01/25/2012

The Parity Fallacy

post written by Joshua Somers

 

If anybody from Kansas City is reading this (not too worried about that)…I am sorry. Sort of.

 

I am grateful to be a New York sports fan. Since my birth (1983), los Yankees & Mets have collected 5 world series, the Rangers, Islanders & Devils have hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup 6 times and the Giants have won 3 Super Bowls. That’s a lot of hardware. We are part of an elite group of sports towns that have, and will continue to dominate, no matter how hard the respective commissioners try to change that. As long as sports teams are privately owned there will never be an even playing field.

 

With the Giants & Patriots squaring off (again) in the Super Bowl it got me thinking about all the fans outside of the Northeast. I tried putting myself in the shoes of a Kansas City Chiefs fan. KC is a football town. The atmosphere at Arrowhead stadium is the closest thing the NFL has to a college stadium. They went to the Super Bowl in 1967 & 1970, where they beat the Vikings for their first and only ring. That’s it. One trip to Disney. Do the fans in Kansas City have lower expectations than we do in New York? Are people in KC just more understanding? More merciful?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This got me thinking. I decided to look at championships by city*, starting in 1983. Here are the results**:

1. New York (15)

2. Los Angeles (12)

3t. Chicago/Boston (9)

4. Detroit (8)

5. San Fran (6)

* I went beyond actual city borders. Teams in Anaheim (LA), Oakland (San Fran), New Jersey (NY) & Foxborough (Boston) all play within 30 miles of their respective big cities.

 

** I also didn’t include Canada in these results. They have a combined 10 championships, but that is almost entirely due to the NHL. Did you know that from 1984 – 1993 a team from Canada won the Cup all but twice? Did you also know that strip clubs are far better in Canada then here in the USA (from what I’ve heard)?

 

 

Since 1983 there have been 116 titles won. Out of those titles, the 6 cities I just referenced took home 59 of them. That’s 50.9%. I shit you not. Check the math – I triple checked it. New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Detroit and San Fran account for more than half of all trophies and rings since I was born.

 

So what’s with all this talk of an increasing parity in sports? Sure, the leagues have instilled salary caps, revenue sharing, and top draft picks being awarded to the shittiest teams. But even with those handicaps, there are still a few organizations that are very simply, better than the rest.

 

Robert Kraft, an uber successful businessman, bought the lowly Patriots in 1994 for a then record setting $175 million (in 2008 the team was valued at $1.2 billion). The Patriots had won a total of 8 games in the four years prior to Kraft taking over the team. Kraft’s team wins 10 games in his first year as owner, losing in the first round of the playoffs to a Browns team coached by a young brainiac named Bill Belichick.

 

Five years later, Kraft gave Belichick the head coaching job and almost full control of team operations. Since the hiring of the “evil genius” in 2000, they have had one losing season, his first year with the team. While he is known as a masterful coach, I believe their success lies within the way the organization is ran, from the ground up.

 

 

While reading countless business management books, one of the most common takeaways is that successful leaders need to be experts in judging character. That way they can surround themselves with winners and create a culture that is contagious. This is what Robert Kraft has done with his football team. He has created a chain of command that starts with Belichick calling the shots and ends with Tom Brady executing those decisions on the field. But don’t take my word for it. Look at who the Patriots have drafted since 1994:

 

1995 –  Ty Law (1st round) & Curtis Martin (3rd round)

1996 – Lawyer Milloy (2nd round) & Tedy Bruschi (3rd round)

1999 – Damien Woody (1st round) & Kevin Faulk (3rd round)

2000 – Tom Brady (6th round)

2001 – Richard Seymour (1st round) & Matt Light (2nd round)

2002 – Daniel Graham (1st round) & Deion Branch (2nd round)

2003 – Asante Samuel (4th round) & Dan Koppen (5th round)

2004 – Vince Wilfork (1st round)

2005 – Logan Mankins (1st round) & Matt Cassel (7th round)

2006 – Stephen Gostkowski (4th round)

2007 – Brandon Meriweather (1st round)

2008 – Jerod Mayo (1st round) & Matthew Slater (5th round)

2010 – Devin McCourty (1st round) & Rob Gronkowski (2nd round)

 

All of those players have appeared in at least one Pro Bowl. That is next level talent acquisition. By comparison, let’s take a quick peak at our Kansas City Chiefs (whom almost always get to pick before the Pats, due to their worse record):

1996 – Donnie Edwards (4th round), Joe Horn (5th round)

1997 – Tony Gonzalez (1st round)

1999- Gary Stills (3rd round)

2000 – Dante Hall (5th round)

2003 – Larry Johnson (1st round)

2004 – Jared Allen (4th round)

2006 – Tamba Hali (1st round)

2007 – Dwayne Bowe (1st round)

2008 – Jamaal Charles (3rd round)

2010 – Eric Berry (1st round)

 

Just to be clear, over the past 17 years the Patriots have drafted double the amount of Pro Bowlers than the Kansas City Chiefs. I won’t even dive into all the shrewd trades and free-agent signings that have significantly bolstered New England’s roster. This is a clear validation of one organization beating another, not necessarily on the field, but in the business of their sport.

That is why the New England Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl* next weekend.

*And will lose to the Giants.

 

 

 

01/12/2012

Shake Off The Rust

post written by Joshua Somers

 

It’s week 3 in the abridged NBA season, and we are still seeing teams figure out how to play together, coaches deciding on their rotations & players rounding into form. Here are some thoughts that I’ve had about the season thus far:

  • Lebron looks scary good. He is averaging 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2 steals per game. Most impressive statistic – Brony has only taken 5 threes this year. I wonder if he finally realized “Wait, I’m shooting just 32% from beyond the arc for my career. I’m built like an actual lion. Maybe I should be getting closer to the basket.”

