Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jim and Robert discuss STAT, Antonio McDyess, and Other Theories They Have no Business Talking ‘Bout

ROBERT: It’s the start of the season and I haz a sadz.

Again.

Maybe I need to stop dipping my toe into the endless stream of zingers and witticisms that is the Twitter. When the news broke that Amar’e would not be out with an imploded cyst (after first hearing that it was a day-to-day bone bruise) and would instead be idled for 6-8 weeks with a knee debridlement, what did we get?
Jokes.

High-LAR-ious jokes.

(Using best Shecky Green voice) “Hey, I knew Amar’e's knees were bad, but I didn’t know he wanted to divorce ‘em!” “Take my wife/knees, please!” (Rim shot). Yes, humor is one way of dealing with pain, but all I could think was, “Oh for eight fuck’s sake, here we go again. Amar’e's out, so that means Melo at the Four (ostensibly a good thing) and then more questions when STAT returns about how the two can’t get and/or excuses that the injury prevented them from gelling or whether he should come off the bench.” I might as well write the tabloid’s columns for the next 3 months right now. All this DRAMA, this AGITA, it’s so predictable. And so BORING. I mean, the mishegas-storm that annually rises up around this team is about as predictable as death and taxes but still, I had hope. And now I just feel…terrible. For Amar’e, for the team, for ME.

And you my good Sir. How are you faring?

JIM: Well, let’s see. In the past 24 hours I’ve bounced two checks, run over a turtle, burned a plate of nachos, slammed my thumb in a car door, called my wife by my ex’s name, fallen asleep in a tanning booth, accidentally filled my Prius with diesel, dropped my glasses in a running garbage disposal, and congratulated a girl for being pregnant who, uh, wasn’t pregnant.

Much better than Amar’e, basically. And countless measures better than the week’s true victims, some of whom probably saw that photo above and kept waiting for the “first world problems” meme punchline.

My immediate reaction to hearing he’d be out until Shumpcember at the earliest was, naturally, of the “sad” genus. The specific species, however, was a lot harder to pin down; to wit, I couldn’t quite figure out whether the horrendous circumstances surrounding Sandy’s unprecedentedly perilous path rendered me a hyper-vulnerable emotional shell, and the news of Stat just compounded the tragic to one more exponent; or whether these were, in fact, two wildly different things, and I should be ashamed for devoting even a dozen neurons to the comparatively trivial plight of a millionaire athlete, under the circumstances.

Regardless of context, it’s impossible to deny Amar’e has become something of a tragic figure, with a fall from grace that would rival many from stage or page. Two years ago this 6’10” physical specimen – this flawed vessel of grace and power – was the conquering hero of a city desperate for a return to basketball relevance. Now? Antonio McDyess is somehow a best-case scenario.

The whole thing has an unmistakable funeral air about it, does it not? Which seems absurd – even given the stakes and the money and the risks of obsolescence involved. Is this it? Does Amare’s career go out not with a single, knee-shattering post-dunk bang, but with a long, drawn-out, skull-fuckingly torturous whimper of Isola Twitter snark?

ROBERT: I agree with everything you said. I’ve never insulted an endomorphic female thusly, but then again, this is New York and we assume every woman above a size two is preggers.

In any case, of course the hurricane and the injury were two separate incidents and the idea of equating the two is only possible in a truly degraded society (kind of like the one we’re living in) but I completely understand how they can become conflated. This is a part of a much larger thought, but I really believe that getting information via Twitter radically changes how we perceive events. It’s like our man McLuhan said, “The Medium is the Message.” Of course hurricane updates, photos of New York City underwater and information of that ilk will be absorbed in the same manner as photos of STAT’s Range Rover underwater.

That said, it’s also true that in times of great tragedy, it’s completely human to devote your energy and/or mental real estate to something as relatively trivial as a basketball player’s woes. In both instances you feel powerless when faced with the all-encompassing power and devastation that a seemingly-uncaring, fickle universe throw’s one’s way. But when you’re fretting about what this latest bit of meatball surgery from the wacky doctors at the 4077 M*A*S*H Roger Hinds et al., you know in your heart that it doesn’t really matter.

So I get that. In between making vats of chili and providing housing for any and all of my fellow Brooklynites who”ve found themselves literally underwater the last two days, I’ve been refreshing my Twitter feed and reading up on these obscure medical terms that we’ve been introduced to via STAT’s degenerative knees. It’s silly, and possibly even selfishly foolish, but it’s definitely human.

Speaking of which, not to say I told you or anyone so, I made the McDyess comparison about a year ago in the Times. I wish I was wrong. Heck, I wish I was wrong about a LOT of things. But my heart goes out to STAT. Can you imagine your writing career ending because your digits are getting arthritic at age 30? He must be going through hell.

JIM: I mean, sure, as hellish as being 30 and retired with 100-plus million dollars to your name can be, I guess. The writing comparison isn’t exactly apt, mainly because I barely make enough money doing that to have a warm house and a television and a full set of teeth.

As to where STAT’S career arc takes him after this latest setback, I think the McDyess comparison is an easy one, even if it’s not an entirely. Amar’e was only 23 when he underwent his lone microfracture surgery, and though he eventually bounced back with rim-racking aplomb – nary an inch lost on his Herculean hops – it was pretty soon thereafter that the genesis of his now omnipresent mid-range game came to be. Even then, Amar’e must’ve known that the writing was on the wall; that career longevity depended on him hedging nature with nurture; genetics with gym time.

McDyess, on the other hand, was a 26 when a devastating knee injury took what was by comparison a quick, seemingly irreversible toll. It was only after several more setbacks that ‘Dyess – career apex spent sidelined – reshaped his game to gravity’s demands. And you know what? He did a pretty damn good job – almost won a couple titles, and even played with STAT on the ’04 Suns.

That’s not to say Amare’s latest medical malady isn’t disconcerting; it absolutely is. I just think McDyess is the wrong comparison, if only because the former’s probably been hearing it for the better part of the last decade, and the resulting head start on a stylistic transformation should make STAT’s a career that’s more productive over a longer period of time than was McDyess’s.

Wouldn’t this at least partially explain Amare’s summer trip to the Dream Factory? Might he – without necessarily assuming any single degree of severity – have sensed intuitively that his knee was going to start giving him problems, and so took it upon himself to try and once again shape a handful of new wares for the toolbox?

ROBERT: Yes, it isn’t a perfect comparison, but honestly, I think the money part is a faux piste, as the French say. A red herring. (Feel free to call me a pretentious asshole. Done? Good. Moving on…) If you want, I’ll pay you a million dollars for your writing this year. You will do the same. Now we’re well-compensated Knick bloggers. The point I’m making is that an athlete’s career can vanish at any moment and the thought of having something that’s defined you as a person ripped away by an ill-timed knee bump with Chris Copeland (or was it Chris Smith) is tragic; just as it would be if either of us (or any of us) was suddenly unable to do the thing we love most, compensation be damned.

As to the STAT-Antonio thingy — here’s the biggest difference, methinks. STAT’s been the focal point offensively of every team he’s ever played for. When Melo sauntered into town, I think their struggles “meshing” had as much to do with the psychological impact it had on STAT no longer being “the man”. Yes, there are some fairly obvious, quantifiable issues — their talents overlap and that neither of them has the complimentary skills to thrive when they don’t have the ball and the half-step that STAT lost when his knee/back/adenoids went blooey.

McDyess never wanted the spotlight in the same way. Before his knees imploded, the criticism that was most often lobbed at him was that he didn’t demand the ball enough/impose his will upon the game the way a player of his ability should and could. Post-injury, he was all-too willing to be a complimentary piece because it’s what he wanted to begin with. Plus, the fact that he was always a good defender and a cerebral player even when he could jump out of the building made the transition a LOT easier.

Did I just spend two paragraphs debunking my own comparison? Yes. Yes, I did

Meanwhile, there are games to be played (assuming Manhattan stops resembling the lost city of Atlantis by Friday). We’ve spilled more than our fair share of e-ink discussing how much better Melo is at Power Forward. This injury makes that transition a fait accompli. How do you imagine these first couple of months will go? 

 

 

JIM: Pretentious asshole.

There may indeed be something to the idea of STAT’s psyche being irreversibly compromised by Melo’s tumultuous arrival, and the subsequent power struggle, real or imagined, that was the result. The first thing I thought of when you brought that up was the old dog phenomenon (if that’s not what it’s actually called, excuse me — and rename it that, please). This is where dog owner, concerned with the atrophied health of their pooch, bring in a slightly younger, healthier pup in hopes of rejuvenating their aging four-legged friend. Sometimes, the gambit works; the older dog will discover some untapped vigor and energy, and everyone wins. Oftentimes, however, the decision backfires; feeling it’s been replaced and it’s household station is no longer theirs, the older dog can deteriorate even more quickly, physically as well as psychologically.

Now, obviously there are a couple rather large differences between the Stat-Melo situation and our canine-related scenario — namely, our two cagers are but a few years apart in age. More likely, Stat’s recent woes — and by “recent,” I mean, oh, the last 18 months or so — are a product of the effects of his own compounded misfortune. It started with the back thing at the start of the 2011 Playoffs, a tweak that perhaps forced his body to overcompensate in ways that indirectly led to this latest, and most worrisome, setback. Either way, it’s an unfortunate situation, and one from which I’m hoping STAT rises anew, soon, and back on something resembling a physical even keel.

In the mean time, the question now becomes how real was Melo’s gangbusters stint at the four late last season, and whether it can be re-engaged and sustained long enough to hold down the scoring fort in the front court. Chris Copeland earned his roster spot — and a significant rotation minutes — outright, and I for one am I excited to see whether a highlighted role can help bolstering even further his already five-fold grown confidence. At the same time, the idea that he could eventually be the starting power forward is, I think, a little premature; dude averaged barely five rebounds per 36 minutes last year in Belgium, a country where basketball ranks somewhere between tennis and cheese-making in the national consciousness. Which, I mean, yeah — wouldn’t exactly be a precipitous drop-off in that department from what our be-goggled millionaire was giving us.

So…. Kurt Thomas? At 40 years old, he’s remarkably serviceable, and continues to put up +/- numbers completely out of step with his actual on-court production. But as we saw towards the tail end of the preseason, Kurt’s role in that capacity will likely be purely ceremonial, with Melo thereby poised to play heavy minutes at the four, whether he likes it or not.

Never known for his rotational creativity, Mike Woodson definitely has his work cut out for him to start the season — this unique combination of injuries, age, inexperience, and still gelling chemistry making for a positional balancing act I’m not entirely sure he’s ready for.

So, what are my expectations? Uh, I predict the Knicks.

ROBERT: Yep. We appear to be in lock–step on how this is going to play out. One more thing on Chris Copeland. I’ve been saying this for awhile (and I believe I mentioned it to friend-of-the-blog Seth Rosenthal and he agrees 112.7%) but you know who he reminds me of?

For those who don’t recall or have been undergoing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-type memory wipes the last twelve-odd in order to cope with the daily agonies of being a ‘Bocker-backer, Lee Nailon was a 6’8″ SF/PF ‘Tweener who joined the Knicks during the 2002-03 season after a brief stint with the New Orleans Hornets. He could score in bunches and in a variety of ways but was an absolute sieve on defense and a godawful rebounder for a player his size. I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad type to have in one’s rotation, but I think anyone who has expectations beyond that is setting him or herself up for a severe disappointment (and I say this as someone who both really liked and overrated Lee Nailon).
And for my prediction? I’m going invoke the great, noble, poet laureate Mr. T.
The best part of all this? Tomorrow, we have an actual game. We’ll still fret and worry this team to death but at least there’ll be actual boxscores to pore over as opposed to medical charts. And that, mes amis, is a good thing.
Go NY…Go NY…Go!

64 comments on “Jim and Robert discuss STAT, Antonio McDyess, and Other Theories They Have no Business Talking ‘Bout

  1. Jim Cavan Post author

    For the record that actually didn’t happen last week. It did, however, happen five years ago, with a friend. She forgave me. Eventually.

  2. daJudge

    This was a great piece. My oh my, you guys are funny and really great writers. No kidding around. I don’t do droll well, so if it’s OK, I’ll just chime in on a serious vein. Stat is not a tragic figure in any shape, way or form. Maybe he was as a youth growing up in a shit space, but not now. Whether or not he ever plays another game, he is basketball royalty and has enjoyed quite a ride. The money is just one abstract benefit he and his family have reaped from his career. There have been many other abstract and concrete achievements in his short life of which I (we) can probably not even imagine in our wildest dreams, such as his all star births. I do not blame him for his injuries nor do I pity him. I do continue to blame him for his lack of rebounding and defense. I hope this isn’t too heavy a response. If so, please feel free to disregard.

