The Daily Peep, March 30

I love Michael Katz’s NBA Nonsense Notebook so much. Also at the Classical, there’s a series on four prospects you should be watching in the Final Four. An excerpt from the piece on everybody’s favorite, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:

MKG doesn’t take the surly approach favored by other players put into the stopper’s role; there is no sense, in watching him, that it’s at all Kidd-Gilchrist Against the World, or that he’s out there to silence doubters. As with the rest of his teammates on this unusually likable juggernaut, that sour-beyond-its-years cynicism and cockiness is largely missing from Kidd-Gilchrist’s game. It’s hard to watch MKG play and not be struck by his positivity. The Cool Hand Luke smile belies just how hard he’s working, but he’s also clearly having fun.

Today’s edition of The Microscope by Rob Mahoney features Lamar Odom and his headband and some other things. Two podcasts I’m going to listen to: Henry Abbott and David Thorpe talking about player improvement and Raptors Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie talking about Jonas Valanciunas. Bethlehem Shoals on Andrew Bynum. This Derek Fisher video made me all emotional-like. Ethan, like Zach, says Timberwolves fans should not boo KG. I agree! The cure for writer’s block: The Seven Deadly Ways To Cut an NBA Story Jesse Blanchard is happy that the Spurs traded George Hill for Kawhi Leonard. I am, too, because Kawhi is super awesome. For technique junkies (is that a thing?): The Art of Screening by Mike Procopio. This is just really weird but I can’t stop laughing because apparently I’m a crazy person (h/t 8p9s, TBJ):

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HoopSpeak Network

HoopSpeak Live 42: The Clips

Ethan supporting Bynum shooting threes, Beckley lovin’ Shump Shump, and Zach saying the word “pooping” — this HoopSpeak Live has it all. Also, Jason Concepcion (@netw3rk) knows the Knicks, Danny Chau knows Qyntel Woods’ middle name and Brett Koremenos knows X’s and O’s. Big thanks to our guests.

Here’s a YouTube playlist:

  Here are the individual clips:

:00 – :18 – Intro + Bynum/Laker talk  [Part 1, Part 2 - Ethan witnessed Bynum's three, so we talked about it.]

:18 – :35 – Person of Interest: netw3rk [Part 1, Part 2 - Knicks with B & Z, tanking with E.]

:35 – :47 – Person of Interest: Danny Chau [Part 1, Part 2 - NCAA prospects, Qyntel Woods, Tyreke Evans.]

:47 – 1:02 – Person of Interest: Brett Koremenos [Part 1, Part 2 - OKC and Chicago.]

1:02 – 1:05 – Dagger/Smash/Noted [DMC, Wolves fans, JaVale on Jose]

Note: You can find the audio-only version of HoopSpeak Live on iTunes. If you subscribe and/or write us a review, I promise that Danny will teach you how to get free Chik-Fil-A.

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 @netw3rk, @dannychau and @BKoremenos.

 

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The Bulls will beat you up to get shots

After thumping the Hawks by twenty in Atlanta, the Bulls are now a tidy 12-5 without superstar Derrick Rose. Today John Hollinger has noted that while the Bulls are a murderous defensive club with or without Rose (something that wasn’t nearly so true last season), they do miss his punch on offense. Still, the Bulls score well enough to win. At the pace they’re on, the Bulls would be expected to be a 58 win team even without Rose. How are they performing so well even without their unquestioned offensive engine?

One reason is that C.J. Watson is a serviceable starting point guard. He’s not Rose, but his PER has risen to a respectable 15.0, he’s shooting 43 percent on 3′s and he’s a terrific defender. John Lucas III is small, not very quick and an obvious weakpoint on the defensive end, but damn can he shoot. As a back up’s back up, you could do a whole lot worse.

But a underlying strength of the Bulls offense (with or without Rose) is that they do all sorts of things to “create” shots that don’t involve a prototypical shot creator. There’s nothing simpler than letting Rose torch his man off the dribble then kick out to an open teammate, but when we expand the definition of “shot creator” to include more subtle methods, we see that less-heralded Bulls do plenty in this regard.

