Celtics-Heat Talking Points

– Pierce, Allen, and Garnett are declining. I think Boston’s run is over. Miami/Chicago/New York will run the East for the next 5-10 years while the West will be wide open.  The Nets getting Howard would change everything, which I think they very might well do.

– Losing Perkins was huge.  It was a really dumb trade.

– Rondo is a great point guard, and the Celtics should still be good for a while. Just not title material.

– LOL at “Heat fans” in the arena who have probably never watched basketball before.

– LOL at Lebron crying after winning, as if he really accomplished something by winning a second round series. Didn’t these clowns crown themselves champions in July?

– Chicago will beat Miami. They are much better suited to play them.

Get your popcorn ready.

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Ranking the 2010 Free Agents According to WARP

Basketball Prospectus recently came out with a “WARP” stat, much like Baseball Prospectus. WARP is short for Wins Above Replacement Player. This stat is used to determine a player’s value over a “replacement player.” A replacement player is defined as a player who could potentially replace a starter. In baseball it could be a bench or AAA player, in basketball it would likely be a bench or D-League player. While WARP is a very reliable stat, it’s only flaw is that we don’t have a true definition of a replacement player. The following data is based on last season.

2010 Free Agents
Lebron James: 25.3
Dwayne Wade: 20.0
Chris Bosh: 14.0
David Lee: 13.2
Dirk Nowitzki: 11.7
Carlos Boozer: 11.7
Amar’e Stoudemire: 10.8
Joe Johnson: 7.4
Paul Pierce: 6.9
Raymond Felton: 6.1
Jermaine O’Neal: 5.7
Luis Scola (RFA): 5.1
Rudy Gay (RFA): 3.6
Shaquille O’Neal: 3.6
Ray Allen: 3.1
Richard Jefferson: 0.9
Tracy McGrady: 0.3
Allen Iverson: 0.0

An interesting set of data there. If this measure of value is somewhat accurate, the theory of Dwayne Wade being more valuable than Lebron James has been debunked. This also shows that Chris Bosh is a much better player than Amar’e Stoudemire, something I have been saying all along. I am very surprised at how much value David Lee, Carlos Boozer, and Jermaine O’Neal have according to WARP. This analysis also shows how low Joe Johnson’s value truly is. It is possible the system has some flaws, but I think this is a somewhat decent way to judge players. We also see through WARP that a single basketball player has more value than a single baseball player. This makes a ton of sense, considering there are only five basketball players on the court at once. Now lets take a look at the Knicks and Nets under contract for next year.

2010-2011 Knicks under contract
Danillo Gallinari: 3.2
Toney Douglas: 1.2
Bill Walker: 0.3
Wilson Chandler: 0.0
Eddy Curry: -0.4

Possible trade targets
Chris Paul: 10.7 (26.1 in ’08-’09)
Carmelo Anthony: 9.5
Tony Parker: 2.3 (11.8 in ’08-’09)

So yea, not exactly a championship contending team if the Knicks don’t bring in at least two All-Star caliber players. Danillo is a solid peice, but you would definitely want to bring in a point guard and center. I think Douglas would be a perfect fit at shooting guard. He is much more of a scorer than a passer. His three-point shooting could really help the Knicks stretch the court (along with Gallinari) if they don’t land a sharpshooter like Joe Johnson. Paul is their best option in a trade for a point guard, but they could also look at Tony Parker. Carmelo Anthony would be a great consolation prize to Lebron, but I don’t know what the Knicks would have to give up to get him.

2010-2011 Nets under contract
Brook Lopez: 11.3
Devin Harris: 4.6
Kris Humphries (Player Option): 2.4
Josh Boone (RFA): 2.0
Courtney Lee: -0.1
Terrence Williams: -0.5
Quinton Ross: -2.1

Nets recently traded
Yi Jianlian: -0.3
Chris Douglas-Roberts: -1.5

I really like this core. First off, you have Brook Lopez who is going to become a superstar. Devin Harris is good enough at point guard, and I really like what Kris Humphries did at the end of last season. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if Humphries’ salary can’t be dealt. Boone may be a little overrated by this system, but he could be a nice fit somewhere outside of New Jersey. T-Will and Lee had below average seasons last year, but here is why I am not concerned: These players are very young and are going to continue to grow. Williams was excellent torwards the end of last season. He is a potential opening night starter.

Almost every player listed here will probably get better next season. With the young talent that the Nets have, it is easy to say that they will have a brighter future than the Knicks. WARP also shows that the two trades the Nets made recently were indeed good ones. I am extremely happy that Yi is gone, and CDR isn’t as a big of a loss as some make him out to be. According to WARP, he would have been our worst player under contract for next season. Sure Quinton Ross is terrible, but he should see very little playing time next season.

I wanted to take this opportunity to commend all my fellow Knicks and Nets fans who have supported their teams through this demolition phase. Hopefully both fanbases will be rewarded with quality players that can turn their teams into championship contenders. It is important to be open minded throughout this process. It isn’t Lebron or bust. There are other quality options in the free agency and trade markets other than the “big three” of Lebron, Wade, and Bosh. Those are the only players who deserve max contracts, but there are other non-max alternatives.

It is important for both teams (especially the Knicks) to not give out max contracts just for the sake of doing so. Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Amar’e Stoudemire aren’t max players. You don’t want to be the team to give them a long term, high priced deal. If I were the Knicks, I would keep David Lee at a lower price before giving Boozer and Amar’e max contracts. That’s the beautiful thing about this free agency period. There are so many options both in the free agent class and the trade market.

We’re just a few hours away from free agency. It should be a bumpy ride. A golden age of New York basketball is about to be dwelt among us. Good luck to Donnie Walsh, Jim Dolan, Rod Thorn, Jay-Z, and Mikhail Prokhorov with their recruiting.