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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

David Lee – Impending Buyer’s Remorse

Today’s article is by supernova. This is third place in the “Can You Be A KnickerBlogger?” Contest. As I mentioned previously, winners will receive a copy of Dave Berri’s book Stumbling on Wins.


David Lee has been the best Knick these past two seasons. Through dedication and hard work, he has raised the level of his game to make himself into a consistent double-double machine, and an All Star. In addition, to his solid offensive and rebounding statistics, he brings a consistent work ethic, so any team that ends up signing him can feel assured that even with a huge guaranteed contract they will still get a quality effort..

With that said, then why do I feel whoever ends up acquiring Lee in free agency will ultimately be disappointed?

I guess I base my concerns on watching him all these years and realizing that for all those good numbers, he never made us remotely into a winner. Yes, one player does not a team make, but he never seemed to make the team around him better, at least not appreciably. Anecdotally, he seemed to save his best for the first three quarters, but I do not remember too many occasions where he took control down the stretch of tight games.

We have all complained so much about D’Antoni’s lack of emphasis on defense. Well there was probably no bigger culprit in regards to that deficiency on the floor than David Lee (okay maybe Sergio Rodriguez). Lee in fact all but admitted that deficiency in his game a few days ago when he said that he would focus on improving his defense in the off-season. Maybe I am being a bit harsh on him here, since he was playing out of position at center and matching up against guys who were significantly taller. In terms of playing out of position, he gets a bit of a pass, but much of playing defense is speed and quickness, which Lee somewhat lacks. I do not know how at almost 27 years old, he is suddenly going to improve that part of his game. In my opinion, if it hasn’t happened already after four years in the league, it probably will not happen in this case.

Finally, should Lee soon be on a team with quality teammates his overall rebounding will probably suffer somewhat. On this past Knicks team, nobody consistently rebounded much other than Lee. His next stop will probably include a team of multiple rebounding options on the floor, and more efficient scorers (less opportunities on the offensive boards), which will both combine to reduce his total number of rebounds. In terms of scoring I believe his numbers very well could stay where they are, because although his opportunities might be limited (a team of greater and more efficient scorers), he will still make his fair share of putback chances.

Overall, I am still a big fan of David Lee’s, but a fan at the $7 million to maybe $9 million dollar level. Based on what I have been reading and hearing he will probably command somewhere in the $12-$14 million range. I will always be a big David Lee fan and I will certainly be sorry if he does leave NY, but regrettably, I would have to agree with not paying him anywhere near that level. If Donnie Walsh ends up paying him that much dough it would simply leave me with buyer’s remorse.

33 comments on “David Lee – Impending Buyer’s Remorse

  1. BigBlueAL

    I wonder if other teams really look at him as a 20 and 10 guy. Gonna be very interesting to see what kind of contract he gets in the off-season and which teams actively pursue him.

  2. thepalerider

    Wow. This article left me with reader remorse. One of the only brights spot on this team in 4 years and you’re willing to let him go at anything over 9 mil? Who are we replacing him with? Besides Bosh which everyone would agree is an upgrade then what? Stoudemire, & Boozer who both had lower PER the Lee will cost more the 12-14 mil. Who do you propose is a better deal?

  3. TDM

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is an ice cube’s chance in hell that Donnie offers DLee more than $10M per. If someone blows that ceiling, Lee is as good as gone. I could see a team maybe offering $11, but I don’t think there will be a bidding war for his services. Fortunately for the Knicks, playing in NY has probably tainted Lee’s value on the open market. I love Lee – he’s a hardworking team player. I just think a lot of GMs see him as the best player on a bad team.

  4. kaine

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”

    I am against giving money on a player basing that on stats alone.

    Lee is an all star offensive player: plays hard, rebounds well, shares the ball , has a soft touch. overall he is an efficient offensive player.

    even if his stats are not 20+10.

    we must judge the players as a team. it’s a team sport.

    we must also consider the market.in his role , are available other bigs better than Lee, and that which cost?

    -bosh> doesn’t defend like lee (and doesn’t pass like lee)
    -amare> doesn’t defend like lee
    -boozer> very average defender.

    all of them costs more than Lee. all of them have personality\physical issues.

    So to me is clear: Lee must be kept unless is needed for obtaining Lebron or Wade.

    it would be cheaper that the other solutions.

  5. iserp

    That depends on how long is Lee going to wait. If we don’t get 2 max players but we get a max and fill the rest of the cap space (except Lee’s cap hold), i think Donnie will pay an extra for David. After all, he is a fan favorite and a good player.

