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Friday, June 01, 2012

OT: NBA Monthly Thread, June 2012

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what the site is really about: overwrought, acrimonious discussions about having where to put the site’s overwrought, acrimonious discussions.

Famous Original Joe C Posted: June 01, 2012 at 09:58 AM | 2704 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1101. tshipman Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4152810)
Re: Avery Bradley:

Seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for a guy who doesn't do a whole bunch on the offensive end. PER of 11.3, WS/48 of .085. Per 36 he's a below average rebounder and passer for a guard. Seems like a guy who's best suited to come off the bench to me--and that's if you think his shooting numbers are for real.

I guess I don't see it.
   1102. The District Attorney Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:14 AM (#4152812)
Wait, I'm just being told that the judges have awarded tonight's game to Bradley and the Celtics.

EDIT: Bradley
   1103. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:20 AM (#4152815)
As far as the narrative goes, this Finals is all about LeBron really. Personally, I feel that the Heat are obviously title contenders for years to come as currently constructed, but ideally would have a couple more useful pieces -- a shot-changing center and maybe better versions of Mike Miller and Chalmers. It's arguable that Spo is not your basic Jackson/Pop/Brown-level HOF coach, although I'm not sure there's a better obvious candidate out there (SVG? Jackson?).

Still, if the Heat lose, it'll be LeBron's failure, rightly or wrongly. For the Thunder, well, I'm not going to say it's HOUSE MONEY, but they're far too young and too early in their success cycle to start talking about losing the Finals as a failure. The narrative is supposed to be something like this: Durant/Westbrook/Harden et al. take their lumps as Jordan did vs. the Pistons or the way Kobe did in the first years post-Shaq, the way LeBron did early in his career, before learning how to win. I could see Westbrook taking some heat if he shoots 11-for-29 while Durant is 12-for-23 in some close losses, but mostly I think everyone will be talking about LeBron's overdue coronation.

   1104. The District Attorney Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:35 AM (#4152817)
Amusingly, apparently they actually did call the boxer "Avery Bradley" on SportsCenter.
   1105. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 03:54 AM (#4152830)
Pruiti IIRC (it may have been another guy) made a good point about his corner 3 late in Game 6 of the SA series, pointing out that Fisher is 18/40 on those shots this year, or as Pruiti put it, 135 points per 100 possessions.


rr: That's an interesting stat. I don't deny that Fisher is capable of hitting a big shot, as he has done many times in his career. But there's almost no way he'll be a net positive in this series getting 15-20 mins or more.
   1106. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:33 AM (#4152833)
It's arguable that Spo is not your basic Jackson/Pop/Brown-level HOF coach


I assume you mean Larry Brown. For a minute I thought you were talking about Mike Brown, and I was about to say you must be smoking crack to put him in the same sentence with The Zenmaster and Pop.

although I'm not sure there's a better obvious candidate out there (SVG? Jackson?)


Jerry Sloan! Dude deserves a title just as much (or more) than LeBron.
   1107. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:35 AM (#4152834)
Oh, and OKC in 6, with an epic scoring duel between LeBron and Durant, the two most unguardable players in the league.
   1108. rr Posted: June 10, 2012 at 05:22 AM (#4152835)
More than half the guys on the ESPN series page picked OKC.
   1109. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4152879)
More than half the guys on the ESPN series page picked OKC.

So you are saying my heat pick is looking good?
   1110. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4152883)
I'll say OKC in 7, but I am by no means super-confident in this pick. I wouldn't wager money on the series either way. And I agree the series should be epic; it's not often you get a championship battle between two athletes of this caliber.

On the Celtics: I tip my hat to them for the way they battled and fought their hearts out in these playoffs, but Danny Ainge is flat out nuts if he delays the rebuilding of this team any longer. They were mostly lucky to even get as far as they did.
   1111. JC in DC Posted: June 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4152897)
Whoever wins this Finals, in my dream world, Stern would commission the league to look at the current state of officiating. Unless there really is some conspiracy where the league wants things as they are (which entails some notion of "fixing things", which I doubt, btw), the league needs to be concerned to get all this better. My take on this (like you all care) is that of the four major sports, the NBA is the one where the officiating is the most prominent in a bad way; where, for instance, I can understand coaches game-planning around ref assignments, where ref assignments influence games in ways educated fans can predict. If that assumption is correct, that is a bad thing.

I was thinking (in the shower) about pickup basketball. As a thought-experiment, imagine if the game were played without refs, much as we all have played before. The vast majority of these in my experience have had only a few disputed calls, but typically everyone understands sometimes you get those BS "ball" calls, but the game reaches a kind of equilibrium where almost always the better team wins. The NBA should always be pushing the officiating to be as uninvolved as possible. The more involved it is, the worse. (And involvement doesn't always mean making calls; sometimes involvement is not making calls, or allowing the transformation of the game in ways that favor certain strategies, like KG's "screens" or Battier's "charges".) To this end, I would favor removing certain calls (like the drive to the hoop charge - make people make plays on the ball; like the offensive or defensive goaltend - go to the int'l rules). I might favor eliminating the disqualification by fouls or giving more fouls as we discussed before. The traveling (I can't get over how much pivot traveling there is now, where guys are jab stepping or triple threating and moving both feet) and the screening and the on the block D has to be tightened up (I know this seems to cut the other way, but if you reduce the physicality you'll make the calls easier and less subjective).

I love basketball and I'll admit to being an older fan, so pardon the screed.

[and the flopping, of course. Fewer calls means fewer flops rewarded. Punish by letting the play go on with the European player on the floor, and maybe punish retroactively as well]
   1112. AROM Posted: June 10, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4152903)
I'll second Booey's promotion of Jerry Sloan. He was a great coach, and maybe still is (just not sure because he's 70 and coaches do eventually have expiration dates). If he's motivated to get back in the game, somebody should snap him up.

Celtics rebuilding: how do you do that? If you don't resign Garnett, you have a lot of cap space, but I don't see who's worth spending that on. Best free agent is probably Williams, playing the position the Celtics need least.

A total rebuild could involve trading Pierce for young players or draft picks. I'd hate to see that. I don't like Pierce or the Celtics, but I do like it when great players stick with one team. Pierce deserves to be able to retire as a Celtic.
   1113. JC in DC Posted: June 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4152906)
A total rebuild could involve trading Pierce for young players or draft picks. I'd hate to see that. I don't like Pierce or the Celtics, but I do like it when great players stick with one team. Pierce deserves to be able to retire as a Celtic.


Who would give you that for Pierce? It seems like Rondo is much more likely to get you rebuild value. I don't know the contracts, but why not trade Rondo and sign a PG (be it Williams, or Lin, or someone else)?
   1114. booond Posted: June 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4152920)
why not trade Rondo and sign a PG (be it Williams, or Lin, or someone else)?


This seems most sensible if Williams would come to Boston.
   1115. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4152937)
JC, I feel like if the NBA were concerned about the officiating they would have done it right after the Donaghy revelations. I might not be in a large crowd saying this, but I tend to believe Donaghy when he says the league office was (and by inference, probably still is) proactive about the officiating in certain games where the league office prefers a certain outcome.

Celtics rebuilding: how do you do that? If you don't resign Garnett, you have a lot of cap space, but I don't see who's worth spending that on. Best free agent is probably Williams, playing the position the Celtics need least.


There are usually at least a few teams willing to give up a draft pick or at least a semi-interesting young player if you're willing to take the last year or two of a bad contract off their hands, and help them clear cap space.

If they trade Pierce I'm sure they can get something (a low first round pick, probably) but not very much. Rondo is only really valuable trade piece they have. Garnett might draw something in a sign-and-trade, but again probably not a lottery pick or anything.
   1116. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4152946)
Trading Rondo comes up every year, and my gut reaction is it's crazy, cuz Rondo can really ####### ball. That said: Rondo for Bynum.

***

I seem to have less interest in NBA officiating than anyone else on the planet, as it seems that about 90% of the basketball-watching public is convinced that games are routinely fixed. Problem is, you can't just dismiss the crackpots out of hand because it has actually happened. I'd just like to see less flopping. I think some of the continuation +1 fouls are absurd, like the Westbrook shot against the Lakers. But it's not a big deal. I may be the only person over 40 who doesn't care about non-calls for traveling.

***

Gamblers are going for OKC.

   1117. booond Posted: June 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4152951)
I tend to believe Donaghy when he says the league office was (and by inference, probably still is) proactive about the officiating in certain games where the league office prefers a certain outcome.


Like removing Garnett in the first half with a pair of normal non-calls.

Donaghy = Canseco.
   1118. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4152981)
I wanted Boston to win since I'm a (quasi) Celtics fan, but the Finals should be a good matchup.
   1119. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4153019)
Donaghy = Canseco.


That's pretty much my read of it. He's telling the truth, not because his conscience weighs on him but because he's bitter and wants to lash out at the sport that rejected him.
   1120. tshipman Posted: June 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4153064)
Trading Rondo comes up every year, and my gut reaction is it's crazy, cuz Rondo can really ####### ball. That said: Rondo for Bynum.


There's no way the Lakers would go for that. I tend to think they shouldn't, as well.

I think some of the continuation +1 fouls are absurd


This is my biggest gripe with the NBA. That and calling things in the act of shooting which were clearly not.
   1121. PJ Martinez Posted: June 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4153083)
People who are suggesting that the Celtics "rebuild" probably didn't spend the years from 1995 - 2008 following the team very closely. They have one very very good young player in Rondo and two very very good old players in Garnett and Pierce (the latter of whom was playing through a specific and somewhat serious injury in this series; he'll never be the player he was, but he's capable of better). With Ainge, all deals are always on the table, but you don't throw away assets like that for draft picks in the mere hope of getting lucky in the lottery.

Even if Ray Allen leaves (it's not like he's giving them much at this point anyway, though maybe he'll bounce back a bit after his offseason surgery), they're still a playoff team next year who can probably put a scare into a team or two. Did they get a little lucky to get as far as they did this year? Of course. They also were tied at the beginning of the fourth quarter in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals with a Miami team that was getting production (in that game) from every one of its big three. They were the best defensive team in the NBA during the regular season. It wasn't all luck.

I bet (and hope) they re-sign Garnett, and they maybe re-sign Bass (whose contract is up, right?). I'd like to see them target Rondo's buddy Josh Smith in free agency after next season (assuming they don't have what it takes to get him in a trade before then). They'll obviously need to find another star-caliber player to plausibly contend in the post-Pierce and post-Garnett years, and next season they're likely to be a decent team rather than a great one. But the idea that you need to be the best team in the league or position yourself for the #1 pick in the draft is a misreading of the "success cycle" to me. In the NBA, sometimes you just need to try to be good and hope you get a break or two, even if you're probably just a second-tier playoff team. That's where the Celtics are right now.

P.S. I was bummed to see the Celtics lose last night, obviously, but I take a small amount of solace as an NBA fan in the fact that Heat/Thunder is almost certainly a better and more interesting Finals matchup. And, if the Celtics were gonna lose, I'm glad it was because James overwhelmed them and Bosh came through, and not because Dwyane Wade got a bunch of calls or Rondo panicked or someone got injured or something. (Sure, Rondo passed up a few shots he should have taken last night; he also had a triple double. I think he could have played better defense, but overall, I'll take it.)

P.P.S. I still think the Heat should look into possible Gasol and Howard deals involving Bosh and Wade. LeBron James got them this far almost singlehandedly, and those players would help him more than the two running mates he has now. Obviously if the Heat beat the Thunder this will not happen, and it seems pretty unlikely even if they don't. (I suppose a sweep might prompt that sort of re-tooling, but I'd be surprised if this series wasn't closer than that.)
   1122. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4153084)
JC #1111 - Good post. The thing that's always bugged me most about Stern (and a big part of WHY so many people believe the ref conspiracy theories, IMO) is that he just blows off everyone's concerns as being complete nonsense and doesn't seriously address the issue at all. And then making complaining about the officiating one of the cardinal sins of basketball that warrants a minimum fine of 25 grand just makes the whole thing look even more suspicious. If I were Stern and I wanted everyone to believe there isn't a problem with my officials, I'd do everything in my power to prove it rather than just sweeping it under the rug and fining anyone who brought it up.

Donaghy = Canseco.


That's a pretty good analogy. At least Selig eventually owned up to his sports major problem and did something about it by implementing testing. 2-3 decades late is better than never, I guess. Stern is still in the denial stage, like Bud was in the '90's. Hopefully someday he'll stop hand waving away honest criticism and create some kind of system that grades officials and holds them accountable. MLB became a better product when the problems stopped being ignored, and I believe that the NBA could be as well.

Looking forward to a great Finals.

   1123. Tripon Posted: June 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4153099)

That's a pretty good analogy. At least Selig eventually owned up to his sports major problem and did something about it by implementing testing. 2-3 decades late is better than never, I guess. Stern is still in the denial stage, like Bud was in the '90's. Hopefully someday he'll stop hand waving away honest criticism and create some kind of system that grades officials and holds them accountable. MLB became a better product when the problems stopped being ignored, and I believe that the NBA could be as well.


But the problem is that the league tells its refs to favor one team over the other. How the heck do you address that without admitting that you're doing it. The idea that you're doing it would destroy the integrity of your league.
   1124. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4153108)
But the problem is that the league tells its refs to favor one team over the other. How the heck do you address that without admitting that you're doing it. The idea that you're doing it would destroy the integrity of your league.


I know a lot of NBA fans who say it's pretty obvious the officials actively help one team or the other on a regular basis, and it doesn't really bother them. There's probably some willful cognitive dissonance there.

PJ Martinez (#1121), that was a good post. I think if you would be satisfied with getting bounced in the second round next year and think of that as a successful season, you can happily keep the team together another year or two. I don't think they're a viable title contender anymore. So it depends what you want out of your team.

I'm mostly surrounded by Eagles fans and they mostly have no appreciation at all for the fact they've been rooting for one of the NFL's most successful teams the past ten-plus years. For a lot of people titles are everything and anything less is a failure.
   1125. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4153211)
I'm mostly surrounded by Eagles fans and they mostly have no appreciation at all for the fact they've been rooting for one of the NFL's most successful teams the past ten-plus years. For a lot of people titles are everything and anything less is a failure.


The Eagles fail to reach the goals that the team has set for itself. In the early days of the Joe Banner/Andy Reid era, they talked about the goal of winning multiple Super Bowls as the reason why they didn't sell out -- bringing back the key veteran player like Troy Vincent or Bobby Taylor or Brian Dawkins or overpay for a free agent. Now Banner's gone, having won no Super Bowls. Jeffrey Lurie called the Eagles the NFL's "gold standard" and that they were the envy of the league. Maybe in terms of winning the Cap Space Bowl every year, but not in any other respect.

When the front office acts smug and positively superior and you play in a division where every team has 3-5 Super Bowl titles and you have none, your fan base isn't going to satisfied with less.

Plus, the Eagles haven't been a legitimate title contender since 2004. The Eagles have won 62 games in the regular season since 2005, with 1 year of more than 10 wins. They haven't won a playoff game since 2008. That's competitive, but there are probably 7-8 teams with better records over that time. Seven years is a long, long long time to go in sports without winning anything while acting like you're still an elite franchise.

   1126. rr Posted: June 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4153215)
I seem to have less interest in NBA officiating than anyone else on the planet,


I am right there with you, as I have said many times. Ref narratives have never been persuasive for me. The league does have a pretty serious image problem, however. It is now de-riguer for people to talk about fixes, favoritism, and shadow conspiracies every year during the playoffs, and I see it in a wide range of conversations. Pockets of Lakers fans, still bitter in the wake of the veto, routinely complained about the refs deliberately screwing the Lakers all year, based on both the league wanting to hurt the Lakers and on the same premise we have seen suggested in this thread: the league wanted James vs. Durant in the Finals. And it will now shift to the Finals themselves. When James gets calls, some people will say the league wants to coronate him. When Durant gets calls, some people will say that Stern wants a small-market team to win the title to prove the league does not have a "competitive balance problem."

