Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Tweener: T-shirts, Biting, Losers, and Superstars

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

Free stuff is always better than something you pay for

You know what I really love about the NBA playoffs? How the owners make the fans feel welcome by spending a tiny fraction of their surplus for t-shirts for the home crowd so their arena looks good on TV every arena makes sure there is pure color domination in favor of their home team! OKC's blue t-shirts and the Heat's white ones made the solidarity of the fan-base simply awesome. I also love that you can tell Denver makes less money by the fact that they only gave out towels and not t-shirts the towel waving in Denver! It's so energetic, and it is probably the reason Andre Miller turned into a 21-year-old and dropped 18 points and his first career game winning shot in the 4th quarter on Saturday.

I know this is a year old. But it is just so good. And I hope it happens again.
Steph as a superstar? 

Less than two weeks ago, Maxwell Ogdon put out a piece on Bleacher Report entitled "It's Time to Admit Stephen Curry is an NBA Superstar."  The article, in a surprise move, was about Curry's transcendent shooting season, how the "superstar" moniker is over used, and how Curry actually is a superstar.  Well I'm here to tell you, it is over-used, and Steph is not a superstar.

"But Jack!" you say, "you have already been so biased in your Davidson affiliation and love of Steph - why stop now??"

Because "superstar" is a term that should be used sparingly in the NBA. Because a "superstar" should be able to lift a team to prominence on his own. Because a "superstar" makes sure that his brilliant outings also result in victories for his team.

By my count, there are 4 (yes, four) NBA "superstars" in this year's playoffs: Lebron and Durant (duh), Chris Paul (continually led the Hornets to the playoffs with his second best player as David West, and now is the best floor general in the game, and his control, wow his control...I mean, see: last night), and Timony Dunker (the crossbreed that Greg "the Wizard" Popovich created with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan). I could probably be talked into Carmelo Anthony as well, but I need to see the Knicks get past the first round of the playoffs first. Wade used to be; Paul Pierce had his moments; Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin could get there, but also could shoot their team out of a game (which a superstar emphatically does not do); Kobe would be on that list but isn't playing; Nash used to be on that list; Dwight, with a Lakers' victory over the Spurs in this series, would be back on that list.

That mostly covers points one and two (should be used sparingly, and should be able to lift a team to prominence).  Point three is simple: a superstar has super outings, but they aren't just about the player - they result in wins for the whole team.  Here's a list of every player that has scored 45+ points in a playoff game since 1964. I took the liberty of compiling the following numbers for you: Kobe - 5 games at 45+, with 1 loss; Allen Iverson - 6 games with 1 loss; Lebron - 6 games with two losses; Michael Jordan - a whopping 24 GAMES at 45+ points, with only 8 losses. You'll notice that only ONE out of the top 14 games resulted in a loss.

Curry doesn't have enough numbers here to create a valuable sample size, but his two career 45+ outings were both this spring, and both resulted in losses. If you want to avoid Steph's occasionally porous defense, you could try and point to his supporting cast, but, I mean cummon...remember who was on the 08-09 Cleveland team that finished 66-16? Or even better, the 07-08 team that managed to finish 45-37 with ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS as their second leading scorer and SEVENTEEN different players starting a game during the course of the season? Both of those teams won their first round, with the 09 team losing in the conference finals and the 08 team taking the would-be champions to 7 games in the second round.

Now THAT is a superstar lifting his team.

"They lost, they're losers."

My uncle makes a fantastic point: how does a team below .500 (and not even just a little below, at 38-44 the Milwaukee Bucks finished with a .463 winning percentage) get to play in the playoffs? How are they not embarrassed?

This seems like a fantastic point. There are all sorts of ways things could be shifted and realigned (COUGH like moving Memphis to the Eastern Conference so there was more than one good team in the Eastern Conference and besides Memphis is about TWO TIMES CLOSER to the East Coast than it is the West Coast COUGH).  But couldn't there be a "if one conference is so shitty they can't get 8 teams above .500 despite having the Raptors, Pistons, Cavaliers, Wizards, AND Bobcats all in the same conference, if another team did reach .500 they get that playoff spot" rule? Seems completely reasonable and not at all controversial to me.


Oh and by the way...

Yup, that's Luis "I'm the biggest bitch in the whole wide world" Suarez TAKING A BIT OUT OF IVANOVIC'S ARM. Which led to this...which is awesome:

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog ~ thanks for posting such cool material.