Author Archives: Matt Moore

Hardwood Paroxysm Presents The 5-Year Paroxy-Versary: Graydon Gordian Peeled Me Off A Sidewalk

Graydon Gordian works for someone big and yellow whose job was recently threatened. He’s also the Emeritus editor of, a contributing writer at Norman Einstein’s, and a wonderful person. Today he shares his thoughts on a new family born from this site and how blogs have helped us to have richer lives. Also, he recounts my lowest moment of the past five years. Enjoy. -Ed

You probably think of Hardwood Paroxysm as a blog about professional basketball in the United States, in particular the National Basketball Association. In some very basic sense, you’re absolutely correct. When I first started reading Hardwood Paroxysm, I thought of it as a basketball blog as well. Eventually I started writing for Hardwood Paroxysm and even then, it was still just a basketball blog, just a fun thing to pass the time in the evening’s after I got home from work.

This was long before the days of the TrueHoop Network, before any of us had paying gigs writing about basketball. It was long before I celebrated the inauguration of a president with Matthew Cornelius, and long before I watched Rob Mahoney absolutely murder (in the best way possible) The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl” at a karaoke bar in San Antonio. It was long before Trey Kerby played pick-up hoops with my dad in Austin, Texas, and long before Zach Harper and I drove out to a ritzy Minneapolis suburb to go to Michael Beasley’s estate sale. This was before Jared Wade and I went to a Raekwon show in Soho, and before Jared and I hoisted a drunken Matt Moore off of a street in midtown only to realize he had broken his nose.

This was long before I called Matt one evening, and he answered the phone and told me earlier that day his beautiful wife Karen had given birth to a baby boy.

When I first started reading Hardwood Paroxysm, I thought it was a blog about professional basketball. At the time I failed to realize that, over the next five years, the men and women I met through Hardwood Paroxysm would become my cherished friends.

No matter where you look nowadays – CBS, TBJ, ESPN, SI – you see veterans of Hardwood Paroxysm. You see the careers this site has helped create, but you don’t see the friendships it has helped spark. You probably think of Hardwood Paroxysm as a blog about basketball. After these last five years, I no longer think of it as that.

Hardwood Paroxysm Celebrates A 5-Year Paroxy-versary: Zach Harper And A Journey Of Balls

Zach Harper is the newest member of’s Eye on Basketball Blog, and a contributing writer for HoopSpeak and A Wolf Among Wolves. He’s the former editor of the Daily Dime Live chat on ESPN, as of today. I spotted Zach when he was linked by Yahoo and spent an entire day reading his work at TalkHoops. A few months later, he was a contributing writer for HP. Today he shares his journey to professional blogger, and how you never know how this thing is going to end. Enjoy. -Ed.

I’ve been blogging about the NBA for a little over five years.

I’ve been through a lot in those five+ years. I’ve had a relationship end and a relationship begin. I’ve lost family members and almost lost my hero during this time. I’ve quit a job with a decent future for a writing adventure without any certainty of what was to come.

And I’ve learned one thing during all of this: I have no idea what I’m doing and I kind of like it that way.

When I started my blog in June of 2007, I didn’t know much about anything Internet related. I knew how to put videos and pictures on my MySpace account, but I didn’t know much outside of that. HTML was just a thing at the end of web addresses to me. I didn’t read about any blogs because I didn’t know how to seek out any blogs.

I was working in an Oakley retail store, selling high quality sunglasses and basketball shoes Shane Battier once endorsed. I worked with a guy named Dan, who was into building web pages and playing World of Warcraft in his spare time. I figured he’d know how to start a website.

I asked him what he’d use to build a website and he said, “I’d get Dreamweaver software.” BOOM. I went out and bought Dreamweaver, loaded it up into my computer and blankly stared at the blank template asking me to input code I didn’t understand. Over the next two years, I tried to learn as much as I could about building web pages. There was a crass, Geocities-esque aesthetic appeal to my site. It housed a wildly inappropriate podcast with two friends and myself. It was what should have been my undoing.

I had no idea what I was doing and the quality of the site showed that. I wrote an article in March of 2008 and emailed it to the guys at The Basketball Jones. Tas Melas responded and told me J.E. Skeets was going to link to it on Yahoo. I jumped for joy in my cubicle at work. Do you know how many people read Yahoo?! 

I was on my way to being a real life sportswriter. Again, I had no idea what I was doing.

In 2009, Don Povia, Chris Lucas, and Kyle Bunch had the crazy idea to bring a bunch of bloggers into the basement of a bar and call it a conference. They hosted it in New York and I took time off from work to go attend it.

A couple weeks before that trip, Matt Moore emailed me and said, “Expect a call in a few days.” A few days went by and Kevin Arnovitz ended up calling me, found out I was a Wolves fan living in Sacramento, and asked me if I wanted to start the Sacramento Kings site for the ESPN TrueHoop Network. I did and decided I could compete with Tom Ziller at Sactown Royalty for Kings coverage (again, no clue what I was doing).

When I showed up at the conference in New York, a man in a Charlotte Bobcats t-shirt came up to me and said, “You’re Zach Harper? I’m Matt Moore. Congrats on the Kings blog. By the way, you’re writing for Hardwood Paroxysm now.”

I never actually had a choice. A few days later, a login setup came to me in an email and I wrote this post about my experience coaching JV basketball. As I started writing about the Kings on CowbellKingdom and the NBA here on HP, I decided my desk job wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I wasn’t cut out for office life. I couldn’t stand asking someone how they were doing and hearing them respond with “well, it’s Monday,” like it’s acceptable in any way to ask a feeling question with an answer of what day of the week it is.

In September of that year, I quit my job and began commuting to my couch. I did my best to cover the Kings, and I defended Greg Oden, gave out Lion and Lemon Faces like they were Halloween candy, and attempted to give my own spin on the league I loved.

Someone would refute something I said by putting out advanced stats I didn’t understand. This would lead me to learn as much about those stats as I could comprehend. Someone would mention that a writer already put something out on the same subject I just posted about. This would lead me to learning about that writer’s work and all of the people within that community.

As I learned how to write about the NBA and analyze it in a semi-competent manner, started up a Daily Dime Live chat for the team bloggers in the network. I had a blast doing it, pretending I knew more about the NBA than I actually did.

