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Thread: "Redundancy" is a Red Herring

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Default "Redundancy" is a Red Herring

    This was initially a response to a thread posted earlier today about drafting walker when we already have bayless. You can see that thread here and weigh in if you want.

    I started writing my response and halfway through I realized that it wasn't really about bayless and walker but more about this idea of "redundancy" (whatever that means) and how I think it is AWESOME not a PROBLEM to be avoided. So I decided copy/paste as a new thread.

    I really don't like the "does so-and-so make what's-his-name redundant?" questions. Whether it's Amir and Davis or now with bayless and walker, it think the whole question is pretty useless. I think "redundancy" only comes in to play a negative role is where you have two guys who BOTH make too much money to come off the bench at the same position and/or are both unhappy about the amount of minutes they are getting. But these problems are either financial problems or locker room chemistry problems, that in reality have very little to do with players having "similar games". The fact of the matter is that if you have two really good players, and their isn't a better option readily available, you can afford BOTH and they don't mind sharing the position why wouldn't you want both? The only argument I can find is that by having a player who "provides a different look" gives you a tactical advantage.

    I don't buy this argument and I'll point to two examples where redundancy pays off:

    Case 1 Miami Heat: Aren't Wade, Lebron, and even Bosh-to a lesser extent, "redundant" because they are all ball-dominant players? Wasn't that the big question facing Miami this year, could Lebron and Wade coexist? I don't know about the rest of you, but even though I'm not a big fan of Miami I do have them penciled in with a finals appearance. Regardless of whether they win this year or not I think they've proven to the doubters, and hopeful haters (myself included), that despite their similar games and their need to "dominate the ball on offense" that they can win.

    Second, look at team USA, they don't say well we can't take Chris Paul and Deron Williams because their games are too similar, and they wouldn't have hesitated to have Shaq backed up by Dwight Howard if they were both the best at the same time. Team USA would NEVER pass on an amazing player because his game is too similar to another player on the team. You take the most skilled players that are going to play as a TEAM.

    YES, their can be problems managing players who are unhappy with their role. Just ask the Lakers during the Shaq/Kobe era, but we can agree that had nothing to do with their skills being "redundant" but them not being able to manage their ego's and accept certain roles. Does having players with a similar skill set/talent increase the odds of a locker room bitterness? MAYBE. But that doesn't mean you pass up on a player that makes your roster better because you are worried about personalities.

    I think part of this "redundancy is bad" argument stems from the success of the Calderon/TJ Ford years where our success was seen as having the "different looks" our two pgs w/ different styles offered. If having two pgs with different styles makes us good then having to PG's with the same style makes us bad, right? But how did that turn out? At least one of them wasn't happy with their role and was traded. Avoiding "redundancies" won't save you from locker room problems that arise with athletes performing at this level.

    "Redundancy" is a red herring: No matter how "similar" a players game is on paper, each player has different tendancies and moves. Different reactions and choices in the same scenario. No matter how similar players are, you have to prepare for them differently. OR at least you should.

    If you want to win you compile a TEAM of the best players you can get regardless of whether they may or may not have "similar games". Even if having two similar players allows an opposing team to have a simpler game plan doesn't change the fact that they have to EXECUTE it for an ENTIRE game against TWO really good players who aren't going to make that very easy. Redundancy doesn't make you worse, in fact it makes you better if it means you have 48 minutes of awesomeness at a single position instead of a measly 36.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic Starter jeff_hostetler's Avatar
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    As one of the champions of avoiding redundancy, I will weigh in here.

    First off, I'm not sure in your post you fully articulate redundancy. I don't want to be uncouth here, but often times what you refer to isn't redundancy.

    For example:

    No matter how "similar" a players game is on paper, each player has different tendancies and moves. Different reactions and choices in the same scenario. No matter how similar players are, you have to prepare for them differently.
    What you're describing isn't redundancy. If you have different moves and different tendencies, if you react differently to the same scenario, then pretty much by definition you're not redundant.

    Derozan and Weems were redundant because neither is a good deep shooter, both depend on their slashing and athleticism to get their points. Stop one and you stop the other. Derozan's offense is becoming more varied, so they are becoming a bit more divergent.

