Tag Archives: basketball

The Art of the Eurostep

The Art of the Eurostep

act_james_harden

Good Morning All,

Apologies for my brief hiatus from DRaT, but I can assure you that things have been nothing short of crazy since I have returned to IU. I have lived a very not real life thus far, one that consists of drinking, dartying (Editor’s note: day partying, for those who don’t understand these whippersnappers), being out until 4 am, and some other various activities. As all my housemates’ say on Sunday nights, “its time to get our lives together.”

In this article, you will learn about my all-time favorite move in basketball: the Eurostep. Each time I see this move performed correctly, I actually freak out and lose it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this “step,” it’s a very simple move that consists of picking up your dribbling while stepping in one direction, then quickly switching to your other foot to complete the layup. For a visual of this move, please see below.

Over the years, this specific move has become extremely popular. Coaches across the nation are running drills teaching their players how to execute this effective move. It is said that this move actually originated from the sport Handball. The step in both sports is extremely similar, so I definitely see a connection.

Whether I’m watching a NBA game or at the Rec playing pickup, it’s very rare that I don’t see this move performed. Heck, I’ve even added it to my array of moves around the basket. (It may look like I’m moving through water, but ask fellow co-writer and pickup teammate Bicky, the move works!)

Below are those who I think are the top euro steppers in the league today. Like I said before, the move is becoming increasingly popular, but these five guys have it down to a science. In my opinion (not in any order), the top five consists of Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili, and Rajon Rondo. Enjoy these next few videos of them along with few other players in the league.

Hope you enjoyed this piece, ladies and gentleman. If you’re a consistent pick up baller and need some new ways to score, I highly suggest you get this move down and add it to your game. It’s a very effective step even if you’re big and slow like myself. Be careful though, it is quite easy to become addicted to it. Those who fall in love with this move have been seen performing it drunkenly at their respective bars or even down the street on the way to class. I’m not the only culprit; it’s a fun move!

G

Making a Case for the HOF: TMac

TMac dunking on Shawn Bradley courtesy hiphopwire.com
TMac dunking on Shawn Bradley
courtesy hiphopwire.com

Tracy McGrady has recently retired from playing professional basketball. McGrady will be remembered as one of the most dynamic scoring threats to play in the first decade of the 21st century. He will be remembered for his high flying dunks and his incredible scoring binges. Unfortunately, he will also be remembered by many as being a loser.

Until this most recent postseason, in which McGrady did not score a single point in the 31 minutes of garbage time he played in during the Spurs’ run to the Finals, Tracy had never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. McGrady’s postseason futility is the number one reason people cite as to why this great player is not worthy of enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

And it’s a pretty good point to make. The Hall of Fame is a special place reserved for champions of the game. Sure, there’s great players who never won the big one. But guys like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and even the great Elgin Baylor never won titles, but they all played for teams that came within a few bounces of the ball of winning one. TMac never even sniffed a conference finals! Is it insane to even have the HoF discussion about a guy who was on vacation every May and June?

In 2003, TMac submitted one of the most impressive seasons in NBA history. At the tender age of just 23, McGrady, who was playing for a pretty terrible Magic squad that was dealing with the oft injured Grant Hill, averaged 32 points a game on 45.7% shooting from the field and 38.6% from three. While Orlando only managed to go 42-40 that season, McGrady led the league in scoring and became the youngest scoring champion in league history. That distinction has since been passed onto Kevin Durant, but McGrady’s ability to dominate the league, despite youth and the lack of a decent supporting cast, at least creates the need for the HoF conversation to happen.

Over an eight year period, from 2000 until 2008, McGrady put up insane video game numbers. TMac averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists a night. To put that type of dominant run in perspective, Lebron James, who may be the second greatest human to ever step on a basketball court, is currently in an 8 year stretch of his own where he has averaged 28 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 dimes a game. While Lebron has significantly better numbers when it comes to shooting percentage and overall efficiency on the floor, it would be crazy to say that TMac did not have a dominant run that make him HoF worthy.

