Monthly Archives: November 2009

Rob Mahoney Presents: Moving Pictures on Monta Ellis Kicking His Team In The Nuts

Moving Pictures: The Collapse » The Two Man Game.

At this point, I don’t even know what to say. If you’re not following everything Mahoney does like he’s Brandon Jennings, you’re flingin’ flangin’ crazy.

Additionally, I’m a believer that something in the Warriors’ uniform hues manages to create temporary lobotomy in the Mavericks. There’s no other explanation. That sound you hear is Avery Johnson howling.

Mike Brown… YOU’RE ON NOTICE.

Clearly, Brown made a huge mistake in snubbing Ilgauskas on Saturday. It could have been an honest mistake (though I’d doubt it, given the heft of importance LeBron placed on the record) or perhaps it really wasn’t the right game for an Ilgauskas appearance. (Given that Ilgauskas might be the best big man on the roster, even at age 33, I’d doubt that too.) Brown has not yet addressed the matter, and the Cavaliers do have two more home games before the team’s next road trip. But the damage is done, clearly, whatever the excuse and reparation.

via LeBron on Ilgauskas Benching: ‘I Was Very Upset’ — NBA FanHouse.

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Okay. So to recap in case you’re not big on the clicky-clicky, Z was going to set the record for most games played in a Cavs uniform. This guy has stayed with the organization through the hard times and these recent successes. He’s gone through personal hardship, injury, playoff defeats, and getting sent to the 2nd tier for the guy that submarined the Suns and thinks he’s Walker, Texass Ranger.

And all he wanted was this one night. One stinking night. He invited family and friends to the Dallas game. It meant a lot to him.

And Mike Brown DNP-CD’d him.

I’m not kidding.

There’s no excuse for this. Not one. You think the Big Minus/Minus is the best way to go against the C-Level center he likes making fun of because he’s a small and petty human? Fine. Play him. I can get that. You want to establish that this team can win with Shaq on the floor before you get blown off the floor by superior coaching in the playoffs because you couldn’t diagram your way out of a paper bag? Fine. You want to run your team your way? That’s fine.

82 games. You’re telling me this one game, this one game, you couldn’t give the guy his due? After being such a huge part of the rebuilding process? After being a huge reason you made the Finals? Being a leader on the team? And gracefully moving from franchise player to solid teammate for LeBron James? He hasn’t earned one small measure of reward?

What, you didn’t know he invited his family and friends? You should. you’re his supervisor. You need to be aware of that. You want to preach that team coming together and playing for one another and all the Kumbaya stuff? Try recognizing an important night for a veteran who has done nothing but come to work for you every day.

I’ve overlooked his complete offensive incompetence, his over-reliance on Kuester last year (seriously, watching the head coach stand on the outside of a huddle down two in the ECF was sad). I’ve overlooked his massive failures in key situations. But honestly, if you’re going to be a player’s coach, it would be nice if you acted like you actually, you know, gave a rat’s ass about the player.

And to bring it back to the issue that everything comes back to, you’ve managed to piss off LeBron! “Hey, Global Icon with free agent status at the end of the season who has been to the Yankees parade and released a Yankees shoeline and expresses frustration at every turn. How’s about I piss off one of your friends on the team whose been there since you arrived? How does that sound? Whee! Look at my clipboard! I drew a smiley star!”

Mike, I hate to tell you, but… YOU’RE ON NOTICE.

You Imagine He Always Demanded To Be On The Big Guy’s Team In Pick-Up

“I liked the personnel that they had. They had some young personnel, interesting personnel. The offer was probably the best offer that I’ve ever seen as a coach. It certainly wasn’t enough. I just didn’t think it has what a team has to have, a heartland, a fan base, an energy source.”

via Phil Jackson: Meadowlands Big Negative | The Lakers Nation.

That’s Phil talking about the offer from the Nets to coach back in ’99. We’ll look at this two ways.

1. It’s pretty awesome that Phil thinks that the fan base and energy source is so important. It would be really easy for a guy in his position to just take the payday. The fact that he actually considered the situation in terms of animus is really fascinating.

