Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Bargnani Plays Defense

November 14, 2013

Click to see greatness


What’s Wrong with the Lakers?

December 10, 2012


You really want to know, all you gotta do is look at last year’s New York Knicks.

Who also had D’Antoni.  And also sucked despite having all-stars until they found a PG (Lin) who could orchestrate the D’Antoni offense.

D’Antoni’s offense needs 3 things to gel and they all start with the letter P

  1. Pick and Roll
  2. Penetration
  3. Point Guard that can do these 2 things

His offense’s bread and butter (which isn’t run and gun no matter how many people say it is) revolves around using the pick and roll to catch the defense sleeping.  This is usually done in a half court set.  The 3 non-pnr players position themselves beyond the arc to create space for the pnr and exploit weaknesses in the D.  They’re also supposed to hit the open jumper if the ball is kicked out.  The rest of his offense is transition-based (IE having the 1, 2 and 3 race down the court to act as a threat only to hit the trailing big who slipped through while the defense was looking at the wrong person).  Except for Dwight, the Lakers are not gonna be running so it’s pretty evident they’re gonna rely strongly on the half court pick and roll set.

Well right now, none of the Lakers PG’s (Morris, Duhon) can penetrate especially well or make good decisions off the pnr while keeping track of their teammates.  When Blake comes back, he can’t do it either.  They’re all initiator point guards who pick up their dribble at the 3 line or guys that try to create but end up overdribbling or overpenetrating and screwing it all up.

Which is the same as last year’s Knicks.  They had Toney Douglas and Bibby (couldn’t penetrate or exploit the pnr) and Shumpert (could penetrate somewhat but couldn’t playmake well).  They were pretty much screwed until Lin proved he could play the pnr to perfection.

Until then you had guys like Melo and Shump playing out of position.  You had a rollman (Amare) who never rolled.  You also had a team that couldn’t win because they were broken.

Lakers are gonna look like trash until Nash comes back.  Until then if they do win it’ll be because of sheer talent rather than a cohesive system.  And if Nash reinjures himself, it’ll all fall apart.

Which is why Phil Jackson would’ve been a way better fit for this team than D’Antoni.


Some Jeremy Lin Predictions

July 16, 2012
Nothing groundbreaking but here we go…
  1. Knicks won’t match the Rockets poison pill offer sheet and Lin will go to Houston.  Dolan excels at mismanagement so it makes total sense for him to transform into Don Sterling when it comes to the only player on his team besides Shumpert that has a ton of upside.
  2. Lin will get phenomenally better this year.  He’s been spending his summer  in the yay area working on cutting down his turnovers which are usually caused by over-dribbling and telegraphing passes.  On the Warriors, the guy couldn’t shoot, couldn’t finish with an open lane, and couldn’t play under pressure.  He reinvented his shot in the offseason and on the Knicks, he was able to hit his shots to draw out defenders, turn dribble penetration + And 1 into his bread and butter, and do things like hit that Calderon dagger with the whole arena standing up and making noise.  I have no doubt he’ll do something similar with his A/TO ratio.
  3. Knicks will continue to be a dysfunctional mess and regress.  They’re a bunch of players slapped together that need different systems to shine but since Melo is the face of the franchise, once he gets bored, it all reverts back to Melo’s elbow ISO game.  A Felton/STAT pick and roll game will surface briefly then fizzle out.  Felton will eventually become nothing but an initiator pg.  On the other end, since 2 of their defensive specialists (Jeffries and Landry) were shipped out and the 3rd, Schumpert, is on the injured list, Tyson Chandler will be playing defense all by himself and the Knicks will be worse off defensively.  Everyone else joined the roster because Bibby needs some old people  on the bench to kick it with.
  4. Lin will be better off on the Rockets.  Yeah, the Rockets lineup is a bunch of scrubs but so was the Knicks bench that he led on that win streak.  He will make them better and not having to defer or run failed pick and rolls where Melo is crowding the rollman because he wants to post-up from his favorite spots should help.  And since Melo and JR have both thrown Lin under the bus (for being offered a CBA provision the Players Union fought to keep… isn’t that ironic), the locker room is fucked now anyway.
  5. On the Rockets, Toney Douglas will play the 2, regain his confidence/shot, and make an awesome comeback, giving Knicks fans another reason to hate Dolan.  Alright this I’m not sure about but I like Douglas and it would make for a great story.

