Tuesday, February 23, 2010

20 comments I Might As Well Tackle Simmons' Trade Value Column

I was reluctant to tackle Bill Simmons' trade value column because he has the time and the will to use the ESPN Trade Machine for hours, and to be honest, he knows his NBA stuff pretty well. Then I realized I sounded like a wimp and I changed my mind and decided to just go for it. I have been doing WED's (Writing Enhancing Drugs) for a few days now and feel like I can sufficiently take this on.

I had a few problems with last year's "trade value" column and this year is no exception. Here are Bill's rules that I will have to follow when arguing:

THE RULES
I actually agree with these rules and think they make sense in the context of what Bill is trying to do. #4 does leave some room for differing opinions though.

A few weeks ago, a rumor spread that Minnesota offered Al Jefferson for Indiana's Danny Granger and got turned down. It didn't matter if the rumor was true. What mattered was the concept itself. Would you trade Al Jefferson straight up for Danny Granger? This was an old-school basketball trade, almost like two GMs flipping cards in a school yard. Trades are never this simple anymore.

I thought the rule was never trade height for a player of equal value who didn't have as much height? Basically, if Granger and Jefferson have equal value, which they don't in my mind, a team should never trade a player like Jefferson for Granger? I always thought that was the rule, so good job by Indiana to turn the trade down. Good job by Minnesota to try and actually improve their team.

These trades happen all the time now: Teams making lopsided deals to clear cap space so they can overpay other players. Last season, Detroit gave away Chauncey Billups so it could spend $95 million on two bench players. This season, Washington turned two of its top four and the No. 5 pick of the 2009 draft into a slew of expiring 2010 contracts.

This is one of my biggest problems with the NBA. I have talked about it before, but the trades are more about the salary cap and not about actually trading players of value to different teams. It is like GM's are far sighted enough to know they need to save money for better players in the future, but they are too stupid to actually be able to correctly spend the money on better players in the future.

The threat of a 2011 lockout hangs over everything. It's inevitable. It pretty much has to happen. The owners need to be saved from themselves; the players need to realize that they failed to deliver on too many mammoth, long-term contracts, and that one or two clunkers can destroy a franchise for half a decade or more.

This is what I love about the NFL. Mammoth, long-term contracts don't kill teams as frequently because contracts are completely guaranteed and teams can cut players and recoup some of the money. Ironically, this principle of non-guaranteed contracts is only present in the most violent and (in the present and future) body harming sport out of the major sports, the NFL. That's pretty ironic.

In the NFL, a team can get rid of bad contracts without a terrible salary cap hit. This helps in two ways. First, it prevents teams from being weighed down by their mistakes, and second, it lets the players know signing reasonable contracts makes sense if that players wants to play for a team long-term.

For a quick refresher of the "trade value" rules, check the sidebar. Here's a list of 2008-09 incumbents who couldn't crack this season's list or honorable mention:

Devin Harris (38) got sprayed by the Nets' skunk ...

I still think Devin Harris has trade value. I don't know if he is in the Top 40 of Bill's trade value column, but I would bet he has trade value.

Caron Butler (29) got salary dumped ...

So because Caron Butler got traded to a contender for expiring contracts, that means he doesn't have trade value? So the trade value column is useful for everyone as long as a player doesn't get traded? If he does get traded, then that causes his value to drop?

Not to mention, Bill just said in this column that Butler's contract wasn't so bad. From earlier in the column:

Strangely, Butler wasn't even much of a cap burden, making only $20.3 million through 2011. Washington was so desperate to break up the Arenas Era Wizards that it wasn't even rational;

I would include Butler on this list if only because he is a good player who has a good contract. I find it a little bit contradicting that Butler didn't make the list because he got traded for Josh Howard (who isn't terrible), when he has a good contract.

Of course the Mavericks were looking to unload Howard because of stuff like this.

and when we start calling Yao Ming (7) "Yao Ming's Expiring Contract" in five months, I'd like to spell it with Chinese letters.

Remember this statement.

Kevin Garnett (No. 11 last year): And probably untradable this year.

Garnett is having the worst year since his 2nd year in the NBA. I wouldn't say he is untradeable, just because there are teams that would like to have him, but it is pretty close.

Hasheem Thabeet: Just kidding.

Do NBA GM's even watch tape of college basketball player before they draft them? Most specifically, do the Grizzlies watch tape of college basketball players before they draft them? If a 7'3" center is getting his ass handed to him by an undersized, physical center on a consistent basis in college...how does this indicate this 7'3" center is worth a shit as an NBA player?

(As for the "least realistic about their own players" contest ... I think it's a battle to the death between two fan bases and two fan bases only. They know who they are.)

Let me guess. The Boston Celtics are not one of those teams that aren't realistic about their players? I am not asking, even though I ended that sentence with a question mark, I know the answer already. Bill most likely thinks Celtics fans are very reasonable about the skill level of their players.