  3. max fisher-cohen

    Great point about the approach to the game difference between McDyess and Stoudemire, and the endless drama and excuses that surrounds this team every year is really irritating. Obviously, I’d prefer health and wins and perfect chemistry, but I think I’d even prefer a travesty of a season with the Knicks in perfect health and still sucking to the sideshow style season that seems to await NY. At least then the jury will be in (if the jury can ever be in for James Dolan), and the team can make changes and adjustments.

    Amar’e injury didn’t really worry me much (although I do feel bad for him) as I see the team doing about the same with or without him. Last year, we were better without him, but I think the loss of Jeffries and Harrellson is a problem. We are now forced to play Melo at the 4 rather than having the option to as KT and Camby are really centers — too slow to guard most NBA 4s, and Copeland is too small.

  4. danvt

    I spent the whole Rockets game last night trying to downplay Jlin in my mind (nobody, of course, actually wants to talk about it with me, so the conversation was in my mind). I was like, “He’s the 4th best player on the team”, me. “He was 5-12, Dan”. But then I saw the sick crossover and had to admit to me that I just really love the kid (this isn’t about STAT, I know, I’m getting there…) I asked myself whether I might be a Rocket fan, but realized there’s no way. It’s almost genetic or might as well be. I’m a Knick fan. A few weeks ago I tried to argue in this forum that the assist was an overrated statistic, oy. So, as a Heinsohn-esque homer, I have to aver that I am in no way ready to compare this situation to McDyess, I resent your assertions, and now I’m even more depressed than when LBJ took his talents to South Beach. No, I’m not depressed, because it’s not possible…lalala…I can’t hear you!

  5. daJudge

    Pretty depressing Knick’s article in the Times today comparing A Rod’s contract with Stat’s. Unfortunately, the article was not unreasonable. Oy (sp?) indeed. Hey, let’s see what happens tomorrow, right dudes? Minimally, we can bitch. It’s like a bad genie. I wished for Stat to come off the bench and look what happened. Goodnight all.

  6. Juany8

    I’m watching the Thunder game and starting to wonder if Brooks is by far the worst coach on any contender. He can’t get them to play consistent defense (one area where coaching has a clear cut impact) and his rotations are fucking retarded. They blew a perfectly winnable Finals in part because Brooks decided “veteran leadership” earned you playing time in the Finals somehow. Any coach that lets Perkins use post plays at least once a game either has zero control of his team or does not what the fuck he is doing. Let’s keep in mind that this coach thought Jeff Green was supposed to start over Ibaka the year he won coach of the year….

  7. Juany8

    Gotta give Westbrook credit for having the exact opposite of the Harden game. It’s like he’s playing stupid on purpose

  8. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Juany8:
    Gotta give Westbrook credit for having the exact opposite of the Harden game. It’s like he’s playing stupid on purpose

    But his misses help his teammates!

  9. nicos

    Kevin Martin did have a pretty nice line- .637 TS% and five assists. Not bad especially when there were several plays where he was open on the wing and Westbrook just ignored him and chucked up a horrible shot himself- looked almost as if Westbrook was freezing him out on a couple of plays.

  10. ruruland

    Juany8:
    I’m watching the Thunder game and starting to wonder if Brooks is by far the worst coach on any contender. He can’t get them to play consistent defense (one area where coaching has a clear cut impact) and his rotations are fucking retarded. They blew a perfectly winnable Finals in part because Brooks decided “veteran leadership” earned you playing time in the Finals somehow. Any coach that lets Perkins use post plays at least once a game either has zero control of his team or does not what the fuck he is doing. Let’s keep in mind that this coach thought Jeff Green was supposed to start over Ibaka the year he won coach of the year….

    Yep. Karl liked Brooks a lot in Denver, but I don’t think anyone was ever impressed with his intelligence.

    There are stories.

  11. Juany8

    I just realized, now that Lebron won a ring, the only leftover targets the media has left to criticize endlessly are Kobe, Westbrook, and Melo. Kobe’s actually off to a fantastic start this year individually (remember how he was going to freeze out Steve Nash and kill the offense?) so if Melo has a bad night today against Lebron James of all people, we might be reading articles about how the Knicks should blow it all up by tomorrow lol.

  12. er

    Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points and became the second-youngest to crack the 10,000-point club, but was nowhere to be found in crunch time. His last bucket came at the 6:41 mark, his last look a 27-footer that went for naught with 2:24 left in the game

    sounds familiar no?

  13. flossy

    er:
    Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points and became the second-youngest to crack the 10,000-point club, but was nowhere to be found in crunch time. His last bucket came at the 6:41 mark, his last look a 27-footer that went for naught with 2:24 left in the game

    sounds familiar no?

    … no?

  14. njasdjdh

    Juany8:
    I just realized, now that Lebron won a ring, the only leftover targets the media has left to criticize endlessly are Kobe, Westbrook, and Melo. Kobe’s actually off to a fantastic start this year individually (remember how he was going to freeze out Steve Nash and kill the offense?) so if Melo has a bad night today against Lebron James of all people, we might be reading articles about how the Knicks should blow it all up by tomorrow lol.

    Well…the Knicks should, but they can’t.

  15. johnlocke

    What’s familiar is Westbrooke jacking up way too many ill-advised shots instead of passing the ball. He’s like a bizarro Chris Paul — freakishly athletic, but not very intelligent on the court. One could argue they should have given Harden the max contract and not Westbrook. And Juany8 — the targets are on the backs of Melo and Westbrooke. Kobe has 5 rings –they’re talking about the Lakers as a team, not Kobe. Melo and Westbrooke are the ones perceived by many as selfish, egomaniacal (as in they think they’re better than they really are) players.

    er:
    Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points and became the second-youngest to crack the 10,000-point club, but was nowhere to be found in crunch time. His last bucket came at the 6:41 mark, his last look a 27-footer that went for naught with 2:24 left in the game

    sounds familiar no?

  16. Mike Kurylo

    Jim Cavan:
    For the record that actually didn’t happen last week. It did, however, happen five years ago, with a friend. She forgave me. Eventually.

    Funny in a week where I’ve lost all electricity, had my child pee on me, have 8 bags of laundry with a laundry machine that has been broken for 2 months, have not been to a gym, except to shower, in over a week, had my vacation cancelled — Jim has to fake a malady!