 

  • I’m sorry Wizards fans. These are REAL quotes from your captain, Andray Blatche after the Wiz won their first game of the season (it only took 9 games):

 

- “We should have confidence and some kind of swag about ourselves.” (asked about getting the win)

- “Even if it costs me coming off the bench all season long, as long as we’re playing like that, I don’t have a problem doing that role. It’s all about winning and making steps, and tonight we definitely made a step. (about coming off the bench)

  • Kobe Beef is taking 24 shots per game. That’s 4 more shots per game than last year. This is his 16th year in the league and he is averaging 30 ppg. I doubt he will keep this up, especially with such an intense schedule. But he wants one more ring and one more scoring title. You can see it. And as Ric Bucher recently reported, this could be Kobe sending a message to Dwight Howard that he still has something left in the tank.

 

  • Boris Diaw is fat and phat. What a contradiction. Boris looks like he should be on line at Golden Corral Buffet, certainly not a basketball court. Yet, he is averaging 11 points, 7 boards and 5 assists per game. It’s fascinating.

 

  • It’s Always Sunny In Philly. Doug Collins is a damn good coach. In fact, if I were an NBA player he would be #1 on my list. He has the 76ers playing like a college team, with a whole-greater-than-sum-of-the-parts approach. They currently have seven players averaging at least 10 ppg (most teams only have 4). His bench plays their ass off and are destroying their opponents second unit. It’s refreshing to see.

 

  • Scoring is way down. Miami is the only team in the East averaging at least 100 points per game. Thanks commish.

 

  • TV ratings are up. Across the board NBA games are drawing higher audiences than they did last year. NBA TV is up 82% over last years numbers at this time in the season. I guess all of the bloggers (including myself) who thought the lockout would hurt the fan base can eat shit. David Stern is a boss.

 

12/23/2011

INDOOR HOOPS NBA PREVIEW PART DEUCE

post written by Joshua Somers

 

 

…2 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 25 seconds until the season tips off. Thank you Kia Motors for that countdown.

So let’s dive right into it, shall we?

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

Northwest Division

(5)  Minnesota Timberwolves

Big Off-Season Move: JJ Barea. Wait a second…another undersized point guard?

Why They Are Worth Watching: Ricky Ruuuuuuubio.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Kevin Love. Dude is underrated funny. Check out this clip.

On A Serious Note: The T-Wolves have tons of young talent (Love, Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson, Derrick Williams, Rubio, Anthony Randolph). But they need to mature as a team. It’s going to take a while.

 

(4)  Utah Jazz

Big Off-Season Move: Josh Howard

Why They Are Worth Watching: I have no idea what to expect from the Jazz this year. They could be a playoff contender or a lottery team. They have a ton of size. I think it will come down to the health of PG Devin Harris.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Paul Milsap. Ex-coach Jerry Sloan loved Milsap. I really want to find out what really happened in Utah last year with Sloan stepping down.

On A Serious Note: The Jazz won’t catch the Blazers, Denver or the Thunder this year.

 

(3)  Portland Trailblazers

Big Off-Season Move: Raymond Felton. I don’t think people are talking about this trade enough. Felton is in his prime and posted 15 points & 8 assists per game last year.

Why They Are Worth Watching: They have Jamal Crawford (instant offense), Nicholas Batum (should be a starter), Kurt Thomas (crazy eyes), Craig Smith (swings his ass around in the paint like he’s Roxy at Scores) & Nolan Smith (Duke’s best player last year) all coming off the bench. Not to mention if Greg Oden ever gets healthy.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Marcus Camby…so we can re-hash his time with the Knicks. I loved him as a Knickerbocker.

On A Serious Note: This team has been cursed with injuries the past few seasons. It’s simple. They stay healthy, they can make a run for the 5th playoff seed.

 

(2)  Denver Nuggets

Big Off-Season Move: Resigning Nene & Aaron Afflalo

Why They Are Worth Watching: This is my feel-good team in the West. They kept their two best players. Plus 3 of their players are kidnapped in China and should be back with the team by March.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Wilson Chandler. Yeah, he’s in China right now, but that doesn’t matter. He is like the brother I never had (I hope my 3 brothers are reading this).

On A Serious Note: I think they will be fighting with Oklahoma City for the top spot in the division. They need a combination of Timofey Mozgov and Kousta Koufos to play better than expected at center. That is their Achilles heel at the moment.

 

(1)  Oklahoma City Thunder

Big Off-Season Move: Keeping everything intact.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both 23yrs old. Durant is at least the second best player in the NBA. Westbrook could be a top-10 player this year. Did I mention they are both 23yrs old? I would make comparisons to when I was 23 years old, but we don’t need to go down that road. I think I’ve made my point.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Nate Robinson. I would bring my buddy Andrew along so he could finally meet Nate face-to-face. Andrew believes that Nate Robinson is his soul mate, in a very heterosexual type of way. It would be an honor for me to bring the two of them together.

On A Serious Note: The Thunder will make the NBA finals this year. How can I be so sure, you ask? I’m not, but it’s important when writing NBA previews to take a hard stance on certain predictions. So there you have it.

 

 

Pacific Division

(5) Sacramento Kings

Big Off-Season Move: JIMMER

Why They Are Worth Watching: To see how many times DeMarcus Cousins gets suspended for acting like a bitch/baby/thug/moron.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: I think I’d rather save the calories.

On A Serious Note: The Kings will lose more games than they will win.

 

(4) Phoenix Suns

Big Off-Season Move: Shannon Brown. He averaged 8.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last year. Nothing to write home about. However, he should make some ESPN top-1o plays with Steve Nash throwing up alley-oops.

