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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

OT - March 2017 NBA thread

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of bothered to submit a monthly thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  I dunno, baseball, maybe?  Probably politics, but maybe some baseball, too.

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: March 01, 2017 at 11:37 AM | 7168 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   101. STIGGLES don't want to talk about cracker barrel Posted: March 03, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5412409)
flop flop
   102. jmurph Posted: March 03, 2017 at 04:06 PM (#5412415)
The NBA ROY almost always becomes a star player - not like baseball. MCW looks like a clear exception. He will probably have the worst career for a ROY in the last 50 years. Who is the worst now? Phil Ford? Or maybe Darryl Griffith or some other big man who got injured young.

Tyreke Evans and MCW stand out in recent years. Other than that, even the worst ones on the list generally had long, good careers- Emeka Okafor, Mike Miller, Steve Francis. Those are all good players, or at least had flashes of being good, even if they aren't going to be Hall of Famers like several of the other recent ROYs. Roy looked good but couldn't stay healthy.
   103. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 03, 2017 at 04:18 PM (#5412424)
What's the general opinion of Tyreke Evans? His per-36 numbers have stayed about the same his whole career, about 18/5/6. Okay player, but maybe a mild disappointment?

Seems like the undersized SG who could be a 6th man who gets you 20 points thrived 25 years ago (Ricky Pierce, Vinnie Johnson, etc.). Evans is a poor 3-point shooter and below-average defender, but still plays plenty of minutes, although this year is a career-low.
   104. jmurph Posted: March 03, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5412429)
What's the general opinion of Tyreke Evans? His per-36 numbers have stayed about the same his whole career, about 18/5/6. Okay player, but maybe a mild disappointment?

I can't address the "mild disappointment" part because I can't remember what people expected of him, but he's clearly not any good. It's hard to say if he could have been an effective role player for someone, because he's never been on a good team- like maybe he would somehow turn into some instant offense guy coming off the bench in Golden State or somewhere, I have no idea. But he can't shoot and can't do much of anything else to offset the bad shooting. If he's getting starters minutes on a team, and the usage patterns he's had historically, we can safely assume that team is going to be bad.
   105. aberg Posted: March 03, 2017 at 05:01 PM (#5412446)
Evans played above his own head for a stretch near the end of his rookie year, which probably gave people the impression that he was going to become something more (averaged 21-7-7 for a stretch, partially by playing huge minutes). Instead, he probably slightly regressed from his rookie standard. I think the changes in the league have hurt him, too. He's a physical SG who likes to get to the rim. Teams have become better at packing the paint and defending that sort of player when he doesn't have a jumper. Evans never developed an outside shot. Meanwhile, more and more smart coaches and GMs are designing offenses around 3s, which has left him on the scrap heap.

Another factor was that his type of play was en vogue when he was a rookie because Lebron was bludgeoning teams with one-on-five drives to the basket. Of course, only Lebron could do that efficiently and even he had to add many other weapons to his arsenal. The optics made Evans look more promising than he was, though.
   106. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: March 03, 2017 at 05:11 PM (#5412453)
Also, Evans is PREPOSTEROUSLY athletic, and that sort of athleticism buys a player more margin for error to develop secondary skills like passing and help defense. Except he never did.

FWIW, I still think there's a chance he could be an effective role player in a team where he could make some bread off of baseline cuts and secondary playmaking in a well-spaced floor; but once a team is good enough to fit a guy with Evans' skillset, why would they choose to sign him? There is always going to be someone cheaper and/or higher upside (if only due to youth) to fill that sort of role.
   107. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 03, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5412471)
Efficiency is really hard to capture with the eye test, he looked the part. A lot of young guys learn how to shoot, too. But not all.

I also think that even as recently as 7 years ago, teams weren't looking at efficiency the same way. And his TS% was .529, which isn't that bad for a 20 year old. He just hasn't improved.

I do still think he has a place in the NBA coming off the bench.
   108. maccoach57 Posted: March 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM (#5412485)
The mini-series will be awesome.

Jeanie Buss has thwarted an effort by her brothers, Jim and Johnny, to oust her as the Lakers president and controlling owner as the behind the scenes battle for control of the franchise moved into the courtroom.

Attorneys for Jeanie Buss sought a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday to prevent the brothers from holding a meeting next week to elect a new board of directors for the team. The brothers proposed four directors, according to court records, but didn’t include her. In order to be the controlling owner, she has to be a director.


http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-buss-lakers-20170303-story.html
   109. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 03, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5412491)
Jim Buss appears to be both a terrible basketball man and a bit of a bitçh to boot.
   110. JC in DC Posted: March 03, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5412492)
If Kurosawa were alive, he could direct this latest variation on Shakespeare.
   111. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: March 03, 2017 at 08:50 PM (#5412507)
LeBron is the MVP.
   112. STIGGLES don't want to talk about cracker barrel Posted: March 03, 2017 at 09:16 PM (#5412511)
   113. STIGGLES don't want to talk about cracker barrel Posted: March 03, 2017 at 09:43 PM (#5412521)
saric is doing things.
it's borderline pornographic.

21, 10 and 4 in 27 minutes. ho-hum.


that was a terrible, gut clenching win. how are these guys so bad at losing?
   114. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 03, 2017 at 10:02 PM (#5412526)
It's disturbing how much better Patty Mills is than Tony Parker.
   115. vagab0nd kills for candy Posted: March 03, 2017 at 10:04 PM (#5412527)
LeBron is the MVP.


related: kyrie dropped 43 on 21 shots and added in 9 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.
   116. Tin Angel Posted: March 03, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5412532)
LeBron is the MVP.


