On the importance of the “Alfred”
Plus: A big welcome to The Dunker Spot!
Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. We're on the heels of a very busy week that included an episode of The Old Man and the Three with guest Richard Jefferson, an episode of Islands in the League (our monthly series with Draft Kings Sportsbook), and an announcement that The Dunker Spot has joined the ThreeFourTwo Productions family.
Plus, we just released this week's episode of The Old Man and the Three Things, where I officially who I voted for MVP and all the end of season awards. This episode is available to listen on all platforms. (Before you listen, I do want to say that Embiid, Jokić, and Giannis all have had great seasons and are deserving of this award.)
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
Our Stat of the Week
Tommy on Trey Murphy III
The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week
Our Wine of the Week
Thanks, as always, for being a part of the OM3 community! —JJ
The Stat of the Week is 45.7
The Milwaukee Bucks have a number of great two-way players. Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jrue Holiday get a lot of the attention for the NBA’s 4th best regular season defense. However, Javon Carter also had an outstanding individual season on the defensive end. Among players that guarded 500 or more shots as the closest defender, Carter ranks first in the entire NBA in eFG% at 45.7%. Carter also shot 42.1% from 3 in the regular season and given the Bucks struggles at times on the offensive end, look for Carter to be a key rotational piece for the Bucks in the playoffs. In fact, Javon Carter may end up being the most important Alfred in the 2023 postseason. —JJ
It has been a long time coming. ESPN analyst, Road Trippin' cohost, and former NBA player Richard Jefferson joined the show last week. It's a hilarious episode, but also filled with so much great insight from RJ. We'll let this YouTube comment speak for itself:
Featured Player of the Week: Trey Murphy III
The Pelicans enter this week's play in games in a strange spot. On one hand, they survived a horrific 10 game losing streak and an overall 2023 slog to find themselves winners of 9 of their last 11, firmly in the playoff conversation. On the other hand, we likely won't see their lone All-Star Zion Williamson on the court again until October. The rosy view is this is a team finishing the season 10th in Net Rating a significant improved from 21st last year. The cloudy is, this is a team that gave the Suns a surprise playoff scare, and even with Brandon Ingram's recent dominance, it's hard to see them mustering up enough offensive efficiency to find themselves even in a position to do that this year.
What should not go unnoticed though, is the emergence of Trey Murphy III, who has turned into one of the league's brightest young two-way stars. Murphy showed flashes in his rookie year last year, but finished the year shooting 38% from 3 with a 55.8% true shooting rate.
Since the new year, he has been a revelation. In the Pels last 11 games (not counting Sunday's action), as Brett Usher pointed out on Twitter, Murphy has averaged 21 points per game, on 70% TS putting up a plus 97 total plus-minus. In their last 15 games, Murphy has gone for 30 plus four times, including Friday's win over the Knicks where he did it while only hitting 3 threes, an impressive barometer of his growing offensive versatility. Murphy came into the league as a 3-and-D shooter with underrated exceptional athleticism, but his transition and semi-transition threes have been the the greatest leap in his game from this year to last. As NBA University pointed out, Murphy in March produced 1.40 ppp on transition 3s, one of the best marks in the league. He shot 45.1 from behind the arc on 8.9 attempts a game.
In January, Murphy averaged 12.1 ppg on 58.4% TS, in Feb, 13.4 ppg on 61% TS, in March, 18.7 PPG on 69% TS and in April so far 22 ppg on 70.5% TS. Murphy has the 2nd largest points per game increase in the league at 8.6, only behind likely All-NBA forward Lauri Markkanen.
It hasn't just been shooting though. Jackson Frank did a great deep dive on Murphy's offensive rise across the board. He's shooting 67.3% at the rim compared to 46% a year ago. His three point metrics have risen across the board, and has also improved defensively. As Frank astutely notes, Murphy's block rate rose from .39 per 48 minutes last year to .87 this year. Between this and his steal rate rising, Murphy's made the largest improvement in defensive stops per game at 1.16 ahead of guys like Jaren Jackson Jr., who may be the league's Defensive Player of the Year.
We don't know what's going to happen this week, but it's hard to be too optimistic about the Pels chances. With that being said, with Murphy's meteoric rise, the combination of him, and Ingram gives them two legit star building blocks to build around and because of that, no matter what happens with Zion moving forward, the franchise is set up in a great position. —Tommy
We're very excited to announce that Nekias Duncan, Steve Jones Jr., and their podcast The Dunker Spot is now part of the ThreeFourTwo Productions family. If you're a hoops fan who loves x's and o's and high-level basketball talk, you're going to enjoy it. It's a true NBA sicko's dream pod.
To give you a glimpse of their knowledge and passion for the game, Nekias and Steve joined The Old Man and the Three for a bonus episode last week. Check it out.
Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Khao Soi Spicy Crab Noodle at Talay
I took a brief trip to Mexico earlier this week which of course resulted in an almost immediate sun burn upon stepping off the plane. Because I had to hide from the sun moving forward, I spent more time seeking out good food spots in the area. Talay is located at the Montage but isn't your traditional fancy hotel restaurant. It's a Thai street food pop-up more reminiscent of food you'd find in Bangkok than a hotel. Everything is good, but the Khao Soi Spicy Crab Noodle was the standout: egg noodle with a curry broth, fried soft shell crab, pickled mustard greens, and crispy noodle. There's a little kick to this dish, but it's worth it. —Tommy
Wine of the Week: Anselmo Mendes Parcela Única White 2019
Chelsea and I are back from an amazing week in Portugal. We ate some great food and drank some great wine. One of the highlights of the trip was lunch at Sublime Beach Club in the Comporta area. White wine, fresh seafood, and an oceanfront view? Count me in. We had this lovely Portuguese white with our lunch. The wine is balanced, acidic, and has good minerality. As the weather warms up, it’s time to start drinking some white wines! —JJ
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