WotN - Loul

Denver Nuggets supporting cast: Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson (before he got ejected) played pretty well last night; both guys actually shot 50 percent or better for a change. But Anthony Carter (zero points, 0-for-5), Marcus Camby (4 points, 2-for-6), Eduardo Najera (zero points, 0-for-5), Linas Kleiza (5 points, 2-for-8), and Yakhouba Diawara (zero points, 0-for-4) were very not good. When five of the eight players who actually played shoot 4-for-28, you're probably going to lose, especially because of the...

Denver Nuggets defense: Atlanta is much improved this season (which isn't hard, considering they were 30-52 last season). But they're hardly great, particularly offensively. They score 94.7 PPG (23rd in the league) on 44.5 percent shooting (21st in the league). Yet last night they scored 104 points on 52 percent shooting (despite Al Horford's 3-for-11 brickbuster).

Cancer: Nene is going to be out of the Denver lineup indefinitely after having a testicular tumor removed. Cancer sucks. And hearing about a testicular tumor makes my balls hurt, which sucks even more. Doctors won't know whether the tumor was cancerous until they receive the biopsy results. Let's all hope for the best for Nene, huh?

John Paxson: The Bulls GM was a guest on the Mike North Morning Show on WSCR-AM (670) yesterday, and he said that everyone in the Bulls' organization, including team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, thinks that the players' group decision to bench Joakim Noah one additional game for screaming at assistant coach Ron Adams was ''outstanding.'' Here's the thing though: Noah had already been suspended one game by interim coach Jim Boylan. But the players, being the players, obviously feel that they know better than the coaching staff, or management for that matter. These are the same players who tuned out and quit on Scott Skiles, leading to the "coach who turned things around" getting fired on freakin' Christmas eve. However, Paxson wants us to believe that this sudden showing of "veteran leadership" from the previously MIA Ben Wallace and "He's still on the team?" Adrian Griffin is a good thing, and furthermore that it's a sign the players are taking ownership of and responsibility for the team's season-long struggle to not suck. Suuuuuure. Speaking of the Bulls sucking...

Chicago Bulls: Hooray for team unity, right? The Bulls got outscored 32-10 in the third quarter on their way to their second straight blowout loss since Noahgate. Some Bulls hopefuls are pointing to the fact that the team was undermanned -- Kirk Hinrich missed the game with back spasms and Andres Nocioni left early due to a bruised left hip -- but who are they kidding? They way this team is playing, they would have lost even if Jesus was in their starting lineup. But at least then they'd have some yummy wine and bread. Anyway, the Bulls "nice guy" coach finally snapped. Said Boylan: "We had a lack of effort all the way across the board by just about everybody. Our defense is soft and anemic at times and we just seem to be casual with the ball. If we want to get ourselves right, we have to change the way we're playing." Uh, you're totally right Jim, but it's kind of your job to change the way the team is playing.

By the way, I would be willing to bet my collection of porcelain Larry Bird dinnerware that the Heat end their 10-game losing streak tonight at the Bulls' expense.

Washington Wizards: Okay, first off, any team that loses to the Knicks this season gets an automatic mention in Worst of the Night. But how do you come off back-to-back wins over the Celtics and then lose to the Knicks?! I mean, Tough Juice was talking about winning a championship yesterday! Then his team goes out and shoots 39 percent (compared to 51 percent for the Knicks). Even more embarrassing is the fact that the Knicks, who are dead-last in the league in assists per game, had twice as many dimes as the Wizards (26 to 13). According to a complex mathematical algorithm I just made up, that makes Washington twice as selfish as the most selfish team in the league. Antawn Jamison thinks his team didn't tie their shoes last night: "It's one thing to say you beat the best team in the league back-to-back and all of a sudden you come back, lose to a team that's won what, 11 games before tonight? You've still got to lace them up. You've still got to be focused enough and you've still got to bring the energy early in the game. And for us those were the things that pretty much lost the game for us."

Andrea Bargnani: Sophomore slump? More like sophomore suck. Bargnani had his fifth zero-point outing of the season, thanks to 0-for-4 shooting. If there's anyone capable of dethroning Kwame Brown as the King of the Worst Number One Overall Picks Ever, it's Bargnani.

Tayshaun Prince: His team won, but not because of his 6 points and 3-for-8 shooting. Although that was a giant step up from Sunday's dreadful zero point, 0-for-10 performance against the Knicks. Are we sure that Prince hasn't been replaced by a body double, ala Hannah Montana?

