From the sidelines of the positional revolution

by

Basketball, at the heart and soul of its appeal, is a fluid game. Not unlike Jazz. To attempt to label and classify every aspect of it is to deny the improvisational qualities which make it so endearing.

There are rules and guidelines by which each is identified, but whether on the court or in a set, the improvisational character of each always gives rise to moments that challenge our preconceived notions.

I’ve long opposed the concept of roles defined by positional fundamentalism, which might be defined as a dogmatic reliance on traditional position labels such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Positional fundamentalism, with it’s outdated and glib outlook, robs basketball of its fluidity, of its jazz-like beauty. Recently, Drew Cannon of Basketball Prospectus and Rob Mahoney of the Two Man Game have taken up the task of accounting for the jazz. In other words, they’re rethinking how we define positions. (Something Mahoney admits is an ever evolving process.)

There is no end to this process. Even if we successfully shed the five traditional positions in favor of some other system, players and their roles will continue to evolve. It’s critical that we’re constantly challenging the limits of positionality to match with the on-court product. Note that those limits aren’t being tested without reason. It’s important that positional rhetoric remains descriptivist in nature. We’re not saying “this is the way that position X should play,” but rather “this is the way that position X does play.”

There is certainly some intrigue to the system. But as Mahoney states, it needs to be further developed and refined.

Exploring Defense and the death of D1

Offensively, classifying players as distributors, scorers, shooters, etc. is simple enough because we have any number of statistics and visual evidence to verify their individual talents. Defense, however, is much harder to define.

In the proposed positional model, players offensive roles are defined by what their individual skills are while their defensive roles are still chained to a positional base, categorizing defenders from D1-D5 (with each number related to the position or height/speed set a player can defend–Ex. Jason Kidd being a Distributor/D2).

Part of the problem is tying a defensive players role or worth entirely to their work on a single offensive player because it assumes every position or player can be guarded by an individual.

For one, the concept of a D1–a defender capable of guarding point guards–is a myth in today’s NBA. It is impossible to guard a quality point guard with another point guard.

NBA point guards, or at least the players who fit the size and athletic attributes of a point guard, are generally the quickest, shiftiest players on the court. Combine that with the skill of quality NBA point guards and the abolishment of all physical contact on the perimeter and defending the position is impossible.

The only counter in a man-to-man scheme against such talents, without sending a large amount of help, is to put a long, athletic defender on a point guard. One who, like Trevor Ariza or Bruce Bowen, can back off enough to buy some reaction time while still having enough reach to contest a shot without being right on top of the offensive player.

In this regard, most of the point guards in the NBA cannot truly be classified as being a D1. And since point guards are generally too small to guard other positions, does that mean they have no role defensively?

Identifying Defensive Roles

Offense, simplified, is putting the ball in the basket. As basketball fans, we’ve cataloged a number of different roles players assume to that end–and the positional revolution stems in great deal to the acceptance that these roles do not need to come from specific positions, so long as they are present–but realistically scoring can come through individual effort.

Defense, simplified, is preventing the offense from scoring. There are two positive outcomes a defense can hope for to that end: a turnover, or forcing the team into a missed shot. But the roles players play in preventing scoring are still largely attributed by position.

But just as there are multiple roles for offense, there are multiple roles players take in accomplishing a team’s goals on defense, namely disrupt, deny, and contain.

Disrupt

With no risk there is little reward. Because defense revolves around what an offense wishes to accomplish, it is largely a reactionary process. As mentioned before, it is almost impossible for point guards to defend their position. But that does not mean they have no role.

Players like Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo thrive in the passing lanes and create havoc by forcing the action. They can disrupt an entire offense for stretches in this manner, but it does not mean that they are individually shutting down their man.

Disruptors break conventional defensive systems and take a more proactive stance in defense, creating turnovers and hesitation in offensive players at the expense of opening up opportunities for an offense to exploit.

Applied to traditional positional roles, point guards pressure the ball handler and play passing lanes, wings search those same lanes while trying to swipe steals in help opportunities, and big men hunt for blocks.

Deny

Some offensive players are so potent with the ball in their hands that they are impossible to defend. At which point the best option becomes to make them work as hard as possible to get the ball in the first place.

While disruptors generally possess quick strike athleticism, deny defense can be played with endurance, determination, and a certain amount of strength as the required attributes.

