2020-2021 NBA Game Thread

jon abbey

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I'm not suggesting the Suns are serious NBA title contenders this season, but then I don't see Boston in that conversation either, unless things change dramatically for the better with Kemba.
The East is so thin though, the Bucks and Sixers have well-documented playoff issues, the Nets are incredibly thin and defense-challenged. The Celtics definitely could win the East even with Kemba being a korpse.
 

Cellar-Door

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Booker is much worse than peak Curry at everything.

Serious question, who's the last team fronted by a rotten defending volume scorer? Elite shot creators aren't the most valuable assets in the league. Elite shot creators who aren't a black hole on defense are. You don't have to be a plus defender like Durant or Lebron, but not totally sucking at one end has huge value. And even in 2021 we're still having conversations like there's two types of defensive players--DPOY conversation guys, and everyone else. And if you're not a DPOY guy, then who gives a shit if you give back as much on the other end or if you hold your own.

Tomato, tomahto, I guess. I think that you undervalue defense. You think that I overvalue it.
I mean, Booker isn't Curry, but neither is Jaylen who he was being compared to Kawhi or Lebron. The reason you can't win with Booker as your best player isn't that you can't win with a scorer who is below average on D, it's that he hasn't reached the elite tier as a scorer yet.

I think the bigger issue is that you think Booker is a black hole, which I don't think is really the case anymore, he's significantly improved from his first few years. If we're just saying, what teams have had their best player be a negative defender and be contenders... GS, HOU, DEN, POR, TOR (DeRozan), BOS (IT year) have all made the Conference finals with their best player being a negative defender. It would probably be more but I credit LeBron as a positive defender and he's taking up one of the spots every year.
 

Jimbodandy

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I mean, Booker isn't Curry, but neither is Jaylen who he was being compared to Kawhi or Lebron. The reason you can't win with Booker as your best player isn't that you can't win with a scorer who is below average on D, it's that he hasn't reached the elite tier as a scorer yet.

I think the bigger issue is that you think Booker is a black hole, which I don't think is really the case anymore, he's significantly improved from his first few years. If we're just saying, what teams have had their best player be a negative defender and be contenders... GS, HOU, DEN, POR, TOR (DeRozan), BOS (IT year) have all made the Conference finals with their best player being a negative defender. It would probably be more but I credit LeBron as a positive defender and he's taking up one of the spots every year.
It's not just "a negative defender". Harden is a negative defender, but not a black hole. Same with prime Curry. You don't need to be Trae bad to be bad. It's in degrees, just like offense. You don't need to be Kawhi good to be good.

My question was champion teams whose best player played awful defense. You named some conference finalists and mostly marginally negative defenders.

It's not "great", "Trae/IT4 bad", and "everyone else". There are degrees.

Edit: I wish that we had better advanced def numbers to hang our hat on.
 
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terrynever

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Lots of scoring in Portland tonight. 58-52 Blazers with 4 minutes left in first half. Dame went off for 19 in first quarter. Portland owns the boards so far.
Simmons with 15 points as he continues his recent offensive rebirth.
 

terrynever

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Embiid with 15 of his 23 in second quarter. Sixers 63-60 at halftime. Enes left with a bloodied eyebrow after taking elbow from his teammate, Robert Covington, late in half. Embiid punished Portland three straight times after that.
Lillard with 21, 19 in first quarter. He’s just resting. 9-for-9 from FT line.
 

Sam Ray Not

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6 turnovers. Yuck.
40 pts (14-26 fg, 10-19 3fg), 8 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl, +16 in a 6-point win. I’ll live with the 6 pastries.

He’s no Grandpa Wanamaker, tho (13 minutes, 0 pts, 0 reb, 1 ast, 0 stl, 0 tov, -13). Can we send him back to you guys for Jeff Teague and a Kelly’s roast beef sandwich?
 

BigSoxFan

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40 pts (14-26 fg, 10-19 3fg), 8 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl, +16 in a 6-point win. I’ll live with the 6 pastries.

He’s no Grandpa Wanamaker, tho (13 minutes, 0 pts, 0 reb, 1 ast, 0 stl, 0 tov, -13). Can we send him back to you guys for Jeff Teague and a Kelly’s roast beef sandwich?
Add a Trash Bro and Kemba to the deal and we might be on to something...
 

