1) As much credit as Marc Gasol has been given (which still isn't enough) Roy Hibbert deserves an almost equal amount. He's averaged 13.4, 11 and 3 blocks over his last 5 games and has defended the paint exceptionally well against the Knicks. Hibbert hasn't dominated scoring the basketball, and his foot speed will never be super impressive, he has defended the rim better than anyone save Gasol during the 2013 playoffs.
2) Tony Parker proving once again he's the game's most underrated player, I dont care what you say, but hes got 3 rings including a finals MVP award and has averaged 20, 8 and 3 on the year while shooting 52% from the field and a PER of 23.10. For instance, D Rose las year averaged 22, 8, and 3 on the year while shooting 44% from the field and had a PER of 23.10 as well. Yep, identical PERs. Yet Parker is still considered a borderline top 5 NBA PG because of his lackluster athleticism and "boring" system that he plays in. My friend Chris, who like a lot of fans out there, is completely average when it comes to talking about basketball, and it makes me furious just listening to him talk. He kept saying that brandon jennings is a better PG but just needs a different team.
3) Blake Griffin amazingly has grown increasingly less productive since joining the league
2010-2011 (23, 12 and 4)
2011-2012 (21, 11 and 3)
2010-2011 (18, 8 and 4)
This is not a trend I like to see
4) Jimmy Butler impresses me, he fits in well with that Bulls defense and he's in incredible shape being able to play 48 mins while guardin the NBA's elite player for the majority of those minutes..Hes also put up 14, and 6 with 95% from the free throw line over his last five games
5) Kevin Durant needs to stop begging for the ball 50 feet from the basket, he needs to be able to get the ball on a post up or something...He cant just stand by the halfcourt line and beg for the ball every possession. Guy is incredibly gifted but hes turned into a complete 1 on 1 player since Westbrooks gone down
6) I cant be the only one wondering how good Memphis would be with Rudy Gay instead of Tayshaun Prince at the 3...But then again, I look back and realize this team has been consistently better without him...It boggles the mind how that works...Also Sam Young has yet to locate a place where he can gather consistent minutes. He was great for Memphis 2 seasons ago as the starting 3 when Gay was hurt
7) Danny Granger on this year's Pacer team...tell me what his role would be. Would it have effected Paul George's production? Obviously, but would this team be better? Im just curious...I mean they could use the shooter, but the current dynamic of this team is wonderful
On number 2, it would've been better to compare Rose's MVP season and even then Rose was never considered the best PG in the league(in most people's minds). The thing with Parker is there's nothing interesting about him so the media never talks about him or hypes him up and it's sort of the same with the Spurs as a whole. If the Spurs were to beat the Heat and Parker get Finals MVP, they'd talk about the Heat and what the heat did wrong and what Lebron did wrong. Any true basketball fan that has a passion for the game as a whole would really respect Parker's game and really most do, the PG position is just very stacked these days in the NBA and most players put up similar results and its hard to place certain players ahead of each other in a top 5 list. Think of it like Russell Westbrook vs Steph Curry vs Derrick Rose (assuming he comes back 100%) vs Tony Parker vs etc. (only talking about scoring point guards here as they all have nearly the same stats.)
3.. Kia Optima take me back to when I averaged 23 and 12..
I have to disagree on #5, that's the way brooks has set up their offense since Westbrook got injured, he's trying to put Durant in a Point Forward type of position and it just doesn't work when you do it all the time and lowers Durants FG% by making him shoot off the dribble more often.
6 and 7 are sort of the same deal, I think the teams just do better as they have no clear stars any longer, maybe it's a mental thing.
Worst playoffs in years. They should just give lebron his ring now rather than risk further injury to players that can't even beat the heat anyway.
Kobe would of beat the spurs healthy at 80% shows how much of a 1st option Dwight Howard is. D-uncoordinated lookin like a robot in the post.
Hibbert is such a beast... when he wants to be. Maybe it's just the way he plays but sometimes he looks lackadaisical but recently that hasn't been shown he looks like he really wants to win but we'll see when he gets tougher competition.
Nailed it with the Memphis analysis. Theoretically they should be better with Rudy but realistically they're not. Can't have too many chiefs and not enough indians. The current nucleus seems more comfortable in their own skin and it's immeasurable to rate what chemistry does to a team
Memphis would be a really interesting had they not traded Ellington and Speights. Both of those guys could have really helped.
Grizz are one game from WCF! I think the trades worked out well!!!!!!!
Pretty sure they're one game from the WCF because Westbrook is injured, not because they traded Ellington & Speights.
Who was or was not on the court for OKC has nothing to do with the Grizz roster. Franchise record 56 regular season wins, first round defeat of the Clippers! Don't think Westbrooks absence had anything to do with that!!!! With Rudy Gay and Speights on roster they lost to the same Clippers team in the playoffs. Stop looking at numbers and look at the makeup of a team. But you must understand basketball to do that. This Grizz team is much better than the Grizz team that took OKC to 7 games with Westbrook and Harden in 2011! So Westbrook or not it was gone be a toss up series anyway. I believe the Grizz beat OKC 2-1 in regular season with loss coming day after Gay trade and only 7 players available...... I'm pretty sure..
