FreeDarko got me back into basketball. Good-bye, old friends. I boycotted basketball for about a year and a half as a disgruntled Bulls fan and came back in 2008-09, not because of Derrick Rose, but when I stumbled on FreeDarko. Bethlehem Shoals is very special to me. I have an undying respect for his aesthetic.
My early prediction: The Celtics and Heat are gonna face Hell in the first round, but face each other in the second round, as the Bulls and Magic relatively cruise. The second round will be Hell on the Bulls, but they'll get to the Eastern Conference Finals. Everything from age to being soft to a round of running against the Knicks as me picking the Heat in five or six game over the Cs. The Bulls will have to go through LeBron James again. Fitting, if you ask me.
John Hollinger wrote up his regular season awards. (ESPN Insider) Rose is #4 on his MVP ballot behind Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. The other awards are relatively predictable, other than Tony Allen as Free Agent of the Year. I love what Allen's done, but my knee-jerk reaction feels like I have to go LeBron. Hollinger doesn't make sense with this one. If you pick up the MVP runner-up, you've made the best FA pickup. If you're not a subscriber, you can see his awards at Blog-a-Bull.
Don't feel bad about not being subscribed, though. Kevin Pelton's award analysis is much more thorough, though he doesn't post his MVP. (Basketball Prospectus) I love that he placed D-Wade on his All-NBA First Team and Kobe Bryant on the Second Team, as I would. I would place Kevin Garnett ahead of Andrew Bogut for DPOY, but it's sadly brave of him to place Bogut. I feel like every writer feels a need to put a token perimeter guy on their list. Nothing against Tony Allen or Ronnie Brewer, but I think MPG should matter here because it maximizes minutes against the best 5-man units. This is where Andre Iguodala deserves mention and reasonable as the 3rd player on a list.
Von Wafer bricked a dunk, showboated thinking he made it, then ran into Jermaine O'Neal forcing a double dribble. I was rewinding and re-watching this on the DVR for a good five minutes after this happened, laughing my ass off.
Matt McHale wrote "During overtime, with his team clinging to a two-point lead, Wafer threw down a wide open slam dunk and then paused out of bounds to pose crazy for the crowd. It would have been an awesome moment for him...except that he had actually missed the dunk. Oh, but it gets better. Jermaine O'Neal grabbed the offensive rebound, but Wafer spun around after his posing routine and ran into O'Neal, which caused The Drain to double-dribble. So, in one possession, Wafer managed to blow a dunk, look like the world's biggest asshat, and then force his own teammate into a turnover. This could very well be the worst play of the season." (Basketbawful):
Then, the seven-foot JaVale McGee gets blocked by Glen Davis, "a man whose vertical leap may actually be measured in negative numbers," McHale wrote. (Basketbawful):
The NBA actually wants to raise the age limit to enter the NBA. "Several high-ranking NBA team executives told Yahoo! Sports they wouldn't be surprised if the age limit in the new CBA is pushed to two years in college and 20 years old by the end of that calendar year," Marc Spears reported Monday (Yahoo! Sports).
First, this is awful. Second, if this is true, the NCAA ought to step in an tell these owners to put their money where their mouths are and invest a substantial share in a pot to give those kids stipends while they're in school.
Alley-oops aren't just valuable for highlight reels, in case you didn't know.It's created high-percentage points on a nightly basis for LaMarcus Aldridge and kept Andre Miller involved. "Alley-oops are also evidence of two things Blazer fans have been longing to see out of Portland's offense: motion and easy buckets," Dave wrote. (Blazers Edge)
The Blazers lead the NBA in alley-oops and it's definitely a reason they win more. Not only does it create those easy buckets, but provides pace-boosters that catch opponents off guard because they're a relatively slow team. Maybe this is all preaching to the choir, though, because I have yet to hear criticism of the alley-oop without negative racialist undertones -- and those idiots are hopeless for much greater reasons.
Doug Collins has a videographic memory. "The 59-year-old Collins has not asked his video coordinator, Monte Shubik, for a copy of a 76ers game all season," Michael Rosenberg reported. (SI)
I, too, "initially didn't pay all that much attention to Mark Cuban's statements about banning "Internet" reporters from the Mavericks' locker room and otherwise asserting more control (or trying to, anyway) over the way the media covers his team," as Zach lowe did (Point Forward) "I thought perhaps Cuban had gotten ticked off at something someone had written about the Mavericks and overreacted a bit."
Ken Berger's response to Cuban is so excessively quote-worthy on the topic of media, corporate access, the State, and the relationship between franchises and fans that it just has to be read (CBSSports.com)
He said: "To have a personal relationship with [Jordan] now and for him to be a mentor of mine, it's something when you're growing up as a kid in North Carolina you would never expect.... I think guys do and will want to play for MJ. Who better to learn from?"
If he really has romanticized his home-state and MJ that much, which is conceivable, this is more believable than platitudes. But it'd take a grand first move by MJ to that roster for CP3 to leave the Hornets for that crap. All of that said, the AP's article is kinda' stupid. CP3's quotes scream that he was being asked leading, PC-begging questions.
Ellis finished the season leading the league in MP (3,227), MPG (40.3), and FGAs (1,611), while: 8th in PPG (24.1), 8th in PTS (1,929), 3rd in FGs (726), 15th in 3Ps (137), 9th in 3PAs (379), T18th in FTAs (431), 2nd in steals (168), 3rd in SPG (2.1), T6th in STL% (2.6%), 20th in ASTs (450), 8th in TOs (252), 12th in USG% (28.1%).
Most important were the intangibles largely credited to maturing through his marriage. He's developed a seemingly healthy relationship with Stephen Curry, adapted well as the season went on with David Lee. Though his shooting efficiency numbers were still not very good, they were all up from his two previous seasons of high usage. He became one the more likable and most exciting players in the NBA this season; a must watch almost every night for me. If you're curious, here's the concussion:
Allan Houston improved the most after receiving more playing time in 1995 than anyone and Nazr Mohammed fell the most in 2002. Of course, Neil Paine found this out with the top five in both categories, along with those players whose efficiencies remained the same. (Basketball-Reference)