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Questions, Goorjian – Round 8

Clappity clap clap clap. Hoo-bloody-ray. 

We’re officially in the offseason now, and Goorjian applauds a lot of the moves made. While some are a legitimate clap, others are a bit more sarcastic. So this round we discuss the offseason just gone, the potential next big move, and rookie prospects who didn’t turn out.

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 Jarrod Cotton (BOS), David Ashman (DEN), Troy Goostrey (IND), Dan Kelly (LAL) and Jesse Cotton (ATL).

who were the biggest winners of the offseason?

Jarrod Cotton:

Terry ‘Scary’ Rozier getting 3 years/ $58 million from the Hornets after letting Kemba walk. They needed a younger/ cheaper replacement but this does seem like a gamble for a backup with one good playoff run. No intended criticism aimed at you Tezza!

New Orleans has had the biggest turnaround from last year. I have touched on this in previous posts but in short going from a team with potentially no future in the city to an exciting young team on the right path. Winning the Zion sweepstakes was the key that swung the pendulum in the Pelicans favour.

David Ashman:

OK so every one will love LA now (both teams) so I’m looking elsewhere.

New Orleans has to be a winner here for teams that have a winning team. Number 1 pick, a healthy Lonzo Ball running the point. Jrue Holiday at off guard, an improved (and hopefully stronger) Ingram as one of the forwards. At centre you could have Sexual Favours or Okafor (if he feels like playing). That is not a bad starting five. A young but an intriguing lineup that is athletic and some will have a chip on their shoulder from being traded so they will be competitive. Then you add JJ Redick, Josh Hart and a couple of impressive rookies not getting the limelight like Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. And you have the resemblance of a team with some talent. Good luck to Alvin Gentry to put this all together as a cohesive unit but I don’t mind this team at all. There are much worse teams out there who are not competitive at all.

Troy Goostrey:

Starting with teams, Brooklyn – Getting Kyrie and Durant into town is massive, and the fact they outplayed the Knicks to do it is just plain awesome!  They also made some other tweaks to add guys like DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Taurean Prince which all help add depth to the roster.  They still managed to keep guys like LaVert, Allen, Kurucs, and Dinwiddie while doing it too.  Clippers are also big winners later in the period.  Anytime you land the reigning Finals MVP and Championship winner, along with another All Star who wasn’t considered on the move, to a rock solid deep lineup, you’re in for a good offseason.  Clips probably appear to be better off for next season as Durant will be out for Brooklyn.  But it will be interesting to look back in 5 years time to see what these two franchises made out of what appears to be championship caliber moves.

For my player selection, I’m sticking with one of these same ball clubs and going with Paul George.  He signed on to stay in OKC the other year but it was looking like a bad move which had already reached its potential.  With almost no rumour of him moving, he’s landed in LAC with Kawhi and a bunch of good quality players, plus a great coach in Rivers, and an all-time great GM in the logo, Jerry West.  The only downside is the Clippers have never been successful, but is that about to change??  Toronto hadn’t been successful until just recently either.  Another less hyped winner as a player could be Hassan Whiteside.  He was relegated to the bench in Miami to free up Bam Adebayo, and was on a seemingly immovable contract.  But he’s landed in Portland where he has some great guards to feed him the ball, and will get as many minutes he can handle early on while Nurkic recovers from his broken leg.  It will all be up to Whiteside to make it work, but he has the potential to be a massive winner out of that move.

Dan Kelly:

Where to start! I would go with dare I say it…the Rockets. Purely offloading that contract of CP3 is a win in itself and managing to keep pretty much the same roster together while adding Westbrook. I would expect them to rack up a lot of wins in regular season, but not convinced come playoff time. A few mentions –

·         I will start with my Lakers, end of the day the deal got done for AD so that is a huge win. I like the roster that’s been assembled. Now a matter of how much “load management” and if they can gel. On the flip side, the Pelicans have come out of it well. Win/Win for both franchises.

·         Clippers jagging Kawhi, but huge price paid for George.

·         Nets securing Kyrie and KD without having to do any work other than sign the cheques.

·         Utah have added some nice pieces, but in a stacked Western Conference not sure if it takes them much further…

·         Notable losers….Knicks…Zion….Free agents….strike out.

Jesse Cotton:

New Orleans Pelicans did very well for themselves, getting a haul back for Anthony Davis, and already having a potential star to add them to in Zion Williamson. They have a decent 7-man rotation in Ball, Holiday, Redick, Ingram, Zion and Favors and rookie Jaxson Hayes, with multiple first round picks coming their way.
OKC Thunder are in the same boat as far as the haul they got in trades for their stars, only they don’t have the potential already there, so they have to build their team
using those picks. The Knicks have so far not been successful in doing this, but I trust the drafting brains in OKC a little more.
Philly also did well by getting Horford, the only guy who was stopping Embiid and also their probable main rival in the East in Giannis.

Who do you see as being the next disgruntled player who will ask for a trade?

Jarrod Cotton:

Devin Booker will want to win soon so look out Suns fans.

David Ashman:

Hate to say it as I love the Wolves for what they’ve done in the past three years with their drafting etc. but KAT might get frustrated very quickly if his team doesn’t get something going in the west. The west is strong “again” and some teams have moved ahead of Minnesota, including New Orleans and Lakers. The Clippers are up there because of Kawhi and PG so we have Denver, Houston, Utah, GSW, Portland, Spurs and maybe a Kings team that improves. Where do the Wolves fit if Wiggins has another so so season and they have no star player to push them along. KAT is going to get pissed and want out. That is the way the NBA works nowadays with disgruntled players.

Troy Goostrey:

Right now it has to be Jimmy Butler.  He can’t stay in Miami on his own without another star there with him, and I doubt Bam or Winslow can improve to the point they are a second star.  Maybe there is another big move yet to drop which keeps him in Miami, but my bet is he’s on the move. Bradley Beal is the other obvious concern.  But going a little more outside the obvious, Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota worries me.  He’s been ultra durable and has had a couple of likely teams around him.  I wonder if his stay there is wearing thin and he may seek a trade – or the Wolves seek a new direction – while he has some currency.

Dan Kelly:

CP3…but when isn’t he disgruntled? Watch this space on DeRozan over the next 12 months with no Kawhi or replacements for Kawhi in Toronto….

Jesse Cotton:

Karl-Anthony Towns.

Really, the way the league is now, it could be anyone. But Towns’s path is following the same as AD’s. Kentucky guy, #1 pick, goes to a small market team which struggles to put a good enough team around him to make the playoffs, but he also makes them too good to get a high draft pick. They make the playoffs one year, but then take two steps back to the lottery again.
With Minnesota, they have invested so much money into Andrew Wiggins that the likelihood of them being able to improve significantly enough to matter look slim to none. With KG having admitted to staying too long in Minnesota, when is KAT going to feel the same way and want to actually be on a winning team?

Which player did you think was going to have a good/long career after his rookie season, but it turned out he had already peaked?

Jarrod Cotton:

Michael Carter-Williams is that said player.

2013/14 Rookie of the year with averages of 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists with 1.9 steals. I, with Ashman, chips and beers witnessed his NBA debut which was against the Miami Heat of James/Wade/Bosh. 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists with a whopping 9 steals! Three pointers and dunks while roaming the passing lanes. A – 6’6” point guard with seemingly potential to burn. I know his shot needed improvement but not many players make it to the league without something to work on. This is still a head scratcher to me.

David Ashman:

Good question. I could go with a couple here. Andrew Wiggins could be amongst this group of players who peeked early. Denis Smith Jnr might be heading that way, now that he is in New York. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Deandre Ayton for a future player who could be in trouble. I know controversial and probably a bit premature but I might as well do a smokey here. I thought Ayton’s rookie season was OK but he did not set the world on fire. He’s no Olowokandi and I know he’s in Phoenix and they’re a basket case right now. You’re the number 1 pick and you’re 7 foot 1 and have an NBA ready body. But you didn’t average 1 block a game and just made it to 10 rebounds. Maybe with Aaron Baynes now in your team, you may move to PF and dominate but after that rookie season, the personal numbers better improve. Especially owning the paint and becoming a force down low, changing shots and gobbling up rebounds. We may have seen the best of Ayton and it’s a slow descent to Kandi Town.

Troy Goostrey:

Michael Carter-Williams in recent times.  Rookie of the year, albeit a weak year for rookies, he looked the goods in Philly.  But he’s seemed to just bounce around everywhere since then.  Winding the mind back a little further, I’d also throw in Brandon Jennings and in fact possibly in hindsight I might pick him now overall.  From memory he even released a signature shoe but never really got going after his initial burst on to the scene, bounced around the league and eventually to Europe.

Dan Kelly:

Calling it early….Zion.

Jesse Cotton:

Sacramento was just coming out of the Jim Les-Pete Chilcutt-Duane Causwell era in 1992, when along came Walt “The Wizard” Williams with his Gervin-esque knee high socks and highlight reel passes.
He was essentially a point guard in a small forward’s body, standing at 6-8, and with Magic only having left the league a season ago, those sort of players were seen as gold.
As a rookie, he played 28 minutes per game off the bench behind Lionel Simmons (another candidate who went for 18 and 9 as a rookie), but was still the 3rd top scorer on the team with 17 ppg, chipping in 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg and hitting 1 3-pointer at a decent percentage. It seemed only a matter of time when Walt would either take over the starting SF or PG role from Simmons or Spud Webb, and blossom.
However, his second season saw him drop to 23mpg and only score 11.4ppg. From there he was a starter the next few seasons in Sacramento, Miami and Toronto, averaging 13-16ppg, 4rpg and 3apg, before finishing up in Portland and Houston, dropping to 9ppg as a sometimes starter, with a final year in Dallas. He had a decent career, but I expected more.

Looking back, Sacramento weren’t a big draw for Channel 10s game of the week. Bill “Magic Jordan” Woods wouldn’t know they existed, and Steve Carfino thought the only Kings were in Sydney.
So Jim Fagan’s NBA Action highlights and rookie hype probably weighed a lot heavier in my expectations than the 3.5 turnovers per game and 43% shooting from the field. It probably explains why a lot of others from this rookie class could make the list. Looking at you Harold Miner and Clarence Weatherspoon.

PS: Also Laettner, who I completely forgot about.

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