The NBA Is A Shit-Show Right Now

As we approach the NBA All-Star break (Feb 17-19), it seems that just about everybody in the Eastern conference is ready to take a weekend off of work.  Tensions have been rising in Chicago, New York and even in Cleveland where the King is unhappy upon his thrown, peering down amongst his constituents with a scowl that would make bitch-face uneasy.

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The NBA’s drama all started to hit the fan when earlier this week, Chicago’s Dwayne Wade explained how his teammates completely sucked, while talking in a post-game interview that threw a wrench into the Bull’s bicycle spokes:

“I’m 35 years old, man,’’ Wade said. “I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts (teammates). They have to want it.”

–Dwayne Wade

Jimmy Butler chimed in:

“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah, but I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times,” Jimmy Butler said after scoring just 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting one night after he played 56 minutes against the Pistons. “I know Fred is a laidback guy and I respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you gotta get on guys, myself included. You gotta do what you’re supposed to do when you’re out there playing basketball.

“We weren’t doing what were supposed to be doing, what we wrote on that board before the game. Nobody spoke up. I did, but probably not enough times. I think he has to hold everybody accountable, from the No. 1 player, all the way down. Everyone has to do their job.”

And apparently Rajon Rondo chimed in via instagram as well:

“My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn’t change the plan because it didn’t work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”

Chicago sounds like a dumpster fire right now, they’re 23-24 overall and spiraling out of control, Fred Hoiberg is on the hot seat.

****UPDATE: Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade will start the game tonight on the bench as a punishment.

The next big, weird, awkward happening is in the Big, Weird, Awkward Apple.  Carmelo Anthony is on the trading block, the latest rumor is a move to the LA Clippers for some combination of Jamaal Crawford (hasn’t he played for the Knicks like 4 times already?), J.J. Redick, and/or Austin Rivers.  My guess is that there will have to be a draft pick fixed into this move on both sides as well.  A Big-4 in LA could be forming with the likes of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony, a solid core that will fight for that 2nd seed in the Western conference for the foreseeable future.

In addition to the Melo-trade talks, Phil Jackson seems to have lost control of this franchise (assuming he ever had control).  Whatever the hell offense they were trying to put together has now been dismantled by ZERO ball movement (Melo), ZERO outside shooting, ZERO defense, while Head Coach/scapegoat Jeff Hornacek gives ZERO fucks anymore:

“I don’t think our guys aren’t trying. Maybe we’re just not capable of it. I don’t know,” Hornacek said. “That’s what we’re going to have to figure out. Maybe you have to play some of these other guys. We might have to mix the lineup up somehow.”

–Jeff Hornacek

If “playing some of these other guys” includes giving Johkim Noah more floor-tic, Phil should just fire Hornacek now and put him out of his misery.

Derrick Rose pulled a disappearing act a few weeks ago, it’s still relatively unexplained as to what really happened with that.  In addition, D-Rose is shooting way too much.  In the last 5 games – all losses – Rose has taken 21.2 shots a game.  In games where Rose plays and the Knicks win, he averages 13.6 FGA.  In losses he averages 17.7 FGA.

And finally, this week Lebron James aired his grievances in true Costanzian form by taking to the media to complain about his front office NOT going hard after Melo, or any other available superstar.  Despite spending more than any other NBA franchise this season, Lebron isn’t content.  The Cavs (30-14) are currently committed to $127.5 million in salaries and $27 million in luxury taxes for this season.  They’ve spent more than any other NBA team over the three-years since Lebron came back.  The most recent acquisition was sharp-shooter Kyle Korver, who has yet to fully mesh with the Cavs’ offensive flow.

While Lebron spoke about the younger, less experienced players like Kay Felder, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae on the Cavs roster:

“No disrespect to DeAndre and to Kay: You think we can rely on them to help us win a playoff game right now?” James said. “And it’s no disrespect to them. But it’s like, it’s not fair to them.”

