The summers first edition of Tbird Topics starts today,with just some random thoughts on a variety of Pacers and NBA topics that happen to be on my mind today. None of them I thought merited their own individual thread, so I am putting them all in this catch all type of format.
First of all, the free agent frenzy and the panic mode thatseems to be overcoming some of you.
In general, most free agent money from the 30 NBA teams will be spent in the early days of the free agent period. There is this giant rusof energy that is created as teams and agents scramble around trying to find a place for themselves before the music stops.
But just like shopping on the day after Thanksgiving,sometimes if you wait just a bit, you can get a lot more bang for your buck if you are smart enough to wait out the masses, then sweep up afterwards and pickup bargains later.
75% or more of the players signed in early July will be overpaid as free agents if you look ahead a year from now, and teams will be regretting all the money they spent on guys who dont make enough of a difference for them, or who are bad fits for their team from a style of play or chemistry point a view.
Everyone needs to just chill out, trust me, waiting out some of these extravagant deals puts us in good position to come in in late July and pick up better bargains, and guys who fit our current team structure and personality better.
Many of you were pining for Brandon Bass, for example. Whywould you want to pay big bucks for a one dimensional backup power forward who cant play more than one position? Likely, he wouldnt have wanted to come here anyway. We are spending way too much time as fans worrying about mediocre guys who wouldnt start for us either short or long term.
We need to look for some bargains and positions of need,guys who can fill roles for specific reasons and needs, and who would fit inour team personality and salary structure.
As I see it, here are our team needs:
1. WE STILL NEED A BACKUP BIG MAN, PARTICULARLY WESTILL NEED A PLAYER WHO:
-Is young (mid 20s)
-who can be good enough to( a) plaalongside West as a backup to Hibbert, (b) play alongside Hibbert as a backuto West (c) fill a short term need as a starter at either position if needed.
2. WE STILL NEED A BACK UP WING MAN WHO CAN EITHERGET HIS OWN SHOT OR CREATE SHOTS FOR OTHERS.
3. WE MAY NEED A BACKUP POINT GUARD LONG TERM TO GROOM BEHIND HILL, IF WE HAVE TO MOVE COLLISON TO GET ANOTHER PIECE.
So, as I see it, here are some guys worth acquiring,and the ways Id go about it:
1. MARRESSE SPEIGHTS, MEMPHIS
Some of you may remember that I really really liked Speights coming out of the draft a few years ago, but he got drafted in totally the wrong situation for him in Philadelphia, the same year they gave Elton Brand that ridiculous contract, basically blocking him.
They moved him to Memphis, where he is blocked by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph now.
While he hasnt been as effective as I thought hed be so far, I still believe in him as a player, and he is still a young big man who could be had for cheap money or in a sign/trade deal.I think he can back up both the center and power forward positions, giving us a potential player x that I have talked about for a long time. Worst case, he is a backup big man better than anyone we have currently who can score with hisback to the basket, and being around a professional like David West would begood for him. Best case, he can be your long term starter at the 4 spot for cheap money after Wests contract expires.
TBIRD PROPOSED DEAL: SIGN/TRADE WITH MEMPHIS,3 YEAR, 12 MILLION WITH THE 3RD YEAR A TEAM OPTION .MEMPHIS TRADES US SPEIGHTS AND A FUTURE NUMBER ONE DRAFT PICK FOR DARREN COLLISON
2. LOU WILLIAMS, PHILADELPHIA
If we truly want a scorer off the bench who is a professional with high character, I think Williams is a better player than either Mayo (who I dont like as a player, I disagree with Larry Bird on him) or Courtney Lee (my second choice).
This move has the added benefit of hurting a rival team in the East. Plus, I have a feeling that Williams is going to sign for a bargain at the end of the day, when you see what other players he is better than may get.
TBIRD PROPOSED DEAL: FREE AGENT SIGNING, 3 YEARS, 19.5 MILLION DOLLARS.
3. JORDAN FARMAR, NEW JERSEY
Farmar makes sense to me as a nicepotential backup point guard with some upside, who we should be able to poach away from New Jersey fairly easily. He has gotten to play regular minutes forthe Nets at times and has been a fairly decent player, who should fit in well and be hungry for minutes in Indiana.
TBIRD PROPOSED DEAL: FREE AGENT SIGNING, 2 YEARS, 7 MILLION, LAST YEAR A TEAM OPTION.
4. DARIUS MORRIS, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The Lakers appear to be in all inmode, and have just signed Steve Nash for big money. Morris is a 64 youngpoint guard out of Michigan who will never get a chance to play in Los Angelesand will just languish on their bench ..no way will Mike Brown trust Morris in big moments in Lakerland. With his contract actually being penalized at a high rate under the new CBA, I am thinking the Lakers might like to save a slight bit of cash, or rather have a veteran type guy on their bench instead of Morris.
I really liked Morris in college,and loved his court vision and size .Id like a chance to groom him here and see if we can develop him as a long term backup point guard.
Much like a few years ago when we had an opportunity (as did every other team) to pick up Aaron Afflalo cheaply,I think Morris can be had for as little as a 2nd round pick out into the future. Kevin Pritchard needs to make a call and see if I am correct.
On to Roy Hibbert, and where Istand on his contract.
I hate the headline that we have going on our site, stating that Portland has offered him max money. That is true only for them, but for us the maximum money we could have offered him issomething like 5 years 79 million, instead of the reported 4 years 58 millionPortland has offered him.
