Tag:Jared Jeffries
Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 11:05 pm

Upside-Downside with the buyout free agents

The upsides and downsides of signing the top five buyout free agents. 
Posed by Matt Moore

Trade deadine season is over, which means it's buyout season. The crop this season is loaded with your usual batch of veterans able to provide help, especially as they're at a significant discount for the rest of the season and looking to join already well-loaded teams. There's always a significant cost to these players on the floor though. Here then are the upsides and downsides of the top five players available via buyout. 

Troy Murphy, PF : Murphy was a candidate last year for the big Cavs move that wound up being Antawn Jamison. Instead, he wound up being traded to New Jersey, dealing with significant back issues, getting jerked around by Avery Johnson (along with half the Nets' roster), and then having a long, lovely vacation. After finally being moved to the Warriors, he was freed, and the result is that he's the top free agent on the market. 

Upside: Murphy's biggest draw is that he's a do-it-all big. He shoots reliably from the field and from the 3-point line (39 percent on his career, 38 percent last season with Indiana). But versus most stretch-fours, he also rebounds, averaging 10 rebounds a game last season with a 17 percent rebound rate (that's decent). Basically, if the Celtics nab him, he becomes a perimeter scorer and a big who can rebound. He's a Swiss Army Knife at the power forward spot. Usually a buyout big is limited somewhere on the floor, but being able to rebound and shoot is a rare combination. He's also good on tip-ins at 51 percent off offensive rebounds.

Downside:  Defensively, though, there are concerns. Murphy gave up a 57 percent field goal percentage in the post last year, according to Synergy Sports. He's good on the pick-and-roll and in isolation, but in the post, he's got some concerns. Then again, if post defense was what the Celtics were worried about, they wouldn't have traded Kendrick Perkins. Meanwhile, his post offense is as bad as his defense. Quite simply don't put him in the block. That's a problem unless you have a good array of players to complement him. Which, you know, the Celtics do. That's why Murphy seems like such a no-brainer for Boston. 

Mike Bibby, PG: Bibby was the big trade acquisition for Atlanta. He was the guy brought in to put them at the next level. And he did that. But now he's been moved to the Wizards for Kirk Hinrich and, as a result, has been bought out. Once a star in Sacramento, Bibby's on the backside, but still brings something to the table. 

Upside: Bibby can still shoot. He shot 44 percent from the arc this season, and 39 percent last season with Atlanta. That's a skill in a point guard you want, especially if you're just looking for a point guard to come in and give the ball to two star wings like, oh, say, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Perhaps even better, though, Bibby rarely turns the ball over. He's a reliable, consistent, what-you-see-is-what-you-get point guard. He's no longer an elite player, but could be a difference maker on a team like the Heat

Downside: No defense. Cannot do it. Happens when you're 32 and undersized. Bibby averages .7 steals per game, and that's a bad stat to measure defense. Bibby can't stay in front of perimeter penetration, meaning more pressure on help defenders down low. 

Corey Brewer, G/F: How often does a 24-year-old wing who started last season wind up on the buyout market? When David Kahn's involved, that's when! Brewer wasn't going to get time in New York, because really, when you give up four players for two, you're not going to worry about depth at all. Nonetheless, Brewer's on the market. 

Upside: Brewer works as a complementary wing player. He can play in multiple lineups at multiple positions, and is athletic. An actual athletic wing in a buyout situation. Weird. A good team might be able to develop him and capitalize on what was a good 3-point shooter at one point in his career.

Downside: Well, Brewer's shooting 38 percent from the field this year, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 30 minutes per game. That's pretty terrible and there's no way around it. Plus he won't be in a situation focused on development, but trying to fit in with a veteran team trying to win a championship. That isn't ideal. The Spurs are the best fit, but if he struggles, he's going to have welts on his backside from the pine. 

Jared Jeffries, F: Jeffries was a poor fit in New York, left over from the Isiah era (shudder). But it turns out he's actually not a bad player overall, he just didn't fit into Houston's plans. So, once agian, he's available, and all of a sudden, contenders are interested. 

Upside: Jeffries is an active, competent defender with the ability to match up at multiple positions. He's 6-11 with good length, so he can be used to fit into multiple rotations off the bench. He's experienced (sensing a pattern yet), which teams are looking for and he's shown good activity as a part of a system. He averages 9.1 rebounds per 36 minutes which is nothing to ignore, either. And as opposed to the other options, Jeffries is still shy of 30 for a few months. 

Downside: Don't let him touch the basketball on offense. I don't mean: "he shouldn't shoot." I mean: "if you have to, you should look into some sort of shock collar to prevent him from shooting." Career 43 percent from the field, 25 percent from the perimeter. That's a pretty big liability offensively. He's never been a leader, and hasn't been part of a winner. Again, Isiah (shudder). 

Rasual Butler, GF: It's kind of surprising Butler's on the market. Butler's a fringe player, but it's not like the Clippers are loaded, and they've historically aimed for veterans despite needs to go young. But there he is, shopping as a guard in a market with high guard demand. 

Upside: Butler's a streak shooter. He can fill it up when he gets going, and doesn't struggle with the trigger. Set up as a well-spaced shooter, he could be very effective, provided his shot comes back. Because...

Downside: His shot's fallen off a cliff. Then it crashed into the canyon wall. Then it caught fire. Then exploded. Butler's a career 40 percent shooter, shooting 32 percent this season. So basically, he's a bad shooter most of the time, who's shooting even worse this season, doesn't rebound or pass well, and is 31. Get excited, Bulls fans! This is why you didn't go get O.J. Mayo (well, that and the Grizzlies didn't want Ronnie Brewer after giving up a first round pick for him last year then renouncing his right this summer, but that's a whole other thing). 

Posted on: February 25, 2011 5:22 pm

Friday 5 with KB: The hard cost of business

Posted by Matt Moore 

In today's Friday 5 with KB: A favorite story from Jerry Sloan, the future of Utah, the choppy waters of this year's trade deadline, and when exactly are the Spurs going to hit double-digit losses?

1. Well... that trade deadline was beyond all reason. What was the most stunning moment for you in the midst of all the chaos of the past 72-96 hours?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Deron Williams to the Nets, hands down. Though there was some hint of trouble with our report during All-Star weekend that D-Will had begun hatching his escape-to-New York plan last summer, no one expected the Jazz to take the bold step of trading him in the next 72 hours. Stunning, and a small victory for teams and owners against the superstar power-play movement.

2. You talked a lot about the business side of the Celtics' decision to move Perkins. What does it say that a big market team with deep pockets was put into a position to be concerned about finances?

KB: It's not so much finances with the Celtics. In a no-cap system like baseball has, they never would have done this trade. They just would've kept Perk and paid him. But with all signs pointing to a hard cap, or at least a harder cap on the way, Boston couldn't afford to leave itself vulnerable to losing a 26-year-old, 6-10 center and getting nothing in return. And if you think about it, one of the players the Celtics got back, Jeff Green, was someone they drafted in 2007 and traded for Ray Allen. Getting Troy Murphy on a minimum deal after he's bought out also will help ease the pain. An underrated benefit of this deal for the Thunder is that Perk's Bird rights go with him in the trade. That is, if Bird rights survive in the new CBA.

3. Buyouts are going to be all the rage for the next two weeks. What are you hearing in terms of players who might be available for the contenders to sign?

KB: Besides Murphy, Jared Jeffries is going to the Knicks, while Darius Songaila and Jason Kapono could help a contender if they're bought out. Rip Hamilton was on the verge of getting bought out as part of a trade to the Cavs, but we know that didn't work out too well for him. I doubt Hamilton, with two years left on his deal, gets bought out now. Same for Marcus Camby for the same reason.

4. Is Mikhail Prokhorov in the top five of most entertaining owners, after this week?

KB: Top two. Prokhorov is on Cuban's level now. Between his stunning squashing of the Melo trade talks in January and his bold move to extract D-Will from Utah, Prokhorov served noticed that he's in this to go toe-to-toe with the Knicks. In a related story, spokesperson Ellen Pinchuk will not go down in the annals of disingenuous spokespeople, right there with Baghdad Bob.

5. How hard is the personal side of these trades for players? We're reading on Twitter players saying goodbye to each other, packing up their houses, their families. Is the cost of these moves high on a personal level?

KB: Harder than most people think. The common reaction is that no one should feel sorry for the players because they make so much money. But their kids don't care how much money their father makes, only that they won't see him for the rest of the season because he's been traded. Chauncey Billups is a prime example. He thought he was going home to finish his career in Colorado, only to have to tell his children he'll see them in May or June. Money is good, but nothing compares to family.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:43 pm

Report: Jared Jeffries to sign with Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

In the massive Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks opened up a roster spot. They look to fill it Friday morning with Jared Jeffries who is expected to be bought out by the Rockets, tweets Alan Hahn of Newsday.

Jeffries of course was a member of the Knicks last season before being sent with Jordan Hill to Houston for Tracy McGrady.

