It hasn't been an easy season for Dubs faithful. In case you haven't heard WE BELIEVE IS DEAD. The silver lining for the WE SUCK era is that Golden State of Mind managed to rack up a ton of super lotto balls in the first annual NBA Blogger Draft Lottery.
WE SUCK has its benefits.
The blogger super lotto was held this past Monday morning at the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto, CA. You might have missed it as it was only televised on NBATV2, which many households unfortunately still don't get. It's really too bad because there was some great news my golden people.
Proving that the GSoM community is nothing short of "Unstoppable Baby!" we won the lottery! I couldn't be any happier with our grand prize. Make the jump and I'll tell you what we've all won...
The 2009 NBA Blogger Draft happened right after this evening's Lakers-Rockets game and will be broadcast on tape-delay around 3am on NBATV2 tonight, but I'll spoil the surprise and tell you how it went down.
"With the 1st pick in the 2009 Blogger Draft the mighty Golden State of Mind selects... JAE!!"
Don't worry- JAE looks nothing like the guy shaking the Commisioner David Stern's hand in this photo.
If you're not a bandwagoner (actually I should stop saying that since most of them have probably returned to being LA Faker fans), then you've undoubtedly read the golden words JAE has been dropping the FanPosts and comments of GSoM since 2006. I don't think I need a JAE highlight reel to convince you that he drops science effortlessly, but JAE's Report Card for the 2008-2009 Golden State Warriors gives you a hint of the RIDICULOUS UPSIDE this balla blogger has:
Note: contract price does not factor in for players, as they don't add this up when the wins and losses are tabulated and every single one of us would take the bucks if offered to us. Wouldn't make a single one of us a better player though just because of that and it doesn't make a pro a better player just because management got fooled. Price tags should only effect management grades, so the price-tag has no bearing on player grades, with a lone exception who haunts us from beyond the grave.
Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf (group project): B-
Andris is what he is, an elite rebounder who hits high percentage of low vol. shooting. That's a valuable commodity if you've got good perimeter play to keep the ball out of the post where he can be abused that forces misses that he'll gobble up. He won't kill possessions and he'll be a valuable finishing touch on solid, aggressive defense. But without the aggressive perimeter defense, he can be a liability when guys drive into the lane and he's both taking a pounding alone while also forced to cover everyone's mistakes. Overall, better than most centers and would be difficult to upgrade, but not elite. Ronny also is what he is. The better "jumper" that he has over Andris didn't result in an ability to take and make more shots. He was more adept at giving guys problems in the paint on defense, but overall his presence did not improve the team's defense as his poor-for-a-center rebounding meant more shots by the other team when he was in. Overall, there was very little difference in team production between Andris and Ronny and as such, they should get a similar grade. On a better team, I suspect that Andris could contribute more because of his rebounding while Turiaf would return to a more reduced role, as he had when he played on a better team. Love the effort, the "heart", but since the scoreboard doesn't award style or "effort" or "heart" points, I don't see why we should inflate his contribution to look like it was more than it really was. Actually if it was really a group project, they might have done better as the big lineup with both was reasonable, but that was almost never the case. Sigh. (which brings me to the...
Don Nelson: D+
He phoned it in often. In hindsight, he handled Randolph well. Hindsight wasn't better than vision at the time though in other instances. He didn't seem to handle many other guys well. They might have actually squeezed a win or two more than the post Monta-injury lineup projected to if we're real honest about who we have, but not only did they lose, but they were often predictable in doing so which drags the grade down, since he was the guy who could have helped this the most. He didn't.
Anthony Randolph: B-
I give some leeway to his being a rookie and don't grade him on the same scale as vets since rookies just don't do as much as vets and we shouldn't expect them to. His late season performance would warrant B+/A- material. An elite rebounder is tough to come by and there's little doubt he's headed for that class. Guys rarely regress on the boards. But the early season wild luckily aborted attempt to be a SF was in D- territory with many missed shots and many turnovers. The improvement puts the season mark closer to the better grade. The grade does not reflect expectations on next year. That grade comes then, not now.
Brandan Wright: C+ (still on the rookie scale due to limited minutes last year, but see below).
His rebounding regressed. And that's rare, although it's consistent with his lone year in college. Last year may have been a sample size issue with limited minutes making him look like he might have been better. He's a different guy at one end of the court on the boards too, which bothers me. He's an amazingly efficient guy who can get offense without having to command the ball, but it's limited presently. Next year, the same won't cut it.
Corey Maggette: C-
Amazingly efficient scorer when he went to being a 6th man wound up producing and playing like he has all his career. He's a weapon on offense and despite being mismatched with what the team had done for the last couple of years, was a net positive, and a liability on defense, even when not being used as a ‘big' as was too often the case early on. Overall, a slight bit above average, perhaps, but slight enough that it doesn't get more than average. Couple in the injury time missed, which, although to be expected given his history, are expected given his history and factors into how much, or how little, he helped the team.
Kelenna Azubuike: B
A star student on the team, he turned into an excellent long range threat and a guy who can rebound his position provided his position is off-guard with some time at the 3. Adequate defense? Hard to tell. In isolation, it's tough to fault him more than the guys who were really terrible. He might just be a standout on a bad squad, but it seemed that more often he wasn't part of the problem and he showed up to work.
