I’m back, with analysis for ten more teams on the way. My previous post discusses the specifics of the exercise, and you can click over to it at the bottom of this post. Here we go with Part 2 of setting the draft pools:
Houston (6 Unprotected)
- Who They Should Absolutely Protect: James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Greg Smith, Patrick Beverley
- Who They Should Not Protect: Francisco Garcia, Aaron Brooks
- Who They Would Not Protect: Garcia, Brooks, Royce White, Tim Ohlbrecht, Thomas Robinson, Carlos Delfino
- Who I Would Not Protect: Garcia, Brooks, White, Ohlbrecht, Delfino, Jeremy Lin
Once I got past Garcia, Brooks, and Ohlbrecht, the latter two of whom played a combined total of fifty regular season minutes for Houston last year, the guesses got really hard. As much as I think Daryl Morey likes White’s potential, I am also pretty sure that he is sick and tired of all his antics. They have been trying to shop Robinson for a draft pick, and having him be picked rather than one of their other solid players would not be a horrible concession. Garcia is just overpriced and his advanced stats are mediocre. While Delfino is a solid player, I just think that this team has so many shooters, and the fact that only Garcia on this team is older than him (by about eight months) would leave him as the odd man out. I think that Houston would and should absolutely protect the four I listed above, as well as Terrence Jones, because all except for Harden are really cheap, they are all solidly above-average, and none of them are older than 25. I would leave Lin available because of the presence of Beverley and the fact that Harden is so ball-dominant and so much more productive, I considered leave Donatas Motiejunas available rather than Delfino, but I really just think that he was misused as a shooter, as he shot 57% from inside the arc and 29% outside it, yet took over a third of his attempts from range. Plus, I really like his name.
Indiana (4 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Paul George, Lance Stephenson
- Who They Should Not Protect: Danny Granger, Ian Mahinmi, Gerald Green
- Who I Would Not Protect: Granger, Mahinmi, Green, Miles Plumlee
- Who They Would Not Protect: Mahinmi, Green, Plumlee, Ben Hansbrough (restricted)
I think that Danny Granger is overpriced and in the Antoine Walker/Allan Houston realm of overpriced scorers who are left unprotected because they are paid so much that they will not be picked. Mahinmi and Green had bad years last year, although the French center’s was somewhat uncharacteristic, and Hansbrough did not produce. I put Hibbert on my “Absolutely” list even though he only has one good really good season analytics-wise (the lockout year) because of his prodigious interior defense. Orlando Johnson could have conceivably found his way onto the “They Would Not” list, but I think that Green’s reputation has soured once again to the point that the Pacers recognize his lack of production.
Clippers (1 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Bake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe
- Who They Should Not Protect: No One
- Who I Would Not Protect: Caron Butler
- Who They Would Not Protect: DaJuan Summers
I would leave Butler because he is old, not great, expensive, and having little trade value. They would leave Summers because when he played, he has been below subpar. I was very surprised to learn that the Clippers only have eight players under contract for next year. This should be a very interesting team to watch beyond the Chris Paul saga.
Lakers (4 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: No One
- Who They Should Not Protect: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake
- Who I Would Not Protect: Bryant, Gasol, Peace, Blake
- Who They Would Not Protect: Peace, Blake, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks (restricted)
Nobody would pick Bryant and Gasol, but if they did, it would be a major salary cap relief. Peace and Blake are overpriced and have been amnesty candidates. Duhon fell out of Mike D’Antoni’s rotation, while Ebanks has never been in any rotation. Unfortunately, the Lakers’s front office seems to like Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock impressed in the play-offs despite an abysmal performance last year.
Memphis ((Edit: 3) Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Ed Davis
- Who They Should Not Protect: Darrell Arthur
- Who I Would Not Protect: Arthur, Tony Wroten, (Edit: Jon Leuer (restricted))
- Who They Would Not Protect: Wroten, (Edit: Leuer (restricted)), Austin Daye (restricted)
Tony Wroten did not play well last year, and I seem to remember that his reputation is not squeaky clean. Arthur seems to be a Stretch 4 made of of paper, but he was inexplicably the third big ahead of Davis, who is uber-cheap and uber-efficient. Daye finally played productively for once, but he also was pinned to the bench.
