November 29, 2007

Random Fact - the Cleveland Cavaliers, pt. 8

Did you know that LeBron James and Donyell Marshall are occasionally inhabited by the spirits of 19-year old hipsters? When this happens, they travel to the nearest thrift store to buy ironic dressclothes. Items such as turtleneck sweater beneath a suit or an ill-fitting sportcoat.

Seeing is believing

November 28, 2007

Occasional Observations on Several Subjects - Bulls vs. Hawks

-Last night's game was the first that I've watched since completely buying in to the concepts of Liberated Fandom and it made the game infinitely more enjoyable to watch. Yes, I'm still a Bulls fan at heart but watching the game totally divested of interest in the result made it easy to appreciate everything that was happening. No longer was I worrying about Kirk Hinrich's atrocious play or Skiles' insistence of handing the offense to Nocioni. Instead, I could enjoy Ty Thomas' dunks, Joakim Noah doing Joakim Noah things, and Ben Wallace showing flashes of his old self. It was even to the point that I liked Chris Duhon last night, a first in the seven years that he's been on my radar. Being unencumbered by the team's status, I was able to like the things that I like about this team and it feels fantastic. I'll always be a Bulls fan, but Liberated Fandom allows me to actually enjoy it.

-Al Horford looked intimidated by Ben Wallace. Rather than initiating contact like he usually does (and did when Aaron Gray entered the game), Al was drifting away from Wallace on his post shots. It didn't seem as if he was refusing to play a physical and he did grad 14 boards. It was just unusual to see him fading on his shots.

-31 rebounds between Thomas (12), Wallace (12), and Noah (7). I've liked Joe Smith this year, but this should be their big man rotation. Not only does it allow Noah and Thomas to develop, but the three of them complement each other pretty well. They aren't options on offense, but their offensive rebounding (11 combined, which lead to 20 second-chance points) is still a contribution on that end.

-Marvin Williams' head confuses me. When he played at UNC, I thought his head was too big for his body. Now only two years later, it looks tiny compared to the rest of him.

-Until Ben Wallace learns to roll the right way on a high pick, he can't complain about not being a part of the offense. He spun the wrong direction EVERY time he set the high screen. Only when Zaza "Enormous Head" Pachulia bailed him out was his path to the basket effective. When you have to count on Zaza Pachulia to make you an offensive threat, that's not a good look.

-With 11:00 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Hinrich committed his fourth foul and Skiles replaced him with Duhon. He did not make another substitution until Nocioni entered at the start of the 4th period. During this time the Bulls outscored the Hawks 32-19. With three of their four highest paid players on the bench and their coach doing very little coaching (one timeout called). Worth noting.

-Who was the Afro-ed fellow at the end of the Bulls bench in street clothes? Thomas Gardner, I assume.

-It's easy to see why the Bulls drafted Noah. In 17 minutes he had 5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block. He does all the things that Skiles wants plus he could eventually become a secondary playmaker for a team that needs as many as they can get. I very much like Joakim Noah and his bonky hair.

-Right now, there is no difference between Tyrus Thomas and Jason Maxiell. They both have no offensive repertoire outside of ferocious dunks, are decent rebounders, and play high-energy games. The discrepancy is that the Pistons are pleased with any contribution that they get from Maxiell while the Bulls are counting on Thomas to be a key component of their team. That sort of thing is the difference between the Pistons and the Bulls. People don't realize (or didn't going in to the season) how much of a chasm there is between those two teams.

-I have a friend that looks almost exactly like Aaron Gray.

-There was a Salim Stoudamire sighting! 6 shots in 10 minutes. Dude's a gunner, but he was hitting. Why he doesn't he get more tick, you might ask? Probably because he had 1 assist and the announcers were literally surprised when he passed the ball.

November 27, 2007

Random Fact - Jamario Moon, pt. 7

Surely you are curious how NBA sensation Jamario Moon acquired his most-unusal name. While digging through ancient scrolls, the Blowtorch has uncovered the secret behind this blessed basketball player:

While pregnant, Jamario's mother travelled to the northernmost part of Madagscar. There she encountered a sooth-sayer named Jai-om Maroon. This seer promised great things for her baby, but only if she were to name the baby some combination of his own name.

