20 Questions

1) WOLVES – Clearly the shooting guard position is a problem.  It’s usually filled by a point guard, and never filled by a catch-and-shoot floor spreader that fits with Rubio.  But is Andrei Kirilenko–a hesitant perimeter shooter himself–also a poor fit for the offense?

2) NBA – The All-Star starters were voted in by the fans.  The Lakers are 17-21.  The Celtics are 20-18.  4 out of 10 All-Star starters come from those two mediocre teams.  Who were the worst snubs?

3) WOLVES – Pek and Shved left tonight’s game with injuries.  Did those injuries have anything to do with the loss to the Chris Paul-less Clippers?

4) NBA – The list of terrible teams goes something like: Cavs, Bobcats, Wizards, Hornets, and Suns.  Which has the most hope for quick improvement?  The least?

5) WOLVES – Who do the Wolves miss more, right now: Kevin Love or Rick Adelman?

6) NBA – From a point-differential perspective, the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs are substantially better than the Heat.  Would any of them be favored in an NBA Finals matchup against Miami that began two weeks from now?

7) WOLVES – Is Derrick Williams a bust?

8) NBA – As of today, my Eastern Conference playoff team predictions are 8 for 8.  (Just the teams, not the order.)  Is this even impressive?  Was predicting a Bynum injury that derails Philly even a little bit worth patting myself on the back?

9) WOLVES – How much will Pekovic get paid, this off-season?

10) NBA – If both the Thunder and Clippers finish with more wins than the Heat, is there any chance whatsoever that LeBron wins the MVP?  (He’s clearly the world’s greatest player, but MVP doesn’t mean “world’s greatest player.”)

11) WOLVES – How early is too early to start making http://www.draftexpress.com a daily read?

12) NBA – For NBA fans whose teams aren’t involved, is there a more fun possible playoffs scenario than Steph Curry going Davidson on the field, leading the Dubs to a title?  Would an Oracle-hosted Finals trump any sports atmosphere anywhere, anytime, ever?

13) WOLVES – It sounds like the Wolves have signed Mickael Gelabale.  Will he help?

14) NBA – It’s beyond understood that the corner three is an ideal shot for NBA offenses.  Since the league has a longer three-point line, and bigger and better players, should it simply widen its court to accommodate a regular semicircle arc with equidistant three-point range and enough room in the corners to avoid so many accidental sideline violations?  Is there any downside, whatsoever, in widening the NBA floor this way?

15) WOLVES – Ricky’s airballed layup before halftime: Most horror-film reaction to any play in team history?  (In the crowd, there was a terrorized gasp amongst all fans.)

16) NBA – ESPN’s 5 on 5 focused on Kobe versus LeBron, today.  That inevitably breaks out into Twitter wars of which player is better.  In general terms, there is one reasonable answer to this: LeBron has been the better player over the course of his prime than Kobe over the course of his prime.  (The only reasonable defense for Kobe fans is that he has never laid down in a big playoff setting like LeBron did, twice.  But that’s a weird oddity of LeBron’s career; not a general statement about his ability.)  But getting around to the question: If you begin LeBron’s career 20 years earlier (1983) and throw him on a random Western Conference team, how many titles does MJ win?

17) WOLVES – Derrick Williams’ last day as a Minnesota Timberwolf, over/under 2013 Trade Deadline?

18) NBA – What is the best way for the league to address the problem of draft picks being devalued by poor rookie performance?  Raising the age minimum is the simplest method, but many think it’s unjust.  Is there a more creative way?

19) WOLVES – Alexey Shved, by my eye, got a few more calls tonight.  He rarely shows up refs with visible antics and dramatic reactions.  He usually sidebars with refs when somebody else is shooting free throws, like a seasoned vet.  Is he learning how to work the stripes?

20) NBA – Who will be the 8th Seed in the Western Conference?

Answer in the comments.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “20 Questions

  1. Pingback: Wolves lose to Clippers but only have two get injured (win) - MN Sports Daily

  2. Nathan Anderson

    #1: If Love is healthy and there is a catch and shoot SG, AK works well. The implication, for me at least, is that even if Love and Budinger were healthy, this team needs another guy that can defend the 2 and is good 3-point shooter. That this guy does not exist and would not exist even if Roy were healthy is consistent with flawed roster management.

  3. Nathan Anderson

    #4: The Suns have the lowest probability of improvement, due to poor management. If Rich Cho is in charge and has Presti magic, I go with Bobcats for biggest improvement (but this depends on luck in the lottery).

    #7 Well, my guess is that he’s a lot worse than David Kahn and Glen Taylor expected him to be. He’s exactly what I expected him to be (because I am soooo smart).

    #13 If he’s better than Lazar, he will help. How much better is he?

    #14: The ONLY downside is fewer seats and less money for NBA owners and players. So, that widening the court will not happen.

    #15 Not as horrifying as when his knee buckles sometime before May. Wait for it …

    #18 If I understand the question, the problem is that because most draft picks do not contribute to winning in the NBA in the year they are drafted, the average team finds each draft pick less valuable. My solution is to not have draft picks take up NBA roster spots or count against the salary cap.