  6. david

    If you think Lee is as good on defense as Bosh, we don’t watch the same game — Bosh is a plus defender, whereas Lee is a definitely below average. For the last month or so, Amare has even been a much better defender (don’t think he’ll keep it up, but that’s another story.) Also, Amare is a better offensive player — in addition to the dunks, he’s a really excellent jump shooter.

    The question isn’t Bosh or Amare v. Lee on a absolute scale, but on a relative one — is Bosh or Amare at the max worth the same as Lee at 10-11M (which is about where the market will put him, imo). At those prices, I think I would still rather have Bosh and probably Amare, but it’s a tough call. Boozer is my worst nightmare — an undersized 4 who thrives on having a great pg to pick and roll with.

    All of that said, I think we end up keeping him — I think Bosh ends up in Miami and Amare will exercise his option and stay in PHO (by the way, are any of you staying up to watch the portland series — how sick did the suns look in the first half of game three?) We will either get LBJ, which will change everything, or more likely, will sign Joe Johnson and another piece and keep Lee.

  7. Ted Nelson

    Looks like the Knicks are no longer the only sports franchise in the NY area with a 270 lb+ guy who can do a standing back-flip.

    —————————————

    Very interesting analysis, supernova. While I don’t completely agree, you make some good points.

    I agree that Lee is not a true max player who can lift a team on his back. 14 mill per would definitely be pushing it. However, I don’t think teams will experience a significant amount of buyer’s remorse with Lee because he’s been consistently good throughout his career.

    Scoring: Before his scoring volume picked up and his playmaking skills developed, he was still a valuable player. His career highs in Offensive Rating and Win Shares/48 minutes both did not come this season, but in 06-07. That season his usage was a paultry 15 (20 is the theoretical average since 100%/5 players = 20%). His TS% was .652. However lacking Curry was overall, the Knicks ran their offense through him, he drew defensive attention, and Lee capitalized. And it’s not just “putbacks.” Lee is excellent at moving without the ball and finishing at the basket. That’s a skill that can be actively incorporated into an offensive strategy, not just hustle.

    Rebounding: His rebounding has been consistently strong regardless of his teammates. He had career highs when he was playing next to Curry AND Frye, sure, but he’s had good/great rebounding teammates for their positions in Zach Randolph, Renaldo Balkman, Quentin Richardson, and Nate Robinson and his rebounding has remained strong. Playing with Randolph he took a tiny dip, but to 11.1 reb/36 and a rebound rate of 17.5 (he was at 11.3 and 17.9 this season…). I definitely do not agree with the assertion that his offensive rebounding will suffer on a better offensive team. First of all, the Knicks were a perfectly average offensive team last season (17th in offensive efficiency) and Lee had a career low in offensive rebounds. D’Antoni practically forbids offensive rebounding. I think there is a good chance his offensive rebounding goes up next season. Using your misses = rebounds logic, his defensive rebounding should go up playing on a better defensive team (only 3 teams were worse defensively than the Knicks this season).

    Defense: Finally, his defense is not good. I would definitely call it below average at the 4 and downright bad at the 5. Still, he’s not horrendous defensively. I agree that it’s unlikely that someone can improve their game that much at 27; however, I don’t think it’s at all impossible. There are players who continue to improve into their mid-to-late 20s. Lee himself has added to his game every offseason since being in the league. I think it’s fair to say that he’s gotten better every season. Defense is the last frontier for him and, while I don’t expect him to come back next year as Dennis Rodman, he might come back at league average.

    After expanding to what was already one of the most efficient offensive repertoires in the league and apparently committed to improving his defense, I think whatever team gets Lee will be lucky to have him.

  8. Ted Nelson

    Also, Lee’s clutch stats this season are very strong. I don’t know what that’s worth, but it contradicts the “he doesn’t play well in big spots” myth. http://www.82games.com/0910/CSORT11.HTM

    BBA,

    One team I’ve heard may pursue him is OKC. Just speculation, but the friend who did the speculating knows Presti.
    To state the obvious: Lee may end up fitting in with whatever team misses out on the bigger name PFs, or a team looking for value and to avoid overpaying the bigger names.

    David,

    If you think Bosh is a “plus defender” then we are definitely not watching the same game. Toronto was THE WORST defense in the NBA last season. That’s certainly not all on Bosh, but they were barely better defensively with him on the court. I would agree he’s a bit better defensively than Lee, but he’s thoroughly average. I don’t always believe the hype, but the guy is nicknamed RuPaul for a reason.