Kevin Martin (30): My favorite possibly available trade piece -- great contract, proven scorer, high hoops IQ, someone who'd thrive on a veteran team that protected him defensively and ran plays for him.

THIS is why Yao Ming will not be known as "Yao Ming's expiring contract." I love Kevin Martin on the Rockets. I love Kevin Martin with Yao Ming on the team as well and Shane Battier just in the building with his mustache. So while Bill was write about Martin being a good trade piece, I have to say it looks like Yao may stick around longer in Houston if this arrangement works out.

Besides, maybe Yao will be more comfortable if the Rockets "arrange" things for him and give him less freedom. They should fucking TELL HIM he is re-signing with them at a reasonable price. He's from China, he is used to others dictating his personal affairs to him. I think this could work.

Joakim Noah: The new Laimbeer: Love him if he's on your team, hate him if he's playing against you.

Except Joakim Noah is more annoying than Bill Laimbeer and looks like he hasn't had a shower in a few months. Everyone hates Joakim Noah. Even baby Jesus.

Carlos Boozer: Gets a Trade Value DNP because he's a free agent-to-be. I can't tell if the Jazz would trade him, or if anyone wants him. You know what else this means? For the first time ever, no Blue Devils in the top 40! Woohoo! Suck it, Duke!

Boy, Bill really told them. It's not like he controls who makes the Top 40 of his trade value column or anything. I think sometimes Bill gets confused about whether he actually controls what he is writing or not. I think he believe what he writes is fact, not his opinion.

I kept looking and couldn't find any Holy Cross players either...that's weird. If you check the Bottom 40 players with trade value then maybe Duke would have a few candidates for this.

I can stand Duke-hating, but if you don't have a reason to hate Duke, other than you are a white guy who doesn't follow college basketball that closely and went to private school 800 miles from Durham, North Carolina, shut the hell up about it. Basically, Bill has no reason to hate Duke other than to feel cool that he hates Duke.

40. Ricky Rubio
If you have the No. 5 and No. 6 picks in what turned out to be a quality draft,

Let's step back for a minute. This was a quality draft? Do we get a big "I was really fucking wrong" from Bill Simmons? How about him saying, "I was a little down on the draft and it appears I was wrong?" In fact, the two best players from the draft Ricky Rubio and Blake Griffin haven't even played in the NBA this year and the 2009 draft is still looking like a good one.

Does he acknowledge he said the following in his draft diary last year? (I will give you a hint. No, he doesn't.) Here is what Bill said about the 2009 draft:

Here's the point: The 2009 NBA draft is the equivalent of that 10 minutes when I nearly talked myself into three Blu-Rays I didn't even want. I have seen "The Shining" 10 million katrillion times. I don't need to own it on Blu-Ray. But when it's sitting on the same shelf with "Along Came Polly" and "Ocean's 12"? It starts looking good by default. That's the problem with this year's draft class -- too many "Terminator 3" Blu-Rays, only everyone else is so bad, you start talking yourself into them.

Maybe he was just mincing words. What did he really think about the 2009 draft at the time?

Trust me: It's the worst draft class since the infamous Kenyon Martin Draft in 2000.

Bill, you are wrong and that is why we don't trust you. Stick to the NBA my buddy. You can't read 10 articles by Chad Ford, watch a little bit of the NCAA Tournament and try to pass yourself off as a college basketball genius. It just doesn't work that way. So I hope everyone remembers this when Bill starts to "analyze" this year's draft. Just when thinking about how to evaluate the 2009 draft, just remember the 2 best potential players of the draft haven't even played a minute in the NBA yet.

I am even being distracted by all this and losing focus on the fact Bill Simmons just ranked a player who hasn't ever stepped on an NBA court as the player with the 40th most trade value. Combine this with his draft miss and I am not sure this is a good way to start the column.

37. Al Jefferson
About 82.7 percent back from 2009's knee injury. The bigger issue: Residual damage from a 116-265 stretch (and counting) in Minnesota and Boston. At some point, all that losing can turn you into an actual loser. It's like a girl who keeps inadvertently dating jerks and eventually loses her self-esteem.

Which is why Kevin Garnett played on that same "loser" team and won an NBA Title immediately the next year. So you would think that would be impossible to do since Garnett played for a team of losers.

I am sure Bill would have an excuse about how he had help from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but those guys also had just come off teams that weren't consistently very good either. It's also how Jamal Crawford is having a good year on a successful team, considering he played for loser teams the previous 10 years of his career that never made the playoffs.

Wait, I am sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt Bill's paragraph of incorrectness as shown through an analogy that is in some ways sexist. (Actually he was done, I just wanted to mention that Bill always has a little sexism in his writing. He always likes to use the analogies involving women with low self-esteem or girls who date losers. It's all a little sexist sometimes.)