    Did you see that Daily Show skit where Al Madrigal is talking about the part of NYC without power needing a machete to survive, and John Oliver in the powered area talking about Serendipity running out of mocha sprinkles? That’s how I feel right now with Jim.

  17. er

    Im not disputing westbrooks nonsense. but are you trying to tell me russell westbrook is the reason durant made no shots in the last 6+ mins of the game?

    johnlocke:
    What’s familiar is Westbrooke jacking up way too many ill-advised shots instead of passing the ball.He’s like a bizarro Chris Paul — freakishly athletic, but not very intelligent on the court.One could argue they should have given Harden the max contract and not Westbrook.And Juany8 — the targets are on the backs of Melo and Westbrooke. Kobe has 5 rings –they’re talking about the Lakers as a team, not Kobe. Melo and Westbrooke are the ones perceived by many as selfish, egomaniacal (as in they think they’re better than they really are) players.

  18. Frank

    not sure how I feel about this game going on tonight. I hear all those (especially Steve Popper) saying that it seems tone deaf to play the game tonight, but I kinda feel like the area needs some respite from what has gone on here the last 4 days. As long as MSG is not diverting resources away from necessary repairs etc., I’m not sure what the big deal is. Not sure how many cops are used for these events as opposed to private MSG security.

    I am one of the lucky ones to have power/water but to all those who aren’t so lucky – hope everything comes back on soon. This has been pretty terrible for so many.

  19. johnlocke

    Good. My point is that part of the reason Durant made no shots in the last 6 minutes of the game…is b/c a) Westbrooke was shooting and not passing to the leading scorer in the NBA and b) when Westbrooke did pass to Durant it was a last ditch alternative, and not a play that enabled Durant to succeed…like a true PG would.
    My view is that Russell is a good, but not great young player, who makes up for a lot of dumb decisions with ultra-elite athleticism. I’d bet that Harden has a much longer career, in terms of productivity.

    er:
    Im not disputing westbrooks nonsense. but are you trying to tell me russell westbrook is the reason durant made no shots in the last 6+ mins of the game?

  20. thenamestsam

    Frank:
    not sure how I feel about this game going on tonight. I hear all those (especially Steve Popper) saying that it seems tone deaf to play the game tonight, but I kinda feel like the area needs some respite from what has gone on here the last 4 days.As long as MSG is not diverting resources away from necessary repairs etc., I’m not sure what the big deal is.Not sure how many cops are used for these events as opposed to private MSG security.

    I am one of the lucky ones to have power/water but to all those who aren’t so lucky – hope everything comes back on soon. This has been pretty terrible for so many.

    I’m with you, although as another of the lucky people who still has power/heat/water I recognize I’m in a privileged position. That said, here goes:

    I’m not sure I buy the “tone-deaf” argument. I mean there are always more important, relevant things going on than sports. Is it really any more tone-deaf to play a game tonight than it is next week when there will still be starving children around the world, human rights violations, and on and on forever? Sports exists to be a distraction from the heaviness of the real-world. If it should be stopped every time there’s a real world tragedy it should be stopped permanently. There’s always tragedy in the world.

    The more relevant argument I see is the diversion of resources. That’s why I actually do think they should cancel the marathon. The food, the water, the volunteers, even the hotel rooms, all of the things that are required to put on the marathon could be put to much better use right now on a scale that might actually make some difference. I don’t see the same argument for the Knicks game.

  21. njasdjdh

    johnlocke:
    Good. My point is that part of the reason Durant made no shots in the last 6 minutes of the game…is b/c a) Westbrooke was shooting and not passing to the leading scorer in the NBA and b) when Westbrooke did pass to Durant it was a last ditch alternative, and not a play that enabled Durant to succeed…like a true PG would.
    My view is that Russell is a good, but not great young player, who makes up for a lot of dumb decisions with ultra-elite athleticism. I’d bet that Harden has a much longer career, in terms of productivity.

    Westbrook makes more than his fair share of ill advised decisions, but it’s crazy to me that people don’t see that a lot of times he is forced into bad shots because Durant can’t free himself. We all know, as basketball fans, that refs tend to let more contact go late and when that happens is when the bigger 3s/quicker 4s simply muscle up on Durant. Why the Thunder don’t account for this in their playbook at this point…I have no idea. A prime example of this was a bad 3 that Westbrook took from the left elbow extended, which looked like just another bad Westbrook possession when, if you watched off the ball, you could see that Durant failed to get free of Stephen Jackson and so the play was broken. If you want to kill Westbrook’s performance last night you should really focus more on his defensive lapses late (and realistically, that’s the bigger problem with him most of the time which is why I think it’s so funny when people on this board always want to talk about how great his defense is).

  22. johnlocke

    100% agree…and one of the rare times I found myself violently agreeing with Stephen A Smith — re: the diff between the Knick game and the marathon. *I do realize I’m biased…

    thenamestsam: I’m with you, although as another of the lucky people who still has power/heat/water I recognize I’m in a privileged position. That said, here goes:

    I’m not sure I buy the “tone-deaf” argument. I mean there are always more important, relevant things going on than sports. Is it really any more tone-deaf to play a game tonight than it is next week when there will still be starving children around the world, human rights violations, and on and on forever? Sports exists to be a distraction from the heaviness of the real-world. If it should be stopped every time there’s a real world tragedy it should be stopped permanently. There’s always tragedy in the world.

    The more relevant argument I see is the diversion of resources. That’s why I actually do think they should cancel the marathon. The food, the water, the volunteers, even the hotel rooms, all of the things that are required to put on the marathon could be put to much better use right now on a scale that might actually make some difference. I don’t see the same argument for the Knicks game.

  23. thenamestsam

    johnlocke:
    Good. My point is that part of the reason Durant made no shots in the last 6 minutes of the game…is b/c a) Westbrooke was shooting and not passing to the leading scorer in the NBA and b) when Westbrooke did pass to Durant it was a last ditch alternative, and not a play that enabled Durant to succeed…like a true PG would.
    My view is that Russell is a good, but not great young player, who makes up for a lot of dumb decisions with ultra-elite athleticism. I’d bet that Harden has a much longer career, in terms of productivity.

