Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What NBA Player Has Had the Most "Good Games" and "Great Games" Since 1983-84?

If you assume that a "Game Score" of 15 is good, 22.5 is really good and 30 and better is great, here are your guys with the most of these games in either the regular season or the playoffs since 1983-84 (when basketball-reference.com's database starts).

Some observations:  1) if you assume Magic and Bird were denied about 4 seasons each by the database cutoff, and give them their averages per season, they still don't rank top 5 in any category (except Bird in 30+ games); 2) Michael and LeBron are clearly the two best guys; 3) Game Score stat appears to favor offensive players and disfavor players such as Duncan and Garnett; 4) 7 guys in the top 10 on all 3 lists - Karl Malone, James, Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Hakeem, Barkley.  5) surprising entries -- Nique????  not only present, but goes 16/14/15th place;  Kevin Johnson!  Chris Mullin!

I have always said that the belief that Steph Curry is substantially better than James Harden or Russell Westbrook (or has had a significantly better career) is not justified.  They are all very similar in my eyes.  Look at the "very good games" list - virtually identical.  On the "excellent games" list, Harden and Curry are almost identical while Westbrook trails slightly behind.  One would certainly be surprised that ESPN had Harden ranked in the 80s and Steph around 20.

* = Hall of Famer

Game Score 15 and above ("Good" Games):

1Karl Malone*F198620041190
2LeBron JamesF200420171045
3Michael Jordan*G198520031031
4Kobe BryantG19972016955
5Tim DuncanF19982016953
6Shaquille O'Neal*C19932011947
7Hakeem Olajuwon*C19852002918
8Dirk NowitzkiF19992017883
9Kevin GarnettF19962013854
10Charles Barkley*F19852000846
11John Stockton*G19852003831
12David Robinson*C19902003718
13Clyde Drexler*G19841998712
14Paul PierceF19992016668
15Patrick Ewing*C19862002666
16Dominique Wilkins*F19841999655
17Dwyane WadeG20042017653
18Reggie Miller*G19882005641
19Chris PaulG20062017635
20Kevin DurantF20082017631

21Magic Johnson*G19841996631 -- also played pre-1983
22Pau GasolF20022017621
23Gary Payton*G19912007617
24Allen Iverson*G19972010614
25Scottie Pippen*F19882004607
26Jason KiddG19952013601
27Carmelo AnthonyF20042017591
28Ray AllenG19972014570
29Steve NashG19972013558
30Larry Bird*F19841992542    -- also played pre-1983

Game Score over 22.5 -- "Very Good Games"

1 Michael Jordan*  672
2 LeBron James  648
3 Karl Malone*  575
4 Shaquille O'Neal*  491
5 Hakeem Olajuwon*  484
6 Kobe Bryant  464
7 Charles Barkley*  456
8 David Robinson*  382
9 Dirk Nowitzki  367
10 Kevin Durant 330
11 Tim Duncan  328
12 Magic Johnson*  327  -- also played pre-1983
13 Larry Bird*     323 -- also played pre-1983
14 Dominique Wilkins 313
15 Clyde Drexler*  312
16 Kevin Garnett  311
17 Allen Iverson* 305
18 Dwyane Wade  301
19 John Stockton* 291
20 Chris Paul  284
21 Patrick Ewing* 279
22 Paul Pierce  230
23 Carmelo Anthony  228
24 Tracy McGrady 219
25 Russell Westbrook  219
26 Stephen Curry  216
27 James Harden  216
28 Kevin Johnson  207
29 Vince Carter  202
30 Gary Payton*  200

Game Score over 30 -- "Excellent" Games

1 Michael Jordan*  305
2 LeBron James  186
3 Charles Barkley*  161
4 Hakeem Olajuwon* 152
5 Shaquille O'Neal*  149
6 Karl Malone*  148
7 Kobe Bryant  127
8 Larry Bird*  119  - also played pre-1983
9 David Robinson*  119
10 Magic Johnson*  99 - also played pre-1983
11 Dwyane Wade  94
12 Allen Iverson*  92
13 Clyde Drexler* 88
14 Kevin Durant  85
15 Dominique Wilkins* 81
16 Patrick Ewing* 77
17 James Harden  77
18 Stephen Curry  75
19 Chris Paul   69
20 Dirk Nowitzki  67
21 Tracy McGrady* 64
22 Russell Westbrook 62
23 Tim Duncan  61
24 Vince Carter 57
25 Kevin Garnett  56
26 Kevin Johnson 50
27 John Stockton* 50
28 Paul Pierce  46
29 Chris Mullin*  44
30 Carmelo Anthony 43 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Key "Game Score" For LeBron in the Finals -- Must Reach 22.5

www.basketball-reference.com has a stat called "Game Score" which generally indicates how much production a player has had in a particular game.  You include all of the player's statistics for the game, and they are then converted into one stat -- Game Score.