    All draft picks signed to D-league contracts. Any drafted player must receive a three year guaranteed offer, which he may accept or reject. If he rejects, he must sign a one-year guaranteed deal. After the one-year deal expires, he is eligible to sign with any team but he is a restricted free agent for his first 4 years after being drafted, meaning that until he signs with another team, his original team has the right to match any NBA or D-League contract offer. If he accepts the three-year deal, he is a restricted free agent when that deal expires.

    D-league contracts do not take up NBA roster spots and a team can call up a maximum of 2 D-league contracts at anytime and those players do not take up NBA roster spots, unless they are called up for more than 10 consecutive days or for more than 30 days for any regular season. If a player exceeds 30 days in the NBA during any regular season, he must be signed to an NBA contract.

    For the first three years after being drafted, any player on a D-league contract may be signed to an NBA contract by the team that drafted him. An undrafted D-league player or any D-league player drafted more than three years ago, may be signed to an NBA contract by any team at any time, subject to any restricted free agency rules.

    D-league contracts do not count against the NBA salary cap or the luxury tax. However, there will be minimum and maximum D-league salaries, with teams with worse records permitted higher maximum salaries than team with worse records.

    Team has option to sign the rookie to an NBA contract at any time during first 3 seasons, with an option to extend for one additional season.

    • On #4 I like the Hornets and Cavs a lot more than the Bobcats, for the simple fact that they’ve already hit grand slams with #1 Picks in Irving/Davis. They’ve got a major leg up on the Bobcats whose best pick is an energy/role player type in MKG. The Suns are miserable, and just fired their good coach, Gentry.

      Good point on #14. It’s too bad — the entire idea of different distances for the three-point line seems dumb. They wanted the long line that doesn’t work on the court. Might as well change the court a little bit and have rules that make logical sense. Plus, more space seems to encourage better basketball. I think a wider floor would be an obvious step in a more entertaining direction.

      • Nathan Anderson

        Suppose they kept the court the same size but made the three point line equidistant and thus eliminated the corner three.

        How would that change the game? Good thing/bad thing?

        • Arthur Tanimoto

          Just having that much more space on a court would seem to be a real boon to offenses. At least once they started figuring out how to fully take advantage of all this new real estate. Defenses would be forced to cover a lot more ground.

          Though I would be quite curious to see if all the space would

          a.) Further diminish the medium range jumper as offenses structured themselves to make defenses really stretch. (Side note, my guess is that if this came to be, having a legit post presence would be even more important)

          and or

          b.) Given all this new real estate the medium range jumper re-emerges as a powerful tool as offenses found ways to take advantage of all this new area to take high percentage shots in. Would the medium range jumper become a de facto post game for those who didn’t have dominante big men with great back to basket games?

          Interesting stuff.

  4. Arthur Tanimoto

    1.) As much as everyone likes to say a wing is a wing in Adleman’s system there are some basic matchup realities and as you mention, skill issues w/ trying to shoe-horn AK into the 2 spot. As a 3 or even 4 I still think he is a wonderful fit for the offense because of his gifted passing, movement off the basketball offensively, and defensively his shot blocking, and general defensive prowess. Dude does the little things very well. Those kinds of guys are invaluable.

    2.) In the East, Andy Varejao. Though his injury makes it somewhat understandable. In the West, Zach Randolph, Tim Duncan and David Lee. Dwight Howard being voted in is practically criminal.

    3.) Maybe not. The Clippers might just be the best team in the West.

    4.) With the return of Gordon I don’t think horrible is remotely the right way to characterize soon-to-be Pelicans. So they’re the obvious choice for the first part of your question. The least. Washington. Complete mess.

    5.) Rick

    6.) Yes. All of those teams excel in places the Heat are woefully lacking in. They’re also playing much better basketball and doing so against much better competition night in night out.

    7.) Probably.

    8.) Yes and no.

    9.) More than he’s worth.

    10.) Is there a chance? Of course. He’s LeBron James. Reaching the 20,000-point milestone won’t hurt his chances, but if they do finish with the same record it seems CP3 would hold a slight edge.

    11.) Wait, you haven’t been reading daily for the past month and a half?

    12.) Nope. Definitely not. (Also definitely not going to happen)

    13.) Marginally. And mostly only for attrition reasons. Also he has awesome hair. Rubio + Gelabale backcourt hair duo might be the best in the league.

    14.) Downside? For defenses only.

    15.)

    16.) Or how many does Magic win? Best guess, he still takes 4.

    17.) Under.

    18.) Allow NBA teams to loan out players to the ACB (or other top flight European teams).

    19.) Dude played pro ball in Russia. I imagine he knows a thing or two about how to manipulate authority.

    20.) Portland

    • Nathan Anderson

      Great list.

      I still think the Suns are worse than Washington. The Suns fired Gentry! They think that there’s more they can get from that roster? Of course, Washington did hire Wittman, which is a pretty good counter argument.

      ON #18, why do you think this would increase the value of draft picks? Is it by allowing rookies more time to develop and play overseas or something else?

      what would the terms of the loan?

