David Berri looking closely at Jordan Hill: “Jordan Hill – a power forward out of Arizona – is generally thought to be a lottery pick (Ford’s latest mock has him going 10th to Milwaukee). Although Grant and Thomas are not considered “stars”, each had productive seasons in the NBA. Across 12 seasons, Grant produced 60.3 wins and posted a 0.135 WP48. Most of these wins were produced for Portland and Miami. In seven seasons with these two teams, Grant produced 51.3 wins with a 0.167 WP48. Again, Gottlieb thinks Grant is the best case scenario for Hill. And that doesn’t look to bad. But what if Hill is actually Thomas? Thomas had had trouble staying healthy, but he has produced 17.3 wins with a 0.125 WP48 in his career. His third season was the only time he managed to appear in more than 75 games, and that season he produced 5.6 wins with a 0.143 WP48.”
Jeff Green talked with the official team site about what he’s doing this summer: “He snorkeled the blissful coastline of Costa Rica and rode a zip line through its rainforest. And hardly a soul knew it was Jeff Green. That’s just how Green likes it, especially since this was his first vacation in what seemed like forever. The Thunder forward has since resumed classes at Georgetown University. He hits the books just like any other college kid, and even has a six-page English paper due next week. All the while Green has made plenty of time for the weight room and basketball court in an effort to return to Oklahoma City a better player than he left it.”
James Harden has a workout scheduled with the Thunder: “Harden also has workouts scheduled with the Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies. Of the teams he’ll audition for, the Thunder has the greatest need at shooting guard after drafting Russell Westbrook to play point guard last year. The Wizards have Gilbert Arenas to run the team, but he missed most of last season with a knee injury. Memphis drafted O.J. Mayo last year after drafting point guard Mike Conley in 2007. The Kings have Kevin Martin at shooting guard, so Harden would have to show he could run a team in addition to scoring to fit in with Sacramento. Harden said he sometimes initiated the Arizona State offense to take pressure off the point guards. He admits doing that in the NBA would be different, but feels the teams he’s working out for could use him.”
Boy, how about those Lakers? One thing that every sports fan is thinking right now is, “I kind of hope Orlando wins Game 5, so L.A. can win this thing at home.” I bet even some Laker fans are thinking this. For some reason, it’s just more satisfying for a team to win a title at home. The crowd cheers, confetti drops, people go wild. It’s just a little tainted watching it on someone else’s court. It’s quiet and the team is trying to be excited, but the whole thing is missing something. They always try and show a shot of a hometown bar or something, but it’s not the same.
John Hollinger just released his franchise rankings and the Thunder came in 12th. Right ahead of the Pistons which (very justifiably) has them steamed: “So I took the total numbers for a few of the teams using Hollinger’s rankings and here is what I got. The Pistons(13th) had a total of 3,150 points, the Phoenix Suns(ranked #5) had 2,372 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder(12th) had 2,202 points. What Hollinger did was take the number of seasons each franchise played and divide the total points by that number. So teams who have been in the league a relatively low amount of years but have had some success will have a better number than teams who have been in the league for a long time and have had gone through years of bad times. So take these rankings with a grain of salt, they don’t really mean much and Hollinger is off the farm on this one. Sports Nation ranks the Detroit Pistons as the 5th best franchise in all of profession sports, which seems more like the actual value the Pistons should have.”
One thing I’d like to say about those that use stats and formulas to come up with things – Sometimes, a lot of times, your formula works just the way it should. But any time you’ve put together a formula based on things where you assign points, you can get backed into a corner with your stat. Maybe in your mind you know a franchise should be ahead of another, but based on your numbers, they’re not. And you’re stuck.
