Easin’ into the Grind

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to watch NBA this season. The number of games I want to catch up on are piling up. The bandwidth at my local Starbucks is weak, and I’m afraid that if I get internet at my house that I’ll become a hermit. By December, I’ll be a bit more adjusted, and will have caught my breath by winter break. I plan to devote at least 5-6 hours a day during this period to watching basketball. Only 4 more weeks until this is a reality. The marquee “Good Ass Game of the Week” matchups have been as good as advertised, but the biggest surprise to me is how much better ball is in the Eastern Conference. The quality of play is improved, and instead of 89-76 games, teams are actually scoring into the 100’s.

All that being said, I still fux with the Western Conference teams more heavily than the East–no doubt. Right now my favorite squads to watch are the Warriors (unreal the kind of ball they are playing. I don’t think an offense has generated this kind of round-the-league since the Showtime era Lakers), the Bulls (can actually stretch the floor with shooters), the Teen Wolves (could conceivably have two of the best 2 way players in the league someday with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins–I’ve watched more games by them this year than I have in the entire KG “Big Ticket” era), Kings (those throwback powder blue jerseys are sick), and of course the Spurs.

This week Kawhi supplanted Kevin Durant as my favorite player in the NBA. Curry stays on at #2, while KD slips to three. Steph and KD are both electrifying to watch, but Leonard is slowly building up his case for being the best 2 way player in the game (after Lebron of course). But Lebron won’t be around forever, and we’re only 3-4 seasons away from Lebron’s body betraying him, making him merely great rather than otherworldly. Who’ll supplant Lebron? Well it could be any of these guys in no particular order:

Andrew Wiggins

Victor Oladipo

Jimmy Butler

Kawhi Leonard

Anthony Davis

Paul George

Anthony Towns

The NBA product is in good hands for the next 8-10 years. Let’s get to these games:

Monday

Portland-San Antonio 

This will be close for about 3 and a half quarters if we are lucky. Seriously though, if you like to watch good defenders, and you haven’t been watching Kawhi, do yourself a favor and peep. First hit is free, after that…….

OKC-Memphis

Always a good battle with these two teams. No Durant adds more pressure on the supporting cast to step it up, because you know Hustle Westbrook is going to fill the stat sheet.

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Minnesota-Miami 

Young guns. This will be a fun watch. I’m especially looking forward to the Towns-Whiteside face-off.

Toronto-Golden State

Warriors  gonna rock the “Throwbacks” that night. MMMMMPPPPPPPHHHHHHHH!!!!

[If College hoops gives you that buzz, then get on those Duke-Kentucky, Kansas-Michigan State games]

Wednesday

Sacramento-Atlanta

Even when the Kings get blown out, it lends for entertainment.

Dallas-Boston

This strikes me as the type of game one would live-tweet while watching.

Chicago-Phoenix

Suns just aren’t a hoops sexy team this year. It’ll still be a fun game though. Its good toe See Doug McDermott out on the court this year. Homie can ball.

Thursday

Sacramento-Miami

Cousins vs. Whiteside??? Insert “banging in the post” joke here. GO!!!

Milwaukee-Cleveland pt. Duex

The Bucks match up well with the Cavs. Imagine the length of Golden State without the outside shooting threats. That’s the Bucks.

Golden State vs. Lol Clippers “Good Ass Game of the Week”

Good night to make some chili on the crock pot, and stare at the computer (or tv) screen. Warriors have Bogut back for this one. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d put money on Blake Griffin getting a tech this game.

Friday

Detroit-Minnesota 

Some young talent in this one. Andre Drummond vs. Karl Anthony Towns. Remember when they said big men in the post were a dying breed?

Spurs-New Orleans

To quote the great Jordan Paladino, “New Orleans is trash.” The only way I’ll be watching the Pelicans again this year is if they play a marquee  game. I know its early in the season, but not only do they not look like they’ve gotten better, but it seems like they regressed. Its pretty disappointing.

Clippers-Portland

Lillard against Chris Paul sounds slightly amusing. Its hard to watch the Trailblazers even with their sick back court. When Lillard and McCollum are off the floor, it feels like I’m watching a pickup game at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Center–especially with Plumlee, Leonard, and Connaughton on the team.

Chicago-Golden State “Good Ass Game of the Week PART 2”

Last February’s affair was one of the “Good Ass Games of the Year” in my book. I have three words for you: HIGH LEVEL BASKETBALL. Plus two of my favorite college players from back in the day are now coaching against each other. That is correct, I am old enough to have seen the “The Mayor” play in college. #DON”THATECUZYOULATE

Saturday

Sacramento-Orlando

This week definitely has some bite to it. Good ass games every single night. Orlando is pesky. Scott Skiles knows how to get the young bucks fired up to play. Its the veterans who get tired of his overbearing style though. This is the perfect situation for him. In 4 years, maybe not. He is like the Buck Showalter of NBA coaches.

Memphis-San Antonio

Memphis looks a step behind this year. I’d be shocked if this were a double overtime affair like last season. Then again, so was this shot.

Sunday

Definitely the kind of setting that would precipitate a live-tweet session.

Big Ups of the Week to the person who designed this year’s Mavs’ jerseys. Those are the best looking ones I’ve seen in al the years they been rocking them shits.

I wish I could say the same for the Thunder jerseys. HELL NAW!!!

They would get the Buster of the Week Award in a regular week, but last week’s events (the bombings in Lebanon, and the shootings in Paris), have me thinking more sobering thoughts. In order for a tragedy of last week’s magnitude to occur, it takes multiple parties have to be complicit.

I’m not naive enough to think that international conflict can be avoided. Its unavoidable. But the fact that people can’t go to a movie, or see their favorite band without fear of being shot in a public place is discomforting. We have to figure out a way to be better people towards each other. There’s no way around it.

One minute you are ordering a dish in French for the first time, and in the next breath, there can be bullets whizzing by your head.Life really is that fragile.

#shoothoopsnotpeople

Peace.

BM

#thisagoodassgame # fullsass

@clickpicka79

Fullsass.com

bobbymickey@gmail.com

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First Impressions: This Week’s Good Ass Game Viewing Guide

If there were ever a year to get introduced to NBA League Pass, this is the year to do it. There are so many good players to watch on so many teams right now, and so little time. I don’t have internet at my apartment yet (we only get paid once a month in my school district), and the only time I can catch games is either at the bar, at work when I’m working late, or at the local Starbucks on their Wi-Fi. 17 more days of ducking and dodging, creeping and crawling, before I can start curling up in bed and falling asleep to west coast games.

The great thing about having that pass is that I can watch games retroactively. I’ve watched so many games retroactively that I no feel like less of a fan, and more like a university student doing homework. I can’t believe people get paid to just sit in dark rooms and watch film all day. There is an NBA Hardwoods Classic feature that lets you go back and watch classic games on there, but the best feature of all is the Condensed game; where you can watch what amounts to an extended highlights clip. This is the only way I can get through a Clippers or Rockets game, because their games take an extra hour because of all the whistles and flops.

A couple of weeks before the season started, a friend cautiously suggested that the Kings could make a run for that 8th seed in the West. I thought it was ludicrous because of the crazy front office situation, but I’ve watched at least a little of every Kings game so far, and they look good. Part of that has to do with Rajon Rondo. Anyone who has dated someone right out of a serious long term relationship, can understand that the Mavericks just ran into a buzzsaw. Here’s a guy whose formative NBA years were spent with one team–a team that won an NBA championship.

It wasn’t the best of endings, and before he even had a chance to process his feelings, he in another relationship with another team. This team thinks its found its point guard of the future, but Rondo I’m sure is looking at the roster thinking “I just left an old ass squad that is too slow to run with me, and I’m now I’m about to commit the remaining years of my prime to the same kind of team.”

