Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans Hornets’

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA [2008-2009]: Part I

December 16, 2008

The 2008-2009 NBA regular season schedule has reached the 1/4 pole, as all 30 teams have played at least 20 games. Given the history of this league and …

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

… it is helpful to evaluate where they rank against one another at this juncture.

QUALITY RATING & QUALITY INDEX RANKING

NBA 2008-2009
[as of Mon Dec 15 2008]

Team

W/L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Cavaliers

20/4

.833

1

1

3

5

1

2

 

Celtics

23/2

.920

3

2

1

6

2

1

 

Hornets

13/7

.650

6

3

10

19

3

 

4

Blazers

15/10

.600

10

9

1

20

T-4

 

7

Rockets

15/9

.625

8

5

7

20

T-4

 

5

Lakers

20/3

.870

2

14

6

22

6

 

1

Spurs

15/8

.652

7

6

11

24

7

 

3

76ers

10/14

.417

16

8

4

28

 

11

 

Jazz

15/11

.577

9

11

9

29

8

 

8

Mavericks

13/10

.625

11

16

7

34

 

 

9

 

Nuggets

17/7

.708

4

15

16

35

9

 

2

Hawks

15/9

.625

12

7

17

36

10

4

 

Magic

19/6

.760

5

10

24

39

11

3

 

Bucks

11/15

.423

18

17

5

40

 

10

 

Pistons

13/9

.591

14

12

22

48

12

5

 

Suns

15/10

.600

13

22

14

49

13

 

6

Bobcats

7/18

.280

24

4

22

50

 

14

 

Heat

12/12

.500

15

13

25

53

14

7

 

Nets

12/11

.522

20

24

12

56

15

6

 

Bulls

11/12

.478

17

21

18

56

16

8

 

 

Pacers

8/16

.333

21

25

13

59

 

13

 

Grizzlies

9/15

.375

22

18

19

59

 

 

10

Timberwolves

4/20

.167

28

23

14

65

 

 

14

Clippers

6/17

.261

25

19

25

69

 

 

13

Raptors

10/14

.417

23

20

30

73

 

12

 

Thunder

2/23

.080

30

26

20

76

 

 

15

Knicks

11/13

.458

19

29

28

76

 

9

 

Kings

7/18

.280

29

28

20

77

 

 

11

Wizards

4/18

.182

27

27

27

81

 

15

 

Warriors

7/18

.261

26

30

29

85

 

 

12

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 7 of the 8 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

Take note of where your favourite team stands today … and where it will need to get to, over the course of the next five months, in order to be considered a legit contender for the 2009 NBA Championship.

NBA’s upper echelon begins to emerge

November 28, 2008

The NBA’s regular season schedule is now in full swing with each team having played a minimum of 13 games.

As was mentioned earlier in this space, there are three tiers of teams in this League that reveal themselves on an annual basis:

1. HIGH END [above a .549 Win %]
2. MIDDLE-of-the-Pack [between a .450-.549 Win %]
3. LOW END [below a .450 Win %]

At this point, here’s what each team’s W-L record is, in conjunction with their respective Rebounding Differential Ranking [which regular readers here know is a crucial factor towards playoff success]:

HIGH END

1 LA Lakers 12-1/.923; +5.00/#3
2 Boston 14-2/.875; +3.43/#7
3 Cleveland 12-3/.750; +4.33/#5
4 Phoenix 11-5/.688; -0.25/#14
T5 Detroit 9-5/.643; +0.92/#11
T5 Atlanta 9-5/.643; -0.42/#16
T5 Orlando 12-4/.643; -0.37/#15
T5 New Orleans 9-5/.643; +0.07/#13
T9 Utah 10-6/.625; +3.50/#6
T9 Portland 10-6/.625; +4.37/#4
T9 Houston 10-6/.625; +2.06/#9
T9 Denver 10-6/.625; -0.43/#17
13 San Antonio 8-6/.571; -2.28/#24 *

MIDDLE

T14 Dallas 7-7/.500; +3.07/#8
T14 New Jersey 7-7/.500; +0.21/#12
T14 Toronto 7-7/.500; -2.14/#23
T17 Miami 7-8/.467; -5.26/#28
T17 Philadelphia 6-7/.467; +6.33/#1
T17 New York 7-8/.467; -7.20/#30

