Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moments of Fortune: A Guest Post on the Cleveland Cavaliers by Dan Grunspan.

Editor's Note: Dan is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington in Seattle. This is Dan's first submission to The Diss.

It has been 46 years since a major sports team brought a championship to Cleveland (by the Jim Brown era Browns, who would clearly represent the fortunate moment for the unfortunate history of Cleveland Sports).  Since then, being a fan has been nothing short of miserable -- the Cavs make up a large subset of this misery.  You see, being a Cleveland fan is like a lifelong case of malaria.  The severity of symptoms comes and goes.  The Cavs tend to cause the chills and nausea, but it's the additional fandom of the Indians and Browns that result in the headaches, fatigue, fever, sweats, and occasional death.  I don't think everyone lucky enough to not be a Cleveland fan can appreciate the fortuity of "the moment" without first appreciating just how crappy Cleveland sports history is.  So, please, a moment of silence for some of the bigger kicks in the groin experienced by the Indians and Browns, then we'll focus on the Cavs.


Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Second Half Prediction Edition

11:40 a.m. PST Editor's Note: We inadvertantly omitted Omar's responses when this was first posted this, but they're now included below.

For this week's installment of Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses, we play an innovative game called "True or False".

Oklahoma City is too young and inexperienced to win the title this year.

Is this hipster too hip to win a title?

Jacob Greenberg: False. According to a graph developed by Idris Raja at Data Dork, most NBA championship teams are between the average ages of 27-29 (that is, in their primes). Additionally, Raja points out that dynasty teams, such as the 60s Celtics, the 80s Lakers and Celtics, the 90s Bulls, and the 00s Lakers, each got older after each season they won it, but most just aged between 26 and 28 yeas of age. In other words, they just got to a different point in their primes. The youngest ever championship team -- the 1977 Portland Trailblazers -- were 24.3 years old, on average. The next closest team? The 1966 Warriors, who were 25.7 years old. Right now, the Thunder are 25.4 years old. So if they won, they'd be the second youngest team ever to win it all. However, if they didn't win it this year, the stats would indicate that they have a much greater chance of winning it (and perhaps a few others) in the next 1-2 years.

Joe Bernardo: False. The team went to the WCF last year so it's not like they're wet behind the ear in terms of playoff experience. I think their biggest hurdle in winning a title is not their youth, but rather their lack of an offensive post presence. When the game slows down come playoff time, I'm not sure the Durant/Westbrook/Harden one-on-one perimeter game is going to cut it during crunch time.

Alex Maki: Definitely false. They have plenty of experience, including winning close games and playing in the postseason. At this point the Thunder are the favorites to take it all, with three dynamic scorers and a whole clutch of players willing to be nasty on defense. Thunder not only make it to the finals in the West, but they take a leisurely stroll there. The finals won't be quite so easy though...

Brian Benjamin: False. They may not win the title this year but it won't be because of youth and inexperience. They're the most talented team in the West. And people forget that Scotty Brooks won a championship back in his playing days with Houston (Ok, Hakeem won that title for him but he was on the roster). He'll know what to tell his team when the time comes.

Omar Bagnied: True. Earlier in the season I would've told you that the Thunder were a lock in the Finals, primarily because of young legs in a shortened season. While many shared that sentiment, they didn't realize that this meant that great, older teams like the Spurs weren't going to have to play as long a season. Last year the Spurs ran out of gas at around 88-89 games. This year that'll be enough to put them in the finals. People shouldn't sleep on Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter, they're great young pieces to complement Duncan, Ginobli, Jefferson and the crafty 29-year-old veteran Tony Parker who's "out-skilled" and outperformed the Thunder's Westbrook on a number of occasions this season.

With Billups out for the season in LA, it'll be Thunder-Spurs in the conference finals. And to answer the initial question, when "young" means that Kendrick Perkins is your veteran, then yes, you are too young. If they make it past the Spurs, both the Heat and Bulls have more talent, experience and veteran leadership to leave the them championshipless for at least another year. Durant has only taken 24 more shots than Westbrook in their first 34 games. That dynamic really has to change.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hold Onto Your Fake GM Hat!

NBA trade deadline season is upon us! To make sure you are fully disappointed by your favorite teams' moves, follow the recipe below.

One Part Speculative Rumor "There are renewed rumblings about the Warriors possibly getting Brook Lopez from the Nets in a multi-team deal involving Howard. That would cost them big time, though; Monta Ellis would be part of the Magic’s compensation." -- Peter Vecsey at the New York Post

Two Parts Unfounded Hope Monta Ellis is sixth in the league in scoring. I think everybody else will overlook the fact that he plays no defense, is a black hole on offense and has down statistics across the board.

Vigorously Stir in the NBA Trade Machine

And voila, you have a ridiculous trade that gives you unfounded hope!

Billy King and Otis Smith are involved...throw common sense out the window!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Seattle Sonics Optimism Guide

In my mind, last week's announcement of a potential arena deal in Seattle marked the official beginning of the "Return Our Sonics" movement in Seattle.  With a tangible plan in place to construct a $500 million arena in South Downtown (SoDo), Sonics fans got the final indication from the city, the state, and the 1% that they were actually serious about bringing professional basketball back to the Emerald City.  As such, fans allowed themselves a small bit of giddiness -- a glorious emotion that has certainly been lacking since the Sonics left town -- and even started speculating about teams that might come fill the void that the current-Thunder had left.  Most presumed the Sacramento Kings, who nearly moved to Anaheim last year, and were struggling to come to an agreement about a new arena to house the team, represented the best chance for professional basketball's return in Seattle.

However, those hopes of seeing Tyreke Evans driving down the late in Sonics' green and gold, and the thrill of trading away DeMarcus Cousins for pennies on the dollar all came crashing down today in Sacramento.  As of a few hours ago, the Sacramento Kings and the City of Sacramento came to a tentative agreement on an arena deal.  The arena, which will reportedly be built in downtown Sacramento, will be funded jointly by the Maloof family ($70 million up front, with $70-$100 million due over the term of the contract), Arena-sponsor AEG ($60 million) and private businesses and corporations who have invested in parking garages around the arena ($293 million).  Provided the NBA owners approve the deal at their board meeting on March 1, and the City of Sacramento okays that agreement at a council meeting on March 6, the Kings will remain in California's capital city for at least the next twenty-five years. Kings fans are already rejoicing.

Games of the Week: February 27-March 4, 2012.

