2018 NBA Playoffs

Jason Kidd fired! About time. Terrible coach and worse human being.

I didn't see that coming. I think generally the Bucks have underperformed this year and last, and Kidd's defensive scheme is suspect, but I did not expect a mid-season firing.

The chatter I saw on Twitter by Woj and Zach Lowe was it will be a desirable job in the summer.

I'm probably showing my basketball ignorance, but why the summer? Why not now? They have an elite player in Antetokounmpo, and some other good players. Wouldn't you want to bring someone in now so you can play well this playoffs with the East having a fair bit of uncertainty and wouldn't any coach worth their salt want to get in right away?

Roke wrote:

The chatter I saw on Twitter by Woj and Zach Lowe was it will be a desirable job in the summer.

I'm probably showing my basketball ignorance, but why the summer? Why not now? They have an elite player in Antetokounmpo, and some other good players. Wouldn't you want to bring someone in now so you can play well this playoffs with the East having a fair bit of uncertainty and wouldn't any coach worth their salt want to get in right away?

Because it’s a lost season and there’s no time to install your own system.

DSGamer wrote:
Roke wrote:

The chatter I saw on Twitter by Woj and Zach Lowe was it will be a desirable job in the summer.

I'm probably showing my basketball ignorance, but why the summer? Why not now? They have an elite player in Antetokounmpo, and some other good players. Wouldn't you want to bring someone in now so you can play well this playoffs with the East having a fair bit of uncertainty and wouldn't any coach worth their salt want to get in right away?

Because it’s a lost season and there’s no time to install your own system.

Of your assistants. Plus, until recently, Kidd had a lot of say in personnel decisions and support for 1/3 of the ownership group. A new coach is going to want to know exactly who is in charge and what the plan is. It’s not complete chaos but it seems to be a potentially volatile management group.

Vector wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Roke wrote:

The chatter I saw on Twitter by Woj and Zach Lowe was it will be a desirable job in the summer.

I'm probably showing my basketball ignorance, but why the summer? Why not now? They have an elite player in Antetokounmpo, and some other good players. Wouldn't you want to bring someone in now so you can play well this playoffs with the East having a fair bit of uncertainty and wouldn't any coach worth their salt want to get in right away?

Because it’s a lost season and there’s no time to install your own system.

Of your assistants. Plus, until recently, Kidd had a lot of say in personnel decisions and support for 1/3 of the ownership group. A new coach is going to want to know exactly who is in charge and what the plan is. It’s not complete chaos but it seems to be a potentially volatile management group.

Kidd was a disaster both from a personnel standpoint as well as an offensive isolation system rooted in the 1990s and a defensive system that was completely contrary to the skills of his players. Rather than play a switching style that their incredible length is suited for, they played an over-aggressive, predictable, ball side trapping scheme that gave up a league high points at the rim as well as copious wide open threes, with a high percentage of those corner threes.

This is a game tactician that earlier this year instructed Kris Middleton, an 87%+ FT shooter, to intentionally miss a FT up 3 with two seconds left against a team without time outs. Up 1 or 2, makes perfect sense. Up 3? WTF? He used youth as an excuse and when asked about poor rebounding responded that there was nothing they could do, it was who they are.

Add in his track record of domestic abuse and jackassery, and you have the makings of angst in knowledgeable Bucks, fans; wanting team success but also wanting Kidd gone. There has been a significant fear that Giannis would be wasted. They cannot help but win a number of games because he is that good.

It remains to be seen if this is a lost season or not. This is the East after all. Jabari Parker looks to be returning soon and Giannis is phenomenal. Middleton, Brogdon, and Bledsoe. Some system tweaks and better rotations could be enough for them to climb up in the east. Getting a physical center would help a lot. It doesn't need to be Jordan or a big deal, someone like Dedmon from Atlanta would be great. Just to get Thon Maker off of the court for the 18 minutes per game he has not rights to. His Real Plus-minus (RPM) ranking is 465th out of 472 NBA players and he is dead last in RPM wins of all NBA centers by a significant margin at -0.51, one of only 3 negative players.

There is some split in the fandom as to letting Prunty finish the season or sign someone available now, like Fizdale or Jeff Van Gundy, with mixed feeling on those, mainly JVG. Ettore Messina (Spurs) seems to be the runaway fan choice followed by Fizdale, David Blatt, and Becky Hammon. I do not think those would be options until the summer. The Bucks will be a very attactive team for coaches with Giannis. Unless they love Fizdale or, heaven forbid, JVG, it makes sense to wait until there are more quality choices available. There has also be talk of trying to repeat the Celtics model an lure Wisconsin boy Tony Bennett back to the state.