So, addressing some of the technical concerns and some particular refs--Joey Crawford being the main one now, it seems--would address some of the complaints, but many of them will not go away, since they are largely based on a few key optical moments from the past, fan emotions, and fan bias. It is similar in that respect to the lottery. I do not believe the lottery was rigged, but Stern created a situation in which it appeared the league might have motivation to rig it, so there will be some people who will always think he did.

   1127. rr Posted: June 10, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4153229)
As far as Boston rebuilding, they are in a similar spot as the Lakers in some respects(I sent an email to Hombre pointing out that the Lakers are also now basically the Atlanta Hawks of the West for the next year or two) and there are now some Lakers fans saying it is time to blow it up.

I am not totally opposed to that as a concept, but as we can see, in today's NBA, it is not that easy in practice. It is easy to SAY "trade Gasol (or Pierce) for picks, a young guy, and an expiring" but when you actually start looking at possible trading partners, you see the issues that arise immediately.
   1128. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4153248)
In the Lakers' case I think Kobe is so iconic that you really can't get rid of him. He's given you one of the all-time great basketball careers, you pretty much have to humor him and let him poorly run the franchise the last few years of his career, then start over. I think the Lakers would have a hard time getting rid of him, and I don't think you can call it 'blowing it up' if you don't get rid of him.
   1129. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4153264)
Let's say there's 3 teams that should be top-tier title contenders over the next 3 years: Miami, OKC, San Antonio.

I'd arbitrarily give them each about a 20%-30% shot at winning each year. San Antonio's number is probably going to drop each year while OKC's could arguably get higher.

Chicago could be in that group, but Rose's health is a major question mark, and Boozer's declining value is something of a problem.

After that, who's likely to emerge as a contender? No. 1 on the list is probably LA (Clippers).

After them? I'd give Memphis, the Lakers, Boston and whatever team has Dwight Howard as having a 3%-5% shot in any given year -- in other words, they're real longshots, but you never know. Amazing things sometimes happen, like getting Pau Gasol or Rasheed Wallace in midseason; putting together Allen/Garnett deals in the offseason; getting Tony Parker with the No. 28 pick; having a star player like Wade in 2006 or Akeem in 1994 go off and totally win 2 series by themselves.

   1130. JC in DC Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4153265)
Wait - I want to be clear that what I was talking about was an overt dismissal of the conspiracy narratives. I just want some of the officiating fixed based on my presumption that it is too big a part of the game. Why do I know or care the personalities of the different refs? B/c it matters in the NBA, and it shouldn't. There are a very few umps like this in baseball, but they stand out b/c of this. That's my problem. Not the fixing, not conspiracies. Just fix some stuff: minimize the refs influence, remove or diminish calls based on subjectivity (the blocks/charges, the goaltends, the flops, the travels let go b/c it's LBJ or whomever else). Tighten up the ship!
   1131. rr Posted: June 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4153291)
Just fix some stuff:


You were clear about that, and I thought I covered it. In an earlier exchange with BL, I listed six levels of ref narratives. These are different types of issues.

In the Lakers' case I think Kobe is so iconic that you really can't get rid of him


That is probably true, and I think that is how it will go down.

you pretty much have to humor him and let him poorly run the franchise the last few years of his career


Classic. Henry Abbott would be very proud.

   1132. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4153321)
I couldn't help but laugh.
   1133. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4153337)
But the problem is that the league tells its refs to favor one team over the other. How the heck do you address that without admitting that you're doing it. The idea that you're doing it would destroy the integrity of your league.


He doesn't need to admit that they've done it in the past to stop doing it now, if that's actually what's happening. Again, it's like Selig and steroids; I'll never for a second believe that he didn't know players were juicing back in the '90's. But to save face and preserve his leagues image, I fully understand why he's still denying all knowledge. But he's made it clear that that kind of thing isn't acceptable any more and that's exactly what Stern needs to do with the officiating issue. Hold them accountable and end the majority of the conspiracy talk once and for all rather than just punishing anyone who dares to complain with heavy fines.

I know a lot of NBA fans who say it's pretty obvious the officials actively help one team or the other on a regular basis, and it doesn't really bother them. There's probably some willful cognitive dissonance there.


I don't see how someone could admit there's a problem yet not be bothered by it, unless they're fans of teams that are beneficiaries of it. It doesn't bother me enough to make me stop following the NBA, but I definitely think the league would be better off without the favoritism (which most people - even on this site - have admitted to in one form or another, be it superstar calls, home team calls, helping the team that's trailing to extend the series calls, etc). Just call the games and see what happens.

The league does have a pretty serious image problem, however. It is now de-riguer for people to talk about fixes, favoritism, and shadow conspiracies every year during the playoffs, and I see it in a wide range of conversations.


Exactly, and it's basically to the point that it doesn't even matter whether there's REALLY favoritism or not; there's SO many sports fans that THINK there is that it just seems arrogant and foolish for Stern to keep ignoring the issue. Honestly, probably literally half of all sports fans I know think NBA refs deliberately manipulate games. I know many people who are fans of basketball in general (high school, college, whatever) that don't follow the NBA specifically for this reason. How can Stern care so little about his products image? Even many people (on this site and elsewhere) that don't think the refs are biased think many of them are basically incompetent, which is only a shade better. A little accountability would go a long way...

Wait - I want to be clear that what I was talking about was an overt dismissal of the conspiracy narratives. I just want some of the officiating fixed based on my presumption that it is too big a part of the game. Why do I know or care the personalities of the different refs? B/c it matters in the NBA, and it shouldn't. There are a very few umps like this in baseball, but they stand out b/c of this. That's my problem. Not the fixing, not conspiracies. Just fix some stuff: minimize the refs influence, remove or diminish calls based on subjectivity (the blocks/charges, the goaltends, the flops, the travels let go b/c it's LBJ or whomever else). Tighten up the ship!


I understood what you meant, and I agree. My favorite refs have always been the ones I haven't heard of or don't know anything about. And that's exactly how it should be; they should be essentially anonymous. If you're very familiar with a ref or his crew, it's never a good thing.
   1134. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4153339)
In the Lakers' case I think Kobe is so iconic that you really can't get rid of him. He's given you one of the all-time great basketball careers, you pretty much have to humor him and let him poorly run the franchise the last few years of his career, then start over.


Even though it might not be in the best long term interest of the team, I pretty much agree with this. Teams being loyal to players who have done a lot for them is just as important IMO as players being loyal to teams. I would've been mad at the Jazz if they'd traded Stockton or Malone in their waning years (say 2002 or 2003) even though the team hadn't been a title contender since 1999 (though they were still very good in 2000 and 2001).
   1135. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4153361)
Got back from lunch with my brother the C's fan. We watched the game together last night, but he was in no mood to talk afterwards. Today, he was okay, but that's because he was convinced if only Bradley had been healthy the Cs would have won the series outright.

"But what about Bosh? The Heat convincingly won both games Bosh played big minutes in." I asked.

But Bradley would have changed everything. Ubuntu uber alles. Lunch was fun.
   1136. tshipman Posted: June 10, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4153370)
Even though it might not be in the best long term interest of the team, I pretty much agree with this. Teams being loyal to players who have done a lot for them is just as important IMO as players being loyal to teams. I would've been mad at the Jazz if they'd traded Stockton or Malone in their waning years (say 2002 or 2003) even though the team hadn't been a title contender since 1999 (though they were still very good in 2000 and 2001).


Yeah, I agree with this. I pretty much have resigned myself to this since the 2010 championship (I did not expect them to win in 2011, IOW).

If you're very familiar with a ref or his crew, it's never a good thing.


