|Posted on April 3, 2013 at 12:25 AM|
John Wall had a 47 point game earlier this week. Do you view him as a "max contract" type of player when his rookie contract expires? Former #1 overall pick, but with an injury history and an inconsistent jump shot?
- Evan S.
Check out this list of selected players who were recently offered max contracts:
Roy “I’m A slower version of Brook Lopez, if that’s even possible” Hibbert
Amare “I can’t even start over Kurt Thomas” Stoudemire
Deron “Wait… age 28 is usually the peak of a player’s career and not the lowpoint?” Williams
Eric “I’m still an above average shooting guard when I’m healthy” Gordon
Rudy “I’m in the middle of a 24-month shooting slump” Gay
Carlos “I spray paint my own hairline” Boozer
And this list of selected players who recently received contracts smaller than the max:
Depending on which list you look at, you may automatically conclude that John Wall is or isn’t worthy of a max contract.
Here are the arguments for Wall being a max contract player:
- His inconsistent jump shot is improving. In 2011, he shot 28% from 10-15 feet out and 34% from 15-20 feet out. In 2012, those numbers jumped to 31% and 35%, and this year they increased again to 35% and 36% (also an above average 45% on shots from 20-25 feet).
- The Wizards this year are a surprising 23-17 with him in the lineup this year (a winning percentage good enough for the #4 seed) and a putrid 4-29 without him.
- He’s a fun player to watch, and if the Wizards let him go this summer, they’re going to have to try their luck getting fans to come see the killer Kevin Seraphin – Jan Vesely combo.
- Forbes estimates that the value of the Washington Wizards has increased $75 million dollars since they drafted John Wall in 2010.
Nonetheless, I still don’t think he is a max player. Behind Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Damian Lillard, and Derrick Rose (maybe Deron Williams too), Wall is only the 11th best point guard in the NBA. To put that in perspective, if the 11th best player at other positions had max contracts, then JJ Reddick, Chandler Parsons, and Greg Monroe would have max contracts.
There is currently a large divide in the Western conference between the top 5 teams (all at least 24 games over .500) and the teams competing for the remaining 3 playoff spots (none more than 10 games over .500). Which team outside of the top 5 has the best chance of advancing far into the playoffs?
- Mike G.
The Utah “Why we didn’t trade one of our five quality big guys for Eric Bledsoe is a mystery” Jazz are a horrendous 11-27 on the road and we saw them get swept by San Antonio in the first round last year. Take a look at the remaining teams’ records against those top 5 teams:
Golden State Warriors 7-12
Houston Rockets 4-12
Los Angeles Lakers 2-13
Dallas Mavericks 2-11
There are two additional reasons that I like the Warriors’ chances the best (although I don’t think any of these teams are going to do damage). Stephen Curry’s 54-point barrage against the Knicks, along with the 2008 NCAA tournament in which Curry scored 30 points in three consecutive games to lead 10th-seeded Davidson to the Elite Eight, convinced me that Curry is capable of single-handedly winning playoff games for Golden State. Second, the Warriors hit threes at a ridiculous 40.0%, which has helped them win some games this season that they didn’t have any business winning.
How big of an addition is Derek Fisher to the Thunder? Does he bring championship caliber experience?
- Kyle C.
Derek Fisher, after his contract with the Thunder expired last summer, signed with the below-.500 Dallas Mavericks, played nine games, and then asked the team to cut him so that he could spend time with his family. Just weeks later, in late February, he hopped on board with the championship-ready Thunder without contacting Dallas in what was a more sudden, more poorly explained, and less justified backstab then Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars III.
I don’t think signing a 25-year-old Derek Fisher would have been significant, but now he’s the seventh oldest player in the league, behind Marcus “Not even the second oldest player on my own team” Camby – Age 39, Steve “I could probably shoot 40% from threes until 2023” Nash – Age 39, Juwan “How the hell am I still playing?” Howard – Age 40, Jason “I still have the best hands in the league” Kidd – Age 40, Grant Hill – Age 40, and Kurt Thomas - Age 102. Every couple of weeks I stare at Derek Fisher’s career stats and am forced to regularly check the top of the page to make sure I’m not looking at James White’s stats. Astonishingly, in 17 seasons averaging 26 minutes per game as a point guard, he has not once shot above 44% from the field, not once shot above 41% on threes, not once averaged at least 4.5 assists per game, and not once averaged 4.5 field goals per game. It’s truly one of the greatest feats of the post-shot clock era of NBA history, and I don’t think we’ll ever see anything quite like it again.
I will give Fisher credit for one thing. As good as Kirk Hinrich’s takedown of Lebron James in last week’s game was, it still pales in comparison to Fisher bringing a bulldozing Lebron to a complete stop in last year’s Finals. I’m afraid, however, that’s the only positive experience he’s bringing to the table.
Who would you give Most Improved Player of the Year to?
- Shai A.
It comes down to two players who made the leap from average starter to all-star over the past year: Paul George and Jrue Holiday. They did so by improving their rebounding and passing, respectively, in addition to taking more shots because of their teams’ increased reliance on them. Luckily, I got to see both of these players in person in Philadelphia last month (Why was I at a meaningless Sixers-Pacers game in early March? It’s a long story, and I still don’t really know), and both displayed why they could be superstars in the near future (George had 18 points, 8 assists, and 14 rebounds; Holiday had 27 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds). George was his athleticism and wingspan stood out; he was simply getting up higher than everyone else on the court for rebounds at the shooting guard position (like Vince Carter, but without the attitude). Holiday scored on two clutch drives to seal the win; he is a gifted offensive player.
Quick tangent: Two other observations from that Sixers-Pacers game:
1) In the second half alone, Sixers’ center Spencer Hawes, who wears jersey number 00, (1) was not called for a travel when he jump-stopped, pivoted, and then jump-stopped again before hitting a baby hook, (2) swished a three-pointer, (3) attempted a driving left-handed hook shot on the right side of the basket (not a typo), which ricocheted off the backboard out to the three-point line, (4) flirted with a quadruple double (18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 blocks), (5) and set no fewer than 250 picks.
2) It’s amazing how one Nikola Vuvevic and Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson trade can make an Eastern Conference Semi-Finals team a lottery team. Additionally, (1) To wake up the slumbering fans half-way through the fourth quarter, they unveiled “The World’s Largest T-Shirt Launcher.” The PA announcer kept clarifying that it was indeed the largest, as if this is something a basketball team should take pride in. (2) This is how they pumped up their fans.
What do you think of the Heat's chances to be the first team ever to go 16-0 and sweep through the playoffs?
- Emani F.
I don’t like them, because as bad as the Eastern Conference might be, the Heat are only 1-2 this year against the Knicks, and I think New York can take two games from them in a series (Carmelo Anthony and hot three-point shooting can win one game each). Miami is also only 1-2 against the Chicago Bulls,
and I don’t want to jinx it, but the Bulls were considered the favorites last year with Derrick Rose healthy and Joakim Noah will be back for the playoffs.
Check back next week for part 2 of the mailbag, in which I will answer questions about the Bill Russell - Wilt Chamberlain rivalry, the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time, how age affects team performance, who is the best bench player in NBA history, and more.