Big day today fellas. HUGE... Hopefully cool heads prevail and something satisfactory for both sides can get ironed out, however long it takes. If so, there's speculation that the entire 82-game schedule can still be salvaged, which would be a great thing for everyone involved -- the players, their agents, the owners, all the various arena workers around the league, etc.. We'll see what happens.
I'm sick of all this lockout talk to be honest. I'm ready to start talking about basketball again -- personnel decisions, training camp, free agents, signing our 3 picks (including Jerome Jordan) and esp. coming up with a complete 15-man roster. Above anything else, for us to get started on the right foot, esp. if they decide to play all 82-games where players will be expected to play multiple back-to-backs and even 3 games in 3 nights in order to make up games, roster depth will be essential. Right now according to Hoopshype, we have 9 players under contract for the season not counting Derrick Brown who I think if iffy at best to make this roster (he's just not that skilled imho -- I think we can come up with better options at better salaries, certainly better than Jared Jeffries who I pray to God won't be asked back as well ):
STAT, Melo, Chauncey, Ronny, Ro Balkman (who I'd try to give away for nothing, if only to open up that roster spot), TD, Billy Walker, Rautins and Fields. As of right now, this moment, that's it. 9 guys. Something I wanna start discussing -- how do we put the finishing touches on this roster to start the season?
First, it's a forgone conclusion that Shump, Jerome Jordan and Jorts will all be signed. That makes 12. Still 3 spots left... You gotta figure Shawne Williams will be back off the productive year. Assuming he is (and hopefully last year wasn't some fluke with him), now we're at 13...So where do we go to fill the extra 2 spots? I'm looking for players here, not filler. Guys like Balkman, Rautins, maybe Jorts -- those guys might be the filler guys that get IRed every night. We need a couple of more rotation guys -- guys that can give us solid minutes. I'm not sure what positions need to be filled more but here's my list of guys (by positions) that I'd consider (assuming that those that are currently under contracts with Euro teams can get out of those contracts to return to the NBA or have wrapped up their Euro seasons and are just waiting):
I'm not sold on Turiaf, Jorts and J. Jordan being enough at the 5. Turiaf breaks down all the time and is only an average NBA player at best anyway; Jorts may not be NBA material; same for Jordan. Provided we do nothing here, Turiaf will be the starter, followed by either Jordan or Jorts.
I wanna see them pursue Marcus Cousin if he's cut by Houston. 6'11"+ in shoes, 250 lbs. and skilled. Bottom line, we should've snatched this guy up from the D-League last year when he was available. On talent alone, he's got more game than anyone we have at the position now, even Jordan. He'd be a worthy addition and a nice frontline compliment to STAT & Melo. This dude PROVED in the DL last year that he can run the floor, rebound, block a shot and score the ball. He's Houston's property right now but I think they wind up cutting him. Hopefully the Knicks know about him and are prepared to scoop him up if and when that happens. I'm ready to give Jorts and Jordan a serious look but I'm not that comfortable with either guy to shut it down completely and say we're done looking for help at the 5. Cousin's the best option if he's let go by the Rockets. The dude would fit PERFECTLY here. To me he's got a lot of Al Horford and Jordan Hill in him -- a guy that can both body up and play physical along with showcasing a real nice finesse game complete with a deadly mid-range jumper.
6'11" Courtney Sims is another option. Nothing left to prove in th DL (he's a DL standout year after year), he's not the best athlete in the world and no track star in terms of running the court but I think at 6'11" he can provide enough of a rebounding/scoring threat at the 5 to keep teams honest. Another guy that's actually better than anything we have at the position right now skill-wise.
Jeff Adrien. We need help on the glass and this guy was a monster on the glass last year in the DL, despite being slightly undersized at only 6'7" or so. If they're looking for rebounding help (and they should be -- our wings can't possibly be our best rebounders -- it's gotta come from our bigs inside as well), they should consider this guy. Toughness and rebounding -- that's Jeff Adrien.
Two hybrid forwards that I continue to really like for us are DeShawn Sims and Joe Alexander. We're not talking the bruiser Adrien is but both are more skilled overall. Just different players...Comparing Sims to Alexander, Sims has more range on the jumper and maybe a better post-up game; Alexander might be the better rebounder and athlete. Both guys can score the ball. Either guy would be a quality skilled backup forward to fill in for either STAT or Melo where we would still have the opportunity to always keep a skill forward (and adequate scoring threat) on the floor at all times. The last thing we want to do is wear out STAT and Melo, esp. with a more gruling schedule where there will probably be games made up throughout the season.
