Prowling the NBA: Jan 30 - iPadding stats in the iNBA

Ever since Apple released the first iPod, "i" has become one of the most recognizable and popular marketing techniques out there. These days, it seems like everyone just attaches an "i" to their product, their commercial, their magazine ad, and expect the product to take off.

Apple has the iPod, the iPhone, and the iMac. Social sites have started "i"ing, like iMeet and iDate (think eHarmony will ever become iHarmony...?) Nintento not only renamed their uprgraded DS the DSi, but snuck not one, but two "i"s into the Wii (clever clever)

Even the NBA can't hide from the all seeing "i"

As most of you have probably heard, Apple this week released the newest "i" in it's line, the half eBook reader, half laptop, 100% unfortunately named iPad. Impressive? Yes. Useful? Well....we'll see. It has the potential to get this digital book thing really going in a way the Kindle or eReader can't, but the rest of it is just a giant iTouch right now.

The NBA too has made a some big announcements this week. And of course, the trade rumors continue to fly. This week, we've got All Star news, trade news, draft news....I'll give you my two cents about All Star snubs and rookie/sophomore more on Ricky Rubio, and a convincing argument why Evan Turner, not John Wall, is the runaway college player of the year.

But as always, we begin with everyone's favorite malcontent, Agent Zero...

Actually I lied. Before we get to Arenas, I'm going to interrupt my own broadcast to define some terms. For those who were wondering...

This is iPad:

This is iPadding stats:

Everyone clear? Good.

Ok. Now on to Agent Zero.

Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton have been suspended for the rest of the season:

Also, Crittenton has been sentenced to a year of probation.

Last week, news surfaced that Arenas would be meeting, in person, with NBA commissioner David Stern, to talk about the firearms incident from last month, and to learn the specifics about his suspension. NBA Player's Union President Derek Fisher and Union Director Billy Hunter had been reportedly hounding Stern about the ambiguous "indefinite" part of the original suspension....this week, Stern cleared it all up.

David Stern:

"The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one's home or elsewhere. It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated."

"I have met separately with Mr. Arenas and with Mr. Crittenton. Both have expressed remorse for their actions and an understanding of the seriousness of their transgressions. Both have volunteered to engage in community service in order to turn the lessons they have learned into an educational message for others. I accept fully the sincerity of their expressions of regret and intent to create something positive from this incident."

"Nevertheless, there is no justification for their conduct. Accordingly, I am today converting Mr. Arenas' indefinite suspension without pay to a suspension without pay for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, and am also suspending Mr. Crittenton without pay, effective immediately, for the remainder of the 2009-10 season."

It's a warranted punishment, and I think it's the right one for both Arenas and Crittenton. The NBA has an image to protect, and what these two did was very damaging to that image.

The NBA of course, cannot bring any legal charges against Arenas or Crittenton. Javaris' probation comes from DC prosecution charges.

Crittenton's punishment does seem disproportional to Arenas', especially considering he committed arguably the more severe crime. Not only did he also have a handgun in the Wizards' lockerrom, but he reportedly had it loaded and chambered a round...something Arenas did not do with any of his own guns. One would have to assume (or hope) that Javaris' sentence is the result of an unreported plea deal he made while "cooperating with authorities". Otherwise....

At any rate, if you watch the last two minutes or so of that video, you'll be a step ahead on the next item on our agenda this week, which is that....

The Wizards are probably stuck with Arenas....

....because it's unlikely that they'll be able to successfully void his contract. Here's why:

The Wizard's haven't ruled out trying to void his deal, and they're unlikely to say they definitely will or won't. If they do, it will be unannounced until it's been reported to already be in progress.

"We're still exploring all our options,'' said Wizards' President Ernie Grunfeld. "We haven't made any decisions up to this point. We're seeing what we can do. I think it's going to be a combination of many things to see which direction we go in.''