A decent player having an OK game should have a Game Score of 10.

15 is a pretty good night.

20 is very good

25 and above is excellent

Anything above 30 is noteworthy.  You can get game Scores way up in the 40s, 50s and even 60+ (3 guys - Jordan, Kobe, Karl Malone).

OK, so to evaluate what level of play is necessary for a LeBron James-led team to win a Finals game, I used the site's sorting mechanism and came up with some amazing information:

Game Score under 10 -- LeBron 0-3 in the Finals

Game Score 10-20 -- LeBron 2-10 (.167 winning percentage)

Game Score 20-22.4 -- LeBron 2 and 8  (.200 winning percentage).

Let's stop there.  It makes virtually no difference whether LeBron has a 10 or a 22.4 Game Score.  His team will not win those games except in the rarest of instances.

Game Score 22.5-25 -- 3-1 (.750)

Game Score 25-30 -- 6-1 (..857)

Game Score 30 and above -- 4-1 (.800)

This is really remarkable.  LeBron has won 17 Finals games.  13 of those where his Game Score is over 22.5.   Only 4 with his Game Score below that figure.

So - there is your cutoff.  Go to basketball-reference's front page tomorrow and it will have the 5 best Game Score's posted.  If LeBron is below 22.5, he almost certainly lost.  Above 22.5, he almost certainly won. 

According to this Site, a Game Score of 22.5 is basically 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, shooting 50% and 3 turnovers.  So that is your cutoff.  Better - LeBron almost always wins, Worse - he almost always loses.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Whose Butt?? European City Edition

Look, this is an easy one.  I am giving you the face also.  Clue - she used to date an allegedly reformed sex addict.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

LeBron James' Dominance In Playoff Win Shares

If you review the list below, you can see exactly how dominant LeBron James has become as an all-time playoff performer.  Currently, there is no one who has achieved 90% of his playoff WS.  (Jordan 89.47%).

Guys who have achieved 80% of his WS -- Jordan, Duncan, Kareem

70% -- add Magic and Wilt.

60% -- down to Jerry West

50% -- down to #16.

LeBron James 44.44
2.Michael Jordan* 39.76
3.Tim Duncan 37.84
4.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar* 35.56
5.Magic Johnson* 32.63
6.Wilt Chamberlain* 31.46
7.Shaquille O'Neal* 31.08
8.Kobe Bryant 28.26
9.Bill Russell* 27.76
10.Julius Erving* 26.89
11.Jerry West* 26.75
12.Larry Bird* 24.83
13.Scottie Pippen* 23.58
14.Dirk Nowitzki 23.13
15.Karl Malone* 22.99
16.Hakeem Olajuwon* 22.60
17.Dwyane Wade 21.54
18.John Stockton* 21.35
19.Kevin McHale* 20.67
20.Manu Ginobili 20.60

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Honor Student Banned from Graduation for Wearing Shirt


There is no doubt that part of what is occurring here is the current belief of people in positions of authority that they can never be questioned for anything they do.  This has become a common problem with school administrators, teachers, professors, and - in keeping with this Blog's typical content - referees/umpires.

When I was growing up and in school (1970-82) and when I used to play organized ball (1973-82) the people who were in charge would generally listen to you and try not to overreact.  Then came "zero tolerance" in schools and the teaching of officials/referees/umpires that you have to maintain absolute control at any cost -- just start handing out technical fouls and threatening to toss guys.  Don't improve your skills as an official, just assert absolute authority to be as shitty at your job as you want to be!

If you review the annual survey of players in the NBA, the two things that are consistent on rating officials are this -- 1) the best officials will engage with players and coaches and concede that it is possible that they did something incorrect; 2) the worst officials will never engage and will, instead, just hand out a ton of techs.  http://bballhaven.com/survey-danny-crawford-scott-foster-voted-best-and-worst-nba-ref/

When my daughter got in a dispute with school officials in 2012, I called the guidance counselor, who was my stated person to contact.  He gave me the "Well, I cannot do anything, we have a rule...." speech.  I replied "You know, my dad was a guidance counselor, and he viewed his job as being the advocate FOR students.  And I know my dad would advocate FOR his student here and not simply throw up his hands and do nothing.  But I guess we don't care about students anymore."  The guidance counselor told me there was nothing he could do, and said, "I guess you'd have to call the principal."  Which One?  "Ms. ___________"   So I called Ms. __________.  Her secretary literally would not allow me to talk to her or set up an appointment to do so!  "That is a set policy, she won't be able to change that."  Well, can I speak with her?  "No."  Set up a time to speak?  "No."  My tax dollars at work!  The guidance counselor called me the next day and apologized for saying that I should talk to the principal.  "I should have never said that."  I told him he had done nothing wrong and it sucked that the school had made him fall on his sword.

In any event, my daughter's problem was solved when it turned out that the whole thing had been an error anyway, so she got what she wanted. 

Now, let me add this - my calls made the guidance counselor feel so guilty that he went to the School Board and worked to change the thing my daughter had complained about and......succeeded!!  So - note to Ms. _________ -- fuck you!  I won.

Anyway, Ms. Summer Bond's errors here:  1) she is far more attractive than the female principal; 2) despite being far more attractive, she failed to kowtow to  the female principal's every whim; 3) just go put on the fucking other shirt - you know you are dealing with a psychopath dictator, should you have to comply?  No.  But is the psycho ever going to be reasonable?  Nope.  Just go put on a new shirt so the psycho isn't so upset that boys are looking at your goodies while considering her as an old dried-up hag.


Friday, May 19, 2017

My Notes on the 2017 All-NBA Team

Voting summary (5 points for a first-team vote, 3 for 2nd-team, 1 for 3rd, 100 voters):

First Team All-NBA 2017

1. Harden received 100 first place votes, 0 second, 0 third, unanimous selection for The Beard.  Justifiable and well deserved,

2.  LeBron James 99-1-0 -- his 11th first team all-NBA selection, tying Kobe and Karl Malone for the most ever and surpassing numerous guys (including Michael Jordan) who had 10 first-team all-NBA selections.  His 13 first or 2nd team honors is also tied for the most all-time.

He probably deserves the one "didn't vote for him" finger poke in the eye b/c he took many games off and the Cavs were only 2nd best record in the East.  The first-team vote went to either Durant (who had 3) or Draymond Green (who had 2 at forward and 2 at center).

3.  Russell Westbrook -- 99-1-0 -- the other vote went to Curry -- I also cannot get too upset about that given Russ's ridiculous Usage Rate (an all-time high) and huge number of turnovers (#2 all-time to.....Harden!).  if you'd like your players to be less ball hoggy and let their teammates play, you may want to vote for Curry instead.

4.  Kawhi Leonard -- 96-3-1 -- Three votes went in some combination to Durant and Draymond.  Someone felt there were FOUR forwards who had a better year.

The feeling of Kawhi haters is he is a "system" player and the Spurs went 8-1 w/o him, so how good is he, really?   My general reply?  Some people are dicks.

5.  Anthony Davis -- 45-34-16.  Davis was left off 5 ballots completely and he only beat Rudy Gobert by 4 points (343-339).

Second Team All-NBA

6.  Rudy Gobert -- 43-38-10 -- the difference here was that, while Davis was left off 5 ballots, Gobert was left off 9 ballots.  5 more third-team votes would have given him the #1 spot.  Gobert is the #1 rim protector in the NBA, but basically a one-end player.  Interesting that the voters would rank him so highly and Karl-Anthony Towns (a mostly one-end player the other way) so lowly.  Given Gordon Hayward's pitiful showing, voters appeared to give Gobert virtually 100% credit for Utah's surge this year.

7.  Steph Curry -- 1-93-6 -- the only Second-team player to be on all 100 ballots.

8.  Antetokounmpo -- 0-81-15  -- this is far too high for the Greek Freak.  Media loves him more than the current state of his game justifies.  Left off only 4 ballots (Anthony Davis was left off 5)!

9.  Kevin Durant -- 3-66-26 -- was having a first-team all-NBA season before he missed 19 games.  Would have been interesting to see if he would have displaced Kawhi or LeBron,

10.  Isaiah Thomas -- 0-71-23 -- had a great year; but let's be honest, he is probably the worst player on the list of 15 and has the least trade value.  Still a proper choice - you vote on what the guy produces, not on his intrinsic value.

