Monthly Archives: November 2012

RTOE: HP Mailbag Roundtable!

Welcome to the Hardwood Paroxysm Mail Bag Round Table Capitalized Compound Word Bonanza!

Thing are happening in the NBA, and there are no better people to answer questions about these things than the HP crew. And there are no better people to ask the questions about these things than you, the fans and readers. Although, sometimes we’re good at making up questions, too. But other times, fans and readers are great. Oh, and reporters. They’re good at asking questions. But DEFINITELY fans and readers (love you guys <3).

Seriously, thanks to everyone who took the time to hit us up on Twitter and Facebook and send in questions.

Roll call: Sean, Eric, Ananth, Jared, Noam, and ParoxyIntern. Trust these men to bring you the answers you not only want, but need.

1) Chris (Facebook): Do you trust this recent trend of NBA teams using the D-League or is it a fad that will go away?

Sean: I think the fact that teams such as the Blazers and Sixers are purchasing D-League teams is going to keep it in the conversation. The real test will come during the next CBA negotiations, when we see if the league and players’ union can come up with a system like baseball’s that allows teams to call up and send down players more freely.

Eric: This is totally dependent on the success of guys that went to the D-League, honed their skills, and came back to the NBA. If teams like the Thunder are going to send Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb to the D-League, and they come back and start killing it on the NBA level, then teams may look to emulate the OKC Model in the way front offices of rebuilding teams seek to emulate the Thunder’s approach to building a contender. On the flip side, Luke Harangody threw up a double-double in the D-League playoffs last year, but mostly just made fans want to throw up when they saw him play in the NBA level. No surprise the Cavs finally cut ties with him yesterday. The trend of using the D-League will continue if teams see a benefit; it won’t if they don’t.

Ananth: Thanks for the question Chris! Trust is crucial to any strong relationship but unfortunately not that many NBA teams have developed a strong relationship with their D-League affiliate. I don’t think it is a fad though, it seems like organizations are slowly coming around to building a proper minor league relationship with their D-League team. Boston does a good job with their affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, so does the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to being the old Utah Flash D-League team and moving the team to Pennsylvania. Hopefully more teams will join their ranks.

I once sat court side at a D-League game and watched a very raw Byron Mullens, who was playing for the Tulsa 66ers. These kids who were sitting next to me kept heckling him and at one point he took the ball out near us and said something to them which shut them right up. No real point to that story but it always makes me smile.

Jared: I want to trust it, but I don’t. Teams have never really used the D-League correctly before, so I don’t see why it would just start being the case now. Until they make it a full-fledged minor league system and stop docking teams an active roster spot when they send a player down, I don’t think teams will consistently use it the way it should be used.

Noam: I definitely don’t think it’s going away. There’s just been too much success with it – the Warriors having multiple callups make major contributions to the team (and eventually sign elsewhere – Dubs be Dubsin’), and Houston sending virtually every draft pick for seasoning and getting clear cut NBA players in return are two strong examples. It may spread slowly, but it will continue to spread.

ParoxyIntern: It is a fad that will go away. Chris, when was the last time, excluding the one and only Gerald Green, have you witnessed a NBA player make an impact after spending time in the D-League? NBA teams are trying to model the D-League after the Minor Leagues, but there is simply more talented baseball players then basketball players in the world.

2) David (Facebook): Have you seen a major impact from the new flopping rules?

Sean: Sure, there’s been an increase in “_________ is getting fined for that one” tweets in my timeline.

Eric: I don’t know if I would go as far as to say major yet, but it certainly hasn’t hurt matters. It’s hard to say whether flopping is truly down this year compared to previous seasons because no one really tracks that, but I will say it does not appear to be an epidemic like it was five years ago or so. Get back to me at the end of the season.

Ananth: Great question David! I personally have not seen a major impact from the new flopping rules but the fact that it is being discussed among players and coaches is significant. It will take some time to actually make an impact but it is a step in the right direction.

Jared: No.

Noam: Not really, and frankly, I doubt we will. Headline-grabbing rule changes tend to disapate once talking heads turn elsewhere (remember the harsher tech rules, or the new synthetic basketball?).

ParoxyIntern: Not really. That is because players will still yell and flop trying to sell the call. That is how they grow up playing. I am 16 and I have played some AAU myself so I know firsthand this flopping technique of selling a call was not learned in the NBA for these players, it was how they were taught. With that being said I do not see much of an impact from the rules.

