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05/17/2018 - 2:43pm You can trust me

I've been a member here for the better part of a decade, and I'm offended by the insinuation.

*accusations that I'm masturbating furiously at all times while reading and posting are likewise baseless and insulting

EDIT: in hindsight, perhaps this isn't the occasion for a masturbation joke. In fairness to myself, though, I never look Watergun Beilein in the eye while I do it.

05/16/2018 - 8:38pm Disagree

If you look at all the guys that the Warriors played at the 4 and 5 this year, there's an overwhelming emphasis on defense: they go with either guys who can switch everything and get their hands on a million balls (Dray, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell), or guys who blot out the sun and/or can box dudes out into the 3rd row (West, JaVele, Zaza). In both cases, though, they rely on these guys much more for their D than their O. So Moe is actually a particularly poor fit with the Warriors -- I'd be shocked if they take him.

05/15/2018 - 3:00pm I know that not everybody is

I know that not everybody is in love with modern fancystats, but to type "hit over .250 with 100 hits" and to think that this establishes lol-worthy proof of a first baseman's adequacy is...not great.

05/14/2018 - 3:08pm I was referring mostly to

I was referring mostly to football, but I think the argument carries over to basketball. The G-League exists, but it doesn't represent a meaningful alternative for high school seniors, and it's hard to imagine it turning into such an alternative without some massive disruption on the NCAA's end.

05/14/2018 - 2:03pm Wanting collegiate sports to

Wanting collegiate sports to be for amatuer students and pro minor leagues to be for future pros is an entirely reasonable desire. But it's not super helpful for guiding policy in a system where no viable minor league alternative exists, and the NCAA is entrenched as essentially the only high-level developmental game in town.

In such a system, the choice is between a quasi-professional set-up where athletic departments & 3rd party media interests extract absurdly large rents on players, and a quasi-professional set-up where where players receive a somewhat more proportional slice of the pie.

05/11/2018 - 5:11pm Toronto's not as bad defensively as they looked

Toronto gave up the 5th fewest pts per possession during the regular season. But Anunoby and Siakam - their two best wing defenders - were always gonna get an education form LeBron in this series. Physically, they're about as good of a matchup as you can hope for in a defender, but they're both green, and there just isn't anyone in the league who isn't going to get either bullied or blown by against Playoff Bron. Combine that with Cleveland's supporting cast shooting extremely well and Lowry & DeRozan having their souls snatched, and we get the series that we saw.

05/10/2018 - 7:47pm Jordan's East was never that good

In '98, they beat a terrible Nets team (Keith Van Horn was their best player), a bad Charlotte team (past-prime Rice, Muggsy, Mase), and then beat a good-not-great Pacers team in 7 -- a team that wasn't nearly as good as this year's Rockets and would match up unfavorably with this year's Pelicans.

In '96 they rolled through bad-to-mediocre Heat and Knicks teams before sweeping an admittedly impressive Magic squad. Point for Jordan's comp here, BUT I think you could argue that Shaq already had a foot out the door in this series (he left for LA that offseason), and that that Magic still compares unfavorably to teams like this year's Rockets or the 2016 Thunder.

In '93, they rolled through a terrible Hawks team, a mediocre Cavs team (Nance was old, Price couldn't even guard anyone back then, and Daugherty likes NASCAR), and then took 6 games to beat a Knicks team that I swear wasn't that good -- Ewing was a defensive presence but was never a particularly efficient scorer, and nobody will ever convince me that Starks was ever good.

'92 was the same story: Bulls beat bad Heat team, so-so Knicks team in 7, and then that same Cavs team in 6 -- a team that just wouldn't be able to match up with many playoff teams in today's NBA

'91 more of same, beating Pistons in conf finals. Say what you will, but that Pistons team was clearly fading from championship peak, was weaker than the stronger non-Warriors/non-Bron teams of the past half decade


05/10/2018 - 5:20pm That's crazytalk

The road to the finals for the '97 Bulls included wins over a trash Bullets team (forgive me Chris & Juwan), a Hawks team built around Mookie Blaylock & Christian Laettner, and a Heat team featuring old-ass Tim Hardaway and a 23-year-old Voshon Leonard as their 3rd best player. That path is an absolute garbage fire that at least half-a-dozen teams this year could sleepwalk through. '97 isn't the only example.

