45 Thoughts On the Northwest Division

This weekend I (along with everyone else in the Northeast) have been snowed in due to Nemo the Blizzard. In between shoveling an immense amount of snow I decided to turbo watch as many Northwest Division games as possible. For this week’s break down I will list my thoughts, compiled over many cabin fever induced hours of basketball watching. See #41 for an explanation of the picture.

Northwest Division Thoughts

1.       Jefferson is the best post scorer in the NBA, wouldn’t be surprised if Utah kept him and moved Paul Millsap

2.       With Gordon Hayward out it shows how big Utah’s need on the wing is. Alec Burks player to look at, young and can score.

3.       Marvin Williams needs to use his athleticism and not just stand at the three point line hoisting threes, he would be a better fit on an up tempo team.

4.       Hot hand comment from Bulls/Jazz: Millsap passes up open jumper to get it to Jefferson who has been hot. Jefferson forced into a difficult jumper by Noah. Lesson is if open shot presents itself you take it.

5.       Millsap will help a contender, he has no problem giving the ball up if he doesn’t have possession.

6.       The past few games Burks has played well, giving Utah another promising player to join Hayward, Kanter and Favors. Burks is a combo guar and they could still use a young point like Bledsoe.

7.       De’Marre Carroll good energy player, great at cutting to the hoop, type of bench player that every team could use.

8.       Jazz second unit playing very well together, since this unit is mostly comprised of young players it is a larger indication that they should move Jefferson or Millsap (leaning towards Millsap)

9.       Jazz are not helping Millsap’s trade value by playing him out of position at the small forward.

10.   Favors if given the opportunity will put up similar numbers to Millsap once he is gone.

11.   Favors and Kanter are very physical but more on the offensive end than the defensive. With their strength people should fear going into the paint while they are on defense.

12.   Enes Kanter beautiful sky hook. If he can get that down consistently, with his strength he’ll be very difficult to guard.

13.   Despite thinking that they should give the young guys more time I like what the Jazz are doing developing Kanter and Favors. The best way to develop players is by surrounding them with veterans, not throwing them to the wolves (or Bulls). This will pay dividends for the Jazz in the future.

14.   It’s amazing what one offensive rebound will do, when Kanter got one he could smell the blood in the water then hit the boards even harder, ending up with seven rebounds against Bucks before half.

15.   When the Jazz are right they defend hard, make strong cuts an attack the glass. When they fail they are loose with the ball and can’t free themselves for open shots.

16.   The Jazz announcers are great, some of the best in the league I’ve heard. Matt Harpring is insightful and not too big of a homer.

17.   Jamaal Tinsley doing a good job distributing, getting the ball into the post and not forcing the issue. Utah needs a point guard to do those things but also one who can attack the defense

18.   With the scoring prowess of Durant and Westbrook, Ibaka gets wide open jumpers on offense by simply standing there.

19.   Length of Westbrook, Durant, Ibaka and Thabo allows them to contest passing lanes at elite level

20.   Attention All NBA teams: The Thunder are more athletic than you! If you do not value the ball, especially in transition they will create points off your turnovers and you will lose, by a lot.

21.   For the life of me I can’t understand why players drive right at Ibaka and try to shoot it over him, he jumps at every opportunity for a block (literally and figuratively), use your upfakes and get the ball to teammates.

22.   Ibaka knocked down a corner three which speaks volumes about his growth, although moving him further away from the hoop might not be the best thing for his development as a player.

23.   Nick Collison has squeezed every ounce out of his talent, watching him off the ball should be mandatory for every big man coming into the league.

24.   Thabeet is just huge, despite him underachieving he should have a long NBA career because of that one trait.

25.   OKC is better than any team in the league at creating stops and breaking out, however I still have questions about their half court game. Finding players for ISOs is easy to defend (relative to other offenses)

26.   The Warriors are a tough match up for a lot of teams because of their three point shooting, however they are also loose with the ball which makes them the perfect match up for OKC.

27.   One way that the Thunder have improved their half court offense is with back door action on the weak side. Even if this doesn’t get the offensive player open it makes sure that Durant (or other ISO option) can’t be doubled.

28.   Every time I see Kevin Martin shoot I am shocked when it goes in. His release is actually perfect but  he moves it from his hip to his shooting pocket before shooting, creating wasted motion for his shot that most coaches would advise you against

29.   Golden State attempted to slow down the Thunder by zoning them up. Good idea, bad execution. In guarding area Warriors forgot to pick up Westbrook and he got right to the hole. Zone with defenders cheating towards Durant on the wing might be a good idea.

30.   Perkins does not fit with OKC, he needs to be on a tough physical defensive team not a break out athletic shooting team. When he is amnestied after this year don’t be shocked if his play improves.

31.   Thunder have a lot of good individual defenders but to take the step to the next level they need to play better as a team as if everyone was attached on a string. They sometimes do this but not their lacking of consistency in this area will cost them come playoff time.

32.   Westbrook has lethal speed and quickness, did an in and out move and Klay Thompson wasn’t even close enough to foul Westbrook

33.   Durant is best scorer in league, doesn’t force  the issue but scores when the defense gives him an opportunity. When defender plays off of him he shoots the jumper when defender is overplaying the jumper off of a pick he stops in the lane and gets a layup, he’s an offensive savant

34.   Reggie Jackson, has steadily improved, both as an athlete and a player. Plus he got a top notch education!

35.   Never understood the grammatical rules on singular named teams. Do you say the Thunder are playing well or the Thunder is playing well? Grammatically the Thunder is playing well is correct but for some reason that sounds wrong to me.

36.   Denver is unstoppable on the break and look lost in the half court. This could become a problem in the playoffs.

37.   If Galinari, Lawson and Iguodala can hit threes it opens up the floor for their athletes to attack.

38.   Nuggets are athletic as they come but if the weak side defender fails to rotate it doesn’t matter how athletic they are, they will give up easy buckets.

39.   Lawson is so fast, got to stop him before he gets a head of steam

40.   Like OKC, Denver makes you pay for any lazy passes, with a fast break that yields automatic buckets.

41.   On the broadcast for the Nuggets the commercial for Stevinson Automotive contains one of the worst mustaches I’ve ever seen. I’m assuming this guy is rich, but he is surrounding by yes men if he thinks a five o’clock stubble mustache is his best look.

42.   Denver presses from time to time, this is a great idea in that it can force their opponent into the fast paced game that they excel in.

43.   JaVale McGee is athletic as hell but very immature. Ran a play for him to go back door for an alley-oop, passing lane was blocked so pass wasn’t made. McGee pouted instead of attacking offensive glass. It is things like this that prevent George Karl from starting him.

44.    Wilson Chandlerand Andre Miller give Denver two bench guys that are adept in half court offense, expect them to do big things in the playoffs if Denver is to do anything.

45.   Koufos’ fundamentally sound game blends well with all the track star s in Denver’s starting lineup. Sets solid screens, plays good help defense and boxes out.



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