Tag 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?

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.

American’s can get citizenship elsewhere for sports but not for refuge status?

Perhaps I am the only one looking at the Edward Snowden situation in a slightly different light than “traitor” or “patriot”. How many times do we see athletes leaving their home countries to get citizenship in another country to join their athletics? The US national teams are often comprised of people who are naturalized citizens who came here when they were kids or teenagers. However, we have seen American born athletes who stand no chance at making the US Olympic team get citizenship to join another country in need of great athletes to compete in the Olympics.

Case in point, Chris Kaman,whose ancestors are German but he was born in the Untied States of America thus being an American citizen. Unfortunately Kaman didn’t have the discipline to make the US Olympic team as even a 12th man. Instead of accepting that there were better athletes on the US Olympic team he decided he wanted to be in the Olympics so bad that he’d forfeit American citizenship and play for Germany.
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/basketball/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&page=kamanfeature-080817

Another example would be an athlete that by all accounts got left of the US team due to some form of favoritism. Becky Hammon was runner up in the WNBA yet some how she wasn’t on the US Olympic team. How does that happen is my first question, but to stay on target here, this is another American citizen who is willing and able to cough up their citizenship to become a naturalized citizen and play for another country, Russia.
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/olybb/news/story?id=3336490

Rossi is another American born athlete that is playing for another country. Giuseppe Rossi is an American born soccer player form New Jersey who plays for the Italian national soccer team. While I cannot blame him for playing for a consistently dominant team like Italy, it’s another prime example of how easily it is to gain citizenship if you’re an elite athlete.
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1622594-can-fiorentinas-jovetic-and-rossi-be-the-next-great-serie-a-strike-partnership

One may wonder why I care so much about American’s or other people turning over their citizenship to become a citizen of another country to become an athlete, the answer is I don’t care about that. Not at all. Do I consider you a sell out? Yeah, for the most part but who am I to judge. My problem is that it’s so easily done when it’s an elite athlete who has nothing to lose but everything to gain yet when a political refuge needs asylum to protect their life everyone backs away from the table and wants nothing to do with the situation.

Why is it so easy for athletes to get citizenship elsewhere to play sports, but it’s so hard for a political refugee to get protection? Thankfully countries like Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, and Ecuador have opened the doors to Snowden. The sad part is, if Snowden was an elite athlete, every country would be opening their doors and practically begging him to come and represent their country.

We always wonder why athletics come before education in America, but it seems like athletic prowess is much more important than just education, and it isn’t just an American situation it’s a world situation. It’s a problem for the world when they’ll take in elite athletes but not a refugee who just disclosed that the United States government is indeed spying on the rest of the world. It’s like having someone come to your door step and say hey, this guy over here, he’s been stealing your money, your information, and stalking you for years. Wouldn’t you invite this guy in, give him a reward and show him some gratitude?
I bet if someone turns on Aaron Hernandez and exposes him (if he in fact did something) for what he did they would praise that person and probably give him a substantial reward. Why shouldn’t the world be doing the same thing for Edward Snowden? If we said hey, Zuckerburg has been pilfering all your information for as long as long as Facebook has been up and taking .1 cent for every transaction that is done on Facebook, don’t you think the world would be outraged and whoever the whistle blower was would get praised?

Why is it so easy for an elite athlete who only wants citizenship for personal gain can get that citizenship but someone who needs it for protection can’t get it form anyone besides the host countries biggest rivals/enemies?

O6

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.

Finals Predictions

So, it’s time for Game One of the NBA Finals.  Here are TheLongTalk’s predictions…
- Heat in 6.  It hurts to write that cause TheLongTalk loves the Spurs as a team and as an organization.  They are, perhaps, the best professional sports team out there… but TLT thinks Miami might just have more talent.
 i. Like it or not LeBron is a talented Basketball Player who can shot, pass, drive, and gets the benefit of the doubt when the whistle blows. (Which is important in a 7 game series)
 ii. Even old Wade is younger then Timmy and Manu.  The youngest of the Spurs Big 3, Tony, is the same age as the oldest of the Heatles, Wade, both born in 82.
 iii. Bosh is a – Get your team to the playoffs each year – sort of guy, even when he’s not surrounded by talent (as he is right now in Miami)  So even though he’s not the greatest of the Big 3… he’s pretty darn good.
 iiii. The rest of The Heat players are the perfect mix of old and young.  They are veteran enough to not care and green enough to not be scared. (Even if they should be)  The Miami bench alone could steal at least one game during this series.
 
- Tony Parker gets guarded by LeBron at some point during this series cause otherwise he’s gonna eat Mario Chalmers for lunch.
- Tim Duncan OWNS Bosh in this series.  The way Karl Malone was OWNING Rasheed Wallace in the Detroit/Lakers series until his knee went wiggly.
- Wade gets hurt and misses at least one game… the Heat try to hang it on a Spurs player, but instant replay will show it was Wade trying to do something dirty and getting tangled up in another players arms or legs
- Birdman and Matt Bonner will have some insanely fun moments.  Bonner with some weird and timely three pointers and Birdman with some weird and timely… being Birdman.
- Manu will have a better series then Wade. (Write it down, you heard it here first)
- No one on the Spurs can guard LeBron but Kawhi Leonard will do as good a job as anyone can.
- Pop will be fined at some point for doing something.  (Stern and him are having a season long dust up, so he’s already on a razors edge)
- Whatever game is officiated by Joey Crawford, be it Game 1 or 7 or 3… the Spurs will lose that game.  (Crawford hates the Spurs and they hate him)
- Kobe Bryant will tweet something insightful and well-thought-out at some point during the series… not because he cares about the series, but because he wants to make sure the NBA world is thinking about him, even thought the Lakers have been out since the First Round.
That’s TheLongTalk’s Take… So, what do you guys think?  What are your predictions?

Howard in LA LA Land

If Nash in a Lakers uniform was a surprise, Howard in LA LA Land was anything but.  It seemed, for months really, that this was the only way things could end.  It does however surprise TheLongTalk that Bynum ended up in Philly.  And good for Philly – pulling the trigger on that deal, it could go very badly for them (Anyone remember Elton Brand) or  it could the rebirth of a franchise that’s only a couple of hours away from New York City and hasn’t had a ton of success since AI left. (Who really didn’t bring them all that much success himself)

A Call for a Coaches Challenge

It’s time, it’s well past time.  The call must be made for an NBA version of the NFL’s Coaches Challenge.  Too many games have been affected by bad calls accidentally made, or in the case of Tim Donaghy, made with malicious intent.

A Coaches Challenge would help the game immensely and is possible with the technology that already exists.  Plus, it would only require a few added rules.

Here’s TheLongTalk’s Take -

– Each coach gets a physical Challenge Flag and two challenges per half.  They can use both in on quarter or one in each, but first half challenges do not carry over to the second half.
(However if a coach does not use either of his first half challenges, he gets a $500 bonus)

– The head coach or one of his assistants would be required to push a button, on a device wired directly to the scorers table, to issue a challenge.  The head coach would then be required to toss an actual flag onto the floor, but not onto the court.  Only the head coach would be permitted to toss the physical flag.  This is to prevent confusion in the event that an assistant coach pushes the button by mistake or without authority.  Both actions must be taken, the button must be pushed and the flag must be tossed.
(The button device should be wired directly to the scorers table, not wireless.  This will help prevent tampering and would ensure that the refs and the scorers table know exactly when the challenge was issued.)

– Only plays that have taken place before the challenge button was pushed, within 12 seconds, can be review.  The flag being tossed does not affect the time span for review, only the button matters when it comes to time.  The flag is for the purpose of visually alerting the ref to a challenge.

– A play cannot be review, even if it takes place within 12 seconds of the button being pushed, if play has been stopped then started and a new play has begun.

– Once issued all challenges are reviewed at the next stop in play.  Play is never stopped to address a challenge.
(That’s why the button must be pushed, so that there is an electronic marker at the point when the challenge was issued, in the event that play continues uninterrupted for more then 12 seconds after the play in question.)

– A coach can challenge any call or noncall made by the refs.

– The coach must be specific about the infraction or missed call he is challenging and must issue the challenge within 12 second of it’s occurrence.

– The first challenge of each half is gone as soon as it is used.  If a coach uses his second challenge of the half in the 1st or 3rd quarter, it is also burned.  But if the second challenge of a half comes in the 2nd or 4th quarter, and is upheld, the coach gets that challenge back and can us it one more time.
(A sort of bonus third challenge)

– A challenge that is not upheld is always burned.

– If a challenge is not upheld, the team that was challenged gets a single free throw, before play begins again.  Because challenges can only be reviewed during a stop in play, a challenge that is not upheld will have no effect on the game, other then a short delay in play.  The free throw can be taken by any player who was on the court at the time of the challenge.  Play would continue with the time, score, fouls, etc. all exactly as they were before the review.  Nothing would change except a possible addition of one point, due to a made free throw.
(Like they would for a technical)

– If a challenge is upheld, then the game clock goes back to the moment of the infraction and play begins again from that point forward as if the call had been made correctly.  No free throw is awarded for a upheld challenge.  However if the challenge was that a foul should have been called and that foul wasn’t and if the review finds that the challenge is correct.  Play would begin again, from the moment when the challenge was issued, as if the foul had occurred.
(This is a HUGE change in the way the game is played, but it cannot be done any other way.  TheLongTalk has heard some suggest – mostly in relation to punishing floppers – that the play could be corrected with free throws at the next stop of play or before the beginning of the next quarter. That would not work, the fix has to be as immediate as possible and the game must continue from that point forward as if the play had been called correctly all along.)

– A challenge that is upheld cannot be challenged a second time by the opposing coach, nor can the same play be challenged.

– All refs do not have to be in agreement in order for a challenge to be upheld.  A coach would simple need a 2/3rds majority.

So here’s an example…
Spurs are down by 2, Duncan has the ball.  He pump fakes, gets Amare in the air and tosses up an attempt.  Amare smashes into Duncan, the shot misses, the refs swallow their whistles.

