Blog Contest: Blueprint to a NBA Championship
By cmeese47 Posted in: Blazers, Bulls, ElliotWilliams, Grizzlies, Heat, Kings, KurtThomas, Lakers, LaMarcusAldridge, LukeBabbitt, NicolasBatum, NolanSmith, Sixers, Thunder, WesleyMatthews
Flexibility is the key to this off-season. Portland has some nice pieces but we have a long ways to go until we can contend for a title. I think we need a major overhaul to reach that next level right away. As hard, as it is for me to say Portland has to consider trading L. Aldridge to reach that level.
My steps to build a contender:
Trade L. Aldridge for D. Cousins and the Kings first round pick
D. Cousins is an elite rebounder, 3rd in the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes and 1st in offensive rebounding. He averages over a steal and a block per game, he is not a great one on one defender but he plays good help defense. He is a great post scorer, and does a good job of getting to the free throw line. He will need to improve his shot selection in the future to see his shooting percentage approach 50%. At 21 years old Cousins will get better and a $3.8 million, he is a steal.
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The Sacramento Kings projected to have the #6 pick in this year’s draft would give Portland lots of flexibility.
Sign E. Ilyasova, he is vastly underrated playing in Milwaukie and is among the league leaders in offensive rating, rebounding rate and rebounds per 48 minutes. He should be available at less than $7 million a season. This would give the Trailblazers one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the NBA.
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Signing D. Williams for a Max contract would immediately make us contenders. He is an elite PG who would change the dynamic of this team. He is a great passer, can get his own shot, and plays good defense.
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Trade both 2012 2nd round picks and Nolan Smith to add another 1st round pick. If this were not enough, I would include a future second round pick and cash considerations. Likely pick range between 20-30. Another consideration would be offering the rights to Victor Claver instead of cash or a future second rounder.
Cousins, Ilyasova, and D. Williams would represent $28.3 million against the cap. Portland would also still have four players under contract for next year.
-E. Williams at $1.44 million.
-L. Babbit at $1.9 million.
-K. Thomas at $1.35 million.
-W. Matthews at $6.5 million.
That brings us to seven players with $18.5 million still to spend assuming the cap figure remains at $58.044 million as projected. In addition, these moves would leave us with four first round picks, three potential lottery picks, a good frontcourt and an elite point guard.
We will not win a title with rookies so trading these picks will be a priority.
Trade W. Matthews, the non-lottery 1st round pick acquired from trading Nolan and picks for Tony Allen and second round pick. I like Matthews but he is too inconsistent for what we are paying him. Allen is the best perimeter defender in the game and has cut down severely on his bad shots at $3.3 million he is a steal. This move would increase our cap room to $21.7 million.
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You want to know why you trade for Allen read this article for a better idea http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1094393-memphis-grizzlies-tony-allens-gritty-play-is-a-key-to-the-grizzlies-succeess
Trade Sacramento’s pick (projected #6) and ours (projected #11) for A. Iguodala. If needed I would throw in future draft pick considerations. Iggy is not cheap but he should win the NBA defensive player of the year award, he also rebounds well, and is a great ball handler and passer. Adding him would leave us with $7.2 million in cap space.
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Andre Iguodala has been so great on defense this year that he is holding opposing players to an un-adjusted PER of just 8.0, which is by far the best figure in the NBA. Here is a great read on just how good Iggy has been on defense this year. http://www.depressedfan.com/basketball/sixers/iguodalas-victim-list.
Note it has been brought to my attention that Philly might not accept just two picks for Iggy so to address this issue I would consider adding in a second pick to Memphis and moving Matthews to Philly or working a sign and trade for Batum to go to Philly. Basically by any means necessary.
There has been a lot of movement so far so let's look at what our starting lineup would be:
PG D. Williams
SG T. Allen
SF A. Iguodala
PF E. Ilyasova
C D. Cousins
Our bench would be:
SG E. Williams
SF L. Babbit
PF/C K. Thomas
I would then resign JJ Hickson for $4 million (4 million would only be his cap figure next season it would likely be higher in later seasons). He is a high-energy player and a great rebounder, a perfect player to come off the bench.
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I would use the remaining cap room to sign Kirk Hinrich he is not the same player than was earning $8 million a season but he is still a smart player and a great defender.
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Our roster would then be:
PG D. Williams
PG K. Hinrich
SG T. Allen
SG E. Williams
SF A. Iguodala
SF L. Babbit
PF E. Ilyasova
PF JJ Hickson
C D. Cousins
C/PF K. Thomas
To round out our roster we would still have New Jersey’s pick (Projected #4) and a second round pick.
Use New Jersey’s pick to take Andre Drummond. The kid has all the tools to be a great NBA center but he is young and largely undeveloped. He would get some solid minutes on this team, without being required to carry them.
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With our second round pick, I would take Jesse Sanders who averaged 12.5 ppg, 8 apg, and 7.8 rpg this season. Those are Rajon Rondo/Jason Kidd like numbers but Liberty does not face the same level competition as Duke or other big name schools so they might not translate as well to the NBA.
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Joel Freedland is likely to come over from England this summer and compete for a roster spot.
That would give us 13 players under contract going into camp and would put us just a few million over the cap. The last roster spots will look to the D league or by someone willing to take the veteran minimum for filling. Someone like Morris Almond would be a nice pick up, he has dominated the D-league scoring over 50 points several times and has shown a good ability to score from anywhere on the court. There won’t be many minutes left for him but he should be able to come in and add some instant offense.
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Add in someone like Grant Hill who might consider signing for the veteran minimum to play for a contender and this team would have quality depth at every position.
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To lead this group I would hire Larry Brown. He has shown the ability to work with both established veterans and young talent, something that would be essential for this new look Blazer squad.
