Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Jason Kidd is a stellar basketball player. Kidd is a 10-time All Star, an Olympic champion, and NBA superstar. Not only is he a talented athlete, but he is dedicated to bettering the lives and education of youth. He started the Jason Kidd Foundation in 1999 to mentor children, something that he is quoted, on his website, saying that he loves and that brings him true happiness. Earlier this July, he signed with the New York Knicks where he hopes to finish out his career by helping the team mesh, specifically Camelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, and assisting the Knicks in bringing home a championship. Before he signed in Houston, mentoring youngster Jeremy Lin was also going to be one of Kidd’s responsibilities. He is a role model, someone to whom kids can really look up to.
Unfortunately for J-Kidd, when people look up to you everyone is also looking at you. In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 15th, cops were called to the scene of an accident in the Hamptons where he was arrested for DWI. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Kidd blew past a stop sign one and a half miles from his Hamptons summer home and hit a telephone pole, knocking it off of its base. He was on his way back from a night club when he got into the wreck and witnesses at the club reported him pounding several drinks throughout the night. He ended up being carried out of the nightclub. The internet is littered with pictures of his partying as well his subsequent mugshot and responding officers say that when they pulled him from his vehicle he reeked of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet, and had blood shot eyes.
Kidd refused a breathalyzer test and refused a blood test when he was taken to the hospital for treatment of his minor injuries. Not only was Kidd charged with DWI but he has also been tried with failure to stop and refusing a breathalyzer at the scene of the crash, charges to which he has plead not guilty. The DWI has the potential to earn Kidd up to a year in jail, and his next court date is rumored to be September 12, 2012. However, I believe that the year in jail is only a small concern for this basketball star. After this, I firmly believe that his credibility is shot. As always, kids and teens try and emulate their heroes. When a big name like Jason Kidd drinks and drives, it makes me wonder how many more people are going to think they have this sense of invincibility? How many more people will think that they’ve only had a little to drink and can make the short drive home? Let’s hope not many.
Jason Kidd views himself as a mentor to young children. Jason Kidd joined the Knicks because he wanted to mentor his young teammates. Jason Kidd risks his lives and the lives of others by partying too had and driving drunk. The irony is not lost on me.Posted in Columns, Featured | Tagged Columns, Jason Kidd, New York Knicks | Leave a comment
The Los Angeles Lakers have traded for one of the greatest point guards in NBA history – and David Stern isn’t going to veto this one.
In a surprising turn of events, future Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash was dealt (not official until July 11th) to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal that sent four draft picks (two first rounders and two second rounders) as well as $3 million in cash to the Phoenix Suns yesterday. It was surprising for a few reasons: 1) About a week ago Nash said during a radio interview that it would be hard for him to put on a Lakers jersey, 2) There was a belief that the Suns would be unwilling to help facilitate a deal for Nash to go to a division rival like the Lakers, 3) Earlier yesterday it appeared as if the New York Knicks were ready to put standout rookie Iman Shumpert and some other pieces on the table to get a sign-and-trade deal done themselves, and 4) The Toronto Raptors had offered Nash a boatload of money to come back to his home nation and revitalize the sport of basketball.
As it turns out, there was something keeping Nash from Los Angeles, but it didn’t have anything to do with Nash. According to a statement released by Nash after the trade had been agreed to, the Suns were bullish on the idea of dealing Nash to the Lakers but after asking them to re-consider, Phoenix paid Nash back for the loyalty he showed them over the past few years and dealt him where he wanted to go. Nash wants to be in LA because he’ll be closer to his kids (he’s divorced and his children reside in Phoenix) and even though he’s taking a sizable paycut to play for the Lakers, he’s rewarded with an opportunity to win a championship.
Hit the jump for the rest of Mark’s piece…Columns, Featured | Tagged Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol, Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash | Leave a comment
Well guys the season is at a close, and we are left with nothing but memories and baseball to tide us over until next year. The good news is that this year has left us with enough of the former to ignore the latter if we choose. There is the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, so come with me, roundball fan, on a trip through Memory Lane. With thirty pictures for thirty teams, we are here to use the past as a lens to look to the future in out 2012 NBA Yearbook.
