The NBA = Fantasy Basketball

It all started on draft day, when the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Great White North for a shovel, a bag of lime and a garbage bag.  Since then, all hell has broken loose around the NBA.  After that trade there was an obvious backlash from fans in Chicago upon receiving: Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and moving up 9 spots in the draft to select Lauri Markkanen.   Yikes.

In the aftermath, the NBA has gone all “Charlie’s Angels – Full Throttle” towards becoming the real life fantasy basketball league that we all wanted but never knew we needed.

Chris Paul opted-out of the Clippers road-side garbage-fire and took his State Farm Insurance branch to Houston.  In return, the Rockets will be sending the Clippers: Patrick Beverley, forward Sam Dekker, forward Montrezl Harrell, guard Darrun Hilliard, guard DeAndre Liggins, guard Lou Williams, forward Kyle Wiltjer, a future first-round pick, and cash considerations.  Although there are mis-leading reports about some of those fictitious players staying in Houston, still waiting for a full report on the details.

If LA was determined to grow their bench while simultaneously downgrading their PG situation, thus leading to a Blake Griffin departure…then they seem to have exceeded expectations.  Also, THIS.

Phil Jackson got his crazy ass fired from his zombie Knicks job.  The self-proclaimed “Zen Master” has Zenned himself right out a job with the storied franchise while 99% of Knicks fans all sigh together in complete exhaustion.   Seriously what’s been worse overall:  1) Being a Knicks fan during Phil Jackson’s time in office. 2)  Being a 76ers fan and being forced to “Trust The Process” ever since Iverson left.  3) Being a Kings fan…in general this must be a self-mutilating disease of an existence.

Jackson managed to make a bad franchise even worse over the last 3 years, causing everybody’s rich douchey uncle (James Dolan) to eat the $25 million he still owes Phil just to get him out of Madison Square Garden.  Jackson’s tenure will be highlighted by:

(a) His ability to sign Melo to a ridiculous extension at age 30 (Carmelo Anthony signed a 5 year / $124,064,681 contract with the New York Knicks, including $124,064,681 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $24,812,936. In 2017-18, Anthony will be 36 years old and earn a base salary of $26,243,760).  

(b) Signing Joakim Noah after the Bulls broke his back in half (Joakim Noah signed a 4 year / $72,590,000 contract with the New York Knicks, including $72,590,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $18,147,500. In 2017-18, Noah will earn a base salary of $17,765,000), he’s played in 75 out of a possible 164 games in the past 2 years.

(c) Accidentally drafting a future star in Kristaps Porzingis, and then alienating him and pissing him off so much that the 21 year old skipped his exit interview with the Knicks at the end of the 2016-17 season.

(d) Attempting to continue the tradition of his “Triangle Offense” in the NBA, forcing it upon ill-equipped players and coaches who don’t understand it.  The triangle offense worked perfectly when Phil had players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.  But asking Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to do the same is like asking George Costanza to explain Marine Biology.

Scottie!  Scottie!  Get the ball to Michael and get the hell outta the way!

Lastly, today we met the Sacramento Kings newest soon to be traded asset:  Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic!  With the 27th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Bogdan Bogdanovic (not to be confused with Wizards forward Bojan Bogdanovic or famed Serbian architect Bogdan Bogdanovic). Three years later, Bogdanovic is finally coming to play in the NBA, reportedly agreeing a three-year, $36 million dollar deal with the Sacramento Kings. That’s the highest amount a rookie has ever made in the NBA, and a huge chunk of change to pay for a dude who has yet to play at the highest level. So who is this guy?

I can’t wait to see what happens next with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Paul George, Gordon Hayward and of course, Lebron James’ Cavs.  On the highway of life that is the NBA, we’re all just broken down jilopies on the shoulder watching the Warriors fly by in a Ferrari.

 

The Greatest Goal in UMBC Soccer History

Admittedly, I don’t know much about the small college in Baltimore, Maryland other than it’s mascot is a retreiver and according to wikipedia they’re notable alumni consists of a guy named Duff who apparently is a pastry chef on The Food Network and Kathleen Turner may or may not have attended classes there at some point.

But then this happened: Christos FC, an amateur Baltimore soccer team that never practices and is headquartered in a liquor store, was playing a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match against D.C. United of MLS. In the 23rd minute, Mamadou Kansaye scored on a free kick to give his club a 1-0 lead over the three-time Open Cup champs.

Kansaye, like many of Christos FC’s players, played soccer at UMBC.  And the liquor store crowd went crazy:

 

Warriors Win NBA Finals – Javale McGee Finally Gets His Ring

Javale McGee = NBA Champion 

Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Allen Iverson, Dominique Wilkins, Chris Paul and George Gervin = NOT Javale McGee

The rat-tailed, 7-foot basketball-Narnia-journeyman of the NBA finally reached a pinnacle that MANY of the greats have never ascended.  Despite being a player who by all accounts should be an unguardable force forged by the Greek God of athletics (Hermes) himself, previous to this moment Mr. McGee seemed to never quite grasp his natural surroundings, similar to a jheri-curl or a mullet.

