DAILY BEST PERFORMANCES – MAR 30, 2012

Best Performances
Chris Paul (0.428 WARP, 20-1-14, 4 stl, 1 tov, 8-13 FG)
Dwyane Wade (0.355 WARP, 30-6-6, 3 stl, 1 blk, 0 tov, 12-19 FG)
Rajon Rondo (0.343 WARP, 6-6-17, 3 stl, 2 tov)
Joakim Noah (0.300 WARP, 19-12-4, 1 stl, 2 blk, 2 tov, 7-11 FG)
Brandon Jennings (0.297 WARP, 28-2-6, 4 stl, 2 tov, 11-17 FG)
Gerald Wallace (0.267 WARP, 24-18-5, 6 stl, 1 blk, 4 tov)
Greg Monroe (0.256 WARP, 14-10-5, 2 stl, 0 tov)

Worst Performances
Mike Conley (-0.173 WARP, 7-1-0, 2 tov)
Wilson Chandler (-0.170 WARP, 6-3-0, 5 tov)
Will Bynum (-0.163 WARP, 0-3-0, 1 tov, 0-8 FG)
Tyson Chandler (-0.159 WARP, 4-9-1, 1 blk, 3 tov)

LIN TO MISS 6 WEEKS WITH TORN MENISCUS

Devastating news for Knicks fans and Jeremy Lin fanatics as Jeremy’s MRI results revealed that he has a torn meniscus and will have to undergo surgery, missing up to 6 weeks. With playoffs starting April 28, this means he is out for the remainder of the season, as well as the first week of playoffs.

With this injury announcement, a few underlying questions come to mind. When Jeremy does make his return and given the Knicks make the playoffs, will Coach Woodson play him at all? Will Jeremy be just another injury prone guard who was unable to reach his potential because of his health (ie. his ex-teammate Stephen Curry)?

Seriously a terrible way to end a fairy tale season and we wish Jeremy all the best with a speedy recovery.

DAILY BEST PERFORMANCES – MAR 29, 2012

Best Performances
Russell Westbrook (0.336 WARP, 36-1-6, 2 stl, 1 tov)

Worst Performances
Jason Terry (-0.175 WARP, 3-0-4, 3 tov, 1-10 FG)

FINAL FOUR TEAM CAPSULES

Statistics from NCAA tournament only, sorted by minutes played.  I'm not sure why Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, Gorgui Dieng, and Chane Behanan are not on the DraftExpress top 100.
Kansas
Elijah Johnson, Jr, 6'4 (0.543 WARP, 0.196 WP48, 33.3 mpg, 13.5-3.8-2.5, 1.3 stl, 0 blk, 1.8 tov)
Tyshawn Taylor, Sr, 6'3 (0.404 WARP, 0.148 WP48, 32.8 mpg, 12-5-3.8, 2.8 stl, 0 blk, 3.3 tov)
Thomas Robinson, Jr, 6'9 (0.475 WARP, 0.178 WP48, 32 mpg, 15.8-12.5-2, 1.3 stl, 0.3 blk, 2.5 tov)
Travis Releford, Jr, 6'5 (0.406 WARP, 0.163 WP48, 30 mpg, 8.3-4-0.8, 1.5 stl, 0 blk, 0.8 tov)
Jeff Withey, Jr, 7'0 (0.923 WARP, 0.422 WP48, 26.3 mpg, 8.5-6-0.8, 0.3 stl, 5 blk, 0.3 tov)
Conner Teahan, Sr, 6'5 (0.103 WARP, 0.054 WP48, 22.8 mpg, 3.5-1.8-1, 0.5 stl, 0 blk, 0.3 tov)
Kevin Young, Jr, 6'8 (0.041 WARP, 0.03 WP48, 16.3 mpg, 4-5.3-1.3, 0 stl, 0.5 blk, 1 tov)
Naadir Tharpe, Fr, 5'11 (-0.169 WARP, -0.478 WP48, 4.3 mpg, 1.5-0.5-0.5, 0 stl, 0 blk, 1.5 tov)
Justin Wesley, So, 6'8 (0.021 WARP, 0.102 WP48, 2.5 mpg, 0.8-0.3-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
Jordan Juenemann, Sr, 6'3 (0 WARP, 0.023 WP48, 0.3 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
DraftExpress Top 100 prospects: Thomas Robinson (#4), Tyshawn Taylor (#31), Elijah Johnson (#66), Jeff Withey (#91)
Kentucky
Marquis Teague, Fr, 6'2 (0.421 WARP, 0.151 WP48, 33.5 mpg, 14.5-3-5.3, 0.8 stl, 0 blk, 2.8 tov)
Anthony Davis, Fr, 6'10 (1.187 WARP, 0.428 WP48, 33.3 mpg, 14.5-11-2.8, 0.8 stl, 4.5 blk, 0.8 tov)
Terrence Jones, So, 6'9 (0.786 WARP, 0.29 WP48, 32.5 mpg, 13.5-8.8-2.8, 1.3 stl, 1.5 blk, 1.3 tov)
Darius Miller, Sr, 6'8 (0.551 WARP, 0.207 WP48, 32 mpg, 13-3.3-2.3, 0.5 stl, 0.3 blk, 0.5 tov)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Fr, 6'7 (0.061 WARP, 0.023 WP48, 32 mpg, 13.5-7.3-1.3, 0 stl, 0.3 blk, 2.3 tov)
Doron Lamb, So, 6'4 (0.292 WARP, 0.118 WP48, 29.8 mpg, 16.8-2-0.8, 0.8 stl, 0 blk, 1.8 tov)
Kyle Wiltjer, Fr, 6'9 (-0.129 WARP, -0.259 WP48, 6 mpg, 2.3-0.5-0, 0 stl, 0.3 blk, 0.8 tov)
Eloy Vargas, Sr, 6'11 (-0.007 WARP, -0.087 WP48, 1 mpg, 0-0.7-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
Brian Long, Fr, 5'9 (0 WARP, 0 WP48, 0 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
Jarrod Polson, So, 6'2 (0 WARP, 0 WP48, 0 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
Twany Beckham, Jr, 6'5 (0 WARP, 0 WP48, 0 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
DraftExpress Top 100 prospects:  Anthony Davis (#1), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#3), Terrence Jones (#12), Doron Lamb (#36), Marquis Teague (#40), Darius Miller (#63).
Louisville
Kyle Kuric, Sr, 6'4 (0.375 WARP, 0.127 WP48, 35.5 mpg, 9.5-2.3-0.5, 1 stl, 0.8 blk, 0.3 tov)
Gorgui Dieng, So, 6'11 (0.693 WARP, 0.247 WP48, 33.8 mpg, 7-8-0.5, 1.3 stl, 3.3 blk, 0.5 tov)
Chane Behanan, Fr, 6'6 (0.693 WARP, 0.26 WP48, 32 mpg, 14-7.8-0.8, 1.3 stl, 0.8 blk, 1.5 tov)
Peyton Siva, Jr, 6'0 (0.309 WARP, 0.127 WP48, 29.3 mpg, 9-2-7, 1 stl, 0 blk, 3 tov)
Chris Smith, Sr, 6'2 (0.114 WARP, 0.051 WP48, 26.8 mpg, 7.3-3.5-0.3, 0.8 stl, 0 blk, 1 tov)
Russ Smith, So, 6'0 (0.273 WARP, 0.16 WP48, 20.5 mpg, 13.3-3-1.3, 1.3 stl, 0 blk, 2.3 tov)
Jared Swopshire, Jr, 6'8 (0.322 WARP, 0.303 WP48, 12.8 mpg, 3-2-0.5, 0.5 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
Wayne Blackshear, Fr, 6'5 (-0.038 WARP, -0.082 WP48, 5.5 mpg, 0.8-1.5-0, 0.3 stl, 0 blk, 0.3 tov)
Elisha Justice, So, 5'10 (-0.047 WARP, -0.225 WP48, 2.5 mpg, 0.7-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0.3 tov)
Zach Price, Fr, 6'10 (-0.013 WARP, -0.321 WP48, 0.5 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
DraftExpress Top 100 prospects: Peyton Siva (#81)
Ohio State
Deshaun Thomas, So, 6'7 (0.768 WARP, 0.241 WP48, 38.3 mpg, 22.3-8.8-0.8, 0.3 stl, 1.3 blk, 2 tov)
Aaron Craft, So, 6'2 (0.883 WARP, 0.281 WP48, 37.8 mpg, 10.3-4-5.8, 3.3 stl, 0 blk, 3.3 tov)
William Buford, Sr, 6'6 (0.211 WARP, 0.073 WP48, 34.8 mpg, 11.8-5.5-1.5, 1.3 stl, 0 blk, 2.3 tov)
Lenzelle Smith Jr., So, 6'4 (0.292 WARP, 0.114 WP48, 30.8 mpg, 10.8-5.3-1, 0.5 stl, 0.3 blk, 1.5 tov)
Jared Sullinger, So, 6'9 (0.968 WARP, 0.384 WP48, 30.3 mpg, 18-8.3-1.5, 1 stl, 1.5 blk, 1.3 tov)
Shannon Scott, Fr, 6'1 (-0.002 WARP, -0.002 WP48, 11.8 mpg, 1-0.8-0.8, 0.8 stl, 0 blk, 0.8 tov)
Evan Ravenel, Jr, 6'8 (-0.17 WARP, -0.292 WP48, 7 mpg, 1.5-1.3-0, 0 stl, 0.3 blk, 1 tov)
Sam Thompson, Fr, 6'7 (0.101 WARP, 0.22 WP48, 5.5 mpg, 1-0.8-0.5, 0.3 stl, 0 blk, 0.3 tov)
Amir Williams, Fr, 6'11 (0.001 WARP, 0.003 WP48, 3.3 mpg, 1.5-2-0.5, 0 stl, 1.5 blk, 1 tov)
J.D. Weatherspoon, So, 6'6 (-0.015 WARP, -0.237 WP48, 0.8 mpg, 0-0-0, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 tov)
DraftExpress Top 100 prospects: Jared Sullinger (#6), William Buford (#61)

