SBG Show: Week 8 NFL Podcast

Former SBG Writer Philly previews the Week 8 NFL games on the SBG Show. If you want to download it of Itunes, you can click here. If not, just click play on the player below to listen to the podcast.

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

The New Family Guy: Blake Griffin

After spending years of watching the entertaining but laughable Peter Griffin (Family Guy character) try to run his Clippers organization with the help of his overweight son Chris Griffin (played by Baron Davis), his awkward teenage daughter Meg Griffin (played by Chris Kaman) and his diabolical infant son Stewie Griffin (played by Clippers season ticket holder and ESPN writer Bill Simmons), the show decided it was time to add some new blood; and they did so by bringing in a stud named Blake Griffin. His role? Make the Clippers relevant. And after watching Griffin perform last night at Oracle arena, I think he might just be able to pull it off.

At 6’11 and 250 lbs., Griffin is perhaps the most exciting rookie big man that NBA fans have wanted to see in the past 10 years, since Greg Oden and Kenyon Martin entered the league. And although we only have a sample of two games on the Clippers power forward, it seems fairly obvious that he is a keeper given his vast amount of talent and potential. Have a quick look at his averages after two games:

Blake Griffin

Now quickly glance at the list of players who averaged a double double last year (listed alphabetically):
  • Andrew Bogut
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Chris Bosh
  • Tim Duncan
  • Pau Gasol
  • Dwight Howard
  • David Lee
  • Kevin Love
  • Troy Murphy
  • Joakim Noah
  • Zach Randolph
  • Gerald Wallace

Let me once again remind you that Blake Griffin has only played two games so far this season; however if his current level of production holds up for the remainder of the season, it would be quite difficult not to award him the Rookie of the Year trophy. The list above clearly illustrates that averaging a double double is fairly difficult, so accomplishing such a feat as rookie would undoubtedly sway voters. But before we talk about the end of the season (which is kind of far), let’s shift our focus to the here and now. Does Griffin have the tools to consistently put up numbers?

The worst kept secret in the NBA right now is Blake Griffin’s level of athleticism. Just in case you haven’t had the chance to view his outrageous leaping ability, check out the video here. On second thought, even if you have seen Griffin play, it’s still worth checking out the video. The former #1 overall pick is reckless in his forays to the basket. Indeed, the names of the players waiting for him at the rim are of little concern to him. He’s quicker than your prototypical power forward and therefore can usually beat his man to a spot where he is able to take off and finish surprisingly well with either hand. One of the most impressive parts of his offensive game though is his footwork. Rarely does he get caught in awkward positions when facing double teams or single coverage because he never places his feet in a position where they could betray his balance. Indeed, Griffin is ahead of schedule (at least in my book) in terms of his use of his pivot and face up moves. Further complicating the matter for defenders, the Clippers forward always remains in triple threat position and is a willing passer for the most part, thus making it hard to anticipate his intentions. Combine his quickness with his strength and explosiveness and we have ourselves a terrifying offensive player.

But wait, there’s more. Blake Griffin has an outstanding handle on the ball for a power forward; I would not put him on equal footing with Lamar Odom, but he isn’t that far off. I have seen him dribble the ball on the break a few times at full speed and look completely comfortable doing it. The Clippers obviously do not want him bringing up the ball, but it is a great pressure release against tough defenses and such a skill will help him beat defenders when he faces them up.

His overall rebounding is fairly good but his offensive rebounding prowess is impressive. Griffin always finds his man and tries to keep contact with him in order to box him out and gain possession of the ball for a possible basket. His size, strength and athleticism make it tough for opponents to adequately keep him off the boards; consequently he should be able to get his points even on bad shooting nights.

My one concern with Blake Griffin might not have anything to do with him but rather with his team. Allow me this analogy: remember in The Jungle Book (the 1967 Disney film) how Mowgli was essentially raised by wolves and thus saw himself as an animal? That’s Blake Griffin in a nutshell. He clearly has the required tools to be a good or possibly great defender; and yet he does not seem to be all that interested in it. I put the blame here on his team because it does not seem as though they have made it a huge point of emphasis. Far too often I saw the former Oklahoma player jog back on defense or sleep walk while guarding his man. Also, he is not as dominant as a defensive rebounder because he does not put in the same type of effort there as he does on offense. He resembles Mowgli in that sense because the team seems to have allowed him to believe that such is the norm and therefore he might not be aware that bad habits are slowly kicking in given the fact that L.A.’s other team has a losing culture attached to them.

The Clippers need to bring in a veteran or two to hold players accountable much like Sam Cassell did when he came to Los Angeles in 2005. Otherwise, the young cornerstone might develop Zach Randolph syndrome. Seriously, Randolph is now in his 11th NBA season and has only played in eight playoff games. Conversely, during his time in Minnesota, Kevin Garnett was surrounded by veterans that held him accountable as young player, which resulted in 47 playoff games during his 12 seasons with the Timberwolves. Let’s just hope the Clippers organization is paying attention.

With that said though, Blake Griffin is a gifted athlete with a lot of upside (hell, I just compared him to Zach Randolph and Kevin Garnett who have combined for 14 NBA All-Star selections) that should provide us with a plenty of highlight type of plays this season.  Hopefully he gets surrounded with the proper teammates for him to fully tap into his potential to become an elite NBA power forward. But one thing is for sure though, he is definitely must see television, and that makes Mr. Griffin our new family guy. Make sure you tune in.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

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

Washington Wizards: Wall 'Til We Fall

John Wall made his NBA debut last night in a 112-83 beat down served up by the Orlando Magic. I carefully watched the game because I wanted to see how the rookie would fare against a dominant Orlando team, and really his performance spoke volumes about his level of talent given the teammates he plays with. He did nothing that was really extraordinary, but was solid across the board in his first ever NBA game. Despite the jitters that probably came with making his NBA debut, I was still impressed with his performance. I’m pretty sure every basketball fan has glanced at Wall’s line from last night, but just in case you didn’t’ get a chance to check it out, here it is:

John Wall

What the boxscore fails to capture is that Wall plays with terrible teammates. They consistently failed to rotate on defense and also had this knack for taking amazingly bad shots. Wall to his credit tried to run the offense and get his players some open shots; however players such as Cartier Martin and Andray Blatche figured they would try to showcase their skills and play Iso-Joe (short for “isolation Joe Johnson”, but sounds like a euphemism for masturbation). Often, players like Blatche caught the ball with a wide open jump shot but instead went towards the defense to shoot contested jumpers. To his credit though, Wall kept trying to feed his guys and was successful in doing so as evidenced by his nine assists.

When the Magic scouted the Wizards, they probably realized that Wall displayed phenomenal speed and quickness, especially in the open court. Consequently, their pick and roll defense strategy was to go under every screen and force the former Kentucky point guard to shoot uncontested jumpers. The end result? Several misses.  The Wizards new franchise player has a lot of talent, however he is not yet able to knock down midrange shots.

Despite his offensive struggles, John Wall is terrific in the open court as he is able to get to any spot that he wishes too. His ball handling is exceptional (seriously, it never dawned on me that he was a rookie while he was dribbling the ball) and he demonstrated the ability to beat defenders in one on one situations so far. He is a decent finisher at the basket and that should improve with time, as he gets a better feel for angles and how to time his himself when challenging shot blockers (he unsuccessfully tried to convert lay up attempts against Dwight Howard).

One area of concern I had for Wall was his ability to quickly get acclimated to the world of defending NBA point guards. Flip Saunders did not allow him to match up with Jameer Nelson; instead he opted to have him guard Quentin Richardson and play the passing lanes to disrupt the Magic offense. Wall had some individual success on defense, but collectively the Wizards were putrid. They gave up more lay ups and dunks than Santa’s reindeers did to the Kobe and LeBron puppets video.

Worth pointing out though, John Wall felt comfortable enough to get up in Chris Duhon’s grill and challenge him to go at him. Surprisingly, the former Duke Blue Devil was not able to do much against the former Wildcat. The #1 pick in this year’s draft seemed to become more comfortable defensively as the game progressed which bodes well for the Wizards. As the season unfolds, I expect to see Wall make life miserable for all the non-elite point guards in the league given his superior athleticism.

The biggest question mark so far on this rookie sensation is how long it takes for him to truly make this team his. There were numerous times when he should have asserted himself offensively and put his teammates on the backburner given their poor shot selection. Although it is a great trait to have especially for a point guard (it’s easier to teach a player to be selfish than it is not to), Wall will have to put his stamp on the team and decide which course of action is beneficial to his squad depending on situations. And keep in mind, it’s not a matter of if he will be able to do so, but rather when.

Young point guards such as Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo (Russell Westbrook is just about there now) all had to go through that maturation process and look at them now. Is it a bit premature to put John Wall in the same paragraph as these guys after one NBA game? Most definitely. But the talent that this player has just forces us to recognize that he will soon be amongst the fraternity of terrific guards that the league has to offer. Let the John Wall era begin ladies and gentlemen.

Quick Plug: Win NBA 2K11
Are you a fan of NBA 2K11? Well if you are and have yet to purchase the game, go on over to NBA Tip Off. The website is holding a contest in which the winner would obtain the game for free (contest open to everyone in the world) o neither Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Make sure to go check it out.
Image courtesy of ESPN

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

Got The Internet Goin' Nuts

Boring day? Fear not, for the to rescue I come. Here are a few quick links worth checking out if you want to view a few NBA related posts.

·      Compliments of yours truly, NBA TipOff shares some thoughts about the Knicks and Raptors after seeing them live in Montreal.
·      Raptors Republic looks at Three ideas to improve Andrea Bargnani’s help defense.
·      The No Look Pass gives us a quick a 30 team season preview.
·      The Painted Area looks at the potential championship contenders.
·      Warriors World gives you the scouting report on David Lee.
·      John Krolik is excited that Cavs basketball is set to start again.
·      Just in case you missed it, The Greatest Player Not Named Michael Jordan is…
·      Can we please put Rodman in the Hall?

Enjoy the links!

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

Best Shooter in NBA History?

