Archive for April 26th, 2011

I’ve been running an “experts” fantasy basketball league for five seasons now and it’s been fun, if only because I’ve done fairly well … for the most part. I was the inaugural champion, played in two finals and lost, and finished eighth (of 12 teams) and tenth (of 14 teams) the other seasons.

Writers from all over the internet — ESPN, SI, Yahoo!, SLAM, Dime, CBS Sports, Hoopsworld, Rotoworld, amongst others — have participated in the league and continue to do so. In fact, that inaugural season, The Basketball Jones (pre-theScore days) played (*cough*last place*cough*) as The Uwe Blab Confab. What they didn’t do in performance, they made up for in team name.

In any case, I asked several writers from this past season’s 12-team head-to-head league to answer four questions and they obliged.

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Read enough internet basketball website blogs and you’re bound to stumble across a discussion on the relative efficiency of a player. In fact, there are lots of blogs nowadays that focus solely on presenting various efficiency stats, oftentimes simply repeating these numbers without any other semblance of an argument. Efficiency is the new style, and that’s why everybody keeps on talking about it.

However, you don’t often hear players talk about efficiency. Sure, sometimes a team will mention in postgame interviews that they played efficiently or something along those lines, but it’s usually not a big topic of discussion. And it’s definitely not usually used to zing other players.

Until now. Kenyon Martin, he of the world’s best Zaza Pachulia burn, spoke up about Russell Westbrook (30 points on 30 shots) after last night’s Nuggets win. In doing so, he ushered in an era of efficiency insults that will surely take the NBA by storm. From the AP:

“He took how many?” Martin asked when told of Westbrook’s shooting night. “We’ll take that. If he can get 30 up and miss 18 of them, we’ll take that. We’ll take that every day.”

Oh snap, Russell Westbrook. Ya burnt. Efficiently. True Burn Rating of 1.0, which is perfect.

Not to mention, Kenyon Martin has a Totally Right Percentage of 100 (he is totally right). Westbrook has attempted 30 or more shots three times in his career, and the Thunder have lost two of those games. You are not going to believe this, but when one guy shoots nearly half of the team’s shots, the team doesn’t do very well. In fact, over the last 10 years, playoff teams that have had a player attempt 30 or more shots have won just 45 percent of their games. Maybe those teams didn’t have a chance if they didn’t have a guy shooting all the time, but they still didn’t win a lot.

And that’s what really makes this Kenyon Martin zing so special. Not only is it an innovative way of disparaging an opponent, it’s entirely based in truth. Here’s to a new world chock full of well-researched stats-based insults. Watch your back, Stephen Jackson.

On today’s NBA Playoff Fix, Skeets and Tas weigh in on last night’s three games — Spurs/Grizzlies, Blazers/Mavs and THUNDERNUGGETS! Topics include: Memphis smellin’ San Ant blood, Pop’s “desperate” Tiago Splitter move, Tony Parker’s turnovers, “momentum,” Tyson Chandler’s table setting, what’s wrong with LMA, (Bad) Russell Westbrook’s shot selections, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, and sleep deprivation.

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I understand the sentiment — that this lady supports Brandon Roy and all he means to the Portland franchise, even though his knees have been replaced with Colombian decaffeinated coffee crystals — but does she really have to bring up bad knees with regards to the Trail Blazers? I thought we were in agreement to not talk about knees and the Trail Blazers unless we had to. Just one of those topics to leave alone as much as possible.

This is like bringing a “Second place is still pretty good” sign to a 1990s Buffalo Bills game. Or a “Who needs Slash when you’ve got red cornrows?” sign to a Guns N’ Roses concert. You get the point.

But to answer her question — Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby, Jeff Pendergraph, Elliot Williams, Joel Przybilla and Aryvdas Sabonis could all use good knees. Thanks for asking.

Memphis Grizzlies 104, San Antonio Spurs 86
It is funny enough that a Spurs team with their best record since 2006 is on the verge of being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies. That’s fairly hilarious (“fairlarious”) in its own right. But it’s even funnier to me that every time something happens in this series, it’s a historical landmark. This time, the AP went with “Grizzlies grab 1st ever 3-1 series lead over Spurs.” It’s the most accurate statement ever. Even if they lose the next game, the headline will be something like “Grizzlies lead 3-2 for first time in franchise history.” Makes me giggle.

Dallas Mavericks 93, Portland Trail Blazers 82
This series has to go to seven games, considering neither team can win on the other’s floor. Including the regular season, the Mavericks are 5-0 in Dallas and 0-4 in Portland. No need to even watch the next game, since you already know what’s going to happen. Also, this line from the AP recap is great: “Roy was booed when he first went into the game, but fans seemed to lose interest in him.” Good info.

Denver Nuggets 104, Oklahoma City Thunder 101
Did Russell Westbrook get fouled on that last shot? Hard to tell, but I’d say the answer is no, at least in the playoffs. That’s a very Denver Nuggets thing to do though, running right next to a guy taking a desperation shot while flailing your arms. I understand trying to make an impossible shot even harder, but be a little more careful, geez.

As far as LeBron James impressions go, this is a pretty good one. Blocking a shot at one end, then racing down the court to catch an alley-oop over a guy is very LeBron-ish. Or maybe Blake Griffin-ish. Either way, it’s awesome and Darrell Arthur definitely could make a living doing NBA player impersonations.