The only lingering question I have from All-Star weekend: who is Kevin Hart?  And why was he everywhere?

Anyways, back to the grind.  This week's games features a rematch of the game of the year (thus far), the requisite dose of Linsanity, and our first tortured look at the Detroit Pistons.  We couldn't avoid them forever.  Anyways, let's get to it.

Monday: Antiques Roadshow: Pittsburgh (8:00 PM PST)

No games scheduled for Monday, and I don't have cable.  However, I do get PBS.  Antiques Roadshow it is!  On tap for this week: "[a] correspondence between Kennedy family members and John F. Kennedy's former personal secretary; jade sapphire ring; 1946 oil painting by Rockwell Kent."  Shucks, I was hoping someone found Heinz Ward in their basement.  Jokes!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

You're Lin Trouble: Ben & Jerry's

Beanie Babies, Pogs, The Spice Girls, Tickle Me Elmo, Pokemon. Like every phenomenon to hit pop culture in the age of the internet, everyone's trying to cash in on Jeremy Lin, and Jason Whitlock's not the only one getting Lin trouble.

Today, ESPN scooped a sweet story on ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's and a questionable ingredient choice for their newest flavor of frozen yogurt, "Taste the Lin-Sanity." Trying to one up the New York Knicks team graphic staff, the 'tangentially-but-not-really-connected-to-Harvard' company put fortune cookie pieces into vanilla fro-yo with a honey swirl -- a unfortuneate attempt to cash in on #Linsanity that has now backfired.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice...

The company has offered this apology:

"Our [l]intention was to create a flavor to honor Jeremy Lin's accomplishments and his meteoric rise in the NBA, and recognize that he was a local Harvard graduate... We try (to) demonstrate our commitment as a Boston-based, valued-led business and if we failed in this instance we offer our sincere apologies."

Ben & Jerry's, as a terrible pun aficionado, I see what you were trying to do. You've been one of my favorite bougie ice cream pints to chow down on for a while, but this is Linsensitive! Linsane! Did you even file for a trademark on Linsanity? Dubious. Doubtful.

And seriously, Fro-Yo? Jeremy's playing so many minutes these days that he doesn't need a low-cal substitute for the real thing. If anything, he can afford to pack on a few extra pounds. Next time, at least put your linjudicious ingredient choice in some ice cream.

Ben & Jerry's: You're Lin Trouble.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wild Guesses and Outlandish Speculation: SPECIAL ALL-STAR EDITION!

I was going to write a pithy introduction about the frustrating meaninglessness of All Star Weekend, but Diss contributor Hans Peterson says it better than I could:

Unsolicited All-Star weekend thoughts: It's obsolete.  I generally believe this about baseball too (let's not even talk about football).   In general, the All Star game still has value as a recognition of talent and I would probably be excited about the game if I were a bit younger.  But I also think that what was originally fun about All Star games is no longer a factor.  In the early nineties, I was crazy excited to discover the All Star game and learn that all the players I'd heard stories about -- Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson -- would all be on TV playing together at the same time!  This was particularly exciting because before the internet and special NBA TV packages made it possible to see every single game, I never really saw these players play.  I might've gotten a chance to see Larry Bird once a year on TV outside of the playoffs.  It was a chance to see something I never saw otherwise.  My dad says the same thing about the baseball All Star games from the 1950s and 1960s.  He had one chance a year to see Bob Gibson face Mickey Mantle, and that was it.  Now it is only a chance to see the exact same players I see multiple times each week screw around in a meaningless exhibition.   
So let's talk All Star Game!
Amen, Hans.  Amen.

So, without any further ado: The First Annual Wild Guesses and Outlandish Speculation: All-Star Game.  Today's armchair basketballticians: Franklin Mieuli, Andrew Snyder, Hans Peterson and Omar Bagnied.

1. Shaq and Sir Charles were given the honor of choosing the rosters for the Rising Stars Challenge (the replacement for the Rookies vs Sophomores game), which features rosters laden with the role players of tomorrow.  Yea or Nay on Shaq and Charles Barkley as draft czars?

Hans Peterson: Yea on having draft czars, yea on Sir Charles, nay on Shaq.  If there's one thing sillier than the All Star game, it's the Rising Stars challenge, so we might as well make it fun by having two big personalities turn it into a sass-fest.  The problem is that Shaq should not be one of those personalities.  Shaq has endless quotes from his career.  I appreciate Shaq.  But with too much spotlight and too much empty air, Shaq is REALLY awkward.  He tries way too hard, is completely incoherent, and his takes are frequently irrational.  I want playground draft rules with Sir Charles facing off against Reggie Miller/Chris Webber or someone like that.  Then each player should be mic'ed up for the whole game for smack talkin' fun.  I'd rather watch that than the All Star Game.  The only thing they screwed up is that the draft should be done live, immediately before the game, with the players lined up in front of them (playground style) so we can watch Gordon Hayward or Kawhi Leonard get weepy as they wait to see who goes last.

Franklin Mieuli:  Sure.  Why not?  It's a meaningless, farcical event that nobody cares about (except fans of teams who suck cough Warriors cough).  As for a prediction, while Team Shaq's Ciudad de Globos Rubio-to-Griffin combo may look fearsome, I predict an easy Chuck win behind the speed of Irving and Wall.

Andrew Snyder: Shaq is just as much of a travesty on Inside the NBA on TNT as he was as the piece that convinced Danny Ainge it would be okay to trade Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder at the 2011 trade deadline.  I'm not okay with him picking anything, anywhere, except on twitter.  I'm okay with Sir Charles, though.

Omar Bagnied: Well, Shaq and Barkley didn't actually choose the pool, they chose from a pool selected by assistant coaches.  And thank God for that.  I've watched enough TNT post-game coverage to conclude that Shaq and Charles make terrible talent assessments.  I'm fine with them fooling around on the sidelines; they're super-famous and have lively personalities which make for a nice draw.  But who am I kidding with this analysis, people just want to see the two of them "fight" again.  And it might happen, but it'll be a scripted deal.  But looking at the rosters, it's easy to discern that Shaq picked the more exciting team while Barkley grabbed the more talented squad that will likely win the game.  I would pay a lot of money to see Blake dunk a man's dunk all over the dance first, shoot second, shoot third point guard that was supposed to be my hometown Wizards' savior.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracket: Elite Eight

The Elite Eight! The Regional Finals! This one's for all the bragging rights... in each region! Jeremy Lin probably probably knows something about eight team competitions (see: Ivy League), but I doubt he's been involved in anything at this sort of "elite" level before (zing!). Unfortunately, no Elite Eight buzz words work very well with Lin puns, so I might as well just stop writing now. Or, I could just wait a paragraph.

