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Transaction Ideas and Rumors / Re: Windhorst & Lowe on Kevin Love
« Last post by Robb on Today at 11:47:59 AM »
Lakers reporter-

Serena Winters @SerenaWinters  ·  22m 22 minutes ago
This morning on @TheHerd, @ESPN_Colin said he talked to his 2 best NBA sources about rumors surrounding Kevin Love leaving CLE. Response: "There is a real feeling even amongst LeBron & others they don't know what he's (Kevin Love) going to do."

Has Cowherd ever broken a story?

Whats different here than the podcast?  If anything this is less interesting than what they said on the podcast and Cowherd should be referencing an ESPN property that has juicier fruit.
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If Love tells him he will re-sign but doesn't want to play with Thompson, then the Cavs will let Thompson go.

I agree with everything else you say, but ehhhhh, I don't know about that. LeBron reigns supreme in Cleveland and Thompson has his backing. If it really comes down to it, I think they'd prioritize LeBron's wishes over Love.

That said, I don't know where this notion of Love not wanting to play with Thompson even comes from. Because it's definitely not from any substantiated rumors.
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Dan Gilbert will use all his Quicken money and pay the luxury tax to win championships.  He doesn't care about the tax and badly wants to win and win big.  He would absolutely pay Love and Thompson max contracts.  If Love tells him he will re-sign but doesn't want to play with Thompson, then the Cavs will let Thompson go.  Frankly I think they can both get their minutes by playing them together with Thompson at the center.  So something like C - Mozgov (25), Thompson (18), Varejao (5) and PF - Love (35), Thompson (13).  Play Varejao more when injuries or foul trouble arise.  I think that gets everyone their minutes and keeps everyone relatively happy.

I don't think you understand the nature of Thompson's and James' relationship. Thompson has the same agent as James. There have been reports that James is going to make sure that Thompson gets a max deal with the Cavs.

Love has no leverage. Gilbert has no leverage. This James' team, and if he wants Thompson, then Love has to make a decision.

There are 96 minutes for bigs in a game - Love will want at least 32. Thompson will deserve, for his money, at least 32. Mozgov's rim protection is making him valuable for at least 24.

That means you are paying Varajoe 10 million a year for 8 minutes a game. That is terrible cap management. You cannot put 50+ million a year into 4 bigs, and pay Lebron 30 million a year, and pay Irving 20 million a year.
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I think they will.  Dan Gilbert's net worth rose $1 billion in the past year.  He can afford one year of heavily paying the luxury tax in order to win a championship.
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DKC Draft / Re: DKC Finals: 1 GSW vs. 1 CLE
« Last post by Roy H. on Today at 11:40:26 AM »
The DKC Cavaliers



DeMarcus Cousins / Festus Ezeli / Pero Antic
Dirk Nowitzki / Luis Scola
Lebron James / Shaun Livingston
Khris Middleton / Manu Ginobili
Andre Iguodala / Jrue Holiday / Aaron Brooks


I.  Introduction

If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.  I'm proud to be squaring off against Yoki, who has displayed absolute mastery as a GM this year.  I think that the Cavs and the Warriors are the two best teams in the DKC this year, and I'm thrilled to be debating such a respected member of CelticsBlog.  This is as good as it gets.

The team records say that the Cavs are an underdog here.  In a lot of ways, that's a good thing, because there's no bigger motivator for professional athletes than a lack of "respect".  This is a series that we think we should win, and we think we will win.  All I can ask is that you hear us out, and ask us whatever questions you find relevant.

II.  The Rotation

We've been hinting at it for weeks, but it's official:  Andre Iguodala will be the starting point guard in this series, with Khris Middleton stepping into a starting role.  Jrue Holiday will still be similar minutes to what he's been playing -- probably around 16 to 20 -- but we like him better in this series coming in around the six minute mark of each quarter, when he'll be fresh and Curry will be tired.  This should allow us to defend the PG position at an elite level for 12 minutes per quarter.

I expect that Shaun Livingston will see heavy minutes in this series.  He's "slotted" at SF in the basic lineup set forth above, but really, he'll move interchangeably between the 1, 2, and 3.  He's got the size, speed, and defensive instincts to bother whoever he's guarding, from Curry to Thompson to Green.

