Regular Season Wrap Up Part One: A to the K

The end of the regular season is near, and most of the playoff positions are set. Here’s an opportunity to publicly perform self-fellatio for all the things I correctly predicted, and shake off the few things I got wrong. Illustrations by Louis Eastman

 

fullsizerender-4 Amin Elhassan has put in some solid work this NBA season, appearing on a variety of shows for ESPN (often daily), and always providing a unique perspective with the occasional quip that cut to the bone. He especially shines as moderator on the TRUE HOOP, Black “Opinions Matter Monday” Pod with “Big Wos” and a rotating cast of guests.

They are like the John Wall and Bradley Beal of podcast backcourts, controlling the tempo with content you won’t get on any other basketball pod. Check out ESPN’s programming if you wanna catch him on television or peep the website. They don’t pay me so I’m not going waste my time listing all the shows he’s on, but he’s definitely one of the few reasons to upload any content from the WWL. Keep your eye out for the “Pitino Game” during the elimination games next month.

 fullsizerender-2    Been an interesting rookie season for ole Buddy Buckets. He started the year buried on the bench in New Orleans, as he struggled to find a role in Alvin Gentry’s offense, but his scoring has picked up since he was traded to the Kings for Boogie Cousins. During a 5 game stretch (2 weeks ago) he averaged 17.4 points and had a career high in scoring this (22 points)  in a loss to the Warriors. He just might be able to carve himself out an NBA career (in the right situation).

Despite not making any major off season moves outside of the Al Horford signing, and not making any moves at the trade deadline (much to my chagrin), the Celtics are in a virtual tie with the Cleveland Cavs for first place. Go figure. Outside of Isiah Thomas, they don’t have any reliable scorers. This may come back to bite them in the ass in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Draymond Green’s season has been nothing short of controversial. His ever expanding legion of haters means he must be doing something right. I can’t ever vouch for anything he says or does off the court, but this season has only highlighted how valuable he is to the Warriors’ success on the court. If you make a list of top 20 players in the NBA, and Dray isn’t on there then you are playing yourself.

Everybody is Eating  The owners had to come out of their pockets this season. Memphis and Dallas got the best value for the Mike Conley and Harrison Barnes deals. Both players lived up to their inflated values. While everyone else………well, just ask Portland fans if they think Neil Oshey spent money correctly. The market value of each player got skewed because of the cap, but owners had to pay. I’m sure some GM’s wish they could have a mulligan on some of these contracts

Finals ReThreematch Kevin Durant got hurt, and the Spurs were hot on the trail of the Warriors. I thought San Antonio had a better lineup top to bottom, but as Wednesday’s game showed, the Warriors still are the Click to Pick coming out of the west.

image1 Giannis has been nothing short of spectacular, averaging 23.1 points a game and making the “Sportscenter Top 10” pretty much every night he touches the court. Milwaukee looks primed for a post season bid sitting on a 40-36 record and homie was a legitimate All-Star selection to boot. I Bucks wit Giannis pretty heavily. Dude is going to be a fantastic player.

 

Harrison Barnes has averaged 19 points this year and has hit big shots when the Mavs needed him. Is he worth 94 million? Maybe not, but someone was going to give him that money, it may as well have been the Mavs. Lastly (slurp, slurp), wasn’t I right about Harry B. being better than Eric Montross and Raef LaFrentz? Huh Craig?

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Iguodala looks really good. He hasn’t been hurt and has played well as the floor leader on the second unit. He, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all chipped in on defense to hold Kawhi Leonard in check last Wednesday down in San Antonio. They will need him down the stretch for these next 2 months of playoff basketball. His back is the difference between beating Cleveland in 5 games, or losing to them again in 7.

(The J’s Reboot) Phil Jackson, Joakim Noah and Jeff  Hornacek

What a fucking mess.

 fullsizerender-3 Klay Thompson is going to do what Klay Thompson does. He has caught fire more than a little bit during various points of his all star regular season. He also happens to still be an elite defender. Even though he started off the season with a shooting slump, you knew he’d break out of it with one of those Klay Thompson games. Expect at least 3 of those kinds of games in April and May. 

BM

To be continued…….

 

Clicks to Picks for the Week:

 

Monday

North Carolina vs. Gonzaga (NCAA Championship Game)

I really want to see how this plays out. I’m impressed that Carolina rebounded from last year’s most heartbreaking buzzer beater of all time to make it back to the Championship.

Tuesday

Memphis at San Antonio

Milwaukee at Oklahoma City (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Wednesday

Cleveland at Boston

Thursday

No Good Ass Games on the Schedule

Friday

Miami at Toronto (Good Ass Game of the Weak)

Saturday

Utah at Portland

Sunday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

Crazy Basketball : A Book Review

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I first discovered Charley Rosen in the summer of 2004, when I went from being a mild basketball fan, to developing a full-blown love for the sport. Growing up, I gravitated towards baseball and football because both sports were relatively easy to pick up. The basketball players at  school were from a different physical mold altogether.

