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Forum nameOkay Sports
Topic subject5 years from now, who wo you expect to be in the NBA'a Top-10?
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=8&topic_id=2264259
2264259, 5 years from now, who wo you expect to be in the NBA'a Top-10?
Posted by John Forte, Wed Nov-20-13 09:08 AM
I said, EXPECT. We know shit happens. People get injured, surprises emerge, but who do you EXPECT to be in the top-10?

I got:

Jabari Parker
Not-so-Yung Spice
Paul George
Blake Griffin
2264260, Bron retired?
Posted by Castro, Wed Nov-20-13 09:12 AM
2264263, Bron old as shit
Posted by John Forte, Wed Nov-20-13 09:18 AM
He prolly in the top-10 sitll. I started this post as top-5. I don;t expect him to be a top-5 player...but then I got stuck with 5&6, so I expanded it to top-10 and forgot to put Bron back in.
2264458, Lebron James will be 33 years old in five years. He will still be Top 5
Posted by Bombastic, Wed Nov-20-13 03:02 PM
>He prolly in the top-10 sitll. I started this post as top-5.
>I don;t expect him to be a top-5 player...but then I got stuck
>with 5&6, so I expanded it to top-10 and forgot to put Bron
>back in.
2264268, shit happens...
Posted by builtfromwax, Wed Nov-20-13 09:24 AM
2264270, ya'll really love ya'll some kahwi
Posted by Cenario, Wed Nov-20-13 09:26 AM
2264279, right. I don't see it like that.
Posted by the_time_is_when_god...lounge, Wed Nov-20-13 09:40 AM
2264377, they do, lol
Posted by ThaTruth, Wed Nov-20-13 12:37 PM
2264464, it's such a cyse...kawhi and barnes get WAY too much love
Posted by Basaglia, Wed Nov-20-13 03:11 PM
2265227, yeah i don't see that, kawhi's peak is somewhere between iggy and george.
Posted by rob, Thu Nov-21-13 06:04 PM
like, perfect scenario.
2265261, he's in that shawn marion phylum.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 08:28 PM
he'll be good but more of a complementary piece.
2393156, Kawhi's post game is eons better than Marion's
Posted by FILF, Sat Nov-22-14 11:42 PM
Plus Kawhi is already a better lock down defender than Marion ever was........Matrix has never even made a single All-NBA defense team in his career. Dude was a very versatile defender but I've seen everyone from Dirk to Manu put up career numbers on him in the playoffs. (Tyson Chandler was the anchor of the Mavs defense when they won their rental chip....which is why the bottom fell out once they let him go even though Matrix was still on the roster)
2699536, daaaaaaamn
Posted by Rjcc, Tue Jun-18-19 03:12 AM

www.engadgethd.com - the other stuff i'm looking at
2264398, In FIVE years...
Posted by the_time_is_when_god...lounge, Wed Nov-20-13 01:05 PM
Russ West
Big Cuz
Steph Curry
Greg Monroe
Paul George
2264469, Hmmm
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Wed Nov-20-13 03:20 PM
Chuck Hayes
2265162, AD, Rose, Bron, Smart, Cousins, Spice, KD, Melo, Isaiah, Westbrook
Posted by PIMPINCHICAGO, Thu Nov-21-13 04:17 PM
2265167, AD will be #1 as soon as bron ain't. i'll put whatever on that.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 04:26 PM
2265184, Really? I'll admit AD has a lot more offensive game than I thought he...
Posted by ThaTruth, Thu Nov-21-13 04:47 PM
would have but that's a big statement
2265187, really, my dude. he's scratching the surface of the surface.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 04:53 PM
youngin ain't even really got started yet.
2265208, when he reaches his full potential, whats the closet comparison for him?
Posted by ThaTruth, Thu Nov-21-13 05:13 PM
when his hype was at his max people were saying shit like he was going to be Duncan and KG combined, then most backed off that some, seems like you're leaning more in that direction now.
2265212, You need to head back to the Truthiness and Justivity
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Thu Nov-21-13 05:32 PM
2265219, I know what it's in there, still opinions about dude's ceiling have...
Posted by ThaTruth, Thu Nov-21-13 05:49 PM
fluctuated wildly over the past 2-3 years
2265235, You know who's opinion hasn't fluctuated?
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Thu Nov-21-13 06:25 PM
2265396, You have every Kentucky player going to the HOF
Posted by ThaTruth, Fri Nov-22-13 10:25 AM
2265404, I do? That's weird, I haven't mentioned any except....
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Fri Nov-22-13 10:40 AM
Rondo's HOF arc and wanting Brow to have Duncan's career.
2265237, his ceiling? best player in the L.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 06:28 PM
he can absolutely be as good as garnett ever was. that's low hanging fruit. not even a stretch.
2265238, Yup, at this point he has no ceiling
Posted by John Forte, Thu Nov-21-13 06:34 PM
He could be a top-10 all time type player. I'm not making that prediction, but it's entirely possible.
2265240, he's on that young duncan with a little bit of born
Posted by rob, Thu Nov-21-13 06:35 PM
2265243, He has an Ortg of 122 and Drtg of 97
Posted by John Forte, Thu Nov-21-13 06:59 PM
a 25 point differential. It's fucking insane. I know it's a small sample size, btu damn.
2265246, dogg... ALL of his metrics
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 07:22 PM

dude is VASTLY improved in everything across the board. small sample, like you said, but i'm not sure i've ever seen anything quite like that.

also, for comparison's sake : http://bkref.com/tiny/eKtWn (advanced and per 36s are pretty intriguing)
2265252, if he had done 2-3 year in college
Posted by rob, Thu Nov-21-13 07:50 PM
he'd been stupid hyped coming into the league. just like stupid. cause he'd be this now before being drafted.
2265241, dude was a 6'1" point guard 4 years ago.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Thu Nov-21-13 06:42 PM

he's literally still learning his body. shit is scary.
2265402, whoa kemosabe...
Posted by ThaTruth, Fri Nov-22-13 10:36 AM
>He could be a top-10 all time type player. I'm not making
>that prediction, but it's entirely possible.

the thing about make predictions like that is a lot of other factors are in play like what kind of teams he's on and how many championships he gets as "the man". Statistically David Robinson is one of the greatest players of all-time but he's not really though of in that light because he was viewed as Tim's "sidekick" on their championship teams.
2265271, Even crazier is his basement.
Posted by Frank Longo, Thu Nov-21-13 09:23 PM
Multiple all-star, multiple DPOY.