Now Rondo is with an athletic team with the right mix of veterans and up and coming stars. That roster is loaded with talent, and is better than those Nuggets teams that George Karl was coaching with Carmelo. I slept on the Kings, but I’m sure taking them seriously now after watching their first 3 games of the season. They will be a hard team to blowout.

A few things crossed my mind during this week:

  • If there were an “NBA Face Time” team for guys whose play makes you want to punch them in the face, the Clippers would be well represented. It’d be like that one year where the entire starting five for the Pistons almost made the All-Star Team.
  • I should have studied the Milwaukee Bucks point guard situation more closely before I predicted they would be in Eastern Conference Finals. I’ve never been a fan of Jerryd Bayless (and not just because he’s light skinned). I guess if anyone is going to get the best out of that backcourt, it will be Jason Kidd. I do really like their uniforms though–they look pretty crispy.
  • New Orleans can’t afford to have too slow of a start out West. Their defense has not looked good in the first few games. After giving up 39 in the first quarter in their first game against Golden State, they gave up 40 to the Trailblazers (My boy C.J. had 22 of them in a 37 point effort). I feel like I have been saying this every year since 2008, but the West has only gotten better.
  • The Teen Wolves have been a fascinating story this year. Their season has an extra melancholic milieu to it with the passing of Flip Saunders. If Ricky Rubio can finally stay healthy, I think he can be the Spanish version of Tony Parker. I think Andrew Wiggins will be an All NBA defender within the next 3 years, and Karl Anthony Towns is my front runner for Rookie of the Year. What I really like about this roster is that they have KG, Tayshaun Prince, and Andre Miller in the locker room as player-coaches. This teams reminds me of the ’09 OKC squad that was right on the cusp of being in the playoffs. We’ll see what happens, but they may be a few off-season moves away from really giving teams some headaches next year.

Let’s get to these games:

“Tap that Vein” Tuesday

Atlanta-Miami (meh) Remember that condensed version mode? That’s how I’ll be watching this game.

Memphis-Sacramento Unfortunately our boy Boogie is on day-to-day status with an Achilles strain. The scrappy factor just went down a few notches because of that injury. Don’t rush back Boogie. WE NEED YOU THIS SEASON!!!!

Wednesday

Golden State-Los Angeles Clippers (GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK)

Cancel. All. Your. Plans. This. Evening.

Thursday

OKC-Chicago Two rookie coaches from the college ranks facing each other for the first time. I like the depth of the Bulls this year. I watched them play Orlando the other night, and I couldn’t help but wonder how relaxed the atmosphere must have been at training camp this year. I don’t agree with the method, but a coaching change had to happen up in the Windy City. Thibs is a grinder, and that roster didn’t need that. Let’s talk about that backcourt for a minute. Jimmy Butler may be the best two way guard west of Lebron James, and Derrick Rose may be the perfect sidekick to Mr. Buckets (Yeah I said it).

Speaking of coaching changes, I realized last night that Billy D. may be the best coach that either Westbrook or Durant have ever had. That kinda makes me sad.

Friday

Houston-Sacramento Did you ever think that the Kings would be making the Good Ass Games list twice in a week?

Saturday

Minnesota-Chicago This will be a good gauge for the Teen Wolves. I’ll prolly be watching this one from a booth at Starbucks….grading papers or some shit to make me feel productive.

New Orleans-Dallas One of these two teams might miss the playoffs. For some reason this reminds me of the time I told my cousins that whoever won a fight between them could get next on the X-Box. Of course, I immediately felt bad afterwards and tried to play it off as a test of their character. By then it was too late, because one of them was crumpled into a ball after receiving a drop kick in the chest from his young brother. Needless to say neither of them were allowed to play the video games that day. #NONSEQUITUR 

Golden State-Sacramento 

This is gonna be an old fashioned ass whupping, but it’ll be way better than watching the snuff film that the will be the Clippers-Rockets game.