We're keeping Lebron primarily at small forward this series.  By playing Dirk as the PF, not only do we get an elite floor stretcher opening things up, but we force Golden State to use Draymond Green to cover him, putting the smaller Danny Green (or Klay Thompson) on Lebron.

III.  These Aren't The NBA Cavaliers

It's looking overwhelmingly likely that the NBA Finals will be Warriors vs. Cavaliers, with the likely result being that the Warriors will role to a title.  Please don't let that likely matchup cloud your judgment here, however.

The DKC Cavs and the IRL version have exactly one player in common:  Lebron.  He's obviously the most important player on Cleveland, and he's been dominating lately, but there's no comparison between his DKC supporting cast and the IRL version.

At almost every position, the DKC Cavs have upgraded.  DeMarcus Cousins is worlds better than Timofey Mozgov; Dirk Nowitzki is much more dangerous than Tristan Thompson; Khris Middleton provides the same shooting that J.R. Smith does, with exceptional defense.  As scrappy as Matt Delladoeva is, he can't compare to Jrue Holiday.  Andre Iguodala is like a rich man's Iman Shumpert.  The IRL Cavs have no depth at all, whereas the DKC Cavs have Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli and Aaron Brooks to provide relief.

I think it's fair to ask, if Lebron has taken the IRL Cavs to the Finals, what would he do with the vastly improved DKC version?  The spacing problems created by a Thompson / Mozgov front court are erased by adding Boogie and Dirk.  The ability of teams to double and triple team Lebron is mitigated when he can give the ball to truly dominant offensive weapons like DMC. 

The NBA Cavs are 11-2 in the playoffs this year.  Imagine how scary that team would be if it upgraded at literally 10 or 11 positions.



IV.  These Aren't The NBA Warriors

It's easy to compare the DKC Dubs with their IRL counterpart, and assume they're basically the same team.  Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Bogut are all in common; aren't those guys the backbone of both squads?

Luckily, I'm matched up against a very honorable and very astute GM.  When asked to compare the two teams, here's what Yoki offered:

Quote from: Yoki_IsTheName
I think RL Warriors is much more deeper, so I think RL is a bit better than DKC. ...  But they're deeper and their bench have better defenders too. We'll probably lose to RL Dubs in 7 games.

Specifically, Yoki commented on the absence of Harrison Barnes:

Quote from: Yoki_IsTheName
I do miss him. ... I miss his size, and you're right. It's great to have a Forward who can play either Forward positions. While I can't answer how important his size is, as Green have fared well for us, it does offer more flexibility to have a guy like him who can play the 3-4 position.

I'm starting to think that I'm beginning to lose that trade just by the size factor and the versatility.

Commenting on some of the other missing guys (who incidentally play for the DKC Cavs), Yoki noted:

Quote from: Yoki_IsTheName
Ezeli has been big in this Rockets series so far. Shaun is just magnificent.

What makes the Warriors the Warriors?  Obviously, the shooting.  Just importantly, though, it's the versatility and the defense.  The IRL Dubs can throw a ton of defenders out there who can play multiple positions.  Andre Iguodala is an All-NBA level defender, and an excellent passer and floor leader.  He's gone.  Shaun Livingston is another excellent defender and floor general, with elite size that allows him to play three positions.

The DKC Warriors just don't have that other big swing forward who can play opposite Draymond Green at the 3/4.  Harrison Barnes' ability to defend power forwards allows Draymond Green to blanket the opposing squad's best forward.  Without Barnes' size, Draymond would be strictly a defensive PF.  That's the problem with playing Danny Green -- a shooting guard -- at SF.  There's no way he can guard SFs, let alone PFs.

V.  We Are All Witnesses


Lebron James is an insufferable narcissist.  He's also, by far, the best basketball player in the world.  Speaking candidly for a moment, I don't like the guy off the court.  I can't like anybody who refers to himself as "King" unless he's a member of the monarchy.  I appreciate Lebron's game, though, and love watching him play.

Lebron is on the verge of carrying a team of role players and scrubs to the Finals for the second time in his career.  Can any other player in NBA history say that he's twice taken a team full of average and below average players to the Finals?  I find Lebron's Finals run almost incomprehensible:  he's had to carry a team that, due to injuries, went from being elite offensively to extremely flawed.  He's done that by relentlessly attacking the basket, grabbing contested rebounds, finding the open man, and playing elite defense.  He's literally playing 1-on-5 at times, where he does all of the ball-handling, makes all the decisions on the court, and defends whoever has the ball for the Hawks.  And, despite all that, he's dominating.

