Sunday, May 22, 2011

NBA Conference Finals and other tidings 2011

It's been a while since I've written... so let's get to some NBA stuff!

Western Conference: Grizzlies run out of gas; Ok City in same position now?
The Grizzlies fell just short of knocking out Ok City after Durant literally carried Ok City in the crucial game 7 last week. The Thunder-Mavs conference finals has been interesting thus far, with Dallas leading 2-1. However, much has been made of Westbrook's meltdown then getting benched in game 2 for the 4th quarter, while OkCity ended up winning.

Westbrook vs. Maynor - pick your poison/positive trait?
While Westbrook's backup, Eric Maynor, played very well in the 4th quarter of game 2 (0 turnovers), he interestingly also had only 1 assist in his 19 minutes. In game 3, everything fell apart for OkCity, and Westbrook got in early foul trouble... and Maynor came in and for 6 minutes, OkCity went -11, and he had 0 assists and 1 turnover.

This led me to do some Maynor more of a shooting guard and thus doesn't commit turnovers or assists, which could be destructive to the offense since no one is generating assists? Of course, as has been widely documented, Westbrook is maddeningly inconsistent. The answer: it appears that the coach is choosing between a wildly inconsistent player (who still generates offense), or Maynor (who takes less risk, but where the offense can get very stagnant, since he's not as adept at generating assists and getting easy shots for his teammates).

This conclusion is based on looking at the game logs. If you look at Maynor's game log, you will see that Maynor has two outlier games - one against Memphis when he played 22 minutes because OkCity beat them by 27 points, so Maynor racked up 9 assists in 23 minutes. The other was during a 17 point victory against Denver, when he racked up 5 assists in 15 minutes. Thus, he only has 19 assists in about 152 minutes, or just 4.5 assists per 36 minutes (and 2.8 turnovers per 36 minutes). In contrast, Westbrook has about 6.3 assists per 36 minutes (and 4.6 turnovers per 36 minutes). Interestingly, Westbrook gets you an extra 1.8 assists... and also gives up an extra 1.8 turnovers thus far. I think that the OkCity coach has to continue to pull Westbrook if he has a tantrum of course, but for OkCity to succeed and to generate some offence, it's more important that he's out there using his speed to help create and run the offense.

Back to the series at hand though... it looks like Dallas will end up winning... probably because Ok City has such trouble guarding Dirk.

Out in the Eastern Conference, we will see what happens tonight with the Bulls and the Heat... I hope the Bulls can get their swagger back, punish the Heat on the inside and the glass, and get another victory like they did in Game 1.

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