Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Masters of the Klondike: Kobe, Conformity, and Responsible Journalism

I'm just going to gat this whole post because I like it. I was down with Co Flow, Doc Oc, Latyrx, and replaced Anticon with Atmosphere and Sage Francis (who was on Anticon, but not until 2002).

I'm still a backpacker... just now I have a laptop in it, and it says IBM on the back.

The Masters of the Klondike on Kobe, Conformity, and Responsible Journalism -
"As a disclaimer, this entry contains the much-dreaded music/hoops analogies, but I think my point will justify them.

Last year, I unwittingly became a huge Kobe Bryant proponent. This occurred at a strange point in my life and during even a stranger stretch of the NBA year, as Kobe was finishing off the season and driving the Lakers through the playoffs by making weekly buzzer beaters (seemingly always against the Nuggets and Blazers) and keeping the media busy talking about how we should/shouldn't heroize him for putting up consistent 30-point-efforts on his court case days. This was also during the time when he was absolutely brutalizing the T-Wolves in the playoffs, dropping kneecaps in Michael Olowokandi's mouth, living at the free throw line, and giving Derek Fisher and Kareem Rush (not to mention the Big Fella) the widest openest looks they had ever seen. I, like the rest of the 'good-natured' sportsfan population, should have been hating the guy, but I couldn't stop praising his name.

I had spent the majority of the regular season by talking up the slightly more avant-garde Ben Wallace, Jason Richardson, and Andrei Kirilenko as my favorite players, but by the year's end, I was drifting back towards more mainstream fan-dom. How can I explain the shift to Kobe, the most overexposed, underservingly Jordan-compared, personality-less NBA star of the age?

To recall a page from my and Bethlehem Shoals' past, I believe what I engaged in can be described as short-term reverse backpackerism, a term that I coined to describe the following transformation that took place circa 2000-2001: Underground/independent hip-hop, Company Flow, Dr. Octagon, Latyrx, the Fondle Em catalog-followed shortly by Anticon, Blackstar, and a Dre-less Eminem-became the antidote for every coming-of-age music fan, wallowing in the post-Cobain jiggy-saturated boy-band/solo-girl influx. The tape-trading culture hit the internet in a big way, and the message board communities propelled a series of discussions, beefs, rating systems, lexicons, and organizational structures to the point where by around 1998, underground hip-hop was about as cool as a science fair project. And the first to take notice were those from the older set of hip-hop fans, those whose older brothers taught them at an early age about things like Public Enemy, Living Color, and De La Soul. The trend began to reverse itself, where everything underground was labelled uncool, while Jay-Z’s worst songs in years were praised as classics (see The Dynasty Album). [Sidenote: I realize that this pattern probably has emerged within every musical genre at some point—it’s simply that with hip-hop I experienced it firsthand]. Soon followed the set of those who were never really “keeping it real” to begin with. So deep was their fear of internhetto-pass being revoked that they clung to pop-rap, pedestalling it and praising it. Wanting you to know that they know that Buck 65 “doesn’t have any soul” and Joe Buddens’ new song is the “hottest shit” because it “bumps.”

This cycle, largely fueled by white guilt and holier-than-thou music-elito critical bullshit is largely the reason why R. Kelly’s “Ignition,” Missy Elliot’s “Work It,” and anything Lil’ Jon are consistently given best of the year honors by the INDIE-est of all critics (as if they are pointing a finger right back at me to say, see, I’m not a snob, I like popular music). I rely on the Billboard Charts to tell me what is popular and on elito-critic-blogs to tell me what is worth checking out. The two have become confused. Just as I did when I began parading around Kobe’s name like I wanted my fucking props for saying that the new Diplomats album is up there with Ready to Die.

But no, the cycle doesn’t stop there. I began writing this article some weeks ago, before the Lakers’ incredible slide toward lottery-pick slums, when Kobe was still being painted as the broken man trying to put it all back together and grow into a leader. Now the angle is pure be-careful-what-you-wish for mixed with he-had-it-
coming (does this at all recall the treatment of R.Kelly during the 'Best of Both Worlds' tour fiasco?). It's like, the narrative is now one of justice, in which the "driving out of" the Zenmaster + Diesel prevents you from ever winning another championship...And now Chad Ford is on some stupid shit proposing Eddy Curry + Ben Gordon for Kobe swaps. Can't wait till October when the story is, Kobe + draft pick + (Flip Saunders, Phil Jackson, Michael Cooper, Jerry West?) are on a mission to rebuild the Lakers Dynasty. This is getting a bit longwinded, and I think I'll cut it short for now...but we no doubt have more to say on the issue...

Yo man. Let's get out of here. Word to your mother.

Utah's Boozer out for the season

Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Utah's Boozer out for the season:
"Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer will miss the rest of the season while he recovers from a foot injury in February.

He has been ordered by his doctor to wear a boot over his right foot for at least three more weeks. Trainer Gary Briggs said Tuesday that Boozer's condition has improved and surgery has been ruled out for now."

So now both of us can just sit around waiting for Blogger to implement categories...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Al Jefferson guarantees 20 and 10 next season

Brian (Chicago, IL): Al, I've got you on my fantasy basketball team and plan on retaining you for next year. Can I expect 20 and 10 next year once you finally get the minutes you deserve?

Al Jefferson: (2:22 PM ET ) Oh yeah. No question.

There you have it from the man himself. Al Jefferson will be a 20/10 man next year.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Back From Spring Vacation

Not a lot to report on... I mean, there's stuff to report on, but I'm just not doing it. If you want something to read, check out my report on the Pacific Division for this week.

And this is pretty cool too:

Give ME tEngraved \E rOCCK

Monday, March 21, 2005

Orlando Magic Fan : Update on Francis' suspension

Orlando Magic Fan : Update on Francis' suspension:
"The NBA announced today that the length of Steve Francis' suspension for kicking a photographer is 3 games. Francis has already missed one game, against Portland, for the incident. He will miss the next two games against Charlotte and return to play against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday."

I wonder why that is so much less than Rodman's 11 game suspension... probably because the Worm's reputation preceded him... kind of like Ron Artest. When everybody knows you're crazy, they're going to treat you like you're crazy.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Who's going to help you get to the top of your league?

The Final Push

Here's some players who've stepped it up over the last week and should be considered for addition to your team. Of course, they may or may not be available depending on the size of your league... But I'm putting them here because I'm guessing (aka betting the farm) that they'll keep producing for you in your final push to the top of your league, whether it be roto or h2h.

Donyell Marshall - Raptors
Brevin Knight - Fighting Illini - I mean, Bobcats
David Wesley - Rockets
Bob Sura - Rockettes
Mike Dunleavy Jr. - Warriors
Joel Przybilla - Blazers
PJ Brown - Grizz
Brian Skinner - When They Were Kings
Jameer Nelson - Magic
Kenny Thomas - Kings
Chucky Atkins - Lake Show

Zach Randolph To Have Surgery

BLAZERS: Randolph To Have Surgery:
"Trail Blazers Forward Zach Randolph received a second opinion on his knee injury today from Dr. John Bergfeld of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Health System.

Dr. Bergfeld confirmed a bone contusion to the articular surface of the right femur, first diagnosed last week by team physician Dr. Don Roberts. Randolph will undergo an arthroscopic procedure next week in Portland by Dr. Roberts. He will be out for the remainder of the 2004-05 season. "

Fantasy Impact

First off, thanks to easyMarksman for the tip...

Second off, as Easy says, "He wasn't out for the year already?" If you haven't already adapted to the Blazers' situation, or what's left of it... I wouldn't start worrying about it now. But if you're interested, take a look at Sebastian Telfair and Travis Outlaw... if either is still available, then they're probably not going to help you, but you can give it a try.

Count it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

End of season for Juwan Howard, possibly Jermaine O'Neal too

Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Jermaine O'Neal: "Mar 16 O'Neal continues to have significant swelling in his sprained right shoulder, and Pacers team doctors have yet to decide if the forward will require surgery to repair the damage. As a result, Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle has indicated that there is a chance O'Neal could miss the rest of the season. He has been sidelined since suffering the injury when he was fouled by Denver's Francisco Elson on March 3.

Advice: O'Neal will be evaluated regularily to track his progress. Dale Davis and Austin Croshere will continue to split the majority of the power-forward minutes in his absence. For the season, O'Neal is averaging 24.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.1 blocked shots and 2.0 assists in 41 games."

Fantasy Impact

Obviously, this is a huge blow to JON owners. Any season ending injury is bad for fantasy owners, but 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks are going to be hard to replace. If you're not in a keeper league, keep a close eye on the situation... and be prepared to drop him if anything more definitive comes out. He's worth an IL spot if you've got one, just in case he does happen to come back for a few games. As it says above, Austin Croshere and Dale Davis are the main beneficiaries in Indiana. Jeff Foster might also get a bump in minutes.

On to...

