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31 October 2005

A Deluxe Apartment in the Skyyyyyy

My blog has moved to PoundingTheRock.com.

After lengthy and often bitter negotiations (involving me asking and them saying "OK") my blog is officially moving over to SportsBlogs Nation. SBNation is a growing family of high quality team-specific (for the most part) sports blogs featuring some of the best and most prominent in the business hobby pseudo-business, including a couple of my favorites: Athletics Nation and Lookout Landing. They have just begun to fill out their basketball roster and got off to a great start with Matt over at Blog-A-Bull.

I want to quickly layout the reasons why I made the move and I also want to elaborate on the, uh, non-reasons. Let's start with the latter.

1. Don't get me wrong, moving to SBNation certainly widens my audience and exposure. The site has been mentioned in the New York Times and Forbes Magazine and may "legitamize" my blog in the exploding internet blogging community. But please, I beg you, do not think I am doing this to gain "journalistic credibility." I have absolutely no desire to be anything resembling a mainstream sportswriter. I have no aspirations or delusions of making even half of a meager living off blogging. Basically what I am trying to say is nothing about my writing is going to change. I will still address topics of my choosing in the manner I see fit. Chris Webber is still an overrated sorry excuse for a player. Latrell Sprewell still needs to go fuck himself. PJ Carlesimo's hotel room is still teaming with groupies. And of course Ray Allen is still a pedicured nancy boy. None of that changes.

So, why am I moving.

1. As you may have noticed, all SBNation sites have similar setups. I can say from experience that the layout and interfaces are extremely easy to use from a user and author standpoint. I will no longer have to spend hours fiddling with templates and html code. You have no idea how much I hated fucking around with sidebar widths and font sizes. Ugh.

2. I get my own domain name. Finally a url people can remember! I can also now more easily add photos and charts and graphs and polls and bells and whistles to all of my posts.

3. The SBNation format also lends itself to community involvement. They have a feature called a "diary." Readers can write their own separate posts which can they be commented on by everybody, giving a voice to people who don't want to spend the time to setup and maintain a blog (not to mention finding an audience). This blog has seen many great rants and thoughts from the likes of Matty da Blade, Booth.52, Hollywood, Jason, COKE08, texastentialist, etc. A lot of these comments should have been their own posts and that's what the diaries are for. And of course you can still add comments below my posts as well. By the way, you will need to register in order to leave a comment or write a diary entry. It's certainly free and you will not receive any spam, etc.

4. It should be fun being part of a larger group. SBNation is still a young site; it will be interesting to see where any of "this" goes. When I first had the idea of starting this blog I figured I would be one in a sea of many Spurs blogs. Much to my surprise a Google search yielded no relevant results. In fact, basketball blogs on any subject were relatively sparse. This was 10 months ago; and now I get an e-mail every other day about some new basketball site that has popped up. There are a lot of interesting things going on; "this" has been a lot more fun/interesting/challenging than I thought it could/would be. I hope you'll come along.

Ladies and gentlemen, PoundingTheRock.com.

28 October 2005

Gregg Popovich to Attend Benefit Wine Tasting

Some of you may know that the Spurs' fearless leader Gregg Popovich is quite the wine lover; he in fact has a collection of "about 3000." What the hell does that have to do with anything? Well, long story short, today I got an email from Mr. Damien Casten of Candid Wines. On Sunday, November 6th Coach Pop will be attending a benefit wine tasting in Hinsdale, Illinois. All proceeds will go to Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Association. The attendance is limited to twenty people and there are four tickets on eBay. (Search under "wine tasting" if that link doesn't work.) The opening bids are set at $500.

If you don't live in Chicago area or don't have that kind of scratch there are other ways you can help. Beginning October 31st there will some Spurs memorabilia auctioned off on eBay. Again, all proceeds will be donated. And they got some good stuff. I'm not talking about Jack Haley's game used socks; this stuff is creme de la creme. Take a look:

Autographed official NBA jerseys from Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Also autographed kicks from the same trio! That's off the chizzle! I officially call dibs on Manu's.