Probably. Though if I had to wager, I'd say Westbrook wins, with Harden second and LeBron third.
   117. Fourth True Outcome Posted: March 03, 2017 at 10:40 PM (#5412537)
I think you're right, but I also think that's the right three players but with the order backwards.
   118. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 04, 2017 at 12:02 AM (#5412551)
LeBron is the MVP.

LeBron is shooting 39.8% from 3 this year. Steph Curry is at 40.0, Klay Thompson is at 40.7, and Durant is at 37.8%.

He's the best player, doesn't matter who ends up with the MVP.
   119. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 04, 2017 at 12:27 AM (#5412555)
Doesn't Kawhi Leonard have to be in the conversation?
   120. Fourth True Outcome Posted: March 04, 2017 at 12:45 AM (#5412558)
   121. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 04, 2017 at 12:57 AM (#5412559)
It's disturbing how much better Patty Mills is than Tony Parker.


It's hard to believe, but Tony Parker is in his 16th NBA season and only 7 active players have played more minutes than him. It shouldn't be surprising that someone 6 years younger is now playing better than him.
   122. STIGGLES don't want to talk about cracker barrel Posted: March 04, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5412604)
saric in his last 11 games:
18.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 48/28/80

saric in his first 50:
9.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 38/32/77
   123. Booey Posted: March 04, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5412610)
I'll stick with what I said pre-season; Russell Westbrook won't get MVP cuz the Thunder won't win enough games. There hasn't been an MVP on a sub 50 win team since Moses Malone in 1982 (46-36 for the Rockets). In fact, there's only been 2 since then with fewer than 55 team wins (Jordan with 50 in 1988 and Nash with 54 in 2006). Yes, averaging a triple double is special, but I still see his season as being similar to Kobe's in 2006. If Mamba couldn't win MVP averaging 35 a game cuz the Lakers went just 45-37, then I don't think a triple double for a sub 50 win OKC team will be enough either.

LeBron would get my vote, but I think Harden wins; leading the league in assists while averaging 28.8 pts and 8 rebs for a surprise contender without any other all stars (and jumping from 41 wins and an 8th seed to 55-ish and a 3rd seed despite losing a supposed star in Howard).
   124. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 04, 2017 at 01:01 PM (#5412634)
I think Harden will win it as well.
   125. tshipman Posted: March 04, 2017 at 07:10 PM (#5412716)
LeBron would get my vote, but I think Harden wins; leading the league in assists while averaging 28.8 pts and 8 rebs for a surprise contender without any other all stars (and jumping from 41 wins and an 8th seed to 55-ish and a 3rd seed despite losing a supposed star in Howard).


I dunno, you could very easily make the case that the reason why the Rockets were 41-41 last year was because Harden decided he didn't give a #### about defense and sabotaged his coach.

I'm negative on Harden and Westbrook's cases because I think of it as being sideshow basketball.
   126. Booey Posted: March 04, 2017 at 08:17 PM (#5412737)
#125 - Yeah, but last year doesn't matter WRT to this years award. And I agree with your 2nd paragraph to a point, but the Rockets are actually good. The voters have to give someone credit for that, and Harden is the only obvious star on the team.

With Westbrook though, I think most voters do understand that it's easier to put up big individual numbers with insane usage on a bad or mediocre team. I don't think it's a coincidence that guys like Jordan and Kobe put up their personal highs during some of the least successful team seasons of their careers. Who else on those teams was going to take those shots?
   127. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 04, 2017 at 09:59 PM (#5412764)
Averaging a triple double, which nobody has come close to in decades, is different than scoring 35. If Westbrook does it I'd be stunned if he didn't win MVP.
   128. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 04, 2017 at 10:07 PM (#5412766)
You could make a lot of money knowing in advance which games LwBron was going to rest in.
   129. Booey Posted: March 04, 2017 at 10:27 PM (#5412772)
Averaging a triple double, which nobody has come close to in decades, is different than scoring 35. If Westbrook does it I'd be stunned if he didn't win MVP.


I'd still be willing to bet that he wouldn't. ;-)

I just don't see any evidence that the voters in recent years are moving away from the decades old mindset that the MVP must come from a title contender.
   130. Tin Angel Posted: March 04, 2017 at 10:27 PM (#5412773)
Karl-Anthony Towns' father reportedly mulling lawsuit against Timberwolves following mascot collision


The Crossover has learned that Karl Towns Sr.—the 54-year-old father of Timberwolves star center Karl–Anthony Towns Jr.—has been assessing the potential legal ramifications of a significant leg injury he suffered during the Timberwolves home game against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 26.

Towns Sr., who is a retired high school basketball coach, was injured during a timeout with 5:53 to go in the second quarter. The Timberwolves’ prophetically named mascot, Crunch, appeared to lose balance towards the end of a high-speed sledding stunt and hit an empty front row seat next to the aisle. That seat, in turn, crashed into the right knee of Towns Sr., who was sitting next to the empty seat. The elder Towns is now exploring potential legal options, including the possibility of suing his son’s team for negligence.
   131. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 04, 2017 at 11:27 PM (#5412788)
I am amused by this Spurs Wolves game. OT, after most of the game had a Wolves lead (but everyone knew the Spurs would come back). Leonard kind of had a brain fart at the end of the fourth - odd.
   132. Quaker Posted: March 05, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5412903)
Idk if that was a brain fart. I think he assumed he could beat Wiggins to the spot and rise up over him. When AW hung with him, Leonard had to re-gather, turn and fade, which he wasn't able to do before the clock expired. If anything, the airball he shot on an open 18 fter one or two possessions prior was more out character for Kawhi.
   133. King Mekong Posted: March 05, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5412982)
I think kawhi should be the front runner. The Spurs are going to win 60 games again this season and he's the only top 10 player on their team. He has the best o and drating. His usage is 31+ he's the alpha and omega of both the Spurs offense and defense. Plus he's been really clutch. I'd have been fine with Durant winning but with him out I think kawhi should be the winner.
   134. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 05, 2017 at 06:28 PM (#5412988)
Yeah, Chris Paul has also missed a lot of time and now Lowry is going to as well.

Leonard could sneak in an MVP here.

Someone made a good point on a Lowe podcast a month or so back regarding Curry winning the MVP over LeBron the last 2 years. The point was, just because LeBron is better doesn't mean he had a better regular season.

All that said, in terms of minutes played LeBron and Harden have clearly played more. Same with Westbrook. And their teams also rely even to a level well beyond the Spurs do on Leonard. I think I'd give it to one of Westbrook/LeBron/Harden. The difference in minutes/games played has to be considered.
   135. King Mekong Posted: March 05, 2017 at 07:15 PM (#5413003)
Yeah that makes sense. That's why I think that stats like win shares do a good job of dealing with rate vs counting in terms of the regular season. Kawhi is slightly behind Durant a a smudge behind harden but I think harden has to. E dinged more for d
   136. Booey Posted: March 05, 2017 at 09:02 PM (#5413023)
GOBERT!!!!!

Epic ending in Sacto. First time I can remember a last second review flat out overturning a victory like that. The announcers had already declared the Kings the winner and everything. Looking at the review it was the right call though. Hill's shot was well off to the right.
   137. theboyqueen Posted: March 05, 2017 at 11:40 PM (#5413077)
At one point, Gobert had something like 21 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 foul. A combination like that has to be really rare.
   138. theboyqueen Posted: March 05, 2017 at 11:47 PM (#5413078)
In a single game, from 1983-84 to 2016-17, in the regular season, requiring Personal Fouls = 0 and Total Rebounds >= 20, sorted by descending Blocks:

Rk            Player       Date TRB BLK PF PTS
1        Ben Wallace 2002
-03-27  20   8  0  12
2      Patrick Ewing 1992
-03-07  20   6  0  20
3     Andre Drummond 2015
-11-25  20   5  0  18
4      Dwight Howard 2010
-04-01  20   5  0  17
5       Marcus Camby 2007
-11-20  20   5  0  12
6        Ben Wallace 2006
-12-13  20   5  0  15
7      Dwight Howard 2011
-12-30  24   4  0  20
8    Dikembe Mutombo 2000
-02-18  25   4  0  12
9       Andrew Bynum 2011
-04-05  23   4  0  12
10        Tim Duncan 2004
-02-18  21   4  0  26 


Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/5/2017.
   139. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5413208)
If you ask Tim Duncan, though, he had many 20 rebound games where he didn't commit any fouls.
   140. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5413237)
If you ask Tim Duncan, though, he had many 20 rebound games where he didn't commit any fouls.

Seriously. That stretch in the mid-2000s when Duncan and really the entire Spurs team, Pop included, lost their minds about every foul call was very annoying. I think the Doc/Paul Clippers are the only modern comparison, and I'm not even sure they're as bad.
   141. Booey Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5413246)
If the b-ball HOF has face plaques the way the baseball HOF does, Timmy's eye bulge needs to be immortalized in bronze.
   142. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5413259)
MVP discussion: I'm persuaded by the Kawhi case more and more as the season progresses- they just shouldn't be as good as they are, and that's overwhelmingly due to him. I'd probably go Kawhi, then Harden and LeBron a distant second and third (I'm totally fine with the idea that LeBron is both the best player and not the regular season MVP in a given year- that doesn't seem complicated to me).

The Westbrook thing is fascinating and an incredible athletic achievement and occasionally fun to watch, but I'm not convinced the way he's playing is better for the team than an otherwise normal high usage season would be. 5.5 turnovers per game is terrible. 42% from the floor is terrible. (These critiques apply to Harden, too, but his team is going to win 57 or more games and get the 3 seed.)
   143. aberg Posted: March 06, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5413279)
I really don't know how to separate Kawhi, Lebron, Harden, and Westbrook. Durant was right in that group until he got hurt. It's going to be a tough year for the voters.
   144. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 06, 2017 at 12:42 PM (#5413297)
I really don't know how to separate Kawhi, Lebron, Harden, and Westbrook. Durant was right in that group until he got hurt. It's going to be a tough year for the voters.


When you are not sure then go for the best narrative. I suspect Harden and his "reinvention", not having won before, along with Houston winning many games will seal the deal. It is a different matter who deserves it, but if I had to guess I think Harden wins (though I wouldn't vote for him honestly, because I care about defense 100x more than Harden does).
   145. Tin Angel Posted: March 06, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5413310)
When you are not sure then go for the best narrative. I suspect Harden and his "reinvention", not having won before, along with Houston winning many games will seal the deal.


That's good but Westbrook doing something that hasn't been done since 1962 trumps it, in my opinion. Though I can't stand Harden and his game.
   146. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: March 06, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5413343)
I really don't know how to separate Kawhi, Lebron, Harden, and Westbrook. Durant was right in that group until he got hurt. It's going to be a tough year for the voters.


I feel like AVERAGE A TRIPLE DOUBLE is going to be the deciding factor, rightly or wrongly.
   147. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 06, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5413358)
That's good but Westbrook doing something that hasn't been done since 1962 trumps it, in my opinion. Though I can't stand Harden and his game.


I heard some national guy on the radio (don't remember exactly who) and he was in love with the Harden narrative. That said I think the triple double story might win.
   148. theboyqueen Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5413365)
I think it's between Harden and Lebron. Those two teams are simply unimaginable without them. They are the two best playmakers in the league, in systems designed entirely around that reality. I would probably give it to Lebron but the havoc Harden is leading is pretty unreal.

