Wednesday And-1 links: Who has the better Eurostep, Wade or Ginobili?

2 Comments

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Texans love barbecue.

Who has the better Eurostep move, Dwyane Wade or Manu Ginobili?

• Sarah Mensah, Portland’s COO and a team employee for 19 years, has resigned, tweets Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. She had been an ally of former team president Larry Miller, who left the organization last summer to take a job with Nike. Both Miller and Mensah had been opposed to the hiring of Neil Olshey as the Trail Blazers GM after last season. So, guess who is winning the power struggle? Point is, however, that there are a lot of changes at the top of the organization, we’ll see if this leads to some stability of direction in team building and on the court.

• While we are talking front office changes, the Denver Nuggets announced they have promoted Pete D’Alessandro to Vice President of Basketball Operations and Mike Bratz to Director of Player Personnel.

• The Lakers will be without Steve Blake at least two more weeks due to his strained abdomen.

Great breakdown of the slipped pick-and-roll the Pacers used to beat the Lakers on Tuesday night.

• Lots of Pau Gasol trade buzz, although you might want to have a seat and relax on that, it’s not happening soon if it does. Complicating matters Gasol has a trade kicker in his contract, but it’s not as big as some have reported — $1.3 million for this season and next total.

• The Celtics need to do a better job defending the three.

Why we watch and cheer Steve Novak.

• Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle benched Darren Collison to start the game Tuesday night, but afterwards said Collison is still the team’s starter (because he doesn’t have any other good options)

Doug Collins is praising Kwame Brown’s defense.

• The Lakers bench just got less interesting to watch — the team assigned backup center and cheering machine Robert Sacre to the D-League.

• More leaks out of Virginia Beach on how they are moving closer to a getting a new stadium approved, one where they will try to lure the Sacramento Kings to play in. Virginia Beach should totally use tax dollars to get in bed with the Maloofs, they are totally trustworthy — just ask Kings fans.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Leave a comment

The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

image

That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

image

This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

Leave a comment

Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

1 Comment

LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
Getty
Leave a comment

Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.