    Personally I’m Team Harden (it’s not too soon to split into Team Harden and Team Westbrook, right?), but even I think it’s on Durant as well as Westbrook. Yes, Westbrook could look to him more, but it’s not like Westbrook was looking him off. Durant was frequently making very soft moves to the ball and allowing Leonard to deny him the ball. There wasn’t a single play in that period where I noticed an egregious case of Westbrook missing Durant. Durant has to find a way to get his touches. It’s at least partially on him.

    Look at the last play for example. Westbrook is handling up top and Durant comes off a screen to get the ball. But he comes off the screen so soft that Leonard is easily able to get back in the play and get the steal. If Durant comes hard to the ball he gets it and gets a chance to make the game winner. Instead he comes soft, and they don’t even get a look.

    Don’t get me wrong, Westbrook played like hot garbage last night, but he was the only guy on his team being aggressive the last 5 minutes, and a lot of the shots that looked horrible (dribble at the top of the key for a the whole possession before taking a jumper) are partially a product of nobody else being willing to assert themselves on offense.

  24. thenamestsam

    njasdjdh: Westbrook makes more than his fair share of ill advised decisions, but it’s crazy to me that people don’t see that a lot of times he is forced into bad shots because Durant can’t free himself. We all know, as basketball fans, that refs tend to let more contact go late and when that happens is when the bigger 3s/quicker 4s simply muscle up on Durant. Why the Thunder don’t account for this in their playbook at this point…I have no idea. A prime example of this was a bad 3 that Westbrook took from the left elbow extended, which looked like just another bad Westbrook possession when, if you watched off the ball, you could see that Durant failed to get free of Stephen Jackson and so the play was broken. If you want to kill Westbrook’s performance last night you should really focus more on his defensive lapses late (and realistically, that’s the bigger problem with him most of the time which is why I think it’s so funny when people on this board always want to talk about how great his defense is).

    We’re clearly on the same page on Durant not being able to get the ball. Also a +1 on Westbrook’s defense. Everyone has focused on the last play, and rightfully so, but Parker’s 3 to tie it was almost as egregious. There was that pass down low to Diaw that should have been a dunk but it was out of his reach, and as he’s chasing it out of bounds Westbrook completely goes to sleep on Parker as he moves to the corner. If he follows Parker to the corner Diaw has nowhere to pass it and it’s a turnover. Instead he allows the pass, and then also doesn’t get his hand up on the shot.

    Westbrook looks like he should be a good defender, but his lack of focus kills him on that end. Team Harden!

  25. Bruno Almeida

    Juany8:
    I just realized, now that Lebron won a ring, the only leftover targets the media has left to criticize endlessly are Kobe, Westbrook, and Melo. Kobe’s actually off to a fantastic start this year individually (remember how he was going to freeze out Steve Nash and kill the offense?) so if Melo has a bad night today against Lebron James of all people, we might be reading articles about how the Knicks should blow it all up by tomorrow lol.

    sure, it’s all the media’s fault.

    the same media that mind-numbingly considers Carmelo a top 10 player in the league just based on “star power”?

    players expose their life every day on twitter, interviews, youtube and whatever, they LOVE the media when they are playing well, but when they are not performing up to expectations the media shouldn’t say a thing?

    if you don’t win in the NBA you’ll get criticized, that’s it. Garnett, Pierce, Dirk, LeBron where criticized, stepped up, won a title and shut everyone up.

    I’m still waiting for Carmelo to do it.

  26. Bruno Almeida

    and I don’t get why people are criticizing the media for calling out Westbrook, did you guys even watch the game? he destroyed their chances with a stupid long jumper, an even worse 3 pointer and a turnover in 3 possessions… why shouldn’t he be criticized?

    nobody’s saying that suddenly he sucks, just that he played terribly down the stretch, his team lost and his mistakes seem to be part of a pattern, and not isolated situations… what’s wrong about that?

  27. njasdjdh

    Bruno Almeida:
    and I don’t get why people are criticizing the media for calling out Westbrook, did you guys even watch the game? he destroyed their chances with a stupid long jumper, an even worse 3 pointer and a turnover in 3 possessions… why shouldn’t he be criticized?

    nobody’s saying that suddenly he sucks, just that he played terribly down the stretch, his team lost and his mistakes seem to be part of a pattern, and not isolated situations… what’s wrong about that?

    The “problem” is that Westbrook gets an unfair share of the blame because Kevin Durant is the media’s golden child.

  28. flossy

    er:
    ok guess u dint watch the finals last year, no prob

    The series where he averaged 30+ per game? Yeah I saw it, that’s why I know he’s not why they lost.

  29. Mike Kurylo

    As for being insensitive having the game played tonight, it’s hard to say. Right now I don’t have electricity, so sure I’ll be pissed if the game goes on tonight. But if my power gets turned on, it’d be the perfect diversion from all the crap I’ve gone through this week.

    So take that as you will.

  30. johnlocke

    Bruno — you and I are on the same page.. including your other post about the media. For the record, Durant doesn’t get blame b/c last night he shot the 2nd most shots on his team while shooting 50%, while his partner in crime shot less than 33% and shot more. Durant also had more assists last night. Oh, and as flossy pointed out he averaged 30 a game in the finals and shot 50%. That finals loss was on LeBron for being the man, Harden for his disappearing act, Brooks for weird coaching decisions and yes, Westbrook for overshooting and poor decision-making. The only two of the above that seem to be more consistent trends than not are Lebron being the man and Westbrook making poor decisions.

    Bruno Almeida:
    and I don’t get why people are criticizing the media for calling out Westbrook, did you guys even watch the game? he destroyed their chances with a stupid long jumper, an even worse 3 pointer and a turnover in 3 possessions… why shouldn’t he be criticized?

    nobody’s saying that suddenly he sucks, just that he played terribly down the stretch, his team lost and his mistakes seem to be part of a pattern, and not isolated situations… what’s wrong about that?

  31. johnlocke

    I’d go get a battery radio…I used to listen to games back in the day when I was at a strict boarding high school that didn’t allow TV and it was still exciting…

    Mike Kurylo:
    As for being insensitive having the game played tonight, it’s hard to say. Right now I don’t have electricity, so sure I’ll be pissed if the game goes on tonight. But if my power gets turned on, it’d be the perfect diversion from all the crap I’ve gone through this week.

    So take that as you will.

