I was back at the United Center last night, wbere I double-gigged it. I of course served as an official Basketball Prospectus Ambassador, which apparently isn't that prestigious as I recently learned that I do not have diplomatic immunity. I also gathered materials for Prospectus articles and, to boot, I wrote the game story for the Associated Press. I'm a man of many hats, but few shirts or shoes. That's all I got for an intro, so let's skip ahead to the early-season WP82 leaders, which include--believe it or not--Boobie Gibson.
L.James, 23.13 W.Chandler, 18.50 M.Ellis, 17.36 Ja.Crawford, 14.68 B.Lopez, 13.53
B.Roy, 21.32 D.Wade, 17.97 A.Bargnani, 17.09 M.Conley, 14.52 J.Kidd, 12.81
K.Durant, 21.27 P.Gasol, 17.65 D.Granger, 17.05 L.Odom, 14.35 T.Evans, 12.74
D.Rose, 20.57 C.Anthony, 17.54 R.Gay, 16.47 K.Bryant, 13.70 D.Gibson, 12.40
L.Scola, 18.88 R.Rondo, 17.48 L.Aldridge, 14.86 C.Paul, 13.55 J.Noah, 12.20
TODAY AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
1. On the college side, Kyle Whelliston makes his Basketball Prospectus debut with a look at Mid-Major conference expansion. Welcome aboard, Kyle, We're thrilled to have you.
2. Kevin Pelton breaks down all the action from yesterday's deadline for players to sign extensions.
3. John Perrotto's Around the Rim features bits on Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA as our college coverage begins to ramp up once again.
4. Later today, I'll have my Five Thoughts on last night's game between the Bulls and Blazers. I know some of you wish we would do some of these on other teams. The fact of the matter is that I'm in Chicago and Kevin is in the Pacific Northwest, so we're kind of bound to the Bulls and Blazers. When they play each other, well, I'm sure some of you cringe. It is my plan to get to Milwaukee, Detroit and Indianapolis this season, so that might be a nice change of pace. (link to follow)
5. Also later today, I'll be breaking down yesterday's D-League draft and looking at the rosters of the various teams. (link to follow)
MONDAY'S BOX SCORES & RECAPS
Note: glossary follows recaps.
BULLS 110, TRAIL BLAZERS 98 (box): Easily the most solid of Chicago's three outings, the Bulls put up 1.25 points per possession and shot a blistering .641 in eFG%. Luol Deng was the story here, putting up a career-best 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting. The Bulls controlled the tempo enough to outscore the Blazers 27-10 in fastbreak points. The sequences in the game when Portland was able to close on the Bulls, it was when the tempo slowed. Perhaps the most important development for Chicago was that they were able to put up such a sterling offensive performance with Derrick Rose working as a playmaker and not a scorer. Rose entered the game averaging 33.5 points, but took just 11 shots against the Blazers and tied his career high with 13 assists.
POR PLY USG PCP +/- GR CHI PLY USG PCP +/- GR
aldridge,lamarcus 71 27% 1.34 -9 29.3 deng,luol 74 28% 1.54 +18 46.6
camby,marcus 46 15% 1.40 -7 16.8 rose,derrick 67 26% 1.20 +9 29.3
cunningham,dante 35 18% 1.13 -3 14.6 korver,kyle 40 16% 1.59 -9 13.2
miller,andre 61 11% 1.34 -10 14.6 noah,joakim 77 15% 0.97 +14 8.4
johnson,armon 22 46% 0.83 -1 13.4 asik,omer 48 9% 1.33 +13 8.4
roy,brandon 72 20% 1.03 -4 12.9 gibson,taj 39 22% 1.03 0 5.5
fernandez,rudy 40 29% 0.41 -1 4.3 bogans,keith 29 4% 3.34 +16 5.4
batum,nicolas 33 13% 0.50 -4 1.9 brewer,ronnie 12 26% 1.14 -6 5.0
matthews,wesley 32 13% 0.51 -15 1.9 watson,c.j. 21 30% 0.51 +3 2.0
babbitt,luke 8 20% 0.91 -1 1.8 scalabrine,brian 11 15% 0.74 -3 1.1
oberto,fabricio 19 1% 0.00 -5 0.0 johnson,james 20 21% 0.09 +5 0.2
mills,patrick (DNP) thomas,kurt (DNP)
PACE: 87.9 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA% PACE: 87.9 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA%
trailblazers,port 111.5 .413 .372 .114 .205 bulls,chicago 125.1 .641 .321 .171 .160
KINGS 111, RAPTORS 108 (box): A really entertaining game before a raucous crowd in Sacramento. The Raptors led most of the first three quarters and held a 79-64 advantage with 6:06 to go in the third quarter. The Kings turned it on after that and outscored Toronto 33-22 in the fourth quarter behind 19 combined points from DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi. Cousins had 16 points but was once again hampered by foul trouble. Samuel Dalembert had 14 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench and appeared to block Linas Kleiza's late layup, then alter Leandro Barbosa's follow, sealing the win. (Dalembert wasn't credited with a block.) Reggie Evans had 19 rebounds, 10 off the offensive glass, and is grabbing an amazing 23 percent of the Raptors' misses on the season. Evans is averaging 20.7 boards per 40 minutes.
