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Archive for January, 2012

Shook Ankles: Welcome Back, Jamaal!

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

 

During the second half of last night’s Jazz v. Clippers game, Utah served as a wrecking ball to Los Angeles’ dilapidated warehouse. Granted there was no Chris Paul to prove his MVP worth, but still, the Jazz absolutely demolished the supposedly superior team with position by position dominance that can’t be argued. With the game out of hand and his team up by 30 points, Tyrone Corbin decided to let Jamaal Tinsley loose. The 57-year-old former Rucker Park/Iowa State baller and all around great guy scored his first two points of the season on the type of move that both made him millions of dollars and forced him out of the league. It was a definite pleasure in an otherwise colorless blowout.

 

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Essay: Dwight Howard And The Toll Of A Trade Demand

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Playing alongside Dwight Howard is a pretty sweet deal. As a perimeter defender tight roping an extremely difficult duty, you’re granted one of the most trustworthy safety nets in the business; as a ball handler executing a high pick and roll or a spot up specialist running open for a jumper, you’re supplied with an immovable screen setter, always available to separate you and your pesky man like a mother lion lifting a troublesome cub by the scruff of its neck; and as someone who qualifies as loving to shoot the basketball, there’s a good chance Dwight will draw enough of a defense’s attention to afford you an extra split second to get your three-pointer off. Fun for everybody! Read more…

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Shook Ankles: Give Kemba A Chance

January 15, 2012 1 comment

 

A few weeks ago I predicted Kemba Walker would be this season’s Rookie of the Year. Much has happened since. Ricky Rubio emerged to torture both defenses and a few impatient general managers, Kyrie Irving started on Day 1 with a refusal to look back, and a slew of pleasant surprises (Norris Cole, MarShon Brooks, Markieff Morris, Jon Leuer, Chandler Parsons, and Kawhi Leonard to name a few) rose from their respective benches, grasping to steal a majority of the headlines away. But the race is far from over, and there’s still time for Kemba to shine.

Saturday night he saw the first start of his career, and the performance was quite marvelous. 39 minutes, 23 points on 8-14 shooting (2-4 from deep), 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers. Charlotte won the game by 12 points, and Kemba was a central reason why. Stat lines like this aren’t expected each and every night, but let it be said, crossovers like the one seen above most certainly are.

 

Power Ranking: Optimism vs. Pessimism

January 13, 2012 2 comments

Introducing Shaky Ankles’ very first Power Ranking feature—a weekly breakdown of interesting, list worthy NBA related news. This section will undoubtedly be toyed with as the season progresses, but for the most part it should read as a typical Power Ranking, which is something that’s always so much fun to scroll through!

In our inaugural post, we end this week with our Top 8 cases of pessimism vs. top 8 cases of optimism. Pretty self-explanatory: These are issues that inspire hope or reek of failure. Enjoy! Read more…

Shook Ankles: Shimmy Shimmy Ya, LeBron

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

 

I would analyze this insane nifty move right now, but Beckley Mason over at HoopSpeak beat me to it yesterday. And a great job he did.

 

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Shook Ankles: It’s Too Early To Give Up On John Wall

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

 

His start has been so rough to the point where professional evaluators are now claiming they’d rather start a team with Ricky Rubio. Others are declaring he should’ve gone into track. No disrespect to the phenomenal rookie in Minnesota, but I beg to disagree with both of these claims. In the land of immediate reaction and over-evaluation, the standings of a No. 1 overall draft pick should not be judged by the first 10 games of a training camp-less season. It makes no sense. The expectations weren’t too high, and he hasn’t lit the court on fire, but John Wall will be fine. The situation he’s in—with no veteran voice and very few selfless attitudes—could not be worse. But patience is a virtue, and John Wall will prove it.

 

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Shook Ankles: Kyle Lowry Double Crosses The Bobcats

January 11, 2012 1 comment

 

If Kyle Lowry doesn’t win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, appear on the All-Defense team, or make his first All-Star squad this season, the voting process may have to be investigated. With must-see stat lines that defy common logic each and every night, he’s this year’s Rajon Rondo. Last night he grabbed 11 rebounds. About a week ago he scored 2 points and dished out 18 assists. He’s locking down point guards, jumping passing lanes and maniacally making the opposition work harder than they want to. He knows where his teammates are supposed to be better than they do, and after instructing them on proper floor placement, he’s knocking down three-pointers from four or five feet behind the arc. Right now there’s nobody like Kyle Lowry in the NBA, and Houston’s the wiser team for not only acquiring him, but refusing to let him go in their search for a certified superstar. Lowry isn’t that guy, but there’s no reason why he can’t play the part of right hand man.

