Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
As basketball bloggers we often use stats to help us make sense of what our eyes are seeing, and to quantify to our wonderful readership (otherwise known as you) what it is that’s happening on that crazy ol’ hardwood. Some of these stats are expected. Some are noteworthy. Some are downright interesting. It is this last group we attempt to explain in yet another edition of….
Mario Chalmers True Shooting Percentage: 66.9%
When the Miami Heat famously put together their roster during the last off-season, it sent visions of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh dominating the interior of the three point line dancing through Miami fans’ heads, with knock down shooters flanking them on the perimeter to feast on the open triples. This worked a lot better in theory than it did in practice, which is too often the case when you involve Mike Bibby.
This season ,though, a lot has changed. Mike Miller’s stroke has been far more consistent. They added Shane Battier, a great pick up even if he is going through a shooting slump. And also, one Mario Chalmers is shooting his ever loving butt off.
Mario’s TS% (basically a field goal percentage that adjusts for three pointers and free throws) is staggeringly high, improving over 13% from last year and letting him sit 14% over the league average for this season. He is the highest ranked guard in the NBA based on this stat, other than Manu Ginobili, who as we all know, is a Euro-stepping alien from outer space. Or Argentina. I forget which one. A large reason for Mario’s jump this season is the fact that he is shooting the three ball at a 46% clip this year, as opposed to the 36% he posted last year.
Why the jump? I believe it to be confidence related. Last year Mario often found himself sitting behind Mike “Dead on Arrival” Bibby or Carlos Arroyo, not really for talent reason, rather due to the fact that his maturity and decision making were often suspect. After Rio played well in last year’s playoffs and the drafting of Norris Cole, the Heat let the dreaded Bibby walk, and turned the keys over to Chalmers, sending his confidence through the roof.
Teams now are left to gamble on trying to stop Lebron and Wade’s lay-up assault, or have Rio kill them from outside. A large reason the Heat are looking even deadlier than last year.
Hit the jump to read the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Nikola Pekovic’s Offensive Rebound Rate: 19.2%
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been something of a surprise this year. With good reason. Everyone is astounded at the passing of Ricky Rubio, which is so flashy I understand that Michael Bay has already signed on to do a movie where Ricky Rubio saves the world from robots with a no-look bounce pass. Kevin Love has been great, rebounding at his usual other-worldly rates and literally stomping the competition into submission.
Just now starting to get his due is Nikola Pekovic, grabbing an absolutely psychotic 19.2% of his teams missed shots while he is on the floor, a quality that is insanely useful when your team also employs Michael Beasley. But more than that, there is another quality that Nik brings to the T-Wolves:
Scary. Darko may have blocked more shots, but sometimes it seems like opposing players are afraid to even give Pek the opportunity to do so. Which is something I could completely understand. To help illustrate this point, I’ve compiled a list of everything I would be willing to give Nikola Pekovic if he were to walk up to me in a dark alley and demand it of me:
My Car Keys
My House Keys
My First Born
That list could go on, but the main bullet point here is Pek is amazingly scary, and amazingly good at collecting offensive rebounds. So don’t sleep on Nikola. Because he’ll kill you.
Jason Kidd’s Turnover Rate: 29.15%
Reports from a very reliable source say that when Jason Kidd started playing basketball, people were basically hoisting a soccer ball at a peach basket. This ordinarily hasn’t really been much of a problem since Jason has proven himself a master of reinvention, changing himself from more of a drive and kick player in his early years to more of a pure point with a killer outside shot. Not matter what his declining physical abilities have been trying to tell him, Kidd was going to find a way to contribute to a victory and that was that.
At least until this year, where Father Time is not only trying to drag Kidd down, but he is throwing a black bag over his head and tossing him into the trunk.
One thing I haven’t known Kidd to do in his current incarnation is turn the ball over, which is why him turning the ball over nearly three of ten times down the floor is absolutely saddening to me. It’s the highest mark Hoopdata has on record for Kidd in the seven years they have recorded. Couple this with the fact that his three point percentage of 30.4 is also the lowest that Hoopdata has listed, and one is left to wonder if this is really the last hurrah that Jason has left.
The bad thing here is that Dallas is increasingly left with few options other than continuing to play him. Delonte’s finger injury has him sidelined until sometime next month, and there have been whisperings that Dallas is looking to move Roddy Beaubois before the deadline other than lose the (mostly disappointing) prospect that they have spent so much time developing for nothing in free agency.
Jordan Akin is sure that if he keeps slacking on deadlines, Mark Travis will release HIM in free agency. You can call him a ridiculous slacker or bring other neat stats to his attention on Twitter @jakin1013, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org