"Obviously it hurts a team. We made a major commitment to Gilbert. He is our franchise player. From a competitive standpoint when you lose 23 points and seven assists and someone who can make plays down the stretch, that hurts a ballclub. You have to look at things a little bit different, of course.''


I've written a couple times about why it's unlikely that the Wizards would be successful in getting Arenas' contract cleared. This week, we'll go into some detail about it.

In summary, voiding an NBA contract essentially requires three votes. One by the Player's Union, one by the NBA, and one by an outside arbitrator.

The Player's Union is a 100% guaranteed "no" vote. That's their side with the players. The NBA is probably a 90-95% "yes" vote. Stern and the owners are obligated to protect the league as an institution.

The problem for the NBA then is that whatever arbitrator is brought in to preside over any contract erasure attempt is more than likely also going to vote "no".


The first issue here is that Arenas has already been punished by the NBA and is going to be sentenced by the DC courts in a couple of months. Stern and the NBA have little ground to argue that that isn't sufficient punishment as it is...two defined sentences from both entities that Arenas infracted.

Second, the NBA is hurt by its own language in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which doesn't set out a clear list of cases under which the morals clause of an NBA contract can be invoked. That obviously leaves a lot of gray area to argue whether what Arenas did fits or doesn't fit the definition.

Certainly one would expect a defined list of infractions to be a top priority for the NBA in the upcoming CBA negotiations. The league is still rather embarrassed that Latrell Sprewell's contract void was overturned by a federal judge, and doesn't want that to happen again.

Now, on to the trade news...

The New Orleans Hornets have made three small trades and have officially avoided the luxury tax this season:

The trades are as follows:

1) Hilton Armstrong to the Kings for a 2016 (yes....2016) conditional second round pick and cash

2) Devin Brown to the Bulls for Aaron Gray

3) As many of you noted last night, Bobby Brown to the LA Clippers for a conditional 2014 second round pick

The three trades, along with the summer trade that sent Rasual Butler to the Clippers, bring the Hornets' payroll this season below the $69.9 million luxury tax threshold, and more importantly for them, avoids the scenario of them having to trade David West.

Since we're on the subject, I will say I was fairly disappointed that David Kahn didn't keep Bobby Brown. I understand that he almost had to be included in that trade to get rid of Songaila, but still....he's a talented young kid, a good (potentially great) shooter, and an underrated athlete. I really feel that, in the right situation, he can develop into a bigger, stronger Aaron Brooks.

And speaking of the Bulls...

Rumors have surfaced linking Kirk Hinrich to the LA Lakers:

As I reported last week, the Lakers are concerned about their point guard situation and are looking at players such as Nate Robinson to help remedy that.

Hinrich, of course, is first and foremost a much more expensive option than Robinson, both for this season and long term. The Lakers however have shown little regard for the luxury tax....owner Jerry Buss' philosophy has been if the team wins, than any price is worth it.


Hinrich is a good shooter and facilitator and a very strong defender, and his perimeter oriented game, meticulous pace, and role player mentality would make him a perfect fit for the Lakers' triangle offense.

But where this rumor gets interesting is on the Bulls' side, because if the Bulls can clear both Hinrich and John Salmons off the payroll by the deadline, they'll have enough cap space for not one, but two max free agents next summer. The team has already documented interest in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. They'd certainly be elated to have enough cash to sign them both.

Unless the Lakers are willing to send Fisher packing, which isn't likely, they'll need a third team to facilitate a deal with the Bulls, since Adam Morrison is the only expiring contract they have that has any significant financial worth. But look for the Lakers and Bulls to both try and make trades by the deadline for their own reasons.

Another rumor linked to the Bulls is...

The Portland Trailblazers have inquired about trading for Brendan Haywood and Brad Miller:

Both were flatly denied. Here's the deal.

