Friday, June 28, 2013

Shabazz Muhammed - Yikes

Poor finisher in the post; poor finisher on the break; 78th out of 81 rated players in assists; one of the worst wing players when it came to steals (and, I will add, Blocks).  Terrible off the dribble going to the hole or pulling up.

He is not only a poor defender, he shows no effort on that end, particularly when things are not going well offensively. 

He is a 40% shooter on jumpers off the catch.  That is his one skill.  If you let him sit out on the perimeter and someone can get him the ball, he is good at making wide open shots.

He is an OK rebounder.

So - best case?  Michael Redd?

Worst Case - name any college scorer who sucks - Jimmer Fredette?

The #6 pick in the draft netted Jrue Holiday.  #7 - Ben McLeMore.  #9 - Shabazz Muhammed and cash (I think Giorgi Dieng would have been available at #26, so I give no credit for that move up).


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Timberwolves Draft - Worst case Scenario

The comments are hilarious.

Here is the thing with the Timberwolves - you can NEVER assume that they will take a good player, and you can NEVER assume that they will select even the players who you think would suck.  Examples?

Wolves are selecting in a draft with Danny Granger and Gerald Green as mid-level picks.  As it turned out, it was like going to steal a getaway car and having the choice of either a Toyota Camry with some front end damage (Granger) or a Porsche that had trouble starting and doesn't work 85% of the time.   The Wolves select -- Rashad McCants - a moped stuck in the way back of the lot that no one would ever select.

Then the Wolves are picking and can select Steph Curry - sort of a smallish sports car.  They say, "Whoa, too small!" and select..........Jonny Flynn, basically a two seater version of a Yugo. 

Wes Johnson - 23+ and doesn't play hard.  Yep, gotta have him.  Why?  Who the hell knows?
I guess he was the first car on the lot.  OR as they said on The Brady Bunch to Greg, "you fit the suit."

So as bad as you think a T-Wolves draft will be, you really cannot imagine the horror until it occurs.  Just imagine if once a year something horrible happened to your family member.  You knew the date, and they would do it to themselves.    But every year you just cannot imagine what they are going to do to themselves.  Someone lays a hammer, a chainsaw, a wrench and a cheese sandwich on the table and the family member pulls out a bomb from his pocket and blows himself up.

You cannot make these things up.

When the Wolves select backup big man Cody Zeller tonight, or take point guard Trey Burke, a normal person might say "WTF!?!?" I will chuckle.  Or when the Wolves trade their #26 pick for Marshon Brooks (40% from the floor, 29% from 3) I won't cry, I will just expect the unexpected.

NOTHING surprises me with the Wolves.  If they were to select a 28 year old guy from Africa - already done.  Select a guy because he once held LeBron James to 17 points in an all-star game - already done.  Selected a guy and immediately stated that he would never play in the NBA - already done many times.  Selected 4 NBA starters in one night and traded 3 away - yep.

What else can possibly happen?  Could they just pass?  I guess that would surprise me some.  Could they trade the #9 pick for 100 year old Paul Pierce - maybe, more likely for Kurt Thomas or the rights to Grant Hill. 

We shall see.

And Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick Were All Too Glad to Have the Guy On Their Teams.....


How about the guy who now sues for being shot in the face after an argument in a strip club?  Some advice - NEVER communicate in any manner in a strip club with some male whom you do not know.  NEVER.  This would rank right up there in life lessons with "Never text someone under the age of 18 who is not a family member."  And (as the Duke Lacrosse guys and Secret Service guys learned the hard way) "always pay your strippers/hookers." Just avoid strip club interactions with males.  If you are sitting and surfing the Internet on your phone while sipping a Diet Coke and some guy you do not know walks up to you in a strip club and say, "I hate your face; get the fuck out of here" you stand up and walk out the nearest door, never looking back.  You get in your car and drive away as quickly as possible. 

This does not excuse Hernandez's behavior in shooting the guy in the face, but getting into a strip club altercation?  Similar to jumping into a swimming pool filled with sharks and not jumping out when you see them swimming toward you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Defense of Paula Deen

Look, she is 1,000 years old and has lived in the South all of her life.  For the past many years she has been a wealthy white woman living in the South.  Am I AT ALL surprised that she has "in the past" used the word "nigger"?  Come on.  I think to avoid answering yes she would have needed to say, "Do you mean since I have been sitting here in this room?"

I lived in North Carolina from 1986-89.  I lived in one of the nicer and more liberal parts of the state.  I heard nigger all of the time.  Generally the word was proceeded by "fucking" or "fuckin'".  Sometimes "goddamned", though that would generally precede "niggers."

My sister was told by a potential employer one time that she could live in a nice area of NC, where she wouldn't have to worry about being bothered by the niggers.  The guy who said that was black.

Do we really live in a world where we pretend that old people in the North and the South didn't use that word all of the time until, say, yesterday?  I mean, the famous 2008 story about the canvasser in Pittsburgh who asked the lady who answered the door who she was voting for?  [Turning to husband somewhere in the living room watching TV] "Honey, who are we voting for?"  Husband, "We are voting for the nigger."  Democrat canvasser puts a note on his sheet, "make sure these people vote."

My grandfather generally went with nigger or jigaboo.  Sometimes spook.  My mom for whatever reason liked "colored," she wasn't above using nigger, but it was sort of a last resort for her. 

