True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: los angeles lakers

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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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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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 »

NBA Finals reaction

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last night to capture the 2011 NBA championship.

LeBron James was horrific for the last three games of the series having what had to be the worst performance ever by a superstar in a championship. Dirk Nowitzki was clutch all series with one of the most impressive accomplishments in NBA history winning a title with this Dallas team.

But most importantly, the 2006 NBA Finals travesty has been avenged and in the most perfect fashion. Yes, now I am finally over those Finals.

So many things happened this season in the NBA. It was one of the best seasons I can remember and had such a dramatic NBA Finals to cap it off. Now there might be a lockout next year and how sad that would be if not for the unbelievable season we had this year and the memories that have come from it. Read the rest of this entry »

History says Dallas won’t beat Miami

Timing is said to be everything in life and it is no different when it comes to sports and the NBA. I’ve been saying all year that this was the perfect time for LeBron James to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to win right away. If the timing is right for them, it most certainly is not for Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

We overanalyze a lot in sports sometimes and can get into trouble doing so. Like looking at the Bulls and how they are a bad matchup for the Heat. They were but the Heat were still that much more talented and that much better at playing their game consistently that it didn’t matter in the end.

Underanalyzing is also a problem. Like saying the Heat will win because they have the best player (LeBron) is boring and not entirely true.

I tried to combine the two, while overanalyzing the underanalyzing when it comes to the matchup between the Heat and the Mavericks. Read the rest of this entry »

Winning can’t be everything in the NBA

Is winning everything in the NBA? This question will be as relevant as ever if we have a Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals matchup. In terms of winning and as it relates to success, two franchises could not be more opposite.

You have the city of Miami that has three championships since 1997, two for the Marlins and one for the Heat. Other than those three seasons where they won it all, both the Marlins and Heat have been pretty awful teams. They each have had their stars but overall, not a lot of success outside of three rings.

Then there’s the Mavericks who have no championships ever yet have won at least 50 games in 11 straight seasons and have come so close to hoisting a championship trophy, most notably when they lost to Miami in 2006.

What would you take as a sports fan? What would you take as an owner? It’s nice to win it all three times but it must also be nice to be able to go see a great product on the court for 11 straight years with the best owner in sports and one of the greatest players in NBA history right? Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe he ruined the game

This is a study I conducted where I inserted microchips into the heads of 50 NBA players to determine how they truly felt and reacted when their opponents made tough shots and they were the primary defender. Just kidding but I wish I could do some science on this because I think it plays a huge role in this league.

This is something I always notice in the NBA and it goes against what the stat geeks say. When star players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant hit really tough shots that become highlights on SportsCenter and essentially make their defender look bad, those buckets seem to be worth more than just two or three points. Let’s call them demoralizing buckets and they seem to really get into the psyche of the victims.

Now, I can’t spout off a million stats to back this theory up, I’m going off my eyes and what I see to be a trend. I have noticed this a lot with the Miami Heat, when there are games when Wade and LeBron are hitting really tough shots that in actuality are only worth two points but it seems to really affect the defenders and suck away their confidence. This is probably a natural reaction to such a situation but these guys are professional basketball players and I would think they should all be used to something like this.

It’s something that you will never see in a basketball video game although it has been attempted to be captured with features such as momentum. But in a video game, there are always more dunks and crazy shots going in but it does not matter because the digital guys aren’t thinking as they run down the court and they don’t take it personal.
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