Bah Humbug (Abridged Post)

200_s

There’s no nice way to put this, but those Christmas games were SHITE. There was no flow and rhythm to any of the games, and the players’ energy seemed off throughout every game.

I doubt this will ever happen because a lot of money is exchanged for tv rights, but dammit, let’s just put an end to the Christmas games. I’m tired of feeling conflicted between spending enough time with my family, and trying to catch what should have been some “good ass games.”

The quality of these games are compromised from the start. Players won’t say this publicly, but I suspect they’d rather spend the day with their families. If anything, why not just have one or two marquee games that begin after 6 pm. This way, people aren’t glued to the television from 12pm to 9pm (Of course these are the people who weren’t hipped to the “good ass games” of the week).

ABC still gets its viewership, and most of the players get Christmas off, and people at home can plan around the games acordingly (by the way I’m in deep shit with my dad’s side of the family because I blew them off for the 2nd half of Warriors-Cavs–Rockets-Spurs wasn’t much better).

While I’m at it, I’m not too crazy about Christmas either. I could do without the pressure of getting gifts for people simply because I don’t want to feel guilty about receiving gifts without due compensation.

I will say that the X-mas jerseys looked extra crispy this year, so there was that. Have a safe and happy New Year. This week’s slate of games–the last of 2015-are in bold below. See you next year.

 

Peace,

BM

@clickpicka79

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Monday

Toronto-Chicago

Dallas-Milwaukee

Minnesota-San Antonio

 

Tuesday

Detroit-New York 

Milwaukee-Oklahoma City

Atlanta-Houston

 

Wednesday

Los Angeles Clippers-New Orleans

Golden State-Dallas

Phoenix-San Antonio

 

Thursday

Minnesota-Detroit

Phoenix-Oklahoma City

Golden State-Rockets (Good Ass Game Of the Week)

 

Friday

Chicago-New York

New Orleans-Toronto

Dallas-Miami

 

Saturday

Sacramento-Phoenix

Oklahoma City-New Orleans

Houston-San Antonio

 

Sunday

Atlanta-New York

Chicago-Toronto

 

 

’93 Til………….

1993-1994 was a weird sports year for me. Fresh off a 2nd consecutive Super Bowl win, Jerry Jones lost his mind and started the downward spiral that we now call the Dallas Cowboys.

The Texas Rangers were just exciting enough to grab fans’ attention, but not quite good enough to make it pay off.

The Dallas Mavericks were awful, and it wasn’t until we finally got cable at  our house, that I was able to see the other options out there. To give you a sense of how pathetic the Quinn Buckner  run Mavs were, the Cowboys won more games than they did that season.

My mother and I moved to Dallas from the suburbs, and one of the few perks of that move was that we finally got cable (and free pay-per-view, but that is a tale for another site). Now I could not only watch the national games on NBC, but if I wished I could watch WGN (home of the “GOAT” Michael Jeffrey Jordan), and now I could watch ESPN highlights of other teams.

The Suns were fun to watch back then, but the Knicks had a particular appeal to me as well. My dislike for MJ and my respect for Pat Riley forced me to take notice of a budding rivalry growing between the two teams. When I watched the ’92 Eastern Conference Finals,

xavier-mcdaniel

it was the first time basketball had gotten my hyped about a matchup that wasn’t Cowboys-Niners. I liked that there was an actual team that would stand up to the Bulls and not be intimidated by his “airness.”

The 92 Knicks pushed the Bulls to the brink before they got their asses handed to them in game 6 of the ECF. The Bulls of course went on to beat the Suns in the Finals.

Xavier McDaniel had a cool name and looked cool, and the Knicks jerseys were dope (I also always wanted this T-shirt). I could fuck with these cats.

Now what did I know about basektball back then? Barely anything at all. But I couldn’t stand Jordan. He traveled and refs never called him for it. He was constantly palming the ball, and if you breathed on him, you got called for a foul.

Loving that era of Knicks basketball is akin to thinking about the girls I dated when I was a teenager. I didn’t know anything about romance, love, or basketball. I just went with what felt good (and what was convenient).

Knicks presented an alternative to what everyone else liked, so I went with it. There is no way I’d watch a team like that these days (Grit N’ Grind Grizz maybe the closest thing we have to those Knicks squads).

Compared to the free flowing movement, and teamball played in today’s era, those Knicks teams played mud ball. They were tough, physical, but watching them score was like trying to “squeeze blood from a turnip.”

Much like the Grit N’ Grind Grizzlies though, there were some characters on those squads. Even though I grew up loving the 80’s Hurricanes, Charlie Ward was a dude I respected, because he’d won a Heisman at Florida State, and he’d always given the Hurricanes the fits. The fact that he also was good enough to play professional basketball was very impressive (he, Bobby Sura, and Sam Cassell were the first 3 guard backcourt I’d ever seen).

Anthony Mason (R.I.P.) was like a left-handed poor man’s Boris Diaw, who always had a fresh cut. He was a big man who could handle the rock, was a great passer, and a good finisher at the rim.

starks-mason-knicks-300x260

John Starks had a bad ass commercial that will forever be a bond for me and my little brother. There was also of course this dunk that will forever be in the playoff pantheon of dunks.

