Friday, June 27, 2008

Draft Deals and Steals!


So, last night there were big deals in the draft. Bayless goes to Portland, Mayo goes to Memphis, traded for Love, who will head to Minnesota (just to name a few).

Outside of deals, there were some surprises; at least for Knicks fans. With the sixth pick they took Danilo Gallinari, a guy with potential from Italy. I'm not saying this guy is going to be bad, but he's not going to step in and be great. But here's the thing, when Donnie Walsh came to take the reigns in NY, he said this is going to take a couple of years (at least) to get this team rolling again. Most people think the guy can do things in 2-3 years. What's so bad about that? I may be from NY, but I moved out soon after I was born; my expectations are human. I am kind of half and half on this pick. I like that they got a guy who can shoot and has a relationship with coach D'Antoni, but I don't like some of what he said here:



Now I know this was before the draft, he wasn't phased by New York boo's, but I do question his confidence a little.

Grizz and Timberwolves deal

Grizz get: draft rights to O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner.
Timberwolves get: draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

I don't really get this deal for the Grizz. Sure Mayo is a great player, but Love filled a big hole for them, their front line. This calls upon a theory that you draft (or trade for) the best available, or for team needs. In this deal, they got the best player available. But the other three, are you kidding me? Jaric is only good at getting the girl, Walker is basically washed up and Buckner may play
some D.

I like the move for the Wolves overall. Love can pair with Al Jefferson, Miller will stretch the floor, Cardinal and Collins I don't really like, but I can deal with. The Wolves are slowly rebuilding, I think they are still 3-4 years away from being playoff ready. Now that they have their front line for the future, they really need better guards. That's something they will have to address in free agency.

The Nets

NJ is being talked about as the team that got what they needed in this draft. Lopez at 10, Yi in a deal for RJ and some other prospects. You know what I take from these moves? The Nets are rebuilding right now, but I sense that they are doing it at a faster pace than most teams. Most teams would think, "Okay, we're going to be in good in five years!" The Nets are thinking, "Alright, give us 2-3 years and we'll be contenders." Seems like a quick, mini rebuild to me. I like the moves and want to see how they do next year. Harris will need to score more and Lopez needs to show Nenad Kristic how to play again!

Portland

Where having a really good GM happens. I am a fan of Kevin Pritchard! He should write a book titled: Wheeling and Dealing the NBA, for Dummies! Bayless, Roy, Outlaw, Oden, Aldridge, the list goes on and on! I really liked this team last year, I think I will love it next year. Also, a lot of people don't know about how good Travis Outlaw is. Give him a couple years and look out! He's versatile and a big time athlete and can help them win a title.

For more on the latest trades and who goes where, I would check RealGM. They will give you all the hard news on trades. For analysis, stick with Truehoop.

Photo by:
Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Catch The Draft Tonight!


After much anticipation, tonight at 7:30 pm Eastern time the draft will commence. I love this draft because their is a lot of things we're not sure on. I have been soaking in all of the great blogs I can!

Well here's what I think. From what I've read, the Heat don't want Beasley. They really want a point guard. I have become an early Mayo fan, but I don't see the logic. They need an inside-outside game, not an outside-outside game. I like a big their, Haslem is nothing compared to Beasley. Blount, please!

Right now there is a pre-game on ESPN. Be back later (especially if something crazy happens)!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More On The Shaq Rap

I got a great comment from Space at Me and Sports on my recent post about Shaq's rap.
Here it is:
Ahh... Alex it was just a freestyle. I assume you understand that freestyles are freestykes and nothing to be taken seriously. Everyone knows that Shaq has never been one of those arrogant players that feels he is above that game, but we do know that Shaq loves to have fun and poke fun of people. That is all it was there isn't a high road to poking fun, just one.

This comment made me think: why is everyone (including me) making a big deal of this? a) Shaq is always out there and this should be expected and b) while some want to talk about the Kobe insults, that will only make him want to win more. This will only propel the hype, the marketing, the desire of the best player in the game right now. I think it's only fair to admit your mistakes, I now agree with Space.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shaq: The Rapper

Shaq decided to party and "diss" Kobe, and other great players. I wish TMZ would let me embed the video, but here is the link. (I found the video and will now put it up!) Shaq had the crowd chanting, "Kobe how my ass taste!" He also went on and on about Kobe not getting a ring without him. Well, sorry to protest Shaq, but if you win a championship without a strong #2 (Kobe, DWade), let me know.



