Archive for February, 2012


20 Feb

Before Jeremy Lin got the starting nod a few weeks ago, no one would have ever guess that a guy who no one had ever heard of would have turned the NBA world on its ear in only 9 games. To Lin’s credit he has propelled his underperforming team to an 8-1 record since he got the starting nod and had as hot a start in terms of points and assists as some of the greatest players who have ever played the game, including Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and John Stockton among others. However, does that mean Jeremy Lin is the real deal and on par with those all-time greats or is Lin’s hot start fueled by hype and merely a product of being at the right place at the right time? While most people have signed off on Lin there are a couple of reasons why it would be wise to wait before punching Lin’s ticket to the Hall-of-Fame.


Today’s New York Knicks are far removed from the Knicks of the early 1970s championship teams, and except for a couple of flare-ups during the mid to late 90s, it is pretty fair to say that the Knicks have been pretty underwhelming franchise for the last few decades. Yet, the New York Knicks for whatever reason remain New York’s team. That’s right, despite other New York franchises bringing home the titles at a much more frequent clip (i.e. Yankees, Giants), basketball still dominates all things in New York and so the spot light remains perpetually on the Knicks. Add to this the fact that New York is the biggest sports market in North America coupled with the amount of time the Knicks have not won a title, plus the hype and hope Knicks fans had after the Carmelo Anthony signing, and an ordinary team like the Knicks suddenly has 100x greater spotlight on it than your average team (my math skills are subpar but this seems about right).

How does this relate to Jeremy Lin? Well given that there is such a prevalent spotlight on the Knicks, anything that happens on this team will received much more exposure than anywhere else whether it is actually worth obsessing over or it is not. And while Jeremy Lin has done a tremendous job of taking his team all the way to .500, there is no doubt that if he was playing on the Bucks, Warriors or Bobcats that his achievements would not receive the same level of attention.


Maybe you do not follow basketball all that closely, but the coach of the Knicks is Mike D’Antoni, a coach who is known as a tremendous up-tempo offensive coach, but who is also known to place little to no emphasis on defense. The result? His team and its individual players put up eye-popping stats, but the statistic that matters most, wins, often is underwhelming (especially come playoff time). Therefore while Lin is putting up the numbers, these numbers given that they are on a Mike D’Antoni team must be taken with a grain of salt. For example, last year Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler both had “break-out” seasons by the numbers when they played for D’Antoni, but when they were dealt mid season in the Carmelo Anthony trade their numbers tanked worse than NBC’s Playboy Club. Why? Because only on the Knicks can you get away with this brand of one dimensional offense only play (ok maybe it flies in Golden State too) and thus while what Jeremy Lin is doing is eye-popping (especially because the Knicks have also been fortunate enough to get the Ws over this short stretch), does he really merit the hype in light of the Chandler/Felton experiment?


When Carmelo Anthony was lost to another one of his ailments and Amare Stoudamire missed time due to his personal family tragedy, there was not a single star-level/notable player left on the Knicks who could step up other than Tyson Chandler (and he is known as a defensive guru and only averages about 11 points a game). Where were the points going to come from? Someone else on the roster was going to have to score right? Well luckily for the Knicks Jeremy Lin was someone else and did a tremendous job of filling up the stat sheet (and to his credit the win column) in their absence. But do not think for a minute that if Jeremey Lin had not been the guy to step up that the Knicks would have only scored 50 a game. Why? Because this is the NBA and everyone, even the 11th guy on the bench, can score given the opportunity. Almost nightly a different unknown player puts up 20-30 points a game for a given team because a star is out or having a bad game. So while the Knicks were lucky to have found consistency out of Lin, if it would not have been Lin believe that the other players on the Knicks would have stepped up, gotten the benefit of the extra minutes, got the benefit of the extra touches and put up 20-30 points a game be it Iman Shumpert one night, Tyson Chandler another night, Jarred Jeffries the night after that etc. To summarize, it’s the NBA, everyone can score.

The other thing Lin has going for him is that he is decent (I am just not sure he’s the super-duper star he is already being made out to be). And of course if you are even a half decent player, if you are the only decent guy on your team, of course you are going to get a ton of points. Tracy McGrady killed it with the Magic because the ball was always in his hands, and so if you have no other person to count on, of course your numbers are going to be insane. Does this mean you are as good as every other player in the league who puts up those numbers? No it means you look so good because you are doing it all by yourself. To put up similar numbers while playing with talent the way LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant do is a much truer indicator of talent (especially if you are getting the Ws with it).

Now that the Knicks roster is getting full again, what with Amar’e coming back, the J.R. Smith signing, Baron Davis on the verge of return and Carmelo near 100%, it will be interesting to see where Lin will rank on a nightly basis on the stat sheet. If he’s a true star he’ll remain the headliner, if he’s just ok the middle and if he’s terrible the bottom. That’s just how the stat sheet works.


