2021-22 NBA Off-season Thread

nighthob

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Yep. Worst #1 pick ever in any sport.
LaRue Martin would like to remind you that he still holds that record and that the Blazers curse is still called the Curse of LaRue (they just had to have a center and chose Martin over Bob McAdoo).
 

moondog80

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Bennett also because it happened so recently and we like to think the pitfalls that had caused other busts in the past would have been easily spotted. With Darko it is easy to see why he was drafted so high; NBA executives didn't understand European basketball very well and everyone wanted the next Dirk. We expect front offices to know better and the scouting process is so thorough, it makes it seem like a huge bust like Bennett wouldn't be possible.
It's definitely true that Bennett was part of a pretty bad draft class with no sure things, Giannis' development being completely unforeseeable.
 

Kliq

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LOL at the teams throwing the ball into the post. What was that about?!?
That Florida team is really the last classic team in college basketball history. They had upperclassmen who were legit NBA prospects, something that basically doesn't exist today. One of the reasons the Oden game is so impressive is that he was only a freshmen going against two great defensive big men upperclassmen in Horford and Noah.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I wouldn’t consider Bennett the biggest bust since the other options would have also been busts. To me, that isn’t what a bust is. Markelle Fultz is a bust bc they could have had Tatum or even Ball. Darko is a bust as Detroit could have had Carmelo, Wade or Bosh. Again, everyone can have their own opinion on what constitutes a bust but mine
Yep, Olowakandi is another guy like this. His career sucked, mostly because he was uncoachable, but what made it worse was that 3 Hall of Famers were drafted in the top 10 that year (Vince Carter, Paul Pierce and Dirk) and a 4th that could have gone in easily (Antawn Jamison), and Bibby was #2 overall.
 

Euclis20

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Darko was a decent rotation player for what? He got minites next to Howard, GHill and Turkoglu then got minutes on a couple 20-win teams in Memphis. He was never ever good.
As I said, it was a matter of degrees. Maybe decent is overstating it, but he was a rotation player (for mostly bad teams) for more than a year or two (16+ minutes in 6 seasons). Not counting the 35 total playoff minutes with Detroit he made just one playoff appearance, with a sub .500 Magic team (they were swept in round 1, he played 28.8 mpg).

Compare that to Bennett, who played just 4 seasons total, never even got to 16 mpg. He didn't have the Darko excuse of being buried on the bench of a title contender, the only time Bennett was on a team that wasn't awful (2016 Raptors), he was waived in March. Darko was a lousy player who nonetheless legitimately belonged in the NBA for awhile. Bennett was not an NBA player.
 

lexrageorge

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Yep. Worst #1 pick ever in any sport.
While the above can certainly apply to Bennett, the worst example of bad drafting with successive #1 picks remains the Bengals picking Dan Wilkinson and Ki-Jana Carter #1 in successive draft years.
 

Jimbodandy

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As I said, it was a matter of degrees. Maybe decent is overstating it, but he was a rotation player (for mostly bad teams) for more than a year or two (16+ minutes in 6 seasons). Not counting the 35 total playoff minutes with Detroit he made just one playoff appearance, with a sub .500 Magic team (they were swept in round 1, he played 28.8 mpg).

Compare that to Bennett, who played just 4 seasons total, never even got to 16 mpg. He didn't have the Darko excuse of being buried on the bench of a title contender, the only time Bennett was on a team that wasn't awful (2016 Raptors), he was waived in March. Darko was a lousy player who nonetheless legitimately belonged in the NBA for awhile. Bennett was not an NBA player.
I think that you're putting too much import on the fact that Darko got more minutes. Some teams will feed a top draftee minutes in the hope that he figures it out. By any metric, he was an atrocious basketball player. Below replacement level bad. The worst true shooting 7 footer possible. Good at nothing.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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That Florida team is really the last classic team in college basketball history. They had upperclassmen who were legit NBA prospects, something that basically doesn't exist today. One of the reasons the Oden game is so impressive is that he was only a freshmen going against two great defensive big men upperclassmen in Horford and Noah.
Yeah, I remember watching that game. Oden was super impressive.

