Points in the Paint

» December 17, 2009 5:52 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • From Ian Thomsen’s piece on Tyreke Evans:  “His 6-feet, 11 ¼-inch wingspan is as long as Griffin’s and an inch shorter than LeBron James’: Having turned 20 in September, 220-pound Evans looks very much like the LeBron of point guards in his ability to dominate rivals, physically and athletically. ‘He can play 1, 2 or 3,’ said McMillan. ‘And when they have some of their guys back, we may even see him play some 4 because he has a big body.’ ‘He’s a walking mismatch,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. ‘Very few times do you have a rookie [who can] affect the game plan of the other coach, but they set their defense to try to stop him. He’s responded really well in figuring out what the next move is: If they double team here what do you do about that, if they put this guy on you, what do you do about that? There’s just not one thing you can do to curb his effectiveness.’ Evans appreciates the impact he makes. ‘I’m going to the basket and making contact with them every chance I get,’ he said. ‘I was playing [Timberwolves 6-foot rookie] Jonny Flynn the other night and he said to the refs, ‘Man, I didn’t know I had to guard LeBron James tonight.’‘”
  • Steve Adamek of The Bergen Record:  “Mike D’Antoni was joking Thursday morning after addressing whether he’d play rookie Toney Douglas (possibly) and/or Nate Robinson (don’t bet on it) in the absence of Larry Hughes for the next couple of games because of a left groin strain. Coaching, he said, is all about winning. No coach says, ‘I don’t like him. I’d rather lose’ when it comes to a player, he insisted by way of explaining N8’s hiatus. ‘I’d play Satan himself if I could win,’ he went on. ‘I don’t care. I’ve got no morals or scruples. I don’t think a coach does because we’re only judged if we win or lose and there’s nothing else.’ He then made reference to his days in Phoenix, about how a coach can win a lot, but ‘you can be gone, anyway’ — clearly still a touchy subject with him.”
  • Jonathan Givony, President and Director of Scouting for Draft Express, filed a comprehensive report on John Wall:  “Plenty of words have already been spent on the athletic gifts of John Wall, both here and otherwise. He’s in a class of his own in college basketball as far as his quickness and explosiveness is concerned, as he’s shown on countless occasions with some incredible highlight reel plays. After all, how many NCAA teams have a set play in their offense for a backdoor cut and alleyoop lob intended for their point guard? We called Derrick Rose the ‘most athletic point guard we’ve ever evaluated at the college level,’ and feel strongly about the fact that Wall is every bit his equal in that category, if not better. A place where Wall might still be underrated though is in his passing ability. Not only does he rank 6th amongst all draft prospects in assists per-40 minutes pace adjusted, but more notably he ranks 8th in assists per field goal attempt ratio. This is an interesting stat to evaluate Wall by because it compares the amount of assists he racks up with the number of shots he takes, which could be a good way to rate how unselfish he’s been. Right now he stacks up favorably in that category with the collegiate numbers posted by the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Ty Lawson, and absolutely blows away what Derrick Rose did as a freshman. More important than the numbers is the fact that Wall is clearly showing excellent instincts as a passer, both with the creativity in which he gets the ball to teammates in different spots on the floor—he’s more than just a vanilla drive and dish point guard—and also with the willingness he displays to get others involved.”
  • After dropping six straight to end the month of November, the Detroit Pistons are 6-4 over their last ten games thanks in part to the improved post play of Charlie Villanueva. As Detroit Bad Boys notes, Villanueva, signed to a five-year, $40 million deal last summer, is shooting 68.3 percent from the basket area, with 34 percent of his attempts coming from that distance this season.
  • Britt Robson’s news and observations are must-read. A snippet:  “Among the woes for San Antonio is Tony Parker’s wayward jump shot. Last year, 59 percent of Parker’s attempts were jumpers and he had an effective field goal percentage of 42.4 — not great, but enough to keep opposing defenses honest. This year, the mix of jumpers in his game has dropped to 54 percent because his effective field goal percentage is a paltry 36.7 from outside. Opponents are giving him the open look and denying penetration: His percentage of blocked shots in the paint has risen from 12 percent to 16 percent thus far this year.”
  • Wages of Wins on Dwyane Wade’s shooting slump:  “Last season Wade posted a 51.6% adjusted field goal percentage.  This season this mark has fallen to 44.8%.  If Wade could return to the level of efficiency seen last year – and the same happened with respect to assists (which are also a bit down) – the Heat would see the team’s projected wins rise by about nine.”
  • Last week, the Denver Nuggets became the latest team to cut early morning shootarounds, joining the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics. The early returns have been positive, reports Benjamin Hochman:  “The Nuggets continue to hold game-day morning shootarounds for players who played less than 20 minutes the previous game. Karl said for the most part the attitude of the players has been great and that in future shootarounds, he might start mixing up which players attend, so the coaches can home in on players’ individual skills.” Sleep deprivation is a huge problem in today’s society, leading to issues with memory and learning capacity. So it’s good to see teams making rest a priority, especially since the typical NBA “workday resembles that of your basic third-shift worker at a plant.”
  • Coach Mike Moreau on the Hawks:  “In spite of their record, their statistics and their achievements, you just get a sense in watching the Hawks that not only are they good, but they know they are good. They don’t have the loud, chest pounding ‘we ain’t scared of nobody’ bravado that young pretenders have. That’s what the Grizzlies have. Memphis came into Atlanta last night wanting to make a statement, that they were a team on the rise. The Hawks barely broke a sweat. The Atlanta Hawks now have that calm, cool confidence that comes from that steady climb, from taking champions to the brink, learning the lessons, gaining the experience, and coming back the next year better, stronger, and more confident for it. It’s the quiet confidence that speaks to maturity and experience. And when a young, talented team like the Hawks acquires that trait, then you better beware.”
  • Professor Hollinger analyzes Atlanta’s league-leading offensive efficiency:  “The Hawks are just 10th in the NBA in true shooting percentage at 55.3 percent. Break it down further and it’s a pretty average résumé: Atlanta is eighth in field goal percentage, 12th from behind the 3-point line and below the league average in drawing free throws. So how are they leading the league in offense? It’s simple — they don’t shoot better, they simply shoot more often. The Hawks are the league’s only team averaging more than a shot per possession (where ‘shots’ are defined as field goal attempts plus 0.44 times free throw attempts), so even though they aren’t as accurate, their volume approach pays dividends.”

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