True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: oklahoma city thunder

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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Why Stephen Curry’s ordinary plays are still special

warriorsworld.net

Stephen Curry is one of the smartest players in basketball. He’s looked like a veteran ever since he entered the league in the 2009-10 season.

This year Curry has been sidelined for most of the year with injury but has since returned and had his best game yet of the season in a 101-93 win over the Portland Trailblazers last Wednesday night.

Curry had 32 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in the game while going 6-of-8 from three-point land. Curry now has his averages back on pace from last year and should see an improvement as he plays more games.

Curry’s game is a lot like Steve Nash’s. He’s not the best athlete ever on the court but is quick and one of the more savvy decision-makers in the game.

Here we’ll look at two plays showing how Curry makes a couple of beautiful reads to get open for shots.
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The future looks bright in Minnesota

No team has jumped up everyone’s “NBA League Pass Power Rankings” quite like the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. It was expected early in the season just because we’d finally get a chance to see rookie Ricky Rubio for the first time in his career but now the Timberwolves are turning into one of the most interesting teams in the league night in night out.

The Timberwolves dropped the Washington Wizards to 0-8 yesterday with 93-72 win led by rookies Rubio and Derrick Williams who each posted a +29, +/- number. Rubio led the way with his most assists yet, 14, five of which accounted for each of Williams’ field goals, four three-pointers and another sweet alley-oop dunk.

I’m leaving out Kevin Love from the equation who had another monster game with 20 points and 16 rebounds, now averaging 25.4 points and 15.0 rebounds on the year, find me someone else doing that.

The core of Rubio-Love-Williams has to be getting fans in Minnesota excited, I know I’m getting excited (writing about how they are the next great team after they beat Washington). With Rubio looking like the next Steve Nash and Williams starting to remind me of Shawn Marion, the Timberwolves may easily become the team I watch more than any other for the next 10 seasons.
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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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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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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 »

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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