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Friday, August 01, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - August 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the history of Algeria??  ####### seriously???  #############…

Ahhh… that’s better.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2014 at 01:25 PM | 383 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   101. RollingWave Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4766236)
flop

in case you missed it

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24651391/report-cavs-have-agreement-to-trade-for-love-long-term-deal

Love for Wiggins , Bennett , 2015 first (might be Miami's), no 3rd team or other stuff

I'll go on a limb and say that this Cavs season qualifies for one of the best off season of any team ever.
   102. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4766244)
I presume this is sarcasm. That's some of the worst work I've ever seen published on a reputable site on the internet.


I liked the data dump looking at the information about past players and injuries. I had forgotten much of it. Honestly I kind of ignored the analysis (I read the article on my phone). But I will believe you.

EDIT: FWIW I sort of ignored the injury analysis, because pretty much all analysis I have seen on injuries (mostly on the baseball side) is really suspect, so I don't expect much I guess. Sorry if my endorsement led you into a cesspool :)
   103. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4766246)
Love for Wiggins , Bennett , 2015 first (might be Miami's), no 3rd team or other stuff


Good trade for both teams IMO. The Wolves need to play the young guys and be smart about veterans to bring in (trade or sign) after next year. Really young roster unless they make some more trades.
   104. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4766254)
Love for Wiggins , Bennett , 2015 first (might be Miami's), no 3rd team or other stuff


####### A trade for the Cavs. They get their guy, they get to dump Bennett, and all they give up is Wiggins.

68 wins? Would be curious to hear the rest of the thread's predictions.
   105. RollingWave Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4766274)
Dunno, the Cavs have a team that has the talent on paper to win 60+, however the fit looks dicey right now and we haven't seen Blatt coach a minute of NBA basketball yet.

Irving needs to play some defense, Love need to play a little more defense, Waiters need to generally get over himself and play ball, and Varajao need to be kept in a protective bubble whenever he's not on the floor.

Still, unless Lebron and Love have a knuckle pushup death match they should at least win 50+ easily.
   106. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4766276)
68 wins?

*snort*

Irving    Dellavedova
Waiters   Jones
James     Miller
Love      Thompson
Varejao   Haywood 

The East is bad. It's not *that* bad.
   107. DCA Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4766280)
I'd probably take the under on 60 wins. Maybe over/under of 58?

The LeBron Heat averaged a bit under 60 (pro-rating the short season), and

James (now) < James (then)
Love = Bosh
Irving << Wade

Even if the supporting cast is better (and it probably isn't unless Varejao plays 60+ games), I don't think the Cavs are as good as the 60-win LeBron Heat.
   108. GregD Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4766282)
I might pick under 60 if I had to, though I don't know as much as some of you. It doesn't look to me like a deep team. Factor in some injuries, some time adjusting, some defensive holes, and it's easy to imagine them stumbling a bit early in the year particularly and again if injuries hit. I would still bet on them to make the finals.

Do they have flexibility to add any useful reserves at this point? Or is this probably it?
   109. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4766286)
####### A trade for the Cavs. They get their guy, they get to dump Bennett, and all they give up is Wiggins.

Agreed. If these are the terms, it seems like a terrible negotiating job by Flip. The Cavs are desperate to get Love, and yet they're the only team unloading a negative asset in the deal? I guess there's unseen upside for the Wolves in that they'll never have to give a first rounder to Phoenix, because trading Love for Wiggins and Bennett guarantees that they'll have a top-12 pick each of the next two years.
   110. DCA Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4766287)
I've been reading that Shawn Marion is likely to sign up to title chase with the Cavs. Is he still any good defensively?
   111. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4766288)
I guess there's unseen upside for the Wolves in that they'll never have to give a first rounder to Phoenix, because trading Love for Wiggins and Bennett guarantees that they'll have a top-12 pick each of the next two years.


Well they can't be accused of tanking at this point though, can they?
   112. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4766294)
Like the first couple years of the Heatles,the Cavs will be better in the playoffs than the regular season. If Rose is healthy, the Bulls will win more games and the Cavs will be favored in the ECF.

The Cavs will be one of the worst defensive teams to make the playoffs in the East but should easily be the best offensivley. It still was a great trade and the Cavs are much better now this year.
   113. andrewberg Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4766329)
My first thought for the Cavs was 59 wins. Love and Irving tend to miss some games here and there. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're injury prone, but they get dinged up.

It's great that they now have Jones, Miller, and Marion to back up Lebron (I know they have more wing flexibility), but that team needs to get more depth inside. They are frightfully thin at center. Of course, they really only NEED it for the playoffs, so maybe they can wait til the trade deadline or the buyout time.
   114. andrewberg Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4766342)
As for the Wolves side of it, here is what I wrote to a friend who described himself as "giddy" about the trade:

Under the circumstances, I think it would be hard to do much better. I wish they could have made it work with Love, but I accept that it didn't and this return is very strong.

The most fundamental problem, in my mind, with the team the last couple of years was that there was really no way to be a good defensive team with Love and Pekovic playing together. Neither one is atrocious defensively, but neither one offers anything in the way of rim protection, which is an absolutely essential feature in the half court now. When Kirilenko was on the team and playing with those guys, it was a totally different defense. Hopefully they can find a partner for Pekovic who can do a better job protecting the rim. Alternately, if Dieng continues to develop, they could transition to him as the starting center and shop Pek.