Matching Portland instead of maxing him out ourselves saves us a year of commitment and 21 million dollars over thecourse of the contract, making matching him in my view an absolute no brainer .we simply have to do it.
But more than that, signing Hibbert is WORTH IT. If you arent going to sign guys who work hard and improve their games at the NBA level, integrate themselves into the community, who arepersonable and outgoing with the fanbase, who you have developed and drafted at a premium position then who the hell ARE you going to sign?
Not signing Hibbert doesnt mean the Pacers will save any money by the way, it just means they will spend thes ame amount or more eventually on other, less deserving players.
As a Cubs baseball fan, I remember well when Cubs then General manager Larry Himes though that, instead of re-signing Greg Maddux as a free agent, that he would instead take that money and sign 4 other mediocre to bad free agents .anybody remember Willie Wilson as a Cubs centerfielder that year??? I didnt think so .
You are ALWAYS better off in sports buying really good things for a dollar, rather than spending 3 quarters 2 dimes and a nickel for a variety of spare parts.
I will say this: WE SHOULD WAIT UNTIL JULY 14 TO ACTUALLY MATCH the contract legally, just to leave theTrailblazers in as much limbo as possible. And I think it is smart to publically let the issue and doubt continue, just to paralyze the Blazers as much as possible.
THE TBIRD IDEAL METHOD OF BUILDING AN NBA ROSTER AND GRADING PLAYERS I SCOUT:
1. PG: a defensive minded point guard who is agreat chemistry guy.
2. Wing 1: an assassin type scorer who consistentlycan score every night, preferably someone who can break defenses down off thedribble to get his own shot.
3. Wing 2: a big time wing defender who can guardthe opponents best player, it helps if this guy has at least one above average offensive skill as well.
4. Post 1: someone who can score in the low post with his back to the basket. Someone who is a legitimate threat every night andwho needs to be double teamed consistently on the block. One of your top scorers.
5. Post 2: A player who can rebound, defend, and run the floor. Probably can guard multiple types of players, as many types aspossible. Someone who can play on the low block but who is mobile and talented enough to move around offensively to various places on the floor.
6. Back up Post 1: A player who can back up both big spots ..big enough to guard centers, but able to play alongside them aswell. Needs a variety of skills so he can back up both spots .ideally a guy who brings slightly different skill sets than your 2 starting bigs, but defensively he needs to be able to play both spots.
7. Back up Wing 1: A player who can score inbunches in some particular way. Whether as a slasher, spot up shooter, driver,or a guy running off screens, this guy needs to be able to score for you. Goodenough on offense to start in a pinch, good enough defensively to start ifnecessary. Ideally big enough to play defensively either wing spot.
8. Back up Point guard: preferably a guy who brings different skill sets to the position than your starter does, to give you acontrast. Has to be consistent. Preferably he gives you enough size and ability that he can play with your point guard simultaneously if need be at times. Needsto be either a really good defender OR a really good scoring type guard if possible.
9. Backup Post 2: this guy is preferably a smaller,quicker more perimeter oriented post player, someone who gives you some positional flexibility in a pinch. Or, maybe he just excels in one particularlyaspect, either as a jump shooter, rebounder, defender, etc. Your 4throtational big guy who plays around 10-15 minutes per game but who could play more if needed.
10. Backup Wing 2: this guy is your 10thman on your team, preferably a guy who has a special one skill that keeps himin the league. Preferably a team oriented guy, because he may not play regularrotation minutes.
11. Backup PG2: your 11th guy, a developmental backup, 3rd string point guard. Maybe an old grizzled veteran instead of a rookie, but this guy needs to be cheap and happy just being on the team, if he is young you are hoping he can move up the chain and be a quality back up for you someday.
12. Backup Post 3: This is your backup center, atrue big guy with mammoth size, and enforcer type or a project type. Reallyonly needs to be able to play against the biggest guys in an emergency, but he dresses every night in case you need a hard foul or if your center gets injured or something. This guy needs to be able to physically defend bigger centers in short stretches.
13. Project wing: a rookie or someone else you want to develop.
14. Project post: a rookie or someone else you want to develop.
Within that structure, you give guys letter grades on how well you think they fit the ideal.
So, Kevin Durant for example would be a 2A+. LeBron James is a 3A+, and would get an A grade at almost any number.
Taking that criteria is a rough plan for what you are hoping to have, how well do you think our current roster fits in?
Here are the numbers Id assign our guys:
1. George Hill is a 1B
2. Danny Granger is a 2B-, but would be a 7A+ or9A+ on some teams.
3. Paul George is a 3A-, but would be a 2C+
4. Roy Hibbert is a 4B+
5. David West is a 5C+, but would be a 6B- or a 9B+
6. Tyler Hansbrough is a 6D or 9C+
7. Darren Collison is an 8A-, would be a 1B- or C+
8. Dahntay Jones is a 10A, but would be a 7D
9. Miles Plumlee is a 12B I think, maybe can get to a 9B level eventually in time
10. Orlando Johnson is a 13A starting out, but with a ceiling of a 7B I think.
Just for fun, above I listed 4 potential players I like for us .I grade them as:
1. Marresse Speights is a 6B+, and would be a 5B-or a 4B
2. Lou Williams is a 7A-
3. Jordan Farmar is an 8C+
4. Darius Morris an 11A, 13A+, 8C- currently.
I hope you found some of this interesting and enlighteningtoday. Sometime this weekend I hope to write a full scouting analysis of MilePlumlee, so be ready for that.