NBA All-Star Voting Is Dumb

The NBA announced the 10 “starters” for the NBA All-Star pick-up game that is set to be performed at the Staples Center midway through the N.E.R.D. concert, and just following the Fergie/Bare Naked Ladies National Anthems next month.  Yes, you read that correctly, Bare…Naked…Ladies are still around apparently.

The voting is a trifecta of confusion and stupidity based on 3 voting groups consisting of fans, players and media members.  The media members cast votes for 7 frontcourt players and 5 backcourt players which are then ranked accordingly.  While this seeems like a decent system worthy of even the GOP’s approval, the fans are allowed to vote as many times as they want online and there was even recently a “double voting” night on the NBA website which made every vote count as two.  What?!?!?!

Lastly, the players themselves cast votes, which leads to 125 guys who got at least one vote from a fellow player.  That’s an average of a little more than 8 per team — not just to be an All-Star, but a starter.  Here’s a list of every player that received 1 vote:

  • East Frontcourt: Cedi Osman, Domantas Sabonis, John Henson, Jabari Parker, Jarrett Allen, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doug McDermott, Frank Kaminsky, Bismack Biyombo, Trevor Booker, Dwayne Bacon, Ike Anigbogu, Denzel Valentine, James Michael McAdoo, TJ Leaf, Semi Ojeleye, Taurean Prince, Amir Johnson, Lance Thomas, Marvin Williams, Anthony Tolliver, Tyler Cavanaugh, Johnny O’Bryant III, Eric Moreland
  • East Guards: Derrick Rose, JR Smith, Frank Ntilikina, Zach LaVine, Dennis Schroeder, Courtney Lee, Terry Rozier, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson, Mario Hezonja, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, Cameron Payne, Sean Kilpatrick, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Derrick Jones Jr., Derrick Walton Jr.
  • West Frontcourt: David West, Julius Randle, Rudy Gobert, Kosta Koufos, Nemanja Bjelica, Paul Millsap, Willie Cauley-Stein, Josh Jackson, Omer Asik, Dragan Bender, Matt Costello, Damian Jones, Ivica Zubac, Trey Lyles, Gorgui Dieng, Darius Miller, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Nerlens Noel, James Ennis III, Dakari Johnson, Willie Reed, Brice Johnson, JaKarr Sampson, Jack Cooley, Tyler Lydon, Brandan Wright
  • West Guards: Jordan Clarkson, Danny Green, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Seth Curry, De’Aaron Fox, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Gerald Green, Tyus Jones, Will Barton, Brandon Paul, Wes Matthews, George Hill, Briante Weber, Pat Connaughton, Daniel Hamilton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Aaron Brooks, Sindarius Thornwell, Wayne Selden

For now let’s focus on how dumb fan-voting is.  Here’s all you need to know, Lonzo Ball received 607,961 fan votes, which beat out Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, Tony Parker, Lou Williams, CJ McCollum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyle Kuzma, Blake Griffin, Brandon Ingram….I mean the list is long and distinguished, unlike Lonzo’s stat-lines this season.

Here’s another cherry on top of the madness, Gordon Hayward received more than 79,000 votes from fans (16th among East frontcourt players).  Hayward has played less than six minutes this season because of a vomit-inducing injury on opening night.

Sure it feels weird to whine about voting for what is billed as a “fun” celebratory basketball weekend for the NBA, but players’ career stats and salaries are partially affected by all-star voting.  The number of all-star appearances are valuable, feather-in-your-hat, negotiating tools in contract discussions as well as HOF induction parameters at the end of a player’s career.  So while it may seem like a meaningless award to be named to an all-star team for casual NBA fans, it’s much more meaningful to players.

Damian Lillard is a two-time all-star, that averages 23 ppg during his six year career in the NBA.  He’s consistently considered widely as a top-five guard in the western conference and by some hoop-heads, a top-five guard in the entire league.  He’s the 4th highest voted guard in the west by the players this season, but 8th overall in the west by fans and received ZERO votes by media members.  How is this possible?  Simply put: Lillard plays in Portland in a tough western conference, and the pacific northwest is a forgotten wasteland to media members and fans alike unless the city is named Seattle or whatever Narnia those vampire emo-kids are from.

