Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Finley to the Champs

Finley will be eating a Spurs jersey this season

Marc Stein from ESPN is reporting that the race for Michael Finley is finally over with the San Antonio Spurs coming out on top. Finley chose the Spurs over more money from both Miami and Phoenix for what will surely be his best chance at a title. The length of the deal has yet to be determined but it is believed that the former Mav will earn in the neighborhood of $2.5 million this season. Instead of ranting and raving about how much better this makes the defending champs, instead I will focus on the teams Finley hurt the most with his decision.

1. Phoenix
After trading Quentin Richardson and losing Joe Johnson to the Hawks, the Suns were in desperate need of a perimeter player. Right now Raja Bell and Jim Jackson are the only viable options at the 2 and 3 spots, leaving a gapping hole for a team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals a season ago. With Finley, one could argue that Phoenix may have had a better chance at the Spurs this season, with a more defensive-minded team that now includes Bell and Kurt Thomas. But instead, the Suns are just one Steve Nash back injury away from heading back to the lottery.

2. Minnesota
Let's face it, the Wolves need all the help they can get. I think with Finley, Minnesota could have legitimally made it back to the Playoffs. But without him they will need a fabulous rookie campaign from Rashad McCants and injury-free years from both Wally Szcerbiak and Marko Jaric. Translation: there's a better chance of seeing Magic Johnson in a porno movie.

3. Detroit
With both Indiana and Miami seemingly much improved from a year ago, Detroit was anxious to make a move to bolster their bench. Finley, averaging 25-30 minutes off the pine, could have supplied that extra push the Pistons desperately need to get back to the Finals. Right now in my book, they're the 3 seed.

4. Miami
Not effected in any way.

Yao Staying in H-Town

"What am I going to do with all this money?"

Ric Bucher of ESPN has reported that Yao Ming will sign a 5-year max extension with the Rockets on Thursday, a deal that will keep him in Houston through the 2010-11 season. This is just the latest of good news for the Rockets, who also managed to sign Stro Swift and Derek Anderson this summer. With both Yao and T-Mac signed on for the long-run, Houston should be formidable contenders in the West for several years to come.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Funniest Things About the NBA - Part 2

As promised, we present to you The Funniest Things ABout the NBA, Part 2. If you have any further suggestions (we've already received a few) please send them via email and hopefully we'll be able to tackle a Part 3 in the coming weeks. Enjoy...

The Refs

Ant's Take: In my eyes, the refs should just pull a George Constanza and do the opposite of what they have been. I mean at this point we'd be better off having Jerry's kids calling games rather than notoriously bad refs like Bennett Salvatore and Violet Palmer. And why are there so many old zebras? No one under 70 is interested in becoming a ref? They should just clone like 300 Ed Hochulis and get it over with.

Paul's Take: We all know how awful the NBA refs are, but it amazes me how some of the old farts are able to get up and down the court. Why isn't anyone investigating steroid usage by Dick Bavetta, Jack Nies, or Bennett Salvatore? Seriously. Isn't that a little strange that these senior citizens are able to get up and down the court with relative ease? Last season, the trio of 70 somethings finished 2, 3, and 4 respectively in # of games refereed. Wouldn't that be the same as Kevin Willis, Dikembe Mutumbo, and Tony Massenburg leading the NBA in minutes? Someone needs to look into this.

Shawn Marion's Shot

Ant's Take: You know when you're playing H-O-R-S-E and you've got someone on the ropes and you pull the old, "Okay, shoot a jumper off the glass, with both elbows sticking out, while kicking your feet together, and doing your best impression of Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man'". Well, somewhere along the line Marion learned to master that shot and has kept it as his own ever since. Hey, whatever works...

Paul's Take: His shot is so ugly that if he wasn't an NBA player, he could easily be one of those guys everyone laughs at during halftime of a college game when he bricks a 3-pointer for $5,000. Who taught him how to shoot, Carlton Banks?

Ben Wallace Shooting Free Throws

Ant's Take: Well first of all, how about getting rid of the leg warmers on your arms Bennie Boy? It's supposed to be a wristband bro, not the legs of Fat Joe's sweatpants. I mean look at those things, there's loose strings popping out, boll weevils eating their way through his flesh, it's no wonder he can't shoot free throws for shit.

Paul's Take: The greatest adventure in the NBA has to be the free throw shooting of Ben Wallace. At least Shaq consistently touches rim-- the same can't be said for Ben Wallace who religiously heaves bricks and air balls. Can someone tell him that shooting free throws is NOTHING like taking slap shots at an empty net?! Seriously I don't get it, the guy has had about 8 years in the NBA to figure out how to shoot the ball and he's an outstanding athlete. Please explain to me why he can't simply become a respectable free throw shooter.

Mark Blount

Ant's Take: Being nicknamed "Stone Hands" on the beloved site gives you a pretty good indication of how awful Blount can be at times. Check out the atrocious stats Paul has listed below, especially those on rebounding. 27 minutes without a board? He's 7-feet tall! Was he running away from rebounds? Were Ruben Studdard and Karl Winslow boxing him out? What the hell? And how about this stat-- only twice did Mark gather double-digit rebounds in 82 games. The guy is a walking zombie out there--it's no wonder Danny Ainge has been shopping him more than a '77 Camaro on eBay.

Paul's Take: The 10 most embarassing Mark Blount statistics from the 2004-05 season:

10. He went through a stretch last season where he didn't record a single rebound in 27 minutes of play.

9. His numbers slipped in just about every single category this past season from the 2003-04 campaign, his contract 'bust-out' year. (10.3 PPG to 9.4; 56.6 FG% to 52.9; 71.9 FT% to 71.3; 1.0 Stls to 0.4; 1.3 Blks to 0.8; 7.2 RPG to 4.8).

