Like Father, uh, not really

The worst month of the year for the NBA is August. During the month of August I have had time to reflect on a lot of NBA happenings. I have come up with, what I have thought, to be profound thoughts, but upon approval from Phil, I have come to discover that my profound thoughts, have been very, well, unprofound. That changed yesterday when Patrick Ewing Jr. was traded to his father's old team, the Knicks. It caused me to think about not the trade itself, but about the pressure and expectation that has suddenly been put on Pat Jr. (not that there is no pressure when you are the son of a Hall of Fame player), now that he is playing for the Knicks, and not just any NBA team. I have reflected on the father-son duos of the NBA and sports in general, and about what this trade really meant for the Knicks. My conclusion may surprise you. Here are my thoughts on all of this.

Patrick Ewing Jr: I feel bad for the guy. Gets drafted in the second round and then gets dished to the Knicks. Most of the articles I have read on this story favor him going to New York. I look at this as the worst possible scenario for him. The public is a very unforgiving group of critics. People can't help but compare what is familiar to them.

Ask Luke Walton if he will ever be able to get out of the shadow of his father. No matter what he does at this point in his career, he will always be 'Bill's son'. Ask Jeffery Jordan how tough it is playing at Illinois. He probably couldn't even imagine what kind of pressure and what people would be saying if he played at Chapel Hill. Ask Drew, Jon, and Brent, who they are compared to? If they missed a free throw, announcers would have to hold their tongue before they could utter the words 'Rick wouldn't have done that.' Ask Coby Karl or Mike Dunleavy Jr. what sort of pressure they were under when they came into the league. Remember Stephon Curry in his legendary performance this past March? Who did they compare him to? His shot was like...Del's. At least Coby, Mike, and Stephon's fathers weren't considered some of the best players in the history of the game. No matter who you are, if your father played in the league, it will automatically attached inflated standards to your name. Once in a while you will get a Kobe Bryant, who can achieve legendary status that his father's career becomes more known after retirement. Or, if you are lucky, you will get a Grant Hill who is a five time all-star, a college standout, and has a career average of 21 points a game, and your father was an NFL legend who was a 4 time pro bowler who had over 1000 yards twice, and over 6,000 in his career. Even more rarely, will you have a Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose. The late Jimmy Walker was the first pick in the NBA draft in 1967 and had an exceptional 9 year career averaging 16.7 ppg with Detroit, Houston, and Kansas City. Jalen Rose had a great NBA career with too many NBA teams to name, but averaging 14.8 his career, and even once averaging as much as 22.1 ppg with the Bulls. Kobe, Grant, and Jalen are exceptions.

This brings us back to our latest father-son player combo who has come into the league. Although Pat Jr. is in a very tough spot, you have to love his commitment, and courage to have the career he has had (Jeffery Jordan has to get a shout out for doing the same, even though Jeff will likely never see an NBA court). Patrick Ewing Jr. went to Indiana for the first two years of his college career and then transfered to Georgetown to finish off his career. It was a bold move, one that I'm sure his father was proud of. To put their careers in perspective, Pat Sr. averaged 15.3 ppg, 9.2 rebs, and 3.4 blks while he was a Hoya. Pat Jr., averaged 5.2 ppg and 1.4 assts. You don't have to be a statistician to see the incredible disparity between the numbers. Now, lets suppose, you knew nothing about either players' pro career, and they were not father and son, but brother and brother. Based on the numbers, you would probably say that Pat Sr. would be a good NBA player that had potential to be an All-Star one day. Few, if any, would say Pat Jr. had similar or even comparable potential. NBA teams must see something in Pat Jr. that would make them take a chance on him. The Knicks seem to be in the business of potential and taking Pat Jr. on the basis of potential is a little suspicious. He did not have an outstanding career and is best known for blocking a game winning shot against West Virginia that was about as close to goal tending as you will ever see. The question is, why? Why would the Knicks take an unproven player when they are a fading franchise. Pat Jr. has not proven he can make it. He was drafted on pure potential. His 6'8 and 240 frame gives him an NBA body, but does he know how to use it? Can Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff improve it? My guess is no.

I know that many of you are thinking that I am acting like Pat Jr. is a huge impact player the Knicks acquired, and it is still contingent on him making the roster. This post is more about me trying to be skeptical so Knick fans and NBA fans aren't so harsh on him if he flops. If he doesn't, it is a fairytale story that will probably be made into a movie one day, if he does, it was expected. The kid is playing in the biggest media market in the country, under the shadow of his Hall of Fame father. That is a lot of pressure, but he has dealt with this his whole life. He is probably phasing this out right now, but there is a bigger issue here. This is less about Pat Jr. than it is about the Knicks management. This is clearly a last ditch effort for the Knicks to acquire the best Knicks player in history's son in order to draw nostalgic fans who wish they were back in the 90's. This is a win-win for the Knicks. Fans will be drawn to MSG, to see what kind of player ol' Pat's son is. If the Knick's develop him, it will be the rebirth of their franchise, and it will be a story that will live in sport infamy. If not, at least it got fans in seats for a little bit, something the Knicks desperately need. It was a cheap rental. This pick up was strictly for a PR boost. Something that Knick fans should be extremely concerned about. Sports is about winning, and continuing to win, that is what keeps fans there, not parading around the shadow child of your franchise's glory days. Even the most devout Knicks fan is probably close to his or her breaking point by now, but if you are one of the fans who has looked the other way, be concerned.


Ive been meaning to post these for a while.

Top NBA SF prospects in the 2009 draft.

Is Lebron really leaving? Seems like Cleveland is in the best position to do anything.


Team USA, J.R Smith, Shaun Livingston and Darius Miles evaluations

Team USA is winning the gold. There is no doubt about it. Anyone who tells you different is just trying to avoid a complete embarrassment that would leave US basketball in a crippled state on the international level. The good news is that there is absolutely not chance that this is going to happen. The US has been playing inconsistently throughout portions of games, but still manage to crush opponents in the second half. The Aussie's were just getting excited until the US actually started playing and Kobe dropped 25 to put that one in the bag. The Bucks must have felt great knowing that their $70 million investment, Andrew Bogut, dominated the Team USA big men by netting a whopping 4 points. Good luck on that rebuilding Milwaukee! You traded two great prospects in Yi and Mo Williams and just watched your #1 draft pick, a pick that would be the worst first pick if it weren't for Kwame Brown and Michael Olowakandi, just produce absolutely nothing against top tier NBA competition.

The US team toyed around with Argentina, let them come back to single digits, and then Melo and the rest of Team USA decided that this game was over, and turned the lights out on Argentina's gold medal hopes. The most worrisome thing that Spurs fans, Argentina fans, and Manu Ginobili fans should take out of this game is the fact that Manu has not fully recovered from his ankle injury. The same injury that left him as a non-factor (except one game) in the Conference Finals against the Lakers. Manu leaving in the first quarter was a death blow to Argentina, and everyone knew it.

For Houston fans, Scola's 28 points should be very comforting. I have said it before, that Scola is a rising star in the NBA, and his production can only move upward. He did it all against the best players in the world, and the best team in basketball since the Dream Team. Scola and the Rockets have a very bright future, and who knows what the limit is for his talent.

Prediction for USA vs Spain: A huge win for the United States. The US crushed Spain in their first outing, and the Spanish team can't do much about it except trying to limit paint points and force jump shots. Spain will finish with silver and the US will win their first championship in an international tournament since Sydney in 2000 and reclaim US basketball as the best in the world.

Thoughts on Darius Miles: This signing is bad news for Portland. If Darius plays more than 10 games for the Celtics, the entirety of his contract has to be paid out. Darius is due to make $9 million the next two seasons. Not a good thing for Paul Allen's checkbook. Miles was the third pick in the 2000 draft and many cite him as an example of why high school players should not be allowed to enter the NBA, but he has shown some promise pre-injury. His supposed career ending surgery has made Miles a success story. He will be a dangerous player because he will want to prove that not only can he play for the defending champions, but he was not a draft bust and just needed to be in the right situation at the right time. This is his chance. Before his injury, for the Blazers, he averaged 10.4 pts, 5.2 rebs, and 1.15 blks. Not too bad, but not what a #3 pick should be averaging. The Celtics will be able to use him to try and fill the role of James Posey. Miles has never been a nitty-gritty type of player like Posey, but Miles is a credible offensive threat when he wants to be. He can score, and will cause match-up problems if he plays the 3. At 6'9 and 235lbs, he is a sizable body that can play the post and has a decent mid-range game. It is going to improve the Celtics bench a bit, but not totally fulfill Posey's roll on the team. Overall, good move for the Celtics and Miles. Danny Ainge clearly saw something in those workouts that none of us have access to. Boston fans should not be too worried except he failed his 4th drug test and will have to serve a 10 game suspension before playing in a Celtic uniform. I have posted this video of Miles in a previous post, but it seems relevant again

The best thing for Boston fans to do right now is to be skeptical, and be surprised if/when Miles pans out. Nevertheless, he can only gain from this situation, from a basketball and financial standpoint.

