The Silver LINing in Our Over Obsessed Sports World

It’s stories like the one about Jeremy Lin that make sports the best thing in the entire world. Every once in a while some athlete comes out of nowhere and bursts on the scene. When this happens, they already have everyone cheering for them, except for those who don’t have a soul. Everyone loves rooting for the underdog. The guy, or girl, that no one gave a chance because they were too small, weren’t the prototypical athlete or had some off field issues. Either way once that underdog becomes successful, no one cares why he was overlooked; they just care and hope that they do well.

This is the case for Jeremy Lin, a guard out of the University of Harvard who by all means does not look like your typical NBA player. He is a skinny, 6’3’’Asian-American from an Ivy League school! In a league dominated by racial standards, Jeremy Lin is at the bottom of your list of people who you think will succeed in the NBA. Re-reading that last sentence is sad, but it is true. I’m not going to bring race into this because that is not what Jeremy Lin’s story is fully about. His story is about the true rise of an underdog that gives hope to all athletes who have heard the words “you’re not good enough” repeatedly throughout their athletic career.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last 2 weeks, everyone should know Lin’s story by now. He was undrafted out of college, because to be honest his numbers weren’t that impressive, especially playing in a weaker college conference like the Ivy League. His career stats while averaging 30 minutes per game were 12.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 4.3 RPG all while shooting 48.0 % from the field. Like I said nothing special that warranted him getting taken as a late second round pick in the draft. This is where something called “Heart” makes a difference. Most people faced with Lin’s situation and a Harvard degree would have packed it up and joined the real world, but for Lin that didn’t appear as an option. His love for the game of basketball, someone anyone who has ever played can appreciate, wouldn’t allow him to quit. He kept working and bounced around the D-league and with a couple NBA teams before signing with the Knicks midway through the season.  What ensued next in Lin’s basketball career, NO ONE and I mean absolutely NO ONE, saw coming.

With the Knicks ravaged by injuries to Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis and Toney Douglas the only guy left was Lin. His own coach didn’t even know who he really was. He broke the NBA record for most points scored by anyone in their first 5 starts with 136 points. Most recently on Tuesday night he hit the game winning 3 at Toronto as time expired finishing the game with 27 points. Over his first six starts he has shot 50.4% and averaged 26.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 3.8 RPG and 1.8 SPG. Those numbers are unreal, for an undrafted player out of college who has been sleeping on his brother’s couch. This type of stuff just doesn’t happen in the NBA, maybe in the NFL or MLB but not in the NBA. In an era where ESPN goes as far as ranking the top 25 sophomores in high school, it is hard for players to get over looked. People are always trying to find the next big thing judging kids based on athletic ability and raw talent. What often gets over looked is what’s on the inside of these players, the heart and determination that resides within them, the will to win. Yes, he has proved he is athletic enough to play in this league, but all the intangibles are Jeremy Lin’s most prominent qualities to me.

Now for the sobering (and annoying) moment. Eventually Lin is going to come back down to earth from this unbelievably high level of play. There is no way he can keep his production up especially with Amare and Carmelo coming back. Not to mention that he plays in New York and the media is putting an immense amount of pressure on him, calling him the Knicks savior and coming up with just about every Lin pun possible. Okay the Linsanity thing is pretty cool, I mean how often does it happen that Sportscenter basically starts the show with highlights about the same person every time! What isn’t cool is the amount of puns that people have created. To name a few, Lincredible, Linsanity, Linning, Linspiring, Super Lintendo, to Linfinity and beyond – basically any word that starts with IN people put an L in front of it. I can’t take it anymore. To put things in perspective, even my Asian roommate can’t take it, who is so mesmerized by Jeremy Lin he is officially Linsane….whoops I guess I got caught up in it too. That’s my point! It’s too hard not to get caught up in Linsanity so just enjoy what is happening because its special.

Will an underdog come out of nowhere and take the world by storm ever again? Yes! Will it ever happen to the extent it did with Jeremy Lin? They say history repeats itself, but I just don’t think this will ever be repeated. In the meantime, we should all take a step back and enjoy the silver Lining in this world and cheer for Jeremy Lin to succeed in the NBA. Am I going to be a hypocrite and use a Lin pun in my title? In true Minnesota fashion….Yaaa Youu Betchaa!

Peace & Lin….I mean Love.

AC

 

** I know this is late— my computer broke and I was finally able to post it!

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/linsanity-postgame-cold-open/1386272/

(SNL skit)

The NBA is back…Even in Minnesota

Basketball is BACK and it is AMAZING. I spent all day watching the games on Christmas and in the process managed to piss off my family for not spending time with them. Dear Family, I’m sorry there were too many good games on, thanks for the presents!

Since the start of the season on Christmas day I have had the privilege of attending a couple Timberwolves games with some buddies. Since KG left, I would not have been caught dead saying I had “the privilege” of attending a Timberwolves game. At the first game of the year I could tell from the get go things were different than in years past.  The Target Center was packed and the fans were excited, which was good too see. Minnesota sports have been lacking as of late but the one who has been for the longest was the Timberwolves. The culmination of the lockout and the addition of Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea have me and many other fans looking forward to this NBA season for the Wolves.

Reasons for Optimism:

  1. The first reason is overall improvement. The Wolves opened the season with a pretty tough schedule having to play five playoffs teams from last year, OKC, Miami, Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis, in their first six games. So far they managed to push both the Thunder, Heat and Grizzlies to the brink before losing and beat the Mavericks and Spurs, starting with a record of 2-4. In their first 6 games the wolves are 8th in the league in scoring with 97.8 PPG and yield 95.5 PPG to opponents giving them a positive point differential of 2.3 (13th in NBA) for the first time in years. Lets put it this way, the wolves finished with the 3rd worst point differential last year at -6.6. I know its early in the season but this improvement folks! While their defense still looks atrocious at times it has improve greatly from last year. This year they are middle of the pack (16th in NBA) in Opponents Field Goal Percentage allowed at 43.5 % and 4th in 3 Pt Field Goal Percentage only allowing 27.3%  from beyond the arc. Once again I know its early but these are definitely better than last year when they allowed 46.8% and 37.4% from the 3 point line.  The improved defense is one reason  why the Timberwolves have positive hopes for the future. /
  2. Reason number 2 is plain and simple. With the addition of Rick Adelman, who has a career winning percentage of .605, the Wolves actually have a real coach this year. After watching the first 6 games it is insane how bad of a coach Rambis was. While Adelman will try to adapt his system to the players he has, Rambis tried to force the triangle offense on the Timberwolves when it obviously did not work. He also refused to play Kevin Love, the wolves best player, for more than 30 minutes a game until Kevin Love exploded and posted the first 30-30 game in 28 years. The departure of Rambis and signing of a real coach should improve the Wolves immediately and make them at least 5+ games better.
  3. The third reason is Ricky Rubio and other additions they made in the offseason through the draft and free agent signings. The Wolves drafted Derrick Williams with the 2nd pick in the draft and signed Barea to a 4yr/19 million contract. I Immediately thought the Barea signing was stupid and once again wondered what Kahn was doing. We already signed Luke Ridnour last year and now have Ricky Rubio coming over. Where would there be room for a 5 6′ guard on this team? While attending the 1st game I could tell it was a good fit. Barea is a spark plug off the bench and has the ability to score in bunches. He also impressed me with his defense, he is so quick he can stay in front of almost anyone being a little pest that wont go away. Barea also adds leadership and experience after winning championship with the Mavericks last season. Overall, this may be the first year Timberwolve’s don’t want to crucify David Kahn at center court of the Target Center for the final home game halftime show. Speaking of halftime shows Quick Change is the best halftime show ever. Ive seen it over 10 times and have yet to figure out how its done, enjoy the video below.  Williams looks promising but is very raw and needs to work on his footwork a little bit. However, his ability to be a bigger body that can hit the three allows the Timberwolves to spread the floor and let Ricky Rubio do his thing.
  4. Minnesota fans believe Ricky Rubio is the savior and I agree. The Timberwolves have never had a more exciting, charasmatic player in their entire franchise history. Everyone in the building wants Ricky Rubio to do well and he has more than impressed. His ability to see the floor unlike anyone else and always find the open man has done wonders for the Timberwolves offense. Through the first 6 games Rubio is averaging about 28 minutes, 9 Points, 7 Assists and 4 rebounds per game. We all know that Rubio came into the league being known as a gifted passer but what has surprised me most is his ability to shoot the ball. Concerns with Rubios low shooting percentage in Europe transfering to the NBA are all but gone as he has started the season shooting 52.6% from the floor. Although he most likely wont keep this high percentage up he doesnt need to. As long as he keeps creating open shots and finding his teammates for easy buckets a high shooting percentage wont matter, its just an added bonus if he does. Check out his highlights in his debut against the Thunder. This was his DEBUT!
  5. The last reason for optimism in Minnesota is Kevin Love. He showed up this year in great shape and 20 pounds lighter. Love worked on his range all offseason and is now a legitimate three point threat shooting 41.9 % from beyond the arc. So far this season he is averaging 25.7 PPG and 15 RPG and has the 4th highest PER (Player Efficiency Rating) according to John Hollinger. He has catapulted himself from potential allstar last year to potential superstar this year as he does almost everything for the Timberwolves. In addition to leading the team in points and rebounds he also leads them in blocks. His turnovers are up from previous years, only because he has become an integral part of the offense and receives more touches. Kevin Love is a superstar and someone the Timberwolves need to lock up to a new deal soon.