A lot of people dug Patrick Ewing, but I was more into Oakley as a player. I’m not sure if I ever forgave him for not yamming that botched finger roll against the Pacers that would have given them a chance for the Conference title in 1995. Ewing was finesse, but Oakly was a rock, and the team enforcer.

Offensively he didn’t do a whole lot, but he was an underrated passer, and a pretty decent rebounder (though let’s be honest I didn’t know shit about rebounding back then).  What I liked most about Oakley though was that no one fucked with him. 2684052-9996374918-charl

The look on his face was enough of a veiled threat that only the biggest and baddest would dare to take him on. This of course was great theater to 15 year old me.

Greg Anthony, star point guard of the UNLV Running Rebels, was my dude. I feel like he didn’t get enough run in New York, but I suspect that it may have been because he was a defensive liablity. When he moved west to Portland, I instantly tuned into more Trailblazers games.

Another reason to root for the Knicks was that at one point, they had at least 3 former Dallas Mavericks on their squad: Derek Harper, Rolando Blackmon, Herb Williams, and even James Donaldson had a cup of coffee and an “Everything” bagel with Whitefish there in New York.

Of that group, Harper was the only one to really contribute anything offensively. “Ro” at this point was too old to get major run, although Herb Williams was decent enough to give 6 fouls as a big man (and as a teenager became code for scoring bud–like “Hey did ya’ll invite Herb Williams to come play pickup with us?”).

Poor Charles Smith will always be known for getting his cookies taken from him.

I was never what you would call a Knicks fan, but I rooted for them. In the summer of 1994, I was either watching a Knicks game, or a New York Rangers game, and I thought it was cool that the city of New York (which back then was still a bit of an absraction that I would never fully comprehend until my first visit there in 2000) could get two major championships within a week’s time span.

I was too removed to be more than mildly disappointed after each playoff loss (always under the weirdest circumstances too, remember this?). By the time they got to the post-lockout Finals, I was barely into sports at all (I affectionately call this period my “foggy” years).

NBA basketball is always more exciting when the Knicks are relevant, and its imperative that I visit Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game sometime in the near future.

The future is bright for Knicks fans. They seem to be moving int he right direction, and believe it or not, I trust in Phil. I hope they make the playoffs this year, and I hope they finally become serious contenders within the next 3-4 years. masonriley1

Though the 90’s Knicks never won a title, the fact that Pat Riley was able to build something worth rooting for is a testament to how brilliant he is. That team was not very talented at all, but everyone knew their role and worked with the skill set they posessed.

Pat Riley went from “Showtime Lakers” to the bruising style of basketball that epitomized what people thought of New York. Riley just worked with what he had, and it is no accident that the Van Gundy brothers (who worked with Riley) are renowned for their ability to get their teams to overachieve.

Only a fool would call them losers. They got the most out of their abilities and pushed every team they played to the brink. Knicks fans should be proud of those teams despite their perennial disappointing endings. They never laid down, and they always fought to the very end; which is all you can ever ask of any team that you root for.

 

 

 

 

Analyze This: NBA Power RAnkings 2/2

Part 2 of Bmick’s NBA Power Rankings. For Part 1 click here.

 

400px-maslows_hierarchy_of_needs

 

Now we can actually talk about teams heading in the right direction. There are still some pretenders among these contenders, who are “faking it til they make it.” Most teams in this next tier could actually make some noise with the right moves.

Some are only an impact player away from being legit contenders, while others are straight “busters” getting by with smoke and mirrors. As you’ll come to find out though, right now there are really only 3 teams whose current rosters warrant serious consideration for NBA Finals. The rest of the teams need a lot of help, or a lot of luck.

 

The Esteem Group- Confident, achieving, respected by other teams in the league.

Celtics, Raptors, Hawks, Heat, Bulls, Grizzlies, Clippers, Thunder, Pacers, Cavaliers

The Boston Celtics are two games over .500 and Danny Ainge has tons of bargaining chips in the form of draft picks. Yet…..nothing moves for the Celtics.  They have tons of decent players, a really good player in Isiah Thomas, and no superstars. If you ask most Celtics fans, they’ll probably just be happy with a first round knockout, as long as they don’t get embarrassed. I feel like C’s fans are in the same boat as those perverts who marked their calendars for when the Olson twins were turning 18. They be like “any day now……..we’ll make our move…..”

Toronto is a good squad. They almost beat the Warriors twice during their winning streak. They remind me a little of those Rick Adelman coached Rockets teams. Competitive lineups that are good enough to qualify for the playoffs, but still without the pieces to make a deep postseason push.

The Pacers may secretly be the second best team in the East. Frank Vogel is one of the best 5 coaches in the league. Without Vogel, this team would be in the next bottom tier. They compete, and if they can finally get some players there (through draft or free agency), they can be the Butler Bulldogs of the NBA.

The Atlanta Hawks remind me of some of the really nice girls that I dated in college, but ultimately left because it was unfair to stay with them. They are a good team with good players, and they are fundamentally sound. But then you look across the league and see there are teams playing a more exciting brand of ball.

Deep down you know that you would much rather be watching the Warriors or Spurs play than a hum-drum Atlanta vs. Charlotte game. But its always nice to start a Wednesday evening out with 6:00 Hawks game, then switch to something that you know you won’t have you looking down at your phone every minute and thirty seconds.