Why They Are Worth Watching: At 37 yrs old, Nash is still a marvel to watch. He controls the ball with such grace and precision. He is loyal to a fault, and I would love to see him get traded to a contender (Heat?) mid-season.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Steve Nash. He is one of my role models. Nash believes that diet and rest are an athlete’s best friend. Grant Hill & Jared Dudley have adopted this lifestyle and both are as fit as ever. I will elaborate on this in a separate post.

On A Serious Note: The Suns have fallen from the upper echelon of the Western Conference and they don’t seem to be headed in the right direction. Don’t be surprised if they trade away their aging stars and start from scratch.

 

(3) Golden State Warriors

Big Off-Season Move: Kwame Brown. Not quite what Warrior fans were expecting this off-season.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Steph Curry & Monta Ellis. I’m just not sure their style matches that of new coach Mark Jackson (I don’t get why he left Jeff Van Gundy & Mike Breen in the booth. That was the best broadcast team in sports). You can tell Monta Ellis to play defense. But that would be like telling Forest Whitaker NOT to overact in his next role.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Dorell Wright. He deserves a pat on the back. Check out these stats. 2009/10 season – 7.1 points, 0.7 steals, 1.3 assists & 3.3 rebounds a game. 2010/11 season – 16.4 points, 1.5 steals, 3.0 assists & 5.3 rebounds a game.

On A Serious Note: They need to overachieve to make the playoffs.

 

(2) Los Angeles Lakers

Big Off-Season Move: Nobody, thanks to David Stern. He fucked Lakers nation. Hard.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Kobe is going to play with a chip on his shoulder all season. But he already banged up his shooting wrist in a meaningless preseason game. He just has too many miles on that body. It’s always sad to see the fall of a superstar.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Luke Walton. Dude has a Grateful Dead tattoo. Enough said.

On A Serious Note: I think it will come down to the last week of the season to decide which Los Angeles basketball team will win the division. Ultimately, losing Lamar Kardashian will kill any title chances.

 

(1) Los Angeles Clippers

Big Off-Season Move: Christopher Emmanuel Paul

Why They Are Worth Watching: Lob City.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Blake Griffin. Have you seen his Kia commercial? If not, click here. Instant classic.

On A Serious Note: The Clippers have been a cursed franchise. Without jinxing it, let’s just say they are one smart Mo Williams trade away from knocking at the door (the Western Conference Finals door, to be more specific).

 

Southwest Division

(5) Houston Rockets

Big Off-Season Move: Samuel Dalembert.

Why They Are Worth Watching: The Southwest division is by far the most competitive group of teams. If the Rockets were in the East, they would be fighting for the 6th playoff spot.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Kevin Martin…who is by far the least-talked-about 25 ppg player in the league. He’s like the Zoe Saldana of the NBA.

On A Serious Note: Rockets GM Daryl Morey has built his current team with the hopes of trading for a superstar. So far that plan has backfired on him.

 

(4) New Orleans Hornets

Big Off-Season Move: Eric Gordon

Why They Are Worth Watching: Eric Gordon is a stud. Just watch.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Chris Kaman. He’d make me look good.

On A Serious Note: Don’t feel bad for the Hornets. In return for Paul they got a soon-to-be All-Star in Gordon, an injury-prone, ewok-ish Center in Chris Kaman, young prospect Al-Farouq Amino & a lottery pick in the draft. They should hover right around .500 this season.

 

(3) San Antonio Spurs

Big Off-Season Move: Backup PG T.J. Ford.

Why They Are Worth Watching: It’s their last shot at a title.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Tony Parker. These would be my opening questions:

  1. Do you realize you broke the first rule in The Man Code by cheating on your wife, with your Teammates (Brent Barry) wife?
  2. Is there a Man Code in France?
  3. What did Eva Longoria do to push you over the edge? Was she too high maintenance? Does she have an inverted vagina?

 

On A Serious Note: The Spurs will crawl into the playoffs, with Coach Pop resting his stars. Once they get in, it’ll be interesting to see if Timmy Duncan pulls a Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last Of The Mohicans.

 

(2) Memphis Grizzlies

Big Off-Season Move: Getting a healthy Rudy Gay back in the lineup.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Zach Randolph has shed his bad-boy image and is an absolute beast. 20 points and 12 rebounds a game last year, while shooting 50% from the field and 75% from the line.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Tony Allen. Read this article and you will understand why.

On A Serious Note: With Center Marc Gasol re-signed and Rudy Gay back in the lineup, this team is ready to explode. I think their weakness is depth, which will keep them out of the Finals.

 

(1) Dallas Mavericks

Big Off-Season Move: Lamar Odom.

Why They Are Worth Watching: They have the X on their back all season and teams will be gunning after Dirk & co.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Lamar Odom. And I’d thank him. I am now able to sit down with my girl, and watch a horrible, materialistic reality television show (Khloe & Lamar) without wanting to shoot myself in the face. I recommend following my lead on this if you don’t already. It pays dividends in the long run.

On A Serious Note: You can’t guard a 7 foot German when he is fading away from the basket. But the condensed schedule will hurt this aging team, so I’m not sure a repeat is in the works. Unless of course Mark Cuban somehow brings Dwight Howard over to Dallas (do it Mark Cuban, I dare you).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE END.

 

12/22/2011

FIRST EVER INDOOR HOOPS NBA PREVIEW

post written by Joshua Somers

 

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to write an NBA preview article. Actually I can. 28 years. This might be the number one reason for starting this blog. When Mr. Stern (Happy Chanukah) almost kabashed the NBA season I was freaking out. What the hell was I going to write about all winter? Talking about Tebow is too mainstream and will get religious. He’s a Tailback with a decent arm. Defenses will make adjustments. Get over it.

