NBA Handicapping Results from the NBA Buyouts
by Trevor Whenham - 3/3/2014
NBA buyout season has just ended. It was a very active time this year as teams looked to the waiver wire to get out from under annoying contracts or to beef up the rosters heading into the postseason. There were some very recognizable names involved this year. When bettors are looking at the potential betting and handicapping impacts of these buyout and signings, here are four questions to ask:
Will the player have a significant role with his new team?: Sometimes a player will be brought on to start or to play major minutes off the bench. Just as often, though, they are just brought in for depth and insurance. You need to look at the role they are likely to play. You’ll also want to look at how complex the new system is, how unfamiliar it is, and how likely a player will be able to perform at a high level.
Why were they bought out?: Players are never bought out if they are playing well and teams are happy with how they are fitting in. There is also a very strong reason for the change. The more you can understand about that reasoning, the better you can assess what is the likely impact of the player on his new team.
How far from their reputation are they?: When a player has a relatively big name, then when people hear that name they associate a reputation with that player. If a player has been bought out, though, then they are likely not living up to that reputation. By understanding the difference between reputation and reality you can avoid costly mistakes, and you could find some value if the public overestimates what is likely.
Does anyone care?: Sometimes the release of a player and his subsequent re-signing will make a big splash among the betting public. More often, though, they really cause barely a ripple. If the public doesn’t notice and the player isn’t going to play a big role then the whole situation is barely worth any time for bettors — and it could even be more of a distraction than it is worth.
Here’s a look at seven of the more interesting players who were bought out this year:
Jimmer Fredette, Chicago Bulls: I love this signing. Fredette was criminally misused throughout his time in Sacramento, and he desperately needed a fresh start. Tom Thibodeau has done a great job of turning scrap heap guards into major contributors. Fredette shoots very well and can create points — something the Bulls could certainly use more of. The upside here is high, and the risk is very minimal.
Caron Butler, Oklahoma City Thunder: What’s most interesting here is that the Heat were very interested in Butler, and he had played there before, yet he chose to sign with the Thunder. He’ll be very relieved to get out of the messy situation in Milwaukee, and he is a capable role player on this team. Solid move.
Danny Granger, L.A. Clippers: Granger was once a very good player, but injury has depleted him, and he was underwhelming earlier this year. There is talk that the Clippers would like to start him ahead of Matt Barnes. I question his health and his fit with the team, though. This will sound like a much more significant signing than it really will be.
Glen Davis, L.A. Clippers: It’s hard to believe, but Glen Davis is still only 28 years old. It seems like he has been around forever. He and Doc Rivers have a very good relationship, and he brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game. I don’t expect him to dominate the stat sheet, but he is going to have a positive impact on this team down the stretch. If there is one thing I don’t like it’s that a team like this — a real contender in the West — felt the need to add two big-name players at this time of year. Of course, Granger and Davis are replacing Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison in the roster, so the upgrade in both cases is massive.
Antawn Jamison, Free agent: He didn’t add much to the Clippers this year or the Lakers last year, and I really don’t anticipate him adding much to any team again. He is unlikely to land anywhere this year, and if he does it would be very easy to overstate his impact.
Beno Udrih, Memphis Grizzlies: Udrih was one of the many disastrous additions to the Knicks this offseason. He was all but irrelevant on that team, and he will be all but irrelevant on the Grizzlies. Memphis has Mike Conley, Courtney Lee and Nick Calathes ahead of Udrih in the backcourt, so the new addition is merely an insurance policy.
Ben Gordon, Free agent: Gordon was once a very solid player, so his release from Charlotte will get some attention. In a truly heartless move, though, the Bobcats didn’t release him until the day after players needed to be waived to be eligible for the playoffs. It’s a lost season for Gordon — not that he was going to add much to a legitimate team anyway given the way he is shooting these days.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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