Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NBA Summer League; put some Dejean-Jones on it.

BDJ balled Monday
Bryce Dejean-Jones (8-12 FG, 4-7 3-pt., 6-7 FT) was the most efficient player on a winning team across eight games played Monday (July 13, 2015) at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Dejean-Jones scored 26 points in 25 minutes. He added three rebounds, and two steals in the New Orleans Pelicans 89-83 win over the Brooklyn Nets. The 6'6" wing played his college ball at USC, UNLV, AND Iowa State. Dejean-Jones was the 2010 California High School Player of the Year but his NCAA career was not as smooth, bouncing from university to university.

Hoop Obsession All-Summer League Team for July 13, 2015.

Shabazz Napier - Miami. ...20 points (7-14 FG, 2-4 3-pt., 4-4 FT), six rebounds, six assists, and three steals in 24 minutes. ...The Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets 86-83.

Lucas Nogueira - Toronto. ...Six points (2-4 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 2-2 FT), 13 rebounds, three assists, and four blocked shots in 24 minutes. ...The Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 95-87.

Edy Tavares - Atlanta. ...12 points (3-4 FG, 6-6 FT), ten rebounds, two steals, and two blocked shots in 24 minutes. ...The Hawks lost to the D-League Select Team 84-74.

James Anderson - Sacramento. ...17 points (6-6 FG. 1-1 3-pt., 4-6 FT), four rebounds, three assists in 20 minutes. ...The Kings blew out the Golden State Warriors 90-71.

Khem Birch - New Orleans. 13 points (5-6 FG, 3-6 FT), eleven rebounds, two blocked shots in 26 minutes.

J.J. O'Brien - Utah. ...13 points (5-7 FG, 3-3 3-pt.), three rebounds, three steals in 20 minutes. ...The Jazz beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 91-82.

Norman Powell - Toronto. ...19 points (7-11 FG, 0-2 3-pt., 5-6 FT), five rebounds, two blocked shots in 23 minutes. 

Gary Talton - Toronto. ...13 points (4-6 FG, 5-5 FT), six rebounds in 22 minutes. 

D.J. White - Cleveland. ...13 points (4-7 FG, 5-6 FT), five rebounds in 22 minutes. In one of the more remarkable games of the summer to-date, the Cavs rallied from 21 points down to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime 94-87. 

Adreian Payne - Minnesota. ...18 points (5-9 FG, 1-4 3-pt., 7-11 FT), six rebounds in 29 minutes. 

Cleanthony Early - New York. ...13 points (6-13, FG, 1-2 FT), nine rebounds, three assists in 28 minutes. ...The Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 76-66. 

Notes: ...Two players were in negative efficiency territory Monday, and one of them was the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D'Angelo Russell. The Lakers rookie committed eight turnovers with only one assist in 23 forgettable minutes. The other player was Cameron Clark who shot 2-15 FG for Milwaukee. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Crabbe owns Summer League Sunday

Cal's Crabbe best on Sunday
Allen Crabbe scored 24 points (9-12 FG, 3-4 3-pt., 3-3 FT), added three rebounds, and two steals in just 21 minutes to earn the nod as the most efficient player on a winning team. Crabbe's Portland Trailblazers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 93-80 during the third day of play at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Crabbe, the first pick in the second round of the 2013 draft, looked like a third-year pro should look in summer, playing against mostly younger players with less experience. That written, Crabbe was exceptionally smooth Sunday, showing off his accurate jump shot. 

The Hoop Obsession All-Summer League Team for Sunday, July 12, 2015. 

D.J. Kennedy - Houston. ...21 points (6-9 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 8-8 FT), seven rebounds, three assists, four steals in 27 minutes. ...The Rockets beat the Suns 108-89. ...Kennedy went undrafted in 2011 out of St. John's. He played in two games with the Cleveland Cavs in 2011-12. Kennedy, 6'6" 215 lbs, played in the German BBL last season. 

Jarrid Famous - Washington. ...21 points (5-7 FG, 11-12 FT), ten rebounds, and three steals in 26 minutes. ...The Wizards were pounded by the D-League Select team 94-74. ...Famous played 27 games in the D-League, and seven games in the Philippines in 2014-15. He is 6'11" 240 lbs. Famous went undrafted in 2011 out of South Florida. 

Romero Osby - D League Select. ...18 points (7-12 FG, 4-5 FT), six rebounds, two steals in 20 minutes off the bench.  

Ian Clark - Denver. ...19 points (7-10 FG, 5-5 3-pt.), five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 25 minutes as a reserve. ...The Nuggets smacked the Kings 98-76. 

Norman Powell - Toronto. ...19 points (7-11 FG, 1-1 3-pt., 4-4 FT), seven rebounds, two steals in 27 minutes. ...The Raptors went to 2-0 with an 81-66 win over Chicago. ...Powell is quickly becoming a favorite of ours due to his combination of guard skills, athleticism, and power. He was the 46th player taken in the 2015 NBA Draft (We ranked him 43rd). 

Cameron Bairstow - Chicago. ...Eleven points (5-11 FG, 1-3 3-pt.), eleven rebounds, and two steals in 23 minutes. 

Shannon Scott - San Antonio. ...Eight points (3-7 FG, 2-2 3-pt.) seven rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in 23 minutes. ...The Spurs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 89-74. ...Scott has already shown us more in Summer League than we saw in him at Ohio State. He is an NBA athlete for certain. 

Kyle Anderson - San Antonio. ...22 points (5-12 FG, 2-2 3-pt., 10-11 FT), five rebounds in 22 minutes. 

Nikola Jokic - Denver. ...Ten points (4-9 FG, 1-1 3-pt., 1-2 FT), eleven rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots in 22 minutes. Jokic was the 41st player taken in the 2014 NBA Draft. He played in the Adriatic League in 2014-15. ...Jokic is 6'10" 253 lbs. 

Erick Green - Denver. ...16 points (7-11 FG, 2-4 3-pt.), three rebounds, and three steals in 23 minutes as a reserve. 

Jonathan Holmes - Boston. ...15 points (5-10 FG, 3-4 3-pt., 2-2 FT), ten rebounds in 26 minutes. ...The Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 85-76. 

Notes: Atlanta beat Golden State 71-70. ...Four players who played at least 20 minutes were in negative efficiency territory; loosely translated, they had a bad day. They were: Scott Suggs, Bobby Portis, Lamar Patterson, and Justin Anderson. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Holmes is Saturday star

Holmes' length bothers opponents
Eight NBA Summer League games took place Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, comprising day-two of the annual meet in the desert. Boston Celtics forward Jonathan Holmes was the most efficient player on a winning team. Holmes had 15 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3-pt., 6-6 FT), seven rebounds, and two blocked shots in just 20 minutes. The four-year college player out of Texas went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. He is a more natural power forward than he is a wing but he also showed that with reps his stroke may become consistent enough for him to play some small forward. ...The Boston Celtics defeated the Portland Trailblazers 85-76. 