But to your larger point, when people ask me why I don't really follow College BBall anymore, I tell them it's because the 50-ish best college players are in the NBA. I mean I certainly understand why kids go pro right away but spending the first couple of years on the bench or chucking up shots in losing situations is no substitute for playing high level, meaningful games that college basketball used to be.

Now get off my lawn!
 

ManicCompression

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@HomeRunBaker I disagree slightly w/ your assertion that there were just busts behind Bennett. IIRC, the prohibitive favorite for the #1 pick leading up to the draft was Victor Oladipo, who went on to have a decent career derailed by injuries (and it took him a while to really get started).

If Cleveland went chalk with Oladipo, that would have been a perfectly fine and expected pick that didn't work out perfectly, but not a total bust.

Bennett came out of NOWHERE to be 1 overall and I don't think anyone outside of Cleveland thought he should be 1-1. When the news came out, it was definitely an unexpected pick that went against the grain.

All of that is to say that the combination of him being a surprise pick and having zero NBA skills combined with a Jamarcus Russell work ethic have got to make him an elite bust :)
 

HomeRunBaker

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@HomeRunBaker I disagree slightly w/ your assertion that there were just busts behind Bennett. IIRC, the prohibitive favorite for the #1 pick leading up to the draft was Victor Oladipo, who went on to have a decent career derailed by injuries (and it took him a while to really get started).

If Cleveland went chalk with Oladipo, that would have been a perfectly fine and expected pick that didn't work out perfectly, but not a total bust.

Bennett came out of NOWHERE to be 1 overall and I don't think anyone outside of Cleveland thought he should be 1-1. When the news came out, it was definitely an unexpected pick that went against the grain.

All of that is to say that the combination of him being a surprise pick and having zero NBA skills combined with a Jamarcus Russell work ethic have got to make him an elite bust :)
It was a 6-player draft at the top. After Oladipo it went Porter, Cody Zeller, Len and Noel. Maybe not complete busts who never made the league but I’d challenge anyone to find a worse Top-6 in modern NBA history. The next three were even McLemore, KCP, and Trey Burke. That’s the Top-9 ouch!!
 

PedroKsBambino

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OK, how about the 2000 draft?

Top six are:

Kenyon Martin (a legit starter)
Stromile Swift (bust)
Darius Miles (bust)
Markus Fizer (bust)
Mike Miller (legit rotation/6th man)
DerMarr Johnson (bust)

And no Giannis later to save it!

https://www.basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_2000.html

Martin and Miller are legit players, but that's a pretty awful top 6. Jamal Crawford at 8 is probably the best guy drafted that year, or Michael Redd.
 

ManicCompression

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The 2000 draft gives it a run for its money but comes up short. The Top six is Kenyon, Stro, D-Miles, Marcus Fizer (!), Mike Miller and DerMarr Johnson. If we go top ten, Crawford and McCollum cancel each other out, as do Dipo and Martin. Mike Miller is probably the biggest edge 2000 has as he's the best player in either top 10. It does seem like 2000 had several more guys just completely flame out in the top 15 while 2013 has contributors like Burke and Noel sprinkled in.
 

HomeRunBaker

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OK, how about the 2000 draft?

Top six are:

Kenyon Martin (a legit starter)
Stromile Swift (bust)
Darius Miles (bust)
Markus Fizer (bust)
Mike Miller (legit rotation/6th man)
DerMarr Johnson (bust)

And no Giannis later to save it!

https://www.basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_2000.html

Martin and Miller are legit players, but that's a pretty awful top 6. Jamal Crawford at 8 is probably the best guy drafted that year, or Michael Redd.
I didn’t think there would be one that close wow!! I’ll dig later but I think it may be short. Martin and Miller had nice careers.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Yeah, but Oladipo, Porter, Noel, and Zeller all played legit minutes for a bunch of years---only two of top six did from 2000. Plus, McCollum and Giannis later in 2013 would both have gone 1 overall in 2000. What's amazing about 2000 is four of the top six basically did nothing (I guess Swift played some, at least).

As a tiebreaker, Celtics pick in 2013 was Olynyk who really is only bad pick because of the guy who went two picks later. Jerome Moiso at 11 in 2000 is epic.
 

