Points in the Paint

» December 15, 2009 5:55 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Every year, the three-point shot becomes more of a weapon. The reason is simple, as John Hollinger noted in a March 27th edition of his PER Diem: “It works. In fact, few stats correlate better with winning than 3-point attempts. If you tell me only how many 3-pointers a team has chucked up this season and provide no other information, I can tell you whether it is a winning team and be right eight times out of 10.” Last season, New Jersey managed to stay afloat thanks to strong perimeter play from Devin Harris and Vince Carter. The duo combined for 41 points per game, and — along with sharp-shooting forwards Bobby Simmons and Ryan Anderson — attempted nearly 15 threes an outing, stretching the floor for Brook Lopez down low.  So it should come as no surprise that the Nets, 2-22 heading into tonight’s game against the Cavaliers, are dead last in three-point percentage, and twenty-seventh in three-pointers attempted. In fact, New Jersey’s three-point accuracy has dropped a league-worst 10.4 percent from a year ago, when they finished ninth in three-point percentage, and third in three-pointers attempted.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski: “The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst had a terrific story Sunday on the relationship between LeBron James and John Calipari’s Kentucky program. James used his summer sneaker camp to build relationships with America’s best young players – kids who could eventually be represented by his own marketing company, LRMR. For now, John Wall is clearly a target. What’s more, James’ cozy relationship with Calipari has long inspired discussion within the league that the star could make a power play for him to become his coach. Calipari has deftly created the illusion that James is his player, a powerful association in the recruiting battles.”
  • Kendrick Perkins on Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, as quoted by Joel Brigham of HOOPSWORLD:  “He helps a lot, man. He’s here every day from five in the morning until nine at night. He puts us in the best position to play defense because he watches film a lot and knows exactly what each team likes to do. He’s the man behind everything.”
  • Sactown Royalty’s Tom Ziller dissects Sacramento’s defense:  “Sacramento is middle-of-the-pack in the frequency of opponent attempts at the rim … a bit surprising really. (We’ll come back to interior defense in a moment.) No team gives up more non-layup/dunk shots inside the paint than the Kings, though. The Kings allow the sixth lowest rate of ‘midrange’ 10-15 foot shots, and the 10th lowest rate of long twos. (Long twos are the worst shot in basketball, by category. More specifically, long twos by Chris Duhon are the worst shot in basketball.) The Kings give up the 7th lowest rate of threes, which is a positive. So, essentially, Kings opponents end up taking a lot of short jumpers, compared to the league at large. But when those opponent do get to the rim, well. Damn. The Kings have the second-worst shot defense at the rim.”
  • Matt McHale on whether Derrick Rose can become Chicago’s go-to guy:  “So yes, Rose needs to take over. But can he? In addition to Vinny’s system and his team’s inability to knock down shots, Rose doesn’t seem to have that “me the ball and get the hell out of my way” mentality. He has the talent and the physical skills. Does he have the necessary inner hombre? It’s hard to tell. I’ve watched every game Rose has played as a pro. I’ve gone over his game logs. He’s had a handful of great games, several very good games, and a lot of games that were just good. But he has yet to play an extended stretch of dominant basketball. You know, the kind where nobody can stop him and he takes his teammates to another level.”
  • Matt at Blog-a-Bull asks, “if Rose is to eventually be the all-NBA superstar type, shouldn’t there be one 40-point, 28 shot outburst in his early career?”
  • John Schuhmann says the Iverson-Holiday backcourt (with Elton Brand off the bench) makes sense:  “Iverson is trying to work off a month of rust, even more when you consider that he played just 67 minutes with Memphis in November. He’s also dealing with a bad knee, which was drained on Sunday. He doesn’t have his burst yet and, thus far, has been more effective playing off the ball in catch-and-shoot situations. ‘Until my legs get to where I want them,’ he said, ‘I’ll just take whatever the defense gives me.’ With Williams out, Holiday gives the Sixers someone who can make plays off the dribble and get Iverson the open shots that he can’t yet create for himself. Andre Iguodala, who was the other starting guard in Iverson’s first three games back, is better suited to play the wing. ‘With Allen and Jrue in the backcourt, it gives us solid, true guard play,’ Jordan said. ‘Andre gives us great defensive presence at any position, but to get real good guard play, it’s good to have Jrue and Allen in there together to start. The concept is to get [Iguodala and Thaddeus Young] running the lane after a make or a miss. Just sprint the lane and let either of the guards push it. I like their decision-making, because they’re solid play-making guards.’”
  • In an interview with NBA.com, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti reveals that he acts as a conduit between the team and front office, which shouldn’t come as a complete surprise since Vitti has the NBA’s longest active tenure with a single team, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Vitti shares some great anecdotes as well, including this one about Jack Nicholson:  “Back in the Forum days, we used to have this ’suture room’ that we shared with hockey, and there was a dental chair in there. So Jack [Nicholson] needed something, so I told the security guy ‘Put him in the suture room. It’s open, I’ll get in there as soon as I can.’ When I come in, he’s got the chair facing backwards, so all I see coming in is the back of the chair and this plume of smoke coming up. And he’s got the control in his hand and he presses the button and it’s — eeeeeeeeeeeerh! the chair is rotating — and there he is, with a cigarette and this tiny, little round ashtray with a lid on it. He looks at me and says, ‘Don’t worry, V. I’ve brought my own ashtray.’ He puts the cigarette in the ashtray and puts the ashtray in his coat pocket. Then he looks at me and smiles like in that ‘Heeeeere’s Johnny!’ scene [in The Shining]. I’m not going to tell you why he asked to come in there.”
  • The AP reports:  “A developer’s plan to move the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn has gotten a boost from Wall Street. Investors quickly bought up $511 million in tax-free bonds that went on sale Tuesday to pay for part of the much-delayed project. Nets principal owner Bruce Ratner says the strong sales show that investors have confidence in the project.”

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