The Heat may very well give the Cavaliers their best run in the East. The Heat are a legit backup point guard away from scaring some people. Hassan Whiteside is an All-Star in my book, and Dwyane Wade is putting the team on his back when he needs to. We’ll see how they hold up as the season progresses, they are kind of an old team. They will need a lot of luck to be healthy during the stretch run.

The Bulls have problems, and I think the best solution is to shake up the locker room. I think it is time for Derrick Rose to get a fresh start. Where do chronically injured players go to get fresh starts? Ummmm Phoenix????? Yup. I think Mr. Rose needs to let go all of the pressures, and distractions that playing at home has inflicted upon him. Part of me wonders if his injuries aren’t psychosomatic related.

Based on salaries of both teams, I found a package that could possibly work for both teams, P.J. Tucker, Eric Bledsoe, and Markieff Morris, for Mike Dunleavy, Aaron Brooks, and Derrick Rose. Now I’m not sure if I would take this if I’m Phoenix, but if I’m Chicago and I find a way to hustle some team out of players or draft picks (ahem Danny Ainge), then I do so. Bulls need something to jumpstart this team back to its role as a menacing challenger; otherwise this season (and possibly their championship window) is over.

Speaking of championship windows slamming shut, its over for Memphis. They sit at 16-14 in the West,  but no one is afraid to face Memphis anymore. They used to be the team that if they didn’t beat you, then they would just beat you up. Now they aren’t doing much of either–well maybe Matt Barnes, but Derek Fisher isn’t the first person I would look to help me in a bar brawl.

You talk about a team born in the wrong era, too bad they didn’t have this roster in the mid 90’s. If there were a time period made for them, that was it. Can you imagine Jeff Van Gundy desperately hanging onto Zach Randolph’s leg in the middle of a melee? Pure insanity.

Speaking of insanity…….let’s talk about this Clippers team. Actually let’s not. All I need to say is I can’t take your team seriously if Austin Rivers is your backup point guard.

Man. It is disappointing to say this, but Cleveland and Oklahoma City have second tier teams. Their matchup against each other last week had the makings of a “Good Ass Game.” For the most part it was entertaining, but only when the starters were playing. Their benches are suspect at best. Cleveland has some depth issues because of injuries, but even with Irving and SHumpert back at full strength, they are still giving heavy minutes to J. R. “You even listening to me?” Smith. Richard Jefferson is a broke man’s Vince Carter, and “Don’t shoot that shot no” Mo Williams can’t be logging heavy minutes for your squad if you trying to get a chip.

Something is slightly off in Oklahoma City, and part of the problem rhymes with the word “peon” as in a poor man’s Nick Young. You remember how multiple All Star selection, Chris Bosh took a lesser role (and less money) with the Miami Heat, but still consistently put up numbers when they needed him to? Well that is the opposite of what James Harden did.

The Thunder haven’t been able to find a consistent third scorer since he left. Dion is not that dude. I think they believed Serge would be that guy, but he is pretty ineffective if a shot isn’t created for him. I don’t know if David Lee would be the answer, but the dude can get buckets. Who is going to score other than KD and Russ?

 

The Self-Actualization Tier: Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem solving, Lack of prejudice, Acceptance of facts

Spurs, Warriors

It is no coincidence that the two organizations known for being the most creative, and accepting of all nationalitites, cultures, and genders, are the two teams in the top tier.

In life, people only reach this tier after navigating the bottom tiers of everyday existence. When a person is in survival mode, it is difficult for them to deal with the more existential problems that plague man. When a person is worried about their safety, where they will sleep, or where their next meal is going to appear, they cannot waste their energy on the abstract.

It is only when a person feels safe, and then comfortable, and socially and mentally secure, that this other aspect of life appears in abundance. What you are seeing with the Spurs and the Warriors is not an accident. These two organizations are in the midst of revolutionizing the game of basketball.

The reasons that these two teams play such spirited basketball are because they are healthy organizations from top to bottom. They are the epitome of functionality. Everyone getting a paycheck feels invested, and everyone knows their roles. This is teamwork at its highest level. It is amazing how well you can perform your job when you feel secure.

Watching the Warriors is fun, because winnign at this level is so new, and pure. They are young and having fun; experiencing it all as it occurs. They are owning the moment (much like those early 2000 A’s teams except they actually win).

The Spurs are a different kind of beast. They are a veteran squad that expects to win because everyone does their jobs. They methodically take away a team’s strength and beat you with fundamentals (with a little creativity and razzle-dazzle sprinkled in). They are so god at what they do that they make the ordinary plays look extraordinary.

The Spurs of course are the model franchise for all of sports, and it was no surprise that a dude like David West, and a player like Lamarcus Aldridge would want to eschew larger markets (and more money) to play in San Antonio. It almost seems unfair how deep the Spurs are right now. They never let up, not even during garbage time.

Kawhi Leonard is playing out of his mind. He held Paul George to 1/14 shooting the other night while scoring 24 points on 10/19 shooting. Every game I watch of his justifies why he is my favorite player in the NBA. The dude is unreal.

Here is something that will scare the fans of other teams: the Spurs haven’t even come close to reaching their peak.Danny Green hasn’t really shot like we’re used to seeing him play, and the Spurs don’t miss a beat.

Lamarcus is playing excellent defense, but he still isn’t quite in sync with the offense. He isn’t getting the ball in the places he likes to shoot, and he seems to be out of rhythm half the time he shoots it–usually because he is getting the ball about half a second later than he is used to.