Obviously the Rockets are looking to save some cash and don't have a ton of reason to keep Jeffries as he's sort of buried behind Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson.

The Knicks are looking for a little more help inside and on the wing, so Jeffries will definitely help them there. He's an underrated defender and uses his length really well. He's not an impressive scorer, but he's tough and gritty. Most years, Jeffries is near the top in the league in charges drawn.

Where exactly he fits into the rotation is yet to be seen. He can play small forward or power forward, but will likely be used backing up Carmelo Anthony, as well as playing some interior minutes behind Amar'e Stoudemire.

What Jeffries gives the Knicks is depth, something they're lacking after sending 45 players to the Nuggets to get Melo. Jeffries isn't the big man to solve all of the Knicks interior defensive and rebounding issues, but he's certainly someone that will help.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:38 pm

Preseason Primer: Houston Rockets

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets finally have Yao Ming healthy. They finally have Tracy McGrady out of their hair. They finally have the pieces together to make another run. But can any of the pieces fit together? Are they really as dangerous as everyone says they are? Does speaking in rhetorical questions make you want to read this, our next selection in our Preseason Primers ? Let's find out as we talk about the Rox.

Training camp site: Houston, TX (Hidalgo, TX in early October)

Training camp starts: September 25th

Key additions: Brad Miller (free agent), Courtney Lee (trade), Patrick Patterson (draft)

Key subtractions: Trevor Ariza (trade), David Andersen (trade)

Likely starting lineup:
Aaron Brooks (PG), Kevin Martin (SG), Shane Battier (SF), Luis Scola (PF), Yao Ming (C)

Player to watch:
Patrick Patterson. Assuming the Rox don't go all nuts and acquire Carmelo Anthony during camp, their starting lineup is pretty well set. But Patterson is a rookie who comes out of that ridiculous Kentucky class and could wind up being the kind of flex player that makes a big impression on Rick Adelman. He's versatile, strong, has a good mid-range, and can work inside of a complex offense. He's got a great opportunity to make an impact for the Rockets during camp.

Chemistry quiz:
The Rockets have seemed like a team that's liked one another for years. They hung together when Yao Ming went down, and their samurai-like approach last year was noble, even if it fell short. Basically, even without the star talent you need to win in this league, the Rockets were the team you didn't want to run into in a dark alley. They were tough, gritty, and hung together. The addition of Kevin Martin, trying to reassert himself as a premier player in this league could cause issues, and there's no telling if the same goodwill will maintain with as many changes as the Rockets have made in the past two years. But the core elements are in place, and the tone of camp should be fun and focused, instead of contentious and tense. Not having solified expectations due to Yao's injury should help with manners as well.

Camp battles:
Small forward was set to be a huge battle but promising second year man Chase Budinger tweaked an ankle and won't be able to battle old man Battier for the slot left open by Trevor Ariza's departure. Jermaine Taylor, Courtney Lee, and Jared Jeffries should have a good one for the backup role behind Martin. Jordan Hill vs. Patterson should make for a nice one as well, with Hill's scrap versus Patterson's finesse providing contrast in style.

Injury issues:
Budinger's ankle is significant, but other than that the Rockets seem really healthy and don't have any pro...OH, YEAH. Yao Ming is coming back from an injury that's held him out for a year and a half and is trying to just stay on the floor while the rest of the team holds its breath everytime his feet leave the ground. camp.

Biggest strength:
Doin' work. The Rockets put in a full effort every night, a testament to both the roster assembled and Rick Adelman's job. They lacked an identity last year without Yao, but it did help them to adjust to whatever they faced. The Rockets can get out and run, or grind it out. They're really best when they're doing both. They'll battle for every loose ball and every player knows his role. It's a strong team they've put together.

Glaring weakness:
Three point shooting. Brooks isn't an efficient shooter. Martin's three point shooting dropped off a cliff last season. Budinger can shoot, but the rest of the team isn't great from the arc, including backup point guard Kyle Lowry.
Posted on: August 31, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 2:48 pm

Pop Quiz: Can the Rockets jell?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question..

Can the Rockets jell?

Normally the year after you lose one of your biggest stars is supposed to be a tough one to swallow. But the Rockets are liberated after losing Tracy McGrady, and have put that cap space to good use. Tack on the return of their other star in Yao Ming, and the Rockets have high hopes for 2010. They only added three players of note, Courtney Lee via the Trevor Ariza trade, Brad Miller in free agency, and Patrick Patterson in the draft. But those players combined with the assets they picked up through trade last season and the return of Yao Ming are what make people so high on the Rockets.

