Friday, March 29, 2013

True Life: I Met Bismack Biyombo

A couple weeks ago one of our writers, Jack Peterson, wrote this piece about couples and families in the NBA. In this piece, Jack jokingly made reference to Bismack Biyombo, of the Charlotte Doormats Bobcats, as the unfortunate child of a destructive family. A reader and close friend sent the following email about a hilarious and actual run-in he had with the one-and-only Bismack. The original text of the email is in bold, with our very selective edits in parentheticals and italicized. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tweetable Predictions

The Sweet 16 starts today. If you're at work, don't worry, you can stream them online.  Because we all wanted to make our own predictions, and because we didn't want to put you all to sleep, we've condensed our predictions for each match-up into Tweet-length form:

Sweet 16

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When It Rains, It Pours: Kobe Bryant and the Eye Test

Where to start? Kobe Bryant is a lot of things. Future Hall of Famer, pathological competitor, possible sex offender, arguably the greatest player since Jordan retired. But most importantly, one of the most prolific volume shooters the NBA has ever seen.

If there was a Mount Rushmore for volume shooters, the faces on it would most likely be: Kobe, Jordan (yes, it's true), Allen Iverson, and my boy Antoine Walker. Carmelo is making a strong push for that #4 spot though. Any way you slice it, Kobe is either #1 or #2 on that list.

While I was watching Steph Curry's Golden State Warriors run train on the Lakers the other night, I noticed just how much Kobe started to shoot when the game got out of hand. Like, every time he wasn't being bearhugged by Mike D'Antoni. His stats for the game look great on paper: 36 points!...on 11/27 shooting. Yeah, Kobe is a chucker sometimes. And almost all of those shots/points came when the Lakers were down by about 20 points.

This got me wondering, who is the greatest "garbage time" volume shooter? I'm going to define garbage time as being down by 10+ points in the 4th quarter. I know teams can come back from 10 point deficits in the 4th, but often they don't. Biggest chucker: it's got to be Kobe, right?

Aw, hell yeah. Kobe is outpacing the field by a comfortable 14 shot attempts in such situations. To his credit, he does hit 48.5% of them, so it gives his team a better chance to get back into the game. Let's pause to look at the other players behind him: Jimmer Fredette? JJ Barea? E'Twaun Moore!? HUH?!?!?

Interestingly, if I look at shots when down 15+ in the 4th quarter instead of 10+, Kobe drops to 31st on the list. So how do I decide this eye test? Screw it - Kobe, I deem thee a chucker.


And ok, I had to...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Tweener: A Horcrux, Decisions, and a Flying Chicken

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  It's that time of the week again - here are this issue's quick hitters:

  • Forgive my depression. I still haven't fully recovered from the soul crushing loss Davidson suffered in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.  As we slouched on the couch in the dark in the immediate aftermath of this loss, a friend remarked, "This must be how it feels to make a horcrux."  That someone could reference Harry Potter in this situation almost made me smile, but my cheek muscles didn't budge.  Perhaps the worst part? So many good things that happened in that game will be lost because of the final result.  I'm talking about the smart defensive scheme Davidson employed, the realization by the rest of the country that Davidson was probably under-seeded, Jake "Late second round pick/poor man's Ryan Anderson" Cohen's fluid game, and, most notably, this: 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Butterbean Love

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. Thanks to our readers for suggesting a (throwback) player to feature in this week's piece.

The NBA was a different league back in the '60's and '70's. Lower salaries, on-court brawling, and competition from the ABA made the environment far more hostile for players and lowered the quality of play for fans. Yet that didn't stop aspiring professionals from chasing their dreams, even if it meant playing in lesser leagues for several years before finally making the big time. One such player was this guy: 
Eric "Butterbean" Esch

Just kidding...can you imagine that guy throwing down a monster jam in the lane? It is actually this guy: 

Chicago Bulls forward Bob "Butterbean" Love. Here's what you need to know about Butterbean:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Anatomy of a Mid-Major Upset: How Davidson Could Be This Year’s Davidson

The greatest two days of the year are upon us. The first round of March Madness is where seniors play what could be the final game of their collegiate lives, supposedly “great” teams fall victim to stunning upsets, and heroes emerge from nowhere to lead their teams on miracle runs. And never are these qualities more evident than when a “mid-major” team takes down a national powerhouse from one of the “Big 6” conferences.

The term “David over Goliath” is used way too often for my liking, but sometimes there’s no better term for when a team like Bradley takes down Kansas and Pittsburgh in consecutive games. Raise your hand if you know what state Bradley is from? A mid-major is defined as any team not from the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10,  Big East, and Pac 12. Every single year, one of these mid-majors comes from nowhere to win a first round game (and sometimes more) that they have no business winning. 

There is serious money involved in the science of picking brackets, so anyone that can see these upsets coming can become a very rich individual. I’m not here to tell you I have those answers, but there are certain qualities shared by past mid-major Cinderellas that are great predictors of success in the tournament. Any time a team has at least 3 of these to their name, you better think twice before penciling in that #4 seed. And while I’m here, you better belive I’m gonna tell you why Davidson could be this year’s…well, Davidson.

1. "Under the Radar"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Always Heed the Killer "B"s

A guest piece from the mind of Dane Callstrom.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again.  A time of magic.  A time of hope.  And, yes, a time of “madness” when you realize you’ve already gambled away your tax refund you haven’t gotten yet. 

It’s a time when Louisville and Indiana fans boldly proclaim themselves the future champions while secretly praying they don’t get “Norfolk Stated.”   It’s a time when Davidson and Valpo fans cling to the hope that this year is their year to be Cinderella—otherwise known as Te’o-ing.     It’s a time of year when lots of things happen in lots of places near and/or around lots of people.  I think I’ve made my point—March Madness is a moment in time.  And it’s here through the first week of April!

But, as any Kansas fan knows, March Madness is a time of the killer “B”s.  For those of you who reside under a rock, this happened in 2005. The Bucknell Bison, a 14-seed, took down the 3-seed, Kansas, in the first round.  Jayhawk Nation was more embarrassed than future Lindsey Vonn when she finds out Tiger slept with 23 women while dating her.

The following year, this happened.  Another first round upset to another “B” team—the Bradley Braves. Two promising years.  Two early exists.  Two performances more embarrassing than being seen at a movie theater on a Friday night with Lennay Kukua.  

If there’s one thing the Jayhawks have learned from these experiences, it’s to heed the killer “B”s— not to be confused with the “Killa Bees” or anything related to the Wu-Tang Clan.  And you should heed them too—the killer “B”s, not the Wu-Tang Clan.  Well, perhaps the Wu-Tang Clan on occasion as well, but not all the time.  Anyway, I digress.

You may ask, “Dane, why should I heed the killer ‘B’s?”  My response: Prosperity.  In other words (according to an internet thesaurus), fortune, wealth, riches, luxury, and—my personal favorite—gravy train.  To off-quote Jerry Maguire, the killer “B”s will “Show you the money!”  Of course, I am talking about winnings from NCAA Bracket Pools. 

The Man, the Myth, The Legend - Marshall Henderson

If you've followed college basketball at all this year, you may be aware that we are witnessing the most hated player on a basketball court since JJ Redick. I am of course talking about the legendary shooting guard from Ole Miss, Marshall Henderson.

Marshall looks like he was plucked straight out of the trailer park - and to be honest, he probably was. Need proof? He was arrested in high school for trying to buy weed with counterfeit money! He lives for pissing off other players and taunting every student section in the country. And he's damn good at it:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Tweener: March Madness Edition

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  It's that time of the week again, only this time with a March Madness theme! Here are this issue's quick hitters:

  • My family was in town over the weekend for the beginning of my sisters' spring break. We spent one night out at my aunt and uncle's house, where we played Dilbert: The Board Game. Modeled after the cartoon, the point of the game is basically to be a corporate employee: avoid work at all costs, ruin your boss's happiness, and maximize your time in the bathroom.  I am so ashamed to admit this next part: the laziness this game requires reminded me of Rick Barnes. Yes, the Longhorns finished another season without an offensive or defensive scheme, riding their confused coach to a 16-17 record. The worst part? Rick Barnes probably won't even get fired The Longhorns still have to play in the post-season College Basketball Invitational. How they got invited I'll never know. But here's to you, Rick Barnes, and the success you'll have eating ice cream and working in the corporate world should you receive your due punishment.
Om nom nom nom nom

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Chris Douglas-Roberts

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. This week, we are writing each of our regular posts with a March Madness theme, which provided the inspiration for this week's Obscure NBA Player.

