It’s been years since I wrote something for this site. It may have been before my last child was born and he’s going to be 4 in June. So that’s a long time. Life is still crazy, but I can’t stay away from basketball. Instead of writing for the site though, since my schedule is too crazy and I never know when I’m going to be able to watch a game, much less have time to write about a game, I’ve been expressing my thoughts (otherwise known as venting) on this site, Twitter, Reddit, etc. So, I though, instead of doing that, I could just collect it all and drop it on you guys.
Kerr rests EVERYBODY
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Kerr rested Iguodala, Curry, Thompson and Green for the game against the Spurs. The question many have been asking is why. Initially I thought it was because he didn’t want to mess with his guys confidence by having them get beat by the Spurs. But I don’t think so now. And it’s not just about resting players like they said either. I think it is a statement to the league.
Why do I not take it at face value as just a rest game? Because he hasn’t been regularly resting players, even during this "brutal" stretch or preceding the brutal stretch. He didn’t regularly rest them last year or the year before. This is not a part of his routine. He’s had to convince guys to take a day off even when they were nursing injuries. Resting all of them at one time, for a nationally televised game against the Spurs, instead of resting them against the TimerberWolves beforehand, or the 76ers after seems something like, "Hey Silver, you want us to give you a show on national television every week, you better give us a decent schedule and not screw us around so much."
I was totally in support of Pop when he rested guys against the Heat instead of letting his team be the victim of an NBA schedule blowout on national TV to further hype the heat. I don’t think it was the NBA’s intention this time to make the Warriors the Washington Generals to the Spurs Globetrotters. However, they are USING the Warriors (many would say overusing) to advantage the NBA, with little regard for the Warriors themselves. That being said, it seems like the Warriors have publicly complained about their schedule this year more than any other team in recent memory. Every team goes through tough spots in the schedule. I guess some feel like they are entitled not to.
No whining on the yacht
In case you missed it, Iguodala had some choice comments after they lost to the Wolves and was told they were going to rest against the Spurs. To recap, he used the N word a few times, and then said something like, "Do what master says." He says it is not about Kerr. I believe him. I think that this is again about the league and the "rich white folk" that run it. The league has fined them speaking out about certain things and they are choosing to write a narrative that it means the league wants them in a box, wants them to talk a certain way, look a certain way, etc.
I think that's what prompted the statement, "uh, what would a dumb n———— — say" followed by the most bland, generic statements he could come up with. I think they’ve talked themselves into a situation where they think the league is against them and treats them as glorified dancing bears that they trot out to extract money from the masses, and then send them back to their cages to be ill treated and poorly fed. Personally, I think they’ve lost perspective.
Marc Spears addressed the issue in a short article. He came at it from a different angle, but it also addresses perspective. I feel like he has a point. It’s kinda like when I’m sitting on the couch with my laptop, and I ask my daughter to go get me some water. 5 minutes later one of the little one needs something and I ask her to take care of that. 10 minutes after that, I ask her to take my glass back to the kitchen and she melts down and says, "You’re treating me like a slave." It’s laughable. She lives in climate controlled luxury with tablets, TV, and all the food she can eat. She has no idea what she’s saying.
I don’t there’s a very good case to make that these guys are oppressed and exploited. Somebody who works at McD’s for minimum wage and gets yelled at for no reason and has their schedule screwed around and can’t see any way to get out of their situation is much more “oppressed and exploited,” and even those folks go home to a host of luxuries which we now consider normal.
If these athletes, with their agent and lawyers and business managers and financial planners and other advisors, decided that they were done being "exploited" for their talents, they could just quit and live in luxury for the rest of their lives with the millions and millions of dollars that they have made (and more that they can potentially make with future endorsements, speaking engagements, apparel sales, and autographs).
And this falls squarely on Kerr. He’s frustrated with the league as well and is allowing this discontent to permeate the locker room. This would never happen under Pop. Remember that Tim Duncan interview: “No whining on the yacht."
Portland gets robbed
Portland fans are going crazy. The Blazers lost in OT to the Wizards on a last second shot by Morris. Problem is, when he caught the ball his foot was on the line. He was out of bounds. Refs didn’t catch it. Now nobody likes their team losing a game especially in the last seconds, (or maybe the last .4 seconds.) But it happens. Teams get robbed.
Maybe somebody has statistics that shows it happens less to the league favored teams, but I haven't seen it. I know fans sure seem to think Spurs always get help with the reffing. I've watched Spurs games for years, and if anything, thought the opposite a few times - especially playing the Lakers. I wish the NBA could do something about these calls, not just at the end, but any time during the game. I’m hopeful that in the coming years technology is employed that will catch some of this.
The problem is that these calls happen all throughout the game, we just remember the ones that happen right at the end of a close game. So, are Portland fans justified in going ballistic? Eh, not really. It happens to every team. You win some, you lose some. Maybe there is a big conspiracy out there to help certain teams win. Doesn't really matter. The point is to not put yourself into a position where you can get screwed at the last second on a bad call, missed call, or a half court hail-Mary. Portland was up 21 at halftime. So, um. Yeah.
