WotN - Griz

Dwight Howard's first three quarters: Thanks to a plague of fouls, Superman finished the third quarter with 3 points on 1-for-3 shooting. Which makes the fact that he finished the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds pretty incredible.

Maurice Evans: The Magic have such an imposing frontcourt that it's easy to overlook how shaky their backcourt situation is. Last night, Evans scored 2 points on 1-for-7 shooting and had only 1 assist.

Joey Graham and Maceo Baston: From Basketbawful reader BranGor: "The dynamic duo of Joey Graham and Maceo Baston recorded 2 one trillions on a Tuesday night showdown with the Magic. As if in synchronization, they both played 1:21." One small correction, though. Baston committed a personal foul, thus defiling his trillion.

T.J. Ford: Also from BranGor: "T.J Ford had a great game with 20 points (8-for-13) in 16 minutes; however, he also recorded 7 turnovers." As an additional note, Ford dished out only 2 assists, and I'm guessing that a 2:7 assist to turnover ratio isn't what Sam Mitchell was hoping for. Edit: Reader dinosty added this: "You missed out on something magical in your TJ Ford paragraph. Maybe he's still rocking a concussion, but Ford decided to channel early 90's MJ last night, taking the first 13 POSSESSIONS of the 4th quarter himself. I'm talking no passes, 13 one-and-done trips down the court. Stats are 9 shots and 4 turnovers in that stretch. He hit four of those shots, turning a close game into a one-on-five that got out of hand, quickly. I liked him better when he had the stinger."

The Atlanta Hawks: Okay. Simple lesson. Getting into a shootout with the Golden State Warriors? Never a good idea. Never.

Jeremy Richardson: Even more from BranGor, who seems to be as into this as I am: "As if envious of Wafer's innate abilities, Richardson vowed to double his achievements (zero-for-everything in 8 minutes) against the "iron-wall" of Golden State, no less. When Mario West (1 point in 7 minutes) scores more than you, you know you're in trouble." Sadly, Richardson ruined what would have been a beautiful eight trillion by taking (and missing) a shot attempt.

The Detroit Pistons: They let the Seattle 16-win SuperSonics score 41 points on 82 percent shooting in the first quarter. They dug in after that -- holding them to 13 points in the third -- but come on, Pistons. Getting into a dogfight with the Sonics when you're playing at home? You're better than that.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: I actually thought this game would be a gimme for the T-Wolves, particularly since they were playing at home against a bad road team (4-22 at the time) and the Bobcat's leading scorer, Gerald Wallace, was still out with a concussion. But, of course, there's no such thing as a gimme game for a 12-win team. Hence the 109-89 drubbing.

The Grizzlies' starting backcourt: Juan Carlos Navarro must have had Llobregat on the mind last night. Maybe that would explain his 4-point (1-for-7), 2-assist performance against the Bulls. Still, he was twice the man Mike Conley was (zero points, 0-for-6, 1-rebound, 1 assist). I guess what I'm saying is that the Grizzlies' problems aren't limited to their three-headed frontcourt hydra. Speaking fo which...

Kwame Brown: Kwame once again showed what Brown can do for the Grizzlies -- absolutely nothing -- by scoring zero points (0-for-1) and grabbing 1 rebound in 7 minutes of lack-tion.

The San Antonio Spurs: They win, and they win ugly -- I'm talking Kelly Ripa without makeup ugly -- employing what Statbuster likes to refer to as the "two rabid dogs just chewing on each other for 48 minutes" strategy. What a brick fiesta! The Spurs held the Nets to 37 percent shooting but only shot 33 percent themselves. I hope the Izod Center facilities manager equipped the first four or five rows with a blast shield of some sort. Oh, wait, that presumes that there were actually fans attending a Nets game. Never mind.

Kurt Thomas and Damon Stoudemire: The Spurs "beefed up" their roster with these late season pickups. Well, they combined to score 2 points on 1-for-9 shooting. Thomas did have 6 rebounds and a block in limited action.

DeSagana Diop: The Mavericks shouldn't have let him go, right? (He scored zero points on 0-for-2 shooting in 9 minutes.) He's a defensive stopper, right? (Zero blocked shots, zero steals, two fouls.) He's the only guy Dallas had to stand up to Tim Duncan, right? (Timmah had 29 points on 11-for-21 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.) Okay. Just checking. Diop has yet to supplant Josh Boone (8 PPG and 7 RPG), or even take any of his minutes.

The Media: I'll admit that Kobe has been playing very well lately, and he's been fantastic in the last two games: Mamba scored 52 points against Dallas on Sunday (thanks in part to a generous 27 freethrow attempts) and he dropped 17 points in the last 6 minutes of the fourth quarter last night against the Kings (thanks in part to his 12 fourth quarter freethrow attempts...he is the new Dwyane Wade!). And the "Kobe for MVP" fervor is starting to reach a fever pitch. But, of course, the media is conveniently overlooking just how important Pau Gasol has been to the Lakers' resurgence. Picasso has been averaging 20 points on 59 percent shooting to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Last night he scored 31 on 10-for-15 shooting, which was much more efficient than Kobe's 34 on 10-for-26 shooting. My point is this: I think Kobe is great. He's playing really well and trusting his teammates. But he's not making them better; they've gotten better around him. That's why, for my money, LeBron is the MVP right now, with Chris Paul coming in second.

The Phoenix Suns: Basketbawful reader flohtingPoint doesn't believe what the box score is telling him: "Phoenix didn't win. I don't care what that scoreboard says, the second half of that game was godawful." He's not wrong. The first two quarters were some vintage Run-'n-Suns action, as Phoenix raced out to a 60-41 halftime lead. Then they played the rest of the game with their foot on the breaks, because the Suns scored only 37 points in the second half and ended up shooting 41 percent for the game. There's obviously something wrong with the Suns' offense, which begins and ends with Steve Nash. Only Nash isn't playing like Nash. As Basketbawful reader farfa said: "Suns won. Still, I guess that Shaq has become a giant lifesucker...come on, Steve Nash had 4 assists?! How is it possible? This dude used to dish 5 assist per night while asleep." It was Stevie's fourth single-digit assist game in the seven the team has played since The Big Slowpoke shambled into the Suns' starting lineup.

Shaq: The Big Creaky grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, but he got pushed around by Joel Przybilla and his offense has calcified (6 points on 1-for-5 shooting). Worse, though, is the effect he seems to have on the Suns offense. The first half of last night's game showed the promise of what this team could be, while the second half showed what the team seemingly is. To be continued.

Joel Przybilla: Ouch. And ouch again. Just call Joel the Poster Boy from now on. (Thanks to manic for the heads up and the link.)


Martel Webster: From Basketbawful reader Nick: "Check out Martel Webster's awesome 9 trilion in the first half of what I hope will be a Blazers cornholing at the hands of Phoenix. I think Emmanuel Lewis would have been a more effective Webster." Wow. Webster got a couple more minutes in the second half to finish with zero points (0-for-0), 2 rebounds, and 1 turnover. Mind you, he started. Here's the first half box score.

More NBA News...and Ron Artest flexing in my NBA Closer column.

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43 Comments:
Anonymous manic said...
Just a few comments on the Suns/Blazers game. The first half was vintage Suns basketball with the scoring and fastbreaks, but there was also the presence of Shaq down low. Im ready for all the haters to say that he didn't do anything, 6 points, but he did what he had to do, and that was to protect the paint. There were 2 plays in a row that he grabbed the rebound, threw perfect outlet passes that resulted in fastbreak scoring. I was pleased.

Now, the second half. What a terrible sight to see. What got the Suns in trouble, and the Blazers back into the game, was that Phoenix totally stopped doing what they did in the first half, running and scoring. They tried to slow it down to a half court game, which is a good idea, but not so if you are destroying the other team with the fastbreak offense. The Blazers had no answer for our scoring, yet they did have answers for the half court game. Ahhh..

Its at times though that I believe that D'Antoni goes brain dead, and starts performing bad habits. Such as at the end of the game, when Portland was inbounding the ball, trying to cut into the Suns' lead with about 40 seconds to go. The Suns need a defensive stop and a rebound. So what does D'Antoni do? He takes Shaq out for Boris "I suck ass" Diaw. ARE YOU SERIOUS?? The whole reason we got Shaq in the first place was to play defense and get those crucial rebounds, yet he is sitting on the bench in crunchtime. I know that he is one of the worst free throw shooters in NBA history, but you need him out there. So what happens? Portland inbounds the ball, Channing Frye shoots a three and misses, but dont worry, the Blazers get the offense rebound and score anyways. Im not saying that Shaq would have gotten the rebound, but he would have provided a greater chance than Boris "soft as tissue paper" Diaw.

D'Antoni is counting his blessings after this game, he made a horrible decision that didn't cost him the game, but close.

Anonymous manic said...
I forgot to add that Joel Przybilla was a eager participant of the Amare Stoudemire project last night, 2 times. I might have to vote for the first dunk of Amare over Joel as the dunk of the year. Hopefull someone youtubed it, just plain nasty!

Anonymous Dinosty said...
You missed out on something magical in your TJ Ford paragraph. Maybe he's still rocking a concussion, but Ford decided to channel early 90's MJ last night, taking the first 13 POSSESSIONS of the 4th quarter himself. I'm talking no passes, 13 one and done trips down the court. Stats are 9 shots and 4 turnovers in that stretch. He hit four of those shots, turning a close game into a one-on-five that got out of hand, quickly.

I liked him better when he had the stinger.

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
Speaking of DeSagana Diop, if they have it on youtube, you gotta search for the interview with Mark Cuban right after the Jason Kidd trade. The whole time the interviewer is trying to talk to Mark about the trade, Cuban just sits there and sings the song Phenomenon using DeSagna Diop's name as the lyrics. I remember watching that live and then thoroughly checking my corn beef sandwich for any LSD.

Anonymous manic said...
Here it is.

http://www.dailymotion.com/country:us/video/x4lnyz_amare-stoudemire-dunk-over-joel-prz_sport

Anonymous Shrugz said...
PAU GASOL FOR MVP!!! LOL anyways yea Lebron's going to get overlooked this year because somehow we OWE it to Kobe to give him an MVP the year he doesn't deserve one

whats this the oscars(or anyother award really)? this isn't a life time achievement award it the MVP of 2007-2008 what a bunch of BS

Blogger Basketbawful said...
manic and dinosty - I have updated the post with your info.

flohtingPoint - I'm gonna look for that video.

shrugz - Exactly what I've been thinking! This is Kobe's lifetime achievement award.