In this situation Pop can tell his assistant to push the button.  He’d then have to take the flag out of his pocket and toss it on the sideline.

Even if Carmelo has grabbed the rebound, sprinted down court and hit a go ahead 3 (or more precisely a go even further ahead 3)  Pop’s challenge will be review, before the ball comes back in bounds after Melo’s points. (Which would have been the next stop in play)

Because Pop’s challenge is electronically marked at the moment it was made, and he knows exactly what play he wants reviewed, he can now tell the refs he wants Timmy shot double checked.

The refs would then review together.  Now Joey Crawford happens to be calling this game and he doesn’t see a foul on Duncan, even though the replay shows that he was the closest ref to the play and the foul is clear as day.  The other two refs can vote to uphold the challenge and Joey is just out in the cold.

Since the challenge has been upheld and Timmy was in the act of shooting, the clock is now turned back to the moment of the infraction.  A foul is assigned to Amare, and Duncan goes to the foul line.  Also Melo’s play on the other end of the court, the play that took place after the infraction…. it’s erased.  That 3 never happened.

Tim now steps to the line, the way he should have all along, and calmly swishes two free throws.  Game tied.  Knicks take the ball out of bounds and play begins again as if the last few seconds had never happened.

Also Mike Woodson would not be allowed to ask for a re-review of the play, nor would he be able to issue a challenge for something else that may or may not have happened within that same 12 second span.  First coach to the button with a clear idea of what mistake was made, gets the challenge.

So that’s the idea.  That’s TheLongTalk’s Coaches Challenge plan.  What do you think?  What works, what doesn’t?  Do you have any suggestions?

This is a work in progress,
TheLongTalk

Kevin Garnett you did decide the game, not the refs

As the(too)longtalk knows I hate the “let the players decide the game at the end and just have the refs swallow the whistle” unspoken rule.  I hate it and last night we saw another perfect example of why this should not be the thinking of athletes, announcers, ESPN employees, and Shaq.  Garnett clearly set a moving screen last night on Andre Iguodala that should have been called and I’m glad it was.  AI 2.0 nearly avoided the screen altogether and Garnett leans into Iguodala and even pushed him.  Are you kidding me?  You don’t want a foul called there?  Are you serious?  You want the first 30 seconds called differently than the last 30 seconds?  But only if its a close game?  I don’t get it and I am so glad the officials blew the whistle and made the right call.

The officials didn’t decide this game, you did Kevin Garnett with YOUR foul.  The refs didn’t set a moving screen, Kevin Garnett did.  The refs didn’t get warned many other times during the game to stop setting moving screen, Kevin Garnett did.  Kevin, the refs didn’t make you one of the dirtiest players in the game, you did that yourself, and you fouled Iguodala and you were called for it as you should’ve been.  The refs didn’t do it, you did.  The refs didn’t decide the game, you did.

Also, this is reason 34,532 that Shaq is an idiot, it was a foul the BIG OVER-RATED, and it should have been called.

#12 Cargument of the Month – Which Sports Team Would You Want To Own

This should be a fun one.  If you could own any team in any league who would it be?  This one is tough for me, there are 7 teams I would want to own (1) the Pittsburgh Steelers, (2) the Pittsburgh Penguins, (3) the New York Yankees, (4) the Pittsburgh Pirates, (5) the Utah Jazz, and  (6) the Chicago Cubs, and (7) the New Orleans Hornets.  The Steelers are my favorite NFL team, but they are already run so well and have arguably the best ownership in the league, I would love to continue that tradition as an owner, but since they are already doing so well I shall pass.  The New York Yankees are my favorite baseball team and if you owned them they would make you lots of cash.  My second favorite MLB team is the Pittsburgh Pirates and I would love to take over that team and help provide a winning tradition.  I would just like to own the Cubs because they would make you a ton of money and it would be cool to be the owner who ended the billy goat curse.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are my favorite NHL team (see a trend?) but I would pass on owning a hockey team.  I love the Utah Jazz, they are my favorite NBA team, when I was growing up I wanted to be John Stockton, you will not find a bigger John Stockton fan out there than #12, (part of the reason my identity on here is #12 is because of Jon Stockton).   I would want to own the New Orleans Hornets, not because I now live in New Orleans, but so I could move the team to Pittsburgh, they need an NBA team for me to root for.

However, if I had to pick one team to own it would be the Utah Jazz.  I’ve seen the Steelers win multiple championships, the same with the Yankees, and a few years ago I got to see the Penguins win, but never the Jazz.  I would want to own the Utah Jazz and I would bring them the championship Salt Lake City has been dying for.  I wouldn’t have let Mes Matthews go just to save a few bucks and that also goes for Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Eric Maynor.  I also would’ve drafted differently.  I want to own the Utah Jazz and lead them to hanging a championship banner by the rafters.  Maybe I’ll go play the mega millions, $640 millions might be enough to buy them, but probably not after taxes.

Anyways, if you could own and sports team, who would it be?