Bill Simmons: NBA Trade Value
Raptor mentions from Part 1:
New post-lockout NBA reality no. 2: You definitely shouldn't pay $8 million a year for non-impact perimeter players (Caron Butler alert!); you probably shouldn't pay $13 million a year for Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala (sorry, fellas); and you DEFINITELY shouldn't pay Rudy Gay $18 million a year unless you're forced to at gunpoint. There's too much available cheap perimeter labor for defense and 3s. Why pay Rudy Gay $18 million when you can pay Jimmy Butler $1.5 million? Why? WHYYYYYYY????? The one exception: Anderson, if only because I don't mind spending $8 million a year on someone who takes SEVEN 3s a game and makes 39 percent of them. He's an expensive luxury, but not prohibitively expensive.
Anyway, looking through the four drafts from 2008 to 2011: Anderson went 21st. Leonard went 15th. Hayward: ninth. Butler: 30th. Earl Clark: 14th. Chase Budinger: 44th. Klay Thompson: 11th. Chandler Parsons: 38th. Paul George: 10th. Wayne Ellington: 28th. Lance Stephenson: 40th. Danny Green: 46th. Nic Batum: 25th. Brandon Rush (out for the year, but still): 13th. I just listed 14 guys who could help anyone's 2013 playoff rotation if they were healthy; all make 3s except for Stephenson, and NONE were drafted in the top eight. Meanwhile, you have Toronto shelling out $23.1 million next year just for Gay and Landry Fields. Maybe it should use its fancy camera technology to capture the motions of a smart GM.
On to our toughest 2013 omissions from "least tough" to "toughest" …
Evan Fournier: The captain of this year's Bill Simmons All-Stars for "The Guys I Inexplicably Like Much More Than I Should Probably Like Them," joining Shavlik Randolph (check out his per-minutes); Alec Burks (puzzlingly buried by the wildly incompetent Ty Corbin); Donatas Motiejunas (I bet he sneaks into the top 50 next year); Terrence Ross (I just like him); Kyle Singler (destined for a second life as a Spurs role player); Brandan Wright (figured out how to game the flaw in Hollinger's PER system — he always gives you 14 good minutes, but if you play him 40 minutes, he'll still give you 14 good minutes and the other 26 will be atrocious); Kosta Koufos (although it's an explicable likability in his case); Wayne Ellington (did we ever figure out why Memphis salary-dumped him right before the Rudy Gay salary dump?); Jimmer Fredette (I still think he'll be heard from someday on a good team, à la J.J. Redick, even if there's a 65 percent chance this point will be thrown back in my face on Twitter five years from now); Shaun Livingston (a masterful comeback as a fun-to-play-with veteran on a likably crappy Cavs team); Patrick Beverley (not to be confused with Rich Peverley); Reggie Jackson (looming as an under-the-radar playoff X factor off OKC's bench); and one of the Morris twins (can't remember which one). Please don't confuse this team with the Jordan Crawford All-Stars (for players who make me want to swallow my own tongue).
45. Enes Kanter
44. Jonas Valanciunas
Fun little battle of promising/crafty/athletic big guys who are either wildly overrated or wildly underrated within the league (depending on who's talking). Kanter produced nearly every time Utah played him big minutes (including last month's eye-opening 23-22 game against Charlotte); that's the biggest reason why the Jazz will probably sign-and-trade Al Jefferson this summer. He also inspired this thought-provoking e-mail from Patrick in Memphis: "If you wanted to jeer Enes Kanter, are you going with the anus or penis pronunciation? I feel like it could go either way."
As for Valanciunas, the promising Raptors big man who's been averaging a 15-7 since mid-March, here's a true story: When Sam Presti was quietly shopping James Harden last October, he called Toronto to feel out a Jonas package. And got rebuffed. Quickly.15 Let's give Jonas the edge over Enes if only because Weezer never wrote a song called "My Name Is Enes."
15 Our pal Chris Broussard told me this one and nearly made my eyeballs fly out of my head. But I got it confirmed — it's true.
So how do you feel about that?