LOW END

20 Chicago 7-9/.438; -1.31/#19
21 Indiana 6-8/.429; +1.00/#10
22 Milwaukee 7-10/.412; +5.58/#2
23 Golden State 5-10/.333; -3.20/#26
24 Sacramento 5-12/.294; -1.64/#20
25 Memphis 4-11/.267; -2.40/#25
26 Charlotte 4-10/.286; -2.07/#22
27 Minnesota 3-10/.231; -1.30/#18
28 Washington 2-11/.154; -3.46/#27
29 LA Clippers/2-13/.133; -5.53/#29
30 Oklahoma City 1-15/.063; -1.81/#21

* Have played mostly without Ginobili-M and Parker-T, thus far.

Rebounding Differential Rankings in the NBA [Nov 6]

November 7, 2008

When this corner of the sports blogosphere told you earlier this fall/summer that the Raptors trade for Jermaine O’Neal was not going to be enough, by itself, to fundamentally improve Toronto’s Rebounding Deficiency from the last few seasons there were boatloads of delusional fans some who did not want to believe this specific assessment of this team, in advance of actually seeing real live NBA games this season with their own two eyes.

—————–

How could the acquisition of a former 6-time NBA All-Star …

in exchange for a smallish, erractic [but talented] Point Guard [i.e. TJ Ford], an over-the-hill, lumbering, strictly speaking part-time Center [i.e. Rasho Nesterovic], the 15th player from their roster last season [i.e. Maceo Baston], and a flip-flop of the No. 17 [overall] and No. 41 Draft Picks from the 2008 NBA Draft, who turned out to be Roy Hibbert [C] and Nathan Jawai [C], respectively …

possibly NOT improve the Raptors decidely mediocre rebounding numbers from the last few years in any significant way, shape or form?

—————–

Well … as of Thursday, November 6, 2008 the Basketball Acumen of this specific correspondent seems to be as sharp [and accurate] as ever:

[Statistics from NBA.com]

NBA

Rebounding Differential

Per Game

2008-2009

[as of Thu Nov 6]

Rank

Team

+/-

1

L.A. Lakers

+12.25

2

Detroit

+11.00

 

Philadelphia

+11.00

4

Cleveland

+9.00

5

Phoenix

+5.20

6

Utah

+5.00

7

Atlanta

+3.66

8

Boston

+2.40

 

Milwaukee

+2.40

10

Golden State

+0.40

 

Portland

+0.40

12

Orlando

+0.20

13

Charlotte

-0.25

14

Chicago

-0.60

15

Houston

-1.40

16

New Jersey

-1.66

17

Sacramento

-1.80

18

Memphis

-2.00

19

Oklahoma City

-2.25

20

New Orleans

-3.00

21

Denver

-3.50

 

Minnesota

-3.50

23

Dallas

-3.75

24

Miami

-4.00

25

San Antonio

-4.25

26

Indiana

-4.66

27

Washington

-7.33

28

New York

-8.75

29

L.A. Clippers

-9.00

30

Toronto

-10.50

When a certain NBA observer tells you something about ‘How the Game actually Works in this League’, in advance … it might well be in your best interests to believe what this person has to say, even though you are not able to fully comprehend it, at that point in time.

—————–

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”Anonymous

The Better Half in the NBA: Day 1

October 28, 2008

And, so … it begins:

1 Los Angeles Lakers [W1] … A Legendary season awaits
2 Boston Celtics [E1] … Still the Champs
3 Detroit Pistons [E2] … Bad Boyz II, under MC [Hammer]
4 Phoenix Suns [W2] … Sunrise, Sunset, under TP
5 Utah Jazz [W3] … Tried & True
6 Houston Rockets [W4] … Combustible on any given night
7 Dallas Mavericks [W5] … letting Freedom Reign, under RC
8 Orlando Magic [E3] … holding strong with new additions
9 New Orleans Hornets [W6] … due for a small slip backwards
10 Portland Trail Blazers [W7] … The 2nd Coming begins
11 Cleveland Cavaliers [E4] … The King is in the house
12 Philadelphia 76ers [E5] … major moves this off-season
13 San Antonio Spurs [W8] … a struggle without Manu
14 Denver Nuggets [W9] … re-tooling their defense
15 Chicago Bulls [E6] … expect big things from VDN & ‘Mr. Rose’

Comprehending pre-season standings in the NBA

October 24, 2008

The NBA’s pre-season schedulae of games is rapidly coming to a close.

In general, how a team fares in its pre-season games … in this League, at least … provides a preliminary indication of where it actually stands, relative to the competition, heading into the new campaign.

Annually, there are three major categories of teams in the NBA:

1. Above .549 [High End]
2. .450-.549 [Middle]
3. Below .450 [Low End]

——————————————-

When you examine the current standings for the pre-season: 

2008-2009 Conference Preseason Standings
Eastern Conference
Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Orlando 6 1 0.857 0.0 4-1 4-1 3-1 3-0 6-1 W 6
Boston 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-2 3-2 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 2
Detroit 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-1 3-0 3-2 3-0 6-2 L 1
Atlanta 5 3 0.625 1.5 4-1 3-1 1-2 4-1 5-3 W 1
Philadelphia 4 3 0.571 2.0 4-3 4-1 1-2 3-1 4-3 W 1
Indiana 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-0 1-0 3-1 1-3 4-4 W 1
New York 3 3 0.500 2.5 3-3 3-3 0-2 3-1 3-3 L 1
Toronto 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 L 2
Chicago 3 4 0.429 3.0 0-1 0-1 1-3 2-1 3-4 W 2
New Jersey 2 4 0.333 3.5 1-4 0-4 1-3 1-1 2-4 L 4
Washington 2 4 0.333 3.5 0-1 0-0 0-2 2-2 2-4 W 1
Cleveland 2 5 0.286 4.0 2-3 0-1 1-3 1-2 2-5 L 1
Miami 1 5 0.167 4.5 0-3 0-1 1-3 0-2 1-5 L 1
Milwaukee 1 6 0.143 5.0 0-2 0-2 1-3 0-3 1-6 L 2
Charlotte 0 8 0.000 6.5 0-4 0-4 0-2 0-6 0-8 L 8
Western Conference
Western W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
New Orleans 7 0 1.000 0.0 2-0 1-0 4-0 3-0 7-0 W 7
Minnesota 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-1 2-1 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 1
Denver 4 1 0.800 2.0 2-1 2-1 3-0 1-1 4-1 W 1
Houston 5 2 0.714 2.0 5-0 3-0 3-1 2-1 5-2 W 3
L.A. Lakers 5 2 0.714 2.0 1-2 1-1 5-2 0-0 5-2 W 5
Phoenix 5 2 0.714 2.0 3-0 1-0 2-1 3-1 5-2 W 3
Golden State 4 2 0.667 2.5 2-1 0-0 3-0 1-2 4-2 W 2
L.A. Clippers 4 3 0.571 3.0 2-2 2-1 0-3 4-0 4-3 L 2
Portland 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-3 0-2 2-2 2-1 4-3 L 1
Utah 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-2 2-1 1-1 3-2 4-3 W 2
Dallas 4 4 0.500 3.5 1-0 0-0 2-2 2-2 4-4 L 2
San Antonio 3 3 0.500 3.5 0-2 0-2 1-2 2-1 3-3 L 1
Memphis 2 6 0.250 5.5 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-4 2-6 L 4
Oklahoma City 1 5 0.167 5.5 0-4 0-1 0-1 1-4 1-5 L 2
Sacramento 1 7 0.125 6.5 1-7 0-2 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 6

——————————————

what you see, with only 4 days left, is generally speaking fairly representative of what you should now expect to get over the course of the 82-game regular season from these teams, in a broad sense.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
Orlando, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia

.450-.549
Indiana, New York, Toronto

Below .450
Chicago, New Jersey, Washington [playing without Arenas], Cleveland [playing few minutes with LBJ] , Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
New Orleans, Minnesota, Denver, Houston, LA Lakers, Phoenix, Golden State, LA Clippers, Portland, Utah

.450-.549
Dallas, San Antonio [playing with Ginobili]

Below .450
Memphis, Oklahoma City, Sacramento

——————————————-

Although it’s not uncommon for a team to shift from the High End to the Middle over the course of the regular season; it is rare for a team to move from the High End to the Low End … and vice versa … once the regular season starts unless, of course, it has to play [or is playing currently] without 1 or more of its marquee players for an extending number of games.

What is usually the most interesting thing to see, however, over the course of the 82-game regular season, is which few teams are able to elevate their performance (i) from the Middle into the High End, and (ii) from the Low End into the Middle … automatically making them one of the ‘Feel Good’ stories of the year; and, which few teams, if any, will go in the opposite direction … automatically making them one of the ‘Biggest Disappointment’ stories.

Into which specific category does it look as though your favourite team is going to fit this season?

High End now that stays in the High End
High End now that drops down into the Middle
Middle now that steps up into the High End
Middle now that stays in the Middle
Middle now that drops down into the Low End
Low End now that steps up into the Middle
Low End now that stays in the Low End

The champs are … still the champs

May 20, 2008

Everything that is the San Antonio Spurs was on full display in yesterday’s Game 7 vs the New Orleans Hornets … 

* The steadfastness of their unflappable head coach, Gregg Popovich
* The stellar work of their Superstar … ‘The Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan
* The big game readiness of their important role players, off the bench … Michael Finley (11 MP; 2-2, FGA; 2-2, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Robert Horry (14+ MP; 2-4, FGA; 2-4, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Kurt Thomas (7+ MP; 1-2, FGA; 6 Rebs), Ime Udoka (21 MP; 3-7, FGA; 2-5, 3FGA; 4 Rebs)
* The glue guy contributions of their two ‘lesser light’ starters, ‘the Karate Kid‘ (28 MP; 2-5, 3 FGA; lockdown D vs Stojakovic) and ‘l’Hombre‘ (32 MP; 2-2, FGA; 9 Rebs)
* The courageous play of the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, Tony Parker … who took and made the biggest shot of the Spurs’ season, thus far, with the game on the line

and … last but NOT least …

* GINOBILI!!!

When you play ‘the game’ The Way the Spurs do …

(post-game interview last night)

Craig Sager (TNT’s Sideline Reporter): You lost the first two games of this series, then your coach made a big change, he put the Sixth Man of The Year, yourself, in the starting line-up, you won 4 of the next 5 … are you comfortable with starting now against the Lakers this next series?

GINOBILI: I’m just comfortable winning

and

… as long as you understand the game, and you want to get better, and you want to win …” – Manu Ginobili

see the following vid-clips for further details …

(1)

(2)

it is going to take a very special team to dethrone the reigning NBA Champions.

The LA Lakers await … in what promises to be a fantastic playoff series!

What Game 7’s are made of

May 19, 2008


10 reasons
San Antonio is going to win tonight’s Game 7

 

10. The Tony Parker vs Chris Paul match-up will be played to a draw.

9. The Bruce Bowen vs Peja Stojakovic match-up will be won by the ‘Karate Kid’.

8. Joey Crawford is not on tonight’s officiating crew.

7. Michael Finley and Brent Barry are accustomed to making big shots in big games.

6. Tim Duncan has yet to play a good “away game”. Tonight, he’s due.

5. Three PFs (Thomas-K, Oberto-F & Horry-R) are better than one (West-D).

4. Ime Udoka is not going to waste valuable possessions by taking ill-advised shots.

3. When the Hornets “go small” the Spurs will counter, “going BIG” at the guard spots.

2. The Spurs are mentally tougher than this inexperienced Hornets team.

1. GINOBILI!!!

 

10 reasons New Orleans is going to win tonight’s Game 7

 

10. Chris Paul is a better PG than Tony Parker. This is his time to shine.

9. The 5/1 Wing Pick & Roll, with 2 (Peja) back-screening for Chandler, is a tough check for Bowen.

8. Joey Crawford is on tonight’s officiating crew.

7. One of Jannero Pargo, Bonzi Wells or MoPete is due for a BIG scoring night.

6. Tyson Chandler is the best 1-on-1 defensive match-up vs Tim Duncan, in the NBA.

5. 1 star PF (West-D) is better than 3 also-rans (Thomas-K, Oberto-F & Horry-R).

4. There’s no way Ime Udoka can duplicate his Game 6 performance for the Spurs.

3. The Hornets superior athleticism will generate key Stls, Blks, TO’s & Off-Rebs.

2. The Hornets are on post-Katrina mission, as the NBA’s feel-good story this year.

1. The Spurs are a dirty team whose ‘bad Karma’ will finally catch up with them!

 

Go ahead and take your pick.

 

Either way, it SHOULD be a terrific ballgame!

Hard, physical championship basketball

May 16, 2008

Hardwood Paroxysm is disappointed in the San Antonio Spurs and, specifically, with the way Robert Horry set his back screen on David West, during the 4th Q of last night’s Game 6 victory over the Hornets.

A Series of Unlikely Coincidences
What makes me the most angry about this is that they really don’t need to do these things. I don’t think the Spurs win because of these actions. They win because they play committed team defense, strike at their opponents’ weaknesses, shoot the lights out when they need to, adjust their phenomenally versatile offense to whatever attack faces them, and generally beat the crap out of teams with whatever is most effective. They don’t need to win like this. They can just go out, play their game, use their talent, and win championships. But for some reason, they don’t feel that it’s enough. Maybe it’s an obsessive need to hold on to their fading youth. Maybe it’s a simple dedication to winning at all costs. Maybe it’s spurred on (no pun intended) by their endlessly classy fan base that chanted “Horry, Horry, Horry” last night after Horry, intentionally or not, injured a star player for the other team. Whatever the reason, they have decided that this is how they will win. And they have won. And in the end, no one can take that away from them. They will always have the shine of championship rings to bask in, while the rest of us know the truth. This team’s legacy will always be slightly sullied by their dirty play.

If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and sounds like a rat, then you don’t need to make excuses about it acting like a tough hedgehog, or whatever else Mark Jackson wants to say. It’s a rat. Call it that.

And that’s the saddest part of all.

Spurs in 7.

===============================

In sharp contrast, however … this corner could not possibly disagree more vehemently with that perspective.

Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry are neither thugs nor dirty players.

Since Gregg Popovich assumed control of the Spurs’ operation, San Antonio has played tough, physical, make no excuses, ask-for-no-quarter-and-give-none-in-return basketball (with the obvious, and nauseating, exception of Tim Duncan’s petulent whining after every Personal Foul call) … that is characterized by each and every other team that has ever won a championship, anywhere, and knows exactly what it takes to get the job done, come h*ll or high water.

This is who Coach Pop is.

This is what Coach Pop’s team believes in.

This is what Coach Pop’s team does … over, and over, again.

And, if your team has ever won a competitive major sports championship, anywhere … you know THIS to be a simple fact, based upon your own personal experience.

Mark Jackson (NBA Analyst) got it 100% correct during last night’s live broadcast.

The screen Robert Horry set was not designed to inflict injury to David West but it was the THE type a player makes who is committed to winning

The Spurs … led by Gregg Popovich … play hard, physical championship basketball, at all times … and, they play to win.

Cirlces of life go round and round and round ..

May 15, 2008

Yes, the Spurs are still THE pick in this series, down 2-3, heading towards this evening’s Game 6 … but reading a nice piece like this one:

Courtesy of Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports …

Driven West, Hornets show staying power
In the game of his life, with the Hornets moving within a victory of the NBA’s Final Four, [David] West has made himself a worthy heir to the Spurs dynasty. Three months ago, David Robinson, who started it all for the Spurs, told a young All-Star to think big this season, to dream beyond his wildest dreams.

about a young man like David West (NCAA D1, 2003 National Player of The Year) makes it just that much easier to entertain the (slight?) possibility that, just perhaps, this corner’s initial assessment might still turn out to be … something less than correct.

That said, however … one SHOULD also

Never under-estimate the heart of a champion.” – Rudy Tomjonovich

especially with his back against the wall … and the ‘Torches of Transfer’ being lit, in advance.

Yessirree, Robinson … to Duncan … to West … might have a nice circular ring to it and, in fact, might well happen sometime in the not-too-distant future … but the betting from, at least, this corner is that … it ain’t gonna be tonight.

Live Blogging Event: New Orleans @ San Antonio, Game 6

May 15, 2008

Click on this link.

Note: If you’re interested in commenting on the actual game … in addition to irreverent flippancy, rather than the other way around … come on by and participate in a REAL live blogging event!

Start Time: 8:45 PM ET