Reminiscing With Ratke

After the first week of the NBA season, Michael Williams-Carter was the greatest player in the league, the Nets looked prime to compete in the Eastern Conference and I was attempting to grow out a beard.

Things change. People overact. Mostly media members and writers like myself, because well, we have to react to something, right?

Week 3 is in the books.

The highlights?

The Pacers remain undefeated. Andre Iguodala has fit in perfectly with the Golden State Warriors. I ate 30 pieces of pizza throughout the week. I’m getting the cheese sweats.

I was watching the Knicks and Rockets game on Thursday night with some friends and someone asked, “Hey, isn’t there Thursday night football tonight?”

First off, this person was immediately kicked in the shins. Secondly, that’s when you know the NBA is in full force. Hardcore hoop fans, who watch other sports, become engulfed in the NBA and will watch any game. Heck, if you put a D-League game on a screen I’d sit and watch for two hours and come away with two pages of notes that won’t make sense to anyone but myself.

Without further ado, here are three observations I made this week:

Kevin Love for MVP?

  • 27.2 points per game (2nd in league)


  • 13.8 rebounds per game (2nd in league)


  • 48.4 % from the field (career high)


  • 4.8 assists per game (career high)


  • I was talking to a coworker on Friday and he asked me what I was writing about in this week’s column. After I told him I might touch on Love’s MVP candidacy, he looked at me like I just ate three pounds of margarine.

    “Are you kidding? Kyle, we aren’t even a fourth of the way through the season…”

    I know, I know. But I have a feeling Love’s numbers will look this way throughout the season. The guy is in the best shape of his life and has a chip on his shoulder after missing much of last season with a hand injury. A power forward who can shoot, rebound and pass? Sign me up.

    During last Wednesday’s win over Cleveland, fans were chanting “M-V-P” when Love was at the free-throw line. If the Wolves can remain in the playoff hunt, we’ll be hearing plenty more of that.

    When Will Anthony Bennett Heat Up For Cleveland?

    I had the chance to chat with the No. 1 pick before Wednesday’s game vs. the Wolves. Obviously the start to Bennett’s career hasn’t been what he’d like. In eight games this season, Bennett’s played 12.1 minutes and is averaging 1.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, while shooting just 12.5 percent from the field.

    This is somewhat of a surprise, because Bennett actually played pretty decent in the preseason, scoring in double digits three times to go along with two 10 rebound games.

    The Cavaliers are 3-7 and the small forward position (Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, Sergey Karasev) is the arguably the team’s weakest position. Bennett plays small forward, so the opportunity is there.

    Bennett said that his teammates have helped a lot throughout the process and he hopes to find a groove soon. The opportunity for Bennett is there, but for all rookies there is a transition period. We like the throw the “bust” word around a lot. We are 10 games into the season, I think it’s a little too soon for that, but if Bennett doesn’t improve soon, the pressure will mount up. For better or worse, that’s how things work.

    I Love The NBA Player Tracking Device

    Did you know Bradley Beal leads the league in miles per game with 2.9? Did you know that Cory Joseph’s average speed in a game is 4.9 miles per hour? Did you know the man in front of me at the gym today biked 12.8 miles?

    You probably did not know these things.

    “Kyle, this sounds like you’re trying to do math again…” No, silly imaginary reader. I’m not doing any of that! The NBA has a new data system that tracks players speeds and distances, passing, defensive impact, drives and more.

    I tried to explain what exactly Player Tracking is for the last 20 minutes and wrote about two words. I’ll let NBA.com explain it for me:

  • “Player Tracking is the latest example of how technology and statistics are changing the way we understand the game of basketball.

    Using six cameras installed in the catwalks of every NBA arena, SportVU software tracks the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second. The data collected provides a plethora of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation and ball possession. Some examples include: how fast a player moves, how far he traveled during a game, how many touches of the ball he had, how many passes he threw, how many rebounding chances he had and much more.”’


  • It’s something for sports fans to observe throughout the season even though some of it is meaningless. If anything just impress (or creep) out your friends by saying, “did you know Ricky Rubio ran 2.1 miles in last night’s game? Yep, 2.1. Oh, Ricky. He is so good at running.”

    A few notes from the Wolves:

  • Rubio is 15th among NBA players, having traveled 22.2 miles throughout nine games.


  • Love is second in the league with 807 total touches. Rubio is third with 778.


  • Rubio is second in the league creating 31.9 points by assists per 48 minutes.


  • Love is third in the league with five contested rebounds per game.


  • Kevin Martin has 65 points off catch-and-shoot opportunities. That ranks sixth in the NBA.


  • Martin also has 56 points off pull up shots, ranking 15th in the league.


  • Those are just a few fun facts. You can view more by heading to stats.nba.com/playertracking.html.

    Just make sure you don’t waste seven hours of your day doing this, ignoring all coworkers, lunch and end up missing your bus. Turns into a bad Friday.

    Well, folks. That’s all I’ve got this week. As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend.