Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avery Gets Da Boot

Avery Johnson, our favorite silly-voiced coach, was fired today as coach of the Dallas Mavericks. This sad news to most NBA fans, who enjoyed his exuberance and his absolutely enormous teeth. In fact, the only people who seem sad to see Avery go are Mark Cuban and that reporter that was given the 9th degree by him a ways back:

We shouldn't gloss over what really is at work here though. Mark Cuban went wayyyy out of his way to get Jason Kidd, Chris Paul made Jason Kidd look like a 90 year-old with a case of the shakes, and Cuban needed a place to throw his aggression. Josh Howard shooting as if he was playing with one contact lens in the whole series didn't help things. As good as the Mavs are, ultimately you never feel like any player or coach on the team is safe (including Dirk) because their owner is about 95% emotion and 5% rational intellectual thought. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely find this brand of human much more entertaining than the rest (it's what has allowed The Real World to stay on television)...I just wouldn't want one as a boss.

Surely with his record and the mind boggling amount of crummy teams who need a lift we're sure Avery will get another shot elsewhere. For now, let's all pour some of our 40 on the ground and salute him.

If you don't want to salute Avery Johnson, yep, you guessed it...OPEN PALMED SLAP ON THE BALLS!

Holy Crap That Was Fast: Mike D'Antoni and the Suns Just Broke Up

As a Suns guy, this actually makes me sad, but word is that the Phoenix Suns are done with former coach of the year and mustache rocker Mike D'Antoni.

During last night's post game press conference, D'Antoni was mum about his status with the team, keeping focus on the team and his pride in them. However, upper management seems to be ready to cut ties with the man who made the eight-second-offense sexy again. Game 5 in the Spurs/Suns series marked the third time in four seasons in which Phoenix was ousted from the playoffs by San Antonio, so I can see the logic in management's win now/something has to change move.

Since D'Antoni has 2 years left on his contract with Phoenix, any team that wants to discuss employment of his services needs to ask for permission. Chances are it won't, but this could play out like the day after a bad batch of Isiahcorn. Most see this as a possible reunion with Colangelo-lite, since it's likely that Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell will get the boot, but Chicago and the Knicks are both out there, so they can't be counted out.

Will Phoenix be able to replace greatness? Who knows, but there's always this.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Senile Old Man Told He'll Be Coaching The University of North Carolina Circa '82

A press conference is scheduled this afternoon to announce that the 67 year old coaching legend, Larry Brown, will be the next coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. It's possible that Brown seeks to bring the excitement and excellence of Carolina collegiate basketball to the pro level, but it is more likely that part-owner, Michael Jordan, showed up to the interview dressed as an 18 year old and asked Brown why he should choose to play at UNC.

Brown's contract reportedly includes incentives for oatmeal, Dannon's Activia Yogurt, a special rocking chair on the bench, and a dismantling of the USSR. Don't believe that the Great One would stoop to such lows? Count the amount of times they substitute "Bobcats" for "Carolina Basketball" in today's press conference!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Boston Wins Game 3...Wait...What?!

I'm waiting for Josh Smith to pull the mask off and reveal he was Eli Manning all along.

Tonight there was a different young underdog that smooshed pie in the face of a New England goliath in the playoffs, as the Hawks somehow beat the Celtics 97-92. This tied the series 2-2, winning money for people crazy enough to actually ever put money on the Hawks.

Joe Johnson scored 35 points, Josh Smith scored 28, and Mike Bibby scored 18, while Al Horford pulled down 13 boards. Marvin Williams, it should be noted, apparently still is alive and plays in the NBA. He scored 8 points amid stone-faced fans who continue to try to figure out how he was drafted over Chris Paul and Deron Williams (my guess: a damn good moustache).

