Nothin' But NETS

Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don't


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#AllHailHinke

“Lord give us this day our Andrew Wiggins. Deliver us from Embiid. Lead the Cavs not into temptation of drafting Wiggy. In Hinkie’s name we pray. Yeet”

– Guwop Curtis

Sixers fans all over the world(?) reveled at the idea of potentially getting the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. All the hard work the Sixers did in doing their best rendition of The Replacements and losing infinity games in a row, there was no way this “dream” would not come true. It was safe to say, their dreams were all but deflated when the Cavs won the #1 pick, the 3rd time in 4 years (the only streak in recent memory since the 1963-66 New York Knicks). With the Sixers winning the 3rd pick it was only a matter of time before they had their coveted Andrew Wiggins. Leading up to the draft, it was safe to say that Joel Embiid was the unanimous #1 amongst NBA General Managers; the analytics back him up. Tragically, Embiid suffered a navicular fracture, the same injury that limited Ilgauskus early in his career, the same injury that ended Yao Mings career and the same injury that caused Michael Jordan to miss 64 games (1985-1986). Red flags popped up all over the NBA and it was then that Sixers fans’ began panicking. But not Hinkie, a disciple of the pro-analytics Daryl Morey (Rockets GM), who definitely understands the value of draft picks and how to look past the hype (I seriously thought, given the #1 pick the Sixers would have drafted Embiid).

With that in mind there was still a draft to be completed. Based off of the data it looked as if to be the deepest draft in recent memory. Studying the model, the productivity of each NCAA player and being aware of each team needs, here are my grades for how each faired in the draft:

Cleveland Cavaliers: D

Andrew Wiggins (#1)
Joe Harris (#33)

With the best available pick on the board in Joel Embiid, the Cavs pass on him to pick a wing who’s NCAA production was not great. Essentially they picked a more athletic Dion Waiters. And Joe Harris is an undersized “shooter”. I’m still confused as to what direction the Cavs are heading into. What a waste.

Milwaukee Bucks: F+

Jabari Parker #2
Damien Inglis #31
Johnny O’Bryant #36

I don’t think theres such a grade as a F+. The only saving grace is the potential of Jabari Parker. His NCAA numbers are overvalued. The rest of the draftees seem to be fodder. Expect to see the Bucks in the lottery next year.

Philadelphia Sixers: A-

Joel Embiid #3
Dario Saric #12 (From the Magic)
KJ McDaniels #32
Jerami Grant #39
Vasilije Micic #52
Jordan McRae #58

Sixers might have won the draft again for the 2nd straight year. Picking 6 times in one draft is unheard of and batting .500 is pretty solid. Not a fan of the last three picks. At all. However, their 4 other picks more than make up for it. A potential Embiid and Noel lineup looks scary. Not only do they have cap space but not they have assets to make any trades necessary. NOTE: Saris signed a three year deal with Turkish team Anadolu Efes, so he’s likely not to see any action in Philly until then. But The Sixers are thinking long term and their future looks very bright by stashing top tier talent. ALLHAILHINKIE

Orlando Magic: D-

Aaron Gordon #4
Elfrid Payton #10 (From Sixers)
Roy Devyn Marble #56 (From Denver Nuggets)

Things haven’t gone right in Orlando since Dwight went to LaLa land. Choosing Gordon at #4 is down right despicable. He proved nothing in the NCAA other than being able to dunk a basketball. He’s short for his position and very unproductive. The bright spot was receiving Payton, a very productive guard similar to Damien Lilliard.

Utah Jazz: F

Dante Exum #5
Rodney Hood #23

I’m sure the Jazz saw every Australian tape imaginable of Dante Exum to pick him at #5. And to compound that, they chose Rodney Hood. Its safe to assume they’ll be back in the lottery again for the unseen future.

Boston Celtics: C-

Marcus Smart #6
James Young #17

Not sure of the direction the Celtics are taking. Smart is definitely a good pick but with Rondo still in Boston, are they going to keep or trade him? Young is another overhyped Kentucky guard. Gary Harris would’ve been a better pick there.

Los Angeles Lakers: A

Julius Randle #7

Great pick and solid player.

Sacramento Kings: D

Nik Stauskus #8

Ehhhhh. Great shooter and pretty athletic. But no way he goes #8. Do the Kings management even care anymore?