Furthering my point, Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers has 250,000 more fan votes than Lillard (insert stat-lines that will infuriate):

Damian Lillard 2017-18: 25 ppg 4.8 rpg 6.5 apg

42.8 FG% 34.9 FG3% 91.9 FT%

PER 22.8

Lonzo Ball 2017-18: 10.2 ppg 7.1 rpg 7.1 apg

35.6 FG% 30.3 FG3% 48 FT%

PER 12.1 

In addition to fans being degenerate, drunken, mental dwarfs….the players’ vote isn’t much more efficient when you consider: Tyler Zeller, who is 10th on the Nets in minutes per game at 17.6, received four votes from the players.  So did Jahlil Okafor, who barely played for the 76ers before getting traded to the Nets.  He’s played 138 minutes TOTAL this season.  Knicks bench-mooks Michael Beasley and Kyle O’Quinn also received four votes.  Enes Kanter finished tied for ninth among frontcourt players in the East with 17 votes, ahead of players like Khris Middleton, Dwight Howard and Hassan Whiteside.  The Knicks’ 2nd best player all season, Tim Hardaway Jr., only received two votes, the same was Wily Hernangomez but one more than Doug McDermott and Lance Thomas.

So what’s the answer?

First of all, expand team sizes to 14 per side with 2 alternates.  Who cares about playing time, this isn’t the YMCA rec league.

Secondly, voting for those 16 total players in both conferences should come from a) NBA Coach’s vote, b) Media Members vote, and c) NBA Players’ vote.

Lastly, let the stupid fans have their fun by selecting the starters from those rosters selected by the coaches, media members and players.  Fans votes should have ZERO affect on a player’s career stats or future contract-bargaining chips when it comes to all-star appearances.

Why is this whole thing so dumb?  I used to love the NBA All-Star Weekend, what happened?!?!

 

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Breaking News: Russian Athletes Are STILL Doped Up

 

Calling in sick on the day of an athletic drug test is sorta like when your boss walks into the room and says “we’re going to have you all attend a team-building seminar in the conference room today for 4 hours, it’s mandatory.” and you immediately jam your fingers down your throat and puke in the garbage can in front of everyone so you can go home and take a “sick day”.

Well, apparently Russian athletes have never been to a team-building seminar:

Over the weekend, 36 Russian athletes withdrew from a track-and-field competition in Siberia at the last minute following the unexpected arrival of storm troopers…..er uh, drug testers.  Many of those who chose not to participate cited spontaneous illness.  Surprisingly an investigation is already underway and even Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the President of Russia’s Athletics Federation and free yearly spray-tan radio contest winner, doesn’t seem to be buying the mass-illness excuse.

“On the contrary, we ourselves went to this, prepared this situation, because we understand that we have a lot of problems at the bottom, stated that without the help of [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] we will not be able to improve this situation. “

— Dmitry Shlyakhtin

The Russian national athletics team consists of track-and-field events as well as road racing and speed walking, has already been banned from international competitions, including the Summer Olympics in Rio and the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

And yet, Russian Athletics Federation Director Andrei Kruporushnikov said that the persistent and prevalent doping problem in Russian sports is contained to lower level competitions, like the one in Siberia.  Stating that Russia’s top athletes are “the cleanest and most checked in the world.”  Sounds like a Trumpian response, I wonder why that is?

North Korea Meets With South Korea, Talks Olympics, Nukes & Trump

North Korea and South Korea just finished up their first official diplomatic talks in over two years, the two sides were able to agree that the DPRK will participate in their first Winter Olympics since 2010.  Meaning the Koreas sat down at the dinner table and also decided to reopen a military hotline, pledging to hold further talks.  Both sides confirmed that “current military tension must be resolved.”  South Korea will temporarily lift sanctions on North Korea, allowing them to participate in next month’s Olympics.

What does this mean?  North Korea will send athletes, delegates, reporters and fans to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month marking the first time North Korea has sent any athlete to South Korea since before the 1988 boycott of the Seoul Olympic “Tony The Tiger” games.

What else does this mean?  North Korea STILL hates Donald Trump and the USA.  North Korean officials declined to discuss their nuclear weapons program, saying in a statement that only the U.S. needed to worry about nukes, not their “brethren” in South Korea. “This is not a matter between North and South Korea, and to bring up this issue would cause negative consequences and risks turning all of today’s good achievement into nothing,” the statement said.   South Korea’s unification minister added,“We will closely coordinate with the United States, China, Japan and other neighbors in this process.”

Fast-forward to later this week, when Trump alzheimer-tweets some sort of ill-advised, cyberbully statement about how North and South Korea have the shortest athletes in the world….or something else that’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard this week.  He’s going to ruin the Olympics somehow.  It’s his destiny.

Probably The Only Figure Skating Post Ever

Figure skater and future “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant Jimmy Ma just went full Chazz Michael Michaels on the crowd at the 2018 National Championships when he ended his ice-performance with LilJohn’s “Turn Down For What”.  Proving once again that men’s single figure skating is the most LIT competitive ice-dance in the history of competitive ice-dance.  The ice catches fire at about the 2:14 mark in the below video:

What do you get when you mix fire and ice?  Warm water baby, waaaaaarm water!

 

UCF Throws A Middle Finger At College Playoff Committee

“I tell ya, I get NO RESPECT…”  – UCF Knights Football

Even after a 13-0 season and a win over Auburn 34-27 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, the UCF Knights football program is claiming a National Championship and will hang a banner in their stadium to prove it.  The only problem is that they aren’t the winner of the college football playoff – the four team championship series decided by a “selection committee” which did not include the only undefeated team in the country.

“I don’t think our kids should be penalized because we weren’t respected by the College Football Playoff committee, nor should our program be penalized because we weren’t around 20 or 30 years ago when people were claiming national championships left and right. We’re trying to build our program and we feel very strongly as the only undefeated team and having beat Auburn, who beat both teams competing for the national championship, that we have an extremely sound case to claim the crown.”

–UCF Athletic Director, Danny White

On Tuesday, both CFP (College Football Playoff) executive director Bill Hancock and committee chairman Kirby Hocutt told ESPN’s Heather Dinich that they were confident in the way UCF was ranked all season. “The selection committee respected UCF,” Hancock said.

A typical answer from corporate stooges with no ability or testicular fortitude to make a change or admit there is a problem with the system.  The rich get richer, that’s the way of the world and college football is no different.

For now, UCF seems content with claiming the National Championship for themselves, and I don’t blame them one bit.  Not only do they deserve a seat at the table this season, (a table that consists of no other undefeated teams, BUT does have two SEC teams that lost to Auburn) but they also deserve the recognition that a National Champion would provoke for an incredible season.  In addition to going 13-0, UCF was ranked 7th in the country for total offense, 2nd in points per game and 4th in point differential (where they only trailed Penn State, Alabama and Ohio State).

The only answer for college football is an eight team playoff, let the teams settle this on the field.  Sure there may be arguments for the 8th spot in this scenario, but it’s a lot easier to justify with strength of schedule, overall record and a trusty eye-ball test  to determine the difference between an 8 and 9-seeded team.  America pines for more football in the same way we all go crazy for NCAA March Madness, just give the people what they want!  No one will argue against adding another week of bowl game-producing playoffs, more revenue for the NCAA, ESPN and the football programs involved.  Or maybe every year we’ll just have multiple schools claiming a national championship, banner sales will skyrocket.

 

 

 

The NFL Ruins Another Fantasy Receiver’s Day

The NFL changed its replay rules this year to create a decision-making Czar who is defined as: “a designated member of the Officiating department at the League office.”  That particular nerd in front of a TV-official is located at a desk in New York City and is in charge of communicating the dumb-fuckery he sees in a monitor from hundreds to thousands of miles away directly with the referee on the field.  The referee on the field then  consults with the round-table of zebras on the field and regurgitates the NYC decision to the rest of the world.

While every fantasy football owner and general fan of the team/player in question sits on pins and needles (literally if you live in Buffalo), inevitably the ref on the field with the microphone clicks onto public-mode and crushes dreams in real time.

It gets even worse when the refs on the field don’t understand why a catch was ruled NOT a catch:

NFL rule 15-2-3 states this: “A decision will be reversed only when there is clear and obvious visual evidence available that warrants the change.”

“Clear and Obvious” sounds like the title for the inevitable biopic film based on Caitlyn Jenner starring the “Going Clear” mega-star, Tom Cruise.

During the game, CBS aired replays from several angles, you be the judge:

Rarely do I agree with anything that CBS’s officiating studio-stooge and Dean Cain stand-in candidate, Dean Blandino says but…..

Even FOX Sports’ own version of Dean Blandino seemed to agree with his network-nemesis of truth and fake news on this matter:

For a league that places 100% of it’s own financial success on a Quarterback’s health and ability to throw it deep, they sure do manage to take away valid catches and scores on a VERY consistent basis.  This catch-non catch rule is a tidal wave of contradiction and inconsistency, which is pretty much on-par for the rest of the NFL’s dealings in general.  So by that standard, the league’s officials and NYC office are right on track for another jelly-of-the-month club kind of season.

Can’t wait to see what kind of rule the NFL puts into place this off-season to take this sinking battleship further into the abyss.  There’s already talk of microchips inside the footballs, drone cameras hovering over the field like a plague of tech-locusts and a reward for kickers who boot the ball between the uprights on a kick-off.

Like, maybe a cookie or something.  By the way, I hate fantasy football and it’s slowly killing me inside.  When I die, I want my headstone to read: “He should’ve just played Tyreek Hill”.

