nba

The NBA season is a quarter of the way over so here are my observations so far

After 13 years Dwayne Wade has found a 3pt shot. He is taking and making more threes than at any point in his career. He is a 28% for his career and is at 34% this season. Just a necessary addition to his game since he’s getting older and doesn’t get to the rim as much as he used to. He still has one of the best in between games in the league

 

What is wrong with the T-Wolves? I expected them to be maybe hover around the 8th seed for the playoffs but they have cellar dwelling this season (6-18). Even with the progress of KAT and Wiggins it still hasn’t translated into wins. I think this team would benefit from a roster move or maybe just embrace the tank and get another high pick. But if they were to make a move it would have to be Zach LaVine because they could get the most equal return. He seems to be more aggressive than Wiggins so that will free up more room for Wiggins to operate as he grows. But the downside of that would he is their only consistent perimeter scorer on a team that desperately  needs shooting. Their record mostly has to do with their horrid defense, 27th in the league with a defensive wiz as coach.

The Warriors have looked just as explosive as everyone thought they would and have even come together much faster than excepted. They have shown how dominate they can be even without shooting well when they dusted the Clippers (also their biggest roadblock to another trip to the finals ) last week

They shot 23% from three making only seven of them but ended up winning the game by 17. Since the arrival of Durant only Curry’s shot have dipped the most to an average of almost three fewer per game. Klay is still getting theirs as you can see from his 60pt outburst last week.  Klay is an interesting player  because NO ONE gets scorching hot in a flash quite like him, but you wouldn’t pick him in the top 10 of the best players in the league where efficient scoring comes at a high premium. The only guy really sacrifices is Draymond, he gives up the most out of anyone in terms of scoring so good for him but then again he continues kicking people so screw him.

Since I just mentioned the Clippers this is the perfect time for me to say that they are the hardest team to root for. Simply because they whine constantly, it’s not just one or two of the players but every single one and the maestro behind it all Doc Rivers. Doc thinks the officials are so bad that they would benefit from adding another one out there

Maybe then Doc’s will completely disintegrate and he will be forced to use a robot voice.

Russell Westbrook Westworld has become must watch tv just like the show of the same name . Much like Westworld Russ might be a sophisticated robot too, especially when you look at his historic numbers this season without Durant. His consecutive triple double streak just ended at 7 which is tied for fourth all time alongside Michael Jordan, Oscar Roberston, and the leader with nine Wilt Chamberlain. He’s currently averaging a triple with 31, 11 and 11, if he were to do it for an entire season he would be only the second guy to do so. The hardest stat to keep up for the entire season is the rebounds, he has a similar streak for guys less than 6’5 with consecutive double-digit board games. I just don’t think he can keep it up but if there was ever a guy that could, it would be Russell Westbrook. You hardly see guys with such tenacity and fierce passion in their play every game and I’m glad to be able to watch him dunk all over my Rockets.

 

Kevin Love is looking like the player of old they way he’s been getting buckets down this year. This is the best he’s looked since joining the Cavs 2 years ago. He also came close to breaking Klay Thompson’s record for most points in a quarter when he had 34 in one quarter against the Blazers. He would have done it too if not for Kyrie trying to get his. Let Lil Kev cook!

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The season is only just a quarter over but these teams are already out of the playoff picture.  In the Eastern Conference its the Sixers, Nets and Heat. For the Western Conference it is the Mavs, T-Wolves, Pelicans, Suns and Nuggets. The good thing about some of these teams is that they each have young pieces to build around for the future.

How about the Rockets?! They are playing inspired ball this year because they now have actual shot makers on the team. Like Eric Gordon who has been lights out this year with shooting 44% from three and leads the team in three pointers made off the bench. They also added Ryan Anderson to go along Ariza and Beverly to surround Harden which gives him that ability to rack up those assist numbers. The Rockets lead the league in three pointers made and percentage. Critics will say they still don’t play any defense but hey their offense is so fun and Harden/Capela have the best pick n’ roll in the game now. I think they are one piece away from contending in the West.

