Hey everybody, thanks for joining me to chat about last night's draft, upcoming free agency and the USA advancing to the knockout stages of the World Cup. Lots to discuss today. Let's get to it.
I'm sure everyone is curious who your biggest winner from the draft is.... Denver? Philly? Utah?
As I said last night, my biggest winner is Denver, which started with two picks and landed three of the top 17 prospects on my personal board. Either Gary Harris or Jusuf Nurkic would have been a solid pick at 11. Getting both of them is outstanding.
Hey Kevin, Doug McDermott likened himself to Wally Sczerbiak. Do you think that is a good comp for what to expect from him?
I think it's better than a lot of them. The key, of course, is that Szczerbiak is a wing and I'm skeptical that McDermott has the footspeed to defend on the perimeter in the NBA. That will determine how accurate the comparison is, and probably how good McDermott's career is.
Google "Patric Young" and just look at one photo of that dude. How in the world was he not drafted?!? I want that dude on my team.
Because, as Billy Beane might say, we're not selling jeans here. In terms of what happens on the basketball court, Young wasn't especially productive for a four-year NCAA player. He's got a chance to stick as a defense-minded big man, but will have to dramatically improve his defensive rebounding to do so.
So what's wrong with Spencer Dinwiddie other than the name and the 'stache? I've read his strengths are size, shooting, scoring ability, playmaking, getting teammates involves, and defense. What else is there?!?
That's a rather optimistic assessment. In particular, Dinwiddie hasn't been a great finisher (he shot 44.6 percent on 2-point attempts in his career) and it's not entirely clear he's a pure point guard rather than a combo guard who can play the point. And he is coming off a serious injury. That said, love the value in the second round.
Is it possible for the Knicks to clear enough space to sign LeBron to a near max deal and then sign Melo with Bird Rights? Would some team with cap space absorb Bargnani if offered Shumpert plus 2018 and 2020 unprotected 1st rounders?
Not with Amar'e Stoudemire on the roster, no. Stoudemire and Melo's cap hold alone swallow up too much of the salary cap to sign LeBron without major paycuts.
Will Lebron come back to the heat beacause acquiring Shabbaz Napier?
I don't think a rookie point guard is going to make LeBron's decision for him, no matter how much he likes Napier. Which is not to say that LeBron won't re-sign; it just won't be *because* of Napier.
Kobe, Randle, Melo, Lebron. Is that enticing to both Melo and Lebron? I feel like Kobe and Randle are better than Wade/Bosh. The Lakers have the cap space for both players if they can somehow get rid of Nash. What are the odds that this could happen. And how would this team fare with those guys if the bench stays relatively the same.
Even without Nash, we're talking about both players taking paycuts down to about $15 million to fit under the cap. And that, plus minimum-salary players and the cap room exception ($2.7 million) is your entire team. I have a hard time seeing that group as better than San Antonio, Oklahoma City or the L.A. Clippers in the West.
What does drafting Kyle Anderson do to Boris Diaw's free agency?
I don't think it really has an impact. Anderson isn't ready to replace Diaw's production tomorrow -- certainly not at the defensive end -- and Diaw wasn't likely looking at a long-term contract anyway. I suppose if somebody throws a ridiculous amount of money Diaw's direction, it could make the Spurs more comfortable moving on.
Which of the second rounders are you highest on?
Nikola Jokic and Jarnell Stokes.
Is Kyle Anderson only a good pick because he fits the Spurs system or is he a good prospect that would have fit more teams?
Somewhere in between. Anderson is a good but unique prospect who would fit a handful of teams, and the Spurs were one of them.
very curious what you think of dennis schroder from germany. can he be a legit rotation player for in his 2nd year? the hawks think so, right?
I don't think we'll know what the Hawks expect until we see how they handle Shelvin Mack's restricted free agency. Personally, I felt Schroeder looked more than a year away last season.
What do the Wizards do now with them announcing Martell Webster is out 4-5 months with back issues? Can they afford to resign Gortat and Ariza?
Affording Ariza and Gortat shouldn't be a problem. Whether it's prudent to re-sign them with John Wall's extension kicking in and Bradley Beal a couple years away from big money is the issue, and Webster's injury gives them that much less leverage when it comes to Ariza.
Piggy-Backing on Lucas (miami) question. Are the Heat's chances to resign LeBron tied to whether Wade opts out and accepts a paycut?
I don't know if I would say tied, but I do think that will have an impact because it will help determine whether the Heat can add the talent they need to remain competitive for championships.
How sweet was that "NBA Pick" last night? Might be the best draft moment I've ever seen
Perfectly executed by the NBA, Adam Silver and everybody involved. Sad for Isaiah Austin that his draft moment came that way, but happy it means he should have a long, healthy life in front of him.
If you're Washington, why re-sign Ariza? Wouldn't it be very easy to pay another wing half the price and tell them "Mr. Wall will get you your money next year" ?
Definitely a viable option if the Ariza bidding goes too high. One thing I did not realize until looking it up was how little Ariza played without Wall on the floor last season.
Kevin, I noticed that you're not too high on Rodney Hood. Why is that? I thought the Jazz got a steal for him with the 23rd pick.
He's older and doesn't really contribute much statistically besides shooting. My concern is if he shoots more like the 36 percent he hit from 3 at Mississippi State than the 42 percent he hit at Duke last season, he won't get on the floor.
