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October 26, 2010

The Works Discusses PBP 10-11

Filed under: pbp2010 — Kevin Pelton @ 4:34 pm

AOL Fanhouse’s daily “The Works” column features two friends of BBP, Bethlehem Shoals and Tom Ziller. Yesterday, Shoals took on Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11.

Stats are only part of the story here, and each team is treated as just that: a past that can be poked, prodded, and recalled, and a future that stats can help bring into focus. You can read Pro Basketball Prospectus cover-to-cover without even glancing at the numbers, and still come away refreshed and ready for 2010-11. Or, if you want to be one of the smartest guys in the room, someone whose opinions about the game aren’t based solely on conventional wisdom and human fallibility, you can take a crash course in the numbers. They aren’t there to contradict or limit your love of the game; if anything, the added clarity, and new pockets of detail, will give you that much more to talk about.

Pro Basketball Prospectus can tell you that someone like Shane Battier is a valuable contributor. That’s the drab part, and the image that the stats revolution really doesn’t deserve. Bringing to light what an underrated defender Brandon Jennings is? If you saw that coming, well, congratulations. Sometimes, I think that not even the author of PBP did.

In a fun coincidence, the book co-written by Shoals, Ziller and the rest of the FreeDarko team–FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History–was officially released today. I’m working my way through a review copy, but it’s already clear that this book is going to join The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac as a must-have for NBA fans. Conveniently, Amazon.com suggests bundling them with PBP 10-11.

October 25, 2010

The Book Tour Rolls On (UPDATED)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 12:46 pm

If you’ve ever lamented not hearing enough of my voice, this is the week for you. The Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 tour has taken me to several more podcasts.

– NEW! Bradford Doolittle was the subject of a Knicks-related Q&A with Will Leitch of New York Magazine. Thoughts on the viability of A’mare’s contract, Carmelo Anthony and more.

– I talked to DailyThunder.com’s ThunderGround Radio about Oklahoma City’s developing core of young talent and whether Jeff Green needs to remain a key piece as he heads toward free agency.- Yesterday, I joined Sekou Smith and Lang Whitaker for the NBA.com Hang Time podcast, where we focused more on the general value of statistical analysis. The other guest was bestselling author Chuck Klosterman, and if you’re wondering how the two of us ended up on the same podcast … so am I.

– Lastly, Bradford Doolittle and I teamed up for the inaugural NBA Facts and Rumors podcast on CBSSports.com, hosted by the ever-talented and ever-busy Matt Moore.

If you prefer reading to listening, you’re in luck as well. I chatted with Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns about our pessimistic forecast for Phoenix and some reasons why the Suns’ offense will be better than projected. Bradford joined our friend Tom Ziller at SactownRoyalty to spread hope for the Kings in a Q&A.

There are still more appearances to come before the start of the season, so stay tuned.

October 23, 2010

Reaction: Bayless Dealt to New Orleans

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 8:52 pm

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein first reported Saturday night that the Portland Trail Blazers had agreed to send backup guard Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a conditional 2011 first-round pick.

For the Blazers, the deal clears up their final roster. Already, Stein had reported that Portland will sign veteran center Fabricio Oberto to a one-year contract to offer some depth in the middle until Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla return to the court. To make room for Oberto, Portland is expected to waive injured center Jeff Pendergraph (sidelined for the year by a torn ACL), so dumping Bayless would get the roster down to 15 players–a final group that includes second-year guard Patty Mills, who was previously headed to the waiver wire.

The interesting question about this move from the Blazers’ perspective is whether it was motivated more by Wesley Matthews or Armon Johnson. As we wrote about last week, Matthews has played well as the lead ballhandler in a second-team lineup that lacks a true point guard. Most likely, Matthews will be Portland’s backup point guard to start the season. However, he might ultimately be pushed by Johnson, a second-round pick who has impressed during the preseason. Johnson is a true point guard who fits the Blazers’ needs better than Bayless.

