TrueHoop: Jeff Pendergraph
- How many of the Celtics' "Big 4" need to produce in order for the Celtics to be successful? Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus breaks down the Celtics' postseason results by examining single game scores for Garnett, Allen, Pierce and Rondo and measuring those results per 48 minutes: " In 14 of the team's 20 playoff games, two or more members of the Big Four have been above average. In those games, the Celtics have been tough to beat, going 11-3."
- When the Celtics jump out early, they're a tough team to beat.
- Lakers fans have a complicated relationship with Derek Fisher. Fisher has provided them with some of their fondest postseason memories, but many of those same fans also see point guard as the spot on the floor where the Lakers are most vulnerable due to Fisher's age and streaky shooting. Jeff Skibiski of Forum Blue & Gold offers his paean to Fisher.
- Neil Paine of Basketball Reference wonders how often a championship team's "alpha dog" goes on to win Finals MVP.
- Although he has a lot of work to do this summer, Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr has enjoyed as much vindication this postseason than any player or executive in the NBA.
- Grant Hill thinks that swapping Jared Dudley for ESPN's J.A. Adande as the Suns' sixth man would be a potential disaster.
- Tom Ziller exquisitely digs into "Pacific Rims," Harper's assistant editor Rafe Bartholomew's exploration of basketball in the Philippines: "So much of the idiosyncratic image of Filipino basketball madness stems from the physical limitations of both the Filipino people (whose men, on average, stand shorter than Earl Boykins) and the challenges posed by the archipelago's sweltering climate. There's also the dedication to the art of the sport, which disconnects with our American vision of the game's aesthetic value stemming from the dunk, a task made more difficult in the Philippines due to the aforementioned height issue. Filipino players have instead translated the dunk into their language, creating the trick lay-up. And this type of cultural touchstone -- not the lay-up itself, but its creation myth -- gets at just what makes basketball in the Philippines so special: the kids in flip-flops in the barrios and the McDonald's All-Americans in the arena are all connected through this unique basketball mythology created here."
- Embracing (or rejecting) advanced analytics means that sometimes a player's quantitative value defies what the human eye sees. Such is the case with Spurs big man Matt Bonner.
- Drafting for "need" isn't as simple as filling one of five positions on the court. Teams also have to be mindful of how a specific draftee's skill set would dovetail with their existing roster. The New Jersey Nets might be choosing between two talented young big men -- Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins. Both have enormous potential, but whose talents would best complement Brook Lopez?
- The Clippers continue to bring in a slew of prospects for workouts.
- Jay Aych of The Painted Area is picking Barca to sweep the ACB Finals: "... Barcelona is nearly flawless, one of the best units Europe has ever seen."
- Will Walter McCarty get his shot as an NBA assistant next season with the Pacers?
- Jeff Pendergraph: Bowled over by The Brady Bunch Movie.
Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
Henry has delved into the work of John Huizinga and Sandy Weil with great detail. To review, Huizinga and Weil explored whether there's any validity to the conceit that a shooter can "get hot." Through extensive research and data-crunching, their study concluded that there's essentially no such thing as a "hot hand."
Whether you subscribe to the research, or believe that a shooter can feed on the sheer accuracy of his stroke, we can all agree that good shooters drain shots not because "they're hot." That rationale is as tautological as saying that I made the perfect omelet this morning because "I'm a good cook."
A good shooter is successful because he performs very specific mechanical tasks that increase the probability that the ball will fall through the iron. That's where a shooting coach like the Trail Blazers' John Townsend comes into the picture.
Wendell Maxey of Hoopsworld has a nice account of Townsend's busy summer traversing the country to work with Jerryd Bayless, Steve Blake, Dante Cunningham, and Jeff Pendergraph.
Townsend discusses his gentle approach in the context of Steve Blake, emphasizing that the best moment for instruction isn't always when a guy is missing ... but rather when he's on.
"When I got to work with him, he was already a pretty good shooter. He just wants to go up and shoot it. He doesn't want to think about it. I didn't make any changes. I just told him when he's on, why he's on.
"The stuff I do with guys and their shooting is, I wouldn't take your shot and change it. But if you are shooting and there is a stretch where you can't miss; why is that?" John continued.
"There's something different that you are doing for your particular shot. You have to pick and choose your spots. If a guy is off, I might leave him alone. But when a guy is on, that's when I tell him this is what you are doing well. Guys are going to listen to that instead of overhaul things. I'd be a fool to do that. But a change of the feet or positioning of the hands -- and if they like it -- after that I might just leave them alone. I try to think of two things that they can hone in on that will make them a straighter shooter or better feel."
Re-reading these comments from Townsend ("if you are shooting and there is a stretch where you can't miss; why is that?"), I instinctively return to the "hot hand" debate.
Is Townsend lending credence to the "hot hand" theory? Or is he, more precisely, concluding that on the occasions when a shooter appears hot, that accuracy can be attributed to very specific mechanical features in his shot rather than an abstract sense of momentum?
Maxey has a follow-up post at Beyond the Beat, chock full of longer quotes from Townsend on his teaching technique:
On working smarter not harder:
"I used to work with Tony Delk way back when. He had to make twenty-five shots from seven spots. So I said, 'what's the reason for this?' And he said he wants to make twenty-five. So I said, 'eventually what's happening is your first fifteen are great. Your next five are okay, and then you struggle with the last five. So why don't you just do ten and do a great ten, and if you feel good then go back around'. He said he never thought about it like that. A great ten is better than a mediocre twenty-five."