Jamario's mother, Ruby Thomas, traversed the Eastern Hemisphere searching for inspiration for a name suitable to fulfill the prophecy of Jai-om. Nearing the birth of her son, Ruby had a dream filled with tubes, stars, and letters. Delving further in to the dream Ruby discovered amongst the clouds the juxtaposition she was searching for JAMARIO. Thankfully, paired with the surname of her son's father (John Moon) Ruby would complete the task given to her many months before. It has been said that the number of months that Ruby searched for a name (6) is equal to the number of years that Jamario waited to enter the NBA.

Picture courtesy of Dinosty

November 26, 2007

Watch the SuperSonics

I don't know when or how it happened, but the SuperSonics are BY FAR the most interesting team in the NBA. Aside from the Education of Kevin Durant (nickname pending - GO VOTE on the right), there are numerous outstanding storylines going around this team.

First and foremost, of course, is the pending move to Oklahoma City. Many vowels and consonants have been spilled analyzing the validity of this move and the implications that it will have, but I don't have the energy or the desire to tackle the various facets necessary to be intelligent about it. I hope the SuperSonics don't move, but they probably will. I imagine Adam Sandler is probably upset that he'll have to change the Hannukah Song.

Second most intriguing is Kevin Durant's rookie season. Once again, this is a story that has been (and will continue to be) covered ad nauseum. He's playing exactly how you'd expect a top-flight rookie to play. At times he's the best player on the court, and at times he looks terrible. He can totally disappear and he can dominate for short stretches. He'll end a 25% shooting night with a 25-foot triple to win the game. Nonetheless, it's impossible to take your eyes off him when he's on the court. I root for him to touch the ball every time down the court, which is the basis for my anger with Damien Wilkins. The way Durant moves around the court is mesmerizing. He doesn't look like he's moving fast at all but he rarely fails to get separation from his defender.

Along these same lines is the viability of Jeff Green. Easily overshadowed by Durant, Green has shown that he too will be a cornerstone of this franchise. Paired together, Durant and Green are fascinating. They're both way too big to handle the ball and create the way they do, but both could serve as the primary playmaker for the team in the future.

Another important development in the the SuperSonic stratosphere is the emergence of Damien Wilkens as an NBA player. Clearly, I'm against this in all shapes and forms. The better that Wilkins gets, the more shots he's going to take, which means Durant and Jeff Green aren't getting touches. Damien Wilkins can be a great defender and I won't dislike him; but if he has the nerve to put up 40 again, I'll have a problem with that. Furthermore, Chris Wilcox confounds me. Was he not supposed to be Amare Stoudemire before Amare Stoudemire? While he's always been great in video games, his flashes of dominance are infuriating. I keep thinking he's going to be a solid contributer but then he ends up getting pulled for Nick Collison. Whatever, Chris Wilcox.

Seattle's point guard situation is kind of awesome too. Delonte "Alien Corpse" West has played far better than Earl Watson, but for some reason, Watson continues to start and get more minutes. He does average a couple of more assists, but he turns the ball over more and is a far worse shooter. Who knows, it's an interesting situation.

Last is the Sonics bench, which is a treasure trove of hilarity. Surely you are familiar with Robert Swift who used to look like this:

and now looks like this:

But were you also aware that the Sonics bench has two Frenchmen (one of whom could legitimately be nicknamed "Jelly Balls") and a Senegalese fellow? All in all, a pretty ragtag bunch of clowns.

Before the season started, I was on the Grizzlies bandwagon but I am now firmly in the SuperSonics camp. And it feels fantastic.

November 21, 2007


Here ye, here ye!

Listen as these two Canucks put their formidable weight behind "Kid Delicious."

And yes, "Mr. Good Things" is a David Lee nickname. So if that wins, it won't actually be the winner and the next highest total will prevail. Take note that it was not a goathair suggestion. Also, "Kid Delicious" is a pool player, but not an NBA dude so it still stands.

November 20, 2007

The Official Kevin Durant Nickname Extravaganza

Yesterday's Kevin Durant nickname drive produced a wealth of great suggestions. You'll see on the right a poll to coronate Mr. Kevin Durant with a shiny, new nickname that will catapult him to great fame. So please, go vote. If there is anything that is particularly egregious, I'll add it as a choice.

November 19, 2007

I Need a Nickname - Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is the latest in a long line of Next Big Things. However, his nickname "KD" is pretty boring and the suggestion that he could be "Plasticman 2" or something like that reeks of complacency. Ergo, ze Blowtorch suggests some replacements for Mr. Kevin Wayne Durant. Your suggestions are welcome in the comments.

