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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

OT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, some of whom still care about baseball playoffs, but all of whom agree the Celtics gave up too much for Irving.

Here’s the thread’s top 50 players ranking.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 2016 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   1301. aberg Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5577411)
Flip Saunders Memorial Flip.
   1302. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:31 PM (#5577415)
I do just want to gently note that the small sample size caveats that apply to all other teams/young players seem to uniquely not apply to the Sixers in any discussion (not even just here, but all over the internet). I'm not saying Simmons is going to forget how to play or anything, but surely with time opposing teams will take better advantage of his lack of shooting.
   1303. billyshears Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5577434)
Throughout most of the college basketball season and the run-up to the draft, Towns and Okafor were the consensus two best prospects in the draft and there was a strong feeling that they would go 1-2. It wasn't really until the week or so before the draft that DeAngelo Russell started being mentioned in the same category as Okafor and Towns and was thought of a legitimate possibility to be taken ahead of Okafor. The Sixers had been sitting at 3 all along and thought Russell would basically come gift wrapped for them. When that didn't happen, I think they took Okafor because he was objectively the best value on the board, even though they really didn't have use for him, and his presence may even have been detrimental. That pick was another example of Hinkie collecting assets at the expense of team building. It wasn't a draft pick so much as an expression of the Sixers' worldview at the time. Now, it wasn't an indefensible selection in the abstract given the noted issues between the Sixers and Porzingis and that none of the other players drafted immediately following the Sixers' pick have set the world on fire. The problem was that Hinkie couldn't accept that he got a bit screwed and had to trade Okafor or Noel for less than full value as a means to put a functioning basketball team on the floor. Instead, he doubled down, shouted "This is Fine" to anybody who would listen and watched as his untenable construct of a basketball "team" resulted in the diminishment of the value of both Noel and Okafor to zero. Now, that may have happened anyway, but I think the drafting of Okafor is a pretty prime example as to how myopically maximizing "assets" can be foolish in a system where those assets actually have to function as a cohesive unit.
   1304. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:49 PM (#5577436)
I do just want to gently note that the small sample size caveats that apply to all other teams/young players seem to uniquely not apply to the Sixers in any discussion (not even just here, but all over the internet). I'm not saying Simmons is going to forget how to play or anything, but surely with time opposing teams will take better advantage of his lack of shooting.

by what mechanism?

we've had similar discussions about rajon rondo going on 10 years now. if you sag off of him because he can't shoot, that lets him run the offense without resistance. that's true for simmons, but simmons is also 6'13 and powerful and lightning quick going to the basket. if you give him an 8' running start you're not gonna stop him.

also, simmons initiates alot of offense from 16' and in. when he's starting that close, there's nowhere to sag. if you give him any room, he's at the rim with 1 dribble and 2.5 steps.

and even if you get past all of that, simmons bullies smaller defenders in the post. even if you take away his driving, he's still capable of contributing and creating.

and even if you get past that, the sixers haven't even tried to tap his potential as a screener in pick and rolls yet.

also, simmons' FT rate at LSU was .769 FTA/FGA; this year, it's only .371. there's significant room for improvement in this area.
   1305. madvillain Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5577440)
I just want to personally thank Steagles for pumping up Embiid endlessly over the past few years enough to perhaps subconsciously persuade me into drafting him this year (for 4th round value!) in my $1K to the winner $500 to 2nd fantasy league. (big stakes I know...)

Let's hope he's playing this well and healthy in April, Steags.

_____________________

Watching Simmons verse Ball it's increasingly clear that the #1 attribute required for success in the NBA as a perimeter player (especially if you can't really shoot) is ability to get where you want on the floor and have a reasonable ability to finish through, over, or around the interior defense. You can do it like Kyrie, with crazy dribbling and change of direction, you can do it like Simmons with speed and quickness relative to size and hops -- but you have to have the ability to break down a defense and finish.

This is the problem with Ball and a player I watch too much -- Denzel Valentine. Why was Valentine able to make so many plays in college he can't make in the NBA? Well, because he wasn't going against NBA defenders and he cannot get to any of his spots in the NBA that he could in college. It's a really tough thing to scout but all things considered give me the guy with the elite handle or quickness over the "skilled" guy every time. You can't use your skill if you can't get by anybody. Especially if that skill is "playmaking" or "vision" or "pick and roll". Also see, Payne, Cameron.

I had reservations on Kyrie coming out because I didn't think he could penetrate and finish but I completely missed his insane dribbling ability and shot making despite not being anything more than an average athlete for a PG. Those are the hardest types to scout.
   1306. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5577450)
by what mechanism?

Oh I have no idea, or the Lakers would be on the phone with me after last night. But the list of great current players who A. can't shoot and B. aren't centers is practically nonexistent. Giannis?
   1307. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 16, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5577456)
It's a really tough thing to scout but all things considered give me the guy with the elite handle or quickness

welcome to the cult of wiggle.
   1308. madvillain Posted: November 16, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5577457)
That Bulls game last night... Puke. Dunn has so much work to do before he's a starting caliber PG. And at 24 I just don't think he has the development left in him unless he's a late bloomer. Dunn is athletic, but his handle is so crap he can't break down a defense consistently -- especially when guys are backing off him 5 feet daring him to shoot.

