Category: NBA

November 15, 2010

Kevin Love’s ridiculous 31 and 31 game, missing Kirk Gibson’s ’88 World Series home run ball

Pardon My French: November 10, 2010

Complaining about Google buzz, most popular sneaker brands worn by NBA players, Miami Heat’s point guard problems, Indiana Pacers score 54 in one quarter against Denver Nuggets, Spark Anderson’s real age.

Mike Shanahan’s Right to Bench McNabb

Lost in the ongoing diatribe against Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench QB Donovan McNabb at the end of a loss to the Lions, is Shanahan’s right as a Head Football Coach to substitute any player at any time.

NFL Head Coaches, NBA Coaches, MLB Managers typically make decisions that are safe and easy for the public to digest. Shanahan was widely criticized for benching McNabb because the alternative was Rex Grossman, an aging ineffective QB clinging to an NFL roster spot. But what if Rex Grossman, instead of turning it over, threw for a TD and helped the Redskins pull off an unlikely upset?

Sure, its easy to say with 20/20 hindsight that Shanahan’s decision proved futile. With the score 31-25 in Detroit’s favor with 1:45 left in the game, Redskins were headed towards a loss. McNabb has not been a great QB by any measure this entire season. Somehow, Shanahan is taking the entire brunt of the decision, while McNabb’s ineffective QB play is a major reason for the Redskins season long miseries.

There are certain traditions in sports that continue year after year, despite any rules regulating its behavior. In the NBA, a player is immediately yanked out by his Coach after picking up his second foul in the 1st quarter. Every NBA fan knows that a player gets yanked if he commits two fouls in the 1st quarter, three fouls in the 2nd, and four fouls in the 3rd. Of course, there’s no rule that dictates a player must be removed in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd quarters based on the number of fouls at that particular moment in the game. It is just a scenario that plays out in 99% of the basketball games that I’ve seen. In the Hack-Shaq era, it was not uncommon to see a random scrub player pick up four fouls in one quarter. These scrubs were inserted into the game with the sole intention of fouling Shaq because he was utter shit from the line.

Why is it that every single NBA Head Coach adhere to this foul substitution patter year after year, despite any solid evidence that it is really the best way to run a basketball team? Even if there were strong evidence supporting a particular substitution pattern theory, I still would find it really strange that every single game would follow the same pattern on a daily basis without variation.

Another NBA tradition that all Head Coaches like to do is to bring back the exact same opening starting lineup for the start of the 2nd Half. How is it possible that in the thousands of NBA games played in the last thirty years, nearly every single game featured the same Starting Lineup for the 1st Half as in the 2nd Half. Dream Team Head Coach Chuck Daly had a different Starting Lineup for every single Olympics Basketball game in 1992, but it was done out of boredom, I suppose. Because as an NBA Head Coach, Daly pretty much had a set Starting Lineup for the entire season, and played the same Lineups for 1st and 2nd Halves.

I think a big reason that Coaches adhere to such strict though not mandatory guidelines is fear of mockery. Mike Shanahan is being described by many as being dumb or just being Anti-McNabb. I’ve even heard that it was Shanahan’s fault for not teaching McNabb how to play the two minute drill.

We’ve all seen huge upsets happen in sports. Heck, SF Giants Cody Ross was a hero in the postseason and nobody could have ever predicted that. The Seattle Seahawks have dominated at home this season, even though they have mediocre talent. The Bills have been in most of their games this season, but are sitting at 0-7.

If sports was all about making calculated decisions based on the computer, we would have computers coach the players. But the truth of the matter is that no computer could ever accurately predict the outcome of sporting events.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony Larussa was widely ridiculed when he placed the pitcher in the 8th spot of the batting order. In the case of baseball, there are many statheads who would argue that the batting order is a bit overrated. Does it really matter that Teixeira bats 3rd and A-Rod protects him by batting 4th? Yeah, sure you want to maximize at bats, but those are seasonal goals. It seems reasonable to design a specific type of lineup against that day’s opposing starting pitcher. Drudging out the same exact lineup game in game out is just too boneheaded for me.

I mean, I think having the same baseball lineup day in, day out, is like having sex the same way over and over again for six months. I mean, sure you’re getting laid, but do you really want to have the same routine with the same significant other every single day? Sure, you’re getting laid, but after a while, it’s just like taking a hot shower. It feels good, but lacks the proper stimulation.

LeBron James’ BFF is Chris Paul: Why Ask Why

LeBron James admitted that Chris Paul is indeed his greatest BFF in an interview at today’s Heat practice. I find it comical that reporters are asking these kind of questions to NBA players. I can’t imagine a reporter asking Magic Johnson if Isiah Thomas was his BFF back in 1984. Then again, there was no such thing as BFF and for all I know, Magic was probably asked that a lot, especially after the 1988 NBA Finals cheek kiss with then buddy Isiah.

Oh yeah, and LeBron’s right shin really hurts. LeBron James sat out today’s Heat practice and was subjected to questions about his BFF status.

I highly encourage you to listen to this three minute interview and hear juicy details of how LeBron met future best friend Chris Paul at the 2003 McDonald’s game. Their mutual love at first sight eventually evolved into a deep friendship where both men are now committed to being at each other’s kids’ births. Why ask why, says LeBron, yeah, why ask why.

Question: Talk about Chris Paul, and your closest. It seems like you and Chris (Paul) have, it almost sounds like your closest bond among players.

LeBron: I would think so. We’ve grown as, our friendship has grown over the years. We both respect what we do on the court but it goes way beyond that. It’s kinda hard to talk about it because I know how close we are so I support everything he do.

Question: Yet, you’re (from) different draft classes. Not as much time on the national team. How did that evolve? Why him?

LeBron: I met him, we was in the same McDonald’s game, even though we were in different draft classes, we were at the McDonald’s game. I got an opportunity to meet him there and get an opportunity to have a good relationship with him from there on. In 2003 at the McDonald’s game, I guess why ask why at that point? Our friendship has definitely grown . He was present at both my child’s birth, both of them. I was there at his son’s first birthday party, things like that. It’s deep.

Wade, LeBron and Bosh uncut audio from Thursday’s Heat practice | Hot Hot Hoops.

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LeBron James begins training with the Miami Heat | Hot Hot Hoops

South Florida’s newest resident LeBron James has been busy throughout Miami seemingly attempting to single-handedly revive the local economy as he’s been seen dining in South Beach at Big Pink, visiting Dadeland Mall to purchase iPhone accessories and enjoying Jungle Island with his family. But don’t be fooled thinking he’s been vacationing as many people might be doing this time of the year in South Florida because he began on-site job training with his new place of employment while reports came out yesterday LeBron was hitting the courts at the University of Miami on Thursday and Friday with some new co-workers and friends.

The official Heat website was nice enough to post a quick video showing a few clips from his practice with the Heat. Erik Spoelstra and assistant coaches such as Keith Askins are seen guiding LeBron through a series of light drills that primarily involved jump shots. Fellow teammates Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem can be seen in the background working with other coaches as well.

Spoelstra then works LeBron through one sequence where he is told to keep his upper body “on the same plane” instead of dipping down low while making a cut to the basket and pulling up for a midrange jumper. Despite repeated shoves by Spoelstra on the hips and shoulder, LeBron follows the advice and hits jumper after jumper. The drill repeats on the other side of the basket and Spoelstra guards him as LeBron swings to the side before draining jumpers. This new motion clearly rattles LeBron’s instincts as he repeatedly hesitates to pull the trigger on more than one time as if his brain is telling his body this isn’t the normal way of doing this, though he nails the shots anyway.

The video ends with a single shot of James and Haslem running a fast break against Spoelstra and an assistant as the Heat’s new small forward dunks it while his new coach looks on while smiling broadly.

Interestingly, Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg (Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations) can be seen in the background by the workout machines at the 1:25 mark monitoring the practice.

via LeBron James begins training with the Miami Heat | Hot Hot Hoops.

