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  1. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    All the guys on ESPN seem to be all hyped up about the Raptors too, so maybe I’m just missing the boat here. But I just don’t see it. As always, their depth will probably make them a tough regular season team. They’ll win a lot of games by virtue of their ability to wear teams down and keep their guys fresh. But that’s not winning ballgames in the postseason, so I’m not real moved by it. Lowry is a tough, really good player — but he turns 33 in the middle of next season and he’s already showing signs of decline. For small guards like him, the cliff often comes very quickly. They don’t have size/length to use as a weapon to cover up their declining quickness. But aside from Kawhi, he’s the only player they have who remotely approaches the elite/impact level. The rest of the starting lineup (Anunoby, Ibaka, Valanciunas) is decent enough I guess, but those are all bit players. And they’ve still got a good, deep bench — but none of them look like guys who could break out and emerge as excellent starters. Which leaves Kawhi. If they get the fully healthy, fully engaged 2015 and 2016 version — then maybe they’re a force to be reckoned with. At his best, he’s a superstar. But what makes us so sure they get that? He didn’t want to play, or risk further injury, for the team and teammates he spent his whole career with and won a title with — but we think he’s gonna be fully motivated to go all out on a team that he’s just joining, probably just for a year, before he goes out to chase that FA bag? Honestly, I think the Raptors are caught in between right now. This feels like an in-between move, just like the Kyrie trade did for Cleveland. It feels like they’re trying to take a shot to get over the top by shaking things up — but also leaving open the possibility of hitting that big bright red flashing *RESET* button if it goes sideways. They currently have the second highest payroll in the NBA, but by moving out Derozan’s contract for expiring deals in Leonard and Green, they could be down to about $18M in expected committed money by the summer of 2020. In essence, if the Kawhi thing doesn’t work out, they’re positioned to slide right into full tank mode. Just as the Cavs tried to set themselves up with Lebron. And I don’t think things like that usually work out well — Redskins fans know better than anybody how it falls apart from a team standpoint when everybody knows your “star” player has one foot out the door.
  2. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    I think Danny Green was just salary filler. He’s a $10M expiring contract, which is the primary value he probably provided to the Raptors in the deal. He’s not very good anymore. Just a 35.7% 3pt shooter over the last 3 seasons, a big drop from how well he used to shoot it, and that’s the only value he offers on offense. His defensive numbers are still relatively good, but how much of that is Pop’s defensive system inflating his performance? And he’s 31, so the consistent 3-year decline in his overall production seems like a trend that’s likely to continue. In terms of the secondary exchange, I actually value Poeltl a good deal more highly than Green. I thought Poeltl was pretty damn tough against us in the playoffs, and his season numbers seem to bear that out. And he’s only 23 and still on a rookie contract. I think that’s a very underrated addition for San Antonio, and I bet it was a pretty big part of their decision to take this deal.
  3. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    Ehh...the Sixers have a ton of talent, but they’ve basically had about a 30-game hot streak where they played some amazing ball (26-5 close to the regular season). Aside from that, they were a .500 team through 50 games last season, struggled to some degree with a pretty weak Miami team, and then got handled by a limited Boston team that needed 7 games to beat Milwaukee. If Simmons and Embiid stay healthy (no great bet) and they can bottle whatever mojo they were working with at the end of the season, then they might well be the better team. But I think it’s closer than “a good distance worse.” And the Raptors...well, they’ll probably win 50 games or whatever because of their depth, but they had their hands full with the Wizards despite Wall being 5 games back from major surgery and Porter’s injury. The Wiz have upgraded their talent level overall this offseason while the Raptors have (at best) stayed the same and Lowry will be another year older. I know the consensus is that the Wizards (and Bucks and Pacers) are clearly behind the “top three” in the East, but personally I think that’s putting a little too much emphasis on last season — when things went great for Philly and Toronto (and Indiana, for that matter) and terribly for Washington. I think all those teams will drift closer to each other next season, even just via some good old fashioned “regression to the mean” action.
  4. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    There’s only one team in the conference that I think has the potential to reach a level so high that the Wizards couldn’t meaningfully challenge them — Boston, if Kyrie and Hayward are both healthy and integrate effectively into what they already had in place — so I see it as likely a realistic ceiling of ECF. I guess maybe Philly could, if they were to all stay healthy and/or land Kawhi and/or get a huge step forward from Fultz and/or see Simmons become a league-average outside shooter. Think they’d need at least 3 of those to happen in order to truly outclass the Wizards. Anyway, I think with decent fortune, the Wizards should have at least a reasonable shot at playing for a spot in the final 4. In a league where only one team has a realistic ceiling of “champions,” that’s not so bad.
