SBNation.com: All Posts by Tom Ziller http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/46737/sbn-fave.png 2014-04-16T08:07:17-04:00 http://www.sbnation.com/authors/tom-ziller/rss 2014-04-16T08:07:17-04:00 2014-04-16T08:07:17-04:00 Good morning, it's the end of the NBA season <img alt="" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31693867/484871015.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The playoffs are just over the horizon.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter" method="post"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input type="text" name="email"><input type="submit" value="Subscribe"><input type="hidden" name="redirect" value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome"> </form> </div> <p>Good morning. Let's basketball.</p> <p><b>HARDWARE TIME: </b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5615564/nba-awards-2014-knicks-lebron-james-gregg-popovich" target="_blank">As the NBA season comes to a close, we handed out the hardware. And by hardware I mean "Most Knicks Thing" and "Best Gregg Popovich Quote" and "Most Disastrous Season (Player)". Check it out.</a></p> <p><b>PRESSURE'S ON:</b> The Clippers beat the Nuggets to keep dreams of No. 2 in the West alive.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5619330/chris-paul-does-something-very-mean-to-evan-fournier" target="_blank">This involved Chris Paul putting some inordinately nasty moves on Evan Fournier</a>.</p> <p><b>PRESSURE'S ON THE SEQUEL:</b> The Nets could have clinched No. 5 in the East by beating the Knicks on Tuesday. NOPE.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5619252/iman-shumpert-dunks-off-the-backboard-is-an-and-1-streetball-player/in/5382669" target="_blank">Iman Shumpert's out here <i>going off the backboard</i></a><i>. </i>The Wizards can still land the No. 5 seed.</p> <p><b>EVERYTHING AT STAKE:</b> Here's everything at stake on Wednesday as quickly and simply as possible.</p> <p>East: Raptors claim No. 3 seed with a win or a Bulls loss. Bulls can get No. 3 with a win and a Raptors loss. Otherwise, they are No. 4. The Nets can claim No. 5 with a win or a Wizards loss. If the Nets lose and Wizards win, Washington is No. 5 and the Nets are No. 6. If Washington loses and the Bobcats win, Charlotte is No. 6 and Washington is No. 7.</p> <p>West: A Thunder win <i>or</i> Clippers loss puts OKC in the No. 2 spot and L.A. in No. 3. A Thunder loss <i>and</i> Clippers win puts L.A. in No. 2 and OKC in No. 3. The winner of Memphis-Dallas is No. 7, the other is No. 8.</p> <p>Lottery: A Magic loss or Jazz win guarantees Orlando sole possession of the third-worst record in the league. A Jazz loss or Celtics win guarantees Utah no worse than sole possession of the fourth-worst record in the league. A Celtics loss or Lakers win guarantees Boston no worse than sole possession of the fifth-worst record in the league. The Kings and Cavaliers also stand to avoid potential coin flips by losing.</p> <p><b>THE SUNS ARE DEAD: </b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5616274/phoenix-suns-nba-playoffs-2014-dragic-bledsoe-hornacek">Long live the Suns.</a></p> <p><b>SPURS!</b> <a href="https://twitter.com/johnschuhmann/status/456148928119848960" target="_blank">John Schuhmann crunched the numbers on games the 16 playoff teams have played against each other since the All-Star break. The Spurs are 12-2 in such games.</a></p> <p><b>NAILED IT:</b> <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2030783-brooklyn-nets-usher-sings-fantastic-rendition-of-national-anthem?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=programming-national" target="_blank">A Barclays Center usher got a chance to sing the anthem before Nets-Knicks. It was awesome.</a></p> <p><b>NO AWARDS FOR TRYING:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/the-milwaukee-bucks-are-officially-the-nba-s-worst-team--secure-top-lottery-odds-081509004.html">Eric Freeman with a thoughtful piece on the Bucks and cosmic reward for not explicitly trying to lose</a>.</p> <p><b>TRUE LOATHING RATING:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://grantland.com/the-triangle/introducing-a-revolutionary-new-nba-stat-true-loathing-rating/">The brilliant netw3rk puts science to quantifiable teammate hatred in the NBA</a>. Kyrie-Dion is approaching Kobe-Shaq.</p> <p><b>WITHOUT BOGUT:</b> <a href="http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2014/04/15/the-warriors-without-bogut-whats-possible-how-that-affects-the-first-round-match-up-yes-i-think-itll-be-a-lot-of-steph-curry-vs-the-world-fun/" target="_blank">Tim Kawakami on what the Warriors will do without Andrew Bogut</a>. Hint: lots of Stephen Curry.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/nba/every-clydeism-2013-14-nba-season" target="_blank"><b>A COMPLETE LIST OF CLYDEISMS USED THIS SEASON</b></a><b>.</b></p> <p><b>AN ATROCIOUS RULE: </b>I don't usually agree with Mike DeCourcy on draft matters.&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/story/2014-04-15/ncaa-draft-withdrawal-deadline-nba-draft-2014-age-limit-nick-johnson-john-calipari-acc?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter">But he absolutely nailed it on the NCAA's arbitrary deadline for college players to commit to returning to school</a>.</p> <p><b>CREATION THEORY:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-rainmakers-players-who-create-the-most-corner-3s/">Some 96 percent of corner threes are assisted. John Wall creates those more than anyone.</a></p> <p><b>THE BULLS WE KNOW:</b> <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2028010-how-the-bulls-overcame-the-loss-of-d-rose-became-the-team-no-one-wants-to-face" target="_blank">Strong piece by Howard Beck on the Bulls no one wants to face</a>.</p> <p><b>WELCOME PARTY: </b>Via Zach Harper,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nba.com/suns/video/2014/04/15/SunsMilitaryReunionmp4-3238319/" target="_blank">the Suns had an absolutely fantastic military dad reunion this week</a>.</p> <p><b>CAGE'S LAW:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.vox.com/2014/4/15/5613714/cages-law-every-five-years-nicolas-cage-makes-a-good-movie">Every five years, Nicolas Cage makes a <strike>good</strike> movie <i>accepted by societal norms as being "good."</i></a></p> <p><b>FROM THE LAND OF OOO:</b> <a href="http://theholenearthecenteroftheworld.com/" target="_blank">A brilliant, beautiful longform on <i>Adventure Time</i> by the undisputedly excellent Maria Bustillos</a>. <i>Adventure Time </i>is really great.</p> <p><b>SPEAKING OF BEAUTIFUL LONGFORMS:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2014/4/15/5525574/kelly-slater-mick-fanning-surfing-profile-banzai-pipeline" target="_blank">The latest SB Nation longform is on surfing the deadliest waves&nbsp;in the Banzai pipeline</a>.</p> <p>Happy Final Day Of The Regular Season. See you next time.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter" method="post"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input type="text" name="email"><input type="submit" value="Subscribe"><input type="hidden" name="redirect" value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome"> </form> </div> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/16/5619896/nba-regular-season-schedule-newsletter Tom Ziller 2014-04-15T10:26:31-04:00 2014-04-15T10:26:31-04:00 The Hook's 2014 NBA Awards: Knicks failure, Gregg Popovich quotes, worst contracts and more <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31650349/21040325_pjc_usa_474.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Let us guide you back through the 2013-14 NBA regular season with a look at the superlatives in selected categories.</p> <p>The NBA regular season ends soon, which means one very important thing: it's award season! (Also, the playoffs, I suppose.) We could give you our opinions on who should win MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and all of that. OR, we could celebrate the regular season with gobs of snark and a lineup of invented, meaningless awards.</p> <p><b>WE CHOOSE DOOR NO. 2</b>.</p> <p>However, this is a job for a team, not one man. So I recruited some of my friends from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba">SBNation.com/NBA </a>and our team blog network to nominate candidates. Meet our esteemed awards council:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/pflanns">Paul Flannery</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/MikePradaSBN">Mike Prada</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/edthesportsfan">Eddie Maisonet</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/david_j_roth">David Roth</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/seth_rosenthal">Seth Rosenthal</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/Aykis16">Akis Yerocostas</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/gwiss">Greg Wissinger</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/Bulls_Jay">Jason Patt</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/outsidethenba">James Herbert</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/michael_levin">Michael Levin</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/BQRmagic">Evan Dunlap</a>. I made all final award decisions.</p> <p>Let's go.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter" method="post"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input name="redirect" value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" type="hidden"> </form> </div> <h3>MOST KNICKS THING</h3> <p><i>As you can tell, this is a </i>special<i> category.</i></p> <p>Andrea Bargnani's <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2013/12/18/5226262/andrea-bargnani-new-york-knicks-milwaukee-bucks">infamously ill-fated shot too early in the clock against the Bucks</a>.</p> <p>The bench's infamous reaction to said shot:</p> <p><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3740825/noooknicks.gif"></p> <p>The night <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/12/15/5212570/knicks-mike-woodson-jr-smith-metta-world-peace-sunday-shootaround">J.R. Smith stopped shooting</a>.