Golden State Warriors Fix

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of Warriors World makes a TV appearance and discusses the state of the Golden State Warriors



Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.

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4. Monta Ellis, Face of the Franchise?

5. Warriorsworld TV X Exclusive Sit-Down with Reggie Williams (@ReggieW55)

J.R. Smith: Hit or Miss?

Every time you hit a 3, you have to thug it out right?


A few weeks back, Beckley Mason of Hoopspeak wrote a great piece on players that seem to “get it”. The point he hammered home was that once NBA players develop a good level of awareness they are usually able to stay on the court more and essentially maximize their potential.

No one seems to illustrate this point better than J.R. Smith. In all of my time watching basketball, I don’t think I have ever seen a player make poorer decisions on the offensive end than Smith. The  Denver Nuggets wish that he would understand his role and play perhaps like a more explosive Voshon Lenard; but instead he goes through stretches in which he tries to play like Allen Iverson and Reggie Miller.

For the most part, broadcasters have been kind on him during games. The usual comment you get from them sounds like this: “J.R. Smith can shoot you into the game but boy can he shoot you out of it”.  And although that statement is accurate, it fails to do justice to Smith’s play. Far too often we have seen him completely ignore a scorching hot Carmelo Anthony to instead fire up an ill advised contested three point jump shot. The same way fans in Boston used to say that’s just Manny being Manny (in reference to Manny Ramirez’s quirky personality), fans in Denver have grown accustomed to the former Hornet’s play and now accept it for the most part.

What is so frustrating about the Nuggets shooting guard is that he is in fact a spectacular player. He displays terrific explosiveness, decent handles, tremendous shooting range, a solid first step, great finishing ability at the rim and is a great open shooter. Seriously, read that breakdown of his game again and doesn’t it sound a little like Allan Houston?  And yet, look at his production from the past four years:

Season
MPG
PPG
FGM
FGA
FG%
3PT%
2007-08
19.2
12.3
4.2
9.1
0.461
0.403
2008-09
27.7
15.2
5.2
11.7
0.446
0.397
2009-10
27.7
15.4
5.7
13.8
0.414
0.338
2010-11
24.6
11.9
4.1
9.8
0.412
0.377

J. R. Swish (as he likes to call himself) has been a decent shooting guard in his last few seasons, however he does have the talent to be one of the best at his position in the league.  For comparisons sake, let’s have a look at Allan Houston’s numbers at the same point in his career (fourth to seventh NBA season):

Season
MPG
PPG
FGM
FGA
FG%
3PT%
1996-97
33.1
14.8
5.4
12.7
0.423
0.385
1997-98*
34.7
18.4
7.0
15.6
0.447
0.385
1998-99
36.3
16.3
5.9
14.1
0.418
0.407
1999-00
38.6
19.7
7.5
15.5
0.483
0.436
*Lockout season

Although Houston played more minutes and thus took more field goal attempts, we can still compare the shooting percentages. Indeed, the field goal and three point field goal percentages are somewhat similar; however Houston was able to raise his game to another level by his seventh season (1999-00) and show us some great shooting numbers. Also, it’s important that we look at the situations of both players: J.R. Smith has always been the team’s sixth man and thus his role has never really changed, whereas Allan Houston had to adjust to playing alongside Patrick Ewing and then alongside Latrell Sprewell and then without Ewing for stretches as he battled injuries. Hence, the change in roles might have contributed to the variation in his shooting numbers given his lack of comfort with his situation and shot distribution.

Smith on the other hand has kept the same role he has always had since joining the Denver Nuggets in 2006. And yet, it seems as though he has taken a step back these past three seasons as his overall field goal as well as his three point field goal shooting have both taken a slight a dip for three consecutive seasons.

A big part of that stems from the fact that players such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain would probably be jealous of Earl Smith III’s (by the way, the only dude in my opinion that can get away with being called Earl and still sound cool is Earl Simmons; better known as DMX) shot selection. He takes a variety of contested shots and always seems overly eager to launch the next one. Smith is a player with tantalizing talent, but until he gets it, he will always be viewed as an athlete that needs to work on the mental aspect of basketball. Until that changes, I think the name J. R. Miss seems more appropriate for the time being.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.

Great Point Guards Collect Assists, Not Rings



If you check out the NBA standings today, you might notice that the Boston Celtics are the second seed in the Eastern Conference currently. Despite the numerous injuries the team has faced, they have still managed to flirt with the league’s best record and take care of business against some of the NBA’s best teams. And although we view their performance as a product of their play as a unit, it would be hard for them to achieve this much success this year without the emergence of Rajon Rondo.

The former Kentucky point guard has been absolutely brilliant so far this season with the way he has been able to direct and set up the four future Hall of Fame players on the team. Indeed, it might seem relatively easy, but the greats are not always willing to take a backseat to the new guy even when he shows that his way is the way to go. We can look at Shaquille O’Neal’s refusal to turn over the reigns of the team to Kobe Bryant as our first example and also Kobe Bryant’s apparent unwillingness to do the same with Pau Gasol as our second example. Granted, the Celtics players are wired differently than the alpha males mentioned before but it is still an accomplishment in itself.

Rajon Rondo now possesses the keys to the Green Bentley because he masterfully runs the plays that get his guys open and then he delivers them the ball right where they need to get it to score. Rondo might very well be the best passer in the state of Massachussets; which just happens to have Tom Brady as its quarterback (for the New England Patriots). 

Here is the interesting thing though: if the Celtics make the Finals this year and win it, Rondo may end up being the best point guard of the past 20 years to lead his team to a title. Admit it, that sounds ridiculous right? That’s almost like saying that How I Met Your Mother is the best sitcom of these last two decades just because of its recent success. But if we actually dig through NBA history and look at the championship teams and the players that started at point guard for them during the playoffs, you might actually end up being surprised. Take a quick look:

Season
NBA Champion
Starting PG
APG
FG%
2009-10
Los Angeles Lakers
Derek Fisher
2.8
.448
2008-09
Los Angeles Lakers
Derek Fisher
2.2
.394
2007-08
Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo
6.6
.407
2006-07
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker
5.8
.480
2005-06
Miami Heat
Jason Williams
3.9
.405
2004-05
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker
4.6
.454
2003-04
Detroit Pistons
Chauncy Billups
5.9
.385
2002-03
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker
3.5
.403
2001-02
Los Angeles Lakers
Derek Fisher
2.7
.357
2000-01
Los Angeles Lakers
Derek Fisher
3.0
.484
1999-00
Los Angeles Lakers
Ron Harper
3.2
.431
1998-99
San Antonio Spurs
Avery Johnson
7.4
.487
1997-98
Chicago Bulls
Ron Harper
2.3
.459
1996-97
Chicago Bulls
Ron Harper
3.0
.400
1995-96
Chicago Bulls
Ron Harper
2.5
.425
1994-95
Houston Rockets
Kenny Smith
4.5
.438
1993-94
Houston Rockets
Kenny Smith
4.1
.455
1992-93
Chicago Bulls
B.J. Armstrong
3.3
.524
1991-92
Chicago Bulls
John Paxson
2.8
.525
1990-91
Chicago Bulls
John Paxson
2.5
.500

Go figure right? Rajon Rondo owns the second best playoff assist per game average in a postseason for a championship team, trailing only Avery Johnson. Yes, that would be the same Avery Johnson that is the coach of the New Jersey Nets and that is repeatedly forced to tell his players on a daily basis: “Noooo do nat worry about dem trade talks. We don’t even want Carmelo…”.

By the way, I know Chauncy Billups had a terrific NBA Finals performance against the Lakers in 2004, but one would have thought that his cumulative performance throughout the playoffs that season was far greater than what his numbers indicate. Nonetheless, it does point to a theme that seems to have been fairly evident in the past few decades but that we have all failed to realize: you do not need a great point guard to win an NBA title, you need a good one.

Before we all lose our collective minds here, I am not saying that a great point guard cannot win a championship (Magic Johnson or Isiah Thomas anyone?) but rather that great teams are not necessarily hindered by the lack of a superstar point guard.

Heck, only two players (Billups and Parker) out of the 20 that are displayed in the graphic have a legitimate shot at making the Hall of Fame one day. Mind you, Rondo might be the wildcard this season. If this great Celtics team makes it back to the Finals and wins the NBA championship, whether we agree with the comparisons or not, he will probably be the best point guard since Magic Johnson (it’s funny how we just can never seem to escape the Lakers-Celtics dynamic) to lead his team a title. But on the other hand, the league’s history is also telling us something else. Have a look at the list of players below:

  • ·      Steve Nash
  • ·      Jason Kidd
  • ·      John Stockton
  • ·      Gary Payton


These four players are arguably the greatest point guards of this past generation, and collectively they have combined for 36 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA 1st team selections, seven NBA Finals appearances and one NBA championship. The lone championship came from Gary Payton who won a title as a back up point guard for the Miami Heat in 2006. Although the past is not always a great way to foretell the future, it does help us have an idea of how things will develop to a certain extent. Have a quick look at some of the best NBA guards we have today:

  • ·      Chris Paul
  • ·      Deron Williams
  • ·      Derrick Rose
  • ·      Russell Westbrook


These four players will probably make numerous All-Star teams, be at the center of MVP talks at some point in time and even possibly be considered the best players in the NBA; however recent data suggests that none of them will ever win an NBA title.  Brace yourself: have we been fooling ourselves all these years by saying that the point guard position is the second most important position in basketball (next to center)? It would certainly seem so….

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.