(You’ll notice that GSW is getting a lot of space in this writeup. I’m sorry about that. Turns out most of the news is about GSW, and I reacted to story after story. It's either write about it, or get hives. At this point, many of you would probably vote for hives next time. Let me know in the comments.)
Draymond Green got another technical foul, his twelfth of the year. Some of you are probably thinking that he was auditioning for a role in the Nutcracker again, or that he was trash talking or mouthing off to the refs, but no. This time it was for some after the whistle contact against Karl Anthony Towns. Dray made comments after the game that the refs use a different set of rules on him. Draymond apologists defended Dray. The most rabid said that no foul should have been called, but they all contended that no tech should have been called. What do you think? Do the refs use a different standard on him? (Broadcast angles. View from mobile phone. http://imgur.com/a/5GHRl)
Did they use a different standard this time or would anybody have gotten a tech for this? Personally it looks like he got him in the face, WAY after the play, just to mess with him. Clearly unsportsmanlike IMO.
Who is your MVP?
So, there is a lot of MVP talk this time of year, and for seemingly the first time all season, Kawhi is getting some love. Mostly it is because the Spurs beat the Rockets and national writers were watching the game. During the game, the announcers dropped a lot of Kawhi stats. I'm certain those were eye opening for the bulk of these guys that spend most of the year ignoring the Spurs except for nationally televised games against the top 3 or 4 teams that are "must watch TV (because the other sports journalists will ask if I saw the game). I saw the exact same stats mentioned in the broadcast dropped on Twitter like it was some revelation and then retweeted all over the place. The game hadn't even ended before the hot takes started flowing. Here's one:
Of course, being Stephen A. Smith, next morning on his show he ranked Kawhi fourth. One of the most used arguments against Kawhi for MVP is that he has a great supporting cast and perhaps the greatest coach ever. "If Spurs didn’t have Kawhi, they would still be fine. They are 5-1 without him and actually have a better +/- when he is off the floor. Lebron's teams haven't won a single game that he didn't play. Imagine OKC without Westbrook."
This argument is used to prop up Westbrook and elevate Lebron over Harden (Harden has better numbers and team has better record in a tougher conference). I just want to say, since when is that the criteria for MVP? When was the last time a great player on a bad team was picked as MVP? When I say bad, I mean a team that didn't make the playoffs or make it out of the first round. Most of the MVPs have gone to guys that at LEAST ended up taking their teams to the conference finals if not the finals or winning it all. And these weren't dark horse teams. They were considered contenders.
Curry won the last two years. How was his supporting cast? Oh, just considered to be the best teams ever assembled. Lebron won twice with the Heatles in two championship years. Bad supporting cast? Apparently not if they won it all. That’s all I wanted to say. It’s ridiculous to move the goalposts this year just to give Lebron and Westbrook a boost. And if the Spurs take the number one overall seed in a year when GSW and CLE were supposed to be so dominant, he definitely deserves a lot of votes, and I think he should win it. Otherwise, my pick would be Harden. I like the way he’s changed up his game to include his teammates. And apparently he plays defense from time to time nowadays. On an MVP related note, the only guy that ever averaged a triple double in a season, came in third in MVP voting. Apparently they valued winning more than stats back then. Hopefully that's also true now.
Lord Voldemort, is that you?
He who shall not be named is now starting for a championship contender, at PF. No, not Voldemort. The other shiny headed guy that we all wished was gone forever who mustn't be named. (Now that I think about it, so many similarities). He’s playing defense, excellent defense, he's rebounding, splashing 3 pointers, and doing all of the intangibles and hustle plays that he was brought to San Antonio (and paid a handsome salary) to do. And yes Spurs fans, FWIW you have my permission to resent that when you think about him. Just don’t think about him too much. That’s obsessive. And unhealthy. Also remember, if he wasn't so bad, PATFO might not have traded the much beloved Hill to get a small forward in the 2011 draft. So, thank you R-- nope, uh uh. Not happening. I cannot bring myself to do that.
So, I am continually entertained by the changing narratives of the league. So, as recently as last year, the narrative around the league was how important it was to have a deep bench. GSW was favored because it had "the deepest bench in the league". Sports personalities raved about the GSW bench. This year the Spurs have the deepest bench in the league, and GSW's bench is, um, what is good description? They just signed Matt Barnes and he's one of their main rotation guys now. It's that bad.
This year you won’t hear anybody talking about how deep benches are important. If you hear anything, it is "the bench shortens in the post season". The narrative has completely changed in order to accommodate and favor the league darlings. Just the way Pop likes it. But I hate it. So, I'm sure that means it will change soon. /s
That's it for now. I'm sure there will be plenty more stuff I'll want to react to soon.