Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fooled By The Fantasy

I looooove fantasy basketball. There's something about crunching numbers and poring over stats that scratches an itch somewhere deep inside my brain (gross, sorry). Even before the internets, I'd analyze box scores and see if I could anticipate or predict trends.

That said, fantasy basketball is making it seriously hard for me to have a good conversation with basketball fans about actual basketball.

I end up hearing dumb shit like "Jose Calderon is one of the best PGs in the league" or "David Lee is worth 10 million a season."

Let's consult the roto Big Board of Yahoo's Brandon Motherfunkin' Funston, shall we? Chris Paul is rated above LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Dirk Nowitzki and Amare Stoudemire are more valuable than Tim Duncan, apparently. Dwight Howard trails the mighty Troy Murphy, for fuck's sake.

Any discerning individual with half a brain can distinguish between roto numbers and how good a player really is. Unfortunately, message boards and sports bars are filled to the brim with fucknuts who take this fantasy shit as gospel. There are people out there who still think Zach Randolph is a good basketball player. I'm not fucking kidding.

"Cleveland will win the title if they add Zach Randolph." I've heard this from more than one person.

News flash. Nate Robinson is terrible. So is Jamal Crawford. Yes, I'm aware they score points and make 3 pt shots. But they're dreadful basketball players. They contribute to losing games with every fiber of their beings.

So I'll congratulate anyone who tells me that they won their roto league because of Murphy and Crawford. Fantasy is fantasy. But don't come talking shit about how the Lakers should be looking to acquire these assclowns, or worse yet, trade an actual quality player for them ("Dude, LA should trade Lamar Odom for Troy Murphy"- STFU).


Pictured: Nate and Jose leading their teams to mediocrity

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Big Ifs: Who Could Topple LA?

Now that LA has Ron Ron, it's a widely held belief that Kobe and company will be hoisting another trophy next season. Here's a list of some Big Ifs- what each contender would need to have happen in order to topple the champs.

Boston could win the title if KG reverts to his MVP-form of 2004. Pretty unlikely given his age and the severity of his recent knee injury.

Orlando could win the title if Vince Cancer learns to take good shots and play defense for the first time in his 12 year career. VC's always had the tools so why has his career been pockmarked by fadeaway 3s and total apathy on the defensive end? Dude's got no heart.

San Antonio
could win the title if Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker stay healthy. It goes without saying that Tim Duncan would also have to put up typical Duncan numbers on both ends. That team is nothing without him at full strength.

Cleveland could win the title if Shaq reports to camp in shape and plays at least 75 games. Much of O'Neal's reputation as a lousy P&R defender is a result of showing up fat and lazy, year after year.

Portland could win the title if Greg Oden contends for Defensive Player Of The Year. In order for Oden to accomplish this tall task, he'll have to start and play at least 30 minutes a game. Hear that, Nate? No more starting Prezbo. Throw the kid in there and let him sink or swim. Leave him in the game when he picks up two fouls in the first. Make it a priority to get him as many minutes as possible.

Denver could win the title if Nene leads the league in rebounding. Actually, scratch that. Denver can't win the title. Who am I kidding? No team with a forward playing center ever wins a ring.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2004 Pistons had Ben Wallace at C. Depending on your point of view, this may or may not disprove my theory above.

I'm sure some of you are thinking "Where's Utah?" Or "What about Atlanta?" "The Suns have got a shot." This is probably because you live in those cities and have an unreasonable expectation for their success based on pure homerism. I'm sorry. Your team will win nothing next year. As usual. Enjoy your one (or possibly two) playoff series.

Pictured: KG circa 2004 accepting the Podoloff in a fancy lab coat

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Gayest Gayness To Ever Gay Up The NBA

Congratulations to Brendan Haywood, who this week officially joined a long and impressive list of high-profile athletes and celebrities to speak out against the rampant gayness that is ruining the very manly and heterosexual sport of pro basketball.

Reacting to this shocking video of Stephon Marbury doing his best Prince impression, Haywood put his god-fearing foot down.

"He's swinging from both sides of the fence." Indeed.

And while Haywood might have totally bungled the expression (dude, it's "playing for both teams" or "swinging both ways"- there's no "fence"), every good American understands his powerful response to this invasion of virtual manspace.

The liberal media put a different spin on events. Typical.