I disagree. I always used to enjoy it when I saw Steve Javie working a game. I knew I wouldn't have much to complain about.
   1137. rr Posted: June 10, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4153380)
SI.com's "storylines" preview:



• Select company: Thunder backup point guard Derek Fisher has a chance to become the 14th player to win at least six championships. That's not a bad slice of revenge for a 37-year-old who was sent packing by the Lakers at this year's trade deadline after helping Kobe Bryant win five rings. The other players with six or more titles are Bill Russell (11), Sam Jones (10), John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones and Tom "Satch" Sanders (eight), Robert Horry, Jim Loscutoff and Frank Ramsey (seven), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (six).

• Geek chic. The now generation of NBA stars has pushed aside the silk suits and ties of wannabe moguls for the thick-rimmed glasses, sweaters and backpacks more reminiscent of the science club. No one has captured the ethos better than Westbrook, whose multipatterned shirts, multicolored glasses and cardigan sweaters may not be GQ smooth but, at the least, are fashion forward. Look for his latest unusual combinations during postgame news conferences in the Finals. And for anyone with teenage kids, take note: This is what you'll be buying when those back-to-school sales roll around.


Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/paul_forrester/06/10/nba-finals-storylines/index.html#ixzz1xRAHPcJ5
   1138. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4153390)
Count me as absolutely floored that there are people who believe the NBA refs outright decide games or intentionally screw with outcomes. I think the incompetence of the refs is exaggerated because of the advances in technology as well as the fact that basketball, IMO, is easily the toughest sport to referee for a myriad of reasons. In addition, to the extent that biases leading to bad/questionable calls exist, I believe they have very little to do with intent and a lot more to do with latent psychological biases present in any endeavor.
   1139. Booey Posted: June 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4153401)
I disagree. I always used to enjoy it when I saw Steve Javie working a game. I knew I wouldn't have much to complain about.


Really? That's interesting, since he was always one of my least favorites.

Question to all - when a game you watched seemed to be called really well, do you ever look up the crew to see who it was? I never do, which is why the only refs I know by name are ones that I've had a problem with. If I've never heard of an official I generally assume he must be pretty good.

Count me as absolutely floored that there are people who believe the NBA refs outright decide games or intentionally screw with outcomes


Even if you strongly disagree with that belief, it shouldn't surprise you at all that people think this, since many of them are very open about it and have been for as long as I've been watching basketball. Read the comments section on ESPN after ANY game, especially in the playoffs.

In addition, to the extent that biases leading to bad/questionable calls exist, I believe they have very little to do with intent and a lot more to do with latent psychological biases present in any endeavor.


If this is true, it's still something the league should address when they notice certain patterns with their officials. Maybe some of them don't even realize they have feelings towards or against certain teams or players that's affecting their impartial judgment, and all it would take for them to "straighten up" would be someone pointing it out to them. But that kind of thing is never going to happen if Stern doesn't at least start taking the accusations seriously enough to implement a study or something.

I honestly don't really care whether calls are blown due to bias or due to incompetence; IMO, they're both serious problems that should at least be addressed.
   1140. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4153411)
Even if you strongly disagree with that belief, it shouldn't surprise you at all that people think this, since many of them are very open about it and have been for as long as I've been watching basketball. Read the comments section on ESPN after ANY game, especially in the playoffs.

Yeah. I expect a different level of discourse here than would occur over there though.

If this is true, it's still something the league should address when they notice certain patterns with their officials. Maybe some of them don't even realize they have feelings towards or against certain teams or players that's affecting their impartial judgment, and all it would take for them to "straighten up" would be someone pointing it out to them. But that kind of thing is never going to happen if Stern doesn't at least start taking the accusations seriously enough to implement a study or something.

My point is that these issues are inherent when using humans so unless the robot refs are ready to go...oh well.
   1141. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4153415)
I don't exactly remember the details of robinred's "6 degress of ref narratives" but for the average fan, there's probably not much of a leap from "game is difficult to referee" and "they call traveling on every play" to "Stern controls the outcome of every game."

Same thing with the draft lottery -- I could be wrong, but other than Ewing to Knicks, there probably aren't more than 1 or 2 times where the lottery looked really fishy. There was the time the Celtics and the Sixers (who were, at that time, still considered an elite franchise and major market) got the No. 2 and No. 1 picks in the draft. As far as conspiracies go, that didn't gain much traction because Bias died and the Sixers totally flubbed it by trading the pick for Roy Hinson. There was also the time the Magic, who had Shaquille O'Neal, finished 41-41 and got the No. 1 pick (Webber).

Other than that, I don't think there's been a ton of "It's fixed!" controversies. For sure there would have been had the Celtics/Pitino gotten Duncan.

But yeah, this year the Hornets get No.1 and everyone's screaming, "Fix" again.
   1142. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4153418)
This is only very tenuously related, but sports leagues would be a lot better off if the lottery was simply "all teams that missed the playoffs get slotted in random order with equal chances" and the order was re-randomized every round.
   1143. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4153420)
I'd like to see them target Rondo's buddy Josh Smith in free agency after next season (assuming they don't have what it takes to get him in a trade before then).


This caught my attention before but I forgot to mention it. Josh Smith is a good player and an elite defender with length, but pairing him up with Rondo in this offense doesn't seem like a great idea. Isn't Smith another guy whose offense is dependent on long 2s? Doesn't seem to be an ideal fit, especially if you lose Allen and the shooting/movement without the ball that he brings.

Hollinger noted that the Celtics' problems generally stem from offense; they lose when they go through extended periods of bad shooting. I don't see how Smith would help in that regard.
   1144. baudib Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4153426)
I'd like to see them target Rondo's buddy Josh Smith in free agency after next season (assuming they don't have what it takes to get him in a trade before then).


This caught my attention before but I forgot to mention it. Josh Smith is a good player and an elite defender with length, but pairing him up with Rondo in this offense doesn't seem like a great idea. Isn't Smith another guy whose offense is dependent on long 2s? Doesn't seem to be an ideal fit, especially if you lose Allen and the shooting/movement without the ball that he brings.

Hollinger noted that the Celtics' problems generally stem from offense; they lose when they go through extended periods of bad shooting. I don't see how Smith would help in that regard.
   1145. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 10, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4153432)
Hollinger noted that the Celtics' problems generally stem from offense; they lose when they go through extended periods of bad shooting. I don't see how Smith would help in that regard.
Smith is very good rebounder, and the Celtics really need a guy who can control the boards. His long-range shooting is, um, poor but he can score in the post, and the Celtics really need that, too.
   1146. Marcel Posted: June 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4153440)
This caught my attention before but I forgot to mention it. Josh Smith is a good player and an elite defender with length, but pairing him up with Rondo in this offense doesn't seem like a great idea. Isn't Smith another guy whose offense is dependent on long 2s? Doesn't seem to be an ideal fit, especially if you lose Allen and the shooting/movement without the ball that he brings.


J-Smoove is a guy that is held back by all the long jumpers he takes. He doesn't shoot them well at all, but continues to jack them up regardless. Having a PG that is good at finding guys off the cut would probably make him an even better player.
   1147. JC in DC Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4153522)
NJ:

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am, however, more floored by your assertion the NBA is the toughest sports league to officiate. To my mind, there's no way it's tougher than football and it could only be equal to hockey in its difficulty (those refs are on skates!), at best. I think your assumption that it's the toughest is part of the league's narrative. What I'm suggesting are ways to make the officiating easier. Eliminate the subjective, bias-influenced "charge," call more of the pushing in the post and the fake screens that you get at home but are called somewhere else, get rid of the goaltending calls (or conform to the international rules), etc. Work to get rid of the tougher subjective stuff.
   1148. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 11, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4153530)
Smith shoots too many long jumbers, true, but I think he would benefit from playing with a good passer like Rondo, who can feed him cutting to the hoop and on lobs. A forceful coach like Rivers might also help his discipline.
   1149. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4153571)
I enjoyed Dave Zirin's "Why We Should All Root for the Heat" polemic:
I would argue that how we choose to see the Heat and Thunder is a litmus test. It’s a litmus test that reveals how the sports radio obsession with villainizing twenty-first-century athletes blinds us to the swelling number of villains who inhabit the owner’s box. And in Oklahoma City, we have the kinds of sports owners whose villainy should never be forgotten.

Strip away the drama and the Heat are called “evil” because their star players exercised free agency and—agree or disagree with their decision—took control of their own careers. The Thunder are praised for doing it the “right way,” but no franchise is more caked in original sin than the team from Oklahoma City. Their owners, Clay Bennett and Aubrey McClendon, with an assist from NBA Commissioner David Stern, stole their team with the naked audacity of Frank and Jesse James from the people of Seattle.
   1150. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4153596)
Yaaaawn. Nothing in sports puts me to sleep faster than the "stolen team" garbage, as though franchises moving is some new thing that just started yesterday.
   1151. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4153601)
Honestly, probably literally half of all sports fans I know think NBA refs deliberately manipulate games. I know many people who are fans of basketball in general (high school, college, whatever) that don't follow the NBA specifically for this reason.

See, this I don't get. College basketball officiating is horrendous. Just god-awful. But there aren't a lot of people that think it's fixed (even those who see the pro-Duke bias or whatnot don't go that far, or at least I've managed to not hear about it).

I am, however, more floored by your assertion the NBA is the toughest sports league to officiate. To my mind, there's no way it's tougher than football and it could only be equal to hockey in its difficulty (those refs are on skates!), at best. I think your assumption that it's the toughest is part of the league's narrative.

I liked his initial post, but I'm not sure I ever thought this out that much. Thinking out loud here...In football, there's a lot more officials and a lot less for each individual official to watch. It's also not constant motion, so I think I'd say it's easier than basketball. Because there's so much downtime and so much more replay of every play, I think it might be easier to notice/talk about mistakes they make. Hockey has one more official than the NBA, which helps, and the size difference between the players and officials isn't as big as it is in the NBA. It's also constant motion, but I think there's fewer rules/violations they have to look for than in basketball. It's physically hard to skate constantly, but the NBA refs have to be in peak physical shape as well. Perhaps it's a tossup, but I might lean towards basketball being harder; I'm not convinced I'm right though.

I'd like to see them target Rondo's buddy Josh Smith in free agency after next season (assuming they don't have what it takes to get him in a trade before then).

Unless they're not keeping KG, they're not going to have the cap space. Outside of Rondo and maybe Bradley, what trade assets do they have?

---

I haven't talked much about the Bulls offseason plans. There's been a lot of talk that the Bulls are going to do everything they can to avoid the tax next season. That means most likely letting Korver and Brewer walk (both have non-guaranteed contracts). It's unclear whether they play to do the same with Watson, what with the Rose injury and all. It sounds like they think Butler can take Brewer's minutes (those were virtually gone by the time the playoffs rolled around). I think they're clearly targeting a 2/3 in the draft, but I'm not sure how good of a player they expect to get and how much that person will contribute next season. With Rose missing most of the year, if they let Watson go they need a starting PG (one rumor was they'd even go after Nash or Kidd - one isn't like the other but I doubt either would be interested in being a placeholder). Deng is going to miss time at the beginning of the year recovering from his wrist surgery (post-Olympics). And Rip is 57 years old and can't be counted on to be healthy. So I don't see how they plan to replace these guys, none of whom have huge contracts. They are saying they plan on matching any offers for Asik, which very well could be a mistake as 7ft guys tend to be severely overrated and overcompensated. It doesn't sound like they have any plans to amnesty Boozer, which I think I agree with at this point.
   1152. tshipman Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4153611)
It doesn't sound like they have any plans to amnesty Boozer, which I think I agree with at this point.


Really? I would have thought you'd be on board with that. I would tend to think that it's a good idea to amnesty him. They aren't getting their money's worth with him now and the deal projects to get worse down the line.

Can you explain why you're not on board? I'd be interested to hear.
   1153. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 11, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4153614)
I was thinking (in the shower) about pickup basketball. As a thought-experiment, imagine if the game were played without refs, much as we all have played before. The vast majority of these in my experience have had only a few disputed calls, but typically everyone understands sometimes you get those BS "ball" calls, but the game reaches a kind of equilibrium where almost always the better team wins.
I just don't think this works as an analogy, and I think this goes to why NBA officiating is way harder. In a pick-up game, you follow the norms of basketball. You play "normal" basketball defense and try to make only basketball-typical levels of contact.

I don't think there's any reason to expect professional players to respect the norms of basketball without full refereeing. The lessons of the last twenty years, it seems to me, are precisely that the level of physical play and the level of "normal" basketball contact in the NBA are a direct function of how the refs call the game.

The job of an NBA ref is much harder than that of an NFL/NHL ref because basketball isn't a contact sport in the same way. The attempt to prevent the increase in contact means that the line between foul / not foul is much fuzzier than in contact sports. (As an analogy, I'd suggest that NBA refereeing is like if all NFL player contact were governed by pass interference rules.) I don't know the best way to manage this fuzziness, but I think that "get the refs out of there" only works if you want a rougher, uglier, higher-contact game.
   1154. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4153616)
I wasn't able to watch game 7 (I was at a wedding), but I'm not sure which team is going to win between OKC and Miami. If Bosh is healthy (and I figure there's no reason to assume he's not going to keep improving), we're looking at both teams as healthy as they can be (I'll acknowledge the Maynor injury, but disregard it since he hasn't been around for a long time now). I don't know if Wade is quite right. I see the Thunder as having a hard time matching up with Miami. I don't like Thabo's chances against LeBron for long stretches, and I like Harden's chances even less; Durant just can't cut it at all. I think Thabo/Harden are going to spend most of their time on Wade, where they should be able to bother him. I think Wade is going to have to spend most of his energy on Westbrook anyway. The Heat actually foul at a little bit of a higher rate than I would have thought, so FTs should still be an advantage for OKC this series. The Heat are going to be the best defensive team the Thunder have faced so far in the playoffs, by a decent margin. I don't really see the Thunder defense significantly slowing the Heat down, but they can still shoot over Miami and their offense will win more than one game for them.

I think it's pretty close to 50/50, but HCA does help OKC. I think Miami can steal game 1, as if the Thunder are going to have any nerves/mental problems it would be early in the series. I don't see either team winning every game at home, but I think it goes at least 6 and I'm leaning towards taking Miami in 7.
   1155. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4153618)
I'm sure I'd have an opinion on it if I were from Seattle. But I'm not, I don't, and I didn't pay much attention to everything that happened leading up to the move. My uninformed opinion is that if this is the standard case of the city not giving enough money to buy the Sonics a shiny new arena, then Seattle is better off having the team in OKC. Though the basketball fans in Seattle may not feel that way.

But I do agree that the narrative about the Heat being "evil" is BS. The Miami star players have been around the league longer, earned the right to unrestricted free agency, and choose to play in Miami. The star players in OKC are in their rookie contracts or restricted free agency years, and are playing in OKC because they have no choice. Now they might greatly enjoy playing there, and if given a choice may want to stay. But they have not had a free choice, they are playing there mainly for the same reason my grandfather fought the Germans: He was drafted. The idea the Thunder are doing things "the right way", winning with players who have no right to choose playing somewhere else, should appeal mostly to team owners. Regardless of how it was done though, what the Thunder have is pretty impressive, an elite team with the best players all 23 or younger. I don't know if that has ever happened before.

I'm still rooting for Miami, but I like the Thunder players as well. I expect to be pretty happy with a good series regardless of outcome.
   1156. JuanGone..except1game Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4153619)
Yaaaawn. Nothing in sports puts me to sleep faster than the "stolen team" garbage, as though franchises moving is some new thing that just started yesterday.


Well, if your ever suffering insomnia, text me "Art Modell?"

Smith shoots too many long jumbers, true, but I think he would benefit from playing with a good passer like Rondo, who can feed him cutting to the hoop and on lobs. A forceful coach like Rivers might also help his discipline.


I've always felt like J-Smoove has been severly held back by his situation. He's a guy whose played with the following list of starting PG's (Royal Ivey, Speedy Claxton, Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague) and been saddled with Mike Woodson's isolation offense. I think we've seen what Amare has become over the last few years in an analogous position and J-Smoove has much more defensive value. There aren't many players outside of maybe John Wall and Demarcus Cousins who need a change of scenery more.
   1157. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4153624)
1153 - I'm inclined to agree with this. Mind you, I'm biased from having reffed a handful of basketball games (kid games), poorly.

Boozer amnesty: I haven't tried to think this through - but do you do this now? No question that contract is bad, but what's the benefit of doing it now versus later? (Sincere question, haven't looked at their cap situation)
   1158. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4153629)
Really? I would have thought you'd be on board with that. I would tend to think that it's a good idea to amnesty him. They aren't getting their money's worth with him now and the deal projects to get worse down the line.

Can you explain why you're not on board? I'd be interested to hear.


If they let Brewer and Korver walk and amnesty Boozer but keep Asik, they still might not be under the cap next season. They'd be at around $52mil, not counting cap holds before resigning Asik (I figure he gets about a MLE-level offer from someone). So if they let Boozer go, they can pretty much only replace him with their own MLE (which they may need to fill some wing minutes as I mentioned before); and if I'm overrating the contract Asik might get or they choose to let him go, they'll have about that same amount of money to offer and now 2 bigs to replace (and you have to consider Noah somewhat injury prone). I don't know that there's anyone out there at that price than can replace the offensive production Boozer does give him (no, it's not $15mil worth). So they really can't afford to let him go yet, and they need those minutes filled. He's also their best offensive player with Rose out.

I don't know that the Bulls will be bad enough to tank next season. Maybe if they let everyone go and replace them with minimum level salaried guys. But if they're going to punt next year (I think Thibs would quit before agreeing that anyway), they might as well deal Noah and or Deng, etc. So maybe they're thinking they can still make the playoffs, and if Rose comes back perhaps they can still contend next year. To do that, they still need Boozer's offense.

If Mirotic was ready/able to come over next year (and due to his buyout, it's not likely), I'd be all for sending Boozer packing. Maybe that happens after next year.
   1159. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4153635)
Oral history of the Dream Team. Haven't read it yet. I also set my DVR to record the NBAtv documentary, but haven't watched it yet either.
   1160. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4153649)
It looks like the Thunder are unique among NBA finals particpants in having their 4 best players all 23 or younger.

The 1977-78 Sonics came close. They had Dennis Johnson and Jack Sikma under 23, 24 year old Gus Williams, and 25 year old Marvin Webster.

The 1994-95 Magic had their 2 best under 23, Shaq and Penny, but their next 2 were in their late 20's (Horace Grant, Nick Anderson).

Whatever happened to Webster? in 1978 he was a 14 point, 12.5 rebound guy with 162 blocked shots. He's 7 foot 1, picked 3rd overall a few years earlier. Signs a free agent deal with the Knicks and never had another good season. Injuries? Drugs? Curse of the Knicks?
   1161. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4153651)
On Seattle: Are we trying to page Pelton?
My take has been that Bennett clearly wasn't making a good faith effort to keep the club in Seattle and that Schultz had to know what the outcome of the sale would be. Nonetheless, I'm very okay with OKC having a team and, well, teams move. Feel bad for the Seattle fans, though.

Webster: My understanding is... contracted hepatitis in college, struggled with managing that + issues with tendinitis.
   1162. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4153652)
Speaking of Steve Javie...

The longtime NBA official, who retired before the start of this season due to an arthritic right knee after 25 years in the league, has been hired by ESPN as a rules analyst for pregame and postgame coverage of the NBA Finals, as well as SportsCenter. Javie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mike Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating who has been sensational for Fox Sports in helping viewers understand the NFL's byzantine rule book.


I guess I didn't realize he had retired.
   1163. andrewberg Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4153658)
My uninformed opinion is that if this is the standard case of the city not giving enough money to buy the Sonics a shiny new arena, then Seattle is better off having the team in OKC. Though the basketball fans in Seattle may not feel that way.


There was a little more to it than that. When Bennett bought the team, he made explicit contractual promises to negotiate with the city/state in good faith, try to find a solution, etc. Whether or not that would work is not established, but it came out during the lawsuit that he and McClendon were emailing each other about how to make it look like they were negotiating with Seattle in good faith while they were also making deals to get the team to OKC. I don't know if it would have made a material difference, but the issue was that they publicly said they would try to keep the team in place while simultaneously privately working to move it. You can see how that is distasteful.

There was also a conflict of interest issue with an attorney who was working on both sides of the deal and essentially pushed for the settlement that won out where he convinced a bunch of people who don't give a damn about sports that the city would be better off with cash payments than the team. Again, whether true or not, it doesn't please the hardcore fans.
   1164. Eddo Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4153662)
Great link in #1159, Moses. My favorite part so far:

McIntyre: I had about eighty basketballs in my room in Barcelona and had to get the players to sign them all. Bird was the last guy, and he says, "What's the quickest anyone's done it?" I said, "Anywhere from eight minutes to twenty." And Bird said, "I'm going to be the fastest. Time me." So he signs them, and he throws me the last one: "Okay, what is it?" "Whoa, four and a half minutes!" And he goes, "Yes!" Competitive right to the end.
   1165. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4153669)
Any mention of Marvin Webster should include his nickname: The Human Eraser

Dream Team: I'm wondering how you guys felt about the Dream Team at the time. Personally, I thought it was a total bore, as obviously the games would hold no suspense, and I didn't find it particularly outrageous that the U.S. men's Olympic team could occasionally be beaten in international competition. I was actually much more excited to see how the NHL stars would fare in the Olympics against other NHL stars (the team I thought was the best, the 98 team in Nagano, was a total flop.)

The ESPN special showed some of the pettiness involved. Barkley elbowed a kid from Angola; Magic said, "We all cringed. We didn't need to do that." Jordan agreed to play on the condition that Isiah wasn't on the team. Jordan and Pippen made it a point to humiliate Kukoc.

Anyway, is it possible to construct a basketball roster that would beat the Dream Team? I don't think it is. You have the unique confluence of events where 2 all-time greats, Bird and Magic, were nearing the end but could still play, plus a group of other Hall of Famers in their prime, pretty much all of whom were great two-way players. You can have LeBron and your choice of the greatest centers ever, but matching up with Magic, Jordan, Pippen, Barkley, Malone, Bird seems really difficult.

   1166. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4153673)
I'm sympathetic to any city that lost its team and I don't think any city should give a single cent to help build arenas for sports teams. But the title is mostly about the players and coaches, also the fans in OKC seem to be terrific.
   1167. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4153678)
You might be able to do it if time is unconstrained, you can have Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Dirk, and Durant team up with Russell, Chamberlain, West, Baylor, Kareem, and Oscar. It will get easier to come up with a roster that can beat them a few decades from now, once we get a few "next greatest ever" types on the court.

But it's hard to pick a group from a specific time that could match up with the dream team.
   1168. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4153683)
My Beat the Dream Team:

PG Oscar Robertson, Chris Paul
SG Jerry West, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant
SF LeBron James, Kevin Durant
PF Bill Russell, Tim Duncan
C Wilt, Shaq, Kareem

I guess that's not bad. Forward spots are tough; I really want Dr. J but prefer a perimeter shooter in Durant, and for sure if we're playing international rules. I may be projecting too much to put a guy who's 23 on the team, and so maybe the backup SF should be Rick Barry, but it gives me pause to have 5 out of 12 guys from pre-1975. Actually, if we're playing international rules I'd think about finding a spot for Dirk or Ray Allen.
   1169. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4153701)
Yaaaawn. Nothing in sports puts me to sleep faster than the "stolen team" garbage, as though franchises moving is some new thing that just started yesterday.
Whatever, Nationals Fan.
   1170. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4153704)
Actually, if you have a team that will always have Wilt, Shaq or Kareem on the floor, I think you'd prefer Garnett over Duncan for his offensive versatility. Also, if you're protecting a lead, you could put Garnett and Russell on the floor at the same time and never give up a point.

   1171. Booey Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4153709)
#1162 - Javie ejected a mascot and an announcer? While I generally dislike it when refs flaunt their authority like this, that actually made me laugh. I would've liked to see that. What did they do/say to warrant an ejection? The Jazz Bear screws with officials during timeouts all the time, and I've never heard of him getting tossed.

Dream Team: I'm wondering how you guys felt about the Dream Team at the time.

I loved the Dream Team and their uber-dominance. I turned 13 that summer, but even at that age I could tell that that was a once in a lifetime team that might never be duplicated. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

The only weak link was Laettner. I said even at the time that they should've chosen Shaq as the college representative, and obviously hindsight has been kind to this opinion. Then we could've had a perfect 12/12 on NBA HOFers.

Jordan agreed to play on the condition that Isiah wasn't on the team.


Thomas was a d!ck, so good on Jordan. Isiah also had issues with Malone cuz of a certain elbow incident a year earlier. Oh, and they wouldn't have selected Stock either (even though he was better than Isiah at that point in their careers) if they already had Thomas as Magic's backup. So Jordan/Malone/Stockton, or Thomas/some other guard/some other forward? They made the right choice.
   1172. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4153725)
Yeah, I don't even know if you want Isiah on that roster. I think there was some game, maybe before the Olympics, where Magic and Stockton didn't play and it was sort of a LeBron-Wade thing where Jordan and Pippen had the ball most of the time. That would work. It does put Chuck Daly in a somewhat awkward position, however.

I said even at the time that they should've chosen Shaq as the college representative, and obviously hindsight has been kind to this opinion. Then we could've had a perfect 12/12 on NBA HOFers.


I actually said this at the time, too. But a lot of my friends argued about this, and legitimately felt that Laettner was a better player than Shaq at the time. To be sure, Laettner was an all-time great college player, truly legendary, and considered a much more polished player -- of course, he had the benefit of playing for a powerhouse program at Duke. Also, he's probably going to make the Basketball Hall of Fame.
   1173. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4153727)
baudib

having watched olympic basketball over the years it really looks like you need a guy who can nail a 3 pointer if given any kind of space. i don't see that guy on your baet the dream team. somebody who shoots like 45 percent and if trailing on a break or getting a wide open look hits over 60 percent or seems to. guy isn't a starter. but he can blow up a game pretty quick if the other team is napping.
   1174. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4153735)
Harvey: Jerry West and Durant can shoot, IMO. Kobe's not bad, either. And yeah, in constructing an actual roster to play international rules, I acknowledged I'd give Ray Allen or Dirk consideration, maybe Steve Nash, too.

   1175. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4153743)
baudib

guy like that needs fresh legs to cannot be a starter having to guard someone all the time. seems better suited for your 6th/7th guy on team

i am only basiing this on watching olympic style basketball.
   1176. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4153746)
having watched olympic basketball over the years it really looks like you need a guy who can nail a 3 pointer if given any kind of space. i don't see that guy on your baet the dream team. somebody who shoots like 45 percent and if trailing on a break or getting a wide open look hits over 60 percent or seems to. guy isn't a starter. but he can blow up a game pretty quick if the other team is napping.

I may be crazy/alone on this, but I think Chris Paul can do that.
   1177. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4153748)
i am also not well versed in today's nba going only on what i read and hear. chris paul is described as a great point guard. i don't read/hear much about him being a long range deadeye
   1178. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4153760)
Whatever, Nationals Fan.

ZOMG those Lakers are evil, You guys stole your team from Minneapolis!!11!!11

See just how stupid and pathetic this game is? Like I said before, yaaaaaawn.
   1179. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4153761)
Jerry West can be that guy off the bench, Kobe is probably going to be the starter. Maybe Wade. Probably is a good idea to pick up another long range shooter like Allen. Kobe and Wade are greater players, but you don't need both of them.

I don't know if Oscar Robertson would have had 3 point range (West certainly did). Chris Paul is good at the 3, but not great - 36 percent for his career, 37 percent last year.
   1180. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4153781)
Anyway, is it possible to construct a basketball roster that would beat the Dream Team? I don't think it is. You have the unique confluence of events where 2 all-time greats, Bird and Magic, were nearing the end but could still play
Just a nit, but Magic would not have been near the end of a normal career arc. But for the HIV/retirement, he would have still been near his prime.
   1181. Booey Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4153783)
It's kinda telling though that to come up with a team to beat the Dream Team you need to include players from ALL era's whereas theirs was built with only players from one era (well, pretty much. Magic and Bird were at the end of their careers).

And I'm still not entirely sure the proposed team is better.
   1182. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4153790)
ZOMG those Lakers are evil, You guys stole your team from Minneapolis!!11!!11

<blockquote>See just how stupid and pathetic this game is? Like I said before, yaaaaaawn.
You laugh (because, you know, it's not your team that got ripped), but long-time bitter Washington Senator fans are still angry about Bob Short moving the team away. Fan bases that lose teams are open wounds that don't heal over until they get a new team, and perhaps not even then. Yes, it happens all the time and, yes, it's a business... but so what? Owners ask fans to not only invest their money but their time and emotion and identity into the franchise, and invariably people do. When they take those teams away, of course there's going to be bitterness. To say that there shouldn't be ignores the basic nature of sports fandom. A fan of Washington baseball should know better.

But what am I saying here? It's Joey, BBTF terrorst. Show up, blow #### up, run away.
   1183. andrewberg Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4153806)
It's kinda telling though that to come up with a team to beat the Dream Team you need to include players from ALL era's whereas theirs was built with only players from one era (well, pretty much. Magic and Bird were at the end of their careers).

And I'm still not entirely sure the proposed team is better.


Simmons had Chris Mullin on his podcast a few months ago and they talked about what the 2012 team would look like if perfectly healthy, and Mullin thought that the team would be able to beat the original Dream Team based on the older team's defensive shortcomings.

PG- Paul, Rose, Westbrook
SG- Kobe, Wade
SF- Durant, Carmelo
PF- Lebron, Love, Griffin
C- Howard, Chandler

You can mix and match that however you want. Maybe you take out Chandler, use Love/Blake some at the 5 in the smaller international format, and bring in Gay or Harden for marksmanship. Maybe you find room for Iguodala to be the wing defense stopper. Maybe you include Anthony Davis as the token young guy. In any case, you could life pretty difficult (who are Magic and Bird guarding in the lineup?).
   1184. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4153813)
Owners ask fans to not only invest their money but their time and emotion and identity into the franchise, and invariably people do.


The American model of privately-owned professional teams has never completely made sense to me as a model for this reason. A successful team is, emotionally speaking, a public trust. Teams make money because people care enough to invest their attention and time, and therefore money, in them. Moving a team isn't just a business owner taking his or her business elsewhere, it's in some very real senses a breakup. The Seattle-OKC move was a particularly bad one, for reasons outlined above, with the team owner acting in bad faith and lying to the fanbase throughout the process. Teams work because people care, and telling people not to be upset after their faith is broken, or at least not enough, is at best petty and also, as LAEHoA points out, very much ignoring the mechanisms of sports fandom. You don't care. Congrats. So what?
   1185. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4153819)
Yeah, I'm sure that there are probably a few eighty something year old Brooklynites who are still bitter about the Dodgers. Losing a team always sucks, but franchises have been relocating forever, and that will never change. As far as I'm concerned, everyone has the freedom to root for or against any players, teams, and/or owners for whatever reasons they want to, but my attitude is that at some point you get over it and move on. Personally, I don't go around bloviating that the Twins and Rangers are evil franchises that everyone should root against. I was actually pulling for the Rangers to win the World Series last year. I would think that California sports fans would get this, being in a state that has been the recipient of so many franchises that are so-called "stolen teams".

And as far as the "terrorist" stuff goes, you can just take that and stick it right where the sun don't shine, pal.
   1186. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4153820)
It's kinda telling though that to come up with a team to beat the Dream Team you need to include players from ALL era's whereas theirs was built with only players from one era
The last U.S. Olympic Team was

PG: Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Chris Paul
SG: Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, Dwayne Wade
SF: Lebron James, Tayshaun Prince, Carmelo Anthony
PF: Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh
C: Dwight Howard

There are... maaaaaaaybe eight NBA HoFers here? (we're obviously discounting college work), and Kidd was definitely past his prime even then. Doesn't measure up to the original, of course. The original Dream Team had 10 guys who weren't just Hall of Famers, but acknowledged as among the 50 greatest. So you'd need to find an era where there were at least ten top-50 players with multiples at each position to put together a team that could rival the 1992 team.
   1187. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4153827)
This is a fun exercise. Remember we're talking international 3-point lines, not NBA. If we're talking about specifically beating the Dream Team, well...Who guards Jordan? I think that determines the composition of your wing players.

Oscar, if he were born post-1980, would probably develop into a fine international range 3-point shooter, although his game was about controlling the ball and getting a better shot than you were giving him.

I guess West is the combo guard off the bench. I think of him being a more natural 2 than a 1, a great shooter and defensive terror. But he'd be an undersized 2 guard in a modern lineup.
   1188. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4153842)
PG: Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Chris Paul
SG: Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, Dwayne Wade
SF: Lebron James, Tayshaun Prince, Carmelo Anthony
PF: Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh
C: Dwight Howard


Redd and Prince obviously aren't greats but they're terrific role players for this team. Boozer would get WTFowned by Malone or Barkley.

PG- Paul, Rose, Westbrook
SG- Kobe, Wade
SF- Durant, Carmelo
PF- Lebron, Love, Griffin
C- Howard, Chandler


This is a great team, obviously, and better than the Redeem team by virtue of moving LeBron to PF. I don't really like their chances against the original Dream Team. Problem here is you have a bunch of guys who are better at being No. 1 guys, fitting on teams that don't have natural ball-handlers.
   1189. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4153845)
PG- Paul, Rose, Westbrook
SG- Kobe, Wade
SF- Durant, Carmelo
PF- Lebron, Love, Griffin
C- Howard, Chandler


Please sub someone for Melo.

EDIT: Sub Rondo for Melo. Now you have two great ballhandlers/distributors in Rondo and Paul to run the offense. Kobe/Wade guard Wade. LeBron gets Magic. Durant gets Bird. Hmmm, Magic's size really does create some cross matchup issues. Does anyone know the "normal" lineups the Dream Team used? That would be helpful in figuring out defensive assignments.

EDIT 2: As for the "all timers" argument, I think it's more likely than not that Paul, Kobe, Wade, Durant, LeBron and Howard end their careers in the Top 50. Love, Rose, Westbrook and Blake could get there eventually but it's too early to tell.
   1190. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4153848)
Yeah, I'm sure that there are probably a few eighty something year old Brooklynites who are still bitter about the Dodgers.
They're all basically dead now, but for a good half-century that wasn't the case. Not that you care; you got yours.
…my attitude is that at some point you get over it and move on.
Art Modell won't ever be forgiven in Cleveland, nor Bob Irsay in Baltimore. And if you're an Expos fan still living in Montreal, what team do you "move on" to?

I would think that California sports fans would get this, being in a state that has been the recipient of so many franchises that are so-called "stolen teams".
My baseball interest was born in 1982, so there hasn't been any franchise movement that's affected my rooting interests. But so far, I've put in a good three decades of passion into the Angels, If the Angels ever moved away, I'd have to stop watching baseball.

And as far as the "terrorist" stuff goes, you can just take that and stick it right where the sun don't shine, pal.
Hey, it's what you do. I'm just giving it the appropriate label.
   1191. The District Attorney Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4153854)
I had about eighty basketballs in my room in Barcelona and had to get the players to sign them all. Bird was the last guy, and he says, "What's the quickest anyone's done it?" I said, "Anywhere from eight minutes to twenty." And Bird said, "I'm going to be the fastest. Time me." So he signs them, and he throws me the last one: "Okay, what is it?" "Whoa, four and a half minutes!" And he goes, "Yes!"
Congratulations to Larry Bird for having horrible handwriting.
   1192. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4153859)
And as far as the "terrorist" stuff goes, you can just take that and stick it right where the sun don't shine, pal.

Hey, it's what you do. I'm just giving it the appropriate label.


We'd appreciate it if you took your shoes off at the door of the thread, or at least wipe the mud off.
   1193. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4153872)
The American model of privately-owned professional teams has never completely made sense to me as a model for this reason. A successful team is, emotionally speaking, a public trust.


But what's the alternative? A team run by a management group appointed by public ownership? Team Stock that can't be sold for a profit? Hard to see a team like that winning a championship more than once a decade, or bringing their A game to the playoffs after finishing with the best regular season record?
   1194. andrewberg Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4153876)
There are... maaaaaaaybe eight NBA HoFers here?


Yeah, but there are probably 10-11 on the proposed 12 roster I listed, and you could revise it to get to 12 if you wanted.

Lost a longer breakdown of the roster matchups, but I think the key matchup here is Magic having to guard Paul. We accept that Paul is great, but I don't think we have contextualized his ability to run the PNR and prod a defense as an all-time skill yet (and I think it is one). 12 guys would probably have to go bigger to guard Barkley/Malone (maybe Blake for Durant), unless you trust Durant to guard the diminished version of Bird that they had in 92 (PER under 20, not durable, WS/48 way down from peak). Jordan/Kobe would be sweet, and the 5's would really only get touches on lobs and rebounds.
   1195. andrewberg Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4153881)
Please sub someone for Melo.


I'm with you strategically, but that is probably one of those political realities (with his friendship) that you have to take to get the team together. I like the Rondo inclusion, and I think you can slide Russell off the ball pretty naturally in this lineup.
   1196. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4153887)
(maybe Blake for Durant)


Did I just catch him on off games this year, or is Blake not anywhere near one of the best 12-15 players in the league yet?
   1197. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4153889)
The 2008 team is going to need another center besides Howard, who's going to foul out early and often against these lineups and with international rules.
   1198. AROM Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4153892)
Simmons had Chris Mullin on his podcast a few months ago and they talked about what the 2012 team would look like if perfectly healthy, and Mullin thought that the team would be able to beat the original Dream Team based on the older team's defensive shortcomings.

PG- Paul, Rose, Westbrook
SG- Kobe, Wade
SF- Durant, Carmelo
PF- Lebron, Love, Griffin
C- Howard, Chandler


This doesn't strike me as the greatest defensive unit either. The centers are great and so is Lebron. The other forwards all have defensive issues. Kobe and Wade can defend, but they really need to pick their spots. And Kobe has definitely lost a step on that side of the ball.

Then again, with most of the original dream team in their 50's, playing defense will be a problem. But in 1992, you had Ewing and Robinson to block shots, Karl Malone to play great man on man D against a post player, and Jordan and Pippen to shut down wings. Biggest defensive liability is having Magic & Stockton have to guard the quick PGs. You'd probably have to use Pippen defending point. Also, do we play with modern hand check rules or go with the way the game was called in 1992?

NBA has become a point guard's game, life in 1992 would have been a lot tougher for Westbrook, Rose, and Paul.
   1199. baudib Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4153898)
Jordan/Kobe would be sweet, and the 5's would really only get touches on lobs and rebounds.


I think in the all-time team vs. the Dream Team, the Dream Team is weakest at center, comparatively speaking (this is of course ridiculous as we're talking about prime Ewing and Robinson). I think Wilt, Shaq and Kareem are your top scoring options.

If you're talking Howard, yeah, he's not seeing the ball much.
   1200. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4153899)
Current Howard would be interesting to see against peak Wilt/Shaq/ and flippin' KAJ.
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