Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Remembering The X-Man

Xavier McDaniel was a bad motherfucker. After being drafted by the Seattle Sonics, he famously said 'I'll lose a tooth for every rebound' (and me meant it).

He fought Charles Oakley.

He choked Lakers guard Wes Matthews (pictured).

And he had this memorable cameo in 'Singles', reminding Campbell Scott not to bust his nut too early.

X-Man was on some pretty good teams, too. Along with Dale Ellis and Tom Chambers, McDaniel helped Seattle make the playoffs a few times. When he was traded to New York, the Knicks reached the 7th Game of the Eastern Conference Finals before bowing out to Jordan's Bulls.

X-Man was only an All-Star once but he made a name for himself with toughness and intensity.

Monday, September 29, 2008

David Stern- World's Biggest Piece Of Shit

I hate David Stern. I Googled some clips, videos and articles by fellow Stern-bashers to cheer myself up. It didn't work. I hated him even more afterwards.

Here's the royal dickhead talking about how great Key Arena is, before completely switching course and telling Seattle taxpayers they had to build a new arena or lose the team.

This is a pretty creative definition of the man.

Lil' Davey being a prick to a reporter.

This column implies that Stern takes sadistic pleasure in punishing players.

A touching goodbye to the Sonics with some choice words for Stern.

Suck it, Stern. Everyone hates you. Die.

(pictured: pigfucker Stern and Grand Douchebag Clay Bennett)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arenas: The Latest Falling Star

Every year, a new crop of amazing talent comes into the league, each player thinking he's got what it takes to be one of the all-time greats. The statistics tell us that most of these rookies are out of the league in three years or less, on average.

Some end up on teams that are bad fits for their skill set. Some just aren't as good as they thought they were.

And others have bodies that break down on them. This decline is especially sad when the player in question is undoubtedly becoming a star, perhaps a future Hall Of Famer.

Hearing the news about Gilbert Arenas going under the knife again reminded me of other gifted players before him who showed stints of brilliance and then faded away in a rash of debilitating injuries:

Danny Manning- After being drafted #1 overall by the Clippers, Manning blew out his knee 26 games into his rookie season. He recovered to reach All Star status and then promptly tore the ACL on his OTHER knee. He retired after 13 seasons, having spent as much time on the IR as on the court.

Grant Hill- Through his first five seasons in Detroit, Hill had points, rebounds and assists numbers comparable to Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird. Then he broke his ankle so badly that doctors needed to rebreak it and fuse it to the leg. Then he was traded to Orlando, where his huge contract and brittle body made him the object of tremendous ridicule. Now he's missing games for Phoenix.

Derek Smith- You've probably never heard of Derek Smith but I put him on this list because he was a 20 ppg scorer and an All-Star for the Clippers before blowing out his knee. More importantly, he's credited with inventing the high five. Seriously.

So best of luck to Gilbert Arenas. I wish him a full recovery and the opportunity to realize his potential. Chances are, however, that we've seen the best of him already.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good On Paper: 'Going Big'

Bryan Colangelo was just quoted as saying he plans on using Andrea Bargnani at the 3 spot this season. To which I might say, 'Are you fucking kidding?'

This idea is tossed around all the time in the NBA. 'We'll go big, create a matchup problem.'

The only problem is IT NEVER WORKS.

In fact, more often than not, the other coach will react by GOING SMALL and put a game-changing run together.


Footspeed. Footspeed is the key to winning basketball games, not length. Footspeed allows teams to trap and cover for each other on defense. Footspeed forces turnovers and creates fast breaks.

Simply put, size is overrated.

That's never more blatantly obvious than on draft day where doofus' like Olowokandi or Kwame Brown (or Bargnani) go higher than much more talented players just because they're taller.

So go ahead, Colangelo. Stick Bargnani on Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Caron Butler, Paul Pierce, Ron Artest or Vince Carter (pictured). Good luck with that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Western Conference Predictions 2008/9

The big Qs- Is Bynumite the missing piece? Does Posey put the Hornets over the top? Are the Spurs done? Is this the year Ron Ron eats a baby?

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Lakers (62-20)

With Bynum back in the fold, they'll finish with the best record in the league. But without dealing one of their PFs (Odom, Gasol) for a versatile 3 (like Marion), they won't have the defensive balance to win a title. I also wonder who'll fill in for Turiaf as the energy guy off the bench. I'm seeing a Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Finals. And another MVP for Kobe, bad pinkie and all.

Phoenix Suns (58-24)
Even with all the chaos Steve Kerr hath wrought, this team still has Nash, Amare and Barbosa. That should be good enough for their customary heartbreaking loss in the 2nd round of the playoffs. The most interesting plotline here: is this Shaq's last season? And if so, what's his legacy- Most Dominant Ever or egomaniacal stooge?

*Note- Shaq just announced he plans to play two more seasons.

Los Angeles Clippers (45-37)
The Baron/Brand Conspiracy Gone Wrong was the story of the summer. And I'm still amazed that they got Camby from Denver for a 2nd round pick. Things were actually looking good until they signed Ricky Davis and Jason Williams, the basketball equivalent of having SARS and Avian Bird Flu in the locker room.

*Note- Jason Williams announced he's retiring. Add another couple wins to LA's predicted total.

Golden State Warriors (28-54)
Went from tantalizing to terrible in a month. This Monta Ellis fiasco couldn't come at a worse time. And if they were gonna spend that much dough on Maggette, why didn't they just pay Baron in the first place? A real botch job by Mullin. Silver lining: rookie Anthony Randolph was dominant in Summer League (but then again, so was Koko Archibong).

Sacramento Kings (19-63)
No cowbells ringing this year. Their two best players, Kevin Martin and John Salmons, play the same position. They traded Artest for an old, hobbled Bobby Jackson. Brad Miller still can't guard a chair. Bye bye, Reggie Theus. Nice knowing you. Maybe you can go back into modeling.

Southwest Division
New Orleans Hornets (60-22)

They won't sneak up on anybody this year. But the addition of Posey provides another tested playoff performer and perimeter defender, both important qualities they lacked. Another season of chemistry between CP3, West and Chandler leads to Byron Scott's first championship as a coach.

Houston Rockets (58-24)
The fragile bodies of Yao and TMac keep Houston from being a true contender, even with madman Artest on board. And Rafer Alston isn't a leader by any stretch of the imagination. Their roster is deep, though. If all the cards fall into place, they could be scary. More likely, they play well in spurts that coincide with the everchanging moods of Ron Ron.

San Antonio Spurs (54-28)
First, the bad: Ginobili's injury means they'll start slow. Bruce Bowen is 37 so his days as a stopper are coming to an end. Michael Finley remains one of the least effective starters in the league. The good: Duncan's still only 32. Parker's still Parker. Popovich remains one of the game's best coaches. Ditto for Buford as GM. So even with bad omens everywhere, they could still hoist another trophy in June.

Dallas Mavericks (46-36)
Jason Kidd is a shadow of his former self. I'm a Carlisle fan but I don't see how much more he can get out of this aging bunch who seem to have left their collective heart in Miami two years ago. They still play pansy-ass, jump shooting basketball, not a recipe for success in a man's league. Dirk continues his downward career arc from 'the next Larry Bird' to 'the next Tom Chambers.'

Memphis Grizzlies (12-70)
Worst team in basketball, right here. Other than Rudy Gay, they've got nothing. OJ Mayo will have every opportunity to show the world what a slightly-above-average basketball player he is. Subtract an additional three wins if the Zach Randolph trade goes through. Mike Conley continues to develop...very...slowly. As Yoda would say, 'Unwatchable, they will be.'

Northwest Division
Utah Jazz (55-27)

So predictable, so efficient, so boring. Another solid year for DWilliams and Boozer. Another year of hard fouls from Harpring. Another year of wifeswapping for Kirilenko. Yawn.

Portland Trail Blazers (50-32)
Tough luck: as soon as Oden comes back, Brandon Roy goes down. Expect things to start clicking around mid-season as Rudy Fernandez gets comfy and everyone's healthy at the same time. Still think they should've kept James Jones, though. Oden averages 13/10/3 to edge Beasley for ROY.

Denver Nuggets (38-44)
Blow 'em up, start over. Without Camby in the middle, this team will give up 180 points a game. No way they finish the season with Melo, Iverson AND George Karl on the payroll. When your biggest offseason move is giving a fat contract to JR Smith, you know you're fucked. Maybe Kenyon Martin will punch Nene again. At least that'd be exciting.

Minnesota Timberwolves (24-58)
Let the Kevin Love era begin. I'm sure he'll win a handful of games with his artful outlet passes alone. I keeeed, I keeeeed. It'll be more of the same drudgery in 'Sota as McHale proves again his complete ineptitude at drafting. Mike Miller seems to be making a career of scoring points on dreadful teams. He's like the Kelly Tripucka of this generation.

Oklahoma City Thunder (18-64)
Fuck Clay Bennett. That douchebag doesn't deserve Kevin Durant. Or sold out arenas. May the ghost of Detlef Schremph eternally haunt this franchise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eastern Conference Predictions 2008/9

The big Qs- Can Boston repeat? Will Detroit rebuild? Does Lebron leave Cleveland? Does Marion get traded? Why did D'Antoni take that job?

Boston Celtics (55-27)

Losing James Posey will definitely hurt. Don't forget that throughout their march to the ring, Doc referred to Posey as 'the fourth member of the Big Three', whatever the fuck that means. I'm also expecting slippage due to post-title complacency and the Limberger effect of Darius Miles. No repeat here.

