Wednesday, December 23, 2015


There are three basic defensive concepts in the NBA.  One is man on man advantage/disadvantage, taking an extreme example lets look at Kyrie Irving vs Andrew Bogut.  Kyrie is never, ever going to be able to back down Bogut in the post and get up a good shot from that position.  On the other hand Bogut cannot guard Kyrie on the perimeter.  Irving will be either taking wide open 3s or getting to the rim with ease, and because the offense gets to dictate where and when to start the attack such a pairing will always go in Irving's favor. Before you smack your forehead, exclaim "duh" and wander off to another site there is an important concept to tease out.  The gap in skill can be measured by the amount of time it takes to work a good shot.  Turn the shot clock off and Kyrie still is going to fail in the post vs Bogut, and unless you cut the shot clock down to under 6 seconds Bogut is not going to be able to handle Kyrie.  This is the concept the hedge is based on, a big man steps out on a guard and essentially says "I can handle this space of floor for this many seconds against you" and then he is often in full retreat mode, scrambling back to find the open man. 

The second basic concept also applies to the hedge, and it is the power of position.  A relatively slow footed C can corral a lightning bug PG if they anticipate the screen, how the PG will use the screen and know where to retreat to recover.  The first part of the hedge is to know how long you are guarding the ball handler and the second part is to be close enough and ready to get to the necessary spot before he does.

The third concept is help defense, and the most important part of help defense is knowing where to be.  This functionally means that the on ball player can aid his help defenders by getting beaten (when he is beaten) consistently.  Obviously it is better to never get beat, but since every one does getting beaten to certain spots, at certain angles is the way to go, allowing your team mates to get there and contest the shot.

This is a very basic intro, but I need a base to build on when talking about the Warriors defense.  The Dubs D is based on the switch, and based on the fact that they can switch.  When a commentator says "Draymond Green can guard the 1 - 5 spots", they don't literally mean Green can get out on the perimeter and guard Kyrie Irving from the beginning of the shot clock, to the end for 30+ mins a game (at least you hope that they understand some nuance).  If Bogut can handle Kyrie for less than 6 seconds of shot clock, Green can probably do it for 12-15 seconds on most possessions.  If the Cavs take 6-8 seconds to bring the ball up the court, survey the D and initiate a play then the Warriors will be very close to that time frame where they can switch Green onto Irving without major concern.  If they switch before this there are two fears.  One is that Irving can isolate and break down Green, and #2 is that the man Curry has switched to has the time after receiving a pass.  Having Love and Lebron on the court with Kyrie makes issue number 2 a potential nightmare for Golden State.  Either player can beat Curry in the post easily, on multiple possessions a game, while also being able to pass out of a double team if GS decides to help. 

Now Golden State wants Curry on Kyrie, not necessarily because he is their best on ball defender (though he is underrated in this aspect) but because their switch based style relies fairly heavily on slowing down early offense and getting their defenders into that window where they can hang on without to much help and use the shot clock to their advantage.  Curry being on anyone but Kyrie is an automatic mismatch in some way that should scream out "take advantage of this!" every time down the floor and encouraging that exact early offense they want to delay.  Even just swapping Curry onto Shumpert means their best offensive player is at risk of burning energy fighting off a player that is 2 inches and perhaps 35 lbs heavier each time down the court. 

In part 2B I will address what Golden State will have to emphasize to avoid the issue of switching early on, and in part 3 start in on what Cleveland will have to do to slow down the Warriors offense. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The most interesting game of the year- Part 1

Christmas day, #1 in the West meets #1 in the East!  Only a few games a year deserve an in depth preview and this is one of them, both teams should be rested, mostly healthy and with time to prepare.  In last seasons finals the Cavs were forced to go to what was essentially a 7 man rotation after Kyrie Irving's knee cap fractured.  The Cavs managed to hang on and make the series far more competitive than anyone expected after that injury so I want to start with how a team down two all star starters and playing 2 guys on minimum contracts managed to squeeze out two wins verses a healthy 67 win team with a 10 pt differential. 

