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Old 12-03-2019, 02:41 AM   #1
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Can These Hornets Actually Buzz? (DDSPB 20)

They say life begins at 40.

In a way, that's true. When you're 40, you've ideally burnt out the immaturity of your youth and are at the full height of your mental and professional abilities. Typically, it's when writers have their most accomplished periods (though there are, of course, exceptions to the rule - especially for poets, many of whom peak much earlier). Your life experiences have forged you into the person you are, and you've acquired a certain kind of wisdom.

The life that began me for at 40 was becoming GM of the great dumpster fire known as the Charlotte Hornets. Owned by the legendary Michael Jordan, whom my mom was a superfan of, but never got to meet. I have two words for cancer and they aren't Happy Birthday.

So what do you do when you have a roster who has literally no one you'd like to keep around, other than maybe Caleb Martin (even though he went to that horrible school UNR) as a defensive specialist project?

Try to trade - and try to find someone, anyone stupid enough to think Terry Rozier is worth a minsal, let alone a multi-year deal paying him almost $20 million a season on average. There has to be someone really, really dumb, right?

Unfortunately, every single other GM is smart enough to at least not be my moronic predecessor. Literally no one will take Rozier's contract. We're stuck with him for at least two years, until we can use his expiring to hopefully move him out.

Despondent, I put literally everyone on the trade block.

No offers come in for this roster of sad sacks before the start of the regular season.

I'll profile everyone when I'm not ready to walk into a wasp's nest to end the suffering swiftly, rather than endure the pain of this first year.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:16 AM   #2
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Changeover In Charlotte

Andrew Wiggins takes over as the Hornets' new star player

After weeks of negotiations, new Charlotte Hornets GM Izulde Jestor finally pulled off the move he most eagerly sought to make. Out went Terry Rozier's sub-.400 shooting and toxic contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The primary return? Andrew Wiggins - the once heralded #1 overall pick whose career has thus far fallen short of his projected superstardom. But the price for the 24 year old was steep - raw, but high ceiling rookie P.J. Washington, though the Hornets did also snap up Minnesota's 2nd round picks the next three seasons in the deal.

If Washington, selected 12th overall and blessed with preternatural foul-drawing ability from Day 1, pans out, this move may well blow up in Jestor's face. If he doesn't, then it might well just rack up as a significant win, given how odious Rozier's 3 year, $56.7 million deal is. And unlike in Charlotte, where he projected as a starter, the inefficient combo guard will play just 20 minutes off the bench at the 2 spot. Washington, in contrast, zooms straight to starter status at PF next to burgeoning star Karl-Anthony Towns.

Meanwhile, Wiggins gets out from under KAT's shadow and is firmly planted as the Hornets' #1 scoring option, operating out of the 3. If he's ever going to prove he can be The Man, now's the time.

As a result of the trade, Jestor executed his second pickup, plucking 30 year old Kenneth "The Manimal" Faried on a one year minsal to replace Washington at PF. Though Faried isn't as fizzy as he was in his Denver heyday, he still brings sorely needed offensive rebounding punch, a high percentage field goal conversion rate, and veteran savvy. He and Cody Zeller will patrol the paint, freeing Wiggins to operate from the perimeter.

But the newly minted free office wasn't done yet. Veteran hybrid forward Marvin Williams and versatile G/F Miles Bridges next to go - jettisoned along with the Hornets' second round picks the next three years to the Denver Nuggets for the sure-handed, stellar intangibles 24 year old point guard Monte Morris and 25 year old defensive stalwart wing Gary Harris. Morris is an immediate upgrade on all levels over any of the Hornets' previous post-Kemba Walker options and Harris pairs with Nicolas Batum to give the team two skilled, disciplined defenders at SG, while also opening up minutes for front office favorite Caleb Martin as a rotational SF.

From Denver's perspective, the value is all about the money - $15 million in expiring money from Williams' deal, two years left of Bridges' rookie contract, and the cheap bodies three second round picks bring. Williams will be part of the PF rotation, whereas Bridges operates as a 6th man, his deft ball skills landing him time at both PG and SF.

****

I can't believe I actually suckered someone into taking Rozier. Ha! Washington is a new-age 4 - happy with the 3 ball. Not my kinda dude at all, and his rebounding is blah. I'd still like to find a true boarding horse at the 4 or 5. Morris is ideally a backup rather than a starter, too, but in Wiggins and Harris, I've got my wing spots set for a good number of years if I can keep both around. Overall we're much a smarter, much stronger team defensively now. Our shooting should be significantly improved, too.

Why does all this matter? Well, Mike has lost his damn mind and expects a deep playoff run. He also demanded a 3* or better player, and Wiggins fits that bill. I still don't trust our coaching staff, but it's going to cost too much money to fire them right now.

So we'll see how this season goes.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Gary Harris went down with a severe triceps injury in his debut and was out the rest of October and the early part of November.

Overall, the first month was about what I expected. 3-4 with a 3-1 home record and 0-3 on the road. Our signature victory was 117-104 over the Denver Nuggets, Monte Morris playing his way to 30 points, 5 assists, and a steal en route to Player of the Game honors. Kenneth Faried chipped in 23 points and 7 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins score 19 with 7 boards.

At the start of November, a couple of things were clear. Kenneth Faried was an absolute bargain. Career averages of 18.3 points and 64% were high marks to date by a wide margin. His 6.6 rebounds were fairly decent, though not earthshattering. We had a desperate need for someone who could crash the boards and/or generate turnovers, as our defense, while strong in points allowed (ranking in the Top 6), revealed pedestrian numbers in the advanced metrics.

Our offense was all about Faried, Monte Morris (15.3 points, 4 rebounds, 3.4 assists), and Cody Zeller (15.3 points, 8 rebounds). Andrew Wiggins was proving a disappointment at 13.5 points due to his 36.7% from the floor, 21.8% from 3 point range, though his 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists attested to his ability to contribute in numerous facets of the game.

I've always loved watching Giannis "Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo play, even from his Summer League days when I saw his coast to coast score in 4 dribbles in person. He hung 15 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 6 steals on us to open November as we fell 90-78 in Charlotte. It was the start of a five game losing streak that took us from fighting for the Southeast lead to a half-game ahead of the Wizards. One of our biggest problems - the bench was terrible at big man and point guard. We were getting eaten alive in the fast break, too.

Kadeem Allen got snatched up from the D-League to address our porous backup point guard spot, and we traded Willy Hermangomez to Oklahoma City for sexy name, disappointing career Nerlens Noel, who despite his Wiggins-esque underachievement, still brought nasty toughness and defense inside - which we sorely needed. At least, that was the theory. In practice, we dropped 3 more straight games before finally nipping by the Timberwolves by a single point in Charlotte, 102-101. Kenneth Faried with 20 points and 6 rebounds as a meh Player of the Game. 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals off the bench by Nerlens Noel.

Kenneth Faried went HAM for 25 points and 18 rebounds to net us our first win streak of the season, 108-104 vs Washington. I'll take. Malik Monk scored 16 with 6 assists and 2 steals off the bench. Monk was emblematic of the team as a whole - glitzy name player who busted despite a high draft slot.

And then came out first road win - a shocking 116-93 upset of the Cavaliers. Kenneth Faried Player of the Game for the third time in a row with 25 points. Kadeem Allen scored a season-high 19 points off the bench. Worth noting: our games against the Wizards and Cleveland both were without the services of Andrew Wiggins and Cody Zeller, who were out with injury, thereby earning Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (another bust) and Nerlens Noel starts (guess that Noel pickup was smart after all).

27 points and 12 rebounds by PotG Kenneth Farried, 24 scored by Monte Morris, and 14 bench points by Kadeem Allen later, we stared at a 120-106 home win over the Spurs and our fourth straight victory.

The win streak stretched to 5 to close out the month - 106-92 over the Toronto Raptors in Canada! Malik Monk was the surprise star with 19 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal off the bench, Garry Harris chipping in 11 points of his own. And that's with Wiggins and Zeller back in the lineup.

We were now 8-12. A .400 win percentage and one of the two hottest teams other than the Minnesota Timberwolves, who'd also won 5 straight and were 12-10.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:17 PM   #4
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Our first game in December was a big one in terms of Southeast division lead - in Miami. We walloped them 109-94 behind Kenneth Faried's 35 points and 11 rebounds, and 11 bench points each from Nerlens Noel and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Noel also added 5 rebounds and a steal.

20 points, a block, and a steal from Kenneth Faried saw us see off Orlando 101-93 in Charlotte. Gary Harris got his first start for us, but wasn't noteworthy, unlike Monte Morris scoring 19 in as many minutes. Nerlens Noel continued to be a bench boss with 13 points, a block, and a steal.

The fearsome trio of Stephen Curry, D'Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green comes to down and I figure our win streak is at an end. But then Andrew Wiggins has his finest game as a Hornet - 9 of 16 shooting for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, and we stampede 123-100. Kenneth Faried adds 18 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal, Monte Morris puts up 15 points and 10 assists, and Kadeem Allen adds 13 points and 5 assists off the bench.

With .500 in the balance, we get ambushed by Zach LaVine's ridiculous 22 FTAs - more than our entire team, and fall 98-105 to Da Bulls in Charlotte. I'm not expecting a win when we've got a back-to-back against LeBron's Lakers and we don't, but keep it competitive in a 97-107 home loss.

Gary Harris has been injured again, so he's missed a couple games and will miss more. But we show incredible pluck anyway in shocking the Thunder in OKC - 112=106. Kenneth Faried pours on 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals, abetted by Andrew Wiggins (17 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal) and benchmates Nerlens Noel (15 points, 8 rebounds, a block) and Kadeem Allen (13 points, 5 assists, a steal).

Trounced by the Rockets in Houston as expected, and then comes a home back-to-back. We top the Heat 126-111 on hella balanced scoring - all five starters with 11 more or more points, plus 17, 15, and 12 bench points by Kadeem Allen, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist respectively. Game ball went to Andrew Wiggins of the 18 points, 9 rebounds, block, and 2 steals. Heartbreaking 97-100 loss vs Portland the next night, wasting Kadeem Allen's 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals off the bench.

