Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mo’ Meeks!

Courtesy of Brian Gray @ Kiss The Rim

Here we go! It's been non-stop snowing outside and the streets of Philadelphia are cold and blustery. But, inside the Wells Fargo Center when there's a Sixers home game, you can bet the temperature rises, due in no small part to the hot shooting ability of Sixers’ starting shooting guard, Jodie Meeks. Meeks has the ability to catch fire at any given moment and electrify the Philadelphia  “faithful” with a barrage of three pointers. But, it's not only the ability to make the net burn from deep that makes Meeks so deadly, it's how he does it.

Meeks has the unique ability to catch and release a shot so quickly and efficiently that defenses have a hard time guarding him because he leaves them such little time to react before the shot goes up.   Also, along with the quick release, Meeks has the uncanny ability to run around off screens and drive his defenders nuts for the majority of games. Such solid tactics are only successfully seen by a handful of shooters like Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, two of the League’s better ball scorers.  Similarities to these two can certainly be seen in Jodie’s game, at least as far as the quick release and off-ball activity, if not overall offensive ability.  

The jury is still out as to whether Jodie is a legitimate starter in the League, or a season-long substitute due to lack of depth.  Regardless, one thing is for certain, and that is that Jodie can stroke.  The upside for Sixers fans and Meeks alike is that he is still young and in the learning stages with Coach Doug Collins in Philadelphia; the opportunity to play is there and he has surely made the best of it thus far.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Death of the Dunk

It seems that the NBA hasn’t realized it yet, but its once-acclaimed dunk contest is laying on its death bed.  What was once one of the sport’s top spectacles, an indication of everything that was right with the NBA, has sadly developed into a weak annual attempt of trying to keep tradition alive.  Long gone are the days of Jordan and Wilkins slicing through the Saturday night air.  Fans today are instead treated to the likes of Serge Ibaka and Javale McGee; names that wouldn’t arouse  interest in even the most die-hard NBA fans.  Do the majority of casual basketball fans even know who these guys are?  I doubt it.  And that’s no knock to them, as they both play important roles for their respective franchises, but they’re just not the names the NBA needs to satisfy fans who are expecting a show. 

Blake Griffin is a nice addition, as he has catapulted up the list of most exciting dunkers in the League, but unfortunately his appeal is bogged down by three names that are not synonymous with excitement.  McGee can throw down, but he’s listed as a seven-footer which takes away most of the mystique.  The other two, Brandon Jennings and Ibaka, although both are full of athleticism and are more than capable of ‘wowing’ a crowd, do not produce enough excitement to reinvigorate  the collapsing contest.

The Dunk Contest has been on respiration recently after memorable mishaps like the ‘Dunk Wheel,’ and allowing Nate to steal one too many titles (Igoudala’s behind the backboard reverse), and it needs star power to build it back up.  Dwight did his part, and other stars need to follow suit.  It goes without saying how much excitement a LeBron/Griffin throw down would generate.  Maybe even expanding the field in order to supplement the up-and-comers with solidified stars would work. 


The current format and participant pool is getting stale, and it would be a shame to allow such a storied contest to continue to remain stagnant.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sweet Lou Can Rap Too!

The NBA boasts a lengthy list of athletes who want to try their hand as a rap artist.  Some such as Shaq, have (somehow) found success, while others such as Allen Iverson (or Jewels) and Ron Artest have proven to be better with a ball than with beats.  Sixers second unit shooting guard Lou Williams is the most recent to cross over from three-pointers to turn-tables.  Check out his recent “I’ma Boss” freestyle below:



No, he’s not the next Jay-Z, but I’ve heard worse.  Not only has Lou been the best scorer on the Sixers lately, he’s apparently the best rapper too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Who ever thought that the Clippers would be on of the League’s most exciting teams?  They hold down two of the top three highlights from last week.  Check out how high Griffin gets for the number one spot.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Sixers Are Stuck

As a Sixers fan I’m torn.  Yes the wins are exciting, but does anyone else feel like we’re running in place?  Recent word out of the organization is that the front office feels so good about the improving play of the squad that they’re planning on postponing the shopping of Andre Igoudala until the summer, which makes me want to grab a loud speaker, climb to the top of City Hall, and scream, WHYYYYYY?????

Do they realiggyly think that it is worth postponing the future of the franchise for a potential first round flameout to the likes of Miami or Boston?  Quality wins such as last night over Chicago show what the squad is capable of, but if anyone in the front office thinks this team is championship-caliber than they are kidding themselves.  As a fan who is frustrated with perennial mediocrity, seeing such a still stance by management is scary; I  want to see this team shaken up, even if it requires relocating our most known name. 

The current roster is teeming with talent and could be crafted into a contender, but tremendous tweaks are necessary.  The early-season struggles evidenced this fact, which is why I was ready to swallow a shitty season in exchange for another high pick, along with cap relief and/or new personnel, which would come in a trade for the consistenetly under-achieving Igoudala.  But the ever-improving play and recent winning is causing management to reconsider.  I could hear them now;

“Maybe a late playoff push is better than swan-diving completely into the rebuilding stage.”thadd

Well I will tell them first-hand as a frustrated fan, that it is not.  I have been waiting for a team that I felt could truly compete since Iverson was shipped West, and I have yet to sniff such a squad.  Securing a low seed in the East these days is certainly nothing to celebrate, especially since it would lead to a matchup with a much more well-equipped team such as the Magic or Miami.  This franchise has been stuck on first-round eliminations, and enough is enough.  Some inconsistent, albeit exciting wins, should not be enough to alter the course of the franchise. 

The best way for this team to improve is to start fresh, and keeping the roster frozen with the hope of landing a low seed seems futile.  I would certainly sacrifice another early playoff elimination for the solidification of the franchise’s future, and I believe that most of the frustrated fan base feels the same.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pitt Pride

Gotta share Pittsburgh pride.  Second-year stud DeJuan Blair dunks on Ronny Turiaf, who was none to happy to be posterizied.


Am I A Heat Hater?

Cheering for the Heat just seems wrong.  I want to hate them.  Watching them struggle is strangely satisfying.  A part of me wants to see LeBron, shrouded in all his smugness, and the rest of his Heat-mates go down in flames.  Their early struggles were seen as a sign of hope that somehow, this overly-touted and overly-talented team, could completely combust. 

“Maybe they’ll miss the playoffs entirely, that’ll show them,” I found myself thinking as the team tangled with early season turbulence.

But what fun would that be?  An unsuccessful regular season doesn’t do this squad justice.  No, in order for me to feel fulfilled as a fan, I want to see this team falter when it matters most.  See, I could celebrate every regular season loss; rejoice every time a team that was rejected by LeBron this past summer got a little bit of revenge.  But the truth is a subpar regular season could still land them a playoff spot in the shallow Eastern Conference, and thus a crack at the Finals with lowered expectations.  No, that wouldn’t be fitting. 

The fact is that for a true Heat hater their success is exciting.  Each win adds to the growing promise of possibility, and a building confidence in the team itself and their virtually fictional fan base, which, while flaunting three of the game’s biggest stars, still needs to be urged to “fan up;” disgusting.  A true Heat hater still sees the flaws in the franchise, and no twenty-game regular season winning streak can cause me to overlook them.  So, if they surge through the regular season, that will only lead to a bigger disappointment come spring time.  An Eastern Conference Finals collapse against a team such as the Celtics seems as though it would resonate much more than a rough regular season.

This attitude has allowed me to openly enjoy watching them play, and Miami has catapulted to the top of my League Pass list, as I look forward to their games almost regardless of who they’re playing. The Heat themselves have shown similar indifference towards their opposition, ripping off 18 wins in their last 19 games, and effectively ending all swirling speculation about Coach Spoelstra’s job security.   But like I said, give them the regular season streaks and individual accolades and save the judgment until June. 

The hater in me still sees the dearth of frontcourt depth, believes Boston is better, and needs to see proof, aka a ring, to believe that the big three can coexist all the way to a championship. 

So far so good in South Beach, but let’s see if everyone’s singing the same tune come the summer.  Hater or not, one thing’s for certain; I’ll be watching.