The Blazers are badly hurting for size, with both Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla out for the season. That leaves them with just LaMarcus Aldridge and the 36 year old Juwan Howard to man the post for them. The Blazers have gone very small since losing Vanilla Gorilla, frequently moving Brandon Roy to small forward, or even sometimes power forward, and trotting out two or three point guards at a time. So calling about any half decent big man is a given for them.


But the Wizards reportedly want both Rudy Fernandez and Nic Batum for Haywood, which the Blazers feel it too steep a price. With Outlaw set to expire at the end of the year, dealing them both would leave Portland with no depth at the 2 or 3 next season.

The Bulls, by contrast, simply don't want to give Brad Miller up. First, he's their biggest expiring contract, and that's essential to their free agent plans this summer. Second, the Bulls have made a mild resurgence of late, getting back to over .500 largely thanks to Miller's solid play. Why trade him unless they're going to get something guaranteed to be better? Despite the "rebuilding" tag, the Bulls still have playoff aspirations this year, particularly their head coach Vinny Del Negro, who's still fighting for his job.

Now, one big man the Bulls would consider trading for....

The Amare Stoudemire sweepstakes:

Let's not make a new headline for each rumor surrounding this guy. Too many. Instead, we'll make one big list and divide the teams up by who's in and who's out.

The Suns have reportedly resigned themselves to not keeping Amare, and have decided to take the best offer for him they get by the deadline. With that in mind, here's the situation.


The San Antonio Spurs:

Surprise surprise. I was skeptical of this too when I first heard it, but this actually had legs. The Spurs "know they need to do something," as one source puts it, to their frontcourt if they want to really contend with the Lakers (hint to Timberwolves fans...if Timmy Duncan isn't enough...well....)

The questions here are about the long term impact. First, the Spurs would have to give up a lot....probably Manu Ginobili and some combination of Matt Bonner, Michael Finley and Roger make a trade realistic. That's a lot of outside firepower, and the player that has been the Spurs' driving x-factor in all their championship seasons (and the missing piece in all the years they've fallen short). Further, if the trade does happen, would the Spurs be willing to spend the money needed to keep Amare beyond this summer? Is he the missing piece for a championship run in the first place?

San Antonio, of course, would be elated if the Suns decided to take Richard Jefferson from them to replace aging Grant Hill. That might gain steam in the next couple of weeks if the Suns don't feel like any clearly better offers come in.

I'm going to say that if the Spurs can get Amare, they should get Amare. As a tandem, Duncan and Stoudemire would be a nearly unstoppable force on offense, and I think Amare can pick it up enough (and Duncan can cover enough), that he at least can be as effective a defender as Antonio McDyess. He certainly can't be more of a liability on that end as Matt Bonner.

The Chicago Bulls:

The offer here is Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and Tyrus Thomas for Stoudemire. In terms of talent, that far outstrips the Spurs' offer(s). But this would also have a much more adverse effect on the Suns financially....Hinrich and Deng have contracts that extend into next season (and beyond).....Ginobili, Finley, Mason and Bonner are all expiring deals.

If the Suns move Amare, does that mean they're rebuilding? Even with veterans Steve Nash, Jason Richardson and Grant Hill still on board? After Nash and Hill specifically stayed because they both felt the team was getting back into the contender mix? Hmmm...

The Philadelphia 76ers:

As reported last week, the Sixers have decided to go boom, blowing up the roster for whatever cap space they can get. Amare would certainly seem to be a good fit for their open court system: if he opts out, they get $17 million off the books. If he doesn't, they keep a player fairly custom build for their system, and $17 million off the books in 2011 (along with potentially Samuel Dalembert's $12 million and Jason Kapono's $7 million) in what is, at some point, going to become known as the "Year of Durant".

Andre Iguodala would be the centerpiece of a trade here. What else? Would the Suns want Kapono's shooting? Would they want young talent like Thaddeous Young and Marreese Speights? One would think the Sixers wouldn't give up either of those two, nor would the Suns have much interest in Lou Williams or Jrue Holiday, with Nash, Leandro Barbosa, and the emerging Goran Dragic already on board.