</p> <p>The game <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/6/5587754/2014-nba-scores-heat-vs-knicks-jr-smith-record">J.R. took 22 threes</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/12/15/5212570/knicks-mike-woodson-jr-smith-metta-world-peace-sunday-shootaround">#TakeThatMasaiUjiri</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/12/15/5212570/knicks-mike-woodson-jr-smith-metta-world-peace-sunday-shootaround"></a>Carmelo Anthony:&nbsp;<a style="background-color: #ffffff;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xbnTHDgiqY">"LET'S PLAY THE FUCKING GAME."</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2013/12/11/5198220/recap-cavaliers-109-knicks-94-december-kyrie-irving">FARTDOG</a>, the&nbsp;Friendly Alliance of Really Terrible Defenders for Opposing Guards.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/8/5288416/jr-smith-fine-shoelace-untying">J.R.'s Shoelace Gate</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2013/12/30/5258182/the-knicks-cut-j-r-smiths-brother-j-r-smith-takes-to-instagram">"Betrayal."</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/11/14/5104424/brandon-jennings-jr-smith-twitter">J.R.'s Twitter beef with Brandon Jennings</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2014/2/18/5422884/a-brief-history-of-mike-woodson-not-sitting-here">Mike Woodson is not going to sit here</a>.</p> <p>The size of <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/99601/mike-woodson" class="sbn-auto-link">Mike Woodson's</a> suit jackets, which we swear have grown over the course of the season.</p> <p><a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/knicks-beat-magic-38-end-030330049--nba.html">Raymond Felton in December after back-to-back blowout wins moved the Knicks to 5-13:</a></p> <blockquote>"At some point it was going to get unleashed. Brooklyn was just the team that got the first wrath of it, so everybody else is going to have to feel it later on, too."</blockquote> <p>Amar'e Stoudemire saying the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/new-york-knicks" class="sbn-auto-link">Knicks</a> might be the best team in the league on paper ... <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/13/5611864/amare-stoudemire-quote-knicks-best-team-league-on-paper" style="background-color: #ffffff;">after they were eliminated from the playoffs</a>.</p> <p><img src="http://cdn3.sbnation.com/assets/3996317/feltyawn.gif"></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/158093/chris-smith" class="sbn-auto-link">Chris Smith</a>. Chris Smith was a paid professional basketball player for the New York Knicks. Chris Smith.</p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p><img src="http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/1897033/airbarg.gif"></p> <h3>GREGG POPOVICH QUOTE OF THE YEAR</h3> <p>Nominated by Eddie,&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2014/03/27/popovich-has-simple-explanation-for-mills-breakout/">Pop on Patty Mills</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"He was a little fat ass. He had too much junk in the trunk. His decision making wasn't great, and he wasn't in great shape. He changed his entire body. He came back svelte and cut and understood you have to make better decisions, point-guard type decisions. He did all those things better and he earned it. He's been real important to us, obviously."</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2014/03/04/pop-talks-offense-a-qa/">Nominated by Flannery:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"Sometimes in timeouts I'll say, &lsquo;I've got nothing for you. What do you want me to do? We just turned it over six times. Everybody's holding the ball. What else do you want me to do here? Figure it out.' And I'll get up and walk away. Because it's true. There's nothing else I can do for them. I can give them some bulls-, and act like I'm a coach or something, but it's on them."</p> </blockquote> <p>Nominated by Wissinger:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Pop reveals secret to <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/san-antonio-spurs" class="sbn-auto-link">Spurs</a>' lasting success: "Get the No. 1 pick in the draft every 10 years and make sure it's a franchise player."</p> &mdash; Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) <a href="https://twitter.com/JMcDonald_SAEN/statuses/453672786032996352">April 8, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2013/12/12/5199192/matt-bonner-spurs-feature-2013">Nominated by Herbert:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"He's a weirdo. Matty's Matty. He's a lumberjack from New Hampshire. He's like the dweeb, egghead kind of guy. Highly intelligent, great sense of humor, well-read. Coach can't understand what he's saying half the time. He always has questions and you don't even know how to answer &lsquo;em. That's why we love him."</p> </blockquote> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>Popovich talking about junk in one's trunk is basically an automatic victory.</p> <h3>BIGGEST CONTRACT BUST</h3> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/71904/tyreke-evans" class="sbn-auto-link">Tyreke Evans</a></b> got what, to do what? And you gave away <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/35082/robin-lopez" class="sbn-auto-link">Robin Lopez</a> to make it happen? Good plan. -- <i>Flannery (Editor's note: this was written before Tyreke mercilessly beat the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/oklahoma-city-thunder" class="sbn-auto-link">Thunder</a> on Monday.)</i></p> <p><b>OJ Mayo</b> got $8 million a year from Milwaukee to devour all the bratwurst and brew he could find in town and wear No. 00 to invoke memories of Anthony Avent and Benoit Benjamin. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21573/josh-smith" class="sbn-auto-link">Josh Smith</a></b>, the signing that finally cost Joe Dumars his job. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p> <style> @media only screen and (max-width: 400px) { .sidebar { display: none; } } </style></p> <div class="sidebar"> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/the-hook"> <img src="http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/3117975/the-hook.jpg"></a><span>A daily column on the NBA.</span><span><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/14/5612662/kevin-durant-nba-mvp-2014-lebron-james">4/14: How KD became the MVP</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/11/5604130/roy-hibbert-pacers-foul-rate-home-road-referees">4/11: Hibbert's road foul rate is a problem</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/9/5596988/indiana-pacers-road-record-nba-playoffs-2014">4/9: The Pacers' extreme road woes</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/7/5589640/san-antonio-spurs-amazing-tim-duncan-nba-playoffs-2014">4/7: Why the Spurs stay great</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/4/5581312/nba-playoffs-defense-heat-spurs">4/4: Overcoming tough D wins titles</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/3/5576850/lakers-celtics-nba-team-age-injuries-draft-lottery">4/3: How L.A. and Boston got younger</a><br></span> </div> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21865/andrew-bynum" class="sbn-auto-link">Andrew Bynum</a>.</b> Sure, Cleveland managed to free themselves pretty early in the season, but they dumped, what, $11-12 million down the drain in the process? For that money, they got eight points and five rebounds per game in limited minutes, and a major distraction in practice. <i>-- Wissinger</i></p> <p>Tough to pick between <b>Josh Smith</b> and <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/71910/brandon-jennings" class="sbn-auto-link">Brandon Jennings</a></b>. Both had god-awful years on an underachieving team and are right up there in the YOLO 3 rankings. <i>-- Patt</i></p> <p>It was clear going into the offseason that someone would overpay <b>Josh Smith</b>, and it was equally clear by that point what type of player Josh Smith is and what he does. But the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/detroit-pistons" class="sbn-auto-link">Pistons</a> overpaying with the intention of playing him out of position and then watching him become the world's first sleepwalking chucker ... anyway, the impressive part is that it somehow wound up being worse than expected. <i>-- Roth</i></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/milwaukee-bucks" class="sbn-auto-link">Bucks</a>' Big Four: <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/35066/o-j-mayo" class="sbn-auto-link">O.J. Mayo</a></b>, <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21567/zaza-pachulia" class="sbn-auto-link">Zaza Pachulia</a></b>, <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21690/carlos-delfino" class="sbn-auto-link">Carlos Delfino</a></b> and <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/112006/gary-neal" class="sbn-auto-link">Gary Neal</a></b>. Individually, each one seemed more or less okay, but this was Milwaukee's plan to get back to the playoffs. As a group these guys have been out of shape, injured or traded. Welp. -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>The panel is clearly leaning toward Josh Smith, but I'm going to go with his spiritual brother, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21499/j-r-smith" class="sbn-auto-link">J.R. Smith</a>. Smitty signed an overpriced deal ... then had knee surgery ... then served a drug suspension ... then forgot how to shoot for most of the season ... then got fined for a) shoelace capers and b) a Twitter beef. Only $12 million left on that deal!</p> <h3>FAILED POSE TREND OF THE YEAR</h3> <p><i>A special category from our friend James Herbert.</i> <style>.embed-container {position: relative; padding-bottom: 120%; padding-top: 30px; height: 0; overflow: hidden;} .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</style></p> <p> <style>.embed-container {position: relative; padding-bottom: 100%; padding-top: 30px; height: 0; overflow: hidden;} .