As for all the talk about whether or not Lin is worth $15 million in his third year, of course he isn’t.  It’s a poison pill deal, where overpaying in the third year is used by a team with cap space to poach a player from a team with zero cap space.  Overpaying for the player is what makes the deal work.

Why I Want Lebron to Win a Ring

June 12, 2012

And neither will Derrick Rose, thanks to Thibodeau riding his ass

First of all, Lebron was a retard for doing The Decision.  Making everyone watch TV for an hour just to find out where he’s gonna go = him being full of himself.

But that’s forgiveable.

Far as people thinking he should’ve stayed in Cleveland, that whole team was a bunch of scrubs being carried by Lebron.  He made Mo Williams into an allstar.  Now he’s nothing but a backup PG.  He made Varejao look like a 6th man of the year.  Now Varejao looks like the Lopez twin’s marginally talented younger brother.  Or Justin Guarini with a basketball.

Jordan had Pippen and Phil Jackson coaching the triangle by his 5th year.  By his 7th, Lebron still had a bunch of scrubs along with Mike Brown as head cheerleader.

A lot of the Decision backlash was catalyzed by Dan Gilbert throwing a tantrum.  By now, since it’s 2012, it’s pretty evident Gilbert is an asshole and a shitty businessman.  He complains about small market teams not getting their fair shake and gets Stern to block the Chris Paul trade.  Then he goes out and trades for Luke Walton.  Meanwhile, small market team OKC is in the Finals.  Basically what I’m trying to say is Gilbert isn’t good at anything except throwing tantrums.

So here’s why I want Lebron to win.  Everybody hates him.  Which makes him like every other champ.  Why?

In the NBA, every champ has had to go through hard times.  Those hard times create character.

  • When Kobe came into the league, he sucked.  I remember seeing games at the Forum, where he’d come out, showboat his handles, and brick or lose the ball, making everybody smack their head.  He said, fuck you guys, kept at it and now he’s one of the best.
  • Dwayne Wade spent the early part of his career in the shadow of Carmelo and Lebron.  He also spent it under Pat Riley, who’s an asshole.  He’s also been plagued with injuries (I remember him carrying his team on his back in the playoffs during Spoelstra’s first year when his back was so fucked up he needed help just to get off the bench).  No complaining, just working hard, the guy is a motherfuckin champ.  Which is why he has a ring and Lebron  and Carmelo don’t.
  • Jeremy Lin is one of the best stories in sports 2012.  No D1 scholarship despite leading his high school team to a state title, undrafted despite breaking Ivy League records, getting stuck playing for Keith Smart who hated rookies and loved iso ball, getting labeled as a marketing tool with no game, getting tossed repeatedly into d league, getting waived at the expense of scrubs.  The guy’s life has been tough times since 06.  Which is why everyone loves his story, the guy’s an underdog who said, fuck all you haters, I’m still gonna get mines.

Up until 2 years ago, Lebron’s career had been coasting.  The guy was talented, destined to be one of the greats and was riding high.  The dude would be doing his stupid baby powder thing and dancing around the court.   The guy wore a dookie and shiny gold hammer pants during the ESPY’s while dancing to Bobby Brown and afterwards, people still called him King instead of faggot.  That says a lot.   There were no hard times for the Cavs Lebron.  But then he realized he didn’t want to be a Reggie Miller or a Barkley and retire without a ring.  So he got proactive and did what he thought he needed to do and jumped shipped to Miami.  And everyone hated him for it.  From then the pressure was on him to deliver and he wasn’t used to it so he would choke.  And everyone laughed at his ass.

You guys are his hard times since he no longer has any fans to play for, which is a good thing because the guy’s FINALLY saying, fuck you guys, and playing for himself and not you.  Which is why he exerted his will on the Celtics and was the deciding factor Games 6 or 7.  The guy finally has a champ mentality and is remembering why he moved to Miami in the first place.

I don’t know if Miami will win against OKC.  I’m a Laker fan so I kinda don’t care all that much.  As a Laker fan, it would also kinda make me happy to see Fisher get a 6th ring.  But I wouldn’t be mad if Lebron won.  IMO the guy deserves it more than anyone on the Thunder.

The Knicks’ Problem

March 13, 2012

Stephen A Smith was going apeshit yesterday trashing the Knicks and Lin in particular, pretty much saying that Lin is a scrub and the Knicks should run the offense through Melo.

