Posted tagged ‘nba’

Making Sense of the NBA Off-Season

July 14, 2008

First off, sorry for the hiatus…life has been hectic.  But no matter how busy things get, Ive always got a finger on the pulse of the sports world, especially the part of it that interest me most: the NBA.

Its hard for me to write about sports in a coherent way, because I get excited and have too many thoughts about the same topic.  So, here goes:

The Clippers have to be bummed about losing Elton Brand, big time.  Sterling was trying to shake his image as the tight-wad owner by signing Baron Davis to a big deal (though impressively shrewd), and after he did that no one thought Brand would seriously give up the chance to play with a top PG.  Brand didnt even really get more money than what was offered.  I understand business is business and Brand has to look out for himself, but Im disappointed by how he handled this because since he got the same money than LA was willing to give him, he must have had other reasons for leaving for Philly, probably cuz it was a competitive playoff squad last year without him and figures to be a conference contender with him…but i think he went out his way to make the Clips think he was gonna resign and encouraged them to sign another player who he could contend with in LA, and after they did what he asked for, he still bolted.  I’m not hating him for playin the game, but when he does youve got to call him a playa. Maybe Im biased cuz now Philly is gonna dominate the division that my beloved Knicks will serve as a doormat to.

Yes, Philly will dominate the Atlantic because Toronto is overrated and NJ is in it for the green, not the gold.  The Toronto trade of a TJ Ford, one half of the most productive PG platoon in the league for a broken and beat up Jermaine ONeal who is making something like $42 million the next 2 years alone is not a good deal.  TJ Ford is agreat player and they couldve gotten more for him.  If ONeal returns to full strength and plays the defense he was playing a few years ago, then the trade will have been a good one, but I think that it way too improbable for the Raptors to bank on.  

NJ traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlin for the SOLE pourpose of cashing in on his popularity in his native country of China and opening up the market in order to lure LeBron in 2 years.  Pitiful.  So now they have Yi, no Jason Kidd, no RJ, and a player in Vince Carter who will be in the first year of a rich multi-year contract…oh yea, he’ll play with tONS of trademark tenacity.  They have some decent rookies but they are still gonna stink it up for a while.

I like Washington giving Arenas his money because you never have to worry about his motivation to play hard — he’s too cocky to let his rep suffer.  To think…Rashard Lewis got a contract worth $15 million more than Arenas.  That is nuts.

Bur Lewis’ Orlando squad was good last year and will be better with newly signed and underrated Mickael Pietrus, who can guard the perimeter and shoot the 3-ball.

Dallas gave Dasagna Diop something like $30 million to resign with them. ¿¿¿WTF???  The dude does nothing but block a shot or 2 a game and he gets $30 million? I dont get that. Nor do I understand the Bucks giving Andrew Bogut $72.5 million (!) to stay in Milwaukee, and then trade Yi and his Chinese fan base for Jefferson only to then draft Joe Alexander, who plays the same position.  They shouldve saved 72 million by letting Bogut go, drafted Brooke Lopez who was the top center prospect in the draft but gets paid rookie money, an then put themselves in position to be a major player in free agency with all that money and a promising young core of Michael Redd, Jefferson, Lopez, Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell.  Tell me they couldnt have gotten a top free agent to join that squad!  They couldve signed Emeka Okafor who is a top defensive center (perfect for coach Scott Skiles and the new defense oriented style he will surely implement) for way less than 72 million.  This is maddening to me.

Golden State losing out on Davis and Brand has to hurt, and no, signing Corey Maggette does not ease the pain.  I like him as a scorer because he gets to the line (hes insane at drawing fouls. In a  healthy season most fans would be surprised to learn that Maggette gets to the line more than almost any other player in the league — 3rd most in 06-07) which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense and makes things easier on his teammates, who can be more aggressive against defenders in foul trouble or a team in the penalty.  But he’s not a facilitator, he needs the ball in his hands and doesnt make much of a difference on defense.  He could be a great complimentary player, to say, Elton Brand..or..Baron Davis. Yes Warriors fans, it’s time to worry.  At least they seem committed to keeping Monta Ellis, who is restricted and crazy talented, but theyre gonna end up overpaying Andris Biedrins big time so they can have at least one decent big man in the lineup.  Im not so crazy about Chris Mullin’s personnel moves, I gotta say. 

