Archive → July, 2009
Ngozika Nwaneri at PASPN.net has set up a mock GM league for PistonPowered readers, friends of PistonPowered readers and anyone else who signs up.
I’ve played this game a few years, and it’s great. Everyone comes up with trade ideas, and this is your chance to act on them.
Here’s a brief explanation:
This is the first fantasy basketball game that enforces the rules of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Participants can chose to either take over an NBA team as a General Manager (GM) or create an NBA sports management firm (Agent) for the purpose of managing the relationship between NBA players and the teams they play for. During the first half of the summer, GMs trade players and draft picks, decide team options, create draft boards and position themselves for the free agency period. The first half ends with the NBA Draft where GMs select college players for the up and coming season. The second half of the summer is the free agency period where Agents and GMs interact to negotiate contracts for players who are free agents, players who have been released, players looking for extensions from their rookie contract, etc. By October when other fantasy games are just starting, you would have already assembled your fantasy teams for Head-to-Head (GMs) or Rotisserie (Agents) competition for the upcoming NBA Regular season.
More information is available at the league’s home page.
You can pick your team Thursday at 4 p.m. here.
And thanks to Ngozika for putting all of this together.
Sorry the posting has been slow. I was out of town this weekend, and I’m very busy with work this week.
But there should be more posts the next few days than the last few (especially if you count this post, which already puts me ahead of the last few days).
Have you been completely wrong about a player? Had no idea how good (or bad) he was?
I saw Marc J. Spears’s report saying the Pistons quickly turned down a trade of Jason Maxiell and a first-round pick for Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt and J.R. Giddens, and I didn’t understand why.
I figured Davis was better than Maxiell. And a first rounder is more valuable than Pruitt and Giddens. So, it seemed like the deal should at least be considered.
I had heard a lot of positives about Davis. And whenever I watched the Celtics, he seemed to play well.
But I was completely wrong about him.
Jason Maxiell is a lot better than Glen Davis
Davis’s numbers are awful.
Here’s a statistical comparison from the last two years:
Davis is three years younger than Maxiell. But Davis’s numbers went down in each of these categories from his rookie season to last.
For more reading on whether Davis is any good, check out this Zach Lowe post on Celtics Hub.
Another drawback is this trade would have given the Pistons two more players. Including the rookies who will likely be on the team next year (Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Deron Washington), Detroit has 14 players.
This trade would put the Pistons over the limit of 15. With the economic downturn, I expect the Pistons to have 13 players, maybe 14. But definitely not 15. Even in better times, Joe Dumars usually liked to carry 14.
(On a related note, with the Sekou Smith report that “it’s just a matter of time before Wallace returns to the Pistons,” I think something is up. Simple solution is the Pistons don’t sign Ben Wallace. Then they’re left with 14 players. But if they sign him, I think a trade that trims the roster is coming. I just can’t see Detroit having 15 players.)
When Maxiell signed a four-year, $20 million deal last year, it made a lot of sense. At worst, he was a high-end reserve. At best, he was a starter. Either way, he was worth $5 million per season.
But Maxiell clashed with Michael Curry last year and wasn’t as productive as we had seen in past years. Curry wasn’t pleased with Maxiell’s rebounding (which is actually better than Davis’s). At this point, Maxiel doesn’t seem like a great value.
If this trade had done through, Davis could have earned between $2,312,290 and $4,495,623 next year. The high end is way too much, but the low end might be reasonable. I think his contract would have been closer to high end, though.
Last year was rock bottom for Maxiell. Davis seemed to be in a good situation with Celtics (despite this), and he didn’t produce.
Even though he costs a little more, I’d rather take my chances Maxiell will rebound (figuratively and literally) under John Kuester than pick up Davis.
Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf knocked Ben Gordon’s game in a recent interview. (Hat tip: TrueHoop) From Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Question: What do you think of Ben Gordon’s signing as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons?
Answer: Actually, we made a decision a year ago not to commit long term to Ben. We tried, and he turned it down. Then, near the end, [now GM] Gar Forman and John [Paxson] decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to make a long-term decision. We wanted to see what other options might develop. So we withdrew the offer [six years, $54 million] we had on the table. Ben ultimately said he would take it, but it was too late.
