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Archive for April, 2011

Essay: First Round Playoff Predictions!

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

For the first time that I can remember, the regular season’s finish line was bittersweet. The playoffs are obviously what everyone wants to see, and are clearly head and shoulders above the season’s first 82 games in terms of both anticipation and quality, but it was sad to see this particular regular season get guillotine chopped by father time.  What lies ahead is undoubtedly a better brand of basketball, but will it be as fun and unpredictable? Will the top two teams everyone predicted to be in the mix at the end (Los Angeles, Miami) rise to the top like heavy cream in the league’s coffee? Or will our next generation of superstars (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant) make an unprecedented championship imprint before turning 23? Or will the worthy merits of experience and chemistry (San Antonio, Boston) go out with one final bang? All those questions will be answered by the time our nation’s birthday rolls around, but for now, I give you my impeccably reliable first round playoff predictions. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Shook Ankles: Dwyane Wade Tells Anthony Parker To Please Step Away From The Vehicle

April 14, 2011 1 comment

From the pre-MoHeatos, Heatles days—when Dwyane Wade had his own team, organization, and county all to himself—here’s good old Flash making Shelden Williams’ brother-in-law take a spill. This move oozes confidence; it’s almost like Parker was riding the Universal Studios “Dwyane Wade” roller coaster but after a few seconds he couldn’t take the heat and tumbled from his seat (no pun intended).

Essay: The Little Rookie That Could (Not Win The ROY But Still Go Above And Beyond All Expectations)

April 13, 2011 2 comments

Gary Neal is in rare company. Since the three-point shot came into play during the 1979-80 season, he’s one of two rookies (Matt Maloney being the other) to ever attempt 300 or more long balls and attempt 100 or fewer free throws. (Neal stands at 100 with one game to play.) Looking at every player who suited up since the extra stripe was put into play, he’s one of 59 to have achieved the feat, and when you dilute it down even further to guys who averaged less than 25 minutes per game, Neal finds himself in even rarer air—accompanied by only eight other players. Read more…

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Shook Ankles: Darren Collison Shows The Importance Of A Four Year Education

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

This came a few weeks ago, back when the Knicks were deplorable defensively—as opposed to their staunch improvement as of late. Darren Collison is a fine player, and one of the quicker guys in the entire league, but sometimes it seems he gets ahead of himself. Shots are forced out of the offense’s natural flow, early in the shot clock and without any teammates even near the paint to grab a probable rebound (Collison’s outside shooting percentages are down across the board from his rookie season), and they almost always come off the dribble. I know this sounds like nitpicking (Collison is the starting point guard on a team headed to the playoffs), but seeing him serve a quality team in a more reserved role seems like the more natural fit. Darren Collison in moderate doses—capable of changing a game’s pace, getting teammates involved, and relentlessly attacking the basket—could be lethal to any coach unfortunate enough to draw the task of creating a defensive game plan.

 

(Side Note: As I comb through all the crossover related videos one man can possibly view, the one inexplicable trait almost all of them share is the featured player’s unconscious ability to score every single time he embarrasses his man. Every. Single. Time. Here, Collison has two opportunities and misses them both. Weird.)

Shook Ankles: Remember Devin Harris?

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Twice upon a time, Devin Harris was deemed the future. First it came in Dallas, where in 2007, as a 24-year-old Dirk Nowitzki sidekick averaging 17 points and 6.3 assists per 36 minutes, he was traded at the deadline for a future first ballot hall of fame inductee with much creakier knees. It seemed like a win-win, with Harris coming east as the central piece to a rebuilding Nets franchise; he was named to his one and only All-Star team the very next year. Instead of rising, Harris slipped. He didn’t plummet or crash, but it’s widely accepted now that 2009 could have been the finest season Devin Harris is capable of producing. Don’t tell this to Utah’s most dedicated fans (or A.J. Price). He’s still only 27, but since coming to Utah in yet another deadline deal for a much better player, Harris has once again been placed in a most unfair situation, trying to fill shoes he wasn’t meant to occupy. But this doesn’t mean Harris isn’t talented (did we mention asking A.J. Price) or wants to win. The Jazz have two very talented yet mostly unrecognized players in Harris and Al Jefferson. It’ll be up to them to lead a young, talented, and constantly improving (Hayward, Favors, Evans) bunch into the Utah Jazz’s least predictable offseason in ages. Officially in his career’s third act, maybe now is the time Harris will find himself up for the challenge.

Categories: Shook Ankles Tags: ,

Commentary: Selecting From The Worthy

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

My parade of season ending award delivery will mercifully run its course soon enough, but first let’s take a look at one of the more overlooked yet genuinely important honors: Coach of the Year. Has there ever been a more wide open race than the one we’re currently in midst of? Doc Rivers is dealing with ridiculous pressure in Boston, Tom Thibodeau is making one hell of a first impression leading one of the league’s best teams in Chicago, George Karl (coming back from cancer) had to deal with the trading of his franchise player and magically turned it into one of the league’s happier stories, and Doug Collins started 3-13 but has since made Philadelphia a sexy sleeper pick.

But nobody, in my humble opinion, deserves the honor more than the Hornets head man, Monty Williams.

Read more…

Shook Ankles: Mr. Brewer Gets His Money’s Worth

April 10, 2011 Leave a comment

If you happen to fall, get up and try again. Unless, of course, you were victim of a Stephen Curry crossover and figure it’s a good idea to guard the backcourt Batman to his Robin, Monta Ellis, on the very next play. Since joining the Mavericks, Brewer has tried to carve a specific niche as a valuable perimeter defender. This clip pretty much sets his case on fire.

Essay: LeBron James And The Fear Of Failure

April 8, 2011 1 comment

Editor’s Note: This essay is written by my friend and your special guest, Aaron Kaplan. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @Balls_Jericho if his work unwillingly forces you to stand and applaud. Enjoy!

 

The first five years of LeBron James’ career were amazing. He held the world captive every time his Nikes touched the parquet, and took our breath away every time they blasted off for a dunk. He’s a freak! He’s like one of the Monstars from Space Jam! As a 22-year-old, his performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit will be remembered forever as one of the most dominant performances in playoff history. Yet James is not known as a great closer, like Kobe. Neither is he known for hitting game winning jumpers under pressure like Paul Pierce. Instead of stepping up and embracing the demands that his talent and personality call for, he avoids it altogether. The entire city of Cleveland and all 65 fans of the Miami Heat are forced to pose the question: Why??

Read more…

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Shook Ankles: The MVP Is Crowned

Rajon Rondo is a reigning member of the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team; he’s an absolute hawk of the basketball and one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. Right now he’s in the top three at his position in total defensive plays and second in the entire league in steals. Finding clips of him getting fooled by the dribble is like catching sight of John Calipari’s coiffure in bone dry form, nearly impossible. Yet last night, during the making of a 97-81 victory by the Bulls, the impossible became reality. This is the magical power of Derrick Rose, your 2011 league MVP.

Essay: A Coastal Sixth Man Debate

 

(Photo Courtesy of LA Times)

During last year’s NBA Finals several match-ups were heavily anticipated, but a hushed clash between Boston’s Glen Davis and Los Angeles’ Lamar Odom remains the most peculiar. Fast forward eight months and the two are leading candidates for, what some believe to be, the greatest backhanded compliment in professional sports: Sixth Man of the Year. Comparing the two purely on statistics doesn’t do either of them any justice; looking at each in terms of value and importance—contrasting their length and girth, their finesse and power—to their respective team’s championship chances in 2011 is more what this argument is about. With that being said let’s kick this off with a few random numerical comparisons that are either important, or interest me for whatever reason.

Read more…

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