Since former player John Amaechi chose to be gay to sell his gay book a few years back, there's been a very real threat of the whole league suddenly turning gay for pay. Heroes Tim Hardaway and LeBron James both previously laid down hard line stances on shower etiquette and proper decorum. Now Haywood is the latest warrior to brave criticism and stand up for decency. And the public is behind him because this is America, where proud heterosexuals have the right to live free without anyone "bringing their gayness" into it (unless it's two or more hot chicks- then it's cool). Bravo, Brendan!

As Omar Little from The Wire once famously said, "The game's out there. It's play or get played. That simple."

*cues up We Are The Champions, dances triumphantly around apartment, chants 'USA!' out window.

Pictured: Marbury bringing the gayness

Friday, August 14, 2009

LaMarcus Aldridge, Meet Charles Smith

Charles Smith was a 6'10 forward/center who was taken #3 in the 1988 Draft by Philly and then traded immediately to the Clippers. His sweet shooting stroke and ability to run the floor earned him a starting spot as a rookie and he made the most of it, averaging 16/6 with just over a block a game. His second and third seasons were even better, as he topped the 20-point plateau and established himself as a defensive presence. He injured his knee during his fourth season and played only 49 games. Then he was traded to the Knicks, who already had Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason at PF. He was a solid contributor on a tough Knicks team but was most famous for getting four of his weak-sauce layups blocked by the Bulls in the playoffs. He got traded/injured for five more seasons before retiring.

Smith never won a ring or made the All-Star team. He did, however, appear in this fucking awful Hootie & The Blowfish video (thanks, Low Posts). In his defense, Smith seems like a class act.

LaMarcus Aldridge, as you're well aware, is a 6'10 forward/center who was taken #2 in the 2006 Draft by Chicago and traded immediately to the Blazers. His sweet shooting stroke and ability to run the floor earned him 22 starts in his rookie year but he finished the campaign with modest averages of 9/5. He blossomed in his second and third seasons, pushing those numbers up to 18/7. Now many are wondering whether he'll take the leap to All-Star level.

This is also Aldridge's contract year. Teammate Brandon Roy just signed a max deal and the hot topic of the day is whether or not Aldridge deserves one, too.

Like Charles Smith before him, Aldridge also tends to shy away from contact, preferring the fadeaway J to a power move or dunk attempt. He's a finesse player. At power forward. And nobody's bringing it up right now, but I'm sure the fact that he's been diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition is still in the minds of Blazer brass.

*It's kind of trivial, but Smith's bday is July 16th, Aldridge's is the 19th. According to this Astrology site, Cancer is 'loving and emotional' but also 'moody and oversensitive.' But I digress...

So, how will this whole thing shake out? Aldridge's people are saying publicly that they're not after the same max deal Brandon Roy just signed. And they shouldn't be. Roy's a team leader who can consistently get (and make) his own shot in the clutch. Roy's an All-Star. LA hasn't proven anything yet- he's a good player with the possibility of a bright future. Or not.

Pictured: Smith rocking the high-top fade

Saturday, August 8, 2009

LBJ- Sometimes It's NOT So Good To Be The King

Now is the winter of our discontent
made glorious summer by this son of York

-Richard III, Shakespeare

(Relax, I ain't gonna bore you with too much book learnin'- this is still a blog about basketball. Read on...)

In his opening soliloquy, Richard, the future king, tells the audience how he plans to claw his way to the throne by any means necessary, including manipulation, treachery and murder.

By not showing his allegiance to the Cavs, LeBron James just sent a very similar message to basketball fans everywhere: the only thing that matters to King James is the crown.

The Cleveland media is putting a positive spin on things, naturally, highlighting his quote, "Being home in Akron, Ohio, is big for me."

The alarmist cuntrag known as the NY (Com)Post positions the scenario as LBJ making the Cavs 'sweat...which could be good news for the Knicks.'

In any event, Danny Ferry is now in the unenviable position of having to win a title this year or trade away the biggest star Cleveland's ever had. With a gun to his head. I'd be surprised if Ferry gets a single good night's sleep in the next calendar year. If anyone's headed for a winter of discontent, it's that dude.

(Hey, Clipper fans- consider this karmic payback for the gank move Ferry pulled on you in the 1989 Draft)

(Fuck, I'm using more asides than an actual Shakespeare play)

Obviously the Cavs don't want to lose James for nothing. So now we're into sign and trade territory. And who has the most attractive pieces AND a big enough market to please His Highness? The Lakers, who could offer a package including Bynum, Gasol, Odom or Artest. Nobody else even comes close.

