March 19, 2012

The Slow Fade of Georgetown

Think back to the 2007 tournament.  It was all coming together for Georgetown.  The son of their classic coach was in charge.  Hell, the son of one of their most famous players was the 6th man on the team.  They made the Final Four.  Despite that being the end of the road, there was no reason to think that Georgetown was back as a top college basketball team.  John Thompson III was a happy man!

Since then?  Well, every year Georgetown starts out with high hopes...and sometimes even enters the tournament with high hopes...only to see their shorts soiled.

2007/08, Big East Champs: A #2 seed, lose to Davidson in the 2nd round
2008/09: Fail to make the NCAA's, loses first game in NIT
2009/10: A #3 seed (with a very average record), get their shit rocked by Ohio in the 1st round
2010/11: A #6 seed (still average), get their shit rocked by VCU in the 1st round
2001/12: A #3 seed (pretty good team), win first game, then lose to #11 seed N.C. State

Amazing for a team that gets as much talk as they do, and over the last half-decade they don't have much to show for it beyond failure.  The Washington Post's summary of the events include this nugget from Jason Clark:

“We weren’t picked to do anything at the beginning of the season,” said Clark, who scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting. “Everybody doubted us. . ."

Holy Shit...Jason, you're leaving the school, but let me give you a quick geography lesson.  As long as there are more hot wings-fed sportswriters on the east coast than anywhere else, all Georgetown would have to do is beat Seton Hall and Providence at home, and boom!  In the top 25.  John, kind of a streak going on does it...oops.


March 13, 2012

Oh, you're depressed about the Wolves? Well, Ricky's not....

Ricky, you sand-bagging, happy-go-lucky son of a gun-ya.  Tweeting pictures of yourself riding a stationary bike two days after tearing a knee ligament... It brightens my day.

He'll be back.  And he'll smile.

P.S.  Can we ever tell if Rubio just woke up, or is the hair literally always like that?

P.P.S.  The Hot Glove recently shut down after 2 years, which bums me out completely, so I've decided to add these post-scripts in its memory.



P.P.P.P.S.  Framed Wally jersey on the wall?  GROSS.

March 10, 2012

We can't have nice things here


March 7, 2012

Hey KJ, you pumped, or?

And, 2:08, is Gavin thanking Isiah Thomas? Is that what he said? Holy hell, what is going on here?

I know one thing and one thing only about this entire situation... KJ and Tom Chambers made the Suns INFINITELY more dominant in Lakers vs. Celtics than they were in real life.

March 1, 2012

Just a few Rashad McCants videos, no big deal

If you can make it through 15 seconds of each of these videos, you have more patience than me.

This is so awesome. It's like Troy Hudson, only he's actually doing videos for the songs. And the budget is LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

We're going to make it after all!

We're moving up in the world!

Now, instead of a can of wax beans ("You know, I've been buying the generic brand and pulling the labels off.... you can't hardly tell the difference"), you have to purchase a BAG of coffee and a BOTTLE of juice in order to obtain tickets to Timberwolves games.

Pretty soon, you'll only be able to get them for money!

February 8, 2012

We go to club now, OK.

 Hey guys we are playing great games now and is time to celebrate!!!  Who wants to meet ladies at club?
(stirring pot of beef and barley)
 Nikola!  Yes, my good friend Nikola Peki, you must want to comes to club and dance with many ladies, yeah?!
(lights cigarette, ashes into boiling pot)
 I make a pass to you so many times tonight, I think you must be Miss USA contestant!
(dials cell phone)  Ya.  Ya.  NO!  (pause)  Leave him to me.  I know ways to make lies turn to truths.
 I get dressed in my best clothes and we head out to club, eh Nicky?
(muttering)  I must make stew for my brothers.  They very hungry, and no stew for the winter.
 Hey, it's OK!  Let's maybe go to the club tomorrow, hey?  (pause)  Why are there fingers in your stew, Nikola?

January 29, 2012

Am I in America right now?

Is this real life?

I don't know if that's just total clown shoes on the Lake Show because of Mike Brown and his face, or if Rick's going to untie the waistband and show Derek Fisher how things are done.