If you’ve been following Kevin Durant’s Twitter, you would have noticed that one of his hobbies is “layin’ down beatz” and other things like that. Well, let’s see him in action:
Peace, Love and Thunderstanding takes a good look at big men free agents: “Marcin Gortat – The former Magic second round pick out of Poland has been one of the breakout stories of the season. His statistics are not impressive, but considering he plays behind Dwight Howard, he isn’t getting a ton of minutes. It is what he is doing with those minutes that makes him coveted. Project his stats out to starter minutes of 36/game, and Gortat averaged 10.9 points, 14 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. Those are good numbers and show he can clog up the middle of the lane and scare players from challenging him for a layup. He also shot 57% from the floor, which is deceiving. He is obviously not taking many shots outside of five feet from the basket. Getting Gortat to sign would be a similar process to Andersen. He hasn’t played long enough to create Bird rights, so the Magic (as a team over the cap) can only offer him their mid-level exception. The Thunder could probably outbid all other offers by proposing a deal for about $6MM/year.”
Rob Dauster of Ballin’ is a Habit takes a look at my “Next” column: “The point is, no one (not even the experts) know what these players can turn into at the next level. So much of it depends on how hard the player works, if he is given a chance to prove himself, if he ever develops the confidence to play in the NBA, etc. Why do you think there was so much written about Durant vs. Oden or Rose vs. Beasley? For every Manu Ginobili (57th pick in 1999), there is a Michael Olowokandi (1st pick in 1998). For every Gilbert Arenas or Michael Redd (31st and 43rd pick, respectively, in 2001), there is a Kwame Brown or an Eddie Griffin (1st and 7th pick, respectively, in 2001). So take these comparisons for what they are worth, argue your case, and then enjoy watching those that do develop into stars so that one day, you can explain why so-and-so will be the next Blake Griffin, not the next Jordan Hill.”
HoopsWorld takes a look at OKC’s immediate needs: “It’s the understatement of the year to say that by June 25th, Sam Presti will have done his homework in making his draft choices. It may not be the most popular choice, that being Thabeet or Rubio, but with their No. 3 draft pick, they should go with uber-talented James Harden. (Let the bashing of this opinion begin…Ready? Go.) Trade down to get B.J. Mullens with the late first-round pick or look at Gani Lawal. And in July when free agency begins, go ahead and get Marcin Gortat or Birdman. With so many choices available to a team already having such promising young players, and being steered by an incredibly savvy general manager, reaching the playoffs within the next couple years is inevitable.”
Brandon Jennings spouts off about Jrue Holliday and Tyreke Evans: “No, I don’t think so,” said Jennings of Holiday and Evans being NBA point guards. “To be a point guard, it has to be in you. I don’t think you can suddenly be a point guard after one year. You are the leader, you are the quarterback, and that takes a lot of understanding. You have to make the right play, you have to run a team, you have to be a leader, you have to see things out there on the court. People might say, “He can be a point guard in the league.” But that is a hard transition. You have to know how to do it. You have to be the one to take the heat when things don’t go right.”
Sam Amick of the Sac Bee reports the Kings will interview Rubio, but also says that the buyout situation may have a major effect on what happens with him: “Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio is expected to interview in Sacramento, but no date is scheduled and it remains unlikely he will work out. Meanwhile, whether Rubio will be available at No. 4 has become less relevant than whether he will be available at all. Rubio, the 18-year-old who has played professionally in Europe for the past four years, still is attempting to get out of his contract with his Spanish league team, DKV Joventut. While he has entered his name in the draft, his contract reportedly has a buyout worth approximately $6.6 million. The situation has effectively put a damper on the hype that surrounds Rubio, with teams well aware they could draft him only to see him forced to return to DKV Joventut for another season (although the team would retain his rights). His buyout reportedly increases by about $1.4 million next season, so the matter doesn’t necessarily get any more manageable.”
Dime looks at Jordan Hill: “So where does he fit? Hill was Top-5 player all year long, but since pre-draft workouts and the drafting order have come into effect, he’s now slotted to go anywhere from 3rd to 10th overall. The Thunder (#3) need a big man and can afford to add a raw talent to their young core of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook, but I think they’re going to look at the backcourt with their pick, whether it’s James Harden or Ricky Rubio.”