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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…

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Essay: Wants and Needs in the Drive for the 2013 NBA Title

February 1, 2013 3 comments

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“Things belong to people who want them most.” – Dashiell Hammet, An Unfinished Woman

Oftentimes we–the few who attempt to extrapolate nuances of meaning from what is, at its root, a game–spend oodles of time trying to figure out what teams do which things right, and use that somewhat esoteric bit of quantitative information to show how it’s the driving force behind one team’s success and another team’s failure. But increasingly in this day and age of shot charts and synergy cameras, we forget to step back and look at the big picture: namely, who has the drive or the will to want it more, or perhaps more aptly: who needs to win the 2013 NBA title the most?  Read more…

Essay: Trolling Lakers Fans

January 9, 2013 3 comments

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Thank you, Lakers fans. Read more…

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 Unique Selfishness Of Shane Battier

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

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Shane Battier is the last player anyone would ever call selfish. He’s been doing whatever he can to get his team a win—regardless of how that’s compromised his stats—for his entire career. But there is one component of Battier’s game which is self-serving. Thankfully for Battier acolytes like myself, it doesn’t ever adversely affect his team, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s a peccadillo distinctive to Battier and few others, and because it flies in the face of everything Battier believes in.

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: Tim Duncan Will Never Go Away

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Tim Duncan is 36 years old, arguably the Western Conference’s best power forward/center, and playing like we should reasonably expect him to be a productive NBA player in 2017.

Will he ever slow down? Read more…

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Essay: Are The Pistons Getting Better?

December 7, 2012 3 comments

The Detroit Pistons failed to win one of their first eight games this season. They were an atrociously bad basketball team, with a 21-year-old point guard showing little to no improvement, and Rodney Stuckey shooting so poorly that a D-League relegation would’ve felt generous.

For that ninth game, Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank mercifully replaced Stuckey in the starting lineup with former Duke standout Kyle Singler. The reasoning was A) Singler’s increased length on the perimeter could help on the defensive end, B) his superior shooting ability would loosen Brandon Knight’s collar and open up the offense, and C) nobody could possibly be worse.

The Pistons have not been the San Antonio Spurs since making the change, but they aren’t an embarrassing laughing stock either. They won their first game (in Philadelphia) after making the switch, and are 6-6 since. Not bad.

Even better? They’re beginning to fill a few glaring holes on the defensive end, and all the pre-draft questions surrounding their first round draft pick/franchise savior Andre Drummond appear to be answered: He’s really, really good.

It’s been five long years since the Detroit Pistons were a relevant basketball team. If the first month of this season is anything to build on, their future finally looks good, and for this year the playoffs might not be out of the question. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Essay: Chris Paul Going Two-For-One

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Chris Paul’s basketball acumen has been routinely praised around the league throughout his career. Since coming into the NBA from Wake Forest, there are few points guards that could challenge Paul in maturity and basic basketball intelligence. He’s considered the top point guard in the game today, but it’s not because of gaudy scoring and passing statistics, or a killer crossover—though he’s got one of those too—it’s because of his leadership abilities and willingness to do anything in order to get the win. Even shirk scoring opportunities for most of three and a half quarters before lighting up his man in the fourth.

Perhaps the best example of Paul’s ability to read the game, and adapt accordingly, comes during the last 40-30 seconds of a quarter. It’s here where Paul figures out the best odds and then goes out and follows through. He did it again earlier this week in Los Angeles’ win over Utah. 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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