The next game is back the land of tea-dumping colonials, where the Hawks will no doubt face a majorly pissed-off KG and company. The Celtics, after all, were so dominant during the regular season that by losing these two games in the playoffs they matched how many games they lost in the entire month of November. The Hawks' surprising moxie, coupled with watching lovable freaks Big Baby Davis and Zaza Pachulia square off, has helped this series officially joins the 76ers-Pistons matchup as "series everyone thought would suck, but actually sorta seems almost interesting now". If any one of the big three go down with injury (by way of "Three Amigos pelvic pump" perhaps?) or cold shooting streaks, we could very well be seeing the Hawks emerge victorious.

In the meantime, for the Celtics players and fans reading this: Don't fret. You still probably will win this series and have a perennial dynasty on your hands. There still is plenty of time for the fans of every major sports league to hate and envy you as you win a championship. -Mostly hate.

For the Hawks players and fans reading this: The odds are still stacked against you, so don't get cute. Win the darn series and then celebrate. If you DO somehow win this series, just promise me one thing: You find the first Celtics fan you see, slam a newspaper clipping on the window in front of them, and say, "I won the series. How do ya like THEM apples?"

-And then do that Three Amigos pelvic pump thing.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Surprise! Robert Horry Is A Dick

Every year, Robert Horry seems to win a ring. Similarly, every year Robert Horry tries to prove to the world that he is a jackass. Sadly, only one of these things is widely acknowledged by the American public (hint: it's not the second one).

Last year, Horry famously kicked Steve Nash's ass, which resulted in getting Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw tossed from the series. Obviously, he would have to keep up his rep this year.

I present exhibit A, your honor. Here is Mike D'Antoni getting ejected the other day for yelling about Horry's blatantly unsportsmanlike play. The best part is the completely oblivious announcers not quite understanding how such a thing could happen.

I give this series one more game before Robert Horry tries to claw the eyeballs out of Leandro Barbosa's head, only to have the announcers say, "Robert Horry seems to be trying to help Barbosa with his contact lens...why is Mike D'Antoni so angry?"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Larry Brown Enjoys Coaching

(cue old timey music and bumbling police officers with no guns)

Larry Brown is old. He was born the same year that Elmer Fudd made his debut in the short film Elmer's Candid Camera, also the same year that 2 guys named Adolf and Benito met up in the Alps and decided to form some sort of Axis or something or other to wage war on France and the United Kingdom. He also shares a quality that many people over the age of 65 do, and that is an unadulterated hatred toward young people. Which is why there's some upsetting news out of Philadelphia; Larry Brown has resigned as vice president of the Philadelphia 76ers. Why is this so upsetting you ask? Because he has done so with the intention of pursuing a college or NBA coaching job.

The Sixers organization has undergone some changes with the firing of former team president and maker of poor desicions Billy King, which some feel is the reason for Brown's change of heart. HOWEVA, we all know why this is happening, Larry Brown enjoys making money, and teams enjoy paying him; his stint with Philadelphia was actually the longest he's been in one place in his entire career. This will not dissuade NBA Brass though, oh no, they can be easily be blinded by 1 championship in 25 playoff appearances.

He's most recently interviewed with the Grizzlies and is rumored to have been offered a job to coach at Princeton, but with the vacancies we'll probably be seeing in the next couple of weeks and months, he'll surely be in talks with Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, and of course, THE KNICKS. Let's everyone put in a collective prayer that that happens, because that would be the sweetest candy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Every Rockets Fan Is Thinking As They Watch This Series

Sure, the Rockets had that great winning streak during the season...but we all knew that TMac and company would inevitably go belly up as soon as they got in the playoffs. Even worse, as soon as they drew the Utah Jazz (the team they lost to last year) the writing was on the wall that their time in the sun would most likely end in most heartbreaking fashion.