I cannot help but think of poor Michael Scott on The Office who called Oscar "gay" for preferring Shakespeare in Love to Die Hard (or maybe it was Rocky).   When the fictional Michael Scott and I were growing up in PA and NY, that was a perfectly acceptable term and used to denote someone being "lame" or effeminate. How many times in the 1980s and 1990s did I call someone gay, fag or homo?  I guess I have to say for the record here - NEVER, it NEVER happened.  Please take a screen shot of this and record it somewhere safe - all my life I NEVER called anyone gay or a fag or a homo.  NEVER.  I am a fucking saint.

The use of the "N Word" as we now call it was so prevalent in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s that I refuse to believe any white person (who was an adult during those years and not involved in politics) claiming they didn't use it. 

So...............when Paula Deen admits in deposition that she maybe used the word once 20-30 years ago she risks losing her entire business?  Really!?!?! Let's put to one side my belief that she is lying and used that term 100 times or more in her life.  Let's believe her and concentrate on her testimony.

She ONE TIME got so mad that she used a word 20-30 years ago that was used by all of the people she was around 2-3 times a day?  And for THAT she is a terrible racist person who cannot be associated with any large corporation?  Really!?!?   What is our message here? Is it just that word that we so revile?  So if I said, "Jesus, I fucking hate all people of African-American descent" can I recover?  Charles Barkley once said he hated all white people.  He was married to one at the time.  To upset K one time, I once said that Polish people were overly sensitive and I hated them all (my dad is 50% Polish, my grandma was 100% Polish).

Don't we WANT people to learn the error of their ways and repent?  Don't we WANT someone to say, "You know, I was brought up racist, and I said and did some awful things, but I don't do that anymore."  It seems to me that what we actually do want is for people to lie and claim to be (excuse the reference) pure as the driven snow when they are not.  If caught in the lie, continue to lie.  This was the Bill Clinton philosophy, and now we see why.  It is WAY worse to admit your failing than to fess up.

(Frankly, I don't care for Paula Deen, but hey, fair is fair).


Defense of Marriage Act - Bigoted, Good Bye.

The remarkable hypocrisy of Scalia and Alito screaming, "Let the people decide" after striking down the Voting Rights Act YESTERDAY is almost too much to bear.

Look - there has been one thing that Scalia has been right about all along:  once the court found 7-2 many years ago that states cannot bar homosexuals from sodomizing one another, it was inevitable that gay marriage would become the law of the land.  Once you decide that states have no right to express their moral outrage against "Adam and Steve" then anything a state does to target Adam and Steve and make their lives worse because they are homosexuals is inherently suspect.  If concepts of morality and religion and history are not sufficient reasons to bar two guys from doing each other in the back door, then they will not be sufficient reasons to keep those same two people from enjoying the legal benefits that come from marriage.

But the ridiculous cry of "Let the people decide" rings more than a little hollow after the Solicitor General's office at oral argument in the Voting Rights Act case reminded Scalia that Congress had reauthorized the Act almost unanimously less than 10 years ago and he replied, basically, "So what?  Who could vote against something entitled The Voting Rights Act?"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supreme Court to Fifth Circuit - Try Again On Affirmative Action

Clarence Thomas's concurrence is definitely worth a read.  When you reach the point where he concludes that liberals trying to give extra educational opportunities to Hispanics and blacks is akin to the argument that slavery was good for blacks, I would suggest that perhaps he has gone so far with his analogy that he has divorced himself from reality.

 I mean, imagine that the NBa devised a program to get more white players into the league.  (For example, if your team is a top 100 college team based upon RPI, your top 2 guys make the NBA.)  Now, can you criticize this program for being race based?  Yes.  Should you really focus on the great harm that it is doing to the white guys who draw NBA salaries as a result?  Are they stigmatized?  Are their lives and the lives of other white people far worse because they are getting NBA jobs?    Are the arguments for this solution "the same as those made for segregation"?

Come on.  I guess we can reach the point in legal arguments and legal theory where we simply lose all track of the truth.  The truth is, segregation and slavery were institutions designed by white people to harm minorities.  Affirmative action is designed to assist minorities and help them lead better lives.  Were disingenuous arguments made by segregationists claiming that slavery and Jim Crow "helped" blacks?  Certainly.  But those arguments were never seriously made.  The Jim Crow folks were not trying to create black leaders.  They had no concern over whether black people felt better being grouped together - they just wanted them grouped together.........away from white people.

Now, the true problem with Affirmative Action is that over the years it has not focused on the things it was designed to fix - 1) some groups had traditionally been discriminated against intentionally; and 2) some people are disadvantaged and need a "leg up" to help them escape their family's terrible status in life.    What we see now far too often is (actual example) the lawyer daughter of a two-doctor family is immediately snapped up by the government for a job because she fits into a hiring criteria.  Is there any evidence that she or her family have been intentionally discriminated against?  No.  That she is disadvantaged and needs a "leg up"?  No.  Yet she fits into a box and gets extra credit versus, say, a white male kid whose dad makes $25,000 a year and whose family lives below the poverty line.  Similarly, I recall a business executive speaking to a law firm and telling us, "When I hire, I say, "Go out and get me 5 black people to interview so I can hire 1 or 2."  Those are the sort of comments that cause the then-disadvantaged group to cringe.

That is the problem with Affirmative Action - it has ceased to be narrowly drawn to achieve a worthwhile goal.  Diversity is a worthwhile goal.  But someone who grew up rich and drives their dad's Porsche isn't diverse, just because they are a minority.  Schools need to truly look at the person and the life they have had to overcome before handing out extra points. 

Alito - Cannot Hire or Fire Someone? Harass Away!

Supreme Court - South No Longer Racist, No Need for Voting Rights Act

Remarkable.  I guess none of these guys has ever actually lived in the South......or read a newspaper....or reviewed the 2008 or 2012 election data.

Strikes me as very similar to the late 1800's opinion that the Civil Rights Act did not apply to prevent separate but equal treatment.  THAT ruling didn't result in any laws authorizing discrimination toward blacks in the South.......well, OK, there was some....for the next 70 years.  But the 5 white gys have decided there isn't any more efforts at passing discriminatory laws in the South, so have at it Poll Tax supporters. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Game 7 Recap - Heat Wins, LeBron Moves Closer to Becoming All-Time Greatest

Don't take my word for it; I am just parroting what I heard from Magic Johnson last night. 

As I said in an earlier item, I now move LeBron up to 8th place on the all-time greatest list.  Jordan, Kareem, Wilt, Mikan, Magic, Duncan, Russell, then LeBron.

I don't see a good argument for putting LeBron's career achievements above MJ, KAJ, Magic or Duncan.  I could see someone saying LeBron has the same number of titles as Wilt so....and someone saying that LeBron plays both ends of the floor, unlike Russell, and Mikan played a million years ago....but we will leave LeBron at #8 here so he has something to shoot for.

LeBron's Game Score last night was 32.5 (historically great).  He rolled up 0.5 Win Shares last night, to finish at 5.2 Win Shares for the playoffs.  He has three of the 5 most productive playoff seasons ever (Duncan #1; Dirk #3, LeBron ##2, 4, 5):

On a career playoff performance basis, only 6 guys have more career playoff Win Shares than LeBron (Jordan, Kareem, Duncan, Magic, Wilt, Shaq).  With a decent playoff run next year (3.2 win shares), James will move ahead of Shaq, Wilt and Magic on this list.  From this list of 7, on a per-minute basis, James' playoff productivity trails only Jordan.  In playoff PER, he trails only Jordan.

James has two titles, four league MVPs, and two finals MVPs.  I saw on Twitter a picture of his titles and MVPs lined up next to MJ and Duncan - they were using an old picture that did not have this year's trphies on it - what is this?  A GOP junk email?

If that analysis is what you want to go with:

Russell - 11+4+? (there was no finals MVP when he played)
Jordan - 6+5+6 = 17
Kareem 6+6+2 = 14
Magic - 5+3+2 = 10
Duncan - 5+2+2 = 9
Wilt - 2+4=2 = 8
LeBron 2+4+2 = 8

Mikan won 5 titles, but it appears that there was no MVP award given for either regular season or finals.

Will LeBron ever reach 17?  Doubtful.  Could he get to 11?  Sure.  That is realistic.  Once you get to 11, you can argue that you are better than Russell overall and that Kareem got almost all of his titles with Magic (and vice versa).  You end up second best overall, behind only Jordan.

Gandolfini - Heart Attack Confirmed

Which I read about as a 49 year old guy eating a ham and egg breakfast sandwich....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NBA Finals "Game Scores"

Above 30 is historically great.  Above 25 is great.  20 is very good.  15 is good.  10 is the bottom rung of average.  9 or lower really sucks

Take the 6 NBA Finals game scores for each major guy (as reported on and divide by 6.

Bosh - 14.41
Leonard - 14.05

Duncan - 15
Wade 14.95

Parker 12
Green 12

James 20.87
Ginobili 5.98

Taking the median (rather than the average) of each guy, the numbers are roughly the same for James, Parker, Bosh, Green and Leonard (Wade goes down to 13, Duncan goes up to almost 16 and  Ginobili drops to an almost unimaginable 3).

So, analyzing only the Finals and using only this stat, you would go with James or Duncan as MVP.  I still prefer the Kawhi Leonard shhhhhhhhh.....

Finals MVP Should Be LeBron or.......Kawhi Leonard!?!?!?

Of guys who have had 1.2 Win Shares, we have 5 Spurs and 4 Heat:

Heat -- James, Bosh Wade, Allen
Spurs - Leonard, Parker, Duncan, Green, Ginobili

Sorting by total Win Shares, it is LeBron dragging along his slacker teammates and the 4 Spurs hauling the Ginobili anchor:

9th most Win Shares- Ginobili
8 - Allen
7 - Wade
6 - Bosh
5 - Green
4 - Duncan
3 - Parker
2 - Leonard
1 - James

James has 4.7 Win Shares.  For the Heat to win tonight, he will need to register, in my opinion another 0.3 Win Shares tonight.  That will give him 5.  Only 3 players have ever had 5 playoff Win Shares in a season -- Duncan 2003 (win), James 2012 (win), Dirk 2006 (loss).

So James is having another great playoffs and dragging along the sorry asses of his teammates, so he is by default the Heat's Finals MVP. 

For the Spurs?

Kawhi Leonard is at 3 Win Shares.  Parker only has 2.5, so for Parker to pass Leonard he would need to go like 40 & 15 tonight and have Leonard go 0 for 22.  That will not be happening, so Leonard will be the second most productive player in the entire playoffs.

His 3.0 Win Shares make Leonard the most overall productive 21 year old (or younger) in the playoffs ever.  Ever.  Soak that in a little. 

PER - a stat that focuses more on offensive production and how much you possess the ball:
9 Allen
8 Green
7 Ginobili
6 Bosh
5 Wade
4 Leonard
3. Duncan
2. Parker
1. James

Again - James is well ahead of Parker and it will be impossible for Parker to even approach James no matter what happens tonight.  The next three best offensive guys are Spurs.

