Monthly Archives: June 2010

Live From New York: The Official HP Draft Day “Report”

The NBA Draft is a chaotic mess of bodies all roaming around with various agendas. Some guys are about to have their lifelong dreams come true. Others are just punching the clock, serving as handlers and security. Many are in the media, actively seeking out quotes, banging out stories before their deadlines and frantically trying to carve out fresh angles to cover an event that couldn’t be more over-covered.

Then there is me.

Throughout the night, I was mainly the doofus walking around looking for nothing in particular — and finding plenty of it.

Between the handlers escorting the players through velvet-roped pathways like VIP cattle, a less-than-stellar wireless connection and a personal approach to the evening best described as “wandering around til I see something interesting,” it was pretty quickly apparent that I was not going to be breaking any Watergate-level stories tonight.

Still, it’s funny what you do pick up.

Here are a few notables.

  • John Wall started off the backroom press conference night fittingly with a remark in response to being asked how it feels to know that four of his teammates will also get drafted. “Tonight is a night all of us can reach our dream.” He was talking about “all of us” guys from Kentucky. But it certainly applies to everyone who was picked. That’s the highlight of the night. Watching all these guys kids walking around in giant, expensive suits, smiling like it’s the last day of school. Because, you see, for them, it is.
  • Evan Turner has a comical voice. Of the Jim Henson variety. Nice suit though.
  • I managed to stake out a prime little alcove from which to paparazzi stalk Epke Udoh as he walked by en route to the media showcase that all the players endure after they’re picked. See, first comes the stuff you see on TV, with the one-on-one on-air interview for ESPN. Then they are escorted back down a loooong corridor through MSG to the NBA media room. Then they go the general media room. Then it’s off to the Craig Sager one-on-one interview. And then comes the special, double-secret probation photoshoot/interview area in which I was not allowed. But as Epke made his was back down the corridor to begin the behind-the-scenes horse-and-pony show, he was flying compared to other guys I had watched. He was racing like he was late. Like me trying to catch the subway on the way to work every morning. While standing there with a few reporter comrades, I was all “I think they’ll wait for you, man” — to which some MSG security guard responded “he’s not hurrying to get to the media — that’s a guy that’s gotta get to the bathroom.” Now, this guy had no connection to Ekpe whatsoever and thus no inside information into the situation, but I would like to think he was spot on.
  • Paul George went to my Pacers at pick #10, so I followed him around for a while and asked him a question about how he can help bring some consistency to the Pacers perimeter. He gave a typical answer about working hard this summer but added that he “can pretty much do a lot of things on the court” and that he definitely doesn’t “want to come into a…team that’s on the verge of winning and be a slacker.” He also showed some personality after someone asked him whether he feels any pressure to perform since a lot of Hoosiers wanted the Pacers to pick local hero Gordon Hayward. “Yeah, Gordon Hayward is a good friend of mine…” he said, before being interrupted by the reporter, who noted that “…but he was gone.” “Luckily,” said George, sounding like one of the few people on the planet who legitimately wanted to play for the Indiana Pacers. “I definitely want to do good for the fans and I want to pan out to what they want me to be.” Perhaps more importantly, the guy appears to be a very good dresser. Definitely a best-dressed of the night candidate, which was aided by his cool, I’m-really-enjoying-this demeanor. He even looked excited to talk to Craig Sager.
  • While hanging out around the back just chatting with Hardwood Paroxysm legend Holly Mackenzie, John Wall randomly resurfaced amongst us peons, only to be ushered by a few staffers over to a corner where a laptop was set up. He put in some earbuds, sat down in a chair and started talking to someone video-conference style. Turns out it was Big Tigger from BET’s the Basement, who was interviewing Wall for some reason for some outlet. Those of us with cameras and recorders crowded around him like moths to a buglight. He did the John Wall Dance at one point. Video (hopefully) to come.
  • Cole Aldrich’s press conference was pretty comical. He had already reportedly been traded to Oklahoma City but it obviously wasn’t official and he was chilling under the lights answering questions about his future in a New Orleans Hornets hat. “[Monty Williams] is going to be a great coach … It’s going to be another great coach to play for.” Only … he never will. He was later asked about playing alongside Jayhawk brethren Nick Collison in OKC. “Oh yeah. He comes back every once in awhile and we go down and play … So just with him on Oklahoma City — or with Julian [Wright] still on the Hornets, it’s going to be a fun next few years.”