  • The Realest
  • Stretch
  • Buckets
  • Baby-faced Assassin
  • Rebirth of the Cool
  • The Future
  • Nicky Barnes
  • Maryland's Finest
  • Sticks
  • Get Money
  • Daggers
  • Luther Vandross
  • Deo
  • Lotta Shots

Personally, I like "The Realest." "Nicky Barnes" is a fun alter-ego though.

UPDATE: Go vote for Kevin Durant's new nickname. It's on the right.

November 16, 2007

Random Fact - Eric Piatkowski, pt. 6

Did you know that Eric Piatkowski is still in the NBA?

Photographic evidence.


November 14, 2007

Random Fact - Los Angeles Lakers, pt. 5

In the mid 1970's the Lakers made a bizarre uniform choice. Rather than the standard polyester blend uniforms that were de rigueur, the Lakers of Los Angeles chose an unheard of hybrid fabric composed of human chest hair, goat beard, and twine. The fabric, though knobbly1, allowed the Laker players to trap their body heat and save it in mason's jars. This excess body heat was used to incubate up to fourteen dozen eggs that were stored in the Lakers' locker room. These eggs were used for nutrition, a makeshift adhesive, and dye for their home uniforms. Essentially, the Lakers created basketball's first and only self-sufficient uniform.

  1. Knobbly is a word that has become a part of Lakers lore, much like "forum blue."

November 13, 2007

Random Fact - James Jones, pt. 4

Did you know that James Jones travelled with the Barnum and Bailey circus from 1992-1995? He rode a unicycle, juggled flaming swords, and occasionally served as the human cannonball. James comes from a long line of rodeo clowns so his defection to the circus is seen as betrayal in the clowning world. To this day, his parents and immediate family refuse to watch his games and refer to James as "Ole Circus Boy" amongst their closest friends.


November 12, 2007

Things I Know

Shoals' latest piece is the kind of FreeDarko post that I love. It sets gears in motion that quickly lead to a fully-formed idea springing forth from my brains. Read the thing, but Shoals essentially questions whether or not it's possible to watch a game in a context-free environment. In the comments, I argue that it's impossible to watch games without some kind of context, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In my case, the thing that most affects my basketball viewing is having played the game. I don't think there is anyway that I can separate my feelings about playing the game and watching the game. Sure, my skill set is a candle in the sun of an NBA player's but I have a hard time separating things that have happened in games that I have played from games that I watch. I can't watch a Seattle game and not see how their point guards play exactly like guys I've played. I can't watch Dirk work in the high post without trying to deconstruct his moves in a manner that will let me incorporate them in to my repertoire.

My NBA mindset has been so irreversibly shaped by the endless hours that I have played (and the players that I have encountered) that it takes a special player or team to truly resonate with me. I love the Suns and the Grizzlies, Gilbert and Kirilenko because they exist beyond the realm of my basketball identity. It's not to say that I've never seen shoot-first points, running teams, or havoc-wreaking defenders, but these entities are pushed so far to the edge of the hoops mindset that I can't take my eyes off them.

Look to the banner above, for the most part the players depicted are wholly unique in the game of basketball. These are the players that transcend everything I think I know about basketball. When I really think about it, Michael Jordan is the reason that I don't have a particular affinity for guys like LeBron and Dwyane Wade. I've seen guards with an unsatiable desire to win carry their team. What I haven't seen is a 7'3" guy with the passing skills of Mark Jackson. I'd never seen a big guy like Big Smooth stretch the defenses. Of course, my fundamentals-based basketball education will lead me to players like Duncan and Noah. Guys who do what you're "supposed" to do on the court.

Certainly I'm not the first person to be drawn to things they can never understand. But I know that there has to be a reason that this is so often the case. I'll never be able to grasp every thread of fabric in the NBA tapestry, but knowing that there is always something new to unravel is the best part of this thing of ours.

November 8, 2007

Miami is Le Sigh

Is there a more depressing team than the Miami Heat? Not only is their best player sidelined, but the remaining guys they have make you sad to be a basketball fan. Here's some of their most saddening players, with a quick synopsis about their own special way of ruining your mood:

Joel Anthony - Wikipedia entry is exactly one sentence long.

Earl Barron - though his name is composed of two different British royalties, is neither an Earl nor a Baron.

Ricky Davis - this fiasco:

Anfernee Hardaway - remember when Penny used to do this?

Now, it's kind of hard to even call him "Penny." He scored his first basket in 2 YEARS the other night. Probably the most depressing player in the NBA to see on the floor.

Udonis Haslem - just looks like a sad guy in general.