Hoop Obsession All-NBA Summer League team for July 11, 2015

Bryce Cotton - Utah. ...Cotton busted 28 points (8-15 FG, 2-6 3-pt., 10-11 FT), and added five rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. Cotton played 15 games with Utah in 2014-15 after going undrafted out of Providence in 2014. The Jazz lost to the Miami Heat 82-79. 

Kyle Anderson - San Antonio. ...The second year versatile pro had 23 points (8-15 FG, 0-2 3-pt., 7-7 FT), five rebounds, and three steals in 28 minutes. The Spurs fell to the New York Knicks 78-73. 

Bobby Portis - Chicago. ...Portis showed off his deep shooting range, canning three shots from beyond the arc on his way to 23 points (9-14 FG, 3-4 3-pt., 2-5 FT). He added seven boards in his 27 minutes. Portis was the 22nd player selected in the 2015 NBA Draft. ...Chicago beat Minnesota 84-71. 

Jordan Mickey - Boston. ...Mickey, the 33rd player taken in the 2015 NBA Draft, scored 15 points (6-10 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 3-5 FT), grabbed ten rebounds, and blocked three shots in 30 minutes. 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - Brooklyn. ...The Nets broke through Saturday with their first win in six summer league tries. Hollis-Jefferson was the key guy in the Nets 76-75 win over Cleveland. "RHJ" had 15 points (5-11 FG, 1-2 3-pt., 4-6 FT), nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. He was the 23rd pick of the first round in the 2015 NBA Draft. 

Scott Machado - Washington. ...Machado ran the point for the Wizards Saturday and responded with a nice game. He had ten points (4-7 FG, 0-3 3-pt., 2-2 FT), five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 22 minutes. ...Phoenix beat Washington 86-77.

Josh Richardson - Miami. ...The rookie from Tennessee (pick number 40 in 2015) scored 16 points (7-14 FG, 0-2 3-pt., 2-3 FT) and added seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots in 28 minutes. 

Malcolm Thomas - Portland. ...Thomas had 13 points (5-8 FG, 3-4 FT), ten boards, and two blocked shots in 31 minutes. 

Seth Curry - New Orleans. ...Seth Curry helped the Pelicans improve to 2-0 in Vegas summer league play. He scored 25 points (9-23 FG, 1-9 3-pt., 6-7 FT), with seven rebounds, and five steals in 33 minutes. New Orleans defeated Dallas 90-86. 

Dwight Powell - Dallas. ...Powell posted strong numbers with 19 points (6-13 FG, 2-7 3-pt., 5-5 FT) and 14 rebounds in 33 minutes. 

Alex Len - Phoenix. ...Len scored 17 points (7-14 FG, 3-5 FT), pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked three shots (28 Minutes) in the Suns victory. 

Notes: The Los Angeles Lakers handled the Philadelphia 76'ers 68-60. ...Three players that logged at least 20 minutes had days to forget. Robert Upshaw (Lakers), Jakarr Sampson (Sixers), and Trey Lyles (Jazz) all had negative Hoop Obsession efficiency ratings for their individual games Saturday. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Alan Williams stars Friday in NBA Summer League

Williams is an efficiency star
Alan Williams, an undrafted rookie free agent power forward from U.C. Santa Barbara was the most efficient player on a winning team across eleven NBA Summer League games Friday (July 10, 2015). Williams had 27 points (10-18 FG, 7-9 FT), ten rebounds, and three assists in 29 minutes for the Houston Rockets summer entry. Houston defeated the D-League Select team 111-104 in the opening day of play in Las Vegas, NV. 

Hoop Obsession All-NBA Summer league Team for Friday, July 10, 2015. 

Ronald Roberts - Toronto. ...Roberts had 14 points (6-9 FG, 2-2 FT), and 12 rebounds in just 24 minutes in the Raptors 90-68 beat down of the Sacramento Kings.  Roberts spent time in the D-League, and the Filipino PBA in 2014-15. He is an athletic power forward from St. Joseph's that went undrafted in 2014. 

Lamar Patterson - Atlanta. ...Patterson scored 16 points (5-7 FG, 2-4 3-pt. 4-4 FT), grabbed four boards and dished three assists in 20 minutes. His Hawks were no match for the Denver Nuggets in an 86-71 blowout loss. Patterson (Pittsburgh) was the 48th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He played professionally in Turkey in 2014-15. 

Victor Rudd - New Orleans. ...Rudd scored 17 points (7-10 FG, 3-5 3-pt.), and added six rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. The Pelicans beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-89. Rudd, 6'9" 235 lbs, went undrafted in 2014 out of South Florida. He played last season in the D-League for Delaware. 

Justin Dentmon - D League Select. ...It's not every day that a player gets EIGHT steals. Fresh off a stint in the Chinese CBA, Dentmon played very well for the "Selectors" Friday. Dentmon scored 14 points, with three rebounds, five assists, eight steals, and zero turnovers! Dentmon went undrafted in 2007 after playing at Washington. 

James Michael McAdoo - Golden State. ...McAdoo led the Warriors with 20 points (8-13 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 4-6 FT), seven boards, three assists, and two blocked shots. Golden State beat Cleveland 83-75. 

Seth Curry - New Orleans. ...Seth Curry scored 30 points (9-17 FG, 2-7 3-pt., 10-11 FT), dished four assists and had two steals in 30 minutes. 

Jabril Trawick - Orlando (Blue). ...The tough-nosed rookie free agent from Georgetown had 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists in 23 minutes. The Magic Blue team throttled the Indiana Pacers 98-74.

Delon Wright - Toronto. ...Wright ran the Raptors show and scored nine points (3-7 FG, 0-3 3-pt., 3-3 FT) while dishing nine assists in 22 minutes. 

Larry Drew II - New Orleans. ...Drew scored eleven points (4-6 FG, 3-5 3-pt.), and also provided six rebounds, six assists, and three steals in 29 minutes. 

Michael Holyfield - Memphis. ...Holyfield provided 13 points and five boards in 20 rugged minutes for the Grizzlies who won the Orlando Summer League championship with a double overtime 75-73 win over the Orlando Magic White team. Holyfield is a 6'11" 270 lb, center that went undrafted in 2015 out of Sam Houston State. 

Ognjen Kuzmic - Golden State. ...Kuzmic plugged the middle for the Warriors, scoring 14 points (6-11 FG, 2-3 FT) with eight rebounds, and two blocked shots in 26 minutes. 

Notes: The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers 81-68. Zach LaVine had some highlight reel dunks. ...Charlotte handled Brooklyn 82-73 to keep the Nets winless in five Orlando Summer League games. ...Miami on the other hand did not lose a game in Orlando. They improved to a perfect 5-0 with a 91-68 victory over Detroit. ...Oklahoma City was a 101-100 double OT winner versus the Clippers. ...Five players who logged at least 20 minutes had negative efficiency ratings: Will Sheehey, Akil Mitchell, Andrew Harrison, Stephen Holt, and Julius Randle. 

Smart special in Summer League

Smart was crazy good Thursday
Marcus Smart posted a Hoop Obsession efficiency rating above 1.000 Thursday at the NBA Utah Summer League. A game efficiency rating that high usually happens only a handful of times each summer. Smart's Boston Celtics defeated the San Antonio Spurs 85-71. Smart, a second year pro from Oklahoma State had 22 points (9-14 FG, 4-6 3-pt.), four rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in 27 minutes. He was dominant. 

