Posts Tagged ‘Fave Five’

All Ball Fave Five: Most Disappointing Playoff Teams Of The New Millenium

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week we’ll count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Who is going to win the Super Bowl this year? The World Series? Your guess is as good as mine. In the NFL and MLB, who wins from year to year is totally unpredictable. In football it’s about who is lucky and who is healthy; in baseball it’s who is lucky and who gets great pitching.

The NBA is different. There are very, very few Cinderella stories in professional basketball. For my money, the 2011 Mavericks and the 2004 Pistons are the only surprise champions I’ve seen in the NBA in my lifetime.

The best teams almost always prevail. Which is why when we think of the teams who have come up short since the start of the 2000s, the answers are pretty obvious.

Let’s take a look:

5. 2011 San Antonio Spurs

What happened: The Spurs got off to a ridiculous start to the season (they were 29-4 at one point), and for a while there was talk that they might flirt with 70 wins. They cooled a bit down the stretch, but still finished the regular season as the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 61-21.

The draw in the West looked pretty good, as they faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. Talk about a mismatch – the Spurs, four-time NBA champions, versus the Grizz, who to that point had not won a single playoff game in franchise history in three previous appearances. So naturally they advanced to face HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

Memphis shocked San Antonio in six games, and the Spurs went home as only the fourth No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 8 seed*.

* The Bulls became the fifth this past season, but methinks that might have turned out differently had Derrick Rose been healthy.

Why they disappointed: I’ll be honest. I don’t really think of this Spurs team as being all that much of a disappointment. Some of that is due to the fact that the Grizzlies turned out to be a pretty good team, and some (maybe a lot) is due to the fact that Manu Ginobili hurt his elbow the final game of the season and was severely limited in the series. Still, 1 seeds don’t lose to 8 seeds, so here they are.

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All Ball Fave Five: Most Traded Players In NBA History

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week we’ll count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Earlier this offseason, you may recall a certain four-team trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to the Sixers and Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. Those guys were certainly the A-listers in the deal, but several others (12 in total) changed teams, including Al Harrington, who moved from Denver to Orlando.

For Harrington, this was nothing new. Big Al has had to pack his bags at a moment’s notice several times along his NBA journey so far; the trade to Orlando constituted the fifth time in his 14-year career he’s been dealt.

Five trades for one guy. That seems like a lot. But is it?

Not really. The NBA trades players at almost a fantasy-league level. Contenders trade to add that last piece for a championship run. Also-rans trade to bottom out and start from scratch. The Timberwolves trade because it’s Tuesday, and hey, why not. It’s the trading-est league in professional sports, and I don’t think it’s particularly close either.

In league history, there have been seven players to be traded seven or more times. In this week’s Fave Five Seven, we take a look at them.

Jim Jackson

To me, Jim Jackson is the absolute epitome of the kind of player who gets traded a lot in the NBA. He was clearly a talented guy (drafted No. 4 overall in the 1992 Draft), and his scoring skills made him a coveted asset throughout his career. But often times Jackson failed to provide much else for a team, and soon he’d be dangled again as bait for the next team looking to shore up its offense.

Career trades: Seven. Dallas to New Jersey, New Jersey to Philadelphia, Portland to Atlanta, Atlanta to Cleveland, Houston to New Orleans, New Orleans to Phoenix

Most famous deals: Jackson came into the league with the Mavericks, and for a time there was real optimism about the team’s future with the “Three Js” — Jason (Kidd), Jamal (Mashburn), and Jackson. But in-fighting famously led Dallas to blow up the team, and after shipping Kidd to Phoenix and Mashburn to Miami, the Mavs traded Jackson to New Jersey in a gigantic, nine-player deal at the 1997 trade deadline that netted Shawn Bradley. Four months later, at the ’97 Draft, the Nets then turned around and dealt Jackson to the Sixers in an eight-player deal that netted (no pun intended) No. 2 pick Keith Van Horn.

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All Ball Fave Five: Best Shooters Never To Win The 3-Point Shootout

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week will count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

You often hear complaints during All-Star Weekend about things that need to be fixed, most often in reference to the dunk contest. “Where are the stars? That guy got robbed! How come they get so many chances?”

You know what you never hear complaints about? The 3-Point Shootout. You know why? Because the 3-Point Shootout is perfect. There’s no controversy over judging. There’s no debate over someone’s performance relative to another shooter. And best of all, the game’s best shooters typically WANT to be in the contest, which has led to a general Who’s Who of champions over the years. Bird. Price. Nowitzki. Stojakovic. Allen.

Sadly, like The Highlander, there can be only one (winner each year), which means some pretty terrific marksmen have come up empty over their careers.

In this week’s Fave Five, we take a look at the five best shooters to never win the NBA’s signature shooting event. Obviously there have been hundreds of excellent shooters, so we chose to include only those who participated in the event itself on multiple occasions but came up empty.

5. Hubert Davis

3-Point Bonafides: Perhaps the least accomplished player on this list in terms of his overall body of work, Davis was nonetheless one of the NBA’s sweetest 3-point shooters during his 12-year career. Hubert currently ranks third all time in 3-point shooting percentage, with a career .441 mark (728-1651), including a league-leading .491 with the Mavs in 1999-00.

3-Point History: Davis participated in the shootout three times, in 1996, 1998, and 2000. His best performance came in ’98, when he poured in 24 points in the semis, making 11 straight shots at one point. Unfortunately he peaked too soon and could only muster 10 more in the final round, eventually losing to Jeff Hornacek. Davis failed to make it out of the first round in his other two entries.

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All Ball Fave Five: Best Last Name Teams

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week will count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Remember last year when the Nets had four Williams on their team? Crazy right? Maybe not, actually. As it turns out, Williams is the most populous last name in professional basketball history, with 69 players.

Williams is the most popular surname — but is it the best? For this week’s Fave Five, we took a look at the history books to pull out the five best teams by last name.

A couple quick notes: This list is entirely subjective, but there was a little method to the madness. First off, given the sheer mass of players who have competed over the years in the NBA and ABA, we narrowed the list to last names with at least 10 players listed in the Basketball Reference database.

Then, to help whittle down the contenders even more, we used Win Shares (if you are unfamiliar with them, here’s a brief description) as a baseline for judging performance. With a few exceptions, the five players we chose for each team had the most career Win Shares within each last name. To help further guide our hand, we then averaged the win share totals per starting five. I’m sure anyone with basic skills in statistical analysis could poke any number of holes in this methodology, but like I say, this list is ultimately subjective. So too bad.

Also — we used statistics to help frame the debate, but ultimately the rankings came down to answering this question: If these teams played each other head to head, with each player in their individual primes, who would win?

Here we go!

5. Miller

 


Total Millers:
16 (including 2012 Draft picks Quincy and Darius)
Starting Five: Reggie Miller (174.4), Andre Miller (90.1), Brad Miller (76.5), Mike Miller (53.5), Oliver Miller (21.1)
Hall of Famers: One, as of Friday
Average career WS of starting five: 83.1

The Miller name is pretty top heavy. Reggie, making his way into the Hall of Fame this weekend, is 15th on the all-time list in Win Shares, while Oliver has the least amount of any starter in the top five. In fact, only one other Miller (Larry, a G/F who played seven seasons in the ABA from 1968-75), has put up even double-digit career WS totals*.

*Quincy and Darius, you have your work cut out for you.

This isn’t the flashiest bunch of players, Reggie aside, but the rest of this lineup put together a fine collection of NBA careers in their time. And yeah, Oliver is the weak link here, but the dude — when he was fit enough, which perhaps wasn’t so often — could ball.

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