To start, the big guys set brutal screens, and the wings are excellent at creating space and making good decisions off of these screens. Effective screening is one of the most underrated and under-emphasized skills in the NBA. Too often players are looking to slip to their own shot, or simply don’t do enough to generate as much contact as possible–because that’s what a screen is all about:

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HoopSpeak Live 42: netw3rk, Danny Chau and Brett Koremenos

Today’s guests:

netw3rk AKA Jason Concepcion of SB Nation

Danny Chau of Hardwood Paroxysm

Brett Koremenos of NBA Playbook

To submit text questions or hang out 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.

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Kentucky talk primes NBA snobbery

Stan Van Gundy had a rant, one that decried Gary Williams’ Kentucky choice in a “Wildcats vs. Wizards” hypothetical. The dismissive response was cheered by NBA writers the world over, as so many thanked him for putting to rest an obviously “absurd” idea with the derision such supposed blather deserves. Though I would certainly bet on a Nene-Wall team to win such a matchup, I think the backlash is overblown, and more ridiculous than anything Gary Williams said.

While I love the hypothetical of “UK vs. an NBA team,” I’m surprised that the topic has gotten such traction. I’m also a bit shocked by the uniform resistance among NBA lovers to even entertain the notion, and I especially don’t get why this money quote from Van Gundy received so much praise:

“’Oh, Kentucky, you know, has got four N.B.A. players.’ Yeah, well the other team’s got 13.”

SVG’s a smart guy, but this isn’t an entirely intelligent argument. It’s specious reasoning, based on the idea that the NBA has a higher level of aggregate play, so therefore, 13 NBA players must trump a college lineup. It’s a tautology of, “NBA players are better because they are NBA players, so obviously NBA players would be better than college players.”

Here is my issue: Van Gundy and others are bestowing a special, lofty status on “NBA player,” per a league where only a few guys really matter at all. And, as Doug Gottlieb put it on the NBA Today podcast: “It’s easier to make the league than we think.”

I’ll cite my hometown Warriors. The team is taking a flier on Jeremy Tyler, hoping that he can parlay physical prowess into eventual NBA skills. Tyler is fresh from Japan’s second best league, and has struggled mightily, even hilariously, at the

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Tanks, ranks and… planks? Week 10 Power Rankings


Image by Anthony Bain

Sorry about missing rankings last week during the aftermath of the trade deadline, but I was busy trying to figure out the best way to go into crippling debt by purchasing a car. In the meantime, we got to get a nice fresh look at how teams have adjusted to any changes made and where it puts them in the grander scheme of the playoff push.

We also have seen which teams have punted on the season and are borderline tanking/completely tanking and it’s really obvious. Some people get mad at the idea of tanking but as long as we have a weighted lottery system that promotes and potentially rewards such dastardly motives and decisions, it would be foolish for a team to not take advantage of it, if they feel the playoffs aren’t going to happen.

Onto the rankings!  Continue reading “Tanks, ranks and… planks? Week 10 Power Rankings” »

The Daily Peep, March 27

I generally don’t link TrueHoop stuff because I assume you’ve read it… but just in case you missed Justin Verrier’s Tony Allen piece from today, yeah, read it now. Something to keep in mind from Jake Appleman’s Bucks/Knicks piece at The New York Times:

Monday’s loss was not a death knell for the Bucks’ playoff aspirations because the remaining schedule favors them. The Bucks play eight teams currently not in playoff positions, and 11 of their final 17 games are at home. Their only elite opponent is the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Meanwhile, excluding a matchup against the Bucks on April 11 in Milwaukee, the Knicks have five games remaining against teams not holding playoff spots. In their last 16 games, the Knicks are at home seven times and have to face the Chicago Bulls twice and the Miami Heat once. While the Bucks’ strength of schedule so far puts them in the middle of the pack, the Knicks have had the league’s easiest path.

