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.

 

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?!?!

 

 

 

 

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.

Note to Lavar Ball: Now We’re All Rooting Against Your Kids

LaVar Ball Is A Great Showman And An Unabashed Dickhead


originally posted on deadspin.com

LaVar Ball is, to put it lightly, a lot to deal with. He’s an insane shit-talker, a genius marketer, and a shrewd businessman who has done a truly admirable job of promoting his children while sidestepping the NCAA’s bullshit amateurism rules. He’s also, plainly, a dickhead.

Ball, as you well know, has made various braggadocious claims about his eldest son Lonzo over the past six months. For the most part, they’ve been harmless, obvious attempts to drum up publicity and notoriety for the Ball family and subsequently the Ball merchandise wing, Big Ballers Brand. And the act works! Most any profile or piece on the man will link out to six other stories about wild shit he’s said; he’s buddy-buddy with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN; he trends on social media at least a couple times a month. So long as you don’t take Ball’s bloviating too seriously, the act is bearable.

But then there’s the way Ball actually treats people in real life. For insights here, we can turn to two articles—one from USA Today, the other from The Undefeated—that detail Ball’s interactions with his sons’ high school coach.

All three Ball children went to or currently attend Chino Hills High School. The team’s basketball program was of little note before the Balls arrived; once Lonzo came along, so did the state titles and 30-win seasons, thus improving the likelihood that LaVar would be granted a say in on-court matters. Unlike Lonzo’s UCLA squad, these teams played tight man defense, pressing constantly, and they thrived on NBA-range treys and transition offense—all products of LaVar’s preferred system. Chino Hills head coach Stephan Gilling was even trained by LaVar as a teenager. With Gilling now 30 years old and in his first season as head coach at Chino Hills, Ball believed his sideline coaching style—literally him yelling which schemes to run at the Chino Hills players from the sidelines—would still fly.

The USA Today story hops in here to grant the first example of how LaVar handles being told he’s not in control of his kids’ team. At this December’s annual Tarkanian Classic, Chino Hills was down 12 at the half, with failed attempts to trap Roosevelt High School’s guard against the half-court line and sideline leading to easy layups and jumpers in the paint. Noticing that the method (the constant ball-pressure method LaVar had his sons run on his AAU teams) wasn’t working, Gilling told Chino Hills—which fielded LiAngelo and LaMelo at the time—to just play man-up.

From the sideline, LaVar can be heard on video screaming, “Double team!” throughout the second half; Gilling can be heard yelling, “Stop trapping!” Chino Hills eventually won by eight after LaMelo started to heat up in the final 10 minutes, and, for the most part (LiAngelo trapped multiple times after looking at the stands), they listened to their coach and played man down the stretch.

According to USA Today, after the game, LaVar, miffed that Gilling would do something as basic as run a different defense in an attempt to win, left the stands, went in the Chino Hills locker room against Gilling’s request, and refused to leave.

“He comes to me and says, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m trying to win the game.’

“He turns around and walks to our locker room,” Gilling said. “I said,
‘LaVar, don’t go into the locker room.’ He continues walking. I said, ‘LaVar, why are you trying to embarrass me?’ And he just kept walking and goes into the locker room. He’s in there sitting down with the team. And I’m like, ‘LaVar, get out!’”

Gilling says Ball refused to leave the locker room, so Gilling told his team to follow him back to the hotel while Ball’s sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, stayed behind.

When the Chino Hills team made it back to their hotel, Ball still hadn’t cooled down. In fact, he was just getting started.

“An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up,” Gilling said. “I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’

The Undefeated picks up the story (in a very pro-LaVar light, it should be noted) two months later, after Chino Hills lost an overtime game 83-80:

“He committed the cardinal sin of cussing out Melo after the game,” LaVar said of Gilling. “He blamed the loss on him. That was it. So I told my boys to do an acting job. Nod your head when he talks, but when you’re on the court, do what I tell you.

“He told my boys not to let your father in your head. What?”

[…]

“He had to go ahead and be a hardhead and try to do things his way,” said LaVar. “This is his last year. One-and-done. He’s gone. I will definitely have a hand in picking the next coach. He’s not welcome here anymore.

Chino Hills athletic director Jeff Schuld told USA Today last week that Gilling has his full support. Ball told the publication (which he no longer speaks to) that the reason his team had “problems” this season, was because Gilling—a 30-year-old man paid to coach a team—“got his own mind.” Chino Hills finished 30-3 this season.

And then there’s Ball’s most recent television appearance, on this morning’s episode of Second Take on FS1. While Lonzo sits beside mute beside him, LaVar once again talks about the beef with Gilling, and even implies that the coach is suffering from bipolar disorder:

Strip away all the theatrics associated with the Ball family and set aside whatever critiques of a broken and corrupt system LaVar’s act is making, and what you are left with is simply a man being a cruel bully. Going on national television and airing out a high school coach for daring to implement a different scheme before accusing that coach of being mentally ill, all while his son sits next to him in what appears to be silent agony, is not harmless fun. It does nothing to advance the careers or earning potential of his children, either. It’s just something an asshole would do.

Oakleygate Plummets Further Into Stupidity

originally posted on deadspin.com


Report: Charles Oakley Once Again Allowed To Watch Sloppy Basketball At MSG

Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP

Former Knicks great Charles Oakley can once again watch all the triangle offense he desires at Madison Square Garden. The Oakley ban is gone, according to The Undefeated’s Mike Wise:

 

The Associated Press also spoke with a source who said the ban had been lifted.

 Last Friday, Knicks owner James Dolan and his binder appeared on Michael Kay’s radio show in an attempt to persuade the public that he, not Oakley, was the sympathetic character in this dispute. His lobbying wasn’t very effective: the Knicks owner spent a good portion of his time insinuating that Oakley needed “help” for some unspoken issue, and said that the former player would receive a lifetime ban from MSG.

“I mean, to me, you know, I think that, I mean, Charles has a problem,” Dolan said at the time. “I said this before, we’ve said it before, we’ve said that he’s his own worst problem. He has a problem. People need to, you know, sort of understand that, that, the, you know, he is—he has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know.”

When asked if the ban had been lifted, an MSG spokesperson supplied a copy of NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s statement from yesterday.

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.

lebron-you-mad

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.

 

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!