That's literally the WORST-case scenario.
2265400, lol...
Posted by ThaTruth, Fri Nov-22-13 10:27 AM
>Multiple all-star, multiple DPOY.
>That's literally the WORST-case scenario.

there's getting carried away then there's Longo
2393097, Barring serious career level injury that really is his basement
Posted by J_Stew, Sat Nov-22-14 09:12 PM
2265359, yea, already done eclipsed kyrie as having next imo
Posted by southphillyman, Fri Nov-22-13 09:31 AM
2296978, cysing AD some more, just because.
Posted by dula dibiasi, Fri Feb-07-14 12:06 PM
Anthony Davis is the NBA's next transcendent talent
By Drew Garrison  @DrewGarrisonSBN on Jan 29 2014, 12:50p

Anthony Davis is on track to accomplish things on the basketball court that only the greats of the game have. The signs are everywhere that he is primed to be the NBA's next generational frontcourt talent.

Nov. 8 was the night Anthony Davis really arrived as an NBA star. The New Orleans Pelicans were hosting the Los Angeles Lakers, pitting former All-Everything center Pau Gasol against the 2012 No. 1 pick. What happened from the opening tip to the final buzzer sounding was a complete and utter destruction, as Davis finished the night with a career-high 32 points, 12 rebound and six blocks.

There was one play in particular that really stood out. Gasol came across the lane for his patented lefty hook, an unblockable shot for mere mortals. Not for Davis, though. He swatted it with his left hand, sprinted up the court and finished an and-one attempt at the rim before anyone could even blink. Gasol could only slink to the free-throw line once the play was dead and throw up his arms in frustration.

At just 20 years old, Davis has been everything a franchise dreams about when they land the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Trying to single out the right guy with the first pick in hand is a gamble, but selecting a 6'10 big man with a 7'4'' wingspan and freakish athleticism is as simple a choice as splitting aces in blackjack. You do it immediately and never think twice.

Drafting Davis is already a huge success for a franchise reborn under new ownership and namesake. He's going to be the center of the universe for New Orleans basketball for years and deserves to represent the Western Conference when the All-Star game rolls into the Big Easy this February.


He's averaging the mythical 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in his second year in the NBA, joining Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and fellow Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins as the lone four players accomplishing the feat through the first half of the season. He's the only one in that group that's also averaging over two blocks per game, and by a large margin.

Did I mention he's just 20 years old and in the second year of his career? As a point of comparison, it took Kevin Garnett — the player often mentioned as Davis' upside — four seasons before he broke into the 20/10 club.

It's been over a decade (http://bkref.com/tiny/HWRuW) since a player of any age has averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. It's been two decades (http://bkref.com/tiny/SNFzM) since a 20-year-old player has accomplished the incredible feat — the last under-21 player to do it was Shaquille O'Neal. Only Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson (http://bkref.com/tiny/efx3a) have ever finished a season also averaging at least 1.5 steals per game on top of the rebound, scoring and block averages.

As a two-way player, few of any age are Davis' peer.

Brow-raising defense

Davis' athletic tools were given to him so he could become a defensive demon, and he's already wreaking havoc across the NBA.

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/2032951/davisarms_large.gif - WHO NEEDS VERTICALITY RULES WHEN YOU DON'T NEED TO LEAVE YOUR FEET?

He still needs to gain strength, but his wingspan already makes him a difficult player to attack. Opponents are shooting just 40 percent against him in post-up situations, according to MySynergySports.com. He's allowed only 30 made field goals out of total 75 percent when posted-up, holding his assignments to .81 points per possession. He isn't bulky enough to push people around or hold his ground yet, but his length makes him a tough player to shoot over at the rim. He's also athletic enough to stay with his man in isolation and is already learning how to take advantage of his insane wingspan.

As our Mike Prada wrote:

"The Pelicans' defense is a mess, but don't blame Davis for that. He's outstanding on that end; the rest of the club, especially since Jrue Holiday got injured, is not. The coaching staff doesn't help.

But the glimpses of Davis' potential that we witnessed at times last year have become more numerous. If you read my notes on Pelicans games, you'll see several lines that just say "ARMS" and a timestamp. Those refer to times when Davis' wingspan makes what is normally a simple offensive play complicated. Sometimes, for example, something as basic as throwing an entry pass becomes a problem."

Davis has become one of the NBA's best rim protectors already. Opponents shoot just 45.8 percent at the rim when he contested a shot, the sixth-best mark in the NBA for all frontcourt players averaging a minimum of 30 minutes per game, according to SportVU data (http://stats.nba.com/playerTrackingDefense.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=100&filters=MIN*GE*30&sortField=FGP_DEFEND_RIM&sortOrder=ASC). He's has six more rejections this season than Serge Ibaka — the three-time defending shot-blocking champion — despite playing in eight fewer games. If Davis isn't stopping players at the rim, he's using his wingspan to make shooting over the top of him impossible.

Glass cleaning services

Ten rebounds per game generally earns players a stamp of approval. Five players in NBA history have finished a season averaging double-digit rebounds at the age of 20. If Anthony Davis can finish the season maintaining his rebound average, he'll join Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, Shaquille O'Neal and John Drew as the only 20-or-under players to accomplish this.

