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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Sam Amick used "unprecedented" on his AD article in USA Today!

1 day, 3 hours ago on Anthony Davis: Destroyer of the Basketball-Reference Play Index

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Can we say AD's start of the season has been historic or unprecedented?  

1 day, 19 hours ago on Anthony Davis: Destroyer of the Basketball-Reference Play Index

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@ChristopherRomaguera @504ever

Let's watch this.  (My belief is Monty knows he needs 9 guys he can count on during the season, and Babbitt is one of those guys cause Babbitt can score 3 but only give up 2. That's winning math.)

2 days, 5 hours ago on Moleskin Moments: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings 11.18

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What a difference a day makes.  Monty clearly trusts 9 guy, Asik plus the 8 who played 19+ minutes last night.  Tonight the 8 responded better and Monty could keep minutes lower than last night for all 5 iron men but Davis (Yeah!) and Gordon (who played well, Yeah!)  All of the above combine for a win.  I'll take it.

2 days, 22 hours ago on Moleskin Moments: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings 11.18

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I chalk the negativity up to expectations of the Pelicans going 3-1 on this road trip.  I was always hoping for 2-2.  Portland is a good team.  When I heard Batum was out I got excited for a few minutes until I heard Asik was out.  I believe Asik playing would have made a big difference, especially on Kaman.  

Also, everything I saw tonight reaffirmed the following for me.  I believe we need a cheap upgrade at SF this year, and I don't believe our current bench is strong enough to get us to the playoffs this year.  

Evans, Holiday and Davis playing 38 and 39 minutes, and Anderson and Gordon playing 35 and 36 minutes is not ideal, especially in the first game of a back-to-back.  I think that is why we played so poorly in the 4th quarter, fatigue.  But what choice did Monty have?  We have so few quality NBA players, when one is injured there isn't someone new to pick up the slack

3 days, 19 hours ago on Observations: Pelicans @ Blazers

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@callmened  So is San Antonio a bad team?

3 days, 19 hours ago on Observations: Pelicans @ Blazers

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So, given his 3 point shooting, is Tyreke the starter who the Pelicans offense score most efficiently?  AD? Asik?  Drew?  And if so by how much?

5 days, 6 hours ago on Stats v 1.0: The Starting Five

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@NOEngineer

I am all for having the focus be on signing Asik to a long term deal this off season.  But we can add a short term, or possibly longer term, SF piece for a buyout of say Miller if we go with Michael's Overseas or Buyout Candidate route.  That addition of a SF piece will have no effect on the Asik situation.

This west coast road trip will be a good test for the Pelicans with two back-to-backs.  I believe we are not a playoff team this year in the loaded Western Conference, especially when our Division is the hardest in the NBA and we play those teams four times each.  I think we have to have one more good (SF) piece even if we have great injury luck, which god knows we are due, to make the playoff this year.

5 days, 8 hours ago on In Search of an Eighth Man for the New Orleans Pelicans

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Love this piece.  We desperately need a short term solution at SF and the guys we have aren't it.  I believe our making the playoffs this year hinges on how quickly Dell can get a guy of the quality you mention in this article.  My personal opinion is it has to happen in December, or possibly early January to solidify the Pelicans making the playoffs this year.  If nothing else happens earlier, I am hoping Dell get a Euro guy before Christmas.  That is the same timing he had with Ajinca last year.

5 days, 16 hours ago on In Search of an Eighth Man for the New Orleans Pelicans

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How about these two different small sample size effects with Tyreke?  

Take away the Cleveland game and Tyreke's FG percentage goes from 40.5% to 43.5% for the 7 games in November.  Why?  With so few games played to spread a bad game (2-12) FG shooting across, one bad game weighs down his average due to a small sample size.

