Up Jumps Da Boogie

Once upon a time Timbabland and Magoo – with the help of a few friends – showed us how to party. On Sunday night after the NBA All-Star game had ended – in which Anthony Davis won MVP and set a new record for points scored (52) in the All-Star Game – Dell Demps (New Orleans Pelicans General Manager) and Alvin Gentry (Head Coach) did their own impression of Timb and Magoo. Demps was able to pull off a trade for big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. I don’t care much to talk about the trade details because that’s been ran into the ground. What I will tell you is that I was definitely shocked by the move. When say “shocked” I mean I had to pause from playing FIFA 17 on PS4 and digest what was happening. I got a text of “congrats” and “wow” before I knew what had taken place. I’m still a bit shocked by the move BUT I’ll take a move for Boogie over Jahlil Okafor 10 times out of 10. The current landscape of sports has shown me that you have to strike while the iron is hot. I’m well aware of Boogie’s attitude and the stories of his time in Sacramento. Look all I know is that he’s likely to be on the Pelicans’ roster until the summer of 2018 (barring anything major happens before then).

The addition of Boogie means the Pelicans will see some needed space on the offensive end of the court. To take advantage of this open space the shooters will need to be ready. They haven’t been consistent thus far (and they weren’t last night) but hopefully that’ll change the remainder of this season. The tweets below from @NOLAJake show how bad the Pels were on uncontested shots versus the Rockets last night.

New Orleans is currently 2.5 games from the 8th spot in the West with 24 games to play. Before last night’s disaster I’d already put in my head that I’d take a record of 15-10 to end the season. If the Playoffs come with that then cool but I’m fine without it. *I’m well aware that the move for Cousins leads some to believe the team will reach the Playoffs. Davis and Cousins held down their end of the bargain last night against Houston combining for 56 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, and 6 blocks. So it’s clear that those two will be able to bring it. The team will need Jrue Holiday to find his way to help move the team forward.

Another key for New Orleans will be deciding what type of style they want to play. Under Alvin Gentry they’ve tried to play with a faster pace. That hasn’t worked well as they currently rank 27th in Offensive Rating according to http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2017_ratings.html. By contrast the Houston Rockets are 2nd. The Rockets have made it clear as to what they want to do on offense. The goal for Houston is to play at a fast pace, share the ball to get a great shot and ensure that said shot is either a layup, three pointer, or trip to the free throw line. The shot chart in the tweet below from @Rockets_Insider shows how well that game plan worked against New Orleans last night.

The Rockets attempted 51 three-pointers! And made 20 of them. While the Pelicans took 31 and made only SIX! This is the 2nd blowout victory for the Rockets over New Orleans this season and the two teams will play twice in March. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pelicans adjust the next time the teams play. Unfortunately the Pelicans will be without Omri Casspi – who came over from Sacramento with Boogie – due to a broken thumb. That won’t help a team that’s void of confident shooters.

In hoops news closer to home and near my heart…the City of Jackson’s basketball community lost legendary coach Orsmond Jordan. I’ll always remember Coach Jordan for his time at Murrah High School in the 1990s when I was learning about the game. Coach Jordan also came over and gave a pep talk before the 9th Grade JPS Championship Game when I played. He will be missed but his legacy in the history of High School Basketball will live on. Rest easy Coach Jordan.

http://mississippitoday.org/2017/02/19/basketball-pioneer-coach-orsmond-jordan-has-died-at-82/

Stats and info courtesy of:

http://stats.nba.com/

http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2017_ratings.html

 

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Up Jumps Da Boogie

City of Hoops

So last night I got a text about “Top 5 JPS Basketball Players” that I’ve seen play. I’ve been asked this question a few times over the years and as each year passes it gets harder for me to answer. The difficulty isn’t that I don’t remember “players” but it is because I’ve seen so much JPS Basketball. My dive into “Jackson’s HS” basketball circuit started in 1992-1993 when my dad would take me along to see Murrah play in front of standing room crowds. At the time I was wowed by these guys – Othella Harrington, Ronnie Henderson, Jesse Pate – being that I was only in the 3rd grade. I would’ve never imagined that years later I’d walk the same halls as those guys when I reached high school. The dominance by JPS in basketball shows when you look at the string of years (since 1995) that at least one – either Boy’s or Girl’s – team represented the school district in a State Championship basketball game.

The history in basketball for JPS goes a long way. From the times when Lanier High School was winning National Championships in the 1950s and 1960s to the days when no one was able to stop “The Dynasty” that Coach Anna Jackson built at Murrah. We saw Provine & Lanier battle it out on the court so many times. My favorite was in 1997 when a scrappy Provine team made their way to the 5A Championship game and played the favored Bulldogs. The game was an overtime thriller that set the tone for the rivalry that followed year after year. We watched as Jim Hill made a historic run to “The Big House” under late coach Fred Harris. They fell short to Lanier that time but years later we watched as one of Coach Harris’s former players Stanford Speech led the Tigers to the State Championship. We’ve seen Callaway have their taste of success over the last 10 years. We’ve seen Forest Hill come close a few times on the boys side but not be able to finish. While the girls team got there and won. Even Bailey – now only a Middle School for APAC – made a run in the State Tournament in 2006. Wingfield is the only school that I haven’t seen have that moment of glory. It’s not because of a shortage of talent. The Falcons have been subject to some bad luck. I recall Wingfield having the best team in the state about 5 or 6 years ago. They had an undefeated regular season and ended up having to travel to Meridian for an “elimination” game. They ended up losing and finished without making it to the Coliseum. I can tell stories for days about the games I’ve seen and heard about.

There’s NO WAY that I can give a “Top 5”. I don’t like doing it and as I mentioned above there are too many names that race through my mind. At one point it seemed like every school had a standout player to watch for. Speaking of names, I started to list some from each school but stopped because that was too difficult. Also I couldn’t limit it to just “boys”. I saw some of the best HS Girl’s Basketball that the State of Mississippi had to offer many a day at good ole 1400 Murrah Drive. The coaches that have roamed the sidelines at the schools have been top notch.  JPS has produced numerous State Champions, State and Metro Player’s of the Year, McDonald’s All-Americans, All-State and All-Metro recipients and so on… We’ve dreaded going to “Da Dawg Pound” over at “833” (both Old and New Gym). Seen and heard it all from “Westside Al”. Gotten over to Forest Hill for a “big game” only to be told it’s already sold out. Folks have been pepper sprayed, bottles have been thrown on the court, we’ve seen high flying dunks and buzzer beating 3s. Somehow Pepsi is still sponsoring the “Christmas” Tournament and despite being told to “get your hat-your coat-and leeeaaavveee!!!” we still returned. 25 years later I’m still being wowed.

 

 

City of Hoops