Plain and simple they are brutal. I do not see how any coach, even Mike D’Antoni can allow his PG to average seven turnovers a game without some kind of reprisal be it fewer minutes, fewer plays or getting benched for quarters or halfs. Turnovers kills momentum and most coaches will tell you that over the long haul there is no greater indicators for losing then turnovers.


I have no idea where this rush to anoint comes from in sports, but if you read my entries regularly you know what it is what I hate most. Every player who comes out and plays well initially, is swept up in this media whirlwind hurricane and talked about and hyped relentlessly. And not only is this hype train incredibly irritating, it is loud mindless chatter until a sufficient time has passed and a sufficient number of games are played in order to establish the appropriate sample size necessary to test whether or not the player is for real or just a flash in the pan. But for whatever reason, as soon as a new player gets going, the hype train gets going and every media outlet aboard.

I know I am not naïve enough to believe that this done out of sheer stupidity or coincidence, obviously these rush to anoint stories are incredibly popular and put a lot of dollars into a lot of people’s pockets, especially in slow news cycles, but for the integrity of the game I would please ask the media outlets and fans to be patient, and let enough games pass before rushing to crown every flare-up as the next big thing.

Whether or Jeremy Lin is a true superstar will only be ascertained over many more games and how he plays on a team with a full roster. He could be the real thing but in the words of Bill Parcells, “”We’ve got a ways to go here. So put away the anointing oil, OK?”

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05 Feb


Since my writing has been short of late and with the superbowl set to kick off in just over an hour, I thought this would be the perfect time to write something, even if its short and quick.

Before I get into my thoughts about the game here are my top 10 thoughts about the playoffs thus far:

  1. I hope everyone has also been betting on the Giants this postseason like I have. Seriously. The Giants have been a cash cow, especially given the fact that they have been underdogs in every game they have played, and have been pulling upset after upset. That Packers game was particularly lucrative if you (like me) put money on the Moneyline…I am still counting my dividends from that game (well not really, I only won 65 bucks…but still if I had bet a million..then well..).
  2. There is a reason why Lee Evans was released by the Bills. Why I say that you ask? Well if that foolio had only managed to hold on to the ball a quarter of a  second longer, it would have been a Ravens v. Giants Superbowl a.k.a. every woman’s dream Superbowl what with Eli Manning and Michael Oher in the big game, and Tom Brady sent packing home. If somehow that Superbowl could have featured Drew Brees’ baby every woman in the civilized world would have watched it.
  3. Why do announcers insist on jinxing kickers in big game situations? Example: right at the end of the Ravens-Patriots game the announcer (forget his name..the CBS guy) fell all over himself praising Billy Cundiff, his consistency, his pro-bowl capacity and general big-dickedness (gotta watch Chris Rock to get this). The result? For whatever reason, Cundiff bolts on to the field all discombobulated and shanks a kick that any junior highschool kicker on up could have made in their sleep (seriously it was under 30 yards!!). The lesson is never try…that or cringe anytime an announcer starts over dapping your teams kicker.
  4. The Falcons suck. Not only do they suck, but Matt Ryan should have the name ‘Matty Ice’ Surgically removed from himself or any other item barring his name. Seriously does this guy have no leadership or pride what-so-ever? The bold and loud talking Giants did everything short of sleeping with his mother and sister before round 1 of the playoffs and his response was to stink up the Georgia-dome and get beat like he had committed a crime.
  5. The Packers losing was no accident, and they had actually looked very shaky for the last 3 games of the season and the result was actually fairly predictable. Why? Well when your team has no run game and no defense, I don’t care where you play even if it is Lambeau field, you are entirely too one dimensional to win especially if your opponent is able to rattle your golden goose of a QB. So congrats to Rodgers on winning the MVP, but if ever wants to get back to the Superbowl he should cash in some of that MVP money and/or convince Packers management to find a runningback and a defense that is somewhat effective down the stretch because Charles Woodson cannot play every position or play for the next 50 years.
  6. Drew Brees’ needs a new baby. That or something has to fundamentally change in New Orleans. Why? Well because while the Brees Saints always get it done in the regular season, they have been very shaky these last couple of years in the playoffs. I don’t care if San Fran was the number 2 seed, they play in the NFC West and as such their numbers are inflated regardless of their seeding. And don’t’ even get me started on the Seahawks they lost too last year. It seems that both Green Bay and New Orleans are entirely too reliant on their QBs and in addition both think that they can play the same defense-less style once they get into the playoffs. Yes, they have rings, but if they want to build dynasties they have to realize that teams do not play the same as they do in the regular season in that defenses tighten up and thus they 1. cannot rely on their QBs to do it all and 2. they need traditional championship staples like defense and a running game. So again either Drew Brees needs to father himself another cute baby to get the mojo of every woman in America backing him or he needs to bust down the door at Saints headquarters and demand some playmakers on defense at the very least. The superbowl is in New Orleans next year, and if the Saints want a legitimate shot in hell as being the first team to host a Superbowl they need to manufacture a defense pronto.
  7. Why don’t the Dallas Cowboys get some better defensive backs??? I know I know, the Cowboys are not even in the playoffs, but despite calls for their removal, they are still America’s team and should hence be in the playoffs. How can this be accomplished? Well like I have said for the last 10 years, Dallas needs some solid defensive backs. And the worst part about this is that they were available!! If Dallas had not gotten caught up in the Nmandi Asomugha sweepstakes and just signed Jonathan Joseph and Charles Tillman like Houston did they probably would have made the playoffs. I know they move does not fix all of Dallas’ ills as Garrett is still a questionmark, Miles Austin is making way too much money (and should either be cut or his contract re-worked so that his money can be used in other areas), will Demarco Murray’s status is still uncertain, the offensive line is still a work in progress and Tony Romo’s late season play has been suspect at best, resolving the defensive back situation is the only way America’s team will ever see the light of the playoffs again.
  8. Why have women forgiven Brad Pitt but not Tom Brady? Think about it, Brad Pitt is a bigger star than Brady and he actually stepped out on his wife to be with a hotter woman whereas Brady is relatively low key, and only left his girlfriend (who probably nefariously pulled the goalie on him) to be with a hotter woman. If the two scenarios are at the very least parallel (if not worse in Pitt’s case), why does every woman still have it out for Brady and have now somewhat forgiven Pitt? Is homewrecking worse if its with a supermodel than it is with an actress? Is it wrong to start seeing someone else even if your woman mysteriously forgets to use birth control at the tail end of your relationship even though she had no problem knowing how to using it for 3 years? Are women finally discovering the fraud that is Jennifer Aniston or simply getting tired of her spinster ways?? These are the questions I want answers to!!
  9. How come Tiki Barber has not jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge yet? Seriously, not only did he sell out his team for a job as a sports talking head only to watch that same team cock slap him by winning it all that very season, but he cheated on his wife despite his ovacious pronouncement of his commitment to his marriage of his rough-fatherless life, and did so in such a way that abandoned his two existing kids and wife who was pregnant with two more. If that isn’t bad enough for Tiki, he was cut and unable to find work as a talking head, had his attempts to get back into pro-football flop worse than NBC’s Playboy Club and the same team he attempted to sell-out after they made him rich and famous in order to secure a fleeting talking head job is now back in the Superbowl. If I am Tiki Barber two things are abundantly clear. Karma is a bitch and there is not a skyscraper big enough for me to jump off of.
  10. Why is Vernon Davis so emotional lately? Seriously, is his contract up or is he prepping for negotiations or something, because I haven’t seen this outpouring of suspect emotion since Seal decided to prove his commitment to his marriage the week he had a new album dropping . If Vernon Davis is serious about finally turning his team into a contender that’s fantastic, but just do it on the field and spare me the crocodile tears….and if they are real tears, well, still spare me them because it is uncomfortable to watch a grown man blubber the way you do. The hotdog rolls on the back of your head are also uncomfortable to watch so please stop drawing attention to yourself.