Now, fast forward to the end of the year, we have [John] Salmons and we have a hell of a three-guard rotation with [Kirk] Hinrich and Derrick [Rose]. Ben wasn’t going to get a whole lot of playing time. [It] was going to be diminished. So Ben really no longer fit. Ben’s a terrific player. But Ben needs minutes. He would not have been happy with the minutes he was going to get.
You may not have wanted to pay him as much as Detroit did. But if he was back the Bulls, he definitely would have gotten he his usual playing time.
DaJuan Summers is good, Austin Daye can rebound, Deron Washington has no O and other summer league observations
The Pistons finished their stint in the Las Vegas Summer League with a 4-1 record (which doesn’t matter in the slightest). But here’s what we learned about the key players who participated in the summer league:
My biggest worry about Austin Daye’s NBA potential stems from his terrible combine performance. He was the weakest and one of the slowest and least agile players there. I didn’t think he had the athleticism to compete in the NBA.
Daye had trouble reeling in rebounds in traffic in Las Vegas, according to Vince Ellis of the Free Press. That’s expected. Daye will be a worse rebounder than most players with his size and wingspan.
But it’s very encouraging he still pulled in 8.8 rebounds per game.
And I didn’t think he would have the physical ability to defend well. But his long arms were very effective at disrupting passing lanes, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Everyone knew Daye could shoot. But he also impressed TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz with his ability to run the pick-and-roll, drive to the basket and post up small forwards. He’s also a good passer, according to ESPN’s David Thorpe.
I’m a lot more encouraged about Daye than I was when Detroit drafted him. I’m still not sure if he’ll be ready to contribute regularly this year. But I’d no longer be surprised if it happened.
The consensus is Summers is the most NBA-ready of Detroit’s three rookies.
He showed a polished offensive game in Vegas. He scored outside and inside. He hit jumpers and drove to the basket.
And maybe Arnovitz uncovered why Summers looks so good on offense. Summers knows how to move without the ball and create shot opportunities.
Summers is the favorite to back up Tayshaun Prince – even if his defense isn’t quite as good as desired.
Although he was billed as a forward when he was drafted, he played center most of the summer league. Darrell Walker compared him David Lee.
Is that just wishful thinking? The Pistons obviously could use another center.
The number suggest he became more comfortable at the five. His scoring and rebounding trended up as the league went on. And his fouls went down.
He also had a fairly high number of steals. Maybe he can keep centers off guard with quick hands. But is he strong enough at 235 pounds to stop anyone if he doesn’t get the steal?
I doubt Jerebko ever gets regular minutes at center in the NBA. But that probably means he won’t play much this year.
It seemed likely Washington would make the team anyway, but Detroit trading Arron Afflalo basically assures him a spot.
Washington has amazing athleticism, so he should be a good defender. And he seems to have a knack for making hustle plays.
But he has no offensive game. He doesn’t shoot well from the outside, and he’s not a good ball-handler.
With his athleticism, I’d hope he can drive and draw contact. But he shot just 38 percent from the free-throw line. He was just a 61-percent shooter at Virginia Tech, too.
Most of his offensive production is going to come with put-backs.
But I think he’ll be a good addition to the team. Detroit lacked hustle and defense last year. Washington will help set the right tone and push the veterans.
Third point guard
The Pistons were hoping to find their third point guard in Las Vegas, but nobody really stood out.
Andre Owens had 16 assists and just two turnovers in 64 minutes. But he didn’t make a shot.
Look at Detroit’s point guards under Joe Dumars – Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Chucky Atkins. Dumars hasn’t gone for pure distributors. He wants guys who can score.
Owens may have earned a training camp invite with his passing and ball control. But there’s a good chance it won’t be with the Pistons.
Singletary’s numbers are solid, but unspectacular across the board.
Jeremy Pargo is the most talented of the three, according to Ellis. But he was a late addition to the roster, suggesting the Pistons weren’t as interested him . Maybe Pargo won them over with his play, though.
Owens and Singletary have NBA experience. Pargo is just a rookie.
But he’s my bet to make the team. Dumars has shown a preference for younger, more athletic players this offseason.
