Friday, September 04, 2009

DGUtube: Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Bruce Bowen made a career out of being a dirty player on a team whose coach intimidated the refs to such a degree that they were afraid to apply the same standard to Bowen that they did to others.  It was an extremely successful combination.

Bowen had no discernible basketball skills but was good at stealthily playing the game outside of its intended rules.  However, unlike somewhat lovable dirty players like Larry Bird, Charles Oakley, or Bill Laimbeer, Bowen was always afraid to commit to real confrontation, running to the officials when the going got tough.  This trait was ugly and obvious and even many Spurs fans were embarrassed to support him.

Although Bowen was dishonorable in the truest sense of the word, this was his greatest asset.  Other athletes let pride or a sense of self-respect get in the way of the kind of uncontrolled willingness to cheat that could get in another player's head and change a game.  Bruce Bowen had absolutely no reservations, and it took a Nixonian leader like Gregg Popovic to recognize this and utilize Bowen as his very own plumber.

After basketball, Bowen will operate the hair salon he owns with his wife.  It is fitting that he will find profit in another job where those who believe in manliness do not venture.

Enjoy below a compilation of some of Bruce Bowen's hijinx.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

DGUtube: Best Summer Camp Ever

Bball Trick Shots Summer Camp Edition - Watch more Funny Videos

Arcane Birthday Biographies: Mighty Mouse

"Mighty Mouse was always saving people, always coming to the rescue.  He was the man.  He could get you out of any jam.  That's what I always wanted to be like."

"Oh, and yeah, he was small."  -Damon Stoudamire

"...when the Toronto pick was announced, Raptor fans at the SkyDome in Toronto, the site of the draft, booed loudly.  They wanted [Isiah] Thomas to choose Ed O'Bannon..." -Sports Illustrated

"This franchise isn't in it to go to the playoffs someday.  We're here to work toward winning a championship, and anything short of that is failure.  That's one of the reasons we wanted Damon.  He comes across as the type of player who won't be satisfied to have a good career and no ring."  -Isiah Thomas

Five foot nine inch Damon Stoudamire's had a good career, but no ring.  Today, we celebrate his birthday and remember his many ups and downs in a career that saw its share of disappointment and enmity.  We also remember that he was one of the most talented point guards of the late 90's.

Damon Stoudamire was a native of Portland, Oregon, and he grew up without a father.  His uncles got him into sports and despite his small stature, Damon was a natural basketball player.  He won two championships in high school before leaving town for Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats.

In Arizona, Stoudamire formed what some called the best backcourt in college basketball with Khalid Reeves, and led the team to the 1994 Final Four (which Arizona lost in the semi finals).  Stoudamire played one more season after the Final Four, averaged 22 and 7 his senior year, and was projected to go in the mid-teens in the draft.  Isiah Thomas, however, intervened and in a risky, highly-criticized move, picking him seventh.  Stoudamire's rookie contract had a provision that mandated that he attend that year's NBA finals (Bulls over Sonics) in order to whet his appetite.

The pick paid off.  Unfortunately, the 1995-96 Raptors may have been the worst team in NBA history.  The five leading scorers after Stoudamire that year were, in order: Sharone Wright, Tracy Murray, Oliver Miller (yes, that Oliver Miller), Willie Anderson, and Tony Massenburg.  The fact that the team won 21 games is a tribute to Stoudamire, and he was the only thing Toronto had going for it.

The next year, the team added Marcus Camby and Walt Williams and won thirty games.  So what did Isiah Thomas, the GM/VP do?  Trade Stoudamire for Kenny Anderson, of course.

The underlying reasons for this trade were actually more nuanced than they now seem (and on its face it's a terrible basketball decision).  Stoudamire indicated that he would want a lot of money and conditions if Toronto intended to resign him, and that he might not resign at all.  As a result, they started shopping him.  The Raptors were literally minutes away from moving Stoudamire in a three-team deal that would have sent Penny Hardaway to the Nets and perhaps changed the course of NBA history, but Stoudamire told the Magic he would not re-sign with them, and the deal was off.  Damon wanted to go home to Portland, where he would be a hero.  He was partially successful.

