Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Jimmer Fredette Bandwagon

Today I'm going to jump on the Jimmer Fredette bandwagon. Being a BYU alumnus, I have always enjoyed watching the cougars play, but to tell you the truth, I have not been a hard core attendee at the Marriot Center since the 1979-1981 seasons when the team featured players like Danny Ainge, Greg Kite, Alan Taylor, and Fred Roberts. Going to those games was what really got me excited about basketball as a kid.

BYU has not had such a prolific scorer since Devin Durrant averaged 27.9 per game in 1984. That is one reason I am excited about Jimmer. It is hard to believe that a cougar is leading the nation in scoring. The biggest reason I'm impressed with Jimmer is his ridiculous range. I just laugh when I see how far he can shoot the ball from.

One of my favorite highlights of the year was when Greg Wrubell was doing the play by play against TCU and Jimmer steps up just within the 40 foot range and takes an unexpected jump shot. Wrubell says "Oh no..." as soon as he sees him force it from that far away. He then freaks out as it goes in. Pay attention at 1:27 of the following clip, it's hilarious.

Some people are critical of Fredette and say he won't do much at the next level. We've seen other big college stars fizzle once they get to the NBA (Adam Morrison), but who cares. I'm just enjoying his success one day at a time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NBA All-Star Weekend

NBA All-star weekend has evolved over the years. The past format was pretty simple and only consisted of the legends game, 3 point and dunk contests, and the actual All-Star game. Today it has evolved into a huge hyped up production. Here are some of my thoughts on the activities from the weekend.

The Legends Game-The legends game used to be a staple activity until the participants started having multiple serious injuries. Putting out of shape, competitive legends on the court was not a healthy combination. The NBA finally decided that it would be more entertaining to watch a rookie game than see past legends carried off the court on a stretcher.

The 3 point contest- The three point shooting contest has remained pretty much the same since the competition started. It's still pretty entertaining and is one of the better activities.

Dunk Contest-Most people remember the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest as the year when Spud Webb upset Dominique Wilkins for the title. I remember it as a time when the NBA didn't know how to pick a decent judge. Martina Navratilova and Joe Piscopo were on the judges panel. Really!!?? I'm also not a fan of the viewers texting in to determine the winner these days. The dunk contest went through some rough years, but it seems to have gotten better recently.

The Skills Challenge-This is one of the newer and lamer events. Why not just have the players doing relay races like carrying a spoon in their mouth while they balance an egg in it? It's just not that exciting.

The Celebrity Game- It's an interesting concept to combine NBA players with celebrities, but there is something wrong about tuning in for the game and having to watch Justin Bieber play basketball. The only thing that could make it worse is seeing him voted MVP. How did he end up edging out Yao Ming for that honor?

The All-Star Game- The actual game is my favorite activity. It's fun to see the players show off. It's obviously a one sided display of offensive skills since they don't play defense until the last few minutes, but it's still fun to watch.

There may be a lot of hype behind All-Star weekend and sometimes it's not that great, but it's still one of the few events I look forward to every year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Basketball Accessories

I don't want to sound too critical about basketball apparel and accessories, but this is an opinionated guy's blog so you'll just have to deal with my judgemental generalities. Let's get started.

Protective Face Gear- Richard Hamilton has been wearing the NBA's version of a welding mask for years. I can't fault anyone who has broken facial bones or a nose from not wanting that to happen again. What I'd really like to see would be Blake Griffin wearing a hockey mask like Jason. I think that's the only thing that could make his dunks any more intimidating.

Goggles-I think the only players who are tempted to wear goggles are those who have had prior eye injuries. I don't think anyone is going to be wearing protective eye wear as a fashion statement. However, I have to admit that Amare's specs are much more stylish than the old school goggles that Kareem wore. Now it's time to move onto the unnecessary stuff.

Wristbands-These have not been popular for a while. They are more of a fashion statement of the 70's and 80's. When I was a teenager, I bought an Air Jordan wrist band, but I always felt kind of silly when I wore it because I knew it was really just a decoration.

Sleeves- Shooting sleeves are the evolutionary products of wrist bands. Allen Iverson, Carmello Anthony, and Dwight Howard are big fans of them. I know some people claim they have a therapeutic affect by keeping the arm and elbow warm, but I can guarantee 99% of the people who use them do it for a fashion statement (or to hide inappropriate tattoos)

Headbands- Sorry, but I think headbands are just plain stupid. Cliff Robinson and Rasheed Wallace have been wearing them for a while and Wilt Chamberlain wore one that looked more like the blind folds you wear when you take naps. Even though many talented players like Lebron, Rondo, Vince Carter, and others wear them, I still can't go for it. You are putting a band around your head. Why? Do you really get blinded by sweat pouring into your eyes which keeps you from being able to play? I don't think so.

If you are a guy at the gym who is decked out in all kinds of unnecessary gear, then you probably have a case of what the Texans refer to as "big hat, no cattle." It means you are probably trying to over compensate for lack of talent or skill with fancy shoes or expensive gear. Take it easy on the accessories and leave the fashion statements to Craig Sager.

PS- If you are an active NBA player and you disagree with this post, I'd be glad to discuss the topic in person. When you are in town to play the Jazz, just drop off a couple comp tickets and I'd be glad to come back after the game and hang out with your team to discuss it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jerry Sloan Resigns

Today Jerry Sloan resigned as the head coach of the Utah Jazz. He took over that position back in 1988. His 23 year tenure was longer than any other coach with the same team in professional sports. He is the third most winning coach in the NBA. He's also the only coach to win 1,000 games with one team. His long time assistant coach Phil Johnson also resigned today with him, while assistant Ty Corbin has been named the new head coach of the team.

Many Jazz fans have been calling for a coaching change for years claiming Sloan was too set in his ways and was unable to adapt to the current game. I'm sure many people are celebrating this change. While I can see what they are talking about, I am going to miss Coach Sloan and his hard nosed style. I liked how he'd make rookies earn their playing time and didn't take crap from his players. In a league that is now run by superstar players instead of coaches, he will be missed.

Sloan has been a legendary coach and I'm going to miss seeing him yell at the refs. I'm sure other Jazz fans who have a love/hate relationship with him feel the same way. Hopefully the Jazz can adapt quickly to this change and get back on track again soon. Despite knowing this day would eventually come, I still feel a little shocked about it. Thanks for 23 great years!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Elderly Hoops

When I was a teenager I remember occasionally watching old guys playing basketball at the gym. I noticed how most of them were out of shape and spent a lot more time joking and socializing than they did playing. I swore that I would never get old and out of shape like they were. I was not going to let time pull that cruel trick on me.

Twenty five years later, I realize that I am slowly becoming that fat, slow guy that resorts to hook shots, walks up and down the court, and plays defense by sticking both arms out to his side like he's carrying a picket fence. Maybe it's not quite that bad, but I've sure lost some intensity.

This got me thinking of many of the players in the NBA who continued playing for a long time. Despite being past their prime when they retired. If you like them or not, you still have to admire players like Kareem, Bob Cousy, Moses Malone, Shaq, Dikembe, Stockton, Karl Malone, Robert Parrish, Rod Strickland and others who had NBA careers for over 20 years. The average N.B.A. player probably has a career closer to 5 years. As hard as it is to watch players age and slow down, you have to hand it to these guys for having the NBA longevity gene and competing at that level for such a long time.