3) Dan (Facebook) Size up the Bynum acquisition vs. the Bogut acquisition.

Sean: Bogut hasn’t provided close to the comedic value of Bynum’s hair and the bowling thing. Advantage: Philly.

Eric: Awful for both sides, but clearly worse for the Sixers. Bogut is at least under contract for another year so Golden State should, theoretically, be able to salvage something out of the trade. Bynum is a free agent next summer and it is extremely likely that he will never suit up for a single game with the Sixers. Just a dumpster fire of a situation all around.

Ananth: Danny boy, this is a really good question. Both players are 7’0″ feet but Andrew Bynum weighs 285 while Andrew Bogut only weighs 260 pounds.

Bynum has a 7’3″ wingspan but Bogut has him beat as he has a 7’6″ wingspan. So size wise they are pretty similar, but I will give the edge to Bynum and the 76ers because of his afro and Andrew Bogut looks too much like Ashley Simpson.

Jared: I keep going back and forth on this in my head, but I think I like the Bogut acquisition better. When healthy, he’s a top 5 defensive player in the league, and I don’t think you can say the same about Bynum on offense. The Bynum acquisition really changed the entire complexion of the Sixers. They went from being a defense-first share-the-ball team to one that would probably be offense-first and mostly based around getting the ball to one player, and that player hasn’t gotten on the court yet. It’s tough. The Bogut acquisition was really just filling in the last piece of the puzzle. He makes the Warriors roster make sense. He lets Lee do his thing on offense from the high post because Bogut is on the block. He can cover up for the defensive deficiencies of both Lee and Curry, and the stable of shooters Golden State can station around the perimeter is a good fit with his excellent low post passing.

Noam: Oft-injured, offensive cornerstone joins team going nowhere with major offensive issues vs. oft-injured, defensive cornerstone joins team going nowhere with major defensive issues. Pretty darn similar. The difference is, sadly, how oft-injured oft-injured can be. It’s been almost 3 years since Bogut was last an effective offensive player, while Bynum has at least shown short stretches of durability. This topic depresses me. Jrue Holiday! Steph Curry!

ParoxyIntern: They are very similar. Both huge risks. Both out indefinitely. Not a good acquisition for either team NOW, but at the time both looked like great deals for the Sixers and the Warriors. Honestly, I would be more worried to be a Sixers fan at this moment, because Bynum has a longer history of knee injuries then Bogut.

4) David (Facebook) Why is Pablo Prigioni the best? There is no wrong answer here.

Sean: Because he has the same first name as Bob Dylan’s teenage rapping grandson.

Eric: He’s 35 years old so he appeals to the older crowd. He’s a rookie so he appeals to the younger crowd. He runs the pick and roll well in an offense that is shifting away from more than just ISO-Melo. And he’s got a tremendous name.

Ananth:

Jared: ¡Pablocura! He’s pesky.

Noam: HE’S JUST SO HAPPY ABOUT EVERYTHING! It’s almost impossible to find something he doesn’t like. Here, I’ll show you. Pablo, how do you feel about J.R. Smith taking step back 32 footers?

ParoxyIntern: Because he is a 35 year old rookie!

5) Joe (Facebook): OJ mayo coming on strong. Main reason for his resurgence?

Sean: Not having to pretend to be a backup point guard anymore.

Eric: Environmental change? Has there been a player thrown into more Trade Machine scenarios over the past few years other than Pau Gasol and Mayo? He could have been a Pacer two different times but it fell apart in both instances. Maybe all he needed was a change of pace. Whatever it is, it’s paid dividends for the Mavs. He’s finally developed an efficient shooting stroke that’s led to career highs in field goal and three point percentages and his second highest free throw percentage since coming to the NBA.

Ananth: He changed his whole diet in the off-season and it has worked wonders – orange juice and mayo smoothies. Actually, a lot of the credit has to go to Rick Carlise and his system which is allowing Mayo to flourish. Mayo was a stud in high school and had a lot of hype surrounding him when he entered college. He probably will never match that hype but he is a damn good player and it is great to see him develop into a very solid NBA player.

Jared: Unsustainably hot 3-point shooting?

Noam: He’s making 51.2% of his threes. I really want to give him credit for being more aggressive (career high free throw rate, though not by a blowout) and for looking better without Lionel Hollins shackles (isn’t it weird how hit-or-miss Hollins is as a coach? He gets either 300% or 20% from everybody with no in-between), but if he took the same shots and shot his normal 38%-ish fromt three he’s the same guy he’s always been with more opportunities and less depressed glances at his feet.

