Thursday, October 30, 2008

good stuff from tmq (on the nba)

Weird NBA Trade: Denver sent Marcus Camby, who was Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07 and is among the NBA's top rebounders, to the Los Angeles Clippers for the option of swapping second-round choices in the 2010 draft. That is, in exchange for a quality player, Denver received only a roughly 50/50 chance of a somewhat improved second-round pick; if the Nuggets draft before the Clippers in 2010, then Denver receives nothing. From Denver's perspective, the point of the trade was to get a guaranteed salary off the team's books. Why? So the cap space can be used to sign someone who is nowhere near as good as Camby? It's one thing to unload the contract of a crummy player. Camby is a good player in a league with an obvious scarcity of good players.

Can't Hit the Broad Side of a Barn? Here's $165 Million! Gilbert Arenas is now one of the highest-paid players in basketball history. A few months ago, Arenas signed the second of two monster contracts with the Washington Wizards; the latest, which guarantees $111 million, means he has inked combined deals worth $165 million. Arenas is popular with fans, has an appealing personality and tirelessly makes time for children; from the standpoint of marketing, he's solid gold. Because he is responsible in the community, Arenas is the sort of athlete you'd want your child to idolize, and this cannot be said of many contemporary sports stars. But during Arenas' five years with the Whizzies, the team is 204-230 and has won just one playoff series. Arenas is a shooting guard with a career 42.7 regular-season field goal percentage and a career 41.1 in the playoffs -- for poor shooting, he should be one of the highest-paid players in NBA history?

Real nice guy, multi-zillionaire -- if only he could hit the broad side of a barn.

Last spring in the playoffs, the Whizzies were 2-1 when Arenas was out injured and 0-3 when he played. That is to say, the team performed better if Arenas couldn't dress. When Arenas is in the game, the other four Wizards simply stand like topiary watching him go one-on-one, and one-on-one is a low-percentage strategy, as Arenas' poor career shooting numbers attest. Pull Arenas off the floor and the Wizards come to life on offense, moving and running plays. And yes, Arenas hits the occasional wild 3 that brings down the house, but anyone shooting every time he touched the ball would hit an occasional 3. To top things off, Arenas, who has a history of knee injuries, got his megadeal despite issues regarding his health. Already he's out injured again at least till the snow falls, and it's an open question whether he will ever recover to full speed. The Whizzies are stuck with the $111 million guaranteed regardless.

That Arenas, a low-percentage shooter who has never led an NBA team to a memorable season -- his clubs are a combined 240-358 -- and never gone deep into the playoffs, should become one of the highest-paid performers in the league's history is everything that's wrong with the sports-culture incentive structure in a nutshell. Arenas has been lavishly rewarded for shooting too much, acting flashy, getting media hype and using poor fundamentals. Given this is what the NBA incentive structure rewards, it would be irrational for young basketball players not to aspire to acting flashy, getting media hype, shooting too much and using poor fundamentals.

NBA Trades of the Year: Everyone heard about the Dallas-New Jersey trade that entailed the Mavericks signing Keith Van Horn, out of basketball for nearly two seasons, to a $4.3 million guaranteed deal solely to trade him to the Nets, who immediately paid him the money then waived him -- NBA salary-cap fine print required Dallas to throw an additional $4.3 million worth of contracts into the deal. Just as amusing but overlooked was the 11-player Cleveland-Chicago-Seattle transaction, in which the Sonics gave up two starters, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West, for three benchwarmers, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall and Adrian Griffin. As soon as the season ended and the rules permitted it, the Sonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, waived Newble and Marshall; a few weeks later, they packaged Griffin to Milwaukee in another three-club deal. That is, the former Seattle team traded two starting players for one guy used as a thrown-in on a deal for someone else.

B-Ball Guys, Forget "One and Done;" Stay in School to Be Drafted Higher and Earn More Overall Through Your Career: Following the NFL draft, TMQ noted that the NFL's advisory committee, which gives underclassmen an estimate of where they will be drafted, and draftnik commentary in general, both overstate a player's odds of being drafted high, or drafted at all. I cited examples of football players who had been enticed by such overestimates to give up their senior years because they expected to be drafted high, then were drafted low or not drafted at all.