Around February of 2010, I decided to start offering my services in the chat when it was a slow night. The editors welcomed the help because it allowed them to continue to do their jobs. Memes were born, photoshops were mutilated and then posted, and we talked a lot about non-basketball things. During the 2010 playoffs, I showed up every day except for one, taking over the chat and turning it into a hangout for basketball geeks like me.

After the NBA Finals of that year, Royce Webb called me up and asked me if I was interested in flying out to the headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut to see ESPN and talk about a role with the company. I immediately started trying to figure out how much it would cost me to book a plane ticket on short notice and cover a hotel in the area.

I agreed, not knowing how I was going to pay for all of this. At the end of the conversation, Royce thanked me and said he’d have the travel department send me a ticket and book a room. I never had to let on that I had no idea it was going to work that way.

Again, I had no idea what I was doing or how that world worked.

Over the next two+ years, I got to watch Chad Ford work during the 2010 NBA Draft from ESPN headquarters, cover Las Vegas Summer League on someone else’s dime, and meet J.A. Adande, Ken Berger, Marc Stein (one of my idols for over a decade so much that I used to rip off his invention of the Daily Dime and made the Eight-Second Violations, which was like the Daily Dime only less work and much crappier), Sam Amick, Henry Abbott, John Hollinger, Larry Coon, and countless other writers I’ve been reading for much of my life.

I became a credentialed member of the media for two different teams (Kings and Wolves), got to cover the Sloan Conference in Boston, and talk to players, coaches, scouts, and front office people about the sport I love.

Throughout this wild ride of trying to decipher how to carve out a career in covering the NBA, I’ve realized that the deeper I get into this business, the more I realize I have no idea what’s going on.

With every step forward, there has been the introduction into an aspect of the game and the business that I didn’t know existed. When I’ve concocted a theory about how the NBA works and how basketball is played at the pro level, I’ve immediately had it shot down by those I’ve asked to vet it out.

When I’ve asked a coach about why a player is performing a certain way, I’ve been given a glimpse into the complexities of such a beautifully simple game. When I’ve floated my theory about basketball players with high butts not being good because of an awkward structural build, I’ve had David Thorpe respond with, “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did okay with it.”

It seems pretty fitting that the day before I begin the next step in my writing career, we get to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the website that helped me jumpstart a career I had no idea how to get into and have no idea how to stay in.

I’ve learned I know very little about basketball. I’ve learned that writing everyday is the key to sticking around. I’ve learned that not letting life get in the way of your dreams, no matter how impossible it seems to navigate, is the only way to make them a reality. I’ve learned that trial-and-error is the best way to learn what you need to get better at.

I’ve learned the meaning behind the words is far more important than the look of the words. And I’ve learned there are thousands upon thousands of basketball nerds just like me, who are so interested in reading about the game they love that they’ll click pages enough times to give a fan like me the opportunity to fake a career out of this.

I’m a fan posing as a writer. And I love learning everything I don’t know about the game of basketball and this business. Which is a lot.

Hardwood Paroxysm’s Five-Year Paroxy-versary: Rob Mahoney On HP’s Complete Lack Of Cohesiveness

Rob Mahoney is the brand-spanking-new NBA blogger for Sports Illustrated at He thinks he’s sooooo special. Rob was the first outside writer to join HP and made an immediate impact, blowing me away with his gift of prose. Funny story. I found out he was living in Austin the same time I was, so I invited him out to lunch. I asked if he wanted a beer, and he politely declined. It was only later that I would realize he couldn’t drink because he was underage. It’s unfair how good Mahoney is at such a young age, even now. Here he is with thoughts on HP turning five this week. – Ed.


From its very inception, Hardwood Paroxysm didn’t exactly make a push to be understood. That much was clear from the moment that one Matthew Moore opted for a bannered name ambiguous to many, inaccessible to some, and mispronounced even by its eventual staff. Yet all of that somehow makes sense, if only because HP was a blog to be written rather than to be read; its initial purpose was to be an escape for a man with a lot on his mind, and though the site has changed a bit since those days of crazed ramblings and Vince Carter jokes, its value as a basketball release clearly remains. I’m sure there are many who have never been quite sure of what the phrase “Hardwood Paroxysm” actually means, but I like to think that many more yet have a grasp of what that name has come to mean.

Hardwood Paroxysm, in all its forms and through each of its many authors, is a true outlet.

It’s a workshop for basketball creatives. It’s a relief for team bloggers with a wide-angled itch. It’s a career launchpad, and has been for me and for so many that I admire. But most of all, it’s a place to let go of form and worry and basketball convention. It’s a home to writers who have little choice but to write — not because Moore is behind them with a cracking whip and stern look, but because re-routing a stream of basketball consciousness into a WordPress interface is much preferred to damming up that stream outright. The scribes who have been featured on Paroxysm were going to let slip their stray thoughts on the game at some point or another, and each thought it better to release those ideas to the NBA-loving masses than upon their unsuspecting friends and family members.

So Moore’s pulpit became a forum, and in the process, came to be increasingly undefined. Even after all these years and all of these writers, I don’t know that Paroxysm ever owned a particular niche of the basketball blogosphere, and it certainly couldn’t ever manage a consistent tone. This blog can be messy and wacky and thought-provoking and self-indulgent and deeply analytical all at once, and that’s honestly what I appreciate about it most; HP never sat still long enough to be classified in one way or another, and in that it managed to make a signature of its own erraticism. It’s completely inconsistent in the best possible way, and done wonders with a deep roster and an inadvertent dedication to pluralism.

Somehow I doubt that’s what Moore had in mind when he first cracked wise about the NBA via blog in 2007, but we’ll forgive him for his lack of foresight. The man created, propelled, and maintained a terrific site for nearly five years, and pulled this schmuck out of relative writing obscurity in the process. And so I raise a glass to him, to my fellow Paroxites, and to a blog that will always feel like home. Happy anniversary, HP, and godspeed. I have no earthly idea what to expect from you next, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hardwood Paroxysm’s 5-Year Paroxy-Versary: Trey Kerby Has Jokes, Y’all

Trey Kerby is Editor in Chief of the Score’s Basketball Jones blog, and a featured contributor to their podcasts, videocasts, and TV shows. Trey wrote for us for a short time before getting snatched up by Yahoo before departing for the Jones, which pretty much has to be the most fun ever. Trey is legitimately the funniest blogger I know, and has been a great friend of mine since we started yapping at each other at our day jobs about how much we wanted to blog for a living. His wife is awesome, his dog is awesome, he’s pretty awesome. And he decided to contribute this to today’s stuff.

