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Sunday, March 03, 2013

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 2013

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: hunting and apostrophes.

The District Attorney Posted: March 03, 2013 at 05:37 PM | 843 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   301. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4387047)
flip
   302. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4387051)
This reminds me of a certain other Big East alum, who the best player in history decided to draft with a lottery pick a couple years back...


There are some definite similarities between them. Walker had far better college PER ratings (somewhat driven by usage as their TS and eFG% were similar), plus he graded out as a much better athlete (5" vert advantage, must faster sprint). Walker has shown that he can play in the NBA already, so I think the comparison functions more as a compliment to Wright and a reminder that college systems can disguise individual playmaking ability at times.
   303. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 12, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4387058)
There's absolutely nothing interesting in these quotes from DRose to the media. Same old, same old.
   304. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4387102)
Zach Lowe had the best take on the Jazz I've seen:

On their inactivity at the deadline:
This is the most interesting franchise in the league right now, with dozens of different possibilities in front of it and a few franchise-defining mysteries to solve. And that doesn't even factor in the ultra-exciting four-team race for the last three Western Conference playoff spots, a race that Utah, with its porous defense and by far the toughest schedule among the four combatants, is likely to lose.

That would land Utah in the lottery, a place the Jazz and the Miller family, the team's longtime owners, would prefer to avoid. Winning matters in Utah, more than it does in most places. Snagging the no. 7 seed means something in Utah, even if it would likely result in a five-game dismissal.

...

The Jazz could have constructed a deal in which they dumped either Jefferson or Millsap for a token second-round pick. But remember: That is not the kind of in-season downgrade on which the Miller family has historically signed off, and Houston the day before the deadline snagged a very good second-round pick from Phoenix in exchange for a bench player in Marcus Morris. Utah simply would not give up a starter in exchange for the equivalent of Marcus Morris's trade return.

The Jazz probably weren't aggressive enough shopping Jefferson and (especially) Millsap ahead of last spring's draft, when multiple league sources insist they could have easily snagged a high first-round pick in that draft for Millsap. But it's unclear if that pick would have brought an unwanted contract along with it, and given the intriguing play of Andre Drummond and Terrence Ross, it's easy to forget that most league executives weren't very excited about picks outside the top six or seven guys.

...

• Utah wants a point guard. If the Jazz are going to take a poisonous salary attached to something they really want, that prize is going to be a lead ball handler. Had they found one, perhaps they'd have done something. But they didn't. The Millsap–for–Eric Bledsoe talks never got serious, per three sources close to the (non-)talks, and the trade market wasn't teeming with quality point guards beyond Bledsoe — especially since Utah can wait to spend in the offseason.



Defensive problems:
Utah is a very bad defensive team, and it's tempting to blame all of that on Jefferson. He's slow and has an astoundingly high failure rate when it comes to containing point guards on pick-and-rolls, to the point that Utah goes to crazy lengths to avoid having him help at all. This is the main reason Utah would be better served picking Millsap as a long-term piece over Jefferson. Millsap isn't a great defender either, and he's at a length disadvantage against skilled power forwards. But he's a steals machine with quick, smart feet and a rounded offensive game, and he'll likely earn less than Jefferson going forward.


...

We have almost a decade of evidence now that Jefferson's failings on defense outweigh his very real value on offense. His teams have generally been worse with him on the floor than with him on the bench, and that's been true on the defensive end in almost every season in which he's played meaningful minutes, per NBA.com and 82games.com.


Coaching problems:

The team is probably already playing Jefferson too much, which brings us back to Corbin. Here's a remarkable thing: Utah's five most-used lineups this season have been outscored. Ditto for 17 of its 18 most commonly used three-man groups, and usually by margins much larger than Utah's overall negative scoring margin.

Only two of the 80 teams that have qualified for the playoffs in the last five years have done so with their top five lineups being outscored: the 2008-09 Bulls, and … last year's Jazz. This is very strong evidence that Corbin is basically just playing the wrong guys and wrong combinations in the wrong minutes distribution. His better defenders and all-around guys — Favors, Kanter, DeMarre Carroll, Gordon Hayward, et al. — deserve a larger chunk of the time going to Jefferson, Mo Williams (now back from injury), and others. Lineup data can be pretty noisy over short sample sizes, but the noise is getting really loud at this point.

There's also the fact that Utah's defense plays with a weird lack of discipline and unclear, unproductive rules. That's partly on Corbin. Jefferson and Millsap are both slow, but Corbin's de facto strategy for defending the high pick-and-roll — the play that kills the Jazz5 — is to have the big man defending the screener jump out so that his body is positioned perpendicular to the baseline...

...

And that's the thing: There are no clear, consistent rules to Utah's defense. Sometimes the big men drop back. Sometimes they stick to the screener, allowing the point guard to blow by them, a stance that indicates they expect help to come from behind them. But there are possessions on which that notion appears to make little sense.

...

The Jazz's inability to contain pick-and-roll ball handlers opens up shots everywhere — in the lane, from the corners, and from elsewhere around the arc. Utah opponents get a lot of the highest-value shots in the game.

...

Not all of this is on Corbin, obviously. The Jazz have below-average defensive personnel, and young players are notoriously slow to grasp the rules of complex NBA defense. And bad defensive teams are often better off mixing up their base defensive strategies to at least introduce some unpredictability. But the Jazz's general lack of coherence is alarming and raises questions about Corbin's future after next season, when his contract is up. Not every team can be as maniacally rule-bound as Chicago, but when teams are prone to confusing breakdowns over a long period, it's time to ask some serious questions.


There's plenty more good stuff in there as well.

Like Lowe, I find the idea that Favors can't be a true center bewildering. I disagree with him on the inconsistency of Favors and Kanter's midrange jumpers; Favor is simply awful at any shot outside of about 5 feet, while Kanter has been well above average and looked great knocking down jumpers. I don't want the Jazz to give up on developing Favors' post game or jumpshot, but he doesn't look like he has any touch for either -- no range on his jumper and he loses sense of where the basket is when he has his back to the basket. He's been better off getting the ball in the post then turning to face the basket and using his quickness to get past his defender.

As for Kanter, David Locke compares his upside to Carlos Boozer on offense, which I can see based on how good he's looked drilling jumpers on pick and rolls. I don't know about his ability to finish with both hands at the basket like Boozer though, and Kanter already has a better low post game. Unlike Boozer, he's also actively defensively and though he still gets lost on rotations as Lowe points out, he's already improved significantly from last year.

Corbin simply has to go. Jazz are a mess defensively, and his best excuse for not getting more PT for the young players is negated by the fact that his most commonly used rotations have been so awful.

   305. smileyy Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4387106)
It strikes me that inconsistency is death to an NBA defense. If your help players can't know how to help, how can you get help D?

Consistency might mean being scoutable and beatable (without adjustments), but that's a playoff kind of thing, and the Jazz would do well to have that problem.
   306. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4387126)
Zach Lowe had the best take on the Jazz I've seen:
I had wondered about why they didn't move either Jefferson or Millsap. With all that said, they're still the 8th seed.

The Lakers have a nasty little road trip going on right now. Orlando tonight, Atlanta tomorrow, and then Indiana on Friday. This could be very easily be an 0-3 trip, and then Utah could once again be right where it was two weeks ago, in the 8th spot with the Lakers 2, 3 games out.
   307. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4387150)
The Lakers have a nasty little road trip going on right now. Orlando tonight, Atlanta tomorrow, and then Indiana on Friday. This could be very easily be an 0-3 trip, and then Utah could once again be right where it was two weeks ago, in the 8th spot with the Lakers 2, 3 games out.


I can see how the early part of the season would make you pessimistic, but it strikes me as extremely unlikely that they will go 0-3 on this trip as well as they are playing right now. They've had a positive point differential all year and they're +3.4 since the ASB.
   308. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4387178)
I should say that I don't expect them to go 0-3, but 1-2. They SHOULD beat Orlando, even on the road, but Atlanta on the back end of a back-to-back on the road is one of those "scheduled losses," and Indy IN Indy is a game only Miami, San Antoio, and OKC should expect to win.

The Orlando game is the easy one, but games on the road can be very unpredictable.
   309. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4387186)
And Utah's next five games: @OKC, vsMEM, vsNYK, @HOU, @SAS. I wouldn't favor the Jazz in any of those games.
   310. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 12, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4387203)
Oooooh, I hadn't realized what Utah was up against. That schedule could really leave a mark.
   311. robinred Posted: March 12, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4387207)
Kirk Goldsberry on Kobe Bryant's shot seclection:

LINK

This is an impressive run for Bryant. Over his past 10 games, he is averaging 32 points, seven assists, and six rebounds while shooting over 53 percent from the field. The Lakers are 8-2 during this stretch, and Kobe was just named Western Conference Player of the Week.

From an offensive perspective, Kobe is a better player than he was last season. Last year Kobe shot 43 percent from the field; this year he’s shooting 48 percent. This is a significant improvement, and as I frequently point out, these kinds of changes in field goal percentage usually have less to do with changes in shooting ability and more to do with changes in shot selection. This is certainly the case with Kobe

---

I think these numbers are probably connected in some ways to Nash and Howard, although I can't prove it.

As to Lakers/Utah for the 8th seed, I think the Lakers will probably (as in, say 60-40) get it now, but it is not the given that some in the MSM seem to think.