–Lebron James

I can understand that Lebron wants to remain competitive, you can see he’s smart enough to realize that they’re chasing the Warriors after the Durant addition.  But going media first is always the wrong way to handle things.  Why does this keep happening?  The NBA is plagued by players who are reporting to the media first before handling issues internally, then they complain about the media being too on top of them.  The past two weeks seem particularly gossipy and complainy, maybe the NBA needs a quick break.  All-Star weekend can’t get here soon enough.

 

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Pop For President In 2020

Who do we need to call to make this a real thing?  Is there a petition we need to start?  Can Obama help make this happen?

More from Coach Pop:

“I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all of that. My final conclusion is, my big fear is—we are Rome.”

Coach Pop and Bernie for President/Vice President in 2020!!!

Dec 18, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on the sidelines against the Los Angeles Clippers at the AT&T Center. San Antonio won 115-107. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

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Let’s make America NOT-Russia again!

Ranking The Remaining Playoff QBs

We’ve reached the NFL’s Final Four (all rights reserved by the NCAA), only the toughest, meanest and most photogenic teams are left.  Well, except for the Steelers, they re-define “ugly football”.

This weekend the REAL playoffs begin, let’s be honest no one out there really believed in Houston, Las Vegas (Oakland), Kansas City the ghost of Seattle and/or the Jerry Jones disciples in Dallas.  The cream of the crop and the superstars always show-out in the playoffs, I’m talking about players and coaches combined.  The Pats are a pillar of consistency for the AFC championship game, the Tim Allen of the NFL, if you will permit me to obscurely reference (doesn’t it seem like he’s ALWAYS working??).  New England is in their 6th straight AFC championship game; death, taxes and Patriots in the AFC Championship game are the only absolutes in this life.  Good luck to you Steeler fans, don’t forget your live-streaming devices.

Divisional Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

In the NFC, we’ve got two incredibly hot (so hot right now) teams in what will be the Mad Max of an NFC Championship game.  Absolute chaos lead by pass-crazy, do everything yourself, not following any of society’s rules, Quarterbacks both vying for the sweat cream of a trip to the Superbowl.   Aaron Rodgers has been borderline videogame satus, throwing darts and strikes like he was Michael van Gerwen or Ravichandran Ashwin.  Extra points if you can tell me who either of those guys are, without clicking the links.

With the remaining gunslingers left in the NFL-Koi pond, the question naturally arises:  Who’s the best QB left in the playoffs, RIGHT NOW?

Obviously, these four passers are among the league leaders in just about every category.  One of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan is likely to win the AP’s MVP award this season, while Ben Roethlisberger isn’t far off from their 2016 standard.  Roethlisberger comes in as the 10th-best passer in the league by opponent-adjusted Total QBR, while Ryan, Brady and Rodgers each rank in the top four. The only top-four passer missing is Dak Prescott, who’s soul was imploded by Rodgers on Sunday.

So who ya got?  RIGHT NOW, leading your team the rest of the way?

Tom Brady:

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He’s Tom Brady.  12-time Pro Bowler, 4-time Superbowl Champ, 2-time Superbowl MVP.  And just to re-iterate the point, he’s TOM BRADY.   Over the last 5 games (Houston, Miami, New York Jets, Denver and Baltimore) Mr. Bundchen has gone 101 out of 168 for 1,371 yds and 11 TDs.  He’s had a QBR of 74.96 and the golden locks of an angel high on heavenly opiates.  He’s gone 5-0 against 3 of the NFL’s top 10 defenses to round out his yellow-brick road travels to the AFC Championship game.

Ben Roethlisberger:

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Big Ben, the 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time Superbowl champ has been his normal, scrambly, impossible to freaking tackle, water-buffalo with a rocket for an arm-self in 2016.  When Ben is healthy, he’s a Top 5 QB in the league.  He’s gone 5-0 to lead his Steel-curtain boys through the end of the regular season and make this AFC Championship run, beating Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City.  Over the last 5 games, Big Ben has gone 95 out of 149 for 1,206 yds and 6 TDs.  His QBR is only at 58.9, but it goes along with 2 broken ankles, 3 lacerated pelvises, 6 cracked vertebrae and a scorching case of herpes.  Big Ben is an animal, the guy only needs one leg and a half an arm to make a back-shoulder throw to Antonio Brown for a 70-yard touchdown.