Wow the Clippers are blowing it up. Traded Griffin to Detroit. I wonder if he signed off on it, if not I would be pretty upset if I were him. Just signed a 5 year contract after being a free agent and the Clippers convincing him to stay, and then they ship him from LA to Detroit.

SVG trying to save his job I guess? I don’t see it as a win for either team. Fair trade then?

Zach Lowe article from October detailing the Clippers/Griffin contract talks

When Griffin arrived at Staples Center for his free-agency pitch meeting on July 1, he found the Clippers had erected something of a maze for him with temporary walls. Griffin walked his 3-year-old son, Ford, through the art gallery-style corridors, and found photos hanging at each turn: Griffin on his green Huffy bike with his brother, Taylor, when they were kids; Griffin playing in college; Griffin as a Clipper.

The maze spit Griffin out onto a couch overlooking the Staples Center court, above the lower bowl. Crowd noise pumped in. The team's public address announcer declared the Clippers were retiring Griffin's number. Team employees raised an actual banner into the rafters -- a vision of the future they wanted.

Should have fought for the no-trade clause.

I like the Griffin trade for the Clips. Harris and Bradley are good players, and they get a first and second to replenish the draft cupboard. As Bill Simmons said today, always trade with the guy that is going to lose his job if the trade doesn’t work out.

Most Pistons fans seem irate over the move, but I actually kind of love it; not so much because I think it will work, but because I think it's the most bold and least bad option available to them. I'd argue that if you're Detroit the only way to get a player with top-10 ability is to draft him or trade for him. No premier free agent is voluntarily coming to Detroit right now. The roster was too middle of the road to draft that kind of player without just getting lucky and the only way to trade for one is to take on risk that the player you're getting is injury prone, an attitude problem, etc.

Griffin's contract is crazy, but he's now safely paired with Drummond and Jackson (get well soon) for the next four seasons. If those players can stay healthy, that's a solid core of players in their mid-to-late 20s to put with potentially solid younger role players like Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard. (And dang did Stanley go off against Cleveland last night.)

If any one thing doesn't work out with those players, odds are the move flops, but they weren't going anywhere with the roster they had anyway. Avery Bradley has been miserable for most of the last couple months (granted he's also battling injuries) and is likely to go elsewhere at season's end. (Detroit wasn't going to pay him.) Tobias Harris has been a borderline all-star this year, is high character, and is cost-controlled for one more season, but he's not (when healthy) Griffin's caliber and would likewise be looking for an out-sized payday after next season. Giving up the draft pick is a kick in the nuts, but the Pistons will be picking in that death zone between 9-12(ish) where all the best bets are already gone.

Given where the roster and league are at, the options for a team like Detroit are to try and out-tank 6+ other teams for a high lottery pick, stick in a perpetual race for being a 6-8 playoff seed that gets bombed out of the first round, or go big on a high-risk move and hope the fates smile on you. Given Drummond has taken a huge step forward this season and is in his prime, I think you either deal him or make a move like this. I'll take it.

I agree. A lot of teams (that aren’t Golden State) are going to be stuck making these kinds of moves for a while. In the past they could reasonably expect to at least compete in the playoffs and then maybe you hit on a draft pick or free agent or a great coach and make a 2000s Nets or Sixers style run and at least give yourself a shot at winning a title.

So moves like this can seem futile and maybe the best idea is to go full on “The Process”, but I like teams like this trying to compete.

IMAGE(https://media1.tenor.com/images/7d995dd776f63fc9fc72b83fd915d994/tenor.gif?itemid=5599602)
Or it is fueled by a Coach + POBO trying to save his job. I am with TheCounselor in liking the Clippers' side of it better. Huge bet on a high injury risk paired with an old school big.

S big question to me is whether Blake or Drummond are anything other than the second star on a contending team. Maybe? That is a huge contract for a the injury history Blake has. What sort of player is he going to be the next few years? He feels like a player in decline. It will be interesting. They certainly have more beef and power inside than any team in the East. Do they have enough shooting around those two? I would not be shocked to see Stanley Johnson sent out for a 3&D guy (Hood was a rumor).

LA is in a different place (geographically and metaphorically) than Detroit, which I think makes it a deal that makes sense from both sides.

I don't generally hold to the idea that SVG is on the hot seat. I mean he could be, but right now it feels more like angry fan and media concern-trolling than anything coming from Gores. I'm sure he feels pressure to tally some Ws and increase his security, but there is logic in saying, "We like Drummond, we think Jackson can get healthy and be an impact player, and if we can add one more all-star worthy piece, we can restock on role players through FA." It's a rosier outlook than blowing it up to go for a top-5 lottery pick.

And, yeah, Griffin's contract could be a total albatross that sinks the franchise for five years. No question. But (rhetorically), tell me how a team like Detroit acquires a player of his caliber (he's nearly a 20-10-5 guy this season, who's midrange and 3pt game are at career highs) that is also on the right side of 30 and on a long-term deal? To me, it's the best of a lot of bad options. Unlike sending every valuable asset packing (Drummond specifically) and going full-tank, if you can get and keep Griffin/Jackson/Drummond healthy, you've got a playoff-worthy roster with a core unit no top-four seed wants to see.

But I agree they need more shooting, and I've seen the Johnson for Hood rumor too. Kennard has real promise in this regard, Bullock has been killing it from deep, and Jackson is adequate (and does other things), but I wouldn't be surprised to see them at least try to make another move with what few assets they have left.

Edit: A good article on pairing Griffin's skill set with Drummond.

I donno, is it too cynical to assume that Detroit wants a name player to increase the value the team sells for and LAC want out of a big contract to make a run at LeBron and a LeBron-ette or two?

You are certainly closer to it than I am. The Pistons have a spanking new building that has struggled to draw fans, despite the team playing well prior to the Jackson injury. This feels like an "excite the fans" move and try to slip into the playoffs. As a Bucks fan, that is an all too familiar scenario living through the horrors of the Kohl years of fighting for a low playoff spot and hoping to win a series in a Midwestern town that was one of the bottom 5 destinations. Not bad enough to bottom out, but not good enough to threaten anyone. Masters of the treadmill.

Are Griffin and Drummond a duo that gets Detroit into the top 3-4 in the East in the next 3 years with a good chance to make the ECF? If so, great. I don't think they are, personally. Griffin's game at a star level has been about athleticism which has been in decline. He has done a good job of cutting out the mid-range and transitioning to rim and arc shot attempts at a respectable rate. He is a negative defender, but Drummond realy make up for it, so that is a good fit. He has a mid 70s Real Plus Minus (Drum-40) and #35 in PER at 20.66 (Drum #13, 24), respectable numbers, but not those of your franchise Alpha. That has to be Drummond, doesn't it? He has been outstanding. A big question is how much can you win in today's NBA when your best player is a low post C? Drummond is great, but he lacks the versatility of AD or Towns, two other centers who are their teams best players but is getting paid the same as AD. The Pistons have a ton of long term $ tied up in these two guys and have a really thin margin for other moves.

How do they do it? The draft and smart value trades, IMO. Accumulate picks and make smart choices. Get lucky. There has been great young impact talent that hasn't been top 5 lottery picks. Of course Giannis is the prime example, and the Bucks have screwed up their last 3 first rounds chasing similar success on reaches rather than accumulating complimentary pieces.

Who knows. It will play out the next few years. Hopefully it does energize the locals. Having gone to MSU at the end of the Bad Boys Era, it is weird to see that fan base so depressed.

I am not an ESPN fan, but I am a huge Zach Lowe fan. THIS is basically my thoughts, but much better written!

Great stuff, bch! I think you're right on with a lot of that. Gores surely hopes Griffin will capture the fan base's interest, but it sounds much like the LCA has issues with pricing (particularly for parking) and the fact that neither the Pistons nor Wings have had much winning culture the past few years is just lethal. They're going to need to win for more than a month or two before they start drawing fans back in, I think. Detroit fans will turn out for a team that is making moves and shows it can get past the first round of the playoffs, but the Pistons are in put up or shut up territory with the local fans, I think.

Seriously, that is great data on Drummond and Griffin. Only thing I'd quibble with is Drummond as a low-post C (depending on how you meant that). That's how he's been used the past few seasons (to poor result), but the folks I follow have written much this season about seeing him used much more in a facilitator/hand-off role on offense that he's been surprisingly effective at. I haven't looked it up, but I recall some Pistons bloggers noting his assist rate is among the best in the league for centers. (More fun stuff from DBB.)

