Tuesday Bolts – 7.28.09

Howlin’ T-Wolf on the trade: “Much like the trade last week for Quentin Richardson, this is at best just a lateral move thunderbolt23that helps the Wolves positionaly this season while also now splitting Etan’s expiring contract into two for Kahn to have more flexibility in trades moving forward. I don’t foresee either guy playing too much (you can see the Daily Thunder rejoicing at their departure here), although Atkins could see more time as the backup pg over Bobby Brown especially after his summer league play, and I see both as being acquired for more of a veteran presence in the locker room especially with Atkins being able to show the point guard ropes to Jonny Flynn. As for Etan Thomas, although a serviceable center in the league, he probably wouldn’t have seen too much time either with Love and Jefferson both getting the heavy minutes at the 4 and 5.”

Canis Hoopus: “…Chucky Atkins will probably be our veteran PG somewhat like Kevin Ollie was last year. Atkins has been a very good player in some years, with his best season being for the Lakers in 04-05. He’s a good playmaker and he has a decent shot. Damien Wilkins has time to improve his skills at age 29 although he hasn’t shown much improvement over his career. He gives us a third SF, along with Ryan Gomes and Corey Brewer. Damien isn’t a great shooter of any kind. Not a good 3pt shooter, 2pt shooter, FT shooter … Etan Thomas wouldn’t do that much for our team, probably somewhat like Jason Collins, so I’m completely fine with this trade. We could have done something with our 2nd round picks, but I think it’s fine to give those up.”

Chris Mannix on Team USA mini-camp standouts: “Russell Westbrook – The best point guard in camp, Westbrook showcased physical defensive skills and an improving jump shot. He picked up three steals in Saturday’s scrimmage and was a menace to Rose, Harris and D.J. Augustin during practices. “He’s a bulldog out there,” marveled Coach K …  Kevin Durant – When asked how he would improve the ’08 team, Colangelo was succinct: “Kevin Durant.” Durant was better than any other player in Las Vegas. His jump shot continues to develop and the U.S. coaches are infatuated with his versatility and ability to score inside and out.”

TimberwolvesPress.com gives the trade an A: “I like this deal a lot for us because we filled two huge roster needs by bring in 1) a veteran point guard in Atkins and 2) a veteran wing player in Wilkins. With Telfair out the door, we were left with Bobby Brown backing up Jonny Flynn at the PG position. Now we have a serviceable guy in Atkins who can provide leadership and will occasionally have some nice scoring nights running the point. Wilkins’ name may sound familiar to some of you, that’s because we actually signed him to an offer sheet back in 2005 when Wilkins was a member of the Seattle Supersonics. I’ve always like Wilkins as a player, he’s nothing more than a back-up, but he is an athletic perimeter player who has a nice jump shot. Both of these players should have key roles off the bench next season and possibly in the starting lineup from time-to-time. The best part of this deal is we gave up virtually nothing. Etan Thomas’ value on our team was very low considering we already have Al Jefferson and Kevin Love ahead of him on the depth chart, so moving him was nothing worth crying over. I’ve also heard that Thomas is quite the head case and that he got in several disputes with his teammates in the past, most notably Brendan Haywood.”

Sources tell ESPN that the Okafor-Chandler trade is a done deal. Well, that is if Chandler can pass his physical…

Austin Kent of The Good Point has a piece on Desmond Mason that is definitely worth reading: “Desmond Mason might as well exist in an alternate universe – better yet, a fourth dimension; technically there, but ungrasped by man. His feats go unnoticed, his accomplishments unrecognized and his presence unfelt. He is, when you think about it, one big fat “un” – unknown, unremarkable and unjustly under-appreciated. His background is nothing spectacular; he went to four years of college when the rage was prep-to-pros and he hasn’t done anything particularly famous or sensational since joining the league nine years ago. And so the mystery begins.”

Darnell Mayberry: “On one hand, the deal could be viewed simply as three aging reserves and two second-round picks etan-thomas-ft-0709-150swapping places. But this trade holds much more significance for the Thunder in both the short and long term. Just last week I touched on how the Thunder’s post play remains the weakest link. Young guns D.J. White, Serge Ibaka and Byron Mullens aren’t ready to contribute consistent minutes next season and the addition of Thomas now means they don’t have to. Oklahoma City is now looking at a steady power forward/center rotation of Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic as the starters and Nick Collison and Etan Thomas as their backups. Roles should be clearly defined in 2009-10 as opposed to the uncertain responsibilities surrounding Thunder bigs Collison, Green, Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith, Robert Swift and Johan Petro at the start of last season.”