Third Team All-NBA

11.  Draymond Green -- 4-21-51  -- Draymond received two first-team votes for forward and two for center.  He should not get votes for center or at least after he doesn't win as a center his voters out to have to vote for a real center.  Does LeBron get votes for center?  He plays a fair amount of center when the Cavs go small.

12.  John Wall -- 0-19-68 -- got the most 3rd team votes of anyone.  Apparently NBA writers walk around doing word association of "John Wall?"  "Third team."

13.  Jimmy Butler -- 0-19-45 -- had a great year, well deserved.  Probably deserved even more votes.

14.  DeMar DeRozan -- 0-4-50 -- just squeaked by Chris Paul; Chris Paul probably deserved the honor more.

15.  DeAndre Jordan -- 3-17-18 -- it is amazing that you could make 3rd team all-NBA when 62% of the eligible voters did not believe you deserved to be 3rd team or better.

What this shows us is that there are a lot of centers in the league who received a lot of votes and the splintered voting allowed DeAndre to sneak in.  Consider this, however, why does DeAndre, the defensive anchor for a LAC team, record virtually the same as Utah, get 54 points worth of votes while Rudy Gobert gets 339 points worth of votes.  The two guys are virtually indistinguishable, and Jordan may actually be better.   He falls nearly 300 points short of Gobert?

Other Receiving Votes

KAT 50 points, 2 first-team votes
CP3 - 49 points
Marc Gasol - 48 points, 2 first-team votes
Boogie Cousins - 42 points, 2 first team votes
Paul George 40
Gordan Hayward 27
Hassan Whiteside - 18
Kyrie - 14
Klay - 14
Jokic - 12 points, one first-team vote
Lillard 12
Millsap 3
Aldridge 1
Blake Griffin 1
Al Horford 1

The worst set of votes are the two guys who voted for Griffin (61 games, 7.7 WS, getting worse as a player); and Horford (68 games, 6.3 WS, was actually a regular season disappointment). 

Hayward and George are not eligible for the "super max" contracts they could have received from Utah and Indiana respectively had they made a team.  Is Paul George a better player than Butler or DeRozan?  Sure.  But he didn't get the votes. 

The center voting was unbelievably weird.  9 first-team votes went to guys who were not 1st, 2nd or 3rd team all-NBA as centers:

-- Draymond 2
-- KAT 2
-- Gasol 2
-- Boogie 2
-- Jokic 1

Draymond's votes, as I stated earlier, should have been thrown back into the voting pot and re-cast.  He is not a center. 

KAT probably got screwed a little, since his team's sub-.500 mark and terrible defense (KAT's DRtg on basketball-reference.com is a dismal 110) led voters to discount his unbelievable season (12 WS, 25-12, 100+ threes).  But KAT is young and if this motivates him to work more on defense, I will be ecstatic.

Gasol is working off reputation now - he is a declining player.

Boogie seems to make his teams actually WORSE.  This hurts your chances to win post-season awards.  After Davis, he is probably the second most talented center in the league.  But geez, if you actually take a team and make it WORSE.....

Jokic's voter, I cannot really get mad at him or her.  I think a good argument could be made that Jokic has the greatest upside of anyone but Davis/Boogie/KAT and Embiid.  He is freaking enormous and highly skilled.  Now, does that justify a first-team all-NBA vote?  No.  But I see how someone might think it does.

Friday, May 05, 2017

How Do You Evaluate the All-Time "Best" Basketball Players?

In March and April of 2015 I listed my top 36 NBA players of all-time.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and he said, "You've ranked LeBron #4 overall, but you say he has an argument for #1.  Why don't you move him up?"

I will need to look at updating the list in April 2018, but my friend's comment really brings up the question of how, exactly, do you "rank" players?  How do you rank them across generations?  Are newer players always going to be listed higher due to nutrition, training, conditioning, etc.?  What rank do you assign to someone with a great but short career (example, George Mikan)?  Do you rank them based upon how great they were at their absolute peak (example, Tracy McGrady had a top 15 all-time season -- does he get ranked based on his peak ability, when he shined the most?)

