Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Favorite "Youth Basketball Parents" Stories

I coached youth basketball for many years.  Here are my 7 favorite "youth basketball parents" stories.

7.  "My Kid Can Score In Bunches" --  We had a kid who played "A" traveling ball in 5th and 6th grades.  Good athlete.  Dad was a college athlete.  Kid simply had no desire to play D, rebound, run the offense, pass, or anything else other than shooting.  So 7th grade traveling ball comes.  He is our last pick for the team of 10.  Halfway through the season the dad approaches us -- "Hey, my kid ought to play more."  Well, he has a LOT of deficiencies as a player.  "Like what?"  (List them all).  "Well, I disagree with that analysis, and he is a Great Scorer!  He can score in bunches."  Well, we need to see improvement in [list all deficiencies].  He never improved.

In 8th grade we left him off the team.  The "B" coach doesn't take him.  He ends up playing "C" ball and not starting for them.  Dad calls -- "It would have been nice to know what we needed to work on before this all happened...."

6.  "Should We Just Leave, Go Home?"  -- Coaching girls.  We are in the state tourney.  Win game 1, so we are now in the top 8 in the entire state.  Dad, "I'd like to see you guys."  Walk out to the other room -- "So, should me and my daughter just not come tomorrow?"  Huh?  "Well, she played about 35% of the game today, so if you don't need her, maybe we should just stay home."  Look, man, we have played your kid 55% of the game all year, today she just played less.  "Well, it is humiliating to just sit there and have her barely play!"  (He is screaming now.)  Do what you want, I guess.  Just let us know by midnight.

5.  You Should Make Your Players Be Nice to My Daughter!" -- Coaching girls.  Parent of a player comes up to me, "You know, I blame YOU for what is happening to my daughter."  What is that?  "Well, in school, your players don't include her and treat her badly."  How so?  "Well, they just don't include her."  In school?  "Yes."  When I am not around at all?  "Yes. So do something!"  (she is screaming, she stomps off).

4.  The Man Who would Be Coach (Secretively)  -- I am an assistant coach for boys.   Father every third game or so will come up to me, "You know, that isn't how you run a press."  or "You know, that isn't how you attack a 1-3-1."  or "You know, you'll never defend that play properly the way you are."  I'd reply that I had discussed same with the head coach and we were comfortable with what we were doing, but if he had good insight, he should talk to the head coach.  "That wouldn't do any good."  Do you have specifics for me to pass on?  "That should be obvious."  Kid played for us for 3 years.  The dad never once gave the coach a poor written evaluation.

(Runner up for this category would be the dad of the 5'4" non-athlete who became the C coach "cuz my kid never gets a fair shake from the A coach" -- his theory, stay with me, was that we A coaches took guys who were so bad they should play C, leaving too many good players for B, so his kid played C.   We were 4th in the state in A basketball in 8th grade, playing our group of C players.)

3.  "My Kid Should Play.....Always."  -- When we coached, we had "playing time rules" that said every player needed to play 1 1/2 quarters.  So, with 10 players, your worst 5 players had to play 37,5% of the time and your best five could only go 62.5% (if you dared to risk the wrath of the worst 5's parents (you generally just played them 50-50% and maybe in the last couple minutes played the better players in a close game)).  Anyway, in 8th grade we had a girl who was probably our 5th or 6th best player.  Her dad was a former college player.  Dad, "She has to start, she plays better when she starts."  Start her.  "She has to finish.  She plays better when she is allowed to finish the game."  Um, that isn't likely.  "Look, she has to start and finish."  We do that for 2 games.  "Why is she playing less in the middle of the game?  That is hard on her.  Do I need to speak to the varsity coach?"  We go ask the varsity coach to come evaluate her as a player.  He says, "She is maybe your 7th best player.  I don't care if you play her at all."  Dad says she will finish out the season, but we have ruined her life.  We finish 6th in the state.