As for the Clips, who knows what to expect.  I dont think theyll make the playoffs next season with the lineup they have.  GS didnt make it last year and they had a better and more cohesive lineup than LA has this year..so far at least.  Al Thornton will continue to impress, Kaman is a good 5 and Davis is nasty when healthy, but that he played 82 games in his contract year does not mean that he will go the distance again now that he has a brand new contract and is closer to his Hollywood homies trying to convince him to focus on his film production company (Davis is a member of the screen actors guild).  I think the Clips are back to being the Clips that we know and love to not care about.

Not basing this on the one preseason game he played, I think Beasely is gonna make a loT of people feel stupid for saying he did not deserve to be picked first in this year’s draft.  That kid has something to prove but wont even be the 3rd best player on his team, so the spotlight is not on him and he can just play the game.  Rookie of the Year, write that shit down.

As for my beloved Knicks, it’s too early to write a seaon preview but I like the Gallinari draft, I guess, kinda sorta, because the obviously better players were off the board, the other impressive talents did not fit team needs at all (Jerryd Bayless), and Gallinari isnt the typical young European “project”.  This kid has been a star in very competitive and heavily scouted European leagues, already knows how to play the game, has guts and size and shooting skills, and most importantly, if there is anyone who is qualified enough to determine whether or not a Euro league player can make the transition to the NBA, its Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. 

If Gallinari develops, D’Antoni can work his offensive magic to get Curry and Randolph to be productive, and the Knicks do something smart with the many, many millions coming off the books this year, NYK can compete for a low playoff seed while working it’s way out of the tangled mess known as Isiah Thomas’ legacy.  After 7 years of ineptitude, I am a humble and patient man.

Catch a glimpse of Gallinari in action here:

Isiah Thomas Replaced, and Now My Dog Won’t Die

April 2, 2008

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After 5+ years of doing everything in his power to DESTROY BASKETBALL IN NEW YORK, Isiah Thomas’ reign of darkness as general manager of the Knicks is finally over. Holy crap that feels good to say.  The Knicks are and always will be my favorite sports team, and I have stuck with them through thick and thin, but this season in particular has been the greatest test of loyalty I have ever faced in my 14 years as a Knicks fan.  Not only are the Knicks on their way to the first 60-loss season in the history in their storied history, but the amount of  embarrassments suffered by members of the organization on and off the court this year has greatly contributed to an atmosphere in Knicks-Universe that can be described only as PUTRID.  Putrid as in a dead dog carcass infested with colonies of maggots that you walk by on the side of the road but smelled the block before, and upon passing realized it was your dog.  Now imagine that instead of the carcass being on the side of the road so that you can simply hold your breath and walk by it, the carcass is in the middle of a 5×5 concrete cell that you are locked into, seemingly with no hope of escape.  Now imagine that a crazy inmate breaks free from his cell and pulls the latch that opens all the cells in the prison complex that your cell is in.  Your gate opens, and you thrust yourself towards the exit in one great leap..but then you stop short behind the the steel gate and latch onto the bars, unconsciously clinching them with all of your might, your body trembling as you try to come to terms with the decision your heart has already made for you…that you love that God-forsaken dog and you would never leave it, even though you could, even though the other selfish opportunistic inmates encourage you to do so and chide you as a fool for not running away and being a Nets fan while you had the chance.  Then they all run away, leaving you to wallow in your misery, knowing that, open gates or not, you never seriously thought about trying to escape…but then suddenly you close your eyes and push back the tears that have welled up by remembering that you never really wanted to, because you LOVE that freaking dog. You love it, Goddamit, and you don’t care who knows it, and it may stink all to be damned and make your skin crawl at the very sight of it, but you still can’t imagine yourself going anywhere without it.

