Points in the Paint

» December 8, 2009 2:41 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Sam Smith predictably — and in this particular case, rightly — blasts LeBron for showboating during Friday’s 14-point win over the Bulls:  “LeBron James made a big fuss recently with his suggestion of a homage to Michael Jordan by asking that the league have all teams permanently retire Jordan’s No. 23. But in the Cavs 101-87 victory over the Bulls Friday, James insulted what Jordan stood for as a competitor and basketball player and demonstrated why James, at least, doesn’t even deserve to wear Jordan’s number. With the Cavs leading by 19 points with six minutes left in the game and the Bulls having long given up and not playing any of their top players in the fourth quarter, James began strutting around, shimmying and dancing on the sideline after he was fouled on a drive. It was pretty classless behavior acting like a clown and rubbing it in with guys still trying to play. James may have the all around talent of someone like Oscar Robertson, but hardly the class and dignity. Legends of the game like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would be horrified by such demeaning and selfish behavior. You never saw anything like that from them. They understood the game transcended everything, that it was the game that enabled you to have everything you did.”
  • Bill Livingston writes:  “Neither Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry nor coach Mike Brown has chastised James. The Browns will be in the Super Bowl before public criticism of James by a Cavs front office type occurs. James benefits from the situational ethics fans apply to a popular player. It’s bad if Noah channels his inner Fred Astaire, but it’s ‘just having fun’ if James does it. Fans here fear that, after leading the Cavs from the ashes of a 17-65 season before they won James’ draft lottery rights, he might bolt to either New York or New Jersey after the season, where the Knicks (6-15 as of Monday morning) and Nets (1-19) will be waiting. But no one should be exempt from at least a reduced concept of sportsmanship.”
  • Chris Sheridan on the return of Philly’s prodigal son:  “Monday night’s crowd was a sellout of 20,664, almost 9,000 more paying customers than Philadelphia averaged over its first eight home games. If we estimate (conservatively) that each of those 9,000 extra folks dropped 50 bucks apiece on tickets, parking and concessions, that means the Sixers pulled in about $450,000 more in revenue than they would have if this was a typical meaningless Monday night of malaise. Or to put it another way, the Sixers made enough money in one night to cover a substantial portion of the prorated NBA minimum they are paying Iverson (a large chunk of that money comes out of a special league fund, not from the wallets of the Sixers’ owners). Every night from here on out, provided Iverson sticks around, means Iverson is producing a profit.”
  • Chris Tomasson of FanHouse:  “Just call him the Muggsy Bogues of the pivot. The NBA has been in business since 1946-47. But never in league history has there ever been a regular starting center as short as Houston’s 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes. That counts all those guys in tight shorts who played in dingy gyms before there even was a shot clock. Guys in the pivot wearing Chuck Taylors weren’t as low to the ground as Chuck Hayes. FanHouse went to the Elias Sports Bureau, which researched NBA starting lineups since the first NBA game on Nov. 1, 1946. Nobody could be found as short as Hayes who was a team’s regular starter at center. So Hayes, just like the 5-3 Bogues being the shortest player in NBA history, feels like a pioneer. ‘I can’t even think of the last shortest center,’ said Hayes, averaging 5.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.0 minutes. ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s kind of funny. When you have the starting lineups, (the announcer) goes from taller to shorter (with the Rockets starting 6-8 shooting guard Trevor Ariza, 6-8 small forward Shane Battier and 6-9 power forward Luis Scola). … We go from the tallest center to the shortest, and we still find a way to win games.’”
  • Hollinger campaigns for Houston’s Carl Landry as Sixth Man of the Year:  “Everyone likes to talk about the no-talent, overachieving Rockets (11-9), but Landry has dominated off the bench. He basically becomes Houston’s go-to scorer as soon as he enters games, because he can shoot from midrange, score in the post and get lots of garbage buckets off the ball. Landry is averaging 16.3 points a game off the bench with a sizzling 56.7 percent shooting mark and comes in at 88.8 percent from the line. His rate of 25.3 points per 40 minutes is better than the rates of Antawn Jamison (19.50), Danny Granger (19.77) and Monta Ellis (17.24), except Landry produces his on far fewer shots.”
  • The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry posits that Jeff Green is the Thunder’s most important player:  “When Green plays well, the Thunder generally wins. When he underperforms, so too does OKC. In the Thunder’s 10 wins, Green is averaging 17 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists. In the team’s nine losses, Green has underwhelming averages of 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Green’s shooting percentages from the field, 3-point line and free throw line also are markedly better in wins. Only Green’s blocks and turnovers are better in losses. The statistics show Green, for better or for worse, has now evolved into the all-so important sidekick to Durant that he was projected to be when the franchise selected him fifth overall in 2007.”
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:  “Points per possession has become the new, trendy number to gauge how a team is doing defensively and offensively, too. The reason is that both teams get approximately the same number of possessions in a game. If one team has 100 possessions, the opponent is going to have somewhere between 98 and 102. The discrepancy could come if a team starts and finishes a quarter with the ball. But for the most part, it’s an equal playing field, as opposed to shooting percentage. In Saturday’s game against Atlanta, for instance, the Hawks took 89 shots and the Mavericks had 67. Clearly, the field-goal percentage on defense for the Mavericks, which was excellent at 36 percent, was skewed by the fact that they gave up so many more shots. That also was the first game the Mavericks lost this season when out-shooting an opponent. ‘We believe it is a better indicator,’ coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘Points per possession is a finite number each time you have the ball. If you win a game, you’re going to have a better points per possession on offense than the other team.’ So what is a good points-per-possession average defensively? ‘Anything around one or less is good,’ Carlisle said. ‘Nobody in the league had an average under one last year for the season. Offensively, anything at 1.1 or 1.05 or higher is generally pretty positive.’ Points per possession is a relatively new statistic. Many teams still believe field-goal percentage is the best way to grade a team’s defense. But Roland Beech, the Mavericks director of basketball analytics, said points per possession is gaining in popularity.”

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