Charlotte Hornets: C-

Noah Vonleh #9
PJ Hairston #26 (From Miami Heat)
Dwight Powell #45

Michael Jordan finally got the draft right by picking Vonleh to replace last years mistake of Cody Zellar. Things were optimistic but when The Hornets chose Shabazz Napier but when they traded him to the Miami Heat for PJ Hairston the Hornets went back to drafting like the Bobcats. It looked like MJ was a LeBron fan on draft night.

Denver Nuggets: A+

Jusuf Nurkic #16 (From Chicago Bulls)
Gary Harris #19 (From Chicago Bulls)
Nikola Jokic #41

Gary Harris is a steal which should add to the Nuggets’ already horrendous 3pt shooting. After a struggle season by first year head coach Brian Shaw, things look to be on the up.

Minnesota Timberwolves: F

Zach Levine #13
Glenn Robinson III #40
Alessandro Gentile #53

The TWolves hope to keep Kevin Love. Drafting Markel Brown was great because it gives them a chance to take JJ Barea off the floor, but the Twolves bizarrely trade him to the Nets (ayyyyye) for cash. Nothing they did tonight points to the Twolves being able to keep Love. And the players drafted tonight will only keep them in the lottery next year.

Phoenix Suns: D+

TJ Warren #14
Tyler Ennis #18
Bogdan Bogdanovic #27
Alec Brown #50

My friend told me he believes in McDonough. Its hard to believe in someone that drafted so poorly in the past. With two point guards in the starting lineup, they decided to choose another young, but good point guard in Ennis, to play behind Bledsoe (who should sign back) and superstar Dragic. TJ Warren

Chicago Bulls: D-

Doug McDermott #11 (From Denver Nuggets)
Cameron Bairstow #49

Desperately needing some type of offensive boost, the Bulls managed to get sharpshooter Doug McDermott. The model doesn’t fully think he’ll develop into a star but he’ll be a serviceable shooter.

Toronto Raptors: F

Bruno Caboclo #20
Deandre Daniels #37

A player years away from being NBA ready and a undersized SF. Didn’t address their need to better defend the paint. I always thought Uriji was a terrific GM. He must have some terrific data on Caboclo that the model does not.

Oklahoma City Thunder: D+

Mitch McGary #21
John Huestis #29
Semaj Christon #55 (From Charlotte Hornets)

They seem to think that Huestis can replace Sefalosha. ehhhhhhh. Mitch McGary was a very good college player. However, his career was hampered by injury.

Memphis Grizzles: A+

Jordan Adams #22
Jarnell Stokes #35 (From Utah Jazz)

Two superb players that can cause an impact immediately. Both players are top tier in college and are projected to be very efficient in the NBA. They were not the favorites to win the draft (if that even is an accomplishment) but clearly they did the education.

Miami Heat: B+

Shabazz Napier #24

An upgrade over both Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. The models thinks hes a very productive player and his playmaking abilities and flash would surely fit in Miami.

San Antonio Spurs: B

Kyle Anderson #30
Nemanja Dangubic #54

Kyle Anderson was a steal at #30. He was definitely a top 5 prospect. Though slow, he might be the “Kawhi” of this draft. I’m definitely calling it. Dangubic doesn’t do anything remotely well. It reminds me of drafting in 2k and you accidentally have it on auto-draft, of the worst remaining players. Doubt Pops cares though.

Brooklyn Nets: C+

Markel Brown #44 (From Minnesota Timberwolves)
Xavier Thames #59 (From Toronto Raptors)
Cory Jefferson #60 (From Philadelphia Sixers via San Antonio Spurs)

Prokhorov needed some assets seeing that they did lose an estimated $144million in the 2013-2014 NBA season. Going into the draft with ZERO picks due to trading them all for Celtic geriatrics not named Jesus, it was astonishing that the Nets managed to get three draftees (Not really, reports say that they spent northward of $1million to get these draft picks). Markel Brown is the best pick based on the model. As a Nets fan I hope they can package him with Deron Williams and/or Brook Lopez to attract some FAs.

New Orleans Pelicans: D+

Russ Smith #47 (From Philadelphia)

An undersized guard that may get a chance to prove himself in desolate New Orleans. Not much of any good going on there besides Anthony Davis.

