True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: amare stoudemire

Dwyane Wade returns in 99-89 win for Miami over New York

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Miami Heat got 10 dunks from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in their win Friday night over the New York Knicks. The game was close for awhile due to good long range shooting by the Knicks who went 18-for-43 from three in the game.

The Heat pulled away in the end and looked at their best with LeBron and Wade working together and making highlights. LeBron had 31-7-8 in the game and Wade 28 points and five steals.

I wrote earlier this week how the Heat looked better overall with Wade out of the lineup and LeBron running the show. I still feel like that is true to some extent but when they both get going like they did Friday night it can be pretty impressive and demoralizing for an opponent.
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Who should be taking a shot with the game on the line

NBA fans love to argue about what player is the most clutch or who they would want taking the last shot in a game. It seems most would always say Kobe Bryant including other NBA players and GM’s.

It is amazing how everyone simply agrees with this when the numbers don’t entirely back Kobe up during crunch time. He is the most prolific at taking shots when the game is on the line. He is just not the most efficient in doing so.

For example, the Lakers over Kobe’s career tenure with them have had the most efficient offense in the NBA. The drop off in their efficiency once games enter crunch time is the greatest of any other team.

Chris Paul on the other hand, is by far the most efficient player once the game enters crunch time. And not only as an individual but his team has been the most efficient in the NBA during this time.

Henry Abbott goes into more detail about this.

Paul didn’t become the most efficient by taking fadeaway jump shots over two defenders but by always trying to run offense and find the open man in late-game situations.

But sometimes in the NBA you can’t always find an open shot and you have to take a bad shot. That’s why stats can’t definitely tell you who the most clutch player in the league is. Kobe’s skill and ability to get off a decent shot from anywhere on the court does have its value, it’s just not always the best decision.

Here’s my ranking of players I want taking a clutch shot in the NBA, based on the type of shot or scenario in the game.
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Bama beats LSU, Boris Diaw vs. the Knicks

I almost forgot college football existed. In fact, I almost forgot anything that isn’t the NBA existed. But my attention was distracted from my first love to the national championship last night, but not for long.

Alabama beat LSU in dominant fashion to capture their 14th national championship all-time and first since 2009. Nick Saban also coached to win his third title in the BCS-era, the most of any coach.

The game was of course a rematch with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime in the first meeting this season in Tuscaloosa. In eight quarters plus overtime between these two teams, one touchdown was finally scored by Alabama on a 34-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson with 4:36 left in the game.

The clear-cut two best teams in the country played twice and only one touchdown was scored between them. Yet it was never boring, just impressive, with the athletes on each side of the ball and the plays being made every down.
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Part 1: Best players in the NBA by position

I’ve always wanted to take the time and make a list of the best players in the NBA. Anyone who loves the NBA does this all the time and people are always debating who the best player in the league is. It’s a debate that will always go on because it is nearly impossible to compare players at different positions and tell which is more valuable (although everyone thinks it’s easy).

I’ve spent some time trying to come up with the best players by position. But there aren’t really five positions in basketball because there aren’t five different types of players. So I’ve come up with the most relevant positions (player types) that help a team win a title and ranked their importance and tried to come up with the most relevant/valuable players in the league when it comes to winning a championship.

First off, here are the positions and by importance:

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2011-2012 NBA Season Preview

Nothing compelled me to write more than the NBA Playoffs last season. And during the lockout and offseason, nothing interested me enough to write because nothing could compare to the NBA last season. I just wanted to get the lockout over and have a season. We’ll finally be getting that now Christmas Day and with the announcement that I will be receiving NBA League Pass as a Christmas gift, I feel the need to fire up this blog again. If ever a time then now, right?

I always wanted to do season preview articles and love thinking about this stuff so I’m going with predictions on win totals to start in the shortened 66-game season. I’ve done my research (listened to the NBA Today podcast and read Bill Simmons’ 12 Days of Christmas) and I’m ready to give it a shot.

Disclaimer: with the condensed season I expect a ton more injuries like last lockout. Also, there are some transactions that I’m sure will go down before the season starts still or right after it does. So in six months when everyone is Googleing me and reading this article, please don’t hate on me too much. Also I watched all of the NBA players’ lockout mixes on Hoopmixtape.com and will be weighing those tapes heavily when making these predictions.

Really, just pay attention to the order of teams and win totals to get the most out of this preview, what I write about each team is a lot of filler.

