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Found 92 results

  1. Don: I think this is the ONLY great 17 year run characterized by a single coach and a single starter. The ONLY one. Simply unprecedented. One other remarkable thing about this run of coach/player/superstar and many many changing parts: Their style of play has changed ...and changed dramatically over this run. In the early years Duncan was the hub of the offense and was a "twin tower" with David Robinson. Robinson, who had been a huge star in his own right graciously moved from being the offensive highlight of the team and put even more effort into defense...and Tim Duncan was the offensive focus. Then over many years the team changed and kept changing in composition...and over the last several years especially as Duncan has aged the focus of the offense changed considerably. Between the Robinson years and the more recent years...a different offensive focus arose as Parker and Ginobelli became stars in their own right and style and partook in 4 of the 5 championships while becoming stars in their own right. Parker significantly evolved as he added passing to his repertoire and his remarkable ability to penetrate, along with developing a reliable jump shot. Ginobelli is a remarkable player in his own right. In the last couple of years the team evolved again. This particular team this year remarkably showed off an exquisite passing attack spread throughout the team. So many players contributed in this thorough passing attack. Really remarkable that an entire team participated. I particularly found it fascinating in that Tiago Splitter, who looked like a big stiff to me, became the recipient and the passer of so many effective incredibly quick "touch passes" that resulted in baskets. Was he capable of this before he joined the Spurs? I doubt it. Finally this article expounded on advanced metrics by stats.com that chart things like "miles run by the team" spacing, and other advanced metrics that work to explain this transformation. The spurs outran the Heat by almost 1 mile in their 3rd and 4th games...and outpassed them by over 100 passes per game in that dominant stretch. Of relevance here: within the world of basketball, and often publicized, Coach "Pop" is well noted as a foodie. Last year, after losing the championship, two long time assistant coaches left to take over other pro teams and two new assistant coaches joined the team. One thing they noted was that at team and group preparatory meetings there diets were going to change from beer and burgers to wine and fish and finer dining. Maybe its Coach Pop's foodie obsession that has helped fuel this extended period of excellence. Were the Spurs that great in this series or the Heat that bad? I'm not sure. But it was a dominant victory during a long stretch of excellence.
  2. Here is to the Wizards. They made the playoffs. Do you realize they have had the aggregate worst record in the NBA since 2000. They probably had one of the worst records between around 1980 and 2000. They have been a disappointing team. ....and I've followed them virtually all of that time. I started watching them way back....in Baltimore...When Wes Unseld turned them into a fearsome team and Earl Monroe was a one of a kind unstoppable offensive whirlwind. They had other great players back then including the incredibly powerful Gus Johnson. And then the team got BETTER. They won a championship in the late 1970's had an excellent team....and a couple of dismal decades.... So it is good to see this team with some young stars plus some wise stable veterans finally make the playoffs. The Washington Post has an astonishing statistical look at the Wizards season thanks to 6 cameras attached to the tops of arenas catching every moment of every game. Here is an astonishing little detail one might never know: John Wall basically controls the ball more than any other player on any other team. Lots of other little nuggets in the story. In any case good luck Wizards in the Playoffs. You would have made Abe Pollin proud. --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Wes Unseld (DonRocks)]
  3. Selected in the 2013 NBA draft with the #15 pick in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a name you may not yet know, but may be forced to learn to spell and pronounce sometime in the near future. Born in Greece to Nigerian immigrant parents, Antetokounmpo is more commonly known by his American nickname, an embarrassing term which speaks more about Americans than him (you can find it easily on the internet; I refuse to go along with it even though it's more laziness than malice). This is a very obscure statistic, and it's surely one that was made up to demonstrate what a complete season Antetokounmpo is having for Milwaukee, but this year, he could become the first player in NBA history to average (take a deep breath) ... 20 points-per-game, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Granted, that's a tailor-made statistic, but it *does* reflect what an all-around player this man is - he is the Bucks' *playmaker*, just as often playing point guard as small forward, and he's 6'11". Pundits are saying that Antetokounmpo is "Next" - and what they mean by that is: After the James's, Currys, etc. step down, who will fill their shoes? They're saying that Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to be in that group - remember him: You'll be glad you did. "Add Buzzer-Beater to Antetokounmpo's Superstar Résumé" by Ohm Youngmisuk on espn.com
  4. It's been a fantastic first day. Two major upsets. Plus the vast majority have been close games, including multiple 1-point games.
  5. I had no idea James Brown ever played basketball, much less played for DeMatha. 1969 was Adrian Dantley's freshman year (I don't know if freshmen played varsity back then) - Dantley is #9 on the NBA all-time scoring list. Just as DeMatha ended Power Memorial's 71-game winning streak, a Dantley-led Notre Dame ended the Bill Walton-led UCLA's 88-game winning streak.
  6. In the midst of the NBA playoffs, the Warriors have beaten the Houston Rockets twice; once in which Stephen Curry played only 20 minutes, lit up the scoring, then got hurt and sat for the rest of the rout(game). In the 2nd match up, Curry didn't play due to injury...opening up tremendous opportunities for Houston. Didn't pan out though as the Golden State Warriors won again, even without Curry. Of course there could be a variety of reasons for the results...but one suggestion is that James Harden's defense is simply not that stellar. Below a video of some of his shining moments on defense: "Great Moments in James Harden Defensive History" on espn.go.com
  7. I'm not a fan of listicles, but since this is Sports Illustrated, I'll give them the benefit of this one: "Roundtable: NBA All-Time Starting Five?" on si.com
  8. In this post, I justifiably poked fun at the sports media for proclaiming every "next great thing" as "The [X] Jordan" - Harold Miner was "Baby Jordan," Tamir Goodman was "Jewish Jordan," etc. Len Bias could have been the next Michael Jordan, and was quite possibly the only player I've ever seen in my life who was *that good*. Like when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I remember exactly where I was, and exactly what I was doing, when I heard the news of Len Bias's tragic death - the two events happened only six-months apart. To young people today: I realize it's premature to even infer such a thing, but Len Bias was one of the greatest college basketball players I've ever seen. When he was drafted by the Boston Celtics, and then died from an overdose of crack cocaine, none other than Red Auerbach (who said he'd been planning for *three years* to draft Bias for the Celtics), said the city of Boston had not been so shocked since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Larry Bird, who had urged the Celtics to select Bias, and who had uniquely made plans to attend the Celtics' rookie camp to work with him, said, "It's horrible. It's the cruelest thing I ever heard." At 6'8", Bias was bigger and stronger than Jordan, and had everything you could possibly ask for in someone of that height. He had no weaknesses that couldn't have been fixed in short order, and when I'm in my old age, I will be telling this same story. Len Bias had all the tools he needed to be one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived. It isn't so much that he would have been the *next* Jordan; it's that he would have been Jordan's primary competition: Just as we had Bird and Magic, we would have had Jordan and Bias - he *was* *that* *good*. "Remembering Len Bias 30 Years After His Death: 'He Was It.'" by Cindy Boren on washingtonpost.com
  9. I had absolutely no idea that Tamir Goodman had been voted co-MVP of the 2000 Capital Classic - this, without making a field goal (he had 8 assists).
  10. The first time I saw LeBron James play was on the nationally televised high school game against Oak Hill Academy. Before the game, then-announcer Bill Walton came right out and said that James was 'the best high school player he had ever seen.' In that game, James scored 31, with 13 rebounds and 6 assists; yet, only went 12-25 from the field. There were moments of greatness, but the incredible pressure of national TV had clearly compromised his performance. No longer. "History! LeBron Nets 61, Heat Top Bobcats, 124-107" by Tim Reynolds on abcnews.com In a career-high scoring effort, James shot 22-33 from the field, including his first *eight* 3-point attempts. He scored 25 points in the 3rd quarter alone. James makes greatness look easy - he dominates without looking like he's dominating. Who do you go with right now, James or Durant? It's so nice having both to see, to witness. Career stats
  11. Q: Who is San Diego State's all-time Assists leader? A: Tony Gwynn
  12. Did we really not have a thread on Wilt Chamberlain? I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, but I'd like to list for everyone Chamberlain's single-season rebounds-per-game average in the playoffs over the course of three different decades: 1959-1960: 25.8 1960-1961: 23.0 1961-1962: 26.6 1963-1964: 25.2 1964-1965: 27.2 1965-1966: 30.2 1966-1967: 29.1 1967-1968: 24.7 1968-1969: 24.7 1969-1970: 22.2 1970-1971: 20.2 1971-1972: 21.0 1972-1973: 22.5 If I had to name five athletes of the 20th century who had the most imposing statistics, in any sport, Wilt Chamberlain would be on that list.
