Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keeper Rosters and One Team's Thought Process

So, this won't be as amusing as my take on the Iranian elections, but the NBA free agency period makes for some interesting dynamics on your keeper decisions. And just for reference, here are the final rosters from last season.

European Sellouts O.N. Thugs Sparty Rules
O.J. Mayo Deron Williams Chris Paul
LeBron James Brandon Roy Richard Hamilton
Nate Robinson Ben Gordon Hedo Turkoglu
Shaquille O'Neal Ron Artest Boris Diaw
Rashard Lewis Carlos Boozer Troy Murphy
Jose Calderon David West Andrea Bargnani
Gerald Wallace LaMarcus Aldridge Chauncey Billups
Marc Gasol Antonio McDyess Grant Hill
Manu Ginobili Brook Lopez Rasheed Wallace
Tracy McGrady Tyrus Thomas Brad Miller
Raymond Felton Mario Chalmers Matt Barnes
Matt Bonner Russell Westbrook Marcus Camby
Luke Ridnour Monta Ellis Marvin Williams
Andrew Bynum Jermaine O'Neal Samuel Dalembert

IAmJabrone Westy's Ballers Chowtime
Derrick Rose Jarrett Jack Tony Parker
Joe Johnson Andre Iguodala Danny Granger
Al Horford Devin Harris Kelenna Azubuike
David Lee Paul Pierce Pau Gasol
Anthony Randolph Andres Nocioni Chris Andersen
Carmelo Anthony Caron Butler Dirk Nowitzki
Josh Smith Al Jefferson Vince Carter
Dwyane Wade Mike Miller Mike Bibby
Charlie Villanueva Steve Blake Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Jason Thompson Nene Hilario Jamal Crawford
Ronny Turiaf Luis Scola Ronnie Brewer
Al Thornton Kevin Garnett Chris Kaman
Gilbert Arenas Tyson Chandler Thaddeus Young
Michael Redd Luol Deng Jameer Nelson

Dribbling Balls Floor Burns Milwaukee Bricks
Jason Kidd Leandro Barbosa Baron Davis
Kobe Bryant Kevin Martin Eric Gordon
Rafer Alston Lamar Odom J.R. Smith
Mickael Pietrus Shawn Marion James Posey
Jeff Green Tayshaun Prince Luc Mbah a Moute
John Salmons Kendrick Perkins Michael Beasley
Dwight Howard Paul Millsap Mehmet Okur
Tim Duncan Stephen Jackson Emeka Okafor
Rudy Fernandez Mo Williams Andris Biedrins
Corey Maggette Joakim Noah Jason Terry
Andrei Kirilenko Marquis Daniels Jason Richardson
Derek Fisher Richard Jefferson Ramon Sessions
Greg Oden Rodney Stuckey Al Harrington
Mike James Peja Stojakovic Elton Brand

Love Timberwolves Phatsnapper
Andre Miller Allen Iverson
Kevin Durant Randy Foye
DeShawn Stevenson Steve Nash
Linas Kleiza Antawn Jamison
Chris Bosh Amar'e Stoudemire
Kevin Love Wilson Chandler
Yao Ming Andrew Bogut
Zach Randolph Spencer Hawes
Josh Howard Kenyon Martin
Rajon Rondo Drew Gooden
Anthony Parker Ray Allen
Mike Conley T.J. Ford
Rudy Gay Mike Dunleavy
Cuttino Mobley Francisco Garcia

Lots of interesting choices, just based on the rosters. For example, there's a good chance that of Michael Redd, Gilbert Arenas, and Charlie Villaneuva, two of the three will be available. But there are also interesting changes in the dynamics, based on how the players' situations have changed (or not changed) in real life.

Obviously, injuries to people like Yao make for a tough situation. Do you just drop him, or do you hold on to him for the entire year? But an interesting thing comes up with you have free agents change locations. For example, we can start with Vinsanity going from Jersey to Orlando. If I had to guess, his numbers will probably stay roughly the same. And the void he leaves in Jersey probably means that Devin Harris gets a couple more shots, and that Brook Lopez gets more shots. But if you look to Orlando, this also means that Hedo Turkoglu (aka MJT, or the Michael Jordan of Turkey) is going somewhere else. If he had gone to Portland, the Blazers probably would have had a better team. However, there's a good chance that the numbers for Turkoglu, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldrige all decrease. That would have been a decidedly bad thing for the O.N. Thugs. Happily, it appears that MJT's taking his act up north to the Raptors... where this probably doesn't affect anyone a whole lot, and may even get Chris Bosh a couple more layups.