#1-  Turnovers.  The Cavs went ultra conservative on offense, focused heavily on Lebron iso.  Their 11.1 TO% was 3.2 percentage points lower than the Warriors regular season rate.  Over the course of the full season that 11.1 number would have been the best team in the league in 14/15, impressive when faced against the #8 defense in forcing turnovers. 

#2-  Offensive rebounding.  A smaller gap, but the Warriors were 18th in the league in defensive rebounding last season, but their production in the finals was on par with the 28th spot.

#3-  Fouls.  The Cavs drew 2 more fouls a game, and out took 3. 67 more FTs per game.  This gap was unremarkable compared to the regular season because the Warriors were below average at preventing and FTs and in the bottom 6 at generating them, while the Cavs were the 7th best at generating, and the best at preventing FTs in the league.   That the Cavs could force FTs at a high rate while missing their 2nd and 3rd best FT generating players.  While Lebron was the driving force behind the raw number of FTs, two other Cavs (Moz and Tristan) had significantly higher FTrs. 

There are two ways of looking at Kevin Love's absence through these stats.  The first is that even though has excelled in each of these areas during his career the Cavs managed just fine without him and his addition would have been muted.  The other is that if Golden State struggled in these areas the adding Love is going to put pressure on the Dubs in ways that few other teams can.  I am of the latter opinion.  While the temptation to start plays off with a Kyrie/Lebron PnR is there the Warriors can counter by switching heavily and using Thompson/Green/Igoudala as the primary defenders while relying on help D near the rim to help contain.  With a K/L PnR Love will spend a lot of time on the perimeter as a shooter as Tristan Thompson can't draw a defender out more than a few feet.  If Love is setting the pick with Lebron handling the Warriors will still switch, but at least one of their "bigs" will be out on the pick and roll and sometimes both.  At the finish the Cavs will have a better 3 pt shooter (Kyrie) on the perimeter and a better O rebounder (Love) near the hoop.  The Cavs can also isolate Love on Igoudala on a switch and have a 4 inch and 40 pound advantage with limited help options. 

By focusing early on Love offensively the Cavs can constantly put pressure on one of the few weak spots in the Warriors defense.  In future installments I will be going into how the Cavs can try to contain the Warriors offense, how the Warriors can fight back against this basic Love-centric plan and ultimately display my homerism by declaring Cleveland the better team.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Return of the Kyrie

Its not every day the #4 offense gets to add a 23 year old 3 time all star, so let's look into Kyrie's expected return and how much of a boost the Cavs should see.

First I expect that Kyrie's mins will come at the expense of Jared Cunningham, Mo Williams and Matt Dellavedova. Kyrie has a career TS of 55.8% and had a 58.3 mark last season.  I'll split the difference and assume about a 57% TS rate.  Delly and Mo have been doing very well in this regard hitting at 55.6% and 56.8% respectively so not much of a boost at all under this assumption.  Cunningham on the other hand has a TS of 47% on 3.3 attempts per game and 1.7 FTA per game appearing in 21/24 games.  Kyrie should swallow all of Jared's meaningful mins and shots, so about 3.5 possessions a game will get a 10% TS boost.  TS is set up so that a 10% boost is worth 0.2 pts, and the Cavs run at a pace of 93.1 possessions per game, so just replacing Cunningham shots with Kyrie shots is theoretically worth about 0.75 pts per 100 possessions.  It doesn't sound like much but remember that JC is only playing 13 mpg and has a 16% USG. 

Kyrie has also been a higher usage player than any of Mo, Delly and JC for his career, so he will also be taking shots from other team mates.  The Cavs have the 5th highest TS in the league at 54.9% and of their major rotation players only JR Smith (47.7%) has a current TS below 54%.  Taking an extra couple of shots away from team mates, unless they all came at the expense of Smith, is probably only worth a small amount.  Lets call it 0.2 pts per 100 (+2% TS on 5 possessions a game). 