36. David Lee

I am not an NBA insider but I would bet every single team in the NBA would trade David Lee straight up for Al Jefferson to be on their team. These two should be switched.

35. Chauncey Billups
Thirty years from now, when the Pistons have finished their 30th straight losing season and officially switched places with the Lions in the Detroit landscape, someone will write a "Curse of Chauncey" book for which Joe Dumars will refuse to be interviewed.

Dan Shaughnessy just got his agent on the phone and said, "Hey, remember this idea for me. I think I may have a good book idea for 2020...What's that you ask? Hell yes it deals with fake curses!"

If I'm a Knicks fan, my Summer of 2010 Worst-Case Scenario is Amar'e and Rudy. That's taking me to a 6-seed every spring.

(You know what's really sad? Every Knicks fan just said, "A 6-seed every spring? I'll take it!")

Of course Knicks fans just said that. They said that because Bill is the "Sports Whisperer" and knows Knicks fans are depressed and just want their team to make the playoffs. They don't have very high hopes and Bill knows this, because his friends all whine about how bad the Knicks are and Bill's friends pretty much encompass the thoughts of every sports fan on the planet. Celtics fans on the other hand? They are used to success so they would never accept a #6 seed in the playoffs. Only the finest trades that bring short-term success at the expense of building a good long-term roster are good enough for them.

32. Stephen Curry

Even more sophisticated offensively than we hoped. Defensively ... ugh. But offensively? Wow. His January stats (15 games): 19-4-5, 48 percent FG, 48 percent 3FG, 89.2 percent FT. For the season, assuming he bumps his scoring to 17 PPG post-All-Star break and everything else stays the same, he'd finish with 16 PPG, 120-plus 3s and 42 percent shooting from 3. According to Vincent Masi of ESPN Stats & Information, no rookie came close to hitting those numbers except for Ben Gordon in 2004-05 (15.1 PPG, 134 3s, 40.5 percent).

Congratulations, IF you increase your scoring average you can hit the same numbers as a guy who is now the 6th man for a team that is 20-35. Sadly, that would be a slight step up for Curry in his current situation with the Warriors who are 16-39. I do find it interesting Bill projects Curry's numbers like this since he is assuming Curry manages to increase his scoring average and keep all his other numbers the same without hitting the "rookie wall." I would assume usually rookies will slow down more in the 2nd half of the season since they aren't used to playing 70+ games over a long season.

With that said, the Zombies could absolutely win a title some day with Durant as their No. 1 and Westbrook as No. 3. They just need a No. 2. Not to be confused with the No. 2 that Clay Bennett took on Seattle.

Just to remind everyone, Bill does not think Seattle is tortured enough, though he will keep referencing how bad the city has it in regard to the Sonics leaving for Oklahoma City because it is a running joke he likes.

26. Danny Granger

Starting to worry that he's a classic franchise player who looks great on your fantasy team, but if he's the No. 1 guy on your real team, you're going 32-50 and that's that.

(Cut to the last remaining 3,500 Pacers fans nodding impassively.)

Bill knows what Pacer fans are thinking because he is the Sports Whisperer everyone! He KNOWS Pacers fans agree with him.

I don't think it is ever a good sign when a sportswriter makes up a fake title for himself that isn't true and then bases the name of it on a Jennifer Love Hewitt television show on CBS. That's never good.

23. Blake Griffin
I still feel guilty.

Don't you see Bill Simmons has the power to write down words and make those words true simply because they came from his mouth? It's his fault Blake Griffin got injured because he wrote about this happening. This power extends to everything...except the predicting the 2009 NBA Draft would be bad apparently. His powers can't make that come true.

I have a slight problem with Blake Griffin coming off surgery, never having stepped on the court in the NBA and having more trade value than guys like Joe Johnson and Kevin Love.

Semi-related note: This year's draft is head case-heavy, so it will be fascinating to see whether the recent successes of Smith and Z-Bo remove the "STAY AWAY!!!!" neon signs flashing on the foreheads of the 2010 draft class.

Here goes Bill talking about college basketball again. HEY! He has watched two games this year and has heard of these players so he knows how to properly evaluate them. Plus, he is a fucking genius and doesn't need to actually watch the players to see if they are good or not.

Hell, we might even see DeMarcus Cousins get drafted ahead of Evan Turner this June, which should never happen unless it's a draft for the likelihood of someone uttering the sentence, "Don't hang up, you're my only phone call!"

So this is the part where Bill Simmons sort of says DeMarcus Cousins has character issues or is a head case. Unfortunately this is not true. Other than this incident, Cousins has been a model player...or as much of a model as can be expected from a guy who would rather be in the NBA right now. There has been much more good than bad when it comes to him. He likes to interact with the fans during road games and get on their cases, but I don't know if this is a character flaw. He is not a head case, but now that Bill has stated he is, there are 500,000 white kids who follow Bill who think he is.