Kawhi and Westbrook are more similar to each other. They just thoroughly dominate games by themselves, and at least this year for both it's out of necessity.

I think Draymond is the most valuable Warrior in their current incarnation.
   149. Booey Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:07 PM (#5413366)
I'm still in the "wins trump narrative for NBA voters" camp.
   150. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5413368)
I think it's got to be Lebron. He's the best player in the NBA, period, and playing a ton of minutes for the team that looks like the team to repeat for the championship. F averaging a triple double. Does anyone think he couldn't average 30ppg/12rpg/10apg if he wanted to? Of course he could. All he does is make every role player on that team look like more than that, and defend almost every position on the court, for about 35 mins a game.
   151. Tin Angel Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5413373)
F averaging a triple double. Does anyone think he couldn't average 30ppg/12rpg/10apg if he wanted to? Of course he could.


I'm sure LeBron could, but Charles Barkley the other night was somehow trying to explain that he thought averaging a triple double was at times bad for Westbrook/the Thunder, and brought up Jordan as someone who could've averaged a triple double if he wanted to. I don't really get it because what is Westbrook supposed to do less of that he's doing 'too much' of now? Scoring too much? Passing too much? Rebounding too much? Would the Thunder somehow be better if he didn't touch the ball on offense or rebound?
   152. aberg Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:35 PM (#5413375)
Even with the narrative elements, there is plenty to go around.

Westbrook lost Durant and took his game to another level. He's meeting a significant statistical marker that hasn't been reached in 50 years and most analysts thought could not be reached in the modern NBA. He has taken a cast of role players (at best) to a surefire playoff team even though it looked like they'd struggle to reach .500 going into the year. A guy like that has to win MVP.

Harden looks he like unlocked a video game cheat code and has blown by all expectations for his team. He has basically doubled his career assist output and somehow become an even more efficient scorer. Nash won two MVPs as the conductor of D'Antoni's offense and Harden is even better at it. The team replaced Dwight Howard (who is still pretty good!) with Pelicans cast-offs and is going to finish 3rd in a tough conference. A guy like that has to win MVP.

Lebron proved in last year's Finals that everyone else is just a pretender to the throne. He has come back and eschewed rest and minutes restrictions to carry an injury-plagued team back to the top of an improved conference. He's averaging 26-8-9 and shooting 54% from the field. He leads what might be the best team in the NBA despite losing their 2nd best player to knee surgery, their starting SG to thumb surgery, and two key rotation players from last year's team to free agency. Every time you watch him play, he does something that nobody else in the world can do. A guy like that has to win MVP.

Kawhi has done the impossible and not only kept the Spurs rolling after Duncan's retirement- they might be even better. He doesn't have the playmaking of a prime Lebron, but he shoots at least as well and plays much better defense. In fact, he's the type of generational defender who can completely alter a game without scoring. That's not a problem, though, because he happens to be one of the leading scorers in the league. They have nearly kept pace with GS's 4 all-stars despite Leonard being their only all-star. A guy like that has to win MVP.
   153. theboyqueen Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5413378)
I don't really get it because what is Westbrook supposed to do less of that he's doing 'too much' of now? Scoring too much? Passing too much? Rebounding too much? Would the Thunder somehow be better if he didn't touch the ball on offense or rebound?


This gets me too. People talk about his "phony" defensive rebounds but what is the difference between him taking the board and leading the break the other way and Steven Adams taking the board and passing it to Westbrook to do the same thing? The former is a more efficient, failsafe tactic, if anything. It's not like he's gunning for offensive rebounds and not getting back on defense (he has fewer offensive rebounds than Tony Allen!).

The difference is Westbrook only seems to know one way to play. He would not be a good fit trying to fill Harden or Lebron's role on Houston or Cleveland, for example.

High usage, ball dominant guys like Cousins or Westbrook or Carmelo who only have one way to play are very entertaining and will put up massive stats and can help you win games, but they do hamstring your organizational potential as pretty much your entire system has to revolve around their skills. This is not true of guys like Curry, Durant, Lebron, Harden, Kawhi, Paul, Draymond, etc. who are adaptable (and unselfish enough) to work in just about any kind of system.
   154. aberg Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5413379)
I'm sure LeBron could, but Charles Barkley the other night was somehow trying to explain that he thought averaging a triple double was at times bad for Westbrook/the Thunder, and brought up Jordan as someone who could've averaged a triple double if he wanted to. I don't really get it because what is Westbrook supposed to do less of that he's doing 'too much' of now? Scoring too much? Passing too much? Rebounding too much? Would the Thunder somehow be better if he didn't touch the ball on offense or rebound?


The general argument against statistical accomplishments is that guys can sometimes make an effort to go for a specific stat. The prime example is Ricky Davis throwing the ball off his own backboard to get a rebound toward his triple double. In Westbrook's case, it would probably look like going for offensive rebounds when he should get back in transition defense, or passing up good shots because he needs the assist numbers. To his credit, I have basically never seen him do that, except that he has pretty much always crashed the offensive glass more than most PGs.
   155. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5413383)
Westbrook is averaging nearly 8 TOs per 100 possessions; he's shooting 42% to LBJ's 53%; he's shooting worse on threes than LBJ. Don't misunderstand: he's an incredible athlete, doing an incredible thing. But, if you switch LBJ and Westbrook, who's more likely to lead their team to the finals, and why? I think the answer is clear. One guy makes everyone around him great, and carries his team into the late playoffs (at least) every year. The other guy is pursuing an incredible statistical accomplishment. He's amazing. He's not as valuable as the former guy. IMJ.
   156. Tin Angel Posted: March 06, 2017 at 02:57 PM (#5413386)
The other guy is pursuing an incredible statistical accomplishment. He's amazing. He's not as valuable as the former guy. IMJ.


