Saturday, September 1, 2012

Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader for Saturday, September 1, 2012.

Hope you remembered to say rabbit rabbit.

Source: Bibby Unlikely to Return to Knicks
Jared Zwerling

This article is being included in the reader because of its subject: Mike Bibby. Zwerling reports that, in all likelihood, one of my favorite early 2000s players is not returning to the Knicks. With most training camp rosters set, we may have seen the final act for Mikey B.  Perhaps it's not a moment too soon -- Bibby looked pretty old and immobile last season, even though he spent time as the Knicks' first, second and third string point guard.  He was even looking pretty shaky as the starter for the Heat in the 2011 playoffs (until he was eventually benched for Mario Chalmers).  Yes, time waits for no man, and Mike's time has come.  But, we'll always have his performance from the 2002 Donaghy-offs, and this strange moment of rejected bromance from 2009.  If this is indeed the end, it was a good run.  Hats off to ya, Mike.  It's been real.

- JG

Devin Dignam
Wages of Wins Journal

At this time last year, arenas, practice facilities, and basketball blogs (including The Diss) were dark and abandoned because of the NBA lockout.  While basketball fans can look forward to six more years of lockout-free entertainment, hockey fans are not so lucky.  The NHL's CBA expires on September 15, 2012.  Should the NHL's owners (represented by commissioner [and former NBA executive] Gary Bettman) fail to come to an agreement with the hockey players' union, the league will lock out its players and begin canceling pre and regular season games.  Sounds familiar?  In this well-written piece, Devin Dignam explores the myriad of similarities between the past NBA lockout and the potential NHL lockout.  Like in the NBA, NHL owners want a bigger share of the players Hockey Related Income (the goofy cousin to Basketball Related Income), insurances that star players will not leave a small market at the first chance they get, and shorter guaranteed contracts.  Oh, and all of them are claiming to be losing money.  The NHL survived one canceled season due to a labor stoppage.  Can they survive a second?  And more importantly, does anyone south of the Canadian border give a shit?

- JG

Tim Kawakami
Talking Points (The San Jose Mercury News)

Don Nelson, who served as the Golden State Warriors head coach twice (but also did stints with the Bucks, Knicks and Mavs) will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few weeks. For better or worse, the Warriors greatest modern successes came under the leadership of "Nellie".  He orchestrated the memorable 2007 playoff run, and coached the team to 48 wins (and a ninth place finish in the hypercompetitive Western conference) the following season.  But our greatest failures also came at the hands of Nellie, as he used his influence to create dysfunction in the Warriors' front office, and meddled with the psyches and skillsets of several of our players.  But, as Kawakami argues here, it was Nellie's bedside manner that made him qualified for the hall in the first place.  Kawakami says that Nellie's nature as an "insubordinate" allowed him to create vaccuums of power, and thus the ability to create teams specially suited for his needs and personality.  Kawakami says he respects that aspect of Nellie.  Though it seems a bit disingenuous for a reporter who wrote many thousands of words tearing apart Nellie for his "insubordinance" (which isn't a word, as far as I can tell), only to give him his respect at the end, Kawakami makes some interesting points about Nellie's career.

- JG

Ethan Sherwood-Strauss

There are still mornings that I wake up and think: "Damn, Allen Iverson isn't in the league anymore.  That sucks"  And while Ethan Sherwood-Strauss might feel slightly sad as well, he also wonders if we focus too much on our emotional connection to Iverson, and not enough on his effectiveness as a basketball player.  Sherwood-Strauss acknowledges Iverson's undeniable impact on race and politics in sport and society, but takes issue with a particular element: that his "controversial image overshadows any discussion of Iverson, the player."  Sherwood-Strauss continues that "A.I. is such a beloved warrior poet, so ardently defended by those who adored his cultural imprint, that it's difficult to dryly question whether or not he was even good for teams."  Sherwood-Strauss asserts that the NBA, at that time, was focused on iso-heavy play ("hero ball").  Whereas in the West the best players were pivot players (Shaq and Timmy), the East was laden with guards.  Iverson, according to Sherwood-Strauss, was "at the foreground of this ugly epoch"; the most prolific player on mostly inefficient Sixers teams, playing in a weak conference.  Sherwood-Strauss' argument challenges the notion that it was Iverson's overall image that ended his HOF career by moving the focus from his cultural impact to his basketball impact.  Indeed, it is difficult picturing Iverson contributing on either the Heat or the Thunder, or even being a good fit in the league at all.

- JG

Dan Feldman
The Detroit Free Press

In a roundtable discussion a few weeks back, I proposed that the offseason's worst move was the non-firing of longtime Pistons GM Joe Dumars, who has done absolutely nothing to improve his team (save  draft some rookies and unload Ben Gordon's stupid contract, but undoing your own dumb mistakes doesn't really get many points in my book). Dan Feldman takes note of this failure to launch in Detroit, and asks whether the Pistons have made enough moves to make it to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.  Feldman doesn't really think so, and uses some interesting statistics to prove his point.  By his count, the teams that went from non-playoff to playoff team with the same coach turned over 35% of their available minutes to new players.  As it currently stands, the Pistons have turned over 24% of their minutes (most of which were taken up by Ben Gordon).  Feldman hypothesizes that the Pistons have to be at least as good as the 2010-2011 Indiana Pacers, who went 37-45 and made the playoffs.  Can the Pistons be as good enough as those Pacers, with Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight leading the way?  We'll see.  Or, you'll see.  I never watch the Pistons.

- JG

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