Archive for August, 2012

Today, I’m going to look at the single season records in each sport that are most and least likely to be broken.

MLB:
Least likely:

1. Wins in a season: Jack Chesbro, 41 (1904)
The wins record will never be broken. He started 55 games, completed 51, and threw more than 450 innings. With 41 wins, he also had 12 losses. A pitcher will never be able to start a lot more than 35 games in a season, and at most will only complete about 10 of them. That’s why 41 wins will always be out of reach

2. Hitting streak: Joe DiMaggio, 56 games (1941)
This record gets a lot of publicity, and for good reason. Hitting in 56 consecutive games is incredible. Second place on the list is 44, a huge difference. Statisticians have estimated that this happens once a millennium, so it’s safe to say it won’t be broken in quite a while.

3. Triples: Chief Wilson, 36 (1912)
I don’t know a lot about Chief Wilson, but I can say one thing. 36 triples is a lott. Curtis Granderson with 23 in 2007 is the closest someone has come in a long time.

Most Likely:

1. Hits: Ichiro, 262 (2004)… By Mike Trout…
Ichiro broke George Sisler’s record fairly recently. I think a leadoff hitter (like Mike Trout) has a good chance to break this record.

2. Doubles: Earl Webb, 67 (1931)…. By Joey Votto..
Recently, there have been some runs at 67 doubles. Before Joey Votto got hurt,  I thought he was going to break it. Todd Helton had 59 recently, and 5 other players have hit at least 55 since 2000. Votto had 300 at bats before he got hurt, and already had 36 doubles. He could have gotten to 70.

3. Double Plays: Jim Rice, 36 (1984)… By Billy Butler
I think the double plays record will also be broken soon. In 2010, Billy Butler had 32.

NBA:
Least likely:

1. points per game: Wilt Chamberlain, 50.4 (1961)

50! 50! Enough said.

2. Rebounds per game: Wilt Chamberlain, 27.2 (1960)

I think someone could get 15-20 rebounds per game. Not 27.

3. Minutes Per game: Wilt Chamberlain, 48.53 (1961)

Only 48 minutes in a game, soo.

Bonus: Oscar Robertson averages a triple double in 1961.

Most likely:

1. FT%: Jose Calderon, 98.1% (2008)

98% is a lot. But it can’t be that hard for someone to practice FT to the point that they can make every single one, no matter what.

2. 3 pointers made: Ray Allen, 269 (2005).. By Ryan Anderson..

That is 3 and a quarter three pointers in a game. That’s a lot, but I expect there to be another good 3 point specialist who will be able to knock down more. For example: Ryan Anderson made 166 in a shortened season. In 82 games, that is 220.

3. Assists per game: John Stockton, 14.5 (1989)… By Steve Nash…

The leaders are constantly around 12 per game. I think Steve Nash this season makes a run at it. He won’t be looking to score.

NFL:
Least likely:

1. Interceptions in a season: Dick Lane, 14 (1952)

Lane intercepted 14 passes in 12 games. No player has intercepted more than 10 in the last 30 years, so this seems like it’ll stand for a while. Offenses today are so sophisticated that interceptions are going down, which is why I think this record will stand.

2. Interceptions thrown in a season: George Blanda, 42 (1962)

Like I said in the last interceptions record, interceptions are going down. There is also the fact that now, even if a player is on pace to shatter the record, you can bet that the coach or general manager would demote him on the depth chart. The leashes on guys now are much tighter than they used to be.

3. Passer Rating in a season: Peyton Manning, 121.1 (2004)

This number is just incredible. 4,557 yards, 49 touchdowns is what he threw that season. Tom Brady got within 4 points, but even that is a lot. And Brady’s season was once in a lifetime.

Most likely:

1. Passing yards in a season: Drew Brees, 5,476 (2012)… By Matthew Stafford

Last year was a record breaking season in terms of passing yards. 5 players threw for 5,000 yards. I think 6,000 is within reach in this pass happy league.

2. Pass attempts in the season: Drew Bledsoe, 691 (1994)… By Matthew Stafford

This record has been there for a long time, but I think it’ll be broken soon. 2-5 on the list have happened in the last 2 years. If Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Matthew Stafford stay healthy for all 16 games, I believe that this record will fall.

3. Sacks in a season: Michael Strahan, 22.5 (2001).. By DeMarcus Ware

Last year, Jared Allen came within half a sack of the record. DeMarcus Ware and Jason Babin weren’t far behind. With QB’s dropping back to pass more often, this record will fall sooner rather than later.