05/10/2018 - 4:59pm These arguments will be more

These arguments will be more fun for you if you try watching basketball sometime.

05/10/2018 - 3:55pm This strikes me as almost exactly wrong. There

This strikes me as almost exactly wrong. There were a lot of absolutely awful on-ball perimeter defenders back in the day (go to Basketball Reference, pick a random team from between 1985 and 1995, look at the 2s and 3s they had on their roster, and ask yourself how many you'd trust to check any starting wing in today's NBA).

With respect to rim protection, there were obviously some great shot blockers in the '80s, but 1) illegal defense rules allowed them to hang out by the rim and collect blocks to a much greater extent, 2) they collected a lot of easy blocks against the assortment of sitcom dads who were playing in the league at the time (the Brent Prices of the world), and 3) it was much easier to carve out a role as a rim protector back in the day because guarding the pick-and-role was *vastly* easier back then than it is now. In the modern NBA, you still have guys like Gobert and Porzingis with astronomical block rates, but every playoffs you see guys like Whiteside, Valanciunas, etc. turn into defensive liabilities because they struggle to get out to the 3pt line. Now imagine Mark Eaton in that role...

Extending from that, it's pretty clear that NBA defenses are actually quite a bit *more* sophisticated today in terms of rotations, switches, etc. Modern centers can shoot, the league as a whole is much more efficient in terms of shot spacing and selection, and defensive rules make it harder to play quasi-zone. Teams have adapted, and modern squads like the Celtics, Sixers, Jazz, Spurs are head-and-shoulders above where '80s teams were defensively.

05/10/2018 - 3:32pm With respect to possibility #1, I think mobility

With respect to possibility #1, I think mobility is only part of the issue, with QB decision-making more of a factor. From what I've seen, Shea was less likely than our QBs last year to take a sack because he held onto the ball a beat (or 3) too long. This would have a big impact on Ol Miss's sack rate relative to ours

05/10/2018 - 3:08pm Strongly disagree (re: MJ playing in much tougher league)

I think the exact opposite holds: if LeBron faced the defenses that Jordan faced day in and day out, he'd put up 45 points a game. Seriously, when's the last time you went back and watched extended game film from the mid/late 80s? There were plenty of all-time greats at work back then, but *a lot* of the guys checking Jordan wouldn't sniff an NBA roster today, and they wouldn't sniff a roster because they were terrible, terrible defenders.

05/10/2018 - 3:00pm Also, re: greatest collection of talent

I loved '80s NBA -- I never missed a game as a kid, and I still love going back and watching clips of Magic, Bird, Nique, Barkley, et al.

But right this instant, you could put together a starting 5 of Steph, Harden, Bron, KD, and Brow. No moment-in-time lineup of the '80s comes even close to that. And the modern-day bench is deeper. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, but the quality of play in the NBA right now is better than any basketball that's ever been played in previoius eras, and I don't think it's all that close.

05/10/2018 - 2:46pm lol @ Kobe

Basketball fans can have spicy but reasonable arguments about whether MJ or Bron is GOAT. But Kobe at #2? It's almost inconceivable to me that someone could take a hard and honest look at his record compared to Duncan's and say that Kobe's is more impressive, let alone compared to guys like Bron, Kareem, Wilt.

05/09/2018 - 9:01pm MGoBlog commentariate: OK

MGoBlog commentariate: OK everyone, let's try not to get political with this very volatile subject. 

Same MGoBlog commentariate: [5,000 posts about how political correctness is the greatest threat to intellectual freedom since the Enlightenment and is plunging America into an Orwellian nightmare]

05/09/2018 - 3:45pm Player names

I forgot that the latter existed, but I'm henceforth going to refer to German Green as "Small German" and Julius Welschof as "Large German"

05/08/2018 - 1:37pm Doctor quote

Aside from being spot on in ripping* dipshit Anonymous NFL Insiders, it's good to know that doctors really are smart people who aren't going to leave a surgical instrument inside me or misdiagnose a UTI in front of my girlfriend.