Most college basketball fans remember the 2007-2008 NCAA Tournament for a few main storylines - Davidson's incredible tournament run behind Stephen Curry's magic, Mario Chalmers' game saving shot, and a superstar freshman playing for Memphis by the name of Derrick Rose. But did you know that Rose was not the leading scorer for Memphis that year? He also wasn't the only Memphis Tiger player to be selected in the 2008 NBA draft. No, the leading scorer during Memphis's 30-win season was this guy:

Is he shooting or modeling a new line of rec specs here?
Yep, the one and only Chris Douglas-Roberts! More on Chris after the break...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Volume Shooters for 3!

We decided to take a break from our otherwise uninteresting lives to enlighten the masses with a roundtable of 3 questions. Here's what we had to say:

Question 1: Which player who will likely enter the NBA draft this year will have the biggest impact next season? Which of these players will have the best career?

Jack: Trey Burke. If there's one thing you can learn from looking at the list of Rookie of the Year winners, it's that scoring matters, and scoring is easiest when you have the ball in your hands.  Burke won't be a top 5 pick, but he'll be an important part of wherever he ends up.  This was a toss up for me between Burke and Marcus Smart, and while Smart has the size to be better in the long run, but Burke plays two more minutes per game and turns the ball over significantly less.  As far as best career goes, it's hard not to select a player like Smart or a super efficient scorer like Oladipo, but I'm going out on a limb and saying James Michael McAdoo.  He's become a high-volume player this season in terms of shots, scoring, minutes, and rebounds. He has a great frame that will bulk up. I can see him becoming a Lamarcus Aldridge.  Not sure if that will be good enough to make him the best in his class, but that'd be pretty darn good.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let's Make a Date

NBA commentators love talking about the best duos in the league. Lebron and Wade, Westbrook and Durant, Chris Paul and his dunking kangaroo - they all deserve plenty of praise.  This got me thinking - what players in the league would actually make great duos? Are there "families" in the league? Love triangles? Below is a closer look at the kinds of love stories that Nicholas Sparks aspires to write about.

Best Bromance - Javale McGee and Danillo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets

If I ever write a column where I have to label a "best" and "worst" teammate, Javale McGee may win both awards. His gaffes on the court are hilarious and routinely make his teammates (and coaches, and league execs, and anyone who watches him play and realizes how athletically confusing he is) shake their heads.

And yet, Javale McGee is the most positive bench supporter I have ever seen. This is on display most whenever Gallo shoots a three. Not only does Javale always assume the ball is going in, but once it does (Gallinari shot 47% on 3s in January, and 43% in February and March thus far), he is all love. I always shoot best when I play on teams with guys who are supportive of my shooting, encourage me to keep putting it up, and love all over me when it goes in (Bryce Robinson and Mike Ross get shout outs here). I'm sure Gallo feels the same way. I hate the love this blog has thrown the Nug-nuts way so far.  But could you really say no to this?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Comedy of Errors: The Javale McGee Eye Test

It's funny how polarizing certain athletes can be.

Take Javale McGee, for example. Esteemed writer and devout Nuggets fan Paul Britton knows Javale as a productive, high-energy bench guy - someone who can immediately come in and block some shots, throw down a couple monster jams, and surprise you/make you chuckle:

As a Wizards fan, I know Javale as the exact fucking opposite.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Tweener - Bids Punched, Gross Beards, and a Phi-Slamma-Jamma Baby!

On February 26, I wrote an inaugural "Tweener" column. It's that time of the week: here are this issue's quick hitters:
  • Liberty University found a way to win four games in a row in their conference tournament, and they are advancing to be sacrificial lambs for some one seed in the first round the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. Reporters on the scene detailed that students from the heavily-evangelist-influenced university were allowed to celebrate by staying out an extra 15 minutes (until 9:30, since 9-3=6 and that's the devils number) and have an extra glass of chocolate milk before bed. Former Liberty player Seth Curry, also headed to the NCAA tournament with Duke, has evidently been dealing with shin-splints the entire season and no longer regularly participates in practice. (Next week I'll lay out some predictions and picks for the tournament, but I will note here that while Duke looked great against UNC, it took two different players playing their best basketball at different times, as Curry appeared worn out after a sensational first half.) As I read this, I assumed it would hurt his draft stock. Turns out, he's projected to be selected somewhere late in the second round, if he gets selected at all. I thought a bit more about where he fits best, and suddenly it dawned on me - the Miami Heat. Of course at this point any player would probably fit well with the Heat, but as Miami moves away from the Mike Miller/Ray Allen/Shane Battier/Old Instructor from the new Priceline ads Rashard Lewis era, who better to have step in than a young, two position shooter? Miami has a good record of turning these kinds of guys into valuable assets (Chalmers & Cole), and he could certainly give you more than 4 minutes at a time without having back spasms.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Marco Belinelli

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. Thanks to our readers for the suggestion of this week's Obscure NBA Player.