2.  "Why Don't You Get a Ride Home From Those Nice White Parents?"  I wasn't coaching here, but my son was playing in 6th grade AAU on a very good suburban team.  Being a Minnesota suburban team, we were all white.  We go play a team from Minneapolis.  We absolutely drill them (like 65-30).  Walk to the parking lot.  Minneapolis dad sees my son, walks over, "You are a very good player.  Great game."  Well, how nice!  Dad's kid walks up to him in the same parking lot, and  Dad, not so nice anymore.  "I don't know what you are doing out here.  You got killed by the white kids.  You think I am giving you a ride home after that?  Why don't you go get a ride with those nice white parents.  Maybe they can teach you how to play basketball!?!?"  Kid is bawling.  I drive away.

1.  "My Son Is Logging the Minutes on the Bench"  -- we are playing in a 3rd grade boys tourney -- first one we ever entered.  We have had no practices, have no offense, no defense, no press, no press break, etc.  First game we lose 58-11.  Opposing coach "How many games have you played?"  Zero, well, now 1. You?  "37."  Next game we are halfway close, so I play the better guys a little more and we lose by only 12.  We have one last losers-bracket "friendship game" the next day.  Get a call at my house at 9PM.  "My son was logging the minutes on the bench and he says your son played 18 minutes and my son played only 12."  OK.  "Well, we are not coming tomorrow if you don't play those two exactly equal."  Um, well, I was trying to be more competitive and your son played a lot and....  "Nope, he kept a log of the minutes, and he didn't play equally.  Either play them all the same or we are not coming.......Well?!?"  Sure, it is a fucking 3rd grade friendship game, I will play them all the same.  "I will be watching!"    I never engaged the dad or the son in a conversation ever again.  If he said hello, I would be polite, but I never talked to him or his son voluntarily ever again.

I am sure there are more good stories, but those come immediately to mind.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fox News to Fire Bill O'Reilly After Only..........13 years of sexual harassment

No one seems to recall that the complaints against O'Reilly stretch at least as far back as 2004, when he famously conflated the word "loofah" with "falafel" and offered to rub a female employee with one in the shower.

BOLD move by Fox cracking down after less than two decades!  Here is the Smoking Gun article and attached Complaint.  The woman apparently tape recorded O'Reilly when he called (he was often masturbating while speaking to her).


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lip Synch Battle -- Kaley Cuoco

THIS is a hard body. Geez:

Kate Upton -- Lip Synch Battle

If you want full confirmation that Ricky Martin is gay?  Watch him LAUGH when Kate Upton does this.  I had ZERO chance of laughing at this performance.

Looks like I better set the DVR.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Is Andrew Wiggins a Good Player? Future Superstar? Bust?

I have previously opined upon Andrew Wiggins and determined that he is an "inefficient scorer" type of player who is deficient in rebounding, assists and defense.  So, he is basically a bad Dale Ellis or a bad 32 year old Carmelo Anthony.  Glen Rice's name came up.

For some reason, there is suddenly a very spirited debate on Twitter that consists of two primary groups:

-- Andrew Wiggins is a complete bust
-- Andrew Wiggins is a future superstar and the second coming of Kobe Bryant.

If you do not agree with either camp, you are immediately lumped into the other camp.  You say, "Hey, look, Wiggy is no Kobe...never will be..."  Reply, OH SURE!  YOU CLAIM HE IS A BUST!  20 points a game scorer, HORRIBLE BUST!

You say, "I haven't completely given up on Wiggy as a player.  He is young...."  Reply, OH SURE!!  CAN WE WAIVE THE WAITING PERIOD AND ELECT HIM TO THE HALL OF FAME TODAY!?!?  NOT QUICK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?

The primary problem with evaluating Andrew Wiggins is he just turned 22 and he is really streaky, so he has some games where he looks great and some games where as a Wolves fan if you see one more horrid "possession of Wiggy" you'd like to take a gun and shoot yourself.

His game, overall, is remarkably inefficient.  His defense, rebounding and assist stats are terrible, and he has never been on a winning team.  He has poor WS, WS/48 and VORP stats.  On the other hand, he has impressive scoring stats and he is an OK shooter who gets to the line a fair amount.