The same tendency to overestimate draft chances is drawing underclassman basketball players out of college. In the run-up to the NBA draft,'s Insider ranked the top 100 prospects and estimated their draft slots. The estimates had 19 players going in the lottery (where there are 14 positions), 44 players going in the first round (there are 30 choices) and 69 players going in the 30 choices of the second round (that adds up to more than 100 owing to some players listed as likely to go in the "late first to early second" round). Many basketball touts and hangers-on were urging players on the bubble to jump out of college, in part by overestimating their draft prospects. Jump early and become a star, like Kobe Bryant, and you maximize your lifetime earnings. Jump early and struggle -- like the majority of those who jump early to the NBA -- and you cost yourself millions of dollars.

If he still wore Kansas blue, everyone in the Midwest would be happy, he'd get his degree, and his lifetime earnings might rise.

Underclassman basketball players ranked by touts as likely to be drafted in the first round, including Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Douglas-Roberts, gave up the rest of their college experience only to last until the second round. After the draft, John Denton of wrote, "Chalmers, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player and a hero for hitting the clutch 3-pointer that forced overtime, looked on in disbelief on draft night as the first round came and went without his name being announced ... Douglas-Roberts ... has fumed about his horrifying draft experience." I attended the Final Four, and while watching CDR, I thought, "He is a potential star but there is no way he's ready." Egged on by overstated estimates, CDR left college and declared for the draft, only to discover the NBA consensus was that he should have stayed in school.

JaVale McGee left college as a sophomore but after playing for only one year -- he did not start as a freshman, and was not dominant when he did play as a soph. Perhaps he believed projections of himself as a lottery pick; instead McGee went 18th overall, to Washington. Had he stayed in college longer and become a great player, plus well-known, fans would be saying, "Wow, the Wizards got JaVale McGee!" Instead fans are saying, "Who is JaVale McGee?" Because McGee jumped too soon, the odds are he will have a hard climb to be more than an NBA backup, because at the pro level, he's not going to get the minutes he needs to improve his game. In turn, he will have a nice income in the next two years, versus no income had he remained in college. But his lifetime income will likely drop way down because he may never advance to a mega-contract. Jordan was a particularly sad case because he jumped after his freshman year, expecting to go in the first round. Had he stayed in school he had an excellent chance of reaching the high first round and substantially increasing his lifetime earnings. Instead, he went in the second round, will struggle to get minutes, and is now much more likely to have a minimum-scale NBA career than ever advance to a mega-contract. Jumping early may have reduced his lifetime sports earnings by tens of millions of dollars.

Will current college basketball players learn the lesson of overestimation of draft status? Already ESPN Insider is listing the top 100 prospects for the 2009 NBA draft. Seventeen are listed as going in the 14 lottery positions, 56 in the 30 positions of the first round and 71 in the 40 possible positions of first round to early second round. There may be many cases where the universe of basketball agents, gossip Web sites and AAU hangers-on is overestimating the chances that underclassmen will be first-round NBA draft choices if they declare early. Most of these underclassmen will be better off -- and have higher career earnings -- if they stay in school.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

d-rose debut

saw this and thought i should post it ... even tho i think it's
terribly wrong about d-rose (link from truehoop)
David Berri of the Wages of Wins: "The model -- which looks at both
college and preseason performance -- projects that Derrick Rose, Brook
Lopez, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless, Russell Westbrook, D.J. Augustin,
and Joe Alexander will be below average for rookies. And a below
average rookie is really not someone who will help a team win many

here is the espn game summary from last night-


from blogabull (who went to the game) -

david thorpe on espn had this to say about rose's debut -

Rose, who had 11 points and nine assists in 32 minutes of a 108-95 win
over the Bucks, looked much more adept as a distributor as the game
evolved. Most of his passes were easy ones (which means he wasn't
forcing them) but he did have a couple beautiful "dimes."

Derrick Rose showed some impressive moves in a winning debut.

• Rose looked for his shot far more than he looked to pass, early on.
He did make some nice passes in transition. Looking to score first is
smart -- it forces the defense to make a commitment because Rose is an
excellent finisher inside.