Matt Ryan:

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Matt Ryan has been on a tear this season, posting career highs in basically every offensive category and making a very strong push for MVP of the league, not to mention being just a really, really nice guy.  I mean look at him , doesn’t he seem like the kind of guy that’d hold the door open for an old lady, or stop traffic for a family of ducks?  In his last 5 games, his overall QBR has been a staggering 86.68, which leads the remaining playoff QBs.  He’s thrown for 14 TDs (tied with Rodgers) and 1,469 yds in the last 5 games, taking the Falcons through LA, SF, Carolina, New Orleans and Seattle to finish the regular season strong and procure a spot in the NFC Championship.  If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers’ late game heroics and badly-acted but somehow still funny every time-State Farm commercials, EVERYONE would be talking about Matt Ryan’s MVP season in 2016.

Aaron Rodgers:

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Discount Double-Check has been damn near perfect over the last 5 games.  He’s raised his normal greatness to another level of ludicrous-greatness (we can’t stop, it’s too dangerous), and if he leads his injury-ridden Packers squad to the Superbowl then he’s solidified himself as the 2016 MVP and the biggest late-season hero in green since the Grinch gave the Whos from Whoville their presents back.  I’m not sure if it’s the luck of the Irish or if Aaron Rodgers has a deal with the devil, but he’s been on fire and seems unstoppable the rest of the way.   I’m not gonna give you any stats, cause Mr. Rodgers doesn’t need numbers to win games……nerd.

 

This Derrick Rose Thing Is Weird

College football is over, the NFL is winding down, although still very much a headline grabber for every sports media outlet.  Very soon all we’ll have left to complain about is “The Orange Is The New Black” in the White House and college/NBA basketball.

Just to get us warmed up, I introduced you all to the newest rising star in the NBA last week, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (he’s my new NBA man-crush, bare with me).

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Transitioning from the fun and exciting to the strange and progressively odd, let’s talk the Knicks’ Derrick Rose.  Reportedly, Rose was a no-call-no-show for the Pelicans game a few nights ago, citing “family issues” as the reason he went completely MIA and off the grid for 24 hours.

More reports have surfaced today about the incident, expanding on the details of this emerging story.

deadspin.com reported:

Rose, according to two independent sources who spoke to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, was such an emotional wreck Monday afternoon that his only solution was to abruptly leave the Knicks to be with his mother and his son.

In fact, Rose’s state of mind was such that for a brief time he talked about walking away from basketball for an extended period of time to clear his mind. That seems hard to believe since Rose is only 28 years old and could land a lucrative free agent contract this summer, something he talked about two years ago.

Derrick Rose sounds like a troubled young man, you can tell by his body-language and his general depressing demeanor.  Family issues are always tough, I would imagine even more amplified for professional athletes, but going completely off the grid with no communication is completely unacceptable behavior for any professional business or sports franchise at any level.   The Knicks need to cut/trade Rose or put him on extended leave from the team and let him get his personal life together.  The moment that a player talks about “walking away from basketball” at the age of 28, especially a former MVP who’s career has tanked lately due to injury, the sad truth is there’s no way that Rose is mentally stable enough to contribute to a team’s success or even be a decent teammate right now, much less a leader or effective point guard.

It’s hard to remember some times that professional athletes are real people with real emotional problems, Derrick Rose is a tough kid from the projects of Chicago who’s outlet (seemingly) has always been basketball.  Since his injury problems and eventual trade from his home town of Chicago to New York, he hasn’t been the same player on the court, and I would imagine it’s finally taken it’s toll on him off the court.  Maybe he’s hit the breaking point mentally?

