Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reaction from Bill Simmons' Annual Trade Value Column

Here is the link for the column:

Some parts I really liked:

-When you strike the jackpot with a first-round pick in the 20s, it's like a double jackpot because you're locking up a young contributor at an obscenely low price. To wit: Rondo (No. 21 in 2006) and David Lee (No. 27 in 2005) make a combined $11 million total over the next three seasons.

This is a great point. Just looking at this years draft - Jeff Green was the fifth pick and Alando Tucker was the twenty-ninth pick. Green is scheduled to make $3,058,200 this year and more than fourteen million dollars over the first four years of his deal. Tucker stands to make $931,920 this year and less than six million dollars in the first four years of his deal. If Tucker becomes a significant player in their rotation, they are getting a guy who is wrapped up in a long-term deal for basically minimal money. Most likely, Green will play at or near contract level, but if he's a bust, then they are locked up in a long-term deal that could hamper their franchise. With Tucker, if he's bad, it makes a minor impact on the franchise.

-Andre Iguodala: This summer's Gerald Wallace, a quality supporting guy forced to become "The Guy" on a lottery team -- with bad results, of course -- who now wants to be overpaid because he was miscast for a few months as "The Guy." But wait, what would you have done without me. I carried us to 26 wins! Love that logic.

This is one point I often make when in discussions about players. If Andre Iguodala/Ron Artest/Luol Deng/Michael Redd/Gerald Wallace is your best player, you're probably not going to be a good team. Now of course, the exception is that you have a lot of players with equal talent level. However, this rule is generally correct.

Nevertheless, the point Simmons makes here is when a teams best player is looking for an extension and they are coming off a bad team, more logic needs to be used. Josh Smith in Atlanta, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon in Chicago, and Iguodala in Philadelphia are all up for extensions after this season. Each one of these four could be considered the best player on a potential non-playoff team. It'll be interesting to see how each general manager deals with the dilemma.

-25. Al Horford
His ceiling: Elton Brand with a better low-post game. I loved how he was traumatized by his inadvertent role in T.J. Ford's latest injury and spent most of the night with Ford at the hospital to make sure he was
24. Greg Oden
His ceiling: Patrick Ewing, only if Ewing had major wrist surgery and microfracture knee surgery before even playing an NBA game.
23. Josh Smith
His ceiling: Andrei Kirilenko with a better everything. Although the sourpuss worries me. Would you want to pay someone $75 million this summer when he always looks like he just finished watching that infamous Internet video that involves more than one girl and a cup?
22. Andrew Bynum
His ceiling: The NBA's best center not named "Dwight Howard" or "Yao Ming."
21. Al Jefferson
His ceiling: The next Kevin McHale, only if McHale couldn't guard anyone. Hey, did you enjoy how I broke the "don't compare white guys with black guys" media rule twice in the same section? I couldn't be prouder.

This is the main way I like to look at the NBA Draft. For a team like the Bulls who appeared to be ready to make a run for the championship, I was able to rationalize selecting a player with a low ceiling like Joakim Noah this year. They just needed to fill in some bench spots, so they selected a guy who would be ready immediately. The type of move I have a problem with is the type of decision Minnesota made in the 2005 draft.

Rather than selecting a guy with a higher ceiling like Danny Granger or Gerald Green, the Timberwolves chose Rashad McCants. McCants was an impact college player, who is clearly undersized and unable to standout in the NBA at the shooting position. He struggles to defend, had shown some selfishness, and isn't a great distributer.

The same arguement is there for the Hawks selection of Shelden Williams in the 2006 draft. Coming out of Duke, Williams was seen as a great rebounder, who worked hard. Most people though saw him to have a low ceiling because of a lack of athleticism and a knack for giving up big games to talented post players. He doesn't have a great deal of post moves and has passing ability had been questioned. The Hawks passed on two players with much higher ceilings - Rudy Gay and Brandon Roy. Both posses great size and athleticism and would fit well at the shooting guard or small forward spots in Atlanta.

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