LeBron James has been lambasted for leaving his hometown team to try to win a championship with the Heat which has evaded him so far. The Heat are the most hated team in the league. By contrast, the Thunder is led by the league's leading scorer Kevin Durant who's appears to be one of the most humble superstars in the league. It's the ultimate good guys vs. bad guys matchup. LeBron, likely fueled by all the criticisms about his ability to perform in the clutch and his will to win, appears to be on a mission to prove everybody wrong and finally win his first championship. To put it in perspective, facing elimination in game 5 versus the Celtics, LeBron put on one of the best playoff performances in history scoring nearly half his team's points (http://www.nba.com/games/20120607/MIABOS/gameinfo.html).
The series will be on ABC so you don't need cable to watch it. Catch at least one game.
1. Kevin Garnett of the Celtics had been troubling the Miami Heat's inside game during the Eastern Conference Finals (partially due to the absence of Chris Bosh). Bosh is fully healthy for Game 7, and he has a great jumper for a big man, so Spolestra plants him in the corner during the crucial 4th quarter of Game 7. Bosh hits three 3-pointers, forcing KG out of the paint to cover him. This is perfect for the Heat's isolation offense, as it rotates 6'7" Paul Pierce into the paint. Lebron/Wade spend the rest of the game driving on Pierce, while Bosh and KG hang out in the corner. Game over.
2. Serge Ibaka is an excellent shooter given his playing style (big shot-blocking men often shoot poorly unless your name is "Kevin Garnett" or, to a lesser extent, "Tim Duncan.") Brooks knows he shoots well, and runs both Ibaka and Perkins for extended minutes during Game 4 of the West Finals against the Spurs. The Spurs only have an aging Tim Duncan defending the paint, and his focus on Perkins means Ibaka makes all 11 of his shots, many in that troublesome midrange area. The Thunder take Game 4 before taking two more to advance.
This series will be incredible. Two teams equally matched in skill and coaching acumen. Can't wait.
It's done by a redditor, Mens_Rea who has written up tons of stuff:
It's worth finding a writeup of a non-Thunder/Heat team since they play fairly similar styles.
When the Thunder advanced to the finals, a Washington-state newspaper ran the headline "Sonics advance to Finals, oh wait // Oklahoma City steals team, and steals game from San Antonio":
I'd say Heat and Thunder are tied for most hated team.
Why do people hate the Thunder?
I can see the argument that some Seattle fans would resent that the team left, but I think their anger would be directed toward the owners involved or David Stern - not the team itself.
Also remember that of current Thunder players, only Nick Collison was on the team before Clay Bennett arrived. Kevin Durant played one year in Seattle but it was already common knowledge that the team was going to leave, so fans didn't really take to him much. All of the other rotation players were added after the move. So there aren't any beloved players left on the team to mitigate the anger coming out of Seattle.
It's similar to LeBron being thought of as a villain. It's not that he left Cleveland, it's how he left Cleveland. To a lot of fans in both cities, it felt like their guy/team lied about wanting to stay, left under dubious circumstances, and disrespected the fans and the city on the way out.
To me, the Thunder have no right to exist and no right to win anything. Any success for them is nothing but an insult to Sonics fans.
The Lakers may be up there with the Heat for most hated team, but I think OKC is very well liked (outside of Seattle).
They are probably the universally admired team in the nba.
Kirk Goldsberry does these. He's been doing this for a while. The NYT may have developed the library that they're using here (I'm not sure), but the idea and the data visualization concept are his.
When I look at the graphics from the NYT article, the player whose chart really sticks out is James Harden. His efficiency this year is amazing and a lot of it has to do with shot selection. Most of his shots are 3-pointers or within 8' which are considered the two highest value shots on the court. Some team with a Moneyball style general manager (somewhat common in the NBA from my understanding) will pay him handsomely yet probably still not what his contribution merits.
Edit: trivial edit for small error
Bottom line, IMO its really helpful to look at these (I love data visualization) but you have to be careful not to fall into the trap of oversimplifying.
I used to work on the system, so I can answer (some) questions about it.
There is a nice article in wired about it(include a picture of one of the cameras and the view from another)
The calibration is done by matching(automatically or manually) known world points to pixels from the cameras.
(This is a very common practice in image-processing systems)
I was looking at espn's feed of the game the other night and they seem to have a lot of details about the game as the game is being played. things like "player missed 13 foot jump shot" and a graphic of a ball bouncing off of the rim and where it was shot from. Id imagine that they have a system like court stenographers so that they can quickly record info and send it to their servers.
I think a browser might choke on this many visualizations in SVG but I'm not sure. I've seen libraries take all sorts of approaches, but I'm leaning towards Canvas for really fluid and precise graphics.
Edit: I'm baffled why someone would downvote this.
The graphics are brilliant. Is the image -> graph effect part of some library I haven't heard of?
Apparently, he's such a good team player (picking good positions, herding opponents into weak positions, doing things which are bad for his stats but good for the team) that he can almost shut down Kobe. OK, Kobe still scores a lot when he's guarded by Battier, but only because Kobe always gets the ball.
He'll memorize every one of those heat maps (along with every other dataset his coach can get him), and use that knowledge to mess up his opponent's attacks.
"Battier’s game is a weird combination of obvious weaknesses and nearly invisible strengths."
Best analysis I've seen yet.
A colored dot at the free throw line would tell me where he shoots his free throws from, but I already know that.
As others noted, free throws occur at the same place every time and would seriously skew the chart - especially for lowpost/longrange players like James Harden.
Maybe a step closer would be showing where a player was fouled that led to shots from the line.
This is an accurate assertion -- teams like the Heat live and die by their free throw attempts -- but the article isn't looking at offense. It examines how well players shoot around the court (as the title states).
Realistically, heatmaps with free throws will just have orange-to-dark red circles at the free throw line. That's boring.