  13. One player who may not belong on this list, but was an *amazing* finisher given his physical attributes was Muggsy Bogues. I mentioned somewhere that I saw him play for the DC team in the 1983 McDonald's Capital Classic (click on "About," then "Final Scores" for some fun pictures), and he was the MVP in leading the Metro All-Stars to a two-point victory over the US All-Stars. Now, that does not a pro make, and it certainly doesn't put him on any all-time Best Finishers list, but it did give me a fairly intimate view of his incredible driving capabilities - he was like this little black dot, twisting and torsing through the air like a knuckleball, somehow managing to get off a shot under the outstretched arm of some pedigreed future NBA All-Star. My guess is that in a 23'9" race (which is the distance from the 3-point arc to the basket), he's one of the fastest people in NBA history. Anyway, does he belong on the "Best Finishers" list? Probably not, but it's worth at least giving him a nod. After posting this, I went to check if Bogues was by any chance the all-time leader in "Steals per Minute," and although I could only find the "Steals per Game" statistic, he isn't even close: he's number 72 on the list with an average of 1.54 steals per game. One thing I did notice was that in the elite group of 14 players who averaged over 2 steals per game, Allen Iverson is number 10, and that reminded me that Iverson was perhaps just as quick as Bogues (Iverson was certainly faster, but I'm defining "quick" as explosive speed in the first few steps (Russell Westbrook is *quick*)). As an aside, I was shocked to see none other than Michael Jordan at #4 (!), and John Stockton (!) at #9 - astoundingly, George McGinnis averaged more steals per game than Gary Payton. I'll close with a very obscure fact: Every Hall of Famer who has averaged over 2 steals per game was a guard; Rick Barry, a small forward who was the same height as shooting guard Clyde Drexler, came in just under the mark with 1.99 steals per game - apologies to Muggsy (one of the all-time great nicknames) for straying off-topic in this paragraph. Heck, I'll throw this in too: In the 1981-1982 and 1982-1983 seasons, Dunbar High School in Baltimore went 60-0, ending up ranked #1 in the nation by USA Today.
  14. Who is the person that: * was co-NBA Rookie of the Year in 1970-1971 along with Dave Cowens? * is the only eligible NBA player ever to average over 21 points-per-game for his career, and not be in the Hall of Fame? * is generally credited as the first player, certainly the first major player, to switch from Converse to Nike shoes? Think hard before you mouse over the answer ... Geoff Petrie
  15. Dunbar (Baltimore) has produced Muggsy Bogues, Sam Cassell, Kurk Lee, Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams, David Wingate, Skip Wise, Keith Booth, and Keith Dozier. Please continue listing non-basketball alums from Dunbar - this isn't supposed to be a basketball thread; but it's a fine place to start. The school (like many others) is named after the esteemed African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.
  16. Mackin was a basketball factory which produced greats such as Austin Carr (1968), Keith Herron (1974), Duck Williams (1974), Jo Jo Hunter (1976), Johnny Dawkins (1981), and Dominic Pressley (1982). The school closed in 1989, but not before spending twenty years alongside Dematha, Dunbar, St. Johns, and Eastern as the elite basketball school of DC.
  17. As discussions swirl around the GS Warriors, the Cleveland Cavs and other teams, I keep going back to my favorite basketball "dynasty" (really meaning mini dynasty) of all time; the Kniicks from 69-70 to 72-73. Four years in the playoffs, three years in the NBA finals and two NBA championships. Very long ago. I realize that. I suspect that Steve R has memories of this mini dynasty. Any others? Here are some interesting elements to that team: For 3 of those 4 years they allowed the fewest points per game in the league. In the 4th year I think they allowed the third fewest points. They won championships with defense. They might have been the greatest passing team of all time; and did so while spreading the ball to the entire team with every player being a potential shooter and with no player dominating the shooting stats by any stretch of the imagination. Possibly the most balanced scoring of any championship team of any period. Completely unusual and even more balanced in that regard than other teams that approached ball distribution (thinking 2014 Spurs team as the most recent example and the 2004 Detroit Pistons before them). The Knicks of that earlier era simply spread the shots around more evenly than either of these two teams. Shooting stats from the team in the 69-70 season: (see below) The 69-70 team developed as a result of what had to be one of the great trades in the history of the NBA from the previous season, (68-69). Midseason the Knicks dealt the big talented but erratic Center Walt Bellamy and their starting point guard, Howard Komives to the Detroit Pistons and the Pistons sent forward Dave Debusschere to the Knicks. Reed became the starting center, Debusschere was the starting power forward and Walt Frazier became the starting point guard. From mid season on the Knicks developed into a league power. The enigma and missing piece was who would be the small forward, Bradley or Cazzie Russell. Cazzie was the better offensive player and scorer. Bradley fit Coach Red Holzman's scheme better. Holtzman put Bradley in the starter's role and it clicked. The 69-70 team was the epitome of this spread it around type offense, but it continued to operate in the same manner over the next 4 seasons; (through 72-73 another championship season and one additional year, as Debusschere, Reed, and Lucas remained with the team). It wasn't until Reed, Debusschere and Lucas left that shot attempts skewed more toward Frazier, Monroe, and thirdly Bradley. Remarkably when Earl the Pearl first joined the Knicks he changed from one of the leagues leading offensive weapons and leading shot takers, to the fifth option. He sacrificed his offensive orientation to be part of the team concept. I was lucky to watch them a fair amount. I moved to Baltimore for college and got to see Bullets/Knicks games in Baltimore. Possibly the greatest, most fierce mano a mano matchups in NBA history. Reed vs. Unseld, two height deficient Centers who were muscular physical brutes. (they must have crushed one another every game). Even more ferocious were the man on man battles between Debusschere and Gus Johnson two of the most rugged players in the league with Johnson additionally being one of the early skywalkers. Watching Bradley and Jack Marin play was fascinating in a different way. Those two guys covered a lot of ground from one side of the court to the other, moving out to the perimeter for outside shots. Man, those two guys were always grabbing and clutching. The creme de la creme matchup was the artistry between Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier. Mr offense vs Mr Defense. The Bullets emphasized offense, being one of the highest scoring teams in the league, the Knicks emphasized defense, being the league leaders. Over the course of a season neither team dominated, while the matchups and games were always fascinating. Everyone on those old Knicks could pass. Every player. The only starter who might not have been a stellar passer was Reed...but when you watched those games the Knicks always had a teammate in Reed's eyesight. He became a good passer and that coach and the teammates helped him become one. Well its over 40 years later...so who cares? Possibly Steve R, who related this great tale that I'm sure every star struck kid who idolized pro's would love to experience. (Steve R Schooling Earl the Pearl on the Playgrounds) As the current NBA season moves along, the Warriors with their great scorers also face defensive problems: players such as Harden, DeRozan, Westbrook, and Davis, all averaging over 30 pts a game, are monopolizing the ball; the Spurs play this Knicks type game, though nobody has ever distributed the ball like the Knicks....and the Cavs have the remarkable Lebron James..who admittedly makes his teammates a stellar team....I still yearn for those Knicks. PS (undoubtedly if one looks at old tapes of those games and that era today's players are more athletic. Still I maintain that Reed would be a star in today's game. He has a midrange jumpshot. How many of today's centers can do that? Uh...maybe one or two. He was amazingly tough against one and all including the giants of that time such as Chamberlain and Kareem. I can't see how anyone could control Monroe. His offensive moves were remarkably different and defied defensive efforts. If there was anyone who was as rugged and indefatigable as Debusschere he would probably be the all time best linebacker in all of football. I'd love to see Frazier play against today's guards. Besides passing his shooting was based on a sense of how to beat the defense, not just pure athleticism (like Larry Bird in a way). That team would be strong today. ....and getting back to Earl the Pearl. I defy anyone to come up with any player who could successfully defend against Earl the Pearl at any point in basketball history...
  18. "LeBron James's Injury Could Lead to Nightmare Scenario for NBA's Broken Playoff Format" by Ben Golliver on washingtonpost.com The NBA Western Conference has become dominant in recent years, winning nearly 60% of the games against the Eastern Conference - worthy Western Conference teams are missing the playoffs due to lesser teams from the Eastern Conference squeezing in with better conference finishes.
  19. Has anyone ever done this, without touching the line? I've seen people come *really* close, but I can't find any videos of people actually clearly being behind the free throw line. This, despite having heard about "free throw line dunks" for over twenty years. This video looks fake, IMO - not only does it waver at the 10-second mark, but if you look closely, he appears to elevate right at that moment. Plus, who knows if the rim is 10'0"? I've seen Scottie Pippen come really close, but I think he's touching the line. Surely if this many people can come this close, *someone* can do it, and make it obvious, right? Okay then, where?
