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Saturday, February 17, 2018

OT - 2017-18 NBA thread (All-Star Weekend to End of Time edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  eliminationist rhetoric and precognition.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:09 AM | 6535 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   4501. JC in DC Posted: May 18, 2018 at 06:49 PM (#5675398)
Every rookie gets significantly better at NBA defense--this is primarily because most rookies are awful defensive players. Just due to this, something like 90% of NBA players improve from their rookie year.
   4502. tshipman Posted: May 18, 2018 at 07:25 PM (#5675404)
Just to anticipate JC:

Even Josh Hart was a bad defender last year.

Lakers were 3.9 points better on defense when he was off the court.
   4503. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 18, 2018 at 10:47 PM (#5675476)
I understand that weekend games will get better ratings than Thursday/Friday night games. I understand (but don't agree with) the NBA's obsession with maximizing short term profits. BUT, I do wonder if just adding 2 off days has a negative impact on fans and ratings, both in the short and long term.

When series don't go the distance, succeeding rounds start early to get games in the networks' favored slots, which then requires extra days off to get back on schedule for the start of the finals, which is set in stone. ABC had a guaranteed Sunday game, and because it didn't get a game seven, that necessitated moving up the start of the conference finals and moving Thursday's game to Tuesday, creating a gap. This process plays out after the first two rounds most seasons, and every time it's "What's up with the days off?"
   4504. SteveF Posted: May 19, 2018 at 07:48 AM (#5675568)
Finals dates are set in stone. If Boston sweeps Cleveland (granted, fairly unlikely to happen) they'll have 10 days off before the Finals start (May 31).
   4505. TFTIO is a very stable genius Posted: May 19, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5675594)
   4506. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 19, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5675614)
If Wolves ownership were to choose Thibs over Towns, that would be enough to make me swear off being a Wolves fan for life. And I'm not even as high on Towns as the Wolves fans here are. But I'm pretty damn low on Thibs, too.

I remain stedfast in my belief that the problem in Minnesota is Andrew Wiggins, though. Get rid of him and suddenly there's a lot more ball for Towns, which probably would go a good ways toward pacifying him.

But I feel dreadfully suspicious that, Minnesota's ownership being what it is, somehow in two years Wiggins and Thibs will still be there and Towns and Butler will be gone.
   4507. Howie Menckel Posted: May 19, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5675646)
Finals dates are set in stone.

for decades, there were two possible start dates for the NBA Finals.
for a time, the games were on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, for instance. if feasible, they would start on a Sunday - but if a series ran long, it would start on Wednesday instead, for example.
   4508. TFTIO is a very stable genius Posted: May 19, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5675747)
But I feel dreadfully suspicious that, Minnesota's ownership being what it is, somehow in two years Wiggins and Thibs will still be there and Towns and Butler will be gone.

See, I think it's gonna be Thibs and an aging broken Butler and Rose and Wiggins and Towns will both be long gone.
   4509. tshipman Posted: May 19, 2018 at 05:47 PM (#5675757)
Latest episode of Detail is really interesting. You really get a detailed understanding of how minute differences add up in terms of technique.

Tatum alternates (in Kobe's retelling) of not attacking hard enough (drifting too far on his curls and cuts) and rushing (not waiting for spacing).

It's fascinating how quickly everything closes off, even with a bad defense like the Cavs.
   4510. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 19, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5675786)
Towns for Gobert Exum and picks, who says no!?

I don’t think a trade for Towns exists that enables Minnesota to continue believing they’re a win now team and gets anywhere near fair value.
   4511. SteveF Posted: May 19, 2018 at 07:22 PM (#5675810)
Latest episode of Detail is really interesting.

The only clip I saw had Kobe showing Tatum how he can get open 20 foot 2P jump shots.

