be the first coach fired? Thom Tibodeau
4. Which rookie will have the most total points? (NOT points per game) Trae Young
5. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded (see here), with the explicit exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh? Yes
6. How many triple-doubles will LeBron James have? 11
7. Which Clown or Bastard will score the most points this year: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, or Michael Beasley? JaVale
8. Who will lead the league in missed field goals: Russell Westbrook, or the field? Field
9. Pick two players who will make the All-Star game for the first time. Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell
10. How many 3-pointers will Ben Simmons make this year: 0, 1-4, 5-19, 20-81, or 82+? 5-19 (but on the low end)
   120. aberg Posted: October 09, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5763297)
The question on everyone's mind, who gets back to the Finals first: LeBron or James Jones?


Clearly, neither is going without the other. Lebron will play in the Finals again first, but Jones will have to come off the bench.
   121. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: October 09, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5763305)
Yep. They're a binary system, orbiting each other like the sun and mercury.
   122. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5763342)
Yep. They're a binary system, orbiting each other like the sun and mercury.


This is very funny, but I did have a moment of Astronomy nerd-rage.
   123. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5763368)
I mean, technically both the sun and mercury are orbiting the solar system's center of mass, which is slightly outside the sun's radius, but I think my joke was close enough for jazz.
   124. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5763403)
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania 12m12 minutes ago

Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard visited a specialist in New York and has piriformis injury, which is a muscle in the buttocks. The injury isn't serious and Howard will continue treatment.


Too easy. Pass.
   125. jmurph Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5763405)
That's very clearly a made up injury Shams, nice try.
   126. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5763425)
I think my joke was close enough for jazz.


Hey man I said it was funny, though Dwight Howard's behind has it beat (so to speak).
   127. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5763428)
Yeah, that reads as more defensive than intended, mainly because I couldn't think of a better clause to follow the "but". I got nothing to follow the butt, either.
   128. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5763493)
So it sounds like unless something happens soon Butler will start the season with the Wolves. Sounds like he is in town even.

The hot topic was who gets booed louder opening night (assuming both are on the court) ... Thibs or Butler?
   129. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: October 09, 2018 at 07:04 PM (#5763503)
...he's the first foreign born head coach in NBA history.

Aside from Jay Triano
   130. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5763605)
This isn't really a fair way to look at it, IMO. Teams in general shot way less 3's back in the 90's, but that doesn't mean that trend would continue today if those players were suddenly 30 years younger and able to suit up again. The good shooters from back then would take a lot more than 1.5 three's per game if they were playing today, even ones with pass-first mentalities like Stock. CP3 is a pretty good modern comp as a pass-first guy, and he took 6.5 three's per game last year in Houston's trey heavy offense, and between 4.3 and 5.0 his last 3 years with the Clips.


I think this is sort of the crux of the disagreement. If we're talking about 90's guys going up against modern players, I'm assuming that they play in the same style generating approximately the same statistics as they did in their prime.

So MJ driving, Hakeem in the low post, Stockton playing PnR. I don't expect them to change their games.
   131. spivey Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:00 PM (#5763631)
1. How many games will Joel Embiid play? 61
2. What will Markelle Fultz's FG% be? .388
3. Who will be the first coach fired? Dave Joerger
4. Which rookie will have the most total points? (NOT points per game) Trae Young
5. Will any of the top 25 contracts in the NBA be traded (see here), with the explicit exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh? Yes
6. How many triple-doubles will LeBron James have? 4
7. Which Clown or Bastard will score the most points this year: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, or Michael Beasley? Beasley
8. Who will lead the league in missed field goals: Russell Westbrook, or the field? Field
9. Pick two players who will make the All-Star game for the first time. Simmons and Tatum
10. How many 3-pointers will Ben Simmons make this year: 0, 1-4, 5-19, 20-81, or 82+? 1-4

--

For the 84 vs 03 draft class, I think it's a tossup. I'm a firm believer in pretty aggressive time-lining, even recently. So that helps a lot for the current team. But centers like Hakeem were clearly unicorns that could have played in any era. And young Barkley really would be destroying the 03 team on the glass. Those guys wouldn't want a piece of him.
   132. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:19 PM (#5763647)
And young Barkley really would be destroying the 03 team on the glass


The difference in rebounding is a really underrated challenge in timelining.

Nowadays, the league wide OREB rate is about 25%. In Shaq's heyday, it was 29-30%, and in Barkley's 33%.