The only bright spot is Lauri, and Nwaba, and Nwaba apparently is still two or three weeks away from returning. Looks like he has the dreaded "high ankle sprain" as it's been two weeks since he sprained it and he still isn't doing much more than stationary shooting and bike riding in practice. Can't cut off it according to Hoiberg.

Hoiberg is not a good coach but he's been given such awful offensive pieces (Grant and Dunn as the PGs, luolz) that it's hard to judge him other than just "meh".
   1309. madvillain Posted: November 16, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5577458)
welcome to the cult of wiggle.


I thought Trey Burke had it too coming out of Michigan, despite being undersized. Whoops. Can't break down a half court D and can't finish at the rim.
   1310. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 16, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5577472)
Speaking of wiggle, I saw De'Aaron Fox on that show with Webber, Isaiah, McHale, etc. and he was a joy to watch. The old guys were basically asking him point guard 101 questions and they all were having a grand time. I haven't seen Fox play in the NBA yet, but I'm looking forward to checking him out.
   1311. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 02:27 PM (#5577486)
I'll probably be getting emotionally abused by two small children while I try to put them to bed tonight and miss half the game, but I am looking forward to Celtics-Warriors just to see if Boston can continue to play way over their heads on defense. I'm confident they won't be able to score enough to keep up with Golden State, but the other side of the ball will hopefully be fun.
   1312. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5577543)
trade machine: who says no?

MIL: anthony davis, courtney lee, jerryd bayless
NOP: giannis antetokounmpo, joakim noah, frank ntilikina
NYK: joel embiid, matthew dellavedova, alexis ajinca
PHI: kristaps porzingis, mirza teletovic, etwaun moore


(this would look less terrible if NOP's and NYK's rosters weren't absolute horseshit)
   1313. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5577548)
Hmmm, I think everybody says no? Maybe not New Orleans, that's the only maybe for me in that one.

   1314. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5577549)
You're really just asking us to rank AD/Giannis/Embiid/KP (with a dash of trolling the Knicks), right?

EDIT: Yeah, NO says yes.
   1315. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:27 PM (#5577554)
The Knicks almost say yes, just to get out from under those contracts, but then Embiid's medical files (err, trailer truck of files) arrive.
   1316. DCA Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5577570)
NOP definitely says yes. MIL definitely says no. Giannis > Davis.

PHI/NYK is a hard one. Given their rosters (PHI should compete in the near future, NYK probably won't) you could argue that PHI should prefer the lower-risk Porzingis and NYK the higher-risk higher-upside Embiid. But I think each team would be worse with the switch and both would say no. If PHI hadn't given Noel away, they might say yes.
   1317. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:35 PM (#5577603)
Considering Ntilikina is the only secondary player in the trade with any sort of value, I don't think the Knicks say yes even to rid themselves of Noah's contract (which is also why NO jumps all over it regardless of your Davis/Giannis ranking; plus, Giannis is a better fit with Cousins than AD).
   1318. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:39 PM (#5577607)
Giannis by himself is worth more than any of the other listed packages.

He had a real bad game last night, though. He just didn't really seem engaged all night. Don't know if he was sick or partied all night or what.

Please note: A real bad game by Giannis Antetokounmpo's standards was something like 21 and 6 with a couple blocks.
   1319. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:45 PM (#5577615)
Anthony Davis almost seems like a disappointment to me after his 14-15 season. That's despite averaging 26/11 and 3.4 steals+blocks a game. But I felt like he was ready to be the best player in the NBA pretty much right away.

I may have had unrealistic expectations for him. He is putting up very good numbers this year, with very high efficiency, but it looks unlikely he'll ever be the best player in the NBA.
   1320. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5577622)
[1319] Davis and Towns both feel that way for me.
   1321. Tin Angel Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5577625)
Anthony Davis almost seems like a disappointment to me after his 14-15 season. That's despite averaging 26/11 and 3.4 steals+blocks a game. But I felt like he was ready to be the best player in the NBA pretty much right away.


Watched some highlights of a recent Pelicans game and was thinking the same thing. Rarely even hear his name mentioned anymore, replaced by Giannis, KAT, KP, Embiid, etc. I realize they've been playing (relatively) well but either he's plateaued and/or Boogie's presence has really hurt his numbers.
   1322. madvillain Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:55 PM (#5577630)
Watched some highlights of a recent Pelicans game and was thinking the same thing. Rarely even hear his name mentioned anymore, replaced by Giannis, KAT, KP, Embiid, etc. I realize they've been playing (relatively) well but either he's plateaued and/or Boogie's presence has really hurt his numbers.


ESPN's RPM seems to think he's a very good but not elite player, ranking him 12th overall last year (in 75 games) and 21st overall so far this year. I don't think it's a great fit with Boogie from the games I've watched, which to be fair has only been a handful but yea he doesn't seem to have taken that "next step".
   1323. jmurph Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5577634)
[1319] Davis and Towns both feel that way for me.

