Chat with Kevin Pelton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA Insider Kevin Pelton stops by to chat about the latest news from the hardcourt.
Pelton is a co-author of the Pro Basketball Prospectus series and a former consultant for the Indiana Pacers. He developed the WARP rating and SCHOENE projection system.
Send your questions now and join Pelton Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Kevin Pelton (4:04 PM)
Hey everybody, thanks for joining me on a special day. I'm heading out of town for a friend's wedding and coming to you live from 35,000 feet above the Great Salt Lake. Let's get rolling.
Kevin Duong (GTA)
Hey Kevin! Are Toronto's turnover issues due to Brooklyn's length/Brooklyn's veteran experience/Toronto's own playoff experience/the weight of the city's (country's) collective expectation? I think that a lot of the latter is attributable and think they'll play more composed on the road. Thoughts? Thanks!
Kevin Pelton (4:07 PM)
To quote Grandpa Simpson, a little from column A and a little from column B. But as Brett Koremenos noted the other day on Deadspin,
You made a comment last week about Melos D being worse than Hardens, and your reasoning was that if Hardens D is so bad why don't the Rockets do anything about it. But what do the Knicks do about Melos D? Both hide on the worst wing player anyway. I don't think that was specifically part of the argument for why Melo was worse. I don't think there is much the Knicks can do about that. The Harden comment was more about the Rockets' apparent willingness to live with Harden coasting on the defensive end. That position has become much less tenable during the playoffs.
You made a comment last week about Melos D being worse than Hardens, and your reasoning was that if Hardens D is so bad why don't the Rockets do anything about it. But what do the Knicks do about Melos D? Both hide on the worst wing player anyway.
I don't think that was specifically part of the argument for why Melo was worse. I don't think there is much the Knicks can do about that. The Harden comment was more about the Rockets' apparent willingness to live with Harden coasting on the defensive end. That position has become much less tenable during the playoffs.
What are your favorite metrics when it comes to evaluating players that AREN'T all-encompassing like win shares, PER, WARP, etc?
Kevin Pelton (4:10 PM)
There's a couple different categories. True shooting percentage, usage and rebound percentage are probably the most important, but all of the skill statistics are meaningful.
Beezy (Brooklyn, NY)
How much trouble are the Blazers in? If they don't slam the door in Game 3, it's 2-1 and in danger of being tied up at 2-2 - at which point, a lot of self-doubt has to creep in right?
Kevin Pelton (4:11 PM)
The glass is not only empty, it has actually been stolen from the table.
Ed (Queens Village)
Bulls or Rockets best chance of rallying from 2-0 to win series?
Kevin Pelton (4:13 PM)
I think Houston's problems are more easily solved by adjustments and LaMarcus Aldridge's outside shooting regressing to the mean. So Rockets.
I understand that teams downgrade older players in college. This has to do with maturity, physically, emotionally, intellectually, etc. But does it really make sense to downgrade older guys in college that just started playing basketball. Do you think this is what happened with Dieng?
Kevin Pelton (4:14 PM)
I don't think it has much to do with those issues. I think it happens for a couple of reasons. First, the longer a player is in college, the easier it is to focus on their weaknesses rather than their strengths. Second, historically the most talented players come out early, so players who stay four years are more limited. That's where a player like Dieng may be different, though I don't know that we have much evidence whether players who are late to the game develop differently.
Jeff (Boston, MA)
If the Celtics end up in the 5-7 range of the draft, looks like there are a lot of powerfowards in that range. With Sullinger & Olynk on the roster, could Vonleh play C? Gordon SF?
Kevin Pelton (4:15 PM)
You could potentially play Vonleh together with one of the holdovers, since they already were playing center and Vonleh would add more length. I don't think Gordon could succeed at small forward in the NBA because of the difficulty spacing the floor.
It seems Silver is determined to increase the NBA age limit. Will this drive more players to the European leagues?
