Friday, December 30, 2016

Some Thoughts on the 11-22 Timberwolves.

The Wolves were 5-13 when I last complained about them.  They have since gone 6-9 (5-4 in their past 9).  Not that good, but better. 

Of all of my ideas, the Wolves have done the one that is most important.  They now run a ton of stuff through Karl-Anthony Towns.  They run him into the post early and often and force the opponents to defend him in there.  They run a ton of high ball screen action for Towns and Wiggy or Towns and Lavine.  The increase in Towns' usage has led to a better team overall. 

My concept that the Wolves should dump Rubio has not come to fruition and they still play Kris Dunn over Tyus Jones.  I don't appreciate that.  You can definitely see why Thibs, a defensive coach, wants to play Dunn.  Dunn is a +++ defender for a point guard.  He rebounds, gets his hands on balls, helps out powerfully and aggressively on defense. And he is a + athlete from a speed and leaping standpoint. 

But Dunn is simply brutal at running an offense, and he is one of the reasons the Wolves' bench is at the bottom of the league in bench scoring.  I would suggest that the Wolves' bench lineup should be Tyus/Dunn/Shabazz or Lavine/Aldrich/Bheli (or Payne).  It is a small bench lineup, but what NBA clubs have high scoring big guys off the pine?  Not many.

Jordan Hill -- should never play.

Thibs has somewhat calmed down, but that may be an offshoot of the fact that the Wolves started 6-18.  I mean, you are expected to go 41-41 and you start 6-18.  Everything has gone so shitty that basically there are now nearly no expectations on you as a club.  It is unlikely that you will (after playing at a 20-62 pace) suddenly go 35-23 and make the playoffs.  So you can just go out and play the game.  You suck, you are a doormat again.  no one expects anything from you.  (In the parking garage elevator after one Wolves home loss an opposing fan told me "Gee, I don't think your team is that bad after all, they kept it close.")  It hurts to be patronized.  This is basically, "HM, you really aren't THAT fat and ugly.  I'd consider telling my less attractive niece to think about dating you."


1) The coaching staff has settled down by a factor of 25%.  It needs to gear back another 25%, but at least there is not panic and screaming on every single play.

2) The staff has some fun out of bounds plays that actually work.

3) The staff has a funky defensive free throw alignment where they line up the SF and SG in the scoring corners and then have the PG race the ball right up the middle.  Opponents have terrible trouble with this play and it generally results in a layup or a wide open 3.

4) Lavine has played well.  His offensive rating is around 117.  He has learned not to dribble greater than 3 times in a possession.  He is brilliant at maneuvering to get open 3s and he has very long range.  He is a terrible defender (115 DRtg) so he needs to improve greatly there.  The guy can touch 12 feet, there is no way he shouldn't get more steals and blocks and maybe even some defensive rebounds.

5) Wiggy is TRYING to improve his rebounding.  I mean, look, the guy has terrible hands.  They are either super small or they have grease on them or he just never played catch growing up.  So it is not only lack of interest/energy that keeps Wiggy at 3-5 RPG, he is also not a gifted rebounder even when he tries.  That said, I can see that the coaches are trying to get him to square up the ball between his shoulders, high-point the ball, and rebound with two hands.  That way, when the ball squirts out of his hands (as it inevitably often does) the ball is likely to drop right in front of Wiggy and his body can shield the dropped ball from opponents.

6) The Wolves are valuing Gorgui's 17 foot jumper as a weapon.  Gorgui, like former Wolf center Mark Blount, has a deadly 15-20 foot jumper when left alone.  And he is often left alone.  When the Wolves wre good (and yes they once were) Sam Mitchell was the grizzled vet who stood 15-20 feet out, waited for the ball, and drilled the jumper at the shot clock buzzer.  Gorgui can do that as well and we are seeing it more.


A) The Wolves are pussies.  When an opponent has a physically imposing big man who plays hard, the Wolves almost always lose and they almost always give us 115--120 points.  If, however, an opponent has no big strong post presence (or that presence is a dog ala Dwight Howard)  the Wolves can beat anyone (played GState close, had Houston beat).   Your chances of winning should not be based upon whether opponents can manhandle you.  An opponent should never manhandle you. 

B) The Wolves play harder in some games and less hard in others.  Tonight Wiggy wanted to be thought of more highly than his draft classmate Jabari Parker.  So we got the great Wiggy (6 asssits, shut down the Greek Freak).  But then he will go to Denver and cannot guard anyone or even try to do so.  This was a trait of J.R. Rider - J.R. would light up Mitch Richmond and then give up 40 to Eddie Jones. 

C) Wolves have almost no bench play.  Kris Dunn's PG skills appear to be roughly 15% better than the PG skills that made Lavine into a full time off guard.  Offense aboslutely grinds to a halt with Dunn.  And his jumper?  It is like the shooting equivalent of a random number generator - could be left, right, long, short, air, or it could go directly into the basket.  He could make 4 in a rown or airball 4 in a row and neither would surprise anyone.  Imagine getting into your car every day and the heater works 100 times out of 300, but sometimes 4 in a row and sometimes not at all for 9 times and some times it causes second-degree burns to you finger when you hit the on button.   That is what watching Kris Dunn shoot a basketball feels like for me.

D) Speaking of - after starting the year with a newly-crafted jumper with perfect shot rotation, Wiggins now appears to be back to his old ways of side spinning the ball so it is a swish or nothing.  He likes to come across it in a curveball spin. 

D) Wolves still don't really understand what they are trying to do on defense.  I think the newest strategy on pick and rolls is to show and recover more.  I think.  It is bad when you cannot tell exactly what the strategy is by watching 99% of the play (as I do either live, on TV live, or on tape). 

E) Wolves are really, really, really bad at running shooters off the 3-point line.  I mean, my lord, if I have to watch anorther team's 2-3-4 man stand and stare at the Wolf defender for 3 seconds and then hit a three, I will lose my mind.   Get up under him or on his shooting hand and make him at least dribble.  Yes, if the guy has 11 moves to get a 3 (like Curry or Lavine) it may not work.  But allowing a guy to stand, do nothing, then hit an open three in your face?  That has to stop.

OK -- all for now.  At 11-22 there is some hope of improvement at least.  They are at least building toward their 29 win pace of last year.  And if they are on pace for 29 wins with 20 to play, they could pick up 4-6 more games as teams try to tank for draft picks.   

We shall see.

Happy 32nd Birthday, LeBron James, which is the greatest website ever invented, will allow you to search for players by age.  They define "age" as how old you were on February 1 of a particular season.  So, if you were born February 1, 1985, this would be your "age 32" season.  But if you were born February 2, 1985 this would still be your "age 31" season.  I suppose Feb. 1 is selected because it is roughly the midpoint of the season.

Anyway, this will be LeBron's "age 32 season" so to see where he fits with other 32 year old careers, you need to search.

Since you'd like to see stats like VORP. that means you need to do a couple different searches, because Oscar Robertson and Wilt, for example, have no VORP (the site doesn't keep that stat that far back) and you need to account for the fact that Kareem only has VORP for part of his career (as does Bird and Magic, etc.).

Anyway, here is one search

Here is another to get the guys without VORP --

Now, might I be a bit off using just these two searches?  Yes.  But, here is the best info I have on LeBron's rankings as a 32 year old.  This also assumes that he will not ever play another game this year and that he will record no positive or negative stats from now until the end of the season.

VORP - 1st
Points - 2nd
Win Shares - 2nd
Turnovers - 2nd
Games Started - 2nd
Minutes Played - 3rd
FG  - 3rd
FGA - 3rd
Games Played - 4th
FTA - 4th
PER, WS/48, 3PA, FTM -- all 5th place
Assists - 7th
3P made -- 9th

He is also 13th in steals. 
Maybe the most amazing stat -- 3rd in MP, 13th in steals, 78th in fouls (meaning he almost never gets called for a foul).

Not so great categories:
Effective FG% - 19th
3P% - 21st
TS% - 26th
Blocks - 36th
FG% - 40th
Total rebounds - 42nd
Free Throw Percentage - 74th.

With another 1 WS he will pass Wilt for #1 on the age 32 and under WS list. With another 325 points he will pass Kobe for the #1 32 and under scorer.  With another 118 minutes he will pass Garnett for #2 in MP, needs 628 to pass Kobe.

Happy birthday, LeBron.  For longevity purposes, keep in mind that to get in the top 5 for points and top 5 in assists he will need to play 5+ more years.  He already has played the 34th most minutes of any player, so playing 12,000 more minutes would place him in the top 3 all-time in minutes played.  At some point you expect to see diminishing returns.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Naismith Hall of Fame Candidates for 2017

I will not purport to claim a great knowledge of the other categories (though I do love Jennifer Azzi).  So I will concentrate on the American male players category.

I will drop guys who are coaches or contributors or someone like Geese Ausbie who was a great Globetrotter.  I mean, how do you evaluate that?  Did the fans like him more?  Did the Washington Generals have more trouble stopping him?

My goal here will be to identify no more than 6 male player Finalists

As I have opined in the past, there are a lot of clunkers in the Basketball Hall of Fame, so I really cannot concentrate on things like "Is he better than Calvin Murphy or Guy Rodgers or Mitch Richmond?" 

I am not going to say "Well, Ralph Sampson is in, so...." That is not a true HOF test.  Instead, we will look at my criteria for NBA players:

Was he any of the following:  

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) possessed with some otherworldly skill that deserves recognition (10 times all-defense, 3 times defensive POY, rebounding champ 4+ times, etc.); or
5) top 10 all-time in one particular positive stat of note.

Let's look at the list: 

Guys who have been left out forever (10):
Paul Westphal, Jack Sikma, Sidney Moncrief, Kevin Johnson, Marques Johnson, Bobby Jones, Mo Cheeks, Terry Cummings, Swen Nater, Junior Bridgeman

Guys who have been left out for a some time (5):
Tim Hardaway, Mark Price, Steve Smith, Mark Aguirre, Muggsy Bogues

Newer Candidates (4):
  • Tracy McGrady, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, Glenn Robinson 

  • We have 19 Guys and I am trying to knock the list down to 6.

    In Fairness, Let's Use my Criteria to Identify Guys Who Don't Meet the Bare Minimum Qualifications. 

    Mo Cheeks, Terry Cummings, Swen Nater, Junior Bridgeman, Steve Smith, Mark Aguirre, Muggsy Bogues, Glenn Robinson are all out.  (I do not consider Cheeks to be a top 3 Sixer or consider his 10th place finish in steals per game to be enough, even with his 4x all-defense awards).

    That leaves 11 guys for 6 spots.
    Kevin Johnson
    Marques Johnson
    Bobby Jones
    Tim Hardaway
    Mark Price
    Tracy McGrady
    Chris Webber
    Ben Wallace

    All 11 are excellent players and deserving of consideration. 

    Category A -- The 2 Locks
    McGrady and Ben Wallace.

    1) Tracy was 2x first-team all-NBA, 6X in the top 10 in MVP voting, 7X all-star.  He had a season with 16 WS.  He is in.

    2) Big Ben is #1 all-time in Defensive Box Score Plus-Minus.  #1.  Ever.  DPOY, 5X first-team all-defense. Starter on a title team and a great team that went to 7 games in the Finals.  He is in.

    Category B -- The 4 Guys Who Don't Deserve It
    Best to Worst -- Mark Price , Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Marques Johnson

    These are all "very, very good" players, but they were all guys who were elite for only 3-4 years.  Not to say that they could never get in, but I couldn't skip them forward in the line while others stayed out.

    They have a combined 3 first-team all-NBAs and a combined 11 times being voted top 10 in MVP voting.  Between the 4 guys. 

    That leaves us with 5 guys for 4 spots -- Westphal, Sikma, Moncrief, Bobby Jones, Chris Webber.

    Category C - Left Out In the Cold

    Poor Jack Skima.  He was great as a champion Sonic, very good as a Buck, and he has 112 Win Shares - the most by anyone on the list.  He was 7X all-star, tied for most of anyone on the list.  But if you put a gun to my head and said, "rank the 5 guys left" I'd say Moncrief, Westphal, Jones, Webber, Sikma.

    Jack was never first-team all-NBA or first-team all-defense.  He only finished top 10 in MVP balloting twice.  Despite playing forever, he is not really well known for any great particular skill or statistical achievement.

    So he is out, but I would not cry if he got in.

    Category D -- They Get My 3rd Through 6th Votes

    3rd -- Sidney Moncrief -- the fact that Sidney Moncrief is not in the HOF should be mentioned to every HOF voter every day of his or her life until the problem is remedied.  Sid is 4x all-defense, 5x top 10 in all-NBA balloting.  He personally stopped Moses' quest for Fo-Fo-Fo. Top 7 player in the league 5 or 6 years.  Only 1X first-team all-NBA, but it is a joke he is not in HOF.

    4th -- Paul Wetsphal -- this will not be a popular take, but stick with me.  Paul Westphal was first-team all-NBA 3 times.  First-team.  He was one of the 2 best guards in the league 3X.  5X all-star.  Took his team to the NBA Finals.  One would find his career roughly the same or similar to Spencer Haywood.  I just don't think you can have a HOF where you say "sure you were deemd one of the best guys for 3-5 years, but fuck you."  Is hurt by only having 62.7 career WS.

    5th Bobby Jones --  he was great in the ABA, great in the NBA, played on the great Sixers teams.  He was 9X first-team all-defense.  9X.  And none of those were fluke all-defense awards.  He was great on the ball, great off the ball, great on chase down blocks.  He shot a high percentage, moved the ball, was a good teammate, his teams always won.  He was just a great overall player. 

    6th Chris Webber -- now, if someone came up to me and said "Webber is out and Sikma or Mark Price is in" I would not lose a great deal of sleep.  Chris was 1X first-team all-NBA and 5X top 10 in the MVP balloting.  Chris was great with Sacto, not so great with anyone else.  For more thoughts on Webber, see my old entry.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Top 75 in ABA/NBA Stats and Top 50 in ABA/NBA Stats - Look at Kevin Garnett!

    Per, the greatest site in the world, it currently takes the following stats to be Top 75 on the combined NBA/ABA lists:

    Points -- 17,770
    Rebounds - 8059
    Assists -- 4612

    The guys who have reached all of those levels? 

    Kareem, Wilt, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Julius Erving (counting ABA stats), and Larry Bird

    I looked -- Oscar is short a couple hundred rebounds and Magic is short like 10 points.

    Top 50 in all categories:
    Points -- 19,528
    Rebounds - 9,443
    Assists - 5,314

    Those who meet all three criteria? 

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st in points, 4th in rebounds, 41st in assists).
    Kevin Garnett (20th in points, 10th in rebounds, 47th in assists).

    For those, like me, who loved KG as a player, this is a very impressive Group of Two for him to be in and it indicates that for longevity and versatility KG should maybe be moved higher on the all-time lists.. 

    For those of you wondering -- Bird is short on rebounds to be Top 50.  Wilt, Karl, Doc all are short on assists to be top 50. 

    Thursday, December 15, 2016

    LeBron moves up the List of Those With 40,000+ Points/Rebounds/Assists shows the old list.

    LeBron is now at 41,631 total units and is #16, having passed Dan Issel.  LeBron is still roughly 2,000 units behind Dirk and Hakeem, and roughly 3,000 behind Artis Gilmore, Oscar, Michael Jordan and Shaq.

    Taking games off won't help LeBron reach top 10 status this year. But if he plays 50 games and averages 25/7/8 he will add 2,000 and get into striking distance of the top 10 for next season.

    Paul Pierce is currently at 38,528.  He has only registered 35 total units so far this year, so, yeah....

    Vince Carter, who played when Jesus was a carpenter, has not reached 35,000 total units.  Tony Parker and Chris Paul are not even at 30,000 total units.

    It is a big man's world in this stat category.

    Monday, December 12, 2016

    For you Fans of Fat Lever

    So, you know -- Wilt, Michael, Magic, Oscar, Havlicek...............Fat Lever!!!!

    Monday, December 05, 2016

    Barry White Sings Live -- 1974

    The big fella. Love Unlimited Orchestra.

     I enjoy singing this at karaoke.

    When I visited London, the street performers and I sang a little duet (quietly). RIP, big guy. HM

    Thursday, December 01, 2016

    What I Would Do to Help the Timberwolves (There May Be No Easy "Fix" Right Now)

    Tom Thibodeau has a 5 year deal to run all basketball operations of the Timberwolves.  He is not going away.  So far he has been far less successful than Sam Mitchell.  That is a bad thing.  In a scarier vein, he has seemingly demoralized Karl-Anthony Towns.  In October, that would have seemed to be nearly impossible to do.  But he has managed.

    Thibs' constant screaming and whining at every referee call is not conducive to leading a young team.  He has to learn to limit his bitching and whining to, say, 25% or less of all plays.

    Some general thoughts on suggested changes other than that:

    1) Karl-Anthony Towns is your #1 player.  He should be announced last at home.  It is a small thing, and a very petty thing, and KAT would never ask for or demand it.  But there is no way Andrew Wiggins should be announced last.  KAT is your best guy, he gets announced last.  Go through the Wolves' advanced stats and see if it makes any sense to say Andrew Wiggins is your star.  Answer - it does not.  Just accept that.

