Archive for the ‘ NBA ’ Category

Something To Remind Me Of Greatness

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Back in February, when Linsanity was at its peak, I messaged my Tita in New Jersey to get me a Jeremy Lin game shirt.

I got the shirt 5 months after when the fever has died down. Medyo laos na si Jeremy Lin and my Tita poked fun at me, “O, eto na yung shirt. Sayang naman ‘tong regalo ko sayo, laos na si Linsanity!”

I paused and thought of a smart reply to make her and myself feel better about the gift.

“Ok lang po. At least I have something to remind me of greatness!”

So when days like today (Monday) make us feel lazy as Juan, when it’s easier to watch the NBA Finals than to work, when it’s easier to prolong breaks than to finish a report, I have this gift to remind me of what Linsatiy was/is about.

ANTHONY DAVIS IS THE SUREFIRE #1 PICK IN THE 2012 NBA DRAFT

Anthony Davis  #23 Freshman 6-10

 14.3 ppg  10.0 rpg  4.6 bpg

University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis is a game-changer. And calling him a player that can sway the fortunes of the franchise that will take him at #1 in the 2012 NBA Draft is by no means a stretch like his arms. You’ll understand me if you’ve seen him play. If you’re not convinced by that video up there then watch him carry his #1-seed Wildcats through March Madness.

At 6-10 and 220 pounds, Davis has a body that looks skinny but makes opponents feel otherwise. His “lack of strength” is compensated by exquisite timing, feline jumping ability, and out-of-this-world length. Get this: the kid has a 7-4 wingspan! 7-4! Davis’ arms seem like stretched clay dough stuck to his broad shoulders! His arms, stretching up as high as the Empire State, make it tough for opposing post players to get a shot over him even if Davis has lost ground. He’s arguably the best shot-blocker in the last decade with 154 denied attempts at the basket (NCAA tournament teams Creighton and Belmont have 154 blocked shots combined!).

Scotty Thurman concurs and even puts his name with the GREATS.

Arkansas former star player SCOTTY THURMAN via Washington Post:

Davis is a little bit different monster. College basketball, since the days of Alonzo Mourning, has not had a shot blocker like this. Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing — he is in that class. You talk about the shots he’s blocked, how about the number of shots he has changed? A lot of guys don’t even think about shooting.

Let me add to that. Anthony Davis can defend the pick-and-roll as well as KG. What makes KG a great pick-and-roll defender is that he can switch to the quicker guard and make him back off and not take a shot; and then he switches back to his man in a heartbeat. The consensus best collegiate player can do all that.

Back-to-back NCAA tourney Champion Head Coach Billy Donovan says that Davis even gets to his players’ minds.

Multi-titled Florida Head Coach BILLY DONOVAN:

As a coach, when you are preparing for Kentucky, you can talk about Davis and his shot-blocking ability. But it’s one of those things, unless you have played against it a couple times, it really can take you off-guard. Because you think you can get the ball up on the glass, you think you can get it over him, and that’s the worst thing.

Even though he is a bit raw on offense, all signs point to him eventually scoring at least 15 a game in the NBA. Unibrow A.D. has good form on his jumpshot and soft touch on his hookshots.

Barring any Paul Pierce or Len Bias-like accidents (knock on wood), Anthony Davis is 99.99% the first draft choice in June because he’s the type of player that you don’t draft based on needs (unless you have Dwight Howard). You just snag him!

When I watch him play I experience a familiar feeling of giddiness for what the future holds for this freak of nature; I realize it’s the same feeling I had when I saw Kiefer Ravena play for the first time when he was just barely a teenager.

ODOM’S DOOM: from NBA Champion to a Legend

Nope. It’s not what you think. Lamar Odom is not a legend in its honorable sense. He is in fact a Texas Legend; a relegated NBDL player.  For an All-Star and a Champion, that’s about as low as you can go.

But it’s not like he didn’t deserve it. After 32 games with the defending champs, the reality star is averaging 8 points and 4 boards on 35% shooting; all career-low numbers by miles! His averages tell more than how poorly he played. It signified that he wanted no part of Dallas in the first place and his body language showed it completely. He shot three-pointers as if he was Willie Miller in the dying seconds; expected to miss and was surprised if the shot went in. He drove to the basket to commit a turnover not to make a play. If Dirk was not in physical condition, Odom checked out mentally and that’s worse.

