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Thursday, April 03, 2014

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 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, which I forgot.

Have posts been building up inside you?

The District Attorney Posted: April 03, 2014 at 05:26 PM | 2387 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   201. andrewberg Posted: April 15, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4686574)
The draft order obviously depends heavily on fit and preference since there are several similarly situated players near the top. Either way, I will say it goes Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Exum, Randle.

What looks like the most interesting first round matchup? One would assume the West 4-5 would be tight, but Houston seems like a decent favorite over Portland. LAC and GS have developed some bad blood. If Bogut is out, that takes part of the intrigue out of that, too. Is there any way Dallas could give OKC a real series?
   202. jmurph Posted: April 15, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4686575)
It only means the Bulls might be ok if DJ priced himself out of their plans next year. And that down on their luck PGs should sign a deal with Chicago so they can get paid the next year.


Seriously. Outside of Noah and Rose, two guys you can comfortably assume would thrive anywhere, I'm not sure I'd trust a single player coming out of Chicago. Thibs is pretty clearly a sorcerer of some kind.
   203. andrewberg Posted: April 15, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4686576)
I like Gibson quite a bit.
   204. steagles Posted: April 15, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4686583)
Moses: so, 24% trolling and 76% serious question: does the DJ Augustin Experience make Rose seem a little less impressive?
nice touch.
   205. robinred Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4686642)
Swaggy P sure had himself a game, didn't he?


Young's performance in that game is a good example of the old Branch Rickey line--"luck is the residue of design."

As per Wiki, one difference between 4th and 6th:

Likelihood of picking

1st .119/.063
2nd .126/.071
3rd .133/.081



   206. Maxwn Posted: April 15, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4686668)
What looks like the most interesting first round matchup? One would assume the West 4-5 would be tight, but Houston seems like a decent favorite over Portland. LAC and GS have developed some bad blood. If Bogut is out, that takes part of the intrigue out of that, too. Is there any way Dallas could give OKC a real series?

Might not be Dallas playing OKC. Memphis and Dallas play tomorrow night for the 7 seed in Memphis.

Along those lines and speaking of interesting first round matchups, I think the Grizzlies could give someone a fight. My personal opinion is that this is actually the best and most balanced team they've had yet, but its been masked somewhat by the fact that they were missing Gasol for roughly a third of the season. During that third they were quite a bit worse than they have been the rest of the time. Downside of playing poorly for a third of the season though is now they open against OKC or SAS, so even if they are better than past versions their playoffs this year are likely to be fairly short. But you never know.

Also one amusing note: the only Grizzly to play every single game so far this year is of course the notoriously fragile injury risk, Mike Miller. It appears that he hasn't done that since he was a rookie thirteen years ago.
   207. Spivey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4686700)
I definitely take Embiid first. I think his back situation is overblown.

I could see Wiggins, Parker, and Exum in any order.

I'm worried the NBA playoffs will be a flop. I don't see Portland pushing Houston and I seriously worry about the Warriors without Bogut.
   208. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:28 AM (#4686724)
I think I'd be happy with any of Wiggins, Embiid, Parker, or Exum. I'd go Vonleh over Randle for 5th, but at least in the Jazz' case I'd try my hardest to get one of the first four.
   209. steagles Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4686726)
I definitely take Embiid first. I think his back situation is overblown.
for a 7', 250 lb man, any potentially chronic back/hip/knee/ankle issue should not be written off.
   210. steagles Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:43 AM (#4686731)
I think I'd be happy with any of Wiggins, Embiid, Parker, or Exum. I'd go Vonleh over Randle for 5th, but at least in the Jazz' case I'd try my hardest to get one of the first four.
i'm with you on vonleh over randle. he's bigger and longer, a more springy athlete with a better jumpshot. he doesn't have as much upside as a scorer, but if he can extend his range to hit NBA 3s, he could be a really good 2nd option. he's just as good a rebounder as randle and his advantage in length should give him a higher upside as a defender.
   211. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:18 AM (#4686756)
if the Nets lose tomorrow and the Wizards win then the wiz tak the 5 seed. and wh knows what will happen with the bulls, the raptors seem sure to beat the nicks but you never know.
   212. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 16, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4686801)
I think Thibs might be a backup PG whisperer, in addition to defensive whiz.

I used that same phrase in talking about Thibs recently - though I don't know why that would be the case, only that it appears to be.
   213. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4686805)
[212]...OR Nate Robinson and DJ Augustin have always been useful players and the Bulls' setup perfectly suits their strengths and hides their weaknesses? I don't see any reason why Thibs should get special credit for their success in Chicago.
   214. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4686830)
Outside of Noah and Rose, two guys you can comfortably assume would thrive anywhere, I'm not sure I'd trust a single player coming out of Chicago. Thibs is pretty clearly a sorcerer of some kind.

I tried posting a response to this yesterday, but...

Thibs isn't quite on Pops' level yet, but he does have a thing with PGs I guess. Also, I wonder if Noah really would be this useful in other systems (it's really taken some time to utilize him this fully).

OR Nate Robinson and DJ Augustin have always been useful players and the Bulls' setup perfectly suits their strengths and hides their weaknesses? I don't see any reason why Thibs should get special credit for their success in Chicago.

