Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Wizards Winning Troubles

This season, the Washington Wizards clearly have some problems. They involve winning. They are now 3-9 and it seems as though as if some of the players are getting fed up with it. But why? How could this team, with playoff expectations coming into this season perform so bad. Well, let's take a look.

The suspect here is the bench, since Gortat and Beal have both spoke up on how the bench needs to step up. Gortat said that Washington's bench is, "one of the worst benches in the league right now". This happens to be true. Their bench players have been worse than their starters. But the starters are supposed to be more productive than the bench. That's why they start. However, not like this.

The Wizards starting 5 has been productive offensively as they are 6th in PPG and they are top 11 in defensive rating. The bench on the other hand is 29th in PPG and the WORST in defensive rating in the league. Clearly a difference, right?

So where is this all coming from? Enter, Trey Burke. Trey Burke was drafted as the 9th pick in the 2013 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the time, the Wolves had a surplus of point guards consisting of guys like Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, and Alexey Shved. The Wolves ended up trading Trey Burke to the Jazz for the 14th and 21st picks in the draft (Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng). When Trey Burke arrived, he was the Jazz's new starting point guard and thought to be one of the leading candidates for the rookie of the year award. In 2013, Trey Burke would average 12.8 PPG through both the first and second season playing. However, guys like Rodney Hood and Dante Exum were starting to arise taking minutes away from Burke. Exum was a threat to Burke's starting role as Exum had an amazing defensive game as did Hood. However, before the 2015-16 season started, Exum would go down with an injury, which was thought to have solidified a starting spot for point guard Trey Burke. Wrong. Trey Burke didn't start in one single game in the 2015-16 season. Instead, Raul Neto and guard Shelvin Mack would get the role, and for one sole purpose: defense. Quinn Snyder was so upset with Burke's defense that he eventually didn't even play him. Shelvin Mack and Raul Neto weren't that great offensively, but they could do 2 things: Pass and play defense.

When Burke was traded to the Wizards, it looked like he could be a very solid backup to John Wall. They let Ramon Sessions walk over to the Hornets thinking that Burke was going to be their new backup. However, Burke hasn't been good for this team at all. The Wizards are at their worst when Burke is on the court and are at their best when he is off. Simply he hasn't been cutting it. Mostly at the defensive end. Ramon Sessions was probably one of the best backup point guards to have. Now they have a guy who isn't able to run an offense or play defense. To top that off, they lost Nene and others. There used to be a say where the Wizards had Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker on their bench, but those days are gone.

So what can the Wizards do? They need a change. They must trade for someone. And they need a guy that can help them. Rudy Gay might be a good fit. Maybe DeMarcus Cousins, but how would that turn out. But at the least, they need to do what the Jazz did. Find a guard, any guard, that can run their offense on the bench. Bring Will Bynum back! I loved this guy! If there is anyone who can play good off the bench it's Will Bynum. But they desperately need a good bench point guard, because when John Wall heads to the bench, it's been chaos.

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Statistics You'd Be Surprised By

Kyle Lowry (17283761882).jpg
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Kyle Lowry, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
TJ Warren: 20 PPG
He is currently 27th in the league in scoring, and is ahead of guys like Chris Paul. Last Season, T.J. Warren averaged just 11 points per game. He is now averaging 20, even with the rise of Devin Booker and the return of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight with injuries. What's even more impressive is the fact that he's getting most of his points from inside the 3-point line. Warren might just be this year's Most Improved Player.

Andrew Wiggins: 54.8% from 3-point range
He currently leads the league in 3-point percentage. Surprisingly, last season, Wiggins shot just 30% from three. Now obviously, this is very unlikely to stay above 50% but Wiggins has clearly improve from 3 since last year. And these aren't just spot-up 3 pointers. Wiggins has been hitting them off the dribble. However, this is just yet another addition to Andrew Wiggins amazing offensive game.

Steven Adams: 95.5% from the Free Throw Line
Last season, Steven Adams shot just 58.2% from the line. This year, he looks so much better. He's currently 21-22 from the free throw line and is 5th in the league in Free Throw percentage. While he probably won't be shooting 95% by the end of the year, he has clearly improved a lot and it must of been a point of emphasis for him this off-season. See DeAndre, that's how you do it.