So I wasn’t sure the best way to structure my NBA Preview. I decided to research and report on every team in the league (even you, Charlotte Bobcats), highlighting a few points about each team. It will be broken up into two posts. One for each conference. So here goes the Eastern Conference. HELL YEAH!

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

Atlantic Division

(5)  Toronto Raptors

Big Off-Season Move: they acquired Jamal Magloire, the first Canadian born Raptor ever! How abooot that, eh?

Why They Are Worth Watching: DeMar DeRozan (what a name) is capable of taking a huge step forward this season. Or it might just be a a case of “good player on a really shitty team” syndrome. I’m not sure.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Andrew Bargnani…so I can tell him how bad it looks for a 7-footer to average 4.9 rebounds per game. C’mon maaaaaaaaaan (I hate Keyshawn for that).

On A Serious Note: They clearly are stuck in re-building mode. They have a smart GM in Bryan Colangelo. But they don’t play defense at all and I’m not sure the young nucleus they are forming (Bargnani, DeRozan, Valanciunas) are tough enough to win in the NBA. Only time will tell.

 

(4)  New Jersey Nets

Big Off-Season Move: Not landing Superman. But they did just sign *Kris Kardashi Humphries.

* Kris Humphries Sidebar Theory – The Nets just signed Humphries to a one-year deal for around $8 million…which is the exact same deal KWAME BROWN just got.

Kim’s Ex is 26 years old. Averaged 10.4 rebounds/game last year. A potential double-double machine. But nobody locked him up for a multi-year deal. Why is that you ask? The only explanation can be negative press. Other than Halloween, I’m not sure wearing a Kris Humphries jersey would be a smooth move.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Deron Williams. He is the 3rd best point guard in the league. He makes everybody around him better.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Andrei Kirilenko. Just read this article and you will understand.

On A Serious Note: The Nets have a world-class player in Williams, a borderline star Center in Lopez…and that’s about it. They are way too thin at the wings to really match up against any of the elite teams. Obviously this all changes if/when they land DH12.

 

(3)  Philadelphia 76ers

Big Off-Season Move: Lottery Pick Nikola Vucevic.

Why They Are Worth Watching: They are young. They are deep. They play hard under Coach Collins. In a condensed season that is mucho importante. If Elton Brand can duplicate last year, this team could make some noise.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Coach Doug Collins. He has seen it all. It would be fun to pick his brain.

On A Serious Note: Until somebody steps up as the #1 Alpha Dog, this team will go nowhere in the playoffs.

 

(2)  Boston Celtics

Big Off-Season Move: Brandon Bass? Really?

Why They Are Worth Watching: The Big 3 now take a backseat to Mr. Rondo. He is one of the most electrifying players to watch. There is at least one play a game where you go “holy shit, how did he get up from that?”

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Kevin Garnett. I wonder if he is super intense 24/7. That can’t be healthy.

On A Serious Note: Jesus Allen is 36. Pierce is 34. Garnett is 35. This is most likely their last shot at a ring. I just don’t think they will last playing 5 games in 7 days. And I don’t know if Rondo has the confidence to be the go-to player during the stretch run of games. They will need some help in the form of a mid-season trade.

 

(1)  New York Knickerbockers

Big Off-Season Move: Tyson Chandler.

Why They Are Worth Watching: I’m biased. As a life long Knick fan I’ve seen some really shitty basketball the past 8 years. But then we got Amare. I’ll admit it…I fell in love. It was a youthful, puppy-ish love. And we got Ray Felton. And Will Chandler got inked up and realized he is a beast. And Gallinari got healthy and confident, while still looking goofy and confused at the same time. And we drafted Landry Fields, my basketball role model (even though I’m 5 years his senior). And Toney Douglas came up as the scrappy, inconsistent youngin. We were dishin’ & swishin’ (Clyde even seem rejuvenated in the booth).

And then we traded for Melo. It was the right move, from a basketball perspective. But romantically, it stung.

So now here we are. It’s Mike D’Antoni’s last shot to really bring this new nucleus together. For Amare & Melo to co-exist. For Chandler and Assistant Coach Mike Woodson to infuse defense into this defensively challenged squad.

Personally, I’m slightly pessimistic about it all, while being stupidly excited at the same time. God I can’t wait.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: It’s insulting to Amare for me to acknowledge this, let alone answer it.

On A Serious Note: If Baron Davis can be healthy & motivated by mid-March and one of the rookies (Shumpert, Harrellson) exceeds expections…the Knicks should be fighting for the 3 seed in the East. Excuse me will I go change my boxers.

 

 

Central Division

(5)  Cleveland Cavaliers

Big Off-Season Move: Omri Casspi. He’s my NBA doppelganger.

Why They Are Worth Watching: …..You just have to feel bad for them. I hope Kyrie Irving makes a big impact in his rookie year. I’m just not sure he has enough talent around him to keep defenses from zoning in on him.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Antawn Jamison…only to buy him a few tequila shots and give him a hug. I wonder how many times he hits the snooze button in the morning (sidebar – I would give a kidney to play for the Cavs).

On A Serious Note: They are stockpiling youth and draft picks. If the front office makes some good drafting decisions they could turn things around. It’s going to take a few years though.

 

(4)  Detroit Pistons

Big Off-Season Move: Head Coach Lawrence Frank.

Why They Are Worth Watching: The emergence of Greg Monroe (that might be a stretch).

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Greg Monroe – so I can emphasis how important it is that he emerges.

