Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Regent's Rankings of Power

Well, well... I can hardly believe that today is finally here. This NBA season has to be the most anticipated season of all time. I mean that seriously. Never have two of the league's top three players teamed up. Not often do we see a team that could, with some luck, have all five starters on the all-star team (Shaq, KG, The Truth, Allen and Rondo). Hardly ever, do we see a rookie class with players that could be in the real all-star game come february. And we have never, until now, seen Brian Scalabrine wearing a jersey that matches his hair color. I can hardly wait the hour and a half until it all begins!
The season wouldn't be properly anticipated for if I didn't put out a Regent's Rankings of Power before it all began. Although not much has changed since the last edition, preseason has happened. As we are all aware, preseason counts.
Just kidding.
Last night I was watching Intervention, the reality tv show about drug addicts and their families and how they attempt to get their family member into rehab. This was the first time that I have ever watched the show and I was treated to a back to back, double dose of it. After two episodes I knew the show's structure like the back of my hand (because everyone knows the back of their hand perfectly). The first 55 minutes of the show introduces you to the addict and their families by taking you on a tour of the addict's life. The last five minutes is the "intervention" where each member of the family reads (either in monotone voice or sobbing, no in-between) their individual pleas to the addict to save their own life and go into rehab. The addict will storm out, calm down, then come back into the room with the family and camera crew and a bald wannabe psychologist with a white mustache that sticks out about 2 inches from his face. Large mustache man then asks the addict if they will choose the drugs or their family... the addict will think about whether they want to go into rehab and stare at a nasty mustache for 6 months or not, then they usually say no and leave. the end.
The NBA preseason is similar to the format of this show, minus nasty mustaches (in modern NBA atleast) and minus drugs (I assume). Teams play preseason to gel and get familiar with one another, moderately competitively. Just like in intervention where the first part is getting to know the people involved. What happens in preseason really doesn't have any bearing on the regular season. When it comes right down to it, the regular season is where games that matter can be seen. On intervention, really only the end part of the show matters whether the addict goes into rehab or not. I understand that there is a stat about playoff teams related to their preseason record, but still, it's preseason. In short, my wife sums it up best when she says: "preseason is like wearing socks while you wear sandals... it's just retarded"... well said. Preseason counts as much as this guy's music video does to MTV.
Either way, the rankings of power have to do with recent success, just like ESPN's rankings claim to do. Since all I have to go off of is the preseason, these rankings will seem to be wildly out of order. However, I will stick to my guns and do these rankings the way the should be done... that is, based on current record and recent success/failure.

And here they are:

