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2012 Playoffs: Western Conference First Round Matchups

In General NBA on April 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

The four ties

  • (1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) Utah Jazz
  • (2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (7) Dallas Mavericks
  • (3) Los Angeles Lakers vs (6) Denver Nuggets
  • (4) Memphis Grizzlies  vs (5) Los Angeles Clippers


San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz

I like Utah in this series a bit more than most seem to. I don’t think they will win but I do think they can give the Spurs a good time of it and win a game or two.

I like their strength up front with Al Jefferson and Millsap with Kanter and Favors off the bench + their size, quickness and talent in the backcourt with Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. Younger legs. I think the combination of those players can cause San Antonio some problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Power Rankings

In General NBA on April 27, 2012 at 2:56 am

Late Season Rankings for 2011/12

Okay, so here we are at the end of this rushed regular season and getting ready for the playoffs. I thought it was time for a quick run down (or update) of where each stands in their respective conference.

A reminder over the old rules — firstly, rankings are done infrequently so recent results carry minimal weight while long term ability takes prime importance. Secondly, these rankings do not take into account injuries. They judge teams as they would be if their roster was fully intact (ie with injured star player on the court).

Eastern Conference

#1 — Miami Heat

The team to beat

#2 — Chicago Bulls

Large concerns over the health of superstar Derrick Rose and backcourt mate Rip Hamilton heading into the playoffs. Add in a banged up Luol Deng and the Bulls problems in matching up against the Heat and it is not a comfortable picture for Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

Ibaka’s Shot-Blocking Numbers

In General NBA on April 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I wanted to take a moment to highlight Serge Ibaka’s shot blocking stats

Per game stats

  • 3.44 blocks per game in only 27.3mpg
  • 2nd place belongs to J.McGee who blocks 2.33 shots a night, Dwight and D.Jordan tied 3rd with 2.13 and A.Bynum 5th with 2.02. They are the only players to average more than two blocks a game
  • Ibaka averages almost 50% more blocks (3.44) than the second place McGee (2.33)

In more historical terms

  • The only players to average that many blocks (3.4bpg) in under 30mpg were Manute Bol (three times), Shawn Bradley and Mark Eaton. 7 foot 7, 7 foot 6 and 7 foot 4 respectively. Giants. Read the rest of this entry »

2012 Luxury Tax Payers

In General NBA on March 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Via ESPN’s Weekend Daily Dime

In this first season of the new labor agreement in which teams are still only being charged $1 for every $1 over the tax line they sit, we’re already down to six teams on course to wind up as tax teams. And only one of those six teams — Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers — is looking at a tax bill that strays beyond the $10 million mark. Read the rest of this entry »

2012 Award Watch

In General NBA on March 28, 2012 at 12:21 am

As we close into the final month of the regular season, these are my current frontrunners for the following awards


  1. LeBron James
  2. Dwight Howard
  3. Kevin Durant

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Dwight Howard

Most Improved Player of the Year

  • Jeremy Lin

Sixth Man of the Year

  • James Harden

All-NBA Teams

First Team

  • G – Russell Westbrook
  • G – Kobe Bryant
  • F – Kevin Durant
  • F – LeBron James
  • C – Dwight Howard

Second Team

  • G – Chris Paul
  • G – Tony Parker
  • F – Kevin Love
  • F – Pau Gasol
  • C – Marc Gasol

Third Team

  • G – Derrick Rose
  • G – Dwyane Wade
  • F – Andre Iguodala
  • F – Kevin Garnett
  • C – Andrew Bynum

All-Defensive Teams

First Team

  • G – Tony Allen
  • G – Andre Iguodala
  • F – LeBron James
  • F – Anderson Varejao
  • C – Dwight Howard

Second Team

  • G – Rajon Rondo
  • G – Dwyane Wade
  • F – Luol Deng
  • F – Kevin Garnett
  • C – Tyson Chandler

Coach of the Year

  • Gregg Popovich

Note On Memphis

In General NBA on March 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Throughout the first of this season, I have been a little put-off by Memphis’ bench after losing Shane Batter (FA), Darrel Arthur (injury) and Greivis Vasquez (trade) and without properly replacing them.

I rated Battier as one of the best backup SFs in the league, Arthur as a top backup PF and Vasquez as a well above average (top ten) backup PG. In their stead, they brought in Jeremy Pargo (slightly below average backup PG), Quincy Pondexter (below average backup SF), Marresse Speights (below average backup PF) and gave more minutes to OJ Mayo (above average backup SG). Overall, a much weaker second unit.

So while I was a big admirer of the upgrade they’d be receiving in a healthy Rudy Gay, I was concerned that they had lost too much talent on the bench to make it a major upgrade. If they had of kept the bench, I would have considered Memphis a top two team in the West and a legitimate title contender. Without those bench players, I considered Memphis a very good team with an outside shot at a title (in part due to how weak the West is at the top of the conference outside of OKC).

However, I think I may have been too harsh in that assessment.

Playoff Minutes

LA Lakers

A few days ago, I was thinking about how many minutes the Lakers would be giving to Kobe, Pau and Bynum in the playoffs (110-115 minutes) and how many minutes they’d be forced to give to their supporting cast (4 through 12, easily the worst of any playoff team in the league).

So even while their core is still exceptionally strong, there is a large amount of court time (a bit over 50%) to be filled by players who will give the opposition a good chance of creating an advantage against them.

Memphis Grizzlies

Which in turn led me to think about Memphis’ playoff rotation and how many minutes their starters were able to play and how much that would minimize the loss of their bench pieces.

Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are all capable of playing 36-40 minutes a night in the playoffs. That is 150-160 minutes right off the bat. Then there is Tony Allen who can give them another highly productive 30+ minutes a night leaving 50-60 minutes for the bench players to split.

The Grizzlies can get a good 20 minutes out of OJ Mayo leaving 30-40 minutes for the rest of the bench pieces. Jeremy Pargo for 10-12 minutes a night. Quincy Pondexter or Sam Young for situational minutes on the wing when they need more size. Marreese Speights for 20 minutes a night as the chief backup big man with Hamed Haddadi getting situational minutes.

And really, that doesn’t sound too bad at all to me.

Their top five/six players can shoulder enough minutes to help hide that weakened bench.


Which in turn leaves me to believe I have been too hard on the Grizzlies and should rank them higher on my power rankings.

I am still  debating where exactly to rank them but I am leaning towards a second or third place slot.

Brandon Knight’s Infectous Personality

In General NBA on February 20, 2012 at 5:55 am

Interesting article in the Detroit News about Brandon Knight’s personality’s positive influence in the Pistons locker room and on Rodney Stuckey in particular.

Knight seems to have lit something inside Stuckey — in a positive way. He readily admits Knight has had an effect on him.

“It’s a different atmosphere than in the past couple years, everything’s positive, everyone’s just trying to get better,” Stuckey said after Saturday’s practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Power Rankings

In General NBA on February 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Early Season Rankings for 2011/12

Nearing the halfway point in the 2012 regular season. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to get around to doing any power rankings until now. So we’ll have two editions this season. One now and one just before the playoffs.

A reminder over the old rules — firstly, rankings are done infrequently so recent results carry minimal weight while long term ability takes prime importance. Secondly, these rankings do not take into account injuries. They judge teams as they would be if their roster was fully intact (ie with injured star player on the court).

Eastern Conference

#1 — Miami Heat Read the rest of this entry »

Some Details on Sloan-Deron Debacle

In General NBA on February 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Good article by Gordon Monson in the Salt Lake Tribune with Karl Malone providing commentary on Malone’s understanding of what went down just prior to Jerry Sloan’s decision to resign.

Here are the interesting details

Trouble had been stirring between Williams and Sloan for months. Sloan admitted that the two “got into it.” Malone said the Jazz had empowered the point guard to go directly to O’Connor when he disagreed with Sloan and that was, as Karl called it, “the perfect storm.”

“I know for a fact that [Sloan] was overridden on practices sometime on the road because Deron was calling our G.M. at that time,” Malone said. “ … You give a guy that much power, and he’s the kind of player you think he played hard all the time, but if he wanted to sulk he could sulk. … I never went to Larry [Miller] to talk about Coach Sloan. … It’s not one time, in my gut and heart, that I would go over his head.”

In that fateful game against Chicago at ESA, Williams busted out of a number of plays called by Sloan — something Malone said he and John Stockton would never do — and the coach was infuriated. He wanted Williams disciplined and believed management, including O’Connor, didn’t sufficiently back him. So he quit. A half-hour meeting with Jazz brass after the game left Sloan unsatisfied.

It’s a sequence that has never been publicly detailed by any of the handful of people in the meeting. But it has been confirmed this week by a confidant of someone in the meeting who was told what occurred. Read the rest of this entry »

2009 Rookie Class’ Contract Extensions

In General NBA on February 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Here is a quick recap of the contracts signed


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