Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas, I Really Tried to Watch: 12 Hours of Basketball

In case you had to spend your Christmas with family members, or doing something other than watching over TWELVE HOURS of basketball – don’t worry, I tried to do it for you. This was me at 12:30 last night:

12:00PM EST – Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls

Q1 – 12:00Scrimmage Game #1 today features a rematch from the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last May. You can understand why the schedule included these two teams – Derrick Rose was supposed to elevate the Bulls to ‘contender’ status, and the Nets have spent more money on players than...actually than nothing. They've spent more money on players than anyone has on anything. Ever.  However, the teams are a combined 19-34 this year, somehow failing to be a part of the playoff picture in a dismal Eastern Conference. But Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich are both back in the Bulls lineup (they’re still missing Luol Deng), so maybe they’ll continue their upward trend from their last 10 games (6-4). The Nets, meanwhile, get Kevin Garnett back in action, which is a major boost after losing their leading scorer/rebounder/pickup line artist/basketball player Brook Lopez for the season. Plus...DJ Augustin!

Can you tell I’m trying to convince myself it is worth sitting in front of the TV for this game?

Monday, December 23, 2013

ICYMI: There's A New Jetson

We now bring you the first part of a new and what we hope will be a season-long series: Did You See What Happened on "Inside the NBA on TNT?"

The Scene: December 19, 2013.  Halftime of the Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs.

What: Charles "Chuck" Barkley fails to correctly remember Elroy Jetson's name, instead calling him Leroy Jetson.

Our favorite things about this segment:

7 Things You Can Do In 0.3 Seconds

On Tuesday, December 17, Florida Golf Coast had a game-tying shot in double overtime negated. They were playing South Florida and were trailing 66-68 with 0.3 seconds left when Chase Fieler caught a full-court pass and made a shot as time expired. He got the shot off before the buzzer sounded, but the officials ruled that it didn’t count. See it go down here:

Apparently, there’s a little rule in college basketball that states: 

“In any period, when the game clock displays 10ths of seconds and play is to be resumed by a throw-in or a free throw when 3/10 (.3) of a second or less remains on the game clock, a player may not gain possession of the ball and try for a field goal. Such player can only score a field goal by means of a tap of a pass or of a missed free throw.”

It’s hard to blame Fieler for his failed attempt at “Just the Tip.” There’s not a whole lot you can do in 0.3 seconds, but there are at least 7 things you can do in that amount of time...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Welcome to the Party, Freshman!

If any of you went to a small, private college, you know that the term “babe” is not used often to describe the female population at your school. The “hotties” are few and far between, there are not plenty of fish in the sea, and the development of beer goggles is crucial to a proud and satisfying love life.

At a private school, it’s every man’s dream to walk into their frat house and say, “Damn. I just saw the hottest chick,” but those moments are reserved for those bastards at the larger state school two hours away. Hey—at least we got to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in loans though, amirite?

If you have any idea what I’m talking about, then you also know that there are few moments as captivating as that moment when that one hot freshman walks into the party you’re at on Friday night. The level of excitement in that moment is hard to describe, and each gentleman deals with it differently.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So What's Up with Portland?

What if I told you that an anonymous NBA team was led by a center that spends the majority of this time taking midrange jumpers - to the tune of 12.5 per game. Then I told you that their second best player was a second-year, shoot-first point guard...who doesn't shoot all that well, checking at 41.2% for the year. The rest of their starters were journeymen, having spent time playing for numerous other NBA teams, not to mention teams abroad. Their bench was just one year removed from being - by FAR - the worst bench in the league. And their coach was seen as a numbers nerd, who had never had a winning season as an NBA head coach before. How many games would you guess this team would win? 32? 25? Enough to get the #3 seed in the East?

When taken separately, none of these facts seem to be strong indicators of NBA success. But somehow, in Portland this year, a wild and wacky collection of players has come BLAZING out of the gates (I crack myself up sometimes). At 21-4, they have the best record in the West to this point and sit behind only Indiana, who they recently beat, for the #1 overall seed in the league. More impressively, they are doing most of this work with solid team play rather than outstanding individual work, although Lamarcus Aldridge is a shoo-in for the all-star team if they keep performing like this. But how, exactly, did they get to this point?

Here's a hint: None of these guys helped.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What Can We Say About Kobe?

Kobe Bryant is 14th in NBA history in total regular season minutes played.  45,502, as of this writing.  He's 2nd in playoff minutes played, at 8,641, with only a playoff series or two separating him from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  That's 54,143 minutes played over his 17 years in the league.  That's almost 38 days of playing basketball, and that only counts game time.  He's amassed these totals despite being only 25th and 4th in total games played (regular season and playoffs), and 37th and 43rd in minutes per game (regular season and playoffs).

That, my friends, is longevity.  It is also the combined luxuries of frequently sharing the court with other great players and having a traditionally deep bench, allowing Kobe to get a bit more rest than teams that have leaned heavily on one superstar, like Kevin Durant's Thunder (16th and 12th in regular season and playoff minutes per game career averages) or Lebron James's anything (6th and 6th in minutes per game averages).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Madison Square Garden Rims Consider Lawsuit Against Bulls and Knickerbockers

“The misses would have been more tolerable if only more of them were air-balls, and there were a good number of those, but we were wearing most of those shots straight to the chin. Who needs these work conditions?” said one rim. Upon review of the film, Daniel Gibson was not present, despite suspicions.

At the halfway mark of the Wednesday night matchup between the Knicks and the Bulls, Chicago was shooting less than 30% from the field and New York was managing a measly 40%, though by comparison 40% was jaw-droppingly impressive. In a half-time interview with the rims from basketball’s most famous venue at Madison Square Garden, each identical twin confirmed, “it was a bloodbath out there.”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Some Studs, Some Duds, and Kevin Love's Moustache

We’re back, baby! That’s right, after a lengthy hiatus due to the off-season, other time commitments, and general apathy towards the sort of NBA “news” typically found between July and October (Al Jefferson thinks the Bobcats are “ready to take the next step!”), Volume Shooters is returning for a second season. This year, in addition to the quality writing (OK, just quality .gifs, but please bear with us here) you’ve come to expect from Paul, Jack and Brian, we have a veritable stable of new writers coming into the fold this year anxious to share their thoughts on the greatest professional league in the world. We will have them introduce themselves when they write their first pieces, but trust us when we say they all will have good insight into the season – despite what you may think from talking to them every day.

But onto the important stuff: this NBA season! Most teams are 16-18 games in so far, so most of the extremely small sample size results (the Sixers can win the East! The Nuggets will be favorites in the lottery!) have evened themselves out. Despite this, there have been some major surprises thus far, and people are starting to backtrack on some of their preseason predictions. So which of these trends are likely to continue and which will die out by season’s end? Considering I was correct on a full ONE AND A HALF out of FIVE bold predictions last year, I feel as though I’m uniquely qualified to answer that question. We will examine some early season trends, and grade them as True, Truthy, Falsey, and “Skip Bayless-certified.” So here we go…

Trend: Indiana is the best team in the league

In fact, they are so good it bores Lance Stephenson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Josh McRoberts’ Facial Hair Incites Chris Bosh Shooting Spree

On the first of December, the year of our Lord 2013, the Miami Heat managed to best the Charlotte Bobcats by a measly single point 99-98. The game itself was closely contested with the Bobcats leading by a point at halftime. In the 4th quarter the strangest of sequences took place.

Charlotte started to pull away from the Heat and, by the end of the 3rd, were up a full 12 points over Miami. With just under 4:00 left in the game, Josh McRoberts took a scraggly-looking 6ft jumper to put the Charlotte Bobcats up 87-80. Chris Bosh, so incensed by the gross, patchy, I can only presume smelly, and roadside-possum-resembling beard of McRoberts, that he had not yet noticed, went on the most unlikely of shooting sprees.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Triumphant Return, and A New Bullet in Washington

I know.  I can hear what you’re thinking.  “It’s about damn time.”

We’re sorry we were away for so long. We didn’t write during the summer because, well, we didn’t think you’d want to hear about how a simulated NBA2K13 season turned out if we each controlled 10 teams.  And also we didn’t want to do that much work.

But why did it take this long for us to come back?  That’s up there with the great mysteries of the universe, right next to: why do athletic shorts' pockets always come out of the wash inside out, why did they only make three Lord of the Rings movies for those three books (but turned the novel The Hobbit into 3 movies), and what does the fox say?

Actually the reason is simple – we wanted to ensure two things ( only took 3 paragraphs before I made my first list of the season): (1) We were committed to continuing to produce worthwhile content, and (2) we had the writers and support to do so.  The truth is, we loved doing this last season, but three people producing 6 items a week was just too much.

Enter: our new cast of writers.  You know Paul, Brian, and me – if you’re new to blog (hooray!) we started this around Christmas last year and largely covered the NBA all the way through the finals in June when the San Antonio Spurs mysteriously lost to some other team.  I can’t remember who it was.

If you’re not new, allow me to introduce Will Roberts, Joel McMurry, Sean Cunningham, and Dane Callstrom.  One sentence each, here goes:

-       Will lives in Charlotte, hails from the Bay area, and likes throwing one hand passes out of bounds.

-       Joel lives in Chicago, generally enjoys watching athletic competitions on the television, and is apparently moving to Hawaii, giving us a correspondent able to cover the nighttime broadcasting on ESPN8 – The Ocho.

-       Sean lives, breathes, and occasionally burps basketball, is living in North Carolina, and plays basketball like a mix of healthy Danilo Gallinari and 45 year old Antoine Walker.

-       Dane lives in Kansas City, shaved his head after losing a bet, only to have his hair not really grow back, and joins our staff as a senior college basketball correspondent.

As per usual, I am now 400 words into a piece and haven’t really said anything of substance.  So here’s what I’ll say:

John Wall.

I’ll grant you that his assertions (“I’m the best point guard in the league.”) may be a little crazy, at least in an era with a healthy Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Russell Westbrook (although Russell Westbrook prefers to play the “I’m a freak athlete” position instead of point guard).  But I legitimately think the list of point guards ahead of Wall stops there.  Wait, I forgot Steph Curry, and this blog loves him.  But Wall is top 5.

According to John Hollinger’s stats (on Tuesday, December 3, 2013), John Wall is 24th in the league in PER.  He’s 13th in Value Added.

Wall’s overall field goal percentage is just slightly lower than his career averages, but that should improve has he settles for fewer long 2-point jump shots.  Otherwise, compared to career averages, he’s shooting 8% better from beyond the arc, averaging 1 more assist per game (9.2 this season), averaging more steals and fewer turnovers, and shooting 6% better from the stripe.  His supporting cast is decent, but there’s no clear second option while Bradley Beal remains hurt.  And Wall knows this – why else would he grab a board and race down the floor in 2.72 seconds to go one on two (and still manage to score)?

A healthy Wall, with an eventually healthy Beal, will walk the Wizards into the playoffs.  But I’m going to be bolder – if those two are health for 50 games, the Wizards will grab a top 4 seed.  Before you go claw your eyes out, please note two things: First, Beal and Wall are likely both all stars this year if both remain healthy.  More importantly, as of this writing, at 9-9 the Wizards are sitting pretty at .500 on the season and are in third place in the Eastern Conference.  This won’t hold up, but with a healthy roster the Wizards could lay legitimate claim to the third spot in the East.  (Really, teams are battling for the 3 through 6 spots to avoid Indiana and Miami in round 1.)

Come find me in March.  I’ll either be proud and attending as many Wizards games as possible, or hiding inside, pretending the nation’s capitol doesn’t house an NBA team.

Welcome back!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wrap It All Up: The Finals, Next Season, and a Grand Hiatus

Jack: Well gentlemen, we've reached the end of the season. Already one of the best finals series in recent memory has been overshadowed by the trade talks between the Clippers and Celtics. But before we get to that, let's take a look back at that finals series.

Three of the games were remarkable. Four were...underwhelming? Games 6 and 7 were the greatest culmination of a Finals series we could have asked for. So many different questions could be asked - about what this means for Lebron, what it means for Ginobli and his bald spot, where the Spurs and Heat go from here - but let's start with this: This Finals series was _____?

Paul: It sounds cliche, but the only word that accurately characterizes that series is epic. Jack already mentioned games 6 and 7, which were without doubt the two best consecutive series-clinching finals games of my lifetime (cue the age jokes here), and each individually probably rank in the top 10 for finals games during that period, with game 6 possibly the best game ever. But beyond that, if you include coaches and executives, this series featured 10 SUREFIRE HALL-OF-FAMERS. Ten!!! (for those of you who are curious, that's R.C. Buford, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tracy McGrady, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen). And that doesn't even include guys for whom the jury is still out, like Bosh, Spoelstra, Kawhi Leonard, and Patty Mills's towel. I don't think we will ever see a series with that sort of star power again, at least until the NBA contracts and only has 4 teams each in Chicago, New York, LA and Miami.

Here's an interesting question though - how good will San Antonio be next year? People are already writing their obituaries, but last time I checked, that's become a yearly occurrence, and unless Ginobili retires, they should return almost the same roster they just won 60 games with. I think they are legitimate favorites again in the Western Conference. Do you guys agree?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weener Wednesday - Game 6 Reactions

Once more, a hiccup in our weekly time-table has me posting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.  Therefore, this column is now "Weener Wednesday" instead of "Tweener Tuesday."

It would be wrong of me to talk about anything other than last night's Game 6 of the NBA Finals.  So let's get a few things out of the way.

1. The Spurs missed some free throws.  I don't mean to imply I would have made them.  But everything else can be taken with a grain of salt through the lens of...they could have made their free throws and it wouldn't have mattered.
1.5. I just want to make sure I'm clear...the Spurs missed some free throws.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Obscure NBA...Finals MVP?

What if we told you that through 5 games in this series, one team would hold a strong 3-2 lead over the other behind a record-setting performance by one of their role players, you'd probably assume that Ray Allen had woken up from a season-long slump...or that Kawhi Leonard had locked down Lebron like nobody before him...or that Chris Andersen would have shot 100% through 5 games again...or that Patty Mills would have successfully ripped a hole in the space-time continuum using a towel. Well, the first statement here is true, but the "role player" to step up is not one that many of us - OK, any of us - expected. Yes folks, if the series was a Best-of-5 rather than a Best-of-7, Danny Green would almost certainly have been named Finals MVP last night. That's the same Danny Green who was waived by the Cleveland Cavs after Lebron left, and was waived twice by the Spurs before finally catching on in 2011 after a desperation phone call to coach Popovich got him back on the roster.

He also features hilariously in this video of Lebron's 25th birthday.

Yet with a bit of coaching and a lot of hard work, Green reinvented himself as a deadly three point shooter, shooting 43% over the last two seasons and shooting a scorching 52% on over 6 attempts per game this postseason. He has made 25 THREE POINTERS through 5 games, smashing Ray Allen's record from 2008 (which, by the way, was set in a 7-game series), and has played incredible defense as well, notably on the fast break. This article will likely jinx him for games 6 and 7, but assuming he continues this pace and the Spurs win the series, would he be the most unlikely Finals MVP in history? Let's look at some other candidates, rated on a 1-10 scale, where 1 is '93 Jordan and 10 is...well, '13 Danny Green.

Friday, June 14, 2013

NBA Finals Gifs

The NBA Finals are tied 2-2!!  Bosh and Wade are back!!  Lebron didn't let three slow games in a row get in his head!!  Tiago Splitter isn't actually good at basketball!!

Let's slow known on the knee-jerk reactions a little bit.  In order to get away from all that, we've compiled some of our favorite gifs from the NBA Finals so far.  You know how much we love gifs.

Best Plays in GIF Form

We'll start here, because this happened in Game 1, and because Norris Cole had no chance/got completely eviscerated:

Manu is a passing god.  If you look closely, you can actually see the fan in the stands with a wand that is actually controlling the ball in the first gif:

This just shows how strong Lebron is: Splitter wound up, Lebron went straight up, and Lebron said, "No thank you."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Baller Old Guy

Each week I will write about a type of player you see in pickup basketball games, along with their NBA equivalent. Basically, it will be a spinoff from the Real Men of Genius ads made by Bud Light. I started out with the annoying screen setter guy. This week: the baller old guy.

Old people ruin everything - that's just a fact. Parties, highway driving, late night basement name it. So what's worse than when a bunch of young bloods try to get a pickup game going and the only option for the 10th man is Old Man River and his replacement knees? I'll tell's when Old Man River decides to put on a fucking clinic.

Too easy against these young bloods

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Tweener: Danny Green, Danny Green, Danny Green, and Nadal (and Danny Green)

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  Due to our live blogging of Game 2, this week's Tweener is appearing on Wednesday - sorry if you had withdrawal yesterday.

>>>> This is how I felt last night watching Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Check out Tony Parker in that clip. "Oh my god."

You know why?  The big numbers are obvious and have been covered: the record number of 3s in a game - the trio of Neal, Green, and Leonard scoring the same number of points as Wade, Lebron, and Bosh in this series (which is NOT a good thing for Miami) - Tracy McGrady going 0-for-2 yet somehow getting the loudest cheers of the night and registering a solid +10 over his 7 garbage time minutes.

But here are some more numbers from that game:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: James Jones

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

Well, the NBA Finals have finally arrived, and with them, most of the obscure NBA players have departed off the national scene. Let's see, who is left here...Matt Bonner? Too mainstream. Patty Mills? Already done. Rashard Lewis? Formerly the second highest paid player in the league! He's out. Who else, who about him:

Yes, it turns out the Heat do have obscure guys on their roster! That's James Jones. Know anything about him? Me neither. Let's try and see what his career has been like...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Live Blog: Spurs/Heat, Game 2

With Jack sidelined for the weekend at the first of many weddings the three authors will be crashing attending as honored guests in the coming years, Brian and Paul fired up a lively discussion about the goings on in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Brian: Hey fans, we kick off this blog with 3:42 left in the first quarter and the Heat up 16-15. Early thoughts:

1. Really like Wade's aggressiveness thus far. He's gotta keep it up for the Heat to win.
2. Steph Curry is apparently wearing a Danny Green mask tonight. Seriously, when did Danny learn to shoot?
3. LBJ strangely quiet so far. I expect that to change in the 2nd quarter after his teammates cool down.
4. I still really hate Ginobili and Duncan.

And with that I'll kick it to Paul...what's happening my dawg?

Paul: What's up Brian,

Not sure I'll have too much to contribute since my brain is feeling rather squishy after a loooong evening out last night. I pretty much have the brain function of this kid:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The NBA Finals: So Many Questions, Who Will Answer?

Tonight. 8:30. Miami. San Antonio. The NBA Finals.  Don't worry - we've answered the 10 most important questions so you don't have to.

Here we are - the Finals have arrived. Are you surprised this is the match-up we ended up getting?

Brian: Not at all. Everyone and their grandmother had the Heat representing the East, and although I had picked the Thunder at the beginning of the season, the loss of Westbrook immediately flipped my pick to the Spurs. You don't win 58 games by accident.

Jack: Not really. We knew it would take a stroke of really bad injuries luck for Miami not to make it to this point.  I think the Spurs may draw some motivation from all the "Westbrook getting hurt completely changed the West" talk.  Or at least I hope they do.

Paul: Before the season started, only one of ESPN's panel of 35 experts picked this particular matchup in the finals, so on one hand, this finals matchup is pretty surprising. That being said, everybody expected Miami in the East, and San Antonio brought every piece back from the West's best regular season team last year, so for anybody thinking objectively, it shouldn't have been a surprise at all.

How many games will Joey Crawford be prominently involved in?

Brian: At least 2. He might be involved in every game played at Miami, if David Stern has his way. I'm already giddy for the inevitable Tim Duncan technical just because Joey Crawford feels like it.

Jack: 1.6, after inadvertently ejecting himself with Norris Cole in the 3rd quarter of his second game refing.

Paul: The only person both delusional enough and power-hungry enough to consider letting Joey Crawford ref a Finals game is...David Stern. Crap. I'll say 2.

On a scale of 1-10 how excited are you for this Finals series?

Brian: 8.5 - I can't give it a 10 because I hate both of these teams. That being said, they are clearly the best 2 teams in the league, and play extremely smart, precision basketball. As a basketball nerd, I'm salivating. Ok, I just bumped myself to a 9.5.

Jack: 7.1.  I don't want the Heat to win...I think that's well documented.  So I can't be too excited.  But it is going to be a ridiculously high quality series.  Which is great.

Paul: Surprisingly, I'm about a 9.2 - not because I like either team, but because I expect to see basketball played at an extremely high level all series, even in pressure situations, with a lot of scoring thrown in. Throw in the 8-10 future hall of famers competing or coaching (and the unintentional comedy of Popovich's halftime interviews) and I expect to see the most entertaining finals since at least 2009. Bump this up to a 13.4 if the Spurs win and Popovich busts out this dance again:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Hilariously Out of Shape Guy

Each week I will write about a type of player you see in pickup basketball games, along with their NBA equivalent. Basically, it will be a spinoff from the Real Men of Genius ads made by Bud Light. I started out with the annoying screen setter guy. This week: the hilariously out of shape guy.