We haven't seen a line like this since.... oh, never.

January 24, 2012

Let the circle be unbroken

Look at this photo.  GRIM FACES.

"Uh...we had to make a change...uhhhh...Randy'll take this team and derp de derpy doooo."

A quick summary of the recent performance of the Washington Bullets.  (Yeah, when I wanted to get this photo, that's what I entered into took me to their page, but we can dream)

  • After a year off, Flip is coach of the team, and each year gets worse for a myriad of reasons
  • The "Whiz" start this season at the bottom of the barrel
  • Randy Wittman will coach the rest of the season
I'm not writing this post for any kind of analysis beyond the thought that Randy Wittman himself will make the team good.  Making the playoffs isn't a good yardstick in the East, since you can be .439 and grab that 8 seed.  Still, I challenge the Bull-er, Whiz to prove me wrong.  Anytime you have a chance to get a coach with a .326 winning percentage, you have to make that move.

January 20, 2012

Ricky Rubio: Haters Beware

Remember all the people who immediately called the Wolves stupid for drafting Rubio? All they could talk about was how he wasn’t going to play here, ever, and if he did, he’d suck. I’m not going to say that I was sure he would find his way into a Wolves jersey but I can’t say as though I ever doubted that it was a bad pick.  The value was always there, even if we were forced to trade him.  Then, when he announced he was coming, those folks decided that he was going to suck. Out loud. Sure, he’d had a down year in Spain but he was playing at a higher level than he had played, in different role, and he was getting much less playing time than he was used to. Oh, and he wasn’t trying to Git Buckets. He was trying to fill a roll his team needed him to fill.  Everything I read NOT written in the U.S. was positive about him but here, all they could talk about was how his stats were down across the board.

Yeah, in 32 minutes a game he’s scoring 10.7 points per game and a whopping 8.3 assists per game. Anyone who expects more out of a rookie point guard doesn’t pay much attention to basketball. Sure, they can throw Chris Paul at me, but he’s a freak – always has been, always will be. Sure, he’s not Magic Johnson, but the Wolves aren’t the Lakers. James and Kareem would do wonders for Ricky too – not to take away from the Magic of Ervin.

But if you take a look at a number of similar players – point guards taken in the top-10 and some later round surprises that have become leaders at the position – Ricky looks like he’s doing just fine thank you very much.  Yeah, he’s not lighting up the league like Chris Paul or Derrick Rose did in their rookie years, but he’s out performing Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker in their first years in the league. Ray Felton and D.J. Augustin aren’t necessarily guys you want to compare a top-5 pick to, but he’s on par with them in their rookie years overall. His 8.3 assists per game rank pretty high as far as rookies go.  It hurts me, but that’s the number Marbury put up his rookie year and, despite his short comings overall, he was as impressive a point guard the Wolves have ever had. He helped them to the playoffs for the first time, he assisted in their first 50-win season before turning into a total asshole.

It’s early in a shortened season but I have one message to anyone who doubted Ricky’s skills. Suck it. Suck it long and suck it hard.  The kid can play, that much we know.  Will he become an All-Star? Who knows.  But can the kid play PG in the NBA? Yes, yes he can. And no one is happier to see that than me.

January 19, 2012

Is it... safe?

Can I.... Is it ok if I let my hands fall to my sides a little bit?  Can I let the guard down for a minute?

Is... is K-K... Kevin still in charge?

What?  WHAT?!?!  The team plays defense???  The coach is competent???  The young stars are showing signs of fundamental improvement???



Last night was the biggest win of the season.  I'm not kidding.  Sure, you may say "It's only the Pistons, at home... they SHOULD beat them."  And that's exactly it.  They've shown us all exactly how good they are.  They are 6-8.  They are hovering around .500, and will likely end the season somewhere around there.  You know what that means?  That means they might, could, possibly, maybe, contend for a play---


But yes, they are 6-8.  They are not great.  They have flaws like every other "middle" team.  But sweet Moses, they are a middle team.  They are as middle as it gets.  I never thought it would be so good just to be mentioned in the same breath as Portland and Houston.

Last year, they were so horribly inconsistent and awful.  Look at the record... they would beat Indiana and Utah, back to back, at home... and then lose 15 games in a row.  They would beat Houston at home, and then go get done by Indiana and Philadelphia.  There was no momentum at all, and they hardly ever won games they should have won. 

It's changed this year.  Rick has the team playing up to their potential and at their talent level.  A team like Detroit comes in, and the Wolves find a way to win a game when they couldn't shoot for shit.  They keep working the offense, keep plugging away on defense, toughen up the paint (I'm seriously loving that on-the-block defense... it hasn't been here since, what, Joe Smith?  Oh christ....), and they come out with a win against an inferior opponent.

So many things to celebrate... but let's stop for a moment to consider that statement.  "Inferior opponent".  There are other teams that are worse off than the Wolves now.  IT'S BEEN YEARS.

So sign Love.  Extend Rubio.  Dump Beasley, or not.  Just keep the coach.  Keep improving.  The slow burn of NBA Rebuilding is warming the room.  I'm ready to emerge from this dark dungeon.  Like Bubs, I think I deserve a meal at that table now.

It's been long enough.

January 8, 2012

Was "Phil Jackson to Mike Brown" the biggest drop in coaching talent in sports history?

Serious question here. To watch the Lakers this season is to watch the Cleveland Cavs from 3 years ago. Good talent, defensively sound, absolutely no identity. And the players barely acknowledge the coach's existence. But that got me thinking... have we ever seen a drop-off in talent like this? Let's take a look:

Tony Dungy to Jim Caldwell
One speaks eloquently and understands the game of football. The other one closes his mouth only when he tastes a lemon.

Bill Parcells to Wade Phillips
Oh dear. The look on Wade Phillips' face is one of complete confusion 98% of the time. The other 2% are when he is giggling like a school-boy because some White Boy Roy from Sconnie returns a pick for 6. Either way, Parcells wins in every single category, especially brain cells.

Flip Saunders to Kevin McHale 
Here's some home-town flavor. Was there a single smart person in the world who thought this was a good move? I remember this news was broken to me by Mr. Driznewski at a drinking establishment wherein he happened to be working as a bouncer. It was announced through grit teeth. Anger was high, and we all knew where it would lead: 6 years (and counting!) of utter irrelevance and failure. Flip has gone on to have an uneven career, but McHale has gone on to be the most worthless person, ever.

Dick Vermeil to Mike Martz
Sure, Martz made it back to the Big Bowl. But the look on his face should tell you all you need to know. Confusion, 24 hours a day. Plus, at every stop since, he's been an utter failure, and has left the organization in worse standing than when he got there.

Mike Holmgren to Ray Rhodes 
The Packers had to replace a Super Bowl winning coach when he bolted suddenly. Instead of hiring someone smart, they went with Ray Rhodes. He inherited one of the best teams in the NFL and went 8-8, their only non-winning season in 12 years.

Terry Ryan to Bill Smith 
Not a coaching change, but this had to be one of the biggest drops in front-office talent ever recorded. Terry Ryan was good at the following things: evaluating talent, planning for the future, trading for prospects, drafting, signing contracts, keeping payroll manageable. Bill Smith was good at the following things: eating donuts.

Phil Jackson to Tim Floyd 
This was the first Phil retirement, and it sure did bode well for the Bulls. In one season, they lost Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson. They got Tim Floyd and a decade of failure instead.

And that brings us to Fail City. Is it as bad? At first, I have to think that the fall-off between Phil and Tim was worse, but time's going to tell on this one. With every Laker game I watch, I see Mike Brown becoming more and more of a laugher on the sidelines. If they miss the playoffs this year, it will be the greatest thing ever. I wouldn't put it past them.

December 15, 2011

"Oh, you guys wanna make a trade?"

"Maybe I can be of some help?"

"No.  Anyone else?  Lakers?  No.  Orlando, you  Nope.  I decide where players play."

