Friday, July 20, 2007

Sonics get 2 first rounders from the Suns and Thomas

Today the Sonics acquired Kurt Thomas and 2 first round picks from the Suns.

This really just makes the Rashard Lewis deal a three way trade with Phoenix.

The Sonics needed to get something in exchange for Lewis and the trade exception has allowed this. However, the value sounds and feels better than the likely reality.

As we have already talked about on the blog today, the lower first round picks are very unlikely to amount to anything formative in your line-up. Yet, more kicks at the can is always a good thing. In other words, while the chances are limited the more attempts the better chance you have of hitting and the Sonics just got two more shots.

Bottom line, the Sonics got something for Lewis and used the trade exception correctly. The likely scenario has these as late first round picks, but there is always the chance that Nash or Amare gets hurt and then the Sonics pulled off a coup.

Kurt Thomas is a nice veteran and plays the game correctly. His best value is an expiring contract at the end of the season.

From a Suns perspective it is about money and staying away from the luxury tax. However, Thomas was one of their few defensive players. Thomas inability to stay healthy may have prevented the Suns from winning a championship.

Really this was a necessary evil for both teams and they both did the best considering the circumstances.

Why the Mariners will win the West.

The poll question to the right is will the Mariner's win the west? Watching them the last few nights I am beginning to believe they will. Here are a few reasons.

1) They are able to wait games out. In other words the longer the game goes the better the team gets with its bullpen and its clutch hitting. This is the sign of a good team.

2) Depth. John McLaren is using the bench far better than Hargrove and the team should stay fresh unlike a year ago when Hargrove emptied the tanks to get into contention briefly.

3) The saying in baseball is guys will do what is on the back of their baseball card. In other words, over a season players will get to their yearly average. This means the middle of the Mariners line-up should pick up.

4) Starting pitching has to be more consistent.

Sonics Draft History

I didn't feel the work done by the hoopsvibe had enough depth so I thought I would look into two teams, the Sonics and the Jazz, that I have very closely.

2006 -- #10 - Sene - looks like he will be a roster player - looks to be a bad pick but still very few players in that draft making an impact). Call it a D in a really tough course.
2005 -- #25 -- Johan Petro (he is a rotation/roster player which is a good pick at #25 of the first round. If he improves and becomes a rotation player this is an A pick, if he doesn't and is on the roster then it is in the B range). Call it B+
2005 (Second Round) - Bonus points for Mickael Gelabale.
2004 -- #12 Robert Swift -- Hard to evaluate. If he becomes a middle of the road starting center it is an A+ pick to get a center at #12. If he is a rotation center that gives you 25 minutes it is a B+ pick at 12. That is the most likely scenario. Give it a B based on conservative projection really an Inc.
2003 -- #12 Nick Collison -- This is an B+ pick. Collison will be a 12 year pro and play 25 minutes a night either as a starter or a rotation player. This is a perfect example of what I am talking about. If you pick #12 it is not a guarantee. Mike Sweetney went before Nick and is a roster player.
2003 -- #14 Luke Ridnour -- Perspective is key here. Luke is a disappointment in the minds of most Sonics fans. However, he was the #14 pick. That is more than likely a player that is on the cusp of starter v. rotation and that is exactly what Luke is. Call it a B+ pick.
2002 -- No pick
2001 -- #12 Vladimir Radmanovic -- This is a C. He never was more than a rotation player and at #12 a player should be knocking on the door of starting rather than being a specialist.
2000 -- #17 Desmond Mason -- This is a A pick. Mason has started and been a consistent rotation player his entire career. Moreover, the Sonics used him as an asset to get a Franchise player, Ray Allen.

Overall Report Card: D, B+,B,B+,B+,C,A and one set of bonus points
GPA: 3.2 with the bonus points added.

That really is very strong drafting for the Sonics considering where they were picking.

I will do the Jazz in a later update.

Rating the GM's - Via the Draft

Hoopsvibe has written a piece that evaluates the GM's on their drafts.

I think a much larger analysis needs to go into this. For example, he gives Atlanta's Billy Knight a b+ and Danny Ferry a C+ and Donnie Nelson a C. Also, too many picks are made by one team officially, but really are coming from another and the author doesn't differentiate. (Example: Seattle not Boston took Jeff Green)

The problem is that Knight has been drafting every year in a position to make a difference to his team whereas Ferry and Nelson have been drafting in the 20's and most of those players are non-impact players.

When scouting college players you need to break them into 5 categories: Franchise Changer, All-Star, Starter, Rotation, Roster.

The last draft was one of the best we have had in a long time and I would argue that it had the following breakdown. (Note the this means 14 starters).

2- Franchise Changers
2 - All-Stars
10 - starters (which is incredibly high for a draft)
8 to 10 - rotation (again very high)
? - roster

The point is this is one of the best and deepest drafts because of all the kids that had to go to college for a year and this is how the draft projected. Therefore, if you are picking in the 20's and get a player who plays you should be getting an A. If you are drafting in the high impact zone and you get a starter or a rotation player instead of an all-star you should get a C.

Any player who is taken in the second round and becomes a rotation player should be huge bonus points.

Off Topic -- A children's mind

Last night my son looked outside and saw a rainbow. He promptly asked, "what could we take to the top of the rainbow so we could slide down." I asked which color he wanted to slide down and he said, "It looks like yellow might be the bumpiest."

I just thought it was a wonderful moment to take us out of our daily routine of being an adult.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Evaluating the NBA Off-Season Moves - Part 1

Using a four step methodology I will give you an evaluation of the off-season NBA movement.

Step 1: The Locke offensive rating. The league average is 10.8. The top 40 players in the NBA rate over 20. A little over 150 players or an average of 5 per team rate as above average offensive players.

Step 2: Was the players team better with the them on the floor than when he was off the floor. Credit for these numbers. Two things are hard to evaluate on traditional numbers, if a player helps his team win and if he plays defense. I believe this is a start. However, it has some flaws. It is best at recognizing a high profile player who has flaws and thus hurts his team or at finding bench players who really give a boost.

Step 3: Whose minutes is he taking.

Step 4: The eye test. We all have an eye for a player that goes beyond numbers.

Using this 4 part test. Here are the evaluations of some of the NBA’s off-season moves.

Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic

Step 1: Lewis ranks 20th in the NBA offensively. He is #2 as a small forward. He rates as a 22.7.

Step 2: Lewis had the best on floor/off floo +/- on the Sonics last season.

Step 3: Lewis will take the 31 minutes a night that Grant Hill played and cut into the minutes of Hedo Turkoglu. Hill had a terrible on floor/off floor last year for the Magic (-4.8) whereas Turkoglu seemed to be the opposite for the Magic. Hill was a very effective offensive player at 17.9 and Turkoglu was slightly below average at 9.4. Lewis will be a huge up grade for both.

Step 4: Lewis dramatically changes the Magic at the 3 position. His outside presence will compliment Howard perfectly. He will fulfill the primary scorer allowing Howard to play with less pressure and the other Magic players to be the compliments they are.

Steve Blake to Portland
Step 1: Blake is a dreadful offensive player. He rates at 2.1. A zero rating is designed to be equal to a D-League player entering the NBA. Blake only goes to the free throw line 4.2% of the possessions that end in his hand one of the worst rates in the NBA.

Step 2: Denver was a better team when Blake was on the floor than when he was off the floor. This credits Blake for doing somethings the correct way to help his team.

Step 3: He will take minutes from Jarrett Jack who rates as a 12.7 offensively. However, the Blazers were considerably less good when Jack was on the floor than they were when he was on the bench (nearly 4 points per 48 minutes).