Your 2nd sentence contradicts your first. Maybe it's less dramatic with NateRob, but both still thrived in bigger and more important roles under Thibs. I don't see why he wouldn't get credit for that.

I definitely take Embiid first. I think his back situation is overblown.

for a 7', 250 lb man, any potentially chronic back/hip/knee/ankle issue should not be written off.


It might be an unfair criticism to Embiid (and is worst case scenario), but plenty of people were ready to hand wave away health concerns with Oden too. Now none of the other guys will ever be as good as Durant, so it might not hurt as much if Embiid health-busts.
   215. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4686838)
About the Bulls...

The Bulls offense ranks 27th out of 30 teams in points per possession and 30th in points per game (93.8).

Over the last nine full seasons, teams ranking in the bottom five in offensive efficiency have averaged 27 victories. Only three teams posted winning records: the 2004-05 Bulls (47-35), the 2004-05 New Jersey Nets (42-40) and the 2003-04 Houston Rockets (45-37).


All 3 of those teams lost in the first round (that Bulls loss was a painful one with some Arenas Wizard buzzer beaters involved).

if the Nets lose tomorrow and the Wizards win then the wiz tak the 5 seed. and wh knows what will happen with the bulls, the raptors seem sure to beat the nicks but you never know.

The Knicks have beaten the Bulls and Nets in their last 2 games, I see so reason to assume a Raptors win. Though it likely is in the Bulls' best interst to stay in the 4th spot.
   216. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4686839)
I'm worried the NBA playoffs will be a flop. I don't see Portland pushing Houston and I seriously worry about the Warriors without Bogut.

That's only 2 series out of 15 you named (yes, most of the first round ones might suck out East, but if we got a Heat/Nets and Bulls/Pacers 2nd round...).
   217. The District Attorney Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4686931)
From Bill James' mailbag:
Hey Bill, I worked at STATS, Inc. for a short time in the mid 1990's. I worked with and became friends with Daryl Morey (who is now the GM of the Houston Rockets). Daryl is widely known as a big stats/analytics guy. Do you ever have any communication with Daryl or with any NBA higher-ups? I'd be interested in your comments on Daryl as an NBA GM.

Daryl is a good friend. I talk to him, exchange e-mail with him on a regular basis, and see him a couple of times a year. He was with the Celtics when I was living in Boston, so I got to know him better there. I don't know that I should comment on him as a GM, because I would be biased. They've had a good year.
   218. robinred Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4686947)
Some stats on the Grizzlies:

link

Memphis is 39-19 with Marc Gasol, and 10-13 without him.

Morey wrote the intro to one of the books about James, and James has said many times that his two favorite NBA teams are Houston and Boston.
   219. King Mekong Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4686979)
Games played between playoff teams since the All-Star break: https://twitter.com/johnschuhmann/status/456148928119848960
   220. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4686981)
Simmons was all over this one:

The Milwaukee Bucks will announce later Wednesday that longtime owner Herb Kohl has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

In January, Forbes valued the Bucks at $405 million, last among the league's 30 franchises.

Sources told ESPN.com that the deal, subject to league approval, will be confirmed in an afternoon news conference.

Kohl, the longtime U.S. senator, made keeping the team in Milwaukee a condition of the sale.
   221. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4687007)
Games played between playoff teams since the All-Star break: https://twitter.com/johnschuhmann/status/456148928119848960

Those 2 losses for the Spurs? Houston and OKC, 2 teams they have yet this year to beat and would likely play in rounds 2 and 3 if seeding holds. I'm sure they also remember losing to Memphis in the not too distant past.
   222. King Mekong Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4687050)
221 - What I found most interesting was Portland's net rtg being 2nd behind SAS, while having a less than .500 winning percentage.

I was discounting them vs HOU in the 4/5 matchup but I will have to reconsider a bit more now.
   223. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4687080)
Grantland bids farewell to the Suns, and finds their future to be bright:
1. Go back to October and think about the tanking race. Given everything that’s happened since, would you rather be the Sixers or the Suns?

2. Phoenix had a fun year, but wound up in the worst possible place for an NBA team: on the outside of the playoffs, at the bottom of the lottery. The Suns will have two other first-round picks from Indiana (likely mid-20s) and Washington (mid-teens), plus a lottery pick from last year who missed most of this year but should be a regular contributor next year. Philly had a miserable year, but now has two top-10 picks in one of the deepest drafts in years, plus a lottery pick from last year that missed the entire year but will be healthy next season.

3. In a vacuum, it’s close, but Philly’s situation probably looks better.

4. In real life … the Suns just put together a season where they proved they can hang with the West, they played some of the most entertaining basketball in the league, and made all their stars look better in the process. In the span of six months, they went from a wasteland in the desert to a perfect landing spot for a star free agent who wants to come in and take a team to the next level. Meanwhile, the Sixers will be banking on complete unknowns for at least the next two years, with a fan base that’s been mostly dead since Allen Iverson left. For as much as fans talk about teams tearing it down to start over, would anyone in Phoenix trade places with Philly?