Patrick Ewing and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; why do you need to insult them? I don't care if you have rings and Ewing doesn't and why do you think you're better than Kareem? He won six rings, six MVP's and was on the cover of SI 29 times!

Shaq, I understand you want to have fun and talk trash. Please, talk more high quality waste. Don't bring up old guys that aren't a part of this era of basketball. How about the Denver Nuggets, I'm sure you could find a lot of people to make fun of on that team (bad defense, anyone?).

Thanks for the Youtube video, Basketbawful!
Photo from TMZ's video

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Life of Michael Beasley

As the NBA draft approaches, ESPN is doing great videos on some of the top prospects in the draft. Most people know these guys can play, but these videos are great because it shows you the players character and their work ethic. In this video, they show him working on his basketball skills, shopping at the Adidas store and enjoying his friends company.



Seems like a normal NBA player, right? I thought it was odd to see his desire for the Timberwolves to get a top pick in the draft. To be honest, I don't think he's the top prospect. He seems like a versatile, complete ball player, but I've heard great things about O.J. Mayo's work ethic.

Recently, Timberwolves.com did an interview with Mayo's college coach Tim Floyd.

This really stands out:

Mayo's been quoted on ESPN saying that basketball is his life. Have you been around a player that's as focused on being great?


I have not. A lot of guys talk it, but O.J. acted it out. The day he got here, he started waking our players up at 7 a.m. to go over and lift weights. After they finished he made sure everybody stayed and worked on their individual skills. They'd go to class after that ... In the evenings they'd go over to play against the pros over at UCLA. He had the same type of work ethic throughout our season. He always stayed late; he'd come over in the evenings and work on his shot. The kid truly does love basketball.

If that's not enough, listen to this video about what he's actively working on.


I have lots of respect for Beasley. He is in the wave of the new NBA forward. Mayo is great because he wants to work (haven't heard that about Beasley, if you have, let's hear in the comments). I hope he holds himself to his word and lives up to all the hype about him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The C's Take It!

The Boston Celtics beat the Lakers and win a title in six games. Just looking at KG is so great, he's what this game is all about. The C's were having a party in the last couple of minutes, I'm just seeing this and loving it (of course, I love this game, NBA marketing)!

If you didn't see the game..

After the first half, you didn't really miss much. Boston played great D and LA was really only getting points through Kobe. Rondo had his best game of the series, he forced tons of turnovers that led to Boston points. I really thought Kobe would come out and go crazy on offense, he is kept down by the great D.

Now, looking back on this series, I wanted to see how important the stats I kept were important to determining who won the game. At home, where Boston won three games, the C's were +23 in points in the last two minutes of quarters. They also had the upper hand in each of those individual games. The one game the Celtics won on the road, they were +8 points in the last two minutes of quarters. I don't mean to brag, but it seems like the Celtics take pride in winning my stats!

LA had a great season and they can't be very disappointed. Just disappointed. I want to see them come back next year!

Take a moment to enjoy some of the C's emotions, KG has some funny moments in this press conference:


This is the best video I could find of the Gatorade dump on Doc Rivers. It's low quality, but it's ok.


Nice way to cap a great year for the NBA. Now, we look forward to the draft, Olympics, free agency and trade time!

"The Machine" Lacks Toughness!

Sasha Vujacic (a.k.a. The Machine) thinks it's okay to complain about fouls.

Here's what he said:
"They (Boston) foul a lot. They get away with a lot of fouls," The Machine said in monotone. "When we go back to Boston, we know that they are going do a lot of moving picks like they do, and they're probably going to get away with it. But we got to stay smart, stay focused, and play with poise."

Now, I'm not going to say I disagree with Sasha, but he needs to keep that kind of stuff to himself. If the refs are calling the game a certain way, you have to adjust to the way it's being called. They have really been letting both teams play, it should be the same if not worse in game six.

So, Sasha..

