On the Brooklyn Nets defense against the 76ers
Plus: Thoughts on Alex Len
Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. We were joined by J.R. Smith for a fantastic conversation on The Old Man and the Three last week. Expect some great stories from his time in the league and great insights after retiring. We also dropped this week's episode of The Old Man and the Three Things, where Tommy and I react to Game 1s of the Clippers vs. Suns, Warriors vs. Kings, and Knicks vs. Cavs series.
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
Our Stat of the Week
Tommy on Alex Len
The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week
Our Wine of the Week
Thanks for being a part of the OM3 community! —JJ
The Stat of the Week is 67%
The Brooklyn Nets defensive game plan on Saturday vs the 76ers was fairly simple: double team Joel Embiid every time he caught the ball. Embiid did a fantastic job of being patient and making the simple pass against the double teams which caused the Nets to be in rotation. Frankly, the Nets have to do a better job of rotating out of the double teams and finding the 76ers shooters. The 76ers shot 21 “wide-open” 3s and made 67% of them. A “wide-open” three is classified as a shot when the closest is defender is 6 or more feet away from the shooter (per Second Spectrum). The Nets had other issues, as well. They gave up 21 2nd chance points and 31 points off turnovers. The Nets obviously need to grab more defensive rebounds and take care of the ball if they want this to be a competitive series. But … they still have the Embiid problem. Brooklyn is at a size disadvantage, and as good as Claxton was defensively in the regular season, he still gave up nearly 1.2 PPP on post-ups. Having Claxton play Embiid in single coverage does not feel like a winning formula. Look for them to mix up the timing of their double teams (on the catch vs on the dribble) and try and rotate better out of them. The 76ers had the highest team 3-point percentage in the league this year. You can’t give them 21 “wide-open” threes. —JJ
Former NBA player J.R. Smith joined the show last week for a very special episode. Topics include how joining LeBron and the Cavs changing his mentality as a player, why he went back to school, untying shoelaces, defending Kobe, the soup throwing incident, why he respects Matthew Dellavedova so much, and more.
Featured Player of the Week: Alex Len
We knew going into this Kings/Warriors series how fun it was going to be: the two best offenses in basketball, Steph and Fox going shot for shot, Malik Monk going crazy, the beam. And keep in mind, the last time the Kings won a playoff game, Barack Obama was a Senator and Temperature by Sean Paul was the number one song in America.
But the guy from Saturday who needs more credit, who is a big reason why the Kings were able to beat the defending champs with combined 0-8 shooting nights from their two best three point shooters, was Alex Len.
Len only played 13 minutes and scored 4 points but was a plus 10 in that stretch. When he was on the floor he grabbed 60% of all offensive rebounds. His rim protection, especially in the 2nd quarter was crucial to stopping the Warriors from establishing any kind of offensive flow. From an advanced stats perspective, Len had a 157.7 offensive rating (team high,) a 106.9 defensive rating and a 50.8 net rating (also a team high.) His screens allowed Fox and Monk to find space in the Warriors defense.
What made Len's impact even more impactful, was it's hard to imagine anybody seeing it coming. Len averaged 6 minutes per game this year, frequently racking up DNPs. For one of the fastest offenses in NBA history, there hasn't always been a great fit for a more plodding 7 footer. It will be interesting moving forward what adjustments the Warriors will make for a guy most people didn't foresee having any impact heading into the series. —Tommy
Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Carne Asada Super Quesadilla at El Farolito
The best burritos in America are in San Francisco. I think this is an established fact at this point. There are two options that stand above the rest when you're there: La Taqueria in the Mission and El Farolito, which has a few locations around the city. I wanted to try El Farolito again, as I'm usually a Taq person, so I went on Saturday. The guy behind the counter recommended the quesadilla, which I had never had and boy was I not disappointed. First of all, it's massive. Like you don't need any more meals the rest of the day after eating. It has perfectly spiced carne asada, melted cheese, avocado, and pico — a basic quesadilla with extremely elevated ingredients. —Tommy
Wine of the Week: Domaine Duroché Gevrey-Chambertin 2019
As I’ve probably mentioned on here before, Gevrey-Chambertin is my favorite village in Burgundy. Wines from this village of typically more full-bodied and robust relative to other villages in Burgundy. Village level wines from Gevrey-Chambertin tend to have the best value, for me, because you get a wine with more complexity and flavors at a lower cost than Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines. This particular wine is made by Domaine Duroché and is “light, fresh, and savory” and “offers a great representation of the house’s earthy, vibrant style.” You can drink this wine now or age it for another decade. Cheers. —JJ
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