How much value Portland GM Rich Cho really got for Bayless–who has two years remaining on his rookie contract–depends in part on the protection on the first-round pick, which is not yet known. SCHOENE sees the Hornets as a playoff team in the Western Conference, possibly as high as a middle seed, in which case the pick may not be very good. However, if the protection is merely top-5 or top-10 as opposed to ruling out the lottery altogether, the upside is that the Blazers may end up with a higher pick than they originally used on Bayless. On Twitter, friend of BBP M. Haubs points out another complication: The threat of a lockout could rob next June’s draft of many of the top underclassmen, making mid-round picks less valuable.

(UPDATE: CBSSports.com’s Ben Golliver reports that the pick is top-seven protected this year and top-eight protected for the subsequent three years. I was thinking top-10 protection would be fair, so those terms would seem to slightly favor the Blazers.)

While Bayless did not work out in Portland, it is easier to see him making sense in New Orleans. The Hornets have been searching high and low for a backup to Chris Paul. Rookie GM Dell Demps has dealt for three guards (Willie Green, Curtis Jerrells and now Bayless) and signed Jannero Pargo and Mustafa Shakur, both of whom were subsequently waived. Bayless is the most likely answer for the position. That he lacks the mentality of a point guard is less of an issue in New Orleans, since few minutes are available behind Paul. Like Pargo did three years ago, Bayless might end up seeing much of his playing time as part of a lineup that also includes Paul.

Monty Williams, who worked with Bayless as an assistant with the Blazers before being promoted to head coach by the Hornets, will have no shortage of options at guard. Bayless and Green can play both backcourt positions, while New Orleans also has Marco Belinelli, who has been starting at shooting guard, and Marcus Thornton, who has followed up a promising rookie campaign with a dismal preseason. It might take some time for Williams to find the right rotation in the backcourt, but two or three players figure to step up.

October 21, 2010

Suns Likely to Decline Clark’s Option

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:06 pm

The Phoenix Suns picked up the team option on the final year of Robin Lopez‘s rookie contract Thursday, but the real story is that they have yet to pick up the third-year option for their 2009 first-round pick, No. 14 overall selection Earl Clark. The Suns have until Oct. 31 to make a final decision on Clark, but Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that it is unlikely they will guarantee his 2011-12 salary, which means Clark will instead become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Since the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement extended team options to the third year, they have mostly been automatically picked up. By my research, Clark will become the ninth player to be cut loose after two years, an average of just under two per draft. Including Clark, four have been lottery picks (the others were Joe Alexander, Yaroslav Korolev and Patrick O’Bryant).

While having your third-year option declined is not an automatic death sentence (Shannon Brown bounced back to become a contributor to two championship teams), it’s a bad sign. Morris Almond, Julius Hodge and Wayne Simien have yet to get back into the league since the end of their rookie contracts.

Clark was a non-entity as a rookie, but that wasn’t surprising given Phoenix’s depth and his unpolished game. That the Suns added several forwards this offseason was a bad sign, and Clark has failed to solidify his spot during the preseason. Clearly, whatever Phoenix saw–or did not see–gave the team little hope that Clark would turn things around by next year. A regime change in the front office surely made it easier to give up on Clark so quickly.

Looking around the league, two other sophomores will apparently have to sweat out a decision on their third-year options: Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson and Chicago’s James Johnson.

October 15, 2010

Notes from Mavericks Shootaround

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 1:05 pm

The Mavericks are in Chicago, so I weaved my way down to the United Center this morning for the Dallas shootaround. Shootarounds aren’t a great time to get guys to talk because, well, they are shooting. The teams walk through their sets and work on ironing out schematic issues, then the players shoot. That’s why they call it a shootaround. These gameday sessions may be headed towards extinction, as NBA teams experiment with the tradeoff between getting players up and around in the morning–not easy considering the vampire-like hours most of these guys keep–and having players rested.

The Mavs went for about an hour and 15 minutes this morning, then gathered in a huddle at midcourt, where they sang “Happy Birthday” to rookie guard Dominique Jones. Today is Jones’ 22nd birthday. He’s the guy I’m going to be watching tonight as he matches up with Chicago’s Derrick Rose. I watched some video of the Bulls’ visit to Dallas last week and it really seemed to me that Jones came as close to keeping up with Rose off the dribble as anyone I’ve seen. But those were limited glimpses, so we’ll see if I get the same impression tonight. Plus I’ll be sitting courtside, which will give me a much better vantage point to make this kind of judgement.