On A Serious Note: What is Joe Dumars doing up there in Detroit? He is spending $19 million this year on Charlie Villanueva & Ben Gordon (role players). He resigned Tayshaun Prince for a 4-year deal, even though he drafted the exact same player in Austin Daye last year. I don’t get it.

 

(3)  Milwaukee Bucks

Big Off-Season Move: Stephen Jackson.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Andrew Bogut and Squad 6.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Stephen Jackson. I’d like to wrap my head around his incessant demands for a contract extension. He is 33yrs old. He’s making $9.25 million this year. He’s guaranteed $10 million next year. And yet he is saying it’s mandatory that he gets a contract extension ASAP. Why is he so desperate for the money? Did he invest everything into Netflix? Does he have 11 children with 7 different women?

On A Serious Note: The Bucks will push for the playoffs…but ultimately Brandon Jennings will determine their future. If he matures into an efficient play-maker then this team can be dangerous.

 

(2)  Indiana Pacers

Big Off-Season Move: David West

Why They Are Worth Watching: Larry Bird has built a playoff-caliber team with smart, prudent signings and drafting players that fit the system. This how a small-market team can contend in the NBA.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Jeff Foster. Jeff, a solid defensive big man & a good locker room guy, had many teams express interest in signing him this year. He passed up the money to resign with the Pacers. Love those stories.

On A Serious Note: The Pacers have the best Power Forward combo (West & Hansbrough) in the league. They are athletic, deep & young. They might surprise some people this year.

 

(1)  Chicago Bulls

Big Off-Season Move: Richard Hamilton (this might end up being the best off-season move of the year)

Why They Are Worth Watching: They have the most complete starting 5 in the league. And Derrick Rose is crazy, stupid fast.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Joakim Noah. I’m so curious how his childhood was, with a tennis star/musician father and a Swedish supermodel mother.

On A Serious Note: If the Bulls front-court (Deng, Noah & Boozer) can stay healthy the sky is the limit.

 

 

Southeast Division

(5) Charlotte Bobcats

Big Off-Season Move: Corey Maggette. Rumor has it he has never seen a shot he doesn’t like.

Why They Are Worth Watching: To see if Kemba Walker will have an impact in the NBA.

BTW – Is Michael Jordan aware that his starting center is Boris Diaw? I’m not sure I see his logic with this one. I’m also questioning his facial hair decision making.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Corey Maggette. To see if there really hasn’t been a shot he doesn’t like.

On A Serious Note: This team is FUBAR.

 

(4) Washington Wizards

Big Off-Season Move: Three solid draft picks (Shelvin Mack, Chris Singleton & Jan Vesely)

Why They Are Worth Watching: This team should be fun to watch this year. John Wall is going to explode. JaVale McGee is a freak. Adray Blatche is the laziest good player in the league. All three rookies could make instant impacts. But most importantly, they are going back to old school uniforms!

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: JaVale McGee. Could you imagine if your mom played in the WNBA?

On A Serious Note: New owner, Ted Leonsis has made it his mission to make basketball relevant in DC. They are investing in the future by not locking up aging free-agents to long-term contracts. I expect them to be a playoff caliber team next year.

 

(3) Atlanta Hawks

Big Off-Season Move: Tracy McGrady

Why They Are Worth Watching: Josh Smith lost 30 pounds this summer and finally looks motivated. Of course this might just be a mirage, but if he stops jacking up 3s and attacks the rim, look out Orlando.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Zaza Pachulia…and then throw my beer in his face. I have this inexplicable hatred towards Zaza. Just writing his name makes me want to bitch slap somebody. Weird.

On A Serious Note: The Hawks could very easily finish with the 4 seed, however I don’t see them getting out of the second round.

 

(2) Orlando Magic

Big Off-Season Move: Not trading Dwight Howard.

Why They Are Worth Watching: Why leave Orlando? I don’t get it. Dwight is really good friends with PG Jameer Nelson. If they somehow acquire a versatile wing player (they should have gotten Aaron Afflalo or Matt Barnes) the Magic become a legit contender.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Dwight Howard. I would then proceed to talk shit to the largest man at the bar.

On A Serious Note: Who knows how this whole “trade” situation will shake out. It could change the landscape of the division.

 

(1) Miami Heat

Big Off-Season Move: Shane Battier

Why They Are Worth Watching: I don’t really need to address this one.

Which Player I Would Like To Have A Beer With: Chris Bosh. Mainly because Predator was one of my favorite movies growing up. And Chris Bosh is the reincarnation of the large, sapient and sentient humanoid creature in the movie.

On A Serious Note: Anything less than a championship ring is a disappointment for this team. In order to do that, the following three things must happen:

  1. Udonis Haslem & Mike Miller need to play like it’s 2008.
  2. An upgrade at the PG position. Whether that’s Mario Chalmers playing with more confidence, rookie Norris Cole surprising the world, or bringing somebody in.
  3. Lebron goes HAM. No more 4th-quarter disappearances. No more wanting to be the villain. I’m ready to “witness”.

 

To Be Continued…

12/2/2011

Why I No Longer Sorta Hate Lebron

post written by Joshua Somers

 

 

It wasn’t so much that I hated Mr. Lebron. I just didn’t really like him. For a few reasons.

 

Firstly, I was and still am,  jealous of his abilities. He is a freak. 6’8″, a lean 250 pounds, can jump like Harold Miner (what ever happened to him?), pass like Magic and rebound like Malone. He could be both the Middle Linebacker & Tight End for the Cleveland Browns. It’s not fair. Or so I thought.

 

Next was how he handled himself and his branding. “King James” always had a swagger that pissed me off. It felt to me like his image screamed “I really didn’t have to work that hard to get where I am today. I just have a better genetic makeup than you. You can’t even touch the rim. And you’re ugly.”

