Game two of the NBA Finals is tonight, and with the ludicrous number of injuries to the Cleveland Cavaliers, no one seems to be giving them any chance against the Golden State Warriors. That may just be the case when all is said and done, but you still have to play the games. LeBron James knows what it's like to play with a bunch of nobodies, he's done it for the majority of his career. He's also won a lot of games single-handedly. Are the Dubs likely to fall to a LeBron and only LeBron team? Probably not.
But as far as seeing a guy go down fighting, and die hard, this series is going to show the world (who may or may not have forgotten) just who the best individual player of this era is. If he good enough to steal a game on the road in the NBA Playoffs? Maybe.
What do you think? Who on the Jazz right now can take over games by himself? Gordon Hayward? Trey Burke (in the good way and the bad way)? Is Rudy Gobert going to be one of those really hungry guys who can too? If you follow his twitter account (which is probably going to end up as evidence used by the prosecution one day) it seems like it.
Good to be back. #gotsomethingstodo #noteamalldefense #illmakesureitsnotanoption #wehaveag… http://t.co/c3EwGXKA92 pic.twitter.com/ZUhu46v475— rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) June 3, 2015
Though, it's nice to have a Kevin Garnett / Alonzo Mourning type of psychopath in the paint for once.
Via Diana (follow her on Twitter!), we get this snapshot of NBA History. In it you see the MVP voting for the 1989-1990 season:
Whoa look at Malone's and Stockton's stats!!! https://t.co/uqgVQR1vMK— Diana (@dianaallen) June 6, 2015
If that tweet has been deleted, here's the screen shot:
For those that still want MORE info on that year, here's my version of all of that data. Also note, the above tweet forgot that Buck tied Larry for 10th most votes.
Man, remember when teams played with pace? Good times. This was my "really getting into the game" phase of my life, so these are the players I really know the best. There were many stellar performances this season, Magic shot .480 / .383 / .890, which is almost Steve Nash like-- but 20 years before Nash. Jordan led everyone in Win Shares with 19.0, best best was Sir Charles with 17.3. "Akeem" (back then) was such a force he got a lot of votes even if his team was .500 overall. Probably lost in the history of time is Stockton (these are 2010 era MVP numbers) scoring 17.2 ppg. That would have been 2nd best on the team last year, and 1st two years ago. In fact his scoring efficiency is really without peer if you compare him to the last 10 years of Jazz scorers.
But going away from Jazz history, and back to NBA history, for those keeping score at home, Clyde Drexler, Joe Dumars, and Isiah Thomas rounded out the MVP voting that year. For me the 80s / 90s was the golden age of basketball. But I'm biased. Eight of those guys went on to be on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. I don't mind being biased.
I think one of the main differences between 80s / 90s ball and the ball we have today is the reliance upon the three pointer. Or, I guess with the natural evolution of the game, the acceptance and strategic use of the three pointer. Sure, teams can still live or die with the three. But playbooks have evolved to accommodate for selective living and selective dying. The three pointer back in the 80s or 90s was not always the obvious shot that it is today. Back then perimeter penetration or post ups were how you went to war. Today, as we've seen from the Spurs, Hawks, Warriors, and now Jazz playbook -- those two things may just be ruses to set up wide open three pointers. SB Nation studios has this video:
Sure, they forget to mention Mehmet Okur, but I can forgive that. Lots of people don't know how great he was. I can't get mad at everyone being ignorant in the world about something, otherwise I would always be mad.
Anyway, three are here to stay -- even if they make a four point line in 20 to 30 years. We can assume that there's going to be many more people driving next season, Dante Exum, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, and Trey Burke will all get high screens at times. People know all about the damage that Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert can do around the rim. That leaves one obvious place that should be open. And open by design.
A big question going into this next season will be just how good our team is from outside, and if they have gotten better at making open threes or not. Trevor Booker said that's one of the main things he's working on this off-season. But everyone needs to work on it. It's now just another skill the best players seem to have.
Specialists will always exist, and while this club currently doesn't have a three point specialist or a stretch big specialist -- if everyone does their part the team will be better for it.
I wonder if Dante Exum knows how to drive stick . . . but I really hope he just flat out drives to the rim more next year for the Jazz.
Either way, this is a big step up for a guy who didn't even have a license to drive last year. This time next season we will have had about 900 new Vines of him destroying the other team, though. #buckleup
You may not know jack, but Jack Cooley 's got Game. Specifically this game.
Thanks @2K for hooking me up with the latest @NBA2K ! Can't wait to start playing. pic.twitter.com/D80VqOUQ29— Jack Ryan Cooley (@JackCooligan45) June 4, 2015
Also, I've already paid for and pre-ordered NBA 2K16. I have a problem.