Los Angeles Clippers: F

CJ Wilcox #28

A player similar to Tony Wroten, but worse. Not much else to be said in Doc Rivers’ first year as dual Head Coach/GM. The Clippers’ playoff roster was very weak. And this draft pick doesn’t make them worse but neither is it good.

New York Knicks: C+

Cleanthony Early #34
Thanasis Antetokounmpo #51
Louis Labeyrie #57 (From Indiana Pacers)

Entered the draft similar to the Nets with no draft picks. They managed to make a trade and receive 2 draft picks and trade for another. Going 1 for 3 isn’t a total failure (Labeyrie was a great player in a not so competitive French league) but they’ll need to get more pieces if they plan on trying to keep Melo. If I were GM I’d execute a sign and trade with Melo because quite frankly he’s overrated.

Winners:
Grizzles*
Nuggets
Sixers
Lakers
Spurs
Heat

Survived:
Nets
Knicks
Hornets
Celtics

Losers:
Cavs
Bucks
Magic
Bulls
Suns
TWolves
Raptors
Jazz

WTF Are they Thinking:
Clippers

This was a draft for the ages (too early to say that?). The Sixers stockpiled their assets from last seasons tanking efforts and managed to draft some very promising pieces. Even though they tanked the hardest, they didnt end up with the #1 (thanks to David Sterns parting gift) and they failed to maximize their chances. The Grizzles played well into the playoffs and were still able to come away with two superb players. And the Spurs won the NBA Finals despite AC Malfunction Gate and still managed to get a top 5 prospect. Drafting players is a tough task in this day and age. But theres no excuse for drafting players just for them to star on a DLeague team. That’s very inefficient. Why draft a player because of their impressive performance in the NCAA tournament? Why take a chance on someone who’s only played 1 subpar year? Because they show potential of growing into something a better player? I am vehemently against drafting players after 1 year of playing college basketball. Sabotaging your NBA season in hopes of drafting a player that will help you win the NBA championship is fools gold. This is why good teams stay good and bad teams stay bad. The Cavs struck gold when they got LeBron James and ever since then they’ve been trying to get another fix thanks to David Stern. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked out for them. Chasing Waterfalls is definitely not a championship strategy. And once you’re hooked “Welcome To Mediocrity, next stop more Mediocrity”.

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2013 NBA FInals: LeBron Rules

“LeBron is not just us stopping him. He’s kind of stopped himself out there and we’re getting a little lucky.”

– Danny Green

Through 3 games of the NBA Finals it looks like the Spurs have once again (2007 NBA Finals) taken a page out of Chuck Dalys Jordan Rules defensive playbook in playing arguably one of the greatest basketball players towards his tendencies not necessarily his statistics. The Mavericks did the same exact thing in the 2011 NBA Finals knowing that LeBron preferred to do things the “Pat Riley Way” which according to Marc Cuban “Is the same thing everytime” which means very little adjustments offensively.

One common theme I hear whenever a player doesn’t play well is that they are nervous or lacks heart/confidence and therefore no credit is due to the opposing team. Well folks now we’re hearing this shit again as was the case in the 2011 NBA Finals. The Mavericks defended LeBron James the same way the Spurs are. Playing to his tendencies instead of playing it based on statistics run counter intuitive to modern NBA wisdom. For the 2012-13 season he was regarded as a great shooter from 10-15 foot range. However the Spurs have devised a plan that forces James to be more hesitant than normal effectively increasing his decision making ten fold. The Spurs know that he’s a distributor first and foremost so by clogging the lanes and triple teaming every drive its become difficult for him and have thus taken away James’ strength and advantage. But that in no way excuses his poor shooting. What I would like to see is a more traditional offense such as the Triangle or simply anything Popovich uses which utilizes ball movement and puts the player in the best position to be successful rather than around the world all movement and isolation. Of course the Riley way worked last year against the Thunder but their scheme against LeBron was terrible basically non-existent. The Thunder beat the Spurs last year so it would seem that the Heat would beat the Spurs this year but I guess Ant’s Law of Transitivity is once again flawed.

Truthfully the Spurs have outplayed the Heat in all 3 games. If it wasn’t for that third quarter substitution made by Pop taking out Danny Bird Miller Kerr Green the Spurs would be up 3-0. The Heat have a 30% chance of winning. The Spurs have called check in 2 games but can James and the Heat counter?

