HoopSpeak Live 31: The Clips

Hey, we get to discuss actual regular season basketball now. How awesome is this? On today’s HSL, we had two first time guests: David Thorpe of ESPN.com’s Scouts Inc. and Jeff “Skin” Wade of ESPNDallas.com and the Mavs’ television broadcasts. The guys talked about everything from Russell Westbrook’s maturity to Ricky Rubio’s passing to Sean Williams’s puking. Here are the clips:

[Click here for a YouTube playlist.]

:00 – :10 – Player Height & Rumors From Ethan’s Head [Read Ethan's latest piece first. Also, Ethan's hearing the Mavs won't make the playoffs.]

:10 – 33 – Person Of Interest: David Thorpe [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 - The Magic, centers' low-post scoring, rookies, way more.]

:33 – 51 – Person Of Interest: Skin Wade [Part 1, Part 2 - Mavs talk. Sean Williams, Carlisle, Cardinal, way more.]

:51 – :56 – Audience Questions: Sixers & Westbrook [Spoiler: Zach is not a fan of Spencer Hawes.]

:56 – :58 – Dagger/Smash [On players putting on/losing weight, plus the Westbrook/Durant drama.]

Note it: This week’s Noted has been lost. If/when it’s found, this page will be updated. I just babbled about Jerome Randle and Ricky Davis, anyway.

HoopSpeak Live airs every Thursday right here on HoopSpeak.com. You can follow the show with the #hoopspeaklive hashtag, and you can follow our guests att @coachthorpe and @SkinWade.


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HoopSpeak Live 31: David Thorpe and Jeff “Skin” Wade

Today’s guests:

David Thorpe of ESPN.com’s Scouts Inc.

Jeff “Skin” Wade of ESPNDallas.com, 103.3 ESPN Dallas Radio, and the Mavericks’ television broadcasts.

To submit text questions or hangout in the chat: just click “join event” and fire away!

To video chat with us and our guests: Find a spot without too much background noise, sign in, fire up the web cam, and be sure to have your headphones (to eliminate echo)!

If you’re having trouble viewing HoopSpeak Live here, try it on Vokle’s site.


Sitting at the cool table

I didn’t go to a typical high school.

I was lucky enough to end up at a Catholic, all boys college prep school, that I still am confused as to how my parents ended up affording. We didn’t have your stereotypical lunch cafeteria when I was there. We actually didn’t have a cafeteria at all. Any food that you could purchase for lunch was served at the tiny concession stand inside our gymnasium. There were tables and benches set up for eating in the room next to it, which also doubled as the wrestling practice area after school. Our options were to go off campus (if we were allowed), go into the concession area, or eat in the outdoor areas all around the campus.

Because of this wide-spread sector of nourishment options and lack of a female gender at the school, I never really got to experience the type of class and clique system in the proverbial high school cafeteria that you see on TV or in the movies. I guess throughout our quad, the areas around the gym, and the various stretches of grass and trees scattered throughout the campus, there were plenty of places for cliques to form. And for the most part, they did form. However, it was never bottled into confined quarters of testosterone, estrogen, pubescence, and student body pyramids of hierarchy.

The beauty of the cafeteria battlefield is the anatomy of the tabletop barracks. Jocks, high school socialites, and the preppy bunch rule the entire land. From their ivory dining slabs, they oversee the entirety of the cafeteria. They govern what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. They decide whether punishment should be doled out swiftly or through weeks and months of incessant teasing and public ridicule to break those who dare exist in

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How Kobe scores: you have to hand it to him

Kobe Bryant has been nothing if not stubborn. His tendency to dominate the ball and force the issue – even as his physical limitations have become more pronounced with age – has been discussed ad nauseum. Last year was the first time in several seasons that the Lakers star was primarily healthy, and it showed in his efficiency numbers. But health wasn’t the only important factor, Bryant also showed he is willing to change his game as his explosiveness decreases. Nowhere was this more evident than in his performance shooting off the dribble – a celebrated staple of his game.

From 2007 to 2010 there was a steady decline in how often Kobe went to his pull up. More surprising, however, was that despite fewer possessions, his scoring efficiency in this area decreased each season as well. However Bryant reversed that trend last season as he attempted almost one more shot off the dribble per game and  his scoring efficiency on that move climbed from .87 to nearly .90 points per possession.

So what’s changed besides the veteran’s health?

The most significant difference has been how the Lakers get the ball in their stars hands. It’s no secret that Kobe’s greatest number of offensive plays are isolation sets. However, there was a significant increase in plays in which the Lakers ran Kobe off of screens or a handoff from the high post. Bryant isn’t as quick or explosive as he once was but he still has his quick release, and the added space created by screens and handoffs gives him the half step needed to get to the spot he wants and fire before his man can recover.

This trend has expanded in the Lakers first three games where we’ve seen Kobe operating in a system other than

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More than a loss

“Sometimes when you lose, you actually really win.” – Poet Laureate, Rosie Perez.

If I told you the Wolves had a fourth quarter lead and eventually lost it, you’d probably first make a joke about how there was no way they’d ever lead in the fourth quarter. After I showed you how many times they blew fourth quarter leads under the reign of Kurt Rambis on the sidelines, you’d feel a bit sheepish, but still feel valid in knowing it’s ridiculous to think about the Wolves having a chance to win games, especially against good teams.

To watch what happened with the Minnesota Timberwolves on opening night is to understand just how important this loss was toward a change in the culture of basketball in the city of Minneapolis. Sure, they had a lead late in the fourth quarter and ended up losing out on upsetting the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nobody really expected them to win coming into the game. It was a new team with a new coach and very little time to implement schemes and comfort. As the game progressed and we saw a dissemination of hope filling the stuffy Target Center atmosphere, the expectations grew.

Each drive into the lane by J.J. Barea was an assumption of production. Each time Kevin Love crashed the offensive boards for mop-up duty scoring, we bowed to our historic leader. And the Ricky Rubio era went from hoping he can make a couple of plays to expecting him to negotiate a victory with basketball fortune.

To say Ricky Rubio had a nice debut is to pretend that crispy bacon can be part of an slightly enjoyable breakfast. Rubio’s false advertising was a myth. He controlled the game in ways you can’t really expect of a rookie point guard

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Baron Davis A Questionable Fit For New York

The Knicks signing of Baron Davis certainly generated headlines but the embattled former All-Star doesn’t seem to be a great fit for his new team.

New York’s offense centers around a ball dominating isolation scorer in Carmelo Anthony and features a pair of devastating pick-and-roll finishers in Amar’e Stoudamire and the newly acquired Tyson Chandler. With this trio on the floor, plus the rotation of scoring guards like Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, Davis won’t be asked to carry the scoring load that he has at in the past. Still, there are some concerns about his role as a facilitator.

Based on date from Synergy Sports, Davis has always been at his best distributing the ball when he can isolate against defenders. This was all fine and well when he was younger and in good health, but his ability to break opposing players down off the dribble has diminished. But what’s really at issue is his career-long struggle to run the pick-and-roll with any degree of consistency.

Last season while playing with the Clippers – another team with a pair of explosive big men – Davis ranked in the bottom one-fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency when passing out of the pick-and-roll. For players who had at least 200 possessions in this set, he was dead last, with a turnover rate of nearly 20 percent while his passes produced just .84 points per possession

Davis’s problems seem to stem from an inability to explode around the corner when a screen is set. Rather than dribbling off the pick, he tends to float off it and linger back, hoping to bait the help defender into collapsing on the ball. Once this happens he looks to deliver either a bounce pass between the double or pass over the top

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Zach Attacks: Time Expiring

From December 12th to opening night, I’ll be releasing a random essay on each team in the league. This post is about the Boston Celtics. You can follow the series with the “2011-12 Team Previews” and “Zach Attacks” tags at the bottom of the page.

