Canis Hoopus Roundtable Part I
Patrick and I, along with some other Wolves writers that you are familiar with, participated in a little Roundtable/Q & A over at Canis Hoopus. Go check it out.
How Much Is A Steal Really Worth? (More than you might think)
An interesting take from FiveThiryEight’s Benjamin Morris. For a while, I’ve been inclined to think that steals are underrated because of the popularity of Hollinger’s PER statistic.
I get the substantive criticisms of both steals (or, more specifically, of over-relying on steals as a meaningful metric), but I still want players who’ll get steals. This includes players who’re active on defense, players who move their hands and feet well, and players who know how to play angles. It isn’t just the reckless gamblers.
Of course, it isn’t that simple – the players who move their hands and feet well and know how to play angles are sometimes more likely to gamble recklessly due to overconfidence in their own defensive prowess. But if that’s true, it doesn’t mean they’re bad defenders.
State of the Wolves
Mark Remme and the folks at timberwolves.com are running a monthly series called “State Of The Wolves.” They were kind enough to invite us to contribute this month. Go check it out.
The Epic Tales of Gus Johnson
At TrueHoop, Curtis Harris shares an epic tale about Gus Johnson trying to cram on Wilt Chamberlain, only to get his self a dislocated shoulder. Click on the link to check it out.
Hey, speaking of cool stories about Gus Johnson…
From Earl The Pearl’s biography:
Gus was hip, too. He had a gold star in one of his front teeth, wore great clothes, had style, sported a Fu Manchu goatee–I think he was the first player in the league to wear one–so all of the black cats on the team gravitated to him. Although he walked with a slight limp, he even made his walk look cool. Gus had a 48-inch vertical jump and could leap so high he could pick a quarter off the top of the backboard. He was a street cat, known to knock guys out and shit. But he was lovable, too. Still, you didn’t mess with him. Gus was very charismatic. He just drew people to him, and I like that. He had a funny way of talking. When we went out to restaurants he had this thing about trying to speak all proper, like he would say in his real deep voice, “Give me one of them excellent steaks and cover it with some of that War Chester Shire sauce.”
Gus Johnson: We salute you. Per the Harris piece, Johnson died way too young to a brain tumor in 1987.
Bayno Being Bayno
“Bayno credits these courts, this city, for supplying the lessons leading to his successful playing and coaching career. He does the clinic each year except for rare occasions when his schedule makes it impossible. He has known many of these players for years and helped most of them one way or another, whether with phone calls to college coaches or regular guidance from afar.
“I came here to be a better basketball player,” Bayno says later, “and I left a better person.”
The kids leave with another level of basketball knowledge – about 31⁄2 hours each day – and layers of advice about creating opportunities by doing the right thing on and off the court. They leave with Bayno’s email address and the promise that he will be monitoring their progress.”
CASPIAN KANG: Reddit & Internet Integrity
Jay Caspian Kang’s “Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?” is a must-read for anyone who cares about the news, but is especially on-point for bloggers and blog readers. Highly rec’d.
Vegas Isn’t the Only Summer League
Don’t sleep on the Drew League.
Apart from having a really cool name, it also has a very cool vibe: lots of cred among the pros, more street ball than you can shake a stick at, and a really nice website (replete with the cool blog linked in the title).
So if “Vegas, Baby, Vegas” (Vince Vaughn voice) isn’t your speed or just isn’t enough summer hoops for you, go check out the Drew League. You’ll at least get your Summer League mixtape fix, if you’re in withdrawal after watching NBA Draft prospect footage.
Wolves play Phoenix in Vegas Monday at 6:30 PM Eastern.
Bobcats Teaching MKG How to Shoot
Via Matt Moore/CBS Eye On Basketball, the Charlotte Bobcats have hired Mark Price. His job? Teach Michael Kidd-Gilchrist how to shoot a basketball. According to the article, the goal is to blow it up and start from scratch — not just endless repetition with the same crappy form.
Gee, what a novel idea. I really, really hope the Timberwolves are doing something similar with Ricky Rubio’s majorly-flawed jumper.
James Gandolfini Is Dead at 51
On a day separating historic basketball games played by the Spurs and Heat, tragedy struck the arts. James Gandolfini — Tony Soprano — died of an apparent heart attack while traveling in Italy. There are film and television critics that can eulogize “Tony” far better than I, but this event is worth acknowledging here. All sorts of indeterminable debates have played out between The Sopranos, The Wire, and a growing list of premium tv series’ that have pushed the entire genre ahead of film in the two thousand teens.
There is no doubt when the transition began. It began with Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano, the most lovable degenerate that any of us has ever [not] known. [QUASI-SPOILER ALERT] — If you watched The Sopranos, then you know what I mean when I say that the power in Tony’s character was that — by series end — you absolutely cared about his fate even though you had come to completely despise him. The genius of Tony was in the passionate ambivalence of the viewer. Tony wasn’t for reductionists and he wasn’t for the self righteous. He was complex. So was his family. Anytime Carmela felt sorry for her sad state of marital affairs — and it happened a lot, and Tony was always to blame — the context would develop in the form of heated argument. The only thing we became sure of was that life is never simple. Tony delivered that message with his temper, his foul mouth, his shitty grin, his infidelity, his points of loyalty, and his forever unpredictability. I don’t know if The Sopranos is the greatest television series in history, but I know that there has not been another like it, and I know that there has not been another character like Tony. There never will be.
Rest in peace.
timberwolves.com Blog Profile: Punch-Drunk Wolves
Mark Remme and the good folks at the Timberwolves website asked us to participate in their weekly blog-profile series. We appreciate being included and had fun answering the questions.