Author Archives: tupark82
Before you read this, just understand that this is nothing but a short rant of a basketball fan that has had enough of the garbage that is Carmelo Anthony’s game. I am not here to give you the details. If you’ve been watching the games, you simply understand what I am talking about.
I am infuriated these days when I watch the New York Knicks play. Linsanity ended the moment Melo laced ‘em up again.
Not that Melo isn’t causing problems on the offensive end with his black hole style, but his offense was never my concern.
The problem with him has been and always will be on the defensive end. The dude just doesn’t try. I am sick of watching him float around instead of closing out on shooters he’s supposed to rotate to. It’s maddening to see him stand around instead of boxing out and going after the ball the way a man of his size at his position needs to. He, along with Amar’e (will have to save him for another day), has to be one of the worst defensive combinations in the league, if for no other reason than the total lack of effort.
The casual fans will want to see you score. The real fans are begging to see a defensive effort before anything else.
During the All-Star break, Stephen A. Smith asked Melo to name the top-five players in the league. He included himself along with Kobe, Lebron, Howard and KD.
On what planet?
Melo is a fitting name because that’s exactly what he is. He, in fact, is mellow on the court and there’s nothing intense about the dude’s game. It’s as if he’s just chilling out there until he gets his chance to shoot. You know who else is really chill? TMNT member Michelangelo. Melo should beam “Cowabunga dude!” whenever he makes a shot. At least it would be entertaining.
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By now, the story of Jeremy Lin has been beyond well documented and most are well aware of what he has done for the Knicks, coming out of nowhere from blah blah blah. Let me spare all the formalities of discussing his background and get straight to the point.
Jeremy Lin is unstoppable on offense.
That sentiment is not a hyperbole. I have discussed Lin’s qualities as a point guard here, but did not previously have enough games to evaluate his abilities as an offensive weapon. Point guards, or any guard for that matter, don’t usually possess the type of all around skill sets Lin has shown purely from a scoring stand point. It’s not unfair to say this aspect of his game has been somewhat overlooked because of the focus on how well he can or cannot run the team as the point guard. Lets look at all the combination of qualities he has displayed on the offensive end thus far.
1. Blow by first step – I have yet to see a single player that can stay in front of Lin on isolation situations. This allows him to consistently create for himself (and others of course). Contrary to what he does for the team, no one else really creates any shots for Lin.
2. Consistent mid-range jump shot – Early word was that he had a spotty jump shot. It’s safe to say that that’s been proven wrong with consistent playing time. He has shot 23-of-38 for a robust 60.5% from 10 feet to the 3-point line on the season
3. Long range jump shot – Since taking over the starting job, Lin has shot 38.5% from 3-point range going 10-of-26 in the span of eight games, including a game winning dagger against the Raptors
4. Step back jump shot – His ball handling, including cross-over and hesitation, allows him to create separation to get a shot off at any time.
5. Quick release – It’s not a coincidence that not many defenders can bother Lin’s shot. Click the link for details.
6. Floater in the paint – He knows when to take the floater when the defense fails to recover on time instead of trying to finish at the basket every time with a hand in the face. Many point guards fail at this part of the game, as the mid-range game is one of the toughest to master.
7. A strong finisher at the rim - The guy can flat out finish baskets with either hand, a valuable asset for point guards. He has converted 35-of-60 shots at the rim including two dunks, good for 58% on the season.
8. Create contact and finish – This is where his underrated size comes into play. At 6’3″ and 200lbs, he can take a solid hit from the biggest players in the world and still finish at the rim. Lin already has 12 and-one plays. His aggressive style of play often forces the whistle(though still not enough in my opinion) to be blown. This means two things: get the opposition in foul trouble, and get to the line consistently. As a starter, he has averaged over 8 attempts per game from the free throw line. Converting them is another story (70.8%).
9. Shot selection – How often do you see a player taking an absolutely ill-advised shot? Too often by my count. Just about every shot he takes comes from what the defense gives him rather than because he is on a hot streak. No “heat check” shots from Lin.