ParoxyIntern: In Dallas, the guard position is not close to as crowded as it was in Memphis. Memphis had many players who played similar positions to OJ and played similar styles( Rudy Gay, Xavier Henry, and Tony Allen). Currently in Dallas he has no other competition. The fact that Dirk has been out for the whole season so far also makes OJ the number one guy in Dallas which is something he never was in Memphis.

6) @TheDissNBA (Twitter): Is Hasheem Thabeet better than Kendrick Perkins?

Sean: Most people are better than Kendrick Perkins.

Eric: On November 30, 2012, yes. Thabeet has outperformed Perkins in just about every main category (per 36 minutes) like points, rebounds, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. Advanced stats are in favor of Thabeet too. Oh, and Thabeet is making $7 million less than Perk this year making him a better front office value as well.

Ananth: It’s funny but this is a valid question due to improvement in Thabeet’s play this season. Basically the only claim to fame Kendrick Perkins has is that the Boston Celtics never lost a playoff series with Perkins in the starting lineup. He is a solid low post defender though and am not sure if Thabeet can match up with some of better centers in the league. It is important to note that Thabeet comes off the bench so plays against second string centers and forwards.Perkins still has the edge over Hasheem “The Dream” but if Thabeet keeps it up he could eventually surpass Perkins, the potential is there.

Jared: Thabeet has all the better individual numbers: points and rebounds and free throws per-36 minutes, FG%, PER, TS%, TRB%, STL%, BLK%, O-Rtg, D-Rtg, WS/48, but he still fouls way too much, can’t stop turning it over (~30% of his possessions) and the team is better with Perkins on the floor than Thabeet (though that has a lot to do with Perk playing with the starters and Thabeet only playing with the bench guys). Basically, I don’t know, and I don’t know if that says more about Thabeet or Perkins.

Noam: ………yes? Oh god, Nenad Krstic was the best player in the Green-Perk trade, wasn’t he?

ParoxyIntern: No. His upside was and still is incredible which is why it is good to have a player like that on your team. But to answer your question, he is not better than Perkins. Perkins is much bigger and stronger which helps on the boards as well as defensively against opposing centers.

7) From my friend Mike via text message: Can you get the HP scientists on how Rashard Lewis shoots with a slomo rotation on every shot?

Sean: PEDs

Eric:

Ananth: No science involved. It’s an art.

Jared: It’s all in the hips.

Noam: Rashard actually shoots fastmo. It’s just that his time scale is different than ours because he’s a million years old.

ParoxyIntern: He was taught that way in his early childhood and I guess it has worked for him, so props to him.

8) BONUS (from me): What do you think of Pop benching his big dawgs?

Sean: #TeamPop all day.

Eric: Did it suck for the fans? Yeah. Did it suck for TNT and those who worked on it? Absolutely. But did he have every right to do it? Yes. Shockingly, last night turned into one of the more entertaining games of the season. I was pulling for the Spurs all night, if only to get a Pop post-game press conference where he remixed Shaq’s “Tell Me How My Ass Tastes” rap for David Stern.

Ananth: I love it. This was a controversial topic yesterday on Twitter and even David Stern weighed in on the issue. I believe in the Spurs and am all for them extending their season any way possible. In the long run this is just one game in the first month of the regular season.

Jared: I didn’t care at all until all the moralizing that came along with it. Now I care because everyone’s being so high-and-mighty about it and it’s really annoying.

Noam: I was initially mad at him for ruining my TNT Thursday. Then Nando De Yolo and Tiago Splitter played such a fun game that I didn’t care anymore. Pop is hilarious, scrubs playing basketball is fun, and any talk about Substantial Sanctions is ridiculous.

ParoxyIntern: I am confused. I think this is smart to let them rest, but this is not allowed. This is equivalent to tanking a season but in this case it is just a game. I respect Pop as a coach but I hope that David Stern does something about this because if not, it won’t be good for the NBA.

Schiller Filler: Fake Trade Madness

Photo from pumpkincat210 via Flickr

• At this point, you’re basically not allowed to talk about the Lakers without offering up your favorite hypothetical Pau Gasol trade. It’s no longer a matter of whether Pau is good or not (he is, insanely so) or whether he’s being used correctly in Los Angeles (he’s not, but he could probably put more effort into accepting other systems, because dammit, Pau, 2010 is gone, deal with it) as much as it is classic Laker rhetoric – this is a franchise that either wins championships or brings in better players, and there is no option C.

