Friday, January 30, 2015

Natalie (Kane) Nyhus as an NBA Cheerleader

And, she has always been far lovelier in person.

Kyrie and Klay Thompson -- Great Games, But Not Even Close to the Best Games

Klay Thompson has 37 points in a quarter and puts up a "Game Score" of over 44.  Kyrie goes for 55 points  and puts up a Games Score of 41.8.  These are the only two Game Scores in the NBA above 40 this season, so these two must be all-time great efforts, right?  Wrong.  In the past 30 years, Kyrie's effort ranks 85th and Klay's ranks 42nd. 

Hard to imagine, right?  Well, let's review the top 10 regular season efforts of the past 30 years, ranked by highest Game Score.

10th best -- Carmelo Anthony Jan. 24, 2014 v. Charlotte.  62 points, 13 rebounds, 0 assists.  Game Score 50.6

9 -- Kobe March 16, 2007 v. Portland.  65-7-3 -- 50.9

8 -- Jordan November 3, 1989 v. Cleveland 54/14/6
7 (tie)  -- Jordan again -- February 26, 1987 v. the Nets, 58/8/3

Both had a Game Score of 51.2

6th Place -- Nique -- versus Chicago on December 10, 1986 57/9/4 -- 51.6

#5 -- David Robinson April 24, 1994 v. Clippers, 71/14/5 (I believe there was a scoring title at stake here) -- 51.8

The Top 4
4.  Jordan again -- April 3, 1988 v. Detroit, 59/4/6   (so this would have been against the Bad Boys) --

3.  Karl Malone in 33 minutes against Milwaukee on January 22, 1990 had 61/18/2 -- 60.2

2.  Kobe again -- January 22, 2006 v. Toronto -- 81/6/2 -- 63.5

And Your Winner --

1.  Jordan again -- March 28, 1990 against Cleveland -- 69/18/6.  64.6


The 5th best game score of the past 30 years was put up by Charles Barkley in a playoff game against Golden State on May 4, 1994.  He went 56/14/4.  That was the game where Warriors coach Don Nelson refused to double team Charles in the post and Barkley kept scoring at will. causing him to run by the Warriors bench and scream, "When are you going to double me!?!?!"  The Suns won 140-133.

Barkley has 2 of the 10 best playoff Game Scores of the past 30 years, the other being a 43 point triple double in June of 1993 against Seattle in Game 5 (which he followed with a Game 7 performance of 44/24 which resulted in the 12th best playoff Game Score of the past 30 years).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

As A Democrat, I Have No Problem With The Movie "American Sniper"

Unlike "Dodgeball" character White Goodman, who "read a book".....I haven't read the book "American Sniper" so I express no opinion as to that book or what it says.  I also express no opinion on Chris Kyle the actual person who lived and died.  He is accused of being a horrible liar and of defaming Jesse Ventura (which hardly seems possible).  But I have never met the guy, so I really have no basis to decide his overall qualities as a person.

I have, however, seen the movie "American Sniper."  It is a good solid movie, and the last 10 minutes are extremely powerful, as is the incredible experience of walking out of an almost entirely silent theatre (my show had about 700 people attending; you could hear a pin drop).

Overall -- 8 of 10.  I might have said higher, but there are some pretty garden variety military scenes and for the first 25 minutes of the movie Bradley Cooper's Texas accent is so low and mumbled that I found myself watching almost like someone watching a foreign language film - trying to understand what was going on by the context.  Is this desire to copy accents really necessary?  I mean, Jeff Bridges in the "True Grit" remake did the same thing.  I get it, that is what the person really sounds like.  So what?  Could you not make some effort at making the movie version audible/recognizable?

I am a Democrat.  When I was 8 years old, I had a Watergate coloring book.  I used to color my book while watching what I could of Congressional hearings about the Watergate break-in and cover up.  I voted for Mondale and every Democratic nominee since.  But I am not a liberal Democrat.  After the furor over "American Sniper" the movie, I am glad.  It seems that liberal Dems despise "American Sniper" because it is a movie that states that a solider who was sent into the Iraq War is an American hero whom others adore.  That is true.  Watch the footage at the end of the movie -- people lined the roads for his funeral procession; the Cowboys' stadium was full of people honoring him; his fellow soldiers decorated his casket with their military pins.  People loved the guy and regarded him as a legend/hero.