NHL:
Least likely:

1. Points in a season by a Defensive player: Bobby Orr, 139 (1971)

This is incredible. 139 points by anyone is likely to win the points title for a season, and for a defenseman it is unheard of. Now that more defensemen stay back, it’ll be even harder to break this record.

2. Most penalty minutes in a season: Dave Schultz, 472 (1974)

Wow. 472 penalty minutes is almost 6 per game. The leader this year had a paltry 235 penalty minutes, less than half of what Schultz had. There are fewer fights now, which is why this record won’t be broken.

3. Most assists in a season: Wayne Gretzky, 163 (1985)

Wayne Gretzky is the ultimate juggernaut when it comes to assists. He’s so good, in fact, that he has the top 7 single season assist totals, and 10 of the top 11. However, the assist total he put up in ’85 is far and away the most astonishing, demolishing his second best assist total by 28. Mario Lemieux, the second best player in NHL history, had his best assist total in 1988. He had 114.

Most Likely:

1. Goalie wins: Bernie Parent, 47 (1973)

I had a hard time finding breakable records, for two reasons. One is that there are fewer stats in hockey. The second one is that Wayne Gretzky is incredible, and he has every record. His records (goals, assists, points, etc.) are almost impossible to break. So I’m going to focus on goalies. 47 wins seems attainable.

2. Goalie Losses: Gary Smith, 48 (1970)

same as wins.

3. Most goals by a rookie defender: Brian Leetch, 23 (1988)

That number doesn’t seem like that much. If a really good scoring defender comes up, I could see him scoring 25.

 

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Key Additions: Jeremy Lin (FA), Omer Asik (FA), Jeremy Lamb (draft), Royce White (draft), Terrence Jones (draft), Shaun Livingston (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Toney Douglas (trade), Gary Forbes (trade), JaJuan Johnson (trade), E’Twaun Moore (trade), Sean Williams (trade), Carlos Delfino (FA)

Key Losses: Kyle Lowry (trade), Goran Dragic (FA), Marcus Camby (FA), Chase Budinger (trade), Samuel Dalembert (trade), Courtney Lee (trade), Luis Scola (amnesty)

Grade: D

I’m not ready to give the Rockets an F for their offseason, but it was atrocious. They are a mess. Granted, they are a young team, but they are still a mess. From the beginning of the offseason, it was clear that they were going to do all they could to trade for Dwight Howard. They dealt three big contributors, Lowry, Budinger and Dalembert (all starters), for 1st round draft picks. They made an offer to the Magic before the draft based mostly on picks, Chandler Parsons, and Marcus Morris. I believe that’s a better deal than the one that the Magic ended up getting, but they declined. I actually liked the Rockets draft. With their three first round picks, they drafted three exciting players with tremendous upside. Jeremy Lamb is a prolific scorer and talent who was supposed to go top 10 before last season, but a poor year in college and the deep draft contributed in his draft fall. Lamb had a great summer league showing, putting up great numbers. In fact, one fan showed a poster saying “Lamb-Sanity,” a play on Lin-Sanity, as both players are named Jeremy. More on Lin later. Royce White could be a tremendous all around player. But he has huge question marks. Terrence Jones is a solid power forward, who compares to Josh Smith. So this was a good overall draft by the Rockets. Next, the Rockets signed Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to large contracts. I understand why they want Lin (mainly for the fans), but I think that both of the point guards they lost (Lowry, Dragic) are better than Lin. Asik was a major overpay. He scores about 4 points per game. Enough said. The offseason went downhill from there for one reason: They weren’t able to trade for Howard. After they amnestied Scola and traded Lee for a bunch of scraps (granted, young scraps), their atrocious offseason was over.
In summary, the Rockets traded or lost in FA 7 of their 9 best players from last season (Kevin Martin and arguably Parsons are in their top 9). I expect Martin to be traded, too. They lost 7 valuable players and gained 0 proven players (unless you count fewer than 20 games of “Lin-Sanity” as proven).

I couldn’t give them an F, because they do have a lot of players I like, including the three draft picks and Parsons. Another player to watch out for is Donatas Motiejunas. I think he could steal the starting center job sooner rather than later.

