The Moonball Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Aloha, Kevin

So, I've been trying to come up with words to describe how I feel about KG's move. As I posted last month when this all started, I'm kind of okay with KG on the Celtics. The guy has been unappreciated over his career, mainly because he had the misfortune to be linked to an owner and a GM who don't really understand how the league works. As Simmons says, he'll be on the best team he's ever played on, with two guys who want to win as badly as he does, and all three of them will be okay sacrificing whatever they need to to win. The C's still need to fill in the roster (a backup point guard and some front-line depth are necessary, and they could do with a defensive wing player unless Tony Allen is really back) and I'm not sold on Doc. However, Doc's worst problem (the inability to pick a rotation) has been pretty well taken care of by this trade, and in Pierce, Ray and the Ticket he's got three guys who don't exactly need to be told how to play. I am really excited to see how this group comes together and for the first time since the 2004 Western Conference Finals, I have a reason to watch and care about the playoffs.

For the Wolves, this is the best trade they could have made, I think. Yes, they would have been better off if they could have gotten the 5 and Al, but KG wouldn't have agreed to this if Boston hadn't acquired Ray, and they couldn't have done that w/out the 5. The Wolves have put themselves in a position where they might be good again some day. I'm not sold on any of the young guys other than Jefferson (and even with him, he has to prove he can play 80 games and play defense), but between Al/Foye/Green/Smith/McCants/Brewer you could wind with a nice core of players. The one key is for Taylor to make this KG deal McHale's final move. I don't trust him at all to figure out which of the young guys to keep, let alone to get them to sign their next contracts at terms that don't wind this team back in the salary cap wilderness that we were stuck in during KG's prime, due to a combination of McHale's tendency to overpay his own free agents (c.f. Szerbiak, Wally) and Joe Smith-gate. The current Wolves roster still needs work obviously - they need to excise Ricky D (should be easy enough given that he's got an expiring deal) and Mark Blount (you might have to cut him). They need to bring in some vets that know how to play, a la Sam Mitchell and Terry Porter back in the day. Most of all, they need to have someone who runs the front office that understands things like the CBA, the importance of overseas scouting, the ways advanced stats can be useful, etc. Kevin McHale has proven to be a decent judge of talent (Doodie Ebi notwithstanding), but it takes more than that to run a team. It's time to see if Freddie or Jim Stack has got what it takes to move this team into the new millenium's second decade.

Now back to the Celtics. I'm going to root for them this year. The Wolves will still be my team, but I'm going to allow myself to enjoy watching KG play out his last couple of All-Star caliber years with teammates that are actually good. I'm going to enjoy seeing how he does in a new conference, with a shot at a deep playoff run. I am not planning on enjoying Tommy Heinsohn, but still.

EDIT: A nice piece from former Wolves beat writer Steve Aschburner.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A wedding present for Mike (and Monkeyshoes)

Well, since Jenny, Dave Meier & I weren't supposed to send Mike any actual presents, it looks like we'll be sending our team's best player instead.

Honestly, I think a Boston team w/PP, KG, Ray, Rondo, Gomes, Tony Allen, & Perk can win a whole lot of games.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lion v. Crocodile v. Buffalo

Just got back to the 'Nati, still blissed out after seeing all you people this weekend, and happy to take one more opportunity to congratulate Mike & Lori on a beautiful wedding, and the beginning of a beautiful marriage.

And, also, just in case you didn't make this your first stop after getting back in touch with the WWW, I figured I'd post this:

Definitely worth watching. Don't fuck with buffalo.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hello Shooters!

Not much going on in the NBA this week, outside of a crazy ref betting scandal and some minor free agent let's make room for a blast from the past.

Looks like our friends Darwin and WB's intramural basketball exploits did not go completely unnoticed. I didn't care much for basketball back then myself, but they at least garnered one fan.

A happy wedding week to the Weedblazers!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wallace as Canary

This blog loves Rasheed - Here's to some vindication.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

F*cked in Florida

Everybody is talking about how the Orlando Magic have really screwed themselves by maxing out Rashard Lewis for 6 years. I am there: Lewis is not a top tier guy and almost any six year deal in a huge risk--something you would have hoped the Magic would have learned from the G Hill years.

A closer look at this photo indicates a much deeper problem for the NBA Mouseketeers. Check the backdrop. The Magic are hawking AMWAY! Freaking AMWAY! Isn't AMWAY a punchline?

Clearly someone in the Magic organization musta taken a long, deep swig of the AMWAY kool-aid to allow the pyramid schemesters this type of high profile venue.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Yi better be good. Pulling a Steve Francis/John Elway only works if you have serious game. So far Yi's act is looking pretty suspect.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Extra! Extra! Zach Has Game! (aka a screed of my own)

Damn tired old story lines.

What a shame that the coverage of the Knicks’ acquisition Zach Randolph is focused primarily on Zach the bad boy. Zach can really play. I know he has his trouble at the defensive end, but he is an unreal scorer-banger on the blocks, has the sweetest of jumpers, is a tenacious rebounder and he works as hard as anyone to get better. He is a grinder, game in and game out. Zach is going to make a lot of baskets in the bright lights of MSG.

The real story here is how he will co-exist with big Eddy Curry. Both like to get busy in the painted area, and thus would seem to be at odds. I think that will be less of a problem than folks think. Zach likes the ball on the wing, about 20 feet from the hoop, where he can either drive into a spin move (get ready NYC!) or drop his J is some suckers eye. Curry rarely sets up shop that far away. Though Zach has his struggles as a passer, he is adept at finding his fellow bigs in traffic if the big has good hands—he and LaMarcus had some nice hook-ups last year, and he and Curry should find a similar connection.

Another consideration is that the Knicks often opted to sit the sucky foul-shooting, no-rebounding, hardly-defending Curry down the stretch. Again, Zach is not good defender, but he has become a great foul shooter and he is big time rebounder. Zach will do big things when Curry in on the pine. Me and Monkeyshoes have talked of similarities with Zebo and the immortal Bernard King: The mid-range game, the ability to drive into the heart of a defense and squeeze a shot off, the impecical touch after taking (and often initiating) contact. You heard the comparison here first. NYC is gonna love Zebo.

But back to the to the dumb, uninventive media coverage. Part of the problem is a shift in sports journalism that has been creeping up on us for well over a decade. Part of the problem is the reliance on local sports writers for national story lines. To the first point, seems like every since those up close and personal athlete crapomercials started in Olympic coverage, sports journalism has strayed further and further from the field of play. We see it writ large in the Finals half time specials but how often do you log on to sports website and over half the headline stories are about off-court issues, be it contract squabbles, human tragedy or personal scandal, the majority of sports news is unrelated to sports. I cannot recall the last Oregonian game recap I read that actually focused more on the game than a post-game comment or some other story line.

Which brings us to the plague of local sports writers feeding the national sports desk. The quest to get up close and personal now runs so deep that most every hack sports journalist fancies himself (oh, it’s a him 9-10 times) part crime investigator, part psychologist, part moral clarion and all pulitzer. Like most cities, our columnist John Clownzano gets up in the morning and sucks all day. More enthralled than most about the ‘drawing out the human story’, Clownzano hardly writes about sports. And Zach the bad boy was a Clowny special. He wrote Sheed out of town with the same basic article, labeling him as a loser, and claiming that Shareef Abdur Rahim was better anyway. Even with Zach gone, he can’t stop writing this same column, insert Francis and a special goodbye jab for Zebo. Misery.

Meanwhile on ESPN the national talking heads start parroting the local nonsense, and as a rush of air through a fire, the flames are fanned higher and higher that the hot story lead is 'Will Zach the bad boy screw up off the court'. I sure hope not. But that sorta drama has never been what I liked about the game.

Speaking of dumb story lines drummed to death by the media, how about the myth that Chinese people are paying rapt attention to their countrymen in the League? The amount press asserting that Yao gets bundles All-Star votes because China is flooding the ballot box is silly. That story is bunk. On their local coverage link page, ESPN posted an excerpt from The Milwaukee Journal entitled Yi Spins Web Worldwide, talking up the excitement in China the day after Yi was drafted: ‘ The traffic from China was four times what it was the previous day. On Friday, there were 1,270 visitors from China, No. 3 behind the United States and Canada’. In a nation of 1.319 billion, that ain’t many web hits.

Of course, all this minor league journalism has opened the door to great new sources for b-ball info, like Truehoop. I picked this up from the bullets earlier this week.
“And, in the strangest of ways, the global warming conversation comes to the NBA. Memo to rookies looking to be in the league's good graces: David Stern has said he is passionate about finding solutions to global warming, which may be a focus of his life if/when he ever retires from the NBA.”
Well, before he retires, perhaps he should enlist the help his players to spread the word—most especially players looking to purchase islands like our dear Gilbert.

p.s. Spencer Hawes is Grade USA #1 fool par excellance.

p.p.s. F ESPN and Mike Tirico for saying God Bless George Bush in the up close and personal on the carne cabesa Hawes.

Happy Fourth! Go blow somepin up


During the NBA season, I had to stop checking Moonball before going to sleep, or I would run down 18 different fantasy basketball trade scenarios from my pillowtop and never get to sleep. I was like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind...little pieces of newspaper and string connecting pictures of Jason Terry, Marcus Camby and Fabricio Oberto to put together the magic puzzle. Well, now that I won it once, you'd think that would be over? At least for the summer? Nah...

My stomach's been bugging me lately, and I've spent a little too much time half-in, half-out of sleep. Tonight a big dinner turned into bad dreams.

Before turning in I had uploaded a new website for a friend. Somehow, after I went to bed -- the Minnesota Timberwolves half-brain trust led by Kevin McHale jacked my open connection, and somehow through the FTP upload thought they had found a secure connection to finally complete negotiations with the Golden State Warriors to turn the KG trade. Little bits of data like Ellis and Biedrins were uploaded and discussed, and by the time I was onto them, it was done. KG was gone.

Once I woke up, the damage was done and the press was onto us -- I knew too much, and felt embarrassed that I had been a part of such treacherous transactions. It was like the Matrix, and I had been used -- a pawn for the men in black suits. But as the connection faded away I tried to ask KG if it was gonna be okay for him out there on a new team. He just sat there looking cool -- and I honestly couldn't tell one way or the other. Let the chips fall where they may, he seemed to say. I'm just gonna try to enjoy my summer, and win one no matter what the men in black suits will do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Almost too easy

I'm sure you all read TrueHoop anyway, but how can one resist posting this link, a different spin on the animal fight game.

Perhaps this will be something to debate when we all gather in Oregon.