Nothing Ages You So Fast As Refusing To Mature

Quickly: I truly and seriously am coming to hate the MVP award. Next year, I'll just find the player who best embodies the most positive cliches and fucking say he should win. Why bother with shit like how well they actually played during the season when you have data like "rebounding is about desire. Kobe wants it more, so he's a better rebounder than LeBron" at your fingertips? Kobe is becoming the NBA's answer to Juno for me-I really like him, but his supporters are so overwhelmingly fawning, pretentious, and obnoxious that I have begun to loathe his very concept. Also, I have become convinced that Jason Collins is the NBA's answer to Pi: he is an elaborate inside joke on the public by NBA literati, an experiment to see if people will believe something truly horrendous has value they are unable to see if they say it enough. (Shoals: You can cut that out if you want. It just felt really good to write.)

So anyways, the best player who has no way been tarnished by MVP talk this season, other than to call his hopes for the award hubris, has been Amare Stoudemire, who is very quietly putting together one of the best scoring seasons in a long, long time.


Amare's rocking 25 a night on 65% "True Shooting" which is FG% with free throws and threes in there too, basically making it better. The only other players, as far as I can tell, to post a higher TS% than Amare and score over 20 points a game are Kevin McHale and Charles Barkley. And that's it. Ever. Even a little bit scarier: The one thing "True Shooting" doesn't account for is "And-1" baskets, and Amare leads the league with 94 And-1 buckets.


So Amare's got 25/9/1.5 with some baggage in regards to the defensive end, on the previously mentioned historically nuts shooting percentage. Dirk won the thing on 24/9/3.5 on 60% true shooting and a whole hell of a lot of baggage on the defensive end, while KG's candidacy is far more legit than Amare's with 19.5/9.5/3.5 on 58%, as is DH with 21.2/14.4/1.5 on 62%.; While KG is quite beastly on the defensive end, and DH more than holds his own, Amare being at 13th in the race reeks of bullshit.

(From the "Shit that's funny in retrospect" file: One Oscar-Nominated film in 1995 contained multiple instances of the phrase "Jew Motherfucker." It was not the one made by Mel Gibson, which won best picture.)

In reality, what Amare has gone and done is hit the glass ceiling of not being the guy who makes it happen on his team. So long as Nash wears the orange and purple and produces prodigiously, Amare will never receive his proper due, as his play is seen, to a degree, as a function of what Nash makes. Shawn Marion chafed under this to the point where he had to be moved, leaving his legacy as a perfect cog behind for a future as a flawed but uninhibited paradigm.

Nash and Amare now lie as the prime example of symbiosis in this league; both are the absolute best at what they do in terms of running a pick-and-roll, with Nash's unreal outside shot, ball-handling, and passing on the one end and Amare's explosion, ability to finish, ability to draw contact and hit free throws, and newly acquired deadly mid-range J on the other. As such, their success is inexorable from each other's talents: Both were very good before they found each other, but have now ascended based on the ability of the other.

Amare is a victim of the NBA's version of the Peter Principle- he's producing like a superstar, but is seen as a role player because his success is aided by the system he plays in rather than the system requiring him to sacrifice in order to aid those around him. To be given his proper due as a superstar, he must attempt to take on additional responsibilities until he inevitably hits an Iguodala-like wall or Curry/Kemp level all-out collapse.

There's definitely some Peter Principle-type shit happening with the Suns, the most rigidly hierarchical team in the league-Nash has the ball in his hands, Shaq creates space, Raja makes open threes, Hill picks up slack throughout the facility, and Amare fills the existing space with aplomb.

The Suns make sense to us because they follow the rigid structure of our everyday life, while the Warriors operate on a constantly shifting paradigm in which Ellis, Davis, S-Jax, or even Harrington or Azubuike is capable of centering the offense around him based on the circumstances of the situation. And the Nuggets operate on a completely arbitrary system, with the strong but opaque notion of attack driving the team to an urgency that none of them really understand but are eager to execute.