Let's look for some of these "head cases" in the upcoming NBA Draft, since Bill says there are so many. Let's just go down the NBADraft.net mock draft for 2010 and see who is a head case and who is not (I am skipping the foreigners since I don't know enough about them yet to talk about them):

John Wall- Entitled? Yes, but not a head case. He actually seems to have his shit together for all the hype that has surrounded him.

Evan Turner- No.

Wesley Johnson- He has moved around a lot, but is not a head case.

Al-Farouq Aminu- Is actually a great guy from the few accounts I have gotten.

DeMarcus Cousins- Not really a head case.

Derrick Favors- Not a head case. Pompous and full of himself? Yes, but not a head case.

Cole Aldrich- No.

Patrick Patterson- No.

Greg Monroe- No.

Damion James- No.

Stanley Robinson- I will give this one to Bill. He is a minor head case, though I don't think he is a Top 15 pick.

I am getting bored because there aren't a lot of head cases in the 1st round of the NBA Draft for this year. Sure, maybe a guy will get arrested before the draft this year, but the only guys in the 1st round (that I know of) which are potential head cases are Willie Warren and Stanley Robinson. Check it out if you think I am wrong.

I know Bill is mainly trying to infer things about Lance Stephenson and Renardo Sydney (though even saying he knows who they are may be giving him too much credit), but they are mostly projected 2nd round picks in most of the mock drafts I have seen and I don't think those two make the 2010 NBA Draft "heavy" with head cases. As he sometimes does, Bill just writes and doesn't give a lot of thought to whether he is completely accurate or not.

I've been tormenting my Lakers friends that Bynum is the new Joe Barry Carroll, someone who gives you a joyless, businesslike 18-10 with two blocks every game (assuming he's getting the playing time). There's a reason Peter Vecsey anointed Carroll "Joe Barely Cares" once upon a time,

Yes, because Peter Vescey is the place to go for accurate and impartial evaluations of NBA players.

17. Steve Nash
Better than ever, which really shouldn't be the case because, you know, he just turned 36...Not only does Nash make his teammates better, he orders for them. Anyway, I don't see him going downhill anytime soon.

No, not a 36 year old with a history of back problems. Those type players tend to just slowly fade away into the night rather than have a sudden injury caused by a lot of mileage and age. I give Nash two more years maximum because he is a great player, but he is also carrying a big load in Phoenix and he is a 36 year old point guard. He is having a great year but I personally see this season as a death rattle rather than a trend upwards.

16. Rajon Rondo
15. Tyreke Evans

I like Tyreke Evans but if a team has a couple other decent players on the team then Rondo has to be the choice over Evans. Tyreke Evans has to be the #1 scoring option on his team, at least it appears to be that way for the foreseeable future, but the key point is I don't know how far a team gets with him being the #1 scoring option. I would take Rondo over Evans personally for a team trying to win an NBA Title. Yes, Evans is the better player, so it really depends on what a team is looking for.

14. Brook Lopez
13. Tim Duncan

I hate to say it since I love Tim Duncan, but these should be flipped. What team wouldn't want 10 years of Brook Lopez for 3 more of Duncan? I think at this point, even the Spurs would say yes.

Before we hit the last two groups of players, I have a quick All-Star Weekend story for you

"Before I get back to writing, let me waste some space with me telling you how many celebrities I know and have interacted with. I am a little concerned no one thinks I am a douchebag."

Known as "Uncle Wes" to the players, he carries more weight within the league than basically anybody. Because he keeps such a low profile, I could never figure out why. Which is why I went out of my way to spend some time with him on Friday night.

"Went out of my way" being defined as "I hung out behind Worldwide Wes and his group far enough to where it wasn't obvious a white guy had been behind them for a solid hour and close enough to hear what he was saying so I could pretend I was actually closer to Wes than I was."

Back to Main Street: We're standing with a young player who wants the night to keep going. The young player pushes to find another bar even though the odds are against it. Uncle Wes makes a face. He's squashing this right now.

"Nothing good can happen at this point," Wes explains simply. "You can't chase the night. When the night is over, the night is over. That's just the way it is. You just gotta wake up tomorrow and hope for a better day."

Wow, that's really deep. More simply put this says, "The bars are closed and we can't have you getting arrested trying to find something to do. Go back to your hotel and find some groupies or road beef."

Uncle Wes had spoken. I am not exaggerating by saying it's a strangely profound moment. Within 15 seconds, our group splinters in three directions to look for cabs. I find one with my friend Connor. We climb in. We look at each other.

"I will never be able to properly explain that story to anyone," Connor said.

No, Bill is exaggerating by calling this a strangely profound moment. Also, have you noticed that Bill insists on giving his readers the names of his friends? He doesn't have to say his friend's name, but for some reason he feels like we give a shit enough about him and his friends to know their names. Connor can be called "my friend" for all I care. It won't affect the story in any fashion. Don't be a celebrity chaser and tell your readers about it. It makes you sound like a douche.