For all the health concerns dogging other teams in the league, the Warriors have dealt with their own. Harrison Barnes will not be available for the Christmas game against Cleveland. That really bums me out. Barnes will play at a moderate tempo the whole game, and then during a key stretch can take over on both ends of the floor. I love watching him play.

The Warriors have not even begun to play their best ball yet either. They have been turnover prone, and sloppy. This Friday will be the first real test for the Cavaliers. You’ll see just how far apart the teams are on Christmas Day. The Cavs bench will let them down again, and they will show replays of the Lebron looking down at his sneakers during the final minutes of the game.

I’m not a particularly religious man, but I’m praying for a Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Spurs. #highlevelbasketball

 

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

fullsass.com

 

You Can’t Predict The Future: Kristaps Porzingis Edition

Guest Post By Alex Knapp

Let’s play a little game.

Below are 5 different unnamed players, and their stats for their rookie season.
Now don’t cheat – but one of them is Kristaps Porzingis. I SAID DON’T CHEAT. 

(Player 1)

MPG 34.3,  PPG 16.1, APG 2.8,  RPG 2.6, SPG 1,   BPG 0.4, FG% .456, 3pt% .389

(Player 2)
MPG 27.4,  PPG 13.1, APG 1.1,  RPG 8.1, SPG 0.8, BPG 2.0, FG% .431, 3pt% .316

(Player 3)
MPG 37.2,  PPG 20.1, APG 5.8,  RPG 5.3, SPG 1.5, BPG 0.4, FG% .458, 3pt% .255

(Player 4)
MPG 25.1,  PPG 11.6, APG 0.8,  RPG 3.9, SPG 0.5, BPG 0.8, FG% .427, 3pt% .373 

(Player 5)
MPG 22.1,  PPG 9.0,   APG 0.4,  RPG 5.0, SPG 0.3, BPG 1.2, FG% .503, 3pt% .000

So why am I doing this?

I’m trying to prove a couple points (I’ll reveal who each player is in a second). First let me say, I personally, as a self-indoctrinated basketball analyst,  put a large emphasis on statistics. I actually do think they matter.

I love advanced metrics, and I think you CAN get almost as much from diving into a team or players game data as you can watching the actual game. Calm down I said “almost.” By the way this is my favorite website right now –  GO BUCK WILD!

I believe that good players produce positive statistics for them and their team(Al Jefferson), the best players can do this at an extremely high level while still being super efficient (Steph Curry). And worse players fall short in one of those two categories. This is how you can have a guy who scores a lot, but still “sucks balls.”

SIDE NOTE: A guy like Andrew Wiggins doesn’t “suck balls” but he is 16th in PPG, while being 72nd in offensive efficiency in the NBA. That’s the largest disparity of any of top 30 NBA ppg leaders.

That would tell me that Wiggins probably takes a ton of hard shots, Iso’s way to much, doesn’t get easy scores, and generally isn’t ready for the alpha-dog role that he’s been pushed into on such a young team. Andrew Wiggins being forced to be the T-Wolves best player/scorer is the reason they are 11-16, although I think that team has a ton of talent and could be great in a couple years.

Anyway, let’s get into it.

Player 1 = Eric Gordon.

Played a ton of minutes his rookie year, scored well, generally filled up the stat sheet, shot very well from the 3pt line – especially for a rookie.

Player 2 = Kristaps Porzingis.

Decent scoring (although not anything special, especially for being the 2nd option (green light) on a shit team in the east). By far the best rebounder of the list. 2 blocks per game is solid. Shooting percentages are okay

Player 3 = Tyreke Evans.

Played a Metric fuck-ton of minutes. Great scorer. He gets assists (cuz he had the ball a ton), great rebounder for his size and position. Good FG%, shit 3pt %.
Had by far the best per 36 minute stats of everyone. Won rookie of the year (deserved it).

Player 4 = Andrea Bargnani.

Scored okay, underwhelming rebound numbers, didn’t do much else, shooting %’s are solid.

Player 5 = Lamarcus Aldridge.

Played least amount of minute of the 5, scoring was nothing special, rebounded okay – not great, good field goal percentage.

So looking at those stats, here is how these players would rank from best to worst:

1) Tyreke Evans
2) Eric Gordon OR Kristaps Porzingis
4) Andrea Bargnani
5) Lamarcus Aldridge. 

Do you think anyone predicted Lamarcus Aldridge would turn into a perennial all-star? He became a franchise cornerstone that at one point was a top 10 player in the NBA, and arguably the best player at his position, certainly the most skilled.

Conversely what do you think the media / fans reaction to Tyreke’s rookie season stats was?

Here’s a quote – “He’s going to be the hero for the Sacramento Kings.” WELL THAT WAS FUCKING WRONG, RIGHT?
Read this article for a look at the Tyreke hype:

So here is a fact, stats collected during a rookie season are not indicative of the number of all-star games, all NBA teams, or MVP’s that players will win.

However, they are usually a predictor of at least general future statistics and NBA aptitude. All the players above are at the very least solid NBA rotation players–if not starters, with Larmarcus being a perennial all-star.

I like to think of it as – “Do you even belong in this league / in the starting lineup?” test.
That’s probably the only thing someone can really get from a rookie campaign.

