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In my opinion, there are three major rules in NBA that impact the draft.  First, with only five players on the court at a time, one player can make a huge difference.  So everyone wants that one guy or, in many years, guys.  In leagues where you start 9 or 22 guys, it's a different story.  Second, the NBA has a soft salary cap.  So rich teams can afford larger total salaries.  This distorts the free agent market by handicapping poor teams with fairly paid, but less costly players; they are competing for free agents against teams with almost unlimited funds.  Finally, most NBA salaries are guaranteed for the life of a player's contract.  So bad decisions hamstring a less wealthy team for the length of the contract. 

The number of players on the court can't be changed, but the other things can.  I think a hard salary cap would also reduce the length and amount of guaranteed dollars in contracts.  That would be my first step to ending tanking.  It would make free agency a more viable way for lower quality teams to improve and weaken the impact of the draft.  Why tank and alienate fans when you can build through free agency?  You only need one or two free agents to make major improvements in your team.

My problem with the draft part of your article is there are teams that are legitimately weak and, if they could make good draft decisions (I'm talking about the current Cleveland management, and teams that drafted Bowie, Oden, and Michael Olowokandi), would have been well served by the current lottery system.  

Also, aside from Philly this year, how often do teams fire sale players?  Philly only got the 3rd pick in possibly a two superstar player 2014 draft.  All they may end up with is another young, unproven in the NBA, injured C. (They cornered that market!)  In a few years, Philly's tank may look stupid and deter others.  The best Philly could do in a two superstar player draft is not get either one?!

1 month ago on Tanking and Conferences

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Maybe we have our cake and eat it too.  We run when the opportunity presents itself: get a rebound and push the pace.  Maybe we score on the secondary break when Davis or Asik out run their man.  This is a versatile team, weakness at SF not withstanding.  So I except us to play at different paces depending on the lineup. the match ups, etc.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Why The New Orleans Pelicans Shouldn’t Play Transition Basketball

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

It's a quality issue, too.  To me, this is THE question for this season: are our SFs good enough to make the playoffs?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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@Michael McNamara

I worry this was the last roster spot. So not getting a SF is my downside.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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In the big picture, it is very likely we have our longterm solution at C and we will get a significant upgrade at SF within a year.  But in my opinion the quality of our SF position this year is similar to last year's, and that is a disappointment and a concern for the 14-15 season.  There are only two experience SFs on the roster: oldie Salmons (who I like more than most) and bowling ball Evans (who is really a guard and will probably play guard next year).  I thought we needed a youngish athletic '3 &D' SF.  

So why did we sign Jimmer?  Does he make Rivers more expendable?  Do we know we are not picking up Rivers $3.1M option for 15-16 and need a backup plan?

Overall, the Asik deal makes this summer a great success and I am happy with the one year Salmons deal.  But I thought we would sign a CDR type SF for the minimum, not a one dimensional PG.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

That's the hard part, the actual line-up with a 9 man rotation.  Who is the 9th guy and under what circumstances does he play? Casspi?  Waive Casspi and sign CDR to a minimum deal (if possible)? To me the 9th guy has to be a SF.

That's why Monty is the coach and we all play coach.  

1 month, 2 weeks ago on An Educated Guess on the New Orleans Pelicans Rotation

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Oh my gosh, you anticipated my one complaint in the conclusion: I don't see an 8 man rotation or Rivers getting 18 minutes/ game with all players healthy.  I do see a 9 man rotation with another SF who allows our big three guards (Holiday, Gordon, and especially Evans) to play more at the guard spot and play Rivers less.  Who is that SF?  I was hoping CDR but it looks like we spend the Room Exception on Salmons, who I like more than most but....

Also, I don't see Davis averaging 38 minutes/game or Asik at 28 minutes/game.  I suggest Davis will average fewer minutes and Asik more.  But I am really nitpicking here.


Overall outstanding work, again.  (Miss you on Twitter. Your Asik piece coming out soon?)