"Who was or was not on the court for OKC has nothing to do with the Grizz roster."
• Of course, never said it did.
"Franchise record 56 regular season wins, first round defeat of the Clippers! Don't think Westbrooks absence had anything to do with that!!!!"
• Congratulations, I said nothing about the regular season or first round. I was referring to the Thunder/Grizzlies playoff series.
"With Rudy Gay and Speights on roster they lost to the same Clippers team in the playoffs. Stop looking at numbers and look at the makeup of a team."
• What numbers was I looking at? Did I post anything about numbers? No, didn't think so.
"This Grizz team is much better than the Grizz team that took OKC to 7 games with Westbrook and Harden in 2011! So Westbrook or not it was gone be a toss up series anyway."
• Yes the Grizz did improve, but to say it would have been a toss up even with Westbrook I must disagree. Why? Because without Westbrook the Thunder was struggling very noticeably, however in all of the Grizzlies wins they only managed to win by 4-6 points each game? Several of these games could have easily swayed in the Thunders favor without Westbrook, so if you add Westbrook in to the equation you would have to logically realize the Thunder would have had no problem winning most or all of these games.
The post is referring to the grizz possibly being better if they had speights and ellington. And that opinion was based on what? Numbers, personal liking of the two, eye test, what? So you didnt have to post anything on numbers, your opinion has to based on that or some other non-basketball reason, I presume. Doesn't matter how many points the games were decided by. Miami won two of the games vs Chicago by 2 possessions. Does that mean Chicago wins those games if D Rose plays because the 2 games were close? Of course not!!! The games would have been played differently. And if you think Westbrook playing would have made this series easy for the Thunder, you are absolutely delusional. He couldn't guard Randolph or Gasol last I checked. It would have been a 7 game series from two even teams and it woulda been a toss up. Just as the previously mentioned series was! You must logically realize that. Again, that would mean you understand basketball and not just an overzealous fan who loves their team and watches highlights.
You on crack? I was initially posting directly to your comment. Hence it being tabbed over and under your comment.
"Grizz are one game from WCF! I think the trades worked out well!!!!!!!"
You were suggesting they were 1 game from beating the Thunder because of the trades, I was saying no they were 1 game from beating the Thunder because Westbrook is out. My comment had nothing to do with the trades.
Are you on Meth? My original response was to the post, I wonder how the grizz would be had they not traded Speights n Ellington. Let me dumb down what my comment meant for your middle school level mentality. If a team is one game away from the conference finals, which it has never gone to, whatever trades they made or didn't make worked out fine for that organization! Seeing that it put them in a position it hasn't been in. That's regardless of who is on the opposing team. You brought up Westbrooks absence. And the only thing you have said with any sensibility is that Westbrook being out has nothing to do with the trades. Again, you brought up Westbrook, did you not Ms Meth? Again, because you have to repeat points for middle schoolers, I am saying to the original poster, the trades worked out fine because the team reached new heights after the trade. Do you understand that? If not, laying off the Meth may be a great idea for ya! It'll be ok, Westbrook will bounce back n you'll be able to route on the Thunder next season.
Another thing to note is that a player that was top 3 in the league 3 years ago, has gone missing against the chicago bulls... Can you guess who?
does he have an enormously huge jaw?
As far as Durant goes, I think you have to cut him some slack, he's begging for the ball all the way out there because Brooks is forcing him to play the point-forward role. He's asking him to be Lebron, and it's undoing all the work he did learning to play off the ball alongside Westbrook. There's a reason Lebron wasn't successful until he left Cleveland people.
I think it's a terrible decision to make the league's leading scorer a primary distributor instead of letting him turn up the heat as a scorer, get him good looks at the basket and let his team-mates carry their weight while he draws the attention of the D. At the moment the Grizz are just doubling the crap out of Durant and forcing him to give up the ball or force it. It reduces his team-mates to jump shooters and it hurts his ability to hit big shots, because he's caught between scoring and play-making.
Brooks is trying to turn Durant into something he isn't instead of just trusting the rest of the team to play like professional basketball players.
Kevin Martin needs to be given more minutes with Westbrook out, Thabo makes no sense to play major minutes in place of Martin because scoring is more of a need than D for this Thunder team now.
Also, no mention of Barnes' coming out party? He's making a case for steal of the draft.
Great post. I agree with you, especially about Kevin Durant. I hate that he's trying to play a LeBron James role and isolate at the top INSTEAD OF playing a Dirk Nowitzki role and letting them run offense through him from the low, mid or high post.
I agree with you about Blake Griffin too. The question that pops in my mind is, "Is Chris Paul really making him a better player?"
No, Memphis wouldn't be better with Rudy Gay. He's a ball stopper and plays too much hero ball. It's not hard to see that the Grizzlies play better when they're playing inside out basketball.
I think Danny Granger would fit in well with this team. The thing I've liked about Granger's game is that he doesn't need to dominate the ball for long periods of time and he has no ego. I think he'd provide another scorer/shooter, which the team definitely needs.