A List of Places Matt Moore Has Written In the Past Five Years

– Hardwood Paroxysm
– Eye On Basketball
– ProBasketballTalk
– SBNation Denver
– Deadspin
– Tremendous Upside Potential
– Twitter
– Twitter
– Twitter
– Twitter
– Twitter
– Obscure Sports Quarterly
– Dad Life
– CAPS LOCK Aficionado
– Hashtags the Magazine
– Contrarian Viewpoints Anonymous weekly newsletter
– Sports Illustrated for Kids
– Better Homes and Gardens
– Twitter (x 1,000,000,000,000)
– Retweets of Fortune
– Guys Who Kinda Look Like Louis CK Digest
– The Mike Conley News
– Encyclopedia Brittanica
– Highlights Magazine
– The Writer’s Guide to Too Many Blogs
– Blogs Illustrated
– The Blogging News
– Real Simple

Hardwood Paroxysm’s 5-Year Paroxy-versary: How In The Hell Did We Not Burn This Thing To The Ground Yet?

Five years ago, Paroxi-wife, then Paroxi-fiancee, or rather, just fiancee, or something, said something to me that would change my life.

“Dude, you cannot be at the bar hammered every night until 2 a.m.. You need a hobby.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know, blog about something.”

Later, predictably, at a bar, I asked Corn if he wanted to start an NBA blog. I wanted a reason to watch more Suns games and make jokes about Sam Cassel being an alien. (Remember when those were funny?) I had gotten an office gig in 2005 and found out just how many sports blogs there were out there. I was reading them obsessively because, let’s face it, most office work can be done for the month in about an hour and a half. To this day, my Google Reader (remember when people found stories through Google Reader? MISS U SHAREBROS) is crammed with every imaginable sports blog I could find. I loved the style, the approach, the recklessness and the hyper-narrow focus. I loved the way it didn’t just write about teams and games through narratives and limited elements, but actually got into what fans wanted to talk about, what you’d argue with your friends about.

And I badly wanted to write.

You have to understand, we had no expectations when we started. If you’d asked me five years ago what the blog would be in five years my response would have been “DEAD BURIED IN THE COLD COLD INTERNET GROUND DORMANT FOR YEARS AND I’M PROBABLY INTO LUNCH BOX COLLECTING OR SOMETHING ELSE EQUALLY STUPID.”

Instead, Hardwood Paroxysm turns five this month, and we’re celebrating it today. It’s currently staffed by some of the brightest young writers on the NBA out there, it’s linked daily by major outlets, it’s a household name among …. well like forty people. But still! Its emeritus staff have gone on to write for,, The Score, Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Bleacher Report. Well, hey, no one’s perfect. We’re a proud member of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, and our writers have been credentialed for coverage by NBA teams.

Not bad formed almost entirely in pursuit of NBA d*ck jokes.


The blog gave me something to commit myself to, honestly, for the first time in my life, outside of friends and family. I spent high school trying to get out of a small town in Arkansas, and college I spent drinking away the fact that college had basically informed me that nothing I would ever do would matter. I was largely lost in Austin until Paroxi-wife came along, and it was her persistence that I could do something I loved that kept me motivated in writing on this damn thing. In time, we started getting linked by FanHouse, SBNation, TrueHoop, and Yahoo. I would spend lunch breaks going over roster lineups and thinking about matchups. I would abuse the trade machine in ways that should honestly be outlawed in several states. It was a focus, and the joy of writing something you were proud of, getting it linked, and having people leave comments like “I don’t hate this” and “Not bad” would make my day.

It gave me somewhere for the hamster wheel in my brain to work towards.

Paroxysm is, was, and always will be about potential. We brought on Rob Mahoney, after he showed such promise even as a Freshman in college. We brought on Holly MacKenzie after she impressed me with how she wrote so passionately about players. We brought on Graydon Gordian for his eloquence, stats writers I can’t mention because they now work for teams for their brilliance, and Trey Kerby because he’s awesome.

We’re a full-fledged operation now, and what started out a a way to kill time is now my full-time occupation. When I applied for the job at CBS, and by applied, I mean cornered my boss after emailing him thirty times, he asked me why I wanted get the job. I gave him a list of reasons, but instead of my canned response to the question I’d perfected over the years (seriously, you should see me interview for a job, I’m the Chris Paul of job interviews), I found myself answering honestly. “Because I have never been as good at anything on this earth as I am at blogging about basketball.”

That, plus my boss’ casual indifference to the hiring process, landed me where I wanted to go.

When I think about Paroxysm, when I try and direct the younger guys, when people ask me about what Paroxysm is, I talk about developing talent, and giving young writers a voice. I talk about potential, and believing in those athletic forwards you know will let you down but who you will continue to hope become the next transformative force in the sport. I talk about how it’s just about basketball, but it uses culture and history and out-of-the-box thinking to get at the sport in different ways. And mostly I talk about how it’s because we love those February Tuesday games, with half-full arenas suddenly coming alive because a good game between two mediocre teams with potential broke out. Love the ridiculousness of the sport’s history, egos, and decisions. Love the poetry and the flow of the game, the thrill and the violence, the tactical and spiritual way it all comes together to give you a reason to forget that crappy job you have to work at. That was, and continues to be a huge part of what I want Paroxysm to be, and my work to be.

I know how hard it is getting through jobs you hate with people you despise. I know what it’s like wanting to express yourself about something you care about and not feeling like you have an outlet. I know what it’s like to want to have something that doesn’t make you rich or famous or changes the world, but just something good that you wrote that someone enjoyed, and I know what it’s like wanting to just spend an hour and read what people say about the sport you spend so much time watching.

So every day when fingers hit keyboards, and whenever I think about just shutting Paroxysm down, and whenever I wonder if I’m lost, I remember that I’m writing for you, because any of us can do this, and I want to show that. You just have to work at it.


I’m announcing today my retirement as acting Blogger in Chief of Hardwood Paroxysm. I’ll remain on as Emeritus, but the site needs more attention than I can give and needs stable hands to take it forward. I’m please to announce Amin Vafa and Jared Dubin have been appointed as Co-Bloggers-in-Chief and are officially “in charge” of Paroxysm. It carries with it very little responsibility, no money to speak of, and the thanks of almost no one. But they’ll do a great job taking Paroxysm where it needs to go. I’ll still be around, and you know where to find me elsewhere, but it’s time to let this thing grow on its own. It’s full daily of great material from young writers like Sean Highkin, Conrad Kaczmarek, Steve McPherson, and Noam Schiller. It’s going to be adding more features, more bells and whistles. It’s going to be the longest running active independent NBA general blog eventually.

I want to thank everyone who made this site into something awesome, and I’ve named them before, they know who they are. I want to thank the new staff, for taking this thing in such a bold new direction and keeping it relevant. I want to thank Rob Mahoney who starts his rightful position at Sports Illustrated, for making me think we could do more than just make gags about Shaq. I want to thank Corn for starting this journey with me, even if he bailed to go do something useless like politics. And I mostly want to thank Karen for demanding that I quit going to the Cat, get off my ass, and do something with my life. It’s worked out pretty well for all of us.

Oh, and I want to thank you, the readers. Not the commenters. You, I hate. But I really love the fact that people come here because they want to read smart or funny or interesting things about the NBA, and that I get to be a part of your lives that way.

So here we go, and we’ll have pieces throughout the day from writers new and old on what Paroxysm is. Some of it will be about the site, most of it will be about basketball. All of it should be pretty fun. Thanks for coming on the ride.

And in closing, I hate your team.


Hardwood Paroxysm Presents: Your Stupid Questions, A Mailbag Disaster

For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I’m doing a mailbag. I had always liked Simmons, and the others run on the big sites, but had never considered doing one, because, you know, who the hell is going to write me an email asking what I think? But with the Twitter follower count so high, based solely on bots and the possibility I might freak out over Conley again, I asked if anyone would be interested in me doing it. People said they would be. And I’m largely like what Henry Rollins described playing the first time with Black Flag was like: like popping a quarter into an arcade game.

Here then, are your questions. If you have a question for the next edition, email it to [email protected]


ugh, why are you doing a mailbag? 

-Michael Gonring

Aaaaand we’re off to a rousing start.


How do you see the Orlando Magic thing playing out? Was this the best way to go, will it pay off? Do you think Changing the culture and acquiring young talent will eventually lead to a championship caliber team?

-Insta Magic

I’m in a tight spot on the Magic, because I often say that we have no alternative but to assess things from where we are at the same time. Blasting the Pau Gasol trade for Memphis was not incorrect at the time just because Marc Gasol wound up as Wendigo. At the time, we knew almost nothing about El Beardo and had no way of knowing that he was like a less-skilled Pau with bigger testes. It was not wrong for us to torch him. But the Hornets deal, and honestly the Nuggets and Jazz deals make you realize that these things aren’t a one-year process. We need to give Hennigan some time. Because if the flips Afflalo by the deadline, or Harrington, or at the draft, along with the extras he picked up, and moves up, then what?

Taking picks with any protections was not a good look, and you have to think it’s likely that they could have yanked another quality player out of the deal somewhere. But Orlando was in a very particular spot because of how their ownership handled it, and what Dwight and his people had done to their leverage. It was leverage warfare that last four months and honestly is probably something either the NBA or NBPA needs to address.

The thing with them winning a title is that the Spurs, as they have been over the past 13 years, without Tim Duncan, is just a really classy, well-organized 8th seed. You still need the guy, and getting that guy becomes harder and harder with each year it feels like.


How do you feel that a rookie gets to start over you?

Just kidding Matt, I don’t have a question… Wait… Talk about LeBron.



I was just thinking today that what the site needs is someone who even mails it in on a mailbag question including using the overplayed joke about the NFL quarterback. Let me take down that “Now Hiring” sign and show you to your office.


What do you think the Raptors can get for Jose Calderon? I’ll hang up and listen.

-Atique Virani

Well the Lakers got Sessions for a first-rounder and you have to think that considering the size of his expiring he can get better offers than that. If a playoff team is in a position to make a second-round or better run and need a point, they’ll get the offers they’re looking for. Maybe the biggest problem is that they can’t target the teams that traditionally overpay for international players, because they’re one of them. Calderon’s like a lot of players in that the people who don’t think he’s valuable have very specific reasons why and feel comfortable with their assessment, and people who like him have a pretty solid resume and history to fall back on. Point guard who can shoot well is not as common in this league as you’d think. But if they get any draft considerations at all out of a deal, then Colangelo’s done well.


Do Bulls fans have any reason to trust the front office?  Lies upon lies about competing while destroying the bench before our eyes.

-Riley Schmitt

Here’s the great thing about the Bulls. They’re not cheap out of function. They don’t try and sneak away the dollars because their owner struggles with his own accounts. They’re not doing payroll on credit. And it’s not a tactical decision, because in a lot of cases, it does more damage than the advantage it brings. It’s a philosophical thing. Reinsdorf, his family, and everyone they’ve trusted with running the business, just simply will not accept anything less than winning every transaction by the largest possible margin. In reality, they’re more competitive against their own people than they are against the other teams in the league.

I know several writers who actually like what they did with the bench. And part of what needs to be understood is that it’s not like Asik, Lucas, Watson, etc. were actually that good. It’s the same deal with Boozer. You can’t localize how bad Boozer is defensively as much anymore because Thibs has figured out how to completely mask them. So the bench could be substantially better, we just have to see if they fit with Thibs, not each other.

To me the bigger thing is Thibs himself. Why would you screw around with his extension? What on Earth could he have done other than break LeBron’s arm himself or magically healed Derrick like a shaman to have put that team further forward? I get the idea of winning every transaction you can, but at some point you’re just creating a work environment where everyone is unhappy with dealing with you as an employer. That’s not conducive to success.

Then again, Reinsdorf owns two sports teams and I spent an hour trying to figure out the most efficient way to spend $10 on produce tonight. So there’s that.

In closing, never trust any organization that has an interventionist owner.


One time I got mad at someone and cleaned the toilet with their toothbrush.

-Josh Guyer

See, and that’s the thing about what the Suns did with their offseason… wait, what?