I just don't feel Westbrook is pursuing a statistical accomplishment- I think it's happening naturally with how he plays. LBJ is clearly better (with better players around him) but that gets into the whole argument of how the MVP is decided. If it was just the best player, LeBron should have won the past 10+ years straight.
   157. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:09 PM (#5413394)
I'm still in the "wins trump narrative for NBA voters" camp.


Wins are part of the narrative. Though that may be cheating.

Even with the narrative elements, there is plenty to go around.


Yes but ... the LeBron narrative is a rerun and Leonard is not as exciting as Harden and Westbrook (Spurs are boring, it is like their calling card, even when they are exciting they are boring, but boring in a good way).
   158. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5413404)
The Thunder do completely collapse when Westbrook is on the bench. He has to do what he's doing to keep them competitive. Does it hurt his efficiency that the team/system requires him to do everything? Certainly, but I don't think he's being "selfish" or chasing stats.


Kawhi has done the impossible and not only kept the Spurs rolling after Duncan's retirement- they might be even better. He doesn't have the playmaking of a prime Lebron, but he shoots at least as well and plays much better defense.


LeBron is shooting significantly better than Kawhi from the field this year.
   159. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:39 PM (#5413415)
I remember after the Bulls beat the Suns in the 1993 Finals, someone asked Phil Jackson about Barkley's having won MVP over Jordan that year. Jackson's answer was, "Michael is the MVP. Everybody knows that."

Part of me is there on James, even though Westbrook and Harden are actually beating James in PER and VORP right now, and Harden is ahead of James on WS48. James IMO does the most of anybody on both sides of the basketball to help his team win games, but I think he does coast some now, and he takes nights off (and to be clear, he should). So, while I am confident that James is still the best basketball player on the planet, I think you can make an argument that Harden and Westbrook (and maybe Leonard) have provided more aggregate on-floor value for their teams than James has. If I had a vote, I would vote for James.
   160. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5413420)
I don't really get it because what is Westbrook supposed to do less of that he's doing 'too much' of now? Scoring too much? Passing too much? Rebounding too much? Would the Thunder somehow be better if he didn't touch the ball on offense or rebound?

42% from the floor is really, really bad. 5.5 turnovers per game is really, really bad. There's this idea that seems to only apply specifically to Westbrook that he can't possibly be doing anything differently than he's doing it. It came up over and over in the playoffs last year as he shot under 40% against Golden State, closing out the series going 11-28, 10-27, and 7-21. There was a point last year (this may have changed given a slight uptick in his % this year) where he was the single worst 3 pt shooter in league history (given X number of attempts). But no no, the only possible way for Westbrook and the Thunder to succeed is for him to take whatever shot he wants at any given moment.
   161. Tin Angel Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5413429)
But no no, the only possible way for Westbrook and the Thunder to succeed is for him to take whatever shot he wants at any given moment.


He does take some bad shots (like pretty much everyone), but again- he's third in the league in assists. Does Oladipo really need more shots?
   162. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 03:55 PM (#5413435)
Current TOV%:

Westbrook: 15.9
Harden: 19.8
James: 16.7

One area in which Westbrook is not on the same level as these guys is TS%--he is at .546, in large part because as noted he is not good from the arc. I think the main criticism of his game is that he should shoot fewer 3s-maybe 4-5 a game instead of 7. Other than that, if I coached him, I would tell him to keep doing his thing.

Posts 160 and 153 are perfect examples of what I was saying earlier this year about many Westbrook conversations now being very similar to Kobe Bryant conversations from a decade ago, and the current OKC team is similar in many ways to the post-Shaq/pre-Pau low-playoff seeds Lakers squads. Bryant's highest single-season USG ever was 38.7 ten years ago. Westbrook is at 42.1 as of today.
   163. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5413445)
but again- he's third in the league in assists.

He also laps the field in Hollinger's Usage rate, which includes assists. 2nd place is as close to 22nd as it is to 1st. These things are not unrelated.
   164. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:10 PM (#5413446)

42% from the floor is really, really bad. 5.5 turnovers per game is really, really bad. There's this idea that seems to only apply specifically to Westbrook that he can't possibly be doing anything differently than he's doing it. It came up over and over in the playoffs last year as he shot under 40% against Golden State, closing out the series going 11-28, 10-27, and 7-21. There was a point last year (this may have changed given a slight uptick in his % this year) where he was the single worst 3 pt shooter in league history (given X number of attempts). But no no, the only possible way for Westbrook and the Thunder to succeed is for him to take whatever shot he wants at any given moment.


I think his defenders aren't saying that, it's more that that you take the bad with the good given how he plays and he's an awesome force on offense even still.

Harden's AST% and TO% are pretty similar to Westbrook. Westbrook's is actually better. LeBron's turnover rate isn't much better, and in fact if you look at TO% Westbrook is better. And despite LeBron being a better passer than Westbrook (IMO), Westbrook's AST% is way, way better. Some of that is he has the ball in his hands more, but LeBron also has way better shooters around him.

Westbrook doesn't look great doing it because of how he scores his points, but fact is he gets to the free throw line enough (deservedly) and makes those at a very high level that he is capable of pretty much sitting around a .54-.55 TS% regardless of usage.

I do think their team would probably be better off with Westbrook dialed back a bit and giving someone else, like Oladipo a bit more rope to do his own thing. But, I think we're talking on the margins.
   165. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5413448)
Part of me is there on James, even though Westbrook and Harden are actually beating James in PER and VORP right now, and Harden is ahead of James on WS48. James IMO does the most of anybody on both sides of the basketball to help his team win games, but I think he does coast some now, and he takes nights off (and to be clear, he should). So, while I am confident that James is still the best basketball player on the planet, I think you can make an argument that Harden and Westbrook (and maybe Leonard) have provided more aggregate on-floor value for their teams than James has. If I had a vote, I would vote for James.