So, the issue really comes down to -- is he "good" and if so, how "good"?  Well, if you look for guys who are high Usage (25.9% or higher) and low WS/48 players (.100 or lower) and not super great defenders (104 or higher DRtg), you get the following list of guys who have played at least 8,500 minutes in the NBA:

Jerry Stackhouse
Pete Maravich
Glenn Robinson
Antoine Walker
Ray Williams
Ben Gordon
(The Less Good) Cliff Robinson
JR Rider
Darrell Griffith
Super John Williamson
Michael Beasley
"San" Quintin Dailey  and
Andrew Wiggins

Now, Wiggy is at the bottom of the list because he has the fewest WS of anyone on the list.  It should be noted, however, that someone like Pete Maravich has roughly double the WS/48 that Wiggy has. So Wiggy ain't Pete Maravich yet, or, for that matter, Jerry Stackhouse.

But the real question to be asked here is -- are these guys "good"?  Are they, or were they, "good" NBA players.  It all depends upon what you want, correct?   Every guy on the list was a pretty effective scorer.  There are some all-star appearances on the list.  Maravich is a Hall of Famer and ESPN has him as a top 100 NBA player.  So what you really need to evaluate is 1) whether you consider these guys to be "good" and 2) whether if Wiggins ends his career equal to these guys, would you be happy with that?

I'd say that if Wiggy ended up as good as Stack or Maravich or Big Dog or Antoine Walker or Ray Williams that most people would consider that as "good" and be fairly happy. 

Ben Gordon and Darrell Griffith - probably not as happy

Robinson and Super John -- unhappy

Rider, Beasley, Dailey -- very unhappy.

But let's put to bed the fiction that there is any realistic chance that Wiggy will ever be Kobe or Durant.  When Kobe was 21 he had a PER of 22 and accounted for almost 11 Win Shares, got 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 steals + blocks a game.  His Defensive Rating was 98 (Wiggy is 114). 

Durant at age 21 has a 26 PER and put up 16 WS.  He would have won the MVP had LeBron not been having an insanely great season (18.5 WS, .299 WS/48).

So, is Andrew Wiggins an absolute Kwame-Brown-esque bust?  No.  Has he demonstrated ANYTHING close to being or becoming a Kobe or a Durant (two of my top 25 players of all-time)?  Certainly not.    Will Wiggy ever approach these players' career.  I say no, and I say no confidently.  That will never happen.  Could he become a Glen Rice or a Glenn Robinson or maybe a poor man's Carmelo Anthony or DeMar DeRozan? Certainly.  So you need to ask yourself - is that "good"?  Would you consider Wiggy to be "good" if he reached that level of play? 

I cannot make that judgment for you -- but that is where the truth lies; Wiggy could be kinda disappointing, or he could be a couple time all-star.  It is up to him.  Whether you consider that "good" or not, is an entirely subjective call.

And your response to this item should start with "OH SURE!"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Liam Payne (23) Has a Kid With Cheryl Cole (33)?

He, like I, must remember her from these two pics taken 10+ years ago when she was Cheryl Tweedy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Aaron Hernandez Killed a Guy For a Spilled Drink

Was concerned he was considered as "soft."


Well, let this be a life lesson to you young men out there.  If you are in a "club" where huge men congregate and where you kind of get the feeling that the law does not apply, be extremely careful with what occurs.

Now, I have never once entered a "gentlemen's club" or "strip bar" or "strip joint," but here is what I have learned from independent third-party accounts:  1) many of the gentlemen in the establishment are not actually "gentlemen" in the common understanding of the word; 2) they are, instead, often people with nothing to lose; 3) they are there to drink a lot and establish their general overall dominance over someone; 4) they'd really like to kick someone's ass if at all possible.

Based upon these reports, I would suggest that if someone comes up to you at 11PM or later in such an establishment and suggest that you "get the fuck out of here" that you do not hesitate to leave forthwith.  You do not inquire as to why.  You do not engage the person in conversation.  You leave.

There are certain places in the world (southern Waffle House after midnight for example) where you are dealing with people who generally have very, very little to lose.  They are angry, and you happen to be in the way.  Get out of the way.  When this gentleman spilled a drink on the enormous Aaron Hernandez, he should have immediately apologized, offered to do whatever it took to get in Hernandez's good graces, and, failing that, have left ASAP.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Russell Westbrook, Chandler Parsons and KAT Call the NBA Offices

Of the 3, KAT is best, then Parsons close behind.  Russ by far the worst.