Thoughts on Shawn Livingston: Shaun Livingston is another player coming off of injury. A bad one. If you have not seen this video, I would highly recommend you brace yourself, and even if you have, I would say the same thing to you. I cringe every time I see this.

Livingston was one of the most promising guards in the NBA before his injury. He was expected to elevate the Clippers to the next level. I was not the only LA native who thought that either. When Livingston was at his peak, a lot of people in LA were talking about him. His devastating injury was a dark story in sports. A young and promising point guard who had a supposedly career ending injury on a freak accident. Livingston is on the Lakers summer team to try and make the squad. That will be a very tough job considering the Lakers just signed Sasha Vujacic to a $15 million contract, have Farmar and Fisher at point, and a guy named Kobe Bryant. That is a very crowded back court. I won't say that Coby Karl is a threat, but Coby Karl and the Laker's only draft pick in the second round, Joe Crawford from Kentucky, are trying to make the team, as well as a summer team loaded with former UCLA and USC grads. Point is, it will be competitive. When you sustain an injury like Livingston, NBA teams are reluctant to pull the trigger because of the uncertainty of how that player will bounce back. The Clippers had reportedly offered him a one year deal, but he declined. Now Clipper fans are screaming about the loyalty, but there is not much loyalty in a one year deal. The Suns and Nuggets have shown interest, but the Lakers appear to be Livingston's first choice. Livingston has been working out in Chicago with legendary trainer David Thorpe which is a great sign. The Lakers are in no need of a point guard, but it would not hurt to take a look at Livingston and possibly sign him. If Livingston plays well, one of the Laker guards (not Kobe, obviously, and probably not Fisher), could be on the trading block come February. Nothing like a little overload in a position to spur some competition and elevate everyone else's play. It is worth a shot.

Thoughts on J.R Smith: I have gone on a rant about J.R Smith and how he would flourish in a veteran environment. Unfortunately, Denver is not that place for him. He is seriously one of the most untapped talents in the NBA. Smith is one of those high school players who NBA scouts locked on to and decided that if he could be controlled, he would become a great NBA player. That is all true, except for the fact that George Karl's Nuggets are not a calming influence on Smith. He averaged 12.6 points and shot 40% from 3 point range for the Nuggets. At 22 years old, he still has a long career ahead of him, and if he reaches into his untapped potential, the rest of the league better take notice. I have a tremendous respect for J.R Smith and his game, and I predict that this multi-year deal will be the start of something good for him. This could be the making of a new star.


picture sources: theassociation.blogs.com (first), jamd.com (second), atibaphoto.com (third), sportsillustrated.com,


One more dull point

I apologize for the lack of posts that have been on the site lately. I have been swamped with moving in and traveling. More of the same will be had in the coming days. I am going up to a retreat in the backwoods of Virginia. Where? I could not tell you. That is how remote this place is. Nonetheless, there will be no posts until after Thursday when I return. I promise once the school year gets in swing, there will be consistent posts. Take care.


These are a few days old, but it is worth a look.

Dwade could be getting sued.

Lebron has some shifty eyes.

Chad Johnson is legally changing his name to 'Ocho Cinco'. Will this be copycatted?

This video of DeShawn Stevenson is pretty funny.


Team USA evaluation

I'm back from vacation, and after a few days rest back home in SoCal, I am back in NC for the grind of a another school year. The update on the blog is that we will not be able to finish the 'to-do list' of every team because we want to dedicate most of this blog to evaluating moves and news of the NBA and their respective teams. We will pick the remaining 'to-do list' teams based on the majority of our readers' interests. We hope to bring you at least 7 more teams before the start of the season. With Phil still in Beijing for the Olympics, it is pretty tough to be maintaining and writing for the site all at once. I'm confident Phil is working hard in Beijing though. Here is a quick rundown about the US Men's Basketball team in Beijing.

