I understand that you're a statistical wizard. I'm sure the Defensive Efficiency Rating is a powerful and fairly accurate formula. However, it must contain some sort of flaw, considering the true "Worst Defensive Team Ever" wasn't even mentioned in your article.I'll be interested to see whether he responds, and what he'll have to say.
I'm talking about the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets. They surrendered 130.8 points per game, which is 34 points more than the best defensive team that season (Detroit allowed only 96.8 ppg) and 24.4 points more than the league average of 106.4 ppg. By comparison, the Sonics (106.3 ppg) allow an average of 17.7 points more than the best defensive team in the league, San Antonio (88.6). Their differential versus the league average is even better.
Furthermore, the '91 Nuggets let their opponents shoot 51.2 percent, while the Sonics' opponents are shooting 48.9 this year. The Nuggets never held a single opponent under 100 points all season. They held opponents under 110 points only four times! They allowed the opposition to score 130 points or more a mind-boggling 37 times...almost half the season! And this team doesn't even warrant a mention in your article about the worst defensive teams? Great googly moogly.
After three years of backbreaking effort and endless toil, Lebron James is finally, at long last, going to the playoffs. Yippee. Somewhere out there, Craig Ehlo is very excited.
Pat Riley is whining again.
Maurice Cheeks thinks this year's Detroit Pistons (57-14) are a little like his 1982-83 76ers, a team that won 65 games and steamrolled to the championship, going through the playoffs at a "fo, fie, fo" clip. He then likened the current Sixer team (32-38) to the 1972-73 squad.
The Dallas Mavericks (54-18), for all the success they've had this season, continue to lose tough games against above-average teams.
The Portland Trailblazers (20-50) suck, and Joel Przybilla isn't happy about it. In fact, he may not re-sign with the team because he thinks some of the other Blazers have stopped trying. I have to disagree there, Joel. They never started trying. Anyway, you'll be missed in Portland, I'm sure. How will the ever replace your 4 points and 5 rebounds per game?
Our buddies over at The Association aren't the only ones who have a hate thing for Bruce Bowen. Apparently, Phil Jackson (a.k.a. "The Zing Master") thinks that the frisky Bowen plays the game like...Edward Scissorhands. Of course, this is the same guy who once made a home movie about how Rick Adelman is like Adolph Hitler. But sarcasm aside, I think this opens up a whole new range of endorsement possibilities for Bowen. I, for one, would love to own a Bruce Scissorhands action figure.
"That's right, jail Isiah Thomas. It's more than a slogan. It's a cause. A mission. A movement. The man is absolutely nuts. In no other part of our society, would we tolerate such wanton destruction of an organization with public stakeholders. Isiah needs to go -- and not just from MSG. He needs to go to JAIL. How many organizations need to die before we put this man behind bars? First the Raptors driven into the ground. Then the CBA -- utterly destroyed. And now, our beloved New York Knickerbockers. No sir -- this can not go on any longer."Isiah had better watch his back. I think these guy's are serious. They even have a store where you can buy t-shirts promoting the imminent imprisonment of the legendary point guard. And they're even charitible about it: for every product purchased, JI will donate $1 to the YMCA of Greater New York to help develop the savior of the New York Knicks. So go do your part...now.
Good 'ol Duke: Almost as stiff as Duquesne's frontcourt. Almost.
Morehead State def St Francis (PA) 54-51: The poor Eagles...Kyle Macy resigned as head coach this month, and has officially had enough of your shit. But Morehead State did drop down and get their eagle on against St Francis, and narrowly avoided certain humiliation. St Francis' starters shot a combined 14-47 against a team that lost their season finale by 32 points. Wow...
Centenary def Jacksonville 63-46: Centenary ended the season with a 9-game losing streak, including 5 straight losses at home. But the Gentlemen's Chris Watson caught fire and scored 14 against a Jacksonville squad who shot 29% for the night and apparently, after posting one win on the season, have no concept of basketball whatsoever. Centenary is out and, somewhere, Robert Parish breathes a pot-filled sigh of relief.
Robert Parish analogizes Joe Kleine's contribution to the 80's Celtics
Savannah State def Morgan State 53-48: After seeing both of these teams shoot a combined 31% for the game, be thankful I don't have the power to organize such a tourney in real life. On the bright side, Savannah State was winless in 2005, so two wins in 2006 and losing games by an average of only 26 points (despite the 60 point loss to Oregon) is plenty to be thankful for. Savannah State's Javon Randolph led all scorers with 18 on 7/23 shooting. Randolph, according to the coach, is apparently the Tiger's closest thing to Allen Iverson, like the Vancouver Grizzlies closest thing to David Robinson was Bryant Reeves.
"Paul Pierce could end up being the best offensive player this team ever had. And I've seen them all. I mean, he's got an inside game, an outside game, a tweener game - everything."Yeah. Paul certainly has everything...except maybe a "lead my team to the playoffs" game. But I digress. The obvious implication of this statement is that Paul Pierce is, in fact, superior (offensively) to the Basketball Jesus. And Tommy was quick to confirm this implication.
"Oh, Larry Bird was a great player, No one would ever dispute that. But this kid's going to blow by everybody. Even Bird, one-on-one, was not as good as this kid. Sam Jones might have been decent one-on-one. Havlicek was a pretty decent one-on-one player. I just think Paul has a chance to be better than all of them when it comes to offense and the total offensive game."Despite my intimate knowledge of Tommy's creeping insanity, these comments caught me by surprise. Usually, old-timers like Heinsohn go with the throwback player over the young buck. Maybe Tommy was consciously trying to go against convention, mix things up a little, and give a little credit to the new generation. Who knows? But whatever the case, he ruffled Bird's feathers something fierce. So respondeth Larry Legend:
"Are you basing it on the regular season or the playoffs? I mean, it’s hard to compare guys that have never been to the finals to other players. If you gear yourself to play six months of the year, it's completely different than gearing yourself to play nine months a year. My whole focus was trying to gear myself to play nine months a year."
Ouch. It's going to take Paul's eyebrows a while to grow back after that singing. But I don't think it's an entirely fair statement. If you saw Bird play (as I did), read his various books and autobiographies (as I have), and watched Larry Bird: A Basketball Legend (as I do every night before bed), you'd know that he never held anything back. He didn't pace himself because he was playing nine months versus six. That guy went all out every time he set foot on a basketball court. So this hit was a little below the belt, although he was quick to sing Paul's praises.
"Paul's a hell of a player. He's probably having his best year. Paul's the type of guy who can defend. He's very competitive. He can shoot. He rebounds his position, and that's key. He's one of our best in the league. I ain't taking nothing away from him. The thing is, the playoffs are what make you as a player. I mean, you can sit and talk about players all you want, but until you get in the playoffs and play for the big prize year after year. . . ."
Again with the playoffs thing. I agree that the playoffs are what separate the great players from the legends, but you can't hold Paul completely responsible for the Celtics woes. After all, Larry got to make Kevin McHale and Robert Parish better. Pierce gets to make Wally Sczcerbiak and Brian Scalabrine better. Another thing to remember is that Heinsohn never said Pierce was a better all-around player than Bird, just a better offensive player. Although that's kind of misleading too, since Bird's career numbers are either close (24.3 points to 27.1 points) or better than (49.6 percent shooting and 6.3 assists versus 47.8 and 4.7) Pierces career-best numbers.
Keep in mind also, that Bird once averaged 29.9 points a game (and was only four total points away from averaging 30) on 52.7 percent shooting to go along with almost 7 assists. And that was a season when the Celt's starting five averaged almost 100 points a game. So don't think for a second that Bird couldn't have thrown in 30 to 35 a night. He doesn't.
"You know, if I wanted to score 35 points a game - if I knew I was just going to play in the regular season - I would have been very capable of doing that. But it wasn't me. I had more talent around me than Paul's had, and our whole focus was winning championships."
Okay, Larry. We get it. The Celtics aren't going to the playoffs this year. But the basic premise is correct. Bird could have averaged as many points a game as he wanted. He just wasn't that kind of player, and the Celtics weren't that kind of team. Everyone was involved. Everyone contributed. And Bird's supporting cast was much, much more talented than what Pierce has to work with. What people (and Tommy) need to realize is that the greatness isn't about numbers. Bill Russell averaged 15 points a game and shot 44 percent for his career, yet the numbers that count are 11 championships in 13 years.
As good as Pierce has been this year -- and make no mistake, he's been great -- remember this: he's having a career-best season. You have to look at the broad scheme of things and consider his accomplishments within the perspective of his entire career. He may be more athletic than Bird, his drives to the basket and off-balance jumpers may be more aesthetically pleasing than Bird's awkward lunges to the basket and soft step-back shots, but Pierce never ran, and controlled, the offense of a truly great team the way that Bird did.
The real fright is in the UCR Rec Center, around Mid-January.
But the nation's obsession with frivolous tournaments (and the bitterness following a certain alma mater failing to make aforementioned frivolous tourney after being ranked in the preseason) got me thinking...The Final Four determines the best team in college hoops, the NIT tells us who's the ...33rd best (I think), but how about the worst team in college hoops?
That's where Basketbawful comes in.
Using basketball sim software, the schools with the worst records in each region are actually fighting to get out of the tourney; the loser advances one step closer to the Golden Turd. The Sour 16 is right around the corner...WHO YA GOT?!? (view results)
(tags: NCAA, Final Four, tournament, college basketball, worst team, March Misery)
Not since William Wallace was castrated by his arch nemesis in front of a group of his mortal enemies has a man been so painfully and publically emasculated. Take a look at the following picture. Pruitt tried to kind of laugh about it, but I'm sure Custer did the same thing right before the Native Americans owned his ass. Because if you can't laugh at yourself, well, then everybody else can. Oh, how they will laugh.
"When USC guard Gabe Pruitt took his first trip to the free throw line early in the game, the Cal student section hollered in unison: "VIC-TOR-IA, VIC-TOR-IA," and then yelled out a telephone number. Pruitt glanced back at the crowd in horror and bewilderment before clanking his free throws.
"It turns out that a couple of mischeivous little bastards from the Cal student section had been IM'ing with Pruitt all week under the identity of "Victoria," a fictional UCLA hottie, and Pruitt was eagerly anticipating a date with this nubile co-ed back in Westwood after the game. In preparation for the date, Pruitt had handed over his digits, which the Cal student section recited back to him in unison.
"Pruitt, a 79% free throw shooter this season, missed both shots after the "VIC-TOR-IA" chants began, and hit only 3 of his 13 shots for the game. Cal beat USC by 11 for the season sweep, in part due to the Cal fans' devious psy-ops."