• He was more aggressive off the ball and in passing lanes on defense
than on the ball. He has the ability to be a real pest as a ballhawk.

• His off-the-ball habits, however, are poor. Too often he locked in
on the ball instead of "seeing both" -- having an awareness of the
ball and opponents. That leaves him very vulnerable to any type of

• Over-penetration will be a problem for him, partially because he can
get by anyone. But NBA bigs know how to put little guys in jail if
they don't release the ball early enough.

• Rose has that extra gear, like Monta Ellis and Leandro Barbosa. But
he's shiftier on the move, throwing shoulder fakes like a tailback
hitting open spaces. He reminds me of Dwyane Wade when he does that.

• He made a terrific above-the-rim rebound, then raced it up the floor
and got an easy bucket for a teammate. Exactly what Bulls GM John
Paxson and the coaching staff envisioned.

• He can finish with his left hand, off a bump.

• Rose mostly passed up catch-and-shoot attempts. He's much more
comfortable driving. But the few he took looked OK. He just needs

and a flurry of articles from the local papers -,0,4615320.story

"Words can't describe how it felt," Rose said. "I was just hoping I wouldn't trip because I was so excited. With the turnovers, I would have to give myself a C. We got the win, though.",0,2931000.column
On a dunk in the third, Rose went from 0 to 40 inches in a nanosecond. A few minutes later, he went around Bucks guard Luke Ridnour as if he were a traffic cone, got fouled and finished the three-point play.

"Man, the turnovers get to me," Rose said. "A perfect game for me is no turnovers, I don't care how many points and a whole bunch of assists.",CST-SPT-rick29.article,CST-SPT-bull29a.article

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I have fairly low expectations for this team, and mainly see this as a building (not rebuilding) year. I want to see the top 3 players develop and fit into their respective roles. I also want to see the team develop an overall identity under VDN. The record this year is not important, tho it would be fun to sneak into the 8th spot or something. Really tho, it's much more about seeing where we start, how we finish, and how to use the experience moving forward.

39-43 (10th in east)

I'm hoping to see rose use his quickness to get into the lane to create shots for himself and others. I would love to see consistent development (becoming more comfortable with the flow of the NBA game, court vision getting better, etc) throughout the year. VDN's fast-paced offense should suit rose, I'm just hoping he gets time with the first unit so he can work the pick-and-roll with TT and gooden (rather than gray and noah). The comparisons to Beasley can stop before they start, because MB will put up a lot of points and possibly win ROY (not if Greg Oden has any say in it). It should take about 2-3 years before we know what kind of player Rose really is (that's about how long it took cp3 and d-will), but I'm hoping to see gradual development this year. My real goal is to see Rose, Luol and TT be the centerpieces of a great team in 3-4 years
** update
after rose dropped 30 (and14 in the 4th) last week on dallas ... it's hard not to raise expectations. The mistakes i've seen (driving and jumping to look for a pass, skip passes) all seem to be differences from college v. nba, which will be corrected with time/experience. I wasn't sure before the preseason, but Rose has displayed: great court vision and an ability to hit some jump shots (both are great). The dallas game showed an unbelievable explosiveness with the ball and ability to get to the rim whenever he wants, and probably most important, the ability to take over a game. Stacey King called it a coming out party for derrick rose, and i hope he was right. I dont want to depend on him dropping 30 every night, but seeing flashes of greatness and him takeover a few games (like in the dallas game) will make this season great.

I have high hopes for Luol this season, and want to see him establish himself as a legitimate 3 in the league. He's got the talent and the contract to be compared to LeBron, Igoudala, Melo, etc. I don't need 30ppg, but I'd like to see him drop 20 a night, and have an occasional explosion (where he takes a game over offensively). Can he eventually be the scottie to rose's mj?? On a side note, the over/under on 3-point attempts is his jersey number ... anyone taking the over??

I am excited to see what Ty brings this year. He had a great summer with David Thorpe and I want to see that translate to games. I realize he is still a “project” but it is time to see the next step. I hope he continues to develop and become a threat on the mid-range jumpshot so that he and Rose can be an unstoppable force in the pick-and-roll in a couple years. If the D has to step out on him, he should have some great cuts to the hoop for some throw downs. For this season, i'll be content to see steady numbers (assuming he gets consistent tick) somewhere around 14 and 7 per game.

