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Posts Tagged ‘Lamar Odom

MVP/Power Rankings Monday: The 10 Closest Things to Takeaways from preseason (2012-2013 NBA)

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Yes, the “It’s just preseason” caveat applies to any conclusions one wants to draw from preseason in the NBA. But oh, it’s so tempting. Here are 10 things that may or may not be indicative to take from preseason

10. The Spurs found another “who?” steal in Nando De Colo – Nando looks like the real deal. He has great height for a PG/SG, with a strong feel for the game and court vision and shooting game. He’ll be a mismatch problem for teams to deal with off the bench.

9. Omer Asik is a monster – The Rockets knew what they were doing giving such a big contract to the Bulls’ backup center. Asik is one of the biggest Cs/players in the league period and looks like a special rebounder and defender so far. Dominant defensive Cs is how you win.

8. Marvin Williams is finally ready for a breakout season – Marvin may not have the talent Atlanta thought when they took him 2nd overall in 2005, but he was likely underused all the same. He has an outstanding feel for the game, his length is a great asset defensively and he’s turned himself into a sharpshooter at the SF position. These 3 tools makes him a huge asset for Utah if he’s used properly.

7. Big Baby Davis could have a Big Year – If you’re looking for a dark-horse statistical breakout candidate, look out for Big Baby. Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson leaving the team opens up a ton of free shots in the frontcourt. Davis came on at the end of last season starting in place of Howard at C. Perhaps that’s the position for him, where he can be an offensive mismatch with his outside shot. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mental LeBron James

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Image via Baltimore Sun

While I’ll readily admit that people go overboard when throwing players under the bus as chokers, cowards, etc, the fact remains that the mental side of sports is huge. Any fan who claims to not think about the psychological strengths and weaknesses of athletes is lying either to others or themselves.

The urge to play armchair shrink is irresistible, and really why does it need to be resisted? Yes you want to keep perspective and not go overboard, but when a player has had the kind of strange play LeBron James has, it’s simply unreasonable to insist only Xs and Os can be the cause.

Without further ado, my take on LeBron’s NBA Finals and his mentality in general.

It all started innocently enough

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Written by Matt Johnson

June 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

If Lamar Odom doesn’t win 6th Man of the Year…

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Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers

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I swear to god voters, if Lamar Odom doesn’t win 6th Man of the Year, I don’t think we can be friends any more. Oh, we had some good times, but y’all just make everything so difficult.

Odom is now clearly eligible for the award, and people are talking about his candidacy…but they are talking about it as a tight race influenced partly by the idea that Odom’s not a “real 6th man” because of how much of the season he started (which was due to Andrew Bynum‘s injury).

Look folks, there’s a general tendency in both the 6th Man award, and the Most Improved Player award, to eliminate players because they are too good, and it’s silly. It’s silly in the MIP award where I now have to see Aaron Brooks name cemented for eternity for a year where he improved about 1/100th as much as Kevin Durant did, but at least there there’s an argument for giving an award to someone who will appreciate it. Give a kid at an arcade a quarter, this adds joy to his life. Give Bill Gates a quarter, and you’ve just made his pants a tiny bit heavier. Durant’s legacy is not going to be helped one bit by the MIP, so it’s no great loss.

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Written by Matt Johnson

March 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Post-February NBA Awards Watch

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My top picks for the various NBA Awards after two months of play.  Expect to see this updated each month with my picks for ROY, DPOY, MIP, 6MOY, COY, and All-NBA teams.

MVP:  See Monday’s post.  This gets updated weekly.

Rookie of the Year

1. Blake Griffin

2. John Wall

3. Landry Fields

Wall moves up to the 2nd spot. I’ve mentioned before that ranking rookies is harding than most people think. Fields is clearly the rookie who has contributed the 2nd most value this season, but that’s because he found a good niche. I’ll give him the ROY nod over guys like Cousins whose (bad) teams still choose to play him less than the Knicks play Fields, but very clearly the Wizards are fully behind Wall, and Wall is doing star-like things most of us wouldn’t assert that Fields could do. He’s now played enough of the season, only Griffin is clearly ahead of him.

