Archive for April, 2008

Of scorpions, frogs, GMs & coaches

April 30, 2008

In the NBA, the words a GM uses to communicate with are important. 

Each chosen word has an unique meaning and contributes toward the creation of a specific context and a number of subtexts, as well.

When a GM makes the following statement,

Colangelo: Sam’s safe for now 
“Let’s suffice it to say, all things should be put to rest right now when I say that I have absolutely no intention to make a coaching change at this time,” Colangelo said after wrapping up an afternoon of exit interviews with the players.

Is there but one way to interpret its meaning?

Probably not.

When an NBA observer makes the following statement,

Two solitudes in Raptorland
Should Sam Mitchell want to keep his job as Raptors’ head coach his team best do two things between now and Advent (which begins annually the first week of December):

1) Get past the Magic in the 1st Round of the 2007-2008 Playoffs;

2) Be above the .500 mark in the first 20 games of the 2008-2009 regular season schedule;

Is there but one way to interpret its meaning?

Yes, there is.

Examining the data contained in this review …

Tic toc, tic toc, tic toc …

of the 5 coaching changes made by the Phoenix Suns between the ’94-95 and the ’04-05 seasons, you will see that none of these ‘replacement moves’ was made (i) at the end of the Regular Season, (ii) immediately after elimination from the Playoffs, or (iii) during the Off-Season.

If Sam Mitchell is ever going to be replaced as the Head Coach for the Toronto Raptors, under the watch of GM Bryan Colangelo, history indicates that such a move would most likely take place during the Regular Season … should their team be perceived to be under-achieving sometime after reaching the 20 games played mark.

For, as Jeff Van Gundy (NBA Analyst) observed astutely during the telecast of Sunday’s NBA Playoffs double-header on Sunday, April 27, 2008 when it comes to understanding the workings of Human Nature in this world:

“You are who you are.”

… illustrated precisely in the parable of The Scorpion and the Frog.

Advertisements

Knowing how to be a friend

April 24, 2008

If you only have time to watch 1 extended video clip today … then click on this link … to Celtic Pride.

You will not be disappointed.

 

UPDATE: It’s also linked to in today’s earlier entry titled, “THE problem with the current Raptors“, re: the ‘old Boston Celtics‘. Thought it deserved its own space.

Everything good takes time

April 24, 2008

If you haven’t seen this specific clip before, as I hadn’t myself prior to this AM … then just sit back and soak it in …

Magical … stuff.

THE problem with the current Raptors

April 24, 2008

Let me ask you these two questions:

If you flipped TJ Ford for Steve Nash (let’s say in a fantasy world) … do you think the Suns would stand a snowball’s chance in h*ll of getting past the Spurs this year?

How about the Raptors vs the Magic?

If your answers to those two queries are a resounding,

No Way, Jose!

and

Like, for sure, dude!

then you’re beginning to see that the major problem with this team is that … unlike what happened in Phoenix when Colangelo, Jr. COMPLETELY LUCKED OUT that Steve Nash WANTED to return to the Suns when Mark Cuban cut him loose BECAUSE NASH’S WIFE & KIDS ALREADY LIVED IN THE PHOENIX AREA (not because BC is a top notch GM who knows what he’s doing) … THERE IS ONLY ONE STEVE NASH AND HE ISN’T PLAYING FOR THE RAPTORS, JUST YET.

Steve Nash is/was the architect of Phoenix’s rise from the ashes … which Bryan Colangelo orchestrated with their once-proud team … no one else.

Because Steve Nash wanted to live in Phoenix, he signed with the Suns when Cuban said, “Thanks but no thanks, Stevie boy, I don’t think you’ve got what it will take to Win a Championship for me with the Mavs, at the price you’re asking.” FULL STOP.

Because Steve Nash is the best ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ PG in the History of the NBA (so sayeth an authority like Mark Jackson, during the Suns/Spurs Game 2 match-up) … when Colangelo fired Frank Johnson (who he had previously picked to run the Suns) and appointed Mike D’Antoni … IT WAS D’ANTONI WHO INSTALLED THE SUNS’ 4 OUT/1 IN OFFENSIVE SYSTEM, tailored specifically for Steve & Amare (who is the perfect under-sized but super athletic Center to run that system) and deserves 2nd billing on the Suns credit roll for their resurgence as a first-tier franchise in the NBA.

If not for Colangelo’s decision NOT to re-sign Joe Johnson … Phoenix might well have its 1st NBA title already.

Then … “when the going actually got tough” in Phoenix and daddy was out as the principal owner … that’s when the ‘Golden Boy’ decided to ‘Bolt the Ship’ and head for greener pastures … in mid-season 2006 (think about THAT for a second or two) … for the comfy ‘international’ confines in The Great White North, with free reign to call the shots AND a Big Ticket contract.

Want to know THE reason this version of the Raptors isn’t quite ‘tough enough’ to get the job done in the post-season?

When a fight breaks out (like it did in Phoenix) … what does a really tough ‘hombre’ decide to do … FIGHT or RUN?

(what did Colangelo, Jr. do in the Valley of the Sun?)

7 Seconds or Less … is the Coward’s way to play NBA hoops … and will never ever be rewarded with the championship.

The old Boston Celtics … with my MAN, Bill Russell at the CORE … and the ShowTime LAKESHOW … with my MAN, Earvin at the CORE … both shot it plenty quick enough to rack up devastatingly Big scoring numbers but neither operation would EVER have been referred to as TOO SOFT to get it done in the playoffs … cause their success was built upon a BALANCE between

OFFENSE … DEFENSE … and, most important of all … REBOUNDING,

not an “offensive philosophy of 100 shots per game”.

MLSE does not know what it’s doing AND should not be in the business of running ‘pro sports teams’ in Toronto … cause they KEEP HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE to head up their basketball & hockey operations (e.g. see the current debacle with Anaheim’s GM, Brian Burke).

As the old Chinese Warlord could tell you from his personal experience … the strategy that works best when training an army of men … is decapitating the heads of the two most favoured concubines appointed to lead the masses in the first place.

(know who the concubines are in this case?)

It ain’t rocket science, to be sure … but, dem Chinese Warlords sure did know what they were doing … when it came to BUILDING & MAINTAINING their Dynasty.

Food For Thought … as always.

———————————–

In Peace, Victory & Excellence.

Raptors @ Magic … post mortem

April 23, 2008

Orlando vs Toronto (Tue Apr 22) – Game Summary

When the Raptors play this well, on the road, in the playoffs …

* Shooting a higher Field Goal % than their Opponent (45.7 to 42.7)
* With a higher 3pt Field Goal % than their Opponent (37.9 to 29.0)
* With more Made 3pt Shots than their Opponent (11 to 9) 
* With a higher Free Throw % than their Opponent (90.0 to 82.6)
* With more Assists than their Opponent (21 to 19)

and finish only 1 point shy on the Scoreboard …

Tor 103, ORL 104

after being down by as many as 18 pts, at one stage, and with a clean look on their final possession to win the game outright …

it can seem as though Toronto put forth a tremedous effort, battled hard and was just unfortunate to lose a game that could have very easily gone either way.

Yes, indeed, that can sometimes be exactly how it seems.

But … seeming isn’t the same thing as BEING the case when trying to understand the reason(s) one team lost and one team won a specific game in the NBA playoffs.

With 3:00 remaining in the 4th Quarter of yesterday’s Game 2, with these line-ups for each team:

PG – Jose Calderon v Jameer Nelson
OG – Anthony Parker v Keith Bogans
SF – Jason Kapono v Rashard Lewis
PF – Carlos Delfino v Hedo Turkoglu
C – Chris Bosh v Dwight Howard

the following sequence of possessions occurred:

