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.
As we march towards the playoffs, Rob and I took on the Hot Topics of the week, first with a little bit about the last few playoff spots, including Portland and Atlanta's late season, injury-aided swoons, whether Dallas could hang on to make it or if the Suns could come out on top of that race. We then moved to a discussion of the rather bizarre intra-coaching staff feud in Golden State which saw Brian Scalabrine demoted to the D-League.
Realized it's been a month or so since I last updated the Isolated Rim Protection Metric, so reran the numbers through games of Saturday, March 22. Google doc with the results is here. Nothing terribly surprising in this iteration. Roy Hibbert still crushes the rest of the league in this measure. Robin Lopez continues to show up surprisingly well (2nd in per game value), even though Portland has given up large numbers of paint points all year.
Make or Miss Podcast #9: Dean on Draft Previews the NCAAS
This one is going up a little late, but Rob and I talked with Dean Demakis for about an hour on Wednesday night talking about prospects who could help or hurt themselves with good showings in the tourney. Obviously, some of the discussion is slightly dated (sorry, Jabari) as we're over halfway done with the first round games at the time I post this, but still good stuff from Dean after the jump.
It's not surprising that there are two items dominating the thoughts and tweets (not always in that order) of basketball intelligentsia this week. On one hand can Phil Jackson SAVE THE KNICKS? (though, I would tweek the question slightly and wonder aloud if Phil Jackson could save the rest of us from the Knicks?) Meanwhile, today marked the start of the paean to commercialization and exploitation of talent so crass that even the IOC thinks it's gauche, or in shorter form, the first day of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (proper; I like all right thinking people refuse to acknowledge the "1st round" as a real part of the tournament), it's time tofix the draftand end the scourge that is some teams being very bad (even though it's mathematically compelled in a league where some teams are very good).
Really, both issues reduce to one thing: some franchises perform better because they have better owners. "Better" is sort of a catchall for acumen in hiring and firing coaches and executives, willingness to spend money appropriately, and more often than not, getting the hell out of the way. So, I wonder, why should we nibble around the edges of problems such as tanking, revenue sharing and free agency designed to improve competitive balance? Why not cut to the source?
So to that end, I present my Modest Proposal to fix all that ails the NBA: Relegation for owners.
Make Or Miss Podcast #8: Pat Beverley and Pieces of the Mid East
In this edition of the Make or Miss Podcast, Rob and I spend about 25 minutes talking about Patrick Beverley, P.J. Tucker and the guys on the hungry fringe of the NBA (with a side helping of Tony Allen). We then move on to discussing the Middle of the Eastern (conference), talking out who's best and who's the biggest threat among Toronto, Chicago, Brooklyn and Washington.
Skipping to the end, I don't think (unlike Charles Barkley) the NBA has a substandard product. Even usual hyperbole aside, any claim that the modern day league can be considered "the worst ever" is laughable because it's been demonstrably worse in recent memory. The crackdown on perimeter physicality and glut of talented point guards (which are almost certainly intertwined factors) makes it extremely difficult to argue that the product circa 2007 is worse than it is today.
Make Or Miss Podcast: Playoff Races & Covering The Right Places
In this week's addition of the Make or Miss Podcast, bear with my scratchy throat, our usual peripatetic natures, and maybe even a dose of HotTakes as Rob and I discuss the perception versus reality of the NBA's national TV product before talking some Eastern and Western Conference playoff races, with some focus on the Hawks, Mavs and Suns.
One of the great pleasures of The Wire is watching characters grow and develop like, well, actual human beings rather than the dueling position papers you might get on other prestige shows. Anyway, one of the great moment's of the first season is when Lance Reddick's "Lt. Daniels" character finally has had enough of BPD bureaucracy and several episodes' worth of slow burn is replaced by his explosion that the chosen tactic of an officer who outranks him, to go for a quick rip rather than a detailed investigation. Basically the boss wants the equivalent of Nick Young gunning for glory on this year's Lakers.
Agreeing wholeheartedly with two seemingly contradictory opinions or theories is always a difficult quandry in which to find one's self. On the one hand, it's hard to dispute Krishna's demonstration that the midrange shot is the least desirable look, especially early in the shot clock. Many of the teams with structural offensive problems (i.e. not just they have bad offensive players but are employing the players they have in silly ways) fall victim to the trap of the early midranger. Cleveland and Golden State are prime examples.