Friday, February 24, 2006

What If Rosters: Central Division

Hill: a big reason behind Detroit's succes

You ever run into an old acquaintance from high school or college and he/she brainlessly decides to fill you in on how happy your ex-girlfriend is with “Glen”? Well that “shot-in-the-nuts” feeling one receives in those joyful encounters is very similar to my sentiments regarding the last ten years of Boston Celtics basketball. Poor management, poor coaching, the Bias/Lewis curse, Antoine Walker, etc. But even more traumatic is seeing those players that used to play for my C’s lighting it up in other cities (ala my ex looking smoking hot after I dumped her for someone with syphilis). So it got me thinking, I’m sure I’m not the only fan out there that imagines these “what if” scenarios. I bet Hornets fans wonder where they would be with Kobe, Raptors fans with T-Mac, and Warriors faithful with Arenas. Thus, for the next few weeks I’m going to be taking a look back over the last ten years and showing you what each team’s 15-man roster could look like today. It might make you smile, it might my you laugh, but in all likelihood, you’ll end up as pissed as I am. Should be a lot of fun…


1) Trades. I have just completed a useless, hour-long search in hopes of finding a site that provided a season-by-season log of all the trades that have gone down. To save you the time, one does not exist. Thus, I need to make trade details irrelevant. In other words, some final rosters may not be possible because some of the players may have been dealt for one another (e.g., Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak in Boston). And while I certainly know the details of that BOS-MIN trade, I may not have the same facts behind a deal that occurred in say, 1997. So rather than throw in the facets of one trade and not the other, I thought it best to be consistent. Thus, if you know damn well that Player A was in fact dealt for Player B, use your wonderful imagination to filter the former/latter off of that roster. The only exception is if a player was traded on Draft day without ever playing for that team (e.g. Vince for Jamison in ’98)

2) Free Agency. A team not having enough money to sign a free agent (e.g. Toronto and T-Mac), will not factor in here. I’m imagining as if each team had the checkbook of Isiah Thomas.

3) Contracts. I’m ignoring contracts altogether, so if three max players end up on one team then so be it. That’s pretty much the fun of this whole exercise, isn’t it?

4) Active Players. Players who are retired, in AA, or looking for other work to feed their children will not be factored in.


Current Roster
Malik Allen
Eddie Basden
Tyson Chandler
Luol Deng
Chris Duhon
Ben Gordon
Othella Harrington
Kirk Hinrich
Andres Nocioni
Jannero Pargo
Erik Piatkowski
Darius Songaila
Michael Sweetney
Tim Thomas

Come & Gone
Elton Brand
Ron Artest
Jamal Crawford
Brad Miller
Fred Hoiberg
Jake Voskuhl
Eddy Curry
Trenton Hassell
Jalen Rose
Donyell Marshall
Lonny Baxter
Matt Bonner
Antonio Davis
Adrian Griffin

What If 15-Man Roster
PG—Hinrich, Duhon, Pargo
SG—Gordon, Crawford, Rose
SF—Artest, Deng, Nocioni
PF—Brand, Marshall, Bonner
C—Miller, Chandler, Curry

Rather lethal frontcourt, no? But can you really blame Chicago for dealing Artest and Miller to the Pacers for Rose? In hindsight, wasn’t that a stellar deal? And what about Brand for Chandler, that was in the best interest of the team right? And boy, Eddy Curry and John Q’s son’s heart really worked out too, huh? At this rate, if there was an award for worst front office of the previous decade, shouldn’t Chicago take it hands down? I mean, until last year this team hadn’t made the Playoffs once since MJ left. And yes, it is hard to rebuild a franchise after the greatest player to ever lace ‘em up retires, but give me a break, look at the 1st round draft positions Chicago’s had from 1999-2004:

'99: 1 & 16
'00: 4, 7, & 24
'01: 4
'02: 2
'03: 7
'04: 3 & 7.

