Why you shouldn't discount the Nets
And a bold prediction for the Timberwolves
Welcome to the very first issue of A Farewell to Takes. Thanks for subscribing and thanks for listening to The Old Man and the Three. This newsletter will run weekly during the NBA season and will provide insight, observations, predictions, and critique about everything happening around the league. In today’s inaugural issue you will get:
The “Stat of the Week” (and why it’s important)
Tommy’s bold prediction for the 2022-2023 NBA season
Our “Wine of the Week”
“This Week On Gallagher TV+"
We will consistently push content we like from around the league, and this week is no different. Tommy has included a great article from The Athletic about Jaden McDaniels’ defensive impact.
As always, I just want to reiterate how important the OM3 community is to us. We wouldn’t exist without y’all, so THANK YOU.
The Stat of the Week is 996
In Episode 126 of The Old Man and the Three, we sat down with my former teammate Ben Simmons and had a healthy discussion about his time in Philadelphia and what he’s looking forward to in Brooklyn. One topic we discussed is his ability to find open 3-point shooters (despite the fact that Ben doesn’t actually ever shoot 3s himself). Since the start of his playing career, Ben has assisted on 996 3-pointers, which ranks 2nd in the NBA over that span (Russell Westbrook is 1st). Obviously, one of Ben’s greatest strengths is using his speed and athleticism in the open court to find open spot up 3-point shooters in transition. BUT ... there is one aspect of his 3-point shot creation that I think gets overlooked. Ben is not a traditional pick-and-roll operator in the half court and defenses tend to sag off of him due to his non-shooting. When he sees this type of sagging defense, he is very adept at recognizing where the good shooters are and immediately going into a dribble hand off (DHO). Because the guy guarding Ben is often sagging off of him when the DHO happens his defender is essentially in drop coverage. Ben is a great screener so when the DHO occurs it allows a shooter to have open space to knock down a 3-pointer.
I know. I was the beneficiary of this many times over (as was Seth Curry when Curry and Simmons were teammates in Philadelphia). Why is this so important? Because Brooklyn has GREAT shooters. If you look at the top 4 shooters by 3-point percentage on wide open 3s in the last 5 NBA seasons you will see three Brooklyn Nets on that list — Joe Harris, Curry, and Kevin Durant. The other guy in the top 4 hosts a podcast. Lame.
Brooklyn isn’t getting as much pre-season championship hype as last season (probably because of all the drama over the last year), but don’t discount them as a title contender. They have stars, a plethora of shooting, and a versatile do-everything (besides shoot) player in Ben Simmons. —JJ
One Bold Prediction: The Minnesota Timberwolves will finish 2nd in the West
While I would prefer to hold my Bulls prediction from last season over JJ's head forever, unfortunately it's now completely irrelevant and I need to find a new team to irrationally hype. The Wolves aren't exactly flying under the radar, trading four first round picks for Rudy Gobert this summer, but there were some doubters about the efficacy of the move. "How do Rudy and KAT fit" ... "why would you trade four picks for somebody who doesn't score and has had playoff trouble" ... " the league is going small and they're going big" ... blah, blah, blah.
The reality is, the Wolves are going to be very, very tough to score on. Jaden McDaniels is an elite, jack-of-all-trades defensive stopper who will be a household name shortly, with the vaunted ability to guard 1-5. According to BBall Index tracking data, while guarding all five positions, McDaniels was the 2nd best wing in the league in terms of adjusted opponents rim shooting percentage with only Derrick White ranking higher. Everybody knows how dominant Rudy is defensively regardless of who he has around him, so this combo with the potential of Anthony Edwards could easily be the best defense in the league.
Every win streak the Wolves had last year on their surprising run to the playoffs was sparked by their defense. We know Anthony is going to score. We know KAT is going to score. We know D'Angelo is going to score. Anything extra is going to be a bonus.
There are some questions about their depth. D'Angelo and Anthony still have some stuff to figure out in terms of complimenting each other's games etc, but nobody is going to be looking forward to playing the Wolves this year. —Tommy
For Episode 127, DeMar DeRozan returned for his second appearance on The Old Man and the Three. We got into how certain he felt that he was going to be a Laker, his mental health journey, what he learned from Gregg Popovich, and more.
This Week on Gallagher TV+
We've all wondered what Tommy Alter's game is like. Turns out ... it's better than we could've ever imagined.
Wine of the Week: 2017 Luis Rodriguez Ribeiro A Teixa
I know it’s fall and the temperature is dropping (depending on where you live), but I had to recommend a white wine before it gets too cold. Luis Rodriguez makes my favorite Spanish white wine. His winery is located in Galicia in the Northwest region of Spain. The wine is a Ribeiro primarily made from a native grape called treixadura. According to wine.com, the A Teixa (a single vineyard) “is aromatic, lush, and textured- a lovely and quite serious vinho branco to pair with rich ocean creatures and poultry.”
According to me, it’s f#cking delicious. —JJ
Thanks for reading the inaugural issue of A Farewell to Takes. If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe here.