Heat facepalm
No day at Basketbawful is complete without at least one facepalm photo.

The Washington Wizards Generals Bullets: Could there be a better presecription for Boston's recent woes than playing the woeful Bullets? Well, except for playing the Nyets or Timberpoops, that is. No, of course not. Still, this contest was closer than the Celtics faithful would have liked...until the fourth quarter. That's when the (recently) Luckless Leprechauns outscored Washington 25-10 to ice the game. However, it was a win that had Bullets center Brendan Haywood crying foul. But mostly just crying.

Said Haywood: "You're playing against the Boston Celtics, so you're not going to get a lot of calls. KG's going to set illegal screens; they're not going to be called. That's just part of the game. You're going to go to the basket, and if it's not basically just a straight-up WWF body slam, you're not getting the call."

Just for kicks, let's go ahead and look at the final tallies. Personal fouls: Boston 23, Washington 24. Free throw attempts: Boston 36, Washington 36. Mind you, the Bullets average 24.7 FTAs per game, which means they were 11.3 FTAs over their average in this game. As always, I'm just sayin'.

As for Haywood's claims, the Celtics must have been "fouling" the Bullets on their jumpers too, because Washington went 19-for-50 from the outside and only 1-for-10 from downtown.

Antawn Jamison: 'Tawn joined KG in the "Chris Webber Memorial Limpin' Around Bravely On One Leg All-Stars" thanks to a left knee that went all gimpy during the pregame warm-ups. The dude was clearly laboring, which might explain why he got whistled for five fouls in the fourth quarter and scored only 8 points on 2-for-17 shooting, including 0-for-9 in the second half. Antawn's performance also had Washington coach Flip Saunders crying foul. But mostly just crying. "I thought the refereeing was inconsistent at times. I thought that 'Tawn got hit a few times. You don't go 2-for-17 in his situation and not get to the line more than six times. The guys were just really frustrated, especially 'Tawn, because of a lot of no-calls."

Reality check: 13 of Jamison's 17 shot attempts were jumpers, which traditionally don't result in a lot of foul shots.

Gilbert Arenas: So...a few hours before tipoff, an op-ed piece by Arenas was put up on The Washington Post's Web site in which Agent Zero pledged to be a better role model and said he understands "guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters." Too little, too late, Gil.

The Miami Heat: The Bucks' 97-81 win in Maimi was the Heat's second-largest home loss of the season. Not bad for a team that entered the game 5-18 outside of Milwaukee. As for the Heat, things started off lousy and pretty much stayed that way. Miami set new season-lows by shooting 17.6 percent in the first quarter and 27.5 percent in the half. They ended up shooting 36.4 percent for the game...which was their third-worst FGP of the season.

As Basketbawful reader kazam92 put it: "The Heat are no longer the bipolar girlfriend. They just suck period. They were up 11-0 and got an anal fissure the rest of the game."

Bad news for Heat fans: In the next three weeks, Miami has only one more game in, er, Miami. In their next five games, they have roadies against the Celtics, Crabs, the suddenly red-hot Bulls and the Hawks. Can anybody smell the sub-.500 awaiting the Heat? It's that slight aroma of barbequed dog hair and fail.

Jermaine O'Neal The Drain missed the game with back spasms. Remember last season when some Miami fans insisted to me that O'Neal (12 PPG, 7 RPG) was going to make a huge difference on the Heat? Of course, those same people said Jamario Moon was going to play like an All-Star for Miami...and now Moon's playing in Cleveland. I'm just sayin'.

Erik Spoelstra, captain obvious: Regarding his team's blowout loss at home to a 21-25 team: "Needless to say, that was a very tough evening for us." Yes. That was needless to say.

The Phoenix Suns: Yes, they've won three in a row after a really ugly stretch of near Clipper-ness, but last night, against the Chris Paul-less Hornets, they let a 20-point third-quarter lead (83-63) dwindle to two (100-98) with 1:41 left in the fourth. Did I mention rookie Darren Collison -- playing in CP3's place -- lit 'em up for 16 points and 14 assists en route to the near comeback/upset? If it wasn't for a couple clutch plays by Grant Hill, the Suns might have lost this one. So here's an artist's rendition of the Suns nearly crapping away yet another 20-point lead:

Nash takes a dump
Somebody get him a newspaper. This could take a while.

Amar''''''e Stoudemire, quote machine: "We did a phenomenal job defensively. It all goes down to our defensive effort. In the past three games we've done a great job with that. We wanted to come out and set the tone early." Reality check: For the season, New Orleans averages 99.9 points on 45 percent shooting. Against Phoenix, the Hornets scored 100 points on 45 percent shooting. I'm not sure "holding a team without its best player to its averages" really qualifies as a "phenomenal job defensively." Oh, wait, we're talking about the Suns. It might actually be phenomenal defense for them.

The Los Angeles Lakers: Ha, ha! Suck it, Fakers!

Sorry. Couldn't help myself. Headlines like " The Grizzlies might have overshadowed Kobe Bryant's night by beating the Lakers" give me a happy. Regarding Mamba's night, he scored 44 points to pass Jerry West as L.A.'s all-time leading scorer. Mind you, West scored his 21,192 points on 19,032 shot attempts over 932 games. Bryant passed him by taking 19,271 shot attempts over 997 games. So yes, Bryant is the Lakers' new all-time scoring champ...but it was kind of by attrition.