Alonzo Mourning - used to be one of the most fearsome centers in the NBA. Now he pretty much just flexes and looks intense.

Shaquille O'Neal - there is a myriad of reasons why Shaq saddens me. He scored single figures in back-to-back games. He weighs about 900 pounds. He can't finish around the basket. He plays 2/3rds of the season. Pretty much the only redeeming quality is that he grew a pretty great beard.

Smush Parker - relatively speaking, he's a terrible basketball player.

Dwyane Wade - easily breakable.

Jason Williams - has been neutered since coming over from Memphis. What happened to this?

After last night's Spurs debacle, I don't think I'll be able to watch any Heat games this year. Maybe when Flash comes back they'll be somewhat decent, but for now, they really, really make me sad.

November 6, 2007

Random Fact - Foreign NBA Names, pt. 3

The following is a brief and incomplete list of translations of some foreign-born NBA players in to the nearly dead Finno-Ugric tounge Votic:
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas: "Winged Pig Hoof"
  • Predrag Stojakovic: "Corpse of 1000 Sunflowers"
  • Sasha Vujacic: "Itascan Sauce Overlord"
  • Gordon Giricek: "Man of Many Pants"
  • Hidayet Turkoglu: "Stabby McKnife"


Random Fact - Michael Redd, pt. 2

Did you know that Michael Redd isn't really going bald? He suffers from a rare condition where his brain expands at an amazing rate. Since his brain grows so quickly, his skull and hair cannot keep up.


November 5, 2007

Random Fact - Juwan Howard, pt. 1

Did you know that Juwan Howard once enjoyed a 9 hour meal at Old Country Buffet?

During the Great Tomato Freeze of 1998, Howard felt the need to enjoy a plate of lasagna. Knowing that tomatos could not be purchased at local grocers in the greater Washington D.C. area, Juwan purchased a ticket to the buffet so he could enjoy his lasagna.

Howard would stay at the restaurant for an entire 9 hours while consuming the following food items:

  • 13 plates of lasagna
  • a salad consisting of lettuce, sesame seeds and thousand island dressing
  • 4 cups of red jello
  • 29 glasses of chocolate milk
  • 1 chocolate chip cookie


November 2, 2007

Seattle Point Guards Crack Me Up

The point guard position for the Seattle SuperSonics is kind of hilarious. Every guy that gets burn looks like the kind of guy that plays in every open gym across America. And the things that's even funnier is that they play like the guy they look like! Here are their PGs:

Earl Watson
First things first, dude looks like every ethnicity rolled in to one. He's got a Cholo mustache. He is vaguely Asian. And I'm pretty sure he's actually Black. It's intriguing. Second things second, you've played with Earl Watson. He's that guard that handles the ball really well but never really goes anywhere with it. He'll throw some pretty passes, but ultimately, he's just a place holder. He can't finish around the cup and he's not an impact defender. And of course his name is Earl Watson, but he doesn't live in early 1900s Great Britain, EXPLAIN THAT.

Delonte West
There was this guy I used to play with that me and my buddy Bonesaw called Socks. He always wore his socks jacked up to his knees (CLEVER, RIGHT?), he only used one of his hands, and he shot every time he touched the ball. For the most part, he went to the rack but he wasn't against shooting some ill-advised threes. Essentially, he's Delonte West. Except Socks didn't look like a tattooed alien corpse with an STD from some nasty girl.

Luke Ridnour
Guaranteed Lukey R. can tell you all about the new MF Doom or Talib joint. Don't tell me he wouldn't join a "Legalize It!" Facebook group and listen to underground hip-hop.

November 1, 2007

I Don't Like Damien Wilkins

This would be way better

I'm not generally what some would call a "hater." It really doesn't take much for me to find the good in a situation, but for some reason last night, I decided to actively dislike Damien Wilkins.

Here's my well researched and very in-depth case against Damien Wilkins:
  • I watched the SuperSonics game last night, and for a good stretch of the 2nd and 3rd quarter, every one of his passes was tipped or stolen.
  • Name should be spelled DamiAn and not DamiEn.
  • Didn't pass the ball to Durant or Green every chance he got. He's stunting their development!
  • He's not even the good Wilkins' (Dominique) son. Furthermore, he does not have a hightop fade; blasphemy in the Wilkins family.
  • Has a mustache that isn't very cool.
  • Played for NC State and University of Georgia. Pick a red and white team and stick with it.
I hereby declare Damien Wilkins is my least favorite NBA player.




Consider it declared.