DAILY BEST PERFORMANCES – MAR 28, 2012

Best Performances
Luke Ridnour (0.430 WARP, 15-5-14, 2 stl, 1 blk, 2 tov)
Deron Williams (0.419 WARP, 30-3-9, 2 stl, 1 tov)
Kevin Love (0.373 WARP, 40-19-4, 2 tov)
Chris Paul (0.346 WARP, 15-5-15, 2 stl, 2 tov)
Kevin Garnett (0.313 WARP, 23-10-4, 2 stl, 1 blk, 1 tov, 10-16)
Tayshaun Prince (0.296 WARP, 29-8-3, 0 tov)
Jarrett Jack (0.291 WARP, 20-3-9, 1 stl, 1 tov)
Ty Lawson (0.286 WARP, 26-4-9, 2 stl, 1 tov)
Luol Deng (0.286 WARP, 22-2-3, 2 stl, 1 blk, 0 tov)
Marco Belinelli (0.270 WARP, 22-1-6, 3 stl, 2 tov, 9-13 FG)

Worst Performances
Danny Granger (-0.248 WARP, 5-3-0, 4 tov, 2-8 FG)
Sebastian Telfair (-0.185 WARP, 0-0-0, 2 tov, 0-5 FG)
Luke Walton (-0.151 WARP, 0-0-0, 2 tov)

Last night Steve Nash scored 1 point while dishing out 15 assists.  The Player Finder found two other instances of that combination, both by John Stockton.

DEFENSIVE COACHES

We blogged earlier about the best coaches in the NBA.  The numbers show that the best coaches generally make their impact felt on defense, not offense.  A possible explanation is that players have less incentives to play defense, since they are paid mostly based on their offensive statistics.  Thus, a great coach is one who can get his players to commit play hard on the defensive end.

I wonder, however, if good coaches impact all players equally.  Can a good defensive coach (e.g. Thibodeau) make a good defensive player (e.g. Deng) into a great one?  Or, is the impact limited to making bad defensive players (e.g. Skiles on Monta Ellis) into average ones?  Perhaps each player has a physical limit on their defensive abilities, and the best coaching cannot improve a player beyond this point?  Or, is coaching defense more about system and tactics, instead of improving individual effort.  Any thoughts?

NYK-ORL AFTERTHOUGHTS 3-28-12

He may not have made the shot, but JR Smith is crossing people up as if he’s still playing in China.

 

I might be kicking myself later for blogging this prematurely, but Melo’s back! Melo looked a lot like his old self last night, scoring 25 points in 26 minutes on 9-15 shooting, despite visibly fighting through a pesky groin injury. However, this just leads me to believe two things.

1)      Melo plays a lot better when he is the one and only go-to option on the team (ie. His role on the Denver Nuggets). I can see how this makes sense because when you have other people on the floor who are capable of taking over a game, you either start to second guess your next steps in order to factor them in or are more likely to defer to them. Also, you can’t disregard the fact that Melo is a high profile athlete who loves to be in the spotlight and have the game on his shoulders.

2)       Melo sees this opportunity with Lin and Amare out to redeem his reputation as the “Linsanity/Coach Killer” that was tagged on him the days following his comeback from injury. He wants to prove everyone wrong and get back on the good graces of Knick fans.

