Month: November 2013

20 things about the ’13-’14 season thus far

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  1. Gordan Hayward leads the NBA in total minutes (592) – 19 more than anybody else.
  2. The Portland Trailblazers have THREE players in the top 11 in 3-Point FG’s made – Lillard, Matthews & Batum.
  3. Harrison Barnes leads the NBA in 3-Point FG percentage – 57.1%
  4. In 309 minutes played, Shane Battier has 0 turnovers.
  5. Tiago Splitter leads the NBA in Offensive Rating – 132.6
  6. The NBA had ZERO 20/10 guys last season, thus far there is 4 – Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins & Blake Griffin.
  7. Chris Paul has 51 more assists than the man who’s in second place, Ricky Rubio.
  8. The single-season record for blocks per game is 3.5 – Roy Hibbert has (4.1) & Anthony Davis (3.8).
  9. In 331 Minutes played, Danny Green has attempted 3 Free-Throw’s.
  10. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the NBA in both FG Made and FG’s Attempted – Made (136) / Attempted (305).
  11. There is only ONE team as a whole shooting over 50% – The Miami Heat (51.7%).
  12. The Minnesota Timberwolves have scored the most points this season, grabbed the most rebounds and stole the ball the most.
  13. The LA Clippers have the top scoring backcourt in the NBA – 52.2 PPG.
  14. Only 2 rookies are averaging 10+ PPG – Michael Carter-Williams (17.3) & Victor Oladipo (12.7).
  15. Best WC Road team – Portland Trailblazers (7-1) ; Best EC Road team – Indiana Pacers (5-1).
  16. San Antonio’s bench plays the most MPG, most assists and is the highest efficiency.
  17. There are only THREE teams over .500 in the Eastern Conference.
  18. Chris Paul leads in Win Shares – 3.2
  19. 7 out of top 20 defensive rated players are on the Indiana Pacers – Hibbert, West, George, Scola, Stephenson, Hill & Watson.
  20. DeMarcus Cousins is the most used player on offense – 34.9%

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How REAL are the Portland Trailblazers

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Surprise surprise folks, the Portland Trailblazers have started the 2013-2014 season with a record of 13-2. They’ve now won 11 straight games and is currently half a game back for the overall 1 seed in the entire Western Conference. I had Portland making the postseason as the 8 seed this season, but how good is Portland in reality?

For starters, the Blazers have two 20+ scorers per game, LaMarcus Aldridge (22 PPG) and Damian Lillard (20 PPG) and two more players scoring 14+ a night, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum at 17 PPG and 14 PPG respectfully. Wins versus NINE playoff teams from last season make up a huge portion of there wins this season. This season they’re averaging this young seasons scoring 103.9 and there defense is giving up 97.6, a + differential of 6.3 a huge difference from last season where Portland scored only 97.5 per game and allowed 100.7, a – 3.2. Last season the Blazers were an outstanding 11-30 on the road while this year they’re 7-1 in road games and have 1 more win on the road then they do even at home. They’re also doing what they have to verse a weak Eastern Conference, 7-0 versus them as a whole. Another difference, last season Portland averaged the least minutes from there bench, along with the least points. This offseason, they went out and acquired a very solid 6th man in Mo Williams, who has been an All-Star in the past, got a young athletic stretch Power Forward in Thomas Robinson and the sharp shooting Dorrell Wright.

Maybe the biggest key to Portland’s success may lie in the hands of the Trailblazers Big 4, per say. First is, Wesley Matthews he scored 14.8 PPG last year on 43% from the field and 39% from 3-Point land, this year, 17 PPG on 55% from the field on 50% on threes. He’s averaging 3 more rebounds a game from last year and keeping these types of numbers up he may be bringing himself an All-Star appearance. The Blazers 2 stars, the second highest scoring tandem in the league behind Dallas, in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard have been on a tear early on. 42 PPG, 14.1 RPG and 8.6 APG combined, while only turning the ball over 4.4 times a game. Nic Batum, one of the more underrated and underappreciated players in the league is, like the other 3, off to an excellent start. His averages, 14 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 5.0 APG all while shooting 46% from the field, shooting 43% from three, are the type of the numbers of players that are the glue of your team.

Has the Portland Trailblazers schedule been tough? Not necessarily, only beating 3 teams with .500 records or better but they’ve done what they’ve needed too according to what they’ve been presented with by their schedule. They’ve won at the home and they’ve won on the road, they’ve beaten two top teams from there own conference (Spurs & Warriors) and they’ve beaten every Eastern Conference foe put forth before them thus far. The type of production from some of there guys will be hard to maintain, mainly Wes Matthews, but if he and the rest of the bunch do, Portland may be a force to wreckin’ with in the Western Conference. I’m buying in early due to the core they have, and the mixture of young talent and veterans with experience they have coming off the bench.

 

2013-2014 NBA MVP Race

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This years MVP race will be one of the better ones we’ve had in a while. Everyone now expects #6 to win every year but ’13-’14 is a different story.

