Posts tagged: Basketball

Bill Simmons is Carmelo Anthony’s Grandmother

By , July 15, 2014 10:38 pm

And so are a lot of New York Knicks fans.

Bill Simmons put out an article yesterday subtitled “With Carmelo Anthony staying with the Knicks, will we ever find out how truly great he can be?”  This type of ‘expert analysis’ becomes the basis of so many misunderstandings about the game of basketball and further illustrates how the media and fans are obsessed with perception than actual performances on the court.   The subtitle itself implies that Carmelo IS great, and subtly shifts winning responsibility off of Carmelo, and onto a variety of reasons from the common; his teammates, his coach, and the system he plays in, to the bizarre; his position (?), his contract extension (huh?), his draft selection (what?).  What is up with this invention of so many excuses when the numbers are staring you directly in the face?

Simmons ask the question, “How did Carmelo Anthony, only 30 years old and still in his prime, become the NBA’s most under-appreciated and misunderstood player?” To put it bluntly, Carmelo Anthony has not demonstrated the ability to be an NBA superstar, and is only misunderstood by this ill conceived perception.  He’s been a fringe All-Star at best, but somehow his stature has been elevated to that of a franchise player.  His career lines show he converts shots like an average shooting guard (45.5% FG%, 81.1% FT%), passes like an average big man (1.1 assist/turnover ratio), rebounds like a average small forward (6.5/gm), and plays defense like my uncle … and my uncle plays cricket. He doesn’t really excel in anything, except taking a lot of shots, and his career line looks pretty darn boring, nothing like an elite NBA player.

Simmons and Melo’s large immediate foster family will point to his career 25.3 ppg, and throw meaningless phrases around like “he can score from anywhere” and “he’s unstoppable.” Except they largely don’t realize that missed shots means missed scoring opportunities.  That means that there are GOOD points per game and BAD points per game, and since Carmelo’s shooting percentages aren’t elite, the volume of his misses diminishes the benefits of his makes.  How can someone be ‘unstoppable,’ which be definition implies a 100% FG%, when he can’t convert better than Chris Copeland? Even with the understanding that statements like that are figurative hyperbole, it’s not anywhere close to being a reflection of his play.

The next question Simmons poses is “Can you win the NBA championship if Carmelo Anthony is your best player?”  He answers himself with “The short answer: Yes,” but then goes on to compare Carmelo to a far superior player, Dirk Notwitzki.  This is like saying, “Hey, just give that yellow mustard a few more years to develop, surround it with organic ketchup and relish, and it’ll be just like Grey Poupon.” Introducing this comparison diminishes how great Dirk actually was before he won the championship, and somehow equating Dirk’s actual pre-championship play with Melo’s. Dirk’s Win Share/48, playoffs and regular season combined, hovered around .200 before he won in 2011, while Melo’s is about .130. In other words, Dirk is Polaner All Fruit; Carmelo is jelly.

To be fair, Simmons does go into great detail on why Dirk is better, using a plethora of actual game performances, none of which Melo has ever come close to replicating. However, he oddly tries to drum up a [weak] comparison of their best year playoff numbers, which he thinks are ‘not THAT far off.’  Have a look for yourself, and if you understand that being efficient is a serious advantage, it’ll be obvious why even these two lines are not comparable:

2011 Dirk (21 games): 27.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 49-46-94%, 8.9 FTA, 25.2 PER
2009 Melo (16 games): 27.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.1 apg, 45-36-83%, 9.0 FTA, 24.3 PER

Now, this was by far Carmelo’s best play-off run, and his Win Share/48 showed that as he checked in at an All-Star Level .201.  In his prior five play-off appearances, he was shockingly bad, and in three (3!) of those years, he actually had a negative Win Share/48.  That pretty much means that Denver would have been better off if he didn’t play at all!  And if we really look at 2009 playoff Carmelo, we’ll see that while Simmons tries to deflect the blame to his ‘substandard’ team and J. R. Smith, let’s not forget that this is what Melo’s stat line was against the Lakers.  Not only are his rebounds and assists down, his shooting from the field was abysmal against the stiffer competition.