The knee-jerk reaction of the liberal Dems is to state that Kyle could not be a hero because he fought in George W. Bush's unjust war and killed Iraqis who should never have been in harm's way.  But, again, he was a hero to many, many people.  If 10 years from now a movie is made in which LeBron James is depicted as a hero during his days in Miami, will people rise up and state "He is no hero!  He left Cleveland!  He left Miami!  He is just a basketball player - why do we worship basketball players!?!?" I am sure that they will.  But that sort of position just ignores the facts - people have heroes whom they worship because the hero does do certain things or has certain character traits that they admire.  YOU may not like it, but why pretend that the hero worship does not exist?  Why immediately jump to the conclusion that,  because you do not consider the person a hero, no one may properly consider the person a hero? 

Wouldn't it be far more interesting to simply watch the film then go home and consider why it is that a segment of society considers the character depicted in the film to be a hero?  What qualities is he believed to have that the people admire?  Why does our society honor and/or reward those qualities or what he did with his life?

But that is a thinking person's response.  It is far easier to just stand up and scream, "No!  I do not accept that!"  This is the Democratic equivalent to the constant abuse of Barack Obama by the Right Wing.  Could Barack Hussein Obama ever do anything right or advocate for a correct position?   No.  Could anyone consider him a good President or a role model?  NEVER!!!  He is black.  He is Kenyan.  He is a Muslim.  He wore a tan suit once, etc.  The anti-"American Sniper" position is loaded with all of the same sort of talking points, "BUT, the guy was a liar.  But, we shouldn't have been at war in the first place.  But, how dangerous is it REALLY to be a sniper?  He KILLED people!"

I understood the bad feelings about "Zero Dark Thirty," because, while it was a good movie, it was clearly depicting torture as the proper thing to do and, basically, making all of the good characters  pro-torture with no qualms whatsoever about what they were doing.  (All characters who suggested not torturing were depicted as the enemy who make it impossible to get crucial information to save lives).  The key premise of that movie -- that torture got us key information -- is almost certainly false.  I can see people objecting to the elements that suggest a top-level government propaganda piece justifying torture, 

But "American Sniper" is not a government propaganda piece.  We are not asked to accept that the Iraq War was justified.  We see no top government officials.  We only see Chris Kyle getting Seal training and sniper training and then going to Iraq.  He is there.  He does what he does.  He has to make tough decisions that, if he is wrong, will send him to prison.  While Kyle is the main character, all of the other characters that we see are not necessarily as gung ho and pro-war as Kyle.  One character states that there is a lot of evil in the world and that, basically, there is enough blame to go around.  He writes a letter to his mother stating that he thinks that people are overwhelmed by the glory of war.  His mother gets up and reads the letter at his funeral.  He is depicted very sympathetically.  Kyle's own brother seems to despise the war and serving in the war, he says directly to Chris Kyle, "Fuck this place."  Again, he is a "good guy" character.  He is portrayed sympathetically.  Kyle's own wife hates what the war is doing to Chris Kyle and constantly complains that Kyle is never involved in the family, caring only about the war.  Again, she is not seens as whiny or needy.  In fact, you can take from the movie that she is the voice of reason in the entire film.  She just wants a normal family life.  She doesn't care about the cause.  She just wants her husband to return to normal.

When these people challenge Chris Kyle's view of the world, he responds in very dogmatic terms.  The fellow soldier doesn't know what he is talking about.  His letter home is what got him killed because he lost faith in the cause. (When Kyle says this to his wife, his wife is utterly shocked at what he is saying -- Kyle fully believes in his position that the letter home got his former friend killed, but it is a ridiculous position, and it is not portrayed as reasonable or believable).  Even Kyle's own brother, when stating how much he hates Iraq, gets a reaction from Chris Kyle that shows no love, pity or empathy for his own brother, because his brother is being soft (or at least softer than Chris Kyle).  Again, unlike "Zero Dark Thirty," where the stars of the movie were all seen as doing God's work,  Chris Kyle is obviously a guy with a very narrow world view, and it isn't necessarily correct.  He goes out and kicks ass and shoots people.  He believes everything he is doing is 100% correct.  He believes that the Iraqis are bad people who will be terrorizing San Diego or New York if he doesn't kill them all.  But this is a guy who we really are not supposed to take as the authority on anything.  Does writing a letter to your mom that is anti-war cause you to get shot and killed in an ambush?  Come on.  Should Kyle care about his wife and kids?  Certainly, but he does not.  Should Kyle care about his brother's obviously shaky mental state?   Of course.   But he doesn't.  He may be the hero, but he is a very flawed hero.

So, while people justifiably have a problem with the Bush Administration, the movie "American Sniper" shows one guy doing his job as a soldier, holding some very definite beliefs, and basically saying "fuck you" to anyone who disagrees with those views.  For that, many people, particularly in the military and in Texas, love him.  Should that come as a great surprise?  Are you as a movie watcher required to love him?  No.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that you are invited to love him or not love him (he is mean to his wife, ignores his kids, says ridiculous things, is uncaring to his brother, has what I would consider to be a God complex, and he almost tries to kill an innocent dog for God's sake).   You can also take him as a complete person and (as with anyone else) accept that he has both admirable traits and very negative traits.

The fact that millions of people attend "American Sniper" and come out feeling great about the Republican Party really is not something you can fight against.  Both "Born in the U.S.A." and "Pink Houses" were regarded as great Republican political patriotic anthems, and that was never the songwriters' intent.  It makes no sense to fight so hard to deny people who want to love the "American Sniper" movie their right to love the movie because it makes them feel good about being a Republican.  Let them love it.  The whole idea that "You cannot love the movie because I do not" is, quite frankly, a position I would expect to hear on Fox News and not from people who purport to be supporters of the First Amendment, free speech, and the freedom of expression.  When did we become so predictable politically that whatever YOU like the I must hate?

Friday, January 23, 2015

The 17 Best NBA Players Who Were Also Terrible Defenders

Now, the stats are what they are, so how do we assess who were the absolutely worst 5 defenders?

Well, Dan Issel and George Gervin, if you include their ABA stats, don't even make the list.  So they get a pass - terrible defenders admittedly, but were better as younger players in the ABA.  That leaves 15.

Ricky Pierce and Mark Price are similarly awful, but they had fewer minutes than most and less time to rack up defensive Win Shares.  13 left.

Then I'd say if you are in the "best" 5 of any defensive category that I will give you a pass -- so Mitch Richmond, Dale Ellis and Rudy T. get out on one category and Lou Hudson, Dick Van Arsdale and Rolando Blackmon get excused for being top 5 in another.  That leaves the worst 7 guys.

Worst 7 Guys:

Kiki Vandeweghe, Steve Nash, World B. Free, Stephon Marbury, Calvin Murphy, Deron Williams, Tiny Archibald.

All guys are historically horrible defensively for people who have racked up at least 50 offensive win shares.  (Only 126 players in the history of the game have had 50+ OWS).

If you sort the stats, it is pretty clear that there are two categories of terrible defenders here:

Super Super Horrible --
7. Nate Archibald
6. Deron Williams
5. Calvin Murphy

The 4 Worst
4. Stephon Marbury
3. World B. Free
2. Steve Nash
1. Kiki Vandeweghe

This final group includes the 4 worst guys in both defensive categories.  Vandeweghe accounted for a Defensive Win Share around every 2800 minutes of play.  Marbury about every 2300 minutes, Free about every 2000 minutes.  It could be argued that Nash's ability to stay on the court for almost 40,000 career minutes makes him the worst defender of all time, since he was so bad (one DWS every 2,350 minutes or so) over such an extended period of time.  But Vandeweghe's ability to toil for 24,000 minutes while NOT ACCOUNTING FOR DOUBLE DIGIT DEFENSIVE WIN SHARES just stands all by itself as an achievement.

I mean, look, all of these guys are terrible defensively, but most of them are getting one DWS for every 2-5 OWS's  Nash and Vandeweghe were getting SEVEN OWS by the time they got one DWS.
They stand head and shoulders above everyone as one-end offense-only players.  And much as it is hard to imagine, Steve Nash was a slightly better defender than someone else.

(It should be noted that for guys with under 50 OWS, Michael Redd and Nick Van Exel are bottom of the barrel defenders).

"Ball" Boy Gets His Balls Deflated by Tennis Serve

According to a commenter, it would be like getting hit by a baseball thrown at 46 mph.  So put on a pair of loose fitting shorts and attend a Little League game and stand 20 feet from an average pitcher and take one right in the nuts.  That is gonna hurt.

Next time, I think the tourney will forgive you if you move.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Daily Show Addresses the GOP SOTU Responses

Bread bags, basketball, a doctor complaining about "elites" and a guy who says "meh, let's just start again".

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shawn Marion -- Soon to be Quitter. Is He a Hall of Famer?

If you compare his career numbers to Scottie Pippen's, the numbers are very close across the board:  So I really do not see any way the voters keep him out of the Hall, given his generally good play over a lengthy period of time and the Pippen comparison.

But I need to be consistent, so what are my HOF criteria?   1) a top 3 starter on a championship  team; 2) a couple times first-team all-NBA; 3) top 10 in MVP balloting at least 2 times; 4) possessing some otherworldly skill that deserves recognition (10 times all-defense, 3 times Defensive POY, rebounding champ 4+ times, etc.); and/or 5) top 10 all-time in one particular positive stat of note.
He does have a title with the Mavs, but he wasn't one of their best 3 guys.
He was never 1st team all-NBA.
He was top 10 in MVP balloting only once.
He was never first team all-defense and never possessed any particular skill of note.

The way Marion gets in the Hall is he shows that he was close on all of these criteria, and he has some top 30 statistical accomplishments (total defensive rebounding, total steals, both in top 30 all-time).

Sadly, though, I cannot place him in my Hall of Fame.  I just have to draw the line somewhere and he falls below the line.  Is it really asking too much that a guy be thought of as a top 10 player twice?   I really don't think so.  I mean, someone like Paul Pierce has never been first team all-NBA, but he was a top 3 guy on the Celtics AND he will finish his career in the top 8 in made free throws.  Ray Allen - Celtics and #1 in three points and top 10 in FT%.. 

Look at a guy like Tracy McGrady - two times first team all-NBA, top 10 in MVP voting 6 times.  I just think that if you have some bright line rules that you will get a Hall of Fame that actually puts in the best players.  Will there be guys who get left out who were very good players?  Sure (Vince Carter doesn't qualify under my criteria).  But if you never were a reason a team won a title, and you weren't able to say you were clearly a top 10 player in the league 2 times in your career, do you really deserve to get in?  I say no.

Shawn Marion would not get my vote. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Halfway Through the NBA Season, Who Are the Top 12 Guys?

I took PER above 22, WS over 4.4 and WS/48 above .16, and that got me 12 guys. 
Then I assigned one point for a 12th place finish in a category and up to 12 points for a 1st place finish.

12th Place -- Pau Gasol  (4 points)

11th -- Aldridge (8)

10th - LeBron (13)

9th Marc Gasol (14)

8th --  Kyle Lowry (15)

7th and 6th (tie) -- Blake Griffin and Jeff Teague (17 points each)

5th -- Damian Lillard (18)

(Enormous Gap)

4th -- Chris Paul (27 points)

3rd -- James Harden (3rd in PER, 1st in WS, 3rd in WS/48 -- 32 points)

2nd -- Steph Curry (2nd in PER, 3rd in WS, 1st in WS/48 -- 33 points)

Best Statistical First Half -- Anthony Davis
(1st in PER, 2nd in WS, 2nd in WS/48).

In the history of the game, there have been 11 times where a guy has played over 1,200 minutes and recorded a PER of at least 31.  3 Wilts, 3 LeBrons and 4 Jordans......and Anthony Davis thus far.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Best Football is Played in --- Obama States

College football championship -- Ohio State (Obama state) defeats Oregon (Obama state) in the finals. Professional football -- Seattle (Washington is an Obama state) vs. New England (all of New England is Obama territory).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wanna See a Wild LeBron and Jordan Comparison?

Only two guys had a value over replacement player of greater than 10 -- 24 and 25 year old Jordan and 24 and 25 year old LeBron.  Pretty wild.

The stats folks say take this VORP and multiply by 2.7 to get Wins Over Replacement.  That means that replacing either guy with an average player would have made the team 27 to 30 wins worse.  So you go from 60-22 to 30-52. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kevin Garnett -- Time to Retire

One of my favorite players of all time.  Also, in my opinion, one of the most underrated players of all time.  Garnett was ejected last night for head butting Dwight Howard.  While I am sure no one will be crying for Dwight Howard, it is just another example of how KG's skills have so eroded that he views his primary job as just being super dirty and creating havoc.

Kevin Garnett, if he can grind out around 400 more minutes, will be the 5th player in NBA history to log 50,000 or more minutes.  (Kareem, Karl Malone, Jason Kidd, Elvin Hayes).

By finally putting up some positive Win Shares this year, KG has managed to eke ahead of Oscar Robertson and Artis Gilmore on the all-time NBA/ABA Win Shares list, he now ranks 7th all-time.  He will never catch the 6 guys ahead of him:  Kareem, Wilt, Malone, Jordan, Stockton, Duncan.   While he is only 6 WS behind Duncan, Timmy is still good -- KG, sadly, is not.

You can play more minutes and actually put up negative Win Shares, so it is possible that if KG plays more he will actually go backwards and drop below Oscar and Artis.  That would truly be a shame - work for 49,500 minutes to get to 7th place and then fall back to 8th or 9th.

To make matters worse, Dirk is catching KG in Win Shares.  And Kobe and LeBron have shots at eventually passing him as well.  If Garnett retires in 7th place, he could still lay claim to a top 10 all-time mark (passed by those three guys) for a decent number of years.  If he falls to 9th, then Dirk passes him, probably at least LeBron gets him too, and he falls to 11th.

Why stay?  He certainly shouldn't need the money.  He is top 3 all-time in salary received (he may still be #1, but I think Kobe may catch him).   His legacy declines with every game he plays.  The only thing I can identify that may be keeping him going is that he trails only Karl Malone and Artis Gilmore for career Defensive Rebounds.  He needs 163 to pass Malone and 272 to pass Gilmore.  Neither feat is likely to get accomplished this season.  (As support for this idea that this is why he is staying around, look at KG's rebound rate for the past two years -- it is way, way up).  And....look behind you KG, Duncan is only around 600 defensive rebounds behind.  At 7 a game, that is a little over one season.  Is it likely that Duncan plays 2 seasons more than KG?  I would say so.

When you are one of the top 25 players of all time, is it really worth it to hang around and play like shit for 1 1/2 more years just so you can hold a record for 2 years that not even I knew before today was held by Artis Gilmore (NBA/ABA stats included) or Karl Malone (NBA only)?  I say no.

Please, KG, retire.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Highlights of Golden Globes 2015

Pictured: 1) "I just have to smack that ass" moment between Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson. Kate's recent breast implants and work out regimen have given her a hotter body than Jen's....but Jen is OK with that. 2) Winning the "best semi-nude support" and "best body makeup" award -- Jessica Chastain. 3) Probably #1 best dressed on the night -- the 48 year old Salma Hayek -- my lord. And for you guys reading this, her hair and makeup was nice as well.

Best honest

Roy Tarpley - Dead at 50

Tarpley was one of the greatest rebounders I ever saw.  He was great on one leg, great on drugs, great drunk or hung over.  He was just generally one of the best players I ever saw. 

