comin out the club with that fresh shit on:
Monthly Archives: March 2008
Most NBA executives would say that a team can’t win with Mikki Moore.
Ron Artest recently claimed that the Sacramento Kings couldn’t with without him.
Suprised? No. But Ron Artest’s crazy evidently extended to the court tonight, with his 29 point, 12 rebound, 3 assist, 4 steal, 2 block effort playing a big part in the Kings’ win over the Seattle Super Sonics. What a Tru Warier Mikki, for those of you that care, had 29 minutes, 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Leave it to Marcus Camby to approach a 5×5 and fall short in the points category. This is the first time all season that a player has approached this milestone without reaching 5 points.
Camby had 2 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks. Not a bad night, especially considering that the Nuggets got the win and moved into 8th place in the West.
There’s a storm coming in basketball that has been brewing for quite some time. It originates from something far older than myself (or likely anyone else who will read this), but will take on a completely different level of significance in the coming years.
Simply put, there are three types of players in the NBA: the athletically gifted, the basketball savants, and the players that are both. For all intents and purposes, the players that are both (like Lebron, Kobe, and Chris Paul, among others) are not at issue here, but these individuals are few and far between in the league at large. As such, there are essentially two types of players at issue. Now don’t get me wrong, these are not classifications that are clearly separated; there are plenty of shades of gray here, but the aggregate differences are substantial enough to discuss the topic more generally.
One of the biggest issues with sports in my generation is the “ESPNization” of team sports. Simply put, we are living in a world where sports are entertainment (and there’s no argument from me that this is right), but the difference is that the individuals rewarded in terms of endorsements and many of the individual accolades are players whose play values individual success and highlights more than team success. People who care about this issue all have their own favorite example, with mine being Gerald Green, who can make SportsCenter more frequently than he can make a competent team play, which is part of the reason why he’ll keep bouncing from team to team.
That said, coming from an economics background, there is a more important factor that largely gets ignored, which is the economic incentive of this behavior. Certain people complain incessantly about how the game has changed for the worse, but the reason why is far more important because it is impossible to fix the systemic problems without identifying the cause. Simply put, kids growing up at the same time as me saw that they could make significantly more money by focusing on dunks and no-look passes.
And who could blame them? The Michael Jordan that was immortalized was the one who won dunk contests and stuck out the tongue instead of the top-tier defensive player who passed on Finals-clinching shots to give John Paxson and Steve Kerr easier shots to win those games. This isn’t to say that the athletic kids in this world can’t be savvy basketball players; the problem is that they don’t see the benefit from it at a young age, so they work on what will get them on TV. It’s clear that a portion of this blame goes on the sports outlets that glorify elements of the game that lead to the appalling McDonald’s All-American games that we see now, but the responsibility goes in a few other directions as well. We consistently see team owners rewards the players who focus on these elements of the game with disproportionately large contracts (see: Martin, Kenyon) and GM’s overdrafting these kids.
Donald Sterling is the worst person in Los Angeles.
Most people know him simply as the scrooge owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who at every turn has sacrificed his players and fans for higher profits. But he is far worse:
As a real-estate developer he has engaged in repeated racially discriminatory housing practices and as an individual he has admitted to paying for sexual favors and has been embroiled in a long term scandal surrounding his high priced extra-marital affair.
And now comes this expose from LA Weekly, in which Donald Sterling, the self proclaimed real estate mogul of Los Angeles, has set up a sham homeless services program in order to boost his public image, taking out misleading advertisements in the LA Times and faking the care and concern for our city’s homeless crisis that is vitally necessary if we are ever to solve this humanitarian disaster.
I simply can’t say enough to describe the shallow and insipid behavior of man. And since Patrick Range McDonald, the article’s author, explains Sterling’s guise with such stunning clarity I will simply say that at the conclusion of his piece you are likely to feel more than queasy as you reflect upon the monstrous, greedy, and inhumane creature described in this article.
As far as I’m concerned, he is, hands down, the worst our city has to offer. How’s that for boosting your public image, Donald?
(pics from LA Weekly. )
The NFL Draft is only a few weeks away so its a good time to consider the Raiders’ draft outlook. They have the fourth pick in the draft and many analysts are projecting the team to draft Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.
However, with the emergence of Justin Fargas and the current stable of backups (Michael Bush, LaMont Jordan, and Dominic Rhodes) it seems like the team has little room to add even the most talented RB in the draft. Instead, the areas of greatest need are undoubtedly in the trenches. Instead of picking a running back to help an already good rushing attack, the Raiders should draft the best player available at their position of greatest need. More likely than not, this player will be either Sedrick Ellis or Glenn Dorsey, since its highly unlikely that both players will be selected within the first 3 picks.
The Raiders then have only three picks remaining: one in the 4th round and 2 in the 7th, as a result of other recent trades.
Their fourth round pick should definitely be spent on the offensive lineman Tom Cable most covets. The seventh round picks, being so late, are generally reserved for best player available or an individual who is worth a small risk.
There is certainly the possibility of trading some players for draft picks. This would be a smart move because Fabian Washington and Stuart Schweigert can be moved for draft picks and cap relief without significantly damaging the team. If this happens, the team would have more leeway to select at other positions, but either way it is most prudent to focus on a Defensive Tackle and Offensive Lineman before addressing any other needs.
Its a good problem, no doubt, but there are a lot of great candidates for NBA Coach of the Year. In no particular order:
1. Byron Scott: He’s done a lot with this team, which had just 18 wins when he took over. They are challenging for the best record in the West and have the worst bench of any contending Western team. Behind Tyson Chandler is Melvin Ely. That should be Byron Scott’s opening and closing argument for this award.
2. Phil Jackson: The team was playing well before it acquired Pau Gasol, and an argument can be made that they’d be roughly as good with a mediocre coach (Doc Rivers?) Though I think his triangle offense has worked amazingly well this year and major props should go to his handling of the Kobe situation, I really don’t think he deserves it over some of the other coaches on this list.
3. Rick Adelman: The winning streak erased in most people’s minds the fact that the team struggled mightily through the first third of the season. If they can keep up the pace over the next few weeks, I think Adelman has a decent argument, but if the streak came first and the slump after, you wouldn’t give him the award either.
4. Mo Cheeks: Well, I didn’t really think I’d be putting Mo on this list (my old roommate was from Philly and abhors Mo Cheeks), but with a few more wins under this team’s belt, I think he can make a passable argument. The Sixers have turned into a second-half of the season team, but Thaddeus Young has had a great impact and Andre Miller is playing out of his mind. I don’t think comes close to winning it, but he does deserve some recognition.
5. Jerry Sloan: Why not write off the entire season and just give this award to everyone who deserves this award in its lifetime achievement form? Jerry Sloan hasn’t done anything different this year than he did last (honestly, ten thousand Deron Williams – Carlos Boozer pick and rolls is only so impressive) so if he got this award it’d be one of the most obvious make-up calls since Tim Donaghy was in the league. I’m kind of okay with them doing this as long as they give Kobe the MVP and then promise never to get into this situation again. The NBA: Where not having enough awards to properly recognize your league’s own excellence happens.
6. Doc Rivers: Correlation vs. Causation. Doc Rivers should not win this award under any circumstances.
7. Flip Saunders: Does consistency make you ineligible? Because unless I’m mistaken, the Pistons are a really good team with a deep bench and starters who haven’t been worn out because Flip has played Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey. Flip has a good claim to the award, but I doubt he’ll be given his props.
8. Don Nelson: The Warriors are 43-27 as I write this. They went0-6 to start the season, so they’ve essentially beenon a 43-71 tear ever since. Considering how bad this team was before he got here, and how exciting their style of play has been, Don Nelson has a claim to COY. He has turned the Warriors into a great team that, if it had more talent, could seriously challenge in the West. Is it just me or does this seem like a DN pattern: start from scratch, build a good team from role players and throw-aways, but never add enough pieces to turn into a true title contender. Its such a distinct pattern that I almost think he does it on purpose. I think Nelson really enjoys being the underdog, and the Warriors have definitely adopted this attitude.
9. Stan Van Gundy: He has turned a three man team into a serious Eastern Contender. Seriously, does anyone in the league fear Jameer Nelson and whoever they decide to start at shooting guard? If you consider Dwight Howard to be their primary Center, they don’t even have a legit Power Forward! They’re at 3rd place in the East with two SF’s and a beastly Center!
10. Eddie Jordan: He’s done so much with so little. Caron Butler has been injured for long periods of time, Gilbert Arenas has played only 8 games but has remained a constant distraction (how he’s managed to be both irrelevant and maddeningly annoying is beyond me) and the rest of the team ranges from extremely young to extremely mediocre. How he has them playing consistently and surviving in the Eastern Conference is beyond me. In a perfect world, he’d be a top 3 candidate for sure.
11. Mike D’Antoni: He’s coached two different teams successfully this year, right? The degree to which I and nearly every other NBA observer criticized this trade contrasts dramatically to the degree of success this trade has brought. The way the Suns are playing with Shaq now is so smooth that you could be confused into thinking that the team has had Shaq since the start of the season.
Two players stepped up their overall game tonight: Lamar Odom and Marcus Camby. Their efforts to help their teams maintain playoff seeding or gain a playoff berth also approached the 5×5 status:
Marcus Camby had 5 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 7 blocks, while
Lamar Odom went for 23 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 5 blocks.
Looking at the schedules a bit, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bulls make a run at this.
At first glance, their schedule seems somewhat tough (for the East), but there are a few factors which go majorly in their favor:
1. Addition by subtraction- I think they can still gel
2. Closeness in the standings-
3. The schedule- Their last 6 games (Miami, Orlando, Cleveland, Orlando, Milwaukee, Toronto) are all against teams that are either tanking or could be resting their starters because of a set seed.
It’s not a prediction yet, but it could become interesting.