Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NBAOffseason.com

I've tumbled over to NBAoffseason.com

These dudes have been entertaining me since they were NBAplayoffs2009.tumblr.com so im kinda excited to be posting with them from here on out.

I'll try to keep this blog up to date... who am I kidding, i barely keep it up to date now!

Twitter: @suga_shane
Tumblr: madbuckets.tumblr.com
NBAoffseason.com

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tanked: How to fix the NBA

Tanked

What if the NBA went to the English Premier League setup?

Let’s cut the BS here, the bottom half of the NBA sucks balls. Not just any balls; some hairy, sweaty, elephantiasis type balls. Not only are some of these teams a mess in terms of talent, their front offices are wacked out beyond repair. These teams aren’t sure if they want to try and sneak into the playoffs just to earn 4 or 5 games worth of revenue or if they want to tank it from the get go and land a top five pick. Shakespeare style irony, comedy, and tragedy surround half the NBA teams and it’s rather frustrating to watch, as an NBA fan. Right now it seems like there are three types of teams;

1) The We-Suck-And-We-Don’t-Care Teams
2) The We-Are-Really-Trying Teams
3) The Nuclear-Meltdown Teams

We-Suck-And-We-Don’t-Care Teams:

New Jersey, Detroit, Philadelphia, Sacramento, & Minnesota.

If you pay money to watch any of these teams play, you should be considered a patron saint of the NBA.

The rest of you don’t know how bad these teams are because they aren’t on TV and sans the homeless people just looking for a place to sleep, no one attends their games. So for those of you who aren't feeling charitable enough to throw $50 at one of these teams, let me just clarify, these teams are horrendous. Even Dr. House couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with these guys.

Side note: I’m kind of sad that The Nets won 10 games. This team is really atrocious and truly deserved to live in infamy for the rest of their days. Call me evil, but I’m sure Kentucky would have won at least 10 games this year if they played in the NBA.

The We-Are-Really-Trying Teams:

Chicago, Indiana, Memphis & Houston.

These are the teams I really feel bad for. They actually spend some money, have decent front offices (okay, not really), and they try to make good basketball moves on the free agent and trade markets. Yet, like the Bermuda triangle, no one can explain why things are crashing over there.

The truth is all three of these teams have some borderline all-star talent; the teams are near .500 and were oh-so close to making the playoffs this year. Their reward for trying? A terrible middle round pick in both the first and second rounds. That doesn’t even make sense and I totally understand why most of these teams have mysterious “injuries” pop up in the last 10 games of the year. Playoffs are no longer possible so why still play to win, right? Tank now and try to get the 12th pick in the draft ass opposed to the 14th… Shouldn’t they be rewarded for making a playoff push, spending money, and trying to put a good product out there? I think this is where the NBA lottery system fails.

The Nuclear-Meltdown Teams:

Golden State & Washington ( I should probably put Detroit and Philly here also)

Let’s look at one prime example: The Golden State Warriors. They start one rookie, two to three D-Leaguers, and Monta Ellis, who is probably the least mature one on the team. The owner has fired everyone except the root of all his problems, Don Nelson and has finally put the team up for sale all while battling his own tax issues. The Ws are trying to win games, trust me, although their 21-53 record might not show it. Don Nelson is two measly wins away from becoming the all time leader in wins amongst coach in NBA history. Ironically, he might never get there. The whole situation is a giant practical joke, I’m not sure whose playing it and who its being played on but im sitting here laughing hysterically.

Washington, well they sort of shot themselves in the foot, didn’t they. If you were to run a franchises study these teams carefully and do the polar opposite.


Where the hell do these go?

There are two teams that somewhat qualify for all of these labels, The Knicks and The Clippers. Both these teams have talent, but they suck. They are trying, but not really, and their front offices are either melting down or still emitting radiation from the last fallout. Both of their futures are hinged on how they come out of the free agent market this summer. I’ll give both teams a pass until the 2010-11 season.

How to fix this problem?