Anonymous flitzy said...
Nash's MVP's are getting worse and worse by the minute, and shawn marion is laughing it up while he bangs hot chicks in south beach all day. the mvp of that team the whole time was d'antoni, although nash has obviously been great, its obvious without marion and dantoni, that nash is just a good player. gimme j kidd any day of the week, especially those days when he made hanky panky with his now ex-wife.

Anonymous flitzy said...
And since it is a this years award, thats why it is kobes. That record in the west is the equivalent of being 57-3 in the east. Kobe deserved nashs secnod mvp year. and all everyone says is how lebron brought his team to the finals...which was last year! judging this year, its hands down kobe, hes an ASS-ASS-in

Anonymous flitzy said...
and one last thing, can we please change dasagna diops last name officialy to "lasagna slop" its never not funny

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I almost put my f**king foot through the TV screen when TJ went on his ridiculous ballhog rampage.

On one ill-conceived drive into 2 or 3 defenders TJ failed to dish back out to Delfino behind him on the 3 pt line 30 feet from the nearest defender.

Horrible coaching by Mitchell.

Blogger Justin said...
I look forward to watching JA Adande and Chris Broussard fight over which grown man can keep a superstar's balls in his mouth the longest (though, neither can top Ahmad Rashad, whose mouth was filled with Jordan's balls for over a decade). Bring it on.

As an aside: who has the largest trillion of all-time? I seem to remember Damon Jones getting an 11 or 12 trillion at some point. This is important to us all.

Blogger Justin said...
And, although it might make basketbawful less awful, Chris Webber has been shut down for at least three games, after ferocious averages of almost four points and nearly four boards a game. We'll miss you Chris, but not in any substantial or meaningful way. We'll just miss the memories of you ruining the franchise, coming back, taking a shit for 9 games, then slinking back to the bionic-knee factory.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basketbawful,

Dude, what is up with teh Kobe hatred? I know you are a smart guy, and I know you watch teh b-ball games. So I know that you know Kobe has made everyone (except Luke) on his team better this season. To suggest that they are just playing better and that that has nothing to do with Kobe's leadership and abilities is just nonsense. I have watched every Lakers game this season. I can tell you without qualification that nearly every player on this team is answering Kobe's call for high level play. Fisher is having a career year. Ditto for Farmar, Bynum, and Sasha. When they suck it is Kobe's fault for not making then better, but when they are great Kobe isn't responsible?

A lot of that has to do with Phil's coaching and the genius of the trianble, but let me tell you, Kobe is infecting everyone around him in a positive way. He may not rack up ten dimes a game, but that is because the triangle offense doesn't lead to first pass assists nearly as much as say Cleveland's Lebron iso 99% of the time offense does (most come off the second and third passes). Lebron obviously makes everyone around him better, but so does Kobe THIS YEAR.

His ability to take over games only when necessary has been uncanny. His confidence is spreading among his teammates and he should get praise for that. He is leading by example. Gasol is great, but Kobe was making everyone better before Gasol arrived, and I would add that many of Gasol's successes are the result of Kobe going to him and setting him up (same as w/Bynum earlier in teh year). Gasol also makes Kobe better too.

I think Bron Bron has a strong case for MVP, particularly looking at stats. But historically the MVP is not a stats game. It is a "best player on the best team or one of the best teams" game. Because is Cleveland is probably about the 15th best team in the league even in the Easter Conf., Lebron simply can't win the award. This argument was used against Kobe for the last few years to keep Kobe from even placing in the top 3 of the MVP voting. His teams just weren't good enough. The rules don't change just because it is Lebron. It is what is it, and what is it is Kobe's team has the best record in the best conference. You have to win at least 50 to be considered (and the Cavs won't win 50 in a much easier conference).

Also, regardless of what was done in past seasons, Kobe is playing fantastic defense this year. Indeed, head and shoulders above Lebron. This inspires his teammates as well.

Finally, Kobe is willing to play through nearly anything to help is team win (61 games played, 61 games started). Lebron hurts his pinky on his non-shooting hand and shuts it down for six games (all losses for Cleveland). Kobe on the other hand strains his groin, twists his ankle, and injured his pinky on his shooting hand and simply refuses to miss games because he is truly dedicated to his team winning.

One game against Lebron Kobe could barely run b/c of a groin injury. Lebron out played him, but to Kobe that wasn't what was important, what was important was that he give his team the best change to win. Lebron would not have accepted that challenge.

Lebron is fantastic, but Kobe is clearly the MVP so far this season.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Another thing. Every player that has left the Lakers recently has gone on to suck it up, which is evidence that Kobe made this better. Only player to play better after the Lakers was Caron, and him and Kobe were training together in L.A. preparing Caron for a breakout season (Kobe and Caron were upset with that trade). Just look at Cook, Evans, Brown, Smush, Atkins, and all these other jokers that Kobe had to ball with the last few years. They all suck now, but Kobe got the most out of them. He many not be the best assist guy, but he clearly makes those around him better--in fact, much better.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
lebron mvp?
come on, i thought the season mvp should be the best player on the best team (or at least one of the elite teams) and not the player david stern is dreaming of coming through the window at night and flying around his bedroom naked.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You do realize you'll never get back the 30 minutes it took you to write that? Kobe's a great player, but I don't see why fans feel this great need to openly campaign for the guy. If he deserves the MVP he'll get it. If I have to choose right now it's LBJ over Black Mamba. My rationale is take either one out of the lineup and what happens? The Lakers would be .500 and the Cavs would be the Grizzlies.