As for the return, there are always nits to pick with young players. Wiggins needs to improve his shot, his ball-handling, and his offensive assertiveness. He already has the skills to be a really good perimeter defender and a beast in the open court, so he will probably be another version of Corey Brewer this year with a chance to get a lot better quickly. I see Bennett as more of a flyer. There aren't a lot of good PFs at his size. The summer league results were encouraging and he's still very young, so maybe he could become a Paul Millsap type player in time. Remember that he was a reach as a #1 pick in a very bad draft, so there is no guarantee. Getting another draft pick is good too.

The team next year is not going to be competitive but they will be fun to watch. If Rubio, Wiggins, and Lavine all continue to get better, that would be a pretty electric backcourt. Like I said before, I think what Dieng does this year will be quietly significant.
   115. GregD Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4766381)
On vital trade news, it turns out the Knicks didn't give up a 2nd round pick in their blockbuster Acy deal. They removed the protection (31-37) on the 2nd round pick they had already given up!
   116. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4766382)
Rubio with the ball in his hands and Wiggins and Lavine filling the lanes on the fast break should be terrifying. Definitely a League Pass team.
   117. RollingWave Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4766386)
Do they have flexibility to add any useful reserves at this point? Or is this probably it?


They do kind of have some ways of making more moves after next year, I believe Haywood has a hilariously large unguaranteed contract which would be excellent trade piece, and both Thompson and Waiters are heading into years where their contracts are no longer fully guaranteed, Also, Varajao is on his last year, he might resign going forward but probably for less given his (in)ability to stay on the floor.

Fun thought, let's just say the Heat this year was good but can't win it all or whatever, what if they manage to S&T for Omer Asik next year? that seems like the 1 guy that's both likely to be able to sign within a reasonable contract, and offers the up most fit to what this current team needs. of course, this still need Irving to play at something less than a completely zero on defense which he is right now.
   118. The District Attorney Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4766405)
The Cavs are desperate to get Love, and yet they're the only team unloading a negative asset in the deal?
Yeah, you would think they could have gotten the Cavs to take Kevin Martin. In order to match salary, that would very likely mean that the Cavs would have to throw in one of Tristan Thompson or Dion Waiters.¹ LeBron reputedly does want both those guys on the team... but does he want them more than Kevin Love? Minny's bluff to pull out and trade Love to GS is relatively plausible; any Cavs' bluff to walk away would not be plausible. Cleveland would have to do it, one would think.¹

It is, of course, entirely possible that Flip legitimately wants Martin on the team. (And to be fair, his salary is not franchise-ruining crazy or anything.)

¹ Or bring in a third team in an attempt to satisfy Minny without parting with Thompson/Waiters, or to satisfy LeBron while parting with one of them.
   119. andrewberg Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4766407)
Fun thought, let's just say the Heat this year was good but can't win it all or whatever, what if they manage to S&T for Omer Asik next year? that seems like the 1 guy that's both likely to be able to sign within a reasonable contract, and offers the up most fit to what this current team needs. of course, this still need Irving to play at something less than a completely zero on defense which he is right now.


I assume you mean the Cavs, but either way, I think New Orleans is going to take a big step forward and will probably commit to Asik if he is willing to stay around.
   120. Manny Coon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4766427)
I assume you mean the Cavs, but either way, I think New Orleans is going to take a big step forward and will probably commit to Asik if he is willing to stay around.


Asik is better than guys like Ajinca, Stiemsma, Smith and Withey, but New Orleans did way better last year when they used Anderson at PF and Davis at C. Pairing Davis with a big slow plodder seems like strategy from 10 years ago, you don't see Duncan playing with guys like Nestrovic anymore.
   121. andrewberg Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4766431)
you don't see Duncan playing with guys like Nestrovic anymore.


...he plays with agile foxes like Splitter and Diaw instead.
   122. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4766432)
They do kind of have some ways of making more moves after next year, I believe Haywood has a hilariously large unguaranteed contract which would be excellent trade piece, and both Thompson and Waiters are heading into years where their contracts are no longer fully guaranteed, Also, Varajao is on his last year, he might resign going forward but probably for less given his (in)ability to stay on the floor.

Thompson and Waiters are on the rookie deals, so talking about not fully guaranteed is a little misleading. Either they get extensions that exceed their current deals, or their cap holds are large enough to preclude any cap space the Cavs will have after LeBron, Love and Irving's deals*. In all likelihood, the Cavs will only have the MLE to use besides vet minimums next year (they used the BAE on Miller this year, so they won't have that next year). Then like you mentioned, Haywoods $10mil+ deal and possible trades of TT or DW. If the Cavs use the MLE, they could run into the hard cap** and might not be able to exactly take back equal money for Haywood. So there are options, but I'm mixing up FA and trade options here.

*The cap is obviously going up, but the 3 of those guys are taking up close to $60mil on their own. TT's cap hold next year is $12.5mil and DW's is over $5mil.
**And we'll see about Gilbert's taste for the escalating luxury tax when he gets there.
   123. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4766434)
Asik is better than guys like Ajinca, Stiemsma, Smith and Withey, but New Orleans did way better last year when they used Anderson at PF and Davis at C. Pairing Davis with a big slow plodder seems like strategy from 10 years ago, you don't see Duncan playing with guys like Nestrovic anymore.