10. Fearless and clutch – As good as Lin has been, he saves the best for last. In the fourth quarter, he has shot 29-of-54 for 53.7%, besting his first three quarters by nearly 6%. He becomes a tougher offensive player when the moment gets bigger.
At the end of the day, we have a point guard who, through the first 8 starts of his career, has led his team to a 7-1 record shooting 50.7% from the field and averaged 25 points on 17.8 attempts per game.
Usually, you don’t want your point guard to shoot nearly 18 times per game. When he converts more than 50% of them, however, it becomes a necessity to utilize it. Indeed, among all starting point guards that attempts at least 10 shots per game, Lin’s field goal percentage trails only the player he is often compared to these days: Steve Nash. We’ve seen the criticism of heavy shooting point guards such as Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose in the past for shooting too much at times, but they’d get far less criticism if they converted 50% or more of those shots.
It takes a truly cerebral and special offensive talent to possess and execute so many weapons. From a scoring stand point, he is one of the most sound players we have seen in a long time at the point guard position. His passing is very good, turnovers and all, but his ability to find players largely stems from what he can do offensively. It should be difficult to figure out when to shoot and when to pass when you are so efficient at such a young age, but again, he has found a way to to do both based on what the defense gives him. As he often says about the opposition’s defense, “something has to give”.
If Lin can bring up his free throw percentage, look out. Anyone that wonders whether Lin can continue to play well with the return of Carmelo Anthony, ask yourselves if his skill sets are suddenly going to disappear. As long as the ball starts with Lin, we will continue to witness a special talent evolve before our eyes. Because of Lin, the Knicks are contenders in the making this season. This season.
I’ll save that for another day though.
I just found the real life Jafar and his name is Anthony Davis:
There are many skeptical analysts and fans about the sensation that is Jeremy Lin. There is certainly some logic/reason for this, as the sample size is simply too small and two to three games does not make a player.
I questioned whether he could sustain such a high level of play after hisfirst sensational game against the NJ Nets. Logic and history suggested that once teams actually prepare for him and adjust defensively, he would struggle. Still, like most, I believed the Knicks at the very least found a temporary solution until they can get Baron Davis back.
After watching Lin lead the Knicks as a starter for two more convincing victories, however, I am now fully convinced that a star has been born.
What I am not sold on are those that claim that Lin is one of the following: fluke, competent, solid second stringer, and regress to the mean(whatever that means).
There are eight(considered a lucky number in Chinese culture) strong reasons to believe Lin’s accomplishments are far from a fluke or a one week wonder:
1. Sees the floor and understands developing plays, as well as knowing who to pass to in what situation
2. Excellent decision maker on the pick and roll and executes the pass
3. Excellent ball handler; keeps dribble alive and low; effective hesitation dribble
4. Plays at a controlled and comfortable pace and stays patient. Stays within the flow of the game
5. Ability to score and finish at the rim with a variety of moves makes him a multidimensional asset
6. Defensively sound and gets after it; good help defender
7. Size. At 6’3″ and 200lbs, he is actually one of the bigger point guards in the league with deceptive athleticism and quickness
8. Selfless. Lack of ego allows him to only care about the correct plays instead of focusing on any personal agenda on the floor
The qualities listed aren’t flukes or the result of a hot streak. They are permanent qualities that aren’t going to suddenly disappear. The description of his qualities formulate to a point guard that can dominate games if given the reigns.
He has been given the reigns.
Mike D’Antoni certainly seems to agree, and what he thinks is relevant because none of this happens if D’Antoni doesn’t give Lin a chance to play. And so much of the NBA is about the chance and opportunity to showcase talent.
Mike D’Antoni: ”I think it’s for real. The things that are real are his vision, which won’t change; his speed, which won’t change; his knowledge of the game, which won’t change. I think it can only get better.”