(The phone rings)

"Very funny, who changed Donald Sterling's phone ID to 'Archie Bunker?'  Hello, Donald.  (pause)  You know what, I said no before, but since someone here will be fined for changing your caller I.D. you can make that trade."

Just in case it wasn't clear before, the NBA Players Union did not "win" with their new deal.  They lost.  Sure, they may have won "concessions" but to Stern (a lawyer) he defended his client (owner's typical bullshit) and can once again lord over his employees...which is what they really are.

For the Clippers, they've had money...not as much as the Lakers, but they've had it.  Sterling, a very uneven miser, simply couldn't attract talent to the team.  More often than not, a meeting with him would seal the deal: the player would go elsewhere.  And even with this trade, the Clips still have moves they need to make.  (They likely won't or will make dumb moves, but still...)

Lest we forget about David's LOVE of TV markets and ratings.  Therefore, this trade makes complete sense to David because:
1. By trading away the best player of a league-owned team, they can then work on the dwindling fan interest as they see fit, and then choose to move it (or fold it) whenever they'd like.  Maybe Eric Gordon can be the franchise, right?
2. By directing Paul to the Clippers, he gets his wish: another big talent in LA, but this time with the other team.  This helps the ratings (in theory) and makes David look like he's holding his end of the deal from the lockout agreement.
3. If anyone is against this deal from a New Orleans perspective, David can play the "I sure wish someone would take over this franchise/I'm a single mom working two jobs" card.  Here's his quote after the trade went down:

"It was not my favorite role, but I did it," Stern said. "... I must confess that it wasn't a lot of fun."

You had to have been a nervous wreck, David.  Hey Derek Fisher, you were in all the meetings with him, and as union president watched your initial demands dwindle down like the casual fan's interest.  What do YOU think of the trade?

"I just think the overall approach to things in this business is getting a little bit difficult to stomach."

Too bad you haven't had a chance to change anything.  Well, Sterling continues to do his thing, David pulls the strings, and people complain as they always do.  But you know, I'm no Laker fan, but I do follow the Clips...and they've fucked up so many times, maybe the league literally had to shove a great player to the team.  You could ask anyone on the Clippers staff to make you a sandwich, and an hour later you'd find a ring of bologna on the floor and the bread unopened as they "are in the process of moving forward."  So, again, merely as a fan, I think this is fantastic! 

Then again...maybe it's the fact that a fucking sleazeball runs the league and the team I've chosen to give mild interest to is one of the worst over its history...maybe that's why I don't like the NBA.  Enough about me, how are those Clippers car flags coming?

December 12, 2011

The Orlando Coffee Filters

Want to know the sure-fire way to fail at running a sports organization?

Start taking advice from your players as to who you should acquire.

I don't know who this Otis Smith is.  If it's the same guy whose NBA Hoops card I had back in the early 90s, then I have to say, nice knee-pads.  But one thing I do know is that he sounds like he's lucky to have a job.

From what I can gather on the Magic, their success has been pretty simple.  They got the first pick and drafted Dwight Howard.  Then, as teams will do, they began the almighty Pursuit To Surround The Star Player With A Talented Team.  They went after Rashard Lewis, which seemed like a steep price to pay, but it worked out.  They drafted Jameer Nelson, which was a good choice.  They lucked into a resurgent year from Hedo Turkey, and they went to the Finals.  That was neat.

Since then, there has been MOUNTAINS of coffee on the floor.

Vince Carter.  Gilbert Arenas.  Jason Richardson.  Quentin Richardson.  Just one fail after another, as Dwight's prime wastes away.  Hey, you don't have explain this shit to me.  We lived through Bowl of Kandi and Anthony Peeler.  It's no fun trying to fit pieces together that just don't fit.

But when you start letting the star player have input on personnel moves, you're days are numbered.

You can't win in that situation, Otis.  If you do what he wants, sure he might be happy, but that's just going to erode your power.  If you say no, you piss him off and then he comes out and demands a trade.  By the time you've said "Hey Dwight, what do you think about...", you've lost.

What's the solution?  How about DO YOUR JOB.

