The Heat Index’s Tom Haberstroh has a great article up today on how Dwyane Wade’s unprecedented shot-blocking (Wade is the only guard to average at least a block per game over the course of his career) impacts Miami’s defense. Because Wade can block just about anybody’s shot, including a 7-footer’s, the Heat are able to defend the rim extremely well despite not having much size of their own up front:
Wade rarely shies away from shot-blocking opportunities, and that’s partly by design. In the Heat’s mechanical defense, which was orchestrated by Pat Riley and sharpened by Spoelstra, Wade must make his presence felt underneath the rim. The Heat’s defensive blueprint requires guards to act like big men underneath and wall off penetration.
It’s something that newcomers in the Heat system have to get used to. Even a player like Shane Battier, who has studied defensive principles his entire career, needed time to adjust to Wade’s shot-blocking talents.
“Earlier in the season,” Spoelstra remembers, “Shane Battier was in a situation where Dwyane Wade was a low man and the big man caught it right at the rim and Shane went to foul. We told Shane, ‘No, that’s not a fouling situation. Let Dwyane go up there and be a playmaker. That’s not a given even against a center.'”
I encourage you to read the full article, which is quite fantastic. Wade’s next chance to get some highlight-reel blocks will come in the Heat’s second-round series against the Pacers, which begins on Sunday.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.