The Rockets built a roster based on versatility last season but injuries left them scraping things together, and in the meantime, their primary lineup didn't produce as expected. As a result, GM Daryl Morey went even further towards the versatility approach. The trade of Trevor Ariza was the most controversial, essentially starting over after only a year with Ariza. When we look at the lineups, though, that doesn't sound so crazy.

You always have to take plus/minus with a grain of salt, but there are circumstances where you can notice specific outliers. The Rockets lineups are such an example. The Rockets' three most-often used lineups (via 82games.com) all featured Ariza at small forward, and were a combined -19. That's in contrast to their fourth, fifth, and sixth most used lineups (all over 100 minutes), which were a combined +91. That's a big number. It's not conclusive, but it does provide some evidence for why the Rockets elected to ship him out for a backup shooting guard best remembered for a missed alley-oop in the Finals.

Kevin Martin was the other significant acquisition. The Rockets were able to snag Martin at the trade deadline after an injury plagued season was compounded by his inability to gel with Tyreke Evans. Martin wasn't bad with the Rockets but he was far from the instant fix-all for their problems and they lost steam (again with the injuries) down the stretch. But he and Aaron Brooks seemed to be finding their way, despite both of them being heavy usage players.

So the big question for the Rockets isn't one of talent, it's one of chemistry.

"" Yao Ming has been away from the practice floor since May of 2009. Kevin Martin has been with the team only two months of actual playing time. Courtney Lee is completely new. Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry just received new contracts. Jordan Hill is a newcomer, still settling in. Patrick Patterson is a rookie. Brad Miller just hopped on board. And for a team that relies on ball movement and separation like Rick Adelman's, this is a dangerous approach to trying to throw it all together.

Luckily, egos seem to be sparse in the locker room. Kevin Martin is certainly going to want his chances to score, and he'll get them. There's enough to go around. The rest of the team is largely filling in the gaps. Luis Scola should get a step back since he won't be guarding or guarded by centers with Ming on the floor, and Chase Bundinger and Lee give the team versatility and shooting. Shane Battier is the leader and prime example of the sacrifice this team will need to instill as a virtue in order to make a run in the West. This is not a case of any one player shouldering the load. Morey and Adelman have built a system based on depth and versatility, and they need to use that, exploiting matchups and tendencies where they can.

The addition of Yao cannot be understated. This was a dogged, tenacious, well-balanced team last year that struggled due to injuries and a lack of size. Yao provides them depth (vaunted post-defender Chuck Hayes is now third string behind Brad Miller), unparalleled post offense and defense, and a focal point for the perimeter cuts to work around. He's a willing and able passer, and even Miller works well in the pinch post with those wings slashing around. Consider all the perimeter shooter/slashers they have to work around their bigs:

Aaron Brooks (39.8% from the arc, 47% on 3pt attempts in hand-off situations)
Kevin Martin (44% in spot-up situations)
Chase Budinger (37% 3pt, 40% as a spot-up three-point shooter)
Courtney Lee
Kyle Lowry
Jermaine Taylor

And here are their mid-range defenders:
Shane Battier
Jared Jeffries (.84 points per possession allowed defensively, allowing only 39.2% from the floor)
Patrick Patterson - who can also stretch the floor

And their low-post guys:
Jordan Hill

That's just a ridiculous amount of depth, and all of them with multiple skills. Martin can work on-ball or off, slashing or spotting up. Scola can work in the high or low post and has a reliable mid-range jumper. Making it all work will be Adelman's job, and there is such a thing as too much depth. It can cause discontent when players feel they're not getting time. And there's the ever-looming threat of the Big Move.

Daryl Morey has said repeatedly that though they've been successful in finding high value players, you cannot win in this league without superstars. And he clearly wants one to go with Yao's potentially final year with the Rockets. With Jeffries, Martin, Lee, Scola, Hill, and others, along with the picks he's acquired from New York, he has a set of assets to use if he wants to pursue, say, Carmelo Anthony. But that means more changes to the ship. All of this and they have to hope they stay healthy, which is an unlikely scenario given Yao's feet history.

In a perfect world, the Rockets could be contenders for making the Western Conference Finals, and facing a Lakers team they have consistently taken it to over the years. But that's the best case scenario. In the meantime, they'll have to try and integrate all the moving parts into one machine, and see how far it takes them. They've got the parts. They've just got to make them work together now that they're assembled.

(Situation-based data courtesy of Synergy Sports )
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com