Saturday, May 31, 2008

RANKING THE SMALL FORWARDS

One of the most important attributes of a Nelliball player is versatility. And one of the most versatile positions in basketball is the Small Forward position where a top player is expected to do many things well, including shooting, rebounding, defending, and scoring. Nelson's perfect Small Forward also has to be able to create mismatches and that means play multiple positions while being able to switch freely on defense without being excessively over-matched. I've taken the liberty of applying the same ranking system I used on bigs to find out how the best small forwards in this year's draft class stack up against one another.

I've compared 10 players that have a chance to be available at #14 based on mock drafts I've seen. Two of the players, Danilo Gallinari and Nicolas Batum play under International rules, so keep that in mind when evaluating the results. Also, although this group is comprised of players projected to be SF's in the NBA, some could easily slide into other positions, which is a huge plus for any Don Nelson coached basketball team. The players have been evaluated in the following categorize: Scoring, Rebounding, Blocks, Assists, Steals, Turnovers, True Shooting Percentage, Three Point Percentage, and Age. The top player in each category sets the benchmark for a 10 and the others get scores depending on how far they are from the best (5 will be the lowest possible score one can get). Unlike the previous scoring method used on the bigs, all categories are weighted equally with the exception of age.


These statistics are based on Per 40 Pace Adjusted.
Rank - Player - Statistic - Score

Points
01. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 24.1 - 10
02. Bill Walker - 21.9 - 9
03. Pat Calathes - 21.4 - 9
04. Joe Alexander - 21.3 - 9
05. Gary Forbes - 20.4 - 9
06. Chase Budinger - 19.9 - 9
07. Danilo Gallinari - 19.2 - 8
08. Donte Greene - 18.3 - 8
09. Brandon Rush - 17.6 - 7
10. Nicolas Batum - 12.9 - 6

Rebounds
01. Pat Calathes - 9.2 - 10
02. Bill Walker - 8.6 - 10
03. Joe Alexander - 8.1 - 9
04. Gary Forbes - 7.9 - 9
05. Donte Greene - 7.4 - 8
06. Brandon Rush - 6.8 - 8
07. Chase Budinger - 6.3 - 7
08. Chris Douglas Roberts - 5.5 - 6
09. Danilo Gallinari - 5.4 - 6
10. Nicolas Batum - 5.2 - 6

Blocks
01. Joe Alexander - 1.9 - 10
02. Donte Greene - 1.7 - 10
03. Pat Calathes - 1.5 - 9
04. Brandon Rush - 1.1 - 8
05. Gary Forbes - 0.7 - 7
05. Bill Walker - 0.7 - 7
05. Nicolas Batum - 0.7 - 7
08. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 0.6 - 7
09. Danilo Gallinari - 0.5 - 7
10. Chase Budinger - 0.2 - 5

True Shooting Percentage
01. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 62% - 10
02. Pat Calathes - 59% - 9
03. Brandon Rush - 56% - 8
03. Chase Budinger - 56% - 8
05. Bill Walker - 55% - 8
05. Danilo Gallinari - 55% - 8
07. Joe Alexander - 54% - 8
08. Donte Greene - 53% - 8
09. Nicolas Batum - 52% - 7
10. Gary Forbes - 51% - 7

Assists
01. Nicolas Batum - 4.0 - 10
02. Chase Budinger - 3.4 - 9
03. Pat Calathes - 3.3 - 9
04. Gary Forbes - 3.2 - 8
05. Joe Alexander - 3.1 - 8
06. Brandon Rush - 2.8 - 7
07. Bill Walker - 2.6 - 7
08. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 2.4 - 7
09. Danilo Gallinari - 2.2 - 6
10. Donte Greene - 2.1 - 6

Three Point Percentage
01. Brandon Rush - 41.9% - 10
02. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 41.3 - 10
03. Pat Calathes - 40.0 - 9
04. Chase Budinger - 38.0 - 8
05. Donte Greene - 34.5 - 7
06. Danilo Gallinari - 31.8 - 6
07. Bill Walker - 30.7 - 6
08. Gary Forbes - 29.2 - 6
09. Nicolas Batum - 29.0 - 6
10. Joe Alexander - 26.8 - 6

Steals
01. Danlio Gallinari - 2.2 - 10
02. Nicolas Batum - 1.9 - 9
03. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 1.7 - 8
04. Pat Calathes - 1.5 - 8
05. Donte Greene - 1.3 - 7
05. Chase Budinger - 1.3 - 7
07. Gary Forbes - 1.2 - 7
07. Bill Walker - 1.2 - 7
09. Brandon Rush - 1.1 - 7
10. Joe Alexander - .9 - 6

Turnovers
01. Danlio Gallinari - 1.8 - 10
02. Brandon Rush - 2.4 - 9
03. Donte Greene - 2.7 - 8
03. Chase Budinger - 2.7 - 8
05. Joe Alexander - 2.8 - 8
05. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 2.8 - 8
05. Pat Calathes - 2.8 - 8
08. Nicolas Batum - 3.0 - 7
09. Gary Forbes - 3.3 - 6
10. Bill Walker - 3.6 - 6

Age (1.25 multiplier)
01. Nicolas Batum - 12/14/88 - 10
02. Danilo Gallinari - 08/08/88 - 10
03. Donte Greene - 02/21/88 - 9
04. Chase Budinger - 12/21/87 - 8
05. Bill Walker - 10/09/87 - 8
06. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 01/08/87 - 7
07. Joe Alexander - 12/26/86 - 7
08. Pat Calathes - 12/12/85 - 7
09. Brandon Rush - 07/08/85 - 6
10. Gary Forbes - 02/25/85 - 6

Overall Scores:
01. Pat Calathes - 79.75
02. Chris Douglas-Roberts - 74.75
03. Danlio Gallinari - 73.50
04. Donte Greene - 73.25
05. Joe Alexander - 72.75
06. Brandon Rush - 71.50
07. Chase Budinger - 71.00
08. Nicolas Batum - 70.50
09. Bill Walker - 70.00
10. Gary Forbes - 66.25

What a big surprise! A guy projected to be a second rounder in most mock drafts (undrafted in others) takes the top honors. Judging by the initial scores, Pat Calathes' name should be mentioned among the lottery pick candidates, but if you consider the level of competition, his stats would have to be put into perspective resulting in a ranking more line with that of a late first rounder. Regardless, the separation of scores from Calathes to the nearest players are still impressive. If you are looking for a small forward that could do most everything well and a few things at a very high level, Calathes is your man. There are questions as to whether or not his lack of athleticism will hurt him at the next level, so GM's are wary of taking him too soon.

Gallinari scored the third highest out of the group which is impressive considering he is the 2nd youngest player studied. His hype appears to be justified and with his versatile game and a high ceiling, Gallinari would be an excellent pick anywhere in the lottery.

After Calathes, the talent is relatively close with players like CDR, Gallinari, Alexander, and Greene being the best of the group. A team will have to chose which Small Forward is right for them based on the stregths of each of the candidates, i.e. rebounding, scoring, 3 point shooting, defense, etc. CDR is the clear cut scoring machine, Gallinari is a well-rounded SF with tremendous upside, Alexander is a SF with a Power Forward's mentality, and Greene is another well-rounded SF with a lot of potential. Greene's size makes him intriguing, but he needs to be able to play smarter and take better shots in order for him to star in the league.

Gary Forbes seems to be out of his league when his stats are compared to some of the top Small Forwards in this draft. He's dead last by a large margin, but Forbes is raising his stock in the Orlando Pre-draft camp versus decent competition and is looking like a lock for a early 2nd round selection. Is he having a hot week or is he for real? Only time will tell.

Of the Small Forwards studied, six seemed to have abilities suited to play the Shooting Guard position as well: CDR, Rush, Budinger, Batum, Walker, and Forbes. Calathes, Greene, and Alexander were the only ones that seemed to be able to comfortably transition into a secondary Power Forward role.

As I mentioned in the previous blog that ranked the bigs, more components will be added like athleticism, physical dimensions, etc. to get a better feel for those players in the study. There are many missing components such as Strength of Schedule, Potential, Leadership, Work Ethic, Intangibles, and Special Circumstances (injuries, system, coach, rotation) but as I mentioned before, the more you add the more subjective the study becomes. This is far from a perfect system so take it with a grain of salt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

OFFSEASON PLAN 2.0 - THE 2-YEAR WINDOW





48 wins and only 2 games out of a playoff spot. We're closer to competing for a title than many realize - Baron agrees in this KNBR interview. The disappointing finish left a bad taste in the mouths of many Warrior fans and their knee-jerk reaction is to blow this team up and start over. Up until early March, thoughts of a 4th or 5th seed didn't seem so far fetched. But due to a number of factors outlined previously on this blog, the wheels came off at the end and our playoff hopes disappeared. If we start rebuilding now, it will be another few years until we sniff the playoffs, so why not give it our best shot for the next two years (while Jackson is still under contract) and then rebuild afterwards.

What this team needs is a stronger bench, a true backup PG, better defense, better rebounding, and better shot blocking. With these improvements to the team, a fresher Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson could be the difference between missing out and competing hard deep into the playoffs. Those two captains were nearly named to the Western Conference All-Star Team. When those two are able to preform at their peak, the Warriors are as dangerous a team as any. Keeping their minutes down will be the key to a more successful season and here is a way to try and achieve that goal without sacrificing the future.