Plaisted, who Detroit picked in the second round last year, was injured after two games in Italy last season, according to Ellis. Ellis writes he’s likely to go overseas for a second season.
His playing time went down as the league went on, suggesting Detroit knew he had no chance of making the team this year. No need to spend too much time evaluating him.
He averaged more fouls (3.4) than points (3.0) or rebounds (2.8). He has a long way to go to ever make the NBA.
Ben Gordon will make $10,000,000 next year and $58,000,000 for his five-year contract, according to Doug Thonus of Bulls Confidential. Thonus acknowledges his figures are much higher than what has been widely reported.
Here’s how Thonus breaks down the contract:
13-14 $13,200,000 (Player Option)
And he also says there are some incentives, which could make the contract even larger.
If Thonus is correct, here’s how the salary scale looks:
Team Option, Qualify Offer, Player Option
I based my previous numbers for Gordon’s contract on this blog post from Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
Unless there are some incentive clauses I don’t know about, the total value of the deal should fall just short of $55 million. He will start at $9 million next season.
If Thonus is correct, I’m pretty bummed. There’s a big difference between $52.2 and $58.8 million.
It won’t make much of a difference this summer. The $1 million less to sign someone probably won’t cost Detroit anyone it wants at this stage.
But this could be relevant in the future if the Pistons get under the cap again.
Gordon seemed like a good value at $52.2 million. I don’t think he’s worth $58.8 million.
The Pistons haven’t had a single unmovable contract under Joe Dumars. If Thonus is right, Ben Gordon has a shot to become the first.
The Pistons are close to a two-year deal with Chris Wilcox, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Update: The deal is worth $6 million, according to Chad Ford of ESPN. Here’s an estimated salary chart.
Team Option, Qualify Offer, Player Option
I have no idea how Wilcox’s contract is structured, but most player receive annual raises. If that’s the case, I’ll update the chart.
If it’s $3 million each year, Detroit has $2,363,295 in cap room (including a $457,588 roster charge for not having 12 players).
If Wilcox will make more money in 2010-11, the Pistons have up to an extra $89,000 in cap room this year – hardly enough to make a difference.
I’m moderately enthused about the signing. Who else was Detroit going to get? Rasho Nesterovic?
Wilcox (6-foot-10, 221 pounds) spent more time at center than power forward with the Thunder and Knicks last season. But he was more productive at power forward. The Pistons will obviously have to use extensively him at center unless they make another move.
Wilcox is just 26 (although he’ll be 27 before the season starts). He still has plenty of time to improve.
I don’t expect him to be an All-Star, but his physical talent made him the eighth pick in the 2002 draft. With a little more polish, he could be a reliable starter.
Hopefully, his second year isn’t guaranteed. The Pistons would be slightly under the cap in the summer of 2010. And if they trade Richard Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince for an expiring contract, they’d have room to go after somebody.
I know the free-agent class won’t be what many expected, but several top players will still be out there.
This reminds me of the Kwame Brown signing. He’s solid. But is a guaranteed second year really necessary? That decision with Brown was probably the difference between Charlie Villanueva and Paul Millsap or David Lee.
Did Detroit make the same concession again?
- For more on Wilcox, check out Patrick Hayes’s post on It’s Just Sports advocating signing the Maryland product.
Here’s an in-depth look at Ben Gordon’s signing. Reviews of Charlie Villanueva’s signing and the drafting of DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko will come later in the summer. (Austin Daye was already profiled here).
Position: Shooting guard/ point guard
Previous team: Chicago Bulls
Weight: 200 pounds
Length: Five years
Estimated total salary: $52.2 million
Reasons to be encouraged
Just eight players scored more and had a higher true shooting percentage than Gordon last year:
- Dwyane Wade
- LeBron James
- Danny Granger
- Kevin Durant
- Kevin Martin
- Chris Paul
- Brandon Roy
- Amar’e Stoudemire
That’s a pretty accomplished list. Gordon is quietly one of the league’s top scorers.
Based on win shares, Gordon was the Bulls’ best player the last two years. It’s that simple. He was Chicago’s best player.
The Pistons are banking on Rodney Stuckey to lead them into the future. And Gordon will make him better.