Ultimately, players that get an opportunity to play significant minutes and get offense touches on shit teams, put up numbers. And while Andrea Bargnani has never produced to the level that Toronto wanted with their #1 pick, he’s been in the league for 10 years, had a couple decent scoring seasons in Toronto, and still gets minutes at 30 years old. The guy is nowhere near the big bust people make him out to be.

Speaking of Bargnani – notice anything interesting from the stats above?
How about the fact that Porgingis is just a better rebounding Bargnani. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT!???

In fact, the only thing that stands out statistically about Porzingis is his rebounding. He seems to be a pretty special offensive rebounder (top 15 in ORPG and OffRebRate), while also being a solid defensive rebounder (top 35 in DRPG and DefRebRate).

Of course the SportsCenter highlights would lead you to believe he’s one of the best put-back rebounders/shot blockers of all time. All this being said, Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) is close behind in offensive rebounds, while essentially shitting on him in every other statistical category.

Listen: this guy is good–fuck he was a top 3 pick in the pick in the NBA draft. A ton of analysts said he would be good. Anyone who watched summer league or youtube clips knew he could shoot and was long as hell.

Really when you think about it, it was all the Knicks fans who were furious that they took him at #3. It was all the Knicks fans and NY media that doubted his ability. And now that he is playing well (he is literally playing  pretty fucking average), itis all the Knicks fans that are freaking out (to relatively normal numbers all things considered).

There are only a handful of cities/markets/teams that could lower the expectations of their own player by fan and media criticisms, only to yell “fuck you all, I told you!” once the player exceeds those lower expectations.

It’s kind of genius when you think about it. Let’s always say our players are going to suck, so if they do suck we’re right, and if they are good we can be pissed off that people said they sucked (even though it was us). Only in New York, these people are assholes.

P.S – Here is the last time this happened in NY.

 

 

Alex Knapp is a Portlander living in Brooklyn, New York for the past 7 years.
A filmmaker and actor currently working in HR to pay the bills, Alex is an avid NBA basketball fan who likely has an opinion on every team and every player, seriously – try him. 

Analyze This: NBA Power Rankings 1/2

We’re basically a quarter of the way into the season, and though it is too small of a sample size to reach any final conclusions, we can still identify some trends that have revealed themselves this year.

You still can’t convince me that the Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference, but I’d be a fool not to admit that the East is better this year, and the West is worse than they were last season.

I do think that things will right themselves as the season goes along, and certain teams will come back down to Earth. This is however a perfect time to do an NBA Power rankings based on what I have seen so far.

We’ll probably revisit this during the All-Star break to see what changes have occurred. From everything I have seen, any team not the Warriors or Spurs need to be tweaking something if they want to be taken seriously as championship contenders.

So in honor of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart, I bring you Bmick’s first NBA power rankings of the season. If you just want this week’s slate of Good Ass Games, just scroll down to the bottom.

400px-maslows_hierarchy_of_needs

 

Bottom Tier, i.e. Teams in Survival Mode:

Organizations that are in a period of dysfunction. Decisions made for the franchise are based on fear of losing paychecks and job titles. These are the teams with no long term plan other than draft players, sell tickets, and create cap room for in hopes of signing a big name free agent.

76ers, Kings, Wizards, Nuggets, Pelicans, Rockets, Nets and the LOL Lakers

You have to feel for these teams’ fanbases (well not the Lakers because lets be honest 80% of their fanbase don’t really know anything about basketball–they just like the scene and wearing the merchandise).

Sixers fans have been sold a pipe dream for decades, and it still looks like the front office has no idea of what they are doing. They just keep drafting (or signing) big men and trading away draft picks. Their latest franchise face was on TMZ last month and has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The only player close to being called a veteran is journeyman point guard Kendall (Kbutter5) Marshall. No one wants to play in Philadelphia, one of the most notoriously racist sports cities outside of Boston, people just end up there because its still the NBA , and they need a paycheck. Personally, I’d probably rather go to Europe than play in that city, for that organization. The fact that Iverson spent the bulk of his prime in the NBA there is enough for him to get my Hall of Fame vote. #respect

Sacramento definitely has the talent to make it into the playoffs, but shit is too hot right now. Even the most professionaly of players can’t deal with the madness (word on the street is that Caron Butler is about to get traded to a team where he can get some minutes). I don’t doubt that everyone’s heart is in the right place in Sactown, but the problem is that there is very little organization within the front office, and it is affecting their product. The best teams have well defined roles and job security, and the hiring and firing of head coaches signaled just how dyfunctional things really are. Under the right leadership, they could make a playoff run this year……..but you know what they say about if’s.

The Houston Fuckboys   Rockets on paper are .500 and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. But when a coach is fired not even 10 games into the season, and you have a certain moody big man who may or may not want to get traded, I think its safe to say this team has some f%&*ing problems (and not the good kind that afflict A$AP Rocky).

The Nuggets have sucked ever since they sacked George Karl, but Denver fans are too stoned to notice. Also, at this point can we stop pretending the nuggets they are mining are “gold”? Just own it Denver.

Don’t be surprised when Mikhail Prokhorov sells the Nets and punishes himself by getting married.