Blogger Tonewise said...
uhm... u know not to keep raggin on my boy TJ, raps fan an all that...BUT!

around the 6 min mark of the fourth quarter in last nights game vs. Krypton's Kids I saw something truly remarkabawful...

TJ ford sags off of Aroyyo at the perimeter to head through traffic under the net... ONLY TO NOT BE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION to Kappono, who himself seemed to be in another planet and the two of them proceed to guard each other, and not for jsut a half second either, I'm talking full out guard each other until the shot, when TJ then fully box's out Kappono.. now I don't know if that explanation does even any justice to just how unreal this play was... did I mention TJ and Kappono are teammates?

Seriously, if ever there was a video of something needed, its this... I'll look but im not sure what I'll be able to come up with... I promise its worth every ounce of effort for anyone who might of TVo'd the game...
I promise...

Anonymous flitzy said...
amen!

Blogger Tonewise said...
"Just look at Cook, Evans, Brown, Smush, Atkins..."

Now proceed to to jab your eye-balls with the rusty end of a coat-hanger and pull...

Please don't ever suggest such a horrible thing again..

(btw, those guys were all awful before Kobe, and after Kobe... i don't see ur point)

Anonymous Shrugz said...
this MVP stuff is ridiculous in any manner

I find it stupid to give out opinionated individual awards on a suppose "Team" Game.

Give me Top scorer, Most assists, less objective individual awards to avoid Snubbing individuals.
either that or a more defined MVP award instead of just "MVP of the NBA for 2007-2008 Season"

ANYWAYS,

anyone who said Kobe deserves an MVP with a 42-40 last year should be saying the samething this year about Lebron who's team is currently forth with (34-26)

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
Dear Anonymous' Long Winded Rant,
You could have just saved an hour of your life typing up that long, boring diatribe that nobody will read, and just posted a photo of yourself hugging your lifesized Kobe body-pillow.


@Justin
I look forward to watching JA Adande and Chris Broussard fight over which grown man can keep a superstar's balls in his mouth the longest (though, neither can top Ahmad Rashad, whose mouth was filled with Jordan's balls for over a decade). Bring it on.

Both bow before Peter King and his manlove for Brett Favre. I honestly think he's on suicide watch right now.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
oh I must add this

why would anyone risk further injury when their team's pretty much guarenteed a playoff spot?
why would lebron play when the 8th spot is like 10 games under .500??
that's like playing the last 3 games of the season seriously when your team's already in!!!

makes no sense rest up heal and save playing through injuries for the playoffs


Kobe's playing because he HAS to and if he didn't play they're screwed!! (which is the same thing for any west team's star players)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
manic - I just wanted to chime in on your anti-D'Antoni diatribe. I agree. I have frequent offline conversations with fellow Suns fans (yes, I'm a fan) about his mysterious coaching choices. Like the fact that he never seems to settle on a consistent rotation that involves more than 6 or (at the most) 7 men. Or why (pre-Shaq) he couldn't get his players to, you know, box out. Or why he hasn't corrected Nash's biggest and most glaring defensive weakness, i.e., his tendency to lose track of his man when that man doesn't have the ball and wander aimlessly away. As for now...well, are the Phoenix players having trouble adjusting to Shaq, or is D'Antoni having trouble adjusting his coaching style to fit his new player?

anonymous -- We're going to have to agree to disagree. My choice of LeBron as MVP has nothing to do with stats or the fact that I like him (which I don't) or hate Kobe (which I do). He's simply accomplishing more with less. Kobe got his veteran point guard (Derek Fisher, who's having a career year...or was before the Gasol trade). Andrew Bynum began to reach his potential on his own, not via Kobe (unless you count Kobe calling him out over the summer as "help"). Pau Gasol was an All-Star well before he came to the Lakers. And, as many Lakers fans like to point out, L.A. has perhaps the best bench in the league, and they perform at a high level even when he's not in the game.

The team got better around him. Kobe's doing the same things he was before. Which doesn't detract from his greatness. I just don't think it makes him the MVP.

For the record, it was really hard for me to (unofficially, since no awards are being handed out right now) LeBron over Chris Paul, whose team is barely behind Kobe's in the standings, and he's also working with less overall talent than the Mamba.

P.S. I'm pretty sure Caron Butler became an All-Star almost immediately after leaving the Lakers.

tonewise -- If you can find video of that, I will love you forever.

shrugz -- Yeah. MVP just isn't well-defined. But that's how David Stern wants it. That invites debate and stirs up fan interest. That's the real purpose behind the MVP award. These days, anyway.

flohtingpoint -- You know the worst part about going to sleep with my arms around my life-sized Steve Nash body pillow? I wake up in the morning to find I've scored a few hundred points on the Nerf hoop next to my bed.

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
Thats better than when I got to sleep with my life sized Alonzo Mourning body pillow and wake up with a kidney missing....

Blogger Basketbawful said...
flohtingpoint -- Dude, you crack my shit up. You really do.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
must admit i've never been down with the crowd surfing strategy to end up at the FT line (a la dwayne wade). usually box scores tell the story but in the case of the DAL/LAL game on sunday, kobe was clearly going strong to the basket and not solely looking for contact on the majority of those plays. it doesn't help matters that dampier had no intention of moving out of the way OR even playing actually defense, always a good sign for a starting center on a team that hopes to win it all

ok that's already longer than i planned, my michael heisley doll is lonely

Anonymous Anonymous said...
oh yeah?! you wanna know what happened when I went to sleep with my shawn kemp life sized pillow?

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
oh yeah?! you wanna know what happened when I went to sleep with my shawn kemp life sized pillow?

Look on the bright side, if you ever get tired of the kids you can just use some of Kemp's child support money and purchase a life sized Chris Benoit body pillow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That post was about 600 words. I type over 100 words a mintue. It took me about 8 mintues to type the post. You guys should try typing with all ten fingers, instead of just your two index fingers.

b-bawful,

"accomplishing more with less" is not the historical MVP standard (although it can be your standard if you like). If that is the standard then Lebron should be ahead of Kobe. But if that is the standard then Kobe should have been a top MVP contender the last two years after dragging those scrubs to the playoffs in the West, but he wasn't even in the conversation.

Check out historical MVP winners and see who they played with. Almost every one of them was lined up next to a future Hall of Famer or at least one or two all stars.

47 wins in the East doesn't get you the trophy.

60 wins in the West does.

But again, but your standard, I conceed LBJ is ahead of Kobe.

How the hellz did that guy know I have a life-sized Kobe pillow?

Anonymous Shrugz said...
hey all those are better than a dennis rodman body pillow

Blogger Basketbawful said...
oh yeah?! you wanna know what happened when I went to sleep with my shawn kemp life sized pillow?

No. Please no.

anonymous -- David Stern and the NBA have left the definition of "Most Valuable Player" fuzzy on purpose. If there were a set of definitive criteria that John Hollinger could run through his Bat Computer to give us One True Answer...well, there wouldn't be yearly debates on who the MVP is. That generates fan interest. That makes people read articles and post comments in blogs. That's probably why you aren't going to see me devote an entire post to who should or should not be the MVP. Because, I guess, the joy is that everybody can believe whatever they want to believe. For instance, there are many, many people - mostly Kobe fans - who will never acknowledge Steve Nash's MVPS as "legit." And hey, that's their call.

The funny thing is, in the past Kobe fans have come here and argued that Kobe should have won at least one of Nash's MVPs because it shouldn't be about winning, it should be about the numbers, and the numbers clearly supported Kobe (i.e., he scores more, fills more slots in the box score, has a higher PER, etc.). Now that LeBron has statistically surpassed the Mamba, those same people are saying, "Hey, it's not about numbers, it's about winning."

If that's the case, I've got your MVP right here, and his name is Mr. Tim Duncan. Honestly, I think TD probably should have been the MVP at least three or four times over the last decade. Look at the facts. The Spurs are, on average, the oldest team in the league, and key players have missed significant time due to injury. Yet seemingly out of nowhere they have the best record in the West...yes, better than the Lakers.

Tim Duncan has been the foundation of the best and most successful franchise of the decade. They don't even go all out for the first half of the season and they're always up there at the top of the league standings at year-end. I mean, it's fun to argue Shaq versus Nash versus Kobe versus Lebron versus whoever...but if anybody should be complaining about not getting the love, it's Duncan.

Kobe's defenders have cried for years about the lack of talent around him. Never happens with Duncan. Hey, Manu Ginobili was a second-round pick, and Tony Parker was taken 28th overall. Make no mistake: It is the presence of Tim Duncan that enables them to do what they do. Not that they aren't genuinely good players. But Parker would not win a Finals MVP on any other team, I guarantee it. And in case you didn't notice, Jacque Vaughn - yes, Jacque Vaughn - looked pretty good a few weeks ago when he was subbing for the injured Parker.

When I think "most valuable," I think of teams that would totally and utterly come undone without their star. I think this year's Lakers, as presently constituted, would win 50 games without Kobe. I think this year's Cavs would be stuck on 10 wins right now without LeBron. I think the Hornets wouldn't even be discussed without Chris Paul. Most people don't recognize the brilliance of the Spurs until the NBA Finals anyway, so poor TD doesn't stand a chance.

Anonymous Jack Wan said...
"The team got better around him. Kobe's doing the same things he was before. Which doesn't detract from his greatness. I just don't think it makes him the MVP."

This just proves you don't really watch the games. Increasingly, it seems that in a lot of your posts you just scan the boxscore of a game, find some bad stats, and make a half-hearted attempt at making fun of the player. It's so formulaic and routine, but more importantly wrong on many accounts.

Fact is, Kobe IS playing different. He's sharing the ball much more regularly because now he has people who can convert on the opportunities given to him.

At your comment about Gasol's stats: Yes, Gasol is playing very well lately, but again, if you actually watched Laker games, you'd know that most of his points are the direct result of Kobe's penetration and kick-outs.

I'll just reference the Lakers vs Mavs game as an example. Gasol was on a tear that game, scoring 12 points in the first quarter with some ridiculous FG% like 80-90% or something. But you know why he was able to score so easily? Because Kobe's relentless penetration collapsed the Mavs defense, leaving Gasol wide open for easy Dunks/lay-ups. Once they changed up the defense and left a man on Gasol, he completely disappeared that game only showing up to hit some freethrows in the fourth quarter.

Gasol, like Odom, isn't a true go to scorer. They're flow players that take advantage of what the defense gives them. If there's a mismatch, they'll capitalize. But if there isn't an obvious defensive mistake to take advantage of, they can't really create on their shot.

They can definitely FINISH a play, but they can't START/CREATE a play. In essence, Kobe is doing for the Lakers what Steve Nash does for the Suns. Gasol's great numbers are more of a testament to how Kobe is making him a better player, rather than Gasol all of a sudden becoming some go-to force(which his career in Memphis as the #1 option clearly shows he isn't).

Also, there's no way the Lakers without Kobe win 50 this season. The current roster w/o Kobe is really the same as the Memphis roster. You have Gasol as the #1 option. Radmonovic = Mike Miller. Young point guards with lots of potential. Turiaf/Mihm = Kwame/Darko. The two advantages Lakers have are Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. But come on. If you put Odom and Fisher on the Grizzlies, they're all of a sudden a 50-win team? Please.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
regarding the issue of kobe-supporters pointing out that winning > numbers, i think the past has influenced the change of heart. if you've been told that your way of thinking has been wrong for 5 years in a row, wouldn't you finally concede and realize what an mvp candidate really 'needs' to have? as the years go by and nash, nowitzki & duncan set the standard, the #s argument shouldn't suddenly become valid for lebron - which i think will be the case since he's the nba's gold mine for marketing campaigns

if it were strictly about numbers then kg would be pushing double digit mvp awards by the end of his career. don't forget to factor in coaching when talking about the development of beer league talent. you'd have a hard time convincing me that JUST TD's presence can make jacques vaughn, nesterovic, udrih shine. that's like saying tori spelling was hot because she was in 90210. instead, she was tolerable because there was one such andrea zuckerman that took all the ugly votes for her friend

Blogger Tonewise said...
OK OK OK... so in hindsight, they guard each other for only a quick second or two... and this clip only shows part of the screen... so u dont see how TJ just all of a sudden out of nowhere decides to b-line(u see some of it) str8 for JK Who by the way as u can tell is doing his best on defense already, minding his own bizz just trying to avoid a Defensive 3

But I'll let you be the judge... is that how defense is played?... in the fourth quarter no less? I also have reason to believe that might have been the best banging under the boards Jkap has been party to all season long...

seeing this in the transition of the game was pretty awesome tho.

I guess TJ just wanted that spot and Kapono wasn't ready to give it up...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUhtQ18epdU

(i guess in my mind over night I had this thought of them really guarding each other pretty tough for position, but really its still pretty good.)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
jack wan -- Honestly, the only thing my comment "proves" is that you and I disagree. Do I watch all the games? Jesus Christ, that would be impossible. Guess what? I'm not a sportswriter full time. I have a full-time job as a technical writer, a part-time job at Deadspin, I maintain this site, I have friends, family, a personal life, I go to Bulls game, I play pickup basketball two to three times a week...so no, I don't watch every game. I have league pass and I watch as many games as I can, I TiVo some games and watch them later, I read every box score, every recap, read three papers, on and on. Plus I've followed the game for years. You may not agree with me, and frankly, I dno't care if you do. I have an opinion and I feel strongly about it. If you feel what I have to offer is tired and repetitive, then, by all means, go find your basketball fix elsewhere.

Now, first of all, Kobe is playing differently, which I've commented on more than once. He's actually -- GASP! -- passing the ball. Good for him. He drives and kicks to the open man. Which is Basketball 101, frankly. And while I don't disagree that Pau has benefited from Kobe's drive and kickouts, I don't agree that "most" of his points come from Kobe...not only have I watched several Lakers games lately, regardless of what you think, your claim doesn't hold up to logic because if it were the case, Kobe's assists would always necessarily match or surpass the number of field goals Pau scored, right? So if Pau hit 10 FGs, and most of those were off Kobe assists, then Kobe would have to have AT LEAST 8 or so assists...and that's assuming he wasn't passing to anybody else.

Pau's scoring off Kobe, and the Triangle, and post-ups. He's scoring in a variety of ways, which would be obvious if you were watching the games as you claim. Or maybe you have Kobe Blinders on and you only register Pau's FGs when he's scoring off a Kobe pass.

Pau isn't a go-to scorer? Seriously? Pau has scored around 20 PPG at over 50 percent from the field FOR YEARS...as the primary scorer on a team that was so bad he's spent most of his time relentlessly dogged by double and triple-teams. Did you ever watch a Memphis game? You do realize Pau was an All-Star once, right?

