Archive for February, 2011

Buy Low, Sell High: Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

Posted by    |    February 25th, 2011 at 5:30 am

“In a lot of ways it’s harder in this league,” another NBA executive says, “to go from middle-of-the-pack to the top than from the bottom to the top.”
– An NBA executive to SI’s Joe Posnanski.

Every NBA franchise has been to the playoffs at least once since 2004; 23 of the league’s 30 teams have made it in the last three years.

It’s almost impossible to be consistently awful. Over half the teams make the playoffs every year; the rest are given first crack at selecting the best young prospects. Even the Clippers have some history of recent playoff success, with an Elton Brand led team making Game 7 of the second round in 2006.

It’s not difficult to build a 45+ win team; it’s actually pretty easy.

For franchises to miss the playoffs for more than five straight years, two things usually have to happen: they have to wait too long to rebuild and then whiff in the Draft.

Jonny Flynn, who Minnesota took #6 in 2009, is already on the trading block. (more…)

The Carmelo Trade: Good for the Knicks and the NBA

Posted by    |    February 23rd, 2011 at 5:30 am

There have been two prevailing knocks against the Knicks’ acquisition of Carmelo Anthony: that they gave up too many young assets to get him and that the creation of “super teams” modeled on the Miami Heat is bad for the NBA. Neither is true.

At first glance, New York did seem to give up an awful lot. They traded three starters — Ray Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler — as well two young seven footers (Anthony Randolph and Timofey Mozgov), an expiring contract (Eddy Curry) and a first round pick.

But Chandler was a fairly one-dimensional scorer who was due for restricted free agency after this season, and the Knicks had no intention of tying up their cap space to keep him. Randolph, despite having an immense amount of talent, could never earn playing time for Mike D’Antoni. And a cash-rich team like the Knicks can always buy their way back into the latter stages of the first round if they want too. (more…)

Pittsburgh’s Prospects: Can They Take The Final Step?

Posted by    |    February 21st, 2011 at 5:30 am

** For an in-depth look at how we’re scouting these players, check out this post on the five tools NBA scouts should look for. **

First under Ben Howland, and now under his assistant Jamie Dixon, the Pittsburgh Panthers have scratched and clawed their way towards elite status in college basketball.

In the last decade, they’ve made the Sweet Sixteen four times and the Elite Eight once, despite not having a single McDonald’s All-American or first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Pitt’s style of play — tough, hard-nosed and physical on both sides of the ball — isn’t very aesthetically pleasing, but it works. (more…)

Dallas Mavericks: +1,600 To Win The NBA Title

Posted by    |    February 19th, 2011 at 5:30 am

The Dallas Mavericks are getting 16:1 odds to win the NBA title. They might not win a championship, but that number will be getting significantly lower as we get closer to April.

Moving towards the trade deadline, the Mavericks were a few pieces away from being serious threats to win an NBA championship: they needed someone who could create his own shot off the dribble from the perimeter, and they needed a quick guard to match up with the new breed of lighting fast points. (more…)

Indiana Pacers: Missing Pieces

Posted by    |    February 16th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Of the major team sports, basketball has the smallest active roster (12) by far. One or two great players can have a much bigger impact on a game than in football (53) or baseball (25) or hockey (23), where a collection of good players can overwhelm a great one.

A basketball team’s identity is determined by its best player. If you have a dominant defensive presence in the front-court, you are going to be a good defensive team (Dwight Howard — Orlando). If you have a player who can create an easy look for himself and his teammates whenever he wants, you are going to be good offensive team (Steve Nash — Phoenix).

And if you have a player with the ability do both, you are going to be a great team (LeBron James — Miami). But if you don’t have either, then you aren’t going to be very good. (more…)