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Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am
by walker_harris3
Don't want to hijack your thread Crow but felt this would fit better here rather than in the season commentary thread.

Hey James Borrego,

Cody Zeller is out 4-6 weeks, and Jeremy Lamb is simultaneously injured with a hamstring. You have so far turned to Hernangomez (1 start) and Biyombo (2 starts) in the starting lineup. Kaminsky has seen 0 minutes outside of garbage time, but FYI has the best lineup pairs w/the starters of the three.

Nevertheless, KW/DG/NB/MW/BB starting unit has performed fine so far. Was +4.5 in Denver and +18.8 in Phoenix. Altogether +10.4 (107.8 Ortg, 97.4 Drtg) in 36 minutes of action. Ortg being -4.3 against the season average seems right given the gap on offense between Biyombo and Zeller, but expect regression on defense particularly in opponent eFG%. The PnR game with Devonte' Graham and Biyombo has worked really well and better than with Kemba or Parker, somewhat due to the lack of attention teams pay DG in comparison to Kemba/Parker but also because Devonte' is a better passer in the PnR. Biyombo doesn't set good screens, but rolls to the basket well and Devonte' has consistently set him up in the perfect spots to finish. Devonte is the ideal PG to pair with Biyombo, its clear they have chemistry. Maximize their minutes together.

If this starting lineup continues to work there's no reason not to stick with it, but be careful replacing DG with Lamb when he comes back from injury. I would expect the offense to not work as well when Lamb returns from injury as you lose the DG/Biyombo PnR game which has made Biyombo serviceable on offense instead of being a total liability. Kemba's passing to Biyombo in the PnR has not looked good, and Lamb's probably would either be not much better or worse. Might be better to let Lamb come off the bench and assume Monk's minutes, especially while recovering from the hamstring. Biyombo fits much better in a more PnR oriented offense than a motion heavy offense that requires effective screen setting and passing from centers which are big weaknesses of his.

Avoid playing Hernangomez. All gains made with the Biyombo starting unit have been lost to this point with Hernangomez on the floor. He's putting up offensive stats but giving every bit of it on defense and some more. Four most used lineups in the 3 games Zeller has been out are all negative and cumulatively -32. That's terrible. Try Kaminsky against the Clippers and see what happens, he provides better mobility and PnR defense which is where Hernangomez has gotten destroyed.
Also heavily increase usage of the small ball 4 man combo of Kemba/Batum/MKG/Marvin. By the numbers, these are the team's best performing lineups, and should be used every single time matchup allows it, ESPECIALLY with Zeller out. There's no opportunity cost. Hernangomez in general shouldn't play more minutes than MKG but has played more minutes than MKG in all 3 games, which has contributed to your team's 120.2 Drtg during this stretch.

You said the Zeller injury provided the opportunity to play these small ball units more, but so far you have barely played them. Why? Given their effectiveness, its inexcusable to have only played the KW/NB/MKG/MW smallball unit for the final minute in a game where Richaun Holmes played 17 minutes at center. It's also not a coincidence that that unit got 2 consecutive defensive stops and won the game after Jamal Crawford of all players brought the Suns back to within one point with Hernangomez in the game. Your defense has now allowed 30 point quarters in 6 of their past 8 quarters, and has given up 113 points or more in each of the past 3 games. That and allowing Phoenix's 28th ranked offense three 30 point quarters should be more than enough to wake you up. Restructure the rotation around better defensive lineups or continue to get crushed on defense for the next 4-6 weeks.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:38 am
by Crow
Use whatever thread you think makes sense. None of them are exclusive by design.

Thanks for the analysis. I'll probably look into some of the issues raised later.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:03 am
by Crow
Hornets are a really average team by record, SRS, most of the four factors, the shot distribution.

Not turning the ball over and not fouling much are new strengths. Nice but not as impactful as some other bigger things.

Age is slightly above average, They are not really a young team, though they are thought of as young or perhaps immature.

Probaly do need to try to emphasize defense. Can't see great results without being better there. Only 0.1 pts per 100 possessions worse than the Warriors but both should be embarrassed.