3:00 … Tor/Calderon Made 3Pt Shot (over Bogans) … ORL 98, Tor 97
2:41 … ORL/Nelson Driving Layup Attempt Blocked by Bosh
2:30 … Tor/Kapono Missed Leaning Jump Shot; Kapono Turnover (stepped out-of-bounds)
FULL TIME-OUT
2:13 … ORL/Howard Fouled by Delfino
2:03 … ORL/Turkoglu Missed Jump Shot; Offensive Rebound by Lewis (vs Delfino)
2:01 … ORL/Lewis Made Layup (vs Delfino) … ORL 100, Tor 97
1:47 … Tor/Calderon Made 3Pt Shot … ORL 100, Tor 100
1:26 … ORL/Lewis Missed 3Pt Shot; Defensive Reound by Parker
1:04 … Tor/Delfino Driving Layup Attempt, Fouled by Turkoglu; Delfino Missed 1st Free Throw Attempt, Made 2nd FT … Tor 101, ORL 100
20 SECOND TIME-OUT (ORL)
1:02 … ORL/Turkoglu Missed 3Pt Shot, Tap-out by Lewis/Delfino; Offensive Rebound by Nelson (vs Calderon)
0:51.6 … ORL/Lewis Missed 3Pt Shot; Defensive Rebound by Bosh
0:47.0 … Tor/Turnover by Bosh (bad pass); Steal by Bogans
0:35.1 … ORL/Howard Fouled by Bosh
0:30.3 … ORL/Turkoglu Made tough Driving Layup … ORL 102, Tor 101
20 SECOND TIME-OUT (Tor)
0:26.5 … Tor/Bosh Missed Driving Layup Attempt (Blocked Shot by Howard, no foul called)
0:18.7 … ORL/Turkoglu Fouled by Kapono; Turkoglu Made 2 Free Throws … ORL 104, Tor 101
0:09.6 … Tor/Delfino Made Driving Layup … ORL 104, Tor 103
20 Second Time-out (Orlando), Dooling replaced Bogans
0:09.3 … ORL/Offensive Foul by Dooling
FULL TIME-OUT (Tor)
0:03.0 … Tor/Bosh Missed 18′ Jump Shot
GAME OVER

meaning that Chris Bosh, Carlos Delfino, Jason Kapono and Jose Calderon each committed the types of serious miscues which can derail an inexperienced team playing on the road in the post-season … e.g. Giving up an Important Offensive Rebound, Missing a Critical Free Throw, Committing a Turnover & Missing a Crucial Jump Shot. 

Until Toronto’s best players are put into these specific types of End-of-Game situations more times during their NBA careers, it is likely that they will continue to come up on the short end of intensely played playoff games that are usually decided by individual player execution during the final three minutes of the game.

Looking ahead to Games 3 & 4, in Toronto, it will be interesting to see:

(A) How Orlando’s best players … in most cases, equally inexperienced as Toronto’s … are able to handle the intensity of playoff competition during this specific phase of the game, where Winners & Losers are frequently determined in the NBA’s post-season; and,

(B) If Toronto decides to give increased playing time to the specific Small-Ball Unit (i.e. Calderon, Parker, Kapono, Delfino & Bosh) that finished Game 2 … with its strength (3Pt Shooting) and weakness (Offensive Rebounds Allowed).

An icon in the making

April 22, 2008

Game 7.

Stanley Cup Playoffs, 1st Round.

Versus the Boston Bruins.

Game Summary.

… and this young man

… was THE DIFFERENCE last night between Les Habitants winning & losing …

making innumerable fantastic saves for Les Blue, Blanc et Rouge … with the game, and their season, on the line, at 20 years of age … stirring vivid memories of iconic figures, like Ken Dryden & Patrick Roy, from a by-gone era in Montreal.

Whatever ‘IT’ is … know this much … this young man is the next ‘Real Deal’ for Les Canadiens.

A winning line-up for the Raptors vs the Magic

April 22, 2008

During Sunday’s Lakers v Nuggets Game 1, Jeff Van Gundy (NBA Analyst) made an insightful comment – one of many he makes, per game – about the value of a coach’s ‘words’ alone toward the performance of his team, vs what their habits are, on a daily basis …

“(as a coach) You cannot influence a team with your words, at halftime or in the pre-game talk … they are going to do what they do.” – JVG

… which is exactly what I thought of while evaluating the Boxscore from Toronto/Orlando Game 1 … where the the Rebounding numbers were, as follows:

Toronto 35 (Individual) + 11 (Team) = 46
Orlando 42 (Individual) + 6 (Team) = 48

meaning that the Raptors and the Magic both performed pretty much as expected when these two teams are matched-up against one another, since during the Regular Season …

Orlando (+0.31) finished 16th in ‘Rebounding Differential’; while,
Toronto (-1.54) finished 22nd.

