The first third of the NBA season has been filled with tons of excitement. Join our trio of hosts as they discuss the recent firing of Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Malone, Rajon Rondo has a new home in Dallas, we give out grades to new faces in new places and hand out some early awards.
For part 2 of our Hoops Exchange series, Andthefoul.com’s Jhony Gutierrez joined me for a quick Q & A. Topics included rule changes, Magic Johnson’s tanking comments and our early season MVP.
Here’s my first question – which of these commercials do you think is funnier?
Both of them are great, especially if you know the NBA and the reputations, real or perceived, of the players involved. They won’t get me into a Foot Locker anytime soon, but I laugh every time I’ve seen them and can’t decide which is funnier. I am leaning towards the Harden one.
I thought Foot Locker did a great job tapping into humor stemming from well-known NBA storylines, and as a result, it reached its target audience: hoop heads on social media.
NBA athletes are continually benefitting from the exposure that social media allows for. No longer do they have to be a star in a major market, they can now pull off sponsorship deals that resonate from anywhere in the states (not that Houston and S.A. are small markets per se), which creates great opportunities for video content like Foot Locker created. Continue reading
In the wake of grand jury decisions not to indict police offers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in the shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, NBA players including Derrick Rose, Lebron James and Kobe have spoken out by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during pre-game warmups. We decided to speak out too.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been rather busy since starting his tenure back in February. From the Sterling Fiasco, trying to reform the lottery and negotiating a new TV deal he’s had a lot on his plate. How’s he done so far?
Guest writer Tim Adkins joined me for an impromptu email exchange for some random observations about the first month of the 2014-15 NBA Season. Topics included best shooting guard, franchise players and the improved Eastern Conference.
Tim Adkins: Completely unrelated–but because I’m seeing your recent People’s Court post on the right of the screen–I was meaning to ask if y’all had started including Jimmy Butler in the best two-way two-guard conversations. I think it was last Thursday he put in work on the first half of a national doubleheader before Klay Thompson rec’d all the fawning in the second game. Made for an interesting juxtaposition.
Lamont Peoples: We’ve not had any discussions on best two-way shooting guard. Though Butler has certainly added himself to that very short list. Thompson got off to such a hot start that he got all that attention. I don’t think he can play at that high of a level for the whole season. Butler seems to be taking advantage of the opportunities given to him by a roster that’s loaded offensively. His defense is all-galaxy. If we do a segment on this would you care to weigh in? Continue reading
Derrick Rose recently said that when he sits out games, he’s thinking about life after basketball. A deeper dive into his comments reveals that he may have lost his franchise player status. Let us know if you agree.
Find out who our panel thinks will miss the playoffs that made it last year, and which teams will replace them.
The 2014-15 NBA season is just around the corner. There are a lot of things to be excited about this season even if you’re team doesn’t matter. For the record, if a team doesn’t have a realistic chance of advancing past the second round of the playoffs they don’t matter. Last year, I gave a list of 5 ways you can still enjoy the season if your favorite team doesn’t matter. Here are 4 more:
- Practice your announcing – There are a few teams around that employ bad announcers to call their games. Clyde Drexler with the Houston Rockets, Sean Elliott with the San Antonio Spurs and Mike Smith with the Los Angeles Clippers are a few those bad announcers. They all either engage in homerism to the extreme, laugh at an unfunny joke they just made or utter some statement that befuddles the mind. Drexler manages to do all three. I’ve learned to mute the TV whenever I’m watching a game these guys are calling. Instead of playing music this season when the TV sound is off, I’m going to try calling the games myself. You should too. We can’t do worse than these guys.
- Keep stats – Stat keepers are probably the unsung heroes of the NBA. Whether it’s the basic stats or the more advanced ones, someone has to keep track of them. There’s plenty of stat keeping software available for download. Pick one and test it out for a few games. You’ll probably gain a much better appreciation for how hard the official stat keepers have.
- Tour the NBA – This is admittedly expensive and most of won’t be able to do it. Wouldn’t it be great visit all 28 cities that have an NBA franchise and see a game in all 28 arenas? It’s a basketball junkie’s dream.
- Gamble, gamble – Having a rooting interest in games only adds to the fun. When your favorite team doesn’t matter the games are somewhat less fun to watch. Another way to have fun is to get involved in sports betting. There are a variety of things you can bet on for a particular game – the winner, total score, over/under, etc. Putting money on a game will definitely give you something to root for.
Last season’s epic NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs got a remix and is currently tied at one game a piece with a critical. This year’s rematch between the league’s top two teams is shaping up to be as good or better than last season’s 7 game masterpiece. Both games in San Antonio were mirroring images of each other. Game 1 saw the Heat more in control throughout most of the game with the Spurs using a bit of luck (LeBron James’ muscle cramps) to propel them to victory1. Roles were reversed in Game 2 as the Spurs lead most of the way and luck coming the Heat’s way (Tony Parker and Tim Duncan missing 4 free throws).
These teams are evenly matched2 and it is a privilege to watch them battle for the Larry O’Brien trophy. Based on the first two games it’s nearly impossible to say which team has the advantage for the remainder of the series, though someone has been predicting the Spurs since the season started. Instead here a few quick takeaways from Games 1 & 2:
- The King is still the King – Yes, Kevin Durant was a deserving MVP for the regular season and, yes, James is still the world’s best player. We covered “crampgate” and the ensuing fallout in our last episode. In case you were paying attention, he was the best player on the court until he was forced to sit out the last 4 minutes of Game 1. It’s not a small coincidence that the Spurs late 4th quarter surge came after James was carried off the court. James responded to the ridiculous criticism by being transcendent yet again in Game 2. As if for shits and giggles he did it in a variety of ways. From attacking the lane in the 1st quarter, hero ball jump shots in the 3rd and, finally his likely favorite, making the right play by finding an open Chris Bosh for the go ahead 3 pt shot. I can’t wait to see what LeBron has in store for us next.
- The Claw – Kawhi Leonard was brilliant in last season’s Finals and many believe he will be the face of the Spurs once Duncan retires. These two games have been somewhat rough the stone faced wingman. Leonard’s been plagued by foul trouble in both games and gets the tough task of being the primary defender on James. Having to expend an enormous amount of energy defending James has probably lead to his underwhelming performance on the offensive end. Leonard has totaled 18 pts on 6-14 FGs and 2 rebounds thus far. Those numbers don’t exactly shout out at you. He’s still, at worst, the Spurs’ second best two-way player and they’ll need him to have a bigger impact to be successful.
- Gray Haired Contributors – Chris pointed out that during their Finals’ fun, Miami always seems to find a way to get older, seemingly washed up players to contribute in major ways. Whether it was Ray Allen, Shane Battier or Mike Miller, the veteran players that have filled out the Heat’s lineup have always come through. This year it’s looking like that player will be Rashard Lewis. Lewis is far from the player he used to be and his role has been so small that sometimes I forgot he was still in the league let alone on the Heat roster. However, since being dusted off and inserted in the starting lineup in the Eastern Conference finals he’s made an impact. He’s totaled 24 pts on 5-13 3PT’s and is on his way to being the Heat’s unsung hero should they go on to win the title.
- Return of the Catch Phrase – Mark Jackson didn’t take a break after being fired by the Golden State Warriors. Instead, he immediately reached a multiyear agreement with ESPN and rejoined the broadcasting team of Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. The back and forth banter between Jackson and his former head coach is enjoyable and even funny at times. Jackson also dusted off his familiar catch phrases such as “Hand down, man down” even if he hasn’t always used them at the appropriate times. Even after a 3 year absence from the broadcasting table Jackson’s catch phrases are in danger of growing stale. He might want to get together with Dwayne Johnson and come up with some new ones
- Every NBA Champion has had good fortune, luck or things going their way.
- In the 9 Finals games played thus far, a grand total of 18 points separate the two teams.
This week special guest host Jason McAdams joined us to discuss our reactions from Game 1 of the NBA Finals, our predictions on how the rest of the series will play out, and the fall out from LeBron James’ muscle cramps in the 4th quarter. Enjoy.