Can Amar’e spending the summer working out with Hakeem be taken as a sign that he has finally realized he no longer has the explosiveness he did in Phoenix and needs to adjust his game?  And that will translate into a more efficient style of play this season?  Which could mean he’ll mesh better with Melo and Chandler, since each would bring a different aspect to the offensive gameplan?  Which means there is hope at MSG?  Tell me there’s hope for the Knicks.  Please, tell me there’s hope.

-Will Crist

There is not.

… ….

OK, so i’m the biggest Amar’e apologist you’re going to find, which is why the homophobic slur this summer bothered me so much. But with Stoudemire, he’s making the effort, which you have to appreciate. But even then, look at the dynamic of what’s happening. Stoudemire knows that he’s not going to be getting enough pick-and-roll opportunities to justify keeping his standard role, so he’s trying to change who he is to better mesh with Anthony. He’s changing his suit because it clashes with Melo’s.

But there’s hope for New York, I think. I mean, look, they started last year as genuinely one of the better teams in the league. That opening win over Boston was legit. And look at their model. “Play kick-ass, rough-as-nuts defense the entire game, beat the crap out of you, and hammer you with an elite scoring option.” That’s not traditionally against the idea of a championship model. It’s just that they’re an anachronism. They’re lodged in a time before the rest of the species evolved. There’s hope, but your model is badly conceived and has an equally high chance of completely detonating within three weeks.

So there’s that!


What would you rather do:

Lick out your mum or suck off your dad.

-Keith Firmin

The thing about the British is that they’re so polite.


Good sir
I get the feeling that some of the NBA’s “Upper Class” (in terms of market size and owner wealth) really don’t take much stock in the CBA’s restrictions and penalties for going over the luxury tax limit.  I remember reading that there is an opt out clause at year 6 of the recently signed CBA. Since it takes 2-3 years or overspending for these penalties to rack up, are these teams gambling the CBA gets tossed out the window? I’d like to be very wrong here, but it seems strange to potentially limit your teams offseason maneuverability by signing 5-6 guys to $80 million dollars a year worth of contracts. The other side of this is that the two teams Im thinking of, the Lakers and Nets, have such strong markets/rich owners that they don’t care about the cost and are in win now mode.  Where do you stand on this? Or am I just reading to much into things?
-Kirk Henderson

People get tied so much into the idea of “restraining big markets” that they lose sight of the other consequential side. When Prokhorov and Buss are paying those insane luxury taxes, on top of the new revenue sharing checks, that money’s going to Charlotte and Sacramento. And that was the goal of the lockout, to bail out the ones struggling. Competitive balance means trying to get the bad teams to not lose money hand over fist, not to bring the aristocracy down to the streets by authoritarian force. That said, we too often get caught up in the idea that these teams are stable. Like “Well, when the Lakers are paying…” or “When the Nets are…” in three years. That’s a lot of time to make decisions and head in different directions. Two months ago we would have said “Well, the Hawks are going to be ruined, because no one’s taking Joe Johnson…” and then someone took Joe Johnson. Zach Randolph not only was traded twice in two years on his last deal, but it turned out to be a smart move for Memphis! We tend to think that things in the league are much more stable than they actually are.

That said, I take the Lakers’ moves this summer as the family saying “HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEW TV CONTRACT WHICH THE LEAGUE DOES NOT GET A SUBSTANTIAL SHARE OF? SUCK ON THESE.”


Do you agree that scoring (Or volume scoring) often gets overrated by fans when it comes to player analysis?

-Jose Holguin

I think it gets overrated by your buddy who’s had two too many Bud Light Limes who only watches the TNT games after he gets home from his poker game where he inevitably lost all his money on two-pair.

I actually think we go the other way in the internet discussion circles (blogs, twitter,… well, blogs and twitter). We tend to act like scoring doesn’t contribute to the BASIC AND ESSENTIAL GOAL OF THE GODDAMN GAME. Yes, efficient scoring matters because those wasted possessions could have been delivered to a more efficient option. But you have to accept certain things when we talk about a game, and one is that there simply will be a significant number of inefficient possessions, regardless of who’s creating them. It’s a byproduct of human error and the fact that there is an entire force involved in gameplay manifested by five active players trying to stop the other side from creating those looks and converting them. I think we can strive for efficiency as a way to make players better without dismissing the ability to score in volume as something bad. It’s not bad. It’s just not optimal.


this is mostly because I listened to the raptors podcast and Holako killed Bayless at the end of it:

How will the whole Jerryd Bayless/Memphis Grirzzlies thing work?
-James Herbert
I’m an unabashed Bayless disciple since I saw him in Summer League, since I read a pre-draft interview for Dime where he said “I’m a killer.” So I’m thrilled as a guy who follows and pulls for Memphis. It’s just what they needed. A jitterbug combo-guard. Bayless can hit from the arc, can run an offense and create points. He’s got a lot of problems, including inefficiency, but the Grizzlies play inefficiently. That’s who they are. They’re a messy, sloppy, competitive, tough team, and Bayless fits in really well with that model. As long as Nate McMillan doesn’t show up at any point, he should have probably his best years with Memphis, even if he’s always just a bench guy who has a few moments and frustrates in his decision-making. The team employs Tony Allen and he’s one of their best players for God’s sake. Offensive decision-making is not an emphasis.Jazz need to trade millsap or Jefferson (or both). Who would you trade, for whom or what, and when?
-Blake Kohler

I want them to trade Millsap, but that’s just because I want to see sub-superstars in different settings. I feel the same way about Josh Smith and LaMarcus Aldridge. But they need to trade Jefferson. I don’t like Al at center. I want him at power forward with a legit five next to him. Honestly, he’d make for a great pair with Hibbert after David West’s skills erode with time. If I’m the Jazz, I’d do the same thing I’d do if I were several teams:
1. Hire a three-man team of metric-analysts from a diverse set of analytic backgrounds
2. Charge them with working for three months non-stop, working 12-hour days on developing one formula: Which teams have the best probability at this moment of having a top-ten, not top-five, not lottery, but a top-ten pick in the draft that Andrew Wiggins will be available in (if his eligibility is decided by the trade deadline). Then I would trade Jefferson and Hayward and Mo Williams to any of those teams that will listen for those picks. I would sell out everything to set them up to get Wiggins.

In reality, they will likely re-sign Millsap and let Jefferson walk or trade him for a small combination package.