TOR PLY USG PCP +/- GR SAC PLY USG PCP +/- GR
bargnani,andrea 68 24% 1.39 0 19.8 udrih,beno 58 21% 1.13 -9 27.3
derozan,demar 61 26% 1.12 +9 19.5 evans,tyreke 70 25% 1.20 +12 19.5
evans,reggie 65 9% 1.55 +9 19.3 casspi,omri 62 14% 1.47 +1 17.3
kleiza,linas 65 27% 0.86 +1 18.0 cousins,demarcus 33 30% 1.31 0 13.3
calderon,jose 48 16% 1.89 -10 16.0 dalembert,samuel 43 14% 0.98 -2 9.6
weems,sonny 35 24% 0.76 -10 7.5 head,luther 42 18% 1.19 +13 7.8
jack,jarrett 44 14% 0.89 +7 6.0 jackson,darnell 19 30% 1.12 +4 7.6
andersen,david 28 6% 2.49 -4 4.6 thompson,jason 35 14% 1.24 +16 6.6
johnson,amir 20 6% 2.59 -11 3.7 landry,carl 62 20% 0.60 -8 6.3
barbosa,leandro 22 35% 0.23 -6 3.6 garcia,francisco 28 10% 1.05 -7 6.0
dorsey,joey (DNP) wright,antoine 5 14% 0.00 -5 0.0
wright,julian (DNP) greene,donte (DNP)
PACE: 91.5 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA% PACE: 91.5 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA%
raptors,toronto 118.0 .512 .415 .164 .139 kings,sacramento 121.3 .506 .390 .120 .130
SPURS 97, CLIPPERS 88 (box): The Clippers offensive woes continue. I don't plan on hammering on Vinny Del Negro's offense all season, but it won't be easy to avoid. L.A. respective Offensive Ratings in its 0-4 start: 99.5, 95.5, 89.4, 95.2. The Clippers are last in the league in offensive efficiency. The big news for the Spurs was the NBA debut of Tiago Splitter, who had two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes. However, watch out for unheralded rookie Gary Neal, a veteran of overseas action. Neal had 16 points off the bench and hit four threes. However, he's a long-armed wing player that Gregg Popovich kept around because of potentially-stifling defense. Neal is shooting 50 percent from behind the line so far and has wisely avoided exerting himself inside it. If his defense is as good as advertised, Popovich maybe--just maybe--has found his neo-Bruce Bowen.
