JR Smith with the worst JR Smith moment ever

Warriors NBA Finals team MVP – JR Smith

Somewhere Chris Webber is weeping tears of joy, because for a short time JR Smith has relinquished him from the throne of basketball-whoops moments in the brightest of spotlight-moments.

The battle between JR Smith, Nick Young and Javale McGee for the NBA’s #1 “can’t get-right” performer of the year was solidified last night in the Golden State Warriors’ overtime victory over the Cleveland Lebrons, 124-114.

After pulling down an offensive rebound off a free-throw, JR Smith couldn’t be bothered with trivial details like how much time was left on the clock, or what the score was or even what city he was in at the moment. Literally everyone in the building and watching on TV knew that the game was tied at 107-107 with four seconds left, but when he rebounded the missed free-throw, Smith opted to dribble out the clock rather than take a shot or make a pass or perhaps even accidentally do something right. You know how sometimes you can miss a shot so bad that you actually bank it in? Well, JR couldn’t even muster that kind of game ending heroics.

Once Smith reached half-court with the ball, all he had left was Lebron’s “wtf are you doing” face and the twitter universe drooling at the opportunity to take Smith down a peg or two-hundred.

Which way to Houston?

This would be sad if it wasn’t somewhat expected at this point. JR’s been on the Hennessey-hoop-game for quite a while and with JR Smith, Henny-thing is POSSIBLE!

Game 1 for the Cavs was the most important game of the series, which sounds ridiculous considering it was game 1. But when you’re playing the Warriors in Oracle Arena and you can somehow squeak out a win early in the series, you HAVE to take advantage of that opportunity. Lebron played what will probably be his best overall game of the series (NBA Finals Career) with 51-8-8, you can’t ask him to do that every single game, even if he may be the only man on the planet that could actually do it in the NBA Finals.

This was the Cavs’ game to steal in Golden State, but instead Cleveland fans and Lebron are left with a bitter taste in their mouth similar to a bad sunflower seed paired with a tall glass of expiration date-past-due milk.

At least JR Smith hasn’t done anything like this before, so no one could’ve seen it coming…..errrr wait:

“Honestly, I thought we were down two when I shot the ball,’’ Smith said then. “I started hearing Tyson [Chandler] say, ‘Noooo, don’t take the shot.’ Just a good shot, bad timing. I realized right after. Bad basketball IQ by me.”

–Jr Smith

 

 

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NBA first round exit interviews

It’s peanut butter jelly time.

When a team exits the first round of the playoffs, for some less-than smiley players on the losing squad, the final post-game interview of the season can be a bit daunting. Typically younger players with more to lose keep a tight lip, potentially spit out the athlete-rhetoric responses we have grown used to about “the future” or “keep working hard” or my personal favorite, “it is what it is”.

“Did IIIIIIIIIII do thattttt?!?!”

But every once in a great while, a player who’s a little longer in the tooth and full in the belly, may spew out some interesting nuggets of truth and /or general tone-def selfishness.

Cool armpit tattoo bro.

Take John Wall for example, when disposed about his team’s future:

“It’s just figuring out what pieces we can add to our team,” Wall said. “What guys can stay and what guys can go. That make us, that really want to be here. That really want to win and really want to take that next step.

“I don’t put the pressure on everybody else. I put the pressure on myself because I am that franchise guy. I am the guy that has to be the leader of the team, that has to get everybody better, make everybody better on my team,” Wall said. “At the same time, if I’m doing my part, the other 14 guys on my team have to do their part at getting better every year. Just being true to the team. Our problem at a lot times is guys don’t understand their role and respect their role.”

After the post-game interviews cooled, he elaborated more by throwing players under the bus:

“It’s pretty obvious. I don’t need to point it out. I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench, you need all of those types of things,” Wall said. “We don’t really have an athletic big.”

later adding….

“I don’t know. It’s up to them to make the decision. Like I said, whoever comes back, whoever stays, what it is, we deal with it because those are our teammates,” Wall said. “Those guys do the best they can. They have the ability to help us out as much as possible. We know what it is, what the situations are. That’s up to the front office to decide. If they want to make any changes or keep guys. At the same time, you kind of know what guys want to be here from what people have said in the past or what they haven’t said.”

Sooooooo that’s one way to do it, I guess.

Carmelo Anthony, who in the last 6 months, fell off of a cliff the size of the friggin Grand Canyon averaged an awkward 16.2 ppg and 5.8 rpb this season (both career lows) only to follow-up the downward spiral in the playoffs by slopping out 11.2 ppg and 5.6 rpg. The stat line in the playoffs for Melo read more like a third year role player who might get traded in the off-season than that of a scoring champ, gold medalist and league scoring title-belt owner.

So when the OKC Westbrooks were put out of their misery by the Utah Yazz flutes, an obviously frustrated Melo took to the microphone, and when asked about next season, Melo replied:

“I’m not sacrificing no bench role. That’s out of the question. As far as sacrificing—I don’t even like to talk about finances and the economics of the game of basketball. When that time comes, that time will come. If and when we have to sit down and talk about what’s the future, and ideas and situations, then, that time will come. I honestly don’t even feel comfortable sitting here talking about money and basketball.”

Kudos for Melo NOT speaking money publicly, he’s smart to ignore that part of it. Melo si owed $28 million next year if OKC takes his option and brings him back. But there’s zero chance Melo will be a starter, he’s hit his wall athletically and there’s no chance he can be anything but a spot up shooter with Westbrook’s gazelle offense. This season he produced a dismal 50.3 True Shooting percentage, and an even shittier 48.3 percentage after the All Star break. He’s been an inefficient scorer and a poor defender for at least the last four seasons and forever respectively.

