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Game 35: Bucks/Suns

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2009/2010 NBA Season


23-14 (14-4 home)
15-19 (4-12 road)
January 11, 2010
US Airways Center
8:00 PM
Radio: WTMJ AM 620 TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Steve Nash
PG Brandon Jennings
Jason Richardson
SG Charlie Bell
Grant Hill
SF Luc Mbah a Moute
Amare Stoudemire
PF Ersan Ilyasova
Channing Frye
C Andrew Bogut

(1st) 114.5 - OFFENSE - 102.1 (25th)
(29th) 111.1 - DEFENSE - 103.0 (5th)
(4th) 96.1 - PACE - 93.2 (11th)


Bright Side of the Sun / Valley of the Suns

Notes after the jump...

That is Charles Barkley and Tractor Traylor lustering under the bright lights of cinematic history.

Wanted: Points
While it's not as bad as whatever it was that happened last night in Los Angeles to the Bucks, the Suns are coming off a 109-105 home loss to Miami on Saturday. Phoenix is a stellar 14-4 at home, but all four of those losses (Cleveland, OKC, Memphis, Miami) have come in the last three weeks.

The Bucks will aim to score more than the 77 they managed against LA as the Suns boast the NBA's most efficient offense and have hit 100+ in 32 of 37 games...

JS: Redd to have MRI in Phoenix
Nothing concrete on Michael Redd's status yet, but it doesn't sound good.

And while Redd was no offensive wunderkind, his injury isn't going to help an offensive unit that has dipped to 25th in efficiency. Neither Brandon Jennings nor Ersan Ilyasova have topped 13 points in 2010. Neither has Luke Ridnour. Or Charlie Bell. Or Mbah a Moute, who isn't expected to. Delfino has been terrible for most of the past month. Bogut had been rolling until last night. At least Warrick is coming on, but come on.

Nash: Very good at basketball.
Steve Nash is going to turn 36 in less than a month.

John Stockton played all 50 games in the lockout-shortened season that he turned 36. And he followed that up with four more 21+ PER seasons playing all 82 games. So there at least one precedent for this type of late-career point guard greatness.

Still, Nash is on another level. He is leading the NBA with 11.3 assists per game while scoring at a career-high rate of 20.2 points / 36 minutes.

And the shooting, oh the shooting numbers are just nutty: 53.9 FG% 44.0 3PT% 94.3 FT%

He's come a long way. After his first three seasons in the NBA, Nash's splits: 42.5 FG% 40.2 3PT% 84.2 FT%

Not bad, but compare those numbers to Brandon Jennings right now: 39.3 FG% 39.8 3PT% 81.3 FT%

Nash is just absurdly effective shooting the ball from everywhere on the court right now, but one of the most striking stats of all is that he is shooting an NBA-leading 77.9 % on shots at the rim. Quite a difference from Jennings, who is converting 44.4 % at the rim.

Steve doesn't attempt many shots at the rim (2.5 per game), but he has absolutely mastered when to take these shots. And there is a lot to be said for that. Because we all know everyone that makes it to the NBA doesn't have much trouble making a shot around the rim. But knowing when to take it to the rim requires a unique vision and understanding of when to attack the hoop. Which Nash obviously possesses.

How else could you explain this:

Better than Kendrick Perkins (77.7 %), Al Horford (74.3 %), LeBron James (73.0 %), Dwight Howard (72.2 %), Kevin Garnett (69.3 %). Better than everyone.

Simply amazing; it's not like he is running around dunking...

Bucks at the rim.
Interestingly, Jennings is among the league's worst at 44.4 % at the rim. Makes sense to see Chris Duhon (41.7 %) and Kirk Hinrich (44.4 %) around there, a bit stranger to see Vince Carter (44.1 %), though he does take a lot of difficult, acrobatic shots, Vince is way down from years past.

In fact, Jennings (44.4 %), Ridnour (47.8 %), Bell (48.7 %), Delfino (50.9 %), and Redd (50.9 %) are all among the NBA's least effective converting at the rim.

Forget about the latter four for a moment. And Jennings is already fine from outside and will improve on the jumpers and presumably the floaters in the lane. But the real hope is that he will find a way to finish at the rim. His 4.1 attempts per game at the rim suggest he doesn't fear going to the hoop. Not a huge number of attempts, but more than Arenas (3.9), Mayo (3.9), and Pierce (3.8).

Tyreke Evans already leads the NBA in shot attempts at the rim per game this season, with 8.4. He has a different frame and a different game than Jennings. But scan that list and you notice big-time, efficient scorers at every height, weight, and position, from Monta Ellis (7.7) to Brook Lopez (7.0), from Rajon Rondo (5.4) to Amare Stoudemire (5.7), and so on. If you figure out how to get to the hoop, you will be in good shape.