The Portland Trail Blazers edged out the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night by just two points. Coach Terry Stotts’ team won the possession battle by forcing two more turnovers than Denver. He can thank big man LaMarcus Aldridge for his team keeping the rock.
LMA became the first NBA player since Carmelo Anthony to take 30 shots while committing zero turnovers.
His ability to get a shot up before fumbling the ball away is a prime reason why he is a valuable piece of the Blazers. Aldridge’s career turnover rate of 8.2% is one of the three lowest of all-time.
Here is the complete list of games with 30+ FGA’s and Zero turns (since 2010):
Player Date Tm FGA TOV
LaMarcus Aldridge 2014-12-02 POR W 30 0
Carmelo Anthony 2014-01-24 NYK W 35 0
Kevin Durant 2014-01-07 OKC L 34 0
LaMarcus Aldridge 2013-12-26 POR W 31 0
Kevin Durant 2013-01-14 OKC W 30 0
The OKC Thunder display Friday highlighted why they miss Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook so much. In a home loss to the Pistons Scott Brooks‘ team made one free throw.
Over 53 minutes and nearly one-hundred shot attempts only Steven Adams would make a foul shot for the home team.
See KD has led the NBA in made free throws for five years straight. In addition Russ has been among the top-five league wide in each of his last three healthy seasons. Getting to the foul line and converting has been the primary advantage for OKC during their five year run of success.
Sans their stars the Thunder have become the first team in at least three decades to make fewer than two foul shots in an overtime game.
Only the expansion Toronto Raptors featuring rookie Damon Stoudamire played an entire NBA game while not hitting a freebie.
Date Tm Opp Result MP FGA FT FTA
2014-11-14 OKC DET L 89-96 (OT) 265 96 1 6
2014-02-08 MEM ATL W 79-76 240 90 1 1
2013-11-24 PHO ORL W 104-96 240 95 1 3
2012-01-14 TOR CHI L 64-77 240 86 1 7
2004-02-25 NJN MIN L 68-81 240 83 1 5
1996-01-09 TOR CHH L 91-92 240 84 0 3
The Oklahoma City Thunder have played ten playoff games in 2014. Understanding the sample size is still small we could see flukes in OKC’s production by lineups. But early on there are dramatic differences in Scott Brooks 5-man units.
The Thunder’s most common lineup is Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. In 127 minutes played through 10 games this unit is playing even with it’s opponents.
When Brooks goes small and inserts Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler for Perk and Thabo we see an improvement in rebounding and big jump in shooting efficiency. Overall this small unit is +30 points/100 possessions.
This is an outrageous difference and is not likely to last. But ten games in there is no argument which Thunder lineup has been most productive this playoff season.
The Memphis Grizzlies should not expect Kevin Durant to repeat his game three performance anytime this playoff season. Durant took 13 shots outside of ten feet during game 3. He made exactly one of them.
I give Tony Allen, Mike Conley and Courtney Lee credit for playing tight defense on the MVP but it’s not likely that K.D. will be ice cold again on Saturday night.
Only four players in this NBA season have proven to be great shooters, good rebounders and good passers.
- 58% True Shooting
- 10% Total Rebound Rate
- 20% Assist Rate
To put this in perspective only three players in the entire 1980’s accomplished this feat in any season. They were Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Magic did it five times while Bird had four such seasons.
The most valuable players in the NBA this year are LeBron James (19 wins produced) and Kevin Durant (20 wins). You can pick your poison.
One thing we shouldn’t hear from NBA MVP voters is “He’s the best player on the best team”. Why? Because neither the Heat or Thunder are the best team. That honor goes to the San Antonio Spurs.
Gregg Popovich’s Spurs have five more wins than every other team in the league. So for argument sake who is their best player? While Tim Duncan is having another excellent season he isn’t San Antonio’s MVP. That honor goes to third year forward Kawhi Leonard.
The San Diego State product is over 60% True Shooting this year while playing great defense on multiple positions. Finally, without Leonard in the lineup San Antonio is 8-7 this year. With Kawhi they are 52-10.
I’m not arguing that a Spur should win the MVP but it is clear that the 2014 NBA MVP will not come from the best team.
Only ten players this NBA season have scored 1,000 points while sporting a 60% True Shooting. No surprise that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are clearly the two best scorers and shooters in the league this year. But there were two names that really stand out among the list, Goran Dragic and Jodie Meeks.
The Phoenix Suns guard is shooting just as well as Stephen Curry while Meeks is a few steps ahead of Joe Johnson, Kevin Martin and Jamal Crawford.