The schedules are out and the trash talking has begun. Stephen Curry helped it along. That and some other NBA takeaways.
Curry a better shooter, not offensive player than LeBron James
There is no question Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a points machine on the offensive end, but his recent statements about being a better offensive player than LeBron James need some editing. First of all, just based on points scored per game last season, Curry was outdistanced by James at 24 points to 27.1 per game. However, offensive basketball goes beyond just that stat. Also included are assists, offensive rebounds, and also where points are scored from (i.e. in the paint, post and beyond the arc).
Looking deeper, Curry has the edge in assists (8.5 to 6.3) and 3-point shooting percentage (.424 to .379). However, James returns the favor with a 1.1 to 0.6 advantage in offensive rebounding and also had a lower turnover ratio at 3.5 to 3.8. He is also much better at getting to the basket with 134 dunks to Curry’s four. So what do those stats say? In a way, Curry is right. He is better than James in several offensive categories, but primarily they all have to do with shooting, which isn’t a big surprise. James’ is a good shooter but he is more of a complete offensive player because he has the ability to get to the hoop.
Derrick Rose adversity experience highly valuable to reeling Team USA
One thing after another continues to hammer away at the confidence of Team USA basketball with the World Cup just around the corner. It started with the injury to Paul George, then the exit of Kevin Durant. Now another injury has hampered the team with DeMarcus Cousins. Already limited in their number of big men, it’s fair to ask how USA can push through the adversity. Luckily, one of their leaders may have the answer. Few have dealt with more setbacks over the past two years than Derrick Rose. Two knee injuries robbed him of all but ten games in two full seasons. He has learned a great deal about how to push through the disappointment, and that experience could carry USA a long way.
Kobe Bryant gunning for Jordan in one last area
His pursuit of a sixth NBA championship may be nearing an end, but Kobe Bryant isn’t done chasing down Michael Jordan just yet. The 2014-2015 season may not be a good one for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Bryant has a chance to add to his own legacy by surpassing Jordan on the all-time scoring list. In fact, based on projections, he may even have a chance to do it in the House That Jordan Built when the Lakers visit the United Center on Christmas Day. Wouldn’t that be something.