Against the Boston Celtics, J.J. Redick carved out niche defensively not because he possesses exceptional physical attributes, but because he became particularly adept at chasing his man through screens and denying them the ball in their comfort zones.

Now, once the ball got into the offensive player’s hands in open space the tides may have turned, but the act of making the offense work so hard to get the ball into their first or second options is enough to gain an advantage.

Contain

The most thankless role in the entire NBA, and the hardest to quantify. There is no glory in simply staying in front of your man and forcing them into difficult shots, because even against the most undisciplined defense a quality offensive player is going to score.

Contain means simply that. Those that subscribe to this methodology of defense work to remove options from his matchup and work hard to gain a favorable shot.

Bruce Bowen was the epitome of this. Shane Battier too. These are the system players that work within their coach’s rules, pushing their matchup into help defenders, moving their feet, and refusing to fall for feints.

Meaningful Application

Even with defensive roles assigned we must concede that the way in which they are carried out are still tied to the physical attributes assigned to traditional positional assignments.

So my proposition is to remove the D from D1-D5, and simply assign numbers based on the range players have comparable functional athleticism for (with a slight tilt to allow for defensive matchups they can handle) with their most comfortable range in parenthises. Then listing their defensive roles.

So a breakdown of the Spurs roster would look like this:

James Anderson (2) 2-3, Scorer, ???
DeJuan Blair (5) 4-5, Rebounder, Contain
Matt Bonner (4) 4-5, Shooter, Contain
Tim Duncan (5) 4-5, Scorer/Creator/Rebounder, Contain
Manu Ginobili (2) 1-3,  Scorer/Handler/Creator, Disrupt
George Hill (2) 1-3, Scorer, Deny/Contain
Richard Jefferson (3) 3, Scorer, Contain
Antonio McDyess (4) 4-5, Rebounder, Contain
Tony Parker (1) 1, Scorer/Handler/Creator, Contain
Tiago Splitter (5) 4-5, Scorer/???, Contain/???
Garrett Temple (1) 1-3, Creator, Disrupt/Contain

  • Tyler

    Good article.

    Simply confining players to a set #/position with a pre-defined role is a thing of the past. And if you don’t learn to counter/evolve with the changes, you’re going to get passed up. This is what makes guys like TP, George Hill, etc so valuable.

  • bduran

    Great read.

    I think Blair may be more of a ball denial, disrupt defender type of defender given his excellent hands, athleticism, and lack of size. I thought he did a great job of ball denying will guarding Amare in the Play Offs. Of course, we’re talking really small sample size here.

  • LasEspuelas

    Agree with bduran. I think that once a bigger guy gets the ball close to the basket against Blair he lost half the battle. He needs to be a deny/disrupt type of player.

  • TradeTP

    Blair is a disrupt. His ability to steal the entry pass from the post is uncanny. It is the risk/reward system he personifies that gives a lot of misunderstanding here; people think his defense is poor or he cant gaurd a 5….

    I think you need to take it a step further and relate Defense (negative) to offense gaining the total package of a player.

    Good start though.

  • zainn

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2cy4ez7
    melo wants out of denver, lets help him. include some picks and move around some players, but parker for melo is a steal

  • Jacob

    @zainn

    it ain’t happenin’…

  • Jacob

    I’m slightly irritated at the lack of professional etiquette that many players are exhibiting with regards to future plans during a current contract. I’m not saying that I think a player should not have an idea about their plans, but to make it public before the seasons even start with their current team is poor form in my opinion.

    If Tony leaves, I dont want to see articles about him posturing for NY 3 months before we grind into April, I want him focused (at least publicly) on the task at hand.

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  • soulidefy

    blair also has an uncanny ability for picking the ball off the dribble. so many times last year i saw him poke the ball loose (without getting the reach in foul) from a driving guard….something big men dont try because they look for the block instead.

  • http://hornetsreport.com gerryv

    Defensive rotations have been taught for years and always will be.Its not secret that your defense in the NBA is only as good as your rotating defenders. With the ” no touch” rule with pts and swings its even more important that length and quicks better be a part of your roster…Traps..deny the lanes…anything that takes up space and can cover ground quickly….lack these qualities and you die in the NBA.

    V

  • TradeTP

    Soulidefy-

    Agree completely. Which is why I think so many blogsperts and pop are clueless in our defensive scheme last year playing Doosh and Boner over Blair.