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/assets/3924775/davispuback_large.gif - HELLO, WINGSPAN. SORRY, Z-BO.

He isn't just gobbling up errant shots that fall into his lap either. He's pulling in the sixth-highest amount of contested rebounds — boards that are gathered when an opponent is within 3.5 feet of him — in the NBA, according to NBA.com (http://stats.nba.com/playerTrackingRebounding.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=25&sortField=REB_CONTESTED&sortOrder=DES&filters=). Out of that top-six pool, he pulls in the highest percentage of available contested rebounds per game.

Davis' length and athleticism allow him to sky over players who are still waiting for the ball to be within reach. He's in the top-five in offensive rebounds at 3.9 per game and averages 1.13 points per offensive rebound putback chance, according to MySynergySports.com.

And he still has room to grow here. His rebounding percentages are solid — grabbing 21.7 percent on defense, 12 percent on offense and 16.7 percent overall, per NBA.com — but there's no reason to believe he's anywhere near his ceiling.


Davis is a phenomenal defender and a great rebounder which, alone would make him an elite presence in the NBA, but he's dropping 20.4 points per game on 51.9 percent shooting. His offense is the rawest part of his game but he's still able to score efficiently.


Davis is especially dangerous because he dominates in areas where he can use his physical tools while he refines his skill set. He kills teams in transition, using his great speed and long strides to propel him in front of unset defenses. He's great at reading the defense, moving off-ball and sneaking around the baseline. He rolls to the rim with a purpose and pounds thunderous dunks down after grabbing offensive rebounds.

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3925563/davistransition_large.gif - NO BIG DEAL. JUST BLOCKING DIRK'S FADEAWAY, BEATING EVERYBODY BACK IN TRANSITION AND JAMMING IT HOME.

Put shorter: He makes the most of his physical attributes, instincts and expanding basketball I.Q. to score the majority of his points without having a ton of plays directly called for him, though that is slowly changing.

Instead of being stifled from attempting mid-range jumpers, he's feeling out his range. He's learning how he can be effective in the post instead of being boxed into robotic moves that aren't in his arsenal. He's pushing and prodding any limitations instead of living a basketball life restricted by them. These are the things that will make him dangerous in the future.

Davis isn't a "traditional" back-to-the-basket big man who is going to back players down. He's better off facing up an opponent and taking them off the dribble. There's no telling where his offensive game will be in five or six years — when he's actually reaching his prime and not in the infancy stages of his career — let alone in the next two years. He has the freedom to test his game out and develop his talent. That's exactly what he did to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, dropping 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting (http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3926195/davis.jpeg) while scoring from everywhere on the court. The fact that Monty Williams can call his number for a 15-foot jumper with him coming off a screen is astonishing.



He's 101 games into his career and already blurring the line between possibility and reality each time he steps onto the court. A 6'10" do-it-all player who's dominating the league while just beginning to learn his craft. All that potential and nothing but the stars to leap toward.

2297058, building around the brow (truehoop swipe)
Posted by dula dibiasi, Fri Feb-07-14 03:12 PM
New Orleans' new era: Fight or flight?
By Kevin Arnovitz ESPN.com
FEB 7 11:42 AM ET

For all the dealmaking, recruitment and asset management that go into building a winner in the NBA, the most reliable way to engineer a contender is by the sheer luck of the draft. More specifically, landing the top pick when a surefire superstar is on the board.

In the spring of 2012, six months after Chris Paul departed for Los Angeles, the Pelicans lucked their way into Anthony Davis. They didn’t have an owner at the time, nor more than 650,000 television households in their market, but they had the No. 1 pick.

Davis has lived up to it thus far. He ranks fifth in the NBA in player efficiency rating (PER) at 26.72, nearly a five-point uptick from last season. He’s an intuitive pick-and-roll player with good hands and good timing. He’s a gazelle in transition and a lethal cutter in the half court. He drains 43 percent of his midrange shots, and few in the NBA gets to the line at a greater rate than Davis, who converts 76.6 percent of his shots when he’s there. So long as he maintains his health, he’s poised to be one of the five most efficient offensive players in the game for the next dozen years.

That’s just the appetizer because defense projects to be Davis’ greatest long-term asset. At 20, he isn’t yet the quickest decision-maker on the floor, but he’s just getting started on a team that can’t keep a healthy lineup together. When it comes to basic pick-and-roll stuff, matching up with a perimeter ball handler off a switch and shot-blocking instincts, he’s already proficient and getting better.

“A.D. is a phenom in a different realm,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams says. “Everyone wants to compare him to Tim (Duncan). I see him more like LaMarcus (Aldridge), but with a better handle. And what A.D. does that throws you off is he’ll get two steals and five blocks. He does it a different way. He can do more from a (ballhandling) standpoint.”

Davis’ presence alone puts the Pelicans at a sizeable advantage over the overwhelming majority of the league. For at least the next five years, they get the chance to construct something special with Davis, and it doesn’t matter that they play in a tiny television market that’s expressed a longtime indifference toward NBA basketball. Bring them a dynamic top-five superstar and they’ll start following.


A cornerstone like Davis provides a firm foundation, but plenty of organizations have botched the task of building up from there. Cleveland was never able to develop the right combination of parts around LeBron James and is currently stuck in the mud trying to do the same around Kyrie Irving. Orlando got close with Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard but never cracked the code. The head start provides a huge opportunity, but it’s fraught with difficult choices, without much time to deliberate. Management must quickly identify who they are and where they want to go.

“We knew we were going to get Anthony (Davis), so what do we want to do with him?” Demps says. “Do we want to keep this veteran group? Or do we want to kind of start over? Or -- and it was the route we chose -- do we want to build through a combination of free agency and the draft?”

Early on in the process, Demps identified a couple of features that were important to him when he went surveying the league for available players.