In a prior item, I identified 10 common traits of an all-time great NBA player

1) Was regarded at his time as truly great; evidence of this would be all-NBA selections and top 5 MVP voting;

2) Was regarded as the best player in the game at least once, and, hopefully, on multiple occasions, as would be generally reflected by MVP awards;

3) Was dominant in some aspect of the game - teams needed to adjust their games to stop him and generally did not succeed;

4)  Was physically superior to other players;

5) Was well ahead of his time as a player/there simply were not players that did what he did at the time he did them (and possibly there still aren't today);

6)  Played a sufficient amount of time that his body of work can be considered not just a blip;

7) Was consistently excellent for a long time (this can be determined most easily by advance stats);

8) His playoff performance did not generally decline substantially from his regular season work (same);

9)  Led his team far into the playoffs on multiple occasions;

10) Won multiple titles.

But how, then, do you weight these factors?  Karl Malone was 1-4, 6, 7, 9.  Huge gap for 8 and 10.  So would a player like, for example, Chauncey Billups or Jason Kidd be a "better" player than Karl Malone? 

Similarly, if a player is recognized as many time all-NBA and an MVP candidate (cough, Dwight Howard) and he becomes a somewhat lesser player due to back issues....where does he fall?  There is no question that for a 6 year period, Dwight Howard was unbelievable.  George Mikan, likewise, was great for 5 years.  If we ignore Mikan's multiple titles, should he get REWARDED for playing so few years while Howard gets punished because people have to watch him struggle for 10 years until the gas finally runs out of the car?

I mean, had Johan Santana blown out his arm on his last pitch as a Twin, he is probably a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  By continuing to pitch with the Mets, he is regarded almost certainly as a non-HOF player!

So, what "method" do I use?  What weighting do I give these 10 factors?  Is Robert Horry (7 titles) a better player than Karl Malone (0 titles)?  Of course not.  How close, however, would Horry have to be to Karl Malone as a player to get the nod?  When would the 7 titles be enough?

Here are my thoughts:

A) The primary means of evaluating a player should be his ability to excel in regular season play.  After all, without good regular season play there can be no playoff play. It is also a far larger sample size.  Playing well over 82 games is far harder than playing well over 10-12-20 games.

B)  Next on the list has to be the perception of the player from those who watched him play.  I never saw Bob Pettit or Elgin Baylor play.  I do know, however, that they were deemed to be 10X first-team all-NBA.  George Mikan was named the best player in the world 1900-50.  You cannot ignore that fact.

C) Then I turn to advanced stats, which are an attempt to measure certain levels of play by assigning a number to them.  The greatest players generally have two things in common - a) they have huge single-season number; b) they have great longevity at a high level of performance.

D) It is at this point that you start looking at post-season play.  This is where guys like Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett and Karl Malone and John Stockton start to falter.  You will note, however, that all of those players are in my top 26 all-time, so I do not consider consistent playoff greatness to be a disqualifying factor.  It is, however, a factor and one that can impact how the player is viewed when lines need to be drawn on "is Tim Duncan a better player than Karl Malone?"  Since the goal of playing basketball is to win the title, you need to give Duncan the extra "plus" over Malone.

E) It is at this point that you need to be able to rely somewhat on personal observation (if possible) and sort of a 'feel" for who was better.  (That is why we have all of these lists).  I fear that many lists use this factor E almost exclusively as their criteria.  I mean, ESPN has guys like Iverson and Isiah Thomas and Bill Walton and Kevin McHale very high on their all-time lists.  There is really no objective basis for these rankings - they are almost purely subjective or based upon something that once happened in one game (Isiah scored a million points with a broken ankle; Iverson stepped over Ty Lue; McHale was impossible to stop in the post (he played with Larry Bird yet averaged over 25 ppg once and over 20 only 5X))  Walton's ranking appears almost cult-like.  Yes, he could perform all aspects of the game when healthy.  He was healthy for 1 1/2 years and mostly healthy for 1 Sixth Man of the Year award.  He has 39 career WS.  His career WS performance is similar to Tom Boerwinkle's).

So, I guess my criticism of most ranking systems is that they start with E, then go to D, then maybe include a sprinkling of A.   I'd say you set your base by looking at A, B, C and then use D and E only in cases of extremely tough calls. 

The bias in my method, I will concede is AGAINST the belief that a guy is great simply because he gets a lot of shots and makes some.  And it is biased against guys who have enjoyed great post-season success (Horry, Chauncey, are disqualified from a top 36 consideration before ever reaching category D).

But I think that is the way it ought to be done.