Pop quiz: there are three current NBA players who were born in the beautiful country of Italy (not including Kobe Bryant, who spent a number of years there but was in fact born in Philadelphia). Two of these players, Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani, are fairly well known - the former for knocking down clutch shots this year and the latter for being lustily booed by his home fans for recent terrible play. But who is the third player? This guy:

No, not Sylvester Stallone, but Bulls shooting guard Marco Belinelli! Here's what you need to know about Marco.

Friday, March 8, 2013

How Deep Are They?

Along with "clutch player," "great execution," and "hand down, man down," one of the most common platitudes you hear while watching an NBA game is "this team goes [X] players deep." While it is true that every NBA player is one of the best players in the world, there are certain guys who pretty much don't play unless a team has foul trouble or the game is a blowout. Announcers love to talk about how deep a team's bench goes, but how can one really quantify the depth of a bench? At Volume Shooters, we take a (highly scientific) look at this question using the following criteria: which team has the best player as the Xth guy in their rotation? One man's opinion is below:

(Best team) 1-deep: Miami Heat

A fairly obvious choice here considering the Heat have the best player in the world right now. While you could argue that a better scorer would be more important if the rest of your team has minimal talent, LeBron's variety of skills would allow him to adapt however the team needed on that night.

Also Considered: OKC Thunder, LA Clippers, San Antonio Spurs

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mourinho said we'd stop and watch...and at least I did

At approximately 2:45PM Eastern time on Tuesday, March 5, Real Madrid and Manchester United squared off in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.  If you didn't understand half of that first sentence, I don't blame you. What follows is my diary of how the match unfolded.

First Half

0:00 - So it turns out Gus Johnson is the play-by-play announcer for this game. How better to drum up American interest in football than by having the most excitable announcer alive do the broadcast? (I know it's soccer and not football...just know that because it is a European game I feel compelled to call it football.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Eye Test

I guess now it's time to introduce my weekly recurring column. I'm a stats junkie (math major, blow me) and I personally love when there is data to back up the observations I make when watching sports. Example: I thought that RGIII was great at making defenses pay for blitzing last season, and the data confirms that, yes, Black Jesus annihilates the blitz.

So each week I'd like to compare data to my observations to see if they confirm my "Eye Test". Or I'll just pull interesting/funny stats for your amusement, whichever is easier for me.

I'm starting this column idea out with the hometown theme. That would be Charlotte, the home of everyone's favorite punching bag, the Bobcats. Having been to 7 or 8 games this year and watching another 10 or so on TV, I consider myself something of a Bobcats expert. What exactly makes them so terrible? They can actually score at a decent clip, but they are absolutely atrocious rebounding and defending. And no player is more emblematic of these shortcomings than my boy Byron Mullens.

The caption for this has to be: "The thug life chose me"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Tweener: A Wizard, A Chief, and a CIA Diplomat

On February 26, I wrote an inaugural Tweener column. As a "periodic" piece, I can now put them out whenever I have something to say. Here are this issue's quick hitters:
  • As the Pope steps down from his post, he plans to carry out the rest of his life in the Castel Gandolfo (that's Italian for "Gandalf's Castle"). Interestingly, this castle basically comprises the Vatican's backyard. This move has brought to light the often hushed-up adherence in the Catholic Church to the beliefs and stories of JRR Tolkien. In fact, the Vatican seized this property in 1596 when the Savelli family threatened to prevent the Valinor from departing Middle Earth at the dawn of the "Age of Men." Anyway, it reminded me of this: 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Mirza Teletovic

In a continuing effort to increase the volume of posts on Volume Shooters, we will be adding a number of "weekly features" which appear on a regular basis. One such feature, debuting today, is the "Obscure NBA Player of the Week," meant to highlight a player that doesn't get much burn for his current team, but is noteworthy for one reason or another. Usually, he is noteworthy because he is somehow hilarious.

This week's obscure NBA player is this guy:

Yes, folks, the one and only Mirza Teletovic! Here's what you need to know about Mirza: