What We’re Reading: One Strange Week

From Flickr via NSNewsflash

From Flickr via NSNewsflash

We at Bulls by the Horns realize that you’re busy and don’t have the time to go searching through website after website for some interesting, NBA related reads. So, every Saturday, we’ll gather the articles we’ve found interesting and put them together for you in one place.

Some strange things occurred in the NBA this week.  Let’s start with what might have been the strangest: Corey Brewer’s 51 point Friday night outburst.  On Friday night, Corey Brewer scored 51 points in the Timberwolves’ 112-100 victory over the Houston Rockets, which Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats and Info is calling the most unlikely 50 point performance of all-time.  Brewer was just the sixth player in NBA history to score 50 points in a game without scoring at least 30 points in a previous game as well .  Along with the points, Brewer added six steals to join Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Rick Barry as the only four players to score 50 points in a game while also recording six or more steals.

Another strange headline from this week came from Miami on Tuesday night when Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron Jame’s game-winning dunk attempt.  That was not a typo and neither is this: Mason Plumlee leads all rookies in PER this season.  Devin Kharpertian of the Brooklyn Game took a closer look at Plumlee’s Rookie of the Year resume knowing full well that Plumlee will receive almost no consideration for the award.  Though Plumlee has not put up the gaudy statistics of Michael Carter-Williams or Victor Oladipo, Kharpertian writes that he has become a key rotational player for a playoff team, which is something very few rookies ever get to claim.

A measure that may help show Plumlee’s true value is the newly introduced Real Plus-Minus statistic.  The mathematics behind the statistic can be very confusing, so Kevin Ferrigan of Hickory High (and Bulls by the Horns) took a look at just how the statistic is calculated.  Ferrigan made some interesting observations that help show that though the statistic may be getting closer to revealing a player’s “true” value on the floor, it is imperfect and has a few flaws.  Some of the flaws covered by Ferrigan include an inclusion of data from the previous season, a reliance on box score statistics, and a height bias.

Though Real Plus-Minus might not be perfect, it should help people see the value of player’s that do some of the little things and don’t just score a ton of points.  Truehoop’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss wrote that the increased usage of defensive statistics will make it harder to ignore a player’s defensive value.  Strauss encountered quite a bit of cynicism among Warriors Andre Igoudala and Andrew Bogut who both seemed to think that their contributions on the defensive end will remain difficult to measure and believe that their contributions will likely go largely unnoticed.

A player whose greatness has gone larger unnoticed is the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki who passed Oscar Robertson earlier this week to enter the NBA’s Top Ten in career scoring.  While Nowitzki might have done it quietly to some nationally, his impact has been felt since the moment he arrived in Dallas and Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas took some time to ask those who have known him best in Dallas to talk about his progression.  His fantastic oral history gave some of those who greatly influenced Nowitzki (Nash, Cuban, Nelson, and many more) the opportunity to talk about his career and attempt to put his impact in perspective.

Though the two players couldn’t be more different, Kawhi Leonard is one day hoping to make the same type of leap to superstardom that Nowitzki made early on in his career.  Jack Winter of Hardwood Paroxysm wrote about Leonard’s development this week and how Leonard didn’t develop quite the way everyone expected him to after last year’s NBA Finals.  Winter mentioned how “kneejerk NBA Finals judgments” made people think that Leonard would step in for Manu Ginobili this season and become the third member of the Spurs’ Big Three, but Leonard wasn’t up to the task early in the season.  As the season has progressed though, Leonard has shown that he is ready for a greater offensive output in San Antonio.

While Leonard takes on a heavier offensive load for the Spurs, the Nuggets Kenneth Faried is doing much of the same in Denver.  Grantland’s Zach Lowe broke down just how much more aggressive and diverse Faried’s offensive playbook has become this season.  After reading Lowe’s piece, watching a Nuggets game became a much difference experience as your eyes are immediately drawn to Faried’s early post action and low post position.  Faried’s more rounded play has definitely helped him shift away from the perception of being “just an energy guy” which he mentioned to Lowe in the piece.

We’ll end today with a mixtape of Gerald Green dunks set to Jock Jams, which is just awe-inspiring.

That’s all for today.  Remember…reading is FUNdamental.

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