Everybody says that the definition of a superstar is somebody who makes marginal players better. However, Amare is a superstar-level talent who is clearly made far better by the system that employs him, and him and Nash thrive because they make life easier for each other instead of one relying inordinately on the other to make life easy for him-Amare doesn't only look for wide-open dunks when he's around Nash, and Nash doesn't throw the ball into Amare and wait at the three-point line for open jump shots-instead, they both work in harmony with each other to produce the perfect high pick-and-roll.

Right now the NBA Peter Principle seems to dictate that anybody who is associated with the words "Most Valuable" has a god-given responsibility to shoulder a gigantic burden, while role players' respective strengths should be nurtured to the best ability of the team.

It's wouldn't seem to be all that radical of an idea, getting guys who make life easier for your superstars, but it seems to be one completely lost on NBA teams, who instead seem to be hell-bent on milking their superstars for all they're worth.

Two major trades related to this principle occurred this season-the Shaq trade originally caused no small level of distress here and made me wish that the Suns had just traded Amare to the Hawks and officially given up on the dream, but by getting a guy who can create space for a guy who excels with space given to him by Nash, they unleashed the beast within Amare and have found something radical and new in the context of the half-court offense.

The 76ers made the de facto swap of Kyle Korver, a lights-out shooter, for Thaddeus Young, a slasher on a team full of them. On the surface, this wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, but taking the burden off of 'Dres Miller and Iguodala has transformed the 6ers into a shifting and furious full-speed attack.

Of course, this logic would seem to suggest that the Kidd trade would have worked instead of completing the downward spiral of the Dynasty That Would Be. Well, Dirk actually is a lot better with Kidd on the team, and if you saw them against the Warriors it's clear that the Kidd-fueled Maverick attack is pretty fucking scary, although the Warriors can't guard anybody at all right now. If I ever dared to question Don Nelson, I would be worried that his Bataan death-march rotation and suicide-style of play has worn the Warriors down for their playoff push, but I am confident this is all part of Nellie's master plan. Also, Harris is a guy who creates a good deal more for himself and others than people realize-Kidd's actually been more of a catch-and-shoot guy for the Mavs than Harris was. And Harris is pretty clearly an upgrade over Kidd defensively at this point in their respective careers. (The moral of the story: when you trade a 24-year old making the rookie scale for a 35-year old guard making max money and throw in DeSagnia Diop, expiring contracts, and draft picks, you should probably be absolutely positive that the player you're getting is better than the player you gave up.)

(I'm pretty sure I found this picture on this site. Occasionally, we must make sure that some things are never forgotten.)

If you follow the Cavs, it's shocking how different the offense looks with Delonte West playing with LeBron, as he pushes the ball to get LeBron transition opportunities and can tilt the defense with the ball in his hands to keep things from stacking up on LeBron, often leading to a resounding LBJ dunk off a simple dribble-handoff. And this was the third string point guard on the Sonics. Team USA showed that LeBron can be a fairly deadly shooter when he's allowed to set his feet and get a look at the target, but he takes a higher portion of his threes off the dribble than anyone else in the league. However, the conventional wisdom seems to be that LeBron should be surrounded by spot-up shooters who he can do all the work for.

MAKING IT EXPLICIT-There seems to be a notion that the relationship between elite slashers/post-up players and spot-up shooters is symbiotic, as shooters supposedly keep the defense from "bunching up" and provide space for the stars in which to work. I find this to be mostly a load of crap-from watching guys like Kobe, CP3, LeBron, and Duncan, I can tell you that spot-up shooters get open looks via those guys about 95% more than those guys get open lanes via their shooters. For a case study, the Cavs have made the de facto swap of Eric Snow (possibly the worst outside shooting backcourt player in the league) for TITS GIBSON (arguably the best three-point shooter in the league this year other than Nash, who is a complete freak), and the upgrade gives LeBron perhaps a quarter-step more space than before-Snow and Boobie get left alone just the same, but Boobie can actually make the defense pay when the defense leaves him alone.

On a common sense level, I'd set a 40% three-point shooter up with a wide-open look and give him all the time he could possibly need before I'd leave LeBron or Duncan's man without help, because they're going to score in that situation like 90% of the time. The relationship between stars and spot-up shooters is, at best, a 90-10 proposition in terms of benefit.

Howard is one of the best guys in however long at getting and converting alley-oops and quick catch-and-dunks, to the point where he's scoring 20 points a game without an especially nice post game or any outside shot to speak of, but his status as a superstar has the Magic convinced that he should stick himself in the post and be surrounded with shooters instead of finding a more suitable option at point than Jameer Nelson to get him the looks he enjoys.

This is why I'm glad my boy O.J. Mayo had a fairly innocuous freshman year instead of a Durant/Beasley like star turn-as a role player, O.J.'s deadly shot and first step will be complimented by whichever team lands him, while Durant, and soon Beasley, were thrown straight into the fire of being the guy whose responsibility it is to nurture the rest of his team.

The MVP race reflects the NBA's strict sense of hierarchy-one man is the superstar of his team, and all the rest are there to benefit from him, driven by a sense that every NBA team has one ideal play, with their superstar as the sole catalyst, that they run 110 times a game. However, in Amare Stoudemire, a superstar who keeps the trappings and benefits of a role player, we see the argument for a more collective effort, in which roles are symbiotic, each player helping all others, including the supposed superstars. And that's why a glimmer of hope still lies in the Suns.

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At 4/03/2008 12:07 PM, Blogger The wondering Mind said...

If all that you said is true then KG and not Stat should be your guy. KG's role on the team is more truly innate to the very being of the Celtics hustle, while Stat is an interchangeable part (witness the play and role of Diaw while Stat was out two years ago), a key cog in the engine but ultimately a replaceable part.


I saw your post on Sports Hub La and noted under the tag name Nedu that to insinuate that Kobe deserves the MVP not on merit but as some kind community recognition award is pretty fucking insulting to the season he is having.

Nash was only statistically dominant in assists the two years he won the MVP, and the second time the Suns were even clearly not the best team in the west but he still won. KG and TD won MVPs while only being statistically dominate in rebounding. Where would the Lakers, Hornets and Cavaliers be without their star players? In the lottery in every case, but the Cavs would not have made the playoffs in the West and if Lebron was having the same season in the west he is having now in the East, he would be Joe Johnson, duly noted but other wise ignored.

Chris Paul is altogether another story, a nightmare to deal with, love me some Chris Paul but the Lakers have not had a full complement of players for the last 50 games or so, yet look at where they are. Plus CP3 has never had to throw alley hoop passes to Kwame “hands of stone” Brown.

At 4/03/2008 12:52 PM, Blogger goathair said...

Does this mean Stockton should have got Malone's MVPs? He made it possible for Malone to get tons of easy baskets and he was a solid defender. Not to mention he made Hornacek actually matter.

At 4/03/2008 1:26 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Damnit, Goathair... I was just going to make the same point. 15 years ago, the bias favored the big man, as represented by the original "masters of the high post pick & roll", Mssrs Stockton & Malone.

Look at Stockton's career stats: 51.5% FG, 38.4% from 3-pt line. He was Nash, in the days before those who cover the league needed a white face.

So, yeah, I agree Amare has had a monster year. But he's not getting the MVP.

Some other stuff that I have to disagree with:

-On the 76ers: "furious full speed attack" is not a good description of one of the worst offense in the league, statistically.

-On the 82games link: It should come as no surprise that a whopping 98% of Peja's threes have been assisted upon. He's really the most unlikely person in the NBA to create his own shot at this point in his career, and it really says a lot about Chris Paul's season (MVP worthy) that he's made Peja as productive as he has been.