While the Asik deal was nice, it's not like the Pels have been the Spurs of the bayou when it comes to transactions the last couple of years. Just cause the Spurs don't do something, doesn't mean the Pel won't either (like trade for Evans or Gordon or....).
   124. Manny Coon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4766435)
...he plays with agile foxes like Splitter and Diaw instead.


Splitter is agile compared guys New Orleans was using. Diaw is a perimeter player, who doesn't clog the area close the basket, same with Bonner. Ryan Anderson isn't super agile, but he is compared Ajinca or Stiemsma and spaces the floor on offense. They probably should have tried Aminu some at PF instead of letting him go for nothing, he's got the length and rebounding for it, my guess is Dallas will use him there when Nowitzki is sitting, similar to how they used Marion last year.
   125. rr Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4766443)
Marion can still D up some, and he had a surprisingly good year shooting the 3 last year after several bad ones on a limited number of attempts. So even though he is 36, he is a reasonable pick-up for Cleveland. James obviously likes having old bench guys after winning with Battier, Allen, Miller, and Andersen in Miami, and as discussed, old guys who used to be starters or even All-Stars as bench guys on contenders is sort of a structural thing in today's NBA.

As an aside related to Marion, an early meme of the basketball statheads back in 00s was that the 7SOL teams were actually OK on D once you adjusted for pace, which was of course accurate. Having watched Mike D'Antoni coach for two years, I now think that a lot of that was having Marion in his prime. It was not all on MDA of course--Tom Thibodeau would have had a hard time getting a decent defense out of the Lakers' roster, and Rambis actually supposedly ran the D last year. But I never saw much from the team or heard much from D'Antoni that indicated to me that he cared much about, or was very good at, coaching defense. He is obviously a fine offensive coach, and I did see evidence of that, even with the team's record and ORTG last year.

As to Cleveland, Epke Udoh and Andray Blatche are still out there. I mentioned Udoh awhile back; I think Cleveland should try to pick him up. Another guy that I have not heard mentioned at all but whom I assume is still looking for an NBA job if he has not signed overseas yet is Greg Stiemsma. Stiemsma is very limited, but he does have a little bit of ability/mobility on D. Cleveland needs to get a low USG big with a little athletic ability who can play 20 minutes and help to protect the paint.

One other thing: Pelton has been very opinionated on this. He wrote a long article, backed by a lot of numbers, saying that Love is a Top-5 player, and Pelton as noted, while conceding that Wiggins has a lot of plusses and possible upside, has said that he thinks Wiggins will probably not be as good as originally advertised. OTOH, "eye test" types have been more pro-Wiggins and have expressed doubts about how good Love really is--Simmons wrote about it from that POV. So we'll see. I definitely think that Cleveland did the right thing, but I could also see it going wrong for them.
   126. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4766451)
When the trade happens the Cavs will be my EC team. As a long time Wolves fan I get a free bandwagon jump every once in a while, right?
   127. Manny Coon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4766489)
When the trade happens the Cavs will be my EC team. As a long time Wolves fan I get a free bandwagon jump every once in a while, right?


With League Pass my wife and I decided that having a hierarchy of fandom was better than just one team, because there are games all the time, so you need to figure who to cheer for, so you need to find teams in everyone time zone and secondary teams for when your team has days off. Last year our list ended something like this:

Clippers (my team since I was young)
Cavs (wife is from Akron)
Suns
Bobcats (or Scary Cats as my daughter called them, she'll be disappointed they switched to Hornets)
Jazz (needed someone in Mountain time)
Wizards
Wolves
Raptors
Blazers


We also had a group of teams we disliked (Lakers, Kings, Warriors, Nets, Knicks, Bulls, Celtics, Rockets). Between the two sets of teams we almost always had rooting interest in whatever randoms games were on and if we didn't we'd just improvise. I think with your secondary teams, it's ok to switch those around however you want, so long as you stay true your top team.
   128. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4766511)
Agreed. If these are the terms, it seems like a terrible negotiating job by Flip. The Cavs are desperate to get Love, and yet they're the only team unloading a negative asset in the deal?


Is Bennett really a negative asset? We could think of him now as a mid-first-round pick. And on a shorter contract than any other first-round pick!
   129. MikeOberly Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4766512)
The TWolves with Wiggins, Lavine and Rubio should be fun (and terrible). If Blatt is who I think he is, the Cavs will be an offensive juggernaut. Should be fun.
   130. MikeOberly Posted: August 07, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4766519)
Is Bennett really a negative assetWe could think of him now as a mid-first-round pick. And on a shorter contract than any other first-round pick


Not sure what to think about him. He might be better than horrible, not sure he's ever going to be valuable. He's overpaid right now, for certain.
   131. JoeHova Posted: August 07, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4766603)
As to Cleveland, Epke Udoh and Andray Blatche are still out there. I mentioned Udoh awhile back; I think Cleveland should try to pick him up.


Interesting. What do you like about Udoh? He is absolutely horrible at every aspect of the game (except for being an ok shotblocker), although I suppose the same could be said about many minimum salary guys.
   132. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: August 07, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4766606)
I'd guess 55-56 wins for the Cavs. As Moses and others said, a lot more dangerous in the playoffs, but there will be a learning curve for all these guys to play together and for Blatt.
   133. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4766629)
I feel like I'm significantly higher on the Cavs than others.

You're taking a 33 win team, adding 15-20 wins from LBJ and 10-15 from Love. To me, it's challenging to see how they end up in the 50's unless a lot of things go wrong.
   134. andrewberg Posted: August 07, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4766640)
You really think Love is 15 wins better than Thompson? I am a huge Love fan, but that seem aggressive to me. That also does not take into consideration the effect that the players have on each other.
   135. rr Posted: August 07, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4766649)
Interesting. What do you like about Udoh? He is absolutely horrible at every aspect of the game (except for being an ok shotblocker), although I suppose the same could be said about many minimum salary guys.


When you have a guy like James, that simplifies team-building in the sense that since James does so many things well, you can afford to have guys who only do one or two things well, and they are easy to find. On a team like the 2014 Milwaukee Bucks, a guy like Udoh just looks like a waste of height. But on a team with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, Udoh's severe offensive limitations become less important, and his ability to block shots and help protect the rim and paint become more important. Also, there is some evidence to the effect that Udoh is not as bad a player as his box score numbers and metrics would indicate. And, even if all he can do is block some shots and protect the rim, and occasionally get a dunk or a putback, IMO that would help Cleveland.
   136. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: August 07, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4766652)
ESPN suspends Dan LeBatard for LeBron billboard stunt

Methinks ESPN has no sense of humor.
   137. tshipman Posted: August 07, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4766657)
You really think Love is 15 wins better than Thompson? I am a huge Love fan, but that seem aggressive to me. That also does not take into consideration the effect that the players have on each other.


I think Love + Thompson is worth between 10-15 wins more than Thompson+Bennett+Clark, yeah.
   138. Manny Coon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4766680)
When you have a guy like James, that simplifies team-building in the sense that since James does so many things well, you can afford to have guys who only do one or two things well, and they are easy to find. On a team like the 2014 Milwaukee Bucks, a guy like Udoh just looks like a waste of height. But on a team with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, Udoh's severe offensive limitations become less important, and his ability to block shots and help protect the rim and paint become more important. Also, there is some evidence to the effect that Udoh is not as bad a player as his box score numbers and metrics would indicate. And, even if all he can do is block some shots and protect the rim, and occasionally get a dunk or a putback, IMO that would help Cleveland.


Essentially he would do what Joel Anthony did in Miami, but be a little better at it and cheaper. Anthony was pretty useful for the 11/12 Miami team.

Marion and Lebron would pretty neat defensively, they could easily switch assignments whenever they wanted and Love is the type perimeter oriented big Marion has done best with like Diaw or Nowitzki. He'd be a good backup for either of them.
   139. Jimmy P Posted: August 07, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4766690)
Methinks ESPN has no sense of humor.


Sure they do. They still employ Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd.
   140. Manny Coon Posted: August 07, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4766700)
I see Bennett as more of a flyer. There aren't a lot of good PFs at his size.


I haven't watched him much, but is Bennett mobile enough and skilled enough to replicate something like what Jared Dudley did with the Suns, what PJ Tucker is doing there now or Knicks era Larry Johnson at SF?
   141. rr Posted: August 07, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4766708)
NBA MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder withdrew Thursday from consideration for Team USA prior to the FIBA World Cup, citing "physical and mental fatigue."Kevin Durant informed Team USA officials Thursday that he'd no longer be participating in national team practices or the FIBA World Cup.
Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said Durant reached out to him and coach Mike Krzyzewski on Thursday afternoon and "expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities."


http://espn.go.com/olympics/basketball/story/_/id/11323854/kevin-durant-oklahoma-city-thunder-withdraws-team-usa
   142. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 07, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4766713)
can we just switch back to the college guys now?
   143. thok Posted: August 07, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4766715)
I liked the Love trade better when it was for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and Andrew Lang.
   144. RollingWave Posted: August 07, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4766735)
   145. madvillain Posted: August 07, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4766743)
One other thing: Pelton has been very opinionated on this. He wrote a long article, backed by a lot of numbers, saying that Love is a Top-5 player, and Pelton as noted, while conceding that Wiggins has a lot of plusses and possible upside, has said that he thinks Wiggins will probably not be as good as originally advertised. OTOH, "eye test" types have been more pro-Wiggins and have expressed doubts about how good Love really is--Simmons wrote about it from that POV. So we'll see. I definitely think that Cleveland did the right thing, but I could also see it going wrong for them.


This debate raged for over 10,000 posts on the Bulls RealGM board over the course of the summer with most of the anti-Love people embarrassing themselves trying to bend over backwards "to prove" he's not a superstar.

Love is ridiculous any team that has him and Lebron instantly rockets to the top of the offensive rankings. I'd be a bit worried if I'm a Cleveland fan about interior defense and defense in general with an aging Lebron no longer able to dominate on both ends (he shut down Rose like I had never seen in 2010) like previously but that's a minor quibble. As SA proved, if you have an unstoppable offense it doesn't really matter if your defense is mediocre.

John Beilein has the same philosophy and it's worked out pretty well for him. It's not that he doesn't think it's important, just that in general it's easier to scout/ID guys that are great offensively and than try and coach them up than vice versa.

   146. JoeHova Posted: August 07, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4766791)
Anthony was pretty useful for the 11/12 Miami team.


