From the sidelines of the positional revolution

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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 Positional fundamentalism, with it’s outdated and glib outlook, robs basketball of its fluidity, of its jazz-like beauty.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

  • Dr. Who

    @ Ballhog/Ryan

    No doubt that’s a more than stellar team. I agree it all began with the Gasol trade. Having Kobe there and Jerry West, even if the Gasol trade wouldn’t have happened the team would have improved for sure since it’s such a draw. It’s a lot easier to attract players to LA and have them play with Kobe than it is to have players got to Toronto for example.

    As much as I can’t stand Phillip… he has a way of handling players with discipline problems. It helps to have an Alpha male multiple championship winner on your team (i.e Jordan or Kobe), but Phillip has done well with the likes of Rodman and Artest. Rodman although talented was a cancer and a freak to boot. Artest is litterally cRaZy. If any coach can handle lockeroom cancers it’s the the Zen Master. I hate that guy, but he’s good at it. He should be able to keep Barnes is check.

    I think we do have to focus on character with the Spurs. If you bring in a cancer he surely won’t mix in with the rest of the team. There’s a difference between having as edge (Jax) oppposed to being a full blown cancer (Rodman). What we don’t need are good citizens that are “soft.” There is a difference. Manu is a “good guy” but he’ll rip your heart out and serve it to your children. I like that kinda guy. What I don’t like is the guy promoting his latest rap album during post game interviews. Those types are not great for the Spurs.

  • ThatBigGuy

    If Tony truly wants to go to New York, this is my opinion on how he gets there.

    I say the FO has a meeting with him and asks him if he truly wants to play in NY. If Tony says yes, then the FO will say, OK, we’ll work with you on this, if you work with us. I think there is plenty of mutual respect between Tony and the FO that a very amicable “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” agreement can be made.

    FO: Ok, you kicked butt for us and helped us win 3 rings and we thank you. We’ll agree to a sign and trade with NY at the end of this season. That will get you get the longest contract with the most money for your value. What we want from you is an all-out, All-Star calibre season. That will drive your value up, which will net you a better contract, but it will also allow us to get more value back in the trade.

    Tony: Ok, you guys have treated me fairly, allowed me to win 3 rings and a Finals MVP. I know I have given up a little bit of money playing for you, but if you agree to a sign and trade next summer, I will glady kick butt for you this year. I’m going to be 29 next summer, so a long term contract will probably fit into my retirement plans.

    Both parties shake hands and we sail into the twilight of the Tony era. We can give Hill a final year to get his mind right for a starting PG spot. We can also look around the league for a 3rd trade partner that will allow us to not only get the proper value back for Tony, but make sure the incoming pieces fit needs.

    Again, this is all based on the rumor that Tony wants out. If the rumor is true, I bet the FO and Tony will help each other out, so that both parties came out ahead.

  • aq

    What are you guys talking about? Jerry West was not involved in the Gasol trade at all. Chris Wallace was the Memphis GM who made the trade. We’ve seen tons of these lopsided deals in terms of talent. Nobody seems to remember that Memphis shopped Gasol for months, and no other team wanted to take on his huge contract. He was there for the taking for every team in the league that had cap relief, picks, and a couple of young players to offer. Of course it was smart for the Lakers to get him, but it wasn’t a backroom deal, it was the fact that they were willing to pay him when no other team wanted to. At the time, Gasol was seen as soft and not capable of carrying a team even though he was getting max money, and generally, teams hate to pay max money to secondary players.

    ESPN’s analysis at the time said “This was about as good as [Memphis] could reasonably hope to do for Gasol — two draft picks, two prospects and cap relief is a nice haul. And that’s what a good trade is in the NBA — both teams come out of it better than they went in…Additionally, the trade opens playing time for promising forward Hakim Warrick. The Griz were 13-31 with Gasol, so it’s hard to argue they erred in getting rid of him”

  • rj

    so…..why would tony want to play for new york? i mean, seriously. how is playing under the proven failiure of mike d’antoni’s system and playing with hustle-lacking amare encticing? even if they were to acquire melo (who is perhaps the most inefficient, overrated player in the league), they are not a title contender. we are talking about 3 pure scorers that need the ball at all times to be effective. these are three allstars, not 2 superstars and 1 allstar. this trio will not contend with miami.

    the on;y reason i could see tony wanting to play in new york is to satisfy his desire to play in a high profile enviornment to suit his own ego. also, it would benefit eva and her hollywood lifestyle. and, of course, the money…

    i guess making the playoffs in ny for the next couple of years is better than rebuilding in sa…..

  • Jim Henderson

    aq
    August 19th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    You do a nice job presenting the “other” side of the Gasol trade. That said, I think that you’re stating a few “facts” that are not entirely accurate, and making some assumptions that cannot be verified. First of all, Gasol did not have a max deal at the time – he was making about 12-13 mil, which was not out of the ordinary at all for an “in prime” 7 footer that was averaging 19/9/3 apg/1.5 bpg. I also don’t remember that Gasol was being aggressively shopped for months before the Lakers ultimately got him. It appeared likely that any publicity of Gasol being on the block was deliberately kept to a minimum, for a variety of reasons. You make the assumption that Jerry West was “not involved at all” in the Gasol deal, despite the fact that West was the former GM for the Grizzlies (resigned the Summer of 2007 – Gasol trade Feb. 2008), AND is an influential life-long Laker with close ties with the upper echelon of Laker basketball operations. Granted Wallace was the one who officially pulled the trigger on the deal, but nobody on the outside knows for sure if West had any influence/pull with Wallace. At the least, the circumstances are somewhat suspicious, and pulling the trigger 2 weeks before the trade deadline was to put it mildly, “unusual”.

    To counter the “ESPN analyst” that you quote, A you know, Warrick has never become a very good player, and has been long gone from Memphis. Extra minutes for him was nowhere in Memphis’ long-term plans. And I don’t really count the following players as legitimate “prospects”: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittendon, and Aaron McKie. All three of those players are somewhere else, making little contribution. Then the Grizz got two future first round picks, which of course with the Lakers are almost always LATE round picks, in this case #28 in both 2008 & 2010. The 2008 pick is no longer with the team, and the 2010 pick is lucky if he makes it some day as a deep rotation player. The Marc Gasol portion of the deal has turned out fortuitous, but Marc was not thought to be near the player that Pau was at the time (and still isn’t — although probably has come closer to the high range of the expectations), and so the deal was primarily done to give Memphis some cap space so that the Lakers could pay a large chunk in luxury tax to win another championship or two. Most teams don’t trade away an extraordinarily versatile impact player like Gasol for cap space and the rights to a player unlikely to match Pau’s status as a player. No owner likes paying massive luxury taxes, but Buss correctly saw this as a no-brainer.