It looks like the only way Linsanity can be stopped is with a Hadouken

Hmm... very linteresting... According to the world's foremost bracketology expert, in an average year, three out of four 1-seeds make it to the Elite Eight; The Diss'es Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracket has held true to form. Despite the disappointing loss of 8-seed and noted Wu Tang Killa Lin and Out Burger, several linderellas are still in the hunt, including fan favorites 7-seed Jeremy and 6-seed Linja Turtle. The dominant lame-stream media storyline will surely follow these two upstart lower seeds on the left side of the bracket, but don't sleep on Super Lintendo or Lindustrial Revolution over on the right side -  both have a realistic title shot.  

Click for a larger bracket!

Vote now for your Final Four nicknames, and check back on Monday to see if your preferred sobriquet has made it to, uh... New Orleans! And no David Stern, you can't cancel this one.

The Week That Was: February 20-26, 2012.

It was a slow week in the Association.  Games were played.  Jeremy Lin lost more than he won.  Gilbert Arenas still hasn't signed with the Lakers yet.  Boh-ring.

But, regular features don't write themselves, so we press on.  On tap for this week: revisiting one of my favorite lockout flings, a succession plan in San Antonio, and the gathering storm clouds of relocation.  Let's get to it.
1. It's pronounced: "Yool."

From July until early December, the NBA owners locked out its players, and no games were played.  Perhaps you remember this.  While other displaced fans found more productive things to do instead of watching basketball, I just desperately looked for more basketball.  I ended up watching a lot of Euroleague, which ESPN streamed in an effort to catch wandering NBA fans.  It worked hook, line, and sinker with me, and I instantly became a bandwagon Euroleague fan.  Much like Americans during the FIBA World Cup, I excitedly pontificated about a league that I knew nothing about, and showered adoration on players and ball clubs that I had never, ever heard of before.  The basketball was okay, but it wasn't really about the product itself.  It was about the high it provided until my regular dealer got back in town.

While I wached Euroleague to get my fix, I developed an affinity for a number of players.  Milan Macvan was pretty cool.  Milos Teodosic is a baller.  Jamont Gordon probably belongs in the NBA.  But no player delighted me as much as Sergio Llull.  He immediately caught my attention as one of the better players on the best team in the league, Real Madrid.  As a 6-3 combo guard, Llull was able to take his man off the dribble, or step back and hit long jumpers.  He struck me as sort of a more talented Luke Ridnour -- a smallish guard that could play both the one and the two, but a far more capable defender, and a more natural scorer.  His numbers this season don't look that impressive -- 10 points and 4 assists in roughly 24 minutes per game -- but European basketball seems to have a way of skewing stats.  For example, both Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings had poor statistical seasons in Europe before they came to the NBA.  Llull would likely see similar success.  And his name would be a hit.  It's just fun to write.  Llull.  Llull.

So good news, everyone!  If I'm reading this Google-translated article from Spanish news website Encestando correctly, it seems as if Llull is thinking about coming to the NBA after this summer.  He was drafted by the Rockets in the second round back in 2005, and they still retain his rights.  He also still has two years left on his contract with Real Madrid, but buyouts are always an option.  I would love to see him stateside, and you would too, whether you know it or not.

Llull would immediately make an impact with an NBA club.  He belongs in this league.
2. Rebuilding While Contending.

For many years, I thought the San Antonio Spurs had a limited window to compete.  That was back in 2008, after they lost in the second round to the Los Angeles Lakers.  Yet, here we are in 2012, with the Spurs still at the top of their game.   They're second in the West at 24-10, have gone 9-1 in their last 10, and even rallied off a 9 game winning streak.  If OKC is the prohibitive favorite in the West, San Antonio is probably their main challenger.

Despite the Spurs' brilliant record, this is most definitely a rebuilding year for them.  The crown has been passed from Tim Duncan to Tony Parker, and the Flying Frenchman wears it well.  He's averaging 20 points and a career-high 8 assists per game.  His player efficiency rating of 22 is second best in his career.  And, most impressively, he's doing all of this in 34 minutes per game, which is only a single minute above his career average.  Indeed, coach Gregg Popovich may be turning in his best coaching performance of his career, relying on Tony Parker, resting Tim Duncan (who has found a fountain of youth and is averaging 14 points, 9 reboards and a block in only 28 minutes per game), and riding his new cast of smart, athletic role players like Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter.  It's been a thing of beauty to watch (if you have League Pass).  Team vets like Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair have been as valuable as ever. And they've done all of it without Manu Ginobili, who has missed most of the season with a broken left hand, and was lost again last week with a strained oblique.

That said, the future is bright for the Spurs.  Common wisdom seemed to say that Tim Duncan would retire when he could no longer be the featured player on the team.  However, based on the way Duncan has been able to produce when his minutes are carefully monitored, it doesn't seem like he's falling apart in any sense of the word.  I could see Duncan transitioning seamlessly to the bench, becoming one of the league's most steady backup big men.  If Tiago Splitter continues to improve, and becomes a legitimate starting power forward, the young guns continue to develop with big game experience, and Gregg Popovich keeps coaching, the Spurs will be contenders for years and years to come.

And guaranteed, every single year, we will say: "this is the Spurs' last chance. They're too old."  

3. Musical Chairs.

The gears of the NBA's relocation machine -- a machine used with some surprising frequency over the last fifteen seasons -- is starting to warm up again.