I agree with this.

That said, I don't feel like I remember LeBron coasting as much this year as he had the last few.
   166. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5413450)
Westbrook conversations now being very similar to Kobe Bryant conversations from a decade ago

It reminds me more of Iverson. Westbrook is much better, of course, but I think they're probably equally difficult to build good teams around.
   167. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5413453)
I do think their team would probably be better off with Westbrook dialed back a bit and giving someone else, like Oladipo a bit more rope to do his own thing. But, I think we're talking on the margins.

So this is another thing I'll argue about: OKC isn't particularly good? Pythag of 31-32. 18th best ORtg. Winning record, 7th place, absolutely (and I did not expect them to be in the playoffs, so I clearly got that wrong), but in a conference where the bottom is much worse than expected (no one below them has a winning record).

(I actually really like Westbrook, contrary to how my posts might read, as I liked Iverson. I just find the conversation frustrating.)
   168. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:39 PM (#5413454)
The single season NBA record for turnovers is 374, set by Harden last year. He's on pace for 472 as he has 363 with eleven games to go. Westbrook is on pace for 448.
(If Wall plays the rest of the year, he'd be on target for the next most - 342.)
   169. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5413455)
How is TOV%, as opposed to TO/100 possessions, computed?

I think I'm more with jmurph. There's something odd about the conversation about Westbrook either being slotted into a Kobe framework I've never had any stake in (long-time pro Kobe guy, as you know, rr), or just conceding his team would not be better if they worked the ball around to a more open man (and thus distributed assists more evenly). The ball is in this guy's hands a lot. He makes a lot of TOs. A significant percentage of his team's possessions end in his TO. Somehow, SA, for instance, uses ball movement to turn Fatso Frenchie Diaw into a useful player, but OKC can't do that with their marginal pros?

Answer my question, Russell defenders: If you switch Westbrook and LBJ, which team is better off, OKC, or Cleveland?
   170. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5413457)
Answer my question, Russell defenders: If you switch Westbrook and LBJ, which team is better off, OKC, or Cleveland?

Well in fairness I think even Westbrook's biggest fan would concede LeBron is the best player in the game...

   171. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5413461)
Answer my question, Russell defenders: If you switch Westbrook and LBJ, which team is better off, OKC, or Cleveland?

OKC of course.

But I'm not sure the answer is the same with Westbrook and Harden, for instance. I mean, what would Westbrook's assist totals look like if he had 3 drop dead shooters surrounding him at all times?

I think there's a level of commentary here and elsewhere that you can't build a real team with him, or you can't be a contender with him as your focal point. I don't think that's true.
   172. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:57 PM (#5413467)
Westbrook is entertaining as hell. I think right now Giannis is the only guy in the league who's as fun to watch--and if you buy the advanced stats Giannis is already a superstar, but Westbrook is carrying what seems to me a similarly weak supporting cast to a much better season. I love watching Westbrook play because of the "holy ####\" factor and the fact he's batshit insane, but if I had a favorite NBA team I would much rather have LeBron or Kawhi leading it than Westbrook. I've never seen a guy lunge and intercept passes thrown by one of his teammates intended for another of his teammates and commit fouls against much bigger teammates challenging them for rebounds before.

Oh, and Ichiro could average 30/12/10 if he wanted to.
   173. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: March 06, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5413468)
Lot easier for guards to get rebounds in the modern NBA when there aren't as many big guys and most of them play out on the floor.

And PGs have the ball in their hands way more now with the collapse of the two-guard front and the ascension of the pick-and-roll. Which is why you get the massive USG numbers of people like Westbrook.

So I see no real reason to get all excited about the triple double thing. The Thunder are a .500 Pythag team, the guy's shooting 42%, and he turns the ball over all the time (which to be fair is related to having the ball in his hands more.) Just not coming close to seeing him as MVP.
   174. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:23 PM (#5413483)
Answer my question, Russell defenders: If you switch Westbrook and LBJ, which team is better off, OKC, or Cleveland?


I don't think that is the argument. James is one of the 3 or 4 best players in history; Westbrook isn't. Also, I don't think that is a great way to frame the question. If Cleveland had Westbrook, they would probably trade Irving.

But the issue for me are posts like 153, 160, and 173, which, IMO, frame the stats and narrative in ways that diminish Westbrook's game, in large part IMO because a lot of people get twitchy about guys whom they see as shooting too much. SBB, for example, cherry-picks Westbrook's most negative stats, and makes no mention whatsoever of anybody else on the OKC roster, or of how OKC is being coached. For years I heard that Kobe was messing up Bynum, screwing Odom, wrecking the team with his gunning. It was crap; the team just wasn't that good until they got Pau without trading Bynum or Odom.

Westbrook at the moment is leading the NBA in PER and VORP. He is 14th in WS/48, but James is 9th, behind, among others, Isaiah Thomas and Nikola Jokic, which is a good reminder that no one stat gives us a complete picture. OKC lost Kevin Durant, who is one of the five best players in the NBA and one of the greatest forwards ever, uncompensated, and thanks in very large part to Westbrook, they still have a pretty decent team. I think that it is very questionable to suggest that he and OKC would be doing even better if Westbrook were a different kind of player.

   175. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:33 PM (#5413489)
frame the stats and narrative in ways that diminish Westbrook's game, in large part IMO because a lot of people get twitchy about guys whom they see as shooting too much.

Missing too much. For the record.