Lowe, Pelton, and Goldsberry are all very enjoyable analysts. Simmons and ESPN deserve credit for making them key parts of their coverage (although I have still not caved in and gotten Insider again, at least as of yet).
   312. Booey Posted: March 12, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4387257)
And Utah's next five games: @OKC, vsMEM, vsNYK, @HOU, @SAS. I wouldn't favor the Jazz in any of those games.

Oooooh, I hadn't realized what Utah was up against. That schedule could really leave a mark.


Yeah. The last glimmer of hope for Jazz fans is an 8 game stretch that starts after the killer 5 gamer from above. From March 24th thru April 5th, the Jazz play @DAL, vsPHI, vsPHX, @POR, vsBKN, vsPOR, vsDEN, and vsNOH. 6 of 8 at home, and only 2 of 8 against playoff teams (both at home). If Utah can go 7-1 or maybe 6-2 in that stretch, they might still have a shot (not seeing it, but it's remotely possible).

The other small silver lining is that as bad as the Jazz have played the last few weeks, HOU and GSW aren't exactly playing like world beaters themselves. Considering the Jazz lost 7 of 8 before yesterday, the distance between them and the Rockets/Warriors could've easily been greater.
   313. RollingWave Posted: March 12, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4387306)
I guess it isn't a huge surprise that Howard is playing his ass off against the Magics, well and the Magics too since the games' still pretty close. though even less surprisingly , Howard is already 12-23 at the line. in the 3rd quarter
   314. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 12, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4387315)
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. D12's jacked for this game, Orlando has no match-up for him, and the Lakers have been feeding him liberally. Nom nom nom. Good thing, since Bryant's terrible tonight. Afflalo has generally done about as terrific a defensive job against him as anyone has over the last two years, and he's doing it again tonight.
   315. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4387336)
Man, that's a lot of free throws for Howard.
   316. bob gee Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4387347)
*37* free throws for howard!?!?!?!?!?!

what's more amazing - that he has that many, or that he's made about 2/3 (23) of them?

2 minutes left in the game.

(edit: now 25/39, 1:50 to go. must be hack a dwight night?)
   317. Spivey Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4387366)
According to Wikipedia, Howard's 39 free throws attempted ties the NBA record, recorded about a year about by Dwight Howard.

Howard's still pretty amazing that he can be this good while clearly not being 100%.
   318. Spivey Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:57 PM (#4387370)
I'd have expected better from the Spurs than this effort tonight. Looks like Rubio is torching them.
   319. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4387375)
First career triple double for Rubio early in the 4th. Spurs playing like crap after leading 21-9 early. Wolves finally making shots.
   320. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4387376)
I wonder how hard the Spurs are going to go after homecourt advantage. It could play a huge role in a potential series against the Thunder and/or Heat.
   321. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4387384)
I'm going to go ahead and expect a 21-13-12 on >50% shooting from Rubio from now on.
   322. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4387386)
he was good tonight, but wtf has been wrong with shved?

charlotte over boston by 26.

on chris wrights: it's not that i liked the g'town one, i didn't like the dayton one.

wall was a 27/7/14 himself this evening.

hack-a-dwight didn't work tonight, huh.
   323. Srul Itza Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4387388)
I'd have expected better from the Spurs than this effort tonight.


Did you see who's playing? No Parker, no Duncan, no Leonard.
   324. Spivey Posted: March 12, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4387390)
Did you see who's playing? No Parker, no Duncan, no Leonard.


The lineup the Spurs ran out there is massively better than the Wolves lineup.

I wonder how hard the Spurs are going to go after homecourt advantage. It could play a huge role in a potential series against the Thunder and/or Heat.


It's important but not overly so. It's unclear how this is going to play out right now, so I don't think you can do anything about it... but I think there's value in trying to dodge the Lakers right now.
   325. robinred Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4387398)
The Andersen/Miami pickup reminds me a little bit of the 1997 Bulls picking up the late Brian Williams/Bison Dele, in what became the second run of a threepeat. Dele did much less in the regular season than Andersen has, but played 19 playoff games for Chicago, and had a 13.8 PER in those games, averaging 18 MPG. Hope that Birdman lives a longer and happier life than Bison did.
   326. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4387399)
he was good tonight, but wtf has been wrong with shved?


Don't know if the rookie wall is real, but it has seemed like he hit one. Teams have been more physical with him and his shooting form has been inconsistent (esp not setting feet). We knew he needed more bulk, so I hope hat helps address the problem. I remain optimistic about him in a way I wasn't about, say, Wes Johnson.