Odom’s attitude in Dallas is as discombobulating as Inception. I expected him to play his best ball ever to make the Lakers realize what they lost. But instead he chose to be like a teenage rebel expecting Kobe and Kupchak to pity him. If there ever was an example of unprofessionalism then that might be it.

This child-like behavior is a product of one big thing: a bigger-than-my-balls ego that’s shaped by narcissism and a skewed sense of reality (isn’t that what reality shows are all about?). Lamar Odom is in an extraordinary state of psyche, which (for him) gives him authority to declare he’s sure about himself when he’s not. In his reality show world, he felt that the Lakers treated him poorly when they included him in a package for Chris Paul. Lamar felt sure that he deserved better but because what’s real is blurred for him, it seemed like he thought of himself as a superstar, an NBA player with a “franchise tag”, someone who’s untradeable, someone like his teammate. When killjoy Stern nixed the trade, Gasol moved on, Scola understood that it was all part of the business and so did everyone else; except for one.

After 13 years in the League, you expect Odom to know that the NBA is a business. I think he knew it was but he forgot about it. It’s hard to point out how he did but maybe it’s the Kardashian or the Hollywood effect that twisted his system into making poor decisions. He really did keep up with the Kardashians. They really fall for D’heads don’t they?

[In generously being fair to him, the death of his cousin in a car accident (in which he was a passenger and that killed another teenager) may have contributed to his listless effort. But what about Ryan Reyes of Talk n’ Text? Or Thomas Robinson of the Kansas Jayhawks? These guys were in the same situation but they played inspired ball instead of KSP ball.]

Even if he never plays a single minute with the Texas Legends, being thrown to a D-League affiliate is a disciplinary spit on the face he deserved. It definitely isn’t as catastrophic as Marion Jones’ or Z Gorres’ fall from grace but Lamar Odom won’t have any of our pity like both of the latter did. I’m sure he’ll get a chance to make-up. After all, it’s how you rise from a fall that gets more attention.

3-on-4 with Jeremy Lin: Defining, Understanding and Tempering Linsanity

LINSANE [lin-seyn]

Adjective

  1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who comes out of nowhere, utterly prepared, and exceeds expectations
  2. describing a person who gives new life to an organization
  3. pertaining to someone who nonchalantly inspires people from all walks of life while transcending racial barriers
  4. a person who saves Mike D’Antoni his job, who drops 38 on Kobe and the Lakers, who confidently hits a game-winner and who is suddenly playing exquisite basketball

LINSANITY (lin-sa-ni-tee)

Noun

  1. the state of being seriously Linsane

Three years ago, Jeremy Lin sat a few seats from me while I took the Boston T (its railway and the city’s most popular means of transportation). He had a hoody jacket on that said “Harvard Basketball”. I knew him then mainly because he and his Crimson teammates were having a fairly good season (later on they would beat my school, the Boston College Eagles who just came off a big upset of UNC at the time) and because I had a sense of pride for all New England sports teams.

After what he’s done right now, I feel a sense of hollow regret; I should’ve asked for an autograph or even talked to him. But just like in 1985 when Portland committed the “biggest blunder” in NBA history by passing up on the unforeseen greatness of The Greatest Ever, I wouldn’t have known three years ago that this Asian Harvard kid would be all he is right now. In fact, even the coaches of Ivy League schools like Cornell and Stanford did not even recruit him when he was a senior in Palo Alto HS.

The Linsanity that’s been going on as we speak is such a beautiful thing because no one saw the collision course that a scrawny, but ultra ready kid from Harvard and a team on the brink of utter disappointment was on.  It was ironically a cliché and a blue moon at the same time; everyone hopes for something Linsane to happen to them but it rarely does.

It would be nice for Linsanity to go on forever; but it won’t. However, to make this cosmic occurrence last, I think we should all temper the Linsanity so we expect real achievable things both from Jeremy Lin and from ourselves.

So for now, the least we could do is to understand Jeremy Lin as a basketball player. Here are a few questions answered by my guests and yours truly to help you understand where Jeremy Lin is right now and where he might bring the Knicks.

1. FACT OR FICTION: Is Jeremy Lin for real?

Joe Silva, Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets Head Coach: FACT

Jeremy Lin is for real. He has a good outside shot, decent athletic ability and is a very intelligent player. Not to mention his skills are above par. If he wasn’t skilled he wouldn’t score that much.