Lebron's not going anywhere, right? Seems like the only place he could leave Miami for without looking like a guy who just wants the easy way out is Cleveland, and that ain't happening.
You're assuming that LeBron cares about looking like a guy who wants the easy way out. None of us knows what he's thinking.
Kevin- who are your undrafted names to watch?
Khem Birch, Javon McCrea, Chris Udofia, Kendrick Perry, Bryce Cotton, Scottie Wilbekin.
Hey Kevin, With the news that Martell Webster is going to be out for 3-5 months with a back injury and Trevor Ariza and Gortat being a free agent, do you think the Wizards should have been more stingy about giving away last night's pick or is the financial flexibility they got for the pick more advantageous.
I don't think it really makes a difference. They were unlikely to draft anyone more talented than Glen Rice, Jr., frankly. Also, the Wizards have been linked to Birch, who would have been the best player available on my board when their pick came up.
If you are running Utah, are you glad Exum fell to you, or are you terrified because you don't know enough about him to risk the pick?
Thrilled Exum fell to me. He's got a legitimate chance to be the best player in the draft. For a team in need of star talent, that's huge. And I'm sure that Dennis Lindsey and company put in the work to scout Exum as thoroughly as possible without a workout. Him sliding to five wasn't entirely unpredictable a month ago.
The Raptors make the playoffs for the first time in forever and pass on guys like Napier, Early, Hood, Anderson etc. to take Bruno Caboclo at 20? Does this make any more sense today than it did yesterday?
Look, I've never watched Bruno Caboclo play. I wouldn't know him if he knocked on my door right now. (Though it would be odd for a 6-9 Brazilian to do so.) Ultimately, it all comes down to talent evaluation, and Caboclo will either pan out or he won't.
What we're better positioned to critique now is whether the Raptors needed to take Caboclo or 20 or might have been able to get him with their 37th pick. Caboclo + someone available at 20 is surely a better haul than Caboclo 37.
Your thoughts on an age or years played minimum for the NBA? Feels like it's far too rare that a rookie enters the league ready to contribute. Watching all the freshman go last night, all I could think of was how many would be on their second team before they made an impact, or would be out of the league because they're not properly developed.
You might want to check out this research: insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10588150/nba-why-nba-develops-players-better-college
Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't James Michael McAdoo projected as a high lottery pick his freshman year? any player comes to mind comparable to how much they fell?
Patric Young is another example. This doesn't happen often, but the longer players spend in college, the less benefit they derive from those initial assessments.
What is up with the Sixers disregard for shooting? A product of how the draft fell, or do they generally not value it as much?
The interesting question is whether this is a strategy. If shooting is undervalued, and you're trying to lose, do you wait to get your shooters for the last stage of your rebuild?
But I wouldn't say they ignored shooting as much as Orlando.
I like what Orlando did but are they going to score any points next year?
They'll get some transition buckets! A lineup of Payton-Oladipo-Harkless-Gordon-Vucevic has great defensive potential, but man is the floor going to be small at the other end of the court.
Why would a divisional team like Charlotte help Miami retain Lebron by giftwrapping Napier to them?
Divisions don't matter in the NBA, so that's not really relevant. Conferences do, but the Hornets are a long ways from realistically contending to win the East. Then consider that Napier was probably going to be available to Miami at 26. The Heat traded up only out of fear that someone else would trade into the 25th pick and take him. And lastly, as I said earlier, the notion that Napier is going to single-handedly change LeBron's decision about his future seems heavily overstated.
Shabazz Napier stock rose with him winning the NCAA tournament and he ended up 26th, if he would have lost in the 1st or 2nd round of the tournament would Napier be a 2nd round pick?
I don't think it ultimately did rise. He went about where he probably would have already gone, though he might have slipped to the second round.
Do you feel more or less confident about your Euro projections compared to US colleges?
Depends on the player. Someone who's played multiple years in the ACB and Euroleague like Nikola Mirotic I feel more confident. Someone like Nikola Jokic who's played one year in the Adriatic League I feel less confident. And no, I don't know why two players named "Nikola" came to mind for this example.
I was actually not a big fan of the Gary Harris pick. Is he going to be a good pro player? He's short for a shooting guard and he actually struggled somewhat with his shot last year. That doesn't seem like a recipe for success
One of the interesting takeaways from my draft research is that previous years predict NBA performance better than the most recent one. That suggests that there's a bit of a market inefficiency for players coming off a relatively down season. And despite his shooting, Harris had a very good sophomore season.
Don't you think that the Dleague not being a true minor leagues is killing the 2nd round? Everyone is taking international players because they don't want to pay 2nd rounders, but if they had a "minor league" team, it wouldn't be as big of an issue.
The issue isn't really so much the money, but yes, having the D-League be a true minor league would make NCAA veterans better second-round picks because teams wouldn't have to choose between keeping them on the roster or losing their rights. But I don't know if I would describe that as "killing" the second round.
How is Coach Thibodeau going to deal with the 'defense' of Doug McDermott?
He seems to believe McDermott can defend in his system, based on experience coaching him with USA Basketball last summer. And there are believers in McDermott's team defense. We've seen lots of players improve defensively playing under Thibodeau. I do think you still need the physical tools, and that's where I'm skeptical about McDermott.