    The deal did turn out “okay” for Memphis, but the point is, why the Lakers? I don’t buy that they simply outbid all the other teams in the league at the time. I can tell you right now, the Spurs would have loved to have traded Memphis the rights to Splitter, a few scrubs, and a couple late 1st round picks for Gasol in 2008. We could have made just as compelling of a deal at the time (but may simply not have been considered a “favored” trading partner by Memphis), and we’d be hanging up our 5th banner by now.

  • rob

    I stand by my consensus that I don’t think the team needs to focus on getting another PG to replace Parker if Parker were to be traded. Now IF a really good, proven PG would be part of the deal…that’s not to say I wouldn’t want to accept that deal. But again….Parker for a proven SF and defensive big would work for me as well.

    The article makes some very true assesments as far as the nba is now. Versatility for a player(s) on a team to play the 1&2, 2&3, 3&4 or 4&5 is becoming common.

    Parker is the best penetrating PG in the game IMO. But you take away his ability to score effectively via speed by containing him defensively…and you have a very limited player. Still very good to say the least…but very limited at being able to do other things.

    Some have mentioned Stuckey or Felton or (insert other proven nba PG) with regards that’s the only way the Spurs would benefit by trading Parker.

    If the article holds any merit…the team could get 2 versitile players in a SF and defensive big and still be a contention team by having Hill, Temple and Jerrells playing the 1 spot.

    Withstanding Jerrells…I made some comparisons regarding per 36 minutes.

    2nd year Hill – 15.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 spg, .379 3pt%

    1st (1/2) year Temple- 14.7 ppg, 2.3 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 spg, .351 3pt%

    Parker’s 2nd year- 14.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.2 rpg, .8 spg, .312 3pt%

    If given more minutes…I would assume the assists ratio should rise with Hill and Temple while presenting better defense and 3 point shooting.

    Sure loosing Parker’s numbers as an individual would hurt the team. But that could be made up very easily through more versitility at all of the positions.

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 19th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    ““Parker’s 2nd year- 14.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.2 rpg, .8 spg, .312 3pt%”

    Actually, Parkers 2nd year, per 36 minute stats at age 20 were:

    16.5 ppg., 5.6 apg., 2.8 rpg., .9 spg., .337 – 3pt%

    If you notice, both Parker and Stuckey’s apg. were 5.0 or above (and 5.0 is not great, even for a scoring PG). Hill’s and Temples are both below 3.8 apg. That’s a pretty big difference, and does seem to indicate, at least at this point, that both Hill and Temple are more combo guards than PG’s. Parker & Stuckey are both “scoring” PG’s, with Parker of course being the most “efficient” of the two (Stuckey needs to keep working on his shooting). Also, the data is too limited on Temple (only 193 minutes played on the Spurs) to really draw any firm conclusions from his production numbers. I do like Hill and Temple, but I tend to doubt that either of them will be adequate as “playoff acceptable” starting PG’s. I think Stuckey has a better chance, and I don’t think we trade Parker without a legitimate starting PG back, or at least another more established “creator-type” combo-guard.

  • rob

    @Jim Henderson

    You may feel it is important to gain a typical PG and I’m not debating that would be the best thing if it were to happen. But I think Parker could be traded for another proven versitile SF and Big and be just as much a contender in the west with Hill, Temple and Jerrells as our 1 spot players.

    The ability to score and defend well across the entire spectrum of players on the floor is becoming more evident in this league. And if it were not for it’s versitile players…Kobe and the Lakers would still be chasing the last 2 championships.

    Duncan and Ginobili are not “versitile” anymore. Parker has always been limited. Jefferson is very limited in what he can do well and his .316% 3 point shooting last year isn’t far off from his .317% career 3 point shooting average.

    And I understand the “desire” to find the best fit in a Parker exchange. I just don’t think it’s limitations are only for another PG to take his place if a very versitile SF and Big could be garnished if trading Parker were to happen.

    At some point this team is going to have to role with the youth it’s acquired. Or at least give them some meaningful minutes to become consistant contributors.

    For that matter….I wouldn’t mind bringing in a more versitile SF even if it meant Jefferson were relegated to bench status. Just as long as it would make the team better. And speaking of better…in a more defined role…though it might not develop to 6+ assists per game….I do believe Hill, and yes even Temple, could become better at that stat while already being better defenders and 3-point shooters.

  • BALLHOG

    @ Dr Who

    Now that you mention it. What is a cancer as it relates to a player? Is a player that talks a lot of trash, a cancer?

    How about a player that comes to the locker room after a loss and calls his teammates bitches for losing a game that they should have won.

    Or maybe a player that would tell Duncan and Bonner to get thier big asses down in the paint and stop trying to play point forward.

    Finally, could it be a player who would confront his coach? Talk a lil shit to the coach when he puts in the likes of Bonner, Bogans, Mason into a close game?

    Seems to me that it is all about Pop!
    We cant bring in any real talent because Pop may not be able to handle the player.

    Someone asked why Tony Parker would leave the Spurs for the Knicks?
    Too much George Hill praise going on and comming from the head coach, at that. Knicks are building a team, huge market, better endorsement potential, etc…Above all, He wont have to play for Pop anymore….Seems like a no brainer and Tony is probably gone. Until Pop leaves the Spurs, we wont have an allstar caliber player or a 12 man roster.

    Which means, we wont win until he is gone.

    What is scary,

    Are Spurs Seriously thinking about Trading Parker and going with Hill and Temple?

    IMO this is BACK-ASS-WARD!

    Instead, trade Hill and Temple and keep Parker…

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 19th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    “But I think Parker could be traded for another proven versitile SF and Big and be just as much a contender in the west with Hill, Temple and Jerrells as our 1 spot players.”

    Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. We’d have to rely too much on the fragile, 33 year old Manu as our principle penetrator/creator from the guard spot to survive a playoff run under such a scenario. And that’s something I’d prefer to avoid. Manu has enough pressure as it is on this team.

  • JustinFL

    With all do respect I have to disagree with you Mr. Ballhog. If a system is going to work the players have to be on board 100% with the coach. What the coach says is law. (Remember Hoosiers)? That’s the kind of coach we have. Think Gene Hackman. Yes, Pop gets it wrong sometimes, but every coach does. Let’s be honest. Do you think Tony would be as good as he is now without Pop’s system or his coaching?
    As I recall, it was Pop riding his butt day in and day out that brought the best out in Tony. Pop saw his potential and found a way to make it shine forth. That’s coaching.
    It’s hard to tell how Tony’s career would have looked like up to this point without Pop. What teams, or coaches for that matter, would have taken a chance on him and worked with him?

    What we were doing at the time was risky, and apparently setting a trend, by drafting foreign players and adapting them to the NBA. It was Pop and the FO’s ability to find these gems that brought innovation and respect to this franchise. Yes, they got it wrong too sometimes. But just remember, when other teams were drafting high school projects, we were drafting Tony and Manu.

  • rob

    @ Jim Henderson

    Well…as preposterous as this may seem…the Wizards unload and look to after next season while having expirings to work with to help build around Wall. Gee has already impressed them to the point that they were kicking themselves for letting his 10 day expire.

    http://www.realgm.com/src_checktrade.php?tradeid=5672290

    The Spurs (if known to them that Parker is gone after this season) get a decent PG for the season in Hinrich while also solidifying their SF position and Big rotation.

    Washington isn’t competing in that division and would do well to load up with expirings or one year deals so to be capable of paying for talent the following season.

    This also leaves open for the Knicks to go after Melo next season and have a solid core of players on the roster.

  • Two Cents

    I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon that is ‘the common wisdom’ that the spurs are any worse than any other team in the West other than the Lakers…

  • Jacob

    @ rob,

    I really like that trade proposal. Is Felton in the last year of his contract with NY? I think that would be key for the Knicks to jump at this

  • rob

    @Jacob

    I believe Felton’s contract is a 3 year with 2 of them guaranteed. I couldn’t find evidence of that so it’s just from what I remember hearing.

    An interesting article if you haven’t already read it…
    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/me_amar_and_melo_BU8MzS41wIdwRYLU1D7NTJ

    I’m not keen on mid season trades. And I’m not recalling any that the Spurs have done in recent past.

    My thought is to get something done now if possible so the new players can get well acclimated prior to the playoffs. But this may be the year that the Spurs do a mid season trade if they are certain Tony will be leaving next year. Felton and Chandler for Parker isn’t a bad trade…it just puts a lot more pressure to become familiar with the system in a short period of time before playoffs.

  • Dr. Who

    @Ballhog

    All players can push each other. If some scrub comes into practice and starts riding Timmy for lack of effort, that will last all of 2 seconds. Nice knowing you kid, out the door. It’s a big problem with the NBA and domestic backetball in general. You get a great feel for it even coaching younger kids in the middle school and high school level. They are all about “me” and did you see my double crossover? I broke that kids ankles. Hey, chief… your team lost by 15 points… They are all palyground superstars with highlight moves they are more than ready to show in a game. Fundamentals… usually lacking. There is more focus on isolation (getting myself on ESPN) than on team basketball. Look at what the good Euro and South American teams do, it’s ain’t isolation with some superstar wearing white sunglasses and an Autotune Hip Hop album. Problem is many kids in the NBA (they act like kids) think they are MJ and act the part. They’re not.

    A guy like Mario Ellie came to SA and rode David 5-0 and said he needed more effort. Ellie had 2 rings and a bad attitude (in a good way). He yelled at Dave and pushed him. I’m sure he did the same with Hakeem. Can a guy like Barnes come in here and yell at TD in practice and say he needs more effort? TD will just tell him he needs a jumpshot and some rings. You get too many loud mouth punks in a lockeroom talking trash about the coach and the system and you have a mess on your hands. Players have to beleive in the system. If they don’t they’d want out. Maybe Tony doesn’t believe anymore; the others sure have (not a bad group considering there are several hall of famers in there). I’ve been pretty critical of Pop (especially last season), but you have to beleive in your coach and your system. You can’t bring in guys that are going to skip practice etc. (think Allen Iverson Dennis Rodman). You can’t think you are bigger than the team. You can bring in seasoned guys who will push each other sure, but not a cancer who will complain over and over. Habitual complaining and thinking you are bigger than the team, that is a cancer. I no way am I saying Pop is God and always right. Not so, but you have to believe in the system and trust your coach. If you have a difference of opinion with your coach or teammate you talk with him offline and away from the media. Not on the court, not in front of the cameras, not at a press conference; that’s what professionals do. Punks (cancers) do it in public at press conferences in the lockeroom in front of everyone etc. I think you know what I’m talking about here, no problem in gettign upset with a teammate if he missed a defensive rotation on the court, but whining and complaining; different animal. Again think about guys like Jax, Manu or Ellie with a sh@tpot of fire in theri belly who will call you out for making a mistake in a postive way and think about a guy like Iverson who will sulk and complain (and loves to go to practice). Totally different ends of the spectrum.

  • NL

    random question:

    if we didn’t sign Tiago, would Shaq be a spur?

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 19th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Spurs did the best

    Knicks did the next best

    Wizards did the worse

    Unfortunately, it would be unlikely that the Wiz would not do this deal. I don’t see them wanting to unload Hinrich to essentially pick up 9 mil. in cap space in 2011 (and I don’t see great interest in Gee [or Jerrells], who’s still a long shot to make it as a steady rotation player in this league). Granted, 9 mil. is a little steep for Hinrich, but not that bad (plus his contract comes up the following year), and they would still have enough to sign a max FA, or even maybe even two less than max FA’s. Al Horford would be a good fit there, for example.

    If they wanted to make a big splash in free agency, the contract they’d really like to get rid of is Gilbert Arenas’. That would be difficult to do, but that’s what would get Washington’s attention. With the baggage that Arenas carries in DC, him remaining there takes away from the incentive to rebuild with a fresh approach around John Wall. And that’s what the Wiz need to try and do. Arenas needs a fresh start as well, and he certainly has amazing talent. He doesn’t seem like that bad of a guy. Maybe he can get his shit together?

    Overall, though, the deal you proposed is not entirely unreasonable. It would be an awesome deal for the Spurs. Hinrich is an excellent player, and would be a great fit. Gallo and Anthony are potentially budding stars in the front court. And of course NY gets Parker, and an NBA experienced, tall, young center to audition in 2010 with the addition of Yi. And obviously NY can’t wait to get rid of Curry’s contract.

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 19th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    By the way, with that Wiz deal we would probably have too much talent looking for minutes at the 4/5 spot. Would probably need to make another move, or include McDyess in the deal somehow.

  • Jacob

    @ rob

    yeah, i’ve seen that article before, but thanks – Lets just say that I’ll be a little more than pissed if we sign and trade our all-star PG, 3 time championship, finals MVP, for a shit deal that only nets us Chandler and Felton in return. I would not do any deal with the Knicks unless they are willing to give a little back too, and I mean Randolph, and Gallinari. The last thing we need are two more mediocre roleplayers without much of un upside for growth and improvement. If we have to throw in McDyess to get it done, so be it.

    Here’s to hoping the Spurs do the deal that you proposed, and the Wizards / Knicks are interested enough to take it.

  • Max

    I really liked this article because it is part of the revolution of attempting to break down the traditional definitions of player evaluations. I think that the single most disruptive mechanism in evaluating rosters/players and more importantly distinguishing between players’ contributions is statistics. Not the method of statistics in general but the accepted ‘general’ statistics that are taken as basketball law: Pts/Rebs/Asts/Stls/FG%/Turns etc that have been around for the most part since (gulp) the 60’s. This, of course, has led to abominations like PER that tell us that Lebron is way better than Duncan or Kobe.

    Basketball, as stated in this article, is a game of improvisational flow where less can be more and more can be less. How a player contributes to the flow over the course of an offseason, into the season and maximizing the team’s flow in later rounds of the playoffs is what makes players great. It’s a war attrition that often means superstars must sacrifice a great deal of personal statistics etc to establish team unity in the players’ consciousness of this flow. This is something only Duncan and Kobe(begrudgingly perhaps) have mastered since Jordan retired and Lebron has failed royally at (and will never succeed at now that he is in Miami, even if he wins titles). Its something that takes seasons to develop and is why coaches like Pop or Phil matter the most.

    So while we are in the process of scrapping the need to identify players with the all too rigid system of 1-5 positions, we should also scrap our current statistical analysis. Ironically, because defense is so hard to analyze statistically (and perhaps because there is less ‘glory’ in it too), its the far better understood part of the game. Passing lanes, deflections, denials, zones, man-on-man, close outs etc are all language of understanding and disrupting ‘flow’. The great teams (of which there only ever a few a decade) know how to tailor their defense to the other teams offense not only to disrupt offensive flow but to also optimize the transition into their own style of offensive play.

    Side note: If people actually read this long ass post, I know somebody is going to bring up something like adjusted +/-, which is presented as some sort of absolute judgment. This is also not an accurate analysis and further represents a step in the wrong direction because the method intentionally tries to ignore the flow and continuity of the game, the connection between players, and casts all minutes, points, and games as equal, when, over the course of an NBA season, they are decidedly not. Also, even under its own analysis the method fails as there are far too many microcosms that means that other players will inevitably effect each others statistics even if you try and boil away this effect mathematically because, well duh, its basketball and you almost always play in very similar and consistent rotations and perform better with certain players (synergy). The resulting effect will lead to those players who have an extraordinary positive synergy effect in certain combinations being ‘undervalued’ in the analysis of various players.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson
    August 20th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    “By the way, with that Wiz deal we would probably have too much talent looking for minutes at the 4/5 spot. Would probably need to make another move, or include McDyess in the deal somehow.”

    Duncan, Splitter, Blair and Randolph being the key players with McDyess and Bonner as situational wouldn’t be having “too much” talent at the 4/5 spot. Admittingly it would leave very little time for both…but at McDyess’ age and Bonner’s proven inconsitancy…it wouldn’t be a deal breaker for the Spurs IMO if such a trade were to happen. I’m sure they would find a way to make that work.

    That plus it would leave the Spurs open after 12/15 to use either or both to better their roster either via trade or future draft picks.

    A side note to the trade I proposed. If both the Spurs and Knicks were to throw in each a future draft pick…the Wizards would be looking to adding top talent role players to surround Arenas and Wall relatively quick. And along with having the money to spend next season to attract a proven player(s)…top talent is the only way they would have a chance in that division.

    After proposed trade:

    PG: Hinrich, Hill, Temple
    SG: Ginobili, Anderson, Neal
    SF: Jefferson, Gallinari, (Anderson)
    PF: Duncan, Randolph, Bonner
    C: Splitter, Blair, McDyess

    McDyess, Bonner seeing less time than before… Temple and Neal as insurance… Anderson being used the way Pop likes to break in rookies, (which I’m sure we’ll see him placed in the SF slot a few times just to see how he handles it)… adds up to a very deep team worthy of mention for the wcf if not title contention.

  • rob

    Not to mention that after Hinrich’s contract is up…so will be Chris Paul’s

  • zainn

    man, i honestly think that either new york keeps raymond felton, or trade him and others for chris paul. cause, new york needs a good supporting cast around stoudemire and potentially anthony and paul/parker. they would only give up everything for paul, not parker, (sorry to face the reality), so i’m pretty sure parker is going to stay just where he is by the end of the season.

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 20th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    “Duncan, Splitter, Blair and Randolph being the key players with McDyess and Bonner as situational wouldn’t be having “too much” talent at the 4/5 spot.”

    You’re going to play people that make 4+ million per year 5 mpg. each every other 2-3 games or more? That’s what it would take to possibly make this work. On top of that, with RJ under wraps for 10 mil. per year for 3-4 more years, he’s going to see a lot of minutes. As a result, getting Gallo enough minutes would require him to play some of his time at the stretch four. All said and done, I don’t see how this works with both Bonner & McDyess under toe, and McDyess would be the easiest to trade because of a much shorter contract.

    “…..the Wizards would be looking to adding top talent role players to surround Arenas and Wall relatively quick.”