1 month, 2 weeks ago on An Educated Guess on the New Orleans Pelicans Rotation

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@jmbell7 Agreed!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Sign Russ Smith

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@Jason Calmes @504ever

My argument isn't Asik versus Morrow, it's Morrow versus Rivers.  We had to get Asik, but I believe we could have traded Rivers (& Babbitt, Withey, etc. as necessary) to get the Full MLE and Bi-Annual.  Then we would have kept Morrow and possibly resigned Babbitt, Withey, etc after the trade.  Outside of our Core 4 and untradable Gordon, I value Morrow more than any 3 of the others.  The odds of replacing the others was very high (see Aaron Gray).  The odds of replacing Morrow are very low.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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@Pelican Poster @504ever

Morrow is an elite shooter who provided very good leadership.  There is no may we will get that for the Room MLE this year.

Rivers is potential.  You can get that anywhere.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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This is where having the Full Room Exemption would have really helped.  That is a very reasonable contract for Morrow and all signs say he liked the Pelicans and they liked him.  He was gone once we traded Gee into cap space, which was my main concern yesterday after the Gee trade was announced.  To me it was Rivers versus Morrow and more Dollars to spend. I think I would have chosen Morrow.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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@Michael McNamara @504ever What if your choice is Morrow (@ only $10M over 3 years) and CDR versus Rivers and Babbitt?

1 month, 3 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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@Michael McNamara

I am willing to say that this is probably an A-/A offseason already (assuming Morrow wasn't really an option for us) and I am hoping it becomes A/A+.  [I know Gordon won't be traded this off season!]

CDR and even your favorite, Jordan Hamilton, might be acceptable short term starters at SF now but end up 2nd teamers after we upgrade SF next summer.  

1 month, 3 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Not sure. That's why I said my argument is limited to Morrow for now.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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Not touching this one MM?

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Russ Smith and the New Orleans Pelicans Complete a Thrilling Comeback

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

I agree my complaint is currently limited, constrained to Morrow and he might have told us "see ya".  So I will have to wait and see what SF we end up with.  

I am a big "in Dell we trust guy" but that cuts both ways.  I am sure he knows what he could get for that nearly $5M, but his reputation also creates the perception that Dell could have done something significant at SF (possibly including Morrow) with that $5M. 

I am a big CDR fan and was when he was drafted.  I wanted us to pick him with our late 1st, which we sold (brilliant!).  CDR went early-mid 2nd round and I was surprised.  He would be a nice get, but is he a starting SF?  To me he is more like those backups Dell pulls out of his hat every year, and that concerns me.  

Dell addressed the starting C position and hopefully we keep Asik long term.  But if anything, we have a bigger hole at SF to go with our abundance of guards: Holiday, Evans, Gordon, Rivers.  Again, that is a concern pending Dell's next moves (without nearly $5M in exemptions).

1 month, 3 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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So the upshot of the Gee trade was we lost nearly $5M in exceptions this year (the Bi-Annual Exemption and our MLE goes from Full to Room) to keep Rivers????  I think this move was a mistake.  That nearly $5M was money we could have used to sign Morrow, who can play some SF, and some other help at starting SF.  Instead we get a backup guard, Rivers, who hasn't been able to beat out Brian Roberts?  We already have Holiday, Evans, and Gordon.  How many minutes can Rivers play?  

I believe that hole at SF will determine our playoff fate in Western Conference this year.

The only thing that would change my mind is keeping Ajinca (Withey is at least a year away from the 2nd team), signing Morrow, and signing a reasonable, stopgap/temporary, '3 & D' SF.  (Or the miracle, trading Gordon.)

1 month, 3 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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I knew it was you on the BBS twitter account.  Where have you been?

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Russ Smith and the New Orleans Pelicans Complete a Thrilling Comeback

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@KujoBrodaDaggs

In what universe is Hibbert close to Asik, let alone possessing a skill set the Pelicans need?  Asik is a near perfect match for this team.  What he brings, rebounding and defense, are the two biggest weaknesses on tis team by any (every?) statistical measure.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Lebron and Melo Are Handcuffing Dell Demps

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Hopefully, the delay hits Houston, and all of the other teams, evenly, so we have time to play things out.  My assumption is Dell has talked to Houston about the time element are they are being reasonable.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Lebron and Melo Are Handcuffing Dell Demps

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@Larry Lemoine @504ever

My assumption is we will get a '3 and D' SF at a minimum.  There are plenty left: http://hoopshype.com/free_agency/small_forwards_2014.htm

Let's see what happens.

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Omer Asik and Potential Pelicans Lineups

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Re: 7/3 morning update.