As far as the issue of longevity - I do award "points" for consistently great regular season stats and for all-NBA awards and MVP Award Shares.  All of these are a function of longevity.  Certainly a guy who was great for 15 years has to get a plus over a guy who was great for 6 years.  After you reach 9-10 years of good play, however, there are diminishing returns for playing longer.  But still some credit. 

And on the issue of whether a guy who gets, say, 35 WS one year (has never occurred) and then sucks for 7 years should be ranked highly, I'd say generally no.  The exception would be if the guy was seriously injured. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Favorite "Youth Basketball Parents" Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

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

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



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lip Synch Battle -- Kaley Cuoco

THIS is a hard body. Geez:

Kate Upton -- Lip Synch Battle


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

Looks like I better set the DVR.

Friday, March 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Gordon and Darrell Griffith - probably not as happy

Robinson and Super John -- unhappy

Rider, Beasley, Dailey -- very unhappy.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Aaron Hernandez Killed a Guy For a Spilled Drink


Was concerned he was considered as "soft."


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Russell Westbrook, Chandler Parsons and KAT Call the NBA Offices


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

Russell Westbrook's Usage Rate Explosion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kobe's ball hogging during the 2005-06 season was so legendary that, after he was criticized for shooting too much in Game 6 of the First Round playoff series against the Suns, Kobe went into full tank mode and REFUSED to shoot in the second half of Game 7, thus insuring a Lakers loss.  One of the most vile and childish acts ever seen from an NBA all-star:  http://www.travelgolf.com/blogs/chris.baldwin/2006/05/11/kobe_bryant_s_game_7_no_shot_pout_the_mo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Sam Bradford Checking on the Vikings' Offensive Line Progress

Monday, March 06, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nina Agdal

This was what almost every woman I saw in Denmark and Sweden was built like.


Friday, February 17, 2017

The Top 36 NBA Players of All-time

I have these spread out throughout my Blog, but so you have it in one spot:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. LeBron James

5. Tim Duncan
6. Magic Johnson
7. Karl Malone
8. Bill Russell
9. Shaquille O'Neal
10.George Mikan
11.Jerry West
12.Oscar Robertson
13. Larry Bird
14. David Robinson
15. Hakeem Olajuwon
16. Moses Malone
17.  Bob Pettit
18. Kobe Bryant
19. Julius Erving
20.  Elgin Baylor
21.  Charles Barkley
22.  Kevin Garnett
23.  Dirk Nowitzki
24.  John Stockton
25. Kevin Durant
26.  Chris Paul
27. Rick Barry
28. Ray Allen
29. Clyde Drexler
30. Steve Nash
31, Dwyane Wade
32. John Havlicek
33. Patrick Ewing
34. Reggie Miller
35. Gary Payton
36. Scottie Pippen.

There you go - that is the definitive list.

Andrew Wiggins -- Many Thoughts On How to Improve

With Wiggy's recent scoring and shooting tear, his advanced stats are slowly improving.  His Net Rating is now only -6 (Ortg 108, DRtg 114) and he has (as of today) a VORP of 0; his best ever (versus a replacement player, he is exactly as good - contributes no extra wins and no extra losses).

So, I ask myself, how can Wiggy possibly look so good at times and yet (on an overall season long statistical basis) contribute virtually nothing to his team?  I mean, certainly his scoring should be adding something, and are his other stats where he really struggles (4 rebounds, 2.5 assist per game, terrible defense) really that awful to drag him down so far?

So I looked at players who played at least 1,500 minutes in a season and averaged similar stats to Wiggy -- over 23 points per game and under 4.5 rebounds and under 2.9 assists.    http://bkref.com/tiny/numGS

Of note, these sort of seasons appear to be EXTREMELY rare.  If you are a little guy and a scorer, you generally get more than 3 assists a game.  It is hard not to.  Similarly, if you are a big guy and can score 23 ppg, you generally play a lot and can garner either 3 assists or 5 rebounds a game.

Wiggy's inability to contribute either as a rebounder or assist man is almost unprecedented.  If you look at 2016-17, there are only 6 guys total in the league who play much and play as poorly as Wiggy on the defense, rebounding and assist metrics.  None of the 5 competitors plays nearly as much as Wiggy does.  So his poor play on a per minute basis in these areas of the game is unmatched.

So, if you go back and ask yourself what type of player Andrew Wiggins has been this year, your answer will be (going back to list #1)

Dale Ellis
Michael Redd
Glen Rice
Kiki Vandeweghe
Kevin Martin
Ricky Pierce
31 year old George Gervin
Super John Williamson

What do all of these players have in common?  They were all known as "one-dimensional scorers". 

Now, if you would simply say that Wiggy could get to both 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, he could be at the absolute bottom of this much better list of players:  http://bkref.com/tiny/JibbB roughly equivalent to a 32 year old Carmelo Anthony (Wiggy would also have to drop his DRtg by two points to 112 to reach Carmelo - Carmelo is a BETTER defender!). 

So, Wiggy is (today) a bad 32 year old Carmelo.  If you look at the above link, if Wiggy could double his performance in both rebounding and assists, or, for example, triple his rebounds or assists, he would be amongst the best players in the league!    That, of course, would be tough to do given that Wiggy already plays huge minutes and has shown no signs of significant improvement per year in any of these categories.

Another concern for Wiggins and his supporters is that even if you go back to the "one-dimensional scorers" list and look at the 15 similar seasons, Wiggy is likely to end up 13th or 14th in Win Shares and ranks poorly in every shooting category:

8th in 2-point percentage
10th in field goal percentage
11th in 3 point %
11th in Effective FG %
13th in True shooting % and
15th in free throw %.

So Wiggy right now is a one-dimensional scorer..........and he isn't particularly efficient in that role.

So, baby steps:
1) get your rebounds and assists up to 32 year old Carmelo levels (6.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists)
2) get your defensive rating down to a Carmelo-ian 112.
3) improve your 3 point shooting and FT shooting to more elite scorer levels.

At that point, you would be a good player (top 40 in the league). 

then Wiggy needs to find some way to get to

23-6-5 (Jimmy Butler) or maybe 27-5-4 (DeMar Derozan).

It is hard to imagine that Wiggy will improve so much that he could ever reach the rebounds and assist numbers that The Greek Freak or LeBron have.  And he is never going to have a defensive rating of 102 like Kawhi Leonard (who gets 2.5 steals+blocks to Wiggy's current 1.3).

But what is clear is that right now Wiggy is like a bad version of Kevin Martin, Michael Redd and Dale Ellis.  Start with being a good version of them, work your way up to equaling an old Carmelo, and then, from there, see what your upside really could be.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The 15 Worst Efforts By Starters In an NBA Finals Games During the Past 30 Years

There were some criteria imposed.  First, the game had to be in the www.basketball-reference.com database.  Second, the game had to be in a loss (playing in a win means that, arguably, you did something at some point in the game to help your team win -- these guys did not help a team win).  Third, you had to be a starter.  I am not going to criticize players like Bob McAdoo or Rasheed Wallace who are on their last legs and have a shitty game when they are 100% washed up. 

Finally, I am going to judge by "Game Score" which is allegedly a function of your game productivity. 

One might argue, for example, that John Starks' horrendous gunning of 2-18 and 0-11 from 3 should be the worst game, instead of only the 14th worst.  But statistically it was somehow better on Game Score.  Look, everyone who was a fan of the losing team will think that their guy sucked the worst, so we will  let the computer give the objective Game Score and then you can subjectively evaluate the terrible performance.

With that in mind, I give you the 15 statistically worst starter efforts in a Finals loss:

 15th worst (so, the best of this awful bunch)

Paul Pierce, Age 30, 2008 NBA Finals --  32 MP      2 for14 FGs  (0-4 from 3) NEGATIVE 3.1 Game score.
The Celtics would go on to defeat the Lakers in the series anyway.

John Starks Age 28  1994 Finals  42MP  went 2-18 from the floor (0-11 from 3)   NEGATIVE 3.4
Game Score
Starks single-handedly cost the Knicks the NBA title as his shameless gunning simply would not stop.  The Knicks lost to Houston, making Hakeem a legend and tarnishing Ewing's NBA legacy.

Larry Johnson  Age 30   1999 Finals     37MP   2-8 (0-3 from 3)          NEGATIVE 3.4
The Knicks were overmatched and lost to the Spurs in 5.

Chris Dudley Age 34     1999 Finals     24MP     0-3          NEGATIVE 3.6
Look, the computer says that Dudley started for the Knicks and (as we all know) he sucked.  No wonder they lost in 5.