The NBA needs to reward the crappy teams that are trying to uncrapify themselves. I’ve read and heard a few ideas on how to prevent tanking and reward effort, like a playoff play-in, however I don’t think that would work.

What the NBA needs to do is split the league into two, just like the EPL (English Premier League). There are two different ways this can be done. Each has its pros and its cons.

Two different leagues:

Groupings: Have the playoff contenders and the non-playoff contenders. The bottom two teams in the Top Group drop in the following year and the top two teams of the Bottom Group come up. Split the teams so 18 teams are in the top bracket and 12 teams in the bottom bracket. 16 teams still make the playoffs. This will also eliminate the obsolete Division designations.

Same League, Different Playoffs:

We can keep the same exact league, divisions, and all that mumbo-jumbo and just have the bottom half of the teams play in their own playoff series for the #1 pick.

Drafting:

What changes is how the teams draft. The draft should also be split into four rounds and the playoff teams no longer draft in the first or second round. This will keep the number of total draft selections the same as the past years. The first round is reserved for the bottom bracket and the two teams that didn’t make the playoffs. The bottom two teams should get the last picks of round one and the first picks of round two.

The Top Group will get to draft in the third and fourth rounds. All of these picks are reserved for these teams. The #1 pick in these rounds will be decided just like it is decided now, the worst playoff team gets the better pick and the best team gets the worst pick. Pretty simple, right?

The complicated part is how the Bottom Group will draft. Too many teams tank seasons just for the coveted #1 pick and I think its garbage. It’s time to do something about it. The bottom 12 teams will have their own playoffs. Not as main stream as the Top Group, but the two teams that make the finals will get to move up to the Top Group in the following year and the eventual Loser’s Champion will get the #1 overall draft pick. Just like the Top Group, the rest of the draft order will be decided on where you finished in these playoffs and the tie breaker will be your overall record. The Second round will go in reverse order. That means the worst team in the NBA will be awarded the 12th and 13th overall picks.

Now you are probably thinking “What if a team is really bad and never drafts well or wins the Bottom Group, they will never get picks and get better!”. Too bad! This is America and we live by the mantra “No Free Lunch”. Im so sick and tired of these teams that are run like shit, have terrible coaches, talent that doesn’t care, fans that are more disgruntled than post office employees, and they still won’t make an effort to get better through trades or free agency. If you’re team doesn’t try to get better, you ultimately deserve to lose fans, lose money, and be booted from the league.

I’m pretty sure right about now you are either marveling at my genius or deleting me from twitter, either way, I hope the NBA makes some kind of effort in the up coming CBA meetings to fix this issue. Im tired of seeing these teams suck just for the purpose of sucking.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lebron James: The Numbers Game

Lebron James made comments a few months ago about changing his jersey number. He said it was to honor Jordan, the greatest player, ever. It was a pretty emotional moment right after a hard fought game in Miami. Jordan had just been inducted into the hall of fame and he was sitting courtside to watch his newest business venture (Dwyane Wade) battle Lebron and the Lebron-aliers. At the time, no one really thought James would go through with the idea. Change his number? For what? To honor Jordan? Sounds noble and all but he also urged the rest of the NBA to do the same. I’m sure Marcus Camby and the like were all sitting around saying, “okay, but you first.”

Well, Lebron has followed through. He just filed paperwork with the NBA that will allow him to switch numbers next year. I thought this was a great move but most have taken every possible jab at this; calling Lebron a “marketing whore” or a “sham to make more money”. I’m not sure this has anything to do with either of those.

It’s not all about the Benjamins:

Jersey Money is shared between all players, whether they are Lebron, Kobe, or Kwame, they get the same check. So, let’s throw away the money-grab idea. Read more on this from Darren Rovell

Global Icon:

Lebron has long maintained that he wants to become a billionaire and a global icon when its all said and done. Last year he over came the human obstacle named Kobe and was named the MVP of the NBA. This year, he is well on his way to another MVP trophy, but there are two other top honors Lebron has yet to snatch from the Mamba’s fangs: A Championship and the #1 jersey. The championship can’t be had with a letter submission to the league (sit down NBA conspiracy theorists) so Lebron is going to have to work at that one a little more. But Lebron has pretty much sealed the fact that his jersey will outsell Kobe’s come next fall. As far as being a global icon, it doesn’t really get any bigger than Lebron as far as basketball is concerned, so im throwing this theory away also.