That loss deflated us to a flat-out stink vs the Knicks. We shake it off and grind out a 95-90 win over the Raptors - Andrew Wiggins a meh PotG with 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a block. Bench is led by Nicolas Batum (12 points), Caleb Martin (10 points, 6 rebounds), and Malik Monk (10 points). Shockingly, Nerlens Noel is a Coaches' DNP, which I don't understand at all.

You could have knocked me over with a breath of sweet air, so shocked was I when we actually split a back-to-back against the Bucks. The 109-92 home upset came via Cody Zeller's 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block, and matching 13 second unit points from Nerlens Noel and Kadeem Allen. Really nice early Christmas present on December 23rd to take that scalp.

Kemba Walker comes home to Charlotte after Christmas and drops 35 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, and just 1 turnover on us, treating the home fans to the greatness they loved. But it's our team balance and swarming defense on everyone else that nets the 106-96 win. We hold the Celtics to just 39.8% shooting, and Andrew Wiggins is Player of the Game with his 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and a block. Also starring: Cody Zeller with 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks, and Monte Morris at least trying to keep pace with Kemba in scoring 22.

Golden State gets revenge in California, with Draymond Green a surprising DNP-Coaches' Decision.

But then we end the calendar year with a headline-grabbing 116-110 upset of the Clippers in LA that I'm still slack-jawed over. Monte Morris and Kenneth Faried each score 23, with the Manimal adding 9 rebounds. Kadeem Allen scored 15 to lead the second year. Master class by Paul George, though, at 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals. Worth noting: Kawhi was out with back spasms. DOESN'T MATTER - STILL WON!

As the page turns to 2020, here's how the East looks:

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Old 12-07-2019, 11:16 PM   #5
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
I start exploring possible trades and come close to pulling the trigger on a deal for Steven Adams, but I just can't get across the line. What we really need is a 3 point gunner wing who won't cost us a ton in assets. And then I find one, but it requires a second move to get under the payroll budget.

Charlotte Hornets send
Malik Monk
Dwayne Bacon

Brooklyn Nets send
Joe Harris

Charlotte Hornets send
Bismack Biyombo
Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 2nd round pick
Minnesota Timberwolves 2021 2nd round pick

Denver Nuggets send
Mason Plumlee

Analysis for Nets
Monk has regressed this season, but he's still just 21, and Brooklyn will use the rest of his rookie deal to see if they can help him become what he's capable of. Bacon's ball-secure, but is just here to make the finances work. They'll each see time in the rotation, though neither one is special.

Analysis for Nuggets
Second trade between Denver and Charlotte. The first one has worked out exceptionally well for the Hornets - Monte Morris and Gary Harris are both starters for the East's most surprisingly respectable team. The Nuggets have been a disappointment at 14-22, and they're essentially banking on clearing cap and accumulating picks assets to have money to burn in the offseason, where they'll try and lure the right talent to put next to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Analysis for Hornets
None of the players dealt were key pieces for Charlotte. Yes, Monk saw considerable minutes, but was inconsistent and just not a very good player. Harris brings a 3 point boomstick that will help open up the game much more. He's not shabby on the defensive end, either. He'll take over as the starting SG from the Nicolas Batum/Gary Harris duo, with both players getting plentiful minutes on the wings. Plumlee is 34, but still brings ferocious defense and quality shooting inside. He'll take over all the backup 5 minutes and ease some of the pressure on Nerlens Noel.

Between Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, and Nerlens Noel, all of whom rate as 74 or 75 on a 100 point scale on defense by our scouts in the paint, and Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Gary Harris (74, 74, 81 out of 100 on defense on the perimeter), the already nasty defensive team we built has just gotten that much tougher. Kadeem Allen now also gets all the backup PG minutes to himself, though we could use a third-stringer.

David Stockton is signed from the D-League to provide just that cover, making us literally $100k away from our player budget limit.

We lose to the Kings and Lakers on the road, which isn't a surprise. 1-a lot of losses on that West road trip. Homecoming is a nice celebration as we knock off the Mavericks 99-88. Cody Zeller leads the charge with 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, a block, and a steal. Nerlens Noel got banged up during the West journey and comes back with mission-minded - 14 points, 10 rebounds, a block off the bench. Monte Morris scored 22 himself.

Monte Morris and Mason Plumlee must have had some beef while they were in Denver, because they get into a nasty shoving match over a game of Madden. It's like uh, okay, sure guys. You do you as long as we win. Your $14 million contract is going out the door anyway this summer, Mason.

That win against the Mavs was damn costly. Kenneth Faried broke his wrist and is out over a month. ...Yeah. That's our team heart and soul - our leading scorer and rebounder who just got put on ice. In his wake, Nerlens Noel takes over at PF and Caleb Martin, who I still really like, is going to be the backup. The better of the UNR (ugh) Bros has been playing a hybrid forward role for us anyway.

As if this wasn't enough, we're hosting two genuinely good West teams on back-to-back nights - the Jazz and the Thunder. We don't even break 78 points in either loss. F.

Gary Harris and Caleb Martin both get knocked out with injuries, but we rediscover our offense in a 108-94 road win over the Pistons. Joe Harris scores 25 with 6 rebounds and a steal, Cody Zeller hangs 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, Nicolas Batum returns to the lineup for 20 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, and Monte Morris produces 18 points with 7 boards. Weird flex for a PG, but sure, I'll take it.

With Bradley Beal playing bench minutes due to an injury, it's no surprise we treat the Wizards to a good old-fashioned 111-83 beatdown. Cody Zeller scores 21 with 13 rebounds, a steal, and 2 blocks, Nerlens Noel just misses the double-double with 19 and 8, Monte Morris scores 20, and Mason Plumlee is his own DD-near miss with 9 points, 9 boards, and a block to lead our second team.

Weird 102-85 home win over the Heat. Kadeem Allen mauls Miami from the bench for 23 points, 4 assists, and a steal to win PotG honors. Caleb Martin scores 11 with 2 steals and a block to be another great reserve. Monte Morris was our high scoring starter with 19. Andrew Wiggins was everywhere with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and a block.

Kings crush us, just when we were starting to get back in sniffing distance of .500. But then 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal gets Andrew Wiggins Player of the Game nod in a tight 109-100 win over the post-AD Pelicans. Joe Harris scores 17 from the bench and Kadeem Allen is right behind him with 16 points and 5 rebounds and assists each.

I hate back-to-backs. On the front end, it's 97-76 laugher over Atlanta as Joe Harris is 7 of 8 from 3 point range for 23 points and Player of the Game. 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals on ugly shooting off the bench for Gary Harris, while Caleb Martin has the same ugly 5 for 15 for 14 points, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Good guy bench shooting is David Stockton for 13. The back end was in Miami. Cody Zeller held out as a Coaches' DNP with injury, but Monte Morris takes over with 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal, Andrew Wiggins our lead scorer with 17 points and a block as we escape with a thrilling, nail-destroying 97-95 win to get to .500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our joy at equality is short-lived, because Andrew Wiggins goes down with a toe injury and the Pacers handle us neatly in Indiana. And Atlanta dumps us right back where we started the month, 88-97. Hard to win when Wiggins, Zeller, and Faried are all out at the same damn time.

On the bright side, we had a .500 month despite all the injuries, and we've a 4 game lead in the Southeast. If the playoff seeding was open (rather than #4 with HC disadvantage), we're tied for the 7th seed, literally .001 away from the 6th seed. Yeah, the bottom of the East is trash. But we're a scrappy outfit even if our total talent is far less than a lot of other teams. And as long as we get to the playoffs, Air Mike should be happy, right?

...Right? I mean, it's been 2016 since they made it!
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:30 PM   #6
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
It's a week before the trade deadline, and Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are both on the block. Unfortunately, despite my throwing young assets and a 1st, neither one is willing to budge. Well, fine then. We'll just sit out and watch as other teams move. Portland can go get its weirdness washed away in the Pacific. Honestly, it would have been a supremely risky move anyway, so I'm probably glad they didn't agree to it.

I do, however, put:

Cody Zeller
Nicolas Batum
Gary Harris
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

all on the block just to see what offers we get. I'm keeping Andrew Wiggins - he just contributes in too many ways to our scheme to let him go.

19 points and a steal for PotG nod for Joe Harris in a narrow 102-97 win vs the Pacers. Gary Harris scores 16 off the bench and Mason Plumlee bangs in 11 boards, 3 steals, and a block with the second team. Impressive that we were able to pull off the win, given how shorthanded we are right now.

Back-to-back West road trip sees us get smashed in Phoenix, then the next night grind out the ugliest victory of the year - 86-82 in Denver. Not sure if NBA or college basketball. 18 points and a steal for Monte Morris - PotG. Nicolas Batum boards 11, dishes 7, and steals 2. The bench brought 12 points, 2 steals from Kadeem Allen and 11 points from Gary Harris in this ugly grindfest that had Caleb Martin starting at PF because we were that shorthanded.

The trade dam *finally* breaks on February 6th - two days before deadline. Hang on to your hats, folks.

Boston Celtics receive
Marc Gasol
Toronto Raptors 2022 2nd round pick

Toronto Raptors receive
Gordon Hayward
Tacko Fall

What this means for the Celtics
Boston is a game behind the 76ers for the Atlantic crown and Enes Kanter is out for 2 weeks. That means Gasol is a huge get for the short-term. Jaylen Brown steps in as the starter at the 2. They also get $25 million coming off the books when Gasol leaves, so the Cs will definitely have money to play with. The big question - what happens when Kanter comes back? Are they going to run both bigs in the lineup, and what will that look like?

What this means for the Raptors
Hayward's 3 point shot has fallen off this season and he's not nearly as aggressive a scorer as he once was. But he's still a topflight defender, and the disappointing 15-38 Raptors in championship hangover will now have a deadly 2-4 with Hayward, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka in order. The Taco isn't anything special, but he's a decent defender who steps in at the 5. More significantly, a 35 year old and a 2nd turned into a 29 and 23 year old. Good idea for this lost season.

