Points in the Paint

» October 27, 2009 5:40 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal:  “LeBron James doesn’t believe there is any animosity between the two teams. ‘I don’t dislike Boston; I don’t think they dislike us, either. When you’re competitors, there’s a little bit more fire than usual with other teams,’ James said. ‘I don’t think there [are any] hard feelings. No one wants to see anyone get hurt or anything like that, but it’s definitely going to be a physical ballgame.’ Powe would beg to differ about the bad blood. ‘Honestly, they don’t like [the Cavs],’ Powe said of his former teammates. ‘They want to beat them every time and I know our mentality over here is we feel the same way.’”
  • Kate Fagan breaks down Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense:  “In traditional NBA sets, all five players are within or near the three-point arc. In the Princeton offense, the entry point is brought away from the basket, opening up backdoor and over-the-top options and leaving open space in which to make a hard rim-run (NBA slang for driving to the hoop). While such spacing opens the floor, it also means the Sixers are starting their offense from farther away and – as has been the case in the preseason – are well into the 24-second clock before having made more than a couple of passes. The idea is to get away from the one-on-one, come-get-the-ball culture of the NBA. It’s not second nature to run a backdoor cut all the way to the rim. It’s not second nature to be moving for all the time on the shot clock. It’s not second nature to have balanced, equal spacing on the floor because so many NBA sets are overloaded on one side. If all the Sixers comprehend their new form of communication, they will be able to speak to one another in a way the opposition doesn’t understand. But at first – and hopefully only at first – you might notice that they’re struggling with even the most basic forms of it.”
  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:  “As Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s playing legend grows, so does his business acumen. Wade, the National Basketball Association’s leading scorer last season, made the leap this summer from being the star of scrappy, old-school shoe brand Converse to joining a group of elite athletes at Nike’s Jordan Brand, named for basketball icon Michael Jordan. That’s meaningful for Wade, who points to Jordan and another basketball icon-turned-businessman, Magic Johnson, as his role models for his post-basketball career. ‘My motto is to take a little bit from both of them and try to build not only off the basketball brand, but also build off getting the right people around me off the court, as well, to build things,’ he said.”
  • Shaq on Big Baby:  “He body-slammed me. That’s when I knew he was he was going to be great.”
  • George Karl on what Carmelo Anthony needs to add to his game:  “I don’t know what ‘Melo’s assist to turnover ratio is.  I probably say it’s 1.2 to 1 or 1.3 to 1.  If he would become more of a guard or a pass-first player, I would play him more minutes, I would get him more shots and his efficiency would go off the charts.  I think the same thing goes with J.R.  J.R’s assist to turnover ratio is something that I would monitor and if it’s improved, again that’s a statistic that I will be monitoring on ‘Melo and on our team.  The only problem I thought that we had on offense mostly through training camp was our turnovers.  We averaged over 21 turnovers a game.  Way too many, way too many risky plays, way too many players playing outside of their strengths.  I think we’re going to have to rain that in a little bit.  If we can keep that as a high priority we will be fine.”
  • Annie M. Peterson of the Associated Press:  “In the offseason Portland signed guard Andre Miller and veteran forward Juwan Howard, part of an effort to add experience to a team that was second-youngest in the NBA last season. Miller, vying to become Portland’s starting point guard, has especially shown chemistry with Oden – and even jokes about it. ‘You always want to get a good thing going with the biggest guy on the team,’ he smiled. But of all the changes, Oden said his weight loss has made the biggest difference. ‘The best thing is being lighter on my feet,’ he said. ‘The movements, the things you want to do when you’re heavier, you sometimes don’t have the energy or you’re just tired because you’re carrying extra weight around. … My body’s feeling good. I’m not keeping myself down because of all that extra weight.’”
  • This is a great anecdote that’s believable to me:  “Pat Croce recalled how Iverson once arrived for practice driving a six-figure Bentley convertible … in a snowstorm. Croce told him that he might want to re-think his mode of transportation in the middle of winter. Sure enough, Iverson showed up the next day behind the wheel of a brand-new Bentley sedan. Problem solved.”
  • Despite the struggling economy, both the Hornets and Jazz are encouraged by recent ticket sale trends.
  • David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal: “Like a lot of NBA executives, Fred Whitfield, the president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte Bobcats, has been looking for creative ways to save money in a slouching economy. So during halftime this season, don’t expect to see one of those national traveling acts that cost up to $15,000 per game. For about a dozen games this year, Mr. Whitfield has enlisted the Junior Bobcats—a group of youth basketball players who are mostly 8 to 12 years old—to entertain the fans. The kids work pro bono, he says, and as a bonus, their parents usually buy tickets to see them perform. ‘It saves money and drives in revenue,’ Mr. Whitfield says. Ever since NBA commissioner David Stern announced in July that more than half of the NBA’s 30 franchises lost money last season—and recently said overall league revenue is expected to fall by as much as 5% this season—NBA teams have been trying to unwind some of their operations for the first time since the 1980s. Most of these cuts, like the Bobcats’ halftime budget, will be cosmetic: The Cleveland Cavaliers will save $40,000 by switching from paper Christmas cards to electronic ones, while the Denver Nuggets have eliminated free cellphone texting for employees. The Memphis Grizzlies say they’ll save $50,000 by upgrading existing computers rather than buying new ones. ‘Our philosophy: lean and mean,’ says team executive Greg Campbell.”
  • FanHouse’s Matt Watson with an interesting point regarding NBA cutbacks and exorbitant fines:  “The extent of the league’s efforts to reduce costs also highlights just how punitive the NBA’s fines can be. Larry Brown and the Bobcats, for instance, were recently handed matching $60,000 fines for Brown’s ejection and subsequent comments about the officiating. In most years, $60,000 is a rounding error for teams. This year, it could very well be the difference between someone else in the organization keeping his job or getting the axe several months later.”

One Response to “Points in the Paint”

  1. Basketballogy Says:

    Looking forward to frequenting this excellent site more now that the season is underway.

    As for day 1…

    I watched much of the Dallas vs. Washington game. Saunders may look pretty good this season, thanks in large part to healthier starters.

    The most intriguing game, of course, was the Cavs vs. Celtics. Sorry Orlando, but a healthy Boston looks like the team to beat in the east to me. I was surprised at how well Shaq played defense down low, particularly at critical times. Shaq is what he is high on the pick and roll, but I didn’t think Shaq could force Garnett into circus shots even at Shaq’s prime, much less now.

    As for Lakers vs. Clippers, it bothers me that the Lakers’ bench was such a liability for them, coughing up a 15 point lead against the Clippers bench, and that the starters had to log so many minutes in thesecond half. The Clippers didn’t look particularly tough to me. Then again, Phil Jackson teams are usually flat on ring night.

    MBenga needs to quit shooting so much, and on defense, he’s totally fallen in love with the blocked shot in an immature way. He looks like a middle schooler out there swiping big at every shot. He needs to settle down, nudge his man away from the basket, play position defense, and block on help situations when he can, otherwise alter shots. His lunges are only putting him out of position for rebounds, and when teams figure out Mbenga is playing like this, they’ll sucker him into fouling himself off the court.

    Given Pau’s current health, and the minutes he’s been logging, and Bynum’s history of fragility, the Lakers should be looking for another back up center really.

    I was pleased with Artest’s contributions except for his in ability to hit wide open shots. Hopefully he’ll put extra time in the gym with Craig Hodges and get that remedied.

    Anyway, here’s to countless wasted hours in front of a television this season!

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