2009 Melo vs Lakers (6 games): 27.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 41-25-83%, 20.0 FGA, 12.5 FTA

Simmons likes to point to team composition as an issue, but even in Melo’s best playoff performance, he wasn’t the best player on the team.  That honor went to Chauncey Billups, who put up an elite Win Share/48 of .249 in the playoffs after a season Win Share/48 of .176 (note Denver’s season Win Share/48 leaders – Nene .177, Billups .176, Anderson .176, J. R. Smith .124, and finally Carmelo hovering around league average .105).  We tend to think of those Denver teams as Carmelo’s teams, mainly because of his inflated point per game numbers, but the reality is that those were Billups’ teams, by both contribution to winning and by his NBA Finals MVP pedigree.

The fans and the media overvalue points per game, and that’s likely why the Melo elevation is happening.  Instead of using this oversimplification stat as gospel, they should think about how those points are scored, and realize that a missed shot is more detrimental than a made shot is rewarding.  This is because there is a cap on how many shots a team can take in a game, so any missed shot is a missed opportunity to maximize your team’s points and win.  When your best player is not an incredibly efficient volume scorer, your team doesn’t have much of a chance unless that player is also incredible possession guy (elite rebounder/defender) or team FG% enhancer (elite assister).

Carmelo has been neither of those in his entire career, so it’s a wonder why fans and writers constantly elevate him to some greatness he’s never showed a glimpse of consistently achieving.  In fact, at least in terms of win contribution, Carmelo has been the best on his team only once, and that was with last year’s Knicks.  Why don’t we compare him to a player that was actually very similar to him, someone like let’s say … Glenn Robinson.

Big Dog (career): 20.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 46-34-82%, 17.6 FGA, 4.4 FTA
Melo (career): 25.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 45-35-81%, 19.7 FGA, 7.7 FTA

The ‘Big Dog’ played the exact same style of basketball in the 90s as Carmelo plays now.  He was considered an incredible scorer, a volume shooter not known for much defense, with a career mediocre win/loss record.  His numbers are eerily similar to Melo’s, with the exception of points per game, which upon normalization, is nearly identical. Had Robinson been a shot consumer in the same neighborhood as Melo, assuming Robinson’s efficiency was roughly the same, he would suddenly be a 25 ppg scorer. Watch some of his highlights for yourself; the guy could get a shot off from anywhere, and back then, people thought he shot too much.

Robinson only made the playoffs three times as a big minutes contributor, and those appearances include two 1st round knock-outs, and one deep run to the Eastern Conference Finals.  Does that sound like anyone we know?  Robinson did win an NBA Championship with the Spurs as a deep bench guy, which better answers Simmon’s question, “Can you win the NBA championship if Carmelo Anthony is your best player?”

The short answer: No.

Carmelo has made some strides in improving his game, and while the Knicks supporting cast is not fantastic and their front office has been hauntingly bad, we have to start holding him accountable for his on-court performance. This pervasive thought that because you’ve looked dominant in small samples, means that you actually are dominant on average, is foolish and absurd.  Until Carmelo proves he can do SOMETHING better than average, whether it’s increasing his assists, or controlling the glass, or play great team defense, or just simply shooting the ball better, any team that choses to employ him is destined for disappointment.

What Are You Talking About Bill Simmons Bonus Material:

“Carmelo? He’s 92 percent as frightening as 1984 Playoff Bernard was.” – King averaged 7.5 more points per game, shot a whopping 12% better than Melo, and was about 16.4% better as per Win Share/48. How does one quantify ‘frightening’ anyway?

“He’s just playing in a more difficult league — better scouting, better game planning, better defenses, better athletes, better everything.” – Era comparisons like this are hugely misleading because Simmons is singularly applying to Melo the advancements that apply to the entire player pool. Melo has benefitted from better scouting and better game planning as much as he’s been hurt by it. Better defenses are largely rules-based (i.e. hand-check rule, zone defenses) which again, would apply to everyone. Better athletes are probably not true based on this TED Talk which shows the bulk of ‘improvement’ is really due to technology and specialization.

“That pathetic Knicks team didn’t employ a single creator who could get Melo wide-open jumpers off slash-and-kick drives.” – If the point guard is to blame for this last year, that either means Kidd, Billups, and Lawson were guilty of the same thing since Melo’s shooting has been roughly the same, or Carmelo is just not that great of a shooter Simmons thinks he is.

“Just a slew of possessions, one after the other, with everyone standing around waiting for Carmelo to do something. They were like the pickup team from hell, only Carmelo couldn’t just throw the game and hop on someone else’s team.” – Anyone that has ever played pickup basketball has at one point played with a guy who ball hogs on offense, and doesn’t get back on defense. Everyone else ends up standing around, because you know that you will not see the ball no matter how good your back-door cut is or how wide open you are in the corner. This sounds more like what happened to the Knicks, which Tyson Chandler said in the playoffs. I’m not sure Simmons has ever played pickup basketball after an analogy like that. Plus, didn’t Melo basically try to hop on someone else’s team by opting out? No takers? I’m not surprised.

Show Lin the Money

By , July 16, 2012 1:38 pm

This isn’t a post about Jeremy Lin’s ability. This isn’t a post about the Knicks team composition. This isn’t a post about the somewhat hypocritical comments made by Carmelo Anthony (if he meant that ‘ridiculous’ was Lin signing the offer then let’s not forget he forced the Knicks to gut their team rather than simply sign with them outright in free agency for less money). This post is purely about the game theory of matching Houston’s $25.1M, 3-year contract offer.

Okay, so the easy scenario to look at is what happens if the Knicks don’t match the contract. In this case, you simply do not add salary to your team and you lose Lin for no compensation. Let me rephrase; you lose a 23 year old potential star with extremely high marketability, a player whose in game shenanigans virtually forced a contract resolution between MSG and Time Warner Cable, for nothing. The no compensation thing is an important thing to remember when we get into what happens if you do match the offer.

No one seems to have a problem with the first two years of the contract, which would pay Lin $5M in year 1, and $5.2M in year 2. That’s in line with a back-up quality PG in the league and is clearly something the Knicks would do even if that costs them something on the Luxury Tax side. The biggest issue is the $14.8M balloon payment, the ‘poison pill’ if you will, in the 3rd year of the deal and the Luxury Tax burden associated with the team’s total payroll.

The first thing I want to clear up is that the Luxury Tax is a TEAM payroll burden, so while it is true that this deal will cost the Knicks an addition $15.6M for Lin, it also means that the tax will cost an additional $25.7M for Carmelo, $24.7 for Amar’e, and $15.4 for Chandler above their contract values. The difference between what the Knicks said they would match ($9.8M in the 3rd year) versus this current deal would increase the team payroll + tax from about $179M to roughly $205M. This is mainly because the $5M difference would be taxed at a rate of 425% due to the new CBA agreement.

It’s pretty much a given that the Knicks are committed to being Luxury Tax offenders. Since that will always be true forever into perpetuity, then the value argument of player with respect to their costs should be thrown out. If we do want to make that argument that the Luxury Tax matters, then we should evaluate whether we want a 42 year old Jason Kidd at $6.2M or an injury prone and old Marcus Camby at $8.6M. Neither one of those deals makes sense from an all in cost perspective. Even without Lin’s contract, does anyone out there think Melo and Amar’e are worth $37M+ each? Do you want to pay Steve Novak $5.25M/YR for 15 minutes of shooting 3s?

