Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I was thinking about the "You're not invited to my party" list, and it got me thinking. That's pretty negative, ya know?
I mean, it's a good idea, I'm pretty sure, because anytime you watch a sporting event you are invariably yelling at the TV because some idiot can't catch a pass or some announcer is babbling incoherently about something that had nothing to do with anything or is so biased you can't even watch a game in peace (cough, cough..Vitale!..cough, cough).
The last thing I want to turn into is Skip Bayless, who couldn't find the good in the second coming of Christ, let alone Tom Brady's clutch play or LeBron's glorious debut. "Honestly? All that bright light? Got in my eyes, and I think I have a mild sunburn. And the angels playing harps? So last millenium. Get with it, JC. We're going to stay positive - for the most part...or at least make an effort - around here at Point 23.
Thus, I give you "The Cool Lunch Table," the exact opposite of the hit list that is "You're Not Invited to My Party." Here's where the coolest, funniest, most clutch, admirable figures of the sporting world all hang out.
So send in your submissions, and I'll take care of the rest. Good times, good times.
And dear God, keep the Skip Bayless comparisons as far away from here as possible.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
Much has been said lately about the Suns and Mavs changing the face of basketball. And you know what? It's about flippin' time.
I always wondered what would happen if 5 guards took on 5 centers. The guards would be able to get the ball up the court easily, but I don't think they'd be shooting too many layups. They'd have to win shooting jumpers. The big guys, though...how would they handle the guard's press? Who knows - just throw over the top of the press, perhaps? - but once they did get it into the frontcourt, it would be a layup drill. Still, thats easier said that done. I could never make up my mind who would win.
Well, I think the Mavs and Suns have answered that question. They have made the big man basically irrelevant - to an extent. Their systems and philosophy force the most skilled players onto the floor. If DeSegena Diop and Nazr Mohammed are dinosuars, Steve Nash and Devin Harris are the asteroid that wiped their tall, unskilled butts off the face off the earth - poof - in a single, blinding flash. They were just sitting there, being big and unskilled, and then all of the sudden, they're irrelevant. Poor guys.
This new style of play has been seen as something revolutionary and inventive, which may be true, but it is actually the purest form of basketball. For all the Pistons' success and every coach's harpings that defense is what wins games, basketball is essentially an offensive game. You win by scoring more points. And this "new" style of play forces the best players onto the court; the importance of size is diminished. Skill - reardless of who has it - is what matters. The best players play. No specialists; no one out there just because they are tall. And that's basketball at its purest.
But back to the Suns and Mavs making "the big man" irrelevant. That couldn't be further from the truth; they have done no such thing. If that were true, Tim Duncan would have been chillin' with Nazr and Rasho for the entire Mavs series, and Dirk Nowitzki - all seven feet of him - would not have the Mavs out to a 2-1 lead against the Suns.
What the Suns and Mavs have done, however, is eliminated the unskilled big man. And that's a huge distinction. Nazr and Rasho and Diop and anyone like them are on the court for two reasons: 1) guard the other team's big man and 2) rebound. Well, when the other team doesn't play any big men, suddenly those big guys are standing around with nothing to do. Not good. They end up guarding small forward-types, which is obviously a nightmare at both ends. Plus, they aren't great rebounders. Serviceable at best, I'd say. Throw in the fact that the Suns and Mavs shoot either layups or threes most of the time, and that means the rebounds are either non-existant (layups) or long (off threes), where centers aren't handling them anyways.
That said, those big men could still be getting some burn. They are riding pine because they can't keep up defensively, plus they can't score, either. So whats their value? None, that's what. But if Rasho and Nazr - or Diop, for that matter - could play offense, their minutes wouldn't have changed. Duncan and Nowitzki, who can actually score - let alone catch a basketball - stay on the court. Why? Because they are good. They are skilled. They can score. Hence, they stay on the court. Their value isn't diminished just because they will struggle on the defensive end.
If the Heat end up playing in the Finals against either the Suns or the Mavs, Shaq's minutes will only be slightly decreased. He's such a good scorer and rebounder (honestly, have you seen him against the Pistons? The Big Fella is lookin' nimble!) that his defensive shortcomings are worth it. His skill offensively more than makes up for his shortcomings at one end of the court. Same with Ben Wallace. Even though he can't score, his rebounding and hustle make him too valuable to sit on the bench (plus he's quick enough to guard a small forward without too much dropoff, so maybe he's a bad example). The point is, Shaq, Duncan and Nowitzki all create matchup hell when other teams try to go small. Rasho, Diop and Mohemmed, Inc. don't. Skill rules. Basketball at its purest.
Honestly, Diop scored 192 points the entire season. He's not a good basketball player. He's just big. Why should he be on the court? The newest iteration of basketball, sans the quickly-becoming-extinct Hugus Bigguyus, is phenomonal for the sport. Pair it with the new Golden Age the NBA is teetering in the brink of, and I for one couldn't be more excited.