Houston Rockets forward Juwan Howard will be sidelined for at least four weeks after spraining his right knee during a collision with a teammate against Golden State on Monday night.

Fantasy Impact

Howard is not nearly the player that O'Neal is, and owners shouldn't hesitate to drop him. He had just started producing, but the results seem a lot more definitive than those for O'Neal. In the mean time, Scott Padgett and Dikembe Mutombo will probably see most of his 26 minutes - if you're looking for someone to pick up...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Boozer won't return to Cleveland

Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Injured Boozer won't return to Cleveland:
"Utah forward Carlos Boozer is recovering from a foot injury and won't play against his former team when the Jazz face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

He will receive treatment in Salt Lake City and will not join the team on its five-game road trip, Jazz spokeswoman Cindy Edman said.

Boozer, averaging a team-high 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds, sprained his right foot at Phoenix on Feb. 14."

Okay, first off, how misleading is that headline? Anyway...

Fantasy Impact

According to my hand NBA schedule analyzer, the Jazz play four games this week and 3 next week. That means Boozer won't be playing at all this week, and at most 2 games next week. If you're on daily changes, you don't have to worry about playing him for a while. If you're a weekly changer, hopefully you left him this week. If you've got a decent backup to put in next week, it's probably the safe thing to do.

Hopefully (for me) this means that Mehmet Okur will get a chance to play a little (and peform a little better). His minutes, as well as those of Andrei Kirilenko have gone up with Jason Collins and Boozer out. Matt Harpring is also playing slightly more than usual.

Count it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Here's what you wanted to know about Brad Miller

I was going to write about this, I promise. But then David Spade was on Saturday Night Live, and this article was there in the morning.

The only names you need to know are Skinner and Thomas, both of whom will be money for the remainder of the season. But H2Hers, keep in mind that the Kings play less games in the fantasy playoffs than just about anyone...

I hope none of the players on my team are participating these extremely risky "light shooting drills." I've already got one guy on the IL... I can't afford any more.

Friday, March 11, 2005

And I was worried about Luke Ridnour! For Shame!

Looks like Lou Rid has recovered from his slump with 14 points and 12 assists against Houston on the 8th of March. His performance over the past 5 games has regained my confidence in him to the point where I'd be willing to put him in my lineup again for a weekly league.

O'Neal may be out longer than expected

Concern grows for O'Neal:
All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal probably will be out longer than the five games he is required to miss for being placed on the injured list.

How much longer? Nobody knows.

"There's no official word yet, but I'm starting to be afraid this is more serious than we hoped," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Thursday.

Fantasy Impact

Obviously anyone with O'Neal is hurting. But other managers with Pacers on their roster are probably pretty happy (unless that Pacer's name starts with J and ends with amaaltinsley). Dale Davis has stepped in and averaged 9 rebounds in his first 3 games with the P's. 2.7 AST, 1.7 STL, and 1.0 BLK doesn't hurt either. Stephen Jackson is BOC with 25.4 PTS, 4.4 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.6 STL, 2.8 FG3, on 48% FG, 37% FG3, and 81% FT in the last 5. Actually most of those numbers are about on par for him, but the points is a big jump as is te FG%. Who would have thought he'd shoot better with O'Neal out. Reggie Miller is also putting up some hot numbers. He might even be available on the FA list, and is worth a look.

Fantasy Basketblog: The Time for Waiting is Over

Important advice for your roto players, from Fantasy Basketblog. Fantasy Basketblog: The Time for Waiting is Over:
"Remember all those little minor injuries you’ve had to deal with over the past few months? You know - the sore knees, the strained elbows, and the jammed fingers? Well, now is the time to cash in on all those games you missed out on. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in fantasy basketball is to not use all of your available games. If you end up 3 rebounds out of first place at the end of the year, but you’ve got 2 games available from your center position, well, you won’t get any sympathy from me."

There is more to the article after the jump. (I just saw that after the jump part last week and have been dying to use it)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

GiveMeTheRockian Candidate: Maurice Evans

Fantasy NBA Blog: Daily Report - Mon. 3/7/05:
"DET/SAC - Mobley and Brad Miller were out. Skinner stepped up with a double-double. Kenny Thomas had 19 and 10 off the bench. Maurice Evans filled in well for Mobley. Peja had an off night."

Fantasy Impact

The Kings of Sacramento were without Mobley and Miller, so obviously, this kind of production should not be expected from Skinner, or Evans (Thomas, maybe). The reason I mention this is because I watched the game and Evans was smooth like butter. He's been added to my list of GiveMeTheRockian Candidates (aka sleepers) for next year. Keep an eye out for his per minutes averages this summer when constructing a draft list. He's clearly not going to be high up there, and may not be worthy of a double-check in smaller leagues... But it was clear to me he's ready to play for real in the NBA.

Count it

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bouncing around the league - some updates

Antawn Jamison will have his NBA-leading consecutive games streak snapped at 386 tonight when he sits out against the New York Knicks with tendinitis in his right knee. Even though the Wizards' captain was given no timetable for his return, he sounded upbeat.

Fantasy Impact: K-Bup

"No timetable" is not a good thing. Especially not for fantasy owners... Tendinitis is tough. It just takes time and rest. He did say in a statement he'll be using "this week" to rest and rehabilitate... we'll see...

Next up:

Nuggets center Marcus Camby felt joy and pain Monday.

Camby was selected the Western Conference player of the week for games Feb. 28 through Sunday, during which he averaged 14 points, 15.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 4.3 blocked shots. He recorded three double-doubles last week during the Nuggets' 3-0 stretch.

But Camby missed Monday's game against Portland with a strained right hamstring and is day to day.

"It's a great honor," Camby said. "I think of it more as a team honor than as an individual honor. My teammates have been playing well, as well as myself. Without them, I wouldn't be able to get that award."

Camby said his injury began to bother him last week, but added that four days off before his team's next game should help and he expects to play Saturday against San Antonio.

Fantasy Impact: Starkos

With the four days off, Mr. Glass will hopefully make a return to form after having been playing so well. He's day-to-day, but for you weekly people, you can probably have him in your lineup for next week. As always with Camby, though, keep an out. He could suffer another injury at any moment (I mean, I guess you could say the same about anyone in the league, but the probability is always a lot higher for MC deuce-trey).

PS: My new Injury Impact Classification System goes like this:
  • PA-1: Major injury that will require a trip to the IL. Player will be out for several weeks.
  • K-Bup: Major injury but should take no more than a couple weeks to heal.
  • Starkos: Minor injury; player should be back within the week.
If you're wondering where that came from, you're probably not alone. Also, at this point in the season, if you see a PA-1, it's probably a good time to click the Drop link.

Web user experience compared to basketball?

It is quite fascinating how people can focus at a task at hand and totally exclude everything else in their surroundings. A study carried out by Daniel Simons at Harvard University illustrates this phenomenon very well. A number of volunteers watched a 30-second video starring three basketball players wearing black T-shirts and three wearing white ones. The viewers were told to count the number of passes made by one of the teams. Halfway through the film, a man dressed as a gorilla jumped into the middle of the picture, beat his chest at the camera, and walked away. Afterwards the viewers where asked whether they had seen anything unusual. Astonishingly, only a very few put their hand up. The rest had been so fixated on counting the passes that they completely missed the hairy interloper.
The idea here is that people looking for something on the web will not look at anything on a page that doesn't appear to be related to the content for which they are searching.

So, if you came here searching for Phoenix Suns Gorilla... you'll probably be dissappointed that there isn't really anything like that. Yeah, sorry about that. Try this.

Count it.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bulls place Deng on injured list with sprained ankle

Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Bulls place Deng on injured list with sprained ankle: "The Chicago Bulls placed rookie Luol Deng on the injured list Friday because of a sprained right ankle that is expected to sideline him two to four weeks."

Fantasy Impact

The big winner here is Andres Nocioni. He got 36 minutes last night with Deng out (he was even the top performer for the Bulls according to Yahoo's box score: 13 points, on 4-6 FG and 5-6 FT, 7 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TO). He's been backing up Deng all season, so I would expect him to continue to get starters minutes for 2-4 weeks while Deng recovers. If you have yet to experience that Wild Man, now is the time to jump on the Argentine Train.

Count it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Jermaine O'Neal placed on injured list; Pacers sign Dale Davis

Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Jermaine O'Neal placed on injured list; Pacers sign Dale Davis: "All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal was placed on the injured list Friday by the Indiana Pacers, one day after he sprained his right shoulder in a game at Denver.

O'Neal has a subluxated sprain of the right shoulder and will miss at least five games. He had an MRI examination before Friday night's game against Portland."

Just an injury update...

Ironically, Dale Davis will be filling in for Jermaine, for whom he was traded several years back. It also means that those Davis jerseys Pacers fans have been rockin' can no longer be considered "retro". Sorry guys.

Good Mourning, America

Fantasy NBA Blog: Daily Report - Fri. 3/4/05: "MIA/NJ - We have a Zo sighting! Only 2 minutes tonight. Trust me folks, he's not going to be fantasy-worthy, but it is worth keeping an eye on whose minutes he steals. "

Obviously, my fine (and respected) friend over at Fantasy NBA Blog doesn't know Hollinger's Theory of Increasing Minutes which, to summarize, says: given more minutes, a player will increase his stats at a rate close to that of his rate per minute.

Mourning had 2 boards and 1 assist in 2 minutes. Therefore, he should be getting 20 rebounds and 10 assists when he finally starts playing about 20 minutes per game. How is that not fantasy worthy??

Okay, Yes. I did just abuse the fine (and respected) work of Mr. John Hollinger like it was a stepchild with long, red hair. That said, I still disagree with FNB writer elandfriend. I think that once the Heat secure a playoff spot and proceed to rest up Shaq for their playoff run, Mourning will easily be in the 20 minute range. And he has the talent to become fantasy-relevant in 20 minutes per game. Of course, it could be that Miami is actually going to rest Alonzo and Shaq for the playoff run (and play Doleac, I suppose?)... in which case: Boo-Urns.

But as Parrapa the Rappa would say: I know, I just gotta believe!

Count it.

Tim Thomas is a dirty bastard

I mean, I guess I saved some of my dignity by dropping in December... but the Double T has come back strong in the past 5 games with:

32 minutes, almost 20 points on 63% FG, 80% FT, 61% FG3 with 2.2/game ... not to mention 1.2 steals/game. 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists is not a lot to brag about, but the other numbers are pretty awesome for someone you can plug in at PF.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Reporting on players who are on my team

Luol Deng is out 1-2 weeks (it helps that he makes the local news).

Alonzo Mourning is ready to go with the Heat - should be playing his first game tonight.

NBA FAN BLOG: Blazers Screw Cheeks

Possibly the most accurate headline ever.

NBA FAN BLOG: Blazers Screw Cheeks:
"Incredible, The Blazers fired their coach, Mo Cheeks. Not that we didn't see this coming with the type of season they are having in his last contract year, but the thing that bothers me, is that the organization never backed Cheeks the way he deserved."

Fantasy Impact

Here's what a friend emailed me:
This new guy might be good because he doesn't want to be a coach after this, so he'll just play who needs to play. I think Telfair might as well start, and here's what I would do I suppose:

- Lineup: Telfair, Damon, Miles, Randolph, Godzylla
- Bench: Patterson backs up Miles and Damon, plays maybe 25 minutes, NVE backs up Telfair for around 20 minutes, Ratliff backs up Godzylla and plays some time at PF as well. Anderson gets a couple of minutes at SG maybe. I would pretty much bench Reef, he isn't going to be back.

I can't really find time for Outlaw now, thanks to Godzylla's surging.

In the off season:
- Let Reef, NVE, and Damon walk
- Hope you draft well
- Bend over and take it from theo ratliff's contract
- Cry

And that's the way to create a post.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

OMFG ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, though... this site has my nomination for the most fudged up basketball site I've ever seen. It is clearly an advertising ploy of some kind... but even the sites it links to are fudged up beyond comprehension. Seriously, what are they talking about? And do they really get enough visitors trying to figure out what's going on that they make any money from the Google Ads? Cause I sure as hell didn't... but then, I don't have any exciting fight basketball information on my site. Fight basketball? Oh yes... read on...

One of the pages they link to is here, and now I shall quote from that page:

One of the best things about the internet is the huge amount of information available on almost any subject, like fight basketball. The problem of course is that when you start trying to find specific information about fight basketball it can be hard to sort out the good fight basketball information from the bad fight basketball information.

Luckily, we can help. We've sorted through the good, the bad and the even worse to find you the best place for purchasing fight basketball online.

The following link will take you to a great fight basketball supplier who can help you with exactly what you need.

Okay, maybe I'm a little behind the times, but what exactly is "fight basketball"? Is that code for "everyone was looking for news on the Pacers/Pistons fight, so it'll get us traffic from keyword searches?"

Not to mention that they don't even have any information related to fight basketball on the page! What's up with that??

PS: Thanks to Google, et al. for coming up with rel="nofollow" so I can link to these clowns and your bots will ignore them.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Injury Mini-Update (03.01.05)

Brad Miller has a calf contusion and is listed as day-to-day.

Luol Deng went down tonight with an ankle injury. Could be that sprained ankle thing that's going around.

Yao Ming is not injured, just picked up a lot of fouls and was relegated to the bench.