Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Carly Fiorina - Quitter

I tried real hard to find a picture of her where she looks hideous.  You know what?  When she is not talking, she is actually pretty good looking, and, when shot from far enough away and from below (as pictured), can actually look pretty good.

Hmmmm.  Goodbye - she will not be missed.

Chris Christie -- Quitter

Add this one-word descriptor to "fat" and "blowhard" and you have three good choices for Christie.

If only he had ever told voters that he used to be a federal prosecutor - I think that could have made the difference.

I guess he won't be kicking Barack Obama's ass out of the White House anytime soon.

On the plus side, he did manage to eviscerate the pathetic pro-amnesty anchor baby robot Marco Rubio before exiting.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cam Newton Studied Kyle Korver's Late Game Effort

Newton did not jump on the fumble, much as Korver thought better of stepping in front of LeBron James here:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Most Egregious Errors Thus Far In ESPN's All-Time #nbarank

Through today we are up to #26 (Isiah Thomas), who, coincidentally, is one of the greatest mistakes.  Isiah's career "advanced stats" are roughly equivalent to Stephon Marbury's and his WS/48 number of .109 does not register in the top 250 all-time.

If you look at Isiah's awards, he was only first-team all-NBA three times and all-NBA second team twice.  He never finished in the top 4 of the MVP balloting in any year. 

1) So, Isiah Thomas - should be around 60, is ranked 26th -- huge error.  If we are awarding spots for titles and title appearances, then why is Chauncey Billups at #87?  Chauncey 121 WS, .176 WS/48, 38 VORP.  Read this and then ask if one guy should be 61 spots higher than the other:

2) Bob Pettit and George Mikan -- two of the greatest basketball players of all-time.  Mikan led his teams to 5 titles and was so dominant that the league changed its rules to hurt him.  He had 3 20 WS seasons.  Bob Pettit was 2X MVP of the league and 10X first-team all-NBA.  He retired as the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

ESPN has these guys ranked ##33 and 34.  Now, compare their ranking to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.   McHale was 1X all-NBA and never challenged for an MVP.  ESPN has him ranked at #31!!!  Pettit's career is far more akin to Bird's career (top dog on a team that constantly challenged for titles) than it is McHale's.   Bird will be top 15.

ESPN has Bill Walton ranked as the #42 best player in NBA history, largely based upon his 1 MVP and his title with Portland.  Walton played a total of 120 great NBA games as a starter and 80 more as a 6th man (and a 20 mpg 6th man at that).   Yet George Mikan, who had 3 of the best seasons ever played and led his team to 5 titles, ranks a meager 9 spots higher?  How?  Why? 

3) As noted, Bill Walton is far too high.  His career resembles that of Derrick Rose.  Rose is not even listed in the top 100.  Yao Ming was a great player for 6 years or so -- he is #89.  The Walton ranking is nonsensical.  Did he have a better career than Bob McAdoo (#52)?  No.  He did not.

4) The Steph Curry ranking (God knows where he will end up) is maddening.  If you compare career stats for Curry, Westbrook and Harden, they are very comparable.  Yet Harden is #97, Westbrook is #49 and Curry appears headed for a top 20 ranking.  Where will the madness end?  I mean, Steve Nash was 2X MVP and he played forever and he is already ranked (#30).   There is no way that Stephen Curry has had a better career than Chris Paul (#29) so far. 

The only way you can rank Curry as high as they have is to say to yourself, "Well, we think these past two years will generally be an average year for Steph going forward".  If you believe that, then why not just rank him #1?  His current season will be maybe the best season ever played, so why not just put him in front of Jordan?

5)  Artis Gilmore at #70 is given absolutely no credit for his 5X first-team all-ABA performances or his nearly 190 total ABA/NBA WS.  He is ranked behind Vince Carter?  5 spots above Blake Griffin?  11 spots behind Carmelo?

