Thursday, August 4, 2011

Weekly Roundup: SVG Could Cross You Up and Durant's 66

The Diss has entered full lockout mode -- which is to say, writers are focusing on longer pieces while Boss Stern and the Players' Association duke it out at the bargaining table.  NBA fans and analysts alike are struggling through this offseason, reading baseless rumors about stars departing for $1 Million salaries in Turkey or Italy, while jealously looking at the cornucopia of news that NFL has produced since they ended their labor struggle. The Diss is no different.  Sure, we could write a long article about the implications of the lockout. Or, we could do what ESPN is doing, and speculating on teams whose rosters are going to change drastically as soon as the lockout ends (in other words, ESPN is killing time). But, that's not too interesting.

So, I'm going to try and do a Weekly Roundup.  Each week, I will compile 2-3 tidbits of NBA-related ephemera to keep us all sated and thinking while the NBA lockout drags on. It's all we can do to stay sane, and I don't want to project too heavily about teams whose rosters will certainly  With no further ado, I present this week's roundup, a veritable Microsoft Word document of free-thoughts and self-absorbed ramblings. If that doesn't compel you to read, nothing will. Except maybe a free hat.

1a. Stan Van Gundy Could Cross You (and Me) Up

Most of the time, I see Stan Van Gundy, coach of the Orlando Magic, like this:

Sort of like a big, angry bear, protecting his (her?) cubs. Or, like Mario. Itsa him, Stan Van Gundy!

But as Sportsgrind reports, I should instead be viewing Van Gundy like this:

You should check the story to see the brief video. Totally worth it.

This obviously changes my worldview, and breaks paradigms across the board. Without context -- that is, knowing that this hefty, moustachioed White guy is the head coach of an NBA team -- this is an image that breaks all sorts of stereotypes. Not just a White guy shakin' 'n' bakin' (so many apostrophes!), but an old White guy. Not just and old White guy, but a fat and old White guy. The gasps from the unseen audience say it all. This guy is fucking good.

But then we delve deeper into the mystery that is SVG. Turns out the guy played Division I basketball at SUNY Brockport (for his dad), after being somewhat heavily recruited as a flashy, high scoring guard out of Alhambra High School in Martinez, CA.  He won scholar-athlete of the year for the SUNY system.  Not too bad, Stan.

So Stan joins a club of current/former White NBA head coaches who had playing careers that might surprise you.  The list is long, but some of the more notable members include Larry Brown, the best bad coach in the NBA (or, the worst good coach?), whose 1961 punch to the face of Art Heyman is credited as starting the now famous Duke-UNC basketball rivalry.

And Scott Skiles, whose Milwaukee Bucks better start out hot if he wants to keep his job, but who still holds the record for most assists in a game (30).  Dang, Scott.

1b. I still feel like I've seen SVG naked.

Despite having a new-found ability seeing Super Van Gundy like this (look at those ups!):

I still see him, most of the time, like Ron Jeremy.

Which means Stan Van Gundy has seen me do some things. To myself.  Terrible things. Things God hates. I'm sorry, Stan.  I wish you looked more like Randy Spears.  What a dreamboat.

Not a bad actor, either.  His performance as James Quirk in Sex Trek II was truly a tour-de-force.

We should probably talk about something else.

2a.  Kevin Durant can score a lot of points on lesser players.

With NBA players free from their contracts, we've seen a lot of guys playing in charity tournaments against a mix of college and street legends.  Brandon Jennings dropped 71 at the Melo League, and John Lucas III, a marginal NBA player at best, racked up 60 points at the Pro-Am league in New York.

But Kevin Durant put on a show at Rucker Park.

What's interesting to me here is the stark contrasts between the ways Durant got his 66, as opposed to the ways Jennings and Lucas III got theirs.  While Jennings and Lucas III looked very much the part of a stereotypical "Street Balla" -- that is, flashy crossovers and strong drives to the basket -- Durant could have been wearing an OKC jersey, and checking over his shoulder to see if Scotty Brooks was calling a new play.  His street game didn't look any different than his professional game.  It also didn't look any less unstoppable.

2b.  You shouldn't assume NBA players dominate all the time in the playground.

Just ask Utah Jazz point guard Devin Harris, who was absolutely showed up by Stuart Tanner, a White Brit dressed like he was fresh from a J. Crew photoshoot, while he was in the country during preseason last year.

I'm not sure Devin Harris has ever lived this down.

And that's your Weekly Roundup for the first week of August.

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