Because of injury histories for both Griffin and Jackson (let alone the question of Does this work systemically?), I absolutely do not argue that the odds are this does not turn the Pistons into a top 4 outfit in the East. But, I'm hard-pressed to name a move that gets them to that place that doesn't involve a total teardown and multiyear rebuild trying to out-tank all the other tankers. Ultimately, I just don't see the odds of this working as any worse than the odds of full-tank working, so why not be a little bold, trust your president/coach and see what happens? I don't think they have a lot to lose, and if it works it could really be something.

Thanks. RE: Drummond, I meant low post from a scoring threat standpoint but he is definitely a solid distributor and I noticed that high post set in a couple of the games vs. Milwaukee. That beef is concerning as a bad match-up for Milwaukee and their current string bean Centers.

Speaking of Zach Lowe, THIS article on the Bucks is a fantastic and detailed piece on what they face in roster construction. The whole article is excellent, but this section sums up some of the "Kidd meddling in personnel decisions" outrage from Bucks diehards.

"They botched a chance to trade Brandon Knight for a Lakers first-round pick that became the league's golden chip. (Philly got the pick instead, in exchange for Carter-Williams as part of a three-team deal.) Flipping the picks that became Norman Powell and OG Anunoby to Toronto for Greivis Vasquez was inexplicable the moment it happened.

They picked Rashad Vaughn over Bobby Portis after a famously heated debate. Their first-round picks in the half-decade before Antetokounmpo left behind little as players or trade return. (In looking forward, we are all guilty sometimes of forgetting that past transactions -- even ones that are almost invisible today -- have a ripple effect that carries for years.)

It's not really fair to criticize the drafting acumen of the team that found Antetokounmpo at No. 15 and the only second-round pick ever to win Rookie of the Year (Brogdon). Sterling Brown, Milwaukee's second-round pick last spring, looks like a a potential two-way rotation wing -- a precious commodity. But the Bucks have wrung very little value from a lot of assets, including their cap room -- in part because of the constant, churning, "get the No. 8 seed at all costs" ethos dating to Herb Kohl's ownership.

Even the post-Kohl signings of Teletovic, Henson, Miles Plumlee, and Dellavedova -- all in the dreaded midlevel-veteran range that rarely pays out -- followed that pattern."

I still don’t know how much I’d do differently if I was a GM for one of these teams. The Blazers infamously overpaid for a bunch of their own free agents a couple of years ago, but they needed players willing to play in Portland. Milwaukee and Detroit need players willing to play there.

The bad draft picks often feel like these teams are trying to swing for the fences, because they know the overall market conditions aren’t in their favor.

DSGamer wrote:

I still don’t know how much I’d do differently if I was a GM for one of these teams. The Blazers infamously overpaid for a bunch of their own free agents a couple of years ago, but they needed players willing to play in Portland. Milwaukee and Detroit need players willing to play there.

The bad draft picks often feel like these teams are trying to swing for the fences, because they know the overall market conditions aren’t in their favor.

Regarding Milwaukee, Giannis will draw good players to play with him. They have the hardest part down. Now they have to focus on surrounding him with sustainable talent and not wasting his prime.

Regarding Detroit, I’d feel better about the deal if Griffin didn’t have injury concerns and a game based on altheleticism. Still, it’s a risk worth taking for Detroit. The Clips can get in the room with free agents. Detroit cannot.

TheCounselor wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I still don’t know how much I’d do differently if I was a GM for one of these teams. The Blazers infamously overpaid for a bunch of their own free agents a couple of years ago, but they needed players willing to play in Portland. Milwaukee and Detroit need players willing to play there.

The bad draft picks often feel like these teams are trying to swing for the fences, because they know the overall market conditions aren’t in their favor.

Regarding Milwaukee, Giannis will draw good players to play with him. They have the hardest part down. Now they have to focus on surrounding him with sustainable talent and not wasting his prime.

Regarding Detroit, I’d feel better about the deal if Griffin didn’t have injury concerns and a game based on altheleticism. Still, it’s a risk worth taking for Detroit. The Clips can get in the room with free agents. Detroit cannot.

Your point about athleticism reminds me of Vince Carter. He was electrifying but lost his legs fairly early. I hope that doesn't happen to Griffin but its a legitimate concern.

mindset.threat wrote:

Your point about athleticism reminds me of Vince Carter. He was electrifying but lost his legs fairly early. I hope that doesn't happen to Griffin but its a legitimate concern.

Vince is a good call and it may prove to be a solid comparison and template for BG. If Blake can adjust his game as well as Carter did, that would bode well for his longevity, considering Carter is in his 20th season at age 40 (and somehow just last week put up a 21pt, 6 board game vs the Spurs on 5/7 3pt shooting). Vince's last season of 20+ scoring was at age 32. The difference I see is that VC missed very little time whereas Griffin has and is just a lot bigger guy.

bhchrist wrote:
mindset.threat wrote:

Your point about athleticism reminds me of Vince Carter. He was electrifying but lost his legs fairly early. I hope that doesn't happen to Griffin but its a legitimate concern.

Vince is a good call and it may prove to be a solid comparison and template for BG. If Blake can adjust his game as well as Carter did, that would bode well for his longevity, considering Carter is in his 20th season at age 40 (and somehow just last week put up a 21pt, 6 board game vs the Spurs on 5/7 3pt shooting). Vince's last season of 20+ scoring was at age 32. The difference I see is that VC missed very little time whereas Griffin has and is just a lot bigger guy.

We also know a lot more about how the body works than 10-15 years ago, so Blake is getting better medical care than VC did.

Another totally crappy national TV game from the Cavs. They just don't seem to care. I think that is on Lebron and the coach. I think Lebron is checked out and has one foot out the door already.

LeapingGnome wrote:

Another totally crappy national TV game from the Cavs. They just don't seem to care. I think that is on Lebron and the coach. I think Lebron is checked out and has one foot out the door already.

Does he? Where is he realistically going? I think we can all agree that LeBron wants to make the max and win titles, in that order. He isn’t taking a discount.

The Warriors rumor from this week is nonsense. They aren’t trading Klay and Iggy, and LeBron isn’t joining them, even if it would be fun to see the league try to take them down for the next 7 years.

The Lakers are popular, but even if they get LeBron and Paul George, can they beat the Warriors? How do they get better after that? LeBron isn't going to wait for Ball and Ingram to improve, so do they trade those guys for win now players? Is that better than the Cavs, especially with a top 5 pick?

Houston is interesting, and Morey is a great GM, but can they trade for LeBron without including Capela? They won’t have cap room to sign him outright. If they lose Capela, do they have enough to win? Can a team with LeBron, Harden, and Paul defend enough, especially as LeBron and Paul age?

The Spurs make some sense, and Kawhi and LeBron would be awesome together, but they’d probably have to trade for LeBron too.

Eastern conference teams seem unlikely. Philly? Miami? Boston? I can’t see LeBron going to any of those places.

The biggest obstacle for LeBron going to LA is Lavar Ball. He's not going to put up with that nonsense.

LeBron wants bank, but a max contract is not the only way to do that. He's building a Jordan like empire. I don't think it will ever be that big, but I'm sure finding away to bring down the Warriors would help.

Jayhawker wrote:

The biggest obstacle for LeBron going to LA is Lavar Ball. He's not going to put up with that nonsense.

LeBron wants bank, but a max contract is not the only way to do that. He's building a Jordan like empire. I don't think it will ever be that big, but I'm sure finding away to bring down the Warriors would help.

LeBron isn’t taking less than the max. He’s made that clear. “Get the cap space, and you got a chance.” That’s what he told the Cavs. His other business interests are separate from his NBA career. He’s not taking less so a billionaire can make more.

TheCounselor wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

The biggest obstacle for LeBron going to LA is Lavar Ball. He's not going to put up with that nonsense.

LeBron wants bank, but a max contract is not the only way to do that. He's building a Jordan like empire. I don't think it will ever be that big, but I'm sure finding away to bring down the Warriors would help.

LeBron isn’t taking less than the max. He’s made that clear. “Get the cap space, and you got a chance.” That’s what he told the Cavs. His other business interests are separate from his NBA career. He’s not taking less so a billionaire can make more.

Sure, but I suspect what he will take play for the Cavs its different than what he will take if he can team up with friends again in another city.

LA = California taxes.

I don't know if being a Laker improves your commercial brand enough to off set that.

Maybe back when the salary side of things wasn't this crazy.

Porzingis done with a torn ACL, could be out for 12 months. I don't have a clue what the Knicks do from here.