A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Arron Afflalo

Is Rob Hennigan making feel for the game the center of Orlando’s strategy?

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I’ve made a point on this blog of emphasizing feel for the game as a key to player talent and success. I see it being as important as athleticism to a player.

The team who has the biggest trend of targeting feel for the game players is the Spurs. Here is an article I wrote describing how I see it as the key to their infamous draft steals. I am just about convinced they go out of their way to grab instinctual and feel for the game heavy players.

Since Rob Hennigan became GM of the Magic, they look to be following the same path. Check out his moves so far:

2012 draft – Took Andrew Nicholson in 19th overall in the 1st round.

Nicholson plays at a permanently slow, controlled pace – in a good way. He has what can be called an “old man’s game”, a good indicator of feel for the game. Feel for the game overwhelmingly is what makes Nicholson unique.

In the Dwight Howard trade he acquired Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless among draft picks.

Afflalo’s strength is overwhelmingly his feel for the game. He is a natural mover and scorer. Like Nicholson lack of explosiveness to attack the basket and physically impact the game limits his upside, but his feel and instincts are high end.

Vucevic is another instinctually impressive player. You can see the calm he has in the post and around the basket. Furthermore his terrific rebounding numbers largely seem instinctually based, without elite athleticism or lift – similar to Kevin Love’s rebounding.

What about Moe Harkless? You guessed it. Smooth. Fluid. At ease when he drives instead of out of control for a raw player. Above average feel for the game again.

At the trade deadline, Orlando grabbed Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb as the young prospect haul for JJ Redick.

Tobias has the best feel for the game out of all these Orlando players. In fact I would argue Tobias has one of the best feel for the games in the entire league. Look at how natural and fluid this man plays. He manages to get to the rim not because he’s explosive, but because he’s that smooth.

Like a broken record, Doron fits the profile of all these other Magic players. He’s not the fastest or biggest guy, but he has a combination of skills – and more importantly, a natural feel and fluidity to his game. He’s struggled mightily translating his shot this year but I’d expect Doron to pan out over the long run.

All these players being feel for the game heavy, makes me strongly think Rob Hennigan is doing this on purpose. While feel for the game is not the only thing that matters for player success, if added to other skills like athleticism, size and perimeter skills, players are cooking with gas. I’m very impressed by Hennigan with the Magic. This might be a playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers situation.

Written by jr.

March 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

7 Thoughts on the Melo Maneuver

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Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Image via Wikipedia

Thank God, it *finally* happened. I say that both with the emotional inflection you think I’m using, and whatever the opposite is. Any big trade brings with it some fantastic new information to analyze which I love. At the same time Carmelo Anthony being traded means I don’t have to hear any more about the rumors and drama in Denver. Good times ahead. My initial thoughts on the trade:

1. Never been a huge Melo fan (as was clear in my Carmelo Conundrum piece). I remain steadfast in my opinion that however many tools are in his arsenal, he never came close to a consistent run at superstar levels. Now possibly that’s George Karl‘s fault. I doubt it, but I never say never. We’ll learn a lot more in the near future.

2. My thought for the Knicks about whether acquiring Melo was a good idea was always a mild yes, depending on the specific terms. I am however more positive about it with inclusion of Chauncey Billups. Seems to me what Mike D’Antoni really needs to make his scheme pop is a great point guard, and despite the fact that we keep seeing hype indicating that’s he’s turned another scrub point guard into a star, he’s actually been discarding point guards left and right in New York. Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Chris Duhon, and now Ray Felton, all gone. Clearly they didn’t have everything he wanted. Now we get to see how Billups does. This will be the closest thing D’Antoni’s had to Nash, so we’ll have to see if that finally does the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

Lame Duck Melo = Best Offense in the League?

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So don’t look now but the Denver Nuggets have the best offense in the league. Their offensive efficiency is at 112.4, which is the best in franchise history, and when you account for strength of schedule their performance this year as an offense moves even ahead of the one team this year with a superior raw efficiency (Lakers).

Of course their doing this in a year where their putative superstar, Carmelo Anthony, has told the organization he wants to be somewhere else, and questions and rumors have formed a dark cloud around everyone associated with the Nuggets.

More tangibly, they are doing this in a year where Carmelo has missed 7 games, is playing less per game than in previous years, and most importantly his scoring has dropped from 28.2 PPG to 23.6, while his shooting efficiency has dropped from 54.8% TS to 52.2 (the league average is 54.0%).

I’ve posted before on the question of how good Carmelo is, so you know I’m not a huge fan. It’s funny though, the thought about how good the Nuggets offense is right now just didn’t come to mind. What’s funny is that that whole debate was kickstarted by Nate Silver’s odd argument about Melo making his teammates shoot better. The argument has been shot down, but on a superficial level without looking at previous seasons, this season’s performance by the rest of the Nuggets would seem like a great piece of evidence in Melo’s favor. Teammates Nene, Arron Afflalo, and Chauncey Billups are all shooting at 62% TS or better, which is utterly insane. The best offense from last year had none of their big minute players shooting that well.

So either, Melo’s reached the pinnacle of improving teammate shooting by deciding he doesn’t care about his team any more and going into a personal slump where he plays less than ever, or, the rest of the Nuggets are good enough that it doesn’t make sense for them to stand around while Melo volume scores. And of course, if you don’t want Melo to volume score, why would you want to pay him upwards of 20 million dollars each season?

Written by Matt Johnson

January 27, 2011 at 11:38 am