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Questions, Goorjian – Round 11

So this week we’re talking about the 2010-2019 decade. What was I doing all decade? That’s right, coaching in China. Still yelling at my players. Still being the man, even though my assistant coach often gets in the foreground of the time out huddles. He’s all show with his big hand gestures and his black texta, but he’ll never wear the white head coach shirt.

How this works is I pose a number of questions, and collate everyone’s answers together here. Sounds easy, right?

At the round table today we have Troy Goostrey (IND), Jarrod Cotton (BOS), Dan Kelly (LAL), David Ashman (DEN) and Jesse Cotton (ATL).

Who is your All-Decade Team and All-Decade MVP?

Troy Goostrey:

G – Steph Curry – Slow start to the decade but hit his stride one the ankles sorted themselves out, and being the leader on the first GSW title team plus the 73-9 season, he makes this list for sure.  Changed the way we view 3 point shooting. 
G – Russell Westbrook – Just ahead of Harden based solely on the years of averaging a triple-double vs The Chef’s high volume high scoring antics.  Given Big-O has been revered for years for his trip-dub season, the fact Westy did it 3 times in the decade earns him a spot here.
F – LeBron James – Started with the Big 3 in Miami, went to the Big 3 in Cleveland, ended the decade in Tinsletown with AD.  Basically ‘owned’ the league from a player perspective in the 2010s.
F – Kevin Durant
C – Anthony Davis – This is where my positional rules cause me conflict.  AD is the only choice at C I believe – no other worthy standouts for the 2010’s in my opinion.  Probably should have been Dwight’s time to shine as the decade started but he shot himself in the foot.  AD has been ultra dominant although he’s missed so many games it feels a little strange having him here.  When he’s playing and putting it all together though, he deserves this spot.  If I didn’t have to pick a C, this spot would probably go to one of Kawhi, Paul George, CP3 or Harden.
All-Decade MVP – LeBron James
Played in every championship series from 2011 to 2018, and has elevated himself into GOAT conversations now.  Continues to defy the miles on his body. LeBron led all players in playoff wins, points, rebounds, assists, steals, made free-throws, minutes played, and, most importantly, Finals MVP awards. James’ feat of carrying eight straight teams to the NBA Finals will likely never happen again in our lifetimes.

Jarrod Cotton:

LeBron James is the obvious all decade MVP. To be in the debate for one of the greatest of all time was solidified this decade.
Rounding out the team, I have Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden. I was trying my hardest not to put Harden in but, he has been the poster child for the Analytic era for which we are currently in. I’m guessing I will regret this pick.

Dan Kelly:

 I will go with more of a true 5 than just pick random players and put them in positions. Lebron comfortably MVP with Durant in second, toss it up with Curry and Kawhi at number 3 –

PG – Curry

SG – Lebron

SF – Durant

PF – Kawhi

C – Nowitzki (had to put him in, huge fan and carried the franchise)

Special mention to D Wade who was sensational and AD who just hasn’t won enough. Not enough time in the decade for Kobe and Duncan.

David Ashman:

PG Steph Curry (has defined the PG spot over the last decade for me with 3 point shooting but also his vision and quick hands)
SG Dwayne Wade (has brought championship mentality to Miami and actually stayed with Heat, except for that small stint in Chicago)
SF LeBron James (do it all small forward who doesn’t seem to be slowing down with age which I has to be admired)
PF Giannis Antetokounmpo (freak is one word to describe him but he is scary on the court and still young)
C  Joel Embiid (OK hasn’t really played a lot this decade due to injuries but he is a true force in the middle when healthy)

Jesse Cotton:

PG Curry
SG Wade (probably not really, but I didn’t want to pick the other options)
SF James
PF Durant
C Davis

MVP – James.
I know Curry has more titles and MVPs, but to me LeBron was consistently good across the entire decade, making the Finals all of the middle 8 years of the 10.

6th man – Kawhi. Seems to be a big omission, but was only really a star for 4 seasons, after winning Finals MVP against LeBron’s Heat in 2014.

What will this decade in the NBA be remembered for?

Troy Goostrey:

Statistical data analysis has changed our NBA forever.  The midrange game basically disappeared in the 2010s, to the point now its either fast breaks, dunks, or some sort of inside paint shot.  If not, you’re jacking a 3.  I think that has been the biggest and most obvious change to the league in the past 10 years.  Larry Bird was one of the best 3 point shooters when we grew up and would often make say 82 in a year – 1 per game!  Now, you need to target 400 in a season to be in the running for the 3 point title!

Jarrod Cotton:

 I’m going to go with ‘Player Empowerment’.  The “Decision”, (what a debacle), orchestrated by LeBron, Wade and Bosh to team up in Miami via ‘Free agency’ was the first time superstar players in their prime had rigged the system, but unfortunately not the last. The more blatant non competitive ‘Free Agent’ jump was Kevin Durant joining the 73- win Warriors team (salary cap anomaly) after just about beating them the year before. The Warriors up to that point had built through the draft and were admired by all, but Durant changed that in a hurry.
There had been super teams before this decade assembled by drafts – showtime Lakers (Dodgy) and player trades – the last being the big 3 Boston Celtics of 2008 (ageing), and player freedom, in where you play is a good thing but, the natural instinct to cheat code the rules by arguably the top two players of this decade leaves me to rank some titles higher than others.

