Clips announcers, wow!
Al Jefferson, many walk
Bassy, game's best point
At least this one was close and interesting. The best part of the night was watching the Clippers announcing crew apologize for their very own Iran-Gate right before one of them told the world that "I'm not going to ask you where [Nate] Jawai is from." Really? You don't own a program and you don't want to hazard a guess? Lordy, how do guys like this get in front of a mic? I know that Donald Sterling owns the team but come on; when your lily-white announcers are cracking jokes about not knowing the origins of players, presumably because they have dark pigmentation and foreign accents, it may be time to rethink whether or not the guys with the live-feed access to thousands of people are smart enough to have that sort of position. Thank goodness for J-Pete and Hanny and thank goodness we don't root for the Clips.
More game-based wrappiness to follow in a bit.
UPDATE: My intertronz went down today and I didn't get a chance to put up the game wrap. What I do want to note is that Al Jefferson ended the game with 8 turnovers including a few traveling calls down the stretch. Al is clearly getting his sea legs under him but one of the things that made him such a wonderful player in the past was his ability to post a high usage rate without a lot of TOs. Last year he had a 26.1 UsgR with a 7.3 TOr. That's a lot of team possessions without a lot of turnovers. This season he's sitting at 23.4 and 9.8. In other words, he is using less possessions but making more turnovers. On the good side of things his assist rate is up from 6.3 to 11.4, which is pretty decent for a center. He's still getting to the line at the same clip (19 FT/FG) but his rebound rate is also way down (17.5 to 12.8). His DrawFoul% is currently at 12.1% while last year it was at 12%. Putting this all together, we can make a few assumptions about his ability to get to lose rebounds and his ability to facilitate the ball on offense. He's doling out more assists but it is coming at the expense of a significantly increased turnover rate. Once his legs catch up with him, and once Kevin Love returns, will these trends continue? Will his rebound rate increase once he has an above-average frontcourt player around him? Will his assist rate go down once Love is given the Pau Gasol role on the pinch post?
In terms of last night's game, one of the things that was most interesting about the traveling calls is the always-present NBA question of whether or not Big Al would have received those calls if the Wolves were a .500 or above team and if he had A1 Alpha Dog status. One of the big themes of the young season is that the Wolves led the league in preseason with FTA by 22 attempts over the next best FTA shooting team and they are now the regular season's worst FTA shooting team in terms of free throw rate (a horrible 16.1), the 2nd worst in terms of FTA differential (-5.6), and dead-last in net FTAs (a paltry 18.2). Losing Kevin Love hurts but does it hurt that much? The team hasn't been as good in transition as we first expected and they aren't attacking the lane in the 1/2 court as much as they did in the preseason but are these changes enough to account for the massive shift in FTA output? Just how much did the replacement refs help out the Wolves at the charity stripe?
Whatever the case, the Wolves are a poor shooting team that doesn't get to the line. That's it's biggest functional problem right now. You can't win games if you can't shoot the ball and don't get to the line. It's that simple. Forget everything else for a moment; the Wolves need to attack the rim and get to the line. I know they are trying to bring along Jonny Flynn with a trial by fire but at what point does he need to be told to attack the lane at all costs? Who else is going to get FTAs on this squad right now?
What say you?