“We really were targeting guys between the ages of 23 and 25, what we call ‘young veterans.’” Demps says. “We were trying to say, ‘Let’s get a bunch of guys who have already been through the ringer a little bit, had some ups and downs, know the league, but are still young and in their athletic prime.”

In addition to youth, Demps values certain skill sets. In his vision of an NBA offense, dribble penetration is the most effective way to generate the highest-percentage shots, and he wants perimeter players who can attack defenses off the dribble.

Eric Gordon fit both. After a game of chicken with the Clippers (for whom keeping Eric Bledsoe out of the deal was their prime objective), New Orleans landed Gordon as their consolation prize in the Paul deal. Seven months later, much to Gordon’s chagrin and despite his playing only nine of 66 games in New Orleans, the Pelicans made him their first max player of the post-Paul era.

Right about the same time, Demps nabbed Ryan Anderson, another player in the Pels’ coveted 23-to-25 demographic. Anderson wasn’t a conventional big and, like Davis, power forward is his natural spot, but the Pelicans wanted some stretch alongside their prized draft pick, who is devastating when he has ample space to work.

From the Pelicans’ perspective, things looked promising: A future superstar in Davis, a prototypical modern-day stretch-4 on an affordable contract and a shooting guard with two-way capabilities. Gordon made too much and wasn’t the perkiest guy in the office, but the Pelicans would still have in the neighborhood of $18 million in cap space and a decent first-round pick when Summer 2013 rolled around.


Late last spring, Demps started hearing rumors that Jrue Holiday might be available. After being initially rebuffed, the Pelicans struck a deal with Philadelphia on draft night 2013, sending the Sixers the No. 6 pick (Nerlens Noel) and their top-five protected pick in the 2014 draft.

“It all kind of went back to our plan,” Demps says of Holiday, referring to his target demo and ideal skill set. “Jrue was the perfect guy. He’s injured now, but when you look at his injury history before he went down, he’d played 96 percent of his games. Defensive-minded, can guard the other team’s point guard, can score, make plays and can become an elite-level point guard in the NBA. We also wanted to pair someone with Anthony and they could grow together. The two picks -- maybe we could’ve drafted guys like that. But with Jrue, we got that guy and he’s proven and getting better.”

A week later, Operation 23-to-25-Year-Old continued when Demps showed up on the doorstep of Tyreke Evans at midnight on July 1. Evans’ approval ratings as a player waned after winning Rookie of the Year 2010. But even though he’s missed a bundle of games over the past few seasons, he’s been efficient offensively when on the court.

From Demps’ standpoint, Evans was miscast in Sacramento. Rather than think of him as a point guard with the occasional bout of tunnel vision, Demps saw Evans as a scoring wing who passes the ball at a healthy rate and still had some upside. Demps promptly put an offer sheet of four years and $44 million in front of Evans, who soon arrived in New Orleans as part of a three-team deal, with New Orleans’ starting center Robin Lopez headed to Portland.

“That was a tough one,” Demps says about shipping out Lopez to Portland. With Davis, Anderson and Lopez, the Pelicans had a reliable and diverse three-man frontcourt rotation -- the do-it-all power forward, the stretch big and the 7-footer who can protect the rim and doesn’t need the ball. On top of that, Lopez carried a favorable deal: two years and $10.5 million, a bargain for a competent starting big man with a PER of 19.

Demps felt as if it would be easier to find a stopgap center who could give them some defense than land a dynamic scorer like Evans -- and because of cap restraints, the Pelicans couldn’t acquire the latter without casting off the former. Even if you have a charitable view of Evans’ game, it’s a reach to appraise four years and $44 million of Evans as a more valuable asset than two years $10.5 million of Lopez.

Sources around the league say the Pelicans’ intention was to unload Gordon to generate the space to pay Lopez, but no reasonable offers surfaced. The Pelicans deny they’ve ever actively shopped Gordon, but multiple team executives say that Gordon has never vacated the display window since last summer.


It’s ironic that the service Lopez provided inside are now cited by both Demps and Williams as the team’s most pressing need, all the while they’ll shell out $78 million for the Gordon-Evans duo over the next three seasons. Lopez might not be Roy Hibbert, but cutting an affordable starting center loose then lamenting the lack of interior defense six months later is the equivalent of setting a perfectly good couch on the curb, then complaining there’s nowhere in the den to sit.

“In a perfect world, I’d like to have a monster big who commands attention,” Williams says. “To me, that’s the biggest thing we have to address -- to get somebody like that next to A.D.”

When a team desperately needs a conventional center, chances are there’s a top-shelf power forward in close proximity who’d rather have his jaw wired shut than deal with Marc Gasol, Howard and company every night as a 5 (see Aldridge, LaMarcus; Garnett, Kevin in Minnesota). As a general policy, organizations do everything they can to keep that guy happy.

Demps says that bringing in a bruiser wouldn’t compromise the Davis-Anderson frontcourt pairing, which has destroyed the league offensively (115.4 points per 100 possessions in the 324 minutes they’ve shared the floor and a plus-6.0 differential). He pointed to last season’s rotation as proof.

There’s a popular sentiment around the league that with the max commitment to Gordon, the acquisition of Evans and the drafting of Austin Rivers in 2012 (and to a lesser extent, the trade for the scoring point guard Holiday), Demps has constructed a glorified AAU team of ball dominators. In an era when most NBA offenses are predicated on spacing, what a team really needs are wings who can shoot from distance, something Evans can’t do. And if these wings are playing with a rarified talent like Davis, they need to be expert pick-and-roll practitioners. Neither Evans, Gordon nor even Holiday can list that as a strong suit.

Demps confidently backs his vision, and his arguments aren’t without merit. He points to the lineup data: The Pelicans’ desired closing unit -- Holiday, Gordon, Evans, Anderson, Davis -- dominated the league offensively this season before its members started dropping like flies, scoring an ungodly 123.5 points per 100 possessions. The assist rate for that lineup is over 20 percent, well above the league average. Even when the three ball dominators share the floor, their assist rate is a respectable 16.8, about the league average.