Yeah, I do believe this Lakers team could win 50 without Kobe, and the fact that you scoff at it kind of makes me laugh. The one very, very important point you miss is the presence of Phil Jackson and the Triangle system. They don't have it in Memphis, and that makes a big difference. You know, nobody gave the 1993-94 Bulls a chance in hell of doing anything, but they won 55 games and would have made it to the NBA Finals but for a few questionable calls. Gasol with Odom and Fisher and Sasha and Farmar and Vlad etc. would be a tough, determined team...under Jackson.

Bottom line: I stick by my statements.

anonymous #2: For the record, numbers had NOTHING whatsoever to do with my choice of LeBron. Just based on what I've seen, I've just been more impressed with LeBron's carrying of his team than what Kobe is doing with an improved team. I also didn't mention KG, even though he's been part of transforming the Celtics from the worst team in the league to the best (record-wise).

I'm not trying ot impugn Popovich's coaching. He's very, very good at what he does, and he's established a fantastic system. But unlike the Triangle, Pop's system is based almost entirely on Tim Duncan, both on the offensive and defensive ends. And he's said that time and again.

tonewise -- Thanks, dude! I'll check it out.

Blogger Shrugz said...
why is it whenver someone says something bad about kobe this thing grows to 30+ comments? LOL

Anonymous JackWan said...
I don't mind that we disagree, that's fine. What's irritating is that you're "opinion" is just the regurgitation of tired Kobe-hate. He's selfish, he doesn't make others better, he's a bad person, blah blah blah. Maybe it had merit a couple years ago, but THIS year, anyone reciting those words clearly has no idea what they're talking about.

Kobe's not just doing routine drive and kicks this year. He's threading the needle and making a point to get his other teammates involved. It's very Steve Nash-like. Simply dismissing that is not giving the man his due.

Gasol's playing great, no disrespect meant to him. He's uncorking jumpers, hitting nifty hooks in the paint, and running the pick and roll beautifully with Kobe, as well as filling up lanes on the fast break.

But a lot of those opportunities are there because Kobe takes a lot of pressure off him and draws defense away, the same way Tim Duncan's presence turns mediocre offensive threats like Bruce Bowen into legitimate threats.

Now obviously, Gasol is a way better player than Bowen and can indeed score on his own. But ever since joining the Lakers, he's been putting up above and beyond his career numbers. A lot of that sudden jump in production is the result of Kobe. Just saying Gasol's a stud and putting up these numbers is normal for him is not giving Kobe his due.

The assist factor is actually really easy to explain. Back to my Tim Duncan example: there's no doubt in anyone's mind that Tim Duncan makes the players around him better and makes it easier for them to score. But look at his overall assists, he only averages like 2-3 a game. Obviously, assists are a poor measure of how well a player makes his teammates better.

There are a lot of ways aside from directly putting the ball in someone's hands (which is the only thing assists measure) to make them better scorers. Kobe's constant penetration collapses defenses, allowing Gasol to set up in his favorite spots to score and let him work within his comfort zones. He also gets easy baskets right next to the hoop. Some of which turn into dunks/layups, giving Kobe an assist, and other times he gets fouled and hits 2 FTs, in which case Kobe doesn't get credit for an assist. Also, when Kobe makes the pass that leads to the pass to an easy shot, Kobe of course doesn't get the credit for an assist as well. People recognize how well Steve Nash creates hockey-assists, but because of how polarizing Kobe is, people refuse to give Kobe credit for doing the same things.

Moreover, the past few games show that Gasol can be completely taken out of the game by solid defense. "Physically tough" centers like Dampier(LoL) and Brad Miller(LoL) made Gasol a complete non-factor. That's what I mean by go-to-scorer. When things get tight and you need someone to pull you through, Gasol isn't the guy you call. I should have been more clear in that. I meant go-to-scorer-in-the-clutch. Yeah, Gasol is a go-to-scorer in the sense you can just dump him the ball and have him create, but turn up the pressure and he falls apart. Without Kobe, the Lakers would have lost most of their close games this season.

Which is why I think it's preposterous to think a Kobe-less team would get 50 wins. Whenever the Lakers face adversity, all the other players fade into the background. Other than Fisher(and increasingly Farmar), Kobe is the only player who can gut out a win and will his team to victory.

And I don't just mean in the 4th quarter and buzzer beaters. I mean if the opponent say goes on a 8-0 at the beginning of the 3rd or the offense sputters and the team loses momentum. When put under pressured and forced to produce, most of the Laker team simply turns invisible. Without Kobe, the team simply cannot win 50 games, especially in the tough West.

If you think LeBron is the MVP, that's cool. And that's a pretty legitimate argument, but simply dismissing Kobe's performance this year and saying it's all the result of his teammates improving on their own without any influence from Kobe is simply disrespecting the man's accomplishments.

Lots of people hated Michael Jordan, but they all respected his game. No one in their right mind would say the only reason MJ was able to win games was because he was surrounded by Hall-of-Famers and that he didn't make his teammates better.