I would love for Kirk to return to the form of a few years ago. He was a great defensive player, and overall very consistent. I need nothing spectacular, just a consistent player alongside Rose. Captain kirk just needs to knock down open jumpers and share the ball-handling responsibilities.

Same old thing ... scrappy and filling up the box score. I hope he stays with the bull forever b/c he is one of those guys you hate when he's not on your team.

I'm disappointed he signed the QO, he has been one of our best players over the last 3 years and I would hate to lose him for nothing at the end of the year. Pax is willing to keep the crowded back court b/c he wants to have either BG or kirk going forward, and I'd personally rather have BG. I think he is a great 6th man and perfect for an uptempo system (think of him as the trailer knocking down open 3s, or the kickout guy when the D collapses on the Rose/TT pick-and-roll). As for this year, no expectations for BG – I hope VDN uses him appropriately and he plays well. I also hope no other teams want to spend $$ on him next off-season and the bull resign him.

Love the facial hair. He is actually great for the development of Rose, as he can consistently knock down the jumper, making him very useful in the pick-and-roll. He can be the consistent (at least offensively) post player that we need while our other front court players (projects – TT and noah) find their way.

Love the goggles. Love the intensity. I just want to see him continue to develop. I hated him at Florida, but I like him as a center in the league. If he can develop a decent (think bill cartwright) offensive game, he could be a great piece to have alongside our core. Him and TT could be a big and athletic 4/5 that can run with rose, luol, etc.

Hoping to see more than one post move this year. He had to spend the summer doing something, right? He's a serviceable backup center, so I like him if he keeps developing.

Haven't seen the offensive development over the past few years. I don't know if it will ever happen, and at this point, I don't care.

Can we trade him? He's not part of this franchise going forward, so ...

awards in the association ...
defensive poy – kg
6th man – ben gordon
roty – beasley (barely edging out oden)
mvp – bron (no one will be close!)
finals – cavs v lakers
champ - lakers

Thursday, October 23, 2008

rose will start!

first of all, why was this a question? who is the best pg on the bull ... kirk? obviously it's rose so that's who should start. the hughes injury makes that pretty much certain

hoopsworld was crazy with bull buzz today ...
Bulls Interested in Zach Randolph?
A league executive said that the Chicago Bulls have interest in New York Knicks forward Zach Randolph to solve their low-post scoring problems, but don’t have a package that would interest New York.

downplaying the inexperience of vdn - i kinda like the idea of a new coach, new system (and soon new identity) that rose can grow with. hopefully this works and rose and vdn will spend the next 12 years together winning 6 more titles

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

rats playing basketball

busy with school, but hoping to post my bull predictions sometime next week (before the first game). haven't had a chance to read this, but espn predictions of the the bull ...

looks like i missed the last lil wayne blog on espn ...
here's the most recent ...

this is from truehoop on espn today ...

These rats play basketball. Actual rats. Some of the training, as described on the website of Heureka, the Finnish Science Center. (No joke, in some ways this reminds of what us journalists learned at IMG, although if you watch the video you'll see that the rats get tons of snacks from their coaches, while we did not.): "The rats are gradually taught to play basketball. First, the rat kitten is taught to grab the ball and to find it on the court. The next phase involves coaxing the rat to travel with the ball in its mouth. At first, the distances are only a few steps in length, but slowly they increase. The rat is guided by hand to travel to a particular end of the court, because each rat must learn to recognise their own hoop. The basketball rat teams are established by teaching half of the rats to put the ball in the basket on the right side and half on the left side of the court. How does the rat learn to score? Scoring a basket is not taught to the rat kittens until the very end of their training period. To start, a platform is used to enable the rat to simply drop the ball down through the hoop. Gradually the platform is lowered and the rat learns to lift the ball up and into the basket. Finally, the rat kitten begins to be ready for an actual game with another rat. In Heureka's basketball programme, rats become professional players within 2-4 months of training. Does every rat learn to play? Any tame rat can learn to play basketball, but brave rats which are relaxed playing in front of an enthusiastic audience will be the best professionals!" UPDATE: More video.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

magic joins espn

Friday, October 10, 2008

loss, and rose good (not great)

it took d-rose almost half of his freshman year to adjust at memphis, so i am expecting a fairly slow start. it took other pg's (ie cp3 and d-will) two or three years to get established.