Heat-Spurs Brief Preview

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The Heat are coming off a dominating performance in game 7 of the Pacers series while the Spurs are coming closely contested (2 OT games) sweep of the Memphis Grizzles. Now the Heat and Spurs have finally crossed paths once again in the NBA Finals (previously in 2007 when the Heat Cavaliers were swept) and this time they look like equals rather than a total mismatch. The Original Big Three vs The New Big Three. Past vs Present. Popovich vs Riley. Traditional vs Unorthodox. Big vs Small Ball. I can go on and on but there is a more important issue here than mere comparisons: can the old ass Spurs compete with the Heat (commonly referred to as the Heatles by Heat doubters)? Lets take a look at these two teams profiles throughout the playoffs:

Offense:

  • Heat- Ranked fourth in the playoffs
  • Spurs – Ranked first in the playoffs

Defense:

  • Heat – Ranked first in the playoffs
  • Spurs – Ranked second in the playoffs

Primary Offensive Plays:

  • Heat – Spot Up (27%)
  • Spurs – Pick and Roll (30%)

Best Defensively Against:

  • Heat – Pick and Roll (1)
  • Spurs – Spot Up (1st) and Transition (1st)

X-Factors

  • Heat – 3 point shooting/Wade/Bosh
  • Spurs – Kawhi Leonard

If I could pick the biggest question concern one team going into the playoffs is the health of Wade and Bosh. We saw flashes of Flash in game 7 when he was able to get into transition due to the Heats blitzing defense. While Bosh couldn’t hit a shot all series he has come up big against the Spurs being able to take Duncan off dribble with ease. The five out set the Heat love to run (despite being inefficient against good defenses as in the Pacers series). What works well for the Heat is the Horns set which is a two high post set which gets movement for LeBron as well as an open shot for Bosh. We know the Spurs are meticulous in terms of running offensive sets  mainly P&Rs for Tony Parker with as many as 3 screens, which then allows Duncan to slip behind the screen for the mid-range jump shot.  With that being said its hard to see where one team has a clear distinct advantage over the other. So as the great Magic Johnson said “If two teams are evenly matched, chose the team with the best player in the world.” Well said. Miami in 7.

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Say What?

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I chose not to continue writing about the Brooklyn Nets for several reasons but it was mainly because they’re terrible. Many people say they have a big three but lets be honest their most efficient player was Reggie Evans which is not a good thing. With that aside Joe Johnson is by far the most average overpaid “Superstar” in the NBA this year not named Carmelo Anthony.  To be contenders you must have a 52 win season, a dominant big (or LeBron) and a top 10 player. The Nets did not not meet any of these requirements nor will they in the future (maybe perhaps 52 wins). So therefore there was no need to talk about the Nets nor continue talking about them until the offseason (where they’ll hopefully trade Joe for some draft picks and assets). Of course PJ Carlisimo was the scapegoat and was unfortunately fired. Bad move for the Nets.

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To Be or Not To Be

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Following Game 1 the media proposed that LeBron James, or as I like to him in my Wake Forest group message LeGawd, transform into a selfish player. Is this even remotely sensible? The Miami Heat missed 10 open fucking 3s in the first half and combined with Chris Bosh playing horribly, Miami only lost by 7 points. So hell to the no should LeBron change up his steez. However some things did disturb as I watched recaps of the game especially this : Wades ability to sometimes fall asleep on the defensive end, Chris Bosh relying too much on 15 footers and Miami’s trouble guarding Nate Robinson in the pick-and-roll. Wade didn’t have a spectacular game on either end but there were times when he just fell asleep watching the ball allowing his man to go backdoor and get a layup or inexplicably helping one man away and allowing Marco Belinelli to hit a wide open 3. Wade and his funks are the least of Miami’s problem. This pick-and-roll offense that was executed beautifully late during the game has to be countered not with a hard hedge which forces a third defender, usually out of position,  to help but rather as Coach Nick would put it forcing the ball handler to the baseline leaving the roll defender to sink back into the lane and contain any drive.

The Chicago Bulls have been so good of lately that we forgot how really good Derrick Rose is. So it shouldn’t have been that much of a shocker that they won Game 1 vs the Miami Heat on the road (The season series was split 2-2). We should definitely credit Chicago’s head coach Thibs, Jimmy Butler for being physical with James and Nate Robinson for playing well. I would not raise Miami’s panic levels just yet. Being off for so long showed as Miami started off slowly. Combine that with playing against a very good defensive team in Chicago and Bosh playing into Chicago’s plan to allow him to shoot as many jumpshots as he wants, inevitably spell a loss for Miami.

