Author Topic: Thinking Beyond This Season, the C's Should Look to the D-League to Fill Roster  (Read 633 times)

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Online LooseCannon

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I believe that the Celtics have a reasonable shot to be contenders next season.  It's not a guaranteed shot and they likely won't ever be among the favorites, but it's closer to a title than most teams get.  It's not impossible that Rondo and Sullinger are healthy by this time next season, that Brandon Bass bounces back to playing more like he did in pretty much every season except this one, and the Celtics acquire a quality big through free agency, all the while playing the kind of defense they have been playing now rather than at the start of the season.  I'd say that is a reasonable recipe for at least an outside shot at a title.

With that in mind, the Celtics should think beyond this season and seek to fill roster spots with D-League talent for two reasons.

1) It gives the team a shot at youth with upside.  Most ideas for veteran pick-ups involve getting older players on the downside of their career and hoping they can still contribute.  Signing a player from the D-League may involve finding a player who has been on the fringes of the NBA but failed to latch on. 

That a player may have been cut before opening day doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have NBA talent. That player might not be in the league right now because he was injured at the wrong time or because he was a bit of a project when the team had another option who was closer to being a contributor or because the GM decided to take go with the mediocre veteran (overvaluing experience and "veteran-ness") or the guy he used a draft pick on (not wanting to give up or admit he might have made a mistake) instead of the training camp invitee. 

2) Signing a D-Leaguer gives Danny Ainge more flexibility in the off-season. 

This assumes that any D-League additions get signed to a deal with an non-guaranteed second year.  Such a contract can be included in a deal as outgoing salary so the Celtics have more options in what salary they can take back in a trade.  Being able to include players like Sean Williams and E'Twuan Moore, who could be waived immediately by their new team, facilitated the Courtney Lee trade.  Or, if the player proves useful, the team will have early Bird rights to the player in 2014, so that there is no Stiemsma-like situation.

You don't get that with by bringing in a retread journeyman or a fading veteran.

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Offline PhoSita

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I agree with you that in most situations, trying to find a young guy with "fringe rotation role player" upside from the D-league makes more sense than signing guys over 30 who have name recognition but not too much else.  Still, from a win-now perspective, it's unlikely that most guys from the D-league are going to be as valuable as a Keyon Dooling, Leandro Barbosa, Mickael Pietrus sort.  But I definitely think it makes more sense than bringing in guys like Mikki Moore, Troy Murphy, Stephon Marbury, Shelden Williams, etc.  The point is just that Greg Stiemsma is the exception to the rule.

Now, as for really "filling out the roster," I think once the team is truly rebuilding, that's when it makes sense to sign a good number (e.g. 3-4) of D-leaguers and fringe-NBA players -- your Dionte Christmas, Kris Joseph, Stephen Lasme, Craig Brackins types.  That increases your chances of finding one or two who might actually develop into role players moving forward.  A lot of decent players have come out of the D-league, but they usually get their shot at significant minutes on a rebuilding team first. 

The added bonus is that when you're rebuilding, you don't care about winning.  In fact, winning is kind of a bad thing.  So you let your draft picks and young assets play a ton of minutes in inflated roles, and then you fill out the "supporting cast" with guys who mostly aren't good enough to contribute to a winning NBA team.  Anybody who sticks is found money.


Ideally, the Celtics would be like the Spurs.  They'd go dumpster diving and come out with some gold and jewels.  Somehow the Spurs take guys like Danny Green -- cut from the Cavs -- and find a solid starting SG.  Or they sign an undrafted free agent and get a productive backup combo guard like Gary Neal.  Or they draft an overseas guy nobody has ever heard of with a second round pick, let him develop for a few years on somebody else's dime, and it turns into Tiago Splitter or Luis Scola, or at least Pablo Prigioni or Ime Udoka.  The Rockets are pretty good at this too.  I'd say those are the two best teams in the league for player development in the bottom half of their roster.

That's another thing -- once they are rebuilding, I'd like to see the Celtics stockpile second round picks and try to find some role-players-in-the-rough there, as well.  Seems like every year, a few guys who were really productive in college fall into the second round.  Those guys have a tendency to become decent NBA players.  They just don't have the home run upside, so bad teams stay away from them for some reason.  Except teams go from being bad to good by stockpiling legitimate players.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 12:39:33 AM by PhoSita »
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Offline BASS_THUMPER

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this should be talked about after we get sent fishing.
i see this team going very far and no reason why we can win all.
why not?