Kryie is also better than Mo, JC and Delly at two other offensive facets.  O rebounding and avoiding TO%.   Kyrie has been one of the best scoring/passing guards in the league when it comes to avoiding TOs over the past few seasons, and the Cavs have been a little below average in this aspect so far this season.  Irving's return could easily save the Cavs 0.5-1.0 possessions a game worth a .6-1.2 pts per 100 possessions.  I'll settle in at 0.9.  His better Oreb rate isn't worth that much, a full 1 percentage point higher than his replacements would be worth ~.2 possessions, and almost 0.25 pts per 100. 

Simply dropping in Kyrie in place of his backups should give the Cavs a boost of around 2 pts per 100 possessions.  This would take their Ortg from #4 in the league to #2 and with a .4 pt gap between them and the #2 team- this is without any positive impact on his team mates by drawing defensive attention or opening up better play options for his coach. 

Big men and the near future

I would say the general perception of the NBA is that it is going small, with the Warriors as the prime example of what you can do with that style of play.  On the other hand the league has very quietly amassed a large base of big men prospects, specifically C prospects, and there seems to be more potential for the league to go big than at any time since the 3 pt line was introduced. 

I don't intend this to be a contrarian piece since NBA finals winners have always been heavily influenced by a big man.  The Mavs, Pistons, Celtics, Spurs and Lakers could all claim that either a C or a PF/C was their best player across 10 titles since Jordan's second retirement. Additionally a C was clearly at least the 2nd best player for the Wade/Shaq title, 2 more Lakers titles and the most recent Spurs title.  It is only the immediate past with the Warriors and the 2 Lebron lead Heat championships.  It feels though, to me at least, that the very recent past is not a trend, but a hiccup due to a variety of factors, and that there is an almost absurd amount of FC talent ready to dominate the league.  Just the guys under 27.

Group 1:  Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns, Andre Drummond.  Cousins has gone from a place holder to a legitimate MVP caliber player in the past few years, sadly stuck on the worst franchise in the league.  Daivs is terrific and is stuck on a team that has decided to challenge Sacremento's title.  KAT has been incredible for a rookie, and one can only hope that Minnesota has better management going forward than during Kevin Love's/Kevin Garnett's time there.  Drummond is actually the only one on a decently successful franchise.  Some boneheaded moves for sure, but far from the other three teams.  Still 4 guys at the top that are all either already great or almost great? 

Group 2:  Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gobert.  High impact players still, with room to grow for Gobert (and room to iron out inexperience with Hassan).  Either of these guys could be a Ben Wallace or Tyson Chandler type impact guy on a championship team. 

Group 3:   The mashup of who knows.  With as much talent as there already is above them only 1 or 2 guys breaking out would put teams without a strong big man at a serious disadvantage.  In no particular order

Valancunius- still only 23 Toronto seems to be on the fence about his future.  His production over the past year + has been solid (20 PER, 16/12 per 36) but he still hasn't been given the time on the court to be a dominant force for them (27 mpg in his 4th year, time missed for injuries).

Alen Len-  Has responded with better play since Chandler went down, top end potential doesn't seem to be there.

Kristaps-  Media darling actually deserving of the praise!  Dreams of him being a more athletic Dirk are overblown but still tons of potential.

Noel/Okafor/Embiid- Hopefully Philly does have the wherewithal to avoid the Minny/Sac/NO path, and hopefully one or more of these guys lives up to their potential in the near future.  In Embiid's case hopefully he gets on the court.

Nikola Jokic-  Who?  Denver's 2nd round pick in 2014 has quietly gone about being very solid for a 20 year old rookie.  He hasn't gotten the mins yet (<18 per game) but all the advanced stats says he has been a capable scorer (16 pts per 36 on 60% TS) and rebounder (16.3% TRB) without any major TO/Foul problems.  His numbers in Europe are Greg Monroe like. 