Rudy Fernandez bucking NBA’s system

Rudy Fernandez’ short NBA career with the Blazers is about to get ugly. The Spanish forward is bucking NBA’s guaranteed contract system by threatening to sit out for the remaining two years of his contract if the Blazers don’t trade him. I’m not sure if Fernandez would be permitted to play in Italy or Spain during those two seasons when he sits out from the NBA. I mean, I wonder if the language of standard NBA contracts prohibits the player from jumping to pro leagues in Europe or China during the entirety of the contract. I mean, what’s to prevent LeBron from taking his last year off from the Heat and playing in Italy for 100 million dollars, per year.

It’s a gutsy move by Fernandez, especially in light of the hefty $25,000 fine levied by David “dictator for life” Stern. I know David Stern didn’t fine Kobe Bryant when he demanded to be traded from the Lakers on live radio with Stephen A. Smith, so that seems a bit unfair. However, Kobe didn’t threaten to quit the Lakers and move to Italy to play pro ball there. Also, Kobe Bryant is fan favorite, and Rudy Fernandez’s NBA clout only reaches to horny young groupies who want to have some unprotected sex.

I’m a bigger fan of LeBron than ever before

After hearing a radio interview with J.R. Moehringer about his new LeBron GQ article, and then reading some excerpts online, I’m a bigger LeBron fan than ever before.

Juiciest shit :

  1. Kanye was at the Decision in Greenwich, CO but nobody in the mainstream press reported it. No stupid blog I read reported that Ye was at the Boys and Girls club that night, I mean seriously zilch.
  2. LeBron is not a Cleveland guy. He flat out already had a rivalry with Cleveland because those big city boys looked down on Akron, which is actually a bit far away from Cleveland. OK, so it’s a forty minute drive away. Quite frankly, when I grew up in NYC, everything forty minutes away sounded kinda shitty to me.
  3. LeBron is afraid to be alone. That’s why LeBron was so eager to join Wade and Bosh because he wished to recreate his high school years all over again. LeBron and his closest three friends growing up in Akron formed a tight knit group of four players that won all over the country as high school superstars. Eventually, they won the high school national title in LeBron’s senior year.
  4. No, seriously, LeBron doesn’t like to be alone. LeBron is constantly surrounded by his entourage, his boys who help him make decisions. It has been a source of some of his problems.
  5. LeBron is only 25 years old, turning 26 at the end of 2010. He is still a big kid at heart.
  6. Gloria James, LeBron’s mom, has a tattoo that read “Queen James“.
  7. Gloria James was not a great mother when LeBron was a kid. She would disappear for days at a time without telling LeBron, and temporarily gave him up when LeBron was nine.
  8. Moehringer avoided to paint Gloria as a bitch or nasty person, (such as Buzz Bissinger did when he ripped Gloria on LeBatard’s radio show) because he has never met her. Gloria probably didn’t want to interview with Moehringer, and Moehringer probably wanted to avoid any possible conflict.

LeBron has really been under appreciated by the basketball press over the last two years because his teams in Cleveland didn’t win a ring. We hear that he doesn’t have a killer instinct, like Kobe or Wade, because Kobe and Wade’s teams won the Finals, and were named the MVP of their teams. We hear that LeBron is more like Scottie because he is joining Wade’s team.

While those LeBron opinions are just opinions, I am not amongst them. In fact, I don’t understand why there haven’t been more pro-LeBron articles in the main stream media. Kobe is not even on LeBron’s level. Kobe should be compared to Paul Pierce, not the great LeBron James. The King played some of the best basketball the NBA has ever seen during 2006-2010. LeBron was a genius in the Eastern Conference against the Pistons in 2007, absolutely fucking genius. In 2008, LeBron was again fucking genius, but it took seven games and a tight ass game seven in Boston for the Celtics to finally get rid of the Cavs. In 2009, LeBron was genius against the Magic, but the Magic got hot and won three really close games. In 2010, LeBron’s elbow hurt, straight up hurt. And then some crazy shit happened with Delonte that was so bizarre, people in the press are afraid to report on it.

Okay, but what about LeBron’s teammates? No superstar has played with worse teammates since the great Air Jordan. MJ was stuck with shit from 1984-86, before Pippen and Grant, and then Phil Jackson came along. But it still took Pippen and Grant and Jackson a few years to get their acts together before finally winning it all in 1991. LeBron’s teammates were so bad in Cleveland, very few of them were even All-Star worthy, let alone All-Star selections or All-Star starters.