Hoop Obsession All NBA Summer League Team for July 9, 2015

Tyler Harvey - Orlando (Blue). ...Harvey posted 24 points (8-13 FG, 4-7 3-pt., 4-5 FT) with five assists but his Orlando Magic (Blue) team fell to the Indiana Pacers 91-85. Harvey (E. Washington) was the 51st player selected in the 2015 NBA Draft. 

Jack Cooley - Utah. ...Cooley scored ten points (3-8 FG, 4-4 FT) and grabbed eight rebounds in 20 minutes as the starting center for the Jazz. Utah beat the Philadelphia 76ers 84-78. Cooley played 16 games with Jazz in 2014-15. 

Joseph Young - Indiana. ...Young had a better day playing point guard for the Pacers Thursday. He scored 28 points (9-17 FG, 5-9 3-pt., 5-6 FT) and added three boards but most importantly, he had three assists and only one turnover. Young has clearly demonstrated that his jump shot is accurate. 

Devyn Marble - Orlando (Blue) ...Marble scored 22 points (8-17 FG, 5-9 3-pt. 1-2 FT), with seven rebounds, three assists, and four steals in 34 minutes. 

Chris Johnson (Dayton) - Utah. ...Johnson scored nine points (3-6 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 2-2 FT), and added three rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 24 minutes.

Russ Smith - Memphis. ...Smith continued to be one of the best individual performers of the first week of NBA Summer League. In the Grizzlies 87-81 win over Oklahoma City, Smith scored 17 points (4-10 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 9-9 FT), grabbed four boards, dished four assists, and had five steals in 27 minutes.  

Darnell Lazare - Memphis. ...Lazare put up nine points (3-5 FG, 3-3 FT) and controlled six rebounds in just 20 minutes. He went undrafted in 2007 out of LSU. Lazare played professionally in Canada in 2014-15. 

Quinn Cook - Oklahoma City. ...Cook is a kid we think could crack an NBA roster due to his overall feel and skill. He makes high IQ basketball plays. Thursday he scored 15 points (6-13 FG, 3-7 3-pt.), had five rebounds, and five assists in 26 minutes off the bench for the Thunder. 

Jarnell Stokes - Memphis. ...Stokes is an old-school power forward. He bullied his way to 18 points (7-10 FG, 4-4 FT) and added four boards in 26 minutes. 

Arinze Onuaku - Indiana. ...Onuaku scored eleven points (3-6 FG, 1-1 3-pt., 4-8 FT) grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots (28 minutes), manning the middle for the Pacers. 

C.J. Fair - Boston. ...Fair scored six points (3-5 FG, 0-1 3-pt.), with seven rebounds, and three assists in 25 minutes. 

Notes: One player, that played at least 20 minutes, was in "negative" efficiency territory. Olivier Hanlan the Utah Jazz rookie selected 42nd overall scored just two points (1-5 FG) in 22 minutes. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stanley Johnson again the star in NBA Summer League

The best Johnson this summer. 
Stanley Johnson was again the most efficient player on a winning team during Wednesday's NBA Summer League play. With only three games on the schedule, all being played in Orlando, FL, there was an opportunity for some fringe players to open eyes. However, the players who head our list of the dozen best for the day, are a familiar lot. Nobody was better than Johnson, the Detroit Pistons rookie swingman from Arizona. Johnson scored 20 points (8-15 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 4-7 FT), while adding ten rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots in 26 minutes. The Pistons rolled over the Indiana Pacers 90-65. Johnson has been the best player through the first five days of NBA Summer League games. 

Hoop Obsession All-NBA Summer League team for Wednesday, July 8, 2015: 

Myles Turner - Indiana. ...Turner was strong again in defeat. The Pacers' rookie BIG scored 23 points (9-16 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 5-7 FT), grabbed eight boards, and blocked four shots in 31 minutes. 

Willie Reed - Miami. ...The Heat went to 4-0 with an 87-85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Reed, as he's done in each game, played a quality game in the paint. Reed finished with 17 points (7-10 FG, 3-5 FT), seven rebounds, and four blocked shots in 30 minutes.  

Yanick Moreira - Clippers. ...Moreira played his best game to date Wednesday. The rookie free-agent from SMU had eight points (3-6 FG, 2-2 FT) and seven rebounds in just 20 minutes. 

Joseph Young - Indiana. ...Young is being asked to play point guard on this poorly assembled Pacers summer roster. The team fell to 0-3 Wednesday. Young played as well as one can expect for a guy out of position. The natural shooting guard in a PG's body scored 25 points (9-15 FG, 3-3 3-pt., 4-4 FT), had three rebounds, and five assists (but four turnovers as well) in 32 minutes. 

Branden Dawson - Clippers. ...Dawson scored 15 points (7-13 FG, 1-3 FT) and added eleven rebounds, three steals, and four blocked shots in another active, productive game. 

D.J. Newbill - Clippers. ...The undrafted rookie from Penn State has demonstrated the required athletic ability to compete in the NBA. He played his best game of the summer Wednesday with 18 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes. Newbill is a 6'4", 210 lb., shooting guard. 

Jared Berggren - Detroit. ...Berggren had eight points (4-6 FG) and seven boards in 22 minutes.

Sundiata Gaines - Detroit. ...Gaines is among the older players still trying to gain attention in the summer. The 29 year-old NBA veteran from Georgia came off the Pistons bench Wednesday to score 14 points (5-9 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 3-4 FT) and snare three rebounds in 21 minutes.  

Diante Garrett - Clippers. ...The 26 year-old point guard has impressed as a backup that is right on the verge of being an NBA player again. Garrett was last seen in the league in 2013-14 with the Utah Jazz. Wednesday, Garrett had 20 points (9-18 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 1-2 FT), six rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 37 minutes (a heavy load for summer play). 

Justin Harper - Detroit. ...Harper had eight points (3-6 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 2-2 FT), six rebounds and two blocked shots, coming off the Pistons bench. We have always maintained that Harper's best position is small forward yet teams seem to want to make him a stretch-four. Despite the good numbers Wednesday, Harper doesn't rebound well enough to pull off the power forward play with consistent success. 

