GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Wolves Trade Cassell


It took almost all summer, but the Wolves finally made a move, trading Sam Cassell and a conditional first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night for guards Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers. Cassell was pretty much finished with the team, so I think pretty much any trade would be good here.

The ESPN article was entitled "Sam I Am to bring playoff experience to Clippers". I've thought for years that effects of playoff experience are overrated. In general, playoff experience helps the most because you're evolving as a player and as a team. Sure, young teams might get playoff jitters, but those effects are largely exaggerated. Teams with playoff experience are generally better because their players have had another full year to get better.

In Sam's case, I'm not sure exactly how much his playoff experience will help the Clippers, especially since it seems likely that the Clippers will miss the playoffs once again. What they get is a veteran who might be able to help mold their players and has a contract that expires at the end of the season. After that, I doubt we will see Sam being signed for anything other than the veteran's minimum.

My guess here is that the Clippers weren't willing to commit to Jaric long-term, so they dumped him and a young point guard who they believed to have little upside for an expiring contract and first-round pick. It seems to me that they've already given up on the season--months before it even started--and have decided to rebuild yet again. Either that, or they vastly overrated Sam's skills.

The move for the Wolves seems to be pretty good. The worst part of it seems to be that we had to give up a draft pick, but based on what we did with our pick this year, shouldn't be too much of a loss.

They got Jaric as part of a sign and trade deal, so they have him locked up for six years. He's pretty big for a guard and a solid defender, so he'll be able to D up against pretty much anybody who's under 6-10. It's something that will be very nice to have for the Wolves, and not something we've really had. He's got about 3 inches on Freddy, and is a much better defender than Wally. He can also run the point and shoot threes, so he can fit into pretty much whatever role we want.

I don't know too much about Chalmers, but that's probably because he was a rookie last year who only averaged 12 minutes, 3 points and 1.5 assists per game. I would have liked to have seen what Flip could have done with him, because as a former point guard, I think he could have really molded him well. I'm not sure exactly what Dwane Casey has in store for him. For that matter, I'm not sure exactly what Casey has in store for anyone. He's never been a head coach in the NBA, so I have no idea what to expect of him.

The best news in all of this is that the Wolves are going young. Last year they looked old and stagnant for most of the season. Now, they've gotten rid of the two veterans who were at the center of that, and have replaced them will young blood.

Speaking of Spree, I wonder what he's up to these days?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

When Two Become One

Well, I'm sure I disappointed at least one of you out there when I disappeared and stopped posting. There were several reasons for my disappearance.

The first was just a general frustration with the way the Wolves season turned out. And as bad as last season went, the off season has been just as bad. The only good thing that's happened for the Wolves is that they managed to resign Madson (whoopie!). Other than that, they had a dreadful draft and may have lost Freddy Z forever. I was really depressed when I first found out about Freddy's heart condition. In addition to the fact that you never like to hear about something like this, I really thought that he was one of the best bargains the Wolves were getting for next year. Unlike a lot of players on the Timberwolves, Freddy was a solid role player who played very good defense and wouldn't complain if he didn't get the ball enough. In addition, he was a very cheap player for what he added to the team. I wish him a good recovery, and hope to see him out there again next year.

The other reason I've disappeared was a time issue. Part of this was because I became busy with school near the end of the year, but also, I've been dedicating a lot of time to my other passion--poker.

I've become truly obsessed with it in the past few months and have spent an enormous amount of time playing and studying it. Unlike most casual players, I learn all the numbers and do everything I can to get a long-term edge over my opponents. Of course, one of the things about playing poker is that it can start to tweak your world view after a while. In poker, the best player doesn't win all the time. In fact, it's possible for great players to go on losing streaks that are much longer than most people would imagine. This can be a bit maddening at times, because it's often hard to distinguish between the times when you are playing badly, and the times when you're just experiencing bad variance.

Being able to cope with this randomness is the hallmark of a good gambler. There have been many poker players who are very capable who go bust and quit because they don't fully understand the effects of randomness on the game they're playing. I feel like I'm finally beginning to comprehend these effects and am able to apply these principles to all areas of my life.

The good news for all of you who have enjoyed reading this blog from time to time, is that I have finally found a way to integrate my passion for sports and my passion for gambling into one. This idea, of course, is sports betting. I've started dabbling with this a bit recently. I started with baseball, but have also begun to work on some models for basketball betting, using the WNBA as a jumping off point. Now, I don't really watch Women's basketball very much, but the funny thing is, it doesn't really matter. The models I'm applying are purely mathematical. Of course, having a more intricate understanding of the game and the players would add a considerable edge.

But as I said, this is just a jumping off point. I'm testing my models and trying to find better models as well as trying to understand the weaknesses of the way I'm currently doing things. Once I do this, I can apply these things to get a good spread, total, and money line for any game. If I can find one that seems to be off from what the bookmakers are offering, I can use my knowledge of the teams and players to try and decide if there's a good bet to be made.

I'll be back in about a week or so with more detail about my methodology. I'll also hope that someone out there is interested in working with me on this and helping me out. In particular, I'm looking for websites that contain good and interesting data on previous NBA games.

Hopefully, this will keep me interesting in posting throughout the entire season, even if the Wolves fade into mediocrity again.