I'm sure the other parts include better advice. I've noticed the curl/cut problem and his failures to attack the basket off of screens plenty, though.
   4512. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 19, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5675826)
Towns for Kawhi. Could we fit a Butler in there too? I don’t see any reason to think Butler is undervalued by Minnesota or Thibs though.
   4513. tshipman Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5675840)
Games like this are so frustrating to watch as a neutral fan. Every whistle going Cleveland's way.
   4514. JC in DC Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:17 PM (#5675843)
Tatum is forcing his shot and missing open teammates.
   4515. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:18 PM (#5675844)
LeBron is getting away with some fouls at the rim here
   4516. JC in DC Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5675845)
Agree, tship, and I write that as a Knicks fan. No foul on LBJ on that dunk? Gimme a break. Foul at the other end? Hardly.
   4517. tshipman Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5675846)
LeBron is getting away with some fouls at the rim here


The replays are cracking me up.

Mark Jackson: That's great defense from LeBron.

(Replay shows a clear hack on the wrist)

JVG: That's the kind of effort you need.
   4518. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:22 PM (#5675847)
What does Ojeleye do at an above D-league level?
   4519. PJ Martinez Posted: May 19, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5675851)
What does Ojeleye do at an above D-league level?

He's actually a terrific defender, but this is a tough spot for him, obviously.
   4520. JC in DC Posted: May 19, 2018 at 10:12 PM (#5675863)
Time for the refs to even out the fouls
   4521. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: May 19, 2018 at 10:29 PM (#5675866)
It is probably for the best I started drinking before tipoff.
   4522. Howie Menckel Posted: May 19, 2018 at 11:07 PM (#5675871)

Darren Rovell
‏Verified account @darrenrovell
5m5 minutes ago

What an awful Conference Finals it has been for the NBA. Margins of victory? 25, 13, 13, 22 & 30.
   4523. JC in DC Posted: May 19, 2018 at 11:17 PM (#5675874)
Yeah, that game was unwatchable.
   4524. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 19, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5675876)
But please, tell me more about how NBA refs don't openly call games so as to prevent sweeps.
   4525. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 19, 2018 at 11:28 PM (#5675880)
Bad news / good news on the NBA website. Apologies if it's been posted before, but I've been watching baseball.

Hall of Famer Bill Russell hospitalized briefly
SEATTLE (AP) -- Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell was released from a Seattle hospital Saturday after an overnight stay for an unknown condition.

Russell confirmed on Twitter that he went to the hospital late Friday. He didn't say why.

Russell said in the light-hearted message, "As my wife likes to remind me, I don't drink enough."

He thanked fans for their concern and appeared to dismiss reports that the hospital visit was due to heart troubles.

Russell said in the message that his friends "know I don't have a heart to give me trouble."

The hospitalization was initially reported by TMZ, which said it was for dehydration.

The 84-year-old basketball great was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. He was an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and won five NBA MVP awards.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was relieved to hear that Russell was OK.

"Yeah, that was obviously scary news and happy to hear that he's doing better and he's been released from the hospital," Stevens said in Cleveland before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. "He's the ultimate basketball winner. The way he impacted winning, the unselfishness of a teammate, what he stood for off the floor -- everything about him. It's an honor to get a chance to work for the Celtics.

"Those teams and those people from those teams -- and obviously Bill Russell being one of those main people in Celtics history -- are why it's an honor to work for them, because of the bar they set for all of us."
   4526. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 05:05 AM (#5675906)
But please, tell me more about how NBA refs don't openly call games so as to prevent sweeps.

Home court advantage is a real thing and part of that is getting more favorable calls than referees due to the fans+psychological biases. There's no need to twist yourself to league conspiracy to prevent sweeps. Why people continue to be shocked by this, I have no idea.

Re: 4522, 4523

The ratings disagree.
   4527. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 07:16 AM (#5675910)
NJ: what were the ratings for last night's game? Did you watch the whole thing? I didn't, and I've watched every minute of the prior games.
   4528. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 07:22 AM (#5675911)
[4527] Don't know yet. I did.
   4529. PJ Martinez Posted: May 20, 2018 at 07:31 AM (#5675912)
LeBron is 14 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer against the Celtics (regular season and playoffs), passing Jerry West. (Last night he passed Kareem.)
   4530. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 08:02 AM (#5675914)
Haven't read all the expert takes from last night yet, but my thoughts:

-Liked the adjustment the Cavs made having George Hill bring the ball up more and using Hill+others more on initial actions even if the play eventually goes to LeBron. Thought that allowed him to conserve some energy on the offensive end...
-Which led to him having more to give on defense. It seemed the coaching staff had a talk with LeBron along the lines of "If things go right, we have other guys who can help on offense, but there's no way these guys can help on defense so your on-court conservation needs to switch from defense to offense"
-As dominant as the win was, the Cavs still have an uphill battle for the obvious reason of home-court advantage for the Celtics and the potentially less obvious reason that they play every other day from here on out which is going to be particularly tough on LeBron.
   4531. SteveF Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5675935)
Home court advantage is a real thing and part of that is getting more favorable calls than referees due to the fans+psychological biases.