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</style></p> <div class="embed-container"><iframe src="//instagram.com/p/mjm0qaDI14/embed/" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> <p>Let Boris Diaw introduce you to <b>frogging</b>: (<a href="http://instagram.com/p/mwWiTjjI9G/">Example 1</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/p/mjm0qaDI14/">Example 2</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/p/mZMFYXDI7F/">Example 3</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/p/mNr-cBDI5w/">Example 4</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/tiagosplitter/status/453381400033783809/photo/1">Example 5</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Patty_Mills/status/449580504363188225/photo/1">and Example 6</a>). Stop trying to make frogging happen, Boris.</p> <h3>TIM DUNCAN TROLLFACE OF THE YEAR</h3> <p><i>As nominated by Jason Patt.</i></p> <p><img src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4238295/duncanlol.gif"></p> <h3>KOBE MOMENT OF THE YEAR</h3> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Kobe on how Rondo will survive the rebuild: "From what I understand he's an asshole like me, so he'll manage."</p> &mdash; Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) <a href="https://twitter.com/Pflanns/statuses/424327339833831424">January 17, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>Kobe unfollowing all of his teammates on Twitter, then switching it up and unfollowing everybody instead. #KobeTweetSystem.</p> <p><a href="http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/002/780/338/c890913140719a5f78ac0fc77b7f99dc_crop_north.jpg?w=759&h=506&q=75">The supervillain piano</a>.</p> <p>Kobe entering to the Imperial March for his debut.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ddGhPW9GvgQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/24718/nick-young" class="sbn-auto-link">Nick Young</a> shares Kobe Bryant's recent trash talk: "I don&rsquo;t talk to players on teams that are 20 games under .500."</p> &mdash; Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkG_Medina/statuses/445631610453389312">March 17, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>I guess signing a ludicrous, cap-killing extension and then implying that he expects the team to turn things around instantly is more of a How We Live Now Moment than a Kobe Moment. But it's pretty strong. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>I'm torn between the hilarious self-awareness present in the Rondo comment and the hilarious lack of self-awareness in the Twitter nonsense. So we'll split the difference and go with <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/3/12/5502072/kobe-bryant-has-no-interest-in-playing-for-mike-dantoni-next-season">him selling out Mike D'Antoni toward the end of the season</a>.</p> <h3>SECOND-ROUNDER OF THE YEAR</h3> <p><i>Suspiciously relevant this year, given the travails of the first-rounders.</i></p> <p><b>Ryan Kelly</b>, only because it's always good to hear friends ask during <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/los-angeles-lakers" class="sbn-auto-link">Lakers</a> games, "Is <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21872/luke-walton" class="sbn-auto-link">Luke Walton</a> still in the league?" While having to remind him that a) Yes he is, and b) that's not Luke Walton. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p><b>Ray McCallum</b>, because <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/98772/michael-malone" class="sbn-auto-link">Michael Malone</a> seems intent on giving him a year's worth of minutes in the final month of the season. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p>Either <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/198063/marko-todorovic" class="sbn-auto-link">Marko Todorovic</a></b> or <b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/198039/bojan-dubljevic" class="sbn-auto-link">Bojan Dubljevic</a></b>. -- <i>Flannery</i></p> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/198071/pierre-jackson" class="sbn-auto-link">Pierre Jackson</a></b>. Sure, he never got to the NBA, but when we look back on this answer in a few years I'll look like a genius. -- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p>Ditto on <b>Pierre Jackson</b>. Let's not let the fact that he hasn't played in the NBA this year obscure the fact that he is clearly the best basketball player chosen in the second round of the draft. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <p><b>Erik Murphy</b> for somehow getting signed by the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/utah-jazz" class="sbn-auto-link">Jazz</a> after showing not a single ounce of NBA talent and getting waived by the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/chicago-bulls" class="sbn-auto-link">Bulls</a>, thus relieving Chicago of his cap hit and creating some more room under luxury tax. -- <i>MYSTERY COUNCILMAN</i></p> <p><b>Nate "I LOVE WALTAHS" Wolters</b>. -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>Even the second-rounders are underwhelming from this draft class! Let's go with Pierre and hope for the best.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4302211/USATSI_7802566.jpg"><img src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4302211/USATSI_7802566.jpg" class="photo" alt="Usatsi_7802566"></a></p> <p><i>Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports</i></p> <h3>MOST DISASTROUS SEASON (PLAYER)</h3> <p><b>Jim Buss. </b>I know this is cheating, but for real it's probably <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21732/pau-gasol" class="sbn-auto-link">Pau Gasol</a>. Poor, sad Pau. -- <i>Flannery</i></p> <p><b>Larry Sanders. </b>Busted his thumb in a bar fight after signing his first post-rookie deal and then got suspended for smoking pot. To top it off, in his apology for the latter, he advocated for its legalization. That stance in and of itself isn't at issue; it's just tonally inappropriate and serves as a sad coda to a lost season. -- <i>Dunlap</i></p> <p><b>Luol Deng. </b>Because no one deserves to be traded to Cleveland. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p><b>Derrick Rose. </b>This was supposed to be his comeback year. &nbsp;Instead, it's looking like he might be the next <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21826/brandon-roy" class="sbn-auto-link">Brandon Roy</a>. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p><b>Kobe Bryant. </b>He fought and clawed his way back from an Achilles injury, only to fracture his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. &nbsp;I don't even know what exactly a lateral tibial plateau is, but I know I never want to fracture mine. To fight so hard to get back and to only play six games was a huge disappointment to Kobe and the Lakers. &nbsp;-- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p> <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://cdn3.sbnation.com/assets/3608425/mustreads.css"></p> <div class="must-reads"> <h4> <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> NBA Power Rankings <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="snippet-n tiles"> <div class="row"><a style="background-image: url(http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31590899/20140331_ads_bl4_151.0_cinema_1050.0.jpg);" class="cell" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5612688/nba-power-rankings-2014-spurs-final-regular-season"> <div class="hgroup"> <h2 class="photohead">Spurs on top as playoffs near</h2> <h3 class="meta"><span class="byline">Jason Patt</span></h3> <span class="blurb">The 2013-14 NBA regular season is drawing to a closer, and the Spurs will head into the playoffs with the league's best record.</span> </div> </a></div> </div> </div> <div class="must-reads-compact-container"> <h4> <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> NBA Power Rankings <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="must-reads-compact-link-container"><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5612688/nba-power-rankings-2014-spurs-final-regular-season?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=mustreads&utm_campaign=blogs">Spurs on top as playoffs near<span class="must-reads-compact-byline"></span></a></div> </div> <p><b>Andrea Bargnani.</b> Brought in to be the "secondary scorer" to Melo, but almost immediately became a scapegoat for Knicks' poor start. Commited countless boneheaded plays, one which resulted in a season-ending injury <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/1/22/5336718/the-chronicles-of-andrea-air-bargnani">and an exceptional mashup</a>. -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p><b>Steve Nash. </b>Every injury sounds and seems more painful than the last, they are coming in rapid succession and every time he comes back for some sad-o cameo, he's playing with the Lakers. He doesn't deserve that. No one does. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>I want to go with J.R. Smith again, but poor Pau Gasol really had a nasty little year.</p> <h3>MOST DISASTROUS SEASON (TEAM)</h3> <p>The Cleveland Pistons strike me as a franchise in need of a new direction. -- <i>Flannery</i></p> <p>Uh ... Knicks. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p>Philadelphia if they fall out of the top 3 in the draft. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p>BucksPistonsHawksNuggetsCavsKNICKS -- <i>Levin</i></p> <p>Gotta be the Knicks. -- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p>Knicks are an obvious choice, but Pistons are right there. Spend a ton in free agency, fire the coach midseason and then get worse. Never really a threat to make playoffs despite terrible East. -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p>The Knicks are a disaster as a team, but a smashing success as a piece of satirical performance art. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <p>The Pistons have an oversized frontcourt that brings the worst out of everyone involved, two horrible long-term contracts in Smith and Jennings, a really difficult free-agent decision to make on <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/111926/greg-monroe" class="sbn-auto-link">Greg Monroe</a>, new management, likely a new coach, dwindling fan support and what sounds like an over-eager owner. If they were the New York Pistons, there would be much more coverage of their disastrous situation. -- <i>Prada</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>The <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/cleveland-cavaliers" class="sbn-auto-link">Cavaliers</a> and Pistons were expected to make the postseason and failed. The Knicks were talking about <i>winning a championship</i>. They missed the playoffs in a conference in which 37 wins gets you in. No contest. Knicks Knicks Knicks.</p> <h3>GAME OF THE YEAR</h3> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BhC_K7T-dUk?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>OKC vs. Golden State. Double game winner. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p>Sixers beating Miami in their first game of the season. -- <i>Levin</i></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-IKiArNStFo?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>March 26. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/indiana-pacers" class="sbn-auto-link">Pacers</a> 84, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/miami-heat" class="sbn-auto-link">Heat</a> 83. I don't care if the Pacers have slipped recently, just please give me a 7-game series between these two teams. -- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_9xbYFsoiNw?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>March 21. Thunder 119, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/toronto-raptors" class="sbn-auto-link">Raptors</a> 118 in double overtime. Durant goes nova and brings Thunder back in second OT, nailing ridiculous three to win.</p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>OKC-Golden State.</p> <h3>LEBRON JAMES PLAY OF THE YEAR</h3> <p><img src="http://cdn3.sbnation.com/assets/3930559/lepasstobattier.gif"></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/1/29/5359380/lebron-james-makes-ridiculous-no-look-pass-to-shane-battier">Absurd</a> Raymone <a href="http://fansided.com/2014/03/18/lebron-james-makes-insane-look-pass-ray-allen-video/">passes</a>. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p><img src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/27203941/airflotus.0_standard_709.0.gif"></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/1/21/5330618/michelle-obama-heat-photobomb">LBJ and FLOTUS</a> -- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI1GLB-byeQ">Game-winner over Iggy</a> -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p><a href="https://vine.co/v/MAXtq1zXHxm">These two passes to Ray Allen, only one of which resulted in a made basket</a>. -- <i>Prada</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>The FLOTUS play, but only because of Michelle Obama's stinkface.</p> <h3>POSTER OF THE YEAR</h3> <p>From Ed:</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/X8lZ84gQ2Vk?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>From Akis:</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xNaUpQClppE?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>From Patt:</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kiEFK7bDssE?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>"<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/157954/terrence-ross" class="sbn-auto-link">Terrence Ross</a> just did that."</p> <h3>MINIMUM CONTRACT PLAYER OF THE YEAR</h3> <p>The Nick Young era in L.A. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p>Isaiah Thomas is technically still a minimum contract player, and he's averaging 20.7 points and 6.4 assists a game. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p>D.J. Augustin. Dude stunk in Indy last year and was waived by the Raptors this year before tearing it up with the Bulls. Once again proving that Thibs is the point-guard whisperer, unless your name is <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/157988/marquis-teague" class="sbn-auto-link">Marquis Teague</a>. -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21747/shaun-livingston" class="sbn-auto-link">Shaun Livingston</a> has been really great, and remains a great story and an easy dude to cheer for. But also holy crap how is Isaiah Thomas making the minimum. I assume that, like Livingston's salary, will rectify itself soon enough. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>I'm giving the award to Shaun Livingston only because Isaiah is still on a second-round rookie deal. Had he been a free agent like Livingston last summer, Isaiah would be making millions. Both will be making millions next year.</p> <h3>MOST DEVOLVED PLAYER</h3> <p> <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://cdn3.sbnation.com/assets/3608425/mustreads.css"></p> <div class="must-reads"> <h4> <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> Sunday Shootaround <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="snippet-n tiles"> <div class="row"><a style="background-image: url(http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31215603/noah-gibson-large.0_cinema_1050.0.jpg);" class="cell" href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/6/5586752/nba-season-celebration-sunday-shootaround"> <div class="hgroup"> <h2 class="photohead">A season to celebrate</h2> <h3 class="meta"><span class="byline">Paul Flannery</span></h3> <span class="blurb">Injured stars and blatant tanking happened, but so did the brilliance of Kevin Durant and the budding of stars such as Steph Curry, Blake Griffin, Paul George and Kevin Love. The 2013-14 season has been one to celebrate.</span> </div> </a></div> </div> </div> <div class="must-reads-compact-container"> <h4> <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> Sunday Shootaround <span class="must-reads-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="must-reads-compact-link-container"><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/6/5586752/nba-season-celebration-sunday-shootaround?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=mustreads&utm_campaign=blogs">A season to celebrate<span class="must-reads-compact-byline"></span></a></div> </div> <p><b>Andrew Nicholson. </b>16.9 points/36 on 55.7 percent True Shooting as a rookie; 13.1 points/36 on 47.5 percent as sophomore. Asking him to shoot the occasional corner three sounded like a good idea in camp, but it's yielded poor results. It seems to have affected his confidence inside the arc as well; he's shooting 44.9 percent on twos after converting 52.7 percent in his first season. -- <i>Dunlap</i></p> <p><b>Ricky Rubio </b>shoots as well as your little brother does when he tries to play NBA 2K on the hardest level. On second thought, little brother might shoot better than Rubio. -- <i>Maisonet</i></p> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21672/ersan-ilyasova" class="sbn-auto-link">Ersan Ilyasova</a>. </b>PER dropped from 18.3 to 13.8. True Shooting percentage drop from .552 to .486. Three-point percentage dropped from .444 to .282. &nbsp;Oh, and he's locked in to two more years of a guaranteed $7.9 million a year. Then again, the Bucks could probably field an entire team of Most Devolved Players. Sup O.J. Mayo. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p><b>Derrick Williams.</b> Getting out of Adelman's system was supposed to help Thrilly D Williams, but he's become an afterthought in Sacramento and is regularly outshined by Travis Outlaw. -- <i>Wissinger</i></p> <p>Can we count first-half <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/111927/paul-george" class="sbn-auto-link"><b>Paul George</b></a> and second-half Paul George? -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p>Ilyasova's the saddest. That whole team has spent the year collaborating on forgetting how to play basketball, and he is absolutely leading the way. No one looks more lost out there than him, which is baffling because of how good he looked exactly one year ago. I'm bumming myself out writing this. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <p><b>Harrison Barnes. </b>He's in the wrong role and his confidence is shot. Too bad, because the dude was fearless in the playoffs as a rookie. Super bummer. -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>Nicholson and Barnes have compelling cases, but they are young and we're not sure last season was truer than this season. Ilyasova, though, appears to have forgotten how to function on a basketball court.</p> <h3>BROADCAST CALL OF THE YEAR</h3> <p>Anything involving Ian Eagle. -- <i>Flannery</i></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/r2iCrOO19So?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Tommy Heinsohn goes full Hawk Harrelson -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p>I really liked the one where Reggie Miller was like, "Wow, that player did a really bad job there. You've got to do a better job than that." I learned a lot AND it sounded great. -- <i>Roth</i></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2013/12/31/5260046/timberwolves-radio-call-kevin-love-mavericks">NO, ED MALLOY!</a> -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/MCORir6QCzc?rel=0" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>WEDGIE! -- <i>Prada</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>NO, ED MALLOY! What a call.</p> <h3>GOOFIEST TEAM PROMOTION</h3> <p><a href="http://www.nba.com/kings/kingsselfie-sunday">#SelfieSunday for the Kings</a>. -- <i>Yerocostas</i></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/3/14/5509358/watch-the-spurs-get-a-hipster-mustache">Hipster Mustaches, San Antonio Spurs</a>. &nbsp;Mostly because it's weird for the Spurs to acknowledge any trend that exists post-1999. -- Wissinger</p> <p><img src="http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/thumb/834253550.gif?1390102207"></p> <p>The Bulls Big Macs promotion for scoring 100 points in wins has been around awhile, but the fact that the team now has the "Running of the Big Macs" is just goofy as hell. -- <i>Patt</i></p> <p><a href="http://www.nba.com/bucks/GameBeard">Bucks' Beard night</a> -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <p>Drake Night (Raps, duh). -- <i>Herbert</i></p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/2/22/5437480/the-milwaukee-bucks-y2k-night-includes-a-pt-cruiser-giveaway">Y2K Night in Milwaukee</a>! PT Cruiser! Coolio! -- <i>Rosenthal</i></p> <h4>And the award goes to ...