So would Moses Malone average the same 19% OREB rate? Who knows?
   133. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:27 PM (#5763650)
Barkley would destroy the '03 team on both ends of the floor. Give him the ball and only LeBron could handle him. But if LeBron's tangling with Barkley, who's got Jordan?

Then again, if he has to play under the thumb of modern officiating Barkley will be out of the game by the first TV timeout. :)
   134. SteveF Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5763652)
A young Jordan without handchecking. Hehehehe.
   135. Booey Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:48 PM (#5763662)
Aside from Jay Triano


Maybe that was the first European born head coach in the NBA? Something like that.
   136. spivey Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:52 PM (#5763665)
A young Jordan without handchecking. Hehehehe.

People say this, but LeBron has been getting hand-checked his whole career. I'm inclined to think those guys should mostly just be considered a wash and you evaluate the rest of the roster.
   137. tshipman Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:55 PM (#5763671)
A young Jordan without handchecking. Hehehehe.


A young Jordan having to attack zone ...

every great player is pretty well optimized for the era they play in. That's what makes them great.
   138. SteveF Posted: October 09, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5763676)
A young Jordan having to attack zone ...

That's definitely the other side of that. Jordan was working in isos so much of his early career.
   139. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5763755)
Jimmer Fredette scored 41 points against an NBA team today...

He's got to make it back at some point right? I derive a great deal of joy from this man's existence.
   140. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 10, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5763842)
I'm inclined to think those guys should mostly just be considered a wash and you evaluate the rest of the roster.


Yes. And Dream and Stockton are better (IMO) than anyone on the other team, and Sir Charles ain't too bad. Time lining is hard though, even over such a short period of time. Such I the fun of the discussion.
   141. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5763861)
At some point in time, someone has to give Boban a shot at a roation role - right? I mean, yeah, he's insanely slow and changes how you have to do everything. But, he's so good when he's on the court that it's probably worth it.
   142. spivey Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5763884)
At some point in time, someone has to give Boban a shot at a roation role - right? I mean, yeah, he's insanely slow and changes how you have to do everything. But, he's so good when he's on the court that it's probably worth it.

I think he should, but just by the nature of his game I think it should be a lower tier team with nothing to lose. Those teams tend to be less risk taking and less innovative imo.

I'm excited for the NBA. The Warriors are still the big favorite, but things can happen. They've been on the good side of injury breaks the last couple of years. I still think Houston will be a handful, and the East may genuinely be the most exciting it's been since the 90s.

Boston/Toronto/Philly at the top and then Milwaukee/Indiana below that. I mean, I guess it gets pretty bad, pretty quick. But those teams should be good. Hopefully Washington doesn't mail in another year, because they can be fun when they try.
   143. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5763885)
I think he should, but just by the nature of his game I think it should be a lower tier team with nothing to lose. Those teams tend to be less risk taking and less innovative imo.
Agree.
I'd like Boban in Memphis.
   144. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5763898)
I'm excited for the NBA. The Warriors are still the big favorite, but things can happen. They've been on the good side of injury breaks the last couple of years. I still think Houston will be a handful, and the East may genuinely be the most exciting it's been since the 90s.

Though in some ways I think the distance between the Warriors and the next best team might be as great as its been during this entire run, a team hasn't made 5 straight Finals appearances since the 60s Celtics. It's clearly just really hard to maintain that level over such a long period of time.
   145. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5763908)
I am weirdly very down on Houston, which doesn't make sense and is I suspect a product of my deep distaste for them, aesthetically.
   146. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5763914)
I'm also probably unrealistically high on Utah, which is likely due to left over Rubio vibes. But I do think that they have a legitimate shot at #2 in the West.
   147. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5763919)
I am weirdly very down on Houston, which doesn't make sense and is I suspect a product of my deep distaste for them, aesthetically.

Agree with this, word for word. But they also will likely be worse defensively.
   148. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5763920)
I'm also probably unrealistically high on Utah, which is likely due to left over Rubio vibes. But I do think that they have a legitimate shot at #2 in the West.

I'm very high on their team, very low on their ability to stay healthy.
   149. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5763929)
I'm very high on their team, very low on their ability to stay healthy.

This is true. But the team is, I think, very well constructed to enable survival at a reasonably high level if one of the more likely subjects goes down for a while.
   150. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5763934)
I am just depressed about the whole season. My team is in complete disarray a year after being the hot newness. Plus "I wonder if someone on Golden State will get injured" as perhaps the most important plotline of the season just doesn't thrill me.

I still like the NBA and love this thread, but man...
   151. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5763936)
I still like the NBA and love this thread, but man...

Look at it this way: Towns is under contract, and the Twolves won't be paying 34 yr old Jimmy Butler's knees 40MM/yr. It's not much, but it's something.
   152. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5763955)
I think, weirdly, the most exciting thing in the NBA is the Eastern Conference. Three strong teams at the top and an assortment of teams that can be good, or at least Eastern Conference Good, if things break right.

But who wins the conference is basically going to come down to which of Boston/Philadelphia/Toronto is healthiest come May.

It's weird but the past couple years, I've gotten into the NBA during the regular season and mostly lost interest once the playoffs begin. There was only one series last year that really mattered. This year there's at least the chance of one or two compelling series in the East, depending how the injuries shake out. Once again, just about everything in the West is pointless because either Golden State is going to suffer a couple of disastrous injuries, or Golden State is going to win.

Aesthetically, though, it's still a great time to be a basketball fan! As long as you're not watching Houston.
   153. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5763959)
But who wins the conference is basically going to come down to which of Boston/Philadelphia/Toronto is healthiest come May.

I'm a Celtics homer and everything but I think the Sixers are a clear step below the other two (though I think Toronto is getting underrated elsewhere). A very unhealthy Celtics team handled them reasonably comfortably last year in the playoffs. And yeah, I expect Saric and Simmons to get better, so maybe that improvement will be enough, but I think they otherwise did nothing to improve (I'm 100% skeptical that Fultz is back).
   154. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5763969)
Yes, if all teams are equally healthy or unhealthy, Boston will win the conference with ease. They're a huge favorite to win the East, because Philadelphia and Toronto are both dependent on a superstar with an extremely... colorful injury history. Boston can lose two stars and still win, although I think of all their good players, Al Horford is the one who could really screw them by being injured in May. If I were Brad Stevens I'd be looking for an excuse to give him a couple weeks off in April. Kyrie, too.

Are we making full predictions? Looking over the East this year versus last year, I think Cleveland will drop out of the playoffs and Charlotte will be in. That's probably the only change. Maybe Washington drops out, but it's hard to see who will displace them. Detroit? Brooklyn? Orlando?

In the West, the Lakers will be in if LeBron remains indestructible, and Minnesota will probably be out. There's a decent chance Denver will also get in, displacing one of Portland/San Antonio/OKC. (edit: or New Orleans. Anthony Davis has never been a paragon of health, and if he misses even 15 games, they're out.) There's a pretty big dividing line between good teams and bad teams (by the standards of the conference) in both conferences, at 9/10 in the East and 10/11 in the West.
   155. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5763971)
Are we making full predictions?

I definitely will at some point, I just like to have a place to keep track.
   156. NJ in NJ Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5763972)
I'm a Celtics homer and everything but I think the Sixers are a clear step below the other two (though I think Toronto is getting underrated elsewhere). A very unhealthy Celtics team handled them reasonably comfortably last year in the playoffs. And yeah, I expect Saric and Simmons to get better, so maybe that improvement will be enough, but I think they otherwise did nothing to improve (I'm 100% skeptical that Fultz is back).

Embiid + Simmons are SO good though.
   157. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5763987)
Stefano Fusaro @FusaroESPN
Jimmy Butler update:

According to a league source, The Wolves contacted the Rockets again Tuesday morning, after their failed deal with Miami this past weekend. Minnesota was still adamant on receiving Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker, but Houston will not put Tucker on the table.
   158. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5763992)
HOLY GOD
   159. spivey Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5763993)
I'll say it - if Houston gets Butler and doesn't give up Tucker, they're better than Golden State. Butler is that good.

I agree that Philly's peak is below what Toronto and Boston's peaks are. But the teams may not reach their peaks. There's also trades that can happen midseason which could change things. I think if Kawhi is healthy Toronto is just as good as Boston. They don't have Pop, but I think his supporting cast here is probably better than the Spurs teams from 2-3 years back that averaged 64 wins/year in the West.
   160. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5763997)
I mean, I love Tucker, but that's precisely the sort of deal that will cripple the Wolves, and wouldn't move the needle at all on Thibs' job security, which I suspect is done.
   161. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5763999)
I think if Kawhi is healthy Toronto is just as good as Boston.

If Kawhi is Kawhi, Toronto is better than Boston.

...BUT, we've yet to see what a fully Boston team will look like, Toronto does have playoff demons (though they're severely lessened by LeBron being gone) and a new head coach, so I'm not confident that statement will hold up through the season and playoffs. I'm just saying in the unlikely situation where both teams are operating at their peak health, I think Toronto is just a bit better in a playoff series - both have good depth, but Boston's depth has a higher floor.