2. Of course, you know, it could have been the fact that New Jersey didn’t have the absolute best player in the game and God forbid he has to coach a team without the best player in the league alongside arguably the 2nd best player in the league. That would be far too much of a challenge.

For Some It’s An Assignment, For Others It’s A Prison Sentence

The Charlotte Bobcats have assigned Alexis Ajinca to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Ajinca is expected to see his first action with the Red Claws on Friday, December 4, when the Red Claws host the Springfield Armor.

The 7-1 Ajinca has seen action in six games for the Bobcats this season, averaging 1.7 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.2 steals and 0.2 blocks in 5.0 minutes per game.

via Bobcats assign Alexis Ajinca to D-League :InsideHoops.

There are some teams that use the D-League to further their teams’ development, using that time to send specialized coaching down and having the player build his confidence. There are other teams that use it as a punishment, sending the player down to beg with the poor outsiders and play in front of convention center crowds to show them what they need to do in order to get their job back.

Guess how Larry Brown sees it?

I Shall Call Her ‘Bride of Frankensova’

The Bucks’ strong start this year is due in large part to Brandon Jennings, but don’t overlook forward Ersan Ilyasova, a good rebounder with a nice outside touch. The 22-year-old Turk, back in the NBA after two years in Europe, has solidified their frontcourt. His reason for returning to the NBA? He met a Wisconsin girl.

via SLAM ONLINE | » Crossing Jordan.

In the midst of a pretty compelling piece on Jordan’s time as President of the Wiz, is this small note at the end. There’s nothing to suggest that this is a joke, so I’m running with it.

And it’s pretty much the most awesome story ever. When I first saw Ilyasova, I was completely underwhelmed. Dude looked stiff, so stiff that when combined with the face-mask, I dubbed him Frankenstein. Dude looked pulled together by random Euro-players’ dead bodies. But he’s not only shown tremendous rebounding instincts, but his range is killer and he can run both the high P’NR and pinch post from that spot. If Jennings is the fuse, Ilyasova is the powder keg surrounding the initial device.

And to meet a Wisconsin girl? That’s something out of a novel. Probably one Lance Allred would write. In his big shorts.

15 Footer 11.30.09: Avast, Matey!

I saw a Branson, Missouri production of Peter Pan on Friday. In a lot of ways, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and Bucks-Thunder.

REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:


Some Like It Hot, Some Like It So Cold The Sun Would Need A Snuggie

Bulls at Bucks, 8PM EST

The Jennings show has slowed down, and the Bulls are getting hammered on account of their inability to put the little round thing in the little circle thing. This one should be a great defensive game and because of the pace of both teams, should be entertaining. But I have a deeper question. If Luol Deng and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute guard each other, is that like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters? Because I think it is, and I don’t want the world to end. Although it’s pretty clear Brandon Jennings is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

ZE GERMAN IZ NUOT HAPPAY!

Philly at Dallas, 8:30PM EST

The Mavericks lost. Dirk doesn’t like it when he loses. Elton Brand may not play. Marreese Speights definitely will not play. Willie Green and Jrue Holiday are going to try and stop Jason Kidd. This is like “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” only if the ant ate all of them and the rest of the movie was just footage of them being digested.

The “We’re Not That Bad, Dang It!” Showdown

Memphis at Utah, 9PM EST

I’ll freely admit, I turned off the game after the third quarter yesterday, thinking the Grizzlies looked pretty darn good. And then, oh, yeah, outscored 33-7 in the fourth and lose by ten to the Clippers. That’s the Grizzlies I know. The Jazz meanwhile have steadied the ship behind… Carlos Boozer? I did NOT see that coming. Marc Gasol versus Okur is the one to watch, what with the weird hair and smells and all. I kind of would like to see Gasol just decide to take over and run over the Jazz, but Deron Williams is going to eat this team up on the perimeter. It’s a weird set of matchups with the Jazz winning at the 1, the 3, and the 4, and the Grizzlies having the advantage at the 2 and 5. Of course, it’s in Utah, so the six spot will probably decide this one, and I don’t mean Millsap.

Honestly, They Might As Well Bill This As “Pacers-Warriors Shoot-Around”

Pacers at Warriors, 10:30PM EST

God, I hate Don Nelson. The end.