things i liked:
the fast pace / pushing the ball
rose looked fast and explosive
rose carries himself like superstar
tt knocked down some jumpshots
(i cannot wait for the d-rose/tt pick-n-roll offense late this year and moving forward. if tt can nail jumpshots, it will open up lanes for him to slash after the screen ... and lead to quite a few oops, right?)

why did the bull (and all those other teams) pass on cdr??
do you think the bull passed on cdr because him and rose went to the same college? maybe they wanted to separate rose mentally from the college game / mindset?

change i can believe in ... small ball
and another reason i love d-rose -- small ball is the future, and d-rose is the perfect guy to build around. more teams are building around a small/slasher that can create for himself and others ... cp3, d-will, monta, wade, and tony parker all come to mind.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

d-rose love gummi bears

anyone want to read this book and let me know how it is?
Expatriate Games: My Season of Misadventures in Czech Semi-Pro Basketball - David Fromm

great article on elgin baylor

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

bull updates



Thursday, October 2, 2008

why do we follow sports?

So, how will this play out? I see Manny leading the Dodgers to the 2008 World Series, breaking their hearts and donning pinstripes next season. He won't feel bad, because he's Manny. The L.A. fans will feel bad. I will feel worse. It will be the single most painful sports transaction of my lifetime. It will make me question why I follow sports at all, why we spend so much time caring about people who don't care about us. I don't want to hear Manny booed at Fenway. I don't want to root against him. I don't want to hold a grudge. I don't want to hear the "Mah-knee! Mah-knee!" chant echoing through the new Stadium. I am not ready for any of it. You love sports most when you're 16, then you love it a little bit less every year. And it happens because of things like this. Like Manny breaking the hearts of everyone in Boston because his agent wanted to get paid, then Manny landing in New York because the Yanks offered the most money.

long article from bill simmons on espn, brings out a great issue at the end ...
why do we care? why do we invest ourselves into a team and players that almost always end up spurning us in the end?

we care because of the joy that comes with seeing our team win ... but there is so much more possibility for being crushed. only one team wins every year, but there is a chance of being crushed by players leaving for more $, the team missing the playoffs, or making the playoffs and crushing us with a tough loss ...


bg signs qo --

interesting note from that article ... almost everyone who signs the qo ends up signing for the mid-level exception the following year. that might not apply b/c i think bg is the best player to turn down the long-term deal for the qo, but we'll see.

if the bull are truly trying to run a fast offense this year, can they go small and compete? alternatively, can they slow the game down and go extra big?

here's how i see them going small -
pg - rose
2 - ben
3 - luol
4 - ty
c - gooden

if the bull go big, they could trot out
pg - rose
2 - luol
3 - ty
4 - gooden
5 - noah

i'm not sure that ty can guard a 3, but if he has developed any post skills, it would create matchup problems on the other end also.

i would love to see them try the combo lineup with a big back-court / small front-court lineup with play luol at the 2 (a big 2 in a small lineup) and noc at the 3, and the rest of the small lineup listed above (rose, ty, gooden). that would be a very athletic, "small" team ... but would be big at the 2 and 3 spots. it would also get noc and luol out there, arguably 2 of our best players, and create all kinds of crazy matchup problems.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

bull and lil wayne

gordon to sign qo? he would not reveal earlier, but that seems likely

i've heard there were no big roster moves b/c pax is afraid of going into next year without kirk and ben (he wants to have at least 1 of them going forward). with ben likely to sign the qo and walk next year, and kirk would be the main part of any trade that occurred (to uncrowd the back court), pax was handcuffed to stick with our current roster.

either way it sucks to lose ben (arguably our best player for the past few years) and get nothing in return. maybe we can put together a package at the deadline for more than a bunch of junk from cleveland.

lil wayne blog #2 on espn

hollinger bull forecast