Sunday

Phoenix-Oklahoma City This game may get up into the 120’s. Running and Gunning. Gunning and Running.

Portland-Detroit if you really wanna tap that vein or avoid NFL (Is it the playoffs yet????).

Monday This will be the best day of the week for watching hoops.

Grizzlies-Clippers, Detroit-Golden State will be interesting (at this point I have to tune into every Dubs game just on principle). Ditto to the Spurs-Kings, and I must admit that I’m curious about that Hawks-Teen Wolves matchup.

Alright. Time to bounce before I burn up all of my planning period.

Peace.

BM

#thisagoodassgame

@clickpicka79

bobbymickey@gmail.com

Fullsass.com

TAKING A GAMBLE [Guest Post by Alex Knapp]

 

Taking a gamble….

This is it guys. This is the NBA season that ruins my life. I have finally decided to put my money where my mouth is, and bet on sports…

Is this a good idea? No! It’s a fucking horrible idea. Is that going to stop me? No! I fucking love horrible ideas.

Because sometimes in life a man decides he has to do something with the useless knowledge that he has accrued. Why do guys salivate at the idea of a having a wood-shop in their basement? Why did your step-dad buy that beat up 1970’s charger? They picked up a few tidbits about building large pictures frames, or how to properly oil a carburetor and god-dammit that’s knowledge they want to use!

Here’s my plan:

I work a ten minute walk away from The Barclays center. My plan is to go to a game every other week for the entire season. I’m shooting for 10-15 games.

This way I can have in-person 1st hand knowledge of over 1/3rd of the league, which will come in handy down the road.

Also, I have league pass. My plan here is to watch at least half of the Blazers games (around 40) over the course of the season, and keep notes on all the teams they play.

In conjunction with both of these,  obviously I’m going to watch a marquee game or two each week on TNT and ESPN.

Needless to say, this NBA season is going to packed!

The Goal:

My hope is that if I watch about 10-15 games in person, 40-60 games on TV, and continue to read and listen to copious amount of analysis on a daily basis, that I will be educated enough come playoff times to make some seriously smart and decisive bets.

How this could work:

Milwaukee plays the Bulls in the 1st round?

I’ve watched both teams in-person and on TV 3 times that season.

Bulls favored to win the series 4-2?–even though the eye test tells me the Bucks speed and versatility could out-match the Bulls lumbering offense and Tib-less Defense.

Did Derrick Rose look like he was gonna quit on Froi-berg 1/2 way through the season, and does he sulk on the bench anytime he gets subbed out and Jimmy Butler starts to go off without him on the floor?

I’ll take the Bucks in 7.

THIS COULD MAKE ME MONEY!!!!!

*Shakes head and extends hands as if to say “come on guys!”*

To get us started, and to have things to talk about as the season progresses – Here are a list of some over/unders and prop bets that I like before the season has begun. Not just based on who I think will win it – but also where the betting value is.

All of these are taken from bovada.com (https://sports.bovada.lv/basketball/nba-season-props)

PPG leader – Anthony Davis (+500)

Rebounds Per Game  – Demarcus Cousins (+1100)

MVP – Anthony Davis (+400), Blake Griffin (+2000)

Rookie of the year – Mudiay probably wins, BUT – Stanley Johnson (+1000), Mario Hezonja (+1400)

Atlanta Hawks (49.5)Over : DeMarre Carroll was not worth 10 games.

Brooklyn Nets (27.5)Under : God I hope they win more games than that, but this team is trash. It’s gonna be a long season at Barclays.

Charlotte Hornets (33.5)Under : No MKG, adding Batum is a wash. Other teams in the east are getting better = more hard games for the Hornets.

Dallas Mavericks (37.5) – Over: Won 50 games last year and swapped Tyson & Monte, for Wes, D-will, and Zaza. They have won more than 37 games in 15 out of the last 16 seasons and this isn’t their worst team. I’d bet my life on this.

