Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 NBA Draft Week Recap

Now that the NBA draft is complete with details of moves more available, it seems like the right time to recap what happened. I shared my views on some of the players and team fits in my mock draft, and here's how my predictions played out, with the right picks highlighted:

1. Towns
1. Towns
2. Okafor
2. Russell
3. Russell
3. Okafor
4. Porzingis
4. Porzingis
5. Winslow
5. Hezonja
6. Hezonja
6. Cauley-Stein
7. Mudiay
7. Mudiay
8. Johnson
8. Johnson
9. Kaminsky
9. Kaminsky
10. Booker
10. Winslow
11. Cauley-Stein
11. Turner
12. Lyles
12. Lyles
13. Turner
13. Booker
14. Oubre
14. Payne
15. N/A 
15. Oubre

In a lottery that surprisingly lacked trades, I finished with only 6 players at the right pick, but 4 others were within one spot of where they ended up going. The other surprises, at least in my opinion, were the notable undrafted players such as Florida guard Michael Frazier or big men like UNLV's Christian Wood, UCSB's Alan Williams, Kansas' Cliff Alexander, Washington's Robert Upshaw, and Texas' Jonathan Holmes. I think that each of them, in that order, could eventually become contributors to teams, and a lot of people will be watching them during summer league.

In any case, there's plenty to talk about with all 30 teams, so I'll go through each of them in order of when they're spot was up. As always,,,, and were invaluable resources for information.
Towns was the guy all along.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 NBA Lottery Mock Draft

Can you believe it's already draft time? We're just coming off an excellent Finals that saw the Warriors claim their 4th NBA title, and the energy here in the Bay Area has been so great that I'm not even bummed that I ended up being one game off in my series prediction. Now, the draft can take so many twists and turns after a surprise move or a trade or two, so it's nearly impossible to predict.

Thus, I'm only going to attempt a projection of the lottery selections, and this is an expectation of what will happen as opposed to what the picks should be, in my opinion. I touched a bit on how certain players might fit each team during my post trade deadline power rankings, and I'm going to continue to look at the big picture for each team.

1. Minnesota: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky PF/C

The decision at the top reminds me of the situation last year, with a player who has played internationally possessing more two-way potential competing with a similarly positioned Duke player who is more offensively polished. And like Andrew Wiggins last year, I've been a fan of Towns since the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit when he only went by "Karl," and I view him as a bigger version of his teammate on the Dominican national team: Al Horford. He's the rare total package as a good athlete who can defend, score in the post, shoot, and pass, and he's a good fit on a young, talented Timberwolves roster, either as a 4 next to Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng or as a 5 next to Kevin Garnett and the Euro-stashed Nemanja Bjelica. Either way, Wiggins and Towns can be a dynamic pairing that have been on track to star together.
These two might mess around and save a franchise.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Roster Analysis: How the Cavs Went From Max Cap Space to a Tax Paying Finals Team

Seeing LeBron James about to enter his astonishing 5th straight NBA Finals with the aid of both young players still trying to earn their second contract like Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova and veterans who were brought in to fill specific roles like Timofey Mozgov and J.R. Smith, I realized something: this roster has come a long way from having the #1 pick and a bunch of cap space just last summer.

It was just over a year ago when the randomness of chance gave the 9th slotted Cavaliers the #1 pick in the lottery for the third time out of four years, and at that time, there were hardly any indications that Ohio's prodigal son that was in yet another deep playoff run in Miami was about to come home. Head coach David Blatt was brought in after his illustrious overseas career to bring together a young team on the rise, yet here he is now, watching the best player in the world dribble the air out of the ball instead of running his Princeton-style, movement offense. How did they get here?

Let's take a look at the Cavs' roster and assets going into last June's draft compared to where it stands now in the playoffs and examine how GM David Griffin shot right past the the salary cap of just over $67 million and settled past the luxury tax line of a little under $77 million.

(Note: When making these spreadsheets, I used estimates of $67.1M/$81.6M for the 2016-2017 season salary cap/luxury tax and $89M/$108M for 2017-2018. Qualifying Offers are not included since it cannot be guaranteed that they will be extended and cap holds will be addressed when applicable with discussing actual cap space. As always,,,,, and were invaluable resources for the various data used.)