Kevin Pelton (4:17 PM)
It certainly increases the incentive for players to do so, especially if they can secure lucrative endorsement deals two years earlier. But ultimately I think the downsides of going to Europe (adjusting to a new culture and basketball style at age 18, being away from family) will keep it from being particularly common. Maybe it's one player per year instead of one every 2-3.
Kimberly (Clinton township, mi)
If you were Cavs mgmt would you feel comfortable enough with Waiters to shop Kyrie? It seems like they're basically the same player (ball heavy PG, poor defense) and while Irving might be better he probably also carries more trade value to be able to remake the team on the fly
Kevin Pelton (4:21 PM)
Still waiting for Dion Waiters to post a TS% within shouting distance of league average for more than a couple of weeks at a time to start making any decisions about the future of the franchise based on his presence.
Tade (Toronto) [via mobile]
When the Raptors get passed the nets , (which they will by 6 games), what chances do you give them against the heat? What are your predictions on that series and why?
Kevin Pelton (4:22 PM)
Teams that lose Game 1 at home, then win Game 2, barely win half the time. So let's go ahead and worry about that Raptors-Heat series when it happens.
If the sixers do get the number 10th pick, could they package the army of second round picks they have to move up to number 6 to make sure they get the kid from IU?
Kevin Pelton (4:23 PM)
I doubt that second-round picks would really be enough incentive for a team to move down in the lottery, but I could be surprised.
Do deeper teams generally fair worse in the playoffs (vs. regular season results)? Seems like shorter rotations in the playoffs would favor top heavy teams. I am specifically wondering about San Antonio.
Kevin Pelton (4:24 PM)
It seems that way, but this is the kind of topic that is extremely vulnerable to confirmation bias. So absent actual evidence of an effect, I'd be skeptical.
Kevin Pelton (4:24 PM)
Certainly didn't hurt the Spurs last year, for example.
Brandon Knight was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal Bucks season, but his Real Plus Minus wasn't exactly stellar. How should Bucks fans value him going forward?
Kevin Pelton (4:25 PM)
Knight had his moments as a scorer, but didn't necessarily translate them to team success. I remain skeptical that he's a full-time point guard. I think his ideal role may be sixth man backing up both guard spots.
Drom John (Macon, GA)
Bill Barnwell say that Chip Engelland might be worth $3.5M in Schoene dollars on Marco Belinelli alone (plus whatever for Parker, Leonard, Mills and Bonner's new baby hook). What do you think Engelland is worth, and is there any other non head coach that might be worth big bucks (Olajuwon, a Suns trainer, ...).
Kevin Pelton (4:31 PM)
It's hard enough for us to put a dollar figure on the value of head coaches, and given that most of their work goes on beyond the scenes, doing so for assistant coaches is exponentially more difficult. So I'm comfortable saying Engelland is probably worth more than he's making, but not going much more specific than that. Same with the Suns training staff, and noted defensive assistants.
Jack (Alamo) [via mobile]
Should a player like Hibbert play any minutes at all against a team like Hawks which every player on the roster can shoot the three ball?
Kevin Pelton (4:32 PM)
Sure. Elton Brand can't shoot the 3, so not every player on the Hawks roster poses a matchup problem for him. And the Pacers still were able to have success with him on the floor in Game 2, so I don't think he should be nailed to the bench by any stretch of the imagination.
Tavaris (Columbia, SC)
I'm an aspiring sportswriter and would like to get some advice on what major to take in college. Do you have any suggestions on any majors, did you work at a newspaper or intern at a major newspaper before getting to ESPN??? Your advice would truly be appreciated, thank you.
Kevin Pelton (4:34 PM)
My suggestion would be to not worry too much about your major. I majored in marketing, after all. And there's no one right path in 2014. I never wrote for the school newspaper, but my experience writing online (before it was even called blogging) helped me get an internship with the Sonics writing for their website. The most important things are to read as much as possible and write as much as possible. Where you do that is secondary.
Drew (NC) [via mobile]
In what capacity did you work when you were doing WNBA stuff? Was it analytical?
Kevin Pelton (4:36 PM)
I wrote for the Seattle Storm's website, but did some statistical analysis as part of that similar to what I've done for the NBA. (Alas, never got a big enough sample size of history to effectively do a WNBA SCHOENE.)
Hi Kevin,with all the influx of Canadian talent coming up through the NCAA, is it fair to say that Canada will become a Top 3 basketball nation in international competitions by 2018?
Kevin Pelton (4:38 PM)
I think it has to be more than just talent. They also have to build the kind of chemistry that made Argentina's golden generation and the current Spanish group so successful. Other countries with similar individual talent haven't translated it to as much team success. But certainly the talent is there for Canada to become a power.
How does Miami build for the future? Seems like they have to change the team to compete long term, but this year's free agent crop is not very good. Likewise, I can't imagine all of the Big 3 passing up the opportunity to secure long term max deals. What gives?
Kevin Pelton (4:40 PM)
Depending on how willing players are to take significantly less money, I'm not sure how much Miami can re-tool given the Big 3 stick around (which I also expect). It's possible the Heat may have to continually cycle through aging role players until the core gives out.
Arnie (Jeddah) [via mobile]
Do you think NBA would issue comment regarding McRoberts foul on Lebron?When do you think it will be release?
Kevin Pelton (4:42 PM)
I would expect it to be upgraded to a flagrant foul at some point before Game 3. The real question is whether it will be a flagrant 1, and thus just matter toward accumulating a suspension, or a flagrant 2 that could mean missing Game 3.
Is Harden's defense the worst you have seen of a player his caliber?
Kevin Pelton (4:43 PM)
It's not necessarily that his defense is so bad as that his defensive effort is so bad. To the extent we've seen that with superstars, it's usually players like Kobe Bryant who are aging and need to conserve their energy.
What would that Canadian team possibly look like? Wiggins, Bennett, Ennis, Stauskas, Nicholson, Tristan Thompson, who else?
Kevin Pelton (4:44 PM)
Sacre for size and I know I'm missing one other big guy. Also Kevin Pangos at the point.
Lots of criticism of the Houston isolation-happy offense but how would you solve the defensive issue with Aldridge? Throw more double-teams at him and hope the perimeter guys can scramble? Keep letting Asik or Howard try to guard him and hope he cools off?
Kevin Pelton (4:45 PM)
I don't think I would overreact. Aldridge can't possibly keep hitting long jumpers at this rate, and if he does you tip your cap to him and move on. 3-pointers are going to be equally lethal. But I would give more minutes to the Asik-Howard duo. Dwight avoiding foul trouble will help that.
Eugene (Miami) [via mobile]
Do you think MKG will ever be a great player with that shooting form? He obviously has grit and toughness but with that kind of shooting, he probably will never met the expectations.
Kevin Pelton (4:47 PM)
I don't think he can even be a good player without improving his outside shooting, and that presumably means improving his form. Yesterday showed the best he can possibly be without making outside shots, but it's been the exception and not the rule.
With the Jazz rumored to have an interest in Messina, I'm curious about the state of statistical analysis internationally. Is it significantly less or more prominent among coaching staffs in different regions? Anywhere out there ahead of the US on this?
Kevin Pelton (4:49 PM)
I don't know if there's a big difference in the level of interest either way. As with here, a lot depends on the individual coach's background and the way their mind works. One thing that I think is true of international coaches is that they're more open to trying things that run counter to conventional wisdom.
Kevin Pelton (4:49 PM)
Flagrant 2 for McRoberts, but apparently just a fine and no suspension. Bobcats breath a sigh of relief.
Matt (U of Washington)
Who do you think are the best fits for head coach of the Jazz? Any chance they swipe Steve Kerr from Phil Jackson?
Kevin Pelton (4:52 PM)
I'd be surprised if Kerr landed there. I think if he doesn't go to New York, he probably will end up in Golden State. Seems like a younger coach makes sense for the Jazz, someone who can grow up with this team.
Hey Kevin, in terms of analytics, what are the three most important numbers in determining a players worth? I'm confused by all the data out there.
Kevin Pelton (4:53 PM)
Can I give you four? If you look at Real Plus-Minus, Win Shares, PER and my WARP, I think that gives a pretty good general impression of overall value.
As an aspiring NBA-front-office guy, do you have any tips or recommendations as to certain areas of study I should focus on? Is analytics in basketball here to stay, and a good piece of knowledge to have, or is it just a passing craze? Thanks!
Kevin Pelton (4:55 PM)
I'd be surprised if we go the opposite direction with analytics at this point. At the same time, if it's not your passion or area of expertise, I don't think it's a good place to focus to try to get into an NBA front office. I'd say learning the CBA is definitely very helpful, but unless you're a lawyer that's probably a tough way to get in too.
Justin (Cheshire, CT)
Have you ever studied game-to-game variance in eFG%, TO%, Reb%, and FTA/FG? In other words, do you know which of the 4 factors are most/least consistent game-to-game?
Kevin Pelton (4:56 PM)
Somebody might have studied that, but I can't think of anything right now. My sense is that rebound percentage and turnover rate are probably most stable.
Do you think the Bulls have enough offense to do anything in these playoffs?
Kevin Pelton (4:57 PM)
Do they have enough offense to come back in this series? Yes. And at that point, Indiana certainly still looks vulnerable, so I would say yes. But one game at a time when down 2-0.
Justin (Portland, OR)
How much more important do you think three-pointers are from big men compared to wings/point guards?
Kevin Pelton (4:59 PM)
I don't know that they're any more important. They're more positive relative to the average for the position, but then not getting 3s from a perimeter player is a greater negative. So I don't think the average really determines the importance.
James Harden has been dominating the blazer during regular season. Then what is the key to his struggle in the playoffs? I don't think the blazers have been that great in defense.
Kevin Pelton (5:06 PM)
Keeping him off the free throw line has been big, and he hasn't gotten many 3s either. A lot of contested 2s. More creativity from the Rockets offense may help get him (and teammates) better looks.
Re. question on Canadian National Team, other names to consider include Olynyk, Cory Joseph. Maybe one of the Bhullars will develop. Guys like Heslip/Rautins could be specialists too.
Kevin Pelton (5:07 PM)
No shortage of shooting, certainly. Olynyk is a good name.
Today, there was the article on "fair/unfair" about Jackson and Vogel's coaching jobs. With respect to Jackson, which I have more familiarity with (in the Bay Area), what would be your KPIs or "factors" for evaluating a coach? (e.g. X's/O's knowledge rating, motivational skills, actual game wins, etc.)
Kevin Pelton (5:08 PM)
My main criteria is wins vs. expectation. I think sometimes it's easy to get so caught up in details that big-picture things that lead to success can be overlooked. Defense is also a big factor. Jackson scores well there. How he does versus expectations depends in large part on how elite you think the Warriors' talent is. I'm more skeptical than their ownership.
Is Frank Vogel a good coach? Sure the Pacers have risen over the past few years but does it have to do more with talent than scheme? I believe that right now at 23, Paul George is on the verge of being the best player on a championship team. If he's not there this year he will get there within a few years. Stephenson and West are all star caliber players when you factor in their defensive ability. Hill and Hibbert are good role players.
Kevin Pelton (5:10 PM)
The trouble is that many of those young players have played primarily under Vogel. How do you separate his role in developing guys like George, Stephenson and even Hibbert (who was not nearly as impactful defensively before Vogel's ascension) from their overall talent? That's tricky with any coach, certainly. But in terms of the things we just mentioned, Vogel scores extremely well. In particular, he designed what I consider an ideal defense. I think it's short-sighted to overlook that because it happens to be vulnerable to the type of team the Pacers faced in the first round.