Stuckey is a big point guard with the ability to get to the rim – much like Derrick Rose. Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop examined Gordon’s impact on Rose. Expect similar results now that Gordon has been paired with Stuckey. (Although, I don’t think Stuckey is as good as Rose).
Stuckey hasn’t shown an ability to kick out passes when he attacks, but Detroit didn’t have a reliable 3-point shooter last year. Gordon is one of the league’s best from beyond the arc. If Stuckey is going to develop court vision, Gordon will help bring it out.
I think Stuckey has been asked to do too much, too soon. Gordon should be good for his development.
Gordon was the Bulls’ go-to scorer against the Celtics. He hit big shot after big shot in that first-round series.
And he was 15th in points per 48 minutes of clutch time, according to 82 Games.
Gordon should help recreate the late-game swagger the Pistons haven’t had since Chauncey Billups was traded.
Gordon grew up without his father. But his mom made so sure his home life was stable, he didn’t even realize he was living in a single-parent household until he was 16, according to a 2007 Chicago Tribune article.
When he was young, Gordon acted much more mature than his peers. He wanted to wear suits to church, and he’d scoff at teenagers for smoking, according to that Tribune article.
Despite complaints about his contract, Gordon played hard for the Bulls the last two years. He’ll be a welcome addition for a team that had more than its share of troublemakers last year.
Gordon is one of just five players under 6-foot-4 since Isiah Thomas who have a career average of at least 18.5 points per game. Gordon takes great pride in that.
And he likes to prove he can do other things most don’t think he can.
Before the 2006-07 season, Gordon said his main goal was to get to the free-throw line more often. He averaged a career-high 5.4 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes that year.
Despite leading the Bulls in point scored his rookie year, Gordon averaged just 24.4 minutes per game (seventh on the team) because of concerns about his conditioning.
Gordon was second on the Bulls in minutes played the last two season.
There’s plenty of reason to think Gordon is just getting better.
Reasons to be discouraged
There are far fewer reasons to be discouraged about Gordon. Although simple, this one is a big deal. Defense is half the game.
His defensive ratings of 112 and 111 the last two years are terrible.
He’s smaller and weaker than most shooting guards. Maybe Stuckey can guard twos, allowing Gordon to defend point guards. But Stuckey hasn’t shown that much defensive proficiency, either.
Besides scoring, Gordon doesn’t do much else. Among the 42 players with usage rates of 25 (minimum 41 games played) last season, here’s how Gordon ranks:
- Assists per 36 minutes: 24th
- Rebounds per 36 minutes: 36th
- Blocks per 36 minutes: 30th
- Steals per 36 minutes: 34th
Gordon will score. If he does anything else, it’s a bonus.
Like I said above, Gordon seems to have high character. But he’s definitely not perfect.
Gordon was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct for slapping a woman who had just slapped him when he was in college. He performed 30 hours of community service.
He also went on a tirade when Vinny Del Negro fined him for being late for a team flight, according to By The Horns.
The last time Joe Dumars signed a 26-year-old guard who was an on-again off-again starter, it worked out well. That was Chauncey Billups.
If Gordon reaches Billups’s level, this signing is absolutely great. But even if he doesn’t, Gordon is better right now than Billups was when he signed with Detroit.
The Pistons have traded Arron Afflalo and Walter Sharpe to the Nuggets for a future second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
It would have been nice to pick up a first rounder, but I like this deal. Detroit has a crowd at shooting guard and small forward, so Afflalo wouldn’t have seen many minutes. And Sharpe didn’t show enough to give indication he can be a player in this league.
Here’s how the salary chart looks now:
The Pistons also have two roster charges of $457,588 because they have few than 12 players. I’m not sure if each disappears as the team acquires a player or if it’s after the player acquired. But for now, Detroit’s total cap number is $52,793,293.
The salary cap is set at $57.7 million, so the Pistons have $4,906,077 in cap room.
From a Pistons release:
SPRINGFIELD, MA – (July 13, 2009) – Doug Collins, the highly respected
player and coach who is now the lead commentator for Turner Sports (TNT)
and for NBC Sports’ coverage of basketball at the Olympic Games and
Peter Vecsey, the longtime pro basketball writer for the New York Post
have been selected to receive the 2009 Curt Gowdy Media Award from the
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during Enshrinement
festivities scheduled for September 10-11, 2009 in Springfield,
The Gowdy Media Award is named in honor of the legendary sports
broadcaster and former Basketball Hall of Fame President, the late Curt
Gowdy.. This prestigious award is presented annually to members of the
print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a
significant contribution to the game of basketball.