Scottie Wilbekin - Orlando (White). ...Wilbekin has a reputation as a great defender who can't make perimeter shots. However, he is making strides toward proving folks wrong about his jumper. Wilbekin had 15 points (5-12 FG, 5-8 3-pt.), and three rebounds in 25 minutes as a key cog in keeping the Orlando White team undefeated. The Magic White team beat Charlotte 81-68. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Russ-diculous goes up on a Tuesday

Smith is leading the Grizz
Russ Smith hit a game-winning floater in sudden-death, and he was the most efficient player on a winning team in Tuesday's (July 7, 2015) NBA Summer League play. With games taking place in both Orlando, and Salt Lake City, Smith shined brightest in the Memphis Grizzlies 73-71 double overtime win versus the host Orlando Magic (Blue). "Russ-diculous" came off the Memphis bench to score 20 points (9-12 FG, 2-3 3-pt.), grab three rebounds, dish three assists, and snare two steals in 28 minutes. Smith has been a part of our Hoop Obsession All-Summer League daily teams in each of his three games. Not coincidentally, the Grizzlies ended Tuesday with a perfect 3-0 record. (See Smith's game-winner)

Hoop Obsession All-Summer League Team for games played Tuesday July 7, 2015:

Kyle Anderson - Spurs. ..."Slo-Mo" rebounded from a poor outing in the opening day (Monday) of play in the Utah NBA Summer League. Tuesday, Anderson was in scoring mode. The second year pro from UCLA notched 25 points (8-14 FG, 1-1 3-pt., 8-9 FT), and reeled in eight boards in 30 minutes. His San Antonio team however lost to the Utah Jazz 72-20. 

Furkan Aldemir - Sixers. ...While Jahlil Okafor is getting the hype, Aldemir was the true star for Philadelphia Tuesday in their 76-62 win over the Boston Celtics. Aldemir scored eleven points (4-8 FG, 3-5 3-pt.), ripped down 14 rebounds, and blocked three shots in 28 minutes. The three made shots from beyond the arc were eye-opening as Aldemir is not known for providing offense. 

Troy Daniels - Hornets ...Never known previously as a rebounder, Daniels exploded for 14 boards to go with 16 points (5-11 FG, 4-6 3-pt., 2-2 FT) Tuesday. His Charlotte Hornets beat the hapless summer version of the Brooklyn Nets 64-55. Daniels logged 30 minutes in the contest. 

Treveon Graham - Spurs. ...Graham came off the bench to score 17 points (5-9 FG, 1-4 3-pt., 6-6 FT). He added three rebounds in an efficient 20 minutes. Graham went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. He played his college ball at VCU. We ranked Graham 37th in the draft. 

Rodney Hood - Jazz. ...The Utah Jazz have a good player in Rodney Hood. The NBA sophomore-to-be had his second excellent game in as many days. Hood poured in 18 points (8-14 FG, 0-2 3-pt., 2-3 FT), and added five rebounds in 26 minutes. 

Branden Dawson - Clippers. ...Dawson continues to excel as an athletic forward that, at 6'6", CAN battle with the BIGs in the NBA (at least in Summer League). Dawson thrived in the open court, coming up with four steals that helped him score 14 points (7-14 FG, 0-1 FT). He added eleven rebounds in 28 minutes as a starter. Dawson had previously come off the bench for the L.A.C. summer squad. 

Aaron Gordon - Orlando (Blue). ...Gordon's strong play continued Tuesday as he scored 22 points (8-19 FG, 3-5 3-pt., 3-3 FT), while adding seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocked shots in 35 minutes. 

Brian Qvale - Hornets. ...Qvale has been a revelation in early summer play. The BIG from Montana (undrafted in 2011) scored ten points (5-11 FG), and added a dozen boards, two steals, and three blocked shots Tuesday. Qvale has been playing professionally in Turkey. 

Jonathan Holmes - Celtics. ...The lone bright spot for Boston Tuesday was Jonathan Holmes, the rookie forward from Texas. He scored eight points (2-9 FG, 1-6 3-pt., 3-3 FT) to go with seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocked shots in just 21 minutes.  Holmes went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. 

Cady Lalanne - Spurs. ...Lalanne was the 55th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has shown an ability to hit face-up jumpers as a BIG. That has to be pleasing to the San Antonio coaching staff. Tuesday Lalanne was solid, with six points (2-5 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 2-4 FT), eleven rebounds, and two blocked shots in 24 minutes. 

Nate Wolters - Clippers. ...The more we watch Wolters play, the more convinced we are that he is ready to be a useful back-up point guard in the NBA. Tuesday he helped lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their first summer win of 2015, an 80-63 whopping of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Wolters had 12 points (4-9 FG, 2-3 3-pt., 2-2 FT), five assists, three steals, and three blocked shots in 32 minutes. 

Notes: Perhaps the compacted summer schedule that had many players competing for the third time in four days, or at minimum, in a back-to-back, was responsible for some horridly poor individual play. Four players who logged over 20 minutes in their game came up with efficiency ratings "below zero" on our scale. Levi Randolph (four points (2-6 FG, 0-3 3-pt.), three turnovers in 28 minutes) was a big part in OKC's Tuesday failure. ...Akil Mitchell provided further evidence that he cannot provide enough offensively to warrant a spot in the NBA. Tuesday Mitchell played 23 minutes for Brooklyn and scored two points (1-6 FG). ...After a strong showing in his first game, the Celtics' Jordan Mickey was awful Tuesday. The LSU rookie managed just four points (1-7 FG) and two rebounds in 26 minutes. ...Finally, Marcus Thronton (William and Mary, 45th pick in 2015 draft) struggled to say the least in the Celtics loss. Thornton missed all five of his three-point jacks on his way to 2 of 11 overall field goal shooting.  

NBA Summer League Monday, Rodney Hood shines

Hood up to all good
Rodney Hood, a second year pro from Duke, was the most efficient player on a winning team across two NBA Summer leagues Monday. Hood led the Utah Jazz to a 100-82 win over the Boston Celtics in the second game of the Utah NBA Summer League. Hood dropped jumpers, scored in transition, and played an unselfish game on his way to 23 points (9-17 FG, 1-5 3-pt., 4-6 FT), ten rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes. 

Hoop Obsession All 2015 NBA Summer League Team for Monday July 6th. 

Chris Singleton - Orlando (White). ...Singleton played as well Monday as we've ever seen him play. Always known as an outstanding defensive player, Singleton often runs into trouble with terrible shot selection, trying to be an OFFENSIVE force. The reality is that Singleton's jumper is sketchy at best. Monday he played his trademark great D and limited his forced offense to just a couple possessions. The result was a super-efficient 17 points (8-12 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 1-2 FT), six rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots, two steals, and most importantly a W for his team.  Singleton played 30 minutes as the Orlando White team beat Indiana 85-76 Monday in the day's first game in the Orlando NBA Summer League. 

Aaron Gordon - Orlando (Blue). ...Gordon scored 21 points (8-11 FG, 1-2 3-pt., 4-8 FT), grabbed ten rebounds, dished three assists and pilfered three steals in 30 minutes. The Orlando Blue team however lost to Oklahoma City 73-65. Gordon made our list of the best Summer League ballers for the second time in as many opportunities. 

Mitch McGary - Oklahoma City. ...McGary was the biggest reason the Thunder won Monday. McGary scored 19 points (9-12 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 1-2 FT) with three boards, two assists, and two steals in 25 minutes. 

Marcus Smart - Boston. ...Smart is a really good basketball player with the exceptions of his shot selection and touch. It can be maddening to see Smart dominate a game in several facets yet hurt his team by jacking up ill-advised three point shots. Smart's defense is smothering. His court-vision is nice. He helps as a rebounder. Monday, Smart scored 26 points (6-20 FG, 2-10 3-pt., 12-13 FT), pulled in five rebounds, dished eight assists, and had two steals in 30 minutes.  

Keith Appling - Orlando (White). ...Appling is making a strong case for a deeper look by NBA teams. He played well again Monday with 17 points (3-10 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 11-11 FT), three rebounds, and three steals in 22 minutes. He quarterbacked his team their second win without a loss.  

Myles Turner - Indiana. ...Turner looked very much like a player who will positively impact the Pacers lineup this coming season. The BIG rookie from Texas had 13 points (6-11 FG, 0-1 3-pt.), nine rebounds and six blocked shots in 27 minutes. 

Jordan Mickey - Boston. ...Mickey, a 2015 second round pick (33rd overall) from LSU looked comfortable as a finisher in the pick-n-roll. It is a given that he brings rim protection. Mickey had 16 points, four rebounds, and three blocked shots in 27 minutes. One block, in particular, was a spectacular denial of Jack Cooley trying to attack the rim. 

Dante Exum - Utah. ...Exum struggled in the first quarter and then looked like a completely different player the rest of the game. The final three quarters were the best I've seen Exum play since the Hoop Summit in 2013. Exum finished with 20 points (5-11 FG, 1-5 3-pt., 9-10 FT), five rebounds, and five assists in 29 minutes. Unfortunately, Exum sprained his left ankle late in the game (1:50 left in Q4) which was already decided. 

Seth Tuttle - Miami. ...Tuttle scored eleven points (5-6 FG, 1-2 3-pt.), and added three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 27 minutes. The undrafted rookie free agent from Northern Iowa had a great Senior season but was dreadful in post-season play (Portsmouth, Reese's All-Star game). The Heat beat the Detroit Pistons 78-73 to remain undefeated in summer action at 3-0. 

Davis Bertans - San Antonio. ...Bertans displayed his sharp shooting Monday, nailing five three-pointers. He scored 19 points (6-10 FG, 5-8 3-pt., 2-3 FT), and dished three assists in 26 minutes. The Spurs beat Philadelphia 74-71. 

Stanley Johnson - Detroit. ...Johnson scored 14 points (4-5 FG, 2-3 3-pt., 4-6 FT), with seven boards, and two steals in 29 minutes. 

Notes: Utah's Grant Jerrett suffered a separated right shoulder. ...After shooting the ball well on the opening day of the Orlando Summer League. Adonis Thomas had a game to forget Monday. Thomas went 3-14 FG and turned it over five times in the Pistons loss.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Stanley steams Sunday Summer League

Stanley Johnson is the real deal
Stanley Johnson was the most efficient player on a winning team in the three games played Sunday at the NBA Orlando Summer League. The rookie from Arizona was the eighth selection in the 2015 NBA Draft. Johnson showed off his combination of strength, athleticism, and skill in the Detroit Pistons 77-69 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Johnson scored 24 points (10-14 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 3-5 FT), grabbed nine rebounds, and snatched three steals in 31 minutes. It says here that Johnson will be a big upgrade on the wing for the Pistons this season. Last season, Detroit played the aging Caron Butler, and aging Tayshaun Prince far too often at small forward. Jodie Meeks and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received the bulk of the shooting guard minutes. Pairing Johnson with Meeks (healthy headed into the 2015-16 season) appears to be the correct path for improvement. 

Our Hoop Obsession All NBA Summer League Team for Sunday July 5, 2015...

Troy Daniels - Charlotte. ...When Troy Daniels has his shot dropping like it was Sunday there is not too much the defense can do to stop him. Daniels went nutso from beyond the arc, nailing six three-pointers en route to 21 points (7-12 FG, 6-9 3-pt., 1-1 FT) and six boards. Daniels' Charlotte team was beaten 79-75 by Memphis. Daniels spent time on three NBA rosters in 2014-15. The way he is playing for Charlotte he may give P.J,. Hairston a run for his position. 

Kammeon Holsey - Detroit. ...Holsey scored 16 points  (7-9 FG, 2-4 FT), and had two steals in 22 efficient minutes. Holsey is 6'8" 234 lbs. He went undrafted in 2014 out of Georgia Tech. Holsey played for the Grand Rapids Drive in the D-League last season. 

Willie Reed - Miami. ...Reed continues to make our "best-of" lists whether it is in the D-League or Summer League it is apparent to us that Reed is good enough to be on an NBA roster. Sunday Reed was instrumental in Miami's win by pouring in 17 points (9-12 FG, 1-3 FT), and grabbing nine rebounds in 28 minutes. ...The Heat beat the Nets 71-70 on a tip-in by Tyler Johnson who received a pass from Justise Winslow from side out of bounds, with four tenths of a second left. 

Ryan Boatright - Brooklyn. ...Boatright is a shooting guard in a point guard's body. Sunday Boatright was fantastic as a playmaker for himself, shaking his man repeatedly to gain space for his jumper. Boatright scored 23 points (7-14 FG, 5-8 3-pt., 4-4 FT) and added two steals in 25 minutes. Boatright ran the point for the Nets Sunday. Despite his good scoring, Boatright had zero assists and three turnovers offering further evidence that he is not a point guard. 

Aaron Harrison - Charlotte. ...Aaron Harrison, undrafted out of Kentucky, looked like a guy with a real shot to make an NBA team. He didn't shoot well from the perimeter but he used his size advantage (6'5" 210) to be an efficient contributor. He had 16 points (6-10 FG, 0-3 3-pt., 4-6 FT), eight assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes. 

Frank Kaminsky - Charlotte. ...Kaminsky had another solid outing. He scored 14 points (6-8 FG, 2-3 3-pt., 0-1 FT) with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 33 minutes. 

Russ Smith - Memphis. ...Smith is so speedy. He also is a fierce competitor that is a pesky defender. I enjoyed watching him run the Summer Grizz, leading them to a win. Smith had 14 points (5-10 FG, 0-2 3-pt., 4-5 FT), seven assists, and three steals Sunday. 

Tyler Johnson - Miami. ...Johnson had the game winning shot for the Heat, a testament to his strength and jumping ability that he could score in a desperate situation. The second year pro from Fresno State continued to excel in summer play with 12 points (4-9 FG, 1-2 3-pt., 3-4 FT), four rebounds, and four assists in 25 minutes. 

Jarnell Stokes - Memphis. ...Stokes bullied his way to ten points (3-5 FG, 4-6 FT) and eight boards in the Grizzlies victory. 

Notes: Two players who have caught my eye as terrific defenders are Josh Richardson and Greg Whittington. Richardson, a Heat second round pick from Tennessee, has shown the ability to block jump shots one-on-one. His length and recovery time is extraordinary. ...Whittington is simply all over the court. His lively defensive game is light years ahead of his offense but his defensive impact on two games in two days was eye opening. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day one, Orlando NBA Summer League: James Ennis stars, Myles Turner great.

(Editor's note: We recap summer play, highlighting those who actually performed well in the games. Too often media coverage of summer league is pre-conceived. Major TV networks will pick out the highest draft picks, show you their highlights and regularly bypass the players who actually were difference makers in the games. Our mission is to educate ourselves with you along for the read.)