On the other hand, there is Tyreke's shooting from 3 point land so far for the year.  He has shot 50% or better in every game but two, the Cleveland game and the Orlando game.  In each of those two games, however, he only went 0-1 from 3 point land.  That's not really much of a "bad game".  So, with a small sample size, Tyreke's 3 point shooting for the year has been very consistent and it looks very good.

6 days, 14 hours ago on Tyreke Evans and Small Sample Sizes

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My editing timed out.  Here is edited post:


A day later, the most interesting thing to me is the SF rotation.  Might this mean Salmons gets minutes only when Babbitt (and Miller) can't match up?  Or was it a case of the Pelicans being up so much that backup SF minutes went to guys who have been out for a while?  Stay tuned.

Next most interesting?  

Look at Pelicans players' PER #s.  3 players (Davis, Holiday, and Anderson) in the top 40 in PER and 4 above a 20 PER with the lowest, Asik, being #53.  This ranking may be low; 7 other players in the top 50 PER are averaging fewer than 20 minutes so they primarily earn their PER against backups. (Anderson plays starters minutes, averaging 25/game, and plays a lot against starters, so his PER number has more legitimacy to me.)  Evans is at #110 with a 17 PER and Rivers, of the horrible first season PER, has a PER of 16 and comes in at #128.  Based on current PER, and the eye test, we have 6 good rotational players.

Next highest PER among Pelican rotational players?  Babbitt (8.6), Ajinca (7.0),  Gordon (5.5) and Jimmer (2.8).  (Salmons and Miller still have negative PERS!)  I still like Ajinca and Babbitt as good value roster players longer term, and want to experiment with Gordon coming off of the bench.

6 days, 19 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans Set Records Against the Timberwolves

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A day later, the most interesting thing to me is the SF rotation.  Might this mean Salmons gets minutes only when Babbitt (and Miller) can't match up?  Or was it a case of the Pelicans being up so much that SF minutes went to guys who have been out for a while?  Stay tuned.

6 days, 19 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans Set Records Against the Timberwolves

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Sadly, this game basically came down to our bench being outscored by their refs.

1 week, 3 days ago on New Orleans Pelicans @ Cleveland Cavaliers: Open Thread

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Very happy with the win and guts Pelicans showed.  Pelicans didn't back down

Slightly concerned by our high number of 4th Quarter turnovers when San Antonio turned up defensive pressure with double teams on the ball, and our huge rebounding disadvantage.  Obviously our steals and overall turnover advantage helped counteract that.

"Just win, baby"

1 week, 6 days ago on Anthony Davis Gets the Pelicans Over the Hump in San Antonio

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Love the analysis; it's four games in and we have a huge Gordon problem.  

Where I disagree is Gordon's position as a starter being so firm in Monty's mind or anyone else's, and that Gordon can become a efficient scorer. I believe Gordon is a volume scorer not an efficient scorer, and I have seen no evidence of efficient scoring from Gordon.  This season, Gordon has been the most inefficient scorer out of all starters in the NBA!!!  This is another reason why Gordon has to go to the 2nd team.

The best way to get Gordon more touches is to play him with the second team.  On that 2nd team, Anderson is a shooter, spot up or off the dribble, and Gordon is a spot up shooter or driver.  Ajinca, when we reduces his fouling, will be a mid range shooter, rebounder, and finisher of lob passes.  Rivers, when he plays with them has an offensive role similar to Gordon's.  Jimmer, when he plays, is more of a spot up shooter.  (The SF spot is still in flux with that group as it is with the starters.)

Playing Gordon with the 2nd team also lessens the pressure on his meager defensive ability.  That is a huge positive for the team and leaves Gordon with more energy for offense.

I believe it's just a question of time before the 'Gordon to the 2nd team' experiment happens.

2 weeks, 1 day ago on The New Normal For Eric Gordon

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@malcolmltron

I don't think that is fair.  As Head Coach, everything you say to and do with a player is magnified by that player.  So you have to be very careful how you do things as set them up a long way out.  That way the player understands the move and "buys in" to the change.

