Nicolas Batum, Greg Stiemsma

Nic Batum’s agent hopes the Blazers won’t do something they are totally going to do. He should learn to live with disappointment.

26 Comments

CSN Northwest spoke with Nicolas Batum’s agent, who is living in  fairytale world and is desperate to get around reality. Funny thing. Reality just kind of is.

Batum has agreed to terms with the Timberwolves on a large 4-year, $45 million offer sheet. He is restricted, so the Blazers are going to match. Considering the fact that they’ve turned down trade offers for everything short of a gold kitchen sink and a GM’s first-born son should be no surprise to anyone. But nooooo…

From Batum’s agent to CSNNW.com:

“His mind is not there in Portland. Out of that meeting with the Blazers on Thursday, we hoped they would allow him to live his dream. The best case scenario is a sign-and-trade and we understand that. Hopefully, Paul Allen would never stand in the way of his dream to play for the Timberwolves,” is what Nicolas Batums agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told CSNNW.com Saturday evening.

“Hes a player that likes to move around and thats what he likes about Minnesota. Requesting a sign-and-trade was part of it, but not all of it. He went there to tell them theres no hard feelings, I dont hate you, but my heart isnt there. Thats what he told them.”

via Agent: Batums heart isnt in Portland.

That’s nice.

Never going to happen, but that’s nice.

Portland GM Neil Olshey told Batum and his agent, as has been reported a million times, that they’re going to match.

This “his heart is in (insert city)” stuff has to stop. It’s out of control. Your heart is wherever you are. You know how I know that? If it wasn’t, your brain would get no circulation and you would die. Restricted free agency is a pain. No one is denying that. But it’s the reality. And these stories about hopes and dreams are silly in the face of what will happen.

In a few years, Batum can head to Minnesota, or Houston, or back to France or Istanbul. But next year, he’ll be a Blazer. They know his value and have his rights because he didn’t sign the qualifying offer.

Them’s the breaks.

Three Hawks lose uncontested rebound out of bounds (video)

Leave a comment

How did Mike Scott, Mike Dunleavy and Malcolm Delaney fail to secure this rebound?

No wonder the Hawks lost to a Clippers team playing without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

James Harden makes impressive chase-down block. Really. (video)

Leave a comment

If we’re going to post all of James Harden‘s defensive lowlights, it’s only fair to acknowledge this impressive block.

Please overlook the fact that Jason Terry is 39 years old.

Steven Adams posterizes Rudy Gobert AND Derrick Favors with one thunderous dunk (video)

1 Comment

Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors form an impressive defensive tandem that usually walls off the paint.

If there were any walls here, Steven Adams jumped right over them.

Video Breakdown: How Kyle Lowry dismantles NBA defenses from 3-point range

Leave a comment

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry is arguably the team’s best player thanks in large part to his increase in 3-point shooting ability this season. He’s just above 43 percent from deep this year, much better than his career average of 36 percent. Lowry has increased his 3-point percentage six points over last season, and he’s a big part of why the Raptors are so good on offense, and why they’re a contender in the Eastern Conference.

So how does he do it?

Watch the full video breakdown on Lowry’s 3-point shooting above, or read the text version of the article below.

Early Offense

I looked at a lot of tape of Lowry over the last 3 years and he hasn’t changed much on his shot mechanics. There’s no big change in his sweep or sway toward the basket when he shoots, and he still brings the ball up from his left side.

Part of his leap is be how quickly he’s getting his shots off and how many of his early offense field goal attempts come in the form of 3-pointers.

Lowry has bumped up how many 3-pointers he’s taken in the early offense, recorded here as between 24 and 15 seconds on the shot clock. Year-over-year he’s taken nearly eight percent more of his field goals as three pointers in this range.

This takes form on the court in a couple of ways, both in transition on the fast break and on quick 1 or 2 dribble pull ups off the pick-and-roll.

Transition

With the ball in secondary transition here, Lowry gets a quick screen from DeMarre Carroll to open him up for a 3-point bucket against the Hornets. And that’s still with 18 seconds left on the shot clock!

Pull-up and off-the-bounce jumpers

The other way Lowry scores quickly is off the dribble, with quick pick and rolls. Toronto is great at screen assists — picks leading to an immediate field goal — and have three players in the Top 50 and two in the Top 10 in setting them.

Here, the Celtics defender cuts off Lowry’s attack to the middle of the floor. The screener sets up to Lowry’s right, but then quickly flips it to his left. One dribble, and it’s an easy 3-pointer.

Here against Portland, the Raptors run a two screen setup with one wing and one post. The Blazers make the switch and try to blitz Lowry, but he stays resilient and sinks the bucket with what little space they allow him anyway.

Working with DeMar DeRozan

The other thing that’s been talked about a lot is the gravity of DeMar DeRozan, who himself is having a career year for the Raptors. While Lowry is making a ton of unassisted 3-pointers this year, the Raptors point guard does benefit from DeMar.

Part of that is how good they are in transition together.

Here you can see DeMar bringing the ball up the court with Lowry in front of him. He sets the screen, then fades to the arc. Three Utah Jazz are trying to stop DeRozan, and Lowry is left all alone.

When he’s not the primary ball handler on the break, Lowry will immediately get out to the wing. DeRozan has a way of finding him to get up quick Js.

Of course, in good old set plays the Raptors see this gravity effect as well.

Here Toronto is running another double screen with a guard and a post, but Lowry is one of the screeners. At this point, all three Heat players are guarding against DeRozan’s midrange jumper, leaving just enough daylight for Lowry.

Toronto is also third in the NBA in “hockey” or secondary assists, which means two or more passes leading to a made field goal.

On this baseline out of bounds play, again it’s DeRozan’s gravity that frees up Lowry. As the ball is inbounded, DeRozan sucks three warriors defenders with him, including Lowry’s. Meanwhile, Kyle is running down the baseline to get a bucket off a pass on the opposite side of the floor. All the raps have to do is rotate the ball.

So that’s a little bit on why Kyle Lowry has been so good. It’s been about shot selection, decisiveness, and some practice in addition to the effectiveness of his teammates.