Miguel Papa, L.A. Lakers fan and Pateros Baller: FACT

Jeremy Lin is legit because he has uncanny court sense. He knows when to shoot, when to pass, where his teammates can do most damage, and which match ups to exploit. He knows how to read defenses, and is focused on winning the whole game.

Miakka Lim, PBA courtside reporter/FTW host: FACT

Jeremy Lin is for real. Although a lot of people would say that he fell into the perfect opportunity (cause he dint get a spot in Dallas and GSW), I think for him to be able to carry a highly touted NYK in 6 straight games and turn things around like how is doing- thinking that he came from outta nowhere says a lot about the heart and confidence of this guy. Jeremy isn’t even athletic but he is a smart player and he knows what works for him. It’s crazy. I don’t think you’ll find another player in the league that would step up like he did!

Bekshoot: FACT

109 points in his first 4 starts; that’s the most in NBA history (above the likes of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Billy Ray Bates). I think his best skill is his decision-making, not necessarily passing or attacking the basket. If you can make Tyson Chandler and Steve Novak look like All-Stars, be the best player on the court while playing against the Lakers, and hit a game-winning 3 then no question, you are for real.

2. Is Linsanity>Ricky Rubio

Silva: IF

If he can sustain what he did the past five games then maybe Linsanity is better than Ricky Rubio! But Ricky Rubio who turned pro at age 16 is a world famous star already. And he has proven to everyone what he can do. So it would be hard to top what he has already done.

Papa: In some ways

Lin is better than Rubio in terms of fundamentals. Both players have a good feel for running a team’s offense, but given each player’s options, Lin is maximizing the production of people around him better. Unlike Rubio, he is focused on make the right play, and finishing a play, rather than getting into the highlight reels.

Lim: Rubio

As much as I would want to say Jeremy Lin, I’d have to go with Ricky Rubio. That guy has been a pro since he was 14. Enough said!

 Bekshoot: Small sample of games

If you only look at his past 5 games then you can say he is better than Ricky Rubio. But that shouldn’t be the case. Ricky Rubio has been the second best player in Minnesota after 27 games and even this sample isn’t enough. Maybe we can pick either of them at the end of the season. But for now, I think Jeremy Lin is a better scorer (has better potential because of the scoring ability) and penetrator while Rubio is a better passer.

3. Jeremy Lin, Melo and Amare will lead the Knicks to a deep postseason run.

Silva: Conference Semis

What the Knicks need is a pass-first point guard someone like a Jason Kidd who doesn’t hog the ball and they found that in Lin. both Melo and Stat have to buy into the system that has been winning games for them. If Melo and Amare get their acts together I can see this team gunning for a conference semifinals berth at least.

Papa: “Deep” is relative

We have yet to see NY’s new big three play together. Amare and Melo will have to learn to be effective without using up possessions, and as a team, NY needs to learn solid, consistent, team D. Going back to the question, the Knicks can make a push for a deep playoff run but tough match ups with the Heat and Bulls in the East can end their interesting season.

Lim: Yes

Yes, and that’s what’s going to make NYK lethal in the playoffs maybe. Just don’t let Melo play with the ball for too long. lol!

Bekshoot: Nope

Looking at the Eastern Conference playoff race, I see the Knicks finishing 6th at best even if Melo and Amare mesh well with Lin. They will draw either Philadelphia, Indiana or Orlando in the first round. Those teams are tough match-ups for them and I see New York losing in 6 or 7 games in the first round. But their best chance is against Orlando considering all the talk of Dwight leaving.

 

3-on-3: The “Skinny” on La Salle commit Jeron Teng

People know him for scoring 104 points in a high school game and for being the next son of a PBA legend to make noise in the UAAP. I’m afraid that’s all you know about Jeron Teng. Find out straight from him and from today’s best young players what makes the younger brother of Jeric Teng the most hyped high school senior this year.

How would you describe Jeron Teng’s game?

Kiefer Ravena: He is reliable both on offense and defense. He’s a strong, agile forward who can score and create for his teammates… It’ll be fun playing against him this year.

Joboy Tuason, Blue Eaglet Asst. Coach: The strongest player in HS. Upper body strength, walang tatalo. Best scorer in hs inside the 3-point line, lalo na sa paint. Can play 1-5.

Bekshoot: Jeron Teng is a forward with a very high motor. He has a very reliable bank shot. I think he’s a player who just knows how to put the ball in the hoop especially when he’s coming from the 3-point line and goes HARD to the basket. But contrary to what the Phenom said, I don’t think he creates that much for his teammates.