Miami (5 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade
- Who They Should Not Protect: James Jones, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, Jarvis Varnado
- Who I Would Not Protect: Jones, Cole, Lewis, Varnado, Mike Miller
- Who They Would Not Protect: Jones, Lewis, Varnado, Miller, Joel Anthony
Except for Miller and Anthony, all of these guys are cheap scrubs. Miller has run the gamut with his injury history while being paid $6.2M annually, while Anthony rode the pine this year. Norris Cole and his flattop have broken out this postseason, but I’m still not big on him-relatively small sample size and all that jazz.
(Edit: Accidentally forgot Milwaukee. This was not a shot at Bucks fans, just a simple error.)
Milwaukee (2 Unprotected)
- Who They Should Absolutely Protect: Larry Sanders
- Who They Should Not Protect: Monta Ellis, Drew Gooden
- Who I Would Not Protect: Ellis, Gooden
- Who They Wood Not Protect: Gooden, Gustavo Ayon
Sanders is a beast. Monta Ellis is a chucker, although he is slightly better than I imagined. Unfortunately for Bucks fans, the team offered him a 3-year, $36M extension, which he turned down. He had better hope someone else offers him a big fat check. Needless to say, Milwaukee wants to keep him. I am honestly surprised that Gooden has not been amnestied by someone yet, as his skills have evaporated faster than rainwater in a desert. Ayon and Ish Smith were acquired in the J.J. Redick trade, and while the former can actually ball, Smith costs two-thirds as much and is three years younger.
Minnesota (4 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko
- Who They Should Not Protect: Derrick Williams, Jose Barea, Alexey Shved
- Who I Would Not Protect: Williams, Barea, Shved, Greg Stiemsma
- Who They Would Not Protect: Williams, Stiemsma, Malcolm Lee, Chris Johnson
While Shved was a good signing, he was not a good acquisition, insofar as he has not panned out as hoped, in part because of an inability to shoot efficiently. Williams has been given up on, and I don’t blame the T’Wolves. Lee and Johnson play little, so I guess….People remember Barea for his exploits with Dallas, which led to a massive, undeserved paycheck, but I think that Minnesota’s front office is still aboard the ship headed for Puerto Rico. Keeping Shved around is more than defensible, though.
New Orleans (3 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Anthony Davis
- Who They Should Not Protect: Eric Gordon, Jason Smith, Austin Rivers
- Who I Would Not Protect: Gordon, Smith, Rivers
- Who They Would Not Protect: Smith, Lance Thomas, Terrel Harris
The fact that Eric Gordon is overrated is irrelevant when you consider his injury history and salary. That alone is enough to justify feeding him to the wolves. He would be an awesome risk for an expansion team, but I think that the media will see him as another Brandon Roy-which would be more than a little generous. Smith has a reputation as a good back-up center, but alas, he is not, as he takes way too many jumpers. That being said, he is good from mid-range, but that is just not efficient for a center, especially considering his relatively anemic rebounding rate. Harris is a scrub, but the Hornets have more expensive fish to fry in my opinion, hence the inclusion of the baffling Austin Rivers. Analytics like Lance Thomas, but his minutes paled in comparison to Al-Farouq Aminu’s, and the Wake Forest grad actually had his rookie option declined, which is really kind of strange.
New York (3 Unprotected)
- Who I Would Absolutely Protect: Tyson Chandler
- Who They Should Not Protect: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire
- Who I Would Not Protect: Anthony, Stoudemire, Marcus Camby
- Who They Would Not Protect: Stoudemire, Camby, James White
The Knickerbockers have been trying to rid themselves of Amar’e for several years now, and I don’t blame them with his humongous salary and far-from-jaw-dropping production. I differ with Melo, as I think he is overpriced (it is obvious that I learn more toward Wins Produced) and a team-killer. Camby was really good two years ago with Portland and Houston, but he was not as good in limited minutes in the Big Apple, a phenomenon I think partly caused by injury, advanced age, and sitting on the bench. Like Jeremy Evans, James White is a phenomenal dunker; unlike Evans, he does not appear to be a diamond in the rough, so I can see the Knicks going that route.
To be continued…