    Getting late 1st round picks is not a very likely way to add “top talent role players”. Most late 1st round picks do not turn out to be good role players on good teams.

    zainn
    August 20th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Except that Parker is only under contract for ONE year; Paul is under contract for TWO years. I don’t see NY waiting if they can get Parker at a reasonable price.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson
    August 20th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    “You’re going to play people that make 4+ million per year 5 mpg. each every other 2-3 games or more? That’s what it would take to possibly make this work. On top of that, with RJ under wraps for 10 mil. per year for 3-4 more years, he’s going to see a lot of minutes. As a result, getting Gallo enough minutes would require him to play some of his time at the stretch four. All said and done, I don’t see how this works with both Bonner & McDyess under toe, and McDyess would be the easiest to trade because of a much shorter contract.”

    Sure. Why not? Is it any different than some teams paying players 2 to 3 times that amount and not producing or playing and they don’t have a remote chance of making the playoffs? This trade would make the Spurs certain favorites to not only make the playoffs…but a great chance of going at least into the wcf if not more.

    McDyess would probably welcome less playing time while Bonner should be getting less playing time. They would be assimulated assurances if somebody gets hurt and/or could be used later in the season as trade.

    What you ask (including McDyess) does not allow this trade to happen for the players listed in the trade. So what you are saying is that if McDyess could not be included and had to remain a Spur you would not do this deal because somebody might not get ample playing time for the money they’re being paid. Getting the players I mentioned makes the Spurs a really good team. I don’t think management would mind figuring the details of who gets to play if they could have a team like that. Somebody would get traded sooner or later if it be a problem… so problem solved if that be the case.

    Also…I think your assumption that players on this team play because of the money they’re making and not the production they would be producing is not giving credit to the coaching staff in putting the best players on the court for the task at hand.

    Players like McDyess and Bonner make millions through out this league and don’t see a minute on the court simply because of their tenure or engaged contract prior to other players coming in. And I cannot think of any team that would want to play them over somebody making less that would provide better production just because they make more. Did Parker play more than Daniels? And at the time…who made more?

    So…it’s not like this trade would happen anyway…but to not want to make this trade because somebody getting paid millions might have to ride the bench over somebody providing better production who would be getting paid the same or less would not make sense if it meant the team’s chances of winning would improve and your options to trading player X later would be just as lucrative as trading them now.

  • rob

    Also with regards to minutes per game…in the situation where you would want Duncan to take off in b2b situations….McDyess and Bonner would play more than 5 minutes. Having that kind of luxury is something the Spurs could have used the past two seasons.

  • JustinFL

    Man I wish we could get Hinrich. I’ve always thought the Spurs would’ve been the perfect team for him.
    However all this trade speculation works out, I agree we need a trade and that more than likely will be Tony. i hate to see him go and will miss those good times, but I’d be more excited about who we get and the future of the team.
    The fact is we need a shakeup, a risk. We need to do something out of the norm. Over the last couple of seasons we’ve become too predictable. That’s why it’s easy for critics to call us boring. They used to call us boring because we played defense like it was nobody’s business. We used to frustrate teams into self destruction with our D. And that my friend, is where our hat needs to get hung again.
    That’s who we should be making trades for. Players who are commited on the defensive end. I agree with many on here that we are kidding ourselves thinking we are destined for the WCF or beyond with this roster. I’m not saying it can’t happen, we are the Spurs for God’s sakes. But there is more work to do in pursuing the completion of a better team. Let’s just hope Pop and company are up to the task/
    One more thing. Yes, there was something fishy going on in both the Garnett and Gasol trades. Both seemed to be incorporated by past players with ties to their old teams. It sucks. And after this summer’s free agency I’ve finally lived to see it all. Can we really be haters? Imagine if it was us getting Garnett or Gasol? We would have been ecstatic. And who knows what all we would have been willing to overlook to get one of them.

  • Jim Henderson

    “Is it any different than some teams paying players 2 to 3 times that amount and not producing or playing and they don’t have a remote chance of making the playoffs?”

    Teams that do that with any kind of regularity are losing franchises. It’s completely irresponsible financially to pay someone 4 mil. per year to play 5-15 mpg. on a very sporadic basis. If you can unload one of those players, you have to try to do it.

    “This trade would make the Spurs certain favorites to not only make the playoffs…but a great chance of going at least into the wcf if not more.”

    We don’t know that. It’s certainly debatable that the trade would make us strong enough defensively to make a serious run at the finals. And there are a variety of factors that we simply don’t know about with this deal, in terms of chemistry, for example. Of course, even getting this deal done is far from likely, but it might be more likely if we put McDyess into the deal to entice NY to give up the two young talent’s on their team with the most upside, and it would be better for us anyway. It’d be better to send Gee (a good fit) to NY (with Parker & Yi) and Jerrells (or draft pick) & McDyess to Washington along with Curry’s large expiring contract. The Wiz could use a veteran on the front line this year to help the team boost their confidence with a decent number of wins this season (they could win at least 35 games this year). Also, it still allows the Wiz some financial flexibility because McDyess’ contract is only partially guaranteed in 2011, so they could waive him and allow another team to pick him up. This would also make Peter Holt happy, because I know he’s been looking forward to positioning himself to avoid the nasty luxury tax over the next few years, and it also reduces the chances of chemistry issues resulting from too many good players not getting a reasonable number of minutes.

    “McDyess would probably welcome less playing time while Bonner should be getting less playing time.”

    But it’s not just “less playing time”. We wouldn’t be able to play them hardly at all. Neither of those players would like that, nor should ownership want to pay a stiff luxury tax again for a team that would still be a 10-1 shot at getting a title.

    “And I cannot think of any team that would want to play them over somebody making less that would provide better production just because they make more. Did Parker play more than Daniels? And at the time…who made more?”

    But that’s not the point. A team doesn’t want to get themselves into a situation where they’re paying players too much in relation to what they are contributing to the team. I doubt we’d feel to good about Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker’s contracts if we had replacements that produced more at half the cost. We would play the lower cost guys, but we shouldn’t be too happy that we’re paying expensive guys to sit on the bench while we pay a hefty luxury tax. That’s not sound financial management, particularly for a small market franchise, and for an owner that doesn’t have the bucks of a Paul Allen or a Mark Cuban. This is not monopoly money we’re using here. Playing arm-chair GM requires a more realistic assessment of the monetary factors, including a look from the owners viewpoint. You do understand how the luxury tax works, right. It’s not a sound strategy to find yourself in the position of paying that tax year after year unless you KNOW that you are one of the bonafide favorites to win a title, or perhaps if you’re owned by one of a handful of mega-rich owners around the league. This deal could get us close to a “bonafide favorite”, but there would still be too many unknowns to consider us as such with any considerable amount of confidence.

    Also, there is such a thing as being too deep as a team. It can cause chemistry problems. Orlando last year may have been an example. Brandon Bass is a really good player, but he got minimal and inconsistent minutes on an ultra deep Magic team. Bass did not like that, and even though he’s a good guy, and a sound professional, his discontent could not help but rub off on the team. Orlando had the players to get to the finals again last year, and they failed. Chemistry problems resulting from too much talent one through twelve may very well have been a culprit.

    “…but to not want to make this trade because somebody getting paid millions might have to ride the bench over somebody providing better production who would be getting paid the same or less would not make sense if it meant the team’s chances of winning would improve and your options to trading player X later would be just as lucrative as trading them now.”

    It makes no sense to wait for a problem to occur and then try to rectify it. Often the problem is not recognized or dealt with until it’s too late anyway. It’s better to make an effort to preempt a potential problem at the outset, and at the same time make a prudent financial management decision. Holt paid a stiff tax last year because he thought it might get us back into contention, and we weren’t even close. And as I said, getting the Wiz McDyess, and the Knick’s Gee might give this unlikely deal a slightly better chance of flying anyway.

    P.S. Not having Felton in the deal could be a big deal-breaker for the Knicks. They need his 2 year contract gone by next year to have a shot at Anthony. If they send Felton to Washington, I’m not sure if how that would affect the deal, including the financial/cap-related aspects.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson
    August 21st, 2010 at 1:28 am

    “Teams that do that with any kind of regularity are losing franchises. It’s completely irresponsible financially to pay someone 4 mil. per year to play 5-15 mpg. on a very sporadic basis. If you can unload one of those players, you have to try to do it.”

    Agreed. That is the norm for losing franchises. But this situation would certainly help make the Spurs remain a winning franchise. And as I stated before…the Spurs could look to trading either or both McDyess/Bonner later in the season.

    “Of course, even getting this deal done is far from likely, but it might be more likely if we put McDyess into the deal to entice NY to give up the two young talent’s on their team with the most upside, and it would be better for us anyway. It’d be better to send Gee (a good fit) to NY (with Parker & Yi) and Jerrells (or draft pick) & McDyess to Washington along with Curry’s large expiring contract.”

    Agreed. This is just a summer doldrum specualtion and trade scenario more than likely not to happen. I haven’t managed the time to look deeper into manifesting a trade scenario that would work including McDyess. It takes time to make these things work on paper. I welcome you or somebody else to try a different approach involving the same players to see if it would work another way.

    “P.S. Not having Felton in the deal could be a big deal-breaker for the Knicks. They need his 2 year contract gone by next year to have a shot at Anthony. If they send Felton to Washington, I’m not sure if how that would affect the deal, including the financial/cap-related aspects.”

    I thought about that too. The problem with this whole speculative scenario is that Felton and Bonner both aren’t available to trade until December 15th. Mid season trades are not a Spurs trade mark. Though this year may be different because of the Parker situation. There could be some nod and winks going on behind the scenes that we simply don’t know about. The Wizards certainly could use a top PG. The Spurs certainly need to know the direction Parker is most likely to head next season. And the Knicks certainly do need to unload some of it’s talent/salary if they are expected to be in the running for Anthony.

    But it may benefit the Knicks to see how Felton will work in their system before trying to unload him. His youth is certainly an appealing aspect if he pans out. And his salary would certainly be a bonus for having that tangible instead of paying more for another PG.

    Parker’s value at this point is based on past production at an earlier age. Speed is his dominant factor. What will his perceived value be 2 years from now? And do teams think about that?

    P.S. A note of thanks for you’re intelect and forward thinking. It stimulates my thoughts and reasoning prior to looking into something that crosses my mind regarding these types of situations. I enjoy the debates and look forward to more as the season gets closer and progresses.

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    August 21st, 2010 at 5:19 am

    “I thought about that too. The problem with this whole speculative scenario is that Felton and Bonner both aren’t available to trade until December 15th. Mid season trades are not a Spurs trade mark.”

    I agree, that’s why a deal next off-season is more likely. We have TP’s bird rights, and would still have a decent amount of leverage to get something good back for him.

    “But it may benefit the Knicks to see how Felton will work in their system before trying to unload him. His youth is certainly an appealing aspect if he pans out.”

    If they could lose Felton in a decent Parker deal they would do it. Felton’s actually just two years younger than TP. Not a huge difference.

    “Parker’s value at this point is based on past production at an earlier age. Speed is his dominant factor. What will his perceived value be 2 years from now? And do teams think about that?”

    It’s an issue. Teams will take it under consideration for sure. In my view though, TP has at least 4 very productive years in front of him, if not more. That’s plenty of time for most GM’s that feel that they’re at least close to playoff contention. TP’s a very skilled and crafty player. It’s not just his speed that has made him great, particularly as he’s matured. Look at Leandro Barbosa. TP will make some adjustments to his game as his speed begins to wane some. All great players do that as they age. And TP is underrated for the things he does on the floor other than driving and finishing at the cup.

    “A note of thanks for you’re intelect and forward thinking. It stimulates my thoughts and reasoning prior to looking into something that crosses my mind regarding these types of situations.”

    Thanks. Thoughtful debates are a good thing, and I appreciate that you try to keep an open mind. I can tell that you thought through the Wiz/Knicks deal (three team deals are not that easy to put together), and were looking for something that could make the Spurs better, with the likelihood of Parker leaving next season. It makes for an interesting discussion. Keep up the good work.

  • Firebrand

    On the Record Spurs will be minimum of 53-29 for the season and the tony issue will hinge on the new cba . I say we sign him to a 5 year deal maybe 4 at 15 mil. a year and trade him After he turns 30 in 2012 . So two more years of the frenchman I say…… as always this is total amateur speculation lol . Go team U.S.A. and Go SPURS !!!!