Also, as Spivey said, no Duncan, Parker, Leonard is probably not much worse than no Love, Pekovic, Kirilenko, Budinger (throw Roy in there for fun).
   327. robinred Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4387400)
The Andersen/Miami pickup reminds me a little bit of the 1997 Bulls picking up the late Brian Williams/Bison Dele, in what became the second run of a threepeat. Dele did much less in the regular season than Andersen has, but played 19 playoff games for Chicago, and had a 13.8 PER in those games, averaging 18 MPG. Hope that Birdman lives a longer and happier life than Bison did.
   328. robinred Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4387401)
Double-posted when I refreshed the page.
   329. andrewberg Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4387402)
That's a good comp, rr. Fuel on the fire in both cases.
   330. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4387412)
Going into tonight, the longest win streaks in the east were: Miami 18, Milwaukee 2. (From haberstroh)
No boat trips, birdman...
   331. Manny Coon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4387422)
Did you see who's playing? No Parker, no Duncan, no Leonard.


On the other hand Minnesota was with Love, Pekovic, Budinger and Kirilenko, so it was almost fair.
   332. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4387482)
Have been very impressed with how well Memphis has been playing. I have been thinking for a month that this is the week Denver can overtake them. Memphis has back-to-backs of POR-LAC, DEN-UTA. But thinking now that Denver may have a better chance of catching the Clippers. If the Grizz top LA tonight, Denver is one game behind in the loss column.
   333. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4387616)
The Andersen/Miami pickup reminds me a little bit of the 1997 Bulls picking up the late Brian Williams/Bison Dele, in what became the second run of a threepeat. Dele did much less in the regular season than Andersen has, but played 19 playoff games for Chicago, and had a 13.8 PER in those games, averaging 18 MPG. Hope that Birdman lives a longer and happier life than Bison did.

Agree. Although, I remember Dele being better offensively than that in my faulty memory. He had a bit of a post up game, which was unique to the MJ Bulls (at least from the big men).

It's important but not overly so. It's unclear how this is going to play out right now, so I don't think you can do anything about it... but I think there's value in trying to dodge the Lakers right now.

I knew I wasn't the only one who thought that.
   334. robinred Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4387643)
The games Miami needs to win to get to 34:

Tonight @ Philadelphia
Friday @ Milwaukee
Sun 17 @ Toronto
Mon 18 @ Boston
Wed 20 @ Cleveland
Fri 22 vs Detroit
Sun 24 vs Charlotte
Mon 25 @ Orlando
Wed 27 @ Chicago
Fri 29 @ New Orleans
Sun 31 @ San Antonio
Tue 2 vs New York
Fri 5 @ Charlotte
Sat 6 vs Philadelphia
Tue 9 vs Milwaukee

--

The players and Spoelstra may not care, but I would guess that Riley does.
   335. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4387647)
Of course you want to dodge the lakers. :)
I see dele as having more low post ability (and polish) but bird as a more instinctive athlete.
   336. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4387655)
I think MIL ends the streak on Friday. If they win that game, I think they have a "decent" shot at 34. Decent being relative.
   337. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4387689)
At San Antonio would be a tough one. If I had to bet money, I'd put it on that one.
   338. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4387716)
The games Miami needs to win to get to 34:

Only one game jumps out to me (@SA), but not sure if the Spurs will all be there. I wouldn't bet on them winning them all, but they're going to be favored it all of them...
   339. smileyy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4387766)
Am I out of touch with college talent, or does this year's NBA Draft look pretty barren? It might be that I assume that all shooting guards suck, because most do.

Edit: Maybe barren isn't the right way to put it. I think there's a lot of opportunity at a lot of places in the draft, for teams who know how to draft well.
   340. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4387834)
Am I out of touch with college talent, or does this year's NBA Draft look pretty barren? It might be that I assume that all shooting guards suck, because most do.


Yeah, last year there was quite a bit of depth IMO through like pick 20 or so, I don't see that this year. But Ben McLemore (the presumptive #2 pick if Noel is fine and goes #1) can really play, I think he is going to be a big star in a few years.
   341. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4387956)
i guess then the rockets picked a good year to have no 1st round pick.

Everyone goes tonight ...

Phx @ Hou : if Hou lose this one it's officially time to push the panic button, I doubt it though.

Det @ GWS : see above.

UTA @ OKC : when your 1 game out of the playoff spot, of course you want to play against the best team in the conference at their home court.

LAL @ ATL : Over and under on how many FT the Later shoot at 50 right?

Mem @ LAC : potentially important seeding game.
   342. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4387984)
Chi @ Sac - unwatchable.

---

20 in a row for the Heat. Philly put up a fight though.
   343. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:35 PM (#4387989)
I know it's OKC and all... but 28 points at half time? really Jazz?
   344. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4388002)
so far:

Houston turning it on tonight, and actually playing some serious D too (granted, it's the Suns.)

Utah : you know they weren't likely to to win this one... but the last thing you need in a close race is a loss of the ages...

