January 31, 2014

This Week in the NBA: 1/26-1/31

The Weird and Goofy Dallas Mavericks: Zach Lowe this week points out just how goofy and inexplicable the Dallas Mavericks are. Just look at the players they have: Dirk, Monta Ellis, Dejuan Blair, Shawn Marion, Jose Calderon, and Vince Carter. They're only as successful though when Dirk is on his game. And he is usually on his game. Lowe also points out that with this current group, Dallas will have cap space in the future to go after some key free agents at the end of Dirk's career.

Durant Breaks more Hearts: Kevin Durant is on a roll right now that is simply unbelievable. Durant has scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games by Monday night. He dropped 41 points on a good Atlanta Hawks team including 13 in the final quarter and the last 7 Thunder points including this game winner.

The Worst Draft Pick Ever?: That's what Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey said about his selection of Royce White from last year. White of course has anxiety issues that have prevented him from playing in the NBA with the Rockets and now the 76ers. I know Morey was being sarcastic, especially when Anthony Bennett night after night is proving himself to be the worst pick ever, but man that's just mean to call someone with anxiety problems the worst draft pick ever.

The Life and Times of David Stern: With Stern retiring after Saturday night you're starting to see more and more retrospectives on his career. The latest is in David Aldridge's Monday column and it's an oral history of Stern's term as commissioner. I suggest reading it because it is fascinating to look back at the Stern's term because it was so long and the NBA has changed so much.

John Wall with an Lebron Impersonation: On Tuesday night the Warriors took the Bullets Wizards lightly and lost. The highlight of the night was John Wall doing his best Lebron impersonation and chasing down Steph Curry and blocking his layup attempt. It was beautiful.

The Best and Worst of the NBA so far: Shaun Powell of Sports on Earth takes a look at the best and worst so far in the NBA at the midseason point. The most fascinating worst of course involves the Minnesota Timberwolves and draft picks. Even without David Kahn running the draft the Timberwolves continue to make horrible decisions. The Timberwolves traded out of the 9th slot for two picks later in the draft. So instead of drafting either Michael Carter-Williams or Trey Burke with that pick, the Wolves traded down to select Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng neither of whom are seeing much playing time and with Muhammad actually spending time in the D-League. Good job, good effort Timberwolves. David Kahn is proud.

Phoenix Rises: The great Jonathan Abrams of Grantland profiled the rise of the Phoenix Suns and exactly how they're winning. It doesn't make sense that a team full of castoffs is winning but they are and they're actually fun to watch.

The Pacers Are Really Really Good Defensively: Kirk Goldsburry explains how well Indiana plays defensively and how they affect other offenses. They defend the arc with George and Stephenson and the paint with Hibbert forcing midrange jumpers which aren't a proficient shot. Check out their work.
Best of the Week: A look at the best games of the upcoming week.
Friday, January 31st, Oklahoma City at Brooklyn: The hottest team in January vs the hottest player of January. Can you believe what Kevin Durant has been doing? He's gone basically an entire month scoring 30 or more points. It's been a real pleasure watching Durant.
Sunday, February 2nd, Orlando at Boston: I highlight this game simply because it's the only game the NBA is airing on Super Bowl Sunday. I'm shocked that the NBA is playing any games on that day. Most of the time they just avoid the Super Bowl.
Monday, February 3rd, Portland at Washington: Portland continues to hum along while the Wizards keep pulling victories out of their asses. The Bullets Wizards are actually one of the few bright spots in the east this season.
Tuesday, February 4th, Indiana at Atlanta: Paul Millsap gets my midway season award of "holy crap I had no idea how good this guy has been". His shot chart isn't all that impressive but his overall numbers have been great this year.
Wednesday, February 5th, Miami at Los Angeles Clippers: Miami smoked the Clippers earlier this season when Chris Paul was healthy. What's going to happen to the Clips without Paul against Miami? Will Griffin lead them to a victory?

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