I always loved playing in P.E. and in friend’s driveways, but it wasn’t until I was about 21 that I started playing pickup ball on the regular. This was when I got my first inkling of the many nuances to playing hoops. I only knew to dribble ball, shoot the ball, and sometimes (if I wasn’t double teamed) pass the ball. The concept of rolling towards the basket after a screen was foreign. I thought rebounding was about outjumping the other people in the paint (What? Me? boxout? Why?).

I had found a summer job, at my university, working as a clerk in the biology stockroom. When I wasn’t running errands across campus, I was on ESPN’s Page 2 (think Grantland but without all the cursing) and FoxSports.com. FoxSports was more football heavy, but they had some decent basketball writers on their roster. Mark Kriegel (wrote a biography on Pistol Pete Maravich), and Jeff Goodman usually had something interesting to say, but Charley Rosen’s articles always had a nugget of basketball insight that I could think about on the court during those late night runs at the school recreation center.

For example, it had never occurred to me that at best, a non superstar player would get to touch the ball 20 percent of the time, and that the other 80 percent of the time spent on the court is how a player should be judged. From that point on, I started to pay attention to watching off the ball activity just as much as the ballhandler.

It was through Rosen’s column that I discovered that he’d help Phil Jackson write  More Than a Game, and Maverick. I spent the summer reading those books in an attempt to absorb anything I could to help me understand the game better. All of this happened to coincide with the 2004 Pistons-Lakers NBA Finals, and it was fascinating to take what I was reading and apply it to what I was seeing on television.

Charley Rosen was also the first person I’d ever seen write in print that Kevin Love was overrated. This was around 2010-2011, and he said something to the effect of “look at that roster (in Minnesota) someone has to get those points and rebounds.” Keep in mind that he’d also once said Lebron James would be an average NBA player at best.

There was also one column that Rosen had written about a trip he’d taken to Amsterdam with his wife and another couple, where he and his friend ditched their wives on the way to the Van Gogh museum to play pickup ball at a park. That’s the kind of madness I can  get down with (I personally enjoyed the Pablo Picasso “Blue Years Series” exhibit more than the Van Gogh stuff on my visit there. He probably didn’t miss much).

You may have also heard about the famous “Phil Files” he wrote for ESPN a year ago, after Phil Jackson’s first year as Knicks Team President. I still have yet to read all the installments, but its been highly discussed (at times ridiculed) on various blog and media sites.

His book, Crazy Basketball resonates with me because Rosen wasn’t the most skilled individual to play the game. His best offer for a scholarship was at Hunter College in New York City. He was a 6’9 bruising big man whose game was predicated on strength and will. He played in the Eastern Basketball League before taking on various jobs as a free-lance writer, college professor, summer camp counselor,  and basketball coach.

He was a free-lance basketball writer living in New York City, when he met Phil Jackson–then a player for the Knicks, and they became good friends (both really big fans of Grateful Dead apparently). The joint collaboration on Maverick cemented their friendship, and during Jackson’s coaching days in the now defunct Continental Basketball Association, Rosen served as his assistant, on the Albany Patroons. When Phil took an assistant coaching job in Chicago, Rosen went on to serve as a head coach in Rockford, Illinois, Savannah, Georgia, and Oklahoma City.

There are some great stories culled from these experiences, as the CBA had a roll call of NBA names who stopped through on their way to the league. It is easy to forget that it hasn’t even been 10 years since the CBA went belly up. Rosen brings the league back to life with his anecdotes of players like John Starks (Rosen says he wasn’t shocked when Starks choked in game 6 of the ’94 Finals), Steve Javie, and Dick Bavetta (something tells me Rosen doesn’t have him on his  Hanukkah list).

Things were not always easy for Rosen (the salaries he made as a head coach seem laughable at best compared to what NBA coaches get), he battled health problems, anger issues, and endured 3 divorces to still make the life he wanted to create. I find Crazy Basketball such an inspiring read because Rosen admittedly wasn’t the best player, and wasn’t the best X’s and O’s coach, but his passion for the game is contagious. Charley Rosen proves that you don’t have to be a genius coach, or an elite level athlete to find a way to honor the game and become an ambassador for the sport.

Phil Jackson credits Rosen for coining the phrase, “Basketball isn’t just a metaphor for life–it’s more important that!” and writes a very eloquent foreword that illustrates the deep bond between the two men. For anyone interested in more than the flashier aspects of today’s NBA–the dunks, memes, and highlight reels, then I recommend that you at least skim through it–even it is just for the Dick Bavetta anecdotes.

BM