Perhaps Javale’s basketball prowess could be more aptyl compared to a baby deer standing on a frozen pond for the better part of purgatory, he only seems to comprehend images six inches in front of his face while he floats amidst the tress, vaguely reminiscient of an elderly man lost in a mall parking lot.

And yet here he is now, NBA Champion and Supreme Leader of Braided Rat-Tail Enthusiasts.

Trump’s America…am I right?!?!

 

 

 

 

Willie Mays-Hayes Sighting in Atlanta As “The Freeze”

If you have siblings, and you were blessed by the good lord (praise be, under his eye) to be the oldest one of the bunch, you will revell in this athletic display of rivalry-dominance:

The 12-year-old, alpha-pre-teen version of myself mercilessly instituted a similar game plan with my younger brother when he was 5 or 6 years old (or however much younger he is than me, I’m the older brother so I can’t be bothered with dates and birthdays):

“I’ll give ya a 30 second head-start” was as classic as “I’ll play left-handed” or “I promise I won’t block your shot” or the ultimate: “Go deep…..keep going….yeah deeper….yeah keep going….yeah keep running….”

“The Freeze” will be running the basepaths and hitting lead-off for the Cleveland Indians within the week, you can guarantee it.

 

 

Sebastian Telfair Steps Up His Game

Former NBA Journeyman And Prep Phenom Sebastian Telfair Reportedly Arrested With Lots And Lots Of Guns

Image: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Former NBA journeyman Sebastian Telfair was arrested in Brooklyn Sunday morning and charged with possession of a terrifying arsenal of weapons, ammunition, and bulletproof vests, according to an NBC New York report.

NBA fans of a certain age will remember Telfair as a legendary Brooklyn high school point guard who backed out of a commitment to play for Rick Pitino at Louisville in order to enter the 2004 NBA draft, and wound up going to the Trail Blazers with the 13th pick. Telfair’s prestige as a professional basketball player can be tracked pretty tidily by the players he was traded for during his nine years in the NBA: from Portland to the Celtics in 2006 in a deal that ultimately returned Brandon Roy to the Blazers; from the Celtics to the Timberwolves in 2007 as part of a package that returned Kevin Garnett to Boston; from the Wolves to the Clippers in 2009 in a deal that sent a declining Quentin Richardson to Minnesota; from the Clippers to the Cavs in 2010 as part of a complex deal that brought along Antawn Jamison’s corpse to Cleveland; from the Cavs back to Minnesota in 2010 in a deal for Ramon Sessions; and, finally, to the Toronto Raptors in 2013 in a deal for [gulp] Hamed Haddadi. Telfair last played professionally for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Telfair was arrested in 2007 and pled guilty to criminal possession of a weapon after a loaded handgun was found under the passenger seat of a car he was driving in Yonkers. In the years since he seems to have graduated from unwittingly transporting the odd pistol:

Telfair, 32, and another man, Jami Thomas, 18, were found with three loaded firearms, a semi-automatic rifle, ammunition and a bullet-resistant vest, police said. Two bags of marijuana and a burning marijuana cigarette were also allegedly found in the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup with Florida plates.

A Bunch Of Math Attempting To Convince Me That The Current Warriors Are Better Than The 90’s Bulls

The Complete History Of The NBA

How do you rate an NBA team across decades of play? One method is Elo, a simple measure of strength based on game-by-game results. We calculated Elo ratings for every NBA (and ABA) franchise after every game in history — over 60,000 ratings in total. Read more: How this works | 2016-17 rankings and picks

WARRIORS

Golden State (1971-), San Francisco (1962-71), Philadelphia (1946-62)
Four championships

Elo ratings have a simple formula; the only inputs are the final score of each game, and where and when it was played. Teams always gain Elo points for winning. But they get more credit for upset victories and for winning by larger margins. Elo ratings are zero-sum, however. When the Houston Rockets gained 49 Elo points by winning the final three games of their Western Conference semifinal during this year’s playoffs, that meant the Los Angeles Clippers lost 49 Elo points.

A rating of 1500 is approximately average, although the league average can be slightly higher or lower depending on how recently the league has expanded. (Expansion teams begin with a 1300 rating.) Select a team above, and zoom in to explore its history.


1990s Bulls: Formerly The Best There Ever Was

bulls5It’s no surprise that the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — with 72 regular-season wins — had the best Elo rating ever until they were surpassed by the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Chicago picked up its fourth NBA championship at the end of that season, but the Bulls hit their peak Elo (1853) a few games earlier when they stomped the SuperSonics 108-86 in Seattle to take a 3-0 lead in the finals and improve their playoff record to 14-1. Chicago went into a “slump” for the next two games — losing both by double digits — before clinching the title in Game 6.