3. Kevin Durant
Let's leave out the historical possibilities this time around. (You know, like the fact that he's already at 5,000 career points, that no forward has ever averaged 30 points a game three times and he might do it 10 or 12, that he might have a 37 PPG or a 55-45-95 shooting percentage season lurking in him, etc.)

I like Durant, not as much as Bill Simmons like Durant, but I do like him. I don't like how Bill Simmons takes the players he likes, like Durant, and throws out "possible" and "maybe" numbers to distract the reader into believing what he is writing is accurate. Kevin Durant has averaged 30 points a full ZERO times in his career. He is currently at 29.7 points per game. Durant may do it 10 or 12 times, but considering he hasn't done it ONCE yet, perhaps we should hold back the Durant slobber before we start putting him at 37 ppg or 55-45-95. I am not saying Durant can't reach those levels, but let's allow him to reach the levels and then project a little bit more.

I know he is young, but his career totals in those three categories are 29.7 ppg and 48-42-88 and those weren't all in the same year. Bill is projecting a bit much for my tastes. Let's see Durant hit 30 points per game a few times and then maybe we can talk about the other stuff. Again, Bill is giving us Durant's ceiling so that his Oden v. Durant opinion will seem even more lopsided in favor of Durant.

Durant wins until further notice, but we don't need projected numbers to see that.

2. Dwight Howard

My take: He's too nice of a guy. It's both the best and worst thing about him. If you ever played basketball, you know there's one rule with big guys: Make sure they touch the ball enough.

Bill makes a good point with this, but the problem is the Magic have built this team with guys like Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter who love to shoot the ball. So as long as Vince and Rashard are getting their shots, Howard isn't going to get his touches. I also happen to think Dwight Howard isn't offensively proficient enough to demand touches every time down the court. That's just my opinion.

In Howard's case, nobody in Orlando has to worry about keeping him happy. He's always happy! He's a good soldier. In a roundabout way, he's avoiding the responsibility of carrying an offense every night.

That is exactly what Dwight Howard is doing. He doesn't want to be the alpha dog. He doesn't mind having Carter and Lewis jacking up shots because he can rebound them and get fouled or get a dunk. That's much more preferable than getting the ball in the low post and revealing that (oops) he has very limited offensive moves.

Really Bill and I criticize Howard for this, but he does stick to his strengths very well. He knows what he does well and he does it. So knowing what he does well can be a good thing. Of course, he could do so much more if he learned any kind of offensive moves that didn't involve dunking, but he hasn't had to do that at this point.

Howard should be above Durant, simply because he is tall...other than that, I would rather have Anthony, Durant, and Wade over him. It sounds crazy and it may be.

1. LeBron James
LeBron threw a party at Ghostbar in the W Hotel on Saturday night. The club stretched way back, farther than most people realized, so there was a second bar in the far back that wasn't too crowded. Next to the bar was a roped-off corner area of sofas and tables with bouncers and bottles ready to go. LeBron's section. Definitely. My friends and I carved out territory at the back bar partly for the extra room, partly for that moment when LeBron's crew arrived and it turned into a madhouse.

Bill Simmons is a celebrity stalker. There is no doubt in my mind. You know those people in the back of the picture when you see a photo of a celebrity in a club? That's the Bill Simmons-type person. Just close enough to Hollywood to get in, but he wants to get closer. He loves to tell us all about the clubs and bars where celebrities and athletes go. He also drives me crazy when he does this.

The number of people in the room quadrupled. We were hanging onto the bar counter like people holding onto trees and walls in a tidal wave. The people kept coming and coming. You couldn't hear anything. Everyone was dancing. In the middle of the tornado, we could see LeBron, his head bobbing up and down to the music, the once and future King. You could say he passed the Tornado Test.

Or you could say there is no such thing as a Tornado Test and Bill Simmons is trying to rip off another one of his own catch phrases so that his loyal lemming like followers will write him emails about other athletes or celebrities that pass the Tornado Test for his next mailbag. LeBron James is clearly #1 on this list but I can't help but I still can't help but be annoyed at Bill constantly trying to make up stuff like the Tornado Test, which is just a copy of his other "tests, corollaries, faces, or teams."

If I missed something egregious, please point it out to me.

20 comments:

Dylan Murphy said...

I would agree that Kevin Garnett is untradeable simply because of his reputation. His value to Boston from a leadership stand point is undeniable. Skill wise, he's obviously in decline. Therefore I think his value to Boston is way higher than it would be to any other team. The result would be them overrating him and wanting too much in return. No team would be willing to give up a significant amount for him, even if he has high value to the Celtics.

ivn said...