And that question the Mavs and Suns answered, who would win 5-on-5, guards or big men? The answer is obvious now, isn't it? Obviously, its whoever is more skilled. Regardless of size. And isn't that how basketball should be played?
(Nod your head yes.)
humbly submitted by point 23 on Monday, May 29, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Much like the previous post, I'd like to get a list of sports related quotes together.
Any suggestions or quotes, leave it in the comments section and it'll make its way to the official list.
Prize to whoever posts the Allen Iverson "we talkin' bout practice!" quote first.*
*All prizes are fake
humbly submitted by point 23 on Sunday, May 28, 2006
There are, for a plethora of reasons, athletes - or just people associated with sports - who get under your skin.
You know exactly who I'm talking about; I'm sure four or five people immediately popped into your head. They can be obnoxious, brash, too loud, too quiet, over-the-top cocky or under-the-radar unassuming. They can be perennial choke artists or continually come through in the clutch with the minor drawback that they play for your archrival. They can run run thier mouths, saying (or writing) some of the dumbest, thoughtless, most idiotic things you've ever heard. Or they can say nothing at all. Maybe they do nothing at all and you just can't stand them. For whatever reason, they get under your skin, but you can't put your finger on the reason why.
That's what this list is for. All these people need to be rounded up, grouped together and exposed for what they really are - annoying pests who drive you crazy for a million reasons - or none at all.
Some are no-brainers that immediatley jump to mind. These are the people who can barely be defended by thier hometown crowds: Barry Bonds, Terrell Owens, Jay Mariotti, anyone associated with Duke University, the immortal Paul Maguire. But there are other, less obvious ones. Chris Paul, for example is on my eternal shitlist for punching Julius Hodge in the balls from the blindside (he was the original Reggie Evans/Jason Terry).
Now that's not to say your mind can't be swayed. Maybe through years of rehabilition, Shawshank-style, this person can redeem themselves. But to get on this list, the possibility of that happening has to be between non-existant and slim.
So who's on your list, people? If you were throwing a party, who shouldn't be lookin' for their invite in the mail?
Let's hear 'em. Give a good reason and I'll add 'em to The List.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Sunday, May 28, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Lamar Hunt tabled his proposal to expand the NFL playoffs to seven teams before it had a chance to go before the competition committee. Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing the record broken for Fastest Proposal Ever Shot Down.
Doesn't this idea cost him credibility among his fellow owners? Do they take him seriously now? To make an analogy that is no where near accurate...if in your fantasy football league, you were offered a ridiculous trade, after accepting said trade, doesn't That Guy who offered you the trade just get bombarded with trade offers? Because everyone knows he's a moron who will do pretty much anything as long as you ask nicely. I think this is now Lamar Hunt in the NFL.
Here's Lamar's reasoning:
“That’s been the argument in the past by those who were opposed to it, that it cheapened the playoffs. I think it actually makes it more interesting. The Steelers were a Cinderella story this year, and there are other Cinderella stories waiting to happen. Plus, we miss the playoffs by like a game every year, and we probably will for the foreseeable future, and well, that really sucks.”
Well, yea, Lamar, it makes it more interesting. But a playoff including every single team would also be more interesting. Interesting is not a good selling point. Fair is. (And that last sentence of Lamar's may have been made up.)
Why does everyone want to expand? Lamar barely misses the playoffs - expand 'em. Boehiem gets into the NCAA Tourney by the skin of his teeth - expand 'em. LA doesn't have a football team and wants to add two to the NFL - expand, expand, expand.
Everyone of those ideas are atrocious for blatantly obvious reasons (not the least of which is that Ahnold is behind one of them). Just leave everything as it is. Please. I'm begging you.
The NFL playoffs are beautiful, OK? No sport has higher ratings - its working. Just chill, Lamar, and get a decent defense and some wide receivers. The reason there are “Cinderella stories” are because the NFL playoffs include only the best. You have to be damn good to get in. Hence, an “upset” or two. And just because a 10-6 team got left out this year doesn’t guarantee it will in the future. What if that 7 seed is 8-8? That’s no good.
March Madness is beautiful, just beautiful. Ask anyone what the greatest weekend in sports is, and if you get one response other than "March Madness," you asked a moron. Boehiem wants 5 or 6 more teams - how the hell would that work? Who would get those seeds, the winners from the smallest conferences, or the 7th place teams from the SEC and the Big East? It doesn't even matter; it would ruin that gorgeous opening weekend - plus the brackets! Oliver Purnell wants to double the field! I don't know if I'm against this idea because he has the same name as my cat (really, he does) or because its makes about as much sense as Mays fans booing Michael Finley.
And two teams in L.A.....no, you moron, just no. If a team wants to move there, fine, but we aren't adding anymore teams. The divisions are perfect now - four divisions per conference with four teams apiece. Ideal. Don't touch it.
Everyone just chill out. Everything is fine. And Lamar...I'll trade you Shaun Alexander for Samie Parker and Craphonso Thorpe. Deal?
humbly submitted by point 23 on Thursday, May 25, 2006
Why can't Reggie Bush wear number 5? Is there a good reason not to let him? Besides the fact that its currently a rule, I can't think of a single good reason.
"No. 1, no one's comfortable with their making an exception to the policy, because the exceptions just create a problem for every team."
Um...what problems? What cosmic problems would immediately arise that no NFL team could possibly remedy in time for the regular season if players were suddenly allowed to wear whatever number they wanted? Is there some unforeseen disaster that "every team" would somehow be unable to cope with? I really can't think of one, unless there is an overwhelming desire by entire rosters to change their numbers, and the teams don't want to order
What else ya got, Rich?
"No. 2, we're not comfortable recommending any change at this time, because to have something adopted at this time, meaning at this meeting, you would have the difference between the way a rookie's being treated and the way a veteran's being treated, because there's so much in the pipeline with respect to jerseys that there is no way a veteran would be in the position to change his jersey number."
Oh, so its because he's a rookie. I see. A little mess with the rook, eh? Well how about if he sings for his supper a couple times and then you duct tape him to the field goal post? Will that do the trick? Maybe a few cream pies to the face?
And if it is such a problem that veterans can't change their numbers, there is a simple solution laying around. Let them. Change the rule.
Let NFL players wear whatever number they want. This is such a stupid rule to even be debating (which is exactly why I'm debating it).
The main reason, I suppose, that its needed is to recognize players by positions. But just because you wear a certain number doesn't mean you can't play a certain position. Antawn Randle El wore 82 for the Steelers; I don't recall the refs being baffled when trying to assess him with a penalty. "Who...who is this on? 82? No...he...I don't get it...he's 82 but he tried to throw it? Wha..what do we do?" (I do recall, however, how baffled they - and pretty much everyone else - were when he threw that lateral for no good reason. And how he always spins around after he caught a punt. But thats it.)
I mean, he was allowed to throw passes right? When he lined up under center, I don't recall the ref blowing the whistle and reigning down yellow flags all over the place. Whoa, whoa, whoa there pal. Just what do you think you are doing? You see that 82 on your back? Don't give me that dumb look...just get out there with the rest of the your kind...ah-ah-ah! I don't want to hear another word! Now...can we get someone wearing 1-19 back here please?
So why doesn't Bush just wear No. 5 and have the Saints list him as a quarterback? Apparently, it doesn't matter what you are listed at, you can play wherever you want. I'm sure it would piss the NFL off, but you know what? They have rules about socks, so they can relax a little bit.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Thursday, May 25, 2006
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Oh boy. Deep breathes. Woo-sah, woo-sah.
Six hours ago, the conference finals had a pretty good chance to look like this:
Western Conference: Mavs vs. Clippers/Suns
Eastern Conference: Cavs vs. Heat.
That's a fun, enjoyable week of basketball right there. But after two less than desirable outcomes tonight, the overwhelming odds favor the Pistons and the Spurs advancing. This...this just isn't good. Damnit. Excuse me, I'm going to slam a tire iron to my shins. I'll be right back.
Now, this can still happen. I can still get those dream matchups. But I'm not getting my hopes up...not that they were up in the first place. That final four was going to be unreal to watch. I feel like a kid standing at the top of the waterslide, all excited to go down, and then someone pantsed me and kicked me face first down slide without my little blue rubber thing. Something was supposed to be really fun, and then suddenly, it is not. Damnit.
Man...D-Wade battling LeBron in the East; the Mavs and Suns playing small ball or the Mavs running against the freakin' Clippers! Suns/Clips is really a toss up, both would be fun to watch. And the Heat are already in. But everything needs to be done to keep the Pistons and the Spurs out of the conference finals.
Repeat: everything needs to be done to keep them out. I can't watch another series of the Pistons' smugness or the Pistons whining and flopping. I just can't. And I don't care if they are probably the two best teams in the L; they aren't fun to watch. Actually, they are decidedly unfun to watch. And if both Detroit and SA advance, that probably means they will meet in the Finals...and then blood will pour out of my eyes and ears as I figure out the most excruciating way to end my own life.
If they advance, get ready for another month of:
The Spurs whining. Some of the Spurs favorites:
- Tim Duncan standing there with his arms wrapped around the ball, basically hugging the ball in disbelief. "Can you believe that call, ball? Me either, buddy, me either. Awwe."
- Manu Ginobili with more flops than a Texas hold 'em tourney. He looks worse than this jackass.
- Bruce Bowen holding his hands up. "Look, ref, you can see my hands, how can that be a foul?" Because, you dirty SOB, you jacked him with the body 46 times. And because you're dirty. Did I mention how dirty you are? Go stick your feet under another jump shooter, you dirty, dirty person.
- Michael Finley running away from calls in disbelief. He's annoying, and I'm pretty sure he looks like Mickey Mouse.
Also, you can look forward to the Pistons being incredibly smug and condescending:
- Rasheed Wallace saying outlandish, stupid things that don't do anything but annoy you. But even more annoying is the rest of his team backing him up. "That's just Sheed bein' Sheed, homie." Shut up.
- Chauncey Billups making smug comments while eating carrot sticks out of the reporters hands. Reporters: make sure you keep your hand flat and still - you don't want to lose a finger.
- Flip Saunders. Aaaah.
So really, if the NBA cares about me at all, they will make Joey Crawford ref both games and get me a favorable outcome. Because the world revolves around me.
How badly do I want to see Dwyane Wade go against LeBron James? Badly enough that I'm asking myself questions about it and then answering myself. Can you imagine the shoot out that would be? The Cavs perimeter defense is awful...but the Heats is worse! Neither team has a player than can even remotely slow down the opposing team's superstar...James Posey and Flip Murray will be about as useful as a handful of quarters at a strip club. This should be the first of many, many Eastern conference showdowns between the two greatest players from the '03 draft.
And in the West? Suns are fun as hell to watch. But how cool would it be to see the Clippers play in the conference finals? Plus, you get to watch Shaun Livingston. Its a win/win. No one will hate you either way for cheering for one team or the other. But the Mavs? C'mon man...would anyone outside of that "ugly ass river walk" want to watch the Spurs style of play over the Mavs? I don't know any.
So here's what we have to do. Teach the Cavs how to box out (I can't even begin to go into how painful that was to watch. Just excruciating.) Then we have to show the Mavs how to extend the game and take the layup with 15 seconds left. And everything will be fine. Please let everything be fine. Please.
And if they aren't? Well...damnit.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Saturday, May 20, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
Stu Jackson is an idiot.
After Jason Terry got a suspension for giving Michael Finley a beeper (you know, little love tap to the cookies), I have no idea what the baseline is for getting suspended for a game. What does Stu use for criteria?
God, Stuart is an idiot. Let's compare Jason Terry vs. Reggie Evans, shall we? Reggie tries to rip off someone's manhood and gets a fine. Terry barely grazes Finley's jewels and misses maybe the biggest game in Mavs history. I mean, for all intents and purposes, this is the Western Conference Finals. Whoever wins this series will be the heavy favorite to go to the Finals, and probably win it all. Its that important. And little Stuey thinks its a clever idea to suspend the Mavs second-best player for something that probably wouldn't even make you that mad if it happened in a bar. It would be an "alright, man, you made your point" moment. You aren't getting kicked out, and a fight certainly isn't breaking out.
Can we use a little common sense here? Yea, there's a rule that says if you throw a punch, you get a game. But that really wasn't a punch. Just because your fist is closed, that isn't a punch. If you showed that tape to 100 people, how many people would characterize that as a punch? One, maybe (and that's if you polled Stuart).
The Jason Terry fiasco, to me, is a microcosm of the NBA's refereeing (is that how you spell that? I have no idea) and discipline issues. The NBA is horribly, awfully, painfully inconsistent.
First, the refs: atrocious. Plain and simple. I'm not well-educated enough on the topic to know whether its the NBA's influence or just something the refs decided to do, but the ticky-tack fouls have to be at an all-time high. If you drive and jump into your defender - in other words, if the offensive player creates the contact - you'll get two shots. How are you supposed to play any defense?
And when the offensive player pump fakes and gets his defender in the air, all he has to do is launch himself into the airborne defender, regardless of where that defender is, and he'll get the foul call. If the defender jumps in the air and runs into you, fine. But should the offensive player be allowed to go out of his way to create contact and then be rewarded for it?
(Not to go off topic here...but I'm currently watching the Spurs/Mavs game...and Snapper Jones is an idiot, maybe on par with lil Stuey. He is the Paul McGuire of NBA broadcasts. His latest gem: "Everyone is talking about small ball...but its not just small ball, you have to have skill, too." Oh, really Snapper? You don't say? Five Vern Troyer's couldn't beat the Spurs? Hmmm, point well taken. I never thought of it like that. Excellent insight. I hate you.)
And the reffing of Shaq is an issue completely unto itself. Jason Collins is on the all flop team with Ginobili, Rip Hamilton, and everyone who played in the Arsenal/Barcelona game. Can the refs really not tell the difference? I never thought I'd feel bad for someone of Shaq's stature, but its borderline unfair.
Now, I understand the NBA wants higher scoring. But high point totals aren't exciting; the way the points are scored is. When Player A scores 24 points on 18 free throws and a pair of threes, that isn't exciting. A parade to the free throw line is not exciting. If offensive players are going to be allowed to use their off arm to guide their way to the basket, should they also get the call for creating contact, too? Why don't we just give them a lance and a shield, too? Perhaps a club? Maybe all defenders should have to wear roller skates.
The foul call situation, even though it is a serious issue, is nothing compared to the suspensions the NBA is doling out. Inconsistent is being generous.
Remember when Kobe elbowed Mike Miller in the regular season? He got two games for that. Had that happened in the playoffs, he would have only gotten a game. That's a fact. Inarguable. So the NBA is clearly saying that playoff games carry more weight than regular season ones. So if you follow that logic, shouldn't elimination games carry a little more weight? If you aren't going to differentiate between levels of games, you might as well go all the way.
It is also ridiculous how minor and major incidents each get the same suspension time. Tap some one in the jewels? One game. Clothesline someone? One game. Throw a mouthpiece? One game. Drill someone in open court? One game. These are all wildly different infractions and all garnered the same punishment. Inconsistent, inconsistent, inconsistent. Imagine of you ran a red light, punched someone in the face while walking down the street, robbed a bank and murdered someone. And you got a day in jail for all four offenses. Doesn't really add up.
(Oh, a nugget from Walton: "In a big game, never waste a time out on possession. You can always get possession back." Wow.)
The point is, its too easy to get suspended. Basketball, especially at the NBA level, is a physical game. Things are going to happen. The NBA is the overprotective parent who ends up turning their kid into a huge wuss. Things should get a little chippy. That's fine. Its almost embarrassing how big of a pansy the NBA is being lately. These are adults. Let them play like it.
And Stuart is a moron.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Friday, May 19, 2006
I'll admit it: I'm scared.
LeBron - and what he is trying to do - scares the hell out of me. See, I was all set to watch LeBron make his playoff debut against the Wiz, tear 'em up, give us a handful of memorable moments, silence all doubters, etc. But that was it. That was as high as I let my hopes get.
Now, don't get me wrong. I wanted The LeBrons to win an NBA Championship with The Chosen One averaging a trip-doub the whole way there. But baby steps, right? First time in the playoffs, lets get our feet wet, play well, and win a hard-fought series before falling to the eventual champs. Considering the supporting cast around LeBron, it wasn't even remotely realistic to consider anything beyond that. And after Game One - and much of Game Two - it was all too obvious that the Pistons had a superior team. A sweep (maybe the Cavs steal one at the Q) seemed all too likely. But that's OK. First time in the playoffs, memories and moments galore, just ran into the better team. No shame in that this early in his career. I was content.
And then LeBron went and did this.
Three striaght wins. Against the best record in the NBA. Uh oh.
Still, throughout the not-a-chance-in-hell three-game run, I kept my doubts sky high. Hope was kept at a minimum. Remember what Red says to Andy the first time they discuss hope? "Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."
And you know what? Red is absolutely right: hope is dangerous. And it wasn't about to drive me insane. Disbelief (and well...rational thought) trumped everything. Rationalizations were rampant. After Game Three, well, that was LeBron's one moment before the Pistons snapped out of it and realized who they were playing. After the Game Four win, well...Detroit is heading home - and when have they ever lost three in a row? Then, after the Mistro (Does Bron need another nickname? Probably not, but this one is to apt) conducted another masterpiece on Detroit's home court...hope started to eek its way in.
Which brings us to that whole "I'm scared outta my mind" thing. When nothing is invested, its easy to just sit back and watch. But now that something - everything - is on the line, that's scary. Plus, if I start hoping, won't that jinx everything? I mean, not hoping has gotten it to this point - why change now? Its like sitting in the same seat through all 47 minutes of a game, then sitting on the floor for the last minute. Why would you ever do that?
Still...things are looking pretty ideal for Cleveland, are they not? The game is in Cleveland, who's homecourt advantage has been second to no one's this postseason, if not the flat-out best (I always wanted to say "flat-out." I'm happy). Sheed is a little banged up, which gives the Pistons a minimal advantage in the post. Couple that with Detroit's guards not playing particularly inspired basketball right now...And LeBron is playing OK, too.
The last three games have raised an interesting question, and the answer to it decides who will win the series: has Cleveland won the last three games or have the Pistons lost them?
Cleveland could not have played any better the last three games. With LeBron being the constant, they have gotten step-up performances out of unexpected guys. Anderson Varajeo? Are you kidding me? A week ago, he couldn't have caught a golf ball with a first baseman's mitt, and now he's snagging dimes from LeBron and finishing in traffic. The LeBron/Varajeo pick and roll has been surprisingly effective. Actually, a pick and roll with anyone and LeBron is a good thing - Donyell Marshall pick and pop? Buckets.