Against the Hawks, Lebron has averaged 32.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 10.0 assists, despite being the entire focus of the Hawks defense.  No player in NBA history has averaged 30-10-10 over a playoff series.  He's the best and most versatile player in the NBA right now, and it's not close.

Lebron eliminates home court advantage for opponents, having won a road game in something like 23 straight playoff series.  He's the most clutch player in the NBA currently, with no other player hitting as many playoff buzzer-beaters and closing seconds baskets as Lebron over the past 15 years.  He is simply the most dominant player of his generation, and giving him a healthy, all-star laden, deep squad is almost unfair. 


VI.  The Cavaliers Have The Matchup Advantages


First things first:  every single player in Golden State's starting lineup is a very good player.  Similarly, every single player in Cleveland's lineup is excellent, as well.  However, there are some matchup advantages to be exploited, and some disadvantages where we think we'll be alright.

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Andrew Bogut

Bogut is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA.  That said, he can't contain Boogie.  Over the past four games, here is DMC's stat line:

24.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, 49.2% FG%, 10.3 FTAs

That's compared to 6.0 points and 6.8 rebounds for Bogut.  When you're giving away 18.5 points at the center position, it's hard to win games.  Both of these guys are very good defenders, very good passers, and very good rebounders.  The scoring potential, and the ability to stay on the floor for 36 to 42 minutes, gives Cleveland a decisive advantage here.

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Draymond Green

As much as I admire Draymond Green, if we're discussing one-on-one, Dirk vs. Draymond, it's clear who wins this matchup:  The German.  The numbers over the course of their careers aren't close:

Dirk:  19.2 points. 45.9% FG%, 50% FG%
Green:  8.7 points

That's in playing the exact same minutes.  Dirk has outscored Green in 8 of 9 career matchups, including outscoring him last game 18 to 5. 

Again, just in terms of what history has shown us, this is going to be a fairly large margin of victory on the scoreboard for the DKC Cavs.  Green's a better defender, but that defense hasn't translated to outperforming Dirk.

Lebron James vs. Danny Green

Really, this is "Lebron versus the Golden State defense".  Here's what Lebron has done against the Warriors in the past three games:

34.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 58.2% FG%, .649 eFG%



He's absolutely destroyed them, and that's against a defense that Yoki concedes is better than his DKC version.  That's with Draymond Green playing Lebron, something he can't do in this series.  That's with Harrison Barnes available on switches.  That's with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston harassing Lebron, so he's covered for 48 minutes.  And that's with Lebron playing on a team simply not as talented as the DKC Cavaliers.

What about Green?  Well, Lebron outscored him, on average, by roughly 14 points per game this season, while outrebounding him and out-assisting him, as well.  In the playoffs, those numbers have been even more exaggerated, with Lebron outscoring Green 27.9 ppg vs. 8.3 ppg, while outrebounding him 10.5 rpg vs. 3.1 rpg. 

That's without even addressing that Danny Green isn't a small forward.  Rather, he's a shooting guard, who gives up 3 inches and 50+ pounds to Lebron.  Green is a good defender, but he's not up for this assignment.

Khris Middleton vs. Klay Thompson

Khris Middleton is the revelation of the NBA this year, right?  I might vehemently disagree that he's worth a max contract, but coming into the year, I would have vehemently disagreed with anybody who said that Middleton would earn votes for the All-Defense team and the All-NBA team.  He did both this season.

Thompson will outplay Middleton in this series, but history says that Thompson won't "go off".   Thompson shot 39.3% against Middleton this year, and for his career, he's shot 38.2% FG%, 28.2% 3PT%.  If Klay shoots like that, or even just a slight bump from that, this series will be over in a sweep.

This season, Thompson outscored Middleton 19.0 ppg vs. 14.0 ppg.  Again, we will gladly take a 5.0 ppg advantage to GSW here.  Middleton makes Thompson work hard for his points, and presents a credible offensive threat.  For those who still haven't done their research on Middleton:

* 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.3 steals in the playoffs, while matched up against Jimmy Butler
* 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists after the All Star game
* 1.5 steals, 40.7% 3PT%, .530 eFG% on the season
* Middleton did a good job containing Jimmy Butler in the playoffs, but his teammates let him down
* Middleton ranked 10th in the entire NBA in Real Plus Minus, and 8th in Defensive Plus Minus.