“One of the goals was to make sure we had a team that’s deep and hard to guard,” Demps says. “We wanted to be hard to match up against, and we were before the injuries happened. At times, we were unguardable.”

This isn’t an unfair characterization. The night Holiday fractured his right tibia, the Pelicans were ranked seventh in offensive efficiency. That gangbusters unit gives the Pelicans a slew of options in the half court Have Davis and Anderson run a stagger screen up top for Holiday or Evans. Davis rolls, while Anderson pops -- both lethal in that context. Gordon spaces the floor on the weakside. Holiday can too, if Evans is the ball-handler. And if Holiday mans the point, Evans can be ready and waiting to cut or start the second-side action if he gets the pass. With the collective offensive skill set on the floor, there’s plenty more where this came from.


Sitting behind his desk at the Pelicans’ new training facility in Metairie, La., Williams is in no mood to discuss the Pelicans’ offensive potential. Williams is a serious guy, Eeyore to Demps’ Tigger, and as the coach of a team occupying the 12-spot in the West, the prospect of such a conversation is unseemly.

“I’m so tired of talking about offense,” Williams says. “I don’t care how many offensive guys you have -- from Ryan, to Tyreke to Eric to A.D. to Jrue, the bottom line is you have to defend. ... Our defense is horrible and you just can’t play offensive basketball all the time. All the top teams? Their defense is sound. Our defensive mindset has got to get better.”

While Williams is disgusted with the current state of his 26th-ranked defense, he believes there’s precedent from his first season on the job for vast improvement -- so long as the Pels can keep bodies on the floor. New Orleans has strong bookends with Holiday at the point and Davis up front and it’s difficult to believe that with those two guys accounting for the ball and the rim, the Pelicans can’t have at least a league-average defense.

New owners often like to redecorate the front office when they buy the place, but Pelicans owner Tom Benson pledged his support for both Demps and Williams. Almost immediately after the completion of the sale, new Pelicans executive vice president Mickey Loomis extended Williams a contract extension. A few months later, one was extended to Demps. Along with the new deals, Demps and Williams were given an imperative -- win sooner than later.

The injuries that have decimated the Pelicans have rendered that nearly impossible. Holiday and Anderson are sidelined indefinitely, as is starting center Jason Smith. The Pelicans now start Brian Roberts and Alexis Ajinca at point guard and center, respectively.

“The injuries make it hard to evaluate our plan on the court,” Demps says. “But we have a young core and we want to keep adding to it.”

The investments in Gordon, Evans and Holiday will make that process difficult. Demps will have the mid-level exception to work with, but little else. Unless it lands in the top five, the Pelicans’ first-round draft pick this season will go to Philadelphia to complete the Holiday deal. In retrospect, the Gordon contract was excessive for a player who looks increasingly like a third option and doesn’t feel comfortable playing at much less than 100 percent. Evans has his attributes, but a deal more akin to Paul Millsap’s two-year $19 million contract in Atlanta would leave the Pelicans less hamstrung when it’s time to pony up for Davis’ max extension.

The errors in planning are easy to enumerate and Demps tacitly admits some of his primary goals are cleaning up his own mistakes. Fortunately for the Pelicans, a single truth lies beneath the spreadsheets:

When you have a budding star like Anthony Davis, you can afford to make mistakes.

Still, if you wander off into the woods, you still need to be able to see the trail. When the Pelicans heal, we’ll have a better gauge of their navigational skills.

2297068, ^^^I'm cosigning alladat!
Posted by auragin_boi, Fri Feb-07-14 03:32 PM
Posted by dula dibiasi, Tue Apr-01-14 04:28 PM
Building the Brow
It’s only a matter of time until Anthony Davis ascends to the NBA throne

It’s telling that the comparisons have mostly stopped. When Anthony Davis came into the league, with ridiculous arms and guard skills honed before a late growth spurt, everyone rushed to find his NBA analogue.

Kevin Garnett was a popular choice. Comparisons with Tim Duncan dominated the lead-up to Davis’s regular-season debut against San Antonio, even though Duncan as a rookie was older and stouter and he had a back-to-the-basket game that was historically great almost from the moment he entered the league.

Davis has murdered this parlor game. People around the league don’t know what to make of him anymore. They are just terrified, especially after having watched Davis average 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and three blocks per game on 55 percent shooting over a 10-game stretch in March — a period during which he turned 21 freaking years old. He’s already fourth overall in Player Efficiency Rating, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love. His game has so many elements on both ends of the floor, it’s going to take years for the Pelicans to figure out the optimal uses and roster construction for him. It’s hard to decide what someone is best at when the answer might be “everything.”

The race to surround him with the right talent, and to figure out his ideal positional use, is already on. The Pelicans will have only limited cap flexibility in each of the next two summers, and the Magic and Cavaliers can testify about the fragile and fleeting chance of surrounding a true superstar with the right pieces — especially since that superstar will likely take his team out of the lottery. (So could the Hornets, actually. See: Paul, Chris.)

“He is going to be his own player,” says Monty Williams, the team’s coach. “People try and think back to re-create another A.D., but he’s not like anyone we’ve ever seen.”

“I’m not sure he reminds me of anyone now,” says Dirk Nowitzki. “In my 16 years, I’ve never seen anyone like him.”

The new parlor game is to compare isolated parts of Davis’s game to their equivalents belonging to someone else. He’s so dangerous on the pick-and-roll, capable of snagging insane lobs and catching and dunking from the foul line without a dribble, that he sucks in defenders like Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard — only Davis is also a 79 percent foul shooter. One opposing assistant coach says Davis is the first player since prime Rasheed Wallace who is fast and long enough to help off Nowitzki on a pick-and-pop, and then recover back to Nowitzki before the big German can release his deadly jumper. Another assistant offered up the comparison to a prime Cliff Robinson — a 6-foot-10 guy with elite outside-in ballhandling skills, only Davis, of course, has more potential in almost every other facet.