    Amare was not that much better a jump shooter than Lee last season. 82games has this data. Amare took 51% jumpers this season and hit an eFG% of .452. Lee took 49% jumpers and hit an eFG% of .430.
    Amare is a better scorer than Lee, and Lee is a better rebounder and passer than Amare. So, depends what you’re looking for/what you value.

    I think Boozer is a lot better than you make him out to be. Who was the “great” PG in Cleveland when he broke out there? Jeff McInnis? Kevin Ollie? He was just about as good Deron Williams’ rookie year as he is now. Williams had a PER of 12.4, 13.5 pts/36, and 5.6 ast/36 his rookie year. And if that’s your criticism, look at who Amare’s PG is and look at home much he improved the year Nash arrived from the previous two seasons. As of their pre-draft measurements Boozer was the exact same height as Lee and only 0.75 inches shorter than Amare. I do have serious questions about Boozer’s health. He’s no more a nightmare scenario than Joe Johnson, though. The biggest difference being that in Boozer’s case you’re probably looking at Boozer for the max or Lee cheaper.

  9. Garson

    One thing that Bosh does bring to the table that lee might be lacking is Star Power…. He is viewed around the league as a franchise player and would be another reason why players would want to join us either this year or next.

    If Lebron does stay , and we sign Bosh , next years courting of Melo and Paul will be easier with the dual selling points of New York / MSG atmosphere , along with the chance to be paired with Bosh.

    And after the robust contract that camby got, the Price tag will be somewhat closer then we originally thought.

  10. Owen

    Supernova – Nice post. Like Ted, I don’t really agree with some of your projections. There really is no reason to expect Lee’s pace adjusted numbers to change much. And as Ted points out, he was actually great in the clutch this year, putting up a 65% fg% close and late.

    Lee has basically put up the same numbers for the past four years. His playing time increased, he moved into a high pace offense, he took more jumpers and scored a bit more and took on the mantle of best player on the team, but for the most part he is exactly the same guy he was four years ago in terms of total production, if not a little worse. And he is pretty much a mortal lock to put up similar numbers for the next 3-4 years. You can take 18/36 with a 58% ts% and high quality peripherals and league average at best defense to the bank. That is just who he is as a baller. Another thing that hasn’t changed in that time is the quality of his teammates.

    Really, the only big thing that has changed about Lee is his public perception. It was easy to idolize him when he was one of the most unappreciated, undervalued players in the NBA. If he gets 12 million per it will makes things a lot different, both for me and his future fanbase. I will probably have to find a new box score man-crush (Kevin Love anyone?).

    But no matter what Lee gets paid, I still think he is going to offer more value than a lot of free agents signed this offseason like Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson, or Carmelo next year. His future fanbase may be disappointed in him at his contract price, but I would wager that if they are it will be for the wrong reasons.

  11. ess-dog

    Good post supernova. I feel like we’ll still be arguing about David Lee when he’s in his 70’s.
    We all know the defense is a problem. It’s just hard to predict how much of a problem it will be next year. It’s obvious Lee can’t compete against the likes of Bogut and Haywood – real centers. But can he defend premier power forwards?
    It seems like with effort he could hang with a Boozer, West or Hickson type, but the more vertical pf’s like Gasol, Garnett even Z-bo will definitely always be a problem. The long distance shooting power forwards like Rashard Lewis could give him fits as well. He will just need to learn to close out well on those types.
    If he can bulk up a little this offseason (so that he can push forwards out of the paint) and if we could put a real center next to him, I would have no problem re-signing him for 10,11 maybe even 12 mil. It’s a good investment considering his age and how he isn’t an injury risk like some other players.
    I just wish I’d seen him play more at the 4 this year. But if we can get him for 10 mil vs. Bosh at close to 17 mil… that’s a significant difference.
    The other problem is that no matter how well Lee stacks up, Lebron or any other “top” free agent might only want to play with another big name… essentially forcing us to go with a Bosh or Amare over Lee.
    An interesting solution might be to get Lebron AND Shaq this summer. I know the Shaq/D’Antoni experiment didn’t work before, but this would be a much different group. Shaq’s a Lee fan, and he could get a good year or two in NYC to boost his branding. He’s still relatively pretty good and D’Antoni can switch to his small lineup often in order to rest Shaq. He would definitely help out Lee.