5. The Suns don’t have a top-10 pick, but the picks they have are assets they could flip for a superstar, either now or in the next year or two. Dragic is signed through the next two years, and Bledsoe is a restricted free agent. The Suns are not only the best young team in the league, but also the most flexible.

6. This is a long way of saying: Please God, let the Suns trade for Kevin Love this June and let him play in that offense for the next five years. It would make the whole world a better place.
   224. andrewberg Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4687095)
One reason to be optimistic about the Blazers is that the impact of their weaker bench will be diminished. If their starting 5 can up their minutes slightly, there is reason to think that it will make the team more effective by a bigger margin than it would for their opponents.

I could live with Phoenix as a destination for Love.
   225. JJ1986 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4687418)
Brooklyn is trying to concede their game. I don't get that. Even if they want Toronto (which is a questionable at best choice), now they're going to probably draw the Heat if they advance to the second round.
   226. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4687493)
Everything broke the Bulls way tonight, even though they lost while trying to win (and Thibs has to be criticized for playing Butler 48min and Noah 42). Bulls/Wizards in round 1 with Pacers in round 2.
   227. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4687513)
Jazz win! A few ping-pong balls down the drain.
   228. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4687515)
Not enough makes to qualify for the NBA leaderboard, but Brandan Wright finished the year shooting 68% from the field. Not too shabby for a sixth man...
   229. Maxwn Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4687520)
Grizz win the 7 in the west.
   230. Maxwn Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4687522)
Not enough makes to qualify for the NBA leaderboard, but Brandan Wright finished the year shooting 68% from the field. Not too shabby for a sixth man...

Judging from the grizz game tonight, it must be because he gets 5 unguarded lobs a game.
   231. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4687529)
Warriors-Clippers. I think that's a bad match up for the Warriors. They've never really been able to guard a healthy and motivated Chris Paul on the perimeter, and without Bogut guarding the rim, I think he'll kill them. Griffin on Lee isn't a pretty pairing either. I would have preferred OKC.
   232. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4687533)
As hypercompetitive as the West is, I'd be surprised if a lower seed won a playoff series in the first round. In fact, I don't really see a lower seed winning in the first round in the East either.
   233. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4687534)
Brooklyn is trying to concede their game.

==
Brooklyn has actually looked better against Miami than against Indiana, and I could see why they would want to avoid Chicago. Toronto has a pretty good team, though.
   234. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4687535)
I could see GS beating the Clips, if Curry went supernova. Portland over Houston wouldn't surprise me.

In the East, only TOR/BKN looks like a possible upset.
   235. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4687537)
I don't think that Golden State, playing without Bogut, can beat the Clippers. I think Portland can definitely beat Houston, although I would pick Houston in 7 if betting money on the outcome.

I think the thing with the West is not so much that there will be a rash of upsets; I don't think anyone will be surprised if the higher-seeded team wins every series. It is more that there will probably not be any easy series.
   236. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4687538)
It is more that there will probably not be any easy series.

Oh, I agree. I think each series is going to be pretty tough. I'd be surprised if any series in the West ends in fewer than 6 games.
   237. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4687540)
I wouldn't really be surprised by any playoff series outcome in the West -- I think each underdog is at least 20% likely to win the series (maybe we have different definitions of "surprised"). I'm not betting against Carlisle and Dirk and Monta is a swingy player(I'm not betting against Popovich either). The Grizz with Randolph/Gasol are such an atypical team in today's NBA that it's not hard to see how a team could have issues adjusting to their style (like what happened to the Spurs a few years back). GSW-LAC is a tough one without Bogut but Golden State could absolutely shoot lights out for a few games. Portland-Houston is probably advantage Rockets, but no gimme.

In the East... have we talked about the Wizards? Like, at all, even once, on this board this season? They have some good players and Chicago is a team that you might expect to do comparatively worse in the playoffs because they are already at max effort during the regular season.

CHA over MIA or ATL over IND would be pretty shocking, but even there you can make a case (mostly based on a gimpy Wade and Indiana's doldrums).

We'll see what Vegas says.
   238. theboyqueen Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4687541)
I think San Antonio, oddly enough, is the western favorite whose first round loss would surprise me the least. I still think they are a heavy favorite, mind you.
   239. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4687545)
Well, there has been a lot of buzz here and in general involving people saying stuff like "The West is insane, dude!" but I think that means more that all the teams are good and there will be a lot of awesome games than the 5th and 8th seeds will be in the WCF. YMMV.

"Surprised" is obviously a subjective term rather than an analytical one, but I expect that San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Clippers will make it to round 2.

WRT Houston, Beverley and Howard have injury issues, which to me throws that series into real question.
   240. Booey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4687551)
Jazz win! A few ping-pong balls down the drain.


Well, not necessarily. They could still win the coin flip with Boston and remain in 4th rather than dropping to 5th. But yeah, why take the chance? They sure picked an odd time to play one of their best games of the season. I like seeing 32 pts, 9 assts, and 7 boards from Trey Burke, though.

And Kevin Love misses out on his first .500 season yet again.
   241. sardonic Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:26 AM (#4687557)
As a Warriors fan, not having Bogut is a huge problem. I'm just hoping they win at least once at home and I get to see Steph go nuclear one more time. And then they fire Mark Jackson or force him to cede control of the offense or at least run no more than 15% isolation plays next year.
   242. Kurt Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4687597)
237 - The wiz are a strange team. When everything's clicking they can beat anybody, when it's not they're awful. People were skeptical that they could go .500, but even at 44-38 their season feels like a disappointment. It seems ridiculous to say they "should" have won 50 games, but in that conference, with all the terrible losses they had...

Anyway, I think they can give the Bulls a good run. With all the offensive weapons they have, the series should go 6 or 7.
   243. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4687608)
In a vacuum, it’s close, but Philly’s situation probably looks better.



I don't agree with that. Philly is not one good player away from being good. Phoenix is. Kevin Love on PHX would be fun to watch.

The Milwaukee Bucks will announce later Wednesday that longtime owner Herb Kohl has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

In January, Forbes valued the Bucks at $405 million, last among the league's 30 franchises.


And the sports franchise sales bubble continues!
   244. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4687613)
Dear friends,
Could someone please link to our preseason predictions? I'm sure they were bookmarked by at least one of us...

Glad to see that my streak of overvaluing the Wolves continues for the billionth straight year.
   245. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4687627)
Predictions start here. I'm thinking Rose's injury probably is going to be the biggest factor in missed predictions.
   246. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4687631)
Simmons on the Bill and Jalen Playoff Preview:

The all time order is currently Jordan-Russell-Kareem-Magic-Bird-Wilt-LeBron. If MIA wins it is Jordan-Russell-Kareem-Magic/LeBron-Bird-Wilt.
   247. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4687632)
Predictions start here. I'm thinking Rose's injury probably is going to be the biggest factor in missed predictions.


Yeah but they're still finishing with a solid seed. I bet Toronto and Charlotte were the biggest misses, at least for me that's true.
   248. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4687635)
Thanks!

I said:
E: MIA CHI IND BKN ATL NYK WAS TOR | DET CLE MIL CHA BOS ORL PHI
W: LAC HOU SAS GSW OKC MEM POR MIN | DAL NWO DEN LAL UTA SAC PHO
Actuality:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHO MIN DEN NWO SAC LAL UTA

If apply the additional layer of how I though teams would bunch to the above, that's not too bad. Huge whiff on Phoenix. Didn't see Charlotte figuring it out. Wasn't sure if Toronto would try to rebuild or not - they didn't, then stepped it up. Atlanta was hurt by the Horford injury, but their performance was well within the realm of what I viewed as possibility. Was farther off on Detroit than this implies.

MVP: Durant (as voters will be bored of voting for LeBron)
DPOTY: Howard
ROTY: Oladipo
Coach: Rivers.
MIP: I dunno. Davis? Drummond?


Eh.
   249. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4687642)
You might have those awards nailed, Der-K.
   250. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4687649)
You think? Durant's the only one I see. I'd guess MCW as rookie, Noah as DPOTY (maybe Hibbert), Hornacek for Coach. Well, MIP could be anybody...

Thought Orlando would move Nelson and give Oladipo more time (hence, more possessions) at the one.
   251. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4687650)
Simmons also just said he has Duncan at 8th.
   252. GordonShumway Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4687655)
The all time order is currently Jordan-Russell-Kareem-Magic-Bird-Wilt-LeBron. If MIA wins it is Jordan-Russell-Kareem-Magic/LeBron-Bird-Wilt.


Here's the main problem I have with anointing Jordan as GOAT:

1992-1993 Bulls: 57-25
1993-1994 Bulls: 55-27

Perhaps the 1993 Bulls were a bit better than their record, and the '94 Bulls a bit worse. Perhaps Pippen, Grant, Kukoc, and the rest all had career seasons in 1994. Perhaps the Bulls had an easier schedule the year without Jordan.

Nonetheless, I find it very difficult to reconcile the above with the MJ being the best ever.
   253. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4687657)
Der-K: I guess your odds aren't good of running the table, but those are all choices that ended up looking good, whereas I had Rose as the MVP...
   254. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4687658)
Nonetheless, I find it very difficult to reconcile the above with the MJ being the best ever.


Who do you have?
   255. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4687662)
I said:
E: CHI BKN MIA IND NYK ATL CLE DET | MIL WSH TOR CHA BOS ORL PHI
W: LAC OKC HOU SAS GSW MEM MIN DAL | POR DEN NOP LAL SAC UTA PHO

Actuality:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHO MIN DEN NOP SAC LAL UTA

East review: 0 exactly right and 5/8 playoffs.
West review: 3 exactly right and 7/8 playoffs.

I think a lot of people will have a higher percent of playoff teams in the West than East. In my credit, I got the top 4 in the West right (not that hard) but did say any order of those 4 was possible.

Awards:
MVP: Paul
ROY: Porter
COY: Thibs


Nope, Yikes (at least I didn't pick Bennett), and Nope. I picked the Clips to win the title, and that's still possible. Rest of my playoff predictions are worthless.
   256. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4687664)
I'd guess MCW as rookie,


Jalen said that by WAR, this is the 2nd worst Rookie class ever, with only the infamous 2000 class (Kenyon Martin year) leading the pack.
   257. GordonShumway Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4687666)
Who do you have?


