Saturday, November 26, 2011

Looks Like We Made It...

Dear NBA,

Welcome back.

F*** you.

You better be worth it this season.

I'm not going to one game this year.

Don't pull this crap ever again.

Let's go Knicks, Nets, and Lakers!

And so help you God if this is a tease of some kind...

Best Regards,

P.S.  League Pass should be free.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving Quickie

I wanted to quickly relay thoughts on some games this past week.

Harrison Barnes could go high in the next NBA draft.  
Memphis vs. Georgetown on Wednesday was a sweet game.  Henry Sims of Georgetown displayed fantastic feel in the post against bigger defenders, and his passing opened up the game for the Hoya shooters.  He's a senior and isn't getting much pro attention (understandably so, as he's undersized and a senior), but his offensive game is very useful in college.  Georgetown knows what to do with bigs in the post.

Lil Joe Jackson was quick as hell, too.  He had some terrible turnovers, but man, his ball-handling ability and quickness allowed him to get anywhere he wanted.  It's the start of his sophomore campaign, so if he can manage the game a bit better, he can hurt you.  

Duke vs. Kansas was the classic showdown.  As expected, Duke's perimeter advantage was the difference (though in an unexpected way).  I liked Mason Plumlee's play in the game; I need to see more of Mr. Rivers to talk about draft expectations.  

North Carolina looks good right now, albeit against a bad team.  I love Harrison Barnes as a college player, but...I see him as more of a borderline all-star with a high-bball IQ and great longevity in the pros.  Could be wrong though; I need to see more.  

Wow at UConn.  Jordan...

Ohio St. vs. Duke is what I'm looking at this Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rewiring for College Ball; Adios NBA

The ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon couldn't come at a better time.

Four games in (hey, I needed SOME sleep), and I already have my eye on some players and teams.  Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos buried nine 3's in one game and showed some solid point guard game-management skills- eventually (passing into traps let WSU back into the game late).

903?  We'll see.  
I think the team is a bit green, but it'll be cool to see how that core develops throughout the season.  Pangos needs to improve his play under the arc and look to be more aggressive scoring the basketball inside.  Under the arc, he had Rajon Rondo-syndrome.  You can't just pass the ball every time; keep the defense honest kid.

I'm going to watch every Northern Iowa game I can this season.  That offense was woeful; their best play was the possession before halftime, when they held the ball for 30 seconds and didn't do anything.  Too damn funny- gotta appreciate sloppy basketball, too.  It makes beautiful basketball that much better to watch.  It boggles the mind that two years ago, this program took down mighty Kansas.

College of Charleston forward Antwaine Wiggins impressed me with his length and height.  His offense is lacking, but I think he has some great tools defensively.  The pros love length on defense.

Ahh, and the pros.  As I said before, this average Tuesday couldn't come at a better time for college basketball.  Marketing people dream of this opportunity: you're main competitor just bashed its own head into a chained-up door (you're locked out, dummies!), and the next day is a momentous celebration of your service, attracting hordes of new customers.  This would be like if all Facebook servers had died the day before Google+ officially launched to the public.  F***** beautiful.

NCAA basketball will definitely be featured more often on both this blog and my T.V. schedule, which is basically just Walking Dead on Sunday and Sons of Anarchy on Tuesday (a great literary work, and badass show overall, in my opinion), so there won't be too much conflict.  Let's not be naive- the NBA isn't going to exist this season.  It's sadly become an issue of pride and games for the owners and players.  When money isn't even the biggest problem...

Anyway, pure basketball is back.  I plan on enjoying it more than ever...    


Thursday, November 10, 2011

MJ's Actions are Just Like Mike

I found this article by Jason Whitlock on a RealGM forum and posted a response there.  Here is a modified version of that response:  

I'm not as knowledgable about business as some here, but speaking from the perspective of somebody in a line of work related to Mr. Whitlock- I didn't like that article. It was way too easy to write, and was ironic itself considering the claims at the top of his page: that he musters the courage to say things most won't.

Michael Jordan is simply being the best owner he can be.  
Most journalists don't make basketball owners- white or black, MJ or non-MJ- out to be slave owners. Not because it's too hard, but because it's such a simplistic view of the relationship between owners and players. It's wrong. It's dumb. 

