Tag: shooting

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors

Paul Millsap, the model for offensive improvement


From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Millsap attributes his improvement to “just knowing the offense,” saying that expanding his offensive game was a product of studying Jazz power forwards of the past, Karl Malone and Boozer.

Actual shooting practice is also a big part of the equation.

“He recognized where the shots were going to come from, and that’s what he worked on,” Sloan said. “That’s the exciting thing from a coaching standpoint, to see how guys try to make themselves better.”

via Kragthorpe: Jazz’s Millsap makes himself a shooting star | The Salt Lake Tribune.

If you want to talk about unexpected developments, the fact that Paul Millsap has become more of an offensive weapon with Al Jefferson on the team is a huge one. Millsap is enjoying career highs in points, both per game and minute, in eFG%, and in usage. His rebounding and block numbers are down, while his offense has sprung to life. That jumper’s certainly come in handy, and he’s used it to burn teams.

The Jazz need to improve on defense, understanding their scheme and playing together within the system. That comes with time. Provided they can do that by April, they’re going to be in good position to make a run. They don’t have the size to beat LA, but with Millsap shooting like he is, they have the weapons available to put up a pretty good fight.

Millsap’s also the kind of offensive example you want to throw down in front of Dwight Howard to force him to understand how good he can be. If Paul Millsap can go from block-handed rebound machine to complete offensive player, Howard could be so much more, if only he were to put the work in, not just three days with Hakeem Olajuwon and a few sessions with Patrick Ewing each summer.

In completely unrelated news Paul Millsap is also averaging a career high at the stripe, at 76%.


Trying to reassemble the Knicks

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

It was supposed to be different. It really was. With the roster expunged of the mess outside of Wilson Chandler who is still serviceable and Eddy Curry who at least keeps the bench firmly weighted to the ground, things were supposed to be different for the New York Knicks. They had a superstar in Amar’e Stoudemire, a winning coach in Mike D’Antoni that had made the mess win an underwhelming but decent number of games, and the GM at the top to get them the moves for the next level.

It was supposed to be different, but it’s not.

There they sit, at 3-7, the eleventh best team in the Eastern Conference, losing to the Timberwolves before a loss to the Rockets put them on a five-game skid. Amar’e Stoudemire is blasting the team. It’s an abject disaster ten games in, as much as a ten game sample can constitute a disaster.

Here’s where I’m supposed to talk about how Mike D’Antoni’s defense once again proves that his run and gun style can’t win in the NBA. I’m supposed to discuss how soft the Knicks are, and how it’s only a matter of time for this team to fall apart like all the others. According to script I need to throw out cliches about toughness and determination and the chemical makeup of champions. That’s the standard sportswriter script. Good news, though: I hate stuff like that.

Thing is, it’s not the defense. Kind of.

If you look at the Knicks they’re currently 14th in defensive efficiency. That’s about four spots outside of good, and it’s a solid six outside of bad, and about 11 outside of where most people tend to think of them, which is “terrible.” So, no, they are not defensive stalwarts, but they’re also not sieves for you to plunge the knife through. And lest you think that those estimated figures don’t reflect real world results, Synergy Sports has the Knicks giving up an average of 1052 points on 1118 possessions for an average of .94 points per possession allowed, which is 18th in the league. That’s not good, obviously, but it’s also not bad. The Knicks are also average to good in transition, isolation, post-up, and pick and roll defense. They’re really only suffering in spot-ups. So they don’t close out well but it also means teams are simply shooting really well in those situations (51.5% eFG compared to 42.3% FG% which means a lot of threes). The Knicks’ defense isn’t the problem.

Like I said, kind of.

In the span of two weeks, the Knicks gave up 24 assists to Rajon Rondo and 31 rebounds to Kevin Love. Those aren’t just statistical outliers, they’re gigantic spikes through the roof of the chart. But we’re not talking Earl Boykins scoring 42 or Andrea Bargnani rebounding 25 times, things which you simply can’t predict. The Knicks take good players with phenomenal individual skills and turn their production into some sort of nuclear, “TMNT-ooze” like monster version of it. It’s stunning and bizarre and yet wholly predictable.

Meanwhile, the rebounding, which you’d assume sucks, doesn’t. They have a zero differential in offensive rebound rate produced and allowed. So, it’s not the defense. And it’s not the rebounding. And it’s partially psychotic outliers, but not totally. So what is it?

The answer, of course is the offense. Which is wholly dysfunctional. Amar’e Stoudemire not having terrific numbers every night, Raymond Felton very much not looking like a point guard, an early shooting slump from Danilo Galinari, and below average PERs from every bench player. The Knicks can’t function on offense, and that’s why they’re losing.

Sure, chemistry is off. Sure, the formula hasn’t come together. But it’s not failing in the way you’re expecting. And if we’re giving Miami some time to get it together, maybe we should do the same for New York. Oh, wait, I forgot, we’re not doing that because everyone hates them. Got it.

Miami Heat love them some military grade weapons

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When the Miami Heat were at Eglin Air Force Base for training camp, they took a break from running suicides to check out people firing some big guns shooting up walls and cars.

And they loved it. LOVED IT. Check out reactions of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Eric Freeman of Early Termination option found this video of the players watching a weapons demonstration and as he says, it looked pretty cool.

The Miami Heat and big guns… they go together amazing easily. Feel about that how you will.