The NBA should allow James Harden to play with that pick in his beard during All-Star Weekend.
The Houston Rockets (34-17) are in town to play the staggering (Punch-Drunk?) Wolves (24-27) tonight. Tip is at 7 P.M. Central. Views via FSN and NBATV. Sounds via WCCO 830. James Harden’s beard is traveling with the team and will be in the Rockets’ starting lineup.
We discussed some of the issues heading into this game during our first Punch-Drunk Podcast. (Eds. Note: We’re planning on adding podcasts to our repertoire on a semi-regular basis. More details on that to come.)
A few notes on tonight’s game below the fold.
Klay Thompson has one of the sweetest shooting strokes in the NBA
The 3-1 Golden State Warriors are in ‘Sota to take on the 3-1 Timberwolves tonight at Target Center. Tip is at 7 P.M. CST. You can see it on FSN or NBA League Pass.
The Dubs are the darlings of the NBA so far this season, and it’s easy to see why: They’re third in the League in points per game, and are first in assists per game. They have fun players in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who can fill it up from pretty much anywhere inside the 612 area code. Andre Iguodala makes big dunks, and–this is a first for the Warriors–defends well. David Lee flows to the tune of about 20 & 10 nightly. Andrew Bogut isn’t Andris Biedrins. (Eds. Note: Bogut also belongs on that “Dark Alley” team that was occasionally referenced in Grantland’s NBA Preview marathon, with fellow toughs Lance Stephenson and David West, inter alia.)
The starting lineups should look like this:
PG – Ricky Rubio vs. Stephen Curry
SG – Kevin Martin vs. Klay Thompson
SF – Corey Brewer vs. Andre Iguodala
PF – Kevin Love vs. David Lee
C – Zod Pekovic vs. Andrew Bogut
Yes, it will be a high-scoring game.
Ethan Strauss is the best in the [NBA writing/tweeting] business at provoking strong reactions with what can seem like crazy, “contrarian” takes on pro basketball issues. (I say “seem like” because ESS almost always explains what he means with nuance that can elude the more passionate/less detail-oriented readers. When he’s trashing Kobe Bryant, I sometimes find myself in that camp of spazzes. When the victim is Rajon Rondo, I happily nod in agreement.) Today, he posited that the best “long shot” MVP candidate for basketball bettors is Andre Iguodala. He didn’t say that Iggy will win MVP, or even that he thinks he has a good chance at it or would ever deserve it. Just that, “[a]mong fool’s bets, Iguodala for MVP is wisest.” The thinking goes something like this: Denver has a chance to win a ton of regular season games (some predict upwards of 60), that MVP voters sometimes use a “This team won more games that they were supposed to, so [Player X] deserves the credit!” logic (Steve Nash cited as an example), and that Iggy should see a scoring/production bump as he transitions from Doug Collins to George Karl, a shift that would be akin to a McDonald’s All-American transferring from Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers to Kentucky or North Carolina.
Still, even if you’re talking long-shots, that’s crazy isn’t it? I mean, Iggy has played eight years in the NBA, made only one All-Star Team (2011), and made ZERO All-NBA Teams. The team he joins would’ve been expected to make the playoffs, Iggy or not, and they’ve been universally considered a “team’s team” with more credit going to the coach than any individual player. Furthermore, Iggy’s points per game (a stat overrated by many, but certainly a factor in a wing player’s MVP candidacy) has dropped in each of the past four seasons, (probably) bottoming out last year at a measly 12.4. Even assuming a numbers bump in George Karl’s uptempo system, an Iggy MVP seems as unlikely (or even more) than the 125:1 odds that Strauss found when preparing his piece.
But I appreciate the bold proposition, so I’ll see Strauss’s Andre Iggy and raise him one Ricard Rubio. Continue reading