Hey Dr. Matt,

I’m a San Antonio fan here in San Antonio and while I’m absolutely sure that you hate our team categorically from past Tweets (and every other team besides your beloved Lakers [why do you have a Grizzlies logo LOL?]), I presume there are some reasonable conditions under which the Spurs could win the title. So my question is, assuming some sort of apocalypse or Communist takeover is out of the question, what would need to go right for our favorite unselfish, sarcastic, deep twelve to snag sixteen? 

Alex in Grand Rapids


It’s a shame that I’ve developed this reputation because I constantly write about how much I respect the organization and why other people should. If you told me I could write a book on any team next season, any, I would pick the Spurs in a heartbeat for Duncan plus Pop.

That said, Popovich has openly admitted, said very clearly and very publicly, that this team cannot be the defensive team it once was with the roster it has decided to have. And yet that’s the only way they’re going to win that title. They have to be able to ugly the game up so much that the talent level for teams like Oklahoma City and Los Angeles becomes irrelevant. They were not better than the 2007 Suns, but they messed with the Suns enough (in-between eliciting terrible suspensions off dirty hits) to get the win. That’s how they have to model their team. They’ve become the offensive team that isn’t built for the playoffs in a cruel twist of fate.


How great is Boris Diaw, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being “Amazing” and 10 being “Michael Jordan”?
-Josh Guyer

You again. A -2 is the answer, but everyone really should have been paying more attention to his work in Charlotte early last season. His passing was incredible early on, and a reason I really didn’t think the Cats were that bad for a while. Then they were. On the other hand, a Spurs fan was upset because I wouldn’t admit that Diaw would be the reason the Spurs’ defense got where it needed to. LOL as the kids say.


-Kenneth Munsayac

It means a fit of emotion, usually joy. I got it from the enduring image of Mutumbo grabbing the ball after the Nuggets upset the Sonics, and from Mourning’s reaction after hitting the three versus the Celtics.

I look like I do because of a cruel twist of genetics that resulted in me starting to lose my hair at age 21. And if you can’t grow hair on your head, which is really frustrating, you kind of want some control. I’ll flip to the full beard in November, but it’s too hot in the summer, so I’ve adopted the bald-with-a-goatee, German nihilist look that switches immediately to redneck when I put on a ballcap. Paroxi-wife won’t let me razor-shave the dome yet for some reason, but that’s probably going to happen within the next year. Getting old sucks.


Can OJ Mayo be a feasible #2 in Dallas?

Dexter- Dallas TX

Mayo is one of my absolute favorite players in the league and a legitimately smart player. But he’s a non-elite perimeter shooter who doesn’t have explosiveness to get to the rim. That’s the biggest missing piece to his game. And while I think he’ll be productive in Dallas, asking him to be a No.2 for a team is too much. He’s just not there. If he was, Hollins would have played him, despite his obsession with him needing to play point, and his preference for tall defenders. Mayo can be a championship fourth starter, but anything higher than that and you’ve got problems.

Unless he makes the leap….


Subject: SHUMP WEEK????????

Can we do it?
(I promise not to send any more stupid emails to this account, but I had to do this one)

-Jared Dubin



With his unique talent and skillset, what’s the best Allen Iverson could have become with better coaching in a different era?
-Jonathan Brill

Well, if you stick him back in Wilt’s era…

I think Iverson could have broken the 100-mark in the 70’s, honestly. With the way defense just wasn’t played at all with the Coke problems, if he’d been on those Denver teams that just ran like all sin, he would have had some absolutely insane games. I mean, look at Dantley or English’s numbers. He would have done some daring things with a boxscore.

But in terms of being a better player for team winning? No one, maybe, was more self-actualized than Iverson at his peak, but he wasn’t ever going to change. He could only have ever been A.I. by being himself. Gift and a curse.


Am I the only one who thinks it’s actually bad to overachieve in general in this NBA? Maybe it’s from watching the Rockets play just above their heads enough to never be relevant, but it seems like unless you have enough talent and skill you’re just delaying he inevitable. Maybe if your core has enough potential that practice can be the deciding factor, you can avoid being the pacers or the rockets or the jazz or any of the teams that play over their heads only to fall back to earth in a pile of wet fan disappointment. You might have aligned parts and a favorable system and more hustle or whatever, but eventually someone else has more superstars and someone else has a top ten draft pick.
-Forrest Walker

First off, I have to ask how easy it must be to pick up women with a name like “Forrest Walker.” Sit in a bar with a hat and a notebook scribbling and you should need the woman version of Batman’s Bat-Shark-Repellent from the 60’s Batman movie.

I think it depends on what your expectations are. If you really want a title? Then yeah, it’s not good for you. But those seasons also stick with you as a fan. Rockets fans may be willing to trade their 22-game winstreak for another title, but that season still lives with them. It still sticks out. People say the Mavericks overachieved in 2011 and I want to punch them. That team was a title contender in November if you watched them. They had every single component you need, and the look.

You can bail on overachieving, but sometimes your fanbase just needs something. And sometimes that’s the best you’re going to get in that era.


Hi Matt,
Doug Collins has never made it past year 3 in his coaching career at his previous destinations. Now that the Sixers have traded away their veteran players (Iguodala and Brand) and brought in a loose cannon who to this point has been treated as a god in Philly (Andrew Bynum), where does this leave Doug Collins? Does he lose his job over a power struggle with the new face of the franchise, or does he his grating style work with a roster currently containing only 5 returning players?
- Sean O’Connor (@soconnor76)

Collins clashing with Bynum would honestly be too predictable. And if there’s anything Collins likely learned during his career, it’s to get along with the star player. Bynum won’t be bothered by how Collins acts in the huddle since he doesn’t go in them, anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if ownership sticks with him for the legacy and loyalty thing, which seems to be a big thing for them. I don’t think he wins a title with them, but I think he gets a good long stint until they stagnate (again).


My question is… how u?

No in all seriousness do you have like, a list of reliable, accurate, and advanced NBA statistics sites that you use? And do you mind sharing them with me? :) I’m the annoying kid on Twitter (@_verts) that bugs you whenever you say Boston is too old to make noise in the East.

I rely on the following extensively:,, the NBA’s stats site (which is being opened to the public this season),, and


First, I’d like to say that i appreciate your blog posting. Thank you to the whole team, that works on keeping Hardwood Paroxysm so enjoyable, and eloquent.