Ennis balled out on Saturday
As summer league teams go, the 2015 Miami Heat entrant is loaded. They have four current members of their NBA squad on their summer roster. Saturday the Heat were led by second-year pro James Ennis, the most efficient player on a winning team during play on the opening day of the Orlando NBA Summer League. The active wing from Long Beach State scored 13 points (5-11 fg, 1-3 3-pt., 2-2 FT), grabbed seven rebounds and dished five assists in 22 minutes. The Heat defeated the Pacers 92-76. 

Our Hoop Obsession All-Summer League Team for July 4, 2015. 

Point Guards: Keith Appling - Orlando (White). ...Appling scored 17 points (4-7 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 9-10 FT), four assists, and four steals in 25 minutes. His Orlando White team beat the Detroit Pistons 87-76. Appling spent last season in the D-League with the L.A. Defenders, and Erie Bayhawks. 

Russ Smith - Memphis. ...Smith was his normal speedy self. He broke down the Brooklyn defense on his way to eight points (3-6 FG, 0-1 3-pt., 2-2 FT), eight assists, and three steals in 29 minutes.  Smith is a second year pro from Louisville. The Grizzlies beat the Nets 81-73. 

Shooting Guards: Jarell Eddie - Indiana. ...Eddie scored 16 points (6-9 FG, 4-6 3-pt.) and grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes. Eddie spent last season in Boston's training camp before being waived. He then played in the D-League (Austin), and earned a March, ten-day, call up to the Atlanta Hawks. 

Josh Richardson - Miami  ...Richardson, a second round draft pick (40th overall) of the Heat created havoc defensively. He scored 14 points (2-6 FG, 1-2 3-pt., 9-9 FT), and added two steals, and two blocked shots in 22 minutes. 

Small Forwards: Taylor Braun - Orlando (White). ...Braun knocked down deep shots and was mistake free (after a first shot jitters airball) in 20 minutes. He scored eight points (3-4 FG, 2-2 3-pt.), grabbed five boards, and dished three assists. Braun played in Belgium last season after a stellar career at North Dakota St. 

Gordon owned the boards
Aaron Gordon - Orlando (Blue). ...Gordon showed off his ability to "quick-jump" in an exciting 75-74 overtime win for the Magic's Blue team over the Clippers. Gordon collected 22 points (8-18 FG, 2-5 3-pt., 4-10 FT), 18 rebounds , and two blocked shots in 33 minutes. 

Power Forwards: Talib Zanna - Oklahoma City. ...Zanna is a victim of the shrinking class of NBA traditional power forwards. Had Zanna come along 15 years ago he would certainly be employed full-time in the league. He plays smart ball, rarely taking a bad shot. Saturday, Zanna scored eight points, with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, a blocked shot and zero turnovers in 23 minutes. He went undrafted out of Pitt in 2014. ...Zanna and the Thunder beat the Charlotte Hornets 76-74.

Frank Kaminsky - Hornets. ...Kaminsky, the ninth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, started slowly but found his groove in the second half. He scored 19 points (7-19 FG, 4-8 3-pt, 1-1 FT), and grabbed a dozen rebounds. Kaminsky hit four three-point shots, keeping defenders off-balance. His deep shot success set up later drives to the hoop. 

Branden Dawson - Clippers. ...Dawson's athletic gifts were on full display as he racked up 14 points and 14 rebounds (27 minutes). The rookie from Michigan State had three jaw-dropping dunks on the day. 

Centers: Myles Turner - Pacers. ...In our opinion, the most impressive player of the day was Myles Turner. The eleventh pick in the 2015 NBA Draft showed his feathery shooting touch and his ability to do the required work of blocking shots and rebounding. Turner scored 20 points (8-11 FG, 1-1 3-pt., 3-3 FT) with eight rebounds, and three blocked shots in 28 minutes. 

Keith Benson - Orlando (White). ...Benson had 17 points (9-15 FG, 1-1 FT), four boards, and three blocked shots in 28 minutes. Benson was pick 48 in the 2011 NBA Draft. Benson spent last season in the Lithuanian LKL. 

Notes: Three players that logged at least 20 minutes had efficiency ratings less than zero. The biggest stinker of the day was Solomon Hill who looked horribly beefed up. Hill scored just four points in 26 minutes on 1-10 FG. ...Darrun Hilliard, a second round pick out of Villanova also was terrible. He went 2-10 FG, with a minus 27 on the plus/minus scale for the Pistons. ...Finally, Markel Brown struggled in the Nets loss. Brown made just 1-7 FG, with five turnovers in 22 minutes. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five years later. Judging the 2010 NBA Draft.

Throw up your set! Wiz get an A
You are taking a college course. On day one, the professor hands you a syllabus, outlining the work to be done for the semester, and then the NEXT DAY, he gives you your grade for the class. HUH? 

Of course it does not work that way. 

Today multiple media outlets will use the above approach one day after the selections were made for the 2015 NBA Draft. It is a waste of time that insults the intelligence of every NBA fan. 

Meanwhile, five years have passed since the 2010 NBA Draft was held. It is now safe to judge that class of players. 

The nitty gritty: Three of the 60 taken on June 24th, 2010 have achieved NBA All-Star status. 49 of the 60 selected in 2010 have logged minutes in the league. That leaves eleven picks that were essentially wasted. Eight players picked in the first round in 2010 are now out of the league (Larry Sanders, James Anderson, Craig Brackins, Damion James, Dominique Jones, Jordan Crawford, Daniel Orton, Lazar Hayward). 

In a highly subjective re-draft, here is how we would do it today...(not based on what they have accomplished already necessarily, but based on what we see going forward). 

1. John Wall - Wall was indeed the first pick in 2010. He is an All-Star point guard on a playoff team, and he stands among the finest two-way players in the NBA. 

2. DeMarcus Cousins - Cousins too has been an NBA All-Star and in 2014-15 he was named as 2nd team All-NBA. He slipped to fifth on draft day 2010. The second pick was Evan Turner. 

3. Eric Bledsoe - In hindsight, the top three picks in our 2010 re-do were all Kentucky Wildcats. Bledsoe slipped to 18th in 2010 while the third pick was Derrick Favors. 

4. Gordon Hayward - Hayward slipped to ninth in 2010. The fourth pick in 2010 was Wesley Johnson. Ooops. 

5. Derrick Favors - "Faves" went third in 2010. 

6. Greg Monroe - The steady BIG from Georgetown was selected seventh in 2010. One of the biggest whiffs in the draft was Golden State taking Ekpe Udoh sixth. 

Young Whiteside finally emerged
7. Hassan Whiteside - It took the full five years for Whiteside to have a positive affect on an NBA game. In the second half of 2014-15 he was brilliant. 

8. Paul George - This is why we wrote "highly subjective" above. George would be the second or third pick in hindsight had he not gotten injured. But he did. Despite a small sample of games at the end of this past season, George is a risky pick. Not knowing how his body will respond going forward, George slips to eighth here. George was the tenth pick in 2010. ...The eighth pick in 2010 was Al-Farouq Aminu. 