Yep. Am I crazy or does Towns just look constantly winded? Insert Thibs joke here, I guess, but still, he's young!
   1324. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:17 PM (#5577644)
The other thing with Davis (and Towns, though less-so) is that the team has continued to be terrible*, and he (they) doesn't (don't) appear to have the defensive impact people thought/projected they would. Maybe eventually it'll be a KG situation where he's appreciated more when he's moved on, but I also think by this point in his career, KG was also much more of a defensive force.

KG is still a really good to great outcome for both guys, but almost in a way seems a little lower of a ceiling** than what seemed possible a couple years ago.

*Not saying it's their fault, but...
**Crazy to say/see typed out.
   1325. aberg Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:31 PM (#5577653)
Anthony Davis almost seems like a disappointment to me after his 14-15 season. That's despite averaging 26/11 and 3.4 steals+blocks a game. But I felt like he was ready to be the best player in the NBA pretty much right away.


To me, it just serves as a reminder that it's harder than ever for one-man teams to win in the modern NBA. The average player and coach is just too good.
   1326. aberg Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5577660)
KG is still a really good to great outcome for both guys, but almost in a way seems a little lower of a ceiling* than what seemed possible a couple years ago.


Yeah, KG was one of 23 MVPs in about 40 years since the merger, and one of about 15 guys who was the best player on a championship team. In other words, one guy as great as KG comes out every 2-3 years, so realistically, that was a fairly ambitious upside for either of them to start.

Let's also stipulate that most of those 15-23 megastar guys to come into the league since the merger didn't peak in their early 20s. Davis is 24 and KAT turned 22 yesterday. Jordan and Lebron both won their first ring at 27. KG won his at 31 and his MVP at 27.
   1327. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:03 PM (#5577671)
Let's also stipulate that most of those 15-23 megastar guys to come into the league since the merger didn't peak in their early 20s. Davis is 24 and KAT turned 22 yesterday. Jordan and Lebron both won their first ring at 27. KG won his at 31 and his MVP at 27.

Agreed, if age at which you won the championship is the metric, but I think what we're really talking about is age at which you could legitimately argue this person is the best in the league. To that point, I think we're all somewhat spoiled by the fact that you could begin saying that about LeBron at age 21.

EDIT: It's kind of insane that it's 12 years later and you can still make a LeBron is the best player in basketball argument.
   1328. aberg Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:19 PM (#5577678)
Agreed, if age at which you won the championship is the metric, but I think what we're really talking about is age at which you could legitimately argue this person is the best in the league. To that point, I think we're all somewhat spoiled by the fact that you could begin saying that about LeBron at age 21.


Right, though Lebron is a VERY difficult standard to be compared to.

FWIW, here are recent MVP top 5s by guys <25:
17- None
16- Leonard
15- Davis
14- Blake, Harden
13- Durant
12- Durant
11- Rose, Durant
10- Durant, Howard
09- Lebron, Howard, Paul
08- Paul, Lebron, Howard
07- Lebron
06- Lebron
05- None
04- None
03- Bryant, McGrady
02- McGrady, Bryant
01- Duncan, Garnett
00- Garnett, Duncan

So, guys this millennium who could be reasonably argued to be the best player in the league prior to 25 are probably Lebron, Durant, Paul, Howard, Kobe, McGrady, Duncan, Garnett, or 8 in 18 years, which is a pretty similar ratio to 1 every 2-3 years.

   1329. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:21 PM (#5577679)
I don't think it's a great fit with Boogie from the games I've watched, which to be fair has only been a handful but yea he doesn't seem to have taken that "next step".
I don't know about you guys, but it seems to me that AD just gets everything in the flow of the game, and he's only invisible because he makes everything look so damn easy. He's not stopping the ball and dribbling it into the ground or forcing anything up, he's just getting his points where he finds them — 26 a game — and grabbing a bunch of boards and stuff. He's at nearly 3 Win Shares already, #2 in the league at a fraction below Giannis and a tick above LeBron. That's some good eatin'.
   1330. madvillain Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:54 PM (#5577695)
I don't know about you guys, but it seems to me that AD just gets everything in the flow of the game, and he's only invisible because he makes everything look so damn easy. He's not stopping the ball and dribbling it into the ground or forcing anything up, he's just getting his points where he finds them — 26 a game — and grabbing a bunch of boards and stuff. He's at nearly 3 Win Shares already, #2 in the league at a fraction below Giannis and a tick above LeBron. That's some good eatin'.


His usage is down somewhat but his efficiency is through the roof. By far a career best TS% at 65%. He's shooting 40% from deep and is making 80% of his shots at the rim. If there's a critique in his development it has to be defensively where his block, and steal %s are down or stagnant from his first two years. He also traded some offensive rebounding for defensive rebounding, which is usually a bad trade, but that could be the Boogie effect.

I think if Boogie wasn't around he'd be putting up monster offensive nights and he'd be back in the conversation as best player in the league.
   1331. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:14 PM (#5577731)
I don't know about you guys, but it seems to me that AD just gets everything in the flow of the game, and he's only invisible because he makes everything look so damn easy. He's not stopping the ball and dribbling it into the ground or forcing anything up, he's just getting his points where he finds them — 26 a game — and grabbing a bunch of boards and stuff. He's at nearly 3 Win Shares already, #2 in the league at a fraction below Giannis and a tick above LeBron. That's some good eatin'.