The US has looked about on par with where everyone expected them to be. Most people expected vulnerabilities and laughed at anyone who tried to make too much of their pre-Olympic performances, many of whom were inferior competition. With Team USA playing like they are, many of the people I have spoke with about the games have been reluctant to call the US a lock for the gold. Those reservations are probably due largely in part to the sour taste in everyone's mouth from the 2004 debacle.

Lebron and Dwade have played exceptionally for the U.S. on offense, and Kobe and Dwight Howard have been the defensive force. Wade netted 19pts against the win over Angola and Lebron managed 12pts. Kobe's defense forced a lot of turnovers that led to easy buckets, and Kobe's offense has been mediocre as he scored only 8 in the win against Angola and 13 against the win in China. Team USA does not need Kobe to be dropping 30 to win, obviously, but his amazing defense is one of the US's strongest assets. The main criticism the team has drawn has been from their poor three point shooting. They only shot 29.2% from beyond the arc against China and 23.8% against Angola. Those numbers are interesting because one would think that the three point percentage would go up because the arc is closer to the basket in international play, but for whatever reason, the US is not knocking the shots down.

The US started out slow against China, and at one point in the second quarter were tied 26-26. The US outplayed China in the second half and had a decisive 31 point margin of victory. The US' victory never seemed to be in doubt, but the US has turned the ball over 12 times in both games, and has not been amazing from the charity stripe either. They have shot 72% and 64%, respectively in the two games played. They are going to have to increase those numbers considerably as they hit the tough part of their schedule against Greece and Spain. Both teams have come off huge wins. A decisive win against Germany for Greece and an emotional OT victory for Spain over China, led by Gasol's 29pts.

The strong point for the US has been the evenly distributed minutes by Coach K, their defense, and ball distribution. It is basketball at its finest level. It is the level of basketball that can be seen at no other time. The best players in the world running a passing offense that creates spacing and open shots. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

The US is going to have to step up their play another notch for them to beat Greece. Melo has said that they have waited two years since the World Championships in Japan for a chance to play Greece again. Greece torched the US in 06' with their pick n' rolls the whole game. Which is interesting because since Mike D'Antoni is on the coaching staff, and his play book consisted of a total of two plays called, "Nash do whatever you want" and "Nash run a pick n' roll" he couldn't give any advice on how to guard the play. Nonetheless, the US needs to keep up their defense and hit their open shots. Kobe has said that the players on the team are not used to be that wide open, but the US has had ample time to adjust to their new roles on their teams and it is time to execute. There is no question that the US has the most talent in the world, and it is not even close, but it is yet to be seen if the US has the best chemistry in the world. That will be tested with the up coming games, and if the US is going to win gold, they have to work out the kinks. It will be interesting to see how the US responds to the challenge, but without a doubt, Melo, Bron, and Dwade have had this date against Greece for a long time. The game against Greece will need to be played at a high level so the US can take that momentum into the games against Spain and Germany.



Gilbert Arenas has thoughts about Kwame and free agency in general, the pics of his pool that leaked, the european trend, and more.

Studies show that pro basketball players can tell whether a shot is good or bad the moment it leaves their hand from the memory in the player's pinky.

When I was in Vegas this past week I was looking for lines to bet for the Olympics, but did not find them. Apparently they exist, and it is a good thing I did not find them because the US was not even close to covering against Angola.

This is a great photo I've found from SLAM online.

Shaq is expanding his old childhood town.

I'm disappointed that Team USA does not want to try the new foods in China.

If you have not been/heard of the site hoopedia.com, then go to it. It is wikipedia for basketball so you can look up the starting lineup for the 90's Bulls and look like you knew it all along.

Picture Sources: usabasketball.com (first), espn.com (second), nydailynews.com (third)



There won't be any posts for about a week or so due to Phil's trip with Stanford to China and my trip to Hawaii. For the record, Phil tried to get tickets to watch the USA Senior Men's Basketball team in Beijing, but tickets were sold out in a few hours because the Chinese government bought up the majority of the seats to resale to Chinese citizens. Anyway, he is there doing some academic stuff, and he couldn't be any luckier to be a part of the program going to China at the same time these historic Olympics are going down.

I will be in Hawaii until next Saturday, and then out to Vegas on Sunday, but I hope to be able to get a post in when I come back next Saturday. Until then, if you haven't seen this video by now, it gives you a pretty good glimpse of what would happen if you or I played one-on-one with Michael Jordan, and he admits that Kobe could beat him now, but he would be able to take Kobe in his prime, but we all knew that didn't we?

Have a good week