Now that the main portion of free agency and the draft is over, what would you say your team's main needs are (with full knowledge that this can change completely after the season starts)
Positions: QB, RB, FB, WR (SWR/DWR), TE, OT, OG, C, DE, DT, OLB (WLB/SLB/34OLB), MLB, CB, FS, SS, P, K, LS, RS
For the Bengals I would put the top 7 needs as: SS, DE, RB, CB, OT, WLB, BQB
Teams that have been Mentioned:
Bengals - Page 1
It’s common for players and coaches to tell reporters how simple basketball is at its core: you move the ball around, and you try to throw it in the basket. They’re oversimplifying things, of course, since any game with 10 men moving in patterns around the floor can be pretty complex to sort out. Sometimes even fundamental decisions are difficult, including: Where should the five guys on a team be when it starts a given offensive possession? Who belongs on which slice of the court?
Anthony shot the ball nearly half the time that he touched it at the elbow, and he ranked No. 1, again, in points per possession recorded on all of his elbow touches. (Side note: This is an imperfect stat, since it considers the points a player produces after every elbow touch, even ones in which he passes the ball as the first ingredient in a long possession. Power forwards touch the ball at the elbow more than anyone, with Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, Greg Monroe and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the league in touches per game, but they pass the ball about 75 percent of the time, per STATS. Their points per possession numbers by this measure are thus artificially low; Marc Gasol, for instance, shot 57 percent from the elbow but has a very low points per possession number). Anthony shot a whopping 62 percent on shots taken after an elbow touch, one of the highest numbers in the league.
Where should Anthony be in New York’s pet sets? How should he arrive at those places? How do the Knicks encourage him to take the right kinds of shots?
Those are all fair questions. And even if Kobe “fails” at each of them, the Lakers should still have a top-five offense simply by virtue of their talent on the floor. L.A. ranked 10th in the league in points per possession last season, and its upgrades at center and point guard — the latter being one of the two positions that opposing defenses barely guarded last year — should be enough to kick the Lakers up a few spots without any stylistic changes. If the worst-case scenario happens, and Bryant relegates Nash to spot-up duty, having arguably the greatest shooter in league history in Ramon Sessions’ place should be worth a few points per game.
Dirk Nowitzki broke a bit of news over the weekend by tweeting during a Q-and-A with followers that he will play two more seasons and decide after that whether he wants to continue his NBA career. This isn’t all that surprising because his contract runs for two more seasons, after which Nowitzki will be at an age where even stars generally leave the game.
• Nowitzki: Given Nowitzki’s love of Dallas and that the Mavericks have $0 in guaranteed money on the books beyond the 2013-14 season, it seems likely that he would return on a cheap deal if he decides to play past that 2013-14 season. There certainly aren’t any cap obstacles in the way, even if the Mavs manage to sign a max-level free agent next summer. If they don’t, Nowitzki will have to look around the league and see who can offer him a chance at another title, how much they can offer and whether he’d like to change teams.
The Spurs don’t have a history of attracting big-name free agents, so they may well conclude (again) that it makes the most sense to re-sign Ginobili on the cheap and continue hoping the young talent on hand progresses. That would especially make sense if the Spurs get indications Duncan will decline his player option for 2014-15, leaving San Antonio with only Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Parker absolutely guaranteed to be on the roster that season.
On the other hand, the nonguaranteed portion of Pierce’s deal would make him a more appealing trade target if Boston underperforms and decides to enter into an honest rebuild by flipping as many assets as possible.
• Kevin Love: The three-year clock starts ticking now in Minnesota, with rivals, including even the big-spending Lakers and Knicks, set to have potential flexibility when Love hits free agency.
Blake Griffin: The Clippers got the first goal accomplished this summer, signing Griffin to extension that runs through 2017-18. Next step: Doing the same with Chris Paul.
Johnson: I’m really just training a lot more this summer, with a lot more focus, and being down here with Manning really helps. My role is going to change a lot playing with the Nets, and I’m fine with that. I just want to be prepared for that situation. I want to start on a positive note.
Last season, New York became one of 10 teams to purchase a multi-camera system from STATS, LLC that tracks every movement in an NBA game — of the players, the ball, the referees, etc.
Manu Ginobili: This is where things get at least a little interesting. Ginobili is already 35, and his deal expires after next season. The Spurs could in theory carve out max-level cap room next summer by renouncing all of their free agents, including Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, whose cap holds swallow up all of the team’s potential cap room as things stand now; Ginobili’s hold will be big enough to do the job on its own.
But there is useful data in there, including info that does more than simply confirm what we already know (i.e., Tony Parker is fast, or Kevin Durant shoots better immediately after the catch than he does after a few dribbles).
On a more fundamental level, Ginobili is one of those rare players who rates as “very good” to “excellent” in just about every phase of the game — scoring, long-range shooting, passing, defense on and off the ball, shot selection, etc. Toss in his international career, both in pro ball and in playing for Argentina, and Ginobili has a no-brainer Hall of Fame case.
Johnson: Yeah, they were done by then, and I guess they wanted to call and tell me. But it’s no hard feelings. I’m fortunate enough to be coming to a great situation, to play with a great point guard and a great big man.
Parallels could be drawn between this season and Aldridge's rookie year in 2006, when the team was trying to crawl out of the Jail Blazers era when it was known for its off-court trouble. But the 6-foot-11 power forward says there's a difference this season.
Where should the five guys on a team be when it starts a given offensive possession? Who belongs on which slice of the court?