NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers

Blog: @ProfessorCorria’s Confidence Index: 10 Things

10 Things I Am Confident About:

• The Golden State Warriors, they play at the NBA’s 4th fastest pace (102.5 possessions per game), 1st in the NBA in offense (111.7 points per 100 possessions), and 7th in defense (96.7) points allowed per 100 possessions). They score at such a high level that you don’t realize that they’re also snuffing the other team’s offense out.
• Rudy Gobert is a WALL on defense, and he makes the Utah Jazz a top 3 defensive unit in the NBA. When he is off the floor the Jazz defense goes from one of the league’s best to below average. He is forcing opponents to shoot 30.9% at the rim, and has a defensive Plus/Minus (6.2), both are tops in the NBA.
• The Boston Celtics are playing GREAT basketball right now due to a deep bench, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart’s ball hawking defense, and Brad Stevens’s wizardry on the sidelines. The Celtics should win 45+ games this season, and they’re realistically a superstar away from being a legit title contender.

 

• Paul George is playing as well as he ever has in his career. He’s still playing great on defense and is averaging 25.2 PPG. Seems like Larry legend knew what he was doing when he moved George to the 4.
• Blake Griffin is the best PF in the NBA, he’s giving the Clippers 27, 9 & 4 per game, stellar defense and also acting a playmaker for others in the low and high post. The Clippers need him to be “the guy” if they want to make a deep run this year.
• The Grizzlies are 3-0 since trading for Mario Chalmers. It seemed like Grizzlies needed a little jolt and Chalmers has provided that, averaging 18.3 PPG since coming over from the Heat.
• I am LOVING the San Antonio Spurs defense this season. They’re only relinquishing 94.1 points per 100 possessions. With Duncan and Aldridge, the Spurs are big and agile. Then once you add Kahwi Leonard to the mix, the reigning defensive player of the year, it becomes hard to get any good action going to the basket for other teams.
• Rick Carlisle is a top 3 coach in the NBA. He has the Mavericks at 8-4 with an old Dirk, Wes Matthews coming of an Achilles tear, the carcass of Deron Williams and several other spare parts. Amazing.
• LeBron James still chugging along with 43,768 minutes played on his body. Watching him completely take Carmelo Anthony apart in a meaningless November game was a joy to watch. It will be interesting to see how he holds up over the full season and subsequent playoff run.
• Steph Curry is leading the NBA in Scoring, (33.4 PPG), Player Efficiency Rating (34.7), True shooting percentage (.693), Win Shares (3.6), Plus/Minus (13.1), and Value Above Replacement (1.8). Rumble young Steph, rumble.

What I’m Not Confident About:

• The Philadelphia 76ers plan, they’re last in the NBA in offense (90.2 points per 100 possessions), and barely have an NBA caliber starting 5. The front office keeps tanking and has the Lakers pick this year (top 3 protected) on top of their own pick, but they need a miracle. Dion Waiters?
• I am CONFIDENT that the Lakers and their coaching staff are doing everything possible to stunt the growth of D’angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. Kobe Bryant is on pace to be the only rotation player ever to use at least 28 percent of his team’s possessions while shooting below 35 percent from the floor., and Byron Scott continues to let him dictate the offense.
• The Houston Rockets, put simply, are chips. They’re body language is terrible and the addition of Ty Lawson has been a disaster thus far. Lawson has been terribly inefficient, and has really damaged the Rockets floor spacing. They have MAJOR issues.
• The New Orleans Pelicans have been a sieve on defense this season, surrendering 110 points per 100 possessions, YUCK. This reflects poorly on new head coach Alvin Gentry, who was brought in to fix their offense, which was stuck in the mud, but now their defense is suffering.
• The Chicago Bulls have no identity. Are they an offensive team or a defensive team? Are they a tough physical team or are they a fast break finesse team? Is this Derrick Rose’s team, Jimmy Butler’s team or are they a team that gets it done by committee?
• The Oklahoma City Thunder are the 17th ranked defense in the NBA (101 points allowed per 100 possessions). If they want to be a championship caliber team then they have to get into the top 10. The playoffs are about getting stops and right now the Thunder are struggling to stop other teams.
• The Pacers are currently 22nd in the NBA in offense, 99.4 points per 100 possessions. Coach Frank Vogel has to find more imaginative ways to get his team easier looks.
• Dwight Howard will still get solid numbers this season but he’s no longer a super-star. He needs to put his focus and energy into fortifying the Houston Rockets 26th ranked defense.
• The OKC Thunder orange uniforms are terrible, gross.
• People who don’t respect what the Golden State Warrior are doing need to check themselves. 65-17 last year, 15-6 in the playoffs culminating in a championship, and starting out 13-0 this year. That’s 93-23, with a ring to boot, please show respect where its due.

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