There was probably more. I sort of hunkered down in the press room for the second round. The part where the Knicks took Landry Fields was pretty fun. I’ll go through my notes, FlipCam and photos tomorrow, though, and drop a little more “insider” knowledge for you if anything turns up.

* Epilogue: It’s worth noting that I don’t watch NCAA basketball and have almost no idea who any of these players are.

NBA HD: The Long Sell

With the draft buzz at full tilt, I figured it would be a good time to look at the effect of player length.  Today’s post looks at how a player’s max vertical height (the highest point a player can reach in the air) and how that translated into rebounds at the pro level.  You hear lots about a player’s length and hops at draft time but how does that really affect their actions on the court?

I took the measurements from Draft Express and career total rebound rate for those players that have played at least 50 games in the NBA. There were 241 players in the study.

The correlation between max vertical height and total rebound rate of this sample was .589 which is widely accepted as a moderately strong relationship.  Let’s take a look at it in graphical form.

The best rebounder of this group was Kevin Love who has a 21.2 pct TRR. With a 11’9″ (141 in.) max vertical height, Love’s reach isn’t off the charts for someone who is 6’10″ but he has a fantastic knack for collecting the live ball.  For comparison, Nick Young has the same max vertical height and has a rebound percentage of 4.9 pct.

The most disappointing rebounder is Rudy Gay who has a 9.2 pct TRR and can reach over two feet about the rim.  His rebound rate was 6.9 pct lower than what we’d expect given his “freakish length.”

The most impressive rebounder is Reggie Evans who out-rebounded his expected TRR by 12.1 pct.  At 6’9″, Evans reached 137 inches with his max vert height but posted a whopping 20.7 pct TRR.

The correlation between the two variables appears to be pretty strong. But can we make it better? Is there something that predicts rebounding better than the tallest point they can personally reach?

What about regular ol’ head-to-toe height?

Turns out that player height has a stronger relationship with rebounding than the previous matchup.  Specifically, the correlation was .757 which is commonly known as a Harangody-ly strong relationship.  Compare the two distributions. It’s quite apparent that the player height is more compact, less scattered than the max vert height.

So does this mean that we shouldn’t give two Rik Smits about player verticals and length? Yes and no.  Just because Rudy Gay can reach higher than every other player doesn’t mean he can do it in the middle of the paint.  He would need to have plenty of room and run full speed to get to that point.   That only happens on breakaways which rarely happens.  Furthermore, Gay isn’t positioned in the paint because he’s usually guarding a more perimeter-oriented player on the wing.  Ultimately, there’s a lot more to rebounding than how high a player can get; you need to get good positioning, box out, sabotage your opponent’s ability to rise, time your jump, jump instantly, and have the instincts to predict where the ball will end up.  Just to name a few.

Max vert height is sexy but it’s not practical.

Moreover, max vert height can provide benefits elsewhere on the court.  Getting a shot off cleanly and blocking shots — not to mention goaltending– can be boosted by a higher vertical and length.  But we can get into those at a different time.  Also in the future, we can look at confounding variables in this study that might hide some real effects.

HARDWOOD PAROXYSM’S 3RD ANNUAL NBA DRAFT LIVEBLOG-O-RAMA-RAMA

YOUR DRINKING GAME CODEDWORDS:

1. “Smokescreen”

2.”Upside”

3. “Cap space”

4. “Flexibility”

5. “Basketball IQ”

6. “One and done”

7. “Winners and losers”

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WELCOME TO DRAFTOCALYPSE: BULLS WIPE THE SLATE WHILE WASHINGTON… WE HAVE NO IDEA

The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players on this summer’s free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls’ plans said Thursday.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Washington would send to Chicago in the trade.

via Sources: Chicago Bulls to send Kirk Hinrich, No. 17 to Washington Wizards – ESPN.

Okay, Chicago did what they wanted to. Deng or Hinrich had to go. And despite the fact that Zach Randolph, Tracy McGrady, and Jerome James have been moved inside the last two years, everyone thought they’d have a hard time selling one of the best perimeter defenders in the league who can actually run an offense and whatever Deng is. Deng’s a pain, but he’s not a terrible pain. So now they have almost, but not quite enough to go after two max free agents. If they can ditch Deng, they can fill out with whatever they want. Mission accomplished, for a team so often derided for their decisions.

But Washington? What is Washington doing? What in God’s name is Grundfeld up to?

Look, you’re not going to find a bigger Kirk Hinrich fan than me. I went to Missouri, and I still love the dude for crying out loud. Terrific defender, plays hard, knows how to manage an offense, and has some pretty solid turnover numbers.

That said…

YOU’RE DRAFTING JOHN WALL FOR GOD’S SAKE!

You have John Wall and Gilbert Arenas and you’re looking for a combo guard with pure point instincts who struggles from the arc? What? For $11 million? What? What is going on? Are you mad? Are you high?

Did Kahn take over your hive? Did he conquer it with the cunning use of flags? What’s the thought process here?

You’re going to think there’s more to this. I certainly do. How can there not be? They’re going to package the 17 and something else to get into the top 10, and take Ekpe Farouq Monroe Aldrich? Is this part of the Arenas equation?

Bullets Forever suggest this could be part of the Bring Out Your Dead Strategy, which is actually rather brilliant. Unfortunately, as they point out, the BOYD strategy is dependent on expiring contracts.  What’s amazing is that Hinrich’s deal continuously gets more poisonous as time goes on. The development of the Free Agency Summer of Doom, the impending lockout, the drafting of Wall, the drafting of Rose, everything builds towards Hinrich becoming less and less valuable, despite the fact I would donate significant body parts to get him on the depth chart in front of Mike Conley.

This has got to be an Arenas-related move. It simply has to be. Either that or they’re flipping Hinrich like a Vaudeville theater.

Now I kind of hope they draft Aldrich. Just for giggles.

NBA Draft Day Best and Worst Scenarios For The Top 10

For the most part, I hate predictions and I hate trying to make mock drafts. It’s so much work that can be completely obliterated by one single trade or Moment of Kahn.

But in honor of the NBA Draft tonight, I just can’t hold my excitement. I have to do some type of predicting so I bring you the best and worst case scenario for each of the top 10 picks in the draft. Here is my version of a Mock Draft:

#1 – Washington Wizards
Best-Case Scenario: John Wall. Wall is seriously coming into the league with a gas can and a book of matches. He’s going to burn this place to the ground. He’s quicker than just about everything. He has fast-twitch muscles in his legs that resemble pogo sticks. He has great reach and can finish with the best of them. He’s going to be a very incredible defender. No, he’s not a great shooter but that’s not necessary right away to be successful as a point guard in this league. The Wizards needed a rebirth after the Gilbert Arenas fiasco last season and are getting that tonight. Enjoy, District of Colombians.

Worst-Case Scenario: Someone cut the phone line. Really the only way the Wizards can have a bad moment here is if the phones don’t work, time runs out on their pick and Philly gets to swoop in and make their selection first.

#2 – Philadelphia 76ers
Best-Case Scenario: Aside from faulty AT&T service from Washington, the best-case for Philly is still to grab Evan Turner. Turner is one of those Brandon Roy-type of players that can do it all and do it all well. He’s probably never going to be a Top 5 player in the NBA but he also probably won’t be far from it either. Turner will be a triple-double waiting to happen once he gets handed the reigns. He gives the Sixers a lot of different options on the floor until the Sixers decide what to do with Iguodala.

Worst-Case Scenario: Doug Collins being the next head co… Oops! Ok, maybe the Eddie Jordan hire wasn’t great. Personally, I think he was a pretty good coach in Sacramento and for the most part when he was Washington. But the fit seemed pretty bad in Philadelphia after a short time there. The problem for the Sixers is they have no direction. Switching coaches three times in three years is not a recipe for success. And now they’ve hired a guy that had a rough go of it the last time he was in charge of a team. This has disaster written all over it.

