Tag Archives: zach lowe

Lowe on 3s & Uniform Strategy

In this view, the game is tilting toward uniformity, in both team strategy and the types of players each team will seek to execute that strategy.

That comes from Zach Lowe’s excellent piece (sorry, no need to be redundant) about the modern, analytics-inspired NBA trend of more three-point shooting. Lowe focuses on most of the key issues and gets enlightening quotes from authorities such as Jeff Van Gundy, Rod Thorn, and Shane Battier.

While fully appreciating how annoying it is when bloggers copy and paste URLs in an “I was already writing about this” sort of way, I’m going to use the Lowe piece as a launch pad to copy and paste some URLs in an “I was already writing about this” sort of way.

My focus is usually geared toward the declining relevance of low-post offense and the “uniformity” point advanced by Lowe (and apparently rejected — so far — by league officials as an important consideration) that so much copy-cat’ing (in this case, jacking tons of threes, particularly from the corners) might be bad for basketball.

Without further ado:

This one from 1/19/12 was my original piece that called for narrowing the lane as compensation to centers for the hand-check rules that made pick-and-roll so comparatively better an option for offenses.

This one from 10/24/12 calls for basically the same thing, with added emphasis on the point that by freeing up low-post play the league would introduce an additional avenue to success. Why not give more teams, built around a greater number of available helpful players, a chance?

This one from 1/18/13 — specifically, #14 — addresses an issue raised by Lowe: Isn’t it weird that the corner three is shorter than the above-the-break three?

This one from 2/9/13 is an appreciation of Carmelo Anthony’s awesomeness and how his throwback iso game runs counter to modern developments. It also calls for abolishing zone defense restrictions, along with narrowing the lane.

And this one from 8/24/13 focuses on SportsVu camera technology and the possibility that it will further regiment offensive strategy.


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by | December 17, 2013 · 12:15 PM

“For the series…

“For the series, the Heat have scored 131.7 points per 100 possessions when James is on the floor without Wade, and just 100.8 when the two have shared the floor, per NBA.com. The Heat are minus-12 for the series, but the James–Mike Miller–Ray Allen super-shooting trio is a crazy plus-50 in just 68 minutes, per NBA.com. The James-Miller-Chalmers trio is plus-43 in just 80 minutes, and the combination of those four players is a stunning plus-49 in just 29 total minutes together, per NBA.com.”

–Zach Lowe, on the Heat’s success during the Finals with LeBron on the floor next to three-point shooters (rather than with D-Wade). As we continue the search for tip-the-scale factors, this one looms large heading into the season finale. Game 6 was [barely] saved by the Wade-less lineup in the middle of the fourth, and nearly lost when Wade went back in. He’s not healthy and he’s a poor enough fit with James that a great coach like Popovich will exploit it for all its worth. The rest of Lowe’s fantastic piece here: (http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/66008/10-key-thoughts-on-the-greatest-most-insane-nba-finals-game-in-years)

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by | June 19, 2013 · 5:06 PM

“Why do I care?”

Target Center

“Why do I care?” is the single most hazardous question that a diehard NBA fan can ask himself.

“Junkies” like me, and those I surmise to be a large percentage of this blog’s readership, devote considerable time and energy to a game played by rich men we’ve never met.

Lending more than surface-level thought to the reasons for such devotion is to risk spoiling the fun for ourselves.  After all, there is more “important” news in any edition of the New York Times and there are [hopefully] more pressing personal matters in any of our lives, whether they be professional, romantic, familial, or otherwise. (One of the all-time great pieces from The Onion mocks the professional sports fan accordingly.)

Zach Lowe had an interesting take related to this on a recent Bill Simmons B.S. Report podcast.  Lowe, an expert NBA analyst who writes for Grantland, grew up a fan of the Boston Celtics, just like Simmons.  The Sports Guy asked Lowe how he felt about Ray Allen in a Heat uniform; a potentially sensitive subject for any diehard Celtics fan.  Lowe’s reply was fascinating.  He said:

I admire your quality to maintain very strong fandom, but the longer I do this, honestly, the more my fandom sort of fades.  I still sort of have that in me, and my dad roots for the Celtics and that’s cool.  But even last year when they lost Game 7 I remember being like, ‘I actually don’t care all that much,’ and watching Ray [Allen] in Miami is a more analytical experience…

And, honestly, part of the reason for that…[is] just how crazy Boston fans are…Now every fan base is like that…

The “this” in Lowe’s first sentence presumably means analyzing and writing about professional basketball for a living.  The statement is fascinating not because he draws a line between “fandom” and “analysis,” but because he paints a huge gulf between the two concepts; one that he outwardly admires the ability of Simmons to cross in his coverage of the NBA.

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