8. March 30 vs DAL: 16 Mins, 2 Pts, 1-3 FG, 0 Rebs, 0 Blks, 2 TO

7. He went through another stretch last season where he didn't record a single rebound in 27 minutes of play.

6. He averaged more than twice as many turnovers (1.93) as blocks (0.8) last season, a feat not even Darko Milicic or Daniel Santiago could pull off.

5. January 19 vs CHI: 22 Mins, 0 Pts, 0-3 FG, 0 Rebs, 0 Blks, 3 PF, 3 TO

4. He went through another stretch last season where he didn't record a single rebound in 28 minutes of play.

3. Playoff Series vs Indiana: 4 Games, 3 DNP-CDs, 43 Mins, 8 Pts, 4-14 FG, 0-2 FTs, 6 Rebs, 0 Blks, 6 PF, 5 TO

2. He recorded as many or more fouls than rebounds in a single game 32 times last season, more than either of the atrocious Collins twins (Jason 31, Jarron 28).

1. He went through another stretch last season where he didn't record a single rebound in 34 minutes of play.

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo

Ant's Take: It must suck to get your shot swatted into the 13th row and get screamed at in Swahili with that 17-inch finger waving in your face. Actually, it's not Swahili. Expert translators have determined that Mutombo speaks his own personal language, nowhere to be found in text, only in the 7-footers wild, goofy mind. In fact, the only other person I can think of as strange as Deke is Sir Charles. Imagine if they had a weekly TNT segment with Barkley interviewing Mutombo? I bet the first week would go something like this...

Dikembe: "Mootumboo grash bhjal ehgy nilte ohn YOU!

Sir Charles: "Kinny, what'd this foo just say?"

Dikembe: "Mootumboo ngho foo!"

Sir Charles: "I don't have time fo dis shit here, where's Shaq? I love Shaq, and you know why I love Shaq Ernie? Cuz the thing bout Shaq is that he plays basketball like Soopaman, dats why he's got that tattoo cuz no tattoo could be better on Shaq than Soopaman. Where's Soopaman? Mutombo aint no Soopaman, you poopaman!"

Dikembe: "Mutumboo poop on YOU"

--End of show

Paul's Take: You ever heard the story about Mutumbo going to that bar when he was at Georgetown? Well I met someone recently who claims to have been at Georgetown at the time and told me the story like this-- a young Dikembe (I think he was a sophomore at the time, meaning he was probably around 28) was beloved by his fellow classmates at G'Town, known to be a very social and friendly guy. He was also an inexperienced drinker and supposedly got BOMBED whenever he went out and partied, which was very seldom. One night, Deke rolled to some club in Maryland with some friends, absolutely belligerent and dressed like a fool, and upon making his presence felt, hollered out, "WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTUMBO?! WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTUMBO?!" The entire bar went silent for a few brief seconds before erupting into laughter. How can you not LOVE this guy?!

Delonte West

Ant's Take: First things first, I am a St. Joe's grad and have heard everything in the book about Delonte's "spot," for lack of a better term. Now you may look at him and feel bad, but I look at him and know what a thug he was and how he hooked up with one of my best girl friends and left her in the dust. The weirdest part about that blotch is that he has a tattoo on his arm that says "Redz". Is that what kids called him in high school? Maybe he drank too much red Kool-Aid one day after getting stoned and it stained his face. In addition to his spot and Dumbo ears, it looks like he's got a little Stuart Scott eye developing too. Man, this guy's a mess...

Paul's Take: I refer you to a post I wrote on July 1:

Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch a superb Timberwolves/Celtics game from March 6th of this year. Latrell Sprewell hit a game-winning floater with 0.9 seconds left, but that was far from the highlight of the broadcast. During halftime, FSN-NE aired a feature on Delonte West which may have tipped Bill Simmons' infamous 'unintentional comedy scale'. I've known West for some time now, ever since my Wildcats clashed with the St.Joe's Hawks and the entire Villanova student section mercilessly scremed out, "HERPES...HERPES!" every time Delonte touched the ball (I did not participate, I swear to GOD). And I had heard stories from St. Joe's kids that he was a bit of an oddball, but my goodness. If any of you ever get a chance to check out this game, fast forward it to halftime and prepare to laugh yourself senseless. Here are a couple Delonte excerpts from the feature...

-"My game is not speed. My game is finesse...and sexy...and chocolate...and all that good stuff."

-"Bugs Bunny is the smoothest dude I ever met. You know, he be chillin', like it just be a normal day and he-- it be cold just like how it is in Boston and he just want to dive in the ground, pop up, and he be like, 'oh man, this ain't Albuquerque.' That's got to be the tightest life, you just hop underneath the ground and go! No traffic, no Mass Pike, no tolls, no lights, no taking Yankees hats off-- just underneath the ground...BAM...carrots...Albuquerque. It might seem crazy to you, but it's just a different way of expressing myself. I think it's kind of freaky."


Ant's Take: The only guy left in the league who frosts his tips. This isn't Baywatch dude. You play with guys named Rip and Chauncey, not David Charvet and Mitch Buchanan.

Paul's Take: I hope you all enjoyed the Isiah Thomas futuristic trivia game from Part 1. If you passed, then I believe you're ready to take on the next challenge-- the 'Who Said That About Darko Milicic Game?'. Good luck (answers on bottom right).

1. "Darko reminds me of a young Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt used to do a little of everything, and I haven't seen a big man with so much skill since Wilt."

