JJ Redick on parity in the NBA

Plus: Thoughts on the Miami zone

Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. Tommy and I were joined by Gilbert Arenas on The Old Man and the Three last week. A fun ep where we covered a ton of topics, including the our time together in Orlando.

If you missed it, I went live on our YouTube with DraftKings Sportsbook for Islands LIVE! to recap Game 7 last night. We’ve been doing them throughout the Playoffs and will do a few more throughout the Finals. We announce them on our Twitter and Instagram, so follow us over there for updates.

In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:

  • Our Stat of the Week

  • Tommy on Denver vs. Miami Zone

  • The Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week

  • Our Wine of the Week

Thanks for reading! —JJ

Stat of the Week: 7

With the 8-seed Miami Heat winning last night to advance to the NBA Finals, there have now been 7 times this postseason that a lower seed has won a series: the most in a single postseason since seeding began in 1984. Coincidentally, this year’s NBA regular season also had the most parity since 1984. Is parity good for the NBA? I would argue yes. It makes more teams and players relevant. It provides intrigue and curiosity about playoff matchups. Is the super team home forever? Probably not. But with the lack of titles and postseason success from teams like the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers Big 3, the league is likely entering a period that shifts away from super teams. The new CBA also makes it harder for the richer teams to just outspend the poorer teams. The league also currently boasts a deep talent pool of young stars, MVPs entering their prime, and all-time greats still playing at a high level. Because of those factors, a Miami Heat/Denver Nuggets type matchup (an 8-seed, non-top 5 markets) in the Finals may just be the new norm for this era of the NBA. —JJ

Gilbert Arenas joined the show to discuss the future of the NBA, advice for Ja, his annoyance around GMs using coaches as scapegoats, playing with JJ in Orlando, and much more.

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On Denver vs. Miami Zone

As the miraculous freight train known as the Miami Heat moves on to Denver, there are a lot of people to thank. Caleb Martin, Coach Spo, J Cole, person that invented the term Heat Culture, etc..

But of course, the much heralded Heat zone defense is a large reason why we're having this conversation. Despite the fact that they've seen in the playoffs for three years, the Celtics were completely stymied by the different variations of it. The #2 3-point shooting team in the regular season, was 16 for 77 from 3 in games 6/7, when the Heat went zone early. Boston shot 13.3% from 3 in the first half last night, an almost impossibly bleak performance. Much will be written about Boston falling apart, but as JJ touched on last night in the post game recap, one of the key matchups to watch in Thursday's Game 1, is Miami's switching zone against Denver's historically efficient offense. Whichever side bends and fails to adjust will be behind the 8 ball early in the series.

The Nuggets were #1 in offense against zone during the regular season and in the playoffs. Structurally, their success is unsurprising. The combination of a historically great passer like Joker at the free throw line, with the size to see over the zone, combined with shooters and cutters is generally a bad combination for most zones. Jokić is 6-0 in his career against Bam Adebayo, granted a small sample size, but Miami's ability to muck it up against wings like Tatum and Brown will likely not work against him. Whether it's the 2/3, 1/2/2 or just a variation of the two, outside of Jokić, Denver's size with Michael Porter Jr, and Aaron Gordon, and their torrid playoff shooting (38.6% from 3 in playoffs, 119.7 offensive rating) is going to be a seismic challenge.

With all this said, and what will make this series fun, will be, Spo and the Heat coaching staff. What makes them so special is the wrinkles they will throw into their defense that none of us would expect, just as JJ mentioned, muck up the game. Throw this high powered offense off just by a little bit. Not sure what that is yet, but after the last month, you'd be crazy to count them out. —Tommy

Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week: Chicken Club Wrap at TAP NYC

TAP NYC is a fast casual Brazilian eatery with a few locations around the city. Kind of unassuming from the outside, they have some of the best Acai and sandwiches you will find anywhere. The chicken club wrap, made from tapioca flour with a Parmesan crust, is filled with shredded chicken, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil. It's not huge (the perfect size between a full lunch and a snack), but the ingredients are great.

Wine of the Week: Joseph Colin “En Remilly” St. Aubin 1er Cru 2020

The weather is getting warmer, and who doesn’t love a good white wine while sitting outside enjoying some sunshine. This wine from Joseph Colin is from grapes grown in “En Remilly,” a very specific site that has the same soil and is a stone’s throw from Chevalier-Montrachet (which is one of the most highly regarded and expensive white wine sites in the world). With this wine you get a great wine at a great value. Cheers! —JJ


#jjredick shares the story behind his only career dunk. 🤣🤣 Full episode of #theoldmanandthethree is out now. #nba #orlandomagic #gilbertarenas

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