Who’s Been Good Early: Part II

Earlier this week I picked one player from each Eastern Conference team that has played well early on this year. Today I have my Western Conference picks (again, I tried to avoid superstar players). These guys probably won’t sustain their current level of production but they have set themselves up for nice seasons.

Find Part I Here

*note: stats do not include Thursday games

Dallas Mavericks: Dejuan Blair has proven to be a reliable NBA player and he’s had no let up after moving to Dallas. In just 20 minutes per game he’s pulling down 8 boards.

Denver Nuggets: Timofey Mozgov has gotten an expanded role this season and is making the most of it. He’s shooting close to 60% and averaging 10ppg .

Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson is shooting 47% from deep this season and 52% overall. Having him next to Curry is just unfair.

Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin is ballin in Houston this year, shooting 51% from beyond the arc. This is probably a fluke (he’s never shot above 35% over a full season) but so far he’s on fire.

Los Angeles Clippers: Outside of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, no one on this team is playing particularly well. However, Jamal Crawford is shooting close to 50% so that’s good for him. (I really got nothing here, sorry).

Los Angeles Lakers: There are 10 players averaging at least 18 minutes per game on this team, showing that D’Antoni is back to his old ways. Jordan Hill has been an anchor starting the fast break, with a defensive rebound percentage of 25%. Continue reading

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Someone…? Anyone…?: A statistical look at how bad the Timberwolves bench actual is.

In case you’re behind this NBA season, let me bring you up to speed on a few things.

First: The Indiana Pacers are good, really good.

Second: The Heat, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Warriors, and Rockets are all doing pretty much as expected.

Third: The 76ers, while “tanking”, are leading the Atlantic Division.

Last (pun intended): The Minnesota Timberwolves bench might be one of the worst of all time… Yes, of all time.

Without going into much of the detail, let me just tell you that Timberwolves fans (myself included) have a hard time cheering for, let alone watching, this dismal unit they call our “bench”. Through nine games of the 2013-14 season, this Timberwolves team (while playing really well and looking like a contender) have established a pattern that makes every fan cringe and leads to many mini-heart attacks come games end.

Here’s how it goes: build a lead, bench comes in, lose lead. Build a lead, bench comes in, lose lead. And so on, and so fourth, until finally the starters come in and either build a big enough lead to where bench play is irrelevant, make a late game run and win the game, or just flat out lose.

Anyways…I’ll cut to the chase. Here are the unbelievably embarrassing numbers that sum up your Minnesota Timberwolves 2013-14 second unit.

Minnesota Timberwolves bench (2013-14): Ranking in parenthesis.

Defensive Efficiency: -21.3 (Last)

Efficiency: 20.1 (Last)

FT Percentage: 63.9% (23rd)

3-pt Percentage: 17.8% (Last)

FG Percentage: 35.6% (Last)

Reb: 11.4 (24th)

PPG: 19.6 (Last)

Ast: 5.3 (25th)

Yeah… I wasn’t exaggerating. While this is a small sample size (8 games), and we are missing some key pieces (Budinger, Turiaf), being last in five categories is still pretty pathetic. And since this is so fun, I’ve decided to throw in one more category below to really boost our spirits!!

Bench Defensive Efficiency Ratings in November (since 1998):

1. Portland Trailblazers (2012-13): -25.6

2. Vancouver Grizzles (1999-00): -21.4

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (2013-14): -21.3

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (2012-13): -20.6

5. New York Knicks (2008-09): -19.9

So there you have it. So far, third worst defensive bench in the last fifteen years. Let’s just hope this doesn’t continue (we do have roughly three weeks of November left..)

Who’s Been Good Early: Players To Watch

It is still very early in the NBA season but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out who’s playing well so far. Here at Sportsnonsense, we decided to do a rundown of one player on each team who’s impressed so far (we tried to avoid obvious choices such as Lebron). Who knows, by the end of the year everyone on this list might be terrible, so lets give them their due now. We have broken it down into two parts, so we’ll start with the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference will come out later this week.

Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap has been great so far for Atlanta, shooting a ridiculous 57% from the field. He and Al Horford have teamed up to make Atlanta a better team than many thought coming into the season. Image

Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger is quietly having a nice stretch to start the year, giving the Celtics 10.8ppg and 5.2rbg in just 18 minutes per game. Hopefully he can stay healthy.

Brooklyn Nets: Even with all the huge names on this team, Brook Lopez has been their best player. He’s averaging 20ppg to go with 2.3 blocks per game.

Charlotte Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo is playing a lot of minutes for the Bobcats, 27 per game, and he’s being productive. He rarely shoots but he’s hauling in 8rpg and blocking shots. Remember, this guy is still just 21 years old.

Chicago Bulls: It’s been rough so far in Chicago, but Carlos Boozer (yes, Carlos Boozer) has been a stabilizing force, shooting close to 60%.

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Back to Back?

bosh hahaWith a 94-91 win over the Chicago Bulls on May 15th, everyone was feeling deja vu setting in. The Heat had won 50 of their last 55, swept the Bucks, nearly swept the Bulls, and were rolling once again. Even with their recent grueling seven game series with the Pacers (which they won), its hard not to see this Miami Heat team repeating. They have the best player on the court every night, an incredible supporting cast, and just seem to be unbeatable in a best of seven series. But will they repeat?

After the jump, I go into detail on why the Heat will win the NBA finals, and why the Heat won’t win the NBA finals. There are plenty of reasons for both and a case can be made either way, but if you really want my prediction, I say Spurs in 7, Duncan MVP.

P.S. I’m hoping for an incredible series, Stern, so don’t let me down….I’ll surely be watching the foul/flop count…

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Sports Superheroes: Comparing Athletes to Fictional Heros

Whenever we speak of sports there is always the comparison of our favorite players to fictional figures. You always hear comparisons of guys being like Superman or guys being as strong as the Hulk, so today, I’m going to try and match up some of these super hero faces to real life sports names. Here is my list of some superhero sports starts:

Superman – LeBron James

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This comparison stemmed from a number of different traits I found similar between the two. First off, their personalitites. Superman tends to be a normal guy (Clark Kent) until stepping into the phone booth and suddenly emerging as the superhero we all are in awe of and love. For LeBron, there is a lot of similarity here. On the daily basis, he interacts with fans on Twitter, Facebook, posts awesome pictures on Instagram, and just seems like that regular guy, just pedaling his bike to work. Then, all of a sudden, he emerges on the court as this unstoppable force, with brute strength and the amazing skill to just float in the air, as if flying. Exactly the same as Superman. Put on the cape, and he becomes a man of power and the ability to fly through the air and save people. All in all, these two seem to be made for each other and were ultimately the ideal comparison.

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NBA Playoffs Poll

NBA Preview: Heat vs Pacers

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game One Tonight marks game two between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and it should be great. In case you missed it, game one might have been one of the best games of the playoffs so far, if not thee best. You had it all. Close game throughout, scuffles, huge shots, buzzer beaters, overtime, and even a game winner to cap off a great night of basketball. But what will happen in game two? Today I look to provide a little insight into what we might see going into game two and the potential outcomes it could produce. But in case you missed it, here are the two huge plays that essentially sum up game one:

Paul George Game Tying 3 Pointer

LeBron Game Winner

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