2016 was a tumultuous year for Rose, he was traded from Chicago to New York and basically told by his home town team that they were done waiting on him to recover from his multiple injuries/surgeries, essentially cutting bait of him and making him some one else’s problem.  Then there was the very public rape case that he was eventually found not-liable for…..

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Have you ever seen a rape case get thrown out that leads into a photo shoot between the defendant and the jurors?!?!?  Well, you have now:

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Jurors John and Jared pose with Derrick Rose and his attorney, Mark Baute, in the lobby of the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. The jury had cleared Rose in the civil trial earlier in the day. Photo: Diana Moskovitz/Deadspin

Several articles have come out over the last few days concerning this topic, it seems like the media snowball is rolling and picking up steam on the Knicks point guard.  I’m sure more details and insight will continue to surface, this may be just the tip of the iceberg.  Just for entertainment purposes (and a gag reflex), check out Greg Anthony’s take on the situation here.

Just to clarify, Greg Anthony isn’t the most credible source to be discussing “unacceptable behavior”.  

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Community Service erases crimes right?

Maybe somebody should tell Mr. Anthony to take a seat on this one?

 

You Should Know Giannis Antetokounmpo

Pronounced “YAN-iss  AH-DEN-de-Koombo”.

Say it with me now……Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Well done.

“The Greek Freak” or sometime known as “The Alphabet”,  is the latest superstar to emerge in the NBA, albeit for a team (Milwaukee Bucks) that casual NBA fans probably thought was an NBDL squad up until reading this article.  Sorry Milwaukee, but most people couldn’t find you on a map if their life depended on it.  You’re the Delaware of the midwest.

Just to clarify that video clip, check out where he took off from for that dunk………….Giannis is a silky-smooth 7’0″, 220 lb comic-book athlete with the grace and length of a Princess Diana-Simpsons hybrid creature gifted to our basketball community from Hermes (Greek God of Athletics) himself.

  • If you don’t get that reference it’s ok, I’ll spell it out for you…..Princess Diana was extremely graceful and known for her beauty and poise, while The Simpsons is the longest running scripted TV show in the history of the boob-tube.  Diana=grace, The Simpsons=length….got it?  Grace and Length. 

He’s been compared to Russell Westbrook due to his explosive and unprecedented athleticism.  Some have put him in the Kevin Durant category due to his incredible length and ability.  There’s been mention of classics like George Gervin and even Magic Johnson.  But in my mind only one comparison truly fits, Scottie Pippen 2.0 or as I like to call him, “Scottie Pippen Part 2 –  If a Gazelle Could Ice Skate”.

If you stood Giannis side-by-side next to Kristaps Porzingas and told them to group hug the USC marching band, their palms would touch in Australia and their fingers would interlock off the coast of Madagascar.

According to basketballreference.com , Giannis is officially a “Shooting Guard and Small Forward and Point Guard”:

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He can guard any position on the floor, he can score from anywhere on the floor and at only 22 years old, he’s leading his Bucks in basically every category this season at 23.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 5.8 apg, pushing hard (and well-deserved) for an all-star spot in 2017.

NBA scouts often use a word that can be the kiss of death for some while being evaluated, that word is “potential”.  In some cases this word is code for an incredible athlete who has a lot of work to do in specific skill-sets and/or the mental game needs to vastly improve.  But in this case, the “potential” for Giannis is off the charts, even if the outlier reference-point is Russell Westbrook.  There’s no kiss of death “potential” for “The Greek Freak”, in the immortal words of Biggie Smalls, the sky is the limit.

 

 

2017 College Football Re-Rankings

Reranking the New Year’s Top Ten Teams

(originally posted on espn.com)

Not only do we now have two finalists for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T and a clear No. 1 and No. 2 heading into Monday’s game (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) between Alabama and Clemson, we also have a completed season for everyone else.

