Category Archives: 04A | NBA

What The Heck…

… is happening in the NBA?

• Mo Williams scored 52 points last night… 52 POINTS!… and the Wolves beat Indy.
• LeBron came back from the longest inactive stretch of his career, scored 33 points… and the Cavs still lost to the Suns.
• The defending Champion Spurs… who currently sit at 7 in the loaded West… lost to the Wizards for the first time since 2005.
• Nate Robinson is back in Boston, but Rondo is in Dallas.
• Speaking of the loaded West… there are currently 8 teams winning more then half of their games and 4 teams that have won over 70%… with Golden State sitting at 1st with 30 wins and only 5 loses and sporting a 7 game win streak.
• Meanwhile the Knicks are rocking a worse record then a team that’s intentionally losing and they’ve set a franchise record with 15 straight loses.
• Speaking of the TERRIBLE East… there are currently 10 teams that haven’t even won 1/2 of their games… not even half… also there’s better than a Division worth of teams (7) that have lost at least 60% of their games.
• There are three teams with win totals less then double digits. (2 of them in the East)

What the heck is going on in the NBA? Everyone is either really good or actively trying to be terrible. I hate parity in the league. Parity is roughly translated as everyone sucks except the few teams that don’t suck.

The West is so insanely loaded, the East has probably 5 teams that are actively trying to lose games. These GM’s are trading away talent for what? The chance to maybe, possible, if things play out right, land a top Draft Pick that won’t be ready for NBA level play for three years?

What the heck?

30 Years of Dubious Comparisons

The General Idea: To look back at the Finals MVP’s of the past 30 NBA Championship Teams and try to calculate, using highly questionable tactics, their career success rates.

The Specifics:
• Every year of a players career counts for one point.
• Years that include a Playoff appearance add an extra 1/2 point.
• Finals appearances count for a full point.
• Championships count for two added points.
(Because Championships are what they play for, right?)
• The last 30 years have been broken down into 10 year units, with an extra 1/2 point being awarded to Championships won while playing in the more successful Conference.
(The last 20 years belong to the West, the East has a higher Finals win total in one of the 10 year units)
• The official MVP is not, in every instance, TheLongTalks MVP.
(There are only 5 switches and the official MVP is noted in those cases)

An Example:
Player X: 16 Years (YR) | 16 Playoff Years ÷ 2 (PY) | 7 Finals Appearance (FA) | 7 Championships x 2 (WIN) 6 Bonus Points ÷ 2 (BP) Total 48

Finals MVP Success Rates:

Boris Diaw:  YR 12 | PY 7÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 20* (Actual MVP Kawhi Leonard)

2 x MVP** LeBron James:  YR 12 | PY 9÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 2×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 21.5*

Dirk Nowitzki:  YR 17 | PY 13÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 28*

2 x MVP** Kobe Bryant:  YR 19 | PY 15÷2 | FA 7 | WIN 5×2 | BP 5÷2 … Total 36*

Paul Pierce:  YR 17 | PY 11÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 26.5*

Tony Parker:  YR 14 | PY 13÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 4×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 35.5*

The NBA’s Referees: They’ve been there since the beginning and this year was there year to shine. (Actual MVP Dwayne Wade)

3 x MVP** Tim Duncan:  YR 18 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 5×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 44.5*

Rasheed Wallace:  YR 16 | PY 14÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 28 (Actual MVP Chauncey Billups)

3 x MVP** Shaq:  YR 19 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 4×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 43

6 x MVP** Michael Jordan:  YR 15 | PY 13÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 6×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 41

2 x MVP** Hakeem Olajuwon:  YR 18 | PY 15÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 2×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 32

2 x MVP** Isiah Thomas:  YR 13 | PY 9÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 2×2 | BP 2÷2 … Total 25.5 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, Joe Dumars)

2 x MVP** Magic Johnson:  YR 13 | PY 13÷2 | FA 9*** | WIN 5×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 38 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, James Worthy)

Larry Bird:  YR 13 | PY 12÷2 | FA 5*** | WIN 3×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 30.5

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:  YR 20 | PY 18÷2 | FA 10*** | WIN 6×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 51!

