True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: kobe bryant

Kobe Bryant in the last 5 Lakers possessions vs. Boston

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics last night 88-87 in overtime. Kobe Bryant was the leading scorer for the Lakers with 27 points and went 11-pf-24 from the floor.

The Lakers won the game but were close to losing it as Bryant made some questionable (expected) decision making down the stretch in overtime.

On the Lakers’ last five possessions in the game, Bryant went 0-for-3 from the field and basically disregarded any offense that the Lakers had set up.

With the score tied at 82, Bryant made his final field goal of the game on a horrible possession where he bailed out the Lakers hitting a fadeaway 20-footer over Ray Allen with 3:36 left in the game.
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NBA All-Star starters announced

NBA.com

Last night on TNT the NBA All-Star starters were revealed as voted by the fans. Yao Ming, Vince Carter and Allen Iverson all somehow were not selected. Those days are over at least.

Dwight Howard was the overall leading vote-getter and Kobe Bryant received the second most votes. I don’t think anyone really has a problem with that but the fans do tend to make the wrong choices every year voting more based on popularity than worth.

This season in particular the starters have been voted on very early into the season because of the lockout and the All-Star game remaining at its original date.

Below I will take a look at each selection and weigh in on whether or not it was the right choice.
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Heat, LeBron better without Wade?

nbcsports.msnbc.com

LeBron James led the Miami Heat last night to a 98-87 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. He did this without Dwyane Wade. The Heat and LeBron are now 4-0 this season when Wade is on the sideline.

Is it possible that this Miami Heat team could be better when Dwyane Wade does not play? I think so and I’ve pretty much felt this way all along about LeBron.

My biggest issue with LeBron choosing to play with Wade was that we would now not see the true individual potential of LeBron reached. Had he gone to New York or stayed in Cleveland we would have gotten an entire career of LeBron playing at his peak.

When he plays with Wade, we will never see this totally. We get glimpses from time to time and they can team up for some pretty spectacular plays but for the entire course of a game or season, we don’t see it.

Far too often when you watch Wade and LeBron play together, there are instances when LeBron is just standing in the corner or on the wing, out of the play completely as Wade is doing his thing. You never saw that in Cleveland (except when he started doing that in Game 6 vs. Boston and let Mo Williams go to work while he made sure to grab every rebound off missed free throws at the other end).
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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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Dwight Howard’s historical night in Golden State

The Orlando Magic beat the Golden State Warriors 117-109 last night. Dwight Howard had 45 points, 23 rebounds and attempted an NBA-record 39 free throws, five more than the previous record of 34 set by Wilt Chamberlain during the 1961-62 season, in which he averaged 50.4 points per game.

Howard came into the game shooting just 42.6 percent from the line, a career worst. He’s been right at 59 percent the past five seasons. The trade rumors have clearly affected Howard on the court this season and as someone who doesn’t have trouble finding a reason to not give 100 percent effort level, a struggle like this isn’t surprising. Howard made just 21 of his 39 free throw attempts versus the Warriors, 54 percent.

It’s not shocking that a historical statistical night occurred against the Warriors. It happens all the time from Brandon Jenning’s 55-point night as a rookie to David Lee’s 37 point, 20 rebound, 10 assist game two years ago, the Warriors have a knack for getting the best out of their opponent.
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Rookie Brandon Knight attempts 13 threes

The Detroit Pistons lost at home to the New York Knicks 103-80 last night. Brandon Knight started for the Pistons for the second time in a row. Knight also attempted 13 three-pointers in the game. That’s a lot.

To be fair, one was a half court attempt at the end of the first half. But still, 13 threes thrown up by a rookie in just his eighth game and by someone shooting only around 30 percent from deep is interesting.

I’ve known about Knight since he was a freshman in high school. I saw him make it to States four straight years in high school and followed his successful run to the Final Four with Kentucky during his one and only season in college. I know he’s a great student, a great kid, has great work ethic, and that there’s no way he won’t succeed in the NBA.

Usually when you see a rookie shoot 13 threes, it might be seen as a red flag. Stephen Curry never shot 13 threes as a rookie and Kobe Bryant during the 2006 season (when he seemed to shoot more than anyone ever) only did five times including going 7-for-13 in the game he scored 81.

Knight’s not a red flag. He’s a well thought-out player playing on a terrible team in his first season in the league. He’s surrounded by a bunch of bums and he isn’t one. He took every shot because it was the right one and he’s not afraid.

Let’s go through each one:
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Part 2: Ranking the best players in the NBA by position

Now that I have explained all of the positions or types of players in the league that I respect, here are my rankings:

High post iso guy

Tier 1:If he’s you’re best player, it gives you the best chance to win a title

1. Dirk Nowitzki – see 2011 Playoffs.
2. Kevin Durant – if he tries to emulate Dirk from last year, and I think he is, he is the next in line for this type. He needs to do less running off screens (although deadly) and handling in pick and rolls and more of this.

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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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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 »

Trying to understand LeBron

LeBron James had the most inexcusable performance in the history of the NBA last night. He scored 8 points on 3-of-11 shooting in an 86-83 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The series is now tied at 2-2 but now LeBron has put himself in a no-win situation.

Before the season started all of the criticism of LeBron was well deserved and aimed appropriately. At least the real criticisms like he was taking the easy way out by going to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the way he handled the whole “Decision.” As the season went on, people started to forget about why we really criticized LeBron. The Heat struggled and weren’t dominant so the focus shifted to simply this season, as it probably should. Heat and LeBron supporters started making their case for how LeBron and Miami would shut up the haters by winning a championship this season despite their struggles and everything before the season started. Well, that’s not what it’s about, not at all.

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