To expand on my earlier point, Anthony Davis was putting up basically the same box scores in 14-15, was 4th in the NBA in in RPM, never turned the ball over (seriously, 1.4/game), and was efficient. The last couple of years he's just been way less efficient offensively both with turnovers and with shooting. His defensive seems like it's been a bit up and down, but I have to admit I don't watch that team much because I don't much care for their supporting cast.

He then went absolutely supernova in a really fun sweep against an outstanding Warriors team, and it just seemed like yeah, this guy is ####### unstoppable. And, like Moses said, they were actually good then. Despite a poor supporting cast. I don't care if you're in the west, you can't be on a flat out bad team if you're a top 3-5 player. And I guess that's the point, is he hasn't been. When he was, they won 48 games.
   1332. Tin Angel Posted: November 16, 2017 at 09:07 PM (#5577759)
The new Lowe Post podcast with Joe Engels is pretty great. A very funny, smart, humble guy.
   1333. tshipman Posted: November 16, 2017 at 09:36 PM (#5577779)
This Celtics/Warriors game is not well officiated.
   1334. SteveF Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:31 PM (#5577793)
We're getting the complete Marcus Smart experience tonight. Marcus taketh away with one hand and giveth away with the other.
   1335. KronicFatigue Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:37 PM (#5577795)
Boston tied w/ GS with about 32ish seconds left. They bring the ball up slowly and then take a timeout with 20 seconds left. Or something like that, I might have the details wrong. Isn't it better to rush up the court and chuck a shot, even a bad shot, to play 2 for 1?
   1336. Tin Angel Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:37 PM (#5577796)
...and Irving goes to the foul line after not having been touched. Awful.
   1337. tshipman Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:39 PM (#5577797)
Big win for the refs tonight.
   1338. nick swisher hygiene Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:40 PM (#5577799)
I just do not understand how the Celtics are this good.

Could rr please return and explain how if it's a talent league, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving are the top two players on an NBA-championship calibre team?
   1339. SteveF Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:45 PM (#5577801)
Could rr please return and explain how if it's a talent league, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving are the top two players on an NBA-championship calibre team?

They're only a championship caliber team if Durant or Curry suffer a year ending injury. The Celtics could have won by 100 tonight and the Warriors would still win the NBA championship come June.
   1340. nick swisher hygiene Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:50 PM (#5577804)
1339--Well, yeah, I get you, Steve, but....do we just assume that Stevens has his guys trying harder than everybody else in mid-November?
   1341. SteveF Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:55 PM (#5577809)
1339--Well, yeah, I get you, Steve, but....do we just assume that Stevens has his guys trying harder than everybody else in mid-November?

Well, they are certainly better coached than Golden State. They are better coached than anyone in the league aside from San Antonio.

They are legitimately this good on defense. You hold a team that puts up 120 in their sleep to 88 and you are obviously doing something right, refs or no refs.

But you saw the Celtics issues on offense, especially the second unit. And I just think in a playoff series against one of the better teams -- maybe (Edit: well, almost certainly) Cleveland with IT and certainly Houston or Golden State -- the opponent would be less shocked by the defensive intensity and better able to cope as the series went along.

But not Toronto or Washington. I mean... Anyone who thinks those teams are going to beat this Celtics team just doesn't watch Toronto or Washington enough.
   1342. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:57 PM (#5577810)
1339--Well, yeah, I get you, Steve, but....do we just assume that Stevens has his guys trying harder than everybody else in mid-November?

Trying is maybe not the right way to describe it, but I think it's similar to the Spurs. They are disciplined on both sides of the ball. Being disciplined on offense is good because it seems like most teams don't really run much team-specific defensive schemes because there's not really time. Some of those things are regular season advantages. Similarly, they're relatively deep with no big bums in the rotation. I think the Spurs have won a couple titles with this sort of team construction, so you can do it in more than the regular season. Those Spurs teams generally were pretty good shooting teams though.

I do think they're probably overperforming though. I mean, that shouldn't be surprising, but their 3pt% against is among the best in the NBA, and if you look at their long range shooters - mostly meh - they're shooting too well from 3. Now that said, Tatum and Brown look like they may both already be above average wings, and that's huge.
   1343. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM (#5577813)
A ####### terrible depressing Chicago Bulls team had the Celtics on the ropes last year. Yeah, their roster is significantly different from last year, but the concept of the roster and the team's success was very similar.

We'll see.
   1344. Fourth True Outcome Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:06 PM (#5577815)
Two things:
1) This Boston team is better defensively than last year because an engaged Kyrie is better than IT and because losing Bradley and Crowder and gaining Morris and Tatum means they are longer and can switch everything more effectively. Stevens has everyone energetic and disciplined, and so far this season they're doing a really effective job of contesting everything and rebounding.
2) The Warriors missed a ton of open shots they typically don't.
   1345. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:15 PM (#5577819)
It seems possible that this Houston team could score 200 points on Phoenix if they really wanted to. Who is the best defender in Phoenix's starting lineup? Greg ####### Monroe? Christ almighty.
   1346. tshipman Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:16 PM (#5577821)
Well, they are certainly better coached than Golden State. They are better coached than anyone in the league aside from San Antonio.


No.
The league is full of guys who coached teams who overperformed expectations in the regular season with one team.