Detroit Pistons (36.5)Over: Won 32 games last year, and added Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson (*See Rookie of the Year*), Aron Baynes, and a full season of Reggie Jackson. Losing Greg Monroe might be a wash, and another year of Stan is worth at least 4 wins.

LA Lakers (28.5)Over : Pains me to say it, but young/talented guards with Roy Hibbert and Kobe is a recipe for 30 wins. They won 21 games last year with no Kobe and no Roy. Together they are worth 10-15 wins.

Miami Heat (45.5)Over: If the Heat can stay healthy I think this is the 2nd seed in the East, which history would show as 50-55 wins.

Milwaukee Bucks (44.4)Over: They won 41 games last year, I think Monroe + Jabari + another year of Kidd = more than 3 wins.

New Orleans Pelicans (48.5)Over: This is risky, but I think they are a top 6 seed in the West this season which usually means 48+ wins. I think the upgrade in Gentry is worth 4 wins alone, not to mention The Brow – *See PPG leader and MVP*

NY Knicks (29.5)Under : This team is trash. D-Fish doesn’t know what he is doing. Melo is getting older and fatter. The more Porzingis “The Zinger” plays the more games they will lose, even though they should play him the whole game (the only way he will get better).

Orlando Magic (33.5)Over: I like this team, they’re fun.

Phoenix Suns (36.5)Under : I think this thing blows up in Horny-sacks face. T-Chandler on that massive contract was idiotic. And I don’t think this team can score or stop anyone from scoring on the perimeter.

Portland Trailblazers(27.5)…….Under…… : I’m sorry….I can’t….They are going to be fun to watch, a lot of fast breaks and deep 3’s, but ultimately this team is going to suck in most statistical categories and won’t be able to stop anyone from scoring. Their best bet is to try and race to 120 points each game, even though we also don’t have proven scorers…Doh! BUT I HOPE THEY WIN!!!!!

That’s it for now.

Thanks to B-Mick for hosting my guest ramblings.

Keep checking back in to see exactly how stupid of a decision this all is.

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.

Finallly!!!!!!

For all intents and purposes, the playoffs started on Wednesday when Oklahoma City needed a win over the Teen Wolves, and a loss by New Orleans to sneak into the playoffs. For as much hype (and deservedly so) as the Russell Westbrook show was generating, the Thunder were still losing–despite Westbrook’s Herculean numbers during this past month (He was named the Western Conference Player of the month for his efforts). He was getting 54 points and the team was still putting up L’s.

I’m actually happy that the Pellies got in this year(thanks to this shot of course). I just couldn’t bear the thought of watching OKC in the playoffs without my boy KD.

For all those people who are sad about not getting to watch Russ in the playoffs, imagine an NBA where all of the playoff teams get to borrow one player from each lottery bound team for the first round in exchange for their first round pick. It’d be like the waiver wire in order of worst team seeding. How crazy would that be? just a drunken thought I had late one night.

Speaking of playoff seeding, what about that crock of shit brewing out in the Eastern Conference? Cleveland’s Bitch asses would be a 7th seed in the West. With Thabo Sefelosha’s leg injury affecting what will be Atlanta’s perimeter defense, the Cavs have a relatively easier path to the NBA Finals. It’s crap. This is like the winner of the NIT tournament getting to play the winner of the Final Four for the National championship. It’s bollocks.

With the playoff series being a best of 7, this column becomes almost obsolete this time of year. I’ll cut it short and give you the clicks to pick for the first round.

This Round’s Good Ass Series of Good ASS Games:

Houston vs. Dallas

The I-45 beatdown. Houston has Harden (probably the Leagues’ MVP–though I agree with J.R. Smith that Lebron should probably win every year) and they finally got D-12 healthy, but Dallas has the 2nd best coach in the NBA. I’m going to say the Mavericks take this in 7 games.