Ok it is almost kickoff so it is time for my Superbowl thoughts.


If this Superbowl has any one word that were to sum it up it up in similar fashion as big boxing fights do the title would be redemption. The reason being is because it is apt for the two biggest stars of this game.

Eli Manning:  I am guessing that when Eli Manning said he was in Tom Brady’s class, elite and one of the top 5 in the game, that he did not expect to essentially laughed at by the entire civilized world. I mean how could he? In less the than half the time it took his big brother Peyton to do it, little brother had captured as many titles as the person widely considered as the greatest ever. Not only that but with limited offensive talent Eli was able to go on the road and guide his team to the title over what many people had consider to be the greatest football team of all time in the 2007 New England Patriots. However, much to Eli’s dismay, his quiet and understated nature had actually kept him from where his accomplishments and tough divisional play actually warranted him. It is for this reason that this Superbowl means so much for Eli, it is not only a shot at proving to everyone that he is as good as his older brother, but it stamps his status as an elite quarterback in the mind of everyone because it essentially stamps his ticket to the hall of fame.

Tom Brady: After having one of the greatest individual seasons coupled with the greatest team seasons of all-time, the 2007 Patriots were upset and went from being perfect and potentially the greatest team ever to simply a step above oblivion. Think about it, the Pats went from being maybe the greatest team of all-time to the second best team of 2007. And while that kind of drop-off would be tough for anyone, you can only imagine what it does to a quarterback like Brady. Ever since that loss the Patriots have struggled in the post-season despite their continued stellar regular season play, but this year they have found a way to quietly (at least for them) to get back to championship form and get back to a place where they got too with ease in the earlier part of Brady’s career (largely thanks to the Peyton Manning drama, Aaron Rogers and the Packers headline domination and the smokescreen, if not farce, that is Tebow Mania). Brady is not getting any younger, and that coupled with the devasting effect losing another Superbowl could have on Brady means that this is potentially Brady’s last shot at winning the big game and cementing his status as the greatest QB of all-time. The average person would prays for a shot at getting another shot, and so for Brady to get another shot against the same team that derailed his legacy 4 years ago the stars have really aligned for him. Its all on the table for him, and its time to see if he has enough to take it.



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