Things are looking up in Minnesota for the Timberwolves and its nice to not only have the NBA back but the Timberwolves back as well.

P.S. Listen to this Jam before you go!

Peace & Love,

AC

AC’s 2012 NBA Preview

WOW. As I am writing this it is about 5 o clock on Wednesday December 21st. I just pulled the first legit all-nighter of my life. I was in the same room for over 14 hours and  I started to become delirious, insane and possibly on the verge of heart failure from too much caffeine (I think I pissed redbull earlier this morning). I took a little break  about ohhhh every 15 minutes to check ESPN, Twitter, Facebook freaking anything to get some new news and away from OMS. 

That’s the thing. When you’re checking these regularly between the times of 4am-8am in the morning, THERE IS NO FUCKING NEW NEWS, everyone is asleep. So like any other student with a passion for basketball, the need to gamble my money away and  the classic white friend who wishes he was black (Kyle Strusz). I hopped on the section of ESPN where all the hood rats go to play……That’s right the NBA section where I did a mock draft at like 5 AM and got caught up on all my NBA news. (Me, Jtrulo and Lebrunn will have a Fantasy Basketball draft later).

I then preceded to read every  article pertaining to the Timberwolves, boy do we have talent (for once), NO big guy (Again) and enough tweeners to pass out as presents to the 6 Timberwolves fans that show up to the 1st  game.

Lets give Randolph away...I wish I could do photoshop

Seriously we have Beasley (SF or PF?), Derrick Williams (PF or SF?), Anthony Randolph (PF or C?), Kevin “I lost weight even though I was an already undersized PF” Love (Slow PF or Undersized C?) , Wes Johnson playing SG when he should be at the SF position. Some quick thoughts on the Timberwolves:

  • I hated the J.J. Barea signing…at first. After watching the first preseason game I love him. Wolves need to trade Ridnour for some assets and role with the Barea- Rubio backcourt.
  • Derrick Williams is going to be a star. He doesn’t have a natural position yet but I think he will play the 4 spot. He will be a VERY rich man’s David West. I think he has something to prove and has a chip on his shoulder.
  • The Twolves should keep Bonzi Wells for the sole reason that it proves how incompetent and retarded David Kahn is, eventually leading to his firing and us hiring a new GM to make shitty moves probably drafting 4 centers with our first round picks for the next 4 years.

Oh yeah listen to this while reading: THIS IS MY JAM

Western Conference 

1. Oklahoma City Thunder

They were one of the top teams last year and should be THE top team this year. No big offseason additions but the Lakers, Mavs and Spurs didn’t get any better, in fact I think they all got worse. Thus, leaving the west wide open for the taking. Kevin Durant may be the coolest athlete ever. There is almost no barrier between him and his fans because that’s the way he wants it, he played a flag football game for the hell of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOIa20l6SXo

2. Los Angelos Clippers

Two words “Lob City”. This is the year we see Blake Griffin become the player imagined. Hes gonna average at least 3 alley oops a game. They have little depth behind Griffin and Deandre Jordan but if they can get a serviceable big man you can consider them title contenders.

3. Denver Nuggets

Yes, the Nuggets are my 3 seed in the west. They have flown under the radar but have the most depth of any team in the league. They don’t have an all-star but history has proven that during a shortened season, the teams with depth tend to do better.  Don’t forget a possible Wilson Chandler return later in the season.  Oh yeah Ty Lawson is a beast…

4. Los Angeles Lakers  

I still think this might be high but Kobe will find a way to get it done. They have absolutely no other good players after Kobe, Gasol and Bynum. I just don’t like the Lakers this year.

5. Dallas Mavericks

Everyone is counting them out! I mean they’re only the defending champs no big deal right?? They have Dirk and the addition of Odom for basically nothing will help them remain competitive.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Their team that made that crazy run in the playoffs last year is still in tact. Plus they get Rudy Gay back. Not much depth but if they stay healthy they could be potential spoilers once again in the playoffs.

7. San Antonio Spurs

Does Tim Duncan ever regress? That dude is consistently consistent…does that make sense? Like Jtrulo I like the addition of Kawhi Leonard. They will coast to the 7 spot and turn it on in the playoffs.

8. Portland Trailblazers

Lamarcus Aldridge broke out last season and they still have batum, wes Matthews oh and they got Jamal Crawford for like dirt cheap. Seriously, did all the owners in the league take on Kyle Strusz’s persona and become the cheapest bastards in the league?

9. Golden State Warriors

I LOVE their backcourt of Ellis and Curry. They should be able to carry them to the 9 spot in the west. Golden State desperately needs a defensive presence…I’m sorry Andries Biedriens isn’t cutting it. I’ll take Darko over that piece of shit any day… that’s saying something.

10. Houston Rockets

The Rockets got screwed in that cancelled trade, they would have had Nene and Gasol with an underrated Kyle Lowry and good young talent. Not to mention Kevin Mchale is now there, he is bound to fuck something up soon.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

This is not bias at all. I seriously think the Wolves will surprise people this year. The main difference between this years team and last years is we actually have a coach. 1st time since Dwayne Casey was unjustly fired.

12. Utah Jazz

Definitely a rebuilding year but the young talent they have is insane. Kanter, Favors, Hayward? Devin Harris, Millsap and Al Jefferson should be able to win some games for them this year.

13. Sacramento Kings

If the Kings players could only get their act together they could be good. Yes, Demarcus Cousins I’m calling you out. They could easily move from 12th to 10th if they get it together, but my prediction is they don’t. Jimmer will be the only fun thing about the kings this year.

14. New Orleans

Having to trade Chris Paul sucks but they got quite a bit in return. Eric Gordon is a beast. They have a serviceable PG in Jarrett Jack and other good players in Kaman (contract year), Ariza and Okeafor. They are not the worst team in the west….

