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Weekend Observations: 25 things from the week that was

Jan 7, 2012, 2:16 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

Each weekend we bring you 25 random observations from the NBA week that was. 

1. Ramon Sessions is not shooting well, but he’s drawing a lot of contact and his assists are up this year. He’s got a 19.5 PER and can’t get over 25 minutes per game on the Cavaliers. He’s much more of a playmaker this year. It’s hard to understand why no one will make a move for him.

2. Derrick Williams has that tweener offensive game, but that’s becoming less of an issue in this league. Coaches have started to understand how to use athleticism from bigs effectively on the perimeter. Williams has great scorer’s touch and that doesn’t always translate from college to the NBA. He’s drawing fouls and converting a high percentage from the field. Rubio gets all the attention but there are two good rooks in Minny.

3. If Ricky Rubio can shoot like this, if this isn’t an aberration, he’s going to be a perennial All-Star. As in, next year. As in, he’d be one this year if it weren’t for the shortened schedule keeping him from nabbing the starting job in time.

4. Efficiency is a big key word in the NBA. The Bulls aren’t particularly efficient, in terms of style of play (they are 6th in offensive efficiency, 2nd in defensive efficiency, so overall pretty efficient), but they are hyper-effective. The things they do are proven to work (defend, draw fouls, have a guard that blows by everyone), and they do them insanely well. They create open jumpers for Deng who can hit them, and create space. They grind you into oblivion. It’s not a lot of fun to watch. Not that defense isnt’ fun to watch, but that they make the opponent so bad and their offense is so grinding there’s not much spectacular play outside of Rose.

5. Paul George has been phenomenal on teh catch and shoot this year. It’s such an underused element in the NBA and he’s killing it. With his range and size, it’s a near-impossible matchup for opponents. The guy has a 67 TrueShooting percentage this year. That’s insane.

6. Danilo Gallinari is going to find his long-range shot and when he does he’s going to be terrifying offensively. His awareness this season of when to pump fake and drive and when to shoot has been really impressive, as has his ball-hawking (2 steals per 36 minutes).

7. I don’t have a specific name or description of the award that Gerald Wallace needs to win for his performance through the first two weeks of the season, but he deserves it. No one has made more of a positive impact for his team than Crash so far. Both ends. His work on Kobe Bryant this week was the stuff of legend, wrist or no.

8. James Harden still has a hand full of plays per game where he tries to do too much. But it’s mostly on account of the fact that the rest of the time, you’re pretty sure there isn’t anything he can’t do.

9. The Hawks really aren’t as bad as they looked against Miami. They have played really well top to bottom this season outside of that game. The Hawks have a greater penchant for playing down to the lowest level they can on national television of any team in the league.

10. Gerald Henderson has improved in just about every phase of the game. 47 percent from the field, 38 percent from the arc. He needs to learn to draw more fouls and finish at the rim in traffic, but there’s a lot to like about him for Charlotte.

11. Greivis Vasquez is a fine NBA player who has worked exceptionally hard to get where he is. He also should not be playing as many minutes as he is.

12. You want to blame everything for Memphis on injuries. But so much had to go right and did last year for what the Grizzlies accomplished, you feel like this is some sort of karmic payback. Crushing to see a team with that much effort struggle so much with execution.

13. Can we talk about Bosh? 21 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block per game, and he’s been a go-to for them on offense. This is the best I’ve seen him play, maybe ever. His defense has been rock solid, too, though he’s struggles in the post. As scary as the Heat have been overall, Bosh has been an important element in it.

14. Both the Knicks and Clippers have shown the true power of star power this week. In close games, they simply gave the ball to their best player and let him do damage to close out a game. The Clippers used it to give the Blazers, the best team in the West, their first loss. The Knicks used it to beat the Wizards, the worst team in the East. Same result, though, with Melo doing Melo things.

15. Greg Monroe has been a much more complete player offensively this year. He’s passing out of the post well, and is getting better on weakside defensive rotations. 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists (!) per 36 for the second-year big. He and Jerebko are the best players on the Pistons right now. Which says a lot about the Pistons, but still.

16. Utah’s starting to get it together, and Al Jefferson has been part of it. It continues to boggle my mind that no one is making a sronger push for Paul Millsap on the trade market.

17. Double-small-guard lineups are a rage right now and they’re being deployed really effectively. Denver with Ty Lawson and Andre Miller and Indiana with Darren Collison and George Hill (Hill’s a pretty legit two, but still) are some examples.

18. The schedule is slamming down on teams right now. It’s not really conditioning, which has been good, but the initial rush of the season is over and teams are struggling with these back-to-back sets. It’s not pronounced on the back-to-backs or even the back-to-back-to-backs. It’s just the overall play as we see scoring drop and injuries piling up.

19. The Blazers play really balanced, well-executed ball for about 44 minutes. Jamal Crawford takes care of the rest. That’s been a huge pickup this season.