</h4> <p>The Bucks gave away a PT Cruiser! You really cannot beat that. This also gives me a reason to remind you that, for some bizarre reason, the NBA elected to have Vanilla Ice make an unannounced performance on All-Star Saturday in New Orleans. This decision has still not been explained. I blame the Pistons' '90s Night promotion for bringing Ice back into our collective consciousness.</p> <p>***</p> <p>I have a feeling we missed some great candidates, so fire away in the comments! Many thanks to the esteemed awards council for their input.</p> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5615564/nba-awards-2014-knicks-lebron-james-gregg-popovich Tom Ziller 2014-04-15T08:07:29-04:00 2014-04-15T08:07:29-04:00 Good morning, the Suns flicker out <img alt="" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31643547/484870533.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The Grizzlies knocked Phoenix down for the last time. That and more in our NBA newsletter.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> <p>Good morning. Let's basketball.</p> <p><b>A MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5615894/grizzlies-vs-suns-final-score-recap" target="_blank">Memphis won a rager against Phoenix</a> to clinch the final playoff spot available. (At that link you will find evidence of one of the most excellent Zach Randolph fast breaks in recorded history.) So we have our 16 teams for the postseason, which begins Saturday.</p> <p>But the seedings aren't at all settled. Two more nights of action will suss all of that out. Here are the seeds that are locked in:</p> <p>EAST: Pacers (1), Heat (2), Hawks (8).<br>WEST: Spurs (1), Rockets (4), Blazers (5), Warriors (6).</p> <p>The Bulls and Raptors are fighting for No. 3 in the East. The Nets need a win to guarantee No. 5. If the Wizards don't steal that No. 5 seed, they need a win to hold off the Bobcats for No. 6. Out West, the Thunder need to beat the Pistons to claim No. 2, otherwise a Clippers win would hand it to L.A. The Grizzlies and Mavericks will play for the No. 7 seed on Wednesday.</p> <p>So no, we won't have our pairings until Wednesday night at roughly 1 a.m. Eastern.</p> <p><strong>NBA 3.0:</strong> <a href="http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2014/4/14/5614712/the-sactown-royalty-show-ep-43-vivek-ranadive">Sactown Royalty landed Kings owner Vivek Ranadive on its podcast.</a> Must-listen.</p> <p><b>ANDREW NO!-GUT:</b> The Warriors'&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_25567104/warriors-bogut-has-fractured-rib-out-indefinitely" target="_blank">Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with fractured ribs</a>. Based on the way Golden State is talking, he's not playing in the postseason. That's horrible news!</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5615742/kevin-love-throwing-outlet-passes-forever-and-ever/in/5378897" target="_blank">HOW IN THE WORLD DOES KEVIN LOVE COMPLETE THESE OUTLET PASSES</a>?</b></p> <p><b>BOBCAT FEVER:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5615424/chris-douglas-roberts-game-winner-bobcats-hawks/in/5378897" target="_blank">Chris Douglas-Roberts with perhaps the ugliest game-winner I have ever seen</a>.</p> <p><b>THE HOOK:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/14/5612662/kevin-durant-nba-mvp-2014-lebron-james" target="_blank">How Kevin Durant took the MVP from LeBron</a>.</p> <p><b>WHEN CEDRIC MOODIE MET MJ:</b> <a href="http://theclassical.org/articles/when-cedric-moodie-met-michael-jordan" target="_blank">A brilliant piece by Sam Riches on what it was like to dunk on Jordan during a pick-up game</a>.</p> <p><b>ROLLER COASTER:</b> Joe Dumars is done in Detroit.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5593442/joe-dumars-detroit-pistons-review" target="_blank">James Herbert looks at the ups and downs of his tenure</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5612688/nba-power-rankings-2014-spurs-final-regular-season" target="_blank"><b>POWER! RANKINGS!</b></a></p> <p><b>NEVERENDING WINTER:</b> It is snowing again in Chicago.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/15/5615886/joakim-noah-is-horrified-to-learn-its-snowing-in-chicago" target="_blank">Joakim Noah is not pleased.</a></p> <p><b>MEANWHILE, IN THE DUB:</b> <a href="http://www.swishappeal.com/wnba-draft-2014" target="_blank">Full coverage of the WNBA Draft from Swish Appeal</a>.</p> <p><b>ILLARD:</b> <a href="http://www.blazersedge.com/2014/4/14/5613982/adidas-announces-contract-extension-for-blazers-g-damian-lillard" target="_blank">Adidas has locked up Damian Lillard long-term</a>. Given that Nike is based in Oregon, this is a little weird! Adidas reportedly had to make an unreal offer to keep the Blazer.</p> <p><b>OH BETSY:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/14/5615030/betsy-ross-remains-scarier-than-the-sixers-season" target="_blank">Giant Betsy Ross grinds on a security guard, gives him a shoulder massage, creeps everyone the hell out</a>. Scariest mascot in the NBA, or scariest mascot in any sport?</p> <p><b>ODE TO BARGNANI:</b> This is a couple months old, but new to me and it has Kelly Clarkson and there is no expiration date on Kelly Clarkson, so:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWR3BtHNjFs&feature=youtu.be#aid=P9VLKgUxgfQ" target="_blank">the story of Andrea Bargnani and the Toronto Raptors set to "Since U Been Gone."</a>Enjoy.</p> <p>Happy Tuesday. See you next time.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/15/5616270/suns-grizzlies-nba-playoffs-2014-newsletter Tom Ziller 2014-04-14T10:33:46-04:00 2014-04-14T10:33:46-04:00 How Kevin Durant took the MVP from LeBron James <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31597881/484258975.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Necessity pushed Durant further down the path to greatness. Now, he has caught up to LeBron.</p> <p>LeBron James should probably have won the past five NBA MVP awards. He took the crown almost unanimously in 2009 and 2010, then met a combination of Miami backlash and unachieved ridiculous expectations in 2011. He still finished third, despite nine <strike>idiots</strike> sourpusses leaving him off the ballot completely. Then he went and won the 2012 and 2013 MVP trophies by acclamation.</p> <p>With the exception of the aftermath to The Decision, LeBron has been unchallenged as the most important, most valuable and <i>best</i> player in the league.</p> <p>Until this season. Kevin Durant has caught up.</p> <p></p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input type="text" name="email"><input type="submit" value="Subscribe"><input type="hidden" value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect"> </form> </div> <p>It's important to note that LeBron hasn't really <i>given up</i> his grasp on the MVP at all. He had his best shooting season ever, and is scoring, rebounding and passing at career norms. Many have noticed that James' verve on defense has been lacking, and that's true. He's clearly conserved energy much of the season while still completely controlling the game. He'd be a totally worthy MVP winner, and this award would be as deserved as any of his four others.</p> <p> <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3706325/bloglinks.css"></p> <div class="blog-links-main-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team sites <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-link-container"> <a title="Oklahoma City Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City" href="http://www.welcometoloudcity.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs">Oklahoma City Thunder<br><img alt="Oklahoma City Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City" class="blog-links-blog-logo" src="http://cdn1.sbnation.com/uploads/blog/sbnu_logo/203/large_welcometoloudcity.com.full.13812.png"></a> <div> <a href="https://twitter.com/WTLC" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-screen-name="false" data-show-count="true" data-size="small">Follow</a> <div data-share="false" data-show-faces="false" data-action="like" data-layout="button_count" data-href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Welcome-to-Loud-City/116820538360160" class="fb-like"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog-links-compact-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team sites <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-compact-link-container"><a href="http://www.welcometoloudcity.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs">Oklahoma City Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City</a></div> </div> <p>The difference this season is not with LeBron, but with Durant. LeBron had previously reached an incredibly high level and, this season, stayed there. Durant had been just behind LeBron since about 2011. He elevated his game further this year, in part by necessity as Russell Westbrook battled knee injuries.</p> <p>But granting him the MVP, as voters will likely do shortly, isn't a reward for getting a little better or for surviving a hardship. The award is totally deserved and appropriate: Durant has been the best, most valuable player in the league this season.</p> <p>That said, <i>how</i> Durant caught LeBron is the most interesting part of this story. KD was already so damn good. What did he really have left to add?</p> <p>Playmaking, as it turns out. Lots of playmaking. This chart shows Durant's career performance in the three major counting stats. I used per-game numbers for scoring and per-possession numbers for assists and rebounds to make it legible.</p> <p><a href="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4296233/Durant-MVP.