And despite owning those high draft picks, the best players the Bulls have today are a white PG (Hinrich), a 6-1 SG (Gordon), Deng (couldn’t think of a joke), and a former #2 overall pick who’s 6-11 yet all he can do consistently is rebound (Chandler). That’s it, that’s all the Bulls have to show for themselves. Despicable…


Current Roster
Martynas Andriuskevicius
Drew Gooden
Stephen Graham
Alan Henderson
Larry Hughes
Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Luke Jackson
LeBron James
Damon Jones
Donyell Marshall
Ronald Murray
Lee Nailon
Ira Newble
Sasha Pavlovic
Eric Snow
Anderson Varejao

Come & Gone
Bob Sura
Derek Anderson
Brevin Knight
Earl Boykins
Vitaly Potapenko
Andre Miller
Chris Mihm
Matt Harpring
Jim Jackson
Robert Traylor
Anthony Johnson
Ricky Davis
Michael Doleac
Brian Skinner
Desagana Diop
Carlos Boozer
Darius Miles
Milt Palacio
Jeff McInnis
Lee Nailon
Tony Battie

What If 15-Man Roster
PG-Miller, Knight, Boykins
SG-Hughes, Davis, Harpring
SF-James, Miles, Marshall
PF-Gooden, Boozer, Varejao
C-Ilgauskas, Mihm, Battie

Whenever three of the current starters remain on these rosters, we can assume one of two things: 1) the team has made excellent trades/free agency decisions over the last 10 years, or 2) they have absolutely sucked for at least 5 of the last 10 years. Well, in the six years leading up to the 2004-05 season, the Cavs averaged just 30 wins per season—not exactly dynasty material. But at the same time the front office has also done a fine job, particularly in clearing out the “baggage guys” like Davis and Miles, as well as the chest hair of Boozer (clogs up the drains). And besides Andre Miller, is there any player you would kill to have from that Come & Gone list? Na, me neither. But to offer one suggestion, Cleveland really needs to fire the guy in charge of scouting big men. When Ilgauskas and Mihm are the best two low post players this team has had in the last 10 years, something needs to change.


Current Roster
Alex Acker
Chauncey Billups
Kelvin Cato
Dale Davis
Carlos Defino
Maurice Evans
Richard Hamilton
Lindsey Hunter
Amir Johnson
Jason Maxiell
Antonio McDyess
Tayshaun Prince
Ben Wallace
Rasheed Wallace

Come & Gone
Grant Hill
Theo Ratliff
Jerry Stackhouse
Scot Pollard
Bonzi Wells
Brian Cardinal
Joe Smith
Chucky Atkins
Cliff Robinson
Damon Jones
Mehmet Okur
Corliss Williamson
Jon Barry
Mike James
Darko Milicic
Smush Parker

What If 15-Man Roster
PG—Billups, James, Atkins
SG—Hamilton, Stackhouse, Wells
SF—Prince, Hill, Barry
PF—R. Wallace, Okur, J. Smith
C—B. Wallace, Ratliff, Robinson

How can I swap anyone out of that starting five? I contemplated giving Grant Hill the nod, but he’s been more banged up than Peter North’s “supporting actresses”. And with the other four positions, it’s not even close. And so what can we attribute this to? Well check out these critical deals the Pistons’ front office has made over the last few years:

2000: Grant Hill for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins

2002: Jerry Stackhouse, Brian Cardinal, and Ratko Varda (Rod Farva?) for Rip Hamilton, Bobby Simmons, and Hubert Davis

2004: In a 3-team deal, traded Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, Lindsey Hunter, and two 1st round picks (1 from MIL) and received Rasheed Wallace and Mike James (while also putting the team $10 under the cap for the ‘04-05 season)

Notice a trend with the first two? It’s like Detroit knew that Stack and Hill would never be the same after those particular seasons. Remember that Hamilton was heavily criticized in Washington and that Ben Wallace was an absolute no name down in Florida. To predict that these would be impact players by 2004 would have just been insane. But here they are on the brink of their third Finals appearance in three years. I guess that’s what sound decisions from your management team will do for you…


