Better late than never, Rob and I recorded a podcast before the start of any Game 3's on Thursday. We look far less silly, as we suggested neither Houston-Portland or Chicago-Washington were close to over. In particular, a possible Nenesuspension could be a HUGE swing in that series. Indiana though...at a certain point I'm going to have to accept that Pre-ASB Pacers are dead and gone and not coming back. Audio and download after the jump:
Yesterday, I looked in depth at some of the cleverness that makes San Antonio so deadly in their half court execution. Today, I want to give the same treatment to the Wizards. It seems slightly churlish to be critical - they did just have an enormous Game 1 victory over Chicago. But, I don't think it was their offensive execution which paved the way: Nene made a lot of midrange shots - 7/12 from areas where he shot 43.4 % during the regular season, and the Chicago offense (like the Chicago offense does) sputtered.
I've talked before about the difference between physical tools and the ability to "make a play," and have done so specifically in the context of reading the pick-and-roll. The Spurs, despite having a somewhat clunky offensive game by their standards, still put on a master class in pick-and-roll execution. By comparison, despite their victory, the Wizards young guards clearly have things still to learn. In this post, I'll look at what the Spurs guards do well, and in the next, I'll tackle where the young Wizards guards sometimes fail (though not the Professor Andre Miller as if there's one guy who knows how to win without speed...)
Make Or Miss Podcast 14&15: Breaking Down the First Round
Because we're unprofessional (literally, we do this for free unless someone wants to pay that man his money), Rob and I recorded two podcasts breaking down first the East and then the West first rounders. With one day in the books, about the only prediction that looks any good is that Toronto-Brooklyn will go 7. Today is a new day, but still, putting these out for posterity so that you, the listener, can point and laugh at our foolishness.
Naturally, as the rules of the game have changed, different player types and skillsets become more valuable. Axiomatically, other types and skills become relatively less valuable. However, many of the tropes heading into the playoffs reflect the lessons of a different era of basketball.
In the era of the three pointer and the endless pick-and-roll, "live by the jumper, die by the jumper" or "let the big dog eat" just don't have currency anymore. Yet the constant repetition of these refrains not only misinforms, it actually influences teams into playing worse.
After giving Rob a week off to talk Jazz with Ben Dowsett, we're back at it for the end of the beginning. By which I mean we hand out our versions of the NBA awards. Well, I hand out versions of them and Rob cheats to fit his favored guys into the mix. He also wrote (!) about some of his picks at PPP. I take some final shots at this seasons' Timberwolves, but it's not my fault, I was goaded into it by what Rob had to say (after the jump) about Kevin Love!
When ESPN debuted RPM last week, I have to admit my first reaction was classic hipster: I've been down with APM models since before they were cool (though, as I'll get into later, I'm not a huge fan of any "one number" metric). That bit of churlishness aside, I want to join the echoing chorus of those lauding ESPN for taking the plunge into the world of non-box score evaluation and especially into giving defense its due.
Make or Miss Podcast #12: Making Something of a Lost Jazz Season
plished certain things certainly stands as a referendum on Tyrone Corbin to a degree. In a bit of a departure from the usual MoM podcast, flew solo this time and talked with Ben Dowsett of SaltCityHoops to talk about how a team in "rebuilding" or even "tanking" mode can still accomplish things during a season. The degree to which the Jazz have not accomplished certain things certainly stands as a referendum on Tyrone Corbin to a degree.
This week on the pod, Rob and I spend some time on the Pacers (note: this was recorded earlier on Thursday, so before the weekend and especially before Sunday's debacle. I'm losing some faith, but still am far more bullish on them then the general populace who seem worried about a series with either Charlotte or New York. Surprised if it went 6 against either.)
Working To Rediscover An Offensive Identity With the Pacers
Apparently, the Pacers are done for. Local columnists are sharpening their knives. Zach Lowe has weighed in. The team is squabbling internally. Their net efficiency is more than 10 points per 100 worse since the All-Star break. At this rate they'll be lucky to get out of the first round. That is, if you buy the prevailing narratives.