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Durant-mvp" class="photo" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4296233/Durant-MVP.png"></a></p> <p>Durant has been an ultra-elite scorer since 2010. He'll win his fourth career scoring title on Wednesday night. His ability to get buckets has never been questioned. He's also been a strong rebounder at small forward for his entire career. But look at how much he's improved in setting up teammates. Even up to 2011 -- just three seasons ago -- he lagged behind even <i>average</i> playmakers at his position. Now he's one of the best set-up men at either forward spot, trailing perhaps only LeBron himself. Durant's assist rate this season is 26.6 percent. LeBron's is at 31.9 percent.</p> <p>We fetishize completeness. Back in 2011, when Durant's value came almost exclusively from his scoring and shooting, there was an active philosophy arguing that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/9/7/2409883/kevin-durant-specialized-labor-the-hook">he'd never be the best in the league because he'd never be a complete player</a>. As the argument went: in the NBA you couldn't be the very best unless you served as a proxy for all positions. I argued that opposite, that scoring was so incredibly important and Durant did it so well that if he improved even further in just that category, he could reach the top.</p> <p> <style> @media only screen and (max-width: 400px) { .sidebar { display: none; } } </style></p> <div class="sidebar"> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/the-hook"> <img src="http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/3117975/the-hook.jpg"></a><span>A daily column on the NBA.</span><span><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/11/5604130/roy-hibbert-pacers-foul-rate-home-road-referees">4/11: Hibbert's road foul rate is a problem</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/9/5596988/indiana-pacers-road-record-nba-playoffs-2014">4/9: The Pacers' extreme road woes</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/7/5589640/san-antonio-spurs-amazing-tim-duncan-nba-playoffs-2014">4/7: Why the Spurs stay great</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/4/5581312/nba-playoffs-defense-heat-spurs">4/4: Overcoming tough D wins titles</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/3/5576850/lakers-celtics-nba-team-age-injuries-draft-lottery">4/3: How L.A. and Boston got younger</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/2/5573666/nba-experience-age-dallas-mavericks-miami-heat">4/2: Do older teams win more?</a><br></span> </div> <p>As it turns out, Durant did reach higher in scoring and shooting, boosting his efficiency and output. But he also followed the path of generalization by focusing more on moving the rock and setting up teammates who needed it. I'll argue that two things pushed KD down that path: the trade of James Harden (a creator) instead of Serge Ibaka (a finisher), and these repeat injuries to Westbrook (a creator without parallel).</p> <p>When constructing myths, when writing those origin stories, we so often neglect the context. Durant in 2011 didn't really need to create much. Durant in 2014 couldn't survive without creating. What was perceived as weakness was really just unnecessary. We faulted a player for doing something that was totally irrelevant to his team's fortunes. It'd be like criticizing Joakim Noah for failing to practice his scales on the piano. Now that the Thunder need Durant to facilitate the offense more frequently, he's doing it. (And perhaps now that Westbrook is back, the team will be richer for the experience.)</p> <p>Anyone who assumed that because Durant did not set up his teammates often, he <i>could not</i> do it, was wrong. He's proven that now. And in doing so, he's shown that a team led by him without a masterful set-up man riding shotgun can win big. He's shown that he can do what LeBron's done, albeit with somewhat different (more scoring, less passing) contours.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4297837/kd_and_serge.jpg"><img src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4297837/kd_and_serge.jpg" class="photo" alt="Kd_and_serge_medium"></a></p> <p><i>Serge Ibaka could be a key component in Durant's increased assist totals this season/Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports</i></p> <p>Just before this season began, I wrote about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/10/24/4850894/kevin-durant-era-lebron-james-nba-preview-2013">how Durant could finally catch his rival</a> and ensure this era would be demarcated as the <i>LeBron and Durant era</i> (like Magic and Bird) instead of the <i>LeBron era </i>(like Jordan).</p> <blockquote> <p>What would mark the transition from a LeBron solo act to a Durant duet? KD could win the MVP, or win a second NBA Finals battle between the pair. Those would be definitive answers. But let us gauge this admittedly nuanced issue with nuance. Let us judge Durant by LeBron and LeBron by Durant and determine if they are equals or not.</p> </blockquote> <p>We don't need nuance. Durant is the MVP and LeBron officially has his foil.</p> http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/14/5612662/kevin-durant-nba-mvp-2014-lebron-james Tom Ziller 2014-04-14T08:01:04-04:00 2014-04-14T08:01:04-04:00 Good morning, the NBA playoffs are coming into view <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31589725/20140330_mta_su8_090.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Everything is being wrapped in that noisy, annoying cellophane wrap. Put a bow on it, Z-Bo.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> <p>Good morning. Let us basketball.</p> <p><b>BASKETBALL! </b>The Warriors and Blazers had themselves a helluva game on Sunday night, with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5612152/warriors-vs-trail-blazers-final-score-recap" target="_blank">Portland pulling out a victory in OT thanks to a LaMarcus Aldridge jumper</a>. The win guaranteed that the Rockets and Blazers will meet in the first round, with home court still at stake. It also means Golden State will be no higher than the No. 6 seed. It's likely the Warriors will face the Clippers, which is fantastic for neutral fans because those teams hate each other.</p> <p>Also, the Pacers capitalized on the Heat's weird concession to the Hawks on Saturday.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/13/5610890/pacers-thunder-2014-results/in/5374379" target="_blank">Indiana beat the Thunder in a day game</a>, and can clinch the East No. 1 seed after all with one more win or Heat loss. Weird.</p> <p><b>DEATHRACE! </b>On Saturday, the Mavericks edged the Suns behind Monta's 37 in perhaps the best regulation game of the season. On Sunday, the Grizzlies smoked the Lakers. What that means: Dallas is in. The Grizzlies are in with one more win. They face the Suns tonight and the Mavericks on Wednesday. If Memphis wins Monday, they're in. But they can lose Monday and still get in with a Wednesday win or a Phoenix loss to Sacramento.</p> <p>Will Dallas have a reason to win on Wednesday? It could mean avoiding the Spurs in the first round. So maybe.</p> <p><b>G.O.A.T.:</b> Why do I adore Russell Westbrook so much?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/13/5610968/russell-westbrook-defensive-player-of-the-year-on-shots-that-dont/in/5374379" target="_blank">Because of things like this.</a> My God.</p> <p><b>R.I.P. KNICKS:</b> The Hawks clinched the East's final bid on Saturday, eliminating the Knickerbockers.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/12/5609330/ny-knicks-playoffs-eliminated">Here's a highlight reel for their sorrows</a>.</p> <p><b>LA FAMILIA:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/13/4056367/dan-le-batard-family-plan-is-a.html">Dan Le Batard with a banger on how Pat Riley won the war with Phil Jackson</a>.</p> <p><b>MEET THE 2015 NBA DRAFT CLASS:</b> <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/why-2014-prep-hoops-class-may-be-as-good-as-andrew-wiggins--highly-touted-group-214836315.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">Marc Spears touts the group of college freshmen following Andrew Wiggins and company</a>.</p> <p><b>UM, ZACH:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/13/5612106/this-zach-randolph-pass-is-utterly-filthy/in/5374379">You are not supposed to deliver such gorgeous behind-the-back bounce-pass alley-oops</a>. That's Marc's job.</p> <p><b>THE TYPES OF ONE-AND-DONE PLAYERS YOU MEET:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.irex3.com/2014/04/12/51-one-doneers/">Rex Chapman breaks down the different types of one-and-done players who work in the NBA and who don't</a>. Pretty interesting construct around first-team all-conference.</p> <p><b>DETROIT BASKETBALL:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140413/SPORTS0102/304130037/1004/">Joe Dumars has been demoted by the Pistons</a>. Detroit will search for his replacement in the offseason. But it could be a long search,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2014/4/13/5611378/report-dumars-to-stay-with-pistons-as-adviser-gm-succession-plan">allowing Dumars' deputies to run the draft and free agency</a>.</p> <p><b>GOODBYE, PAU:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://">J.A. Adande on what could have been Pau Gasol's final night in Lakerland</a>.</p> <p><b>DOES IT MATTER ...</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2014/04/12/new-york-knicks-los-angeles-lakers-boston-celtics-miss-nba-playoffs-for-first-time/7660189/">that the Knicks, Celtics and Lakers all missed the playoffs this season</a>? And should the Knicks be in this conversation in the first place?</p> <p><a href="http://gfycat.com/CleverQuestionableIaerismetalmark" target="_blank"><b>THIS IS STEVEN ADAMS WIPING HIS FOREHEAD SWEAT ON ROY HIBBERT'S ARM SLEEVE</b></a><b>. </b><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/nba" target="_blank">Via r/nba</a>.