Friday, April 15, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day from Zach Randolph. Or Happy The Grey Nathan Can Still Make Patrick's Pads Posts Day. I thought what better time to make a post than when I have an essay due today that I haven't started and final exams next week that I'm not prepared for. T-wah informed me that I didn't make a single post during the regular season. For that I am ashamed. At least I've made plenty of comments. But I'm still ashamed. I have a really neat idea for a post but I don't have time to write it right now. But maybe next week. So see ya later.

Just kidding. I thought with the playoffs kicking off tomorrow, it would be appropriate to write something about it. But I'm not going to do that. There are plenty of playoff preview articles out there and I don't really have time to make an original one. So instead I just want to post my predictions and encourage everyone else to do the same in the comments. But first, a picture:

Kurt Rambis and Danny Ainge might both be idiots. So this is a good picture.

Without further ado (because there's been too much ado already) I present The Grey Nathan's Playoff Picks of Pickled Peppers (because here at Patrick Ewing's Knee Pads there's no such thing as too much alliteration):

(I'll have to keep this brief because I really shouldn't be doing this right now. But I can't resist.)


Chicago over Indiana in 4 games.
-because the Pacers are only in the playoffs because no one else wanted to be.

Miami over Philly in 6
- I think AI will slow Lebron down. Not that much, but I think they can squeak out a couple wins and extend the series to the point that people are surprised and a little nervous that the playoffs might get ruined by a team no one wants to watch.

Boston over New York in 6
-Carmelo will have a couple games where he can't be stopped. But the rest of the team besides Amare isn't good at all.

Orlando over Atlanta in 6
- it will take them longer than it should because Atlanta has Collins. haha. But I guess he's really good at stopping DH (yes, David Humphrey) and unlike last year, if you can do that this year, the rest of the team isn't very good and will have a hard time making up for that. I'm referring to how last year Charlotte pretty much made him a non-factor, but just didn't have enough to make the rest of the team pay. I think that was a hugely underrated move. They got him in terrible foul trouble and frustrated the crap out of him. I tried to look up the stats but my feeble effort failed. If you can find it, it's more incredible than anyone said. So if you have a good defender and a decent team, you can beat the magic easily this year. I had Atlanta as my upset for a while, but I guess they suck and hate their coach. So they won't pull it off, but they'll make it harder than it should be.


Bulls over Magic in 5
- I don't have any faith in the Magic. The Bulls are way better.

Celtics over Heat in 7
-Whoa!!! I know! I can't believe I'm doing it, but I actually believe it. The C's look terrible lately, but they always do that at the end of the year. In fact, most good teams do. Look at the Spurs and Lakers. They look awful. But none of those teams is going to be awful in the playoffs. I think experience and teamwork will pay off for the Celtics. Pierce is good enough to slow down Lebron, I hope Green and Allen can slow down Wade and help with Lebron. And Bosh is ALWAYS terrible against the Celtics. And that covers their team. I just don't think the 3 man team is going to work. Maybe that's naive or old-fashioned or just hopeful. I had given up on the Celtics until just a moment ago. I have hope that they'll turn it on in the playoffs.


Celtics over Bulls in 7
-this is hard. The Bulls are fantastic. I love watching them. They killed the Celtics a few days ago. But I really think experience will pay off and the C's will gain confidence as the playoffs progress. This one could go either way though. It'll be fun to watch.


Spurs over Grizzlies in 6
- I think the Grizz will catch them sleeping a couple times. They're weirdly good. If there's ever going to be another 8 over 1 upset anytime soon, I actually think it could happen here. I haven't seen enough of the Grizz to really believe though. From what I hear, they're really interesting. Those kinds of teams often make some noise in the first round. Maybe they'll stretch it to 7 games.

OKC over Denver in 5
- people think this series will be closer than I do. I think Denver is going to realize that they don't have a star player and then notice that OKC has two. That might happen in the first or second game of the series. I just think the good vibes of continuing on successful after the Melo thing will wear off soon.

this one's for Fats
Dallas over Portland in 7
-I don't even know if I believe this, but so many people are picking against the Mavs that they're kind of the underdogs. I think Portland matches up well against them, but Dallas has the best player in the series. LMA will pull his weight, but I think Dirk will outplay him.