Hit the jump for Jordan’s yearbook…Columns | Comments Off
The turning point in this series many would argue happened in Game 2 when a certain superstar made a little extra contact on another certain superstars game tying attempt. While this was a big moment, OKC would have been coming back to steal a game they had no business being in.
The real turning point in the series came in game 4 with under 6 minutes left. As LeBron went to the bench with cramping we all wondered exactly what Miami would go to offensively without LeBron, who had become the full-time 4th quarter go through guy in games 2 and 3. Wade had taken on a secondary playmaking role in those two games and it seemed to work.
With LeBron either on the bench or hobbled on the court Spoelstra went to an extremely simple set that put Wade in a great playmaking situation. The set used LeBron as a screener and decoy when he was in the game. I love this set because sometimes keeping it simple down the stretch and just creating something that puts your best playmakers in their spot can be the best thing you can do as a coach. We saw this effectively work with OKC’s down screen set in the Western Conference Finals.
The set starts with the ball in Wade’s hands up top as he dribbles to the left top to set up a ball screen angle. 4 sets a down screen for 5 who comes off it to sprint into a ball screen. 4 stays put on the short corner. Two best shooters are on weak side.
Having something organized to go to in this situation was huge for Miami. At many points this post season we have seen Miami go to simple ball screens in these situations which has been easy to guard and made things tougher on the playmakers. Props have to be given to Spo for having this particular alignment ready to go with LBJ not able to be the go through guy during this key time. Miami ended up running it for two easy layups (one Bosh missed) and a pick and roll rejection for a layup.
They were able to dominate the paint down the stretch and score time and again at the rim while OKC turned it over and settled for long twos. Being able to go from down 94-92 to up 99-94 in only a few possessions was the turning point. This set contributed 4 points in this run, with the LeBron dagger pull up three being the other points.
I said before the series began that the big 3′s would pretty much cancel out this series in my mind and the winner of the series would be the team that got more from their supporting cast. I thoroughly believed OKC’s role guys were going to give far more than Miami’s but that ended up being completely wrong. By my calculations the team whose big 3 won the battle only won 2 games.
In game 1 OKC’s big 3 outscored Miami’s by 9 points and won the game by 11. In game 3 Miami’s big 3 outscored OKC’s by 11 points and won the game by 6. These were the two games where the premier players were the difference and the teams split those two games.
In the other 3 games Miami was able to win despite having no edge in the big 3 battle. In those 3 games OKC’s big 3 outscored Miami’s by a total of 23 points (Miami’s did not outscore OKC’s in any of the 3 games) yet Miami won those 3 games by a combined 25 points. This means Miami role players outscored OKC role players by a total of 48 points in those three games.
For the series OKC won the battle of the big 3′s by 21 points total. This was not enough as they got beat because of their lack of scoring coming from anywhere else. Miami showed that if your top 3 can stay close to theirs then all you had to do was outscore the role guys. Sam Presti and Scott Brooks need to revisit the bench and figure out how they can get more from elsewhere next season.
While LeBron and Wade were huge down the stretch and made some game changing plays the credit goes to Miami role players for significantly outscoring OKC’s. Without a drastic improvement and huge performances from guys like Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier, LeBron ringless jokes would still be alive.
The world has spent the last year crushing LeBron and I have spent the last year wondering who he would be in the big 4th quarters this year. LeBron was consistently a guy you could count on to be aggressive, make plays for others, and attempt the big shot when his team needed. Was he MJ or Jerry West? No! But he never will be. He has some form of the Magic Johnson DNA and as you recall Magic didn’t start taking the big shots consistently until he had been there and failed multiple times.
LeBron shut the door with authority on the “best in the world” debate. There has been no arguing he has the most talent on the planet for the last 5 years but to become the “best in the world” you must show it on the biggest stage. LeBron did that with the Boston game 6, the fade away jumper in game 2 of the finals and the monster 3 that turned game 4 late. No more debate and no more jokes, you may not like it and you may not like him, but LeBron James is the best player in the world, PERIOD!
How long that lasts is up for debate though. There is an interesting rivalry brewing between he and Durant. KD and OKC will only get hungrier and better the next four years and Miami will only get older as James, Wade and Bosh head into their 30′s. LeBron mentioned Durant motivating him in the same way Magic and Bird used to feed off each other in the 80′s. For the sake of the league and us I hope we see these guys matched up in the finals multiple times over the next 4 years. Durant will have plenty of opportunity to reopen the debate if this is the case.
Here is the set in full (copy and paste image into Word to save or print set):
The above image was taken as LeBron James rapped on stage with LMFAO while the Miami Heat partied at Club Liv (same club the Dallas Mavericks went last year, for all you lovers of symmetry out there) celebrated their Game 5 series clincher of the NBA Finals. While reports of the exact lyrics James sang differ, I like to imagine it was possibly “Now that I’ve ascended the mountain, I find myself reflective in the steps I took to get there, and the steps I will take from here, and I wonder what will come next in my life now that this quest is finished.” Or maybe it was “Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo, I gots me a ring you fools, Skip Bayless can stick his head in a deep fryer.” Of course, both of those lines have terrible rhyme schemes, and make for absolutely horrendous hip-hop. But they do make you think.
Whether you love it or hate it or wish it would go away, the question of when or if Lebron James would get his ring has been a main piece of the overall NBA narrative for virtually the entire time that he has been in the league. Everyone has made their points on it, changed their points on it, and overall beaten it absolutely to death over the years, and it has sort of become a familiar part of our lives, kind of like a nasty birthmark, or in-laws.
With that question finally answered, what do we talk about now?
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…Columns | Tagged LeBron James, Miami Heat | Leave a comment
Well, it’s a bit of a misleading headline, seeing as the Hornets won the NBA draft by default, but there’s nothing wrong with 2nd place, which is what everyone else will have to settle for.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been stockpiling draft picks, and they’ve got four in the upcoming NBA draft including the 4th and 24th picks in the first round. However, if they stay where they are, they could find themselves in a less than desirable position.
The Hornets will obviously be taking Anthony Davis, but from there it gets a bit murky. The Bobcats are effectively on the clock at two, and they are operating as the fulcrum that will decide how the rest of the draft functions.
According to Chad Ford’s big board, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky is the second best prospect of the draft, with Florida’s Bradley Beal checking in at three. If the Bobcats select either of the two, the Cavs will find themselves in trouble. The Wizards picking at three reportedly would love to have either Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal. If one is off the board, they’d be more than happy with the other to give John Wall his first wing player that isn’t washed up or a low-efficiency gunner that doesn’t give a rip about defense (here’s to you, Nick Young.)
Hit the jump for the rest of Carter’s piece…Columns | Tagged Cleveland Cavaliers | Leave a comment
Tonight’s post will be a quick hitter. These are two of the key side out of bounds plays both Finals teams have used this year.
Oklahoma City ran a simple play to get Durant a quality touch and shot by sending him off screens after taking it out. Miami’s is a bit more complicated and uses Wade and LeBron as a distraction to create a three point shot for one of their shooters.
OKC side out starts with a “zipper screen” where 5 screens down for 1 popping out to get ball.
4 back cuts off the wing as 2 fills up to take his place. 1 passes the ball to 2 on the wing. 3 cuts in off 5 back screen toward paint as 2 is catching the ball. 4 sets up a second screen for 3 in middle of paint.
3 finishes his cut through paint off 4′s screen to get a catch between the block and corner. This has given Durant open jumpers and easy post touches through the first two games of the series.
SOB situations are a great chance for the coach to influence the game. Both coaches have been solid out of time outs through the first two games. This set was useful for Oklahoma City multiple times but I doubt it will work much longer. NBA teams are so great at adjusting defensively to take away things that are working and I assume Miami will start to take away KD’s easy touch on this set.
In one of the biggest moments in game 1 Miami ran a SOB play that was designed to get Mario Chalmers a 3. Spoelstra has set up multiple sets in big moments this playoffs that key on Chalmers shooting a three. I thought this particular side out play worked tremendous, unfortunately DWade decided to just go one on one and ended up turning it over.
Something I always do as an active coach is break a set down and figure out how I can improve it to fit my personnel better or simply add a wrinkle to it that makes it more dangerous. I highly encourage coaches to do this as you watch and chart sets. Don’t just be a robot taking the information given to you in these games, be creative and innovative by adding to them and thinking about how they can work for you.
Hit the jump for Miami’s side out of bounds play…Columns | Leave a comment
In the conference finals we saw Oklahoma City start to define who they want to be in the fourth quarter of close games. Scott Brooks did a tremendous job of setting up the half court action they would use to assure they were getting the ball into the hands of their best players in areas of the court they are efficient.
Specifically, OKC looked to get Durant the ball between the elbows, from the FT line to the top of the key (Durant led the league in 3pt% from the top of the key). They looked to get Harden into hand off situations and ball screens where he is at his best and they used Westbrook in ball screens that would get him moving down hill.
It seemed as though Brooks clearly defined how their offense would work and from game 3 on OKC played effortlessly and with flow during crunch time. They even seemed to lean on a go-to set that they used in multiple games for extended stretches. It was a pretty simple action that put Westbrook into a down screen for Durant. OKC developed multiple reads and options out of this and were able to dissect San Antonio in the biggest moments of the Western Conference Finals.
To see this action with a full break down you can take a look at Sebastian Pruiti’s blog with video at:
In game one of the NBA Finals we saw the distinct differences between Miami and OKC play out in the 4th quarter. The game was a dead heat through 3 quarters of play and in the 4th the Thunder took over simply because they seemed to have purpose to their possessions, while Miami didn’t seem quite comfortable with what they were doing. More on this later.
We also saw Brooks make an adjustment to their “go-to” set and change it just enough to create a little extra action that made the down screen for Durant a bit more complex.
The set starts in a box formation with your key player on the right block. 2 curls off a staggered screen on opposite side to the middle of the paint.
2 comes off the staggered to the middle of the court. 4 follows right behind him to come off 5 down screen to the wing. 2 continues his cut directly into a down screen for 3 (which was Durant for OKC). 3 comes off the down screen to try to catch between elbow and 3 pt line. This is the money area for Durant and where OKC feels like he is unstoppable.
Once 3 catches at elbow 2 clears out to weak side corner to open up the side for 3 to play on. This is where you want to encourage your scorer to be aggressive.
Oklahoma City had a great counter to their “go-to” set during the conference finals and that was ending it with a flare screen. They ran the flare for the guy who passed the ball to Durant, which was Harden most of the time. Here you can see what that looked like. 3 usually caught a little farther from the basket and he put it on the floor to the right first. As he crossed back to the left this triggered 4 to set a flare for 1 and allowed 3 to make a pass quickly for the three. He could make the pass on time/on target because it was set strategically as he crossed back to his left and was moving toward the shooter. They didn’t run this in game 1 but it would be easy enough to add in as they did in the WCF.
Watch out for this set again in game 2 as I am sure Brooks will run it again and most likely add on some more wrinkles to it. The Thunder freed Durant up for an open mid range shot and an easy drive where he got fouled using this set. Miama did do a good job fronting it a few times as well to prevent the pass to KD so I am interested in seeing how OKC reacts to that strategy.
Now back to Miami and their end game offense. Watching each possession of the fourth quarter back it is impossible to blame LeBron or DWade specifically for the Heat’s struggles. I don’t think either was trying to play selfishly and while it seemed like Wade was much worse that LeBron, a second look at the quarter tells a different story.