    2) Your offense must be focused on KAT.  The Wolves once went 40-42 just absolutely force feeding the ball to Kevin Love.  You can do that with KAT, and KAT is a better passer, better dribbler, and much bigger than Love.  He is not quite the shooter Love was the year he was 2nd team all-NBA, but KAT is 21 years old. 

    You can run the occasional stuff for LaVine.  And Wiggy has his moments where he is hot.  But KAT is your best player, recognize that and run stuff mostly for him.

    3) You have to have some buy-in defensively.   I honest to god cannot tell what the Wolves are trying to do defensively.  This indicates to me that the Wolves players also do not know the answer.  Allowing Rodney Hood to get to his left hand?  Allowing Boris Diaw to spin to a right-hand hook?  George Hill dribble a full 180 degree plus wheel with his right hand and finish at the rim?  They don't put a body on anyone, and are regularly also outjumped for the ball on rebounds.

    If things are so, so bleak, what you need is a sitdown with your club and just a statement of what you are trying to accomplish.  "Guys, today we keep Boris Diaw to zero made hook shots."  "Guys, if you see George Hill get more than 120 degrees dribbling to his right, go ahead and double team.  He isn't passing."   Hayward - make him drive.  Melo 0 same.  Hood - same. 

    If your guys cannot even understand or execute these very basic defensive elements, then go to Plan B.  "Guys, what do YOU think you can execute defensively?  Would you like to press?  Trap?  Play some 1-2-2, some 1-3-1?  Is there anything we can run that you might enjoy?  Double all ball screens and rotate?  I mean, the Bucks double a ton and then cut off the next pass - it isn't a 100% faulty strategy necessarily. 

    But you cannot send guys out for 48 minutes and leave the crowd saying "what in the hell are we doing?"  Even if your strategy is "wildly double the post and rotate" at least that is a strategy and it should at least take away post-ups.  To steal from Neal Page, Thibs' strategy in 2016 "is a miracle," it seemingly takes away absolutely nothing that the opponent wants to do.

    4) Rid Yourself of Rubio and Play Some Combo of Dunn/Tyus  --  I was not a fan of drafting Kris Dunn, but I will tell you this -- Kris Dunn is a REALLY high end defender.  Now, he may be the worst person I have ever seen at trying to run an offense.  His penchant for dribbling to just inside the corner of the free throw line and picking up the ball is unnerving.  But if you played Kris Dunn 20 mpg he would be disruptive defensively and he would kickstart a little offense off deflections and steals and guard rebounding.  He isn't hopeless.

    Tyus Jones is a great floor general, and his young teammates seemingly like him and want him to play.  Watch Tyus and KAT on the bench.  KAT talks to Tyus, even when Tyus isn't playing, and it is clearly about the game. 

    Tyus will never be a plus defender.  But he is willing to try, and he wants to play and he wants to win.  He is not afraid.  Someone some day will play him 30 mpg and he will do very well in the NBA.

    Rubio has become Tom Brookens.  Tom Brookens played 12 years for the Detroit Tigers, had an OPS+ of 83 (100 is average) and yet rolled up roughly 4,000 at bats for the Tigers as an above-average fielding STARTING 3rd baseman.   He was the best they had most years, so he always played.  He just wasn't very good.  Every year the Tigers would have a prospect to try to take his job, and he couldn't displace Brookens.  But Brookens was just not very good.  In fact, for hitting, he was very poor. 

    (Notably, in 1984 Brookens was NOT the starter and was made a utility player -- the Tigers won the title.  The next year he returned to third base).

    Anyway - my point?  Ricky may have the edge right now over Dunn and Tyus, but if Ricky is your PG, you ain't going anywhere.  And as long as he is around, he will probably be your PG, because he will look better than the young guys you have behind him.

    You gotta rid yourself of Ricky.  You are 5-13, you aren't making the playoffs.  Just jettison him for whatever you can get.  Play the other two guys.  In fact, play Dunn and Tyus together some.  Dunn can take on the best guard and Tyus can handle the ball. 

    The Spanish National Team still doesn't play Ricky much.  Is there any other coaching staff in the world who knows more about Ricky?  Sorry, Ricky, my daughter loves you, but you gotta go.  Play all of the young guys, let them sink or swim together.

    5) Establish Some Sort of Team Identity -- Hey, guys, we are going to go play Minnesota tonight, so be aware that they will _________________.  Our identity when I assistant coached boys was that we would run great set offense and we would run multiple defenses.  Drove opponents crazy.  We weren't athletic or big, and everyone knew it, but you didn't like playing us, and opposing fans LOVED watching us.  (In a state tourney, I had a 6'5" fan from the inner city approach me on the bench and say "are you an assistant coach of this team?"  Sure.  "Let me shake your hand - that is how basketball should be played."  We knew what we were and we played that way.  In 8th grade we were #4 in the state. 

    When I coached girls we would press full court then press half court and try to beat you up. We were more athletic than my boys had been.   The word was that we were hard to play against because we fouled all of the time.  We were 6th in the state in 8th grade.

    Anyway - the point - you need to "be" something.  If your team has no identity, 97% of the time you will suck.  What are the Wolves?  Well, hey have good young players.  So....Do they run?  No.  Do they press?  No.  Force turnovers?  No.  Do they play fast?  No.

    OK - they have a highly skilled big man, SOOOOO....Do they play slow and use the shot clock?  Go post up every play?  Nope.  Play physical defense?  No.  Outrebound you?  No.  Outwork you?  Certainly not. 

    If you go across their Team Stats line, the Wolves are not noticeably better or worse than their opponents through 18 games at any significant stat.  I don't view that as a plus.  A team that is a poor shooting team and a great defensive team can win games because it always plays D.  A team that shoots a ton of free throws might win a bunch of games it shouldn't.  A team with great 3 point shooting might not rebound much at all.  But all of these teams have a strength to fall back upon.

    A team with no discernible strength has nothing to fall back upon, which is one reason the Wolves are chokers.  When things are going poorly, they cannot say "toss it to _____ he'll draw a foul" or "sure we haven't scored in 4 minutes, but they won't score either."  Or "let's run our pet play for KG where he posts on the left block and distributes."

    Anyway - I could go on and on and on.  But those are your basic building blocks.  Start with those, and maybe by the time you are 10-30 overall, you will have a team that can go 21-21 the rest of the way?


    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    Trump Supporter

    This woman had as many votes in the election as I did.

    I think for the next 4-8 years you are going to see racists such as this who feel bad about their shitty lives telling store clerks/servers with whom they are displeased (shocker, maybe a store clerk at a Michael's isn't doing such an awesome job) that the racist feels discriminated against because of "my political views."

    Ladies and Gentlemen -- NBA Champion J.R. Smith

    When the Cavs celebrate the 20th anniversary of their NBA title in 2036 (or late 2035, however they do those things) someone will interview the 51 year old LeBron James and the conversation will go like this:

    Q - So the 2016 Cavs - great team.  Who started for you then?

    A - Well, me, Kyrie, Love, Tristan Thompson was our 6'8" center.  And JR of course.

    Q -- JR, Reid?

    A -- No, JR Smith.  Shooting guard.  Starting off guard.

    Q - Wait the guy who played for Denver and the Knicks?  He was on that team?  How much did he play?  Didn't he split time with Delly and Shump?

    A - No.  JR was the starting off guard.  Against the Warriors in the Finals he played 261 minutes - 3rd most behind me and Kyrie.

    Q -- So, you beat a team that had won 72 games with JR Smith playing that many minutes?  What were his Finals numbers? 

    A. Well, he went 10/3/2, rounding up.

    Q -- Well, at least you had Kevin Love, right?

    A -- Kevin played 158 minutes and went 9/7.  Rounding up again.

    Q -- (blank look) So, LeBron you are the clearly the best player of all-time. 

    A - Certainly top 4.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    Thanksgiving Memories

    When I was growing up, sometimes we would go to my dad's mom's house and have a huge meal.  My dad grew up in a tiny farm house in central NY state and it always sort of gave you the feeling that you were in the movie "Oliver" except my grandma had a ton of food.  We had as many as 35 people in a 1,500 square foot house, so we made friends with our cousins, or really struggled.  I remember one Friday after Thanksgiving I fell asleep at 6PM Friday and woke up at 10 AM Saturday - still my record for continuous sleep absent surgery.

    Once or twice we'd go to my mom's mom's house and my aunt would bring dinner.  She was a caterer and so she made food for 100 people when we only had 15 there.  It was great food and she was a great cook, so I would have 4-5-6 servings and people would still be begging me to eat more "or it will go to waste."  I really believe that had it been a thing in 1980-88 that I could have been a competitive eater.  I am sure that there were days I had 20,000 calories plus.

