Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on Kings - Rockets

•My plan entering this game was to document the success rate for the team on each of Chase Budinger’s ‘action plays.’ For my purpose, I had arbitrarily defined ‘action plays’ as those plays where he took two or more dribbles within an offensive set. My intent was to assess his overall coordination and decision making. More on this later.

•An interesting thing happened with 1.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Tyreke Evans penetrated on the fast break and was intentionally fouled by Kyle Lowry before passing off to an open shooter in the corner. In any particular game, that open shot could have been the difference between winning and losing. How many players in the league would have had the presence of mind to actually rationalize their team’s foul situation amidst the frenzy of an end-of-quarter fast-break? That play was symbolic of the cerebral culture that has catapulted this team to 50-win seasons these past few years.

•I am pleased to see that Paul Westphaul is still alive.

•I said it before. Where was Trevor Ariza in 2005 when Jerry Stackhouse effectively ended David Wesley’s career? He’s extremely undisciplined, but this was the breed of player this franchise so desperately needed at different points throughout the past decade. A long wing with passing lane abilities would have gone a long way against the Jazz in both ’97 and ’07.

•Very strange sequence with 11:08 left in the third. I was noting down that it was the first time I could remember ever seeing Shane dribble in place against tight pressure. As if this weren’t odd enough, Battier then suddenly threw a hard stiff arm at Nocioni while still dribbling (with the other hand.) Not sure what to make of any of this.

•It was pretty interesting seeing Carl Landry match up with Kenny Thomas. Kenny Thomas was basically Carl Landry before Carl Landry – vertically challenged, offensively skilled, hard working power forward with defensive struggles. Kenny was a lot better in the low post while Carl is a better shooter. Remember when one of the big points for excitement heading into the new season was that Kenny had allegedly lost 20 pounds and developed perimeter skills over the summer and would be sliding down to small forward? Yeah, that never happened.

•In total, I counted three ‘action plays’ for Chase Budinger.
*With 9:54 remaining in the first, he drove to the basket on a fast-break.
*With 2:20 remaining in the third, he took tree dribbles and shot a pull-up.
*With 8:05 remaining in the fourth, he drove in and got blocked.

•This sample size was too small to draw any type of conclusions. Based on this data, however, even though he is playing at guard, I realized that Chase only engages in what I would call ‘purposeful’ dribbling. Unlike the vast majority of guards, he puts the ball on the floor only when necessary and with a clear intent. Otherwise, upon receiving the pass, he immediately passes off if no options are available.


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