-"Glimmer of hope" in the Suns? If you guys are really paying attention, you know that they have a better chance of winning the West (and the title) than anyone other than maybe the Jazz and Hornets. It took exactly ten games for Nash and crew to figure out how to incorporate Shaq (which is how long it takes a good point guard to work in a new piece), and they've been sailing since. On the flip side, it takes a good point about 30-40 games to adjust to a new team - hence, the Mavs will one of the top teams next year, provided Cuban doesn't blow the team apart too quickly....

At 4/03/2008 2:05 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Bulletin: NEW QUOTEMONGER!!!!!!

At 4/03/2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

A lot to process here. The Spanish translation of "Jason Collins" is "Robin Lopez." I can provide both intelligent and stupid reasons Kobe should be the MVP, and somehow I find that combination compelling. This could be the first time in forever that we've elected a black guy President and NBA MVP in the same year. If Amare even flirts with the notion that he is in Nash's white shadow, he should look at Marion's current situation and tremble. The wealth of plausible MVPs is as exciting to me as the abundance of strong teams in the west.

At 4/03/2008 2:55 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

PS by "wealth of MVPs" I meant that there are a lot of them, not that they have a lot of money. Poorly phrased.

At 4/03/2008 3:02 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Just wanted to say that the Kobe is Juno comparison is hilarious and spot on. I used to defend the guy because I thought he'd sometimes get wrongly slighted by people who hate him for weird reasons, but the blind devotion by some out there and the manner in which they show their support is incredibly off-putting.

At 4/03/2008 3:11 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Actually Jason is Brook and Jarron is Robin. The Suns/Jazz tilt in the first round should be something.

At 4/03/2008 3:27 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

@MC Welk--twins, Max. 19 years old. Can you imagine the mathematical possibilities?

At 4/03/2008 5:12 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

If Amare even flirts with the notion that he is in Nash's white shadow, he should look at Marion's current situation and tremble.

Hey! Take it easy... we don't know Marion's situation yet. He's got Wade, and when the two of them are healthy... plus Michael Beasley/Derrick Rose next season... sh*t, he might not even remember who this Steve Nash dude is....

At 4/03/2008 7:11 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

If elected, Obama = Baller in Charge. (via TrueHoop)

I couldn't think of a better place to express my enjoyment of Barack's swag.

At 4/03/2008 7:31 PM, OpenID tmic007 said...

I read all of your guys articles and rarely comment but just felt the need to eventually. No other basketball site can put the way I watch NBA basketball into words like you guys do. You really understand the nuances of the game and what makes it great.

At 4/03/2008 8:06 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

@sml--fair enough. Still: the Heat have fallen farther, faster, than I would have thought possible without the involvement of Isiah Thomas.

At 4/03/2008 8:28 PM, Blogger Krolik1157 said...




Phi Slamma Jamma Grows up. With a draft-day trade for a guy like DaVon Hardin, Stro Swift, or HASHEEM THABEET, essentially for my own enjoyment, it's basketball by SkyNet. And "Glimmer of Hope" referred to the Suns' FD potential, which seemed dead after the Shaq trade.

@Wondering Mind/Nedu-

Yeah, you're the guy who said "In the same league where AI won the MVP while shooting 42%, someone is trying to use STATs to tell me that LeBron deserves to be MVP?"

Thanks for your input.

At 4/03/2008 8:52 PM, Blogger m said...

the fd-ist college game ever 25 years later: http://www.pennlive.com/columns/patriotnews/jones/index.ssf?/base/columnists/120718051211830.xml&coll=1

phi slamma jamma vs. the doctors of dunk

At 4/03/2008 9:29 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

God, where do I even start with this shit?