Andre Iguodala vs. Steph Curry

This is the one matchup that cuts decisively in GSW's favor.  Is it a "mismatch"?  Statistically, absolutely.  We don't expect Iggy to match Curry point for point.  That would be a ridiculous expectation.

We do expect Iguodala to slow Curry down.  Iguodala is an absolutely elite defender, on the same level as Tony Allen.  He was first-team All-Defense last year, and was third in the entire league in RPM (and first among perimeter players in Defensive RPM).  He's 6'6", and will use his size and strength to disrupt Curry.

Can he play point guard?  He's shown the ability to do so both in Philadelphia and Golden State.  The reason he was signed in the first place was to allow Curry to play off the ball more.  Iguodala is a skilled passer, falling into the true "pass-first" type of player.  As he himself stated:

Quote from: Iguodala, on playing point guard
“It’s natural to me,” Iguodala said. “I played point guard my whole life up until my senior year of high school. Most people don’t know that. It’s just in my game. I’m the type of guy (who is) kind of a jack of all trades. Just be effective on the court.”

In the one start he got at the position last year, he matched up against Mike Conley.  Iguodala had 14 assists in 47 minutes, and held Conley (and his backup Jerryd Bayless) to a combined 9-for-24 (1-for-7 on threes).

Now, Mike Conley isn't Steph Curry, but he's one of the league's best PGs.  To shut him down offensively is impressive, especially when racking up 14 assists on the other end. 

As for H2H, the stats don't tell us much, since the two guys have been teammates for a few years now.  Interestingly, though, Iggy is  7-1 lifetime versus Curry.  The combined Iggy / Jrue back court held Curry to 18.5 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.4 turnovers.  Iguodala actually out-produced him, with 18.1 points, 5.8 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.4 steals.

Curry is still going to drop 23 to 25 points, nightly.  I think that Iggy (and Jrue coming off the bench) holds him below 30+ most nights, though. 

The Benches

I don't see this as a decisive advantage for either team.  Both squads have really good benches.  Both teams have a guy (Holiday, Gasol) who is restricted by injury, but who should make solid contributions.

A very brief introduction to our bench players:

Jrue Holiday:  He'll give around 8 points and 4 assists in around 18 minutes, exactly in line with his 16 and 8 line in the regular season.  He's also an elite defensive PG, who should help limit Curry or Jack.

Luis Scola:  I get the feeling that some voters see Scola as a weak spot.  I think that's crazy.  He contributed 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in only 20 minutes per game.  Per-36 minutes, that translates to 16.6 points and 11.4 rebounds, while stretching the floor with a solid jump shot.  Also, although he's unfairly maligned for his defense, he was excellent in regard this year, as demonstrated by his DRtg of 101, second on the team to Ian Mahinmi.  After the All-Star break, he was even mre impressive, upping his production to 10/7 in equal minutes, and dropping his DRtg to 100.  Scola soundly outplayed David West this year, and it showed.

Manu Ginobili:  In a "down year", Manu averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per-36 minutes, with an eFG% of .502.  He also received votes for the All-Defensive team. 

Shaun Livingston:  6'7", great defense at three positions, 50% FG%, excellent penetrator and distributor

Pero Antic:  An intimidating enforcer inside, he ranked 4th in the NBA among centers in terms of 3PT makes.  He's dangerous in that he forces Gasol or Whiteside out to the perimeter.

Aaron Brooks:  He averaged 11.6 points on 38.7% 3PT%.  He's not much of a distributor, but he's a knock down shooter.

Festus Ezeli:  Tall, strong, and elite defensively.  He's averaging 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes in the playoffs, while shooting 53.6%

VII.  Stats Geeks Love Us

Rank In Adjusted Plus Minus, 2014 and 2015:

2015:

2.  Lebron
9. Cousins
10. Middleton

2014:

1.  Lebron
3. Iguodala
5. Dirk
8. Manu

That's seven separate guys who have ranked in the top-10 in the stat most linked to impact on point differential.  While RPM isn't perfect, I greatly prefer it to solely stats-based metrics, such as PER, which treat all stats as if they have equal impact.  Thus, why a guy like Hassan Whiteside can rank highly in PER, despite having a very poor, negative impact on his team's chances of winning.  For instance, as noted elsewhere:

Quote
More context for the Whiteside stats:  in the 15 games to close the season, he was a -94.  The Heat, meanwhile, were +53 with Whiteside not in the game!