This is another reminder that you should read Britt Robson’s power rankings. From this week’s Houston Rockets section, on the lovable Chandler Parsons:

Last week, the 6-9 Parsons blanketed Kobe Bryant as the Rockets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Lakers; led Houston in scoring and rebounds in a win against Golden State; converted a game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and had a double-double in an overtime loss to Dallas; and had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a comeback victory over Sacramento. Coach Kevin McHale has found the rookie increasingly indispensable — his minutes have climbed every month. He has a knack for shoring up weaknesses; with point guard Kyle Lowry out with a bacterial infection, his assists have nearly doubled in March, to 3.5 per

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Meet the new Blake Griffin?

I hate nicknames.

I mean I really dislike them. For the most part, I find nicknames to be contrived and forced. When they’re used in the hopes of just making it more efficient to type about a player’s name, I tend to be more understanding. I’m a pretty lazy person in many respects, so I definitely don’t mind something being streamlined for me by any means. But often times it seems as soon as a player gains some traction in the NBA, people are instantly trying to come up with a nickname for a guy, even if his name is fairly unique.

What should Kyrie Irving’s nickname be?

Is Kevin Love worthy of having a nickname?

What should we call Danilo Gallinari?

When a person already has a unique name, why wouldn’t you just call them by their unique name? It’s not like if you say “Love” or “Kyrie” or “Danilo” that anybody is going to confuse them with Joe Smith, Charles Shackleford or Jerry Stackhouse (I have no idea why I’m only naming former 76ers right now).

There is one nickname though that I’m having a hard time hating right now and it belongs to Kenneth Faried.

Manimal.  Continue reading “Meet the new Blake Griffin?” »

The Daily Peep, March 26

Paul Flannery on Avery Bradley, his improvement, and his ceiling. I am so, so happy for Bradley. Even if Randy Wittman won’t give him credit. Also at WEEI, Ben Rohrbach looks at another improved Celtic: Greg Stiemsma. Read the whole thing, but here’s one exchange that stood out from Tracy Weissenberg’s Q&A with Gerald Green at SLAMonline:

SLAM: Do you think you entered the NBA too young? GG: No, not at all. I think it was a good age. Coming out of high school, developing, this is the best league. It’s always the best. Of course, you go to college, you could experience that, cool. But there’s no way of getting the development of [the NBA]. Even college players coming to the League, they have a hard time because it’s a big adjustment. This is a big league and it’s the best [leagues] in the world. I think that me coming out of high school, I’ll always stand with that decision. I just felt like I didn’t do things right once I got there.

At Eye On Basketball, Matt Moore’s best defensive player of the third quarter of the season is not, in fact, one player. Jay Caspian Kang on Harrison Barnes: “He’ll probably settle somewhere between Arron Afflalo and Jared Dudley, but definitely not much more than that.” I hope he is wrong, and I really like those two players. Rob Mahoney on dudes who score a lot in transition and Paul Millsap’s missed opportunity for redemption. Jason Quick says Portland needs to forget about the playoffs and give Nolan Smith and Jonny Flynn some minutes at the expense of Raymond Felton. Charles Jenkins scored 27 points last night and I saw a few people on Twitter asking who the hell he was. I recommend you start

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On LeBron James’s Trayvon Martin tweet

The picture above was tweeted by LeBron James along with the following hashtags: #WeAreTrayvonMartin #Hoodies #Stereotyped #WeWantJustice.

James (and we can assume, the Miami Heat) detect a broader issue in the slaying of Trayvon Martin in much the same way as Bomani Jones did in his thoughtful post on the subject: that while this tragic murder can easily be made a symbol of extreme racist hatred, this was not in fact a lynching. This was one person with a gun who saw a black man in a hoodie and presumed negative intentions. This is a subtle, insidious kind of racism that is far more difficult to legislate against, because it exists not on signs saying “whites only” right out in the open, but in the subconscious, where the bearer can hide it, and from it.

As revolting as Geraldo Rivera’s comments on the subject are, he articulates what I believe are genuine fears of many non-black people. Here’s his take, in all it’s unnerving bigotry:

I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was…When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation,” Rivera continued. “Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.

Many people have taken the opportunity to castigate Rivera for saying this much, but stating that a difference in two people’s race changes how one interprets the same act ie- the difference between someone trying to be “gangsta” and someone

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