 

Now its time to touch on Kristaps Porzingis aka basketball unicorn , Godzingigs. He’s gotten more comfortable this year and has improved at a scary rate. There has never been a 7’3 guy with his handle , stroke and agility before. He’s quickly becoming the best player on the Knicks supplanting Melo. But for right now its good to have Melo around for his development so he won’t be solely weighed down with the expectations and criticisms that come along with being the guy in NYC. In addition to putting up 20ppg, 7 reb, 1.9 blk every game he is also the leading rim protector going by defensive field goal percentage. Can you imagine the mismatches they can create if he got played center?!  The Knicks could have saved so much cap space without signing Joakim. If there is one thing you can count on the Knicks doing is wasting money on washed players but c’est la vie.

 

On December 15th teams can trade players that were signed this summer, while most if not all these guys won’t be moved. These are the players who I think will get moved sooner than later- Greg Monroe , Brandon Knight , Donatas Montiejunas,Nerlens Noel, Zach LaVine, Rudy Gay, CJ McCollum and finally Boogie Cousins.

My early MVP’s are Westbrook, Harden, Bron, Durant,and Chris Paul in that order.

Happy Holidays

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Game of Thrones Top 10 NBA Draft Picks

(Uproxx)  One of my great hopes in life is that George R.R. Martin will release the next book in the series that inspired Game of Thrones, and when fans start reading, they will quickly discover that the whole thing is about a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Westeros. My reasoning is simple: it would be hilarious. Think of the reaction. People would lose their minds.

A few preliminary notes about my methodology:

The rankings are based on things we’ve learned on the show only. I have not read the books. If you have read the books and have information that would alter the list substantially, you should consider making your own. It’s quite fun.

The rankings are not limited to characters who are still alive. We’ve got dead ones in there, too.

Living characters are ranked based on current potential ability (with one exception), and deceased characters are ranked based on potential ability at the time of their death.

10. Oberyn Martell

9. Melisandre

8. Bronn

7. Jon Snow

6. The One Wildlings Giant

5. The Night King

4. Jaqen H’ghar

3. Jaime Lannister (pre-amputation)

2. Brienne

1. Khal Drogo

 

Cool idea by ‘Brian’ over at Uproxx  but there are some glaring problems with his picks. I get trust the process but My Lanta you have the Wildings Giant aka Wun Weng (you better put some respeckt on his name from henceforth!) going 6th overall and that is a tragedy. Along with having Oberyn going tenth and the ever slow moving Melisandre somehow going above him its time to get started on my list of the top 1o picks if this was the NBA draft.

1. Wun Weg Wun

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You can’t teach size and Wun Weg has it in spades, 14 ft of it to be exact combined with the strength of 12 men. He is the franchise changer and a championship cornerstone that you expect from the number 1 pick spot.

2. The Night King

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Second off the board is the Night King. He possesses a plethora of skills and talent like his inability to get rattled because of his icy cold demeanor and his win at all costs method. He’s a lot like Kobe Bryant so you know what you’re getting.

3. The Mountain

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Going with more size since its a rare commodity in the GOT world and The Mountain fits the bill coming in tipping the scales at 6’9″ four hundred pounds. He is the fierce defensive force you crave to protect your basket. No one is gliding through the lane with him holding down the paint.

4. Jon Snow

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Some may he’s too undersized to go this high but I don’t care the kid’s got game. He is a natural born leader and pair that with his quickness and his agility as seen in the above gif he slides perfectly onto any team in the lead guard position. He’s battle tested and plays with a chip on his shoulder like so many of the great ones did.

5. Khal Drogo

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The last of the big men goes here because of his strength, explosiveness. He just oozes bravado and he will need that going up against the other giants in this game. Not too mention is his uncanny wingspan, he has all the tools to be a great defender.

6. Bronn

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With the game shifting towards position-less basketball Bronn is a great value pick going here. Born iscrafty, agile, mobile and hostile. He’s a jack of all trades what I’m saying and his humor is infectious among his teammates. He most closely reminds me of Draymond Green

7. Jaquen H’ghar

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For all the same reasons as Bronn especially except he is not as funny so he loses a couple points in my book.

8. Brienne

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I said the last of the big men were gone but I didn’t say the last of the big women. Brienne is a skillfully trained player that can you beat you physically and mentally. She reminds of Marc Gasol , just the prototypical grit N grind player. She would make a great sidekick to a powerful duo.

9. Oberyn Martell

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He may not win you a championship but Oberyn Martell will put asses in the seats and be all over Twitter the next morning with his high flying , flashy play. No one can excite or a shock a crowd more than Oberyn with his charisma. His NBA comparison  would be another guy with a nickname almost as good as “The Red Viper” and that is Jason ‘White Chocolate’ Williams.

