Saturday, July 14, 2007

San Antonio Model -- Is really the ......

Obviously we are hearing a lot about the San Antonio model. What if ....... Jason Kidd had accepted the offer to be the point guard and they had moved Tony Parker ...... would they still have won the titles (i think yes) ..... would the model be thought of differently? Would the model be get two max players and then surround them which is no different than what it was during the mid 90's?

Not to over simplify I think the San Antonio model is Tim Duncan. The way the Chicago model was MJ and the Celtics model was Bird. Duncan truly may be one of the top 5 to 10 players to ever play in the NBA. The guy has been all league 10 straight years and all defense 10 straight years and has won over 70% of the games he has played. He ranks awfully high.

The model most impressive to me has never won a championship. Utah was able to re-load after Stockton-Malone era with only one bad season and that was crippled by injuries. Every other franchise that was winning in the mid 90's is still in recovery or yet to win more than one playoff series. (see Boston, Houston, Seattle, Indiana, New York, Chicago, etc)


Friday, July 13, 2007

Ranking the Small Forwards in the NBA

This is totally objective and can be argued. However, the point of this is where does Rashard Lewis rank in small forwards in the NBA. In other words, how did Orlando decide to offer this guy the Max Contract. When we (Kevin Pelton and Francis Williams) did our Top 100 players in the NBA Rashard was in the 30's.

Update: Shawn Marion has been added to the list. I orginally had him as a power forward in Phoenix system.

Rank (Pts, Rebs, Ass) (EFG% - Locke Off Ranking)
1) LeBron James (27/7/6) (55% - 19.9)
2) Paul Pierce (25/6/4 ) (57% - 23.9)
3) Shaun Marion (18/10/2) (59% - 19.4)
4) Carmelo Anthony (29/6/4) (55% - 22.6)
5) Josh Howard (19/7/2) (55% - 15.4)
6) Rashard Lewis (22/7/2) (59% - 22.7)
7) Andre Iguodala (18/6/6) (56% - 14.8)
8) Luol Deng (19/7/3) (56% - 16.0)
9) Gerald Wallace (18/7/3) (57% - 17.0)
10) Richard Jefferson (16/4/3) (55% - 14.0)
11) Ron Artest (19/7/3) (54% - 12.6)
12) Caron Butler (19/7/3) (54% - 12.0)
13) Tayshawn Prince (14/5/3) (53% - 9.7)

I placed Rashard 6th and maybe he could be 4th, (Howard wins) but he also could be very easily somewhere around 9th depending how you weigh defense in the equation. I think Iguodala will be #4 on this list at this time next year he averaged 20/6/6 for the second half of the season plus two steals. After Feb 1st Wallace average 21/8/3 shooting over 50%. Finally, Deng averaged 22/9/2 in the playoffs. In many people's analysis these three could be ahead of Rashard making him 9th. For that matter, unless Lewis takes another step he could easily be somewhere from 7th to 9th at this position.

Does that mean Orlando made a mistake or does that mean the NBA model is such that a Top 5 player at his position gets Max money?

Reaction to Ichiro - The Comment Zone

I wrote that I didn't like the Ichiro signing. In response there have been some great comments in the comment zone.

From Brian ..... You make a good argument Locke, but I think the M's are almost forced to bring back Ichiro and overpay. The fan backlash if he were allowed to walk away would be astronomical. He puts fans in the seats. As bad as attendance has been the last couple of years, imagine what it would have been had Ichiro not been here.

Ichiro does keep himself in tremendous shape so hopefully any dropoff in production towards the end of the contract would be minimal.

I agree on twofold. The city that has lost Randy, A-Rod and Griffey needs to have a superstar retire in Seattle. In addition, the organization needs to show commitment that has been lacking over the past seasons. Ichiro does keep himself in great shape, however so much of his game is speed and when he losses that step or two this is going to be an ugly contract.

From Courtsense ...... the occasional double or triple is nice, but pitchers have adjusted to Ichiro since 2001 - they know he'll swing at pitches in the dirt and way out of the zone, so they constantly feed him garbage. If he really wanted to impact the team, he'd walk more, steal more, and score more! I always have the feeling Ichiro is playing a mind game of trying to prove that "his" way of playing is somehow better - when what the team needs is less slap hits, more line drives, more runs, and more overall impact.

Bottom line: If I'm paying $20 million/year, I want a guy who I can count on for .325+, 40+ HR, 140 RBI, 100+ runs, and an OPS out of this world...Pujols, A-Rod, Griffey in his prime, etc.

Ahem. For 20 million a year I want more production. Again, I am nervous on production based on speed as a player ages. Ichiro has not always been the best team player and has not always done what the team needs to win so those are valid complaints.

From Peter ..... i think signing ichiro is only a bad move if you don't sign another stud to go with him. ichiro just got "superstar, carry the team on my back" money. i'm not sure he is that type of guy. but. he is definitely a phenomenial "i'll support the top guy" kind of guy.

so the money is justified to me IF Ichiro becomes the Manny Ramirez to the David Ortiz. However, if Ichiro is supposed to be THE GUY, then it is a bad move.

But my issue from a baseball sense is I don't believe Ichiro impacts a game the way a Manny Ramirez does. Ichiro might be a table setter to the big boys. Unless the clearance of steriods is bringing the game back to another era power is the name of the game not speed. Also, ro $20 million doesn't he have to be that guy.

From John S .... Very valid points David, but I have to disagree, I like the move. Who takes over the leadoff spot for the M's? Adam Jones is not a leadoff hitter of any sort. He strikes out too much to leadoff, plus you want his power in the middle of the order. You need someone defensively who can cover Safeco. How many more balls would have been outs in Safeco if Raul Ibanez was not in left field. Ichiro leads the outfield in putouts by a wide margin.

Ahem again .... this time going against me but I agree half the game is played on defense and if Ichiro makes 5 plays a game on offense how many does he make on defense. Yes, value the defense it is a great point. Under my philosophy you would use the money you save on Ichiro to fill the gap of a leadoff hitter.

Jeremy says ..... Dave over at USS Mariner has a very good defense of the trade. I happen to agree with his reasoning on this one.

I love USS Mariner. I think Dave Cameron and the guys do an amazing job. I give them the nod on their baseball knowledge over mine. I had one point of view they have another. If you are a baseball fan that is a site you should visit.

Anonymous (read: Gutless) says .... Geez Locked you've been spewing the same "garbage" about Ichiro for like the last 3 years, the M's are in the playoff hunt, Ichiro is a serious MVP candidate and he is peaking interest and putting fans in the seats, by that definition he is worth it, I'm wondering if you're worth it.............

Why is it no one has the balls to rip me with a name attached. All solid points even the one about me being garbage but it losses its umphf when you won't put a name on it.

Great work everyone. This is what this site is all about.

A Little (though just a little) Love for the Mariners

ESPN's Scout Inc has a little love for the M's.
Click here.

Some of the highlights ..
The Mariners' bullpen has been outstanding this year, posting the second-best ERA in the American League, thanks to an incredible record of keeping the ball in the park. Despite throwing 270 innings, fourth-most of any AL bullpen, Seattle relievers have allowed a league-low 14 homers.

They're last in the AL in both strikeouts (fine) and walks (not fine), and are just one single behind the league leaders in that category, the Angels. On the strength of the league's third-best batting average, the Mariners are currently eighth in the AL in runs scored, despite playing the majority of their games in pitcher's parks

Then the not so loving .....

The Mariners have been extremely lucky this year, and they're almost certainly not a "true" .581/94-win ballclub. That said, there are several factors working in their favor for the second half: The Mariners probably won't make the playoffs as currently constructed -- they're a .500 team that's played over its head.

In San Diego

I am with my family in San Diego doing the Legoland and Sea World thing. I will try to drop in some this afternoon. Sorry but I have some free time on my hands and we are taking advantage of it. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Have you ever wondered if?

This is an amazing story. Have you ever wondered if you had enough balloons if you could fly.
Check this out it is amazing.

Talk about passion or .....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why Re-Signing Ichiro is Wrong - Reason #1

According to various reports the Mariners are about to sign Ichiro to a 5 year 100 million dollar extension. I don't like this move at all.

Purely from a philosophical standpoint I have a problem with this signing. In any sport, I believe the goal is to have a player give you the best years of his career in his prime. Then when he goes for his last pay day have a high level player ready to replace him at a lesser salary. Then use the saved money to pay a new player that fulfills much of the lost players production.

The key here is that someone else gives your player their last big contract for the deeds they have just achieved and more often than not they receive less value as the player ages.

Specifically to the Mariners, Ichiro is age 33 (born October of 1973) and will finish this contract at 39 years old. This is paying someone for their past and getting far less production. Moreover, the Mariners have the heir apparent waiting in Adam Jones.

Jones is a first round draft pick and this is precisely why you have first round picks in your system to replace a player like Ichiro and then you use the money to make a play on the free agent market with another player.

I think we will look back upon this as a real mistake.

Sidenote -- The only way to have this make sense is if you just view what the Mariners did as letting go Ichiro the centerfielder and re-signed Ichiro the right fielder with Jones playing Center next year.

However, that leaves us with the $20 million issue. That will be the next installment.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Where are the Sonics today?

I believe the word is transformation. The upheaval of the roster and the movement to the new era of Sonics basketball is nothing short of spectacular.

The hard part is to evaluate the moves. Nothing with this franchise is happening inside of a basketball bubble other than maybe the moves of Sam Presti. Therefore, for all of us who are desperate for basketball to stay in Seattle (Count me in) it adds a different tint to the glasses by which we view the moves.

One issue can't be forgotten. The team won 31 games last year and its best player was a shooting guard who if history follows its usual course should be on his downward trend.

When the previous basketball front office built the team the hope was that as Ray began to fade, Rashard would be at his apex and be able to pick up the burden of being the man. It could be argued that was close to taking place. Unfortunately, the cast around those two didn't develop into the championship supporting cast in enough time.

My feeling last season was that throughout the year, somewhat due to injuries, somewhat due to the roster make-up, players were out of their rightful spot in the basketball universe. Players will only succeed if they are in a position where they are being asked to do things they are capable of and too often they were being asked to do more. In any sport, when asked to do more a player usually slips behind what they are capable of. That is the essence of sport. That is the essence of roster building.

Would Kevin Durant put everyone back into their basketball universe? That had to be the debate and clearly the belief of this ownership and Sam Presti is no.

Therefore, we start the new era. The team has been turned over, by choice (trading Ray) and by circumstance (Rashard free agency) and is being built entirely around Kevin Durant.

Has this ever worked? Has anyone in NBA history drafted a player and immediately replaced the core of the team. Did it work? Yes, I am in the midst of researching this. Suggestions are welcome.

Wins will be hard to come by in the opening years of the Durant era if the roster stays the same. That is the reality of the NBA. In LeBron's first year the Cavs won just 35 games and the team had Ilgauskas and Boozer. Patrick Ewing won just 23 his first year. Jordan won 38 and Iverson won just 22.

At the same time a culture and a method of how to play and how to build the team will be installed rather than trying to create a quick fix that is fools gold and that is a step in the correct direction.

Specifically to the Ray Allen deal. Ray is one of my most favorite players to watch so I am totally biased. I understand the decision. It is not the move of idiocy in any manner, rather the opposite is true, it makes sense. In addition, Ray is a dominant locker-room personality and if you don't believe he matches the culture then you have to move him. On the flip side, I am not sure he will age the same way other guards have in the past. He is meticulous in his training and professionalism and it will pay off.

Losing Rashard hits me in the gut more because he was Seattle's than because of basketball. We watched him grow and develop. He told me last year, "I feel like Seattle is my mother and I am her son." Again, the turnover of the roster makes sense considering the season last year. If Rashard is going to get max money you have to believe unequivocally that he is capable of being the #1 guy on a team that goes to the Conference Semi-Finals. I love his development, I like the person a ton and I am not sure how I answer that question.

With all that said, the issue is how long will it take? Has it worked before and can it work this time? Most importantly, what does it mean for basketball in Seattle long term?

And that is the issue that blurs all thinking.

Share your thoughts in the comment zone.