@ Matt / Jazz- Do you believe at all in the “emotional game”? The Thunder Laker game seemed to be a game where the team that was more “hungry” won. I’ve disliked the Lakers forever (now less so then I used to). They always seem to come into a series with a sense of entitlement… then Kobe’s killer instinct eventually kicks in. You guys seem like educated viewers of the game (I am not) – How much do you think that emotions factor in these games?
I am actually a believer in emotion as a factor, “statement games”, and all that to a certain degree. I think though, also, that fatigue was a big factor for the Lakers coming off that 7th game with Denver. No question that OKC is the better team now, though. The Lakers just don’t inspire fear anymore.
Well let’s see tonight. Prediction:
Kobe scores 45 and forgets to pass, Lakers lose, Kobe hints that the two Laker big men aren’t big enough nor man enough. Lakers win game 3. Isn’t that usually how it goes?
I don’t know . . . I just don’t think they can guard Westbrook AND Durant one on one, so they have to come up with a scheme to do it with team defense somehow. Harden is a good enough shooter they you can’t sag off him too far, so that doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of options . . .especially if OKC doesn’t turn the ball over like they didn’t last game.
I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “emotional game,” but emotions can be significant role. I didn’t see the game, but Matt could be right about fatigue. Fatigue and emotional flatness isn’t always easy to spot.
Lakers looked better tonight. Still not good enough, though.
How’s OKC in the half-court? That’s going to be key, imo.
I’m also curious to know if the Laker’s have shifted to a more inside power game? To me, this is the one advantage they have over all the teams that remain—at least if Bynum and Gasol can play decently. If they play smart, they should be formidable. (Of course, Kobe has to agree to this move—but he should, imo, if he wants to win.)
The Lakers did a better job defending Westbrook, and they definitely did a better job in the paint this time. The problem with this strategy against OKC though is that Ibaka is a really good shot blocker (he blocked seven shots tonight), so they’re going to get a lot of shots either altered or blocked outright. Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds, but plus/minus wise the Lakers are still -10 with him on the floor, so he’s still not really helping them out by being on the floor. It’s a really bad sign for the Lakers though, that even when Kobe and Bynum outscore Westbrook and Durant, they aren’t able to come up with a win. The combination of Sessions and Blake at point has been pretty dire thus far offensively-tonight no assists, 7 pts, 4 turnovers combined.
The Thunder looks OK in the half court-better than last season imo. They’re never going to look really good to me because they’re either Westbrook or Durant (and sometimes Harden) penetrating or they’re a jump shooting team. They don’t really have a guy that they can thrown down to in the paint. They do a decent job of screening and pick-and-rolls, but I think they could do better in this regard.
On paper OKC is actually a very good matchup for LA. Ibaka is a great weak-side shotblocker, sure, but he is average at best at guarding the post. Perkins, when healthy, is the best post defender in the NBA but he hasn’t been very effective since his knee injury two years ago. Sefolosha is one of the best perimeter defenders around but if he, Ibaka and Perkins are on the court at the same time then OKC is playing 2 on 5 on offense. Artest is probably Durant’s toughest matchup in the league and Ideally the Lakers would run their offense with Gasol on the high post, Bynom on one of the blocks and Kobe curling off screens.
Of course, it turns out OKC is ridiculously efficient on offense (especially considering they are pretty much an isolation team), Bynum is not great at passing out of the double team, Kobe insists on isolating, Gasol is the odd man out in the offense instead of its focal point, the Lakers are godawful at guarding the pick-and-roll (the only “play” OKC runs regularly), they are getting less out of the point than they were with Derek Fisher and they really, really, really miss Lamar Odom.
I get the feeling these guys are sick of playing with eachother.
“they really, really, really miss Lamar Odom.”
So did Dallas this year, and he was on their roster. :)
The thing with the Lakers is that, except for Bynum and Sessions, every one of the Lakers’ starters is one the downward arc in their careers. Sessions is at a bit of a disadvantage as he came to the team mid-season and is playing in an offensive scheme that doesn’t really suit him (defensively he’s just not very good). Brown, as a coach, I think, is just not very well suited psychologically to deal with the psychological dynamics of that team.
Still, for all their problems, they had a lead for much of that game, and they got Blake on open jumper that would have won the game at the end. I’m not sure why they thought OKC would go to sleep and Kobe would be open on the backside on that last play, but, still, Blake had a makeable shot to win and just missed it.
I think they’re going to have to get 30 from Bynum in order to win a game . . . and that means that Kobe’s probably only going to get 20 attempts or so.
This name won’t mean much to many of you, but Orlando Woolridge died Thursday at the age of 52. Not a great player perhaps, but a whole lot of fun to watch back in his day.
Back in the ‘80s, he was as close to Michael Jordan as the Bulls got . . . until they got Jordan (he was the last player to lead the Bulls in scoring before MJ took over). Great leaper, great in transition. Was fun to watch in the greatest slam dunk contest of all (Woolridge, Jordan, Dr. J, Dominique Wilkins, Darrel Griffith, Larry Nance, Terence Stansbury) Not a complete game, and ultimately couldn’t adapt to the Pippen role, so he got dealt to New Jersey but got suspended for violating the league substance abuse policy. Came back as a bench player for the Lakers in 1988-90. Then a prolific season with Denver during the Paul Westpaul era, then went on to a journeyman career with Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. He finished his career in Italy (@ Jazz, he played for D’Antoini for Benetton Treviso).
(Woolridge, Jordan, Dr. J, Dominique Wilkins, Darrel Griffith, Larry Nance, Terence Stansbury)
When was this? Was this the year after Larry Nance beat Doc? (I would have that Dr. Dunkenstein was too old by then, not to mention Doc.) Was this the year Jordan beat Nique in Chicago?
He finished his career in Italy (@ Jazz, he played for D’Antoini for Benetton Treviso).
Huh. I forgot about his stints with the Pistons, Bucks and the Sixers, too.
“When was this? Was this the year after Larry Nance beat Doc? "
Yeah, this was ‘85, so Nance and Erving both got in because they were finalists the previous year (also, I’d forgotten, but Drexler was in it that year, too).
“Was this the year Jordan beat Nique in Chicago”
Wilkins won that year (it was in Indianapolis). Jordan won in ‘87, but the one you’re thinking of in Chicago was ’88 (which to me was maybe the second greatest dunk contest overall, but probably the greatest final round).
“He was a very solid, if not very good, scorer. I don’t think he was skilled enough (mostly passing department) to play the triangle.”
Yeah, he didn’t have a half court game that was exceptional in any way, but he was fun to watch.
Man, I don’t think I remember the contest you’re talking about—although they’re all jumbled up in my mind.
So, Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak (as well as some other players with other teams) were awarded early “Bird rights” by an arbitrator, so they can be re-signed by the Knicks for 175 % of their previous season salary or the NBA average salary, whichever is greater. This means the Knicks can re-sign Lin, Novak and Landry Fields at up to $5 million each and then sign an additional player at $3 million or less with their mid-level exception.
I really enjoyed watching Novak last year.
Yeah, I did too. I think the Knicks have some interesting pieces. Just not sure if anyone can get them to fit together the right way.
I think your post got cut off. Did you mean to say that Anthony Davis is the number one pick? Btw, from the little I’ve seen of him, I’m not that impressed as everyone else seems to be (but this is based on a few of the tournament games). He looks like another Marcus Camby, which isn’t terrible, but not great, either. Then again, with the dearth of good centers in the NBA, he might do well. Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t really impress me, either. He’s going to be 3, but he doesn’t seem to have much perimeter skills.
Yeah. Davis . . .
Hard to tell about him, having only had one year of college ball. I’m not convinced that Calipari’s offensive system, great as it is for the contemporary college game, translate very well to the NBA (unless of course, you’re talking an elite point guard like Rose).
You’re not sure about Davis, too? A lot the commentators seem confident about him, but I don’t feel that way. (But my impression is based on so few games that I’m not confident in my opinion.) I don’t know if the problem is the system or the teaching ability of the coach, not to say that Calipari is bad teacher. I’m thinking of Carolina when Dean Smith was there. I suspect that Coach Smith’s ability to teach fundamentals and principles of the game was more crucial than the schemes he ran. But that’s just a guess.
