The always-insightful Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus offers a post-lottery update on teams likely to pursue a max free agent this summer. Interestingly, he unveils a “new and improved” WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) stat that better accounts for the effects of perimeter shooting (particularly how it helps space the floor). The new and improved WARP stat (that sounds so much better than the more accurate “slightly tweaked WARP” stat) has a serious crush on New York’s perimeter shooting.
In the interest of being conservative, and in taking any individual projection with a grain of salt, the new WARP probably overvalues Bill Walker a smidge. He’s likely to shoot his way out of Reggie Miller’s and Steve Kerr’s neighborhood eventually. Add to that, Walker’s propensity for fouling has me concerned about his ability to stay on the floor, limiting how much we can count on him. That said, he is the quintessential diamond in the rough; a pretty nice find by Donnie Basketball.
Nevertheless, potentially overly optimistic projections aside, the upshot is that when accounting for all the ways a team can put talent on the floor (i.e., current players, free-agent signings, trades, and draft picks), one can make a fairly straightforward case for Bron Bron to New York based solely on the basketball merits.