Some of Lin’s weaknesses include the following: a suspect jump shot, lack of range, and weak going to the left. The fact of the matter is, there is no player that doesn’t have weaknesses. Everyone has flaws, and to write off a player because of certain weaknesses would be a mistake. I remember when doubt rose about a certain Frenchman point guard that could not shoot consistently early in his career. How did that turn out?
Another argument brought up is the fact that Lin’s ridiculous streak of dominance came against terrible teams. The problem with that argument is the Knicks have been one of those terrible teams. They were supposed to be astronomically bad when both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were lost for various reasons. It was supposed to be the reason for why the Knicks would lose games in their absence, not an excuse for why Lin would dominate because of it.
Of the three games Lin dominated, two of them were mostly played with the following lineup: Lin, Fields, Walker, Jeffries, Chandler. On paper, it is arguably one of the worst if not the worst NBA lineup in the league. Lin should be praised the way he praises the Lord for winning despite such dire circumstances. Anyone simply looking at who the Knicks played to get the wins isn’t looking at the circumstances of why the Knicks should not have won.
The one argument I can agree with is the fact that he is unlikely to continue this torrid pace. He has averaged 25 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists on a blistering 58% from the field. Though that likely wraps him up for a player of the week honors, it would be foolish to believe those are sustainable averages especially when the starters come back.
Just because he can’t sustain those types of numbers, it does not mean he can’t sustain a dominant level of play which is what matters the most. He does not have to average 25 points per game to be as equally as effective as he has been.
Remember, this is not some 29 year old from overseas that is about to pass his prime. He is only a second year player at the age of 23 with an accomplished background. There are reasons to doubt his current pace, but there is no reason to doubt his skill sets that allowed him to accomplish the current pace.
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Jeremy Lin has always been a fan favorite, despite playing next to no real meaningful minutes in the NBA. As a Golden State Warrior, there was never louder cheers than when Lin entered a game. Same remained true when he became a Knick, but he was still regarded mostly as a bench warmer. All of that changed tonight when he outplayed one of the best point guards in the game in Deron Williams and helped the Knicks defeat the Nets 99-92.
The Knicks had just come off back to back games and was in the midst of playing their 3rd game in 3 nights. It showed as the Nets got out to an early 30-20 lead, getting any shot they wanted and deflating the impatient MSG crowd.
In came Lin off the bench who changed the complexion of the game by controlling the tempo and making crisp passes en route to an unexpectedly productive first half. He also helped in holding Deron Williams scoreless in the second quarter. Still, no one could have predicted what was to come, as everyone was still mostly just surprised at how effective Lin had played in the second quarter.
As the third quarter began, the usual stagnant Knicks offense continued, so in came Lin with over 8 minutes left to play which helped put players in their natural positions. That alone helped the Knicks find a better flow. However, Melo’s shot was terribly off and their options on offense were limited because Amare was out with foul trouble. The Nets decided to double and triple team Melo, leaving Lin wide open for jumpers. Lin seemed exposed as he missed 4 straight wide open shots. The Nets took advantage of the short comings and built a 7 point lead late in the 3rd, threatening to open up the game. Still, Lin managed to have a positive effect on the game by doing the little things like taking charges, playing with energy, and diving for balls like players on a desperate team should. And then suddenly, he started doing big things.
With only about 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Lin drove to the basket as the Knicks spacing gave him an opening with no help behind Williams. He converted a 3 point play as Deron fouled him. It was a huge momentum breaker for the Nets who likely didn’t even have Lin on their scouting reports. On the Knicks final possession, Lin once again drove to the basket and converted a 3 point play, nearly evening up the score at 72-70. The crowd was in an absolute frenzy as they chanted “JER-E-MY”, but the night was only going to get better.
As the fourth quarter began, Jeremy looked noticeably tired. At this point, it was obvious that he was playing purely on adrenaline as he had never come close to playing for so long in an NBA game. Despite belief that he would need a breather, he stayed in the game and continued to attack.