 

 

IOC Late To The Party, At Least They Brought Cake

To say the IOC totally “gets it” would be like saying Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a tad bit eccentric.  You’re almost there, but not quite fitting the round peg in the square hole.  Unbelievably, the Olympic Committee seams to be the only group of old, white men on the planet who can do anything about Russia’s villainous existence….them and maybe Liam Neeson.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea for its Government funded double-secret-probation doping program, which was uncovered after the 2014 games in Sochi.

The IOC’s ruling waived a crinkly, long finger in the face of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), screaming “NO” to the 2018 Winter Olympics.  In addition, Borris and Natasha will not be allowed to accompany any member of the ROC or the Russia Ministry of Sport to take part in the 2018 games.  Several members of the ROC and Ministry of Sport have been completely banned from any future participation in the Olympics.

Dick Pound (let’s keep it PG), the IOC delegate and former President of WADA (World Anti-Doping Authority) has said publicly that he feels the IOC “dropped the ball” by not punishing Russia more harshly before the Rio Olympics.  Dick firmly pounded the table for harsher repercussions towards Russia before the Rio Olympics when an extensive report was published by WADA leading to 68 banned Russian athletes due to doping infractions.  The big swingin Dick Pound felt strongly that the IOC was making decisions based on protecting sponsorship money and their own re-election instead of protecting the spirit of the Olympic games.

Will we see Russian athletes in 2018?  Let’s unpack this duffle bag of Russian Intelligent Operative-lead pee test swapping.

The short answer is yes.  Russian athletes are able to compete as “Independent Olympic Athletes,” which is a term typically used in cases of political transition, international sanctions, or mercenary hockey players in “Mighty Ducks 4: WADA’d You Do To My Olympic Team?”.

In addition, the Russian flag will not be shown, athletes will not compete in Russian uniforms, and the Russian anthem will not be played for any ceremonies.  Russian athletes will essentially be condemned to being extremely physically fit homeless people.  Instead of begging for change, they’ll beg for medals made of Gold, Silver or Bronze while generic elevator music plays in the background.  Is that Kenny G?

As predicted by every 80’s Communist plotted Olympic Action/Comedy movie ever pitched to Dan Akroyd or Bill Murray, Russia’s leaders consider these actions a statement of war upon their country.  Sergei Markov, the head of a Kremlin and the defacto Russian spokesman on the Olympics, has proclaimed the I.O.C. ban on the Russian team as part of a Western (USA) plot to overthrow the Russian government.

Even though the IOC came late to the party, like an over-served annoying house-guest….at least they brought something worth-while with them.  An Ice Cream cake full of judgement, sure to punish the Russian stomach for the next few years.

 

Lithuanian JV-Pro Team Signs The Ball Brothers

If you’ve been weeping tears of agony about how the Ball brothers would land on their feet, don’t you worry anymore.  LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have reached an agreement to sign professional basketball deals with Lithuanian club Prienu Vytautas, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

Perspective is important in life:

Vytautas plays in the Lithuanian (LKL) league, but it’s more likely that I get time on the court for this league than the Ball brothers.  The word on the Lithuanian cobblestone streets is that the brothers would possibly see playing time in the lesser competitive (Junior Varsity) Baltic League, otherwise known as the outdoor, uphill-grass league. The team has discussed a role of 20 to 25 minutes a game apiece in the Baltic League.

Even more perspective, that I honestly couldn’t even make up if I tried:

  • Prienu Vytautas, or (JV) BC Prienai as it’s sometimes called, is a low-level club from a small, non-English speaking village of roughly 10,000 people in southern Lithuania (beautiful country, I hear). The team has major financial issues, and started the season losing eight of its first 12 games in the Lithuanian league.
  • The club plays in a 1,700-seat arena; 500 of those seats are reserved for team sponsors and their friends. Tickets cost around 5 euro and at halftime Jackie Moon wrestles a live bear.
  • The team has no general manager and doesn’t practice regularly due to the poor financial situation.  But they do hold team bake sales every Sunday morning at the Kepta Duona Farmers Market.  I’m told the Grybukai is to die for.
  • The team’s best player currently is the coach’s son, Edvinas Seskus, who was considered a huge prospect as a teenager but didn’t develop as expected, partially due to injuries and also due to the lack of internet in Southern Lithuania.
  • The JV team is 4-1 in the Baltic League after its country-wide stunner of a loss came on a forfeiture. The game was abandoned with three minutes to go at 65-65 after the coach was ejected due to syphilis, err uhhh, due to arguing with the referees.