Hoosiers In The NBA: Gordon Vs Oladipo (Playoff Preview)

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:


It took until his fourth season, but Victor Oladipo will finally get his first taste of the NBA Playoffs.

Oladipo and the Oklahoma City Thunder will face the Houston Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs starting on Sunday. The Rockets have two former Hoosiers on the team in potential Sixth Man Of The Year Eric Gordon (who had to wait even longer than Oladipo to reach his first playoffs, taking him seven seasons) and rookie Troy Williams.

For this edition of Hoosiers In The NBA, I’m going to go over how Oladipo and Gordon performed this season and how they preformed against each other to help predict how well they’ll play in their first round matchup. I’ll also go over how much I expect Williams to play in the series and also touch on Noah Vonleh and his Portland Trail Blazers’ first round matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Lastly I’ll post the final regular season stats for all six former Hoosiers who played in the NBA this season.


Gordon Vs Oladipo

Neither player would call the 2016-2017 their best statistical season, but both Eric Gordon and Victor Oladipo would still call this their best seasons due to how well their teams performed and what role they had in the success.

Gordon embraced his role of three-point specialist off the bench for Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets and the result was a career-high 246 made three-points on 37.2% shooting. Meanwhile Oladipo went from the main ball-handler in Orlando to being Russell Westbrook’s wing man in Oklahoma City and the jump in open looks helped Oladipo shoot a career-best 36.1% from behind the arc as he was the second-leading scorer for the Thunder.

Taking a look at how they played against each other this season only highlights how much both had success from deep this season:

Eric Gordon vs the Oklahoma City Thunder: 19.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.8apg, 0.25spg, 0.25bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.3fpg, 39.7% FG, 40.5% 3FG, 100.0% FT, 34.3mpg. (four games)

Victor Oladipo vs the Houston Rockets: 18.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.25spg, 0.00bpg, 2.3tpg, 2.5fpg, 46.8% FG, 46.7% 3FG, 50.0% FT, 37.3mpg.  (four games)

While I don’t expect both to hit above 40% from long range during this series, I do believe we’ll see multiple clutch threes from one or both. With both Westbrook and James Harden gathering so much attention, it may fall on a supporting player like Gordon or Oladipo to help push their team over the edge and into the next round. Regardless of the result, we’re guaranteed at least one former Hoosier will be playing in the Western Conference Semifinals.


How Much Will  Williams Play?

Troy Williams deserves a lot of praise for what he has accomplished during his rookie season.

As an undrafted rookie he wowed teams during the Summer League while playing for the Phoenix Suns and while the Suns couldn’t keep him due to a logjam at the wing position, the Memphis Grizzlies did sign him to their opening night roster. After 24 games and 13 starts with the Grizzlies, Memphis decided to switch gears when it found itself unexpectedly in the playoff hunt and thus Williams was cut and sent to the NBA D-League where he had a ton of success which included winning the D-League Slam Dunk Contest.

Like Yogi Ferrell, Williams used the momentum of his D-League performance to get a second chance with the NBA, where he has had immediate success with the Houston Rockets averaging 9.7 points on 50% shooting, including 38.1% from three-point range filling in for the injured Sam Dekker. With Dekker still out for at least the first round of the playoffs, does that mean we’ll see Williams play a role in the Houston-Oklahoma City series?

That’s where things get tricky. Teams usually shorten their benches in the playoffs and since Dekker was similar to a ninth man off the bench, it wouldn’t be surprising that Williams, Dekker’s replacement, might not see the floor much when you consider a healthy Dekker would likely see his minutes dwindle. I think Williams will see the court in the first round but I wouldn’t count on him playing every game.


What To Expect Out Of Vonleh And The Trail Blazers Against The Warriors

The Portland Trail Blazers’ last 10 games proved to be a significant step forward for Noah Vonleh.

While the Trail Blazers wrapped up the last playoff spot in the Western Conference by going 7-3, Vonleh finally flashed the potential scouts saw in him when he was considered a lottery pick back in 2014. He averaged 7.6 points on 56.4% shooting and 8.6 rebounds while playing 28.1 minutes per game and recording three double-doubles.

Vonleh hopes that his recent performance carries over into the postseason after failing to score and only grabbing four rebounds in six postseason games last year. Luckily he’ll be playing against a team in the Golden State Warriors that he has had some success against this season:

Noah Vonleh vs the Golden State Warriors: 4.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 0.3apg, 0.75spg, 0.00bpg, 1.3tpg, 0.8fpg, 38.1% FG, 40.0% 3FG, 0.0% FT, 15.0mpg. (four games)

While those numbers may seem a little underwhelming, it’s worth noting that the last time Vonleh faced the Warriors was still before the All-Star Break. In 48 games before the All-Star Break, Vonleh averaged 3.2 points on 40.7% shooting and 4.2 rebounds. In the 26 games after the All-Star Break, Vonleh has averaged 6.7 points on 57.5% shooting and 7.2 rebounds. Needless to say, I expect Vonleh to play much better this time around against the Warriors.


Season Averages:

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Dallas Mavericks:

10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.7apg, 0.91spg, 0.20bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.0fpg, 40.6% FG, 38.6% 3FG, 83.1% FT, 26.0mpg (46 games)

Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

16.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.5apg, 0.64spg, 0.55bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.0fpg, 40.6% FG, 37.2% 3FG, 84.0% FT, 31.0mpg (75 games)

Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

15.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.16spg, 0.31bpg, 1.8tpg, 2.3fpg, 44.2% FG, 36.1% 3FG, 75.3% FT, 33.2mpg (67 games)

Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

4.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 0.4apg, 0.41spg, 0.36bpg, 0.9tpg, 2.1fpg, 48.1% FG, 35.0% 3FG, 63.8% FT, 17.1mpg (74 games)

Troy Williams: Forward, Houston Rockets:

6.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 0.8apg, 0.90spg, 0.33bpg, 1.1tpg, 2.0fpg, 43.7% FG, 29.0% 3FG, 65.6% FT, 18.6mpg (30 games)

Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

10.3ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.00spg, 0.94bpg, 1.0tpg, 3.0fpg, 57.1% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 67.9% FT, 27.8mpg (62 games)

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Hoosiers In The NBA: Portland-Golden State Preview

I hope you all enjoy the game-by-game coverage of these playoffs and for more follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBAPlayoffs.

Western Conference 1st Round: (5) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (1) Golden State Warriors

Regular Season Series: Warriors won 3-1

Playoff Series: 0-0 (1st game is Sunday at 3:30pm)

Probable Starting Lineups:

Portland Trail Blazers:

C – Mason Plumlee: 9.1ppg (51.6% FG/64.2% FT), 7.7rpg, 2.8apg

F – Al-Farouq Aminu: 10.2ppg (41.6%/36.1% 3FG/73.7% FT), 6.1rpg, 1.7apg

F – Maurice Harkless: 6.4ppg (47.4% FG/27.9% 3FG/62.2% FT), 3.6rpg, 0.9apg

SG – C.J. McCollum: 20.8ppg (44.8% FG/41.7% 3FG/82.7% FT), 3.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg

PG – Damian Lillard: 25.1ppg (41.9% FG/37.5% 3FG/89.2% FT), 4.0rpg, 6.8apg

Key Bench Players – Noah Vonleh (3.6ppg, 3.9rpg), Ed Davis (6.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 61.1% FG), Gerald Henderson (8.7ppg), Allen Crabbe (10.3ppg, 39.4% 3FG)

Golden State Warriors:

C – Andrew Bogut: 5.4ppg (62.7% FG/48.0% FT), 7.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6bpg

PF – Draymond Green: 14.0ppg (49.0% FG/38.8% 3FG/69.6% FT), 9.5rpg, 7.4apg, 1.5spg, 1.4bpg

SF – Harrison Barnes: 11.7ppg (46.6% FG/38.3% 3FG/76.1% FT), 4.9rpg, 1.8apg

SG – Klay Thompson: 22.1ppg (47.0% FG/42.5% 3FG/87.3% FT), 3.8rpg, 2.1apg

PG – Shaun Livingston: 6.3ppg (53.6% FG/86.0% FT), 2.2rpg, 3.0apg

MVP – Stephen Curry: 30.1ppg (50.4% FG/45.4% 3FG/90.8% FT), 5.4rpg, 6.7apg, 2.1spg

Key Bench Players – Andre Iguodala (7.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.4apg), Marreese Speights (7.1ppg, 38.7% 3FG), Ian Clark (3.6ppg), Leandro Barbosa (6.4ppg)

What To Expect:

The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the few playoff teams that beat the Golden State Warriors this year, so with Stephen Curry’s status up in the air there is a chance the Trail Blazers make this a very interesting series.

So does that mean that Noah Vonleh will have zero chance of playing any meaningful minutes in this series? Surprisingly I think there is a realistic chance he does play.

As with the Los Angeles Clippers series, there is a potential scenario that may provide Vonleh with an opportunity to play. Chris Kaman was the reserve center in the last series but I don’t think he can keep up with small-ball centers such as Draymond Green and Marreese Speights. Vonleh is much more athletic and is quick enough to guard both.

But before you pencil in Vonleh for eight minutes per game, know that there’s another solution that is just as likely.  If Coach Terry Stotts still thinks Vonleh isn’t ready for such a big responsibility he may instead just shorten his rotation and stagger his post players’ minutes so that either Mason Plumlee or Ed Davis is always on the court.

Just like last series it may come down to a first impression. I could see Stotts giving Vonleh a chance during game one and if he likes what he sees he’ll continue to have Vonleh come off the bench. If he doesn’t, Vonleh will be glued to the bench for the rest of the series.

Stat Predictions: 0.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 33% FG, 3.8mpg

Hoosiers In The NBA: Playoff Previews For Zeller’s Hornets And Vonleh’s Trail Blazers

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA on its new site! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:


As promised earlier in the week, here are the previews for both Cody Zeller’s Charlotte Hornets and Noah Vonleh’s Portland Trail Blazers. I’ll give my thoughts on what you can expect from both of them during their first round matchups and also give a roster breakdown of both their team and the opposing team. And as always I’ll go out on a limb and actually predict their stats for that series just to see how close or how far off I end up being afterward. I hope you enjoy and look forward to more playoff coverage both on this blog and on Twitter for as long as a former Indiana Hoosier is still playing in the playoffs. Now let’s break down these series:

 


Eastern Conference 1st Round: (6) Charlotte Hornets vs. (3) Miami Heat

Regular Season Series: Tied 2-2

Playoff Series: 0-0 (1st game is Sunday at 5:30pm EST)

Probable Starting Lineups:

Charlotte Hornets:

C – Cody Zeller: 8.7ppg (52.9% FG/10.0% 3FG/75.4% FT), 6.2rpg, 1.0apg

PF – Marvin Williams: 11.7ppg (45.2% FG/40.2% 3FG/83.3% FT), 6.4rpg, 1.4apg

SF – Nicolas Batum: 14.9ppg (42.6% FG/34.8% 3FG/84.9% FT), 6.1rpg, 5.8apg

SG – Courtney Lee: 9.6ppg (45.4% FG/37.8% 3FG/83.9% FT), 2.6rpg, 1.7apg

PG – Kemba Walker: 20.9ppg (42.7% FG/37.1% 3FG/84.7% FT), 4.4rpg, 5.2apg

Key Bench Players – Al Jefferson (12.0ppg, 6.4rpg), Jeremy Lin (11.7ppg), Jeremy Lamb (8.8ppg), Frank Kaminsky (7.5ppg)

Miami Heat:

C – Hassan Whiteside: 14.2ppg (60.6% FG/65.0% FT), 11.8rpg, 0.4apg, 3.7bpg

F – Joe Johnson: 12.2ppg (43.9% FG/38.3% 3FG/83.1% FT), 3.6rpg, 3.9apg

F – Luol Deng: 12.3ppg (45.5% FG/34.4% 3FG/75.5% FT), 6.0rpg, 1.9apg

SG – Dwyane Wade: 19.0ppg (45.6% FG/15.9% 3FG/79.3% FT), 4.1rpg, 4.6apg

PG – Goran Dragic: 14.1ppg (47.7% FG/31.2% 3FG/72.7% FT), 3.8rpg, 5.8apg

Key Bench Players – Justice Winslow (6.4ppg, 5.2rpg), Josh Richardson (6.6ppg, 46.1% 3FG), Gerald Green (8.9ppg), Amar’e Stoudemire (5.8ppg)

What To Expect:

Cody Zeller is going to have his hands full as his primary mission this series is to prevent Hassan Whiteside from being an offensive factor.

While defending Whiteside will be a challenge, it could have been worse as Zeller would have guarded Chris Bosh if he was available.  Bosh presented a big problem for Zeller as the perennial All-Star is able to draw bigger defenders out of the paint because of his lethal mid-range game and above average three-point shooting.

Whiteside won’t move very far from the post except to set screens, which means Zeller can stay close to the basket and help guard the rim against one of the better slashing teams in the NBA. His help defense will be a necessity on Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic drives.

The key for Zeller during this series will be to stay out of foul trouble. The former Hoosier has done a better job lately of avoiding fouls but still ended the season with a career-high 2.8 fouls per game. The Hornets could still beat the Heat by simply outshooting them, but when the shots don’t fall Charlotte cannot afford to have Zeller on the bench with foul trouble.

Because so much will be asked of Zeller defensively, I expect Hornets’ Head Coach Steve Clifford to consistently switch Zeller in and out with Al Jefferson for offensive and defensive situations. That doesn’t mean Zeller won’t score during this series but expect no more than four or five shots per game.

Zeller won’t produce flashy numbers during this series but his performance will be one of the few main things that could decide who wins this series.

Stat Predictions: 6.5ppg, 6.1rpg, 0.83spg, 1.50 bpg, 47% FG, 28.3mpg


Western Conference 1st Round: (5) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (4) Los Angeles Clippers

Regular Season Series: Clippers won 3-1

Playoff Series: 0-0 (1st game is Sunday at 10:30pm)

Probable Starting Lineups:

Portland Trail Blazers:

C – Mason Plumlee: 9.1ppg (51.6% FG/64.2% FT), 7.7rpg, 2.8apg

F – Al-Farouq Aminu: 10.2ppg (41.6%/36.1% 3FG/73.7% FT), 6.1rpg, 1.7apg

F – Maurice Harkless: 6.4ppg (47.4% FG/27.9% 3FG/62.2% FT), 3.6rpg, 0.9apg

SG – C.J. McCollum: 20.8ppg (44.8% FG/41.7% 3FG/82.7% FT), 3.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg

PG – Damian Lillard: 25.1ppg (41.9% FG/37.5% 3FG/89.2% FT), 4.0rpg, 6.8apg

Key Bench Players – Noah Vonleh (3.6ppg, 3.9rpg), Ed Davis (6.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 61.1% FG), Gerald Henderson (8.7ppg), Allen Crabbe (10.3ppg, 39.4% 3FG)

Los Angeles Clippers:

C – DeAndre Jordan: 12.7ppg (70.3% FG/43.0% FT), 13.8rpg, 1.2apg, 2.3bpg

PF – Blake Griffin: 21.4ppg (49.9% FG/72.7% FT), 8.4rpg, 4.9apg

SF – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: 3.1ppg (45.4% FG/52.6% FT), 2.3rpg, 0.4apg

SG – J.J. Redick: 16.3ppg (48.0% FG/47.5% 3FG/88.8% FT), 1.9rpg, 1.4apg

PG – Chris Paul: 19.5ppg (46.2% FG/37.1% 3FG/89.6% FT), 4.2rpg, 10.0apg, 2.1spg

Key Bench Players – Jamal Crawford (14.2ppg), Jeff Green (11.7ppg, 4.2rpg), Wesley Johnson (6.9ppg), Austin Rivers (8.9ppg), Cole Aldrich (5.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1bpg)

What To Expect:

Noah Vonleh has ended up playing even less than I expected at the end of the season, and some things I’ve read are suggesting he may only see the court during these playoffs if any of the games end up being blowouts.

However, if there was ever a matchup that would require Vonleh to play more than expected it would be against the Clippers. Against the frontcourt duo of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, I expect multiple games where the Trail Blazers’ big men get in foul trouble and Head Coach Terry Stotts will need to rely on Vonleh for spot minutes.

If Vonleh does find himself in that situation, he’ll have a prime opportunity to show the coaching staff that he’s improving. If he can hit a three-pointer early, it would force either Griffin or Jordan to leave the paint to guard him, leaving driving lanes for Damian Lillard to slash and kick out.

Of course, it’s very possible this situation never happens in this series. But there’s a better chance of Vonleh playing meaningful playoff minutes than most people might think.

Stat Predictions: 1.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 0.33 bpg, 37% FG, 5.7mpg