Kliq

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Welp, Dame goes 14/15 from the free throw line, while Curry goes 2/2. I do think volume might end up sinking Dame in the end.
 

terrynever

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Welp, Dame goes 14/15 from the free throw line, while Curry goes 2/2. I do think volume might end up sinking Dame in the end.
6-for-21 from the field. Simmons smothered him in fourth quarter but Carmelo went nuts on Harris while Dame rested early in fourth quarter. Couldn’t miss. Banked one in as shot clock expired.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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40 pts (14-26 fg, 10-19 3fg), 8 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl, +16 in a 6-point win. I’ll live with the 6 pastries.

He’s no Grandpa Wanamaker, tho (13 minutes, 0 pts, 0 reb, 1 ast, 0 stl, 0 tov, -13). Can we send him back to you guys for Jeff Teague and a Kelly’s roast beef sandwich?
The Warriors are 14-12. I wonder how many wins they would have with the same roster and no Curry.
 

Sam Ray Not

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The Warriors are 14-12. I wonder how many wins they would have with the same roster and no Curry.
O/U of 3?

An 18-50 record is still in play, though, so HRB’s “non-star” premise is clearly still in play.

He’s now an even 30.0 ppg on .660 true shooting.

131 made threes already, which puts him as far ahead of the #2 guy (Dame at 95) as Dame is ahead of the #27 guy.

Fun fact (obviously more about era than shooting prowess): Larry Bird’s career-high in threes made for a season is 98.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I would add that while the current Warriors would be the worst offense in the NBA by a mile without Steph, the 2-3-4 of Trash Brothers (TM) and Draymond have quietly become a defensive monster. The team has climbed from a bottom five defense at the start of the season with Draymond out and guys figuring out their roles to now the #6 defense in the league.
 

Kliq

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O/U of 3?

An 18-50 record is still in play, though, so HRB’s “non-star” premise is clearly still in play.

He’s now an even 30.0 ppg on .660 true shooting.

131 made threes already, which puts him as far ahead of the #2 guy (Dame at 95) as Dame is ahead of the #27 guy.

Fun fact (obviously more about era than shooting prowess): Larry Bird’s career-high in threes made for a season is 98.
Reggie Miller said earlier this year on a broadcast that he thinks Steph will finish his career with more than 4,000 career threes.
 

HomeRunBaker

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O/U of 3?

An 18-50 record is still in play, though, so HRB’s “non-star” premise is clearly still in play.

He’s now an even 30.0 ppg on .660 true shooting.

131 made threes already, which puts him as far ahead of the #2 guy (Dame at 95) as Dame is ahead of the #27 guy.

Fun fact (obviously more about era than shooting prowess): Larry Bird’s career-high in threes made for a season is 98.
Yup, I was faked out by Curry the same way I was by Tristan. I underestimated the veterans who weren’t in the bubble and had nearly 10 months off without a training camp or preseason games.

Curry = Still a star.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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O/U of 3?

An 18-50 record is still in play, though, so HRB’s “non-star” premise is clearly still in play.

He’s now an even 30.0 ppg on .660 true shooting.

131 made threes already, which puts him as far ahead of the #2 guy (Dame at 95) as Dame is ahead of the #27 guy.

Fun fact (obviously more about era than shooting prowess): Larry Bird’s career-high in threes made for a season is 98.
Your O/U feels right to me. Ex-Steph, the Warriors are a terrible basketball team.

No knock on any individual players as Draymond and Wiggins have been playing well on both ends. Also, credit to Green for his almost seamless chemistry with Curry - even without shooting, his playmaking sets up so much on offense.

But yeah, without Steph three to five wins is where I would land.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Reggie Miller said earlier this year on a broadcast that he thinks Steph will finish his career with more than 4,000 career threes.
Hmmm ... that seems little high to me, but it’s so hard to guess at longevity. Ray Allen hit 863 threes in his age 33-38 seasons. If we give Steph another 200 for the remainder of this season, he’d still need 1200 to get to 4000. Doable but tough.
 

lovegtm

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Booker is much worse than peak Curry at everything.

Serious question, who's the last team fronted by a rotten defending volume scorer? Elite shot creators aren't the most valuable assets in the league. Elite shot creators who aren't a black hole on defense are. You don't have to be a plus defender like Durant or Lebron, but not totally sucking at one end has huge value. And even in 2021 we're still having conversations like there's two types of defensive players--DPOY conversation guys, and everyone else. And if you're not a DPOY guy, then who gives a shit if you give back as much on the other end or if you hold your own.

Tomato, tomahto, I guess. I think that you undervalue defense. You think that I overvalue it.
CellarDoor isn't saying the lead scorer can be rotten; just has to be mediocre bad and not bad bad.

Good teams with mediocre bad elite scorers/playmakers in recent history:
- pre-Durant Warriors (the Cavs hunted the shit out of Steph)
- Harden Rockets
- Lillard/McCollum Blazers
- Dirk Mavs
- Melo Nuggets
- Nash Suns

You can quibble a bit at the edges, and of course it's easier to contend if your best player is a LeBron/Kawhi/Garnett 2-way threat (not coincidentally, those guys make and win a lot of Finals--defense is nice!). But you absolutely can be a bit crappy on D and have your team hide it, because it's so much easier for them to slot in good defenders around you.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Yeah. And long before he was total toast physically, dunk aficionados could see that that aspect of his game was fairly fraudulent. There was a long stretch of his career when people would make a big deal out of his dunks while ignoring that on most of them he would use his defender’s chest, back, or shoulders as a pommel horse to lift himself up to the rim.

By that point he had improved and expanded his overall game (passing, shooting, ballhandling) to the point where the dunking was a less essential part of it, but it was a little sad how long the NBA hype machine tried to keep the “great dunker” myth alive years after its expiration date.
 

Kliq

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Rookie Blake Griffin was the best rookie I have ever seen in my time as an NBA fan. 22 and 12 and at least one draw-dropping play of athleticism per game. He was a complete phenomena. If this is it, he will have an interesting HoF case.
 

radsoxfan

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Griffin is what we fear for Kemba. The Clippers got out just in time.

I'm no basketball hall of fame expert at all, but without looking into it, he doesn't strike me as someone good enough to fall off a cliff at age 29 and still make it.
 

Jimbodandy

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Griffin is what we fear for Kemba. The Clippers got out just in time.

I'm no basketball hall of fame expert at all, but without looking into it, he doesn't strike me as someone good enough to fall off a cliff at age 29 and still make it.
Not an expert either, but hoop is by far the easiest HOF to enter. Nothing would surprise me.
 

Kliq

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Can we talk about DeMar DeRozan again? The statistical anomaly has the Spurs at 15-11, and is averaging 20-5-7 and has been the primary playmaker for San Antonio. He currently has an offensive rating of 125, and is actually taking 2 threes a game, making 33% of them. San Antonio really hasn't gotten much out of Aldridge, and Murray and Keldon Johnson have really been the only above average players on their roster.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Stylish enough, but am I supposed to be amazed that LeBron given an open lane to the rim will flush it with authority? He’s not Blake Griffin... ;-P
 

mikeot

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Suns at Sixers tied at halftime: good game for an Icy stay-at-home Saturday afternoon.
 

128

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I wasn't heartbroken to see the Jae Crowder Era end in Boston, but he's a nice piece off the bench in PHX.
 

Tony C

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Stylish enough, but am I supposed to be amazed that LeBron given an open lane to the rim will flush it with authority? He’s not Blake Griffin... ;-P
I gotta say, for a guy who gives endlessly repetitive crap to HRB for having suggested that Curry might be slipping from stardom, you seem to not worry too much that you spent a year or more spinning LeBron's +/- numbers to suggest that he was in some sort of serious decline, too.

Curry is great. And still is. LeBron is great. And he still is. And its impressive that both remain great after considerable wear and aging. That slam was damn impressive and stands on its own. Saying its not is like someone watching Curry hit a 35 footer and saying: meh, I saw Austin Rivers do the same - big deal.

In short: Everything doesn't have to be about projecting out your rooting interests.
 

slamminsammya

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I don't think people overvalue elite shot creation. I think people overvalue defense from stars. Give me a star that can score in the playoffs and unless he's Trae Young/IT bad on D he's the most valuable asset in the league. I'll take Steph over Klay any day. I'll take Harden over Siakam, etc. etc. Elite scoring is the hardest thing to find and you can build a team to mitigate all but the worst defenders. It's much harder to piece together offense, particularly in the playoffs. Also... a lot of high volume stars can play better D in short bursts in the playoffs and that's all you need.
Paradigmatic example of this phenomenon is Allen Iverson, who is unfairly maligned by the stats folks (or he was back in the day). That 76ers team that made the finals won with its defense, and they were able to get away with surrounding him with offensive juggernauts like Mutombo, Eric Snow, and the immortal George Lynch exactly because you could achieve an average offense by just handing Iverson the ball and letting everyone else get out of the way. Which is incredible and rare.