If you read my blogs, you know that I have been a huge fan of Iman Shumpert’s game so you can only imagine how happy I was to see the way he played last night. He had a career night: 25 pts (4-10 from downtown), 7 rebs, and 4 assists. Not only was his stat sheet impressive, but he took over on both ends of the court which is mainly why I’m such a fan of his game. It is beautiful to see how he transitioned from that rookie who got hurt on opening night to the developed player that he is today. At times when there were lulls in last night’s game, he seemed to take over like a veteran would and seldom seemed out of control anymore. Probably my favorite trait of Shumpert is his ability to be a self-starter without relying on his teammates. Whether up 20 or down 20, he never fails to display his enthusiasm on defense which is usually contagious enough to get the rest of the team going. He will stay low to the ground and pester your ball handle, viciously fight through screens (he drew three illegal screen calls on the Magic last night), and hustle for loose balls. His energy is exactly what the Knicks need.

So it seems that Coach Woodson has the full respect and undivided attention of the Knicks players now. As a result, the Knicks are playing like a completely different team, so much that they are catching teams who played them pre-coaching change (ie. Milkwaukee) off guard since they are getting completely different looks on offense. The Knicks have averaged 86 points allowed since Woodson took over! Then you have teams like Orlando who seemingly underestimated the crippled Knicks “JV team” and started playing with a sense of urgency too little, too late. With two games this upcoming weekend, the Knicks will have to fend off a vengeful Atlanta Hawks and hopefully steamroll past the Cleveland Cavaliers with an easy win.

DAILY BEST PERFORMANCES – MAR 27, 2012

Best Performances
Russell Westbrook (0.375 WARP, 32-3-8, 3 stl, 2 tov, 16-26 FG)
Dante Cunningham (0.264 WARP, 13-14-1, 2 stl, 4 blk, 0 tov, 6-9 FG)
Mike Conley (0.263 WARP, 12-5-8, 3 stl, 1 blk, 2 tov)

Dante Cunningham is quietly having a solid year after signing a 3-yr, $7mm contract with the Grizzlies in the offseason.  The Player Finder found 46 instances where a player recorded at least 14 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4 blocks, with no turnovers.  The leaders were Ben Wallace (8 times), David Robinson (4 times), Hakeem Olajuwon (3 times) and Marcus Camby (3 times).    That’s pretty good company for the 6’8″ Cunningham.

NYK-MIL AFTERTHOUGHTS 3-26-12

The Knicks secured a gutsy win last night against Milwaukee without Amar’e and Jeremy, though it was far from pretty. They knew this was a must win game and they executed. Defensive intensity was pretty consistent all game, despite the fact that Mike Dunleavy (after 2 standout performances against the Knicks, can we nickname him the new “Knicks Killer”?) went off against them scoring 24 points in 13 minutes by halftime. Rebounding was sensational last night as the Knicks secured 54 of them, ironically without Amar’e. Perhaps, some of the smaller guys are realizing that they have to step up their rebounding with one of their big men out indefinitely. However, turnovers are still an issue that continues to plague the Knicks (23 last night, 9 coming from Baron Davis) and shooting percentage was poor, so there is still much work to be done. I think Melo must have read my post yesterday as he started off the game hot making a quick 3 field goals with confidence, showing resemblance to the Melo we all know and love. He cooled off a bit for the rest of the game, scoring baskets here and there but still grabbed 12 rebounds and shot 100% from the line. His effort is clearly apparent and he wants to get better, but it looks like he tweaked his groin yet again so we will have to wait and see if that sets him back. Lastly, the Knicks shot 86% from the line on 35 attempts! That’s definitely something that will make their lives a lot easier to finish the season strong.

With one more game vs Milwaukee in April, the Knicks have a chance to win the head to head series against them and beat them out of the playoffs if it does come down to a tiebreak.

Knicks vs Magic on Wednesday night will be an interesting game to see how the Knicks will fare against a post-dominant team without Amar’e and Jeffries in their lineup. Chandler will probably get into foul trouble so young Josh Harrellson will have to fill in and hold his ground against one of the league’s most dominant centers.

HOW MUCH WILL THE KNICKS MISS AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE?

Just when you thought the Knicks’ playoff hopes are crushed with the sudden bulging disk injury to Amar’e Stoudemire, here’s some food for thought:

1) In the 43 games Stoudemire has played, the Knicks are five games under .500 (19-24). Opponents average more than 95 points per game and shoot better than 44 percent from the floor.

2) In contrast, the Knicks are 6-1 this season without Stoudemire and in those 7 games, opponents have scored 89.4 points per game and shot 40.7 percent from the floor (Sidenote: Jared Jeffries was playing throughout this stretch but as of right now, the Knicks don’t have him either).

3) Stoudemire’s plus-minus rating this season is -47. The only player on the Knicks with a worse plus-minus is Mike Bibby at -77.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39521/why-knicks-might-not-miss-stoudemire