I'm not telling you to forget your emotions. That's the one part of your game that's similar to KG. It can really help you, or hurt you. Just don't cry and play the game. I think the entire Laker team needs to act on the last part of that advice. They were really begging for calls when Boston was making a comeback. That won't work on the road. Oh the game is rigged, whatever you think, if someone commits a playoff foul, then it likely will be called.

Quote from Los Angeles Daily News
Photo from Basketbawful.blogspot.com

Monday, June 16, 2008

LA's Heart Still Beating!

The Lakers beat the Celts 101-98, keeping the series and their championship hopes alive. I thought LA played terrible if you look past the first quarter. They were very inconsistent. Kobe had his mind set on jumpers instead of the rim. I don't know what went through his mind: I'm being guarded, well, maybe I should try to jab step and fake this guy out. Come on, you're one of the most explosive guys in the league. You should be slashing and dashing and dunking on this team.

How does LA play better on the road?

I think they have to do two things: go to the rim consistently and play great D. Two things they didn't do in this game, but hey they were in LA. They can't count on that anymore, they have to focus on maintaining leads and trying hard on both ends. By the way, no Mihm please, Phil.

I made some changes to the ratio I have been keeping and now it's the P.J. Brown, Sam I Am, Posey to Vujacic, Walton, and Farmar ratio. The results of adding points, blocks, dimes, steals, boards was 31:25. Farmar had his best game of the series, Posey was good as he has been in this series.

One stat that should be taken down..
How about dunks? I don't think I saw KB24 dunk the ball besides that dunk from the late game steal. LA didn't have enough contact with the rim. The two players I saw attack for LA were Gasol and Odom (sometimes).

Photo by:
Mark J. Terrill

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Finals Live Blog!

It's Win Or Go Home Tonight!

LA is down 3-1 and tonight it's comes down to getting it back to Boston. Can they do it? Of course, I think they will win tonight. The long term question is can they win two consecutive games in Boston? I don't think so. Kobe always has the element of surprise, but I don't know if they can do that.

So what do they have to do to stay alive?

The Lakers have to just execute for 48 minutes. In game four, they did execute for 24 minutes. The offense can't become stagnant, the defense can't sit back and relax. It's not over yet, how many times have the Lakers said that the last couple of days? You have to agree because this team has been on a role since the Gasol deal. I think they are going to make the right adjustments and play a strong game.

The media is getting a little old..

If you watch the media availability, all of the questions seem to center around Kobe. Is Kobe a better teammate, how does his change in attitude compare to how MJ changed, all of these dumb questions that have nothing to do with the task at hand in this series! In fact, DFish was talking to the media yesterday and he said there were a lot of "Kobe" questions. So please, all of you Boston and Los Angeles writers (others too, but that's who I hear the most) lay off! Ask DFish a question about DFish!

Anyway, coverage for game five tonight starts at 8:30 pm Eastern (pre-game show). What you care about seeing, the game, starts a little after 9 pm Eastern. Have a happy fathers day watching the NBA finals!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Boston Stuns LA!

If your jaw didn't already drop, newsflash Boston stunned LA, they won 97-91. I have to be honest, I am disappointed as a fan and a writer of this site. Despite the fact that a game six does seem possible, you have to wonder if LA will have the heart. Kobe was contained and I thought there was no living Kobe stopper. It was team defense, it was consistent play. If this goes five, the league office will be sad and I will be deeply hurt because there will be no more basketball this season (wait, the Olympics!).

I thought KG was going to be balling tonight, but he wasn't. Sure he had a double-double, but the guy took bad shots. Two games without KG being a big ticket, I would take a 1-1 record when that happens.

This might be something for the history books. I no longer care about the key metrics, this is pretty much a done deal. Forget the ref stories, this finals series is pretty much over! Boston might as well open up some champagne now!

The Poll Finally Comes Down!

After having it on for way too long, I have taken down the poll about which domain you would prefer to switch to. The results overwhelmingly favored NBAtipoff.com, which is our choice. For the time being, you can type in NBAtipoff.com and it will forward directly to the site.

We hope you like how easy and quick it is to get to the site! What should I do with NBAtipoff? Let's hear what you think in the comments!