And the Pelicans? They’re trying to mold Davis into some unholy amalgam of Nowitzki, Hakeem Olajuwon, and whichever pick-and-roll smasher you prefer.

“He’s his own player,” says Kevin Hanson, the Pelicans’ player development coach, who works closely with Davis. “He’s got some Dirk, some KG, and some Hakeem. I don’t think we’re even going to see what he really is for at least a couple of years.”

Those goals aren’t crazy. Davis has a ton to learn on both ends, but he’s already so good that contemplating what he might become is an exercise in fanciful imagination. It is Homer Simpson conjuring the Land of Chocolate. LeBron’s decline is years away, but when it happens, I suspect we will have hearty debates about whether Davis or Kevin Durant is the world’s best player. There will likely be a day, during Durant’s mid-thirties, when Davis ascends to the throne as the NBA’s undisputed top player. We haven’t seen a big man with this kind of defensive potential enter the league since Howard. Throw in efficient scoring from all over the floor and you’ve got a league-altering monster.

The Offense

The Pelicans are building Davis’s offense piece by piece. They started with his jump shot last summer, helping him raise his release point above his head and make sure the ball comes off his right index finger, Hanson says. (Hanson came to New Orleans from the Spurs, where he worked with Chip Engelland, perhaps the league’s most respected shooting coach.) Davis is stronger than he was a year ago, but he’s still skinny; and he doesn’t have much of a back-to-the-basket game yet.

He’s quicker than almost every big man, so the Pelicans have encouraged him to broaden his face-up game. This way he can either launch a midrange jumper from the wing (He’s not an elite shooter yet. Davis has hit 41 percent of his midrange jumpers this season, a solid mark, but not at the Nowitzki/LaMarcus Aldridge level) or drive to the basket. His first step draws heaps of fouls from reaching bigs who can’t keep up.

The Pelicans are wary that this approach could become predictable. Davis prefers to drive baseline, because there are fewer defenders that way and less danger of running into contact, Hanson says. They’d like him to drive toward the middle more, especially since doing so can draw the defense away from the Pelicans’ shooters. “He’s just not comfortable yet taking that initial hit in the middle,” Hanson says.

Having more shooters would help. Jrue Holiday is a solid 3-point shooter, but he has been out since early January. Ryan Anderson might be the league’s best 3-point-shooting power forward, but he’s missed almost the entire season. Even at full health, the Pelicans have mostly started a small forward who can’t shoot in Al-Farouq Aminu and a rotating collection of stiffs at center who mostly just foul and get in Davis’s way. Toss in Tyreke Evans, still a liability when he doesn’t have the ball, and Davis often struggles just to navigate the floor. He has no path to the rim when defenses overload on his rolls, as the Clippers do on this Evans-Davis pick-and-roll:


“What hurts him now,” Williams says, “is that we just don’t have guys who can shoot. We have to add shooting. When we put more shooting around him, he is going to be unguardable.” Davis mentions Anthony Morrow specifically as a guy with whom he enjoys playing, precisely because defenders can’t leave Morrow to crash down on his cuts.

The Pelicans envision Davis as the fulcrum of their offense in the mode of a prime Dirk. They want Davis to get the ball in the center of the foul line, face the defense, and operate from there with shooters around him.

The Mavs have always run a ton of pick-and-rolls for Nowitzki, and defenses early in his career countered by switching defenders. That left a little guy on him, but Nowitzki would continue rolling down the lane, where the second big-man defender along the baseline would switch onto him — a second switch, removing the size advantage the first one produced. Don Nelson and Avery Johnson taught Nowitzki to counter by stopping his roll at the foul line, trapping the little guy in a mismatch, Nowitzki says.

Nowitzki learned to do everything from that spot — shoot, drive, back down into post-ups, and dish to shooters. That’s what the Pelicans want for Davis. “We envision him being able to work from there similar to the way Dirk does,” Hanson says.

The speed is there. Kosta Koufos and his ilk can only foul and/or pray: http://i.minus.com/i8FSfA1LdVK1Q.gif

Davis so far is only comfortable using one-dribble moves. That single dribble often isn’t enough to get him all the way to the rim, or even into layup range, leaving him prone to the occasional awkward in-between shot:


Davis’s body on these plays looks like it’s almost moving too fast — like his feet are about to slide out from under him as he flings up these floaters. But Davis practices those shots, and he has such great touch that he can make them at rates a normal big couldn’t sniff. “He has the ability to make awkward shots,” Williams says. “For us, it’s weird. But for him, it’s natural. He’ll go left, jump off his left leg, and shoot it with his right hand. You can’t name a big in the history of the league who has that shot.”

His repertoire will be limited until he can nail the second and third dribble, and mastering that is Plan A for Hanson this summer. Quicker power forwards understand that if they can just slide with Davis for that one dribble, or at least stay attached to him, they’ll be able to contest whatever shot he’ll launch. (Hanson cited Boris Diaw as the archetype of this sort of defender.) About 94 percent of Davis’s shot attempts have come after either zero dribble or one, per SportVU data provided to Grantland.

Davis is still uneasy with contact. The first dribble is an escape mechanism; the second and third are bulldozers, and Davis just doesn’t have that in his game yet, coaches in both New Orleans and elsewhere say. The second dribble is also the countermove — the spin back in the other direction, say. “I’m very long and lengthy,” Davis says, “so I can usually get to the basket in one dribble. But if I can get to that second dribble, and get to my counters, guys can’t slide with me. That’s going to be huge for me.”