Final Thoughts:
• It’s pretty impressive that Magic had 9 Finals appearance to go with his 5 Wins
• It takes a little bit of Googling to find out how many Finals Larry Bird lost. Plus, his career stats don’t appear to be listed on ESPN’s website.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not get enough talk in talks about Greatest Player to Ever Play the Game. His 51 is the highest number by a good margin. That man was a basketball playing machine. TheLongTalk’s theory is that he seems to be a bit of a grump and that’s keeping people from loving his career the way they loved MJ’s and Magics.
• Player X, the example listed at the beginning of this insanely long post, is a real player that never won a Finals MVP… but had some pretty Big Shots. Any guesses on who he might be?
• If you see any problems with TheLongTalk’s math, let TLT know.

TheLongTalk

*Active Player  ** Within the last 30 years  *** Including Finals appearances outside of the 30 year window

Weird Summer

It’s been a weird summer so far for the NBA.  Just a few examples…

– Howard leaves LA for Houston.  That’s not the weird part, the weird part is that it seems like the Clippers might end up being the better LA team for the next 4 or 5 years.

– Phil Jackson’s Twitter account.  Is he spelling the words wrong on purpose or does he not know how to spell. (TLT understands not being able to spell)

– Al Jefferson going to the Bobcats.  Why would any Free Agent ever go to the Bobcats?  Jefferson couldn’t have got paid by someone like Atlanta or Dallas?

– Metta World Peace going to New York.  It’s not weird that LA would Amnesty him, not when 23 million is going to be saved, but it’s weird that the Knicks would want him.  Does New York now have the roster most likely to end up in jail, since the Trailblazers of the late 90’s early 2000’s?

– Jason Kidd as the Nets new coach… weird right?  Even weirder Jason’s old coach Lawrence Frank is now Kidd Assistant Coach.  Somehow it feels like Frank will be doing all the heavy lifting here, while Jason does all the media stuff.

– Miami waving Miller.  Again, like Metta, not too weird that they’d wanna save the money.  Weird that Miller wouldn’t just take this opportunity to call it a career.

– Pierce, Garnett, Terry, Kirilenko, Johnson, Williams, Livingston (didn’t realize he was there), Lopez, and Stachhouse (just checked their roster online and cannot believe that Stackhouse is on the team… although he is listed as a Free Agent, so maybe he won’t be there at the start of the season)  That is one VERY WEIRD team, with Kidd as Coach.

– All this talk about Kobe being ready for the start of the season.  Is it just TheLongTalk or does that seem beyond human?  Can’t imagine he’ll actually be ready to go on day one and even if he is…. what then?

– The pu pu plater that Dallas is calling Plan B.  Did anyone miss bigger this off season then Dallas?  Poor Dirk is going to retire with only that one title.

– No Allen Iverson rumors, yet.  Seems like each of the last 4 or 5 summers were spent wondering where AI would land when he finally landed back in the NBA.

New Big 3 on the West Coast

Maybe I’m missing something, but I believe I was scoffed at when I previously mentioned the possibility of Carmelo and LeBron going to Los Angeles next year to usher in a new era of Laker Legends.

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/17/report-the-lakers-want-to-chase-lebron-and-melo-next-summer-is-that-news/

NBC Sports is reporting on the possibility, ESPN is reporting on it, Bleacher Report is reporting on it, and I had already mentioned the possibility long ago. Thank you everyone for finally catching up.

Probability is less than 50% but everyone is talking about it, and for good reason. It is possible.

The Dwightmare saga starts again

Here we go again. Every time this happens he says ,”ah no, it wont happen like that again. I’ll be straight up, and i’ll make a good decision…” bla bla bla. It happens every time Dwight Howards gets a chance to look at his options. Why can’t he just make a decision. It’s truly not that hard.

Scenario number 1: Houston has space to bring you in and work you in the offense, but does not have the salary cap space to give you a max contract. Are you looking for money or are you looking for rings? If you’re looking for money don’t come here. If you’re looking to compete for rings for a few years, it’s worth a look. You’ll fit into the offense and alleviate some of the pain from James Harden & company. That being said, are you willing to live in the footsteps and shadows of The Dream?

Scenario number 2: Golden State Warriors can offer you a nice contract, and young, talented nucleus that already competed for the western conference crown without you. Add your talented big man to the roster and all of the sudden they can get over the hump and into the finals. Steph Curry is without a doubt a premier guard. He is looking to be a perennial all star as well. With his ability to shoot from anywhere (literally, anywhere) on the court  it will free up space to let you work the post game and teams will not be able to double team both of you. This is a great destination because you get money, you get very talented all stars around you, and you have nobody’s shadow to live in, and you’re making your own way. In Houston you’re in The Dream’s shadows, in LA you’re doing EXACTLY what Shaq did (leaving Orlando for LA, and your nickname isn’t helping matters at all).You’re not living up to Shaq and you’re not as humble as Hakeem. This is your best shot to be your own man.