6'10" former Net Sean Williams is another possibility. Dude looked much improved last year in the DL to me, esp. scoring/shooting the ball. We already knew he could rebound a little and block a shot. Now it looks like he's upgraded his offensive game as well. He's ready for the NBA again.
6'11" former LSU Tiger Chris Johnson could work out here as well. Called up by a couple of teams last year (Celtics & Trailblazers) and played well when called upon. He's a little thin but he rebounds, scores it and blocks shots.
Shawne Williams most likely returns and locks this spot down behind Melo. But if by some chance he demands too much money, a guy I really like for this role is Arizona's Jamelle Horne. 6'7" and skilled. Compared to Shawne, he's just a little shorter (but still more than enough size to play NBA 3) but I believe he might be even more skilled. Just as good an outside shooter and he looks much more comfortable putting it on the floor. Pretty good offensive rebounder too. For some reason his role regressed some at Arizona last year under coach Sean Miller but it has nothing to do with ability if you ask me. He's athletic and he can play. If anything, I'd lean more toward knocking Miller outright for not getting the most out of him more than anything Horne didn't show on the court. If given a chance, I think this guy will be a better pro than college player. Some team just needs to take a chance on him...The athleticism & talent is definitely there. Supoosedly the Lakers were interested before the lockout begain. He's since signed in Europe somewhere..Like all the players that signed in Europe, it's only temporary.
I also like 6'5" 220 lb. Marqus Blakely too. He's got a huge wingspan which makes up for the lack of height and is a very good athlete/rebounder/defensive player. Like Cousin, he's currently Houston Rocket property but may not stick on that roster. He's intriguing for us if Houston lets him go.Could be a real shutdown defender-type that can guard multiple positions and do a lot of dirty work.
We're probably set here with Fields, backed up by Walker with Rautins around for additional depth. However, if we're still looking for a quality 2-guard for whatever reason, I like former Gonzaga SG Matt Bouldin. He makes a lot of sense for us --- 6'5", strong/physical, good shooter, can put it on the floor and really handle/pass the ball well. In fact, it's his superb ballhandling/court vision that allows him to slide over and play some point in addition to 2G. This guy's definitely a D'Antoni player. He's already the player they wish Andy Rautins was but isn't.
Othyus Jeffers - called up and played 17 games with the Wizards last year where he showed he belonged. Similar to Marqus Blakely in size (a thick, muscular 6'5" wing, somewhere over 210 lbs.) only this guy offers slightly less defense/athleticism (not by much -- Jeffers has plenty of athleticism himself and he's a more-than capable defender) only a lot more scoring. Like Blakely, he's also a good rebounder for a wing..Very tough, mature player..Dude plays a hardnosed style. Watching him play, you'd swear he was a veteran not some undrafted rookie trying to make an NBA club..Interesting to see what Washington does with him with Nick Young and presumably Jordan Crawford ahead of him on that roster.
We're probably OK with Billups backed up by TD and Shumpert (and here's hoping Shumpert's good enough to assume a big backup role here). Better than OK actually, as long as Billups remains healthy). For extra depth I like the following guys:
Curtis Stinson - DL lifer thusfar but that doesn't mean he can't play in the NBA. Just hasn't gotten his opportunity yet. I think he's very similar to Anthony Carter; better if you ask me. Last year he had an excellent year in the DL, making the all-star team and taking his team to the DL Finals where his team won it all and he walked away with league MVP and Finals MVP honors. 6'2" sturdy/strong point who can run an offense, get guys involved as well as knock down mid-range jumpers and take the ball inside when the situation presents itself. He'd come much cheaper than what AC would want to return and he's a lot younger too.
Curtis Jerrells - Go look at all available video along with the college, DL and Euro numbers of this former Baylor standout and tell me he doesn't remind you of Brandon Jennings. Just as much talent as Jennings imo.
Ben Hansbrough -A lot of people call him 'Jimmer Fredette lite' but in actuality, I think he's flat out more talented than Jimmer. I can't believe he went undrafted. He's the guy I wanted in the 2nd round -- instead, we landed Jorts Harrellson..Hansbrough should be in the NBA. Right after the draft he went to go play in Germany somewhere. If we're indeed looking for an extra point and he's available, I think D'Antoni would like him.
Just a few inexpensive options I've been thinking about that I feel would make nice fits around our core. Please chime in and add some more names that might make some sense for us.