  12. Ted Nelson

    Owen,

    I agree with almost everything you say. The only contradiction I would make is that I think Lee has legitimately improved as a scorer and a passer.

    ess-dog,

    Also mostly agree. I would point out that the type of guys you mention tend to give all defenders fits and, hence, put up strong offensive numbers (Z-Bo this year only).
    Shaq may end up being one of the better C options for the Knicks if they get LeBron and Shaq’s willing to take the minimum. However, along with D’Antoni and Shaq’s past, there’s also LeBron and Shaq’s past. If they fail to win the title this season, is LeBron excited about pairing up with Shaq again + what might end up being a worse supporting cast (unless they sign Wade)? If they do win, why take their act to NYC together instead of defending their title in Cleveland?

  13. Z

    I too would be surprised if Lee’s next team regretted buying him, for all the reasons already stated, but mostly because he is durable, and players making millions of $ to ride the stationary bike year in and year out are the contracts to regret.

    Also, I predict that wherever Lee goes (if it’s not NY), people on that team’s fan blogs will not be complaining about his defense.

  14. Ted Nelson

    Kind of funny that Dampier of all people called out the refs, considering that he didn’t even look like he was trying to play defense last night. The Spurs were taking the ball at him and scoring at will. Weak excuse if he wasn’t playing defense because he was worried about fouls. I guess ultimately you blame Carlisle for leaving Dampier out there and not using Haywood more.

  15. TDM

    Sounds like Beas is on the block. Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of him. Maturity issues aside, anyone think he would be a good fit for the Knicks? Also, any thoughts on how he would look playing alongside of LBJ as opposed to Wade?

  16. Owen

    Beasley isn’t good. Not yet certainly, maybe never. So no, in my book, not a good fit.

    Lot of fun watching this playoff basketball. Dallas-San Antonio is really intense. Blair is making a nice little impact, as is Millsap for Utah. In fact, everywhere I look I see players contributing who could be Knicks…

  17. Brian Cronin

    so D-Wade is about to swept. I hope he bolts because of this.

    They were until Wade effectively refused to lose.

    Wow, what a performance by him! He deserves better than this Heat team (if he stays in Miami, they better bring in some better players to play with him).

  18. Brian Cronin

    The Jazz are really, really impressive.

    Up 3-1 without 2/5th of their starting lineup against the same team that went to the Western Conference Finals last year?

    Damned impressive.

  19. BigBlueAL

    Boozer has been really impressive too. To be honest for the same price I think Id clearly take Boozer over Lee.

  20. stratomatic

    I am a big fan of Lee’s, but I think the gap between him and Bosh (and Amare) is actually larger than can be determined by looking at boxscore stats alone.

    There is some useful defensive information at 82games where they compare a player’s PER to the corresponding player on the opposing team.

    In Lee’s case the gap between his own PER and the opposing PF or C (depending on which he plays) is fairly narrow because the opposing player at both positions is quite a bit above average.

    If you look at most of the other elite PFs in the league, the gap is muh wider. While that is not a perfect measurement, I think it’s a better indication of individual defense than many of the others out there. IN addition, Lee has traditionally not had a particularly good adjusted +/- relative to some of the other elite PFs and Cs. I’ve alwats suspected that was related to defense because his offensive efficiency is obviously so good it’s hard to come up with another reason.

  21. stratomatic

    I just read that the Knicks still have some interest in signing Ty Thomas now that Camby is gone. I like Thomas and was all for a Harrington for Thomas trade, but someone is going to have to explain to me why we gave up Jordan Hill (on a rookie contract) + the 2012 draft pick + a potential 2011 pick swap + the Jeffries 2011 expiring contract to bring in the more expensive Tyrus Thomas?

    Look at their per 36 minutes numbers

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=hilljo01&y1=2010&p2=thomaty01&y2=2010

    Ty Thomas is little better and probably fits our needs better also (shot blocker), but it seems like we gave up a lot to get rid of Jeffries on year earlier. Ty Thomas is not what I had in mind for that extra 9 million.