    Bigs score on all three. Why not have your best, REACTOR, your best REBOUNDER, and your most athletic in the post? We all saw how the genius plan failed last year. I’ll coach for millions less than Pop.

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  • ThatBigGuy

    I think Blair is more of a “denial” player. He has shown some flashes of 2004 Ben Wallace vs Shaq in the Finals, with his shifty hands and ball denial. I think Blair’s lack of height makes him much less effective as a “contain” post defender. However, he’s got such long arms, low center of gravity, lower body strength, and quickness that he can overplay in a “denial” defensive stance. I think he could effectively guard all low post players in this fashion, provided he has an excellent weak-side defender for help.

    I also think Splitter can switch between “contain” and “disrupt,” depending on who the other big guy is. If he’s guarding Haslem while Timmy is guarding Bosh, then Splitter can “disrupt.” However, if he’s guarding Bosh while Blair is guarding Haslem, Splitter must contain. I see Splitter being more effective in the “disrupt” role, similar to KG’s role when playing alongside Perkins, except with less screaming.

    All this makes me realize how important Bowen was to this team and how brilliant he was on the defensive end of the court.

  • SpursfanSteve

    I think in order to be effective at the “contain” style of defense, Blair has to get back on D first so he can “deny” the opposition good post positioning. If the other guy gets to his spot, then Blair has to move into ball denial/fronting the player, etc.

  • Robert

    What about shot blocker as a defensive role?

  • SpursfanSteve

    I also think George has the ability to “disrupt” although he rarely makes that kind of play, probably because he wants to just make the system work. The most obvious example that comes to mind is him stripping Kobe of the ball, then taking it down court for a soft dunk.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hill, Temple, Anderson, and Manu have very little functional size/athleticism to guard effectively at D-3. It’s being VERY generous to make their range be 1-3.

    I agree with others on here that Blair is more of a deny/disrupt defender than a contain defender. Also, I think he’s more suited to guarding the (4) as opposed to the 5.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com jesse blanchard

    While I agree with most of you that Blair seems best suited to disrupt, it’s not what he was asked to do for much of the season last year. And how could it be? A system does not change for a second round pick, no matter how talented. But a year in, now that the team is more comfortable, perhaps he can be allowed to go for those plays more.

  • Greyberger

    Something the above Henderson post made me think about:

    We think of fives as the tall, strong, lumbering guy; sometimes “seven-footer” is synonymous with the position.

    But how many of these guys are there in the NBA, and how many minutes are they getting? Just because the Lakers and Celtics have multiple guys in this mold does not mean it’s the norm.

    More minutes go to guys who are fours or fours-and-a-half. If the five isn’t secretly a four then his backup probably is. Dejuan Blair doesn’t have to defend many fives because so few of them have bench jobs in the NBA _and_ an offensive game there to defend.

    Of all the positions – or if you prefer, of the entire positional spectrum – the tallest and biggest are the ones most likely to be role players. Rebounding specialists are probably the most common and defined kind of specialist.

  • aq

    It seems to me that the key here is that people are longing for a bit of clarity. The positional labels have broken down into an amalgam of labels. Saying that a player is a Center primarily tells you his relative height and where he is likely to play on the floor, whereas the Point Guard designation tells you what his role is on offense.

    It looks to me like these proposals are all reaching for something that is more function or role based, and that includes defense.

    As such, the numbers don’t really tell you enough to justify using them instead of a players height and weight. In their place, descriptors could be used, which would make the system much more legible. I’m thinking of things like a “stretch 4″, which simultaneously tells you both the role and relative size of the player. If you dumped the 4, then Bonner could be a Stretch Container (there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m too locked in for it right now), or even a Stretch Contain Forward.

    I also think that one of the defensive descriptors would have to be “post”, since good post defenders will often use multiple strategies in service of defending the post. I would also think that there would need to be descriptors for multiple skill sets. It wouldn’t work in the real world to list Bowen as a “(2)1-3, Shooter, disrupt/deny/contain”. Calling him a “lock-down wing shooter”, with “lock-down” meaning that he utilizes all three defensive roles, would at least have a shot at being used by people.

    Coming up with a set list of descriptors that everyone could agree to would be really tough, though.

  • Kevin

    I say we hire @TradeTP to coach. This guy really gets it.

  • TradeTP

    Blairs gives up the same PER facing a 4 or a 5

    When Bonner ds up a 5 the PER is 33+

  • rj

    i agree with an earlier post that shot blocking should be mentioned as a characterisitic, but this will expose our lack-there-of. i think it is fair to call tim a contain, rebound defender, but i hope splitter can assume the role of defending the best low-post threat on the court. however, this excludes bullies like howard, yao, and oden. tim can still bang, but lacks the lateral quickness to cover a stoudemire, bosh, aldridge. hopefully splitter can defend these quicker guys to help take pressure off tim.

  • Greyberger

    @TradeTP

    If you’re talking about the PER VS. from 82games, you’re talking about a very small sample…

    The site says 0% of the team’s total minutes went to Bonner at C, versus 28% at PF, so I’m betting it’s a tiny amount of time. During this time the team scored 1.46 points per possession, at least, so it’s not all bad!

    A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing…

  • manufan

    Tony Parker,McDyess, and Gee for Ray Felton,Wilson Chandler, and Ronny Turiaf.
    What do you guys think?

  • ITGuy

    “Tony is not going any where”
    RC

  • Jacob

    @Manufan

    I don’t see how we would benefit from that trade at all. I understand that the possibility of receiving equal or greater value in a trade isn’t likely, but at least shoot for one with a higher potential. We would almost certainly have to take on Felton (who isn’t that good) who by himself isn’t close enough in salary to match the deal that would make the trade work, so the Spurs would need to take back some talent with lower salaries, of which there are several. Gallinari, Randolph, and Azubuike all have much more of an upside than Turiaf and Chandler in my opinion. Although Chandler is good, Gallinari has much more potential to be great simply on the basis of his stature and his shooting ability alone. Likewise, Turiaf isn’t going to get any better than he is now, barring some unforseen miracle, and Randolph is already better than Turiaf, and he stands to learn a lot on defense before he reaches his potential on both ends of the floor. The two young guns of Randolph and Gallinari make the Felton aquistion a bit less bitter, and Since New York would still have Walker and Chandler at the 3 and Stoudamire anchoring down the 4.

    Since we do not need to add another SG to the fold, I wouldn’t see how we would benefit from bringing in Azuibuike, so I would say that Parker and Gee for Felton, Randolph and Gallinari would work for the Spurs. If New York is serious about making a run at Parker and Melo, they arent going to be able to retain all of their young talent in the instance of a trade.

    Hill – Felton – Temple
    Manu – Anderson – Neal
    Jefferson – Gallinari
    Duncan – Blair – Randolph
    Splitter – McDyess – Bonner

    That looks a little more palletable than a trade that would give us back Chandler as the main addition. With McDyess being in the fold this year there appears to be a log jam with the bigs. However, I think this would really allow him to take on the Horry type of role until the playoff run heats up, he would solidify a front court rotation defensively immediately that would allow Randolph time to adapt. Next year, we would keep Randolph, Splitter and Blair with Duncan and have the cap space that McDyess’ departure would allow us.

  • doggydogworld

    “I say we hire @TradeTP to coach.”

    Yes, this would give us a good shot at Harrison Barnes.

  • BALLHOG

    Yes, The Use and Misuse of players is there. Position doesnt always matter as was the case in Doc Rivers use of Glen “Big Baby Davis”.

    One would think that Pop would use Blair in the same context…Guess not.

    Also, regardless of positioning and ability to cater to player’s strengths, An organization has got to have NBA players on thier rosters, period!

    Our roster is the way it is because determining factors for player selections by the Spurs are based on qualities other than talent and athleticism. Its understandable to desire high charachter guys on your roster, but not at the expense of talent!

    Here is an example of a well put together NBA roster:

    LA Lakers..

    3-Ron Artest-Matt Barnes

    1-Derek Fisher-Steve Blake

    4-Pau Gasol-Lamar Odom

    5-Andrew Bynam-DJ Mbenga-Theo Ratliff

    2-Kobe Bryant-Shannon Brown-Sasha Vujacic

    Reserve: Luke Walton

    This is an NBA roster. EVERY player on the roster can play basketball. Every player on the roster can contribute. Every player on the roster will contribute.

    Also, as for charachter,,,Ron Artest has not been a problem for LA, nor has Odom, Fisher, or Bynam…

    Spurs are a bit overbaord on this good guy crap.

    I think its more about Pop needing to feel that he can control a player…and wont sign players that would stand up to him, such as Shaq or Barnes…

    I mean realistically,,,

    Amundson and Earl Barron are out there, and we definately need front court help….

