Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Point Shootout, Episode #4

I watched my first Hawks game in about a week last night (oh, how I regret having to miss Toronto's visit to town) and I saw Josh Smith go 3-16 from the field and 0-4 from three-point land. Floating around the perimeter, waiting for a teammate to penetrate and kick the ball out to him, Smith looked like he was auditioning for Matt Freije's role (were Matt Freije able to make open shots in the NBA).

Josh Smith isn't blessed with a huge variety of talents. Those that he possesses (running, jumping, on a good day passing) are quite obvious. Those that are beyond him (shooting, dribbling) are equally obvious. Mike Woodson has some bizarre (potential) amalgam of Kirilenko and Rodman on his hands and he's wasting him (or allowing Smith to waste himself) in a role of relative normalcy that emphasizes almost entirely his weaknesses.

On the year, 58% of Smith's shot attempts have been on jump shots. He's shooting 27.3 eFG% on those attempts. If the Hawks are going to try to expand his offensive game, I'd start with teaching him some post moves. If he's missing shots from the block at least he'll have a fair chance to get the offensive rebound.

Standings through November 28th
Ron Artest: 12G, 11-50, 22%, 3.25 misses per game
Josh Smith: 12G, 11-44, 25%, 2.75 misses per game

Thursday, November 16, 2006

5 of the Night: November 15th, 2006

Games watched: Charlotte at San Antonio (overtime only, half-fetal following the Kansas/Oral Roberts debacle), Philadelphia at Seattle

Captain: Chris Paul
G: Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby
F: Paul Pierce
C: Emeka Okafor

Coach: Bernie Bickerstaff

Unofficial commendations: LeBron James, Keyon Dooling and Carlos Arroyo, Antoine Wright, Nenad Krstic and Jason Collins (see below), Manu Ginobili (when not shooting), Andre Iguodala, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kevin Martin, Rashard Lewis, Shav Randolph, Chauncey Billups, Ryan Gomes, David Lee

Sticking it to John Hollinger: Hilton Armstrong, LaMarcus Aldridge, Renaldo Balkman, Adam Morrison, Kyle Lowry, Rajon Rondo

Back spasms make him an effective shooter which makes as much rational sense as anything else having to do with him: Ron Artest

Seriously, he's the new George McCloud: Martell Webster and/or Jarvis Hayes

F-minus: Brian Skinner and Andrew Bogut (In 48 minutes against the Nets they combined for 9 rebounds, 7 fouls, 4 turnovers, and 0 points.), Nick Collison, Earl Watson

Cuts: Lindsay Hunter, Flip Murray, Carlos Delfino

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Point Shootout, Episode #3

The below includes Artest's 2-5 shooting performance against Toronto on Sunday night. Smith has countered with 15 three-point attempts in his last two games, but Artest still leads across the board.

Standings through November 14th
Ron Artest: 6G, 4-26, 15.4%, 3.67 misses per game
Josh Smith: 7G, 11-33, 33.3%, 3.1 misses per game

5 of the Night: November 14th, 2006

Games watched: Milwaukee at Atlanta, Denver at Miami, Chicago at Dallas (It's not a good sign for the Bulls to see Kirk Hinrich look so exhausted at the end of the 3rd Quarter of the 7th game of the season.), Clippers at Utah

Co-captains: Deron Williams, Matt Harpring, Carlos Boozer, and Mehmet Okur

F: Kevin Garnett

Coach: Jerry Sloan

Unofficial commendations: Tyronn Lue (Okay, he's probably better than Salim Stoudamire.), Michael Redd, Joe Johnson, Andre Miller, Dwyane Wade, Josh Childress, Carmelo Anthony, Peja Stojakovic, Tim Duncan, Luol Deng (on offense), Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Emeka Okafor (May and Morrison show up, Okafor has another great night, Chris Paul doesn't make a field goal, and David West doesn't play because of his injury. Charlotte still loses. They're not a deep team, but I thought their first seven or eight would be enough to keep them respectable.), Erick Dampier, Mehmet Okur, Andris Biedrins (4-6! on free throws)

Punitive sprints: Chris Kaman, Shaun Livingston

Cuts: Gary Payton, whichever Raptor(s) let Mikey Dunleavy score 22 points and grab 8 rebounds

Friday, November 10, 2006

5 of the Night: November 9th, 2006

Co-Captains: LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
G: Jason Terry, Baron Davis
F: Drew Gooden

Coach: Mike Brown (I don't know if the official scorer in Cleveland provided some home cooking in crediting the Cavs with 38 assists on 45 field goals, but shooting 62% (eFG) from the floor and scoring 1.17 points per possession against Chicago is unquestionably a strong offensive performance.)