  22. ess-dog

    Re: Ty Thomas,
    We just had to have room for 2 max free agents going into the summer. That was the only way any stars would possibly sign and Walsh got it done. Yes the price was steep, but I still think he had to go for it. Otherwise, none of us would realistically be talking about Lebron this, Bosh that…
    But I guess if we miss out on the real stars, Thomas is being talked about as a fallback option. Was that the same posting that had Walsh offering Walker and our 2 2nds to Minny for the rights to Rubio? LOL.
    Re: Beasley,
    Hard to say why he’s been so mediocre so far. His rebounding hasn’t translated to the NBA level. He still could be a pretty good scorer. He was brought into a tough situation where they wanted him to be Wade’s Scottie Pippen from day 1 and it just didn’t happen. I hope he gets traded and blossoms because 1) I hate Miami and 2) I think he’s basically a good guy. I think Miami trying to put him as a sf is a bad move. He could still be a pretty good scoring power forward like Rashard Lewis if he works at it. Hey his PER was the same as Gallo’s this year. I would maybe trade him for Chandler (I’d say they are pretty even, maybe give a slight edge to Chandler) but only if everything else doesn’t pan out first.

  23. Droidz1979

    I would rather have Bosh than Thomas if i could not have them both and add Joe Johnson to complement Gallo, Chandler and Toney D for a plan B. Still, let’s aim for the stars..in LEBRON we trust lol

  24. Ted Nelson

    @23 staratomatic,

    Speaking generally about the opponent PER from 82games–i.e. not specifically about Lee–I have two big problems with it.
    1. I believe they just line the players up by theoretical position and do not actually account for who the player is guarding. If Danilo or Jared Jeffries is the second biggest guy on the court he may be assigned by 82games to the opposing PF, but he may be assigned by D’Antoni to guard the PG. In this case the Knicks PF is on the PG, their PG is guarding the SG, and their SG or SF is guarding the PF.
    2. I haven’t actually looked at the data to see if this happens, but if you’re constantly asked to guard one of the better players on the other team your opponent’s PER may be high. Whereas if you’re constantly hidden on defense your opponent PER may be low. Then again, problem 1 makes it unlikely that this metric will even pick up on that. This would especially apply to wings.
    A somewhat related problem is that PER isn’t a perfect measure of anything. Maybe your opponent PER looks good because your offense stinks and they are getting a lot of rebounds. Maybe you are forcing your opponent into bad shots, but PER still credits them for volume because you are assigned to the other team’s best scorer every night.

    Regarding Lee specifically, when you look back two seasons ago to when he last played primarily at the 4, his opponent PER matches up pretty well with Amare and Boozer and Bosh’s this season (all 18-19). (This season 82games has Lee down as playing 3% of the Knicks minutes at PF and last season 4%, hardly robust samples.) If you’re going to play them at the 5, I’ll take Bosh or even Amare. I would also say that Bosh has more defensive potential based on his athleticism. In terms of actual production, I don’t see a huge difference between the 3 of those guys if they’re your PF.

  25. Ted Nelson

    @24

    When the Knicks made the Hill trade they were doing for the chance to get LeBron. Not to get LeBron, but for the chance. Walsh apparently decided that the mere opportunity to get the greatest player in the world is worth not having your draft pick for 4 straight seasons (Hill, 2010 was already gone, swap in 2011, and then 2012). I can’t say I disagree. It’s a huge risk, but even a 1% chance at LeBron is pretty sweet.
    That extra cap space lets you go whichever way LeBron wants if he picks you.
    If he doesn’t pick you, then you’re looking at the Ty Thomas’ of the world.

    “Ty Thomas is little better and probably fits our needs better also (shot blocker),”

    I would not say Thomas is better. It’s not obvious that Hill is better, but I definitely would not say that Thomas’ PER 36 and Rate stats are better than Hill’s. Hill is better besides scoring volume and shot blocking. When you account for the way D’Antoni misused Hill (as a jump shooter) and his splits between NY and Houston… I would rather have Hill.
    Thomas is a good (even very good maybe) defender, but he is an awful offensive player: really low efficiency, medium TO. He settles for jumpers despite his otherworldly athleticism. And the Knicks would lose a lot of his defensive ability by playing him at the 5, which D’Antoni would inevitably do because the guy can’t shoot.
    The only way Thomas is better is if you look at PER, which overvalues scoring volume.

  26. Ted Nelson

    re: Beasley,

    You do have to credit him a bit for being young and producing a bit: he’ll probably hang around the NBA for a while. I’m not a fan, though. His PER is so high because he takes a TON of shots.

    On top of being a bust, he’s gotten worse from year 1 to 2. Could be a good buy low opportunity if he’s learned the offseason work it takes, but I wouldn’t take that risk personally unless the price was really cheap.