Well, the Knicks were that dog, and I, along with the 12 other true DIEHARD Knicks fans remaining in the world, was that inmate.  The other inmates encouraging you to leave were the parasitic band-wagon-jumping fake Knicks fans who double as your friends in between games. Isiah Thomas was the flesh eating virus that was tearing the dog apart. Jim Dolan, the idiot owner of the Knicks, was the evil corrupted psycho veterinarian that injected the virus into the dog, and gave the virus a CONTRACT EXTENSION last year so that it could do even more damage. isiah-spoof.jpg

I don’t want to jump to any conclusions about Donnie Walsh, Thomas’ replacement, by hailing him as some kind of messiah who can resurrect the Knicks from the dead… I dunno, maybe he’ll be like the blonde cheerleader from Heroes who has the ability to heal herself, and Donnie could give the Knicks some of his super-healing blood and help resuscitate the franchise (I think that’s a more fair comparison..the cheerleader is pretty, but I still think Jesus is more impressive – raising the dead ain’t as easy as it sounds).

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Here is a very quick completely unresearched regurgitation of why Isiah Thomas was the most horrible GM in the history not just of GMs but rather in the history of all living organisms:

-the Jared Jeffries contract

-the Malik Rose trade

-the Tim Thomas trade (KVH had less years left..i think)

-being the only GM in the NBA dumb enough to trade for Jalen Rose, giving up a huge expiring contract in the process, only to promptly WAIVE HIM and eat almost the entire contract when it itself was about to expire and provide a huge trading chip (!!!!!)

-acquiring Marbury and Hardaway only cuz Thomas saw himself in Marbury…then trading the HUGE expiring contract of Penny Hardaway for STEVE FRANCIS’ HUGE contract…then later trading Steve Francis’ HUGE EXPIRING contract for Zach Randolph’s HUGE long-term contract (!!!!)

-giving up great draft pics for Eddy Curry, who Isiah doesn’t even give minutes to anymore

-Hiring Larry Brown and giving him the richest coaching contract in the NBA. He was terrible fit for the Knicks and for Thomas, as Brown has a short fuse and needed to have total roster control, which Thomas would never be willing to relinquish, and subsequently firing Brown for a bullshit contract violation and but paying him most of the money anyway, as ruled by an arbitrator.

-The Anucha Brown Sanders sexual harassment trial (“all I did was put my arms around her and ask her for a kiss, and then she pushed me away and I said, what ‘Nuche, no love?”  What a jerk.)

-the planned attack on Carmelo Anthony that resulted in a brawl and several lengthy suspensions.  It was symbolic of Thomas’ dirty style of play as a former player the lack of integrity he exhibits as a person, and set a horrible example for a team loaded with rookies who worshipped him.

-the JEROME JAMES signing. (I just threw up a little)

jerome-james.jpg Stop staring at me, you slow, chunky bastard.

 The crazy thing is I probably forgot at least 10 other huge bonehead moves.  Donnie Walsh will exhibit the fiscal responsibility Thomas had absolutely no regard for and implement a long-term, team-oriented philosophy rather than go after the biggest name on the market every season.  And unless Jim Dolan gets in the way, Walsh will also relieve Thomas of his responsibilities as coach of the Knicks, and then file a restraining order stating that Isiah Thomas must remain at a distance from the Knicks that is no closer to New York than the great sovereign nation of Tibet, in the hopes that Thomas will not know that Tibet is not a sovereign nation and will thus wander in search of it even farther east and into China, where he will ask a Chinese politician for directions to the great sovereign nation of Tibet and subsequently be arrested and subjected to Chinese Water Torture (this video is funny because I think having to hang out with those girls is actually worse than real Chinese Water Torture), and since the media in China is censored it will never make it onto Google and the world will forget about Thomas and years he tried to destroy the Knicks.

I think I just saw my dog open his eyes.  

I am proud to say that I stayed behind to be there when it did.

Let’s go Knicks!