David Berri looks at the most overrated players in the NBA and Jeff Green checks in at No. 12.

Tim Povtak of Fanhouse looks at the Thomas trade: “Thomas is well known as the center who returned last season after being struck by a serious illness that required open heart surgery in 2007. Before that illness, though, Thomas often provided the inside toughness that the Wizards needed with a mostly offensive-minded lineup … As the Thunder try and build a team around Durant, a superstar in the making, they are beginning to understand they can’t allow teams to get too physical defending Durant without providing him with some physical protection, which explains the need for Thomas.”

Kevin Durant showing off the new KD2 (with more pics of him and Russell Westbrook).

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Crow
2009-07-29 00:42:40
If Durant's bad adjusted =/- did persist into year 3 I'd of course focus on his defense but I'd also re-evaluate the offensive system and what he does in it, the play-calling and the lineups he plays with and the proportions. As much as adjusted tries to make a value estimate context neutral I don't think it does a very good job of that yet.
Royce
2009-07-28 11:43:00
KD continues to amaze with his humbleness: http://twitter.com/KevinDurant35/status/2894698198 "MAN Y PEOPLE KEEP SAYIN THAT..IM NOT NOWHERE NEAR AS GOOD AS LEBRON MAN"
Crow
2009-07-28 12:51:46
I agree with DSMoK1 (from his comment at Berri's blog) about checking Adjusted +/- since it does cover a player's defense (1 on 1 and team impact). Adjusted is not perfectly accurate and could be substantially off in up to 1/3 the cases but as a tool for checking who "might" be over or under-rated I think it is helpful. Still compare it to what you have from other stats and your eyes but to completely ignore or dismiss is unwise to me.
Crow
2009-07-28 13:00:40
Green lower his adjusted +/- substantially this season to just -0.7 (per 48 minutes0. So he is estimated at essentially neutral impact, all things considered. This is far better than his estimate the previous season or the estimate for Durant this last season.Of course his good mark may be one of the ones off or his bad one could have been. His 2 year adjusted is -4. Over time the estimate will probably get a bit better. Within the limits of what adjusted can fairly say Green was fairly close to average this past season give or take in either direction and overall for 2 years is somewhere between average and poor. But what he will be next season is pretty unknown and could be anything. I'd say his 2nd year mark and the year to year improvement "suggests" he is improving but 2 points aren't enough to be sure of a trend, especially with this stat.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-07-28 09:25:21
How did we get on the topic of Johnny Flynn?
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-07-28 09:35:35
<blockquote cite="#commentbody-18444"> <strong><a href="#comment-18444" rel="nofollow">Royce</a> :</strong> New on Fanhouse: <a href="http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/07/28/kevin-durant-talks-about-his-twitter-habit/" rel="nofollow">http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/07/28/kevin-durant-talks-about-his-twitter-habit/</a> </blockquote> Great Video Royce. I think it's time to do the whole EdTV thing with KD. I'd watch it. PS. Joe "Beast" Smith raps about KD. That's worth noting.
Royce
2009-07-28 09:42:46
<a href="#comment-18453" rel="nofollow">@Jax Raging Bile Duct </a> Prepare yourselves because I'll probably just use that video this Saturday. It's pretty interesting.
Crow
2009-07-28 13:20:29
If you ran adjusted for players with and without a significant partner you might be able to pick up better when a player pair is significant, bad or good for one or both. When Durant plays with Green 75% of the time it is tougher to tell how much of the negative is fairly assigned to each player.Adjusted tries its best but it is tough. but then again the smaller samples have less power too. So the stats ultimately can't decide everything with certainty and you have to make judgment calls.
David
2009-07-28 10:32:12
i do agree that mason has been somewhat of the "un" he implied, but - correct me if im wrong - didn't he win the slam dunk contest one year? of coarse that was probably during the time when no one really cared about the slam dunk contest so i guess that just reinforces the writers point...
Crow
2009-07-28 13:03:12
Adjusted is a better stat for identifying the great and terrible than it is distinguishing between average and a notch or two higher or lower. If Durant's adjusted stays terrible for 3 years running that would concern me. But I wouldn't be able to say with 100% confidence that is right.
Dan
2009-07-28 07:49:35
That statement about westbrook sure is surprising. But its good to hear that he played great defense against guys as fast as rose and harris. I think everyone just needs to settle down, the bulls didn't make the playoffs until Jordan was like 26, so give KD, green, westbrook, some time. If anybody watched what durant did during the Big 12 and march madness tourneys, avg 37 points a game with double teams in crunch time, I think, in time, we can expect to see the same type of dominance in the playoffs.
Clayton
2009-07-28 08:07:12
Quite the paragraph on Kid Delicious. http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/smith_090727.html
Royce
2009-07-28 08:08:06
<a href="#comment-18439" rel="nofollow">@Clayton </a> I was JUST about to post that. Pretty incredible paragraph indeed. (For those too lazy to click something) It’s being whispered now among NBA types because, I believe, under a secret NBA/ESPN provision you are not permitted to say aloud anything that might be interpreted to suggest LeBron James isn’t the best thing to ever happen in anyone’s life. But sitting in the stands in Las Vegas at the USA Basketball mini-camp and hearing NBA coaches and general managers, the gasps have been for Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. I’ve now heard more than one say Durant could be a better player than James given Durant’s combination of amazing size at about 6-10 and pure shooting stroke. And he’s still 20. The feeling is Durant is on the brink of being a 30 per game scorer. Plus, Durant is a serious worker. The Bulls' Derrick Rose has become close with Durant and the two have worked out together considerably this summer. Said Rose, who is five days younger than Durant: “KD is great. He’s real talented. I look at him as like a big brother to me even though we’re the same age. He’s been in the league longer. He’s a great talent, 6-10 guy who can dribble, shoot like a guard. He’s going to be a great talent in the league.”
Clark Matthews
2009-07-28 08:13:27
I'm normally a stat freak, but I never get too into them when it comes to basketball. And I really couldn't understand that guys contention that Jeff Green was overrated last season? How was he overrated? And how can you quantify something like that? Shouldn't there be things like jersey sales or blog posts about factored in? It seems impossible to me to say Jeff Green is the 12th most overrated player in the league and use only on the court statistics to determine that.
Royce
2009-07-28 08:18:32
<a href="#comment-18441" rel="nofollow">@Clark Matthews </a> Yeah, I kind of thought he was one of the more underrared guys in the league.
Royce
2009-07-28 08:32:28
New on Fanhouse: http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/07/28/kevin-durant-talks-about-his-twitter-habit/
Keith
2009-07-28 08:32:34
<a href="#comment-18441" rel="nofollow">@Clark Matthews</a> and <a href="#comment-18442" rel="nofollow">@Royce</a> Jeff Green being overrated was only by two measures, points and efficiency. This actually shouldn't be so strange to hear since he took way too many low percentage-low reward shots just inside the three point line and didn't get to the line much. I think calling him the 12th most overrated player in the league is going too far, but it has a lot to do with where he plays. A PF is expected to shoot a high percentage on close shots (close to or above 50%) and rebound. Green shoots quite poorly for a PF and doesn't rebound much at all. If Green was being measured as a SF, his numbers wouldn't make him very overrated at all. I don't think it is so terrible for a natural SF to be low on PF-specific statistics in his first year at the position. I'd be more worried if I had built my team around two players (at their natural positions) who aren't efficient, don't offer more than scoring, and I just added a similar overrated player to help them out. It must be terrible to be a Memphis fan.
DSMok1
2009-07-28 08:52:50
<a href="#comment-18441" rel="nofollow">@Clark Matthews</a> Berri compares his "Wins Produced" rankings of players to things like the points-per-game rankings, NBA Efficiency rankings, and PER rankings to come up with that; his assumption is that those 3 rankings are what public perception believes are the accurate measure of NBA players. (Which, judging by most things I've read, is probably fairly accurate.) He has Jeff Green as a below-average player, which is likely accurate compared with other NBA PFs (he's more of a hybrid). Green is still quite young, though, and his rating improved drastically last year. Still a ways to go, though... <a href="#comment-18445" rel="nofollow">Keith</a> hit the nail on the head.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-07-28 08:53:25
If you're on any NBA list in between Richard Jefferson and Carmello Anthony, practically sharing your spot with Richard Hamilton, then I don't care what you title the list, I'll take you on my team.
Cpt. C-Note
2009-07-28 08:53:43
I still think Uncle Jeff is UNderrated.
morgan
2009-07-28 08:59:10
come on now johnny flyn is going to be a really good nba point. rather had him than rubio.
Vega
2009-07-28 09:05:31
<a href="#comment-18449" rel="nofollow">@morgan</a> Agreed. Flynn is going to be great. I guarantee it.
Jax Raging Bile Duct
2009-07-28 10:33:12
<a href="#comment-18458" rel="nofollow">@David</a> The full article mentions the dunk contest.