JM3

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One thing I was thinking about today - James Harden has really made it super easy for NBA players just to take max deals for max $.

I don't necessarily think this will actually ever come into play with Embiid, but lots of players are signing their max/supermax, & maybe they plan on staying there the whole time now, but even if they're not sure, just being under contract for lots more years doesn't mean they can't just force their way to wherever else they want to go anyway, freeing them to just accept their bag.
 

benhogan

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Hollinger in the very valuable/worthwhile Athletic discussing the future for teams in GFIN mode. Odd that he doesn't mention the Celtics/Brown & Tatum once as a future contender

https://theathletic.com/2774991/2021/08/17/hollinger-in-a-suddenly-win-now-nba-what-happens-later/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

In the wake of it all, I have one overriding question nagging at me: If everyone is in win-now mode, what happens later?

Imagine, if you will, the 2024-25 NBA season:


  • A 37-year-old Steph Curry is suited up for Golden State, making $52.6M, and still having a year left on his deal.
  • A 33-year-old Paul George is a Clipper, making $49 million. Lining up next to him, a 32-year-old Kawhi Leonard also making $49 million; by then there’s a good chance he will have inked a five-year extension that pays him 8 percent raises until age 35.
  • In Portland (OK, maybe not in Portland, but humor me), a 34-year-old Damian Lillard is raking in $49 million.
  • In Milwaukee, a 34-year-old Jrue Holiday is making $38 million with incentives that could take him to $40 million.
  • In Miami, a 35-year-old, balky-kneed Jimmy Butler will be making $48 million … and still having a year left on his deal.
  • The Lakers could very well be paying a 40-year-old LeBron James north of $50 million that season. L.A. can also look forward to a 2022-23 campaign where a 38-year-old James makes $45 million and a 34-year-old Russell Westbrook makes $47 million.
  • And in Brooklyn, a 36-year-old Kevin Durant is pulling down $51 million; if and when James Harden and Kyrie Irving extend their deals, they’ll take in about $100 million more between them. Those three will be a combined 104 years old and their contracts alone may be enough to put Brooklyn in the luxury tax.
Sure, the cap will probably go up — we get a new TV deal in 2023-24, and despite the best efforts of you cord-cutting rapscallions, it appears the league’s deal will increase substantially. Nonetheless, by almost any math, the out years on these deals don’t seem particularly appealing. I’m not even blaming the teams that signed these deals — one of their rivals would have if they hadn’t.

Better yet, go back and look at All-NBA teams from half a decade ago (plus or minus) and you’ll see players who are already either on the fringes or out of the league entirely — names like LaMarcus Aldridge, Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, DeAndre Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins. None of them were notably old at the time.

It’s not just the contracts either; most of the teams above have also surrendered most or all of their draft capital:


  • Brooklyn owes a first or a pick swap to Houston in the next six drafts.
  • The Clippers owe three firsts and two pick swaps to the Thunder.
  • The Lakers are out two firsts and a pick swap to New Orleans; devilishly, the Pels can defer an unprotected 2024 pick to 2025.
  • Miami owes a pick swap (likely with Brooklyn’s pick) in 2022, has no pick in 2023 and has traded virtually all its seconds too.
  • Golden State owes a very lightly protected first to Memphis in 2024, right at the time the Warriors may crater from their age and cap situation.
  • Milwaukee owes three firsts and two pick swaps as a result of two trades, plus they Bogdanned themselves out of a 2022 second.
  • Utah, who will have a 32-year-old Rudy Gobert making $43 million in that 2024-25 season, owes a 2022 first to Memphis and has burned through nearly all its seconds.
At least those teams are contenders who either already have rings or can reasonably claim to be positioned for it. But the same thing is happening further down the food chain. Teams like Chicago and Minnesota both surrendered 2021 lottery picks in a chase for maybe getting into the Play-In Tournament; New Orleans has lots of draft equity from trading Holiday and Anthony Davis, but seems intent on squandering a good chunk of it for their own pyrrhic chase for the eighth seed. New York and Sacramento have avoided this fate so far but are seemingly champing at the bit to join them.