He’ll also have to hone his passing skills, and the Pelicans are letting him stretch a bit at the elbow, delivering dribble handoffs and searching out cutters à la Joakim Noah. But Davis’s assist numbers are middling for an offensive centerpiece, and passing on the move, with the defense in flux, is a skill that comes only with experience. “Passing is something you can’t really teach,” Hanson says.

The Defense

Davis will get all of this; he’s too good not to. It’s just going to take some time. Same goes on the other side, where Davis projects as a regular Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He’s a shot-blocking menace, even if New Orleans’s overall numbers don’t reflect his impact yet. The Pelicans are a bad defensive team, 25th in points allowed per possession, and that number has barely moved regardless of whether Davis is on the floor or the bench. Teams shoot more often, and more accurately, in the restricted area when Davis is on the court, per NBA.com.

It’s unclear if those numbers really say anything about Davis. Injuries have decimated New Orleans and removed a strong defender from the point of attack in Holiday. The other pieces brought in to defend either don’t do it well (the centers) or can’t shoot well enough to earn consistent playing time. The roster is young, and young teams are generally bad.

Davis has also spent about 70 percent of his time at power forward, and smart defenses will take him away from the rim by involving his man in a pick-and-roll high on the floor. He’s also had to chase around a lot of stretch power forwards, including Paul Pierce and Dorell Wright in recent games, and like a lot of young big men, he’s had trouble balancing perimeter defense with rim protection instincts. “But that’s beneficial for me,” Davis says. “I love that challenge. I loved guarding Paul Pierce.”

The nuances of NBA defense are hard. Pick-and-roll ball handlers blow by Davis surprisingly often when the Pelicans have him drop back to contain those ball handlers near the foul line. (That is not to say it happens often. That is to say it happens more often than you’d think, given Davis’s skills and reputation.) He has a tendency to turn his body almost completely sideways, parallel to the sideline, giving ball handlers an obvious driving lane: http://i.minus.com/ijlU0lMwhEh11.gif

Sometimes he’ll get caught in no-man’s-land, between dropping back and jumping out hard at a ball handler: http://i.minus.com/iVxWqO5M9OoNw.gif

The Pelicans are aggressive defensively, and Williams asks his players to help and rotate around the floor more than most teams. Davis occasionally has trouble making those reads on the fly, leaving the next pass open.

Those are blips in the learning process. The dude is going to be a destroyer. He already blocks shots no one else approaches. He gets 3-point shooters on flying closeouts. He comes from off your television screen to nail a poor, unsuspecting spot-up shooter in transition. He’ll even tip unblockable shots one-on-one in the post. “He actually blocked one or two of my jumpers,” Nowitzki says. “That doesn’t happen very often.”

He terrifies ball handlers, and his long arms allow him to correct initial positioning mistakes. A typical example: http://i.minus.com/i2ncuVoxsPbez.gif

New Orleans errs in letting Dennis Schroder get to the middle on this side pick-and-roll, theoretically opening up both a path to the rim and a lane for Schroder to hit Paul Millsap on the roll. But Davis’s length in both directions spooks Schroder into taking the easiest and least efficient out.

Opposing teams have shot just 48 percent on shots near the basket when Davis is near both the shooter and the rim — a solid number, though a bit behind the very stingiest this season, per NBA.com.

He’s alert, and getting smarter every day. He notices things on film the coaches don’t, Hanson says. “He’s so smart,” Hanson says. “He’ll see something else in the clip I didn’t see, and say something like, ‘Hey, Austin has to get through that screen up there.’ And I’ll say, ‘Hey, A.D., we’re not really talking about Austin right now.’”

Kelvin Sampson, Houston’s lead assistant, watched tape of the Pelicans defending side pick-and-rolls with some decoy action taking place on the other side of the floor. He wanted to see how Davis reacts when he’s not directly involved in the pick-and-roll — when he’s guarding the team’s other big man along the baseline: Would he fall for the decoy action and get distracted, or would he monitor the pick-and-roll and be ready to offer help near the basket?

Davis was ready, every time. “Most young guys just gravitate toward their man,” Sampson says. “But he was ready. His biggest strength is going to be that he has no weaknesses.”

The potential is there for Davis to be sort of a super–Chris Bosh — an undersize center who can stretch the floor, but, unlike Bosh, also offer elite rim protection. The Pellies have Anderson locked into a four-year contract, and though they’ve experimented in tiny doses with playing Anderson at small forward, he’s clearly a big man. He unlocks a lot of Williams’s offense, and opens driving lanes for the team’s guards.

The Pelicans have struggled horribly on defense when Davis and Anderson play together, but they’ve also scored at rates well above what the league’s best offenses produce. As Davis and the team mature, it’s appealing to see these guys as their own version of Miami — a smaller team that overwhelms with speed and shooting, and does just enough on defense to survive.

That won’t work every night, of course. Davis just isn’t big enough to check Marc Gasol, or even Robin Lopez. He weighs 225 pounds now, and Williams expects him to max out around 240 or so. But everything is a matter of resource allotment for a team close to the cap. The ideal center for Davis would offer bulk and rim protection on defense, and be versatile enough offensively to stay out of his way regardless of which element — the pick-and-roll, posting up, driving — Davis happens to be emphasizing that night.

Those guys are rare, and they’re generally taken. The Pelicans had a reasonable facsimile of one in Lopez, but they dealt him to open up cap space for Evans. The three-headed center they’ve deployed since Jason Smith’s injury just hasn’t been good enough, though the team has hope that Alexis Ajinca might work well around Davis.

Even if that ideal center were available, the Pelicans don’t have the resources to get him. They’re slated to have about $5 million or so in cap space in each of the next two summers, a small enough amount that they may just choose to stay over the cap and use the full midlevel exception. They owe Philly a first-round pick that will likely change hands this June, and the Evans and Eric Gordon contracts will be very hard to trade; Evans, of course, is on fire right now as a starter.