Anyway, L.A.'s loss isn't too shocking, despite the Grizzlies' recent mini-slump. The second night of back-to-backs on the road against a good team usually results in a loss. Although it's worth noting the Lakers had a chance to win at the buzzer. However -- take note, Celtics -- Memphis sent a wave of defenders at Mamba, who was forced to pass the ball to Ron Artest. Not surprisingly, Artest missed. For all his talent, Ron-Ron never had a reputation as a clutch player.

Said Kobe: "They had like three guys [on me]. Ron was wide open in the corner. I'll take that look any time. It just went a little long." He'll take that look any time...but only if he absolutely cannot get the shot himself. We all realize that, right? I mean, Mamba took 28 shots while Pau Gasol finished with seven FGAs and Andrew Bynum got only three. Kobe absolutely shot well (16-for-28), but is there any reason Byrant needed 18 more shots than the team's two best percentage shooters combined? Of course not. And Phil Jackson noticed.

Said P-Jax: "At halftime, I told the guys that he [Bryant] was forcing the action, and let's get him over the hump and start playing team basketball. It didn't seem like we ever did." If by "we" he meant "Kobe," Phil is absolutely right.

Mike Conley: Mike bonked a couple freebies with 21 seconds left that could have iced the game. This guy buckled so bad he should be made into a belt to hold up the pants of fail.

Rudy Gay: He played well -- 21 points, 10-for-19 -- but he did have a pretty hilarious boner in the first half, as described in the AP game notes: "The teams were tied at 24 at the end of the first because of a mental lapse by Gay, who thought the game clock was running out and fired up a 47-footer with about 5 seconds left. The errant shot bounced hard off the backboard, and the Lakers moved the ball to Bryant, who connected on a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired."


Michael Wilbon: He seriously suggested that Kobe might deserve to become the NBA's new logo and also steal West's "Mr. Clutch" nickname. To which I say: Are you fucking kidding me?! Wilbon needs to be crammed into a large burlap sack and then beaten with large, heavy things. Wilbon's ridiculous little monologue was the most exploitative pile of feces since...since...since Bad Girls Go To Hell.

The Dallas Mavericks: Just as the Heat have lost their bipolar girlfriend designation by descending into the steamy bowels of suckitude, the Jazz are losing theirs by not sucking. After a tight first three quarters, Utah outscored Dallas 27-16 in the final 12 minutes to earn a 104-92 home win over the Mavs.

The key? Dallas was weak inside, as the Boring Musicians outrebounded the Cowboys 43-34 and outscored them 54-32 in the paint. Then, once Utah put on the nipple clamps in the final period, that was all she wrote.

Said Dirk Nowitzki: "They just stepped up their pressure in the fourth. I couldn't get any looks. I barely had the ball in my hands." Sounds like a personal problem.

That makes six straight wins for the Jazz, who are surging, and I don't mean in a my-stomach-after-capping-off-a-night-of-binge-drinking-by-eating-a-burrito-as-big-as-my-head kind of way. With this latest victory, Utah pulled to within a half-game of the Mavericks for third place in the Western Conference standings. But wait, there's more! The Jazz also clinched the season series 2-1, giving them the tiebreaker over the Mavs.

This really shouldn't surprise anyone. Dallas has won, what, 10 one-point games this season? Games that close are usually about 50-50. The fact that the Mavericks pulled them all out probably means their record is at least slightly deceiving.

Erick Dampier: "Ericka" finished with zero points and 2 rebounds despite starting at center and logging 20 minutes of PT. And this is the point where I remind you, faithful readers, that, years ago, Mark Cuban opted to let Steve Nash walk away and then used the money he refused to spend to retain Nash on Dampier. This fact must never, ever be forgotten.

The Sacramento Kings: The Nuggets were playing their fifth straight game without Carmelo Anthony (anal spasms), and it actually looked like the Purple Paupers were going to take advantage of 'Melo's extended vacation. Sacto was up 64-50 at halftime and 72-55 with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter before going into "Collapse Mode." I'll save our intrepid lacktion reporter some pain and just cut to the chase: The Kings ended up losing to the Nuggets 112-109 in OT.

Damning stat of the night: The Kings gave up 25 points off 19 turnovers. And 15 of those TOs happened during the second half.

Said Sacramento coach Paul "I'm not Vinny Del Negro" Westphal: "I can't give them credit for forcing turnovers. I give us blame for not being strong with the basketball. I think the Nuggets were ready for us to take the game, but we let them start feeling it, did not execute offensively. I honestly don't think the Nuggets woke up until late in the fourth quarter. And then in overtime they were really good with their intensity. They were feeling like they might as well win and they did."

So the Kings were feeling like they might as well lose...and they did? Oh, what a feeling.

Keep in mind that the Paupers were without Tyreke Evans, who was a late scratch due to a vaginal bleeding. But that doesn't change the fact that the Purple Ones have lost 10 straight road games and are 3-18 since the 35-point comeback in Chicago.

The Charlotte Bobcats: The 'Cats arrived in Portland with a 6-17 road record, and they left with a road record of 6-18 after the Frail Blazers whupped them 98-79. Charlotte is one of those classic "good at home, bad on the road" squads that experts say is scary...but they really aren't. Yes, I know they posted a 12-4 record in January, which was a franchise record for wins in a single month. And I also know the Bobcats averaged 112.7 points in their past three games, and that those wins all came on the road. But then again, they were also against the Suns, Warriors and Kings...defensive sieves one and all.

Do not let those deceiving samples fool you. When Stephen Jackson is absolutely critical to a team's success, then your team is fundamentally flawed.