If you don’t get the trend line yet, let me hammer you over the head with it: A win-now mindset has gripped the league, with relatively few teams preaching patience and some clubs that probably ought to instead of focusing on maxing out the present. It’s almost an NFL mentality that has overcome the NBA over the last year
.
 

Kliq

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I haven't watched the full thing, but from the clip, it looks like both guys just blame management for not handling their rift appropriately, which is...a creative way for talking about that situation.
 

Tony C

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Really great interview, though fully agree that "we had a big problem and they didn't allow us to fix it between us so it's their fault" is really weak tea. If you wanted to fix it btw yourselves, then you just had to do it like grown men. Baby-ish blame-casting.

That said, Draymond is a really good interviewer and asked tough questions in a fair and probing way, way better than most sports journalists. And Durant is a super smart dude, even if they're both kind of whiny.
 

ElUno20

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Beyond weak.

Also wasnt the clipps game earlier in the season? What stopped these grown ass men from communicating for months?
 

Kliq

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KD and Dray admit that the entire incident was traumatic for the team and they needed to work through it and move on...but then blamed Kerr and Myers for trying to get them to work through it and move on. Seems right out of KD's playbook where he blames the fans/media/league/coaches for all the negativity and doesn't accept any blame himself.
 

Euclis20

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I'm ok with that, breaking up that team is a huge deal. The three years KD spent with the Warriors, they weren't just the title favorites, they were favored to win against the field. Bref has preseason odds going back to 84/85, and this is the only team to claim that distinction (and if injuries hadn't murdered them in 2019, they would've won 3 straight). The 96/97 Bulls were even against the field, but that's it.
 

RG33

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The amazing thing is that these two guys are so self-obsessed that they insist on continuing to talk about this. It happened years ago.

View: https://twitter.com/samesfandiari/status/1428361026538377223?s=19
Yeah, I couldn’t have soured on KD more than I have the last 5 years. Almost to the point of being glad he didn’t come to the Celtics (almost). He comes across almost as poorly as Kyrie with regards to the narcissistic personality (sans the other crazy shit). He just seems like a dude that is not happy, despite making $50m a year, being at the top of his profession, and having reasonable success (relatively speaking). I feel like I would hate having a beer with him as he moaned about the media and the lack of respect and how everyone else has fucked things up for him.
 

PedroKsBambino

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On the Rozier extension, I guess they didn't want him to be a FA next summer as one of the more interesting guys in the class and that partially explains the timing. Feels like a bit of a big commitment given what he is, but I do like him and very much imagine Charlotte wanting to declare "this is our core!!!" in a way that exceeds most other teams. Like the player, acknwledging limits
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Smart or Rozier? I take Smart even at the same money, never mind at 5m less per year.
Well, the Cs really could have use TRoz's shooting, particularly 3P shooting, last year. Although for a team that should be in the tax for the upcoming seasons, $5M a year does start to make a difference.

CHA has locked themselves into a Ball/GH/TR/PJ Washington core for the next several years. Does that get them any higher than a 5 seed? I guess it depends on how good Ball becomes.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Regardless of what you think of the various metrics, Rozier grades out pretty well on them and the trend is T-Rozzay's friend. Given Charlotte's challenges as an NBA destination, it makes sense for them to lock up what appears to be an appreciating asset and the contract looks tradeable assuming the natural rate of salary inflation continues.
 

HomeRunBaker

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CHA has locked themselves into a Ball/GH/TR/PJ Washington core for the next several years. Does that get them any higher than a 5 seed? I guess it depends on how good Ball becomes.
Isn’t that a home run for them? They haven’t won a playoff series since Paul Silas was coaching Baron Davis and Jamaal Mashburb 20 years ago.
 

bakahump

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Isnt KD kinda like Michael in that respect? (perceived) Disrespect drives him.

Not sure you can turn that off an on. "life is pretty good.....oh wait....naw fuck that....these guys are against me". it works because he believes it.
 

moondog80

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Injury situation, I view that a little differently.

I think Bennett had the quickest trip from #1 pick to being effectively given up on as a meaningful pro without the intervention of some outside force.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Matt Bush is only guy who comes to mind, but he at least made it as a reliever. Bennett was a really awful number one pick
 

Tony C

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Isnt KD kinda like Michael in that respect? (perceived) Disrespect drives him.

Not sure you can turn that off an on. "life is pretty good.....oh wait....naw fuck that....these guys are against me". it works because he believes it.
I think the tough thing with these guys is the, to paraphrase Draymond's well-titled show, "chip" that they wear around is key to success -- be it MJ or KD or Kobe or....

So, in some sense, when pro athletes show themselves to be self-centered a-holes who completely lack perspective, I'm like..yeah, get a grip or fuck that. At the same time, saner people won't have the same success, so kind of tough to ask KD to have more perspective. On the flip, he does seem to be a particularly bad example of being tone deaf.
 

tbb345

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KD and Dray admit that the entire incident was traumatic for the team and they needed to work through it and move on...but then blamed Kerr and Myers for trying to get them to work through it and move on. Seems right out of KD's playbook where he blames the fans/media/league/coaches for all the negativity and doesn't accept any blame himself.
Yeah this is all major revisionist history. Multiple reporters who were close to the Warriors, Ethan Sherwood Strauss comes to mind, had said that the team was basically sick of Durant’s shit but Green was the one who got fed up with him and voiced it. Haley O’Shaughnessy tweeted that she had heard that a few Warriors players went over to Draymonds house during the suspension to thank him for speaking up.

Not to mention that in this interview they both say that they wanted the situation to be handled in completely different ways (KD wanted the whole team to talk about it, Draymond said that only the two of them needed to talk) yet still manage to blame everyone else.

More of the same shit from KD. Deflect, blame everyone else, take no responsibility but give off the impression of being introspective so everyone will lap it up and talk about how fascinating and vulnerable you are. The guys a fantastic player, the best in the game right now, but I would hate having to root for him. Same with his brother in arms and deflection, Kyzuzu
 

tbb345

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Isnt KD kinda like Michael in that respect? (perceived) Disrespect drives him.

Not sure you can turn that off an on. "life is pretty good.....oh wait....naw fuck that....these guys are against me". it works because he believes it.
I think they are pretty much opposites actually. MJ didn’t care at all what people thought of him. He made up perceived slights to push himself even further.
Durant cares a lot about what people think about him.
I mean, could you imagine Jordan creating burner accounts to go on Twitter to argue with random fans about how good he is at basketball?
 

Cesar Crespo

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I think they are pretty much opposites actually. MJ didn’t care at all what people thought of him. He made up perceived slights to push himself even further.
Durant cares a lot about what people think about him.
I mean, could you imagine Jordan creating burner accounts to go on Twitter to argue with random fans about how good he is at basketball?
Probably not. Barkley maybe.
 

fairlee76

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Yeah this is all major revisionist history. Multiple reporters who were close to the Warriors, Ethan Sherwood Strauss comes to mind, had said that the team was basically sick of Durant’s shit but Green was the one who got fed up with him and voiced it. Haley O’Shaughnessy tweeted that she had heard that a few Warriors players went over to Draymonds house during the suspension to thank him for speaking up.

Not to mention that in this interview they both say that they wanted the situation to be handled in completely different ways (KD wanted the whole team to talk about it, Draymond said that only the two of them needed to talk) yet still manage to blame everyone else.

More of the same shit from KD. Deflect, blame everyone else, take no responsibility but give off the impression of being introspective so everyone will lap it up and talk about how fascinating and vulnerable you are. The guys a fantastic player, the best in the game right now, but I would hate having to root for him. Same with his brother in arms and deflection, Kyzuzu
Yep. Strauss's book "The Victory Machine" is a good, quick read that sheds a lot of light on that team's dynamic. Revisionist history is fun but at this point I think even casual NBA observers know how fragile/self-obsessed KD is when it comes to anything involving his ego or image.
 

slamminsammya

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I think they are pretty much opposites actually. MJ didn’t care at all what people thought of him. He made up perceived slights to push himself even further.
Durant cares a lot about what people think about him.
I mean, could you imagine Jordan creating burner accounts to go on Twitter to argue with random fans about how good he is at basketball?
Can you imagine Jordan launching a multi part documentary so that he could shit on his former teammates and rivals 20 years after the fact?