Join Joel Brigham this Thursday at 3:00pm ET to chat about all things NBA, including (and most especially) the rapidly approaching onset of training camps. Get your questions in early and be back here Thursday afternoon to take part in all the fun!
I don’t know if you pay attention to ESPN NBA, but they are doing their top 100 ranking again. Last year Kobe was 7th behind LeBron James,Dwight Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul,Dirk , Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant, with Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Blake Griffin rounding out the rest of the top ten. Dirk had down, down year from his championship season and Wade I felt declined (which I attribute more to injury than age) a little too, more noticeably in playoffs.
Meanwhile Kobe, despite a 2% FG% decline actually played better noticeably better than his 2010-11 season. Do you think he’ll get voted into that #5 spot, bumped over Wade and Dirk? I can’t see him getting jumped over by anyone below him except possibly Rondo.
Good afternoon, HOOPSWORLD Citizens, and welcome to another edition of my weekly chat! If you’re like me, you’re really starting to get amped back up for basketball season, and since most media days are going to happen on October 1st, we’re really like, less than two weeks away from the start of camp. Maybe I’m just bugging out because I had wait until Christmas for basketball last year, but this really crept up on us this year. Crept up in a good way, I mean. Either way, so ready for this to get underway, even if the Bulls do end up being awful this year. Let’s get onto the questions, shall we?
I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid a lick of attention to those ESPN NBA rankings because after seeing how things turned out last year I know that they’re pretty silly. No one could’ve predicted that Jeremy Lin would be as good as he was, but he was something like 470 out of 500. And Lavoy Allen was #500 behind guys who weren’t ever even going to make an NBA roster. So I’m not a big believer in all that silliness, but I understand that there are people that care about it. So I’ll say this: Kobe Bryant is not the 7th best player in the NBA. Kevin Durant and LeBron James are better, but who else? Dwight Howard and Chris Paul might be in better physical shape, but Kobe is still the superior all-around player. That’s what I’m rolling with, as far as rankings are concerned.
With the Hawks in rebuilding mode and the aquisition of Lou Williams, what will be his role in Larry Drew’s system. Also, with veterans Iggy and Elton Brand now gone, will the Sixers look to Jason Richardson to be their new veteran leader in the locker room…. especially with guys like Bynum and Evan Turner on the roster……That team is very young and they’re going to need it.
Regarding the Hawks, I don’t know that Lou Williams is going to be all that much more effective than any other of the newly-acquired guards on the roster. I mean, he’s going to be contending with Anthony Morrow, Kyle Korver, and rookie John Jenkins for minutes at the two, and Lou has always needed big minutes and loads of shots to get his points. He does what he does in volume, and I just can’t see him getting that opportunity with all those other players on the roster.
As for the Sixers, I’m on record as saying I’m not a believer. I’ve got a friend who’s in tight with someone on the coaching staff there, and I know both he and his buddy are both upset with me for picking Philly to finish 5th in the Atlantic, but like you said, Bynum and Turner as team leaders worries me. Both of those guys have proven they can be trouble, and neither strikes me as mature enough to lead a team. J-Rich will have to hold this down if they’re going to be any good. This is, as you said, a pretty immature team. Not buying shares in their success right now… not until I’ve been convinced the other guys can lead a team.
What do you think of my trades? Which is best? Which are okay? Which would never go down?
-James Harden for Aaron Afflalo & picks
-James Harden for Jeremy Lamb & Royce White
-James Harden for Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger, & Luke Ridnour
-James Harden for Jared Dudley & Channing Frye
-James Harden & Kendrick Perkins for Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, & Markieff Morris
-James Harden for Jose Calderon & DeMarr DeRozan
Not a single one of those trades returns anything of Harden’s value to Oklahoma City. He’s by far the best player you’ve mentioned in this entire list, and that’s going to be a problem for Sam Presti, who doesn’t seem to make stupid mistakes. Undeniably, any of these proposed trades would be precisely that.
What players do you see making a huge improvements this season?
There are a lot of guys I’m looking forward to watching this year, but here’s my list:
Greg Monroe, Paul George, Evan Turner, Arron Afflalo, Bismack Biyombo, Ty Lawon, Nic Batum, Goran Dragic, Jeremy Lin, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Gordon.
These are guys that I look at as being on the verge of All-Stardom, and while they all won’t get there, these are the guys I think are capable of making the biggest leap from “good player” to “in the All-Star conversation.” Some of them won’t make that leap this year, but they’ll make the leap before the leap. Some will fail, too, but these are the guys I like. Some of them are my fantasy sleepers, too. So hopefully my league isn’t reading today’s chat.
Love the chats.. I love basketball and I am from NY but I do like the Lakers as well. I have to ask.. If Kobe wins another championship this year and matches Michael Jordan with 6.. Does it really count towards his “legacy” or in deciding who is better?