What do you think the Sixers starting lineup will be to start the 2014-2015 season?
Outside of Kyle Anderson to the Spurs, I'm lead to believe that Jarnell Stokes was probably the best fit of a player to a specific team (Griz). Thoughts?
Liked that one a lot, given geography, skill set and the age of the player in front of him on the roster (Zach Randolph). How about Joel Embiid to the Sixers since he's injured?
How do you "experts" differ so much in your post draft analysis. For example the Bulls trading for McDerrmott got such varied opinions. Chad Ford gave them an A, Tom Penn, Goodman, and Spears listed them as their draft winners. Meanwhile you gave them a D and Elhassan said he didn't like the pick. What gives?
No two people are going to feel the same way about any prospect or move, and that will color their assessment of it. I will note that my grade is specifically for the trade, not the pick. I would've felt better about trading up if I thought McDermott was a unique value that justified giving up two first-round picks, though.
Philly can't be a winner when they may not even have a player play a game this upcoming season...they are tanking for another top 3 pick to go with these guys in years to come...your thoughts?
If Embiid comes back healthy, and they add another top pick next year, then yeah, they are winners. We're not talking about winning or losing next season.
Why do teams continually take on bad contracts to help other teams make a run at stars in free agency that only put them further behind going forward?
Not sure who you're thinking of specifically, but teams are built to win at different intervals. If I'm the Utah Jazz, I don't care that the Golden State Warriors are a better team in 2013-14 because they got Andre Iguodala.
Very surprised with Orlando taking Gordon. Was thinking Exum if he was there, or Vonleh. What does Henny see in Gordon for the future and was Payton worth the picks traded?
Clearly the Magic value athleticism and defensive potential, and believe that the work ethic of the players they take will help them improve as shooters. We'll see.
In a post draft conference call, Vivek, Pete D, and Coach Malone suggested that Stauskas was a combo guard and could play along side McLemore. Is there anything you have seen(Eyeballs or Stats) that suggest this is a legit option?
I think you can play Stauskas alongside another combo guard. He could do some playmaking next to Isaiah Thomas, for example. But since McLemore is a below-average ballhandler for a shooting guard, I have a hard time seeing that particular combination being successful.
What's your take on the Randolph extension? Seems like a good deal all around to me.
Yep. Some risk paying Zach Randolph through age 35, but in return the Grizz get the certainty of a much lower cap hit in 2015-16, when they should have some flexibility with Tayshaun Prince's contract expiring.
I'd love McRoberts to stick around with the Hornets, but the drafting of Vonleh makes that unlikely. What team does he fit with the best?
I'd love to see him in an offense that really prizes ball movement, so possibly New York or Golden State.
Memphis now has a log-jam of power forwards, with Z-Bo signing an extension. I see Ed Davis as the odd-man out. What can they get for him?
He's a restricted free agent, so we'll probably just see him sign elsewhere and the Grizzlies opt not to match.
Do you like the Sixers plan?
I don't know if I like building what might have been the worst team in NBA history, but I certainly understand it.
Who is the best backup point guard/3rd guard available in free agency? Is a decent backup worth $5 mil per?
Patty Mills! Whether someone like that is worth $5 million a year depends how much they're going to play. If it's 25-30 minutes a night, perhaps alongside a starting point guard, then sure.
1 being not surprised and 10 being heart-attack level, how surprised were you with the Magic's #4 pick?
With as much intel as exists nowadays, it's hard to be too surprised by a pick. Except Bruno Caboclo, of course. Someone I never heard of was probably a 9 on the scale. (Anthony Bennett rated pretty high last year.)
Best chance for a team in Seattle is relocation - if that doesn't happen what are the chances of & timeframe for an expansion team?
Nothing is going to happen with Seattle until the arena situation in Milwaukee is resolved. At that point, the 30 markets would look stable, and the league would likely consider expansion once the new TV deals are complete.
After all the LeBron chatter about Shabazz Napier, I was surprised no other team - either also in the LeBron chase or just out of spite - didn't take him and keep him out of the Heat's hands.
Taking a player you don't actually want to hurt another team in free agency is a great way to end up paying Landry Fields $6.3 million a year.
Who benefits the most from the NBA's salary structure? Is it those players that are worth more than the mid-level, but less than a max contract? They often get bid up to max contracts with dollars that cannot go to players that are really worth more than the max.
I think it's mid-level players who historically have gotten longer contracts than they would if money was more of a differentiating factor in contract offers. I think the degree to watch players are overrated to the max is overstated.
Why didn't the Grizzlies go after Afflalo? Surely they could have offered more than Denver did.
All indications are the Magic value Fournier, so it's tough to say who else was involved in that pursuit, but Afflalo's salary would have been a bit tricky for a Memphis team that is within striking distance of the luxury tax.
Lot of Mikes in the chat today. What do you think was a better asset in a possible Love trade to Houston, Asik or the pick they got in return?
The pick. The last thing the Timberwolves need are more centers.
In about 24 hours, Phil Jackson unloaded an oft-injured past-his-prime center with a hefty contract and a seemingly apathetic weight-gaining, useless point guard in exchange for one of the league's most underrated players in Calderon, a serviceable defensive big man, worthwhile young rotation players and a draft pick that became Cleanthony Early. Is there something - anything wrong with what Phil's done? I'm shocked we aren't seeing more about him doing more to start to constructively rebuild that roster in two days than his predecessors did in 10 years.
I don't think that's fair to Donnie Walsh, who put the Knicks in position to make a max offer to LeBron James four years ago, but I like the direction. The one thing potentially wrong is Calderon's contract cutting into next year's cap space, but as I wrote that deal should be moveable for an expiring one.
Give me your general opinion on what Combo guard means to you? In general it feels like "combo guards" just ends up playing the 2 guard position. Am I wrong? Like, aren't most guys described as combo guards simply because they aren't tall enough to play the 2 and they don't have Point Guard skills? Shouldn't we just call those guys short 2 guards?
I think the degree to which players can't play point guard is often overstated. What that means is they don't fit into our stereotype of what a point guard should be, not that they can't be successful there.
Why did Utah draft Exum when they are high on Burke? They needed a big defensive presense.
Because he was the best player available, and picking for need in the top five is a great way to get a player who doesn't end up very good.
who's the 3 the Hornets should be targeting in FA. all out for Parsons?
I don't think that Parsons is really going to be on the market. I also don't think the Hornets see small forward as their biggest need. I think they're more likely to pursue a shooting guard. That could be Gordon Hayward, but I think we're looking at Lance Stephenson.
Why do teams continue to draft guys who can't play both ways? Aaron Gordon can't play offense and he is picked 4th, Stauskas and McDermott can't cover anybody and they go in the top 11. There have to be 11 players that can help a team on more overall possessions when you combine both offense and defense.
"Can't" is an awfully strong description. Playing either end isn't really a "yes/no" kind of thing. There are much larger degrees of variation.
Any word on who was willing to take Jeremy Lin off Houston's hands? That feels like a Sam Hinkie thing to do (and get another NOP first rounder in the process).
I don't expect the price to be that high to move Lin. Philly is certainly a reasonable candidate, but I think the Sixers are more likely to take secondary pieces like Donatas Motiejunas and Omri Casspi if the Rockets need to clear maximum space.
Can you think of any comparisons to what the Sixers are doing right now? We've seen teams build almost exclusively through the draft, but a team like OKC built up their core in two years. Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka had time to grow together. That's not going to happen for the Sixers. Boston was able to turn some young players and picks into Garnett and Allen, but they already had Pierce there. What do you think the most likely end game is for Sam Hinkie and Co.?
I don't think it's that different from what Seattle/Oklahoma City did. Remember, Ibaka came over a year after Westbrook, at the same time the Thunder drafted James Harden No. 3. In this comparison, that would be next season, when the Sixers would add Embiid and a lottery pick to Noel/Carter-Williams.
You as high on elfrid Payton as much as other people? Some comps to a young Gary payton?
Like Elfrid Payton, Gary Payton had difficulty with his shot entering the NBA. Unlike Elfrid Payton, Gary Payton was considered one of the handful of best players in college basketball. I don't see the comparison except in general terms.
Agree with your point on Philly and shooters. If they drafted someone like McDermott they could "accidentally" win 10 more games next year and slide down in the draft. The big question is...which SG or SF that CAN shoot are in the 2015 draft? Who do you like?
Not a top-three pick, but R.J. Hunter from Georgia State.
Was the savings of a stash player enough for houston to make the pick they did, or do you think they should have gone after somone more likely to contibute like Early or Hairston?
I don't know that the minimal savings was the biggest factor. I think, if their translations for Capela were anything like mine, they were excited about his potential.
Lakers need a point guard of the future..is eric bledsoe an option?
He's an option, but even after drafting Tyler Ennis, my suspicion is the Suns will match any offer.
The Boston Celtics drafted Marcus Smart, those this mean Rondo days with the Celts are numbered?
I don't think Danny Ainge is ever going to trade Rondo because he feels like he has to do so. If the Celtics trade Rondo, it will be because they feel like they're getting good value in return.
Could McRoberts be a Bonner replacement for the Spurs?
I'd assume that after starting last season, McRoberts is looking for a bigger role than that.
Would you include Klay in a trade for Love??
I would trade anyone but Stephen Curry to get Kevin Love.
Last time I checked, you crunched numbers, not scout players.....right?
Are those mutually exclusive?
Does Miami targeting Napier smack of desperation? It seems like they gave up a lot. They advertised they wanted him way too much. Cleveland was desperate to immediately please LeBron too, and it didn't turn out well. Players don't necessarily make good GM's.
They gave up a couple second-round picks. I don't think it's worth losing sleep over.
And Napier somehow got drafted at his exact spot in both my WARP projections and on my subjective draft board. I can't imagine that was true of anyone else.
One of the knocks against Wiggins was him not being an "alpha dog" mindset. Doesn't this work to the Cavs favor when you consider they already have two in Irving and Waiters?
I think that criticism is a tad silly. What is being attributed to mindset is really a skills development issue, in terms of Wiggins needing to improve his handle and his shot to better create off the dribble. But I do agree that's less of an issue in Cleveland than it would have been in Milwaukee, for example.
Lot of rumblings on Lowry to Miami. I'm not crazy about the fit. How much better are the heat with him?
They do need more guys who can create their own shot. Lowry would be helpful when LeBron is on the bench in this scenario, especially when Dwyane Wade is unavailable. But no one player solves Miami's depth issues.
Kevin, can you elaborate on the PG the lakers bought? big help?
Lots of questions about whether Clarkson is really a point guard. I didn't have him in my top 60 players.
Kevin - regarding Philly taking another lottery pick next year, who exactly are we thinking? It's ALL bigs, plus Mudiay. I know things change, but this is a very, very tall lottery we're looking at in 2015. This is why the Embiid pick seemed so bizarre to a lot of us.
Well, that's where I think viewing draft picks as assets rather than part of a cohesive team is important to understanding Philly's strategy. Also, a lot can change in 12 months. Nobody was thinking about Embiid as a top three pick (and possible No. 1 overall pick) this time a year ago.
If you are the Sixers, would you play Noel at PF in anticipation of having Embiid play C? Or would Embiid project more as the PF in this scenario?
Interesting idea. It doesn't really fit with the Philly offense, which is designed around playing with four players on the perimeter, but perhaps Brett Brown tweaks that so the Sixers have a better idea whether they can play Noel and Embiid together.
Can you explain the difference between US players and international and their draft rights, e.g., if a teams selects a NCAA player, but doesn't sign them do they retain their rights if they go to Europe to play? Conversely, if an international player wants to come to US and play, but their team won't sign them, do their draft rights change?
There's no de jure difference. American players can go overseas (or to the D-League) while teams retain their rights, something we saw last year with Grant Jerrett and Pierre Jackson. And international players can force their way into camp if they so desire by signing the tender contract teams are required to offer their picks. The de facto difference is international players are usually more comfortable staying overseas a year or two, naturally.
When do the Sixers start worrying about their cap situation? We saw how the Thunder had to make trades to keep three of the four homegrown players- will the Sixers have the same issue?
The issue for the Thunder is more paying the tax than it is the cap per se, and Philly may be willing to pay a tax bill. The Sixers can also manage that by not taking on veteran contracts like Kendrick Perkins and by maintaining a steady stream of rookie contracts on first-round picks, something they addressed with the Orlando trade last night.
Does the Love trade to GSW happen?
Yes, I'm among the group who believes it will happen at some point and that the debate will really be about the side pieces in the deal.
Couldn't every player in the league defend in Thibodeau's system? If properly motivated? Team defense doesn't have as much to be with lateral quickness, right? It is more like brains and heart.
At some point, there's a physical limitation to what you can do as an individual defender. Look at the way Miami immediately started running pick-and-rolls to switch Matt Bonner on LeBron during the Finals.
Why did Vonleh "fall". I know projections by media folks are just that, but he went about 5 spots lower than projected. Do you feel the Hornets got an ok or great bargain at #9?
Good bargain. I had Vonleh fifth on my board, ahead of Gordon and Randle. The teams making those picks felt differently, and the Kings didn't really need a power forward. That was enough for Vonleh to slip a bit.
Aaron Gordon comparisons to kawhi Leonard hold any water statistically?
Not really. Leonard was more of a small forward playing power forward in college, whereas Gordon's game is more interior-oriented in the half court. And most importantly, Leonard shot 74.4 percent at the free throw line at San Diego State, as compared to Gordon's 42 percent mark.
Isn't the best comp for McDermott Ryan Anderson? Not even an average defender, but an incredible shooter who makes up for poor defense by just bombing threes.
It's the most hopeful comparison. Anderson is bigger and a better rebounder, so I think that's an above-average outcome for McDermott.
So Sixers get Pierre Jackson, D League SUPERSTAR in a trade last night...dude scored 58 points in a game and averaged 29...Is he at all legit, or at best a back up PG. He's only 5'9"...
D-League point totals are heavily inflated, so Jackson only rated about replacement level when translated to the NBA. That said, I liked him in college, so I think he can be a very good backup point guard.
What do you think of all the Canadians and the movement of the great white north?
I'm looking forward to the 2020 Olympics.
How would expansion work for the draft? Does the expansion team enter the lottery?
In 2004, Charlotte picked 4th. In 1995, Vancouver and Toronto got 6th and 7th, respectively. I think 4th is likely to remain the standard, since the sense was the league went too hard on the Grizz and Raps (they were also prohibited from landing the No. 1 pick the following year).
Which of the Sixers picks do you think will have the best NBA career? Who will contribute the most the soonest?
Joel Embiid and K.J. McDaniels, respectively.
When did Canada start getting so good at basketball
Pretty much as soon as kids grew up watching Canadian teams and Steve Nash, if you follow the timeline.
Do you think that Pierre Jackson can at least provide some entertainment in Philadelphia this next year?
Yes. Especially if he and Tony Wroten share a backcourt together!
this talk on the Hornet "helping" the Heat confuses me. they picked up their guy (Hairston) and some extra picks in the process. are they not allowed to improve their roster if the Heat are the conduit?
I buy the theory that a lot of fans see the league as entertainment and cast players and teams as heroes and villains. In that sense, non-contending teams are basically supporting characters who only matter to the extent they affect teams like the Heat, rather than having their own unique goals.
Could a player voluntarily voids a contract to help his team to have more cap space? I'm looking at you Kobe.
In theory, they could take a buyout, but they can't reduce their salary, no.
Which draft pick where you most surprised with?
The one I never heard of before.
(That's Bruno Caboclo, in case that was unclear.)
Randomly, who do you consider the best pure athlete you've met/seen? I remember reading somewhere that Ainge was better than Jordan in the sense that if they played ping-pong or soccer or any other sport, Ainge could pick up most of them faster (except basketball of course).
I'm trying to think of a good example of something like that from when I worked for the Sonics, but our best ping-pong player was Rich Cho.
What do u think about undrafted Sim Bhullar? And where do u think he would fit, u can't teach his size and reach so somebody gotta bite, right?
I don't think he's an NBA player. His lack of lateral mobility doesn't allow him to defend NBA offenses.
Is it insane to think the Knicks could pawn Amare off on Orlando? Obviously no one really wants Amare at this point, which is sad, but... Amare played some high school ball in the area, can still (sorta) score (some) points, Orlando doesn't have a concrete starter at the 4, and their whole team makes like $30 million combined. If Phil is able to clear Amare, it seems to me like that could be the place. Thoughts?
The Magic could take on Amare's contract, but it would take all of their cap space, and it would require a lot of unprotected picks to make them bite -- if they would at all.
Thoughts on the Thunder acquiring Semaj Christon for cash? Seems like a nice fit as a potential Reggie Jackson replacement down the road.
I don't rate him as an NBA-caliber player. At best I think he's a third point guard in the Royal Ivey mold.
I think the eastern conference doesn't have enough mature talent to have viable championship team contenders, how long will it take for it to be competitive again?
Given the number of fringe West teams that are sacrificing draft picks to win now, I think it will happen sooner than you think.
Your WARP projections suggest Andrew Wiggins has a good shot at stinking. Do you think he beats the odds? Or would you bet on him being another Cavs' #1 overall bust?
I don't think there's any chance of Wiggins being a bad player. He's too good defensively for that. The question is whether he's going to be the best player in this draft or another guy where fans look back and wonder who else the Cavaliers might have gotten.
Hi Kevin. I really enjoy your chats. I know you've mentioned that your analytics are pretty low on Russ Smith, but he won the KenPom Nat. Player of the Year award two years in a row for efficiency. Just curious how those differ so much. Thanks.
A couple of things. First, as I've mentioned, earlier seasons are weighted more heavily, so Smith's sophomore year (when he was Russdiculous in a negative sense) works against him. Second, the translation from the NCAA to the NBA takes him below the point where his ability to use extra possessions is a positive as it was in college.
So? the Sixers pick (Embiid) is basically a bust already, right? Given the history of this injury in various players, how/why would you draft Embiid at all (let alone with a Top10 pick). I understand hope, but nothing about this injury says anything good.
That's an overreaction. If Embiid follows Zydrunas Ilgauskas' path, and that's a negative scenario, it's still possible that he could be the best player in this draft in the long run.
Sacramento didn't target a PG so does that put them in the market? How about Jennings and Smith to Sacramento for Terry, Thompson, Williams and the rights to Stauskas?
Jennings would not be an upgrade on Isaiah Thomas. If the Kings look for a PG, they want one with contrasting skills -- a bigger defender or a better playmaker.
So the Sixers start Nerlens, MCW, Thad...I know they actually plan on being bad again this year, but wouldnt a couple decent FA signings (they have a ton of money) make them a decent team? Understanding that "decent" is a relative term...
It makes them not historically bad, but the bench is still going to be ugly.
on the top of the chat page it says check out the Friday true hoop tv episode. True hoop on TV is on hiatus right? if not, link?
It is on hiatus. That's part of the template. Will have to update it.
Taking a risk on Mitch McGary is one thing, but the guy they drafted at #29, whose name Ive already forgotten, what were they thinking here?? How about someone like Cleanthony Early or Glen Robinson lll with either of those picks???
Well, they viewed Josh Huestis as a better player. He's got defensive pedigree, most notably shutting down Andrew Wiggins in Wiggins' final collegiate game. That said, usually defensive stoppers in the NBA are guys who are all-around players at lower levels, not specialists, because the specialists don't have enough other skills to get on the court in the NBA. So this feels a bit like when Oklahoma City took Ryan Reid a few years ago.
Your thoughts on Ennis? Thought it was a reach for the Suns and they could've gotten better value from that pick.
I don't think it was a reach. Ennis would have surely gone 20th to Toronto had the Suns not taken him, so it was more than in the ballpark. In fact, Ennis was my favorite of Phoenix's three picks. I'm surprised a team that values shooting so much would take a wing (T.J. Warren) who doesn't shoot 3s.
Do you expect Joe Harris to make the Cavs?
Yes, anyone drafted that high in the second round is likely to get a guaranteed contract for at least the first season.
I'm having a real hard time as a Celtics fan getting excited about Smart, can you help me?
He was the No. 1 player in my projections? http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft2014/story/_/id/11102133/nba-draft-marcus-smart-tops-kevin-pelton-prospect-projection-rankings
I think that Payne would have been a top 5 pick if he was 19. Payne has range to the 3 and is incredibly athletic. Do you think teams are making a mistake picking potential over polish?