15. Phoenix suns

Similar to the LA situation I don’t like this team at all. Just take a look at their roster, they suck. I feel bad for Steve Nash. Lets start a twitter campaign to get Nash traded to a title contender, he deserves it.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

The NBA champion is coming from the east this year, Its either the Heat or the Bulls that’s my not so bold prediction.

1. Miami Heat

They are winning it all this year. They almost won it last year and the addition of Shane Battier will be key in my opinion.

2. Chicago Bulls

Derek Rose, coming of an MVP season will be even better this year. They look scary good with the addition of Richard Hamilton. The Bulls can now get Ashton Kutcher of the basketball court!

3. New York Knicks

The addition of Tyson Chandler was nice. However they need a point guard to run them up and down the court in D’antonio’s offense. By the way, doesn’t it seem like the Knicks should be running a slower half court offense? It better suits their team and would save Amare’s knees.

4. Atlanta Hawks

Joe Johnson had a below average year for his standards and his performance alone should improve the hawks to get them to the 4th spot. They’ll probably lose in the 1st round again anyways.

5. Indiana Pacers

I like this team a lot they could be spoilers for some teams with big hopes in the East. Good all around squad with some depth and like I mentioned before I think depth is gonna play a big factor this year. Oh yeah Paul George is about to breakout this season.

6. Boston Celtics

The Celtics big three on their last leg, I think this is the last year we see them all play together before they each respectively sign with other title contenders. They tank a couple games in the regular season to save KG, Pierce and Allen and turn it on in the playoffs.

7. Orlando Magic

This spot is all depending on if Dwight shows up to play every night or pouts because he hasn’t got traded yet. Seriously no one else can affect the Magic’s playoffs hopes like Dwight, I hope he doesn’t ruin his good name.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

Jrue Holiday is an up and comer and the 76ers still have Iggy and Brand. I think Evan Turner plays like the player we thought he would out of college. We’ll all pull a Denny Green, “ he is who we thought he was”

9. New Jersey Nets

Now that Lopez is out I don’t see Deron Williams carrying a bunch of scrubs to the playoffs.  He’ll have to wait another year until Dwight comes to town. The nets do have some young players with talent like Marshon Brooks and Damien James.

10. Washington Wizards

I like the Wizards just not enough to put them in the playoffs. Wall is super exciting and should make a big step this year. They also have young talent in Jordan Crawford, Mcgee and Nick Young…watch out for the Wiz.

11. Milwaukee Bucks

After watching the Wolves beat the Bucks in the preseason twice, they are worse than I thought. Brandon Jennings is over rated and has never shot a very high percentage. Bogut has had to many injuries that noticeably affect his play. They do have Stephen Jackson but i feel like you never know what one your going to get, the pouty one or the one who actually plays Defense and scores at will.

12. Detroit Pistons

This team has more players that can play the same position than the Timberwolves, only thing is that they are worse than the Timberwolves players. They do have Stuckey, I like him.

13. Charlotte Bobcats

The bobcats are going to be starting Boris Diaw at center. Hes, fat, short, slow and making way too much money. I like Kemba and thats about it. Michael Jordan can play basketball but he doesn’t know how to run an organization. How did they almost make the playoffs last year? it baffles me.

14. Cleveland Cavaliers

Another dismal year for the Cavaliers. I don’t think Kyrie will play as well as people think. He didn’t even play a full season in college…how was he the #1 pick? Oh yeah that was the worst draft in the last 10 years.

Awards

MVP: Kevin Durant

He’s kept quite during the offseason playing pick games whenever wherever. I love Durant and he WILL be the MVP this year. Other contenders will be Paul, Rose, Wade and Lebron. Rose could potentially steal it from Durant with a monster year.

Rookie of The Year: Kemba Walker.

Ladies and Gentleman Your 2012 ROY

DJ Augustine sucks and Walker will take over for him by years end. To some this may seem ridiculous. Think about it, he will be on a bad Bobcats team that does not really have a scorer, Kemba will develop into that role. Who else is going to take the big shots in the clutch for Charlotte? The reason he wins is because he is in the best position out of all the others too.  Derrick Williams won’t get enough playing time and I’m not totally sold on Kyrie. He was impressive in college but he barely played the whole year! I’m going out on a limb saying Kemba is the ROY.

The A(bro)ciation’s 2011-12 NBA Preview

It’s about that time.

No, not Christmas time. As college students, we are no longer reserved the right to enjoy Christmas time. Instead, professors beat our heads into the ground with loads of studying and force us to stay on campus until a couple of days before ol St. Nick rolls through town. How am I supposed to feel the Christmas spirit with my head stuffed in a book entitled “Systems Analysis & Design” for hours on end? I’ve tried everything. I tried listening to Christmas tunes while studying, but that only made me think about how faint the light at the end of the tunnel was becoming. I tried falling asleep to Elf every night which felt nice, but it got old after the 7th consecutive night. I tried going for a walk and observing the Christmas decor that the Dinkytown community has to offer, but this isn’t suburbia. The strings of houses filled with lights that had me enamored as a child are nowhere to be found here. Did I mention there is ABSOLUTELY NO SNOW ON THE GROUND? I blame all of you for wishing against it for so many years. Ugh.

Well, one of the few things I can get excited about because it won’t end two days after I get home from school is…you guessed it, the NBA.

Christmas will end. LeBron keeps on giving with his talents on the court.

While you are all listening to songs about figgy pudding, we are listening to this:

While you are looking at the Christmas lights around town, we are watching this:

Yes, we here at the A(bro)ciation are extremely excited for the NBA season. This is the first time we have had the chance to publish a preview. There are lots of ways to do it, but we want you to have fun. Less text, enough analysis, but plenty of music, video, and bad humor. Let’s get started, shall we?

Ranking the Western Conference

The West is, surprisingly, down this year. Usually strong top to bottom (well almost all the way to the bottom), the West is going to look a lot more like the East last year. There will be some dominant teams, as always, but at least one or two teams that make the playoffs will be sure to exit quickly (think Pacers and Sixers last year in the East). Let’s rank these bitches:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder

One word:  progression. We saw growth last year, we will see dominance this year. Harden taking on that true third man role will be key, but he proved after the Jeff Green trade that he is ready.

It's ALL about these guys in the West this year.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

They’re old, but people are going too far with the hate. Kobe always finds a way to get it done. I think the main reason people are down on them is because of Pau Gasol’s poor play last year in the playoffs. Don’t forget he was the reason that the Lakers won two championships.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

I hate to say it but the tandem of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is going to be scary this year. For some reason, people are pushing CP3 so far into the spotlight that Griffin seems to have moved into the passenger’s seat. His credit will come after 25 and 12 on opening night. This team also has underrated role players. You know I love me some Randy Foye!

4. Memphis Grizzlies

Follow Tony Allen on Twitter? You should. You get gems like these:

He mad!

Dude might be on X more often than we originally thought. Thanks Twitter. As for his team, I love when a young core grows together. Gay, Gasol, Conley is a great core and they have one of the deepest rosters in the West.

5. Dallas Mavericks

This is the conversation I had in my head about the Dallas Mavericks:

Me:  I despise Vince Carter, rank them 10th.

Me:  I love Lamar Odom, rank them 1st.

Me:  5th seems right.

6. Portland Trailblazers

Ugh. I would almost rather be a Timberwolves fan than Trailblazers. They are stuck in this rut of mediocrity that isn’t going to change for a loooong time. LaMarcus Aldridge is great. I love Gerald Wallace. Nic Batum is a great role player. Still, these names aren’t winning any championships together anytime soon.

7. San Antonio Spurs

Somehow, Mr. Popovich always gets it done. I like the Kawhi Leonard pick in the draft, but other than that, can we expect any new value from an aging roster? They are old, but good, at least in the regular season.

8. Denver Nuggets

Wilson Chandler is a dumbass for signing in China. Still, Nene is back (my boy!), Danilo is the new Italian Stallion of the NBA, and Ty Lawson finally gets to be “the guy.” They’ll sneak into the playoffs.

9. Houston Rockets

Kevin McFail could bring some success to Houston, but as a devout Timberwolves fan we all know he will set back the franchise a decade or so. Still, I love Kevin Martin and Luis Scola enough to project them 9th.

10. Golden State Warriors

Love this backcourt. Everyone does. Monta Ellis is a killer on the offensive end and Stephen Curry makes me ache on the inside as a Timberwolves fan (Kahn passed on him twice). Still, Andris Biedrins has been overpaid and under-performing his entire career. Kwame Brown is not the solution. Still, the backcourt gets them near the playoffs.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

I’m goin there…say it loud Jim!

Yes, Basketball Prospectus pegged the TimberPups as a contender for the playoffs. A contender!!! What?!? Rubio Fever babbbbbyyyyy!!! But seriously, the roster looks really good. Lots of talent. Let’s see how it pieces together. I say they’re not there yet, but finally out of the Western Conference cellar.

12. Phoenix Suns

This team is poop. Steve Nash and a bunch of role players. But still, Steve Nash. Fine I won’t put them last.

13. Sacramento Kings

My love for Tyreke Evans may be skewing this ranking a little bit. This team is really as talentless as they come. The sound of Jimmer and DeMarcus Cousins on the court at the same time makes sick. Why? I’m a Carlson student and they preach efficiency. These guys don’t know what that word means.

14. Utah Jazz

Rebuilding 101. Jazz will do it well, but it is just beginning. Prepare yourselves Jazz fans.

15. New Orleans Hornets

I love you, Eric Gordon. Get well soon my man.

I think he scores 25+ a game while not even thinking about the team’s score. Just sayin…how is he going to care about that team when he’s leaving after his rookie contract ends and its pretty clear they don’t have a chance at the playoffs.

Ranking the Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat

I’m scared. I have finally sort of maybe come around on LeBron. Whether he has changed or I have I can’t tell, but the guy is too good. I have to admire him when he’s on the court. It’s apparent (i.e. Tiger Woods) that there is no great athlete that is normal off the playing field. I just don’t like when LeBron is a tool on the court. So, stop that LeBron, and I will support you when you tear the league a new one this year. Oh yea, Dwyane Wade is pretty good too.

These cocky bastards are gonna roll in the East.

2. Chicago Bulls

Chicago beat writer tweeted this:

I love you D-Rose.

3. New York Knicks

http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2011/08/15/top-100-nba-players-nos-11-20/

Melo is pissed. Watch out. Love the Tyson Chandler signing.

4. Boston Celtics

One…Last…Try.

5. New Jersey Nets

I’m still pissed at Deron Williams for being the first star to simply run away from the problems between the NBPA and the owners. You accomplish NOTHING by leaving the country and leaving it to other, Deron. I am no longer cheering for you.

6. Indiana Pacers

This team is making strides. The roster is ugly. Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Foster, Darren Collison, Louis Amundson, and on and on. They are bright spots though and I love Paul George’s chances of breaking out this year. Also, George Hill acquisition was quiet but could make major noise this year.

7. Atlanta Hawks

The TrailBlazers of the East…with a little more talent. I love watching this team, but I don’t think the change to Jeff Teague from Mike Bibby for a full season makes that much of a difference.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

The new Atlanta Hawks of the East! Wait, so by transitive property, they are also like the Blazers of the East. Some young talent, some decent vets, but at the end of the day, they can’t match up with the elite teams in the Eats.

9. Orlando Magic

I am assuming a Dwight Howard trade. He doesn’t get enough credit for how bad his team truly is. Plus, a disgruntled Dwight will not play very well, meaning that an already poor team will turn horrid when Mr. Howard leaves.

Oh, Dwight, please don't ruin your reputation through this!

10. Washington Wizards

This is my new second favorite team. I have come to love John Wall. He seems to love the game. It doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the most exciting players to watch. It also doesn’t hurt that he has JaVale McGee to throw alley-oops to. Still, this roster is full of immature youth (Nick Young, Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche) that even my boy Flip Saunders can’t turn into a playoff team yet.

11. Milwaukee Bucks

I went to Milwaukee in October to see J. Cole. That city is a dump (sorry). But, had a great time at the show. So, thanks for that Milwaukee.

As for the basketball team, Brandon Jennings is overrated, Andrew Bogut is above average, and Mike Dunleavy isn’t the most earth-shattering of signings. They just aren’t a playoff team.

12. Charlotte Bobcats

This roster is horrible. How did they do that well last year (34-48)? Well, now Stephen Jackson is gone and they legitimately do not have a go-to scorer. Still, I love MJ so I will be nice in my rankings.

13. Detroit Pistons

Remember when Detroit reigned as one of the premier defensive squads that boasted the best starting 5 in the NBA? Ha. Those days are over, say hello to Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, and Greg Monroe. At least they added Ben Wallace for the nostalgic touch (part of those dominant teams when he was in his prime).

14. Cleveland Cavaliers

Based on Kyrie’s limited preseason playing time thus far, I feel comfortable simply calling him “Kyrie.” Too soon? How about “Irv”? Okay, I’m getting carried away but this guy appears to be everything we had hoped. Still, it will take a long time to rebuild that roster completely. Have fun, Kyrie!

15. Toronto Raptors

I can’t believe that there is a question as to who the worst team in the NBA will be in 2011-12. I don’t even care about records. This team will NOT fill seats, make it on SportsCenter, or even provide the ladies with some eye candy. Rough times in Toronto right now.

Individual Awards

I’m not going to predict awards that nobody cares about. That means go somewhere else for Coach of the Year predictions.

MVP:  Kevin Durant

It’s the obvious pick, but it’s the right one. The Chris Paul talk is ridiculous. He will be good, but his impact will be over-measured. I hope the voters can see through that. LeBron and Wade understand their predicament and they will be content with a ring.

Durantula is ready to win his first MVP.

Durant took over the summer circuit and captured the eyes of even casual basketball fans without the NBA platform (he even met a college kid through twitter and played flag football with him). The Thunder are going to take over the league this season much like Bill Simmons predicted for last year. The Lakers and Spurs are declining, the Clippers will need time to mold together, and the rest of the West lacks talent compared to OKC. Durant will be the face of this attack on the league. Expect normal (approaching 30 per game) scoring numbers and an improved mental game from Durant in 2011-12. BIG things are coming (as the league says) from Durant and an MVP award will ice the cake.

Rookie of the Year:  Kyrie

Yea, that’s right, I’m goin’ for it. We can call him by one name.

Derrick Williams is the popular pick here. The problem is, Rick Adelman sees him exclusively playing power forward for now. You’re probably thinking “Wait, isn’t Kevin Love a power forward?” Yes, he is, and that’s why Williams will not win ROY. They will find ways to use him and he will have a solid year, but he won’t be in the position to put up stats that match up to Kyrie’s (this one name thing just feels right now after using it a few times).

And so it begins...

