Warriors prove a jump-shooting team can win a championship

16 Comments

No NBA champion has ever shot like Golden State.

The Warriors attempted 3-pointers on 31% of their shots this season – a high for an NBA champion.

They also made 40% of their 3-point attempts – second-most by an NBA champion.

Were they an aberration, the only team that will feature the best 3-point shooter of all-time (Stephen Curry), a second excellent 3-point shooter (Klay Thompson) and a strong supporting cast of 3-point shooters (Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa)?

Well, yeah, probably – at least if you consider next year’s Warriors the same team.

But the NBA has also been trending toward a champion that shoots like this. If it weren’t Golden State, it would have been someone else eventually – though credit the Warriors for jumping the curve.

Here’s how NBA champions (gold) and the NBA average (blue) has evolved with 3-point attempt rate:

image

And 3-point percentage:

image

Plot both 3-point attempt rate and 3-point percentage on the same graph, and you can see NBA champions work their way from the bottom left to the top right – all the way to the 2015 Warriors:

NBA players shoot better than ever. Not trusting jumpers is an antiquated notion established before the 3-point arc and when the ball was more irregularly shaped. As jump shots have become more reliable, players have integrated them more deeply into their practice habits, creating a snowball effect.

The Warriors embraced 3-point shooting quicker than the curve, and that became a key weapon on their title run. A bigger weapon: Their top-ranked defense, which often got overlooked for their offensive style.

But if you’re overly concerned with offensive style, realize this: More elite jump-shooting teams are coming. Better get used to it.

There’s a mural in L.A. of Alex Caruso dunking over Harden, Leonard, Doncic

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s hard to overstate how popular Alex Caruso is in Los Angeles. Seriously. This isn’t just cult status popular, when he enters the game off the bench Staples Center explodes in cheers like LeBron James just fed Anthony Davis for an alley-oop.

Now Caruso has his own mural in Los Angeles.

View this post on Instagram

🐐 don’t @ me #lakeshow

A post shared by Gustavo Zermeño Jr (@gz.jr) on

This is legit, it’s on the side of SportieLA, a clothing/apparel store on Melrose Ave. in the trendy heart of Los Angeles. Artist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. has done murals in the past for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and other Los Angeles sports icons such as Vin Scully.

This one plays off a huge Caruso dunk from earlier this month when Dallas’ Maxi Kleber was the victim.

It’s good to be Alex Caruso in Los Angeles right now.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

2 Comments

Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

1 Comment

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.