I am sure many of you have read the article about Bleacher Report that was in "San Francisco Weekly" last month. It essentially stated Bleacher Report uses algorithms to determine what topics for articles their readers will be wanting to read in the future and encourages their writers to overstate or understate their opinion when writing a column on these topics. So basically Bleacher Report is a site that writes articles with the sole intent of trolling their readers. Clearly this isn't a shock to anyone who has read any of the Bleacher Report articles I have ever posted on this blog. We've seen quite a few examples of the type of "journalism" some of the Bleacher Report articles embarrass themselves with. What makes matters worse is Bleacher Report seems to be gaining in popularity and credibility, which is a terrifying prospect. There are good writers at Bleacher Report, but to me, most of the writing appears to not meet the standard of interesting, intelligent or well-thought out writing that I would expect from a site that large. I guess that is what happens when you troll your audience.
Today I have two articles from Bleacher Report which exemplifies my issues with the site. The first one is entitled "Are Coach K and Duke Basketball Losing Their Luster with Recruits?" I find that Bleacher Report basically re-writes the same damn article every other week, so to none of my surprise we have seen this question asked before and I answered it with a resounding "no." This is a famous Bleacher Report method of writing. The title is used to troll the audience and get pageviews and then the content completely refutes the title. It's like if I wrote a blog posted entitled "Is President Obama Spreading Sexually Transmitted Diseases Through His Handshake?" or a more sports-relevant blog posting titled "Is Robert Griffin III Now the Best Quarterback in the NFL?" These titles are simply meant to get a reaction from readers. It's ridiculous and the site has no shame at times.
Let's start the slideshow!
It's undeniable—players who go through the Duke Blue Devils basketball program come out as better players.
Unless you want to count those players' performance in the NBA! (high-fives the nearest UNC Tar Heels fan)
However, Duke's inability to recruit with the other top programs in the country begs the question:
My question being how the hell do you think Duke can't recruit with the other top programs in the country?
Duke has the 12th ranked recruiting class for 2012 according to ESPN.
Duke has the 11th ranked recruiting class for 2013 according to ESPN.
I was going to rank Duke's class in Scout.com's rankings, but they have made their site almost unnavigable to my small little brain. The point is Duke still recruits with the big guys and the 2013 class is going to be in the Top 10 before all is said and done because they have 3-4 targets still uncommitted and they will probably land one of those guys.
The bottom line is this statement isn't true. Duke doesn't have an inability to recruit with other top programs. No one is recruiting as well as John Calipari and Kentucky are right now, but Duke has no issue recruiting with other top programs for players they want. But no, seriously, write an entire slideshow based on an opinion that is dressed up as a fact.
Here are a few ways the Blue Devils are losing their luster with recruits.
Remember this sentence. "Here are a few ways the Blue Devils are losing their luster with recruits." The argument is Duke IS losing luster with recruits. This is important to remember since the author refutes this statement very shortly.
Coach K's Tough Reputation
It's worth asking at this point if there are times when Coach K's
hard-nosed reputation catches up with him in the recruiting process.
It loses the recruits who wouldn't fit the Duke system anyway. It's the same way Tom Izzo's reputation for tough defense and rebounding loses him some recruits, while the fact Syracuse plays zone defense costs them recruits. Even the best coaches can't be everything to everyone.
There's no way to prove it, as recruits rarely cite reasons for choosing against certain schools. But it's worth asking if Coach K is willing to pander to recruits to the extent that other schools do.
But fuck it, let's ask the question anyway and then create an answer that not-so-coincidentally fits the point the author wants to prove.
"Does Mitt Romney have genital herpes? There's no way to say yes or no, but the odds are good since he hasn't been caught in an affair with another woman."
Other Schools' Emergence
I've covered this before. How would other schools' emergence only affect Duke? It wouldn't. Other schools emerging affects the recruiting of all high-profile basketball programs. Since it is a college basketball-wide issue, this a Duke-only issue and therefore should not be included in this discussion.
The Kentucky Wildcats, UCLA Bruins, Baylor Bears and Arizona Wildcats
have each done an exceptional job recruiting top high school basketball
talent in recent classes,
How old is this author? Seven years old? UCLA, Kentucky and Arizona aren't emerging teams. They are historically good basketball programs. So the entire topic is not only ridiculous, but the author chooses the worst examples possible of emerging college programs.
It remains to be seen if bringing in this talent will translate to
conference titles, but it looks as if these schools will be loaded for
now and the future.
Other than the National Championship that Kentucky won last year and the Elite Eight the Baylor team made, it all remains to be seen how this recruiting of talent will work out for these teams.
"How will drafting Tom Brady work out for the Patriots? We'll see in the very near future!"
Are They Really Losing Their Luster?
From earlier in the slideshow:
Here are a few ways the Blue Devils are losing their luster with recruits.
So the author writes an entire column telling us why Duke is losing luster with recruits and one of his reasons for how Duke is losing their luster is "Are They Really Losing Their Luster?" Of all things holy, please explain to me how the hell this makes any sense. The author writes a hypothesis that Duke is losing their luster to recruits and then uses the opposite point of view as a reason why the hypothesis statement isn't true, but doesn't seem to have enough self-awareness to notice he just contradicted himself.
The Blue Devils will integrate freshman Rasheed Sulaimon into their
guard rotation this year. Sulaimon was the 18th-ranked recruit in the
nation in 2012 by Rivals.com, and as high as No. 12 by ESPN.com.
The Blue Devils also landed freshman Amile Jefferson, who Scout.com ranked as the 21st overall recruit in the country in 2012. Jefferson will also step into Duke's rotation as a freshman.
not landing a top-10 recruit in 2012, Coach K still found two players
in the top 25 who fit the Blue Devils' disciplined style.
(Bengoodfella bangs head on his desk repeatedly )
This is Bleacher Report everyone. The authors don't believe what they write and then aren't even good enough writers to not contradict their own point. So Duke is losing its luster to top recruits as long as you don't count the Top 20 recruits that are still committing to the school.
How Much Does it Matter?
I don't know, but you are the guy writing an entire fucking article about this, so it obviously matters to you in some way.
The Duke Blue Devils were hoisting the national championship trophy no
less than three years ago, so it's worth asking if losing their luster
is going to cost them in the all-important win column.
Because three years is an enormous amount of time to go between winning national titles. That's like decades. Will Tom Izzo EVER win another National Title? Isn't he so overrated as a coach?
Coach K has built the program up enough to sustain its level of
dominance, even if the team isn't recruiting top-10 talent every year.
But you never answered your own question. Is Duke losing its luster with recruits? Answering your own statement that you believe Duke isn't getting quality recruits anymore with reasoning like "How much does it matter?" and a statement that Duke isn't losing luster doesn't qualify as a deep thought or any type of quality writing. It's simply writing a hypothesis and then directly contradicting it.
The author based his entire column around a statement, contradicted this statement and then asked if the statement even mattered. It's unbelievable this got posted on the Internet.
The next Bleacher Report article (it's not a slideshow, so here is a Kleenex for your tears at not being able to view a slideshow) is on how LeBron James needs a second NBA Title more than he needed the first one.
LeBron James finally got the monkey,
better known as his first NBA title, off his back.
that that accomplishment is in his rear-view mirror, it's time for
LeBron to focus on something that is going to have much bigger impact on
his legacy—his second NBA title.
And here LeBron was thinking about just coasting for the rest of his NBA career. He has a new plan initiated after reading this article, he is going to try to win another NBA Title.
But to be the best of the best, and to enter into the realm of
legitimate Jordan comparisons, he absolutely has to repeat this season.
Apparently this is a realm where two NBA Titles are now equal to six NBA Titles. In this realm, Derek Fisher and Robert Horry are both Hall of Fame-bound.
Almost every player that is considered a truly elite player repeated as an NBA Champion.
Sorry Tim Duncan, you aren't elite. You may have won four NBA Titles, but you may not be considered an elite player because they weren't back-to-back.
Sorry Larry Bird, you may not be considered an elite player either. You should have won back-to-back NBA Titles.
Magic Johnson did it in 1987 and 1988. Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1994 and 1995. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1987 and 1988.
Kobe Bryant did it twice: First with Shaquille O'Neal in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and most recently by himself in 2009 and 2010.
Apparently the realm where this article was written is a world where Kobe Bryant won two NBA Titles by himself and Pau Gasol doesn't exist.
The point is the best of the best in the NBA win back-to-back titles,
and LeBron needs to add that to his resume to continue to climb the
mountain of the best ever.
Yeah, not really. LeBron could just be like possibly non-elite players such as Tim Duncan or Larry Bird and win multiple titles, but none back-to-back. I wonder what other arbitrary standard LeBron has to meet in order to be considered an elite player if that ended up happening?
If LeBron wants to truly be the king of the NBA, he has to start winning
back-to-back titles, and his best chance at doing that is right now.
His best chance at winning back-to-back titles is right now mostly because to win back-to-back titles a player has to have first won one NBA Title. So yes, he doesn't have a very good chance of winning back-to-back titles during the 2013-2014 season if the Heat don't win the NBA Title this year. It's kind of hard to repeat as NBA Champions if you haven't won an NBA Title the year before.
The last thing LeBron needs is to win a title and to have the talent he
played against be called into question. Winning a title when there are
no teams to stand in your way lessens the value of that title.
And yet, this author puts Hakeem Olajuwon out there as an elite player for winning back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995 despite the fact the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan, was retired. So apparently winning a title when the competition is weaker lessens the value of that title unless the author decides it doesn't lessen the value of the title. It's sort of a floating standard which can be adjusted to meet whatever point the author wants to prove.
In the East, the Boston Celtics reloaded with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green.
And nothing strikes more fear in the heart of opponents than seeing Courtney Lee about to check into the game for the Celtics.
And the Brooklyn Nets transformed from a perennial lottery team to an obstacle to a Heat repeat almost overnight.
Exactly how again? They added Joe Johnson to a team that went 22-44 last year. I don't get how adding Joe Johnson to this team all of a sudden means the Brooklyn Nets are even close to the same class as the Miami Heat. The Nets are probably a playoff team, but they still have a center who can't rebound surrounded by Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace in the starting lineup. They aren't a Top 3 team in the East.
The L.A. Clippers have a new look with Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford.
Damn, if it was 2005 I would be really impressed with the Clippers adding these three guys.
Now, more than ever, there is steep competition standing in the way of
LeBron and a possible repeat. If LeBron can pull it off against the
teams standing in his way, a second title will mean much more than his
first one did.
Let's ignore the whole "LeBron has to win a title or else he is a piece of crap basketball player" narrative we have been fed for the past 9 years. Now LeBron has to win back-to-back titles for his career to mean anything.
A dynasty isn't easy to establish, and it's even more difficult when you
have a target on your back because you talk about winning "not
one...not two...not three..." NBA championships.
Again, that was a glorified pep rally. While the comments were stupid and good for a laugh now, I'm not sure they should be considered anything but bravado.
But his foolish statement two years ago will make a repeat and subsequent establishment of a Heat dynasty that much more sweet.
Well until someone at Bleacher Report writes the inevitable "LeBron James has to prove he can win back-to-back-to-back NBA Titles for his career to mean anything" article once the Miami Heat repeat as NBA Champions.
If he fails to repeat in 2013, the focus will shift from his greatness
to his inability to do what other great players have done before him.
Or the focus will shift to the fact Larry Bird and Tim Duncan never on back-to-back NBA Titles and perhaps Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, or the superstar with whatever team wins the NBA Title this year is also an elite player. It is possible for an elite player to not win back-to-back NBA Titles. There are logical narratives that can be drawn if LeBron James and the Miami Heat don't repeat as NBA Champions outside of this being a sign that LeBron James isn't an elite player. It's not fun to be logical though. Logic doesn't get you pageviews.
If the 2012-13 season ends with the Larry O'Brien Championship trophy in
his hands, though, he'll be well on his way to entering the realm of
Jordan comparisons and legitimate greatest-of-all-time talk.
No, he won't. He will have two NBA Titles, which is far behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. James is going to be in the "greatest-of-all-time" discussion by the end of his career no matter whether he wins another NBA Title or not. I do appreciate the effort to troll the audience by putting the words "LeBron James" in the title and making a bold statement. That will really help this column get hits through Google searches. That's what it is all about isn't it? Quality and consistent writing doesn't matter, pageviews and a strong reaction to the column is all that really matters.