The New Jersey Nets:

The Nets can offer the Suns something no other team in the mix can: lots of good draft picks. The general field offer here is Stoudemire for Yi Jianlian (who's been playing very well lately), Courtney Lee, Bobby Simmons (expiring), and a couple first rounders. All would fit into the Suns' system and plans.

Another possibility is, if the Nets win the #1 pick in the lottery, a sign-and-trade over the summer with Devin Harris as part of the deal.

For now though, the Nets' only untouchable is Brook Lopez, for obvious reasons. A combination of Lopez and either Harris or John Wall would give Amare a good show of talented support to play with, and a trio of Stoudemire, Lopez, and either Harris or Wall would be a major draw this summer for LeBron or Wade.

For his part, Amare was quick not to rule out the Nets just because of their record this year. When asked about teams he'd automatically say "no way" to, Stoudemire responded, "I don’t think the Nets are one of them."

The Detroit Pistons:

Like the Sixers, the Pistons have gone into all out remake the roster mode, and have several attractive pieces to offer the Suns.

First are the veterans, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, both of whom would be fantastic fits for the Suns' system and assurance to Nash and Hill that the team isn't starting over. Also possible is Charlie Villanueva, the sweet shooting big man the Pistons signed over the summer.

One player the Suns would certainly want who the Pistons won't be giving up is Ben Gordon. Detroit is very locked into Gordon and Rodney Stuckey being the backcourt of the future, even if Stuckey has yet to prove he deserves the support.


The New York Knicks:

Which is odd, because they're in on basically every other trade rumor out there. But team President Donnie Walsh has flatly said, "I haven't talked to them" and laughed at the idea that he would.

No real reason why, but odds are the team is 100% focused right now on somehow getting Jared Jeffries out the door. Without that, the Knicks can kiss their summer plans goodbye.

For the Suns, the obvious question is who would they want off the Knicks' roster? The only players that would really interest Phoenix are the two players New York won't give up: Danillo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. Not to mention that for the finances to work, the Suns would have to take on Larry Hughes, Al Harrington, Darko Milicic, or David Lee. Expirings have their uses, but again, what would that say to Steve Nash? The Suns can get a much better offer from a different team and Walsh seems to know that.

The Miami Heat:

On the surface, Amare + Wade seems like any team's dream. How would anyone possibly guard those two and emerging scorer Michael Beasley?

But the Heat have two things in mind here:

1) Unlike the Knicks, the Heat actually do have the money to sign two max free agents. Why not just wait until the summer and see what happens?

2) The Heat reportedly value Chris Bosh much more because of the defense factor.

Stoudemire has a summer home in Miami and says he'd gladly play for the Heat, but he too seems to be thinking it'd be a summer signing, not a deadline trade.

The Minnesota Timberwolves:

This I'm admittedly back and forth on. On one hand, I don't think David Kahn is planning to trade for Stoudemire, especially at the expense of Al Jefferson or Ricky Rubio. On the other hand, I do think he's considering a way he can trade for Stoudemire that won't break the bank.

In terms of last week's trade rumor, Kahn said he isn't going to make any trades, Amare included, unless "someone calls up with a deal that’s so preposterously one-sided, we'd have to do it, " which he defines as, "Something that even Al Jefferson would have to say, 'David you have to do that.'"

So Kahn's statements seem to rule out a Stoudemire trade, but at the same time....they don't.

"I think Al actually backed up exactly the conversation we had face-to-face in Denver a couple of weeks ago, and that was as follows: ‘Al, I am not looking to trade you, and that’s the truth. I haven’t made one phone call all year long proposing a deal that involved Al Jefferson, and I won’t do so this year,’ " Kahn said.


