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  • 🏆 Knicks' Title Bid, Warriors' Playbook, Markkanen's Milestone, Thunder's Test, & Defensive Aces

🏆 Knicks' Title Bid, Warriors' Playbook, Markkanen's Milestone, Thunder's Test, & Defensive Aces

Curating and summarizing the best NBA content of the week

Welcome to the NBA Librarian Weekly, where we curate and summarize the best NBA content of the week.

In Today's Edition:

Also, please take a look at our new partner, the Basketball Intelligence newsletter. It's a fantastic source of inspiration for the articles and content I choose to include in mine:

Can the Knicks win the title?

The New York Knicks are riding high on a nine-game winning streak, with Brunson's emergence as a potential superstar leading the charge.

Under the guidance of Tom Thibodeau, the team has found a new identity, with a mix of physical presence on the court and a silent understanding of roles off it. Donte DiVincenzo and Julius Randle have adapted their games to complement Brunson's style, contributing to a well-oiled machine that's proving to be a tough matchup for any team. The Knicks' newfound defensive tenacity, coupled with strategic offensive plays, positions them as a dark horse in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

For a deeper dive into the Knicks' transformation and what makes them a team to watch out for, clicking onto the video will reveal more insights and in-game strategies that have propelled them to their current hot streak.

Inside look into the Warriors on Offense and Defense

Joe Viray is the go-to person for in-depth Warriors coverage. Here are two articles from this past week on the Warriors defense and offense.


The Golden State Warriors have been grappling with defensive challenges this season, primarily due to a series of injuries, suspensions, and inconsistencies in player performance.

Their defense ranks 21st in the league, conceding 118.2 points per 100 possessions, with particular weaknesses in half-court settings. The crux of their defensive strategy revolves around the trio of Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and Draymond Green, who bring a blend of length, athleticism, and basketball IQ critical for the team's versatility in defensive coverages. Green's return from suspension has notably bolstered the Warriors' defense, with the team showing significant improvement by limiting opponents to 99.6 points per 100 possessions over a span of seven games. Despite these efforts, the team's defense still faces vulnerabilities, especially in containing dribble penetration and adapting to the absence of key players due to injuries, which has led to losses even in games with outstanding offensive performances.

Ton of video analysis, play breakdowns and more in the article.


This other article delves into the nuanced basketball strategy of inverted ballscreens, a technique the Golden State Warriors have employed but sparingly, where guards or wings set screens for bigs, flipping traditional roles to create defensive quandaries. Viray revisits this concept, particularly advocating for its increased usage to leverage the athletic prowess of players like Jonathan Kuminga.

By setting screens with high-profile shooters like Curry and Thompson, the Warriors generate multiple challenging scenarios for defenders, such as whether to stick with the screener or switch, thereby creating mismatches or leaving shooters open. This strategy has proven effective in certain games, providing clear lanes for layups or creating mismatches that the Warriors' athletic wings can exploit. Keep an eye out for this in the next Dubs game.

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The Wolves Exposed OKC’s Biggest Weakness

There is a budding rivalry forming between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves, the top two teams in the Western Conference.

A notable strategic move in their last matchup brings to light a potential issue to watch for in the playoffs — the Timberwolves decision to assign Rudy Gobert to guard Josh Giddy, effectively exploiting OKC's offensive vulnerabilities. This move also put Jaden McDaniels on Chet and focus in on limiting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's effectiveness.

Concerns about Giddy's shooting consistency and its impact on OKC's offensive flow were highlighted, especially given his historical shooting percentages. The Thunder's offensive struggles with Giddy on the floor, particularly in terms of shot quality and efficiency, underscore potential challenges for OKC as they approach the playoffs, where such limitations could be further exposed against teams with strong defensive strategies.

Pistons’ Marcus Sasser might do something no rookie in NBA history has ever done

Marcus Sasser, a rookie for the Detroit Pistons, has quickly emerged as a notable bright spot in a challenging season, showcasing his shooting ability and scoring prowess. Despite limited playing time due to the team's depth and his size, Sasser's efficient performance from the field, beyond the arc, and at the free-throw line has him on track to potentially join the exclusive 50-40-90 club, a rare feat for a rookie. His development into a more effective playmaker and ballhandler, along with comparisons to established NBA scorers (Terry Rozier, Lou Williams), highlights his potential to be a significant asset for the Pistons' future, underscoring a promising career trajectory in the league.

Lauri Markkanen is making history

Great insightful article by Mike highlighting Markkanen’s versatility and efficiency on offense. He also points out how Markkanen is getting assisted on 84% of his shots as well, the highest mark of any 20 PPG scorer, ever, even surpassing the mark Klay set last season.

Per Synergy, the seven-foot sharpshooter is one of the most versatile scorers in the league — he’s in at least the 62nd percentile in points per possession (*takes deep breath*) on spot-ups, off screens, in transition, off cuts, as a roll man, on offensive rebounds, in the post, and in isolation. Imagine a giant crossbow shooting elite percentages from nearly everywhere on the floor but which can also dunk defenders into an early grave, and you’ve got the right idea.

-Mike Shearer, Basketball Poetry

This blend of elite shooting off ball play highlight his fit as a potentially perfect second option and potential limitations as a first option for the Jazz. For a deeper dive into Lauri Markkanen's historic scoring efficiency and what it means for the Jazz's playoff aspirations, click in and read more.

New NBA apps and updates

Sravan updated the Basketball-Reference clone by adding a "Player Season Search" feature. Additionally, he collaborated with @knarsu3 on Twitter (the creator of the LEBRON stat) to develop another app. This app offers a deeper analysis of the quantifiable impact of the most significant injuries on teams.

Check it out!

Top Defensive Guards in the league by EPM

There's no perfect defensive stat, but EPM does as good a job as any at underscoring the impact players have on defense. Here are the top 5 defensive guards this season, according to EPM, which also significantly supports the eye test. It also puts SGA's impact into perspective, considering the rest of the players on the list are role players with more limited roles on offense.

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