Friday, July 3, 2009

3 comments Random Thoughts: Basketball Edition

Before I type anything else today, I wanted to draw attention to BotB commenter AwesomeSean and his gang's blog Mike and the Mad Blog.

We all know Mike and the Mad Dog "broke up" but if you like sports talk radio and like talking about always crazy New York sports talk radio they cover it well. No, I don't get a sick pleasure as a Braves fan of hearing New York flip out over Mets and Yankees losses but it's a good site and you can actually have logical discussions about the Mike's shows, which as we all know doesn't always happen when the callers call in. It is a great blog.

There has been a lot of basketball news here of late due to free agency and various other reasons. There is not too much out there and it also doesn't help that many of my favorite targets are on vacation, not currently writing, or focusing on their new Twitter account so much they don't have much time to write. I miss football season when I can get MMQB and TMQ on consecutive days. It's like a gold mine of material for me.

-Before we get to the basketball stuff and potential discussions, I have to show everyone that Rick Reilly still gets paid millions of dollars to write columns like this. Here's a little sample for those who are smart enough to ignore his columns. I would like to remind everyone not only is this journalism trademarked, but it is also award winning:

Rick thinks offices should be run a little bit more like sports. I have come to the conclusion there is no way in hell he is trying anymore to write a decent column. He has plenty of money to live on and most of the people who enjoy his columns aren't dead yet so he doesn't have to worry about gaining a new audience. I think he is just trying to ride the wave out and then retire after ESPN finally realizes he is useless.

What if the office had chest bumps and shaving-cream pies and everybody slapping the Work Like a Champion Today sign over the door on the way in?

And office chatter!

C'monKidHeyKidOnlyTakesOneBuyerKidOnlyTakesOneYouAndHerKidRightOnThe DottedLineKid.

ESPN should be embarrassed to publish this. Bill Simmons should be embarrassed that he is supposed to be competing with this guy.

When a really great secretary hits 65 and has to go, why not retire her number?
Dolores Ginty, no one will ever use extension 3713 again. It's yours forever!

How about we turn society into the Roman Empire again? When the court jester (Reilly) no longer is capable of amusing the King's subjects, he is disposed of in a very rude and hurtful manner. Let's go back to those times.

When everybody gets their job back and unemployment in this country is once again under 5%, here's what I'll do: If you see me in a bar, I'll buy you a jigger of your favorite adult beverage. But you get only 24 seconds once I walk in.

After all, I've got a shot clock.

I am not even trying to be funny...this is pathetic. Horrible, horrible writing. It's corny and really serves no purpose outside of entertaining those people who use cassette tapes to record 60 Minutes when they miss it because the buffet line was too long at a Shoney's on Sunday night. I am embarrassed to give everyone weekly updates on his columns. In the back of a magazine, this is acceptable, on a sports web site, it sucks.

-For those that thought Isiah Thomas was the entire problem with the New York Knicks, think again. Donnie Walsh is showing Isiah-esque tendencies.

A 3 year deal for Jason Kidd? I know Dallas has prepared an offer that is worth more but you would think New York had learned their lesson.

Yet it appears that Walsh and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni are convinced that they need the unique presence of someone like Kidd -- whom they met with face-to-face Wednesday and who remains at 36 one of the league's most respected players among his peers -- to help attract top free agents in 2010.

Do you know what else is going to help attract big name free agents? Salary cap room...and signing a 36 year old point guard is not going to help with that in any fashion. Sure Jason Kidd is a big name but the fact he is older and isn't likely to be in New York for the long haul may not attract a big name free agent like the Knicks seem to think. To me, it just ties up cap room, while contributes to the idea that D'Antoni is not overly concerned with defense.

To steal directly from AwesomeSean at Mike and the Mad Blog:

To Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni...Put the name Jason Kidd out of your heads. He's a shell of his former self, a malcontent and a waste of a 3 year contract. He will get brutalized on the defensive end and is not the offensive player he once was. Live with Duhon and Nate and wait for another option.