 

Lastly was how he treated Cleveland. I understand that his decision to sign with Miami was all business, and I would much rather work & live on South Beach than in Ohio. But the way he went about stringing the city along and making such a hoopla about his “decision” was bullshit. You don’t do that to your home state.

 

So needless to say when the Miami Heat choked a kielbasa this past year I was ear-to-ear. It really is easy to hate on Lebron. I wasn’t alone. He has become one of the more polarizing players in sports. Just yesterday videos were posted of Lebron & Kevin Durant playing a very serious game of flag football. Sounds entertaining. But then it was reported that while doing a touchdown celebration King James imitated Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson and pretended to shoot himself in his leg, aka pulling a Plaxico. Not going to win back fans that way, your majesty. Just saying.

 

But the title of this post is Why I No Longer Sorta Hate Lebron. What happened that swayed my mindset? The Documentary More Than A Game.

If you have Netflix it’s on Instant View. Highly recommended. Fascinating documentary about the St. Vincent / St. Mary High School teams that featured Lebron James & Co. More importantly than the basketball footage, you get a really good glimpse into Lebron’s childhood. Something I only vaguely knew about previous to this viewing.

 

Lebron went to five different elementary schools. He lived in the shittiest projects in Akron. He was around a ton of violence and drugs.  He was shy & gawky. I’m not going to completely give away the back-story but you really see how fragile a person he was, and probably still carries with him to a certain extent. But he is also blessed with physical abilities that few have. He’s throwing no-look behind the back passes at age 13. It’s his ticket out of the shit-storm that is his life. He finds his sanctuary…the basketball court.

 

So how can I hate on that? Don’t worry…I’ll find a way when the Heat come to the Garden.

11/17/2011

This Takes “I Believe I Can Fly” To The Next Level.

post written by Joshua Somers

 

11/16/2011

“Ramble On”

post written by Joshua Somers

 

Part 2 of the Random Ramblings…literally just a collection of thoughts that I’ve written down over the past few weeks. More basketball/sports related posts to come…

 

- I just recently watched the roast of Charlie Sheen. Each roast has to be just a tad more outrageous and profane than the last. It’s a formula. Make fun of feller comedians. Make fun of the roastee. Then make a back-handed compliment to the roastee. By FAR the highlight of the night was Patrice O’Neal. Youtube him. Here is a link for a clip of his roast - Patrice O’Neal. He had me LMAO.

 

- LMAO. Their hit song, Party Rock Anthem is a really fun song. I like it a lot. But I’ll never take them serious with that name. I blame management on that one.

 

-  26% of the NBA season has been cancelled. The players feel like they are being bullied. They should listen to what the NHL players said after their lockout. Just take the best deal that is on the table and get back to playing the game you love. Adjust your personal budgets. Millions of Americans have had to curb their spending habits. Y’all can do it too. A few storylines that I was really looking forward to finding out in November/December:

  1. Is Jimmer going to be Pistol Pete 2.0?
  2. How much is left in the tank for Kobe, Celtics Big 3, Timmy Duncan, Nash & Dirk
  3. How many minutes is Kemba going to get?
  4. Is this the year Durant goes HAM?
  5. Are the Clippers the team to go see in LA?
  6. Does CP3 join the Knicks and the newest Big 3 in the East (just writing those words makes me chub up a bit).
  7. Where is Dwight Howard going?
  8. Can the Blazers stay healthy?

 

- I would like to congratulate Hyundai & Kia. You have slowly worked on improving your product and it’s paid off. You are both legit car companies. Five years ago I would have rather ridden my bike than drive a Hyudai Elantra. Today I would get a Hyundai or Kia over a Nissan, Toyota, or Mazda.

 

 

- On a serious note…it is truly disgusting what has happened to Happy Valley, PA. Penn State football was an institution that will forever be tarnished. The fact that school administrators swept this under the rug for so many years is incomprehensible. It just makes you question the legitimacy of other storied athletic programs.

 

- What the shit happened to Christina Aguilera? It’s like Snooki mixed with Cher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- I wonder if Lamar Odom is friends with Kris Humphries. Or does he make fun of him in the locker room? I can’t figure that whole situation out.

 

- In 1936 it is estimated that 6% of the US population had a tattoo. A 2006 survey reported that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed. So it’s safe to say that tattoos have become commonplace. I have no issues with it. I impulsively thought about getting one a few years ago, but decided that I would regret it after a few weeks. I wonder if some of these ballers are regretting their ink-work.

 

- Lindsay Lohan is reportedly posing for Playboy. I’m only slightly excited about that. So sad.

 

- The NY Rangers are 10-3-3. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Something has to take the place of Landry Fields & Co.

 

11/8/2011

Ground Control To Major Tom

post written by Joshua Somers

 

What is the first rule in setting up a blog? Content. Content is king. And the last post here was on September 6th. That is horse-shit. I was going to throw out the old “busy with building the business blah blah blah.” No bueno. If you are still out there reading this…thank you.

 

This post is going to be a smorgasbord of random comings-and-goings that have happened to pop into my brain over the past 6 weeks. There will be 2 segments. Here goes:

 

1. The non-NBA Sucks

There are too many articles/viewpoints on this already and Chris Sheridan knows what’s going on way better than I do. So I’m not going to dive into any details. All I am going to say is that if Mr. Stern dirt naps this season I will be pissed. The Rangers and college basketball will not replace Kenny the Jet & Sir Charles. Or Mike Breen. Or Jeff Van Gundy. And I’m just talking about the announcers. This is bullshit. I must move on.