That said, though...Detroit clearly isn't playing its best basketball right now. And it all starts with Chauncey Billups. He looks like he's trying to prove he can get a win and not try hard. Like playing all out is an admission that the Cavs are kinda good or something. If he give the Cavs his top effort, it shows that they are an equal, which I'm sure he feels they aren't (actually, I think all the Pistons feel this way; from Sheed on down they have been ridiculously dismissive of the Cavs so far). In Game Five, when Billups started asserting himself, the Pistons got back into it. If Billups wouldn't have fouled out...who knows what would have happened.
Which gives you the feeling that the Pistons have kinda lost this thing. Taking nothing away from the Cavs, if the Pistons play hard, and smart...they should win. But you know what? They haven't, and there really is no evidence that they will in Game Six either.
Like Andy said to Red, "hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."
(Oh, who am I kidding? This series has been killing me for five games now. Game Six may give me a heart attack.)
humbly submitted by point 23 on Friday, May 19, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
Who votes for the NBA MVP award? Is there a list somewhere? Is it made public? What qualificiations do you need - any? Because I am fairly certain there are more than a few idiots voting this season. I think I even had proof.
Did you kno that not one player was on every ballot this year? Not one. How can this be? Is there an acceptable answer other than "several morons who did not watch basketball this year were given ballots and allowed to vote?"
Its perfectly understandable that the MVP wouldn't be unanimous, especially this season. But there are five places - five! - on that ballot. Surely everyone can agree that Steve Nash should be in the top 5? LeBron? Kobe? And its even more ridiculous when there were votes cast for Allen Iverson and Shawn Marion - Marion wasn't even the best player on his team!
This just really bugs me. Keeping in mind that 125 people were told to vote, look at the leading vote getters, in terms of total votes, regardless of place:
- Steve Nash - 123 total votes
- LeBron James - 120
- Dirk Nowitzki - 114
- Kobe Bryant - 103
Which is why these votes need to be made public. I assume most of these people are members of the media, right? So shouldn't each of them be forced to list their top 5 and then write a column explaining why the hell they thought Shawn Marion was better than LeBron James this season? Or why Allen Iverson was more valuable than Steve Nash? (To be fair, whoever game Marion and Iverson votes could also have voted for Nash, LeBron, Dirk and Kobe...but I'm doubting it.) This is their jobs - to watch basketball and then write intelligent, well thought out pieces about what they watched. Clearly, there are at least 22 people - and probably more - not doing thier jobs.
And just to be safe, let's make everything public. Anytime there is a vote, print it. MVPs, NCAA hoops and football rankings, the March Madness selection process, Heisman voting - everything. Just let us know. If there are idiots out there, we should at least be allowed to know who they are.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Friday, May 12, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
After going 6-for-8 on first round predictions - in which every single top seed advanced, expcet the Nuggets, who shouldn't have been a high seed, anyways - I figured I needed a little help in making my Round 2 predictions. Not too much, though - just a game. So now that all four series have played one time, here goes...
In order of easiest to predict to toughest...
Pistons vs. Cavs. After that game one debacle, its painfully obvious the different classes the Cavs and the Pistons are in - kinda like in third grade how there was always that little table of the "advanced" kids reading their books with "hard covers" and then the rest of us drooling idiots trying to color inside the lines. Man, I hated that table. Buts that's the Pistons. Excluding LeBron, they are superior in basically every meaningful facet of the game: defense, rebounding, passing, shooting, execution, cohesiveness...and plenty more, I'm sure. The LeBron Factor is good for one game, maybe two (hey, if the Bucks can pull of a W, I think Bron Bron can snag at least one at the Q). Although the Pistons are pretty upset over being relagated to NBATV for three games (Why, though? They were playing the Bucks. And when they watch game film of themselves, are they ever jumping up and down? Chauncey looks pretty sleepy in the commercial where he's watching film.) But still, they're pissed, so they could turn this into a statement series.
The call: Pistons in 5.
(OK, screw that "easiest to hardest" thing. The next three series could go either way...)
Heat vs. Nets. In my humble opinion, Game 1 was an anomoly, for a few reasons: 1) The Nets aren't going to continue shooting like that. 2) The Heat will stop being idiots and play hard. As much as you can talk about strategy and whatnot, it comes down to one thing with the Heat: do they play hard? When they give their top effort, they are very, very good, but they don't always do that, probably because their alleged leader will "make his free throws when they matter" (hey, Shaq? They always matter.) and will "decide when he wants to get mean." I think Game 2 sounds like a good time to start. Flip the switch, Big Daddy.
Plus, why are the Heat doubling ball screens with Shaq? Why not go under every screen? Make Carter, Jefferson, Kidd shoot over screens? The Heat perimeter is full of more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese (there's my best Rick Reilly impression), so why not play off them and force them to shoot? If the Nets are going to consistantly drill long range shots, you aren't going to win anyways. So make 'em shoot, Miami, and sure up that perimeter D, and take your chances. Reilly should be able to figure this out, although he seems to just be chilling during games and then all depressed after them, so who knows.
The call: Heat in 6.
Suns vs. Clippers. First and foremost, thank God the "hallway series" never happened. That's the one and only time that monstrosity is ever getting mentioned.
I think I'm a little dissapointed in Sam I Am. Kenny had it right on TNT: he let the Clips fall for the bait. The Clippers were running at weird times, forcing tempo, taking pull up jumpers without numbers...it was just, um...disconcerting. I think they'll figure it out. Plus, if Kwame Brown was able to eat these guys up inside, what can Elton Brand do? Even Kaman? Elton's 40 point game should be a good indicator. Plus, when you throw the ball inside, it forces you to be patient on offense. You put it inside, wait for the double team, play of that...maybe you end up taking a jumper, but it's going to be an open one, and it's going to be later in the shotclock. Which is how you beat the Suns. And the Clippers are going to have 2 very good guards on the court at all times, which means the MVP is going to have to play defense at all times for the first time this playoffs (thank you very much, Smush).
But as much as it is about taking advantage of the Suns lack of D, it's more about stopping the Suns on offense. You are gonna get your points. You need to make sure the Suns don't get yours...and you do that by controlling tempo. By being patient on offense, you slow tempo. Make Phoenix score in the halfcourt. They are still very, very good at that...but the opportunities are limited. The Suns want more attempts. Limit those attempts, and you've won yourself a ball game.
As long as the Clips stop falling for the bait, this series is theirs; they clearly have a superior, deeper team. During stretches last night, when the Clips didn't fall for it, they led. But that bait is so tantalizing. You don't think that carton of milk looked good at first to Ron Burgundy? And we all know how that worked out..."milk was a bad choice." Don't drink the milk, Clippers, and you'll be fine.
The call: Clips in 6.
Spurs vs. Mavs. There is no logic here. None at all. But I think this is Dirk's coming out party. And he really didn't have an exceptional game one...and Bowen pretty much locked him up on that last shot...and he kinda flipped out to the press...I dunno. Just a hunch. Pretty insightful analysis, eh?
This is probably just because I hate the Spurs. Well, mainly Manu. Freakin' balding flopper, I can't stand him. And Bowen is dirty as hell, putting his feet underneath jump shooters...that's so damn wrong, I can't even talk rationally about it. And only Tony Parker could make me hate some one like Eva Longoria. Thanks, "TP" (as in, "old man johnson called the cops on us for playing football in the street, lets "tp" his house.) Duncan and Horry are OK, I guess...but they don't really make me like the Spurs, just not hate them any more than I already do. The sooner they are out of the playoffs, the better. Let's go Mavs!
The call: Mavs in 6.
humbly submitted by point 23 on Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Odds and ends from the Greatest First Round Ever...
- Aren't you glad the first round is a best of seven format? I am.
- If I was Boris Diaw, I would switch my first and last names. Doesn't "Diaw Boris" sound much cooler, not to mention about ten times tougher? I think he'd average 3 more rebounds and 1 more block per game just by doing this. And his first name wouldn't be "Boris." It's a win-win.
- I am officially off the Manu Ginobili bandwagon. I still had a pinky toe on just cuz I liked when Barkley yelled "GINOBILI!" but enough is enough. He is Vlade Divac's little brother. The flopping is borderline ridiculous; you get anywhere near him, and he goes down like a sniper's bullet just shredded his hammy. Next time he does this, someone run at him with a yellow card. Please. (Also, I'm sick of looking at his bald spot. He looks like Freddie Prinze Jr.'s dad.)
- The Grizzlies will never win a playoff game. Ever. And you know why? Mike Fratello's hair. We all know that isn't your real hair color, Mike. Listen...I have no problem with a guy getting up in his year's and not wanting to show his grays. Fine. But...that's a little excessive, no? Just trick us a little bit; at least give us the illusion that that may be your real hair color. Kinda like seeing the tissue paper sticking out of the bra. (Unbelieveably, Fratello is only second on the That's Not Your Real Hair Color List. No one was ever, ever born anywhere on this earth with hair the color that Doug Collins is currently sporting. No one.)
- Too bad Michael Redd didn't sign with the Cavs in the offseason. Really.
- Why does Smush Parker have that line shaved down the middle of his head? It looks like the stripe on a football helmet. He lives in L.A. for God's sake; couldn't someone tell him he isn't on the set of Boys 'n da Hood?
- Does it seem like Steve Nash lost the ball an unnatural amount of time? Have I just not seen him play enough? Not even on those memorable traps in the corner...just in general - little bobbles here, a fumble there. Seems like something to be concerned about, maybe.
- While the Kobe vs. LeBron debate rages on, maybe an even more important debate surrounding those two should start: Who's supporting cast is worse? I'm going to give a slight - slight - nod to the Cavs, because the Lakers have another bonafide player on their team in Odom. Cleveland's second best player is..who, exactly? Hughes? Z? I don't know...worth exploring though, and I'm not sold either way. Convince me.