The Mayans, man…

They’re really trying to screw everything up for us.

I have a theory without any scientific evidence to back this up. So naturally, I figured the Internet was the perfect place to unveil it. What if time is actually speeding up because the world is going to end when the Mayans are making it end? Sure, some may say the Mayan calendar isn’t predicting the end of the world and really they’re just showing the end of a certain era. Plus, there isn’t any real evidence to show that time is ever or could ever get faster.

However, I remember when I was a kid everything in the world took forever to happen. Summers would last for an eternity, as we’d go swimming, play basketball, and try to find creative ways to hurt each other. School days never ended as we waiting for the final bell to ring and our fun to start. I never remember anybody discussing just how quickly Christmas had happened upon us, even if I was probably distracted by the Shaq-Fu Schnickens combination or knee deep in Saved By the Bell reruns.
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HoopSpeak Live 30: The Clips

On today’s HoopSpeak Live, we discussed an NBA season that is just THREE DAYS AWAY. Get excited. Do a dance. Buy the 2011-2012 edition of Pro Basketball Prospectus because you want to be as smart as Kevin Pelton. And, obviously, watch our show, which features interviews with Pelton himself and Howard Beck of The New York Times. Ethan had to miss this one, so Tom Haberstroh of The Heat Index jumped aboard as a guest host. Here are the clips:

[Click here for a YouTube playlist.]

:00 – :08 – Intro + Heat Talk [Before you watch, read Tom's excellent feature.]

:08 – :11 – Take The Bacon [Zach derails the debate in the best way possible. Anthony Randolph will never recover.]

:11 – 27 – Person Of Interest: Howard Beck [Part 1, Part 2 - Melo, Shump Shump, Baron, etc.: Knick talk.]

:27 – :30 – Audience Question: Chuck Hayes [On Hayes and the Kings organization.]

:30 – :47 – Person Of Interest: Kevin Pelton [Part 1, Part 2 - Lakers, Wolves (more A. Randolph!), isolation offense, more.]

:47 – :57 - Audience Questions: Claudius & ROY [Eddy Curry jokes, the worst teams in the league, Jimmer, Rubio, more.]

:57 – 1:01 – Dagger/Smash/Noted [DeAndre Jordan's case of the McGees, Jerome Randle's awesomeness, the stupidity of the "no one cares about the NBA" guy.]

HoopSpeak Live airs every Thursday right here on HoopSpeak.com. You can follow the show with the #hoopspeaklive hashtag, and you can follow our guests at @kpelton, @HowardBeckNYT, and @tomhaberstroh.


HoopSpeak Live 30: Howard Beck and Kevin Pelton

Today’s show will begin at 3:00 PM ET and will feature special guest host Handsome Tom Haberstroh of The Heat Index filling in for Ethan Sherwood Strauss. The guests:

Howard Beck of The New York Times.

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus. (Buy the book!)

To submit text questions or hangout in the chat: just click “join event” and fire away!

To video chat with us and our guests: Find a spot without too much background noise, sign in, fire up the web cam, and be sure to have your headphones (to eliminate echo)!

If you’re having trouble viewing HoopSpeak Live here, try it on Vokle’s site.


Zach Attacks: The luck of rebuilding

Timing is everything.

We’ve all heard that cliché before. One of my favorite examples of showing this is the movie Love and Sex. To answer the question forming in your head right now, it is NOT porn. It’s a movie starring Jon Favreau and Famke Janssen as two people who are trying to figure out the relationship world.

What’s so great about the movie is its ability to show just how awkward the process of getting to know the person you’re dating can be. Most people can be uncomfortable getting to know the intimate history of their significant other. Insecurity can shine through like the dead lights from It as soon as you find out the number of people your boyfriend/girlfriend has slept with. You can either decide to accept the past as the past or you can worry exactly how you measure up to those that were there before you.
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