I am not hating on Kobe but I wonder how you could possibly count this as a legitimate 6th championship when comparing to MJ. I realize championships are the measure but Robert Horry and Dennis Rodman have many rings and no one is confusing them as the best of all time. You could put Kate Upton out there with that group of players and still have a legit shot at winning a ring.
We do remember Chicago’s legendary stance on being cheap even when they were winning rings. Could you imagine if Chicago spent like the Lakers.. Like I said I am a Knicks fan so there is no love for Chicago but I think it is a valid question since if Kobe wins it will arguably be the 4th ring where he was the 2nd best player on his team.
I see what you’re saying, and at the risk of sounding like a homer (though when have I ever cared about that before, right?), I agree. That’s not to say that MJ didn’t have plenty of talent around him, because Scottie Pippen was also a top 10-15 player in the NBA during that era, too. Rodman is one of the best rebounders of all-time, too, so he helped. Toni Kukoc was a big deal, as was Horace Grant. These aren’t slouches.
But… they’re also not the same level of talent that Kobe has around him now. If they win another ring or three, it absolutely counts towards Kobe’s total. If he ends up with 7 or 8 rings, you’ve got more than a real conversation about his legacy vs. Jordan’s. For now though (and I’m going to enjoy this while I can), Jordan is still the king. Hoping he stays that way in perpetuity.
Also, you’re underestimating Kate Upton’s value as an on-court distraction. You’d see an all-time record of intentional fouls were that the case.
John Hollinger came up with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) which takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system. The league average is 15. Looking at the PER stats last year, Kobe Bryant was 17th overall behind Al Jefferson, Manu Ginobli, Keneth Faried, and Greg Monroe. Question: Do you think Hollinger`s PER is a good measure on a player`s overall impact on the game. And are you surprised how poorly Kobe was in the rankings or does that just come with old age?
PER, like any stat, tells part of the tale, but there are some criticisms of it that prove it’s problematic. No one looks at a player and judges them only by a single statistic. No one sees points per game alone and says, “He’s the best player in the league.” It’s the combination of stats that speaks the whole tale, and that’s what you’d get if you considered Kobe’s entire body of work.
Hi Joel, following on a response of yours last week; given that most orthopedic specialists say it takes at least a year for most serious ACL injuries to fully heal(even with proper rehab) and given that Bulls management no doubt has planned for D-Rose to be their ‘franchise guy’ for many years to come(he’ll be 24 years old 12/13 season,
players with his talent/’heart’/commitment don’t show up very often); don’t you think it would be wise for CHI to ‘hold off’ on his return until start of 13/14 season? BTW: obvious to me, you no ‘fairweather’ Bulls fan, just a realistic one.
I’ve said before that I think it all depends on what this team looks like Derrick starts looking ready for a return. If they’re right in the thick of the playoff hunt, they I could absolutely see them allowing Rose back into the fold. There isn’t a whole lot of time to win with guys like Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton, so if this looks like a year where that’s possible, they’ll give it a go.
But I absolutely can’t see them rushing him back if the team doesn’t appear to have a shot at making a run in the postseason. If they’re looking as though the playoffs are out of the question by, say, early March (which is my guess for when he’s ready to come back), then they’re just as well to keep him out all year and run it back for 2013-2014. This kid is owed too much money and has the potential to be too good to be rushed back. Derrick will push for a return as early as he can, because that’s the kind of dude he is, but he’s also reasonable. Hopefully he does what’s best for the franchise long-term.
I want to see him back out there as soon as possible, but that’s as a fan. As a pragmatist, I’m hoping he stays out until he’s back to 100%
Was looking at the Bobcats squad and they are slightly improved over last year. Ben Gordon off the bench, Brandon Haywood at center (allows Biyombo to shift over to PF). Less playing time for Tyrus Thomas which is good. And BJ Muellens had a strong 2nd half last year. Clearly the Bobcats will improve their terrible winning percentage from last year. In your opinion, what is a reasonable number of wins to expect for next year. 15? 20? 25?
I think 15 is selling them short. Twenty is certainly attainable, but I like 25 wins for them next season. That feels about right. I expect Kebma Walker to be massively improved, Ramon Sessions will get his break, Bismack Biyombo is severely underrated, and Ben Gordon can score the crud out of the ball when he’s given 30+ minutes consistently. There’s still Mullens, Gerald Henderson, and Mike Kidd-Gilchrist, too. Honestly, that’s not a depressing team at all. Not like last year. I’m not looking at the postseason any time soon, but I like the direction they’re headed now more than last year. By, like, a million percent.
Enjoying/being enlightened by ‘team effort’ HW ’12/13 Season Predictions’; following your ‘worst two teams/each division’ designees, could you now rank each conference from #10 to #15 only?
13: New Orleans
Understand that I did that in about two minutes, so I’d have to spend more time to work out any bugs. But at a glance, I suppose that’ll do.