What separates him from other players coming out of high school?

Von Pessumal: I think what separates him is his experience internationally and his physique (physical strength). He has a body that is even stronger than most college players. That, combined with his experience playing against bigger and tougher guys will surely place him as one of the elite recruits this year.

Jeron Teng (himself): Probably what sets me apart from others is my experience. Cause at an early age, I was able to play in international leagues and play for our country. I’ve played in Fiba a lot of times and I also got to play in the Youth Olympic Games that was held in Singapore.

Bekshoot: It’s amazing that everyone I’ve asked unanimously says that it’s his experience and physical strength. Those two definitely separate him from the pack. I seriously think that he’s stronger than Japeth Aguilar. He has played against the best teenagers in Asia and he had some games where he was the Philippines’ best player (in a team that featured Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, Russel Escoto, Mike Tolomia, Raphael Banal etc.)

How do you see him fitting in with the DLSU Green Archers?

Bekshoot: If you look at the Green Archers’ depth chart at the 3 spot, you have Marata, Webb and Tampus. Marata and Webb are on the twighlight of their UAAP careers so I don’t see them playing over Teng (and they have been busts to say the least). With Tampus emerging as the team’s best scoring option, I see Jeron sharing time at the SF position with him. However, DLSU’s best line-up might be Tampus and Teng at the 2 and 3 spots respectively.  Unless those two develop their shooting, they would have to play with the likes of Norbert Torres and L.A. Revilla; two guys who can stretch the floor.

 

For the NBA, it’s Now or Next Year

We all have body clocks. Unfortunately, mine makes me wake up at 6-6:30am everyday. What has recently amazed me is a part of my body clock subconsciously tunes itself with the NBA season. For the past few nights, I have been dreaming of Opening Night and the Mavs Ring Ceremony. This longing for something utterly uncertain that has been part of our daily lives as basketball fans goes to show the depth of influence that the NBA has on us.

The existence of this annual cycle may be determined within the next few days. Reports all over the net reveal that aside from the overriding dispute between the players and owners, both sides have factions within themselves that disagree on significant details regarding how negotiations are run and what each group as a whole should negotiate for. Hot on the rumor mill is Jordan’s group of owners pushing hard for a 53% share on Basketball-Related Income (BRI), that gives players a disappointingly low share of 47%. A couple of outlets report that 50 players have met privately to plan the decertification of the Players Union; most of them feel that Derek Fisher and Union President Billy Hunter are making side deals with David Stern.

Of course, the aforementioned rumors are very important and they pique us. But what we truly care about are the official state of negotiations outlined by the share of BRI. So here is where they are at right now.

Out of all sources, Chirs Sheridan (and David Aldridge) reports the Lockout with very reliable and easy-to-understand details.

If nothing is agreed upon by 12mn on Thursday (Philippine Time), the NBA will have 2 batches of rookies next year.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Ever since the Lockout officially commenced back in July, I decided to keep myself apathetic and detached from the sporadic back-and-forth exchange between NBA owners and players. The situation was becoming more like show business where NBA on Yahoo! Sports was like The Buzz; making so much news out of nothing. The unproductiveness of the meetings between the two sides was just tiring.

So whenever someone would ask me about the possibility of an NBA season pushing thru, I’d answer the question in a way I would answer someone who asked me about my chances with a girl who has just busted me; “Aaaahhhh, ehhhhhh, hindi ko alam eh.”

But my pessimistic view changed once I started being receptive of any news about the Lockout, especially when I realized that September is upon us; barely a month away from when training camps would start and from the time we start placing reservations for NBA 2K12 at Data Blitz.

I have started to see signs — amazingly hopeful signs on the net —– that things are about to get serious (Chris Sheridan’s article excited me the most). That doesn’t mean solved though. In a few weeks, players will start to miss paychecks and owners will start losing ticket sales. That would be the time where everyone will wait on who blinks first.  Like a stare down contest, it would be just a matter of time before someone does because there is just too much to lose for both the players and owners (and America). At a time when the US economy is slumping again, we will know for sure if NBA Cares truly cares by saving thousands of Americans their jobs.

As Pinoy Basketball fans, we really don’t care who gets the better end of the deal. We just want Basketball. And we need the NBA. After the UAAP and the FIBA Championships, what do we have? The PBA? We deserve more than that!

Share your thoughts!