A: Bill Russell
B: Pistons Owner Bill Davidson
C: Pistons Scout Will Robinson
D: Elgin Baylor

2. "Darko really is one of a kind. He runs the floor, handles the ball, shoots an NBA three and plays with his back to the basket. So you can slot him at the 3, 4 or 5. Okay, a few other guys can do that too; what sets Darko apart is his toughness in the post. You’ve got to love a guy who has the footwork to spin by an opponent but still prefers to lower a shoulder and bang. Fact is, Milicic plays in attack mode at both ends of the floor. The more you push, the more he pushes back."

A: Ric Bucher
B: Joe Dumars
C: Rick Carlisle
D: Chad Ford

3. "His game incorporates vast stores of petulance and impatience. He glares at refs. His shoulders sag when calls don’t go his way. He elbows the opposite center in the throat and tosses the ball at another opponent following a whistle. At times, he stalks the court with a leering grin on his face. It may not be the kind of behavior considered classy around here, but that doesn’t really matter: Darko is about to move on."

A: Brett Forrest, ESPN the Magazine
B: Sean Devaney, Sporting News
C: Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated
D: Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press

Answers: 1- C; 2- D; 3- A

The Christies

Ant's Take: Seemingly everyone has that one friend who is whipped by his girlfriend beyond belief. Examples: he brings a bagged lunch whenever he hangs out; Can't do anything athletic because he's wearing his new slacks that Patricia bought him; Shouldn't have a drink because he's driving her new Corolla home and it's getting foggy out; Shouldn't stay out past 8 because Jody wants him to watch a movie on Lifetime, and the list goes on. Well "that guy" is Doug Christie in the NBA. Imagine how his teammates must rip on him? In this picture it appears that Jackie is tossing out a friendly wave, but in reality she's telling a Kings' cheerleader to keep her double-D's away from her man. At this point, Doug is the only guy in the league that has to have his seat on the bench pointed away from the dance team. Chwooo cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (sound of whip, how the hell would you spell it?)

Paul's Take: Hats off to Doug Christie-- probably the only NBA player who has never cheated on his wife. I mean why would he? It's not like Jackie is attractive, reasonable, friendly, non-obsessive, or sane. Seriously though, it's perfectly normal to not allow a female doctor to save your husband's life while he's choking to death on a chicken bone. It's also entirely reasonable to get the Sacramento Kings Manager of Media Relations fired because she once delivered a phone message to Doug. And forcing your husband to turn and face the corner any time a woman comes into an elevator with him? Fair game. Who am I kidding? Thumbs down to the NBA player who probably needs to cheat on his wife more than any other player.

Carlos Boozer's Chest Hair

Ant's Take: Boozer always gets shit for his bush of chest hair, but people need to remember that this guy is from ALASKA! When it's 32 below on July 20th in Juneau, you need to have a pound or two of hair on your chest. Shit, even the women in Alaska have chest hair. No it's not pretty, but it's a means of survival out there. Plus, I always liked it because it made Mike Dunleavy Jr. look like even more of a pussy when they stood next to one another at Duke (if that's possible).

Paul's Take: Shouldn't Boozer donate some of his chest hair to Nick Van Exel and B.J. Armstrong? They can at least pretend to have hit puberty. And by the way, how much you think Boozer's chest hair goes for on ebay? I'm guessing somewhere in the range of $1,000 to $1,500.

Chris Bosh's Neck

Ant's Take: There is now an age limit set in the NBA to prevent high schoolers from making the leap, yet half men/half giraffes are allowed? Seriously, is Bosh a human or one of the last Brontosauruses on the planet? If the kid keeps growing, they're going to have to invent the turtleneck jersey soon, yeesh.

Paul's Take: It's only a matter of time before the inevitable, "Toronto placed PF Chris Bosh on the injured list today due to a neck strain suffered from jerking his head too swiftly while dodging an errant shot to the face."


Ant's Take: Since Paul stole most of my quotes, I'll just add a few to his list below...

Paul's Take: Like Charles Barkley, the 'Big Aristotle' needs no explanation. Enjoy these classic Shaq quotes.

--"I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok."

--"I had an awful first quarter but I picked it up. To all you single guys out there, it's not how you start the date, it's how you finish the date."-- After dropping 30 points in a win over the Knicks on Saturday

--"Against (Shawn) Bradley, every time I'm trying to dunk, dunk, dunk."

--"I made a 1,600 minus 800 minus 200 on the SAT, so I'm very intelligent when I speak."

--"I've won at every level, except college and pro."

--"I think it's a great city . I think it's a fabulous city. But in my young juvenile days, I was an idiot and I bought 30 cars. And I need to drive those cars and New York isn't really the place you can do that."-- On why he never wants to play for the Knicks

--"I wouldn't. I would just go home. I'd fake an injury or something." (When asked how he would defend against himself)

Brian Cardinal and Ryan Bowen

Ant's Take: These are those guys that show up to the playground wearing jeans and hiking boots and a t-shirt with ketchup stains all over it, but absolutely dominate you in every facet of the game. Whether they're ripping down boards, chasing down loose balls, getting put-back lay-ups, etc. all of your friends are screaming at you all afternoon, "Dude, GUARD HIM!!!" And you respond with, "I'm trying man, but he's pretty good," and they come back with, "Dude, he's wearing JEANS!" Trust me, you hate to be that guy and that's why I absolutely can't stand Cardinal and Bowen.

Paul's Take: Might just be the goofiest guys in the NBA. For starters, they very well may take the cake for worst hair in the NBA. Cardinal has been clinging on to those last strands of fuzz on the top of his head since his freshman year at Purdue. As for Bowen, I wish I knew what the hell he was thinking. If you're going for the Ivan Drago look, at least give it your best shot. And how about their games? Actually, I'm a big Cardinal fan. Anyone with the nickname "The Janitor" is pretty badass in my book. But what's with those facial expressions? It wasn't hard to find one of these slow-motion-in-a-boxing-movie pictures of Cardinal-- he looks like this in every one. Bowen I think is a subject of attending the University of Iowa. What school has produced more awkward NBA players in recent years than Iowa? Acie Earl, Russ Millard, Bowen, J.R. Koch, Reggie Evans, and Jared Reiner. And that's not counting Ricky Davis and Pierre Pierce who are only socially awkward.

Part 1 from Friday

Monday, August 29, 2005

Oh, the Places Antoine's Shimmy Will Go!

Unfortunately, Anthony and I can't take credit for the hilarity that follows. On Friday night, I randomly came across a thread on the message board that had me laughing harder than I have in quite some time. Rather than just providing you guys with the link, I sorted through the thread and posted the best of the best down below-- you'll know exactly what I mean in a bit. Major props to the message board geniuses who deserve a fucking gold medal for their work-- Yinka Dare, Reppy, Loot, and Elementally School. Ant and I will be back with the 'Funniest Things in the NBA Part 2' tomorrow. We'll come back to reality later this week.

To quote E Willems, the man who started the thread, "I meant to get a shimmy pic of Antoine, but all I could find was a picture of him making fun of retarded people."

Ah, nothing quite like Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 conducted by Employee No. 8.

It's close to crunch time
and Antoine Walker's lurking beyond the arc
Under the spotlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But Walker takes the shot before you make it
You start to freeze
As the airball hits you right between the eyes
You're paralyzed

'Cause this is Antoine
Antoine's night
And no one's gonna stop him
From the brick about to strike
You know it's Antoine
Antoine's night
He's looking for his shot
Outside for 3 points
Antoine, yeah

Oh Antoine, behave!

Who's going to fire more misses? The storm troopers or Antoine?

"You're not in Boston anymore, Antoine."
"Whatever Dorothy, I got heart no matter where I go. But these elbows need some oil so I can hoist up more 3s!"

Where will that crazy Antoine end up next?

Antoine at the circus-- why the tiger and hula hoop? Just show game tapes of him blowing 4 on 1's during the Indiana series.

Not sure what label it is, but it sure as hell can't be blue.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Funniest Things About the NBA - Part 1

One reason Paul and I get along so well is our ability and willingness to appreciate the lighter side of things. As you have all probably noticed, this especially holds true with sports and specifically, the NBA. Thus, we finally decided to gather all of the league's random tidbits that absolutely crack us up on a nightly basis and actually came up with so many that we had to divide this piece into two parts. Hopefully by the time you are finished reading you will find our selections as hilarious as we do. Enjoy...

Brian Scalabrine, Matt Bonner, and Robert Swift

Ant's Take: From an athletic standpoint, kids with red hair and pale skin have never been taken seriously. Remember like 2nd grade on the playground, when the only barometer you had for picking someone for your team was based solely on how he/she looked? The cooler looking the kid, the better you assumed he was. A goofy dweeb with red hair and freckles was always the last man standing, unless of course there was someone there missing a limb or sporting a mouth guard. In the NBA, even though they're professionals, it's the same deal. They've been called goofs, doofs, goons, dweebs, and what have you, but don't blame me, blame their genes.

Paul's Take: Let's be serious-- when you think of the NBA, you don't immediately picture goofy red-headed white boys. I mean these guys are supposed to be throwing down Guinnesses at the Pub with Patrick and Liam, not throwing down dunks with Jalen and Rashard.

Commissioner David Stern

Ant's Take: From the behind the scenes stories I hear about Stern, he can be a real bastard when he wants to be. Sure on the surface he may seem like a kind and gentle old man, evident in his picture above with the Phoenix Gorilla. But I bet that as soon as that camera is done snapping, Stern is muffling under his breath, "Get your fucking hand off me or you'll be back scraping dead raccoons off the highway faster than I can fine Ron Artest."

Paul's Take: A 63-year old, 5-foot white guy who always talks like he's reading a bedtime story is the most intimidating man in all of sports, and in a league where thuggery and giant behemoths are commonplace. Now that's good stuff.

The Tattoos

Ant's Take: I'm not sure where I stand on the tats. On one hand these guys should be able to express themselves in any way they see fit. Something tributing a deceased relative or friend, absolutely fine. It's the freakin murals some of these guys have that annoy me to no end. Like Jameer Nelson sports "All Eyez On Me" across his back, a quote from rapper Tupac Shakur. Paul Pierce, as we saw in Game 6 against the Pacers this past year, has half of a wall from the Sistine Chapel on his back. Okay fine, if you want it, cool. But imagine in like 50 years when these guys are doing the breast stroke in some public swimming pool and they have like Biggie and Ja Rule quotes all over them? Seems a bit ridiculous, right?

Paul's Take: Is that supposed to be Grant himself, or Bob Marley? Yeah, great example you're setting for kids when every time you pull down a rebound you're sending a message for kids to pull monster joints. There's some other inane ones out there-- Mike Bibby's "TEAM DIME" on his back. What the hell does that mean? Jason Williams' self-proclaimed "White Boy" across his knuckles. Thanks Jason, but we're obviously not blind. Idiot. Of course there's some out there that I dig, mostly the nickname ones because I'd tattoo my nickname on my forearm if I actually was dubbed with a badass one. Shaq's "Superman"; Damon Stoudamire's "Mighty Mouse"; Allen Iverson's "The Answer"; Shawn Marion's "The Matrix"-- all sweet nicknames, all cool tats.

Isiah Thomas

Ant's Take: Honestly, what could he be saying in this speech? "Thank you to the Knicks organization for being completely moronic and allowing me to come to this great city and fuck up your team. I greatly appreciate it." How in the world could the Knicks watch him bury the Raptors and the entire CBA, yet still trust him with their team??? This is the equivalent to some dude in high school going around and cheating on every girlfriend he ever had, then promising some other girl that he's changed and wants to settle down. She buys it and lets him sleep with her. Then OF COURSE the guy bangs with her and never speaks to her again. I mean how DUMB can you be? Jerome James dumb?

Paul's Take: Isiah Thomas has become so laughably idiotic, that it's gotten to the point where you can almost predict what insanely moronic move he's got up his sleeve next. Let's play a little futuristic trivia game using my 2006 Free Agent article from yesterday as a guide to gauge what that crazy Isiah Thomas might be up to next summer (answers on bottom right).

1- Q: Which restricted free agent did Isiah Thomas foolishly sign to an offer sheet on the first day of free agency even though the player's current team had stated emphatically and frequently that they would absolutely match any offer made to the player?

A: Tayshaun Prince
B: Yao Ming
C: Nene Hilario
D: D.J. Mbenga

2- Q: Which big time free agent, who was DYING to play in New York, reluctantly signed with another team simply because he couldn't afford to let the market play out as Isiah and the Knicks waited 15 days for the player from question #1's team to match New York's offer.

A: Caron Butler
B: Speedy Claxton
C: Peja Stojakovic
D: Ben Wallace

3- Q: Which player did Isiah Thomas ultimately decide to overpay at the hefty tune of $60 million over 5 years?

A: Drew Gooden
B: Joel Przybilla
C: Al Harrington
D: Michael Olowokandi

Answers: 1- B; 2- D; 3- A or D

The Hair

Ant's Take: Apparently Paul couldn't fine a more recent picture of Ben Wallace for this portion of the article. I mean Paul Pierce doesn't even have pubes in this shot. Anyway, I love the guys that pick out their 'fros for games. I'm sick of everyone with cornrows, especially guys like Latrell and Jerry Rice with receding hair lines. I think the NBA should promote the afros by having like a national 'fro night. Wouldn't that be sick? Like when teams rock the throwbacks, we should demand the players to get rid of the rows and rock the 'fros.

Paul's Take: I agree with Ant 100%. I'm so tired of 'rows, Mr. Clean's, and fades. What happened to the good 'ole days of afros, jerry curls, perms, and crewcuts? The NBA is the only of the four big leagues where you have to show your hair at all times, so why are our boys losing their sense of style? And to top it off, we've lost Ronny Turiaf for the year and Moochie Norris has completely sold out and gone back to the shaved head. This isn't even funny, I should have taken this off the list.

Rasheed Wallace's Bald Spot

Ant's Take: Speaking of this bird poop? Cocaine? Gold Bond? Baking Soda? Laundry detergent? For the love of God, WHAT IS IT? When is Robert Stack and the Unsolved Mysteries crew gonna figure this thing out?

Paul's Take: It's one of the great mysteries in the entire NBA right alongside the number of kids Shawn Kemp has running around the globe and why Jerome Williams never thought to visit a dentist. I'd love to see what results would show up if someone did a study on the correlation between random and sketchy bald spots, and absolutely insane people.

Charles Barkley

Ant's Take: Priceless quotes from Sir Charles:

--"These are my new shoes. They're good shoes. They won't make you rich like me, they won't make you rebound like me, they definitely won't make you handsome like me. They'll only make you have shoes like me. That's it."

--"I got two pet peeves: If you watch American Idol, or you're one of those doofuses who dress up as Star Wars and sleep outside, you're a stone-cold loser."

--To Kenny Smith: "Oh man! I can't stand the X-Files! I don't believe in Extra-Terrestrials... until I saw your girlfriend one night. She needs to phone home."

--Has anyone else been more unintentionally funny than Sir Charles?

Paul's Take: What's better than a fat guy who loves to party and make jokes? Let's see, there's John Daly, Chris Farley, David Wells, John Candy, and John Belushi. You know what? The Chuckster needs no explanation-- just enjoy this link (I highly suggest 'Birthday Boy', 'A Fitting Drink', and 'Where's the Beef?').

DeSagana Diop

Ant's Take: Easily the worst basketball player on the planet. Think about it. If you were 7'0" tall don't you think you could average better than the 1.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG and 0.7 BPG in 7.9 minutes he tallied last year? Shit, even Tony Danza looked better in that opening clip of 'Who's the Boss?' where he's getting thrown out at home while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. But wait, honestly, why that choice of footage? Why not have the guy slugging a grand slam with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth down by 3? Didn't Tony ever ask that? Oh yeah, um, Diop. Well, he sucks. Worse than Tony Miceli. So badly that I don't even remember which team signed him this summer.

Paul's Take: Who didn't see this mega bust coming when the Cavs inexplicably took him 8th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft? What in God's name inspired Jim Paxson to roll the dice on a kid that didn't even average 13 PPG in his last two years of high school, ahead of the likes of Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Troy Murphy, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, and Gilbert Arenas? On top of that, Diop had a history of knee problems at the time. Geez, maybe we should have put Jim Paxson (who followed up his 2001 debacle with none other than Dajuan Wagner at #6) up here instead of poor Diop.

Antoine Walker's Shot Selection

Ant's Take: The only guy who could fuck up three 4-on-1's in a single game in the Playoffs this past spring. His brain absolutely shuts off during games to the point where his teammates are in utter shock. I swore I saw the Celtics trainer vomit all over himself once this past year after Walker heaved up an off-balanced three with 22 seconds left on the shot clock. It's like all the things you were taught in recreational basketball, Walker never learned. Don't dribble into triple-teams, don't shoot when quadrupile-teamed, don't take the ball yourself on a 3 or 4-on-1, etc. I can't wait to see Shaq's reaction after 5-10 games with this guy. Should be interesting...

