Thursday, October 20, 2011

Think of the NBA as one entity

I am getting pretty sick of hearing people talk about the players rights and how they should be free to choose where they go.  It all leads to the small market teams, read undesirable locations, without the ability to attract or keep star players.

Imagine that the NBA is a corporation.  The corporation decides that it needs the best salesman to move to Alaska to help the business.  The salesman has the choice to quit, or go to Alaska.  It is for the good of the company.

So players might all want to play and live in Miami, New York or LA, but for the good of the league, there needs to be good players everywhere.

The NBA is a business.  The owners made money and created the opportunity for the players to be rich beyond their wildest dreams.   People to to games to watch the players play, but it is because of the owners that it is a marquee event.  You don't see thousands of people lined up around the playground paying money to watch.

Let the players try to start their own league.  Watch them go bankrupt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chris Bosh Is Afraid of Skip Bayless

I watched Chris Bosh on First Take this morning.  Bosh was there to lay the smack down on Skip Bayless for calling him Bosh Spice.

After watching it, all I can say is, Chris Bosh is afraid of Skip Bayless.  He basically said, he didn't like him using the proud Bosh family name negatively.

We all know he really meant, he hates being referred to as a woman. Namely a version of Posh Spice.  You could take that to mean just being a woman, or the most useless member of the Spice girls.  Either way, it doesn't have a good connotation.

Bosh should have gone on there and yelled and said, I might suck, but I am no woman.  You are questioning my manhood by referring to me that way.  I guess he wants to keep his options open for a career in television after his playing days are over.  He seemed scared, and his argument was weak.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Myth of Pat Riley

Pat Riley didn't win the executive of the year alone. He shared the honor with Gar Forman, the GM of the Bulls. He should share his share with the Big 3.

Sports loves the dramatic story. The plucky underdog. The old favorite coming back for one more swing.

The notion that Pat Riley did all the heavy lifting to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to join the Heat this past summer is a joke. The narrative seems to be that both LeBron and Bosh had no intention of leaving their teams, and that Riley stepped in with a godfather proposal.

How hard is it to gut your team and cut costs with no fear of losing your job? The Heat traded the #2 pick in the 2007 draft, Mike Beasley to the Timberwolves for a few second round picks. The cut guys. They did almost as much as the Knicks did to clear cap space.

Then Pat went to work. He showed LeBron his rings. Let him run his fingers through his slicked back hair. So LeBron, amazed by this force of nature, changed his mind.

There was no way that DWade, Bosh and LeBron cooked up this idea at the Olympics in 2008! How dare you? (Sarcasm) The fact that they all signed identical deals after their original rookie contracts ended with 4 year deals with a 4th year player option, which they all took, was just a big coincidence.

Without Pat Riley these guys would never see the light. They wouldn't know how easy and fun it would be to compete for a title with two of the best players in the NBA and a perennial all star. Miami Florida is a hard sell. When you are competing with hotbeds like Cleveland and Toronto. That's in CANADA for god's sake! Everyone wants to play there.

Convincing these guys to play with amazing teammates in amazing weather with amazing clubs and women and amazing taxes? That is hard work. Who wants to do that?

Yeah, but he convinced them to leave money on the table! Yeah, sure. They got sign and trades, so they got their 6th year that they didn't give their original teams. Without the taxes, they are still making close to what they would have made in their original cities.

Pat Riley's greatness is a myth. He inherited a team with Magic, Kareem and James Worthy in Los Angeles. No one want to play there. Almost as many bad things going on there as in Miami. He went to New York and guess what? HE DIDN'T WIN. Still had a great place to recruit, but it didn't work out. So then he figured it out. Nice weather. He went to Miami and low and behold Shaq came. And he and the refs won a title in Miami.


Let's see Pat Riley go to Toronto and turn them into a champion. Or how about Cleveland? Milwaukee? I would be impressed then.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Incentive To Win In The NBA

What is the incentive for players to play hard in today's NBA? If they win or lose, play well or not they still get paid. Why would they try hard for a supposedly meaningless game in February in Milwaukee? Imagine going to watch a game at the end of the season and the star players are sitting out. The last game of this season, the Raptors played the Heat, but LeBron, Bosh and Wade didn't play. Imagine dishing out hundreds or thousands of dollars to sit court side and they having to watch Eddie House and Jamaal Magloire play instead. It would be like if you sat front row for a U2 concert and Bono decided that The Edge was going to sing all the songs for that concert. You wouldn't be happy would you?

This plan introduces incentives to make every game interesting. It would also ensure that players get what they deserve. If a player sits on the bench and offers nothing, does he deserve a high salary based on past success? How about getting paid for each success, then having to strive to repeat it in order to maintain that high level of pay?

Here is my plan to make every game mean something.

If everything was equal and all teams had a chance to compete in every one of the 82 games all teams would finish with 41 wins and 41 losses. So lets use that number. Now let's decide on a number as the incentive for a win. How about 1 million dollars. That isn't bad for a team of 12 guys to split.

So if every team won and loss equally, each team would earn 41 million dollars. Better teams would deserver more money, and they would get it, and worse teams would deserver less and they would get it. But they would all know that they had the chance at the beginning of the game to win the million for that game.

So at the beginning of the season each team would deposit the 41 million into an account, or as each game passed. This money is the incentive money. This puts every team on equal footing. No big spending team or cheap owner can get away with spending more or less. They can only control things like coaching, drafting and strategy in order to win games. They can't just buy the most talent. They have to run their teams as best they can.

If a team won only 10 games, they would have ONLY 10 million to split, so we need to give the poor players some protection. So each team has an additional 15 million to distribute among the players as the base salary. But there is a slotting system, so the to player can be offered the highest salary, with a cap of 5 million. The second best player can get 4 million and so on. The starting five is the most important, so the bench will still be paid very well, but not millions that they don't deserve. Plus there will only be two year contracts, so there could be plenty of player movement, but it would not be the star players as they would want to stay as the top dog with the chance to earn the largest slice of the pie. This way, one player is the top dog and it is clear, and the best players would be distributed more evenly throughout the league because they want to get the high base salary.

Here is how the incentive changes the game.

When a team wins a game, they get to split the 1 million between them. But that 1 million is split up amongst the team based on how much each player contributed to the win. The first and easiest way would be to split the money based on percentage of the points scored. But that doesn't take into account players who contribute in so many other ways. If John Hollinger's GameScore statistic was used, the player with the highest game score would receive the largest chunk of the million. So if a player had a game score of 35, and that was 20 percent of the total game score of all players on the winning team, they get a full 20 percent of the million, or $200,000 for the win. This would ensure that player would both play hard. If a player had a crazy game and went off they would get more. Doesn't a player deserver something for having a career game? In this system they would.

If a player was suspended or was injured they wouldn't be able to earn their share of the money. They would still get the base pay, but if the won the money would be split up amongst those guys who played. So every now and again a player would have a breakout game and really contribute to a win, or in a blowout the bench players could get some playing time and earn some of the extra money. But in the end the best players are the ones playing the most minutes and doing the most to lead the team to the win. They would be the ones earning the most money. It would also keep guys from earning huge salaries when they couldn't win. Winners get paid!

The fans are there to see the stars, so they would be playing their hardest, because they would want to win for the money, not just pride.

Let's look at this season. The Bulls would have split 62 Million bucks as the best team. Derrick Rose often led his team in Game Score, so he would usually get the most money. He did miss one game, so during that game, if the Bulls won, another player would have the chance to earn the big dollars.

The Timberwolves would split 17 Million as the worst team.

If a star player averaged a 20% contribution to each of 60 wins, they would earn 12 Million in incentives. Will the 5 Million in base pay, they would earn 17 million for the year. Pretty good money. If a player averages a 20% contribution to each of 10 wins, they would only earn 2 Million. Seems fair doesn't it?

Also, a dunk bonus! For every dunk, the player gets $1500.

With this system we have all players killing themselves to win every single game and dunk whenever they had the chance.

This system would never be enacted, but let me know what you think.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Would MJ be MJ in today's NBA?

Whenever I get upset watching the new NBA, I think back to my youth. I remember my idol, Michael Jordan. I often say things like, "Michael would never do that!" or "Mike would have dunked that!" or something else along those lines. In my mind Michael Jordan would destroy the modern NBA. I still believe that to be true.

If Doc Brown showed up in the Delorean, and we drove back to 1988 or 1990 and asked Mike to hop in and arrived just in time for the 2011 playoffs I think he would score 40 to 45 points a game. He would probably also get kicked out of every game with two technicals, but that is a different story. The modern NBA is just that different. No hand checking, no hard fouls and very little seasoning in College would have Mike's mouth water as his tongue hung out of his mouth.

But what if Michael Jeffery Jordan was born in 1993 instead of 1963? Would he turn into the same player? The answer is almost assuredly no. He was a high school all american back in 1981, so if he was the same thing today, we would have heard of him long ago. He would be the Next Michael Jordan!

Today he would have played tons of AAU ball in the summers. He would have gone to a big college for one year, and then left for the NBA. Without the three years with Dean Smith, would he have turned out like he did? Would early fame have changed him? Probably.

Just imagine if LeBron James was born in 1963. What if he wasn't on the cover of magazines as a teenager. What if he went to 4 years of College? What if he didn't have a huge entourage, or want to be a global icon? What if he had a post game that was refined from a young age? Maybe Cleveland would have won a title or two by now.