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My Turkish Adventure – Prologue

April 1, 2008

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I haven’t gone yet.  Notice how ‘yet’ is in bold?  I am trying to emphasize that while I havent gone yet, I will go in a little while.  By a little while I mean about 6 months. The busy season for Turkish travel dies down in early October, which is important cuz I wanna bump elbows with TURKS, not American tourists passing by Istanbul during their 10 Cities in 10 Days trip. I’ll be in Turkey for about 12 days, followed or preceded by a yet TBD side trip.  Going to Turkey has been my dream vacation since travelling became a huge priority for me after I graduated from college.  I can’t think of another country that boasts as concentrated and massive a medley of intact ancient and modern historical sites and ruins, or one with as much evidence of cultural diffusion.  Turkey – its sites, architecture, food, language, clothing, and the very faces of its people – is all tangible history, a story waiting to be told, one so vast and voluminous that almost everyone can trace the influence of it somewhere down their own ancestral line. 

Though this is the prologue to my trip, my adventure began as soon as I bought my guidebook and started planning my trip.  I was considering, for the first time ever, taking an extended guided tour around the country, but decided against it and am happy I did.  I like the liberty of deciding what to do and where to go without having to worry about missing a bus every day…and who knows, maybe Ill  meet a cutie who’ll convince me to stay in a particular city a little longer…a man can wish, cant he? 

turkey-hedo.jpg How is there not a Hedo Turkoglu museum in Turkey? This guy is their best athlete aNd has ‘Turk’ in his last name. 

Just flipping through the guidebook, looking at pictures, and reading reviews has gotten me so excited to go, but also has been a distraction.  My task now is not to plan every detail, but to understand the highlights of the various cities and plan a basic roadmap so that I can estimate how long I should plan my trip there, as well as figuring out how to include my excursion-on-the-side to a nearby country, so that I can buy my ticket while the prices are low.  This part is so Goddamn hard cuz every city looks amazing and I cant live there cuz I wouldnt have a visa or a job or friends or knowledge of Turkish which by the way in english transliteration is so completely not phonetic I might get my ass kicked by a huge Turkish oil wrestler for mangling their language.

turkey-map.jpg  I’ve narrowed down where I want to visit.  I can definitely pull it off in one trip…I just wouldnt have a job to come back to.

It’s impossible to see everything in such a short time, but I want a good mix of modern and ancient, city and countryside, mosques and mountains…ok I want it all, sue me.  Or better yet, educate me, cuz I really need to pick the brain of someone who’s been there and can offer me advice other than where to get a good doner kepab; I’m going to Turkey, not Mamoun’s.

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Bracketology Bullsh*t and the REAL March Madness

March 19, 2008

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Freak College BBall and filling out brackets you stole from your favorite sportswriter (with a few tweaks of your own based on teams whose jersey colors you like the most).  College sports aren’t intimate enough.  Weird schools Ive never heard of with names like Texas Christian Southern Baptist Marxist or Western South Dakota or George Winthrop Davidson Billy Bob Bubba Mason or Sacred Heart of our Father and Mother and Baby Mama and cousin RayRay or American Eagles  (I think their mascot’s name is Abercrombie) are far too meddlesome and keep me from caring about sports at that level.  College sports were created so that students at schools with campuses way out in the boondocks can have something to channel their energy into other than weed, cocaine, fornication, drunk driving, frat hazing, cow tipping, and quad streaking – basically, to prevent Old School from being the school’s official recruitment video.  Follow it if you have nothing better to do, but know this: it does not compare to the NBA playoff chase. 