The big news last week was that Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and Seattle native, was interested in funding an arena and potentially heading an ownership group to bring an NBA team back to the Puget Sound. However, other headlines slipped under the radar as well.  In Sacramento, news came out that David Stern and major (and former NBA All Star) Kevin Johnson announced a joint "work plan" to reach an arena deal by March 1.  If that plan is agreed upon, the Sacramento City Council will vote on the arena deal at a council meeting on March 6.  While Mayor Johnson is confident that the "city will hold up its end of the bargain" buy putting forward nearly $200 million up front to pay for the arena, no one is sure about how much the Maloofs and the Kings organization will contribute to stay in Sacramento.  The City of Sacramento is asking for between $70-$125 million dollars.  I'm not sure the Maloofs have either the funds or the desire to put that type of money on the table.  It's still to early to tell whether this is a positive sign, or a negative one.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, David Stern, who is the closest thing to an owner that the Hornets have, let it be known that there is "one frontrunner and one backup" in the ongoing saga to sell the team.  The frontrunner is presumed to be Raj Bhathal, a 70-year-old retired businessman based in Los Angeles, who is heading an ownership that also features Mike Dunleavy.  The backup plan is an ownership group lead by New Orleans businessman Gary Chouset, who walked away from negotiations to buy the Hornets twice in 2010.  I wouldn't call that a terribly interested buyer.  Stern has always said that he would like to keep the team in New Orleans, but choosing a Los Angeles-based owner seems to be a softening of that stance.

It's still fairly early in the game, and it doesn't look like any moves are imminent.  But these are developments to keep your eye on.  Especially if you want to see basketball in Seattle in the near future.

Look for a special All Star Game roundtable this afternoon!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bracket Lin-Alysis: The Sweet Sixteen

Three of the most exciting words in the english language: The Sweet Sixteen! Filled with bracket busters, Lin-derellas, diaper dandies, PTP'ers, and other made up words and catchphrases by Dick Vitale, it's consistently a better and more highly rated product than it's MTV counterpart. Go vote now if you haven't already taken part in democracy!

The (Super) Sweet Sixteen! 

While we don't have Billy Packer or Gus Johnson here at the Diss, we do have Jacob Greenberg, Jordan Durlester, Andrew Snyder, and Franklin Mieuli rising (and firing) to the occasion to provide some insightful Jeremy Lin nickname bracket analysis for the round of 16. Will Greenberg continue to outpace his colleagues here at the Diss with his spot-on predictions? Let's find out:

Break it down for the people: What was the most compelling result of the First Round of action?

Franklin Mieuli: Lindustrial Revolution impressed greatly winning 81% of the vote. I thought Lin Vitro Fertilization was much better than a 7-seed, but Lindustrial Revolution dispatched them with the ease of full automation. 

Jacob Greenberg: For me, the subtle brilliance of Jeremy really shone. Its game is understated, yet strong. Jeremy looks good going up against Baaaallll'Lin, whose ostentatiousness wearies me by the day.

Jordan Durlester: I seriously cannot believe Lin and Out Burger took down perennial powerhouse ShaoLin Monk & The Nu York Knickerbeez. I severely overestimated the number of Diss readers who appreciate the greatness of the Wu. 

Andrew Snyder: I'm going to have to offer a re-tread opinion and agree with Lin and Out Burger's upset win. Nu York Knickerbeez delivered a U-God type performance that was simply unacceptable, and they should be just as ashamed of themselves as the Clan is of Mr. Xcitement.

U-God & The Clan: No match for Lin and Out Burger

Which Round 1 Linderella is a contender? Which one is just a pretender?

Jacob: Lin Dynasty has some staying power, so I'm going to say they're for real. However, don't be fooled by Linsanity, either. It's already starting to show some... weaknesses... in its armor. 

Andrew: To LinFinity, and Beyond! is such a feel good story, but I can't see them trumping fellow linderalla Lin & Out Burger. Nobody messes with Jeremy's favorite post-game meal! 

Franklin: Linja Turtle handled its matchup with ease, and in the Sweet 16 it matches up well against the pedestrian sounding Lincredible; I smell an upset. On the other hand, Smokin' Lindo, Sippin' on Lin & Juice has had a nice run, but I can't see it making past Lindustrial Revolution. Now we're cookin' with steam!

Jordan: Agreed, Linja Turtle is out for blood (and Shredder). April is also dangerously close to replacing Erin Andrews as basketball's best looking sideline correspondent. Seeing as I already labeled myself as a Lin and Out Burger hater, I'm going to keep harping on the fact that they're going to get crushed in this round, animal style or not. Five Guys is way better anyways.

Watch your back Erin Andrews

Can anyone stop a finals matchup between Linsanity and Super Lintendo, the mass media darlings and biggest Round 1 winners?

Jacob: Well, yes, scouting can eventually stop Linsanity. But Super Lintendo? How do you stop 16 bits of excellence?

Andrew: It'd be a brutal slap to the face to Bracketologists and nickname purists everywhere if Linsanity won this bracket. Allegations of academic misconduct and trading memorabilia for tattoos have overshadowed their tourney run thusfar, and I'm hoping fan favorite Linja Turtle can make it thru to the Elite Eight and stop the Linsanity.

Franklin: Linsanity has the easiest run into the Final Four bar none-- I don't see anybody, even Linja Turtle, getting in its way. On the other hand, Super Lintendo has to fight through Crouching Tiger Hidden PG and the winner of Lin Dynasty/Yellow Mamba. Those are tough matchups that could leave Super Lintendo battered and bruised if it even manages to emerge from the Asian Stereotypes Region. 

Jordan: I disagree Franklin, the only way Super Lintendo doesn't make the Final Four is if a cease and desist letter comes in from Satoru Iwata. Look him up.

If you're already on a T-Shirt, you're going to be hard to beat

What Marquee matchup are you looking forward to in the Sweet 16? Which one's going to come right down to the wire?

Jordan: Lin Dynasty vs. Yellow Mamba is going to be one for the ages. I can see this one coming down to a last minute vote (by me probably), but Yellow Mamba has the power of Kobe - it's going to pull it off. Go ahead and make dinner plans during the Jeremy vs. Crimson Guard matchup -- I think everyone on Jeremy's bench is going to get some second-half playing time during this blowout. 

Andrew: Despite a certification in Bracketology from Lunardi University, I have no idea who's going to prevail in the dogfight between Half Man Half Am-Asian and Tim Tebow for Liberals. Maybe we should bring in Mike Vick for some dogfight analysis?

Franklin: I like Super Lintendo vs. Crouching Tiger Hidden PG. If Selection Sunday had gone differently and Lintendo had been put where it belonged in a pun-based region, I could have seen both of these names making the Final Four. Alas, cruel fate has destined that one won't even make it to the Elite Eight.

Jacob: Like Franklin, I'm upset to see Lindustrial Revolution and Smokin' Lindo, Sippin' on Lin & Juice meeting this early on in the tournament. They are both smart, relevant nicknames with bright futures. Maybe one of these names will find success at the National Linvatational Tournament later on this year. 