Golden State Warriors: Sure, they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. Whoop-de-friggin'-do. They gave up 26 points (on 10-for-15 shooting!) and 10 rebounds to Antoine Walker. It was Walker's best scoring game since he scored 32 points against the Raptors on April 11, 2006. I'm going to file a protest with the league, because as far as I'm concerned, giving up 26 points to Antoine Walker consitutes a loss, even if you outscore the other team by 200 points.

Minnesota Timberwolves: In case it escaped your notice, Antione Walker was the team's top performer against the Warriors. That will always get your team mentioned in Worst of the Night.

Darko Milicic: He played only five minutes last night due to "right knee soreness." But he still managed to contribute 2 points (1-for-4) and 2 rebounds. Which sucks.

The Media: Everybody was falling all over themselves yesterday to praise Kobe Bryant and his 48 points, and they were very quick to defend him for taking 44 shots to do it. Because they were all good shots, right? Yeah. All 44 were good shots. That's why he missed 23 of them? I would argue that if Kobe Bryant is the greatest scorer in the league, and he got 44 "good" shots, then shouldn't he have hit at least half of them, if not more than half of them? I tend to think so. Especially after Lebron scored 51 points last night in only 28 shots. For those of you who enjoy simple math, that's three more points than Kobe scored on 16 fewer shot attempts. And he hit 18 of those shots (64 percent). And he had 9 assists (compared to Kobe's 2). That, my friends, is an efficient, unselfish performance.

For those of you who are arguing that all of Kobe's shots against Seattle were good shots, let's take a look at his shot chart from that game:

kobe shot chart

As you can see, he was 2-for-9 from three-point range. Now, the shot chart provides detailed information about each shot (thanks, CBS Sportsline). Three of Kobe's three-pointers were lofted from at least 30 feet out (30, 31, and 33 feet to be precise). Look, I know Kobe's good and all, but is a 30-foot shot ever really a good shot? I'm talking percentages here. Two more were hoisted from 28 feet away. I feel the need to point out the obvious here, but the further you go from the basket, the lower the percentage chance that your shot will go in. That's Basketball 101, people.

The bottom line: Love on Kobe all you want. Really. But please don't try to defend his 44-shot bombing run by telling me that they were all good shots, okay?

[Okay. I must now clense myself for praising Lebron.]

Update: Additional insight from Basketbawful reader Chris: "That basketball-reference.com site you linked in the above article isn't half bad. After looking over it some, Kobe's latest 44 FG attempt game ranks as the 6th highest FG attempts in a game...of all time. Spots 2, 4, and 5 on the all time list are also taken by him, as well as about 1/4 of the rest of them listed. Conversely, Kobe's 48 points didn't even make their leaderboard. It stops at 100 positions, with 51 being the lowest."

Houston Rockets: Ah, there's nothing quite like letting a celler-dwelling team like the Sixers end their seven-game losing streak against you. But here's what I find both confusing and (if I'm a Rockets fan) horrifying: Yao Ming, the team's leading scorer, got 11 shots, while Rafer Alston got 17 and Luther Head got 20. You read that correctly: Luther Head shot the ball 20 times. That should be a good week for Head, not a single game. That ties his career-high, by the way (the other time came against the Warriors on December 15, 2006). It's not even the number of shot attempts in and of itself that bothers me; it's the fact that he only hit six of them. Was there any legitimate reason for Head to continue shooting at that rate? Do you think Rick Adelman saw the box score after the game and made that whiny face he used to make when his Blazers and Kings teams used to choke games in the playoffs? I like to think so.

Phoenix Suns: Everything that's wrong with this team was on display again last night. Bad defense (the Clippers shot a season-high 52.5 percent). Bad rebounding (the Clips pounded the Suns on the boards 47-36). Steve Nash couldn't keep a hand in the opposing point guard's face (38-year-old Sam Cassell broke out of a four-game 7-for-31 slump to score 32 points on 15-of-21 shooting). And Amare Stoudemire couldn't keep the opposing center off the glass (Chris Kaman had 18 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive). These problems were compounded by the fact that the Suns couldn't score, either: 90 points (20 below their average) on 40 percent shooting (9 percentage points below their average). An ugly game, and an ugly loss for the Suns. And it bodes ill for Thursday night's rematch with the Lakers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was gonna put this on Jan 14's but there was 24 comments on it. Good job Basketbawful! Anyways who do you think is/was better as a Big 12 freshman and will be in the NBA: Kevin Durant or Michael Beasley?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Your external link says December 16

Anonymous Shrugz said...
LOL I'm a raptors fan (although not until after Carter days) since that's when I actually started watching B-ball

and I think it's almost impossible that bargnani will be worse than kwame. I mean at least bargnani can shoot free throws LOL

