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!