So I guess my question in response, RR, is: do you think Westbrook is the MVP this year? Or among the top 5 players in the league (making the distinction between best player in the league and player having the best season, a la the LeBron question)? Best point guard? For everything negative I've said, I'd probably put him at 4th ish in the MVP this year, and I'd say no on top 5 player in the league, and I'd put him comfortably behind Paul and Curry in the PG category (and possibly Lowry, and maybe Harden if we're counting him as a PG, Wall would also be in the discussion...). It's not like I'm trying to make the case he's a bad player.
   176. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5413491)
I don't think that is the argument. James is one of the 3 or 4 best players in history; Westbrook isn't. Also, I don't think that is a great way to frame the question. If Cleveland had Westbrook, they would probably trade Irving.


I think it IS the argument. "Westbrook isn't as good as he" is an odd way to argue against LBJ being the MVP.
   177. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5413493)
but OKC can't do that with their marginal pros
?

Not sure which guys you are talking about. Kanter, Roberson, Morrow, and Adams are all holdovers. Roberson and Morrow's TS%'s are down post-Durant, but I think you could argue that that is either

a) Random
or
b) Because Durant is gone and he preoccupied the D.

Kanter and Adams have both been pretty much the same guys they were. Oladipo's TS % is .537 playing with Westbrook; it was .534 in Orlando. His USG has dropped from 22.9 to 21.0. His AST% has dropped way off which has hurt his PER, but he is pretty much the same guy, too, except for VORP. His WS48 was .099 in Orlando; it is .093 now. I used to hear that Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza would bust out once they got away from Kobe, and Ariza actually went to Houston the first time back in the summer of 2009 in large part to get more shots, but what actually happened was that he dropped off in many key metrics when his USG spiked.

If you are arguing that OKC would be better off if Westrbrook cut his USG to about 36 from 42, you might be right. But I think that is speculative, and I am not sure that I see a lot of evidence to make me think so.

   178. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5413496)
I think it IS the argument. "Westbrook isn't as good as he" is an odd way to argue against LBJ being the MVP.


Considering that I said on this page that I would vote for James myself, I am probably the wrong guy to go this route with. But again: Westbrook is beating James in a few key metrics, and he doesn't sit out games like James does (and again, should). So, no, Westbrook is not better than James in some Platonic sense of basketball greatness. That's obvious. Neither is Harden, Durant, Curry, or Leonard. But I do think you can make an argument that Westbrook has provided as much aggregate value to his team as anyone in the NBA has this year, even with the low shooting percentage.

One last stat:

Box Plus/Minus

1. Russell Westbrook • OKC 14.3
2. James Harden • HOU 10.0
3. Chris Paul • LAC 8.9
4. Nikola Jokic • DEN 8.2
5. LeBron James • CLE 8.1

   179. No, TFTIO is the puppet Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:47 PM (#5413497)
All of these MVP debates hinge on semantics. I have no dog in the fight, but I do like watching Westbrook play a lot more than Harden, so he'd have my vote.
   180. jmurph Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:49 PM (#5413499)
but I do like watching Westbrook play a lot more than Harden, so he'd have my vote.

On this, we can agree. I do not enjoy Harden's game at all (as effective as it is).
   181. No, TFTIO is the puppet Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5413503)
Harden is the modern equivalent of Pat Riley's cynical antibasketball, in that he uses his skill to exploit loopholes in a way that is effective but an aesthetic trainwreck. I suppose I'm glad Houston exists, in the abstract, but I avoid watching their games as much as possible.
   182. maccoach57 Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:56 PM (#5413504)
Or among the top 5 players in the league (making the distinction between best player in the league and player having the best season, a la the LeBron question)? Best point guard?


I think he is the best point guard for OKC's current needs, probably, yes. Sure, it is possible that Kanter and Adams would jack up their numbers if Paul were feeding them, but it is also possible that they wouldn't, and the team would be worse off overall with Paul's lower USG. Plus/Minus has noise, like all stats, but I think it is harder to argue against Westbrook's season in team terms when he is blowing out the NBA in that category. OKC basically has no one, other than Westbrook and I suppose, arguably, Oladipo, who can drive an offense or create shots.
   183. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:57 PM (#5413505)
My comments were more aimed at putting Westbrook's game and the triple double thing in context. He's clearly not the best player in the game, which to me makes the MVP vote a pretty meaningless parlor game. If the voters want to call him the MVP this year, I certainly won't be offended, but then again when we're looking back on this season in 2037, it won't mean much that they did.
   184. Eddo Posted: March 06, 2017 at 05:59 PM (#5413507)
How is TOV%, as opposed to TO/100 possessions, computed?

TO/100 possessions is, I believe the raw number of turnovers committed for every 100 possessions a player is on the court. Whereas TOV% is essentially turnovers divided by possessions used (FGA + 0.44*FTA + TOV).

Compare a high-usage guy to a low-usage guy:

Westbrook - TOV%: 15.9; TO/100: 7.7 (USG%: 42.1)
D. Jordan - TOV%: 14.7; TO/100: 2.5 (USG%: 15.2)
   185. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: March 06, 2017 at 06:37 PM (#5413525)
Not sure how I would rank Westbrook, Harden, LeBron, and Kawhi right now. Probably leaning toward Kawhi but could be persuaded otherwise. They seem like the only 4 candidates considering the injuries to Durant and CP3, at least barring something miraculous down the stretch. By Simple Rating, the other potential contenders would be Butler, Giannis, Anthony Davis, Steph, Wall, and Jokic, though none of them have gained much traction in the media. If the Wizards finish with 50+ wins and the #2 seed I suppose Wall could belatedly enter the conversation, though there's really no chance of him winning. And the Wizards play 15 of their last 21 on the road (including 2 separate West Coast trips), so the odds of that happening are slim to none.

