July 31, 2019, 12:42 am
Sometimes the offseason is more exciting than the actual season. In the midst of signings, it’s easy to jump to Basketball Reference and look at the stats of the added players and cherry-pick good ones to conform to a positive narrative.
It’s the honeymoon stage, and in the honeymoon stage, new players (typically) haven’t been a locker room issue for your team, nor have you watched any of them airmail a bad pass to your favorite team’s opponent in crunch time during a big game.
If you asked each team’s fans to estimate its record relative to Vegas, I bet the fans of most franchises would take the over.
But beyond synergy, beyond age curves, and beyond skill sets, there are other considerations that will impact the immediate performance of a team. Of these, perhaps one of the biggest ones is continuity. Even if a new lineup unit is a match made in heaven, that doesn’t mean that the unit will skyrocket to great performances right away. Players need time to get acclimated to one another and to the systems in which they play.
The Pelicans will have a new defensive coach and will also get major minutes from a number of players who haven’t played together. But in the NBA, particularly this year, this seems to be the rule and not the exception. With that in mind, I sought to find out the answer to this question: how much continuity do the Pelicans have relative to other teams?
I sought to answer this question with a quick skim of how many remaining minutes and points each team has from last season. A big thanks to Jeff Siegel for the rosters (I took them from his great site, Early Bird Rights), and a big thanks to Basketball Reference as well. Players who are free agents were not included in these results and teams with more than 15 players were not edited for the sums of minutes/points.
The results are pretty clear. The Pelicans ranked 24th in remaining minutes and 27th in remaining points. To be clear, this is not meant to be “perfect” analysis: what I am looking for is how different the Pelicans roster is versus those of other teams. The Pelicans rank near the very bottom of the league in these metrics.
Teams like Denver, Milwaukee, and Houston may have an edge early in the season with their excellent rosters and their continuity.
September 16, 2019, 6:33 pmMychal MulderPG, Miami Heat
The Heat have announced the signing of guard Mychal Mulder.
Mulder played last season with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League and averaged 8.8 points in Summer League this year. He has good range but is unlikely to contribute much at the NBA level in 2019-20.
Source: Miami Heat
September 16, 2019, 6:13 pmVincent PoirierC, Boston Celtics
Nicolas Batum praised the play of Celtics center Vincent Poirier at the FIBA World Cup.
According to Batum, Poirier "is a center that can block shots and control the paint." A native of France, Poirier has performed well over six seasons in Europe. Nevertheless, he should only be a depth option for the Celtics with Enes Kanter starting.
Source: NBC Sports Boston
September 16, 2019, 5:49 pmZach LaVinePG, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine has been fine tuning his playmaking skills in the offseason, according to an interview with FanSided.
LaVine enjoyed the best field goal percentage of his career for the Bulls last season. He also scored a career best 23.7 points per game. However, LaVine averaged 3.4 turnovers and his fantasy value will increase if he can take better care of the ball.
September 16, 2019, 5:19 pmTyler HerroPG, Miami Heat
According to Ira Winderman, rookie Tyler Herro is unlikely to start for the Heat at the beginning of the season.
The Heat drafted Herro out of Kentucky with the 13th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Dion Waiters should be the primary shooting guard at the outset. However, expect Herro to get plenty of opportunities to contribute.
September 16, 2019, 4:40 pmJordan MurphyPF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Forward Jordan Murphy will be in training camp with the Wolves after signing an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
Murphy averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds for the University of Minnesota last season. Murphy could join the Iowa Wolves of the G-League if he does not crack the NBA roster.
September 16, 2019, 4:28 pmSemi OjeleyePF, Boston Celtics
Semi Ojeleye could compete with Grant Williams for more minutes at forward for the Celtics, according to Jay King of The Athletic.
Ojeleye only played 10 minutes per game for the Celtics last season but improved his field-goal shooting to 42 percent. He has shown some defensive prowess but could use more consistency in his perimeter shooting. Ojeleye is unlikely to contribute much for standard league owners.
Source: Jay King of The Athletic
September 16, 2019, 4:06 pmMohamed BambaC, Orlando Magic
The Magic exercised their team option on Mo Bamba, signing him through 2020-21.
Bamba averaged 1.4 blocked shots during his rookie season in just 16 minutes per game. However, the #6 overall pick in 2018 is firmly behind starting center Nikola Vucevic on the Magic's depth chart.
Source: Orlando Magic PR on Twitter
September 16, 2019, 3:49 pmJonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
The Magic exercised their team option on Jonathan Isaac, signing him through 2020-21.
Isaac started 64 games in his second season, scoring 9.6 points per game to go with 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Isaac also improved his free-throw shooting, finishing at 81.5 percent. He certainly has the potential to do even more going forward if he can stay healthy.
Source: Magic PR on Twitter
September 16, 2019, 3:41 pmJames Ennis IIISF, Philadelphia Sixers
James Ennis should be the first wing off the bench for the Sixers, according to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.
Ennis, who averaged 6.7 points in 21 minutes per game last season, will provide depth behind Tobias Harris. His fantasy value isn't terribly high, but head coach Brett Brown trusts his defensive game. This report could mean a slight uptick in playing time for Ennis.
Source: Rich Hofmann of The Athletic
September 16, 2019, 3:16 pmMarkelle FultzPG, Orlando Magic
The Magic have exercised their team option on Markelle Fultz.
That will keep Fultz under control through the 2020-21 season. While Fultz is a former No. 1 overall pick, this was not a slam-dunk decision for the Magic given his health record and all the mystery that's clouded the first couple years of his career. With current starter D.J. Augustin set to hit free agency following the upcoming season, Orlando could be preparing to hand Fultz the reins. We want to know that he's healthy before endorsing him as a fantasy selection but the upside is enough to at least consider a deep-league flier.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter