Thursday, December 31, 2009

Loose Balls

*Check out this database from 2007 of every player in NBA history. What immediately jumps out is how short most of the careers are. For every Dikembe Mutombo, there are a thousand Jerome Allens who only played a season or two, just long enough to finish up their rookie contracts. According to this Time article from 1999, the average NBA career is/was 4.82 seasons.

*Kevin (Color Me) Love almost got a triple double in a losing effort last night. Dude's better than I thought he was, at least offensively. I mean, you've got to be pretty solid to put up a triple double from the frontcourt. Not many big men have done it. Browse the triple double Wiki page and you'll notice it's mostly guards. However, if you scroll down a bit, you'll also find a few monster quadruple doubles put up by Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson (34-10-10-10). Yikes.

*My wife doesn't follow basketball. I was watching this crapfest between Washington and Minnesota recently and she said, "The Wizards are a terrible name for a basketball team." I agreed. She continued. "Does it get weird when the Wizards and Magic play each other?" My response: "No weirder than when the Suns play the Heat."

Pictured: recent Wizards/Magic game

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where Do The Frail Blazers Go From Here?

Oden- done for the year. Prezbo- done for the year. Nic Batum's missed the entire season so far. Rudy Fernandez didn't play in December and probably won't suit up again until February. Travis Outlaw could be out until April. So where does this leave the once-promising Blazers?

Sitting nicely at 20-12, actually. Winners of four straight, including three victories in a row against Western Conference playoff teams.

How in the hell is this happening?

First and foremost, it's been Herculean efforts nightly from Brandon Roy. There's also the emergence (or should I say unleashing?) of Jerryd Bayless. Throw in solid contributions on both ends from graybeard Juwan Howard. And it's certainly no coincidence that the team is 13-3 when Andre Miller starts this season. Yes, you read that right. 13-3 with Miller starting. On the flip side, they've won six of seven since moving Steve Blake to the bench.

Can this improbable success continue? Roy's nursing a shoulder injury. LaMarcus Aldridge just missed some time with a balky knee and now he's being asked to log heavy minutes at center. And they still haven't played the Lakers or Celtics yet this season. We'll see...

Pictured: awesome Roy Etch-A-Sketch

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Loose Balls- Tuesday

*Boston's now 12-1 on the road this year. To me, that's waaaaay more impressive than Phoenix's 8-0 start at home.

*Paul Pierce gave kudos to Memphis after narrowly defeating them yesterday, saying that the Grizz were "up and coming" and "right on our heels." Ummm, really? I don't know, man. I don't see that lineup ever getting above .500, personally.

*How bad is the East? Well, if the playoffs started today, Toronto would qualify for the 8th seed playing .423 basketball. Over 82 games, that projects to a 34-48 record, among the worst in history for any postseason team.

*Speaking of epic failure, the Nyets are spiraling down in pursuit of the infamous 9-73 Sixers for worst record of all time. Currently mired at 2-22, Jersey will have to significantly improve to avoid breaking the futility mark. Good news: with Devin Harris and Courtney Lee back in the lineup, they'll probably squeak by and avoid that dubious distinction.

Pictured: Fred Carter (R), the best player on the worst team in history. Gotta love the laughing teammate in the background.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Things You Might Not Know About Earl Boykins

If you follow the game, then you're probably aware that Earl Boykins is back in the league after a brief stint overseas. You might also have noticed that the 5'5" PG has put up some nice numbers for Washington lately, stealing key fourth quarter minutes from the likes of Gilbert Arenas and Randy Foye. Apparently, his new nickname is The Closer and he even got some MVP chants in Verizon Center recently.

But did you know that he can bench 315 lbs? Or that he does 500 push ups a day?

Or that the Golden State Warriors used to play "It's A Small World" every time he entered a game? Pure class. I mean, Boykins is the second shortest player in NBA history (taller than only the 5'3" Muggsy Bogues) but you don't have to clown him like that.

Here's a nice Boykins mix, which sadly doesn't feature any dunks.

Pictured: little big man meets big big men

Sunday, December 6, 2009

When Greg Oden Went Down...

When Greg Oden went down, all twenty thousand Blazer fans in attendance thought the same thing: "Oh, shit. We're fucked." When the big man crumpled to the floor, the team instantly became a non-factor in this year's playoff race. Brandon Roy morphed back into a volume shooter. Andre Miller's playing time became a non-issue. The Sam Bowie label stuck. And Kevin Pritchard kicked himself again for not choosing Kevin Durant.

Realistically, this could be the last we see of Oden. We're talking about a guy who previously destroyed his other knee getting off his couch. He's like Samuel Jackson's character in Unbreakable. It seems improbable that he'll ever be sturdy enough to play professional sports. If you're Pritchard, do you resign Oden to big money after this season knowing how fragile he is? Hell, no. If Oden does eventually come back, it probably won't be in a Blazer uniform.

It's a sad day for Portland fans any way you look at it. No way this team competes for a title without Oden. No way. In fact, it's entirely possible they drop out of the playoff race altogether. Without Nic Batum, Charles Outlaw AND Oden, they're forced to rely on suspect talent like Juwan Howard, Jerryd Bayless and Dante Cunningham. Get ready for a long winter.

NOTE: meant to say 'Travis Outlaw' (not 'Charles') in paragraph above. Thanks to my legion of aggro fact checkers in the comments below. LOL.

Pictured: Oden and Durant

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Loose Balls- Thursday

*People freaked out when I compared Brandon Jennings to Damon Stoudamire last week, as if Stoudamire was some kind of stumblebum (yeah, I said 'stumblebum'- I'm bringing it back). Check out the first year stats for Young Money here and Mighty Mouse here and you'll notice plenty of similarities (not to mention that they're both tiny lefties born in September).

*Speaking of diminutive volume shooters, Allen Iverson's headed home to Philly for his last hurrah. A one year non-guaranteed contract isn't exactly the red carpet treatment but at this point, AI will take whatever he can get, apparently.

*I find it amusing that Ron Artest is still talking about wanting to fight Big Ben, despite the fact that he laid down on the scorer's table when he actually had the chance. I have no doubt that Ron Ron probably would've won that fight (his dad was a boxer AND he's crazy) but he totally pussed out in that situation. First, he backpedaled like Carmelo Anthony and then he LAID DOWN. The fact that he ran into the stands and punched some fans afterwards doesn't change that.

*Portland's now lost three in a row, including an embarrassing home court ass whupping at the hands of the mighty Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers biggest problem (other than a spate of injuries) has been perimeter defense. People wonder why Greg Oden's always in foul trouble. Maybe if his wing players stopped dribble penetration every now and then, the big guy could stay on the court for more than 25 minutes a night. To make matters worse, Brandon Roy's been complaining to the press about not getting enough touches, even though he's averaging 20 a game. Play some defense, dude. I heard it wins championships and stuff.

Pictured: discontented max contract franchise player, B Roy