One of Captain Jack's biggest problems is ball control, and sure enough, he and teammate Boris Diaw tied for a game-high in turnovers (5), which was a big part of why the Bobcats gave up 28 points on 21 turnovers.

Mitigating factor: This game was Charlotte's fifth in seven days as part of a six-game Western Conference road trip. So maybe I'm wrong about all that stuff I said. Maybe the 'Cats really can make some noise this postseason.

Yeah. And maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot.

Update! Lacktion report: Sorry for the brain fart...I forgot Chris's lacktion report on the first go-around:

Celtics-Bullets: Brian Scalabrine fired off three fouls in 9:54 to negate an assist for a 3:0 Voskuhl, while Fabricio Oberto was sparked by Dominic McGuire's absence to blast into the lacktion ledger with two fouls and a giveaway for a +3 in 4:22 that also earned a 3:0 Voskuhl!

Lakers-Grizzlies: DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell no doubt will have boosted Jerry Buss's bank for his next poker match, judging from their collection of 1.15 trillion (1:10) and 1.6 trillion (1:37) respectively!!!!

Suns-Hornets: Morris Peterson pawed at two pieces of masonry from the French Quarter for a +2 in 8:20, while Sean Marks dropped a foul in 2:50 for a +1 that also counted as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.

Kings-Nuggets: Sean May took a foul in 1:43 for a +1 (and a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl).

Bobcats-Frail Blazers: DeSagana Diop negated a board in 2:24 with two fouls for a 2:1 Voskuhl, while Portland's Patrick Mills made his second career appearance in the Association count with a giveaway and brick for a +2 in 1:37.

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Blogger Dan B. said...
Okay, this is scary. That was almost the same exact joke I planned on doing tonight in the BAD post with that Steve Nash picture. (insert Twilight Zone music)

One more thing about the Lakers/Grizzlies game. When Rudy Gay hit the big three pointer in the corner late, it was picture-perfect. Barely made the net move. Kobe's three on the trip back down the court? Not so pretty. It was short, bounced off the front iron way up to almost the top of the backboard, and banked in. Ridiculous. As the commentators noted, "Well, it still counts here, but if we were on the playground, it wouldn't have!"

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
How about a WotN nomination for "Setting Records/Hitting Milestones"? It just hasn't been a good year for accomplished players hitting high marks. Dirkalicious, Kobe, and Duncan have a combined 7 playoff appearances, 5 rings, 4 Finals MVP awards, and 4 regular season MVP awards, and yet for whatever reason, their team just can't seem to win as they reach new heights in their careers. As we know, the Lakers lost to the Grizzlies on Kobe's franchise record night despite a good 16/28 shooting night from the Black Mamba. Here are some other instances:

Starting with January 12th, when Dirkalicious had a great game going 30/16 (shooting a respectable 11/22 from the field, 1/1 from 3PT, 7/7 from FT) against the Lakers, reaching the 20,000 point milestone. Yet, the Mavs were unable to overcome the Lakers, who were without Gasol and with Kobe in Semi-Mamba mode (he left the Spurs game the previous night mid-game due to back spasms).

The Black Mamba wouldn't be free of that curse either, however. Nine days later, he would become the youngest player to hit 25,000 points, a milestone that no doubt will be bulldozed over later by his opponent that night: BronBron. Accompanying his glorious milestone is the season sweep that the Craboliers handed the Lakers. Lest you think from the 12/31 he shot that night that he was gunning for the record, he was actually doing quite well UNTIL he hit the milestone. Up until that mystical 19th point, he was 8/13 for 18 points, and after scoring his 19th point on a free throw, he promptly shanked his second freebie, foreshadowing what was to come. For the rest of the game, he was a chilly 4/18 from the field and scored 12 points.

Kobe wouldn't be the only regular season + playoff MVP to suffer the curse though. The night before, Timmeh faced off against the then popular bipolar girlfriend team, the Jazz. Merlin needed a measly 15 points to hit 20k points and join the pantheon of players with 20k points, 10k rebounds, and 2k blocks. Surely the always professional Tim Duncan won't gun for glory? Perhaps, but it's not like he would need to right? It's only 15 points. He ended the night 5/15 for 14 points (with 9 offensive rebounds and 1 defensive). To add insult to injury, not only did Timmeh fall short of the milestone, and not only did the Spurs suffer a close loss, and not only did the Jazz bury their suffering in San Antonio, the Jazz became the first team to sweep the Spurs in a 4 game series since the 98 Lakers. (Sidenote: I know the Jazz already won once prior this season in SA, but this confirmed it.)

Two nights later, there would be nothing stopping Timmeh from getting his milestone short of a shutout by the Rockets. Speaking of short, the undersized Rockets got dominated by TD, who got to the free throw line at will (15/21) for 25/14. The milestone is his, and he even got good help from Richard Jefferson and Tony Parker, but the win would not be his. The usually solid Spurs defense allowed the Rockets to scorch them with a blistering 55% from the field, and the matchup of former defensive giants ended in a 116-109 loss for the Spurs.

Blogger Sturla said...

Is this the best news of the year or what? But since when has Super Mario been considered a 'defensive specialist'? I always thought his speciality lied more in towel waving or bench heating.

Blogger Unknown said...
NarSARSsist: Ye gods, it's like a universal stat curse!

When's LeBron's next milestone? I need to see him knocked down a peg or two.

Blogger chris said...
So, I wonder if the last team to have a Mahoosive Comeback collapsed in the month afterward...