    What is the point in having players on your roster, in uniform, and on your bench, if they absolutely cannot contribute? 12 players on the roster should mean 12 players that can play now, not in three years!

    My real question is…Are the Spurs SERIOUSLY doing what it takes to be a contender in this league?

    I thought so until I saw the Jefferson and Bonner contracts, and the guaranteed deal to Neal…Flat out stupid…Could have singed both for far less cheddar!

    Lets just hope that Mr. Splitter is all that the Spurs say he is, and not just another marginal “Yes Man” for Pop to bully and intimidate.

  • bduran

    “I say we hire @TradeTP to coach.”

    Anything’s got to be better than Pop’s continued bumbling through 50 win/occasional championship seasons. End the nightmare.

  • DieHardSpur

    @BDURAN

    +10

  • Tyler

    Speaking of Blair, in addition to a jumper, he should watch some tape of Chuck Hayes – another “contain” defender. Despite being just 6’6″, Hayes is one of the better 1 on 1 post defenders because he’s so strong in the lower body. And for that reason, he is one of the hardest guys to back down in the league.

    And while Blair has the quickness to be a disrupt/deny defender, if he has the strength, he could also be a decent “contain” defender as well.

  • DieHardSpur

    I wonder what TradeTP will change his name to, if in fact we do decide to trade TP…

  • TradeTP

    Names I have been thinking obviously:

    McDoosh or MattBONER22%

    Others:

    BringbackTP

    Popstolecredit

    winningaintezwithoutGOAT

    Bduran- you could have coached tim to a ring in his prime.

  • zainn

    @jacob,
    i say let hill play his natural position at 2 in your lineup and switch manu and hill. that would be a better lineup

  • DieHardSpur

    Hello Gentlemen –

    I would like to change the topic.

    Just how good is Tiago Splitter?

    I dont want any “Rose-colored Glasses” answers, I just want to know exactly how good everyone else thinks this guy is.

    I have seen the YOUTUBE videos, but hell, I could look like a rock star from a youtube video.

    I watched all three of his ACB Finals games, and noticed a few key points:

    1. Tiago Splitter knows how to box out for the rebound.

    2. He has the innate ability to get his defender into foul trouble early.

    3. He has a face-up and a low-post scoring game.

    Tell me if my conclusions are off the reservation, or close? I seem to think that in 30 mpg, he will average 16/7/1.5.

  • Colin

    I don’t know where some of you guys are coming from with this commentary……….”Anything’s got to be better than Pop’s continued bumbling through 50 win/occasional championship seasons. End the nightmare.”

    Nightmare? Really? We could be the Clippers or the Warriors. Every team goes through ups and downs. What will the Lakers be when Kobe gets to be like Duncan (ie: past his prime)? What was Boston before the big 3? We’ve been relevant since ’97. Not many other teams have.

  • Bentley

    Colin

    “I don’t know where some of you guys are coming from with this commentary……….”Anything’s got to be better than Pop’s continued bumbling through 50 win/occasional championship seasons. End the nightmare.”

    that quote was sarcasm aimed at tradeTP.

  • Tyler

    @DieHardSpur

    I think your scouting report on Tiago is fairly good. He’s big and physical and knows how to use his body to his advantage. I would also add that he’s a pretty good passer. His court awareness will surprise many – reminds me of Fab in that respect.

    16/7/1.5 in 30 mpg? I’m thinking 12.5/6.5/1 in 25 mpg.

    Either way, he’s going to very good. He was a lottery pick the two previous drafts, and only dropped to us because of perceived contract issues.

  • Jim Henderson

    DieHardSpur
    August 18th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “Tell me if my conclusions are off the reservation, or close? I seem to think that in 30 mpg, he will average 16/7/1.5.”

    Your minutes & production estimates are quite a bit on the high side, particularly for minutes, ppg., & bpg.

    24/11/6/1 is much more reasonable.

  • Jim Henderson

    This guy gives Paul a complete pass on his injuries last year but penalizes TP for his. Thus, he ranks Paul 1st (ahead of Williams) and TP ninth in NBA PG’s. I give TP the nudge over Billups for 6th, primarily because he is 6 years his junior. Any others care to weigh in?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Ranking-the-point-guards-10-through-No-1;_ylt=AoAZV3Y6c0Da4HDr_NoIkxy8vLYF?urn=nba-263267

  • Jim Henderson

    By the way, having Aaron Brooks out of the top 20 is absurd.