-But why even try to explain what it's like to be a Houston fan right now, down 0-2 and knowing your team needs TMac to suddenly erase the gene him and Vince Carter share that makes daily effort so difficult? Sometimes the gift of song can tell the story like no other:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Orlando Wants Some Respect/Dallas Resembling The Hindenburg

Tonight the Magic beat the Raptors 104-103 to go up 2-0 in the series. Even more interesting, Dwight Howard had over 20 points and 20 rebounds as the Magic, becoming the first player in nearly 40 years to do so in consecutive playoff games. The last guy was Nate Thurmond, who played for the San Francisco Warriors (their original name before they deemed it "not gay enough" and went with "Golden State").

The Magic are still looking for some semblence of respect in the playoffs, sitting idly by as analyst after analyst says, "I can't wait to see East title contenders Boston, Detroit and Cleveland!" The Magic certainly aren't going to get their much-deserved respect by beating the Raptors (a team who is Chris Bosh and little else. Bosh scored 29 tonight while the rest of the starting lineup COMBINED to score 17). This makes me excited to see the Magic do some damage in the next round of the playoffs. Coupled with Utah and Philly, I am all-out rooting for the Dangerfield no-respect teams during the playoffs. Carlos Boozer can't even get any respect when he lets Prince stay over!

In other news, that "Dallas winning it all" preseason pick I had is looking as good as Billy Zane's chances of ever being relevant again in mainstream culture. They lost to the Hornets by 24 tonight, their second straight blowout loss. I'd say the door is still open for them since it is a 7 game series, but Chris Paul is completely schooling Kidd out there. Tonight Paul exploded for 32 points and 17 assists, signalling a true end to Kidd's dominance as best point guard (not named Nash) in the league and making it completely obvious he is the MVP this year. The best Dallas could throw back was Brandon Bass, Lance Bass' african american bizarro. Not looking good horsie fans.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rethinking This Whole "Washington Will Win The Series" Thing

Before the playoffs started, I said that Washington would win the series against Cleveland in 7 games.
No, for you information Mr. fancypants, I am not renegging on that prediction...just pointing out that right now it ain't lookin' so hot. They are actually in the gutter.

Tonight the Cavs beat the Wiz by 30 points, and somehow even Lord of the Rings tree ent Ben Wallace scored more points (8) than Gilbert Arenas (7). Lebron scored 30 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished out 12 assists, got only 1 turnover, blocked two shots, and impregnated 20 women all in the span of 38 minutes. In 38 minutes, I MAY have the effort to put a tv dinner in the microwave and press the start button. I simply cannot eat it in that same span of time.

While this is all well and good, I am simply dubious at the prospect of this Cavs team going anywhere this postseason with the crew they have assembled. Lebron, the playoff god, aside, their team sounds like a punchline. Ben Wallace is a liability anywhere but defense, Ilgauskas' chronically sore feet and knees make him look like a used car, Delonte West is inconsistent, and Wally's World is the biggest team jinx out there with his constant screw-ups. If the Cavs wind up winning this series 4-0, I will wholeheartedly admit that I didn't see it coming and will send an angrily worded letter to any Wizards executive or actual Wizard out there (note: I do not have the effort to do this).

We'll see if the Wiz do better next game when they aren't shooting .375. For now, they look like feces. -Not the good kind of feces either. The kind monkeys throw.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hey, So Some Games Happened This Weekend: Game 1s In Review

Man, what a fantastic first weekend of NBA playoff action!

That was a complete Marv Albert-esque "smack me in the face because that is such a commercial slogan statement", I know, but it is nontheless true.

-The Magic showed that they are a team to be reckoned with, by slaughtering the Raptors with 43 points and an NBA playoff record-tying 9 three-pointers in the first quarter. Bargnani fans everywhere wept.

-The Lakers put the Nuggets away in a game with basically no defense at all (242 combined points were scored). Radmanovic inches ever closer to his "ugliest man to ever win a championship" title.

-In the words of former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, the Celtics "WERE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!" and easily put the Hawks away by 23 points. The Hawks had as much of a shot of winning one game in this series as the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall had of making me laugh more than once (which, incidentally, it did not do. Save your cash, folks).