Poor Caron Butler...this is the 2nd time he's been traded away for next to nothing for reasons that had little to do with him. LA traded him for Kwame Brown basically because Kobe didn't like him and now the Wizards traded him for Josh Howard because Gilbert Arenas fucked up the whole franchise.

ivn said...

Also, Darren Collison has been tearing it up while Chris Paul has been out. I wonder how much that helps/hurts Paul's trade value.

Fred Trigger said...

FYI: On the nationally televised Celtics game this Thursday, Brian Scalabrine will be sporting a spray on tan. That, my friends, is must see tv.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I can understand that point of view. I can buy that his leadership is worth more to Boston than it is to another team. Skill wise, he is very much in decline, whether that be because of health or another issue. I can see your point, so I will concede that.

Ivn, I know. I like Caron Butler even though he went to UConn and I think he is a great addition to the Mavs. I don't know if he should be on the list, but I also don't believe he got traded it means he doesn't have a lot of value. That's sort of contradictory.

Again, as I say every year...who would have thought a guy who was good in college for 4 years would be a decent NBA point guard? Amazing huh? I don't know if it affects Paul's trade value more than it affects Collison's trade value or value in FA.

Fred, I was watching anyway, but now I will be paying close attention.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I had a feeling you were going to bring up the "fans most/least realistic about their players" line. From my own experience, I would say that Knicks and Raptors fans are indeed the most realistic about their players (I don't know enough Dubs fans to come to a conclusion about them), and as for the least realistic, one of the two spots is absolutely, positively, the Blazers. All of Portland's fans think that everyone in Portland's top-8 is a future 10-time All Star. It's ridiculous. The other is a dead heat between Laker fans, Pistons fans, and Jazz fans.

As for a few of the ranking-type issues you brought up:

1. I'd rather have David Lee than Al Jefferson, simply because Lee has a more favorable contract ($7M, expiring this summer, probably won't command more than $9-$10M per season, compared to $12M, increasing to $15M in 2013 for Jefferson), and because of Jefferson's injury history. Also, I feel like Lee's style of play is more conducive to winning. On a good team, could just worry about rebounding, running the floor, and providing energy, whereas Jefferson needs the ball in his hands a lot and doesn't play much defense. At least that's my opinion.

2. Between Evans/Rondo, like you said, it depends on the team. I'm a little bit biased about Rondo because he's one of my favorite players, but I think Evans' ceiling is a bit higher. I like the 0-guard term he created to describe guys like Evans, Brandon Roy, and Dwyane Wade, and Evans has the potential to be the best guy in that group. I think the sooner we end the charade that he's a point guard, the better. For Boston, I'd rather have Rondo because they need someone who can create off the dribble and distribute the ball, but for just about any other team in the league, even teams competing for the title (with the exception of maybe Orlando), I'd rather have Evans.

3. I personally thought he had Duncan too low, simply because Duncan means too much to that fan base and that organization for them to trade him unless it was an absolute slam-dunk. A few of the guys that came after him (Bosh, Dirk, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy) didn't exactly seem like slam-dunk material to me. I think the only guys that should be ahead of him are LeBron, Durant, Howard, Wade, Carmelo, Kobe, Rose, and CP3 (in that order).

As for Darren Collison, I don't think his performance affects Chris Paul's trade value, although it WILL make it much easier for New Orleans to trade Paul if and when he finally demands a trade (it wouldn't shock me to see him moved this summer).

I personally think this draft was underrated going into the spring/summer, but at this point, I feel that a lot of people are overrating it. From a "Future 5-Time All-Star" standpoint, I only see Griffin, Evans, and MAYBE Rubio, whereas the last few drafts had at least 3, and sometimes as many as 5 (Rose, Mayo, Westbrook, Lopez, Randolph in '08, Oden, Durant, Horford in '07, Roy, Aldridge, Gay in '06, etc). However, I do see a slew of players that can be key pieces on good teams, guys like Collison, Lawson, Harden, Curry, DeJuan Blair, etc. The only guys I really don't like from the '09 Draft are Jennings (semi-fraud, seems like a good stats-bad team kind of player), Thabeet (no explanation needed), and Jordan Hill (although he's definitely talented enough to become a valuable bench player someday).

ivn said...

For the past few years my knowledge of college basketball has been limited to the Pac-10, so I got to see enough of Collison to think that he would turn into a good pro. Even though last year was a PG-heavy draft I couldn't believe he was the eighth point taken. Flynn, Holliday, Teague, and Maynor were really all that much better than he was? Yeesh. And I still can't believe Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill were both top ten picks. The myth of size continues.

That being said I couldn't really understood why the Hornets used a #1 on him last year when they already had Paul. I guess it was a BPA deal, but having two point guards--especially smaller ones--isn't like having two big men or two swingmen, you can't play them both at the same time. You have to pick one or the other. Insurance in case NOLA can't reach an agreement with Chris Paul in a couple of years?