For Toronto to effect some type of fundamental change to the ‘Rebounding Differential’ numbers in Game 2 … they will need to address their Individual Player match-ups vs the key ‘board men’ for Orlando, who are D12 (22), Turkoglu (6), Bogans (5), Lewis (4), Evans (2) & Nelson (2) … for example, by going to a player rotation that I suggested on different web sites several weeks ago …

STARTERS
1/Calderon v Nelson
2/Moon v Bogans
3/Graham v Lewis
4/Humphries v Howard/Turk
5/Bosh v Turkoglu/D12

KEY SUBS
G/Parker v Dooling/Evans
F/Kapono/Delfino v Evans/Dooling
C/Nesterovic v Foyle

which is what a ‘Top Notch’ GM & Head Coach combination, like RC Buford & Gregg Popovich, would have done with the Raptors’ player personnel … several months ago … e.g. when TJ Ford was pulling his ’sulking’ I’ll-only-play-as-a-Starter-for-this-team B.S.

Unless you can ‘think the Individual Player match-up game’ like a ‘Top Notch’ NBA head coach, it’s very difficult to truly understand what THE DIFFERENCE is between ‘the Winners’ & ‘the Losers’ in this League, in the games that have a lot of meaning … i.e. versus Plus .500 Teams.

Enjoy Game 2 this evening! … which Orlando will probably win to go up 2-0 in this 1st Round series.

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh

April 21, 2008

In the NBA, Chris Bosh is … and has always been … a Finesse Center/5.

Chris Bosh (6-10, 230, Lefty) is not a Power Forward/4.

Never has been; never will be.

In fact, Chris Bosh is not a Power player, at all.

In the NBA, Chris Bosh has few, if any, ‘Mismatch Advantages’ when he isn’t playing the Center position.

Is Chris Bosh a franchise player?

YES, he is … but not THE kind of player many THINK he is …

nor the kind of player he’s been made to play as, to this point in his pro career, as a Core Member of  the Toronto Raptors, under the Leadership of Rob Babcock & Bryan Colangelo (the team’s General Managers) AND the coaching of Kevin O’Neill & Sam Mitchell.

Chris Bosh’s Strength, as a basketball player, is as a Finesse Center/5 … who is:

1) A terrific Team Defender, in the Middle of the action, in the Lane, where & when he can defend each of the other 4 players on the court … in addition to his own individual check, which he isn’t very good at doing to begin with, as a Finesse, Shot-blocking 5 … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell‘ (6-10, 220, Lefty);

2) A terrific Rebounder, capable of averaging 15+ boards a contest, if made to emphasize this aspect of the game … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’;

3) A terrific Character Guy, with the Core trait of Un-Selfishness that is shared with the other truly great Centers who have ever played the game … e.g. Men like Miken, (the Great Bill) Russell, Reed, Abdul-Jabbar & Walton (plus, in today’s environment, the ‘Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan);

4) A solid Mid-Post and Elbow scorer (i.e. within 15-18 feet of the basket) … when he’s matched-up exclusively vs THE opponent’s Bigall of whom he can simply ‘out-quick’, relative to this position on the floor … but which can only be dictated by Bosh’s coach, if said coach plays Bosh as THE Biggest player within his own ‘Group-of-5’ and not the 2nd biggest, who can go into the Post and command an ‘Inside-Out’ double-team, based on his ability to score the ball from this position on the floor … with his FINESSE ‘Face-Up’ game; rather than a ‘power game’ which Chris Bosh simply does not and will NEVER EVER have.

Unfortunately for Chris Bosh, since he was drafted into the NBA by the Toronto Raptors he has yet to play for a GM or a coach who knows what his ACTUAL STRENGTHS are as a pro player, and as a person, in general … and has not yet been developed into the type of dominating ALL-PRO individual he is truly capable of eventually becoming in this League … similar to ‘the Great Bill Russell’.

But, for anyone to claim that Chris Bosh is not a franchise player … is just plain WRONG.

When a player handles the ball a lot off the bounce, or on the dribble-up … something which Chris Bosh does not do … it is irrelevant if that player is being played out of position, on Offense, in the NBA.

That player can simply ‘go and get the ball’ and take the game over by himself, off the bounce, when need be … e.g. like MJ, Kobe, LBJ, Chris Paul, Oscar, Magic, etc.

Likewise, when a player has an ‘interior’ Power game (i.e. Drop Step, Jump Hook, Turn-around Jump Shot, Up & Under, etc.) … in general, something which Chris Bosh does not have … this player’s teammates can simply throw the ball inside to him whenever he is using his SIZE & PHYSICAL STRENGTH to gain an advantageous position, in the Low Post, and allow him to ‘go to work’ inside, either scoring the ball himself or by creating open shots for his teammates … e.g. like Shaq, Duncan, Wilt and Miken have all done.

However, when a player is a Finesse Center/5 … like Chris Bosh or Rasheed Wallace or Hakeem Olajuwon or Jack Sikma or Bill Walton or Dave Cowens or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Willis Reed or ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … on Offense, he is dependent (i) on his coach to play him in the correct position, for his unique skill set, and (ii) his teammates to get him the ball in the spots on the floor that he can be the most effective, either as a passer or a scorer; while, on Defense, he is dependent on his coach to match him up correctly against the individual check that allows him to not only defend this player BUT the other 4 players on the court, as well, especially if he can ‘block shots & rebound’ like Chris Bosh, Olajuwon, Walton, Abdul-Jabbar and ‘the Great Bill Russell’ can/could all do at the peak of their NBA careers (i.e. from 27-to-35 years of age).

Chris Bosh (at only 24 years of age) is a Finesse Center/5, in the NBA … who, if used correctly, is a Franchise Player that can be a Centrifugal Force in the League for years to come … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … unless, of course, the best years of his career are frittered away playing for a hapless team whose GM’s and coaches do not have a clue about what his actual strengths are, as a player and a person, and just how good (i.e. talented, unselfish & hard-working) he is, relative to the other players in the League who play the Center position.

 

NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)

April 18, 2008

After a scintilating regular season schedule which saw:

* The single greatest W-L turn-around in the history of the NBA
* The 2nd Longest Winning Streak in the history of the NBA
* The fiercest battle to make the Western Conference Playoffs in the history of the NBA
* 3 seismic shifting in-season trades involving marquee players
* The Resurgence of the NBA’s two most notable franchises

What could possibly lie ahead in the post-season?

1st Round match-ups begin later today … Where Amazing Happens!

Eastern Conference


(1) BOSTON CELTICS (H)

(8 ) ATLANTA HAWKS

By the Numbers

QIR – #1 (6)
Points Differential Rank – #1
Points Allowed Rank – #2
Rebounding Differential Rank – #3

QIR – #13 (43)
Points Differential Rank- #19
Points Allowed Rank – #15
Rebounding Differential Rank – #9

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. The clear-cut favourite.

Return to the post-season after a 9-year absence. Solid ‘Starting 5’ (i.e. Bibby, Johnson, Smith, Williams & Horford) and a commitment to Rebounding. Bench players are not strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Will be fortunate to win a game. A major underdog.

Who will win

Boston in 4 … although the Hawks will put up a solid fight in their home games (25-16).

 

(4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (H)

(5) WASHINGTON WIZARDS

By the Numbers

QIR – #8 (26)
Points Differential Rank – #16
Points Allowed Rank – #9
Rebounding Differential Rank – #1

QIR – #12 (41)
Points Differential Rank- #15
Points Allowed Rank – #12
Rebounding Differential Rank – #14

Basketball Acumen

Despite the presence of Lebron James, have regressed as a group from last season, especially on Defense. Verajao & Pavlovic still not fully recovered from early-season holdouts. Rebounding is still first rate. Excellent depth in the front-court.  Lack cohesiveness overall and are stagnant on Offense (i.e. dependent on LBJ). Not as quick or as hungry as last year’s team.

Under-rated as group. Roster filled with athletic, talented and hard-working players with good length. Versatile. Can create match-up advantages at each of the 5 positions, depending on need. 3 top notch Scorers (i.e. Butler, Jamison & Arenas), several good Defenders (i.e. Daniels, Steveson & Haywood) and a willingness to Rebound, as a team.

Who will win

Washington in 6 … if Butler, Jamison & Arenas are all healthy (i.e. 25+ MPG).


 

(2) DETROIT PISTONS (H)

(7) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

By the Numbers

QIR – #2 (10)
Points Differential Rank – #2
Points Allowed Rank – #1
Rebounding Differential Rank – #7

QIR – #9 (27)
Points Differential Rank- #14
Points Allowed Rank – #12
Rebounding Differential Rank – #6

Basketball Acumen

Deep, athletic, talented roster. Solid blend of vets & kids. Control the tempo as well as any squad in the league. Team Defense and Rebounding are first rate. High efficiency Offense. Will make the extra pass, repeatedly. Will go as far as, Billups & Wallace will take them. Clear-cut 2nd choice in the East to reach the Finals.

Under-rated as a group. Athletic & physical with a solid commitment to Rebounding and Team Defense. 2nd half surge keyed by solid contributions from youngsters Young-T, Williams-L, Carney-R and Smith-J. Bench is strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Unfortunate to be match-up against the Pistons.

Who will win

Detroit in 5 … although the Sixers might be talented enough to force a Game 6.


 

(3) ORLANDO MAGIC (H)

(6) TORONTO RAPTORS

By the Numbers

QIR – #11 (32)
Points Differential Rank – #5
Points Allowed Rank – #11
Rebounding Differential Rank – #16

QIR – #14 (44)
Points Differential Rank- #12
Points Allowed Rank – #10
Rebounding Differential Rank – #22

Basketball Acumen

Points Differential Rank is keyed by 3pt shooting & number of trips to the FT line.  Team Defense and Rebounding are solid; not spectacular. Offense is inside out, with D12 & a host of capable ‘Marksmen’. Will go as far as Turkoglu, Lewis, Bogans, Evans & Dooling will take them. Must minimize TO’s by Nelson & Arroyo.

3 solid players (i.e. Bosh, Calderon & Nesterovic) plus an erratic ‘Group of Seven’ (erstwhile individual artists known as TJ, AP, ‘the Mad Argentine’, ‘the Shootist’, Apollo33, Hump & Il Mago). At ‘the top’ of the league in 3pt shooting %; at ‘the bottom’ in FTA/game. Rebounding & Team Defense are weaknesses. Capable of winning this series … if Orlando mis-fires.

Who will win

Orlando in 7 … although Stan Van Gundy might be good enough to wrap it up in fewer.

 

Western Conference


(1) L.A. LAKERS (H)

(8 ) DENVER NUGGETS

By the Numbers

QIR – #10 (30)
Points Differential Rank – #3
Points Allowed Rank – #19
Rebounding Differential Rank – #8

QIR – #19 (61)
Points Differential Rank- #11
Points Allowed Rank – #29
Rebounding Differential Rank – #21

Basketball Acumen

When healthy: (i) the deepest, most talented team in the NBA; and, (ii) the best Offense in the league. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense depends on the availability of Bynum. With AB, it is first rate; without him, it is not good enough to win the title this year. Will be a force for years to come, if found wanting this go round. Fisher’s stability is the key.

Offensive pyrotechnics from Iverson, Melo, J.R. & Kleiza. Defense & Rebounding are strictly second rate, despite the individual work of Camby, Najera & K-Mart. The ‘little boys in blue’ of the NBA. When good, they’re good; when bad they’re really bad … frequently within the same game. Enough talent to lose 4 single-digit games.

Who will win

L.A. in 5 … although without Bynum the Nuggets might win 2 home games.

 

 

(5) HOUSTON ROCKETS (H)

(4) UTAH JAZZ

By the Numbers

QIR – #3 (15)
Points Differential Rank – #9
Points Allowed Rank – #4
Rebounding Differential Rank – #2

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank- #4
Points Allowed Rank – #13
Rebounding Differential Rank – #4

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. Clear-cut favourites.

The best home record in the NBA (37-4). PG (Williams-D) is first rate. Deep & physical team. Committed to Rebounding. Bench players are first rate. Struggle on the road this year, without the leadership of Fisher-D, with the 2nd unit. High % Offense must get solid 3pt shooting from Okor & Korver. Team Defense can be erratic away from home.

Who will win

Utah in 6 … although the Rockets are ‘tough enough’ to win a game 7 this year.

 

 

(2) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (H)

(7) DALLAS MAVERICKS

By the Numbers

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank – #6
Points Allowed Rank – #5
Rebounding Differential Rank – #10

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank- #10
Points Allowed Rank – #6
Rebounding Differential Rank – #5

Basketball Acumen

PG, Chris Paul, is first rate. Team Defense is solid. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense, led by the mastery of CP3.  Must get high % outside shooting from Peja S, to spread the floor. Lacking playoff experience. Will go as far as David West (their 2nd all-star caliber player) & Byron Scott (matching wits vs Avery Johnson), will take them. Can win the series … if it gets to game 7.

Get the best possible match-up for their team, in the 1st round. Bitterly remember last year’s embarrassing loss to G-State. Ready for bear this go round. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense is solid. Must control the Offensive tempo. Bench is solid. Can beat anyone in the Western Conference … except L.A. & San Antonio (when those two squads are healthy).

Who will win

Dallas in 6 … as the Hornets have to learn how to lose first before they can win.

   
 
  

(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (H)

(6) PHOENIX SUNS

By the Numbers

QIR – #7 (23)
Points Differential Rank – #8
Points Allowed Rank – #3
Rebounding Differential Rank – #12

QIR – #16 (57)
Points Differential Rank- #7
Points Allowed Rank – #25
Rebounding Differential Rank – #25

Basketball Acumen

Key injuries to Duncan, Parker & Ginobili have affected their customary regular season efficiency. When healthy, still as good Defensively & Rebounding as any squad in the NBA. Always make the extra pass on Offense.  A bevy of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship again this year, if healthy.

A better chance of winning the title than prior editions, with a stronger commitment to Team Defense & Rebounding than before. Unfortunately, for the Suns, each of the other top teams in the West has improved more than Phoenix, whose high efficiency Offense remains the strength of the team. The Suns are finally moving in the right direction but their window of opportunity is closing quickly.

Who will win

San Antonio in 7 … although it could be fewer, pending Grant Hill’s injury status.

Enjoy what should be absolutely terrific basketball!

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part V

April 18, 2008

The NBA Playoffs start tomorrow afternoon and the final Quality Ratings (QR) & Quality Index Rankings (QIR) for the 2007-2008 regular season are now etched in stone.

NBA Playoff Teams 2007-2008
Quality Rating & Quality Index Rankings   
(End of Regular Season)

TEAM

W-L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Boston

66-16

.805 ↑

1

2

3

6

1

1

 

Detroit

59-23

.720 ↑

2

1

7

10

2

2

 

Houston

55-27

.671 ↑

9

4

2

15

3

 

5

New Orleans

56-26

.683 ↓

6

5

10

21

T-4

 

2

Dallas

51-31

.622 ↓

10

6

5

21

T-4

 

7

Utah

54-28

.659 −

4

13

4

21

T-4

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Antonio

56-26

.683 ↓

8

3

12

23

7

 

3

Cleveland

45-37

.549 ↓

16

9

1

26

8

4

 

Philadelphia

40-42

.488 ↓

14

7

6

27

9

7

 

LA Lakers

57-25

.695 ↑

3

19

8

30

10

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando

52-30

.634 ↑

5

11

16

32

11

3

 

Atlanta

37-45

.451 ↓

19

15

9

43

13

8

 

Washington

43-39

.524 ↑

15

12

14

41

12

5

 

Toronto

41-41

.500 ↓

12

10

22

44

14

6

 

Phoenix

55-27

.671 ↑

7

25

25

57

15

 

6

Denver

50-32

.610 −

11

29

21

61

16

 

8

 Legend:
W-L – Won Loss Record; Win% – Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Rank; PAR – Points Allowed Rank; RDR – Rebound Differential Rank; QR – Quality Rating; QIR – Quality Index Ranking; EC – Eastern Conference Playoff Position; WC – Western Conference Playoff Position 
Note:

1. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion and Finalist has had a QR ≤ 34.
2. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion has had a QIR ≤ #9.
3. Since 2000-2001 6 of the 7 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

According to the QIR, there’s a solid chance that this year’s eventual NBA champion will be one of (1) Boston, (2) Detroit, (3) Houston, (T-4) New Orleans, (T-4) Dallas or (T-4) Utah.

However, much like 1994-1995, when the Houston Rockets won the NBA championship as the #6 seed in the Western Conference, after an injury-plagued regular season campaign, and 2000-2001, when the L.A. Lakers played a significant number of regular season games without Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher & Ron Harper, before winning their final 8 in a row and then going 15-1 in the post-season … given the key injuries sustained at different times this year by (A) Tim Duncan, Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili, and (B) Andrew Bynum … it should not be a surprise to anyone if either (7) San Antonio or the (10) L.A. Lakersboth of which are ‘Top 9’ teams with a healthy roster – rise to challenge and win the title this year.