#3 – New Jersey Nets
Best-Case Scenario: Derrick Favors. Favors seems to be the smartest pick here even though I don’t think he’s the best player available. He’ll play much better next to Brook Lopez than DeMarcus Cousins probably can and he’ll be very active on the glass. Favors can probably become an All-Star caliber power forward in the East and help continue to develop a nice young core with Harris, Lopez, Lee and Favors to entice a top-level free agent this summer. While I don’t think Favors is in that category of being able to change the game in any way, he seems like a great fit and a nice prospect for Nets fans to watch grow.

Worst-Case Scenario: Those Wesley Johnson rumors were ugly and that’s the worst-case scenario for the Nets at this point. Wesley isn’t a bad player. He just shouldn’t be the third pick in any draft. Plus, with Wes being the pick at number three it probably would have meant Carlos Boozer was going to be the target in free agency this summer. Sure, you’re be improving a team that barely won 12 games this season but not enough to make fans want to give a damn.

#4 – Minnesota Timberwolves
Best-Case Scenario: David Kahn forgets what day it is and doesn’t accompany the Wolves front office in making a selection. Look at the damage he’s done over the last couple of days. He claimed that it would be hard for him to screw this draft up (without realizing that those were verbal daggers into my eardrums). Then he almost traded Al Jefferson for Zach Randolph. You know, David… if you don’t want me to be a fan of the team, you just have to say so. No need to drag all of the other fans into this. Just ask me to leave.

Worst-Case Scenario: David Kahn remembers what day it is. HE ALMOST TRADED AL JEFFERSON FOR ZACH RANDOLPH!!!!! This is astounding to me. What’s the best year Zach Randolph has ever had in this league? And I’m not talking pure stats but an overall sense of worth. It had to be last season and the Grizzlies didn’t even make the playoffs. Kahn was about to put Randolph and Love together in the frontcourt with Darko Milicic as the hand that rocks the cradle. How was this ever considered? Some GMs have a knack for the NBA Draft and the others run my favorite team. UGH.

#5 – Sacramento Kings
Best-Case Scenario: DeMarcus Cousins. There isn’t a better option for the Kings. He’s more important on this team than even Evan Turner could be. The Kings need a monster inside. DeMarcus Cousins is easily capable of being that monster. With the way I saw Coach Westphal handle different things this past season, I think he can deal with Cousins’ legendary temper. Yes, there is a good chance that Cousins will be a malcontent in his first go-around with the league and might need a change of scenery at some point to reform. But if that doesn’t happen and he just gets it right away, the Kings would be set with a phenomenal post player and an unstoppable guard.

Worst-Case Scenario: DeMarcus Cousins comes to the team and the Kings decide to bring in John Calipari to be the new head coach. No, this has no chance of happening. But it crossed my mind when trying to find a worst-case scenario and it was either that or writing about Cole Aldrich here. I don’t really feel like writing about Cole right now.

#6 – Golden State Warriors
Best-Case Scenario: Ekpe Udoh. Udoh isn’t the best player available by any means and he’s probably going to be difficult to watch on offense. But the Warriors need someone to protect the basket and I don’t think you can find anyone better in this draft than Udoh to do that. Udoh can block and challenge a lot of shots throughout a game. With the way the Warriors play defense, he’ll probably lead the league in both blocks and fouls as a rookie. Five per game for each wouldn’t be out of the question.

Worst-Case Scenario: Charlie Bell is your starting center. It’s Nellie’s last year (presumably). You don’t think he’ll go out guns blazing and trying to leave his mark on the game of basketball? Charlie Bell at center does that.

#7 – Detroit Pistons
Best-Case Scenario: Trade up and go get Cousins! I just don’t understand what the problem is here. The Wolves are willing to deal the fourth pick. I know they say they aren’t but there has to be a package available for the Pistons to move up. Prince, #7 and Summers/Daye would most likely get the job done. How could you not pull the trigger on that deal if you’re Detroit? What’s the hold up? Nostalgia? Get over it! Go get your star of the future. It’s the only way for this team to be relevant for the next four years (coincidentally, that’s when Charlie V’s and Ben G’s contracts expire).

Worst-Case Scenario: Last summer. No, they can’t repeat what happened last summer but they also can’t get away from it for another four years. They are stuck in standings limbo as they watch other teams make moves with cap flexibility all around them.

#8 – Los Angeles Clippers
Best-Case Scenario: (Insert Donald Sterling’s demise joke here)

Worst-Case Scenario: (Insert Donald Sterling staying as the owner joke here)



#9 – Utah Jazz
Best-Case Scenario: Still can’t believe they have this pick and the Knicks don’t. Xavier Henry is the best move for the Jazz here. He’s probably a year or two away from truly being a contributor in this league but the idea of him and Deron Williams in the same backcourt together is pretty fun. Jazz really can’t screw this pick up because it’s free talent for them. Thanks again, Isaiah.

Worst-Case Scenario: Re-signing Carlos Boozer to a big deal in order to retain him. Just let it go and give yourself another year to retool the roster into something great. Suture up the wound; don’t slap a band-aid on it.



#10 – Indiana Pacers
Best-Case Scenario: Ed Davis. I’m not quite sure why people are SO high on Ed Davis. I think he’s a nice prospect and will be a very serviceable player in this league. He can probably even be a perennial starter on a good team for much of his career if he continues to develop. But to think this guy is a future star is sort of insane. At the same time, the Pacers need to be smart about this pick. Grabbing some flavor of the month wing player is probably a bad idea. They can probably trade for a point guard and get more of a steady hand than any rookie could give them. Davis gives them some more options inside. Put him next to Roy Hibbert and that’s not a bad big man combo for the next half decade.

Worst-Case Scenario: Grabbing another white player. I know Luke Babbitt and Gordon Hayward are in the mix. And they’d probably be fine selections to add to the scoring punch of this team. But the ruthless and unmerciful ribbing Pacers fans would get from EVERYBODY around the league would just be sort of cruel. It would be funny as hell but it would be cruel.

More Random Predictions:

- David Kahn will undoubtedly make some stupid pick or trade that causes Matt Moore to flood my cell phone, gChat and email with torturous comments. I will then block all communication with Matt until Kahn is fired in 2024.

- The Grizzlies end up keeping all three of their first round picks because of Michael Heisley. They could probably move up in the draft by packaging a couple of them or they could acquire a pretty good player by letting someone like Cleveland get back into the first round. But more likely, Michael Heisley will control his team’s fate and Thabeet the hell out of the fans’ hopes.

- Patrick Patterson will be a little cross-eyed during his interview. It will make me giggle and question his ability to make it in this league.

- Hornets fans will be upset that they didn’t draft Cole Aldrich. The rest of the world will want to slap some sense into them.

- Sam Presti will once again show us how it’s done. It’s really not fair that he’s SO GOOD at the draft and the rest of the league is SO MEDIOCRE at the draft. Somehow, he moved up to the 18th spot and grabbed a decent role player without having to give up much at all. He finds the teams desperate to cut payroll (even though it’s not much at all) and he wipes the floor with them. It’s actually quite impressive to watch.

- We will all enjoy a night of chaos and trade rumor tornadoes. The NBA Draft is one of the best nights of the year for sports. Celebrate it.  

JOIN US FOR THE THIRD ANNUAL NBA DRAFT LIVEBLOG-O-RAMA-RAMA

We debated. We consulted the seers. We sacrificed some animals for guidance (so long, Zach Harper!), and came to the conclusion.

The show must go on.

So we’ll be hosting our marathon live chat here tonight starting at 5PMEST. You’ve joined us before. You should join us again. It will be fun. And merry. And my head will explode when Memphis takes someone terrible.

JOIN US. OR DIE.*

*you won’t really die

The Bucks Have Become Some Sort Of Deranged Machine

CDR is about to be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for the bargain basement price of just a second round pick, the two teams are just haggling over which second-round pick in what year will come back to New Jersey, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke the trade.