Current Roster
Austin Croshere
Jeff Foster
Eddie Gill
Danny Granger
David Harrison
Stephen Jackson
Sarunas Jasikevicius
Anthony Johnson
Fred Jones
Jermaine O’Neal
Scot Pollard
Peja Stojakovic
Jamaal Tinsley

Come & Gone
Antonio Davis
Erick Dampier
Jalen Rose
Al Harrington
Primoz Brezec
Brad Miller
Ron Artest
James Jones

What If 15-Man Roster
PG—Tinsley, Johnson, Jasikevicius
SG—Jackson, Rose, Jones
SF—Artest, Stojakovic, Granger
PF—O’Neal, Harrington, Croshere
C—Miller, Dampier, Davis

Of course the majority dilemma here is whether to start Artest or Stojakovic. I personally always prefer the superior defender, especially when he has the ability to drop 20+ on any given night. As for the rest of the team, obviously Miller is a huge upgrade from the Foster/Pollard tandem in place today. Also, having Harrington, Rose, and Dampier coming off the bench is a huge asset to any coach. But like today’s team, the main weakness remains at the PG position. Has Indy always had this problem? Looking back, I guess they have. Maybe Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh should think about addressing this in the offseason…


Current Roster
Charlie Bell
Andrew Bogut
T.J. Ford
Dan Gadzuric
Reece Gaines
Ersan Ilyasova
Jermaine Jackson
Ervin Johnson
Toni Kukoc
Jamaal Magloire
Michael Redd
Bobby Simmons
Joe Smith
Jiri Welsch
Mo Williams

Come & Gone
Eric Snow
Ray Allen
Moochie Norris
Sam Cassell
Tim Thomas
Robert Traylor
Rafer Alston
Joel Przybilla
Jason Hart
Gary Payton
Desmond Mason
Keith Van Horn
Brian Skinner
Damon Jones
Brevin Knight
Mike James
Zaza Pachulia
Eddie House

What If 15-Man Roster
PG—Cassell, Payton, Ford
SG—Allen, Redd, Mason
SF—Simmons, Van Horn, Thomas
PF—Bogut, Smith, Skinner
C—Magloire, Przybilla, Pachulia

My God, has every point guard in the league played for the Bucks at one point? When I’m finished with this series of articles, we may very well find that Milwaukee has the best backcourt depth in the league. Seriously, how many teams could have Michael Redd and a profusion of PGs coming off the pine? It seems insane to leave James, Knight, and Alston off of this roster, but do I honestly have a choice? Perhaps the Bucks should have put some more effort into bolstering their frontcourt rather than having a point guard carousel every year. Any time I have to put Tim Thomas and/or Brian Skinner on one of these rosters, we have to assume the team hasn’t had much success.


At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets take a look at the Bulls post-Jordan rebuilding efforts:

1999: They draft Elton Brand with the 1st pick and Ron Artest at #16. Quite possibly the worst draft I've ever seen. Despicable.

2000: In a terribly weak draft, the Bulls take Marcus Fizer and Chris Mihm but wisely move Mihm for the unproven Jamal Crawford. Fizer bombs, while Crawford proved to be a wise addition. Despicable.

2001: The Bulls take a gamble and trade Brand for Chandler and then draft Eddy Curry. Potentially a great frontcourt, but it didn't work out. Despicable.

2002: Lesson learned, the Bulls take the safe pick and go with Jay Williams at #2. He has a motorbike accident. Despicable.

2003: Now with a new general manager, the Bulls take "white PG" Kirk Hinrich. Terrible pick. Despicable.

2004: The Bulls select Ben Gordon and then somehow get hold of Luol Deng (one of the best draft day deals in recent memory). Despicable.

"That’s it, that’s all the Bulls have to show for themselves".