Wizards went from a half second away from making some serious noise in the playoffs to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Something is wrong in New Orleans. Other than Anthony Davis, they are worse than they were last year. Last season’s slip into the playoffs may have actually been “Fool’s Gold.”They didn’t make any major upgrades during the off-season and their roster looks pretty weak. I would hate to see Lil Brow Wow’s prime wasted playing with NBA D-leaguers and scrubs. Get that guy some help. It is one thing to lose, but usually a coach talking to the media about “lack of effort” is only a precursor for his house going up for sale. Some strange things a brewing in the “Big Easy.”

The LOL Lakers aren’t so funny anymore. In fact, it is sad to think they are heading to yet another lottery AND they just got pasted last night by 40 points by the Thunder. The thing is though, they have to be pathetically bad in order to keep their top 3 protected pick. Otherwise Philadelphia gets their lottery pick for the upcoming draft. Somehow lucking into drafting Ben Simmons and Luke Walton as next year’s head coach could be a true reversal of fortunes.

 

The Love/Belonging Tier: Playoff teams figuring out their identity, but heading in the right direction.

Knicks, Timberwolves, Jazz, Suns, Mavericks, Bucks, Blazers, Hornets, Magic, and Pistons

The Knicks have surprised many people this year, and count me among those who thought Phil Jackson was pulling a Dumars when he drafted Porzingis over Justice Winslow. They are not entirely awful, sitting at .500, we’ll see what happens over these next 25 games if they are one of the fall to Earth teams I talked about earlier.

Timberwolves are right where they need to be. The other rebuilding teams need to take note what is going on in the Land of a 1,000 Lakes. Play your young guys as much as you can so that you can evaluate them effectively,and sign a good core of veterans to mentor them. From the looks of things, Flip has succeeded in creating a family atmosphere in that organization.

Portland has some pieces to build around. They seem to be right where they are now, every 3-4 years. They can’t seem to get players to stay, or stay healthy, but they are usually just good enough to dangle some hope out there for Blazers fans. I personally feel like NBA is a better league when Blazers fans have something to get excited about.

The  Utah Jazz are competitive, and currently in the 8th spot with an 11-14 record. I don’t expect that to last. Coach K disciple, Quinn Snyder has them scrapping, and no game in the Salt Lake mountains is a gimme win (They are like the Western Conference Pacers). I think they will continue to win at this rate, but I don’t think that 44 wins will be enough to get into the Western Conference playoffs.

I’m upset about my pick for the Eastern Conference Finalist pick. Milwaukee looks like shit some nights, and then other nights they turn into streakbusters. A friend of mine said before the season that they lack shooters, but that doesnt concern me, what bothers me is that they got their brains beat in by the LOL Lakers one night after a few key players thought it was wise to hit the strip club.

Maybe they need more veterans on the team. I Kidd’s old teammate “Tuff Juice” would be a good locker room addition, plus he’d get to return to his hometown. While they are at it, why don’t they see if they can get Ben McLemore too.

I must admit that I haven’t watched much of the Suns this year, partially out of laziness, but also because they have slowly regressed from the really fun NBA League Pass team everyone was talking about 2 years ago. Phoenix plays hard. They always compete, but their bench is really thin, and they have no legitimate game changers. Eric Bledsoe is a really good player, but I don’t know if he is the dude you build a franchise around. They have to get some pieces for Jeff Hornacek to work with.

I don’t need to go into how I predicted the Mavericks would make the playoffs do I? I’m sure I haven’t talked ad nauseum about the underated Dirk/Carlilse combo as a duo you can’t sleep on. It really is the perfect storm right now. Deron Williams was finally humbled enough by life to start listening to his coaches. Raymond Felton is fortunate that he is still in the league and not playing in the Rikers Island Recreational league. Zaza is well……..Zaza..zaza4

Their frontcourt depth is a little shaky, and you can never have enough ballhandlers in this league. But they’ll be a tough first round out, and that will be considered a successful season. #Respect.

Take one look at the Pistons depth chart and you’ll see that they are overachieving. Take one look at Stan Van Gundy, and you can tell the dude can prolly make a mean chicken salad out of chicken shit. I bet SVG can go into any pantry in America and find a way to salvage something for dinner. “Wow Stan!!! I’ve never had Spam chutney on a bed of green beans before. How do you do it???!!!!” Reggie Jackson for the All-Star Team. Retweet if you agree.

I slept on the #MisoHornets, I really did. They are like a lightweight Atlanta Hawks. Is it a coincidence that they let Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson go, picked up two quality locker room guys in Jeremy Lin and Nicholas Batum, and they got better? Frank Kaminksy ain’t half bad either. The Hornets don’t have a superstar, but they have a decent sqaud.

The Orlando Magic have surprised me at how fast they have developed.  To give you an indication of how close they are to being in the next tier of playoff contenders, just imagine if Anthony Davis was in that starting lineup, with Channing Frye coming off the bench. “BEAST!!!” 

Scott Skiles has a way of rubbing players the wrong way after a couple of seasons, but he is a great coach to have for a young team. In the dating world, he’d be what women refer to as a good starter D@#$, good for a couple of seasons, but after a while, the horseshit starts to become a grind. He is a great coach for a rebuilding team (remember the Baby Bulls?), but players on his previous teams just outgrew him. He’d probably be a great college coach.

TO BE CONTINUED……………..

