Attacking The Rim Is A Lost Art

Attacking The Rim Is A Lost Art

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with the NBA?  Was it Julius Erving’s reverse lay up?  Was it Michael Jordan dunking from the free throw line in the Slam Dunk Contest? Was it Baron Davis dunking over Andrei Kirilenko? Or maybe it was as recently as Lebron James having no regard for human life over Kevin Garnett?  The one thing we have in common is there was one particular play where a player took it strong to the rim and wowed everyone watching.  Everyone enjoys a good dunk. But does dunking resort to winning?  With the paradigm shift in the style of play the NBA has taken on over the past few years, more and more teams are turning to three point shooting because analytics explains that it’s more efficient to play that style of play.  To break it down for those non math geeks, if you shoot 40% from three point range, this is better than shooting 50% from within the arc.  Here is a simple break down with 10 attempts: 10 Three Point Attempts x 40% = 4 made three pointers for 12 points 10 Two Point Attempts x 50% = 5 made two pointers for 10 points This is the meat and potatoes behind the analytics to suggest you are better off shooting three’s than twos.  Of course this is all contingent if you make them.  Which brings us to the point of this article. Why do certain teams drive and why are they doing it less? Or are they doing it less? In the 2013-14 season, the Chicago Bulls took the...
The Plight of the Magic: Do Some Teams Stay With Their Young Core For Too Long?

The Plight of the Magic: Do Some Teams Stay With Their Young Core For Too Long?

August 11, 2012.  That was a long time ago, right? That was the day the Orlando Magic, after upwards of one year of drama, traded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The take at the time: Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Al Harrington, and Christian Eyenga.  The Magic also received a first round pick that ultimately became Elfrid Payton, a second round pick that became Romero Osby, and a $17.8 trade exception that expired, unused.  Fast forward from there: Afflalo was traded for Evan Fournier and Devyn Marble, and McRoberts, Harrington, Eyenga, and Osby were shuffled off the roster for various reasons, leaving Vucevic, Fournier, Harkless, Payton, and Marble the take from the trade, essentially. From there, the Magic did what we say every franchise is supposed to do to build a winner: they patiently worked through the draft, trade market, and scrap heap market to build a young core.  Over the years, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, and Andrew Nicholson were added through the draft; JJ Redick was shipped to import a young Tobias Harris; and Dewayne Dedmon was a free agent find on the cheap. The Magic were not impulsive, and always kept the future vision in mind as opposed to gunning for the short term (until the 2016 deadline: more on that later).  They did not seek the big “ticket sale” move in lieu of patient building.  And, it is easy to forget now, but the Magic core was one many were found of, in multiple circles.  Rob Hennigan, particularly after the Dwight trade, was praised as a shrewd planner who...
Times Change, Phil Doesn’t

Times Change, Phil Doesn’t

Phil Jackson’s obsession with the triangle offense and his failure to accept the modern style of play in today’s NBA is similar to a guy who believes that he would revolutionize technology if he brought back the VCR. Would it work to some degree? Sure. Would they sell or win some sort of prize? No, because we’re not in the 90’s and no one cares for it. Yes, Phil has won more rings with that triangle offense than you and me combined…unless your name happens to be Bill Russell. Whether it was Jordan and Pippen or Kobe and Shaq, the most successful coach this game has ever seen found a way to get it done. But as of now, Phil Jackson is like the grandparent who doesn’t understand the concept of texting. Times are changing, pops. Unfortunately, for the guy who would look a lot less smart without his glasses, the style of play has changed and today’s successful teams rely heavily on off-the-ball screens, ball movement and the three point shot. Threes are no longer being shot at a premium. The amount of teams averaging over 25 three point shots per game is higher than the league has ever seen and they’re doing it with success. Just look at last years 73-9 Golden State Warriors. The dubs broke the NBA record of the most successful three point attempts in a single season. This year, the red hot Rockets not only set the record for most three point attempts in a single game, but also set the record for the most three pointers made through the first 22 games...
Zach Randolph And What He Means To Memphis

Zach Randolph And What He Means To Memphis

Memphis, TENN- On December 6th, Grizzlies PF Zach Randolph returned back to the court after being with family due to his mother, Rae Randolph, passing away. Randolph was playing with not only high emotions, but you could see that he was happy to regroup with his teammates. It was Thanksgiving eve when Randolph got the sudden news of his mother passing away. It was also at this time when the Grizzlies, who are currently short of Mike Conley and also free agent signing Chandler Parsons, were trying to make a push to stay above .500. Zach and his mother had a relationship that was remarkable. On draft night, Mae was with Zach and she has thus been by his side ever since. In fact, she went to a lot of games here at the FedExForum. Longtime fan, Bruce Stevens, says he will miss seeing her in her normal seat and cheering on Zach. “I felt like she brought a lot of energy to the arena. Whenever Zach scores, he would always look over at her direction,” Stevens said. Throughout the city, you can kind of get a vibe that everyone was thinking of Zach during this hard time. Fans would wear his jersey, there would be plenty of “Z-BO” chants, and some took time to go on social media to extend gratitude. What I have learned most from this is that the Grizzlies organization is more than a basketball organization, but they are a family. Fans and even media are apart of this family, but the brotherhood that is on the court is unbeatable. The Grizzlies also went out...
How Long Is The Leash?: The Unpredictability Of Player Development

How Long Is The Leash?: The Unpredictability Of Player Development

The NBA is a league that is seeing more and more young talent come through the ranks and either flourish or falter. For every Kevin Durant there was a Greg Oden. For every Steph Curry a Johnny Flynn. Drafting the right player seems clear on draft night, but the development of players is what makes or breaks their NBA careers. It seems obvious. If a player doesn’t improve season to season they most likely won’t make it into the NBA. The question is on why some top prospects develop and others don’t. It’s a lot more complex than the “some guys just don’t have it” rhetoric that is often used as a detriment on draft night. There’s an aspect of emotion we like to call “hunger”. “Hunger” as in the drive to be great. It is an overused term that some players can never shake off or earn. But hunger isn’t the entire reason why a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo succeeds and a top prospect in Anthony Bennett flops. Development coaches are paid a lot of money to train a player to be better. But in reality, their job is based on 50% coaching skill and 50% blind faith. Each individual player must have a certain type of mindset and dedication to reach their full potential, but another factor is the environment he’s in. I’m not sure we’d see the same Antetokounmpo if he were playing in Orlando or Phoenix or Golden State. That’s the intricacy on forming culture. Culture isn’t something shaped by a CEO or General Manager. It’s a combination of the type of players you bring...