Step 4: Blake plays hard and plays the game correctly. The Blazers aren't sold on Jack so you can see why they signed Blake. However on a team without Zach Randolph they will need some offense out of Blake and he is not capable.

Matt Carroll re-signs with Charlotte

Step 1: Carroll rates a 17.5 one of the better guards in the NBA. The top 40 in the NBA are over 20 and then he is in the next tier.

Step 2: Charlotte was a better team with Carroll on the floor.

Step 3: This is the key because the Bobcats went and acquired Jason Richardson from the Warriors in a bizarre draft day trade. Richardson rates as a 7.9 offensively player, below league average. He is high volume to get his results and Carroll is the opposite. Why the Bobcats would take Carroll's minutes with the acquisition of Richardson is surprising.

Step 4: Carroll plays the game the correct way and would be a brilliant complimentary on a good team.

Grant Hill to the Phoenix Suns
Step 1: Hill rates offensively as a 17.9 and I can only imagine what will happen when he plays with Steve Nash

Step 2: For Orlando Hill didn't work. The Magic were far better when he was on the bench. This is a disturbing trend for an aging player.

Step 3: James Jones played 18 minutes a night for Phoenix last year and had a terrible season. Also, the Suns struggled badly when Boris Diaw was on the floor last season.

Step 4: Hill is a signing that might help the Suns win a championship.

Morris Peterson to the New Orleans Hornets
Step 1: Mo Pet rates as a 12.8 offensively which is nice for a player coming off the bench

Step 2: Mo was an awful fit for Toronto. The Raptors were 8 points better per 48 minutes with Mo on the bench than on the floor. This should be worrisome for the Hornets.

Step 3: Rasual Butler and Desmond Mason played these minutes for the Hornets and both were very poor offensively and the team struggled with both on the floor.

Step 4: This might be a subtle move but it may make a considerable difference for the Hornets.

Darko Millic to Memphis

Step 1: Darko rates as a 3.0 offensively which puts him near the D-League offensively.

Step 2: Orlando was a less good team with Millic on the floor than on the bench.

Step 3: Who does he replace? Memphis had no big man. If Darko takes the minutes of Stromile Swift or rookie Alexander Johnson he can only help but be an upgrade.

Step 4: Seeing Darko last year at times he impacted the game, but in other sequences he was the worst player on the floor.

More to come .........

This I have never understood

I just don't get it. If you are earning in the range of $12 million a year why do you need the following. These are some the clauses in Ichiro's new contract.

In addition, he gets a housing allowance of $32,000 next year, an increase
of $1,000 from this season, and the amount will rise by $1,000 each year. He
also will be provided with either a new jeep or Mercedes SUV by the team, which
also gives him four first-class round trip tickets from Japan each year for his
family. Provisions for the Mariners to give him a personal trainer and an
interpreter were continued.

At least he doesn't have the absurd all-star bonus that A-Rod had in his
contract. Because let me say this one more time, if you are earning $25
million you shouldn't be getting an all-star bonus, instead you should be paying
people if you aren't an All-Star.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Willingham paid more than Weis at ND

This has to make you chuckle. If you agree with me that Willingham got screwed by Notre Dame this has to make you buckle over in laughter. If you have a general disdain for anything Notre Dame like I do (just because it is fun) then you might have just laughed so hard you peed. Of course, if you are a Notre Dame fan then you are really pissed off at me right now and this is why it is so fun to root against Notre Dame. By the way, Golden Domer how have you been doing in those bowl games recently?

Journal Gazette | 06/17/2007 | Weis is No. 3 on Irish payroll: "Weis was one of three coaches among Notre Dame’s top five highest-paid employees in 2005-06, but he’s not the highest-paid coach.

That distinction goes to Tyrone Willingham. The school paid the former football coach $650,000 as part of his contract settlement after firing him on Nov. 30, 2004. He also received $64 in other expenses. Willingham, who will enter his third season at the University of Washington in 2007, was the highest-paid employee – or former employee – at Notre Dame."