Lakers lose.... against a Hawk team that didnt have Smith.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm






   345. bob gee Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4388007)
ugly kobe came back tonight. yup, rox playing solid defense and wonderful passing (even when they're not getting assists).
   346. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM (#4388009)
Lakers lose....
I believe I had that one. The Pacers cooked the Wolves tonight, and get LAL in two days. Hard to favor the Lakers in that one, too.
   347. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4388014)
Rockets finally figured out that if they can blow out half decent teams like Utah / GSW / Dallas they should be blowing out really bad teams more often then not.

Donatas Montejunas, after a couple crappy games again showed quite alot of intrigue today, he even played some good D. Thomas Robinson also played pretty well . though he still can't seem to finish effectively. 5-9 despite the fact that all but 1 attempt were dunk / layouts (and the jumper actually hit! 3-8 in layout / dunks is quite terrible. )
   348. andrewberg Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4388030)
Kobe out indefinitely with severely sprained ankle. The plot thickens.
   349. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4388037)
well that sucks... but it would be insanely interestingly to see what would happen if Nash runs the offense with Howard and hopefully Gasol as well.
   350. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4388040)
Chi @ Sac - unwatchable.


Kings actually playing better recently, they're killing the Bulls today despite of not having Cousins (leg injury?)

Patrick Patterson appear to be a good character fit for them it seems. and play wise, they obviously could use folks who actually shoot jumpers and not just chuck them.

He's even rebounding a bit better.

   351. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4388041)
Kings beating the Bulls by 30 at halftime.
   352. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4388045)
They're destroying them, 44:82 now.

The Houston guys they traded for is doing really really well this game. I'm a bit shocked that Cole Aldrich can do well against Jokim Noah.



   353. RollingWave Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:31 PM (#4388047)
Piston with a small lead on GSW around half... they REALLY can't lose this one. especially not when the Rockets won and the Jazz / Lakers lost.

Knicks continue their dismal play , losing to Denver by nearly 20 already
   354. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM (#4388056)
Looks like Tyson Chandler's 2.5 year run of health just came to a screeching halt. Thoroughly enjoying the Nuggets kicking the #### out of the Knicks.
   355. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4388057)
Kings actually playing better recently, they're killing the Bulls today despite of not having Cousins


Cousins not playing is probably a positive...
   356. PJ Martinez Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4388060)
Celtics and Bulls will be tied for the 5th seed in a few minutes (the teams split the season series). Both a couple games behind Brooklyn for homecourt in the first round.

FWIW, the Celtics have a pretty good homecourt record this year. Better than every team in the East except Miami and Indiana.
   357. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4388067)
The Knicks are exposing a weakness in the Nuggets at home - they don't play well with a 30 point lead...
   358. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4388070)
Suddenly...LAC is in danger of dropping to the 5th spot.
   359. RollingWave Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:12 AM (#4388079)
Cousins not playing is probably a positive...


Which is a huge problem, should the Kings just punt Cousins and build a team around Evans? with the pieces they have it's not hard to imagine them putting together a team that should at least have a good shot at sneaking in the playoffs. assuming they can get some decent pieces for Cousins.

But Cousins certainly give them a higher ceiling potential, but that ceiling is doing more dig a huge hole than not.

Clippers: wow... that would be a big problem as it gives Denver home court...
   360. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:16 AM (#4388080)
Line of the night on ESPN as the Nuggets kept pouring it on:
Jon Barry: I mean, wow, have you ever seen a team run like this?
Mike Breen: Yeah, the Nuggets last week.
   361. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:30 AM (#4388084)
Memphis is looking like the 3rd seed, and the Clippers only 1 game ahead in the loss column over Denver. Nuggets won the season series.
Down the stretch:
Clippers:
NY, @Sac/PHI, BKN, @DAL/@NO, @SAN/@HOU, IND, PHO, LAL, MIN, @NO/@MEM, POR/@SAC
8 Home, 8 Away
5 back-to-backs, 2 games with Memphis, San Antonio, OKC

Nuggets:
MEM, @CHI/@OKC, PHI, SAC, @NO, @SAN, BRK, @UTA/DAL, HOU, SAN, @DAL, POR/@MIL, PHOE
9 Home, 7 Away
3 back-to-backs, 4 games with Memphis, San Antonio, OKC
   362. steagles Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:41 AM (#4388088)
Which is a huge problem, should the Kings just punt Cousins and build a team around Evans? with the pieces they have it's not hard to imagine them putting together a team that should at least have a good shot at sneaking in the playoffs. assuming they can get some decent pieces for Cousins.

But Cousins certainly give them a higher ceiling potential, but that ceiling is doing more dig a huge hole than not.


i'm still crossing my fingers for cousins and evans to get traded to washington to reunite with wall and calipari and nerlens. is there anyone who wouldn't want to see that?
   363. Maxwn Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:48 AM (#4388089)
Man, if the Grizzlies could just somehow beat Denver in DEN on Friday, this would be the best week they've had in a while.