This is another sign that the Nets are set to draft Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick and were trying to avoid any controversy or glut of talent out on the wing.

Then in eight days the Nets are going to target Utah power forward Carlos Boozer in free agency, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

via Chris Douglas-Roberts traded to Bucks for a second-round pick, Nets to target Boozer in free agency – ProBasketballTalk – Basketball – NBC Sports.

Despite the gaudy salary, Maggette does what he’d always advertised: he scores the ball in prolific fashion, and does so as efficiently as almost anyone else. The price may be steep, but you’re getting something for those dollars.

His defense is worse than circumspect: he’s a big minus on that end, which figures to draw concern from Bucks coach Scott Skiles, who won’t hesitate to bench someone giving less than their all on defense. Optimists would argue Skiles will be able to milk some effort out of Maggette on that end, but seeing is believing, and we haven’t seen defense from Maggette in years.

via Warriors Trade Corey Maggette to Milwaukee for Gadzuric, Bell — NBA FanHouse.

Seems like only months ago they were drafting Joe Alexander, trying to pick up the pieces, trying desperately to convince anyone there was a plan in place. They looked like this.

Now, they’ve formed into some sort of impossibly complex fusion machine that runs on defense and exhausts awesomeness. It’s a bizarre world when hip slogans are being made of the Bucks, and then they make a series of moves that don’t necessarily screw it all up, but somehow just confuse me. Because now they seem like this:

Maggette AND CDR to go along with Delfino AND Moute (who does spend some time at the 3, though mostly at the 4)? What?

Here’s one for you to wrap your wee brain around.

Brandon Jennings-Michael Redd-Corey Maggette-Ersan Ilyasova-Andrew Bogut.

What? Not weird enough? Try this one.

Ridnour-CDR-Maggette-Mbah a Moute- Bogut

Or, maybe you were thinking…

Jennings-Redd-CDR-Ilyasova-Bogut

AND I HAVEN’T EVEN TOUCHED THE WEIRD FAUXHAWKNESS OF CARLOS DELFINO!

But yet, here we are. Brought to the brink of madness by Hammond, unleashed. Before we look at what the Bucks are looking to do in terms of draft night trades (COUGH*GOODBYECARLOS*COUGH), can we all take a second and realize that Scott Skiles will be coaching Chris Douglas-Roberts? Scott Skiles. This man.

Is coaching, this guy:

Yeah, this guy.

If CDR is going to make this work it’s going to take a dramatic change for him to a defensive stopper. He has to be Mbah a Moute-light.  All that one-on-one explosiveness has to be translated to awareness. He’d better enter a no-mind state and just do whatever it is that Skiles tells him.  If not, well, look at what happened to Carlos Delfino, the poor bastard.

Maggette is such a mixed bag. He was a Warrior and a Clipper. That pretty much sums it up, no? He was a high-usage, low-defense, low-return Warrior and Clipper. If anything teaches you that a guy is probably overvalued, it’s that. What happens if they do manage to re-ink Salmons? You have to ditch Redd for a quarter on the dollar, right? You can’t possibly go that deep in the tax with this unit, as much upside as they may have. I will say that bringing in two ISO players on a team that passes the ball really well and needs guys that are willing to step up and absorb a possession is key. CDR doesn’t do it effectively or efficiently, but there is hope that with Skiles he could get there. And Jenning is going to create enough Maggette corner threes to challenge some franchise records. The Bucks have gone from having no offense to being offensively versatile at nearly every possession. Also, I want to see two-on-two’s with Ridnour-Ilyasova and Maggette-Kurt Thomas. And I want it on YouTube, set to House music.

Profiles in NBA Draft Awesomeness: DeMarcus Cousins Is The Magnetic Field

We’re making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

Honestly. This is not advanced calculus. This is not chemical engineering. This is not the eternal debate of the soul. And yet we find ourselves in a position where DeMarcus Cousins is entering Thursday’s draft as one of the single most divisive figures in the NBA, and he hasn’t even been arrested, nor has he played a single minute. We have invented this cacophony against him, based off of what, him shouting frustration on the floor? Being willing to play dirty? Disrespecting his college coach, who, though I love the man, tends to be a player advocate and not a hardass? This is what we’re calling problematic?

I’ll feel silly if Cousins winds up like so many other players with “character issues.” But then, you know what? You can’t tell. You can’t.

You know why?

Sheed’s why.

In Vegas for Summer League in 2008, Matt Watson and I took a trip to the Cheesecake Factory inside the Shops at Ceasar’s Palace in Vegas. It was a fun little jaunt to see whether or not we’d run into anyone, and yielded little result. But the Sheed story stuck with me. There was an element that was left out.  The bartender told me that Sheed would bring his kids in and they would run around while he ate. Just another dad, taking his kids out. This jives with the rumors that Sheed wanted out of the 2008 All-Star Game because his wife had booked a trip for the family and he didn’t want to catch hell. I can understand that. The point is not whether or not these stories are true. It’s that it would make sense if they were. Sheed gives that vibe. You know what vibe he also gives?

A dude that has to be removed from the officials’ locker room after the Finals because he wanted to chat with the referees. The guy that racks up technicals like they’re power pellets and he’s Pacman. The loose cannon.

There’s depth that we miss with television. Celebrity doesn’t allow you to have any context, any texture, any rhythm to your personality. Don’t get me wrong. When I’m jamming out a 350 word post on ProBasketballTalk.com, I use phrases like “the dynamic point guard” or “the troubled small forward” as much as anyone. You’re basically trying to point out why you are or are not giving someone the benefit of the doubt, based on their past behavior. But Cousins is facing not just qualms about his behavior but his ability to produce on the court. Questions of his athleticism. As if Derrick Favors ability to jump really high even though he’s about as natural with a basketball as a flamingo is with a tricycle is somehow a superior factor. Look, I love the athletic guys. The Patron Saints of Paroxysm are all hyper athletic forwards. But Cousins’ is athletic. You know how he’s athletic? He’s strong as a freaking bull. That’s how he’s athletic. That weird, natural scoring ability that guys have? He’s got it. He doesn’t quit or get lost on defense. And when he’s going off or stomping and snorting like said bull? He’s at least engaged in the game. That’s what you want. You don’t worry about a guy who’s too emotional during a game, you worry about the ones who look bored, despondent, lost.

Cousins is the biggest bully I’ve seen in college basketball in a long time. He quite literally manhandles guys to the basket, then powers it in. He’s confident in his dribble, in his post moves, in his positioning. He understand where the floor is. I know that sound idiotic. Bear with me. You know how many rookies don’t have a sense of the floor dimensions, try and go baseline and wind up on the other side of the line? Many. And it floors me. But Cousins knows where he’s at and is able to finish. None of this “I’m long and athletic! As long as I get it up there, it should be fine!” business. You know what the results in? Those “five tapbacks that don’t fall and a defensive rebound” plays. The ones that make you lose your brain as a fan.

Cousins is not perfect. He’s not a shining example of maturity and poise. But he’s a beast of a forward, able to run, navigate the lane, and when he adds the man-bulk, is going to be like a Brahma spitting bullets.

This isn’t this complicated. Take the best basketball player. Take DeMarcus Cousins.

TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft: Boston Celtics Select James Anderson, G, Oklahoma State

#1 — John Wall, Washington Wizards — Truth About It
#2 — Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers — Philadunkia
#3 — Derrick Favors, New Jersey Nets
– NetsAreScorching
#4 — Wesley Johnson, Minnesota T’Wolves
— A Wolf Among Wolves
#5 — DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings – Cowbell Kingdom
#6 — Greg Monroe, Golden State Warriors — Warriors World
#7 — Ekpe Udoh, Detroit Pistons — Piston Powered
#8 — Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Clippers — Clipper Blog
#9 — Xavier Henry, Utah Jazz — Salt City Hoops
#10 — Paul George, Indiana Pacers — 8 Points, 9 Seconds
#11 — Cole Aldrich, New Orleans Hornets — Hornets 24/7
#12 — Ed Davis, Memphis Grizzlies — 3 Shades of Blue
#13 — Avery Bradley, Toronto Raptors — Raptors Republic
#14 — Patrick Patterson, Houston Rockets — Hardwood Paroxysm
#15 — Gordon Hayward, Milwaukee Bucks —
Bucksketball
#16 – Eric Bledsoe, Miami Heat Hot Hot Hoops
#17 – Luke Babbitt, Chicago BullsHardwood Paroxysm
#18 – Eric Bledsoe, Miami HeatHot Hot Hoops