    Redundancy is a problem because there is significant value in having players who are skilled at different things. This notably becomes an issue when one strategy isn't working, and you need someone off the bench to bring a different look. If you have a starting point guard, for example, whose game is based on slashing to the hoop to either score or kick out to the open man for the assist, what happens if the defence adjusts to this strategy and takes away the drive? Not only is the point guard far less of a scoring threat, but his playmaking as well takes a pretty big hit. Too bad you have the same kind of point guard on the bench who has the same game. Not only has your starting point guard been neutralized, but because your bench PG is essentially the same player, there's not much of a chance he's going to be able to do much either.

    Or take having 2 PF's with size issues who are pretty good help defenders and rebounders, but because they are on the small side, they both have difficulty when getting backed down in the post by bigger, stronger players. Neither has much of an offensive post-game, and they score mostly off of putbacks. You run into the same issues here. If your starting 4 is having issues with his man, having a redundant PF on the bench guarantees he's not going to be much more effective. If you need offensive help in the paint, you can't bring in your bench player here because he has the same offensive skill set as your starter.

    The value of having players with varied skills is that it not only allows you to create different looks both on offense and on defense, but it allows you to successfully counter the opposing team when they've discovered an effective way to stop you.

    The examples you cite are interesting. You say that Wade, Lebron and Bosh are all redundant because they are ball dominant. That's true. But there's more too it. First off, they all play different positions, so it's not as big of a deal. However, neither Lebron nor Wade are good shooters, so dependent are they upon their slashing skills for their points. They ran into a lot of trouble this season precisely because of this. Also, you're talking about the best players in the game at their position, hall of famers, who are so good that their similar skills is less of an issue. They're good enough to do what they please.

    Deron Williams and Chris Paul are very different players and in no way redundant. Paul is extremely fast and extremely creative. His game is based on turning the defence inside-out. Williams is a big point guard, and uses his size effectively to post-up and overpower his opponent. Sure they possess similar skills in that they are both good shooters and good passers, but that's the nature of the position they play.

    And again, in all of your examples, you're basically talking about the best players in the world. Sure, if your team is stacked with the best of the best, who gives a shit, really. Just let them dominate, because they can. Most teams though are filled with average players. Most teams need options because they don't have players who can just go out there and tear the other team apart.
    Last edited by jeff_hostetler; Thu May 12th, 2011 at 03:10 PM.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    As another poster who was very vocal about the redundancy between Davis/Amir on a couple threads a few weeks ago, I feel the need to clarify my views.

    First, redundancy on its own, in a vacuum, is neither good or bad. Second, if you were considering the trait of "consistent hustle" for example, then I would strongly argue that that trait is a redundancy I would love to see shared by all 15 players on the roster! "High percentage shooting", "good teammate" and other such positive traits/characteristics are redundancies I think every RR reader would agree with, in terms of that type of redundancy being welcomed.

    ---

    When I was discussing Davis/Amir, I noted that their strengths/weaknesses, advantages/disadvantages, style of play etc... were very similar. I also was quick to point out that I felt all their similarities were good to have. The point I made with regards to them being redundant, was with regards to the question the thread posed about potentially trading Amir.

    If a team had 3 Patrick Ewing clones, 3 Karl Malone clones, 3 LeBron James clones, 3 Michael Jordan clones and 3 Magic Johnson clones, for example, it could be argued that you had lots of redundancy... but who would care? That team would be crazy good with no apparent weak spots, down to their 2nd and even 3rd string players.

    On the other hand, the current Toronto Raptors roster has many weaknesses. I would argue that Davis & DeRozan are the only players that a high majority of RR readers would agree upon, as being good players now who should absolutely be part of the long-term core of this team. If that point is agreed upon, then staring PF and SG positions are set. That leaves 3 starting positions and 5 backup positions that are not effectively filled for the long-term. If we all like Amir, then we could say that the backup PF position is also filled, which would still leave 3 starting & 4 backup positions to fill.

    My point was that on a team with so many holes to fill, the depth - or redundancy - the team has at PF, may be better served by trading away a backup (Amir) for an EQUALLY GOOD player (in terms of skill, age, salary, potential) that would fill a need at one of the 3 missing starters positions.

    I would not trade Amir just because he was redundant. Nor would I trade Amir for a backup at a different position or player who isn't projected as a sure thing starter. However, if the right trade presented itself that allowed one of those 3 starting positions to be filled and doing so only cost me a backup PF (which by definition is a redundancy), then I would make the trade.

    ---

    In light of it being NHL playoff time and most of us RR readers being Canadian, let me state my point in hockey terms...

    Lets pretend there is a hockey team that has several all-star forwards and an all-star goalie, but is missing that impact defenseman to anchor the point on the power play. If I was the GM, my approach would be to attempt to make a trade that trades from my position of strength/depth, to address a position of weakness. I would be willing to trade one of my several all-star caliber forwards, to get an equally good all-star caliber defenseman. It would hurt to trade away the forward, but my team as a whole - especially my #1 power play unit - would be significantly improved overall. I traded a redundant player and filled a hole --> net improvement for my team, especially my starting unit of 5 players.
    Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Thu May 12th, 2011 at 03:58 PM.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    "As one of the champions of avoiding redundancy, I will weigh in here."
    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    "If you have different moves and different tendencies, if you react differently to the same scenario, then pretty much by definition you're not redundant."
    I see us not being able to resolve this point, because I believe that EVERY player reacts a little bit different in certain scenarios, even if they play a similar game, they have different rhythms. Two guys who shoot the ball will have different spots on the floor they are likely to shoot from. Guys who go to the hoop use different moves, to get there. Pretty much every player uses a different type of hesitation or fake, so as a defender, keying into one players tendencies doesn't give you insight into the tendencies of another player, even if they are "shooters" or "drivers" or "back to the basket" players.

    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    "Redundancy is a problem because there is significant value in having players who are skilled at different things. This notably becomes an issue when one strategy isn't working, and you need someone off the bench to bring a different look."
    Is this situation caused by having redundancy at 1 position or all of them? Being redundant at a single position still leaves four other positions where a different player or configuration of players provides the "different look".


    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    The value of having players with varied skills is that it not only allows you to create different looks both on offense and on defense, but it allows you to successfully counter the opposing team when they've discovered an effective way to stop you.
    This is only true if the guy you are bringing off the bench is as good as or better than the "redundant" guy. Otherwise, if a team is stumped, brining in a crappy player off the bench even if they provide a different "look" is unlikely to make a difference.

    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    The examples you cite are interesting. You say that Wade, Lebron and Bosh are all redundant because they are ball dominant. That's true. But there's more too it. First off, they all play different positions, so it's not as big of a deal. However, neither Lebron nor Wade are good shooters, so dependent are they upon their slashing skills for their points. They ran into a lot of trouble this season precisely because of this. Also, you're talking about the best players in the game at their position, hall of famers, who are so good that their similar skills is less of an issue. They're good enough to do what they please. And again, in all of your examples, you're basically talking about the best players in the world. Sure, if your team is stacked with the best of the best, who gives a shit, really. Just let them dominate, because they can. Most teams though are filled with average players. Most teams need options because they don't have players who can just go out there and tear the other team apart.
    That's kind of my point though. If you have the best player's available (whether they are the best in the world or not) it doesn't matter if their skills are "redundant", because the alternative is a player who is worse overall so even if the "different look" gets you an advantage in a single game or possession, you are going to be worse off. If you don't have the best players available you want to upgrade to better players, as long as you can afford them, even if they have "redundant skills"

