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Archive for November, 2012

Shook Ankles: Paul Pierce Falls…Again

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Poor Paul Pierce. His second spill in as many games. For the sake of humanity, let us pray he never switches onto Jamal Crawford. 

 

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Shook Ankles: Jameer Nelson Half-Murders Paul Pierce

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment

We’ll tally it as “half” of a murder because Nelson missed the shot. But wow. This was one of the most savage ankle-breaking moments I’ve seen all season. RIP to Paul Pierce’s ankles.

 

Essay: The Value Of An Assist

November 23, 2012 1 comment

 

The assist. A stat that people usually correlate with good passing and playmaking, its true value seems to have blurred over the years. Due to the nature of scorekeeping and the simplicity of the stat itself, assists are one of the most subjective basic metrics we have. Is a high-assist player a good offensive option? Are all assists worth the same?

Rajon Rondo, the current NBA leader in assists per game (13.3), seems to be a perfect example of how the value of assists seems to have changed. Read more…

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Essay: The Buss Family And Atlas Shrugged

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m not a fan of Ayn Rand’s objectivist novels. They’re a black and white expositions—claiming verisimilitude—in a world that’s marred in grey. So I wouldn’t encourage any thinking person to read her dogmatic fiction as a schema for life. But the siblings in Rand’s opus, Atlas Shrugged, parallel the Lakers organization, and the offspring of their genial owner, Jerry Buss.

Patriarch, Gerald Hatten “Jerry” Buss sired four children with his first wife, JoAnn Mueller; two of whom, Jim and Jeanie, play an integral role in the team’s current day-to-day affairs. Jim has taken over for his increasingly infirmed father as the Lakers’ President of Team Operations. Jeanie is the Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Lakers, and a star in her own right. So how does the progeny of Jerry coincide with Rand’s novel?

Read more…

Essay: Kemba Walker And The Curse Of Being A “Winner”

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Being labeled a “winner” may be as damning of a label as you can get from someone. Maybe even worse than “loser.” At least being a loser gives you an opportunity to rise up and become a winner. But being a capital-W Winner means there’s nowhere else to go, and everybody wants to be where you are. It’s no surprise then that so many with that label seem to drop off so fast. When you’re drafted to an NBA team with that label, you’re expected to bring the “winning attitude” with you, and make everybody else winners.

It’s illogical, and it’s resulted in a lot of players being mentioned for their college achievements and not their pro career. Let’s be real, it’s about how you play with the big boys. Is it any wonder that so many young men only go for one year of college? It isn’t just about the money. It’s about getting money while you still can; while expectations are low, and people will give you more time (and more contracts).

Of course, many of the best players in this league came straight out of high school, and none of them wake up in a cold sweat wondering what would life be like if they won a national title in college. You want to be Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, or Corey Brewer? No. You’d surely prefer the life of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Dwight Howard. Read more…

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Essay: Royce White, And What It Means To Be A Pioneer

November 19, 2012 1 comment

For those of you out of the loop, Rockets rookie forward Royce White went on a twitter tear last week, after news broke that he was being sent to the D-League.

  • I’m most defiantly not AWOL… There are many things here ppl don’t know, #Honesty is what I’m sticking with. @HoustonRockets “Luke 12:3″
  • Problem goes back WAY before D-League assignment. This about #Consideration and #Health it isn’t about Rebounds & Money.
  • My “anxiety” hasn’t caused inconsistency in my participation with the team from training camp until 72hrs ago, ✈ to DET, ✈s Isn’t the issue.
  • I’m most definitely* not AWOL… There are many things here ppl don’t know, #Honesty is what I’m sticking with. @HoustonRockets “Luke 12:3″
  • It’s sad to think ppl ACTUALLY think 🏀 should be higher on my priority list then health..you can’t enjoy success OR money without health.
  • I’d waste my “Talent”, to stand up for myself and what’s right, regarding my health 10x’s out 10. #Logical Player “Commodity” league.
  • “your a COMMODITY” and “we’ll support your health needs even if its inconvenient…” just don’t go. My health can’t afford such an ideal.

