ASW: Faried a “Rising Star”; Nuggets in the dunk contest?

For the second consecutive season, the Denver Nuggets will not be represented in the NBA All-Star Game. While there is a strong case to be made that their two leading scorers Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson have been playing at an All-Star caliber level in 2013, dreadfully slow season starts and a talent-rich Western Conference left them far outside the bubble of serious consideration.

This does not mean, however, that Nuggets players will be completely absent from All-Star Weekend. (more…)

J.R. Smith to Dunk This Weekend

As many of you may have heard already, J.R. Smith has been inserted into the lineup for the dunk contest to replace the injured Rudy Gay.  J.R. participated in the 2005 contest in Denver as a member of the New Orleans Hornets and I remember he threw down an impressive behind the back dunk that did not get as high of a score as I thought it deserved.  

Dwight Howard will be tough to beat, but if the judges do not appreciate what he does, like two years ago, I think J.R. will be in position to pull off the win. We have seen Nate Robinson’s shtick and Rudy Fernandez is an “in game dunker” and needs an unsuspecting center as a prop in order to do anything impressive.

Belated Offday Offerings – Improving All-Star Weekend

It may not be an off day, but I meant to post most of this yesterday.  If I wait any longer they will be both irrelevant and uninteresting. 

All-Star Weekend

The NBA has announced that Horse will be added to the events of All-Star weekend and the competition will be held on an outdoor court that is built into the TNT set.  Today we found out that thanks to the wonders of corporate sponsorships whoever is involved will be playing GEICO instead of Horse.

That makes it even more special.

Those of us at the ESPN/TrueHoop network worked up our own ideas for how to make All-Star weekend better.  Check out our great ideas over at The Two Man Game.

WizzNutzz has come up with their own entertaining list of improvements as well .

One last theory on the Spurs JV game

One last interesting view point on Gregg Popovich’s decision to sit Duncan, Parker and Ginobili (he also sat Michael Finley who I am sure is developing some kind of complex because no one has really cared that he was held out) is Pop was pissed at the NBA over the Spurs schedule.  Both Jason Kosmicki of the Altitude Radio Network and Matt Steinmetz, the Warriors’ television color commentator, mentioned how the Spurs had to travel east, thus losing an hour, and having to take a two hour long flight (which they both argued is longer than usual to travel for a back to back game) in order to play in the “high altitude” of Denver, Colorado.  I do not have a link because these were arguments I heard over the airwaves so you will just have to trust me.

I am not sure if there is anything to that, but it is an interesting view point. 

By the way, my “ESPN colleague” John Hollinger agreed that Pop may have been playing some head games in that should the two teams face off in the playoffs both of them will remember that the one game Duncan, Parker and Ginobili all played the Spurs trounced the Nuggets and Denver will have the memory in their domes of the night they barely beat the Spurs without those three at the Pepsi Center.

Is Melo really clutch, kind of clutch or just lucky?

After his game winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder Carmelo Anthony is shooting 10 for 17, which computes to 58.8%, on shots that would put the Nuggets ahead in the final ten seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.  Since entering the league only one player with at least ten attempts is even shooting 50% and that is David West (6 for 12).

If you take a look at the clutch stats on (compiled during the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime and neither team ahead by more than five) Melo has the third highest points per 48 minutes average in the league.  Kobe is first at 57.3, LeBron is second at 57.0 and Melo is third at 54.7.  These change quickly and Melo was actually at the top of the list a few days ago.  Other numbers in Melo’s favor are shooting percentage (Kobe – 49.2%, LeBron – 51.3%, Melo – 59.4%!) and three point shooting percentage (LeBron – 36.4%, Kobe – 50.0%, Melo – 66.7%).

Stat heads claim that there is no such thing as clutch, but Melo has put together a pretty decent track record of rising to the moment so far in his career.