I could not disagree with you more.
   147. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:13 AM (#4766856)
   148. tshipman Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4766875)
The alleged story is that he was being restrained and tried to get free, and hit the woman in the face accidentally.

Greg Oden seems sad. I wish for his sake that he tries something else. Maybe that's self serving of me. I like Greg Oden, but basketball doesn't seem to make him happy.
   149. Quaker Posted: August 08, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4766926)
The Spurs were 3rd in defensive rating in the regular season. Not sure how that's mediocre. They were only 7th in offensive efficiency, btw.
   150. GregD Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4767053)
SI saying sixers have agreed to trade Thad young to wolves for a package including Bennett
   151. steagles Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4767075)
ESPN suspends Dan LeBatard for LeBron billboard stunt

Methinks ESPN has no sense of humor.
i don't think ESPN is a fan of lebatard. he's probably not as much of an ####### as olbermann, but i think his personality clashes with ESPN's management in the same ways. he's aloof and he doesn't take sports very seriously. he's an outsider, both figuratively (he doesn't drink ESPN's koolaid) and literally (his show airs from miami, not bristol). and the controversies he creates are cynical and anti-hypocritical, whereas ESPN prefers controversies that are misogynistic and race-baiting.

With League Pass my wife and I decided that having a hierarchy of fandom was better than just one team, because there are games all the time, so you need to figure who to cheer for, so you need to find teams in everyone time zone and secondary teams for when your team has days off. Last year our list ended something like this:
yup. you also want to take more 2nd tier teams, since you'll be able to watch miami and oklahoma city and LAC on national TV anyway. and good PG play is important, since a team with a bad PG is gonna be a mess regardless of whatever other talent they have.

right now, i'd say my 5 are something like: washington, charlotte, san antonio, portland, new orleans. phoenix and toronto are on the outside, looking in.
   152. steagles Posted: August 08, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4767088)
SI saying sixers have agreed to trade Thad young to wolves for a package including Bennett
kind of feel sorry for thad. not really, but the guy wanted to go to a good team and he winds up going to minnesota. out of the fridge, into the freezer.
   153. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 08, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4767141)
i don't think ESPN is a fan of lebatard. he's probably not as much of an ####### as olbermann, but i think his personality clashes with ESPN's management in the same ways. he's aloof and he doesn't take sports very seriously. he's an outsider, both figuratively (he doesn't drink ESPN's koolaid) and literally (his show airs from miami, not bristol). and the controversies he creates are cynical and anti-hypocritical, whereas ESPN prefers controversies that are misogynistic and race-baiting.

LeBatard's show is one of the highlights of my day. Consistently brilliant radio.
   154. tshipman Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4767154)
The Spurs were 3rd in defensive rating in the regular season. Not sure how that's mediocre. They were only 7th in offensive efficiency, btw.


I think the only thing the Spurs have proven is that Popovich is worth like 30 million dollars a year.
   155. andrewberg Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4767158)
Cleve rumored to be offering a first rounder and salary filler for Mozgov. He would be a very good complement along the lines of hte guys we discussed earlier. Not sure if that gets Denver interested, but they will have to still split minutes wth Javale and Hickson.
   156. Spivey Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4767169)
LeBatard is great, because he has real, nuanced, thoughtful opinions on sports.
   157. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4767183)
kind of feel sorry for thad. not really, but the guy wanted to go to a good team and he winds up going to minnesota. out of the fridge, into the freezer.


I demand satisfaction for your words sir! While true, they are still hurtful. The next team to win a championship - Philly or MN, the other person owes them an apology! If either of us are still alive that is. Sigh.
   158. andrewberg Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4767189)
Phily is just jealous that the Wolves got the franchise player they coveted.
   159. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 08, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4767199)
LeBatard is great, because he has real, nuanced, thoughtful opinions on sports.
And actually funny sometimes, as opposed to other sports talk radio, which is funny never.
   160. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4767214)
Simmons rambles around pointlessly forever as expected, but I did not necessarily expect his conclusion:
Until I started researching this column, I believed that Love had to be overrated because of his 0-0 playoff record. And actually, he’s underrated. Everything he accomplished on that forgettably broken Minnesota team was BETTER than I thought.
   161. tshipman Posted: August 08, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4767404)
Simmons rambles around pointlessly forever as expected


His writing has really gotten worse. I mean, I know he always rambled, but nowadays he just seems like he's trying to pad the word count. That piece was just awful and I used to really like Simmons, especially on basketball.

Maybe it's me.
   162. rr Posted: August 08, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4767459)
Maybe it's me.


--

No. Simmons has always needed an editor that he will actually listen to and work with. He now is "too big" for editing, it seems. The Love piece has a lot of salient points in it, and Simmons avoids making 20 gratuitous references to Vision Quest and Saved by the Bell, but it goes on way too long and even has one of his PUAish/fratboyish lines about women that I am personally put off by, particularly since the guy is a 45-year-old dad with gray hair now (YMMV on that).

That said, what I have always liked about Simmons is that the dude genuinely loves the NBA--you can tell that he is really is for reals to the max looking forward to watching Love do his thing on a team with James, and I can relate to that.