Toronto Raptors (48-34)

Did you know that Jermaine O'Neal makes twenty million dollars this year? That's a lot of scratch for a guy who plays the same position as Chris Bosh. I know, I know, it's the East, 'Jermaine can play center.' But he's not a center, right? He's a power forward, and a brittle one at that. Underrated Anthony (Don't Call Me Candace) Parker and Jamario Moon will continue to compensate for the overall suckiness of former #1, Andrea Bargnani.

Philadelphia Sixers (43-39)
Don't get me wrong, I like Elton Brand. I do. But Philly got to the playoffs last year by trapping and running off of turnovers. Not exactly Elton's forte. Also, I can't help but think that having EB down low on offense means less open floor for slashers like Iggy, Thaddeus Young and Andre Miller.

New York Knicks (25-57)
OK, here's where it starts to get ugly. D'Antoni wants to play uptempo but he's got a roster full of slugs. Only Jamal Crawford, David Lee and Wilson Chandler are good fits. Everyone else is available for sixty cents on the dollar. On the bright side, those slugs will get plenty of shots to pad their stats, making them easier to deal.

New Jersey Nets (23-59)

Is Vince Carter really the guy you want around your young, impressionable players? Expect VC to get moved when the Nets drop out of contention...by the third week of the season.

Detroit Pistons (57-25)

Joe Dumars has a reputation for recognizing talent. I'm quite certain that Kwame Brown has absolutely no talent whatsoever. Fortunately, this squad still has Rip, Chauncey, Rasheed and a strong crop of emerging youngsters on the bench, led by Maxiell and Stuckey. If they underachieve, look for Joe D to trade Sheed or Billups and build around Tayshaun. More likely is a return to the Finals, where they'll lose to the Hornets.

Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32)
Nervous days ahead for Danny Ferry. With Lebron's momentous stay/go decision looming, the GMs big signings lately have been Mo Williams and Lorenzen Wright. Eeesh. And it's difficult to picture getting much more mileage out of Big Z. The guess here is that James stays put but not without seriously considering his options first (think Kobe and the Clips a few years back).

Chicago Bulls (42-40)
Ben Gordon's got a legit gripe. Larry Hughes is making twelve mil a year. Nocioni's getting eight. Pax finally paid Luol Deng (smart move) but appears to be content letting Gordon walk, forgetting that two years ago, Gordon scored more points in the fourth quarter than anyone not named Bryant or James. Rookie Derrick Rose should be good enough to make Kirk Hinrich expendable.

Indiana Pacers (33-49)
Jim O'Brien's offense requires good three point shooters. So the team acquired TJ Ford and Jarrett Jack, neither of whom can shoot a lick. Genius. Danny Granger continues to look amazing next to the plodding Dunleavy and Murphy. The Pacers boast the worst pivot platoon in the league with Foster/Nesterovic/Hibbert/Harrison.

Milwaukee Bucks (24-58)
Where to start? Overpaid for Bogut. Obtained Luke Ridnour to be the starting PG. Drafted Joe Alexander way too high. Additionally, I don't see Skiles and Redd getting along. This front office consistently makes awful decisions.

Orlando Magic (47-35)

Despite another growth spurt by Dwight Howard, the Magic will discover they can't rely on PG Jameer Nelson. Hedo and Rashard Lewis will do what they do- make threes in bunches and play porous defense. Stan Van can coach, though, and that ensures them another division title, if nothing else.

Miami Heat (46-36)
With DWade back at full-strength, the Heat will be competitive once again. Beasley will do just fine on offense but struggle to match up with power forwards, infuriating Riley. Props for the James Jones signing- shrewd move. Not so much with Jamaal Magloire. Hey, Riles- how about Marion for Odom?

Washington Wizards (44-38)
Is Gil Arenas healthy? Butler and Jamison will do their thing, as always. The real problems lie with the less-than-stellar bigs (Haywood and Thomas).

*Note: Arenas just had knee surgery AGAIN and will miss the first month of the season- ouch.

Atlanta Hawks (40-42)
Continued progress by Al Horford means they'll vie for that 8-spot again. Losing Childress makes their bench wafer-thin, however. Seriously, name someone on Atlanta's bench.

Charlotte Bobcats (30-52)

Why exactly is Michael Jordan a GM? Expect a bumpy first year for Larry Brown as he discovers that few of the fellas on MJ's roster 'play the game the right way.' Could be some more crying from Adam Morrison on the horizon.

Stoner Hall Of Fame

Congrats to the rooks Chalmers and Arthur, who are now members of a vaunted list of players, past and present, who've been busted with weed:

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Webber, Scottie Pippen, Allen Iverson, Shawn Kemp, Lamar Odom, Marcus Camby, Dennis Rodman, Damon Stoudamire, Zach Randolph, JR Rider, Brad Miller, Robert Parrish, Joakim Noah, Rod Strickland and of course, Josh Howard.

Anyone else I forget?