The Lakers’ 33 Games To Greatness

lakersGoing into the 1971-72 season, the Los Angeles Lakers had a middling 1496 Elo rating, in part because their competition was watered down by the NBA’s rapid expansion (the league had gone from nine to 17 franchises in the span of several years). And anchored by aging veterans Elgin Baylor (37 years old), Wilt Chamberlain (35) and Jerry West (33), the team was supposed to be approaching the end of the era, a perception strengthened by Baylor’s retirement just nine games into the season.

Then: the streak. From Nov. 5 through Jan. 7, the Lakers reeled off 33 consecutive wins, raising their Elo rating over 200 points, from 1544 to 1753. That was the team’s peak rating for the season, although the Lakers did go on to win the 1972 title, the franchise’s sixth and its first since 1954.


The ’60s Celtics Don’t Get Any Respect

celticsThe Boston Celtics won 11 of 13 NBA titles from 1957 through 1969, a dominance unparalleled in modern sports. Elo doesn’t care about rings, though, and knocks the Celtics for their weak opponents and occasionally lackluster regular seasons (at least relative to their playoff achievements). Still, the Celtics’ Elo rating hung around 1700 (really good) for much of the era, and the team maintained an above-average Elo rating for over 13 years. Only the 1980s-era Lakers and the current San Antonio Spurs, a team with which those Celtics have a lot in common, put together similar streaks.


The Knicks Peaked A Long Time Ago

best_knicksThe 1969-70 season was a great one for New York basketball. Led by Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dave DeBusschere, the Knicks were 23-1 through Nov. 28 and hit an Elo rating of 1712 — the highest in franchise history. Things were a little less smooth after that: New York went 37-21 to close out the regular season and was taken to seven games twice in the playoffs. By the time the Knicks won the franchise’s first title in May, their rating had fallen to 1591.

It’s been awhile since Nov. 28, 1969. No other active team has an Elo peak so long ago; the next closest are the Bucks (March 8, 1971) and Nets (Feb. 23, 1975, when they were still in the ABA). Every moment of Knicks daylight since — from Linsanity to Larry Johnson’s 4-point play — has not quite lived up to their former glory.

ESPN Is Bored As Hell – National Spelling Bee Coverage

The Quiet Darkness Of The National Spelling Bee

Alex Brandon/AP Images

OXON HILL, Md. — A row of metal detectors guards the hotel ballroom that stages the Scripps National Spelling Bee. There’s less than an hour until the final day kicks off with Round 4, but this main entrance is nearly empty—a trio of security guards are the only people here. I ask the woman who searches my bag if they check for dictionaries or giant flash cards with letters on them.

She looks at me blankly. No, she says. “Mostly knives and pepper spray, stuff like that.”

All of the bee’s latter rounds receive the same slickly produced high-stakes treatment on ESPN each year. For the very final rounds, at night, this seems to make sense—it’s the most intense competition, the biggest crowd, the primetime broadcast. But right now, it is 9:30 a.m. with 40 spellers remaining and Fall Out Boy blasting to pump up rows of empty seats. There are anxious parents, bored-looking siblings, and hardly anyone else apart from staffers and television crewmembers.

I’d been amazed a few days earlier when I looked up “national spelling bee tickets” on a whim only to discover that there were no tickets. No tickets at all! Anyone could just walk right in to this prestigious nationally broadcast event featuring our nation’s most talented youth! Wild! How blessed was I to be only a moderately-priced cab ride away from such glory? I couldn’t find anything on the process of securing a seat, but I imagined it would be difficult. A line that started forming hours in advance, probably, or adults holding their own spell-offs to decide line priority, or something. I decided to leave at least 90 minutes early to give myself a chance at getting in.

I left an hour early because I am incapable of getting ready efficiently, but I soon discovered that I could have been three hours late and been completely fine. I should not have been amazed that the National Spelling Bee is not a ticketed event, because it should have been self-evident that there is little-to-no demand to spend a beautiful spring day inside watching unfamiliar preteens melt under pressure over your morning coffee.

Family members are easily identified, both by a tag that declares their speller of choice and also by their conspicuous stress levels. There are very, very few people who seem to be here for anything so ordinary as entertainment. I ask a bee staff member if it’s really so weird to attend simply because you want to. She cheerfully informs me that plenty of people come to watch solely as spelling enthusiasts. I don’t see any of them now. The staff member notes that the majority of these people come for the evening rounds.

It’s only after the better part of a round that I realize that entertainment was the wrong foundation for the question. The bee is captivating, but there is nothing entertaining here. It is extraordinarily uncomfortable peeling back the sheen of production to watch it unfold live during the day—an awkward intimacy in seeing just how tiny the spellers are in person, how harsh the lights and how big the stage for a half-empty room made to seem full on a television broadcast. There are pre-recorded introductions for the kids who are favored or who have the most compelling stories, and their tape plays on an enormous screen above their heads as they stand alone on center-stage below.

The pre-taped versions of the children flash their braces with big smiles and talk about how much they love the Hamilton soundtrack while their real-life counterparts fidget anxiously under the spotlight and wait to be given a word. Each makes the other feel wrong, and it’s hard to know which one to look at.