Story of the Rondo Trade: The Great Mark Cuban

Story of the Rondo Trade: The Great Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban grew up a working class kid in Pittsburgh. He became a billionaire. He was a headstrong, reckless billionaire, who knew how to spend and root for his Dallas Mavericks, but was not the cool, calculating owner who typically tastes success. Time passed. Cuban mellowed. And he became the cool, calculated successful owner.  Once overly blustery and at times reckless, Cuban has channeled his inner desire to see Mavericks greatness, and has put a good management team led by Donnie Nelson Jr around him, as he navigates this new CBA. Why is he so successful? He zigs when everyone else zags. And if you look at a tale of the Mavericks since 2011, that’s why he has put a fearsome starting lineup together around Dirk Nowitzki. After the 2011 finals, Cuban made the boldest of choices, deliberately choosing to break up the NBA champions. It was truly shocking, at the time. Always known to spend and always wanting to win. What was he doing? Putting money in the bank or outsmarting himself? Cuban’s choice was emblematic of the number one rule of thumb under the new CBA. It is imperative to have a keen understanding of where you reside on the arc of contention (think of the Spurs as the apex, and the Sixers as the first pencil stroke), to understand what the league wide player perception is of your franchise (how do you acquire signature free agents and sell players on your franchise otherwise?), and act accordingly. Cuban did that. He justified the choice, believing that yeah, the group won a title, but it was definitely not...
Round Table Discussion: Part 3 – Seriously, the Bucks? Buying the Morris Twins Chemistry?  What’s Ainge Got to Do?

Round Table Discussion: Part 3 – Seriously, the Bucks? Buying the Morris Twins Chemistry? What’s Ainge Got to Do?

How seriously should the league take the Milwaukee Bucks? Justin Salkin Milwaukee is not a team to be overlooked. While it may not appear as such on the surface, they have considerably more talent than last year for a variety of factors. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight have provided internal development, with Giannis showing the outlines of a two way star and Knight developing into a quality point guard. OJ Mayo provides more production than a year ago because he cut the mayo. Larry Sanders is playing a role after dealing with myriad issues a year ago. Drafting Jabari Parker did not hurt either. On top of that, this Bucks team is defending really well, ranking 8th defensively near the quarter pole. They score just enough (ranking 20th) that if they don’t crater offensively that defense can carry them. It’s no surprise if one looks closely. Jason Kidd’s Nets, as they settled in and he installed his heavy switching, strong side overload defense ranked sixth in forcing turnovers, and now he has way more athleticism and length at his disposal. His message is also getting across: he did a good job to close his inaugural year, and it is easier to teach and mentor younger people than peers, for obvious reasons. His Bucks grew up watching him, which breeds respect, and they play really hard for him. His young players are learning the importance of defense and have the length and quickness to harass attack guards in a way that will make this defense sustainable. The tough defense, enthusiasm, and the weak Eastern Conference. The league always seems to...
Golden State Warriors: What’s Love Got to do With it

Golden State Warriors: What’s Love Got to do With it

You know the common refrain.  The NBA is a “superstars league.” The goal for all 30 teams should be to collect superstars, because you win with top 15 players. So if you have a chance to secure a player of that caliber, you should do it.  And if you don’t have a player of that caliber, you should do everything you can to get one – literally everything (Sam Hinkie). With a chance to acquire Kevin Love, the Golden State Warriors did not do that.  Instead, they stood pat, extended Klay Thompson this summer, and decided to continue forward with a rather similar group to last year, with Shaun Livingston the only notable offseason acquisition. I criticized the decision, at the time. Many did. While the Cavaliers likely overpaid for Kevin Love, it seemed as though the Warriors had a chance to get him at a fair price, and ignored that chance. They now sit at 16-2. This much is true. I was wrong. The Golden State Warriors made the right choice in choosing to march forward without Love.  The reasons are clear. They all stem back to Thompson’s development, the defense, Steve Kerr’s optimal use of lineups, and the CBA ramifications of adding Love to the roster. KLAY THOMPSON This much cannot be denied: Thompson is a much improved player.  The way Thompson is playing, you can make a case for his being the second best 2 guard in the NBA (James Harden has a nice stranglehold on the top position). Thompson was a good player last season, but had clear deficiencies.  A shooter without much of a floor...
Complete NBA Rankings- Week 5

Complete NBA Rankings- Week 5

We’ve made it through the 1st quarter of the season and the NBA is already in full throttle. The West is a slugfest. With the top 7 teams winning at a 72% or better clip. The East is still trying to keep up with their high powered counterparts. The power schism has never looked more glaring; Atlanta and Washington, both 13-6 and tied for 2nd in the East, would be scratching for 8th in the West. So who’s really got the juice? I’ve already warmed up by trotting out my Eastern Conference power rankings, then I kept it rolling with my Western Conference Power rankings. Without further ado, let’s dive in: 1 through 30, I examine exactly where the power rests so far in the 2015 season. (All stats are accurate as of 3:00 pm, 8 December 2014. All stats courtesy of Basketball-reference.com.)   1 –  Golden State Warriors (17-2, 7-1 Home, 10-1 Road, 9-2 vs West, 8-0 vs East ) Offensive rating: 109.2 (8th) Defensive rating: 98.1 (1st) 5-0 Last 5 games Currently engorging on a 12 game winning streak. Stephen Curry (23.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 7.7 apg, 27.5 PER) is an MVP candidate. Elite shooting (2nd in the league in True Shooting Percentage and 3 point percentage with 57.5% and 38.4%, respectively) let’s them get away with being 27th in Turnover Percentage and 22nd in Offensive Rebound Percentage.   2 – San Antonio Spurs (15-5, 7-1 Home, 8-4 Road, 8-4 vs West, 7-1 vs East) Offensive rating: 107.3 (13th) Defensive rating: 99.8 (2nd) 4-1 Last 5 games They’re The Undead. Seriously. While the Warriors, Cavs, even OKC drive the NBA news...