After watching the NBA for a good 20 years, it’s easy to come up with a few answers based off of memory and perception. We have all seen various NBA players light up stadiums with amazing shooting displays. For instance, I used to love watching John Starks pump fake defenders, drive to the basket and finish with authority. He was able to set up his defenders because of his shooting prowess. Other players such as Dennis Scott, Craig Hodges, Allan Houston, Steve Kerr, Dan Majerle, Dell Curry and Glen Rice also come to mind when I think of players that were beyond deadly from the arc. But who is the most terrifying player in NBA history with the ball in his hands with an open shot?

I asked a few people with NBA ties to answer this question, let’s have a quick look and see their answers:

·      Alana Nguyen, director of programming of Yardbarker: “Gilbert Arenas. Duh. POW POW POW.”
·      Bob Wetsel, from Barenucks: Steve Nash
·      Alex Curtis-Slep, from NBA TipOff: Larry Bird
·      Daevone Molyneux, from Knick Of Time: John Stockon
·      Ethan Sherwood Strauss, from Warriors World and HoopSpeak: Steve Nash
·      Lee Tawil, from Purple and Blues: Larry Bird
·      Lucas Shapiro, from Dime Magazine and Lucas Shapiro’s Blog: Reggie Miller
·      Rasheed Malek, from Warriors World: Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen)
·      Rey Moralde, from The No Look Pass: Steve Kerr
·      R.J. Hives, NBA enthusiast: Steve Nash
·      Sam Holako, from Raptors Republic: Steve Kerr
·      Samira Knight, Director of Operations for Tarkanian Basketball Academy: Larry Bird

So who’s right? Clearly, if we are talking about dead eye shooters, evidently we think of players spotting up behind the three point line and make it rain. Let’s have a look at the top 10 best shooters in NBA history (listed by career three point percentage):

Steve Kerr
Hubert Davis
Jason Kapono
Drazen Petrovic
Steve Nash
Tim Legler
B.J. Armstrong
Daniel Gibson
Wesley Person
Anthony Parker

The names of Steve Kerr and Steve Nash appeared a few times in the answers listed above, thus validating those choices. Mind you, a great shooter does not exclusively take three point shots. He maneuvers around the court to find spots where he can get open to deliver daggers. Consequently, it would be more prudent to have a look at the overall shooting percentage, three point percentage and free throw percentage as well. The higher the percentage in each category, the clearer the picture. So let’s look at some of the best shooting seasons by players in NBA history (minimum of 40 games played):

Larry Bird
Larry Bird
Mark Price
Reggie Miller
Steve Kerr
Steve Nash
Dirk Nowitzki
Jose Calderon
Steve Nash
Steve Nash
Steve Nash

The spreadsheet demonstrates what Ray Allen refers to as “the promised land of shooting” in Chris Ballard’s book The Art of a Beautiful Game: 50% from the field, 40% from three point range and 90% from the charity stripe.

The promised land of shooting makes perfect sense because a terrific shooter should be able to make a high percentage of shots from every spot on the court. Allow me this analogy: if you asked me to tell you who the worst boyfriend ever was, I would have to go back and look at the Maury tapes, see who screwed up the most questions in the lie detector test and whether he also failed the sexy decoy test. Why? Because flunking those aspects makes a man a bad boyfriend because trust is the foundation of a relationship. Well the same principle applies when discussing shooters; they are required to hit a high percentage of their shots to be called great ones.

When looking at the spreadsheet, the name that we see several times is none other than Steve Nash. Since 1979 (introduction of three point line to NBA), the promised land of shooting has occurred 11 times. Nash all by himself has managed to do it four times (Nash barely missed a chance to do it a fifth time during the 2005-2006 season as he finished with a 89.9 FT%), good for most in NBA history, while Larry Bird has successfully completed the feat twice (second most ever). This exclusive club is a great way to determine who the truly great shooters are given the fact that you cannot appear on this list by accident. Nonetheless, it’s still worth checking out how Bird and Nash match up statistically with some other big name shooters. Check out the career shooting percentages of some of the most lethal snipers in NBA history:

Ray Allen
Larry Bird
Craid Hodges
Steve Kerr
Steve Nash
Reggie Miller
Dirk Nowitzki
Mark Price
Glen Rice
Peja Stojakovic

After checking out the graphic, Steve Nash’s name stands out once again. When looking at the shooting numbers as a whole, the British Columbia native (in case you were wondering, that’s in Canada) is clearly the best overall shooter. And yet, his shooting touch is often overlooked because of his ability to handle the ball and feed teammates. Also, as impressive as his shooting numbers are, it’s worth pointing out that Kid Canada gets few spot up shooting opportunities because he is constantly handling the ball. As a result, the Suns point guard often takes shots off the dribble with a defender in his face, and yet he still manages to connect at a ridiculously high rate.

The best shooter of all time should surprise you every time he misses a shot, and that’s exactly how I feel about Nash. The former Santa Clara player has mastered every shot in basketball: he makes shots from short range, midrange and long range regardless of the pressure that is applied on him. There isn’t another player I would want taking an open shot for my team and the numbers support this. In other words, Steve Nash is the best shooter in NBA history…..and he still has a few years left.
Image courtesy of ESPN.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.