Before I get too carried away, I should maintain that I don't actually think LeBron's going anywhere. This is his way of making sure Ferry and Dan Gilbert continue to spend money and try and get another superstar in Cleveland. Plus the fans love him there. They don't care about Tapegate or the fact that he smoked pot once in high school. They're even charmed by his Chosen One moniker and his apparent belief in the divine right to rule. By all accounts, it's been a pretty lousy summer for James but his minions have stood by him. As Mel Brooks once famously said, "It's good to be The King."

Of course, a healthy dose of losing would change all of that. I guarantee those fans have not forgotten the Dark Days Of Ricky Davis. Stay tuned, it could be a bumpy ride.

Pictured: 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse'

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

David Lee, Meet Michael Cage

Michael Cage was a rebounding specialist who played for 15 years in the NBA. During his third season with the LA Clippers, he got the opportunity to start and made the most of it, averaging 15.7 points and an eye-popping 11.5 rebounds per game. His fourth season was also impressive as he put up 14.5/13. The Clippers combined record for those two seasons was 29-135. Yes, you're reading that correctly. 29-135.

The Seattle Sonics (remember them?) were intrigued enough by his rebounding prowess to trade for him. Cage played six progressively less productive seasons with Seattle before bouncing around with Cleveland, Philly and Jersey. He never came close to matching his numbers with that dreadful Clipper shipwreck.

David Lee just finished his fourth season with the hapless New York Knicks, who were so desperate for rebounding that they were starting the 6'9 PF at center. In his first three seasons combined, Lee started 55 games. This past year, he started 74. His numbers? 16 and 11.7. On a team that won 32 games and finished in last place.

Lee's agent is trying to get him 12 mil a year. But these ain't Isiah's Knicks anymore. Walsh knows better. The team's offering a one-year deal, which is the equivalent of saying, "Bail us out for another year until we can get somebody better."

Many Knick fans are rushing to Lee's defense, pointing out his league-leading number of double-doubles last season, while ignoring the fact that he got absolutely torched on defense. These rabid fans even go so far as to suggest that he's an All-Star.

Lee's no All-Star. He's a role player- a rebounder- just like Dale Davis, Rick Mahorn, Tyrone Hill, PJ Brown and Michael Cage before him. Except without the defense. And in Cage's case, the awesome Jheri Curl.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Loose Balls- Saturday

*You're meeting friends at a crowded bar. You get there first. A large table opens up so you quickly grab it. Your friends are late. Every two seconds someone's trying to sit down or take one of the chairs. You have to protect your sacred space. "I'm sorry but this seat is taken." "I'm waiting for someone." "Sorry, I'm saving these." Everyone thinks you're an asshole. Your friends text you an hour later saying that they're staying home after all but thanks for the invite. This is what the Knicks/LeBron situation feels like to me right now. You, obviously, are the Knicks, and your friends who never show up are LeBron.

*Speaking of the Knicks, apparently they're the front runners to sign washed up has-been Jason Williams. Start planning the parade, Gotham.

*Hakim Warrick is the latest to experience the Tweener Tumble, an all-too-common occurence for power forwards who weigh less than Jamaal Tinsley. Warrick can ball, though, despite his lack of a true position. He was one of the few Grizzlies to play big minutes and still have a positive plus/minus last year. So of course the Memphis braintrust dumped him, leaving Warrick free to pursue his next disappointing stint. It's being reported that he's signed with Milwaukee, another organization run by total assclowns. And get this: they're planning on experimenting with him at small forward, despite the fact that he has absolutely no outside shot whatsoever. Excelsior!

*So Vince Carter wants to 'fit in' with the Magic, huh? Cool. He'll just have to unlearn 12 years of bad shot selection, matador defense and questionable work habits. Piece of cake. Having a laid back coach like Stan Van Gundy will help ease this seamless transition.

*Everyone knew Odom was going back to LA. Everyone except Miami, who played the role of 'hot chick who makes the wife jealous enough to take back the wandering husband' perfectly. Of course, Odom denies that this was the case and says he was 'very close' to signing with the Heat. Yeah, right.

Pictured: Riles, not really selling my 'hot chick' metaphor