I'll say it - if Houston gets Butler and doesn't give up Tucker, they're better than Golden State. Butler is that good.

Absolutely.
   162. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5764004)
If Kawhi is Kawhi, Toronto is better than Boston.

Agree. I think I'd still like fully healthy and clicking Boston's chances against fully healthy and clicking Toronto over 7 games, though.

I'll say it - if Houston gets Butler and doesn't give up Tucker, they're better than Golden State. Butler is that good.

I was very wrong about Paul/Harden, so with that caveat included, I'm not sure Harden/Paul/Butler works on offense. That's a lot of guys who like to hold the ball. Also are they just releasing Carmelo in this situation?
   163. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5764013)
by modern standards, the '03 team actually aren't that great of shooters. The guys with the highest 3-pt percentages (Korver, Jones, Hinrich) are all role players who aren't gonna get many shots. As far as the big minute stars go, LeBron and Melo are okay at 3's but nothing special. Bosh is fine for a big, but again, not great overall. And Wade is flat out bad.

The more I think about it, the more I find that the 2012 draft class would make the most fascinating, versatile, and surprisingly formidable team. It would have so much shooting, ball-handling, and size that it could adapt to a given rules framework and opponent more effectively than draft classes that might look better on paper.

Anthony Davis and Draymond Green unlock ridiculous lineup possibilities. The team could play huge with a frontcourt of Draymond, Davis, and Andre Drummond--shutting off the paint, protecting the rim, and dominating the boards. Or slide Draymond and Davis over and fill the SF slot with a shooter/scorer (Khris Middleton, Evan Fournier) or a 3&D guy (Jae Crowder, Moe Harkless) whenever offensive spacing and defensive mobility are preferred.

At guard, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal provide tremendous spacing and playmaking with their high-volume outside shooting off the dribble. And backing them up are a couple more dynamic playmakers who can shoot (Will Barton, Jeremy Lamb), along with an efficient low-usage distributor who can defend 3 positions (Thomas Satoransky).

Round out the roster with another skilled, physical big man in Kyle O'Quinn, and you have a team that matches up with any opponent and can exploit deficiencies. Almost everyone on the roster operates well as a distributor, so the offense can run any number of ways. In addition to Draymond and Lillard serving as primary ball-handlers, a handful of other guys averaged 4+ assists per 36 this year: Beal, Middleton, Barton, Satoransky, and even O'Quinn. Maybe the talent gap between the 1984 class and this one would be too big to overcome, but I'd like this team's odds better than those of the 2003 class, which basically has the same major deficiency as the 1984 roster (outside shooting) and more glaring matchup problems dealing with Hakeem and Chuck.
   164. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5764014)
CBS Sports NBA @CBSSportsNBA
Austin Rivers tells @outsidethenba that “everybody's so f---ing gassed up on the Celtics and the Sixers” but the Wizards can compete with anyone in the East

The Wizards are the best.
   165. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5764015)
Also are they just releasing Carmelo in this situation?

Obviously, he's going to be starting at 4 for the Wolves, in this situation.
   166. NJ in NJ Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5764020)
If Kawhi is Kawhi, Toronto is better than Boston.

This. I think that's what makes the top of the East so interesting to me. If Kawhi is Kawhi, Toronto is the best team...but if Embiid is healthy (again) and he and Simmons make marginal progress and Fultz contributes, Philly might be the best team...but Boston was already the best team and they're getting reinforcements, so they should be the best team again. I think there are legitimate arguments for all 3.
   167. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 10, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5764087)
Obviously, he's going to be starting at 4 for the Wolves, in this situation.


Die in a fire. :)
   168. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5764100)
Die in a fire. :)

Look, it's been years since he's been as effective as a three than as a four.

Teague/Rose/Wiggins/Carmelo/whatever is left of Towns after his head explodes

That team should easily win at least 12 games.
   169. a 57i66135 with a grenade still has a grenade Posted: October 10, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5764101)
I'm a Celtics homer and everything but I think the Sixers are a clear step below the other two (though I think Toronto is getting underrated elsewhere). A very unhealthy Celtics team handled them reasonably comfortably last year in the playoffs. And yeah, I expect Saric and Simmons to get better, so maybe that improvement will be enough, but I think they otherwise did nothing to improve (I'm 100% skeptical that Fultz is back).

nah.

the celtics deserved to win, but despite playing like ass in that series, the sixers would have been up 3-2 if they didn't #### all over themselves in the last 10 seconds of games 3 and 5. not to mention the 20+ point 2nd quarter lead they blew in game 2.