"So Amare's got 25/9/1.5 with some baggage in regards to the defensive end, on the previously mentioned historically nuts shooting percentage. Dirk won the thing on 24/9/3.5 on 60% true shooting and a whole hell of a lot of baggage on the defensive end"

The author obviously doesn't watch many Mavs games, because he's not familiar AT ALL with Dirk's defensive ability. He is not nearly as soft of a defender as he used to be. He is a lazy help defender, and tends to just go for the strip, and his lack of jumping ability allows players to get shots over him easier, but when it comes to playing his own man, he does a pretty solid job. His defense on KG a couple weeks ago was actually quite superb. I've seen him bottle up David West. Granted, I don't want him playing center, but his defense is much more improved than one would think, and is far superior to Amare's MO of always going for the block to get on SportsCenter instead of playing solid positional defense. Dirk is smart enough to be where he's supposed to be, and he will dole out the hard foul to prevent an easy basket. By no means am I arguing that he's a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, or anything like that, but he's far from terrible, unlike Amare. The Mavs give up 99 points per 100 possessions when he plays, which is the second-best on the team behind Josh. He's even ahead of Dampier. The book on Dirk's defense is in major need of a rewrite.

Amare is a beast on the offensive end, and the Suns are going to be bitch to deal with in the playoffs when they run the high screen and roll with Nash, Amare and Shaq on the floor at the same time. But I can't take an MVP campaign for Stoudemire seriously when he still has such huge deficiencies on defense. What's limited him as a liability on defense since Shaq arrived is that he doesn't pick up as many silly fouls playing out of position at the five.

Also, Harris is a guy who creates a good deal more for himself and others than people realize-Kidd's actually been more of a catch-and-shoot guy for the Mavs than Harris was.

I wasn't on board initially with the Kidd trade, but Devin Harris has been elevated to Oscar Robertson status. Harris is a very good player, but he does not create scoring opportunities for his teammates on par with Kidd. He is a one-man fastbreak, an iffy outside shooter, he's one of the best in the league at drawing a charge, and he has one of the quickest first steps in the league for beating his man off the dribble. That's it.

If you want to find a culprit for why Harris' numbers in Jersey are up from what he did surrounded by more talent in Dallas, and why Kidd's numbers are down in Dallas from what he posted surrounded by less talent in Jersey, then I would look no further than Avery Johnson.

What Harris did in New Jersey and what Kidd did in New Jersey are irrelevant from the perspective of the Mavericks. They knew they were giving up a player who will be infinitely more useful going forward the next several years. What matters is which one of them is a better fit for the next two years, and I think it's obvious that Jason Kidd makes the Mavs better in the short term. They would've been struggling if they hadn't made the trade, due to injuries and overcoaching.

And Harris is pretty clearly an upgrade over Kidd defensively at this point in their respective careers

Are you serious with this shit? Why don't you ask Baron Davis and Dwyane Wade if they think Devin can guard them? Yes, Kidd will have trouble keeping CP3 and Deron in front of him, but I think everybody has that problem. Kidd absolutely is better than Harris at defending big, physical guards like Davis and Ginobili, and the Mavs defensively are better than they were with Harris, and it's not hard to see why. Kidd is still great at playing the passing lanes and getting steals and creating other turnovers, and his rebounding for a guard is superb. It's their offense that has suffered, even though they're shooting a higher "true shooting" % with Kidd. They've become way more turnover prone, due to botched fastbreaks since they're not used to running.

The moral of the story: when you trade a 24-year old making the rookie scale for a 35-year old guard making max money and throw in DeSagnia Diop, expiring contracts, and draft picks, you should probably be absolutely positive that the player you're getting is better than the player you gave up

I'm sorry, but I have a real problem with this logic. Diop can't even get off the bench in Jersey. His 10 minutes per game isn't going to be the difference between winning and losing a game, much less a playoff series. He's still living off that Game 7 against San Antonio when he came in fresh off the bench in overtime to guard an exhausted Duncan. Dampier is the guy that banged on Duncan and wore him down and did all the work while Diop got all the glory. Seriously, the Mavs didn't sacrifice anything with Diop. And Kidd's contract comes off the books next year. They can let him walk or resign him to a cap-friendly contract. It's absurd to say that right now Devin Harris is a better player than Jason Kidd. It's not 2011 yet. The trade was about NOW. It probably won't pay off with a title, but it absolutely makes them better for this year and next.

This trade was worth doing alone for how much easier it makes things for Dirk. They couldn't punish teams for the defense that Jeff Van Gundy originally devised and Miami and Golden State copied. Once the league has figured you out, it's time to change personnel.

At 4/03/2008 9:31 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Oh, and one more factual correction: Harris is BYC, not on the rookie contract anymore. He signed his extension last summer.

At 4/04/2008 5:28 AM, Blogger Roddie said...

Ok, I don't agree with everything he said, but i SURE as hell don't agree with anything zeke said either.

" The trade was about NOW. It probably won't pay off with a title, but it absolutely makes them better for this year and next."

Wait...so they let go of a 24 year old point guard to get a middle aged point guard making 20 million dollars a year, and it doesn't even make them championship contenders???

What the fuck is the point then?

I agree that kidd makes them better, but not better enough. So they just lost what could have been a key part of their rebuilding in a few years, and they don't even have a shot at the title. Congratulations.

At 4/04/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@krolik1157: Okay, the glimmer of hope comment makes sense then.

I would disapprove of THABEET though. Having watch mostly Big East games this season (I admittedly don't watch many other NCAA games outside the Big East), I don't think very much of THABEET. Sorry, but homeboy is terrible. He's a mason, even from four or five feet away. I think aside from a dunk, everything else is out of his range. He hurts the rim, and his rebounding isn't great, either.

Interesting thing about rebounding - I've often theorized that there exists a "too tall to rebound well" size; not all rebounds - in fact, a large % - are in the air. A lot of rebounds require getting there first, and getting it low. My theory is that the best rebounders are probably agile, quick guys with fast hops (not necessarily high, just fast, like David Lee's second burst) with long arms and big hands in the 6'7-6'10 range.

At 4/04/2008 1:31 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

"but i SURE as hell don't agree with anything zeke said either."

Well that's a huge blow to my confidence and self esteem.

Wait...so they let go of a 24 year old point guard to get a middle aged point guard making 20 million dollars a year, and it doesn't even make them championship contenders???

What the fuck is the point then?

The point of the trade was to give them a better chance of winning a title, and I think it does. They're marginal championship contenders now and Kidd only improves on that. Is that so hard to figure out? You think Mark Cuban took the luxury tax hit just for shits and giggles?

I just don't think it's a gamble that is going to pay off. There are a lot of elite teams out there now, and it's going to be hard.

At 4/04/2008 3:20 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

@stopmikelupica, gotta disagree with you about THABEET. dude turned 19 years old this year, he is 7'3" but only 265 so he will definitely fill out. you gotta keep in mind he only started playing basketball a few years ago, the fact that he's only 19 years old w/ limited basketball experience and he BROKE the blocks record in the big motherfucking east i think shows he will be a player (think of all the bigs, man, okafor, ewing, deke mutumbo, zo mourning, etc). i agree his offense is limited and his rebounding #'s aren't there for his size, but he is a guy with a super high ceiling.

At 4/04/2008 5:34 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Perhaps, El Miz, but I think that even if drafted as a "project" (which THABEET most certainly is), this is the NBA< and no team is going to wait the four to six years it'll take. Bynum, yes, because that was a two to four year project. But THABEET won't show any signs of progress for at least three years - think Stinka Dare - and might be run out of the NBA by the time he is 24 or 25. I'm not stating that as fact, but I do believe that's the most likely outcome... there's just too many things that could go wrong there - injuries, insults, coaching/GM instability, etc....

At 4/04/2008 6:58 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Off topic, but has anybody seen this:


You've gotta save the picture and zoom in on it, but it's basically a mapping project of every player in the Final Four's individual on court style. Seems apropos for the Free Darko ethos, although a little too stat-dependant for my tastes.

Is this the kind of thing we can expect from the book, only a 1,000 times better, Mr. Shoals?

At 4/05/2008 12:00 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@Tom: That graph looks like something Tom Ziller should have copyrighted, so that he could sue ESPN for clearly biting his style.

At 4/05/2008 4:54 PM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

What a great post. You kids sure do follow the game.

Now then, in regards to the "lone star theory" you call into question I would say it is important for a reason unrelated to direct production, though of course it's at least tangential. What I'm talking about is ego. 2nd bananas like Andre Iggy want to think they are the superstar that can carry the team in the sense that they want to get paid enough for everyone to believe that, but with salary caps and players egos there can only be one big dog on a team. It makes sense that said big dog gets paid the most, is the best player, and is the player the team is built around. If a team is filled with like minded talents then dissension reigns. And to go one step further, even when there still is a big dog, lesser talents still might think they are not getting enough limelight (for example, see Marion, S.)

Hence, the pecking order needs to be clear and undisputed. We're talking about wolf packs here.

On SA, no one but the village idiot would think that Duncan is not the deserving big dog. On Phoenix, Nash is the big dog by all rational thought but because he's so nice (and Canadian) lesser egos will cause problems. Marion had to flee. Shak has to draw attention to himself by promoting this new child no one heard about called Amare Stoudemire. Amare, to his credit, is possibly too dumb to get caught up in the twists and turns going around him. He keeps it simple. Get pass. Dunk ball. Don't charge, shoot jump shot.

So what I'm saying is - no Amare is not the MVP of the league and not even on his own team. MVPs change the winds of history. Amare is on a long board and is surfing this one out...until he comes crashing back to shore.

But I love the blog. Especially when my nurse allows me to time to read it.

Good luck! Enjoy the day!

At 4/05/2008 7:35 PM, Blogger Amphibian said...

Zeke: I think part of Kidd's rebounding is redundant (he jumps in front of a big) or a sign that his man is driving past him to the hoop.

I do think that his arrival lets Avery play Terry and a PG at the same time, while sticking Terry on the opposing PG and Kidd on the SG.

The Mavericks should not have doubled Kobe at half-court so much last night. Anyone but Kobe. Avery was an idiot last night.

At 4/05/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I come here tonight for off-topic spleen venting ...

Why does Mike Brown still have not only a job but a contract extension?

At 4/05/2008 9:08 PM, Blogger Krolik1157 said...

To clarify-I'm not saying Amare is the MVP this year, just that he's having a year worthy of being considered one of the league's best, but because of the manner in which he is effective, was not considered as such, and that instead of penalizing Amare for putting up MVP numbers while playing a role, we should look at how Phoenix has decided to use a system that makes life easier for their superstars rather than use their superstars to always make life easier for everyone else at their own expense.

(Until recently-between the time I gave Shoals the draft and this got published, Bucher, Hollinger, and the new Race to MVP guy have all begun to give Amare some of the love he deserves. And the new Race to MVP guy linked to this piece! Rock on, new Race to the MVP guy.)

And between the correct spelling of HASHEEM THABEET catching on and the appearance from the Col., this may be my favorite comment section ever, even with Zeke being Zeke.

P.S. SML-regardless of THABEET's skills around the hoop, you have to admit that lineup would be incredibly cool. They could take on armor divisions with that lineup.

\Threadjack to keep you occupied for the remainder of the weekend:

Why is a guy like THABEET seen as risky while guys like Psycho T are seen as "safe?" Even if THABEET can only dunk, a 7-3 plus-plus athlete with a 14-foot wingspan is going to do something well in the NBA, and he's almost as much of a lock to be a quality shot-blocker as Hansborough's work ethic is to be fawned about by Hubie Brown at the next level.

Hansborough's skills are developed, but there's a chance he won't get contact or rebound and those skills will be rendered completely and utterly useless, as has happened in the past. I like Psycho T and actually think he'll make whichever team drafts him happy, but the nomenclature puzzles me. Have at it.

