Wednesday, April 29, 2009

End of fantasy basketball season wrap

I haven't posted much about my fantasy basketball season lately and now that we're in to the real-life NBA Playoffs, our season is over. This was the first year that our league has chipped in money to put up some cash prizes and the pay out went to the top 3 (of 12). My team didn't make the money, finishing in 7th place. Congrats to two of my boys, Al and Mitch for their second and third placed finishes.

For most of the season I found myself at the bottom of the league so fighting my way up to 7th wasn't too bad a finish. A bit of luck and a few less injuries and I could've made it to 5th, oh well, there's always next year.

Looking back, I blame my lack of success on two players. My 3rd and 4th picks, Hedo Turkoglu and Carmelo Anthony. I owned Turk last season, he was outstanding and I expected similar if not an even better performance from him this year. I believe he may have had some niggling injuries but he let me down badly with his terrible field goal percentage and high turnovers. He also failed to deliver the point guard type numbers (high assists) that I expected from him. Melo on the other hand was held back by injuries and never really got moving (he played in just 66 games, down from 77 the year before). His field goal percentage, scoring and points were all well down from the previous season. Not good enough when you draft them 36th and 37th respectively.

On the upside, my superstar turned out to be Troy Murphy who I took with the 84th pick and when the season was over he was ranked 8th on averages. Every single stat category of his was up from the year before and when one of your centres can knock down over 2 triples per game that is gravy! Other good picks were Danny Granger at 13 who had a breakout season and Devin Harris at 60 who was excellent for the first few months of the season (struggled down the stretch). My boy Steve Nash got off to a slow start to the season but finished strong, as did Al Horford.

The free-agent pick-ups that did well for me this season were Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer. Noah was inconsistent early which saw a number of GM's pick him up and then drop him but he was outstanding for me over the last couple of months. He had a great field goal percentage, rebounded well and blocked a few shots which was exactly what I needed. Brewer was sneaky good, shooting good clips and getting active in the other categories.

The mistakes I made as GM this season were:
  • Dropping players too quickly to try and combat the slow start (from Nash, Hedo and Melo). Names such as Rodney Stuckey and the surprisingly solid Steve Blake were early cuts from my squad that went on to shine for others. I also dropped Joel Przybilla when Oden returned but Joel continued to start and produce (for someone else).
  • Due to injuries, I fould myself without many shooting guards so after stealing Marc Gasol off someone, I traded him for Quentin Richardson (who stunk it up for me and I quickly dropped him).
  • I traded away Danny Granger (when he was at his peak and I thought was going to be rested because of some niggling injuries) for Kevin Garnett who played a few games for me and was then basically shut down for the rest of the year. Unlucky result but I did it thinking Danny was going to struggle and I wanted to improve my rebounding and field goal percentage.
My league is now counting down to the next draft night, probably the highlight of the fantasy basketball season.

Troy Murphy, a great shooter and my steal of the draft

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Elsewhere in the bball blogosphere

Its been a slow month for me as far as blogging by the looks of it. I really don't like April, its a very slow month as far as business goes and there are just so many public holidays that effect things.

Anyway, here's a quick look around the blogosphere to see what's going on:

  1. John Rillie has now written back-to-back posts about my mate JVG (Jeff Van Groningen) and his ties with Eddie Groves and the Adelaide 36ers. Here's the first and here's the follow-up. Nice to see JR also giving up love to The Machine earlier in the week.

  2. Congratulations to one of my idol's, Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA) for chalking up 5 years of blogging. Here is his post marking the achievement and some of his favourite and most popular stories during that time. I have really enjoyed his "success & motivation" series of posts and reading about his early years in business.

  3. With all the love that Mr Bigshot, Chauncey Billups has been getting for his performance in the first round against CP3 and the Hornets, it was only a matter of time before someone compared Billups to AI's playoff performance this season. Dime give their thoughts on it here.
And one final NBA note from today, Adam (my colleague) was watching Dr Phill at lunch today and the topic was about "Deadbeat Dads" and the dad in question on the show was ex-NBA player Jason Caffey. My friends and I used to pay out on Shawn Kemp for fathering 7 kids to 6 different women, it seems Caffey has taken it one step further with 10 kids to 8 different women.

Chauncey, showing why they call him Mr Bigshot

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chris Paul - Shooter of the Month for March

We've just announced our Shooter of the Month for March, click on the title below to read the full story and see exactly why Chris Paul (pictured right) got the nod.

Chris Paul - Shooter of the Month for March

There was plenty of competition for last month's Shooter of the Month award. The contenders in no particular order were:

* Danny Granger - Indiana Pacers in the NBA (48% fg, 84% ft, 3 triples per game)
* Jose Calderon – Toronto Raptors in the NBA (54% fg, 96% ft, 1.3 triples per game)
* Troy Murphy - Indiana Pacers in the NBA (49% fg, 87% ft, 2.9 triples per game)
* Steve Nash – Phoenix Suns in the NBA (52% fg, 89% ft, 1.7 triples per game)

The winner of the March Shooter of the Month award goes to New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. His numbers were 26.7 points per game, 52.8% from the field, 93.8% from the line and he averaged 0.7 triples per game.

Chris Paul is a little different to our normal Shooter of the Month winners because he’s not a prolific 3-point shooter, but when you check out those shooting percentages (above) it’s impossible to go past him for this month's award. Chris likes to do his work inside the arc with an array of jump-shots, runners and driving moves to the bucket.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Basketball Shooting

Why do you want to become a great shooter? What will come of all that time in the gym? The lonely hours spent perfecting your form, honing your craft. The great ones have put in the work so that come game time, when their team needs them most, they're ready, they deliver.

Last night was yet another example of what separates the truly great shooters from the good. Our favourite NBA shooter, Ray Allen coming through for the Boston Celtics when they need him most.

Game 1, Ray shot just 1 of 12 from the field. The truly great shooters know that everyone has bad days and they have the confidence to bounce back and keep shooting. They don't shy away from the spotlight, they revel in it and they want to show the world that an off-night won't stop them.

So we get to game 2, 10 seconds left, scores tied:

For the record, here's Ray's line from the night:
Boston Celtics (1-1)
Field Goals Rebounds
P.Pierce F 43:55 8-19 0-1 2-3 +5 0 8 8 3 2 1 4 0 4 18
G.Davis F 41:17 12-21 0-0 2-3 +20 4 5 9 0 3 1 1 1 1 26
K.Perkins C 32:19 7-9 0-0 2-5 +12 7 5 12 0 3 1 3 2 2 16
R.Allen G 38:47 9-18 6-10 6-6 +5 0 3 3 5 4 0 0 0 1 30
R.Rondo G 40:03 7-18 0-1 5-8 +17 7 5 12 16 1 5 2 0 5 19

With Ray Allen's heroics, what will get slightly less talk than it deserves is the shooting performance of young gun, Ben Gordon from the Chicago Bulls. Gordon has had a great season (coincidentally in a contract year) and this was one of his best.

Chicago Bulls (1-1)
Field Goals Rebounds
J.Salmons F 39:24 6-17 1-5 4-5 -7 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 3 17
T.Thomas F 20:25 2-7 0-1 2-2 -21 0 4 4 0 2 0 1 6 1 6
J.Noah C 38:50 6-9 0-0 1-1 -4 3 5 8 3 4 2 1 4 0 13
B.Gordon G 43:31 14-24 6-11 8-9 -1 0 1 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 42
D.Rose G 34:25 5-11 0-0 0-0 +1 2 4 6 7 2 0 2 2 0 10

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Steve Nash day

I'm not sure how it started but I stumbled across Steve Nash's twitter page (I'm refusing to get involved in twittering) and official facebook page (I originally ignored it but got onboard a year or so ago). Since then I have spent most of the morning/day checking out videos of his.

Phoenix may have missed out on the playoffs this season but that doesn't mean we can't give up the love to one of my favourite players. I mentioned to one of my mates the other day, Nash had a John Rillie-esque slow start to the season (no offence JR) especially from a fantasy perspective, but Steve was back to his best over the last few months.

Here are a few of the best videos he had on there:

And a few good Steve Nash ads I found:

Monday, April 20, 2009

NBA Playoffs and draft news

I was going to blog about the opening round of the NBA Playoffs, but John Rillie has beaten me to it. Click here to find out who is playing who and JR's picks for each series.

In NBA draft news that will surprise no one, future Aussie superstar Patrick Mills has declared for the draft. Hopefully he goes high in the first round and is picked up by a team that will give him plenty of minutes. Click on the title below to read the full story.

NBL > News

Australia’s Olympic Games standout Patrick Mills has decided to nominate for this year’s NBA draft.

The 20-year-old point guard has just completed his sophomore year at St Mary’s college in California, and now has the toughest basketball competition in the world in his sights.

“I’ve come to decide that I want to chase my dream and really push myself and challenge myself at the next level,” Mills said on Friday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Free-throw shooting

I came across this article today about free-throw shooting. It questions free-throw percentages haven't improved over the last 50 years, while other achievements in sport improve with time.

Click on the title to read the full story.

For Free Throws, 50 Years of Practice Is No Help -

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Basketball in the United States has changed in myriad ways over the decades, from flat-footed set shots to dunks, from crotch-hugging uniforms to baggy knee-length shorts, from the dominance of American players to the recent infusion of international stars.

But one thing has remained remarkably constant: the rate at which players make free throws.

Since the mid-1960s, college men’s players have made about 69 percent of free throws, the unguarded 15-foot, 1-point shot awarded after a foul. In 1965, the rate was 69 percent. This season, as teams scramble for bids to the N.C.A.A. tournament, it was 68.8. It has dropped as low as 67.1 but never topped 70.

In the National Basketball Association, the average has been roughly 75 percent for more than 50 years. Players in college women’s basketball and the W.N.B.A. reached similar plateaus — about equal to the men — and stuck there.

The general expectation in sports is that performance improves over time. Future athletes will surely be faster, throw farther, jump higher. But free-throw shooting represents a stubbornly peculiar athletic endeavor. As a group, players have not gotten better. Nor have they become worse.

“It’s unbelievable,” Larry Wright, an adjunct professor of statistics at Columbia, said as he studied the year-by-year averages. “There’s almost no difference. Fifty years. This is mind-boggling.”

No pressure ... can you make a free-throw when it matters most?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Minute Men

Any time a player has more points than minutes played, its an impressive feat. Here are two impressive basketball shooting performances I came across today.

From one of the NBA's upcoming shooters J.R. Smith from the Denver Nuggets:

Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
J.R. Smith
29:31 13-22 11-18 8-8 +23 0 4 1 0 1 0 1 0 45

Look at that closely, 45 points including ELEVEN three pointers, off the bench in just 29 minutes of court-time!! That is a ridiculous shooting display from JR.

Along the same lines, thanks to the crew at Dime, I came across this story about a shooter in college. Click on the title below to read the full story ... but I highlighted the most amazing part.

The Most Prolific Scorer In College Basketball | Ballers Network

John Grotberg scores more times than you blink in a minute. Playing in Grinnell College’s up-tempo system of substituting every 35 seconds, Grotberg scored 52 points in 19 minutes during a game his sophomore year. Grotberg set the NCAA record, regardless of level, for career 3-pointers with 526 this season. He led the nation and conference in scoring (31.0 points per game) and 3-pointers per game (6.2) this season, and led the MWC in steals per game (3.3), a category in which he ranked seventh nationally. Grotberg also was among the league leaders in free throw percentage at 86.8 percent.

More NBL updates

I mentioned last week the Australian basketball public was waiting to hear the big announcements from the NBL. The main one being the new CEO which went to Larry Sengstock (pictured below). Click on the title below to read the full announcement.

NBL > News

Sengstock takes the helm

Australian basketball has a new hand at the helm to guide it through the next stage of its commercial reform after the legendary Larry Sengstock was named as the sport's new Chief Executive Officer by Basketball Australia. Sengstock comes to basketball as an acknowledged leader in Australian sports management with exceptional experience in working with all levels of sport both locally and internationally, all range of commercial enterprises and with all levels of government.

Here's an article about Larry and what he has ahead of himself over the next few weeks.

In other "New NBL" news, word on the street has it that Brisbane and Sydney won't be involved in the first season. Here's an article by Marco Monteverde (who I used to work with at the Bullets) who chatted with Andrew Gaze about the (hopefully) upcoming season.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Machine

I stumbled across the following videos this morning dedicated to NBA "sharp-shooter" Sasha Vujacic from the LA Lakers. Hilarious!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"New NBL" update

As the basketball public wait with baited breath to find out about the announcements were made in Melbourne today, here (below) are Boti Nagy's thoughts on the importance of today and what could come of it.

Click on the title below to read the full story.

AdelaideNow... Game can rebound with new vision


April 07, 2009 12:30am

TODAY either will be a landmark day for the future of basketball in Australia or further evidence the sport is administered by basket-weavers and even an overhaul cannot save it.

Have no illusions - that's how important today's announcement of Basketball Australia's new chief executive officer is. The sport is desperately in need of a genuinely committed visionary who actually has the onions to institute the changes necessary to regenerate the game's image.

That's what's at stake after the balls have stopped bouncing in Melbourne's Federation Square with BA's attempt to break into the Guinness Book of World Records for simultaneous dribbling.

That's double the number of fans who attended any Sydney Spirit NBL game last season but then that was Sydney, not Melbourne, and the issues of Australia's elite national competitions will not publicly be addressed until next week.

But even though BA will draw positive press today for its world record attempt, the truth is the identity of the new CEO is of far greater significance.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"New NBL" update

I mentioned last week that the NBL was supposed to be making an announcement about the future of the league, who was in, who wasn't etc. Its a week as of tomorrow and I'm still yet to hear anything. No real surprise there but its not a good sign that I went to the NBL's website today and got this:

Thankfully it seems the website error was only temporary but I also found this article talking about some of the changes being proposed for the new league. It also mentions that head office will announce the changes and plans this Tuesday.

National body set to ring the changes in NBL reform - Basketball - Sport
Nick Sheridan
April 5, 2009

BASKETBALL Australia is considering a number of rule changes, including shortening quarters to 10 minutes, as part of its forthcoming reform of the National Basketball League.

If introduced, the new rules would bring the NBL in line with the International Federation of Basketball — FIBA — regulations that are set to be formalised at the end of the year.
Ten-minute quarters are currently used in international competition, and are the FIBA standard, although the NBA still plays 12-minute terms.

The other proposed changes include extending the length of the three-point line, so that it will be about 45 centimetres back from the top of the free-throw circle, as opposed to now where it is only six centimetres back, to make three-point shooting a much more specialised area of the game.

There is also discussion about introducing a 'no-charge zone' under the basket, to discourage the attacking team's tall players from standing under the ring attempting to draw the foul, thus freeing that space up or players to drive to the ring in the hope of encouraging a more free-flowing game.

The final change would be to straighten the lines on either side of the key, so that it is the same shape as the keys used in the NBA.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Art and Science of Shooting a Basketball

I came across this great article about basketball shooting this morning and had to share it with you. Its written by legendary UNLV coach, Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian led the "Runnin' Rebels" to the NCAA title in 1989-1990 with a line-up that included future NBA players Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon (one of my favourites) and Greg Anthony.

In the article, Tarkanian identifies the elements that are key to becoming a great basketball shooter. These are practice/technique, stance, grip, timing, concentration, confidence, soft touch/finesse and shot selection.

Click on the title below to read the full story.

Basketball Shooting - The Art and Science of Shooting a Basketball

Basketball Shooting Is Both Art and Science
Fundamentals of Shooting A Basketball

By Coach Jerry Tarkanian

Shooting a basketball is both an art and a science. Basketball shooting is an art form because it involves finely tuned hand-eye coordination rather than gross motor skills. For example, unlike such skills as the defensive stance and pivoting, which are relatively invariable, shooting form is highly individualistic. There is no one correct way of shooting a basketball, although there are certain elements of basketball shooting form common to all good basketball shooters that may be identified.

Shooting a basketball is also a science because it involves such mechanical processes as depth perception, velocity, angle of release, and trajectory of the ball in flight. The comic strip Mary Worth once featured an episode about a brilliant mathematics student who became an outstanding shooter on his basketball team because of his analysis of the scientific principles involved in shooting a basketball. Though the episode is rather far-fetched, it illustrates that an awareness of the scientific bases for good shooting can help to improve a player’s shot within the limitations of his ability and time spent practicing his shooting.