Report cards: Kevin McHale

I am loath to dole out grades.  I’ve never done it.  Why?  Because it presents a veil of finality.  Not every issue is closed or can be defined by the assignment of a single character.  But I’ll do it.  Psychologists will tell you that people like grades because people want conclusions.  Whilst casual reading, people don’t want to be left with open-ended analysis; they want a concrete takeaway in concise form.  So with that, I’ll do this…for you guys.  But know I hate such gross oversimplification in assessment.

We’ll start this series with Kevin McHale.  I’ll work through every major figure associated with the team, or until I grow tired of the whole thing.  That could very well happen as early as like the Kevin Martin issue or even last up to Hasheem Thabeet.  We’ll see.  Actually, I had been working on (putting off) a ‘season in review’ piece, but realized I needed to do some of the major thinking in more detail and figured this series would help.  Anyways, without further ado, I present to you the Kevin McHale installment.

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Kevin Martin and flopping

Speaking recently on ESPN’s NBA Today podcast about how basketball’s physicality is devolving throughout the league, Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute identified Kevin Martin as one of the league’s finest floppers:

“A lot of guys, their whole game is flopping offensively, and they’re very efficient at it,” he said. “[Martin] is one of the best floppers. Offensively he uses it to his advantage; he does a good job at it, getting to the lane, hitting people and throwing the ball up. He’s just using the game, being smart.”

Mbah a Moute’s commentary was phrased in a complimentary way, but it shouldn’t be read that way. With the playoffs in full bloom and each possession under the microscope of a basketball watching nation, flopping has quickly become the NBA’s most contentious issue. [read more…]






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The second round begins

I took my last final on Wednesday and have been in Georgia visiting my parents since Thursday.  I’ve been wanting to write and have even sat down to do it on numerous occasions, but nothing comes.  Those of you who write regularly might be able to relate: when doing it habitually, whatever one is thinking almost flows straight from the mind onto the keyboard.  After breaking that routine, things bog down and nothing seems to come out.  Nevertheless, we’re here and we have the playoffs to discuss.

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The NBA is a league driven by opportunity. To arrive is one thing, but without a motor constantly pushing you to get better, a well-established niche, and coaches who believe you’re good enough not to get them fired, finding a way to stay for the long haul can be just as challenging. If you’re a marginal player, several factors play into which side of the fence you’ll fall on: If the guy ahead of you on the depth chart has a long standing reputation as a consistently productive player; if the system does or does not suit your strengths and hide your weaknesses; or if you’ve been jammed into a role that may or may not fit (Evans, Tyreke or McGee, JaVale), the future can either look rosy or uncertain. But if you manage to have everything fall into place, with a simple set of instructions laid out by a smart coaching staff that embeds you in a cocoon of comfort, good things can happen. [read more…]






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Roy Hibbert, anyone?

One of the biggest issues keeping the Houston Rockets from making a joy run into the playoffs these last few years has been their lack of consistent interior defense. With Sam Dalembert and Luis Scola taking a majority of the team’s minutes at center last season (Marcus Camby only filled in for 5% of playing time at the position, according to 82games.com), they allowed 44.5 points in the paint per game. Only the Kings and Bobcats were worse. There never was no reliable giant, with enveloping hands and a head the size of a small microwave, who from night to night could suit up and create a human moat around the basket for 30 or so minutes—an intimidating presence who not only would block about two shots per game, but efficiently score in the post when you chose to slow the game down.  [read more…]






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