I wonder if question is Morrow and Aminu for about x+$1M or Tucker for x? Maybe Morrow as a long term piece and Aminu as a short term piece better than overpaying to get Tucker?

And get staring SF by summer 2015. Morrow and Aminu split most of SF minutes until then.

If Gordon goes, or team setting up for that, Roberts on 2nd team and as free throw shooting closer not a bad piece at around vet minimum.

2 months ago on New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency and Rumors Thread

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The 1st team is practically set (Asik, Davis, SF, Evans, & Holiday) and looking good; I think that is the point of the article.  The 2nd team is up in the air until we see who stays and who goes.  I believe Anderson stays, but what happens to potential 2nd teamers like Ajinca, Smith, Aminu, Rivers, Roberts, and even Gordon?  That, along with the additions, will determine the option for the 2nd team.

2 months ago on Omer Asik and Potential Pelicans Lineups

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On Gordon/Nash give me Option 1, maximum current flexibility. 

2 months ago on New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency and Rumors Thread

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Getting Asik is great, because he is a big time upgrade and a near perfect C for us.  Getting a starter quality SF would be a very good upgrade, too.  

My concern isn't limited to Ajinca; it's losing so much of last year's 2nd team: Rivers, Roberts, Aminu, Jason Smith, Ajinca, and likely Morrow.  Who are our current projected 2nd teamers?  A 'coming off surgery' Anderson, a 'cancer on defense' Eric Gordon, a 'near rookie' Withey, 'blah' Miller, and rookie Russ Smith? And, after the Asik trade, how much money will we have to sign to get better 2nd teamers?

Everyone in the West is staying the same or getting better.  So our bench becomes a big deal.  Usually when you upgrade, the prior starter (at C and SF in our case) become the back-up.  We may not retain either experienced back-up and lose several other guys.

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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Yes, but I think it is harder as the height requirements go up. There are only so many skilled 7 footers on the planet. And my belief is Ajinca will benefit greatly from an off season with the Pelicans

I strongly suspect Dell has a plan to allow him to keep Ajinca, of not Rivers and Ajinca.

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Thanks, Michael.  I don't mind Asik for Rivers.  I see Rivers as an NBA minimum salary type player this past year. I don't see him being worth the $3.1M option for 2015-16 we would have to choose to pick up this October.  So he might have been gone for 2015-15 anyway.  I see Babbitt as getting cut by the team that gets him in trade and we get Babbitt back if we want him.  I am trying to salvage Ajinca, who I like as a backup C and who is cheap.  Maybe and somehow we acquire a small trade exemption (or a fake contract) we can ship to Houston.  Maybe the big miracle happens and we trade Gordon for enough less salary to keep Ajinca (and possibly Rivers).  Even if we ship out Rivers and Ajinca, I like the Asik deal.  The possibility of keeping Asik longer term is real, and that is a big deal to me.

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@mateor

To me, the best part of this article is the "small rant".  Please reread it.  I basically says Dell gets players as good as draft picks from overseas, the 2nd round players as trade 'throw ins', and players not drafted.   (And of course he could have bought picks, too, if he wanted.)  So we don't need draft picks entering draft night to get young, cheap, quality players

As far as Dell's moves for big pieces, which one(s) do you not like: Anderson, Holiday, Evans, and/or Asik. I like them all.  It sounds like you don't like the Holiday trade and the Asik trade.

Maybe its time for Ryan S. to repost his value of a 1st round draft pick article again.  It shows that any pick outside the top 9 is suspect, historically, and those are the very picks you are complaining about Dell trading.  (There is also a drop off after the top 5 picks, too.  But let's be realistic, you don't get an All Star very often without including at least one top 5 pick.  Oh wait, we did!)  

Ryan can you repost, please?

2 months ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Patric Young to Summer League Roster

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Thanks! This helps me and perhaps other readers.  

So Rivers and Ely plus about $2M of salary need to be traded out.  So could we  sign Miller and Babbitt, unguaranteed, and trade them to get to $2M?  Then if Miller and Babbitt are cut, we can resign them before camp?  

Does Southland figure in here as a guy we can sign unguaranteed and trade, too?  If so for how much? $0.816M, or can we sign him for $2.0M and trade him to balance this out?