This isn't an exhaustive list and I know some would include Vucevic (I think has plateaued) or Nurkic (Meh, but not without potential) or maybe even WCS.   The point isn't so much to order the players correctly, but to have a feel for how deep a position is/will be so you can evaluate needs better. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 Golden State Warriors, now with 15% more Steph Curry

Let us skip most of the intro. The Warriors have killed it to open the season, is there a difference between this year and last?

Answer 1:  15% more Curry!  2 more mpg so far, but also his USG rate is 15% higher (28.9 -> 33.2).  This increase almost mirrors the decrease in Klay Thompson's (27.6->23.8) total possessions on the court.  An MVP stealing an extra few possessions from a poor offensive player could help a team a lot, but stealing from an all star shooting guard that had a TS of almost 60% last year and over 60% this year?  That doesn't actually seem like a big deal.  A gain, but not a large gain, so what is up?

Answer 2:  Big Spike in TS% along with the increase in USG!  Here we go. Curry has somehow managed to go from a super efficient high usage guy (63.8% TS) to an even superier efficientier higherier usage guy (68.9% TS) how did he do this?

Answer 3:  By going all James Harden on the league.  A year ago Curry shot 18.6% of his attempts form inside of 3 ft, this year its bumped up to 20.8%, a nice nudge but there is more.  A year ago he was averaging 6.3 FTAs per 100 possessions, this year its up to 9 per 100, a big jump but there is more.  Curry is also shooting more 3s than last season- up 3 full attempts per 100 possessions.  These extra shots have come at the expense of mid range jumpers from 10ft out to the 3 pt line.  A very Harden-esque strategy.  Is there anything else to note?

Answer 4:  Curry is assisting a lot less (AST% down almost 8 points, total assists per 100 down 3.2), but he is being assisted slightly more.  (assisted on 2 pt attempts flat, on 3 pt fgs up from 58.4 to 60.5%).  However small that may be if you combine that with his higher attempts he is being assisted on 1.1 extra 3 per 100 and 0.75 extra 2s per game.  Since Curry shoots above 50% from the floor that means we should be expecting to see about 3.5 possessions come back around to Curry that weren't last year.  Curry's total attempts from last year are up 3.2 per 100 possessions.  Anything else?

Answer 5:  Even though Curry's shots inside of 3 ft only went up 2.2 percentage points, because his 2pters  from 10 ft out went down significantly his shots inside of 3 ft as a percent of his total 2 pters went up by more than 4 percentage points. 

Conclusion:  The three most significant causes of GS upsurge in offense seem to be (in no order) Curry's increased FT attempts, Curry's better shot selection and GS' willingness to pass back to Curry.  I will be working on some defensive strategies for dealing with this situation in the future. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Kevin Love: Traditional big man

Why aren't the Cavs getting full offensive value out of Kevin Love?  On a team level the Cavs are doing well (#3 Ortg despite missing an offensive all-star), on a personal level though Love isn't doing the greatest.  His three best seasons on the Wolves were all substantially better than his season+ with the Cavs, even though this should be his statistical prime, and he has much better offensive teammates taking the pressure off and opening up "space" for him to work. 

Space was the operative word for a lot of talking heads when Love joined Lebron and the Cavs.  "A true stretch 4" they said, so lets talk about the stretch 4.  K Love is an excellent 3 pt shooter for a big man, but that is a huge caveat.  Big men suck at 3s, so being great compared to a bunch of sucks isn't the same as being great in an broader sense.  In terms of 3 pt shooting across the league Love is above average, but far from great.  A career mark of 36.4% from 3 compares nicely to a league average of 35% last season, and he has been shooting them at a high volume as well (8th in the league in total 3pt attempts since 2013/14). Is this a big deal for the Cavs?  I would say that while it is nice, it appears an over rated skill for this team as Cleveland has a bunch of other options with career 3pt numbers as good or better than Loves 36.4% (Mo, Delly, Smith, Jefferson, Jones, and hopefully soon Kyrie), and one could expect to spread several of those attempts out among his teammates if Love was doing more work inside.