      I imagine ACB teams want to know they are receiving a player for a year or more than year before they invest their resources in playing him and developing him.

      Also, how many players could an NBA loan and would it affect roster spots? How long could they loan them?

      • Arthur Tanimoto

        I’ve always thought the NBA could do a better job forging partnerships/relationships with top flight European leagues. While individual organizations (like the Spurs) have done a really nice job finding players who can really play, a league wide initiative would seem like a pretty mutually beneficial situation. Both from a pure basketball and financial perspective.

        If the NBA could create a legitimate and organized bridge between respective leagues we might start to see a real, working alternative to highly flawed NCAA system we have in place today. Brandon Jennings was one man. It takes a village.

        • Great stuff, guys. I just learned about the loaning concept in European soccer a couple of weeks ago, and it is just another example of how the NBA could do more to creatively address the issues that get hammered away in stubborn labor negotiations.

  5. #11: Six weeks ago. We’re in prime time to begin these discussions. Expect more on this to come.

  6. 1. Definitely depends on who he is paired with. He won’t stretch the defense but his versatility and feel for the game are huge for this team. His defense and ability to slide to the 4 in small ball lineups is a big positive. When there aren’t any other floor spacers out there he is a poor fit. So right now, when we are down Love and Buddinger and our best outside shooters are Ridnour and Barea, it is particularly glaring.

    4. The Suns are by far the furthest from competing. The only thing they have going for them right now is a top rate medical staff and a warm climate that won’t scare FA’s away. The Hornets have the most hope for turning things around quickly. Davis looks to be the real deal, Gordon is back and healthy (who before the injury was on the fast track to being one of the best SG’s in the league), and a number of talented players (Anderson, Vasquez, Lopez, Aminu) signed to cap friendly deals. In fact they already have started playing better as of late winning 6 of their last 7 games. The others all have different things to be happy about but aren’t quite there: Cavs (Irving, waiters, and some talented role players up front), Bobcats (Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist), and Wizards (Wall, Beal, and solid vet’s Nene and Okafor).
    Order: 1. Hornets 2. Wizards 3. Cavs 4. Bobcats 5. Suns

    5. A HEALTHY Kevin Love. Not the out of shape poor shooting Love that just got done playing 18 games for the Wolves.

    6. I’m not sure anyone would be clearly favored with those teams. The Heat aren’t built to dominate an 82 game season, but in 7 games they can be a hand full. The Clippers and Thunder have the best shot. The Spurs could pull it off but wouldn’t be favored.

    7. For the expectations that came with him, yes. He has been given enough of a shot to show glimmers of his potential but no such luck. At this point he won’t be much more than an undersized, poor rebounding stretch 4 who is an average defender at best. Sure, he’s athletic, but he doesn’t use that to his advantage apart from the occasional alley-oop.

    9. He’ll get Hibbert money, 12-14 mil/yr

    10. No, he won’t. People have gotten tired with how good he is and even though he clearly deserves the award nobody wants to vote for the same person year after year.

    13. I hope so but I’m not holding my breath. If nothing else a wing that is taller than 6′-4″ will help on defense.

    16. Great question. I would have to imagine Lebron would have at least taken one from MJ. Between it being a more physical league and allowing hand checking, spacing wouldn’t be what it is today. Sure there weren’t the same kind of athletes back then as there are today, but a fair amount of that would be lost from the lack of spacing. A similarly interesting question would be: if you took Lebron, MJ and Kobe and started them all off as rookies, who would end up with the most rings? And would our perception of each player (and their greatness) change dramatically from what it is today?

    17. If Love didn’t get hurt I’d say chances would be great. He has an audition now till the trade deadline. I hope he does something with it, but I feel like if he’s going to make it in this league it won’t be as a timberwolf.

    18. Raise the age limit to at least 2 years post HS while simultaneously bolstering the NBDL to serve as a viable option should you be good enough/choose to make money rather than go to school during that time.

    • Jon–
      You could even throw Duncan and Shaq in your #16 hypothetical. Jordan’s early prime overlapped with the great Celtics and Pistons teams, and he struggled to make the Finals. Once his Bulls took over, there wasn’t a great rival for him. That was either because he was so great that everyone looked worse by comparison, or because there just wasn’t another top-top tier All-Time great, the way Shaq (who beat Jordan’s Bulls in a playoff series, when he first came back from baseball), Kobe, Duncan, and LeBron became.

      Fun to think about.

      On #18, I think something along those lines would be good for the NBA, and could potentially push the NCAA toward allowing players to be paid for their services. A 2-year window might be too much for great prep stars to throw away in unpaid NCAA labor, and a mass exodus to the D-League, Europe, or a new American league could help bring college ball into the 21st Century.

      • Andy-
        That’s a good point with Duncan and Shaq. I know MJ played against a number of top flight big men (Hakeem, Barkley, Malone, etc.) and against some great Celtics, Pistons and Lakers teams. So I’m sure MJ’s bulls teams would still come through a few times, but how many I don’t know. I wonder how some of those old teams/players would have faired w/o hand checking and going against zone?

        Definitely an interesting hypothetical.

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