When someone is the GM of a team, they have the ultimate and final say.  They take input from their staff, but it all comes down to them.  Who is their "staff"?  The people they hire specifically to advise them.  Unless I'm mistaken, Dwight's paycheck doesn't contain an "advising" salary.  He's really good at basketball.  Probably not so much at navigating the salary cap.

But this is the world of a modern-day NBA GM.  There are literally 10 of them that are competent.  The rest are running around making decisions with absolutely no thought to any sort of organizational plan.  Every move occurs in a vacuum.  "Hey we got this guy, we should build our team aroun- ARE YOU OFFERING ME CHRIS KAMAN, YES I WILL TAKE HIM."  To teams like the Lakers, Heat, Mavs, Knicks, etc, it doesn't matter... because players will fall into their laps.  If LA dumps Odom and Pau, they'll just get back Howard.  But teams like Milwaukee and Philly.... you have to have a goddamned plan.  You have to put pieces in slowly, and develop them into a cohesive team.  It's the same with Orlando.  Big moves aren't going to fall into your lap.  You have to build it one piece at a time.

So, as it starts to erode for the Magic, we learn another great lesson about the NBA.  Stars are going to do whatever they want, and the GM position is really just a joke for the majority of the teams in the league.  Why even have one if you're just going to ask your star who he would rather play with?  "Hey I played with this guy back in B-more, we should sign him even though he doesn't believe in playing defense."

The good thing for Dwight?  If he gets traded to the Lakers, he won't have to worry about a GM not taking his advice.  He'll just have a constant rotation of superstars stopping over in LA on their way to a gift championship.

Sometimes this league just brings me down.

December 8, 2011

Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try to find Jesus, on your own...

That ol' train is roaring down the line, and we're banking hard into another season of gambling and basketball. First, let's lay a few lines down and see where this gets us:

Derrick Williams +350
Ricky Rubio +800

Hmmmmmm.... this is tough. At first glance, I would say no way is Williams going to get this, because the Wolves aren't going to run the type of offense that is going to feature him (I'm thinking Love is going to be getting Hogg Points all year long). But look at the rest of that rookie class: Enes Kanter is +500, as is Jimmer Fredette. Ugh. Neither of them has a chance in hell. But then, in order for Williams to do well, Rubio's going to have to get him the ball, which should boost his own totals. There's no way you take Rubio to win rookie of the year, unless they base that award on "number of re-donkey-kong passes he throws between his legs". He's likely to get tired in the second half of the season and they'll likely be out of contention before that anyway. So, Williams? Sure, I guess. Why not?

Kevin Durant +400

Isn't this free money? Look at the other guys at +400: Derrick Rose and LeBron. Ok, Rose has a shot... but the Bulls won't be as good this year as they were last year, and I don't trust him to be able to lift the entire team. And LeBron? HA HA HA, Wade won't let him win the MVP. He'll take it away like a parent takes away a child's toy. So doesn't Durant make the most sense? He's the clear points leader not only on the team but in the Western conference. And the team keeps getting better... this could be the year that the Thunder go to the finals. Oh, maybe the Lakers will knock them off... oh wait, who is the coach again? WRONG CHOICE.

NBA Championship
Miami Heat +250

I know. It pains me too.

Look, I went at this thing from every possible angle. I considered a fellow blog who mentioned that the Clippers at 50-1 was a decent long-shot, being that they are a team on the rise and could swing a mid-season trade. Or the Magic, who could get hot in Dwight's last year and make 20-1 look like a steal.

But let's be honest. This is Team Stern. The two favorites to win the title this year are Miami and the Lakers. The Bulls are not far behind. Stern still believes that the way the NBA grows stronger is if the same 4-5 teams keep making deep runs year after year. Parity is his enemy. He likes the little guys to put up fights, but he knows that the big stars are what get the big ratings. He'll have the Heat in the championship again if it kills him. Same with the Lakers... they are aging and will be coached by a buffoon. But do you know how popular Kobe is around the world? Instant Finals ticket. I'd love to sit here and say "MEMPHIS HAS GOT A SHOT IF THEY STAY HEALTHY", but they don't. Sorry. David won't let them.