Finally - Win Shares Per 48 - this stat would balance out the fact that LeBron is playing 42 minutes a game and all others are playing at least 15% less.

9.  Wade
8.  Ginobili
(this is why when you watch the two teams play you say "Wade and Ginobili look awful" - cuz it is true).

7. Allen
6. Bosh
5. Duncan
4. Parker
3.  Green
(you see now the reason why Green gets some Finals MVP promotion)

2. Leonard
1. James

Now, James is WAY WAY ahead of Leonard and Leonard is WAY WAY ahead of Parker. 

How good has Leonard been as a 21 year old?  In 1980, Magic Johnson's total playoff Win Shares = 2.8 and WS/48 = .203.  Leonard is at 3.0 and .200.

Folks - look at the names on this list:  While several guys on the list were better offensively, for total Win Shares age 21 and under, Leonard is #1 and for WS/48 he is 5th (you could argue 4th since DuJuan Blair played 91 total minutes). 

Conclusion - while these stats are not separated out by Finals/Non-Finals, if the Heat win, the Finals MVP should be LeBron; if the Spurs win, it should be Kawhi Leonard.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Game 6 - Spurs Surge Late, Fall Apart Slightly Later, Heat Luck Into Game 7

With about 95 second left last night, the Heat were up 3.  There was a loose ball that LeBron tried to dive on; it squirted away.  Danny Green picked it up at half court, narrowly avoided an over-and-back violation, got trapped, and called timeout.

I got up, went to the bathroom, took some medicine, and returned downstairs to watch the game.  I was gone about 2 minutes of actual real world time.  Spurs were up 2.  WTF!?!?!  I had missed Tony Parker (a poor three point shooter who could not make a shot all night) hitting a three; Mario Chalmers turning it over, and Parker hitting another shot in the lane.  Again, WTF?

Then James fell apart, turning the ball over as if he were Manu Ginobili's black cousin, and all looked lost.  Spurs were shooting 2, up 4, with under 30 seconds to play.  Miami fans were streaming out the exits.  More would have left, but there was such a mass exodus that the aisles were completely packed.  The NBA staff was taping off areas and rolling out the Lawrence O'Brien trophy.

Then Ginobili missed 1 of 2.  LeBron hit a 3 to make it Heat down 2 with 20 to play.  Then Kawhi Leonard missed one of two.  Ray Allen hits a 3 to tie the game.  Then LeBron just completely shuts down Parker, forcing him into a terrible fallaway airball.

Heat win in OT. 


1) Allen - hit the huge 3, had 4 points in OT,  stripped the ball from the running back, er Ginobili late.

2) James - while he had some struggles starting at 3 minutes when the Heat brought back Wade (boy was that a bad decision), he had a 32-11-10 game and singlehandedly led the team back from down 13 to take that three point lead I mentioned at the start of this item.

3) Bosh - While he was completely embarrassed by Duncan in the first half (the guy is 100, he went 25-11 in a half against Bosh); he found his pride somewhere and managed to hold Duncan to 5 the rest of the way.  He had the key offensive rebound, blocked Parker and blocked Danny Green to end it.


1) Ginobili - 8 turnovers, failed to rotate in and box out Bosh, missed a key free throw.  His "Game Score" for Game 6?  0.6.  10 is OK, 15 is good, 20 is really good, LeBron and Duncan each had 25+ last night. 

But, frankly, Ginobili has been wrteched in all but Game 5.  His Game Scores:
negative 0.3

Remember how horrid LeBron was in Game 3?  He scored like a 4.  That would have been an average game for Ginobili this series.

2) Danny Green - played so poorly that when Bosh basically attacked him at the end of the game the refs looked the other way, assuming Green was deserving of no help - he would have missed anyway.
Game Score?  0.3

3) The Bench - boy that bench blows.

I lost a buck last night betting that the Spurs would close out Game 6.  So now we go to Game 7.  Magic Johnson says the Spurs cannot mentally recover.  I don't get his point there.  They are 4 time champs.  They are not going to be mentally beaten.  You need to overwhelm them with talent (as OKC did last year and as Miami has done in a couple games in this series).  They will not go away. 

Parker, but for his 5 point stretch, was simply snuffed by James defensively.  Pop will work that out.  Ginobili was simply awful.  Green was simply awful.  Neal did nothing.  And they STILL should have won the game.  I don't think you can take a lot of solace from Game 6 if you are the Heat.  James went 32-11-10 and you eked out a victory, basically by luck.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

LeBron to Go Over 900 Playoff Minutes for 3rd Straight Year -- First Guy Ever to Do So

When James reaches 34 minutes tonight (which, barring injury or awful foul trouble, he will almost certainly do), he will go over 900 minutes for the 2013 playoffs.  He was also over 900 minutes in 2011 and 2012.

LeBron, Kobe, Hakeem, and Richard Hamilton are the only 4 players to ever go back-to-back seasons with over 900 playoff minutes. 

No one in the history of the game has ever logged 900 minutes three straight playoff years (Kobe had 863 in 2008, before doing 900+ in 2009-10).

LeBron this year has logged 41.2 MPG in the playoffs.
Tony Parker leads the Spurs with 36.1 MPG (1 minute more total than Kawhi Leonard).

So if you ever start wondering why LeBron looks tired - he probably is tired.