SAS PLY USG PCP +/- GR LAC PLY USG PCP +/- GR
parker,tony 70 27% 1.04 +5 22.8 gordon,eric 63 29% 1.33 +6 24.0
neal,gary 39 27% 1.53 +14 14.9 griffin,blake 75 19% 1.03 -2 22.7
anderson,james 39 10% 2.29 0 13.0 kaman,chris 67 26% 1.06 -8 17.5
ginobili,manu 54 26% 1.16 +3 12.4 gomes,ryan 72 16% 1.20 -1 12.6
jefferson,richard 60 18% 1.45 -2 12.2 bledsoe,eric 76 15% 0.93 -10 9.3
mcdyess,antonio 44 17% 0.86 +15 11.7 butler,rasual 43 15% 0.76 -14 3.8
duncan,tim 58 24% 0.93 +1 10.5 aminu,alfarouq 21 33% 0.51 -11 2.5
splitter,tiago 20 12% 0.82 +4 3.7 warren,willie 6 16% 1.33 +1 1.9
temple,garrett 10 26% 0.34 -2 1.6 jordan,deandre 28 4% 0.71 -3 0.8
blair,dejuan 38 8% 0.34 +1 1.4 cook,brian 8 9% 0.32 +1 0.2
simmons,bobby 18 3% 0.55 0 0.4 smith,craig 3 34% 0.00 -4 0.0
hill,george 12 6% 0.41 +6 0.3 collins,jarron (DNP)
PACE: 92.5 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA% PACE: 92.5 ORTG eFG% oRB% TO% FTA%
spurs,sanantonio 104.9 .538 .189 .195 .071 clippers,losangele 95.2 .488 .238 .184 .076
PLY is an estimate of how many possessions on which the player was on the court. USG is an estimate of how many of those plays a player used by shooting, going to the line or committing a turnover, with a portion the team's offensive rebound total subtracted. Is an estimate of each player's points created per possession used, a measure of offensive efficiency. The stat accounts for a player's entire box score line, not just the scoring categories. Plus-Minus (+/-) data is from official box scores from NBA.com. Game Rating (GR) reflects a player's Points Created total, or the portion of his team's offense for which he gets credit based on his box score line. This number is then adjusted for estimated defensive performance based on box score counterpart productivity. GR is pace-adjusted so you can compare players from game to game. TEAM STATS: PACE, or estimated possessions in the game; ORTG: a team's points per 100 possessions; eFG%: team's shooting percentage with an extra half-point added for each made three-point field goal; oRB%: percentage of a team's misses that they retrieved off the offensive glass; TO%: percentage of at team's possessions resulting in a turnover; FTA%: percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a trip to the foul line.
NEWS & MOVES
Minutiae from around the league
CAVALIERS: "Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison was held out of today’s practice as a precaution due to general soreness in his left knee. His status for Tuesday night’s game versus the Atlanta Hawks will be determined following shootaround tomorrow morning." (press release)
This may at least in part explain Jamison's woeful start to the season.
CLIPPERS: "Baron has incredible amounts of talent and ability," Del Negro said, “but his focus needs to be on staying in condition and playing at a high level. And he hasn’t done that for a while, and I know he’s frustrated with that, but there’s things he has to do to correct that. Del Negro said Davis had “gotten out of shape pretty badly” over the summer, and while giving him credit for two months of hard work to get into condition, “that should have been a process right after the season ended. "It shouldn’t have happened just two months ago. We all know that. And that’s what we’re dealing with." (Orange County Register)
Listen to that colorful Vinny Del Negro calling out his highest-profile player. He never did anything that interesting in Chicago. He's right, though. Davis seems like he's sort of moved beyond basketball at this point, but those $13 million paychecks are tough to pass up. If he's going to take the money, the least he can do is get in shape.
HAWKS: "The Atlanta Hawks announced this morning that the team has agreed to terms on a multi-year extension with center Al Horford, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed." (press release)
This needed to get done. Horford is one of the league's best young big men and a solid citizen. He's going to be part of the Hawks' foundation for a long time and you want him to feel wanted. The terms were reportedly identical to the 5-year, $60 million deal the Bulls gave Joakim Noah.