LeBron is shooting significantly better than Kawhi from the field this year.

Along the same lines, Andre Drummond shoots better from the field than Marc Gasol.
   186. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 06, 2017 at 06:54 PM (#5413533)
In terms of value to their team... I really do think there is a be all end all. The Cavs are something like a .250 team over the last 2+ years while LeBron sits (and, of course, were putrid in the interregnum), and like a .750 team when he plays (this was true as of the start of this season and from memory it's played out like that this season also, including a big drubbing at the hands of the Heat recently).

Turning what would be the second worst team in the league (saved from worst only by the Nets' buffoonery) into a championship contender pretty much says it all as far as deserving the MVP.
   187. covelli chris p Posted: March 06, 2017 at 07:17 PM (#5413539)
lebron is obviously the best player in the league and has been for years. maybe they should just rename it "the lebron james award" and give it to somebody else every year. when there's a new player at that level, they can rename it again and give it to somebody else every year?
   188. No, TFTIO is the puppet Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:02 PM (#5413545)
"Condensation on the floor"? Dammit, Target Center.
   189. No, TFTIO is the puppet Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5413548)
Also, WTF has gotten into Dion Waiters?
   190. theboyqueen Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:18 PM (#5413551)
Are people who dislike Harden's aesthetics talking about this year? I would have agreed the last couple years, but this year he is taking Steve Nash type play to another level. He's been about as entertaining as they come (at least, if you like passing).
   191. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:34 PM (#5413556)
I was just about to ask if I was the only one who actually enjoys Harden's game. His passing and shooting are brilliant, his handle, balance, and timing are extremely sharp—I even think the way he independently navigates his torso and the ball through the thicket of arms and bodies a defense presents so as to (1) get all the way to a viable shot at the rim, (2) ideally through some defender's outstretched arm is really beautiful and creative spatial problem-solving.

I do realize most people who hate him do so not because they miss that last point, but because their distaste for trying to draw fouls outweighs any appreciation for the skill and intelligence with which Harden does it. My mileage varies.
   192. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:37 PM (#5413557)
I also enjoy watching Harden. Can't stand watching Westbrook play.
   193. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: March 06, 2017 at 08:55 PM (#5413560)

I do realize most people who hate him do so not because they miss that last point, but because their distaste for trying to draw fouls outweighs any appreciation for the skill and intelligence with which Harden does it.


Don't know about most people, but yes, guilty as charged. I appreciate that Harden is a wizard at what he does, but I detest trying to draw foul calls as a strategy--as opposed to trying to score and frequently getting fouled being a byproduct of that--and detest Harden for raising it to an art form.

It IS a sound strategy, though, and Harden is one of the best players in the NBA in large part because he is so good at it.

My tastes are consistent across all sports in this matter. NFL players throwing the ball deep hoping for a 40 yard pass interference penalty is good strategy and I hate it; hockey players taking dives to try to draw penalties is good strategy and I hate it.
   194. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 06, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5413569)
Along the same lines, Andre Drummond shoots better from the field than Marc Gasol.

LeBron is shooting better than Kawhi from 3-point range this year, although Kawhi is taking 0.7 more threes per game. Kawhi is an excellent free throw shooter, which is an area that LeBron is somewhat pedestrian.
   195. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 06, 2017 at 09:19 PM (#5413571)
Well that went well ... Andrew Bogut fractures left tibia in debut with Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Bogut didn't make it through one minute of his debut with the Cavaliers.

The team's new center broke his left leg in the second quarter and had to be assisted off the floor and to Cleveland's locker room. The 7-footer could not put any weight on his leg as he was helped by new teammates James Jones and Tristan Thompson, who moments earlier had cheered along with fans in Quicken Loans Arena when Bogut checked in for the first time.

The Cavs said initial X-rays revealed a fractured left tibia. Bogut is at the Cleveland Clinic undergoing further tests.
   196. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 09:39 PM (#5413575)
I agree on Harden. I said it earlier this year: the guy has been phenomenal. I was banging the drum against him last year, and he's transformed beautifully under D'Antoni, who, by the way, I love.
   197. tshipman Posted: March 06, 2017 at 09:39 PM (#5413576)


I just don't feel Westbrook is pursuing a statistical accomplishment- I think it's happening naturally with how he plays. LBJ is clearly better (with better players around him) but that gets into the whole argument of how the MVP is decided. If it was just the best player, LeBron should have won the past 10+ years straight.


The bigs on OKC box out for Westbrook, who grabs the highest percentage of uncontested rebounds in the league.

The averaging a triple double thing is a phony stat. Him grabbing all the discretionary rebounds doesn't make him a better player. I think that base ten counting is really derailing people.

I do realize most people who hate him do so not because they miss that last point, but because their distaste for trying to draw fouls outweighs any appreciation for the skill and intelligence with which Harden does it.


I also disliked the "rip through" era of Kevin Durant.
   198. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 06, 2017 at 09:46 PM (#5413579)
their distaste for trying to draw fouls outweighs any appreciation for the skill and intelligence with which Harden does it.


This describes everybody. Though many people like Harden despite the negative attribute that is his constant foul-baiting. Like Reggie Miller back in his era.
   199. JC in DC Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:03 PM (#5413582)
Harden's 12/14 from the floor tonight. He's 3/3 from the line. He's got 32 points and 10 assists.
   200. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:54 PM (#5413597)
Harden's 12/14 from the floor tonight. He's 3/3 from the line. He's got 32 points and 10 assists.


And that other guy hit the go-ahead three, blocked Harden on the next possession and hit two freebies to ice it. Kawhi ends up equaling Harden's 39 on similar shooting with 1 turnover to Harden's 7.
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