I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks since I started BSH. Sadly, like all good things, this series is nearing its conclusion. Unless Bangkok or Dublin miraculously pick up teams in the next few weeks, our journey will end on the West Coast. Today, I’m going to shed a little light on the cellar of the Pacific Division. While most people’s basements might be crawling with junk, it’s my job to scavenge for the forgotten treasure. Now that you guys are savvy investors, you know it’s time to go digging. Let’s go.
Los Angeles Lakers: Hold
It may come as a surprise that I’m not pounding the sell button on this one. The Lakers have perhaps run into a brick wall. The organization lost out on Dwight, Kobe’s not getting any younger and frankly, they’ve got nothing waiting in the wings. So why not short this seemingly doomed organization? Perhaps, because it’s like asking a Goldman Sachs analyst to short Google or Apple. At the end of the day, the Lakers have a track record of excellence. While I’m not saying the 2013-2014 campaign will be a splendid one in Lakerland, I’m not betting against the Gold and Purple’s long-term prospects.
Los Angeles has a couple things going for itself. After Kobe’s and Pau Gasol’s deals are up, they’ve got virtually no money locked up anywhere else. Coupled with the lure and prestige of Hollywood, I wouldn’t doubt that some notable players would have interest in suiting up for the Lakers come 2014-2015. While I cannot defend the team’s current roster, the Lakers are never out for too long.
After Magic and “Showtime,” they reloaded with Kobe and Shaq. After Shaq, they got Pau. After Bynum, they went out and got Dwight. While the latter didn’t work out, you get the gist. The organization is capable of making a big splash at any given time. On Wall Street, sudden positive news can create a short squeeze. A short squeeze is when all the people who shorted the stock have to cover and buy the stock, driving the price up. I’ve seen this story play one too many times to succumb to this greedy trade.
Sacramento Kings: Hold
As much I love the Boogie Man, I cannot make a serious investment in a team that plays in the Sleepy Town Arena. For what its worth, I think that the Kings have actually had a decent off-season. The Maloof (Foolam) brothers no longer can ineptly run the team and Tyreke Evans is out of town. Here’s my main problem with the Kings: Before the game even starts, they know the 4th quarter will most likely be garbage time. Until this culture flips a 180, I’m on the sidelines as an investor.
Nevertheless, any team featuring my man Boog has me gleaming with optimism. While the Kings might not be good in the near future, these two occurrences are definitely steps in the right direction. Throw in the hiring of new GM Pete D’Alessandro, a basketball analytics whiz, and Boogie and company seemed to have bottomed out.
Perhaps D’Alessandro doesn’t think it’s a good idea to have a cohort of “me-first” wings hogging the ball. His predecessors clearly didn’t get the memo, employing Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons at the same time. Now, the Kings have a pass-first point guard in Greivis Vasquez and might have snagged the steal of the draft in Ben McLemore to play the two. If DeMarcus Cousins makes the steps we all know he’s capable of, Sacramento actually looks like they might have some cohesion in the starting lineup.
Don’t look now but the Kings might have something brewing in Sac-Town. (Pssst…I secretly hope they fail so I can buy them in seven years.)
Phoenix Suns: Buy
There are very few things I remember about the Jazz from the 1998 NBA Finals. While Karl Malone and John Stockton are givens, I can recall two other things that have stuck in the back of my mind throughout the past 15 years: Utah’s warm-up jackets and Jeff Hornacek. Now, in 2013, the former sharpshooter has been named the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. While I usually don’t read into new hires immediately, Hornacek has said all the right things.
In 2012-2013, Phoenix was one of the worst offensive teams in the league. For a franchise led by Steve Nash the past decade, this was a rare sight for basketball fans in the desert. Perhaps their greatest inefficiency was the roster’s propensity to chuck up low-percentage, two-point field goals. You don’t have to be an analytics nerd to understand that the expected value of such attempts is way lower than interior shots or three-pointers.
Let’s put this in perspective for a second. In order for the Suns to have any chance against a quality opponent, two things would have to happen:
1) The Suns shoot a significantly better percentage than their opponents. Over the long run, this is an unsustainable trend.
2) They would have to hold a dramatic possession per game advantage. Also, extremely unsustainable.
Thus, the Suns are making a concerted effort to avoid low-percentage, low expected value shots. Extremely concrete in his objective, Hornacek wants the Suns to score 102.9 points a game. I’m not making that up. Additionally, the combination of Goran Dragic and newcomer Eric Bledsoe should insure that the Suns are constantly playing up-tempo. While rookie Alex Len and the Morris twins are still works in progress, I like what’s going on in the Valley of the Sun.
I’d hold this for five years and expect significant appreciation. Oh, and Phoenix management, you can kick that punk Michael Beasley out of town already. Folks, this entry concluded the Buy em, Sell em, Hold em series. I hope you enjoyed my valuation of the industry and learned something along the way. Who knows, maybe the NBA Stock Exchange will open on Monday and this information will suddenly become valuable.
If you haven’t read the series, you’ll never find out.
Have a good weekend,