In 2004, McGrady was traded to the Houston Rockets in what was probably one of the worst all time trades ever to be traded. McGrady was acquired by Houston so that he could match forces with Yao Ming and terrorize the Western Conference for the next decade. In their first season together, the Rockets went 51-31. McGrady led that team in both scoring and assists, averaging 25.7 and 5.7, respectively. Yao averaged about 18-8 that season. The team ultimately was defeated by Dallas in the first round, a series that extended to a seventh game. Although the season was not the roaring success the Rockets had hoped for, it definitely felt like the beginning of something special.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, the dream of pairing the giant center and the dynamic scorer would never become the long term reality they had hoped for. Yao only played in 57, 48 and 55 games in the next three seasons. In 2009, Yao strung together a final productive and dominant season. He played in 77 games and averaged nearly a 20-10 with two blocks a game. Unfortunately, McGrady only suited up for 35 games that season.

McGrady, who jumped straight into the leauge from high school, flamed out pretty quickly. At age 34, TMac is hanging it up after not being effective at all in the last four years. While being able to play in the NBA for 15 years is a pretty impressive feat, it’s certainly fair to question what kind of shape TMac kept himself in. With guys like Kobe, Nash, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan and others still playing at a high level on the other side of 35, McGrady’s lack of longevity is definitely a solid knock against him for anyone making the case that he belongs in Springfield.

At the end of the day, I don’t think McGrady will make the Hall of Fame. While the Hall has made room for bit players who enjoyed incredible success as members of the Boston Celtics in the 1960’s, there is not much data to support TMac’s inductions, especially when so many members of the media are focused on championships. This is a tad unfair to McGrady, who is without a doubt a Hall of Fame talent who suffered unbelievably bad luck during the prime of his career.

For me, Tracy will always be an iconic player of my childhood. In middle school, everyone wore his shoes. His jersey was always one of the most popular to have as a kid. He was a force of nature in NBA Live and 2K. While I think voters are likely to keep him from the HoF, I’ll certainly be rooting for him.

Four Point Play: Who Will We be Watching?

nba-league-pass

Some people lead wonderful productive lives. They work hard during the day. At night, they spend time with family, or with a book, or maybe they have a project at home that they are working on. These people are normal.

Then there are people who watch NBA League Pass.

We here at DRaT watch a lot of League Pass, and we all have teams that we are excited to see play throughout the year. There’s nothing better than turning a boring Tuesday night into an NBA double header. While watching the Bulls is obviously a top priority over the other 29 teams in the league, there’s plenty of nights when the Bulls aren’t playing. Each of us is excited to watch every team in the league develop new players and create a unique team identity. But we all have one team that we are especially excited to play, even if it’s a Wednesday night in February against the Suns.

Jake Weiner has his eyes on Rip City.

Jacob Bikshorn wonders how new additions will mesh in Brooklyn.

Tyler Geocaris is excited to see the Pelicans.

Steven Kerstein has high hopes for the Motor City (well, their basketball team).

Five Severely Detached Thoughts From the Draft

sherwood forest

Hey there boys and girls,

I spent the last four days at this thing called Electric Forest and I was unable to monitor the NBA draft very closely, or keep up with all the exciting trades that have big time players moving to interesting new franchises. I know that you have come to expect a certain level of commitment from the good folks here at DRaT, and I apologize for letting everyone down, but holy shit check out the Forest next year guys.

Anyway, now that I have returned to reality I want to share a couple of things that I have observed after looking over the madness and mayhem of the last four days.

1. Are GMs getting smarter?

For weeks all that we heard from draft experts was that Nerlens Noel was a sure thing to go first overall, almost regardless of the team that won the lottery. He was projected to be a can’t miss defensive force, the type of rim protector that changes the entire defensive culture of a team, sort of like Tyson Chandler or Roy Hibbert. But with a recently repaired ACL, and whispers around the league that Nerlens might not exactly have a great group of people giving him advice, Noel plummeted all the way to 6, only to then get traded almost immediately after being picked.

It was impressive to see 5 GMs (and MJ) pass on a guy who many thought would be the first person to shake David Stern’s hand at the last boo-fest of his storied tenure as commissioner. In a draft where no player jumped out as being a truly dominant force, GMs seemed to be willing to look for sure things instead of hoping for things that may never come to fruition.

Was Anthony Bennett sort of a reach at #1? Perhaps, but there really is no way to know for the next 4-5 years. The Cavs saw a player who they think can be a difference maker, who can be versatile by playing the 3 or 4, and most importantly, who had a floor that was higher than the floor of anyone else in this draft.

2. Shed a tear for Ben McLemore

I had a wet dream that the Bulls would somehow scoop up the talented 2-guard from Kansas as he slipped out of the top 4 in the draft. I thought there was some way the Bulls could turn Deng, the Charlotte pick and/or Mirotic into a top ten pick that they could use on McLemore. But when the Kings announced they would be taking McLemore at 7 I couldn’t help but put my head in my hands and weep for what could have been. While the Maloofs are out of the picture and the team has brought in a new GM and coach, the culture (if you can call a dark black cloud a culture) around the Kings is not ideal for a timid shooter who has all the talent in the world.

With DMC ready to make a stink about his next payday and the team entertaining the possibility of bringing back super-talented-yet-super-frustrating Tyreke Evans for 4 years/$44 million, I cannot imagine a worse possible situation for McLemore. Evans, definitely not capable of playing point guard in the NBA, would eat into the minutes McLemore would need to grow into an NBA player. He also needs a veteran leadership to show him how to carry himself and how to assert himself into the action when the time is right. Looking up and down the Kings’ roster as constructed, it’s unclear who McLemore will receive any tutoring from.

Nurture is often a more powerful factor in development than nature, and in the NBA all it takes is a couple of bad habits to completely derail a promising career.

3. LOL Bobcats

Not totally sure what the thinking was in Charlotte on Thursday night. Cody Zeller, a player many thought would be considered for the top pick in 2013, and a definite candidate for the Naismith Trophy heading into his sophomore season at Indiana, was kind of a letdown considering the preseason expectations that swirled around him.

For stretches of games Zeller would completely disappear on the offensive end. Whether that was by the design of IU coach Tom Crean is pretty much a mystery. Zeller spent most of his time in college playing around the rim and taking advantage of his great size. But the seven footer is going to run into some trouble at the next level, as most teams will employ a player who can match him in terms of reach, and probably will be able to out jump and out muscle Zeller.

Scouts have said that Zeller has been working on improving his jumpshot in order to be more effective at the next level, where the shots at the rim that he got in college won’t come as easily. I think Zeller is a smart player who will work hard, and I understand that the Bobcats are starved for any type of F/C who will provide literally any prodcution at all, but I just don’t think Zeller was the right pick. With Alex Len and Noel still on the board, I think Charlotte will regret this pick down the road.

Hopefully they don’t figure things out until 2017.

4. Spurs with a late steal 

The Spurs are just good at this stuff. With the 58th (and third to last) pick in Thursday night’s draft, San Antonio snagged, in my opinion, a potentially effective NBA player in Deshaun Thomas.

Thomas led the incredibly competitive and tough Big Ten in both scoring and free throw percentage. The dude can shoot the ball with the best of them. So why did he fall all the way to 58? Teams have been concerned with his lack of speed and defensive ability. Thomas, listed at 6’7″, is a bit of a liability against the incredibly fast wings he will be forced to match up against in the NBA.

But at 58, this is an incredible pick for the Spurs. They were able to take a player who has established offensive skills, a player who loves to catch and shoot and will fit perfectly into their scheme that is so amazing at getting guys open shots on the perimeter. Even if Thomas doesn’t work out in San Antonio, he was without a doubt worth a flier that late in the draft. It looks like the Spurs have made yet another shrewd move to keep themselves in championship contention.

5. Bulls draft Tony Snell

I must admit going into the draft I knew pretty much nothing about the MVP of the Mountain West Tournament. Snell, who shot 39% from 3 last season, looks to be a potential floor spacer for a Bulls team that is starved for shooting. At 6’7″, Snell is also a capable backup for Luol Deng at the 3 should the Bulls decide to have Jimmy Butler spend more time playing shooting guard. While the Bulls already have a strong defensive culture, Snell looks like he will only fortify that terrifying defense. He is certainly capable of being an athletic force on the defensive end, and hopefully he will develop his offensive game further. The Bulls desperately need a player who is not afraid to drive to the hoop and draw contact. Hopefully Snell is able to develop into that kind of player.

The Internet Has No Offseason

We here at DRaT are pretty bummed out about the finals being over. To go from constant, nightly amazing basketball over the last two months to literally nothing is pretty horrible. I looked at baseball standings today. There is a void in my life.

But do not fear, loyal readers, for we at the blog will not be taking time off over the summer. With the draft right around the corner, and an exciting free agency period set to follow, there are plenty of storylines to follow and funny internet videos to watch.

We hope that you keep checking us out over the summer to fulfill all your NBA offseason questions and concerns. And follow us on twitter @drosesandthorns and tweet us when you’re sad that there was nothing but baseball in the Sportscenter Top 10.