File>New>New File>New File Name: The LaMarcus Aldridge Exodus- Prologue

2. Greg Oden needs to assume LaMarcus’ traditional role as the guy who gets established offensively early in games and quarters.

Oden is a bona fide low post presence who can pass. He gives us a different wrinkle than anybody else on the team. With his physical presence and his high shooting percentage he potentially creates the inside-out game that is the key to success in the halfcourt. LaMarcus, for all his skill, does not change the game that way, nor does he create the same kind of mismatches, nor the same kind of space on the floor for his teammates. We’ve softened the blow by giving LaMarcus alternate scoring opportunities that his fellow stars won’t have. But Greg needs to be the initial offensive option in the game. Make or miss, he’s going to create better opportunities for others.

via Figuring It Out – Blazersedge.

HUGE, GIGANTIC, GINORMOUS PREFACE: In article quoted above, nowhere does Dave suggest what I’m suggesting, and in fact, he heartily supports LAldridge and his “special gifts.” So just so no one thinks I’m misinterpreting what he’s saying, I get totally what he’s selling. I’m just taking it a step further.

Dave from BlazersEdge covers the ins and outs of what plan should be taken by the Blazers during this challenging time. There’s no need to panic, no need to readjust the roster, no massive overhaul that needs to take place. This is the “Let’s get back to the root of our business” memo. Or, alternatively, the “Come to Moses” talk. Lots of interesting stuff in there, but number two immediately stuck out to me.

When Greg Oden was drafted, it was assumed that he would be the savior. The amazing inside counterpart to Brandon Roy. When LaMarcus Aldridge was drafted, and for the first few years in the league, he was largely considered an afterthought. But he just kept improving. And improving. And becoming a bigger and bigger part of the offense. 17 and 7 with a block. When Oden struggled last year in his “first” year in the league, Aldridge carried them. And still, there was always the same refrain from the Blazer faithful. “Just wait till we get Oden!”

The problem is, and this has been evident for quite some time, that there may not room for both of them. The immediate impact of Oden’s ascension this season has been mild. Aldridge’s rebound numbers are actually up, while his points and PER have dropped. Last year was optimum, where he was playing his most efficient ball, while having a lower usage than in the previous year. Now his usage is at the lowest its been since 07, but he’s not shooting as well.

You’d assume part of this would be Oden pushing Aldridge out, moving him further towards the perimeter. But he’s attempting fewer 16-23 foot, 11-15 foot, and three point jumpers than he has since ’07. He’s just also shooting fewer shots over all. His attempts are up at less than ten feet, but his percentages are down at the rim and between 11 and 15 feet. He’s adapting, focusing on using the distraction of Oden to set up his long-range jumper (in tune with what we’ve seen from power forwards), and attacking at the rim.

So why is his production down? Because Oden is a high-usage player. He needs the ball. Dave’s exactly right that Oden needs to be activated early, involved. It not only gets his blood warmed up, but forces the defense to adjust to that for the remainder of the game. It’s vital that he take up his fair share of possessions. But the thing is, Portland, for all its attempts at running and gunning, is still last in the league in PACE, with 90.2 possessions per 48 minutes. Every possession is precious, and there’s not that many to go around.

Now, from a basketball standpoint, maybe this will all be fine. There are comparisons about Aldridge being likened to Rashard Lewis or Rasheed Wallace. But perhaps a better comparison is Lamar Odom, with a reverse hype trajectory. Odom manages a moderate level of usage, plugs in above average but not stellar PER, makes the most of his opportunities, and uses his versatility, while flowing around the dominant abilities of his All-World small guard and dominant big man Gasol.  So by the same model, couldn’t Aldridge fit that model? The answer: definitely. The second question is if he wants to.

Aldridge is notoriously sensitive. I won’t recite the Brandon Roy dinner story because you’ve all likely heard about it and if not, go do some googling, it’s not hard to find in ESPN THE MAGAZINE. He was just given this massive contract extension by the Blazers which you would think would make him grateful and committed, but so often it just means to the players “Hey, I’m the one you paid. Let me do my job.”

