Author Archive

Mean Mavs post

December 4, 2008

Can the Mavs win a championship starting Jose Juan Barea at point? I say no.

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November 7, 2008

I don’t think I have the words to describe my feelings from the Spurs game tonight. I’m too worked up. Or I was until I read this post on 48 minutes of hell. Smart and optimistic thinking. It was, at least, what I needed to hear. All I can say is, I like George Hill but was hoping to bring him along a little slower than this. And it heartens to hear that Ian Mahini will be healthy soon, but will Pop open his heart to another Frenchman. Is he even French? Who is this Farmer fellow? So many questions. I am tired.

Sixers

November 6, 2008

Taking my first look at the supposed contender 76ers tonight, I realized that getting Elton Brand never made any damn sense at all for this team. A traditional post-playing big man is great and all if you have a roster like the Spurs, but if your team is composed almost entirely of slashers, what the hell are you to do? I have special interest in this issue as my once valuable Iguodala fantasy property is now diminishing every day. He can’t shoot and he can’t work around Brand. How all the bball minds missed this possibility in the preseason as they picked them to take the leap is beyond me.

Team Redeemed

August 24, 2008

I joyfully (and perhaps intoxicatedly) stayed up until 3:30 last night to watch the conclusion of Olympic basketball and a pretty good game against a Spanish team that I knew would be tougher this time around. I can’t help but enjoy and identify with this Team USA, even though they feature several players I dislike (mostly Kobe, but in lesser parts Carmelo and J-Kidd.) I’ll admit that its partly a naive  identifying of all USA teams with the original Dream Team, but I counter that with the fact that I always root for the men’s basketball team, even when it featured AI and Starbury. I just love basketball and I also love the USA.

Why do I make such hay explaining myself? Mostly because of this Slate article, explaining how The Redeem Team is being trademarked and we’re all dupes of NBA marketing. Even though I can agree with many of the points made, I reject the cynicism that would throw out what they accomplished with the bathwater. Yes, of course, the team’s image is micromanaged to ridiculous lengths. I will never believe Kobe to be a good guy, no matter how hard he tries. J-Kidd is no legendary team player, despite the great passes. And Lebron (glorious as it is to watch him play), only allows tiny parts of his supposedly great personality to eke out, as mandated by his handlers.

But if you just watched the games you would know that this team played its ass off and played as intelligently and as unselfishly as any Olympic team has. You can’t fault them for that, and I for one found myself impressed with their discipline and team play (especially Kobe, who pretty much saved the last night’s game). This post on TrueHoop (about the players support of Darfur-related causes and Jerry Colangelo asking them to put aside non-basketball concerns) probably does the best job explaining the fine line these guys walked, and while it sucks to see that they were eventually dissuaded from being more vocal, I’m happy to see that they actually cared in the first place. This reverses my cynical feelings about Lebron that I harbored after hearing he wouldn’t sign Ira Newble’s petition to the Chinese government.

So mark me down as a believer in the “redeem team.” Just not a dupe of The Redeem Team (Patent Pending).

Olympic Thoughts

August 11, 2008

I wanted to open up a thread to solicit thoughts and impressions of Olympic ball so far. As far as the US is concerned, I missed the China game this weekend, but based on the exhibitions I saw, I can only echo what everyone else is saying: Chris Paul should really start over Kidd.

I did, however, happen to be passing out Saturday night when the Greece-Spain game was playing live, and that was as hard-nosed an international game as I have ever seen. I knew Greece was a tough team, but I hadn’t realized how much the Spainards had improved. I guess I should have noticed when the won the ’06 World Championships, but this ’08 team, with vets like Gasol and Calderon and young guns like Rudy Fernandez,  are very deep and athletic. I was most impressed with Fernandez. He was flying all over the place. His defense may be a liability in the NBA, but I think the Blazers are getting a great player.

Anyway, I welcome all comments and additions concerning the Olympics, particularly how you feel the US is doing.

Houston, we have a problematic punny title…

July 31, 2008

In regards to this last trade and the whole summer in general, I couldn’t help but think that NBA teams are starting to operate exactly like a fantasy league. What was supposed to be a quiet summer of non-elite free agents resigning with the current teams has instead given way to seismic shifts through both conferences. I can almost imagine Daryl Morey sitting at his computer, fooling with a trade machine and texting the Maloofs with dumb ideas like “Artest 4 Deke + Lutherhead? Don’t Laugh!”

I guess this is what happens when the old guard of Phoenix and Dallas weakens. (I’m not including SA, here, for obvious reasons.) After surveying the wreckage of this surprising Artest fire-sale, I’m inclined to think this would not have flown in our fantasy league, though. The soon-to-be-retired Bobby Jackson, a 1st rounder, and the deluxe gunner of the Vegas Summer League Donte Green for Ron Artest? This is the sort of discount that true instability generates, I guess. Sure, his numbers have dropped and he is a ball-stopping liability, but he can make baskets if properly motivated.

Putting aside my initial dissapointment that Artest was not paired up with Kobe (a combustible pipe deam, I suppose), this story caught my eye, leaving open the window for some classic Artest conflict. Artest vs. Yao! Now that’s a brawl I would pay to see. Houston fans, yall ready for this?!

Enter the Hengst: Malik, D-Lee, and The Rise of Small Bigs

July 9, 2008

When it came to writing my first official post for Blogjammin, I found myself choosing a topic that is very dear to my heart: Undersized Power Forwards [The Garbagemen! — ed.].

As far as I’m concerned, hustle is more than a skill, its a habit. Hustle is a way of life. David Banner knows this. So does Rick Ross. But I’ll tell you who really knows this better than anyone in the NBA: Malik Rose. He has the distinction of being one of my favorite players of all time, and his hustle earned him a very un-Spurs like salary of 7 years and $42 million.

Any Spurs fan can tell you, we all thought he deserved it. We were insane for the guy. There were bobble heads and shirts, not to mention the number of Malik jerseys at most games rivaled the starters. When he was traded for Nazr Mohammed (a savvy move, I had to admit), local TV news ran weepy specials. It was like we traded an all-star.

But this is what happens in the NBA. We want the lunchpail guys, the guys we can relate to. During the NBA lockout, Malik was supposedly sleeping on the floor of his mother’s house in a Rugrats sleeping bag. Haven’t we all done that during our own respective professional lockouts?

Today, as Malik rides the pine for the Knicks and imparts Hustle Truisms, one who has probably caught his ear is David Lee. Lee’s value to that often miserable franchise can’t be overstated. Seemingly no one else cares like he does. And for this sole reason, Knick fans are blinded to his real value.

Scan the comments on any Knicks draft story, and you’ll find that New York fans refuse to trade him for anything. Danilo Gallinari was probably booed in relation to his potential to supplant Lee. I can probably admit that Lee is not worth max money or even may not be more than a great sixth man, but as a proud fantasy owner, I say: screw Gallinari.

As long as there are spiritless rosters filled with Starbury’s and Darius Miles-type guys, the fans will always be hungry for their polar opposites. If you check out the top 50 rebounders of last year, you will see plenty of big names like Stoudemire, Howard, KG, and Duncan. But you will also see David Lee, and guys like Nick Collison, Paul Milsap and Chuck Hayes. You can ask Matty what their +/- means to a successful team.

What I have to say is that, fantasy stats or real ones, I celebrate the Hustle Guy, the Energy Guy. They help win championships. Just ask Reid if he remembers Malik’s signature 25 point effort in Game 2 of the ’03 Spurs-Mavs series. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was taped over with the searing memory of Steve Kerr draining three after three. But Kerr never would’ve been in that position without Malik.