    But the best Thanksgivings were when we stayed home.  My mom would get up about 4AM and put in her turkey and start making stuff.  She always bitched (which wasn't a Thanksgiving-only event) but you could tell she really loved to make a great meal.  My mom - also a very good cook, though for some reason she enjoyed making a terrible vegetable stew once every 10 days.  That was a really bleak day.

    The VERY best thing about my mom's cooking was that she would make dinner rolls from scratch.  She would make 64+ rolls because she knew I could eat at least 12 (I will concede that some days it may have been 24).  She'd make dinner rolls that were 3 inches high and light as a feather.  Then she'd take a stick of butter and rub the stick across the browned top.  Then we'd eat them with more butter inside.

    I always loved Thanksgiving.

    When I tell people today that I eat roughly 40% of what I would like to eat and roughly 15% of what I used to eat as a kid, no one believes me.  But man could I ever eat and man did I love Thanksgiving.  Now, I had a stent put in to open a 95% clogged artery at age 45, so you probably should not do as I did.  But it was fun while it lasted.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  It can be a tough time for those who do not have family near, and sometimes a far tougher time for those who do!  But try to make it a great day and either remember the great times growing up, or if you had few or none, try to make some great memories tomorrow.


    The 7 Greatest Playoff Performances By WS/48 (Minimum 500 Minutes)

    3 of the 7 seasons with greater than 500 MP and over .29 WS/48 resulted in no title:

    1) 1964 - Wilt drags a terrible San Fran team to the finals, loses in 5 to the Celtics despite a playoff average of 35 points and 25 rebounds a game.

    2)  1974 -- Kareem loses in 7 in the Finals to the Celtics despite a playoff average of 32 points and 16 rebounds a game.

    3)    2009 -- LeBron, playing at a ridiculous level, puts up .399 WS/48 and yet his team cannot even reach the Finals, losing to Orlando despite LeBron's overall stats of 35 points and 9 rebounds a game.

    of the 4 winners (Jordan twice, Connie Hawkins and Dr. J)

    -- Jordan's 1991 season (at age 27) is the modern day gold standard at 31 points and 6 rebounds a game while going WS/48 of .333

    -- Dr. J's 34 points and 12 rebounds a game in the ABA's 1976 season demonstrate why he was such a God.

    -- Connie Hawkins at 30 points and 12 rebounds a game led the Pittsburgh Pipers to the 1968 ABA title.

    -- Jordan AGAIN in 1996 put up 31-5 and over .300 WS/48.  Jordan easily serves as the oldest guy on the list as we have

    LeBron 24
    Hawkins and Dr. J 25
    Kareem 26
    Wilt and Michael 1991 at age 27
    Jordan 1996 -- age 32.

    Over 950 Minutes in a Playoff Season

    Interesting note -- of the 29 guys to log 950+ MP, only 11 played on teams who won the NBA title.  18 were losers. 

    Richard Hamilton played 1079 playoff minutes in 2004-05 and yet couldn't log even TWO playoff Win Shares!!!  Other just super shitty (but durable) efforts - Jalen Rose 2000; Dan Majerle 1993.  Dennis Johnson 1987.

    The 5 Best Big-Minute Playoff performances?

    #5 -- Larry Bird 1984 -- won the title, 4.7 WS, .236 WS/48

    #4 -- Dwyane Wade 2006 -- won the title, 4.8 WS, .240 WS/48

    #3 -- LeBron James 2013 -- won the title, 5.2 WS, .260 WS/48

    #2 -- Tim Duncan 2003 -- won the title, 5.9 WS (the all-time playoff record), .279 WS/48

    #1 -- LeBron James -- 2012, won the title, 5.8 WS, .284 WS/48. 

    Sadly, Dirk Nowitzki, who had Dwyane Wade on the ropes in 2006 in the Finals before "Letting him off the hook!" (RIP Denny Green), had a tremendous playoff season (5.4 WS, .263 WS/48) end in failure, or he would have displaced Bird from the list.


    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Baltimore Teacher

    Are you not supposed to do/say this? 

    She now awaits her future position in the Trump Administration.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016

    Phil Jackson and LeBron James

    I don't really care about the "posse" comment (though it is clearly a slam on LeBron).  The more interesting thing is that Phil Jackson seems to have a real problem with LeBron.  He was a bad guy in 2004, a bad guy in 2014, a bad guy in 2016.  Just an overall bad guy.  Doesn't take things seriously, requires special treatment, etc.

    If I have LeBron James as a player and he asks to stay in Cleveland overnight to hang out with his mom, I say, "Fine, go ahead.  We need you in _________ by ________ o'clock tomorrow."  Is this really a great concern?  This isn't Iverson showing up at practice with "flu-like symptoms."  The guy is 29 years old and has led your team to two titles and he wants to spend a night at his mom's house.  News flash, Phil -- regular business people do this (plan trip to a town and stay an extra day to see their families).  Oooh, "special treatment!"

    The complaint about LeBron traveling all of the time.  My lord, Phil.  Tiny Archibald traveled every time he got the ball.  Patrick Ewing never ever established a pivot foot.  Every single right-handed basketball player in the NBA who catches the ball with his right foot stationary immediately switches pivot feet without dribbling.  That is how it is.  Do you know how we determine the best guys in a world where they don't get calls?  When they play international ball and the refs do not give them any leeway, who are the best guys?  LeBron is always still the best guy.    As was Jordan, as was Barkley, as was David Robinson, as was Duncan, as was Garnett.

    Perhaps the biggest problem that Phil has with LeBron is that LeBron reminds us that it is the PLAYERS and not the coaches who win titles.  LeBron has won 2 titles with Eric Spoelstra and one with Tyron Lue.  He has brought teams to the Finals coached by Mike Brown and David Blatt.  So perhaps what bothers Phil the most is that he doesn't like to know that guys like Brown/Blatt/Lue/Spoelstra  can ride great talent to a title appearance.  That tends to disprove the whole myth of Zen and that you need a super coach to win.  You don't.  What you need is a top 10 great player.   All of a sudden Phil's 11 rings ring a little hollow. 

    Maybe that is it? 

    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    Trump Post-Election Option Appears to Be to Just Be an Establishment Republican.....and Worse.

    Trump has an opportunity to act in a reasonable manner.  He has some policy concepts (I am not sure if he is actually serious about them) that are not awful.  Improve roads and bridges.  Try to punish corporations for moving American jobs overseas.  He sometimes (25% maybe) implies that the American worker is not making a lot of money and should make more.   He hasn't been vehemently anti-gay, so maybe he could let that whole set of social issues go. He could, if he wanted, actually be an OK President.

    Then you see this.

    So with a guy who lost the popular vote and who did not come close to 50% of the vote, the GOP just simply wants to gut everything done in the past 75 years to help people, and provide a $7T tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.  (No tax cut for Trump - he doesn't pay taxes, as we know).

    Trump has indicated he would like to appoint as the head of the EPA someone who does not believe in climate change.  98%+ of scientists believe in climate change.  It is 65 degree in November in Minneapolis now.....regularly.  How do you even find some hack who will deny climate change?

    My best hope for Trump is that he will find a way to actually try to be a "third way" between the two major parties.  If he is just going to be a whore for the establishment Republican Party, we would be better off with him resigning and allowing Pence to run the country into the ground and form a theocracy.  At least then we would not have people out committing hate crimes in the name of the President.

    Speaking of theocracy, I am already so tired of the Republican talking point that non-Trump voters should not be concerned and should shut up and put their faith in God and his love.  It is so appalling to me that a campaign for President based so heavily on hate and division and bullying now says "well, guess I won, God will protect you -- just pray a lot."  WTF?  I mean, I recognize that people who follow religion are pretty gullible, but "pray and love - while we take away all of your rights and turn the clock back to 1951" cannot seriously be a talking point, can it?  People actually buy that shit?

    Kids in Minnesota who are Trump supporters are writing "Fuck Niggers" and "white America" on bathroom stalls, followed by "Trump."  Kids at schools with Hispanic students are chanting "build that wall" to Hispanic students.  What can you tell these kids?  "Don't do that!"?  Um, that is what the President-elect said for 15 months!  He is endorsed by the KKK's newspaper.  Kid's reply -- Don't tell me what I can say, the American people support this behavior! 

    Trump could (as he has many times) switch his position and let everyone know it was all just schtick.  It does not appear that he intends to do so.  So if you are poor or Hispanic or Muslim or fat or a woman whom he wants to OK for sexual assault - fuck you.  Not your country anymore.  There are some white folks in the South and Midwest who got all C's and D's in school and they decided who runs the country now.  Enjoy 4 years of hell.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2016

    Clinton Would Have Won Had She Merely "Held Serve" With Obama's Voters

    Amazingly, she lost to a guy who 60% of voters stated was wholly unqualified to be President of the USA (42% voted for her, 18% still voted for him!) because..........