  • Araz

    Hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but we are gonna need a lot more than trading Tony Parker in the above deals to even contend for a title. Theres this team in Miami that argueably has the best two players in the NBA… in addition to one of the bests supporting casts in the NBA. Their team is the closest thing to “unbeatable” that the NBA has seen in a long time. In my opinion, if we trade Tony Parker, we are completely out of contention… At least our 3 stars (No team outside of Detroit has done it any other way in recent memory) need to have one of their healthiest, and most productive seasons this year, which is possible, but Trading an All-NBA point guard is the wrong way to go if we are looking to contend THIS YEAR. In the longterm, it’s a great idea, but if Tony leaves… so does our shot at a championship right now.

  • Sam

    kinda off topic but it appears a league wide switch has been made to jersey material, which has led to new jerseys for all teams. While some teams havn’t redone their looks, a hand full have made minor tweaks. The Spurs have made tweaks to their jerseys that look more sharp.

    NEW:
    http://www.nba.com/spurs/photos/100818_1.html

    OLD:
    http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTmKOgPxTRVs7NnWt-jkybdih2m60VqTQ4hn3MZc0eeNTStkR4&t=1&usg=__9ONnzKD8g4a1gCCyvoPuhr67pSk=

    The changes are that the font of the numbers has changed, the collar is now a v-neck, the silver side of the jersey is more shiny, and the all silver waistband is gone.

  • Jim Henderson

    Araz
    August 21st, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    “…..but Trading an All-NBA point guard is the wrong way to go if we are looking to contend THIS YEAR. In the longterm, it’s a great idea, but if Tony leaves… so does our shot at a championship right now.”

    But we have no shot at a title this year with Tony Parker either.

    By the way, Miami has little shot at winning the East, let alone getting by LA for a title this year.

  • Araz

    Jim Henderson,

    I’m pretty sure Miami has a rather large shot at winning the East and LA for a title this year. Any team with either of those two (LeBron and Wade) would atleast be a second round playoff team if they had a decent supporting cast. This team has BOTH of them and a better supporting cast than anyone thought possible (including another bigtime allstar). Yes, chemistry may be a factor, but I don’t think it will slow down this team enough to not be considered the top team or one of the the top two teams in the entire NBA.

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  • Jim Henderson

    Araz
    August 22nd, 2010 at 8:20 am

    “Yes, chemistry may be a factor, but I don’t think it will slow down this team enough to not be considered the top team or one of the the top two teams in the entire NBA.”

    The big three on Miami are a “buddies club” with super large egos. They were bullies on their own block, and then got tired of the “smaller” guys on the block teaming up to defeat them. Rather than teaming up with other “smaller” guys on their own block to win the turf battles, they decided to try and go the “easier” route by getting together with two other bullies. They’re just pussies, and really don’t have the heart of champions. They will have problems getting by “real” teams like the Magic & Celtics in a ECF’s or semifinals, and may even get upset by the upstart Bulls. And they have little shot at unseating the two-time defending champion Lakers, but I seriously doubt that they’ll get that far this year.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    August 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I agree. These guys have really proven very little over their careers. Sure Wade was a one time champion with Shaq, but that Miami team is widely regarded as one of the weakest NBA champions in recent history. Volumes have been written on Lebron’s inability to win the big games. Bosh, as good as he probably is, has been the great player on a super weak team(in the Eastern Conference none the less). Yes, Bosh is a good scorer and rebounder, but so is Al Jefferson. On top of this, they are super weak at the C position and aren’t that good at the backup PG and SG positions. In short, this team’s depth is highly suspect.

    Talent alone doesn’t win championships. This Heat team has yet to even face the rigors of an entire regular season, much less the hardships they will likely face in the playoffs with battle tested team such as Lakers, Celtics, and Magic. I can see them winning 60-65 games this season, but they won’t beat the 72 win Bulls team.

  • Araz

    I see your point on them taking the easy way out, but I just can’t see how you stop them on the basketball court. Yes, they are egomaniacs…. but they are very, very good at basketball. I don’t think they will get the Bulls record either, but I don’t understand how you can put 3 of the best top ten players in the NBA on one team and not expect greatness. I’m not saying I like them, just that they are a “super” team. We’ll just have to agree to disagree until the season starts.

  • Araz

    Oh and Hobson, I think the Heat can be successful without the stard 1,2,3,4,5. They just need to put players around Wade and James (not to mention Bosh) that can compliment them, which it seems like they have done. Wade and James are very capable of bringing the ball up and making plays for others. And they are weak upfront, but one superstar postplayer will not outscore this team anyday.

  • Araz

    *stard= standard

  • Two Cents

    I disagree. Spurs have a legit shot @ the title this year…

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    August 22nd, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    “I can see them winning 60-65 games this season, but they won’t beat the 72 win Bulls team.”

    I put them 58-62 wins. Jeff VanGundy is playing head games with his brother’s new flashy, interstate rival. The Heat have NO chance at the Bulls record 72 wins. Let me repeat — NO CHANCE. And then the playoffs are an entirely different animal. That’s when the intangibles come into play: chemistry, selflessness, teamwork, guts, supreme confidence AND supreme humility possessed simultaneously, etc. None of which the Heat have shown that they’re special in.

    “I don’t think they will get the Bulls record either, but I don’t understand how you can put 3 of the best top ten players in the NBA on one team and not expect greatness.”

    Araz
    August 22nd, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    For one thing, Bosh is not in the top ten in the NBA as an all-around player. And second, you’ll come to realize that it takes a lot more than just talent to win a title in the NBA. Intangibles are huge at the elite level, and the Heat are relatively weak in most of them. Do you want to know why MJ was the GOAT? I’ll give you a clue: it was not because he’s the most physically gifted player of all time. I’ll let you fill in the details on your own.

    Araz
    August 22nd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    “Wade and James are very capable of bringing the ball up and making plays for others.”

    That’s one of their best strengths, and now they get to dilute each of their greatness in this category in half. Wade & James were ranked one & two last year in “usage”. That will necessarily involve a huge adjustment for them this year (and even though both are good at bringing the ball up, it’s not the same as having a true PG – in fact James & Wade would both have better value as teammates if they had an all-star, leader-type, veteran PG to run with — but they don’t).

    Two Cents
    August 22nd, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    “I disagree. Spurs have a legit shot @ the title this year…”

    Based on what — hope?

  • Araz

    Jim,

    Where did I say anything about “physically gifted players” being the best of all time? I’m simply saying, right now if you look at the Heat’s roster, it seems to me like they are going to be very successful.

