Archive for the ‘Cavs’ Category

Speechless

April 28, 2008

I haven’t written much here just because I don’t have anything unique to contribute to the deluge of micro-analysis out there. Even though the excitement has been unexpectedly out East, there’s not much else to say except, Didn’t see that coming.

Instead, here are some of my favorites plays/performances from the past week.

1. Josh Smith, fired up.

This taste of the playoffs may keep him inspired all regular season. Color me (and my fantasy keeper league team) excited.

2. Al Horford making Paul Pierce his bitch.

Yeah, that was probably uncalled for, but A) I loved the fire and balls it showed, and B) you know the odds are really good Pierce’s smug ass did something to deserve it.

3. Carl Landry really is Carl Landry.

Flying all over the court and making crazy unexpected playing, he’s forcing me to love his game even though I tried, and tried again, to chalk it up to a fluke.

4. Lebron.

Nuff said.

The MVP Algorithm

March 21, 2008

The other night Reid and I found a pretty cool sports bar here in SF with League Pass and got into the standard MVP discussion with the bartender: Lebron, Kobe, or Paul. We all know the arguments for and against, and they’re all both valid and yet still unconvincing. So wouldn’t the voting have to come down to what happens down the stretch? Something like this:

IF Lakers win the West

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Hornets win the West

THEN Paul = MVP

ELSEIF The Lakers hang close enough to justify Kobe’s career-achievement award

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Both N.O. and L.A. fade down the stretch

THEN Lebron and his ridiculous 31-8-7.5-1.8-1 stat line = MVP

Seems about right. Tracy McGrady left out of the discussion intentionally. The bartender was a die-hard from Houston and he didn’t even bring it up. Screw the Rockets, their offense is bunk.

Sunday Observations

March 2, 2008

From Cavs-Bulls:

  1. Not in the box score: Delonte West makes the Cavs almost fun to watch. I don’t know if it makes them a better team yet, but it’s so nice to watch him push the ball and keep Mike Brown from calling a Lebron isolation every. single. play.
  2. In the box score: I normally can’t stand the prose stylings of Kelly “Cats and Kittens” Dwyer, but he’s dead on (and mercifully to the point) with this post calling out Bulls coach Jim Boylan. Boylan insists on giving minutes to an ineffective Drew Gooden, usually at the expense of Tyrus Thomas, with no justification. Gooden’s numbers after four games: 38.5% shooting, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 27 minutes a game. And for this he’s been promoted. He’s been solid on the glass, but today I watched him give up a crucial offensive rebound at the end of the game that effectively killed any hope Chicago had.
  3. Meanwhile, Thomas’ per-minute numbers are almost identical, except he’s shot better — the result of more easy buckets and alley-oops — and racked up way more defensive stats. Anyone watching the game can see Thomas’s ceiling is higher, not just in the long-term, but also in his ability to impact games now. And, no, I’m not bitter because I’ve been waiting for Tyrus’s fantasy breakout since drafting him this year.

Lakers-Mavs:

  1. I know I shouldn’t expect thoughtful commentary from the likes of Stewart Scott, but even Michael Wilbon was disappointing during halftime of this game. With the Lakers clinging to a three-point lead, even after the Mavs shot terribly for about 15 straight minutes, all the commentators could talk about was how the Lakers were on a roll. “14-2 since they got Gasol!” they said. “What’s to stop them from rolling right into the finals?” Scott asked. Effin’ c’mon. Meanwhile, we’re told that the Mavs just don’t “look like” a great team anymore. Talk about drawing conclusions from the slimmest of evidence.
  2. Sure enough, Dallas scored the first seven points of the second half. Looks like it’ll be two good teams battling it out from here on.
  3. Contrary to an earlier assumption of ours, I’ve hardly seen Gasol working out of the high post this game. In fact, he looks to me like he’s getting almost all his buckets off dunks in the exact same role that Bynum filled in the offense — weakside alley-oops, slipping screens, running the break… I’m still waiting to see how they’ll integrate both.
  4. When Gasol goes one-on-one with a pretty good post defender like Dampier, he looks terrible. I think he’s about 1-6 — make it 1-7 just now — in isolations in the first 30 minutes of this game.
  5. Brandon Bass is a legitimately great role player, and Devean George legitimately blows.
  6. After the buzzer: that was a hell of a game. While I’m not writing the Lakers’ finals ticket by any means, they’re like Cleveland west — with Kobe on the court, they’ve always got a shot.

Warriors-Blazers:

  1. Watched this game from the nosebleeds, and it was typical, glorious Warriors madness.
  2. The bad news: Baron Davis runs, and plays defense, like a guy nursing a bad back.
  3. The good news: Davis was deferring to Monta down the stretch to initiate the offense, and the youngin’ looks totally comfortable in that role.
  4. Between Monta (age 22), Biedrins (21), and the surprising Brandan Wright (20), who looks better with every game in the starting lineup, the Warriors have one hell of core to build around next decade.
  5. A friendly tip for the concession crew: Don’t put a woman who just had back surgery on one of four booths serving the free hot dogs and cokes this game — and don’t let her take a break with no one to replace her and a line 20 deep, when it already took Amanda 25 infuriating minutes to get through her line.
  6. The Blazers hit a ton of jumpers, with guys all up and down the roster chipping in. Oden could post Tim Duncan-like assist numbers next year on kick-outs.

Big Stat Attack

February 26, 2008

Following up a previous post, let’s throw out some stats that seem like logical indicators of whether these huge trades worked. This isn’t ideal because I’m a little rushed, haven’t really explained why these are the stats I like, and don’t have the pre-trade numbers at my fingertips, but oh well, that’ll come. For now let’s grab the latest numbers from ESPN. A good glossary of the stats is at basketball-reference.com. Suggestions welcome in comments.

SPURS

  • I thought defensive rebound rate (DRR) would tell the tale, or perhaps defensive efficiency (Def Eff), but nope: the Spurs are currently first in DRR (77.5) and third in Def Eff (100.0). Looks like Kurt Thomas was brought in specifically for playoff match-ups against Shaq, Pau, et al. Or maybe we really were just sticking it to the Mavs.

MAVS

  • Assist rate — currently stuck at 16.4, 20th in the league, this will obviously improve with Kidd but how much?
  • Offensive efficiency and pace — at 108.2, the Mavs’ efficiency is solid, 8th in the league, but they play at a really slow pace, 91.8 possessions a game. Not sure what any change would mean, but I’ll be curious to see.
  • Dirk’s 3-pt. % — he’s currently at 29.9%, way below last year’s 41.6. Will less pressure to facilitate the offense free up his shot?

SUNS

  • Def. Eff. — 103.8, ranked 15th. Obviously they want it to improve, but not at the expense of their offense, which was humming at a league-best 110.0 points per 100 possessions.
  • DRR — 69.5, ranked next to last. (Marion was their best defensive rebounder before the trade, with a DRR of 23.0. Granted it’s only three games, but Shaq’s at 31.9 for the Suns.)
  • Amare’s numbers — It’s already obvious Shaq is freeing up his game, but will it be more than a few extra dunks and some weakside blocks?

CAVS

  • True shooting % — right now: 52.2, 24th in the league. I figure better spacing and some real 3-point shooters should get them to rely less on second-chance points. Cavs were 4th in the league in ORR.
  • Def Eff — this year it’s a pedestrian 103.8, 16th overall. Paging Ben Wallace.

BULLS & HAWKS

  • Off. Eff. — If these teams are going to improve, it’s going to have to be offensively, right? Chicago = 99.4/26th. Atlanta = 101.0/22nd. As a general rule anything below 100 is pretty awful.

LAKERS

  • Things are obviously clicking for the Lakeshow, but my one lingering question was if that would change when Bynum gets back. I thought maybe he and Gasol overlapped, so there would be trouble working the kid back in. Reid figured they’d leave Pau at the high post and continue to score in buckets. The stats seem to back him up. Pau is more of a scorer and distributor; Bynum hits the glass harder and cleans up more of the offensive scraps.
  • Bynum: 13.1 pts, 10.2 reb, 1.7 ast, and .636 FG% per game. Advanced: 127 Off. Rating, 17.4 Usage Rate, and 12.1 Off. Reb. %
  • Gasol: 22.0 pts, 7.1 reb, 2.9 ast, and .632 FG% per game. Advanced: 132 Off. Rating, 23.0 Usage Rate, and 6.8 Off. Reb. %

I hate to say it, but shit, that’s impressive.

In all, I hope to find time this week to talk more about these stats, especially Offensive Rating and Usage Rate, which haven’t been discussed as much on the internet as I would expect.

Now That Was a BIG Trade

February 21, 2008

Talking to Long about this Cavs-Bulls-Sonics deal, it hit me that Cleveland’s starting line-up could be huge — literally, just massive. If the Cavs want, they can throw out a starting five where the shortest player is 6’4″ and every guy on the court has a sterling defensive pedigree. One possibility:

  • PG: Delonte West — 6’4″, once averaged 1.2 steals and 0.7 blocks a game while starting for Boston (from a PG!).
  • SG: Pavlovic — 6’7″, previous recipient of the Bruce Bowen Memorial Award for Owning Vince Carter in a Playoff Series, which officially became his when V.C. started picking up pouty-faced technicals.
  • SF: Lebron — 6’8″, built like the Bionic Man.
  • PF: Big Ben — 6’9″, his effort is the big looming question.
  • C: Big Z — 7’3″, nihilist.

6-4, 6-7, 6-8, 6-9, 7-3. I still can’t get over that.

Reid rightly points out that those five, on an off night for Lebron, could return the team’s offense to the horrors of Mike Fratello, but bringing Gibson, Wallyworld, and (in a desperate pinch) Damon Jones in for a scoring spark isn’t the worst option in the world. It’s going to be very, very interesting to see their team defensive numbers when Pavlovic and Varejao get back.

Whoa.

February 21, 2008

Danny Ferry just made a good trade. What is going on in the NBA?

The Cavs get Wallace, Delonte, Wallyworld, and Joe Smith in exchange for Hughes, “Bitch Tits” Marshall, and Gooden. That actually might work. The Bulls can finally play their promising young bigs (you know I grabbed Tyrus off waivers before I even finished reading about the trade), and Hughes no longer has to pretend to be a point guard. That works, too.

And this comes in the same season when the Hawks, of all teams, got Bibby for practically nothing, which looks great on paper.

Dogs and cats living together, etc.

Where did all this competency suddenly come from?