Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio Spurs’

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.

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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

This is a special team

May 30, 2008

The defending NBA champions were dethroned last night by the Los Angeles Lakers, who were tabbed by this corner on Dec 25/07 as the “Sleeper Pick” to win the title this season.

In turn, earlier this morning, the following is what yours truly wrote on another blog, 20 second time-out … which, btw, is highly recommended reading for those in search of insight into how the NBA game actually works …

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

On December 25, 2007 I identified this year’s Lakers team as my “Sleeper Pick” to WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SEASON, when LA was still in arears of Phoenix in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and BEFORE they acquired Pau Gasol … THAT’S HOW GOOD I knew these Lakers were this season.

The only team in the West that could have beaten them this year was the Spurs, if San Antonio was completely healthy, which was clearly not the case given the injury to Manu Ginobili (their most dynamic scorer).

Whichever one of Boston or Detroit comes out of the Eastern Conference is going to have its hands full with this Lakers team in the NBA Finals as, right now, this squad is very, very good.

However, of even more interest to me (and, possibly, other astute NBA historians), at the moment, is where their team is going to go NEXT SEASON … when they fully re-integrate ANDREW BYNUM + TREVOR ARIZA into their line-up.

From my perspective, others would do well to carve in stone the forecast I made earlier this spring [’08] that says,

“The 2008-2009 LA LAKERS WILL WIN 70+ games enroute to capturing another of what will eventually be several more NBA championships … if their team remains relatively injury-free.”

What Phil Jackson & Co. have constructed in LA, right now, is a team that will one day go down in NBA history beside the Chicago Bulls (of Michael Jordan) and the old Boston Celtics (of Bill Russell) as arguably the greatest of all-time.

One of the differences between me and other NBA observers is that frequently I can tell you in advance what is going to happen, with a high degree of accuracy, before it does NOT just after-the-fact.

Enjoy the moment for what it is …

Life is fast and things happen quickly.” – Derek Fisher

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

May 19, 2008 … Charles Barkley actually had it right, but was just afraid to step that far out on a limb, in advance, vs Chris Webber & Co.

Fortunately, this corner has no such trepidation.

As was said earlier this week, in this space … it will take a special team to eliminate this group of San Antonio Spurs from the title hunt.

This Lakers’ squad is now that team.

Kudos to Air Force One, the Big Fundamental, TP, GINOBILI!, etc. … the better team won this Western Conference Final (watch ’til the end of the vid-clip).

Now … just as it was told to you, in advance, earlier this season, on Feb 9, 2008, what would eventually happen in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference …

And so It Begins, again … as Phil Jackson now heads toward what will eventually be his (legendary) 10th NBA Championship, as an NBA head coach.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

1 & 1A in the NBA’s Western Conference

May 29, 2008

Four months ago, on December 25, 2007, this corner correctly identified for you the best 2 teams in the Western Conference this year, before either had yet amassed the top W-L record in their half of the NBA.

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part II

The reigning champs will try to stave off elimination tonight, as the soon-to-be DOMINANT power in the West seeks to close-out its opponent at home. 

Given that the NBA’s Head Office has now acknowledged a two-shot foul SHOULD have been called on this decisive play at the end of Game 4 …

it would not surprise in the least to see the Spurs … either:

1) Go down fighting like champions, in a last possession game, this evening,

OR

2) Push this series back to San Antonio for a Game 6.

It’s going to take a special team to dethrone this group of Spurs …

and these Lakers (even without Andrew Bynum) just might be THAT team.

True character …

May 28, 2008

… is revealed during Life’s moments of disappointment.

The R.E.S.P.E.C.T. which this corner has for Gregg Popovich and his San Antonio Spurs is at its zenith today, due to an interivew like this …

Post-Game Interview (Game 4)

which captures what Air Force One stands for as a Leader and a Man.

On the court, the Spurs were not quite good enough to get the job done yesterday but, off the court, they were plenty good enough in The Ways of Life That Count The Most.

A tip of the hat to Coach Pop and his Spurs.

Rock & Hammer – How the Spurs won Game 3

May 26, 2008


What’s the reason(s) San Antonio was able to rebound last night and win Game 3 against the Lakers, at home, trailing 0-2?

 

Reason One

 

According to last night’s TNT broadcast this is the quotation which hangs on the wall in the San Antonio locker room, inscribed in each language spoken by a member of their team:

 
————————————————–

When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much a a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” – Jacob Riis (American newspaper reporter and photographer, 1849-1914)

————————————————–
 

This is all you need to know about Air Force One.

 

Reason Two

 

If you’ve followed what this corner has had to say about this Spurs team, this season … in this space and elsewhere (i.e. different Live Blogging Events and other sites run by other bloggers) … you already know it was suggested earlier in this series that two of the things which HAD TO HAPPEN, if the Spurs were going to be able to get themselves back in it were: (i) Gregg Popovich was going to have to solve a certain riddle, pertaining to one Lamar Odom (6-10, 230) and the “normal rotation” of the Spurs and that, if Coach Pop finally does “figure it out”, (ii) the proper players for him to use more this series are (A) Robert Horry and (B) Brent Barry, in place of Ime Udoka.

 

Well … as the old saying goes,

 

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

 

Robert Horry, Brent Barry & Ime Udoka, Game 3
 

Reason Three

 

GINOBILI!


Manu Ginobili, Game 3

 
Nuff said.

 

 

 

 

It is going to take a special team to knock the reigning champs out of this year’s NBA title chase; a very special team.

 

Live Blogging @ LABalltalk.com for Game 2

May 23, 2008

Wanna talk about some NBA playoff hoops?
Live & in-person? … sort of

http://LABalltalk.com is the place for tonight’s Lakers vs Spurs match-up.

Start time: 8:45 PM ET.

Bring your hoops IQ and your quick wit … to discuss The Game, first & foremost, then whatever else strikes your fancy.