In any case, the O.N. Thugs have choices. We're keeping 8 out of 14. Here's how things look:

Must-Keep (6): Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Carlos Boozer, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brook Lopez.

Basically, there are a few obvious choices. D-Will and Roy are stone cold locks. Boozer was hurt, but is a 20 and 10 guy. David West is a 20 and 9 guy, who makes FT's. Aldrige comes in at 18 and 8. And Brook Lopez's 13, 8, and 2 blocks (and efficient scoring) becomes a must keep because of the scarcity of quality at C, even if Vince stays in Jersey. And truth be told, I was committed to Lopez, when I dropped Tyson Chandler last season to make a run at the championship.

Looking at this roster, it looks like there will be good scoring (at and efficient rate), very good rebounding, and slightly above average shot blocking and steals. D-Will can make up ground on assists, and only Lopez turns the ball over too much. However, the outside shooting is so-so. D-Will and Roy are OK from 3, but none of the bigs really shoot from 3. So who will round things out?

Probably Set Free (4): Antonio McDyess, Jermaine O'Neal, Mario Chalmers, Ron Artest

And as you look down the roster, you see two bigs that you can't keep: McDyess (age, uncertain where he'll play), and Jermaine O'Neal (showed some glimpses, but age has gotten to him, as well). Mario Chalmers would help with the STL and 3PM, but at 10 points and 5 assists (D-Wade has the ball too much), you just can't go down that road with a keeper. Same for Artest, since he has gotten a little old, and you have no idea where he'll fit w/ the Lakers. So who's left?

Question Marks (4, keep 2): Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Monta Ellis, Russell Westbrook

Gordon puts up 20 a game, makes his FT's, and makes a lot of 3's. He would definitely keep the O.N. Thugs competitive in 3PM. But, he's also moving to a Pistons team that already has Stuckey (who needs the ball in his hands), and Rip Hamilton (who needs a lot of shots). Not sure what to think about that lineup.

Tyrus Thomas really came into his own toward the end of the season. Since February, he was about 13.5 PTS, 7.5 REB, 2.2 BLK, 1.2 STL, and was reasonably efficient from the floor (47.1%/77.5%). He should be improving, and getting a couple more shots with Gordon moving on. But where he really adds value is with the hustle stats. If he's getting the 31 minutes per game that he got toward the end of last season, you almost have to keep him.

Monta Ellis is coming off injury, but did put up 19 per game and was good from the line, though his shooting was a little off from the previous year (down to 45%, from 53%). You also saw some struggles for him at the point, and his AST numbers actually went down, despite the move to point. Nellie Ball runs fast, but that offense goes through Captain Jack... You'd forgive this if he was good in another category, but he doesn't shoot 3's, and his peripheral stats are mediocre. But he's young, and ultra talented, just like

Russell Westbrook. The comparison is to a young D-Wade. He was about 15 PTS, 5.5 AST, 5 REB, and 1.2 STL. He makes his FT's (81.5%), but is really bad from the floor (39.8%), and doens't shoot 3's often or well, but he can score in bunches (5 games over 30 points). The most important thing for Westbrook was that the Thunder didn't pick a PG in the draft. This means that Westbrook will be running the show for these guys.

At this point, I'm probably going to keep Tyrus Thomas, since he'd really stabilize the STL and BLK numbers. Gordon's the safe choice, but even with him, I was bad at 3PM last year. Westbrook's got the most upside, since he gets all sorts of hustle numbers. But Ellis has the potential to be a 25 point guy, as well... I think that part of it depends on where I end up drafting (side note - I've got a plan for the lottery, just haven't had a chance to post the idea).

In any case, the rosters are posted here. We'll get the lottery taken care of in a couple weeks, and I'll assign keepers about a week before the draft (which will be about a week before the start of the season).

-Chairman (aka O.N. Thugs)


Westy said...

Arghh, I still can't believe I didn't win this past year. Stupid injuries.

Chairman said...

I suppose that this is just more evidence that it's not just the players, but the management of the players, as well :-)

Jeff said...

Well, I'm pretty sure I'll keep the wrong guys.