Realizing the defense gave him enough space to shoot, Lin let a 15 footer fly. Bang. When he wasn’t scoring, he made all the correct passes to set teammates up for good rhythm shots. When the defense gave him enough space again, Lin let another 15 footer fly. Bang again. Defensively, he frustrated and limited Deron Williams to a 7-19 shooting night. It became apparent that Lin had complete control of the game. As the jump shots began to fall, the defense tightened. He saw an opening and drove to his left for a reverse lay up. Even he could no longer keep his normally stoic face as he broke a big smile. The entire arena, including the team and even the Nets broadcasters(I witnessed this game through their broadcast as well), could not believe what they were witnessing.
“It’s the Jeremy Lin show here at MSG!”, Mike Breen would shout.
“Winning and grinning!”, beamed Walt Frazier.
“Jeremy Lin is unstoppable!”, yelled Ian Eagle.
Down the stretch of the fourth quarter when the team needed it the most, Jeremy split a double team and drove to the basket for yet another and one finish prompting him to do a fist pump and a scream of “Lets go!”. It was a fitting reaction as he wrapped up the best basketball game of his life. In total, he converted 4 baskets while being fouled, and the game was effectively over after his final drive to the basket right through Deron Williams gave the Knicks an 11 point lead. His stats for the night looked like this: 10-19 FG, 5-7 FT, 25 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals.
On a night where Carmelo Anthony shot 3-15 for 11 points and Amare Stoudemire could only muster 25 minutes of play due to foul trouble, Jeremy Lin became the most unlikely yet the most necessary hero to win this game. It showed that until Baron Davis comes back, they have a real point guard to run the team. It also may have saved D’Antoni’s job. After coming off two very tough losses, this was an absolute must win game for the Knicks who are now 9-15, good for 1.5 spots behind the 8th seed.
A wonderful opportunity has knocked Lin’s door. It’s not every day a point guard desperate to land on an NBA team lands on an NBA team that has never needed point guard play more than these Knicks. Lin was finally given the opportunity to play and he ran away with it as hard as he could tonight.
It remains to be seen if Jeremy Lin can sustain this level of play. Teams will surely adjust accordingly now that he has had his coming out party. For at least one game though, he put MSG and Knicks fans all over the world in a state of ecstacy with his shocking play. MSG hadn’t been so loud in so long. The Knicks and its fans needed someone like Jeremy as much as Jeremy needed the Knicks.
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2. Chicago – Gained Rip, but lost Bogans and Thomas’ D. Can Rose finally share the ball like a real PG and can the Bulls finally stop making the excuse that no one else on the team can score?
3. Boston – Core intact. still one of the toughest teams, but will continue to regret decision to trade Perk, esp. given Green’s situation
4. New York – So much fire power PLUS defense w/ addition of Chandler, Shumpert, and Woodson, but needs Davis to come back healthy badly for real PG play
5. Orlando – Uncertainty looms large, reminiscent of Denver last season
6. Atlanta – They are what they are, a bunch of talented players playing out of position with no depth. When will they end the Marvin Williams experiment and acquire a real center?
7. Milwaukee – If Bogut healthy, w/ addition of Jackson, may be one of the best defensive teams in the league. Also may be the worst shooting team in the history of the NBA
8. New Jersey – Lopez gone, Okur in. Will AK also join? It’s as if the Jazz split in half. The core of old Jazz, Avery, and the 2nd best PG in the league? Count me in.
9. Philadelphia – Can Elton Brand continue to produce? Can they continue to trot Hawes as starting Center and be successful?
10. Indiana – Can Hibbert gel with West? Is West ok after microfracture surgery? Can Paul George grow with Granger on the same team?