    It's not about whether a player is redundant versus another player, it is whether there is a better player out there.
    Last edited by ezz_bee; Thu May 12th, 2011 at 04:22 PM.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    If I was the GM, my approach would be to attempt to make a trade that trades from my position of strength/depth, to address a position of weakness.
    If I was the GM I would attempt to trade from a position of weakness to a position of strength. Although a harder trade to make I would try to get rid of assets that are not going to be a part of the future: Calderon, Barbosa (how surprised will we be if he opts out?) Barg's, than trade away from probably our strongest position. If we trade away Amir we are left with a whole at PF that we then have to fill (with another back up PF). But that is another argument entirely.
    Last edited by ezz_bee; Thu May 12th, 2011 at 05:36 PM.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    A red herring is a fish. "Redundancy" is a noun.
    Read my blog, The Picket Fence. Guaranteed to make you think or your money back!
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    Raptors Republic Starter jeff_hostetler's Avatar
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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    This is only true if the guy you are bringing off the bench is as good as or better than the "redundant" guy. Otherwise, if a team is stumped, brining in a crappy player off the bench evenThat's kind of my point though. If you have the best player's available (whether they are the best in the world or not) it doesn't matter if their skills are "redundant", because the alternative is a player who is worse overall so even if the "different look" gets you an advantage in a single game or possession, you are going to be worse off. If you don't have the best players available you want to upgrade to better players, as long as you can afford them, even if they have "redundant skills"
    Let's look at this in the extreme sense. Two teams. One team has a normal starting lineup. Their bench is a mirror of the starters in terms of attributes, skills, tendencies, etc... The second team has a normal starting lineup as well. Only their bench is stocked with players at each position that have very different skills than the starters.

    What team is going to be easier to defend? Clearly the first team, as once you've learned how to stop the starters, you've learned how to stop the bench.

    What team is going to be easier to score against? Clearly the first team, as once you've learned the how to score against the starters, you've learned how to score against the bench.

    I see us not being able to resolve this point, because I believe that EVERY player reacts a little bit different in certain scenarios, even if they play a similar game, they have different rhythms. Two guys who shoot the ball will have different spots on the floor they are likely to shoot from. Guys who go to the hoop use different moves, to get there. Pretty much every player uses a different type of hesitation or fake, so as a defender, keying into one players tendencies doesn't give you insight into the tendencies of another player, even if they are "shooters" or "drivers" or "back to the basket" players.
    According to way you put it above, there isn't even any such thing as redundancy.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote Tim W. wrote: View Post
    A red herring is a fish. "Redundancy" is a noun.
    touche

    EDIT: However it is also "an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance." Where as Jeff Hostetler would have us question whether a player is redundant or not in trying to determine his value, I would rather ask the question (which in my opinion, is the more relevant question) can we get a better player?

    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    Let's look at this in the extreme sense. Two teams. One team has a normal starting lineup. Their bench is a mirror of the starters in terms of attributes, skills, tendencies, etc... The second team has a normal starting lineup as well. Only their bench is stocked with players at each position that have very different skills than the starters.

    What team is going to be easier to defend? Clearly the first team, as once you've learned how to stop the starters, you've learned how to stop the bench.

    What team is going to be easier to score against? Clearly the first team, as once you've learned the how to score against the starters, you've learned how to score against the bench.

    I think the answer to that question is whose bench players are better? I don't think it matters if the coach draws up a defensive or offensive system to compensate for team 1. If team 2's players aren't starting it's probably because they aren't as good. Since team 1's bench players ARE as good as their starters and team 2's bench players aren't (otherwise they'd be starting) team 1's bench is better than team 2's. So even if there is a slight tactical advantage to team 2, they have the downside of having weaker players executing the and defense against a superior team. I'll take team 1, and because I think my talent beat's your team's coaching.


    Quote jeff_hostetler wrote: View Post
    According to way you put it above, there isn't even any such thing as redundancy.
    Pretty much, yeah. There are only players, and better players. You try to have a roster that has the most talent, not the most diversity of skills.
    Last edited by ezz_bee; Thu May 12th, 2011 at 05:03 PM.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic Rookie footarez's Avatar
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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    I think the answer to that question is whose bench players are better? I don't think it matters if the coach draws up a defensive or offensive system to compensate for team 1. If team 2's players aren't starting it's probably because they aren't as good. Since team 1's bench players ARE as good as their starters and team 2's bench players aren't (otherwise they'd be starting) team 1's bench is better than team 2's. So even if there is a slight tactical advantage to team 2, they have the downside of having weaker players executing the and defense against a superior team. I'll take team 1, and because I think my talent beat's your team's coaching.



    Pretty much, yeah. There are only players, and better players. You try to have a roster that has the most talent, not the most diversity of skills.
    Yeah,why not have two great players?Why would you trade Amir or Kemba/bayless if you had kemba for a player who is not as good?Regardless of the position?If you trade Amir for a starting sf who isn't as effective as Amir that is NOT a good move.As eez_bee wrote no players are exaclty alike.So if you as defender adapt yourself and contain Ed Davis for example you can't contain Amir the same way.If you believe that you are just dreaming.So it is always an advantage to have guys who most people would say are redundant.I really like Amir,Ed,Bayless and I hope we draft Walker.And you forget that in nba 82 game season injures are happening ALL the time.And then what do you do if you didn't have the redundant type?You start your lousy back up instead of similar player as your sidelined starter

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote footarez wrote: View Post
    I hope we draft Walker
    i hope we draft the best player available, and I hope we can get someone better than walker. But that depends on how the balls fall
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    i hope we draft the best player available, and I hope we can get someone better than walker. But that depends on how the balls fall
    well,yeah i agree we should draft the best player available.Period.I just think that is going to be Walker because for some reason I think we won't be selecting top 3.I am too pessimistic -I know.But that way I'm almost never disappointed

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    On a championship contender, maybe. On a team that's in the lottery theres no such thing as redundancy.
    @jerboat

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    "Scoring, who needs it! Not us!"
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    You need defense and depth to survive in the NBA- At least 3 good bigs to play the 4/5
    At least 2 good PG and 3 wings for the 2/3. The season is so long injuries are always a problem.
    I would never trade amir or Davis for a good wing. These are the kind of guys that play hard and other players will rally around.

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    Default Redundancy? Biyumbo

    Biyumbo is not the seven footer we need, but watch the hoops summit and he may be better. Crazy rim protection from a guy who looks like he will be able to guard anyone someday. I want him. BC, get another pick or trade down, or just take him at your spot (providing it is not the one or two). He may not look like the big man we need, but that is only going to be during the warm up. He needs many of the basic skills. Get him, teach him, wait a year or two on him, and he will be a serious piece of a dominant team.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote EaseMyPain wrote: View Post
    Biyumbo is not the seven footer we need, but watch the hoops summit and he may be better. Crazy rim protection from a guy who looks like he will be able to guard anyone someday. I want him. BC, get another pick or trade down, or just take him at your spot (providing it is not the one or two). He may not look like the big man we need, but that is only going to be during the warm up. He needs many of the basic skills. Get him, teach him, wait a year or two on him, and he will be a serious piece of a dominant team.
    you have a right to post whatever you want in any thread, so my only response to this seemingly random and unrelated post is to thank you for selecting mean as your forum.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    not going to lie. I'm secretly hoping jeff will come back to argue w/ me some more.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    I agree that talent is more important than filling roles. Role players are interchangeable. If you take the 9 best players on any team and exchange them for the 9 non-SuperFriends on the Miami Heat, what difference would it make? None. The Heat would still be where they are right now.
    A goodly number of Miami's benchwarmers and even its rotation players might not be in the league right now if they weren't playing for the Heat. That intellectual exercise by itself is a fairly big indictment of the idea that a team's rotation players and benchwarmers really matter.
    The singular thing a team needs, far more than coaching or role players, or a good training staff, is as many top 15 players as it can possibly get. And a team should move heaven and earth, draft picks and whatever else, to get them.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    not sure I agree with your line of thinking Brandon, but it is an interesting pov. Is Ray Allen a top 15 guy? What about Pau Gasol or Lomar Odom or Andrew Bynum or Ron Artest. I don't think any of those players qualify as top 15 guys (although are definitely VERY good players) and Lakers did win 2 championships with that team. I'd like to hear an expanded argument with more research.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    you have a right to post whatever you want in any thread, so my only response to this seemingly random and unrelated post is to thank you for selecting mean as your forum.
    Thanks for not flaming me. I was referring to an idea, perhaps in my own head, that Biyumbo would be seen as a "redundancy" too similar to Davis and Johnson (and Johnson). I was suggesting that his similar profile should not eliminate him as a potential pick. I just think he is going to be successful and would be a good choice for the Raps.

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