NBA

No Country for Melo Tony

Carmelo Anthony

New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden. Memphis Grizzlies won 95-87. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

So the Clippers and the Knicks are apparently talking a Blake-for-Melo swap. I’m not sure how to react. Seriously??? The ex-LA resident Clipper fan in me wants to cry. There is no Knick fan in me – despite going to school in New York City – but if there was, oh, my. Send Melo Tony away! Send him away for a pick. Send him away for no picks. Send him away for a piece of pizza. Just get him out.

Five years ago, there used to be a few sure things in the NBA. The Clippers being the laughing stock of basketball was one of them. They were “cursed!” Never mind that being cursed just meant drafting the wrong players, signing the wrong players, and just making poor decisions in general. Honestly, the Clippers weren’t cursed. They were lucky. There were no Greg Odens. No city of Cleveland stuff. Elton Brand ruptured his Achilles’ and ran away to Philadelphia. Count your blessings, LA.

Blake Griffin saved the Clippers. Without him, they’d probably still be firing coaches, paying nobody any money, and squandering draft picks. Nowadays, Clipper Nation is alive and well. Sometimes, people might even mention the Clips as championship contenders before cooler heads prevail. Regardless, they compete nightly and aren’t a total drag like the Lakers. None of that is remotely possible without Blake Griffin — the guy who turned the pretenders into the contenders. Without him, Chris Paul doesn’t even consider going there. There is no Doc Rivers. You think Captain Jack stops by? Not a chance!

To make matters worse, it’s not like they’re considering a trade for Paul George. Carmelo Anthony currently heads a team with a 10-22 record in the worst conference ever. You don’t trade your curse-breaker for a shot-taker. You’re a smart guy Carmelo, I’ll give you that. You’ll get out of this somehow, you always do. But I’m not worried about you. I’m worried about the Clippers.

Why would Los Angeles even consider that trade? I understand ESPN is, from time to time, very gossipy. So this all might be a whole bunch of gossip. But if you’re the Clippers, the existence of this rumor means – at the very least – you thought of the trade. How else would ESPN get wind of it? They’re next level, ESPN. They grab the rumors where they start: the frontal lobe of the human brain. The fact that someone in the Clippers organization actually formed a thought that involved trading Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony is pure, crazy madness.

I would have said the Clippers were a changed franchise a week ago. I would have gone out on that limb. But maybe that change was about as real as an ex demanding a second chance because they spent a year “traveling.” True colors are true colors, sometimes. You can’t go to a bunch of temples in Chiang Mai, party with Australians and suddenly claim you’re a better person. Change starts inside.

Melo Tony hasn’t changed his whole career. But you know what? That’s fine. He knows who he is. And he seems to be okay with that. More power to him. But if the Clippers make this trade – and that’s still an if, thankfully – all they’re doing is confessing that they were pretenders these past four years. That’s lame.

If I was a Clippers fan, this rumor would terrify me. It’s like Llewelyn Moss going back to that No-Country-shootout to give the dying guy some water. Why!? You could have walked away with the king’s ransom! Instead, you’re trading it for the king ransomer. Blake Griffin isn’t a perfect player (or a defensive ace) either but he’s shown a willingness to improve. He’s also five years younger than Melo Tony. That right there, is enough for me.

So go ahead Clippers. Do what you need to do. I just hope that Doc Rivers speaks for the entire organization when he says all this is “stupid.” Because honestly, it kinda is. Clipper Country should be No Country for Melo Tony.

The World According to LeBron James

Lebron

LeBron James didn’t deserve last year’s championship. Ray Allen bailed him out.

I’ve heard that more times than the Lorde song. First off, Ray Allen bailing anybody out nowadays is a pretty slim prospect. I haven’t seen Jesus carry his team since he turned down Denzel and that offer from Big State (or did he?).

Anyway, it got me thinking. What if I really do have Ray to thank for everything? Is the universe/NBA nothing more than a deterministic chain of events following a universal law of cause and effect? Without Ray’s shot, am I just a Cleveland choke artist all over again?

