Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Last NBA Draft Thoughts - Post-Draft Analysis

In no particular order

  • It's kind of sad that the Sixers were regarded as having "won" the draft by dint of A)not doing any of the egregiously stupid things they were rumored to be doing and B)simply taking the best player available when their pick came up. This got them better players at 24 and 26 than they might have expected, thanks to a run starting around pick 13 on "Who the hell did they just draft?" guys, but after years of bad draft luck, it's about time something went the Sixers' way. They didn't screw up. That counts as progress.

Friday, June 24, 2016

About that Alabama thing

So this week in sports, we heard that the DA is not going to prosecute the 2 Alabama players who were arrested on drug charges and for illegal gun possession.  There was a lot of outrage in many circles over this, especially from the sports media.  My thoughts are as follows:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Things We Will See Today At The NBA Draft

In no particular order:

  1. The Philadelphia 76ers will take Ben Simmons #1 overall.
  2. The Los Angeles Lakers will take Brandon Ingram #2 overall.
  3. The national media will gush over the Lakers' choice and talk about how this means "the Lakers are back", never mind that you generally have to be kind of awful to get the #2 pick and one guy ain't gonna fix that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Your Handy-Dandy Guide to NBA Draft-Speak 2016 Edition

There's a lot of coded languaged that gets used to describe NBA draft prospects, the sort of deliberately obfuscutory phrasing designed to make it sound like the people who are getting paid to be experts are, well, experts. That being said, it is possible to parse actual meaning from some of the more commonly used phrases. To wit:

If they say: "Can't spread the floor"
They mean: "Can't shoot the ball from further than six inches."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thoughts on the NBA Draft

By all accounts, Ben Simmons is the consensus #1 talent in the draft. He is supposed to be the one game-changing talent, the one draftee who has the potential to elicit comparisons to LeBron or Magic someday. He is the best player available, and the Sixers have said he will be the first overall pick.

And then you read the scouting reports and the mock drafts, and the take on Simmons is:

  • Doesn't play defense
  • Can't shoot
  • Gave up on his team
  • Is cocky
  • Doesn't seem to want to put forth effort
  • Best-case scenario is Lamar Odom Lite

And this is the guy everyone agrees is the best player in the draft. One can only assume that by the time you get to pick 10 or so, the scouting reports will read:

  • Models his defense on Draymond Green's nut-shot technique
  • Once tried to eat the rim
  • Accidentally killed his point guard with a too-hard inbounds pass
  • Has never seen a basketball in his life
  • Ritually sacrificed an assistant coach to Arioch, Lord of Chaos
  • Is actually a full-sized Muppet

And with the 24th pick in the first round, the Sixers will pick an actual rock. Or perhaps an alpaca they can stash overseas in the Turkish League for a season.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Quick Post-Finals Note

We have just witnessed a remarkable NBA Finals. Cleveland came back from being down 3 games to 1, an unprecedented event, and did so after being given up for dead by pretty much everyone outside their own locker room. LeBron James put on one of the great all-time Finals performances. Kyrie Irving turned into a star on the national stage. The series was as even as it was humanly possible to be  - at one point late in game 7 both teams had scored precisely the same number of points for the series - and came down to the last minute on some unbelievable plays.

It was great sports. It was great drama. 

And if your first reaction to all of this is "Conspiracy!" or "It was rigged!" or something along those lines, then kindly go eat a bowl of shut the hell up. 

Enjoy what happened.

And if you can't, remember, this is why you can't have nice things.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Simple Question About Game 7

A question:

If the Cavaliers win game 7 of the NBA Finals tonight, it cements LeBron James' legacy as one of the greatest players of all time, as well as a "champion" who single-handedly dragged his team back from the abyss and led them to victory (Draymond Green's poorly-timed attempt at a rochambeau aside). It is also an utter refutation of the Warriors' mobile small-ball, outside shooting heavy style, never mind that they had the best single-season record in NBA history.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Obscure sports facts from this day in history - June 18, 1972

Some of you may not know that baseball is exempt from anti-trust laws.  In fact, Major League Baseball is the only business in America so protected, sport or otherwise, thanks to a 1922 Supreme Court decision featuring Oliver Wendell Holmes.  Of course, back then baseball wasn't what it is today - games were local, and there was no revenue-sharing, no TV or radio, nor anything else crossing state lines, except of course for the buses carrying the players.  There just wasn't much money in it back then, it was actually all for the love of the game.  But I digress.

So the Supreme Court decision may have made sense at the time (emphasis on may).  But to date, the exemption has never been overturned, despite numerous lawsuits and legal challenges, most recently in January 2016.  And this in part led to to Flood vs. Kuhn in 1972.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Brief Message On LeBron James

From the editorial board of Sportsthodoxy, to wit:

If you are one of the tens of thousands flooding sports talk radio or comments sections on your favorite sites about the personal, spiritual, and moral failings of LeBron James, then we would like to kindly offer the following advice:

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Ryan Howard, Beer Bottles, and the Graceful End

Once upon a time, Ryan Howard was a very good baseball player. Maybe not as good as some people addicted to the adrenaline rush of a cloud-scraping home run might thing, but still, pretty darn good. His best years coincided with the best years of a franchise that's been around since the 1880s and, by and large, hasn't been very good; they certainly wouldn't have been as good as they got during that golden window in the mid-to-late 2000s without him. He wasn't the most graceful fielder, but he tried hard and worked at it, and for a while he made himself more or less passable through sheer effort, and he was by all accounts a nice and honorable and intelligent guy, exactly the sort of guy you want to be the centerpiece of your team. He was the sort of guy you wanted to root for, because he seemed like a genuinely good guy who could play well.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Short attention spans in sports?

Last weekend I saw a baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.  Great, modern ballpark with lots of cool features, including Kosher and vegetarian concessions, free cell phone charging stations, and even a nursing mother's lounge.  But I also noticed something odd - the park itself was actually pretty full that day, but a lot of the seats were empty for a good bit of the game.

How can this be, you ask?  Well, most of it can be blamed on the great amenities - "rest areas" in the concourse with tables and cooling fans, the cell phone charging stations, the mother's lounge, not to mention the very long lines at concessions.  So a lot of fans spent a good portion of the game in the concourse instead of actually watching the game.  And that got me thinking - are the games themselves starting to lose our attention?  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Vizzini Picks a Winner in the NBA Finals

The Raptors took Cleveland to six games? Inconceivable!

The Warriors set an all-time mark for best regular season record. They are the defending champions and they have the 2-time defending MVP. Until someone beats them, I clearly cannot pick the Cavaliers.