Miami simply looks out of rhythm and they don’t seem to have any offensive action they want to go to consistently in order to get good looks. They ran a lot of opening ball screens that were predictable and easy to see coming. LBJ and Wade did score and create with some of these because they are so good but I don’t know if they can be efficient enough to beat a team like the Thunder with simple ball screens.
Spoelstra needs to come up with something on the X and O end that is going to put Miami players in comfortable spots and help them define what they want down the stretch. I believe ball screens should be a huge piece of this but to just have your two best players walk the ball up and go off a ball screen doesn’t seem like it is an effective strategy. Miami needs to create a set or action that starts with player/ball movement before the ball screen is set. OKC seemed to have better flow offensively in large part due to the set described above.
Is it Wade, is it LeBron? The juggling act of who has the ball and who is attacking is exhausting to watch and I think it is also the coaching staff’s responsibility to sit down with them and define 4th quarter roles. This doesn’t mean the other guy never gets to create (OKC has Durant as it’s primary option but Westbrook and Harden have both had moments where they have created), it just allows them to both know who the offense runs through. You can even change this game to game if you want, but each 4th quarter needs to have a specific plan with defined responsibilities.
If you take a look at all 22 of Miami’s 4th quarter possessions you can see the struggle. Wade touched it on 17 of those possessions and LeBron touched it on 15. LeBron was in attack mode on 9 of them while Wade attacked 7 times. James ended up taking 6 shots and going to the line once while Wade shot 4 times. These numbers show very little variance in usage for both guys. If you watch the quarter back each possession almost has a “now it is your turn” feel to it.
Watching the game I felt like Wade was horrific in the 4th but he wasn’t actually that bad. On his 7 attacks Miami shot 3/5, got fouled once and had 1 TO. On LeBron’s attacking possessions Miami was 2/7, got fouled once and had 1 TO. These guys have similar efficiency but it seemed as though the uncertainty of whose “turn” it was cause a lapse mid quarter when OKC went on their run. Five straight Heat possessions ended with: TO, Battier missed 3, LeBron missed 3, Bosh missed 3, LeBron missed layup. By the time LeBron attacked and missed that last layup OKC had put the game close to out of reach. A game can turn quickly in the Finals and you can’t afford to have four average possessions where you don’t find quality shots.
Oklahoma City made a lot of tough shots down the stretch and Miami wasn’t in rhythm enough to match them. I am interested to see if Spo can create something for Miami to play within that allows them to find this rhythm that has been missing in the Finals for the last two seasons.
Here is the set in full (copy and paste into Word if you want to print or save the set)
Head Men’s Basketball Coach
@BardCoachTurnerPosted in Columns | Leave a comment
Hit the jump for the live blog…Live Blog | Tagged Kevin Durant, Live Blog, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder | Leave a comment
This is it, ladies and gentlemen. All of that God-awful, lockout-shortened, I-think-I-may-do-something-more-entertaining-like-see-how-many-forks-I-can-fit-in-my-eyeballs basketball we watched during the season was all just a prelude to the main event. All just a way to separate the wheat from the chaff so we could be left with the teams who managed to talent, tactics, conditioning, and hell, let’s be honest, just a little bit of luck, into something that the rest of the NBA just couldn’t handle. And just in case you think I’m out of dramatic clichés, here’s one more.
It all comes down to this.
You know the basics of the matchup. On one side you have the Miami Heat, possessors of the most dominant one-two roster punch since Godzilla teamed up with Mecha-Godzilla (that happened, right? If not, I’m blaming you, Japan, get it together.), crushing their way through East with our without their faithful Boshtritch. On the other side you have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Lord Of Beardonia himself, James Harden. The Thunder have proven they are no longer the cute upstarts they once were, vanquishing a trio of teams that account for every Western Conference Champion for the last 13 years.
But here at TI-89 Don’t Lie, we take the basic matchup, make it bite the curb, and stomp hard with our steel-toes on. ‘Cause that’s not good enough. We want the meat of the matchup, served rare, with rolls on the side to sop up the blood. ‘Cause that’s what we’re all about.
So without further ado, here’s your Finals preview.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…Columns | Leave a comment