6) Almost Every Old Player Gets the Shaft -- I mean, put to one side Pettit and Mikan (who are both underrated by 20+ spots).  Dolph Schayes was 6X first-team all-NBA and 6X second-team.  he is ranked at #74, 3 spots above Joe Dumars (never first-team all-NBA).  Hal Greer and Dave Bing and Bill Sharman were top 50 players as late as the 1996 list,  They are now erased from this current top 100 list (Sharman, a 4X first-team all-NBA player, being the worst snub).

Neal Johnston should have a movie made about him called "The Player Whom Everyone Forgot."  4X first-team all-NBA.  Led the league in WS 5X, couldn't edge out Shawn Kemp?

7) The pro-Boston bias for guys in the Bird Era is pretty apparent.  Walton and McHale are 30 spots too high.  Dennis Johnson is listed (#84) as a better player than Chris Bosh (#86)  There is absolutely no basis for that.   DJ is not a top 100 player.  Robert Parish is 13 spots higher than Artis Gilmore?  11 spots higher than Bob Lanier?  The 3rd best guy on the Celtics (maybe the 4th offensive option)?

8) There are certain guys on the list that appear to just be "OK, how about him" or "Hey, I used to watch this guy" entries.  Mark Price yes, but Dave Bing no.  Mo Cheeks yes, but Paul Westphal no?   Bobby Jones (who basically never started) yes, but Buck Williams and Horace Grant no?   What did poor Jack Sikma do piss off the basketball powers that be?  Look at his chart of "similarity scores".  7 of the top 8 "most similar" guys are on the top 100 list.  Sikma?  He is no Gail Goodrich, Kevin Love or Shawn Kemp.

That is it for now.  We can only hope the errors do not become worse ##1-25.  Scottie Pippen (my #36) and Steph Curry better show up soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Continued Lament as a Timberwolves Fan

The Wolves just sent me a bill for season tickets next year -- an extra $600.  One would think that such a request from a 14-35 club would at least come with a handwritten apology from the owner.  Something like, "Geez, I am sorry that we have completely fucked you over since May of 2004, but you see, I am only worth around $2 billion, so I need to make you pay more while you put three kids through school."  You know, something like that.

The last time the Timberwolves made the playoffs, I had just turned 40 and my kids were 10-8-6.  It is now 12 years later and they are still sending me bills and explaining from time to time that they are rebuilding and really have a solid young nucleus for the future.   And we are 14-35.

Who is the Timberwolves' General Manager/VP of Basketball Operations?  Milt Newton.  The number of front offices that Milt Newton has run pre-2015?  Zero.   His hiring announcement for the Wolves says he was the Wizards' Vice President of Player Personnel for.......10 years.  During that time in Washington he was the front office.........third in charge.  What this resume would suggest is that the Wiz had two guys who they thought were better equipped for the job, and, no one in the NBA believed that Newton was worth looking at, even as a second banana.  Now that may not be true, but that is what it looks like -- Newton was a third stringer for a mediocre D.C. organization and moved up to second string by going to a far worse organization.

Who is our coach?  Sam Mitchell -- career record before this year?  156-189.    After being fired by the Toronto Raptors, Sam was hired and then demoted as an assistant coach for the Nets.  Sam's last head coaching task before the Wolves was to coach the US Select team in the 2012 William Jones Cup in Taiwan.  The U.S. took....third place.

So, that is our coach and GM.  But you know what?  Hey, a mediocre coach like Doc Rivers had Tom Thibodeau as and assistant and reached the NBA finals, winning in 2008.  So you can win with good, say, Sidney Lowe?  Ryan Saunders?  Rick Adelman -- oh wait, it is David Adelman.  Look, my son has a lot of skills and he is far superior to me in a lot of ways.  If I retired or died tomorrow, however, I would recommend hiring him as your attorney on the basis that I am/was his father.  Call me crazy, but I wouldn't do that.

The lack of quality on the basketball side of the operation can be seen in the season thus far.  Andrew Wiggins has talent -- he has declined as a player.  Karl-Anthony Towns is the best rookie the Wolves have ever had (and we have had Garnett and Marbury) by a lot.  I despise how Zach LaVine plays, but he has had a nice 4 game stretch here.  And we are.....14-35.  We may be headed for another 60 loss season.  