11. Washington – Wall will rise, but the rest of team won’t. too immature
12. Detroit – When will they let Dumars go? Resigned Prince…
13. Cleveland – Kyrie will impress, but too many nobodies
14. Toronto – No identity, no direction
15. Charlotte – When Maggette is your most reliable player, you are in trouble
2. OKC – With Perkins fully back and healthy, this team looks to take the next step in becoming one of the most well rounded team on both ends of the court
3. Dallas – Big loss with Tyson hurts less with acquisition of Odom. Their biggest loss is Barea, the one guy on this team that could break down defenses. Without another dangerous creator, is this team good enough offensively?
4. LA Lakers – So many questions, but talent alone is good enough for this spot. Can Kobe/Bynum stay clear of injuries? Do they address lack of creator outside of Kobe?
5. Spurs – No changes, window slowly coming to a close
6. Portland – We will miss the most fundamentally sound SG of the past decade. Solid team, but not serious contenders without Roy
7. Memphis – Rudy Gay is back. Team came together without him. Can they infuse him back into the new philosophy?
8. Golden State – Everyone healthy(curry’s ankle still a concern), many pieces added. Small back court still an issue, but depth no longer an issue. Will Lacob finally make the big move and trade Ellis?
9. Denver – Losing 3 players to china hurts. Tough gritty team and hard to count out Karl, but not the same team. Have to wonder if team truly believes Lawson can break out, given they’ve brought back Andre Miller
10. Houston – Mchale’s first full season will be interesting, but lost key defensive stopper Hayes. Can Lowry build on his new found late season dominance without Adelman’s directions?
11. Phoenix – It’s time to trade Nash and start over. Team stuck in mediocrity, but Nash to Gortat will still be a fun watch
12. Sacramento – Can they really run with Evans as PG? Experiment already failed number of times. Has Cousins grown out of immaturity? Will there be chemistry with so many 2 guards?
13. Minnesota – Intriguing amount of talent with Adelman for guidance. Not enough time for young players to grasp Adelman’s intricate playbooks, but perhaps one season away from becoming something special. This will be Love’s true breakout season, and Rubio looks to prove hype is real
14. Utah – Bleak future with loss of Sloan and identity. Every team Jefferson goes to is a loser, even the Jazz.
15. New Orleans – Future looks bright. Current situation looks to be a mess
The dunk didn’t actually change the game much, but it certainly changed the mood of the world. I covered my mouth the way Blake does when he can’t believe a call and yelled out a big “OHHHHHH SHIIIT!!” when this happened before my eyes, and saw the rest of the world on twitter go bonkers with me. This is why I love this game.
This season has been a deja vu of sorts for the 3rd year NBA star point guard Stephen Curry. Simply put, that means this season has been a disaster for him thus far.
Just after the lock out ended, I was given the honor of having a chat session with Curry. Long story short, Curry held a contest and I won. During the conversation, I asked him my most concerning question which was the status of his surgically repaired right ankle.
“100% ready to go,” he said.
When I told him how relieved I was of hearing that news, he somewhat joked that he “probably did it once a week last season”, but that surgery was definitely the fixer upper.
Fast forward to his second preseason game against the Kings, without any warning or sign of a significant turn, Curry’s ankle gave out while guarding Jimmer Fredette with less than a minute left in the first half. He did the all-too-familiar limp and swing of both arms before crumpling to the floor. It was a demoralizing and confusing moment for Curry who did all the right things up to that point and had no reason to question whether he would re-injure the ankle again. The scariest thing about the ankle turn was that it did not happen on a basketball play nor did it look like a typical sprain.
Thankfully, the MRI showed no structural damage. He sat out the next 4 days without any basketball activity before making the decision to give it a go for the season opener against the new look Clippers. Many were concerned that Curry was coming back too soon. He was clearly rusty as he shot 2-12 from the floor and even missed his lone free throw attempt. The Warriors ended up losing the game 105-86, as they lost complete control down the stretch. The great news, however, was that Curry’s ankle survived and seemed mostly okay.
