Personal Pan Power Rankings #1 is first in a series of pizza topping- and NBA-themed power rankings. A Personal Pan ‘Za only has four slices, probably (has an adult ever ordered one? I’m trying to remember my childhood), so this feature ranks only four things.
#4: Lou Williams’s prudent use of the 2-for-1 versus the Heat (3 Feb)
Zach Lowe’s wonderful look at Williams’s skill at the end of quarters explains the Sixers’ strategy in 2-for-1 situations. On the front of the 2-for-1, Williams is actually looking to jack a 3. At the end of the first quarter, he drained one of those. At the end of the second quarter, it wasn’t there, so Lou looked, but didn’t shoot—effectively punting on the Lou-for-1 opportunity. It was the right play, and exactly why Williams kills it in these situations; the two-for-ones are not just Lou’s way to gun for shots with impunity. He’s looking to make the best play.
On another note, boy, in the second half it became clear that it’ll be tough for Philly without any dynamic, go-to scorer. All the off-ball cutting and multiple pick and roles in the world won’t keep the Sixers halfcourt offense lubricated against a disciplined defense like Miami and Chicago. 3rd or 4th best in the conference ain’t bad, though.
Prudent pizza: Tomato pie (less cheese, less fat, more heart health)
#3: Homer Local Announcers
I know everyone makes fun of locals, but the OKC announcers really did it up. Brian Davis and (especially) Grant Long are generally pretty great. They know the rest of the league, and Long’s analysis is consistently interesting. But they were trying to convince me that Daequan Cook is a good one-on-one defender while Tony Allen blew by him, more than once. Of course, TA couldn’t finish, but what else is new?
Parents-blind-to-their-kid’s-faults pizza: Gooey extra cheese pizza
#2: Al Jefferson’s jab step versus the Warriors (2 Feb), 7:00 minutes to go in 3Q
I’m a big Big Alphonse fan. This particular jab step on Andy Biedrins, setting up a 15-footer, unfurled sooo slowly. Set up on the right block, Jefferson shotfakes, Biedrins contests and ends up off-balance. Big Al then jabsteps toward the baseline; here he pauses, sets himself—with his legs split, as if here were where he wanted to be all along—then, slowly, Jefferson brings the right leg back. So flustered, Biedrins contests low, crouching, expecting Al to finally use his dribble. Al pulls up quick, splash. A masterful manipulation of space and pace, and a subversive, postmodern use of the jabstep (Biedrins has no clue how to counter a slow jab step) to boot.
Postmodern pizza: A Mexican pizza on top of a regular pizza
#1: JR Smith went 14-18 from three in China. 60 points.
This is Smith’s destiny, and China is place where his basketball personality is most actualized. Smith will never get his proper due in the NBA, and as a result, I’m thinking about starting a charity to offset the difference between his Chinese salary and his hypothetical NBA salary to incentivize him to stay in the CBA. Unfortunately, this means that I’ll also need to start a separate charity to benefit the victims of JR Smith’s sister’s wrath.
JR Smith’s pizza: all the other people’s pizza