LA over New Orleans in 4
-won't even be close. The Hornets aren't any good. I've only seen CP3 play twice this year, and one of the times Jose Calderon made him look like he was Ian Walker. Never a good sign. I would take it as a fluke if I hadn't heard that he's lost his step overall.


San Antonio over OKC in 6
- we're all going to remember that the Spurs are good and the Thunder are overrated. Don't get me wrong, I hate the Spurs and love the Thunder, but people are still getting carried away about them. Come on Bill Simmons, OKC - Chicago final? When does it ever happen that two teams with no playoff experience beat every team with it? It's not going to happen, as much as I would love to see it.

LA over Dallas in 7
-this'll be a fun series to watch. I think Kobe has just enough left in the tank for another title run.


LA over San Antonio in 6
- I hate this series and I hope I'm wrong and that it doesn't happen. Yuck.


Boston over LA in 7
- Rematch! This was my pick at the beginning of the year, and I haven't seen quite enough to change it. I mean, I've seen a lot, and it's almost enough, but not quite. I'm not 100% convinced Boston has blown it. A couple days ago I was, so this might change. But like I said earlier, I think winning in the playoffs will help them gel, if that's the problem. They'll get their confidence back. I don't think this pick is just because I'm a Boston fan. It might be, but I really do think they have as good of a chance as anyone. And I think their experience will be a huge factor that matters more than it seems like it should. I'm probably in the minority on this one, and fair enough. It could go any number of ways. That's what makes this year's playoffs so exciting. I can't wait.

Post your picks in the comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MGD, Miller's Genuine Draft

It's been far too long since I last posted. My only excuse is that I've been way to busy learning to be a drug dealer, but since I'm posting this during Final exams my excuse is pretty much invalid. So I won't give you pad followers any excuse for my laziness. You can just deal with it.

Yesterday I had a good memory. It was of a time when a whole slew of us were gathered at The Grey Nathan/Fats' pad. When suddenly about 10 of us broke into jumping in a tight group in one location on the main floor. This location happened to be right above fats' room. The excessive vibration from the excessive activity caused a light fixture to excessively wiggle. Naturally, Fats ran up stairs screaming bloody murder. So we limited the jumping somewhat.

I share this story with you because it's funny how Fats completely lost it. But it is also a perfect illustration of my feelings right now with the NBA.

First, the jumping and excitement is how I feel about the state of the NBA. This almost goes without saying, but this years NBA playoffs are going to be probably one of the greatest post seasons of our lifetimes. Chicago, Miami, Boston, L.A. and San Antonio all have probably an equal chance of winning the title. It all comes down to matchups and who makes their shots. All of the teams have their weaknesses and teams that they matchup well or terrible against. Which makes this years playoffs all the more exciting. There is so much talent in the league that every series is watchable. I can't wait for it all to begin. And for the record, I am picking Miami over Lakers in 6. Maybe if you comment I will give you a more lengthy explanation as to how I came to this prediction.

Second, The pure rage and completely "lost-it-ness" that Fats so gracefully demonstrated in the above story is how I feel about the NBA reffing. It's TURRIBLE!!! Whenever the raptors announcers mention how DeRozan will get more calls in the future if he keeps driving to the hoop and gains recognition I loose it! Shouldn't the game be called fair? Shouldn't the same contact to a superstar be called to anyone driving the lane that gets hit? It just makes the game unfair and closer to fixed WWE wrestling matches than professional sports. Sorry to ruin the surprise for all you WWE fans, but it's not real. Don't believe me? watch this. When refs are involved in gambling fraud or overheard telling a coach they will give them a "make up" call for an earlier missed call there is something wrong. I feel like there should be something done about this situation, but I'm not smart enough to figure it out.

I guess the good thing about the horrendous officiating is that it made me really think about why I love the NBA. I mean, through all of the unfairness and games ultimately decided by a horrible call, i still love to watch. It comes down to the game itself. It is something that is hard to master, putting a ball through a hoop only marginally bigger than the ball while opposing, bigger players try to stop you from doing it. On a nightly basis in the NBA you get to see people come as close to humanly possible to mastering this craft and mastering this craft requires skills that are only posessed by a handful of people in the world. So every night the NBA presents a demonstration of things that cannot be done by normal people, like flying through the air for a dunk or hitting the extended 3 pointer with ease. These things are hightened come playoff time and I they make me want to jump around and make unnecessary noise. I just hope the officiating doesn't mess it up or I might lose my mind (like Fats) and yell at myself for jumping around and being excited for baskteball's WWE tournament.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why the NBA Beats College Ball

Take yourself back to name 5 NCAA college basketball players...