"I also said ‘At the same time, Al, you know, though, that I can’t control this totally. If somebody calls and makes us an offer that is so obvious, we have to do it. And he said ‘Of course, I know that, David. You can never promise that.’"

So that's what it is, I think. Right now, no....but later? Who knows. I'm going to rule us out for now because, like the Knicks' situation, the Suns are probably going to get a better offer from someone else. But at the same time, I don't think we can ever be %100 ruled out of any trade situation. Unlike McHale, Kahn is a guy who keeps all doors open at all times.

Also, as a side note, the reports on Amare-to-Minnesota also say the three wings we're watching are Rudy Gay, Luol Deng, and Caron Butler. Make of that what you will.

Here's how it works: I've already decided on next week's NBA update theme, and it's going to be Amare Stoudemire. The good and the bad. How he affects the trade market and the draft. What he'd do for the Wolves, what he wouldn't do for the Wolves. All of it. Stoudemire is an effective barometer/object lesson/counter comparison for the Timberwolves in a lot of ways, and I'll go into that in detail next week.

Now, for one final trade rumor...

The Warriors are considering offering Monta Ellis to the Celtics for Ray Allen:

This is about as "out of left field" as it gets. Not sure what to make of this.

The logic goes something like this. The Warriors feel Ellis is impeding the development of Stephen Curry, and apparently tensions between Ellis and head coach Don Nelson haven't cooled. The Celtics are old and Ray Allen is an expiring contract....why not get a talented, high scoring shooting guard for him while they can?


That all, of course, neglects all the reasons why this trade doesn't make sense. Ellis is undersized for a shooting guard, hasn't proven to be a great teammate, is incredibly turnover prone, expensive, and (despite what he and the Warriors say), not a particularly effective defender, which would be even more apparent if he was put in a slow, halfcourt system rather than the run-constantly thing Don Nelson does. Ray Allen is little more than an expiring contract to the Warriors, who've shown little to no aptitude at actually using cap space effectively. Not only that, but Allen has been basically carrying the Celtics on offense this season, particularly when Garnett was out and the Cs had to ramp up the scoring to make up for the lost defense.

Allen says he wants to stay in Boston the rest of the year and beyond, and team President Danny Ainge doesn't seem inclined to move him or anyone else. Reports are Ainge wants to get everyone healthy first at the least, meaning nothing will happen in Boston until right at the deadline, when Marquis Daniels is expected to return. If anything happens at all.

That about wraps it up for trade news this week.

Check out last week's Prowling the NBA for more...most of those rumors are still active, but I'm not going to repost them week after week after week, obviously.

Now on to All Star news...

Reserves have been named for the 2010 All Star Game:

Rajon Rondo (Celtics)
Joe Johnson (Hawks)
Chris Bosh (Raptors)
Paul Pierce (Celtics)
Gerald Wallace (Bobcats)
Derrick Rose (Bulls)
Al Horford (Hawks)

Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
Kevin Durant (Thunder)
Brandon Roy (Trailblazers)
Chris Paul (Hornets)
Deron Williams (Jazz)
Pau Gasol (Lakers)
Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)

Comments? Well....

Let's start with the obvious....who would have ever thought Zach Randolph would ever be named to an All Star anything at any point in his career? But the truth is, Z-Bo deserves it. He's been an incredibly effective player this year, an actual teammate, and he's been the difference for the Grizzlies this year.

Also, I question the selection of Pau Gasol since he missed significant time so far this year with injuries. I think that's a situation where coaches voted based on reputation more than anything else, since I really feel that there are several big men, including Gasol's teammate Andrew Bynum, who deserve to be in the All Star game more than Pau.

On the flip side, I'm pleased Deron Williams finally made it in. That's long overdue. Kevin Durant and Gerald Wallace are both making well deserved first appearances as well, and I like that a lot.

But maybe the most glaring thing that stands out to me is.....Where is Josh Smith???

Which brings us to the next topic...