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Forecasting the next decade of the NBA

Before the Finals started I did a little research looking at the past NBA champions and runner-ups. I basically came to the conclusion that the Dallas Mavericks could not beat the Miami Heat this year. The Heat’s big three were all in their primes and Dallas was simply older than any other team that won the title.

The only thing I could see that could explain Dallas winning the series in a historical context was that Dirk Nowitzki really was one of the greatest 15 or 20 players to ever play in the league and despite being in his 12th season was still in his prime and thus a worthy star to single-handedly lead this team to a title.

Now the Mavericks did win this series with great “team” basketball, as everyone likes to say, but at the end of the day when people look back at the record books and the teams that won it all, this Dallas team will stand out and be remembered for having one unbelievable star player.

When I looked back at all of the NBA champions since 1980, it was never surprising who won and why they did. Everything made sense. At the end of the day, you needed to have one of ten different players to even have a chance: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. And now Dirk is on that list. He and Moses are the only ones I put on that list who only won a single title. Dirk could have easily won two and Moses was a top 12 player of all-time and deserving. Read the rest of this entry »

How important is it to be in your prime?

As the Miami Heat were busy eliminating the Boston Celtics, I got thinking about how it was clear that the Celtics did not have anything left in the tank and were too old and too injured to keep up with Miami.

As someone who was watching the series hoping that Boston would advance because I like watching them play more, before the series even started my biggest fear was essentially what ended up happening.

Things like Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be able to be effective enough on both sides of the court, Ray Allen would be relegated to a jump shooter and not hitting in every game and Paul Pierce would have to carry too large of an offensive load. Even while watching the regular season meetings between the two teams you could kind of see this fate looming. While Boston seemed to always get a ton of good looks, it also seemed like they had to play pretty perfectly to get those looks and it’d be harder in the playoffs.

A big reason why Miami won the series was youth and talent overpowering Boston. They have their best three guys in their prime. It sounds simple but it really allows for them to play more minutes and play them more effectively. When Doc Rivers was forced to bring back Garnett early in the fourth quarter for Game 4, Boston was doomed and Garnett ran out of gas as the game eventually went into overtime.
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NBA Dunk Contest: something needs to be done fast

I missed the dunk contest for the first time since I remember dunk contests but I guess I didn’t miss much. Everyone has a fix for All-Star Weekend and how to make the dunk contest more relevant so here’s three options I feel the NBA should entertain:

1. Star Power

This is a pretty obvious one but it is the most important. Nothing would be more entertaining than a LeBron-Wade showdown in the dunk contest final.

That’s a fact.

They would both be spectacular in the contest but it wouldn’t even really matter. With lesser-name guys it’s all about the dunk and how crazy it is and it’s originality.

That wouldn’t matter nearly as much if the stars competed in the contest. It would just be about which star had the better dunk. If LeBron brought back some dunks that Michael did in the 80’s, we would be fine with it. But when a guy like DeMar DeRozan does it, we’re pissed because we’ve seen it already.

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The top 10 NBA teams of the 2000’s that didn’t win a championship

The 2000’s of the NBA were primarily dominated by two dynasties: the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.

This past decade also saw three players experience more success than any others: Shaquille O’neal, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

O’neal won one regular season MVP, three Finals MVP’s and was part of four championship teams in the decade appearing in five NBA Finals in all.

Bryant won an MVP and a Finals MVP and won four championships while playing in six Finals series.

Duncan won two MVP’s in the regular season and in the NBA Finals and took home championships in the three trips he made to the NBA Finals.

But there were a lot of other good teams that might not be remembered because they were unlucky enough to cross paths with O’neal, Bryant and Duncan in their primes.

Here is a list (in chronological order) of the 10 best teams that did not win it all in the 2000’s.

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Just how good are the Phoenix Suns?

The Phoenix Suns beat the world champion Los Angeles Lakers 118-103 Monday night improving to 20-12 on the year and in a tie for fourth in the Western Conference.

So how good are these Suns? Are they back to being a championship contender?

The Suns have already beaten the Lakers, Magic, Spurs and Celtics this season, all teams that will be contending for a title at the end of the year. That leaves just Cleveland and Denver to beat among true title contenders.

While the Suns have already beaten these established elite teams in the league, they’ve yet to peak as a team themselves.

Phoenix has played the second most road games in the league this season posting an 8-10 record in them. The Suns are 12-2 on their home floor and should learn to transfer that play to their road games better as the season continues. With more home games left, Phoenix will have a better chance of improving their record this season and climbing the West standings.

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