Considering that that last team was the mid-90s Jazz...nah, nope.


CAPTCHA: "berbal" as in "Francisco Garcia made the mistake of choosing an exercise ball over a berbal that day."

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I´d say the Bobcats ARE a somewhat scary team, especially on the second night of back-to-backs, if only because despite their lack of talent they are not pushovers. They play all out 100% nonstop hustle for the duration of the game, sort of like a less talented Houston squad. They won't make the playoffs but they will beat their share of superior teams and will typically be a tough out. Sort of the anti-Nyets.

What most surprises me about the Grizzlies is how they have managed to achieve success by taking a bunch of SWACs (Randolph, Gay, Tinsley and even Mayo sometimes) and reforming them into team players. Granted, it didn't work for Iverson but 4 out of 5 ain't bad. This year we are seeing Randolph pass out of double teams, Gay not bitch about shots, Tinsley passing up the occasional contested jumper and Mayo function as the glue guy.

If they don't overpay for Gay (I'd rather they let him walk outright than overpay for his limited, defenseless, low basketball IQ skillset) I think the Grizz have a bright future as a perennial low playoff seed.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Adam - King Crab is 564 points shy of the 15k mark. If he continues at his current 29 ppg pace, it'll be in about 20 games against the Pacers. If he goes a little faster, like averaging 31.3 ppg, he can enter a 3/14 Sunday game against the Celtics on ABC with a shot at the milestone.

Among other major players with a shot at a milestone:
Steve Nash is 646 points short of 15k. At his current pace, he'll come up 3 games short of hitting it this season.
KG is 64 rebounds away from the 20k points/12k rebounds club. Considering his recent slowdown since returning, he'll be getting that milestone sometime around the 2/25 TNT matchup against the Craboliers.
Teammate Paul Pierce is 624 points away from the 20k mark. At his current pace, he'll reach that milestone right around the last couple of games of the season, perhaps on TNT against the Bullies on 4/13.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
"Boring Musicians" is good, but would "Mormon Musicians" be too un-PC for this site?

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: A good synonym for "boring musicians" would be "Snow Patrol" right?


Blogger chris said...
BTW, if we here at Bawful decided to change up the Association logo to something more appropriate...

would Steve Nash be the honoree?



Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- I like the alliteration of Mormon Musicians, but I think John Stockton was the last Jazz team member who actually was Mormon.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Snow Patrol? More like Snore Patrol derp

Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris -- As far as I'm concerned, Greg Ostertag should be The Logo. Nickname: The Broken Crutch.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Oh, I meant Mormon Musicians as symbolism for how awkward it is that New Orleans is not the Jazz and Utah is

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Oh, I meant Mormon Musicians as symbolism for how awkward it is that New Orleans is not the Jazz and Utah is

Fair enough. You can expect that nickname to appear in future WotNs.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: I think we need to commission one of our fine readers (or just the expert at snark that is AnacondaHL) to make the Ostertag Logo. :D

AHL/Bawful: And when you think about why that name was originally chosen, "New Orleans Hornets" works about as well for a team name as...the Kansas City-Omaha Kings did.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Snore patrol - a euphemism for ushers at the Meadowlands!?

Blogger BertvU said...
Stockton is actually Catholic. Thurl Bailey is the only Mormon to have actually played for the Jazz.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
So sayeth Pau Gasol:

'Obviously, we were not making a conscious effort to pound the ball inside,' Gasol said, sighing heavily about the lack of touches for the Lakers' big men. 'So, we settled a little bit too much. It's not like they were double-teaming us a lot. It happens.' Gasol, asked if the Lakers are a better team when they get the ball inside more often, said without hesitation, 'A hundred percent.' Asked if everyone on the team realizes that fact, he said, 'I'm not sure.'

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way, "Big Shot" Larry Hughes -- who played a total of 5 minutes for the Knicks in January -- is sporting a new beard. Asked when he'd shave it, Hughes said: "When I get out of jail."

And by "jail" he meant New York.

Yes. I'm sure LeBron is going to want to play for the Knicks next season.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Speaking of Stockton, and records:

Last night on ESPN Classic they showed a Jazz-Nuggets matchup from I think 1992 or 1993, in which Stockton overtook Magic as the all-time assists leader with around 8900. That was TEN YEARS before he finally retired. The man is going to take that assists record with him to his grave.

Stockton had 13 assists AT THE HALF and put on a passing and scoring clinic. The most amazing thing: he actually played defense as well. Can't say that about many guards these days, but every time the ball went into the post, Stockton would double-down and harass the big, forcing him to pass out or causing a turnover.

Dikembe Mutombo totally lost his shit. He had to be restrained by two referees and several teammates. I can only imagine what jibberish he was spouting! He and Tom Chambers were both ejected.

Karl Malone elbowed the hell out of someone.

Jeff Hornacek pensively rubbed his cheek before shooting freethrows.

Man I miss the glory days of the NBA from '85-'95...

Anonymous bloo said...
Tim Roth to portray Steve Nash in Seven Seconds or Less: The Movie.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Thanks for the mention.

So do we retire the 3 pt contest forever if a backup center wins it this year?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think the bigger story in the Lakers-Grizzlies game is that Andrew Bynum was able to walk out of the game without screwing up his legs.