Winner: Both
It's a championship or bust move for Boston that makes sense short-term and they'll be free agency players. Toronto salvages something of value out of Gasol as the post-Kawhi era has been most unkind.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
Tomas Satoransky
Chicago Bulls 2020 2nd

Chicago Bulls receive
Trey Burke
Furkan Kormaz
Raul Neto (released)
Kyle O'Quinn (released)

What this means for the 76ers
Satoransky doesn't cough up the ball and is a terrific 3 point shooter. It's hard to tell how moving to a starting role will project, given his limited minutes. And he's an absolute sieve on defense. Still, I'm guessing Philly is hoping he'll eat the gunner shots from guys who can't hit behind the arc but do it anyway (Joel Embiid, I'm looking at you.

What this means for the Bulls
So it's a bunch of spare parts - none of which will play for Da Bulls. I have no idea why they made this move.

Winners: Philadelphia
It's not as splashy or flashy as the Celtics, but the 76ers traded away useless trash for a new starter who could help. The Bulls front office got drunk and made a trade just to say they made one.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG DJ Augustin
Orlando Magic 2020 2nd round pick

Orlando Magic receive
Sterling Brown
Dragan Bender
Pat Connaughton (sp)

What this means for the Bucks
Brilliant pickup for Milwaukee here - a 3 point shooting god who will also let Eric Bledsoe play offball when they're on the court together. The Bucks were a force because they put a team of perimeter shooters around Giannis Antetokounmpo and they get another one here who also lets Bledsoe not have to be the man running the point for a while. Who cares about the trash defense? This is about optimizing the offense. Also, $7.25 million expiring

What this means for the Magic
Augustin was a 32 year old starter on a bad team. Now he gets to be a reserve on a title contender. As for Orlando? Connaughton is a ball-secure defensive specialist who will see time. Bender is hot young trash who is one of the biggest busts in recent move, and Brown is just a warm body. Neither of those two will see any minutes.

Winners: Milwaukee
Bucks got a piece to help their title hopes. Meanwhile the Magic... get to see Markelle Fultz as the starting point guard. Yeah, that's gonna go over so well for a kid with a fragile makeup.

Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah got traded for each other in Houston and Toronto, featuring the two really old defensive bigs who will play bench roles and honestly, that's so whatever a trade it only gets that one line.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
Jae Crowder
Memphis Grizzlies 2020 2nd

Memphis Grizzlies receive
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

What this means for the Lakers
There's a lot of injuries in the Purple and Gold's frontcourt - including a small AD injury. But they go out and get a pretty sizable perimeter defense upgrade - also a $7.2 million expiring contract.

What this means for the Grizzlies
KCP is overpaid trash. Sure he's 26 to Crowder's 29, but he's just bad.

Winner: LAL
Championship contender gets upgrade. 23-30 team shows they have no idea what they're doing.

The day before the deadline:

Boston Celtics receive
Alex Len
Atlanta Hawks 2020 2nd

Atlanta Hawks receive
Romeo Langford

What this means for the Celtics
Okay, so Langford is a guy I thought I was overrated in the draft runup. But uh, WHY ARE YOU GETTING ANOTHER BIG MAN?! Because Daniel Thies is trash and Len is an upgrade as a stopgap PF starter. Plus, $4 million expiring. Yeah, I get it. 2nd should be early, too.

What this means for the Hawks
So Langford does have some upside. And he's a decent defender. Evidently Atlanta really, really liked this class. They now have Langford, DeAndre Hunter, and Cam Reddish. Weird fetish to have, but sure, why not? It's not like they gave up anything of real value for him, so it's worth the dice roll.

Winner: Both
Makes sense as a fairly minor move for both teams, given their situations.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
Derrick Favors

New Orleans Pelicans receive
Alex Caruso
Danny Green
Troy Daniels (released)
Jared Dudley (released)

What this means for the Lakers
Remember when I said the Lakers had a lot of frontcourt injuries? Well, they just snagged Favors. Takes *way* too many 3 point shots, but dude is a straight up rebounding and defensive beast and slots right in at PF while Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and of course DeMarcus Cousins are all out with injury. What I don't like that is that they gave up Caruso, who was the perfect PG for their setup. The front office literally signed 3 point guard bodies off the street and [b]Rajon Rondo/b] is back in the lineup. Mr. No Defense, Floor General Wizard with a 3 point shot 33 year old Rondo.

What this means for the Pelicans
I love Caruso and he's the perfect understudy to Lonzo Ball. Green is a fantastic shooter still, but he goes from being a starter to no minutes land. Tough break, man.

Winner: LAL
Have to give this one to the Lakers. Green is being wasted, and as nerdy a fan as I am about Caruso, there's just no comparing the talent level of him and Favors - especially since the Purple and Gold will now have actual depth down low.

The Bucks offer me a bunch of hot trash for Cody Zeller. I decline. Portland beats us by 8 on the front end of a West back-to-back, and then a wild night happens in Utah:



Kadeem Allen carries with 20 points and 2 steals in a 110-96 home win vs the new-look Raptors. His benchmates Joe Harris (14 points) and Mason Plumlee (8 points, 10 rebounds) also did work as we GET BACK TO .500! Whoot whoot!

Kenneth Faried comes back and we lose by 6 in Orlando, because heaven forbid the Charlotte Hornets actually have a damn winning record.

All-Star Weekend
Pat Connaughton celebrates his win over us by getting a shiny Slam Dunk championship (Score 75-59 over Jake Lyman).

It's a small consolation, but Joe Harris wins the 3 point Contest!!! He tied Kyle Korver with 19 in the first round, then beat Korver and Otto Porter Jr in the Finals with a repeat 19 (18 for Korver and 17 for Porter Jr). That's a trophy for the cabinet! Well, his own personal cabinet anyway. Doesn't show up in our team trophies.

Rookies win a wild one 153-148 over the Sophs. PJ Washington gets 4 minutes of 2 points and a foul for the Rooks, and who cares?

West beats East 174-152. Who cares?

Kyrie Irving eats our shorts as we lose by 6 on the front end of a B2B and we win the back end in Washington by 10, keyed by Andrew Wiggins' 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and a steal, and 13 and 12 bench points from Gary Harris and Kadeem Allen.

How badly did we whip the Pistons to get back to .500? Only two of their guys broke double-digit scoring, none higher than 16 in a 97-70 squash. Andrew Wiggins starred with 19 points, 4 rebounds, a block, and 2 steals, while Nerlens Noel paced the second team with 15 points, 8 rebounds, a block, and a steal.

21 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal for 3-Point Contest Champ Joe Harris as we murder visiting Chicago 100-87. Kadeem Allen with 21 bench points, Nerlens Noel with an 11/5/2 steals/1 block line, also off the bench. WE'RE FINALLY ABOVE .500!!!!!!!!!

And of course, the very next night of the B2B, Boston bom---- HOLY CRAP!!!!



Don't look now, but we're authentically the #5 seed and closing in on Brooklyn for the #4 seed with HCA. We're 32-30, they're 34-28.

Bucks, 76ers, and Celtics are all over .600 - the only teams in the East at that. No one at .700 in our conference.

Lakers are 52-8 and just dominating everyone. They've actually lost a game since all those trades they made, but are still the class of the NBA.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:16 AM   #7
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The run of upsetting Atlantic contenders on their own turf continues to start March as we shock the 76ers 105-91. Kenneth Faried is our hero again for the first time in a long time - 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Bench stars: Gary Harris - 12 points, 6 rebounds and Kadeem Allen - 11 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers. Also Mason Plumlee - 7 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, a block, and a steal.

Why have we gotten so hot? As you can probably guess by the scorelines, our defense has transformed into one of the league's elite units. In the starting lineup, on the bench, we've got defenders everywhere who know how to sag off (we have a passive defense, remember) and wall off when we need to.

And because I opened my big fat mouth, we lose in Toronto, giving up 107 points and failing to break 100 ourselves.

Philly comes to town looking for revenge and doesn't get it, walking out embarrassed 105-90. Kenneth Faried rips his way to 20 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. The rest of it is the bench mob yet again - Nerlens Noel with 12 points, 8 boards, 3 steals, and a block; Kadeem Allen with 17 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, and a block, and Joe Harris with 14 points.

Brooklyn, our most likely first round opponent, continues to kick our tails no matter where we play. Incredibly frustrating. We just can't solve Kyrie Irving.

We take out our frustrations on the Suns, treating them to a 30 point blowout. All of our bench players except DNP Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 8 points or more and Kenneth Faried picks up his third straight Player of the Game in our wins with 21 points, 5 rebounds, a block, and a steal. Guess he got sick of everyone talking about how this turned into Andrew Wiggins' team in his absence.

Drop one in New Orleans, then bounce back a few days later to edge the Hawks 111-106 in Atlanta. Kenneth Faried leads the charge with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Nerlens Noel heads the second team with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Also bench greats - Joe Harris with 14 points and Kadeem Allen with 13.

Nauseating 2 point road loss in New York, followed by ANOTHER 2 point loss in Philly two nights later. JHRC! It demoralizes the team and we hit the skids - losing in Brooklyn (of course), then get mauled by Memphis on the backend of a two set. In Charlotte, no less.

A 125-111 W in Dallas stops the bleeding and stabilizes us at .500 (Monte Morris (22 points - PotG), Nerlens Noel (12 points, 15 boards, a block, a steal), Joe Harris (18 bench points), Kadeem Allen (10 points, 6 assists). But I'm already thinking about the season postscript. A first round sweep to Brooklyn seems the most likely, and while we've gotten miracle work out of a limited talent roster, there need to be major changes to keep us from being what we are now - a scrappy team that plays tough D and is full of heart, but doesn't have the horses to be more than a middling Leastern squad.

...Unbeepingbelievable. 4 point home loss to the Knicks? Suddenly we can't beat any team from the NYC area. Hell, Manhattan College would probably find a way to beat our suddenly psychologically damaged outfit right now.