Portland vs. Memphis

Both teams are pretty banged up right now. I think this will be a series of close games–albeit ulgy ones. I’ll probably watch every game this series, but only in the 4th quarter, unless I get some kind of Good Ass Game alert telling me to tune in for an early edition of “Illard Time.”

Grizzlebees in 6 games.

New Orleans vs. Golden State

This might be the quickest ending of the series, but I firmly believe that every game will be hotly contested, except for that last home game in Oakland, that will just get out of hand. It will be the most entertaining series north of Clippers-Spurs–but we’ll get to that later.

Golden State in five games.

Los Angeles vs. San Antonio [Good Ass Games of the week]

People are talking about the mine field that the Spurs have ahead of them just because they did not get the 2nd seed. It is as if they haven’t seen the pitfalls that await every team in the second round. the only team San Antonio should have been worried about facing in the first round was Memphis–who will beat teams up even if they don’t beat them. Otherwise its evenly matched. No one has an easy path to finals, no matter where they are seeded.

Besides, I think the Clippers are vastly ovverated. J.J. Redick is having the best season of his career, and the big three for LAC is formidable, but who is going to come off the bench for them besides Jamal Crawford?

I’ve got the Spurs in 6, and it may not even that close. I think every game will be competitive though. This kind of reminds me of that series back in the day when Spurs played against Chris Paul when he was a Hornet. I don’t know why. It just does.

“Tap that Vein” Series

Bucks vs. Bulls

I know my boy Mikey will be watching his C’s play, but if I’m going to spend any of my free time watching an Eastern Conference game, it will probably be this Bulls-Bucks series. It’s kind of like when you are walking down the street and you see two homeless people arguing in an alley. You should probably be doing something better with your life, but curiosity got the best of you for a moment. Then the reality of the ugliness becomes too much to bear, and you remember that list of unfulfilled goals you still have remaining. Fuck the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Buster of the Week Award goes to:

Aaron Hernandez. Mr. Husky himself got life in prison with no chance of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
He was accused of some other filthy shit, but wasn’t on trial for those other grizzly acts. The dude pissed away millions of dollars on some bullshit. If you ask me, all they had to do was pull out the tape of his touchdown celebrations to convince me that he did it.

Look at it. It is almost as if he is snitching on himself. And they say Richard Sherman is a thug. For the record, Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice, not MURDER. There is a difference, as Aaron Hernandez can attest to.

Big Ups of the Week goes to:

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans for giving the nation of taste of what is in store for the next few years. Someday this may be Lil Brow Wow’s league.

Enjoy the first round. See you in a week or two.

Peace.

BM
@clickpicka79
#thisagoodassgame

WHAT’S GOOD?!!

What’s Good?

Everythang!!!

There were a slew of Good Ass Games last week, including a B-Ball watching extravaganza on Friday. Six straight hours of watching basketball on a Friday night, and I couldn’t have been happier. Of course, once those games are over, reality sets in, and I realized that I made no plans for the late night tip. #poorplanning

Since I’ll be going to the Florida-Kansas game on Friday, let’s start with some college hoop. Kansas clearly has a lot of talent, but some of the pieces are not fitting. Bill Self recruits the guys to fit his system, and he always has talented big men, but there is only one basketball. If the ball is distributed evenly each player gets to touch the ball 20 percent of the time. The other 80 percent of basketball involves things other than scoring.

Obviously the Jayhawks are talented, but there is always someone bigger and badder on the block. Kansas ran into the big and bad Wildcats and got stomped. Part of that was talent (Kentucky is clearly the most talented team in the country), but Kansas also didn’t play that smart—which also contributed to such a lopsided score. Kentucky will be impossible to beat if a team is depending on isolation sets and one primary ballhandler. Kansas is not a very good passing team, and Kentucky just waited on the Jayhawks to drive to the rack so they could block their shot.