What This Series Means For Tim Duncan's and LeBron James' Legacies

Based upon my personal beliefs, you need to evaluate all-time great players based upon regular season performance and playoff performance, dominance, honors and recognitions, and titles won.  In connection with titles won, you need to evaluate the importance of that particular player to his team - did he lead them to the title?  Was he THE star?  Were they a title team without him? 

The strongest case for Jordan as the best player of all-time is not his MVPs or his all-NBAs or his freakish statistics offensively and defensively.  It is simply this - his team dominated and won three titles while he was their star, and within 1 1/2 seasons of him leaving, they were slumping toward .500.  He then returned and within 1 year they were champions again....3 more times.  There has never been anyone else who can claim that. 

Why is Kevin Garnett historically underrated?  Because looks at the Wolves - historically bad before KG and historically bad after KG.  His presence on the team, with virtually no help, was a +20 wins per year.

Anyway, then we turn to titles.  Is Bob Cousy a better player than Charles Barkley?  I'd say no.  But he has more titles.  Is John Havlicek a better player than Karl Malone?  Doubtful - but he has more titles.  People tend to perceive you as a better player if you win more titles.  Was Robert Horry a better player than Alex English?  No, but you will find someone willing to argue that point.

The greatest players in the history of the game, in my opinion, are, in order:

Should Duncan post title #5, he has a decent argument that he should be up above everyone but Kareem and Jordan.  Imagine that - the 3rd best player of all-time.

Should LeBron win, it gives him a second title.  I think he could argue that he should move ahead of
Shaq and Bird and into 8th.  (His regular season stats are better than either man's; and he certainly has been a far more consistent defender than either Bird or Shaq were; or, in Shaq's case, chose to be.)

A loss for Duncan leaves him where he is at (#6) and also moves LeBron closer to him on the list - plus LeBron at #8 has a lot more years to play and will have established the upper hand on Duncan, he would be in a good position to pass Duncan.

As a couple final notes - no, Kobe is not on my list.  I do not feel that either his one measly MVP or his three titles riding Shaq's coat tails justifies his inclusion on the list.  His career advanced stats simply do not match up to those of the great players on the list.  He has an argument for 11th place, if you could place him ahead of Karl Malone, Oscar and Jerry West in good conscience.  Bill Russell is the hardest guy to place on the list.  You could leave him off completely (he shot 43% from the floor and 60% from the line in playoff games - he basically played one end of the floor).  Or you could put him at #1 (Celts were unbeatable when he played, immediately not as good before or after).  I think placing him at #7 is a fair compromise.  Mikan, I believe, is historically underrated.  His dominance in the years he played was Jordanesque.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Heat to Join List of Teams Who Only Won Once?

The 1957-61 St. Louis Hawks went to the NBA Finals 4 times, winning only in 1957.

The 1962-73 Los Angeles Lakers went to the Finals 9 times, winning only in 1972.

The 1971-79 Bullets went to the Finals 4 times, winning only in 1978.

The 1977-83 Philadelphia 76ers went to the Finals 4 times, winning only in 1983.

In baseball the Dodgers 1947-56 went to the Series 5 times, winning only in 1955.

The 1977-81 Dodgers went to three Series, winning in 1981.

The 1988-90 A's went to three Series, winning in 1989.

The 1991-99 Braves went to the Series 5 times, winning in 1995.

This list, sadly, does not include the Buffalo Bills, who should have won their first Super Bowl, but instead lost all 4.

Game 5 - Every Good Spur Shoots the Lights Out, Ginobili Returns from the Dead

Well, my prediction of Heat in 6 is proven wrong.  The shooting percentages for the various Spurs last night were simply frightening if you are Spoelstra.

Ginobili - left for dead and discarded into the Tiago Splitter category - came back with a MONSTER 24 point and 10 assist performance.

How rare is a 24-10 playoff game by a 35 year old guy?  Since 1986, there have been 6 such games:  3 by John Stockton, two by Steve Nash and Ginobili's game last night.  So, two of the greatest point guards in the game, and Ginobili.

Are the Heat now left for dead?  Will returning to Miami bail them out?  All I know is that I am wrong so there is no need for me to be guessing anymore.


Oh, Miss Utah

Miss South Carolina (similarly gorgeous) provided an answer that was not appreciably better (summary - it is not treason to leak classified documents because the government categorizes these documents for a reason, so if we feel we have to disclose them, go ahead...)

Based upon how Miss Utah and Miss SC look, I doubt they will have much problem finding a rich hubby.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Fathers Day Weekend -- Featuring Cassie Cutler

Hope my fellow fathers are somewhere warm sitting by the water!  HM

Game 4 Summary -- The Return of Dwyane Wade

Since 1986, no two teammates in a Finals game have ever each made 14+ baskets and each shot 55% or better from the floor.  (This is not surprising, since it is a stat so dominated by Shaq.  Shaq has like 8 of these efforts, even the great Michael Jordan had only 2.)

Anyway, it happened last night.  Wade (14-25) and James (15-25) comined to shoot 58% on 50(!) shots and lead the Heat to a win.

Chris Bosh, who averaged around 3 rebounds a game for the Heat against the Pacers, had 20 points and 13 rebounds and kept Chris Anderson (DNP-CD) on the Heat bench.

Ray Allen chipped in with 14.  So when you are allowing the 4 Heat current or former all-star players to score 33-32-20-14 = 97 points, you are not winning many games.

Ginobili (minus 22 in 25 minutes) and Splitter (minus 11 in 13 minutes) were terrible.  Tony Parker had 15 in the first half and 0 in the second half. 

Regarding Henry, er, I mean, Regarding Parker (Harrison Ford movie joke there):

I think Parker's hamstring is bothering him.  1) He did well early when he had a lot of time to warm up pre-game; 2) he did poorly in the second half when his hammy, if hurt, would have tightened up; and 3) he spent more time sprawling to the floor than normal.  #3, to me, indicates that he does not want to land awkwardly on his leg.  Parker is a master at penetrating and avoiding contact with a variety of floaters and finishes right next to the rim.  He generally does NOT sprawl face first to the floor as a means of scoring.

The series continues to be a complete mystery.  Game 1 was a great game.  Game 2 the Heat imposed their will in a 33-5 run.  Game 3 was such a horrible effort by the Heat that they had to consider releasing LeBron (if league rules had permitted).  Game 4?  You had to expect that James could not possible suck as bad as he had in Game 3, but all of a sudden Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all-star level players again?  Where has THAT been for 19 playoff games?  Can it happen again?  Let me tell you this - if that can happen for 2 more games, the Spurs have no chance.  They are done.  But what reasonable person who has watched Wade play at Jimmy Butler/Lance Stephenson/Jarrett Jack level for the entire playoff can predict that it will happen two more times in 3 games?  I cannot.

One of the oddest things about this series is that in an NBA Finals you generally see one team's spirit get broken.  You look out there and you can see it.  You see James in 2011 just freeze up, or James Harden decide that he will take 500 shots no matter if he is going to make them or not.  Going back to 2004 - you saw the Pistons make Kobe quit.  In 1983, you saw Moses Malone simply break Kareem.  In 1990, the Pistons seemingly could mentally beat the Blazers any time the game got inside 2 minutes left. 

That has not happened in this series.  I think a younger Spurs team just mentally whips the Heat (ala the Spurs sweep of Cleveland in 2007).  But the Spurs are not young.  They cannot maintain concentration and effort for 7 games.  The Heat, for whatever reason, are completely incapable of in-game adjustments, so when they are getting their asses just keeps happening until they can get in and watch film.  Spoelstra is NOT a good game coach.  Spoelstra (or Riley) is a great practice coach.

My prediction was Heat in 6 with the Heat splitting at home and taking 2 of 3 in SA.  For that to happen the Heat needs to play two good games in a row.  They haven't done that in a month. 

We shall see.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Game 3 - Complete LeBron Collapse

When you are going 2 of 13 and getting your shot blocked by Danny Green, you are killing your team.

What the Spurs learned from watching the Pacers-Heat series is that you give LeBron a lot of room going right because he will seldom if ever shoot a jumper on the move going right.  He has to stop, set himself, and shoot.  By then you can reach him.  The Spurs are going under ball screens by 5-6-7 feet, leading Jeff Van Gundy to say that they are playing James like they would play Rajon Rondo.  They are playing Dwyane Wade the same way.

When James gets a ball screen left, the Spurs are playing him up more, since he likes to shoot going left. 

The most amazing part of the defense is the Spurs' ability to judge where James is going on the fast break.  They seemingly know what he is going to do before he does it, resulting in charges or blocked shots or simply LeBron jacking up some awful runner.

James, for his part, has picked an awful time to stop shooting jumpers and to start missing certain wide open shots he is large margins.

In the 2011 Dallas series, James looked confused and hesitant.  In this series he looks hesitant.....and bad.

We shall see whether he can turn it around in Game 4, but he has a long, long way to go to even reach mediocrity on the offensive end.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Has Tim Duncan Had a Better Career Than Kobe? Stats Say Yes

Duncan has led the Spurs to 4 NBA Finals.  I think you would have to say that Parker led them to this 5th finals.  Duncan's career playoff stats are better than Kobe's.  Duncan has two regular season MVPs, Kobe has 1. 

When Duncan came into the league, David Robinson was on the downside of his career.  When Kobe joined the Lakers, they had Shaq.  Then they got Phil Jackson.  Duncan in his prime never suffered an embarrassing finals beatdown like Kobe did against the Pistons or against the Celtics.  When Duncan has reached the finals, he has always won.  The Spurs' backcourt a lot of the 1999 title season was Avery Johnson and Mario Elie.  When Kobe had Smush Parker as a backcourt mate, he did not win any titles.  In the last two games of the 2003 Finals, Tony Parker was often replaced by Speedy Claxton, who was playing WAY better than Parker.  (You read that correctly).

By contrast, one of Kobe's two titles as the main guy he went 6 for 24 in game 7 against the Celtics.  He turned the ball over 4 times and had 2 assists.  For that mighty effort, he was named finals MVP.

Tim Duncan has a better career PER.  He has a better career playoff PER.  He has more career Win Shares.  He has more career playoff Win Shares.  If you compare his Offensive Rating versus Defensive Rating, Duncan is +15 in regular season and +11 in playoffs.  Kobe is +7 and +4.  The great all-time playoff performers are almost all +10 or better.  Duncan - yes; Kobe, no.

Statistically, it is a mismatch. 

The thing that Kobe supporters cling to is he is a better scorer (true) and that he has 5 titles to Duncan's 4.  Well, Kobe basically was a Pippen in titles 1-2-3; Shaq was finals MVP in all three titles, Kobe was "little brother" riding the big fella's coat tails.  If you say - "led team to title" Duncan has 3 maybe 4 and Kobe has 1, maybe 2. 

Sorry, Kobe fans.  Duncan has just been a better overall player than your guy.


Game 2 Summary - Sometimes the Heat Just Plays Well

As a big LeBron supporter, I have watched a LOT of Miami Heat basketball.  The Heat are often lazy, sloppy, tend to get bored and really do not like to grind it out and get physical.  Their general approach is that they wish you would let them take it easy, do some cool dunks and shit and bury some threes once they get up 10.

But there are some days when they play well.  On those days they are smothering defensively, hit just a ridiculous number of threes and just overwhelm you athletically with their speed. 

That was last night.  It was 67-65 Heat, then all of a sudden it was 91-67. 

Games 1 and 2 are exactly why it is so difficult to predict this series.  Game 1 - Spurs showed why they are so methodical and frighteningly efficient.  4 turnovers in an NBA Finals road game?  Ridiculously good.

Game 2 - when the Heat actually plays to 100% of potential, no one in the NBA can keep within 10 of them.  (This was also the case in Cleveland for LeBron - remember, Cleveland in 2008-09 went 66-16 and outscored opponents by 9 points a game.  That is even more than any Wade/Bosh/LeBron team has outscored opponents).

What goes on in Games 3-5 in San Antonio?  Well, my initial prediction was the Heat would go 2-1 and come back home and win Game 6.  I guess I will stick with that.  Could I see a Spurs sweep?  Yes.  Heat sweep?  Sure.  Anything in between?  Sure.

Impossible series to judge.  But fun.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Game 1 Summary - Spurs Simply Too Good

The Spurs turned the ball over 4 times, hit a good percentage of their open shots, and packed the lane against LeBron, limiting him to 18 points. 

Ultimately, the issue for Spoelstra to decide is this - should he have LeBron take it through the triple and quadruple teams and try to draw fouls, or should he hope Chris Bosh can make a wide open wing three.  It is a tough call.

The Heat defensively needs to understand that Tony Parker is basically Kobe Bryant - his first option is always score.  You cannot allow Parker on a fast break to be isolated on Norris Cole while you hug the three point shooters.  If Parker enters the lane with the ball, 9 times out of 10 he is going to shoot.

To force turnovers, the Heat will need to pick up more full court and try to trap the ball aggressively more often.

The Spurs are playing like a team possessed the past month.  80% from the line as a team, 40% from 3, never turn the ball over.  If a team does all of those things, you are going to have to play incredibly efficient basketball to beat them.

Spoelstra's decision to rest James and wade for the first 3 minutes of the 4th can be justfied by saying "when LeBron got back in, they were still up 3."  But the Spurs were resting Duncan in that stretch.  The one huge advantage that the Heat has is that James can play 44-45 minutes while Duncan and Parker really cannot.  Why not try to push up your lead by 4-6 points during that stretch when Duncan and Parker are resting?  

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Best Two-Way Players In NBA Playoff History

You need to be in the top 15 in total playoff Defensive Win Shares and the top 15 in total playoff Offensive Win Shares to qualify.

Only 8 guys qualify - two of whom will be playing tonight.

8th best - Larry Bird (9th most DWS and 15th most OWS) = 24 points (lower is better)

7th best - LeBron James (14+7) = 21 points

6th best - Magic Johnson (15+2) = 17 points

5th best - Shaq (10+6) = 16 points

4th best - Wilt (2+11) = 13 points

3rd best - Tim Duncan (3 + 9) = 12 points

2nd best - Kareem (5+3) = 8 points

1st - Michael Jordan (6 + 1) = 7 points

NBA Finals Prediction -- Heat in 6

I am really at a loss to predict what will happen in this series.  It is a series that the Spurs could win in a sweep or that the Heat could win in 5.

Here are the pro-Spurs points:

-- Wade is playing terribly and looks crippled.  He looks like he can only play one good game out of 4
-- Bosh has become Mark Blount
-- the rest of the Heat do not appear to have any idea of what they can do to help the team
-- Pop is a better coach than Spoelstra
-- The Spurs, like the 2011 Mavs, are playing so remarkably well right now that no one can beat them
-- the Spurs have distinct advantages at center and point guard - their best players are Miami's worst matchup problems.
-- The Spurs generally score over 100.  If they score over 100 against Miami, it will be really hard for Miami to get to 100+.

Here are the pro-Heat points:

-- They are the defending champions; they did not play well in the playoff lead-up LAST year (Celtics in 7; Pacers in 6) and yet when they reached the Finals all of the pressure was off and they pasted OKC

-- Can the following guys really play any WORSE:  Wade, Bosh, Ray Allen, Shane Battier?  I mean, if even 2 of these 4 can play AVERAGE ball the Heat are way, way better than they have been.  Imagine if, for example, Battier and Allen start going 4 of 5 from 3....

-- James, Wade and Bosh all have much more favorable matchups in this series than they had against the Pacers.  James gets away from Paul George - the #1 perimeter defender in the league not named LeBron.  Wade goes from Lance Stephenson to Danny Green.  Bosh goes from David West to Tiago Splitter.  Every single one of Miami's big 3 enjoys a better matchup than they had last round, both offensively and defensively.

-- The Bulls and Pacers are extremely rugged defensive clubs who play with a very physical and ugly mindset.  The Spurs, while also very good defensively, play at a high pace of play and they will let you score points.   After facing 12 games of clutch and grab, illegal-defense basketball, the Heat will actually be able to play in a game where your opponent doesn't hold you for 24 seconds on one end and then hold the ball for 24 seconds on the other end.

-- The Heat have LeBron.  If LeBron can put together 4 LeBron level games (around 30-8-10 ala last year), even if it is over 7 games, the Heat should win.

Putting that all in the blender and pushing "liquify", we end up at this prediction:

Heat splits a couple at home, take 2 of 3 in San Antonio and then finishes it out in Game 6.  I also predict that the Spurs will suffer a key injury or suspension at some point during the series.  I also predict that Tim Duncan's numbers in the series will not be as good as Roy Hibbert's were in the Indiana series (Hibbert was 22 and 10).

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Paris Jackson Attempts Suicide

I won't link to it, but I was struck at how closely she resembles her mom, Debbie Rowe.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Players Who Were the Best Player On 4 NBA Finals Teams

1.  George Mikan - 1950s

2.  Bill Russell - 1950s and 60s

3.  Wilt Chamberlain - 1960s and early 1970s

4.  Jerry West - 1960s

5.  Magic Johnson - 1980s and 1991

6.  Larry Bird - 1980s

7.  Michael Jordan - 1990s

8.  Shaquille O'Neal - 1990s and early 2000s

9.  Kobe Bryant - 2004-2010

10.  LeBron James - 2007, 2011-13

Kareem would have an argument.  He had two finals appearances with the Bucks, and his 1980 stats are way better than Magic's.  But I think you would have to say that Magic was the star player by 1982.  If we give Kareem 1982, he gets 4.  Magic would then get 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Dr. J. has 3 (1977, 1980, 1982) but I don't think you can give him 1983 (Moses).

I think I got them all, but maybe not - anyone else?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Jason Kidd - OK, I Couldn't Let It Go

Jason Kidd - Quitter

He FINALLY retires after embarrassing himself in the playoffs (5 PER, 65 offensive rating) and recognizing that he can no longer help a team to a title run.

Kidd logged over 50,000 minutes of NBA time, good for 3rd all-time behind second-place Karl Malone and Kareem.

His glory years were 1998-2007, including 2001-02 where he finished second to Tim Duncan in the MVP balloting.

Kidd is #2 all-time in total assists, but trails John Stockton in that category by almost 4,000.

Of all players in the history of the game, only Magic Johnson and Kidd have both a career assist percentage above 35% and a career total rebound percentage at or above 10%.  No one else even approaches these numbers.  (Chris Paul, who is a great, great player is at 7% - Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook are at 8%).

As a great rebounder, assist man and great defender (good on the ball, great away from the ball), Kidd had only one weakness to his game - he wasn't a good shooter.
Kidd's career FG% of 40% is awful, as is his career true shooting percentage of .507.  (By comparison - Ricky Rubio, a historically terrible shooter, has 36% and 48% figures).  In the three-point era, for guys who were at least 6 time all-stars, Kidd has the worst TS%.  Jermaine O'Neal is better.

Despite playing the 3rd most minutes in NBA history, Kidd ranks #71 on the all-time NBA scoring list.

That said, 5 times 1st team all-NBA, 1 second team.  One NBA title.  Two other trips to the finals.

Great player.  Total career salary -- $187 million.

Now, as a domestic abuser, he rivals Chris Brown.  But I think for today we can just sweep that under thr rug and say "great career, Jason."  But you are still a Quitter.

Dwyane Wade - Where Art Thou?

In playoff win shares, Wade is current at 1.1 - a little better than Jarrett Jack (not on a per minute basis though) and a little worse than Jimmy Butler.  He is WAY less productive per minute than Mario Chalmers.

I know Wade's knee hurts, but does that preclude you from hitting the rim from 12 feet unguarded?  I mean, guys with knee replacements can go out and hit the rim on an unguarded 12 footer.

What is most remarkable is the minimal level of play that is even expected out of Wade by the Heat or the media.  He is making $16M, was on the all-star team, and was even named 3rd team all-NBA (in a great year for guards - James Harden was his 3rd team teammate).

Against the Pacers, Wade has been flat out terrible.  His last 3 games?  11 of 34.

In the Pacers series, Wade has a high "Game Score" of 17.9.  LeBron's WORST "Game Score" has been 16.6.  So, Wade's best game has been roughly equivalent to James's worst game.  Awesome.

What is even more astounding is that James ruined his public reputation and fled Cleveland in the worst possible manner to go to Miami so he can play with other stars and "get some help."  What level of help has he received?

Well, the 2006-07 Cavs team that was swept by the Spurs in the finals featured guys playing at almost the same playoff level of production as the current Heat!

James is playing better than he was in 2006-07 - 27.9 PER versus 23.9, .269 WS/48 versus .200

The rest of the Heat versus the rest of the Cavs is a virtual push.  The numbers are so close that it is really hard to distinguish between the teams.

Here are some non-LeBron PER ## - 18-17-15.6-14.9  (Cavs)
17-17-16.1-14.5 (Heat)

WS/48 - .211-.173-.152-.137-.101 (Cavs)
.357-.171-.146-.139-.122 (Heat)

Chris Anderson is the .357 player.  He has played 215 total playoff minutes.

Maybe it is just LeBron?  Maybe he just sucks the talent out of his teammates and they grow to quickly suck.  Who knows?  But it is safe to say that Dwyane Wade is not playing like he is worth $16M a year or like he is anything like the 15th best player in the league.  He is playing SLIGHTLY better overall in the playoffs than Lance Stephenson. 

James after Game 5 said there was nothing wrong with Wade's knee, which was obviously a lie.  But if Wade can run, unless the aliens from Space Jam have stolen all of Wade's talent, he should simply be embarrassed at the work he has put in thus far in the playoffs.

Former WWE Star "Sunny"

And she was arrested 4 times in 5 days recently: