Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shawn Bradley

When I attended B.Y.U. Shawn Bradley was the star of the basketball team. I enjoyed watching him play at the collegiate level but like many others, I was pretty critical of his play once he arrived in the NBA. He was an impressive shot blocker but I was expecting him to put on some weight and be one of the most dominant centers of the game.

Bradley became a target for shorter players who wanted to dunk on him and was criticized frequently in the NBA. It wasn't until I saw this short ESPN video a couple years ago that I gained a ton of respect for the guy. I also appreciate Jeff Van Gundy more after hearing some of his insights.



I admire many great players for their athleticism and accomplishments on the court even though their life off the court may be a mess. Shawn is one guy who may not have met the high expectations we had for him when it comes to basketball but he gets the big picture and has his priorities right which is much more important in the long run.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Open Court on NBA

I Love watching Open Court! It is so entertaining to hear all of these basketball greats discussing the game. I get a kick out of their different personalities and watching their discuss a variety of topics. Even if I occasionally disagree with what they might be saying, I can still appreciate their opinions and views on the game.

Whenever I watch these segments I feel like I'm at a reunion as they discuss aspects of the game I have been enjoying for over 35 years. It's only a matter of time until they start arguing and then eventually bust up laughing. I actually think I'd rather watch Open Court episodes than many NBA games.

Check out this segment below at the 6:00 minute mark when Charles Barkley starts falling asleep and Shaq busts up laughing and they all get on his case. I love this stuff.



The only thing that would make it better is if they could expand the cast even more. I'd like to hear from more past players like Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Larry Bird, Jordan, Dominique, David Robinson, Allen Iverson, etc. Some of these guys are obviously more entertaining than others but it is still so fun to see them interact and I learn a ton from watching these segments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dunk Contest Revived

Over the weekend the NBA put on All Star weekend in Toronto. I have been critical of the NBA dunk contest for years now. There has been too much hype and not enough originality in the past. I was originally upset when I saw that they were only going to have 4 participants again this year but I was pleasantly surprised after watching Saturday night.

What made the contest great was the dueling dunks between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon. I have attached the video recap below in case you have not seen it.



Both of these guys were amazing but I felt Gordon had a little more originality as much as I hated seeing Stuff the dragon on the court but he had some sweet dunks with the mascot's assistance. LaVine was amazing but I felt he over used the several variations of the free throw dunks.

The real winners of the contest were the fans who finally got to see a great exhibition. I'm looking forward to next year's contest, but I still think they need to invite at least 6 guys to the contest.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Getting the Opposing Team's Attention

It is pretty common to see the players on the bench freak out and jump up when one of their teammates has a nasty dunk or breaks someones ankles. It's a bigger compliment when the opposing team's bench is visibly impressed with their opponent's performance. I've seen this happen several times over the years and it always makes me laugh. I was recently looking at some old school 80's NBA games and came across this Larry Bird highlight when he scored 60 points against Atlanta. Watch around the 4:50, 5:00, and 6:00 minute marks and check out the Hawks bench reaction to his performance. It's awesome.



Here is a more recent occurrence from a couple years ago when Gerald Henderson threw down a dunk or to be more accurate a "thrunk" over Dwight Howard. Check out the two players at the end of the Lakers bench when they see it. It's just instinctual to stand up and freak out but one of the teammates tries to subdue Jamison's response.



It's always fun to see this happen. I'll keep my eyes posted for more example to share when I see them.

I found another example of this on a video featuring Gerald Green dunks. Check out the Houston bench on the last dunk in the video. They are doing everything in their power to stay seated on the bench but you can tell they want to go nuts over how high he jumps.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Block or a Foul?

I think few things are more exciting than seeing a good blocked shot. I rank swatting someone's shot right up there with dunks. Blocks are an exhilarating part of the game and are also known as swats, rejections, caps, or stuffs. Whatever you call them they all send the same message...ACCESS DENIED!

Some of my favorite NBA shot blockers over the years have been Dwight Howard, Lebron James, Josh Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Mark Eaton, Manute Bol, and Hakeem Olajuwon. Here are some highlights of some of the best blocks from the 2014-2015 NBA season.


When I was younger and could jump, I tried blocking as many shots as I could in each game. I know what it is like to cleanly block a shot but then have the ref calls a foul against me if I had too much follow through or if the ref was out of position. As frustrating as it is to have a foul called on a clean block, I think it is even worse when a player gets away with a foul on a shooter but they credit him a block.

I also don't understand why the NBA is so generous when it comes to not calling a foul for the contact after the block. I've literally seen guys block a shot and then fall on top of the shooter or push them out of bounds and for some reason the refs seldom call a foul. I know if it's incidental contact after the block, it shouldn't make a difference, but some players get messed up with no call. Whats up with that? If a guard stole the ball from a his opponent and then hit his arm or pushed him out of bounds after, I have a feeling  they would call a foul, so why look the other way on a blocked shot?

This clip below shows a perfect example of this. Check out play # 5 at 1:07. They featured a blocked shot for one of the top 10 plays of the day. At actual speed it looks good but on the replay the shooter is clearly hit in the face during the block. I see these kind of plays all the time on defensive highlights and just don't get why the additional body contact is not considered a foul.



On the next clip check out play # 8 at the 30 second mark. There is a nice block but then he rides the player out of bounds like a rodeo bull and slams him. I don't get the no call.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Golden State on Fire

I have been impressed with Golden State over the last year and especially the first part of this season. They continue to lead the league win an amazing 18-0 start. The NBA records for the most consecutive wins is 33 wins set by the Lakers back in 1972. I kind of doubt they will be keep their streak going that long, but I think it would be cool if they beat it.


Tonight the Warriors play my Utah Jazz and I am not expecting an upset. One thing that has really impresses me about the Warriors is that they are playing so well as a team. They have an obvious All Star in Steph Curry but they don't have any other major super stars. I think Thompson, Barnes, Bogut, Iguodala, Green, Ezeli, and others are good players but it's not like a dream team stacked with big stars so that makes their success that much more impressive.

Another thing that astounds me is how Curry can have such an impact on the game as a smaller finesse player. I never would have imagined someone with his physique could be so dominant in the NBA. I love watching his style of play and it must be motivating for many young guys out there to see that you don't have to be 6'10" with dominating physical presences to excel at the game.

Back in the mid 80's I would have never imagined I would be excited to watch Golden State play but things change with time. I wish the Warriors the best of luck with their continued winning streak.