Here’s the thing, though: you’re not getting a better player than Pau. There are somewhere between 10 and 25 of those in the entire league, 2 of them are already on the Lakers’ roster, and the others are not going to be available via trade for Pau’s declining play and hefty contract. No, not even if you throw in Darius Morris. So even if you accept the notion that Los Angeles has to improve its roster (personally, I’d do nothing until the Nash-D’Antoni combo gets at least as many games as the Nash-Mike Brown combo), it’ll be in the form of depth and fit, not talent.

And it’s this point where the Pau talk boggles down, for me, because the candidates are slim. Ideally, L.A. would want knockdown shooters who don’t need the ball (hear that, Josh Smith rumors?), specifically at the 4 spot, but those aren’t too readily available. The Hornets should want no business with moving Ryan Anderson, a 24 year old efficiency-maven, for the aging Gasol, and Andrea Bargnani is such a downgrade in talent that I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle. If only Ersan Ilyasova were still alive.

• Speaking of fake trades, I think it’s time we got together as a society and thought about trading Tiago Splitter. It’d be something of the Houston-Omer-Asik mold – take a guy stuck on the bench with great per-minute numbers and very little playing time, gave him as many minutes as he can possibly handle, and profit. Splitter is hovering around 19 and 10 per 40 minutes and a TS% of 64% for the second straight season: he could be a major asset for a team desparate for some scoring in the frontcourt, like Charlotte, Cleveland or Milwaukee.

Of course, the problems with Splitter are defensively, which is why the Spurs aren’t giving him those major minutes in the first place. I’ve never been able to pinpoint why it is exactly that San Antonio’s D goes to the tank when Splitter is on the court – he’s big, he’s strong, and while he’s not exactly a Noah/Garnett/Horford brand of omnipresent, he’s fairly mobile. You see flashes – he really stood out to me cutting off multiple Leandro Barbosa drive against the Celtics, for instance – but despite the strong system and Pop’s guiding hand, it never truly materialized in San Antonio.

I could see both Splitter and the Spurs benefiting from a trade in which he gets a bigger role and they get a defender. A deal involving compatriot Anderson Varejao would be a Spurs fan’s dream (and frankly, Kyrie-Dion-Tiago would create one of the league’s funnest offense-only squads), but I would classify it as wildly unrealistic. Instead, I’d look at defensive stalwarts with low asking prices, such as Gustavo Ayon or Chuck Hayes. Regardless, with Splitter on the last year of a sub-MLE deal, this could be an interesting situation to monitor.

• I thought Jason Kidd was done last season and hated his signing, going so far as choosing him for worst newcomer in ESPN’s preseason polling, so you better believe I’m shocked by this development, but the Felton-Kidd two point guard lineup has been phenomenal so far. I’d still argue this has more to do with spacing and limiting turnovers than VETERAN LEADERSHIP, but hey, I’m already down in this fight.

Anyway, Kidd is now shelved for the forseeable future with back issues, and as deftly noted by Kevin Pelton, the Knicks really missed him against Brooklyn. Against Milwaukee, though, New York managed just fine, by going with – you guessed it – a two point guard lineup! Pablo Prigioni isn’t the shooter Kidd is, both in accuracy and willingness to shoot, and he’s turned the ball over on almost a fifth of his possessions so far. That number will have to go down if he continues to get major minutes. But he’s looked great running the pick and roll (which bodes well if Amar’e eventually joins him on the second unit), and the presence of another ball-handler does wonders for both Felton’s play and the team’s ball movement. More Prigs, please.

• Anthony Davis is injured and it sucks. Luckily for the Hornets, while they’ve been missing their star rookie big, they’ve getting some instant offense from their rookie guard. Brian Roberts is scoring just over a point every two minutes, is a scorching 40.9% from three, and is just a really enjoyable watch. Why, did you think I was talking about a different instant offense Hornets guard?

• George Karl is still hesitant to play JaVale McGee major minutes. I get it – he still has issues everywhere on the court, he’s impossible to pair defensively with Kenneth Faried (who Karl clearly prefers), and he gets winded very quickly. But it should be noted that this season, JaVale is finally having a positive impact on the Nuggets’ defensive rebounding.