I'll post a reminder when the auctions go live.

25 October 2005

The Following Preview is Rated PG-13

The lovely folks over at SportsFanMagazine.com asked me to do a preview of the upcoming season. They supplied the questions, I supplied the answers. A general distaste for humanity supplied the endless heaps of sarcasm.

Biggest off-season move for your team, and why:

I think the acquisition of Michael Finley will prove the most beneficial. Brent Barry’s defense was a huge liability during the playoffs. Finley will be a significant improvement in this area and also shoots a comparable percentage from the 3-point line (Finley has shot 39.4% over the past 3 years compared to Barry’s 40.2%).

Finley’s dependability on the defensive end should allow Pop to severely limit Manu’s regular season minutes which is undoubtedly high on Pop’s priority list (presumably right below keeping Tim and Manu healthy). Another significant benefit of the Finley signing is roster flexibility. The Spurs are basically at the luxury tax threshold (which owner Peter Holt has vowed not to exceed) and will need to move a significant contract if they want to sign Mohammed or another free agent at the end of the season. Finley’s performance may make Barry and his $15.5 million over the next three years expendable. And, unlike Rasho Nesterovic, Brent is actually tradeable.

Another move worth mentioning is Duncan’s growing afro. It’s downright saucy.

Biggest off-season loss for your team, and why:

Uhh… Devin Brown I guess (free agent; signed with the Jazz). He brought aggressiveness and athleticism every night but didn’t play any meaningful minutes in the playoffs due to a back injury. Not much of a loss when you consider his roster spot was taken by Michael Finley.

Who is your favorite player and why, either on your own team or in theentire NBA?

Ray Allen, mainly because I gravitate towards overrated high-volume scorers that would rather get a pedicure than play defense. Man, I love hating Ray Allen. Anyways. Anyone who reads my blog could probably guess that Manu “The Sickness” Ginobili is my favorite player. Skillful, stylish, fearless and just happened to be the best player on the Spurs during the playoffs. And yes, I know he flops and has long hair despite a growing bald spot.

Phil and Kobe: Dynasty in the making, or disaster waiting to happen? Why?

Disaster. Even if there’s no friction or controversy the media will do what it takes to fabricate drama between the “genius” coach and the “uncoachable” player. I am sure Phil Jackson’s lapdog Charley Rosen already has the article written.

Should the NBA just cut to the chase and give Andrew Bogut the Rookie of theYear award now?

No. Charlie Villanueva’s going to win it. He’ll get a ton of minutes in Toronto and be more of a focal point of the offense (after Bosh of course) than Bogut (or any other candidate). He’ll also get a lot of media coverage because of the near universal trashing of his selection with the #7 pick. People love a story, especially when the story doesn’t have eyebrows.

Who will have the higher attendance this season: Atlanta or Charlotte? Andif a tree falls during either of their home games, will it make a sound?

Yes and yes.

Who will be the best-dressed player under the NBA’s new dress-code policy?

The dual man-purse attack of Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto will be too much for the rest of the league to overcome.

On a scale of 1-10, how tired of the San Antonio Spurs’ success are you?(With “one” being not at all, and “ten” being the kind of pain you feel whenyou see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on the cover of a magazine at thesupermarket.)

Definitely a 1. Despite winning the title, the Spurs are still a team in flux. There are a lot of interesting side plots to follow. Will Parker’s offensive game continue to develop? Will Manu play at the same level he did in the playoffs? Will Tim Duncan continue his trend of shouldering less of the offensive burden? How well will Oberto, Finley and Van Exel fit in? Who’s going to start at center? Will Barry, Mohammed or Nesterovic get traded during the season? Will Eva break Tony’s heart? Will Duncan embrace the fro? Will Popovich say one provocative thing the whole season? How many more times will Duncan say something is “basically retarded?”