If you succeeded, congratulations; you just named 0.111% (that's just barely over 1 out of a thousand) of Division I college basketball players (not to mention Division II AND Division III). If you failed, don't feel bad. So did I.

Now name 5 players in the NBA. How about 10? 20? Even if you only named 5, you still named more than 1% of the players in the league. Now, when was the last time you purposely watched strangers play basketball? Do you ever drive to the local high school to catch a game (assuming you don't have a friend or family member on either team)? How much do you enjoy watching Euroleague basketball games when they are randomly broadcast on NBA TV? The fact is, we want to watch basketball games when we know the players! It's impossible to become familiar with the 4738 players in Division I basketball, especially because they are only in the league anywhere from one year to a maximum of four.

While growing up, I remember several people trying to convince me that college basketball was so much better than professional basketball. I'm sure these people still try to convince innocent young men of the very same thing. They would say things like, "It's a faster paced game" and "It's more exciting."


Still, anytime I would tune into CBS on a Saturday afternoon to watch Keith Van Horn lead the Utes or Mateen Cleaves putting up points for the Spartans, I never got the same feeling as I did while watching Patrick Ewing dunking in MSG or John Stockton dishing out assists in his short shorts. In fact, it wasn't even close. I continued to wonder where these people got these crazy "NCAA is better" ideas. Several weeks ago, The Grey Nathan sent me text informing me of someone's Facebook status: "March time of the year!!" You would expect this to have come from a college-aged male. Wrong. College-aged female who is blatantly not a sports fan. How does this happen? Are some people really not interested in any other sport all year long but they legitimately love March Madness basketball? Or is this a social fad with no real explanation other than it's "cool" to like March Madness?

I am coming to realize that times have changed. I don't think I'm old enough to have realized this on my own, but I understand that it's a growing trend for college players to only stay in college for one, maybe two, years before entering the NBA draft. 20, 30 years ago, players stayed. Their college careers were just as meaningful to them as signing a big contract. This is nothing but bad news for the quality of the college game; it only means that all the good players are gone as soon as possible. Less talent equals a less good game. Is it possible that the college game USED TO be "more exciting" and "faster paced?" Maybe. I don't know.

The only thing that makes NCAA basketball more exciting is its single elimination tournament format. If the NBA had the same playoff format, it would become just as "exciting." A bunch of 20 year olds shooting a lot of 3-pointers with a few dunks scattered in now and again is not more exciting than watching Blake Griffin and Lebron James consistantly throwing down unhuman-like dunks. I don't think the more exciting system is necessarily better or worse than the current NBA best-of-7. In fact, it's easy to argue that the "best" team doesn't in fact win the NCAA championship a lot of the time.

If a person attended a particular college, or maybe their parent graduated from there, then understandably their March Madness experience will likely be enjoyed more than a casual NBA fan's playoff experience (as most people haven't graduated from an NBA franchise).

As in any sport, art, hobby, or game is it more enjoyable to watch a professional or an amateur show off their talent? Would someone rather admire a Da Vinci painting or one painted by the kid down the street? Who would give a better chess-watching performance: your grandpa or Bobby Fischer? Basketball is the same. NBA players are in the NBA because they are the best in the world at what they do. The games they play are simply more enjoyable than the games played by college students.

That being said, I still didn't get enough Jimmer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Six Surprising Season Suprises

I wanted to stick with the alliteration theme from the previous posts. As this season is quickly coming to a close, I wanted to have a little review of some of the surprising events in what has been a great season. While there have been many things that I didn't really expect, only six things have truly surprised me about this season. Some were examples of excellence, while others were almost baffling. This list is in no specific order, so don't try to read into it too much.