2 weeks, 2 days ago on New Orleans Pelicans Top Charlotte Hornets, Eric Gordon Bottoming Out

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Gordon has to have set the record for a starter playing the most minutes, 160, to start the season and still having a negative # PER.  That's right, his PER has a negative sign (-) in front of it! He is supposed to be an offensive player and PER best reflects offense. 

It's hard to see him continuing to start much longer.

2 weeks, 2 days ago on New Orleans Pelicans Top Charlotte Hornets, Eric Gordon Bottoming Out

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@Pelican Poster @Michael McNamara @504ever

Agree, that's why I say "once he controls his fouls".  Believe it or not, that will happen.

2 weeks, 2 days ago on Charlotte Hornets @ New Orleans Pelicans Open Thread

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Bench Players:  Rivers is playing much better. Ajinca has it all, once he controls his fouls. Jimmer tonight showed everything but a shot, and is looking like he has a more well-rounded game than he has previously shown.

The Core 5 (Davis, Evans, Holiday, Asik, and Anderson):  All played well: 3 double doubles, a near double double, Ryan shot very well, and Tyreke has a the team leading 3 pt shooting percentage(!) so far this season.

Gordon:  Increased the likelihood he comes off the bench against the Spurs.  He has to have set the record for a starter playing the most minutes to start the season and still having a negative # PER.  That's right, his PER has a negative sign (-) in front of it!

2 weeks, 3 days ago on Charlotte Hornets @ New Orleans Pelicans Open Thread

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With the game nearly over, I am 3-3 in this thread.  Let try for 4-4!  By the end of the week, Monty will have given up on the Eric Gordon starting experiment.  Monty fed Eric the ball early, to try to get Eric going.  Eric responded by going 4-14 and 0- from 3 pointland.

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans @ Grizzlies Open Thread

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Anyone else getting worried about the outcome of this game?

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans @ Grizzlies Open Thread

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Question #1 answered affirmatively with 1.30 minutes left in 1st Quarter!

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans @ Grizzlies Open Thread

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Question #2 answered affirmatively with 4 minutes left in 1st Quarter!

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans @ Grizzlies Open Thread

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I am adding my own two questions:  


1.  Is this the game we see Ajinca get real minutes because their bigs are slow and we have three games this week including a back to back starting today?


2. Is this the game we see Babbitt get real minutes because Salmons is out and we have three games this week including a back to back starting today?

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans @ Grizzlies Open Thread

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@callmened I would assume rational behavior in these Jimmerites.

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Pelicans and Mavs Post Game Observations

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@lottoni81 

So you are a Jimmerite, too, and a conspiracy theorist regarding Rivers playing over Jimmer.  

Just wish you guys would be honest and say your axe to grind with anyone who doesn't play or talk about Jimmer how you see fit is so big you'll jump in against anyone anywhere over things that aren't their fault.

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Pelicans and Mavs Post Game Observations

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I think we need to bring Gordon off of the bench and then figure out who starts in his place.  It may take a few more games of Gordon playing poorly for Gordon to see the merits in this.


My choices to start in place of Gordon are Babbitt or Rivers.  Babbitt has a the shot to spread the defense and works hard on defending and rebounding. Rivers can defend SGs pretty well and has some skill at shooting spot up 3s.  He is more like a "3 & D" SG, which is fine if he can stop driving to the hoop and turning the ball over.  The other problem is Rivers is 0-3 from the 3 point line  and 37.5% on 2 point shots so far this year.  Even with an acknowledged small sample size, this is a concern, too.

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Finding the Right Role for Eric Gordon

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@callmened @504ever

It seems like we are at least close everywhere and only disagree on Evans.  He is currently averaging 17points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game with a bonus of 43% 3 point shooting.  He is also averaging 1 steal and 2 turnovers despite his high usage rate.  