Offline lightspeed5

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looks like danny heard you, he's talking about signing d-league players immedietely

Offline Evantime34

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this should be talked about after we get sent fishing.
i see this team going very far and no reason why we can win all.
why not?
I agree.

Maybe this is just because I'm an emotional guy, but when they were in the middle of the six game losing streak I was all for moving KG and Pierce. But since Rondo and Sully went down, this team has shown me something and now I want them both to finish their careers here, even if that means just playing out until the end of the year. I think their play recently and since they got to Boston has earned them the right to play this thing out.
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Offline PhoSita

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this should be talked about after we get sent fishing.
i see this team going very far and no reason why we can win all.
why not?
I agree.

Maybe this is just because I'm an emotional guy, but when they were in the middle of the six game losing streak I was all for moving KG and Pierce. But since Rondo and Sully went down, this team has shown me something and now I want them both to finish their careers here, even if that means just playing out until the end of the year. I think their play recently and since they got to Boston has earned them the right to play this thing out.

Please don't take this as an insult -- personally, I am much the same as you, very susceptible to the ebb and flow of the regular season -- but I think this attitude would make you a horrible GM.

I really hope Danny isn't making big picture decisions based on a handful of games here and there.  Danny is smart, though, and he's been doing this job for a long time now.  I trust him to make decisions based on what he's seen over a much longer period of time.


Also, I don't see the harm in talking about these sorts of things during the regular season, especially during the January and February doldrums.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Online LooseCannon

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The point is just that Greg Stiemsma is the exception to the rule.

My point is that players such as Stiemsma are not quite as rare as some people think.  It's not easy, but there are probably at least a dozen players who could fit in with some playoff-caliber teams if forced into playing time, although not necessarily with the Celtics.
"The worst thing that ever happened in sports was sports radio, and the internet is sports radio on steroids with lower IQs.” -- Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs senior adviser, at the 2013 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Offline PhoSita

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The point is just that Greg Stiemsma is the exception to the rule.

My point is that players such as Stiemsma are not quite as rare as some people think.  It's not easy, but there are probably at least a dozen players who could fit in with some playoff-caliber teams if forced into playing time, although not necessarily with the Celtics.

Sure, but that's in a pool of countless guys.  It's also not always easy to tell who is going to contribute in the NBA and who is just good enough to look good playing against other non-NBA guys.  Greg wasn't even a great D-league player, after all (at least by the numbers).

So when I say the exception to the rule, I mean that Greg turned out to be a decent contributor even though he's the only D-league guy the Celtics have put on the roster (for a significant period of time) in quite a while.  It's not common to get a hit right away like that.  Usually you have to throw away a lot of minnows before you catch the bass, in other words.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Online LooseCannon

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I think right now teams don't commit as many resources as they can towards scouting the D-League.  Since Ainge seems to be above average in finding useful players with second round picks, I think he could also have a comparative advantage over other teams in evaluating talent in the D-League and overseas.

The profile I would for in the D-League is a player who was undrafted but showed enough to be one of the last training camp cuts for a good team, then plied his trade for a couple of years, gaining experience and maturity, before returning to the US to play in the D-League, hoping to catch on in the NBA.  I'd avoid one-dimensional scorers or athletic players who have failed due to a lack of intelligence.
"The worst thing that ever happened in sports was sports radio, and the internet is sports radio on steroids with lower IQs.” -- Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs senior adviser, at the 2013 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Offline PhoSita

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I think right now teams don't commit as many resources as they can towards scouting the D-League.  Since Ainge seems to be above average in finding useful players with second round picks, I think he could also have a comparative advantage over other teams in evaluating talent in the D-League and overseas.

The profile I would for in the D-League is a player who was undrafted but showed enough to be one of the last training camp cuts for a good team, then plied his trade for a couple of years, gaining experience and maturity, before returning to the US to play in the D-League, hoping to catch on in the NBA.  I'd avoid one-dimensional scorers or athletic players who have failed due to a lack of intelligence.


Yeah, it's rarely the high scoring types who seem to make it out of the D-league.  It's players who are really good at one thing and can play defense / handle the ball well enough at the NBA level not to be a total liability otherwise.  Usually that means outside shooters, rebounders, shot-blockers, and half-court ball handlers.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Offline lightspeed5

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the problem is we already have the d-leagues best shot blocker in fab melo. maybe we can get the 2nd best shot blocker as well? lol

 

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