FanPost

Pacific Division Preview

USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

54 Wins

Notables In:

J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens

Notables Out:

Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Eric Bledsoe, Ronny Turiaf, Chauncey Billups

Best Value Large Contract:

Chris Paul ($1,203,123 per Win)

Worst Value Large Contract:

DeAndre Jordan ($1,798,577 per Win)

Best Value Small Contract:

Matt Barnes ($667,355 per Win)

Worst Value Small Contract:

Byron Mullens writes spec scripts for Two and a Half Men

I think some people regard the Clippers as co-winners of the off season along with the Rockets. Or close enough at any rate. I am a little more divided on the Bledsoe for Dudley-Redick deal. It's alright, but I don't love it.

Let's get this out of the way: it is excellent to have Jared Dudley playing for a good team. He is a glue guy; this is what he is supposed to be doing.

My problem with the trade is they gave up a good young player for approximate duplicates of players they already have. Is Dudley that different from Matt Barnes? Is J.J. Redick that different from Jamal Crawford? And then there is the opportunity cost. By giving up Bledsoe for two wing players they forfeit the chance to move him to buttress their front court, which is a more important need for the Clippers to my mind. Could they have done a sign and trade for Millsap? Could they have moved Bledsoe for Asik? I do not know if either of those were possible, but these are the types of moves the Clippers might regret if their front court gets exploited again in the playoffs.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

47 Wins

Notables In:

Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O'Neal

Notables Out:

Carl Landry, Jarrett Jack

Best Value Large Contract:

Stephen Curry ($1,008,182 per Win)

Worst Value Large Contract:

Andrew Bogut ($3,488,143 per Win)

Best Value Small Contract:

Klay Thompson ($542,610 per Win)

Worst Value Small Contract:

Marreese Speights ($4,480,521 per Win)

Harrison Barnes' rookie campaign looks comparable to those of Chase Budinger and Omri Casspi:

NAME

P/36

TS%

3PT%

TRB%

SB/36

AST/TOV

Harrison Barnes

13.1

52.6

35.9

8.9

1.1

0.94

Chase Budinger

15.9

54.5

36.9

8.5

1.1

1.75

Omri Casspi

14.8

52.9

36.9

10.4

1.3

1.00

Barnes is a year younger and therefore may have more potential than either of those two, but their careers can perhaps serve as a reference for Barns' overall value expectations.

The playoffs told me something about Barnes, and it is that he is not so much a wing but more a combo forward in the Rashard Lewis mold, though obviously not as good. So I like what the Andre Iguodala signing does for Barnes, pushing him to the bench and allowing him to replace either Iggy or Thompson or David Lee as the situation dictates.

Steph Curry is an amazing basketball player, and just a smidge puzzling as well. For starters, he is clearly better at three point shooting than anyone in the league not named Ryan Anderson as the following chart will show:

Screen_shot_2013-09-17_at_8

His effect on the Warriors offense is clear from the following table, which shows the Warrior's offensive eFG% with the player on the court, minus the offensive eFG% when the player is off the court:

Off. eFG% Differential

Steph Curry On-Off

+5.2

Klay Thompson On-Off

+2.7

Jarrett Jack On-Off

+0.4

David Lee On-Off

+2.6

Harrison Barnes On-Off

+0.3

And to tease out the interactions a little bit more, this chart shows the Warriors offensive eFG% with various player pairs:

Screen_shot_2013-09-17_at_8

What confuses me about Curry is the fact that he is a killer in spot up situations (52.1% from 3 per Synergy), so you would think pairing him with another point guard would be useful as it would free up Curry to move without the ball. That does not seem to be the case though:

3PT%

%3PM AST'D

With Jarrett Jack

42.8

67.4

Without Jarrett Jack

46.7

50.7

Is this explicable? Is it a fluke? I do not know, but it is perhaps grounds enough to wonder whether Curry and Iguodala will be a very good fit offensively, given that Iggy cannot space the floor and his passing may not even help Curry. It certainly did not help Ty Lawson, who shot 36.6 percent from 3 this past season, but only 34.7 percent from 3 with Iguodala on the floor.

SACRAMENTO KINGS

31 Wins

Notables In:

Carl Landry, Greivis Vazquez, Luc a Moute

Notables Out:

Tyreke Evans

Best Value Large Contract:

Jason Thompson ($1,427,203 per Win)

Worst Value Large Contract:

Marcus Thornton ($4,060,244 per Win)

Best Value Small Contract:

Isaiah Thomas ($196,224 per Win)

Worst Value Small Contract:

Travis Outlaw ($20,984,075 per Win)

I like these additions. None of these guys is very good, but they are all solid and help add depth to a very talentless squad.

Greivis Vazquez is an odd player, but I think he can be quite useful if given the right role. Like Jose Calderon, Vazquez is a good distributor who lacks the ability to get below the foul line. Also like Jose Calderon, Vazquez cannot defend point guards. Unlike Jose Calderon, Greivis Vazquez is 6'6'', which makes him intriguing as a 6th man, able to effectively back up point guards through small forwards.

The worry with Vazquez is giving him too much responsibility, which he will gladly take because he is a confident young man. As a combo-perimeter player with lead guard skills, he is not so different from Tyreke Evans, except with much worse defense, better distributional instincts and better shooting (Vazquez: 43.4% on spot up 3s per Synergy. Evans: 36.8% on spot up 3s).

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is in need of a rehab season. The Kings are probably the last team someone would want to be on to have a turn-around year, but I do think Dr. a Moute can be useful for the Kings. As you can see from this series of posts, Mr. Moute can defend; and as you can see from the Kings' b-r.com page, the Kings cannot. Monsieur M&M is not an ideal piece for a team lacking a superior offensive player though, because while his defense is nice his offense is feculent. Nevertheless he should be a useful situational player for the Kings.

It looks like DeMarcus Cousins received a 4 year $62 million dollar deal which he surely has not "earned" in any scrupulous sense of the word. However, here is my case for Cousins as a building block caliber player:

  • Cousins was 12th in AST% (15.3%) among bigs in 2013
  • Cousins hits the glass hard (9th in the league in TRB%)
  • Cousins works for steals (2nd among bigs in STL%)
  • Cousins was 3rd among qualifying bigs in charge rate per Hoop Data (0.32 per40 this year; 1.02 per40 the year before, which is simply incredible).

I am not trying to make the case for DeMarcus Cousins' current value, I am only trying to make the case that unlike other reclamation projects Cousins has a lot of proven skills to work with. It might be another 3-4 years before Cousins is docile and mature enough to reach his potential, but I think he has shown he is more than a bundle of unrealized, purely theoretical tools. And really the big thing with Cousins is that he must cut down down on his shot attempts from 16 feet and beyond. If his number of FGA from +16 feet more resembled his number of FGA from 10-16 feet, then instead of a 52 TS% he would have a TS% of nearly 57, everything else remaining the same. A center who is a willing passer, scores a lot and fairly efficiently and works hard on defense and on the glass is a very good player. That is what I see as Cousins' potential.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

30 Wins

Notables In:

Nick Young, Wes Johnson, Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar

Notables Out:

Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Metta Peace

Best Value Large Contract:

Steve Nash ($1,735,011 per Win)

Worst Value Large Contract:

Kobe Bryant ($5,463,802 per Win)

Best Value Small Contract:

Jodie Meeks ($581,953 per Win)

Worst Value Small Contract:

Wes Johnson (solution not defined)

Oi, this is terrible. What are we going to do about Steve Nash and Pau Gasol? Should we at least get them something from Edible Arrangements? Guys this sweet do not deserve such punishment.

Reinforcements will be on the way at some point in the form of Kobe Bryant. But things do not look so good for him unfortunately.

Who is even coaching this thing? Is it D'Antoni, or was he fired? I can't remember. At any rate he'll be gone soon enough. Hopefully they hire someone who can handle the pressure of the position, someone like Chuck Knoblauch or Phil Spector.

PHOENIX SUNS

24 Wins

Notables In:

Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe

Notables Out:

Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O'Neal, Wes Johnson

Best Value Large Contract:

Goran Dragic ($1,264,758 per Win)

Worst Value Large Contract:

Marcin Gortat ($1,660,153 per Win)

Best Value Small Contract:

Eric Bledsoe ($356,250 per Win)

Worst Value Small Contract:

Kendall Marshall (is not very good)

Is there anything to say? I think the Suns made a very nice trade this summer when they exchanged Jared Dudley for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is a good young player, but not so good that you cannot tank with him. So this trade was for the future. And perhaps, sometime in that future, I will find something else that interests me about this team.

Stats courtesy of:

Basketball Reference

NBAWOWY

Hickory High

NBA.com

Team Rankings

Synergy

Vorped

Shamsports

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