That doesn't seem erratic to me.  It sounds like you are punishing him for the energy he expended to basically single-handedly erase a 16 point deficit in the 3rd quarter against the Mavs.  He needed help in the 4th quarter and didn't get it. 

Without Evan's 22 points and near triple double, we get blown out.  Why do you mention him in the same breath as the guy who went 0-6 shooting with 4 turnovers?  Tyreke's current PER is 19. Gordon's?  -3.77, right at Jimmers -3.42 and near Salmons' -2.93.  

That's right, of the twenty players in the league who have negative PERS, we have three of them and you are equating Evans to one of them.  I, respectfully, disagree.

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Mavs @ Pelicans Open Thread

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Agree, Michael, watch our 5 core players (Davis, Evans, Holiday, Asik, & Anderson) play and enjoy their play.  No other guy on the team currently getting playing time matters long term, and they all will likely be gone soon (Gordon not soon enough).

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Third Quarter Against Mavs Shows What Pelicans Can One Day Become

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@ChrisDoster

Oh, you're a Jimmerite here to flame to team because Jimmer didn't get more playing time.  That explains why you can't articulate what Monty did wrong below, and why you rely on meaningless preseason stats and promote the lie that Rivers whined to Monty about playing time to support your idea that Jimmer is a good player 'screwed' by Monty.  

You do know that Jimmer, who's best skill by far is shooting, is 0-6 from the field so far this regular season?

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Pelicans and Mavs Post Game Observations

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@Richdatdude

And what guard on the bench was scoring tonight?

2 weeks, 6 days ago on Pelicans and Mavs Post Game Observations

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@lottoni81

Did Monty go 0-6 with 4 turnovers (Gordon)?  Have back to back possessions with a missed layup and a turnover at around the 8:00 minute mark in the 4th quarter, a critical point in the game (Rivers)?  Have more turnovers in the 4th quarter than the first three quarters (team)? Lack defensive effort and intensity in the 1st half (team)?

I am so sick of Monty haters who can't say anything specific.  The Pelicans scored 104 points and lost by 5.  The problems were small, like those listed above, not something huge (and untrue)  like "no offensive organization". 

2 weeks, 6 days ago on Pelicans and Mavs Post Game Observations

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The Pelicans clearly have 5 NBA playoff caliber pieces (and no other NBA playoff caliber starters or 2nd teamers):

Davis: MVP candidate,

Evans & Holiday:  All-Star candidates,

Asik: Top 10-15 Center in NBA, and

Anderson:  Strong 6th man candidate.



Looking at the rest of the roster:


Gordon:  MAY be a solid 2nd team player and 2nd team leader,

Ajinca: is a quality 2nd team player looking for minutes (a candidate for a Q-pon for Vasquez type trade?),

Rivers and Jimmer: the not ready for rotational time players,

Salmons: buyout candidate to free up a roster spot (Is he Monty's version of Byron's Peja mistake?), and

Babbitt & Miller: deserving of some playing time to see how they play.

2 weeks, 6 days ago on Mavs @ Pelicans Open Thread

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

This team is deeper than any Hornet/Pelicans team I recall, so I expect Monty to use that depth more this season than we saw tonight.  Whether that ends up being a 10 man rotation or not, time will tell.  My guess is yes, with Ajinca getting some run each night.

3 weeks, 2 days ago on Monty Williams Threw Us All Off the Scent With His Rotations

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Agree, Michael, but it was against Orlando, in a situation where management (I am sure) wanted to start off with a win at home, and when the next game was four days away.  So Monty could shorten his bench here with no repercussions next game, and he was motivated to do that and improve the odds of winning tonight.  (Look how long the starters stayed in with a 20 point lead.)  I expect both Ajinca and Babbitt to play more as we get further into the season.

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Monty Williams Threw Us All Off the Scent With His Rotations

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@jas8888888888

In this recent article, http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/10/17/rookie-scale-option-decisions/, Nylon Calculus creates a metric to analyze 1st round draft choices over the last four years. Under that analysis, Jimmer has a 94% chance to be a bust in the NBA.