  20. This human pogo stick deserves his own thread. I can think of three unstoppable shots off the top of my head in NBA history: Elvin Hayes backing in to the basket on his strong side, then turning around and shooting a fadeaway bank shot; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky hook, and Kevin Durant's jump-back from 25 feet. Critics say all he needs to become the "total offensive weapon" is to put on some upper-body muscle; I disagree. Let him wait until later to muscle up; right now, he's so quick that he can do anything - drive past you and tomahawk it, or back off and shoot a three. When he's in his 30s, then he can hit the weights - let him stay slender while he's young. The only comparable player I can think of, style-wise, is Dirk Nowitzki. Tonight, he broke his string of 12 consecutive 30-point games, and he did it by scoring 24 points, going 10-for-12 from the field, sitting out the entire 4th quarter, and dishing out 7 assists - many of them to Serge Ibaka who went 12-for-12 from the field: the two combined to go 22-for-24! This is just crazy what we're witnessing right now. Jordan, Bryant, Maravich, Erving, Bird, James - I've never seen more jaw-dropping highlight reels (although some of Jordan's and Bird's come close). All Durant needs is longevity, and he could well become the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
  21. Admittedly I'm a basketball junkie. Its nice to have an outlet like this section of DR.com. I can rip off a quick piece without the need to create my own blog, be an editor, research, write, rewrite, edit, find and place pictures, and spend an enormous amount of time on each piece. This is easier, quicker. Thanks, Don. But I found this article, "Kevin Love: Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated?" about the ongoing Kevin Love trade, written by Bill Simmons to include a wonderful piece that completely captures the unique basketball brilliance that made Barkley one of the signature players of the NBA. Simmons is the editor of Grantland a repository of smart and clever writers about sports. Simmon's expertise is basketball. He is an unabashed junkie, a fan, a Boston Celtics homer, and combines love of the game with research and wonderful writing. In the above referenced article he strives to dissect the Kevin Love trade to Cleveland matching Love up with LeBron James. Its a high risk trade on behalf of both teams. Cleveland is giving up someone who could develop into an all-time all star, Andrew Wiggins before he ever plays a game in the NBA. Love is a current star, but is not an all-time transcendent player. Wiggins might develop into one of those unique players. Wiggins almost assuredly couldn't pair with LeBron at this point and contribute the strengths that Love can provide right now. The trade offers drama and its consequences or who made out best won't be decided for years to come. Meanwhile matching Love with Lebron today creates the possibility of an instant top of the line contender for NBA championship honors for next season and possibly a couple of seasons. Simmons' articles often include long discourses on NBA history and various stars. He has an inimitable style of writing with catchy phrases and thoughts. I thought he hit a home run in this one especially as he compared Love to Barkley when Barkley was traded in his prime. Simmons acknowledges Love is no Barkley and here are his thoughts on "Sir Charles" when he was at his best...... (my bolding of certain lines below) I agree with Simmons. During Barkley's early years in Philadelphia I often purchased packages of games to the Wizards/Bullets. The Bullets and 76ers played often. Barkley was a magical player with a magical dimension. Nobody has played quite like him before or since. When Barkley grabbed a rebound on the defensive side and turned to race down the court on a drive, the seas would part. No player would dare to get in his way. No player has had so much bulk, racing at so much speed, hell bent toward the basket. I sat in the stands and wanted to get out of the way. He was SCARY. Scary good and talented. But forget what I write. Reread Simmons above. "Barkley a tornado with legs"....."F---this I'm getting out of the way" That is exactly as I recall him. Never seen anything like it, before or since.
  22. Who knew?! PS - If you have an image of Pistol Pete in your mind, and want it preserved, then don't watch this video. I've heard horror stories of Willie Mays playing for the New York Mets, and I suspect they aren't that much different than this. "Remembering The Sad And Too-Short Celtic Stint Of Pete Maravich" by Professor Parquet on celticsblog.com --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Pete Maravich (daveo) Nate Archibald (Barbara)]
  23. The points per game say it all: 2003-2004: 21.0 2004-2005: 20.8 2005-2006: 26.9 2006-2007: 28.5 2007-2008: 25.7 2008-2009: 22.8 2009-2010: 28.2 2010-2011: 25.6 2011-2012: 22.6 2012-2013: 28.7 2013-2014: 27.4 2014-2015: 24.2 2015-2016: 21.4
  24. Lonzo Ball, I fear, is somewhat overrated, has too much baggage, and might be a disappointment in the NBA. Look at his stat line this year: 14.6 points, 6 rebounds, 7.6 assists. That's very impressive, especially for a freshman, and especially in the assists category. However, his shooting technique is extremely flawed, and he's not mature enough to tell his father to back off. Yes, he can shoot an open 3, but his free-throw percentage this year is 67.3% - think about that for a moment. He's big and quick, he can jump, and he can pass very well, but he is a big risk - my dark side hopes the Lakers pass on him at #2, just to irk his father. I believe Lonzo Ball will be a good NBA player, but I'm not convinced he'll be the superstar his father claims he already is. Feb 1, 2017 - "Why Lonzo Ball Isn't the Surefire NBA Superstar Some People Seem To Think He Is" by Colin Ward-Henninger on cbssports.com
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