</p> <p><b>SURREAL PLUS-MINUS:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://ballerball.com/ceci-nest-pas-une-metric/">The natural reaction to real plus-minus</a>, of course. (<a target="_blank" href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/db/L%27Ange_du_Foyeur.jpg">Here's Russell Westbrook's career surreal plus-minus</a>, by the way.)</p> <p><b>OH COOL:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579493940826434098?KEYWORDS=CHRIS+HERRING&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303603904579493940826434098.html%3FKEYWORDS%3DCHRIS%2BHERRING">Another weird, secretive Knicks injury, this one involving Carmelo Anthony's shoulder</a>. Great work by Chris Herring breaking down the stakes.</p> <p><b>WHY YES:</b> <a href="http://t.co/Z4aVXCPtYk" target="_blank">Corey Brewer did score 51 on Friday. Corey. Brewer.</a></p> <p><b>MORE TRANSPARENCY:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/04/10/nba-offers-some-ref-transparency-playoff-points-of-emphasis/">The NBA reveals its playoff points of emphasis for officials</a> and will continue to pair referees throughout the postseason instead of randomly tossing three together.</p> <p><b>VIDEO GAMES DON'T BUILD THEMSELVES:</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gamespot.com/articles/new-shaq-fu-fighting-game-coming-to-xbox-one-and-ps4-but-there-s-a-catch/1100-6418914/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews">Shaq Fu 2 needs more funding, fast</a>.</p> <p>Happy Monday. Programming note: we're going seven days a week at least until the draft. See you next time.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/14/5612584/nba-playoffs-2014-grizzlies-suns-mavericks-knicks-newsletter Tom Ziller 2014-04-12T08:24:23-04:00 2014-04-12T08:24:23-04:00 Corey Brewer's bizarre 51-point outburst in 1 chart <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31513503/20140331_krj_aj5_0087.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>How weird is it that Corey Brewer scored 51? This weird.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4284361/Corey-Brewer-ScoresThemAll.png"><img src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4284361/Corey-Brewer-ScoresThemAll.png" class="photo" alt="Corey-brewer-scoresthemall_medium"></a></p> <p><a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/4357/corey-brewer">Corey Brewer</a> dropped 51 on the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/houston-rockets">Rockets</a> on Friday. This was very abnormal, as the chart above shows. Brewer's previous career high was 29. He'd only scored 25 or more 11 times before Friday. He's scored fewer than 10 points in 227 games. He's not remotely known as a scorer. Brewer dropping 30 would raise eyebrows. Brewer dropping 40 would turn heads. Corey Brewer breaking <i>50</i> would ... well ... this.</p> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/12/5607356/corey-brewer-51-points-chart-timberwolves-vs-rockets Tom Ziller 2014-04-11T10:10:59-04:00 2014-04-11T10:10:59-04:00 Roy Hibbert's foul rate on the road hurts the Pacers <img alt="" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31469591/usatsi_7851786.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>One obvious culprit in Indiana's road struggles is that Roy Hibbert is called for many more fouls away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Why is this? Do referees let him get away with more at home, or are they too quick to whistle him on the road?</p> <p>On Wednesday, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/9/5596988/indiana-pacers-road-record-nba-playoffs-2014">we looked at which teams really underperform on the road</a>. The <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/teams/indiana-pacers">Pacers</a> were far and away the top club on the list. Indiana at home is the best team in the league. Indiana on the road is very mediocre, worse than four East teams and the entire West playoff bracket. We also tracked down the categories the Pacers that cause this slump: offensive rebounding, turnover creation, foul rate and shooting defense.</p> <p>The next step: determining if any particular players or conditions are driving the deficiencies.</p> <p></p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter" method="post"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input name="redirect" value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" type="hidden"> </form> </div> <h4>Can we blame NBA schedule-makers?</h4> <p>It turns out that Indiana did <a href="http://www.nbastuffer.com/tag/Schedule_Analysis.html">draw a few more road back-to-backs than league average</a>. But the Pacers' bad splits are far in excess of what a couple games could change. So no, we cannot blame the schedule.</p> <h4>Do the starters play less on the road?</h4> <p>One theory is that on road trips, a coach might rest his best players a bit more to conserve energy, with back-to-backs and whatnot. But that's not the case for Indiana: four of the five starters played at least one minute more per game on the road. This could be attributed to a greater likelihood of garbage time at home, where Indiana is spectacular.</p> <p>The one starter who plays fewer minutes on the road than at home: <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/35076/roy-hibbert">Roy Hibbert</a>. The center averages 30.2 minutes per game at home and 29.6 minutes per game on the road. That difference is negligible. But consider that <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21663/david-west">David West</a>, for instance, plays 2.2 minutes more per game on the road than at home. That puts Hibbert's negative burn split in perspective: while the other starters all play a good bit more on the road, Hibbert plays less.</p> <p> <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3706325/bloglinks.css"></p> <div class="blog-links-main-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team sites <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-link-container"> <a title="Indiana Pacers blog Indy Cornrows" href="http://www.indycornrows.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs">Indiana Pacers<br><img alt="Indiana Pacers blog Indy Cornrows" class="blog-links-blog-logo" src="http://cdn0.sbnation.com/uploads/blog/sbnu_logo/45/large_indycornrows.com.full.24053.png"></a> <div> <a href="https://twitter.com/IndyCornrows" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-screen-name="false" data-show-count="true" data-size="small">Follow</a> <div data-share="false" data-show-faces="false" data-action="like" data-layout="button_count" data-href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Indy-Cornrows/307934509134" class="fb-like"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog-links-compact-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team sites <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-compact-link-container"><a href="http://www.indycornrows.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs">Indiana Pacers blog Indy Cornrows</a></div> </div> <h4>Why does Roy Hibbert play fewer minutes on the road than at home unlike all other Pacers starters?</h4> <p>There's one fairly obvious culprit: fouls. Hibbert averages 2.8 fouls per game at home and 4.0 fouls per game in slightly fewer minutes on the road. That is a <i>massive</i> difference. Fellow center <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/24282/ian-mahinmi">Ian Mahinmi</a> also plays less on the road, which is odd. Indiana's only two centers of repute (sorry Andrew Bynum) <i>both</i> play less on the road than at home.</p> <h4>Isn't foul rate one of the Pacers' big road problems?</h4> <p>Yes! The average NBA team fouls 4 percent more on the road than at home. Indiana's foul rate jumps 11 percent on the road. Hibbert is the only Pacers regular whose fouls per game jumps enough (43 percent!) to matter on the road. Two extra fouls per game is just a ton.</p> <h4>Is this Hibbert's fault?</h4> <p>Highly unlikely. Remember, Big Roy is one of the toughest defenders in the NBA to call properly, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2013/12/16/5195960/roy-hibbert-verticality-analysis-indiana-pacers">thanks to the verticality rule</a> and his immense stature at 7'2. It's entirely reasonable to believe that Hibbert is called differently on the road than at home. That's not his fault.</p> <h4>What about offensive rebounding?</h4> <p>Hibbert is only a slightly worse offensive rebounder on the road vs. at home. Among rotation players, Mahinmi, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/50397/george-hill">George Hill</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/111927/paul-george">Paul George</a> have far larger drop-offs on the offensive glass on the road. But it's a problem by committee: the entire rotation pretty much sees a drop-off in this category.</p> <p>There's another factor here, too. We've established that Hibbert plays less than expected on the road. So does Ian Mahinmi. Those two guys are the centers on this team. Playing less of them means more small lineups for Indiana on the road. Of course that affects the team's offensive rebounding, since other guys are playing out of position.</p> <h4>What about turnover creation?</h4> <p>The entire bench plus <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/112009/lance-stephenson">Lance Stephenson</a> picks up fewer steals per minute on the road compared to at home, beyond league norms. Is this a conscious decision by Indiana to focus more on defending shots instead of gambling on the road? Do the guards who pick up most of the steals have less energy to attack lanes defensively? Is it just a noisy quirk of the data? We don't know.</p> <p> <style> @media only screen and (max-width: 400px) { .sidebar { display: none; } } </style></p> <div class="sidebar"> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/the-hook"> <img src="http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/3117975/the-hook.jpg"></a><span>A daily column on the NBA.