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Also, would signing Aminu (or Smith or Roberts) into cap space an trading him for a pick help us keep our MLE, etc. by increasing cap space?  Why does renouncing Bird rights not help us keep our MLE, etc.?  If players we trade are cut, are there limits on when we can resign them?

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

What are the cap numbers for Asik, Rivers, Ely, Southerland, Smith, Aminu, Roberts, Miller, Withey, Babbit and Ajinca?  (I assume Rivers is $2.439M, Roberts and Miller are $1.115M each, Withey is $0.816M, and Babbit and Ajinca are $0.981M each.)

If we trade Rivers, how much more salary do we have to shed to keep our MLE and Bi-Annual? ( I assume around $6M.)

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@polofr3sh

The same Harrison Barnes  who was called out by his college coach his last year in college for being a wus who didn't rebound or drive, and only took jump shots?  The Harrison Barnes who never passes? The Harrison Barnes nicknamed "Fools Gold"?  NEVER!

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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My first choice is trading Gordon, but the Cons there are it is unrealistic, or you likely take back cheaper but longer contracts that are short term gain but longer term pain.

My second choice is trading Rivers.  He isn't core to this team, and Asik for Rivers is a deal you do every day and twice on Sundays.

I wouldn't trade Anderson, plus his value must be low coming off of surgery, and I wouldn't stretch Gordon until I know what he will do with his option year.

I suspect there are some more trade Rivers scenarios where we can keep the MLE and Bi-Annual, I just don't know what they are.  Wish I could talk to a capologist. (Rivers plus Ely is $4.6M of salary.  So adding $3.8M gets you there. Renounce Smith and Roberts, guys you figure to sign for cheap anyway?)

2 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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At this point, I am more concerned about Rivers and understanding all of the cap stuff.  I liked the idea of Pierre as a change of pace, Isaiah Thomas type guy, but I am happy to see how Russ Smith plays out.

2 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Trade Pierre Jackson for Russ Smith

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@mateor Please explain the value of a pick 11-20 versus Asik, and why you didn't count the draft picks we received in trade, Withey and Pierre, in your post above?

2 months, 1 week ago on Pelicans Set to Acquire Omer Asik From Rockets for Future 1st Round Pick

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Love the Asik fit in NOLA and hope he is a long term piece along with Davis, Anderson, Holiday, and Evans.  I see Anjica, Withey, and Babbitt in our front court and Pierre in our back court.  They are all so cheap.

Wonder if the $1.5M we got from Houston effectively raises our cap space by $1.5M?  If so, will we be able to use our MLE if we renounce two of Smith's Bird Rights, Aminu's Bird Rights, or Robert's Qualifying Offer, and trade the Ely contract back to Houston?  (Don't see Smith, Aminu, or Roberts returning unless for near NBA minimum.)

Cap issue will be interesting.  I would trade Rivers for any pick if it meant i could resign Morrow.  (Rivers's Qualifying Offer, or whatever the phrase is, of $3.1M in 2015-16 seems way too high.  So I don't regret losing him too much.)

I assume the pick we lose must be 11-20, and am OK with that if we end up with Asik on a 3-4 year deal at around $8-9M/year.

Tonight will dream we trade Gordon this off season to get some cap relief, and hope it comes true.

2 months, 1 week ago on Pelicans Set to Acquire Omer Asik From Rockets for Future 1st Round Pick

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Love the Asik fit in NOLA and hope he is a long term piece along with Davis, Anderson, Holiday, and Evans.  I see Anjica, Withey, and Babbitt in our front court and Pierre in our back court.  They are all so cheap.

Wonder if the $1.5M we got from Houston effectively raises our cap space by $1.5M?  If so, will we be able to use our MLE if we renounce two of Smith's Bird Rights, Aminu's Bird Rights, or Robert's Qualifying Offer, and trade the Ely contract back to Houston?  (Don't see Smith, Aminu, or Roberts returning unless for near NBA minimum.)

Cap issue will be interesting.  I would trade Rivers for any pick if it meant i could resign Morrow.  (Rivers's Qualifying Offer, or whatever the phrase is, of $3.1M in 2015-16 seems way too high.  So I don't regret losing him too much.)

I assume the pick we lose must be 11-20, and am OK with that IF we end up with Asik on a 3-4 year deal at around $8-9M/year.

Tonight will dream we trade Gordon this off season to get some cap relief, and hope it comes true.

