Scouting sheets are one of the best things about pro basketball. Scouts know the game, they place a lot of faith in their own knowledge, and they love putting their thoughts in blunt, easily digestible form. (One of my favorite scouting sheet notes of all time, courtesy of Jack McCallum’s Seven Seconds or Less, summed up Eddie House’s game thusly: “Won’t shoot, unless he has the ball in his hands.) ESPN Los Angeles’ Brian and Andrew Kamenetzky have obtained a copy of a typical scouting sheet from Dave Miller, and it’s full of lots of fun, useful tidbits about the Suns’ personnel. Here are a few of my favorites:
Dallas Mavericks guard JJ Barea didn’t like that Los Angeles Clippers big man was coming to set a screen on him, so he slapped his hand away. Griffin then retaliated with an elbow — which may or may not have connected — and that kicked off a row between the two players that resulted in Barea claiming a Flagrant 2 and an ejection.
It came during the third quarter with Barea at the top of the key and both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on either side of him.
Here’s how the play looked from multiple angles:
Curious that Griffin wasn’t assessed a foul at all given his own handsy nature. After the game referee Bill Spooner responded to pool reporters by saying that Barea was ejected for his contract above the throat. Meanwhile, Spooner also said that whether Griffin flopped or not was irrelevant.
“It has nothing to do with the merits of the play,” said Spooner.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks beat the Clippers, 97-95.
San Antonio is a military town, and on Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies the Spurs held a Military Appreciation Night. The team donned their camouflage uniforms, then held court for a very special guest: Richard Overton.
Mr. Overton is the oldest living U.S. veteran at age 110. He was in the Pacific theater during WWII and served in the Army with the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.
The team honored Mr. Overton during the game, and he received a standing ovation during a timeout.
Plus, Mr. Overton got to hang with the Spurs dancers:
Pretty neat of the team to do.
Houston Rockets star James Harden is a leading candidate for the 2017 NBA MVP, and for good reason. The Arizona State product has been exceedingly efficient, unburdened by Dwight Howard clogging the lane and fueled by a Mike D’Antoni offense that treats the ball like it’s radioactive.
But Harden has a new claim to add to his statistically-important season. He has been fouled more times on 3-point shots than any team in the NBA.
Not player. Any team.
This revelation is the result of some serious digging by ESPN’s Chris Herring. In an article published to 538, Herring outlined the situation in great detail. It’s worth reading in full, but the shocker comes here:
Harden has drawn a whopping 108 shooting fouls from distance this year with 11 games left to play. For context, consider that, outside of the Rockets, no team has garnered more than 73 of those calls.
If you subtract Harden’s numbers from the rest of the league’s, the average NBA player has drawn fouls on 1.6 percent of his 3-pointers this season, according to BigDataBall, which tracks the league’s play-by-play logs. Harden is drawing 3-point shooting fouls at a 16.7 percent clip, or more than 10 times as often.
Herring’s article goes into how Harden draws the contact (hint: he’s the one initiating it) and why he’s so good at it. Just like on his drives, Herring says Harden uses his arms to his advantage. It’s best to read 538’s article so you can see the visual cues on how Harden does it, but it’s suffice to say it’s impressive.
The immediate discussion here is whether Harden is “gaming” the system by adding this to his already foul-reliant arsenal. The answer is absolutely he is, and that’s why he’s one of the top MVP candidates this season.
Change the rules or change how officials respond to the game. Until then, James Harden is a basketball wizard.
Lets’s start with a disclaimer: Nearly every player and agent say for them free agency is not about the money, it’s about winning/fit/style of play. Then they go to the team that gives them the most money, even if it’s not very good or plays a style that doesn’t fit with their game.
That said, as players get along in the league, winning does matter more and some players will sacrifice dollars for rings.
Derrick Rose is a free agent this summer, and both his agent and Rose himself said that finding a winning team is what will guide the process.
“Derrick wants to win,” Rose’s agent B.J. Armstrong told NBCSports.com as part of a PBT Podcast (which will drop Friday morning). “That’s who he is, whether he’s playing pick-and-roll or not. In the end, what I found as a player, what I found as an agent, is it’s much easier to play when you’re winning….
“This is his first time, in his nine years of playing in the league, that he’ll actually have an opportunity to select the people he thinks he can work best with. As long as you’re playing in a good spot and healthy, money and the rest of it will take care of itself. Where you get in trouble in this league is when you start trying to do things strictly for money.”
Here is what Rose himself said about his free agency this summer, via ESPN.
“Not even thinking money. I’ve got more than enough money saved. If I stopped playing basketball now, I’ll be all right,” Rose told reporters in Utah on Wednesday night. “I want to win. I want to be happy and feel at peace with myself wherever I’m at. But being at the negotiating table, you never know. I’m not going to negotiate with people where money is the No. 1 thing I’m asking for. I want to win.”
It’s going to be an interesting market for Rose, the number of “winning” or quality teams in need of a point guard and with enough cap space to sign Rose is a limited market. While he has said he would love to stay in New York and the Knicks have not given up on the idea of re-signing him, if they are committed to the triangle offense that may be an awkward fit (and it’s not exactly a winning team). The sands will shift this summer and something will open up, but will Rose take less money — and maybe a lesser role — to be on a team that’s a threat to do deep in the playoffs?
He says so. His agent said so. We’ll see what happens when the money hits the negotiating table.