Here’s this week’s slate of games:

 

Monday

 

Clippers-Thunder

Magic-Knicks

Pacers-Spurs

 

 

Tuesday

 

Mavericks-Raptors

Pistons-Heat

 

 

Wednesday

 

Spurs-Timberwolves

Jazz-Warriors

 

Thursday (Christmas Eve)

No games

 

 

Friday

 

Cavaliers-Warriors (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Bulls-Thunder

Spurs-Rockets

 

 

Saturday

 

Bucks-Raptors

Knicks-Hawks

Heat-Magic

Cavaliers-Trailblazers

Bulls-Mavericks

Grizzlies-Hornets

Celtics-Pistons

 

Sunday

 

Pistons-Knicks

Trailblazers-Kings

 

Part 2 (Buster of The Week Included) will be posted tomorrow morning.

 

BM

#thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#fullsass

That First L

The season has officially started now that the last undefeated team has finally taken an L.

The Dubs (or the W’s) did something that the world has never seen, and in the process, managed to make every game during the winning streak the “Good Ass Game of the Week”.

Next week’s post will be all about power rankings, but for now, I think the Dubs deserve their own shine.

It’ll be so much easier to put this streak into perspective when the season is over. With so much stimuli flying around, it is easy to take this streak for granted, but keep in mind that the season started back on October 26th. Today is December 13th, that is how long it took for the Warriors to finally lose (and lose on the road at that).

People keep trying to compare this year’s Warriors to the 95-96 Bulls, but I don’t think that is fair. Being on the cusp of becoming an old man, I get the Jordan 90’s sentimentality. However, I remember how much the NBA sucked back then. There were only a handful of teams (at best ) that were worth watching.

95-96-bulls

Expansion had diluted the talent pool. There were a bunch of CBA dudes who had no business being in the league. The Sonics were Gucci, and the Suns were still fun, but Houston was always kind of meh. The Knicks were brutal to watch, and so were the Heat. The only teams that ran any kind of fun uptempo offense in the Eastern Conference were the Magic and the Bulls (the Pacers were efficient at best).

What the Warriors have been doing this year is beyond insane because the league is so much better. Jordan and the Bulls had a much easier path to 72 wins in that era. Throw the records out of the window, the West is still the best, but that being said, the East teams as a whole are better this season.

920x920

Curry and company are making A-1 teams look like straight busters. That is how well they are playing. They aren’t even playing basketball at this point, its something much more abstract and creative. The mixture of joy and creativity they are playing with is unreal.

The chemistry they have on this team reminds me of  a legendary jazz combo (think Miles Davis/Clifford Brown). They make playing at their blistering and frenetic pace look so damn easy. Every Warriors game is a passing clinic that high school coaches should use as a tool to  educate their players (they are very conservative with their dribbles and use them efficiently).

b8r8-rocqamex8p

The way Curry moves around the court seems so effortless and fluid, he reminds me of watching Wayne Gretzky back in the day, or Lionel Messi in today’s era of futbol. The dubs have played this first quarter of the season like characters out of a graphic novel or movie.

warriorsmovie04-cov

Though the Bucks will be given credit for snapping the Warriors’ streak, the writing was on the wall as early as Tuesday night.

In jazz, every combination of players results in a different sound, and basketball is no different. The Barnes injury was critical, but not completely debilitating. But once they lost Splash Bro. Klay Thompson, I knew it would be hard to survive the 7 game road trip unscathed.

You can blame the Golden State bench for blowing the 30 point lead in “naptown”, forcing Luke Walton to put the starters back in the game, but maybe Luke called the dogs off a few minutes too early.

You could tell the starting unit was a little out of sync by sitting too long–and then of course Klay got hurt. Even though they beat Indy, it still felt like a loss (a friend of mine said I was reaching, but its hard to replace a two way player like Klay). There is no way they need 2 OT’s to beat the Celtics if they had a healthy Klay.

But this streak has put everyone on notice. I never thought last year’s championship was a fluke, but seeing where Golden State is mentally, has made me rethink every preseason prediction I made concerning the playoffs. They are like the Wooden era UCLA Bruins (who of course Luke’s Dad played for) as they are playing invisible opponents.

bill_walton_1973_03_26

There is a level of play they aspire to every night, a level that is about their own standards– a philosophy that Coach Wooden espoused Ad Nauseam when he dominated the 60’s and early 70’s college ball.

Bill Russell wrote about how the game of basketball could become something different altogether, a rhythmic balletic dance between ten different people when everyone is in sync. Watching the Warriors during those magical 19-2 runs during 1-2 minute stretches is evocative of this aesthetic. acc099f6646e970e1619501a913a9

The Spurs are still a joy to watch. Watching them play reminds me of a Thelonious Monk quintet, clunky yet beautiful and soulful–on a really good day, evocative of a Duke Ellington standard. Yet the Warriors are ushering in a whole new ethos (think the post war Bebop era of jazz).

Let me put it this way, the Warriors have almost ruined me for watching other teams. I love NBA, but no one is playing like them right now. Obviously I’m putting in my work, but as I said before, it doesn’t even feel like work watching Golden State (OKC games are like watching a rock band with a fantastic front man and lead guitarist, but a mediocre rhythm section #tradeDionWaiters).

I can’t even take college ball seriously right now. Its like going from internet porn to watching Cinemax at your parents’ house on a Friday night. If you work hard enough, the ecstasy will come, but its a different process getting there.