Coincidentally, as I sat down to type up these notes, I saw that the excellent Rob Mahoney has a post up about Jones, so I urge you to check that out. I’ll be writing something on Jones and the Mavs in the next few days, in addition to another installment of “Five Thoughts” on tonight’s game. The angle I’m looking at is this, and I posed this exact question to Dallas coach Rick Carlisle a few minutes ago: As the Mavericks try to get over that championship hump, what is different about this year’s team? One of those differences is Jones. The other is Tyson Chandler. Really, though, how is this Dallas team different from the very good, but not great, teams of the past few years? That’s what I’ll be aiming to find out.

Caught up with Chandler, but only briefly as he was walking out to the team bus. (That’s the pitfall of the shootaround access. You can get the coach, but the players go from the court to the bus.) He thinks Derrick Rose is good. He has good memories of Chicago. There you go. That’s all I got.

I asked Carlisle who he was planning to hold out of tonight’s game against the Bulls, knowing full well he wouldn’t tell me.

“Stay tuned,” Carlisle said.

Fair enough.

Then, on my way out, an exuberant Dirk Nowitzi ran up to me and with a fairly demonic look on his face yelled, “Nice hat!”

He’s referring to this. It’s a cheap-ass hat I picked up in Matzatlan for 200 pesos, which amounts to about 16 bucks. And, believe me, I got hoodwinked on that deal, but I really needed something to keep the sun off my head. Because I’m attracted to the cheap and tawdry, I end up wearing it a lot even now because it’s shabby and at games it helps coaches and players remember who I am. They may not remember my name, but they remember the hat.

As for Dirk, I could only offer up a “thanks man” but of course I’m not sure how sarcastic he was being. So I maybe should have said, “Shut up Nowitzki.” Maybe I’ll wear the hat again tonight, or just bring it along and offer it up as gift. I’ll put it in a cake box or something. It’ll be like in “Vacation” when Cousin Eddie gave Clark that pair of white loafers.

October 13, 2010

Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 now available at Amazon.com

Filed under: pbp2010 — dpease @ 1:59 am

Have you been waiting to take advantage of Amazon.com’s cheap, fast shipping? Wait no more, as Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is now available at Amazon.com. Buy two copies, get fast free shipping, and give the extra to your favourite basketball fan. Please do rate and review the book there if you are able.

October 9, 2010

Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 paperback now available

Filed under: pbp2010 — dpease @ 5:17 am

The Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 paperback is now available from Createspace. The book should be available on Amazon.com in a few days.

October 7, 2010

Talking Pro Basketball Prospectus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 1:05 pm

The promotional “tour” for Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 is under way. Anticipate hearing a lot more of my squeaky voice over the next couple of works. To kick things off, my friend David Locke invited me on his Locked on Jazz podcast to talk about SCHOENE’s pessimism about the Jazz and some of our other projections. We ended up chatting for 40 minutes, so there’s tons of content there.

If you’ve got questions about the book–and hopefully something more than just the projections, which can dominate the conversation–join me for a chat on Baseball Prospectus on Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. Leave your questions now if you can’t make it during the chat itself and I’ll get to answering them.

October 6, 2010

Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 updated PDF released

Filed under: pbp2010 — dpease @ 7:46 am

We’ve posted version 2 of the Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 PDF, with some minor typo fixes. If you’ve purchased the PDF, you can get the most up-to-date version at any time by visiting your manage profile page at Baseball Prospectus. As always, all updates are free for purchasers. To report a typo or send us question or comment, please email hoops.beta@basketballprospectus.com. Thanks again for your support.

October 4, 2010

Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 Available Now

Filed under: pbp2010 — Kevin Pelton @ 10:31 am

We’re proud to announce the release of Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11 in .PDF format, available now via download for $9.98. Click here for much more information and sample chapters from this year’s annual. If you’d rather wait for the print edition, we anticipate it being available via CreateSpace.com next week and on Amazon.com later this month.If you have any questions about purchasing, e-mail us at hoops.beta@basketballprospectus.com

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