Currently Jimmer is an NBA minimum salary player trying to make it with his 3rd team.  How many teams have to say "no" to Jimmer before you realize he has serious limitations?

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Rounding out the Rotation: the Pelicans’ Seventh Man

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@thouse @Michael McNamara

And in that Nylon Calculus article, also says Rivers has "done little to demonstrate his ability to compete in the NBA. It is highly unlikely that this changes in 2015."  It also places Rivers in the "Let Them Walk" category of 2012 draft players whose option year should not be picked up based on demonstrated basketball play!

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Why Dell Demps Should Pick Up Austin Rivers’ Option

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I agree that the possibility of having something like $8M in expiring contracts to trade for a SF this year is important, and we all know how Dell constructs deals piece by piece miles out from the final trade.  Rivers expiring contract could be a big piece in a larger SF trade.

Where I disagree is the Rivers turning into something much above a replacement player.  Right now it's hard to see Rivers being paid more than 1x-2x his NBA minimum salary.  The kind of improvement in his game that we have seen even this preseason is evolutionary when he needs revolutionary change to be a sought after FA whose contract price gets driven up.  So I think this factor also says don't pick up River's $3.1M option.

4 weeks ago on Why Dell Demps Should Pick Up Austin Rivers’ Option

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For what it is worth #2:

6. I hope so, but I am not holding my breath.

7. I agree with Pellissier: middlin' with a chance to be as high as 10.

8. I agree with MM:  Babbitt.  He has heart, he wants it, and he can shoot the 3 ball.

9. I agree with Calmes: it's complicated and not primarily numbers based.

10. I am closest to Grayson's 9th.  My actual answer is a cheat: 7th-10th depending on many factors, a good number of which are out of the Pelican's control.

4 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Season Preview Part Two

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1.  Eric Gordon is a 2nd team "instant offense" kind of guy.  That may be a $10M guy with the new TV contact looming, but he isn't worth his current salary.

2. I am with MMc: Ajinca. (But watch out for Babbitt and his best of the rest shooting.)

3.  I am with Pelliissier:  the Bigs (Cs & PFs).

4. I am with Pelliissier: the SF position.

5. I am with nearly everyone: Evans.  He has an off the chart ability, driving. (But watch out for Jrue's all around game as he gets back into basketball after his time away.)

4 weeks, 1 day ago on New Orleans Pelicans Season Preview Part 1

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This is good stuff and this theory bears watching as the Pelican's play out the season (with some older players).

1 month ago on In Defense of Being Young

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I feel like this article is making me (overly?) optimistic.  None of the three guys you project AD's 2014-15 season to be like (Kevin Garnett’s and Tim Duncan’s 1999-2000 season’s or David Robinson’s 1989-90 season) had to deal with the murderous current NBA Western Conference.  Looking at those player's teams in isolation is nice, but I don't recall their Western Conferences being anything like today's Western Conference.  In fact, I think their Western Conferences were closer to today's (L)Eastern Conference than today's Western Conference.  

What scares me is we could be an amazing team by historical standards this year and still be a year (and a good SF) away from the playoffs because of the greatness of the current Western Conference.

1 month ago on Is Anthony Davis on the Verge of Becoming a Full-Fledged Superstar?

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Yes, SF is our Achilles Heel! Yes it will be a problem until the off season, where we will hopefully resign Asik and attract a quality starting SF who wants to play with our core.  

For now we need to hide the problem (play Tyreke and Ryan there a lot) and develop our depth (Miller is the best all around choice with Babbitt being the designated shooter, especially when we are trying to come back and need to trade our 3s for their 2s).  That leave Salmons as a veteran teacher and example setter, and a stop gap SF because of injuries to others or limitations in the other SFs.