I compare sports to baseball. My base assumption is that baseball bakes in most of the logistical/psychological advantages of playing at home. Whatever advantage teams in other sports have at home over and above that of baseball are largely due to biased (whatever the cause) officiating. Not surprisingly, basketball and hockey top the list for home team advantage. I don't know whether those leagues can do a better job of officiating, but I do know they are pretty poorly officiated on average.

Hockey, of course, has the added problem that two wrong calls one way can effectively decide a game given the scoring environment and the percentage of total goals scored that come on power plays.

I laugh when I hear the NBA talk about extending the two-minute report to the whole game. There would be 20 wrong calls a game. The game is just too hard to officiate.
   4532. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5675941)

LeBron is 14 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer against the Celtics (regular season and playoffs), passing Jerry West. (Last night he passed Kareem.)


A stat that is far more to the credit of Kareem and West than it is LeBron.
   4533. PJ Martinez Posted: May 20, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5675947)
Some Zach Lowe thoughts on last night's game (from Twitter):

"Cavs offense so much better tonight in ways that shouldn't have taken till now: more Hill/Love and Hill/Bron action on and off ball, smarter ways for Tristan and Nance (who was really good, btw) to get into PNRs with Bron and hurt Baynes."

"LeBron's energy on defense was on a different level. Cavs also got into their offense earlier (at times), even off Boston makes. Just a better game. Difference b/w stagnant CLE and good CLE -- beyond making shots -- isn't rocket science."

"Re-watching some of last night -- very clear CLE made staying attached to Horford on the PNR a priority, even if it meant Rozier had a driving lane. Wonder if BOS can find a way to exploit that at all in G4. Nance re-emerging as a hustle guy/PNR threat is interesting."

W/r/t to that last point: Horford didn't attempt a shot in the first quarter.

My own sense of the game was that Cleveland stepped up their intensity defensively (starting with LeBron, as Lowe notes),* and the Celtics, who had been so disciplined on both sides of the ball in Boston, responded badly, taking long, contested two-point shots when their first couple of options weren't there. They missed a bunch, and so were often not set defensively, and the Cavs took full advantage, hitting a bunch of threes (17-34) and getting some favorable calls in the process. Boston only shot 6-22 from three, which didn't help, either. Just a comprehensive beating. But I thought it started with more energetic and aggressive play from Cleveland on both ends, and kind of a soft effort from Boston. Lue said after the game that they were keyed on slowing Brown in the first quarter, which seemed to work, as he had his first really bad game in a while.

* At one point, LeBron asked for a timeout so he could rest, which is perhaps indicative of how much effort he was expending on both sides.
   4534. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5675982)
So much depends on officiating in games like this. Had either of those early "blocks" been called fouls (especially the second), how might that have changed LBJ's defensive intensity? In addition, this was the first game where I thought Boston looked young, and made some early mistakes. As I said during the game, Tatum forced some early looks (and actively missed or looked off guys at the 3pt line. Horford wasn't just defended well, he was passive and passed up a couple of three point opportunities. There was that goofy handoff between Smart and whoever (Rozier, maybe?) outside the line. I think Boston has a very good chance to win the next game, as some of this is fixable. But, like balls and strikes early in games, if the refs call the game imbalanced like they did this one, that'll change the whole calculus.
   4535. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 20, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5675986)
I agree with most of 4533 and 4534. The aggressive team generally gets the benefit of the whistle and I think that's what happened here. The main thing for me isn't the missed calls, because missed calls happen and I didn't think it was nearly as egregious as some others. To me the issue was that two of the clearest misses were LeBron challenges at the rim and like JC said if those are called fouls Cleveland is just ######.