What's wrong with living with Duhon and Robinson for another year and then making a run at a big name free agent in 2010? It's New York and you will have plenty of cap room because I believe Duhon is a free agent next year. Why tie up cap room in a 36 year old point guard?

-The next big controversy in the NBA is getting ready to be the Ricky Rubio situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course Jay Mariotti has to poison relations with Spain by commenting on the issue like only Furman Bisher could.

Not much in sports makes me cringe these days, but describing Ricky Rubio as the next Pistol Pete Maravich -- legend and cult hero forevermore -- certainly is hard on the frown lines.

It's just a comparison. It doesn't mean we are all about start voting on Ricky Rubio entering the NBA Hall of Fame. Jay is always writing columns angrily and bitterly like he hasn't had a bowel movement for days and wants to take it out on the literate public.

Rubio? He's 18. I have no idea how much he'll improve his shaky jumper and adapt to the raw physicality of NBA ball.

Yeah, nobody really knows he's 18 years old. The odds are very good that because he is 18 years old his shaky jumper will improve and he will gain muscle to play against stronger competition.

If we knew exactly how he would turn out I think that could affect his draft position dramatically and the contract negotiations also might be a bit easier on both sides. I don't know why Mariotti is looking for certainty from Rubio when there is no certainty with any other player in the draft.

"I don't see Rubio being that dynamic player now," said Danny Ainge, general manager of the Boston Celtics. "I think he's got a lot of potential. He's a flashy player. I don't see him -- just physically, and because he doesn't shoot the ball very well -- I don't see him having an impact as a rookie."

Yet they insist he's Maravich.

Jay Mariotti is an idiot. I don't see how he could think if a player doesn't produce his first year in the league at the age of 19, that player is a bust. I don't know for sure, but I am guessing Pistol Pete was not THE Pistol Pete at the age of 18...I know for sure he wasn't playing in the NBA against some of the top competition in the world at that age. Let's not get xenophobic and go easier on Rubio.

And shame on Rubio for exploiting this premature, unjustified man-love by acting like a brat.

"It's too cold," he said, a day after announcing that his mother also thinks the city is too cold. "I have to think about that ... I'm going to talk with my agent about that and we are going to see."

I have no problem with Rubio exploring his options and I have no problem with the Timberwolves refusing to trade him. Basketball is a business and I think both sides have to do what is right for them.

How dare Jay Mariotti or anyone else criticize an 18 year old kid for having options and taking the time to weigh those options. We coddle 18 year high school basketball players and encourage them to have options in choosing colleges. We bend over backwards, lower college admissions standards, and allow recruits to dictate the coaching staffs of colleges where those players will only be for a few years. I don't see why someone who is not from America should be treated any differently if that person has options. He has a right to measure his two choices carefully.

The thing about Elway and Manning was, we had an idea of their track record and assumed they could play. Who in the hell is Ricky Rubio?

Rubio has a track record and he has shown he is a good player. There are very few differences, regardless of track record, between Manning, Elway, and Rubio's situation. I don't think a player should have a right to act like more of an asshole just because he has a track record.

This is an adventure into the unknown. No one is giving David Kahn the house for a teenaged point guard who might be another Darko Milicic.

As opposed to every other player drafted last week. Those players are all locks to be stars. Only these International players are great unknowns to Jay because he hasn't seen them play in this if he watches the college basketball players who are drafted and can fairly evaluate their chances in the NBA. Mariotti is consistently an idiot.

-I only bring up this Gregg Doyel article because of what he says about Jay Mariotti and the fact that I agree with the premise of his article.

So you think Ricky Rubio is a jerk. Think he's a prima donna. Another John Elway or Steve Francis, unhappy with the team that drafted him and refusing to play there.

So maybe you think, as this hysterical shriek of a story so clearly put into words, Who does Ricky Rubio think he is?

He called it a shriek of a story...I love it because it is true.

But when you're named the best player in Europe at age 18, you're damned good. The next Pete Maravich, as some have called Rubio? Probably not. So if he's overrated, he's overrated. But he could be significantly less than the next Pete Maravich and still be damned good.

Exactly and that is the point Jay Mariotti was missing. Rubio may never be Pete Maravich but even if he is a rung or two down from him, he will still be a great player. If you are Rubio, would you want to play in Minnesota? I am not sure I would. If you were the Timberwolves would you play hard ball to ensure you get adequate value for Rubio in a trade or make sure you keep his rights? Yes. Everyone is getting too excited over this, it's just a business deal. Though the Wolves are dumb for drafting two point guards back to back, until Rubio does something extremely dickish I think we should hold out on judging him.

-Due to the OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose incidents many people think the NBA should re-think the one and done rule. They believe it causes too many problems because kids aren't really interested in the long term well being of the school they play college basketball at and this can cause recruiting violations. Other than the one and done rule, I am personally for the idea that a high school player should be able to go immediately to the pros, but if they choose not to, then that player has to stay at college for two years. Absent that working, my back up plan is that I believe kids should have to stay in school for two years and not just one year. I am not sure either idea is realistic.

Pat Forde thinks we should be done with the one and done rule.

That age limit has gone from boon to bust for college basketball.
It put Greg Oden and Kevin Durant on campus and in college uniforms for one season, and that was fun. But it also pushed O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose into situations they seemingly had no interest in, resulting in ongoing scandals at USC and Memphis.

I personally don't mind the one and done rule and if I did have my way the two suggestions I have put out there previously would be the new rule if the one and done rule was abolished. I don't think we should build any type of NBA eligibility rule around the idea that NCAA colleges and players are corrupt and will bend the rules to get what they want. Whether that be paying a player or the player having someone else take his SAT's for him and the college having knowledge of this, it doesn't matter to me, the fact people will cheat to get around the system is not a reason to get rid of the system.

It has forced non-students and pseudo-professionals to feign scholarship and amateurism for one season on campus, cheapening the college experience in general and college basketball specifically.

Let's be honest. There are many athletes at schools, regardless of potential to play professionally, who are not there as students but are there as athletes with no regard for the future. I saw it at my mid-major college and I know it happens at other schools as well. Critics of the one and done rule act like it just perpetuates players and schools breaking the law. The one and done rule doesn't force OJ Mayo or Tim Floyd to take money nor does it force Derrick Rose to have someone take the SAT for him. It forced Mayo and Rose to go to college, that is true, but it did not force them to cheat or get around the system in any way. That was a personal decision that was made by them. We can't get rid of the speed limit just because people are going to speed anyway.

"All of us know which kids are only going to do a year [of college]. If they pass the first semester, they don't really have to do anything in the second semester. I think 98 percent of kids should go to college, but the ones ready to go, let 'em go. Let's just stop the fallacy."

I love college basketball and I think players really benefit from even one year of playing college basketball, but if the one and done rule is abolished and a kid wants to make a decision to go pro after high school, he has that right in my mind. If he chooses to go to college, I think he needs to stay two years.

You must believe that a kid who has been treated as a money-making commodity since seventh grade is suddenly going to resist thousands of dollars of cash and gifts for one pristine year on campus (ask USC how that allegedly worked out with Mayo). You must believe that a kid who only wants to dribble his way to a paycheck is going to take his college entrance exams seriously, or take them at all (the alleged infraction by Rose at Memphis).

The reasoning being used is fallible. The fact Derrick Rose doesn't take his college exams for himself says something about him personally as a human being and the fact Tim Floyd gave money to have OJ Mayo on campus says something about him personally as a human being. I have no problem with Mayo and Rose going pro after high school but the reasoning used here is shitty. The reasoning is that everyone will want to cheat so let's take the temptation away. It doesn't sit right with me.

Lance Stephenson does not believe he will fail. Neither does Renardo Sidney, currently on campus at Mississippi State. These guys are in the next wave of potential one-and-done players … but the path to a college uniform is growing more perilous.