New Orleans won’t have real cap flexibility until the summer of 2016, when Gordon’s contract expires. Davis will probably be a free-agent draw by then, but he’ll also be starting his second contract in the 2016-17 season, which means the Pelicans will be well into the “on the clock” phase in convincing him to stay for a third deal.

If you can’t find that ideal center, at some point you have to decide between force-feeding lineups with Davis at power forward or leaning more toward smaller groups that will destroy teams offensively. Sometimes you just have to play your five best guys. Williams will use both sorts of lineups regardless, but right now, he says he leans toward Davis-Anderson as a rare pairing.

“I don’t think is ever going to be a center,” Williams says. “I think he’s a power forward who will sometimes play center.” Davis says he doesn’t care about the positional designation, and that Anderson is strong enough to defend some low-post centers.

Some of the caution is about preserving Davis’s body. A lot of the bulkier centers who might bully Davis can’t actually score in the post; Davis could guard them fine, despite the size disadvantage. But that would take its toll. Perhaps New Orleans, when it becomes a playoff team, can slot Davis at center more often in the postseason.

The Pelicans will need a lot of wings to play that way; Miami can play small only because it gets rim protection from LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Aminu is the only New Orleans wing who can offer that, and he’s a free agent. So is Darius Miller, and Morrow will probably decline his player option. We still haven’t really seen if Holiday, Evans, and Gordon can work together, though Evans’s killer play of late as the undisputed lead dog suggests he needs the ball and good spacing to live up to his contract. Rivers has shown signs, particularly on defense, but to describe his play as “uneven” would be generous.

The Pelicans have time to sort out the roster, but only limited flexibility. But they have the most important ingredient in building a championship roster: a true blue superstar. The Brow has arrived.

2265170, At least four of them ain't in the pros yet.
Posted by Frank Longo, Thu Nov-21-13 04:33 PM
I'm not sure which will pan out, but in the next two drafts, we're gonna see some freaks at the top of each lotto.
2265189, Malik Newman?
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Thu Nov-21-13 04:56 PM
Posted by Frank Longo, Thu Nov-21-13 04:58 PM
2265192, Lol
Posted by TheRealBillyOcean, Thu Nov-21-13 05:01 PM
2297067, ^^still right
Posted by Lach, Fri Feb-07-14 03:32 PM
2265242, Born Ready #8
Posted by Orbit_Established, Thu Nov-21-13 06:43 PM

Nah sike
2265357, Lebron, MCW, Durant, Kyrie and |:-)
Posted by mtbatol, Fri Nov-22-13 09:27 AM
2311908, Wiggins, Thon Maker, MCW, Durant, Wall.
Posted by isaaaa, Tue Apr-01-14 05:55 PM

New Mantra: anti-gentrification, cheap alcohol & trying to look pretty in our twilight posting years (c) Big Reg

Get 25% off www.karmaloop.com w/ rep code JR9103 |
Nike, G-Star, Herschel, Adidas (Men's & Women's clothing)
2311918, thon maker. lolz
Posted by dula dibiasi, Tue Apr-01-14 07:01 PM
2393020, I mighta cysed MCW a lil too hard
Posted by John Forte, Sat Nov-22-14 01:32 PM
Thon Maker gets that spot. Boogie gets Kyrie's.
2393041, There's a disturbing lack of Big Cuz mentions in this post.
Posted by spawn2k, Sat Nov-22-14 03:02 PM
2393106, Julius Randle
Posted by Cold Truth, Sat Nov-22-14 09:51 PM
I think he can, I think he can, I think he can.....
2393145, LMAO @ MCW ove Russy
Posted by FILF, Sat Nov-22-14 10:54 PM
2393153, In any case:
Posted by FILF, Sat Nov-22-14 11:37 PM
Cats who have already entered their primes:

Cats on the rise:
AD --> David Robinson
Wall --> Rich Man's Tony Parker
Boogie --> Barkley
PG--> Pippen

The Dark Horses
Butler --> Rich Man's Artest
Kawhi --> Rich Man's Gerald Wallace
Vucevic --> Rich Man's Brook Lopez
2393165, http://cdn.niketalk.com/5/5e/200x200px-ZC-5e9069ca_westbrookwhat.jpeg
Posted by Castro, Sun Nov-23-14 12:34 AM
2393152, Lillard
Posted by Musa, Sat Nov-22-14 11:28 PM
2393161, Lillard reminds me of a young Van Exel
Posted by FILF, Sat Nov-22-14 11:55 PM
He's fearless & plays w/ a chip on his shoulder but he shoots too many jumpers (esp. 3s) & doesn't get to the line. He needs to develop some type of post-up game to take advantage of his size & become a mid-range game assassin (ala Sam Cassell) since he doesn't have a dependable floater game at the moment.
2699533, Interesting
Posted by John Forte, Mon Jun-17-19 10:52 PM
2699535, dope uppage
Posted by dula dibiasi, Mon Jun-17-19 11:37 PM
this post is the shit.

we all underestimated klaw.


lolz thon lolz

some nigga said smart. lmao!
2699537, Keeping it in the clip, the biggest L is the Lebron omission.
Posted by Orbit_Established, Tue Jun-18-19 04:50 AM
>this post is the shit.
>we all underestimated klaw.
>lolz thon lolz
>some nigga said smart. lmao!

Lebron still firmly in the top 3, and prolly #1 if
he's healthy.

That one is more egregious than the Kawhi omission.

As in, Kawhi being left out is no biggee. But Lebron
was Allah himself in 2013, niggas just planned his
demise for no reason at all.


O_E: "Acts like an asshole and posts with imperial disdain"

"I ORBITs the solar system, listenin..."

(C)Keith Murray, "
2699548, I caught a slight Kawhi L, I'm hoping all the AD stuff actually comes to...
Posted by ThaTruth, Tue Jun-18-19 11:02 AM
fruition now lol