Probably Lew/Kareem. Even if you dock his prime a bit because of ABA talent dilution, that just lowers him from having the all-time best peak, to close-to-all-time best peak. Also, while I generally put more weight on peak value over career value, I think career value matters a lot more for big men. I don’t know anywhere near as much about basketball as everyone else here does, but the impression I get is you have a much better chance winning a ring with a stellar, but not historically great big man than you do with a stellar, but not historically great non-big man. Lew/Kareem, was at least a stellar player, if not a historically great player, for close to 20 seasons.
   258. GordonShumway Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4687667)
double post
   259. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4687668)
Nonetheless, I find it very difficult to reconcile the above with the MJ being the best ever.

I'm not saying you're wrong (though I think you are), but that's a weak argument. The more important part of those seasons is that the Bulls finished 93 as the champs and lost in the 2nd round in 94. Considering how long the regular season is* and the overall goal, it's silly to pick that out on its own as a point against MJ.

*Guys rest, don't go full out every game, etc. Plus 93 for the Bulls was after 2 straight titles and the Olympics, only 57 wins is by no means a negative, IMO.
   260. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4687671)
I said:
E: MIA CHI BKN IND NYK ATL DET WAS | CLE MIL CHA-TOR-BOS-PHI-ORL
W: HOU LAC OKC SAS MEM GSW DEN NOH | MIN POR DAL-LAL-UTA-SAC-PHO
Actuality:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHO MIN DEN NOP SAC LAL UTA

East review: 0 exactly right and 6/8 playoffs.
West review: 1 exactly right and 6/8 playoffs.

My HOU-MIA Finals isn't looking that great right now.

Awards:
MVP: C. Paul
6MOY: J. Lin
ROTY: V. Oladipo
COTY: K. McHale

Nope. LOL. Maybe. Not happening.
   261. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4687682)
Simmons also just said he has Duncan at 8th.

I'm working on a longer post about Pops vs PJ and my ranking of Duncan 3rd will come up in it. While I'm higher on him that everyone else was when we did our rankings, I've almost having a harder time even seeing him below Magic/Bird.
   262. GordonShumway Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4687699)
I'm not saying you're wrong (though I think you are), but that's a weak argument. The more important part of those seasons is that the Bulls finished 93 as the champs and lost in the 2nd round in 94. Considering how long the regular season is* and the overall goal, it's silly to pick that out on its own as a point against MJ.

*Guys rest, don't go full out every game, etc. Plus 93 for the Bulls was after 2 straight titles and the Olympics, only 57 wins is by no means a negative, IMO.

Jordan is by any measure one of the very greatest basketball players ever, and was the essential Bulls player on the six championship teams. I think it’s extremely unlikely those six Bulls teams would have won one, let alone six championships without him.

But when comparing all-time greats with each other, you end up having to split some really fine hairs when ranking them. I bring up the regular season records because the 1994 team, while not a championship team, was pretty darn good for a team whose best player bailed right before the season started. I think that there’s a decent possibility that Jordan’s supporting cast was a lot better than commonly thought, and a good chunk of the credit that has gone to him should have gone to them.

Now, I'm not tearing him down like get Kobe gets torn down by his critics. At the very very worst, I still think MJ's a top-5 all time player.

I'm working on a longer post about Pops vs PJ and my ranking of Duncan 3rd will come up in it. While I'm higher on him that everyone else was when we did our rankings, I've almost having a harder time even seeing him below Magic/Bird.


I have Duncan over Magic and Bird as well.
   263. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4687700)
My picks:
E: CHI IND MIA BK ATL NY WAS MIL | DET CLE BOS TOR CHA PHI ORL
W: LAC HOU OKC SAS MEM GSW POR MIN | DEN DAL LAL NO UTA SAC PHO

Real life:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHO MIN DEN NOP SAC LAL UTA

East review: 2 exactly right and 6/8 playoffs.
West review: 2 exactly right and 7/8 playoffs.

Awards and other:
MVP: Ummmmmm, Rose, probably.
ROY: McLemore
Coach: Thibs
Random predictions: Wade misses half the year, OKC acquires a serviceable big man, and the Wiz are the first team to fire their coach.

Just way off across the board, though Thibs probably deserves it.
   264. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4687718)
Just way off across the board, though Thibs probably deserves it.

There's a legit argument Thibs and Pops deserve it every year.
   265. Spivey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4687728)
My picks:
E: CHI MIA BKN IND NYK ATL WAS DET
W: HOU LAC OKC SAS MEM GSW DEN DAL

Real life:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHO MIN DEN NOP SAC LAL UTA

East: 0 exactly right, 6/8 in the playoffs
West: 2 exactly right, 7/8 in the playoffs

Overrated the Knicks, underrated Portland and Phoenix badly. I had Miami over Houston in the Finals, and that still seems very possible - not sure why NJ is so down on it.