Paul's Take: You can't knock a guy for wanting to take the big shot, but you can tear apart someone who wants to take all the shots. I could totally see 'Toine being that kid growing up who used to shoot baskets in his driveway, pretending that he was the NBA's reigning MVP while playing Game 7 of the Finals against himself. The best is when Walker heaves up a turnaround fadeaway from the corner while being double-teamed and the ball clangs so hard off the rim that it shoots out of bounds. Then he gives one of those, "Oh my bad, I thought I had a clear look" excuses to a blatantly irate Paul Pierce.

The Collins Twins

Ant's Take: Very simple-- they are a taller version of the Gumbel brothers with the exact same basketball skills. I think I will always associate them with that 2000-01 Stanford team. Was there ever a more unlikeable group of guys? Collins twins, Casey Jacobsen, Curtis Borchardt, Matt Lottich-- I HATED those guys. Plus they barely beat my St. Joe's Hawks in the second round that year. Bastards...

Paul's Take: Harvey and Horace Grant could both play back in their day. Heck, even Kelly and Coco Miller (yikes) of the WNBA got a little game. But the Collins goodness...are they atrocious or what? Consider this-- Jarron and Jason have combined to play in 539 games, 377 of them starts, yet they have compiled a mere 10 double-doubles between the two. Even Travis Knight and Dwayne Schintzius combined for better than this.

Mateen Cleaves and Mark Madsen: The NBA's Premier Cheerleaders

Ant's Take: Wow, look how far Cleaves' mouth opens-- I could park a Buick in there. And check out how amused the kid is to the left of Mo Pete. He can't even believe some of the things he's hearing. By the looks of the kid, it's probably the first time he's heard 99.99999% of the words being exchanged between the two Spartans. But all in all, I really don't have a problem with NBA cheerleaders. What I can't stand is when the big white goons get in on the act and start waving towels and trying to complete a high-five/chest bump after a sick play. Like seriously dude, just sit the hell down. I don't care if I did a windmill/360/between-the-legs dunk to ice Game 7 of the Finals, I don't want some white doof trying to chest bump me.

Paul's Take: Did anyone see Cleaves rock the Michigan State jersey after they reached the Final Four during a Sonics game this season? Who does that? I'm tired of 'injured' guys sitting on the bench with their team wearing something as inexcusable as this, but that's another story. How do these clowns keep getting jobs? There's got to be a better reason to sign someone other than this. What is a 'locker room guy' anyways? Do they fire up their teammates before games by playing a game of hot hands? Do their wives bring orange slices into the locker room for a boost of vitamin c during halftime? These are things I'm dying to know.

Ben Handlogten

Ant's Take: Besides that big red headed guy with the massive jaw and forehead in that movie that's always on USA on Saturday afternoons, God must have hated Handlogten the most. Seriously, does this guy have hepatitis C or what? What is eating away at his face and causing his jaw to make his lip curl like that? It's fucking gross man. You're a professional basketball player, take some of your salary and get that shit fixed. After the photographer took this was he like, hey Ben, is this shot okay, or you want me to take another? Could Ben really be happy with this picture of himself? "Yeah Bob, I like the way my nostril looks like red ants are attacking it, I bet the chicks will dig that."

Paul's Take: Jesus Ant, you're greasing the slide to hell with that one. I love this guy! But let's be serious-- did someone throw sulfuric acid at him when he was a kid? I'm not even joking. Anyways (before any good karma I've got is flushed down the toilet), have you ever watched him play before? If not, check out a Jazz game next season (assuming he's still with the team). I remember the first time I ever saw him play, there was a close-up shot of him walking on to the court from the scorer's table. I seriously had to rub my eyes and blink a few times to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. You want to talk about your quintessential goofy white boy, Ben Handlogten is exhibit A.

Coming Next Week, Part 2...

I got this picture of a mailman to try and remind you guys to send in your questions for the mailbag. The link is posted on the top right of the blog. Anything rattling your minds on the NBA, please send it in and we will do our best to answer. Thanks

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Preparing the 2006 Free Agency Menu

The cream of the 2006 free agent crop

With the 2005 free agency period winding down and only a few name players still left unsigned, it's probably a good time to take a look ahead at what will be featured on next summer's free agent menu. Among the suitors with money available to invest in some of 2006's selections will be Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, the Clippers, New Orleans, Seattle, Utah, and Washington. Other teams such as Phoenix, Houston, Portland, Detroit, and Sacramento may or may not have money to spend depending on what they decide to do with their big name free agents. As it stands now, the selection of players appears to be rather limited with most of the heavy hitters expected to re-sign with their current franchises and many of the lower tier players burdened by question marks. But as we saw this year, stocks consistently fluctuate (usually upwards) and how the menu looks nearly a year from now is anyone's guess.

*Note*- List does not include 3rd year team option players like Carmelo Anthony and Josh Howard since it's assumed the teams will pick up their options. It also doesn't include Grant Hill who would be a complete moron to opt out of his contract which will earn him more than double (~$17m) what he could make if he opted out, and Alonzo Mourning who we can safely assume will only play for Miami if he does come back for another season.

The Specials

1. Amare Stoudemire, Restricted
-Barring a drastic change of heart by Amare, Bryan Colangelo should have him locked up to a long-term max deal before 'STAT' becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

2. Yao Ming, Restricted
-Expect the Yao to LA rumors to heat up this season, although they appear to be pretty far-fetched. What impression has Yao given that he wants out of Houston? He has an enormous fan base there, his parents just opened a restaurant nearby, the team is on the rise, they'll ultimately pay him whatever it takes to keep him, and he just seems to be happy in Houston.

3. Ben Wallace, Unrestricted
-Big Ben will be 32 next summer, but he's shown absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I'm a little surprised that Joe Dumars hasn't worked out a contract extension with Wallace yet, but he's reportedly more concerned with locking up Tayshaun Prince long-term. If the Pistons let Big Ben hit the market, it could be a sign that they're willing to let him walk. Why would they do that? They have some kid on their bench who they have placed a lot of stock into-- Darko Milicic. This is yet another reason why this season is so crucial for Darko and the Pistons. So why in the hell did they go out and sign Dale Davis, possibly pushing Darko back on the depth chart once again?!

4. Tayshaun Prince, Restricted
-What team wouldn't love to have Tayshaun Prince on their team? He's talented, selfless, and more experienced than any young player in the NBA. It probably won't matter-- there's no way Joe Dumars lets the Prince leave his throne at the Palace.

5. Peja Stojakovic, Player Option
- For all his faults (defense, injury-prone, certainly not a clutch player), he's still arguably the league's top shooter and one of its best scorers. Given that Peja can certainly earn more money by opting out (he's due to earn about $8.1 million in 2006-07) and that he doesn't appear to be in love with Sacramento (remember when he asked to be traded?), look for Stojakovic to hit the market next year demanding big bucks somewhere in the Larry Hughes/Michael Redd range. A team like Utah would love to have him and may be willing to fork over the dough.

6. Nene Hilario, Restricted
-Kiki Vandeweghe has put a large price tag on Nene despite his being generally a bench player. There's no question that Nene still has a ton of potential and will likely garner a great deal of interest next summer. Denver will have some cap room to spare, but with 'Melo becoming a free agent the following summer, Kiki may have to let Nene walk if a team offers him a huge contract.

The Entrees

7. Joel Przybilla, Unrestricted
-Somebody must have lied to Przybilla and told him he was a free agent after last season, just check out his numbers in the last 2 months-- 9.0 PPG, 55.0 FG%, 10.3 RPG, 3.6 BPG. There probably wasn't a single player in the league who saw his stock rise as dramatically as Przybilla's, but he's going to have to replicate those numbers if he wants to reel in the big bucks (and we could be talking BIG BUCKS if he does)-- young centers who can run the floor and defend are very tough to find.

8. Jason Terry, Unrestricted
-Terry struggled in the early stages of last season, but really picked up his play once he was granted immunity as the Mavericks starting point guard. He was superb in the Playoffs (17.5 PPG, 49.1 3PT%, 4.2 RPG-- up from 12.4 PPG, 42.0 3PT%, 2.4 RPG in the regular season), leading many to believe that last year's lottery pick Devin Harris is now expendable. With next summer's crop of free agent point guards being so thin, Terry could receive numerous tempting offers. It's important that Dallas finds out whether Harris is able to inherit the reigns next year if Terry's asking price is more than they're willing to shell out.

9. Al Harrington, Unrestricted
-Harrington's stock took a mild hit this season in Atlanta after he failed to assume a starring role for a team that started Jason Collier and Obinna Ekezie at center for the better part of the year. He's still going to incur a lot of interest next year simply because of his raw talent and experience in Indiana, which is actually why he's a likely candidate to be moved to a contender before the trade deadline.

10. Caron Butler, Restricted
-Butler's beginning to receive a bit of a bad rap because he's been moved a couple times, but don't be fooled-- he's a reliable starter who gets it done on both ends of the floor. Look for him to excel in Washington this season where he has a defined role as the team's third option and defensive stopper. If he does perform to expectations, Butler should be able to seek Bobby Simmons-like money (5 years, $47 million).

11. Chris Webber, Early Termination
-It's a longshot that Webber will decide to terminate his contract after this season given how much he's making, but if he can't learn to play alongside Iverson and decides a championship is more important to him than a fat check, it could potentially happen.

The Lunch Menu

12. Fred Jones, Restricted
-Perhaps a bit high maybe, but he can shoot, defend, and he's screaming of athleticism. Put Freddie Jones on a team where he's not the 7th or 8th man and he might score you close to 20 a game.

13. Lorenzen Wright, Unrestricted
-Lo's dealt with his share of injuries over the years, but he'll only be 30 when he hits free agency next summer. Considering there's been a slew of interest in Wright via the trade market recently, you can expect the same when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

14. James Posey, Player Option
-Posey is due to earn $6.4 million in 2006-07, but he's going to be able to ask for a lot more once people see what he brings to the table for the 2005-06 Eastern Conference Champs.

15. Nazr Mohammed, Unrestricted
-He wasn't necessarily integral to the Spurs' run for a 3rd title in 7 years, but he certainly contributed significantly to the team. Nazr's mobile, he rebounds, he's got his head on his shoulders, and because he's a big man, he'll likely receive plenty of attention and a contract worth more than his services.

16. Mike Dunleavy, Restricted
-Is it really worth keeping him around when you have Mickael Pietrus waiting in the wings? The Warriors should just trade him now while they can get something in return.

17. Drew Gooden, Restricted
-His stock is slipping quicker than Krispy Kreme's-- nobody wants an undersized power forward who doesn't pass, can't play a lick of D, and has a bigger and more obnoxious entourage than Vincent Chase. And what's worse, his near double-double numbers from last season (14.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG) will likely lead Gooden and his agent to believe he's worth a helluva lot more than he is.

18. Trevor Ariza, Restricted
-He's got the tools to be one of the best defensive players in the league for years to come and he could develop into a reliable option on the offensive end as well. If brought along right, Ariza should be a better version of James Posey, and look where he is on this list.