Credit for a strong, relatively big minute starting lineup and a good most used 5; but outside the starting unit, it is all dink lineups nd a few near dink lineups. 32% of lineups are positive. That is probably near average but that isn't where they want to be, again.

Batum is pretty average. Losing him might not solve much but it seems overdue.

Progress with Biyomo is news to me. I guess that is good but I don't see that as being a significant historical team development, Weak on RPM estimate.

There are some decent and semi-decent player stories, I don.t see major breakout potential though. Maybe next season.

What is the big picture, long -term strategy besides retain Kemba and hole that sone other star wants to join him? Is even this much the right strategy?

If you are pursuing an offensive bias strategy (aren't they?), you need better shooters and / or scorers. Is there room for more from Walker and Lamb? Batum and Williams? I don't see it. And I don't see Monk or Bridges providing enough of either. Zeller is ok but ok is not enough.

Literally every player on team should be under trade consideration, imo. Trade talk focused on Kaminsky seems weird in that perspective.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:32 pm
by walker_harris3
Well Borrego, you took the opposite approach. Jeremy Lamb made what is likely a premature return from hamstring injury and got inserted into the starting lineup for Devonte' Graham. The recommended starting lineup received 0 minutes, and Biyombo/Graham only shared the floor for 1 minute. Biyombo had only 2 FGA in 15 minutes, DG went 1-4 and was a -13 in 13 minutes off the bench with 4 assists, and Hernangomez went 1-4 with 2 turnovers and was a -10 in 14 minutes. The new starting unit was neutral, the bench got absolutely obliterated and Frank Kaminsky received a DNP. DG and Biyombo's effectiveness suffered HEAVILY by moving DG to the bench, especially DG's. His level of play was nowhere near that of his play with the previous starting unit, and Biyombo returned to being an offensive liability.

Is it any surprise your team gave up a 33 and 42 point quarter en route to a 128-109 loss? You are consistently rolling out lineups that are doomed to fail especially on defense. You went small, but with 3 guard lineups, which will not get you anywhere. In fact, they are the worst small ball combos you could play, and the ten 3-guard lineups you have used in the past 4 games are cumulatively -11 across 18.5 minutes of usage. Only one of them was positive. If you're going to go small, use the frontcourt base of NB/MKG/MW or throw in Miles Bridges as a substitute for one of them. These are the best defensive combinations at your disposal, and the defense in the past 4 games is legitimately at the level of worst in the NBA by a significant margin.

The on ball defense when going small w/ the recommended base is average, but the defensive IQ and rotations these guys make off of double teaming the post when the other team tries to force the mismatch is outstanding. They force a lot of turnovers and bad shots. It's undoubtedly a legacy of this team's core of players having played 3-5 seasons under Steve Clifford and learning from him on defense, so take advantage of it. Miles Bridges plays well on defense with MKG and MW. Don't forget that post ups are one of if not the most inefficient playtype in basketball.

The team is now sitting at a 121.6 Drtg in the 4 games Zeller hasn't played and a -15.0 net rating. The current strategy is not working. Rotational changes are a mandate. Here's a rotation to try for the 1st half of the Blazers game based on optimal defensive lineup combos:
1st quarter
KW/DG/NB/MW/BB: 6 minutes
KW/JL/NB/MKG/WH: 3 minutes
TP/JL/MB/MKG/WH 3 minutes
2nd quarter
TP/JL/MB/MKG/MW: 4 minutes
KW/JL/NB/MKG/WH: 4 minutes
KW/DG/NB/MW/BB: 4 minutes
It's beginning to look like Frank is being benched for off-court reasons. If so, the lineups Willy appears in are based on his top defensive combos. If not, try Frank. Monk's lack of length, inconsistent shooting and overall low IQ play on both ends really harms the 2nd unit, and furthers WH's defensive weaknesses guarding the PnR. Bench Monk while experimenting with this rotation. The lineup you've been turning to at the end of the 1st for the past 9 games, TP/MM/NB/MKG/WH is shooting a 42.7% eFG and gives up opponent eFG of 55.8%. Hoping Tony Parker scores 15+ points off the bench a night to mitigate the bad defense is a failing strategy, and barely even works when he does have those nights as evidenced by the narrow win in Phoenix. Playing Lamb off the bench provides a large upgrade offensively and defensively over Monk, and gives a legitimate and consistent scoring option.

