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Fact or Fiction: 2009 NBA Draft Class Contract Extensions

As the country was out giving candy to either children or twenty-something girls that were both curiously wearing the same size costumes, the NBA’s deadline for 2009 Draftee extensions came and went. The draft class ended up with seven different players being offered multi-year deals, while the rest would go on to being restricted free agency next summer. Thus, players like OKC’s Eric Maynor, Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans and Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings could be extended offer sheets by other teams, only to have them matched by their current squad. 
Before this week, Clippers forward Blake Griffin had been the only 2009 rook to sign an extension, a five year pact worth approximately $95 million. Since then, six of these twenty-somethings have signed within the past few days, four just before the midnight buzzer Wednesday night. 
Resuscitating a feature from THE GREAT MAMBINO’s blog predecessor NYisMecca, we’re going to examine these deals and ask “these young fellows worth the money: Fact or Fiction?”

James Harden: $80 million over 5 years and Blake Griffin: $95 million over 5 years 
2012 stat lines: (Harden) 16.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.7 apg .491/.390/.846 shooting and (Griffin) 20.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3.2 apg .549/.125/.521 shooting
Fact.  Griffin was an open and shut case for an extension here, even with a documented history of knee injuries. By the time this extension even begins, he’ll most be one of the most decorated Clippers in franchise history (two presumed All-Star teams, one 2nd Team All-NBA nod and perhaps another one on the way). This isn’t to speak to Griffin’s still burgeoning potential–he’s got enough room to grow to fit both of Boris Diaw’s boobs–but rather to the dubious distinction which is being a good player on the worst franchise in American sports history. Owner Donald Sterling couldn’t let Blake go no matter what the price was for keeping him. 

Harden has had his detractors the past few days after the trade to Houston, but after his ridiculous 37 point, 12 assist night (even against the lowly Pistons), I can’t imagine there’s very many people yelling “fiction” at his max deal. The Beard is questionably one of the top-20 players in the NBA right now, and could end up being one of it’s 15 best in April. Fact, fact, fact over the validity of this contract.
DeMar DeRozan: $40 million over 4 years

2012 stat line: 16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, .422/.261/.810 shooting
(From El Miz)

Hilarious Fiction, on par with the movie Super Troopers.  DeMar can’t create his own shot, doesn’t defend particularly well, and in fact doesn’t really do anything other than dunk particularly well.  In 2014-15 the Raptors owe Landry Fields $8.5 million and DeRozan $10 million (unless its escalates every year, in which case it’ll probably be around $11.25 million) — so they’ll owe at least $18.5 million to two wing players, neither of whom is an elite scorer, neither of whom can even create their own shot. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo needed to be fired yesterday; how much longer can that guy ride the coattails of Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash? Toronto should have let DeRozan go to restricted free agency. I highly doubt any other team would give him a contract of this size after another decent but largely uninspiring season from a

one-dimensional player.
Jrue Holiday: $41 million over 4 years
2012 stat line: 14.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.5 apg .432/.380/.783 shoot… Read more...

Time to Believe in the Golden State Warriors? Season Preview

There’s a lot riding on those ankles.

Starting Five: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Harrison Barnes, PF David Lee, C Andrew Bogut

Key Bench Players: PG Jarret Jack, C Andris Biedrins, SF Richard Jefferson, PF Carl Landry, SG Brandon Rush, SF Draymond Green, C Festus Ezeli

Key Additions: C Andrew Bogut, SF Harrison Barnes, SF Draymond Green, PG Jarret Jack

Key Departures: SF Dorrell Wright, G Monta Ellis, PG Nate Robinson, SF Dominic McGuire, C Kwame Brown (SIKE!)

Like so many Golden State Warriors teams of years past, the 2012-2013 squad has accumulated a lot of interesting parts with more questions on how they fit together. There’s no question that the franchise is taking meaningful steps to right the ship. The new ownership is an improvement and they seem to have a real plan in place, but it’s unclear how much that will pay off this season. 

Coach Mark Jackson looks like he will be able to get his team to play hard, even if he’s still learning how to teach the X’s and O’s. Shipping out Monta Ellis (although it was technically last year) for Andrew Bogut could be a franchise-altering move that allowed them to get real value in return for one of the league’s most puzzling players. No one in Golden State is kidding themselves that they have a championship team this year, but they certainly have a promising core and young talent that they can build on if this team starts taking steps in the right direction. As usual, the recipe for success is having healthy stars and reliable contributions from role players. 
Unfortunately for the Warriors, their biggest injury risks are Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut, who are both game changers when healthy and the future of the franchise. If Bogut works out, the Ellis trade will be a beautiful gamble. Bogut can hold his own offensively, but more importantly he is among the best defensive centers in the league and should provide a perfect complement for David Lee in the frontcourt. Similarly, a healthy Curry has few peers in the L when it comes to playmaking or offensive ability. The Warriors also smartly brought in new back-ups for each in the offseason, trading for the very solid Jarrett Jack and drafting Festus Ezeli at the center position.

Although it hurts to lose Dorrell Wright and the defensive stylings of Dominic McGuire, Brandon Rush finally put it together last year and looks ready for a bigger role. Harrison Barnes appears ready to start right now, which is great news for a team that should desperately want to avoid starting Richard Jefferson. Carl Landry is no defensive ace, but he’s a great scorer off the bench and a very good signing for the Warriors. If Klay Thompson can build off of his promising rookie year and Draymond Green contributes, the Warriors could be legitimately 10 deep with young legs. This is a coin flip of a roster that could be fighting for the playoffs or considering tanking for a higher lottery pick come next March.

Best Case Scenario: Everyone stays healthy, the young talent continues to develop, and their rookies can contribute this season. Curry’s unselfish playmaking galvanizes the offense and the Warriors improve on last year’s 11th ranked offense. Defensively, Bogut anchors things nicely and the team defense becomes respectable (last year’s anemic performance notwithstanding). The Warriors sneak in the playoffs as a 7 seed, but lose to the second-seed in 5 games. Their performance leads to a lot of optimism about the 2013-2014. 

We want to see as little of this suit as possible, Andrew.
Absolute Apocalypse: This one is easy. Inju…