Tyrone Hill  Age 33  2001 Finals 26MP        1-7          NEGATIVE 3.8
It was an utter miracle when the Sixers got Game 1 off the Lakers -- their success lasted all of....one game.  They lost in 5, thanks, in part, to this Ty Hill effort.

Robert Parish Age 32    1986 Finals    25MP    3-15   NEGATIVE 4.5
Smoked in this game by Hakeem and Ralph Sampson, but the Rockets would fall to Parish's Celts 4-2 in the series. 

Sam Perkins   Age 29     1991 Finals     43MP       1-15  (0-3 from 3)        NEGATIVE 4.5
Perk hit a huge shot to win Game 1.  That would be the only game the Lakers won, as Michael's Bulls steamrolled Magic and his pretty mediocre crew 4-1.   Ended up being Magic's last Finals as he contracted HIV the next year.


Ralph Sampson  Age 25   1986 Finals   27MP     1-13        NEGATIVE 3.9
Ralph was truly awful this game, and he really was never thought of the same as an NBA player after this series was over.  Rockets lost the series to Parish and the Celts.
Harrison Barnes Age 24   2016 Finals      16MP    0-8  (0-5 from 3)      NEGATIVE 5.1
We jump right over the negative 4s and end up with this wretched effort from Mr. Barnes, who, despite being left WIDE OPEN every possession could not make a shot and who was so ineffective he was forced to the bench with only 16 MP.   Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and lost to Cleveland in 7.  The result cemented LeBron James' legacy as a top 5 player, as he earned his 3rd title and 3rd Finals MVP.

Tony Parker Age 21  2003 Finals  31MP     1-12 (0-2 from 3)       NEGATIVE 5.3
Few recall that there were serious efforts by the Spurs to dump Parker after this series and acquire Jason Kidd.  The Spurs won the series, but largely no thanks to Parker, who was generally terrible throughout.   Pretty sure Tony was forced to split minutes with Speedy Claxton.
Kenyon Martin Age 25   2003 FInals     39MP     3-23 (0-2 from 3).  NEGATIVE 6.0
Do you know how difficult it is to go 3-21 from 2-point range when you are 6'9" tall?  Very, very hard.  And the level of stubbornness that it requires is remarkable.  KMart was able to do it, nonetheless, helping his Nets lose the series despite the generally poor play of Tony Parker on the other side.
Ray Allen Age 34  2010 Finals   42MP,   0-13  (0-8 from 3)        NEGATIVE 6.9
Despite an injured Kevin Garnett, the Celts were in a spot to win another title, but that effort was not helped by this historically terrible Ray Allen effort.  The 4th worst Finals game of the past 30 years.  Kobe went 6-24 in Game 7, yet was awarded with a curious MVP decision despite being outplayed by his own teammate Pau Gasol.

3rd Worst
Byron Scott Age 30  1991 Finals 43MP   0-8 (0-3 from 3)      NEGATIVE 7.2
Now, Byron Scott was never a great overall player; he was a very good scorer.  So for him to play 43 minutes and provide ZERO made baskets and yet stay on the floor that long indicates how overmatched the 1991 Lakers were that Finals and how finely Magic had honed his scoring, rebounding and assist games by 1991.  Jordan had a better team and was a slightly better player than Magic at that time.  Bulls won in 5. 

2nd Worst
Harrison Barnes Age 23   2015 Finals     19MP     0-8  (0-1 from 3)  NEGATIVE  7.3
In an eerie preview of the 2016 Finals, Barnes' terrible play would allow LeBron to singlehandedly gain a lead for the crippled Cavs.   The Warriors were able to regain their balance and overcome the "LeBron and almost no one else" Cavs, in part because Barnes' generally poor play was overcome by the play of controversial Andre Iguodala who became the second consecutive Finals MVP awarded the honor because he could at least bother LeBron James and could make a wide open shot.  Warriors won in 6. 

Mario Chalmers Age 273  June 11, 2013 NBA Finals, MIA at San Antonio 20MP,  0-5  (0-1 from 3)       
Chalmers somehow managed to put up a NEGATIVE 7.4 Game Score in 20 minutes, helped by the fact that he had only 2 rebounds, 1 assist to 4 turnovers and committed 4 fouls while the opponent was +19 while he was on the floor.  He was certainly not alone, as the Heat lost by 36 in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1.  The Heat would rally and actually get an OK game from Rio in Games 2 and 6, taking the series in 7.  The only time a Tim Duncan team was ever defeated in the NBA Finals series