I suppose Bill has run out of things to say about LeBron at this point, but I'm disappointed that there was nothing actually basketball-related in his writeup. Even a dig at all the delusional Knicks fans who seriously think that LeBron is leaving his 55-to-60 win per year hometown team to play alongside Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler would have sufficed.

I was also pretty confused about Griffin--who has already suffered a career ending injury and has never played a game--being ranked at about the halfway point on the list. I would agree with you (and Bill) about Howard except I have no idea how to feel about Howard. I mean, he's good, and there definitely aren't a lot of great big men out there, but would I really want to have him as my franchise player over Wade, Durant, Melo (or Kobe, age aside)?

Dylan Murphy said...

It's not that us knicks fans are delusional, it's just that we don't have much to hang onto. We've sacrificed the past 2 seasons for the upcoming offseason, so we're just hoping and praying.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I guess you knew I would jump all over that. I just hear Knicks fans say how bad their team sucks, which at this time is true. I can't help but wonder what would happen if the team became good.

I can buy your reasoning for David Lee over Al Jefferson, but I still don't know how many GM's would trade Al Jefferson for David Lee straight up. I think a team would trade David Lee for Al Jefferson straight up and that's why I think the rankings should be reversed. So I guess I am assuming teams will want a player like Jefferson more than Lee, even if Lee may be more conducive to winning.

I personally like Rondo better as well and I just don't like Tyreke Evans for a variety of reasons that are rational and partially irrational. Even if am building a championship team and Rondo doesn't have to be my 3rd best player, I want him on my team. If I need someone to sell tickets on my team, then I probably choose Evans because he has a ton of potential and will most likely realize a lot of it.

I can buy that the Duncan should be higher because he means so much to the fan base. I wasn't thinking about that and I hate old people, so I naturally would rather have a younger Lopez over Duncan. If I were a GM and that option were put to me, I would possibly do it because I prefer getting rid of players a year too early rather than a year too late. That being said, trading Duncan for Lopez may be stupid.

I don't believe this draft is great or anything, but Bill compared it to the 2000 NBA Draft and it isn't even close to being that bad. So while I will agree it may not be on par with some other recent drafts it is going to be nowhere near as bad as the 2000 NBA Draft, which is what Bill said it would be on par with.

God, everyone should hate Thabeet. What a terrible choice. If he makes me look like an ass, so be it, but he has never shown me anything that says he would be a good Euroleague player, much less NBA player.

Ivn, I do believe in the end Flynn and Holliday will be better than Collison, but that's about it. I don't want to say every good college player will be good in the NBA, but Collison was a great college player and his skills looked like they could translate fairly well to the NBA.

I wanted some LeBron talk, but Bill has kind of done that lately, so maybe that is why he backed off. I don't think it is Knicks fans who think LeBron will play there, I think it is Knicks journalists. Why LeBron would want to start over in NY (at least w/ the current lineup) is beyond me.

I don't think Griffin should have been as high w/o playing a minute in the NBA. On second thought, I don't know if Howard should be that high. He is big and he is a franchise player, but he is the type of franchise player that isn't always the actual best player on his team because he doesn't WANT the ball.

Dylan, I feel like the Knicks will land someone. It may not be LeBron, but it will be someone. The only way I wouldn't rule out LeBron is if they sign another guy on the team and there is obvious improvement...then maybe he would come...maybe.

Chris W said...

I once partied at the Ghost Bar. True story!

AJ said...

I'll refrain from commenting on fan bases, since people dont know what they are talking about.

Sure the Knicks may not land Lebron (cuz I'm sure he just loves Cleveland soooo much he wants to stay there) but what if they instead got Wade and Bosh?

And where could Lebron go this off season?? Where are his realistic spots? Seriously...if you are the best player in the league and you can only make a certain amount of money in this league, where would you PICK to play? Cleveland?? Minny? Toronto? Oaklahoma? Never. I think I could name all the teams except 3 or 4 where he would WANT to play. Miami, NY, LA, or NJ.

Ben, when is the next baseball post coming? Would like to see your (and others) thoughts on Detroits moves this off season.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, too bad you didn't see Bill there!

AJ, I can see where you are coming from but I bet LeBron is also going to want the most money and to choose a successful team. I like NJ for him just based on the core they have and the fact they have a high lottery pick. Miami wouldn't be a good situation for him I don't think, especially if Wade leaves. I may be wrong. Also, I don't think he would want to play second fiddle to Kobe for a few years in LA nor are the Clippers that exciting of a team. I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed in Cleveland.

My next post about baseball is coming on Saturday, that is usually when I will do each one. I don't have Detroit in this batch of teams since I am just going in alphabetical order, but they are next up.

I hate they had to give up Granderson and Jackson but they did get good talent in return. I just don't know if they can beat the Twins or White Sox this year. I do love their pitching though, so I may like them more than other people do.

Jeremy Conlin said...

In response to A.J, I think people are underrating the possibility that LeBron will end up on a team like Dallas, Houston, or Portland. None of those teams have cap space, but all of them have multiple assets that could be worked into a sign-and-trade deal. LeBron would sign a max deal with Cleveland, and then traded to Dallas (for example) for something like Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea, and 2 or 3 future 1st-round picks. I think if LeBron really, truly cares about winning championships, his first option should be to explore sign-and-trade possibilities. To me, Dallas, Houston, and Portland make the most sense. For teams that do have the cap space to sign him, I think the order of likelihood would be (or, SHOULD BE, if he cares about winning): Chicago, Cleveland, Kevin Durant's Team, the Clippers, Miami, New Jersey, and New York last (sorry, Knicks fans).

And more bad news for Knicks fans: I think they're in for a looooong summer. I think the odds of LeBron ending up in New York are very slim. I also think the odds of Chris Bosh leaving Toronto are also slim. Of Wade, Bosh, and LeBron, I would be shocked to see more than 1 of them leave their current teams. And if they DO, I think they're more likely to either end up in Chicago or form a combo in Miami. I think Knicks fans are looking at Rudy Gay, Amar'e, Boozer, and Joe Johnson as the most realistic scenario. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

ivn said...

How are the Nets, Knicks, Heat, or Clippers any better than the team LeBron is already on? I don't see how the locale matters because pro athletes spend so much time travelling anyhow. And its not like he's needed to be in a huge city to enhanve his image.

Jeremy Conlin said...

The Knicks, Nets, and Clippers are in markets that would supremely help his goals of becoming a global icon. If you look at Kobe, he's on the cover of 10 magazines a month. He was on the cover of GQ just last week. He can do that because he lives in LA. If becoming a truly global icon really matters to LeBron, he would need to live in New York or LA year-round. Cleveland can't offer him that level of marketability. As for Miami, there's no state income tax and he could live on South Beach and play with Dwyane Wade. Seems like a nice situation.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I saw you mentioned the sign-and-trade thing somewhere else and I have to admit it is an interesting idea. It is interesting and if the Cavs are going to lose him they may as well try and get some value for him. That would be interesting to see. Though I would feel bad for Caron Butler getting traded again through no real fault of his own.

That would be very disappointing for Knicks fans to get stuck with those guys. Maybe 2 of those guys would be nice, but otherwise I sense rioting in the future.

I don't think LeBron would want to go to LA, even with Kobe on the backside of his career. Does Miami have enough cap room to sign LeBron and Wade?

ivn said...

If he goes to Miami he'd be playing with Beasley and Haslem, because Wade is signing with the Bulls.

/I hope

At any rate I hope he realizes that winning is a big part of being a "global icon" and he's not going to win in NY or with the Clippers anytime soon. If the Nets actually do move to Brooklyn? Maybe.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I think the Clippers have much better talent in place than New Jersey does. I'd take Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman over Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian, and Brook Lopez. If New Jersey lands John Wall, I could see that changing things, but even if New Jersey finishes with the worst record, it's still only a 25% chance that they win the lottery. In fact, the ONLY time under the current lottery system that the #1 pick has gone to the team with the worst record was in 2004 for Orlando. In 2003, Cleveland was tied for the worst record. And people say the lottery system works fine... and I digress.

Anyway, I think the Clippers have more talent than the Nets. However, the Clippers may or may not be cursed, so that's another factor.

If Wade does re-sign in Miami, they will still have room for one more Max Free Agent if they waive James Jones and his only partially-guaranteed contract. However, I've never been sold on Wade and LeBron playing together, simply because having two alpha dogs 99% of the time doesn't work and I don't see either of them accepting a Scottie Pippen-type role.

ivn said...

the Clippers also have the dynamic duo of Donald Sterling (who traded Marcus Camby so he could have enough money to settle a lawsuit!) and Mike Dunleavy calling the shots. Blake Griffin is only a wild card right now (but then again, big men don't really need healthy knees, right?) and the aging Baron Davis is a volume shooter whose performance and [possibly] attitude will suffer if LeBron joins the team. I do like Kaman and Gordon a lot, though.

You also have to consider that the West is a much more difficult conference than the East is. LeBron is a lot of things but he ain't dumb, and I think he realizes that it's a lot easier to go up against Orlando, Atlanta, and a rapidly declining Boston team than go through the gauntlet in out west; any of the top 11 teams in the Western Conference would be a playoff team in the East right now.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I would agree the Clippers have better talent than the Nets but I really don't know if he would want to compete with Kobe in LA. I personally would rather go to NJ.

Ivn, that's a good point as well. I would rather be in the East if I am LeBron rather than the West. I just think he will end up staying in Cleveland personally or there will be a sign-and-trade like Jeremy said.