On another note, I’m beginning to feel that the one-and-done approach is hurting the NBA as well, as I think the time in college helps them to grow both in terms of basketball and personally. But, again, that’s just a vague sense.
I’m not convinced that Calipari’s offensive system, great as it is for the contemporary college game, translate very well to the NBA
Calipari’s runs a dribble drive “offense” which is pretty much what most teams in the NBA run: isolate your PG at the top of the key and let him break his man down and get into the lane and shoot or kick it out to the perimeter when the defense collapses for an open jumper. If you have a big man worth a damn work some pick-and-rolls/pops in there to round things out.
Calipari’s claim to fame is that he gets guards into the NBA. Since they tend to have the ball in their hands 70% of the time they tend to put up big numbers and get tons of exposure as a result if they are even moderately talented: cue Dajuan Wagner, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, et all. X’s and O’s wise he leans toward the incompetent end of the spectrum. He also doesn’t seem to emphasize skill drills since his players tend to have atrocious footwork/fundamentals.
The Camby comparison for Davis is not bad but Davis is (slightly) stronger, a much better shooter, incomparably better at guarding the perimeter. On defense he’s closer to Garnett. On offense he will probably be somewhere between Tyrus Thomas and Ralph Sampson.
Calipari’s runs a dribble drive “offense” which is pretty much what most teams in the NBA run
I didn’t think this was so pronounced—not like the team with Rose and the lefty (whose name escapes me right now).
X’s and O’s wise he leans toward the incompetent end of the spectrum. He also doesn’t seem to emphasize skill drills since his players tend to have atrocious footwork/fundamentals.
I don’t agree with this, nor do I think it’s entirely fair. I thought his offense was solid at UMass, and UK’s scheme wasn’t bordering on incompetent. If you’re talking about the execution, I think a lot of one-and-done teams don’t really execute all that great—so I think poor execution is a function of how long the players are with a coach, more than the coache’s competance.
The Camby comparison for Davis is not bad but Davis is (slightly) stronger, a much better shooter, incomparably better at guarding the perimeter.
But does he look like he’s going to be better than Camby? At this point, I wouldn’t say that. He doesn’t really seem to have much of an offensive game—either back-to-the-basket or perimeter moves.
“Calipari’s runs a dribble drive “offense” "
Yeah, there’s a college basketball thread were we discussed his offense around here somewhere. I think it’s a kind of brilliant way of succeeding with one-year college guys because you can go recruit toward what you do and not have to worry about having to learn much in the way of offensive sets.
“Calipari’s claim to fame is that he gets guards into the NBA.”
Right. I’m not questioning his ability to get players drafted as underclassmen, but, with the exceptions of Rose and, to an extent, Wall, they end up being very pedestrian pros. They get to the next level and either can’t take the pounding physically (and it’s starting to look as if this will be the case with Rose as well), or don’t have the quickness advantage that they had in high school, college.
His players are completely lacking in even the most basic of fundamentals, his offense is rudimentary at best (drive and dish, pick-and-pop), he is terrible at drawing up plays (and his playbook is about 3 pages long to begin with), he is essentially a very rich AAU coach with the skills (and connection) to recruit effectively. He succeeds mostly because his teams tend to be stacked with talent. What was so good about Kentucky’s offense? The fact that bigger, stronger, faster players who struggled in the half court pushed the ball every chance they got? You don’t even need a coach to figure out you should do that. I never thought he was a good coach but seeing him with the Dominican Republic national team over the past few years has really brought out just how incompetent he is. He tries to run the same drive-and-dish offense on a team that lacks even an average point guard, is streaky from the outside (at best) but is stacked with world-class post players.
But does he look like he’s going to be better than Camby?
If he can average 70 games per season he will already be better than Camby, won’t he? I think at worst he will be Marcus Camby. At best he will be a somewhat poor man’s Garnett.
Do you remember his UMass teams? They didn’t run the “dribble-drive” offense; it was more set plays, and they executed well. Also, those teams played great defense—and this UK team was pretty good (although not great). But remember he’s got a lot of Freshmen on his team, and I think this explains the “rawness,” more than coaching. Roy Williams’ recent UNC teams don’t execute that well, either. There just isn’t the time or maybe even the committment from the players to really listen to the coach. College is a quick stop over before the NBA for the big time programs.
Btw, the fact that the offense is simple doesn’t necessarily indicate the coach doesn’t know what he’s doing. If the offense works and the players execute, that’s what matters most. Plus, Calipari didn’t always run that offense. (I wouldn’t say offense is Calipari’s strength—but all coaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Coach Izzo’s offense isn’t that great. PJ Carlesimo didn’t seem like a great offensive mind. But all these guys knew how to create really good man-to-man defenses.)
I think KG level is a possibility, but I don’t feel really confident about that. Even if he’s healthier than Camby, though, you wouldn’t build your team around that player, would you?
I don’t go that far back, no. I started watching him in Memphis. For the sake of full disclosure I also don’t watch all that much US College Basketball. I do watch games and try to follow coaches (since that’s one of my favorite parts of the game) but I’m not able to watch many games that aren’t nationally televised (nor all that willing necessarily).
As far as defense goes, any team with Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis at the college level is going to be, at the very least, good on defense. I don’t recall them running much of a defensive system. They mostly guarded man to man with Davis trying to block anything that came near him. They were so much bigger, stronger and quicker 1-5 than pretty much any other team that it felt like cheating half the time. I didn’t see them doing anything that, in my opinion, any AAU coach wouldn’t have had them do. And for the record I like PJ Carlesimo. I think he is a good offensive coach and great defensive coach whose approach just does not translate to the NBA for reasons other than his acumen.
Hell no I wouldn’t build around Anthony Davis. Then again, contrary to what the NBA publicity machine would have you believe, there are less than 10 players currently in the NBA that you can truly build a championship contending team around (Lebron, Wade, Dirk, Durant, Rose, Paul, possibly Kobe at this stage of his carreer, possibly Dwight Howard, probably not Steve Nash).
Well, if you saw his UMAss teams, you’d know that he didn’t always run the “dribble-drive.” Btw, those teams weren’t the most talented—besides players like Camby and Lou Roe (who may have developed because of Coach Cal). Bu they had one of the better guard tandems at the time—Carmelo Travieso and Edgar Padilla—two guys who weren’t incredibly gifted, but they played tough defense and played smart. (Travieso would come off screens and shoot the deep ball and Padilla had a nice game where he’d pull up at the fifteen foot line.) This team could D up, too. They had a good chance to win the championship, if it wasn’t for a very good Oklahoma State team lead by Big Country.
As for this year’s UK team, I didn’t think they were a great defensive team, but they were solid. The fact that Calipari could get these guys to commit and play in a relatively unselfish way is not an insignificant accomplishment.
And for the record I like PJ Carlesimo. I think he is a good offensive coach and great defensive coach whose approach just does not translate to the NBA for reasons other than his acumen.
Well, his offense at Seton Hall was incredibly simple (and he only seemed to have a few plays). He seemed to be more in the Tom Izzo mold. (Riley Wallace, from the University of Hawai’i, was also like this. You probably never heard of him, and while he might not have been a great coach, he was a very good one.)
_ Then again, contrary to what the NBA publicity machine would have you believe, there are less than 10 players currently in the NBA that you can truly build a championship contending team around_
Yeah, I agree with that—but the sports commentators I hear seem to think Davis is the next one.
“Well, if you saw his UMAss teams . . .”
Yeah, I old enough to remember him and UMass, and I generally agree. One thing about Calipari is he’s generally pretty good at figuring out what will work best with the talent he he’s had (and also what he can get away with in recruiting). The dribble drive is actually Vance Walberg’s offense (Calipari didn’t start using it until about halfway through his tenor at Memphis) but Cal’s been greating at getting kids who could maximize it’s effectiveness.
“the sports commentators I hear seem to think Davis is the next one.”
Yeah, it’s crazy. The hype machine is going in overdrive.