Unofficial commendations: Chris Paul, Leandro Barbosa, Kirk Hinrich, Monta Ellis, and Mickael Pietrus

New ball note for further research: One night after Paul Pierce committed 12 turnovers in the Celtics overtime win against Charlotte, Steve Nash turned the ball over 10 times against Dallas.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

5(s) of the Night: November 8th, 2006

I go out on a Wednesday night and I miss all sorts of exciting things around the Association. The below is cobbled together from highlights, recaps, and boxscores. The League Pass archives will get a work out as I try to catch up.

Captain: Jamal Crawford, gamewinner
G: Tony Parker, Vince Carter
F: Fabricio Oberto (11-11!)
C: Emeka Okafor

Coach: Gregg Popovich

2nd Five (one night only)

Captain: Paul Pierce (leading the league in rebounds, setting up Delonte West's gamewinner, and setting a single-game franchise record for turnovers)
G: Allen Iverson, Agent Zero
F: Wally Szczerbiak
C: Sam Dalembert

Coach: Nate McMillan

Unofficial commendations: Zach Randolph, Brevin Knight, Tracy McGrady, Ryan Gomes, Dikembe Mutombo, Charlie Bell, Chris Bosh, Cuttino Mobley, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Webber, David Lee, Kevin Martin, Carlos Boozer and Tim Duncan

Doghouse: Sean May (1 rebound in 29 minutes), 80% of Milwaukee's starting lineup (Bogut, Villanueva, Patterson, and Mo Williams watched the comeback against the Rockets), Beno Udrih, Channing Frye, Eddy Curry, and Jerry Sloan for sitting Boozer the entire 4th quarter

Cuts: Sasha Vujacic, Jake Voskuhl, Clifford Robinson (welcome back), and Bostjan Nachbar

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Matters of Hoopinion, One Week In

This post by Wizznutzz, has convinced to strike the following from the record:

Hoopinion is for living with Brendan Haywood's bad possessions.

Moving on, Renaldo Balkman (sweet block on Tim Duncan during the Knicks' aborted comeback Monday night) is what I thought Josh Smith would be before I realized that Josh Smith is sui generis. Mike Woodson has the Hawks at 3-1 this year but he has yet to realize about Smith what Isiah Thomas has already demonstrated an understanding of w/r/t Balkman: He is a power forward. As long as Thomas doesn't overextend Balkman, he should provide some quality production in limited minutes.

Were Smith playing on the perimeter intermittently so as to get Marvin Williams on the floor at his best position, I'd have a mild concern rather than a complaint, but Woodson is playing Smith out of position so as to give a thus far overmatched Shelden Williams a plurality of minutes at the 4.

The best Hawks lineup right now is (Small guard)/Johnson/Childress/Smith/Pachulia. Their second best lineup has two small guards, two of Johnson/Childress/Smith, and Pachlia.

Woodson doesn't have any depth. I think he'll be best served by riding the few good players he has very heavily on the nights Atlanta has a chance to win and resting them often when their opponents put a game out of reach late in the 3rd or early in the 4th quarter.

Until Tyronn Lue stops making shots, he and Claxton should play the bulk of the minutes at the 1 as well as the leftover minutes behind Johnson and Childress. Wright should back up Pachulia and Smith. Depending on the opposition and which Hawks are in foul trouble, a combination of Stoudamire, Shelden Williams, Matt Freije, and Solomon Jones (in that order) should get what's left over until Marvin Williams returns.

5 of the Night: November 7th, 2006

Games watched: Atlanta at Cleveland (overtime only), Seattle at Miami (last 8 minutes only)

Captain: Joe Johnson
G: Chris Paul, Tyronn Lue
F: Kevin Garnett
C: Andrew Bynum

Coach: Byron Scott

Unofficial commendations: Jermaine O'Neal, David West, Tyson Chandler, Rawle Marshall, Dorell Wright, Chuck Hayes, Randy Foye, Josh Smith, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Cuts: Eric Snow, Damon Jones, David Wesley, Jannero Pargo, the guy(s) in New Orleans and/or at that have Mickael Pietrus in the boxscore playing 12 minutes and putting up all zeros last night

Serious questions for: Danny Ferry, Mike Brown

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

5 of the Night: November 6th, 2006

Games watched: Washington at Orlando, Milwaukee at Chicago, San Antonio at New York, Detroit at Utah, Golden State at Dallas

: Etan Thomas, Warrior Poet
G: Ben Gordon, Carlos Arroyo
F: Zach Randolph, Ron Artest (1-4 3PT)

Coach: Don Nelson (desire to get paid + 36 minutes of Dunleavy on the bench = for one night, a return to greatness)

Unofficial commendations: Tony Parker, Brent Barry, Jarrett Jack, Keyon Dooling (what?), Rasheed Wallace, Dirk Nowitzki

Cuts: Steve Balker, Martell Webster, Stephen Graham

Matchup for game of one-on-one that could stretch toward infinity if you required someone to win by two: Beno Udrih v. Nate Robinson

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Point Shootout, Epsiode #2

Since I last wrote and you last read, Artest has surged ahead by failing to miss fewer than four three-pointers in any of Sacramento's three games this season while Smith has taken but three three-pointers in each of Atlanta's three games.

Artest has made just 21.4% of his jump shots this year.

Standings through 3 games
Ron Artest: 1-14, 7.1%
Josh Smith: 2-9, 22.2.%

5 of the Night: November 5th, 2006

Games watched: Lakers at Seattle

Captain: Andre Iguadala
G: Allen Iverson
F: Shane Battier, Chris Bosh
C: Tim Ducan

Unofficial commendations: Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, Luke Ridnour, Brent Barry

Coach: Mo Cheeks

Cuts: Keyon Dooling, Jason Kapono

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Point Shootout

Two of my favorite players, absolute freaks of basketball nature both, have an unhealthy preoccupation with a facet of basketball that eludes their significant and varied talents.

Ron Artest and Josh Smith shoot a lot of three-pointers. And they don't make many.

Artest is a career 31% three-point shooter. In 40 games with Sacramento last year, he attempted 199 three-pointers. He made 30.8% of those.

Josh Smith is a career 28.6% three-point shooter. As of March 1st of last year, he started shooting a lot of three-pointers: 101 in 27 games after attempting 32 in the first 127 games of his career.

Standings Through One Game
Ron Artest: 0-4, 0%
Josh Smith: 0-3, 0%

5 of the Night: Novemeber 1st, 2006

Games watched: Atlanta at Philadelphia, Washington at Cleveland, Clippers at Phoenix

Captain: Ronny Turiaf
G: Jason Kidd, Larry Hughes
F: Dwight Howard, Paul Pierce

Coach: Brian Hill
Interim coach: Kurt Rambis

Unofficial commendations: Luke Ridnour, Chris Paul, Lamar Odom, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, Vince Carter, Emeka Okafor, Andrew Bogut, and Juan Dixon

Cuts: Joey Graham, Sasha Pavlovic

Potential future cut: Anthony Roberson

Potential future firings: Mike Woodson, Sam Mitchell

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

5 of the Night: October 31, 2006

I'll be grading on a curve here, so, congrats Ben Wallace, Dwyane Wade, and Steve Nash for doing what's expected of you last night but you're not receiving the emptiest honor for which NBA players are eligible this morning.

Games watched: Chicago at Miami, Phoenix at Lakers

Captain: Lamar Odom
G: Chris Duhon, Leandro Barbosa, Kirk Hinrich
C: Andrew Bynum

Coach: Scott Skiles, "It's one game, we're 1-0, yippee. This is an unrelenting league. We move on."

Cuts: James Jones, James Posey, Sasha Vujacic

Polite but firm suggestion to retire: Gary Payton, General Manager Pat Riley

It's a Mat, With Conclusions Written On It

Chicago 108 Miami 66

For one night at least, John Paxson's decision to acquire Ben Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, and PJ Brown and dare the opposition to score or grab an offensive rebound appears to be brilliant.

Miami points per 100 possessions: 69.9

Chicago defensive rebounds: 36
Miami offensive rebounds: 4

People might calm down about Kirk Hinrich's ability to defend Dwyane Wade following Wade's 10-15 (2-3 on three-pointers) night from the floor. Hinrich does a good job keeping up with Wade's off-the-ball movement and he does force Wade (as much as possible) toward Chicago's help defense (Wade turned it over four times) but anytime Wade is making jump shots he's essentially unguardable.

Miami's defense was horrible and their bench worse.
Jalen Rose would help, at most, in one of those areas. Frankly, Gary Payton was only marginally more effective on either end of the court than Chris Quinn. The Glove couldn't keep Hinrich in front of him at all. A lot of things will have to go right for Miami to win 50 games.

The Bulls won't get 20 points and an eFG% over 100 from Chris Duhon ever again, but it's not like they had a team-wide hot shooting night. Their more plausible offensive stars, Gordon, Deng, and Nocioni, were 9-26 from the floor with one three-pointer made between them. I can't wait to see how Chicago looks tonight in Orlando to get an initial impression of the value of their depth.

Los Angeles Lakers 114 Phoenix 106

In the first quarter, the Smush Parker/Sasha Vujacic backcourt made me wonder how hard Phil Jackson was trying to win this game.

Then Mike D'Antoni went to the bench and James Jones (above, right) and a disoriented-looking Marcus Banks rendered the Phoenix offense impotent while the Lamar Odom we all fell in love with showed up, put the Lakers on his back, and won the damn game.

Odom got help from Maurice Evans (making me look smart), Andrew Bynum (the points will be harder to come by against non-Phoenix squads, but
5 assists!), Brian Cook, Luke Walton, Radmanovic, and Jordan Farmar. Make no mistake, the Lakers have significantly upgraded their bench. Kobe, feel free to use these guys upon your return.

The inagural
5 of the Night will appear later today, though I've mostly given its composition away herein.