Last year starting lineup:
PG: Lowry
SG: Martin
SF: Parsons
PF: Scola
C: Dalembert

This year projected starting lineup:
PG: Lin
SG: Martin
SF: Parsons
PF: Patrick Patterson
C: Asik

Projected roster (usual active 12 in bold):
PG: Jeremy Lin, Shaun Livingston, Courtney Forston
SG: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, Toney Douglas, Gary Forbes
SF: Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones, Carlos Delfino, Diamon Simpson
PF: Patrick Patterson, Royce White, Marcus Morris, JuJuan Johnson, Jon Brockman
C: Omer Asik, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Smith, Sean Williams

Projected minutes:
PG: Lin (31), Livingston (7), Douglas (7), Martin (3)
SG: Martin (25), Lamb (20), Delfino (3)
SF: Parsons (28), Jones (14), Delfino (6)
PF: Patterson (26), White (16), Jones (6)
C: Asik (24), D-Mo (24)

Projected minutes for each player:
Lin: 31
Martin: 28
Parsons: 28
Patterson: 26
Asik: 24
D-Mo: 24
Lamb: 20
Jones: 20
White: 16
Delfino: 9
Livingston: 7
Douglas: 7

Each player’s stats from last season:
Lin: 14.5 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 1.5 steals per game (35 games, injured rest of season)
Martin: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists per game (40 games, injured rest of season)
Parsons: 9.5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 steals per game
Patterson: 8 points, 4.5 rebounds per game
Asik: 3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1  block per game
D-Mo: OVERSEAS
Lamb: COLLEGE
Jones: COLLEGE
White: COLLEGE
Delfino: 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals per game (54 games, injured rest of season)
Livingston: 5.5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists per game
Douglas: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists per game (38 games, DNP coaches decision rest of season)

Each player’s strengths:
Lin: transition, up tempo, passing, driving
Martin: 3 point shooting, scoring, leadership
Parsons: youth, rebounding, scoring
Patterson: youth, rebounding, low post shooting
Asik: defense, rebounding
D-Mo: rebounding, scoring, post-shooting
Lamb: 3 point shooting, scoring off the bench, youth
Jones: all-around, scoring, rebounding, defense
White: passing, rebounding, scoring, defense
Delfino: 3 point shooting, scoring off the bench, leadership
Livingston: floor general, leadership, depth
Douglas: 3 point shooting, scoring off the bench, depth

Key Additions: Harrison Barnes (draft), Jarrett Jack (trade), Festus Ezeli (draft), Draymond Green (draft), Brandon Rush (FA), Carl Landry (FA)

Key Losses: Dorell Wright (FA), Nate Robinson (FA)

Grade: A-

The Golden State Warriors might be the most intriguing, underrated team in the NBA. The Warriors have recently been coiling around the 10th spot in the deep Western Conference. They haven’t been a consistent playoff team in years. I think they are set up to be a good team this season, albeit not in the top half of the playoffs. The Warriors had a somewhat quiet offseason, mainly building around the draft. They had an amazing draft. Harrison Barnes was a tremendous value at #7 (I expected him to go at 4). Barnes is a good scoring small forward who should immediately be good enough to take a starting job. Next, with the last pick in the first round, they drafted a big man, Festus Ezeli. Ezeli isn’t the best scoring center, but he should immediately become a solid backup. He is a good defender. In the second round the Warriors drafted Draymond Green. Green is the type of player who succeeds in the NBA. He has a high basketball IQ and was a winner with Michigan State. While he doesn’t brim with talent, he won the Big 10 player of the year award. He is another solid bench piece. After the draft, the Warriors traded cap space for Jarrett Jack. Jack was a starter last season with New Orleans, but he’ll be a veteran backup player for Golden State. He is an important addition because starting point guard Stephen Curry is seemingly always injured. They also added a solid  power forward in Carl Landry, which means more depth.

As I keep mentioning (sorry), this roster is very talented. However, they won’t even make the playoffs unless their injury prone stars stay healthy. Steph Curry is one of the most talented point guards in the NBA. He has a sweet shot and is dynamic. Andrew Bogut is one of the most talented centers in the NBA. He blocks a ton of shots and is a great low post scoring option. With Monta Ellis gone, there will be a lot more shots to take, which is good for this team.

I believe that the Warriors will be a playoff team if Curry and Bogut stay healthy. With a young gunner in Klay Thompson, a great 3 point shooter in Brandon Rush and a double double machine at power forward in David Lee, they are very talented.

Last year starting lineup (before trading Ellis):
PG: Curry
SG: Ellis
SF: Dorell Wright
PF: Richard Jefferson
C: Lee

Projected starting lineup:
PG: Curry
SG: Thompson
SF: Barnes
PF: Lee
C: Bogut

improved.