Of course he got suspended and then kicked out of the league, but he continued to excel in foreign leagues on the court, if not off the court.

So what stats do I have to support my claim that Roy Tarpley was so great?  He led the league one year in offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds.  Very, very difficult to do.

If you search the period of 1984-1996 for 20 point 20 rebound games, you get Olajuwon and Barkley and Karl Malone with multiple games.....and also something like 6 by Roy Tarpley (despite low games played and low minutes per game). 

How about Rebound Percentage?  Well, in the last 30 years, here are the guys who scored more than 7 points per game and had a rebound percentage over 20 for the season:

1Dwight Howard20062014TOTNBA8 seasons
2Marcus Camby20012010TOTNBA5
3Danny Fortson19992005TOTNBA4
4Kevin Love20092013MINNBA4
5Dennis Rodman*19911995TOTNBA4
6Roy Tarpley19871990DALNBA4
7Charles Barkley*19871998TOTNBA3
8Andre Drummond20132015DETNBA3
9Charles Oakley19861988CHINBA3
10Jayson Williams19961998NJNNBA3

Those are probably your best combo rebounders with any offensive ability over the past 30 years (Rodman, by the way, really went off the deep end and had 6 seasons where he had 20+ rebound percentage, but under 7 ppg.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

12 Greatest NBA/ABA Careers

Take everyone who ever played in the NBA and require 130 Win Shares, a PER of at least 20 and a Win Shares Per 48 of at least .12 and you get the above list of 27 guys.

Now, just sort by category to find Top 10 finishers and you can assign a guy 10 points for a first place finish, 9 for 2nd place, etc. all of the way down to 1 point for 10th.  You could be a great player, but if you are not top 10 in a category, you get 0 points.

I have included ABA statistics, because the NBA record keepers include those stats -- I believe it was part of the deal with the ABA for the merger.

There are only 3 guys who are in the Top 10 for each category:

Jordan 34 points (4th in Win Shares, 1st in WS/48 and PER, 4th in points)
Kareem 30 points (1st in Win Shares and points, 7th in PER and 5th in WS/48.
Wilt 29 points (2nd in Win Shares, 3rd in WS/48, 5th in PER and total points)

That is it -- as I have stated in the past, these are three of the guys on my Mount Rushmore of NBA Players.

What our review of the stats tells us is that there is an ENORMOUS drop off from these three guys' careers down to the rest.  One other guy appears in 3 of 4 categories -- Tim Duncan

Duncan -- 8 points (6th in WS, 10th in WS/48, 9th in PER).

But there are guys who have a higher overall score than Duncan but fill only two categories:

Karl Malone - 17 points (3rd in WS, 2nd in points)
David Robinson 16 points (2nd in WS/48, 4th in PER)
LeBron James 16 points (4th in WS/48 and 2nd in PER)
Shaq - 11 points (3rd in PER, 8th in points)

Then you have the guys who fill two categories at a worse score than Duncan:
Barkley 7, Petit 7, Magic 6, Dirk 2

Then you have the guys who fill only one category:
Kobe 8 (points)
Stockton 6 (WS)
Dr. J. 5 (points)
Moses Malone 4 (points)
Garnett 4 (WS)
Gilmore 3 (WS)
West 3 (WS/48)
Oscar 2 (WS)
Dan Issel 2 (points)

You have to start your sorting somewhere so let's kick the one category group out of the discussion. Dirk is in two categories (WS and Points) and is still playing, so he stays in. That leaves:

Top 3 -- Jordan Kareem, Wilt
Next Group -- Duncan, Karl Malone, David Robinson, LeBron, Shaq.
Honorable Mention -- Barkley, Petit, Magic, Dirk.

There are your 12 greatest NBA careers.

Guys whose careers are somewhat overrated -- Bird, Kobe, Bill Russell, Hakeem, West, Oscar, Mikan.

Guys Who are in the top 27 that surprise you -- Clyde Drexler, Paul Pierce, Dolph Schayes, Adrian Dantley, Dan Issel, Artis Gilmore.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Whose Butt?

Clue -- she is best known as a TV actress.