היום משחקי אליפות NFC ו-AFC ב-"חי"/ מנחם לס

Vonleh has even flashed some face-up potential from 20 feet away. He's 9-of-17 from downtown this year, and with strong, shifty shoulders and quick feet, Vonleh can put it on the deck and wheel and deal his way to the rim.

When Vonleh eventually starts adding to and polishing up that offensive game (word is he's extremely coachable and has a terrific work ethic), we could be looking at Chris Bosh 2.0.

Just don't expect it for another few years.

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************************

MANAGEWRS

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose

***********************

 

 

. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

Hi-res-7497124_crop_650

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

***********************
t

John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

Hi-res-7714064_crop_650

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

***********************

Previous

5 of 12

Next
Hi-res-146635807-danny-ainge-celtics-president-of-basketball-operations_crop_650x440

Rich Obrey/Getty Images

A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Hi-res-174293778-general-manager-sam-hinkie-of-the-philadelphia-76ers_crop_650

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

Hi-res-7497124_crop_650

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

Hi-res-7714064_crop_650

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

Hi-res-7793604_crop_650

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

********************

. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

******************

 

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Rich Obrey/Getty Images

A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Hi-res-174293778-general-manager-sam-hinkie-of-the-philadelphia-76ers_crop_650

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

Hi-res-7497124_crop_650

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

Hi-res-7714064_crop_650

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

Hi-res-7793604_crop_650

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

6. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

Hi-res-156514456-general-manager-mitch-kupchak-of-the-los-angeles-lakers_crop_650

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

5. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Preview_crop_650

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Nickname: The Gouger

Most Notable Move: Trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for draft picks. Full track record here.

 

Do the Celtics ever not "ask a high price" for one of their players? Danny Ainge is the master of luring teams into trade talks, and then asking for the world once he has them on the hook.

He's all about price gouging.

Just in this offseason alone, he received five future first-round picks (including the rights to swap) for three aging players and a coach. That's not bad at all, considering the writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

The Celtics somehow always seem to have the leverage with Ainge navigating the negotiation process. He blends together the ability to engage teams in talks and take them for every penny.

Ainge may not make as many actual trades as some of the other general managers on this list, but the Celtics are constantly rumored to be dealing. There's also some recent bias at play here, as Ainge has pulled off two trades already during this season and might not be done.

Of course, it's about more than just trades when it comes to being a general manager. For example, going to the college ranks to hire Brad Stevens as head coach was a bold move, but it looks like a great one.

Give Ainge a lot of credit. He flirted with the idea of blowing it up for a few years, but now that the time has arrived, he isn't being bashful about doing it.

********************

Previous

8 of 12

Next
Hi-res-146635807-danny-ainge-celtics-president-of-basketball-operations_crop_650x440

Rich Obrey/Getty Images

A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Hi-res-174293778-general-manager-sam-hinkie-of-the-philadelphia-76ers_crop_650

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

Hi-res-7497124_crop_650

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

Hi-res-7714064_crop_650

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

Hi-res-7793604_crop_650

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

6. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

5. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

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Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Nickname: The Gouger

Most Notable Move: Trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for draft picks. Full track record here.

 

Do the Celtics ever not "ask a high price" for one of their players? Danny Ainge is the master of luring teams into trade talks, and then asking for the world once he has them on the hook.

He's all about price gouging.

Just in this offseason alone, he received five future first-round picks (including the rights to swap) for three aging players and a coach. That's not bad at all, considering the writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

The Celtics somehow always seem to have the leverage with Ainge navigating the negotiation process. He blends together the ability to engage teams in talks and take them for every penny.

Ainge may not make as many actual trades as some of the other general managers on this list, but the Celtics are constantly rumored to be dealing. There's also some recent bias at play here, as Ainge has pulled off two trades already during this season and might not be done.

Of course, it's about more than just trades when it comes to being a general manager. For example, going to the college ranks to hire Brad Stevens as head coach was a bold move, but it looks like a great one.

Give Ainge a lot of credit. He flirted with the idea of blowing it up for a few years, but now that the time has arrived, he isn't being bashful about doing it.

4. Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

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Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Nickname: The Billy

Most Notable Move: Trading for Joe Johnson. Full track record here.

In fantasy leagues (or in real-life dealings, I suppose), it's always a good idea to target the owner who is most desperate and willing to sacrifice anything so long as he gets what he wants at that very moment. My friends and I call that "finding the Billy," and I'll let you guess who that's named after.

In the NBA, there's something called the Stepien Rule. Here's salary cap guru Larry Coon with the explanation:

Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years. This is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule." Stepien owned the Cavs from 1980-83, and made a series of bad trades that cost the Cavs several years' first round picks. As a result of Stepien's ineptitude, teams are now prevented from making trades which might leave them without a first round pick in consecutive future years.

Just as Stepien mortgaged the future all those years ago, King is doing the same. After trading for Joe Johnson, he has done numerous deals that sacrificed assets. The Nets won't have a draft pick to trade until 2020, and they'll pay more in luxury tax this year alone than 29 other teams (the Knicks excluded) will in payroll this season. That's insane.

King has his reasons to do this, of course. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has bottomless pockets but limited patience, and so it makes sense for King to make every effort to keep his job now by making the Nets successful, no matter the price or the future impact.

And that, my friends, is how organizational dysfunction is born through misguided aggression.

Jordan Clarkson, Missouri G (Junior)

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Vitals: 20 years old, 6'5", 6'7.5" wingspan

Key Stat: Assists per minute increased 42 percent from sophomore to junior (viaSports-Reference.com)

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: Jordan Clarkson has done much more than excel in his new environment. He's carrying Missouri and catapulting his draft stock by driving and creating.

A few more of these 20-point, six-assist outings, and we won't be able to label him "under the radar." Clarkson has become increasingly comfortable as the Tigers' playmaker, as he's a legitimate threat to score or dish on every trip down the floor.

After his 25-point, eight assist performance against Illinois, Bleacher Report draft guru Jonathan Wasserman affirmed Clarkson's ability to operate as a high-level quarterback. He noted the floor general's knack for driving and "locating his shooters like a true point guard."

At 6'5" with ample length, athleticism and skills, Clarkson is in a position to enjoy long-term prosperity in the Association.

 

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K.J. McDaniels, Clemson G-F (Junior)

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Vitals: 20 years old, 6'6", 6'9.5" wingspan

Key Stat: 32.3 PER in 2013-14

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: He passes the eye test in three key categories: shooting, finishing above the rim and defending.

In his third season at Clemson, K.J. McDaniels has grown comfortably into a more prominent role, and he's impacting the Tigers' season in a handful of ways. He's shooting 36 percent from three, slashing to the rim, blocking shots (2.8 per game) and rebounding at a high rate (6.6 per game).

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell told The Post and Courier how muchMcDaniels has progressed during his collegiate career.

It’s time in his career to be a high-level player and he performed at a high level tonight. He always makes the highlight plays with the blocks and dunks. His skill level has improved tremendously with his shooting, his ability to drive it and attack some close-outs. Those weren’t really things he came here with the ability to do.

Don't expect him to be a playmaker or world-class shooter in the NBA. What you can count on, though, is his 6'10" wingspan and vertical aptitude to wreak havoc defensively and for him to convert scoring chances when called upon. His efficient style of play could make him a standout complementary player for a winning franchise.

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A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

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Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

************************************************

. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: The Wolf

Most Notable Move: Trading Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for a future first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

Remember Winston Wolfe from the movie Pulp Fiction? When things are so messy, and it seems like there's no way out of a bad situation, you call The Wolf. That's Masai Ujiri.

He brings a relatively unique set of skills to the table. While others on this list excel at acquiring proven talent or drafting well, his biggest strength is his ability to unload unfavorable contracts and clear the books.

By moving Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay this year, Ujiri did just that. Incredibly, he also managed to pick up a draft pick in the process. It's hard to imagine that any other general manager could have pulled that off. Former GM Bryan Colangelo made a huge mess for him to clean up, but he did it fairly easily.

The Raptors are in an odd place as a playoff team without realistic title hopes, but Ujiri has improved both the present and future in Toronto. Based on what we saw in Denver in the past and what's transpired this season, Ujiri is probably the best salesman in basketball right now.

Naturally, that requires a lot of well-placed aggression.

1. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

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Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Nickname: Moreyball

Most Notable Move: Trading for James Harden. Full track record here.

 

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has "Moneyball"—his way of battling the uneven playing field in baseball by exploiting market inefficiencies. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has "Moreyball"—his way of building a competitive roster while maintaining flexibility.

While fit is important for NBA teams (see: Pistons, Detroit), flexibility is king. Morey's ability to keep the books clear while acquiring assets for a big trade was lambasted by some, but it paid off handsomely with the James Harden deal. Once Harden was in place, everything else followed, including a deal for Dwight Howard.

At multiple stops along the way, the Rockets could have pushed in too early. Morey's ability to stay patient but busy and continually stockpile draft picks and valuable young players is the way it's supposed to be done.

Perhaps no general manager has been as aggressive in building a title competitor as Morey. Typically, a team has to luck out and have a franchise player fall in its lap via the draft, but he didn't have that luxury. He didn't have an owner who was willing to go over the luxury tax and spare no expense, either.

The Rockets are one of the more uniquely built teams we've ever seen, and that's because they have the league's most aggressive general manager pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

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2014

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A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Hi-res-174293778-general-manager-sam-hinkie-of-the-philadelphia-76ers_crop_650

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

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Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

6. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

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Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

5. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

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Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Nickname: The Gouger

Most Notable Move: Trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for draft picks. Full track record here.

 

Do the Celtics ever not "ask a high price" for one of their players? Danny Ainge is the master of luring teams into trade talks, and then asking for the world once he has them on the hook.

He's all about price gouging.

Just in this offseason alone, he received five future first-round picks (including the rights to swap) for three aging players and a coach. That's not bad at all, considering the writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

The Celtics somehow always seem to have the leverage with Ainge navigating the negotiation process. He blends together the ability to engage teams in talks and take them for every penny.

Ainge may not make as many actual trades as some of the other general managers on this list, but the Celtics are constantly rumored to be dealing. There's also some recent bias at play here, as Ainge has pulled off two trades already during this season and might not be done.

Of course, it's about more than just trades when it comes to being a general manager. For example, going to the college ranks to hire Brad Stevens as head coach was a bold move, but it looks like a great one.

Give Ainge a lot of credit. He flirted with the idea of blowing it up for a few years, but now that the time has arrived, he isn't being bashful about doing it.

4. Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

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Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Nickname: The Billy

Most Notable Move: Trading for Joe Johnson. Full track record here.

In fantasy leagues (or in real-life dealings, I suppose), it's always a good idea to target the owner who is most desperate and willing to sacrifice anything so long as he gets what he wants at that very moment. My friends and I call that "finding the Billy," and I'll let you guess who that's named after.

In the NBA, there's something called the Stepien Rule. Here's salary cap guru Larry Coon with the explanation:

Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years. This is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule." Stepien owned the Cavs from 1980-83, and made a series of bad trades that cost the Cavs several years' first round picks. As a result of Stepien's ineptitude, teams are now prevented from making trades which might leave them without a first round pick in consecutive future years.

Just as Stepien mortgaged the future all those years ago, King is doing the same. After trading for Joe Johnson, he has done numerous deals that sacrificed assets. The Nets won't have a draft pick to trade until 2020, and they'll pay more in luxury tax this year alone than 29 other teams (the Knicks excluded) will in payroll this season. That's insane.

King has his reasons to do this, of course. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has bottomless pockets but limited patience, and so it makes sense for King to make every effort to keep his job now by making the Nets successful, no matter the price or the future impact.

And that, my friends, is how organizational dysfunction is born through misguided aggression.

3. Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers

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Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Nickname: Wheel and Deal

Most Notable Move: Trading for Chris Paul. Full track record here.

 

Neil Olshey has shown he can do it a few different ways. In Los Angeles, he stayed patient and let his assets accrue before trading them for the league's best point guard. In Portland, he turned nickels into dimes to build a bench and give his core exactly what it needed. He's a wheel-and-deal sort of guy, and nicknames that rhyme are neat.