-Lebron beat Arenas and company to help the Cavs take a 1-0 lead over the Wiz. This game was really close the whole way through and I am firmly sticking to my prediction that Washington wins this series. How COULD I pick the Cavs when Arenas is taking shots like this?!?

-The Jazz beat Houston in what will probably be the quietest series of the bunch. Rafer and Yao were out, making TMac actually deliver on his "It's on ME!" comments from last year. Results: Not. So. Good. McGrady actually used the words “Yes, we miss Rafer" after the game. That's probably what the people said on the Titanic moments before they drowned.

-Chris Paul is looking mighty fine in the MVP voting after an incredible regular season and game against the Mavs. This is all despite his horrendously shitty website. David West...I acknowledge you are a good player, even though the rest of the world doesn't. Poor wittle D.West...

-The 76ers, my team to shock and awe the rest of the winning 2 of the 6 games in this series (man, I should have really had the cajones to pick more than that)...WON the first game 90-86 in Detroit. Reggie Evans (seen levitating right) looked like a monster and Andre Miller was playing like a career all-star instead of a guy once swapped out for Earl Boykins. If Rodney Carney actually develops, this "Mo Cheeks, Mo Problems" squad has a crazy bright future. Yes, I know that phrase is already played, but I'll be damned if I stop using it!

-And finally the game of the weekend, the Spurs-Suns game which was Ginobili-ified to the max. If you heard a high pitched sound coming from the general direction of the northeast of America, chances are it was me squealing like a schoolgirl with delight while I was watching this one. I don't even particularly like either of these teams, especially San Antonio, but they put on one hell of a show. Tim Duncan 3 pointer for double overtime? Steve Nash with a tying three as he falls out of bounds? Boris Diaw sucking ass and almost singlehandedly losing the game for Phoenix? I have to stop typing before I faint, it was that damn good.

More commentary on the games to come, folks. This postseason is just getting started.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Isiah OUT?! America Mourns The Loss Of The World's Easiest Punchline

'Tis a sad day, my friends.

In the same week that we lost Antawn Jamison's nuts, it is announced that Isiah Thomas is out as Knicks head coach. We thought that Isiah and cockroaches were the only things with the abilities to withstand a nuclear holocaust, but now we realize we were all incorrect. So very incorrect.

Gone is that smiling face that calmly told reporters that the 10 game losing streaks were simply "rough patches".

Gone is the man whose each and every move (yes...INCLUDING Zach Randolph) could immediately be laughed about and watched with glee as it spontaneously combusted before everyone's eyes.

Gone is what I often referred to as "the great failsafe" on slow news days in the NBA. You could always count on Isiah to somehow make a quiet day interesting. No longer can I fast forward through Knicks games with the Benny Hill theme playing.

Here in New York, to say they're dancing in the streets is an understatement. On the flipside, for anyone who enjoys making fun of the hijinks in the NBA it's the equivalent of losing a dear, beloved friend.

Goodnight, sweet prince. Fly high on wings of inflated contracts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Western Conference Playoff Preview: This Could Get Messy

Now that the Western Conference games are over, we finally have all four match-ups cemented and ready to be predicted upon by idiots like me and Tim Legler. Seriously, we've got this covered. You don't need to watch. Why are you still considering to watch? We're going to tell you who'll win!

LA vs. Denver

Winner: Lakers in 4

Whyzzat?: I think I know the reason for 'Melo's DUI. It probably dawned on him that night that he was going to have his ass handed to him by Kobe in front of a national TV audience. The Lakers swept the regular season series 3-nil by an average of 16+ points and Nuggets gave up a second-worst 106.9 points per game. You could kind of tell that George Karl stopped believing in this team's chances early on since he saw just how bad of a defensive team this is. But damn! They're fun when those shots are falling.