You could see this becoming an issue as Oden develops and needs more and more touches, while Roy keeps ascending and Rudy becomes the clutch shooter and the rest of the roster fills out. Where does LaMarcus fit in? Is he really going to go from floor leader and second top weapon to role player third fiddle, especially given his weak passing skills? I’m sure Aldridge is committed to Portland at this point of time and can’t imagine going anywhere else. But given how the franchise has hyped Oden every second from the second he was drafted while treating Aldridge as a “nice suprise,” you have to wonder if eventually that’s going to get old. After all, you put the cart before the horse and the horse starts to wonder what it is that you’re doing.

There’s Plenty Of Blame To Go Around

We can’t play defense because we don’t know how to play defense. There’s little anybody can do to teach us defense because defense doesn’t work that way. There’s no prosthetic for laziness and indifference which is what we’re seeing on 80% of the possessions. I’d subscribe to the “defense needs time to gel” argument if there was something there that could actually gel, but when you have two poor defensive players in Turkoglu and Calderon out there with average or below-average defenders like Bosh and Bargnani, 30th in the league sounds pretty reasonable. If it doesn’t, consider we’re playing a defensive scheme that is stretching the hell out of our players. Let’s leave defense alone, I’m used to the team letting me down there, what about our offense? Our 9M/yr PG let Steve Nash off the hook, our 10M/yr free-agent signing was invisible for 3/4 the game, we were 5% from three, and were reduced to one-on-one play. That is unexpected.

via At least November’s over – Raptors Republic – ESPN TrueHoop’s Raptors Blog.

I’ve elaborated recently how Bosh-Bargnani is flawed, but that doesn’t mean I pin everything on Bargs. He’s up a board, which isn’t enough, but it’s been rising.

There’s a lot of talk about effort with the Raps, and I think that’s definitely part of it, now. But I still feel that the core problem is that the team has no clue what’s going on on defense. They don’t just look confused, they look scared, panicked, as if they have no preparation in how to respond when the other team has the ball. And as much as Toronto fans blame the players, RR does a good job of pointing out that Triano’s got a big hand in this.

Remember, Triano was an interim coach that lasted. Interim coach. Disappointing season. Bosh possibly leaving. Everything’s spelling out “rebuilding year” for the Raps heading into 2010-2011. They’ve got to rebound right away to avoid that. Figuratively. And literally. You know what I mean.

ABA Power Rankings: Drunken Mule Horse Edition

The following are the ABA Power Rankings from ABA CEO Joe Newman. Descriptions sponsored by Bob “NETO” Netolicky. Who once wrestled a bear. For fun.