19. Speedy Claxton, Unrestricted
-Talk about a good summer to become a free agent-- Claxton will arguably be the second best point guard available. If he can stay healthy and have a productive season in New Orleans, he should be able to land a nice contract and a starting gig.

20. Keith Van Horn, Unrestricted
-It's amazing how subtely Van Horn's stock has plummeted over the last few seasons, likely because his fat contract was worth a lot more than he is. But the guy causes a ton of match-up problems with his size and agility if used correctly. Now that he's healthy, look for him to bounce back this season and help his cause when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Side Dishes

21. Mike James, Player Option
-I'm a huge fan of Mike James-- as a 3rd guard off the bench. His energy, defense, and streakiness off the bench are one of the reasons why I love the Rockets this year. Though he probably won't get starters money like Claxton could, he will receive a tremendous amount of interest if he opts out.

22. Tim Thomas, Unrestricted
-He'll only be 29 next summer and he's averaged double-figures 6 straight years, but how big is the market for an underachieving, soft small forward who comes to play maybe once every 2 or 3 games?

23. Bonzi Wells, Unrestricted
-Bonzi's one of the best post-up guards in the league and a lot of teams would love to add that to their repertoire. Unfortunately some of those teams won't give him the time of day because of his attitude. It's truly a make-or-break year for Bonzi in Sacto.

24. Matt Harpring, Unrestricted
-Harpring held up well this season (78 games, 33.1 MPG, 14.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG) after missing most of 2003-04 due to knee surgery. Unfortunately his knee problems have been hindering him his entire basketball career and he may have a hard time convincing a team to risk any more than a 2 year deal on him.

25. Chris Wilcox, Restricted
-I had Wilcox labeled as a bust as soon as the Clips drafted him 6th overall three years ago. Nevertheless, I still won't deny that he's oozing with potential and could take flight if he ends up in the right situation.

26. Jared Jeffries, Restricted
-He's flown under the radar the last few years, perhaps because people were expecting more from him after guiding Indiana on an improbable run to the NCAA Title game. But Jeffries has become a solid role player with his defensive skills and basketball intangibles. Hey, if Trenton Hassell can get a 6 year, $26 million deal, then why can't Jared Jeffries?

27. Bobby Jackson, Unrestricted
-B-Jax will be 33 next summer and he hasn't played more than 60 games since the '01-02 season. Even still, he's a quality bench player with big game experience and should earn a fair amount of attention in free agency.

28. Kelvin Cato, Unrestricted
-If Cato came to play every night, then he could easily be a 10-10-2 guy and looking at a contract somewhere in the range of what Joel Pryzbilla and Lorenzen Wright will get. Keep a close eye on Cato this year-- he could be the quintessential 'big year in contract year' big man.

29. Sam Cassell, Unrestricted
-Cassell has proven in each of the last two years that he's incapable of staying healthy for the duration of the year. Considering he'll be 36 next summer and have even more mileage tacked onto his odometer, nobody will show him serious money.

30. Michel Olowokandi, Unrestricted
-If Olowokandi put as much heart into his game as he does in the love letters he writes to female fans from the bench, then he might have been able to live up to half of the potential he boasted when the Clips selected him #1 overall. But oh wait, he's over 7 feet so he'll get paid.

The Leftovers (The Next 30)
Antonio Davis, Erik Piatkowski, Voshon Lenard, Lindsey Hunter, Jon Barry, David Wesley, Scot Pollard, Devean George, Jumaine Jones, Slava Medvedenko, Rasual Butler, Tony Battie, Jim Jackson, Aaron Williams, Chucky Atkins

Restricted: Justin Reed, Melvin Ely, Bernard Robinson, D.J. Mbenga, Franciso Elson, Raul Lopez

Team Option: Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Brian Cook, David West

Player Option: Jeff McInnis, DeShawn Stevenson, Jason Hart, Eric Williams

Early Termination: Ruben Patterson

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NBA Cheerleaders/Dance Teams

If you haven't noticed, 29 of the 30 NBA organizations currently employ dance teams to provide game night entertainment for their fans. Rather than make you go to each team website to check these girls out, I have compiled some photos to share with you here, at The NBA Source. Enjoy...

Charlotte Bobcats Dance Team

Chicago Luvabulls

Cleveland Cavalier Girls

Dallas Mavs Dancers

Nice work Cuban

Denver Nuggets Dancers

Detroit Pistons Automotion
Didn't anyone have a camera with a flash?

Golden State Warrior Girls

Looks like the Power Puff Girls

Houston Rockets Power Dancers

Indiana Pacemates

Should be the Pacemakers, jeez

LA Clippers Spirit Dance Team

Hi there

Oh, Hello

LA Laker Girls

Memphis Grizzlies Dance Team

Miami Heat Dancers

Perhaps the best site of them all...

Milwaukee Energee

Who's mom is that all the way to the left?

Minnesota Timberwolves Dance Team

Not allowed to copy pictures, BOOOOO

New Jersey Nets Dancers

Hey Paul, we gotta get to a Nets game this year...

HAD to include this...

New Orleans Honeybees

New York Knicks City Dancers

Orlando Magic Dancers

Best uniforms...

Philadelphia Sixers Dancers

Which one do you think dates Korver?

Phoenix Suns Dancers

Portland Blazer Dancers

Sacramento Royal Court Dancers

No pictures, thanks Maloofs...

San Antonio Silver Dancers

Seattle Sonics Dance Team

No team photo, but this will do...

Toronto Dance Pak

Utah Nu Skin Jazz Dancers

Um, yeah

Washington Wizards Dance Team

Anyone figure out which team is missing? Yup, my Boston Celtics