1. Orlando (7-0) : The magic had a point differential of +25.0 pts. They not only won every game, they destroyed every game.
2. Memphis (8-0): That's right, The griz went undefeated... maybe that Rudy Gay max contract is worth every penny.... just kidding.
3. Utah (8-0): This was an interesting undefeated preseason because the jazz didn't just beat european teams the whole time, I know they beat the lakers once or twice even...??
4. Boston (7-1): This team is crazy, who woulda thought a team of Shaq, KG, Pierce, Allen and Rondo would or could be formed?
5. Cleveland (6-2): Wow, is this team better without lebron?... nope
6. Minnesota (6-2): I still love the fact that David Kahn told the press that Beasley smoked too much weed in Miami.
7. Denver (5-3): I have nothing to say about the nugs.
8. OKC (4-3): interesting fact: this was the only winning team with a negative point differential.
9. San Antonio (4-3): I hate the spurs.
10.Chicago (4-4): This is one of the most intriguing teams in the league, if anything preseason showed us that Thibodeau can and will work his defensive magic with this team.
11. Toronto (4-4): This is the most frustrating thing... ESPN has Toronto ranked as one of the worst teams in the league, then after preseason they adjust some teams based on their play but they leave the raptors at the bottom.. If you are paid to analyze the NBA, maybe watch some games other than the lakers, heat and celtics games. Want proof? look here. One of the best dunks of all preseason and it was excluded from the top ten.
12. Houston (4-4): I'm glad Yao ming defended his home court on those games in china.
13. Charlotte (4-4): T-wah hates the bobcats.
14. Los Angeles (4-4): Some NBA analysts were talking about how hardly any teams have one guy to just slow down other teams' superstars and how hard it will be to slow down two.. Well, LA is probably the only team that has two hard nosed defensive wings.
15. Dallas (4-4): This team is about as intriguing as the Bulls, they have incredible depth and the perfect guy (Beaubois) to take over for kidd when he slows down.
16. Portland (3-4): Apparently there are starting to be chemistry problems with the blaze, Fernandez, B-roy and the front office..
17. Miami (3-4): I still cant wait to see all three play... How can you not be excited to watch these guys play even if you hate them?
18. Sacramento (3-4): Why does this team always have players that are so easy to dislike? Cousins looks like an overgrown baby.
19. Indiana (3-4): I hate the pacers for getting the point guard that the raptors should have gotten.
20. Washington (3-4): I for some reason always find myself watching the highlights from these guys to see how wall and arenas are together.. They are one of those teams that you can't help but be interested in.
21. New York (3-5): These guys sucked defensively... or toronto is good offensively... you decide.
22. Golden State (3-5): I can't help but think that this team is going to suck... How is David Lee going to make them any better?
23. Detroit (3-5): We should bet money on whether this team is going to be worse than last year or not.. I bet worse. Especially without Ed davis (who Bill Simmons seems to think was drafted by Detroit... not Toronto... listen to his over/under podcast)
24. Milwaukee (3-5): I saw some of a bulls/bucks game and rose vs jennings was fun to watch. This year we can look forward to rose vs. jennings vs. collison vs. rondo vs. wall vs. harris in the east.
25. New Jersey (3-5): this is a weird team.. even more weird with carmelo
26. Philadelphia (2-5): I watched the raps play the sixers and I remember thinking before the game.. "these teams are pretty even" .. I was right.. the game went in to triple overtime.
27. Atlanta (2-5): Bottom of the east.. Take that ESPN, your beloved hawks are the bottom.. not the raptors
28. Phoenix (2-6): I think this is it for the suns.. I hate to write them off but one guy can only do so much with 500 small forwards.
29. New Orleans (1-7): Chris Paul wanted new running mates, somehow Ariza and Belinelli was enough to convince him to stay... seriously??? Belinelli was at the end of the bench in toronto, in front of only Patrick O'bryant and Marcus Banks.
30. Clippers (1-7): Happy to see Griffin back, that guy is a beast. Check this out. He reminds me of Dwight Howard only with a solid jumper and post moves.

There you have it, the preseason rankings..
I promised I would mention why Lebron should be MVP this year again (whether he wins it or not is another story) but I thought it would be better as an article all on its own. So that will be what I write next. Until then, enjoy the Regent's Rankings of Power.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things I'm Thinking About

  • We've gone global. I realized not everyone has access to these stats for this website. We have been viewed in 10 countries:
  • Just because Michael Jordan was the greatest player to play the game of basketball, does that mean that we are supposed to believe everything that comes out of his mouth?
  • I know they aren't all full-grown adults, but it still 7 people! Not saying I've never seen anything better, but it's 7 people.....
  • This is funny...

Are we still looking for a Northwest Division Preview?

Utah, Minnesota, Denver, Oklahoma City, Portland....as far I'm concerned, all but one of these teams has the potential to make the playoffs. That only leaves 4 spots for the other two divisions. In other words, West is best, and has been for a long time. I really don't think these 4 teams will make it, but the potential is there.

Of the 11 so-called experts on NBA.com, 8 of them said OKC would win the division, 2 said Portland would, and one predicted Utah. Let's talk about each team from the bottom up:

5. Minnesota - They traded their best player, Al Jefferson, for Kosta Koufus and a couple of draft picks. Then they picked up Michael Beasley, who didn't live up to expectations in Miami and won't live up to expectations in 'sota. Next comes Darko Milicic. We are remember that he was drafted before Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade, right? The only thing this club has going for it is Kevin Love, who will thrive in Jefferson's absence, and the dreams of Rubio once day joining them from across the Atlantic.

4. Denver - I don't care if 'Melo wants to stay or not; all this talk has done nothing but mess with team chemistry. Throw in the fact that coach Karl missed the playoffs last year which led to the team falling apart in their series against Utah. Has anyone heard the latest on Karl? He's the only one who can keep J.R. and Kenyon's heads in check. Too many egos and too much inconsistency to make any substantial run this year.

3. Portland - Will Oden make it past game 1? I hope so but I'm not counting on it. Is Camby healthy? Is Przybilla healthy? Is Aldridge healthy? I know Roy is healthy. I don't have much to say for, or against, the Blazers. They're just there. If they avoid injury, they'll be good. That's about all there is to it.