    People simply do not like Hillary Clinton.  I mean, there can be no other explanation.  She failed to match Obama in virtually any category of Obama voter.  She got 5,000,000 votes less than Obama (even though Trump will get fewer votes than did Romney).

    The short answer is that you can do all of the looking and analyzing you want, but if blacks and women and young people do not go to the polls, Democrats lose.  And these people never felt that they'd like to vote for Clinton as much as they had wanted to vote for Obama.

    The most surprising exit poll was that Trump (who called Mexicans murderers and rapists) won FAR more Hispanic votes than did Romney!  Clinton was unable to even convince 70% of Hispanics that they probably ought to vote against the most racist candidate to run for President since at least George Wallace, and maybe since Strom Thurmond.  Instead of a 70-17 Obama beatdown, Clinton only managed 63-29.  That is a 19 point decline.

    Sometimes you just have a bad candidate.

    Michael Moore With a Prediction of Why Trump Won

    Tuesday, November 08, 2016

    Russell Westbrook on a Pace to Shatter Kobe's Usage Percentage Record

    Russ is at 41.7 Usage Rate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  41.7.  That is simply insane.  In 2005-06, Kobe, in a display of ball hoggery and shameless gunning unseen before or after. put up a ridiculous 38.7% Usage Rate.

    Russ, playing without Durant for most of the year due to injury, took a shot at the record in 2014-15, but fell just shy at 38.4%.  Michael Jordan playing on Doug Collins' 40-42 Bulls in 1986-87 got to 38.3%.  No other player who has played 2,000 minutes in a season has ever reached 38%.  (Iverson reached 37.8% Dwyane Wade is #5 at 36,2% in 2008-09).

    Russ is roughly 108% of Kobe's record right now.  There is a lot of season to play, and I have always felt that Kobe's mark was simply unbreakable for a few reasons:

     1) Playing at that Usage Rate requires you to be unbelievably physically fit.  You need to be a remarkable physical specimen to be able to go that hard every possession.

    2) You need to combine that physical stamina with a complete disdain for including your teammates in the game.  I mean, you literally cannot want anyone else to get an isolation play or to dribble more than once (more than one dribble generally denies you an assist and reduces your Usage Rate).  LeBron is as physically fit as anyone who has ever played the game, and he has the ball ALL of the time.  But he has never even reached 34% in Usage.  The flaw in LeBron's Usage game is that he genuinely likes to be liked by his teammates.  Most seasons he dedicates the 3rd quarter to allowing some teammate to shine and have his chance at glory (I recall Mo Williams, now Kyrie, Bosh or Wade often got the 3rd Q to shine).  That makes you a nice guy, but it isn't getting you any Usage records.

    3) You need to combine physical stamina and disdain for teammates with a healthy dose of "don't give a fuck".  So if the opponent puts 2-3 guys into rotation against you, you need to say "gonna shoot it anyway" or "gonna drive it anyway."  Russ and Kobe definitely share that attitude.  When Phil Jackson took over the Bulls, one of the first things he told Jordan was that he simply HAD to allow his teammates to be more involved in the game.  This wasn't a Usage discussion, per se, but the point is the same -- you cannot be at 38% plus Usage if you have any belief that your temmates are good players and can help you win.  The two things are pretty much mutually exclusive.

    Therefore, I always viewed Kobe's 38.7% as basically like those before me many years ago viewed the 4 minute mile -- you just physically could not do it, it would kill someone to do it.

    But, Russ may be the Roger Bannister of Usage and he may set the bar so high that no one will ever challenge it.  So maybe he is more like the Bob Beamon of Usage -- will set a mark that lasts for 20+ years.  We shall see.

    Election Day 2016

    The great fear I have, of course, is that Trump's undereducated wave of white males just explodes and shows up at the polls in their camo to vote.

    When Ventura won in Minnesota, that happened.  I showed up at my lily-white polling place and saw guys who appeared to be either coming back from hunting or on their way to hunting signing up to vote.  (We have same-day registration in Minnesota).  I knew Ventura had a real chance then.

    Today at my polling place it was a lot of people on their way to work.  There was no influx of redneck white voters.  That is a good sign, at least where I am at.  Also, I don't know where they found 1-2% minority voters in my precinct, but they all came to vote at 7:00 a.m.

    Anyway - hopeful that Trump and his ilk will go down today.  The sad thing is that there are only about 30-35% of the voting public who are the ignorant racists that Trump preys upon.  If he gets 48% (which is about what he needs to win) that means that 13% of people who are neither ignorant or racist have voted for him....which makes me even sadder and more depressed for our future.

    One can only hope that women and minorities are willing to stand in long lines to stop this guy, because we white men have failed our country badly in 2016.  Look, guys, I know you're angry that you had to be ruled by a half-black guy for 8 years.  That is no reason for you to allow a crazy and incompetent psychopath to become President. 

    Anyway, Trump has the same chance of winning that a major league pitcher has of getting a hit when he is batting.  Which is pretty low, but way too high for my liking.  I have called and texted every Hillary voter I know to ask that they please vote.  I guess I should have volunteered or given money.  I should have done more and tried harder.  But now I am stuck hoping for a good result.  Who knows what will happen?  We shall see. 

    Friday, November 04, 2016

    Addendum to my Trial Victory Story (Below)

    Three other highlights:

    1) Opposing counsel is making some stupid cross-examination inquiry.  Something like, "Hey, didn't that REALLY bother you?"  It bothered me.  "How about REALLY bothered you?"  I wouldn't say that.  "Well, how could it bother you and not REALLY bother you?"  Judge looks over at me with the face of "I want you to object"  I roll my eyes and give him the palms up shrug like "it will be over soon and he isn't getting anywhere."

    2) Judge is mad that we are going to call their witnesses by deposition and then they are going to bring these same witnesses LATER in the case and call them in their own case.  "Why can't you people work this out?"  Me -- Judge, I asked them to produce these witnesses for my case, they refused, obviously hoping that I wouldn't read their depositions and hoping that would cause you to grant directed verdict.  I cannot just not present them, but, your honor, this is not my fault."

    Turns to opposing counsel -- "Is that true?"   Reply -- I WILL NOT BE A VICTIM OF HM's FAILED LITIGATION STRATEGY.  IF HE WANTS TO BORE THE JURY TO TEARS, HE MAY.  HE WASN'T SMART ENOUGH TO VIDEOTAPE THEIR DEPOSITIONS!!!! AND YES, I INTEND TO WIN A DIRECTED VERDICT MOTION!   (it was stated very angrily, as if typed in all caps).

    Judge goes off.  1) You as an attorney are supposed to work things out; 2) now I have to read all of these depos, 3) I can assure you that you aren't going to win a directed verdict motion, so don't fool yourself.

    I guess it wasn't me who engaged in failed litigation strategy.

    3) Other side's obsession with deposition testimony was bizarre.  They'd ask things of people in depo that they had no foundation for and then bring it up at trial.  Example -- "do you bill to the 1/100th of an hour?"  Yes.  "Your depo says you don't."  Redirect - "are these 400 invoices where you billed to the 1/100th of an hour?  Yes." 

    It was like watching a robot conduct cross examination -- Mr. HM, are you overweight?  "Yes."  Here in your depo, you say you are not! "Well, you can just look at me and see that I am"  BUT YOUR DEPO!!  YOUR DEPO!!!! 

    Perhaps gear that back a little?  Jurors are not morons.



    Thursday, November 03, 2016

    Highlights from My Recent Trial Win

    Just recently won a big verdict on behalf of my client.  Some trial highlights:

    1) My client has to prove damages.  Put my client on the stand and ask, "What is the total amount of your damages that you are claiming?"  Objection - irrelevant.

    Now, without proving damages, there can be no case win.  The objection is that the proof of damages is "irrelevant"?


    Shocker (my opponents brought 5 attorneys to trial, some of whom bill $800/hour - they objected to this question as "irrelevant.").

    2) Going through damages -- "And what is $4,000 times 6 years?"  "Objection your honor - Leading!"   No.  Leading would be "And $4,000 times 6 years is $24,000, right?"


    3) Now, sir, by sending out this document, was it your intent to frighten my client?   "Objection, mischaracterizes his testimony!"  Mischaracterizes his testimony?  His testimony is mentioned nowhere in the question.  The question merely asks if his motivation in sending the letter was to frighten.  The question involves neither his testimony nor any characterization of the testimony.  And even if it would have (for example, "Didn't you just testify that the letter was designed to frighten someone?') I don't think that is a valid objection to cross examination.


    4) Opponents brought 5 attorneys and 3 support staff every day.  One of their litigation themes?  "We are a small company being bullied."  Well, when you have a theme like that, you probably don't want to flood the counsel area with people billing a total of $3,000 an hour and leave them there for 60 hours of trial.

    5) One of the key arguments in the case, raised to the judge many times, was that because my client had been in business many years that he could claim many years of future damages.  Judge had ruled on that theory 3-5 times during motions, always saying such testimony would, in fact, help to prove damages.

    Q - "How long have you been in business?"
    Objection - irrelevant.

    Um, you have already lost this 3-5 times, there is binding case law directly on point, why continue?

    6) Opposing counsel loses to my objections on the relevance of an issue 4 times.  Finally says, "You honor, may I approach and be heard?"  Judge - "On this line of questioning?"  Yes.  Judge, "No, you may not."  Ouch.

    7) One opponent objection was untimely disclosure of a witness.  Move to exclude - denied.  "We have no time to prepare!"  Tough.  Witness testifies - they have a rebuttal witness and a 29 page PowerPoint presentation with 4 separate attacks.  Guess they were adequately prepared.

    8) Local counsel asked me, "If we lose, are we polling the jury?"  Uh, no.  That is classless and, in my opinion, very unprofessional.  These people have given us 8 days of their lives.  We aren't doing that.  We will take our loss with dignity and thank the folks for their service. 

    Then we win.  Opponent -- "I would like the jury polled." 

    73 year old female juror, when asked, stops deliberately, turns to look directly at opposing counsel and says, "YES.  It IS my verdict!"  She is SUPER pissed.

    9) When I won, two of opposing counsel walked up very graciously and professionally and said, "Congratulations, you did a good job."  Main opponent, "See you at the Court of Appeals!"  I relied, "You could, instead, just pay me now."  Fucker.

    When I was a really young kid, my dad taught us many card games.  At the end of the game, you shook hands and said, "Good game."  It was required.  That was taught to me at age 6.  Just stick out your hand and say "Good game."  It may be hard in the moment, but it is a sign of class and good upbringing.  I have lost cases at various stages and every time I have called or emailed opposing counsel as soon as possible and said, "Good job.  Congrats."  Or some variant of that.  I could never do otherwise.

    10) Doing 5 cross examinations back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back is exhausting.  I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

    11)  Client stops me in the hall just before Day 4 of trial.  "My wife was here yesterday."  Yes, I saw.  "Last night she said, 'gee, that guy we have from out of town is really, really good.  Really good.'".

    That made me smile.

    12) I posted my win on Facebook.  My sister called my mom and dad.  The two 80 year olds called their 52 year old son and said how happy they were to learn I had done something well.

    That was nice.


    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Tuesday, October 04, 2016

    My "Lucky 7" Takeaways/Thoughts From the Ryder Cup

    1) "USA!  USA!"  A quick personal note -- European golf fans can suck it.  I get so fucking tired of their fans' constant, "Well, looks like we beat you chaps for yet another year.  I guess you just don't know how superior we are..." bullshit.  We kicked your ass 17-11.  We never trailed. 

    Patrick Reed, despite being a Texan, was everything a USA fan could ever want in a golfer -- drained putt after putt, despite Jordan Spieth being a worthless partner after session #1.  Reed drains a huge pressure putt on Saturday and says in response to an interview question about pressure, "I had it all of the way - no problem." 

    2) Note to European golfers -- man up!  For goodness sake, you were surrounded by white suburbanites from Minnesota and surrounding area. Ooooh, intimidating!  If you are really shaken by this level of fan-harasser, I HIGHLY suggest that you do not come to Bethpage Black in 8 years.  You will have NYC area folk there.  This is roughly like going from facing a Youth Football (soccer) club to facing the German National Team. 

    You couldn't handle one MN guy who is the assistant manager at a sporting goods shop in Apple Valley telling Rory that Caroline Wozniacki would not stay with him for sexual reasons?   You hear that sort of thing daily from your best friend in NYC and surrounding area.  NYC folk view that as "busting your balls" (friendly banter) so imagine what they will say when they are actually angry and trying to get in your head.  (Or don't; just come over in 8 years and be surprised).

    Rory -- no hat?  No sunglasses?  Constant screaming whenever you made a putt.  Then you wonder why you had a headache?

    3) Danny Willett -- way to back up your brother's tirade about American fans!  Just show up, go 0-3, get Baba Booey'ed into complete suckiness and then slink away defeated.  Good work.  AND THEN tweet "Waaaaaah, my brother was right, they ARE meanies!"  That makes you look much better.

    4) Consistent with the terrible play of Willett, not one United Kingdom golfer brought home a point on Sunday in singles.  The Brexit could not come quickly enough for the rest of Europe, if it rids Europe of this level of UK golf effort.  The UK-based malaise was perhaps exemplified by Justin Rose, who shot something like 1 or 2 under on Sunday and lost to the always-beatable Ricky Fowler.  After that wretched performance, which placed Justin only 7 or 8 shots worse on the day than Sergio Garcia,  Justin noted that the course setup was..........too easy?  Not for YOU, apparently!  This is like Kevin Durant playing H-O-R-S-E and complaining that all shots had to be within 10 feet (and he missed 89% of his shots during the game and lost). 

    Here is food for thought for you, Justin Rose  -- if you cannot play well on an "easy" setup, then it is a "hard" setup for you!  (Mind blown).

    5) I went to the Friday session in person.  Some observations:

    a) the reports on the shuttle system from Canterbury Park to the course were horrific.  A 1.5 mile line to board a bus?  Two hours from parking there to the front gate?  Maybe Hazeltine could build a couple parking ramps?

    b) We parked downtown and took the bus from downtown.  The bus worked so much better that we got to the course by 7:35 and actually got to see 90 minutes of golfing before the hordes of people arrived.

    c) When everyone had arrived by 9:00 a.m., viewing became next to impossible.  The decision to sell 50,000 tickets when 4 groups are playing is pretty anti-fan.  I mean, why not raise the price to $300 (my ticket was $150) and sell 25,000?  Give fans a chance to actually view what is going on....?

    Even if you kept the price at $150, at 25,000 fans a day times $150/fan, that is $3.75M.  Add in the fact that the average fan bought $100 worth of food, drink and merchandise, that is another $2.5M.  And this doesn't count the sponsorships and high end tickets that the likes of me cannot afford. 

    Ryder Cup exec on TV on Saturday said, "Yeah, my kids were complaining because they could not see.  But I told them it was the experience that counted."  Easy to say when he (like me) was not paying for his ticket.  But I imagine the experience would be just as great if you could actually view the course.

    d) The crowd at the Ryder Cup had to be the quintessential all-white-middle-to-upper class crowd.  I wore a plain red sweatshirt from "My 2004 Closet Collection."  I was really worried that someone might come over and ask me to leave b/c of the dress code -- "Sir, and I use the term loosely, where is your private golf course embossed pullover?  If there were 50 "fans of color" in the 50,000, I did not see them.  Wave after wave of white guys (I'd guess the crowd was 80-90% male), many very douchey looking preppies (or whatever they called it in 1998 when these guys were in college).  I walked by a crowd of 10,000 or more fans at #17.  I was actually aggressively searching for any minority-looking person I could see.  Zero.  Shockingly, on the way to the souvenir shop (which was roughly the size of a small Wal-Mart) I was engaged in conversation by a black gentleman.  I almost fell over dead and thought maybe he was Tiger Woods or the other one black guy I'd seen inside the ropes.  Nope.  (Note, he hated Matt Kuchar).  So I know there were at least 3 black people at the event. 

    6) Paulina Gretzky (Dustin Johnson's wife) is striking -- but she is absurdly thin.  You know how you are always told that models/actresses are super thin?  She is super thin.  Super, super thin.  She failed to get the team memo, however, on going with the "just past shoulder-length super bad dye job looks like straw" blonde hair style of virtually every other golf WAG for the USA.  The Euros at least mixed in a few brunettes. 

    7)  Phil.  How about Phil?  Tax evading, insider trading Phil Mickelson.  Spraying it all over the course on Friday.  Makes the key iron shot and putt on Saturday.  Wearing some sort of bizarre vest over his playing shirt on a 75 degree no-wind sunny Sunday.  Bitching out Hal Sutton and Tom Watson as shitty captains. And freaking Phil shoots a 63 to tie Sergio (perhaps further infuriating Justin Rose?). 

    The guy creates a Ryder Cup Task Force because he is tired of losing.  He says, basically, "You guys at the top of the Ryder Cup effort suck at doing Ryder Cup stuff" and just demands a change.  Now, who knows if it actually mattered, but imagine you went into your job tomorrow where you are like 10th in command and said, "You guys fucking suck.  I can turn around our 2017 in 4 easy steps."  Then you demanded that those steps occur immediately.  After they did, your company had the best result in 8 years.  Imagine the size of the balls that would take.

    It would certainly take a lot bigger balls than what would have been required to just ignore it when some guy who sells insurance in New Hope tells you that you and all of Europe suck........


    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Kevin Garnett Retires From My Beloved Timberwolves -- My #22 NBA/ABA Player of All-Time

    When I watch basketball, what I become most frustrated with is lack of effort.  I will at times stand up and yell at coaches or players "come on, TRY!"

    As a Timberwolves season ticket holder, I watched Kevin Garnett play around 300 games in person and 500 more on TV.  I never once asked for Kevin to try harder.  I once saw KG badly turn an ankle at Target Center, hobble on one foot to the locker room, and play the entire game the next night in Denver.

    Kevin Garnett played with a fury and desire that took an awful franchise from embarrassing (50-65 losses a year) to a lengthy playoff run and 45-57 wins per year.  Then the Timberwolves traded KG.  He immediately won a title in Boston, and the Wolves have not made the playoff since.  That, in a nutshell is Kevin Garnett.  He busted his ass every single night for the fans.  He brought us wins, he made us a respectable team; he brought us to the Western Conference Finals.  Then we jettisoned him and gave him to Boston for Al Jefferson.  He immediately turned around Paul Pierce's attitude and won the Celts their first title in 22 years.  Every casual fan in the East suddenly learned how great KG was, without the slightest understanding that they were seeing a guy who was 20% past his prime and not anywhere near the player who left his guts on the floor while playing 1,000 games of basketball for the Wolves.

    Kevin Garnett was a smart player.  He would save his fouls until the 4th quarter and then start playing with a frenzy where fouls 2-3-4 might come in 3 minutes.  In a close game against a good opponent, he'd often end up with 4 or 5 fouls.

    A typical "good" KG game in his prime would be 22 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 block. Only Charles Barkley has more of these types of games since 1984.  The other names on that list?  LeBron, Bird....

    Kevin Garnett was my favorite ever NBA player until 2003 when I saw LeBron James play.  Now they are very close on my list of beloved players.  James is obviously the better player, and far more of an entertainer than KG.  KG has done more for me as an NBA fan than anyone ever, by a long, long way.  James is an entertainer.  He understands that he is putting on a show and that is what he loves most about the game - giving the fans a good show.  KG is a gladiator.  He wants to win.  He will leave every drop of his blood on the floor to win.  The fact that he does not or cannot does not ever enter his mind.  He doesn't care how he acts on the floor or how he pursues his goal of winning.  When he is out there, is it a gang war (as he said in his famous speech in the 2004 playoffs).  As an opposing fan, you can begrudgingly respect KG.  As a home fan, you have to love him deeply.  

    Some things the NBA will always have from KG:

    1) Guys blocking shots taken during a dead ball.  That was KG's deal and what everyone does today (including LeBron on Curry in the 2016 Finals).

    2) The maximum salary for individual players.  KG's $126M salary broke the bank and stunned NBA executives.  Tim Duncan (one year behind KG) made roughly $100M less than KG due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement being revised for fear of other guys getting KG's money.

    3)  The moving high ball screen.  As a young man, Garnett was so quick in setting a screen right and then quickly making it a screen left that it made defending a high ball screen virtually impossible,  As he grew older, he kept doing the same thing and was moving pretty badly when he reversed the screen.  The refs looked the other way, and now we have a whole generation of NBA big men who set wildly illegal ball screens of this type.

    4) Evaluating big men on the quality "rebounds outside of his area."  Kevin Garnett is the #1 defensive rebounder of the past 40 years.  He never boxed out.  Garnett would simply plant his feet in the middle of the lane, follow the flight of the ball, and outjump everyone.  That is now called "rebounding out of your area."  When I was growing up, it was called doing a poor job boxing out.  But when you are 7', fast as a deer, can touch 12 feet and have great hands, it is a good strategy.  This is particularly so when you are playing for a pretty mediocre set of temmates who expect you to get every rebound.

    KG was also famous for the defensive hedge by the big man 35 feet from the hoop on a pick and roll.  Hedge, turn you back on the dribbler, run back to your man.  It is a great defensive tactic, but very difficult to do, so most teams don't use it anymore -- they just switch.

    I rank Kevin Garnett as the #22 best NBA/ABA player of all-time -- just behind Barkley and Baylor, just ahead of Stockton and Dirk.

    He has two of the top 50 Win Shares Per 48 seasons of all-time (2003-04 with Minnesota, 2007-08 with Boston).   Kevin led the league in Win Shares twice; in VOPR 3X, He is 9th in career WS, 7th in career DWS.  He has more career Win Shares than Oscar, Shaq, Bill Russell, Kobe, Hakeem, Moses, Magic or Bird.

    Kevin Garnett had 10.7 or more Win Shares in a season 9 times, tied for 14th all-time with Barkley, Bird, Magic and West.  He had a season-long Defensive Rating of under 100 12 times; that ties him for 3rd with Hakeem and leaves him only behind David Robinson and Tim Duncan.  If you combine the two requirements -- that you have 10.6+WS and a DRtg under 100, Kevin had 7 such seasons, tied with Kareem for 3rd best.  Duncan and David Robinson had 10 each.

    (Note -- some of these stats did not exist for Bill Russell, so Bill is almost certainly #1 in all such stats).

    Sub-Total of This Section -- KG on an Advanced Stats Basis was a top 15 all-time player.

    KG was MVP of the league (2003-04) and Defensive Player of the Year (2007-08).  Kevin is 15th all-time in MVP award shares, 9X all-NBA (4X first team), 12X all-defense (8X first team).  Kevin was almost unanimous MVP, and should have been (one voter cast a vote for......Jermaine O'Neal?).

    Kevin's 2007-08 Defensive Player if the Year award still really angers me. From 2000 to 2006, Kevin Garnett was the best overall defensive player in the league.  He could guard every position (though he admittedly struggled against huge heavy centers).  He could guard out on the floor; he could guard by getting back on the break, he could play interior help defense.  In 2003-04, KG had a Defensive Rating of 92.  Don't you think it was THEN (his MVP year) that he should have been Defensive Player of the Year?  Nope.

    And Kevin did all of his defensive wizardry playing for a coach in Flip Saunders who did not give a damn about defense.  But when the Wolves declined after 2004, the powers that be took KG off the all-defense first team and by 2006-07 he was second team all-defense and third team all-NBA.  Then he goes to Boston and the media picks up the whole "my God, this guy is the greatest defensive player of all-time" line.  Well, guys, when KG got to Boston he was roughly 80% the defender he was in Minnesota.  He just ran across Tom Thibodeau and a team concept that actually emphasized defense.

    In short, when KG was in Minnesota, he was horribly underrated and underappreciated from an all-NBA and DPOY standpoint.  Once he went out East, he became, if anything, overrated.  But no one is going to go back and sort through the record book and say "well, should have been much higher, played in Minnesota and we didn't give a flying fuck about Minnesota players."

    Sub-Total of Awards Section -- top 35 player of all-time.  You'd view him in the Havlicek, Pippen range if you looked just at these stats/awards.

    Often cited as the greatest negative on KG's resume.  When in his prime in Minnesota he only won any playoff series one year (2004) and the Wolves either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round.

    Not a top 100 player based upon this stretch.  Was always compared negatively with people like Tracy McGrady and Big Dog Robinson.

    Then KG goes to Boston and immediately wins a title.  He gets hurt for a year and then the Celts go on another playoff run.  He led the NBA in Playoff WS in 2007-08, so he was the best player on the best team.
    His one title with Boston saves him in this category, as he has a title while Ewing and Barkley and Malone and Stockton and Durant and Chris Paul do not.  I will add that Boston Celtics fans are rapid fans and advocate hard on behalf of their players, so winning one title in Boston is like winning 4 somewhere else.  But I think his lack of success in MN will always hurt him when all-time lists are announced.

    Sub-total -- top 40 player.


    Kevin Garnett is not dead, so I won't treat this like a eulogy where we put to one side all of the negative aspects of someone and pretend that they were perfect in all respects.  I will just try to express to you the flaws of KG and his overall greatness.

    When I moved to Minnesota for good in the summer of 1989, I got season tickets for the Timberwolves.  I had been a Buffalo Braves fan until they moved to San Diego (then L.A.).  I had picked the 80's Celtics over the 80's Lakers, and I had been a huge Ralph Sampson fan 1979-86 (how did that work out for me?).

    Anyway, as a Timberwolves fan, let me just make it super clear -- when we did not have Kevin Garnett, we were the most embarrassing team in the league.  We always lost 50+ games and usually 60+ games.  The ownership tried to sell us to a New Orleans group that literally had no source of funding.  Then KG came.  Some things that you noticed right away about KG:
    - 7 feet tall, legitimately
    -- unbelievably long arms
    -- ran like a deer
    -- unbelievable passer
    -- could touch the top of the backboard, but not a natural shot blocker
    -- played with a level of intensity that was almost frightening
    -- was so physically dominant from a speed and size standpoint that he scared other NBA players.

    I recall Bobby Jackson coming down on a 1-on-1 break against KG, just exploding into the air and then seeing KG go up a foot and a half above Bobby.  Jackson panicked so badly that he came down to the floor with the ball.  The ref was (of course) trailing the play by 20 feet so he called KG for a foul.  He never touched Jackson, but he scared him so much that they called a foul.

    Shawn Marion just HATED Wally Szczerbiak (Wally had been picked before him) and he would regularly go at Wally.  Often he would blow by Wally and would get met by KG in the lane.  Marion on several occasions would just rocket the ball off the top of the square or throw a wild pass out of bounds so as to avoid being snuffed by KG.

    One game I sat next to the Kings' bench and Rick Adelman called timeout and brought his team over.  Rick (like Flip) was a great offensive coach.  He looks at his team and says, "Guys, come on.  Garnett is stopping our entire offense!  When you have the ball, look for Garnett and pass the opposite way that he is going."

    He gets extra points for being so dominant.

    Monday, September 19, 2016

    Corey Feldman on the Today Show

    You know, if it weren't Corey Feldman, no one would be so upset.  I mean, he has 4 hot chicks and EDM background and he is bouncing around like a douche.  So, basically today's club music, except with hot chicks who may or may not be playing instruments. 

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Trump Ad -- Racist, Sexist, People -- You Know, "People Like You, and You and You."

    Um, not exactly the most compelling ad. She is calling you and you and you racist and sexist -- you know, my most loyal supporters. Yep, that is what she is saying. The focus of the ad should be "look, man, none of my supporters are racist or sexist" (of course that is a lie) or "there are a ton of reasons not to vote for her and she doesn't realize it." Showing pics of your most loyal supporters and saying "you and you and you are racist and sexist" is kind of self-defeating. And wouldn't someone who supports Trump want to say "hey! I am in the other half of people! She isn't talking about ME!" "Half of HM readers are SUPER ugly." Hey, Jim, she is calling you ugly. Response -- "No. I am not ugly."

    Thursday, September 08, 2016

    "Why I Won't Ever Date A Feminist" Guy -- SO Unintentionally Hilarious

    I am put in mind of the Cheers episode where Cliff says, "That is why you'll never catch me getting married" and Carla replies, "Yeah, that's why....."

    Trump's Map -- How He Could Win the Electoral College

    It takes a lot of winning in swing states, but he can still lose Virginia and win. 

    Friday, September 02, 2016

    Going for 2 Late in the 4th Quarter Up 7 -- It Is Basically a "Push" Mathematically

    Gophers up 7 on Oregon State Beavers with under 2 minutes left at home; Gophers went for 2.  Missed.  Twitter Gopherites went crazy saying the Gophs were insane to try it.  I said it had to be the far better play mathematically. Then I sat down at the kitchen table at 12:30 a.m. and realized we were both wrong.

    If you assume that there is a 50-50% chance that a 2-point conversion will be made, we can do the math.

    GOING FOR 2 -- You Will Win 75 times out of 100
    If you go for two 100 times and make it 50% of the time, you will win the game 50 times on offense.  (Up 9 under 2 minutes is virtually a certain win).  You will miss 50 times.  Since we are assuming that the opponent always scores exactly one TD, in those 50 times you miss we will 100% of the time be headed to OT.  (There is a chance the Gophers kick and miss their PAT and there is a chance the Beavers score and kick and miss their PAT.  But we will assume those wash out from a math standpoint).

    You win 75% of the time (50 times you make the 2 and 25 of the 50 times you go to OT).

    KICKING AND GOING UP 8 -- You will Win 75% of the time
    If you kick, we will assume that is a 100% proposition (it isn't, but see above re the other team might miss a kick too),  You are up 8.
    When the Beavers score a TD, they now have a 50% chance of missing the 2.  You will win 50 times out of 100 in regulation.  On the 50 times that the Beavers make the 2, you will go to OT and win half the time.  So, 25 more times.

    You win 0 times on offense, 50 times by stopping the two and 25 times in OT -- you win 75 times out of 100.

    Now, suppose your offense just blows and will make a 2 20% of the time.  And assume your defense is awesome and will allow a 2 only 20% of the time. 

    Going for 2 -- win 20 times out of 100 on offense, of the other 80 that you miss you are going to OT and win 40 times.  20+40 = 60 wins.

    Kicking to go up 8 -- you win 0 times on offense, 80 times by stopping the 2 and 10 in OT.  You should kick because you will win 90% of the time.


    Flip the scenario -- offense scores 80% on 2s and defense allows 80% on 2s.

    Going for 2 -- win 80 times on offense and of the other 20 you go to OT and win 10.  90 wins.

    Kicking to go up 8 -- win 0 times on offense, win 20 on stopping the two, 80 games go to OT and you win 40 of those.   20+40 = 60 wins.

    If your chances of making and stopping the two are roughly the same, it will make no difference whether you go for two or kick.  You will win roughly the same amount of times.  If your offense is way better than your defense in that particular game, you should always go for 2.  If your defense is way better than your offense in that particular game, you should kick and go up 8. 

    Will a team down 7 after a failed 2 pointer by its opponent ever drive the length of the field and go for 2 and the win?  I agree with Tracy Claeys that 99% of coaches are not doing this.  But while you could lose to the Beavers in this scenario, this also permits you a backdoor way to win in regulation. You are up 7, they score and go for 2.  You now have a chance to win in regulation and to lose in regulation.  If your defense stops the 2 50% of the time, the chance of a bad beat or a lucky win is the same.  Again - if you have a great D, you want them to go for 2 and if you have a wretched D, you want them not to go for 2. 

    The Win Probability calculators say there is a 97% chance you win up 8 and a 93% chance you win up 7 in under 2 minute scenarios.  The biggest blame will be not in kicking or going for 2, but rather in allowing a late TD up a TD with under 2 minutes left at home. The odds say that should not happen.

    Friday, August 26, 2016

    West Virginia Governor's Spokesperson Fired for White Supremacist Video

    I have to tell you, as a guy, I was so offended by this video that I watched it only, say, 25 times:

    It reminds me SO much of those 1-900 commercials that come on late at night "Do you really want to find a hot girl - call now!" Live Links has nothing on these girls -- they even sort of use the same format: have hot girls staring kinda vacantly into the camera and repeat the same things. I hate to tell the video's director, but there are a lot of non-white males who will watch this video with the sound off, particularly when the ridiculously vapid blonde comes on. I do enjoy that the white girls are all dressed in all white. Why does the effing government demand we dress in colors other than white?!?!? After she was fired for the video, the woman at issue (straight-haired brunette) said that she "owned" her role in the video and that she never intended to hurt anyone. This is one of the odder comments I have heard. "HM, did you call that guy a nigger repeatedly?" Why yes, I did, and I own that content. But I never meant to hurt anyone. WTF would THAT mean? Is it basically "yeah, I said it, I meant it, and I am sorry you feel offended?" Is she set up for a future leadership role in the KKK or the Trump Campaign? As to the substance of the video, I say "oh lord." Why don't we condemn the Aztecs?? They were taken over by the Spanish, and then the French. Why don't we condemn the Turks for enslaving the Slavs? Because no one gives a fuck about the Turks or who lives in Turkey. Why are we forced to have sex/babies with non-whites? Well, I am unaware of that law. Last I knew, you hot girls can have sex with whomever you would like. In fact, the liberals (whom you hate) are pretty sure you can never have consensual sex with anyone, so you probably are off the hook for ever having sex again. What is left? That I have to talk to black people? That I cannot have a whites-only country or a whites-only housing policy? Anyway -- I STRONGLY suggest you watch the video, once with sound on and once with sound off.

    Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Springsteen August 23. 2016

    Bruce, obviously in a good mood, pulled out NYC Serenade, Jungleland and Rosalita and allows the crowd to request Santa Claus and Growin' Up.

    I'd expect Thunder Road tonight

    1. New York City Serenade  
    Wrecking Ball

    1. Badlands  

    2. (Harry Reser and His Orchestra cover) (sign request)

    3. (sign request)

    4. (solo acoustic with Patti Scialfa on vocals)
    5. (with string section; tour debut)


    7. (with “People Get Ready” outro)
    8. Encore:

    9. Play Video

    10.  Dancing in the Dark


    12. (Tom Waits cover) (sign request)
    Note: Clocking in at 3:52:01 from the start of the first song to the end of the encores, this is widely being considered Bruce's longest concert ever performed in the United States and his third longest show ever.