If he performed like he did now and was 19, absolutely. But he's had several years to improve as compared to guys like Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle, so he should be a lot better than them. And he wasn't at Michigan State. That said, I still like Payne and think he will be a good reserve.
Mitch McGary recorded 2.2 steals per 40 minutes which ranked highest among Centers in this draft class. His defense seems to lack in other areas though. What's ur assessment of him? Love your insight.
I think he's going to be a good pick-and-roll player in this league, which is an important skill to have as a reserve big. Do need to see whether he can protect the rim well enough to play center.
Do you see the heat signing lowry and a big man (gasol?)?
Marc Gasol is not a free agent and has given no indication he wants to leave Memphis, so I think we need to stop penciling him in to Miami just because his skills fit will. I'd be surprised if the Heat's stars took so much less money that they were able to sign Lowry and still have money left over. Or is there a sign-and-trade with Bosh? I guess that's the new rumor? I'll believe it when I see it.
Is Saric really worth the two year wait?
Well, worth the wait is relative. The Sixers don't see it as a negative. Think of it this way -- he spends two years developing on someone else's dime and then is cheaper during his prime years, provided it's only two years and he's still tied to his rookie contract.
What about Otto Porter is he not an option? He was the 3rd pick...
I like Porter's skills, but he has yet to show he can help an NBA team.
How many second rounders do you think get signed to the Sixers? I thought maybe one or two until they made their first round selections, and now they might be the only new contributors other than Nerlens
I'd imagine McDaniels, McRae and Grant are all in training camp. Maybe Micic, but probably not.
Bairstow to Chicago seems like a great fit, chances he can become a solid bench piece?
I don't view him as an NBA player.
In your article ranking the draft by WARP, it looks like only 10 teams came out on the positive end. Do you make anything of that?
Start with there only being 25 teams since five didn't have draft picks. Then in the second round, the few big hits (like Nikola Jokic) provide more positive value than the misses (seniors with little value) have negative value. So the ratings end up skewed -- the best teams are also rated higher than the worst teams are negative.
Better use of 20+ million for Houston? Melo or a combo of guys like Deng/Livingston and Frye to address depth?
Frye would be interesting, but in the long term I think the Rockets are better off getting stars in place and finding cheap contributors like Patrick Beverley.
You are a big fan of Clint Capela who was drafted by the Houston Rockets. He has a lot of physical tools, but how is his Basketball IQ? Can he develop a mid range+ jumpshot?
I watched a fair bit of tape on him because of the discrepancy between my projection and how scouts view him. I expected his basketball IQ to be so bad he was running out of bounds during plays or something, and I didn't see that. He could stand to improve his defensive instincts and play harder on a consistent basis, but he was a good player in France. I am not as optimistic on his chances of developing a jumper. He missed badly on a lot of his few perimeter attempts and was a poor free throw shooter.
All this nuggets praise, but this is still a team in the 7-9 range right?
Yeah, that's the tough thing about the Western Conference. But last night's moves were more long-term oriented, so I don't think they're sacrificing their future to win now.
Any idea why Cleanthony Early was passed over by so many teams?
He excelled at a position (stretch 4) that he's not going to play in the NBA, is on the older side and wasn't a great shooter in college. He went almost precisely where I had him on my subjective board.
Is outside shooting the easiest skill for young rookies (Aaron Gordon, Dante Exum) to improve upon? Or perhaps ball-handling? It seems like everyone just assumes that if hard-working players will significantly improve at shooting...
It's the most likely spot for players to make transformative improvements, but I think the likelihood of that is often overstated. There are a lot of guys out there who are a jumper away from being contributors that spend whole careers in the D-League, and it's not for lack of effort.
I wouldn't include Exum in that group, by the way. As a point guard, he doesn't need to be a knockdown 3-point shooter.
What's a replacement-level member of the crew of the starship Enterprise? I assume, given the name, you've computed their WARPs.
Would you believe I'm not a Star Trek guy?
Andre Roberson or Josh Huestis going forward?
I prefer Roberson, but maybe the Thunder decided he's better off as a tweener forward rather than a perimeter stopper in the Thabo Sefolosha mold.
What on earth did the Bulls want with Randolph's contract? Is there another move coming down the line?
As Mark Deeks pointed out, if the Bulls are under the cap, they can repackage Randolph's deal within the next two months as part of a sign-and-trade.
I'm a little unclear on Saric - if he stays overseas for two years, can the Sixers then bring him in on the standard 4-year rookie contract?
Yes, he would be tied to the rookie contract in two years. It's three years where players can negotiate freely.
Isn't it kind of a crap shoot once you get into the 20s? Doesn't it make sense to take a gamble on the Brazilian kid? I think it's a 0.4 WARP at that pick
The expectation is 1.1 projected WARP, the kind of player who's unlikely to develop into a starter. But A.) there were still players with very good ratings available, most notably Clint Capela and B.) the larger question is still whether the Raptors could have gotten Caboclo later.
If Embiid follows Ilgauskas' career path? Ilgauskas is a success story for perseverance, but the Cavs were saddled with a huge contract with a couple years of almost no minutes, and Z usually was limited to less than thirty minutes a game. Two All-Star appearances (and he's one of my favorite players ever) aside, that's a bust from the third pick in the draft, isn't it?