Now that the Luxury Tax issue is hopefully squared away, the last piece to figure out is that $14.8M third year of his contract. We don’t know what Jeremy Lin will be so let’s examine the two extreme scenarios, Linsanity and Inlinsanity. The Linsanity scenario is that Lin is the legitimate 25 PTS, 9 A, 4 R, 2 S, 50% FG% clutch winning PG we saw in his incredible run. In that case, the Knicks should gladly pay his $14.8 salary as you are looking at an All-Star production level at two-thirds the price. For comparison sake, Deron Williams will be making $21M+ at the end of his Brooklyn Nets contract. Sign him, done deal, Lin for President.

The second scenario, the Inlinsanity one, is where Jeremy Lin is a complete bust. Then you are in the Eddie Curry situation. A bloated contract on the books set to expire that year. There is value in that, as we’ve seen in the past. In fact, it was Eddie Curry’s terrible contract that helped land the Knicks their alleged superstar Carmelo Anthony.  It’s conceivable that you could parlay Lin into at least a 2nd round pick, if not in a sign-and-trade deal for a potential free agent.  Oh, and look which potential small market players would be at the end of their contracts:  2015 – Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge,  Marc Gasol;  2016 – Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee.

Lin will most likely end up somewhere in the middle of these scenarios.  If he doesn’t gravitate to the worst extreme, then paying an average of $8.3M over three years seems reasonable.  Even as an average PG, there are a few teams in the league that would probably make a deal for him in hopes of a recapturing Linsanity or to capitalize on his marketability.  This was the player that had the 2nd highest jersey sales this year despite only being available half way through the season AND spiked MSG’s stock to the tune of around $100M during his run. Wouldn’t the Clippers love to pair him with Blake Griffin as compensation if the end game is really Chris Paul in a Knicks uniform?

This seems like a no-brainer.  To let Lin walk now means absolutely no compensation for a player that has incredible market appeal.  The worst case scenario for signing him would be the Knicks paying fair value for him for the first two years of this deal and then having an expensive but interesting trade chip in the last year of the deal.  If MSG’s stock is any indication, then it’s time for the Knicks to show him the money.

If you want to be mad at someone, how about being mad at the Knicks front office for breaking some of the most basic rules of negotiation. If they had half a brain, they would have waited for Lin to sign something (potentially the lower offer) rather than say they’d match it and give Houston and Lin the opportunity to ramp it up. Be mad that they waited to wrap up their most valuable free agent and during that time threw money at Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, and Marcus Camby to the tune of $10M. And be mad they panicked and acquired Raymond Felton, a player that was vastly worse than Lin last year. I don’t care much about the comparison but rather the absolutes that show Lin ranked 3rd in points per play on ISOs, 3rd in FG% shooting off the dribble, and was in the top 1/3 in the league on defensive points per play.

“I LOOVVEEEEE BLACCCKKKKK PEEEEOOOPLLLLLEEEEEE” – Jerry Maguire

Wha’chu talkin’ bout Kobe

By , July 12, 2012 11:35 pm

Kobe Bryant thinks that this 2012 USA Olympic team would beat the greatest basketball team ever assembled, the 1992 Dream Team. I can’t for the life of my figure out how that is possible, so let’s just jump into it and take a look at the numbers.

I assembled the most basic statistics that most NBA fans are familiar with to compare the 92 team’s individual stats from the previous year with the 2012 team’s past year’s performance. I used the previous year to give a perspective of what the selection committee would have been looking at to pick the team. I’ve hidden the players’ names so that you can take a look the stats and make a judgement call based on just the numbers. Listed are the 12 players’ individual stats, and the bold totals* at the bottom is an average across the team:

Looking at the numbers, is it possible that Kobe has a point?  Team B is the current USA squad, and while they look pretty evenly matched, they seem to have the edge in scoring the rock.  Maybe in a close game, it comes down to whoever has the ball last. Could Scottie lock down Lebron and funnel him towards D-Rob, forcing a kick-out to Paul who swings it cross court to Durant for a last second game winner?  Would Jordan pass out of a Kobe/Wade double team to find an open Malone under the basket, only to have it swatted away by Tyson Chandler?  It sure seems like it’s plausible that the 2012 team could beat that 92 Dream Team after all.