Harrison Barnes: 58 Points off of Isolation
Barnes has surprised people with his scoring so far. How has he done it though. Surprisingly, most of it has been done in isolation. He is second in the league in points off the isolation and the only player who has more is Westbrook with 60. While Westbrook has 2 more points, he's been way less efficient. Barnes is shooting nearly 60% in isolation while Westbrook is just shooting 43% in isolation. See folks, Harrison Barnes can lead a team!

Kyle Lowry: 38.7 Minutes Per Game
This season, Lowry is number 1 in minutes per game. He averages more minutes than DeRozan who has been playing amazing. Lowry has shot the ball horribly to start the season, and hasn't been playing that good at all. Not to mention, he has a great backup point guard in Corey Joseph. Despite that, Dwayne Casey has played Lowry more than any player in the league for whatever reason.  


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Top Games Of The Week 11/7-11/13

Wednesday November 9th
Rockets @ Spurs 9:30 PM ET
This is an important game for the Rockets for us to get a glimpse of how well they do against the elite teams of the West, and may also help us see where they will rank in the West.

Thursday November 10th
Bulls @ Heat 8:00 PM ET
There will be lots of emotions from the Heat fans, the organization as a whole, and especially Dwyane Wade. Wade left the Miami Heat in the summer to join his hometown Bulls after 13 years and 3 Championships with the Miami Heat, and as we have seen with some games where stars face their former teams, the crowd does not react very well. But I don't think we'll see that from the Heat fans, I think we will see cheering and clapping instead. Not only the emotions, what about the actual game itself. The Heat can put a stance on their Playoff chances with a win against a very good East team.

Friday November 11th
Knicks @ Celtics 7:30 PM ET
Both these teams are unhappy with their start to the season, so both teams will eagerly be seeking a win. The Knicks can make a big statement with a win against a projected Top Four team of the East, and show they are Playoff bound. Not only that but this is one of the greatest rivalries of All-Time, so there will be much higher intensity from both sides. Also this is a divisional game, which only makes it better.

Clippers @ Thunder 8:30 PM ET
The Thunder beat the Clippers last week in a very close game, and proved how good of a team they really are. Now is time for the Clippers to get revenge of their loss to the Thunder. Also this will be an entertaining game watching two of the best Point Guards play each, so it should be an entertaining game.

Saturday November 12th
Celtics @ Pacers 7:00 PM ET
These two are expected to be the two teams running for 3rd seed in the East. But both teams aren't starting off as they expected and are looking to improve how they play. This game will give us a good look at how the Top Four in the East will be placed, and should be a very good game.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pelicans VS Grizzlies: Davis Drops The Ball

After the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Anthony Davis was frustrated. Mainly at his teammates. Davis told reporters: "We had too many mental breakdowns," Davis said. "We're not talking out there and so, therefore, we have mental breakdowns that gave them easy layups at the basket and open shots." Davis ended by saying, "It's definitely frustrating. We can't get a win, it's frustrating, Whatever we need to do, we need to do it fast."
"Whatever we need to do, we need to do it fast."
Well, Davis called out his teammates and they responded, the very next game. They played a huge role in bringing the game into overtime where they'd eventually lose. Anthony Davis though? He was non-existent. After criticizing his teammates for poor play, he came out the next game completely dropping the ball. His teammates did their part, but he clearly didn't do his. He was 3-13 on the night. He had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 5 turnovers! You can see Davis's shot chart below.
Anthony Davis - Shot Chart-
 As you can see, Anthony Davis didn't play too well. He only took 4 of his 13 sots in the paint. Only 4! He was settling for far too many jumpshots and when you add the 5 turnovers in there, it just makes matters worse. Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies made it tough on him, real tough. We've seen them do it to Karl-Anthony Towns twice this season, and now they've done it to Davis.

Defensively, Davis wasn't that great. He wasn't paying that much attention. He had the 3rd worst defensive rating on his team. His teammates were much more active. In overtime is where it fell apart though. Davis clearly wasn't engaged defensively and wasn't trying whatsoever. One possession in OT he left Marc Gasol wide open for a 3 pointer, and gave no effort defensively. This would ultimately lead to the loss in OT. While Davis was clearly a problem, the Pelicans refused to sub him out in OT.