Thats actually my question, too. A basic question about the blog, although i have quite a few, I’ll limit it to one.>

How and why did you start it? >

A simple question(and a bit of a double question) surely, but I figure I’ll leave you with a lot of room to answer. I’m more than curious as to whatever the answer. How you chose to ingest the question, will be just as interesting as your answer. >

I’d like to hope your answer address most of my actual questions.>

Thanks, Guys, for your time, if you chose this question. :) 

Keep up the good work. >

-Brandon Askew

Five years ago, in October of 2007, I was getting married at the end of the month. I was living in Austin, Texas with my fiance at the time, and spending a lot of time at the bar. I was thinking of having my mail delivered there. I had a running tab at the bar, because they knew I’d be back. I had memorized the jukebox. It was bad. So anyway, the future-wife was like “You have to get a hobby.” I spent a decent amount of time with my friend Corn (on this site as The Corndogg, and if you knew him, you’d understand how appropriate that nickname is in its awful ridiculousness) at another bar arguing about basketball and watching the TNT games on tiny non-HD TVs.

At the time, I was really deep into reading the whole blog scene, having discovered them in 2005. Awful Announcing, Deadspin, the Jones, KSK, EDSBS, I was a psychotic devoted reader. So I decided that the hobby would be a basketball blog. I asked if Corn wanted to write for it. He did, and we started. It was as simple as that. I threw myself into it, and learned as much as I humanly could about the sport I’d been following since I was 10, and loved the esoteric “it”ness of FreeDarko, the nuanced researched discussion of TrueHoop, the unabashed irreverence of Basketbawful. We tried to be some combination of those. In time, we added Rob and then Graydon, Holly, Trey, and Jared Wade. Then stats writers and other guest spots, before I added the new crew last year. It’s been the most fun thing I’ve ever done and a genuine pleasure that turned into an occupation and I’m thankful every day for you and every other reader that lets me do this.


-Christopher Barnewall

The problem with parody like this is that it is often too unaware of how short its hyperbole falls and how accurate it comes off. This is pretty much 80% of my Twitter mentions during the season.


Bill Simmons talks about a player getting “play-off reps”, in order to be able to come through under pressure, win big games and advance deep into the playoffs etc.  And that makes sense to me.  But what about Kevin Garnett?  He wasted all his effort doing reps on those poor Minny teams.  Now, he’s in Boston and on a team capable of being in big games and going deep into the playoffs, except KGs health is now an issue when he needs it the most.  Was KG better off “tanking” as a player on those Minny teams, saving his legs for when it really matters?  Did KG spend too much time playing regular season minutes (seasons in Minny) and now doesn’t have any legs left for the playoffs (his Boston years)?
Because I’m kind of in the same position in my own job.  I work for an idiot who cant understand why I’ve stopped being invested in my position.  I’d love to give 110% and try harder and take pride in my work, but I’m not going to do it for this clown.  So now I’m applying for jobs in other areas where I am sure I will suddenly get my mojo back.  But damned if I’m going to work hard for my current manager slash bozo.  I’m arriving late, leaving early, and sending in emails to random internet sites who value my questions more than my manager at work does.  Unlike KG, I keep telling myself I am saving my reps for when it matters.  I cant figure out if I am lazy or smart.



I think Garnett values the process and honestly, can’t turn it off. He’s able to to a better degree at this age than he was in Minnesota. For so many years he just gave everything because that’s all he’s capable of doing. I don’t think it had much of an impact because he’s already outliving his expiration date, and has produced at a higher level than you’d think was possible for a guy his age.

The big key I think is to know that if you’re going to do something, you’re already investing your time, so you might as well do it to the best of your ability. Working hard at something that isn’t going to help you says more about your work ethic than it does about your intelligence. Not trying to get out of that job would be the dumb decision. So I’d say bust your ass so that when you walk out you’re able to say to your boss that you did the job you wanted to and the best you could, and also kiss my ass. But the other option is to invest yourself as much as possible in getting a new job or in writing on the internet. It’s your time, you get to decide what to do with it, you just have to live with the consequences. By the way, I’ve been there, and it blows. Hang in there.


What does Danny Ainge see in Jeff Green?  Ainge drafted him out of Georgetown before trading him in the package to Seattle for Ray Allen.  Then Ainge traded Perkins for Green (I understand the theory behind that one, where Perkins wasn’t going to re-sign with Boston anyway so at least get something for him.  Timing was terrible though).  Ainge is one of these “stat-head” General Managers.  In fact, Ainge was ahead of the curve by employing a “brain-type” guy to gauge players personalities.  Green got to Boston and showed the same trend he had in Seattle/OKC, where teams were worse off with Green on the floor.  So there’s allot of data there, over significant time that says two things.  1.  Ainge loves Jeff Green.  2.  Green hasn’t proven to be a plus player at any time in the NBA.  So this year where Ainge is the only person bidding for Green who is coming off a missed season due to heart surgery, signs him to $36m.  What does Danny Ainge see in Green to warrant that kind of contract?  What is Greens ceiling?  Can you give me the name of a player from the last 20 years who you see Greens production or game being similar too?


Green’s the case of a player whose game seems to hide his production, or that his production doesn’t reveal his true value, depending on where you sit. The real answer is likely closer to the former. But the ideal is that Green is a sane Ron Artest. Able to score from the perimeter a little bit, great athleticism and frame, and a quality defender. That honestly needs to be where Green should dedicate himself fully. His potential offensively is extremely limited but he’s at the age a lot of guys make big strides defensively. If he can become the kind of lockdown defender the Celtics value, he could wind up being worth the money. But for rebounding and scoring efficiency, it’s just not there and unlikely he’ll get there. It was not a great signing.

Guest Post: The Man, the Mountain and the Bonner by Ananth Pandian

Ananth Pandian is a writer for Dime Magazine and a contributor to NBA Cookbook. Follow him on Twitter @Ananth_Pandian. He was kind enough to offer this piece to HP on training with Bonner in New Hampshire and I jumped on it like a starving man on a chicken leg. Enjoy. -Ed.

Illustration by the incredibly talented Maddison Bond

“This will be your New Hampshire initiation,” Matt Bonner tells me threateningly with a wry smile on his face.

