Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wilt Decrees End of Spurs Dynasty:
Chamberlain and his fellow Hoop Gods add Popovich to list of coaches condemned to a ringless future for their hack-a-bricklayer antics

The San Antonio Spurs will never win another championship so long as Gregg Popovich remains with the organization. He will not add to his total of four rings this season or anytime soon because he angered the Hoop Gods — particularly their leader — by repeatedly resorting to off-the-ball intentional fouls against Shaquille O’Neal in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

From their perch in the Great B-Ball Beyond, the Hoop Gods take seriously their responsibility as guardians of the game. When they see coaches making a travesty of their sport and turning off fans, when they see NBA executives too clueless to fix a rule that invites look-at-me coaches to bring a rhythmic, entertaining game to a screeching halt, they impose their own brand of justice.

Chamberlain, a highly sensitive giant who shot an abysmal .465 from the line in the playoffs, arrived in Hoop Heaven on October 12, 1999 and immediately established himself as the dominant force among the Hoop Gods. Beginning with the 1999-2000 season, he’s made it his mission to make life miserable for the Hack-a-Bricklayer coaches: no rings and much humiliation for them, many rings for the players they’ve sought to embarrass.

The grafs above are from an early draft of an essay that has since been revised and updated and can be found here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Battier fails to escape first round AGAIN
Shane Battier never won a playoff game in 12 tries with Memphis. He’s never won a playoff series with Houston, though at least he’s been on the winning side in individual games, having won 3 of 7 last season and 2 of 6 this season. I’ll have more to say on this later, but he is a major reason for the failure of his pro teams to win meaningful games.

Battier is a wonderful fellow and I like his politics (we're both backing Obama), but he’s a Top Five underdeveloped underachiever. Ninety percent of his offensive game consists of an impression of Little Jack Horner. The only difference is that Shane is standing in the corner while Jack prefers to sit. I realize this is by design — the design of his various coaches — but the reason Shane meekly goes along is because of his woefully inadequate game inside the arc. He plays along with the common perception that he has limited natural ability, but in truth he has more than enough coordination, touch and athleticism to have a fine, varied game. The fact that he doesn’t is the fault of Shane and a string of coaches, starting with that overrated icon at Duke.

Shane’s career playoff scoring average is a paltrey 8.2 points in 33.3 minutes. If he had developed his game in his younger days he'd have double the average. And by having that well-rounded game his playoff minutes would be up as well. He should be an 18 points in 40 minutes guy, not an 8 in 33. If he were the player he's capable of being, his postseason record wouldn't be 5 wins and 20 losses.

Mike Woodson’s dumb Game 5 mistake
Perhaps if Mike Woodson had not served as an assistant coach under Larry Brown, he would not have cost the Hawks their best chance at victory in Game 5 by sitting Joe Johnson for nearly 10 first half minutes with two measly fouls. He finished the game with three. The Celtics spurted while Johnson sat.

Brown has an even more abnormal fear of losing a player to fouls than did his coaching mentor, Dean Smith. Brown coaches as if he has a bonus clause that says he gets $10,000 every time one of his starters finishes the game with three or fewer fouls. This approach has cost his team dearly in the playoffs. If Karl Malone hadn’t been playing on one leg it might have cost the Pistons the 2004 title and Brown his only NBA ring, as I explained here.