Davis dropped the ball for his team. They did everything he wanted them to do, and he didn't show up. He had 1 point in overtime. Davis didn't come to play. The Grizzlies really got to him.

Now, on to the section where I talk about how much I love the Memphis Grizzlies this season. David Fizdale is amazing. The Grizzlies couldn't have hired a better head coach (other than re-hiring Dave Joerger). He's getting his team to play amazing defense. Not only that, but he's made almost every player on that team a 3-point threat. They are now so tough to guard. Take the Grit and Grind, and give them a 3-point shot, that's what you got.

There are 3 main things in basketball you have to pay attention to. Offense, Defense, and rebounding. While the Grizzlies didn't play great offensively, they did sure did play great in the other categories. The Grizzlies had 52 rebounds on the night.

Defensively, this team was amazing. The team had 12 steals on the night. JaMychal Green had 4 blocks on the night. They were everywhere and they were making Davis's life tough. He wasn't allowed to get a touch in the paint, and that's how they played him all night. This Grizzlies team drew 4 charges in the game. 4 CHARGES! Do you know how tough it is to draw a charge in the NBA? It's tough! And they drew 4! The Memphis Grizzlies won this game by sheer hustle and amazing defense. I am amazed at how great this team played defensively in this game.

Hats off to the Memphis Grizzlies. They won that game, and they clearly didn't want to lose. However, I'm very disappointed in Davis. His teammates were amazing, but he was a -23 in the game. That was worse than any of his teammates. You can't criticize your teammates and then go out and do the things you criticized them on. Hopefully Davis learned from this and can get back to the level he was playing at.

Top Performances from November 2nd

P1000216 by Matthew Addie is licensed under CC by 2.0

Yesterday there were some really good performances and I will rank them based off statistics, if they won, and who was defending them
1. DeMar DeRozan 40 Points 5 Rebounds 5 Assists 2 Steals 1 TO  14-23 (61%) (Win 113-103) 
2. Russell Westbrook 35 Points 6 Rebounds 5 Assists 3 Steals 10 TO's 14-30 (47%) (Win 85-83)
3. James Harden 30 Points 6 Rebounds 15 Assists 2 Steals 3 TO's 9-16 (56%) (Win 118-99)
4. John Wall 33 Points 5 Rebounds 11 Assists 3 Steals 9 TO's 13-19 (68%) (Loss 113-103)
5. Brook Lopez 34 Points 11 Rebounds 1 Assist 1 Block 2 TO's 12-21 (57%) (Win 101-109)
6. D'Angelo Russell 23 Points 4 Rebounds 8 Assists 3 Blocks 4 TO's 9-19 (47%) (Win 123-116)
7. Chris Paul 15 Points 11 Rebounds 9 Assists 6 Steals 5 TO's 5-11 (45%) (Loss 85-83)
8. Amir Johnson 23 Points 6 Rebounds 3 Assists 2 Blocks 3 Steals 0 TO's 9-11 (82%) (Win 100-107) 
9. Dwight Howard 31 Points 11 Rebounds 0 Assists 2 Steals 2 TO's 12-16 (75%) (Loss 123-116)
10. TJ Warren 27 Points 7 Rebounds 0 Assists 2 Steals 0 TO's 11-22 (50%) (Win 115-118)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NBA Power Rankings Week 1

NBA Power Rankings
With Willy J

    Believe it or not it has been a full week of NBA Games so I'm going to make my Power Rankings as of the first week of the NBA. Although I used records to determine this, I did not use it to completely decide it. I also used how many points they scored and allowed per game, and also their point differential.