Its 9 a.m. and the July sun is already beaming down on us as we stand in the parking lot of Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Just the night before, we had closed out Funspot, the largest arcade in the world, made famous by the documentary “King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters”. Now less than twelve hours later we were about to go on a leisurely hike. At least that’s what I thought, since that’s what Bonner told me at Funspot. Of course this was when he was busy beating “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” the arcade game.

“Are you in shape?” Bonner asked me.

I gave him an incredulous look and responded by letting him know that I considered myself in shape but “I did not just finish playing in the Western Conference Finals.”

This seemed like a sufficient answer for Bonner, since he began walking towards the base of the mountain, telling me the morning’s plan. We were going to speed hike up Loon (Bonner usually runs up the mountain), and my New Hampshire initiation will be complete when we jump into an ice cold, mountain runoff, river down the road. This is how Bonner trains in the offseason; the New Hampshire native uses the natural resources of the state to get ready for the rigors of the NBA season. New Hampshire is home to the White Mountains, which are known to be the most rugged mountains in New England, and Bonner has trained on nearly all of them.

Training in the White Mountains was how Bonner got through the lockout. A vice president with the NBA Player’s Association, Bonner had to make frequent trips to New York for negotiation meetings sometimes making the four hour drive with his brother and father, twice in one week. The mountains were his refuge, his solemn place during that stressful time when there was doubt a season would even happen.

While he ties his shoes at the base of the mountain, he informs me that he can run up Loon in thirty minutes or less; the mountain’s summit elevation is 3,050 ft. Let’s take a moment to remind you that Matt Bonner is 6’10”, 235 pounds and is not considered to be an athletic freak, yet he can run up a mountain in 30 minutes, a feat that most die-hard runners could not achieve. Throughout our hike, Bonner kept referring to Loon Mountain as a “baby mountain” and informed me that he could run up Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, a 4 plus mile hike, in a little over an hour. Let’s take another moment to let that sit in; Bonner is not referring to a flat 4 mile run but a run up a literal mountain, the highest in the Northeast,  where the path is made up of gravel, mud and tree roots.

While we hiked, Bonner gave a geography and history lesson of the other nearby White Mountains, quickly pausing here and there to point out other peaks in the distance and talking about all of the bountiful activities one could accomplish in New Hampshire. Bonner’s love of New Hampshire is unmatched making it hard to surmise what he loves more, basketball or the state. He even made his first big purchase after signing his first NBA contract with the Toronto Raptors in the state, buying a house in Campton, NH about an hour north of his hometown of Concord.

The Granite State is always present in his thoughts even when he is over 2,000 miles away in San Antonio. During the season Bonner maintains his strong relationship with the state on his weekly radio show, “The Life with Matt Bonner”. Run by sports reporters Chris Ryan and Kevin Gray of Concord’s WKXL 103.9/1450, Bonner does a weekly check-in about his season and comments on the local New Hampshire sports scene. After the season ends, Bonner returns to New Hampshire to hold an annual basketball camp at his old middle school and also hosts an annual charity concert.

Bonner also extends himself to local New Hampshire politics. Last year, he wrote an op-ed piece for Manchester, NH’s The Union Leader, that condemned the Northern Pass project, a hydroelectric project that would have torn down miles of New Hampshire forestland; the piece included this classic line,  “…if you mess with New Hampshire, you mess with me.” Based on this piece and his strong New Hampshire pride, I asked if he had any political aspirations after he retired. He quickly shot down the idea and spoke of how he voiced his opinion about the Northern Pass Project because it was the right thing to to do and that his work behind the scenes on the since vetoed J.D. Salinger identity bill* soured politics for him as a career.

Although Bonner may not share the same notoriety as Salinger, his height and red hair makes him easily recognizable by nearly everyone. This was evident at the top of the mountain where we went into Summit Cafe, a typical touristy cafe that surprisingly serves up Caribbean fare, so I could get some water. The woman working behind the counter instantly recognized Matt and introduced herself as a friend of his parents. She then recalled a story of how when Matt was born his father held him up with one hand and proclaimed, “My boy will not play the piano!”

Just another addition to the New Hampshire folk lore of Matt Bonner.

We took a gondola down, (Bonner always takes a gondola down as it helps to preserve his knees and back), to the parking lot and drove down the street to the access point of the river. Bonner quickly jumped into the water and started running in place, and doing other water related workouts while the river’s strong current flowed against him. He usually does this for thirty to forty five minutes after a hike. As my “New Hampshire initiation” was not complete, Bonner urged me to jump in. He assured me that the coldness of the water would be the perfect complement to our hike, and since I was sweaty and hot I trusted him and jumped from the rocky edge into the river’s cold embrace.

I had completed my New Hampshire initiation in the eyes of Matt Bonner but in my eyes I had developed more appreciation for Bonner’s athletic ability and work ethic. Bonner’s career average of 18.9 minutes a game doesn’t sound that impressive but when you think about all of the hard work that goes into being prepared for those minutes, it should leave you shaking your head.

New Hampshire’s motto is “Live Free or Die” and Matt Bonner exemplifies this to the fullest degree possible. He doesn’t seclude himself to a gym to train, but uses the state that raised him to make him a better player. New Hampshire is only on the national forefront during election years, due to the state having the first primary in the country, but whenever the Spurs play on national TV, Bonner brings a little bit of New Hampshire to the rest of the country.

For a state that is tucked away in New England, there couldn’t be a more quintessential ambassador.


*The J.D. Salinger identity bill is an interesting case as Salinger moved to New Hampshire to blend in with society but after his death the opposite seems to be happening. From a June 13, 2012, article on “ The Associated Press explains that the Catcher in the Rye author’s family lobbied state lawmakers to pass a bill that would have asserted that a person’s right to control the commercial use of his or her identity can be handed down to heirs, and remains in effect for 70 years. If signed into law, the measure would have prevented Granite State sellers from using Salinger’s image on things like coffee mugs and key chains, commercial tchotchkes that the Salinger clan has taken exception to in the past.”

This Is Clearly A Terrible Idea: Introducing the HPBasketball Mailbag

I like reading mailbags. Fun quick answers that bounce around. I never considered doing one, because, honestly, who the hell am I? But I asked Twitter if they were interested and a lot of people said yes. So we’re going to give this a go.

You can ask me about anything, just send you emails to askhpbasketballATgmailDOTcom and I’ll likely reply unless your question sucks. Then I might respond just to make fun of you.

May God have mercy on us all.