*(Spellcheck** in original piece; 'rep' fits and flips the meaning)
**EDIT: I see that in context doc actually is 'repping' his fellow medical professionals; as usual, I'm both an embarrassing pedant and wrong

05/04/2018 - 5:27pm Chicago has some fantastic departments -- econ,

Chicago has some fantastic departments -- econ, soc, anthro are all near or at the top of their fields, and I'm sure there are others. But the calculus of undergrad attendance is as I describe it, with predictable results: in my (admittedly very partial and likely biased) opinion, you get a lot of rich-kid strivers who aren't uniformly the sharpest of tools. The calculus is a lot different at Michigan, though obviously no school is without its assholes (I, for one, have spent time on several campuses)

05/04/2018 - 5:07pm One of my ex-gfs went to Chicago, and she hated

One of my ex-gfs went to Chicago, and she hated almost everyone she went to school with. This girl on her dorm floor ended up fucking Kanye in a strip club bathroom, though, and I think they kind of bonded over that.

05/04/2018 - 4:53pm My experience with UChicago undergrads is that

My experience with UChicago undergrads is that they're mostly rich kids who wanted to go to a prestige school but weren't smart enough to get into the really good ones.

I say that mostly to be a dick, but it's also true.

05/03/2018 - 2:23pm His rings are the most

His rings are the most persuasive argument in Kobe's favor, and don't get me wrong: Kobe was great. But he by no means is a top-5 player, and he's not in my top 10. That many people assume he's in the conversation for GOAT is why he's easily one of the most overrated players in basketball to me

(and let's not pretend that he was dragging trash to his last two rings -- prime Gasol, Odom, Ariza/Artest, and not-yet-broken Bynum is a more than solid supporting cast)

05/03/2018 - 2:17pm Not kidding at all

Steph and Harden have both been playing better basketball over the last 2-3 years than Kobe ever played in his life -- comparably prolific and much more efficient scorers, much better playmakers and distributers, and comparable defenders. Longevity matters in these sorts of ranking exercises, so I'll hold off on saying that either is 'greater', but their primes are absolutely better.

And you've got to be kidding me with the Harden-Kobe talent comparison. Harden's jumper isn't as picturesque, but he's *much* better at getting clean looks, and his passing ability is on a whole nother level

05/03/2018 - 10:45am It's almost impossible for me to see an argument

It's almost impossible for me to see an argument for Kobe having a better career than Duncan. Kobe scored more points and got more media attention, and that's literally it. Duncan was more dominant at his peak, generated more wins in more ways, and was meaningfully productive for longer. Their final seasons are illustrative: Kobe had a trash year that ended with him throwing himself a shot party in a meaningless game for a terrible team, while Duncan went out making real contributions in an understated role for a playoff contender

05/02/2018 - 6:44pm Kobe was never an efficient shooter

Kobe has only been a (barely) better than a 0.500 eFG% shooter 4 times in a 19-season career (not counting the '13 season when he shot poorly over 6 games). His stroke was beautiful, but he was just never that efficient. Likewise with his 3-point shot: he hit at .383 in '02, but he was .250 the year before and .327 the year after. There was never a prime during which he was a consistently better than average 3pt shooter.

Which is all not to say that he wasn't great. But he was a relatively one-dimensional player compared to other greats, and he wasn't nearly as good at that one dimension as a lot of people seem to remember.

05/02/2018 - 6:26pm You can make an argument

You can make an argument that Kobe had a better overall career than either, but the argument the other way is at least as strong. Both Robinson & Chuck had more dominant peaks and more career win shares, both were much better defenders, obviously better rebounders, and vastly more efficient scorers. The overall advanced stats point pretty unequivocally toward Chuck and Robinson. Obviously, advanced stats aren't everything, and Kobe has a bunch more rings. But if you just look at ability to impact a game during their respective primes, I'd put Kobe 3rd out of the 3

05/02/2018 - 5:37pm "In no tight order"

The point is that both were better than Kobe

05/02/2018 - 4:33pm McGuffie

As a running back, he obviously didn't live up to all the hype around his arrival. But as a bobsledder, he's really exceeded expectations.

05/02/2018 - 4:19pm In no tight order

It's always hard to keep one's criteria straight in lists like this, but looking at peak greatness, overall impact on game, longevity, and W/L success, I'd go with:

1) LeBron, 2) Jordan, 3) Wilt, 4) Kareem, 5) Duncan, 6) Magic, 7) Bird, 8) Dirk, 9) KG, 10) Admiral, 11) Hakeem, 12) KD, 13) Russell, 14) Barkley. EDIT: and Shaq


Some of these are obviously arguable, but there's a legit argument for all of them (and more) to be 'greater' than Kobe. Kobe was a volume scorer whose career eFG% was well south of .500, whose defensive impact was marginal, whose impact on his teammates was marginal, who never led the league in any advanced stat other than usage rate, and whose peak WS/48 was worse than every modern player on this list.

05/02/2018 - 4:16pm Not close

His career is unequivocally less 'great' than Jordan, LeBron, Wilt, Kareem, and Duncan. And many others.

05/02/2018 - 3:15pm Kobe

His offensive arsenal was as polished as any I've seen, and he won some rings on some great teams. But a lot of people think he's in the conversation for GOAT, and I don't think he's anywhere near. In terms of overall impact on the game, peak dominance, and longevity of greatness, I just think it's too easy to name guys that are clearly better (Jordan, Bron, Kareem, Wilt, Duncan, etc.), with more who are likely to surpass him by the end of their careers (Steph, KD, Harden, etc.).

05/02/2018 - 2:49pm I take the opposite approach

I take the opposite approach. I live out of market and don't have any sort of league pass, so I only get to watch a few games, but I love having Gibby in the booth. Maybe it's because I'm a boring-as-shit grad student, but I'll take a lifetime of baseball knowledge and a wry sense of humor over a hype man any day. Thumbs up for Gibby.

04/27/2018 - 1:43pm Anything by Errol Morris.

Anything by Errol Morris. Wormwood is his most recent documentary project, and I thought it was really fantastic. Morris is extraordinarily good at dealing with narrative uncertainty and people's responses to uncertainty -- he's got this really weird pre-film background as a student of the history and philosophy of science and as a private investigator, and both skillsets are on display in a lot of his work.

Also, Hoop Dreams and The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (I'm serious)

04/25/2018 - 9:31pm My initial response was 'no politics!' but then I

My initial response was 'no politics!' but then I realized that I was thinking of the wrong NorCal serial killer

04/25/2018 - 4:17pm Still mad

Players "playing pissed" and "having something to prove" are like defensive coordinators who plan to play more aggressive: this is what everyone says about every season in all possible scenarios.

04/14/2018 - 12:31pm Congrats to Noah!

As someone who got his aerospace bachelor's while smoking just an absurd amount of weed, I can truly appreciate his ability to multitask.

(To make the subtext text: I believe that his and my accomplishments are the same)

04/11/2018 - 7:54pm The Cut River Bridge is about

The Cut River Bridge is about an hour west of St Ignace on 2, and it's really nice. You can park and hike down a little trail to the mouth of the creek, which is a super nice spot to wade in a bit, weather permitting.

(All of this info is accurate as of about a decade ago, when I used to drive this stretch of 2 all the time)

04/11/2018 - 6:32pm Suit/settlement value

Not to be dismissive of what I'm sure is a very rough time for involved parties, but: I'm probably indifferent between genital herpes and $500k. Anything more than that, and I'm solidly in surplus utility. (adjust a bit for emotional distress, etc.)

04/04/2018 - 2:38pm Agree completely about

Agree completely about finding a guy who can get high-efficiency perimeter looks off the bounce. I'm confidant about Poole in that role -- feel like he has the necessary ingredients in a decent handle, good shot mechanics with plenty of elevation, and lots of confidence/offensive aggression. But yeah, I could definitely see DeJulius grow into that role as well, but with more of a Kyle Lowry/Chauncey/Jalen Brunson feel, where he uses his strength to bulldog opposing guards, get himself into positions of better leverage.

04/04/2018 - 1:35pm Player comp for DeJulius

I'd say his game is more Lowry-esque than Steph-alike. He's thicc.

04/03/2018 - 5:10pm I'd bet a dollar that Wilson

I'd bet a dollar that Wilson is ahead of Samuels in pass pro right now, and that's what's driving this (probably motivational) ranking.

03/30/2018 - 3:25pm I think a big part of it is

I think a big part of it is the decline in prominence of the Big East. They don't really have any premier conference matchups other than Xavier and maybe Butler, and Xavier's in the same position of not having national hype commensurate with their playing level.

(Also, if you haven't, this is a good time to recommend watching the Big East 30 for 30. Easily one of my favorite 30 for 30s, gives a great look at the glory years of the conference and the tragedy of its demise)

03/28/2018 - 7:01pm Connection to lawyers

I might be misinterpreting Toledo here, but I think the question for lawyers is: is this sort of thing legal? I have no idea about how the potentially relevant laws regarding obstruction of justice and usage of public funds might apply, but any chance this sort of conduct crosses from just being really shitty into being actually criminal?

03/28/2018 - 11:55am It's common for people to have inflated

It's common for people to have inflated expectations for draft picks, and teams do genuinely hit the jackpot in that range sometimes -- e.g. Giannis. But for every Giannis, there's a whole lot of Michael Carter-Williamses and Shabazz Muhammeds. Getting a solid starter in the 8-14 range is a successful draft

03/25/2018 - 4:43pm I agree, especially with Matthews

I'm actually pretty skeptical of the chances for a lot of 2nd-rd-level guys to move up the board by sticking around, but I think that Matthews is someone who actually could do himself a big favor. He's a very good athlete, but probably doesn't have the physical tools to stick in the NBA as a defensive stopper/transition play-maker. He really needs to prove that he can score consistently and become a reliable shooter. He hasn't done that yet, but he definitely could with another year in the system.

03/19/2018 - 6:20pm This

If being east of the 405 gives you hives, just park near one of the West LA/SM Expo Line stations.
(This also gives you a little buffer to sober up for the drive home.)

03/19/2018 - 6:18pm Transit to Staples

That's the perception, but I'm not sure how well it holds. It's easy for me to say, since I live in Ktown and getting to Staples is trivial, but there are a ton of places you can leave your car around the region and take a ~30-minute train ride to Staples. I wouldn't be surprised if the number of people who could get to the arena in under an hour without paying for stadium parking is higher in LA than in NY (keep in mind that the NY region gets *way* less dense than LA once you get outside of NYC)

03/19/2018 - 5:06pm I'm probably being a little

I'm probably being a little unfair with my synopsis, but this seems like saying "Don't write the article in case any scalpers check the internet to see how scalping works." Like, I don't think that checking StubHub for market trends and/or waiting til tip for desperation deals is a super undercover trade secret for professional scalpers or anything.

03/19/2018 - 5:02pm Awesome, thank you. I think

Awesome, thank you. I think my new tentative plan is to hang out downtown day of, check StubHub ~30 minutes before tip, and then hit up scalpers if nothing seems like a great deal. Also, I'm almost definitely overthinking this, but if I go the scalper route, my brand new plan is to wear an obscuring jacket or something over my Michigan gear, and to put on a dgaf facade for the scalpers, see if I can get a little negotiational leverage. (I'm exteremely proud of my business cunning.)

03/19/2018 - 4:57pm Great, thanks for this

Great, thanks for this response. I'm more focused on just getting in the building than getting in any particular section (I've sat in cheap seats for Lakers/Clippers games and found all of them tolerable), and I'm def on a bit of a grad student budget. That said, these LA-based StubHub insights are solid (and I'd imagine probably apply for Dodgers games, etc., which I should start taking advantage of).

03/19/2018 - 1:53pm Awesome, thanks for advice. I

Awesome, thanks for advice. I think my tentative plan is to hold out til tip-off to see if scalper prices go down, and if that backfires, just watch the game at one of a couple of sports bars right around Staples that I've had good luck with.