Thus far in the 2013-2014 season, there’s 4 very prominent MVP candidates that have started hot, and will be there at the trail end of the season as well; Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kevin Love coming back from his missed season and dominating early. I’m going to make a case and argument for all of them.

Chris Paul –  Averages: 19.5 PPG – 12.6 APG – 4.4 RPG – 2.6 STL – 42.6% FG – 96.7% FT

CP3, as I said earlier, has been the NBA’s best player thus far. He’s played 12 games and has 12 double-double’s. He’s the first player in NBA history to ever start the season with that many straight double-double’s. The Clippers added shooting depth in the off-season leaving Chris more space to operate and more options to dish the ball off too. With more spacing allows CP3 room to drive and finish or drive and kick and you can’t forget about the athletic bigs he has to always throw the ball up too at the rim. An advantage Paul may have over a guy like Kevin Love, is his team is better than Love’s and will more likely finish with more wins and that could be due to Chris’ leadership. He’s going to lead the league in Assists and if he keeps his scoring anywhere from 18-20+ at the percentage he’s scoring at he could make a serious run at the league’s most valuable player. There’s not many players in the NBA that is a leader like Chris Paul. With the addition of Doc Rivers as his head coach, Doc might help elevate CP3’s game to that MVP level.

Kevin Durant – Averages: 29.6 PPG – 7.0 RPG – 5.2 APG – 45.3% FG – 88.3% FT – 12.8 FTA/G

Kevin Durant, the best scorer in the NBA has been second fiddle to LeBron the last 2 seasons in the MVP and a lot of people claim KD as the league’s 2nd best player, rightfully so. But, Kevin has improved and not just with scoring the basketball. His passing ability is very underrated, he is very good at finding an open cutter towards the basket. His length, also causes problems on defense and has been a very good perimeter defender this season. Kevin is averaging 11 made free-throws a game and has 113 on the season ( 31 more than anybody else. ) KD is 2nd in Win Shares in the entire league ( 2.2 ), early on this season, and 4th in Offense Win Shares, behind the 3 other guys mentioned ( LBJ, Love & CP3 ). Kevin will most likely lead the NBA in scoring and with his game expanding, he may land himself an MVP trophy at the end of the season.

LeBron James – Averages: 26.0 PPG – 6.7 APG – 5.5 RPG – 61% FG – 51.7% 3-PT

Who doesn’t expect LBJ, winner of 2 straight MVP’s and 4 of the last 5? This may be the year the king is dethroned. This is the most competitive MVP race in a while, headlining 5 different players, but everyone knows LBJ is going to be the favorite. LBJ is on another planet offensively scoring 27 a game at a 61% clip while shooting 52% from 3-point land, absurd. Every year you think he’s peeked and every year he comes back to the game with a new weapon in his arsenal or an improved aspect – this year a deadly shooter from deep and possibly the most efficient scorer in the league. LBJ is the best 2 way player in the league and can change games defensively just as much as he can offensively. Not many players in the NBA have that skill. Can a wing player such as LeBron score at a 60% clip for an entire season? Can he sustain a 50+ percentage from behind the arc for a full season? Questions that we will find out once the regular season comes to an end. MVP like numbers that we can’t put past the world’s best player until we wait till the playoff time.

Kevin Love – Averages: 26.7 PPG – 13.4 RPG – 4.5 APG – 48.0% FG – 36.3% 3-PT – 83.2% FT

Kevin Love has came back with vengeance. Averaging 27 PPG and 13 RPG early on through 12 games. He arguably has been just as good as the rest of these guys if not better. K Love is in every top 20 in every statistical category in the entire league; 4th in Minutes, 3rd in made FG’s, 8th in made 3-PT FG’s, 3rd in made FT’s, 3rd in Offensive Rebounds, 2nd in Defensive Rebounds, 1st in total Points, 1st in Offensive Win-Shares and 1st in total Win-Shares. Basically stating, Kevin has been spectacular in his return from injury. The NBA had zero 20/10 guys last season, Love might have a chance to do 25/10 and maybe he can find a way to 25/15. He has the Wolves in the right direction, 1 game over .500 but they’re a solid team still building chemistry. I can’t not quickly talk about how Love has been such a better passer this year. Prior to this season he’s never averaged above 2.5 APG, at 4.5 this season. He’s surrounded by more shooters this year, mainly Kevin Martin who has shot the ball well, so there is more kicks to shooters from the post.

 

I chose Kevin Durant to win the MVP prior to the season and I’m not ready to jump ship but with what the other 3 guys are doing it could go anyway if they all continue at the world class level they’re at.

2 Weeks in the books – Power Rankings time!

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From top to bottom, the Western Conference hasn’t been too crazy, but the Eastern Conference has been something else.

  1. Indiana Pacers (8-0): Paul George has been on a tear offensively and Roy Hibbert is already making claims about the DPOY. They really want Home Court come playoff time, they’re a confident bunch.
  2. San Antonio Spurs (6-1): Not scoring as much as they did last year, but they’ve given up the second fewest points in the NBA thus far. Parker has lead the way scoring at 19 a game at a excellent 52% clip.
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1): 4 wins in a row for OKC, no coincidence that Russell Westbrook has been back for those 4 games either. Production from young guys like Lamb & Adams has OKC looking dangerous.
  4. Miami Heat (5-3): The Heat have struggled a bit, Wade & Bosh have both missed a game each early on, they’re dead-last in Rebounds per game (33.1) but the MVP has looked impressive as ever, they’ll be just fine.
  5. Golden State Warriors (5-3): 3/5 of there wins have been 20+ point blow-outs. The addition of Iggy makes them so, so dangerous.
  6. Portland Trailblazers (5-2): Mo Williams finally gives them depth to there bench & there core 4 is healthy and playing very well ( Aldridge, Lillard, Batum & Matthews )
  7. Houston Rockets (5-3): At the end of the day, Jeremy Lin is the answer at PG > Patrick Beverley but Lin has played well off the bench. Oh, and Dwight Howard has been kinda good – 17/15/2 blocks.
  8. Los Angeles Clippers (5-3): The Clippers have the highest scoring team in the league thus far with CP3 playing at an MVP level early on – have played 0 defense, Doc will turn that around.
  9. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-3): The addition of the Kevin’s; Martin in FA & Love back from injury has been a dynamic scoring duo ( highest scoring duo in the league ).
  10. Memphis Grizzlies (3-4): Being lead by Mike Conley in scoring (19 PPG) doesn’t seem the long-term answer for Memphis, do they have enough to be a threat in the West?
  11. Chicago Bulls (3-3): Although just 3-3, the past game vs. Cleveland was the most complete performance for D-Rose & finally, bench production for Chicago – mostly Dunleavy with 15.
  12. Phoenix Suns (5-2): The Suns quite frankly, are a fun team to watch & Eric Bledsoe is a star in the making minus the turnovers.
  13. Dallas Mavericks (5-3): Dirk & Monta have 41 PPG between the 2 & have 6 others that avg. from 7-13 PPG = Balanced scoring.
  14. New York Knicks (2-4): Losing Tyson is the one guy they could not afford to lose – It’s time for Melo to will his team to W’s while Tyson is gone. They could be a lot lower than 13 next time my power rankings go up.
  15. Atlanta Hawks (4-3): Al Horford, one of the more underrated players in the league & Paul Millsap have played solid to help the Hawks have a +.500 record early on.
  16. Philadelphia 76ers (4-4): The story has been about MCW, but how about Evan Turner; 23/6/3 on 50% FG’s or Spencer Hawes; 16/11/3 on 54% FG’s?
  17. Boston Celtics (4-4): Everyone seems to adore Brad Stevens, I do as well and Boston lead by the other J. Crawford ( Jordan ) have won 4 games in a row after starting the season 0-4.
  18. Brooklyn Nets (2-4): The plan Kidd had in 1 of there W’s was 13 man rotation anywhere from 10-25 minutes, seemed very promising, but has only tried it once.
  19. Los Angeles Lakers (4-5): Wins over LAC & Houston have been promising but have also been blown out 3 times. The Lakers have needed the 3 ball & bench to succeed, it must continue to even have a chance at a playoff spot.
  20. Washington Wizards (2-4): John Wall & Bradley Beal seem to be one of the brightest back-courts in the entire league but have yet to show up on a consistent basis.
  21. New Orleans Pelicans (3-5): Truth be told, Anthony Davis is on the verge of becoming a super-star. Gordon/Holiday/Evans needs to play better, plain and simple.
  22. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-5): Kyrie has been Kyrie for 1 game, Andrew Bynum is back playing basketball, not bowling, but the Cavs are the 2nd lowest scoring team in the entire league.
  23. Detroit Pistons (2-5): The Pistons have a very nice core 4 ( Jennings, Smith, Monroe & Drummond ) that have to get more time together & accompanied with veteran leadership from Chauncey Billups, but they’re off to a slow start.
  24.  Charlotte Bobcats (3-4): Playing a 9-10 man rotation has been the most successful point of attack for the Cats early on. Nice young talent & Kidd-Gilcrest seems to be gaining an idea how to be an NBA player – 12/6 on 57% FG’s.
  25. Toronto Raptors (3-5): Rudy Gay took 37 shots in 1 game, 37, your eyes have not deceived you.
  26. Orlando Magic (3-5): Victor Oladipo has played well, early on this season, but no Tobias Harris so far this season hasn’t helped Orlando one bit.
  27. Denver Nuggets (2-4): The Nuggets, missing Gallo have been struggling, and have rumored in moving the Manimal, one of the youngest and brightest players…from so good last year to so…not.
  28. Milwaukee Bucks (2-4): Larry Sanders out for 6 weeks, Ersan has BARELY touched the floor & Nate Wolters is there starting PG, not much has gone right.
  29. Sacramento Kings (1-5): DeMarcus Cousins & Isaiah Thomas have been very, very good. Everyone else? Just no.
  30. Utah Jazz (0-8): Gordon Hayward & Derek Favors got big new extensions, but missing Trey Burke doesn’t help, they’re going to be in the lotto during next years draft, they’re not any good.