KG The Cheerleader?

Yes and here's his chant: B-E AGGRESSIVE! I have to agree with him, but how do they go about doing that? Early on they have to iso KG and try to get him to "do work" down low. Maybe some back screens that could open up an alley oop would get him going. Maybe I should count KG chest pumps and his other crazy antics. But he really just has to go out there and punish Gasol. I don't like the defense he's played and I know KG could play a lot better. I thought he took a few jumpers that were out of his range and not beneficial to a Boston comeback.

Game 4
KG will be a lot better. Early on you will see Doc make the right adjustments offensively that will get all of the big three going (not just Ray Allen). KG and the Celts were lucky that game three was slow and Piston vs. Spursesq, but now they will have to try to play what I think will be a Laker team on a mission to run and speed up this game.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hibatchi Is Your New Economics Instructor!

Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has decided to represent himself and not give four percent of his money to some agent (that must be where Agent Zero comes from!). My thoughts on this are, who cares? Sure, Gilbert you were a big time player, but did you gain any market value this year? No, he played limited time this season and the Wizards were fine with him out of the lineup. It would have made a lot more sense to wait, take your money and play at a high level next year and test your worth when all of the teams will be jockeying for a franchise changing free agent.

If I'm the Wizards..
I see what I can get in a sign and trade deal. While Arenas may fill seats, he may not get them a step closer to a title. Jamison is more of an all around player, the guy who I would build around. They must get a high quality guard and small forward for Arenas, that makes the most sense to fill the biggest gaps. Arenas would probably fit well with a run and gun team (too bad the Suns are changing their philosophies!). I don't think he wants to go the Grizz, the second running team that comes to mind. Just send him to a contender. Get some classy vets who will bring a great locker room atmosphere to this squad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lakers Sneak Away Victorious!

The Lakers took care of business and won game three 87-81. This game was close because early on LA didn't want to win a title. They let Boston hang around and they are lucky the big three were somewhat microscopic tonight (Pierce especially).


The Free Throw Line..
Kobe missed six free throws tonight; a rarity. Now there are some things you have to consider as to why KB24 missed these shots. Although it isn't talked about much, Mamba does have a finger problem, he wears a sleeve over that finger, also there was concern about his back earlier in the playoffs, I don't know if that may or may not be a factor. Also, we are talking about a truly phenomenal athelete that has played lots of games and lots of minutes. He may still be considered young, but his legs aren't that young. I'm sure the Zen Master would also like to point out that Kobe didn't have the right mind set at the line; he's got to be one with the hoop, the ball and himself. Maybe a little yoga pose before each shot would help.

Key Metrics
The Lakers had a four point advantage in points in the last two minutes of quarters. Boston had the upper hand in the P.J. Brown, Perkins, Posey to Vujacic, Turiaf, Farmar ratio 38:31
. This ratio is calculated by adding points, blocks, assists, rebounds, and steals. I think the only reason Boston had the upper hand in this regard was Perk filling up the stat sheet (8 points, 2 blocks, 3 steals, 1 assist and 6 boards).


So now we move onto game four. LA will have to be ready for adjustments from Boston. LA made the adjustments in this game (switching Kobe to Rondo), Boston will make some this time. I think LA will continue to be willed by Kobe and continue to win.

Photo by: Mark J. Terrill

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Boston Takes A 2-0 Series Lead!

In what ended up being a close game, Boston beat LA 108-102. This game looked more than over, Boston was up 20+ in the fourth, but LA would not stop trying to comeback. At one point they cut the lead all the way down to two. In other words, the Lakers got a big mental win tonight. I don't care that Powe played out of this world, I don't care that the Boston crowd was bumping, LA built some major confidence heading into game three.

If I am Phil Jackson I say good job, we persevered and didn't make this game a major source of garbage time (said the Marv Albert way). The way they will win game three is coming out tough. Pound the paint and make them commit a playoff foul.

Boston won the key metrics in my opinion. I made a slight change to one of my stats tonight, instead of the P.J. Brown, Perkins, Posey to Vujacic, Turiaf, Farmar ratio, I changed it to the Poe to Vujacic, Turiaf and Farmar ratio. Poe challenged the bench trio 23:24. That tells you a lot. Poe played a hell of a game and the Laker bench
only played a strong fourth quarter.

Looking forward to game three, I really like the Lakers to take a big lead (and keep it). This is going to be a different team in LA, Kobe will be hot, the role players will show up. I have confidence that Poe will not play like a beast again, especially on the road.

Photo by: Jesse D. Garrabrant

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Celtics Take Game 1!


After much anticipation the finals are underway, Boston took game 1 98-88. The game was close throughout three quarters, it seemed like Boston gained an advantage late in the fourth. Pierce was huge, despite the knee he came back out and hit huge shots late.

Here's a quick statistical breakdown: the Celtics had an 8 point advantage in points in the last two minutes of quarters (the third was a big mental boost for them). The P.J Brown, Perkins, Posey to Vujacic, Turiaf, Farmar ratio was tied at 14. This stat is adding up points, boards, dimes, and blocks for all of the mentioned players. Check out NBAtipoff.googlepages.com for a place to download a breakdown of these stats.

So now that game one is in the books, what adjustments should each team make? LA needs to hit the defensive boards harder; the Celts can't have a big advantage in the boards. The Celtics played Kobe pretty well, the problem is they have to stay consistent on defense. The Laker rotation was off a little bit, Farmar only played seven minutes and Kobe started on the floor in the fourth, but then went out for a moment. KB24 should not sit down late in this game, the game was getting away from LA. Phil Jackson has been known to stay consistent with his rotation (remember when LA was down big against the Spurs?), so he's got to bring the same ideas to this series.

LA's goal is to go 1-1 in Boston. I think they will make the right adjustments to be much more competitive in game two. Kobe is starting to get hungrier, he's going to will LA more in game two.

Photo by:
Elise Amendola

Lakers-Celtics Live Blog

The Finals Start Tonight, So Who Takes Game 1?

Tonight the NBA finals begin on ABC, with a pre-game show starting at 8:30 pm Eastern time. I'm glad the wait is over-five days without ball is long enough.

Of course there are key metrics used to predict the winner. Boston is terrific at home, but I think you can throw all of those stats away. LA has won games in Denver (big deal!), Utah, and San Antonio. Boston won't be any easier, but the Jazz were an extremely strong home team. If you want to know what stats I will be marking down, check out my last post.

I have to like Boston to take the first game in this series. KG is going to be more revved up than ever, Bean Town will be crazy and the Boston supporting cast feeds off of that. Ray Allen will have his rhythm tonight. The opening minutes will be sloppy, Boston should be the first team to breakout of that.

There is, of course, one way LA can win. If the game is close in the final minutes, Kobe can be Kobe. He can take over, forget Boston defense, forget Tom
Thibodeau and his terrific defensive mind. We are talking about the MVP, Mr. Fourth Quarter, the upper echelon of clutch players. Boston can't stop Kobe, that's what everyone thinks.

I don't know about you, but I will be glued to these finals games. Just make sure you watch the game, tonight at 9 pm Eastern on ABC. I might be posting my thoughts throughout the game, just come to Basketball Notes by Alex after the game for all you need to know (well maybe a little espn.com too).

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Statistical Look At The NBA Finals!

With the finals approaching, I want to breakdown the key metrics to help both the Celtics and the Lakers win.

As you know, I have been taking a look at points in the last two minutes of quarters. It seems to be much more important for the Lakers. In the Celtics series against the Pistons, two of their four wins had the Celtics with a 10 points advantage in points in the last two minutes of quarters. In one of those games there was no advantage for either team in this regard. The Lakers had a 29 point advantage in two of their four wins. Now one of these games was a blowout. In that game these numbers seemed to be most important. In a 30 point victory, they had a 21 point advantage. Without that this game would have been close and the Spurs would have tried to make another run. The other game gave the Lakers a slim eight point advantage.

I also want to look at what I'm calling the P.J. Brown, Perkins, Posey to Vujacic, Turiaf, Faramar ratio. I am going to add the points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals of each of these players and compare them. This will give us a look at how the role players are doing. If you would like to see players added, leave me a comment.

Stay with Basketball Notes by Alex for all your finals coverage!