Except Team A isn’t the 92 Dream Team.  It’s a team consisting of players from the 91-92 season who were NOT selected for the Dream Team.  That’s right, these guys didn’t even make the squad.  Yet they have nearly identical numbers to this years team, and quite frankly might be better suited as a team to beat the current men’s team.  Ouch, sorry Kobe.  Here’s my team of non-Dream Teamers that I think might be able to give this 2012 team a run for their ego, because to me, it’s pretty obvious that the actual Dream Team would smoke this Olympic squad out of the building.

THE STARTING FIVE

PG: Kevin Johnson (19.7 pts, 47.9% FG%, 3.7 R, 10.7 A, 1.5 S, .3 B)

I know, you are probably screaming “WHAT? NOT ISIAH?”  Yes, Zeke has been forever linked with Jordan’s ultimatum to ban his inclusion on the actual Dream Team.  However, I’m picking this team like the 2012 selection committee would, and while Isiah’s legacy can’t be denied, we’re ignoring past glory to get the best guys on the court.  KJ was an incredible NBA talent.  He could find open teammates demonstrated by his 10.7 assists and was fearless driving the paint.  He was probably as quick as Chris Paul is now, however have you ever seen Chris Paul yoke on someone like KJ did on Hakeem the Dream?

SG: Reggie Miller (20.7 pts, 50.1% FG%, 3.9 R, 3.8 A, 1.3 S, .3 B)

When considering who to start here, I went with Reggie because I wanted to get a sharp shooter on the court.  It’s hard to argue with Reggie’s ability to knock down a jump shot from ridiculous range, and he had a knack for making huge plays at the end of games when it really mattered (Knicks fans look away).  And for all those people who defend the low shooting percentages of wing players now because of they take a lot of jump shots (see Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Carmelo Anthony), explain to me how Reggie Miller was able to knock them down at a 50% clip?

SF: Dominique Wilkins (28.1 pts, 46.4% FG%, 7.0 R, 3.8 A, 1.2 S, .6 B)

Now here’s your scorer.  The Human Highlight Film battled Jordan nearly every year for the scoring title and could crush the rim when he took it to the hole.  If people think Carmelo Anthony can’t be defended, N’que puts him to shame.  Offensively, there aren’t many small forwards who could knock it from range (career 32% 3pt shooter) and tomahawk in the lane with authority (2-time slam dunk champion).  For instant offense, he’s one of the best.

PF: Dennis Rodman (9.8 pts, 53.9% FG%, 18.7 R, 2.3 A, .8 S, .9 B)

I was a bit torn between Rodman and Derrick Coleman at the power forward, but I opted for Rodman because he absolutely controls the boards.  He was the definition of hustle, and if the ball was loose, he was going to get it.  Also, he was an extremely smart player and played hard nose defense all the time.  The best part about him, and his fit on a team like this, is that you don’t have to worry about him competing for shots.  He’s not easily defended because he was a terror on the offensive boards. So, not only does he not take shots a scorer wants, but he actually gets more shots for them with his rebounding.  Now that’s exactly the type of complimentary player you want to build a winning team.

C: Brad Daughertly (21.5 pts, 57.0% FG%, 10.4 R, 3.6 A, .9 S, 1.1 B)

The center position was a tough spot to fill without having access to Ewing and Robinson.  The other great C’s to potentially pick from weren’t US citizens, so we lose out on Hakeem and Dikembe.  Brad Daughertly seems like a good fit for this team.  He was ultra efficient from the field (57.0%) and managed to give you 10.4 bounds and 3.6 assists, both pretty good for a big man.  To put this in perspective, these numbers are nearly identical to Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett’s championship years with the Lakers and Celtics.