20. Andrew Bynum is an All-Star and for once the hype is deserved. He’s finally put it all together.

21. Some teams lose because they’re just terrible at multiple aspects of the game. The Rockets, instead, are good in multiple aspects of the game. They’re just immensely solvable. Their schedule has been brutal, though.

22. If the Wizards could just learn to close a game… they’d still be pretty terrible. But you have to think this team will look better at season’s end than they do now. Some pieces you started to see coming along this week.

23. Chris Singleton keeps winding up having to defend players who are offended he’s guarding him. Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony. Gotta feel for the kid.

24. Dallas. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad bad. Bad bad bad.

25. And in conclusion, Iman Shumpert.

  1. nbascreed - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Calling Rubio a perenial All-Star after 5 games in the NBA is pretty irresponsibile and wreaks of desperation. Let the kid play out the full 66 and let’s judge after that. If you watched all of the Wolves games (I have), outside of the Jason Williams esque flash there hasn’t been much there.

    And as for the shooting numbers, he’s averaging 6 shots per game. 6! Please don’t make him a knockdown jump shooter off of whopping 42 NBA shots. I think I saw that he’s shooting 33% on shots outside the lane (not layups/floaters)…Wow!

    thenbascreed.blogspot.com

    • raidmagic - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      blah blah blah blah…..someone read my blog please.

      Decent insight but it would mean more if it weren’t posted just to plug your blog.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      thenbascreed.blogspot.com:

      If you want to advertise your crap blog, and you want to impress by using “big” words, get them right. You “wreak” havoc or destruction; your posts “REEK” of stank. “Esque” isn’t a stand-alone word. But hey, at least you can spell your blog’s addy right-or is that just a copy/paste of an earlier lucky shot?

      • nbascreed - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        Sorry about that dude, let me F7 and try it again….

        Calling Rubio a perenial All-Star after 5 games in the NBA is pretty irresponsibile and reeks of desperation. Let the kid play out the full 66 and let’s judge after that. If you watched all of the Wolves games (I have), outside of the Jason Williams-esque flash there hasn’t been much there.

        And as for the shooting numbers, he’s averaging 6 shots per game. 6! Please don’t make him a knockdown jump shooter off of whopping 42 NBA shots. I think I saw that he’s shooting 33% on shots outside the lane (not layups/floaters)…Wow!

        thenbascreed.blogspot.com

        How’s that?

    • thatboi901 - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Making assumptions is also pretty irresponsible don’t you think? He didn’t say Rubio will be an all star. He said if, keyword if which means under a certain condition, his shooting holds true he would be. I don’t see anything irresponsible about that or even desperate.

    • khuxford - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      What about him saying that Bynum is now legit, rather than overhyped, based on even fewer games?

      And I’m with Raid: stop plug-whoring.

  2. houlios1 - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    It isn’t even decent insight. I have watched all their games this year as well, and all their games last year.

    Rubio isn’t just flash, he’s got a much better feel for the game than a vet pg like Ridnour and consistently makes the simple play better than a guy like Ridnour as well.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that Rubio will ever be an all star or anything, but is he a legit nba point guard? Hell yes.

    A lot of haters said a lot of crap about Rubio before he ever played an NBA game and now that it looks like they could be wrong, they are all of a sudden saying “slow down, don’t jump to conclusions!”

    If only they’d followed their own advice the last two years and waited to see what the kid could do in the League.

  3. philtration - Jan 7, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I will take the Bulls defense and their “grinding ” offense over guys trying to make the ESPN highlights any day.
    While Dwight Howard was pretending to give Glen Davis CPR last night, the Bulls were winning their 6th straight game and are now 7-1 so laugh it up Dwight.

    By the way… Stacy King saying that Fat Baby Davis might cough up a sandwich when Howard did the CPR thing was the best comment of the year so far.

  4. glink123 - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Stacey King is one of the best commentators in the league. He’s must-see TV, IMHO.

    • philtration - Jan 8, 2012 at 1:42 AM

      Stacey is a trip and he is perfect teamed up with Neil Funk.

  5. kevliggidy - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Nothing on the Sixers? SMH…

  6. mrlitl - Jan 8, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    So Bynum has like 5 good games and he’s an all-star? He’ll be hurt by February.

  7. tcclark - Jan 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    No observations about a 5-2 sixers team? It’s not like they lead the league in points against, opponent’s shooting percentage, and point differential or anything. It’s not like their 4th in points for, field goal percentage, and 2nd in A/to ration either.

    They just beat their fourth team by 20 or more and this site has a total of 1 observation out of the 125 that you’ve done this year.

    I’m not saying that they are the best team in the league, but they started the season on a 5 game west coast road trip playing 4 games in 6 nights and they are getting ZERO attention.

  8. Art DiFuria - Jan 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    What tcclark said, x2!

  9. The Baseball Gods - Jan 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    I agree 100% tcclark. Just nothing about a very entertaining Sixers team. Hell, if you go back and look at all the stories there is nothing about them there either. They’ll learn eventually. Just stupid basketball bloggers not paying attention to the whole league (they only care about STAR power)

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