You mean colleges are enforcing their admissions guidelines? How horrible! When will the de-humanizing of these athletes stop? If you are required to be in college for one year and can't get in college...tough shit. Welcome to the life of many other people in this world. Perhaps instead of playing basketball so much in high school, you should have studied more like millions of college students did, you know those who actually fucking paid their own way to college and took out student loans to do it. Just because you are required to be in college, doesn't mean you should automatically go to any college of your choice, simply because you can play basketball. The college does not have to admit you.

There are legal concerns: Stephenson has a June 29 court date for allegedly fondling a 17-year-old girl at his high school. There are academic concerns: Sources said his transcript has been kept from most, if not all, college recruiters. And there are attitude concerns: Stephenson is combustible on the court and was surprisingly cut from the USA Basketball Under-19 team last summer, at least in part because of his demeanor toward teammates and coaches.

Clearly this is an individual who needs to go to the NBA and be handed more money than he has ever seen. Brilliant logic to get rid of the one and done system and send him straight to the pros. What could go wrong?

If Lance Stephenson can't get into a college or a college doesn't want him, tough shit, but this shouldn't be a reason the one and done rule should be abolished...the one and done rule is meant for players exactly like Stephenson who aren't even close to being ready for the pros from an emotional standpoint. Being emotionally ready is as big of a deal as being physically. Most of the players who came straight from HS to the NBA and suceeded were emotionally ready for the jump as well.

-Marc Stein talks about my back up plan if the one and done rule is abolished, and that is the two and done rule. I don't like this rule that much, even though it does favor my love of college basketball more than the Go Pro or Go Two rule I made up earlier.

Orlando's Dwight Howard is the only one in that foursome who negotiated the long jump from the preps to the pros with relative smoothness. Rashard Lewis wasn't ready. Andrew Bynum wasn't ready. Not even newly minted NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant can make the claim that he was physically and mentally prepared to walk into the Lakers' locker room as a teenager in 1996

Many players even after 4 years of college are not ready for the NBA either. These players did succeed eventually though (or at least Bynum appears to being close), so we can't really argue with the end result. This is a weak argument.

Blaming the one-and-done rule for everything is a convenient excuse for college coaches, but doing so supposes that (a) players' leaving school after one season is some sort of new phenomenon and/or (b) college ball's recent scandals at USC (with O.J. Mayo) and Memphis (Derrick Rose) are the first scandals of their kind.

Wrong and wrong.

Exactly. Many are blaming the one and done rule for these scandals, which is terribly inaccurate.

It would be infinitely better for the college game to have two years of certainty with every recruit and would likewise send players to the big leagues when they're in a better place developmentally to handle it.

From a selfish college fan standpoint, absolutely. Logically though, I think the high school players should have the chance to go pro after high school. It doesn't make sense for everyone and I am sure some players are going to rebel and go to the pros after high school because they don't want to be in college for two years. I am for the one and done rule, I think it serves a purpose and I don't blame the scandals completely on the existence of the rule, but I don't think the best second best idea is to stick kids in college for two years and give them the option of going pro after high school if they want to.

In this case, no one ever talks about the kids who are saved from making a huge mistake because they're too young to declare for the draft … or the fact that no one is forcing one-and-dones to go to college. They can go overseas for a year as Brandon Jennings did if they don't want to add classwork to their basketball education.

That is exactly why I like the one and done rule. No one forces these players to go to college and certainly if they can't get in college they should look at other options. College is not a right, it is a privilege...especially for those who are having their way paid for them.

I think the reasoning for getting rid of the one and done rule are not very strong and I think making a player stay in college for two years is a bit overkill. I would personally absolutely love it, there's no doubt I feel that way, but it is never going to happen. If players like Lance Stephenson want to play in the NBA and be out of the NBA and into the NBDL by the time his peers are leaving college after two years of college basketball with a greater knowledge of basketball and how to play the game, that is his right...but don't abolish the one and done rule under the misguided idea it causes corruption. The corruption is there no matter what.