As for the real playoffs, I think OKC is more likely to lose to Memphis than the Spurs are to lose to Dallas. That's more about Memphis than the Spurs or OKC.
   266. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4687734)
I had Miami over Houston in the Finals, and that still seems very possible - not sure why NJ is so down on it

I can see HOU beating POR and SAS/DAL. I don't think they have any shot whatsoever against OKC/LAC. Them making it to the Finals would require facing MEM in the WCF and even that would be a tough series.
   267. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4687740)
As for the real playoffs, I think OKC is more likely to lose to Memphis than the Spurs are to lose to Dallas. That's more about Memphis than the Spurs or OKC.

Agreed. I think the Spurs dodged a huge bullet by avoiding Memphis in the first round (I still think the Spurs would have beat the Grizz this year, but that series with the Mavs should be much, much easier).
   268. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4687741)
I'll confess to being really amused by how much it apparently angers Simmons that LeBron didn't put Russell on his tossed off "Mount Rushmore" a couple months ago. Boston fans take Russell and his place in history very seriously.
   269. Manny Coon Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4687742)
I like Steve Clifford for coach of the year, the Horcats have been just complete doormats the last couple years, and but this year they have been quite a respectable team despite very little upgrade in talent. How many people really thought they would win 40+ games this year and could take last years 30th ranked defense, add Al Jefferson to it and jump all the way up to 5th.
   270. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4687751)
Clifford might be my pick, even over Pops. Horny too - haven't figured it out yet.
   271. Booey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4687760)
Here's the main problem I have with anointing Jordan as GOAT:

1992-1993 Bulls: 57-25
1993-1994 Bulls: 55-27



Keep in mind that 1993 was the worst regular season of any of the Bulls title runs. They won (I think) 67 the year before, and they also dropped down to 47 in 1995 with MJ for half the year, so a difference of 67 wins to 47 wins might be more accurate. Plus, as has already been mentioned, regular season coasting is pretty common for teams that win multiple titles. The great 2001 Lakers that curbstomped their way through the playoffs only went 56-26 in the regular season, the worst record of any of Kobe's 7 Finals team. Hell, that's one game worse than the 2011 team that got swept in the 2nd round.

I've also always wondered about Olympic fatigue; the Bulls had 2 Dream Teamers in 1992, and went on to have the worst regular season record of all their title runs the following year. The only other team with 2 Dream Teamers - the Jazz - also went on to have their worst season in 1993. Their 47-35 record was the only season between 1989 and 2001 where they failed to win 50 games (not counting the lockout season). Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

And most importantly, of course, the difference between a 2nd round loss and a championship is huge to begin with. The Lakers only gained a few games in the regular season standings when they picked up Shaq in the 1996-1997 season, but they eventually went on to win 3 straight titles that they almost certainly wouldn't have won without him. The Spurs records when they drafted Duncan didn't improve much from what they were when the Admiral was riding solo throughout the 90's, but they went from a perennial 2nd round loser with only Robinson to two time champs with Robinson/Duncan. LeBron hasn't been winning any more regular season games with Bosh and Wade in Miami than he did in Cleveland, but he's winning titles now that he wasn't before. Are Duncan and Shaq only worth a few wins? Are the scrubs that LBJ played with in Cleveland just as good as Wade and Bosh? It's hard to win more than 55-60 games consistently no matter who is on your team. For teams that are already near the top, adding another star seems to improve your playoff record much more than your regular season record.
   272. Booey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4687772)
Hey, that link starts after my playoff predictions! :-( I'm pretty sure mine was the first one. I know I had the Spurs taking the top seed in the West so I take pride in that, but the rest of my picks are probably crap.

I think I had a Miami/Clippers final though, so that's still possible, I guess.
   273. andrewberg Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4687773)
By losing to Utah last night and bringing the Jazz into a reverse tie with Boston, the Wolves continued their proud tradition of selflessly making the Celtics better! You're welcome.

Looking back at my predictions, it seems like I made a lot of the same mistakes- did not see the cliff for the Knicks, massively underrated Phoenix and somewhat underrated Portland. Of course, if we knew Rose would play only a handful of games, I doubt I would have had Chicago in the mix, either. Given that, I would say either Hornacek or Thibs would be my COTY.
   274. andrewberg Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4687778)
Here is a hypothetical question- how good of a SF would the Heat need to contend or even win a title with the rest of their lineup being Chalmers-Wade-Bosh-Haslem? Let's assume that we are talking about the 2012 versions of these players because Wade and Haslem have aged quite a bit.
   275. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4687784)
1992-1993 Bulls: 57-25
1993-1994 Bulls: 55-27

--

I have talked about this a few times. Jordan was replaced as the high-usage guy on O by Pippen, who was one of the best players in the league himself. Jordan's place in the lineup was taken by Pete Myers, who was a very good defender. Also, the Bulls added Kerr and Kukoc, and finally, they beat their PYTH by 5 games. Neil Paine wrote a long piece on it at BaskRef back in 2010:

link
   276. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4687788)
1992-1993 Bulls: 57-25
1993-1994 Bulls: 55-27