It was also interesting to me in that it touched on Internet sub-culture, tribalism, etc. madvillain mentioned that there have been long discussions about Love in the Bulls blogosphere, and there has been a similar thing, although on a smaller scale, going on in LakerLand, with old-school eye-test anti-stats types using Love as the "poster child" for why stats guys are full of it, etc. A lot of that of course is some Lakers' fans irrational hatred of James and resentment towards Love for not wanting to play here, but at the same time, the debate about Love's actual on-court value touches on some larger issues.

   163. MikeOberly Posted: August 08, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4767475)
I'm with robin on both counts regarding Simmons. I thought his column after the Lebron to Cavs thing was about 70% too long. I recently reread his Basketball book, and it confirmed my first impression -- it is entertaining and funny and freaking annoying in almost equal parts. And that book is much better than most of his recent columns.

(especially agree that his fratboy outlook is almost unbelievably annoying to me)
   164. baudib Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4767594)
Have not studied the issue much, but gut says Alonzo Mourning is textbook definition of NBA HOVG. Now I realize the Basketball Hall of Fame is not the NBA HOF, and that college accomplishments count as well.
Having thrown that out there, I'll take a look at some numbers.
   165. baudib Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4767596)
Looking at Black Ink, Zo essentially has none. Led the league in blocks twice. that's the strongest part of his game, as he's 12th all time in pro ball (11th in NBA history).

Won DOPY twice. Made All-NBA 1st All-Star team once, 2nd team once. Seems pretty clearly inferior to the great centers whose careers overlapped his: Shaq, Hakeem, Admiral, Ewing.

   166. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4767597)
Yeah, well, that critique applies even more so to Mitch Richmond.

I don't like the Basketball Hall of Fame at all. I do like the international aspect. Otherwise, I think they basically ###### up everything about it... it's an inscrutable process that yields irreconcilable results.
   167. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: August 09, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4767609)
It doesn't exactly reflect poorly on Zo that he had trouble beating out three top-20 players and a top-40 player in Ewing for All-NBA honors.
   168. smileyy Posted: August 09, 2014 at 01:46 AM (#4767625)
I'll remember 'Zo as pairing with Mutumbo at Georgetown and the two of them being out-bigged by Tyrone Hill and Derek Strong during the 1990 NCAA tournament. Shouldn't that Georgetown team have been better? Also, that have had 5 future NBA players in it.

And one future murderer. Weird.
   169. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 09, 2014 at 06:04 AM (#4767633)
I think Love + Thompson is worth between 10-15 wins more than Thompson+Bennett+Clark, yeah.

But even if that's true, there is still a chaining issue.

Even if adding LeBron makes the current cavs 20 games better. And adding Love makes the current cavs 15 wins better. It doesn't follow that adding both LeBron and Love makes them 35 wins better.

If they added say a third player who is a 15-20 wins improvement over the current team, like Howard or Durant, it's obvious they are not going to win 83-88 games.

The 09/10 Heat won 47 games. They added LeBron and Bosh. In a vacuum those 2 players might be worth a combined 30+ wins over the guys they replaced. But the Heat never came close to winning 70, let alone 77+.
   170. The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4767787)
   171. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4767842)
Not sure why, but LeBron publicly discussing the Love deal strikes me as a dick move. Really hope Wiggins hits his ceiling and makes CLE regret this deal.
   172. rr Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4767846)
Hmmm. I suppose that he could have said, "No comment" but what he said was, like most of what James has said in public since July of 2010 has been, very vanilla and heavily qualified, as anyone who clicks the link will see. If he had said something like, "Done deal. Tell Cleveland to start planning the parade" or whatever, I could see being down on him. But the quoted stuff is nothing remotely close to that.

The only narrative downside I see here is Gilbert. Even Minnesota gets Wiggins, which might turn out to be great for them long-haul.
   173. tshipman Posted: August 09, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4767850)
Really hope Wiggins hits his ceiling


What is Wiggins' ceiling?

Shawn Marion?
   174. tshipman Posted: August 09, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4767857)
But even if that's true, there is still a chaining issue.


The chaining issue largely benefits the Cavs when we're talking about just a few players. They ditch Bennett's negative value, and move all their role players down to where they could theoretically be more effective. The Heat went from 47 to 58, but the Cavs largely won't face the kind of duplication of skills problem that the Heat had. The Heat went from 47 to 58, but the Cavs went from 61 to 19.
   175. MikeOberly Posted: August 09, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4767858)
Someone here or on some other board mentioned Stacey Augmon as a comp for Wiggins, and that seems fair to me. Wiggins is just so young, I think it's too tough to predict with much accuracy. So much depends on how driven he is, and how willing to work to improve.

One thing that really struck me watching him a fair bit at Kansas is that there seems some sort of weird, inherent klutziness to him, which makes its appearance at times when he's trying to finish near the rim.
   176. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: August 09, 2014 at 11:20 PM (#4767893)
So, watching the Cubs-Rays game today. Digger Phelps was in the booth to sing "Take me out to the Ballgame" (God, I can't wait for that tradition to die). Anyway, the announcers feel the need to have him discuss LeBron. And Digger says (paraphrasing, but pretty accurate) "If I were Lebron, I would seek out Magic and Bird and ask their advice. See, Lebron never went to college and they could help him understand what he needs to do to win. I mean, look at what san Antonio did to him in the finals..." And I thought "There is so much wrong with this statement, I hardly know where to begin." First, Lebron went to 4 straight finals, winning 2. He has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. That's a hell of an accomplishment. Second, one of the wins was over that same San Antonio team Digger seems to think he needs some elder statesman advice to get past. And third, 2 of San Antonio's top 3 players never went to college either.

Sometimes I wonder if these guys even understand what they are saying.
   177. theboyqueen Posted: August 09, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4767899)
I would take Lebron's opinion on just about anything over Digger Phelps'. Talk about an empty suit...
   178. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: August 10, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4767908)
What is Wiggins' ceiling?

I'd peg his high-end comp as Eddie Jones, his projection as Richard Jefferson, and his low-end comp as Chris Morris. They all put up similar stats (15-17 points, 4-6 rebounds, and 2-3 assists per 36), with the separation mainly coming from defense and efficiency. Eddie Jones quickly became an elite defender, and both he and Jefferson functioned well as 3rd options on good teams, while Chris Morris struggled to find a role.

But even if that's true, there is still a chaining issue.

Even if adding LeBron makes the current cavs 20 games better. And adding Love makes the current cavs 15 wins better. It doesn't follow that adding both LeBron and Love makes them 35 wins better.

If they added say a third player who is a 15-20 wins improvement over the current team, like Howard or Durant, it's obvious they are not going to win 83-88 games.

The 09/10 Heat won 47 games. They added LeBron and Bosh. In a vacuum those 2 players might be worth a combined 30+ wins over the guys they replaced. But the Heat never came close to winning 70, let alone 77+.

Yes, but the Big 3 Heat were consistent underachievers in the regular season, and that first year they were abysmal in close games. Off the top of my head I can think of three other instances in the past twenty years where a team added an MVP-caliber player and an All-Star in the offseason, and each experienced much greater gains than the Heat. The Celtics improved from 24 to 66 wins when they added KG and Ray Allen; the Spurs from 20 to 56 with Robinson and Duncan; and the Bulls from 47 to 72 with Jordan and Rodman. Certainly there's an upper limit on wins such that it's easier to improve from 30 to 40 than from 60 to 70, but I don't think chaining is the issue. If the players have complementary skills, as with adding Garnett and Allen to Pierce, the improvement may well be greater than one would expect in a vacuum.
   179. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4767996)
And as everyone else has said I think Love and LBJ compliment each other nicely and Irving fits in well also (Amusingly I think Rubio would fit even better).
   180. tshipman Posted: August 10, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4768004)
And as everyone else has said I think Love and LBJ compliment each other nicely and Irving fits in well also (Amusingly I think Rubio would fit even better).


Have to disagree with the second bit here. Rubio is a good defender but a horrific shooter. His biggest strength on offense overlaps with LeBron's. I think you need shooting above almost everything else with LeBron.
   181. rr Posted: August 10, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4768019)
A little OT, but the judge ruled in the O'Bannon case, and of course, the NCAA will appeal. I don't know enough about the legalities involved to have a handle on what it really means.

In his first extensive interview since a federal judge ruled that college athletes can share in the billions of dollars generated from broadcast and other media contracts, Ed O'Bannon said that he is satisfied with the gains made by athletes, even with the NCAA receiving the ability to cap compensation at $5,000 per year above the value of a full college scholarship.

The former UCLA star, whose name adorns the historic lawsuit, told ESPN and ABC News that the spending controls imposed by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Friday could evolve as the leaders of college sports, and those challenging the existing rules, reshape the industry in the coming months and years.

"What we did is just a small amount of change," O'Bannon said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think that a lot of change is going to happen. This is just the beginning."


link
   182. RollingWave Posted: August 10, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4768277)
Have to disagree with the second bit here. Rubio is a good defender but a horrific shooter. His biggest strength on offense overlaps with LeBron's. I think you need shooting above almost everything else with LeBron.

Rubio hits open 3s at a fairly average rate, he's not really a horrific shooter, what he has been is a horrible player at hitting things close to the basket. usually the highest % shot at any level, he simply can't put in layups that isn't completely uncontested.

The Wolfs had a superb +/- when they had their starters out there, the problem was that their bench completely imploded. that combined with an almost cursed inability to finish close games cost them the season. Of course, Rubio's general inability to create / hit tough shots off the dribble on his own doesn't help, which is kind of the main problem with the Wolfs last year, they had almost no one who is legitimately good off the dribble . Love is essentially a C&S or postup guy, Pek is limited to the post, and Martin / Rubio's main useful shots are also of the C&S variety. So when they needed 1 shot they got into a lot of trouble. It still could have worked in the regular season with a better bench or luck though.


   183. villainx Posted: August 10, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4768289)
'Zo was great. Maybe there's a bit of bias, but for the most part, he played against the great centers quite well, especially against Shaq.
   184. steagles Posted: August 11, 2014 at 03:22 AM (#4768336)
Kurt Helin @basketballtalk about 2 hours ago
Spurs’ Manu Ginobili says he is “98% certain” his international playing career is over dlvr.it/6ZYh1l


Eric Pincus @EricPincus about 8 minutes ago
Worth noting that Roy Hibbert has a 15% trade kicker - given a few rumors bouncing around the net these days

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk 10 Aug 09:32 ET
MarShon Brooks signs deal to play in Italy next season dlvr.it/6ZVsnf

   185. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 07:09 AM (#4768342)
I think you need shooting above almost everything else with LeBron.


I'm inclined to agree--surround him with shooting, rebounding, and at least one elite defender that can take some pressure off LeBron on that end.

Love fills those first two needs better than Bosh ever did; the third is still an issue. I honestly don't know much about Kyrie Irving, but I don't think a team with LeBron on it has as much use for a great point guard as other teams, unless he's a great defender.
   186. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 11, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4768369)
Zo was great. Maybe there's a bit of bias, but for the most part, he played against the great centers quite well, especially against Shaq.



Plus, this. I loved those early '90s Hornets teams with Muggsy, 'Zo, Dell Curry, and LJ.
   187. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4768405)
Mourning was not as good as the greatest centers he played against. If he were playing in his prime today though, he would be right there with Howard in ranking the best centers in the game.

Howard's a better rebounder. Zo was not a disaster from the free throw line, and a better shot blocker. Offensively they are pretty similar, 18-20 PPG with a high field goal percentage, and more turnovers than assists.
   188. villainx Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4768459)
187, Zo mid range game (overall offensive game) was quicker to develop, right? I don't think Zo had a particularly good post up game, but it was serviceable.

Maybe it was the teammates/coaching staff around Zo, but in my mind, his teams were consistently better and overachieved versus Shaq's team (and Ewing's) for a long time. Maybe Zo's personality or skill set allowed him to be more complementary on offense and leadership-y on defense, which is the kind of player I favor. Instead of Howard, Joakim Noah, in the sense that neither are diva-types and appear more workman-like?
   189. andrewberg Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4768585)
Are the Lakers going to start Lin, Kobe, Young, Boozer, and Hill together? You could make an argument that each of those 5 is the worst defensively at his position in the league. I would buy that they are all bottom 5. That could get ugly.
   190. The District Attorney Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4768591)
Are the Lakers going to start Lin, Kobe, Young, Boozer, and Hill together? You could make an argument that each of those 5 is the worst defensively at his position in the league. I would buy that they are all bottom 5. That could get ugly.
You forgot the stopper, Steve Nash.
   191. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4768592)
Are the Lakers going to start Lin, Kobe, Young, Boozer, and Hill together? You could make an argument that each of those 5 is the worst defensively at his position in the league. I would buy that they are all bottom 5.

Lin's defense isn't anywhere near that bad.
   192. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4768600)
Maybe it was the teammates/coaching staff around Zo, but in my mind, his teams were consistently better and overachieved versus Shaq's team (and Ewing's) for a long time.


I don't see that. During his prime his teams played at a similar level as Ewing's teams. Mourning played with a better guard than anyone Ewing played with in Hardaway, but neither had great supporting casts.

In the playoffs, Mourning (as the big star) only got past the first round twice. In 1997 they went to the conference finals before running into the Bulls. In 2000 they lost to the Knicks in the second round, 7 games. Was that the year of the crazy brawl?
   193. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4768604)
Shaq's teams had much more success than Mourning's. He did have a better supporting cast around him, but this is true even before he teamed up with Kobe and Phil. With Orlando he went to the finals one year, and then followed it up by losing to the Bulls in the conference finals, a disappointing series for them (and Shaq's last in Orlando), but an outcome that Mourning could never top.
   194. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4768608)
Got to give post-prime, post-illness Mourning some credit though. Backing up Shaq during the Shaq/D-Wade years, he ranks with Bill Walton among the greatest 10-15 minute per game centers in history. He eliminated the missed shot from his game.
   195. andrewberg Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4768612)
I think it's fair to rank Mourning in the general tier of centers with Ewing and Howard that is beneath the group of Shaq, Wilt, Olajuwon, Robinson, Kareem, Russell, and Moses.
   196. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4768613)
Mourning and Larry Johnson kicked righteous ass in NBA Jam. That's mostly what I remember them for.
   197. Manny Coon Posted: August 11, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4768625)
Got to give post-prime, post-illness Mourning some credit though. Backing up Shaq during the Shaq/D-Wade years, he ranks with Bill Walton among the greatest 10-15 minute per game centers in history. He eliminated the missed shot from his game.


He didn't play much in the 2006 playoffs, but he was so good when he did, shot 70% and blocked about 4 shots per 36. He was similarly good in the 2005 playoffs as well.
   198. rr Posted: August 11, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4768666)
The Toronto Raptors have been fined $25,000 for comments that rap star and team ambassador Drake made about Kevin Durant at a recent concert that the NBA has deemed a violation of its anti-tampering rules, sources with knowledge of the league's ruling told ESPN.com on Monday. Rapper Drake, the global ambassador for the Raptors, asked a Toronto crowd to show their support for Kevin Durant during a recent concert where the NBA MVP was in attendance.
The sources said that Durant, who attended Drake's recent show in Toronto, was the subject of what the league regards as a public recruiting pitch from the famed Canadian artist.

In September 2013, Drake was formally named the Raptors' global ambassador.

"Before we leave, I just want to show one of my brothers something," Drake announced to the crowd. "You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen."


   199. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 11, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4768688)
Lin's defense isn't anywhere near that bad.

Yeah, he's clearly not bottom five at PG.
   200. theboyqueen Posted: August 11, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4768693)
Is Drake actually on the Raptors payroll? If I were the Raptors I would fight this; it seems completely ridiculous.
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