    They have great coaching (Pat Riley is basically the coach), great role players (Miller, Chalmers, Haslem,Big Z, Ect.) and the two best players in the NBA.

    They were ranked one and two in usage, so just imagine what would have happened for the Cavs if anytime Lebron James didn’t have the ball, Dwayne Wade did, and anytime he didn’t Bosh did…

    Chris Bosh was 9th in scoring and 6th in rebounding last year… No other player in NBA was in the top ten of both stats. I think that puts him in the top ten NBA players.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Araz

    There simply isn’t enough “usage” to go around. They will be successful, but they’ll be Mavs successful, not Spurs/Lakers successful.

    50-60 wins, a lot of dunks and pre-game shenanigans, and sour faces after a 2nd round playoff exit.

  • Jim Henderson

    Araz
    August 22nd, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    “Where did I say anything about “physically gifted players” being the best of all time? I’m simply saying, right now if you look at the Heat’s roster, it seems to me like they are going to be very successful.”

    You clearly said that James & Wade are probably the “best two players in the NBA”, and that the Heat are now the “closest thing to unbeatable that we’ve seen in a long time”, despite the fact that the team hasn’t yet played one game. Thus, you are implying that the (physical) talent of Wade & James (and Bosh), which is considerable, is enough to propel a low tier playoff team to become now one of the “top two teams in the NBA”. By talking about MJ in this context, I’m simply saying it was all of MJ’s intangibles that he brought to bear that allowed him to have success at the highest level, not just because he was a great (physical) talent. I simply don’t believe the big three in Miami have those important intangibles to be as successful as all the hype would suggest.

    “They were ranked one and two in usage, so just imagine what would have happened for the Cavs if anytime Lebron James didn’t have the ball, Dwayne Wade did, and anytime he didn’t Bosh did…”

    I’m not sure you know what “usage” means. It essentially means that their value gets expressed through their dominance of the ball (the action). The problem is, there’s only one ball. You appear to assume that it will be an easy transition for them to “share the ball”, or release some of their “control of the action”, and still maximize their respective value. That’s a big assumption.

    “Chris Bosh was 9th in scoring and 6th in rebounding last year… No other player in NBA was in the top ten of both stats. I think that puts him in the top ten NBA players.”

    Again, you’re evaluating “top players” almost entirely based on a few basic “production stats”. In the case of Bosh, all you appear to look at in your example is just 2 stat categories for one year, and you ignore intangibles (e.g., defense, leadership, unselfishness, great teammate, easy to coach, makes the right plays at big moments, in big games, has an unusually high work ethic, plays within himself, makes his teammates better players, stays focused on the game itself & successfully avoids outside business & private distractions, plays through injuries whenever possible, graciously accepts extra responsibility as team leader when the team doesn’t play well & loses, etc.).

    Last year was one of Bosh’s better years, and those stats were put up on an average team in the weaker Eastern Conference. We’ll get a better feel for how good he is in next April/May’s playoffs. Until then, the jury’s out whether he cracks the top ten players in the entire league. I don’t think his defense (along with other intangibles) is strong enough to get him there at this point.

  • JustinFL

    If the Heat ever do win the title I doubt it will be this year. Everything is experimental at this point and it may take awhile for them to find a happy medium.
    They sure don’t have a chance unless Riley takes over as coach. Spoelstra seems like a nice guy, but I think this task is a bit too much for him at this point in his career. Coaching is a part of the intangibles that Mr. Henderson referred to earlier. That is what this team lacks unless Riley takes over. And if he does, it will be interesting to see how Lebron and Bosh react to his system. There’s a reason he carries the respect he does in this league, and there won’t be any sideline dancing going on here i assure of that.
    They will desperately need his leadership and intuition come playoff time. I don’t see them getting past Boston. No way! That team is just too physical for them. Another intangible that this group lacks.

  • Two Cents

    Jim Henderson
    August 22nd, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Hope? No. Our roster….

  • MB2BM55

    Wow its really hard to have any indepth insights into the Heat’s future and potential with out arriving at a wide range of possibilities with out the certainty of so many variables.
    LeBron has never been the most focused or consistent defender and any indication of more than a begrudging season long commitment that is suspect to lapse in the most important time of the season.
    Dwayne Wade has more of a commitment to defense once playing, but he is not disciplined in his decision making and is suspect to gambling which has the simultaneous effect of risking injury, committing fouls, burning too much energy and giving the other player (and team) possessions off. That benefits the better teams more than the weaker ones and can hurt them in playoff time.
    Additionally Dwayne Wade has drawn criticism from Pat Riley himself for his lack of effort off the court. Wade had a far better season following the ‘Super-Friends and Kobe’ Olympic team than last year. He got in really good shape playing all summer with the hyper-competitive Bryant and against good National Teams really trying to win. Last year his stats fell and he didn’t seem to have the same edge in any of his performance, skills or personal will to win.
    Chris Bosh? Well lets just say he is not necessarily very good defensively nor does he seem to be the first in line to really buy into trying to work himself into an Elite level system that can hide his flaws at that end of the floor.
    All these x-factors combined with the time it takes to gel make me think there may be some hairline fractures in this juggernaut. What if Dwayne Wade’s skill set diminishes too quickly to build a true dynasty and a great team due to his reckless style and need for his quickness and strength to position himself? He doesn’t appear capable of adding much more than an average long range jumper. Its flat. However, LeBron’s pressence may increase his shelf life by not having to take as many physical risks.
    LeBron may also want to jump ship to NJ and build his own franchise if the team proves incapable of gelling rapidly and dealing with bigger teams that can punish them inside. The Lakers may prove too good for them as their style may allow them to take away the Heat’s speed and punish them with interior passing, on the glass and definitely out match Bosh with Gasol and possibly Wade (if Bryant’s style proves too much deeper in the playoffs). If this happens two years in a row (or if, say, the Thunder beat them 2 years from now) then what is going on in the Miami locker room after they lose two years in a row? Worse they could lose with out reaching the finals….
    They don’t appear to be Shaq and Kobe personality wise but there is 2 and 1/2 of them (you know who the half is) and they have images and brands to maintain. Do the Jordan comparisons drive them to build separate legacies when they are really under pressure AND not winning?

    Does Pat Riley’s discipline rub them the wrong way?