In his tenure as Blazers GM, Olshey has shown that it pays to be aggressive, even if the moves are small. Although his biggest decision was plenty risky (drafting small-school star Damian Lillard), acquiring role players like Robin Lopez and Mo Williams for practically nothing has paid off as well.

Even when he hasn't had much to offer, Olshey has stayed involved in the trade game and has always looked for ways to improve his team. There's a fine line between tinkering and trading just to trade, but Olshey walks it well.

He is also aggressive with the media and protecting his players, too. When he was asked about the trade rumors surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge this offseason, he didn't hold any punches at media day, per Matt Moore of CBS Sports:

Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many — asked and answered. Thank you, [to Chris Haynes] by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, 'I hope the team improves, I'm excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.' Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let's move on. OK? Is that possible?

Olshey understands how the game is played in every sense of the word. That knowledge allows him to be as aggressive as he is.

2. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: The Wolf

Most Notable Move: Trading Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for a future first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

Remember Winston Wolfe from the movie Pulp Fiction? When things are so messy, and it seems like there's no way out of a bad situation, you call The Wolf. That's Masai Ujiri.

He brings a relatively unique set of skills to the table. While others on this list excel at acquiring proven talent or drafting well, his biggest strength is his ability to unload unfavorable contracts and clear the books.

By moving Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay this year, Ujiri did just that. Incredibly, he also managed to pick up a draft pick in the process. It's hard to imagine that any other general manager could have pulled that off. Former GM Bryan Colangelo made a huge mess for him to clean up, but he did it fairly easily.

The Raptors are in an odd place as a playoff team without realistic title hopes, but Ujiri has improved both the present and future in Toronto. Based on what we saw in Denver in the past and what's transpired this season, Ujiri is probably the best salesman in basketball right now.

Naturally, that requires a lot of well-placed aggression.

1. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

Hi-res-154994409-general-manager-daryl-morey-of-the-houston-rockets_crop_650

Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Nickname: Moreyball

Most Notable Move: Trading for James Harden. Full track record here.

 

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has "Moneyball"—his way of battling the uneven playing field in baseball by exploiting market inefficiencies. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has "Moreyball"—his way of building a competitive roster while maintaining flexibility.

While fit is important for NBA teams (see: Pistons, Detroit), flexibility is king. Morey's ability to keep the books clear while acquiring assets for a big trade was lambasted by some, but it paid off handsomely with the James Harden deal. Once Harden was in place, everything else followed, including a deal for Dwight Howard.

At multiple stops along the way, the Rockets could have pushed in too early. Morey's ability to stay patient but busy and continually stockpile draft picks and valuable young players is the way it's supposed to be done.

Perhaps no general manager has been as aggressive in building a title competitor as Morey. Typically, a team has to luck out and have a franchise player fall in its lap via the draft, but he didn't have that luxury. He didn't have an owner who was willing to go over the luxury tax and spare no expense, either.

The Rockets are one of the more uniquely built teams we've ever seen, and that's because they have the league's most aggressive general manager pulling the strings from behind the scenes

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6. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

5. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Preview_crop_650

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Nickname: The Gouger

Most Notable Move: Trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for draft picks. Full track record here.

 

Do the Celtics ever not "ask a high price" for one of their players? Danny Ainge is the master of luring teams into trade talks, and then asking for the world once he has them on the hook.

He's all about price gouging.

Just in this offseason alone, he received five future first-round picks (including the rights to swap) for three aging players and a coach. That's not bad at all, considering the writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

The Celtics somehow always seem to have the leverage with Ainge navigating the negotiation process. He blends together the ability to engage teams in talks and take them for every penny.

Ainge may not make as many actual trades as some of the other general managers on this list, but the Celtics are constantly rumored to be dealing. There's also some recent bias at play here, as Ainge has pulled off two trades already during this season and might not be done.

Of course, it's about more than just trades when it comes to being a general manager. For example, going to the college ranks to hire Brad Stevens as head coach was a bold move, but it looks like a great one.

Give Ainge a lot of credit. He flirted with the idea of blowing it up for a few years, but now that the time has arrived, he isn't being bashful about doing it.

4. Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

Hi-res-173962001-brooklyn-nets-general-manager-billy-king-speaks-to_crop_650

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Nickname: The Billy

Most Notable Move: Trading for Joe Johnson. Full track record here.

In fantasy leagues (or in real-life dealings, I suppose), it's always a good idea to target the owner who is most desperate and willing to sacrifice anything so long as he gets what he wants at that very moment. My friends and I call that "finding the Billy," and I'll let you guess who that's named after.

In the NBA, there's something called the Stepien Rule. Here's salary cap guru Larry Coon with the explanation:

Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years. This is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule." Stepien owned the Cavs from 1980-83, and made a series of bad trades that cost the Cavs several years' first round picks. As a result of Stepien's ineptitude, teams are now prevented from making trades which might leave them without a first round pick in consecutive future years.

Just as Stepien mortgaged the future all those years ago, King is doing the same. After trading for Joe Johnson, he has done numerous deals that sacrificed assets. The Nets won't have a draft pick to trade until 2020, and they'll pay more in luxury tax this year alone than 29 other teams (the Knicks excluded) will in payroll this season. That's insane.

King has his reasons to do this, of course. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has bottomless pockets but limited patience, and so it makes sense for King to make every effort to keep his job now by making the Nets successful, no matter the price or the future impact.

And that, my friends, is how organizational dysfunction is born through misguided aggression.

3. Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers

Hi-res-167868085-damian-lillard-of-the-portland-trail-blazers-right-and_crop_650

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Nickname: Wheel and Deal

Most Notable Move: Trading for Chris Paul. Full track record here.

 

Neil Olshey has shown he can do it a few different ways. In Los Angeles, he stayed patient and let his assets accrue before trading them for the league's best point guard. In Portland, he turned nickels into dimes to build a bench and give his core exactly what it needed. He's a wheel-and-deal sort of guy, and nicknames that rhyme are neat.

In his tenure as Blazers GM, Olshey has shown that it pays to be aggressive, even if the moves are small. Although his biggest decision was plenty risky (drafting small-school star Damian Lillard), acquiring role players like Robin Lopez and Mo Williams for practically nothing has paid off as well.

Even when he hasn't had much to offer, Olshey has stayed involved in the trade game and has always looked for ways to improve his team. There's a fine line between tinkering and trading just to trade, but Olshey walks it well.

He is also aggressive with the media and protecting his players, too. When he was asked about the trade rumors surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge this offseason, he didn't hold any punches at media day, per Matt Moore of CBS Sports:

Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many — asked and answered. Thank you, [to Chris Haynes] by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, 'I hope the team improves, I'm excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.' Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let's move on. OK? Is that possible?

Olshey understands how the game is played in every sense of the word. That knowledge allows him to be as aggressive as he is.

2. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

Hi-res-7334724_crop_650

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: The Wolf

Most Notable Move: Trading Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for a future first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

Remember Winston Wolfe from the movie Pulp Fiction? When things are so messy, and it seems like there's no way out of a bad situation, you call The Wolf. That's Masai Ujiri.

He brings a relatively unique set of skills to the table. While others on this list excel at acquiring proven talent or drafting well, his biggest strength is his ability to unload unfavorable contracts and clear the books.

By moving Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay this year, Ujiri did just that. Incredibly, he also managed to pick up a draft pick in the process. It's hard to imagine that any other general manager could have pulled that off. Former GM Bryan Colangelo made a huge mess for him to clean up, but he did it fairly easily.

The Raptors are in an odd place as a playoff team without realistic title hopes, but Ujiri has improved both the present and future in Toronto. Based on what we saw in Denver in the past and what's transpired this season, Ujiri is probably the best salesman in basketball right now.

Naturally, that requires a lot of well-placed aggression.

1. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Nickname: Moreyball

Most Notable Move: Trading for James Harden. Full track record here.

 

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has "Moneyball"—his way of battling the uneven playing field in baseball by exploiting market inefficiencies. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has "Moreyball"—his way of building a competitive roster while maintaining flexibility.

While fit is important for NBA teams (see: Pistons, Detroit), flexibility is king. Morey's ability to keep the books clear while acquiring assets for a big trade was lambasted by some, but it paid off handsomely with the James Harden deal. Once Harden was in place, everything else followed, including a deal for Dwight Howard.

At multiple stops along the way, the Rockets could have pushed in too early. Morey's ability to stay patient but busy and continually stockpile draft picks and valuable young players is the way it's supposed to be done.

Perhaps no general manager has been as aggressive in building a title competitor as Morey. Typically, a team has to luck out and have a franchise player fall in its lap via the draft, but he didn't have that luxury. He didn't have an owner who was willing to go over the luxury tax and spare no expense, either.

The Rockets are one of the more uniquely built teams we've ever seen, and that's because they have the league's most aggressive general manager pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

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A general manager needs many traits to succeed in the NBA.

It's about much more than just knowing basketball well. General managers have to be great communicators and negotiators. They have to think several steps ahead and be innovators.

But perhaps most importantly, they have to be aggressive. All those hours on the phone can lead up to one moment, and the best general managers know exactly when to push their chips in and go for it.

Aggression doesn't always relate to success, though. It needs to be paired with a keen sense of self-awareness and a defined direction, lest it become reckless.

Being a GM is a little like being a high-stakes gambler in a way. There are ups and downs, but it's about the process and not the result.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the gambling personas of the league's most aggressive general managers.

10. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers

Hi-res-174293778-general-manager-sam-hinkie-of-the-philadelphia-76ers_crop_650

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nickname: The Protege

Most Notable Move: Traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

In the movie The Color of Money, a young pool player learns the tricks of the trade from the original hustler. In that same vein, Sam Hinkie has soaked up everything that Daryl Morey taught him during his time in Houston and has come out firing with a few big deals in his first season in Philadelphia.

While some general managers let their teams stumble for years before pulling the plug, a few have the foresight to see they're going down the wrong path. Hinkie's first step when he got to Philadelphia was to tear it down and stop chasing the eighth seed every year.

That takes some guts, and not every GM would be able to do it.

For Hinkie, it's been all about maximizing the chances to select star young players in the draft and trusting the rebuilding process. Here's what he told LibertyBallers.com earlier this year about his perspective:

"We can't control [the results]," Hinkie said. "I don't know any other benchmark [than evaluating process]."

"It would be like you sit down at a blackjack table and you say 'forget how you play, how many hands do you have to win to know you're doing what you should be doing?. If you win seven hands, is that enough? Or do you have to win eight hands?" Hinkie said in a comparison. "And you say, 'actually all you should focus on is what we know will lead to winning hands in blackjack over time.' "

So far, he has done just fine out from under the wing of Morey. Michael Carter-Williams has been brilliant, and the New Orleans Pelicans look primed to offer up a top-10 pick this year in addition to Philadelphia's own choice. We'll see what Hinkie does at the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if it's another big move that pushes the Sixers even further down the path he chose.

9. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: New Dealer

Most Notable Move: Traded for Andre IguodalaFull track record here.

 

For years and years, the Warriors seemed to be stuck at a blackjack table with a ruthless, cold dealer. Bad luck and lost money ensued, but after hiring Bob Myers in April 2012, a lot of that has changed.

After years of incompetent management, Myers has quickly earned the trust of the Warriors faithful with a series of impressive moves.

Whether it was selecting Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in his first draft, trading for Jarrett Jack, landing a perfect fit in Andre Iguodala despite having no cap space, taking a risk on the health of Andrew Bogut or picking up Jordan Crawford for nothing, every big move he has made has worked out so far.

He's dishing out winning hands all over the place.

One of the signs of a truly aggressive general manager is that he doesn't just fold up when his flexibility is limited and his team is successful.

Myers could have went into the year without Iguodala, but the trade has catapulted the Warriors into title contention instead of being just another playoff team. When there was an issue with the second unit this season, he addressed it.

He may not be deep into his tenure as Warriors general manager, but he's made it clear that he'll be plenty active in that role.

8. John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks

Hi-res-7714064_crop_650

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: On Tilt

Most Notable Move: Trading Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick. Full track record here.

 

It's not that John Hammond doesn't know what he's doing. His recent draft history (Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Larry Sanders) suggests the exact opposite. It's just that when something goes wrong, he is prone to making big moves to try and rectify the loss.

He gets on tilt too easily.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been mediocre for so long because of inactivity. Hammond has made multiple aggressive moves to try and get his team out of the mud, but the big ones (the trade for Monta Ellis, the deal for half a season of J.J. Redick) have been reckless deadline moves that felt more reactionary than planned.

After again signing veterans like Zaza Pachulia and perennial under-achievers like O.J. Mayo this offseason, the best thing may have happened—the Bucks finally fell completely flat.

Milwaukee is screaming for a rebuild, even if the prospect of that is unappealing to Hammond's boss, Bucks owner Herb Kohl:

“In our organization, there is this competitive need to be as good as we can every year,” Bucks owner Herb Kohl told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. “It’s an instinct. Even though one might argue that mathematically you’re better off going the other way.”

Hammond has been one of the most active general managers at the deadline and in free agency over the years, but here's hoping for Milwaukee's future that he sits out a few hands and stops trying to win everything back with one move.

7. Dell Demps, New Orleans Pelicans

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Nickname: Double Down

Most Notable Move: Trading for Tyreke Evans this offseason. Full track record here.

 

Don't ask Dell Demps if he'd like to double down, because he'll do it regardless of the circumstances. After seeing how damaging it was to have one injury-prone, high-usage guard with a big contract on the roster in Eric Gordon, Demps traded for the exact same thing in Tyreke Evans, despite already acquiring Jrue Holiday.

Demps has been the general manager in New Orleans since 2010, and like most GMs, there's good and bad.

The problem is that he always seems to bet on the same type of player multiple times. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts are both undersized, shoot-first guards, and they were acquired within a few months of each other. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both had the same issues and needs when signed. Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma do the same things on the court.

Starting to see a pattern?

Demps has had a hard time diversifying the roster and filling specific needs, and the Pelicans are struggling because of it.

New Orleans has a few obvious holes to fill, but without next year's draft pick or lots of cap space, Demps may not have the chips to do it after doubling down so much in the past.

6. Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers

Hi-res-156514456-general-manager-mitch-kupchak-of-the-los-angeles-lakers_crop_650

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Nickname: Heat Check

Most Notable Move: Trading for Pau Gasol. Full track record here.

 

Mitch Kupchak is one of the most highly regarded general managers in the game, and he's not opposed to making risky moves regardless of the team situation. Even if his trade offers aren't likely to be accepted, some of his rumored and accepted deals often feel like heat checks.

In the last 14 years, he has made a ton of aggressive deals for the Lakers. Perhaps the most memorable was his trade for Pau Gasol, which shocked everyone when it happened and netted the Lakers a few rings as a result.

There is no such thing as an unattainable trade target for Kupchak. That confidence might be misguided elsewhere, but it's perfect for a storied franchise like the Lakers. Even in hard times, there's always the hope that he will pull off something miraculous, because he's done it so often before.

When you hear certain Lakers fans coming up with seemingly impossible trades, you have to understand that he has conditioned them to do that with his prior moves. You shouldn't expect 30-foot, off-balance heaves to fall, but with Kupchak, you sort of do.

5. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Preview_crop_650

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Nickname: The Gouger

Most Notable Move: Trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for draft picks. Full track record here.

 

Do the Celtics ever not "ask a high price" for one of their players? Danny Ainge is the master of luring teams into trade talks, and then asking for the world once he has them on the hook.

He's all about price gouging.

Just in this offseason alone, he received five future first-round picks (including the rights to swap) for three aging players and a coach. That's not bad at all, considering the writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

The Celtics somehow always seem to have the leverage with Ainge navigating the negotiation process. He blends together the ability to engage teams in talks and take them for every penny.

Ainge may not make as many actual trades as some of the other general managers on this list, but the Celtics are constantly rumored to be dealing. There's also some recent bias at play here, as Ainge has pulled off two trades already during this season and might not be done.

Of course, it's about more than just trades when it comes to being a general manager. For example, going to the college ranks to hire Brad Stevens as head coach was a bold move, but it looks like a great one.

Give Ainge a lot of credit. He flirted with the idea of blowing it up for a few years, but now that the time has arrived, he isn't being bashful about doing it.

4. Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

Hi-res-173962001-brooklyn-nets-general-manager-billy-king-speaks-to_crop_650

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Nickname: The Billy

Most Notable Move: Trading for Joe Johnson. Full track record here.

In fantasy leagues (or in real-life dealings, I suppose), it's always a good idea to target the owner who is most desperate and willing to sacrifice anything so long as he gets what he wants at that very moment. My friends and I call that "finding the Billy," and I'll let you guess who that's named after.

In the NBA, there's something called the Stepien Rule. Here's salary cap guru Larry Coon with the explanation:

Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years. This is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule." Stepien owned the Cavs from 1980-83, and made a series of bad trades that cost the Cavs several years' first round picks. As a result of Stepien's ineptitude, teams are now prevented from making trades which might leave them without a first round pick in consecutive future years.

Just as Stepien mortgaged the future all those years ago, King is doing the same. After trading for Joe Johnson, he has done numerous deals that sacrificed assets. The Nets won't have a draft pick to trade until 2020, and they'll pay more in luxury tax this year alone than 29 other teams (the Knicks excluded) will in payroll this season. That's insane.

King has his reasons to do this, of course. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has bottomless pockets but limited patience, and so it makes sense for King to make every effort to keep his job now by making the Nets successful, no matter the price or the future impact.

And that, my friends, is how organizational dysfunction is born through misguided aggression.

3. Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Nickname: Wheel and Deal

Most Notable Move: Trading for Chris Paul. Full track record here.

 

Neil Olshey has shown he can do it a few different ways. In Los Angeles, he stayed patient and let his assets accrue before trading them for the league's best point guard. In Portland, he turned nickels into dimes to build a bench and give his core exactly what it needed. He's a wheel-and-deal sort of guy, and nicknames that rhyme are neat.

In his tenure as Blazers GM, Olshey has shown that it pays to be aggressive, even if the moves are small. Although his biggest decision was plenty risky (drafting small-school star Damian Lillard), acquiring role players like Robin Lopez and Mo Williams for practically nothing has paid off as well.

Even when he hasn't had much to offer, Olshey has stayed involved in the trade game and has always looked for ways to improve his team. There's a fine line between tinkering and trading just to trade, but Olshey walks it well.

He is also aggressive with the media and protecting his players, too. When he was asked about the trade rumors surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge this offseason, he didn't hold any punches at media day, per Matt Moore of CBS Sports:

Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many — asked and answered. Thank you, [to Chris Haynes] by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, 'I hope the team improves, I'm excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.' Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let's move on. OK? Is that possible?

Olshey understands how the game is played in every sense of the word. That knowledge allows him to be as aggressive as he is.

2. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

Hi-res-7334724_crop_650

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Nickname: The Wolf

Most Notable Move: Trading Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for a future first-round draft pick. Full track record here.

 

Remember Winston Wolfe from the movie Pulp Fiction? When things are so messy, and it seems like there's no way out of a bad situation, you call The Wolf. That's Masai Ujiri.

He brings a relatively unique set of skills to the table. While others on this list excel at acquiring proven talent or drafting well, his biggest strength is his ability to unload unfavorable contracts and clear the books.

By moving Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay this year, Ujiri did just that. Incredibly, he also managed to pick up a draft pick in the process. It's hard to imagine that any other general manager could have pulled that off. Former GM Bryan Colangelo made a huge mess for him to clean up, but he did it fairly easily.

The Raptors are in an odd place as a playoff team without realistic title hopes, but Ujiri has improved both the present and future in Toronto. Based on what we saw in Denver in the past and what's transpired this season, Ujiri is probably the best salesman in basketball right now.

Naturally, that requires a lot of well-placed aggression.

1. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

Hi-res-154994409-general-manager-daryl-morey-of-the-houston-rockets_crop_650

Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Nickname: Moreyball

Most Notable Move: Trading for James Harden. Full track record here.

 

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has "Moneyball"—his way of battling the uneven playing field in baseball by exploiting market inefficiencies. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has "Moreyball"—his way of building a competitive roster while maintaining flexibility.

While fit is important for NBA teams (see: Pistons, Detroit), flexibility is king. Morey's ability to keep the books clear while acquiring assets for a big trade was lambasted by some, but it paid off handsomely with the James Harden deal. Once Harden was in place, everything else followed, including a deal for Dwight Howard.

At multiple stops along the way, the Rockets could have pushed in too early. Morey's ability to stay patient but busy and continually stockpile draft picks and valuable young players is the way it's supposed to be done.

Perhaps no general manager has been as aggressive in building a title competitor as Morey. Typically, a team has to luck out and have a franchise player fall in its lap via the draft, but he didn't have that luxury. He didn't have an owner who was willing to go over the luxury tax and spare no expense, either.

The Rockets are one of the more uniquely built teams we've ever seen, and that's because they have the league's most aggressive general manager pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

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. Jerami Grant, Syracuse, 6'8", SF/PF, Sophomore

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Jerami Grant is one of the sickest athletes you'll see when you take into account his hops, length (7'2" wingspan) and coordination.

He catches everything around the rim and throws down full-extension putback dunks that make you question what you saw.

But he has no real skills or moves whatsoever, which is amazing when you consider how active he's been.

One-on-one, he relies on a quick first step and length to finish around or over defenders. Grant has no post moves, counter moves or jump shot, though he did hit two against North Carolina.

Grant's immaculate physical tools give him a towering two-way ceiling, especially if he's able to evolve into an NBA small forward.

Unless it's for defense or energy, I wouldn't expect Grant to make an impact right away. But adding a jumper and expanding his offensive game would make him an asset worth investing in for the long term.

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Sam Dekker, Wisconsin F (SophomoreS)

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Vitals: 20 years old, 6'7"

Key Stat: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3-of-5 3-PT vs. Marquette

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: He'll grow into a small forward role as an ultra-consistent third option.

In the first couple months of his sophomore season, Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker has significantly boosted his draft stock by showcasing his versatility.

He makes his team better with or without the rock, and when it's his turn to score it, he can sink the deep ball or finish among the trees.

The intangibles make him more than just a 6'7" shooter who can attack the hoop.CBS Sports' Matt Moore explains:

Dekker has great understanding of how to work in a set, something that's hard to learn in college. He'll do well negotiating screens and knows how to manage space. He's not going to be any sort of passing playmaker, he's a tip-of-the-spear weapon. Doesn't take many plays off from what I've seen and is mentally locked in, an underrated asset on the wing.

When Dekker turns pro, he won't reach stardom as a go-to-guy, but his team will be more than pleased with his weighty contributions every game. Don't be surprised if he becomes much more than a poor man's Chandler Parsons.

*************

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Delaware 87ers F

Jason Bradwell/Getty Images

Vitals: 20 years old, 6'7"

Key Stat: Scored 15-plus points in each of last three games

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: His physical tools and upside make him a matchup nightmare.

NBADL Delaware 87ers forward and Greek import Thanasis Antetokounmpo isn't as young or quite as fascinating as his younger brother Giannis (Milwaukee Bucks rookie), but he still has a hatful of his own potential.

His ideal size for the wing and sensational end-to-end athleticism turns heads. However, it's his perimeter shooting and defensive potential that make him a solid bet to thrive one day in the NBA.

Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com explained how Antetokounmpo is earning favor as a minor league mainstay:

The lanky 6’7” Antetokounmpo moves well without the ball, and attacks the basket by cutting towards the hoop often. If he can generate a go-to move, but also keep up his intensity on the offensive end, NBA teams would likely take a hard look at him. His stock is certainly rising though.

When you factor the younger brother's rapid learning curve and what we've seen from Thanasis in the D-League, it's no stretch to say the older brother will blossom in the Association as well.

*************

uss Smith, Louisville G (Senior)

Pool/Getty Images

Vitals: 22 years old, 6'0"

Key Stat: Career defensive rating of 87.6 (per Sports-Reference.com)

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: He's a defensive menace and an unpredictable offensive speedster.

In the NCAA, Louisville guar Russ Smith is not under the radar at all. That tends to happen when you win a national championship.

In the NBA draft realm, it's a little different. The undersized combo guard isn't the most attractive prospect.

Even if he's selected in the second round, Smith's disruptive nature as a defender and shiftiness as a creative sparkplug will allow him to tear things up as a crucial bench contributor.

According to C.L. Brown of ESPN.com, Smith has been studying footage of small guards such as Kemba Walker, D.J. Augustin and Eric Bledsoe for comparison. If he can be poised and efficient like them, the odds are that his talent will do the rest.

Smith's assist numbers are up so far this season, and his field-goal percentage is humming at a career-best 45 percent. Looks like he is on the right track to be an influential asset in the NBA.

************

Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado G (Junior)

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Vitals: 20 years old, 6'5", 6'7.5" wingspan

Key Stat: Led Pac-12 in free-throw attempts in 2012-13

 

Why He'll Flourish in NBA: Because he's a creative playmaker on both sides of the ball.

Colorado has feasted off Spencer Dinwiddie's craftiness and skill for a couple years now, and as a junior he's looked every bit the part of a serious NBA prospect.

Not only has he been displaying efficient ball-handling and tremendous shooting, but he's also been forcing turnovers and taking advantage of his size as a defender.

John Gold of the Arizona Daily Star relayed praise for Dinwiddie from Lorenzo Romar, who lauded the guard's versatility:

…To Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, Dinwiddie’s offense is only a part of his package.

“He has that rare ability to control a game,” Romar said. “He’s big enough on the defensive end to rebound and get deflections and create havoc. Offensively, he can take it to the block, he can penetrate, he can hit the jumper. That’s an NBA player as far as I’m concerned.”

He might not take over the NBA as a top-tier guard with colossal statistics, but Colorado's leader will flourish in his role as a key reserve or rotational spark. His confident approach and rich talent will enable him to maximize his stints.

 

Dan O'Brien covers the NBA draft for B/R. Follow him on Twitter:

 

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. Chris Walker, Florida, 6'10", PF, Freshman

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John Smierciak/Associated Press

Chris Walker still hasn't played a game yet (academically ineligible), but if you follow recruiting, then you're familiar with his upside.

Walker defines the term "project." He's got minimal skills with a big-time ceiling thanks to some incredible athleticism for a 6'10" forward.

But at this point, we're not exactly sure what this kid brings to the table fundamentally. His upside comes strictly from his physical tools, as opposed to a skill set, which he might not have even started building yet.

From a developmental standpoint, Walker should return to school given that he hasn't seen live game action all year. But NBA teams love to chase upside, and if he's able to convince them he's a long-term project worth their time, the 2014 first round should be within reach.

Either way, whether he leaves this year or the next, don't expect this investment to pay off for another few years—if it ever does.

****************

 

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Wayne Selden's role in Kansas' offense is limited, which can be attributed to a few things, including his team's system and its loaded lineup.

But without the ability to consistently create his own shot, Selden can go long stretches without making an offensive sound.

At 6'5" with a manly 230-pound frame, he's got serious size and strength at the off-guard position. Selden also has excellent instincts attacking the rim, along with a threatening stroke that has plenty of room to improve.

But at this point, Selden isn't very elusive off the bounce. Unless a hole or scoring opportunity is created for him, chances are he's not getting any good looks. He's also been somewhat erratic as a shooter, and for Selden to maximize his potential, shooting consistency will need to become a strength.

It will be a while until he's able to contribute to an NBA rotation, and without that ultra-athletic ability, his ceiling sits below that of a guard like UCLA's Zach LaVine.

But given his size, strength and balanced offensive game, he's got the chance to develop into a solid NBA 2-guard over time.

S******************

Meet Tyler Ennis, the Next Can't-Miss 2014 NBA Draft Prospect

BY

 (NBA LEAD WRITER) ON JANUARY 22, 2014

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When I first heard Tyler Ennis committed to Syracuse back in August 2012, I had thought the Orange just found their floor general for the next three to four years.

At around 6'2", 180 pounds, he didn't scream one-and-done like Kentucky commit and current starting point guard Andrew Harrison, who, at 6'6", 215 pounds, was widely viewed as a can't-miss NBA prospect at his position.

But now it's January 2014, and we're looking at these prospects through a completely different lens.

Just two weeks into conference play, it's Ennis who appears to be the next can't-miss point guard in the class.

He's playing 33.6 minutes per game as the primary ball-handler for the No. 2 team in the country. And when you start dishing out credit for Syracuse's start and overall disciplined demeanor, a fair share needs to go to Ennis.

With February rapidly approaching, he's averaging close to 12 points and 5.5 assists for the undefeated Orange. But it's not stats or a towering ceiling that has scouts buzzing about his game.

 

Pure As They Come…

Ennis is one of those rare pass-first point guards. He's as pure as they come at his position. That's not to say he can't score; rather, he chooses to score opportunistically as a secondary option—the ideal mentality you want your point guard to operate with.

This kid is poised. He's a guy you trust with the ball to command the offense and execute the play—not necessarily a skill you can just learn.

Ennis has handled pressured like a pro and acts as a calming influence out there on the floor.

 

With the ability to control the pace of a game and the set he's running, it's Ennis' intangibles that allow him to glow as a facilitator.

 

Facilitating

Maybe the stat that jumps out most early on has been his clean assist-to-turnover ratio. He's only coughed it up 24 times through 18 games, dishing out 99 dimes during the stretch. It's the fourth-best ratio in the country at the moment. He's also No. 8 in the country with a pure point rating of 6.83, a more complex metric devised to accurately weigh assists to turnovers relative to each other.

“I’ve used the word comical a lot this year. His assist-to-turnover ratio is almost comical,” said assistant coach Gerry McNamara, via Associated Press (H/TWashington Post). “His feel is as good as I’ve ever watched. I said that about Michael [Carter-Williams] last year. Tyler’s in that same realm. It’s difficult to speed him up. He plays at the pace that he wants to play at.”

As a passer, he just seems to know where his other four teammates are, as well as where they're going to be:

 

In the half court, Ennis has a terrific feel for orchestrating the offense and hitting the open man, whether it's off a pick-and-roll, drive-and-kick, an entry pass or simple ball movement.

But those passes aren't just about timing and accuracy. He's got some phenomenal offensive instincts.

 

Offensive Instincts

He's not the biggest, fastest, strongest or most athletic. But Ennis knows how to use what he's been given—he takes the right steps at the right speeds, which ultimately neutralizes his lack of blow-by quickness.

Down the stretch against Pittsburgh, that couldn't have been more evident.

With Pittsburgh up one in the final two minutes, Ennis would answer with a beautiful take to the rack. It wasn't generated by a blazing first step or explosive leap to the rim.

Ennis got the defender to bite on a simple jab step and fake to the right. And it completely knocked his man off balance.


via ESPN

Check out Ennis at the point with really nowhere to go.

 

And just like that—boom, a quick fake right and he gets his man to spin around in a circle.

 

Sure, we might be overanalyzing one little fake, but these are savvy tricks he uses to make up for his average physical tools. He knows how to maximize his quickness by using it at the right times.

Even as a finisher around the hoop, Ennis has textbook fundamentals. Despite the inability to play above the him, he still finds ways to convert in traffic.

Up one with 30 seconds against Pittsburgh, he took his man off the dribble and got to the basket for a sweet lefty finish:


via ESPN

But instead of exploding past him and up toward the rim, Ennis found another way to create separation.

He uses his body really well here, ultimately shielding his man from the ball by taking a step right in front of him. This makes it impossible for the 6'9" Talib Zanna to block or contest his layup.

 

These are just a few ways Tyler Ennis compensates for athletic ability with smart and timely basketball plays.

 

Scoring 

Though it won't be his forte moving forward, Ennis can go out and get buckets. He actually led the entire FIBA Under-19 World Championships in scoring this summer with 20.9 points a game.

He's deceptive—Ennis will separate for a jumper when you least expect it or find ways to avoid the contest at the rim and somehow finish around it.

With a reliable stop-and-pop pull-up, Ennis can be a threatening scorer off the dribble, even if he can't get all the way to the rim. He also has an assortment of runners, floaters and push shots he can make on the move.


via ESPN

And though you wouldn't refer to him as a sniper, Ennis can knock them down out to 25 feet away. He won't attempt a three-pointer unless it's a good, open look (only 2.2 attempts per game), and he's converting the ones he's taking at an excellent rate (40 percent).

Ennis may never evolve into a consistent scoring threat, but you can count on him to give you a punch when the opportunity calls.

 

NBA Outlook and Draft Breakdown

I'm not sure Ennis projects as the NBA's next All-Star point guard, but this kid is bound to contribute whether he hits his ceiling or not.

The point guard position is tricky. Having Kemba Walker's speed, John Wall's hops and Russell Westbrook's explosiveness certainly helps, but athleticism can only take a point guard so far.

Ennis offers the intangibles and instincts that can't be coached. And it's not as if he's a stiff out there—with broad shoulders, sound footwork and shifty agility, he shouldn't have trouble with the physical transition.

From a character, toughness and stability standpoint, there's absolutely nothing to question. He never seems to get too high or too low, as evidenced by his stone face and mature approach.

There could be a number of point guard-needy teams drafting in the late lottery to late first round, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic (Denver's pick). Even teams with shallow depth at the position—like the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Detroit Pistons—might want to give Ennis a look.

Given his limited visible upside, a team might feel hesitant to reach in the top 10. But for those searching for a little certainty in this draft as opposed to a hit-or-miss, boom-or-bust prospect, Ennis has established himself as a solid option this June.

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בעל האתר, הבוס הראשי, וכותב יומית - כל זמן שאוכל!

לפוסט הזה יש 42 תגובות

  1. מומי לא כל כך הבין מה מי מו
    אבל מומי קורא את הפרופסור גם אם יפרסם פוסט על סונטה לפסתר וכינור של בטהובן .

  2. וואי וואי וואי איזה משחקים. אני חייב למצוא דרך לראות אותם, נראה לי שנמצא תקלה לא מוסברת במנוע ונאלץ לעצור במיאמי

  3. פרופסור. סקירה טובה, גם אם קצת קצרה. שני גמרים מדהימים מחר. בראשון קרב הקווטארבק וההתקפה, אלילי הדור פייטון ותום. בקרב השני. הדור החדש של הקוואטרבקים ושתי ההגנות האימתניות. קשה לחכות.

  4. Whats up doc
    מסכים עם האנליסיס, רק לבכוח של הפאטס הוא העיקר על הקווים. BB יודע להיכנס לראש של מננינג ולשבש אותו. אני מצפה להרבה בול-קונטרול של הפאטס עם משחק ריצה מגוון, הרבה מסירות קצרות לאדלמן ולשיין וורין ע"מ לאפשר להגנה שלהם לנוח יותר ולהפוך כל פוזשיין של מננינג והברונקוס למאסט סקור. עוד נקודה חשובה הוא גוסטובסקי הקיקר הנהדר של הפאטס. בגבהים של דנבר צפו להרבה ניסיונות גם מטווחים גדולים. ההימור 30:28 פאטס
    לגבי המשחק השני, אני הולך עם הקבוצה הכי חמה בליגה שהיא גם הכי שלמה בכל המערכים. אני חושב שההתקפה של סיאטל תתקשה לשים הרבה נקודות ואם קאייפרניק יצליח לשמור על הכדור מול הסקונדארי האימתני של סיאטל הניינרס יסעו לריקוד הגדול בתפוח הגדול. ההימור 24:20 ניינרס

  5. למה השופט הוא זה שמחליט אם הפנלטי הוא דקליין או לא דקליין.
    לפעמים זה לא ברור מה עדיף.
    למה שלא ישאלו את המאמן הזכאי לםנלטי

  6. מאנינג הוא ברמה אחרת.

    כמות הטבעות שלו קשורה למאמנים הדפוקים שלו.

    בריידי גדול אבל היה לו המזל לשחק תחת בליצ'ק.

  7. לא יאמן, נראה שהסרט נקוב יכולים להשיג דאון ראשון מתי שהם רק רוצים. הפטריוטס יורקים דם על כל אחד שמצליחים

  8. סיכוי בטוח שיש ואני אפילו מסרב לקבל קרב כזה בין מאנינג לבריידי בלי איזה מותחן רציני לקראת הסוף.

    חייב להיות משהו.

  9. אי אפשר להספיד את בריידי.
    היינו כבר בסרט הזה..

    יחד עם זאת.. ההגנה הגיע למשחק ובריידי יצטרך להיות מושלם מעתה והלאה

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