Triple Double Tuesdays – November 15th, 2016

Triple Double Tuesdays – November 15th, 2016

Welcome to my first Triple Double Tuesday column for the 2016-17 year.  It has been a weird year to say the least with many teams overachieving (I see you Nets and Lakers) and some high expectation clubs trying to figure out what is going wrong (Pacers anyone?).  Excited to bring this weekly column back. Three Positive Plays Lakers and Nets are combined for 10-11 Well it appears that none of us saw the Nets and Lakers combining for .500 basketball.  Both of these teams have overachieved so far, or maybe we were just wrong.  I touched on the Lakers reasons for success on the Hoopscritic Podcast, attributing to the culture change brought on by Luke Walton and the combination of the young talent getting minutes and making the most of them.   The Nets on the other hand are being carried by all-star center Brook Lopez.  It seems every year we tend to forget about Brook Lopez due to his career of injuries and the Nets lack of success.   Jeremy Lin is also better than we remember and the help of some of the younger guys like Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, and Justin Hamilton have made the Nets a more competitive group than one initially thought. Hawks transitioned roster paying off Atlanta pulled off one of the better roster roll overs in recent years and haven’t seemed to miss a beat.  They saw Al Horford leave in free agency and traded away Jeff Teague.  This opened up the door for Dennis Schroder to take over and he has performed as expected if you were monitoring his per 36 numbers (19.5...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 3.15.16

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 3.15.16

We have approximately 17 games left in the regular season. The Spurs need to win out to tie the famous best record for a single season at 72-10. The Warriors need to go 13-4 the rest of the way just to tie it. The seedings in the Western conference are practically set outside of the final few spots and the Thunder/Clippers battle for third. The Eastern Conference number one seed is in a tight two game race and there are 5 games separating the 3rd seed with the 8th seed in the East. Basically, we are down to the final stretch for teams to start making their playoff push. Three Positive Plays The Golden State Warriors I get it, they are in this column every time I get around to publishing one but we are witnessing history. Forget the fact that the Warriors at 18-0 against the top 5 teams in both the Eastern and Western conference. Let’s ignore the ankle sprain that Iguodala had the other night. Let’s forget that they are on pace to have the greatest regular season in NBA history. Let’s look at how the old guard understands the history that is taking place in Oakland. Here is a quote from Iverson on Curry: “It’s a whole different monster, as far as his handle and the way he shoots? Come on. You know you ain’t never seen nothing like this.” His peers within the league currently can not stop gushing from Kobe to Lebron, everyone is just witnessing history, something that has never been seen before. And because of this, they will keep making this...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 2.23.16

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 2.23.16

The All Star break is done, the trade deadline has passed and now we keep our eye on the ever-changing playoff seeds as we finish the last quarter of the season.  With 22 games left (for most teams) the NBA season is coming down to the wire.  The Western Conference bottom half of the playoffs is a dogfight with five teams battling for four spots.  Let’s get into this weeks column. Three Positive Plays Damian Lillard and the Blazers In fairness I should have just titled this section the Blazers with CJ McCollum also on a tear but I wanted to tie in the snubbing of Damian Lillard at the All Star game, which will cause opposing coaches to have some sleepless nights. Since the All Star reserves were announced Damian Lillard is scoring 27.8 ppg, 8.1 apg, 3.8 rpg on 45% from the field.  He has four consecutive games with 30 points or more including that famous 51 points on the victory over the Warriors.  It’s not just Damian that is on a tear but the entire team is playing well.  Portland has won 14 out of their last 17 games including victories over Cleveland, Golden State and the Thunder.  With only 26 games left the Blazers are in a good position to make the post season, especially since only 16 of those games are against playoff teams. Utah’s Young Core Another team fighting for a playoff birth this season in the Western Conference is the Utah Jazz.  I was on 1280 the Zone in Utah gushing about how the Jazz have been performing as of late as...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 2.2.16

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 2.2.16

This may be a week for another sport but it will always be business as usual here at Hoopscritic.  With a few weeks away from All Star Weekend, it is a good time to check into the season as we prepare for the playoff push and seeding watch.  In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out the Mid-Season Awards by the staff at Hoopscritic. Three Positive Things Here Come the Thunder No it is not a storm brewing, or maybe it is? The Thunder are coming together at the right time, poised to make a fight for the 1st or 2nd seed ( currently sit 4 games out of 2nd and 8 games out of first).  In fact, it seems their chemistry is coming together as we learned that Russell Westbrook went over to Enes Kanter’s house, ate some Turkish food and destroyed him in video games because what else would Westbrook do besides win?  The Thunder struggled in the beginning of the season as they dealt with the return of Durant and a banged up Westbrook.  When judging a team in the NBA you have to look at how a team is performing lately and how they are performing when healthy, the Thunder pass this test with flying colors as they are 34-9 with Durant this season.  They have arguable the best two man tandem in the league (yes, Golden State would probably trade Klay/Steph for Durant/Westbrook).  In fact, every team would trade their two best players to get Westbrook and Durant.  One thing is for sure, the Thunder could be the healthiest and strongest they’ve...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 1.12.16

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 1.12.16

Most sports fans are spending the weekend watching the NFL playoffs but not us over at Hoopscritic. We are keeping our eyes on the potential playoff landscape for the NBA. A couple of teams have turned it on in the Eastern Conference and the West appears to be sending a .500 team or below into the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 lockout season where the Timberwolves went 25-25 for the 8th seed. Three Positive Things Cleveland Looks To Be Locking Up The East The Cavaliers got Kyrie Irving back just in time to put the Eastern Conference away and lock up home court throughout the playoffs. Since Kyrie came back the Cavs are 7-1 in the eight games he suited up for. He has taken a couple of games off in between those eight games in which the Cavs are 1-1, the one loss coming the day after an emotional and tiresome game against the Warriors on Christmas. The Cavs are 4th in the league (behind Warriors, Thunder and Spurs) for most efficient offense in the league, 7th in defense efficiency, 5th in effective field goal percentage and 5th in true shooting percentage. What is surprising with these numbers is the fact they are in the bottom 5 in the league in pace. Cleveland has been bucking the trend of fast paced basketball which seems to be catching on more and more. Instead, they are able to score 101.8 per game, which is only 1.1 behind the Eastern Conference leader Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland’s scoring should increase with the return of Kyrie. They have only failed to...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 12.22.15

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 12.22.15

That time of the year where you dedicate yourself to your fantasy football playoff push and the holidays. It’s often a time the average fan sweeps the NBA under the rug until the following year. Not us, and because I failed to bring this last week but here we are right before every NBA’s fans favorite day, CHRISTMAS! Especially for the Christmas Day games. Three Positive Things The San Antonio Spurs Unnoticed Kawhi Leonard will not win the MVP award and most will not recognize how great he is playing this season because of the supporting cast around him. However, we can not overlook his defense. Last night he limited (with the help of others too of course) Paul George to shoot 1-14 from the field. This has been a common theme for Kawhi all season long and the Spurs who are 24-5, only four games back from having the best record. This is remarkable considering the Warriors went on to win an NBA record 24 straight games to start a season. No one is paying attention to the Spurs who do not have a 30+ scorer, do not have anyone who jumps out to the average fan. They just show up with their talent and depth every night and play the game the correct way, without making headlines with the media. This is exactly how Gregg Popovich wants it to be and it’s exactly what he is getting. Scott Skiles and the Magic I always loved how a small roster shake up can turn around a season. The Magic are the perfect example having moved Victor Oladipo to...