When Stoudamire arrived in Portland, he was not popular.  He was initially benched for Scottie Pippen, who split time with Bonzi Wells at the point, and it looked like his career was in jeopardy.  However, he made it back to the starting lineup and eventually became a key component in the most balanced team in the NBA.  Before long, the Blazers would establish themselves as one of the best teams not to reach the finals in the last twenty years.

That 1999-2000 Trailblazers are most famous for their tragic combustion against the Lakers in which they blew a 19 point lead in the final minutes of the seventh game of the Western Conference Finals.  Although that memory is surely unpleasant, it's easy to forget just how amazing it is that any team was able to take the Shaq and Kobe juggernaut to a seventh game, let alone have them down almost twenty in the fourth quarter.  That year, the Pacers were the prospective opponents in the NBA finals, and the winners of the West were all but guaranteed a championship.  The Blazers were incredibly balanced and poised to beat the Lakers, but unfortunately fell victim to one of the greatest rallies in the league's history.

From there, the Mighty Mouse began an undignified downhill path to retirement.  His consistency deteriorated and could no longer carry his team.  He was held up as an example of the bad attitudes on the Jail Blazers because of a couple of possession charges (one of which was thrown out when a Judge ruled police had illegally searched Stoudamire's home).  There was still talent there (in 2005, Stoudamire scored his career high of 54 points at age 31 in what can only be described as a massive anomaly) but the rest of his career became a quiet wind-down as he played the part of the NBA veteran point guard who can give you some quality minutes but is essentially disposable.

Stoudamire's career was marred by bad choices (which his agent probably had more to do with than him),  bad publicity, and bad losses, but he was one of the quickest, best point guards of his generation.  Happy birthday, Mighty Mouse.

And now, the reason why Ricky Rubio will not play in the NBA

What follows is, I swear to god, a quote from Ricky Rubio that explains why he will not play in the NBA this year.  From me:  No comment.

"When the season ended, I entered the draft with the intention of going to the NBA," Rubio said Wednesday. "But some things happened that kept me from being ahead of the rest and I ended up No. 5, which I was happy with, but it didn't allow me the chance to go to the NBA. I tried, but in the end it wasn't to be."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Evaluating the first ESPN rankings: Eastern Conference

Yeah, I know it's stupid to always be talking about ESPN, or to talk about their rankings, and I know I'm an idiot for writing this.  I enjoy going through the rankings and they usually get me in the mindset for the season.  Also, it's a pretty good representation of the general consensus because it is based on a vote of 53 people with an interest in the game.  So to the masses out there reading this, I'm sorry.  At least this isn't about Ricky Rubio.

This is ESPN's order with my annotations:

