The first interesting development was the announcement pre-game that Marcus Camby would be starting at center in lieu of Samuel Dalembert. Via Jason Friedman, Dalembert is no longer suffering from the flu. Also via Friedman, when asked if the switch would remain in place going forward, McHale said, “we’ll see.” To those of you wondering if Kevin Martin would regain his starting spot upon returning, I think you pretty much got your answer. Kevin McHale does not care about hurt feelings.
While watching Roy Hibbert tonight, understand that he is one of the restricted free agents whom the Rockets will have an opportunity to pursue this summer, if they choose, and hope to lure away from his current team. It’s a long shot.
3:38 remaining in the 1st and Courtney Lee has already taken like thirty shots. Methinks someone is warming up quite nicely to their starting role.
In my first installment of this series–which you can access, along with all future installments, by clicking the ‘Dragic vs. Lowry’ tag below–many readers felt the ideal scenario was one which saw management re-sign Goran Dragic but rather than deal off Kyle Lowry, elect to retain him and play both guards together in the backcourt as they’ve done successfully in stints over the past two seasons.
The scenario begged one over-arching question: How would Goran Dragic feel about playing shooting guard for this team? I decided to ask him.
Thursday night’s TNT schedule boasted one of this year’s premier doubleheaders, with a Finals rematch that fell flat in Miami and a game that was routinely touted as a “Western Conference Finals” preview, Thunder vs. Lakers. In the interest of full (if unwanted) disclosure, these are the teams I would most likely envision pairing up in this year’s penultimate round, but both teams have gotten a free ride as far as the public discourse goes in one most important regard: their defenses. If a team has had offensive trouble throughout a year, such as Boston with its 25th league-ranked offense, that outfit will justifiably be written off as one without much chance of playoff longevity, as teams at or below the league average on either side of the ball simply do not get rings, empirically speaking. So how is it that two teams, OKC and LA, with defenses of relatively low calibers (12th and 9th leaguewide, respectively. Sounds decent, but the 4 points per 100 possessions more that the Thunder give up than the league’s best add up quickly) have come to be the de facto frontrunners out West? [read more…]
Only three players in the league have made more corner threes with a higher percentage than Courtney Lee: Nick Young, Ryan Anderson, and Ray Allen. He’s connected on more, with greater efficiency, than Kyle Korver, Shane Battier, and Daequan Cook (who Lee shoots 11% better than, on just a few more attempts). Of the six players mentioned here, all are well-reputed marksman, but just one (Young) is known for having more complexity to his offensive game. By taking all these corner threes, Lee is tempering his own athletic ability in a semi-sacrificial way, complimenting wonderful playmakers like Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic by standing idle in the corner and doing right by his team.
Every shooting guard in the NBA can hit a wide open three-pointer from the corner. An argument can be made that because of its relative ease and high value, this particular shot is the smartest one in basketball. (Eight of the 10 teams that boast the highest percentage on corner three-pointers are either a lock to make the playoffs or right on the border—Houston ranks second.) Shooting for three points from this spot on the court offers a reward that so greatly outweighs any actual risk, that you wouldn’t be a smart team if you didn’t find a way to get more than a couple open looks per game. (No surprise here: Charlotte ranks last in attempts.) [read more…]