Michigan State didn’t fare as well defensively against the Jayhawks strategy. They fouled Kansas and put them on the free throw line. Every time the Jayhawks got fouled taking it to the rim, you could see an extra pass leading to an easier bucket. Kansas has to learn how to make that extra pass. Svia Mikhailhiuk gets it, and Frank Mason is looking more comfortable with each game (I really like that backcourt combo–I think they have good on court chemistry).

The problem with recruiting the “one and done” player is the constant turnover messes with cohesion. This is still a young Jayhawks team and the learning curve is almost as steep as last year’s squad. Roles have yet to be established and defined, and all the highly recruited cats come in thinking they are “the man.” Kelly Oubre has yet to look comfortable on the floor, and Cliff Alexander shows flashes of highlight reel potential, but they definitely play like Freshmen.

Cliff Alexander is definitely going to be ill, but I get nervous anytime the Kansas big men (outside of Perry Ellis)put the ball on the floor (do I have an affinity towards big men who can pass? Yeah you could say that). There are no “stretch fours” on the team and you see a lot of clogged lanes on the offensive end—not a good thing if your team doesn’t shoot well from the perimeter.

A basketball team is a community, and in a community different people take on different roles to make that community work. Some people do multiple things well. Some people are really great at one particular thing and mediocre at other things, but communities thrive when everyone is put in a position to succeed at what they are best at. By conference play, the Jayhawk players are going to have to figure out what roles to assume in order to help their team win.

Maybe Cliff Alexander decides that no one is going to outrebound him or get past him on defense, and whatever points he scores along the way is gravy (Kentucky’s Anthony Davis was the fifth leading scorer on that championship team but managed to control the game in every other aspect).

Maybe Wayne Selden decides that no matter how many points he gets on the offensive end (Can he be a “3 and D” guy in the NBA?) that his guy will get locked down on the perimeter. Maybe Frank Mason looks to drive and kick rather than drive and finish, with Svia Mikhailiuk there on the perimeter to keep defenses honest. And maybe Bill Self can get his guys to feed Perry Ellis 15-20 touches a game (he looked really good this weekend in Orlando).

Let’s switch gears and talk about that other team in Kansas–no not the Wildcats silly. I’m talking bout them Shockers. Despite losing Cleanthony Early to graduation last year, Wichita State is just as fun to watch this year. Ron Baker and Fred Van Fleet is the best backcourt combo that no one is talking about.

The way those two guys get their teammates involved is beautiful to watch. Van Fleet had 21 points on 6-11 shooting, 9 assists and ZERO turnovers. As a matter of fact, Ron Baker didn’t have any turnovers either, and he shot 6-14 with 19 points. Of Wichita State’s 25 made field goals, 18 of them were assisted.

People hate on the Shockers for playing in a less renowned conference against “inferior” competition, but if you like smart, beautiful basketball, then catch a Shockers game. They are a real treat to watch and play against Utah on Wednesday. I’ll be watching them play as much as possible this season (and possibly next if both Baker and Van Fleet come back to play with transferring guard Conner Frankamp).

GOOD ASS GAMES OF THE WEEK

Tuesday
OKC vs. New Orleans Would you believe it if I told you that I haven’t watched an OKC game since Russ Westbrook broke his hand. It feels good to put the Thunder on the Good Ass Games list again (for however long it lasts).

Toronto vs. Sacramento Damn. Demar Derozan……I hope he gets well soon. A groin tear sounds really painful, and I was just coming around to enjoy watching the Raptors play too. If you happen to catch this particular game, try to imagine playing an updated version of NBA JAM with these two teams. Which 3 players would you go with? I was thinking about this when I was watching the Hornets the other night (another good NBA jam team). You gotta admit, it’d be fun to play.

Memphis at Houston
Before the season began, both of these teams were my “bubble” teams. I’m still not sold on Houston’s role players just yet and I think they’ll come down to earth by March. As for Memphis, I’m not surprised by how well they are playing at all–Gasol has kicked it into another gear this year. What does surprise me is that they are healthy. It is a loooooooonnnnnggg season, so who knows what will happen.