Yes, that's right, all the Bulls have to show for themselves is one of the best young teams in the NBA.


WillC (Anthony's biggest fan)

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Will Shu said...

Interesting points WillC but...
1999's draft was maybe the best draft ever. Brand, Franchise, Baron, Odom, Bender, Szcerbiak, Rip,... etc. Just because some players were maybe drafted a little ahead than should have doesn't make it "the worst draft ever" All drafts have some bad decisions. If you're talking about the order, it wasnt bad at all either. there are alot of suprises in rookies. Just cuz you're drafted late doesn't mean you have to be a worse player than the ones before you

2002. "Jay Williams at #2. He has a motorbike accident. Despicable." hmm a motorbike accident isn't despicable, it's tragic. Maybe you should use despicable in better context. You're thrashing on them too hard. Its not like the bulls said "hey this guys gonna get in a motorcycle accident and maybe never play basketball again! lets draft him for the heck of it" none of that was of fault to the bulls.

2003. Hows Kirk a terrible pick? the other point guards after him weren't any better. the pick suited for the team. A team doesn't just draft the best man out there. they draft the best man that their team needs. unless you're Atlanta/

2004. the word despicable is getting old. buy a thesaurus. You're saying that drafting deng is despicable and gordon, who won 6th man, was also despicable... think on it

At 1:27 AM, Blogger larry bird said...

Yep WillC I got it, you were being sarcastic about the Bulls.

The Pistons have been lucky or maybe they can predict the future. Which organisation would trade Hill and Stackhouse for no name players?

The Cavs have King James so nothing else matters.

As for my Pacers, Artest and Stephen Jackson are our 2 big mistakes.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Will C,
I guess this is going to be a daily re-in with you--fine by me. You're trying to attack me by turning my words around. I never said drafting Brand and Artest was despicable, in fact that might be the best draft ever. But the fact remains that for those two players they only have Tyson Chandler to show for it when they could still have Brand and Artest. That is despicable.

Next, you discuss drafting Fizer, an NBDL player mind you, yet thatg isn't despicable? And how far did Crawford get them? In my eyes he's just as cancerous a player as Marbury, Francis, and B. Davis. But again, that's not despicable?

As for the Jay Williams accident and their 2004 Draft, of course those are solid moves. But isn't that how I wrap my Bulls article up by saying that those guys as well as Hinrich are all they have to show for themselves since MJ's farewell? Maybe I'm missing your point here?

And if you're trying to get sympathy for the Jay Williams accident, try being a Celtics' fan and dealing with the DEATHS of two of their more promising players.

As always, I had fun here...

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had fun too. Especially when Will Shu took my post at face value. Of course, in doing so, he defended the Bulls' draft day moves. Good man!

Anthony, I enjoy reading this site, keep up the good work. I just like giving you a hard time when you make what I perceive to be negative and/or strange comments in your articles. Take it as some constructive criticism though. Like I said, I enjoy your work. Keep it up. And I look forward to your future replies to my posts.

PS - I wasn't trying to get sympathy for Jay Williams' motorbike accident. Unlike Celtics fans, I live in the now, not in the past.


At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, how is Baron Davis a cancerous player?

In all seriousness, I'm intrigued by that comment. Francis, Marbury and Crawford - sure. But Davis? Not in my eyes.

Perhaps you meant Ricky Davis?


At 9:41 PM, Blogger John said...

Man, the Bucks would've been one hell of a team to cope with had they kept all the right pieces in place.

Will Shu is just a dumbass. I agree completely with your Chicago subtopic.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Vincw said...

"the best players the Bulls have today are a white PG (Hinrich)"

what's so funny about a 'white pg'?

Maybe you want to make a joke about Deng's 'blackness' or something because that's just about as 'funny' as the previous remarks.

Step up your writing/humor.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "white point guard" who torched the Wolves for 30 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and 0 turnovers.

A very good white point guard, I'd say.



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