Stephen Jackson: C-
Can't give ‘leadership' points to a guy whining to the refs, He didn't show the same commitment to D that made him an asset before. Without his example on D, without him clearly trying harder than everyone else on the floor, no one else tried at all which shows no real ‘leadership'. Gotta grade on what happened on his own production. He was a low efficiency shooter, like he's almost always been, who doesn't rebound like he's 6-8 (he improved to almost adequate for a guard this year!) and turned the ball over more than anyone else in the league. I'll give him a slight pass on the latter since he was forced into a point guard role he never should have had, but it more than mitigated the increased assists and the turnovers hurt more than the assists helped. Not his fault? Then we just have the lousy shooting weigh in that much more. It doesn't help his case as such. He fooled the fools who believe that ppg is a great measure of a player's contributions and who still think of a 1-6 early start was all due to his absence a year ago. I wonder how long he can ride that one. I'd probably grade him lower, but he had a very hot streak that sticks out. And he's seemingly so popular with many fans and I'm not immune to peer pressure.
Jamal Crawford: D+
Team did well when his game was on. Since the team, in general, did not do well, this tells us something. Moderate shooting efficiency because of a reasonable ability to get to the line, some sometimes nifty passing but mostly not more than adequate ball-handling guard production, coupled with lousy rebounding some of the worst defense in the league, We wouldn't have missed him if he never showed up from New York much like NY didn't miss him when he was gone. When a bad team doesn't get worse when you leave, how much can you really contribute. I hear he's a nice guy, so that's a plus. If only the NBA gave ‘nice guy' bonuses on made shots. They don't.
CJ Watson: C-
Not much in the way of distribution skills, nothing in the way of defense, but a good scorer. That makes up a whole lot of the team. If you depend on him, you're not going to be an above average team. We did. We weren't.
Marco Belinelli: B- (rookie scale due to limited time last year)
He can look good with the ball, but lets put to rest the lineup projections with him manning the point. 3.6 assists per 36 and a 1.5:1 A:TO ratio isnt' point guard material. He shot the ball pretty respectably when he played and didn't make glaring mistakes. Meh.
Anthony Morrow: B+ (rookie scale, tops on the team)
A lights out shooter and a guy who rebounds his position and doesn't try to do too much which is usually good. Not much of a ball handler (didn't try to be thankfully, so at least this kept turnovers down) or passer (which meant he didn't help out others, but at least this kept turnovers down). Could the grade have been better? I reserve an "A" for the very top rookies, the top 4 or 5 who really, really played a big positive part for their team. Was he among the very top rookies? The head of the class? Bump him up only if you can say yes without starting to laugh a little. I can't.
Monta Ellis: D+
Should I forgive him for the stupidity on the moped? He got a lot of hate for that, but only because he was unlucky and got hurt andhis inability to play meant he couldn't contribute and that hurt the team. Athletes do dumb things all the time, some much dumber. Seems that the athletes who get DUIs should get more hatred, since they put innocent people in jeopardy. That's an aside though. When he played, his efficiency dropped from where it was last year and he's still not a playmaker and he's not committed to defense. I think his case is more commitment than ability too, not that it should really matter much in the grade as the net effect is the same. It just pisses me off as it could be better. It wasn't. The "plus" was that the team really did play better when he was back. I don't know how much that was coincidence, but I doubt all of it was. They approached "adequate NBA team" for some stretches there. Some of it was that his PT meant less of Crawford, less of Watson, the two guys who might be less effective defenders.
Rob Kurz: D+ (rookie scale)
He probably gave more than anyone ever expected of him, and I'm sure he's a much better player than any of us.
Marcus Williams: F
Was out of shape and didn't shoot well. Could he pass? Does it matter?
Al Harrington: F
Played poorly before quitting and making a panicked management trade away what could have been a valuable expiring contract for He managed to do double damage on the court and on the contracts. I'd give him an F - , but fear that the minus might be a little less of an F and might be interpreted as a better grade. Harrington is the lone player for whom contract situation entered into the grading, not that it hurt him that much from his limited poor on court time.
Management (non-coaching): D-
One good rookie pick and a good walk on. Positives that can be (but might not) be positive for the future. Weigh this against an idiotic unnecessary Jax extension, a questionable Magette signing (and I'm one who wasn't really against it) and a panic-trade for Crawford and we're netted three guys under contract for several more years who have substantial overlap in where they play on the court, none of whom really look to be contributing anywhere close to what they're paid. We're a 29 win team with most of the team locked up for 3+ years, more future money committed after next year than any other team. That doesn't bode well. That can't negate the ‘potential' of a good pick and a good signing.
The best thing about the management grade is that the clear lack of who was calling the shots means they can fight over who gets credit for the blame.
As you can see JAE has blogger superstar potential. The key thing though, which made his #1 overall selection a no-brainer is that he's ready to step in immediately and help us net some more W's this upcoming season. The hoops gods have trained him well my friends. This is what happens when you stay all 4 years in college and then some more in grad school.
Put your fingers to your keyboard and please give JAE a golden welcome to the front page of GSoM!