--

I have talked about this a few times. Jordan was replaced as the high-usage guy on O by Pippen, who was one of the best players in the league himself. Jordan's place in the lineup was taken by Pete Myers, who was a very good defender. Also, the Bulls added Kerr and Kukoc, and finally, they beat their PYTH by 5 games. Neil Paine wrote a long piece on it at BaskRef back in 2010:

link
   277. robinred Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4687791)
Double post
   278. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4687813)
My picks:
E: MIA IND CHI BKN WAS ATL NYK MIL | CLE BOS DET TOR PHI CHA ORL
W: OKC LAC MEM GSW SAS HOU LAL DAL | DEN UTH POR MIN NOP SAC PHX

Real life:
E: IND MIA TOR CHI WAS BKN CHA ATL | NYK CLE DET BOS ORL PHI MIL
W: SAS OKC LAC HOU POR GSW MEM DAL | PHX MIN DEN NOP SAC LAL UTH

East: 1 exactly right (Wizards!), 6/8 in the playoffs
West: 1 exactly right (Mavs!), 7/8 in the playoffs

I nailed two of my speculative picks (Washington and Dallas). Missed on TOR, PHX, and CHA like everyone else (but a little worse). Mis-predicted the Spurs' demise and whiffed on the Lakers' putting things together. Pretty happy with these predictions. Had OKC over MIA in the finals which may be most likely outcome today.
   279. Spivey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4687818)
Well I enjoy the playoff picks now more than the ones before the season. So here are my revised picks:

EAST:
IND over ATL in 5
MIA over CHA in 4
BKN over TOR in 6
CHI over WAS in 7

IND over CHI in 6
MIA over BKN in 6

MIA over IND in 6

WEST:

SAS over DAL in 5
OKC over MEM in 6
LAC over GSW in 7
HOU over POR in 4

SAS over HOU in 7
OKC over LAC in 6

SAS over OKC in 7

SAS over MIA in 5


I'm very nervous because Houston is a brutal second round match up for the Spurs, but I think at the end of the day their depth is too good. And I refuse to pick a team to make the finals that still has Derek Fisher playing minutes.
   280. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4687824)
Jabari enters the draft.
   281. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4687844)
And I refuse to pick a team to make the finals that still has Derek Fisher playing minutes.

Last night I watched a game where Derek Fisher blocking someone's shot may have ended up being the difference between OKC staying at home or going on the road in Round 2. Probably the most shocking moment of the season.
   282. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4687853)
Jabari enters the draft.

Which should be surprising to no one. Coach K must have worked extra hard to discourage him considering how late this announcement is.
   283. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4687854)
CHI over WAS in 7

As a Wiz fan, I'll be shocked and thrilled if they take Chicago to 7.
   284. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4687862)
This is now my favorite stat from this past season:

Hoop76 ?@Hoop_76 Apr 16
Per @tomhaberstroh, Tony Wroten shot better on half-court heaves this season (2-7, 28.6%) than overall three-pointers (21.5%).
   285. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4687871)
Here is a hypothetical question- how good of a SF would the Heat need to contend or even win a title with the rest of their lineup being Chalmers-Wade-Bosh-Haslem? Let's assume that we are talking about the 2012 versions of these players because Wade and Haslem have aged quite a bit.


Am I understanding this correctly to mean, basically, could that lineup win with anyone other than Lebron? I think the answer is a resounding and clear no. They don't win last year without him going nuts down the stretch in Game 6 against the Spurs, and they don't win 2 years ago without him going off in Boston, and they possibly don't even get past the Pacers last year without him, let's not forget how close that one was.
   286. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4687875)
Jabari makes me feel better about the draft from Boston's perspective. This makes it more likely (or a lock? I legitimately don't understand how the lottery works anymore) they'll get one of Embiid, Parker, Wiggins, Exum, or Randle (or whoever passes Randle). I'm terrified of Embiid, though, so I don't want him on the clock when they pick.
   287. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4687883)
I'm scared of Exum, but that's because I haven't watched him yet.
   288. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4687887)
I'm scared of Exum, but that's because I haven't watched him yet.


Me too, but since I haven't watched him I'll just imagine he'll be great. I loved Randle's play in the tournament, but I definitely defer to others who saw him play more than I did.
   289. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4687892)
I think Exum is really good. He's a 6'6" PG with plus athleticism, length, and court vision. Really smooth. Shooting is the question and it's a legitimate one, but his shot looks pretty good to my eyes (which may be bad? Given two people with the same FG% maybe you prefer the one with the more screwed-up motion because you can fix it whereas it's not clear what to do with the good-looking guy). He will no doubt take a little while to adjust to the NBA, but I'm expecting stardom and would strongly consider him with #1 if I had it (or more likely trade down to 2 or 3 expecting him to still be around).
   290. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4687900)
I like the idea of Exum for Boston, because in this imaginary world where he definitely turns into a star, they're also able to trade Rondo for useful pieces, thus speeding up the rebuild. It's the quickest path back to contending for them that doesn't involve several years of lottery picks.
   291. Booey Posted: April 17, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4687952)
It looks like Spivey kicked off the revised playoff predictions in #279, so here goes -

EAST:
IND over ATL in 5
MIA over CHA in 4
BKN over TOR in 6
CHI over WAS in 5

IND over CHI in 7
MIA over BKN in 5

MIA over IND in 6

WEST:

SAS over DAL in 5
OKC over MEM in 6
LAC over GSW in 6
HOU over POR in 5

HOU over SAS in 7
OKC over LAC in 6

OKC over HOU in 6

MIA over OKC in 6


The LeBron's are still the champs until someone proves otherwise. At this point I'm still leaning towards their lower than expected regular season win total to be more a product of coasting than of any serious decline.

In the West, Durant is just too damn good for me to pick against (at least until he faces LeBron). The Spurs were awesome during the regular season as always, but I have a hard time looking past their 0-8 record against their most likely 2nd and 3rd round opponents.
   292. Manny Coon Posted: April 17, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4687977)
I think the Clippers have a better chance than San Antonio at beating OKC, they've beat the Thunder a few times this year, including in OKC, they are very evenly matched I think. The key for the Clippers is getting everyone healthy and working together, they've played very few games with Paul, Barnes, Crawford and Redick healthy at the same time; Griffin, Jordan and Collison did a great job keeping things together while everyone else phased in and out of the line up, Dudley was the only other guy on the team to play over 70 games and even he was playing through severe tendinitis most of the season.
   293. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4687989)
Looking back at my predictions, it seems like I made a lot of the same mistakes- did not see the cliff for the Knicks, massively underrated Phoenix and somewhat underrated Portland.
I read somewhere Vegas' wins over/unders drastically leaned under for the league - because Phoenix overachieved by so much.
   294. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4687995)
Philly is not one good player away from being good. Phoenix is.
Yet in Phoenix there are still knuckleheads insisting the Suns ###### up their one shot at a proper rebuilding effort.

I'd like to see a comparison between two types of non-playoff teams: Those with a star, perhaps even a superstar, but no supporting cast vs. a good/great supporting cast but no star. I'm willing to bet the latter teams had brighter futures.
   295. andrewberg Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4688003)
I would assume you're right simply because a team with a star is more likely to crater if he leaves or gets hurt and the balanced team could lose one guy without the same impact while both have about the same odds of gaining an additional star to pull them up a notch.
   296. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4688012)
I'd like to see a comparison between two types of non-playoff teams: Those with a star, perhaps even a superstar, but no supporting cast vs. a good/great supporting cast but no star. I'm willing to bet the latter teams had brighter futures.

I'd bet the latter. It's much easier to build a good supporting cast that attract a star. Sure, the impact of one guy leaving hurts more, but if you'd competent it's harder to get the star unless you're in one of the handful of prime markets.

Having said that, I think PHX might already have a star - maybe I should say nearstar - in Dragic, and really just needs that second guy, so they're not your typical always middle of the road team (or they could just be Atlanta in the West). I'd still rather be them than Philly *right now* but reserve the right to change that opinion next season.

I would assume you're right simply because a team with a star is more likely to crater if he leaves or gets hurt and the balanced team could lose one guy without the same impact while both have about the same odds of gaining an additional star to pull them up a notch.

In some cases, one in particular that hits close to home, having one star doesn't even help you get a second one. Also, see Dallas.
   297. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4688014)
Gold Star's picks:

EAST:
IND over ATL in 5
MIA over CHA in 4 - At least the Bobnets/Horcats get some national exposure!
TOR over BKN in 7
CHI over WAS in 5

CHI over IND in 6 - When it goes bad for the Pacers - and it will go bad - it's gonna be ugly. And the Bulls luvvvv them some ugly.
MIA over TOR in 5

MIA over CHI in 6

WEST:

SAS over DAL in 4
OKC over MEM in 5
LAC over GSW in 7 - This will be THE fun series of the playoffs.
HOU over POR in 7 - Zero idea how this will go. I threw up my hands and picked the Rockets because of home court.

SAS over HOU in 5
LAC over OKC in 6 - Crank up the "Will Brooks be fired?" stories!

SAS over LAC in 7 - Gonna be a war.

MIA over SAS in 6 - In LeBron I trust.
   298. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 17, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4688022)
I think PHX might already have a star - maybe I should say nearstar - in Dragic, and really just needs that second guy...
The Suns may already have the second guy, himself a nearstar - but Bledsoe needs to play more than a half-season. (He and Dragic played less than 900 minutes together. But when they did, per 100 possessions they were a net +10.1 points.)

Not to go all Gammons here, but iiiiif Bledsoe can stay healthy and iiiiif the frontcourt can be upgraded, Phoenix will make serious noise next year.
   299. JJ1986 Posted: April 17, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4688158)
Picks:

ATL over IND in 6
MIA over CHA in 5
TOR over BRO in 7
CHI over WAS in 4

CHI over ATL in 5
MIA over TOR in 5

MIA over CHI in 7

SAS over DAL in 5
MEM over OKC in 7
LAC over GSW in 5
HOU over POR in 7

SAS over HOU in 5
LAC over MEM in 5

LAC over SAS in 6

MIA over LAC in 7
   300. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 17, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4688162)
Here are the approximate implicit odds from Vegas for the first round:

Pacers 86 - Hawks 14
Heat 94 - Bobcats 6
Raptors 40 - Nets 60
Bulls 64 - Wizards 36

Spurs 87 - Mavs 13
Thunder 79 - Grizzlies 21
Clippers 77 - Warriors 23
Rockets 66 - Blazers 34
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