1) How good the Spurs have been

I always expect the Spurs to be in the playoff hunt, but as Duncan and the other main players on the team have been getting older, it just seems natural that they would slowly slip down the Western Conference totem pole. Not so this year. As of today they were 58-19, had clinched the southwest division, and were 2.5 games ahead of the defending champion Lakers. To me, it was completely surprising that they were this good. They did it by basing their attack on their aging stars and by picking up the pace, something which seems contrary to the Spurs organization. I hate the Coach of the Year award, but Popovich really deserves it.

2) How good the Bulls have been

This is pretty similar to my first surprise, but for some very different reasons. I knew the Bulls would be better this year after signing Boozer, but I really didn't think they would be that good. At the start of the year I would have put them in fourth at best, and possibly even 5th (behind Miami, Boston, Orlando and possibly Atlanta). Right now, like the Spurs, they are leading the Eastern Conference by 2.5 games and are very close to a 60 win season. Unlike the Spurs, however, they have gotten there with a brand new coach, a very young set of stars (especially Derrick Rose), and a focus on defense. Rose has really been the key to their success, and my surprise. There was no way I thought he would be a top MVP pick who would be leading his team back to greatness. Crazy!

3) How terrible the Cavs have been

This one is completely opposite to the first two things that surprised me. I knew they would be bad this season. There is no way they could have replaced Lebron after he left, but a league-worst 15-61 season? 26 losses in a row? They didn't win for the whole month of January! If you went back a few games, they went 1-36 for a stretch. That's just crazy to me! They had some pretty decent players, even if the whole team was built to work around Lebron. They also have a pretty good coach, but even that didn't help. Again, don't think that I was picking them to make the playoffs. But I did think they could at least compete for the last spot (not because they were good, but because the other teams sucked too!). You'd think their professional pride would have at least got them a few more wins.

4) The Jazz debacle (or T-wah's nightmare)

If I had to rank these surprises (which I don't because it's my own post) I would probably put this at the top of most surprising. No one could have seen this coming. I actually was thinking they were a darkhorse to get to the finals. They had lost Boozer in the offseason, but did a very good job at replacing him by getting Al Jefferson (could he just be unlucky? He's always been on a loosing team and at the short end of trades). Add that with a hall of fame coach and one of the best point guards in the league, and you had a contender. But then out of no where Jerry Sloan retires, and then even more suddenly Deron Williams gets traded to New Jersey. Wow! What a crazy season for a team that was an example of stability. Now instead of contending in the playoffs, they've been eliminated and are most likely into full rebuilding mode. Now that was a surprise!

5) Kevin Love's breakthrough season

This was probably the least surprising of this list, but I still didn't really see it coming. I thought Love would eventually be a good NBA player, especially after Jefferson was traded and he became the best player on his terrible team (I mean, it had to be him, cause it sure wasn't gonna be Beasley or Darko!). But when he got his 30 point-30 rebound game, something which hadn't happened since Moses Malone did it in the 1970s, I was a little caught off guard. Then he went out and set the record for double-doubles in a season, which really surprised me because of all the good double-double guys that had played in the league recently (Garnett, Duncan, Howard, Shaq, etc.). How did Love get it when none of them had? I don't really have an answer, but the fact remains that he did, and that surprised me.

6) The New York Knicks

This one seems like an obvious choice because of all the stuff that's happened to them recently, but I put it on this list not for the reasons you may be thinking. I have to publicly admit that I thought the Stoudemire signing was not going to turn out. I was wrong, and I will admit that. The start of the Kinicks season was what really surprised me. They were such a good team with Stoudemire playing like an MVP, and the other guys around him really pulling their weight. Then came the Melo trade, which really wasn't that surprising (other than the Knicks gave up half their team for a guy they knew they could have signed in the offseason. I guess they must have really been afraid that he would have signed the extension and been traded to the Nets. Or they were just idiots!). What is surprising now is how bad they are. Everyone knew their defense would suffer, cause Melo doesn't play defense, but how are they so bad that the 76ers could beat them? They really should have been a threat in the first round. What a weird season for the Knicks!

So there's my list. Like I said, many other things were surprising to me, but these six I didn't see coming at all. Now please comment on this! I want to know what you think about these things, whether you agree or disagree, and if you feel that something else deserves to be on this list rather than what I've written. Let's make this website what we've wanted it to be. Fats out!