Nothing warms my heart quite like a competitive game of pickup basketball. Sure it's fun when you're the best player on the court and raining it NBA Jam style, but truth be told I'd rather play a tough game when all of the players on the court know what they're doing. 

Now it's no surprise that basketball is a physically demanding sport - you need to be in at least decent shape to play at a competitive level. Which is why nothing is funnier to me than walking out onto the court and seeing the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man's doppelganger warming up at the speed of a three toed sloth.

Feed me on the block!

The hilariously out of shape guy could not be more out of place on a basketball court. He is physically maxed out after 3 trips down the court, and his body resembles a car wreck in slow motion. I would feel bad for him, but it's tough when he resorts to clotheslining anyone within arms reach because that is literally his last defense. But wait, NBA players are professional athletes. There aren't any such guys in the NBA, right?


Shaq used to be one of the most dominant athletes in the league, but as many of you saw, he went to seed quickly. I love you Shaq...but for the last 3 years of your career, you were the hilariously out of shape guy.

He can still move though!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tweener: The Finals, Ejections, and an Actual Tweener!

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  It's that time of the week again - and as a special bonus, the French Open is going on!  Here are this week's quick hitters:

>>>> Obligatory note here to acknowledge that Miami put in a dominant performance last night and will face the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.  My co-writer Paul turned out an amazing piece yesterday on Gerald Green, which was fantastic because we actually had a Gerald Green sighting in last night's game!  I'll go ahead and throw out my ill-thought-out Spurs-in-6 prediction here.  Once Westbrook went down I think we all secretly wanted this.  And if someone tells you they know how this is going to play out - they're lying.  Which is why we'll probably put out a piece on Thursday about how that series is going to go.  And Gregg Popovich will react like this:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Gerald Green

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

During the Pacers' run this postseason, one of their weak points has been a complete lack of bench production. Bench production is obviously not as important in the postseason as it is for a whole 82 game schedule, but when all 5 of your starters are averaging more than 35 minutes per game and no bench player averages more than 17, it is pretty clear you have a lack of balance on your roster. Surprisingly, Frank Vogel seems to be turning to players with limited offensive skills (hello, Sam Young) over more dynamic options available on the bench. It is obviously important to keep sound defensive players on the floor against the likes of Lebron James, but rather than keep throwing Sam Young out there for 10 minutes a game, you have to think the fans would prefer to see this guy:

The photo is a bit blurry, but yes, that's Gerald Green, and yes that is a 10-foot rim which HE IS TRYING TO AVOID BANGING HIS CHIN ON. HIS CHIN. Since he's played less than half of the games in this postseason, seems like a great candidate for this week's column!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Unconscious Bad Guy

Say you're about to play a pickup game of basketball. Teams are chosen, and the other captain must have had too many Miller 64s before the game, because his team flat out SUCKS. This one should hit Hiroshima-levels of domination.

The other team starts with ball and is doing jack shit against your teams defense, and eventually their worst shooter gets impatient and lets it fly. The guy whose shot looks like Helen Keller trying to throw a shot put through a tire swing, crossed with with Mark Sanchez trying to hit an open receiver. What a dumba...SWISH. Well shit. I thought that guy sucked? Whatever. Y'all are men, so you're playing make it take it. They throw the ball around fruitlessly again before your boy makes it rain on a contested 24 footer. Nothing but net! What the hell?!?

You blink and when you look up, your team is down 22-12. I don't even have to tell you what happens next - the guy who must have sold his soul to the devil swishes yet another 3. Game, blouses. Your team ran into the buzz saw that is the unconscious bad guy, and there's nothing you can fucking do about it.

The unconscious bad guy can strike more quickly and unexpectedly than a B-52 bomber. And your team is absolutely toast when this happens, because the guy you planned on leaving open all game is suddenly the other team's best player.

So who is the NBA's unconscious bad guy? In honor of his lights out game 1 shooting performance against the Grizzlies, it's none other than ginger extraordinaire Matt Bonner. Look at this shooting form!

Helen Keller for days. And seriously...if Matt Bonner suddenly becomes the unconscious bad guy, you are just not beating the Spurs. Now jump Matt!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Tweener: Chasing a Record, Crowds, and Flops

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  As we push back each of our weekly columns in honor of Memorial Day, today becomes "Tweener Wednesday."  Here are this issue's quick hitters, and by quick I mean somewhere between short and TLDR:

>>>> The San Antonio Spurs complete their ground pounding series sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies over the holiday weekend.  They didn't win games in resounding and crushing fashion, but there was just this sense of inevitability.  In fact, since Westbrook went down, it has just felt that way about the Western Conference (I feel that way about the Heat and the Eastern Conference as well - it just feels like Lebron can just finish this when he wants, even though the series is now 2-2).  Lebron has played 128 playoff games already in his career.  That's a lot.  Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker have won 98 games together in the playoffs.  That's good for second all time, behind a group led by this guy:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Patty Mills

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Sometimes, the NBA playoffs can feel like this famous opening quote to Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Some games, like game 2 from the MIA-IND series, are absolutely epic battles pitting two elite players at the height of their powers. Unfortunately, some games, like game 3 from the same series, are clunkers where the outcome isn't in question for most of the 4th quarter. The playoffs are great when teams on both sides submit excellent performances, but when the one game on any given night gets out of hand early on, it's certainly not ideal for the basketball fan. Fortunately, the ratio of good games to bad ones in the conference finals thus far has been about the same as the ratio of good players to bad players - in other words, there aren't very many obscure players left. Lucky for our readers, our panel of authors is big into bench celebrations lately, which drew our attention to this week's player:

Recognize this guy? If not, its probably because you've only seen him this postseason doing this:

That's right, its towel wavin' Spurs guard Patty Mills!! Here's the lowdown on our favorite remaining benchwarmer:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why is the East so bad? Let's fix this.

We were going to write something about Game 1 of the Pacers-Heat Eastern Conference Finals. We really were. It was a weird game. Paul George's emergence at the end, Paul George's disappearance at the very end, Lebron, the curiously quiet Miami crowd, Frank Vogel's coaching - there is plenty to talk about. But for those of us (me) who are not excited about a Miami repeat, the game served as yet another reminder of how easily the Heat may just walk through the East.  They played a team with a sub-.500 record in the first round.  They played a team missing 3 starters in the second round. And now they face an Indiana team that won't be able to play much better than they did in Game 1 (Indiana got a lot of free throws, shot, and held Miami to a miserable 3 point percentage - those are three tough things to keep up).  Look Miami is a great team. In the regular season they made a run at being historically great.  But the talk of "fo' fo' fo'" - that Miami would sweep all three Eastern Conference series 4-0 - is a red flag regardless of how good the team is.  The Eastern Conference just is not as good as the Western Conference (2 teams with 50+ wins this year to 5 in the West; 7 teams with 40+ wins to the West's 10).

Our mission, should we choose to accept it (I do), is to provide a variety of options David Stern and the NBA may use to realign the powers in the Eastern Conference (aka make it has hard as possible for the Heat to achieve a three-peat...a Heat-peat, if you will).  We welcome your comments, critiques, and suggestions.

This should be our goal. Metaphorically. Actually watch this 4 more times
and watch Jimmy Butler's leg. Lebron clearly exaggerates his fall, but
Butler definitely at least moves his leg towards Lebron. Which makes me laugh.
Option 1: Swap Memphis and Milwaukee

I'm leading with this because, if we're honest, moving Memphis to the Eastern Conference is really the best place to start. "But Jack," you say, "Then we're going to miss out on a decade's worth of Clippers-Grizzlies match ups in the playoffs as the 4 and 5 seed!" You're right. And I'm sorry about that. But the good news is, you won't have to watch Monta Ellis ever play in the playoffs again! I'll take that trade off.  Anyway, with Conley, Gasol, Randolph, Allen, Pondexter, and Bayless, and without Rudy Gay, Memphis will be a very solid to very good team for the next couple years.  If they add a shooter, they'll be even better.  They have size and defenders, and I would love to see them lose to Miami in six games in the Conference Finals.

Option 2: Change the Charlotte mascot back to the Hornets.

Done. Next.

Option 3: Allow Sam Presti to make all draft day decisions for the Wizards. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Roundtable

If you're looking for something to keep you from clawing your eyes out as you re-watch highlights of the Pacers blow Game 1 against the Heat, we've got you covered. We give you our takes on the top 5 overall picks in the 2013 NBA Draft and the impact we think they could have.

Pick #1: Cleveland Cavaliers

Jack: Andrew Wiggins. Isn't he the clear #1 overall? The Cavs have long-term answers at PG (Uncle Drew), PF (Thompson), and C (depending on how you view Varejao's health, but he was putting up 14 points and 14 boards a game before getting hurt), and maybe even SG if Waiters continues to improve.  Maybe you prefer Jabari Parker? Either way, this draft is so weak I think we see a high school player go first overall.  (I actually think they should trade this pick, either by trading down or by trying to get a young SF...I'm thinking Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green or Klay Thompson? But if they must pick, they'll probably take Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky because he's the safest bet.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Shameless Hack Guy

Each week I will write about a type of player you see in pickup basketball games, along with their NBA equivalent. Basically, it will be a spinoff from the Real Men of Genius ads made by Bud Light. I started out with the annoying screen setter guy. This week: the shameless hack guy.

You know that feeling when you blow by your man in basketball and have a wide open path to the hoop? Kinda like the first time you had sex. Actually in my case, the former is way better. Anyway, just as you're about to lay in an easy 2, a mysterious forearm comes out of nowhere and clubs the ever loving shit out of your shooting arm. "Check up" he says. Wtf? You had a layup - how is checking up remotely equivalent? But that's how pickup ball works. The shameless hack guy has done his job, and he gives less fucks than the honey badger.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Tweener: Moore, OK, we're here for you.