A two-step of Kenneth Faried (35 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals) and Andrew Wiggins (22 points) is enough for us to crush Cleveland in Charlotte 106-90 and return to .500. We're able to finish off March on the winning side by taking the front end of a B2B. 102-91 road win in the nation's capital by virtue of Andrew Wiggins scoring 23 with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. All starters bar Nicolas Batum score 12 or more, and Kadeem Allen contributes 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench.

April leaps straight into the back half, hosting the 76ers. Loss by 7 as they've finally figured us out. Wish we could do that to Brooklyn.

I suddenly realize why we had such an awful March. Cody Zeller broke his foot on the 6th and I somehow never even noticed. I guess he and Mason Plumlee look a lot alike? Oops.

Anyway, we win 114-106 in Chicago on Kenneth Faried's 33 points and 9 rebounds. Joe Harris scores 21 and Kadeem Allen nets 10 points and 5 assists off the bench. We played without Andrew Wiggins who evidently missed the game for personal reasons because he didn't even suit up.

A chance to sew up .500 in Orlando and we blow it, scoring just 79 points. We get it hosting Indiana about a week later, all five starters with 11 points or more, including Kenneth Faried's 20 and 10, with Monte Morris's 26 points earning Game MVP honors.

The Pacers get their revenge in a game that was never close in the regular season finale. We finish 41-41 - a perfect .500. That really does feel like the topline for this squad, so I'm not upset or anything.

Actually, yes I am. You see, I haven't been paying attention to the standings. Here's what happened.

Eastern Conference Playoff Seedings
1. Philadelphia 76ers (54-28)
2. Boston Celtics (54-28)
3. Milwaukee Bucks (49-33)
4. New York Knicks (42-40)
5. Orlando Magic (42-40)
6. Charlotte Hornets (41-41)
7. Brooklyn Nets (40-42)
8. Indiana Pacers (39-43)

That regular season finale not only caused us to lose the Southeast crown on the very last day of the regular season (Orlando got hot while I wasn't looking), it also allowed the Pacers to surprise sneak into the postseason.

I suppose I should be happy I don't have to face an NYC team in the first round, but maaaaaaaaaan.

Cheering thought: The Lakers got lazy once they locked everything up and finished 67-15. Maybe they'll be so rested and lacksadiscal they'll get knocked out by Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks - the 8 seed at .500.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:53 PM   #8
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Nothing better than an Izulde Jestor hoops dynasty
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:01 AM   #9
law90026
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Originally Posted by BYU 14 View Post
Nothing better than an Izulde Jestor hoops dynasty

Lies. His FM dynasties are better!
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BYU 14 View Post
Nothing better than an Izulde Jestor hoops dynasty

Thanks! Glad to know this brightens your day.
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:04 AM   #11
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[u]Point Guard[/b]
Monte Morris - 24 - 3rd Season
The former second round pick has blossomed into a legitimately capable starter. Averaged 14.9 points on 47.9% shooting, 33.5% from behind the arc. Beautiful midrange and interior game on offense. Needs to take another step in generating assists and defense before he can be more than a fifth starter, but he's ball-secure and has a sweet shooting stroke.

Eric Bledsoe - 30 - 10th Season
14.4 points, 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals a game. In many ways, the complete antithesis of Morris. Savvy veteran, but 41.9% shooting and 29.2% behind the arc are ugly conversion numbers in today's efficiency-obsessed NBA. Excellent floor general skills and a shutdown defender in every sense of the word. His offensive limitations have prevented him from truly being what the Bucks need and a major part of why Milwaukee failed to break 50 wins, but he gets a tasty matchup here.

Advantage: Bucks

[u]Shooting Guard[/b]
Nicolas Batum - 31 - 12th Season
Virtually invisible on offense despite 49.1%/37.5% from 3 point. He's basically in this lineup due to his exceptional defense and Joe Harris' injury that will keep the 3 point sniper out of Game 1. The Hornets used Batum in a rotation here with the Harrises - Joe and Gary, and while the Frenchman is penciled in as Game 1's starting SG, don't be surprised to see someone else called as the series goes on.

Kyle Korver - 38 - 17th Season
In the lineup for one reason - his 44.4% 3 point shooting as a pure spot-up gunner. It's his single skill, and much like point guard, we have inverse images playing against each other. It will be one of the most fascinating matchups to watch.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Andrew Wiggins - 24 - 6th Season
When he's on, Wiggins is brilliant - a multifaceted contributor and two way player. When he's off, he's really off. It translated into 14.5 points, shooting 40.3% and 29.1% from downtown. Don't be surprised to see him get dealt in the offseason for a better fitting piece - the front office hates inconsistency and have been disappointed with the former Kansas star's inability to take advantage of a setup that was supposed to make him a franchise showcase.

Khris Middleton - 28 - 8th Season
16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and assists - 46.2%, 36.9% from behind the arc. Essentially, Middleton represents the optimal Wiggins if his counterpart had lived up to expectations - a two-way second fiddle star next to an elite talent that forms a contender. As is, however, K-Mid is simply better on all levels. This spells trouble for the Hornets' hopes for an upset, when their most talented player is against an older, glowed-up version of himself.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward
Kenneth "The Manimal" Faried - 30 - 9th Season
If he didn't break his wrist partway through the season, the Manimal's 17.4 points and 7.1 rebounds on 60.6% shooting would run away with the Most Improved Player award. Not even at the heights of his Nuggets tenure was he ever this successful. Excellent offensive rebounder who somehow just fits within Charlotte's setup. Completely inexplicable, though some say it's about playing himself into a secure payday for another squad this summer.

Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo - 25 - 7th Season
If you don't know him, you don't know basketball. That said, he regressed significantly this season - and that regression was 19 points, 11 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.8 steals, shooting 49% and 29% from behind the arc. Last year's MVP took a major step back in his shooting ability, which is another major part of why Milwaukee sat well back of the Top 2 seeds. That said, you're dreaming if you think these two nicknamed forwards are even close in ability.

Advantage: Bucks

Center
Cody Zeller - 28 - 7th Season
The Hornets' March swoon coincide with Zeller's injury. The hulking defensive big man has the ability to take over games (4 PotG honors this season) but can't do it consistently and failed to average even 10 points a game. He's also a mediocre rebounder. He's another fifth starter on a contender like so many of the players in this Charlotte first five.

Brook Lopez - 32 - 12th Season
5% away from the 50/40/90 club due to 85.7% FT shooting, but still averaged 14.3 points and 1.7 blocks. So he can't rebound. Who cares? He's a defensive god and the very incarnation of a stretch 5. If you like the new age NBA, he's one of the most delightful players in the league to watch.

Advantage: Bucks

Bench
You know the names by now - Gary Harris, Joe Harris, Kadeem Allen, and Nerlens Noel. Allen's 10.7 points and 38.5% 3 point shooting were a D-League rescue revelation, Joe Harris was 53.5/52.5% downtown shooting for 11.5 points between his two teams and won the 3 Point Shooting Contest. Gary Harris disappointed in his shooting like Wiggins, suggesting he could find himself out the door as well, despite his defense. Nerlens Noel revived his career with 8.6 points, 6 rebounds, and a block per game, showing off a deadly midrange shot. Re-signing him will be a front office priority.

D.J. Augustin only started 3 games in Milwaukee before moving to a bench 6th man role, but his PPG, FG% and 3P% all went up after arriving at the deadline - proving precisely what the Bucks hoped they were getting. Otherwise this is pretty much a bunch of good defenders who don't really contribute all that much on offense, though Robin Lopez here as his brother's backup is cool.

Advantage: Charlotte

Snapshot Synopsis
The Hornets have one of the league's best bench mobs, but the talent disparity here is simply far too great.
Bucks in 4

Sounds about right. Can't even argue with that.

Game 1
Khris Middleton goes off for 29 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo hits a near triple-double with 20 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, a steal, and 3 blocks. So we got wrecked, right? Well, no. We held Greek Freak to a 6 of 23, 1 of 8 from the arc night (26.1%, 12.5%) - his worst night as a pro, practically. All five of our starters scored 12 or more, led by Monte Morris' 25 points, 6 assists, and a steal to be named PotG. Kadeem Allen was ever-present off the bench - 8 points, 7 assists, 3 steals - while Nerlens Noel contributed 11 points and 5 boards. Also with a rough shooting night - Kyle Korver at 1 of 8, 1 of 7 downtown, and we held D.J. Augustin to 0 points. Us - 53.1% Bucks - 41.8%, and we walk out as huge upset winners. 538's NBA chat loses their minds, as do a lot of the sports media.
Charlotte 113 Milwaukee 105

Game 2
At this point, we're playing with house money. Never dreamt we'd snatch HCA. Heroic 21 points and 18 rebounds from Kenneth Faried and 10 bench points each from Kadeem Allen and Caleb Martin, but our shooting completely deserts us in this one - 39.8% from the floor. Giannis Antetokounmpo gets his triple-double in this one - 20 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals to win Player of the Game. D.J. Augustin comes uncorked for 16 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, and Robin Lopez scores 11. We were never really in it after giving everything in Game 1. Great fourth quarter comeback effort to eat into their 27 point lead, but we fell short.
Charlotte 87 Milwaukee 95

Game 3
We found out after Game 2 that two key injuries occurred: Khris Middleton on their side and Monte Morris on ours were ruled out for Game 3. What follows is a fascinating game. Things are tight in the first quarter, but then we open it up in the second and never look back, winning a rout in front of our home fans. Absent his running mate, Giannis Antetokounmpo once again has an insane counting stats line of 29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 steals (!) along with a block that masks an 8 of 23 shooting night. Biggest shock of the evening: Cody Zeller waking up to score 22 points with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks to take Game MVP. Andrew Wiggins shot a pristine 10/13 for 24 points. David Stockton stepped up big off the bench with 14 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, Gary Harris scored 12, and Mason Plumlee put up 10 points and 8 boards.
Milwaukee 96 Charlotte 117

Game 4
We'd held the Bucks to under 43% shooting 3 straight games. Tonight, they came unleashed - battering us by shooting 51% from the floor. Giannis Antetokounmpo with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals, Brook Lopez with 22 points, and matching 10 bench points from Robin Lopez and Donte Divicenzo. Insult to injury? Ersan Illysova scoring 13 in just 8 minutes. The good for us: Andrew Wiggins for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals, Kenneth Faried scoring 20, and Nerlens Noel 18. The bad? Everything else. Kadeem Allen is 1 for 14 as a starter in Games 3 and 4. We really need Monte Morris back.
Milwaukee 118 Charlotte 94

The Clippers dump the T-Wolves in a sweep. I'm smirking to see my prediction of the Lakers' underachieving coming true - they're tied 2-2 with Dallas.