 

2. The NFL Rules

Football is on top of the world right now. Some reasons why:

a. The Lions & Bengals are 6-2. I like big cats.

b. Twenty-two teams are scoring on average at least 21 points per game. That’s entertainment.

c. The Eagles are underachieving.

d. Due to new rules that protect the QB & WR, the league has become pass happy. Spread offense rules. Dan Marino’s records will be blown away this year. And watching a Quarterback sling 50 passes a game is fun to watch.

e. Fantasy Football

f. Aaron Rodgers is on pace to have the best season of all time. That is no joke.

 

3. When did TV get really good?

I can’t remember there being this many shows on my radar at one time, EVER. I don’t know if the writers have stepped up their game. Here is a list of shows that I highly encourage watching:

a. Sons of Anarchy – A biker gang soap opera. But really addicting. And will make you want to buy a Harley.

b. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – This show is in its 7th season…and in my opinion its already peaked. Watch the first 4 seasons. They are some of the funniest episodes ever.

d. The League – A must watch for Fantasy Football fans. The show is mostly improv – which is impressive.

e. Boardwalk Empire – Steve Buscemi is a damn fine actor.

f. How to Make it in America – a struggling entrepreneur’s manifesto.

g. Workaholics – This show is not for everyone. It’s very immature. Very sophomoric. VERY FUNNY.

h. Breaking Bad – The 5th season recently ended. The first 3 seasons are on Netflix Instant View. This is my number #1 television program of all-time. The writing is brilliant. The acting is absurd. The lead actor (Bryan Cranston) has won 3 straight Best Actor Emmy’s.

4. And when did Movies get so Bad?

True story. A few weeks ago a couple of friends told me to go see the movie Drive. It got good reviews (84% on Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics). The trailer looked good. So I went with my brother. He thought it sucked. I thought it was entertaining, but not sure if it was worth the $12 ticket. Here is my point. If this is the best movie out there we are in trouble. I think the last movie to blow me away was The Town. That was over two years ago.

Here is a list of the Top Monthly Box Office movies since January, 2010 (Rotten Tomatoes Rating in Parenthesis):

1/2010 – The Book of Eli (46%)- Bad Denzel post-apocalyptic story. Saw it in theaters and was very pissed about it.

2/2010 – Shutter Island (59%) – Just recently saw this movie. Above average thriller.

3/2010 – Alice in Wonderland (58%) – Movie made $350 million total gross. Couldn’t pay me to see it.

4/2010 – Clash of the Titans (32%) – Not a good movie. They are making a sequel as we speak. Oh remakes.

5/2010 – Iron Man 2 (67%) – I thought the first Iron Man was a good movie. This sequel seemed way over the top commercialized.

6/2010 – Toy Story 3 (100%) – Have not seen this yet. But I’m sure it’s a great family movie. I love the first Toy Story.

7/2010 – Inception (80%) – The big mind-bending summer blockbuster. I thought it was overrated.

8/2010 – The Other Guys (78%) – Recently saw this Will Ferrell comedy. It was funny.

9/2010 – The Town (84%) – Movie of the year. Every other movie on this list has grossed more money. Is my taste in movies that far askew???

10/2010 – Jackass 3-D (35%) – These guys are clowns. I wouldn’t even really call this a motion picture.

11/2010 – Harry Potter and the who cares (73%) – Who cares.

12/2010 – Tron Legacy (28%) – Stupid reboot. They did a good job in sullying a cult classic.

1/2011 – The Green Hornet (21%) – I saw this in the theaters. I blame myself for that one.

2/2011 – Just Go With It (27%) – I had no idea what this movie was before I looked it up. Adam Sandler’s next movie is based upon him playing his twin sister. It’s getting embarrassing to say Billy Madison was my favorite comedy growing up.

3/2011 – Rango (86%) – I actually want to see this animated film.

4/2011 – Fast Five (82%) – I’m sure it’s an entertaining movie. Just not sure it should be on this list.

5/2011 – The Hangover Part II (23%) – Haven’t seen it but I heard it was exactly the same as the first movie.

6/2011 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon (25%) – There is nothing to say about this.

7/2011 – Harry Potter and enough already (100%) – It’s over. Thank god.

8/2011 – Rise of the Planets of the Apes (80%) – My dad liked this movie. He might be the only person in the world.

9/2011 – The Lion King 3D (93%) – A classic re-issued. You know things are bad when a re-issued animation film is the top grossing movie.

10/2011 – Paranormal Activity 3 (60%) – How have they made a third installment already?

This has become a vicious cycle. Americans choose to watch these mostly horrible films. Therefore movie studios have placed more emphasis on remakes, superheroes & explosions rather than original ideas & good writing. I know this all sounds very Debbie Downer-ish. But as a semi movie buff it makes me cringe that quality films such as The Kids Are Alright (95%), Solitary Man (89%), 127 Hours (91%) & Winter’s Bone (94%) COMBINED grossed half of what Little Fockers (4%) made. I’ll stop

To be continued…

09/6/2011

Pass The Ball Please.

post written by Joshua Somers

(Editor’s Note – this post is not targeted towards any particular person or group and the opinions do not represent the opinions of Indoor Hoops LLC. This is just the ramblings of a passionate basketball enthusiast)

 

Throughout my whole life I’ve always strived to be an unselfish basketball player. More than 50% of the time I have the ball in my hands I am looking to pass it. It’s not that I was trained as a point guard growing up or I’m scared to shoot the ball. It’s just what I do.

I think my basketball DNA was formed at a young age, when I would watch a ton of games and play an endless amount of half-court pickup ball. While watching the sport I kept gravitating towards players and teams with pass-first attitudes. I was, and still am amazed by the Princeton style offense. It’s a work of art when executed properly; a cohesive arrangement of motion. 