Russell Westbrook's Usage Rate Explosion

Russell Westbrook has always been a guy who had a high "Usage Rate".  Usage Rate, broadly defined, is the % of your team's plays that you are involved in while you are on the floor.  Even more broadly stated, it measures how much of a ball hog you are.  Because if you are not touching the ball, you are not "using" the possession.

The guys who tend to have the ball all of the time and dribble around wildly and either pass for an assist or shoot are the guys with big Usage.

So, going onto the 2016-17 season, the top 6 all-time ball hogs were:

6.  Carmelo
5. LeBron
4. Allen Iverson
3. Kobe
2. Dwyane Wade
1.  Michael Jordan

Obviously, it helps to be really talented to be on this list, because no matter how much you WANT to possess the ball, if you suck, your coach will eventually not allow you to possess the ball.

This is, of course, why the pairing of Wade and LeBron was such an awful idea.  You generally don't want to pair two super high usage players.  In Year 1 of that experiment, LeBron reduced his Usage 2 points in the regular season and 4+ points in the playoffs, deferring to Wade.  The LeBron/Wade experiment only worked after Wade reduced his Usage, LeBron jacked his back up, and LeBron became a far more efficient player.

Anyway, moving on.  The Holy Grail of seasonal Usage was accomplished by Kobe in 2005-06.  In 2004-05 the Lakers had missed the playoffs with Kobe at his typically high 31.7 Usage.  Kobe went bazonkers (technical term) in 2005-06 and raised his Usage by 7% to an NBA record 38.7%. 

Kobe's ball hogging during the 2005-06 season was so legendary that, after he was criticized for shooting too much in Game 6 of the First Round playoff series against the Suns, Kobe went into full tank mode and REFUSED to shoot in the second half of Game 7, thus insuring a Lakers loss.  One of the most vile and childish acts ever seen from an NBA all-star:

In any event, having witnessed the ballhoggery of the 27 year old Kobe (at the height of his physical powers and his mental selfishness) I really never felt his Usage mark would ever be challenged. 

But then came Russell Westbrook without Kevin Durant.  In 2014-15 Durant was hurt for a substantial stretch of games, and Westbrook went Usage mad, taking his mark up from around a career median of 32 to a shocking 38.4.  Only a late season lack of physical energy kept Russ from reaching Kobe's magical 38.7% mark.  In 2015-16 Durant returned and Westbrook's usage went down to a still-high but rational 31.5 for a season.  Then Durant left.

Russell Westbrook is 28 years old.  So one would imagine that while he might challenge Kobe's mark that it would be at least a close contest.  It has not been a close contest.  Russ is at a 42.1% Usage.  He is shattering Kobe's mark.  No one this season even approaches this level of Usage.  No one in history approaches this level of Usage. 

Westbrook's Usage in 2016-17 has been so high that he has gone from 7th place all-time in career Usage to SECOND.  He trails only Jordan.  This year he has passed such Usage greats as Carmelo, LeBron, Iverson, Kobe, and Wade.  If he has a similar year in 2017-18, Russ will move ahead of Jordan for career Usage %.

What Russ is doing is really a tribute to his mental and physical endurance and his "don't give a fuck" attitude.  I really never thought anyone could combine these three attributes like Kobe.  But Russ has gone Kobe plus 9%. 

To give some perspective, in 2014-15 when LeBron James was playing in the playoffs with Cleveland and basically any decent Cav was hurt, his Usage for the playoff stretch was only 37.6.  In the Finals, when the Cavs were basically running "23 stand" where LeBron held the ball for 23 seconds and then tried to make a play, LeBron's Usage was only 40.8.  LeBron would complain after every game that he knew this was not close to the correct way to play basketball, but he had no real choice if he wanted a chance to win.

Westbrook has registered a 42.1 (versus Finals LeBron 40.8) and Russ has done it for an entire season.  So, Kudos to Russ.  I just hope we never have to see this again.