10. The Hound

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Finally rounding out the top 10 is The Hound. He may be a little banged up with some injuries over the years but he’s been in rehab after his near catastrophic fall at the hands of Brienne. Since then he’s been in rehab putting in the work grinding to get back. He could really be the steal of the draft going this low and no one swings a sword or axe quite like him. He has the bloodline as well with his brother ‘The Mountain’ going earlier. He’s highly motivated and seems to have found some peace with his true purpose.

 

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last

 

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Finally that debacle of a series is over with it and I’m ecstatic that I will not have to see those same players together ever again in my life. By the end of the series I found myself empathizing with Harden because he was the only consistent scorer on the team even with his ole defense followed by a deadpan stare at a teammate who he think should’ve helped. It’s obvious Dwight and Harden have their issues but a lot of it can be placed on JB Bickerstaff barely playing or not playing Capela at all this series when the numbers have backed up his productivity.

For being such an analytic driven team you would think JB would be paying attention to the numbers especially a staggering one like that.  He would also play Harden for long stretches of time without a break, as evidenced by him playing 40 straight minutes in game 4. During the first quarter last night Harden went 6 for 6 and the rest of the season went 0 of 15 which is a perfect microcosm of their season. After the conclusion of last night’s game the Rockets were granted permission to interview Luke Walton for the HC job which would be a phenomenal improvement.

Moving onto next year with Dwight out of the picture along with most of the role players except for Harden, Capela, Beasley, Beverly, Harrell, McDaniels,  D-Mo (going to keep him on a cheaper deal too) and Dekker. Harden is a exceptional offensive talent but he has to become more interested on the defensive end with his effort and not fall asleep on D like he is known to do.

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Part of the non effort is due  to his teammates clanking their shots not like never before this season and even more so during the playoffs. Dwight and Harden never really fit they only played around 2 seasons worth games together in 3 years because of Dwight’s injury problems. It was no coincidence Harden had his MVP worthy season in 2014-15 when Dwight missed the second half of the year. He also led the league in points in back to back years which hasn’t been done since his old teammate Kevin Durant did it 3x in a row  from 09-12′.  By the way the person who scores the most total points is my scoring champ not the one who averages the most.

There will be a number of free agents to go after this offseason and they will need to get another creator to go alongside Harden , with a center and a 3 & D guy to replace Ariza. Ideally I would like them to go after Al Horford, Pau Gasol to shore up the frontline. I don’t want Whiteside even though he’s elite defensively because he just strikes me as a knucklehead and its very hard to win with those. For the 3 spot that Ariza used to occupy I would go after Durant first then then Nic Batum who is coming off of his best season ever with the Hornets. The Rockets would be fools to not go after him when Durant ultimately spurns them. The last guy is Kent Bazemore , another underrated guy like Batum who has quietly had his strongest season. Now for the piece that has been missing longest during Harden’s tenure a player that can create shots alongside him. Mike Conley is my first choice followed by Rondo and Jeremy Lin.

PS. Finals Prediction , Cavs in 6 over The Spurs

People I trust more than D’Angelo Russell

Most of us have heard about the D’Angelo Russell secretly videotaping Nick Young on SnapChat admitting to some indiscretions, his reasoning was that it was supposed to be a joke. Ha great joke man, got to remember that one next time I want to ruin someone’s life and my credibility along with my respect at the same damn time. If you want to know more details on it you can read about it here . But what I want to get into you is the some of the people I trust more right now than D’angelo Russell.

  1. Harry Ellis

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The businessman who worked with John Mclane’s wife Holly at the Nakatomi Corporation when it was seized by Hans Gruber and his henchman who were trying to rob it. Harry is much like D’Angelo being that he makes things uncomfortable between John and Holly by not so sneakily hitting on her by giving her a rolex for a present. But thats not even worst thing he did. He’s sleazy , loud, overtly cocky just an 80’s yuppie on the best performance enhancers money can buy. Then he sees his opening and seizes it when he sells Hans on how great he is and that he can help him and himself by giving up John’s location but really all he does is get killed for snitching.

 

2. Tim Donaghy

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The veteran NBA ref who was sent to jail after fixing games to control the point spread. At least you know when and where you are getting screwed with Tim so you can be on your toes with your head on a swivel and you don’t have to worry about a sneak attack.

