Well, if you haven't, check out our player rankings and familiarize yourself with our roster (Work from the bottom post to the top post.)
Now that you're familiar with the players, it's time to figure out a depth chart. NBA teams are limited to 15 players on contract maximum, and must have 12 players on contract minimum. They must have 8 active (not injured) players at any time to officially start an NBA game. So, since we have 19 players, we'll need to trim this number down some.
The first, and most obvious to get rid of, is C.J. Miles. He is now with Utah, so that trims it down to 18. Second of all, we have the bird rights to Mike Wilks, but we really only signed him as an emergency point guard, and I doubt he'll get resigned by us or any NBA team. Look for him to play extremely well in the D-LEague or Europe. Now we're down to 17. Ronald Dupree is not on contract, and he played horribly in the Summer League. Nuff said, down to 16. Francisco Elson is not on contract. In my opinion, he would be a good signing, but he's not essential to the City's future, so he probably won't get signed. Now, we're down to 15, but we still have two problems....
DeVon Hardin isn't signed. Honestly, this is very little ventured. Sing him to a two year 300-400kish deal and no harm done. If you need the space, just cut him. Nonetheless, he may not be signed. I'll include him here for all intents and purposes.
Robert Swift is still technically under contract. We could extend a qualifying offer of roughly 3.6 Million. Personally, I think this is a large waste of time, since we have Collison, Petro, Sene, and Wilcox on the roster. Still, if his knee holds up, he's probably better than Sene and somewhat like Petro. If the doctors OK it, I'd bet he'll be signed.
So, now we have our 15 man roster. Lets take a look at it position by position, starting at Point Guard. Keep in mind that we must have 3 players on "injured reserve", which basically means that they come to the game in a suit and sit on the bench, praying that some guy gets hurt so that they can play. So, I'll only look at the starter and backup, so we can consider 3rd stringers later.
This one is a no-brainer. It's been this way for years, no reason to change it.
Shooting guard is easily our weakest position, which is probably why we drafted Westbrook. Wilkins will fit as a 3-Shooting Swingman, and Westbrook can come off of the bench until he's ready for the big time.
Jeff Green is valuable talent to us, so it's a good idea that we get him to start. Putting him at Small Forward with the silky smooth veteran talent of Donyell Marshall behind him is a great idea, as you have something to rely on inf Green gets a bit shaky on the 3s. Plus, PJ Carlesimo used to coach Marshall at Golden State back in the 90s, so they definately have a psychic connection by now.
Kevin Durant is easily a starter. But at power forward, you say? Well, the dude IS 6 foot 9, so he has the body for it. The only big liability here is rebounding. Right now, 4 a game simply won't cut it. Hopefully this can improve at the Power Forward position, and if it becomes too bad, you can always put Collison in. I think this will also help Durant get away from the 3 point line, while still not completely closing the option (See: Austin Croshere, Troy Murphy, Donyell Marshall when he played PF, Antawn Jamison when he played PF).
Now, this is where it will be a it hard for P.J. Carlesimo. He is definately very big-man happy, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him throwing out Sene, Swift, White, and Hardin all Willy-Nilly. But, if we want to win, it's only smart to move Wilcox up to put the best possible talent on the floor. Petro is probably the most reliable and still-promising out of the remaining big men, slightly trumping Swift and Sene.
So, now that we have our Starters and Backups situated, it's time to look at our remaining third-stringers. We have: Adrian Griffin (SG), Sear Sene (C), Robert Swift (C), D.J. White (C), and DeVon Hardin (C). Can anyone guess what we have an excess of? We can't have 4 centers on our active roster, so you kind of have to put Adrian Griffin in there as a no brainer. You know, in cae something happes to our SF-SG-PG situation. He could probably handle all 3 if need be. Then, you have to decide between our 4 centers. Obviously DeVon Hardin is a straight to D-League guy. Now, this doesn't mean we're cutting him, but rather we put him on the inactive roster, but let him develop his talent in the D-League. It also would seem that D.J. White should take this route. I know it's tempting to put him on the active roster so we can see what he's got, but he's probably better served playing for the Tulsa 66ers (our D-League affiliate).
So, we come down to what is probably our most pressing dilemma of how to allocate the roster. The descision of Robert Swift or Saer Sene. Robert Swift has cetrainly proved ha can at least ball in the NBA....but 3 injuries on the same knee leads a lot of people to arise suspicion. Saer Sene hasn't proved himself on the NBA floor, but he did share D-League defensive player of the year award honours with "Baby Foyle" Stephane Lasme. You can't send Sene to the D-League again, as he is in his 3rd year (only 1st and 2 year players can be sent down while still being attached to a team) and one team can only send down two players (we've already sent White and Hardin). Now, most would say, "Go with Swift, and if his knee can't take it, cut him and give Sene the job". But, an important thing to remember is that Swift hasn't exactly been resigned. So, the choice here is simple. If you resign Swift, give him the job and let him keep it (unless his knee fails/hinders him). If you don't resign Swift, give Sene the job.
So, you're left with a roster of:
Center: Wilcox/Petro/Swift or Sene
Power Forward: Durant/Collison/Swift or Sene
Small Foward: Green/Marshall/Griffin
Shooting Guard: Wilkins/Westbrook/Griffin
Point Guard: Watson/Ridnour/Griffin
1. Sene or Swift or Nobody
2. D.J. White (D-League)
3. DeVon Hardin (D-League)
It's not NBA Finals material just yet, but it's nothing to sneeze at, either.
Now that we have that out of the way, it's time to look at our assets. Namely, who's tradeable, and who other teams are coveting.
First of All, the Untradables:
Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook
Many want them, but these guys will be the future core of our team. They won't go unless some drastic offer comes our way.
Second of All, those who are coveted by our neighbors:
Chris Wilcox and Earl Watson
These guys shine on a statistical level, and many teams have thrown around trade offers for them. They can easily be held as bait, and should get value in return. Watson is a bit old for our team, so he's likely to go if the right offer was to come along, but I'd hold onto Wilcox if I were Sam Presti. Guys like him don't spring out of nowhere, while it's not that hard to find more Earl Watsons. At 26, Wilcox still has plenty of years to offer.
Third of All, those who are not coveted but are still tradeable for value:
Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, and Damien Wilkins
These guys aren't nessessarily coveted, but most other teams will see them as proven NBA players, and their contracts aren't that bad. Enough said.
Fourth of All, those who are expiring contracts:
Donyell Marshall, Robert Swift, and Adrian Griffin
Expiring contracts are valuable in the sense that they're good if the other team wants a lot of cap space to sign Free Agents with in the off season, or if they have a player they want to trade to you with a big contract, and you don't have enough money in return. They all do still have a little bit of individual value, though. Marshall could be viewed as good backup talent on a veteran team running for the championship, Griffin would be viewed as a stringy but resourceful guard, and Swift could be a nice gamble. Still, their expiring status holds more weight.
Fifth of All, those who are "Failed Talent":
Johan Petro, Saer Sene
These two are considered to be NBA Draft busts, and relly won't get much of anything on the trade market, unfortunately. Keeping them is the best thing to do.
Sixth, and last of All, those who are Unknown Quantities:
DeVon Hardin, D.J. White
They are tradeable, but noone knows how good they actually are. So, they'll probably also be kept or thrown in as bonus to a larger trade.
And....that's it. I hope you have a better idea of how our lineups will be and how valuable each of our guys in trades. Who to trade for? A Center is probably what we need most, but look for them to get a young guy or a draft pick in return.
Thus, we have reached the end of the long, loong, looong, loooong series about players. Coming up next: Getting to Know The Coaches and Staff!!!!