At 4/06/2008 3:40 PM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

Krolik 1157 thanks for the shoot out or shout out (I'm not sure what the kids call it.) For the record, I'd like to say that you possess much more insight than Krolik 1156 or Krolik 1158 should they exist. I tempted to believe they do not.

Moving on. Back to the Suns and little Big Dog Steve Nash. I'll cut to it - the team has the potential for some Shakespearean tragedy with Nash playing the role of King Lear.

His generosity allows for other egos to shine and find the light. But then the light is somehow not enough. Again, to refresh with some history: Marion had to flee for the intense UV rays of South Beach. Shaq takes his place, burnt from the sun and his own declining skills.

Shaq will stab Nash in the back in the way he has stabbed other great guards in the back - I'm talking about Penny, Kobe, and Dwayne. Why should we think Nash will receive any less?

And that is the potential tragedy and paradox of Nash - his overwhelming niceness and Canadianess allows for other teammates to share in the glory yet it plants the seed for his own demise.

Perhaps that makes me the blind oracle, sitting in my bed too long watching basketball and taking my medication.

I apologize for any incoherence because of my medication, but having read the majority of the comments from the kids on here I don't feel as bad. What's their excuse?

Good luck! Enjoy the day!

At 4/06/2008 7:16 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

THERE WILL BE BLOOD when Golden State and the Denver play each other on Thursday on national TV. That is the game for the 8th seed Sadly, there is no one game playoff if they end up tied at the end of the season.

At 4/06/2008 11:04 PM, Blogger T. said...

Latest "My gosh! The West Playoff Race is CRAZY" note:

1 week ago, the Mavs were done, and Denver was going to be in. Now, today, Denver is in a tooth-and-nail fight with Okla.. . er, Seattle! SEATTLE!

At 4/07/2008 2:19 AM, Blogger T. said...

Absolutely, postively the worst team in professional sports history:


At 4/07/2008 3:34 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Krolik - your argument for THABEET seems reasonable enough. But I suspect the potential counterexample(s?) have yet to be forgotten: Kwame Brown still walks the earth (and, indeed, Darko Milicic sometimes shares the court with him...).

Now, I haven't seen THABEET play myself, and very possibly he already does have some basketball skills that will work in the NBA. But I can imagine how some team officials might not consider it a sure bet...

At 4/07/2008 9:59 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Krolik: I'll tell you why I have my doubts about THABEET... he just learned the game a few years ago (2005). Basketball is more than just being tall, or long. Essentially he's a really tall eight-year-old in terms of b-ball experience. I'm surprised he doesn't shoot a jumper with two hands. Actually, I'm never sure about that, given what I have seen from THABEET this season...

The point - basketball, even the center position, requires years of working on your footwork, learning the nuances of the game, and general in-game training. I've seen enough ballers, or people who grew up around ballers, to know that you can't just make a baller in two years. Mike James, for example, was playing every day on the courts in LI from when he was six years old... by the time he was 10, he was playing against D1 point guards. Ron Artest was a monster by the time he was 13. Marbury, Felipe Lopez, Shammgod... all these kids had years of experience before they got to college, much less the NBA (they all did, even if some didn't last very long).

THABEET is tall, long and a quick learner. He's a center, not a point or forward like most of the guys I mentioned above. But few people learn that quick, and there is too much that can derail him. I honestly believe his chances of becoming much of a player in the NBA (especially if he gets picked in the low 20's, where a good team doesn't have any motivation to stick with you) are under 15%. It's nothing against the kid - he seems like an okay guy - it's just an assessment of what I think he's up against. A lot of work, that's all....

At 4/08/2008 12:12 AM, Blogger Krolik1157 said...

I'm generally fairly familiar with NBA guys' former playground names- who went by the handle of Shammgod? I know it's the name of a move now...

At 4/08/2008 2:00 AM, Blogger T. said...

ah, the youth of krolik. Shammgod is not some handle, it's a last name.

God Shammgod who really ought to have made the league (I mean if Moochie Norris can . .. ) The last few years he's been here in China.



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