2 months, 1 week ago on In the NO Podcast Episode 183: Asik!

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Voted for both in round 1; wish I still could. I would be happy with either guy.  So I am abstaining. 

2 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Andray Blatche vs. Jordan Hill

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I voted for both of these guys in round one, like them both, would be happy to see both on our roster (sorry Michael).  I think we are slightly over paying for Tucker and note he is undersized for a SF.  Nevertheless, I am voting for Tucker (and hope we do sign him for cheaper).

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: PJ Tucker vs. Jordan Hamilton

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Yeah, I'm not voting for either one; don't want either.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Richard Jefferson

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This quote interests me: "Al-Farouq Aminu registered a modest stat line but was perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the increased pace. Al-Farouq was much less of a hindrance on offense because the team was constantly on the move. He ended the game with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists versus just one turnover."  This is one way he adds value to the team.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Glory Days: Pelicans Skunk Nuggets

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@slapdoghoops @504ever @Michael McNamara

Posey was old AND we were the only team to offer him a 3rd year, which we had to do to sign him.  Tucker is a completely different situation (and he played under two different coaches in his two years at Phoenix!).  


P.S.  I wouldn't assume we would have to use the entire MLE to sign Tucker.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: First Round Results Are In

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@lsutigers33 There is  no way to dump Gordon for nothing.  His play is worth 1/3-1/2 of his contract (and that's assuming no future injury issues!).  No team just takes that off your hands for nothing; you have to take back some salary significant $s (dead cap space), if you can trade Gordon at all.  The question is can you get a useful piece or shorter contract in trade?  If not, it may not be worth it to trade Gordon.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: First Round Results Are In

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Interesting, since I voted for both guys in the first round.  It comes down to team need for me.  The team has two young Cs already; I just don't see them as having the playing time or coaching capacity to develop three at once.   So I went veteran rebounder and defender, Okafor.  (Personally, I doubt we add either guy.)

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Kevin Seraphin vs. Emeka Okafor

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

I mean I have my own independent point of view from watching the league and doing my own research on players.  For example, nothing anyone can say will make me vote against Tucker this round.   Is there anything anyone can say to make you vote against Tucker?

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: First Round Results Are In

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I like the results.  Bring on big time round 2 match-ups.  I'll likely vote for: Okafor, Blatche, Sefolosha, and Tucker.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: First Round Results Are In

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@Michael McNamara @504ever 

I didn't set the salary number for the tournament, but it is only  $1.2M/year greater than the NBA minimum for a player with Hamilton's number of NBA seasons.  

I am not basing this solely on stats but Hamilton's career stats aren't as bad as you stated in your 1st post. And compare them to Jason Smith's numbers before he signed his 3 year $2.5M/year (steal, except for injuries) contract: career and each of three seasons PER of 10.7 and TS% of .491.  (Centers are more greatly benefitted under both PER and TS% than SFs.)  

My picking Hamilton isn't just a career numbers decision.  It's also about upside (Hamilton had his highest TS%, .528, with Houston last season) and that he plays smart on both ends of the court, the Lopez analogy.

Finally, there is no way you or I are voting for Humphries here.  He is expensive and redundant.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Kris Humphries vs. Jordan Hamilton

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Hamilton has a career TS% of .502, a career 3pt% of .358, and a career PER of 13.9  (His PER for his first two years in Denver was 13.9 and 16.9.)  His Per 36 minutes career averages are 15.6 points and 7.5 rebounds, and he rarely shoots in the "dumb zone".  Offensively I like those numbers and believe they could be higher here.

And his career defensive win share is double his career offensive win share; so he is a better defended than he is offensive player.  That works for me. too.

Then add in $2.25m/year for just 2 years.  That sound like a steal to me (safe. cheap, and coming off of a bad season), and a solid, Lopez-like, SF.  [Would you sign Aminu for that contract? I would to play small ball PF and  back-up PF.  But would you?]

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Kris Humphries vs. Jordan Hamilton

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No contest, because Humphries isn't an option AND because Jordan Hamilton is like a small forward version of Robin Lopez: safe, cheap, and coming off a bad situation.  If we get anything close to the Denver Nugget's Jordan Hamilton (and I think we will), this is another steal of a deal.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Kris Humphries vs. Jordan Hamilton

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