Nerlens Noel

Wednesday And-1 Links: Nerlens Noel thinks raising age limit not “the worst idea”

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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.

• In general players oppose Commissioner Adam Silver’s goal of raising of the NBA age limit — not that they will stop the league from doing it, so long as the players union gets something in return. It’s always a negotiation.

Nerlens Noel, who left Kentucky as a one-and-done, had an interesting take on the age limit — it’s a good idea, just not for me. Here is what he said over the weekend on ESPN Radio 97.3 in South New Jersey, when on with Matt Hammond:

“I don’t think it’s the worst idea. But the one year of college was definitely the best thing for me… I think it’s a good idea but then again the one year was enough for me and the other guys making the move and being successful with it. But Adam Silver is a great commissioner and he’s doing what’s in the best interest of the next generation.”

• All the reports that come out of Minnesota say that the Timberwolves are not that eager to trade Kevin Love, not in a rushed fashion. It’s the leaks from agents and other interested teams that are the big fuel for this trade conversation right now.

• If you read one thing today, it should be this Seattle Times look at how far Robert Swift has fallen.

• Dwyane Wade said again that if LeBron James bolts Miami this summer not to blame him.

• Not that you asked, but I really don’t think LeBron is leaving Miami this summer. Right now, he is in legacy building mode, he needs rings. At the end of the day, who is he going to trust to build or maintain a contender around him more than Pat Riley, who is trying to recruit young men with money to live in Miami (in a state with no sales tax)? Would you trust Dan Gilbert to succeed at this more than you would Riley? James Dolan? LeBron knows where his best chance of winning remains.

• Great look at Grantland at the history of NBA posters.

• If you are looking for a good breakdown of Donald Sterling’s legal arguments, here you go.

• Nene is pushing for the Wizards to re-sign Marcin Gortat. They’d like to, but the price may be more steep than they are interested in.

• Lineup changes for the Spurs in Game 5? Don’t be shocked to see more Corey Joseph, he earned it.

Great post at Nets Daily on the “arms race” of teams building practice facilities. Everyone is upgrading, like college football facilities it’s part of the recruiting process (for the NBA it’s recruiting free agents).

• If you want to buy this go ahead, I’m not sure I do — Kyrie Irving is going to sign a max, five-year deal if it’s put in front of him.

• Tornike Shengelia, who was released by the Bulls in April, has signed a three-year deal to play with Baskonia of Spain.

Three Hawks lose uncontested rebound out of bounds (video)

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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)

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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)

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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

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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.