A current #HotNBATake is that the Timberwolves have to make a move because Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic aren't compatible long term because of their defensive frailties. I've discussed Love's defensive shortcomings at length, whereas Pekovic's defense is more controversial. At that link a Wolves fan argues that Pekovic is as valuable a rim protector as Roy Hibbert based on his ability to prevent attempts at the rim.
When Rob and I talked about Greg Monroe on the podcast a while back, we were both lukewarm on him as a piece around which a contender can be built. For a number of reasons, he's somewhere between the poor man's Al Jefferson and the homeless man's Kevin Love, between his relatively plodding, though skilled, style, his subservience to gravity and his questionable defense at an extremely important defensive position.
Mama there goes that hand down man you're better than that
Just watching the games it's sometimes very easy to get caught up in "how can you leave him that open?" when shooters get good shots. To some extent, defenses can be inattentive, or make silly rotations, but as often as not, players get open by design. Last night, Golden State came back to beat the Mavs behind a barrage of 4th quarter threes from Steph Curry. While some of them were available because Jose Calderon can't play defense, the one which really turned the game was the result of clever play design.
Having guys who can space the floor is at the same time both underrated and overrated in today's NBA. The recent rise to prominence of "Three and D" wing players - guys who can play effective defense but have offensive skillsets limited to shooting spot up 3s and possibly finishing in transition - has players occupying what was a Moneyball-like area of exploitable market inefficiency almost overrated.
This may become something of a belabored point on this here blog, but role matters a great deal when deciding between two players. Much as we can see the mammoth front line in Detroit being less than the sum of their parts, or Wes Matthews looking like an All-Star in Portland where he might look uglier on a team where he was expected to do more with the ball, a player's production is a function of both his talent and how well that talent fits the tasks he is put in a position to perform by his teammates and system. The importance of fit has a great deal of relevance to the Blake vs. DMC discussion.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Failures of Offensive Imagination
Only possible because they didn't have to share.
Remember the optimism in Cleveland when they won the 2013 Lottery? They were going to add another young star to Kyrie Irving! Andrew Bynum was going to be healthy and given them a potent inside-outside mix! LEBRON WAS COMING BACK! Surely he'd be anxious to be reunited with Mike Br...oh now I see where the wheels came off. Needless to say, it hasn't exactly worked out, in large part because one of the Cavs' supposed strength heading into the year, their offense, has been not only bad, but nearly unwatchable.
After enjoying the Fightin' Stevenses whoop up on the Quittin' Woodsons (how long til they become Firin' Woodsons?), Rob from PPP and I sat down to record a podcast, which I've embedded after the jump. Even though I'm posting the here, it's still the Points Per Possession Podcast at Where Offense Happens, sort of like Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High, but with millions less in sponsorship revenue. Hey Rob, CTC?
One of my favorite underrated movies is "The Contender," for a number for a number of reasons. The overflowing of more That Guys than any film this side of Heat or True Romance. The bizzaro-world reunion of Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliot as President Bill Clinton-Lebowski and Chief of Staff Kermit The Stranger. But mostly it's the dialogue, my favorite line being from President Bridges when he zings a rival with a putdown that goes well over the guy's head, until he's out of the room: "You're the future of [this] party. And you always will be." The fervor of many teams (and fan bases) to get Riggin' for Wiggins, or to be Sorry for Jabari puts that quote in mind.
The great thing about writing about the NBA is that there are 30 teams and ten times that many things to write about. The terrible thing about writing about the NBA is that there are 30 teams...So, obviously the only way I'm going to complete the series on the Suns lackluster pick-and-roll coverage is to roll it into what I had planned anyway: a series of posts about young players who might or might not be long term keepers in NBA rotations.
Just a quickie here. as blogging and watching 3 month-olds doesn't mix particularly well. I really enjoyed the great play Monty Williams drew up for the game winner on Monday night, but a play like that only works once. So when put in a similar situation last night against the Mavs, he was going to come up with something different.