LeBron has never had a great coach. Never. LeBron has never had a top 50 NBA player as a teammate. Never.

Both Kobe and Wade played with Shaq at or near his prime. In fact, Kobe was such a bitch as a youngster, that he wasted rings year after year by not getting along with the big fella. Magic understood that he needed to feed Kareem’s ego to get the Lakers to win. Kobe’s tactic was to fight Shaq in practice and not pass him the ball during the game. Great teammate Kobe, you’re an ass.

You put LeBron on Shaq’s team during Shaq’s prime, and they would win rings every single year. In fact, LeBron would already have seven rings after his seventh season, if he was drafted by the Lakers in 1997 when Shaq was only 25.

LeBron is by no means a perfect player and currently lacks critical parts to his game. LeBron needs to learn how to properly run an offense, have better spacing on the floor, post up defenders, and be an even more dominate rebounder. And you know why LeBron is so weak? Because he has never had a really good NBA coach. Bird credits Bill Fitsch, his first NBA coach, as being a great basketball mind and somebody he could learn much about the game. LeBron, unfortunately, has never had that. I’m not even convinced that Riley is the right guy for the job right now at his advanced age. I’m not sure Phil would be the best guy either. But somebody has better step up and teach this guy some hoops. We’re wasting his talents world!

Jerry West is open for business « NBA.com – Sekou Smith’s Hang Time Blog

Jerry West with a prominent role in the new Golden State hierarchy will apparently remain interesting what-could-have-been, but the legendary former personnel boss of the Lakers and Grizzlies confirms he is open to returning to the front-office world.

That could have been with the Warriors if Oracle boss Larry Ellison had bought the team. West has known Ellison for years and said the two talked several months ago about His Logoness as part of a possible management team in Oakland, West confirmed publicly for the first time. It appealed to West because of the relationship with Ellison and the proximity of an hour plane ride from West’s permanent home in Los Angeles, but became moot once Joe Lacob and Peter Guber beat Ellison to the Warriors in a surprise outcome.

“I haven’t spoken to him since, but he would have been a great owner and I’m sure the people up there knowing his ability to get things done, it would have been a great thing,” West said, adding he has not spoken with Lacob or Guber. “But, obviously this other group was very, very impressive in their own right, and I’m sure that they’ll do a great job up there. That is a franchise that does have a lot of possibilities.”

He said he has not had any contact with the Lacob-Guber team that only needs rubber-stamp approval from the Board of Governors to officially take control of the Warriors. But West is also very clear: he is interested in getting back in the game, even if in a reduced role, and would definitely listen if the phone rings.

“There’s things about the NBA I miss,” he said. “I do not miss the deceptive part of it. I don’t like the negativity part of it; in all sports, we see a lot of that today. That’s the only thing I don’t like. But all I seem to know in my life is being involved in basketball, a sport I know and love and a sport that has led me to somewhere in my life I never would have dreamed.

“If there were an opportunity that I considered attractive, and obviously working with the right people would be very, very important, I could have an interest. But it wouldn’t be on a day-to-day interest. I’ve always felt it would be nice to be a working consultant. I’m not talking about somebody that just sits around and does nothing. You’re either in or you’re out.”

via Jerry West is open for business « NBA.com – Sekou Smith’s Hang Time Blog.

Kevin Durant Looks to Lead U.S. to World Title – NYTimes.com

Durant dodged questions about becoming a team leader by deferring to Billups and Lamar Odom, who are the team’s most experienced players.

“There’s a lot of guys on this floor who know more than me,” Durant said. “They can help me a lot more than I can help the other guys.”

Durant is so grounded that Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks said Durant traveled to the N.B.A. Summer League in Orlando, Fla., just to bond with his future teammates. While other elite N.B.A. stars were making movies and taking vacations, Durant worked out every morning at 6:45 a.m. and cheered on the Thunder rookies and some future Development League players.

“That’s not abnormal behavior,” Brooks said. “That’s normal. If he didn’t do that, we’d think he was changing. But he works like that every day.”

Brooks said Durant’s demeanor was so down to earth that he understood why people may have a difficult time believing it. He said Durant treated the equipment manager and the trainer in Oklahoma City with the same kindness and consideration that he treated the coaching staff and front office.

This attitude comes as no surprise to USA Basketball officials, who said Durant was the only American player to attend each of the team’s training sessions for the past five years.

“I don’t like talking about him,” Brooks said. “People look at me like I’m full of it. But it’s all true.

“He’s as humble as any player I’ve ever been around, being as good as he is. His parents did a good job of raising him and the values of treating people with respect, the values of working hard and earning what you get and not asking for a handout.”

Durant’s reticence comes after a summer in which James turned off fans across the country with his free-agency circus, capped by an ESPN special announcing his destination.

Durant quietly signed a contract extension with the Thunder during that time. Durant said he avoided feeding the news media beast for fear that it would inevitably swallow him.

“I was always told that people like the media are going to build you up to break you down,” he said. “We’ve seen that with LeBron; people are trying to break him down right now. I’m not even worried about the media hype or none of that.”

Durant has seemingly always been that way. In college at Texas, he declined to pose for a Dime magazine cover unless the other four other Longhorns starters appeared with him.

He returns to the university often, including for a Thunder exhibition game last year when he was spotted with his teammates James Harden and Russell Westbrook at a campus bus stop. Durant wanted to give them a tour of the campus via Forty Acres, the on-campus bus system. He turned down a ride from a stunned university official who spotted him waiting for the bus: he preferred to give a more authentic tour.

via Kevin Durant Looks to Lead U.S. to World Title – NYTimes.com.

A Met fan in MLB, a Free Agent fan in the NBA

I am a diehard Met fan, and have been every since 1988. That’s right, I came on board two years after 1986, their last World Series championship season.

I became a Met fan in ’88 because my family had just moved to Staten Island the year before in August, 1987. I was immediately thrown into a very Met friendly borough in Shaolin, and we moved into NYC right after the highs of 1986. Plus, the Yankee owner was a doofus who made dumb headlines in the Daily News, was constantly firing Billy Martin and had a last place team in 1990. So, yes I became a Met fan, but I bought damaged goods. It’s kinda like a young bride quickly finding out after her honeymoon period that her rich husband is a cheating scoundrel. And with me, I never saw 1986, but instead endured 1988. Man, those Dodgers games in the NLCS still haunt me. What a way to start a fanhood.

The year before we moved to S.I., my family lived in Alhambra, California. We were in heart of Lakerland, and all three of us, my two older brothers plus I, became infatuated with the 1986-87 Lakers. That was a tremendous season, and we were all hooked to become lifelong Laker fans, well, not really.

My two older brothers stayed on board the Lakershow, but only my middle brother became a nut. My oldest brother likes baseball more, and I think is not a huge fan of the NBA these days, outside of the Finals.

But with me, I jumped off the Lakeshow bandwagon in 2004. I realized I wasn’t a Laker fan anymore because I secretly enjoyed watching the Pistons trash the Lakers in the 2004 Finals. I was so sick of the Shaq-Kobe-Phil squabbles that I wanted the Lakers to go down.

Back in the 1990′s, my family lived in NYC. This was pre-internet, pre-NBA package, so it was impossible for me or my brothers to follow the Lakers everyday. In fact, we were temporarily Knick fans because we liked Pat Riley, who was the coach of our favorite showtime Laker teams.

But when Shaq signed with the Lakers in 1996, I immediately jumped on board back to being a Laker fan. When the Lakers dumped Shaq to Miami in 2004, I moved my fanhood along to South Beach. In the NBA, because I never got indoctrinated into one specific team, it became easy for me to just adopt teams along the way based on how much I liked or hated a particular player. I hate Kobe, so I hate the Lakers.

Truthfully speaking, in the last three years I have mainly been rooting for teams playing against Kobe and the Lakers. Sadly, only the Celtics in 2008 were able to knock off the mighty Kobe/Gasol combo.

For the upcoming 2010-11 season, I’m pretty psyched to see what LeBron and Wade are going to do together in Miami. I’m already a huge Wade fan, and it’ll be amazing to see Wade play alongside LeBron and just dominate the league. I’m also a huge Durant guy, but I think he needs another big time player to top Miami.