The Western conference playoff chase is one of the closest ever, where only a handful of games separate the top seed from the bottom seed, where every game has huge playoff implications – we’re not talking about positioning here, we’re talking about a team finishing more than 10 games above .500 and not even in the damn thing.  That’s not even mentioning the fact that so many of the huge powerhouse matchups this month have featured top teams that were part of recent blockbuster trades, either by sending out key pieces for aging superstars and praying to God that they won’t end up in the geriatric ward before the end of the season (Mavs, Suns), or by extorting a rival GM with a naked picture of his wife in the backseat of Stephon Marbury’s jeep in order to get him to send over his team’s best player in exchange for garbage (Lakers – that is the only viable explanation for the Pau Gasol trade).  That adds a huge dimension of drama to these already meaningful games, as all of these trades were made for one reason – to turn already good teams into title contenders.  Out east you have Boston (which did its superstar shopping in the offseason) and Detroit making legitimate claims to be the best team in the league, Philly refusing to rebuild and making noise with a cast of spare parts (but winning against some quality teams on the way), Orlando widening the gap up top on the watermelon-lookin shoulders of Dwight the beast Howard, and of course BronBron putting up intergalactic numbers to keep his team in the pack.  Throw in the Houston Rockets and their amazing and recently ended (more like murdered) 22-game win streak (second all-time in league history); AI going back to the franchise he [re]BUILT in Philly to battle the feisty Sixers and the other AI; Glen Taylor, owner of the worst team of the league, calling out KG now that he left to play for the best team in the league; and the Kobe/LeBron/Chris Paul/T-Mac/Jamal Crawford MVP race (Crawford plays 53 minutes a game for the Knicks, and there are only 48 minutes in the game. that’s value.), and NCAA sports just can’t match this type of drama…this type of MADNESS.

My BACK-FROM-HIBERNATION Top TEN List

February 26, 2008

Sorry loyal patrons [which last time I counted meant..no one]. I havent posted anything in a while, it’s been a busy winter. I’ll give you a top-ten rundown of blog-worthy items that I wouldve written about if I wasn’t busy being a lazy bastard, in random order:

1. I went to Montreal in October with mon cheri..what a great city. Everyone is really laid back, there’s anactive night life, very scenic…of course I went before the usual 50 feet of snow fell, but whatever. Plus the Quebecois accent is really cool. One question: why do they smother their fries with that thick nasty gravy??? Even my turkey sandwich was covered in that mess. I think they call it poutine. I call it retarded. Freaking Amazon tribes that live in trees know that you eat fries with ketchup. One minus for an otherwise stellar town.

montreal-building.jpeg                                                   amazing building near McGill Universitymontreal-trees.jpeg                                                         the trees in late fall were gorgeousmontreal-sign.jpeg                                                                 this place was pretty empty..I wonder why? I know plenty of biker lesbians with short hair. 

montreal-fries.jpg                                                      blaaaaah

2. I had only the second fun new year’s eve of my life, hanging out with some frenchies: first pregaming at M&V’s pad [the red house], then the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem for a Jazz jam session, then central park for a smaller but just as impressive [and way less crowded] fireworks presentation. Then back to the red house to get trashed. Good times.

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3. Movies/Netflix — don’t remember everything I saw but here goes:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was an interesting film about a dude who suffers a stroke and tries to find meaning in his life despite being 99% paralyzed…it’s slow, but no snoozer.

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Across the Universe was only mildly entertaining as the movie-musical that bring The Beatles songs to life..I love the beatles but c’mon, the lyrics are cheesy and making a movie based on them is pretty lame…good acting, but this one was doomed from the start.

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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN— holy crap this movie is awesome and deserves all the acclaim. Tommy Lee Jones and the psycho Euro guy were straight up BADASS.

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Ugly Betty, Season 1: I tried hard to like it cuz the main chick is from Queens, but borough-based allegiances only go so far. The writing and acting is weaK; it tries way too hard to be diabolical and the punchlines are too obvious. Plus the show is based on the chick being butt ugly while working with supermodels, when its obvious that she’s not even too bad lookin..they just give her huge braces and dress her like a dork. Put some Sean Jean velour on her, get her hair did by a Dominicana, and strap on some clear braces, and I know plenty of dudes that would tap that. Anyway, the show is boring.

ugly-betty-1.jpg     <see?>                                                               ugly-betty-2.jpg

Rome, Season 2: I just finished season 2 and this is one awesome show. It’s like No Country for Old Men meets Braveheart. Violent but not pointlessly, with plenty of suspense. But damn it is gory. Me likey.