 

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Analyzing The Anomalous: Markieff Morris vs. Milwaukee

January 10, 2012 1 comment

In Shaky Ankles’ new feature “Analyzing The Anomalous”, I’ll be taking a look at a random player’s most recent performance—either fantastic or dreadful—and breaking down how it is they did what they did by way of advanced statistics and the always helpful Synergy Sports resource. The posts will begin with a rundown of the chosen player’s basic stat line, before bullet points are used to complete the examination.

The NBA’s most surprising team from this weekend was the undervalued, unappreciated Phoenix Suns. Playing like a group of veterans who understand their positions, utilize their strengths, and run from their weaknesses, the Suns bulldozed the revamped Portland Trailblazers and smacked Milwaukee in the face with a frying pan. Obviously, this situation is a surprising one, and plopping a cherry on top is their first round draft pick Markieff Morris. Here’s some analysis from a recent victory over Milwaukee.

Markieff Morris vs. Milwaukee. Phoenix won 109-93. 30 minutes, 13 points on 5-10  shooting (including 3-4 from beyond the arc), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 personal foul. 

  • Morris played 29:40 minutes off the bench. The most for any player who participated in the game.
  • He was a shocking (at least to me) 3-4 from deep while taking just one shot at the rim and missing it. This is interesting for several reasons, and the “wait a second…Markieff Morris is a three-point threat??” factor sits comfortably at the top. He shot 42.4% on 59 attempts in his final year at Kansas (his twin brother, Marcus, was 10% less accurate on 20 more attempts), but still, to expect his emergence as yet another reliable spot up option surrounding Steve Nash so soon in his career is very fun to think about.
  • Up 25 points late in the third quarter, Morris used a Gortat screen to flash high across the free-throw line. He received a pass about 22 feet from the basket and launched a jumper with 12 seconds remaining on the shot clock. The shot rimmed out, but that isn’t the point. It’s only one play so there’s no need to nitpick, but Morris seemed to decide he was settling on the long two before considering any other options.
  • Upon entering the game for Channing Frye with 7:19 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Suns immediately went on a 13-2 run and effectively ended the game.
  • Posting up on a few separate occasions, Morris looked a combination of rushed and deliberate. He either didn’t want to put the ball on the floor and immediately leaned on a turn around jumper, or went straight to something he was comfortable with and attempted a minimized jump hook. He displayed extremely soft touch on every shot he took, and it’d be wonderful for both him and Phoenix if Morris can simultaneously add tranquility and creative flair to his game. Or maybe that’s asking too much. He gets to his spots, plays the game like a knowledgeable vet, and could soon develop into one of the game’s more reliable high-low offensive options.
  • His three-pointers came by way of defenses overloading on Steve Nash penetration; almost as more a lack of respect for his ability more than fear of Nash doing what he does. If Morris continues to hit on this shot, strategies when facing Phoenix will have to change.
  • He was second on his team in offensive efficiency with 1.3 points per possession (only the impossibly accurate Marcin Gortat, on his 9/10 shooting night, was better).
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Shook Ankles: Kevin Durant Turns Chase Budinger Into A Folding Chair

January 9, 2012 1 comment

 

Of all the amazing things Kevin Durant is able to do with a basketball, the way he manages to tighten his gangly arms into a crisp, effective crossover while moving full speed towards the basket might be the most understated. He can make it flashy, but Durant’s game isn’t about that; his performances widen eyes staring at his post game box score almost more than his actual game time play. He gets it done, every night, with no exceptions. In line with almost every other action he conducts during a game, Durant uses the crossover as a vessel to score the basketball, and the way he’s able to use it traveling at all different types of speeds makes him that much more of an unbeatable, once-in-a-generation talent.

 

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Analyzing The Anomalous: Brandon Jennings vs. Sacramento

January 6, 2012 Leave a comment

 

In Shaky Ankles’ new feature “Analyzing The Anomalous”, I’ll be taking a look at a random player’s most recent performance—either fantastic or dreadful—and breaking down how it is they did what they did by way of advanced statistics and the always helpful Synergy Sports resource. The posts will begin with a rundown of the chosen player’s basic stat line, before bullet points are used to complete the examination. As the above picture has hinted, our first player to be placed under the microscope will be Mr. Inconsistency himself, Brandon Jennings. Enjoy! Read more…

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