  5. Supp Draft at 1 p m ET Today

    Another one that comes to mind as a tall, long CB is David Amerson. Amerson ran better at the combine than Alexander did at his pro day — but to be fair, Alexander didn’t have the whole offseason to be preparing for the combine like most draft prospects do. But both have that general “bigger CB” profile of good size and strength, long arms, aggressiveness, physical, not overly fluid, not great at changing direction quickly, etc. I like the pick. First of all, I think it’s wise to use some of those numerous late round picks NOW — because obviously you’re getting another season out of them and because from a roster standpoint you really want to space out the introduction of raw rookies to the organization. You need to have space on the 53-man to allow them to develop without being counted on to play, and it’s hard to do that when you have something like a 13-man draft class coming in. Plus it seems like this guy has plenty of upside and also provides a fall-back possibility of moving to FS, so I like the risk/reward there.
  6. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    Getting a chance to watch some of this summer league game. Troy Brown is pretty much as advertised. Great length, smooth athlete moreso than explosive, nice well-rounded game. Jump shot needs a LOT of work. Finished around the basket a lot better than I had heard/read, but not a leaper. Can definitely see the Iguodala comparisons in terms of length and versatility and intelligence (and poor shooting). Just not an Iggy type of athlete. On the other hand, Devin Robinson is a pretty crazy athlete. Don’t really see much polish on the skillset and he’s getting lost out there a fair amount, especially on defense. But he makes up for it (at this level) with the athleticism. Big-time finisher and long enough to challenge some shots. Knocked down a 3, but doesn’t look like too consistent a shooter. Game kinda reminiscent of Oubre, except not quite that swooping/gliding feel to his movement like you see with Kelly. Thomas Bryant is what you think he is. Good hands, good shooter for a big man, surprisingly decent passer. Below the rim player, but he could he be useful as a pick and pop big guy with his skill level. Issuf Sanon is...years away. But he has some tools and plays hard, and PJ Carlesimo likes him apparently. Also, this is nothing new, but I really like Chris Chiozza. I hope he gets a chance to stick around on our G League team and an opportunity to play his way onto the roster next year or beyond. The rest of the team is uninspiring of course.
  7. Really great post, Doc, absolutely nailed it on several levels.
  8. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    To the best of my knowledge, they won’t be a repeater next year. In order to be a repeater, you have to have exceeded the luxury tax line in 3 of the previous 4 seasons. They exceeded it last season, but I believe that was their first time over the tax. So even if they’re over again this season, that would be the second year, and next year would be the third. So as I’m seeing it, the first “repeater penalty” year would be the 2020-21 season. Still a deterrent, and there would be some advantage to staying out of the tax this year if possible — but the penalty is still pretty distant at this point, and as I said, I’m not sure you want to weaken what could be your best roster/chance in order to postpone that penalty.
  9. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    I mean...they’re kind of in cap hell. But we’ve known that was coming since last summer, and dumping a year of Markieff Morris really isn’t going to affect it that much. The NBA is a little weird in this aspect, very different than the NFL for example. The amount that you’re above the salary really has almost no impact on your ability to sign or retain players — if you’re over the cap, you can only use exceptions to add salary, and those exceptions only shrink in certain relatively minor ways if you’re $30M over instead of $8M over. But what I assume MKnight is referring to are the restrictions that affect your willingness to add salary: the luxury tax and the repeater penalty that make it very, very expensive to be consistently way over the cap. They’re almost guaranteed to be over the luxury tax line next season, at least as long as they make an even half-hearted effort to field a competitive team. And they were over it last season. So if they’re also over that number this season, they’ll be in line to get crushed with the repeater penalty in 2020-21– which is really only a cost you can afford to pay if you’re legitimately competing for the championship. So from a financial standpoint, it would be huge to get under that luxury tax line ($123.7M) this season. That would push the repeater penalty back to 2021-22 (if at all). But we’ve got to shed substantially more than Markieff Morris’s salary to get there. By my rough math, we’d have to dump at least Morris and Jason Smith (and fill their spots with minimum players) in order to get under that number. And I’m just not sure that makes sense — given our roster and contract statuses, and the fall of the King, I’m not sure we’re going to have a better chance to make a push for the top of the East than this season. So I don’t really think we should be looking to weaken this year’s roster, even it costs us down the road.
  10. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/basketball.realgm.com/wiretap-amp/250564/Wizards-Agree-To-Sign-Dwight-Howard In some ways, he’s a great fit — world class rebounding, especially, and still a good defender with elite size in the middle. He’ll benefit from Wall’s ability to create buckets for him, and the knowledge that there will be easy flushes waiting on him at the end of pick and roll sets might be enough to inspire him to actually work on the offensive end. In some ways, he’s a terrible fit. He clogs up the floor on offense because he refuses to vacate the paint area to allow driving lanes, and we’ll be even worse in defending stretch big men. Plus, he’s a complete pain in the *** who is being added to a team that is not exactly running over with chemistry and tolerable players. Given their salary situation, I don’t think we could have expected much better in terms of an addition at center.
  11. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    It feels more and more like they’re saving that MLE to try to land Dwight Howard once he’s ^^ post I stopped in the middle of this morning and came up in my “reply” box when I opened it up to post the articles about the Wiz signing Dwight Howard to the full MLE.
  12. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    In first for Ernie sucks because he could have gotten DeMarcus Cousins for the taxpayer MLE but chose not to Anyway, real life is giving us an excellent demonstration of why the Rivers-Gortat trade sucked. You don’t willingly totally empty the cupboard at a position when your options for re-stocking that position are limited and uncertain. It’s just silly. Especially when you’re doing it for a player who is redundant to a large extent. And now they’ve got to hope that Kyle O’Quinn or Brook Lopez accepts their MLE, or that everyone could hold their nose (and their ears) and tolerate Dwight Howard. Or else Mahinmi is the starting center.
  13. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    If we’re using the mid-level exception on Mike Scott, how are we signing Nerlens Noel? We’re over the cap, exceptions are our only means of signing FAs. Which means the only way we could sign a FA after we’ve burnt up the MLE is to a minimum contract. Is Nerlens Noel really already at the point where he has to take a minimum deal? He might be, because of his injury history, but it just seems odd that he wouldn’t be able to find anyone willing to give him at least a portion of their MLE to take a gamble on him. Anyway, let’s say we give Scott the full taxpayer MLE ($5.33M) and Noel a minimum contract ($1.76M). That takes our cap number to $130.20M with 12 players under contract. If we were to waive and stretch Mahinmi, his remaining $32M would be paid out for cap purposes over 5 years instead of 2. In other words, that would reduce his annual cap hit to $6.40M and would save us $9.60M on the 2018-19 cap. That would drop us to $120.60M with 11 players under contract. The 12th player would be Troy Brown once his contract is made official ($2.73M first year value), which would take us to $123.33M. Which is just below the luxury tax level of $123.73M. But I believe that would still leave us in need of one additional minimum salary player to fill out a 13-man roster — and even if we signed a player with no NBA experience, that would cost at least $0.83M, putting us just a hair over that luxury tax threshold at $124.16M. So to answer your question, I believe that no, they would not be able to get below the luxury tax level by taking that precise approach. There are ways around it, obviously. They could try to get Mike Scott to take something like $4.75M instead of the full MLE. Could be a tough sell since we’re already limited to offering him 3 years (instead of the 4 years that non-taxpaying teams can offer), but 3/$15M is still a great deal for a guy who was on a minimum contract last season. They could also essentially pay someone to take Jodie Meeks’s salary, given that he’s now entirely valueless to us with the addition of Rivers. Would probably cost us a pick and some cash, but that would probably be worth it if we could avoid being repeaters next season when the Supermax kicks in. That one is probably the better plan, as it would give us another roster spot to use on a big with a pulse instead of Meeks and would give us a little flexibility as far as not being pressed directly against the luxury tax threshold.
  14. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    With Ariza leaving Houston, I wonder if there’s anything there for us to explore. We've got two guys, in Porter and Rivers, who I would think they’d covet. You would think a stats guy like Morey would be high on Porter, as a great shooter and low turnover player who could step right into Ariza’s role and limit drop-off defensively. And with their obvious fondness for that iso ball style, Rivers would seem like a natural fit as an emerging top-notch iso scorer. Just as a hypothetical, let’s say we could do Porter (and salary filler, maybe Jason Smith) for a re-signed Clint Capela and Ryan Anderson’s bad contract. Where would folks stand on something like that?
  15. Off-Topic: The Washington Wizards Thread

    One interesting thing I’m wondering about here is that their additions so far have been a young do-it-all SF in the draft and another wing shooter (using the term “shooter” a little bit loosely). Their subtraction so far has been a C arguably the most prolific/effective screener in the league. They have a two-way SF who is a great shooter and who happens to excel off screens. They’ve overloaded on the perimeter and are dreadfully thin in the paint. If we’re looking at all the moves together so far, I think there’s at least a faint arrow pointing towards moving Porter for a big man.