We know more now than we did on Dec. 4, when the CFP selection committee laid out the semifinals and the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls, decisions that weren’t devoid of controversy at the time. That means we can rework the speculation of the final CFP rankings into something that is (slightly) more objective, as the two human polls will do on Jan. 10.

So here’s a reranking of the 12 teams selected for the New Year’s Six bowls.

1. Alabama

The struggling passing game sent up an itty-bitty red flag, and it’s difficult not to raise an eyebrow at offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s sudden departure for his new job and the elevation of Steve Sarkisian. But the result of the CFP semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl was nonetheless a decisive 24-7 takedown of Washington. The Crimson Tide are the defending national champions, and as they look to become the first 15-0 team in college football history, they are the kings until someone else takes the throne.

2. Clemson

The Tigers’ 31-zip domination of Ohio State was spectacular football in all phases. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and his team seem to be peaking at the right time, riding late-season momentum after they suffered their only defeat, a stunner to Pittsburgh. It’s not difficult to make a case that Clemson is a more complete team than Alabama. It’s also not difficult to wonder what Watson might do for an encore in a championship rematch against another outstanding Crimson Tide defense, particularly with receiver Mike Williams healthy and available this year. Clemson can propel itself upward one spot with a fairly obvious accomplishment Monday.

3. USC

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to the Trojans winning truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see — a 52-49 thriller over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, decided on the last play — but we’re promoting the Trojans over two playoff teams. Only Alabama and Oklahoma can eclipse USC’s nine-game winning streak, which also includes a win over Washington and a team that beat Ohio State (Penn State).

4. Penn State

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to Penn State’s gutty effort in losing truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see, but we’re promoting the Nittany Lions, too. Here’s a guess we’re not the only ones whose opinions of this team are higher today after a bowl loss than they were before the Nittany Lions took on USC. And, well, they are the Big Ten champs.

5. Ohio State

Making a distinction between Ohio State and Washington is difficult, particularly with the Big Ten and Pac-12 being mostly bad-to-mediocre in the postseason and both teams getting whipped in CFP semifinals. The edge here comes down to the major criticism of the Huskies all season: their nonconference schedule. You can’t ignore that the Buckeyes posted the most impressive nonconference victory this year: a blowout win at Oklahoma, the Big 12 and Sugar Bowl champ.

6. Washington

The Huskies’ defense proved it was ready for prime time against Alabama, holding the Crimson Tide to 17 offensive points. The Huskies looked like just about everyone else against the Alabama defense, however, which was bad. While you could make a case that things might have been more competitive without several notable miscues, that can be said about just about every game. Washington proved itself as a good team this year, but it’s not yet in Alabama’s class.

7. Oklahoma

The Big 12 champs’ whipping of Auburn in the Sugar Bowl gave the conference a solid, perhaps partially vindicating, 4-2 bowl record. The Sooners took care of the No. 2 team in the SEC, and their in-state buddies in Stillwater stomped the Pac-12 South Division champ, Colorado. The Sooners’ much-maligned defense dominated Auburn, which might inspire some snarky “SEC offense” talk.

8. Florida State

The Seminoles provided the second-most-entertaining game of the postseason with their 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Deondre Francois‘ 12-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray with 36 seconds left was the money play, but the money player was Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Seminoles’ win should make up for a “down” 9-3 regular season and propel them toward another run at the ACC title next year.

9. Michigan

The Wolverines are back in Big Ten and national contention under coach Jim Harbaugh, no doubt, but the bottom line of this season is they lost three of four when it mattered most. Great teams find ways to win. Michigan found ways to lose at the end of the season.

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers could have embarrassed themselves by not taking Western Michigan seriously in the Cotton Bowl, but they took care of business in a 24-16 victory. The Badgers ended up as the Big Ten’s fourth-best team, but that still earned them a final top-10 ranking here. That said, our decision to drop the Badgers three spots despite their bowl win is in response to the CFP selection committee’s irrational exuberance for the Big Ten, which went 3-7 this bowl season.