-The Pistons signed the first two "big" free agents of the offseason.

I am not really sure what to think about the Pistons signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. I actually like the Villanueva signing more because he was cheaper and fills an actual need the Pistons have better than Gordon does.

Gordon agreed to a five-year, $55 million deal, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

I am not a huge Rip Hamilton fan but Ben Gordon is essentially an undersized two guard who can't really play defense all that well. If the Pistons signed Gordon as a Vinnie Johnson type off the bench then I would really like this deal but it seems they are going to try and trade Hamilton now.

Some league executives have speculated that once Dumars landed Gordon, a prolific scorer who doesn't do much else, he would begin exploring trade possibilities for Hamilton.

I personally am not sure exactly how a Stuckey-Gordon backcourt would be an upgrade defensively over a Hamilton-Stuckey backcourt. Gordon doesn't do a whole lot more than score and Stuckey really isn't a true point guard. I am not sure I like this backcourt very much.

1) There isn't enough room in the same backcourt for Gordon, Richard Hamilton, and Rodney Stuckey; and 2) The Pistons will no longer be major players in the much better free-agent summer of 2010.

I would personally love the Gordon-Hamilton-Stuckey backcourt, but we know Gordon did not sign in Detroit to come off the bench, even though I think that may be where his true strength lies in helping his team out.

I am down with the Villenueva signing and I think it was a fairly smart one. He's big, he can shoot and he is still very the Pistons get to save money on razors for him and that is very important in this economy, especially in Detroit.

The Pistons have pretty much taken themselves out of the potential 2010 free agent class, which I am not sure was a smart decision. I am not down on these signings, I just don't exactly know how this makes them a better team.

Of course Bill Simmons chimed in on his Twitter.

Statement from Pistons to fans: "Look, any time you can tank a season for the chance to spend $95 mill on 2 non-AllStars, you gotta do it."

I would have to add that Ben Gordon, the non-All Star, absolutely lit up the 2008 "we are defending our title with so much grit and hustle David Eckstein is jealous" NBA Champion Boston Celtics in the playoffs. So while he is not an All Star, he is good enough to light up Bill's favorite team. I think he is just a little bitter.

-I wasn't exactly for the Celtics signing Stephon Marbury and I am very much not in favor of the Celtics pursuing Rasheed Wallace.

I don't think Wallace is going to want to come off the bench for any team and I am also not sure I would have him start over Kendrick Perkins in the middle. I think the Celtics made a big mistake in not wanting re-sign Leon Powe. I am biased though, because I liked him ever since he was at Cal and want to see him succeed.

I know there have been a variety of reasons behind these moves, but the Celtics haven't really impressed me over the past year with their personnel decisions. Not re-signing James Posey, signing Stephon Marbury, thinking Mikki Moore could contribute in any desirable fashion for the team, not making a trade for a more proven PG before the deadline this year, not re-signing Leon Powe, and now pursuing Rasheed Wallace in free agency. I know he is talented but I just don't see how he fits in on the team.

-I know both of these guys are "professionals" and all of that semi-nonsense, but I can't help but wonder how Artest is going to fit in with the Lakers.

I do like the essential trade of Ariza for Artest for the Lakers, despite the fact they won an NBA Championship with Ariza starting. I just wonder how Artest is going to like playing with Kobe, who we all know is uber-competitive, come practice time when Kobe is talking shit and telling Artest what to do. This could be a great move for the Lakers in picking up Artest but I also can't help but wonder if having a role player like Ariza may not be a better fit for the team. I know it sounds crazy and Artest was a model citizen last year in Houston. Sometimes I think it is better for teams to sign role players who are willing to do what they can to help the team win to build around star players and not necessarily sign guys who could be stars or close to being stars on their own.

That being said, Ariza played well this year in a contract year, so we don't really know exactly what he will do next year. Money has a way of demotivating players and 3 years at $18 million is not a bad price for Artest. It sucks for Rockets fans though. Losing Yao and now losing Artest. I just have no idea how this will work out for the Lakers. It won't shock me if Artest sucker punches Kobe in practice one day.