Over/Under on the number of games Eddy Curry plays this season for the Knicks:

58 seems like a good total, but I hope he plays all 82. Though the more Jermaine Jones plays the more opportunities I’ll have to write about the ineptitude of Isiah Thomas.

Favorite current NBA uniform:

Spurs. How can you go wrong with black and silver?

Least favorite current NBA uniform:

Charlotte. That orange is horrendous; even worse than their nickname.

Rank these three in order, from the person you’d most likely be able to takein a fight to the person who’d give you the harshest ass-whupping: RonArtest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson.

Just contemplating this question has caused me to wet myself.

If aspiring law enforcement officer Shaquille O’Neal had his own televisionpolice drama series, what would it be called?

“Supersized Shaft.” The series would get great ratings but people in the know would say his costar carried every other episode.

Will the New Orleans Hornets ever play another game in New Orleans? If not,where will they move?

Yes, but they’ll move to Vegas by the end of the decade.

Word Association time. When I say ______, what's the first thing that comesto mind?

Mark Cuban: A breath of fresh air. I love the fact that he’s willing to speak his mind and wear his emotions on his sleeve. Yeah, he complains about the officiating a lot, but that probably has something to do with the fact that the refs suck ass.

Yao Ming: Underappreciated. The guy shot, what, 55% last year at age 24? Van Gundy complains about his conditioning yet has him sprinting up and down the court, jumping the pick and roll and setting screens all day. Hey Jeff, watch some film of Shaq. The only time he sprints is when he’s leading the fast break in an All Star game.

Allen Iverson: Overappreciated. I love his grit and determination, but having great basketball skill does not necessarily translate into being a great NBA player.

LeBron James: On the verge. I am not sure what statistical expectations would qualify as unrealistic.

Bill Walton: Over the top. I have gone from hating this guy to liking him and I have no explanation.

Stephen A. Smith: What’s the big deal? Yeah, he has opinions, he’s loud and is willing to label people and teams as “horrible.” Why does this bother people? Who cares?

David Stern: A pimp with vision. I don’t even know what I mean by that.

Finally, where do you expect your team will finish, and what do you thinkits record will be? What one thing will "make or break" your season?

I don’t think the Spurs will have the best record in the West. Pop loves to tinker with substitution patterns and combinations and has 3 key players to integrate. Securing home court is not a high priority to him; especially compared to keeping Tim and Manu healthy and rested. I think they’ll cruise to 59 wins while playing Tim and Manu about 30 and 28 minutes a game respectively.

The only thing that can “break” the season is an injury to Duncan or Ginobili. Assuming they stay healthy the Spurs are the obvious favorites, though I think the Pacers (assuming Artest keeps control of the voices in his head) could give them serious trouble in the finals. However, if Tony Parker develops a jump shot then nobody stands a chance.

Prediction: Back to back: Spurs over Pacers in 6.

21 October 2005

#10. Manu Ginobili

Position: SG
Ht. / Wt.: 6'-6" / 205
Age: 28
Fun Fact: Manu often wears white after Labor Day because he simply doesn't give a damn.

Here's another entry into the hopeless list. I wanted to address a couple of things and tie up some loose ends and this entry is a logical place.

I previously made a big deal about Manu not winning Finals MVP. I then couldn't let it go. I wanted to first post the results of the reader poll regarding who should have won MVP. Timmeh got 96 votes to 84 for Manu. That amounts to 53%. There's also one last comment I want to make before moving on, but I first should say the following:

Tim Duncan is the best player on the Spurs. He is, generally speaking, by FAR the most valuable Spur and he will be for the forseeable future. There's a reason I sometimes refer to him as "The Cornerstone." He's the prototypical franchise player that you build championships around. I heart Timothy Duncan.