2. Oklahoma City - First of all, Durantula is a stupid nickname. You'll never catch me calling him that. Alright, I know he's phenomenal. I honestly think he will win the MVP this year. But win the division? the conference? the title? I'm not sold. The bandwagon has passed me by and I didn't hop on. When Westbrook is your #2 guy, you're not getting to the conference finals. He's good and he'll probably win most improved player. Unless I missed something, their biggest pick-up this offseason is rookie Cole Aldrich. He'll be a good center for them, but he's not taking them from an 8 seed to a 2 seed. I know they're older. I know they're more experienced. I'm not denying their goodness. I'm denying their greatness (for this season, anyway...)

1. Utah - Ok, if I wasn't a Jazz fan, I might have the Thunder at #1 and Jazz at #2, but I know the Jazz better than that. There's talk of Sloan winning COY this year if the Jazz make a good run with their new assets. It's about time. Boozer's gone. Oh well. Anyone who saw Milsap play for Boozer while he was injured knows that he'll be just as good. Bell is back and he loves to mess around with Kobe. Hayward has shown some potential in pre-season: 24 points one game. I'm not counting on him for this season, but he'll be a shooter for them in the years to come. I can't deny my excitement for Jefferson. I own his jersey. My sister-in-law told me last week that she hasn't seen me without his jersey on since I bought it. Jefferson will be an All-Star. He was almost one in Minnesota when he was double teamed every play...just imagine him with a point guard to get him the ball, and other guys to draw defenders away. To summarize, they lost Boozer but still have Milsap, so that's a wash. They got Jefferson for nothing (they needed more size to compete with the Lakers, remember). They lost Korver and picked up Bell and Hayward to replace him. All in all, a better team. #1 in the Northwest. I love this division. Thunder and Jazz will provide years of entertaining basketball.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Quick Thought on Why I Love Sports (and mostly the NBA)

I’ve spent my life watching grown men play games with each other. I don’t know these men. They don’t know me. They get paid millions of dollars to play these games. I get nothing to watch them. I spend more time thinking and reading about their games than they spend playing them. I check the internet every few minutes. I even check my own blog a few times a day; I have a sports blog that no one reads. During class my mind wanders, and I catch myself speculating about trade scenarios.

Often I wonder what it would be like if we never had to sleep. How much more productive would we be if we didn’t have to spend 8 hours a day, stuck in our beds like a lump of salami? I think the world would be a much different place if we all had that much extra time.

And so I wonder what my life would be like without sports. If I had never spent a second following professional sports, what would I have used all that time for? Would I be smarter? Healthier? More attractive? Famous? More talented? A better all-around person? I would probably be one of those things. So am I wasting my time?

When the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City, Bill Simmons dedicated a gigantic mailbag to Sonics fans’ heartbreak. Fans wrote in with comments that, to a non-sports fan, seem ridiculous. Grown men and women admitted to crying, or falling into pits of depression or anger. All because a sports team left their city. But at the beginning of his article The Sports Guy included a quote that, to me, justifies both Seattle’s heartache and all sports fans’ obsession. It’s about baseball, but it applies:

“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”

That was the New Yorker’s Roger Angell, talking about Carlton Fisk’s home run in the 1975 World Series.

I’m writing this article, and not the 12-page paper that’s due soon. I’m trying harder on this than I probably will on it. And I daydream about sports while I’m in class. That’s because I don’t care about the meaning of religion in 16th Century English drama, and I do care about how the Raptors’ starting lineup will look come the regular season.

Angell nailed it. It all comes down to caring. Perhaps it makes us na├»ve or infantile, immature or unsophisticated. Perhaps our time could be better spent on other things. But perhaps it’s worth the cost.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good News

Some things:
First, the layout has changed. I'm still working on getting a whole new look for the Pads. I really want it to be more of a website and less of a blog. I think we can make it look a little more professional, which really doesn't matter but could make this even more fun.
Second, I have an article underway that I hope to get done this week (even though I have tons of school work that I should be doing instead)
Third, I'm still planning on following through with Fats' proposed season preview. I'm working on the Atlantic preview. I think with the preseason upon us, it will make for some more legitimate speculation.
Fourth, the new NBA Jam is one of the best games ever.