Then came the second game of the season where Curry absolutely torched Derrick Rose and the Bulls on his way to a spectacular night. He was well on his way to a triple double with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, and 6 steals. This was a clear sign that his ankle was, in fact, feeling much better. Even clearer was the fact that Curry had the potential and ability to be a dominant point guard in this league all the while co-existing with Ellis, proving doubters like Tim Kawakami and Matt Steinmetz wrong.
However, disaster struck again with a little more than half way to go in the fourth quarter. He went up for a floater on a fast break and as he came down, he stepped on Kyle Korver’s sorry ass foot (I hate when players are careless about where they leave their foot against another person coming down from the air) and sprained his surgically repaired right ankle. It was a disheartening moment for Curry and Warriors fans yet again. The Warriors barely hung on to win the game, but the win was completely dampened by Curry’s situation. The one positive to take from the situation was that for once, he sprained his ankle on a basketball play. All tests came back negative once again, and he would only sit out one game against the Knicks.
He came back against the Sixers going 9-15 from the field for 21 points but also turned the ball over 5 times. The Warriors were offensively challenged all around as Monta Ellis was out of the lineup and David Lee had an incredibly cold shooting night, on their way to the worst blowout of the season.
He finally had an awful game against the Suns without any reasonable excuse. He reached and committed needless and costly fouls on his way to 5 fouls in 23 minutes of play. I’m sure he heard what he needed from Mark Jackson in regards to that game. It felt like he wanted no part of the game, and the Warriors lost.
Then came his second spectacular performance of the season against the Spurs on the road. Tony Parker could do nothing to contain Curry as he cruised through 3 quarters with a cool 20 points, 8 assists and 2 turnovers and well on his way to a 30/10 game, before the final disaster to date happened.
Curry came up with a loose ball, looked up to make his signature full court pass for his ninth assist, and suddenly threw the ball away and crumpled to the floor. All anyone could think was “oh lord not again”. Indeed, Curry sprained his ankle for the 3rd time in less than 2 weeks. Worst of all, he did it once again without anyone near him. His foot simply seemed to slip a bit as he put pressure on it and the ankle was tweaked just like that, new shoes and all. The basketball world may never have seen this kind of situation in the past. I certainly never have.
Everyone held their breath for yet another MRI. Once again, it somehow came back negative. The team held him out for nearly two weeks this time, and he would end up missing 8 games, much like last season when he sprained his ankle on his own against the Spurs. I wasn’t kidding when I said deja vu. The difference between last season and this season is that he was playing with torn ligaments last season, while it is structurally sound this season.
Many theories have been brought up regarding his ankle and why it keeps happening from the type of shoes he wears to just the way he steps on his foot with every step. He will certainly have to address and study these issues in the off season.
Curry has been back now for 4 games. With the exception of one game, he has generally been inconsistent all around. It is clear that he is still not 100% from the ankle sprains. This is evident when he drives to the basket, which he hasn’t really done at all unless he is wide open. He is unsure of which foot to take off of and in turn, loses focus on finishing the actual layup.
This is not the Curry I know. This is not the Curry that goes up for dunks(albeit softly) on fast breaks. This is not the Curry that had five 30 point 10 assist games in his rookie season, bested only by Lebron James and Dwyane Wade. This is not the Curry that can get into the paint to disrupt opponent’s defenses and make certain big men look silly with his signature fakes. I can only wait for him to feel more comfortable with his ankle before we see the real Curry that can still dominate for the rest of this season. When healthy, he has the talent to be a top 5 point guard in the league.
Honestly, I won’t be able to watch another Warriors game comfortably without cringing at every Curry flail for the next 5 games or so. If this is how I feel watching him, imagine how he must feel. It has to still be in his head. The believers are waiting for the ankle to feel better so that he can play more games like he did against the Bulls and the Spurs and help save the Warriors season. I am certainly one of those believers. The balance of the Warriors season depends on the return of Curry in a healthy state of mind. If the ankle bothers him throughout the season, we won’t see the real Curry and the Warriors season will be lost once again.
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