What none of these players, excepting Irving, can do is score near the rim and none can grab offensive rebounds at a high rate.  These are the most obvious differences in Love's raw numbers with the Cavs.  In his last 150 games with Minnesota he averaged ~1 FT for every 9 possessions, with Cleveland that is ~1 every 16 possessions, and his offensive rebounding in both totals and rate is down significantly.  While his 3 pt shooting is a good skill for an NBA player to have his FT generating is (or it was) an elite skill.  Even with the decline over the past year + and his fairly high missed game total he is still 11th in the league in FTAs since his rookie season.  His offensive rebounding also used to be elite.  In terms of Oreb% he holds the 5th, 10th and 21st best seasons since he joined the league. 

It should come as no surprise that as Love's 3ptar has climbed throughout his career, his FTr and Oreb% have dropped (with this season marking his worst FTr and 3rd worst Oreb%). 

Is this something that needs to be changed, or should the Cavs be satisfied with the way things are going?  Ignoring Irving's return for now (I hope to do a post on him after he has reintegrated) the Cavs should be more focused on getting more out of Love offensively for the following reasons.

1.  Their #10 defense isn't going to cut it with the #3 offense.  With several below average defenders in the mix (Mo, JR, Love) it will be hard to get a really high end defense out of this group. 
2.  The Cavs know that they cannot count on being 100% healthy, should injuries strike again this year they will need to be able to change gears and if Love isn't the one that goes down being accustomed to playing with him as the focal point will be valuable.
3.  The Love/Lebron combination is at its best with Lebron sacrificing some O for defensive effort and Love committing to offense at the cost of some of his defense. 
4.  Love's two highest usage seasons (both 28.8%, currently at 24.4) were more on average more efficient than Lebron's return to the Cavs has been.  With plenty of room to bump up his usage, even if it came at the expense of Lebron's touches, Love could be contributing more offensively.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Indiana on the fly

A few years ago Indiana won 49 and 56 games and made it to the ECF in back to back seasons.  If you didn't know about their late season issues you would probably expect that 56 win team to be a perennial contender.  Four starters under 28 and no dead money tied up in terrible contracts would let them work around the few losses they would have.  Two years later the Pacers not only dropped 3 starters from that team but 7 of their top 10 in total mins from that season for basically no return, and they are on pace for a 50 win season at the quarter mark, with no notable luck to speak of, and no mass of draft picks to trade.  Even if they slip into the low-mid 40s in wins this is impressive, because not only is it difficult to replace multiple contributors (including a two time all-star C) but continuity is supposed to be a thing in the NBA.  So is there something to be learned from this situation?  Is Larry Bird a genius?  Let's investigate.

First let us give credit to Bird where it is due.  The 3 best (or 3 of the 4 best) players were part of that 56 win team and were acquired by draft (1) and trade (2).  So, while we ignore that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could be playing the 3/4 together we give Bird a good score for having at least a functional base to work off. 

Now I am going to rate the Pacers pickups by two basic criteria.  One is production on the court so far this season and the other is the annual value of their contract.  In descending order of annual value of their contract

1.  Monta Ellis.  4 years 44 million.  Production- bad.  His 12.7 PER is a reflection of the worst TS mark (.485), USG (20.1) and TO% (17.8) of his career.  His excellent +/- is almost certainly a reflection of the fact that he has played 628 mins with PG and 59 mins without him. 

2.  Rodney Stucky.  3 years 21 million. Production- poor.  13.6 PER reflects a career low TS (though that should bounce up if he stops shooting 10 percentage points from 3 below his career average) and 2nd lowest assist and USG rates for his career. 

3.  Chase Budinger.  1 year 5 million (via trade).  Production- acceptable.  A "3+D" style player he is shooting a career high from 3 (41%) that will likely come down, but is a low usage (13.6%) player that hasn't been adding significant value via rebounding, assists or turnovers.  His defensive numbers look good for a guy playing 1/3rds of his mins without either Mahinmi or George, and two thirds with either one or neither of them. 

4.  C.J.Miles.  3 years (4th PO) 13 million.  Production- MAS FRESCO.  16.9 PER is 3rd highest on the team, TS a hair below 60% and a cosistently low TO rate throughout his career.  Shooting 6 percentage points above his career mark, but I am inclined to believe that his last 1,100 shots from 3 are a much better indicator and he is only shooting 3 percentage points above that average so regression expectations should be less.  Only 67 mins without PG on the court is a confounder, but he has played 83% of his mins as an undersized SF (per basketball-reference) on the 5th ranked D in the league and has been (unarguably imo) the Pacers 2nd best offensive player so far this year. 

5.  Jordan Hill.  1 year, 4 million.  Production- solid.  A good rebounding rate (18%) and an excellent defensive rtg despite playing 1/3rd of his mins without PG and almost none (only 65) with Mahinmi. 

6.  Lavoy Allen.  2 years (3rd TO), 7.7 million.  Production- ugh (as in ugh, hard to figure out).  Terrible PER (8.8) and decent defensive numbers.  His on/off +/- is positive despite not playing with PG an overwhelming amount.  Withholding comment for now.

7.  Glenn Robinson 3. 3 years, 3 million.  155 mins of solid play, not really enough to comment on.

Bird's two biggest moves are highly suspect.  Ellis (30) and Stucky (29) are bad ages to sign SGs with no outside shot.  While both should finish the year better than they have started I would not want to go forward with either contract, and neither has been a major contributor.  The CJ Miles signing has paid off well, and it would take a lot of regression for his contract to become bad.  Hill and Budinger are 1 year deals and will probably get a pay bump just with the cap bump.  They may be able to retain Hill cheaply as his best attribute so far (D) coincides with the worst aspect of his reputation.  The longer term deals of GR3, Allen and Miles show some high level savvy.

Conclusion- Bird does not look like a genius, but is clearly a good GM.  His overpay of Ellis especially looks bad and he will have to continue to find valuable deals like the Miles/Hill ones to overcome it and the Stucky signing, and Mahinmi should end up with a big raise from his $4 million a year deal he finishes this season.    On the other hand a healthy Paul George will be making 10-20 million less than his market value each of then next two seasons, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Seems to easy . . .

When you follow a team you have an emotional attachment to it always seems easy to find a workable solution to problems.  Probably because your optimism clouds you analysis.  When you follow teams dispassionately it is frequently harder to come up with an easy win to make them better.  But this time, this move, how can something like this not happen?

Detroit has a depth issue.  They have 3 players with a PER >15, they have 3 players with a TS > 50% and they have 4 players with a WS per 48 >0.1. These are low hurdles to clear.

Boston has a plethora of depth.  Tyler Zeller is getting DNP CDd frequently and when he does get in the game it is for an 8 min average.  For a guy that played solid ball in many respects over 82 games and 1700+ mins last season, this seems like a waste.  David Lee, likewise (though on a much harder to trade contract) is a functional NBA player that is getting limited mins. Neither guy is going to make Detroit a contender, but the Pistons depth is so poor that adding 20 mpg of Zeller's play could be conceivably worth 4-5 wins over the course of a season. 

Lee is probably not getting moved thanks to his contract, but it seems likely that Boston will not be the high bidder for Zeller in this off season given his use so far this year (unless they are trying to tank his value!  wink), and it seems unlikely that he would want to comeback to a team that appears to have 4 guys lined up ahead of him for next season already.  Detroit is also short on 2nd round picks (3 futures getting sent out) and Boston has (quick count on 3 net 2nd rounders coming in.  Zeller + some value in 2nd d picks for a protected first rounder (along the lines of the SAC pick that has been floating around for a few years from the JJ Hickson trade) from Detroit? Isn't this an easy yes for both teams?