That's it! Thanks for reading the Lin-alysis, and check back tomorrow for the Elite Eight!

An Open Letter to Greg Oden.

February 23, 2012

Dear Greg Oden,

Hi Greg, my name is Jacob Greenberg.  I live in Seattle.  I'm 26 and we've never met.  

So, you may think that no one saw the news about your third microfracture surgery, and your third missed season.  You may think that we're all too caught up in Linsanity to think about anything else.  You may be right.  But, Greg, I'm writing you to let you know that even though everyone, from the media, to the Blazers organization is calling this a "setback," you have the option to think of it as anything but.  I'm here to let you know that you're free.  I'm here to let you know that your story has yet to be written, and that story will not be one of defeat.  It will be of rebirth.  It will be of success.

You may think that sounds silly.  After all, you were supposed to be the franchise savior.  You were drafted first overall in 2007.  You and Brandon Roy were on the fast track towards perennial All-Stardom.  But since draft day, you've played just 82 games, and gone under the knife five times.  We haven't seen you on a basketball court since late 2009.   And, more troublingly, we haven't heard from you in over a year.  We catch brief glimpses of you in street clothes on the bench.  But you've been pretty reclusive.  That's okay.  That's your choice. I probably wouldn't want to talk to a bunch of media-types either right now.

I just worry about where your mind is at right now. It is understandable that you may be thinking of players who found themselves in similar situations: young, hyped, talented, and looking seriously at retirement at age 23.  And despite what common wisdom says, I know you're not thinking about Sam Bowie, some forty-something hack who wasn't going to be that good anyways.  You're thinking about players you and I grew up watching.  You may have even played against some of these guys, or would still be playing against some of these guys, had things worked out a bit differently.  I just want to let you know that you are not these players, and your circumstances are going to be much better in the long term, even if you don't believe me now.

For example, Greg, your legacy will not be that of Jay Williams.  The abbreviation (or potential cancellation) of your career was not a preventable act.  The same cannot be said for Jay. When Williams chose to get on board that motorcycle back in 2003, he not only forgot the value of a motorcycle helmet, but he forgot the value of his career.  He forgot about the three brilliant years at Duke, the player of the year award he snagged, and the promising, if not spectacular rookie season he played in Chicago.  The sense of invincibility that he showed when he drove into the lane, soaring into big men and crashing into the sands was not enough to protect him when he hit the tree, and flew almost a tenth of mile, breaking nearly every bone in his body.  And the resume that he had built through years of being a good player and a good person were not enough to persuade the Nets to give him another shot as a third point guard in 2006.  But worry not.  Unlike Jay, we are neither disappointed in you, nor with the circumstances that curtailed your career.  When we see Jay sitting in the studio, calling CBS games, we see a failed career that could've been much different.  You will not suffer such a defeat.

Greg, the lessons learned from the Bobby Hurley tragedy are not applicable to you either.  Hurley, who was severely injured in a car accident during his rookie season after his truck was hit by a driver without their lights on, was well on his way to a solid career as a professional basketball player.  Like Jay Williams, Hurley was a highly decorated Duke point guard, who had played in three final fours, and won two national championships in a row.  The tragedy of his accident -- which didn't technically end his career, but reduced him to a shell of his former self -- was that it happened to a team which truly needed his skills, pedigree and acumen.  At the time, the Kings were a young team with nice offensive talent (Mitch Richmond and Billy Owens) but no quarterback to manage the offense.  Hurley was supposed to be the man to harness unbridled talent.  Instead, without Hurley, the Kings wallowed in the Western Conference basement until Rick Adelman arrived and crafted a consistent winner.  Greg, as painful as it is to see the Blazers succeed without you in the middle, it should be a measure of comfort that they are succeeding -- not contending, but competing every single night.  Your absence did not derail them.  Your absence (and, of course, the absence of your presumed running mate, the late, great Brandon Roy), in fact, has perhaps made them stronger and more versatile, given that they cannot rely on your defensive prowess and rebounding production. 

And Greg?  Don't think too hard about Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  Yes, there are a number of similarities to your story and Big Z's.  Both of you are seven footers who were supposed to become building blocks for your respective small market franchises.  Both of you played roughly 82 games in your first four seasons.  While your issues center on the ligaments in your knees, Big Z struggled with the bones in his feet.  There were definitely times that it seemed like Big Z would never play another NBA game again, but he worked hard, managed eleven seasons of basketball, and even made a few All Star games and NBA Finals series. But you know, Big Z was an unknown.  Were his career to fall apart, he would have returned to Lithuania empty-handed; a national failure in a country that consumes basketball ravenously.  He had no other options but to play, even if it meant limping along on feet that were always precariously close to shattering whilst below him. Luckily for him (and us, since Big Z was a pretty good player) he stayed healthy.  He took a chance.  He had no choice. Greg, you still have  marketing potential.  You have career options that extend beyond the game of basketball.  You do not absolutely need this game.  And, frankly, the game doesn't absolutely need you.

And please, more than anyone, don't look too deeply into Yao Ming's shortened career.  Yao's story hangs heavily over our heads because of the extended glimpses of brilliance.  Yao was a Hall of Famer.  He still may be.  He was an amazing center to watch, a 7-foot-6-inch small forward with an steady post game and a sassy sixteen foot jumper.  Moreover, he was a bona fide franchise player.  The Rockets won hundreds of his games on his back, and changed their franchise's fortunes due to his efforts.  And we don't need to get that in depth into the cultural importance of Yao Ming, China's most famous and recognizable athlete.  Simply put, Greg: your impact has not been felt to the degree that Yao's had been.  When you managed to take the court, we saw a raw, fragile player.  I don't remember much of a post game, and your rebounding and shot blocking skills looked like they needed some serious work.  You were always recovering from invasive surgery, and always at risk of going down in a screaming heap.  While we were intrigued by the flirtatious nature of your game, we were wholly committed to the stability and brilliance not just of Yao's game, but also his gravitas.  It's weird to not have him around.  I miss him.  I think most of us do.  But you?  We've never gotten used to you.  We've never really had a chance.

But that's okay, Greg.  You are not defined by basketball, nor is basketball defined by you.  In the brief glimpses we've gotten of you, Greg, you have impressed us with your intelligence, maturity, and poise. Coming back from an acute injury is a special type of battle.  One wages war against both their body and mind. I struggled mentally and emotionally to rehab a broken foot that was keeping me away from recreational Ultimate Frisbee, a game I paid others to play.  You are a professional athlete attempting to come back from five knee surgeries, three of which have been micro-fracture surgeries, that is, career-killers for a number of players.  I cannot fathom the lonliness of rehabbing for years on end, during what should be the prime of your career.  Yet, you insist that retiring isn't in your plans.  You insist you'll play again.