Think about it we have great depth at C/PF (Asik, Davis, Anderson, & Ajinca) good depth at PG/SG (Holiday, Evans, & Gordon), but only 2nd or 3rd team players at SF.  So we play a lot of PF or SG at SF and hope the play of our backups at SF improves.  Next year we fix the starting SF position and use our more developed SF backups to their natural roles on the 2nd and 3rd team.

We are "on schedule" in our rebuilding process for the playoffs next year, with a chance we get in this year and a year early.

1 month ago on Is Small Forward Really a Problem for the Pelicans?

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Rivers can't shake another replacement player who is he is competing with and pull away from him as far as playing time goes?  "This scares me" round 2.

1 month, 1 week ago on In the NO Podcast Ep 190: Fredette v Rivers?

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Part of my comment was about the PER originated concept of "replacement player", as compared with PER itself.  But the bigger point is both of these guys have play to at a (much) higher level than they have shown in their career.  They can do it a lot of ways.  

I agree for Jimmer it is much simplier: shoot like an assassin from 3, play tolerable defense, & handle the ball adequately.  For Rivers, it is more than good defense and hit spot up 3s.  He has to make free throws, finish at the rim, and move from a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio towards a  3:1 assist to turnover ratio.  

Can these guys do this against NBA backups?  We will see.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on A Most Intriguing Second Unit

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Like! But a lot of this hinges on both Jimmer and Rivers being something they have not yet shown in the NBA: quality (significantly above replacement level) reserves.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on A Most Intriguing Second Unit

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In the big picture, the question is will Austin make significant improvement this year?  He and Anthony Davis are 6 months apart in age and entered the NBA in the same year.  Are we waiting for AD's significant improvement?  No.  Now is that a completely fair comparison?  No, but you get my point.  We keep waiting for Rivers to beat out replacement level players, first Brian Roberts and now Jimmer Fredette.  Rivers in year 3 has to be  so significantly above replacement level that he approaches the role of high quality 2nd team player.  Will he?  I am skeptical.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on A Critical Time for Austin Rivers

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@ryanschwan @504ever

My point about the Spurs was many of their players are average or below.  (I know they aren't all on the court together.)

Where I think we disagree is your using "measured categories" for our guards while I look at skills.  I believe Tyreke is exceptional at driving the ball, but that isn't one of the "measured categories" you are using.  

I also see Jrue and Tyreke's skill set as stronger in the cluster of non-scoring categories, which makes me very happy.  Jrue had to be a volume scorer at Philly, cause his teams sucked.  So I wouldn't be surprised to see him become a more efficient scorer with fewer turnovers.  With better perimeter shooters around him now, I see Tyreke becoming a more efficient scorer, too.  And they have everything else so they both have the potential to become above average players in my mind.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Average Guards Galore

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I would like to see this same analysis done after this season and next.  I don't think Jrue Holiday's, Tyreke Evans', and Eric Gordon's stats while playing for other teams (or our injury riddled, crappy center by committee one last year) are relevant when compared to stats on the Pelicans team this year.

Also, I would like to see Ryan Anderson and Omir Asik's play analyzed using the same methodology.  I bet they would look average, too.  Since they do some things very well (defend and rebound for Asik and 3 point shooting for Anderson) and somethings poorly (score for Asik and defense for Anderson).

My point is, GMs and coaches fit teams together based on specific playing abilities not composite abilities.  Some guys look horrible on one team and great on the next.  Why? The new team can cover their weaknesses and highlight their strengths.  We have players with an extraordinary skill: Asik defense and rebounding, Anderson 3 point shooting, Evans driving the basketball, and Davis may end up with several.  And other players who are very good as several things.  It about how player's strengths and weaknesses compliment each other as a team.  Some players may be average overall as individuals, but compliment each other so well that they form an above average unit.  (Think Spurs.)  That is what I hope we have on our team in 2014-15.  If that happens, I expect to see everyone's stats improve.  (Read from top now.]

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Average Guards Galore

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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?!

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Tanking and Conferences

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