O Rly? I love the defense that hey, he wasn’t getting on the court for the Grizzlies anyway, so why not exile him to the bus leagues? But it’s not a demotion, you see, because it’s a really nice bus, or something. In fairness I agree with Hollins that there should be less stigma about the D League, but when you draft someone #2 overall to play a position where you already had a player who started 74 games with a 16.74 PER at age 25 the previous season, people are going to expect more out of the guy than no minutes and a D-League stint- it’s implied that the new guy is a potential upgrade, otherwise why draft him when you already have a long-term solution? This is especially true in the era of mandatory college for prospects, where top prospects in the draft (theoretically) comes out a bit more developed than they might have done some years back. Sending that dude down in February is essentially an admission that his rookie year is nearly as much of a write-off as Blake Griffin’s is, and that Thabeet is simply incapable of contributing to a .500 (30-29) team at this point even though he’s already 23- on the older side for a rookie. It may well be the best thing to do for the player over the long term, but the blow-back from the fanbase over it does not come from nowhere.
It’s strange enough that the Nets won this game, but check out the free throw column: the Nets had one player (Brook Lopez) and very nearly two others (Kris Humphries, Devin Harris) who took more than the Celtics attempted as a team, and that includes Humphries playing only 24 minutes off the bench and Lopez equaling the Celts’ attempts in makes. The overall team lines were 41 attempted for the Nets to 11 attempted for the Celtics.
I resign my support/fandom/interest/whatever in Arsenal. I may or may not explain why some day, but I’m done.
Seriously, the man who drafted Adam Morrison and Kwame Brown in the top 3 picks in two separate drafts now is the front man for an ownership group, the ownership group for a team which represents two of the Nets’ wins this year. This IS the punchline.
I mean, it’s funny enough in its own right- but the best joke is the unintentional carbon-copy resemblance of the arguments about Notastar’s physique to the debate 5-6 years ago about Barry Bonds’. They are literally the same arguments, the same terms and the same baffling and non-germane invocation of “innocent until proven guilty”, which is a legal principle for criminal trials and not a logical principle for argumentative evaluation. They both refer to a very good athlete who became something different as he massively increased in size while competing in a non-drug-tested environment. I have no way of knowing whether or not Overeem is on something as a certain factual matter, and in some ways I don’t currently care given that everyone in Japan knows the score and effectively consents to it by competing over there- but for those who do currently care…was nothing at all learned from the baseball debates? PEDs have been with us in pro sports for a good long while now and they’re not going away anytime soon- as fans, it’s really incumbent on us to at least educate ourselves enough about what has gone on in the past to be able to discuss the matter at a reasonable level, no?
Man, I love the NBA and all, but there are times when it gets as bad as the NFL was that year they fined Phil Simms for having his socks too high. As a league they produce three varieties of UnStory just as the NFL frequently does. Observe:
Type 1: this is a story where every single person in the world who follows the NBA knows what is happening, why it’s happening, when it’s happening, how it’s happening and could all but do the reporting and write the stories themselves… yet somehow the story gets daily minute-by-minute coverage anyway for God knows what reason. Only counts for relatively minor issues; the LeBron story is big enough to just be a running theme. Example: did you hear that Big Z is going back to Cleveland? Did you hear yesterday when he and the Wiz began talking about a buyout, and today when they agreed on a buy out, and tomorrow when they executed a buy out, and the day after when Z will deny that it’s a done deal that he’s going back to Cleveland (just like a week ago when his agents put out the word that he might sign elsewhere), and in 30 days when he’s inevitably going to re-sign in Cleveland? No? Well you’ll have your chance in the future as this story is going to be reported over, and over, and over again until everyone is sick of it. It’s like watching a formula horror movie- you know how it ends and you know the movie knows how it ends, but everyone pretends otherwise. This one is basically a media-driven UnStory.
Type 2: The pointless bad PR story. Today’s version is NBA bans Caron Butler from chewing straws during games which really is up there with Simms’ socks for pointlessness. Butler and his straws have zero effect on anything: they don’t hurt the league’s image, they don’t hurt ticket sales or TV ratings, they don’t represent a competitive advantage, and he’s apparently been doing this forever- why on earth should the league care? There’s the obvious fuck-with-the-Mavs-whenever-they-can explanation which may even be true, and the potential let’s-show-the-players-who’s-really-in-charge motive heading into collective bargaining soon, but why create a pointless PR hit which makes them look ridiculously obsessive to do so? This one is an entirely league-created UnStory.
Type 3: this one is more arguable, and arises from the odd relationship of the NBA’s regular season to its playoffs. The reality is that the NBA regular season is semi-pointless: it eliminates fewer than half the teams from contention (30 total, 16 playoff slots) and leads to one of the most upset-proof playoff systems around. Basically, if you pick the top 4 teams and a title winner a month before the start of a season, you have a greater chance of being right for the NBA than for nearly any other sporting league world-wide. So how to fill the hours between game 1 of the regular and the finals? Since the NBA-specific media isn’t yet too dedicated to statistical analysis at the mainstream level, the result is that you get several months of intermittent “team in crisis!!!” stories about teams which are not in crisis, have not been in crisis in years, and will not be in any form of legitimate crisis for months or perhaps years to come. It’s most obvious when the Lakers or Cavs lose two games in a row, but you can get it about any number of teams. You also periodically get the inverse- Sudden Contender Syndrome for teams like utah who no one really bought as contenders during most of the season and who have made no meaningful changes which would suggest that they’ve actually changed for the better, as opposed to just having a short term hot streak. As best as I can tell, this one is actually a fan-driven UnStory.
Given that the movement to have him deported from Oingerlund should be picking up steam this morning in the wake of his pull-out from national team duty over the John Terry-is-a-bastard-affair, I’d just like to add that we’d be happy to have him here. Also, I am now praying for the Septic Isle to go out as a direct result of a goal scored on a defensive breakdown on that side of the pitch; the hilarity of it would be tremendous. And these people STILL can’t figure out why they never win anything….
Yes, it’s true, some days I hate just about everything and everyone. But I don’t hate this, and why not? Because it has some of the things good blogging should: factual evidence, a coherent point, a reasonable chain of inference, and an interesting topic. I’ll throw in an additional potential explanation for the trend which Fagan notes: fighters at the UFC level have become more and more well-rounded over the years, which means the percentage of them who have clearly exploitable flaws is declining- and for those who still have some, often they’re not as glaring or as numerous. Once in a while you’ll get early-stage Brock Lesnar (submission awareness), or Melvin Manhoef (ground game), or Paul Daley (wrestling) or Demian Maia (striking) all of whom have one or more clear areas where they can be beaten, but even those examples in those areas aren’t awful (more or less) and as a class they’re less common than all-arounders. It’s easier than ever for fighters to be good enough to survive in any position so long as the talent or skill gap in that area isn’t too glaring, and that will lead to more decisions.
Possible alternate explanation: Jon Fitch joined UFC in late 2005.