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Upon Further Review... The 2012-13 NBA Season 

Another year in the books and another title for the Miami Heat. Obviously that gives them back to back titles and thanks to Wade and Shaq they have won three of the last eight and are obviously the favorites to win the 2014 title (currently 2-1). Sorry about the lack of UFR’s lately. Different events have pushed these out but with the sports world about to come to a grinding halt we shouldn’t miss any more for a while. Anyway, let’s take a nice stroll down memory lane for this past NBA season.

First let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines/accomplishments/surprises of the year...



Not exactly the greatest rookie class of all time but there were plenty of reasons to be intrigued by the newcomers. Most of those reasons were provided by the Blazers’ Damian Lillard. His 19.0ppg (first among rookies), 6.5apg (first among rookies), 3.1rpg, 41.9% shooting from the field, and 84.4% from the free throw line was enough to ink his name into the record books as the unanimous 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year. He kept the Blazers relevant for the majority of the year. They were 33-36 and in playoff contention before they managed to lose their final 13 games.

Other notable rookies include Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, and Bradley Beal. Sure there may have been a couple others that have proven to be useful but this is going to be long enough we don’t need to get into Jonas Valanciunas’ great finish to the season for the Raptors or Dion Waiters quickly becoming an irrational confidence guy.

Davis and Drummond were in the same boat for most of the year. Davis obviously had the higher expectations coming into the year having been selected first overall in the draft, but their numbers were relatively similar.

In 64 games Davis averaged 28.8 minutes per game, 13.5ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.8bpg and 51.6% shooting.

In 60 games Drummond averaged 20.7 minutes per game, 7.9ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.6bpg and 60.8% shooting.

Both of them fought the injury bug and both were probably asked to do too much in their debut seasons, given the poor teams they were on, especially Davis. Coming into a total rebuilding phase Davis needed to force things a bit more than he would have liked. That lead to the healthy lead on Drummond in the points department but also lead to Drummond’s healthy lead in the shooting percentage category. Both of these guys have a bright future ahead of them and Pistons fans should be thrilled with what Drummond gave them given that he was labeled as a big risk going into the draft because of motivational problems. Now the biggest problem with Drummond is his impeccable ability to miss free throws (he made only 59/159 free throws this year for a jaw dropping 37.1% from the charity stripe this season. Even Ben Wallace could get to 40%). Regardless I guarantee we look back at this draft baffled by the fact that Drummond slid all the way to the 9th pick.

Jared Sullinger is a level below those two guys but still in the same boat. He was a big that was bit by the injury bug. In his case though he was just hitting his stride when he was lost for the season. Anybody that watched him in the days/weeks leading up to the injury know he is legit.

In 45 games Sullinger averaged 19.8 minutes per game, 6.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 0.5 bpg and 49.3% shooting.

His stats don’t tell the tale of how good Jared Sullinger can be. He won’t be a starter on a championship team but he has the potential to be the most important guy off the bench for a championship team. He is one of if not the hardest workers in his draft class and creates great energy for the rest of his teammates. There will be a lot more of that to come, provided he can stay on the floor.

I wasn’t going to mention Bradley Beal since he really disappointed this year. All the talk about how he is going to be the next Ray Allen and then you don’t really hear from him all year. As much as I would like to rub his forgettable rookie season into the “He’s the next Ray Allen” people’s collective face, their rookie seasons aren’t all that far off. Check this out...

In 1996-97 Ray Allen played in all 82 games, starting in 81 of them, averaging 13.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.6apg, 0.9 spg, and 1.8topg, while shooting 43% from the field, 39.3% from three, and 82.3% from the free throw line.

This past year Bradley Beal played in 56, starting in 46, averaging 13.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.4apg, 0.9spg, and 1.6topg, while shooting 41% from the field, 38.6% from three, and 78.6% from the free throw line.

With the exception of the games missed by Beal that is about as close as it gets. However nobody has the work ethic of Ray Allen. Maybe I am wrong to laugh out loud when people compare the two but Beal still has a long way to go.