  32. johnlocke

    One thing I didn’t like about the article was that they were making it out that Carmelo is saying he’s a ‘natural 3′ instead of a PF b/c of ego…. I mean, couldn’t it be due to the fact that the other offensive ‘superstar’ on the team who he is supposed to be building a relationship with, also plays the 4? If Carmelo comes out and says he’s a 4, where does that leave Amare? And no, Dolan+co, will not have a $100M player coming off the bench…

    njasdjdh:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8582820/nba-carmelo-anthony-embrace-power-forward-position-lebron-james

    “They were very effective last year when Carmelo moved to the 4, very effective,” Battier said. “Obviously, no one wants to see players get hurt, but they present a whole new set of challenges when Carmelo moves to the 4.”

  33. Bruno Almeida

    njasdjdh: The “problem” is that Westbrook gets an unfair share of the blame because Kevin Durant is the media’s golden child.

    like John Locke said, why is it unfair?

    Durant has played marvelously the entire last year and was fantastic throughout the playoffs (he had a .632 ts% and .231 WS/48), and had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists last night, why should he be criticized?

    Durant is the media’s golden boy, but doesn’t he deserve it? he has his fair share of bad plays, but much more often than not he has been the reason OKC even got to the finals last year and have a chance to do it again.

    I like Westbrook, I think he can still improve a lot and he’s already an all-star PG, but he’s the one (and Ibaka now) who needs to improve in order for OKC to win it all, and not Durant.

  34. njasdjdh

    Bruno Almeida: like John Locke said, why is it unfair?

    Durant has played marvelously the entire last year and was fantastic throughout the playoffs (he had a .632 ts% and .231 WS/48), and had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists last night, why should he be criticized?

    Durant is the media’s golden boy, but doesn’t he deserve it? he has his fair share of bad plays, but much more often than not he has been the reason OKC even got to the finals last year and have a chance to do it again.

    I like Westbrook, I think he can still improve a lot and he’s already an all-star PG, but he’s the one (and Ibaka now) who needs to improve in order for OKC to win it all, and not Durant.

    It’s unfair because when you go to the video and you look at the Thunder’s late game possessions gone awry (which are almost always blamed on Westbrook) what you see is that Durant is not getting free. This is a fact. Someone upthread mentioned the 3 that Westbrook took and that person completely failed to mention that the reason Westbrook had to take that 3 was that the play was broken when Durant failed to get free from his defender. In addition, no one is talking about the last play of the game on offense where Durant was nonchalant in his approach and lost the ball. Had Westbrook lost the ball, I guarantee we would hear about it. Durant is a wonderful player. A rare true franchise player and arguably the 2nd best guy in the league. However, when the refs swallow their whistles late he has to work harder to get free or get stronger over the summer so that plays don’t break so much.

  35. njasdjdh

    To clarify, I’m not saying Durant should be criticized for his overall play, just that I wish there was more nuance to the analysis of the Thunder than “Westbrook missed a shot so it is his fault why doesn’t he just let Kevin Durant take every shot since Kevin Durant has never missed a shot.” In a weird way, it’s like how people always criticize the idea of big men as superstars by saying how it’s difficult to get them the ball late for the finish and so that is somehow the big man’s fault. I think it’s extreme to place all the blame for that on a big or to devalue the impact of a great big just because of that quirk, but at the same time it is…interesting…that the media chooses not to acknowledge the difficulty in getting Durant the ball late.

  36. er

    Right…so in 2009 when lebron avg 35 points a game for the playoffs it wasnt his fault either for disappearing at times or the next year when he avg 29.1 in the playoffs. Just deflect from durant, the new teflon don lol

    flossy: The series where he averaged 30+ per game?Yeah I saw it, that’s why I know he’s not why they lost.

  37. thenamestsam

    I think it’s interesting that a couple of the Heat players have come out and said they think the game should be cancelled. Wade said he doesn’t think it’s right to play, and now Lebron said he thought it was going to be cancelled. Sounds like we may not be getting the most focused Heat team tonight. Grasping at straws? Sure, but we take what we can get.

  38. mase

    hi
    im not the most informed bball mind, but i have a question, a fantasy trade if you will…lakers/knicks swap their premier players:
    melo/stat for kobe/pau gasol.

    who says no?
    the lakers replace kobe who is getting older and has knee problems with a better scorer…stat plays with nash again alongside dwight who can make up for his rebounding and defense…they get younger players with almost the same contracts…its a win for them isnt it?

  39. njasdjdh

    mase:
    hi
    im not the most informed bball mind, but i have a question, a fantasy trade if you will…lakers/knicks swap their premier players:melo/stat for kobe/pau gasol.

    who says no?
    the lakers replace kobe who is getting older and has knee problems with a better scorer…stat plays with nash again alongside dwight who can make up for his rebounding and defense…they get younger players with almost the same contracts…its a win for them isnt it?

    Kobe is better than Melo and Pau is better than STAT. Kobe is also the face of the franchise. The Lakers would laugh at such an offer.

  40. Bruno Almeida

    njasdjdh:
    To clarify, I’m not saying Durant should be criticized for his overall play, just that I wish there was more nuance to the analysis of the Thunder than “Westbrook missed a shot so it is his fault why doesn’t he just let Kevin Durant take every shot since Kevin Durant has never missed a shot.” In a weird way, it’s like how people always criticize the idea of big men as superstars by saying how it’s difficult to get them the ball late for the finish and so that is somehow the big man’s fault. I think it’s extreme to place all the blame for that on a big or to devalue the impact of a great big just because of that quirk, but at the same time it is…interesting…that the media chooses not to acknowledge the difficulty in getting Durant the ball late.

    but the problem with this approach is that you treat Durant not getting open and the play breaking down as if it was only Durant’s fault.

    that’s on Durant, but in my opinion much more on Brooks, who’s a terrible coach and imo won the least deserved coach of the year award of the recent years.

    OKC always does the same in the end of games, they either inbound it to Durant and he dribbles to the top of the key and chucks something, or do the same thing with Westbrook until there’s 5 seconds left and people frantically start moving and getting nowhere.

    also, Westbrook has a tendency to ignore tougher passes when he drives, because he’s searching for his own scoring and he’s not confident on making those passes when he probes the paint.

    I don’t want to say Durant is perfect, but how can he possibly get open when the Thunder crunch time lineup is Westbrook, him, Sefolosha, Perkins and Ibaka?

    everyone in the building knows Durant is the shooter and any team would take a shot from the other guys with no problem.