    Lewis is an interesting comparison as a “stretch 4,” but he was a way more efficient scorer at the same age. Beasley has a big advantage in scoring volume, but if you look at anything besides PER Lewis was the better player. http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lewisra02&y1=2001&p2=beaslmi01&y2=2010
    I’m very skeptical that Beasley can become a high efficiency scorer.

    A good comparison may be Antawn Jamison. Jamison is a valuable player in the league, but has been fairly low efficiency his whole career. http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lewisra02&y1=2001&p2=beaslmi01&y2=2010&p3=robingl01&y3=1996&p4=jamisan01&y4=2000

    If Beasley can truly become a plus defender, maybe Rasheed Wallace, though Sheed became less efficient as time went on and he fell more and more in love with his jumper (and lost his athleticism, and smoked pounds and pounds of pot). http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=beaslmi01&y1=2010&p2=wallara01&y2=1997

    I also would think about trading Chandler for Beasley… I’m just still not that high on Chandler. I guess the relevant question–to borrow from the Nash v. Dirk hypothetical thrown at me–is do you take Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison? (And how likely are Chandler and Beasley to reach those respective levels?)

  27. ess-dog

    Well it’s soon to be official: Jamal Crawford will be the 6th man of the year. I’m not sure if this says more about the Knicks, Crawford, or the league. Regardless, I think it was clear to everyone except the coaches that Crawford was a better fit as a scoring 6th man, not your go-to starter. This makes me wonder about current trends (i.e. using an undersized center, guarding a point guard with forward etc.) and whether Donnie has input here. I mean, Donnie’s job is ‘personnel’. D’Antoni’s job is coaching. But what is the overlap with these two? I guess what I’m saying is, I’m actually glad we now have a senior GM like Donnie to objectively smooth out the rough edges of our personnel… something Zeke was completely unable to handle as GM.

  28. Ted Nelson

    The biggest overlap is that Donnie can fire D’Antoni if he doesn’t like the way he’s coaching. Seems like Donnie is pretty hands-off according to the media reports from D’Antoni (which is better than being TOO hands-on as we saw in Chicago when the coach and GM literally put their hands on one another).

    The problem with Crawford in NY is that there was no one in-front of him. He’s the 6th man in Atlanta because there are 5 men in front of him, 2 guards. The Knicks didn’t have Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby in the back-court, let alone those guys in the back-court plus Horford and Josh Smith in the front-court. To Isiah’s credit he claims that he initially envisioned Crawford as the 6th man behind Marbury and Houston… never worked out because Houston’s game/health went MIA and Marbury’s brain/stability went MIA. Hence, Crawford was the #1 option and Nate Robinson was the only guy not named Mardy Collins who was even an alternative.

    It is amazing that Crawford has suddenly learned how to shoot a basketball at 29 years old… Rip Van Winkle style. Even if Crawford were the 6th man in NY his production probably wouldn’t have warranted 6th man of the year. He probably would have been a perennial candidate, though.

  29. nicos

    On Thomas vs. Hill- If I had to pick one without money being a factor I’d have to pick Thomas. He’s only 1 year older and if anyone could get through to him his ceiling is much higher- his jumper isn’t great but it’s good enough that he should be pretty effective in the pick and roll game. And if he played on a team that consistently pushed the tempo (and how Del Negro didn’t have Rose pushing the ball at every opportunity with Thomas, Noah and Deng I’ll never know) he should be a monster in transition. He’s not quite as strong as A’mare but athletically he’s probably as close as you’re going to find. Of course he’s also drives coaches crazy by busting plays on both ends of the floor and thus far his effort level on the court has been inconsistent at best. While I think Hill could turn out to be a decent starter, I don’t see any all-star games in his future. Truth be told I think it’s probably doubtful Thomas winds up an all-star as well but at least it’s a possibility.

  30. Loathing

    Ok, getting back on the subject here…I forgot who said it above (sorry), but yeah, Walsh will NOT overpay for ANYONE’S services…he’s too savvy a businessman for that, which means there won’t be any bad contracts coming in. However, the worst case scenario would then be we get no one and be forced to sign scrubs.

    But honestly, the next plan of Knickerbocker reconstruction would be the lottery. Whoever lands in those first two spots (where Wall and Turner are largely expected to go, no matter who lands there) will most likely have someone expendable to trade. Good to watch for.

    Then we have the draft itself…Two second rounders…honestly, I think we need to either keep our picks, or maybe trade down to others who have multiple second rounders (if any) and get as much as we can without having to sign scrubs.

    THEN, and ONLY then, can we talk about max FA’s, Lee and the overpaids.

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