1) Jeff Teague to the Timberwolves is interesting…very interesting:
I think that the Timberwolves needed a change at the point guard spot. Ricky Rubio is a gifted passer, underrated defender, and he’s good for 4-5 rebounds a game. He is careful with the ball (2.6 TOV to 9.1 APG) and makes the right plays at the right time. In fact, I think he’ll play well in Utah under coach Quin Snyder’s guidance. However I’ve always felt that Rubio’s offensive flaws limited his upside, especially on a Minnesota team with Butler, Wiggins, and Anthony-Towns that really needs all the space they can get to work on the floor.
With that being said signing Jeff Teague to replace Rubio isn’t necessarily an upgrade. Comparing Teague to Rubio’s shooting splits brings up interesting results. Teague has the edge in field goal percentage by a relatively wide margin (44% from 37%) but after that things tighten up a bit. Teague holds the edge in three point shooting (35% to 31%) and free throw percentage (84% to 83%) but obviously not by much. Even so there is a difference going from Rubio to Teague, and this may very well be the reason Minny went with the point guard exchange.
This past season Rubio converted 60 of 196 shots from beyond the arc (30.6%). Teague made 30 more attempts, and did so on a higher volume with a better percentage (35.7%, 90-252 total). It’s not a huge difference, but it will be enough for Minnesota. Even if the shooting stats difference is largely incremental, the fact that Teague is more aggressive offensively and can (and will) look for his own shot will be a welcome change for the Twolves from the point guard spot.
You also have to give credit to the Timberwolves for the construction of their contract with Teague. 3 years $57 million is good value for him, especially if the Wolves consider Teague’s underwhelming season in Indiana an aberration. Teague is locked up through the end of what can be considered his prime and that, combined with his ability to play off the ball, should be a boon for this rejuvenated Wolves squad.
2) JJ Redick trusts the process
The JJ Redick signing by the Philadelphia 76ers is a surprisingly good deal. The 76ers get an elite floor spacer who is an efficient, low usage threat off the ball. It will be a good balance to the offense to have a shooter of Redick’s caliber coming around pin downs and off of screens, and coach Brett Brown will be sure to incorporate this in his offense. With players like Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, AND Dario Saric, having a long range threat like Redick will help immensely.
Philly also did a great job securing Redick (and Amir Johnson) on a high paying single year deal. It works out for both parties. For Redick, the contract allows him to get paid handsomely while also giving him the opportunity to go back on to the market in 2018 to secure one last multi-year deal, preferably after coming off of a strong campaign in the city of brotherly love.
For the 76ers, not only do they get the on court value that Redick provides, but they are also able to get all of the intangibles. Having a veteran in the locker room, one to help lead these young 76ers on the floor and off, will prove invaluable. The 76ers also will not have to deal with the inevitable decline that Redick will bring in his later years if this were a multi year contract (unless they resign him). All in all, I trust the process wholeheartedly, and am already excited to see them in action next season.
3) The Warriors seem to be bringing the gang back together again
For Warriors haters hoping a key cog would leave Golden State, I have bad news for you. Stephen Curry? (as if you thought he’d leave) 5 years, super max contract worth $201 million. Andre Iguodala? Re-upped for 3 years and $48 million. Shaun Livingston? 3 years and $24 million. David West? Yep, the Warriors got him to come back for one more year before retirement at the veteran’s minimum.
That’s not to say their work is done. Kevin Durant’s contract still needs to be structured. Javelle McGee is still out there, and after his strong season a team might fall in love again with his length, finishing ability at the rim, and rim defending. Ian Clark, Zaza Pachulia, and Matt Barnes are still looking for homes. The Warriors are going to be over the cap and will be approaching luxury tax hell in the very near future. It doesn’t matter. The Warriors are the defending champs and are still top dog in the Western Conference.
4) Not a fan of the way the Clippers and Pacers dealt with their marquee players
The Clippers and Pacers both made interesting moves in regards to Blake Griffin and Paul George, respectively. For L.A., why resign Blake Griffin to a guaranteed 5 year $173 million dollar deal when he is not only out until December but also chronically injured? I’m all for players getting their money, so I can’t fault Griffin. However, shouldn’t the Clippers front office think twice before paying near max money for a player who has played in fewer than 70 games the last three regular seasons and who has had his last two playoff runs cut short by injury?
What’s sad is that Griffin’s play has almost showcased his decline. He had more dunks in his rookie year alone than in the past three years COMBINED. He attacks the rim almost gingerly now, trying to go around the contact instead of going through it or over it as he would in years past.
He’s ventured into deep mid range and three point shooting more and more, which isn’t bad, but should instead be a part of his game, not the majority of it. In addition, his role will not be any easier with the absence of Chris Paul, who shouldered a vast majority of all the playmaking opportunities. Griffin will have to pick up that slack, but it’s very hard to do that when you’re not on the floor.
The Pacers took an entirely different approach to their franchise player. Obviously knowing that Paul George was going to bolt after the upcoming season, the Pacers shopped him to any buyers, looking for a bundle of promising draft picks and starters. They were linked to talks with the Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs.
However, the Pacers shocked everybody by sending George to Oklahoma City for the measly price of Victor Oladipo and Donatas Sabonis. Now yes, George was basically an expiring contract but that is all the Pacers could net in return to jump start their rebuilding process?
Victor Oladipo is about to enter the 1st year of a contract that will pay him $21 million annually; not bad, but not worth it for an underwhelming shooting guard who’s already 25. Donatas Sabonis has potential as a stretch big with some playmaking ability, but he should be just part of a trade for someone of George’s caliber; not half of it. Together the two pair for less than expected value for George, no pick, no young prospect, nothing.
Now there are rumors that Indiana didn’t want to give in to George’s request by sending him to L.A., and they also didn’t want to strengthen an eastern conference contender. However, for the return that they received, you just have to wonder if the Pacers could have negotiated for more at any point in time.
Well, these were just a few of my thoughts as Day one of free agency came and went. Make sure you follow Real Ball Insiders for all the news and analysis breaking every day.