3. Commodus

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I trust Commodus more than D’angelo because even though he smothered his father Marcus Aurelius and made it look like natural causes. He did it for a reason and that reason is because he wanted to be emperor. Being emperor is awesome and the perks are really great so I can see his motives. But why did D’Angelo send that video? It certainly wasn’t to be emperor or anything close.  The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze so tough break D’Angelo

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4. Pinocchio

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The main reason for choosing Pinnocchio is because I know where i stand with him. If he’s untruthful his nose literally grows so there is no absolutely no room for doubt.

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5. Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger

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The Master of Coin and perhaps one of the most if not most skilled manipulators in all of the realm. He uses the information he collects from the brothels he owns to gain intelligence on political rivals so he can acquire more wealth. He’s a pimp and a blackmail artist and I still trust him more because I know where I stand with him. This list is all about expectations , and I would fully expect Petyr to exploit one of my weaknesses for his gain but I would never think my teammate would do it for no significant gain at all.

I still don’t understand what Russell had to gain out of all this but maybe thats the thing, there is nothing he wants to gain from it. Maybe he’s one of those individuals who just want to sit back and watch world the burn.

How Nike lost Steph Curry to Under Armor

(ESPN) In the 2013 offseason — coming off a year in which Curry had started 78 games and the Warriors had made the Western Conference semis — Nike owned the first opportunity to keep Curry. It was its privilege as the incumbent with an advantage that extended beyond vast resources. “I was with them for years,” Curry says. “It’s kind of a weird process being pitched by the company you’re already with. There was some familiar faces in there.”

The August meeting took place on the second floor of the Oakland Marriott, three levels below Golden State’s practice facility. Famed Nike power broker and LeBron James adviser Lynn Merritt was not present, a possible indication of the priority — or lack thereof — that Nike was placing on the meeting. Instead, Nico Harrison, a sports marketing director at the time, ran the meeting (Harrison, who has since been named Nike’s vice president of North America basketball operations, did not respond to multiple interview requests).

The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on,” the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel’s alter ego in Family Matters. “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.”

It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.

Dell’s message for his son was succinct: “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” Steph Curry had thrived on proving people wrong for the entirety of his career. He had delighted in it, even. And Nike was giving him fuel.

If that’s so, that psychological damage was self inflicted. For all Under Armour did and for all Nike didn’t do, Nike still had an opportunity to salvage the situation when Curry indicated he wanted to sign elsewhere.

In 2013, Nike retained Curry’s matching rights, analogous to how NBA restricted free agency works. They still could have signed Curry, regardless of his preferences. According to a Sept. 16, 2015, report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “Nike failed to match a deal worth less than $4 million a year.”

 

In this way, Nike’s strength is indivisible from its weakness. As the top brand, it claims the most stars, by far. That’s a massive advantage, but basketball marketing is an act of minimalism. Promote too many athletes and the message becomes garbled.

It wasn’t a thankless effort for Bazemore, either. Now, three years later, he makes six figures annually with Under Armour

That has something to do with why Bazemore’s alma mater, Old Dominion, is now an Under Armour school. “We just signed Old Dominion, so that was kind of a giveback to Kent, so he’s happy about that,” Stone says. Under Armour paid nearly seven times what Nike was paying the school annually before

This was the condensed version of Ethan Strauss’ article so if you enjoy behind the scenes looks at the NBA and how shoe companies operate within the NBA I really encourage you to read the entire piece. So Nike being the juggernaut they are (accounted for 95% of sales in the basketball marker in 2014) thought they could half ass their presentation to Steph by first by sending in Nico Harrison instead of power broker Lynn Merrit who is involved in all major deals then reusing an old PowerPoint with Kevin Durant’s name still on it. Finally they certainly sealed their fate mispronouncing his name and never correcting it throughout the presentation. Well hot damn, I haven’t seen a pitch go that well since Tommy Callahan started slinging break pads in the midwest. It seems that Nike got complacent in thinking they are the end all be all in the shoe game , and that players would beg for there chance to be signed with Nike. Or that they decided to that they were going to push Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving as their feature younger guys.  That seems more plausible to me looking from the outside in.