Projected roster (usual dressed 12 in bold):
PG: Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack, Charles Jenkins
SG: Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush
SF: Harrison Barnes, Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green, Kent Bazemore
PF: David Lee, Carl Landry
C: Andrew Bogut, Jeremy Tyler, Festus Ezeli, Andris Biedrins

Projected minutes (with a team so deep, this will be difficult):
PG: Curry (26), Jack (18), Rush (4)
SG: Thompson (28), Rush (16), Curry (4)
SF: Barnes (26), Jefferson (14), Green (8)
PF: Lee (28), Landry (18), Green (2)
C: Bogut (30), Tyler (10), Lee (6), Ezeli (2)

Projected minutes for each player assuming they each played every game (unrealistic, most players will probably get 3-5 more minutes per game because of DNP’s and injuries):

Lee: 34
Curry: 30
Bogut: 30
Thompson: 28
Barnes: 26
Rush: 20
Jack: 18
Landry: 18
Jefferson: 14
Green: 10
Tyler: 10
Ezeli: 2

For guys at bottom, it’s better to count the players’ total minutes and divide by 82 (because they’ll get a lot of DNP CD’s.

Last year stats for each player:
Lee: 20 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3 assists per game
Curry: 15 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals per game (26 games, injured rest of season)
Bogut: 11 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal per game (12 games, injured rest of season)
Thompson: 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2 assists per game
Barnes: COLLEGE. Best case scenario: Luol Deng (Bulls second best player. 15 point/8 rebound guy.)
Rush: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game
Jack: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6.5 assists per game (45 games, injured rest of season)
Landry: 12.5 points, 5 rebounds per game (41 games, injured and DNP CD rest of season)
Jefferson: 9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game
Green: COLLEGE. Best case scenario: Ryan Gomes (decent 3 point shooter, good bench player+defender)
Tyler: 5 points, 3.5 rebounds per game (40 games, DNP CD rest of season)
Ezeli: COLLEGE. Best case scenario: Samuel Dalembert (defending big man. starter.)

Each player’s strengths:
Lee: rebounding, scoring, shooting, passing, durability
Curry: youth, outside shooting, D, midrange shooting, FT, passing, rebounding, CAN’T stay healthy.
Bogut: youth, rebounding, blocking, post scoring, size, CAN’T stay healthy.
Thompson: youth, outside shooting, potential
Barnes: youth, shooting, defense, physical tools, potential
Rush: scoring off the bench, 3 point shooting
Jack: veteran presence, floor general, passing, scoring off the bench
Landry: veteran presence, depth, rebounding
Jefferson: 3 point shooting, scoring off the bench
Green: passing, rebounding, versatile, motor
Tyler: depth, youth, rebounding
Ezeli: defense, rebounds, physical tools, youth, depth

I’m going to take another little break from the NBA offseason to give my thoughts on which players in the MLB have a chance to become the elite player at his position when he retires. (all my opinion)

OBP= on base %
SLG= slugging %
OPS= OBP+SLG
HR= home runs
RBI= runs batted in
R= runs scored
SB= stolen bases
2B= doubles
3B= triples
BB= walk
K= strikeout
WAR= Wins above replacement level (full explanation here)

1B:

Best player at 1B of all time: Lou Gehrig
Challenger: Albert Pujols, 32 years old

Lou Gehrig career stats through age 31: .344 average, .444 OBP, .643 SLG, 1.087 OPS, 348 HR, 1450 RBI, 1341 R, 81 SB, 402 2B, 131 3B, 1007 BB, 581 K, 79.8 WAR

Albert Pujols career stats through age 31: .328 average, .420 OBP, .617 SLG, 1.037 OPS, 445 HR, 1329 RBI, 1291 R, 84 SB, 455 2B, 15 3B, 975 BB, 704 K, 83.9 WAR

Gehrig has an advantage here in almost all of the categories. There are a few big exceptions and things to note here. Through age 31, Gehrig had played 12 seasons and Pujols 11. Pujols has an edge of 100 (and if you factor in the extra year, around 14) homers, a bigger margin than Gehrig’s lead in any category with the exception of triples. With the extra year, Pujols would tie up RBI and take the lead in runs. Gehrig had better plate discipline, but there are many more strikeout pitchers now. I bolded the WAR category because I believe that it is the most important stat here. It takes account of everything a player does (including defense) and gives an estimate of how many wins the player has earned for his team. If you take the extra year into account, Pujols has a huge lead in WAR (more than 10). So I believe that Pujols has the edge through 31.

