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Essay: Thomas Robinson Finds A New Home

February 21, 2013 Leave a comment

The NBA trade deadline is usually much more livelier, but this season has seen a less exciting process. With the large amount of activity in the offseason, and most teams waiting for Josh Smith to be moved, Rudy Gay heading to Toronto was the largest move we have seen thus far. But Sacramento decided to make things a bit more interesting by trading former top-5 pick Thomas Robinson to Houston for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich, and $1 million in cash. Houston also received Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, along with a second-round pick from Phoenix. In return for the pick they sent Marcus Morris to Phoenix. This trade was mostly a platter of prospects and mediocre role players being moved, but it is not entirely devoid of intrigue. Read more…

Essay: One Team’s Trash is Another Team’s Treasure

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

The cycle of a team overpaying a player in free agency and later trying to get rid of them is never ending. The NBA is structured so that mid-tier players get more money than they deserve, while the true stars do not. Thus multiple teams carry several “bad” contracts on them. But a player can be overpaid and still not be on the trade block. A lot of factors come into play such as team market size, player age, and the remaining core.

Rudy Gay was grossly overpaid and the core around him was talented. Thus management decided to go forward without him. Now Toronto is not getting a great player, but they are acquiring talent. Toronto does not attract free agents, and thus they have to build through the draft and trades. But what other players are lurking around the league that are constantly on the trade block due to their contract? And what teams are possible destinations? Read more…

Categories: Essays

Essay: An Insight Into The Celtics Offense

January 4, 2013 Leave a comment

“Defense wins championships” is the old adage that everyone knows by heart, but a little offense never hurt anyone. The ultimate example of this has been the Boston Celtics, a team that regularly has an elite defense and a terrible offense. In fact, since the Kevin Garnett era started in 2008, the Celtics offensive ratings have ranked like this: 10th, 6th, 15th, 18th, 27th, and, currently, 24th.

An obvious decline has occurred in every season after 2008-09, and many interesting theories have risen to explain the cause. One theory that seems to be growing in popularity is the idea that the emergence of Rajon Rondo has led to the collapse of the Celtics offense. While this sounds reasonable, it seems to be a case of “correlation does not equal causation” in my eyes. Rondo has not exactly helped due to his lack of scoring ability, but the Celtics offensive problems stem from much larger issues. Read more…

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Essay: The Hubris Of David Stern

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

“A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.”
— Aristotle

Every man has a dream. Not every man shares the same fate. Some men are blessed to achieve and prosper, but some are doomed to fail, despite their best efforts or good intentions. While it is impossible for an outsider like me to truly understand what drives David Stern, his actions speak for themselves.

When I look at David Stern, I see a man who once told Bill Russell’s dying wife about the plan to rename the NBA Finals MVP trophy after Russell — which let her know before Russell did. I see a man who moved a team from the nation’s 14th-largest market to the 45th-largest, and led the NBA to intervene against a 2008 legal attempt by Howard Schultz to keep the team in Seattle.

Stern’s entire career has been a wave of questionable events and conspiracy theories, which have covered what good things he actually did. He’s forced outsiders to feel different emotions. For me, it’s pity. Pity that this man will probably never get his due credit for the amazing turnaround and stewardship of the NBA. David Stern is a hero. But he will not be remembered as one. Read more…

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Essay: The Curious Case Of Kevin Durant

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment

NBA players can never do enough. If one is an excellent shooter, people wonder why he cannot be an excellent defender. If another is a great rebounder, he gets criticized for not being a good passer. Sometimes this badgering is warranted, especially if a player is simply sitting on great gifts that can be realized through some hard work. But sometimes people go too far. When they see someone doing everything great (see: LeBron James), they push their own star to do the same. But not everyone is fit to be in certain roles.

Kevin Durant faced off against James in the NBA Finals last year, and people claimed that their rivalry would become the new “Magic and Bird.” Obviously some of the fallout from the loss was that Durant did not have as diverse of a skill-set like James. He heard the criticism, and took measures to attempt to increase his role and ability as a playmaker. The results, however, have not been as world class as he may have wanted. Read more…

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Essay: The Value Of An Assist

November 23, 2012 1 comment

 

The assist. A stat that people usually correlate with good passing and playmaking, its true value seems to have blurred over the years. Due to the nature of scorekeeping and the simplicity of the stat itself, assists are one of the most subjective basic metrics we have. Is a high-assist player a good offensive option? Are all assists worth the same?

Rajon Rondo, the current NBA leader in assists per game (13.3), seems to be a perfect example of how the value of assists seems to have changed. Read more…

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Essay: Grading The 2009 Draft Class Extensions

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Seven players from the NBA Draft class of 2009 signed extensions this week. Some were surprising, others not so much. Let’s take a look.

Los Angeles Clippers sign Blake Griffin (No. 1 pick) to five-year, $80 million extension

The best player of the ’09 class receives as much money as the rules allow. Seems fair. This was a great move for the Clippers, who locked up a young franchise player capable of bringing in fans and endorsements. Blake is the sole All-Star/All-NBA player from the 2009 class up until now, and he’s clearly shown he can dominate. He still has a long way to go before truly becoming one of the elite—his defense and lack of offensive creativity are problematic—but all signs point up for his development.

Grade: A Read more…

Essay: What Does The Future Hold For Ty Lawson?

October 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Ty Lawson broke his own big news. Yesterday, the Denver Nuggets and their starting point guard agreed upon a four-year, $48 million deal. With the team going forward with what looks like a roster headed by Lawson, what will happen from now on? And has Lawson even reached his ceiling yet? All very interesting questions. Read more…

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Essay: With Harden Out, Who Takes 6th Man Of The Year?

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Ah, the Sixth Man of the Year award. Obviously not as special as Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year, but still, fans seem to have a special affinity with it—the endearing concept of this “spark plug” who comes off the bench and tries to be as electric as possible while the starters sit.

Last year, new Rockets guard James Harden won the award, coming off the bench for 60 out of 62 games, and averaging around 17 points per game. With Harden out of Oklahoma City, it’s fair to say he’ll probably be starting, and many NBA analysts will have to change their pick for a potential winner. The crop of possibilities contain a few previous winners. No winner has repeated since Detlef Schrempf in the 1991-92 season, but it’s hard to pick otherwise, due to the production of some of these previous winners and their roles on their teams. Read more…

Essay: What Are The Brooklyn Nets?

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: This article is Jun Pang’s first for Shaky Ankles. 

This summer held the most exciting NBA offseason since 2010, and one of the biggest changes took place in Brooklyn, where the Nets arrived with a completely revamped roster. Gone is 73% of the 22-44 2011-12 New Jersey Nets, with only Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries remaining. New additions include Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche.

The Nets have a lot of new strengths and weaknesses, and coach Avery Johnson seems like he’ll finally have some talent that can work the system he wants to install. The Nets are as enigmatic as any team in the league, with a ceiling that could reach the Eastern Conference Finals and a basement that ends with a first-round exit. They should definitely be on your “teams to watch” list next year. Read more…

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