1.  Cavs.  The safe pick.  Here's the problem:  Shaq is going to absolutely blow this year.  I think that will hurt their defense and move them down one spot.  But in the East they may still be in first place just by virtue of LeBron. 
2.  Celtics.  You can't really put them anywhere else, but with the high possibility of injuries, it's hard to predict what will happen to the Celtics.  I think they'll have the best regular season record in the east just because they are consistent and because Rondo is becoming really, really good.
3.  Magic.  Lewis on steroids.  Vince Carter coming to town.  Hedo going to Canada.  I don't like it and think they'll be worse than the Hawks this year.  They seem like a team where everything came together at exactly the right time, and I don't think that will continue.  
4.  Hawks.  Solid young team.  Another year of experience.  The addition of Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith.  I say they're the third best team in the East.  I think Marvin Williams may really come into his own this year and with him, Crawford, and Bibby on the wing and Horford and Smith down low, there are no weak points in the starting lineup.   
5.  Heat.  I don't think Wade will make it through this season without getting injured, but he's so good that it's impossible to count out a team he plays on.  If Chalmers and Beasley can step it up, which I am sure will happen at least with Chalmers, this seems like a reasonable prediction.  
6.  Bulls.  They looked great against the Celtics and then let their second best player (who hit huge shots in the playoffs) go.  But at least they pay Brad Miller and Luol Deng more than they refused to pay Gordon.  I hate the move to let Gordon go but recognize that Tyrus Thomas, Rose, Noah, Deng, and Salmons are all good young players.  Unfortunately, they're all in disorder.  Will the Bulls play Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard?  Jannero Pargo?  Will that be Salmons' job?  The Bulls should be ranked 9 due to their screwy mix.  
7.  76ers.  Elton Brand is back.  They sucked with Elton Brand.  They have no point guard.  They have no shooters.  They have no center.  "But Marrese Speights' had a top-10 Hollinger rating!"  They will not make the playoffs, even though I think Eddie Jordan is a great coach.  Put them in at 12.  
8.  Wizards.  Obviously everything hinges on Gilbert Arenas.  Because he's been so unreliable for the last two years, I'm putting this team at 11.  Randy Foye and Mike Miller won't be difference makers.  
9.  Raptors.  The Raptors look legit to me.  Calderon and Jack are good point guards, Belinelli is a decent SG, Turkoglu obviously can mash, Bosh is an all-star, and Bargnani sneaky came into his own last year.  I don't know why for the life of me anyone would think this team is worse than the Sixers.  I think they'll finish at 6.  
10.  Pistons.  They were 39 and 43 last year.  They subtracted Rasheed, who was on his deathbed, and added Ben Gordon, Villaneuva, Chris Wilcox, and Ben Wallace.  Rodney Stuckey is poised for a big year.  How the hell is this team going to miss the playoffs?  I put them at a strong 7 and can't imagine why anyone would put them at 10.  /notices Kwame Brown penciled in as starting center.  
11.  Bobcats.  Great coach and great potential to be a good defensive team, but they lack that one scorer.  If Gerald Henderson turns out to be ROY (i'll eat my hat) they could be a player but for now they need just a little more.  10.  (/Boris Diaw "sacre bleu!")
12.  Pacers.  This is actually a very good team.  TJ Ford is a good point guard, Dahntay Jones is coming into his own as a late-bloomer, Granger is amazing, Troy Murphy put up David Lee stats last year but shoots 40% from 3pt, and Jeff Foster, well, he sucks, but Roy Hibbert might not be bad.  Plus with Tyler Hansbrough, Mike Dunleavy, Earl Watson, and Brandon Rush off the bench, the Pacers can almost go ten deep.  I like them as the 8 seed.  And by the way, if you don't think Tyler Hansbrough is the perfect player for this team, you don't know anything about basketball.  Or Indiana.  Or white people.  
13.  Knicks.  The Knicks are currently locking out the only player that plays hard on their team.  Darko Milicic will probably start at center for them.  Their only young prospects at this point are Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, who play the same position.  Even if they sign Lee and Robinson and/or Sessions, both of those guys are not enough to lift this team out of the basement.  15.  Go Knicks.  
14.  Bucks.  If Redd could play, this team would not be terrible.  However, that's a big if.  I like them starting Amir Johnson and I think Bmah a Moute may actually develop into someone good, but they need more than Ridnour at point and I don't think Charlie Bell or Brandon Jennings can get things going without an A-lister somewhere.  Bogut has shown that he is a talented non-factor.  14 seems appropriate.  
15.  Nets.  Not a good mix of players, not a good overall situation, but this is not the worst team in the east, either.  Devin Harris is probably the best point guard in the eastern conference.  Brook Lopez could be (/shudder) the best center in the eastern conference.  I like Courtney Lee, Jarvis Hayes, and Chris Douglas-Roberts and whomever gets playing time will be at least replacement level.  Bobby Simmons, if he returns healthy, is actually a pretty legit perimeter threat, and Yi Jianlian...well, he sucks, but I think the Nets are a strong 13.  /Chinese government censor enters rectum

So, to recap, here are the DGU official standings predictions:
1.  Celtics.
2.  Cavs.
3.  Hawks.
4.  Magic.
5.  Heat.
6.  Raptors.
7.  Pistons.
8.  Pacers.
9.  Bulls.
10.  Bobcats.
11.  Wizards.
12.  Sixers.
13.  Nets.
14.  Bucks.
15.  Knicks.

Marquis Daniels to Celtics

Danny Ainge is quite the enigma as the Celtics general manager.  On the one hand, he makes boneheaded decisions like trading for Raef LaFrentz, letting James Posey get away after he was key to their championship, and signing a busted Rasheed Wallace.  On the other hand, he does consistently well in the draft and often makes great signings like this one (in which Daniels took a lower amount of $1.99M to play for the Celts).

I used to hate Ainge but obviously let up on him after the Celtics put together their championship team.  I was ready to start again after he busted up their role players and left three older stars to fend for themselves, but in all honesty the team looks pretty strong going into this year.  I love Marquis Daniels and think this makes the Celtics a hell of a lot more interesting.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

20/20 Hindsight: Kevin Garnett

This is neither here nor there, but I was just thinking about the trade of Kevin Garnett to the Celtics, which seemed like quite a one-sided deal at the time.

The players the Celtics gave up were Al Jefferson, who is quickly becoming one of the best big men in the NBA, Ryan Gomes, who actually has put up solid numbers for the last two seasons, Sebastian Telfair (bust), Gerald Green (bust), Theo Ratliff (good contract at the time), and draft picks that became Johnny Flynn and Wayne Ellington.

So the T-Wolves got at that time one money big man, a future starter, two picks that were still somewhat highly regarded, a good contract to move, and good draft picks.  I think Johnny Flynn will be a good point guard so for argument's sake let's say he'll be a player.

Anyway, looking back, that was a very fair trade.  Minnesota had reached the end of the line with Garnett and traded him when he had near-maximum value, and they got one sure-thing, one solid starter, and many, many blue-chip prospects.  Boston got an NBA championship but last season and possibly this season will be a roller coaster of high pay and injury woes.  (That is, if Danny Ainge doesn't just decide to trade Rondo because he doesn't put the seat down.)

This was one of the better trades in recent NBA history.  Just sayin.

DGUtube: Big Game James

The Chief versus Big Game James.  Great competitors.  One accused of throwing his pregnant wife down the stairs, the other of soliciting prostitutes.  One day in 1989, they met, and on that day, James Worthy was the better man.

Fuck You, Ricky Rubio

I'm sick and tired of hearing about Ricky Rubio and after this, I'm not going to waste my time writing about that little Spanish asshole.

WAH WAH WAH I don't want to play in Minnesota daddy!  Fuck you, you Spanish cockstuffer.  Go play in European leagues where everyone sucks and no one gives a shit about you.

WAH WAH WAH We drafted him and can't get him!  Fuck you, David Kahn.  You should have just stuck with Flynn, or gotten someone else, because Rubio sucks anyway and his only skill is passing.

WAH WAH WAH New York Knicks.  Fuck you!  I'm so tired of this team trying to get hyped shitty players. He sucks at everything every good Knicks point guard has ever been good at.  REMEMBER CHRIS CHILDS!

Every single party who is involved in this Rubio debacle drives me nuts.  The media who calls him the next Maravich (except for the fact that he can't shoot).  People who think his performance in the Olympics will translate into NBA suitability (except for the fact that they play with a college three point line and he was being defended by JASON FUCKING KIDD THE WORST FUCKING DEFENSIVE POINT GUARD IN THE NBA).  (Also, look at the box score for the gold medal game here.  Not impressive.)  People that argue that his age belies unlimited potential (see Telfair, Sebastian).

Anyone who thinks this is a good move for Rubio is an idiot.  He'll play with second-rate competition under second-rate coaches and he'll still be a terrible defender who isn't used to shooting NBA three pointers and who doesn't know the game as well as someone with an NCAA pedigree (like, say Johnny Flynn).

This is the end of Ricky Rubio's publicity here for the near future.  Fuck you, Ricky Rubio.