TOR and BOS are more experienced than the sixers and they should be better, but simmons and embiid are the only unicorns that would play in either series.
   170. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5764107)
nah.

the celtics deserved to win, but despite playing like ass in that series, the sixers would have been up 3-2 if they didn't #### all over themselves in the last 10 seconds of games 3 and 5. not to mention the 20+ point 2nd quarter lead they blew in game 2.

A much more succinct way to describe the series is 4-1 Celtics.
   171. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5764113)
I am just depressed about the whole season. My team is in complete disarray a year after being the hot newness. Plus "I wonder if someone on Golden State will get injured" as perhaps the most important plotline of the season just doesn't thrill me.

I still like the NBA and love this thread, but man...


I'm all the way with you there, but I am also trying to find some other storylines to follow that will keep me invested. Even if the Wolves aren't good, KAT is awesome, and there are lots of fun rotational pieces to cheer for (Tyus, Nunnally, Okokie, Keita Bates-DeBruyne, Tolliver).

A team without Lebron will come out of the East for the first time in 23 years, and the top 3 contenders are all highly interesting. There's a version of this Boston team where Tatum improves a lot, Say Hey Maysward comes all the way back, and Boy Genius finds a way to make them all gel. Even the second-tier in the East is entertaining- Giannis (now with Coach!), Oladipo trying to repeat, Wiz going for the record for worst chemistry.

Although I don't like the Lakers, I'm super excited to watch what this team looks like. I have a soft spot for Ingram and want to see how he comes along. Lebron is always fun to watch. I can't wait to see the ClownBastard9000 lineup of Cap'n Connect 4, the 8th grader, Super Cool Beas, Lebron, and Javale.

I want to see Utah keep up the pace they set late last year and join Houston in the sub-GS tier. I still love Ricky and I want his improvement to stick.

Look at it this way: Towns is under contract, and the Twolves won't be paying 34 yr old Jimmy Butler's knees 40MM/yr. It's not much, but it's something.


But they're using all of that money to pay any age Andrew Wiggins.
   172. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5764119)
Also are they just releasing Carmelo in this situation?

Obviously, he's going to be starting at 4 for the Wolves, in this situation.


I would nominate him to fill out the ClownBastard lineup or slide in for Washington's one sane starter (Otto Porter).
   173. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5764124)
But they're using all of that money to pay any age Andrew Wiggins.

AAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
   174. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5764125)
Look at it this way: Towns is under contract, and the Twolves won't be paying 34 yr old Jimmy Butler's knees 40MM/yr. It's not much, but it's something.

In all honesty I think the right deal could put the 2020 and beyond Wolves in a better position than they would otherwise be in.* I don't think Josh Richardson is going to be a superstar but he's good and young and the contract seems solid. If they can get off the Dieng contract, even better.

Gordon/Tucker is not that deal, so hopefully that doesn't happen!

*Also I totally get that's not very exciting to fans of a team that just made the playoffs after a long drought and now look to be taking a step back.
   175. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5764130)
In all honesty I think the right deal could put the 2020 and beyond Wolves in a better position than they would otherwise be in

I do agree with this, actually. Butler is a wonderful player, but not an ideal fit on a team that showcases Towns. Also, age wise, he's not a great fit. But that said, I have this much faith in the Wolves to make the right decision here: ><.
   176. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5764140)
*Also I totally get that's not very exciting to fans of a team that just made the playoffs after a long drought and now look to be taking a step back.


Living in Seattle and following the Mariners, boy am I glad the Wolves at least got into the playoffs last year.

And yes, getting Richardson, a pick, and getting rid of Dieng seems decent to me. Gordon is younger than Butler, fwiw. If Tucker was 5 years younger, I think I'd like that deal (hint- he's not 5 years younger than he is).

But that said, I have this much faith in the Wolves to make the right decision here: ><.


Oof, yeah. Stein wrote a good summary of how so many of the franchise's failures over the last 25 years go back to Taylor's bad judgment and unwillingness to make tough decisions.
   177. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:38 PM (#5764143)
Gordon is younger than Butler, fwiw.

Isn't Gordon just kind of bad? That's my main issue with him, his general badness. Or at least he's not good; bad is probably a bit much. He's really only been an elite shooter for one season, a few years ago. I'm too lazy to pull shooting % by position, but for a wing, .376 can't be much above average, can it?