Players I feel got snubbed this year:


In the West, it's all big men. I think there can be a case made for guards like Chauncey Billups and Aaron Brooks, but I mean....Brandon Roy, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. That's a case of some guys deserving it, but some guys deserving it even more.

Pau Gasol though, I'm really not sure about. He's only played 30 games this year, and while he's played those 30 very well, does he really deserve it more than Andrew Bynum, Carlos Boozer, or Nene? I don't know about that. Like I said, I think Gasol got in this year more on reputation and the Lakers' record than anything else.


Of course, what it ultimately comes down to is the fan voting, because Amare Stoudemire deserves it the least. You could make the strongest case, at least in terms of who deserves to go, that Dirk or Gasol should start, Bynum, Nene or Boozer make it in as a reserve, and STAT doesn't go at all.


I have a lot of issues with the East reserves, but none bigger than the omission of Josh Smith. Joe Johnson and Al Horford make it, JSmoove doesn't. Is anyone actually watching the Hawks?

This I think speaks to the problem with the current vote-by-position system. Joe Johnson makes it over Smith because he's a guard. So they're separated on the ballot. But Al Horford....look, if the ballot didn't demand an individual vote strictly for a center (or if the coaches had simply voted Bosh in as the center) then Josh Smith is there. Smoove is the key to the Hawks, on offense, on defense, everything.

Ya. I'm unhappy.

Smoove, for his part, handled the snub graciously, posting his thoughts on his blog

All-Star Game
January 28th, 2010 at 21:56

What’s up yall? First off I want to say congratulations to my teammates Joe Johnson and Al Horford for their selections in the 2010 All-Star game. They both are well deserving and will represent the organization well. Knowing that we at least got 2 in made me feel a little better but I was a little dissapointed intially when I didn’t make it. The coaches made their selections which I do respect, so I have to get in the gym, keep working hard, and do the best that I can to warrant a selection next year. It’s always next year. While it would be nice to be there, I put my team first and made it about "WE" not "ME" and that has lead us to be the #1 team in the division. The team success is far more important than individual accomplishments. I learned as a young man to not worry about things that you can’t control and this is one of those situations. I want to thank all of my fans for the votes, the encouragement, and just being there for me. I love you guys to death and please keep up the support. This WILL be my motivation for the rest of the season.

Also questionable in my mind is Paul Pierce, who I think could have been omitted in favor of Stephen Jackson, Josh Smith, or his own teammate Ray Allen. Again, a voting by position problem. Also, I think that Derrick Rose being voted in speaks volumes as to the overall weakness among guards in the East. If he was in the West, Rose wouldn't get in over the West guards I mentioned who were omitted this year....Billups and Brooks....and probably several other guards as well like Jason Kidd, OJ Mayo, and Russel Westbrook.

Now names that I see mentioned a lot that I think do have a legitimate argument for being omitted are David Lee, Andrew Bogut, and Danny Granger. Just keep this in mind: no one on either the East or West was voted in from a sub-.500 team.

Ultimately though, these things happen every year, so....

The other piece of All Star news is...

Participants have been named for the Rookie/Sophomore game:

Tyreke Evans (Kings)
Omri Casspi (Kings)
Taj Gibson (Bulls)
Jonas Jerebko (Pistons)
Stephen Curry (Warriors)
Brandon Jennings (Bucks)
Jonny Flynn (Timberwolves)
James Harden (Thunder)
DeJuan Blair (Spurs)

Derrick Rose (Bulls)
Eric Gordon (Clippers)
Kevin Love (Timberwolves)
Brook Lopez (Nets)
Danilo Gallinari (Knicks)
Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
O.J. Mayo (Grizzlies)

Again, let's start out with the obvious: the rooks are going to get slaughtered this year. Without Blake Griffin, they have no way to match the sophomore's big men trio of Kevin Love, Brook Lopez and Marc Gasol. Further, they lack shooting power on the wings: Stephen Curry cannot outshoot OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, and Danillo Gallinari all by himself.

The sophomore team is about as well constructed as you can ask for, but the rookie team is missing one obvious player: Ty Lawson.


Why? Here's my thoughts.

Lawson is a victim of the NBA marketing machine: hype. By statistical analysis, he has a case to be in over any rookie except possibly Blair, and that's the argument most use in his favor.

The flip side is that Lawson is a bench player and the #18 pick, and unfortunately those two things conspire to work against not just him, but deserving rookies in general. Flynn makes it in because he starts. Harden makes it in because he's the #3 pick. The rest of the guards are both.

It's unfortunate, but again, something that happens every year. Two years ago it was Sean Williams, Mike Conley, and Yi Jianlian making it in over the more deserving Al Thornton, Rodney Stuckey, and Carl Landry. Last year it was Greg Oden over Kevin Love.

The guard who would be most likely to not make it if Lawson did is Jonny Flynn. But I figure it won't change anything to throw advanced statistics at the league and hope they change their minds. Might as well just enjoy having both Flynn and Love in there.

Draft Watch:

S-n-P has the latest Hoopus draft board up here, so check that out for comprehensive draft discussion.

For us this week, we're going to focus on Evan Turner, and why he's the best college player period. And yes, that means better than John Wall.


Sports Illustrated ran the numbers this week, and here's what they had to say:

Despite a fractured back that cost him close to seven games, Turner should be the leading candidate for the Naismith Award (along with the bevy of other Player of the Year awards). With due respect to the other top candidates, a comparison of performance right now isn't all that close:


Turner is almost as efficient offensively as John Wall and Damion James, the two other high-usage players on the list, despite handling the ball a lot more. His effective field goal percentage also is significantly better than either of them, even though he's made only six three-pointers all season (Wall has made 16; James has 20). Meanwhile, Turner's assist rate is better than the best point guard in the land, and he's almost the glass-cleaning equal of James, an elite rebounder, and much better than Wesley Johnson.

Simply put, he's essentially a combination of the best traits of each of his competitors: Johnson's shooting, Wall's dishing and James' board work.

For high-usage players (greater than 28 percent of a team's possessions) in major conferences, Turner is second in possessions used and has the nation's best assist rate while still ranking eighth in offensive efficiency. And that doesn't even account for his overall defensive impact or the seemingly seamless way he stuffs his stat lines.

Right now, Turner is averaging 18.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. However, if you exclude the seven-minute outing against Eastern Michigan (when he was injured) and his 20-minute return against Indiana, those averages jump to 20.7, 11.0 and 5.8. If Turner can maintain those standards (technically, he'd need about a 0.5 ppg bump in scoring), he will complete one of the most statistically improbable seasons in modern basketball history.

How rare is a 20/10/5 year in college hoops? According to Ohio State's sports information department, which consulted with Stats Inc., no Division I player has completed one since at least 1996. Stats Inc.'s best guess as to the last player to do it is Larry Bird at Indiana State in 1978-79, and that wasn't even in a major conference. Searching independently, the last player who did it in a top-tier league may have been Bill Walton at UCLA in 1972-73.

Think about what that means. Grant Hill (17.4/6.9/5.2) never got there. Neither did Dwayne Wade (21.5/6.3/4.4). Tim Duncan came moderately close (20.8/14.7/3.2), but still didn't do it. Even less-remembered one-man wrecking crews like N.C. State's Tom Gugliotta (22.5/9.8/3.1) couldn't get there.

The best proxies? The two most freakishly multitalented stars of the modern era: Magic Johnson (17.0/7.9/7.4 and 17.1/7.3/8.4 in his two seasons) and Jason Kidd (16.7/6.9/9.1 his sophomore season). Both had outrageously impactful seasons, but each still missed on two of these three specific metrics.

