Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The NBA on TNT

I love the NBA on TNT. This would be my dream job to hang out and talk basketball while making each other laugh. Charles Barkley is the MVP of this show. I love his honest opinions,  personality, and ability to laugh at himself. Shaq is also usually pretty funny. Kenny is my least favorite, but still offers some variety and a different perspective. Ernie is knowledgeable, and has his work cut out for him trying to keep them all on track when they are screwing around.

I really enjoy Inside The NBA when they have on other past players like Dominique, Chris Webber, Brent Barry, KG, Kevin McHale, and others. This show is awesome. I haven't had cable for over 20 years but I watch these guys on YouTube regularly. There is such great chemistry, commentary, humor, and entertainment.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bad Injuries

Over the summer I was sad to see Gordon Hayward leave the Jazz, but was still wishing him the best and hoping he’d have continued success in Boston. This morning I saw a headline that he had broken his leg early in the first game of the season. I thought that sucked, but when I saw the picture of his injury online my heart just sank and my eyes started to tear up.

I felt sick to see his foot twisted in the wrong direction.  I dislocated a finger several years ago playing basketball and it kind of freaked me out seeing one finger bend a completely different direction than the others, but that was child's play compared to his ankle. 

The first thing I thought of when I saw a photo of it was Paul George when he broke his lower leg a couple years ago. After that happened I thought George's career was over. I was surprised and impressed to see him battle back and play at such a high level afterwards. This gives me hope for Hayward. This injury was not as graphic as the ones experienced by Paul George or Kevin Ware but it still made me sick. 

I have decided not to post the picture but I think the picture below sums up the severity of the injury. When you see opposing players turn away unable to watch you know it is bad.

Any injury is frustrating, but serious ones are particularly hard to witness. I would not wish an injury like that on anybody and hope Hayward is able to make a full recovery.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Super Teams

With last year's Championship, the Golden State Warriors proved to be one of the most dominant teams in NBA history. After compiling the best winning NBA record of all time the year before, they added an MVP and got even better. Many people have given Kevin Durrant and the Warriors grief for this but from someone who was rooting against them in the playoffs, I'm OK with it.

Creating super teams may be opening a can of worms for other teams to follow their lead.  I'm sure there will be many others to follow. Lebron has a way of bringing good players over to the Cavs and that will continue for the rest of his career where ever he ends up playing. (I actually started typing this post several months ago before Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade recently signed with the Cavs.)

Any team that is good with a deep roster is a super team. The Celtics and Lakers in the 80's were super teams. They just went about creating their teams differently than the players today who are more apt to make alliances, financial sacrifices, and deals to improve their odds of winning a ring.

I really don't have a problem with the super team concept. In fact I think it would be interesting if we took things a step further. What if the team that won the title got the first round draft pick each year? The main reason I say this is because I hate seeing bad teams give up towards the end of the year so they can draft a better player for the upcoming season. Imagine what mediocre teams would do to stay out of the cellar towards the end of the year if they were actually penalized for being bad. Teams with poor records would stop tanking in order to improve their odds of a high lottery pick at the draft.

I know that incorporating such an extreme and unfair practice would disrupt balance to the force. It might take teams like Brooklyn or Philadelphia 5 years or more to slowly improve while the top teams just ran dynasties for years. One problem with the Super team concept is that it eventually turns your favorite stars into villains. Some people who loved the excitement of the Splash Brothers years ago now look at the team like they are a bad guy in WWE.

A handful of super team will dominate the league in the future, but that will make it even more exciting to see upsets when they are defeated by an underdog.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Favorite Players

I started watching the NBA in the late seventies. I have had many players who I admire for a variety of reasons, but I thought I'd list my 10 favorite players over the years. I am not listing them by who I think is better, but rather who I enjoyed watching play the most.

1- Michael Jordan. I watched Jordan's entire NBA career and was always in awe of the crazy moves he pulled off and his desire and ability to win. He dominated and could have done even more had he not toyed with playing baseball. I enjoyed watching his dominance (except for the 2 titles he took from my Jazz.)

2- Dr. J. He was my first man crush. I remember watching The Sixers take on the Lakers in the playoffs and watching his behind the backboard swoop shot live. Julius truly changed the game with his exciting play and showmanship.

3- Lebron James. I have been watching him and the hype behind him since he was in high school and he has lived up to it. I am baffled that he has haters. I love his solid game. He can do it all. He could move to any team and I would cheer for him. I regularly track his stats each season as he continues to move up in the record books as one of the greatest players.

4-Karl Malone- When the Jazz drafted Malone I was upset they didn't take better known players at the time, but he has impressed me with his efforts since his rookie year. His work ethic and ability to stay in amazing shape year round is impressive. I would have loved to see him play a couple more years and surpass Kareem's all time scoring record. I think he could have kept playing even after his knee injury with the Lakers.

5- Charles Barkley- I loved watching him as a young player. He defied physics with what he did at his height and weight. I have enjoyed him even more as a commentator. I know he is opinionated and can be controversial but I find myself agreeing with him most of the time and I just really like the guy and what he has done for the game.

6-Vince Carter- Vince was the greatest in game dunker in NBA History. He constantly amazed me with his leaping ability. I still enjoy watching him play even though he is now one of the currently oldest players in the league.

7-Dominique Wilkins- Dominique was one of the first to pull off dunk contest caliber dunks in close games. He was the king of the power windmill dunk. I loved watching his highlights.

8- Magic Johnson- Magic was a great all around player and one of the first multi-dimensional players that could do so much. He was the man behind showtime. He was a great competitor with a great smile.

9-John Stockton- I loved his hard nosed no nonsense style of play. He quietly became the all time assists and steals leader by a long shot and he did so without ever drawing any attention to himself. I admire his work ethic and humility just as much as his game. He was a very refreshing contrast to a league of prima donnas.

10- Shaquille O'Neal- Shaq has been dominating and owning the paint since he came into the league.
I imagine watching him is the closest thing to watching Wilt Chamberlain play. Shaq was also a funny character.

Honorable Mentions:
Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Clyde Drexler, Isaiah Thomas, Darryl Dawkins, Moses, Malone,

Friday, September 1, 2017

Jimmer in China

I have enjoyed watching Jimmer Fredette play basketball since he caught everyone's attention at BYU and winning the NCAA player of the year in 2011. I could not believe the shooting range he had and was shocked at some of the deep threes he made in games.

It was frustrating watching him at the next level in the NBA. I think he could have done better with certain teams or in different systems than the ones he had a change to play with but I also I understand it's a challenge to continue to perform at the same level when he has to guard bigger or faster players who expose his weakness on defense.

It has been interesting to see how he struggles in the NBA but dominates when he has gone down to the D-League or over seas. He had a great year in China leading the CBA in scoring and winning the import MVP award. I'm just glad to see he's doing so well with the Shanghai Sharks and hope he can continue to have success there. I'm sure he'd prefer to be competing in the NBA but he's on top of the world in Asia for now.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lonzo Ball

I know many people are sick of the Ball Brothers in the news, especially of hearing outlandish claims from their father LaVar. He can be irritating but I have to admit he has made better use of the media than Madonna, or the Kardashians over their careers. I think it is more the media's fault than his since they keep giving him attention. If they treated him like they do streakers at football games and just took the cameras off him and ignored him he might stop but until that day you can expect more claims like "I could beat Jordan in my prime" or"I was the first man to walk on the moon."

Anyway his son Lonzo was recently drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and from what I have seen during the preseason, I have enjoyed watching him play. His first game was a total dud but he came back with several triple double games. I don't think he is the go to guy for scoring or a clutch player you build around but I have enjoyed watching him dish out assists. His assist game reminds me of Jason Kidd or Magic. No I'm not saying he is as good as Magic! He has not yet proved himself but I like his court vision and ball sense and how he can distribute the basketball.

Only time will tell but I'm sure we will see some great assists from him in the future.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Team Loyalty

I think the last time I posted something on this blog was when Bill Russell won the MVP. Sorry for the extended hiatus but I'm back.

This month Gordon Hayward decided to leave Utah and play for the Boston Celtics. I was pleased to see the Jazz organization and most fans respect his decision even though it leaves a big hole on the Jazz roster. As much as I like Hayward and will miss having him on the team I don't understand the fans who all of a sudden hate him now and criticize him for leaving.

He fulfilled his contract, contributed to the team and did a great job of representing the organization, but he has decided to move on. It was a business decision and it's what he wanted for him and his family. People that call him a traitor don't seem to understand that.

I can understand fans losing respect for a player if they bash their organization, create problems for the team, and always complain about wanting to be traded, but Hayward has been squeaky clean

Those critical fans remind me of the ex boyfriends that girls have to take restraining orders out against. It's okay. Life happens and it's time to move on and focus on your current team. I even feel this way about Thunder fans when they turned against Kevin Durrant after he left. (I'll be doing a separate post about the Super Team topic later.)

Anyway I wish Gordon the best and think he is a good guy and hope to see his career continue to improve in Boston.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dominique Wilkins

I grew up idolizing Dr. J for his leaping ability and creative dunks. Several years before Erving retired Dominique Wilkins came on the scene and took dunking to a new level. Dominique quickly became a favorite player to watch due to his amazing power dunks. Players like Baylor, Gervin, Thompson, and Erving had amazing moves where they would cradle the ball and move it around but I think Dominique was the true father of the full blown windmill dunk.

He also took the double pump dunk and put back dunks to another level. I loved Wilkins' ferocity and power. Few players have backed up their dunks with that much brute force. I'm sure you have seen his most popular dunks many times but this is a great clip of some lesser known gems that are equally impressive. Thanks for what you did for the sport Dominique! Enjoy.

Friday, January 6, 2017

All Star Voting Travesty

The NBA recently released their first vote count for the All-Star game next month. I was not surprised to see Lebron had the most votes with 595,288 votes but I was shocked to see that behind Kevin Durrant for the West's big men, Zaza Pachulia is in second place with 439,675 votes. Seriously?

Pachulia has more votes than Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Karl Anthony Towns, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol, and Deandre Jordan. He is even the 8th leading vote getter for all of the players in the NBA.

This reminds me of when Yao Ming used to get so many votes due to all his fans in China voting. I used to love to watch the All-Star game but it has lost much of it's magic over the years and stuff like this doesn't help. I think the NBA should base their criteria on current year production and stats so players who are having a great year and deserve the honor can be involved. Even though Kobe has been one of the greatest players in the game I didn't think he deserved to be the top vote getter last year, let alone play in the game.

It appears that Zaza's homeland of Georgia got people involved in a campaign to send him to the All-Star game. I'm not sure what they are doing or if they hired computer programmers to assault the system with votes for him but it's working. Even though he is a veteran I don't recall any specific plays from his career or how he has impacted the game. I just hate to see more deserving players get slighted due to the NBA's current criteria for choosing players.

This was just the first round of voting which uses the fan's input so hopefully logic will prevail when the players and media make their votes by February 19th.