Thankfully, Michael was born when he was. All those kids born too late missed out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Underhanded Tactics

NBA Players are followers. There only needs to be one player to try something new and if they are sucessful, others will follow. Players never used to work out on gamedays. Until Michael Jordan started to do it. Now you would be hard pressed to find a player who doesn't do it. Players are always looking for that extra edge. A new drill or training technique to put them over the top. They are missing out on the easiest way to improve.

The Underhanded Free Throw.

The last player to do it was Rick Barry. He is also one of the greatest free throw shooters in history. He must have been a real dick, because he didn't inspire anyone else to follow his lead.

A lot of professional basketball players suck at shooting free throws. According to there have been 52 seasons where a player played at least 25 minutes a game, started at least one game and shot 50% and under. That is pretty amazing.

Free throw shooting is a unique skill unlike anything else a player is required to do. They get to stop and relax and attempt their shot from the same exact spot without any distractions on the floor. Yet some of the greatest players in the history of the sport suck at it. Everyone always points to Shaq first. And it is true that he is truly terrible at free throws. He has missed almost 6000 free throws in his career. Wilt, Bill Russell a number of great players have free throw percentages north of 60 percent.

Shaq has such huge hands and long arms and big muscles. He doesn't shoot jump shots. So it isn't like it is going to wreck his shot by changing his shot. Think about how you throw something to someone, you don't do it overhand. You lob it underhand. Notice how alley-oops are are often thrown underhand?
LeBron shot under 70 percent in his third season. Karl Malone shot under 50 percent as a rookie. Scottie Pippen has a career percentage of 70 percent.

Physics proves that players should shoot underhanded. But they think they look like a sissy. They look like complete idiots for not trying something that is proven to work.

Teams should force their players to shoot this way. If you can't prove you are capable of shooting 80 percent overhand, make them to it underhand.

You would think that eventually a player will come along and shoot that way and prove how successful it can be. That player better be well liked because it has already proven successful.

Stupid players.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Both Teams Played Hard?

NBA players don't always play hard. When you watch a game on TV, you often hear the announcers praise one player for playing hard. Or they note that the team is really giving a great effort on a particular night. They often offer excuses as to why the players sometimes don't give a full or consistent effort. "They are on the second night of a back to back." "The team plane arrived at 2 am last night." "After playing in the Olympics last summer they are tired."

Are you kidding me? These are excuses?

Let's compare the difficult NBA life to the average working fan.

In a regular year a person with a full time job, with two weeks vacation can expect to work around 250 days. Those days usually require 8 hours of work to be performed. That doesn't include the commute to and from work, or lunch time and a few breaks. Let's be realistic that most people don't work hard for every minute they are at work. Okay, lets say you are actually working only 4 hours a day. Some jobs it's more, some it's less. That would be 1000 hours of work a year. Outside of that work you might want to exercise, so you have to find time to go to the gym, or go out running, or even go to the local gym to shoot some hoops. You have to take care of your kids. You have to take out the garbage. You have to worry about the bills.

Perhaps you have a job that requires you to travel. Or you take a trip during your vacation time. You only have 2 weeks remember, so you will probably return to work right after your trip. Like most people you fly coach. You have to show up at the airport 1 or 2 hours before hand. You have to wait for you bags, you have to get to your car. All time consuming things.

According to Wikipedia, in the United States a 25 year old male with a High School Diploma makes somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 dollars a year.

If a person doesn't work hard enough, they can be fired. I am not saying everyone works hard, they don't. But let's compare.

Let's look at LeBron James from last year. He won the MVP. He played at a high level. But if you watched his games, sometimes he didn't seem to be giving it his all. Some games he seems to hang out by the three point line and be afraid to venture in for a crowd pleasing dunk. We won't even discuss the Boston debacle in the playoffs. There has to be reasons for this right?

If LeBron played every game of the season and played every minute he would play for 65.6 hours. He didn't play that much. He played only 76 games, and logged 2966 minutes or 49.4 hours. He sat out several games at the end of the season to rest up for the playoffs. That is something I will discuss later. Certainly the travel would have an effect. But NBA players travel on Chartered jets. They don't wait in line or pick up their bags. They are chauffeured to a luxury hotel on the road. For this work he was paid $15,779,912 dollars. There were also minutes for the pre-season, training camp and the playoffs. We are talking about playing hard in the regular season.

So is it too much to expect that a PROFESSIONAL would give maximum effort for 39 minutes 3 to 4 times a week for 6 months while getting paid roughly 375 times more than the average working man? Oh, by the way, the other 6 months is vacation time. They don't have to do anything. Maybe workout, which is something regular smucks try to work in while working all year.

Give me a break. Both Teams did not play hard, and they should be ashamed of themselves.