New Orleans vs. Dallas

Winner: Dallas in 7

Whyzzat?: This is the prediction most likely to go wrong as biologists have discovered that my lips are permanently attached to Jason Kidd's ass. Yet, if tonight's game proved anything at all it's that Kidd is done trying to play second fiddle to Dirk. If Dallas can consistently get the ball out of the hands of the phenomenal Chris Paul, they should be able to come away as winners and then get slaughtered in the next round. But, if Chris Shinn feels like firing off his gun into Dirk's face, he's more than welcome to.

San Antonio vs. Phoenix

Winner: Spurs in 7

Whyzzat?: Last year, this match-up was the de facto championship which included nasty cuts, hip checks, and suspensions galore. Instead of following past years' credo to play faster than they ever have before, the Suns have gone the other way with their mid-season acquisition of Shaq. This could actually spell trouble for the defending champs, who are limping into this series with their team MVP, Manu Ginobili, hobbled. HOWEVA, if he can play, he'll put the Spurs over the top.

Utah vs. Houston

Winner: Jazz in 5

Whyzzat?: This year, McGrady's not even going to pretend that it's on him. This team is basically running on fumes and it's a shame. Expect at least one heroic game from Tracy, who may be without Skip To My Lou for part of this series. The Jazz better do the Rockets in quickly because they're not going to want to have to face a well-rested Lakers team after getting into a slug-fest with Houston.

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: Time To Get Obnoxious Again, Boston Sports Fans!

Tonight is the last night of the NBA regular season. This typically is a boring day, with starters resting and coaches that are going to get the axe at season's end just going through the motions (Hint: A Memphis coach named Iavaroni). Well, that's only half true this year. While the Eastern Conference teams are all snuggled into their respective playoff position beds, the Western teams tonight are still jockeying to see who they'll play. The Lakers and Hornets are the only teams that have any idea where they will be in the pecking order of things, but this is little consolation since they could be playing anybody.

For now, let's take a glance at the Eastern Conference playoff matchups since those are set, shall we?

Boston vs Atlanta

Winner: Boston in 4

Whyzzat?: 28 games separate these teams. We officially have our top candidate for "team that we will totally forget made the playoffs next year", as in "Wait...Atlanta made the playoffs last year? Where was I?"

Detroit vs Philly

Winner: Detroit in 6

Whyzzat?: I think Philly will make this one a bit more interesting by stealing two. Mo Cheeks has this team actually believing in themselves, and I've officially copyrighted the phrase "Mo Cheeks, Mo Problems" for when they turn heads (note: I did not actually do this). Detroit's been my pick in the East all year, so I have to stick with them. Plus, after visiting Philly this past year I have to say that I've had better Philly Cheesesteaks in at least 5 other cities. Sorry.

Orlando vs Toronto

Winner: Orlando in 5 (U.S.A! U.S.A!)

Whyzzat?: Orlando is the overlooked team in the league this year, getting no media attention whatsoever despite having a very solid team. The Jazz did pretty well flying under a very similar radar last season. If Jameer Nelson actually shows up, this could be over quickly. Hedo Turkoglu still won't be a household name, but rather a name that sounds like something yelled while sneezing (or shooting fireballs in Streetfighter II).

Cleveland vs. Washington

Winner: Washington in 6

Whyzzat?: Arenas is back, and seriously wants money this offseason when he opts out. On top of that, I really am not a big fan of Cleveland after their midseason trade for Wally's World and think they'll fold early. I'll probably wind up eating my words on this one since Lebron is a playoff monster, but I think Washington will benefit greatly by having various people carry their team this year due to injuries. Completely random side note: Both Arenas and Lebron have New York City-themed shoes.

That's it for now. We'll see how things shape up in the West after tonight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

R.I.P Antawn Jamison's Nuts

Here is the clip from last night's Pacers-Wizards game:

There is getting tapped in the cajones...and then there is this. The only thing that could have made Danny Granger's "defensive leg kick" gesture more over the top is if he were to tie a Karate Kid bandana on and wear steel-tip boots.

Antawn, you are now the proud owner of the "deez nutz" face, and we feel your pain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Stephen A Hunger Strike: Day 4

(Since Friday I've been on a hunger strike to bring back the Stephen A Smith radio show. I will not give in and listen to Dan Le Betard! So far, the opposition hasn't totally given in, but they will. Dammit they will)

This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows. This blows.

I've given in a tiny bit but have kept the spirit of this protest alive by only ingesting Cheese Doodles, which may in fact only further my demise. My hands are so orange that they look like I choked George Hamilton. This morning I consulted a medical doctor, dentist and guy who plays one on TV for their opinions and each gave me the same response: "Stephen who?"

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Stephen A Hunger Strike: Day 1

Today begins my hunger strike to bring Stephen A Smith back onto the radio airwaves. Stephen A is more than just the inspiration for this sometimes humorous blog. He's a role model to young kids and to the malleable and idiot adults everywhere in this sports-crazed nation, teaching them to:
  1. Never compromise
  2. Never admit you were horribly wrong when you said the Knicks would make the playoffs
  3. Shout when you really don't have much to say
  4. Begin the first and last (fuck it, every) sentence of any discussion with "Quite frankly,..."
  5. Never let them see you eating Cheese Doodles
Who the hell am I supposed to listen to now? Dan Le Betard? Why don't you just blow my brains out right now and save yourself some time? Bring back Stephen A!

Pictures of my withering are soon to follow. In the meantime, keep checking in here and on MySpace.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blog Roundup Time: The NEW O.C. is Oklahoma City

Been a relatively quiet week in NBA land, but that still doesn't mean there are some good reads out there. I, of course, am referring to Mermaids and Pirates: Follow The Fish...but here are some other fun reads:

What if Juan Dixon's life was laid out for you like a children's book? (We Rite Goode)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rick Carlisle Is The Coach Your Team Needs

While we've tried to ignore the rumors, we have to stay we're ecstatic over the possibility of friend of the site Rick Carlisle coaching in the NBA again. The New York Post has him on the short list of coaches that will likely return to coach a team next year, and more specifically the Bulls seem to be the party most interested.

Getting another coaching chance would be fantastic for Carlisle (pictured above, with Anubis Taylor), but more importantly it would be great for us. It has long been my dream to enact a puppet presidency of sorts with an NBA coach, and Carlisle is just the stand up type of gentleman that we need to carry out what enters our evil little skulls.*

Just picture it: Joakim Noah starts mouthing off to the rest of the Bulls squad again behind his frizzy lunch lady hair and disrupts team chemistry. What happens? That's right: He gets forced to line up in front of Kirk Hinrich's grandmother for approximately 10-15 kicks to the groin. We deem it so.

Then what if the team goes on a 10 game losing streak, seeming unmotivated and absent-minded? No problemo! Don't give empty threats like "team suspensions" and "decreased playing time", Rick. We'll just tell them that unless they do better we'll give their home addresses to our creepy uncle who likes to stalk people and looks exactly like Benjamin Franklin.

He eats people's faces, by the way.

I'm not saying any of these solutions will work, but they certainly will make things a hell of a lot more interesting. Plus, Isiah Thomas has set the bar so low that as long as we don't sexually harrass/abuse anyone and make white people into villains, we're doing our job pretty damn good.

So c'mon, Rick. For our sakes and yours, get hired so we can start having fun.

*Author's Note: Our skulls our actually quite large, and women like to caress them. I don't really get it, but I don't try to stop it either.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Thought Europeans Hit Jump Shots

It took Chris Bosh almost five years to finally say the truth: he doesn't trust his teammates to hit a shot. Although they've locked up a spot in the playoffs, the Raptors are in mid-free fall after losses to the Hawks, Nets, and Bobcats that dropped them below .500. After the team went 1-10 from three on Saturday against the Nets, one might say Bosh was a little justified in saying: "I have to do a better job of trusting my teammates. I've lacked in that and I can be man enough to say I've made that mistake. I've talked with the coaches and they told me the same thing -- trust my teammates."

