True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: tim duncan

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 »

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 »

I know it’s blasphemy but it might be true

Last night Dirk Nowitzki put together one of the signature performances of his career. He shot 12-of-15 from the floor, made all of his 24 free throw attempts and finished with 48 points as Dallas beat Oklahoma City 121-112 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Another way you know this performance was awesome, as if the numbers aren’t enough, is that it totally overshadowed another great performance. Kevin Durant also went for 40 in the game and made 18-of-19 of his free throw attempts. While looking at the box score you might think this game will be remembered as a great duel between the two stars, it won’t be because Dirk was ht breathtaking.

Dirk’s career has seemed to of flown under the radar somewhat in terms of how high it should rank among other legends. It looked like he was peaking in 2006 taking a Dallas team to the Finals after finally beating their nemesis San Antonio in the playoffs. Only the ring that seemed meant for Dirk would not be as Wade and the refs swooped in and took it from him.
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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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NBA Dunk Contest: something needs to be done fast

I missed the dunk contest for the first time since I remember dunk contests but I guess I didn’t miss much. Everyone has a fix for All-Star Weekend and how to make the dunk contest more relevant so here’s three options I feel the NBA should entertain:

1. Star Power

This is a pretty obvious one but it is the most important. Nothing would be more entertaining than a LeBron-Wade showdown in the dunk contest final.

That’s a fact.

They would both be spectacular in the contest but it wouldn’t even really matter. With lesser-name guys it’s all about the dunk and how crazy it is and it’s originality.

That wouldn’t matter nearly as much if the stars competed in the contest. It would just be about which star had the better dunk. If LeBron brought back some dunks that Michael did in the 80’s, we would be fine with it. But when a guy like DeMar DeRozan does it, we’re pissed because we’ve seen it already.

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I’ll take Reggie over Ray; Carolla’s better uncensored

It’s always a good day when I get a call from Stanke. We went to Applebees with Koby, too. It was nice. It was a treat.

We watched the Heat-Celtics game. Boston won 107-102 behind 22 and 14 from Rondo and 23 points from Ray Allen who shut the door on the Heat with free throws late.

Allen was impressive from the line. There was just no chance he was going to miss. But I don’t get why everyone talks about how pretty his jumper is. He’s a great jump shooter but it’s not particularly pretty. It’s just a quick jump and quick release and he delivers a line drive ball that goes in quite a bit. J.J. Redick and Mike Miller have pretty jumpers, Ray’s is just better. When I look at him and then look at a player like Reggie Miller, the obvious comparison of the two, not even close.

Give me Reggie every time. Maybe I didn’t see enough of Ray Allen using the dribble in his days with Seattle and Boston but I think Reggie is a way more complete player. I know everyone used to talk about how underrated a finisher and dunker Ray was, but whatever. Allen’s career scoring average is a little higher than Reggie’s but he has averaged more minutes than Reggie and shot a lower percentage from the field while their three point percentage is nearly identical.

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The top 10 NBA teams of the 2000’s that didn’t win a championship

The 2000’s of the NBA were primarily dominated by two dynasties: the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.

This past decade also saw three players experience more success than any others: Shaquille O’neal, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

O’neal won one regular season MVP, three Finals MVP’s and was part of four championship teams in the decade appearing in five NBA Finals in all.

Bryant won an MVP and a Finals MVP and won four championships while playing in six Finals series.

Duncan won two MVP’s in the regular season and in the NBA Finals and took home championships in the three trips he made to the NBA Finals.

But there were a lot of other good teams that might not be remembered because they were unlucky enough to cross paths with O’neal, Bryant and Duncan in their primes.

Here is a list (in chronological order) of the 10 best teams that did not win it all in the 2000’s.

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