But despite that bang up presentation from Nike they would need not worry because when Curry’s deal expired in 2013 because a caveat in his contract that gave them the ability to match any offer Curry would receive and keep him.   Over the course of his final year with Nike coincided with Kent Bazemore joining the team. This turned out to be a key moment for Under Armor and Curry because over that next year Under Armor would flood Bazemore’s locker with so much gear he couldn’t keep it all. Soon enough the asst coaches , team personnel and players were wearing it. During that season Curry became more aware of what Under Armour could do for him and what he could for Under Armor.

Fast forward to signing day when Curry signs with Under Armour and Nike decides not to match their roughly 4 million a year offer for him. That amount doesn’t even make the top 10 highest shoe endorsement list.

#10 – Blake Griffin, $6 million/year, Jordan Brand

#9 – Damian Lillard, $10 million/year, adidas

#8 – Dwyane Wade: $12 million/year, Li Ning

#7 – Derrick Rose: $14.2 million/year, adidas

#6 – Kobe Bryant: $15 million/year, Nike

#5 – James Harden: $15.4 million/year, adidas

#4 – LeBron James: $20 million/year, Nike

#3 – Kevin Durant: $30 million/year, Nike

#2 – Stephen Curry: Terms undisclosed, Under Armour

#1 – Michael Jordan: $90-100 million/year, Jordan Brand

At the end of 2013, Under Armour had a 0.35 percent market share of basketball shoe sales and now in 2015  they have almost 3% of the market. That can be directly related to Curry One and his Championship MVP season.

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Which has pushed Under Armour into 2nd place behind Nike but ahead of Adidas which wasn’t the case prior to 2015.  Here is growth graph to see just how much of an impact Curry had

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So far a little less than 4 million dollars a year Nike passed up hundreds of millions in sales  and the influence of the game’s superstars to hitch their wagons to Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving instead. But its not just him they are losing but future players and thats where it could really hurt Nike in the long run and really give them a challenger. Remember this past summer Nike almost lost Durant to Under Armor. So far a little less than 4 million dollars a year Nike passed up hundreds of millions in sales  and the influence of the few  superstars in the game. This is shaping up to be a colossal miss from Nike , the company which has had very few ever. So very similar to how Steph is transcending the game maybe he can do the same to the shoe market too.

Has Steph Curry Peaked?

After following up a Championship season in which he won league MVP and finals MVP in record breaking fashion, Curry is currently having an even better season which is quite remarkable.  He’s already topped his three point total from last season while taking less of them with 21 games left. Twenty one!  To go a deeper and get better appreciation for what he’s doing we can look at the PER (Player Efficiency Rating). PER measures of number of categories, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, along with negative results, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. It also accounts for a team’s pace of play so the Warriors playing in an uptempo system doesn’t inflate his PER.  Here are the top PER seasons of all time.

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Last season Steph posted a 28 which is good enough for top 60 all time but this season he has a posted a whopping 32.3 which if he keeps it up will be the best of all time. Not even LeBron who had maybe the best 5 year stretch of any player ever posted a 32. Bron went 31.7, 31.1, 27.3, 30.7, 31.6 respectively (It’s a crime that he got robbed by Rose for the 2011 MVP ).  The only other point guard’s who are in top 100 are Oscar Robertson, Magic , Westbrook, and Chris Paul. Great company to be in but none of those could shoot the rock at a transcendent level like Curry does. A 30+ PER has happened 18 times in the history of the NBA, by only 8 players. Of those 8 to do it only two players, Shaq and Wilt have gone on to have a better statical season following their first time reaching 30.

If his true shooting % stays finishes at 68% it would put him in the top ten all time. He would be the only point guard in it along with being the only non specialist wing player on it. All while taking the most shots by far of anyone on the lists. It’s not just threes either, he’s also in the top 15 in made free throws this year and on pace to break his career free throws attempted and made mark. Just shows that he’s getting it done all over the floor.

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Enough of the numbers already just take a look for yourself from his three 50+ outbursts this year

 

The answer remains to be seen if he has peaked or not but for him to best this season would put him in rarified air soaring alone and if there is a player that can pull it off it would be the baby faced assassin.

 

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*Update* He wasn’t the finals MVP, that was Iggy

Where are the Rockets Now?

As the trade deadline came to a close this afternoon the Rockets roster looked somewhat different but not what many predicted with Dwight Howard still around. The moves they did make were sending out Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to the Pistons in exchange for a 1st round pick that is Top 8 protected (if the Pistons get inside the top 8 of the draft the Rockets lose the pick and receive the following year’s pick).  Pretty good haul considering D-Mo has only played 14 games this year. With Thornton on the way out it opens up some minutes for KJ Mcdaniels. He’s a multi tool guy so it will be interesting to see what he can do with the opportunity.

I was stunned to see no one want Dwight Howard though, especially with the season half over and how Dwight has played the last two postseasons. They did receive some interest from a few other teams but the Rockets wanted more in return than what they were getting.

So it wasn’t for want of trying a deal didn’t get done. The Rockets tried to deal with a 25% of the league but ultimately they all fell through because Howard would not want to opt into the final year of the deal , instead becoming a free agent this summer. No team wouldn’t want to give up anything for a rental of Howard just for to him walk in 40 games. You cant blame him either because the cap will be rising this summer thus meaning a bigger deal for him if he waits.  One potential that came out was the Charlotte offer of Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes for Howard. Not bad but its better than nothing which is exactly what the Rockets will be left with when Dwight walks this summer. Its unfortunate that Harden is so hard to pair with a big man, ultimately it comes down getting a better point guard so Harden can relenquish a lot of the ball handling duties to play more off of the ball. I hope that is where this team is headed. In Dork Elvis we trust…

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Adam Silver thinks the NBA will change the “Hack-a-Shaq” Rule this Offseason

(USA Today) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s evolving opinion of Hack-A-Player indicates there may be changes to the increasingly practiced and increasingly reviled strategy.

After months of media debate, putrid foul shooting, lengthy games and fan discontent, Silver told USA TODAY Sports in an NBA A to Z podcast that, “I’m increasingly of the view that we will be looking to make some sort of change in that rule this summer.”

Long neutral on Hack-A-Player – the strategy of fouling a poor free throw shooter away from the basketball in an attempt to limit an opponent’s scoring – Silver is taking a side.

“Even for those who had not wanted to make the change, we’re being forced to that position just based on these sophisticated coaches understandably using every tactic available to them,” Silver said. “It’s just not the way we want to see the game played.”

Hack-A-Player is up this year. The number of those intentional fouls through mid-December surpassed the number of times it happened last season (164), and the league is closing in on 300 Hack-A-Player instances before the All-Star break.

Through Tuesday’s games, fouls against Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Houston Rockets Dwight Howard have accounted for 69% of Hack-A-Player fouls. Jordan accounts for 34%.

Silver knows the data. But the interaction with fans as he watches a game has made an impact, too.

“Again, as I travel around the league, there’s that one school of thought ‘Guys have got to make their free throws,’ ” Silver said. “But then at the end of the day, we are an entertainment property, and it’s clear that when you’re in the arena, that fans are looking at me, shrugging their shoulders with that look saying, ‘Aren’t you going to do something about this?’ ”

Basketball is a game of flow, rhythm and pace. Multiple intentional fouls interrupt that unique style, and the game becomes an eyesore, such as the Jan. 20 game in which Detroit’s Andre Drummond shot 36 fouls shots.

“Because more and more teams are doing it to more and more players, there is an absolute necessity to get this right,” ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy told USA TODAY Sports. “And it’s not for the individual players. It’s not even for the teams. It’s for the fans, because I see this escalating more and more.”

NBA data through Tuesday’s games reveals that teams use the Hack-a-Player strategy more often when trailing (68 times) than when winning (21 times). But teams have won 16% of the time using the strategy when trailing but 61% of the time when using the strategy while ahead.

From a pure data standpoint, the strategy is sound way to keep a team from piling up points. Avid NBA observer and data cruncher, Haralabos Voulgaris, said on Twitter recently that teams using Hack-A-Player allow .82 points per possession – which is better than NBA-best .951 points allowed per possession by the San Antonio Spurs.
The rumblings have been growing since more teams have adopted the Hack-a-Shaq in recent seasons. Because it breaks up the flow of the game and basketball is very much a fluid game like soccer is. So when that gets interrupted more often than not the product suffers. I get why they want to do it, but I just cannot fully get behind it.

To change the rules of the game because three guys can’t make their free throws?! Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan make up for almost a third of all Hack-a-Shaq fouls. The reason its happening more because the data backs it up, this season teams that were leading then started fouling won 61% of the time. But I do not want to see the game changed because a handful of guys can’t make free throws.

The funny thing is that most teams who use it do so when they are down and lose the game most of the time. Defense still wins Championships ,with Shaq it was used because he was so dominant and nobody could defend him, now it’s because these guys are just so woeful at shooting freebies that even the best defenses of all time pale in comparison to what the Hack-a-Shack does to teams. Haralabos Voulgaris broke down the numbers that said recently that teams using Hack-A-Player allow .82 points per possession – which is better than NBA-best .951 points allowed per possession by the San Antonio Spurs. So it only makes sense to use it when you are in the right situation.

With that said, the NBA is an entertainment league, so the only valid argument I see against it is the fact that it makes games boring. That’s a legitimate reason to change it, because the NBA is about entertainment first and foremost. If the league isn’t losing money aka ratings why would they implement such a sweeping change?

One of the better compromises I have seen with the rule change is from Tom Ziller Allow the team fouled to the opting of shoot the free throws or taking the ball out of bounds, which would essentially eliminate the strategy. Has there ever been a rule change in the NBA because only some players were bad at something ? I don’t think so and it shouldn’t start now. Plus you wouldn’t get funny moments like this

Doc Rivers Would Prefer To Trade Away Blake Griffin If Clippers Break Up Core

(RealGm) If the Los Angeles Clippers have to break up their Big 3, Doc Rivers reportedly would prefer to trade away Blake Griffin.

Griffin is entering the later stages of his prime and his game may not age well unless he eventually develops a three-pointer.

Griffin would also give the Clippers the strongest return.

The Clippers are 22-9 without Griffin over the past two seasons and 13-3 since he’s been out this season.

That does make sense trading Griffin because it will get them the most return because he is their best player. But you do positively not trade him. If anything trade DeAndre so Blake can have more room to operate especially after developing consistency in his jumper these past couple of seasons. Look at what he did to the Rockets last year in the playoffs

 

How many power forwards can do that? None, besides Griffin. He’s the best power forward in the league just entering his prime. So I do not buy “later stages of his prime” at all. Its laughable really. Its a cheap thought because he think he has a high impact game so he will wear down his body faster. But thats just not true, his dunks have noticeably dipped because he’s trying to conserve his body. Also he has been taking more long jumpers than anyone in the league and hitting them at a 41% clip. As his game continues to progress outward he is bound to add the 3pt shot similar to what Chris Bosh has done over time. Last year in the playoffs he had 3 triple doubles and a double double in every game he played in. No other post player is giving you that kind of production anywhere. Blake obviously should be your cornerstone player.

Doc Rivers better make some moves if it doesn’t happen this year and Jordan should be his number one option.

Houston Rockets Roundup

 

Since the start of the year the Rockets are 9-3 with a pair of win streaks mixed in.  Compared to the month of November when they lost 8 and December when they lost 7. It finally looks like the team is hitting their groove and they can’t be seen from their play. Also having recently traded for Josh Smith (Dwight’s childhood friend) who was a catalyst last season for them in the playoffs in the Clippers series.  The Clippers basically gave him away for nothing most likely because there was friction between Doc Rivers and him about playing time. Josh has been in the dog house and hasn’t payed more than a couple of minutes since December 19th. He gets traded on Thursday and goes out on Sunday for the Rockets then drops 16, 3, 2, 2,2 in 20 minutes. Smith is one the true 5 pts, 5 rb, 5 stls, 5 blks, 5 asst type of players. He can do it all and has the size to go with it. This was a very important move to make with D-Mo dealing with his back injury and trying to rehab and get back out there. Dwight has also been taking off more this year so the Smith trade couldn’t have come at a better time for the Rockets. Look at this move he had on the Mavs this past Sunday

Even Hakeem would smile at that.

Now onto Harden who has been dogging at times this season but lately the guy is playing superb and putting up numbers very few have managed to do. In just his past five games he has been averaging almost a triple double with 28.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 9.6 assists with a PER of 31.7!!! And just like that all the chatter about him goes away when he starts playing like he should. Look at his splits

 

Looking even better this month than last year in his  MVP caliber season.  Ty Lawson has also shown signs of a pulse which is a step in the right direction. The trade deadline is coming up and I know Morey is working the phones, I have heard that Lawson and Jones are available.