  41. njasdjdh

    Bruno Almeida: but the problem with this approach is that you treat Durant not getting open and the play breaking down as if it was only Durant’s fault.

    that’s on Durant, but in my opinion much more on Brooks, who’s a terrible coach and imo won the least deserved coach of the year award of the recent years.

    OKC always does the same in the end of games, they either inbound it to Durant and he dribbles to the top of the key and chucks something, or do the same thing with Westbrook until there’s 5 seconds left and people frantically start moving and getting nowhere.

    also, Westbrook has a tendency to ignore tougher passes when he drives, because he’s searching for his own scoring and he’s not confident on making those passes when he probes the paint.

    I don’t want to say Durant is perfect, but how can he possibly get open when the Thunder crunch time lineup is Westbrook, him, Sefolosha, Perkins and Ibaka?

    everyone in the building knows Durant is the shooter and any team would take a shot from the other guys with no problem.

    That’s a fair point that it’s not entirely Durant’s fault and I didn’t mean to imply it was. I just wanted to get at the fact that typically these failures are always laid out as Westbrook’s fault when there’s more going on than Westbrook just taking bad shots because he’s Westbrook and that’s just what he does.

  42. mase

    i dont think kobe would agree to the trade but i think the lakers brass would have to consider it just based on the players 2 ages…if kobe plays another 3 saesons youd be lucky to get 120 games at him with a real fall inproduction. no
    ?

  43. Juany8

    Bruno Almeida: but the problem with this approach is that you treat Durant not getting open and the play breaking down as if it was only Durant’s fault.

    that’s on Durant, but in my opinion much more on Brooks, who’s a terrible coach and imo won the least deserved coach of the year award of the recent years.

    OKC always does the same in the end of games, they either inbound it to Durant and he dribbles to the top of the key and chucks something, or do the same thing with Westbrook until there’s 5 seconds left and people frantically start moving and getting nowhere.

    also, Westbrook has a tendency to ignore tougher passes when he drives, because he’s searching for his own scoring and he’s not confident on making those passes when he probes the paint.

    I don’t want to say Durant is perfect, but how can he possibly get open when the Thunder crunch time lineup is Westbrook, him, Sefolosha, Perkins and Ibaka?

    everyone in the building knows Durant is the shooter and any team would take a shot from the other guys with no problem.

    You’re actually very right about this, Scott Brooks is the worst part of this Thunder team, and somehow he won coach of the year while Westbrook is killed for every loss. If the Thunder had won yesterday (which they practically did) nobody would be seriously discussing Westbrook’s performance, yet I’d say that Brooks insisting on playing 2 offensive non-threats at the end of the game cost the team more dearly. It’s the beginning of the season, why not try and develop Lamb and Jones so that you can have a lineup with 5 long, quick players that could blow teams away on the fastbreak? Are Perkins’ screens worth THAT much?!?!?!

  44. Unreason

    njasdjdh: That’s a fair point that it’s not entirely Durant’s fault and I didn’t mean to imply it was. I just wanted to get at the fact that typically these failures are always laid out as Westbrook’s fault when there’s more going on than Westbrook just taking bad shots because he’s Westbrook and that’s just what he does.

    I haven’t heard much that I’d call criticism or blame. OKC as a whole is both a media darling and fan favorite. I like ‘em myself. It seems like there’s a general consensus that they lost because the Heat were better. Hard to argue with that IMO. More specifically, I’d say it was the superior individual D of several Heat players over their OKC counterparts and the Heat’s superior team D. OKC isn’t loaded with great 2-way players. Miami is. OKC and it’s stars don’t dog it or suck on D. They just can’t shut opponents down at key moments nearly as well. Talk about OKC players contribution to the loss is pretty clearly disappointed fans groping for reasons to hope and include routine caveats like “Westbrook is great, but…” or “Durant’s the only real competitor to Lebron but…” The clearly visible subtext is “Look these guys are amazing. They just lost to a better team, but we have to talk about something.”

  45. Bruno Almeida

    Juany8: You’re actually very right about this, Scott Brooks is the worst part of this Thunder team, and somehow he won coach of the year while Westbrook is killed for every loss. If the Thunder had won yesterday (which they practically did) nobody would be seriously discussing Westbrook’s performance, yet I’d say that Brooks insisting on playing 2 offensive non-threats at the end of the game cost the team more dearly. It’s the beginning of the season, why not try and develop Lamb and Jones so that you can have a lineup with 5 long, quick players that could blow teams away on the fastbreak? Are Perkins’ screens worth THAT much?!?!?!

    and Perkins isn’t even that good of a screen setter, he fouls a lot and gets away with many missed calls.

    Brooks is mind numbingly bad, he assumes that eventually Durant, Westbrook or Ibaka will “figure it out”, which seems insane considering he Presti worked with San Antonio, the team who won 4 titles by shuffling the supporting cast and changing play styles all the time to accomodate their 3 best players.

    the way Brooks used Harden last season was a crime, and the fact that he insists on playing Sefolosha and Perkins together is just insane, a kid playing NBA 2k wouldn’t do it.

    the Thunder are the team best suited now to play small ball (together with Miami), with Maynor, Westbrook, Martin, Durant and Ibaka… that could be a killer lineup, but Brooks’ insistence on playing either Perkins or Collison is absurd… you could even play Sefolosha in place of Maynor in this lineup if you REALLY need defense on the wing, like the Battier / Miller rotation in Miami.

  46. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Holy shit. Are we actually discussing the possibility that Scott Brooks is responsible for Westbrook going 6-21? Even if he IS a shitty coach, he doesn’t take the shots.

  47. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    er:
    Right…so in 2009 when lebron avg 35 points a game for the playoffs it wasnt his fault either for disappearing at times or the next year when he avg 29.1 in the playoffs. Just deflect from durant, the new teflon don lol

    Disappearing? How can a guy who set an all-time record for WS/48 that playoffs (.399 in 14 games, a number so staggeringly good I am incredulous that anyone could be that good at basketball) “disappear?” Or the next year, when he posted a pedestrian .242 WS/48 in 460 minutes?

    er, you really gotta give up the “points per game” shit for good. On a board in which half of the members seem to have a hard time assigning value to individual shooting efficiency at all, when you post shit like this, you’re wasting everyone’s time by having them read words that say absolutely nothing.

  48. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Holy shit. Are we actually discussing the possibility that Scott Brooks is responsible for Westbrook going 6-21? Even if he IS a shitty coach, he doesn’t take the shots.

    If you’re not going to properly read everyone’s comments, why bother responding to them? I don’t think a single person here blames Brooks for Westbrook’s poor performance yesterday, but at the same time Brooks is not putting his team in spots to succeed. Why put Sefalosha out there to do nothing? Why not run real offensive sets instead of having Westbrook dribble at the top of the key while Durant struggles to get himself open? Kevin Martin basically gave them what Harden would have (15 points 5 assists on over .600TS%) they don’t miss him as much as they miss having a coach that won’t put in Thabeet instead of experimenting with rookies and small ball lineups.

  49. DS

    I’m just putting this out there; as a group we may be overreacting to OKC’s and Harden’s first games. Luckily they play each other on Sunday.

  50. thenamestsam

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Holy shit. Are we actually discussing the possibility that Scott Brooks is responsible for Westbrook going 6-21? Even if he IS a shitty coach, he doesn’t take the shots.

    Is Brooks “responsible” for Westbrook going 6-21? I’m honestly not even sure what that means. I guess in your world where nothing in basketball is impacted by anything else Westbrook is “responsible” for his shooting percentage. In the real world a number of factors affect it.

    Westbrook is the largest of those factors. If he was better at shooting he would make more of those shots. If he was better at decision making he wouldn’t take some of those shots.But there are other factors also.

    Durant is a factor. If he was more aggressive about establishing position and getting the ball some of OKC’s sets would run better and Westbrook wouldn’t end up being forced to take the offensive initiative himself.

    His other teammates are a factor. They’re not incompetent offensively, but if Westbrook throws Ibaka (or Perkins, or Sefolosha) the ball with 12 seconds left on the clock, what happens? Those guys look to see if they’re wide open (they’re not) and then throw it right back to Westbrook. Those guys aren’t doing anything on offense unless they’re already open at the moment they receive the ball.

    And yes, Scotty Brooks is a factor. If he plays more guys who are flexible offensively, or or designs plays to get other guys good looks, Westbrook will get better shots. Hell ultimately Brooks can just take him out and he won’t end up going 6-21.

    Yes a player is mostly in control of how they play, but other things play a role. Does that make Brooks “responsible” for Westbrook playing badly? Well, I’m still not really sure what that means.

  51. Bruno Almeida

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Holy shit. Are we actually discussing the possibility that Scott Brooks is responsible for Westbrook going 6-21? Even if he IS a shitty coach, he doesn’t take the shots.

    no, Westbrook takes the shots and that’s why I also criticize him, but Brooks handling of the offense and the players he puts in play in crunch time are obviously inadequate.

  52. johnlocke

    I’m having a hard time shitting on a coach whose team has improved every single year in which he has been the coach and been one of the youngest teams in NBA history to make the finals — including beating the team we all thought were unbeatable during the playoffs (the Spurs). I think coaches are judged, fairly or unfairly, largely by their team records and Brooks has one of the best over the last couple years. Brooks is trying to establish a thin line between agressiveness from Westbrooke and intelligent playmaking. He can’t just tell him to “shoot less” — but the coach can only do so much. Yes, some of Westbrook’s shots were b/c of unimaginative offensive sets, but a lot of them were him forcing shots and overdribbling when he had Kevin Martin pleading to get the ball. Gotta agree with Cock Jowles — that’s on Westbrooke.

    thenamestsam: Is Brooks “responsible” for Westbrook going 6-21? I’m honestly not even sure what that means. I guess in your world where nothing in basketball is impacted by anything else Westbrook is “responsible” for his shooting percentage. In the real world a number of factors affect it.

  53. exel

    DS:
    I’m just putting this out there; as a group we may be overreacting to OKC’s and Harden’s first games.Luckily they play each other on Sunday.

    FYI, Harden plays for the Houston Rockets and not the Atlanta Hawks. The first OKC-HOU game is not till 11/28.

  54. thenamestsam

    johnlocke,

    I don’t hate Brooks as a coach. As you say the record is good, and a number of players have improved greatly under his watch. Yes, their stars were largely high draft picks, but even for high lottery picks Durant and Harden have been better than anyone could have expected. Westbrook was considered a project when drafted, now he’s 2nd team all-NBA. Ibaka is better than anyone expected. Presti tends to get all the credit for picking the right guys, but all of those guys have gotten better and better every year in the league. The coaching staff deserves credit for that.

    I do think Brooks does a poor job with the offensive system. For a team with so much talent they don’t play off each other especially well. Last in the league in assist rate last year. Boggles my mind. The way they’re set up to play on offense is largely based on the isolation abilities of their two stars. If Westbrook can’t find Durant, there isn’t much diversity in terms of what he can go to next.

    I’m not trying to let Westbrook off the hook here at all. He played freaking terrible last night, and by far the largest factor in that is him. If someone wants to stop the discussion there, that’s fine. They’ve certainly gotten the main points. But there isn’t much reason to come on a basketball forum to talk about that. It doesn’t take much insight to see that Westbrook sucked last night.

    Personally, I think it’s more interesting to look at the other tangential factors that play into that, and the weakness of OKC’s offensive system, and Durant’s occasional inability to free himself at the end of games are both a part of that.

  55. johnlocke

    Good points and I agree. To be fair though I think the points on Westbrooke were larger than “he sucked last night” — the larger point was 1) for a player viewed as one of the best in the NBA, he consistently makes poor decisions for a PG and 2) he has a target on his back, bc he takes a lot of forced shots and his viewed as selfish — a perception similar to our very own superstar

    thenamestsam:
    johnlocke,

    Personally, I think it’s more interesting to look at the other tangential factors that play into that, and the weakness of OKC’s offensive system, and Durant’s occasional inability to free himself at the end of games are both a part of that.

  56. er

    If you read my post you would see that i was responding to someone elses comment that kd avg 30 a game in the finals so it was in no way his fault they lost. If iam assigning blame to the top scorer in the league i am obviously discounting ppg

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Disappearing? How can a guy who set an all-time record for WS/48 that playoffs (.399 in 14 games, a number so staggeringly good I am incredulous that anyone could be that good at basketball) “disappear?” Or the next year, when he posted a pedestrian .242 WS/48 in 460 minutes?

    er, you really gotta give up the “points per game” shit for good. On a board in which half of the members seem to have a hard time assigning value to individual shooting efficiency at all, when you post shit like this, you’re wasting everyone’s time by having them read words that say absolutely nothing.

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