If ardent MJ haters can at least acknowledge MJ's on-court brilliance, why is it so hard to at least respect Kobe's game. Saying the only reason the Lakers are doing well is because his teammates improved on their own and that Kobe had no impact is not an objective basketball observation. That's pure hate and disrespect.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
jackwan -- Dude, after reading your first paragraph, I'm not going to bother to read the rest of what you have to say. And do you know why? You claim my argument is just a vomiting up of "tired Kobe Hate." He's selfish...he's a bad person...the fact that you actually said that crap tells me that you either are not reading what I wrote or that you can't read. Seriously, nowhere in my post OR my replies to your comments did I say ANYTHING whatsoever regarding Kobe playing selfishly right now OR him being a bad person. In fact, I'm pretty sure I used the word "greatness" regarding his game, and I admitted he's playing well - no, VERY well - and is actually involving his teammates for a change.

You know what irritates ME, jack? When Kobe's supporters just blindly and, yes, stupidly dismiss anybody who doesn't worship at the Alter of the Mamba as spewing Kobe hate. So, what, I can call a player great but not choose him as my MVP and that represents hate to you? No, the only "tired" argument here is the one that Kobe fans use to dismiss any and all arguments against their guy: Hate.

Never used the word selfish. Never called Kobe a bad person. Yet that's how you open your "argument." That's what's irritating you? Uh uh. Nope.

Anonymous Farfa said...
Basketbawful, I have to say (that is, to write) a few things:

1) Yay! My first actual quote on your site! Now I can die in peace.

2) You really go the Bulls' games?!?!! How did you manage not to get suicidal?

3) What is a "technical writer" job? I guess I don't know any suitable translation in Italian.

4) I feel very itchy about this Kobe vs. LeBron debate. I don't like any of the two... Too much hyped, too much of them on NBA Top 10. Plus, I can imagine David Stern sitting on his gargantuan house drooling over Bron's life sized pillow he holds on his lap... Hmm. Simply put, I can't stand any overhyped superstar (even if he's actually great - which Bron and Kobe truly are - but even MJ got under my skin). Give the trophy to Mario West and make me happy.

Mario West for MVP! Where MVP means: Most Vestigial Player.

Anonymous Josh said...
I gotta say, for a site devoted to awful basketball Adonal Foyle's name isn't mentioned enough around here. Maybe he needs to step his game up. Tonight's performance might help, 11 minutes with 2 boards and no points:

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=280305027

Honestly I don't understand how this guy is paid to play basketball. I especially like how the two photos of him on Yahoo sports are of opponents blowing past him (check it out).

Foyle needs to do the Magic a favor and just donate his salary to the team and find a new profession. Anyone interested in a 6'10" slow guy with no athletic ability?

Anonymous jack wan said...
Oh come on. From your front page:

"My point is this: I think Kobe is great. He's playing really well and trusting his teammates. But he's not making them better; they've gotten better around him."

You don't flat out state the cliche Kobe-isms, but it's obvious you still think they're true.

Basically, ever since Gasol joined the Lakers he's been putting up career numbers. But of course, the whole reason he improved isn't because of Kobe. Somehow, after a normal regular season, Gasol just "figured it out" the moment he joined the Lakers. Same with Farmar, Sasha, Bynum, and Rad-man - all of which are putting up career numbers (not so much Rad-man).

So when the team improves, it's because they did it on their own without any help from Kobe. When they don't improve, it's because Kobe is selfish and stunts their growth. Do you not see the ridiculous double-standard here? When the team does well, it's not because of Kobe. When the team does poorly, it's all Kobe's fault.

Perhaps hate isn't the right word, but you're certainly biased against him. You've pegged him as the typical selfish player and refuse to give him credit for playing team ball.

Look at this line too:

"He's actually -- GASP! -- passing the ball. Good for him. He drives and kicks to the open man. Which is Basketball 101, frankly"

So when Kobe not just passes, but makes it a point to involve others and encourage team oriented play, it's not a big deal. Playing team oriented basketball is just some basic trivial task, like hitting free throws. Yet, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash are constantly applauded for being "team players" and Kobe doesn't get any credit? Do you not see the double-standard? Other players get credit for involving teammates, but for Kobe it's not worth mentioning?

Here's some more:

"Kobe got his veteran point guard (Derek Fisher, who's having a career year...or was before the Gasol trade). Andrew Bynum began to reach his potential on his own, not via Kobe"

Derek Fisher all of a sudden having a career year at the age of 34, while the passed few in Utah were pretty mediocre. That doesn't happen very often. Strange how his sudden emergence coincides with the moment he joins the Lakers. But of course, he just "figured it out" and Kobe wasn't part of it.

Same with Bynum. Over the summer and during the year, he's been constantly working with Bynum to improve his game. Kobe constantly pushed Bynum during the summer to improve his strength and conditioning. As a result, for the first time in his career Bynum was able to sustain high productivity for a full NBA game, which is a huge part of why he's been so effective.

"Never used the word selfish. Never called Kobe a bad person. Yet that's how you open your "argument." That's what's irritating you? Uh uh. Nope"

I've already covered selfish. The bad person part is pretty blatant.

The title for the Kobe Byrant towel video: Kobe Bryant still a douchebag.

Anonymous jack wan said...
And this has nothing to do you thinking Lebron should be MVP. From my last post:

"If you think LeBron is the MVP, that's cool. And that's a pretty legitimate argument, but simply dismissing Kobe's performance this year and saying it's all the result of his teammates improving on their own without any influence from Kobe is simply disrespecting the man's accomplishments."

You don't like the word hate? Fine, whatever, but you have a blatant double-standard whether you want to admit it or not.

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