</span><span><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/9/5596988/indiana-pacers-road-record-nba-playoffs-2014">4/9: The Pacers' extreme road woes</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/7/5589640/san-antonio-spurs-amazing-tim-duncan-nba-playoffs-2014">4/7: Why the Spurs stay great</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/4/5581312/nba-playoffs-defense-heat-spurs">4/4: Overcoming tough D wins titles</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/3/5576850/lakers-celtics-nba-team-age-injuries-draft-lottery">4/3: How L.A. and Boston got younger</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/2/5573666/nba-experience-age-dallas-mavericks-miami-heat">4/2: Do older teams win more?</a><br><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/3/31/5565982/nba-pace-speed-sixers-clippers-lakers-hook">3/30: The league is playing faster</a><br></span> </div> <h4>What about shot defense?</h4> <p>Individual shot defense data is still unreliable, but I'll note that Hibbert blocks 1.9 shots per game on the road and 2.7 at home. That's a 30 percent drop. The foul issues that plague Hibbert on the road must factor in, either because they make Roy less aggressive, refs call fringe block/foul cases differently or a combination of both. West and Mahinmi also block fewer shots on the road, for what it's worth.</p> <p>(NBA.com doesn't offer home-road splits on SportVU data. Otherwise, we could see whether Hibbert's paint defense is much worse on the road.)</p> <h4>So what's the verdict?</h4> <p>Foul issues for Hibbert and, to a lesser extent, Mahinmi appear to effect Indiana's ability to defend well and get second chances on the road. It's obviously not controversial to say that the Pacers need to keep Hibbert on the court as much as possible, especially on the road. We all know he's good.</p> <p>But seriously, Indiana. You've really got to find a way to keep Hibbert on the court. Start working those refs now.</p> http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/11/5604130/roy-hibbert-pacers-foul-rate-home-road-referees Tom Ziller 2014-04-11T08:14:44-04:00 2014-04-11T08:14:44-04:00 Good morning, the Warriors got Mozgoved and are in peril <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31464349/usatsi_7863854.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Could Golden State really miss the postseason?</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> <p>Good morning. Let's basketball.</p> <p><b>REMEMBER THE TIME:</b> Remember a few weeks ago when Oklahoma City's defense had totally fallen apart? Yeah, that's not happening any more.&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/10/5602684/nba-schedule-spurs-mavericks-warriors-nuggets" style="background-color: #ffffff;">Mike Prada with the pretty pictures showing us that the Thunder Resistance is back</a>.</p> <p><b>A QUICK REMINDER:</b> Andre Iguodala came up in the shadow of Allen Iverson.&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/10/5603446/andre-iguodala-drops-quincy-miller-with-a-nasty-crossover">So when he drops an absurdly nasty crossover on someone</a>, keep that in mind. My goodness.</p> <p><b>THAT SAID:</b> <a href="http://www.denverstiffs.com/2014/4/11/5603836/nuggets-vs-warriors-recap-timofey-mozgovs-monstrous-game-leads" target="_blank">The Warriors gave up a 20-point cushion and lost to Denver on Thursday</a>. Timofey Mozgov had 23 points and 29 rebounds. It's totally possible if not at all probable that the Warriors could still miss the playoffs. With four games remaining, Golden State has a one-game lead on Phoenix and Dallas and a two-game lead on Memphis.</p> <p>Golden State visits the Lakers tonight, which should be a win, then has the Blazers, Wolves and Nuggets remaining. Memphis has the Sixers, Lakers, Suns and Mavs. The teams split their season series 2-2 and would likely go pretty far down the list of tiebreakers. To be sure of victory, Memphis needs to win out and hope the Warriors only beat the Lakers, losing to the others. Alternatively, if the Warriors lose out Memphis can drop one game and catch them.</p> <p>Alternatively alternatively, Memphis doesn't care <i>how</i> it gets in, so it'll be watching the Phoenix-Dallas scoreboards and trying to take care us that business to earn its spots. If Golden State implodes, that's just a bonus.</p> <p><b>MEANWHILE ...</b> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.poundingtherock.com/2014/4/11/5602994/recap">San Antonio beat the Mavericks to give Memphis some hope</a>. The Spurs' magic number to clinch home court throughout is one. Also worth noting here: Indiana and Miami would currently be the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in the West.</p> <p><b>THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW:</b> I explained&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/10/5600580/larry-sanders-suspension-bucks-nba-doctors">why the NBA let Larry Sanders begin serving his suspension this week</a>despite the Bucks shutting him down weeks ago. It's a no-win for the league.</p> <p><b>BAD BOYS:</b> The <i>30 for 30</i> on the Bad Boys is next week.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thesportsfanjournal.com/sports/basketball/detroit-pistons-bad-boys-30-for-30/" target="_blank">The Sports Fan Journal has an awesome preview/review</a>.</p> <p><b>OH COME ON:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/10/5600906/rajon-rondo-flop-gi" target="_blank">Rajon Rondo doesn't even really try to sell this flop</a>. Don't they offer acting classes down in Lexington?</p> <p><b>MUST-LISTEN:</b> <a href="http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=10757408" target="_blank">Zach Lowe and Kevin Pelton on the application of advanced metrics in the NBA</a>.</p> <p><b>INDEED:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/10/5600974/dikembe-mutombo-cookie-monster-impression" target="_blank">Dikembe Mutombo's Cookie Monster impression is indeed amazing</a>. Speaking of Deke and impressions:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE-yNfQQasc" target="_blank">don't forget about the glorious '08 Rockets' takes on Mutombo</a>. Aaron Brooks and Steve Novak ... man.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/10/5602846/amir-johnson-got-knighted-at-medieval-times" target="_blank"><b>UH, THAT'S SIR AMIR JOHNSON TO YOU, PEON</b></a><b>. </b>(Uh, I can't be the only person whose Medieval Times experience was marred by a neurotic sense of hyperrealism when struck with food poisoning hours later? "Wait, how realistic was this? Did I just get the Black Death?")</p> <p><b>SURE:</b> <a href="http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2014/04/09/warriors-joe-lacob-focused-on-playoffs-championship-as-he-brushes-off-questions-about-expectations-mark-jackson/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+HoopJunkie+(Inside+the+Warriors)" target="_blank">Warriors owners talks about a championship as the only objective, brushes off all questions about expectations and whether they are being met</a>. We'll find out soon enough.</p> <p><b>YES, PLEASE:</b> <a href="https://twitter.com/MrMichaelLee/status/454438437404160000" target="_blank">The Lakers really should make a full-court press to keep Nick Young</a>. For the sake of all of us.</p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/TasMelas/status/454385812575383553" target="_blank">Important etymology note on Nick Calathes</a>.</p> <p><b>COFFEE IS MY PED. I AM THE LANCE ARMSTRONG OF COFFEE. </b><a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/4/10/5594310/how-caffeine-can-briefly-improve-your-athletic-performance" target="_blank">It turns out that caffeine briefly boosts athletic performance by roughly 3 percent, no matter the activity</a>. Of note, it doesn't just boost speed, power or whatever, but also concentration. "You don't say!" says the blogger with a java IV drip at 4:44 a.m. local time.</p> <p><b>HMM:</b> Interesting comments from&nbsp;<a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/67319/defensive-value-becoming-harder-to-ignore" target="_blank">Golden State's top two defenders on how they feel about the onset of better defensive metrics</a>.</p> <p><b>NOPE:</b> I'm a fan of Kevin Lincoln, but he should be sentenced to listening the MonStars theme on repeat for 24 hours&nbsp;<a href="http://grantland.com/the-triangle/drake-and-johnny-and-a-plea-for-more-sports-themed-rap-songs/" target="_blank">after suggesting we need <i>more</i> sports-themed rap songs in the wake of "Draft Day."</a></p> <p><b>MEET THE BAG MAN:</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2014/4/10/5594348/college-football-bag-man-interview" target="_blank">This is what happens in college football recruiting</a>. (God, Godfrey is good.) Imagine it might happen in college basketball, too, yeah?</p> <p><b>HOW INTERESTING:</b> It turns out that concern story about former players getting shut out of NBA front office jobs&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/2014/3/26/5549028/basketball-phds-nba-general-managers-hiring" target="_blank">everyone knew was bulls--t</a> when it was published&nbsp;<a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-stats-guys-vs-basketball-guys-rivalry-is-overblown/" target="_blank">is, in fact, bulls--t</a>.</p> <p><b>I DON'T JUDGE: </b><a href="http://imgur.com/a/B2cYn/all" target="_blank">If turning NBA logos into Pokemon is something you're into</a>, hey. More power to you, buddy. (<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/nba" target="_blank">Via /r/nba</a>, because of course. Where else you think that's coming from?)</p> <p>Happy Friday! See you next time.</p> <div class="m-nba-newsletter"> <h2>SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER</h2> <p>Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.</p> <form method="post" action="http://s.sbnation.com/s/NBA+National+Newsletter"> <label for="email">Email</label> <input name="email" type="text"><input value="Subscribe" type="submit"><input value="http://s.sbnation.com/page/zh/awesome" name="redirect" type="hidden"> </form> </div> http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/4/11/5604026/warriors-timofey-mozgov-nuggets-nba-playoffs-newsletter Tom Ziller