George Karl, Mike D'Antoni, Mike Brown, and Rick Adelman were all geniuses at various points in their careers.

The hardest thing to do in the NBA is win playoff series. Brad Stevens has won two playoff series, and his team almost shat the bed in the first round last year before a Rondo injury bailed them out.

Edit: forgot Thibs!
   1347. Tin Angel Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:27 PM (#5577825)
The Suns stadium is apparently called "Talking Stick Resort Arena."
   1348. PJ Martinez Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:39 PM (#5577830)
Yeah, their roster is significantly different from last year, but the concept of the roster and the team's success was very similar.

This year's team is winning with defense. Last year's team was mediocre defensively.

They've had some luck on the defensive end, as noted above, and are bound to come down to earth a bit on that side of the ball. Hopefully they can improve their offense some to make up for a bit of that.
   1349. Fourth True Outcome Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:43 PM (#5577832)
Houston might outscore the Warriors tonight by halftime.
   1350. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:50 PM (#5577835)
It seems possible that this Houston team could score 200 points on Phoenix if they really wanted to. Who is the best defender in Phoenix's starting lineup? Greg ####### Monroe? Christ almighty.


The Suns defense is really hilariously bad. It's fun to watch.

The Rockets have scored 90 points on 45 field goal attempts at halftime. Harden has 33 on 12.
   1351. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:53 PM (#5577837)
Big win for the refs tonight.

lol ok
   1352. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:17 AM (#5577846)
The biggest difference between last year's Celtics and this year's Celtics is rebounding, a staggering turnaround in that area. 26th in the league last year, 2nd in the league so far this year.

I don't know what the advanced stats say about him, but to my eyes so far this year Marcus Morris has looked really bad on offense--too much ball stopping and jacking up bad contested shots--but he's made a big impact for them defensively and on the boards.
   1353. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:24 AM (#5577848)
You know how Bill Simmons wrote about an all-time NBA team with the framework of what team you'd build to win a game against a team of unknown aliens with the fate of humanity on the line, and all that?

In 2017 you could assemble a starting five of Giannis, (healthy) Kawhi, (playoff) LeBron, Durant, and Davis. Send those guys back and the '86 Celtics would think they WERE playing a team of advanced aliens. Good god. Go ahead, try and score on those guys; who cares about positions?

edit: And with Popovich coaching them!

second edit: You can stock the bench with more freak athlete, defend-every-position types too: Just off the top of my head: Ben Simmons, Draymond, Jaylen Brown, Paul George (or Blake Griffin), Rudy Gobert. I'm probably overlooking a few even better options for our theme team. (Simmons is a freak athlete who is going to be a multi-position impact defender very soon, but he isn't there yet so we should probably leave him off the 2017 team, I suppose.)
   1354. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:55 AM (#5577852)

George Karl, Mike D'Antoni, Mike Brown, and Rick Adelman were all geniuses at various points in their careers.


Well, yes -- each of those men, at some point in their careers, was one of the top coaches in the NBA. Like Stevens.
   1355. sardonic Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:51 AM (#5577877)
I think if early season trends even somewhat hold up, it's more evidence that coaching can be very impactful, and that Stevens is one of those coaches who moves the needle. I was a Kyrie hater before this season, and having him go from Lue to Stevens on D might turn out to be like Curry going from Mark Jackson to Kerr on offense. I don't care if it's "only" the regular season. The regular season matters. There have only been a couple historical teams that have truly been in "chillmode" during the regular season -- the Lebron Cavs, who play in a historically bad conference -- and maybe one or two Shaqobe Lakers teams. The Warriors still play hard, and even with some resting, have had the best regular season record the last couple seasons.

If we re-did our rankings I'd definitely move Kyrie up a couple ticks. I'd probably regress large outliers more (Kyrie was one of the worst defenders in the league by RPM last season, and a LOT worse than normal bad defenders like Lillard). Now I think it just shows that Lue couldn't minimize his flaws vs. something intrinsic. It's like the NBA version of Manny Ramirez's left field defense. It can't be THAT bad.

I would probably also move guys like Crowder and maybe even some of the Warriors down, and try harder to think about adjusting for certain coaches like Stevens, Pop, Kerr who do a better job of putting their guys in a position to succeed.

1339--Well, yeah, I get you, Steve, but....do we just assume that Stevens has his guys trying harder than everybody else in mid-November?


I think that Stevens is legitimately a great coach, he's got a talented team that's probably top 2 in the EC and top 6 in the league. I don't think you need to reach for more than that. They were at home, the Warriors shot a bit under their expectation, Curry had a bad game, the Warriors went 12 deep, and the game was still very close. The Warriors are an awesome team, but they're not unbeatable, and they have been giving their deep bench 15% of their minutes this season.
   1356. Rally Posted: November 17, 2017 at 08:37 AM (#5577888)
The Warriors are an awesome team, but they're not unbeatable, and they have been giving their deep bench 15% of their minutes this season.


Warriors are not unbeatable, but somehow the Celtics are. I don't know how. Doesn't seem to matter if one or more top players are missing. If Golden State can't beat them I don't see who can. Four of their next 5 are on the road, but against crappy teams. Then they play 5 straight at home, against a mix of mediocre teams and bad teams. The next game they play where they are not overwhelming favorites to win will be 12/8 against the Spurs. Looks like a pretty good chance to stretch this to a 24 game winning streak.
   1357. stanmvp48 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:02 AM (#5577893)
I wonder how many teams score 59 points on field goals and win
   1358. Jtsports01 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5577920)
1353 - how could you forget Porzingis?

   1359. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5577928)
This Boston team is better defensively than last year because an engaged Kyrie is better than IT and because losing Bradley and Crowder and gaining Morris and Tatum means they are longer and can switch everything more effectively. Stevens has everyone energetic and disciplined, and so far this season they're doing a really effective job of contesting everything and rebounding.

That seems like the key thing to me, from watching last night.

Warriors are not unbeatable, but somehow the Celtics are. I don't know how. Doesn't seem to matter if one or more top players are missing. If Golden State can't beat them I don't see who can. Four of their next 5 are on the road, but against crappy teams. Then they play 5 straight at home, against a mix of mediocre teams and bad teams. The next game they play where they are not overwhelming favorites to win will be 12/8 against the Spurs. Looks like a pretty good chance to stretch this to a 24 game winning streak.

NBA regular season. That's how they'll lose. Also, some key players are young, and rookies have ups and downs and adjustment periods in the NBA.

---

I don't think I've seen much (any?) talk about the new uniform patterns since the season has started. I'm not one of those overly traditionalist types who is knee-jerk against anything that's different from when I was a kid; I really like when both teams play in their primary color jerseys (meaning, not the whites). However, I *HATE* the thing now where you'll have a home team in their primary color and the road team is in the "home" whites - like last night with the C's wearing green and the W's wearing white in Boston; it's even worse when they share a color (like the Bulls wearing white in Toronto while the Raps wear red). I appreciate the NBA trying something different, but I guess it's going to take some time to condition myself to expect home whites on the road.
   1360. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5577935)
Tom Haberstroh‏ @tomhaberstroh
51m51 minutes ago

A sampling of games vs. Boston's defense this season:
Carmelo 3/17 (18 FG%)
Steph Curry 3/14 (21 FG%)
K Porzingis 3/14 (21 FG%)
Joel Embiid 4/16 (25 FG%)
Kemba 5-19 (26 FG%)
Klay 5-18 (28 FG%)
RWestbrook 7/20 (35 FG%)
   1361. MHS Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5577945)
Great win by the Celtics but really it needs to be a learning moment. They need to get their offense straightened out. They are a good team in transition but don't get into transition enough. Their half court offense, which has been a relative strength of Stevens coached teams is in the bottom third of the league. All of this is per cleaning the glass.

The half court offense just isn't in flow. Not like previous incarnations. Their isn't nearly enough side to side movement. They need to figure out the second unit. When Kyrie or Al isn't on the floor, their offense is just plain bad. Which is sort of predictable since the plan you would assume would have been that Gordon would run the offense then. Rozier is OK. Smart is OK. Neither Brown or Tatum can really do it. Morris can do it, but he is a total stopper and is great to have on the floor with those second units so he can chuck when you get short on the clock but they need to figure out how to get some more regular half court offense out of that unit. I might try and let Tatum take a bigger load and see what happens. Larkin has also been OK in that unit.

   1362. villageidiom Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5577962)
If Kyrie improved this much defensively under Stevens, and Kyrie and Thomas both sucked defensively before this season, but Thomas sucked under Stevens, then we can't put all of it on Stevens, can we? Stevens is brilliant; don't get me wrong. But there were personnel issues Stevens couldn't resolve last year that don't seem to exist with the personnel he has this year.

The Celtics' roster is better-equipped to handle switches as mentioned upthread. But even aside from that they're executing on them better, IMO. There was one last night where Horford switched to Curry fast enough that Curry couldn't just turn and shoot, and Curry ended up turning the ball over on a travel. They're not lightning fast but they are quick to anticipate the need to switch and quick to make it happen.

It's funny, even when man-to-man it's like they're somehow executing a zone. That's my best way of describing it: man-to-zone.
   1363. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5577965)
but Thomas sucked under Stevens, then we can't put all of it on Stevens, can we? Stevens is brilliant; don't get me wrong. But there were personnel issues Stevens couldn't resolve last year that don't seem to exist with the personnel he has this year.


We can't put all of it on Stevens, but counterpoint: Kyrie is an exceptional athlete who is 6-3; IT is 5-9 in shoes.
   1364. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5577975)
There was one last night where Horford switched to Curry fast enough that Curry couldn't just turn and shoot, and Curry ended up turning the ball over on a travel.

Having not watched the C's really at all before last night, it was jarring to see how much better Horford looked than last year. He looked like his younger self from the Hawks.
   1365. jmurph Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5577980)
Having not watched the C's really at all before last night, it was jarring to see how much better Horford looked than last year. He looked like his younger self from the Hawks.

Horford has been so great. He hasn't exactly had the healthiest career, so I'm a little worried about what happens if he misses any serious time.

Bigger picture, both things can possibly be true: the Celtics are better in a lot of ways than last year's team, and are also currently overperforming. I mean they're probably not going to go 80-2 or (to match their current winning percentage)win 72 games.* But I think the rebounding improvement is real: Morris is a good rebounder, Rozier is for his position, Theis is a solid backup, etc. But obviously their opponents will have some nights where they shoot much better. Conversely, I think Boston's offense will improve over time, even if only by a small amount. Anyway, the run has been great, I've enjoyed it. Even if they play .500 the rest of the way, they'll still have 47 wins, which would be pretty decent considering the Hayward injury.

First time I've seen Tatum look like a rookie last night, he was bad, but salvaged it a bit with some clutch late free throws.

*It's also hilarious to note that this insane current Celtics pace is just shy of the Warriors entire season two years ago.
   1366. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5577981)
It's funny, even when man-to-man it's like they're somehow executing a zone. That's my best way of describing it: man-to-zone.
john chaney's temple owls ran a matchup zone for 30 years. i haven't watched a lot of celtics basketball this year, but given stevens' background in college and the way he talks about stealing good ideas, i wouldn't be shocked if there's some cross-pollination there.
Simmons is a freak athlete who is going to be a multi-position impact defender very soon, but he isn't there yet so we should probably leave him off the 2017 team, I suppose

he's already there. there's still room for improvement, but he's 21 years old, he's physically mature and he's averaging 18, 9 and 8. defensively, he's getting 2 SPG, 1 BPG, his DRB% is over 20, his DBPM is +3.5


   1367. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5578000)
The Jazz have a new training staff and yet:
@Ben_Dowsett
Following Following @Ben_Dowsett
More
So yeah, it's November 17 and the Jazz might be missing 5 rotation players to injury tonight. Five


On the plus side they might lose enough games due to injury to get a good lottery pick.
   1368. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:41 PM (#5578022)
First time I've seen Tatum look like a rookie last night, he was bad, but salvaged it a bit with some clutch late free throws.


He still managed 12 points on 5 FGA. Agree he did not look good, but it's a good sign of sorts IMO that he's managing 12 and 4 in 27 minutes when he looks bad at his age.

Marcus Smart was 0-7 and +15. He's shooting 27% for the season but has a positive BPM. He's unique, that's for sure.
   1369. jmurph Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5578041)
Marcus Smart was 0-7 and +15. He's shooting 27% for the season but has a positive BPM. He's unique, that's for sure.

I can't imagine what a reasonable contract for Smart is going to look like.
   1370. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5578047)
I can't imagine what a reasonable contract for Smart is going to look like.
3/40 seems reasonable. if smart gets any better offensively, it'll be a bargain, but it's still movable if his defense regresses.
   1371. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5578048)
john chaney's temple owls ran a matchup zone for 30 years.


I remember this, and always wondered if a matchup zone is different from a 'regular' zone defense?
   1372. jmurph Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:16 PM (#5578056)
3/40 seems reasonable. if smart gets any better offensively, it'll be a bargain, but it's still movable if his defense regresses.

I'd give him that today. I don't think that gets it done, though.
   1373. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5578072)
I remember this, and always wondered if a matchup zone is different from a 'regular' zone defense?

it's alot like the thibideau zone, actually. they play man to man on the ball side, with two weak side defenders lurking around the paint. they trap aggressively and they play the passing lanes aggressively.

"regular" zone defense is much more passive. you guard territory, not players. a "regular" zone defense wants to limit ball movement and player movement and force offenses into taking outside shots.
   1374. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:38 PM (#5578076)
Sam Amick‏ @sam_amick
19m19 minutes ago

Grizzlies announce that there is no timeline for a Mike Conley return (left heel & Achilles soreness) and that an update will be provided in two weeks. Not good.
   1375. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5578080)
I'd give him that today. I don't think that gets it done, though.
maybe make the 3rd year an ETO.
   1376. madvillain Posted: November 17, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5578104)
The Suns defense is really hilariously bad. It's fun to watch.


If you combined the rosters on the Suns and the Bulls would the club win 35 games? I watched that game last night, man. They are Bulls west.
   1377. MHS Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5578158)
3/40 seems reasonable


I don't know. I just don't trust his plus minus numbers and his offense has just devolved so aggressively. $13+mm a year is basically rotation player money which I guess is OK but when he is on the floor now against good teams, the spacing just collapses.
   1378. Fourth True Outcome Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5578178)
I think he's worth that 13m per because I trust his plus/minus (he's good at everything on offense that isn't shooting, as enormous a caveat as that is, and his defense is amazing) but I am very, very curious to see how restricted free agency will play out for him. All it takes is one team to decide they can live with his warts and want the skills and upside, but it's also easy to imagine everyone getting scared by the truly horrific shooting.
   1379. Jtsports01 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5578185)
I know it would never happen, but how about Gordon Hayward and 4 number 1 picks for Anthony Davis?
   1380. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:37 PM (#5578191)
Quantity over quality never really works (IOW, how many of those picks are worth that much?)
   1381. Jtsports01 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5578199)
The Sacramento pick should be really good, and Hayward is really good.
   1382. tshipman Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5578214)
The Sacramento pick should be really good, and Hayward is really good.


Well, he was really good before the injury.

It's really rare for guys with season long injuries to get traded. Maybe that's irrational by NBA teams, but I would say that it's extremely unlikely that Hayward would be traded.

I can't remember the last guy who had a season-long injury that got traded in the middle of it.

Edit: Even IT was only supposed to be out 3 months, and it almost scuttled the trade.
   1383. John M. Perkins Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5578224)
I wonder how many teams score 59 points on field goals and win


Not doing the calculation of points on basket-ball ref of [url=http://bkref.com/tiny/q3VUA]]"In a single game, in the NBA/BAA, from 1963-64 to 2017-18, in the regular season, team won game, requiring Field Goals ≤ 59, sorted by ascending Field Goals"[/url}
Eyeballing, it looks like high double digit of games in 53+ years.

Least, 43 points, Hawks beating Knicks 76-73, 28 April 1999.

Most recent before last night, 59 points, Jazz beating Lakers 80-73, 19 March 2015.
   1384. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:48 PM (#5578226)
trade machine: who says no?

NOP: kyrie irving, jayson tatum, marcus smart
BOS: anthony davis, evan turner
POR: omer asik, marcus morris
   1385. tshipman Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5578229)
Boston, almost certainly. A playoff team is not going to trade away their starter and backup at a position.
   1386. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 05:11 PM (#5578236)
He pranced around in full command of the stage; you almost expected him to grab a microphone and sing Marvin Gaye songs during the timeouts.


yeah. this is accurate.
   1387. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 17, 2017 at 05:20 PM (#5578239)
feeling pretty good about this ([183] from january 2016):
there are two questions here:
1, can [embiid] get healthy/stay healthy?
2, has he missed so much development time that he won't be able to catch up

to answer my own questions, if this is an acute (rather than chronic) injury and he heals fully, then health should not be an impediment to him. you get injured; you heal; you come back. this is taking longer than ideal, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's doomed.

as for the other one, i doubt it. i guess it depends on how much athleticism he's lost along the way, but the guy is 7'2 and incredibly skilled. there will almost certainly be a role for him.
   1388. SteveF Posted: November 17, 2017 at 06:24 PM (#5578249)
The East is +7 over the West with the bottom 3 teams in each conference playing the other conference roughly the same amount of times (17 for East, 18 for West).
   1389. Tin Angel Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:43 PM (#5578292)
The Nuggets/Pelicans game tonight should be a fun watch. Howard Beck's recent feature on Jokic is a good read.
   1390. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:33 PM (#5578299)
Beating good teams without Kawhi is great for this team's confidence.

I really got to give it to Aldridge, he's been good this year. A very good corollary for toughness for a big is ORB. He's at 3.2, where he hasn't been in like 9 years.
   1391. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:34 PM (#5578300)
Beating good teams without Kawhi is great for this team's confidence.

I really got to give it to Aldridge, he's been good this year. A very good corollary for toughness for a big is ORB. He's at 3.2, where he hasn't been in like 9 years.
   1392. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:56 AM (#5578347)
   1393. GregD Posted: November 18, 2017 at 04:31 PM (#5578405)
it's alot like the thibideau zone, actually. they play man to man on the ball side, with two weak side defenders lurking around the paint. they trap aggressively and they play the passing lanes aggressively.

"regular" zone defense is much more passive. you guard territory, not players. a "regular" zone defense wants to limit ball movement and player movement and force offenses into taking outside shots.
Back when I coached h.s. I was no great shakes either teaching the matchup or running offense against it, so caveats, but this is about right.

In college/high school, a good matchup often confuses the other team into thinking you are playing man. It is when people start cutting that you realize it isn't a man, despite often being aggressive on the ball and sometimes even in the passing lane. You know immediately it isn't a regular zone because the defense is guarding your players not positions, so it will look like a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 or 1-4 or whatever depending on how your offense sets up. For that reason, a lot of normal zone offenses--which are tied to specific zone formations and holes in them--don't work very well, especially since lots of them are premised on whipping the ball around the perimeter which isn't always possible against a matchup.

Luckily most teams are lousy at handling the switch offs required in matchup zones and in handling confusing offensive situations--what do you two if you double stack the post, and does anyone know which person is popping out which way, and what do you do if you have people crossing into the lane and setting screens and does the defense switch those screens correctly. So you can get easy baskets out of defensive confusion. A bad matchup zone is almost certainly the worst defense available.

The problem is a good matchup zone is a huge pain.

Whether the NBA rule about the unguarded defender in the lane actually changes how a matchup zone functions in any significant way, I dunno
   1394. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:00 PM (#5578429)
this is an auspicious start.
   1395. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:13 PM (#5578430)
sixers have dropped 50 on GSW in 13 minutes.
   1396. Tin Angel Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:25 PM (#5578431)
Simmons getting to the basket at will.
   1397. Tin Angel Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:38 PM (#5578433)
The Warriors were definitely not very sharp but that was an impressive first half regardless.
   1398. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:48 PM (#5578434)
What if the Eastern conference doesn't suck?
   1399. SteveF Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5578435)
What if the Eastern conference doesn't suck?

There are some players in the East you might put in a top 20 players list that wouldn't have been there before the season started. While I do think the West is still (obviously) better, there's reason to think the East is closing the gap with some young talent.
   1400. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:54 PM (#5578436)
Simmons had 9 assists at halftime? Good lord.
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