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column. It's that time of the week again - this issue's quick hitters are below with a special topic at the end.
  • This is the worst part of the playoffs, where the time between televised games gets longer, and the entertainment factor within each game gets smaller.  You have to assume the NBA office is performing every sort of voodoo magic they can think of to prevent a Memphis-Indiana final. If there wasn't the possibility that at any moment Wade could throw an alley-oop pass to Lebron, and if the Spurs offense wasn't the prettiest thing to watch since Emma Watson in Harry Potter 7 Part I (the saving grace of that movie), I wouldn't watch any of these Conference Finals games.  And even though Miami and San Antonio aren't the largest markets out there, they're still pretty effing big. And the best part is, no one knows what to think about that match up. Seriously. They've basically never played each other at full strength. Can Popovich draw up the perfect Xs and Os to beat a small ball, athletic, we're-faster-than-you-because-you-play-3-old-men kind of attack? So here's to Indiana beating Miami so this intrigue can live on for another year!
No really, the Pacers are so boring Lance Stephenson tried choking himself.

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Ian Mahinmi

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

To quote a friend who I'm 99% sure never reads our blog, now that the Conference Finals have started, the playoffs are really starting to get down to brass tacks. All the fun teams pretenders have been eliminated, and with them, many of the truly obscure players still making a playoff rotation have been sent home for the summer. Fortunately for our readers, I will stop at nothing to bring a fresh edition of this column every week until the playoffs end (even if I am secretly just trying to take up all the good players so Shane Ryan's "Who's that Guy" column runs out of material before we do). With my task at hand, I scoured the remaining playoff rosters to find a non-household name who may trend on Twitter before the 2013 season is said and done. This week, I came up with this guy:

Although pictured here in a Dallas uniform, that's current Pacers backup center Ian (pronounced "Yan") Mahinmi, who somehow managed to get a custom wallpaper image with him ascending from a giant ball of flames. Estimated total downloads: 6 (well, 7 now that we've put it on here). Anyways, here's the lowdown on Ian.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Prediction Review

Way, way back in December 2012, before most of you even knew this blog existed, I put together a piece outlining 5 bold predictions for the upcoming NBA season. The prediction piece is a classic space-filler for most sports blogs looking to put up more content before the season started, and - full disclosure - that's exactly the purpose it served here. But unlike most preseason predictors who make their claims then pretend they never existed when the season blows them to smithereens, I am here to own up to my claims and see just how I did. A few quick disclosures:
  • When I initially published the column, I specifically noted they would be bold predictions, i.e., things I didn't really expect to come true, but things I thought had a legitimate shot of happening that most people seemed to disregard. Does that excuse my pick of Kyrie Irving to win the scoring title? Absolutely not! Just wanted to state my case before diving into too much detail.
  • These predictions were not technically made before the season, but they were made after about 13 games for each team, so the sample size was not high enough to really get a good read on any teams. I would have been pretty happy to get 2 out of these 5 predictions correct at the time I made them.
  • I'll go ahead and score myself using the following grades: resounding victory, victory on a technicality, loss on a technicality, and "what were you thinking?"
With those out of the way, let's see how the predictions played out...

This guy knew a thing or two about bold predictions.,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Than Just a Pretty Shot

We know. We know. We post about Steph a lot. Ok, ok, ok...a LOT. But over the last few days a couple of pieces have gone viral in the Davidson social media circles that have absolutely spoken to the heart  of Davidson, Stephen Curry himself, and why everyone enjoys watching him play.

The first comes from a good friend from our Davidson years (she lived on the same freshman hall as Paul and Jack), Gabi Wallace. Fair warning - it's quite touching.

Davidson Daybook: An Old Man's Wish and a Wildcat Favor - by Gabrielle Wallace

The second piece comes from another Davidson classmate of ours, one who played on the women's basketball team while at Davidson and spent a decent amount of time sharing the gym with Steph.

Charlotte Magazine: Prettier Than He Looks - by Amanda Ottoway

It's no wonder why the Davidson community has suddenly morphed into some of the biggest Golden State fans in the country. And if these pieces haven't convinced you to cheer for the Warriors tonight as they attempt to level their playoff series once more, then maybe this will:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Unstoppable Little Guy

Each week I will write about a type of player you see in pickup basketball games, along with their NBA equivalent. Basically, it will be a spinoff from the Real Men of Genius ads made by Bud Light. I started out with the annoying screen setter guy. This week: the unstoppable little guy.

He exists on every pickup court in America. He always looks different, but he is in fact the same player. His team always wins, and there's nothing you can do about it, even though you tower over him like Yao Ming over Earl Boykins. He is the unstoppable little guy, and he will haunt your dreams, your nightmares, and everything in between.

The unstoppable little guy has every trick in the book mastered. He has generally always been short, so he's learned how to compensate by shielding layups with his body and using a variety of fakes to get you off balance. He doesn't take a ton of shots, but if you leave him wide open, it's game over. Many times the best part of his game is passing ability, because he sees lanes that other people don't and sneaks passes under your arms.

And lastly, the fucker is just so damn quick that you don't have a chance. If you play off him, he makes the shot. If you guard him tight, he's past you in like 0.2 seconds. And when he picks your pocket on the defensive end, just don't even bother giving chase. Save your energy for yelling at your teammates.

So who is the NBA 's unstoppable little guy? Why, it's no other than Stephen Curry Tony Parker! I was this close to picking Steph, but our blog collectively sucks his dick enough, and Parker fits my description better. Parker is 6'1", yet almost never has his shot blocked. He's a very good midrange shooter, and one of the quickest/shiftiest point guards in the game. And to prove my "he wins every game" statement earlier: the Spurs have won 50+ games every year that Parker has been at the helm. Unstoppable little guy, indeed. Now enjoy my GIFs!

Too quick for NBA players!

That shot is just not supposed to go in

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Tweener - Grow up and wear some clothes

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column. It's that time of the week again - here are this issue's quick hitters:
  • This week here in DC it is supposed to be in the 60s or low 70s every day. I don't say that to rub it in your face, I say that because I would like for you to empathize with how much I want a hammock. You know that feeling when you just want to take a nap? You're just too tired to do anything but lie down because you spent the day at work, or you got up early on a Saturday because someone wanted you to accompany them to a farmers market and are therefore sleep deprived, or if you're like me you got up at noon and spent two hours watching tv and that made you sleepy again. You have that "as soon as my head hits the pillow" feeling. Well, that must be how the Bulls feel. (Was that a stretch? I don't know.) The number of shots they left on the front of the rim last night was dizzying. The number of tips they missed was unlikely. The number of loose balls they won was, well, not very good. They're just tired. The good news is - that "as soon as my head hits the pillow feeling" they have will be resolved soon, since they're one game away from being done. It's too bad they couldn't be healthy - it would have been a lot more fun for the rest of us.  Don't be surprised if during game 5 Carlos Boozer does this to himself, just so he can get to sleep even earlier:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Festus Ezeli

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

While watching the Spurs-Warriors game yesterday, I thought Mark Jackson's coaching Chi that he had built up over the course of the playoffs would finally come crashing down. In the first 4 minutes of the game, both of his starting post players (Andrew Bogut and Carl Landry) had picked up 2 fouls, which would ordinarily relegate both of them to the bench for the remainder of the quarter. Yet Jackson for some reason could only be bothered to retrieve Landry (replacing him with David Lee), leaving Bogut defend the best power forward ever...without fouling? Sure enough, it took about 45 seconds for Bogut to pick up a bad foul, so Jackson was forced to bench him...for Landry? Sure enough again, Landry also picked up a quick third, leaving Jackson without any trusted for one. As he has done all season, he called on a rookie to come in and play big minutes, and while he did not play spectacularly, he did just enough to keep the Warriors in the game until halftime. Who was this mysterious rookie (and no, it wasn't Kent Bazemore)?

In his much younger years...

Yep, it was none other than Festus Ezeli, an athletic big man in his first NBA season. So why did Jackson turn to him in this spot? ...well, probably because the only other option was Andris Biedrins. But keep reading anyway.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Space Jam Roundup: Our Thoughts on Your Thoughts

As promised, here are our thoughts on our picks from yesterday's fantasy board draft. We've addressed our own picks, each other's picks, and those comments that were left on Facebook and the blog itself.

Paul: So I just spent a fairly long time perusing a jersey website trying to find a Tskitishvili jersey (no luck). However I did find this jersey for Brian:

Brian: I might have to get the Sheed jersey with expedited shipping, and I'll take a look at the linking feature this weekend.

Jack: Speaking of the Bullets, if we hypothetically said we were using 2012's draft order - you know who messes up this draft? The Wizards with the 3rd pick. "Ok, Lebron and Durant are gone. Irving? Harden? Paul? Oh crap we're down to 10 seconds...Beal looked pretty good this year? Klay Thompson is on fire since David Lee went out...uhhh we select Andrew Bogut!!!"

Ok, on to our thoughts?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The New Space Jam

Picture this: Aliens show up, Space Jam style, and have decided that the current configuration of teams in the NBA isn't fair (because aliens are small-market fans, and especially love Sacramento for God knows what reason).  They take control of David Stern's body (and Rip Hamilton's - this via Nate Robinson's instagram) and broker a deal between the NBA and the Player's Association that nullifies every existing contract, making every player a free agent.  To reassign players a fantasy draft has been created.  You, the casual-to-avid basketball fan, receive a telephone call from an NBA owner (who also must be under alien influence) and he informs you that his franchise has a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.  Your task? Create a draft board for him to use as the draft progresses.

Below are these "draft boards" from each writer for this site. They are controversial, they are based on opinions, and in some cases they are based on little-to-no sleep.  We fully welcome your comments - in fact, we would love it if you left your own draft board as a comment here or on Facebook.  (We'll put up our defense of our picks and comments on others sometime tomorrow.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Real Men of Basketball: The Chucker Guy

Each week I will write about a type of player you see in pickup basketball games, along with their NBA equivalent. Basically, it will be a spinoff from the Real Men of Genius ads made by Bud Light. I started out with the annoying screen setter guy. This week: the chucker guy.

Picture yourself in any pickup game in America. The guy warming up near you looks like he can really shoot the rock. You look over as he throws up a couple corner 3's: Swish. Swish. Swish. Damn, not bad. Hope that guy is on my team!

Teams are picked, and to your delight, shooter bro is on your team! You can't help but imagine the train your team is about to run with this guy making it rain. You bring the ball up and throw it to shooter guy on the wing. He's not really open, but the shot goes up immediately from about 26 feet. Clank. Whatever, even the pros miss. Next possession - you drop it to him in the post and he throws up a heavily contested fadeaway right away. Barely draws iron this time. Hey, even the great shooters have to shoot themselves out of a cold streak. Let's give him another chance. You get him the ball near the elbow on the next possession. He takes a jab step, one dribble, and launches a running hook shot from just inside the foul line. Nothing but air. What the hell was that?!? Your team has just fallen victim to the chucker guy.