THE BENCH & THE MATCHUPs

PGs: Isiah Thomas (18.5 pts, 44.6% FG%, 3.2 R, 7.2 A, 1.5 S, .2 B) and Tim Hardaway (23.4 pts, 46.1% FG%, 3.8 R, 10.0 A, 2.0 S, .2 B)

How can you argue with a Hall of Fame floor general with 2 championships and one of the most lethal combo guards the league has ever seen.  With KJ, these PGs have the quickness to defend Chris Paul and Deron Williams, something that debaters question about Magic and John Stockton.  All three of these guys were also incredibly difficult to guard, so the 2012 squad would have their hands full for the entire 48 minutes of a game. Westbrook is a bit of a wild card here as his size would make him difficult to cover for any of these guys. However, he doesn’t assist at the level of these three, and he’s liable for four or five bone-headed mistakes a game, pretty much neutralizing any size advantage he had.

SGs/SFs: Mitch Richmond (22.5 pts, 46.8% FG%, 4.0 R, 5.1 A, 1.1 S, .4 B), Larry Johnson (19.2 pts, 49.0% FG%, 11.0 R, 3.6 A, 1.0 S, .6 B), and Reggie Lewis (20.8 pts, 50.3% FG%, 4.8 R, 2.3 A, 1.5 S, 1.3 B)

If you thought the starting line-up was light on scoring, well here is where we make it up.  Mitch Richmond lit it up with Run TMC, and people often forget how talented Reggie Lewis was as an overall player.  He was the the guy that Boston expected to carry the Bird/McHale/Parrish legacy, and in 91-92, he was the Celtic’s best player on a team that included those 3 Hall of Famers. These guys are capable back-ups to Miller and Dominique and this entire group could score point for point with the likes of Kobe, Melo, Durant, and Harden (not to mention more efficiently).

Now the obvious problem with facing the 2012 USA Team is Lebron James.  At 6′ 8″, 240, he’s a physical freak.  He is by far the most talented player on that team, and a player whose physical attributes have never been seen before in the NBA.  The only guy that had Lebron’s combination of size, strength, and athleticism in the history of the NBA was probably super rookie Larry Johnson.  Grandmama?  Yes, Grandmama.  Standing at 6 foot 6, weighing 250 pounds, LJ was every much of an athlete that LBJ is today.  While LBJ is definitely the superior player (his court vision is incredible), if anyone was going to have a chance to slow him down, pre-back injury LJ had the strength and agility to do so.

PFs/Cs: Derrick Coleman (19.8 pts, 50.4% FG%, 9.5 R, 3.2 A, .8 S, 1.5 B) and Kevin Willis (18.3 pts, 48.3% FG%, 15.5 R, 2.1 A, .9 S, .7 B)

Obviously the weakest part of this team by name recognition, the power forwards/centers were no slouches when you look at what they did on a day to day basis.  They certainly don’t compare to the greats, but going up against the likes of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and Tyson Chandler, they’re not playing the greats of this generation anyway. While they don’t scream out at you, these guys were more skilled then their 2012 counterparts.  Willis was underrated throughout his career and pairing him with Rodman, there’s not a lot of opportunities for offensive boards.  DC was a great all around PF and much more skilled that Blake Griffen is now.  K Love could stretch this defense with his 3pt making ability, but DC or Rodman could actually guard him out there leaving Willis and Daughertly to protect the middle against the offensively challenged duo of Chandler and Griffin.

The names aren’t as sexy now since we have seen where their careers have gone, but during the early 90s, we were discussing these guys like we talk about this current Olympic team.  Their numbers are in line with these All Stars now, and they played in a much tougher NBA.  I think Barkley nailed it when he said that only Kobe, Lebron, and Durant would have a chance of making the 92 Dream Team.  I’d even go as far to say that the only guy who would look like he fit on the court with these Hall of Fames would be Lebron because his game compliments team play much more so than Kobe or Durant’s.

