Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
> Since returning from the extended All-Star break, scoring is down, shooting is down, and turnovers are up. Did the long break throw players off rhythm? Or are other factors contributing to the recent sloppy play?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: My hunch is, what we’re seeing is a result of a) the season’s dog days, and b) teams limping along without injured players. Some folks in Chicago believe that Derrick Rose lost “it” over the long break, never got “it” back and somehow got hurt or became more vulnerable over the extended layoff. But the Bulls star can seemingly get hurt tucking his little boy into bed, so there’s no reason to legislate over that. I find it hard to believe that a few extra days off could have, collectively, such a drastic effect.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I think you’re reaching to blame the extended All-Star break. This is only a small sampling and these are just the vagaries of the long season.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: It’s just fun with numbers at this point. If we get to the end of the season and the pattern holds, maybe you’ll be on to something. If the same thing happens again a year from now, then it becomes an actual discussion. Now, though, it’s a trend of the moment.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: There’s no scientific data to support a link between the long layoff and the sluggish play, so we only have our assumptions, flawed or not. I suspect the layoff might’ve had something to do with it but also this: Injuries, coupled with a half-dozen teams that waved the white flag and turned their roster over to young and inexperienced players to get a read on their long-term value.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: There are five teams with starting point guards who were thrown into unfamiliar offenses, and Milwaukee and Phoenix are two teams that have seen pretty big drops in efficiency after the break. But I think it’s mostly the long layoff. Offense is generally at its best with one or two days of rest, where players can maintain a rhythm and level of sharpness. We’ve already seen things pick up the last couple of days.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: There is no way you are getting me to hate on the extended break. We’ll just have see some numbers suffer, because that break felt great. I don’t think the longer break throws off anyone’s rhythm. I think any break from the normal bump and grind of the season, any break of more than 72 hours, automatically causes a potential hiccup for most guys. I can live with that now and going forward. It’s a small price to pay for a few extra days of All-Star breakage.
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The days off didn’t help for the short term. But this is also the equivalent to the month of August in baseball, when teams are searching for inspiration with the playoffs still many weeks away. The extended break was a new idea, and in future the teams and their players may develop better ideas on how to handle it; but overall this is not a big deal.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Ask Schuhmann. By that I mean, I haven’t seen the stats, and anyway, if you dropped the stats into my lap I wouldn’t even know what to do with them. Maybe a long break contributed in some way, but I don’t think everyone forgot how to shoot or lost their shape in a couple of weeks. But I do know that historically, this is the time of the season when a bit of ennui creeps in and teams start to look forward just a bit. With the playoffs just around the bend, to me it’s understandable if eyes drift a bit toward what lies ahead.