Kyrie appears to have all of the explosiveness, ability to get to the rim, and jumper we all wanted him to have. He was making plays all over the court in his first preseason game. The best part is, Dan Gilbert has put together another team worthy of losing 26 in a row. So, Kyrie should be able to take the reigns right away (plus, Baron Davis is gone!) and put in big minutes. I still think his assist numbers will take time to rise, but he should score right away. I love his game, but the opportunity he has is the main reason he is my Rookie of the Year.

Let’s Get it Started

I can’t wait for this season to start. Even though I missed out on my Mom’s Christmas cookies and helping my Dad put up the lights on our suburban home, I guess four months of Ricky Rubio alley-oops (coined “Rubi-oops”) and LeBron no-look dimes will have to do.

Shit, I just realized I haven’t done any Christmas shopping.

Look for predictions from all of us before Christmas!

Bye!

Beers at 3:21 AM

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

Let’s be honest, I have a reputation for deep thought. I’m always thinking. Always over-analyzing. Shoot, if I had a golf ball for every time I over-analyzed a life decision, Tubby Smith’s horrid defensive scheme, or a multiple choice question on an exam, I would have enough golf balls to last my Dad about 72 holes. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but hey, every time we play golf together I have to ride in his cart and watch his ball for him. It’s not that he can’t see it. It’s more that he doesn’t care to try to watch it. I mean if he would look out about 30 yards right of the fairway he would see his tee shot drifting off course every time. You get where I’m going with this? I would have a lot of golf balls.

Anyway.

This is a picture from my bedroom at 3:21 AM last Saturday, November 26th:

I live a weird life.

Yes, that is a beer. Yes, I am in bed drinking a beer alone. Yes, that is the ESPN homepage right after the “handshake agreement” was announced. Yes, I was watching ESPN waiting for the presser to air. And yes, I cracked that beer after I first heard of the news via Twitter.

Honestly, even though my insomniac ass might have been up for that breaking news on most nights, I very well could have dosed off and missed it. I could have woken up in the morning to the hellish sound of my alarm, strolled downstairs, turned on my laptop, punched in ESPN.com to check my fantasy football lineups and seen the minuscule headline that the NBA is “back.” That could have happened. I would have been excited on the inside, still drowsy on the outside, and upset that I missed the real deal when I had already stayed up following Twitter during previous negotiations in hopes of a deal. But it didn’t. It didn’t happen. Instead, I fatefully checked Twitter at the perfect time, 10 minutes before negotiations ended. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com covered the lockout like a champ so, naturally, I was tuned into his feed. For about 20 minutes, I was sittin, waitin, wishin (what up Jack Johnson fans) until he finally tweeted:

THANK YOU KEN BERGER!

I went on a rampant streak of tweets that started with desperation:

 

 

Turned into excitement:

 

 

Then I even got caught up in Rubio fever:

 

 

 

The best moment came from this exchange with one of my favorite NBA bloggers, Zach Harper:

 

 

 

 

It was awesome.

Usually, the weekend after Thanksgiving is filled with deep thought about the horribly agitating group projects and brutal finals I have to get through before coming back home for Christmas in a month.

Instead, I was able to enjoy a special moment. I seriously may never forget that two hour stretch of hearing the official word, cracking a couple beers, and watching SportsCenter replay the presser over and over again.

First Google image result: a dunk. Lucky bastard.

It takes me back. I remember going to Timberwolves games with my Dad in section 116 of the Target Center before they messed with the seating a few years back. I remember going crazy over clutch Anthony Peeler threes. I remember yelling at Dean Garrett for stealing Kevin Garnett’s rebounds (Damnit Dean, he needs stats to win an MVP award!). I remember watching Michael Jordan cash home the series clinching jumper on Russell after sneaking into my sister’s room (she had a tv) because my parents had already sent me to bed. I remember the closest to the court that I ever sat at a game was with my Uncle for the Timberwolves-Denver Nuggets game. It was a long time ago. That was when opponents were worried about Antonio McDyess. My Uncle fell asleep during the game. I didn’t notice until our row won a free taco from Taco Bell and when I handed him the stack of coupons, he didn’t move. Clearly, he didn’t remember much of that game. I remember it like it was yesterday; or at least like it was last week (gimme a break, it was over a decade ago). A lot of people, like my Uncle, don’t connect with the NBA for a lot of reasons. That’s fine. But I do. I do in a some kind of special way.

Whew. There’s another golf ball for my Dad. I knew I wouldn’t get through this without gettin’ all sappy and reflecting on my life as an NBA fan.

My sister asked me in the morning, “Why do you have two empty beer bottles on your desk?”

Only one way to answer that:  “Rubiooooooooo!!!”

Thanks for the memories, NBA. Can’t wait to start making more on Christmas Day.

Ain’t No Party Like a (Mock) Draft Party

We love the NBA Draft.

I (jtrulo) really don’t even know how to explain it. Some of my favorite life memories as a sports fan have come on NBA Draft night.

I vividly remember when the Timberwolves selected Mario Chalmers (my sports hero after making this shot) with the 34th pick in the 2008 draft. I was watching it at Blake Superior’s house and literally screamed like a 14-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert when Adam Silver announced his name. Driving home, I was thinking of ways to apologize to my mom for getting home two hours after I said I would. Mom gave me a dirty look when I got there, but I deflected her glaring eyes and immediately went upstairs to catch the last few picks of the 2nd round. As I was glancing along the bottomline to catch the picks I had missed, I made this face:

OK, maybe I wasn’t that bad, but this gives you the right idea. Plus, I just love this video.

But, yes, we had traded Mario Chalmers. In fact, I would later find out that we had made the trade before we even selected him. Too good to be true folks, too good to be true.

I feel like I am giving you the wrong idea. Great memories of the draft are dancing in my mind right now like Mark Madsen at a championship parade.

This year, I have never spent so much time reading garbage rumors and analyzing porous mock drafts on the internet. Why? Because I am a nerd. Also, because the ‘Wolves hold a lot of power in this draft. We seem to say it every year, but this night truly will make a difference in determining the future of the franchise.

Currently, Blake Superior and I are sitting with AC (McCant’ Tell Me Nothin’) in his basement. Yes, I said Blake Superior. He is alive. Call off the search boats. His last appearance on the blog came in February when he wrote this on Ron Artest. Yea, he only responds to authority when the person yelling him actually has authority. AC and I learned the hard way.

Anyway, we are about to embark on a 1st Round NBA Mock Draft, but as always, we’re gonna do it bro-style.

This is how it will work:

  1. AC will pick first. He will play GM for the Cavs for about 2 minutes (maybe longer, the kid can’t make decisions) until he makes his pick.
  2. jtrulo will pick from the available players off the board as the temporary GM for the Timberwolves.
  3. Blake Superior will pick in the 3 spot with the Utah Jazz.
  4. Repeat step 1, except insert the team that each bro will control for a couple of minutes.
Get it? If not, just ignore the names in the parentheses and read it as a normal mock draft.
Also, this is our site, so if we want to negotiate with each other and work some deals, we’ll do it damnit. Get that? Ugh, you’re hopeless if not.

Let’s get it started:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (AC) select Kyrie Irving, PG from Duke.

AC tried to make a trade here with the Jazz (No. 3 and 12). Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Trade to no. 3 in a “two-player” draft.

He’s been learning too much from David Kahn. We need to stop being T’Wolves fans before he brainwashes us completely.

Little known fact:  Kyrie considers himself a singer.

2. We have a trade!!! Minnesota Timberwolves (jtrulo)  receive Roy Hibbert and the no. 15 pick from the Indiana Pacers (Blake Superior) for the no. 2 pick.

With the no. 2 pick, the Indiana Pacers (Blake Superior) select Enes Kanter, PF/C from Turkey.