Haven’t seen much said about Nugget’s 2012 #20 pick- Evan Fournier; your thoughts about his possible role 12/13 and then future, especially since DEN traded/lost 11/12 #1 & #2 SG’s?
I was particularly impressed when I watched him in Summer League. He comes off a little soft to me, which means despite whatever skill he has, there’s a still good chance he’s going to be pushed around a lot when he gets on the floor this year. And there won’t be a lot of that for him. Floor time, I mean. Iguodala will start at shooting guard, and Corey Brewer will come in behind him. You can play Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari together, too. I’m high on this Nuggets team, bud. Even without their shooters from last year, I’m a fan of where they’re headed.
As a Bulls fan I am searching for anything to look forward to this season. So my questions are, are the Bulls close to extending Taj? Also, has anyone seen Noah’s post game since working with Kareem? Maybe no more twisted tornado jumper?
The twisted tornado jumper is here to stay, Benny. Get used to seeing that because he’ll be shooting that way until he’s in the grave. I don’t care about what work he’s done this offseason just so long as he’s got that ankle healthy. It took an inordinate amount of time to get that thing better, and I hope that Jo is able to stay on the floor all season this year. He’s been injury prone, and the Bulls jut can’t afford to have that this season.
As for Taj’s extension, no, nothing’s close. But the good news is that their having passed on Omer Asik means that Taj was the young player they felt was more valuable long-term, so I expect they’ll give him his payday. Amnestying Carlos Boozer won’t be too far behind, then, but that’s probably the better thing for this team moving forward anyway, isn’t it?
So as far as what to look forward to this year, enjoy the further development of Jimmy Butler, who should be fun to watch, and keep your eyes on Noah and Taj and all the new guys. Bellineli is better than you expect, for example, and Nate Robinson is pretty entertaining, too.
Plus, you know, according to Chicago standards, Kirk Hinrich is the greatest point guard of all time, and he’s back. Plenty to watch out for, but I don’t expect major wins. Wish it was different, but all we can do is hope for the best.
How high do you think is the ceiling for Affalo ? Do you believe he will ever be a star player or just a very good role one ?
What do you think he is going to bring to the Magic next season ?
He’ll be very good, especially with the opportunity he’s about to get in Orlando, but I don’t see him as an All-Star. The really great players in this league not only have talent and drive, but that “it” factor that clearly separates them from their contemporaries. Afflalo is talented, but not on an other-worldly level, and his work ethic was challenged when he didn’t really improve much in the year after his new deal. I mean, he scored more, but he shot worse and didn’t really make any massive strides elsewhere. I can see him as an 18 ppg guy in Orlando, and defensively he’s still very good, but that doesn’t necessarily make him set for stardom. And I don’t see “it” in him, for whatever that’s worth. I know that’s totally subjective, but hey, you asked me, right?
Now that darko is on a winning squad,would doc and kg plus a demanding rondo make him a quality starting center in the league? 13 points 12 reb 2 block type of numbers?
Darko has had plenty of chances in all sorts of different situations to prove he could be a double-double guy worthy of that #2 pick back in 2003, but he’s fallen short every single time. He’s a fine role guy and everything, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Had he averaged 12 rpg last year, he would’ve been third in the league, ahead of Andrew Bynum, DeMarcus Cousins, and Blake Griffin. Do you really, truly believe he’s going to get there just he gets to play alongside Kevin Garnett? Not a prayer, amigo.
Now Hibbert is doing MMA training!!! (http://blogs.indystar.com/pacersinsider/2012/09/19/pacers-hibbert-mma-and-a-sports-reporter-which-one-doesnt-belong/) I LOVE this guy! He doesn’t get the hype of Bynum/Howard..etc, but his work ethic and heart are right up there with anyone. I can’t wait for training camp to start! You think Hibs will have a big year?
Let us not forget his occasional cameos on past seasons of Parks and Rec, right? Roy’s an incredibly cool guy and I’m hoping he’s the Eastern Conference starter at center for the All-Star game this year. I know Bynum is here now and everything, but Hibbert could just easily make his own leap this year. Looking forward to seeing how all that offseason training has improved his game, because if the Pacers are ever going to have a star on that team, Hibbert’s the guy that’s going to need to take on that role. I think he can, and I hope he does.
Alright folks, that’s my hour. Thanks as always for all the great questions, and I’ll see you back here next week for more of the same as we gear up for Media Day. Until then, have a great weekend, and get all the fantasy football in that you can before basketball takes over all your attention!
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Chicago doesn't looked primed to spend big money in free agency this summer, so how can they stay among the East's elite?
11:00am - Bill Ingram
3:00pm - Stephen Brotherston
3:00pm - Alex Kennedy
8:00pm - Lang Greene
10:30am - Steve Kyler
1:30pm - Joel Brigham
11:00am - Yannis Koutroupis
3:00pm - Larry Coon
11:00am - Susan Bible
5:00pm - Derek Page