I didn’t want to let the books close on the 2010-11 NBA season without giving my crack panel of NBA bloggers a chance to finish the trilogy on our first year of the Are You Smarter Than an NBA Blogger series. But following the format of the first two surveys, in which questions could be posed about happenings from any point in the NBA’s rich history, didn’t feel appropriate after such a historically eventful postseason as the one we just experienced.
So for this round, I narrowed the focus of my questions to these last two months of playoff ball, and all the weird and wonderful people and happenings contained therein. At the very least, “This question is asking about shit that happened 20 years before I was born” would no longer be an acceptable excuse for blogger ignorance.
In case you need a reminder about the rules of these surveys, I polled my totally anonymous group of 13 NBA bloggers and asked them six trivia questions (five this time), all of which had multiple answers. The writers were encouraged to answer the questions as thoroughly as they could without doing any Internet cheating, with no penalties for wrong answers. I then compiled the results and turned them into the data summaries you see below. Feel free, as always, to compare your results to those of our bloggers. And while you’re reading, be sure to pour one out for Christopher Weingarten’s original “Are You Smarter Than a Rock Critic?” series for the Village Voice, currently under indefinite hiatus. Sad face.
Question #1: Can You Name the Seven Head Coaches in the Playoffs Who Were Not the Head Coach of Their Team the Last Time the Team Made the Playoffs?
Confusingly worded, perhaps, but I figured this would be a pretty easy lob of a question for starters. After all, there were only 16 head coaches total in these playoffs, and figuring out which weren’t around the last time their teams were playoff-bound could be a simple process of elimination. And indeed, our writers probably had the easiest go of this one of any question I’ve asked them thus far, though a couple still encountered a speed bump or two. The results:
The Correct Answer: Doug Collins, Mike D’Antoni, Larry Drew, Lionel Hollins, Tom Thibodeau, Frank Vogel, Monty Williams
Number of Writers Who Got All Seven Coaches: 8
Number of Writers Who Missed More Than One Coach: 0
Coaches Guessed By Everyone: Doug Collins, Larry Drew, Tom Thibodeau
Least-Guessed Coach: Monty Williams (10 out of 13)
Incorrect Guesses: Erik Spoelstra, Jim O’Brien
Number of Writers Who Pointed Out That, Technically, George Karl Should Count: 3 (OK wisenheimers, yes, Adrian Dantley was manning the bench last postseason while George Karl was getting treated for cancer, but Karl was still the team’s coach.)
Number of Writers Who Referred to Larry Drew as “Larry Jew” for Some Reason: 1
Number of Writers Who Thought Frank Vogel’s First Name Was “Jeff”: 1
Number of Writers Who Described the Hornets’ Current Head Coach As “Not the fat guy who looked like Craig Stadler and not Byron Scott but you know who I mean”: 1 (He was not given credit)
Pretty dominant, all told. Moving on.
2. Can You Name the Eight Players Under the Age of 30 Who Played in the Finals?
This was not a Finals for the young turks. Of the 22 players who saw burn in the six games of the Heat-Mavs series, 14 of them were alive when Blondie’s “Rapture” was popular, leaving just eight players remaining yet to hit the big 3-0. Could our writers mentally wade through all the prune-faces involved with the series to remember who the kids were?
The Correct Answer: Joel Anthony, J.J. Barea, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Mario Chalmers, LeBron James, Ian Mahinmi, Dwyane Wade
Number of Writers Who Got All Eight Players: 5
Number of Writers Who Missed More Than One Player: 0
Players Guessed By Everyone: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Ian Mahinmi, J.J. Barea, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers
Least-Guessed Player: Tyson Chandler (9 out of 13)
Plausible Incorrect Guesses: DeShawn Stevenson (30 last April), James Jones (30 last October), Udonis Haslem (31)
Less-Plausible Incorrect Guesses: Brian Cardinal (34), Juwan Howard (38)
Completely Implausible Incorrect Guesses: Erik Spoelstra (40, inactive)
Alternate Spellings Received for “Mahinmi”: Mahimi, Mahanimi, Mahaimi
Another beastly performance from our writers. Could they make it three in a row?
3. Can You Name the 10 Players to Score 35 Points or More in a Single Game This Postseason?
35 is sort of a weird point benchmark, granted, but in the case of this postseason, it was the number that best separated the league’s above-average scorers from the true elite. How many lights out scoring performances from these playoffs could our staff properly recall?
The Correct Answer: Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook
Number of Writers Who Got All Ten Players: 0
Number of Writers Who Got All But One: 4
Players Guessed By Everyone: Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade
Least-Guessed Player: Paul Pierce (2 of 13)
Most Frequently-Guessed Incorrect Player: Zach Randolph (10 out of 13. Incredibly, Z-Bo never got higher than 34 in his incredible postseason run.)
Other Plausible Incorrect Guesses: Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Jamal Crawford, Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Amar’e Stoudemire
Less Plausible Incorrect Guesses: Brian Cardinal (One writer just really liked writing “Dad” for various answers. Surprise, surprise.) (Ed. note — I swear it wasn’t me.)
Number of Frustrated Knicks Bloggers Who Guessed Carmelo Anthony Twice: 1
Less perfect scores for this one, but mostly good ones, and Randolph was a big wrench for a lot of writers who otherwise would’ve scored well, if not perfectly. Can our writers stay hot for a fourth question?
4. Can You Name the Seven Players Who Played a Regular Season Game for the Dallas Mavericks, but Did Not Play in the Finals?
Ah, the ones that got away. As is always the case with championship teams, there are players who pass through over the course of the regular season grind, but for one reason or another — trades, injuries, ineffectiveness — do not end up seeing the court when it comes time for the Finals. Could our team recall the seven poor, unfortunate souls (all of whom still probably get rings) that didn’t get a taste of the glory?
The Correct Answer: Alexis Ajinca, Rodrigue Beaubois, Corey Brewer, Caron Butler, Dominique Jones, Steve Novak, Sasha Pavlovic
Number of Writers Who Got All Seven Players: 2
Most-Guessed Players: Rodrigue Beaubois, Corey Brewer & Caron Butler (11 out of 13)
Least-Guessed Player: Steve Novak and Sasha Pavlovic (4 out of 13)
Ghosts of Mavericks Past Guessed, Hopefully Facetiously: Shawn Bradley, Matt Carroll, Ricky Davis (“A Maverick in every sense”), Eddie Gill, Derek Harper, Josh Howard, Jimmy Jackson, Jamal Mashburn, George McCloud, Sam Perkins
Non-Basketball Players Guessed: Mark Cuban, Maverick Carter
Number of Writers Who Passed on the Question Entirely, Claiming They Were “Too Old for This Shit”: 1
Number of Writers Who Bragged About Seeing Sasha Pavlovic Play in Three Different Games for Three Different Teams in New Jersey This Year: 1
Number of Writers Who Wondered “Whatever Happened to Pavel Podkolzin?”: 1
More mixed results this time, though enough comedic responses to atone for incorrectness. Comedy would not save my crack staff in the next question, however…
5. Can You Name the 11 Rookies to Play for At Least Five Minutes in the Postseason?
Should be easy, right? There are only so many rookies in the NBA each year, and a big deal is made out of most of them around the time of the draft. Ah, but most of the greatly hyped rookies are playing for teams that didn’t make the playoffs, and many of those who did make the postseason were less-ballyhooed benchwarmers. One writer responded “this is much harder than I thought it would be,” and I bet he wasn’t the only one.
The Correct Answer: Omer Asik, Landry Fields, Paul George, Chris Johnson, Gary Neal, Quincy Pondexter, Ish Smith, Tiago Splitter, Pape Sy, Evan Turner, Greivis Vasquez
Number of Writers Who Got All 11 Rookies: 0
Most Players Correct By Any One Writer: 8
Most-Guessed Players: Omer Asik, Landry Fields and Evan Turner (12 out of 13)
Players Not Guessed By Anyone: Ish Smith and Pape Sy (And if anyone did get Sy, it probably would’ve meant that they were cheating.)
Most Incorrectly Guessed Player: Derrick Caracter (6 out of 13. Six people remember who Derrick Caracter is?)
Players Guessed Who Played in the Playoffs, but Not for Five Minutes: Gary Forbes, Armon Johnson
Alternate Spellings Received for “Greivis”: Grievas, Grevias
Number of Players Who Guessed Spencer Hawes Due to Him Being “Eternally a Rookie”: 1 (To be fair, not an inaccurate assessment.)
Number of Writers Who Used Their Gary Neal Guess to Make a Superman II Reference: 1 (Try to guess the ref!)
Number of Writers Who Made Me Realize That “Semi-Erden” Would Make an Awesome NBA Porno Name: 1
Number of Writers Who Used This Question to Break Down and Admit It Had Been a Really Hard Week of College Finals: 1
(Note: I had to junk my sixth question this time around, due to an error in the question that I noticed while compiling the results. It was about playoff announcers and it was so unwieldy that I never should have attempted it in the first place. Suffice to say, everyone remembers Mark Jackson, Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy, and significantly fewer remember Dave Pasch and Jon Barry. Sorry.)
Thanks again to all the bloggers who participated, and sorry for my clerical errors this time around. We’ll get those cleaned up in time for a part four next year.