He also released a statement:

In hindsight, perhaps it was not a good idea to be open and honest about my anxiety disorder, due to the current situations at hand that involve the nature of actions from the Houston Rockets. As a rookie, I want to settle into a team and make progress; but since preseason the Rockets have been inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship. At this point the Rockets are aware of my position and the reason for my absence. Any other response is inaccurate. This is important to me. It is a health issue. I must advocate for my rights. It is a player-commodity league. The failure to meet my requests for support will end with me being unhealthy and that is not a consequence that I am willing to accept to play any sport.

I wrote earlier about White’s anxiety and the treatment he might receive in the league compared to the treatment he should receive. At the time, Royce was still in negotiations with the Rockets regarding help he’d receive for his anxiety and OCD as well as how he’d travel, due to his fear of flight. Royce himself had been fairly quiet but open about his condition.

He gave the standard good-guy lines, discussing while he needed to put his health first, it wouldn’t be a disturbance to his play or working with the team. It’s now become clear that this is not the case. But before we all play America’s favorite game, “Point the Blame”, let’s take a breather. Read more…

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Shook Ankles: Tony Parks Inadvertently Embarrasses Raymond Felton

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

 

We’ve poked (lol) fun at his weight and overall suckyness for the past 18 months, but Ray Felton has actually been playing REALLY well for the first place/still undefeated New York Knicks. Leave it to Tony Parker to pull us all back to reality.

 

Shook Ankles: Jamal Crawford For MVP

November 15, 2012 1 comment

 

Do I look like I’m kidding? Jamal Crawford shook Ray Allen 48 times last night. This move in particular was so mired in filth that Ryan Hollins decided playing dead was his safest option.

 

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Essay: Marc Gasol And Diminishing Returns

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

The Memphis Grizzlies have gone undefeated since their bitter opening night loss to the Clippers. On Sunday night they beat the defending champs to move to 5-1 on the season. Defeating the Miami Heat was nice, but they did so as part of an outlier performance from their reserve shooting guard, Wayne Ellington, who was 7-11 from long range.

In the game, Marc Gasol, their lumbering center, scored a season-low two points on 1-6 shooting from the field. He made up for a poor shooting night, if six field goal attempts is large enough to count as that, by also grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out six assists in 32 minutes of action.

It’s a performance that’s common for the Spanish Grizzlies center. If Ellington hadn’t shot lights out from long range, they could have benefited from more Gasol shooting; in fact, they could benefit from more Gasol on most nights. Taking advantage of their center’s skills has been frustrating for a team that’s found scoring hard to come by (they ranked 21st out of 30 teams in offensive efficiency last season, per Hoopdata) even as they’ve become an upper tier Western Conference team.

While Memphis has been able to maintain their place as a legitimate playoff team out west, and a dark horse candidate to win an NBA title, they’ve done so while ignoring their all-world center’s offensive skills.

Read more…

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Analysis: Russell Westbrook, A True Point Guard Extraordinaire

November 9, 2012 1 comment

Russell Westbrook took 22 shots last night. He missed 15, which means he only made seven. Most of the successful ones came next to the basket, most of the missed were far away. This math typically doesn’t foreshadow pleasant comings for the Thunder, but last night they more than weathered the storm…with Russell Westbrook steering the ship.

The elite guard showed why Oklahoma City still believes he’s best suited to run the point, finishing with 12 assists, two turnovers, and a gritty road victory against a blood thirsty Chicago Bulls team fighting for both a statement win and their own wounded pride.

I was honestly beginning to doubt if he could help Oklahoma City win basketball games when he wasn’t scoring in a variety of athletically marvelous ways, but tonight he proved me wrong. Is Russell Westbrook an elite player when it comes to elevating those around him? On Thursday, the answer was an emphatic yes.

This wasn’t a good game from Westbrook, it was great. I’ve re-lived a few sequences in my mind several times since the final buzzer, and—just, wow—the vision, the precision, the patience; these are the plays Westbrook makes that nobody wants, nor is able, to remember when the Thunder lose and he attempts more shots than Kevin Durant.

Read more…

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