WITH THE NINETEENTH PICK, THE BOSTON CELTICS SELECT JAMES ANDERSON, G/F/AWESOMENESS, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY (SPONSORED BY T-BOONE PICKENS):

You know why the Celtics take Anderson? Pierce may be re-signing, but he ain’t getting any younger. Anderson gives them an ability to hit shots, some youth, good athleticism, speed to get out in transition with Rondo, and a capable pull-up elbow jumper. If he slides this far, this is an abject steal for the Celtics, who have a younger frontcourt already and just need to fill out the wing to transition to the next phase in the franchise.


YOU’RE ON THE CLOCK, SMARTY MCTRADEDFORJEFFERSON!

TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft: Chicago Bulls Select Luke Babbitt

#1 — John Wall, Washington Wizards — Truth About It
#2 — Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers — Philadunkia
#3 — Derrick Favors, New Jersey Nets
– NetsAreScorching
#4 — Wesley Johnson, Minnesota T’Wolves
— A Wolf Among Wolves
#5 — DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings – Cowbell Kingdom
#6 — Greg Monroe, Golden State Warriors — Warriors World
#7 — Ekpe Udoh, Detroit Pistons — Piston Powered
#8 — Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Clippers — Clipper Blog
#9 — Xavier Henry, Utah Jazz — Salt City Hoops
#10 — Paul George, Indiana Pacers — 8 Points, 9 Seconds
#11 — Cole Aldrich, New Orleans Hornets — Hornets 24/7
#12 — Ed Davis, Memphis Grizzlies — 3 Shades of Blue
#13 — Avery Bradley, Toronto Raptors — Raptors Republic
#14 — Patrick Patterson, Houston Rockets — Hardwood Paroxysm
#15 — Gordon Hayward, Milwaukee Bucks — Bucksketball
#16 – Hassan Whiteside, Minnesota TimbeLOLvesWolf Among Wolves

WITH THE 17TH PICK IN THE 2010 TRUEHOOP NETWORK NBA MOCK DRAFT, THE CHICAGO BULLS SELECT LUKE BABBITT, SF/PF, NEVADA!

I know what you’re thinking. “But Matt! They already have Taj Gibson and Luol Deng and James Johnson and their two-guard is currently occupied by a fading defense-minded point guard that can’t shoot! They can’t possibly take Babbitt!”

Au contraire.

What’s the biggest goal for the Bulls this summer? Everyone, all together.

LeBron James. Very good, class.  Their second priority? Chris Bosh. Which means that at some point, they’re going to be involved in a sign and trade, which means that Luol Deng? He’s gone. See ya. Out of here. Someone else’s problem. If they don’t get James, they’re still in good position to get Bosh, or Stoudemire. And that means a sign and trade, and that means a lack of depth at combo-forward. Babbitt gives them a guy who can spell James, work within the offense, has high athleticism, can play either position, can work as a big in a pinch, and spread the floor. He’s an actual, honest to God, three-point shooter.  He’s a smaller, more athletic Brad Miller. And since the Bulls are probably losing Brad Miller, this has to be the pick.

Because if we didn’t have Brad Miller, we’d have to invent him.

(NOTE: NOT ACTUALLY ANYTHING LIKE BRAD MILLER OUTSIDE OF BEING A WHITE THREE POINT SHOOTER. FORGET IT, HE’S ROLLING.)

YOU, SIR, ARE ON THE CLOCK, MR. “LEBRON JAMES SHOULD TOTALLY WANT TO COME PLAY WITH MIKE BEASLEY AND MARIO CHALMERS!”