From my perspective, this is how you maximize production out of the lack of talent available. Biyombo shouldn't start in any other scenario but as I laid out in the previous post is serviceable on offense when with Devonte' Graham. You need to get 8-12 points a night out of him while he starts to fill the void left by Zeller, and running the PnR with Devonte' is the best source of offense for him. This starting unit should be able to keep the game at or around even, some games it might be a -4, some a +4. Either way, you are assuredly not going to win with the current bench rotation. The defensive personnel isn't good, but with Lamb the bench should be able to overcome the defensive weaknesses with offense. Instead of consistently coughing up leads the starters create/worsening the deficit, maybe the bench begins to outperform the other team's bench with Lamb. You will never know if you don't find out.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:50 pm
by walker_harris3
As far as trades go, one is desperately needed for a legitimate 2nd option. Trading for a role player is not going to do anything. The team already has good role players, it doesn't have a legitimate 2nd option to complement Kemba. Right now it looks like Beal is the only potential option that fits the bill, so go all in on him at the deadline. Wizards might have already made the trade they wanted and don't want to move him, but call anyway. Offer Marvin, Lamb, Monk, a 1st, and some of the 2nds that were acquired last summer. If they would rather have MKG over Marvin, give them MKG. If they want another 1st round pick instead of the 2nds, give it to them. I wouldn't include Zeller or Bridges though.

Other than Beal, it really doesn't seem like there are any other options out there. Don't trade for Kevin Love. Call Memphis about Marc Gasol and see if he's available if Memphis continues to slide out of the playoff race. Offer MKG, Kaminsky, and Monk and a first. They may overvalue MKG due to "grit and grind." This trade doesn't give Memphis any big salary beyond 19-20, makes them younger, and gives them assets. It would also be more favorable than a trade for Beal, but would probably yield about the same results in terms of wins and losses. Gasol is still very good by RPM and Gasol/Zeller center rotation would be among the best in the NBA, and allow for Gasol to not have to play heavy minutes and get appropriate rest in his age 34/35 seasons.

Best course of action if Beal or Gasol are not available is just wait till next year. No reason to settle on someone like Kevin Love and waste assets on them when the opportunity to nab a better player could arise next season. In the meantime, and this should be done regardless, get rid of Biyombo's contract. Call the Nets about Kenneth Faried and call the Bulls about Jabari Parker. Trade Biyombo for them with whatever package of 2nds they want. The only reason those two are still on their teams and haven't been bought out and waived is so they can be used to get draft picks. Sean Marks has been making these trades for several years now, take advantage.

If Kemba wants more than 170m in free agency, I would try to trade him. He isn't worth overpaying unless maybe you land another star like Beal. But don't give him the max or anything near the max. Certainly dont give the supermax, but its doubtful he makes All-NBA. To avoid overpaying, use the fact that he has publicly said several times he wants to stay in Charlotte with his family and create something special here to your advantage and push for a 5yr 155-165m deal. He's tired of not having help? Demanding a larger contract means he's less likely to get help and create something special. He wants money? You're giving him 10-20m more than any other team could. The final 2 years on the contract (Age 33 and 34 seasons) will probably be heavy overpays, but by then Batum will be off the books so there will be much more flexibility. Going the route of the 4 year max sacrifices cap flexibility while Batum is still on the books. and cap flexibility is what the team needs most for the duration of that contract. Paying 37m for a 34 year old 6'0 point guard is not ideal but there will be plenty of flexibility by that time.

Assuming a major trade doesn't happen, offloading Biz for an expiring, renouncing Kaminsky, and waiving Tony Parker gives you 51.5m (including cap holds) to re-sign Kemba/Lamb and grab someone with the MLE, which is more than enough. The first year of Kemba's 155m contract would be 26.4m (27.3m for a 160m). The first year of a 3yr 43.8m contract for Lamb would be 13.5m. Use incentives in these contracts. For Lamb, points per game and/or 3PM. For Kemba, use FG% within 3 feet and/or assists. Use Will Barton's free agency with Denver last summer as a model for how Lamb's should go. 26.4+13.5 is 39.9m so that leaves 11.66m to work with to sign draft pick(s) and nab someone with the MLE. Not a big deal if you dip slightly into the luxury tax. It would be unlikely to happen again the next season when Marvin and MKG come off the books and is worth paying to improve the roster. Bacon and Hernangomez are on non guranteed deals, so they can be waived or traded if you get players in the draft that you like better. Bacon's guarantee date is August 1st.

As a general note, most teams seem to be structuring their roster decisions around 2020 free agency, but how many are planning for 2021 and 2022? Spending should be very high in these next two summers, especially 2020. Structuring roster decisions around 2021 and 2022 could mean you become the one with the max free agent slots when not many other teams do from spending in 2019 and 2020.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:41 am
by Crow
I've thought that Jeremy Lamb has not been pushed hard enough WITH OPPORTUNITY in his career. I am not saying he has earned it. He doesn't look like he deserves it on top of not delivering enough. BUT I want to see what happens when you say: GO. TAKE 20-25 shots per game the next 10 games. See what happens. He has only taken 18 plus shots in 8 games over his career. 6 this season and only 2 good shooting nights but 6 games here and there is not enough. IF he could get used to a bigger role, you might create major value. I don't see the downside. You aren't going anywhere far as is. TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. If not this, something.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:11 pm
by walker_harris3
There have been substantial changes to the rotation in the past 3 games that are very good. 3 guard lineup usage has decreased, the right small ball units have been played, and in general the bench rotation has been a LOT better. One glaring problem that cannot be ignored however is the starting lineup. KW/JL/NB/MW/BB has now been used in 5 straight games for 58 minutes and are -35 with a -31.0 net rating (88.0 Ortg & 119.0 Drtg).

In the two games the team has won with this starting lineup, they are -12. Their only positive performance has been +3 against the Spurs, who were without Rudy Gay in their starting lineup and Marco Belinelli. Last night against the Kings, the starters were -15 in 8.9 minutes with a -85.3 net rating. That is hilariously awful. Luckily, you played the team's best lineup KW/JL/NB/MKG/MW last night, and they were +14 in 6.6 minutes with a +87.5 net rating to make up for the massive deficit.

If you stick with the current starters, you're effectively starting the game with a 5 to 7 point deficit the bench rotation is going to have to overcome, and sometimes worst. Now that the bench rotation has been refined, the bench is much better situated to overcome that deficit, but why even start with the deficit? You might be able to overcome it sometimes against middle tier teams, but against the better teams in the league? Maybe once in a blue moon. Zeller might not come back before the ASB, and it will be a struggle to win more than 5 games and position yourself for a playoff push if the starting lineup is not changed.

I have three suggestions for the starting lineup:

1) Go back to the KW/DG/NB/MW/BB lineup and see if it performs better. It was a positive performing lineup in both games it was used.

2) Start KW/JL/NB/MKG/MW when the matchup allows it.

3) Start Willy Hernangomez and swap MKG for Marvin Williams for a starting lineup of KW/JL/NB/MKG/WH. MKG will bolster the defense, and this lineup has had success this season albeit in limited minutes. Willy's player pairs with Lamb, Kemba, and MKG are his best. If you want to keep playing MKG off the bench, that's fine too. That starting lineup but with Marvin would be better than the current one too.

It doesn't really matter which route you choose to take, as long as you make a change.

Re: Hey Coach/GM

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:31 pm
by Mike G
It's a big dropoff from Kemba to next-best point producer. Willy H might be #2, so does he have more value as go-to guy when Kemba is out?