1.  SETX Mavericks: “Wait, what the hell is a sex maverick? Is that that Palin chick from Alaska? I’d give her a shampoo rub, I would. What? It’s Setex? What’s Setex? When did we start playing in England?”
2.  Music City Stars: “You know, I could have been a Music City Star. I play a mean banjo. Of course, back in my day they were called ‘shimshackles.’ But you knew that, didn’t you, you minx.”
3.  Kentucky Bisons: Hate Bisons. Taste like turkey jerkey, but don’t regulate you like turkey jerkey. Just leaves you screaming naked at the moon on a cold winter’s day, crying out for redemption for the loss of your kin. Also forces you to make stew, which means you have to filter your own urine and that’s a pain.”
4.  Jersey Express: “We were playing the Americans one time and I needed a sandwich during a timeout. So I told the ball boy to bring me a sharkfin sandwich. Little bastard brought me back tuna fish. So after the game I had sex with his mother. Had a double-double that game, too. “
5.  San Francisco Rumble: “I’m not legally allowed to talk about this due a court order following our farewell tour in ’75. The horror… the horror.”
6.  Chicago Steam: “You know, I miss bath-houses. Yes, I’m aware that they became synonymous with the freewheeling pre-AIDS culture in San Francisco, but have you ever steamed yourself in a bath house with a fresh sarsaparilla  for a few hours? Had to do that for two hours after a game in Chicago once. Maybe that’s where this team gets its name. What’s that? No, of course there wasn’t an ABA team in Chicago. It was a connect-four game!”
7.  North Texas Fresh: “Just across the border on I-35 there’s a Whataburger. If you go to that Whataburger and kick loose the fourth block from the lower left on the eastern side, you’ll find my stash of razor blades I’ve had to use in Texas. Lot of blood on those blades. Also a lot of ketchup.”
8.  Kansas City Stars: “I’m so glad Kansas City’s got the professional basketball back. The remnant mob culture creates so many more opportunities for the players to make some extra money. A professional athlete cannot live on a dollar sixty a day! You need your meat!”
9.  NY Red Riders: “Used to play in the armory versus the New York Americans up there. After the game we’d go fire 50-cals at the giant rats that would hang out by the dock. Nowadays, my kids call them ‘hipsters.’ “
10. Mississippi Blues: “Best bluesman alive was Rick Mount. Every time you played HORSE with him, he gave you the blues! Nyuck nyuck nyuck.”
11. Bluegrass Stallions: “Can’t belive they named a team after my favorite kind of upper.”
12. San Diego Surf: “Biggest wave I ever rode was so high I could see all the way down Faye Dunaway’s shirt. It was fantastic. Scored a double-double that night, too.”
13.  West Virginia Blazers: “In ’73, my Blazer collection had grown so huge that I had to build a separate house for them. There they mated and began spawning new blazers. They were glorious, all the colors of the rainbow. Tragically, they were all destroyed when I burned my house down for fun.”
14. Dallas Generals: “Dallas generally rules. What with their lax-restrictions on hoo-hoo-houses and firearms. I’d live there if the sheriff hadn’t told me otherwise.”
15. West Texas Whirlwind: “Rode one of those once. Had a double-double that night, too.”
16. Cleveland Rockers: “They were going to put my jock-strap in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, but they said the reverberations made the building unstable. I said their mom was unstable.”
17. Las Vegas Aces: “Don’t ever mention that town to me again. You hear me?”
18. NYC Thunder: “Three teams in New York? A three-way? I played in a three-way game one time. The difficult part was figuring out who to pass to. Didn’t bother me much, though, since I just shot overhand jumpers most of the game and scored 68 points.”
19. Lake Michigan Admirals: “I’m the only man to have wrestled the Lake Michigan Shark. What? There is no Lake Michigan Shark? Well, not anymore there’s not!”
20. Maryland Marvels: “I played an exhibition game against a Marvels team once. Not in Maryland, though. It was on a magical land far away and we played on technicolor xylophones painted with unicorn blood. In an unrelated story, Roger Brown gave me something weird before the game.”
21. Sacramento Heatwave: “Worst heatwave I ever lived through was in New Zealand in 72. I went there to train, pulling dead camels across the desert before draining 700 jumpers. Helped though, but man I was dehydrated.”
22. Los Angeles Slam: “It’s cool that they named a team after my 1970 date with that girl from Paris.”
23. Columbus Crush: “Mmmm….soda.”
24. Texas Fuel: “I worked at a gas station for some time when the league was having financial trouble. Once filled sixteen cars at once while dribbling. Got a double-double, too.”
Find out more about the ABA here. Or about the actual ABA here.

David West, Warlord Of The Margins

West mostly eschewed the mid-range jumper tonight, only letting fly from the baseline twice and one top of the key shot. Instead, he focused on man-handling Kenny Thomas and Jason Thompson en route to the basket. He had some great success at that. However, he was consistently wrestled out of position on the defensive glass in the second half by the massive Jon Brockman and Thompson, and he was unable to corral the boards as they bounced out to Kings perimeter players. Still, it was nice to see West working the interior like a champ. One thing to note: Okafor and West are starting to develop a pretty solid game in the paint where West works the interior, draws both bigs, and finds Okafor for an easy flush.

via The Kings beat the Hornets – Hornets247.com.

You know that whole thing about Power Forwards and 16-23 footers we talked about? Yeah, that. West is shooting as many shots from 16-23 feet as he is at the rim.

Without Paul, the Hornets are trying to filter their offense through a power forward who can’t play between the rim and 15 feet, and in his second-most-frequent range way out there just shy of the three, he’s shooting 6% worse than he did in the magical ’08 season, at 39%. If the Hornets are going to somehow claw their way back into playoff contention, either West’s going to have to adapt a more traditional power forward role, or he’s going to have to warm up in a hurry.

On the plus side, he does lead the league in scowls, just barely beating out every Celtic on the roster.