True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: steve nash

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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Top 5 Passers in the NBA

If you watched the Knicks game last night (Carmelo Anthony in particular) and couldn’t stand it, then you’ll appreciate this list.

There are a lot of advanced statistics out there for basketball and believe me I am in love with all of them. When it comes to passing there’s more to it than just how many assists a guy racks up.

Any point guard running an offense can have a game where they get a lot of assists if their teammates just knock down shots. Every point guard throughout the course of a game will make at least 10-15 passes to players coming off screens for jump shots.

That’s why I’m not going just by the numbers. Point guards get more opportunities for assists, that’s no surprise.

I’m making this list taking everything into account. How do you stack up as a passer for your position? Are you also a threat to score which gives you more passing opportunities? Do you dribble the air out of the ball every possession or are you obsessed with ball movement?

These are questions that need to be asked when thinking up the best passers in the league. Everyone knows Chris Paul and LeBron James get a lot of assists but they also have the ball in their hands as much as anyone. They’re bound to get a ton of assists.

The truly great passers take advantage of every opportune moment within the flow of the game to give their team the highest percentage chance possible to make shots.
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Rubio brought down to reality for a moment vs. Kings

It seemed every night I looked at the stat sheet and watched Ricky Rubio highlights this season there was something there that would make me smile. He’d either have a crazy plus-minus, a ton of assists or some dazzling passing highlights.

Last night as Minnesota beat the Sacramento Kings 99-86, Rubio wasn’t as great as he normally is. He had a nice stat line, starting the game and playing 38 minutes he scored 9 points along with 8 assists and 8 rebounds but his plus-minus of minus-three was startling.

How is this possible? He is the next Steve Nash who always led the league in plus-minus! This can’t be right!

Obviously I’ve been watching a little too much of lockout-season NBA and I have my expectations too high. Rubio finally had a “not-so-amazing” night, yet still a near triple-double.
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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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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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The new Monta

Monta Ellis was part of one of the more amazing statistics two years ago. On a 26-56 Golden State Warriors team and in a season where Ellis averaged 25.5 points per game, Ellis’ teammates outscored their opponents when their star was on the bench. This basically confirmed that Ellis was a ball hog and took bad shots that hurt his team no matter how much he scored.

Ellis is now entering his seventh season in the NBA this year and is 26 years old. He also now has a new coach in former point guard great, Mark Jackson, who planned to change the Warriors into a more defensive oriented team more suited for making the playoffs than the run-and-gun teams of the past.

Ellis seems to be changing somewhat too. He’s always had an elite talent with his quickness and ability to get into the paint and score. While he still has that, he’s beginning to use it to make himself more of a playmaker than ever before.
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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 »

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 »

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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