Game 5
It hurts to give up HCA after we stole it in Game 1, but I never really imagined we'd be tied after 4. I figured at most, we'd get a fluke game and be down 1-3. Giannis Antetokounmpo puts up a pedestrian 35 points and 14 rebounds, not even sniffing a TD, but Brook Lopez scores 20 and D.J. Augustin adds 16 off the bench. Our starters all stunk up the joint. Joe Harris (18 points), Nerlens Noel (12 points), and Mason Plumlee (truly weird line for him of 11 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals[/b]. Frustrating - we were up heading into the 4th quarter, but completely melted down in the last frame, evaporating a 13 point lead to fall at the last second. Heartbreaking.
Charlotte 110 Milwaukee 122

Jazz eliminate Warriors in 5 to no one's surprise. Spurs shock Houston in 5 as Pop's magic continues to live on. 76ers put away Pacers in same and Celtics shrug off Kyrie Irving's Nets.

Game 6
First quarter went well, but after that, it was all Milwaukee. All five of their starters scored 11 or more, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 26 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 steals, and Eric Bledsoe's 23 points. Kenneth Faried puts up a weak man's 10/10 DD, Cody Zeller scores 20 and that was about all she wrote in a game that wasn't even as close as the final scoreline indicates.
Milwaukee 108 Charlotte 98

We gave it everything we had, had our chances to at least take it to 7, but in the end, fell short to the talent imbalance. I feel like my home state's team is still fundamentally flawed in ways that will be exploited. Dallas also sees its upset hopes evaporate in 6, and the Knicks (still feels weird to see them in the playoffs) finally put away the Magic in the same. No 7 game series in the first round.

I'm proven right when Milwaukee is dispatched in 5 by Boston. The Lakers enjoy the cakewalk of the Spurs in 5 as well, though I'm stunned to see the Jazz prevent an all-LA WCF by ridding the Clippers in their own 5. I thought sure that'd go 7 games. What I didn't expect to go 7 - Knicks/76ers - somehow New York pushed it to the full frame before falling in the final in Philly.

It's 76ers/Lakers finals - both of them knocking off their CF opponents in 5. Utah losing that quickly doesn't surprise me, but I thought Boston would put up a tougher fight.

Lakers take the title in 6 and they could have just as easily swept in my opinion. Felt like they were toying with Philly a bit to generate ratings and revenue.

On to the offseason.
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by law90026 View Post
Lies. His FM dynasties are better!

Your prefer sweary, cranky Izulde Jestor huh?
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:43 PM   #13
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Lottery Results
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Portland Traiblazers
12. Sacramento Kings
11. Phoenix Suns
10. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. Chicago Bulls (-1)
8. Denver Nuggets (-2)
7. Atlanta Hawks (-2)
6. New Orleans Pelicans (-2)
5. Miami Heat (-3)
4. Detroit Pistons (+5)
3. Washington Wizards (-2)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (+5)
1. Toronto Raptors (+1)

Huge win for the Pistons and Grizzlies here, leapfrogging into the Top 5 and 2 respectively. Miami has to feeling bitterly disappointed right now to crash so far. Nice to see all three Southeast teams drop in the order.

Awards
MVP
Damian Lillard - Portland Trailblazers

Defensive Player of the Year
Kristaps Porzingis - Dallas Mavericks

6th Man of the Year
Kevin Looney - Golden State Warriors

Rookie of the Year
Ja Morant - Memphis Grizzlies

Coach of the Year
Brad Stevens - Boston Celtics

All-League 1st Team
PG Damian Lillard - Portland Trailblazers
SG James Harden - Houston Rockets
SF LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers
PF Kristaps Porzingis - Dallas Mavericks
CE Karl-Anthony Towns - Minnesota Timberwolves

All-League 2nd Team
PG Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
SG Devin Booker - Phoenix Suns
SF Paul George - Los Angeles Clippers
PF Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
CE Nikola Vucevic - Orlando Magic

All-League 3rd Team
PG Kemba Walker - Boston Celtics
SG Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards
SF Kawhi Leonard - Los Angeles Clippers
PF Anthony Davis - Los Angeles Lakers
CE Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Damian Lillard - Portland Trailblazers
SG James Harden - Houston Rockets
SF LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers
PF Kristaps Porzingis - Dallas Mavericks
CE Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Russell Westbrook - Houston Rockets
SG Jrue Holiday - New Orleans Pelicans
SF Paul George - Los Angeles Clippers
PF Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
CE Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Ja Morant - Memphis Grizzlies
SG Kendrick Nunn - Miami Heat
SF Rui Hachimura - Washington Wizards
PF Brandon Clarke - Memphis Grizzlies
CE Bruno Fernando - Atlanta Hawks

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Darius Garland - Cleveland Cavaliers
SG RJ Barrett - New York Knicks
SF Cam Reddish - Atlanta Hawks
PF Zion Williamson - New Orleans Pelicans
CE Goga Bitadze - Indiana Pacers

I think Nerlens Noel got robbed of 6th Man of the Year. Biggest shock - Zion not exactly lighting the world on fire (11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals), though I think he and Barrett both deserved to be on the 1st Team ahead of Nunn and Clarke. Very questionable voting there.

Michael Jordan is mad we didn't get it done against the Bucks, but says he'll give me another year. I talk him down to expecting only the playoffs next season in exchange for a cut in the player budget. Which is fine - we weren't going to be FA players if we renounced everyone anyway.

Not that I care about coach hiring, but David Joerger is tapped to lead the Heat and Mark Jackson becomes the top man for the Washington Wizards in Southeast head coach hiring news.

Pre-workout Notes
Some elite looking talent at first blush at the top of the draft. My scouts have been raving about Sam Murphy, a 21 year old, 6 foot PG out of UConn as an All-Star. He's slated to go 5th to the Heat in the mocks. I personally love the mocked 1st overall pick - Kirk Miller - a 6'9, 280 lbs 22 year old bulldog from Tulsa. Those thick horses are always tough for opponents to deal with, and the only knock I can see before the workout is IQ, which can be worked on. 20 year old Croatian Zvonimir Bicanic looks good too - a 6'9, 218 lbs hybrid forward with two-way game. Picked to go 3rd.

Draft class appears loaded with quality point guard depth. Talent falls off everywhere else once you get out of the lottery. So while big man is a need for us, we're going to be focusing heavily on the point guards - especially since Kadeem Allen proved last season he's a great reserve, but should never start.

When I dig deeper into these guys I feel like there's more talent than I thought at first glance. So we wind up going with a wide spread of positions in our workouts, including looking at some intriguing second round options, just in case we end up acquiring one via trade.

Draft Night
1. C Kirk Miller - Tulsa - Toronto Raptors
Exceptional player with no real weaknesses. He and Pascal Siakam are going to be a deadly All-NBA frontcourt duo together. It wouldn't shock me to see them be terrors that hint at Tim Duncan/David Robinson levels. Obviously not both Hall of Famers, but still really, really good.

2. PG Bruce Huggins - Alabama State - Memphis Grizzlies
People are shocked that he went this early, especially since at 6'2, he's too short to play the 2. And they already have Ja Morant. But I actually don't hate the pick. Huggins is a defense-first point who knows how to run the offense and won't eat shots from Morant. Do I think there's potentially better talent on the board? Yes. But this isn't as huge a reach as it looks at first blush.

3. PF Vicenc Estrada - Spain - Washington Wizards
A lot of mocknicks were super high on the 19 year old, one of the youngest players in the draft. I just don't see it, to be honest. Maybe he surprises everyone, but nothing really stood out to me, and I didn't work him out. Feels like a bust waiting to happen.

4. PG Sam Murphy - UConn - Detroit Pistons
I found out during the workouts why my staff kept screaming All-Star. This kid is absolutely going to score at will and probably be a darn good shooter while doing it. Floor general and defense skills are nothing to write home about, but his ability to create his own shot means he'll be the glitzy points producer who gets All-Star mentions.

Denver really wants Monte Morris back. They offer me Bol Bol. I laugh and say no. Then the Thunder offer me Steven Adams for Andrew Wiggins straight up. I can't say Yes fast enough. Sure he's two years older at 27, but I tried hard to get Adams last season and couldn't get it done. Plus, now I can boot Cody Zeller next summer with no regrets. It also lessens the pressure to resign Kenneth Faried. Still going to bring back Nerlens Noel, though.

5. SF Jamal Powell - Texas - Miami Heat
UGH!!!!!! This kid was my second favorite player in the class next to Kirk Miller and he goes to a division rival. Stellar two-way player who wowed me in workouts. Frankly I think he should have gone Top 3. This is a huge steal for the Heat.

6. SF Cordell Shannon - Maryland - New Orleans Pelicans
Boom-bust pick. He didn't impress me at all in workouts, but my staff and the talking heads swear he has elite, franchise-changing upside. All I saw was a super raw kid who looked vastly overrated in my opinion. We'll see what happens, but I'm betting on this bombing out.

7. PF Zvonimir Bicanic - Croatia - Atlanta Hawks
Sadly, a smart selection by our Southeast foes here. Really good all-around player by my lights. He fell according to the mock draft, and at 6'9, 218 lbs he has the size to play the 3, so I wish the Pelicans would have taken him instead.

8. PF Curtis Blake - Kansas - Denver Nuggets
Who? I seriously know nothing about this kid. Seems like a major, major reach here.

9. SG Kenyatta Granger - Baylor - Chicago Bulls
Bulldog defender with great handles. Average everywhere else. I personally really like this kid, but believe he was drafted higher than warranted. Honestly thought he'd go a little later.

