Dub Nation Rooting Guide NBA Finals: Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks. & Open Thread...
The season crawls to an end and we pray for no more injuries
Well, this Rooting Guide is somewhat obsolete because everyone on every team in the playoffs got injured, but just for completeness, here it is.
Dub Nation Speaks
Goofus (15 ♡):
Congratulations to Chris Paul and the Suns. At the same time, f*ck Chris Paul.
Captain Jack (8 ♡):
It's more like Layoff Rondo now.
alv66 (7 ♡):
Honestly Paul and Beverly were made for each other. They are basketball soulmates.
Bucks have failed so much, I'd like to see them succeed. Giannis seems like a solid citizen and I like that he stayed with a small market team. Atlanta is at least not unlikeable, although Trae Young is a poser if he thinks he's Young Steph. I like the "micro Steph" moniker, because it speaks to his small size and no-defense self.
PHX mis-developed Marquess Chriss and let him go to GSW, so that was very helpful. (GSW also tried to re-habilitate mis-developed PHX draft picks Dragan Bender and Andrew Harrison, but with less success.)
Chris Paul. We covered the feud between Chris Paul and the Warriors, Dub Nation and most people in extremely vivid detail previously. In short, King Obnoxious with the Lob City Clippers, then Knight Obnoxious in the court of James Harden’s Rockets, he’s just continually getting in the way of the Warriors. He also brought out the best of the Warriors and Steph in particular. From the feud story:
What does Steph in Maximum Tryhard Mode look like? Between the Game 7 loss in May 2014 and January 6 2018, the Warriors went 13-1 against LAC, dropping only the traditional Warriors dud in Los Angeles on Christmas Day 2014.
Many of Stephen Curry’s most famous highlights came in that stretch against Chris Paul’s team.
He was elected Warriors Villain For Life, but unfortunately he was not able to dethrone James Harden as the most despised player in Dub Nation. Most recently, CP3’s 2021 MVP campaign irritated a lot of commenters here.
Cameron Payne was a role player for the KD OKC team that almost took out GSW in 2016.
Team Grudges and Storylines
Well, PHX has been horrible since the 2010 last gasp of the Seven Seconds Or Less Suns. When you’re horrible, you get a zillion high draft picks and now they’ve drafted themselves into being a promising team. It also means there’s no way to develop a team rivalry since PHX has been irrelevant for so long.
Also, PHX finished off the ancient remains of LeBron’s Laker Super Team in the 1st Round, so at least they made LeBron and his fandom start to grapple with aging and mortality like normal people.
Chris Paul has been a very good playoff performer, but has had some very notable meltdowns in the crunch times of key games. His body has also failed him repeatedly in the postseason. It seems likely that he will add to the second narrative this playoffs, and the jury is still out on the first.
Let’s just say he’s had a very CP3 2021 WCF. Missing key time with injuries, scoring big points on the court and then flushing good will down the drain with flopping.
The closest is old Warrior Justin Holiday is the brother of Jrue Holiday.
Jrue Holiday. Hard working, great defender, two-way talent. Fierce rival, but also a big public fan of Stephen Curry.
Giannis Antetokounmpo. He and Stephen Curry regularly pick each other first in All-Star games. Make googly eyes and godly plays together.
From Giannis’s Honorary Warrior For Life election (he fell short):
Dub Nation has been pining for this MVP to bolt Milwaukee and join the Warriors. We also have a soft spot for him for picking Stephen Curry first when he was All-Star captain, which Steph rewarded with this absurd alley-oop.
Giannis has also been openly humble about his MVP case, claiming not to care about it, in stark contrast to certain other bearded players who are obsessed with MVP. In fact, Giannis has been taking jabs at Harden and Harden has been taking bigger jabs back. Here’s the latest round from today:
So the poll results were very friendly to the reigning MVP.
Well 73.4% / Poor 4.6% / Don’t care either way 20.2% / Don’t know who they are 1.7%.
Dub Nation has lots of affection for the Greek Freak, but he falls juuuust short of the 75% mark. He is hereby awarded Honorary Warrior.
P.J. Tucker. Underhyped crucial part of the Houston threat to the Dynasty Warriors. His great defense wore down KD and his timely three-point shooting helped bring GSW to the edge. Not sure anyone has bad feelings about him.
Mike Budenholzer. Runs interesting offenses, and the worst can be said is that his teams keep falling short in the playoffs. First, the Atlanta Hawks didn’t make LeBron even break a sweat in 2016 and 2017 allowing him to coast to the Finals. Second, the Bucks dropped the ball against the Raptors in 2019 allowing that bad matchup through against the Warriors in the Finals.
Not sure who hates the Bucks, as they didn’t win a playoff series from 2002 to 2018, and now have disappointed in two straight playoffs.
Some people hold on to the dream that Giannis will come to GSW and that MIL crashing out of the playoffs will make that happen, but I don’t see it.
Suns have no weaknesses. Milwaukee has a bad coach and horrible depth. Can Giannis will the Bucks to a title? I'm rooting for the Deer and the Greek!
Question for everyone: What's a good way for better grasping/estimating ORTG changes from roster additions and deletions? Right now a 7.5pt ORTG difference can be the difference between top rated (Nets) and 20th rated (Warriors). Granted, 7.5pt difference is 3-4 possessions, which becomes increasingly hard to make up the later into a game one gets/the fewer possessions are left on the clock. This slim difference also makes me better appreciate good after-time-out coaching and home court advantage (538 recently assessed that it gives a 2~3pt advantage, using before & after stadium reopening results).
Context: I've been trying to wrap my head around where and how large of an upgrade we need to jump back into the conversation for top contender. But I don't have a good *intuitive* grasp of how much improved production is needed to increase ORTG. Naively, increasing ORTG by +5 to achieve a top offense looks deceptively tractable: a couple Wiseman points here, a couple Poole points there, maybe a Haliburton-level production from a rookie, easy, right?
However, I was surprised to see that the scoring efficiency between Draymond (49%) and Klay's career average (55%) is as small of a gap as it is. Even if we were to trade Draymond-level production for Klay-level production, a +5pt ORTG change would need trading off 50 such possessions to get a +5 increase in ORTG (the difference between 50 and 55 points scored off of those 50 possessions)! But I don't think we had 50 Draymond-level scoring possessions to improve upon... most of the Warriors roster had eFG more like 53%. Alternatively, swapping 25 Draymond-level production for 25 possessions of Durant/Curry 60% eFG production can also make up for that 5pt ORTG. Or swapping 35 possessions of roster-average 53% eFG for Durant. Even then, +5 to our ORTG would only bring us to roughly a top 10 league offense.
Put this way, increasing our ORTG to the top seems very very hard, especially if we also expect to lose a couple points of offense from decreasing Curry possessions (I don't want to have to rely on Curry carrying so hard and playing so many minutes...).
Am I thinking about this correctly? How much more production, and how efficiently, do we need to add to move up to a top-10 offense? Is a Patty Mills enough? A draftee who can manage Tyrese Haliburton level production? Marquese Chriss? Or maybe we need to focus on consistent, lower-variance scoring with high floors, and executing better?