Kevin Durant’s Triple Crown

Kevin Durant’s shooting splits this year put him in rarified air. Breaking all three shooting marks of 50% shooting from the floor, 40% from three, and 90% from the free throw line has only been done by six guys in NBA history. Steve Nash, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and now Durant are the only ones to accomplish the feat. Only two of them have done it multiple times (Nash four times and Bird twice). At the ripe old age of 24 Durant might give Nash a run for his money. He is still very young and only getting better, that’s a rather scary thought. Oh by the way he also helped his team earn the #1 seed in the West and somehow got zero first place votes even though Carmelo Anthony received one.


Scoring Race

Carmelo may have beat Kevin Durant, the three time defending scoring champion, by a solid margin of 0.6ppg but it was Durant who held the title for most of the season. That is until the ‘Melo returned from an injury on 3/20 vs Orlando from which point he posted these scoring numbers in chronological order... 21, 37, 28, 29, 22, 32, 24, 50, 40, 41, 36, 36, 36, 31 and 25 for an average of 32.5ppg and a 36.9ppg mark for the month of April. Who the best scorer in the NBA is a question nearly impossible to answer at this point.


The Lakers suck  

What a train wreck of a year for the Lakers. After acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash many people had them pegged as the favorites to win the title. Little did they realize Dwight is a total cancer of a human being. Plus he isn’t exactly the best fit for that roster. It amazed me how fast the Lakers fans forgot about how Pau and Bynum struggled playing together since they are both centers and both need to play with their backs to the basket. If you put two guys on the low block you clog the lane and create an easy opportunity for help defense. Yet when the Lakers scooped up Dwight their problems were solved... or not.

The Lakers went through three different coaches before barely creeping into the playoffs. Their 45-37 record good for a tie with Houston for the 7 seed. That earned them four bonus games with the Spurs before they were sent packing in rather pathetic fashion.

Things aren’t exactly looking up for the Lakers either by the way. They can’t amnesty Kobe because he’s Kobe. They shouldn’t bring Dwight back because he’s Dwight. That leaves them without cap space and without a good roster. The next few years could get really ugly. Get ready for the Kobe trade demands.

PS. RIP Jerry Buss.


Jason Kidd retires and immediately nabs Nets coaching job

Shocking for a few reasons, none of which are because Billy King is known for being a great GM. Strangely though, I feel like Kidd might be the best possible fit for that team. He without a doubt has one of the highest basketball IQ’s in the world and he was about as well respected a player as there is. At times it even seemed like the stars of the league would take it easy on him when he defended them because they didn’t want to make him look bad. In 2008 he won a gold medal alongside Deron Williams which should eliminate any chances of him killing another coach. Jason Kidd should help make us remember the days when we thought Deron Williams was better than Chris Paul. I still don’t love that roster but I do think Coach Kidd will get that team play better than any other candidate would.

PS. Patrick Chewing should be pissed.


Derrick Rose

I’ll keep this one short since I already wrote an entire YAPS... on Derrick Rose. He sat out all season long, as he watched his teammates struggle coming down the stretch. He was medically cleared to play yet claimed he wasn’t mentally ready to come back. While his teammates gave every ounce of energy they had left in the tank during the playoffs he sat on the sideline. Joakim Noah even played in the playoffs with a tear in his foot, yet he was out there limping around giving Chicago everything he had. It was good enough to make the second round but that team had a little magic surrounding them going into that 2nd round matchup with Miami especially after that Game 1 win. If Rose had manned up who knows what the outcome of this season would have been.


Steph Curry takes a giant leap forward

This guy was able to shake off all those ankle problems that caused some of us to think he might have to retire early. While he may not be out of the woods just yet, as far as his paper mache ankles go, he has shown that he has the potential to be a star in this league.

Curry actually shot better from beyond the arc (45.3%) than he did from the field (45.1%) this season and also poured in free throws at a 90% clip. Curry had perhaps the best three point shooting season of all time. Some might argue there have been more efficient seasons but Curry shot 45.3% while breaking Ray Allen’s record for most threes made in a season. The mark now stands at 272 made threes making him only the second player to knock down 250+ three pointers while shooting over 45%. Also for the record he is the first player to hit 250+ threes while dishing 500+ assists.

Some thought the magic of Steph Curry was behind us but this year he not only proved the haters wrong but turned them into fans. Two of his games this year really jump out at me. First the 54 point explosion at MSG where he put his name up high atop the list short of only Kobe and MJ for most points scored by an opponent in MSG since 1985. He rained in 11/13 threes that night making him the first player to ever drop 50 points while hitting at least 10 threes.

The other was Game 1 vs the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs where Curry exploded for 22 points in the 3rd quarter including 14 straight late in that period. In all he dropped 44 points on 18/35 shooting in the double overtime game while dishing 11 dimes.

The Warriors actually ended up losing both of those games but that’s not the point. The point is if Curry can stay healthy then this is just the beginning. I am not sure we have ever seen someone like him. With a little bit more experience under his belt he will be putting up big games like this with more regularity and he will learn how to win these games. The sky's the limit for this kid. He is one of the most fun to watch and one of the most fun to root for. The entire world is on the Steph Curry bandwagon that it is just starting to get rolling.


Jason Collins comes out

In the May 6th issue of Sports Illustrated was an article about Jason Collins announcing he is gay, making him the closest thing to a current athlete being publicly out. This was a huge story for some but I would argue it was only considered big by people that hate gays to some degree. I have not talked to a single person who thought it was really a big deal, and I live just outside of Boston. Yes it was really the first story of it’s kind, groundbreaking if you will, but not a big deal. It’s 2013 people don’t care about that stuff nearly as much as they used to. Good for Jason though, part of me hopes he lands a roster spot next season, the other part doesn’t want to hear the media asking asinine questions about him being in the locker room.

For this next section let’s remember some of the best plays of the year. To avoid repetition and to give you more great plays, the Top Plays will be removed from the individual categories. For example we all know the Jamal Crawford between the legs alley oop to Blake Griffin will make an appearance. But it could find it’s way into best dunk, best pass and best play. If you want to watch it three times then go ahead and re-watch the video of it in the Top Plays section three times. Also keep in mind that each section may have a different amount of plays in it. Some will have more deserving candidates than others.

Best Dunks

I know it’s 2013 and with YouTube we should probably all be over the wow factor a dunk provides but these ones will get you off your seat.

Byron Mullins over LaMarcus Aldridge

Byron what are you doing shooting threes? I know the Bobcats suck but jesus there’s a future contract at stake. Stay down low or going to the hoop like this. Filthy dunk though.

Matt Barnes to Blake Griffin 

Maybe it deserves a spot further down the list or maybe it’s only regarded as such because it’s Blake Griffin. Plus it’s undefended.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over Greg Monroe

Underrated dunk. I completely forgot about this one. It’s like the band The Yardbirds, it didn’t get the play it deserved.

Jeff Green over Al Jefferson

I think every Celtics fan just smiled a little.

Lebron over Jet Terry

Every season end list had this far higher than I do. I think one of them even had it as the play of the year. I saw a few plays by Lebron that I couldn’t even find on YouTube, that were far better. That’s saying something he is all over YouTube. For instance the play where he outjumped someone for a loose ball at half court tipped it away then dove to recover it before it went out of bounds and before he landed on the ground dished it to Wade for an easy two.

Demar Derozan over Timofey Mozgov

I would say “poor Timofey” like a kid missing who lost their front baby teeth but he has gotten way more publicity with that Carmelo trade than he ever deserved. 

PS. In a world where everyone has a stupid name I'm glad Demar doesn't spell it DeMar. I know it sounds ridiculous but MarShon Brooks is a real person.  

Kobe over Brooklyn

Vintage Kobe.

Gerald Henderson over Dwight Howard

Fitting that Henderson threw down a Dwight-like jam on Deight himself.

Harrison Barnes over Nikola Pekovic

Just an absolute facial. Poor Pekovic.

Best Playoff Dunks

Kawhi Leonard over Mike Miller

Sure it’s over the soft Mike Miller but it’s in the Finals.

Taj Gibson over Kris Humphries

I know I should hate him just for dating a Kardashian, but hell if I were Kris Humprhies and had the opportunity to date Kim Kardashian why the hell not? Sure in 5-10 years we will remember her as one of the worst people in American history, if not already. But she was really hot when he was with her, and he’s just some goon making too much money. Good for him yet I’m damn glad Taj dunked on his ass.

Iman Shumpert putback jam 

The small athletic guy gets another nod and like the other times it wasn’t simply because he is small. This is insane.

Paul George over Bosh

Just a beautiful dunk. Bonus points for making Bosh look silly.

Tayshaun Prince dunks on all of OKC

If not for the impact the next dunk had this would probably be #1. Tayshaun really channeled an older version of himself with this one. There literally wouldn’t be enough room on a poster for everyone Tayshaun dunked on with this one.

Paul George over Birdman

This is easily the dunk of the playoffs. Yes they ended up losing in 7 to the eventual champs but this dunk instilled more faith in more Heat haters than Tony Parker's crazy Game 1 shot.

Best Blocks

A personal favorite of mine. I love great defense in any fashion and the blocked shot is one of if not the best. 

Westbrook blocks Steph Curry

One of the more emphatic blocks of the entire season and one of the three small guys making up the top 4 best blocks of the season.

Bledsoe blocks Toney Douglas

Maybe it’s because they jump so high, maybe it’s because you can visually see how high they jump, or maybe it’s just because that’s where the league is... not many bigs and a lot of athletic smalls. Regardless great block.

Nate blocks Marshon Brooks  

The best of the short guy block party. And second best this season.

Blake Griffin blocks Deron Williams

This just barely miss out on being a “Top Play” so I included two different videos of it... it is that good.

Playoff Blocks

Nate Robinson blocks Lebron


Lebron blocks George Hill

You could watch this 1,000 times and still be dumbfounded by the crazy lift/hangtime Lebron gets. He is in another league athletically.

Javale Mcgee catches Carl Landry’s shot

Just plain amazing.

Best Assists

Probably the most underrated play in basketball the nice pass...

Westbrook between the legs

He has positioned himself as a top 10 NBA player and he is still very young. If he can make more passes like this he will become a more complete point guard. Either way Russ is a stud.

KG to Barbosa

The definition of a pretty pass. For the record the injury to Barbossa hurt the Celtics as much as any injury they suffered this past year.

Jarrett Jack fast break pass behind his head

Love this guy even though he is going to get paid FAR too much money this offseason. I have loved him from his days in college this is just proof of how good JJack is/can be... he does deserve a payday. 

Rubio nutmeg

Ricky Rubio nutmegs Dejuan Blair. A small glimpse into this kid's potential.

Chris Paul to Blake Griffin half court oop

The final two plays of this section are eerily similar yet one is far and away the better play. However both are amazing.

Dwyane Wade full court oop to Lebron

Just flat out sick. As a kid one of the first things your coach tells you is that a pass is always faster. If you watch Lebron run his post route in the time it takes for Wade to cock back his pass Lebron is already down the floor and actually has to slow up to make the play. That’s not human.

Best Playoff Assists

Marc Gasol to Zbo

My how far we have come since that Pau Gasol trade.

Manu nutmeg vs Memphis

What a pass. Imagine if he were still playing at the level we were used to seeing Manu play at.

Best Crossovers

Surprisingly Joe Johnson makes two appearances and not surprisingly so does Steph Curry.

Joe Johnson vs Chris Bosh

More bonus points for making Bosh look silly being handed out.

Joe Johnson vs PP

Probably should be #1 on the list but what can I say... sorry, I love Paul Pierce, you should be grateful I was objective enough to include this awfulness.

Steph Curry vs George Hill

Everytime I watch this I can’t help but think about how well the Spurs made out in the Kawhi Leonard trade.

Steph Curry vs Neal

Yikes. He gets him twice.

Jamal Crawford vs Wesley Matthews

Crawford is so good here Wesley Matthews literally gives in.

John Wall vs Ish Smith

The Wiz might have something to root for after all. If there are any fans left since their team was named the “Wizards”... original I know I’m a little buzzed at this point.

Kyrie Irving vs Brandon Knight on All Star Weekend

You can assume the guys aren’t playing defense during All-Star Weekend but when it comes to the young stars game you are wrong. These guys are playing for money as well as fun. Brandon Knight is legitimately trying to check Kyrie Irving and Kyrie destroys him. I mean no offense to Knight I like him I think he has a bright future but Kyrie kills him on this play.

Clutch Shots

I almost typed something stupid like “Here are the most clutch shots of the season” and then I typed this.

Lebron beats Orlando

This helped keep the win streak alive, but let’s be honest it’s Orlando it shouldn’t have come to this.

Dirk hits a three over Luol Deng

Ahhh back when the Mavs’ season was alive. Speaking of this isn’t even the best clutch three of the Mavs’ season. Stay tuned...

Chandler Parsons forces OT vs the Lakers with a last second three

If you watched this kid in college you knew he was going to be legit at the next level.

Tim Duncan +1 for the win vs the Clippers

Tim Duncan at his best, it’s just too bad he didn’t have this in him in Game 7... sigh.

Marco Belinelli overtime winner vs the Celtics

This was/still is a punch in the stomach.

Clutch Playoff Moments

Andre Miller beats the Warriors

What a clutch shot by an older guy.

Chris Paul buzzer beater over Memphis

Was this his last win as a Clipper? Does he know what a Clipper is?

Nate Robinson over the Nets

Nate was stupid good in the playoffs. Nate and this Bulls team won people over like the Warriors did. Nate made just over $1M last season and is now a free agent. He should cash in after that playoff performance.

Manu Ginobili 3 vs Golden State in 2OT

What a dagger. After fending off the incredible Steph Curry 3rd quarter the Spurs answered by putting Kawhi Leonard on him and battled back to win with this shot in double OT. Maybe the most exciting game of the entire playoffs.

Paul George hits an enormous three to force OT in Game 1

After the Pacers blew a big lead they needed this shot by Paul George to stay alive. Unfortunately it’s not the top shot because...

Lebron wins Game 1 vs the Pacers

...Because Lebron is kinda good.

Top Plays

Monta beats Houston with silly 3 at the buzzer

Is he really going to opt out of his contract? Are teams really excited to give him a max deal? Why would you pay him more than he was making when he isn’t even the second best guy on a contender?

Jamal Crawford between the legs alley oop to Blake Griffin

Underrated dunk because of Deandre Jordan’s dunk of the decade. Maybe you say eh I say it’s not like they had time to talk out what they were doing that was totally on the fly.

Darren Collison 3 forces OT  

What a shot this was. I remember watching it live and jumping out of my seat.


Deandre Jordan dunks on Brandon Knight

I am still speechless.

Top Playoff Plays

Tony Parker beats the Heat

This probably deserves to be further down the list but it gets bumped because the Spurs blew it and because there were some really good plays.

Roy Hibbert stuffs Carmelo Anthony

Just sick. He completely stones him with the game on the line.

Ray Allen 3 in Game 6

Without a doubt the most memorable dagger of the season. Ray Allen hits big shots period.

Lebron stuffs Tiago Splitter 

This sums up the entire season. Just insane.

And finally...


Lebron and the Heat’s domination

Back to back MVP’s. Back to back titles. Back to back finals MVP’s. A 27 game win streak. Endless highlights. There is no doubt who the best player in the world is, just don’t compare him to MJ, they are two totally different players. Regardless Lebron has catapulted himself way up the all-time greats list. I don’t think he can become the “best ever” but top 5 maybe even top 3 is realistic at this point. He is just a physical specimen that has worked to get better. The best way to beat him is to force him to shoot jump shots yet in Game 7 of the finals he knocked down five threes en route to a rather quiet 37 point night.

Lebron almost single handedly carried them through these playoffs. At some points during these playoffs I think we all had the thought “he might as well be on Cleveland”. Thinking back on it, we thought that not because his teammates were as pathetic as they were in his Cleveland days but rather that he was so far and away the best player on the floor that he dwarfed anything his teammates could do.

Haters prepare yourself this won’t be the last time we see Lebron crowned as champion, he is that much better than everyone else.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

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