Especially on a team with defensive issues, I think he would be a really bad fit.
   178. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5764147)
If I'm Houston and it were as simple as Gordon+Tucker for Butler, I pull the trigger. Paul/Harden/Butler/bag of donuts/Capela ... that's a GOOD lineup, even with a bad bench. (I know I skipped Melo - this team would want to stagger their high usage guys, obv). They'd get decent guys to join the team later in the season and I think that they could successfully develop (guys like Gary Clark, though he might be a few years away) or identify (MCW) adequate role players that could help out.

---

Obviously insane for Minny to consider.
   179. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5764153)
I'm going to be That Guy and just come out and speculate that no way in hell would Harden, Paul, Butler, and Melo all get along. They'd be infighting all to hell by January. There's only one ball.

And maybe I'm wildly wrong. I often am. But then again, I wrote pretty much the same thing a year ago about Butler/Wiggins/Towns.
   180. spivey Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5764170)
Butler's usage is "only" around 24%. I think one of the really nice things about him from a fit perspective is that he can provide a bunch of his value without having to have the ball in his hands all the time.
   181. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5764183)
What in the name of god is going on:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.
   182. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5764186)
What in the name of god is going on:

It's a work. The whole ####### thing.
   183. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:22 PM (#5764189)
What in the name of god is going on:


Timberwolves being Timberwolves, why do you ask?
   184. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5764196)
Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
I spoke with a Wolves staffer who said about today's practice: "It was bad. Guys come in angry, having bad days all the time. This was as bad as I've ever seen a practice in my years in the NBA."

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
All-Star Jimmy Butler participated in Minnesota's practice, a session that included him verbally challenging teammates, coaches and front office, league sources told ESPN. Butler was vociferous and emotional at times, targeting Thibodeau/Layden/Towns/Wiggins. Story soon on ESPN.
   185. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5764197)
Maybe the plan is to hold on to Butler and leverage his sheer spite and cussedness into one last great season.
   186. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5764203)
Advantage Miami, I guess. I can't imagine any other team wanting any part of this without Butler explicitly saying he wants to be there.
   187. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5764208)
He's gone full heel. Disappointing.
   188. a 57i66135 with a grenade still has a grenade Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5764213)
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.

the sixers need to get this guy. the trash talk by/with/between him and embiid would be insane.
   189. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5764222)
Was there really any debate about whether the Wolves (bleeing) need him and can't win without him? I thought that was essentially conceded by the fact that they're refusing to trade him.
   190. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5764223)
Justin Halpern @justin_halpern 20m20 minutes ago

ANDREW WIGGINS: yeah and you can’t win without me either!”

*Wiggins takes a two pointer one inch inside the three point line and it clangs off the back of the rim*


Heh
   191. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5764224)
This goes back to something that was discussed at the time of the initial trade request 19 months ago: perhaps Thibs had to bring Jimmy the message that the max will not be on the table next summer. If his only way to get the full max is to get traded first, that would certainly encourage a trade request. Not as fun as the KAT girlfriend thing, so I'm going to disregard.
   192. a 57i66135 with a grenade still has a grenade Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5764225)
trademachine: who says no?

MIN: wilson chandler, mike muscala, zhaire smith, 2019 PHI #1
PHI: jimmy butler
   193. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5764228)
How about Fultz and a bad contract for Tyus and Jimmy?
   194. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5764230)
Christ Berg have you given up? Or are you mocking stiggles. This Butler stuff has me confused!
   195. aberg Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5764231)
Christ Berg have you given up? Or are you mocking stiggles. This Butler stuff has me confused!


I have lost my mind.
   196. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5764232)
netw3rk @netw3rk
jimmy: [cursing wildly] [calling out teammates] [slaps the ball out of wiggins's hands]

layden: what are we going to do

thibs: [fully sexually aroused] i have no idea
   197. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5764235)
Yeeeessssss:
Darren Wolfson @DWolfsonKSTP
Told Butler is breaking his silence right now in a sit-down with ESPN. Interview to air tonight. #Twolves

Does Butler not have an agent or manager or shrink or someone?
   198. SteveF Posted: October 10, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5764236)
I didn't realize the trade machine allowed Philly to make successful trades without including Jerryd Bayless.
   199. NJ in NJ Posted: October 10, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5764244)
Just saw a (joke) tweet saying Butler called Wiggins "Poutino Mobley" which was just...really well done.
   200. Your favorite TFTIO, me! Posted: October 10, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5764247)
... and now we have a solid name for Wiggins.
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