"The Gowdy Media Award is an honor that is very proudly presented by the
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in memory of the late Curt
Gowdy, one of the legendary figures of sports media," said John L.
Doleva, Hall of Fame President & CEO. "Doug Collins and Peter Vecsey
have dedicated much of their professional careers to report on the game
of basketball while they entertain and educate millions of fans, readers
and television viewers around the world. The Basketball Hall of Fame is
very proud to recognize their extraordinary efforts."
Former NCAA, NBA and Olympic player and NBA coach Doug Collins, the 2009
honoree for the Electronic Media, is widely recognized as the consummate
NBA television color analyst. Collins brings a unique perspective and
experience to the booth for Turner Sports broadcasts on TNT, providing
insight from both the player’s and coach’s perspective. Following a very
successful career as a player after being selected as the number one
pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, Collins moved to the coaching ranks where he
led the Chicago Bulls (1986-89), Detroit Pistons (1995-98) and
Washington Wizards (2001-03).
In 1989, Collins first joined the Turner Sports family as its NBA color
After leaving to pursue further coaching opportunities, he returned to
Turner Sports in 2003. Collins is TNT’s lead analyst for both the NBA
All-Star Game and the NBA Conference Finals.
In addition, Collins was the lead analyst for NBC, for which he called
four NBA Finals and three Olympic Games. Overall, for the better part of
the past two decades, Collins has been a mainstay in the television
coverage of the NBA, providing viewers with expert analysis and
anecdotes from his experiences from the bench and on the court.
Collins, a graduate of Illinois State University, was also a member of
the 1972 Olympic team, which lost the gold medal to Russia with a
controversial call after Collins hit two free throws to give the US an
apparent victory. He and his wife Kathy have two children, son Chris and
Peter Vecsey, The 2009 Print award winner, is a longtime resident of New
York who has spent the majority of his life in that great basketball
city which recognizes him as one of the most prominent sports writers to
ever cover the sport of pro basketball. A native of Queens, NY, Vecsey
attended academic and athletic powerhouse Archbishop Molloy High School,
and upon graduating in 1961, enrolled at Hofstra University. After
graduating from Hofstra, Vecsey enlisted in the Armed Forces during the
most intense period of the Viet Nam war and became a sergeant with the
U.S. Army’s Green Beret Special Forces Unit from 1965 to 1967.
Vecsey currently writes his NBA column for the New York Post, providing
insight to his many readers as he frequently breaks news of blockbuster
trade details and the ‘behind the scenes’ information that pro
basketball fans around the world crave on a daily basis. Vecsey has
built a lifetime of valuable relationships and trustworthy sources who
frequently provide him with access to confidential and newsworthy
information. Vecsey is widely known for his open criticism of team
executives, players and coaches, a sportswriting tactic that stirs up
controversy. Vecsey has written his "Hoop du Jour" NBA column for the
Post from 1976 through 1989, then covered the NBA for USA Today from
October 1990 through September 1993 before returning to his New York
roots at the Post.
While Vecsey is widely known for his news-breaking and reporting in
print, he is no stranger to the television screen. During the 1987-88
season, he hosted a syndicated television show that highlighted the NBA
with analyst and former New York Knicks coach and Hall of Famer Hubie
Brown. In 1985 and 1986, he hosted a one-hour NBA talk show with Lee
Zeidman on SportsChannel New York. Vecsey also worked as an "NBA
Insider" on TNT, joining Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith in the
award-winning studio show, as well as serving as one of "The Insiders"
on NBC Sports’ pregame, halftime and postgame coverage of the game via
"NBA Showtime," where he regularly broke news stories and provided
insight with player features, pregame reports, locker room gossip and
Sportswriting runs in the Vecsey family, as Peter’s brother George
Vecsey writes The Sports of the Times column for the The New York Times.
Peter resides on Long Island with his wife, Joan, and their two
children, Taylor and Joseph.