May, 15, 2012
By Henry Abbott
- When your PER is higher than your age, you're Kyrie Irving. Or a short list of other players. Also, free agency has been the bane of Cleveland fans. But now that the Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, the kind of player anyone would want to play with, free agency could become their friend, writes David Thorpe.
- The Pacers have not gone small much, and don't like to go small. So if the Heat go small ... what happens?
- Timothy Varner on 48 Minutes of Hell: "Chris Paul and Tony Parker finished third and fifth in MVP voting. They share a position. One could make an argument that they were the league’s best two point guards this season. Coming into this series, it will be fun to speculate whether Parker or Paul will win 'the matchup'. ... The problem, of course, is that matchup doesn’t exist -- at least not in the hero ball sense. Paul vs. Parker is not a Hollywood boxing bout. It isn’t even a true blue Castillo-Corrales slug fest. It’s a paper tiger. Within their program, the Spurs prefer to feature wings who can defend multiple positions. Bruce Bowen is the historic standard, but the Spurs regularly use Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and Stephen Jackson to defend multiple positions. Ginobili might be deployed against 1s, 2s, and 3s; Jackson against 2s, 3s, and 4s. And so on. This doesn’t make the Spurs entirely unique, but it does point to one of the more intriguing matchups of the series: Danny Green vs. Chris Paul."
- Something is up with the Lakers' pick-and-roll defense. Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register: "In their previous road game, the Lakers played pick-and-roll coverage incorrectly 92 percent of the time, according to [Coach Mike] Brown's own analysis of the Game 6 loss in Denver. It is hardly shocking that they were shredded by a far more talented, more focused Thunder attack."
- Paul Shirley came across a YouTube video of a big college dunk from his Iowa State days. He writes about it for ChicagoSide: "In this particular play, my college teammate, Jamaal Tinsley, made into fools several members of the University of Colorado backcourt before throwing the ball to me for a one-handed dunk that might even be called ferocious, if you need an adjective. Tinsley’s ball-handling tricks served as the final sentence in a masterful short story; my dunk was the exclamation point. The crowd released its tension in an avalanche of happy noise. For me, it was an incomparable rush; better than the most intense sexual encounter I’ve ever had. (Which might be an indictment of my sex life, but probably isn’t -- sorry, no hyperlinks here.) Even as I watched the video more than a decade later, I felt something similar to sexual release: a chill down my spine, sagging shoulders, relaxation in my lower back. I’ve never done cocaine. But that feeling -- the sense that I had just brought about a palpable crescendo of enthusiasm in 14,000 people, most of whom were paying rapt attention to my every movement -- is exactly what I imagine cocaine would be like: intense, immediate, and incredibly pleasurable. And just as dangerous -- because that feeling was one of the reasons I played basketball."
- A long-simmering debate among athletes: What matters more, the number of miles (or in basketball, minutes played) or age? The New York Times digs into the issue by looking into running research and finds ... science doesn't have a clear answer yet.
- Beware the columnist who has been watching lots of "Law & Order" re-runs.
- College hoops statistics suggest that you can't do much to make your opponents miss 3s. The winning strategy appears to be, especially if you're the favorites, to expend your energy trying to limit the number of attempts.
- Blake Griffin says he is not concerned about being labeled a flopper.
- Losing playoff games by big margins does not bode well for the Lakers.
- Zach Lowe of SI.com: "I am astonished on a daily basis by how many fans, both in Boston and elsewhere, think the Celtics are a good offensive team, and are thus surprised they have struggled to score against the Hawks and the Sixers. The misunderstanding seems to come from the fact that a) Boston has very famous players on its team; and b) the Celtics rank fifth overall in field-goal percentage and eighth in three-point percentage. So let me put this as clearly as I can: The Celtics are a bad offensive team. They were so-so last season and in 2009-10, and have been in continuing decline on offense for three seasons now. It’s wonderful that they shoot with great accuracy, especially from three-point range, but accurate shooting does not alone make a team good at scoring points. Field-goal percentage is no way to judge offense. It does not account for how many shots a team generates, how often it gets to the foul line and what sorts of shots it attempts. And in news that broke three years ago, this is where Boston fails."
- Now online in its entirety, for free: The documentary Small Market, Big Heart, made on a shoestring with the goal of humanizing the plight of Kings fans, who have long done a hell of a job supporting the often-miserable Kings.
- I think this is humor from Kobe Bryant. Or maybe not. (Via Slam.)
- Will James Jones make it back into the Heat rotation as a zone buster?
- Goran Dragic is a sexy free agent name. For perspective, his stats are very similar to Jarrett Jack's.