History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme. Remember Game 1 of last years Finals? More specifically, remember Game 1 of the 2011 Semi-Finals against Derrick Rose and Bulls? The Heat have faced adversity before to begin a series 0-1 and have come back to literally decimate the opponent. So could the Heat actually lose? Ill say Miami in 6.

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Mid-Season Profile: Brooklyn Nets

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The city is under new management

Jay-Z

Sorry Jay, NYC is not under new management which is oddly the title of my blog. Ironic isn’t it? Even though the Brooklyn Nets are 2-1 against the NYK they’ve managed to struggle against the elite teams (I have to admit under PJ Carlismo is doing an extremely better job than Avery Johnson and has amassed an 17-8 record). They have 2 quality wins against top tier teams under PJ (they beat Chicago except that game they were missing Boozer and Noah) and have lost miserably San Antonio (2), Miami, Houston, and Memphis by a combined of 17.8 points. So lets that an extensive look at the Nets profile:

  • 9th in Offensive Efficiency 
  • 14th in Defensive Efficiency
  • 20th in PPG
  • 15th in RPG
  • 27th in APG

This is pretty self explanatory. The Nets arent very good at all. But why? With the 3rd highest team salary at ~$83 million per year they should be able to purchase wins. Their highest played players are Joe Johnson ($19.7 mill), Deron Williams ($17.2 mill) and Brook Lopez ($13.7 mill). However as far as wins produced, respectively here are their rankings: Joe Johnson (2.7 wins, 21st amongst SG), Deron Williams (4 wins, 14th amongst PG) and Brook Lopez (3.7 wins and 18th amongst center C). So already we can see that their team salary doesn’t match the output of wins, therefore they really aren’t getting the most bang out of their buck (the Lakers are far worse with the highest payroll (~$99 mill) and they’re under .500!!!!

The first half of the season the Nets managed to post a record of 33-20 with an 11th ranked SOS (pretty decent) and the remaining SOS is ranked 16th. So things do get easier. Personally, I don’t think this team can make a run deep into the playoffs with Ind and Mia being the projected top two teams. There’s still an entire second half of the season to play so its still quite possible for the Nets to overtake the NYK but Joe Johnson is possibly playing the worst season of his career and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

And we’re only touching the surface of their problem. Stay tuned for continued Nets support.

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How The Nets Could Beat An Elite Team: Heat Pt. 3

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The first two games of the season against the Miami Heat count (lost by a combined 43 points) but not really as we are under the new regime of PJ Carlisimo. Boasting a 13-4 record under PJ the Nets look to jump in the standings and become a dominant force in the East.  However they want to look at it they’re coming up against a pretty good LeBron James and the Heat team although flawed. So is there a way for the Nets to finally get a win against the Heat in LeBron’s first visit to Brooklyn? Well lets take a look:

HOW TO EXPLOIT THE HEAT

       1. Stop Dwyane Wade

  • Wade has struggled in seven games this season and in all seven of those games the Heat have lost. Its unfair to put all the blame on him but when your second best player on the team is shooting 30% (FG/48 min) its hard to look elsewhere.
  • I suggest putting Gerald Wallace on him. Someone as active as Gerald Wallace would be able to disrupt Wades flow and as discipline a defender as Wallace he probably would not fall for Wades pump fakes.

2. Limit their rebounds

  • The Heat are not a great rebounding team ranking dead last in the NBA. They usually get out rebounded every game so try and get Offensive Rebounds and the one man to do this is the notorious trash talker and rebounder, Reggie Evans.

3. Limit LeBrons playmaking ability 

  • In the Heat losses this season, LeBron has avg <7 assists. This will be the Nets biggest task. PJ even called LeBron unstoppable. There’s not many options to do this. A zone might work but if you give LeBron corner shooters the Nets will get ran out of the gym.

4. Take advantage of Brooklyn

  • The Heat are 10-10 on the road. Brooklyn has one of the most electric atmospheres. The Nets need to get the crowd going early. Nuff said.

SUMMARY

Who knows maybe the Nets can do all of these things and win. Theyre 2-1 against their NYK rivals and the NYK are the superior team by far. So anything is possible.

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