Blake Superior calls him Enes “Big Penis” Kanter. I guess he likes the “Big Penis” enough to trade up for him.

3. Utah Jazz (Blake Superior) select Derrick Williams, SF from Arizona.

Some have said they would not take Williams here. Can you imagine if that happened? The Cavs, at one point, worked extremely hard to try to get the no. 2 pick from the Wolves, and there are rumors that they can get him at 4? Indirectly, David Kahn is to blame. He traded no. 2 which turned into Kanter and gave the Jazz the opportunity to pass on him. Kahn just ruins everything.

Little known fact:  Derrick loves sweet tea.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (AC) select Kawhi Leonard, SF from San Diego State.

Ballsy pick AC. Then again, your nickname is cockmeat sandwich, so this may not be your last ballsy pick of the draft.

5. Toronto Raptors (jtrulo) select Brandon Knight, PG from Kentucky.

Jose Calderon isn’t cutting it. Apparently, new head coach Dwane Casey is considering Bismack Biyombo here now.

6. Washington Wizards (Blake Superior) select Tristan Thompson, PF from Texas.

Blake Superior loves Double-T. I can’t stand him. I think he’s the most overrated player in the draft. Then again, I’m a Jayhawks fan and Thompson was a Longhorn.

7. Sacramento Kings (AC) select Kemba Walker, PG from UConn.

Kembaaaaaaaaaaa! 1st of 2 guys in the draft that go by first-name basis…already. That’s gotta mean something.

8. Detroit Pistons (jtrulo) select Jan Vesely, SF from Czech Republic.

He sucks, but scouts love him. Whatever.

9. Charlotte Bobcats (Blake Superior) select Chris Singleton, SF from Florida State.

Michael Jordan makes a good pick? Wha?!?

10. Milwaukee Bucks (AC) select Marshon Brooks, SG from Providence.

WHOAAAAA!!!! What did I say?!?!? Another ballsy pick from the meat man. Brooks is the third rated SG and AC just took him before the two rated ahead of him. Ballsy.

11. Golden State Warriors (jtrulo) select Klay Thompson, SG from Washington State.

Oh, here’s the SG that’s rated second. Wait, this is backwards…or you could just call it bro-style.

12. Utah Jazz (Blake Superior) select Jimmer Fredette, PG from BYU.

Blake Superior loves Jimmer. And he took a guy that he named “The Big Penis.” Hmm…

13. Phoenix Suns (AC) select Bismack Biyombo, PF/C from Congo.

The best name in the draft. Bar none.

14. Houston Rockets (jtrulo) select Jonas Valanciunas, C from Lithuania.

Gonna be the steal of the draft if he doesn’t go top 5. Sayin’ it now. Write it down, bitches.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves, from Indiana, (jtrulo) select Alec Burks, SG from Colorado.

David Kahn’s dream scenario. Yea, I said David Kahn, so obviously this will not happen.

AND NOW, WE INTERRUPT THIS MOCK DRAFT WITH A COMPLETELY UNRELATED YOUTUBE VIDEO THAT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH (the caps lock was put on to get your attention, so no I am not screaming):

 

16. Philadelphia 76ers (AC) select Jordan Hamilton, SF from Texas.

Hamilton is underrated. Good pick here from the meat man.

17. New York Knicks (jtrulo) select Markieff Morris, PF from Kansas.

This isn’t right. Marcus was supposed to go before Markieff.

18. Washington Wizards (Blake Superior) select Marcus Morris, SF from Kansas.

This isn’t right. Marcus was supposed to go before Markieff.

Get it? They’re twins and I repeated the…oh forget it.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (AC) select Iman Shumpert, PG/SG from Georgia Tech.

This dude is skyrocketing up draft boards. That scares me a bit.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (jtrulo) select Donatas Motiejunas, PF from Lithuania.

David Kahn is at it again. See ya never, Donatas (how do you even say that?)

21. Portland Trail Blazers (Blake Superior) select Kenneth Faried, PF from Morehead St.

Perfect fit here. LaMarcus Aldridge needs a backup at PF and Faried is the perfect NBA backup PF.

22. Another trade!!! Denver Nuggets (AC) trade Raymond Felton and the 22nd pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lamar Odom and their 2012 First Round Pick.

Los Angeles Lakers (AC) select Tobias Harris, PF from Tennessee.

OK, if you didn’t think AC was ballsy before, well, he just MADE A TRADE WITH HIMSELF!!!! Yes, this time the caps lock was on because I was yelling.

Harris has an NBA-ready body, but isn’t quite polished yet. Lakers need some young blood though, and AC thinks Harris and his balls would fit in LA.

23. Houston Rockets (jtrulo) select Nikola Mirotic, SF from Serbia.

Draft and stash in Europe. Hope he pans out in a few years.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder (Blake Superior) select JaJuan Johnson, PF from Purdue.

The Thunder are slowly turning into the new-era Spurs, making good decisions at all times. JJ would be another good one.

25. Boston Celtics (AC) select Nikola Vucevic, C from USC.

This would be a steal. Vucevic is another name rising quickly up draft boards.

26. Dallas Mavericks (jtrulo) select Reggie Jackson, PG from Boston College.

The champs don’t really need anything unless they lose Barea or Chandler to free agency. I think Barea leaves so Jackson can spell Kidd.

27. New Jersey Nets (Blake Superior) select Tyler Honeycutt, SF from UCLA.

Another steal alert. Also, the best American name in the draft.

28. Chicago Bulls (AC) select Josh Selby, PG/SG from Kansas.

AC was not ballsy on this pick. He said “maybe” Selby can play SG for them. Then, I criticized the pick and he tried to change it. No backsies, AC.

29. San Antonio Spurs (jtrulo) select Jeremy Tyler, PF/C from Japan.

This dude, personality-wise, is the complete opposite of Tim Duncan. Timmy will straighten his ass out.

30. Chicago Bulls (Blake Superior) select Chandler Parsons, SF from Florida.

Chandler Parsons-flow is gonna be the new thing wherever he gets picked.

 

Well, there ya go. That was the inaugural A(bro)ciation NBA Mock Draft. Hope you enjoyed it.

Look out for jtrulo’s draft day diary on Friday.

 

Peace, love, and David Kahn,

jtrulo

David Kahn: Quit Being the Annoying Golfer

I’m a golfer.

You’d be surprised how often golf is analogous to life. I’m gonna save all of the life lessons golf has taught me for another post, but right now, I’d like to focus on a certain aspect of golf that pushes many people to hate the game. It is called luck. Some believe in it, and some do not. In golf, if you are a heavy believer in luck, you are either going to be THE most annoying player in the foursome (and thus, the worst business golfer in your company), or the guy/gal that gives up after playing two 9-hole rounds (or maybe even a couple of trips to the driving range). 

No, I think it's "the BETTER you get"

I have been playing for about 16 years (that number varies depending on if people count plastic toy clubs as golfing). Do I believe in luck? Hellllllll nah (pretend I said that in a Randy Moss-esque country voice). In the words of a redhead fully bearded man that occasionally mentored (or maybe tortured is the more appropriate word)  my high school golf team:  “It all evens out.” So true. I am gonna say that one more time so it sticks in your head. “It all evens out.” Think about it.

Let’s take a round of golf as an example. First hole, your tee shot is headed for the trees. You tell it to “Kick out!” and it bounces off a limb into the middle of the fairway. Everyone in your group hates you for at least the next 3 holes, but you don’t care because you are sitting pretty while they are searching for their respective balls in the woods.

13th hole, same round, you hit a ball right down the middle, pick up your tee before it lands, and march down the fairway with your head held high. Maybe you even tell a funny story on the walk to your ball. But wait, when you get there, your ball is sitting in a big fat sand divot. You and your 18 handicap don’t have a chance in hell at getting that ball on the green. Now you’re pissed, and your group is laughing at you (do you really think they forgot that lucky bounce on number one?). So, you can react a couple of different ways.

First, you could pout like a little whiny bitch and make your backswing thinking about how unlucky you got, leading to a horrible shot (even for you) and a double bogey on the hole. Or, you could realize that this happened by random chance, and the good players learn to deal with every situation, leading to a solid shot to the middle of the green and a 2-putt par. 

So, you are probably thinking:  Where the hell is he going with this? Isn’t this an NBA blog? This guy doesn’t seem like a bro right now…Well shut up. Stop thinking that. Here’s the connection:

The NBA Draft Lottery was a couple of days ago. Some would say the Timberwolves have no luck. They have never moved up in a lottery and they have moved down 7 times. So, when they dropped from 1 to 2, people said “Wow, the streak of bad luck continues for the Timberwolves.” To those people, I say: Don’t ever invite me to play golf with you. 

Seriously, this could have been so much worse. It seems that most teams believe that this is a 2-player draft. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are viewed as the only two players that are even close to a “sure thing.” The Timberwolves’ highest odds were to receive the  No. 4 pick (35%), and people are saying they have bad luck when they receive the No. 2 pick in a 2-player draft?

Timberwolves can have one of these guys if they keep the No. 2 pick.

If I believed in luck, I would say that this is the luckiest the Timberwolves have been in the David Kahn era! If they had gotten the 4th pick, they probably take Bismack Biyombo (think Ben Wallace: solid starter, defensive presence, not a franchise changer), continue to trudge along in the cellar of the Western Conference under the leadership of Kevin Love, and maybe peak with a 30 win season a couple years from now. Instead, they hold the No. 2 pick, a valuable asset in a 2-player draft. They can use it on the player that falls to them of the big 2, or they can trade it and add veteran help.

And this brings me to the main point of this post:  Please do not screw this up David Kahn.

Rumors are flying that Ricky Rubio and Michael Beasley are being mentioned in a trade along with the #2 pick for Danny Granger. This is why I do not believe in luck. We are going to sit here and call this team unlucky, when they are having these types of discussions. Seriously?

Yes, they are rumors and they probably aren’t ll that accurate (Apparently, Kahn texted Pacers beat writer Mike Wells saying “I don’t have to give up Love too?” jokingly, so who knows). But, how often does a team turn the #5 and 6 picks into sunk costs after TWO YEARS. Yes, we drafted Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn in the 2009 draft and it is now 2011. In 2011, there are rumors that Ricky Rubio will either be signed or traded, and that Jonny Flynn’s days in Minnesota are numbered. Clearly, Mr. Kahn has a history of making bad decisions. If you think it is bad luck, then stop reading this post because we will never agree. I haven’t even begun to mention his comments about the NBA rigging the lottery to get a storyline (sounds a little bit like the whiny bitch golfer, eh?).

I wonder what he is saying to this poor little guy...

David Kahn has been accumulating “assets” since he has gotten to Minnesota. Most of them have not panned out, have not played yet (not often you can say that but Ricky Rubio is transcending the world of bad GMs), or have failed to play up to Kahn’s dreamy standards. The lone bright spot on the team is the one “asset” remaining from the Kevin McHale era. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

In all seriousness, David Kahn, I am giving you one last chance. I have been a fan since I moved to Minnesota at age 3, and I see past your bullshit in every move you make, every interview you do. It’s time to prove yourself. Right now, you look like the guy who can’t handle a bad break on the golf course, and damn, it is annoying.

So pretend you are golfing. Pretend this round of golf decides your future, and even what people think of you as a golfer. Pretend that you have hit some bad shots during this round, and luck had nothing to do with it. Pretend this draft is the 18th hole in this ever-important round, and you need a par. You may have thought you needed the No. 1 pick. So what, pretend you are the guy that striped a tee shot down the middle, only to find out it landed in a sand divot. So what are you going to do? Double bogey yet another hole? Or learn to man up, deal with the situation you are put in, and par the damn hole. That’s all the Timberwolves fans want. We are sick of double bogeys. Give us a par.

Make your damn own luck,

jtrulo

Ozzy and a Soup Ladle

If you are not very familiar with the blog, we have a crazy friend named Ozzy. Check this out first before you read this post. Think of it as a prerequisite to this post. 

OK, I need to apologize. To everyone reading this that has been waiting for the next Ozzy post for months. To my buddy Henry for promising I would make this post, then delaying it for months. And to Ozzy for not responding to his 12 text messages, 8 “whats up dog” Facebook chat hellos, 4 missed calls, and 2 Facebook messages in trying to contact me over the past 3 weeks. I hope you all can accept my apology. Especially you Ozzy.

So the real reason I’m here is to give you the best YouTube video I’ve ever seen. OK, maybe just the best YouTube video I’ve ever seen that was recorded by a friend and has someone I know in it. But seriously, its pretty awesome. 

Have you ever heard of the cinnamon challenge? It includes swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon in as much time as you need, with no liquids or anything of that nature to help. It is widely debated how much cinnamon is actually supposed to be downed, but 3 tablespoons and a spoonful are common proportions. My buddies and I have all attempted this challenge. Almost all of us have failed. Except Ozzy. One time he did it 3 times in one night while the rest of us failed miserably. 3 times. Dude put 3 spoonfuls of cinnamon into his gut. Hold that thought.

Let’s take a look at the history of YouTube cinnamon challenge videos:

Compared to Ozzy, these guys are pussies:

Look at this bitch. Ozzy is laughing at you (totally thought her boyfriend was black ’til the high five part):

OK, this one is pretty funny (skip to 1:50):

Let me try to explain the magnitude of this situation to you. Ozzy is the Tiger Woods of the cinnamon challenge. When he shows up to the kitchen counter, everyone knows he’s gonna win, he’s gonna complete this challenge. He even has a gameface that he calls the “mental chomp” (strikingly similar to Tiger’s gameface on Sundays):

Not to mention, after this video he took his shirt off. That’s version of Tiger wearing red. Think of Ozzy’s career this way:  when he completed the challenge 3 times in one night he was like Tiger at the U.S. Open in 2000 (Largest margin of victory ever, 15). When Ozzy attempted what I am about to show you, he had recently gone through a break-up with a girlfriend (don’t ask me how he met her or how many kids she has). So, when you watch this video, just know Ozzy was not at the top of his game. But, like Tiger, he always thinks he can dominate. 

So, toward the end of his venture to New Mexico (he is back in Minnesota now), Henry proposed a crazy challenge. He said “Rather than a spoonful, lets fill a soup ladle up.” So, yes, Ozzy tried to eat a soup ladle full of cinnamon. Here is what happened: 

As he said in the video “If I make this, I will be the fuckin’ luckiest person ever.” Its OK Ozzy, you may have not been lucky on that day. But, you’re still the best.

Please don’t be mad at me Ozzy,

jtrulo

ATL Is On Some Bull-Shit Like Chicago

For some reason I am very intrigued by this series. Conventional wisdom would be to say Bulls in 4 and that Atlanta has no chance, well this is the NBA where conventional wisdom goes out the window. The Hawks are playing well right now as evidenced by their win in game 1 over Chicago IN Chicago.

First off, if Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford keep playing like they did in game 1, Atlanta could win this series. If you would have told me that before the playoffs started I would think you are crazier than Ozzy (http://wp.me/p1ksla-1b) and question whether you are on meth or heroin (I do this every time I see Ross). But now the Hawks are not only competing with teams like Orlando who swept them last year in the playoffs and the Bulls who beat them by a combined 51 pts the last 2 times they faced in the regular season. SOMEONE GIVE THEM A DRUG TEST, STEROIDS!!!!!! Okay that was my only explanation for the Hawks unexpected good play but it’s highly unlikely, the NBA is the only sport where we haven’t really seen in the talk about steroids. By the way isn’t it weird that the pussiest sport, Major League Baseball, is the one where players were taking the most steroids? I think so! Anyways lets get back to this Hawks Vs. Bulls series.

Seriously look at this guy! What were you thinking Mark?

Alright, if you didn’t watch game 1 here is the run down. Rose started the game like 0-8 and sat for a quite a long time in the first half. Somehow with their best player only scoring around 5 points the Bulls were only down 51-50 at half. Now if you’re a Bulls fan you’re totally okay with this, if you’re a Hawks fan ehhh not so much. If any opposing teams best player is playing horribly you would hope and expect to be up by more than 1 pt at half. In the 2nd half Chicago came out with some fire and had a little run but Atlanta sustained eventually regaining the lead and pushing it to double digits. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford played lights out and the rest of the Hawks did enough to help them get the win over the Bulls with a final score of Atlanta-103 Chicago-95.

To me, if the Bulls have aspirations to advance to the NBA finals they are going to need someone else other than Rose to step up. To me Luol Deng is that guy; he is the X-factor. Little tangent here but every time I see or hear about Luol Deng I think about this kid from the great Falcon Ridge Middle School……Nyieng (pronounced “knee-yang”) Deng or however it is spelled. One time before basketball practice (those were the days) I decided to sing a popular little jingle that was going around school involving Nyieng Deng. I chanted, “Nyieng Deng has no wang, Nyieng Deng has no wang” as I was midway through my third line he chocked slammed the shit out of me up against a wall like he was a former WWE champ in a previous life. I obviously didn’t think of the repercussions of chanting this directly to his face and felt like I was in a life or death situation. I decided to figure out if this song about Nyiend Deng was true and kicked him in the mid region. As it turns out there was something there and he keeled over on the floor and I was free! Well that was my story of Nyieng Deng and how Luol Deng reminds me of him, they even looked similar and he said he was cousins with Luol. Anyways…what I was saying before was that I think LUOL Deng is the person who needs to step up in this series and the rest of the playoffs for the Bulls to make to the finals. He has the ability to drop 25+ points a game and that’s just what the Bulls need. If he is hitting shots from outside and mid-range consistently defenders will be forced to stay on him allowing Rose more room in the lane.

Sups Lebron?! Take this dunk to South Beach...you beach.

While watching Game 1 I couldn’t get over how exciting Rose was when he was going the full length of the court for an acrobatic layup. In my opinion Rose is at his best when he is attacking the basket using his speed. I saw him take a lot of long shots, not making many, but every time he drove the lane he created something. It didn’t matter if he missed the layup, which he rarely did, because someone on the Bulls was there to clean it up. Rose attacking the basket is better TV than him settling for jump shots, no doubt about it! Now someone just needs to tell him that. I think the Bulls are a better all-around team than the Hawks and should win this series easily. The only thing Atlanta has that the Bulls don’t is multiple guys to go to when you need a shot. Chicago only has Rose as their sole playmaker but Atlanta has both Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Crawford hit a big shot in game 3 and Joe Johnson also has that capability. After the surprising first game win by the Hawks I now see this series going 6 games but my winner does not change. I think the Bulls are too good for the Hawks.

Final Prediction: Bulls in 6.

Don’t forget Bronation, Nyieng Deng has no wang, Nyieng Deng has no…”

Later Haters,

McCant Tell Me Nothin’

Boston-New York Recap

Boston swept the series, but it was against a beat-up, newly put together New York team that realistically had no chance. Lets look at what we learned from the short series.

What we learned: 1)Boston didn’t get lucky: Boston won the first two games by a combined total of 5 points, and it wasn’t a coincidence that they came out victorious both times. When you sit down and look at, New York really has no chance late in the game when the scores are close. Boston has an edge in coaching, point guard play, veteran leadership and poise. The coaching edge clearly goes to Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics. Really, D’antoni and Doc couldn’t be more different. Doc is defensive minded; D’antoni is an offensive genius; Doc is one of the best motivators in the league, D’antoni is not; Doc has a championship ring, D’antoni does not. Late in the game 1, before Allen’s game winner, Doc drew up a ballsy and brilliant in-bound play in which Garnett rolled out of a screen for an easy ally-oop. It’s these kind of late game calls that give the edge to Doc Rivers over Mike D’antoni. Point guard play also goes to the Celtics, mostly because Chauncey Billups is sidelined with a knee injury. In game 1, after D’antoni fleetingly used up his last timeout, Micheal Douglas was left to lead the offense in the final play, which resulted in a contested three from Carmelo. For being as young as Rondo is, he has an exceptional amount of playoff experience, and I’m sure he would have come up with a better set in the same situation. Finally, the Celtics have the edge on veteran leadership and poise. Paul Pierce has proven throughout his career that he can be counted on as the go to guy in the clutch. He’s not going to beat anyone with his athleticism (understatement), but he’s a sly little bastard and will burn you on a pump-fake, or on a spin move out of a post up. And if you don’t feel comfortable giving the ball to Pierce, you have Sweet Baby Ray lurking in the shadows waiting for his opportunity to prove that yes…he still got game. In my eyes, Ray-Ray is the number 1 option, no matter who he’s playing with. Kobe, Bron, Wade, doesn’t matter, I want the ball in Ray Allens hands late in the game. How many times have we seen Ray Allen hit the dagger, followed by the image of Momma Allen jumping up and downs in the stands wearing some blinged-out Allen Jersey. What’s crazy is that he’s the only one out of the big three that is not noticeably losing his athleticism and endurance. He’s still running off hundreds of picks a game, he’s still taking it to the hole for the occasional flush, and he’s still draining shots and shaking his head as if to say “When you gonna learn?” Boston is just built for close playoff games. Hell, it seems as if KG has even shaken off his late game struggles (most likely because he is no longer a part of the losing culture of Minnesota).

2) New York still matters: It was great to see the Garden rocking again in a playoff situation. After game three I realized that New York fans are as close as it gets to a college crowd (minus all the celebs). They reminded me of Golden State’s fans when they beat the Mavs in an 8 seed over a 1 seed match up. Chants of “these refs suck” were raining down on the refs, and this wouldn’t have been a big deal, other places do that too, but this was the FIRST QUARTER. It was very apparent that they have been waiting to be relevant again, and they were going to make sure to take full advantage of it now that they are (kind-of). The problem is that they put all they’re love and energy in a team that is still probably one or two years away from actually contending for the title. The New York media seemed to somehow convince their fans that they had a chance to win NOW, when they clearly just haven’t played with each other for long enough yet. And what funny is that it took them until midway through game three for them to realize it. When they went down 15 in the third quarter you could have heard a pin drop (or Spike Lee drop). But overall, it’s good to see them back in the playoffs.

Quick preview: A Celtics-Heat match up could finally settle the debate of what’s more important, talent vs. teamwork. I’ll take teamwork. Miami has an ego-maniac on their team, along with a guy with the confidence of a teenage girl (was there any doubt that the alleged crier in the locker room was Bosh), and a young coach trying to control them. Do you really think that Eric Spoelstra will command respect in a room full of the “Heatles.” I just don’t see Miami getting past the Celts this year.

Tony “Parallel” Parker

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