Well, okay.  That'd be fine, I guess.  But what is your ceiling at this point?  How many players in basketball come back from five knee surgeries at a level that's anywhere near where they were once at?  Even the single (or double) surgery guys don't come back the same.  For every Amar'e, or Blake, we have a Darius, Kenyon, Penny or T-Mac.  That frightens me.  I don't want you to play as old as you look.  I want you to be the best center you can be, not someone playing just to show that they still can.  If I were you, I'd take the next three years off, and try to return to the game as a 27 year old, having not used the knees for basketball for five years.  You could jump onto a contender and play solid backup minutes.  Get a ring and then get the hell out of the Association with the ability to walk.

I'm not you.  I'm not the one doing work in the pool, or the weight room, only to return to the operating table time and time again.  I don't know what my shining city on the hill is.  But know this, Greg: in the end, all anyone wants is for you to be well, mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  You are too smart, talented and funny to look so sad all the time.  So we didn't get to see you block shots.  So you didn't hoist a few banners into the Rose Garden rafters.  That's okay.  You have your health.  We get to enjoy your company in whatever capacity you choose for a long time to come.  We're happy to have you around.  Really, we are.

So good luck with your rehab.  

Jacob Greenberg  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Editor's Note: The Diss is proud to present a guest submission from Hans Peterson. This is Hans' second contribution.

I feel a bit conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I can't imagine that there is anything left to say about Jeremy Lin at this point, and frankly, the hype is a bit exhausting (even if his emergence is the best thing to happen to The Diss this side of Jacob Greenberg's facial hair). But on the other hand, I am only sick of reading OTHER people's opinions on Lin, and there's nothing I love more than telling others what I think about things, so here we go!

The good news is that I do think that I have a slightly different perspective on this than the current national dialogue, and one that is really more about the nature of the NBA than it is about Lin himself. One of the reasons I am particularly tired of "Linsanity" is that, as a student of NBA history, I just am not convinced it is real. It's not that it isn't a great story (it is), or that Lin hasn't played very well (he has), or that I'm not rooting for him (I am). It is that there is a reason this story is so remarkable. It doesn't happen in the NBA, and it is too soon to assume that it is happening now.

Fortunate Moments for Unfortunate Franchises: Cleveland Cavaliers

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

The ebb and flow of basketball greatness is nothing if not cyclical. Even the best-run teams miss the playoffs sometimes, and even the worst-run occasionally strike gold. All it takes is a new coach, a new owner, a blockbuster trade or a great draft pick for a team's fortunes to turn the corner.

No team demonstrates the cyclical nature of the draft lottery better than the Cleveland Cavaliers, for their fortune has always been tied directly to the bounty of a number one pick.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apples and Oranges (Dragon Fruit and White Bread)

For reasons unbeknownst to me the American media has a strong propensity to compare things. All things. All the time. Whether you're watching election coverage, an NBA game, or America's Next Top Model (I see you, Tyra) there are constantly self-proclaimed experts breaking down the action via comparison. Perhaps it's simply that comparing what you are watching at the time, to an event that has already happened, is merely the easiest form of analysis. Frankly, I don't know. What would a guy writing for The Diss know about good sports analysis anyway?

Even though #Linsanity hit a bump in the road last night thanks to a stellar performance turned in by Deron Williams, I figured I'd keep the topic relevant with a semi-rant about how absurd these Tebow comparisons have become.

I'm willing to concede the following three similarities between Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin:

1) They are both male.
2) Faith plays a large role in their lives.
3) They are both examples of underdog stories.

and...that's about it. Dudes who love God and defied the odds. If you took a poll of all NBA and NFL players I'm confident at least 90% of those polled would also have these three traits in common.

When Winners Lose.

Editor's Note: The Diss is proud to present a guest article from Symbol Lai.

The Sixers lost three in a row for the first time this season and I just don't know how to handle this.  My therapist tells me that writing helps one sort out complex feelings so here's my attempt to parse out how I feel about the Sixers.

Two weeks ago after the win against the Lakers, I fully got on board the Sixers bandwagon.  Up until then, I, like the rest of the national media, had been largely skeptical of their success.  Even though the Sixers had won by such large margins without a go-to superstar on the team, that was to be expected especially since they had lucked out with a cupcake schedule, which pitted them against unfortunate teams like the Wizards, whom they played three times.  Anything less would have been unacceptable.

But then there was that awe-inspiring three game stretch against the elite Magic, Bulls, and the Lakers, which fully convinced me of this team's legitimacy.  We had the bittersweet win against the Magic, after which Doug Collins chewed the team out for nearly blowing a 20-point lead coming into the fourth quarter by allowing an 18-0 run in the last three minutes due to a premature loss of concentration.  We had the unbelievable win against the Bulls, when the Sixers subjected Chicago to the same treatment as they had the floosie teams they played at the beginning of the season; that is, the close first half and key third quarter during which the Sixers pick apart the opposition piece-by-piece.  We even had the grind-it-out win against the Lakers -- that close game typical of playoff caliber basketball with which the Sixers had thus far struggled.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Games of the Week: February 20-26, 2012.

An abbreviated Games of the Week, as All-Star Break looms large on the horizon.  Look for a more in-depth All-Star Weekend preview this coming Thursday.  In the meantime, we've got four excellent regular season games to look forward to before the forced pageantry of All Star Break descends upon us. Let's get right to it. 

Monday: Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Lakers (7:30 PM PST)

Do you remember when this was the greatest rivalry in professional basketball on West Coast? Man, I do.  Good times. Shaq vs. Sabonis.  Kobe vs. Pippen.  Sheed vs. The Refs.  In my opinion, enough time has passed since the 1999-2000 Western Conference Finals to finally award the series-deciding Game Seven "One of the Greatest Games of All Time" status.  Although, folks in Portland might not like to think too hard about their team blowing a fifteen point lead in the fourth quarter, an appearance in the NBA finals, and a (probable) victory against the Indiana Pacers.  Of all of the "What If?" questions regarding NBA history, "What If Portland Had Won Game 7 of the 2000 WCF?" remains one of the most compelling, at least in my mind.  In any case, the 2012 Lakers-Blazers rivalry might decide who has the honor of being eighth seed, rather than Western Conference champion/Miami Heat fodder.

Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracketology: Sweet Sixteen

Ed. Note: We thought about calling it "The Sweet and Sour Sixteen", but even The Diss has a tighter lid on our editorial process than ESPN.

Thought #Linsanity would die down this weekend? Wrong. Think again. One aforementioned reprehensible ESPN headline, an SNL cold open, and 28 points and a career high 14 assists (on national TV) later, I can only speak for myself and The Diss when I say: He's lindescribable! Linvincible! He Lin Lin Lins, no matter what! Even this woman wasn't afraid to tell the world about her (cruel) lintentions.

The MPAA just upgraded this blog's rating from PG-13 to R

However, the real big news of the weekend that was were the results in voting for Round 1 of our Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracket. There were several notable upsets that shocked the selection committee, most of all the overwhelming defeat of 1-seed ShaoLin Monk & The Nu York Knickerbeez by 8-seed Lin & Out Burger, aptly predicted by our very own self-described "bracketology hater," Mr. Jacob Greenberg. When  reached for comment, Greenberg stated, "For the record, everyone knows Animal Style beats Shaolin Style. It's not even a question." Upon further research, the we've Diss-covered that Lin himself is a fan of In & Out burger, and even called it his "favorite postgame meal" during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors. We should have known.

8-seed Lin & Out Burger: our Linderalla?

Of course, The Diss would like to thank each and every one of over 600 voters who made this Sweet Sixteen possible. Without any further ado, we are proud to present the updated Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracket and the round of sixteen:

Click for full size bracket

Vote below! Check back for Elite 8 pairings later this week, and look for further Sweet Sixteen breakdown and lin-alysis tomorrow.

Sunday Discussion: An Interview with Jason Angeles, Seattle's only Oklahoma City Thunder Fan.

Editor's Note: When the SuperSonics left Seattle in 2008, most fans crawled into their holes, and began a long hibernation, awaiting the return of professional basketball to the city.  However, Jason Angeles bravely waited out the winter, and now is one of the city's only Thunder fans.  As such, he's enjoyed the team's rise to eliteness, even as the rest of the city remains shocked, saddened and angered by the circumstances that surrounded the franchise's move.  With news of an imminent arena deal in Seattle -- and, presumably, a return for NBA basketball -- it felt fitting to interview Jason, the city's only living Thunder fan, here on The Diss.  In addition to the Sonics and Thunder, this interview touches on the importance of loyalty, supporting winning and losing teams, and the designation of Seattle sports fans as "fair weathered."  Let's get to it.

Jason.  How are you?

I'm good.  Thanks.

A few questions, hopefully they don't offend.

Just don't use the word "chink".

I'll try.  So, when did you first start to pay attention to basketball?

Oh, it was the 80s.  I watched a lot of basketball with my dad.  Watched Larry and Magic, that whole rivalry.  The finals.  I went to my first Sonics game in '83. Maybe it was '84.  I remember Gus Williams and Lenny Wilkens, the coach.

So obviously, you're a Sonics fan.  When'd that start?

So I was a little kid, and I liked them then, but then I got out of basketball, and didn't really care until 1992, when George Karl came in midseason and rescued the Sonics.  He brought them all the way back to the playoffs, where they beat the Warriors.  Sorry.

It's okay.  Lots of people beat the Warriors.

So yeah.  It was Kemp's second year, and the Payton-Kemp show started to dazzle, and yeah, it caught my attention.  I started playing more basketball then when the Sonics started winning.

That's awesome.

Yeah.  That's when I started liking it.  When they had X (Xavier McDaniel), I didn't really care.  I didn't pay attention.  It was the early 1990s, for sure.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Lin Bracketology Edition

Will the #Linsanity ever stop? In short, no. Not anytime soon. Yesterday was simply a monumental day for Jeremy Lin nickname coverage. The Daily Show, Yao MingLinked-Lin CEO Jeff Weiner, and even Jeremy himself all jumped aboard the Lin nickname bandwagon with reckless abandon, and of course, so did The Diss with our Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracket. We'd be remiss without offering a tip of the hat to Jimmy Traina at SI Hot ClicksSports Grid, and many others for sharing our bracket with the masses. We're humbled and thrilled by the response so far, over 500 votes, and we're excited to tabulate the results on Sunday night and move on to the Sweet Sixteen.

Bracketology: Somewhere between Art and Science lies perfection

With that said, what would a bracket be without some good old fashioned Bracketology? For some breakdown and lin-alysis of some key match-ups, let's bring in noted bracketologists Andrew Snyder, Jacob Greenberg, Jordan Durlester, and Franklin Mieuli for a round table.

The Week That Was: February 13-19, 2012.

Every part of me wants to do a "Week That Was" that doesn't mention the words "Jeremy" or "Lin." But that's no longer possible in today's NBA. A specter is haunting New York -- the specter of Linsanity.

Anyways, on tap for this week: signs of concern in the City of Angels, on forgiving and forgetting, and some tangible proof of what a major market can do for you (and your growing brand). Let's get to it.

1. FYI: Ron Artest is All Feel.

The Mike Brown era has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start in Los Angeles. The Lakers, at 17-12, are currently the fifth seed out West. Though their defense only allows their opponents to score 90.4 points per game, good for fourth in the league, they are a truly terrible offensive club. They only manage 92.5 points per game, placing them at 24th out of 30 teams. Moreover, the Lakers are in the bottom third of the Association in a number of important statistical categories, including steals, assists, three pointers attempted, three pointers made, and field goal attempts. Indeed, they're riding a two game winning streak, and have won six of their last ten overall. The team has struggled with scoring, defensive intensity (strange to type "intensity" without an "L" at the beginning), and now, seemingly, locker room chemistry, especially between player(s) and coach.

Two interviews this week gave glimpses into what might be a devolving situation in the Lakerslocker room. This past Friday, forward Metta World Peace, who, statistically speaking, is having the worst season of his career, pointedly questioned Brown's lineups and background, and additionally asserted that he wasn't in touch with his veteran squad. "I'm trying to win," World Peace said to Ken Berger of, "and right now, coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he's all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel. He doesn't understand that." Additionally, forward Matt Barnes, in an interview with Dan LeBetard on "Dan LeBetard is Highly Questionable"(with a hat-tip to Kelly Dwyer at "Ball Don't Lie"), seconded World Peace's sentiments, although he couched his opinions behind the deceptive language of competitiveness. At around the 1:38 mark of the interview (and the entire interview is worth watching, MB is a smart dude), Barnes somewhat passive aggressively wonders if Mike Brown's defensive match-ups played a role in Lin's 38. "I wanted to guard him the whole game," said Barnes, "and I know Ron wanted to guard him the whole game." Mike Brown, however, seemed unfazed. In the greatest comeback a coach could have against a player who questions his ability to separate stats versus "feel", Mike Brown said: "Metta, if I were a stats guy, you wouldn't be playing at all." Zing.

Mike Brown is known as a defensive coach, and was hired to change the Lakers defensive culture moving forward into the post-Phil Jackson era.However, while Brown can hang his hat on his quality defense, he should neither ignore his team's offense, nor the opinions of his players, who have been teammates longer than he has been their coach. It is a dangerous game to play, and Mike Brown could certainly end up unemployed yet again.

Consider the cautionary tale of Terry Porter. After the 2008 firing of Mike D'Antoni, then-GM Steve Kerr hired Terry Porter was hired to instill a defensive mentality into the Suns. The organization had let D'Antoni go because he refused to heed former Kerr's advice about hiring a more defensive-minded coaching staff.Terry Porter was meant to fix that problem. However, about halfway into the season, it was clear that Porter was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The Suns, at the time, were a veteran team that had been used to the freedom of SSOL, and for them the offensive struggles that came with instilling a defensive system were seen as an unacceptable side effect. So, Kerr listened to his players (whom, coincidentally, were also the organization's highest paid employees), and axed Porter after 51 games, despite the fact the Suns were 28-23, and ninth in West. D'Antoni holdover Alvin Gentry was promoted to head coach, and crafted a scrappier version of SSOL offense which carried the team to the Western Conference Finals in 2010.

So remember, Mike: they can't fire the players. Only you.

An Idiot Abroad or The House That (the other) Jordan Built

There are a number of excellent advantages to marrying a lawyer. Parking tickets become nothing more than minor inconveniences, you quickly learn the difference between a tort and a torte, and on special occasions you get free bulls tickets.

I moved from San Francisco to Chicago back in October of last year. So far I've really enjoyed exploring this deep dish loving, catchupless hotdog eating, city of sports nuts. These people truly live and breathe everything Cubs/Bulls/Bears. So, naturally, when Ab came home with bulls tickets for Thursday's game against Boston I was ecstatic (mostly because it gave me something better to do than think of more Jeremy Lin nicknames).

The game itself, although unfortunately Roseless, was pretty entertaining for a number of reasons. The Bulls interior passing is a thing of beauty, Mike James may have stolen C.J. Watson's job, Luol Deng become my favorite NBA player of all time, and Joakim Noah's "gun show" routine is even more ridiculous looking in person.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your priorities) the most intriguing aspects of the game took place during the commercial breaks. Like every other NBA venue they fired t-shirts out of semi-automatic fabric shotguns, gauged the sound level by the scientifically-backed jumbotron decibel meter, and implored the crowd to chant DE-FENSE on nearly every Celtic possession. However - unlike every other NBA venue I've been to - they highly value teletubbies, utilize the indigestion-cam, have a thing for grandmas, and have a profound respect for acrobatic Argentinian brothers.

Wouldn't it be great if I just ended this article here?

The Indigestion-Cam: We all know Chicago isn't exactly the healthiest city in America. Whether good or bad - Chicagoans like to eat. However, I find it a little strange that twice during TV timeouts the indigestion-cam displayed members of the crowd stuffing their faces with nachos, hotdogs, and fast-motion. My god. It was awful.

F.O.T.G.: The Fan of the Game is an American tradition. It's pretty simple - Find the cutest kid or drunkest frat boy, put them on camera for 30 seconds, and give out free coupons for Big Macs (which they will later be recorded eating, only to be sped up and used for next games Indigestion-Cam). The United Center crew didn't get that memo. Instead, the fan of the game last night was some hipster in a full on teletubby costume. Why....?

The Swingin' Seniors: I JUST WANNA DANCE! - The loudest the crowd got last night was when these ol' broads got down.

The Anton Brothers: These 2 Argentinian dudes wowed the crowd at halftime by doing a routine that any Cirque du Soleil fanatic would respectfully approve of. For 12 minutes one of the brothers would sit back in a chair and flip the other one in circles by kicking him pretty hard in the ass. That's about as good of a summary as any. See for yourself.

Oh yeah...the bulls won.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracketology

Linsanity. The Yellow Mamba. Half Man Half Am-Asian. Have you heard this terminology during a recent Knicks broadcast, or perhaps when perusing

Jeremy Lin has burst to the forefront of the NBA consciousness with some of the best basketball nicknames the Association has seen since Chocolate Thunder, Pistol Pete, and Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson. While these transcendent monikers had no competition in defining their namesakes, NBA nick-naming forces have not yet coalesced around a single choice for Jeremy Lin. The Diss, however, can offer a solution.

Lin: Jacked up about this nickname bracket

With apologies to Joe Lunardi and all other licensed bracketologists, The Diss is pleased to serve up our lin-augural bracket: "Jeremy Lin's First Ever Bracket Appearance." Well, his first bracket appearance since the 2006 California High School State Championship Tournament anyways. With expertly seeded Regions spanning a broad variety of Lin puns, non-puns, and Asian stereotypes, this bracket comprises the definitive top-32 Jeremy Lin nicknames we've heard around the Internet and come up with on our own here at The Diss.

Click for a bigger bracket!

The selection committee certainly had their hands full with this one, and a few bubble names that didn't quite make the cut still deserve some honorable mention. The Lindy Hop (low RPI), Lindt Chocolate (late season swoon), and Melo Yellow (The Diss staff prefers Mountain Dew) were all part of "the last four," stuck on the outside looking in. Most pundits thought Mr. MSG (couldn't win on the road) was the final name in contention to have its hopes of #linning crushed, and we wish all the Lin nicknames that didn't make the cut well in the NIT (Nickname [L]Invitational Tournament)

Will Linja Turtle KO The Great John Wall of China in the Finals? 

Without further ado, let's get to the voting! Further bracket analysis from The Diss is available here, as we break it down and make some #linning picks. Round 1 voting has now officially closed, click here for Round 2 voting and Round 1 results!