10. PG William Jenkins - Arkansas - Cleveland Cavaliers
I'm stunned the Cavs made this pick when they already have Colin Sexton. Not only is Sexton supposedly their point guard of the future, Jenkins wasn't even close to the best point left in the class. Even the commentators are aghast at this selection.

There's two guys left on my board that I'd be happy to get. And one of them I would absolutely LOVE to draft. Let's see if I can move up from 18 to 11 and get him.

Nope.

11. PF Kenny Williams - Weber State - Phoenix Suns
The talking heads have been talking about this guy literally all night. Pretty talented player, but is so inconsistent his stock dropped right to about where I think he should be. This wasn't my guy, so I'm still hitting up the phone lines.

Charlotte Hornets receive
PG Cory Joseph
PF Nmanja Bjelica
#12
Sacramento Kings 2022 1st rounder
Sacramento Kings 2021 2nd rounder

Sacramento Kings receive
CE Cody Zeller
PG Devonte Graham
#18

Review will come later.

12. PG Xavier Smith - Oklahoma - Charlotte Hornets
The experts pan the pick, but whatever. I see a strong scorer with a good stroke, elite-level handles, and somebody who can be disruptive in forcing turnovers. Sure he's not a great passer or defender, but he's 6'3, so can push over to SG if need be. IMO, he'll be the galvanizing force we need. Averaged 19.9 points, 7.9 assists, and 1.6 steals playing for a Power 5 conference team. I love this kid. Then again, I'm not surprised the pick was panned - the general scouting had him at 2*. Our guys had him at 5*.

13. SF Leroy Rashaw - Arkansas - Portland Trailblazers
Good, safe selection. He was in play for 18 consideration if he was there. Not a world-beater by any means, but a jump-shot specialist who should be a solid contributor. Didn't see a starter out of him, necessarily, though.

14. PG Thomas Davis - Vanderbilt - Oklahoma City Thunder
The talking heads fall all over themselves praising this pick, and sure, his video looks really, really good. But when you look at his actual production at the college level, you're going eh... seems like a guy who has a lot of talent, but doesn't know how to put it all together to win games. Just couldn't buy the hype on him, especially since the SEC isn't exactly a hoops powerhouse like it is in football.

15. PF Richard Humphries - Boston College - Indiana Pacers
Terrible. Just terrible.

16. SG James Walton - Dayton - Brooklyn Nets
Came in highly rated in the college season and predraft period, but the more teams looked at him, the more they realized he was nothing special. Too bad. There were a lot better talents on the board to put next to Kyrie.

17. SF Brandon Anderson - Iowa - Dallas Mavericks
I personally didn't like him.

18. C Ryan Dryden - Michigan State - Sacramento Kings
Defense-only big man. Feels like a reach here, considering there's still talent on the board. Talking heads slammed the pick. So there's a chance Smith could still have been here - it depends on if the Thunder had him rated higher than Davis. Still glad I made the move, though - we got an extra first round pick out of it.

Honestly, there was one guy who I'd have dice-rolled on if I were the Kings. Let's see when he gets drafted. I'm going to skip the other picks. Only thing left is rotational defensive pieces of what I've scouted.

20. PG Bobby Spitler - UConn - Orlando Magic
Wait, one more mention. Spitler was the second guy on my list. Lights out handling and defense. Didn't contribute much to the Huskies' points because Jay Murphy was raining holy hell everywhere, but this is the kind of player every roster wants to have. Bar the Wizards screwing up their #3 pick, it's been a great draft for the Southeast.

21. SF Steve Joyce - Eastern Illinois - Golden State Warriors
My absolute fallback pick. My gut says he's the best pure defender in this class. Perfect piece alongside the Stephen Curry/D'Angelo Russell duo if he develops into a starter-level talent.

24. C Roy Bakken - Florida - Milwaukee Bucks
Major run on centers. Noting this guy because he was mocked to go in the teens but slipped to the end of the first. Put up really impressive stats in college and the video looks good, but when you actually see him work out, he looks like a bench player who dominated less-skilled opposition, but can't compete at the pros.

The guy I want to take a swing on is still there at #31, so I trade both future 2nd round picks to the Wizards and snatch up...

31. C Jason Minor - Cincinnati - Charlotte Hornets
He was in the draft preview video and my scouting department couldn't shut up about how awesome he was. At this point in the draft, he's worth taking the flier on, since I didn't give up any major assets.

Renouncements
After thinking long and hard about it, I renounce the rights to everyone but Joe Harris and Nerlens Noel. I can most likely bring Noel back, though Minor has me tempted to not. Harris pretty much *has* to return, but I also need to find a way of bringing him back while still getting under His Airness' budget restrictions, which isn't going to be easy.

Draft trades review and free agency next time.
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Last edited by Izulde : 12-11-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:43 AM   #14
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
I'm going to get the biggest trade out of the way, because when I read about it online, I was big mad. I still am irate days later.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
Donovan "Spider" Mitchell

Utah Jazz receive
Darius Garland

What this means for the Cavaliers
Yes. You read that right. A good, but not great prospect was just dealt for a franchise star in Mitchell. Yes, the frontcourt is still a mess, and we won't talk about the bench, but Cleveland just landed their first genuine franchise player since the second coming of LeBron. Happiest man on the planet right now: Collin Sexton, who now has the perfect running mate. The NBA's newest deadly backcourt has just been forged.

What this means for the Jazz
Here's what I don't get. Even if you buy that Garland is a future franchise PG in the making (he's not), and even if you argue that Mike Conley Jr at 33 needs an heir apparent, Utah now has no primary scorers left. Maybe Bojan Bogdanovic, but he's 31 years old. Not the standard bearer of the future - or even now, really. This is Utah torpedoing their win-now roster in the single worst trade I've seen in decades.

Winner: If you don't know this, stop watching basketball

So.damn.frustrating. That single move is going to polevault Cleveland right past us and a few other mediocre teams in the East.

Honestly just about everything else is not interesting bench moves, except that the Bucks dealt Roy Bakken for Mike Chambers. Why did the Spurs not just take offensive rebounding, defensive horse Bakken at 23 in the first place, rather than let him go one spot earlier? Who knows? Chambers is a decent all-around big man, though doesn't stand out in any area.

So, our HUGE trades in reverse order:

Charlotte Hornets receive
PG Cory Joseph
PF Nmanja Bjelica
#12
Sacramento Kings 2022 1st rounder
Sacramento Kings 2021 2nd rounder

Sacramento Kings receive
CE Cody Zeller
PG Devonte Graham
#18

What this means for the Hornets
GM Izulde Jestor had a player he wanted, so traded up to get him. That Charlotte was able to net even more pics was impressive. Joseph and Bjelica are veteran players whose calling card is defense. Neither one is a good shooter, though Bjelica is a stretch 4 that provides some interesting opportunities should he step into the starting lineup.

What this means for the Kings
Sactown was starved for quality post bench players and Zeller slides right in the 6th man spot behind Marvin Bagley III and Dwayne Dedmon. The Kings currently lack a backup point guard as well. Graham isn't any good, but he's a body at least.

Winner: Charlotte
The picks are the differencemaker here, especially since Zeller isn't going to be enough to get the Kings to the playoffs in a tough West.

Charlotte receives
Steven Adams

Oklahoma City receives
Andrew Wiggins

What this means for the Hornets
As great as Wiggins was in Charlotte's spirited first round fight against the Bucks, he proved too inconsistent in the regular season to be the reliable star the Hornets were looking for. Out he goes for Adams, who shot 63.1% from the floor last season, finished just shy of a double-double (15.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.3 steals) and was a terror as a rim protector. In the more open Charlotte lineup, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him crack 18/10.

What this means for the Thunder
Simply put, Chris Paul needed a scoring running mate. OKC is convinced that Wiggins can be the guy this season, then transition to a #1 after CP3 retires or is dealt. This seems to be a familiar trend - middling franchises thinking Wiggins might finally live up to his potential on a consistent basis. Don't count on it.

Winner: Charlotte
Perfect move, one that facilitated the later Cody Zeller for picks swap.

Summer League
Off to my old stomping grounds in Vegas we go!

We beat Chicago 105-102. UDRFA Kirk Skinner is a surprise PotG with 20 points, 12 rebounds. Jason Minor just misses a double-double with 8 points, 14 boards, and a block. I let my assistant GM fill out the roster, so will only be covering starters and guys already signed to my squad who have significant games.

106-113 L to Cleveland despite Monte Morris's electric 27 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

I'm pissed when we drop one in OT 120-124 to the Brooklyn Nets of all teams. Way to waste Monte Morris's 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and Jason Minor's 12 points and rebounds. Ante Zizic is forcing his way into my attention. Kid has scored like mad off the bench at high efficiency all three games, including 8 of 10 for a 22 point, 10 rebound performance off the bench here - his second straight 22 point showing.

Monte Morris absolutely unloads for 49 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, a steal, and a block in a 121-114 win over Philly. Jason Minor drops in 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Sure he's a bad shooter so far, but there's 29 other teams looking at each other going, "Did we miss something here?"

Our final summer game is against the Knicks and Monte Morris puts up video game numbers of 51 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, a block, and a steal in a 119-102W victory. Ante Zizic has 20 points, 8 rebounds off the bench, and though Jason Minor only scored 2 points, he racked up 10 boards and 2 blocks.

We *just* missed the cutoff for the playoffs, and the tournament final ends up all-NYC in the desert, with Brooklyn topping the Knicks 130-122.

Free Agency
Bobby Portis jumps to the Denver Nuggets on a 4 year, $73.4 million deal. Sure there's a team option in the last year, but it was like

OH (EXPLETIVE) YOU! THE ATLANTA HAWKS SIGN ANTHONY DAVIS ON A MAX DEAL!?!? GO TO HELL, AD!!!! Wow, that's STUPID! Ugh. IN MY OWN DAMN DIVISION! WHAT.THE.HELL?!?!

Serge Ibaka signs with Cleveland on a 4 year, $92 million deal. Because sure, I haven't had enough of East teams suddenly loading up on good players and the Cavs totally didn't need a good big to go with Donovan "Spider" Mitchell they stole from the Jazz.

Knicks steal Nikola Mirotic on a 3 year, $54.7 million deal and sign someone, I forgot who, to an offer sheet. Joe Harris goes off to the Grizzlies on 2 years, $26 million. No way we could even come close to that. Lakers sign Kris Dunn to an offer sheet and snap up another prestige name I forget.

Boston brings both Enes Kanter and Marc Gasol because why not, I guess.

Nice work for Kenneth Faried getting a 2 year, $11.2 million deal from Portland. Rajon Rondo reups with the Lakers. Tristan Thompson joins AD and Trae Young in Atlanta.

Nerlens Noel takes forever to sign, but we finally ink him to a 5 year, $12.8 million deal that will keep him in Charlotte for the long haul. He's still just 26, so by the time his contract runs out, he'll be 32 and we can move on from him. That might sound harsh, but we revived his career, damn it. And he's still a multi-millionaire after he looked like he was headed to Bust City.

So we've a little over $4 million to play with in cap space. Things are pretty well picked over at that point, but I find Pat Connaughton, last year's Slam Dunk champion. Good defense and a pretty interesting shot chart, so I ink him to a 2 year, $7 million contract and he gets the nod at starting SF.

Steven Adams signs a 3 year contract extension that pays him $22 million the first year, $25 million the last year, so I don't have that headache to worry about next summer.

Training Camp
Jason Minor indeed looks like a breakout player, so that's cool. Unfortunately everyone else is whatever and didn't move as far as I can tell.

We're picked to finish dead last in the Southeast and the East as a whole.

Lineup
PG Monte Morris
SG Nicolas Batum
SF Pat Connaughton
PF N. Bjelica
CE Steven Adams

We promptly blow up the Raptors 106-65 in the opener. No, that's not a typo. You have to go back to the 1990s to see a team scoring that few a points total. Monte Morris scores 24 with 7 rebounds and a block to be Player of the Game. Nerlens Noel scores 12 with 2 blocks off the bench, and Pat Connaughton is also on the bench, where he scores 14 with 5 boards.

But the sweetest part of this whole deal?

#1 pick Kirk Miller: 1/7 - 5 points, 6 rebounds - 27 minutes
#31 pick Jason Minor: 3/3 - 10 points, 7 rebounds - 17 minutes

Talk about a debut differential! Xavier Smith, who sadly disappointed, scores 9 with 2 assists in his own NBA first minutes.

The glitzy new Cavaliers come to town and we win a shootout, 142-118. Steven Adams racks up 28 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and a block to win Game MVP. All five starters score 14 or more, led by Adams, Monte Morris (29 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds), Nmanja Bjelica (20 points), Cory Joseph's 14 points and 6 assists off the bench, and Nerlens Noel narrowly missing the bench double-double with 9 points, 10 boards, a block, and a steal.

Tough 4 point loss in Utah. They got serious home cooking with a 31-15 FTA advantage differential. Lakers have lost AD but they're still the Lakers.

22 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals makes Monte Morris PotG in a 119-98 road squash of Phoenix. Three bench players score 10: Jason Minor (also 8 rebounds), Pat Connaughton, and Cory Joseph. BTW, Nicolas Batum and Gary Harris are the starters at SF and SG, in case you're wondering why Pat is coming off the bench.

3 point road loss to the Clippers really hurts.

So we're 3-3 after October ends. Two essential coinflip games could have had us 5-1. I have no idea how this team is working as well it does. On paper, yes, we should be stinking. But just like last season, we're finding ways to win. Weirdest flex? Our 117.2 Offensive Rating is tops in the league.

I have zero clue how that's even possible.
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Old 12-13-2019, 02:30 PM   #15
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Two straight home losses to start November before we top Boston 120-103 on the road. The Celtics have been awful to start the season and are now 2-7. Everyone but Steven Adams of the starters scores at least 16. Dubious PotG honors to Nicolas Batum with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.

All five starters in double-digit scoring, with Monte Morris the MVP at 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals as we host Houston to a 106-95 upset. Nerlens Noel paces the bench with 10 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks.

The Lakers - AD + championship hangover = mediocrity, and we beat them 106-89. Steven Adams is PotG with 21 points, 8 rebounds, a block, and a steal. Monte Morris scores 22 and our rookies highlight the bench - 12 points from Xavier Smith, who is proving deadly behind the arc (44% from 3 point range), and 10 from Jason Minor. We're back over .500.

Despite AD, Atlanta has the same 6-5 record as us when they come to town. They promptly smash us by 20 and we lose by 5 at home to the Clippers next up. Then our defense and Steven Adams (20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) roar to life in Miami, resulting in a 98-85 thumping. Pat Connaughton scores 17 off the bench and Caleb Martin adds 10. The Heat come to Charlotte and we whip them even further, 110-81, behind 8 players in double-digit scoring, with Gary Harris the high at 15 points in a boring, balanced blowout.

Boston's a little better at 5-10, but we still beat them 109-105. Monte Morris scores 22 to lead us, Nicolas Batum just misses a double-double with 13 points, 9 rebounds, Nerlens Noel goes ape off the bench for 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block, and Cory Joseph scores 10. The next night we polish off our first B2B of the season by dropping a 2 point heartbreaker in Detroit. We would have won if we were at full rest.

Steven Adams has 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block to win us a 119-117 nailbiter when we trek to DC. Pat Connaughton scores 12 to lead the second team, Cory Joseph and Caleb Martin each adding 10 vital points.

I don't understand our home mediocrity as Karl-Anthony Town's Minnesota Timberwolves maul us there. But Monte Morris scores 30, Steven Adams puts up 15 and 13, and Pat Connaughton scores 10 with 2 steals as we top Andrew Wiggins's terrible Thunder 109-91 in OKC on a B2B front half, then clamp down to an 85-77 win in TO on the back half. 17 points, 6 assists, and a block for Monte Morris, 14 points, 6 rebounds for Cory Joseph, and 10 bench points by Xavier Smith: those were our only players in double-digit scoring in this college-esque game against the woefully underachieving Raptors.



I'm sure AD is pissed about .500 mediocrity in Atlanta. The Pelicans days all over again. Utah is doing just fine without Donovan "Spider" Mitchell thank you - they're 14-6, leading the Northwest. Clippers are leading the league at 16-5.
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Old 12-13-2019, 04:43 PM   #16
jbergey22
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minnesota
Interesting read!

Just dont get caught in the land of mediocrity as often happens in the NBA where you cant land a star player because you always finish in the middle. I like that you are landing a bunch of defensive players and building a deep team.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:49 PM   #17
collegesportsfanms
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Great read! This sounds like a fairly fun game, might have to check it out
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:08 AM   #18
Chas in Cinti
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Following along as well...
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:55 AM   #19
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbergey22 View Post
Interesting read!

Just dont get caught in the land of mediocrity as often happens in the NBA where you cant land a star player because you always finish in the middle. I like that you are landing a bunch of defensive players and building a deep team.

Yeah we're in that mediocrity right now but we also have a ton of cap coming off the books - Batum alone is $26.7 million or something like that (don't have game in front of me), so we'll have the money to go grab a franchise guy if one is available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by collegesportsfanms View Post
Great read! This sounds like a fairly fun game, might have to check it out

It's really fun. Easily the best DDSPB so far - especially in terms of statistical reporting and visual appeal. Engine is its usual strong self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
Following along as well...

Glad to have you along!

Next update will probably be this weekend, though I might squeeze in one or two during the week.
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Old 12-21-2019, 08:27 PM   #20
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Monte Morris explodes for 36 points and 2 steals and our bench is gangbusters: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks for Cody Martin of all people, Nerlens Noel doubling for 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals, and 10 and 11 points for Gary Harris and Xavier Smith in a 135-112 crushing of the Cavs.

I'm not sure how Cody Martin got hot all of a sudden, but he scores 18 off the bench (14 for Cory Joseph) in a 10-point road win over Denver. Monte Morris is again the main scoring man with 27 points. The next night, we're in Minnesota and fall by 5 to exhaustion.

Still, it's been an impressive stretch while Steven Adams has been sidelined by a concussion. He returns our next game in Oakland, scoring 24 as we blank the suddenly elite again Warriors 105-89. Monte Morris powered everything with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 steals, while Jason Minor produced 13 points, 12 rebounds, and a steal after quite happily going back to the bench.

Steven Adams wrests away PotG honors with 22 points and 11 rebounds, despite Monte Morris's team-leading 26. Cody Martin scores 12 off the bench and we edge the Kings 105-97 in Sacramento.

We're still not on the 76ers' level, overwhelmed in Philly on the front of a B2B, but on the back end we grind out an 8 point win in our first home game in forever. Monte Morris scores 26, Jason Minor has 10 boards, a steal, and 2 blocks off the bench, and Gary Harris scores 15. We got the victory despite only 3 players in double-digit scoring.

The ides of December see us squeeze past Sactown 110-102, taking us to 2-0 this month against them. Steven Adams scores 28, Monte Morris 22, and Cory Joseph 13 off the bench. That Adams/Morris duo has really powered our offense so far, and I'll match whatever offer sheet a team throws at Monte this offseason. Kid just flat out maximizes his talent with us.

Important early playoff seeding game, hosting the Bulls. We pass, 119-106 on Steven Adams' 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks; Monte Morris's 20, Gary Harris's bench 15, and Nerlens Noel's second unit 10 points.

So help me figure this out. We're at home, right? Yet the refs swallow the whistles on our own turf for us, giving the Mavericks a 20/3 FTA advantage. You can guess who won that one. I was furious, especially so close to Christmas.

Schedules on some real BS, giving us two road games in Philly in the same damn month. We lose this one, too. First losing streak in a while. We're big mad and sting the Magic by 20 at our place the next night. Steven Adams with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals to lead 8 players in double-digit scoring in the 120-100 win.

Christmas Day marquee in Brooklyn and we drop a 3 point heartbreaker, the same narrow loss-line in Atlanta against AD's team two nights later. All five starters with 10+ points, keyed by Steven Adams (24 points, 9 rebounds) breaks the funk hosting New Orleans - 15 point margin.

And then we spoil our fans New Year's Eve on top of their Christmas, losing by 6 at home to the Bucks.

At 21-16, we're a half-game in front of Atlanta, but a full one behind Orlando. Tight race in the Southeast, which was the laughingstock of the league last season. Currently we're right on that 4/5 seed bubble, but the East is overall is super-close outside of Brooklyn, who at 29-11 is just running away with everything. Out West, the Jazz (26-10) and Clippers (25-11) are in a dogfight for the top seed. LeBron is doing what he can for the Lakers, but they're 15-20 and currently lottery bound if I have my math right.

Fun time to be an NBA fan. Things feel really wide open this year.
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Old 12-22-2019, 12:11 PM   #21
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Miracle of miracles, we have an actual trade to report.

Denver Nuggets receive
J.J. Reddick
New Orleans Pelicans 2021 2nd round pick

New Orleans Pelicans receive
Will Barton

What this means for the Nuggets
Denver has grossly underachieved these past two seasons, but shooting hasn't been a reason why. Nor is Redick, at 36, an answer to any of the problems they have. Feels like a strange trade for the Nuggets to make.

What this means for the Pelicans
Barton is an even worse defender than Redick, but does have a much better shooting profile. Still, he's 6 years younger and that's better for a rebuilding New Orleans team. But the second round pick was probably more valuable for their situation.

Winner: No one
File this under making a trade to make a trade.

Home vs the Knicks and we still can't beat a New York team. 4 point loss.

Hello, losing streak. Spurs gash us in San Antonio. We staunch the bleeding with a 118-105 win over the Pistons in Charlotte. Nemanja Bjelica scores 22 with 2 steals, Steven Adams nets 13 and 12, and Cory Joseph (15 points) and Gary Harris (12 points) get it done off the bench.

I block everyone but Monte Morris, Nerlens Noel, Xavier Smith, and Jason Minor, just to see if anything shakes loose.

31 points, 11 assists, and 2 steals gives Monte Morris PotG in a scrappy 6 point win over Denver. Nerlens Noel and Cory Joseph head the reserves with 14 and 10 respective points.

Monte Morris again with 25 points, 8 assists, a steal, and a block as our defense suddenly wakes up to smash Southeast-leading Orlando 115-79. Jason Minor has 11 boards and 3 blocks off the bench, with Cody Martin and Cory Joseph each adding 13 to the score tally. The rest allows us to finally beat Philly on the back end, 102-96, Monte Morris scoring 25, Gary Harris 18 points in 19 minutes, and Cory Joseph continuing his hot streak off the bench with 11 points.

Rare game where our defense deserts us in a 121-126 home loss to Detroit.

It comes back a few nights later as we hold the Wizards to 95 in DC. Steven Adams - 27 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals; Monte Morris - 22 points, and 14 and 11 bench points by the Martin twins. First time I've been able to type that sentence.

Playoff position fight in Cleveland, and we win resoundingly - 116-93. Monte Morris is everywhere with his 23 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Steven Adams scores 26, the Martin twins score 11 and 12, and Gary Harris adds 14 for good measure.

Houston's struggling this season and they get handed another home loss by Monte Morris's 30 points and 3 steals. Support came via Pat Connaughton's 20 points (he's been starting at SF for a while now), the Martin twins scoring 10 each, and Nerlens Noel chipping in 13 points and 2 rejections.

Just when I think we're rolling good, Portland beats us 143-126 on their court. I think that's the most points we've given up in my tenure. Second straight butt-whipping follows a few nights later against AD's Atlanta Hawks, dropping us another game behind them. That one hurt.

Chance for revenge comes vs Portland and we win 95-79 (or the complete opposite of our shootout in the PNW). Steven Adams has a triple-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 blocks. Also coming up with 20 points is Monte Morris, with Cody Martin adding 11 bench points.

Picture's much clearer in the East now - Brooklyn, Chicago, and Atlanta respectively are all in charge of their divisions. Orlando is the #4 seed, 2.5 games back of the Hawks. We're 29-21, a game back of the Magic and with a sizable lead on the seeds below us.

The West is now the bloodbath that the East was last month - Golden State has risen back up to the conference's top seed, but it's by fractional percentage points. Memphis/Spurs and Warriors/Clippers are fantastic division fights, whereas Utah is 6 games up in their division. After those five 60% win teams, it falls to 54% Portland, so a pretty substantial tier dropoff.
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Old 12-26-2019, 03:21 AM   #22
Izulde
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Trade season is officially here. But before things get started, we treat Boston to a 16 point beatdown keyed by Monte Morris's 23 points and 2 steals, Steven Adams' quiet 14 points, 10 boards, and a rip-roaring 19 points, 6 rebounds, and a steal in just 17 minutes from Gary Harris. Talk about a phenomenal per 36 line.

Fans in Orlando got treated to a real barnburner. The Magic blew a 21 point lead to have us snipe the win in OT, 111-109. Monte Morris scored 23 with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, a block, and 4 steals. Pat Connaughton scored 15 off the bench (Jason Minor has moved into the starting PF role in our constant rotation at the 4), Cody Martin put up 13, and Gary Harris 12.

35 points and 9 assists from Monte Morris power us to 114-103 win in Indiana, Steven Adams supporting with a 10 point, 14 rebound double-double. Nerlens Noel is a swat machine with 4 blocks off the bench. The other side of the B2B is in Toronto, where our defense holds the Raptors to just 86 points, Cody Martin, Cory Joseph, and Gary Harris all score 10 with the second team, Steven Adams is PotG with 23 points, 12 rebounds, a block, and 2 steals, and Monte Morris keeps pouring in buckets with 24 points.

I'll review the other trades next time, but on deadline day, we pull off a shocker.

Charlotte Hornets receive
Jimmy Butler

Miami Heat receive
Nemanja Bjelica
Gary Harris
Cory Joseph (Cut)

What this means for the Hornets
Charlotte lacked a true star they could run the offense through, though Monte Morris and Steven Adams have been doing what they can. The addition of the 31 year old Butler completely changes that, giving them a tour de force to reckon with. Yes, the contract is ugly especially two years from now when he's 33 and has no doubt picked up his almost $40 million player option. But for a team that wants to make some playoff noise, he's an absolute gold find without giving up too much.

What this means for the Heat
Butler was mighty unhappy. At 18-37, Miami was going nowhere this season and didn't last year, either. They shed themselves of a toxic contract, though they'll eat $12.6 million in cap space next year by cutting Joseph. Bejlica gives them $7.5 million expiring and a three-position 6th man for the frontcourt, who can shoot 3s and play solid D. Harris is still just 26 and one of the league's best defenders. He can also be a $20 million expiring contract next season. Essentially, this was a cap move. The Heat will be absolutely loaded with space this summer and can hope to find a star like the Atlanta Hawks did with Anthony Davis. And they got younger.

Winner: Charlotte
Bjelica and Harris for Butler is an absolute steal for the Hornets, especially since they got Joseph back on a one year min-sal. But you can't discount the financial freedom and happier locker room the Heat gets from this move. For right now, Charlotte wins this deal going away in terms of pure value. But if Miami finds the right guy with their flush cap space, this can upgrade into a Both victory.

In addition to re-signing Joseph on a vet minsal, we grabbed Rodney Purvis off the street on a minsal to get to the minimum 12 players. And there's still a little cap wiggle room to add a player if injuries strike.

Jimmy Butler's debut is a beauty - 22 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, a block and a steal as we rout Brooklyn, yes, Brooklyn 110-89. Great to get that monkey off our back. 13 points, 11 rebound by Steven Adams, 16 bench points from Cody Martin, and 13 bench points via Pat Connaughton.

Jimmy Butler stalks closer to a triple double with 21 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals in a 20 point smashing of the Bucks in Milwaukee. Cody Martin scored 19 with 7 assists, 2 steals, and a block off the bench, and Xavier Smith had a great night himself - 12 points, 5 assists. Nice to see the rookie do something.

The winning ends with a solid road loss in New York, but oh well. We're still 6-1 so far this month and have been scorching hot.

All-Star Weekend
Slam Dunk Champion: Rui Hachimura (WAS) - 72
3 Point Champion: Steph Curry (GSW) - 21, destroying Otto Porter Jr's 16 and Joe Ingles' 14

The Sophomores have an easy time against the Rookies, 156-143, with Kendrick Nunn's 29 points earning him MVP. Jason Minor played 7 minutes for 2 points.

28 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks earned Anthony Davis MVP in the East's 157-147 win over the weakened West. We had no representation, but Kemba Walker was voted starting PG for the East. He's having a phenomenal season.

The All-Star festivities out of the way, we lose a crucial game to Chicago on the front end of a B2B, still unable to solve them. The back end is a narrow 105-104 home win vs Washington. Monte Morris pours in 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals, Steven Adams nets 10/18/4 blocks, Cody Martin rips off 22 bench points, and Cory Joseph scores 12. Awful 7 of 24 night from Jimmy Butler.

It's ugly because Monte Morris is out with a calf injury, but we grit out a 91-77 win vs the Raptors on Jimmy Butler's 29 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals and Cody Martin's 13 bench points.

B2B to end the month. Leg 1: 111-107 W in Detroit, courtesy of Steven Adams (23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal), Cody Martin (21 points), and Xavier Smith (18 points!) Leg 2: Embarrassing 10 point home loss to the Suns due to the refs giving them a 36-22 FTA. Such BS. Also a Cody Martin injury.

Still, we're 38-24, sitting in the 4th seed by a half-game over Orlando. 2nd in Southeast, just 2 games back of the Atlanta Hawks. We're almost certainly guaranteed to lock up a winning season this year, though we got nettled by injuries in the second half of the month. And we're 5-2 in the Jimmy Butler era. I feel like this team is a lot more talented now. Not as deep at the wing spots obviously and JB is prone to some inconsistency, but this feels like a roster that could legitimately make some noise in the postseason, whereas last year, the talent gap was huge.
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Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

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Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
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