Give me guys like Khris Middleton, Manu Ginobili, and Luis Scola, all of whom know how to play the game.  Whiteside is empty stats.

VIII.  Go With Your Head, Not Your Heart


KG's Knee and Lucky17 both talked about "narrative" in a playoff series.  I'll be the first to admit that GSW has an amazing narrative this year.  The mid-major kid who turns into a superstar, winning the MVP.  The redemption of a GM whose moves were routinely questioned.  The shutting down of the league's most disliked superstar.  It feels good to vote for GSW, and when you combine that with the fact that GSW is a fantastic team, I think that a lot of voters will be pulled in that direction.

Respectfully, I ask everyone to not be emotional about this, and to just analyze the series on paper.  We've got Lebron James, a superstar who has crushed a better version of the GSW defense.  In the only game we saw between a full-strength IRL Cavs and IRL Warriors team, the Cavs smoked the Dubs behind an MVP performance from Lebron. 

It's not just Lebron, though.  There's DeMarcus Cousins, who was 2nd Team All-NBA.  Can Bogut stop him one-on-one?  Can Bogut stay in the game more than 24 - 26 minutes?  If not, how are a hobbled Pau or an empty stats guy like Whiteside going to stand up to him.

Dirk stretches the floor, opening up offense for Cousins and Lebron.  He doesn't *just* stretch the floor, though.  Remember, the guy was an All-Star this year, and he earned it.  He's beaten Draymond Green soundly head-to-head, and there's no reason to think otherwise.

Ultimately, the question is going to be can Steph Curry's production outweigh the matchup gaps of DMC vs. Bogut, Lebron vs. Danny Green, and Dirk vs. Draymond Green.  I don't see a path to victory there for the Warriors.


Prediction:

Cavs in 6.

6
DKC Draft / Re: DKC Finals: 1 GSW vs. 1 CLE
« Last post by Roy H. on Today at 11:39:18 AM »
Reserved for Yoki
7
Transaction Ideas and Rumors / Re: Windhorst & Lowe on Kevin Love
« Last post by Roy H. on Today at 11:38:45 AM »
Lakers reporter-

Serena Winters @SerenaWinters  ·  22m 22 minutes ago
This morning on @TheHerd, @ESPN_Colin said he talked to his 2 best NBA sources about rumors surrounding Kevin Love leaving CLE. Response: "There is a real feeling even amongst LeBron & others they don't know what he's (Kevin Love) going to do."

Has Cowherd ever broken a story?
8
DKC Draft / DKC Finals: 1 GSW vs. 1 CLE
« Last post by Roy H. on Today at 11:37:55 AM »



(Reserved for Commissioners)
9
Why wouldn't they? If they don't, there's no way to replace either of those guys with anyone in free agency because they won't have the cap space. And - honestly - they're making the Finals with this team: why not re-sign everyone? Gilbert's reportedly got no issue with paying the luxury tax, so why not?
why would love want to stay if they resign Thompson? like I said they both play the same position, do you think love will be happy only playing about 25-30 minutes a game? they benched him multiple times in the 4th quarter during the regular season. I just don't see him staying there.

Mosgov only plays about 20-24mins max. Varejao minutes would be cut to about 5-10mins since he is made of glass

Thats 30+mins split between Love and Thompson. NOt sure what the problem is. Besides even with Mosgov around, they played Love and Thompson alot together in crunch time. Pretty obvious you never really followed the team through the season or else you would know that

Anyway am sure they think Love, TT, Mosgov and Varejao give them incredibly flexibility and numbers can fluctuate depending on match ups! Love and TT will get the bulk of the minutes regardless! Gilbert has always been willing to pay the tax so Love will get the max. I doubt TT gets the max but if he does thats really not Loves business as long as he got his own money! Love wouldnt be going anywhere am afraid
10
Never put all your eggs in one basket.....ball player.

;)

Rak

I would normally agree with this but also never say never.  There are certain times where it's ok.
can't see a time where it would be ok unless you have very few eggs to give up.  even if the Stepien rule wouldn't prevent you from trading all the picks, that's just reckless stupidity to give up that many assets on a single roll of the dice.
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