The G.O.A.T.:

Why can’t it really be about the greatest? How great was Russell? All-Time. How amazing with Dr. J? Poetry in motion. How many other “greats” have come and gone? If this was about honoring the great ones, we should at least retire 32 and 33 also. We should get mad the next time anyone wears any number. So many good players have donned so many different numbers; it would take advanced mapping skills just to keep up. Who’s the greatest to wear 33? Bird or Kareem? Which 32 is greater, Shaq or Magic? The best 6 will be… Russell, Dr. J or Lebron? Hell, Dr. J has sported both #6 and #32. Who’s the greatest #23? Ron Artest? Jor Bryant? Well that answer is easy; Jordan. 191 players have worn #23. 19 players still wear that number, whether it’s to honor MJ or to somehow say they are as good as MJ (someone wake those guys up from their dream state). In fact three of those current players are sponsored by Jordan. Yet none of them even come close. Jordan is Jordan: Unparalleled, unmatched, and forever synonyms with #23.

See, it’s simple; Lebron isn’t trying to disrespect some of the greats that played before him. This isn’t about who was good, who was better and who might be an icon. This isn’t about honoring the many great ones. This is about honoring the Greatest one; Michael Jordan.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pot, Kettle, "Sham"

February 1, 2008 felt more like April 1st when we all found out that Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for close to nothing. Chris Wallace was playing a practical joke on the entire NBA, right? Pau was being traded for, what one media member called, a happy meal.

I love Pau’s game but being a life long Sonics fan and a now converted Celtics fan (this is what happens when your team gets stolen), I naturally hate the Lakers. When this trade happened, I let it slide. Stupid trades happen by dumb GMs all the time, its not only common, it is a way of life in the NBA (ask any New York Knicks fan). I figured the Grizzlies wanted to start over and they were probably going to lose Pau to free agency anyway. This was a surefire way to gain some assets and sell a young All-Star at his peak.

I didn’t take the Gregg Popovich path and call the FBI. I didn’t take the Mitch Kupchak path and buy a lotto ticket figuring that it MUST be my day. I simply didn’t care. I knew the Celtics were going to win and my boy Ray Allen was finally going to get his ring. Even when Lakers fans were trying to slaughter the legitimacy of the Cs chip with poorly supported arguments in regards to how we built that championship roster, I looked the other way. Trust me; it’s very hard to hear Lakers fans arguing about how the Celtics “cheated” to get KG and Jesus. We traded a roster full of potential All-Stars, draft picks, and the foreseeable future to earn that ring. The Lakers didn’t even come close to giving anything of value up.

So why am I angry today? I just saw a post over at AOL’s NBA Fanhouse about Phil Jackson calling the Cleveland trade for Jamison a “sham”. Even if it is a sham, The Lakers and any member of that organization has ZERO right to comment on one sided trades. They are forever linked to one of the most out-of-balance trades of all time. Pau Gasol for nothing.

What did the Lakers give up? Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Aaron Mckie, and two first round picks.

Kwame Brown, long since regarded as the WORST #1 pick of all time. The fans hated him, the players hated him. The announcers even hated him. We all know how much Kobe hated him. This guy, by the way, was considered the major asset in the trade.

Javaris Crittenton; where do I even begin with this one. This guy was heralded as a major loss by Laker apologists who were quickly trying to justify the trade. “He’s going to be great one day” is all we heard. Yup, he’s so good that he will never play in this league again. In fact the only number he will be wearing after this season is over will be his state assigned inmate number.

Aaron Mckie was signed on and traded by the Lakers within 24 hours, all just to make the salary numbers workout. Lucky for him and the Lakers, his retirement papers were never sent in. He got paid and the Lakers got Pau. Mckie and Keith Van Horn have the best sports agents on earth.

Two first round picks is also a laugher. With the acquisition of Pau, the Lakers were almost guaranteed, if nothing else, one of the top records in the NBA. Memphis should have just asked for fool’s gold. Even if some how all of Los Angeles broke off into the Pacific Ocean and the Lakers never played another game and Memphis did some how secure a top lottery pick, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Chris Wallace is the worst GM alive. He makes Isaiah look like Jerry West.

So, what did they really get? Marc Gasol. Marc is great. Good fundamentals, efficient scoring, good rebounding and decent shot blocking. Still, he is not Pau Gasol. Pau is a World Player of the Year, NBA All-Team member, All-Star, Olympic Medalist, and now a world champion. Marc was almost an all-star this year. So, yea, enough about that.

Phil Jackson is probably the douchiest man in all of basketball. The “zen” persona he portrays. The mind games he plays. The little smirks he throws out during in-game interviews. The asshole comments that don’t really sound like asshole comments until you walk away for 10 minutes and you suddenly realize that you heard the most asshole-ish comment of the year. But this one tops them all.

So the next time Phil wants to point a finger and call out a trade as a “sham” all he has to do is realize that his own fingers are now one ring richer because of a “sham” trade of his own.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Watch out Now: Who to Watch in the NBA

Watch out Now: Who to Watch in the NBA

Last night I was witness to two of the best rivalries in the game of basketball. There are a lot of great battles, but none more storied than the Lakers and Celtics. Last nights clash was a defensive war. Teams were hitting, jawing, and diving all over. Ever possession in the last 5 minutes seemed crucial and every missed or made shot felt like a game winner. LA isn’t known for its crowd, but last night you could feel the hype, even through the television. But this isn’t what im here to talk about.

The other game that was on last night? Oh, you know just an average overtime game on TNT that featured two of the NBA’s best. 43,13,15,2,4. No, those aren’t the winning lotto numbers from last night, they are Lebron’s stat line. It was like watching a video game. Lebron definitely had a gameshark plugged in. Melo? While he wasn’t a demigod, he was impressive as well. Melo dropped a cool 40, including the game winner in overtime. I’ll save you the “behind the box score”. I didn’t even care who won this game, I was enjoying the moment. The battle was epic; shots were being fired from both sides from all spots on the court and connecting like it was their destiny.

This got me thinking, everyone is always ranking the “top 5” or “top 10” or “all time greatest” players in the game and they always do it based on some myopic mix of rings, points, MVPs, and favorite ice cream flavor. We aren’t here to talk about who comes in a distant second to Michael Jordan. I want to make a list of the top 10 players to watch. Those players that get you riled up. They make you want to jump up and down on your sofa. You would cancel a date with Megan Fox to stay home and watch one of these guys play then you would be inspired to go to the gym and hoist up a few jumpers. I’m not talking about the Tim Duncan’s or the Pau Gasol’s of the world. Those guys are like dating your neighbor’s daughter. I’m talking about fucking your sexy secretary, on the desk in your boss’s office.


10. Baron Davis – Boom Dizzle at #11? Yup! Baron is the type of player that goes out there and has fun. He is built like a tank but he can move like a fighter jet. On any given night he can explode for 29 points on 8 FGAs or go 1 for 13. But between the peaks and the valleys we always remember the Boom Dizzle that threw it down on AK47. And every time he hits a game winner we see that smile shine through that trademark beard and we fall in love with his game all over again.

BONUS: Monta Ellis – I’m still not sure what to think of Monta’s game. On any given night he can have a triple double of 35 points, 10 assists, and 10 turnovers. But the way he gets those points is amazing.

9. J.R. Smith – I don’t even know where to begin with this character. He will never be a Hall of Famer. He’s never been on any All-NBA list. He isn’t an All-Star. He isn’t even a starter. But something about J.R. is electric. The guy has the body and tools to be a superstar, but he is limited by his on maturity. And that is what makes him so fun to watch. Love him or hate him, you can’t stop staring at him. Weather he is dunking on your whole team or doing the chicken dance after he nails a game winner; it’s all eyes on Earl.

8. Deron Williams – I’ve heard a rumor that opposing team’s players have to come in 45 minutes earlier than usual just to get their ankles more securely when they play D-Will. His crossover is a certified weapon of mass-ankle destruction. Just ask Jason Terry. He is built like a strong shooting guard, yet he is employed as an All-World point. Anytime he is on the court, a highlight is sure to breakout.

7. Brandon Roy – As my boy Arty always says, “He is so fun to watch, it makes me want to play basketball.” Brandon Roy is that good. He does things that make you forget that porno exists. If the game is on the line and he is my only option, I feel safe. His numbers would rival Kobe’s and Wade’s, but alas, he plays for one of the slowest teams (according to Pace stats) in the L. Sometimes I wish Nate would take of the strangle hold on the offense and let Roy run free. Until then, we can only dream.

6. Steve Nash – We only have a few short years left with this guy. It’s a damn shame we didn’t get to enjoy more years of the “7 seconds or less” offense. Not only is he one of the best shooters of all time, the guy is a maestro with the ball. Zig one way, zag the other, dribble threw the paint and lob it to a high flying anyone. Some say he didn’t deserve the MVPs that he won. I personally think he’s been the MVP for a long time. (Most Viewable Player)

5. Chris Paul – He is listed at 6-0, but in reality, he is about 5-10, with shoes on. It is amazing to see a guy so small play such a big role on the court. He is the Hornet’s best shooter, scorer, passer, defender, and leader. That first step is devastating and those floaters are unstoppable. Some how this shrimp of the bayou pulls down close to 5 rebounds a game. I’m anxiously waiting for the day that CP3 has a stat line of 30 points. 15 assists, 10 rebounds, and 10 steals. It’s going to happen, just you wait and see.

4. Carmelo Anthony – Offensively, there isn’t a single thing Melo can’t do. Personally, I think he has more weapons than anyone in the game. For most of the game, Melo is dropping points from all over while he gracefully dons a smile on his face. But come clutch time that smile is gone and he puts on the mask of a killer. Case in point – The game Melo dropped 33 in one quarter. ONE QUARTER!

3. Kobe Bryant – I think everything Kobe has ever done on the court has been with the sheer intention of making a highlight play. It is the reason he takes triple-teamed 30 footers. It is the reason he plays with broken digits. It is the reason he doesn’t pass as much as fans would like. And it’s the reason I’ve never been a fan of his. But I’m not crazy, either. Even I get impressed by some of the H.O.R.S.E. shots he hits in games.

2. Lebron James – The Human Videogame. His stat lines look like physics calculations on the speed of light. He is one of the fastest guys in the NBA. He is also one of the strongest and highest leaping players. Here is a guy that scored 16 points in 2 minutes. The dunks, the chase-down blocks, the court vision, he has it all. Only thing that kept him out the #1 spot is the fact that he stalls sometimes. You witness him yo-yoing for 20 seconds then casting of a low percentage three. That’s no fun to watch, like a guy cheesing in a videogame.

1. Dwyane Wade – Ask Anderson Varej√£o. Better yet, ask the entire Dallas Mavericks organization. Ask ESPN and TNT. Ask his best friend, Charles Barkley. D-Wade is the most explosive man in the NBA. He doesn’t have the same stats as Lebron, but he is right there. The thing that separates Dwyane from the rest of the field is the fact that he is willing to sacrifice his body. While Lebron has total disregard for human life, Wade has total disregard for his own. Coupled with his stats, and his dunks, he’s the best player to watch in the NBA. Too bad no one in Miami cares to attend his games…




Those that almost made this list: Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, Dwight Howard, Gilbert Arenas and Josh Smith.

Those that im not sure if they are very exciting or very boring: Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant.

Those that came no where near making this list: Pau Gasol, Kendrick Perkins, David Lee, Brad Miller, Both Mike Dunleavys, a rock, and Tim Duncan.