-Even Bill Simmons liked this trade.

Dunleavy turns Z-Bo into Q's expiring deal for 8 mill less + copious 2010 cap space? All is forgiven! Red Auerbach lives!

I guess Memphis got jealous that people were considering Minnesota to be the worst run team in the NBA so they just had to make this deal. So now a Gasol-Thabeet-Randolph frontline is going to be seen in Memphis. Randolph may be a better player than Richardson but this was still a great trade for the Clippers. I would have suggested that Memphis get someone at the PF position a little bigger and tougher than Randolph to help out Thabeet, who I think will struggle without a tough rebounder beside him, but I guess Memphis went in the other direction.

Checkmate, Minnesota. Your move.


KentAllard said...

So Forde thinks Stephenson is getting screwed over because he is a hotheaded non-student who may have committed sexual assault? This is the same Forde who keeps saying Ty Willingham should never have been fired (either time) because he is a great coach where it counts - the classroom. Not that that is true, either, but Forde is quite the idiot.

Martin said...

it seems to me the way these guys write their columns as if they think the One and Done is a college rule. it's an NBA rule, and for the NBA, I think it's helped a lot. It's really screwed over colleges, as they keep going after these one and done guys, destroying on court chemistry, and I would bet, creating a lot of tension among the players. One and Done guys are there about themselves, and even if they perform well, like a Kevin Love, they leave a hole the next year on the team when they leave. The guys who stay then are forced to take on another One and Done guy. I know I'd get damned tired of the mercenary system really fast if I was a 4 year type player on the team.

None of this matters to the NBA, nor should it. Why would they give a damn about Mayo or Rose and what they did to get into their one year of college? It gave the NBA one more year to evaluate their basketball talent, not if they could write a paper in English 101. I think the NBA might be better served with a 2 year rule, but I don't think they could get that past the Players Union without the "or you can come straight out of high school" clause added, which would defeat the purpose. I think the NBA is satisfied, if not happy with this rule. This way the can blow draft picks by getting guys who play the same position with back to back picks instead of blowing the picks on unstable high school guys. Seriously, I do think it makes better sense for the NBA to have teams screw up picks on players fans have heard of, instead of on high school guys nobody outside of their home state or members have heard of. The first creates anger, the second just creates apathy.

Bengoodfella said...

It is great that Willingham was a great coach in the classroom and he should be commended for that, but unfortunately he is not a professor and he is a football coach, which means he is judged on how the team does on the field.

I don't see how Stephenson is getting screwed over in any fashion with the one and done rule. It's not his right to go to college, it's a privilege regardless of if he can play basketball or not. It sucks for him but if he had made himself more attractive to the colleges he wanted to go to for a year then he wouldn't have this problem. I have no sympathy.

I personally do actually like the one and done rule as well. I would love to see the two and done rule take effect but I know that is not realistic at all. It is hard enough as it is to keep the players in college for one year, there is no way Stern could get away with making them go to college for two years. I think it has prevented a lot of guys from going pro early who weren't quite ready for it. Sure, it also has held some guys back, but when it comes to guys who would have gone pro after high school but clearly weren't Greg Monroe and Patrick Patterson and even Samuels at Louisville. They could have been on a team's bench this year but they developing at quality schools and will be able to contribute when they leave school. It also helped to showcase some players, like Kevin Durant, who could have gone straight to the pros but going to Texas allowed him to make himself that much more attractive for a team.

The colleges are the losers because they have to make a choice between recruiting one and done players and getting no traction, but losing out on talent, or recruiting guys who will be there longer but may have to develop more talent. I would think the NBA loves the rule because it gives them a chance to evaluate the player's talent against non-HS competition.

The two and done rule will never work, though I as a college basketball and NBA fan would like to see it. It sucks to see guys like Gerald Green who aren't in the league anymore because they were stuck on a roster and weren't developed. I know there are other examples of players who did develop, but big men especially I think need a year or two of college.