I would sign Thunder Assistant GM Troy Weaver to take over for Chad Buchanan who would move to head of scouting, getting him back into the gym evaluating talent where he belongs.
I think with the rebounding of Cousins, Ilyasova, Hickson, and Drummond we would rarely lose any rebounding matchups. Our perimeter defense would be the best in the NBA and we would force many turnovers. We would have balanced scoring led by Cousins and Williams. Our biggest issue would be finding someone who could stop Durant as Iggy would be giving up 4-5 inches, not exactly an uncommon problem around the NBA.
In order to make sure this team would have a realistic chance of winning the NBA title it is important to pair them against the current contenders.
Portland vs. Lakers
Stopping P. Gasol and A. Bynum is not an easy task they are both long and can score around the basket, with Gasol adding extra danger from mid-range. Portland would have enough depth in the frontcourt to make things difficult on them. Hickson and Cousins are both aggressive around the hoop, which could get either Gasol or Bynum in foul trouble. No one is sure what Drummond will provide but on paper, he looks like an upgrade over J. McRoberts, and J. Hill. Portland would still have Ilyasova and Freedland to run at them. I think the Blazers depth would neutralize what is usually a clear advantage for the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant poses another issue all together. Portland would have some great defenders to throw at him with G. Hill, A. Iguodala, T. Allen, K. Hinrich and even D. Williams if needed. I do not see Portland being able to stop Kobe but with that amount of depth, Portland could certainly make him work for everything he gets.
Deron Williams has a clear advantage over R. Sessions this is important because it would likely require the Lakers to try to guard him with Kobe or with Metta World Peace. Kobe and Metta World Peace both look to defer when they exert a lot of energy on defense and this would benefit Portland.
Portland would have a major advantage on the bench, which should be enough to give them the advantage in the series.
Portland vs. Thunder
Stopping the Thunder’s three-headed monster is no easy task. Durant would likely be unstoppable in this series. He is too tall for Iguodala, Allen, or Hill and he is too quick to stick someone like Ilyasova or Hickson on him. Portland’s depth would once again be advantageous as they have plenty of bodies to throw at Durant, Westbrook and Harden.
Down on blocks Cousins should be able to score but it will not be easy on him. N. Collison, S. Ibaka, and K. Perkins will make him work for everything he gets. Perkins has a tendency to get very physical if Cousins can keep his emotions under control, he should earn several trips to the line. Ilyasova’s contribution will be essential to Portland’s success; if he can knock down shots for 15-18 feet, it will pull the Thunder’s shot blockers out of the paint allowing Williams opportunities for penetration.
The Thunder does have some nice depth but they are not as deep as this Blazer team would be. If Portland can get some offense out of E. Williams, G. Hill, T. Allen, and A. Iguodala then they can win this series. Without it, they will have a hard time but no one ever said winning a title was easy.
Portland vs. Bulls
Stop D. Rose, you stop the Bulls, the problem is stopping him. Portland’s depth will help a lot in this matter as Allen, Iguodala, and Hinrich can take turns covering him. Keeping him out of the paint is essential so doubling him early will be a priority. Luckily, this team is athletic enough to rotate out on the shooters when Rose passes the ball.
Portland’s frontcourt depth should give the Bulls trouble. Cousins has 40 pounds on J. Noah giving him a big advantage on the block. C. Boozer is a similar build as Cousins but he is nowhere near the same caliber defender as Noah. Ilyasova’s mid-range game will pull Noah away from the paint, thus neutralizing the Bulls best shot blocker. This will also allow Cousins more room to attack the offensive glass.
The Bulls have some good depth but Portland should be able to grind them down over an extended series especially in the frontcourt. The Bulls will not go easily but if Portland can get Noah in foul trouble, they will have a much easier time of it in the frontcourt. Portland should win this series but D. Rose is a monster so anything can happen.
Portland vs. Miami
Lebron James like Durant is a major match up problem. He is not as tall as Durant is but his size and elevation should allow him to get off his shot at will. Portland has many people to throw at him and if they can force him out of the paint, Portland can slow down the heat. Defensive rotation will be essential in this matchup. If you double Lebron he will find open shooters, Portland cannot win if they give up uncontested threes to D. Wade, M. Chalmers, M. Miller and S. Battier. By closing out on those shooters when Wade or Lebron give up the ball it will make the difference in the series.
Portland should have a major advantage in the frontcourt. Cousins and Hickson should have their way with J. Anthony and C. Bosh offensively. Bosh is a tough stop with his mid-range game but keeping him out of the paint will go a long ways towards clinching the series. For Portland to win this series they must decisively win the frontcourt battle because D. Williams, and A. Iguodala will not have an easy time scoring against Battier, Wade and Lebron.
Miami has pretty good depth for a team that has not had any cap space in two years. R. Turiaf and U. Haslem are both hard working bangers, but neither one of them should be able to stop Cousins or Hickson in the paint. Battier is still a good defender and dangerous three point shooter. Miller can still score but has battled the injury bug lately. Despite the surprising depth Portland’s bench should easily out score Miami’s bench, which when combined with the major advantage in the frontcourt should give Portland enough to offset the impact of Wade and Lebron, especially if Lebron continues to disappear during the 4th quarter.
This team would easily contend for NBA title provided we avoid major injuries. Follow my lead Portland and let’s bring another title back to Rip City.
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Your Final 2012-2013 NBA Champions Roster
PG Deron Williams
PG Kurt Hinrich
PG Jesse Sanders Rookie
SG Tony Allen
SG Elliot Williams
SG Morris Almond
SF Andre Iguodala
SF Grant Hill
SF Luke Babbit
PF Ersan Ilyasova
PF/C JJ Hickson
PF/C Kurt Thomas
C Demarcus Cousins
C Andre Drummond Rookie
C Joel Freedland