9. Evan Turner - Turner was taken second in 2010. He is coming off a decent year in Boston. 

10. Lance Stephenson - Certainly Stephenson could be selected higher than tenth but he is coming off a poor season in Charlotte. Traded to the Clippers for the 2015-16 campaign we will see if Lance can regain the form he had in Indiana in 2013-14. ...Lance was probably the best value pick of the 2010 draft, going 40th. 

11. Trevor Booker - The hard working Booker is still ascending as an NBA player. He was a rotation BIG on a solid Utah team last season. Booker fell to 23rd in 2010 while the eleventh pick was Cole Aldrich. 

12. Al Farouq Aminu - Aminu still can't make three point shots consistently (28% career), which has kept him as a bench guy.

13. Ed Davis - The pickings start to get pretty slim at this point. Davis falls exactly where he was selected in 2010. 

14, Greivis Vasquez - Vasquez could go three picks higher but his underwhelming athleticism has us wondering how many years he has left. Whatever the case, Vasquez was a good pick at #28 in 2010. 

15. Avery Bradley - Bradley shows no signs of slowing down and still no signs of an improved offensive game. Bradley went 19th in 2010 while the 15th pick was Larry Sanders. 

The rest of the draft do-over would include these guys in some order: Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Quincy Pondexter, Landry Fields, Kevin Seraphin, Luke Babbitt and the aforementioned Wesley Johnson. 

Four more players are in the "barely hanging on" category... Udoh, Xavier Henry, Elliot Williams, and Jeremy Evans (a Slam Dunk Contest winner) all played less than 300 minutes in 2014-15. 

So to recap... Give a grade A to the Washington Wizards for drafting John Wall. Likewise, the Clippers get an A for nabbing Bledsoe 18th. The final A grade goes to Indiana for gambling on Lance Stephenson 40th in 2010. Absolute failures included the Wolves picking Wesley Johnson fourth, and the Warriors picking Ekpe Udoh sixth. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2014-15 All Defensive Team

Tony Allen is a lock-down defender. 
We close out the 2014-15 NBA regular season awards with the All-Defensive Team. Using a combination of the Defensive Rating (the number of points per 100 possessions that the team allows while that individual player is on the court), and our own read on players, we came up with these: 

2014-15 All NBA Defensive First Team: John Wall - Washington, Tony Allen - Memphis, Kawhi Leonard - San Antonio,  Draymond Green - Golden State, Marcin Gortat - Washington. 

ALL NBA Defensive Second Team: Stephen Curry - Golden State, Andre Iguodala - Golden State, Khris Middleton - Milwaukee, Tim Duncan - San Antonio, Rudy Gobert - Utah.

NBA All Rookie Team 2014-15

Mirotic is a quality rookie forward
The All-Rookie Team in the NBA is as subjective as you would like to make it. In a season such as this one, I'd bet many voters had a hard time coming up with ten rookie names. The NBA All-Rookie Teams are one award that, to us, is annually goofed up by voters putting too much value in per-game averages. That is how you get Gary Neal on the First Team in 2010-11 ahead of Eric Bledsoe or Derrick Favors. In 2012-13 It was Dion Waiters making the First Team ahead of Andre Drummond. 

It is understandable. Many voters simply compare per-game averages of players and roll with the guy who has the higher numbers. But what if the guy with the higher numbers is playing eight minutes more per-game simply because his team stinks, and is "in the tank"? 

Our issue with using per-game averages as the most important factor is that - not all teams are playing guys the same way. For instance, a rookie on the San Antonio Spurs, a veteran laden, championship winning team, is not going to have anywhere close to the equal amount of opportunities a rookie in Philadelphia will get. By breaking production down to a per-minute basis, we can "level the court" somewhat. 

Since we are way more obsessive than most, and for the sake of further educating ourselves, we took the time to closely examine 44 rookie NBA players, vying for ten spots on the All-Rookie Teams. 

Per-minute efficiency can help focus in on who has a chance to play for years in the NBA. Almost without fail, low-efficiency guys will fade away, into the D-League, or perhaps overseas.  We also believe the defensive aspect of the game is lost too often when it comes to NBA All-Rookie teams. 

We used the following criteria and formula... Total Production - 40% (efficiency rating multiplied by number of minutes played), Efficiency Rating (per-minute) 30%, Defensive Rating 20%, and number of wins 10%. ...We then built two teams using the data and our feel as a guide.

2014-15 NBA All-Rookie First Team

Elfrid Payton, Marcus Smart, Andrew Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, Nerlens Noel. 

All Rookie Second Team: 

Jordan Clarkson, Zach LaVine, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Jusuf Nurkic. 

Players who were close to making our lists included: Tarik Black, Mitch McGary, James Ennis, K.J. McDaniels, Cory Jefferson, and Langston Galloway. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

All-NBA 2014-15

All-NBA status = stardom
In our opinion, All-NBA teams should recognize the player's total production, defense, and the individual's team success. This year, we tried to use a formula that ranked each of those three categories. "Total production" seems the most important to me. Some players missed chunks of games due to injury, and that should be accounted for when trying to decide who is worthy of being an All-NBA performer any given year. 

We went to great lengths to decide our first through third team selections. We started with 57 players trying to get down to the top 15. After a first look, 13 guys were eliminated as candidates, leaving us with 44 players vying for 15 spots. 

We valued total production (our efficiency rating, multiplied by number of minutes played) as 60% of our formula. The best measure for defense is the Defensive Rating stat. But because Defensive Rating is greatly influenced by a player's teammates, it was weighted at just 20%. The remaining 20% weight went to the number of wins a player's team has. 

The results were eye-opening. Some of the players you would expect to be at or near the top were not there. Others who were overlooked as recently as the NBA All-Star Game, we realized, could make a strong case for All-NBA status. 

Ultimately we used the data to help inform us. But the final decision was not just about the results of the formula. As always, we believe you have to consider the data but also consider your own common sense, and feel for who has impacted the NBA and their team enough to deserve All-NBA honors. 

Please understand that these 15 players who we ultimately decided to go with are not necessarily the 15 players we would want if we were building a team. This is not about "upside" or the future. These first through third team All-NBA selections are instead SOLELY related to this 2014-15 season and who we think impacted the league at each position with their overall play. 
Curry should be MVP

All-NBA First Team: Stephen Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol. 

The picks of Curry and Harden are no-brainers. Lebron as the small-forward is also pretty easy. While I would like to see Anthony Davis have a bigger impact on defense, I also think it is fairly simple to name him as the First-Team power-forward. The shocker in our formula was that DeAndre Jordan, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol came out in a near dead-heat in the battle for First-Team Center. Presently, the Clippers and Grizzlies both have the same number of wins (54), while the Bulls trail with 48 wins. Jordan has yet to miss a game. He leads the NBA in both rebounding (14.8 per game!) and field goal percentage (70%!). But Marc Gasol has the better Defensive Rating among the trio, and that was the tie-breaker for me. 

All-NBA Second Team: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook,  Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, DeAndre Jordan.  

The Second Team backcourt of Paul and Westbrook seemed easy to decipher. Westbrook missed 15 games for OKC which is why he fell to Second-Team status. The next three positions really have no correct answer. The NBA landscape at small-forward went through some undulations in the 2014-15 season. Usually, Kevin Durant is a shoe-in for All-NBA but he was injured. Ditto Paul George. Carmelo Anthony's team was pitiful. ...After considering Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson (a shooting guard), and Draymond Green, we decided on Kawhi. Leonard is the next best small forward choice even though he missed 18 games this season. Leonard's "two-way" ability, and the Spurs success, is enough for him to edge out the rest in our opinion. The two BIGs on the Second Team are Pau Gasol, and Jordan. 

All-NBA Third-Team: John Wall, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan.

The Third-Team shocker is Draymond Green. Again, we doubt he will earn many votes but it says here that he should. Green has been one of, if not the best, defender in the NBA this season (we chose him as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year). His team has 65 wins and although he did spend most of his minutes playing power forward for the Warriors, he often operates in a small-forward-like capacity (he shoots .338 from deep, and has a better than two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio). ...Tim Duncan is often overlooked. Some say he plays limited minutes too often. Well consider this... Duncan is approaching 2200 minutes (2193 mins.) this season and that is more minutes played than DeMarcus Cousins (2013 minutes played). Duncan is one of eight players in our study of 44 that has a Defensive Rating under 100 (the lower the number, the better). He is also one of eight in our study of 44 guys that has an "EFR" of over .700 (the higher, the better). 

Who was close that deserves careful consideration for All-NBA? Among BIGs it is Al Horford, Cousins, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, and Zach Randolph. Perimeter players who nearly made it included Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving (his poor defensive rating turned me off big time), Eric Bledsoe, and Jeff Teague. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Draymond will check a point guard.
Your eyes can fool you when it comes to defense. A steal or a blocked shot catch the eye, and are among the traditional statistics tracked and published. In most cases, a steal or a blocked shot is a good thing. However, if a player gambles for a steal, and misses, (as many of the steals leaders do), the TEAM defense is now playing four against five. Likewise, a shot may be attempted to be blocked, which leads to an opening for the opponent on the offensive glass. 

Taking a charge is STILL not a statistic that shows up in the NBA box-score. (You can find charges taken total at http://www.nbaminer.com/player-foul-details/). 

So, what IS the best way to measure defense? That is a tough question, not easily answered. The "Defensive Rating" stat is our preferred method these days. Defensive Rating measures the number of points scored by the opponent per 100 possessions when any given player is on the floor. 

Recently, I heard someone in the NBA, whom I respect, say that LeBron James was the best defender out of the group of MVP candidates (Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook). That declaration struck me. While LeBron is a freak, and I would have no issue riding with him for a single defensive possession, there are now measurables that go deeper than just a single possession, that suggest there are better choices than LeBron. 

Modern statistical advances now allow us to tabulate how many points the opponent scores on EVERY possession that LeBron, or ANY OTHER player is on the floor. In any one game a single NBA team will average roughly 98 possessions. The Defensive Rating makes it impossible for a player to "take a play off" without it being tracked. Other subtleties that used to go unnoticed include a player who draws technical fouls and gives free points to the opponent in the form of technical free throws. The Defensive Rating tracks all these nuances.  

No ole'.  Defensive Rating catches you.
The issue with using Defensive Rating as the "be all, end all" is that all individual Defensive Ratings are subject to who your four other teammates are. Backline defenders who play with slower, poor, defensive guards, will allow more points per 100 possessions than backline defenders who play, with say, a ball-pressure hawk like Patrick Beverley. Guards who play with great rim protectors (like Rudy Gobert) will see their Defensive Ratings improve. If a guard plays with an undersized center, the guard's defensive rating can suffer. 

The way around some of this confusion is to look at the team's defensive rating and see what players individually are above or below their own team average. 

All of the above prefacing is simply to help non hardcore basketball fans understand how difficult it can be to measure defense, which is rarely highlighted but remains HALF of the game. 

To decide on the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, we looked at four key defensive statistics, and ranked 20 potential candidates. The 20 players comprised any who ranked in the top five in one of the four categories plus others known as great defenders (Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, LeBron, Nerlens Noel, Russell Westbrook).  We assigned points in each category (Defensive Rating 50%, Charges Taken 20%, Steals 15%, Blocked Shots 15%).  

Our method crowned Draymond Green the 2014-15 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The versatile forward checks perimeter players or BIGs. He has anchored the Warriors defense all season. When Green is on the floor the Warriors give up just 97 points per 100 possessions. The team as a whole has a Defensive Rating of 100.7 which is the best of the 30 teams in the NBA. 

Our top five NBA defenders of 2014-15? Green, followed Bogut, Noel, Leonard, and Gobert. As for LeBron... In our study, he ranked only ahead of Westbrook when it comes to the five players most mentioned in the MVP race. (If you are curious, in our defensive study, Curry edged Davis, followed by Harden, then LeBron, then Westbrook.)

(You can see how each of the 20 D.P.o.Y. candidates ranked  in each category below.)

Blocked shots (total) (15% weight)

Anthony Davis 183
Rudy Gobert 174
DeAndre Jordan 171
Serge Ibaka 155
Nerlens Noel 140
Tim Duncan 137
Marc Gasol 125
DeMarcus Cousins 103
Andrew Bogut 100
Draymond Green 94
James Harden 56
Kawhi Leonard 46
LeBron James 46
Marreese Speights 34
Tony Allen 30
Monta Ellis 24
Stephen Curry 16
Russell Westbrook 14
Chris Paul 13
Kyle Lowry 12

Charges Taken (20% weight)

DeMarcus Cousins 34
Monta Ellis 28
Marreese Speights 28
Kyle Lowry 25
Steph Curry 12
Draymond Green 11
Marc Gasol 8
Russell Westbrook 6
LeBron James 4
Andrew Bogut 3
James Harden 3
Nerlens Noel 3
Chris Paul 2
Anthony Davis 1
Rudy Gobert 1
Tim Duncan 0
Kawhi Leonard 0
Serge Ibaka 0
DeAndre Jordan 0
Tony Allen 0

Defensive Rating (50% weight)

Andrew Bogut 96
Draymond Green 96.5
Kawhi Leonard 96.6
Tim Duncan 97.2
Rudy Gobert 98
Tony Allen 98.4
Nerlens Noel 98.5
DeAndre Jordan 99
Marc Gasol 99.7
Anthony Davis 100.2
DeMarcus Cousins 100.8
Stephen Curry 101
James Harden 102
Marreese Speights 102
Serge Ibaka 103
LeBron James 105
Chris Paul 105
Monta Ellis 107
Russell Westbrook 107
Kyle Lowry 108

Steals (total) (15%)

Stephen Curry 151 
Chris Paul 147
Monta Ellis 145
James Harden 144 
Nerlens Noel 131
Tony Allen 129
Kawhi Leonard 129
Russell Westbrook 129
Draymond Green 117
LeBron James 102
Kyle Lowry 102
Anthony Davis 90
DeMarcus Cousins 89
DeAndre Jordan 73
Marc Gasol 67
Rudy Gobert 58
Tim Duncan 56
Andrew Bogut 38
Serge Ibaka 30
Marreese Speights 16