Blakes minutes are going down since his first season since Clippers have assembled a deeper team. (38 the first year, 36 then 32.) His per 36 are on par, he also improved from the freethrow line and on the defensive end (still has a ways to go. His passing numbers are impressive his minutes and usage are down and his assits are up. Don't let the numbers fool you at first glance man, you have to analize them. If he played big minutes, like 38 or so, his numbers would probably look something like 22, 11, 5, 1 and 1 with 50+% from the floor. Hes fine but definitely has to grow, so much potential.
This. He's definitely getting better, even if his raw numbers aren't increasing.
His offensive rating and TS% were at career high's this year, and his defensive rating has improved a ton since he was a rookie. If you look him up on SynergySports, he was statistically a good defender this year. Not saying that those numbers tell the whole story, but he's definitely improved a pretty decent amount.
I do agree that Durant needs to work off the ball. He has gotten some good looks in the Memphis series off of screens and while Memphis has denied him the ball with some outstanding defense at times, I think the Thunder should bring Durant off some baseline screens to get potential opportunities to catch-and-shoot.
Durant is a beast. That's all there is too it. At times he looks like a 6'10 Michael Jordan. I want to see him figure it out, I really do. But, you know, I want to see my Grizzlies get a title by then.
Durant is the best guy on the team. When Westbrook gets back they should play a small backcourt with Russell and Reggie. Play Westbrook and Durant off the ball more.
I think he is working too hard on offense right now. He can't bring the ball up the court EVERY POSSESSION.
If I were the Thunder I would think about bringing in Phil Jackson as a coach. He can use Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka a bit like he used Jordan, Pippen, and Grant/Rodman. ... the Thunder need to maximize their talent. They are basically down two very good young players in the past few seasons (James Harden and then before that Jeff Green) so they don't have talent to spare.
With the Grizzlies, we are playing well, but Prince is rusty. "My sources tell me" that Prince is hurt and has been hurt. Basically not even close to where he used to be, but he is grinding it out.
I think we played our best basketball after we did the Speights/Ellington trade and right before we traded Rudy. We destroyed the Nets that game with a starting rotation of Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Z Bo, and Gasol. Then we had Tony Wroten, Jerryd Bayless, Chris Johnson (a D League shooter), Darrell Arthur, Jon Leuer, and Hamed Haddaddi. He might have had Q-Pon back from injury then but I am not sure. Chris Johnson could shoot, and Wroten got playing time. The kid might not have the best shot but he can play. Then HH got involved and he is effective in spurts.
... so I thought that was our best team. "My sources also tell me" that Rudy Gay is basically the X factor. Prince is banged up but Rudy could ball. Ironically, Rudy Gay played LeBron James pretty well and even hit a buzzer beater over him. Prince couldn't even stop LeBron when Prince was in his prime. Not sure who will guard LeBron if both teams reach the finals. I would almost use Tony Wroten and Ed Davis as sacrificial lambs against the King. Just use Tony Allen, Prince, and Q-Pon to totally take Wade, Chalmers, and Mike Miller out of the game. Hope LeBron can beat you with jumpers. Then have Marc Gasol try to shut down Bosh (or try Darrell Arthur some). Have Z Bo body up on the Heat inside and have Conley play the passing lanes.
Our best hope is the Heat go small, and we can pound the ball inside to Gasol and Z Bo inside who should be able to school Bosh and LeBron. If the Heat go big though, with LeBron and Bosh at the forward spots and the Birdman at center, then I like the Heat's chances. LeBron would destroy Prince (probably) and Bosh is too versatile for Z Bo). And, Birdman kicked our butt last year in Memphis. We need to focus on pounding the ball inside, shutting down D Wade, Chalmers, and the other scorers, play LeBron straight up with different looks, and hope their shooters don't get crazy hot like Battier, Chalmers, and Mike Miller did last year. Plus, if Tay Prince returns to form a bit more, then I like our chances, even if he just hits a few more shots.
When the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay I was definitely critical of that move at first but it turned out to be the right move. I was concerned they wouldn't have a player they could go to at the end of the shot clock and the end of games but Mike Conley Jr picked up the slack and then some. I didn't think he could elevate his game enough to take them to the next level but it looks like he may have. It obviously benefits him that Westbrook isn't playing but even in the first round he held his own against CP3. Memphis dominates most games inside but Conley has been an underrated part of what they have been doing lately. Bringing in Tayshaun was just a bonus because he is still a very solid defender and a guy that can make shots. I would imagine one of the reasons they targeted Prince in the trade was to guard Durant in the playoffs. With Allen, Conley, Prince on the perimeter and Zbo and Gasol inside the Grizzlies are the best defensive team in the league. The Heat and Pacers are great defensive teams as well but they aren't as complete inside and out. Nobody is beating Miami unless LeBron would get hurt or have a mental breakdown like 2011. The Grizzlies are my pick to make the finals but I can't see them winning more than 2 games against Miami. LeBron has been coasting thru the playoffs so far and once Indy offers a little more resistance he will be primed for a huge showing the NBA Finals.