Lou Gehrig career stats: .340 average, .447 OBP, .632 SLG, 1.079 OPS, 493 HR, 1995 RBI, 1888 R, 102 SB, 1508 BB, 534 2B, 163 3B, 790 K, 108.5 WAR

Before the sad end to his career (and life), Gehrig played 5 seasons past his age 31 season. In that time, there was little (if any) decline until his ALS started affecting his playing. He accumulated a 29 WAR in those 5 years, which is an average of a little less than 6. For a guys who is 32-36, that’s very good.

I don’t think Pujols will continue at his current pace, but I think he should play 8 more years, so his career totals might look like this (guessing): .315 average, .414  OBP, .598 SLG, 1.012 OPS, 694 HR, 2000 RBI, 2000 R, 100 SB, 610 2B, 24 3B, 1450 BB, 1450 K, 123.4 WAR

Pujols will have ended up with two more seasons, but stats are stats. He would be considered the better overall player. He would presumably be in the top 7 overall in HR, and would just be considered one of the best players of all time.

SS:

Best player at SS of all time: Honus Wagner
Challenger: Derek Jeter, 37 years old

Wagner stats through 37 (15 yrs): .343 average, .407 OBP, .493 SLG, .900 OPS, 83 HR, 1384 RBI, 1409 R, 615 SB, 521 2B, 192 3B, 730 BB, 491 K, 104.7 WAR

Jeter stats through 37 (17 yrs): .313 average, .383 OBP, .449 SLG, .831 OPS, 240 HR, 1196 RBI, 1769 R, 339 SB, 492 2B, 65 3B, 994 BB, 1653 K, 67.2 WAR

These two players are very different. Wagner has a clear edge in most categories, but Jeter crushes in HR, R, and walks. The biggest wins are by Wagner in K’s, WAR and SB, and Jeter in HR and R. With all that being said, Wagner has a clear overall stats edge through age 37, especially since he had played two fewer years.

Wagner’s career stats: .328 average, .391 OBP, .467 SLG, .858 OPS, 101 HR, 1733 RBI, 1739 R, 723 SB, 643 2B, 252 3B, 963 BB, 723 K, 126.1 WAR

Wagner clearly had a case of a star-staying-around-too-long. Between ages 38 and 43, his average went down 15 points, and his OPS nearly 50 points. He had only a 22 WAR (less than 4 a year) in that time. That is the only reason that this is even a question. If Jeter has a great last 3-5 years and keeps his stats up, he could have a shot.
Another important thing is that Jeter will end this year with about 3300 hits. If he plays 5 more years and gets 700 more hits, he will be in the exclusive 4,000 hit club. Only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose have hit 4000. Also, Jeter is on pace for more than 200 hits this season. If he can do that EACH YEAR for the next 5 years, he’d break the hits record. That is highly unlikely, but possible, and would push him above Wagner.Also, reaching the 300 homer mark would be big for a SS.

What Jeter’s stats will be at the end of his career: .310 average, .372 OBP, .434 SLG, .816 OPS, 300 HR,  1542 RBI, 2200 R, 363 SB, 612 2B, 71 3B, 1190 BB, 2300 K, 87.4 WAR

Got to give the edge to Wagner here. Jeter finished only as high as 3rd on the MVP voting, which isn’t good enough.

3B:

Best of all time: Mike Schmidt
Challenger: Alex Rodriguez

Schmidt stats thru 35 (14 yrs).. 266 average, .383 OBP, .535 SLG, .922 OPS, 458 HR, 1273 RBI, 1250 R, 168 SB, 323 2B, 56 3B, 1265 BB, 1660 K, 90.2 WAR

Rodriguez stats thru 35 (18 yrs).. .302 average, .386 OBP, .567 SLG, .957 OPS, 629 HR, 1893 RBI, 1824 R, 305 SB, 495 2B, 29 3B, 1166 BB, 1916 K, 109.4 WAR

This isn’t even close. A-Rod demolishes Schmidt in nearly every category. By just looking at these stats, you can confirm that A-Rod is an easy winner in this debate. Except for one thing. A-ROID admitted to taking steroids. That’s a big negative. Big enough, almost, to close this debate altogether and give Schmidt the edge. But I’m not quite ready to say that. Here’s why: Rodriguez has only admitted to taking steroids for one season (hard to believe), and even without that he still has a huge edge on Schmidt. I’m not going to show Schmidt’s full stat line and predict A-Rod’s, because you get the point. A-Rod is superior stat-wise. He is likely to break the home run record. His stats rival the best in history. So unless more proof comes out about Rodriguez and steroids (likely), I’m willing to give him the edge.

2B (Rogers Hornsby), C (Johnny Bench), OF (Babe Ruth, Willy Mays, Ty Cobb), DH (Ted Williams), SP (Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander)  all seem pretty secure.

RP:

Best of all time: Trevor Hoffman
Challenger: Mariano Rivera

This one isn’t even close. Rivera is by far the best closer in history, and if he players another year or two he’ll only cement that. Check out the career stats head to head (via baseball reference):

                    WAR  W   L    ERA    G    GF  CG SHO  SV   IP     H    R   ER   HR  BB   SO  
+---+--------------------+---------+--+-----+---+---+-----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+------+
 Mariano Rivera      52.7  76  58  2.21 1051  892   0   0 608 1219.7  940  324  300  65  277 1119 
 Trevor Hoffman      27.0  61  75  2.87 1035  856   0   0 601 1089.3  846  378  347 100  307 1133

Rivera has nearly double the career WAR of Hoffman. Impressive. He also is the best playoff closer in history.

Roundup:
Rodriguez (if no more news about steroids come out) and Rivera are clearly the best players at their position in MLB history. Pujols has about a 50-60% chance of becoming the best 1B, and Jeter has a 20-30% chance of becoming the best SS in history (all depends on how many hits he gets)

Interesting:

3 of the 4 guys on this list are Yankees.

Key Additions: Andre Drummond (draft), Corey Maggette (trade), Vyacheslav Kravtsov (FA), Khris Middleton (draft), Kim English (draft)

Key Losses: Ben Gordon (trade)

Grade: B

The Pistons are clearly in rebuilding mode. After their great run of winning seasons in the last decade plus (sort of like the Atlanta Braves of basketball), they were painfully bad last year. However, the seeds are planted for another great run. They have a great young big man in Greg Monroe, and he works well with exciting young point guard Brandon Knight. In this draft, their first round pick was Andre Drummond. Drummond is a big center who has high potential but also high bust potential. He could be better than DeAndre Jordan (the Dwight Howard comparisons are a little much), or he could be the next Kwame Brown. They also drafted Khris Middelton and Kim English, and while they may sound like girls they could actually become good players. The Pistons traded Ben Gordon and his 2 year, 25 million dollar contract for Corey Maggette, an expiring contract. This was clearly just a salary dump. While Gordon is clearly slowing down, Maggette had a horrible year last season. While the Pistons are clearly past their Chauncey Billups- Richard Hamilton- Tayshaun Prince- Ben Wallace era (only Prince remains), I like what they did this offseason. They’ll be a lottery team this year, but hopefully that won’t be the case 2 or 3 years from now. The main point of this season will be seeing what they have with Drummond. Drummond is a huge project who is still a teenager. He shouldn’t start, but will get some minutes.

Last year starting lineup:
PG: Knight
SG: Rodney Stuckey
SF: Gordon
PF: Prince
C: Monroe

small lineup.

Projected starting lineup:
PG: Knight
SG: Stuckey
SF: Maggette
PF: Prince
C: Monroe

Projected roster (active 12 in bold):
PG: Brandon Knight, Will Bynum
SG: Rodney Stuckey, Kim English
SF: Corey Maggette, Austin Daye, Khris Middleton
PF: Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerekbo, Charlie Villanueva, Kyle Singler
C: Greg Monroe, Andre Dummond, Slava Kravtsov

Projected minutes:
PG: Knight (28), Stuckey (10), Bynum (10)
SG: Stuckey (22), English (14), Knight (6), Bynum (3), Middleton (3)
SF: Maggette (25), Daye (11), Prince (8), Middleton (4)
PF: Prince (16), Jerekbo (12), Villanueva (10), Monroe (10)
C: Monroe (26), Drummond (22)

Projected minutes for each player:
Monroe: 36
Knight: 34
Stuckey: 32
Maggette: 25
Prince: 24
Drummond: 22
English: 14
Bynum: 13
Jerekbo: 12
Daye: 11
Villanueva: 10
Middleton: 7

Middleton, Villanueva, Daye will get some DNP’s. Bynum and English may get a few.

Last year’s stats for each player:
Monroe: 15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals per game
Knight: 13 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists per game
Stuckey: 15 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4 assists per game
Maggette: 15 points, 4 rebounds per game (32 games, injured rest of season)
Prince: 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game
Drummond: COLLEGE
English: COLLEGE
Bynum: 6 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2 assists per game (36 games, DNP coaches decision rest of season)
Jerekbo: 9 points, 5 rebounds per game
Daye: 5 points, 2 rebounds per game (41 games, DNP CD rest of season)
Villanueva: 7 points, 4 rebounds per game (13 games, DNP CD part of the year, injured part of the year)
Middleton: COLLEGE

Each player’s strengths:
Monroe: scoring, inside shooting, rebounding, passing, stealing
Knight: penetration, kick out, rebounding, scoring
Stuckey: scoring, shooting
Maggette: scoring rebounding
Prince: leadership, inside scoring, rebounding
Drummond: blocks, potential, youth, rebounding
English: scoring off the bench, defense, all around
Bynum: floor general
Jerekbo: depth, rebounding, decent jump shot
Daye: youth, depth
Villanueva: outside shooting, scoring off the bench, depth
Middleton: scoring off the dribble, midrange, isolation

Yesterday, Felix Hernandez pitched the 23rd perfect game in MLB history. Hernandez was dominant, getting more swings and misses on off speed pitches than anyone in years. He also pitched arguably the third best game in MLB history, mowing down 12 in his perfect game. The only pitchers with higher game scores are Sandy Koufax (in 1965) and Matt Cain (this year), who each mowed down 14 batters in their perfect-os. In my opinion, two other pitchers threw more impressive games. Don Larsen, who threw the only postseason perfect game in 1956, has to be considered the most impressive game ever pitched. But there is another game that is wayy underrated. On May 26, 1959, Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix had a perfect game through 9 innings. But his Pirates didn’t score a run either. He was perfect through 10. Through 11. Through 12. But the score was still 0-0. Finally, in the 13th inning, he gave up a hit and the Brewers walked off. The run was unearned. To me, this was the best game ever pitched.

Anyway, perfect games have become a lot more common recently. There have been 3 this year, a record. There have been 6 perfect games since 2009. There were none between 1968 and 1980, and only one between 1904 and 1956. With the perfect games going up, it’s only a matter of time before someone throws two. The question is, who are the most likely?

3 most likely pitchers to throw a second perfect game (of guys who are active and have thrown one)
All candidates:
Roy Halladay
Matt Cain
Felix Hernandez
Mark Buehrle
Dallas Braden
Phillip Humber

#3. Roy Halladay, 35 years old: career stats: 194-99, 3.26 ERA, 1.16 WHIP. 1.8 walks/9 and 6.9 strikeouts/9.

Roy Halladay has consistently been one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in the major leagues for years. At 35, he has fought injuries this season, but, when healthy, still looks good. He got his perfect game just two years ago, so don’t count him out. He doesn’t walk a lot of hitters, which is very important when talking about perfection. If not for the age, Halladay would be a perfect candidate.

#2. Matt Cain, 27 years old: career stats: 80-78, 3.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP. 3.1 BB/9 and 7.5 K/9

Matt Cain tied for the best game score in MLB history this season when he struck out 14 in his perfect game. At 27 years old, he’s just entering his prime, and he has really elevated his stats this season. This year, his ERA is under 3, his WHIP is near 1, he is lowering his walks to 1.9 per 9 innings, and he’s up over 8 strikeouts per 9. Cain is clearly becoming a dominant pitcher, and offenses have to watch out. Cain could throw another perfect game.

#1. Felix Hernandez, 26 years old: career stats: 96-72, 3.17 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9

It’s hard to believe that King Felix is only 26 years old. He has been around for 8 years, which is amazing for a 26 year old. Felix has to be considered the favorite to throw a second perfect game. He’s already been to three all-star games and is a Cy Young award winner.

Pitchers who haven’t thrown a perfect game who can throw 2:

#1. Stephen Strasburg, 24 years old: career stats: 20-9, 2.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9 and 11.2 K/9

Strasburg is a dominant young pitcher who I’d bet on to win a few Cy Young’s. I don’t know about throwing perfect games, but he’s as likely as anyone else to.

Other candidates:
Justin Verlander
Tim Lincecum
Clayton Kershaw
R.A. Dickey
David Price
Chris Sale
Madison Bumgarner
Jered Weaver

Key additions: JaVale McGee (re-sign), Andre Miller (re-sign), Anthony Randolph (FA), Evan Fournier (draft), Quincy Miller (draft), Andre Iguodala (trade)
Key subtractions: Chris Anderson (waived), Rudy Fernandez (FA), Arron Afflalo (trade), Al Harrington (trade)

Grade: A

The Nuggets offseason started out very quietly. They resigned explosive but erratic center JaVale McGee to a 4 year, 44 million dollar deal. That may seem like too much, but McGee showed that he was breaking out when he dominated the Lakers in the first round loss last season. The Nuggets also resigned veteran point guard Andre Miller to a reasonable 3 year, 15 million dollar deal. They then picked up free agent Anthony Randolph and signed him to a 2 million dollar deal. The Nuggets added Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller, both high upside swing men, via draft.