Like in 2008 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v06Df2FNG_4&feature=related

And in 2009 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkFpa7jMsb4

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AK Dave -- Amen, brother. Stockton was a marvel and really should go down as one of the top three point guards of all-time. Magic is number one, obviously. You could make a variety of arguments for the second spot (like Oscar Robertson, although he really was more of a combo guard), but, really, I will not accept Stockton being placed anywhere lower than third.

If there was a computer that created basketball players, and you programmed in the abilities of the perfect point man, that thing would spit out John Stockton. The man was a machine, calculating passing angles and shooting distances with laser-like precision.

Plus, the dude was flat-out tough as nails. (And Catholic. I was wrong about the Mormon thing.)

Sadly, Stockton suffered from the same problem Steve Nash does. What he did was so consistent that few of his games stood out as great in and of itself. Then, when some player such as, say, Gary Payton had a big game or two against Stockton, that was used as Exhibit A in the Case Against John Stockton Being As Good AS His Fans Say He Is.

And yet...in 49 head-to-head matchups with The Glove, Stockton averaged 14 PPG, 10.1 APG, 2.1 SPG while shooting 50.6 percent from the field, 37 percent from three, and 82 percent from the line. Meanwhile, GP averaged 17.0 PPG, 6.6 APG, 2.3 SPG while shooting 48 percent from the field, 32 from three and 77 from the line.

Payton has a slight edge in the scoring department, But Stockton scored his points more efficiently while doing a better job of getting his teammates involved.

And, of course, he was basically the same player at 40 that he was at 22...whereas when Payton lost it, he lost it fast, and he lost it completely. Plus, The Glove had three or four major fights/feuds with teammates, and he would openly berate his 'mates and coaches in the press when he was feeling pissy. Yet there are people who will tell you Payton was better, mostly because he scored points with greater frequency and flourish...and that's all the average fan seems to understand.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: That flash-over-substance debate has been going on since, what, Greg Oden's childhood? (i.e. the most obvious IMO - Wilt vs. Bill Russell)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Bawful: That flash-over-substance debate has been going on since, what, Greg Oden's childhood? (i.e. the most obvious IMO - Wilt vs. Bill Russell)

True. It'll be going on forever.

Anonymous Stockton said...
As for Sotckton (the real one); I would say he was the best PURE guard in the NBA. I mean, magic was a point, but he could really play any position. If I'm not mistaken, he played center... but certainly magic, Isiah and Stockton are the top 3, period (unless you think like Bill Simmons).
Stockton was everything a b-ball player should be: tough, smart and with fundamentals. There's really all you need. Anything else causes a player to loose it the second his body starts failing him (as for Shaq). His only flaws were not getting a ring (thank you Bavetta, and thank you lockdown), which killed most of his credit, and not being selfish enough. I know it looks silly, but sometimes he should just say "this is my shot, my play, i'll make it!".

Anonymous Joe said...
Being a mormon and a Jazz fan the comment about Stockton being a mormon made me laugh a bit.

Then I started thinking about what kind of team I could put together that was entirely made up of mormons. Of course Danny Ainge would be my point guard. After that you've got guys like Thurl Bailey (who, ironically, wasn't mormon while playing for the Jazz the first time. He converted while in Italy, and later returned for two years as backup PF/Center) and Shawn Bradley.

From there you've got some minor role players like Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen and Travis Knight. Other than that you're probably looking at bottom of the bench guys (like Travis Hansen a few years ago), or 10-day contract guys (no one comes to mind). Of course if you go back far enough you might find someone else.

Question: Would this "churchball" team comprised entirely of mormons win more games than the Nyets?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
...and not being selfish enough. I know it looks silly, but sometimes he should just say "this is my shot, my play, i'll make it!".

I almost put that in my long comment. But that was just how Stockton was wired, and was one of the fundamental things that made him the great PG he was. Nash is able to ride that fine line between making his teammates better and dominating when he has to. If only he had Stockton's hair and short-shorts...

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Whoa whoa. That should be Nash is now able to ride the fine line between making his teammates better and dominating. Back in the Joe Johnson, Marion days of the Suns, he still forced the pass way too often.

Joe: your Mormon team rules. It would make a great movie, like Cool Runnings

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Joe -- How could you forget Tommy "Gun" Chambers?!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Whoa whoa. That should be Nash is now able to ride the fine line between making his teammates better and dominating. Back in the Joe Johnson, Marion days of the Suns, he still forced the pass way too often.

True. But that sort of goes along with his rebirth in Phoenix. Until he joined the Suns, we never got to see the real Nash, because he dutifually did what his stupid git of a coach, Don Nelson, told him. Bring the ball upcourt, find the mismatch (i.e., either Dirk or Michael Finley, or later Antawn Jaminson or Antoine Walker too), pass the ball, and then spot up for three.

I think we all now realize that Nash made Mike D'Antoni more than D'Antoni made Nash...but credit must go to Mikey for unleashing the Real Steve Nash on the NBA. Too bad it didn't happen four or five seasons sooner.

Anonymous Joe said...
Tom was a mormon? Seriously? I had no idea.

Yeah, if we're taking guys in their prime I'd add him. I wouldn't want the "I'm way too old for this, but don't want to retire. Get off my lawn!" Tom that the Jazz had for a few years.

The problem is that (with the exception of Ainge and Thurl) we've got a bunch of hard working, but unathletic white guys with size. I need a backcourt mate for Ainge.

I think they win 10 - 15 games in the season, making them better than the Nyets.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Joe -- Yeah, with an in-his-prime Chambers, that squad would totally win more games than the Nyets. And they'd sweep New Jersey in the season series...

Anonymous Ak dave said...
Nash could have been great for a long time before coming to Phoenix, it's true.

Sort of makes you wonder how many other players out there are (or perhaps WERE) really WAY better than we realize. Sharif Abdur-Rahim comes to mind: that guy was incredibly talented but always hidden away on a crappy team that did not maximize his talents. By the time he got out of there, he was no longer the same. What a shame.

Can you imagine him if he played on, say, the Jazz instead of the Vancouver Grizz? (alongside BIG COUNTRY Bryant Reeves!- Was he mormon?)

I wonder what Jerryd Bayless could do if they ever really turned him loose?

Anonymous Ak dave said...

Wasn't Mike Doleac mormon too? What about Keith Van Horn?

Anonymous Joe said...
Sweet. I'm feeling good about this. Between in their prime Ainge, Chambers, and Bailey we've got some scorers. Flesh that out with the hardworking-big-white guys (Madsen, Knight, et al) and you'd win some games on sheer determination and effort (which New Jersey seems to lack).

I'd like to say that I'm proud of the team that could be assembled, but unfortunately my standard for comparison is the Nyets. Oh well.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I wonder if John Hollinger would simulate our Mormon All-Stars against this year's Nyets...or could AnacondaHL do it?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Sadly, I've never recreated a Kubatko Monte Carlo simulation, but we should definitely request this.

Similar to Nash, relevant to this year, how great could Z-Bo have been if he weren't, uh, completely stupid for so many of his early years?

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
It's funny how there are no absolutes in basketball. Overhandling tends to be a major, major no-no but Steve Nash overhandles on many trips down the court. The difference is that when he does it he is looking for the open man or trying to get somebody an open shot or layup. Players never stop moving whenever Steve is dribbling, screening, cutting to the hoop. When Iverson does/did it, he was looking to get himself a shot so players would either stand around at the three point line in case he decided to give it up with a few seconds remaining on the shot clock or camped out at prime offensive rebounding positions.

The only reason I mention it occured to me just now that Stockton never overhandled. Part of that is how disciplined and structured Utah's system was but part of it is just that mentally he was not that type of point guard. He felt his job was to get the ball to the right person at the right time in the flow of the game and that the offensive sets and/or the defense would determine who that person was. Nash himself determines who that person is by often creating the scoring opportunity on his own. Despite the fact they are both white and relatively unathletic (though I question this assessment) Steve and Stockton were radically different point guards. Their only genuine similarity, in my eyes, is that they have proven remarkably durable.

Stock is easily my NBA favorite player of all time, by the way. On the list of players who never get rattled under any circumstances, his name belongs at the top.

I also don´t see the whole Mike D'Antoni is an offensive genius argument. He isn't a bad coach (on that end of the court) but his schemes are pretty simple stuff: run after every make or miss by your opponent to get a shot off before the defense is set, first guy open from the three point line in shoots it, if nobody is open then pick-and-roll or let Nash create something on the fly, occasional isos. With the right mix of players, you score a ton of points. With the wrong mix, you don't score quite as many as you give up. All credit to him for giving Steve all the freedom in the world and getting the players on his side by making it fun for them, but come on.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
While we're on the subject of ideal teams. What are some trades that you guys want to see? Any plans for that theme of a post as we approach the Trade Deadline, bawful?

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
AK Dave:

I wouldn´t put Shareef Abdur-Raheem up there. He was THE franchise player in Vancouver, getting all the touches he could handle, having the offense run through him, and he put up great stats that did not transform into wins. He wasn´t selfish but he was just one of those guys who never made anyone around him better.

I'd say the Grizzlies DID maximize his talents, but his talents did not maximize the Grizzlies.

For the "guys who were better than we realize" list I'd suggest Ginobili. Yes, he has a ton of championships but he has spent most of his career coming off the bench for the good of his team. On another squad he would have been putting up Brandon Roy 22-5-5 numbers. I might also include Pryzbillah and Landry, but both seem to have found their groove recently and are receiving justified acclaim. Maybe Kirilenko, in a less restrictive system?

Blogger chris said...
Bawful/AHL: We COULD get Dan to sim all that in NBA2K10 right?!?! :D :D

Granted, Nyets vs. a preschool would probably still result in a blowout win for the educational facility.

Blogger chris said...
NarSARSist: I just want Cheikh Samb back in the Association once more so that he can serve as cap fill-in for a major deal!

Blogger jiggly16 said...
Bawful - Where would you rank Chris Paul on the greatest point guards scale? I'd say he's probably in the top 3.

Statistically him and Magic are pretty much just bounds better than all other PGs (Magic's still better statistically). And he's tough and plays solid defense similar to Stockton. Plus he has single-handedly kept the Hornets relevant the past couple years in a loaded Western Conference.

As much as I like Nash, his defensive shortcomings make him decidedly worse than Magic, Stockton, and CP3.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Bawful - Where would you rank Chris Paul on the greatest point guards scale? I'd say he's probably in the top 3.

To be honest, I think it's way too early to label Chris Paul top 3 all time. We only have a 4.5-season sample, and that's simply not enough time to measure him against the all-time greats. That's why, despite my man crush on Steve Nash, I wouldn't even entertain a serious discussion about placing him in the top 5 all-time. Longevity is important to me when measuring great players.

Other factors against CP3. First, his defense isn't really that great. Yes, he gets lots of steals, but he's so teeny that opposing guards tend to push him around down low or shoot over him. According to 82games.com, point guards average 21.2 PPG with an eFG% of 51 percent to go along with 8.6 APG and a PER of 18.3. According to Hollinger's PER reference sheet, that puts opposing PGs somewhere between "solid second option" and "All-Star." And since Paul usually plays amost 40 MPG, most of that is being done against his defense.

