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Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About…

In a season lacking standout rookies, why aren't we hearing more about Markieff Morris and his great bench production for Phoenix (9 ppg, 6 rpg, 50% FG, 58% 3FG, good passing and defensive chops)?...How obvious it is that Ricky Rubio (Min) and Markieff Morris (Phx) are the top two performing rookies so far? Kyrie Irving (Clv) is a quickly closing in third, but MarShon Brooks (NJ), Iman Shumpert (NY), Brandon Knight (Det), and Kemba Walker (Char) are not in this discussion at all. The next three best at this point? Nikola Vucevic (Phi), Tristan Thompson (Clv), and Kawhi Leonard (SA). Kenneth Faried (Dev) would be right there with more time on the court.

...How stupid it is for fans to start fawning over Washington rookie Jan Vesely after his two “big” dunks in the Wizards’ first win of the season? The Wizards beat a really bad Raptors club on Tuesday that was playing its 4th game in 5 days on a 5-games-in-6-days stretch, and Vesely ended with 4 points in 16 minutes. Wow. He did have 5 energetic steals, but keep in mind that Toronto is in the bottom-5 in the league in Turnover Rate and, again, were really really tired. He followed it up with 0 points, 0 steals, and 0 assists in 15 minutes against Chicago the next night.

...How extraordinarily out-of-sorts “point guard” Iman Shumpert looks in the Knicks’ starting lineup? He’s had 13 assists to 15 turnovers and is shooting 22-for-58 (38%) during his four starts. If only someone would have known his horrendous PG-ability and shot selection in college would translate into the pros. Watch what you wish for, fans. I'll actually add that Jorts Harrellson is definitely the Knicks best rookie at this point.

...How the Knicks’ Offensive Rating is ranked 17th in the league, the exact same place it ranked in ’08-09 and ’09-10? For all the New York fans who think the PG situation is the problem, you may want to look at the fact that your top three shooters (Carmelo, Amar’e, Iman) all hoist up tons of crap that's heavily contested and are all shooting less than 44% for the season.

...How Kobe Bryant is noticeably slower than years past and is taking a much higher percentage of jumpers than in the past (17.4 shots beyond 10 feet per game vs. 3.3 at the rim), yet he’s somehow attempting far more free throws this year than any other season of his since ’07-08, when everyone could see that his overworked body was slowing/wearing down for good? No star treatment by the refs, right?

...How much John Wall is killing the Wizards’ offense? In '09-10 when the team was imploding under Gilbert Arenas’ epic stupidity, the Zards had a terrible 104.2 Offensive Rating (25th in the NBA). Then they drafted Wall, who played in 69 games as a rookie, and their Offensive Rating fell to 102.4 (28th). Now he’s starting every game with essentially all the same surrounding talent, and they have sunk to 90.6 (30th by a comfortable margin). He’s shooting 34% (0% from three) and is again near the league lead in turnovers per game with 3.7. For the record, his spotty shot selection and poor ability to run a half-court offense has been written about in scouting reports since his sophomore year in high school (that would be his second sophomore season after he was kicked off the team during his first one - seriously), so it’s not like we shouldn't have seen this coming.

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Reader Comments (9)

How much you blatantly hate Kobe is really disappointing, because you have good points mostly, but your biased hate for him is really poor as a write trying to present an unbiased front for basketball. I understand if he has a bad game or a stretch of bad games, but he has been playing really well, and for you to keep suggesting stuff like this. It's been like 12 games, it's a small sample size, so calm yourself. All this Kobe hate for nothing, just enjoy the brilliant stretch of 8 games where he has kept his Lakers team (which has some serious holes) afloat. Without his 48 or 40 points his lakers team would not have been put into position to win, sure he messed up especially in Utah, but if not for his scoring output in the first three quarters, the lakers would not even be in a the position to get the win, thanks to pau's clutch three and bynum's clutch block. Sometimes, basketball isn't about statistics, and thats why sometimes i find your blog really disappointing, because you never talk about the intangibles, and only spit out stats and figures. This is why that when you comment on Probasketball NBC, you get that many dislikes on your comments because you are so negative, and so stat based, and that's not what the NBA is completely about. Just thought i'd give my two cents man. I like your blog, but maybe take some of this stuff into consideration.

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Thanks for the comment. My comment was about one thing: free throws. There is no reason a slowing down, jump shooting 33-year-old who just had an experimental knee procedure should now be earning far more free throws than at any other point in the last 5 years. That's worth talking about. Any fan can see blatant "star calls" given to some of the league's stars, but his situation so far this season is so blatantly ridiculous, it has to be pointed out or I simply become yet another writer/fan blindly accepting the NBA storylines even when they don't pan out with the facts.

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

"so stat based"

Um, since when was stat based a problem? People like and hate players for all sorts of logical and illogical reasons, however if we are to measure how good they are stats need to be the primary consideration, not just feelings and opinions.

Last I checked Zach doesn't hate Kobe, and I"m sure he can address this directly. My understanding is he felt he's overrated and receives special treatment with fouls, mvp nominations, etc. based on popularity and NBA story lines, not purely on ability and skill.

After all REALLY good players can be over rated just like REALLY bad players can be under rated, and everything in between.

Any hoo I'm just glad the season is happening, short or not!

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGav

If you haven't watched all the games, you have no idea if its star treatment or not. You openly complain about Kobe taking tough jumpers while covered by at leats two defenders when he should pass to the open man. Perhaps he is getting fouled on the jumpers, indicating a porr defensive job by the defenders.

While stars definitely get treatment, your analysis does not prove its happening here.

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamesD

I've seen about half of the Lakers' games so far, and he's clearly getting an extra special case of star treatment. He pushes off virtually every time he gets the ball (never called) and often gets to go to the FT line when the replays make it clear he's been stripped, blocked, or simply off-balance. I'm not going to go through every LAL game and keep charts on how often something that looks like BS happens, but it should seem odd to anyone who has even the foggiest notion how basketball works that an old, injured jump shooter who's seen his FT's decreasing each of the past 4 years is suddenly shooting many more now that he's 33. You watch the games, and it's BS. You look at the stats and basic facts of the situation, and it's BS. Not sure what you're looking for here.

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

Although he definitely is slower, This is also the first time in the last 4 years Kobe is not coming off a long playoffs or the Olympics. Maybe thats why his body doesn't appear to be slowing down as much.

While he is shooting more from longer distance, Kobe is well known for head faking and movement on his jumpers, thus drawing fouls. While distance from the rim on shots is correlated with FT attempts, your article implies that no one ever fouls jump shooters. As you said, anyone with the foggiest idea of how basketball works knows great offensive players draw fouls whereever they are on the floor.

Of course Kobe, despite the Mavs game, has improved his shooting tremendously recently. I guess when a guy you hate is leading the league in scoring and ahooting about 47% from the field for a winning team, good ole Zach will find some way to criticize it.

As I learned from MJ, when you are the man pushing off is ok.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamesD

You're a Laker fan so you obviously watch the games. This means you are just as aware as I am that a huge amount of the fouls called when Kobe has the ball are total bunk and would never be called against him in the exact opposite situation. He obviously does enough to get more calls than many other jump shooters, but he's earning that at the rate of an interior banger or elite slasher; this is totally bogus.

January 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

Partciulalry this year with so many back to back games, defenders are tired and more apt to go for fakes. More bench players are seeing time. There are a number of other factors correlated with this that had you researched them could have made a valid argument.

Of course he gets calls others don't. You aren't complainging about star treatment in general, you are complaining that Kobe gets star treatment. This should illustrate why I keep pointing out your personal dislike for Kobe. Dude keeps himself in shape so a compacted year like this should reveal how his conditioning is FAR SUPERIOR to other great players.

Besides, any MJ fan complaining about pushing off or another player getting calls really, honestly needs to STFU. Seriously!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamesD

All these factors, but apparently they aren't factors for anyone else. And I guess no one else works out as much as Kobe - although last I checked he was in Europe getting experimental knee surgery in the off-season.

January 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

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