This week’s Slate of Games:

 

Monday

Raptors-Pacers

Clippers-Detroit

Dallas-Phoenix

Miami-Atlanta

Mildly intriguing at best. I’ll probably have the Raptors-Pacers game on in the background while I enter in grades and fill out class reports.

 

“Tap That Vein Tuesday”

Cleveland-Boston 

Kelly Olynick and Kevin Love go to dinner and find that despite their differences, they actually are a lot alike. A beautiful friendship ensues that one day becomes a “30 for 30” documentary.

What if I told you that what can separate can also bring you together? What if I told you, that the line between hustling and hurting can’t always be determined by a ref? What if I told you that winning by any means necessary can cost you more than a championship?

ESPN’s 30 for 30 films brings you “Pales In Comparison.”

Scheduled to debut this Sunday after the 2033 ESPY awards. Tune in.

Houston-Sacramento 

Ugh. Sometimes its best not to………..

 

Wednesday

Dallas-Indy

This won’t be bad. I’d watch it if the Mavs weren’t blacked out in my market.

Memphis-Chicago

Ugly but will get the job done. In other words, “A 2 at ten, and a 10 at two.”

Minnesota-New York 

Probably the best game of the night.

Phoenix-Golden State

Portland- Oklahoma City

What is the over/under for the amount of doo-doo faces that Damien Lillard damian_lillard_caricature_by_ajjabosch-d7hfkwx

and Russell Westbrook make?

0919927001426705549_filepicker

I’m not sure which picture looks more cartoonish.

Thursday

Raptors-Hornets

None of my friends thought the “Me so Hornets meme” I proposed was a very clever one. Whatever. I enjoyed it. They can’t all be high brow jokes you know.

Oklahoma City- Cleveland

Can you say hangover Friday? My poor students………

Friday (AKA The Beginning of my Winter Vacation)

Sacramento-Minnesota

This gon’ be good.

Atlanta-Boston

Yeah I guess. I could be talked into it for a few minutes.

Golden State-Milwaukee

Bucks can go  ahead and circle this as an “L.” To quote my man Jay-Z “It’s about to go down”

Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio (Good Ass Game of the Week) 

Don’t be afraid to throw that elbow to a former teammate’s chest D. West. You know he would do it to you.

 

Saturday

Chicago-New York 

Finally got to watch Porzingis play the other night. He’ll be the King of New York in 5 years. Let the Zingsanity era begin.

Sunday

Sacramento-Toronto

I probably won’t be watching this live, but I bet the highlights will be nice though. #RondoforALLSTARTEAM 

Sorry Craig.

hillary-i-dont-know-shrug-gif

 

 

Peace.

BM

 

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

bobbymickey@gmail.com

@clickpicka79

 

How to Age As A Fan: Jordan Paladino

 

When Kobe Bryant announced his retirement, part of me felt as resigned as Mr. Bean Bryant. Growing up as a Celtics and Blazers fan, there shouldn’t have been any way I’d feel bad for Kobe. He was the guy who handed the Trail Blazers the worst Western Conference Finals loss I can remember and the overall worst loss in my life as a sports fan (2010 NBA Finals Game 7).

kobe_bryant_trayvon_martin_comment

Kobe is just one of the guys who made sports what it is to me today. When Kobe is gone, it’ll just be Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan left for me to cling to as a late 90’s NBA fan. Garnett is going to retire after this season, Ray Allen hasn’t played anytime recently, and likely won’t. Living in the listicle era, everyone has been posting their top 10 NBA players of all time, and many people have Kobe as the second best shooting guard of all time, behind Michael Jordan. As an overall player, I don’t how why Duncan isn’t ranked ahead of Kobe, but that’s ultimately semantics.

kobe_bryant_extension

Kobe was a player I’d hated my whole life, until he tore his Achilles ’13. I had started to respect Kobe after the 2012 Olympics though. Seeing what intangibles a player needed to win the way Bryant did coincided with my turn from being a fan of teams, to being a fan of players and the sport itself.

Kobe was gutsy. He was arrogant. He took Brandy to prom. In hating him and spending so much time thinking about Bryant, I realized that I respected him, and wished he’d been on any team I’d rooted for. How could you not want a guy who wanted the ball in the last :45 seconds of a game?

 

Kobe Bryant in the 2015/2016 season, however, isn’t that guy. I can’t honestly remember seeing someone so good be so bad. I’d say I feel bad for Kobe, but I respect the guy too much to feel bad. Rather, I feel sad. This is the first time I can recall in my sporting fan life where I’ve seen someone lose it so hard. It’s hard not to be affected by it. It is like seeing your father forget that he just asked you what the movie you just saw was, or when your grandparents send you the birthday check they’d meant to send to your other cousin who’s birthday is nowhere near yours.

5-kobe-bryant-championships-reasons-why-kobe-bryant-should-retire

As we get older, our capacity for empathy and how we see life changes and softens. No longer are we hardwired to hate basketball players for any reason other than spousal abuse or latent homophobia. If sports is a microcosm of greater society, seeing someone age should alarm us before it fills us with joy. In seeing Kobe breakdown, let us take a minute to appreciate how special Tim Duncan has been. These guys aren’t going to be around forever, and neither are we.

 

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Kevin Abstract – “Echo”

 

Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, rapper, and writer for the show “Who’s the Ross?” He is a staunch defender of all things Lebron James, Drake and Kanye West. He is also a KD hater. I try not to hold these things against him.