Also, I don't want to get too carried away with this, but OKC plays Memphis in Memphis next Wed. They probably don't want to be losing that game, cause they are actually only 2 up on MEM in the loss column right now. It probably won't matter, because for one thing, MEM could very well drop these next 2 @DEN, @UTA on Fri and Sat, but if I was the Thunder, I think I'd be trying to put this thing away sooner rather than later. The only teams hotter than the Grizzlies have been since the deadline is Miami and maybe Denver.

As others have said, stuck between the two hottest teams in the West is not a great place for LAC to be. I'm pretty sure that if either MEM or LAC lets DEN pass them for the 4, they will get beat in the 1st round. I think I'd rather play nearly anybody in round 1 than Denver with home court.
   364. tshipman Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:03 AM (#4388094)
I think I'd rather play nearly anybody in round 1 than Denver with home court.


Ehh ... the HC advantage for Denver is greatly lessened in the playoffs. No one's on the second night of a b2b in the playoffs, you know?
   365. robinred Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:23 AM (#4388103)
Terrible night for the Lakers. Didn't see the game.
   366. Mark S. is bored Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4388280)
Kobe out indefinitely with severely sprained ankle. The plot thickens.
And a cheer was heard from Phoenix as the possibility of a second lottery pick increases significantly.
   367. Manny Coon Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4388341)
Suddenly...LAC is in danger of dropping to the 5th spot.


Looks like I underestimated Del Negro's ability to screw things up, seriously Grant Hill at PF against the Grizzlies? But more than that Memphis and Denver are fire these days, dumping Rudy Gay looks like genius, save a bunch of money and make the team better at the same time.
   368. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4388360)
The 6th seed is not a bad spot for the bulls. Get to avoid maimi, though indiana would a big issue if they get the 3 seed
   369. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4388380)
The Bulls aren't in any sort of position to hope for a specific seed. They're not beating anyone in a series with the way they're playing now (this was true even before last night).

With injuries catching up to the Knicks, I feel they're more likely to fall to 4th (1.5 ahead of BKN) than they are to climb back to 2nd (1 behind IND). Bulls are tied with Boston and Atlanta for 5th-7th, so any of those are likely for them (5th is looking less likely by the day though). I would not be surprised to see it end up MIA/IND/BKN/NYK/BOS/ATL/CHI/MIL; in fact, I'll just go with that as my prediction for now.

For the West, I think it's a lot harder to guess. There's a chance none of the 8 teams finish in their current spots. For now, I'll predict OKC/SA/MEM/LAC/DEN/HOU/LAL/GS (I will be surprised if Kobe misses more than 1 game).
   370. madvillain Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4388397)
The Bulls aren't in any sort of position to hope for a specific seed. They're not beating anyone in a series with the way they're playing now (this was true even before last night).


I'm starting to think there is a real problem with how Thibs coaches. Last year you could blame it on the lockout. This year the injuries are mounting again and the constant is Thibs. I dunno I've been a big defender of his sub patterns as these are world class athletes and they know how to take care of their bodies. However, it seems he's pushing guys to the limit and they are breaking down.

Rose is pissing me off too. Just get on the damn court dude you aren't going to go from 90% to 100% running 5 on 5 in practice. (we talkin' bout practice Derrick!). If there is no increased risk of injury then get the heck out there. Nobody cares if you can't dunk of your left knee right away.
   371. KronicFatigue Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4388417)
Help fill in these blanks for me, as I only casually lurk on these basketball threads (and don't really watch at all myself)

______ had ______ (either Denver or GS, I think Denver) ranked very high in his preseason(early season?) expectations. He was mocked for thinking they were so good, but their early season mediocrity was more a reflection of their tough schedule (Lots of road games?)


I'm pretty sure the team I'm thinking of is Denver, which is nice to see them doing well (and also nice b/c I hate Dolan and disliked the melo trade). But I can't remember that source that ranked Denver high and don't really follow advanced basketball stats.
   372. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4388425)
Kobe out indefinitely with severely sprained ankle. The plot thickens.


So, what, like two games for the indefatigable Mamba?

And a cheer was heard from Phoenix as the possibility of a second lottery pick increases significantly.


Meh, the odds of hitting from the best team in the lottery are really small -- 1.8% chance of a top 3 pick. The difference between pick 14 and 16 can't be that relevant. :)
   373. Maxwn Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4388427)
I don't know who you're talking about myself, but of the 2 teams you listed, it has to be Denver. GS started off the season playing really well and has sort of come back to earth since. Denver was under .500/back to .500 on and off for about a month and a half. It was an exceptionally road heavy schedule through about the end of December for them.
   374. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4388434)
[371] Every projection system ever, Denver.

EDIT: [375] I think Hollinger took the most flack because his were more or less what they used for the ESPN the Mag NBA Preview issue.
   375. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4388436)
@371
Might be Hollinger .... Denver
I don't recall how many preseason systems had Golden State even in the playoffs, but certainly can't imagine many that ranked them high.
   376. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4388439)
Apart from a loss to Miami, Memphis would've won their last 15 games.
   377. KronicFatigue Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4388440)
Thanks. Hollinger sounds right. Is he kinda like early 2000's Rob Neyer? Stats guy, but mainstream-approved (or at least main stream read)?
   378. Maxwn Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4388444)
Meh, the odds of hitting from the best team in the lottery are really small -- 1.8% chance of a top 3 pick. The difference between pick 14 and 16 can't be that relevant. :)

I may be wrong, but when I looked the future draft detail on realgm, it seemed to me that if LAL's pick is out of the top-14, then Phoenix might get stuck with Miami's first rounder this year, which would be a significant. I have no idea if I'm interpreting it right because this pick they're sending to PHX is like one of 4 possible picks that are contingent on some pick-swap the Lakers worked out with Cleveland.

I think it works like this: If LAL's pick is top-14, then the Cleveland swap is canceled and PHX gets the pick. If it's not a lottery pick, than CLE can swap it for their own pick, SAC's pick, or MIA's pick, which it appears to me they'd swap MIA's pick. Then PHX gets whichever one that CLE swapped to LAL. So the Lakers being in or out of the lottery could cost PHX 15+ spots in the 1st rd. I may be totally off.
   379. Maxwn Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4388445)
Thanks. Hollinger sounds right. Is he kinda like early 2000's Rob Neyer? Stats guy, but mainstream-approved (or at least main stream read)?

I guess he was kind of like that. Now he's the VP of Basketball Operations for the Grizzlies.
   380. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4388451)
The worst thing about Hollinger's preseason stuff was his failure to predict the Grizzlies getting rid of Rudy Gay mid-season and turning into a .750 team.
   381. jmurph Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4388470)
Hollinger sounds right. Is he kinda like early 2000's Rob Neyer? Stats guy, but mainstream-approved (or at least main stream read)?


Well Hollinger is an actual number cruncher- I've always thought of Neyer as a writer who advocates for a stats-based approach.
   382. smileyy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4388505)
I assume that Neyer number-crunched for Bill James when he was working for him. However, I don't think he was doing much of that when he was an ESPN columnist.
   383. RollingWave Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4388623)
It might actually be better for the Lakers if Kobe sits out and they run the team with Nash / Howard mostly... at least it's probably better than Kobe attempting to play on 1 leg.

Would it really be a huge shocker if 6/7/8 ends up being Hou / GSW / DAL with the way things are going? Dallas is certainly still within distance, and with the epic implosion of Utah and now the potential derailing of the Lakers resurgence, I think it's possible.

   384. Booey Posted: March 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM (#4388650)
epic implosion of Utah


Hey now. I prefer the term "unintentional tanking." :-)
   385. Mark S. is bored Posted: March 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4388730)
I think it works like this: If LAL's pick is top-14, then the Cleveland swap is canceled and PHX gets the pick. If it's not a lottery pick, than CLE can swap it for their own pick, SAC's pick, or MIA's pick, which it appears to me they'd swap MIA's pick. Then PHX gets whichever one that CLE swapped to LAL. So the Lakers being in or out of the lottery could cost PHX 15+ spots in the 1st rd. I may be totally off.


Yep. Phoenix could be 14 or could be 30. Huge difference in picks.
   386. robinred Posted: March 14, 2013 at 11:38 PM (#4388741)
It might actually be better for the Lakers if Kobe sits out and they run the team with Nash / Howard mostly


Even if you are in the "Kobe is an overrated team-killing punk" camp, there are a few facts that argue very heavily against suggesting this:

1. Nash is 39 years old.
2. Bryant's injury will mean more time for Jodie Meeks, and, unless MDA goes with a three-man backcourt rotation of Meeks/Nash/Blake, or plays Metta some at 2 (he is way too slow) will mean time for one of Duhon, Morris, or Ebanks.
3. Howard is not the same guy physically that he was two years ago.

One thing it may do is create some time the Nash/Howard team that many including me thought should be used as part of a two-star platoon system. Gasol will supposedly play Sunday, when the Lakers get back home.

The Lakers went 5-2 without Bryant last year, but a lot of that was schedule, and as I have pointed out a few times, Bynum's and Gasol's efficiency numbers did not track their increased usage rates while he was out at all; their EFGs went down. We will see what happens with Nash and Howard; maybe they can party like it's 2009. But if Bryant is gone for several games, the Lakers will miss him.

   387. RollingWave Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM (#4388747)
yeah, but is Kobe playing on 1 leg really better than Meeks?

I'm on the fence on Kobe and team, I think he does do that to an extend, but not to the same extend as say.. Carmelo . put the right combo of guys around Kobe and they'll be great. as have been proven multiple times in his career anyway.

Carmelo though... aside from an early spurts this year, is something else, the Knicks might be better without him to be honest. (provided the guy taking up his spot is competent.) I guess he does make the Knicks better than an otherwise generic PF , but almost certainly not to the extend you'd expect from what he is paid and his stats.



   388. RollingWave Posted: March 15, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4388770)
Speaking of the Knicks, this was their starting lineup today.

Coopland
Martin (yes, Kenyon Martin)
Thomas
Shumpert
Felton


I feel sorry for Raymond Felton. their next two games are @ LAC and @ UTA ... they better hope the Jazz continue to completely forget how to play I guess.

   389. kpelton Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4388919)
______ had ______ (either Denver or GS, I think Denver) ranked very high in his preseason(early season?) expectations. He was mocked for thinking they were so good, but their early season mediocrity was more a reflection of their tough schedule (Lots of road games?)

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=961
   390. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4388929)
   391. Squash Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4388934)
______ had ______ (either Denver or GS, I think Denver) ranked very high in his preseason(early season?) expectations. He was mocked for thinking they were so good, but their early season mediocrity was more a reflection of their tough schedule (Lots of road games?)

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=961


The link got taken down, but well done! Anyone who can provoke the "but he didn't play the game" line of defense must be doing something right (at least it seems like that's what you got based on the description of the video).
   392. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4388935)
yeah, but is Kobe playing on 1 leg really better than Meeks?

Yes. Another underrated skill of Kobe's is his ability to heal and/or play through pain.

I'm starting to think there is a real problem with how Thibs coaches. Last year you could blame it on the lockout. This year the injuries are mounting again and the constant is Thibs. I dunno I've been a big defender of his sub patterns as these are world class athletes and they know how to take care of their bodies. However, it seems he's pushing guys to the limit and they are breaking down.

I think there's a disconnect between Thibs and the front office. Thibs is coaching as if they're going to win this year; the org isn't treating it the same way. If they are not on the same page (and that's not to say they can't have differing goals), you're going to run into problems like they're facing. Also, there's not much Thibs can do with Mohammed and VladRad and those mistakes are on the front office.
   393. robinred Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4388953)
I don't see Anthony enough to know, really, but I am pretty sure that if you put him with prime Shaq, and then prime Pau and Odom, coached by Phil, his teams would be just fine. IIRC, Pelton (or maybe someone else) wrote a piece a few years back talking about some of the hidden offensive value in guys who can create a lot of shots on their own, even if they don't do it at optimum efficiency. Having seen Bryant for years and years, I think the issue is more complex than people make it. Bryant's ability to force the defense to deal with him all over the floor helps the other guys, even if sometimes Bryant takes unwise shots. Also, people are emotional about "ballhogs" in general and about Bryant in particular (as an aside, Abbott wrote a piece criticizing Dahntay Jones and talking about how dirtyish/rough play is a problem in the league, particularly when stars people like to see, like Bryant, get hurt).

As to the present situation, last year Barnes and Metta played very well when Bryant was out. This year, Barnes is gone and since MDA has decided that Ebanks is unplayable, has been replaced by no one. When Bryant was out in 2010, Shannon Brown took his place, and played OK, and the Lakers actually gained defensively, since Brown is a pretty decent defender with some athletic skills.

This year, they have Meeks, who can shoot some, but is undersized to play the 2 extensively in today's game, is not much of a defender, and has no handle. Given that the Lakers have two old and undersized 1s, this is a real problem. Kobe has played a lot of bad D this year, as I have pointed out, but he is 6'6" and very strong, which counts for something.
   394. smileyy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4388966)
So, there are coaches kind of famous for delivering results, but burning teams out after a few years. I wonder if Thibs will end up that way.
   395. robinred Posted: March 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4388967)
Pelton is chatting right now:

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/47389



   396. Maxwn Posted: March 15, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4388981)
Marc Gasol's defense
This is a pretty interesting article about Marc Gasol and his impact on defense. This stuff is why they are a top 2 defense.
   397. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 15, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4388994)
Can you guys believe Kobe might play tonight after his "severe" ankle sprain? He is just, like, so tough and brave.
   398. andrewberg Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4389012)
Can you guys believe Kobe might play tonight after his "severe" ankle sprain? He is just, like, so tough and brave.


Is it fair to say that he has a reputation for exaggerating ailments to look tougher? I'm not saying he actually does it (how would anyone know?) but I'm asking whether it is a commonly held belief.
   399. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4389013)
kind of weird that there's no open college basketball thread right now...
   400. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4389016)
Can you guys believe Kobe might play tonight after his "severe" ankle sprain? He is just, like, so tough and brave.
He's no Paul Pierce, but he gets by. Flip.
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