Transactions:

Trade Al Harrington for Earl Watson + Nick Collison + #32 Pick
Draft Marreese Speights w/ #14 Pick
Draft Mario Chalmers w/ #32 Pick
Draft Pat Calathes w/ #49 Pick
Extend Baron Davis (5 yr/$57m : $13m, $13m, $11.6m, $10.3m, $9.1m) 3rd & 4th yr. P.O. , 5th yr T.O
Re-sign Monta Ellis (5 yr/$45.4m : $7.5m, $8.3m, $9.1m, $9.9m, $10.7m)
Re-sign Andris Beidrins (5 yr/$41.1m : $6.8m, $7.5m, $8.2m, $8.9m, $9.7m)
Re-sign Kelenna Azubuike (3 yr/$9m : $2.5m, $3m, $3.5 mil) 3rd yr. P.O.
Re-sign Matt Barnes (2 yr/$3.2m : $1.5m, $1.7m) 2nd yr. P.O.
Sign Josh Childress (5 yr/$29m : $5.0m, $5.4m, $5.8m, $6.2m, $6.6m) 5th yr. P.O.

T.O. = Team Option, P.O. = Player Option


Approximate Salaries:

Baron Davis - $13,000,000
Stephen Jackson - $7,140,000
Monta Ellis - $7,500,000
Andris Biedrins - $6,800,000
Nick Collison - $6,250,000
Adonal Foyle - $6,900,000
Earl Watson - $6,200,000
Josh Childress - $5,000,000
Kellena Azubuike - $2,300,000
Brandan Wright -$2,497,320
Kosta Perovic - $1,944,000
Marco Belinelli - $1,445,720
Marreese Speights - $1,424,400
Matt Barnes - $1,500,000
Mario Chalmers - $750,000
Pat Calathes - $700,000

Total Team Salary - $71,352,440


2008/2009 Warriors Lineup:

PG: Davis/E. Watson/Chalmers
SG: Ellis/Azubuike/Belinelli
SF: Jackson/Childress/Barnes
PF: Wright/Collison/Calathes
C: Biedrins/Speights/Perovic

This team is a lot better than last year's in many respects. With only 6 players under contract for the 2008-2009 season, the Warriors need quality bodies that will fill needs and provide a stronger, more reliable bench.


  1. Harrington is traded for two quality players that immediately increase depth and address deficiencies in the previous roster. With Watson, Baron gains a legit backup that would allow him to get his rest and increase his productivity. With Collison, we get a hard nosed rebounder that compliments Wright and Biedrins' games. Click here for additional details

  2. In order to insure Baron stays for the duration of the 2-year window, he needs to be given a long term deal that appeals to him. If he's serious about winning like he said in his recent interview, Baron will take a short term pay cut in order for the team to field a competitive team that fits under the luxury tax threshold. In the long term, he'll likely make more money overall with this deal than if he decided to opt out this year or risk getting a much lower contract as a free agent in the Summer of 2009. He'll get $26m for the next 2 seasons with the option to get out of the contract in the Summers of 2010 and 2011. The salary levels decline as the years pass and they are at a reasonable enough level (Billups at 31 years old is comparable) for Baron to be moved for an expiring deal down the line, if necessary.

  3. Signing Josh Childress for the MLE gives us a reliable, versatile 6th man that fits nicely with the Warriors' style of play. He plays hard at both ends of the floor, shoots at a high percentage, rebounds well from the SF position, and has the ability to distribute the ball. ESPN Game Log

  4. Drafting Marreese Speights gives the Warriors a future stud at the PF/C position. His midrange shooting, incredible footwork, rebounding and shotblocking ability, and mobility will allow him to eventually step in as part of a fierce trio made up of Wright, Biedrins, and Spieghts. Click for additional information on Marreese Speights

  5. Drafting Mario Chalmers gives us one of the best perimeter defenders coming out of college. He's talented enough to guard the 2 when Monta slides to the 1. He's a born leader, fearless, and a clutch performer. His long arms, quickness, and ability to deflect passes makes him a perfect addition to Nelliball. ESPN Profile

  6. Drafting Pat Calathes gives the Warriors a point forward with outstanding ball-handling, court vision, awareness, and perimeter shooting. He'll be able to play 3 positions and will fit nicely into the Warriors system. ESPN Profile

  7. Internal development will naturally make this team stronger than last year's team. Monta and Biedrins will continue to get better. Wright and Belinelli will play a more prominent role. Azubuike and Perovic also have room to grow and should help provide meaningful minutes off the bench.

This new group of players stay together for the next 2 years. Chemistry will have time to develop in this fine mix of veterans and youngsters. The young players will get better. All the new additions fit the Warriors' style of play. Davis, Monta, and Jackson will lead the team with All-star caliber play. Defense is improved with the additions of Spieghts, Collison, Chalmers, Childress, and Watson. The future is bright with the addition of the draft picks. Davis, our leader and star player, will be around to hold this team together for at least the next 2 years. Without him, this team is just another mediocre late lottery team. With him, this is a team that is ready to compete hard in the Western Conference Playoffs.


Josh Childress - Forgotten Josh MIX by MISIEK
by TheKingMisiek




Earl Watson alley oop UCLA vs Maryland
by DangerDLK




Nick Collison - Nick Who MIX by MISIEK
by TheKingMisiek