Blogger Basketbawful said...
anonymous #1: Mind you, I've only gotten to watch Beasley play twice, but I like him more than Durant for one main (and major) reason: He crashes the boards. Hard. He's averaging 13 RPG and has two 20-rebound games so far. Durant's college numbers were close (11 a game, I think). But he always seemed kind of soft to me. Beasley has more tenacity. Or seems to. You never know whether that will translate to the NBA or not. I will say that Durant's offensive moves seemed more polished (in college) than Beasley's do now. But again, I've only watched him twice.

anonymous #2: Damn, I'm a retard. Thanks.

shrugz -- I want to believe you're right. I mean, he's already better than Kwame was in his first two seasons, but...Bargnani's actually getting worse. Foreign-born players sometimes get eaten alive in the NBA. I think it's the culture shock/unfamiliarity.

Anonymous shrugz said...
hate to mention this but starbury's jersey is no.9 in the sellers list HAAHAH gawd that's terrible

as for bargnani I dont' feel like makin excuses for a player's decline cuz really he's sucking it up now LOL

Anonymous Farfa said...
I won't defend Bargnani (though I am Italian - believe me, I can't stand Bargnani, he looks so... hmmm... not caring at best, dead at worst. He killed our national team in the last Eurochampionship).
Still, I have to think that worst #1 pick is a debate between Olowokandi and Kwame. My vote goes to the Kandi-man.

Anonymous anonymuzzzz said...
couple things: wasn't bargniani supposed to be better than dirk nowitzki?

I still think Samaki Walker was over drafted in the 96 draft than kwame brown in the 2001 draft.

3 seasons ago, mike james was averaging 20 points on good percentages and 6 assists in toronto, if anyone should be stepping it up in t mac's absence, it should be him, not bonzi wells or luther head. Rick Adelman should look at james' career stats.

i watched the laker seattle game and kobe took bad shots period.

kwame brown isn't that bad, he's just overpaid. i want him as a laker next year but for 3 million - 4 million a year.

Blogger Tonewise said...
Im a raptor fan, so ill have to leave my bias behind (if I can)....but Brown? ... god I hope not... Dr.Drea is struggling, no question, but he will get out of it ~hope part 2~.

(I think his numbers are down in 4 or 5 of the major stat cat's this year... that is for sure worse than a slump)

He seems to have missed the memo the NBA sent out telling players they need to use their legs when they shoot, even if they are 7 feet tall!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Kobe hate is undeserved. If you had watched the game, you would have seen that Kobe played within the flow of the offense and rarely forced any shots, often passing it out to open teammates.

A lot of the missed three pointers were desperation heaves with the shot clock running low.

And also, Kobe's been battling a flu all week, after playing 4 games in 5 days and in the second of a back-to-back.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
shrugz -- Wait. Ninth? Are you serious?? Can you send me the link to that stat please?

farfa -- Well, the Kandi Man had two pretty decent seasons: In 2001-02, he averaged 11 PPG, 9 RPG, and 2 BPG. In 2002-03, he averaged 12 PPG, 9 RPG, and 2 BPG. And while those certainly aren't great numbers, they're better than anything Kwame's done so far. Plus, Kwame helped ruin the final two years of Michael Jordan's career (for which I am forever grateful). That's a pretty big blight on his record.

anonymuzzzz -- But Walker was chosen 9th overall, not 1st. Number one overall picks are expected to be slam dunks, automatic contributers. Everything after, say, the fourth or fifth pick is sort of expected to be a crap shoot. And while Walker was taken ahead of guys like Nash and Kobe, Nash wasn't considered anything special, and Kobe was a teenager.

Mike James gunned a lot in Toronto. His stats were inflated because he controlled the ball all the time. Similar to Sherman Douglas when he was with Miami (18 points, 50 percent shooting, 10 assists per game).

The thing about Kwame is that he has small hands, and bad ones at that, so he struggles to finish close to the basket and he can't haul in contested rebounds. He can only be used sporadically to clog up the middle on defense.

tonewise -- Man, I love hearing from all these Raptors fans, can I just say that. I really, really want to see the Raptors continue to improve and thrive up there in the semi-frozen north. Anyway...Bargnani isn't as bad as Brown yet. But if he continues to slide, I can see him bolting the NBA in a year or two. I think guys like him and Darko need to form some kind of foreign players support group. I'm being totally serious.

anonymous -- Why is it Kobe criticism is always referred to as Kobe hate? Besides which, I wasn't really hating on Kobe. This time anyway. I was more annoyed by this idea that Kobe's 44 shots weren't excessive because, hey, they were all good shots. I simply called shenanigans. And yeah, I watched the game. A day late, but I watched it. Kobe forced some bad shots, particularly the threes, and they weren't all bail-out buzzer beaters. I wanted to burn the game to DVD and load some clips on YouTube, but that was way too much trouble. That's why I referred to the shot chart. Look, I've watched Kobe for years, and he always forces shots. He seems immune to the concept of degree of difficulty. That's why he's shooting 44 percent from the field this season, and why he's a 45 percent career shooter who's never come close to shooting 50 percent for a full season (his career-best is 46.9).

