A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Dwyane Wade

The Heatle Redundancy

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Multi-Headed Snake = not as scary as you thought it would be

Well, obviously the big story of the moment is LeBron Jameslack of production in the NBA Finals. I want to hold off discussing that though and talk about what I consider the broader phenomenon. That being the fact that the Miami Heat have a redundant collection of talent.

When people fantasize about super-teams such as the Heatles, the primary scenario on their mind is an offensive one. They imagine that the amount of effort that will be required to stop James will leave Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh wide open thus leading to an unstoppable offense.

We’d be stupid NOT to do this!

Game 5 shows a snapshot of this not happening. After a series in which LeBron has been crucified for his passivity, the streaking Wade went down with an injury and went out for a long stretch. What happened? The Heat didn’t fall apart, rather they actually outscored the Mavs, and LeBron scored at a much better rate and efficiency than he done with Wade on the court.

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Written by Matt Johnson

June 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

The Wade-Particle Duality

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Trying something a little different here. Typically the conversations I have with ElGee over at BackPicks.com are among the best basketball geekage I can get into anywhere. Thought y’all might enjoy them too, so take a gander and let me know what you think. Oh, and the conversation below happened yesterday, before Game 4, just in case you’re confused.

Image via thenerdiestshirts.com

MJ: I’m loving watching Wade return to his peak self. He has what I call all-over-the-place-ness.

LG: Very elegant description there Matt. Be sure to use that in your teaching: “this electron has “all-over-the-place-ness”.

MJ: It’s a technical term. Actually there is a word I could have used for this generally: ubiquitous. It just doesn’t seem like it conveys the frantic nature of a basketball player doing what Wade does. Got a better way to describe?

LG: Hmmm. Well, in LeBron‘s case, I think what he does is “make the court look smaller”. In Wade’s case, he is like a fast moving particle. Dude is just all over the freaking place.

MJ: Wade the photon, movin’ all probabilistic.

LG: I got it! NERD ALERT…

MJ: Goggles on!

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Written by Matt Johnson

June 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Aftermath of a Miami-Dallas Game 3 classic: When a 1st quarter matters more than a 4th

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Dwyane Wade playing with the Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade has been the true King in these FInals (Image via Wikipedia)

I loved Game 3 of the Dallas vs Miami NBA Finals. It’s an ESPN classic game in my books. In fact I’m going to be really hyperbolic and call that one of my favorite NBA games of all time. I’ve never had more to say about a game at the least.

So where did Miami trump Dallas in this game? True, they were a little better in the last few minutes and won by a basket. But that’s not really where Miami won and Dallas lost this game. That came in in the 1st quarter.

Dallas started Game 3 playing unbelievably bad defense. It’s one thing for a good offense to find open shots, it’s another for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (more on them later) to get wide open, uncontested scores/dunks in the paint. My hunch says it all came down to Brendan Haywood’s injury leaving Tyson Chandler worried about fouling early. With intensity and strong close-outs inside the Mavericks title caliber defense momentarily collapsed.

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The Accidental Hater

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Image from Chapelle's Show

With Shaquille O’Neal‘s retirement I feel compelled share what unique place Shaq Diesel occupied in my mind.

This won’t be something everyone enjoys because it’s a quite negative place. However, I do think that it represents a side of Shaq’s career that needs to be told along with the good. Is it sour grapes? Call it what you will.

Call me Magic

I was born and raised a Laker fan in Los Angeles. Magic Johnson was the first player I ever knew of. He was the star of the city, and hey, with my last name and my penchant for basketball, how could I now want to call myself “Magic”.

Fast forward to Shaq’s feud with Kobe Bryant. I begin to get more and more irritated. While Kobe’s ball hogging tendencies made me a touch sympathetic to teammates complaining, Shaq’s behavior was so awful that he was the one I felt the frustration toward.

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NBA Finals preview: How Dallas can beat Miami

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Dirk Nowitzki playing with the Dallas Mavericks

Image via Wikipedia

So here we are in the Finals with the second Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks matchup in 5 years. I have to admit, as good as these playoffs have been, there’s something weirdly underwhelming about these two teams making the Finals compared to usual. Neither of them have wowed me despite a 12-3 record for both teams getting here. Both teams teams grind it out defensively and have their stars make the right plays to win the game. Both are here in large part to other team’s flaws – Essentially every team in this playoffs have had flaws.

Miami will be the clear favorite. With the way they dispatched Boston and Chicago, it certainly looks like there’ll be no stopping the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh express for a number of years. Here’s why I think Dallas has a reasonable shot:

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Written by jr.

May 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm

2011 POY Watch – End Conference Finals

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The Player of the Year Watch continues past the regular season factoring in all of the playoffs and coming up with the player that truly had the best overall season. After each round, I will update the rankings.

Player (last rank)

1A. Dirk Nowitzki (4)

It’s been a joy to watch Dirk this year. He would without question be my Offensive Player of the Year. He plays so damn smart, with such an unreal touch. The Mavs are in the finals, with not a ton of talent around Dirk. I know that fit matters, and the Mavs have fantastic fit, but Dirk deserves some credit for helping to build that fit to.

1B. LeBron James (3)

And then there’s LeBron. I talked once before about how much I hate ties in rankings…when I last ranked a tie. Again though it seems appropriate right now as an in flux ranking to have a tie on top.

What LeBron did to Chicago was unreal. Tier 1 level offense, with world class defense. He is the best player in the game, and at this point I’m expecting him to take the crown over Dirk when all is said and done. But as they say, that’s why they play the game.

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2011 POY Watch – End Conference Semis

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The Player of the Year Watch continues past the regular season factoring in all of the playoffs and coming up with the player that truly had the best overall season. After each round, I will update the rankings.

Player (last rank)

1. Dwight Howard (1)

Odd position to be in. Howard’s sitting at home while the next 5 guys are all on the last 4 teams playing for the championship and playing fantastic. As much as I don’t want to be swayed by who has the better supporting casts, at this point I think it’s unlikely that Howard will keep the top spot when all is said and done.

2. Derrick Rose (2)

Started off the playoffs slow with some nagging injuries. He’s looking quite solid now. It’s also interesting that there was so much stat community negativity toward the guy during the season, meanwhile he keeps showing more as the season goes along. Doesn’t mean they were wrong by any means, but if Rose truly does emerge as a guy challenging for the top spot in advanced statistical metrics in the near future, I can just hear the frustration among the statistically minded.

Bucher: “So you admit you were wrong now?”

Stat guy: “No, YOU were wrong, but now you’re right. It’s a complete coincidence.”,

Bucher: “Whatever you want to tell yourself, I could have told you he’d do this because I watch the games.”

Stat guy: “Gah! That statement doesn’t even mean anything!” <Head explodes>

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The Miami Heat’s success: A basketball triumph or travesty?

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Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, 2008

Image via Wikipedia

Recently I heard a topic come up of what the Miami Heat winning the title would mean for basketball. On one hand, it’d be a sign that success in the NBA truly comes down to just having superstars – and it’d light a match to the gasoline of other stars leaving teams to team up. In an ideal world, it’d be teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls who triumph – ones that play a 5 as 1 game, where the defenders and rebounding role players mean as much as the superstars.

But I’m not so sure. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 POY Watch – End 1st Round

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The Player of the Year Watch continues past the regular season factoring in all of the playoffs and coming up with the player that truly had the best overall season. After each round, I will update the rankings.

Player (last rank)

1. Dwight Howard (1)

What’s that you say? The Magic lost in the first round to the lightly regarded Hawks, shouldn’t he drop? Well, dude played great though. I’m not going to drop him just because his team disappoints. I’ll admit though that this does leave him out of sight and out of mind while others have a chance to up their rep. Excellent chance he ends up slipping a bit by the end of June.

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Written by Matt Johnson

May 3, 2011 at 11:10 am

2011 POY Watch – End Regular Season

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The playoffs have begun, and now we will start to get into why I so stubbornly called this the “POY Watch” instead of the “MVP Watch”. By far the most meaningful award we could have for a player is one that factors in regular and post-season. That award doesn’t exist, so I say we make one up.

For those interested, during last off-season I ran a project over on RealGM I called the Retro POY project where we determined the player having the best season for all seasons back to ’54-55, the first year of the shot clock era. My post on this blog introducing the project and summarizing key findings is here.

During the playoffs, I’m going to jettison the weekly format of the regular season and instead do a round-by-round format. At the conclusion of all series for a given round, I will make an updated POY Watch. So that means there will be four more POY Watches after this one.

Without further ado, here are my rankings based on the whole regular season and nothing but the regular season.

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 20, 2011 at 1:21 am