LeBron has had to deal with getting bludgeoned all series long for like 12 years so I'm sympathetic to him, but he seems to literally NEVER be in foul trouble. I think some of that is intelligence but I do think refs give him the benefit of the doubt too much. Tbf, I thought Duncan got away with challenging at the rim way more than any other big in the NBA without getting foul calls. Some of that was how the Spurs tried to coach (challenge without fouling), but on a lot of plays at the rim they're pretty much automatic whistles for most defenders.
   4536. MHS Posted: May 20, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5676012)
It is probably for the best I started drinking before tipoff.


Yup, I threw dinner party last night for Mrs High Standards and it and it was for the best I was starting to feel it before tip off. From what I can remember, it was ugly. Thankfully, don't recall much!
   4537. MHS Posted: May 20, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5676016)
I noticed the officiating but figured it was just my biases. I'm glad to see others thought it was egregious. As someone said earlier, we shouldn't be surprised. Lebron has gotten a favorable whistle for a years and years and will likely continue to.

I think at some point in the next decade their is a none zero chance of an officiating scandal in the league. Their is just too much money at stake and will get worse with the legal gambling. They need to do a better job of calling the game cleanly and removing the obvious biases. Be it home court or the superstar whistle.
   4538. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5676037)
I thought the first block was clearly clean and the second was clearly a foul.
   4539. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5676044)
I agree, NJ: you could say he got hand on the first one, but a ton of ball. The second was a mugging.
   4540. dave h Posted: May 20, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5676065)
I compare sports to baseball. My base assumption is that baseball bakes in most of the logistical/psychological advantages of playing at home.


I think that the rules of baseball are an advantage for the road team. There are more changes you can make on the defensive side, so knowing what runs matter helps the team playing defense second. I think this was supported by looking at HFA in 9-inning games versus extras, but I don't have the cite offhand.

Getting the last change in hockey, as well as probably less travel, is a significant advantage. Football would be the best example of the effect of sleeping in your own bed, I would think.
   4541. SteveF Posted: May 20, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5676093)
Football would be the best example of the effect of sleeping in your own bed, I would think.

Interestingly, football is the one sport where the road team has actually had an above .500 record for a season a few times. You might be on to something there.

I hadn't considered the advantage of defending last in baseball. I'm surprised they found much of a net strategic advantage given there are advantages to being on offense last. I wonder if it's at least partly a product of sub-optimal reliever usage.
   4542. tshipman Posted: May 20, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5676112)
My own sense of the game was that Cleveland stepped up their intensity defensively (starting with LeBron, as Lowe notes),* and the Celtics, who had been so disciplined on both sides of the ball in Boston, responded badly, taking long, contested two-point shots when their first couple of options weren't there. They missed a bunch, and so were often not set defensively, and the Cavs took full advantage, hitting a bunch of threes (17-34) and getting some favorable calls in the process. Boston only shot 6-22 from three, which didn't help, either. Just a comprehensive beating. But I thought it started with more energetic and aggressive play from Cleveland on both ends, and kind of a soft effort from Boston. Lue said after the game that they were keyed on slowing Brown in the first quarter, which seemed to work, as he had his first really bad game in a while.


Yeah, let me be clear, Cleveland really did play better on both sides of the ball.

However, the final score reflected Cleveland playing better, 3p variance, AND a friendly whistle.

The friendly whistle bothers me because it seems like LeBron's team *always* gets this when they're down in a series and they didn't need it last night.
   4543. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5676142)
Well, GSW hasn't solved Houston's offense yet. I can't believe McGee can't find time in the game as a rim protector.
   4544. yo la tengo Posted: May 20, 2018 at 08:24 PM (#5676146)
Love the pace of the game but if Curry and Durant keep missing three pointers this can be a long night for the Dubs. Agree with the idea that Javale should get some time to be in Capela's way down low
   4545. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 08:44 PM (#5676150)
Rockets should not panic. They're not playing poorly. CP has to get involved, but they're getting good shots.
   4546. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:04 PM (#5676154)
One would think that at some point the Rockets will begin to make layups and/or not dribble the ball off their feet.
   4547. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:05 PM (#5676155)
CP3 has nothing in the tank. I would not want to be the GM who signs him to his next contract.
   4548. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5676160)
Really? I'm not sure Curry has much left in the tank, either.
   4549. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:26 PM (#5676167)
Houston is awful. They are playing like the Phoenix Suns here. So sloppy, so many missed layups, straight up refusal to play transition defense.

Golden State wasn’t playing well either until just now. And flood gates.
   4550. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5676168)
This has been some straight up shitty basketball by both teams.
   4551. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5676170)
I boldly predict that CP3 and Curry will both be great next year.
   4552. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5676172)
(I posted that before refreshing and didn't see your post, Spivey.)
   4553. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:32 PM (#5676173)
I generally agree with an early jc point that when the rockets aren’t forgetting how to dribble their shot quality is solid. But I don’t trust them to figure it out.
   4554. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:36 PM (#5676174)
   4555. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:39 PM (#5676175)
Amazing. It was bad TV.
   4556. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5676176)
This is a huge if when dealing with the Rockets, but even as I watch them get stomped I feel like they can win this series. But man they really have to be focused on execution. You just can’t play this sloppy and beat a team like the Warriors. Hell they’d be losing to the Twolves right now.
   4557. JC in DC Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5676178)
In the sake of fairness, GSW has definitely benefited from the home whistle all game, much as we said Cleveland did.
   4558. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:45 PM (#5676180)
[4556] I sort of agree with this. Before the 3rd quarter massacre they were consistently getting good looks (but missing) and committing weird wow I suddenly forgot I had the ball turnovers.
   4559. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:57 PM (#5676184)
Re: ratings, I imagine part of that is that the NBA in general is at an all time popularity high (especially with casuals; it's a very fan friendly style of play and the league has many charismatic stars at the moment, with LeBron leading the way of course).
   4560. Howie Menckel Posted: May 20, 2018 at 09:57 PM (#5676185)
the NBA should make a commercial hating on those people who claim there is no point in watching the first 45 minutes because the only stuff that matters is in the last 3 minutes
   4561. Booey Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:04 PM (#5676189)
Curry's tank not empty yet.
   4562. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:05 PM (#5676190)
It's good to see that Curry is not done as a player.
   4563. yo la tengo Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:40 PM (#5676199)
The Rockets would have to win three of the next four games. I honestly do not see how anybody beats this GSW team three out of four.
   4564. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 20, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5676203)
Something that has occurred to me while watching this year's playoffs: LeBron is STILL the clear best player in basketball.
   4565. Tin Angel Posted: May 20, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5676207)
People seriously thought Curry was "done" after a few bad games coming back after a severe knee injury?
   4566. tshipman Posted: May 21, 2018 at 12:48 AM (#5676240)
Something that has occurred to me while watching this year's playoffs: LeBron is STILL the clear best player in basketball.


No--and he hasn't been for a while now.
   4567. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 21, 2018 at 03:17 AM (#5676250)
No--and he hasn't been for a while now.
In these playoffs, he has been.
   4568. JC in DC Posted: May 21, 2018 at 07:15 AM (#5676265)
If LBJ is not, who is? I think the next closest guy in the playoffs is Durant. Durant has been unstoppable. Really, the only guy stopping him is himself at this point, when he looks to avoid going ISO. He's not the distributor LBJ is, and both play defense selectively, but as a scorer, I can see the case for Durant.

Re Curry: I was kind of playing off of NJ's post, Curry going off doesn't surprise me. Maybe people will disagree with this assertion, but Curry going off was less important to that game last night than Durant being steady and making shots early when others were missing. Durant is the key to GS right now, in my judgment. But re Curry's "tank," I don't think he has much left, and I wrote about this earlier in the season: given his injury history, I think we're on the wrong side of his career, and it'll be interesting to see how much longer he's effective. When he doesn't shoot like he did in the 3rd-4th quarters last night, he's not a very helpful player to have out there. Will he (and Paul) still be good next year? Almost certainly. But how many years beyond that? 1? 2?

Finally, as I and Spicey and NJ said, I still think Houston's got a chance to make this competitive. I never thought they'd win, but they are closer to GSW than the score last night suggests. They were right there throughout the first half, and despite getting unfavorable whistles. Tucker got fouled on a couple of those layups early and nothing was called. Ariza got fouled as well. Things snowballed in the third, but if they can stay more disciplined, get a bit more balance from the refs, they could push this to 7 games.
   4569. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 21, 2018 at 07:31 AM (#5676267)
If LBJ is not, who is? I think the next closest guy in the playoffs is Durant. Durant has been unstoppable. Really, the only guy stopping him is himself at this point, when he looks to avoid going ISO. He's not the distributor LBJ is, and both play defense selectively, but as a scorer, I can see the case for Durant

And yet LeBron is scoring more and more efficiently on a higher usage.
   4570. Rally Posted: May 21, 2018 at 08:40 AM (#5676282)
If LBJ is not, who is? I think the next closest guy in the playoffs is Durant. Durant has been unstoppable. Really, the only guy stopping him is himself at this point, when he looks to avoid going ISO. He's not the distributor LBJ is, and both play defense selectively, but as a scorer, I can see the case for Durant.


I think Durant is the far better player on defense right now, but a lot of that is circumstances. Durant doesn't have to be the focal point of the offense 100% of the time so he has the energy left to play defense. Lebron can play defense when he picks his spots and really needs to, but he just can't keep up the intensity because the Cav's offense falls apart without him and he doesn't get as much rest as the GSW stars.
   4571. JC in DC Posted: May 21, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5676297)
NJ: oh, I agree with you about lbj. I see Durant as the only guy close to him.
   4572. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 21, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5676316)
I think you have to be explicit when talking about best to make sure we're all talking the same thing. I don't think LeBron is the best regular season player anymore.

In the playoffs, he's been really good but I don't think his shooting's been sustainable. Which is to say, sure he may have been more efficient on offense thus far but I think going forward I would expect Durant to be a more efficient scorer. LeBron as great as he is, I do think can be bothered by normal defensive schemes more than Durant. Durant, pretty much any time he has the ball, it's just like instant offensive efficiency.
   4573. this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant Posted: May 21, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5676319)
@deanondraft
If Michael Porter Jr. being pre-season #1 overall seems cool, check out 4 of the last 5 pre-season #1's

2017: Harry Giles
2015: Jahlil Okafor
2014: Andrew Wiggins
2013: Shabazz Muhammad

Not like he separated himself from this crowd by shooting 10/30 w/ 1 assist in two games
   4574. jmurph Posted: May 21, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5676341)
This Curry being done talk is nuts, I think. He remains far and away Golden State's most important player, and was clearly (like, by a lot) their best player this year- he just missed a lot of games.
   4575. tshipman Posted: May 21, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5676345)
Re: LeBron: He has played committed and engaged defense for one game *all season*, and he got the benefit of the doubt on a couple of whistles in that game.

LBJ has played great on offense, but offense is only half the game.

Even in the playoffs, even with the last couple games, his team has a negative net rating with him on the court.
   4576. jmurph Posted: May 21, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5676346)
On LeBron vs Durant: I suspect if Durant was in LeBron's situation he would be more of an MVP frontrunner.

But also, if we're trading places, LeBron would be pretty fun on Golden State with Curry and Thompson.
   4577. SteveF Posted: May 21, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5676361)
I'm with Tshipman on LeBron. You don't get full credit for your offense when it's powered by your "microcoasting" on defense. Durant is and has been the best player for a year+.

If trends hold, whoever wins tonight will win by 50+ points. I'll take Cleveland 133-82.
   4578. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5676388)
Offense is more than 50% of the game for a player like LeBron, maybe 75%. This is the whole thing about basketball: you can concentrate your offense in a player to a far higher degree than you can in say baseball. Yes, on the other side of the ball, they can also pick on you, but you can also choose to put an energy-conserving LeBron on a less threatening player and force the other team to do extra work to involve him in the play.
   4579. Booey Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5676392)
Something that has occurred to me while watching this year's playoffs: LeBron is STILL the clear best player in basketball.

No--and he hasn't been for a while now.


I think he still is. The regular season coasting on D makes him no longer deserving of the regular season MVP (but he's still top 3 or so), but in the playoffs he's shown exactly what he's still capable of. And it's more than what Harden, Durant, Curry, Paul, etc, have been able to do consistently.

This Curry being done talk is nuts, I think. He remains far and away Golden State's most important player, and was clearly (like, by a lot) their best player this year- he just missed a lot of games.


Agreed. My comment in #4561 was a tongue in cheek response to JC's #4548, and I suspect Edmundo's #4562 was as well. I felt a response was warranted after Curry went nuclear in the 3rd. Steph isn't close to done (I think the Rockets are, though).
   4580. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5676416)
Regarding Curry and Paul, I would be much less scared about giving them a max contract than someone like Devin Booker, even granting age. Because both are incredibly efficient the worst case scenario is that they'll be fantastic supporting players, while someone like Booker or Wiggins could easily have no value to a championship team.

For Curry, you can always do something with the best shooter in the league, who can also create shots for himself at a reasonable clip. For Paul, he is still the practically perfect point guard and his floor is a souped-up Jose Calderon, which has value to every team.

One random side note about CP3: he will, to some extent, always look worse than his value, because a lot of that value is his freakish ability to avoid turnovers. Virtues of omission will always be more subtle to the eyes than virtues of commission. I have no love for him (mostly as a result of his being a red-ass nut puncher), but the guy is really damn valuable.
   4581. jmurph Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5676424)
Because both are incredibly efficient the worst case scenario is that they'll be fantastic supporting players,

Well technically the worst case scenario for Paul is he plays 0-40 games per year while taking up like 35% of your payroll. And that's not that hard to imagine given his history.
   4582. JC in DC Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5676426)
It's pretty clear, isn't it, that players regard the playoffs and the regular season as very different things? This is the season that matters to LBJ and Paul and Curry and Durant and Harden, etc. In this showcase, I think it's also pretty clear LBJ is the best and Durant is (imho) next.
   4583. Rally Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5676430)
Even in the playoffs, even with the last couple games, his team has a negative net rating with him on the court.


Looking at bbref, his playoff on-off rating is +7.3 so far. Yes, -.6 with him on court, but that's a lot better than when he's off the court. The two years previous he was +30.7 and +21.1 in playoff on/off.

Regarding Curry and Paul, I would be much less scared about giving them a max contract than someone like Devin Booker, even granting age. Because both are incredibly efficient the worst case scenario is that they'll be fantastic supporting players, while someone like Booker or Wiggins could easily have no value to a championship team.


I agree that both are better bets on a max contract than someone like Booker. Because they are great players right now (and at 29 and 32, not really old either.) But I have to inform you that the worst case scenario for a formerly super-efficient point guard is not that pretty. Worst case scenario is the Steve Nash experience, LA edition. I wouldn't worry too much though, as Nash was 38 when he got to LA. NBA wouldn't even let you sign Curry or Paul to a deal that took you that far out.
   4584. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5676436)
Since I started the CP3 thing, it was an acknowledgement of how hard he has to work to try and get separation. Granted, he appears to not be 100% this series, but him not being 100% seems to be the natural state of things.
   4585. jmurph Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5676441)
I'm with you, NJ, I'd be worried about giving him a 4 or 5 year huge money deal.
   4586. PJ Martinez Posted: May 21, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5676447)
Are LeBron and Durant actually better than Anthony Davis at this point, or is it just that Durant has incredible teammates and LeBron plays in the Eastern Conference?
   4587. JC in DC Posted: May 21, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5676470)
That's a great question, PJ, and I don't know the answer. Your possibilities may be part of the answer, but isn't another part that they game favors guys with the ball in their hands a lot, and both LBJ and KD are that kind of player? Both can create their own scores pretty easily, they don't even need PGs, and both can create for their teams. But maybe AD is just as good or better now. I was going with guys in the playoffs.
   4588. Robert S. Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5676496)
But also, if we're trading places, LeBron would be pretty fun on Golden State with Curry and Thompson.

I'd love to see it happen for one year just to see how close an NBA team could get to the Globetrotters. LeBron takes a pay cut next year, assumes a lesser role like CP3 did in Houston, and plays in the Warriors system instead of LeBronball. Stagger Curry and LeBron's minutes during the regular season so one of them is always on the court and only play LeBron around 28 minutes a game to keep him fresh. Lebron then takes Iguodala's spot on the death lineup, which you only use that a few minutes a night. Win 78 games.
   4589. JC in DC Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5676525)
I'd hit fast forward on that season.
   4590. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5676534)
I acknowledge how the officiating can impact a game, especially early, but I'm still a little surprised how much it's being discussed for these games that end up being far from competitive at the end.

Really though, I'm just annoyed none of these games have been competitive, so I'm just complaining to complain.
   4591. aberg Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5676541)
That's a great question, PJ, and I don't know the answer. Your possibilities may be part of the answer, but isn't another part that they game favors guys with the ball in their hands a lot, and both LBJ and KD are that kind of player? Both can create their own scores pretty easily, they don't even need PGs, and both can create for their teams. But maybe AD is just as good or better now. I was going with guys in the playoffs.


Probably not a huge gap between current Love and Mirotic. Jrue is better than any perimeter player on the Cavs. I don't think there's a huge talent gap between those teams.

On the other hand, perhaps the Cavs would have had a similar run in the West, smacking the western Raptors (PDX) before getting hammered by the Rockets.
   4592. Fourth True Outcome Posted: May 21, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5676545)
I'd hit fast forward on that season.

The LeBron/KD/best player conversation here had me thinking this morning while walking the dog about how different their roles are on the two teams, which led to me being irked anew that KD signed with Golden State. No one did anything wrong (beyond the player-to-player tampering everyone is doing these days), but the #1/#2 best player in the league joining a team that had just gone 73-9 (and gutting a competitor by leaving) is so damn boring to me. LeBron joining GSW would be even worse by my logic here. I want 2-4 teams with a realistic shot at a title in a given year, not 1. Reasonable people can disagree, and that superteam would be fascinating, but I'm with JC: that's the opposite of what I'm looking for in an NBA season.
   4593. TFTIO is a very stable genius Posted: May 21, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5676607)
This is pretty awesome. Run-TMC was the first NBA team I cared about.
   4594. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 21, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5676609)
I have to think that, unless his knee explodes and ends his career early, even if Curry’s best years are behind him he’s still at least got six or seven Ray Allen years ahead of him. Even when he can’t drive or separate anymore he’ll still be a player you have to closely mark at all times.
   4595. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 21, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5676620)
On the other hand, perhaps the Cavs would have had a similar run in the West, smacking the western Raptors (PDX) before getting hammered by the Rockets.


Do you think Portland should move on from Stotts at this point?
   4596. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 21, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5676681)
Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA 6m6 minutes ago

Percentage of Houston 3-point-attempts classified as catch-and-shoot, via NBA-dot-com:

Regular-season: 61.2%
Playoffs: 49.7%
Conference finals so far: 41.6%
   4597. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 21, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5676682)
Do you think Portland should move on from Stotts at this point?

Why? They haven't reached the high of the Raps yet, but also that means they're nowhere near them in the disappointment dept either.
   4598. Booey Posted: May 21, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5676714)
Why? They haven't reached the high of the Raps yet, but also that means they're nowhere near them in the disappointment dept either.


2 straight first round sweeps has got to be at least somewhat disappointing. Overall they're on a 10 game postseason losing streak. That's probably approaching record territory...
   4599. Fourth True Outcome Posted: May 21, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5676720)
Unlike the Raps, they have some roster flexibility. The Lillard/McCollum combo is a lot of fun, but it's also a pair that is redundant skill-wise and iffy defensively. Flipping McCollum for a wing/big who pairs better with Lillard seems like a better avenue for improvement than hoping someone else can do better than Stotts.

Toronto is locked into two aging vets with a fast-approaching roster cliff when their contracts run out after next year, so if Budenholzer doesn't work out they can let it blow up after next year anyway, and likely wouldn't get great value for trading Lowry or DeRozen. Portland's current stagnation isn't dissimilar, but they have more levers to pull, and more of Lillard's prime left with which to try to figure out who the ideal running mate for him is.
   4600. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 21, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5676722)
Toronto is locked into two aging vets with a fast-approaching roster cliff when their contracts run out after next year, so if Budenholzer doesn't work out

Spoiler: It's not going to work out with Bud.
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