Archives For Kobe Bryant

Tanking, and ways to eliminate it, were hot topics at the recent Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT. One proposal, known as the “wheel,” would eliminate the NBA’s draft lottery and replace it with a fixed system to distribute draft position. The proposal would disincentivize tanking, but it might also widen the gap between the haves and have-nots of the NBA.

The wheel proposal was developed by Boston Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren. Over a 30-year period, each NBA team would pick once at each of the 30 1st-round draft positions. The draft order would be staggered so that every team would have a top-6 pick at least once every five years.

Such a system would, over time, award incoming talent to all teams roughly equally. As such, it would remove any incentive to lose. Since draft positions are fixed, teams would no longer be motivated to lose games to try to get higher draft position. Continue Reading…

FINAL

LAL(11-13) 100 – 114 (13-12)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 19 pts, 11 reb, 5 ast
N. Young (LAL): 23 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

After slightly struggling on the boards and on defense in the first half, the Hawks completely turned up the energy in the third quarter to completely take over the game. Kyle Korver had 11 points in the quarter, and the entire team was swarming on defense and using that energy to get out in transition. Coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game, “In the third quarter, I thought out aggressiveness and our intensity on the defensive end set the tone for a good second half.” That type of focus was also shown on the offensive end, as the Hawks only had ONE turnover in the entire second half; a far cry from the 27 turnovers they had against the Knicks on Saturday.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Gasol had some good looks against Horford early, but if Horford is going to play center, this is going to be expected from seven-footers like Pau. Overall, Horford had his usual consistent night, putting up 19 points and 11 rebounds. He was particular fun to watch in transition, has he took the ball up the floor even more than usual in this game, probably because of his speed advantage over Gasol. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Good bounce back for Millsap after his struggles against the Knicks. He had more steals than turnovers tonight (four to two) and he had an extremely solid offensive night with 18 points on 13 shots. The only negative for Millsap is that he did seem to do a poor job boxing out in the first half, which was a big reason the Lakers were doing so well during that time. The problem did correct in the second half, though. 8/10

Jeff Teague: So Robby, Sekou Smith, and I were criticizing Jeff Teague before this game. Why? Because we saw his shot chart and noticed that he’s making less than 50% of his attempts at the rim, which is well below the league average. Coincidentally, another point guard that has this same problem is… Brandon Jennings. Now, scoring troubles aside, Teague did well at orchestrating the offense against the Lakers, especially in the third quarter, where he had six assists. What he did in that quarter that was so successful was partially a team effort, but Jeff made his move extremely quickly in the pick-and-roll, allowing his man to get freed up for the shot attempt. For Jeff to be successful, he has to continue to be quick, decisive, and aggressive in the PnR. 7.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Since I’m the main force behind the “WHY IS DEMARRE DRIBBLING?” campaign, I should be the first to point out that he did not turn the ball over at all this game. He did, however, take eight shot attempts in the first half (probably not the greatest thing), one of which was a wide open floater from about three feet out that he clanked off the rim. =/ Defensively, he did very well when he was on Kobe, usually keeping the Hall of Famer from getting into the lane. 7/10

Kyle Korver: It was a rocky start for Korver, who missed four open three-point attempts in the first quarter. He did recover from that and scored all 11 of his points in the third quarter, nine of which came off of three-pointers. The streak is now at 94 games with a made three-point field goal. 7/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 45-37 (7th in West)z-lakers

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Chris Kaman (free agent), Nick Young (free agent), Wes Johnson (free agent)

Key Losses: Dwight Howard (free agent), Metta World Peace (amnesty), Earl Clark (free agent)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 35-47 (11th in West)*

What to Expect: So much of LA’s season depends on when Kobe Bryant comes back from his Achilles injury and if he can still contribute at the highest level like we are so accustomed of seeing from him.

Just my thoughts on the matter: Kobe will be slowed a little bit, but he’ll still easily have the game to be a high-scoring player. His post game was as good as we’ve ever seen from a guard last year, and I expect him to be more reliant on that than ever. However, his ability to get to the basket will definitely be effected. I think he ends up with less free throws and buckets around the rim than in the past, but he’ll still have enough post and mid-range game to get his 20-plus points per game. Continue Reading…

FINAL

LAL(30-30) 99 – 98 (33-25) ATL

Key Performers:

K. Bryant (LAL): 34 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast
A. Horford (ATL): 24 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The comeback Hawks tried to be magical again, erasing a double-digit deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Of course, Kobe Bryant wasn’t going to have any of that. Bryant scored the Lakers last six points, including a thunderous dunk, and a driving layup past Josh Smith to seal the game in the final seconds. The Hawks did have another chance to take the lead, but in true Hawks fashion, it was blown by player miscommunication.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: This might have been the most Josh Smith game ever. (I think I’ve said that many times before, but whatever) He was actually efficient from the field (9-16) and had seven assists, but he missed all six of his free throw attempts and turned the ball over six times. Of course, he also let Kobe punk him down the stretch (Josh probably shouldn’t have been guarding him), and then failed to control the ball on the final play. Very Smoove-like, indeed. 5/10

Al Horford: Al extended his streak of 20+ point games to 10, which is good, but it still felt like Al didn’t take full advantage of the situation he was in. The points are good, but he seemed overpowered on the boards at times when he shouldn’t have been. And, of course, since I usually kill Josh on this, I have to point out that Al missed some buckets in the fourth quarter that probably should have dropped. Not a bad night at all from Al, just a bit disappointing from what could’ve been. 8/10

Kyle Korver: The three-point streak climbs to 51, and that wasn’t all; Kyle was a huge reason the Hawks were able to get back into this game. The team was able to get him a lot of open looks, and he knocked down quite a few of them. It’s of my opinion that he could have had more, but you can’t fault him for a 6-13 shooting night that much. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Speaking of leaving something to be desired, Jeff wasn’t exactly a killer out there for the Hawks. He didn’t turn the ball over a ton like he usually does when he has a bad night, but his erratic shooting in the first half is what helped the Lakers build the double-digit lead that they had. Dwight Howard is regaining his form on defense, so you can’t exactly fault Jeff for not being able to get good looks in the paint, but he has to make up for it by making jumpers if that is what he is going to do. 3/10

Devin Harris: Hey Jeff, take note of what Devin did this game before he starts cutting heavily into your minutes again. Devin made most of his shots, got to the line more than Teague, and had six assists against zero turnovers. Considering they both excel at the same style of play (attacking), you really can’t chalk this up to Devin being a “change of pace” from what Jeff should be doing. And while I usually don’t like using single-game +/-, Devin was a plus-24 and Jeff was a minus-25. That’s something that should not be happening. 8/10 Continue Reading…

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Welp, there goes my dream hire for the Hawks after the season.

D’Antoni was selected over Phil Jackson and will sign a four-year deal with the Lakers. Unlike most people, I like this hire, as I think Phil was asking for too much, and that the triangle would essentially turn Steve Nash into Derek Fisher. D’Antoni’s system that is highly reliant on the pick-and-roll should work with Nash, Gasol, and Dwight with almost no problems. As long as Kobe still gets his shots, no one in Lakerland should be upset with this decision at all.

The biggest criticism facing D’Antoni is that he won’t fix the Lakers’ defensive struggles. I actually disagree with this notion; while his Suns teams weren’t the best at defense, his Knicks’ defense with Tyson Chandler was one of the best in the league last year. People will try to attribute that to Mike Woodson, despite the fact that Woodson’s Hawks never finished in the top ten in DRtg in his tenure in Atlanta.

D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix were always average defensively, even though his starting bigs were Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. I think he’ll be fine with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol clogging the paint. Continue Reading…