Player Capsules 2012, #286-288: Serge Ibaka, Jon Brockman, Gerald Green

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 Serge Ibaka, Jon Brockman, and Gerald Green. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #283-285: Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, Steve Novak

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 Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, and Steve Novak. Continue reading

Player Capsule (Plus): Chaos, Death, and Manu Ginobili

“Everything ends in death, everything. Death is terrible.” -- Leo Tolstoy

Death approached the entrance to Manu Ginobili's childhood home. The lonely ghoulish figure rapped his skeletal fingers on the door, as per his usual -- once to notice, twice to affect, thrice to open. Tap. Tap. Tap. The locked door swung open on its hinges. He slid into the house, closing the door quietly behind him. A cat hissed. A gesture was made. The cat fell softly into a good night's sleep. Death was not cruel. He would not kill, at least not indiscriminately. He was tasked only to take, to claim what was rightfully his. That is Death's dictate. His curse, as some say.

Manu Ginobili had been a great player for a long time. But nothing lasts forever. No player is immune to age, to the slow churn of skills lost and injuries accrued. And Death was there to exact his dismal calculus. Another withdrawal from a major athlete's bank of tricks. Sometimes a player's bag is so full that his taking is imperceptible. Nash, Malone, Duncan. Other times, he goes a bit overboard -- he will never forget his mistaken sleight of hand with the great Muhammad Ali. Tonight, he needed to make a large withdrawal -- Manu had dodged him for several years, predicting his approach and hiding out away from it all. The game was growing tiresome.

As Death stepped through the home, he could find no sign of the man he knew was there. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #280-282: Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Leandro Barbosa

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 a foreign-born rogues gallery -- Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, and Leandro Barbosa. Continue reading

Marcin Gortat's Rebellion

Marcin Gortat recently had a fascinating talk with Przeglad Sportowy's Marcin Harasimowicz after his game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The interview is in Polish, but worry not, there's no Google Translate needed. Because you have me, a bilingual Pole on a mission to share the latest updates in the life of everyone's favorite Polish Gazelle-Hammering Machine. Additionally, the portal reports Gortat rejected an extension for the 2014-15 season, and might be traded, as the Magic, Mavs, Bulls and Celtics are interested in his services. Yikes. Gortat's comments are worth noting for anyone following the Suns franchise and its solid Polish center.

Here's the interview (full interview and my reaction after the jump). All credit to Przeglad Sportowy and Marcin Harasimowicz, of course.

• • •

A lot has changed in the Suns since last season.
Marcin Gortat: Unfortunately, in my case – for worse. I'm certainly not the player I was last season, I need to find my place in the new order. I'm still capable of helping this team, and regularly recording a double double, but  when the ball sticks to one person on offence, it's hard to find a good rhythm.

Last season you've scored a lot of points off of Steve Nash pick and rolls. The team doesn't play that way anymore.
MG: That's true, but I can score in various situations. Finishing pick and rolls, in transition, from midrange, around the rim. There are a lot of options. Unfortunately, my two strongest plays – the pick and roll and post-ups have been taken away from me. It's not easy, we have a lot of plays that don't include me. And my chemistry with Goran Dragic hasn't been quite equal to what I had with Steve. These are things that we need to work on.

Coach Alvin Gentry told me that the main post option was Luis Scola. You, on the other hand, are number one on defense.
MG:
 Unfortunately... I've been doing the dirty work all my life, and now I have to come back to that. I will fight for what's mine. I'll try to prove to the coach that I can play an important role in the offence. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm even an option for Gentry. He doesn't even take me into consideration. The situation is critical. We're playing the same thing we've been playing last year, but the truth is we have a completely different set of players. I don't think it really works.  I can't get frustrated now though, I have to stay positive. Continue reading

Small Market Mondays #3: 808s and Bobcats

Long ago in a distant land, Alex Arnon was watching a Kings/Suns preseason game when he became so furiously enraged at a Tyreke Evans double-teamed isolation jumper with 19 seconds on the shot clock that he hit his head, fainted, and woke up a delusional new man. To my understanding, he's now wholly ensconced in a bizarro world where some guy named Xenu created the Earth, Segways changed the very core of how people get around, and small markets make up the vast majority of NBA coverage and traffic. So just remember the motto we've provided our cracked-skull columnist: "No superstars? No problem!"

Buon giorno, friends! I'm in an absolutely ecstatic mood this morning, because two of my absolute favorite NBA-related things happened this week. First, the Pacers broke yet another record by showing those rambunctious big market Canadian rapscallions that there actually is another facet to this wonderful game called "defense". But that wasn't even the biggest news this week (and honestly, with the sheer number of records the Pacers break, when is it?) -- there was also a blockbuster trade which shocked both the championship picture and our entire beloved league to its very core!