 

The NBA playoffs are here- rejoice unto him

Key dates: 2018 NBA playoffs

April 14: First round begins | Tickets on Vivid Seats

April 30-May 1: Conference semis begin (possible move-up to April 28-29)

May 15-16: Conference finals begin (possible move-up to May 13-14)

May 31: NBA Finals begin

(1) Toronto Raptors vs. (8) Washington Wizards


(2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Milwaukee Bucks


(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Miami Heat


(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Indiana Pacers

(1) Houston Rockets vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves


(2) Golden State Warriors vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs


(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans


(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Utah Jazz

You’ve all been asking – what’s really going on with Korean basketball?

Determination masked as mouth-breathing

Recently many of you may have been pondering, as I often do, what’s going on in the world of professional Korean basketball?

Resting in the shadows of the 2018 Olympics, nuclear weapons and politics – we have the current state of hoops going through a bit of a renaissance in South Korea.

As reported by Deadspin:

The KBL instituted a rule last month to limit the height of foreign players to two meters, and to only have a maximum of two foreign players per team, according to the Korea Times.

The rule was reportedly put in place to encourage teams to recruit more locally. And in the true over-40 rec league sense of rule making – to find players who aren’t merely a tall drink of water holding a basketball above their head while “the littles” attempt to swing at the just-out-of-reach ball like they’re swatting at flies. If this sounds like a scene from Space Jam, well…..it kinda is:

He’s so little!

David Simon, a 35-year-old Anyang KGC center, has been playing overseas for more than a decade now, but this new rule means he’ll have to find a team in another country. He’s now too tall for the Korean Basketball League. At 6-foot-8 or 202 centimeters, Simon doesn’t cut it, the limit is now 200 cm per player.

Although height definitely helps on the hardwood, it doesn’t necessarily translate to skill—but it has for Simon, who led the league this season in scoring (26.1 points per game) and blocks (2.2). So, essentially the league just gave it’s best player the boot.

David Simon (not The Wire)

This isn’t the first time the Korean pro league has made some headlines of late, recently coach Yoo Jae-hak of the Korean Basketball League was livid during a timeout, even though his team was winning by 13 points, and one specific player caught his ire.

Jae-hak was so inexplicably furious that he had a staff member give tape for Ham Ji-hoon to place over his mouth. Now, I don’t speak Korean, so I’m not sure what was said, but the tape probably meant Jae-hak wanted that player to shut up.

And let’s not forget the greatest basketball themed mannequin challenge ever perpetrated on a basketball court (I apologize for the social commentary in this video):

 

 

 

 

Yes, And-1 Is Still Around And Hot Sauce Is Still Breakin Ankles

The hoops crime scene was outlined with white chalk, a pair of untied Jordan’s and a back-side sweat print on the wood floor in Atlanta at Phillips Arena on Monday night.  The victim was identified as Joey “Falls Hard” Jenkins (may or may not be his actual name).

The sniper?  AND1 Mixtape star Philip “Hot Sauce” Champion.

Looks like the halftime show is more exciting than any actual Atlanta Hawks game this season:

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?!?!

 

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. 

Lavar – Washes His Hands Of College – Ball

The dog & pony show successfully reached ludacris speed in the world of the unproven, loud-mouthed, sports helicoptering parents today as Lavar Ball announced that his two younger sons had signed with a sports agent and will forgo college athletics.  Both LiAngelo (recent UCLA drop-out/shoplifter) and 16-year-old LaMelo had signed with agent Harrison Gaines and would, (and I quote): “soon sign deals to play overseas”. Gaines, who represents Lakers point guard and eldest Ball-brother,  Lonzo Ball, has already reportedly been in contact with a handful of teams in Europe and Asia (Seriously?  Asia!?!?  Come on man!) about the services of the Ball brothers, neither of whom HAVE EVER PLAYED IN A COLLEGE GAME.

By NCAA rules, both the Ball brothers will not be eligible to play collegiate sports since they have given up their amateur status and signed with the agent.  In the past, players with success in the NBA that have forgone college all together to play overseas have been scarce since the one-and-done rule has taken effect.  In 2015, Emmanuel Mudiay was taken No. 7 overall and in 2009, Brandon Jennings was taken No. 10, both players skipped college and went strait to professional hoops in Europe.  Most recently, 5-star high school recruit Terrance Ferguson  opted for playing overseas instead of going to college for a year, now 2 seasons later and a trip to the D-League, he sits on the end of the bench for the OKC Thunder.

A less-successful example is Jeremy Tyler from San Diego.  Jeremy left high school in 2009 after his sophomore year to play overseas, after a year in Israel and a year in Japan he was drafted in the 2nd round of the NBA draft by the Charlotte Bobcats who then traded him to Golden State.  After playing on four different NBDL teams, six different overseas teams and three very quick stints on an NBA roster, Jeremy is 26 years old and currently playing in Australia for the Sydney Kings averaging 12.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg.

Jeremy Tyler, Sydney Kings

For the Ball brothers, according to EVERY NBA analyst and scout,  LiAngelo doesn’t project out to be an NBA player, and while LaMelo is a top high school recruit, he’s also 16 years old and years away from possible draft eligibility.   Don’t bother looking up videos of either of the younger Ball brothers in high school, it’s complete basketball Narnia filled with edited “highlight”reels and awful competition, even for high school standards.

Lavar Ball has successfully ruined school and any chance of a quality, normal education for his youngest sons, can’t wait to see what he’s gonna do for his next trick when/if any of his sons can’t hack it on the court, much less real life.  So far all he’s successfully done is create hostility and contempt towards his young basket-Ballers, not to mention the a general lack of a firm grasp on reality.