But Memphis has been looking really tough. I also like that former Michigan State sharpshooter Shawn Respert is an assistant coach there, while Brevin Knight is a color commentator for the organization. It is little things like these that make me realize how fucking old I’m getting.

Chicago at Charlotte
I’m not crazy about the Hornets this year, but there is something very comfortable and relaxing about their announcing team of Steve Martin and Dell Curry. Listening to their play-by-play makes me want to eat Bojangles Chicken and drink sweet tea (or maybe I just had the munchies).

Also, how did no one tell me how hot the dance team was for the Hornets? I’ve been to Charlotte so maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise but damn! i mean peep this photo from Carolinablitz.com, MAH LORD I DO DECLARE!!! ITS GETTIN

I just may peek in on Lakers vs. Wizards, if only to see that Washington backcourt knock Kobe and co. back to earth. But again, that may be a case of “doing too much.”

Thursday
Cleveland vs. New York It is always fun to see what Lebron will do when he steps onto the floor at MSG. Will his performance spawn inspiration for another rap tune?

Portland-Indiana This is the best I’ve seen Chris Kaman and Steve Blake play which leads me to conclude that Portland is a haven for white and light skinned players. Seriously, this demographic just thrives up in the Pacific Northwest. Imagine what Brent Barry’s career would have been like had the Trailblazers drafted him? then again it is too cold to surf up there, so maybe he wouldn’t have dug it.

New Orleans vs. Golden State This is going to be a good one, and I will probably only get to catch the highlights because I’ll be en route to Lawrence, Kansas. This one has “Good ASS Game of the Week” written all over it. in a couple of years, if Portland and Golden State play their cards right, these two teams could be jockeying for the Western Conference top spots for the latter part of the decade.

The Spurs will hit a small snag where they will be middle of the pack but still making the playoffs, and once Dirk retires, the Mavs will suffer a slightly worse identity crisis. There is nothing that anyone can say that can convince me that Westbrook and Durant are going back to OKC. Who will fill that power vacuum in the west?

Friday
Cleveland-Toronto Eastern Conference Finals Preview? Any takers? By the way, what’s up with this #mynorth commerical? #TorontoAINTHOOD

Memphis-San Antonio
Western Conference Finals Preview? Any takers?

Phoenix-Dallas You can tell Phoenix is really missing the spacing that Channing Frye (another light-skinned guy who flourished in Portland–he still has a home there) provided for the team. Everyone has to work just a little harder to get buckets. It’s so crowded that Gerald Green is throwing alley-oops to himself. Cue up the old ’05, ’06 playoff games NBATV. Those were the days!

Saturday
Clippers-Pelicans Two of the best power forwards. Going at it. ‘Nuff Said.

Golden State-Chicago No way in hell I’m missing this one. There are gonna be some sick dimes dished out in this one. The overused phrase of the night will be “Oooh Filthy!”

Sunday
Rest.

Basketball Movie of the Week:

Gunnin for That #1 Spot. Directed by Adam Yauch.

This is from the first Elite 24 game back in 2006. I first watched this movie back in ’08 when all these young cats were still in high school and college. Cole Aldrich, Lance Stephenson, J.J. Hickson, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Kyle Singler, Jerryd Bayless, Kevin Love, and Michael Beasley were all apart of this event as high school kids. I watched it again this past week, and was struck by how so much had happened in 8 years.

These guys are all NBA veterans now. It is always interesting to go back and watch that kind of stuff with the knowledge of what their futures hold. It’s kind of weird. Anyway, it is worth checking out. There was a bonus disc with my copy of footage of a 2-on-2 pick up game with Beasley and his coach vs. Yauch and someone else. MCA had a little bit of game. I bet he was fun to play ball with. By the way, what is up with Beasley? He must have some serious stuff going on if he hasn’t been picked up by a team. Damn.

Big week of hoops. The first week of December is off to a good start. Enjoy these good ass games.

BM