Why he’s wrong:

– The Knicks already ran the offense through Melo when Lin was warming the bench and it led them to an 8-15 record.  Why the hell would you do it again?

– The Knicks problem now isn’t offense, it’s defense.  And I say this as a Laker fan, whose team has stellar defense and an offense that’s only elevated above horrible because we have guys that can take over games.

NY Fans are blaming the Knicks losing streak on a chemistry problem between Lin and the stars.  The only thing Lin affects is the offense since he’s the primary ballhandler in a pick and roll read offense.  Yet he’s still turning out around 9-10 assists a night and Melo and Stat are getting 20+ points a night with good looks.  The Knicks have no problem breaking 100 points a game.  Offense is not the problem.

The problem is the other team is scoring 110 points a game because the Knicks defense, primarily in the interior, is non-existent.

During the Linsanity streak – Knicks gave up 89.5 points a game.  With Melo and STAT back in the starting lineup, they’re now giving up 104.5 points a game.  Meaning they have to score an additional half a quarter worth of points just to win.

With Melo and STAT back in the lineup, here’s what you don’t see any more:

– Jeffries and Lin drawing crucial charges

– Hustle plays for rebounds and loose balls

– Schumpert shutting down go-to guys for entire games.

Here’s what you do see


Why Jeremy Lin is good

February 8, 2012

Couple things first.

I take back half of what I said about Mike D’Antoni needing to be fired.  His defense is better than I thought, as long as his guys are playing smart.  He’s able to use guys like Landry and Jeffries to shut down all stars, as long as they know when to help and when to switch.  His offense is also stellar, granted he has a guard who knows how to run the pick and roll.  Why he waited so long to go to an actual point guard is another question. But now that he has an actual pg, the ball movement is a lot of fun to watch and the floor spacing is great.

Second, I was wrong in my post about Lin not being able to finish or be a scoring threat.  The guy can finish and even if he doesn’t, the fouls he draws makes up for the bricks.  And the guy is not a sharpshooter and his form needs work, but once he gets going, he can hit them.  And if he bricks 3’s, he’s smart enough to look for other shots closer to the basket instead of chucking.

Now, back to the topic – here’s why he’s good.  The guy runs the pick and roll like a genius.

1:01 – Humphries hedges off the screen.  Lin catches the roller (Jefferies) with a bounce pass

1:08 – Lin uses a Chandler screen to beat Farmar with a floater

1:30 – Chandler screen, Sheldon Williams hedges, Lin catches the roller with an alley oop

2:21 – Deron Williams thinks Lin is gonna try to lose him on the pick and gets ready to fight through the pick. Instead Lin drives away from the pick and blows right past him

3:06 – STAT pick, Lin notices D-Will is going under the screen.  So he has STAT set up a second pick.  When D-Will goes under the pick again, Lin punishes him by shooting a jumper

3:50 – Lin does the same thing to Farmar.  Farmar goes under the screen (even though he’s like 10 feet in front of Lin), so Lin uses the space to get inside the key and shoot a jumper

4:55 – Chandler pick, big man hedges, Lin splits the hedge and gets to the hole.

5:50 – Another head fake on Deron, driving away from the screen to the hole

0:51 – This is funny.  Lin brings the ball down while reading the defense.  Lin notices the weak D on the strong side, changes speed to make the strong side D hesitate.  Once they hesitate, Lin drives to the basket.  Defense collapses, including Kanter who abandons Chandler.  Lin lobs it to Chandler.

1:14 – Chandler pick, Kanter hedges off the screen, Lin lobs it to Chandler again

1:36 – This one is funny too.  Jefferies pick, Kanter hedges, Lin uses Kanter to block off Devin Harris and actually makes Harris run into him (lol).  Kanter is slow and fouls him.  And the best part, even if Kanter had played good D and Lin had no shot, the roller (Jefferies) is still wide open

2:24 – Again Lin drives away from the screen, and scores.

3:17 – Jefferies screen, Jefferson hedges, Lin finds the roller again.  So much good stuff happens every time the defense stops guarding the roller.

3:29 – Jefferies screen, Jefferson hedges, Lin splits the hedge, fuckin draws everybody into the paint, and kicks it out to Novak

4:25 – Jefferies pick, Jefferson hedges again, Lin splits the hedge again because I think by now he realizes Jefferson is slow as fuck.  Millsap is almost in position to guard the paint.  Instead he watches and is like, oh he’s not gonna make it through…. oh wait he did WOW!  By then it’s too late

5:42 – At this point of the game, the Jazz thought he couldn’t go left and tried to block off his right.  Kanter hedges and stops him but then remembers those Chandler lobs and goes back to D up Chandler.  Lin changes speeds but sees Kanter running away, leaving an open lane, so Lin drives left past Earl Watson to the hole

6:00 – Chandler pick.  Harris and Jefferson switch.  Lin attacks Jefferson and gets a sick finish.  I think by this time he realizes he can blow by Jefferson every time.  So he does

In general, I think it’s safe to say that Lin will make the right play once he initiates the pick and roll.  He’ll drive if he beats his defender.  If the screener defender hedges, he can pass the rock to the roll man using a myriad of bounce passes, lobs, and alley oops.  If he knows he has an advantage over the screener defender, he’ll attack him and draw the foul.  If his defender goes under the screen, he’ll pull up for a jumper.  If the defender goes over the screen and is too slow, he’ll beat him on the drive.  And he can keep the defense guessing with hesitation moves, quick drives to his right away from the screen, quick kick outs to the open man, and the ability to capitalize dynamically on defensive mistakes.

So how do you stop Lin?

  1. Get a quick defender who can stay in front of him and anticipate the screen better so he can go over it
  2. Get a defender who can play close physical defense on him to try and force him to lose his handle.
  3. Trap him before he can get in position to initiate a pick and roll and force a turnover or pass.
  4. Make him use his left hand on the dribble and on his layups.  Most of his missed layups come from either his weaker hand or overcompensating for the weak hand by using the right hand at a bad angle

Far as Mike Brown needing to be fired though, I’m not taking that back.  The guy is clueless.

And now, a Short Break

February 5, 2012

from my usual complaining to commemorate Jeremy Lin’s breakout game

Credit goes to Knicks fans at RealGM for most of these pics

Why Brown and D’Antoni got to go

January 30, 2012

I’ve been watching two teams this year.  The Lakers and the Knicks.  The Lakers because they’re my team.  The Knicks because Jia wants to know if Jeremy Lin is gonna have a breakout season or fade into obscurity.



How they’re similar:

1. Their point guard situations suck.

The Lakers have Fisher and Blake as their starting and backup.  Morris is their 3rd string with no experience.  Blake is a good backup but is injured. For most of his career, Fisher has run the triangle.   Which means last year, Fisher’s basic MO was bring the ball down, pass to Artest in the wing and run to the corner.   He never had to attack or be a playmaker.  This year he’s no longer running the triangle, is too slow to penetrate, and isn’t in the habit of reading the offense to make plays.

Typical Lakers offense:

– Fisher brings ball down, stops at the 3 line.

– Backcourt starts playing hot potato

– A 3 gets lobbed up, or ball goes to one of the big men in the post.  Big man goes iso or forces the shot

– Eventually Kobe gets tired of watching and decides to take over.

The Knicks have Davis, Douglas, Bibby, Shumpert, and Lin.  Baron Davis is an awesome point guard but he’s injured and everytime Knicks fans think he’s finally gonna play, well he’s not.  Douglas is a shooting guard being asked to play the point but he doesn’t know the first thing about finding the open man.  Shumpert is a rookie who can get in the paint and shows flashes of pg ability, but his strength is playing the 2.  Bibby is a once decent point guard at the tail end of his career  And Lin has true pg and playmaker skills but can’t finish at the rim and isn’t a scoring threat.

Typical Knicks Offense:

– Douglas brings the ball down, stops at the 3 line.

– Then he either lobs a brick, or tosses it to someone else at the 3 line who lobs a brick

– Or the backcourt plays hot potato until the ball gets to STAT or Carmelo, who already has a defender on them and goes for the jumper.

– This goes on for the whole game because unfortunately, the Knicks don’t have someone like Kobe to say fuck this and take over.

2. Their coaches suck at offense and are blind to how much they suck at it.

Though in the case of the Knicks, I think D’Antoni sucks at everything – his switching switching switching defense looks like some broken high school zone D.

We only scored 40 points last game so we need to work on our defense

Mike Brown has improved the Lakers defense.  Unfortunately, the Lakers can no longer score under him and Kobe scoring 40+ a night is a throwback to the Tomjanovich days.  When the Lakers have had 3 games in a row scoring in the 70’s and 80’s and Mike Brown is saying during the post game the reason they’re losing is because they didn’t pay good enough D, there’s a problem.  When it takes 15 seconds for the offense to get set up, after which 3 Lakers are occupying the same 5 foot radius and have zero spacing, I don’t know what the fuck kind of offense is being run.  When Pau somehow ends up in the corner in successive games and starts tossing up 3’s, one has to wonder how he got there.

“Shoot more 3’s muthafuckas!!!”

D’Antoni is the SSOL guy – the Suns were the Oakland A’s of the NBA, using a sabretmetric-esque run and gun to rack up wins before all the other teams figured them out.  And now they have so D’Antoni’s 15 minutes are up and the guy has no clue what to do.  He also doesn’t have a PG as good as Nash so his current system seems to rely on jacking up 3’s.  No penetration, open looks, etc.  Personally I don’t consider that a system.

3. They both have big men that can dominate, but only if they’re given the ball and play inside.  But they’re not/don’t.

Lakers have Pau and Bynum.  Bynum plays his ass off.  Knicks have STAT and Chandler.  Chandler plays his ass off.  STAT is the biggest guy on the court and settles for jumpers.  Pau is a 7 footer camping the 3 line.

The minute the Lakers big men get hot, their backcourt stops passing to them.  And the Knicks would rather lob 3’s than figure out a way to get STAT and Chandler open looks.

Watching both these teams is a travesty… the Lakers because they’re nowhere as good as they were last year.  The Knicks because they’re shitty as always.

What do they need to do?

1. Lakers:  bring back the triangle.  You don’t have anyone that can slash reliably or has excellent court vision.  Yet you have one of the only teams that knows an offensive system that hides your weaknesses and has worked year after year to get you a championship.   Also, fire Mike Brown.

2. Knicks:  play Lin at pg.  Put him alongside STAT, Carmelo, and your other scoring threats that can finish at the rim.  Expect Lin to play the pick and roll, find the open man and be a poor man’s Rondo.  Until Baron comes back, Lin is the only guy who’s game hedges on passing first and Douglas/Bibby aren’t doing shit except making sure you guys die by the 3.  Also, fire D’Antoni.

Go Knicks!

Why Jeremy Lin’s Stock is Going Down

January 4, 2012

Please go in, please go in

Jeremy Lin, AKA the only Asian American in the NBA, has very little time left to prove himself.  After being the 15th man on the Warriors and Rockets, Lin is now sitting on the Knicks bench where he gets between 1-3 minutes of garbage time in the 4th.  Lin’s reputation is still unproven.

What he should’ve done during garbage time is showed off his strengths.  His strengths are his ability to penetrate, find the open man, play the pick and roll, and play above average defense.  Lin is on a team where the two active point guards, TD and Bibby, can’t penetrate or make plays.  Typical Knicks offense has TD or Bibby bringing the ball down to the 3 line, where it gets passed 2-3 times around the wing until it lands in the hands of Carmelo or STAT, who then tries to score, typically with a jumper.  Either that, or TD tries to play shooting guard at the 3 line.  No plays, no penetration, no pick and roll, the things Lin is actually good at and a pure PG should be able to do.

What Lin should’ve done is penetrated on his garbage time possessions, collapsing defenders, and then dishing the ball out to an open man.  Eventually that lightbulb in D’Antoni’s head would have turned on and he would’ve realized Lin would be perfect for finding an open Carmelo or STAT, as opposed to what’s going on now, where they shoot in isolation or force the shot in traffic.  Lin could be effective on the Knicks as a poor man’s Rondo – not a scoring threat but able to consistently make plays.

Instead Lin’s been showing off his weaknesses instead – his bad jumper and inability to finish in traffic.  And in the case of the Kings game, his willingness to drive on the busy side of his defender and forced scoring led to turnovers and a -4 plus/minus rating in a game where almost everyone else on his team was positive.  So to the average NBA fan, it looks like he sucks.

His stock is going down and it’s a shame.  He’s got only a few more games until Shumpert re-enters the lineup and makes him irrelevant.  Once Baron Davis comes back, Lin becomes another Scalabrine or Adam Morrison, hired to help out during practice scrimmages only.  And if the Knicks try to acquire Kenyon Martin in February, Lin will get cut.  And if he gets cut, his career for this year is pretty much done.

Good luck man.  I’m hoping he’ll have a breakout game but chances are looking slim right now.

Toast to the only Asian American baller with name recognition, and the  dreams that live and die with him.