  1. Chicago Bulls (3-0)
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (3-0)
  4. San Antonio Spurs (4-1)
  5. Atlanta Hawks (3-0)
  6. Detroit Pistons (3-1)
  7. Golden State Warriors (3-1)
  8. Toronto Raptors (2-1)
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0)
  10. Charlotte Hornets (2-1)
  11. Boston Celtics (2-1)
  12. Houston Rockets (2-2)
  13. Miami Heat (2-2)
  14. Indiana Pacers (2-2)
  15. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2)
  16. Utah Jazz (2-2)
  17. Milwaukee Bucks (2-2)
  18. Memphis Grizzlies (2-2)
  19. Sacramento Kings (2-3)
  20. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2)
  21. Denver Nuggets (1-2)
  22. New York Knicks (1-2)
  23. Brooklyn Nets (1-3)
  24. Los Angeles Lakers (1-3)
  25. Orlando Magic (1-3)
  26. Dallas Mavericks (0-3)
  27. New Orleans Pelicans (0-4)
  28. Phoenix Suns (0-4)
  29. Washington Wizards (0-2)
  30. Philadelphia 76ers (0-3)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Questions Of The Week 10/31-11/6

1. Will Russell Westbrook and his team's motivation to beat KD allow the Thunder to beat the Warriors?

Aaron:  Russell Westbrook has had major games before. He's played some great basketball before. But does Kevin Durant really want to lose this game? Doesn't he have the want to win as well? Westbrook is a great player, but we've learned this from the 2015 NBA finals with LeBron James. You can put up great numbers, but if you you aren't efficient, you're going to have a tough time. And this was a series versus a Warriors team that was struggling. You have to be efficient to beat a team like this. It can be done though. The Wolves last year beat a 73-9 team, you just have to play really efficient basketball, offensively and defensively. 

Willy: Westbrook can do all he can to have the greatest game possible but I just don't see this team beating Golden State. The Thunder barely won games against the Sixers (won by 6 points) and the Suns (won by 3 points) and these are two of the worst teams in the league, so if they barely beat them, imagine playing the Warriors. And just like Aaron put as an example, 2015 NBA Finals LeBron was flat out spectacular but his team as a whole couldn't beat Golden State. So Westbrook will go off but their only chance of winning is if Golden State just can't score, or if Westbrook's teammates step up.

Akshay: We are the ones that determine how determined another team is EVEN THOUGH they almost lost to the Suns and the Sixers?

2. Can Anthony Davis's spectacular performances lead the Pelicans to their first win this week?

Aaron: Of course. They face the Suns and Bucks this weekend. All Davis and the Pelicans have to do is outscore the suns. Greg Monroe isn't the best defensively and Davis will be going at him all night. If they don't get their win there, I think they'll get it versus the Suns.

Willy: Yes, they will have to win at some point and I think they'll beat Phoenix.

Akshay: Anthony Davis is going to get the Pelicans first win this week because of how much effort he puts in. He single handedly willed the Pelicans to almost beating Durant's warriors.

3. Can the Celtics prove that they are still a dominant team in the East?

Aaron: They already are. They lost to a hot Bulls, on a back to back. Avery Bradley has been amazing. This team in my mind is better than last year. So yes, I think they will prove it.

Willy: To me they are, but this week they play some good Eastern Conference teams so they will be able to prove themselves more.

Akshay: The Celtics don't have anything to prove. They are the biggest surprise of the league because of the way the front office handled things. When they traded the big 4, it was thought to be a rebuilding era yet they have managed to exceed expectations. If they win 55 games this year, it's great. If they do not, it's not a big deal.

4. Can the Bulls continue their Hot Streak?

Aaron: The Bulls have now won against 2 good teams, however, both of these teams are still getting used to everything. They were both amazing wins and then they dominated the Nets. However, they play the Celtics and the Pacers again this week. This time around, I think the Bulls won't shoot as good and will lose. The Celtics and Pacers have something to prove this week and I think the Bulls are going to be on the receiving end of it.

Willy: Both of the games that they played were at home which definitely plays a factor, and the two games they play Indiana and Boston are on the road. Also when a good team like the Pacers and the Celtics lose they obviously want to beat them the next time especially Division Rivalries like the Pacers, so we will see a different motivated team playing the Bulls. Speaking of motivation, how about Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah's return to Chicago, we will definitely see those two fired up. So I'm really not sure how this week will end up for Chicago, but I think one of these teams will put the three game winning streak to a stop.

Akshay: I don't see Dwyane Wade raining 3 point buckets as he is doing right now. He was 7/44 from behind the arc last season and that's what worries me. The front court toughness isn't present here but their back court has covered for it. Wade is reaching father time and it will start to show soon.

5. Will we see an improved Knicks team?

Aaron: I think we already have. They played a great game against the Grizzlies. This to me was the Knicks playing some good basketball. Are they going to be better this week? Not really. I think this is what you'll see from the Knicks this season.

Willy: The Knicks are slowly getting themselves used to each other and building the chemistry, so it will take time. They do have a tough week, you can say that at least 3 of the 4 teams they are playing will make the playoffs this season which can be a tough schedule. So as far as the record I don't think so, but we will see them play better Basketball.

Akshay: The Knicks are terrible.

6. How dominant will the Cavaliers be this week?

Aaron: The Cavs are a great team. They will dominate 76ers, but the Celtics could be a bump in the road. They sort of remind me of an athletic grit and grind Grizzlies. This is a team that beat the Warriors last season the same way they beat most teams, with great defense and amazing offensive execution. The Cavs will be good, but just not as good as last week. 

Willy: They play two games this week, and honestly they will win both easily. But the game against Boston is not one they should treat like the Sixers game. This Boston team is one of the teams in the East that is looking to take that crown from Cleveland and Cleveland will have a chance to show they are still the top of the East

Akshay: The Cavaliers will be as dominant as LeBron wants them to be. The team is clicking on all cylinders and could compete for 65 games this season. I'm calling it that they will win 67 games.

7. Can the Thunder continue their hot streak?

Aaron: Listen..... the 76ers, Suns, and Lakers are totally different from the Clippers, Warriors, and Wolves. They play the Clippers and Warriors back to back and I think a loss to the Clippers won't mean a whole lot to Westbrook anyways as long as he gets to put in full effort against the Warriors.

Willy: No they will not. You can even say that they will go 0-3 this week. Playing the Clippers, one of the most dominant teams in the West, will not go well. Playing Golden State, is an expected loss, but you never know. And playing the young Timberwolves team who are much different than last year. So at the end of week we could see them at 3-3 and wouldn't be surprised.

Akshay: The thunder will not continue their hot streak. If you ask me, this isn't even a hot streak. They beat up on three of the four worst teams of last season and barely won those. It was a 4 point game late in the Lakers game in which the inexperienced lakers let it slip away. They went to overtime with Phoenix which shouldn't happen if you consider yourself to be on a streak.

8. Who will win the first battle for the 2nd spot in the West, the Spurs or the Clippers?

Aaron: Spurs. Who has the best defensive player in the league? Spurs. Who has the best bench in the league? Probably the Spurs. This team is amazing offensively and defensively. Pau has had an instant impact and fits right in. And to top that off, Kawhi is playing better than he ever has. And why are we talking about 2nd seed? I think the Spurs have a shot at the first. This is the best we've seen the Spurs in a few years.

Willy: I see the Spurs taking the first game. Only because of what we saw them do to the Warriors, who are viewed as the Number One team. Also Kawhi and the Spurs are ripping right through their opponents and are undefeated, just like the Clippers, so expect a close one.

Akshay: The Clippers will win the battle for the second spot. Blake Griffin is playing like a monster. If he can be the Griffin of the 2015 playoffs, he can be a dark horse MVP contender.

9. Can Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis continue their stellar performances?

Aaron: We are honestly going to see amazing play from Westbrook all year. He's going to be very inefficient and you'll see the numbers. Davis on the other hand will decline. Guys will come back, and when they start to lose too many game, Davis won't try as hard. Simple. 

Willy: Yes. Although Westbrook is playing two of the best point guards this week, there is really no stopping him. And he is really their main Offensive player so he will get the ball the most and get the great stats. Same with Anthony Davis, he is their main player and really their only player on his team with his amazing talent.

Akshay: No, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis can not continue this. They are playing out if this world but that's going to stop soon. Their legs won't stay under them if they keep doing this.

10. How will Playoff pictures be affected?

Aaron: The Bulls, Thunder, and Knicks will start to drop. The Warriors, Wolves, Wizards, and Pacers will start to climb.

Willy: A lot of the playoff teams are playing other teams in their conference, so this week we will get to see a glimpse of who is better than who.

Akshay: The playoff picture will look almost the same as people predict. It's not like there has been a surprise team so far this season. The Blazers might take the third or fourth seed and that's the biggest shakeup so far.