That seemed like all that the Nuggets were going to do this offseason, but then they got a great offer. In the four team trade sending Dwight Howard to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum to the Sixers, all the Nuggets had to do were trade guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington for exciting veteran swingman Andre Iguodala. This trade is great for the Nuggets. Before the trade (and after), they were a very deep team, so trading two guys for one isn’t bad. At power forward, they have an exciting young player in Kenneth Faried, and added another young one in Randolph, so Harrington, a shoot first power forward on the wrong side of thirty, was expendable. At guard, they are replacing Arron Afflalo, a solid young player, with Andre Iguodala, an all-star and Olympian who isn’t yet 30. Their team is still very deep (projecting the minutes will be a nightmare), but now they are even more exciting than they were. With speedy Ty Lawson running the point, Iguodala throwing down great dunks, and Danilo Gallinari hitting 3’s, they will be a great fastbreak team. With Faried and McGee down low, they will be able to defend almost any team as well. This will be an exciting team to watch, and also a very young team.

Last year starting lineup:
PG: Lawson
SG: Afflalo
SF: Gallinari
PF: Faried
C: McGee

with Harrington, Miller, Chandler (when he came back from China) leading the bench.

Projected starting lineup:
PG: Lawson
SG: Iguodala
SF: Gallinari
PF: Faried
C: McGee

with Miller, Chandler, Randolph and Corey Brewer leading a deep bench

Projected depth chart (players making the active 12 man roster in bold):
PG: Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Julyan Stone
SG: Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer, Evan Fournier
SF: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Quincy Miller, Jordan Hamilton
PF: Kenneth Faried, Anthony Randolph
C: JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos

Projected minutes:
PG: Lawson (28), Miller (20)
SG: Iguodala (29), Brewer (9), Lawson (5), Fournier (5)
SF: Gallinari (24), Chandler (20), Iguodala (4)
PF: Faried (26), Randolph (13), Gallinari (9)
C: McGee (32), Mozgov (6), Koufos (5), Randolph (3), Faried (2)

Projected minutes for each player:
Lawson: 33
Gallinari: 33
Iguodala: 33
McGee: 32
Faried: 28
Chandler: 20
Miller: 20
Randolph: 16
Brewer: 9
Mozgov: 6
Fournier: 5
Koufos: 5

Again, this team is VERY deep. It’s unrealistic to see guys get under 10 minutes per game, so at the end of the year add their minutes and divide by 82, which will be closer to this number. Koufos, Fournier, Mozgov will get a lot of DNP’s and Brewer and Randolph might get a few. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Miller, Chandler, Lawson and Iguodala end up higher.

Last year’s stats for each player:
Lawson: 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.3 steals per game
Gallinari: 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1 steal per game (43 games, injured rest of season)
Iguodala: 12.5 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals per game
McGee: 11.5 points, 8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks per game
Faried: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block per game (46 games, DNP-CD rest of season)
Chandler (2010-11 stats, last year in China): 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks per game
Miller: 9.5 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal per game
Randolph: 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1 block per game (34 games, DNP-CD rest of season)
Brewer: 9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals per game
Mozgov: 5.5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block per game (44 games, injured for a few, DNP-CD rest of season)
Fournier: COLLEGE
Koufos: 5.5 points, 5.5 rebounds per game (48 games, DNP-CD rest of season)

Each player’s strengths:
Lawson: speed, fast break offense, passing, shooting, youth, FT
Gallinari: 3 point shooting, FT, youth, rebounding
Iguodala: rebounding, passing, dunking, fast break offense, man-to-man defense, steals
McGee: rebounding, blocks, athleticism, youth, potential
Faried: youth, potential, rebounding, post-shooting
Chandler: rebounding, scoring, FT, youth
Miller: experience, leadership, passing, perfect back-up point guard
Randolph: youth, potential, rebounding, blocks
Brewer: defense, steals, depth
Mozgov: depth, rebounding
Fournier: scoring, height, length, basketball IQ, leadership
Koufos: rebounding, depth