Archive for the ‘Around the League’ Category

Predictions

October 29, 2008

Not that these are worth anything, but here’s what my gut’s saying going into this season:

  • New Orleans will win it all.
  • I have no idea who will come out of the East. Probably whoever wins game 7 between the Celtics and the Lebrons.
  • The Lakers are built only for the regular season.
  • This feels like a first-round exit for the Spurs, unless Ginobili comes back in near MVP form.
  • The Clippers will be worse than you expect, way worse.
  • But Milwaukee might be the worst team in the league, not counting the OCK Barons.
  • The Knicks will be better than people think.
  • The Wolves are the best candidate to be this year’s Blazers-2007-lite.
  • The Heat will be a mess unless they make a trade.
  • The Bobcats still look destined to be pathetic.

And finally, even though this Warriors season is shaping up to be ultimately disappointing and makes me sympathize wholly with these poor tortured fans out here, at the end of the year I won’t regret buying season tickets because Nellieball will always be Nellieball.

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Players who shot worse than Kevin Durant last year

October 14, 2008

The rush early last season to label Durant a chucker — which led to the Horford for ROY campaign — always bothered me. Even today someone in Hollinger’s chat derisively called him a “machine gunner.” But he ended the season at 43%, better than:

  • Shane Battier
  • Baron Davis
  • Tracy McGrady
  • James “Cashin’ In” Posey
  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Mike Bibby
  • Jamal Crawford
  • Jerry Stackhouse
  • Stephen Jackson
  • Rafer Alston
  • Malik Rose (sorry, Hengst)

Why Does Sean Marks Keep Getting Signed?

August 28, 2008

I’m too depressed to even think about Monta Ellis’ injury, so I’ve got nothing substantive to say except I’m totally confused as to why Sean Marks keeps getting signed — this time with the Hornets — instead of a young, athletic guy who might surprise you with his development. C’mon, seriously, someone pick up Rod Benson.

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?!

Throwdown with Carmelo Anthony

July 22, 2008

Just in time for Team USA’s ramp-up to Beijing, I got around to digging this up out of my photo archives. It’s from a qualifying tournament for FIBA Americas held in Las Vegas in the fall of 2008.

You also gotta see the guy he’s dunking on for Argentina, on the left, with The Moustache. Easily my favorite player for the Argentines, he was straight out of Prefontaine. If you can’t see it on this version, click through to Flickr for higher-res.

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.

Barackaballa

April 18, 2008

If you got a few minutes this weekend, Real Sports piece on Barack Obama’s love for basketball is worth checking out. He may bowl like a ninny, but he looks pretty smooth on the basketball court for a 46-year-old dude.

From Jones on the NBA.

Season’s Over. Bummer.

April 17, 2008

For such a great regular season, it sure ended on a down note for me. The Warriors left me believing in a 1/50 chance of landing a top 2 pick. Then this guy and other local media tried to stir up a shitstorm between Baron Davis and Don Nelson over nothing. My fantasy team self-destructed in the playoffs. And David Stern had the gall to tell NBA fans that Clay Bennett and his band of sleazebags made a “good-faith” effort to keep the Sonics in Seattle. Arrrrg.

Meanwhile the Spurs and Hornets hosed up the bracket by choking away the #1 seed to the Lakers:

The four teams I was most excited about watching this postseason will all be beating up on each other in the bottom half of the bracket. One of the four teams I can’t effing stand will make it to the conference finals. It’ll make for great TV, but I really don’t want to be left rooting for the Celtics to beat the Lakers for the title. Seriously, enough of Boston. I can’t take their fans or media cheerleaders any more.

OK, had to get that bitterness out of my system before two months of basketball heaven begin.

Sweet Mother of Streaming-Video God

April 10, 2008

Holy crap, have you seen the NBA video collection at Hulu.com? I knew they had TV shows and that stuff, but we’re talking loads of high-quality highlights, recaps, and some memorable full games.

Look, just to burn Reid for not posting here (and as a good luck charm for tonight’s big G.S. game), here’s Warriors-Mavs, Game 6, ALL OF IT:

Click here, WordPress won’t let me embed for some stupid reason.

Wow… this is like being a pimply, dorm-ridden college freshman all over again, back when I discovered what you could download with a T1 line.

Go West, Young Stat Nerd

April 3, 2008

Maybe it’s just me, but John Hollinger’s stat-head columns on ESPN suddenly got much more informative the last couple months. Today he’s got a really nice round-up of how the playoff situation for each team in the West shapes up. Read it quick, before it gets stuck behind the subscription wall.

In the article Hollinger does a good job of pointing out the role of luck in several noteworthy situations — something most commentators never touch on — and also lays out each team’s upcoming schedule, strengths, tiebreakers, etc. Then he tops it off nicely with some stat perspective on how they’re playing down the stretch, including some telling numbers on those huge deadlines trades.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the key to a good Hollinger column seems (to me) to be getting away from PER. The way Hollinger analyzes teams is much more convincing than how he relies on a single metric to evaluate players.