True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: james harden

The Thunder’s pick-and-roll defense vs. the Clippers

Pick-and-roll defense is always going to be a huge point of emphasis when you play the Clippers. The Clippers run pick-and-roll plays as much as any team in the league and with Chris Paul at the helm are pretty efficient in doing so.

The pick-and-roll when shots are taken from the ball handler or roll man account for around 40 percent of the Clippers’ offense this season. Basically not counting passes kicked out to spot-up jumpers or secondary cutters.

Against the Thunder last night the Clippers only got 15 percent of their offense from the pick-and-roll ball handler and roll man. That’s because the Thunder are pretty good on defense and usually force their opponent into more isolation plays than usual (the Clippers took 32 percent of their shots on isolation plays).

The problem is that the Clippers had success when they did shoot off the pick-and-roll and a lot of success. They made 12-of-14 shots in the pick-and-roll game last night including all six of their shots when the roll man shot.

The Thunder’s pick-and-roll defense hasn’t been great this year and last night was a perfect example of why.

Here’s a look at a few of the pick-and-roll plays from last night’s game.
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The Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook pick-and-roll

hoopspeak.com

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a great fourth quarter in their win last Friday night over the Golden State Warriors. Despite turning the ball over 22 times in the game, they rode a 35-point final period to win 120-109.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the lead catalysts in the game and especially down the stretch. Golden State couldn’t match up with either and Thunder head coach Scott Brooks took advantage of this.

The Thunder led Golden State by just three, 88-85, with 8:33 left in the game. From this point on Oklahoma City went with their Westbrook and Durant pick-and-roll play.

The play is simple and starts off with Westbrook bringing the ball down on the left wing. Nick Collison then screens for Durant to come across the top of the key and set a screen for Westbrook at the wing.
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Rondo a better fit in OKC than Westbrook

After watching the first five games of the Thunder season, I’m starting to feel like Russell Westbrook is literally the worst player in the league. He’s definitely becoming one of the most destructive and as part of the Thunder faithful, I want him out now before it gets any worse.

The trade rumors I’ve heard involving Westbrook that are the most exciting would be swaps for Rajon Rondo or Stephen Curry. While Curry is one of my favorite players in the league and I would love to see this trade happen, I’d rather see Westbrook traded for Rondo and think it makes a lot of sense for both teams.

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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 »

Preview of the 2015 Western Conference Finals anyone?

The two youngest teams in the NBA met up Friday night in what has quickly become one of my favorite matchups to watch in the league today.

Oklahoma City took care of Memphis 102-94 led by Kevin Durant who threw up a 32-10 with Russell Westbrook chipping in with 23 points and seven assists.

I can’t help but want to take a look into the crystal ball that tells the NBA’s future and see what could be if these two franchises are able to hang on to their cores of young stars.

Right now, the Thunder are a lot better off than Memphis but I like to include the Grizzlies in the conversation mainly because of how much I loved their most recent draft and the potential I see in O.J. Mayo.

You can’t help but love every pick they made in the draft which started with the second overall pick being Hasheem Thabeet (the definition of “upside”). They went on to take DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young to round out their last two picks. How can you complain with those picks especially when you already have young studs like Mayo, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay?

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