I think you're taking my description a bit literally. I don't think even an imaginary healthy Ilgauskas was a 38 mpg player, and if Embiid misses an extended period, he's doing so on his rookie contract, not when he's expensive. But a couple of All-Star appearances is actually a pretty good career for the No. 3 pick, all things considered.
Are you surprised Indiana didn't try to buy a 1st or 2nd round pick?
Trading for a first-round pick would have made it more difficult to re-sign Lance Stephenson, so that wasn't a realistic option. And I'm not sure spending cash on picks was authorized by ownership in general.
I think the brazilian guy was asking you about the Heat and Pau Gasol. Were you yanking his chain?
Oh, my bad. I've just read about Marc Gasol signing elsewhere so much I wanted to make that point. Yeah, Pau would be realistic. Not sure how much he helps the Heat at this point, though.
Why would Minny do the GSW deal when they could have chosen their own picks, and lots of them, with the Boston deal? One year of overpaid Lee and then Thompson, who's nice but will be looking for a huge deal in a year. That's competing with Sacramento for 13th in the West with no future assets.
Because neither you nor I run the Minnesota Timberwolves, alas.
The Suns drafter another PG? Is there something we do not know about brewing?
Ish Smith played a lot of minutes last year, even when Eric Bledsoe is healthy. I wouldn't assume that's the case.
Do you get to go on a nice vacation now that the draft is finally over?
Ha, that's a good one! Not with free agency, then summer league (which is a trip), then season previews. I'll take some time off in September.
What is the priority for suns in free agency?
Retaining Eric Bledsoe.
How big of an impact would increasing the draft age have on the accuracy of statistical analysis of prospects?
I don't think it would change much. Everybody assumes that freshmen are much more difficult to predict, but I don't think history really demonstrates that.
I don't think it would change much. Everybody assumes that freshmen are much more difficult to predict, but I don't think history really demonstrates that.
Pertaining to your projection systems (not being snarky, totally curious), do you literally just punch in college numbers to the system you've created, and boom?
More or less, actually.
Can you please tell me why the Suns did not package the picks and move up in draft?
For who? For what?
Hey Kevin, you've compared Wiggins to Luol Deng for awhile now. Would that really be that bad though? Deng has had an above average career, and was a lone bright spot on the pre-Rose Bulls. If Wiggins ended up with a similar career path, would that really be that bad?
Only if one of the other top prospects develops into a bigger star.
MJ was a number 3 pick
And so was Darius Miles. You don't base expectations on the best-case scenario.
Kevin, If you are Minnesota and you are going to do the deal with the Warriors. Wouldn't you be better of asking for Lee, Barnes, Green and a pick? Barnes is from IA so there might be a decent chance he would resign with Minnesota. Same for Green since he is a Midwest guy. Klay certainly wont sign with the Wolves or is the value of Klay as an asset worth more than Barnes and Green and a pick?
Thompson would be a restricted free agent next summer. Realistically, he's stuck in Minnesota if the Timberwolves want him. So that should not be a factor in their decision.
Doesn't the Bulls trade of the 16th and 19th for the 11th and Anthony Randolph impede their pursuit of Love/Lebron/Melo? Mark Deeks said they only gained 300k worth of cap space and that was before the news that Randolph was part of the trade. Also they have less assets for a sign and trade unless another team is as high on McDermott as the Bulls are.
I don't think it changes it at all.
Eric (Austin) is sitting 40 feet away from me in my office. Kevin, our boss thanks you for spoiling friday-afternoon productivity.
I can't possibly be as bad for productivity as the World Cup!
Got anything on this center from some place I've never heard of that the Hawks took in round 2? How does he compare to last year's Nogeiura pick?
Different players. Tavares' main asset is his size, sort of like Rudy Gobert last year. Nogueira is a much better athlete.
Out of curiosity is there a guy who has played small forward in the NBA who has shot free throws nearly as bad as Aaron Gordon did last year?
Bruce Bowen shot 58 percent in his NBA career, though oddly he was nearly 70 percent from the line in college. I didn't find any during my cursory research into college stats.
You have mentioned WARP projections pretty often when evaluating players. How historically accurate are those projections?
You can check them out here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft2013/story/_/page/PerDiem-130625/how-warp-projections-fared
Every draft projection, including the actual order, is inaccurate. My goal is to be less inaccurate than others.
Hi Kevin - when can teams begin signing undrafted free agents? Also, who is a good comp for James Michael McAdoo? I was thinking Justin Laven on the Bulls first three-peat teams. A good energy guy off the bench who did the little things. Your thoughts?
I think you might be able to sign them during the moratorium. Realistically, there are already deals being struck as part of recruiting for summer league.
What was the point of the Knicks buying the #57 pick and taking some guy who will never even attend an NBA game let alone Play in one ?Wasn't there some other guys still left that have a chance a playing in the NBA one day ?
If you draft a college senior and waive them, you lose their rights. The Knicks retain Labeyrie's rights until he retires. That's the value of drafting international players in the second round.
Even if you have never heard of them.
Thoughts on Exum and Burke coexisting? Should Burke be sent packing?
There's enough size to defend. We'll see if there's enough shooting. The Jazz should feel no obligation to move Burke before ever watching them play together, and should only make a move if there's good value.
Alright guys, have to do a radio hit. Thanks for chatting today and see you next week!