I'm not saying playing the race card or making a controversial analogy is never warranted, but it wasn't in this scenario.

Some have been making a point about the irony of MJ's position in this dispute after having a different position a decade prior. I, more than most, get the irony. I don't think it's necessarily hypocritical, however. 

Jordan going from player- best player in the league- to owner of a middling basketball team is a stark crossover. But let's not go overboard here: it's not slave becoming slave owner. It's more like union electrical engineer becoming the head of Verizon's wireless communications wing. I may not have been creative with that comparison, but it's better than Whitlock's, and more apt to boot. 

Jordan's a different person now; nobody is who they were ten years before. People can be many things; father, son, lawyer, gardening addict, procrastinator, and dabbler in painting can describe one person. 

Michael Jordan doesn't play basketball now. He wasn't an owner when he made the comments about Abe Pollin, and lent those words out to help the people in his position, including himself, get the best deal possible. You can at least credit him with giving consistent effort for whichever side he's on. 

If one wants to critique Michael Jordan as being selfish and greedy, there are better ways to do it. Is he selfish and greedy? Probably. That's a weakness to have as a player. That's probably a strength to have as an owner and a business man. I can't fault him for trying to extract the best deal possible for himself. 

That's why I can't fault him for doing what he's doing to the players either. He doesn't owe them a damn thing, and they don't owe him a damn thing. Not in the arena of business. Basketball arena, yeah. Business arena, no. Why would they owe each other anything? 

If players feel they are entitled to have MJ in their corner here, well, it's their own fault for confusing their basketball idol with a selfless person and/or a possibly bad businessman, and being pulled in by the fantastic marketing of the Jordan brand. Go ahead, don't wear Jordans anymore. Congratulations, you finally realize you didn't need to wear them in the first place. 

The NBA is a sports league, which means it's an entertainment league, which means it's a business, the same as in Rome 2000 years ago. If you're going to enter the industry, keep your head on a swivel before it ends up on a spike. 

I do wish that in general, Michael Jordan was more like Bill Russell in a sense that he was more socially conscious. But he doesn't need to be. He chose the right business for himself. As it did for all those ringless 90's stars, it sucks for the players today that MJ is who he is, if for different reasons.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pigskin Comparison: LBJ vs. KD

Aaron Rodgers and Kevin Durant vs. Tom Brady and LeBron James- which duo would you take for one year?

That might be a legitimate question soon enough.  Bron Bron issued a challenge to KD over Twitter a few days ago after Durant swapped sneaks for cleats.  Considering the NBA is lacking in, ya know, existence, we can't watch the budding James/Durant rivalry grow in pro ball.  How would the two fair if they went to the NFL? 

The stars wouldn't be going head-to-head in football.
  • An apt destination for Durant is Green Bay.  OKC needs to load itself with more history to roll with the Pack, but both play in small markets with seemingly fiercely loyal fan bases, and they're both engineered by astute front offices.  
  • I can't see KD being anything other than a WR.  Durant is great working off-ball with Russell Westbrook controlling the rock; imagine KD freeing himself of a defender after Rodgers cleverly escapes multiple defensive ends and linebackers.  (Rodgers replaces Eric Maynor at backup PG?)
  • James obviously is going to play for New England.  I know he loves Dallas, but the second-best player in the league doesn't play there, so New England it is.  His sense of acting for ironic purposes is lacking, so the Browns are out.  
  • James would be a receiver as well.  Tight end is too physical; I don't think you want a 6'8 guy blocking 320 lbs. masters of leverage. 
So you've got two tall wide receivers for two of the best QBs around.  I think it works all right.  James would be better since he has experience playing football and would theoretically be the better blocker, leaper, and YAC accumulator, but KD's length and height could prove to be effective in red-zone situations, especially with Rodgers being able to throw from any angle with startling accuracy.

James the possession receiver, Durant the bigger end zone threat- sounds like a common fantasy football dilemma.  

[Full disclosure:  I have my doubts either would be able to stand up to the riggers of the National Football League over an extended period of time; it's not as simple as "they're pro athletes."  But it's the lockout, and imagination starts taking over...]