Dan Kelly:

That move by Durant and the era of GSW.

David Ashman:

I think this decade will be remembered for what I consider a negative thing which is the super team era. This super team is regarded as a team that consists of a few players who are friends who band together in a big city and form a potent super team to try and win championships. It kind of started with the Lakers way back in 2000 when Shaq and Kobe got together but in the decade just gone, it has been LeBron who has really created and nurtured this ugly trend. Once he left his “hometown” of Cleveland to chase championship rings, he joined the Heatles of Dwayne Wade and Chris Splosh. This showed the rest of the NBA that if you’re willing to devise a plan with your best mates to form a dynamic duo or in this case trio, then you can form a part team (along with a bunch of role players) to win championships. It also displaces the whole drafted into one team and stay to win attitude of say the 90’s MJ Bulls which was what teams were supposed to do.
Now superstars like LeBron move to a big city like LA and get their mates to join and form a team to try and win some rings. The Nets have done the same recently with Durant and Kyrie teaming up along with DeAndre Jordon who are all friends. None of these players were drafted by the Nets or started their playing careers with the Nets, but this is how the NBA is and I think this is what the NBA has become in the last decade for me and I think it is unfortunate.

Jesse Cotton:

A few phrases I could throw around here, like “player movement”, “super teams” etc, but that has always kind of been the case.
The 80s Lakers could be considered a super team, and Kareem forced his way out of Milwaukee.

The biggest difference to me is player recruitment. Never before have players wanted to team up to try to win a title. Boston in 2008 created a super team with Pierce, Garnett and Allen, but that was primarily done by the Celtics, not the players. Since then, LeBron joined Wade in 2010 and recruited Bosh. Draymond Green recruited KD to the Warriors.
And in the last couple of years, it seems like every player has been recruiting – LeBron with AD, Kawhi with PG, Kyrie and KD. I’d go as far as to say that Kawhi is the 3rd best GM in the league, and LeBron is probably a better GM than Pelinka.

All this movement has me wondering if we have seen the end of the dynasty, and retired numbers?

What is the best and worst move your team made this decade?

Troy Goostrey:

Best:  Tough to pick a single best move.  The draft in 2010 yielded Paul George, our best draft pick.  But for actual moves it’s probably getting hold of David West for 2011/12.  He was the solid big man through the two East Finals appearances for the Pacers as we pushed close to a Finals berth against those Miami teams with Lebron, Wade and Bosh.
Worst: Trading Kawhi Leonard on draft night to bring George Hill home.  With Kawhi, the Pacers would/should have had a genuine shot at beating the Heat in the mid 2010’s and heading to the NBA Finals given without him they fell a game short.  He probably would have left town like he did in SAS, but hopefully after taking the Pacers with PG and Co into the NBA Finals.

Jarrod Cotton:

Best move by Boston was made on draft night 2013. Trading Garnett, Pierce, Terry and DJ White to Brooklyn for G Wallace, Humphries, Brooks, Bogans, Joseph and THREE UNPROTECTED first round draft picks and pick swaps. One of these picks is Sexton in Cleveland used in the trade for Kyrie Irving so, that one was wasted but I am currently enjoying the play of Jayson Tatum (2017) and Jaylen Brown (2016), cheers Nets.

Worst move was coincidentally the same night – draft night 2013. Moving up in the draft to pick 13 only to draft Kelly Olynyk. (Danny Ainge had visions of Larry Bird in his eyes.) This wouldn’t be so bad other than Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted by the Bucks at pick 15. Scary to imagine Giannis in slightly different colour green on this current young Celtics squad.

Dan Kelly:

I will leave the AD move out just for the moment, still early days, so will go with Lebron as we are now relevant again. Worst move, this is difficult as we have made many but I will go with our overall draft work in recent years….to think we have had multiple early round draft picks (Ball, Russell, Ingram, Nance, Randle). Special mention to Magic, who with his oversized ego actually thinks he recruited Lebron….and thinks if he was running the show we would have had Kawhi as well….

David Ashman:

Best move the Nuggets have made this decade was getting rid of Melo in 2011. That move ended the Enver Nuggets era and finally started to shape a better team with the drafting of Jokic in 2014. Nothing really stands out but I think the Nuggets this decade have improved so I cannot be over critical. Maybe the overpaying of players the likes of Paul Millsap and not giving more minutes to younger guys like Michael Porter Jr. These are the only things right now that stick out for me. 

Jesse Cotton:

The Hawks were decent in the early part of the decade at the tail end of the Joe Johnson / Josh Smith era, great in the middle with Millsap and Horford, and stunk in the later part with Schroder and nobody.

Good moves:
Hiring Mike Budenholzer, proven to be a great coach but they hired him at the wrong time.
Not overpaying to keep Al Horford or Paul Millsap. The bad part here is that they were both still sought after players at the time so the Hawks could have traded them and at least got a draft pick out of it.

Bad moves:
Signing Dwight Howard. He was essentially Al Horford’s replacement, and it was the signal that the Hawks had given up and should have instead started the rebuild at that point. They then had to lose a pick and take on a worse contract in Perth Wildcat Miles Plumlee just to be rid of him.
Trading away Luka Doncic. Rumour is he would’ve stayed in Europe if he didn’t go to a team he wanted, but this might end up looking like the time Atlanta drafted and traded Bill Russell.

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