- Best pass of the first round, of the top of my head: Shaun Livingston's no look, lefthanded, underhand flip through traffic against the Nugs. When it's all said and done, his name will be up there with LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Melo, and all the other defining players of this era. If he plays one, maybe two more years under Cassell and then takes over that team...look out. Is there a more promising budding nucleus than him and Brand? Maybe the Baby Bulls, maybe what the Bucks are trying to put together...but for my money, I'm going with Dr. Livingston.
- Heard Kenny say something interesting on TNT after the Bucks blew a close, late game against the Pistons. "The Pistons are comfortable in a close game late." Any other team feel that way? The Spurs perhaps. But that's the list. And that's probably why those two are going to be playing in the Finals.
- I got nuthin' on Pacers/Nets since it was always relegated to NBATV - and rightly so. Seems like Jermaine O'Neal is really good at spinning baselines and dunking with his left hand. Must have done that at least twice every game. I'd sit on that if I was guarding him.
- LeBron telling Gilbert that he better make his FTs or the game was over...wow. I mean, he probably shouldn't have touched him, but to make that kind of statement - when you are losing - is just incredible. Imagine the pressure LeBron put on himself? I think that had to freak Gilbert out more than anything. How could anyone be that confident? And especially since he didn't end up taking the GW himself? Unreal. If I was Gilbert, I woulda missed, too. Probably an airball. To the left. And short. And then peed myself. A lot.
- And if LeBron had done that to someone he didn't know, then it might have been out of line. But Gilbert was in the Cavs' locker room after Game 5, joking around and saying that since he didn't get to be Mr. Game 5, he would have to be Mr. Game 6. So it's just a little gamesmanship. Some freakin' ballsy gamesmanship, but gamesmanship nonetheless.
- Not to sound like Seinfeld here, but what's the deeeeaal with players being so chummy after games? This is the playoffs, isn't it? And I understand they all know eachother and they played AAU ball together and All-Star teams and whatnot...but its the playoffs! Jason Kidd and Anthony Johnson hugging and smiling after the Nets bounced the Pacers; players going out to dinner with eachother in between games, Arenas in the Cavs freakin' locker room? I don't know..something just seems wrong there.
- Call their name before throwing them a pass: Anderson Varejeo and Kwame Brown. Those two are where assists go to die.
- This has been bothering me: Simmons rips the Heat fans for wearing white t-shirts, then lauds the Clip fans for wearing red ones? Plus, the Clippers fans did the wave. During a playoff game. No explanation needed. Those in glass houses shouldn't...ah, I forget the saying, but that's a little hypocritical, methinks.
- Things I will never get sick of: Ben Gordon's tear drop runners...LeBron throwing chalk in the air...Steve Nash running a pick and roll...Steve Nash's fake drive, pull up for a J move...Dwyane Wade create in mid-air...Dirk's stroke (not a classic beauty, but still can't take my eyes off it - it's the Angelina Jolie of jumpshots)...Tayshaun Prince chase someone down and swat their layup to halfcourt while the shooter stands there with a "where they hell did he come from?" look on his face...being scared to death whenever Kobe has the ball...watching Gilbert flick on shots from 40 feet like he's at the free throw line...watching Jason Kidd place passes perfectly...watching Vince Carter get his ass put on the floor...
- The All-First Round Team. Unbelievably, two players from losing squads make the team:
- Steve Nash, PHX
- Kobe Bryant, LAL
- Gilbert Arenas, WAS
- LeBron James, CLE
- Dirk Nowitzki, DAL
Coach of the First Round? Pop, solely for that sweet baseline pass play he drew up in Game 2 of the Kings series. It was so pretty.
Anything memorable I forgot?
humbly submitted by point 23 on Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
Time for Round 2 of the Fake Playoffs. (The Fake Playoffs are matchups based on the premis that there is no divisions or conference in basketball. Just seed everyone one through sixteen, they giddy up!)
Something interesting to only me, probably, and frankly, I have no idea how this happened: Seven of the teams that are stil alive in the real playoffs are alive in the Fake Playoffs as well. The lone exception: the Lakers are into Round 2 of the Fake Playoffs (must not have been a 7 game series. Ba-zing!). The team that is out: the Nets, who, ironically enough, lost to the Lakers. OK, enough of that - onto the matchups!
Hell of a second round matchup, no? This has a legit chance of being a Finals matchup in the "real" playoffs.
A slow, grind it out, typical playoff series. Both teams have excellent perimeter defenses - expect low point totals, but clinics on how to play D at the NBA level.
Nos. 2 and 3 in the MVP voting go head to head. If it comes down to better head coaches, Mike Brown is a lock. Wait - dumb looks on your face at all times is a bad thing? Oh. Better go with the other guy then.
Kobe is guarded by Bruce Bowen, somehow who "really makes him think out there." And doesn't clothesline him, either.