If Kentucky ends the season at No. 1, Wall rightly will get a long look for Player of the Year. He's lived up to all expectations and team success, especially for a point guard, should be strongly considered. That said, if Turner does make it to 20/10/5 and Ohio State continues to thrive, the POY debate should be settled. If you deliver arguably the most dynamic season of the last 30 years, you have to be considered the best player in the land.

In summary, Evan Turner scores as well as Johnson, rebounds as well as James, and facilitates as well as Wall. He is Wes Johnson, Damion James, and John Wall combined. That, my friends, is not iPadding stats. That is Evan Turner being a flat out ****ing incredible basketball player.

Now keep in mind, being the best college player does not mean you'll be the best pro player, or should be drafted first overall. Tyler Hansbrough piled up more awards and broke more meaningful records than arguably anyone in the history of college basketball, but obviously his game doesn't translate to the NBA as well.

Still, you have to consider what Turner is and could become. For one, I agree with the scout I posted last week, that Wall and Turner are 1 and 1a in the draft. Also that Turner can easily become a better Brandon Roy.


His head coach at Ohio State, Thad Matta, said, "I think [Evan] is probably one of the most ultracompetitive kids I have ever coached. Winning is very, very important to him. He's just the type of the guy in practice that he needs a score, he needs time on a clock. There's got to be a prize at the end, and I think that's what great players all seem to have."

"He's one of those guys who's very critical of his game and is not afraid to admit he has faults. A lot of kids don't want to admit that, 'Hey, I'm not good at this.' And they sure as heck don't want to work on it. Evan is a kid who knows the game, he knows what he needs to get better at, and he's going to put in the work."

Objective statistical analysis and projected potential aside, I will say, for the record, that I will probably feel more disappointed if we win the lottery, take Wall, and watch Turner go, than I will be if we get the #2 pick with Wall out of our range and take Evan Turner. Those are my feelings at this point. He's a great player, he's a great kid, he doesn't have a complex about himself, an behavior problems, or a need to be in the spotlight. He works hard, admits his faults, improves his weaknesses, and doesn't get caught up in his own hype. I can't say all that about John Wall. I like Evan Turner more.

Alright, and finally, we have Ricky Rubio...

Ricky Rubio update:

First, as Wyn posted today, the Euroleague playoffs have begun, and up to this point, Rubio and Regal FC Barcelona have run roughshod over basically everyone they play. Check out the FC Barcelona/Maroussi BC Gamethread here for a rundown on how the Euro playoffs are formatted and comments on Rubio's game.


Also, Rubio was linked to the Suns in that Stoudemire trade rumor and continues to be linked to the Knicks. So let's address that right now.

Bottom line? Not happening. And Kahn explains to us why.

"Donnie and I have talked a grand total of three times in the last nine months (about Rubio)," Kahn said. "From the moment we talked, I said to him -- and I mean no disrespect to the Knicks or Donnie -- what kind of trade can they possibly propose?"

Kahn believes Rubio would be the second pick of this year's draft behind John Wall.

"There is just no way," Kahn said of a deal happening with the Knicks' current roster state.

It's the same situation that has caused the Knicks to give up on trading for Amare: they have no assets. The only player we'd be interested off their roster is Gallinari, and he doesn't equal Rubio's value anyway.

So here's my advice: don't believe any rumors of us trading Ricky Rubio. Ever. To anyone. Kahn says no one on the roster is untouchable, but let's be technical: Rubio's not officially on our roster, and as speculative as this may sound, I really do believe that's a significant point because I really do believe Ricky Rubio is untouchable in David Kahn's mind. As he should be.

So, to wrap this all up, I'm going to repost the Rubio life story video I posted a couple of weeks ago, as well as a new documentary I found that focuses more on his pro career and the Olympics.


As I said above, next week's theme is Amare Stoudemire.

iPad's don't ship for another two months, so you unfortunately won't be able to read about STAT on one next week. But maybe you can get one and make a before and after comparison. Or something.

So until next week....

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