Basketball Intelligence For 2/3/24
Today's Best NBA Reporting And Analysis
DAL: Franz Wagner 1-on-1: Guarding Luka Doncic in NBA & FIBA
Grant Afseth, Sports Illustrated
DEN: Jokic put the Nuggets on his bothersome lower back and carried the team to a victory over Portland on Friday
Vinny Benedettto, Denver Gazette
“Challenge yourself,” Malone said. “Think about what life was like before Nikola got here. People don’t do that, you know? They expect (it). Nine years now, (it’s like) ‘Well, it’s always been like this.’ No it wasn’t. Don’t do that. Do lie to yourself. What Nikola has done is historical in nature. It’s amazing. That’s why he’s a two-time MVP. He’s a world champion, and he’s a Finals MVP, because every night, (it’s) his ability to be great for himself but more importantly his ability to make everyone around him better. That truly is the definition of greatness. We have been spoiled, and I’m sure some of us do find ourselves maybe taking it for granted, but just remind yourself that not many guys like Nikola Jokic have walked through those doors. Appreciate every opportunity you have to watch him play.”
DEN: Jokic dominates after missing previous game, Nuggets take first of pair from Trail Blazers
Bennett Durando, Denver Post
DET: Death, taxes and dumb turnovers
Aaron Kellerstrass, Piston Powered
DET: Pistons' improved offense not enough in blowout by Clippers
Omari Sankofa II, Free Press
GSW: Film Analysis: How the Warriors have been using inverted ballscreens to maximize their rim pressure
Joe Viray, Golden State Of Mind
Jonathan Kuminga has been cooking. Andrew Wiggins has looked better. Draymond Green is positively affecting the team. Inverted ballscreens have played a big part.
Think of the conventional ballscreen setup: a big setting a screen for a guard or wing handling the ball, or a wing setting a screen for a guard in certain situations. When you invert that setup, the roles flip: a guard or wing setting a screen for a big, or a guard setting a screen for a wing.
Inverted screens — especially when set by the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — are a simple way to create dilemmas for defenders, who have three poisons to choose from:
Do they stick to Curry/Thompson and trust in the ballhandler’s man to fight over the screen, at the risk of letting the ballhandler get downhill for a layup?
Do they switch the action, which generates two mismatches: a small against a big, or a big/wing against a small?
Do they double the ballhandler at the risk of letting either the screening Curry or Thompson get open on a pop-out three?