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The NBA Trade Value Power Rankings – February 2011

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A couple months ago, I wrote this column hypothesizing in short that NBA teams could best have their positions in the league going forward evaluated by total trade value. Trade value encompasses all types of players and assets, just as an entrepreneur’s net worth encompasses alternate types of companies. Because types of assets are tradeable or one another if equally valued, it is the value that matters. The teams with the most net value will always be in the strongest position, as if they have the most money in their bank.

Now is a good time to rank the 30 teams in the league. For one, I plan to update the list once every 6 months – one mid-season in February and one mid-offseason in July after the draft is ideal. The former is after players have made their changes to the list, the latter after GMs have.

Secondly, the trade deadline is this week. Trade value is on the mind.

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Anatomy of the Indefensible Snub

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Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns of the National...

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So, NBA all-star reserves have been announced, and Steve Nash‘s name wasn’t on the list. I said I expected as much when I made my all-star picks, and gave the gist of my thoughts for why this was crazy. I want to go into them more clearly here, and then really examine how such a glaring snub is possible.

Objective Metrics put Nash ahead of Griffin

Blake Griffin got named to the all-star team in the first batch of reserve picks. I don’t actually have a problem with him making the team, but how does he make it over Steve Nash? Consider the following:

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Written by Matt Johnson

February 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

2010-11 NBA Predictions: Executive of the Year

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Uh, well, Pat Riley.

Obviously, I’m not going out on much of a limb here.  Hard to even imagine what would make him not win since even if the team has some struggles, everyone knows that every other GM in the league was jealous of Riley did this summer.  I think the more interesting thing to ponder is the effect that Miami Thrice will have on Riley’s legacy.  If this team goes on to win multiple championships, then I think Riles will have a strong case for having the greatest non-playing career in NBA history…other than Red Auerbach’s career of course.

The obvious debate will be between Riles and Phil Jackson.  As it stands, I think most would agree Jackson has the edge.  11 rings will do that for a fellow.  Let’s face it though, Jackson’s really only down one thing really, really well – and he’s been able to do it 11 times because of the players he’s been able to work with.  I’m sure some will object to that statement, citing that Jackson’s had to make a variety of adjustments to the triangle, and his ability to placate raging egos is second to none, and they’ve got a fair point – but compare what he’s done to the versatility Riles has shown:

  1. Coach of the Showtime Lakers.  I realize he didn’t start Showtime, but in some ways that makes it all the more impressive.  Where the previous coach had failed to satisfy the demanding star Magic Johnson, Riley succeed, and did so not as a lenient player’s coach but as a demander taskmaster, despite never having been a head coach before.
  2. Coach of the hardnosed Knicks.  He goes from the finesse razzle dazzle of LA, and immediately converts the Knicks to the pinnacle of thugball, creating some of the most effective defenses in NBA history, proving he can not only architect, but architect in a direction not influenced by his previous tenure.
  3. Coach & GM for the Heat.  He’s been the mastermind here for 15 years, and we’ve now seen him:
    1. Move the team from 32 to 62 wins within two years of him starting as coach.
    2. Maintain a strong record in ’00-01 despite the lost of his star Alonzo Mourning.
    3. Rebuild the team based on the young talent of Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Dwyane Wade.  Wade of course being the crown jewel, and one of the smartest draft choices of all time.
    4. Take advantage of the Lakers turmoil to bring Shaquille O’Neal in and help the Heat claim their first title.
    5. Manage to find a sucker to take Shaq away before he started hurting the club too much.
    6. And now the acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  The majority of GMs in the league were scheming for years to acquire one of these guys, and Riley manages to acquire both, with the help of his old draft pick Wade.

It’s a breathtaking career, and if it gets capped by a dynasty, only that old curmudgeon with the cigar can claim to have done something similar.

Written by Matt Johnson

October 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm