GIVE DENVER A KICK
IN THE NUGGETS!
Game Time Start: 9:00 PM ET
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Officials: J. Capers, K. Fitzgerald, P. Fraher
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Denver Notes
Television: FOX Sports Indiana / Altitude
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / 950 AM, 104.3 FM
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Season Records: (W-L) 26-18 Away: 10-15
27-18 Home: 17-3
Upcoming Games: Jan 30 Feb 01 Feb 04 Feb 05 at vs vs vs 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: KOUFOS FARIED GALLINARI IGUODALA LAWSON
Danny Granger - left knee tendinosis (out)
Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Pacers Try Hard to Lose then Try to Win for a Few Minutes, Accomplish the Former
This was 46 minutes of sloppy offense and wet-cardboard defense from the Pacers.
It was a very strange game overall. The Pacers actually shot really well, but couldn’t
hold onto the ball. At one point in the third quarter, the Jazz had 16 steals to only 15
rebounds. That’s not normal. And on the other end, the best defensive team in the
NBA just got man-handled by Utah in the paint and allowed a ton of easy buckets.
It’s hard to put the blame on any one person for such a strange funk that just seemed
to pervade the entire fabric of the team. What is certain, however, is that the Pacers
got out-worked and the Pacers got worked.
Still, they somehow managed to make a game of this late. Paul George hit a three,
David West hit a jumper, George Hill made a layup, and Indiana held Utah to just one
point over the final 2:30 of regulation.
The Jazz had the ball, up two, with little time left. It seemed as if the Pacers’
comeback would come up short. Then Hill stole the ball, Indiana ran the same play
the used to beat Memphis to tie the game (Paul George got fouled amid chaos after
Utah shut off Hill’s drive) and then West made a huge steal of his own, taking the ball
directly away from Gordon Hayward.
I won’t bother to recount all the happenings. Mainly, the Pacers got destroyed in the
half court and when they did stop the Jazz, the couldn’t finish the possession with a
rebound. Earl Watson, in particular, was the first one to the ball — if not the last.
Again, however, Paul George hit a big three, cutting a six-point Utah lead to three
with thirty seconds left.
The patient was on life support, but not dead.
But the Jazz made a free throw to go up four so … good try, good effort.
BUT WAIT … Hill rushed down the court and stuck a long three with two seconds left.
It seemed meaningless. The Jazz merely needed to inbound the ball and the game
was all but over. Maybe the Pacers get a very quick foul and the Jazz only hit one,
which would have given them a chance to hit one more three with like a second left
to send it to overtime.
But as Utah inbounded the ball, it hit the side/bottom/back of the backboard.
In my mind, that’s out of bounds. I saw this happen in JV basketball several times
and it was always hilarious. I remember learning at a young age that you ALWAYS
move over to the side of the lane before throwing the pass to avoid this exact
scenario. Nobody wants to be laughed at so I was vigilant about it.
Apparently, however, the refs...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Roundball Mining Company: Inside the Problem: A Breakdown of the Nuggets Turnovers
When JaVale McGee is on the court he uses a big chunk of Denver’s possessions.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, among regular rotation players, he has the
highest usage rate on the team at 23.9 percent. Despite this, he also has the third
lowest assist rate at 3.6 percent. Kosta Koufos has the second lowest, 3.1 percent,
and Kenneth Faried the lowest assist rate, 2.0 percent. Naturally, all three of the
Nuggets’ main frontcourt players earn their keep around the rim, finishing plays and
putting back offensive boards, the big difference between McGee and the other two
is that he actually spends a significant amount of time with the ball in his hands.
As anyone who has followed the Nuggets this seasons knows, a couple things have
plagued the team all season; inconsistency, a lack of perimeter shooting, and
turnovers. I decided to look further into that turnover issue to see why the
Nuggets continued to turn the ball over at such an alarming pace, 14.8 per game
good for fifth worst in the league.
To figure out what Denver’s problem was I decided to take a look at each turnover
the Nuggets have committed all year via synergy and keep track of three factors;
who committed the turnover, what kind of turnover was it, and was it a live or
dead ball turnover.
After tracking 667 turnovers (I must have missed a game somewhere but have no
idea which) I did a bit of analysis of the numbers and found some interesting facts.
I have attached the document as a link to a public google doc at the end of the post
so readers can download it and look for themselves.
Before I break down the things I saw first I want to list the categories I put the
turnovers in and explain a few of them:
Self Explanatory: 3 seconds, Bad Lobs, Bad Passes, Double Dribbles, Lane
Violation, Fumbled Catches, Fumbled Shots, Offensive Interference, Inbound
Violation, Missed Pass, Offensive Fouls (Both Charges and Illegal Screens went
under this), Fall/Step Out of Bounds, Palming, Shot Clock Violations, Stepped Out
of Bounds, Slipped Out of Hands, Stripped Shots, Travels.
Andre Got Confused: There was one play where Andre Miller got into the lane and
had no idea what to do. It resulted in him throwing the ball straight up into the air.
I wasn’t sure whether or not to categorize it as a pass or shot so it went under
Andre got confused.
Bad Decision: Andre Iguodala got into the air and had no idea what to do leading
to this turnover. Unlike most of the other ones that fit into a category simply this
was another one that was up in the air so it went just as a bad decision.
Dribbling: Plays that Nuggets players were stripped of their dribble, had the ball
poked away from behind, or dribbled the ball off themselves and to an opponent
or out of bounds.
Stripped: Plays that the Nuggets were stripped off the ball after or before using
their dribbles. Not on shots as that is its own category.
Now onto the data:
The Nuggets have committed almost every type of turnover imaginable. From 3
seconds, to bad passes, to lane violations and palming the ball. If you can name
it the Nuggets have probably done it.
56 percent of the team’s turnovers are live ball turnovers. This number is part of
why the turnovers have been such a problem for the Nuggets all year. A team
can live with turnovers if the majority of them are dead ball turnovers. While no
turnovers are good, dead ball turnovers eliminate run out opportunities and easy
buckets for opponents. Unfortunately for the Nuggets that hasn’t been the case all
season. Not only are the majority of turnovers live ball turnovers, but there have
been plenty of live ball turnovers that have occurred on the opponent’s side of the
floor. If this number doesn’t get below 50 percent the Nuggets are going to
continue to lose games they shouldn’t, purely because they are giving up easy
73 of Andre Miller’s 96 documented turnovers have been live ball turnovers.
Andre’s lack of athleticism really hurts him as he continues to get into the lane and
be stuck without anything...CONTINUE READING AT ROUNDBALL MINING COMPANY
The Classical: Matthew Zeitlin: Why We Watch - JaVale McGee, The Unexplainable
If it seems like JaVale McGee is playing a different type of basketball than everyone
else in the NBA, it's because he is. He's playing it the way he sees it.
In 1974, the philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote a groundbreaking essay, “What Is It
Like To Be Bat.” He argued that the very difficulty of answering the question
suggests that there must be something irreducibly extra-physical that generates
the mental experience of being like something, which we call consciousness for
short. Nagel’s argument, in brief, was that theories of the mind that tried to
explain conscious experience as something reducible to different physical states
of the brain (more or less), could not account for the feeling of being a conscious
being. Nagel challenges the reader to think about bats, or more specifically, to
think about being a bat. You could—and you might as well, there are worse
hobbies—learn all there is to know about the physical laws governing a bat’s
cognition, the circuitry of the bat-brain, the function of the bat’s sensory systems.
But for all that knowledge, you will still be none the wiser when it comes to
understanding the qualitative experience of batness.
This all relates to JaVale McGee not simply because both he and bats are
comfortable off the ground and broadly uncanny, although there’s that. It’s
more that JaVale McGee presents a similar philosophical challenge: what might
it be like to be JaVale McGee, to move around in that body, with that mind?
Granted, figuring out what it’s like to be seven feet tall -- with arms that stretch
another half a foot beyond that and a 32-inch vertical leap and an avant-garde
brain—might be as difficult as imagining navigating through a dark cave with
echolocation. It doesn’t necessarily help that the results of JaVale’s cognition can
appear just as confounding and foreign. Running back on defense when your point
guard is dribbling at the top of the key? Apparent innocent ignorance of the rules
governing goaltending? You don’t need Andre Miller’s basketball IQ or Shane
Battier’s extra-numerate savvy to figure that stuff out, right? And the details of
McGee’s biography, while interesting, are not particularly useful in explaining the
mystery of JaValeness; if anything, his family’s basketball-heavy bloodlines
should have selected against just this airy cluelessness.
But none of that, really, explains how JaVale McGee is JaVale Mcgee. He is his
own creation, and lives in his own space in his own way. At times, it’s not clear
that he quite knows what it’s like to be JaVale McGee, himself.
JaVale is hardly the only extremely talented NBA player with a tendency to
behave mysteriously on the court. But JaVale’s particular brand of blithe
knuckleheadness diverges from the great Talented Headcase NBA archetype. Ron
Artest has a psychology that’s multiply abnormal, but genuinely and meaningfully
so; Royce White has an actual mental illness. JaVale isn’t violent or troubled or
even apparently haunted so much as he’s just JaVale, his own weird self. In that
sense, if maybe only in that sense, he’s just one of us.
This is, actually, a remarkable thing. Because what would it do to someone, to
anyone, to be born with a body and collection of physical gifts that essentially
guaranteed a decade of employment in the NBA, no matter what? And moreover,
what if that person could score simply by taking long strides around the basket and
jumping higher into the air than anyone else? And as such could regularly send most
shots near the rim into the stands? And if that person just enjoyed doing those things
in a mostly uncomplicated way, and for good measure also had asthma? Or, more to
this point, what if that person who is JaVale McGee was you. It is not necessarily any
more difficult to imagine life as a bat.
Let’s start with the first great JaVale moment, or in this case, series of moments. The
triple-double. In a March game in 2011, the Wizards were down in the fourth quarter
against the Bulls. Down by a lot, as it turns out; the Wiz would finish the season 23-49,
while the Bulls would finish with the league’s best record and make it all the way to the
Eastern Conference Finals.
JaVale already had 12 rebounds and an astonishing 12 blocks, but only nine points with
3:43 remaining the game. And so the JaVale Moment began, enfolding some very
determined if not necessarily helpful fadeaway jumpers and off-balance leaners and
attempts at taking his man off the dribble. Finally: a huge dunk, in traffic, from the
beginning of the restricted area, and then immediately subsequent a technical for
hanging on the rim and celebrating. An ESPN writer said McGee was “acting like a
buffoon.” Kevin McHale called it a “bad triple-double.”
“I got a triple-double,” was JaVale's response. “Who can say they got a triple-double?
I’m not really worried about it.”
His performance at the dunk-contest...CONTINUE READING AT THE CLASSICAL