In one of the above linked posts I mentioned the remarkable +/- numbers that Ginobili put up during the Finals; much better than Duncan's. This is especially interesting when you consider that Pop held firm to Spurs Playoff Rule #1: Either Duncan or Ginobili must be on the court at all times. Let's say Ginobili was on the court for 80% of the minutes Duncan was on the bench. This amounts to 45 total minutes, or 18% of Manu's total minutes in the Finals. If Duncan was the most valuable player in the series you would think Manu's +/- numbers would suffer from playing without him a significant amount of the time. Just something to think about. Or something to totally disregard. Your call.

Another loose end: remember this? I was trying to put Manu's playoff offensive efficiency in perspective. I ran those numbers during the middle of the playoffs. Here's how he finished:

1.671 PPFGA / 1.524 PPFGA w/o 3PT line
1.301 PPSA / 1.187 PPSA w/o 3PT line

If you narrow the range to players scoring over 20 PPG in at least 10 games then Manu's PPFGA is the best since Adrian Dantley in the 1985 playoffs. Shaq's best playoff performance was 1.595 PPFGA in 1995.

Lastly, my friend and Sonics fan over at Booth52 finally makes a decision on who's better, Manu or Ray? It's a must read if for nothing more than the "damn muther bastard" line.

19 October 2005

Who Does Michael Finley Think He Is?

The third big off-season acquisition was Michael Finley, a benefactor of the "Allan Houston" rule (who, ironically, wasn't waived using the rule sharing his name). In my opinion this is a much bigger addition than Van Exel. Before getting into why, I would like to point out that the Spurs acquired this Michael Finley, who shouldn't be confused with this Michael Finley.

He may have some grey in his beard, but the guy can certainly still play. He's no longer a first option on the offensive end like he used to be but he can hit the open jumper. In fact, over the past 3 years he's shot 39.4% from 3, which is only 0.8% lower than Brent Barry.

Ah good ol' Brent Barry. Here's a summary of any number of phone calls I got from da Blade during the playoffs:

This Matty: "Maaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttttty!"
The Other Matty: "Is it possible to cut a guy during the playoffs? How about during the game? Can we just send Brent Barry home at half time? He's HORRIBLE. He needs to be taken behind the barn and SHOT."

Now Matty can exaggerate at times, but Barry did disappoint for most of the playoffs (though he shot 42% from 3). Finley does not possess the same ball handling or passing skills as Barry, but he is certainly a better shot creator. And defensively? Well, I don't have any hard evidence, bit Michael has to be a better on the ball defender. Barry got torched repeatedly during the playoffs; not for lack of effort or bad positioning. He's just what NBA Insiders call "slow."

Something else worth noting: Finley has played a LOT of minutes in his career. He averaged 36.8 MPG last year, his lowest total since the 96-97 season. He will undoubtedly get much more rest this year. That, combined with having a larger portion of his shots created for him, should lead to a more efficient offensive player.

So, similar to the Van Exel addition, this was a no-brainer. He's a certain upgrade over a guy who got major minutes during last year's playoffs (Barry) and he's actually $2 million a year cheaper AND younger.

But I'm still concerned. It's probably nothing. But I heard something. Something the Indiana Pacers announcers said for the 30 seconds they weren't talking about Danny Granger. Something about starting Finley and bringing Ginobili off the bench. They probably don't know what they're talking about. And I haven't heard anything about this from the San Antonio press. But still. This is a very bad idea. It's hard for me not to write 1000 words about how ridiculous this idea is. But until I hear it from Pop's mouth I'll do my best to exhibit restraint. But humor me; allow me this little bit:

1. You do not have your second best player (and best player during the playoffs) coming off the bench. Was Pippen ever benched? McHale? Jabbar? Kobe? Yes, I know finishing games is what counts. I know Ginobili cannot play 40 minutes a game. And I am quite aware of Spurs Playoff Rule #1: "Either Duncan or Manu must be on the court at all times." I know bringing him off the bench facilitates adherence to SPR#1. But, but BUT:

2. Spurs Playoff Rule #2: "If your name doesn't end with "uncan" or "obili" you do not create your own shot during crunch time." Starting Finley sends the wrong message. What if Michael Finley starts thinking he's the same Michael Finley who once averaged 23 PPG? What if he forgets that he was brought in to shoot wide open jumpers and play better defense than Brent Barry? What if this rubs off on Van Exel? What if Fabricio teams up with Manu and convinces the whole team to carry man-purses? What if Oberto's golden locks distract onlookers from the glory that is Duncan's burgeoning afro? What if JC steals back Eva? THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN PEOPLE!

Ahem. Got a little carried away there. Made a little too much of that. The thought probably hasn't even crossed Pop's mind. Which is good. BECAUSE I WILL CUT THAT SON OF A BITCH IF HE DISRESPECTS THE SICKNESS.

So how fucking awful was that preseason game? I think it gave me a polyp. Did anybody hear the Pacers announcers call Tinsley the "best ball-handler in the game" or some shit like that? How would you have felt if you actually paid to watch that game?

Everybody seems to be talking about the new dress code. Hell, even Timmeh chimed in, calling it "basically retarded." You would think David Stern could find better ways to spend his time. Like, I don't know, finding some referees who know their ass from a hole in the ground. Or maybe shortening the playoffs. Or explaining why the NBA doesn't sell DVDs of the playoffs. Seriously, why can't I go to Best Buy and pay $100 for all 7 games of the NBA Finals? I can get every full season of Doogie Howser, M.D. but I cannot buy a DVD of any single playoff game. That's "basically retarded," too.

But noooooo, Stern is worried that NBA players don't dress like the CEOs of the corporate sponsors that buy the commercial slots and luxury boxes. God, WHO GIVES A SHIT? These guys didn't go to the Wharton School, OK? They don't have MBAs or the desire to work their way up to middle management. Don't give me this "It's a business" bullshit. Prostitution is a business, too. And Lord knows I don't want my hos showing up in pant suits.

18 October 2005

It's Go Time!! (Sort Of)

According to the fine folks over at the best Spurs message board, tonight's preseason game with the Pacers will be televised via NBA League Pass (which is free during the preseason). Tip-off should be around 7 p.m. central time. This will be the first time I've seen a Spurs game since Game 7; my first look at Fabri, Finli and Van Exi in Spurs uniforms.

I hope Pop employs the recently written (as in 2 minutes ago) Artest Rule.

The Artest Rule: No Spurs player of any consequence shall be allowed on the court with Ron Artest unless the game is of utmost importance.

Seriously. Keep him AWAY from Ginobili. Please. El hombre es loco.

17 October 2005

A Quick Poll

The following is a quote from Jacob Riis.

"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before."

Please take the time to answer the poll below.

Do you know how the above quote relates to the Spurs?
I am a Spurs fan. Yes.
I am a Spurs fan. No.
I am a general NBA fan. Yes.
I am a general NBA fan. No.

Free polls from Pollhost.com

Here's the relation. I'll explain the point of this poll in due time.

14 October 2005

Text Size

Anybody else having text-size issues? I reloaded my old template but it seems like the text is larger. Control+click wheel takes care of the issue, but then the font size on all other web pages is too small. Annoying.

13 October 2005

Nick (the Quick?) Van Exel

The second of the Spurs' trio of acquisitions this past off-season was Nick Van Exel. Nick was brought in for four reasons:

1) He has a reputation for "taking and hitting the big shot."
2) He was willing to sign a one-year deal for the LLE ($1.14 million; teams can only use this once every two years).
3) Tony parker has a reputation for "disappearing in big games."
4) Beno Udrih ended his season with 5 bad games.

If you watched the NBA Finals you are probably aware that Udrih had all sorts of problems bringing the ball up against Lindsey Hunter. The rookie PG managed 8 TOs despite playing only 44 minutes the entire series. That's one TO every 5.5 minutes. Ouch. It's interesting to note that in the three other series he limited his TOs to one every 16.3 minutes, actually bettering his regular season rate of 14.9. Nick's career rate? 15.6 M/TO. That's a significant improvement over Beno when you consider that Nick has consistently been relied upon to create shots.

Does Tony disappear in playoff games? Sometimes. His disappearances always seem to coencide with the opponent learning to not respect his jump shot. Ah... Tony Parker's jump shot. The only thing keeping The Wee Frenchman from being a perennial All Star. Let's hope this guy lives up to his billing.

As bad as Udrih was against the Pistons, I think Tony's issues have almost as much to do with Nick's acquisition. Because Nick Van Exel can hit the open jumper. Well, that's his reputation anyway. He's actually a career 40.5 shooter (35.8% from 3), but his eFG% on jumpers was 47.4% last year compared to 40.5% for Tony.

But at least we know he's a clutch player. Um. Maybe? Everyone seems to remember the run he had with the Mavericks in 2003: 19.5 PPG, 46%FG, 39%3P. He was HUGE. Of course the year before he SUCKED ASS. 11.1 PPG on 12.6 FGA, 37%FG, 21%3P. This remind you of anybody? Hmm. Maybe Robert Horry? Shoots 2-38 from behind the arc for the Lakers in 03 and then 38-85 for the Spurs in 05... make sense of that.

There's another issue here: Nick's defense. He turns 34 this year and it shows. Dan Rosenbaum's adjusted +/- ratings (scroll down) show Nick is one of the worst defensive PGs in the league based on his performance the past three years. Not surprising, really. What is surprising is that Beno is ranked 5th. Huh? What? But, um, he's, uh, Slovenian.

Before you go discounting all of Dan's work you should know that he would probably be the first to tell you that Udrih's ranking is based on a very small sample size and more data is necessary to get an accurate portrayal of his true ability. Do I think he's a top 5 defensive point guard? No. But he certainly never struck me as bad. Certainly not as good as Parker, whose rating is probably dragged down by his 02-03 and 03-04 seasons (he's a much better defensive player now).

Am I implying the Spurs should not have added Van Exel? Of course not. This signing was an absolute no brainer. He's certainly a better ball-handler than Udrih and a better shooter than Parker. He's inexpensive and from all accounts willing to play a smaller-than-usual role. It's a luxury to have an experienced player with talent as an insurance policy. But that's all I see him as. If he gets big playoff minutes it will likely be due to (mainly) Parker's and (somewhat) Udrih's failures to improve. Tony and Beno are the future; Nick is a stop-gap. A very, very good stop-gap.

12 October 2005


Worse? Doesn't matter? Didn't even notice the changes?

What I need is a spiffy logo/title bar thingy like the fellas over at SuperSonicSoul have. A spiffy logo to go with my entirely pedestrian and unimaginative blog name. Unfortunately my Photoshop abilities pale in comparison to my HTML "skills."

Thoughts on Nick Van Exel coming late Thursday night...

11 October 2005

No, This Post Isn't About Last Night's Exhibition Game

It’s Allen Iverson’s fault. Seriously. You see I had him at #10 in the silly, everyone-in-their-right-mind-knew-we-wouldn’t-finish list that The Guamish and I (feebly) started during the off season. The short, short off season. Has Manu’s thigh bruise even heeled yet?

Now I know what my six regular readers are thinking. “Wait a second. This is the same guy that suckles at the teat that is Manu Ginobili’s PPFGA? How can he possibly have Iverson that high?” In the end, I just couldn’t do it; stopped half way through the post. Couldn’t get past the gaudy FGA numbers and his recent frailty.

Don’t get me wrong. I love AI as a basketball player. Unfortunately, being a good basketball player and being a good NBA basketball player are not one in the same. Scoop Jackson said as much in one of his first columns for ESPN.com.

I believe Allen Iverson is the best player in the game.

I believe Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are better than him.

Watching Iverson makes me want to play ball again; scrounges up memories of intramural games in college. Not because I ever played with anyone with 1/10th the talent as The Answer (though I *think* I once got alley-ooped on by Michael “Shitty” Schmidt). But I have been schooled by guys with good cross-overs and smooth pull-up jumpers in the lane; players with basketball skills that could theoretically extrapolate out to what Iverson has. His game at least translates to what we’ve all experienced. He’s not simply a physical freak whos size is best exploited on a basketball court. He’s a pure baller who seemingly loves the same game I grew up with. And that game didn’t involve 6’10 guys swatting my shot to half-court. But, then again, it didn’t involve posses and diamond earrings, either.

I felt dirty dropping him out of the top 10, despite knowing he probably doesn’t belong in the top 20. I ended up deleting everything I had written and just sort of gave up. There was of course more to it than that:

1. My boss fell ill which led to a temporary promotion (while still doing my old job) and long hours.

2. Writing wasn’t fun anymore.

3. I spent a weekend in San Francisco due to a friends’ wedding.

4. A vacation in Ocean Shores which coencided with The Wife’s birthday. Which explains why I agreed to go horseback riding with a crazy one-legged guide who was hitting on a teenager the whole time and told me he knew of some guys who killed some other guys and threw them in the bay.

Did you know that if you are on a horse and the horse starts peeing you are supposed to lean forward?

Scared Teenager’s Sister: “Ha ha your horse is peeing.”
Crazy One-Legged Guide: “Lean forward. …. I SAID LEAN FORWARD!!!”

The Wife later informed me that leaning forward eases the pressure on the horses bladder. Apparently this is common knowledge to every former Texan but me.

Speaking of the finer details of horse waste, did you know that when a horse defecates it basically inverts its rectum? Sorry. My horse was slow. Just be glad I didn’t search for an image link. You know you would have looked.

So I apologize for going AWOL and sincerely appreciate the requests to come back. Don’t let the nearly total lack of Spurs content in this post fool you; I will be watching every game and writing about the Spurs all season.

I have a lot of plans for this blog; some loose ends to tie up from last season. I will also be going through all my old emails and updating my links sections. I hope to add some features (Podcasts maybe?) and there may be some other surprises that will surely disappoint everyone but me. Suggestions are welcome, encouraged and FDA approved. And of course my thoughts regarding the additions of Van Exel and Finley will be coming later this week. (No, really, they will.)

Oh. Who took AI’s place in the top 10? Who else?

01 September 2005

From 1 to 377

Note: Updated Wednesday afternoon.

Wade or Lebron? Kobe or T-Mac? Tim or KG? Magic or Bird? Elway or Marino? Willie or Mickey? Marlon or Tito?

Who would you rather have? It's a hard question to resist.

The Guamish and I, beset with the malais of the offseason, decided to do our best to answer that question. Here are the parameters:

The goal is to win an NBA title this year. Presume that team rosters are scrambled after the playoffs. In other words, you only get the player for one year. Also presume that every player makes the same amount of money. Ignore salary cap restrictions and the like. The likelihood of injury (Shaq) or suspension (Artest) should be considered. Eligible players include everyone who was on an NBA roster last year. 2005 draftees are not considered.

Thems the ground rules. Pretty simple.

We took this project upon ourselves without discussing selection methodology. The Guamanian took a more analytical approach than I did; he looked closer at semi-sophisticated stats such as PER. I, on the other hand, decided what type of player I valued the most and generally used only personal impressions from that point on (but, then again, I in general look at stats a lot, so my impression of Corey Maggette includes his offensive efficiency). I haven't seen his list, but it will likely vary greatly from mine. As would yours. In fact, once this is finished, I am confident that 95% of my readers will think of me as a complete ninny.

So The Gauman, aka Booth52, is going to start things off with the first pick (posted around 7 pm PT) and we will alternate from there. I am going to keep this post at the top and fill in players (with links) as we go. Please feel free to comment and/or come up with your own lists.

1. Kevin Garnett
2. Tim Duncan
3. Amare Stoudemire
4. Lebron James
5. Shaquille O'Neal
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Tracy McGrady
8. Dwyane Wade

17 August 2005

#8. Dwyane Wade

Position: SG
Ht. / Wt.: 6'-4" / 212
Age: 23
Fun Fact: Dwyane collects vintage Underoos.

24.1 PPG, 6.8 APG and 5.1 RPG are impressive numbers. But what really impresses me about Dwyane's game is his efficiency. 1.41 PPFGA is excellent, though some may credit Shaq for Wade's increase from 1.24 PPFGA in 03/04 to 1.41 in 04/05. While O'Neal certainly makes Wade's scoring job easier, I think most of the kudos belong to Dwyane and his willingness to take the ball agressively to the basket. He increased his FTA/MIN by 76% this past season, which basically accounts for the entire increase in PPFGA.

The only thing lacking in his offensive game is the 3P shot. He's got the mid-range jumper and he's quick enough to get by just about everybody. He's also got the strength to get all the way to the basket and finish. He was turnover prone last year, likely due to him playing some point guard. This number should come down with the responsible ball handler White Chocolate in the mix.

Dwyane Wade blocked 1.1 shots per game last year. What the hell?

That's all I got.

05 August 2005

#6. Kobe Bryant

Position: SG
Ht. / Wt.: 6'-6" / 220
Age: 27
Fun Fact: Kobe's owns a large collection of turnips naturally shaped like ABA legends.

Ah, the player people love to hate. I've been a Spurs fan for over 15 years, so I have had the torturous experience of watching Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in numerous playoff games. But I never hated Kobe Bryant. I strongly disliked Shaq and I hoped and prayed for the demise of Derek Fisher, but Kobe? To be blunt, he's too skilled of a player to hate.

And he killed the Spurs. Over and over and over again. Just off the top of my head?

The 2002 playoffs, game 4 in San Antonio. The Lakers led the series 2-1, with each team suffering home losses. The series and the NBA title felt up for grabs. The Spurs had an 8 point lead going into the fourth quarter. Being the Spurs, they quickly squandered the lead and the game was tied with under a minute to go. Kobe dribbles the ball off his foot and Derek Fisher scrambles to retrieve. DF shoots a pull up jumper that hits back iron. Kobe (outscored SA by himself in the fourth quarter; 12 to 10), from out of nowhere, outleaps David Robinson and Tim Duncan to grab the offensive rebound. He pogoes off the ground and lays the ball with his left hand. Like it was nothing. I don't even think either Spurs big man got off the ground again.

You know what I remember thinking? "Just FUCK it. He's just way, WAY better than anybody we got. And he wants it more."

Another game 4 comes to mind, this time in the 2004 playoffs. This time the Spurs were up 2-1 and the game was in LA. SA was up 10 points at half. Kobe scored 24 points in the second half (42 for the game) and LA cruised to an 8 point victory. He made numerous tough shots despite constantly going up against either Bowen or Ginobili. At what point he made a running left hander from outside the lane. Again, "Just FUCK it. He's too good."

See, I never understood this whole "Shaq is the most dominant player in the game." As a Spurs fan I was always WAY more scared of Kobe. He was seemingly always the guy who would kill us down the stretch. He was the guy breaking down the defense and putting the dagger in our hearts. He was the guy with the ball in his hand at money time.

Am I saying that Shaq cannot be the most dominant player in the game because he's never the primary option in the fourth quarter? Yeah, I am. Is that simple-minded? Yes. But it's certainly no more simple minded than dubbing Shaq MDPOAT because he dunks the ball a lot and has a pretty smile and a notoriously large wang. Which is the only justification I've ever heard.

Anyways. Kobe is still the same player that murdered the spurs repeatedly when it counted. He's an efficient scorer (1.37 PPFGA last year) who can beat you in a lot of different ways. He's also at least a good defender (though possibly not warranting his 1st team all NBA defense award). He'll play big minutes and take (and make) the big shot. He rebounds well for his position (6.0 PG) and is a good passer. And I hope the Spurs never, EVER (period) face him in the playoffs again.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.