To summarize the trade that fantasy GMs across Arkansas are still talking about in hushed whispers, the Bobcats shipped out legendary sharpshooter Matt Carroll for 2003 NCAA champion Hakim Warrick. Yeah, I know. You've probably been completely over-exposed to all the various in-and-outs of the Hakim Warrick/Matt Carroll trade. Happens. But kindly lend me your ears for a second, as I've fired up ye olde Synergy Sports machine to help you understand it even better. In case you're unfamiliar with Synergy, it's some sort of computer-internet wizardry where you type in a player's name and it tells you all these fantastical things about numbers and "statistics" and liberal mumbo-jumbo like that. Now friends, I have to give you a disclaimer: math isn't exactly my strong suit. But you're going to have to bear with me here.

The first thing that stood out to me is Warrick's career 49.4% shooting percentage -- that means if he take 10 shots then there is a very good chance that he'll make at least 2 of them. Cowabunga! However, something else caught my eye: when taking the opposing defender to the rack off his patented bicycle kick slide-dribble spin move, Hakim Warrick scores a sizzling 2.7 points per possession! On the other hand, Matt Carroll is a very respectable 38.4% three point shooter over his career. But you need to unskew those numbers, compadres! Because that's his three pointer percentage, you need to multiply it by 3 to get his "true" shooting percentage, which comes out to a super rad 109.7% true shooting rate! WOW! And how can we forget about his defense? In Matt Carroll's career as a lockdown defender, opponents who suffer from fatal cardiomyopathy while taking a shot against Carroll have shot 0-50 against him, and rumor has it that at least five of them tragically passed away after being faced with Carroll's bruising defense back in his no-good hooligan high school days.

In the end, it's a style change for both teams, but one of those rare win-win blockbusters that everyone can feel happy about. Phenomenal trade. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #277-279: John Wall, Andrei Kirilenko, Iman Shumpert

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 John Wall, Andrei Kirilenko, and Iman Shumpert. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #274-276: Tyler Hansbrough, Tracy McGrady, Larry Hughes

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 Tyler Hansbrough, Tracy McGrady, Larry Hughes. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #271-273: Chandler Parsons, Thaddeus Young, Keyon Dooling

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 Chandler Parsons, Thaddeus Young, and Keyon Dooling. Continue reading

Small Market Mondays #2: Phil Jackson, Corruptor at Large

Long ago in a distant land, Alex Arnon was watching a Kings/Suns preseason game when he became so furiously enraged at a Tyreke Evans double-teamed isolation jumper with 19 seconds on the shot clock that he hit his head, fainted, and woke up a delusional new man. To my understanding, he's now wholly ensconced in a bizarro world where some guy named Xenu created the Earth, MySpace is still the most popular website on the internet, and small markets make up the vast majority of NBA coverage and traffic. So just remember the motto we've provided our cracked-skull columnist: "No superstars? No problem!"

We're skipping the introduction today, guys. I'm much too livid to pretend to be nice after seeing yet another display of classic big market self-obsessed hedonism. I'm even more furious at the fact that NONE OF YOU responded to my MySpace bulletin about this! Classless move, readers. Since none of you did, let me give you a quick run-down of that story. Someone took a candid photo of Mr. Antawn Jamison and his lovely partner strolling the streets of Los Angeles, violating their privacy to an incredible degree. Then, they had the depraved idea to make others judge his girlfriend as if she was just a piece of meat. But, you know what's riling me up the most? The fact that the writer seems to be proud of the fact that "you can hide a girlfriend like this in Cleveland, but in LA not so much".

You're right, Mr. Writer, you can "hide" a girlfriend like that in Cleveland. You want to know why? Because we small markets have things like dignity, class, and respect. You seem to be lacking all three in "The City of Angeles [sic]." (Yeah. That's right. I know my Spanish, and I know you misspelled "Angels". Can't run one by me, folks.) We thought that sending you classy guys Antawn Jamison would change that... but apparently not. We even sent you one of the greatest coaches ever in Mike Brown, hoping to teach you some humility and letting you learn how to lose with dignity. But you know what you did? You fired him. Wait, let me fix that. You lied by saying you weren't going to fire him and then fired him the day after.

And to top it all off, you've apparently decided to replace a dignified, humble family man in Mike Brown with noted large market apologist Phil Jackson! Ahem. Sorry. Noted large market apologist and noted avid illegal substance abuser, Phil Jackson. I seriously have no idea how he's so coveted -- he's only ever won championships in large markets and only did so with some of the greatest players of all time. Like that's so hard, Mr. "Zen Master". I'm sure you're the guy who also brags about that one time you beat Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 without dying with your Gameshark on! Ugh.

So, to recap: in the span of a week, big markets, you've shown that not only do you have no morals, you also have no class, no respect for the law, no respect for anything virtuous, and no respect for non-tool assisted video game speed runs. [Ed. Note: Nobody's told him they hired Mike D'Antoni yet. I refuse to be the first.]

Like we'd expect anything else from you, you big market boors. Continue reading

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