I’ve included the Dream Team’s 91-92 season stats for comparisons sake.  Magic’s numbers are from his last season, 90-91, and Laettner’s are from his rookie year, 92-93.

The numbers speak to how dominant this group of players, not just in the counting stats, but also in how each one of these guys played every aspect of the game and played with extreme efficiency.  Half the team averaged 6+ assists, half averaged 8+ rebounds, nearly the entire team picked up a steal a game, and everyone shot at a near 50% rate. When Larry Bird has the worst shooting percentage on your team, you know this team is built to decimate any competition.  You could close your eyes and take any five guys at random and put them on the court and you’ll win.  Can you say the same thing if you happen to come up with Iguodala, Carmelo, Harden, Chandler, and Blake Griffin?  Could they definitively beat Laettner, Stockton, Magic, Pippen, and broken back Bird? Here’s a player by player comparions between these two teams.

So, I say to Kobe … Wha’chu’ talkin’ bout Kobe.

Notable exceptions not included in this list, the All-Snub-Snub Team if you will:
Mark Price – 17.3 PTS, 48.8% FG%, 2.4 R, 7.4 A, 1.3 S, .2 B. Price shot nearly 95% from the FT line in 91-92.
Joe Dumars – 19.9 PTS, 44.8% FG%, 2.3 R, 4.6 A, .9 S, .3 B. The stats don’t stand out, but he gave Jordan fits on D.
Shawn Kemp – 15.5 PTS, 50.4% FG%, 10.4 R, 1.3 A, 1.1 S, 1.9 B. This was coming off the bench for most of the year. Gotta love The Reign Man’s athleticism.
Buck Williams – 12.9 PTS, 60.4% FG%, 10.1 R, 1.5 A, .6 S, .9 B. The 80s version of Tyson Chandler, a four-time member of the NBA’s All Defensive Team.
Shaquille O’Neal – 23.4 PTS, 56.2% FG%, 13.9 R, 1.9 A, .7 S, 3.5 B. If we put a college player on the team, here’s your guy. These numbers are from his rookie year and he clearly solves the C problem this team might have.

*Note that FG% are not weighted by shots, so it’s very likely that this 2012 team’s FG% is artificially inflated by Chandler’s 67% on limited shots. This NBA today is not as good as the NBA from the 90s, plain and simple.

The NBA’s Game of Thrones

By , June 15, 2011 1:06 pm

For all that everyone has said about Mark Cuban, I have to respect that he made the move to take a terrible franchise and turn them around into world champions. To make it even sweeter, it was with HIS superstar Dirk Nowitzki, and it was against the 2 and a Half Men ‘Super Team’ Miami Heat (and while all along I thought Bosh would play the half man Tyrion Lannister, now it appears that be Lebron has fully solidified his role as ‘the (G)Imp’).

Editor’s Note: “You give Lebron too much credit. He’s Joffery, the illegitimate heir, forged from a immoral union, and granted a throne he doesn’t deserve.” – Anil C.

With the relatively ‘Cersei Lannisterness’ of NBA players and management these days (read as fickle, disloyal, incestuous), it was great to see Cuban stick by his guy and Dirk do the same. From the day he was drafted, I can’t remember a single time where Dirk made trade demands or Cuban dangled him in an offer. For them, it didn’t seem to be about personal glory or accomplishments, but rather their life story only matters as far as it affects their reputation and family name, the Dallas Mavericks.

So in this NBA Game of Thrones, Cuban would probably fall into the character of Tywin Lannister. Hated by everyone, loved only by his, and ultimately a man who knows how to win and what to protect, a point deeply made in the first scene of Episode 7 of Game of Thrones. So where does that leave Dirk? The answer is obvious …. KINGSLAYER

And to the Miami Heat, simply Bend the Knee.

Now, I really hope that somehow Cuban can get his hands on the Mets, but for now the only thing I can hope for is a little Khal Drogo on my New York Knicks.  Maybe Dwight Howard can fill this role:

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