Ball movement has more of a positive impact than just keeping defenses honest and getting a higher percentage of quality shots. On a deeper level, I believe moving the ball around helps create a more balanced and positive team chemistry.

Think about it…if you go play some basketball and your teammates subscribe to the “ball in my hands = shoot” philosophy all of your passing will go unreciprocated. This leads to disappointment which then turns into anger and resentment. Are you willing to set picks that you normally would set? I don’t think so. Are you going to be as aggressive on the defensive end knowing there will be zero continuity once you make that outlet pass? Hell no. And that’s the biggest problem with poor ball movement. Team defense gets thrown out the window.

So with the NBA lockout looming the summer leagues and pro-am tours have been getting a ton of publicity.

Everybody wants to see how Carmelo and Brandon Jennings will perform playing streetball. And they did what they needed to do. Dominate. Durant dropping 66 in Harlem this past month was spectacular (he could end up a top-10 all-time player).

But my issue is this growing culture of AND1 mixtapes and streetball pro-am leagues portrays the game more as an individual conquest than a team sport. There is nothing wrong with the best player on a team taking the most shots. That makes sense. What doesn’t is a team of players who all think their primary objective is to score. That is poison to the game.

Pass the ball. It’s contagious. And it’s good for the sport. Thanks.

 

08/17/2011

Dear NBA, Wake Up.

post written by Joshua Somers

This is bad. I’m scared. And for some reason I feel like nobody else is. Especially the NBA. Time to wake up. We are headed for an NBA that stands for No Basketball Argh. It’s almost tragic. The NBA, which has tried so hard to become the powerhouse it once was has finally recaptured it’s swagger from the Jordan era…and is now very close to throwing that all down the drain.

There is more talent in the NBA right now than possibly ever before. Every team has at least one compelling story line (you just have to dig deep Raptors fans). Hell, I found myself watching a Bobcats v Nets game this past season…and I was mildly entertained.

And I wasn’t alone. TV ratings for the ridonkey 2011 NBA playoffs were the highest viewership since 1998. That was the year Jordan pushed off Bryon Russell and the Jazz. Even white supremacists were watching the Mavs/Heat finals (and happy with the outcome). So…why turn on the lights when it’s only 12:30am and everyone is just starting to get buzzed? Here are my 2 cents:

Losing Money
The league says it lost $300 million. But upon further diagnosis that number might be closer to $150 million. It doesn’t really matter. Somehow the NBA has stopped making a profit. While I’m not totally surprised (see Detroit) this is still bothersome. I mean these owners are all millionaires. Most have made money in other industries. They should know how to operate a business or hire the right people who can.

suggestion – owners need to stop pretending they are playing franchise mode in NBA 2K12 and focus on how to cut costs and make responsible decisions.

Making Money
Player salaries equated to $2.1 billion dollars last season. That comes to 57% of all basketball-related revenue. The last couple labor deals included a luxury tax, which had good intentions. But the big market teams didn’t really bat an eye and kept on overspending, which exacerbated the have vs. have-nots scenario.
Bottom line the players are making more than the current system can handle.

suggestion – Bring the basketball-related revenue closer to a 50/50 split.

Making Boatloads of Money While Sitting on the Bench
Eddie Curry. Jerome James. Keith Van Horn.

I could go on for a while throwing out horrible contracts that lasted about 3-4 years too long. I think part of it is poor talent evaluation and an itchy trigger finger. But it’s also greedy human nature. When you are guaranteed to make $14 mil for the next 6 years you just aren’t going to bust your ass like a player in a contract year.

Imagine your boss sitting you down and saying, “Decent work this past year. We want to lock you up for the next 7 years. We’ll give you a 50% salary increase and a 10% raise every year thereafter. Oh, and it’s guaranteed money. Just sign here.” The first year you will be motivated by the euphoria and adrenaline. Come year two…you might start taking 2-hour lunches. Year 4? You’ve completely mailed it in.

suggestion – Cut the length of contracts by a few years. The more often players are in their contract year, the harder they will work which will increase the intensity on the court. And you won’t get stuck with an Erick Dampier, 7 years, $73 mil contract.

Parity among Player Contracts
Let’s play the guessing game using player salaries for the upcoming (maybe) NBA season. And let’s go by position to keep things somewhat level.
PG – How much more is Chris Paul going to make than Baron Davis? $1.5 mil.
SG – How much more is Dwayne Wade going to make than Ben Gordon? $4.1 mil.
SF – How much more is Carmelo Anthony going to make than Luol Deng? $5.1 mil.
PF – How much more is Zach Randolph going to make than Kenyon Martin? $3.8 mil.
C – How much more is Dwight Howard going to make than Marcus Camby? $5.2 mil.

There are websites solely dedicated to this topic. So many role players are making nearly as much as the second leading scorer on the same team. That’s wrong. Not to mention, toxic for team morale.

Kirk Hinrich is a solid combo guard, and from what I’ve read he is a good locker room guy. If I was running a team I would try to get a player like him. Hold the phone…he is due $8.1 mil next year. RAJON RONDO IS MAKING $10 mil NEXT YEAR!

This is one of the main reasons why small-market teams can’t hold on to their young superstars (that and the allure of a big city & big endorsement opportunities).

suggestion – Re-write the player salary guidelines, giving teams the ability to offer their star players more money. And make a low-ceiling, hard cap so that the words $26 million and Drew Gooden never happen again.

It’s obviously way more complicated than this. But these are the most glaring issues that I see. And if for some reason the stubbornness of the owners and players results in no basketball for the 2011/2012 season…that would create serious backlash. Possibly beyond repair. And that is why I’m scared.