Friday, September 7, 2007

Ask and you shall receive...

Ask for more Sixers content in the comments, and look what happens.

Bad news: Samuel Dalembert has a stress fracture in his left foot and will be in a cast for three weeks. Thankfully, they expect him to be fully ready for the start of training camp.

I want to write more about events surrounding the Sixers, but not like this!

Confusing spectacular defense plays with spectacular defensive players

In decrying what he considers the over-calling of blocks and charges in this post, Kelly Dwyer (filling in for Henry Abbott for the last couple of days at Truehoop) says:
The calls are changing the game. Outside of a few big men, most power forwards and centers never leave their feet in order to challenge or potentially reject a shot. Why would they? All they have to do is slide underneath a player, fall down, and get a pat on the butt and praise from the TV commentators ("so heady, what hustle!") as his team gets the ball back and the shooting guard picks up his third foul of the first half. So the spectacular defensive players are dwindling, as are the spectacular all-out drives to the basket.
I think there are few problems with his gripe. First, if the defensive player slides into position after the offensive player leaves his feet, then it is a defensive foul by rule. Always. The defensive player must give the offensive player a place to land. So he's complaining about a problem that doesn't really exist. The defensive players getting those charges? They were in position before the offensive player left his feet (or, at least, they were if we're assuming the refs didn't blow the call). There might be fewer out-of-control drives down the lane because the defenders are playing better position defense, but that is different that complaining about defensive players sliding underneath offensive players.

Second, and more annoying to me, is that he seems to be confusing spectacular defensive players with spectacular plays. By complaining about the lack of high-flying blocks, he is really complaining about a lack of spectacular plays. But, quite frankly, spectacular defensive plays of this highlight-reel variety are normally the result of poor defense. If you're in proper position, your defensive play is normally going to look less spectacular than the recover play made by someone who was out of position. Samuel Dalembert's blocks often seem spectacular, but (as we discussed previously) they don't really help the Sixers defense that much because he's out of position so often. I'll take a spectacular defensive player who never makes the highlight reels any day over a player who makes "spectacular" defensive plays. But maybe I just care too much about my team actually winning games...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Taurean Green: Time to put on the green?

Over at Blazersedge, they have been doing posts on the expectations they have for the various players on the Blazers' roster. Today's post was about Taurean Green, the former point guard for Florida's national championship team. He's relatively low-profile compared to his more famous college teammates (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer), but he was a very solid player in college.

The post makes the point that while Green seems like a solid-player, he's currently fourth on the PG depth chart for the Blazers and he's unlikely to get any playing time. Well, he might not get any playing time in Portland, but I know of at least one team that's looking for some point guard help: the Boston Celtics. Rajon Rondo is currently the only point guard on their roster. While the Celtics would ideally pick-up a veteran point guard (to go with their veteran team), they haven't had much luck finding one so far. Based on his play in college, Green is the type of point guard who would be a facilitator and distribute the ball to the Celtics' stars (Garnett, Allen, Pierce) without feeling the need to get his own shot. He's a rookie, so he's likely to have some NBA growing pains (and he might not actually develop into an NBA level player), but he seems like the sort of back-up point guard the Celtics could probably get for relatively cheap and who could prove to be the answer to their back-up point guard issues.

It might be time for the Celtics to try and get Taurean Green into green.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hold your horses!

Team USA won the FIBA Tournament of the Americas convincingly and has now qualified for the Beijing Olympics. That's great news if you're a fan of USA basketball (which I am), but I feel like much of the coverage of this victory has veered sharply into hyperbole.

A few articles, such as this one, have even gone so far as to speculate that this Team USA incarnation could have defeated the Dream Team. Quite frankly, I think the idea that this team could have beaten the Dream Team is insane. If you've been reading my posts, then you won't be surprised to learn that I think Team USA's downfall in a match-up with the Dream Team would have been the result of interior defense and a lack of rebounding.

The original Dream Team had Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing on the inside. This version of Team USA has Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Carmelo Anthony playing on the inside. Do you really think the game would even be a contest on the inside? Absolutely not. Barkley was known as a sub-par defender, but he'd probably be the second best interior defender on the current version of Team USA (behind Chandler). Malone, Robinson, and Ewing were all top tier defenders, in addition to being dominant offensive forces. The inside battle would have been between men and boys, and the men would have won convincingly.