OK, so we are having YET ANOTHER rebuilding year.  But that is OK, because we are giving minutes to young guys like Tyus Jones.........oh, wait, we just played Andre Miller 12 minutes and Tyus Jones 0.  And Tayshaun Prince over 30 minutes.

My mom will turn 80 on March 19.  That same day, Andre Miller will be half as old as my mom.  If we are 14-35, we do not want someone playing who is half as old as my mom.  Tayshaun Prince is a professional, and he is willing to play as long as you ask him to play, but he will soon be 36 years old.  He has a 6.3 PER (league average is 15) and he plays starter minutes for us.  Why?  What possible reason could there be for this?  

If the reason that we are playing Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince is that we are trying to win games, then why are we not REALLY trying to win games?  If you were coaching this team and someone told you, "OK, you are going to be shot and killed if you do not win 35 games" what would you do?  1) You'd play Towns 40 minutes a night -- he is so obviously your best player on both ends of the floor.  2) you would run plays so that every time down you would have Towns touch the ball at least twice. 3) you'd play Shabazz 30 minutes a night.  4) you would play Rubio 40 minutes a night.  5) You'd tell Wiggins that he needs to get 2 blocks and 3 offensive rebounds a night to justify starter minutes.  If you cannot do that, you go down to 24 minutes a night and we will play Tayshaun more.

You would probably also try to find the best advice you could get from folks who are currently out of work (Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau maybe) and say, "how do I run an offense?  how do I run a defense?"   I mean, you have to win 35 games, you cannot be proud.  Just ask.  Hell, beg.

But the problem with the Timberwolves is that there is no accountability, no sense of urgency. Kurt Rambis was allowed to go 32-132.  Think about that.  David Kahn was allowed to pass on Steph Curry twice, once for Jonny Flynn.  Kept his job for three years.  

Rick Adelman was +9, +5 +9 in his three years as the Wolves coach, going from 17-65 (Rambis) to 40-42.  Then after Adelman left the Wolves went 16-66 under Flip.  

The Wolves after going 16-66 got Karl-Anthony Towns, who may put up 7 Win Shares.  Yet the Wolves appear ready to completely squander his effort (LeBron as a rookie had 5.1 WS but the Cavs won 18 more games than the prior year).

Anyway, just another long lament to note how awful I feel and how the Wolves continue to kick me in the balls and then send me a bill for the privilege.  As a Timberwolves fane, I am..........the gambler from "Let It Ride" where the main character asks the gambler why, instead of betting $200, the gambler  doesn't just give the main character $100 and let the main character kick him in the balls -- it would be quicker and cheaper.


Friday, January 29, 2016

ESPN's NBA Rank Reaches its Final 36

My list of 36 contains 32 guys currently not already ranked in the top 100 by ESPN.

I lost 4 guys from my top 36:  I am told that I overrated Ray Allen by 22 spots (50 v. 28); Reggie Miller by 17 spots (51 v. 34), Rick Barry by 10 (37 v. 27) and Gary Payton (41 v. 35). 

Here are my 32 remaining guys listed alphabetically by last name):

Kareem, Barkley, Baylor, Bird, Kobe, Wilt, Drexler, Duncan, Durant, Dr. J, Ewing, KG, Havlicek, LeBron, Magic, Jordan, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, George Mikan, Nash, Dirk, Hakeem, Shaq, Chris Paul, Bob Petit, Pippen, Oscar, David Robinson, Russell, Stockton, Wade, West.

I cannot imagine that the remaining 32 guys are not absolute locks to be in ESPN's top 36.  Who are the 3 absolute worst guys on my list?  Pippen, Ewing and Havlicek?  Are those guys gonna be ranked below 100?  No.

So who are the 4 guys I missed (supposedly underrated)? We know that, right or (very) wrong,  Steph Curry will be on the ESPN top 36.

Of the guys who were on the 1996 Top 50 list and who have not yet been ranked by ESPN in its top 100, we have remaining Dave Bing, Hal Greer, Kevin McHale, and Bill Sharman.  You gotta think that McHale at least will make it.

