Comparing players is something of a obsession among hoopheads. I'm of course not immune, even though I tend to think "who else you got" is almost as important a question as the skills and talents of the two players you are evaluating. One of the more intriguing pair of subjects for idle discussion is Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins. Obviously, based on national profile and acclaim, Griffin wins in a walk. However, I'm not so sure. And I want to spend some time teasing out the areas in which each has the edge. In part 1 of this series, I'm going to look at their post games, in part 2, I'll look at pick and roll play, and in part 3 I'll discuss defense and transition play.
Just a short rumination for Black Friday about why it's important to me to understand basketball not just in terms of numbers on a spreadsheet, but also in terms of the "how" not just the "what" "who" and "how much". The stats measure achievement, certainly, but they don't always measure goals, at least not in basketball. While in baseball we can look at say Mickey Mantle and then compare what Mike Trout has done so far, maybe through in some era and park effects and we can pretty much say who was "better" at baseball. I simply do not think this to be true with basketball.
Monday's Pacers-Wolves game was meant to be some kind of early season test for both teams. Are the Wolves for real this year? Can the Pacers actually beat someone good during their creampuff early season schedule? I don't think these narratives are particularly useful, in part because the results of one game are a pretty poor barometer of that kind of stuff. However, a matchup like this can serve as a laboratory of sorts in that Minnesota's high powered offense (though down to 10th in PPP after this game) ran into Indy's staunch D. Obviously, on the night, the
Pacers' D won out, but I'm less interested in the what than in the how and the why? How did Indiana defend Minny and why did it work? Taking some specifics from the game illustrate eight main reasons why Indiana's defense is so rightly feared.
No 'Zards content yet. Sorry guys, I'll get to you soon.
Settling into something of a rhythm here, and shooting for one post per day. Occasionally they are going to a be a short hodgepodge of smaller items simply because the longer posts take a fair amount of time to put together from watching the video, checking the stats, identifying interesting example plays and so on. Plus my attention span requires me to be working on about four longish items at any given time.
Having looked at the Blazers' ability to get into offensive continuity quickly in part one and LeMarcus Aldridge's importance to this flow in part two, in part three, I'm going to look at why this early continuity is a very good thing for their offense. First of all, what is meant by "continuity" and why is it important?
Doug Collins can be very hit or miss as an announcer, which is ironic because by sheer repetition he ingrained in me the axiom that the NBA is a "make or miss league". The best defense in the world won't matter on the nights Carmelo Anthony goes IDKFA and starts tossing in 22 footers off the dribble with 2 guys on him. Some nights, you miss breakaway layups.
Rob was wondering why Sacramento ran a play to get Demarcus Cousins an elbow jumper down one with 1.9 seconds left in LA this afternoon. The short answer is, they didn't. Cousins was the 4th option on a play, and since Sacramento was out of timeouts, it was either throw him the ball or lose ignominiously by not being able to inbound the ball for a potential game winner. So how were they forced into such a poor look?
The Pelicans came into this season with high hopes, counting on an improved and more experienced Anthony Davis, a healthy Eric Gordon, the addition of Tyreke Evans and the "upgrade" (note possible scare quotes) at point guard from Grevis Vasquez to all-star Jrue Holiday at the point to make a serious playoff run. Despite a ridiculous early season from Davis, the 'Cans have been a mild disappointment, starting 5-6 despite a fairly soft early schedule (of their opponents only the Pacers and possibly Grizzlies look like playoff teams).
You mean I should literally sit on him in the corner?
You might have heard about this already, but WOH avatar/mascot/muse Kyle Korver is on something of a streak. It doesn't take a basketball genius to suggest that you shouldn't leave him open in the corner. Step right up, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. I know, he's a rookie and wants to impress his coaches with hard work on defense, (and he's been decently competitive on that end for a rookie to this point in fairness.) But as John Wooden said, (and Bill Walton likes to quote ad nauseum) "don't mistake activity for achievement."
Below the fold, the bad rotation of the indeterminate time period until I see the next one.
So as I get a better handle on how this is going to work, I think I've hit upon a general structure. I want to keep each post somewhat concise, but a lot of the things I want to look at are going to take 15-20 plays to illustrate the point. First of all, getting and captioning that many screengrabs is going to make my eyes bleed. Also, it's probably hard to digest more than a few at a time for a reader who hasn't watched each play over and over.