  • Jim Henderson

    Sure would be nice if we were the “unidentified 4th team” trying to workout a sign & trade with the Suns. He would be a waste in Golden State.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/rumors/post/Four-teams-after-Amundson;_ylt=AibvvSMllU0qi2WfKe3d_R.8vLYF?urn=nba-263215

  • TradeTP

    Jim- what is wrong with the rankings. Stop drinking the kool-aid, Parker is a speedster with no toughness, suspect D and passing. He would be better if he could control the game in some aspect. HE cant for the following reasons:

    1. He is unable to get his teammates hot or find them

    2. He cant control tempo on D

    3. He cant control tempo on O, EVEN THOUGH HE IS A LAYUP ONLY SCORER HE CANT HIT FTs.

  • GitErDun

    One thing I have noticed about players and where they play. If they play for any team other than the Spurs they are up and coming superstars. If they play for the Spurs they are D-leaguers. For instance Anderson gets no love – guys taken after him are solid rotation players. Hill was called Hill-Who. Blair is too short, can’t shoot, can’t defend. Splitter – a role player, but Dirk = Superstar.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    August 18th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Yes, this guy did give Paul a complete pass with regards to injury. However, in a way, I understand. Paul is clearly the best PG in the league and has been for the past 2-3 years. What the author should have taken into consideration was Tony’s injury. Sure, the stats bear out that Parker took a hard fall last year in PG rankings, but it’s not because of age or diminishing of skills. Like Paul, Tony was simply banged up.

    These rankings, I think, will look very differently by the end of the year. Billups’ and Nash’s production could drop off a cliff at any moment and I’m not convinced that Westbrook is better simply because he had one good year. Players need to put in multiple good years before they place ahead of proven players. Harris at #8 is a bit of a stretch also.

    With this in mind, I would put Parker at #7 on this list, but I think he could be #5 before the end of the year. This is assuming Parker rebounds into top form. IMO, this as high as Parker will ever get. He’s not as good as Paul, Williams, Rondo, or Rose and Westbrook is on the ascent if he continues to improve.

    This line of thinking brings up an interesting scenario for both the Knicks and the Spurs. The Knicks want an elite PG to go along with Amare and only two names have regularly been attached to their organization: Parker and Paul. Are the Knicks prepared to wait 2 years for the possibility of getting the #1 PG in Paul or will they make a trade this year for possibility the fifth best PG in Parker? Two years from now, Paul will be 27 yrs old. Parker is 28 now. What happens to Amare in 2 years? Will the fan base want to wait 2 MORE years? From a Knicks perspective, I would go for a sure thing in trading for Parker. As the old addage goes, “A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”

    From a Spurs perspective, Parker is, at BEST, the best fifth PG in the league and quite possibly 2-3 spots lower. Over the next 3 years, there’s legitimate reason to believe that he might fall from the top 10 with the entry of younger PGs and the diminishing of his famous speed. If Tony were a top 3 PG then he MIGHT be untouchable. However, this is not and won’t be the case.

    The question: What specific offer forces the FO pull the trigger on a Tony Parker trade? I think Felton, Randolph, and Gallo would be absolute thievery for the Spurs, but is there something else that we’re missing?

  • rj

    how is devin harris ranked above tony? how does 12 wins earn you a higher spot? and to giterdone, your post doesnt make sense. dirk is a superstar. im really getting tired of all this unprofessional trade talk….and family guy

  • Jim Henderson

    GitErDun
    August 18th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    You made a very similar point last week, and the following is how I answered it:

    Jim Henderson
    August 14th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    GitErDun
    August 14th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    “Interesting that if you were to put Temple, Anderson, Neal, and Splitter on another Western Conf team they would be described in glowing terms of vast upside and potential.”

    Not by me they wouldn’t. Temple is an undrafted player that has had VERY LITTLE NBA action, and has spent most of his time in the D-League. Anderson’s a #20 pick, and as such the odds are that we are fortunate if he ends up some day as a regular rotation player (this does not mean that he could not “surprise” to the upside). Neal was undrafted and has bounced around Europe & the D-league in the 3 years since he left college. He’s clearly an unproven talent at the NBA level. Splitter has some pretty heady accomplishments against the best competition in Europe, but he also is not yet proven at the NBA level.