Scenario number 3: You go to LA, you get a max contract. You fight and bicker with Kobe because you don’t take anything seriously, ever. Kobe will push you to be the best, and quite possibly will help you elevate your game to a whole new level and show you how to be a champion. After all his Laker squad did destroy you in the NBA Finals and won the championship on your home court. That being said, are you willing to do what Kobe says when Kobe says it? Do you truly want to live in the limelight of the prime time entertainment that guys like Magic, Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, Big Shot Bob all brought to the table? Do you want to be compared to Shaq for your entire career? Can you handle the pressure? I doubt it.

If Dwight Howard truly wants money, a chance to win, a chance to create a name for himself and to be his own man, he truly needs to go to Golden State Warriors and bring a championship home to the bay area. Mark Jackson is a great coach, and the team is loaded with young talent, Dwight will fit in perfectly. Go there big man and make a name for yourself. Go anywhere else and you’ll always be under a microscope to someone else. Just ask LeBron how fun that is and he isn’t even wearing 23 anymore or playing in Chicago.

NBA 2013 FA

Perhaps the most interesting part of sports is the free agency period. At the moment the 2013 NBA FA period is merely 19 hours deep, and with plenty of time to go we should see some interesting moves.

Notable offers so far is New Orleans Pelicans offering Tyreke Evans $40-$44 million as a bench player. I personally think New Orleans is on the brink of competing for a western conference championship. Newly acquired Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon (assuming Evans comes to Nola) Evans, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez, Lou Amundson and Austin Rivers gives a team a lot of hope, range, and athleticism.

Perhaps the worst part of sports is the free agency period. The reason I suggest it is the worst and the most interesting is because of players like Dwight Howard who often present us with “dwightmares” from hell. Here is a child who will kick and scream until he gets his way, and when he does, he’ll kick and scream and say this isn’t what I thought it was I want something else. Here is to hoping that he retires and goes to play in another country.

A move that needs to be made is Josh Smith to the Lakers. Start Steve Nash at the point, Kobe at the two, Smith at the 3, Earl Clark at 4 and Pau at the 5. You now have another scoring presence, extremely athletic, slightly lazy on defense, but this is Mike D’antoni basketball, no defense required  so he’ll fit right in.

At the very least if the Lakers don’t forget Howard immediately, they should try to get Iggy to leave Denver and come play small forward with LA. He could fit in, and add a lot of explosive offensive skills that the team currently lacks. He is extremely athletic, and can play both ends of the floor fairly well. As previously noted he could save his energy on the defensive end and focus on his offensive skills for the D’antoni system. Either way LA needs to land an athletic SF and move on from the dwightmare.

Realistically speaking, most contenders rosters will probably remain the same with minimal changes. That being said, teams that are trying to get into the hunt for the NBA Finals should make the FA period fairly interesting.

Patriots are buying back Hernandez jerseys; what’s one jersey you wish you could trade in?

Ever have a favorite players jersey only to see them do something that lands them on the trading block and never to return to your team? Philadelphia fans would know a thing or two about owning a Barkley jersey after he left, or Iverson when he was gone, or Van Horn, or Iggy, or any plethora of their super stars that left for other teams. Perhaps you’re the Colts fan with the Marshall Faulk jersey who watched him go on to win a championship with the greatest show on turf, or a Cardinals fan who watched and wore a Cardinals Boldin jersey as he won his first ring with Baltimore and is chasing a second as a member of your rival 49ers.

If you have ever been in that awkward position wearing a players jersey who no longer is part of that team (and that player is possibly despised by that organization) who would you have swapped out your jersey for?

I for one have a Dwight Howard for the Magic, Manny Rameriz for the Dodgers both of which I’d love to swap in for different players with those organizations. Either swap them in for a legends jersey or a current young gun who hopefully stays with the organization or at least leaves on amicable terms.

A Tale of Two Big Three’s

I ran across the following quote today, “It’s funny how the Celtics big 3 area is “commended” for 1 championship in 6 years but America was ready to pounce on the Miami Heat for 3 straight Finals trips and 1 championship in 3 years had they lost to the Spurs. Double standard much?”

Of course, being a LeBron fan, I loved it.

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a Garnett fan. He seems like a punk. And Pierce seems like he’s stoned most of the time.

Also, pretty bad day to be Rajon Rondo, no?