I did not have Jason Kidd on my list, as I did not evaluate him as a top 36 player (was Jason Kidd as good as the guys I have in my top 36?  I'd say no.).  But he did play 50,000 minutes, so I imagine he will be another fill-in.

Then if you look at the ESPN PG ratings you will see that they have Isiah Thomas above Chris Paul and Kidd, so Isiah will make it.

Therefore, look for ESPN to add McHale, Kidd, Thomas, and Curry to my top 32, probably in that order.  Hell, Curry might be #1 overall in their minds.

So what will be the horrible glaring errors for ESPN's #nbarank?

Well, in 1996, Dave Bing, Hal Greer, and Bill Sharman were considered top 50 all-time players by a panel of experts.  These three gentlemen are not in the #nbarank top 100.  Seems hard to imagine. 

In addition, poor Neal Johnston continues to be completely forgotten.  Now, compare Neal Johnston's NBA statistics and honors with those of Yao Ming (their #89) or Bill Walton (their #42) and tell me that Neal Johnston deserves to be left out of the top 100 completely.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ESPN Ranks ##51-60 all-time

I must say, I have grown even more confused now.  I was skeptical of players like Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady at 61-70, but geez, compared to many of these guys, 61-70 are "no doubters".  Should quickly note, this is the dumping ground for "worst ever League MVP players" with McAdoo, Cowens and Unseld in this group of 10).

ESPN's list
51. Reggie Miller
52. Bob McAdoo
53. Wes Unseld
54. Bernard King
55.  Dave Cowens
56. Pau Gasol
57. Robert Parish
58.  Tony Parker
59. Carmelo Anthony
60.  Earl Monroe

The biggest head scratchers?  I had Reggie Miller at #34 on my list.  They have him 17 spots lower.  Reggie Miller has more WS  and a better WS/48 than Kobe.  He is #2 all-time in Offensive Rating.  If you have Reggie Miller at #51, you are stating that you give NO value to longevity, offensive ability and clutch playoff performances and only care about whether the guy was first-team all-NBA or MVP of the league.  Will be interesting to see what wing scorers they put ahead of him.
Terrible injustice.

Second most terrible -- Earl Monroe.  Take a good long hard look at Earl Monroe's stats.  basketball-reference has him ranked objectively as the #150 most qualified Hall of Fame candidate.  So, just move him up say 90 spots because he was flashy and had a cool nickname?  Sure, why not. 

Moving on -- love Bob McAdoo and Bernard King, but they each had less than 5 outstanding years. 

Wes Unseld was a key cog on a constantly winning team, but after his rookie year (where he was ROY and MVP) he really wasn't that great of a player.

Regarding Pau Gasol - probably a tad too low. 
Robert Parish -- I am stunned to learn that he is a much better player than Artis Gilmore (as I am sure he is)
Tony Parker - too low, when Tony was going well he was an unstoppable force for a championship club.
Carmelo -- I get a little queasy thinking about him being this high because he is a badly overrated player who has wasted his talent a lot.  But is he a WAY better player than Earl Monroe?  Sure. He probably deserves to be down below Vince and TMac and CWebb, but is it the end of the world that he is up here at 59 when his physical talent should have had him at around 25?   Yeah, it probably still is awful, but not the worst thing ever. 

Re-doing the list. if I am stuck with this list: 

51.  Reggie Miller  (same, but should be 34th)
52.  Tony Parker (+6)
53.  Dave Cowens  (+2)
54. Pau Gasol (+2)
55. Carmelo Anthony (+4)
56. Bob McAdoo (-4)
57.  Bernard King.(-3)
58.  Robert Parish (-1)
59.  Wes Unseld (-6)
60. Earl Monroe  (same, but should be down in the 70s or 80s).

Karl-Anthony Towns Headed for One of the 10 Best Seasons Ever for a Rookie Under Age 21.

Now, as we can see from the list, being on the list does not assure you that you will be an all-time great (DeJuan Blair, Greg Monroe, John Drew).  But there are some great players on the list.

If KAT can raise his game a little in the second half (say .200 WS/48 and 4 more WS) then he'd have a top 5 rookie-under-20 season in both categories for his age group.

KAT has had a Game Score of 9 or better in 31 of 46 games, and if you search for player with consistently good Game Scores (greater than 15, greater than 20) you will see KAT's name next to  players like Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Klay Thompson, and Al Horford.

Based upon WS and WS/48, KAT is a borderline contender for the all-star game (having about the 33rd best overall season to date).  Guys with the most similar 2015-16 seasons thus far:

Al Horford, Greg Monroe, Dirk Nowitski, Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard

Monday, January 25, 2016

ESPN Going Through and Ranking Top 100 NBA Players of All-Time and look for the hash tag #nbarank.  Some of the rankings are just straight out bizarre, but I will give ESPN credit for undertaking such a difficult task, so I will only start my criticism of them at rankings 70-61.

Here is their 70-61 list:

70.  Artis Gilmore
69.  Vince Carter
68.  Bob Lanier
67.  Dwight Howard
66.  Chris Webber
65.  Alonzo Mourning
64.  Dennis Rodman
63.  Tracy McGrady
62.  Alex English
61.  Manu Ginobili

Now, ESPN purports to rank guys based upon both their BEST years and their longevity, meaning that a younger player may not achieve the highest score he ultimately could as he plays longer.  (Example, James Harden and Steph Curry have put up ridiculous numbers in a couple seasons, but they should not rank above, say, Jerry West.

OK, so we assume that ESPN is doing what it says it is doing.  Let's see what we think of how well they are accomplishing that.

Well, Artis Gilmore has more career Win Shares (almost 190 total) than Oscar Robertson or LeBron James.  He has 107 NBA Win Shares, more than anyone else in this group except Vince, Lanier and Dwight Howard.  He was first-team All-ABA 5 times and is the career leader in WS and WS/48 in ABA history.   

If ESPN wants to give Artis 0 credit for his ABA play, OK.  But I will expect Dr. J. to be down around the low 20s based upon his NBA play only.  We shall see.

Vince should have been disposed of long before #69.  Vince is a great talent, but he is not the 69th best player in NBA history.  He has never once been first-team all-NBA and he finished top 9 in MVP balloting.....never.

Webber is too high.  Maybe he squeaks in back down at 70 and you move Gilmore way up.  But Webber did not have the career that Lanier or Howard have had. 

Mourning has under 90 career WS.  If you are going to rank Vince high because he has played forever, then Mourning must be marked down for longevity. 

I am not going to bitch too much on Rodman, T Mac, English and Ginobili -- they are all roughly 61-70 area, give or take a few spots.  Rodman was one of the game's great defenders and rebounders, won titles.  English was an epic scorer, played forever.  TMac had a top 10 all-time individual NBA season and was top 8 in MVP balloting 6 times.  Ginobili is one of the greatest winners and clutch performers of all-time.  But I will say that his overall statistics and honors in the regular season do not justify his lofty ranking.  So I'd drop him a little.

If you forced me to take these ten guys and rank them 70-61, here is my list:

70.  Vince Carter (-1)
69.  Chris Webber (-3)
68.  Alonzo Mourning (-3)
67.  Bob Lanier (+1)
66.  Dwight Howard (+1, it kills me, but he is 5X 1st team all-NBA)
65.  Alex English (-3)
64.  Manu Ginobili (-3)
63.  Dennis Rodman (+1)
62.  Tracy McGrady (+1)
61.  Artis Gilmore (+9)

Again, if the rules are that you cannot consider ABA stats AT ALL, then I will wait the rankings of Dr. J, Moses Malone and Rick Barry and we will see if they are similarly dropped 10-20 spots.  But it seems to me that you cannot just take a guy who was 5X first-team all-ABA and 5X first team all-defense and just completely ignore those stats/  That is particularly true when, after his athletic ability declined somewhat, Gilmore was still a 6X an all-star in the NBA and 62nd in career WS for only the NBA!