Kevin (Chicago, IL)
Do great defenders become exponentially more valuable when played in tandem? I'm trying to imagine the possibilities should the Sixers pair Nerlens Noel with Embiid this summer...
Kevin Pelton (5:12 PM)
Well, the key question here is great *interior* defenders. The Sixers would in that scenario always have a rim protector on the weak side, and Noel and Embiid are athletic enough to not be liabilities on the perimeter. But there's also offense to consider, and as I've noted before in the chats, Brett Brown is on the record as saying he wants shooting at power forward and views Noel as a center. I'd imagine Sam Hinkie is on board with that.
Why aren't the Wizards being discussed as a potential destination for Melo? Seems that they could move enough contracts, am I missing something here?
Kevin Pelton (5:12 PM)
I don't think they will until or unless Melo's camp starts dropping hints that they're seriously in consideration.
Does DeAndre Daniels' defensive presence at the rim as an off the ball defender and high block % appreciably shift your opinion on him, given that he is likely to be a perimeter player? What do you think of him overall?
Kevin Pelton (5:13 PM)
It's useful, certainly. I think my questions are primarily about whether he's as dangerous offensively as an NBA small forward when he doesn't have a quickness advantage over opponents.
Niles (San Diego)
Kevin if you were running the Lakers what would your approach be this offseason. Try to make a splash in free agency or be patient and wait till 2015
Kevin Pelton (5:13 PM)
Jason Keen (St. Louis)
Any cause for concern with the Spurs performance last night or was it just a blip that they'll correct and quickly discard the Mavs?
Kevin Pelton (5:15 PM)
Definite concern. Not only did they lose badly last night, they trailed much of Game 1. So we've really only seen them dominate for one quarter of the first two games, and that's at home. I don't know if I would go so far as to say they're in trouble, but this is a legitimate series.
Jason Keen (St. Louis)
Any takeaways from the Hoop Summit re: likely one and done players in the 2015 draft?
Kevin Pelton (5:17 PM)
I saw some solid NBA players, but not obvious superstar talent. Okafor is probably the closest thing, but I suspect his box-score stats will be better than his impact because he doesn't move well laterally and isn't a rim protector. Mudiay is intriguing, and I look forward to seeing how he develops under Larry Brown next season. Cliff Alexander is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Are you really chatting while on a flight?
Kevin Pelton (5:17 PM)
I am! At least until we hit 10,000 feet ...
Eric (Arcata, CA)
Do you think Brittney Griner will be the greatest player of all-time?
Kevin Pelton (5:19 PM)
She's got the potential to do so, but still needs to improve to even get in the conversation for best player in the league, let alone best of all time.
Justin (Portland, OR)
With a healthy Paul/Redick/Griffin (their regular season record doesn't reflect that totally), what odds do you give them at a title? I believe they had the most efficient five-man lineup over 200 minutes, by the way, at something like 117 points per 100 possessions, and the top ten included a couple of their other lineups. It's a pretty killer offense.
Kevin Pelton (5:20 PM)
Maybe 1 in 5? The trick remains having to go through both OKC and San Antonio without home-court advantage. Some other teams could do them favors there. Of course, the Clippers are tied 1-1 going on the road themselves ...
Bluto Blutarski (Niedermayer, OR)
Just looked up the #PELTON hashtag from last night and it surprisingly didn't get much traction...
Kevin Pelton (5:21 PM)
Especially because it's in all caps, it seems like something that should be yelled out of frustration while thrusting one's arms into the sky. PELTON!
What can the Warriors do to get Blake out of sync again? do you think Blake has caught on and it shouldn't be a problem anymore?
Kevin Pelton (5:22 PM)
Get him in foul trouble, perhaps?
I feel myself yelling at the refs more than ever before, and I'm talking about when watching games where I don't have an interest in who wins. Is the recent ref scrutiny justified or does this happen every playoffs and we tend to forget?
Kevin Pelton (5:23 PM)
It definitely feels like it's been worse. There's no defending the decision to not call a flagrant (at least to review!) on McRoberts last night, for example. But this always happens, to some extent or another, with both the NBA Playoffs and the NCAA tournament.
Is Frank Vogel's job really in the hot seat and does he deserve to be put in the hot seat?
Kevin Pelton (5:23 PM)
Maybe and no, respectively.
What has been the most intriguing series so far?
Kevin Pelton (5:24 PM)
I would say Rockets-Blazers, despite being one of the three 2-0 series.
Surely you don't think the rockets and bulls will win the next 4 to match your series prediction, but do you still like both of those teams to win their series?
Kevin Pelton (5:25 PM)
Blazers and Wizards are definitely the favorites right now. I think those series are a little bit closer than the 3-20 stat (the history of teams that lose the first two games at home) would indicate, but they're heavy favorites.
The one coaching job people aren't talking about is my LA Lakers, if they fire D'Antoni, which they should, who should the Lakers get as their head coach?
Kevin Pelton (5:25 PM)
It honestly doesn't matter at this point. The Lakers aren't going to have the talent to compete next year no matter who they hire. I think the most important thing is which coach will appeal to 2015 free agents (read: Kevin Love).
Can you explain Adam Silver's justification for being gung ho about moving the age limit up? Is it just about giving NBA teams more time to evaluate a player? Help the NCAA out? I don't get it.. seems unfair to the players, who are seriously attempting to make a living off something they "do well"?
Kevin Pelton (5:27 PM)
Fair ain't got nothing to do with it. If we do head this direction, and I hope it can still be stopped, I do at least like the idea of the NBA compensating top prospects somehow.
Johnny (Los Angeles )
Speaking of Kevin love, any chance Phoenix puts a package together to team him up with Dragic?
Kevin Pelton (5:28 PM)
Takes two to make a trade, and there is no indication the Wolves are interested right now.
Do you think all this negative publicity around lance stephenson has given the Pacers a chance to resign him in the off-season? If not you don't think they sing Turner do you? He's been horrible
Kevin Pelton (5:29 PM)
It was always a long shot that Stephenson would get such a large offer as to prevent the Pacers from making him the same kind of offer. Now it's borderline unthinkable.
Love the long chats Kevin!! I understand point differential can be predictive over the course of a season but for a series the sample size is much too small, right??
Kevin Pelton (5:30 PM)
There's some predictive power. I think John Hollinger found that in 2-2 series, the point differential mattered to the final outcome. But too many games like Game 2 in Clippers-Warriors for it to be as meaningful as in the regular season, certainly.
You make Aldridge's performances out to be a fluke, lucky shooting basically. However, only 5 of his 17 made shots in game 1 were outside the key. He's simply taking what Houston has given him.
Kevin Pelton (5:32 PM)
He had a lot more in Game 2, and keep in mind that the percentage is the important thing. In a series that's been very close, it only takes a couple of those jumpers going from makes to misses to potentially swing the outcome of a game.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that we will ever see a Female Head Coach in the NBA?
Kevin Pelton (5:32 PM)
Ever is a long time.
Do you foresee a shake up on the Pacers bench as far as assistants go? They need the "bad cop" aka Brian Shaw bc Vogel refuses to get on ppl. Someone has to yell at PG to stop jacking too many PUJ's and for Lance to stop being Lance some times. They also need an asst who can bring in a competent offensive system like the Griz did. Any names you could who could come in and help?
Kevin Pelton (5:33 PM)
It's funny how nobody thought they needed a bad cop, or an offensive makeover in February. The recency effect is real, and it's spectacular.
How would you rank the lower seeds in terms of chances to win their series at this point? think I would go Portland, Washington, Nets, GSW, Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte
Kevin Pelton (5:34 PM)
I have always assumed that free throw% correlate to future NBA 3p% does it? If so so how strongly?
Kevin Pelton (5:36 PM)
There's some evidence that it matters in developing 3-point range in college, but I think there's less connection once in the NBA. So I would assume without looking that there's a relationship but not a strong one.
Honestly...do you think Pop deserved COTY over Hornacek ?
Kevin Pelton (5:36 PM)
I honestly do.
Has anyone ever used advanced stats to create KPIs as measuring sticks for developing new basketball players?
Kevin Pelton (5:37 PM)
Let's please not bring the phrase "KPI" to sports. I'm getting bad "Office Space" flashbacks.
Will there ever be a player who averages 20 rebounds per game?
Kevin Pelton (5:38 PM)
Would require an increase in pace of play, I'd think, but that certainly shouldn't be ruled out over the course of decades.
Which of the most likely lottery winners would be the best fit for Embiid?
Kevin Pelton (5:40 PM)
Ideally, you'd want shooters around him and an opening at center. I'm not sure I see that combination on any of the teams.
Jay (Tacoma, WA)
Small sample size aside for the moment, what's surprised you most in the playoffs so far?
Kevin Pelton (5:40 PM)
The Spurs struggling to score on Dallas.
Daniel (San Antonio)
Would you favor the Pacers against either the Wizards or the Bulls right now?
Kevin Pelton (5:41 PM)
I think I would favor them over Chicago, yes. The Bulls couldn't present the same spacing issues.
D (san jose, ca)
Kevin, how much of a role did Mark Jackson play in developing the warriors defense really? The GM traded Monta for Bogut and acquired Iguodala. Giving Mark Jackson credit for the improved defense is like trading for Durant and saying the coach improved your team's scoring.
Kevin Pelton (5:42 PM)
Individual talent doesn't translate to team success nearly as strongly on defense as offense. And last year, Golden State was much improved on defense without Iguodala and with Bogut in and out of the lineup. A lot of that was credited to Mike Malone, but the Warriors haven't seemed to miss him this season.
Boo ...KP.....(haha) what's your reasoning?
Kevin Pelton (5:44 PM)
The Spurs won 62 games as the first team in NBA history to not play a single player at least 30 minutes per game. I don't think any coach in the league could have managed the bench as deftly as Pop did to create a full roster of contributors.
Tony R (Utah)
Do you think the NBA will ever remove the player max salary but keep the salary cap? What downfalls would that have? Wouldn't create an efficient market and allow teams to determine a players true value?
Kevin Pelton (5:45 PM)
The downfall is that players re-signing with their original team could command huge sums of money, especially in small markets (see Garnett, Kevin). That scares the owners. And from the players' perspective, there's zero incentive to change the max salary. It's simple math. There are a lot more mid-level guys in the union than there are max-caliber ones.
Justin (Los Angeles)
I have a feeling Blake Griffin is going to turn Super Star in these playoffs. Do you concur?
Kevin Pelton (5:46 PM)
I think he already has, to the extent that there's a real difference between "star" and "superstar."
Why would Houston change anything going to game 3? Aldridge has had the 2 best games of his career by far and Harden is playing terrible. Aldridge will obviously regress back to his normal numbers. Lets not pretend hes KD or LBJ. We know what he is at this point in his career. This is not it.
Kevin Pelton (5:47 PM)
Blazers are going home, so I don't think the Rockets can be content to sit around and wait for regression. They shouldn't overreact, but offensively in particular they can do better.
Charles (San Jose)
Embiid would have shooters all around him in Phoenix, and it's no sure thing that either Len or Plumlee is a legit starting center.
Kevin Pelton (5:47 PM)
Yeah, I was merely counting them out because I don't consider them a likely lottery winner.
Kevin Pelton (5:48 PM)
Alright, we're entering our final descent, so I'm going to have to wrap things up. Thanks for joining me and see you next week!