Posts Tagged ‘Peja Stojakovic’

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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Conventional wisdom: June 1

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Wednesday, June 1.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

Yeah, LeBron James is amazing. If we didn’t hate him so much, we’d really have to be in awe of how well he’s playing in these playoffs. However, the real star of the show for Miami is its defense. As much praise as we heaped on Chicago for its defensive presence all season, it has been the Heat who have played the best “D” when the stakes got raised. It is their ability to choke out any attack that has them rumbling towards a champagne bath.

Give it up already:

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks’ bench was supposed to be a big advantage in this series, but man, did they look bad last night. Jason Terry was the only player who made anything that can be called a positive contribution, while Peja Stojakovic, J.J. Barea, and Brendan Haywood each should petition for part of Miami’s playoff share for their contributions to the Heat win in Game 1.

When Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd become your second and third best offensive options, your team is in trouble.

Dirk can’t do this by himself, but it looks like he’s going to have to try.

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Haywood explains his new poster

by Zettler Clay

Apparently, when big men get dunked on by perimeter players, there is an airtight alibi. And our man Brendan Haywood is the guy to let us know.

Haywood spoke to ESPNDallas.com about the play that is making rounds around the NBA Playoffs.

“He made a hell of a play, man,” Haywood told ESPNDallas.com during the Mavericks’ shootaround before Saturday’s Game 3. “He went to the 20th floor and I stopped at the 10th. It was one of those plays, I mean, I watched it myself and was like, ‘Whoa, that’s a great play.’

Fair enough. But he wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.

“It was a great play, but I’m not even really worried about that. I’m more worried about how bad our perimeter defense was. I’m like, ‘Peja, uh, can you close the gate a little bit maybe?’”

Peja Stojakovic said “my bad” after the play. Haywood wasn’t satisfied.

“I was like, ‘A little late for that, Peja. I don’t really want to hear your bad. Just move your feet a little bit better next time. Just move your feet,’” Haywood said. “I think that’s the problem. There’s no way in the world we should have had Peja on (Kevin) Durant. That’s wrong. We’re going to blame that on a coaching error. If Peja is on Durant, we should automatically as a team yell zone. It should definitely be a zone.”

Goodness. On one hand, this looks to be a clear case of an embarrassed soul saving face for a play that, well, would make Shawn Bradley blush. On the other hand, this could be viewed as an impassioned plea for smarter play from a team that is this close to a NBA championship.

Overall, Haywood is ultimately right. There is absolutely no percentage in pitting Stojakovic against a two-time scoring champ in a Western Conference Finals matchup. Ever. Whether his excoriations will affect team chemistry or any future highlight reel is remaining to be seen.

And as if you haven’t seen this enough:

Conventional wisdom: May 14th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.

Here’s how it looks for the weekend of May 14-15.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

You might think a long layoff between games might make the Mavericks rusty, but seeing as the core of their team is almost exclusively on the wrong side of 30, I’d say it plays right into their hands.

Whichever team wins Sunday’s Game 7 between Memphis and Oklahoma City is going to be drained come the start of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday, all the more so if it’s the Grizzlies, who will presumably stay on the road and head straight for Dallas.

Meanwhile Dallas gets to rest up, particularly helpful for a guy like Peja Stojakovic, who has been huge off the bench this postseason for the Mavs but generally speaking is as brittle as uncooked pasta.

Give it up already:

Oklahoma City Thunder

A friend of mine sent me an amazing statistic yesterday. The combined average age of OKC’s top four players in terms of minutes played is 21.5 years old. The combined age of the University of Pittsburgh’s top four this season was 21.75 years.

This is a young, young Thunder squad, and under the harsh lights and scrutiny of a Game 7 situation, that inexperience will lead to the team’s unraveling. That, and their continuing inability to hold double-digit leads.

The Grizzlies have shown themselves to be fighters in this postseason, and though Oklahoma City slowed Zach Randolph in several games in this series, he was back in full beast mode in Game 6 (30 points, 13 rebounds) and will keep it going on Sunday.

There is a bright future on the horizon for the Thunder, but it’s at least another year away.

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Conventional wisdom report: May 9th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, May 9.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

Several things stand out in the wake of the Mavs’ total destruction of the Lakers on Sunday. Their staggering proficiency from 3-point range was amazing, as Dallas tied several NBA playoff records including most 3′s in a half (11), most 3′s in a game (20) and most by a single player (Jason Terry, nine). But the biggest achievement to me (as our main man Sekou Smith also points out): the Mavs became the first team in playoff history to have three bench players top the 20-point mark in the same game, with Jason Terry (32 points), J.J. Barea (22), Peja Stojakovic (21) each reaching the plateau.

Dallas has everything rolling right now and is making its playoff failures of the past a distant memory with each win. If the Mavs’ bench can keep turning in performances even half as good as what we saw from them in Game 4 on Sunday, they just may net Dirk Nowitzki his first NBA title.

Give it up already:

Chicago Bulls

Game 4 against the Hawks showed everyone exactly why the Bulls aren’t ready to win a championship yet. When Derrick Rose doesn’t have his offensive A-game, Chicago doesn’t have enough reliable alternative scoring options. Much like Atlanta did against Orlando and Dwight Howard, the Hawks can focus their defensive energy on making Rose work for his points (34 points in Game 4, but on 32 shots) and count on the rest of the Bulls coming up short.

The Bulls may have had the best regular-season record in the NBA, but they had a much tougher first-round series against the Pacers than most expected. Now the Hawks are threatening to take them to the limit as well. Even if Atlanta can’t finish the job, the looming battle with the Celtics or Heat — both of whom play much better defense than the Hawks — will be enough to send them packing.

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Conventional wisdom report: May 7th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Saturday, May 7.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

Harp on the Mavs’ history of coming up short in the playoffs all you want, but it’s hard to question the toughness of a team that has two fourth quarter comebacks in three games against the two-time defending champs, and Dirk Nowitzki is playing as well or better than anyone else in the playoffs at present – Derrick Rose included. Dallas is also getting bonus production from unlikely sources — namely, back-from-the-dead Peja Stojakovic, who hit three 3′s and scored 15 off the bench in Game 3. This team is locked and loaded right now, and seeing as they are undefeated at home in these playoffs, are likely to finish off the foundering Lakers in Game 4 on Sunday.

Give it up already:

L.A. Lakers

My word, what has happened to Pau Gasol? Just to prove the point that the NBA is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of league, Gasol, a winner of multiple NBA championships with the Lakers and a world (and Euro) championship with his native Spain, has once again caused the media to question his resolve and ability to withstand the harsh glare of the postseason spotlight.

Dynasties never go out quietly. Between Gasol’s MIA performance and Ron Artest going off the rails, this Lakers squad is about to face a harsh dose of reality. And let’s face it, Kobe not getting any younger. Oh, and Phil is leaving. And Lamar is married to a Kardashian.

Add it all up, and it could be a while before we see the Lake Show playing basketball in the month of June again.

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