To me, the great players, especially when they were in their primes, worked for high percentage shots most of the time. Michael Jordan had six seasons in which he shot better than 50 percent. Same with Bird. Magic Johnson did it nine times. Steve Nash is in his fourth consecutive season shooting at a 50 percent clip.

I've never doubted Kobe's talent or his ability to score. It's always been his decision making that troubles me. His insistence on taking shots he shouldn't take. With his talent and basketball acumen, he should be a much more efficient shooter. But he isn't, and has never been, even when he had Shaq on his team drawing away a lot of defensive attention.

As I said yesterday, I have a certain vision of how the game of basketball should be played. Taking 44 shots doesn't fall in line with that vision, no more than an NFL quarterback throwing the ball 40 or 50 times would. And when I see something I don't like and don't agree with, I'm going to speak up about it.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
since I am a raptors fan lemme just say Mike James sucked before for a reason

and there's a reason why we didn't want him back (I sure hell didn't want to see him the next year, especially after TJ Ford trade)

being a 20 points scorer as a PG on a team that won 20 games isn't something to be happy about anyways

Anonymous Shrugz said...

here you go HAHAHA

Anonymous Chris said...
That basketball-reference.com site you linked in the above article isn't half bad.

After looking over it some, Kobe's latest 44 FG attempt game ranks as the 6th highest FG attempts in a game.. of all time. Spots 2, 4, and 5 on the all time list are also taken by him, as well as about 1/4 of the rest of them listed.

Conversely, Kobe's 48 points didn't even make their leaderboard. It stops at 100 positions, with 51 being the lowest.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris -- Good stuff. I updated the post with that info, crediting you. Thanks.

Blogger Tonewise said...
...and a strange silence falls upon virtual laker land!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
tonewise -- I certainly don't want to silence Lakers fans. I'm actually a big Magic Johnson fan from back in the day. And admittedly, I'm more into the Magic Johnson "pass first" type of player than I am the big-time scorers. That's just my personal preference. But I understand how gratifying it can be to see your man lighting it up. Hey, I've watched Larry Bird's 60-point game enough times that the CD actually turned to dust before my very eyes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Regular reader here.

Just wanna thank you for the time for writing this informative blog, full support here. Thanks.

Anonymous Katchoo said...
Chicago beats Miami 126-96.

So, about the dinnerware, is it cool 80's 'stache era Larry Bird, or 90's osteoporosis Larry Bird?


Blogger starang said...
Thats a very telling stat about The Rapist. Not even close to 50% in a season. What a joke. He's everything that is wrong with pro basketball.


Blogger starang said...
If you don't have time to watch the video I just linked too, just go right to the good stuff: @ 8:12 in is a great, great play.

Anonymous Dr Manahttan said...
Just wanted to second Farfa up there. No way is Kwame the worst number 1.

The supreme sultan of suck has to be the Kandi Man.

I mean, Kwame has had a couple of good games. He can be a half-useful 4th big man for an NBA team.

Olowokandi? Pure poison. Worst - draft - pick - EVER!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I probably got a bit overly defensive with the Kobe criticism. I'm so used to reading people make mindless and unfounded attacks against him that I misinterpreted your intent.

That said, I agree Kobe does force a lot of shots. What really got to me was mentioning the 44 FGA statistic because it implied that he took 44 bad shots or that a large number of them were forced, which wasn't the case.

Yes, he wasted a couple possessions with stupid 1on1 isolations that ended up with a contested fade-away, but the lion's share of his shots were within the flow of the offense.

Blogger starang said...
Flow of the offense? How is 1 person dribbling the ball around in isolation while the 4 other guys stand and watch even called offense or in the flow of it?

The Lakers are a far superior team when Kobe makes the decision to pass the ball and keep his team involved...AND NOT EVEN THE BIGGEST KOBE FAN OR KOBE HATER (THATS ME) CAN DENY THAT. 44 attempts is comical.

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