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Deadwood: Another BADASS WESTERN theme done great. I’m a few episodes into season 1 and this shit is cold hearted drama. I read negative reviews from ppl who didnt like the show because, “OMG, why do they have to use such foul langauge?” or “there is so much violence, I couldn’t watch this with my kids.” Uhh, NO SHIT dumbass. This is the Wild West in the 1800s, gold miners clawing through Native American territories, outside the realm of the law, trying to make some change by mining in mountains for gold theyve heard of but never seen. This isn’t little house on the prairie, and if I was digging all day and didnt find any gold, Id get wasted, curse someone out, and go to the whorehouse for a little consolation too. It’s called being realistic. Put the kids to bed, grow some stones and enjoy the damn show. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed the trend, HBO produces some kick-ass TV shows.                                                                 deadwood.jpg

Next on my list of shows to watch on Netflix: I heard Dexter wasnt all that great but I’m curious so I think I’ll give it a shot [plus the main role is played by the guy from 6 feet under, which was an amazing show]. Plus it’s a Showtime production, and Weeds was so good that I’m hoping it meets the standard. I also got into watching Law and Order SVU, which is great because every show is so freaking suspenseful and well crafted, and you can watch it in any order because their is so little character development that you won’t ever be confused..each episode is completely dedicated to solving the latest crime mystery. I love no-commitment entertainment [Netflix related and, apparently, otherwise]. Btw…the Asian psychologist guy on SVU is a total closet case. Btw#2…How the hell does Ice-T [IceD-T?] have a job? He is a ridiculously bad actor. I think the producers mustve realized that he actually sucked to the point that he unwittingly provides comic relief, with his wannabe badass one-liners. That they partnered him with the other weird guy who wears sunglasses all the time only enhances the funny-by-accident theme. Those producers are clever ones.

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4. WTF is up with those damn selfish lazy writers! I miss watching The Office and 30 Rock! SEE, I don’t watch TV for years and then I commit to watching those shows, and then they stop writing midseason. This is why I’m so emotionally screwed up! And the strike’s been over forever now and still no new episodes till April? They knew it was gonna get resolved eventually, so couldnt they just keep writing and hand over the scripts when this thing got resolved? The unreliability of TV is reason No. 346 why NETFLIX is awesome.

5. I went to DR to visit my friend who lives there as a Peace Corps volunteer. I stayed in her camp in Moca, which was gheTTo but quaint and friendly, and we traveled all over, thru Santo Domingo and into the beaches of Bayahibe. I’m not into the resort thing or hanging with crazy spoiled underage spring-breakers intent on winning the race to cirrhosis; it was cool to meet the locals and live in their shoes for a short while. The local food wasn’t anything to write home about, but beware of TOSTONES, which are fried carB-Bombs that taste best covered in salt and ketchup. Dangerous stuff.

Bayahibe Sunset                  Bayahibe by night

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6. 3 amazing frenchies in my life have fallen victim to ridiculous American visa laws and have to move back to Europe. I am thinking about following them out of spite for America. Oui, c’est vrai! My next post might be in French.  Or English with the occasional french curse word. That option is most likely. Merde!

7. THE GIANTS WON! THE GIANTS WON! THE BEST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS! TYREE MAKES THE CATCH! MANNING AVOIDS THE SACK! BURRESS PUTS THE G-MEN AHEAD…FOR GOOD! 18 AND 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

tyree.jpeg game-score.jpeg                                                                                  I took a picture of the TV I saw the game on in the Hard Rock Cafe in Santo Domingo

Perhaps my proudest day to be a New Yorker ever.

8. NBA trades galore!! Holy Crap! SHAQ, KIDD, MARION, GASOL!!?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Why couldnt the Knicks package their crap players in a deal? [oh yeah, because none of their awful contracts are expiring this year]. If Kobe’s pinky holds up, he gets his first championship sans the newly dubbed “Big Cactus” — believe it. That squad is nasty.

9. Mets + Johan Santana + determination after a terrible ’07 collapse = championship. Write that shit down, biatch [wow I missed saying that word].

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10. YES – WE – CAN! O-FUCKING-BAMA for president. BILLARY should be one of the whores that the angry gold-miners dig out every night in the saloon in Deadwood. I don’t mean that in a derogatory/misogynistic way…I’m just taking a page out of her campaign strategy book by thinking of anything I can say to make her look bad.obama.jpg

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Oh, and, I’m writing all this at work, so yeah, I’m still at the same job and thus have tons of free time to ruminate. Lucky y’all!