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Archive for December, 2011

Commentary: Al Jefferson’s Poor Start Could Be A Blessing In Disguise

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

A few nights ago, Jazz starting center Al Jefferson was deplorable in his first game of the season. Before we get into analyzing the plays that created such disfunction, lets look at the actual numbers that were, for lack of a better word, produced. In 25 minutes, Jefferson was 2-16 from the field, had no trips to the free-throw line, was rejected three times, and grabbed 10 rebounds. After the game, he explained his difficulties to reporters as being due to the “basketball Gods” failing to keep him company. Read more…

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Shook Ankles: Kobe Bryant Rekindles His Raja Bell Love Affair

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment


Facing an 0-3 start that would trigger the four horses of Hell bringing a never ending onslaught to planet Earth, last night Kobe Bryant reached into his bag of tricks and led a tired, dejected Lakers team to their first win of the 2011-12 season. When reached for comment, Bryant simply responded: “I don’t like horses.” Neither does Raja Bell.

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Essay: Placing A Fantasy Basketball Draft Under The Microscope, Round 4

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Keeping up on an ongoing miniseries, here’s in depth, incredibly important analysis on my fantasy basketball draft, which took place on December 17, 2011. A glorious evening it was. For more info on what’s going down here, go check out the initial entry.

Team L: Ray Allen

Team K: Nene Hilario

Team J: Brook Lopez

Team I: Joe Johnson

Team H: Tyreke Evans

Team G: Kevin Martin

Team F: Andrew Bogut

Team E: Raymond Felton

Team D: Marcin Gortat

Team C: Greg Monroe

Team B: Joakim Noah

Team A: DeAndre Jordan

Worst Value: Brook Lopez. The pick was taken before his unfortunate injury, but still, this just wasn’t a very efficient selection given the guys who were taken later in the same round; they do what Lopez does, only much, much better. More will be spoken of this in the Overall Reaction.

Best Value: Tyreke Evans. This might be based more on personal feelings than statistical analysis, but I’ve felt this entire offseason that Tyreke Evans was due for a monster comeback year. With his foot finally healthy, he should be motivated to prove his worth as Sacramento’s franchise player; the man ownership should be getting down on their knees for every day in thankful praise. I say “should” to describe both of those reasons because my mind tells me one thing, but my heart speaks another. Evans is as talented and athletic as any point guard in the league, but he may be playing out of position. Also, words from an assistant coach this offseason about Evans and Cousins needing to buckle down and study tape on a more consistent basis has me nervous. Is Tyreke really capable of wasting all those special gifts? I hope not. This season could go a long way as to dictating what kind of player he ends up being.

Overall Reaction: Round 4 was the round of big men. Of the 12 available picks, 8 of them were centers, but the order in which they were selected deserves a bit of digging. Technically, Brook Lopez’s eyes stand roughly 7-feet from the ground, but he rebounds worse than LeBron James. His name remains popular because of the embarrassing comparable talent and the fact that he’s a really tall lottery pick for a large market team, but Brook Lopez is nowhere near a better pick than Gortat, Noah, or Jordan. I hesitate in throwing Monroe in with that group because of the smaller sample size, but in all honesty he’ll probably surpass Lopez in several categories this season.

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Shook Ankles: Russell Westbrook Gets Rude With Luke Ridnour

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

 

After posting a so-so outing on Christmas Day, Russell Westbrook had a blast going against Minnesota’s really small/really inexperienced/really old point guard trio, with a 28 point, 6 rebound, 6 assist performance. When you throw in the 7 turnovers, this feels like the type of line that seems to fit in with what we’ve come to expect from the Thunder point guard. As is proven true with this filthy crossover, the sky is Russell’s playground, but only when he’s able to taper his freakish athleticism down a bit will we be able to say he’s become one of the two or three most complete conductors in the game.

Video via DailyThunder

 

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Shook Ankles: Hedo Turkoglu Isn’t Done Yet

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Reputations in the NBA are powerful, stick like a really sticky glue, and take an impossibly long time to go away. Hedo Turkoglu has his fair share of negative ones, but last night, the former Magic pillar played like his old self, making 3 three-pointers in the fourth quarter and doing more than his fair share to vanquish the visiting Houston Rockets. It was a retro performance, and one that could prove extremely meaningful in helping decide the ongoing Dwight Howard saga.

 

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Shook Ankles: Chris Paul Takes Over Christmas

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Throughout last night’s Warriors/Clippers game, transition baskets came in spades. More than one situation saw a Warriors miss come down the other way for a Los Angeles man advantage, ending in an alley-oop or equally easy basket. These sequences are wonderful theatre, and have taken over as the NBA’s number one topic of casual conversation, but when it comes down to winning playoff games and eventually a championship, the Clippers must work well in their half court offense, especially to hold a tight fourth quarter lead. In the clip seen above,  Chris Paul doesn’t wow your pants off with an insane handle we know him to be capable of placing on display, but he does manage to turn Golden State’s defense into a marionette puppet.

The first of the two plays is a simple pick and roll with the role of Paul’s counterpart being played by DeAndre Jordan. Running it with Jordan is a bit predictable, because he’s the least likely player in the league to step out for the pop. In certain spots—if a defense wants to double Paul off the screen for example—the fast moving Jordan can be hit for a lob if the defense doesn’t rotate, but mostly the play is to free up Paul and let him work his magic. It takes him about three seconds to put a quick right to left cross on Steph Curry,  fake an in and out with his left hand on Kwame Brown, then cross back to his right for an open, and easy, foul line jumper. Piece of cake.

In the next play, Monta Ellis gets a little confused as Blake Griffin slips the screen instead of setting a hard pick. Paul crosses him over anyway, and proceeds to take a run at poor Kwame for the second time. Griffin sets another screen on the backtracking Ellis, making sure he can’t recover, and all of a sudden the Clippers have a salivating Chris Paul vs. Kwame Brown matchup to play with. After wiping the drool from his mouth, Paul keeps his dribble alive and takes the ball back to the perimeter, forcing Kwame out from the painted area. Meanwhile, Griffin intuitively cuts to the basket with a helpless Ellis hanging on to his shoelaces. Paul has two main options here: 1) Hit the overpowering Griffin with a quick pass either over or around Kwame’s head, and at the worst end up with two free-throws, or 2) Step back and knock down a wide open shot. If it misses, Griffin will probably be in position to grab the rebound. But, of course, Paul doesn’t miss.

In both plays Chris Paul exposes the Warriors’ poor pick and roll defense by forcing a switch. He did this over and over and over again in last year’s playoff series against the Lakers, and to no avail it has yet to be solved.

 

 

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Christmas Day Analysis: Celtics 104 vs. Knicks 106

December 25, 2011 Leave a comment

(Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

First things first. It’s absolutely fantastic to have the NBA back in our lives. Today’s game at Madison Square Garden between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks paints a beautiful, gritty picture explaining why. Heading in, both teams had major questions to answer, and both—one would assume—are poised for a bloody battle over the Atlantic Division’s crown. In what will be a new feature coming to Shaky Ankles this season, here are some quick hit points of interest delivered in the always awesome, easily readable bullet point format. Merry Christmas! Read more…

Essay: Placing A Fantasy Basketball Draft Under The Microscope, Round 3

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Keeping up on an ongoing miniseries, here’s in depth, incredibly important analysis on my fantasy basketball draft, which took place on December 17, 2011. A glorious evening it was. For more info on what’s going down here, go check out the initial entry.

Team A: Eric Gordon

Team B: Rudy Gay

Team C: David Lee

Team D: Zach Randolph

Team E: Josh Smith

Team F: Gerald Wallace

Team G: Dorell Wright

Team H: Serge Ibaka

Team I: Manu Ginobili

Team J: Paul Millsap

Team K: Steve Nash

Team L: Marc Gasol

Best Value: Josh Smith. The quintessential fantasy player, getting Josh Smith—a guy who gives you a little bit of everything—in the third round is a fantastic selection. He consistently gives you 50% from the field, 8 boards, 14-17 points, 2 blocks, and 3-4 assists a night. On the actual court, he’ll take a few three-pointers with 18 seconds on the shot clock that make his coaches cry and teammates roll their eyes, but that kind of stuff doesn’t matter in fantasy, so no matter.

Worst Value: Dorell Wright. Last season, Dorell Wright led every player in the league with 194 three-pointers made. Isn’t that incredible? The Miami cast off, sent packing west just as the only team he’d ever known began bronzing the toilets in their arena restrooms; the world’s most resented rainbow was beginning to form, and Wright was forbidden to bask in its profitable glow. But he held his head high and made the move to the Bay Area a prosperous one. 194 three-pointers made and only 3,491,237 attempts to make it happen. What an inspirational story. Wright saw boosts in almost every statistical category in his first experience as a full time starting small forward, but so would every single other player in the league. With rookie Klay Thompson coming in to play the exact same role, expecting Wright to improve, let alone duplicate, his production form 2010-11 in 2011-12 is silly.

Overall Reaction: Most of the players taken in this round give solid production in multiple categories, and, apart from Wright, no pick was a swing and a miss. However, due to the condensed 66 game schedule, picking older guys who may be forced to sit out the middle of back to back to back games won’t help. The likely culprits being Steve Nash and Manu Ginobili. Then there are a few question marks in terms of what role a player will be taking in a new situation or coming off serious injury. Take Paul Millsap as a perfect example. With the expected emergence of Derrick Favors, plus the selection of Enes Kanter in the draft, Millsap could see himself go back to a bench role, and those 34 minutes per game he averaged last year will probably go down to the 26-28 range. Then there’s Rudy Gay. Great player, possibly at an All-Star level. But watching Gay assimilate himself into a Memphis Grizzlies team that had no difficulty making a deep playoff run without him could take some time, and in the shortened season there’s little time for hesitation and second guessing. Eric Gordon was quickly snatched at the turn, and as the Hornets’ go-to scorer he should blossom into a top 5 shooting guard.

 

Categories: Essays

Essay: First Annual Shaky Ankles NBA Preview!

December 24, 2011 2 comments

Going online to devour the dozens of NBA Season Previews created each year is one of my all-time favorite annual activities. I don’t care who writes them or where they’re written, whether it’s questioning obnoxious choices, applauding the bold, or scrolling through an obvious unanimous decision, the entire anticipatory process, to me, qualifies as tantalizing entertainment. Also, watching writers from national publications put their reputations on the line (a little strong, but still, nobody wants to have “Coach of the Year: Vinny Del Negro” staring them down for the rest of their career) by trying to tell the future is always a good time. Without further ado, I bring you the First Annual Shaky Ankles NBA Season Preview. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Shook Ankles: Kemba Walker Packs Pargo’s Bags

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

 

[SPOILER ALERT] The First Annual Shaky Ankles NBA Season Preview will be posted later today, and Kemba Walker may or may not walk away with some preseason hardware.  I won’t get too in depth with what I think might happen right now, but Walker’s situation seems to be the most enabling, and that’s all you can really ask for when trying to win Rookie of the Year. Opportunities will be aplenty on a team that should spend more time analzying its young talent than actually trying to win basketball games.

With that out of the way, onto this move. As far as hesitation dribbles go, it might be the quickest I’ve ever seen.

 

 

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