Offensively, he's fantastic, no question, and yes, he has willed his team to respectability (or semi-respectability). But he's never managed a truly elite team, which I believe is the true measure of greatness. After all, many players have looked damn impressive by dominating the balland churning out amazing stats for non-contenders.

That isn't to say that I define greatness by championships. But the way a player comports himself on a great team, and how he reacts in intense playoff situations, says a lot. As of this writing, Paul has appeared in 17 career playoff games. And in last season's 4-1 first round loss to the Nuggets, Chauncey Billups outplayed him.

That's not to say Chauncey is a better player. After all, even Magic Johnson was outplayed by opposing PGs in the playoffs (for further reading, see the Lakers' 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the 1990 Western Conference Semis). But you can see where Paul's relatively short track record works against him.

If Paul continues to play at the level he's been playing at these first 4.5 seasons for most of his career and eventually ends up directing a championship-caliber team, we can start ranking him historically. Until then, he's "merely" one of the best PGs currently playing.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Hellshocked - I definitely second the Kirilenko notion. Remember back when AK47 was a crazy stat stuffer, giving the Jazz 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. I think the biggest problem was his move strictly to small forward. He coexisted okay (statistically speaking) with the Booze Man the first couple of seasons after the Jazz ripped the heart out of Cleveland because they both had trouble staying in one piece. Then, in 06-07, the guy just fell off a cliff, the same season Boozer finally got healthy. To go along with my question, I would absolutely love to see some sort of Kirilenko - Ginobili swap. The Spurs would need to throw in somebody for cap purposes that will likely do the 30 day vacation boomerang (Michael Finley perhaps?). This trade would definitely make sense for the Spurs, who are sorely lacking a running mate for Timmeh (DeJuan Blair's stats might look good, but he's a huge defensive hole due to his guard-like instincts). The Jazz would finally clear themselves of the teary AK47, giving them the financial freedom next year (as Ginobili is an expiring contract) to finally settle Boozer down, while giving them another shooter in the short term.

I'm not sure I agree with Ginobili being better than we think he is though. By most accounts, he's pretty highly praised. It is very noble of him to be willing to swallow his pride and play off the bench for the sake of the team, but as far as numbers are concerned, I'm not too sure he would be much better than his best year (07-08, 19.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists in 31 minutes). I don't think his body and playing style are suited for playing 38, 40 mpg on a year in, year out basis. Part of that might be the Sabonis Syndrome of us getting a great player a bit too late, but he definitely would have trouble playing more while staying healthy. On a lesser squad, he might not be any more of an impact player than Abdul-Rahim was for the Grizzlies. His fancy passes are definitely trippy to look at, but overall, he doesn't hugely improve the rest of the Spurs players as much as he fills a particular need: a guy who can creatively create his own shots.

chris - what if he got paired with another probable lacktator, like a triumphantly returning Greg Oden...err Ostertag, for a team that needed not one, but two guys they can sign for minimum salaries to make a deal work?

Blogger chris said...
Teehee, Page2 doing a piece on Worst Ever Lakers.

That'll surely warm a few hearts this afternoon...

Blogger chris said...
NarSARSist: You know, I know the Club Trillion folks seem like they want this following concept I'm purporting to be their destiny, but I don't know if any other league lacktators have quite become this self-aware:


You're toiling in the D-League, you want a few shots in the Association at some point, maybe riding the bench while growing epic facial hair for a championship team.

Most players tend to want to make it on the usual, "look good in D-League then make an epic 3-pointer on national television" plan.

But how about having some of these folks - I'm talking about you guys, Lacktion Brothers - have your agents sell you guys to the rest of the Association as "great as salary cap stuffer" or "will nicely complement a team that is shipping out a bad contract?"

The usage of Mario West as a 50-game nanosecond plumber proves that there is a market for this type of plugger in professional ball today...

Blogger chris said...
As for that link on Worst Ever Lakers, one commenter suggested Spencer Haywood...

...with good reason, considering his behavior in the 1980 Finals!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
New NBA Jam voting week. Bobcats, Bucks, Pacers.


Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I have to disagree with your assessment of Ginobili there, NarS. I do think he would have been a 22-5-5 guy if he got to start and play 35 minutes a game. They may not be too far from his best season's stats, but they would make him a perennial all star. Beyond that though, the guy is a total winner. He has won everywhere he has played and that isn't just coincidence. He literally does whatever his team needs him to do. In his rookie year, he was the Spurs' backup point guard. When they need scoring he provides that, when they need ball movement he provides that, when they need perimeter defense he provides that and when they need a clutch bucket he usually comes through. This may be my own personal bias speaking (I love the guy), but he makes his teammates much better. I think he would be a total impact player in the Brandon Roy mold, with similar success.

I'll grant you the injuries/style of play bit though. The guy took a major pounding early on in his career and he does seem to be a bit on the frail side. He may well not have been able to play more than 30 minutes a game.

I'm not sure about the trade you suggest for two reasons though. The first is that I think Andrei would be most at home on a team that would at least occasionally run the offense through him, like Phoenix used to do with Boris Diaw (himself a poor man's Kirilenko). For sure he would help the Spurs out but I'd love to see what crazy stats he could put up with the Knicks or someone like that. He is a much better passer than he has been able to show in Utah over the past few seasons. The second reason is that I really, really don't want my Jazz to re-sign Boozer. Yes, the guy is a double double lock but having seen him over the past few years he is pretty much fool's gold. The guy has just enough talent to break your heart. Let someone else overpay for him.

A guy I think would fit in with the Jazz though, and who seems to be on the trading block, is Kevin Martin. Very efficient shooter, capable of running the break, he'd be a great sidekick to Deron Williams. His contract is huge, but I wouldn't mind giving up Boozer for him if the Kings were willing. He would have to change his game a bit (and learn to play a modicum of defense) but I think he would improve Utah immensely. Or the Spurs, come to think of it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"During the finals, Haywood was suspended by coach Paul Westhead. Haywood was so furious, he says he 'left the Forum and drove off in my Rolls that night thinking one thought — that Westhead must die.' Haywood hired a Detroit mobster to kill Westhead, but later reconsidered."


When I sell my book -- The Basketbawful Almanac -- that will definitely have its own entry.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way, how in the nine hells did J.R. Rider get left out of the top five?!

Let's not forget how he ended up in L.A.:

"Still, the Atlanta Hawks felt Rider was the missing piece in their puzzle after the 1998-99 season, and so they sent Steve Smith to the Blazers for Rider and Jim Jackson, another talent who had not quite reached his potential. But while Rider was passable on the floor, pacing the Hawks in scoring, his off-court incidents exploded in Atlanta: arrests, quarrels with management, parking in the reserved space at Philips Arena belonging to Atlanta Thrashers head coach Curt Fraser, missing practices, etc. After reports that he'd smoked marijuana in an Orlando hotel room, the league demanded that he attend drug counseling. He refused, and was fined a total of $200,000 until he agreed to attend. He showed up late for a March game in Detroit; rather than serve a three-game suspension, he demanded his outright release. Having long since grown tired of Rider's act, the Hawks were more than willing to comply. The now-infamous Rider trade left the Hawks franchise in ruin; only a year after finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference, they finished next-to-last in the division and would not return to the playoffs for nine years."

The Lakers picked him up and thought, "YES! We added a 20-point scorer for NOTHING." And that's what they got...nothing.

"Rider's next stop was the home of the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. Rider played in 67 of the Lakers' 82 games that year and lead their bench in scoring with a 7.6 average. He finally won a championship ring with the Lakers, though he was left off the playoff roster in favor of two reserves (Greg Foster and Devean George) who rarely played. After the season, Rider stated that he wanted to return to the Lakers."

He only appeared in 67 games and was left off the playoff roster behind Greg Foster and Devean George despite coming off a 20 PPG season. That's top five worst Laker material, trust me.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I forgot to mention Rider appeared in only 10 NBA games after the Lakers cut him. So 77 games after leading the Hawks in scoring, Rider was out of the league...and would later be arrested for kidnapping, and unlawful firearm possession, and grand theft, possession of a controlled narcotic substance, disobeying a court order, evading a peace officer, providing false information to a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and auto theft.

But in October of 2009, Rider signed with the North Texas Fresh of the American Basketball Association...so the dream is still alive!!

Blogger chris said...

I still haven't bought Simmons' book.

However, as soon as the ink dries on yours, I will be first in line. :D (do we get Livin' Large - Expanded Edition and Fifth Year as well!?!?!?)

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Hellshocked - I'm not sure about the trade you suggest for two reasons though. The first is that I think Andrei would be most at home on a team that would at least occasionally run the offense through him, like Phoenix used to do with Boris Diaw (himself a poor man's Kirilenko).
I agree, and I do think that Kirilenko would occasionally get the ball. A large majority of Spurs possessions are run through two of the Big Three, with most other players serving as floor spacers. Even George Hill has a tendency to defer to Parker and Ginobili. Jefferson also tends to look pretty lost at times, almost like he's in awe of the Big Three. He'll have cases where he shoots 18 shots one day and 6 the next, passively waiting around. I feel like the Spurs have an overabundance of offensive talent, where they can't use everyone. Switching to someone like Kirilenko blocking shots and helping defend the paint seems like a good way of redirecting that surplus. Because that deal would send Ginobili away, I think it would open up opportunities for AK47, along with perhaps some of the other guys, like RJ or Hill. (Note: 3 years ago I would not give this trade any consideration, but now...you gotta at least pause a little)

Beyond that though, the guy is a total winner. He has won everywhere he has played and that isn't just coincidence. He literally does whatever his team needs him to do. In his rookie year, he was the Spurs' backup point guard. When they need scoring he provides that, when they need ball movement he provides that, when they need perimeter defense he provides that and when they need a clutch bucket he usually comes through.
Actually, I don't disagree with that at all, with a slight modification. I feel Ginobili is one of those guys that makes a good team elite. I don't feel that all players can do that. For example, if you put T-Mac on a good team, I don't think he would be the factor that pushes them to elite. That's not to say T-Mac is a crap player, but there's just something missing there. Timmeh, Parker, and a bunch of role players makes a good team, but Ginobili provides that missing link that makes them elite (that even had the AT&T Center chanting MVP for him in the playoffs). On a lesser team, I don't know if his contributions would be so appreciated. That is in no way to say that he's not a great player, just that lesser teams often have a lot more missing than just one winner that provides the spark and glue.

Blogger Unknown said...
Marbury makes first appearance in China:


His team lost 102-101

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Here's a profile piece on JR/Isaiah/Whatever Rider's ABA exploits: