Player Capsules 2012, #247-249: Amare Stoudemire, Eduardo Najera, Ryan Gomes

As our summer mainstay, Aaron was writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. As the summer dies down and the leaves turn, this quixotic quest of a series has happily reached the last third. But it's certainly not done yet! Today we continue with Amare Stoudemire, Eduardo Najera, and Ryan Gomes. Continue reading

The Problem with Power Rankings

You're reading your favorite basketball blog. Today (finally!) they've got some power rankings up. You scroll down the page with glee, and immediately searching for your favorite team. With horror, though -- 50 wins, ranked 10th? "No, this can't be!" you shout to the heavens. "Why?" The writer (that cad!) has a reasonable response: your best player is, in fact, injured for the opener. That will probably cost your team some games and slow down the development of your team's chemistry. Rough going. "Fair enough," you shrug and acknowledge. After all, this guy knows what he's doing. You move on with your day.

... but not before checking the rest of the list. Huge mistake. Because now you begin to notice that your favorite team's divisional rival is listed at 58 wins, even though their best player is also injured. What's the explanation? Well, this injury may be just as harmful, but at least it will force their uncreative coach into small ball lineups, which are eminently more effective with such a roster. You huff. You puff. And then you get mad. You state strongly to your computer screen a lot of uncomfortably valid objections:

  • "But my coach is actually creative with lineups! Why should we expect a bad coach being forced into small ball be more effective than my coach who has been using small ball correctly since the days of Don Nelson in Dallas!"
  • "Even if that's true, what happens when their short small ball lineup has to sub out for the 8th-12th spots in the rotation, because those are the only players left? Why is this kind of a forced situation, replete with borderline D-leaguers, remotely preferable to having 7-9 rotation-level players to choose from on any given night? Why is this kind of a forced situation better than my forced situation, considering mine doesn't substantially affect the minutes allocation for anyone beyond the 10th man?"

Most importantly:

  • "Why does their team get the benefit of the broken-window fallacy while my team is presumed to take the full chemistry-and-efficiency loss right on the chin? What is up with this writer's pernicious, unstated double-standard?"

So your day went from a happy one to a sad one in about two minutes, and all the unfairness of life has come back to mystify you again. "Who's this human trashcan, and why does he like the <EXPLETIVE DELETED> Los Angeles Clippers so much?" you ask. You suppose sadly that there will be other articles that you'll read, someday, but never again will these articles be read by one so innocent as you before the reading. Weeks later, you remain an avid visitor to the site. Unfortunately, your visits are now tinged with pure spite and furious disdain instead of unbridled joy and the desire for knowledge and informed opinions. You leave vicious comments. You have officiallybecome a troll. This "Choose Your Own Adventure" story is complete.

How could this situation have been prevented? Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #244-246: James Johnson, Jason Terry, John Lucas

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with James Johnson, Jason Terry, and John Lucas. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #241-243: Elliot Williams, Andris Biedrins, Kenneth Faried

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Elliot Williams, Andris Biedrins, and Kenneth Faried. Continue reading

One Year's Gone: Catharsis and Promises

Gothic Ginobili turns one today. As part of our celebration of this somewhat unexpected milestone, our writers are producing a variety of content reflecting and appreciating the journey that got us here. Here, our first added member to our extended staff waxes about his history with the blog and succinctly explains what makes writing under the iron fists of jerks like McGuire and Dewey even remotely tolerable!

One year ago today, the world didn't know much about Gothic Ginobili. (This was not surprising, as it had existed for less than 24 hours.) I was the editor of Fansided's main Suns blog at the time, Sun-N-Gun. I was trying to finish my first month strong, with increasingly insane, strangely written posts about the lockout. I didn't think I'd be where I am today, at least at the time. In fact, a part of me believed that I wouldn't even get to watch basketball until right about this time, this year.

A month later, the lockout ended. Two months later, the Suns played their first game of a season that would end up being Steve Nash's last. It was right about the start of the regular season that I realized regular, recap-grinding writing was a far more pressing constraint than I anticipated. As it turned out, I was (and still am) a terrible recap writer. So, if you by any chance wanted to mail me about a beat writer job for a Polish team, don't do it. After a few failed stabs at coherency, I resorted to grading players and giving notes. Why? I didn't know at the time, and I'm still not sure. Maybe it's because I pay too much attention to Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash. Or maybe because I don't treat basketball as a series of events, but merely a framework for discovering the people playing it, a weird, competitive social experiment of sorts. Whatever the case, two months into the regular season, I felt I couldn't really express whatever I felt about basketball on Sun-N-Gun. And so, I posted a random question on twitter of the "Yo, I'm bored writing just about the Suns, any general NBA blog want me?" sort, and Aaron and Alex answered my call.

To be honest, I didn't really read much of Gothic Ginobili before this. Mostly just scattered pieces Aaron linked me directly when we discussed basketball in between long sessions of swooning over King Crimson's "Red." Once I started flipping through, though, I was elated. With Aaron's work ethic, Alex's (positive) craziness, and their combined transcendent writing skills, I felt I was in the right place to hone my skills. I may have not done much, but I've had the opportunity to tell the stories I wanted to tell. The story of my nocturnal, basketball watching life is one, the story of my private family daytime soap being the other big one. The personal stuff. For the first time, I was putting myself into the framework, ridding myself of the fake mask of an unbiased blogger, and taking my own experiences into a weird (albeit fitting) context. It has been cathartic, it has been wonderful, and I just wish I had more time during last season to do it.

(And yes, that is a promise that I will be writing more, as if you didn't have enough of me already.)

So... I guess I have to thank Aaron and Alex for tolerating my writing-related shortcomings, my incessant overuse of parentheses, and all that other stuff. You guys are amazing. I can honestly say that being able to vote on ESPN's NBARank and Summer Forecast was one of the greatest moments of my life, and I can't say that I would've done it without this site. Meanwhile, I'm caught in a cruel twist of fate -- nearly a year after the lockout, precisely on the 1st anniversary of the blog that gave me so much, due to various problems with my mom's business (most of which I can't disclose, I wish I could), I might end up in a really bad situation, once again, through no fault of my own or my mother's.

But, hey. Whatever happens in next year's extended installment of Gothic Ginobili's absurdist reign over the odd, the offbeat, the outright strange -- I know one thing. I'll be able to talk about my troubles and trials here, put it in an odd context, and (eventually) have a catharsis. And that's what makes this experience great, for better or for worse. And with this, I end my rant, once again promising to actually deliver some content on a regular basis.

Let's just hope I'll have some ideas this time.

EDIT: This post was written on Tuesday. The problems? They seem to be resolved positively. I couldn't really talk about them, but I'm sure y'all would've supported me if I could, so, hey, thanks. Cheers. – Adam.

Roundtable Extravaganza: "Nobody Understands Previews."

Gothic Ginobili turns one today. As part of our celebration of this somewhat unexpected milestone, our writers are producing a variety of content reflecting and appreciating the journey that got us here. Also, evidently, we're publishing a semi-preview roundtable where our writers participate in a new style of roundtable where the questions are made up and our points don't matter. We're revolutionaries. Maybe.

#1: What is a new perspective you'd like to bring to your NBA viewing experience in this new season?

Adam Koscielak (@AdamKoscielak): I have no idea. I know that I have to expand my analytical sense. Perhaps root out the irrational ideas I have at time, and focus on the rational ones. Or perhaps the other way around. We’ll see when the season gets here, I guess.

Jacob Harmon (@jharm71): Recently I find myself trying to focus a lot more on the background elements of the game. Obviously there’s a tendency to ball-watch or star-watch, and you try to take in all the aspects of the play, but I’ve developed a weird habit of watching stuff that isn’t even in the play. Sometimes stuff that’s not even on the floor. What kind of faces is Daequan Cook making in the corner? What sort of weird kids are on the sidelines? How close IS Rick Carlisle to having a stroke? This is the valuable sort of analysis I want to bring to the table. Hire me, Daryl.

Alex Arnon (@Alex_Arnon): I don’t know, man. I’m as much of a surface fan as they get really. I guess I could make some really primo puns on some player’s names or somehow relate [insert obscure NBA player here] to Waka Flocka Flame -- I feel like I have a deeper understanding of irrelevant trap music artists than most typical long-form NBA blog readers (read: white people). I’ll leave the actual intelligent analysis up to you actually intelligent people. Continue reading

Yet Another Gothic Ginobili Statistical Q&A: "Tis the Season"

Gothic Ginobili turns one today. As part of our celebration of this somewhat unexpected milestone, our writers are producing a variety of content reflecting and appreciating the journey that got us here. This doesn't actually have all that much relevance to any of our anniversary stuff, but given the event and our current proximity to the first day of the new season, it felt like a good time to bring this back. Once again: a Q&A!

Hey! Season's almost here, the site just turned one, and we're getting back the old business in a new way. We're going a slightly different route to preview the season than most sites. Instead of doing a preview-by-fiat and presenting mounds and mounds of data, I'm going to open the floor with a return of our previously successful impromptu Q&A sessions. We held one during the postseason and one during the offseason, and both were (in my view) immensely fun exercises. A lot of great questions.

For today's preview activities, alongside our quixotic and odd roundtable from our fine correspondants, we're bringing the Q&A structure back to the table, and providing yet another session. Have a question about data you read in another site's preview? Some nagging statistical oddity you've been dying to have someone look into, if only glancingly? Questions about me, the blog, or the universe? Well, I'll be here all day, so it's a good time to ask. Questions can be statistical, aesthetic, personal, humorous, serious, or greasy. Depends on what you want to hear, I guess.

10:00 P.M. UPDATE: In the end, I answered 24 questions this time. Let's start at the top. Continue reading

One Year's Gone: "What's a Gothic Ginobili?"

Gothic Ginobili turns one today. As part of our celebration of this somewhat unexpected milestone, our writers are producing a variety of content reflecting and appreciating the journey that got us here. To start us off, the two idiots who started this thing will attempt to determine where it all went wrong. Er, where it all began, more like. Through the medium of completely unedited AIM logs. This is TOTALLY going to go over well. 

We're a blog where two guys who love NBA basketball write about things that come to mind and try to entertain anyone who decides to read. Not a Spurs fansite, contrary to our name, nor a Manu fansite. We hope to provide entertaining NBA-related writing. Nothing more, nothing less. Note it.

-- Myself in late 2011, attempting to describe a blog that did not yet exist.

We're now officially one year into Gothic Ginobili's reign of terror. We've written a lot (nearly 300 posts!) and gone through an inconceivably large number of failed drafts and stupid ideas to get there. Through it all, we've maintained a level of general anonymity. Not in our personal lives, mind you -- both Alex and I have shared so many personal anecdotes through our writing, it's possible that many of our regular readers know us better than some of our good friends. But we've maintained a certain anonymity in how we got here. We just sort of appeared, one day, a duo dragged kicking and screaming from the depths of the mariana trench to try and write about basketball. Who are we? How did this happen, even? Well, it's been a year. I guess you're old enough. Time to share. In order to do that, we've reached into our five-year-old AIM chatlogs and extracted several unedited chat logs that we feel begin to explain the mystery that remains in our origins and creation-story. I hope it is possible to actually enjoy this post. (Fair warning: I'm not sure it is.) Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #238-240: Roger Mason Jr., Daniel Gibson, Josh Harrellson

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Roger Mason Jr., Daniel "Booby" Gibson, and Josh Harrellson. Stay tuned over the rest of the day for lots of other Gothic Ginobili anniversary-related material -- and some unrelated stuff, too! Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #235-237: Lance Thomas, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. This afternoon we continue with Lance Thomas, Wayne Ellington, and Ty Lawson. Continue reading