How to improve the Pelicans this year

Working with the stats from, and

I took a cheap (and by cheap I mean easy, not unjustified) shot at the Pelicans management earlier, so here is how I would address their current issues.

1.  Their two best players are Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson.  It isn't close with Davis at #1, but it isn't particularly close with Anderson at @ #2.  Getting the most out of the season probably means getting these two guys on the court together. 

2.  Eric Gordon is a bad player.  He has managed to get back to being a functional offensive player after some rough injuries, but functional isn't cutting it (besides the fact that you are dumping 33 mpg on a guy with a history of knee issues and one that hasn't made it 65 games in a season since he was a rookie).  The Pelicans don't have an issue with finding functional offensive players, they have an issue finding functional two way units. 

3. Functional offensive players (Jrue, Gordon, Tyreke, Ish) they have enough of, but they have limited quality defenders.  Why is Asik playing 14 mpg for a team that is 30th in defensive rating?  His use this year has been perplexing to say the least, and downright stupid when they committed 44 million to him in the offseason.  Asik and Davis are an imperfect fit, but they are so obviously better together than either alone right now for the 'Cans. 

4.  What is Jrue doing with a 26% usg rate?  He has never earned this type of responsibility, and his best efficiency years came with less responsibility.  

Solution:  Lineup of Jrue/Tyreke/Anderson/Davis/Asik should get heavy mins.  "Anderson can't defend the 3!" is the refrain.  Well, Anderson has spent basically no time at the 3 this year and NO is dead last in drtg.  This is not a major concern going in since it is unlikely to get significantly worse on that end of the floor.  To cover for this hole you get a + defender in Asik on the floor, Davis is a terrific help defender (and can take some SFs sometimes) and both Jrue and Tyreke are big for their position which limits some switching issues.  It is not perfect, but the team is heavily flawed as it is.  As far as the best case scenario goes it gets your two best offensive players and your two best defensive players out there, and Jrue doesn't need to use a quarter of this squad's touches.  It has two good 3 pt shooters, two ball handlers and a good offensive rebounder (Pelicans are 2nd last in oreb%, getting Asik more mins should boost that). 

This certainly seems better than the rumored trade for Morris in terms of risk (if it doesn't work you can change rotations again). 

Pelicans writers are as bad as Pelicans management

Funny stuff on a potential trade of Ryan Anderson

Well, the Pelicans are exploring their options and Ryan Anderson has plenty of trade value. If they move Anderson, they should look to improve the small forward spot and maybe add another scoring option who can come off the bench. They are not enough getting enough scoring between Alonzo Gee, Dante Cunningham and there remains no set date when Quincy Pondexter will return from his knee injury that required surgery in May.

The Pelicans need to trade their 2nd best offensive player for a SF and a guy to score off the bench?  The problem is Gee not scoring enough?  Perhaps you should rethink this approach sine the 'Cans are 18th in offense and #30 in D.  If they do anything trading it should be with an eye to figuring out how to turn a D that has a stud anchor into a passable unit. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Short thoughts on San Antonio

Something that I hadn't realized until I compared them directly the other day-  Paul George has played more mins over the past three seasons than Kawhi Leonard.  Give that PG missed 76 games last year that is incredible!  Since joining the Spurs Kawhi has been #3, #5, #5 and #3 in terms of mins played. As of now he leads the team in mins and is on pace for 2500+ mins (500 more than his highest to date) despite missing 2 games already.   In the last 4 years the Spurs have had no one log over 2312 mins (Danny Green last year).

This second part isn't that surprising since the "big three" have been on mins and game restrictions recently, but what is surprising is that Kawhi hasn't put in a healthy season over the past 3 years while playing less than 30 mpg.  It is something to watch.