Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick weekly trip around the NBA. As always, there’s a lot happening in the NBA: Anfernee Simons dropped 45 on Saturday night, the Celtics offense keeps humming, and the Lakers finally look like a good basketball team after struggling for much of the past 2 seasons (they are 8-2 in their last 10 games). Anthony Davis has been a huge part of the Lakers resurgence. Over his last 9 games played, Davis is averaging 35.3 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and shooting 64.8 percent from the field. The entire narrative around the Lakers changes if Anthony Davis continues to play like a top 5 player. The Lakers really struggled on the offensive end earlier this season, but over the last 10 games they have the league’s 4th best offense and Davis’ dominance and efficiency on that end has set the tone. As a reminder, Tommy and I are also doing an Amazon Music exclusive weekly podcast called The Old Man and the Three Things. We will be discussing the Lakers and Anthony Davis at length this week.
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
- Our Stat of the Week featuring an unlikely Warriors sharpshooter
- The Detroit Pistons' best player this season
- The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week
- Our Wine of the Week
- And the return of Gallagher TV+ (potentially Jason’s best work yet)
If you are enjoying the newsletter please share and subscribe. Thanks, as always, for listening and watching The Old Man and the Three. Cheers! —JJ
The Stat of the Week is 45.0%
Andrew Wiggins has found himself in a perfect situation in Golden State. The 27-year-old forward is playing the most efficient basketball of his career, sporting a career high 62.1 True Shooting Percentage. The main driver in his efficiency is the fact that he is shooting 45.0% from 3 on 6.8 attempts per game. His current volume and efficiency is remarkable, and I can’t overstate just how much he has improved from beyond the arc. In six seasons in Minnesota, Wiggins shot 33.2% from 3 on 3.5 attempts per game. A big part of this improvement is playing in the Warriors system (or Steph’s system depending on how you view it). Wiggins is taking more catch-and-shoot 3s in Golden State than he did in Minnesota. He has made 62 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season, tied for 2nd most in the NBA. Wiggins also ranks in the top-5 in catch-and-shoot 3 point % among players who have at least 50 attempts. On Saturday, when Wiggins made 8 3-pointers, he was 7 for 8 on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Wiggins already has a huge impact with his defense, cutting, and ability to attack the rim, but him becoming an ELITE spot up 3-point shooter is incredible for this Warriors team. —JJ
Featured Player of the Week: Bojan Bogdanović
It goes without saying that the Detroit Pistons have been a full blown trainwreck this season. It's a team JJ and I thought could possibly compete for a play in playoff spot, and instead Detroit sits at 6-18, fully in the mix of Victor Wembanyama tankathon. 2nd year point guard Cade Cunningham hasn't played in weeks; their other recent first round picks — Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Killian Hayes — have shown flashes but not nearly enough consistency for any sort of comfort level; and the team currently ranks at the bottom of the league in offensive and defensive efficiency, opponent shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, and basically every other stat besides rebounding.
While we don't know if/when Cade will return, there has been one bright spot for Detroit, something to watch less for the Piston diehards and more for fans around the league. At 33 years old, Bojan Bogdanović is having as good of a season as he's had in his stellar, underrated career and will be a significant trade piece for whoever picks him up this winter. Acquired by Detroit over the summer in a trade for Kelly Olynyk, a deal in retrospect that was made with the Pistons thinking they would be more competitive, Bojan made sense for a Piston team that wanted to surround Cade with shooters and thought they had a chance to contend. Even with all of the craziness around him, Bogdanović is scoring 20.6 points per game on close to 42% shooting from 3, both of which would be close to career highs. More than just a three-point sniper, he's fourth in the league in eFG% on pull up shooting this season, trailing only Steph Curry, Donovan Mitchell, and Kevin Durant. His usage rate sits at 24.1 currently, 2nd in his career behind the 2019-20 Jazz season where they had the most potent offense in the league. Anecdotally, Bogdanović's turnaround, left shoulder jumper has felt especially automatic this season, a feat more impressive when you think about the spacing struggles of his teammates compared to say the Jazz from his last few years.
Bojan is interesting because as we get closer to the All-Star break, and playoff seeding comes into play, there are few more attractive trade pieces on the market. Teams like Dallas, Phoenix, Miami, Golden State with their terrible bench, etc. are all going to be in the market to make a deal. Bogdanović is on a 2-year, 40 million deal in Detroit, a manageable number for all of these teams to get into the mix. I personally would love to see him in Dallas. His skillset would be particularly lethal with Luka, but there should be a healthy bidding war, a rare bright spot in a sea of sadness for the Pistons this year. —Tommy
Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Crispy Maitake Mushroom with Black Garlic Fudge at Place des Fêtes
In theory, this is a weird choice for the best thing to eat in a day, much less a week. Mushrooms are a side dish, rarely memorable unless something goes horribly wrong. At Place des Fêtes, a sensational wine bar on the border of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, the opposite is true. It's one of the best restaurants in the city, and the crispy maitake mushroom is the star. Perfectly crispy with an otherworldly side sauce that looks like paint, but is unbeatable taste wise. The dish is an appetizer and about as good as it gets.
Place des Fêtes in general is a must visit for anybody who finds themselves in Brooklyn. It's small, but the combination of the wine and small plates across the board is unmatched. Besides the mushroom, the steak and the cream puff deserts are both major highlights. —Tommy
Welcome back to Gallagher TV+. This week we've got a parody song that asks the question ... What if Bob Dylan was a GM of an NBA team and was tanking for Victor Wembanyama? It's a normal video idea. Find a new slant.
Wine of the Week: Marko Fon Vitoska 2019
Marko Fon makes some of the greatest white wine in the world. This IS A Farewell to Takes, but I am comfortable sharing this take. Our good friends at Parcelle Wine recently received a shipment of this Slovenian wine, and my advice to you is to buy this wine ASAP before they run out. My friend Grant Reynolds of Parcelle has a great description of this wine:
If you want to be the most interesting person at your next dinner party, buy this bottle and bring it. It won’t disappoint. —JJ