    There’s reason for hope with these guys, but it is only wise to view these players as good prospects to some day become important role players (again, it is possible that one or more could quickly surprise to the upside), not as players that you can have a high level of confidence will produce in the NBA next season at some elevated, well-defined level. And such assessments should not change based on what team that they happen to play for.

    “Jordan Hill is described above as “Up and Coming Talent”. Blair who averages almost twice the points and over twice the rebounds is too short and should be traded.”

    Just to clarify, I am the one that characterized Jordan Hill of the Rockets as, “up and coming” (which I believe is an accurate characterization) in a previous post, but I’m not the one that had suggested trading Blair. In fact, if I had to list three untradeables on the Spurs it would be Duncan, Hill, and Blair. Blair does have a height “disability” that he will have to continue to work hard to compensate for, but I believe that he’ll become a VERY good player regardless. And of course, I certainly wasn’t comparing Blair to J. Hill in any of my references to them. That said, their basic stats per 36 minutes in their 1st season is not as diametrical as your characterization seemed to suggest:

    Hill: 14.1 ppg., 10.1 rpg., 1.2 bpg.

    Blair: 15.4 ppg., 12.7 rpg., .9 bpg.

    In your comment above you appear to be making a broad generalization, yet the evidence appears to warrant a more narrow, and nuanced critique.

    Read more: http://www.48minutesofhell.com/2010/08/10/san-antonio-spurs-schedule-breakdown-2010-2011/#comments#ixzz0x1hRM2ig

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    August 18th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    “Paul is clearly the best PG in the league and has been for the past 2-3 years.”

    I don’t agree. I think Deron Williams is right there with him now, and his size advantage helps.

    “From a Knicks perspective, I would go for a sure thing in trading for Parker. As the old addage goes, “A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.””

    I agree, and let’s face it, TP has won 3 titles, including a finals MVP. If I’m NY, I don’t wait. Melo, Amare, & TP would be an awesome threesome in NY.

    “From a Spurs perspective, Parker is, at BEST, the best fifth PG in the league and quite possibly 2-3 spots lower.”

    In talent & skill-set yes, but you do have to give TP credit for what he’s done during our championship run during the past decade. And I disagree with those that think TP is only really good because of his speed, and I don’t see him losing enough of his speed over the next 3-4 years for it to matter that much if he’s playing with some other strong offensive threats (i.e., Amare, Melo, etc.). The fact is, he’s a “gamer”, and he gets too little credit for that in my view. He’d also be very good in a D’Antoni-type system with some finishers on the wings. That plays right to his strengths.

    “I think Felton, Randolph, and Gallo would be absolute thievery for the Spurs, but is there something else that we’re missing?”

    Yeah, I don’t think we could get all three. I doubt they give up Randolph & Gallo for TP. Probably Randolph, Felton, and either a draft pick or somebody like Chandler (who they’ve been looking for offers on) would be the best we could possibly hope for. They’ll probably have to give some combination of Gallo, Azubuike, Walker, and/or draft picks to get Melo. They can’t give up their whole team for TP & Melo.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Ryan

    @ BallHog

    Hmm.. Hard to really argue that the Lakers have a solid roster. I DO agree with you that they do, but I think you’re missing the finer points of how that roster was assembled. 4 years ago the Lakers were absolute garbage… Kobe was reeling from a Heat trade that netted Shaq a championship, their franchise value was going to pot, and their star player was potentially on his way out. In steps former frontman Jerry West and he’s able to pull off the greatest coux in NBA history with the Gasol trade and the rest is history. As far as the other goes, the only “real” player the Lakers have outside of Kobe and Gasol is Fisher…. Artest is chasing coattails because he knew he’d never amount to anything after the Pacers fiasco and hey, why not? Fisher is a proven guy… he’s what Bowen was to the Spurs. That one guy who doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet, but does enough to get your team over the hump when it counts.

    I agree with you that the Lakers have amassed a solid team, but with everyone lately making all these “under the table” kind of deals it’s easy to point the finger at them and say they were the ones who somewhat started the whole thing.

    Sorry, but the Gasol trade was a joke. Without that trade the Lakers would be nothing, but with it the league saved its most invested franchise. It’s hard to try to turn a blind eye to money and politics but if there was ever a situation were something shady had gone down…. that was it. Laker fans may rejoice, but it was a dark day for the NBA.