Last season, the Nuggets had a 70.6% defensive rebound rate with McGee on the floor, and 74% without him. This is counterintuitive for an athletic freak of McGee’s stature, but it shows you how deep his issues truly are, and how often he chases highlight blocks at the expense of a proper box out. This year, though, the Nuggets are boarding 73.5% of opponent missed shots with McGee on the court and just 72.1% without. While it’s too soon to say if this is all McGee or if lineups with Faried at center and a smallish power forward are skewing the results, it’s another positive sign that McGee is salvageable. #TEAMPIERRE

• Tobias Harris is playing fairly well for the Bucks. He’s shooting 55.3% from the floor and 35.3% from three and is rebounding very well for a small forward. He’s been losing a lot of minutes to Mike Dunleavy, which is hard to complain about since Mike has started the season really well, but I’m definitely very encouraged about both his future and his present.

One thing, though: more post ups, less spot ups, please. Harris is much bigger than most of the wing guys that are covering him, and had very good numbers in the post last year – mySynergySports.com had him at 84th in the league. This year, though, he’s only posted up 8 times through 12 games, with almost a third of his shots coming as a spot up shooter. He’s actually exceeded expectations in this regard, shooting 43% on spot up threes, but this isn’t his forte and it’s iffy at best as a long term strategy. Post up Tobias!

15-Footer 11/29/2012: Cheap Seats Edition

Image: webcnyew/Flickr

If you missed the debut of the 15-Footer, Cheap Seats edition on Tuesday, don’t fret as it will be a recurring theme. There are some pretty good deals on tonight’s games, so if you live in Miami or Oakland take advantage.

There are only two games on the NBA schedule tonight, which is a nice lil’ break from last night’s eleven games. Plus there is a new episode of Parks and Rec.

San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat – 8 PM EST

Cost: Quite surprising to see tickets are very reasonably priced to see two of the top teams in the league. For $30 or less, there are a handful of options in the upper level; the cheapest choice is $24, so fan up Miami!

But if you can’t make it to the game, look forward to hearing Charles Barkley tonight, who will be adding his colorful commentary for this game on the TNT broadcast.

The Heat are 6-0 at home. Can the Spurs give them their first home loss? This seems extremely doubtful since Coach Gregg Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home so they can get some rest. The Spurs have done this kind of thing before on the tail end of a back to back, but they played the Orlando Magic last night in a game that resulted in a blowout win where Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan already got significant rest.

More info on the Spurs resting the Big 3 + Green from Spurs Nation:

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green did not travel with the team after Wednesday night’s win in Orlando, instead heading back to South Texas this morning for an extra day of rest leading up to Saturday’s sure-to-be-rugged home game against Memphis.

“We’re getting tired,” Popovich said. “We’ve had a six-day trip and a 10-day trip. Usually you don’t have that in one month.”

By choosing to dispatch his four top healthy scorers home – the Big Three plus Green combine to average 57.9 points per game – Popovich clearly sent the signal that he cares more about keeping his team fresh than about television ratings and winning streaks.

It is not the first time he has made that unpopular choice.

Popovich memorably held the entire Big Three and others out of three games last season: Once in a 137-97 loss at Portland in February, and in nationally televised victories over Phoenix and Golden State to close the regular season in April.

 

Read: HP’s Godfather, Matt Moore, broke down how the Heat can stop/slow down the Spurs’ efficient offense, give it a read before the tip.

Important side note: Matt Bonner is currently leading the league in 3-point percentage, shooting 63%; I’m really hoping that this will be the year that he finally gets an invite to the 3-point shootout.

Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors – 10:30 PM EST

Cost: $1! That’s right there are tickets available to a good Western Conference matchup for $1!

If those tickets sell out by the time you click over there are plenty of tickets available for less than $5. I am pretty sure JaVale McGee’s Twitter account is worth more than that.

Even though the season basically started a month ago, this will be the third matchup between the Nuggets and the Warriors; the Nuggets are 2-0 in the series and beat the Warriors by 11 in their last matchup.

This should be a fun watch, since you never will know what can happen with either team. Will JaVale dunk all over the Warriors? Will the Warriors “rain” supreme from long distance and hit an ungodly amount of threes? Tune in to find out!

Read: Grantland’s Zach Lowe offers up some insight into Golden State’s improved defense.

Important side note:

This Harrison Barnes’ dunk “will forever be known as Flight of the Falcon.

Fly high, you falcons. Fly high.