After last year's surprising rise to respectability, praise was thrown upon GM Bryan Colangelo, the former architect of the run-and-gun Phoenix Suns. In Toronto, he put together a roster of one frontcourt star surrounded by European players that had good fundamentals and could hit a shot from anywhere on the floor. This year, other GMs have foregone clever moves for big trades for superstars, making Colangelo looking more like a loser than clever genius.

Case in point: former #1 pick, Andrea Bargnani. After a surprisingly decent rookie season, he's suffered from a sophomore slump and is now relegated to coming off the bench. But this was bound to happen for one reason, The Bargnani Glitch of NBA 2k7. Fueled by the fact that his outside shot was grossly overrated in the popular video game, Andrea played out of his mind last season. Now that his video game alias has been brought down to earth, so has Bargnani's game and ego. Remember, he was picked at the number one spot, which was way ahead of Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Ronnie Brewer, and Paul Millsap.

As the post season approaches, it's more up to Bosh than his teammates to get them into the next round. He'll be consistently double and triple teamed and he'll have to learn, like how Kobe did, to trust his teammates through the first three quarters and then dominate in the fourth. And maybe he's also hinting that he knows this when he says: "Once you get there, you try to advance, pure and simple."

Monday, April 7, 2008

David Stern Hates Your Kids

No matter how well they can ball, or how much money they "turned down" from boosters, your kid may have to stay in school for a tad bit longer instead of buying you a new house after getting that rookie deal fresh out of college.

It appears that NBA Commissioner David Stern and NCAA president Myles Brand are coming to terms on a new proposal that states that players will be required to stay in college for at least 2 years before declaring themselves eligible to be drafted into the NBA. The NBA Players Association has yet to approve this proposal; but there will be many more discussions and future "what's in it for us" type talks before the wheels are truly in motion.

Currently, the only standing rule regarding incumbent players in the NBA is the age limit, which is 19 years, and was placed through the standing collective bargaining agreement which is set to expire for the 2010-11 season; when it will be reevaluated but most likely adopted again due to its current favorable results. But who is this rule really for? The NBA obviously wants it because the youth movement has most recently been knocked for its lack of fundamentals, lack of basketball experience at a higher level, and the innate immaturity that comes with being a teenager/early twenty year old. The NCAA wants it because of the grand exposure that comes along with being a Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, and what that brings to your school. The kids will say that this proposal is a bad thing, and hurts their ability to save their families, or help themselves out of bad situations right away, but this proposal is for them, and it could really be the best decision they never had to make on their own.

Is anyone that comes out of college as a freshman ready to do any job, let alone be in the public limelight 24/7, and play a demanding game every day for months on end at the highest possible level it can be played? Just like any job, no manager would hire someone without relevant experience, and I think that the NBA is trying to do the same thing. They'd much rather see a consistent body of work than a flash in the pan that had a super nice year and completely fail at the next level. This gives college players the chance to play basketball at a higher level, experience the ups and downs of tournament play, which is the closest thing to NBA Playoff basketball that they'll see, and have a real opportunity to decide whether playing basketball is the career that they really want to undertake. Sure it's the sexy pick, but maybe Pat Garrity always wanted to be an ambassador to France, and he never got to because he was blinded by the flashy NBA and totally missed that chance to get his degree in political science. I totally understand where both sides are coming from, but the concern that someone will miss out on the next great player is what will keep this rule from going through.

I'm just saying NBA, there are some college freshmen that have eaten cereal with beer instead of milk. I'm just saying.

We Tell You What To Watch: Week of April 7 - 14

To recap last week:
3) The Canadian free fall continues and New Jersey still has hopes of being a playoff team. Sadly, it's a lot like how your dorky friend in high school has hopes that the hot chick who talked to him for 3 seconds wants to date him.

2) All my predictions of a Sasha Vujacic beat down failed to come through, but it still was a weird game with Barry Bonds sitting courtside next to the Maloof Bros. Unsurprising quote of the night: "I love Barry Bonds." ~ Ron Artest

1) Time to get out the checkbook and pay grandma for the rubdown because Utah was on this like a donkey eating a waffle. 90 - 64, Utah. Ugh.

Since there is a lack of Jack Bauer cutting off people's thumbs right now, here's some games that should be just as exciting:

3) Celtics at Wizards (Wednesday, April 9, ESPN)

The Celtics have beaten every team in front of them this season, but have yet to face the fury that is Gilbert. You can't control him! The man checks himself in whenever he wants! Aren't we all glad we'll be seeing more of him in the playoffs?

2) Hornets at Lakers (Friday, April 11)

Even though the Lakers are a little bruised and broken, they are still chasing that championship dream. New Orleans is still trying to prove that they're going to be a true contender, despite their best player being their point guard. Since we're talking about Chris Paul, I have problems with that ad he's in that's played all the time during the NCAAs where it's message that there are no Cinderellas. Showing clips of Jimmy V's NC State is great, but I'm pretty sure MJ's Tar Heels weren't exactly long-shots. They did have Worthy and Perkins leading the charge. Get your head out of your ass, Jumpman!

1) Memphis Tigers vs. Kansas Jayhawks (Monday, April 7)

Besides the race in the West, the rest of the regular season is pretty boring. I mean, even Pat Riley is skipping it to watch draft prospects. There's no NBA games on Monday, and there's good reason. College basketball is now a joke, but it's still fun to watch for the draft prospects and argue how you think they'll turn out at the next level. Player to watch: Derrick Rose. I'm going to count the amount of times he's pushed the ball over the half court line before any other teammates have caught up.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Clinch-tastic Friday

Friday was a theme day of sorts as five, yes FIVE, teams clinched playoff spots in one evening.The Hornets, 76ers, Wizards, Raptors, and Lakers will be in this year's postseason, which marks a great day in the lives of bee, history, magic, dinosaur and lake enthusiasts.

One can't help but be impressed with how the 76ers have done this season with most NBA analysts writing them off (myself included).  
Andre Miller has turned into a superhero, and Andre Iguo
dala has started to come into his own as a go-to player.  Most impressive, Mo Cheeks has insp
ired the team to believe in themselves, and solidified himself as one of the better coaches that has a porn star name.

Another observation: It's sorta funny and sad at the same time that the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference has clinched a playoff spot at the same time the top team in the West did.  The first place Hornets are a paltry 31 games over .500, while the 7th seed Raptors are an astounding zero games over .500 (and the losers of 2 straight).  David Stern needs to figure out a way to get parity back into the league again because I worry this step-by-step process might become the way things happen in the future:

Step 1: An Eastern Conference crap team drafts a blue chip player in the draft. Woohoo!
Step 2: The player wows everyone, yet still is surrounded by garbage players on his team.
Step 3: After a while, the player starts complaining about his teammates. Wants to head West.
Step 4: Player demands a trade to a Western Conference team, and it's granted. Barf.

There is an enormous growing trend towards this process, and in my opinion it's a bit silly.  If I were a player I would prefer to be on an Eastern Conference team because I wouldn't have to stew over the fact that I missed the playoffs despite being 10 games over .500. You could probably tie your shoelaces together and do a "power hour" during half of the games and still manage to get in the playoffs in the East (unless you are a member of the Bobcats, in which your hopes evaporate like the cigar smoke rings Michael Jordan blows in the air). 

Congrats to the five playoff teams, and best of luck to the Lakers and Hornets...who actually have a shot.

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