GRIZZLIES: "The Memphis Grizzlies signed point guard Mike Conley to a contract extension late Monday night, according to his agent and father, Mike Conley Sr. Conley Sr., who along with Bill Duffy represents his son, would not specify the terms of the contract. But other sources with knowledge of the situation said the deal is worth $45 million over five years." (ESPN)
My general policy is not to run items on news that hasn't been officially announced, which is why I haven't yet mentioned anything about Erick Dampier signing with the Rockets. This is an exception because someone went on record, so that's how this is generally going to go with the Roundup. That said, the terms I note here are not on the record, and I'd take them with a grain of salt. The actual terms will be somewhere in the ballpark. The Conley deal is already getting panned widely, and for good reason. I noted yesterday that Conley has been terrific in the season's early going and may be turning a corner. Perhaps I should have capitalized 'may' and put it in like 30 Comic Sans font because after three games, we don't know what is real. Conley should still be judged by the full body of his work, which does not suggest a $9 million player, or anything close to it. His early breakout performance, which was at least partially projected by SCHOENE, is indeed worth those dollars if it is sustained. The problem is that you can't give him this deal based on such a small sample. Make him do it for a full season, at least. The Grizzlies gave Rudy Gay a max contract that is a borderline reach and now have an average of $25 million tied up over the next five years in Gay and Conley. And don't forget, O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol are going to need extensions before long as well, and that's if you assume Memphis doesn't seriously attempt to retain free-agent-to-be Zach Randolph. With the cap likely shrinking, it's hard to see how the Grizzlies will be able to retain all the young talent they've accumulated, and that being the case, you have to choose your foundation carefully. That's why the deal the team gave Conley was foolhardy. He hasn't yet earned it, and if you end up losing him on a restricted free-agent market that may not even exist next summer, then so be it. That's less of a risk than locking down a big payroll chunk on a player that could end up being replacement level.
SUNS: "The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Jared Dudley to a multi-year contract extension, the club has announced." (press release)
The contract was reported as five years, $22.5 by FanHouse. Who would have thought that with so few fourth-year players getting extensions that one of them who landed a new deal would be Dudley? Make sense, though as Dudley is a key member of the Suns' second unit. The dollars are fair under the current CBA, but if the next agreement forces teams to go low on supporting players, this deal could look a bit out of step.
TIMBERWOLVES: "The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has exercised the fourth-year option on forwards Michael Beasley and Kevin Love and center Kosta Koufos. The team has also exercised the third-year option for guards Wayne Ellington and Jonny Flynn." (press release)
Other than Koufos, this may be four-fifths of the Timberwolves' future starting lineup, and that they are all still working off of rookie deals tells you just how young Minnesota's roster is. In fact, according to team age weighted by minutes, only Memphis and Oklahoma City are younger.
A selection of our favorite NBA links
1. Lots of good Maurice Lucas tributes on the Web, but I particularly enjoyed this piece by David Steele at FanHouse.
2. The Painted Area takes a look at Oklahoma City's early defensive struggles (20th in Defensive Rating) and suggests the Thunder may be missing former assistant Ron Adams, who joined Tom Thibodeau's staff in Chicago.
3. HoopsHype has a Q&A with Hedo Turkoglu, who ruminates among other things about his 'bad situation' in Toronto. That's a city, I might add, that he went to voluntarily.
4. Not sure this is the best way to go about it, but Michael Beasley appears to be evolving into a leadership role with the Timberwolves.
5. I could link to Sebastian Pruiti pretty much every day, so you should probably just bookmark his site. Here he looks at a nice play drawn up by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. After the game, Kyle Korver, with an awestruck expression on his face, told me, "Tom really comes up with some great plays. GREAT plays."
BONUS LINK. This is just an AP game story from last night's Bulls-Blazers game, but I wrote it, so I thought I'd include it as a ad-on.
Tonight in the NBA
WTC VIS @ HOM, GAMETIME NBAPET LINE OFFICIALS
+14 mem @ lal, 10:30 PM EST [ lal by 10 ] James Capers, Mark Lindsay, Jason Phillips
+11 orl @ nyk, 7:30 PM EST [ nyk by 4 ] Dick Bavetta, Mark Ayotte, Kevin Fehr
+ 4 por @ mil, 8:00 PM EST [ por by 4 ] Steve Javie, Brent Barnaky, Leroy Richardson
+ 1 min @ mia, 7:30 PM EST [ mia by 24 ] Mike Callahan, Karl Lane, Sean Wright
>>0 bos @ det, 7:30 PM EST [ bos by 2 ] Bob Delaney, Derrick Collins, Violet Palmer
- 8 atl @ cle, 7:00 PM EST [ atl by 14 ] Marc Davis, David Guthrie, Josh Tiven
-23 phi @ was, 7:00 PM EST [ phi by 3 ] Bill Kennedy, Bennie Adams, Nick Buchert
Note: WTC is a junk stat rating the "watchability" of a game, taking into
account the quality of the opponents and the likelihood of a close game.
Through Monday, 46 of 1,230 games (3.7%) have been played in the 2010-11 NBA regular season.
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Bradford Doolittle is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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