Because if the present moment is truly necessitated by a bunch of other events and conditions that preceded it, I am nothing without Ray. I’m the goat of Game 6. There is no Game 7, no Finals MVP, no Samsung Commercial. My legacy is built on a house of Shuttlesworthian sand and fog.

Look, I’m not a big fan of philosophy. I tend to over think things and most decisions I make are universally panned anyways. But I don’t think our actions are part of a bigger plan or an unbreakable chain of events that started billions of years ago. Some people call it determinism. This King doesn’t like the sound of it.

If everything in the past necessitated everything in the future then can’t we just bypass Ray-Ray’s shot all together and say I single-handedly destroyed the Spurs because of, I don’t know, dinosaurs? Cavemen? Or was it trilobites?

I’m not interested in that kind of world. Before you tell me, “of course you aren’t, ’cause you just want the credit for what Ray did,” you should know that such conditions excuse me from all my transgressions. I’m not responsible for the Decision, or that Clown Parade in Miami. It was all already decided in the Universe’s grand plan. I had no control over my actions.

So yeah, it’s convenient but I’m still not interested. I don’t think events are caused deterministically by prior actions (read: I did not win the 2013 NBA Finals because of Ray Allen). I’m not saying there are no such thing as causes, I’m just saying that there isn’t a single outcome for any one cause. Just like there isn’t only one “the one.” There are probably closer to thousands of people who are “the one.” I love Savannah, and I’m glad she’s the one, but she’s probably not the only one. She’s just the one I ended up with.

So when all you people out there status-post on Facebook about how great your significant other is, don’t forget there are probably a lot of other great people out there too and that you’ll probably break up with the person you’re currently with.

Cole is good at baking. But so is Scott
Cole might be good at baking but so are millions of other people

And so, sure, Ray’s shot against the Spurs was huge. It had a whole bunch of strange energy and it helped change the outcome of that series — I’d call it momentum but we all know that’s imaginary.

But the effect of that shot wasn’t deterministically determined. All it did was tie the game in that present moment. That’s it. The future was a whole bunch of undetermined possibilities. And I determined them. Without me, my body and my phenomenal skill-set, the future was nothing but immeasurable quantum space-time noise. I alchemized that meaningless fuzz into an NBA championship. End of story.

Maybe The Chosen One is fitting after all. I am the Chosen Distributor of the Magically Infinite Possibilities of the Universe.

But so too, are every single one of you.

Look, I get the reason behind all of the hate. If Ray doesn’t make that shot, I lose. That’s true. But that’s just one small part of the story. After all, we’re not strangers to a single, fluke event — our rapid universal expansion.

But are you saying that you had nothing to do with your life? That you don’t deserve the cupcakes you baked or the children you’ve worked hard to raise? Some dense-hot-expansive-jackpot-particle-system does?

Basketball, much like the universe, is made up of alternating layers of action and reaction that aren’t just indeterminate — they’re infinite. You’re not just a puppet on a bunch of cosmic strings.

So stop hating, haters.

The NBA All-Terminator Team

Terminator-Arnold-as-TerminatorHaving done the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, all that’s left is the unstoppable. We’ll call this the All-Terminator team in another outdated Terminator franchise reference.

This squad is reserved for the players who are pretty much unstoppable in their nightly greatness.

After all, a Terminator is a humanoid robot that is equal parts infiltrator and assassin that can withstand nearly every 21st century firearm as well as James Cameron’s screen dialogue.

Click Next to see the All-Terminator Team.

The NBA All-Underrated Team

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[tps_title]NBA All Underrated Team – 2013[/tps_title]

We’ve taken care of the Bad and the Ugly.

Next up, the “Wait, That Guy is Actually Really Good” squad.

This NBA all-underrated team is reserved for players who are having great seasons but are either unheard of due to geographic location, under-appreciated because of past reputation or just play for the Kings.

Press “next” to unveil the players.

The NBA All-Disappointment Team

NBA Disappointment Team

With just over a quarter of the NBA season gone by, it’s time for congratulations. A lot has gone down, including a too-hot-for-ESPN 13-letter-word (what could it have been!?) and a large amount of confusing awfulness in the East. We can blame Lawrence Frank for most of it, obviously, but it’s important to honor the players as well.

First up, the “We’re Really Disappointed in You” team.

In case you missed it, check out the The NBA All-Underrated Team.

(Note: Selections are based on talent and the subsequent squandering of said talent. Striking a fine balance between skill and noncommittal defense, questionable shot selection and wasted potential is essential).

Without further ado, the players:

Carmelo Anthony

  • Professional offensive black hole
  • Consummate pro who’s exceptional at pointing out what’s wrong and doing nothing to fix it
  • Voted unanimous winner of the Guy-You’d-Least-Like-to-Have-with-You-on-the-Titanic

Undoubtedly an incredible basketball talent, Anthony produces elite results on teams that are often known for their championship contending irrelevancy. With great talent comes great responsibility and on this all-disappointment squad, there’s always room for a star who avoids it like the plague.

Melo Tony has fashioned his NBA career after Billy Zane in my favorite James Cameron flick about a sinking ship and has shot his way out of everything he hasn’t liked – from Denver to the Jeremy Lin situation – at middling efficiency rates and max-dollars. This year, he’s hoisting nearly nine pull-up jumpers a game and has managed to be less effective (35.1 percent) shooting them than Rudy Gay (40.9 percent), per SportsVU.

But let’s face it, the real disappointment is how the Knicks are going down and all he cares about is that Heart of the Ocean diamond he left in his coat pocket. At 29, the window for Melo to prove he’s willing to commit to something all legitimate superstars have already committed to (defense) is currently being boarded up with nails.

Josh Smith

  • Gifted lefty with great court vision.
  • Has many skills; prefers to play to weaknesses
  • League leader in missed jumpers that lead to Andre Drummond dunks

*sigh*

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.29.28 PM

(screen shot courteousy of Vorped)

Rudy Gay

  • Banned stats from locker room in last-ditch self-preservation effort
  • League hot-potato
  • First player to be traded by John Hollinger

After being traded to his tenth team in the past two years, Gay finds himself on a Sacramento squad with DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, and a starting lineup that will need at least two more basketballs and two less players.

Perhaps the definition of a low-efficiency gunner, Rudy has dropped to near Ricky Rubio depths this season, shooting just 38 percent. To be fair, he hasn’t shot that poorly from three (37 percent) and most players would kill to shoot threes at an overall FG% clip. Gay can still get a shot off on anyone at anytime, which has value. Just not $17.89 million value.

“John, if you come work for us, we’ll let you trade Rudy” was the Grizzlies’ first and only pitch they used to woo stat guru John Hollinger away from ESPN.

Nick Young

  • Only player in history to pump fake a free-throw.
  • Space cadet defense and ability to fight through screens rivaled only by blind dogs.
  • He doesn’t always pass, but when he does, he prefers the ball back immediately.

He is… The Most Swaggiest Man in the World.

Young’s antics are no secret by now. He’s having a career-year, averaging a hair over two rebounds a game with nearly 1.5 assists as a 6-foot-7 basketball player. He’s infamous for his Twitter handle “Swaggy P,” his Smaug-ishly desolate box scores and being Kendrick Lamar’s cousin.

Smaug was hereSmaug was here

A gifted athlete who could be a plus-defender, Young only seems interested in becoming the next Kobe despite not possessing any of the primary or secondary skills that make Kobe really good. Young’s swag is undeniable. His instincts – and his positive impact on the basketball court – not so much.

J.R. Smith

  • Takes 1-vs-5 as the ultimate challenge
  • Inappropriate tweeter, construction expert.
  • Not a fan of shot-efficiency

After winning the 6th Man Award last year, Smith has gone off into the NYC sewers in search of albino alligators, shooting under 35 percent and a mere 17.9 percent on pull-up jumpers this season, according to SportsVU.

He’s sliced his PER in half and continues to be more defensive on Twitter than the actual basketball court. A very talented player who taps into about 75 percent of his potential each season, this year he’s settled for about 17.9 percent.

At this point, it’s not clear who’s better — Smith, or his brother, Chris.