One Year's Gone: Catharsis and Promises

Posted on Fri 26 October 2012 in GG's One-Year Retrospectacular by Adam Koscielak

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.

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Roundtable Extravaganza: "Nobody Understands Previews."

Posted on Fri 26 October 2012 in GG's One-Year Retrospectacular by Alex Dewey

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.

• • •

#2: Name one player you'll pay an absolutely unreasonable amount of attention to in the coming season. Then pretend that teams are people and name a team.

Adam: Aside from Marcin Gortat and the Suns? Jonas Valanciunas and the Raptors. This team has playoff potential many people fail to see, and Jonas is a big guy with a ton of promise. Whatever happens with them, it should be fun.

Jacob: Obviously I’ll be lavishly taking in as many OKC games as possible and talking about our Big Four (Three? Man, I hope this post doesn’t come back to haunt me in a few days) to anyone who will listen. Of the Four, I’m really going to be obsessing over Ibaka’s evolving offensive game. He seemed to improve dramatically and looks to come in with a ton of confidence on the offensive end. Other than OKC, I’m bandwagoning the Bobcats this season. Despite the misteps, stumbles, faceplants, and uninspiring baby steps, I really want to see them succeed. I’ll be watching MKG pretty closely, especially after I ranted about T-Rob being the better pick and have thus far looked like an idiot for doing so. I’m a cult of Jordan guy, I want to see him vindicated, and Charlotte really needs any enthusiasm they can get, so I’ll be watching and scanning for any signs of optimism. Those guys don’t need another cynical outsider telling them they’re doomed. Go Bobcats!

Arnon: I’ll be honest - I don’t get over emotional trauma like a rational human being. Whether zzzit [sic] be something insightful/hilarious/not-completely-embarrassing I could’ve said in a conversation or an all-too-brief encounter that I could’ve elongated with an all-too-beautiful member of the female persuasion, I like to reminisce on what could’ve been and what hopefully might be. So it’s in this vein that I’m going to watch Daryl Morey’s Frankenstein-ish monster of innumerable power forwards try to make it work with my one true love Jeremy Lin. I’ll be superimposing the face of Amar’e Stoudemire on Royce White’s sweet cuts late at night after a few too many glasses of wine. I’ll be hoping that Jeremy Lamb takes an ill-advised double-teamed jumper after a few too many jab steps in an attempt to see how Melo would’ve wasted Lin’s drive-and-dishes. I’ll be crying after the Rockets improbably make the 8th seed in the west while James Dolan laughs at me from his throne of plutocracy as the Knicks undergo their customary crash and burn.

• • •

#3: What do you want to say now that you will be peer-pressured away from saying on Twitter and the like, but this is a CONSTRUCTIVE ENVIRONMENT, AND FOR ONCE, I WILL NOT BE SHOUTED DOWN, I'm just going to say it once, okay, and then we can all figure out what it means? Get it off your chest. Relaaax.

Adam: Michael Beasley is not as bad as we think. I’ve watched him in the preseason, he’s made some mistakes, but mostly he’s shown some real smarts I didn’t expect to see. Way too often Twitter finds itself hung up in old memes, and heads out to biblical proportions of self-proof to make sure that they prove you wrong. “Mike Beasley is playing solid basketball? Well, it’s only the preseason.” can quickly turn to “Hahahah, I told you so.” Unless he stays as a solid-to-good wing for the entire season, they will harp on him for every bad shot. Because he’s Michael Beasley. The dude’s only been in the league four years now, he’s changed teams three times. And he has his fourth head coach and system to learn now. Schadenfreude is fun, but it’s much more fun when it’s an established veteran with the boneheaded plays (looking at you, Jamal Crawford)

Jacob: I’m with Adam on the Beas, for what it’s worth. The guy has got a lot of talent and great physical tools, and I think the “headcase” thing gets blown out of proportion to the extent that it overshadows him as a player. I still think he can be a decent wing given the right situation; I believe in the Beas. Other than him, I’m going to say I’m on the DeMarcus Cousins bandwagon. I think his characterization as such a young player of his caliber has been entirely unfair, and that much of the locker room problems in Sacramento stemmed from Paul Westphal, who demonstrably was willing to throw the guy under the bus to save his own skin. He’s never going to be the charming golden boy, but I don’t think there’s enough Rondos and Cousins in the league who have both the unashamed chip on their shoulder and the game to back it up. A lot of guys with one or the other, but not enough with both. It’s fun. The guy can play. He’s been in the league two seasons and he’s putting up 18 and 11, which isn’t exactly easy even if your efficiency isn’t stellar. People need to get off his back a little bit before the dude snaps and kills Jerry Colangelo.

Arnon: Teams like the Justice League Lakers and Super Friends Heat are making the NBA less enjoyable. Sure, you have your hidden gems like the Nuggets that are “fun” to watch but at it its core this is an extremely Gollum-esque league -- all these guys want and all the majority of fans care about is getting that ring (after their paychecks, of course). Perhaps it’s just an extension of us as Americans who only care about being the most powerful and very best like no one ever was (oh my god did I really just make a LoTR and Pokemon joke in the same paragraph please take me out back and put me down for my own good [Ed. Note -- No. Get back to the salt mines.]). When it’s a virtual certainty that the Heat will face either the Lakers or Thunder in the finals if they all remain healthy, my view on my Knicks goes from the usual pessimism to complete apathy. Why does it matter if we get the 4th or 8th seed when the only difference is that we lose to the Heat in the 2nd round instead of the 1st? I’ll try to find little nuggets of pure enjoyability from the NBA like a Tony Allen lockdown, Damian Lillard flash of promise, or Andre Miller flashback performance. But in a world where I’m slowly turning into an adult and becoming more burdened by the realities of real life I’m afraid that I’ll have less time for these small pleasures and that I’ll only care about the seemingly predetermined big picture.

• • •

#4: What team is the ice cream of the NBA? What team is the smoked salmon of the NBA? Green tea? Go crazy with this one.

Adam: The ice cream has to be the Denver Nuggets. Their speed is yummy, the flow of the offense is amazing and whenever you feel down about the status of the league, you can watch a whole big bucket of their buckets. When it comes to the salmon, here’s a fun story for you; I used to HATE salmon. Like, absolutely completely, totally hate it. Actually, I hated all fish but herring on some kind of irrational level. Then, one day, during a visit to my aunt and uncle, I was basically force-fed some of my uncle’s home-smoked salmon. I’ve loved salmon (as long as it was good, fresh, well smoked salmon, of course) ever since. So, for me, that’s the Miami Heat. I had an irrational dislike for them, categorizing them as an annoying superteam, but the truth is, that the Flying Death Machine is A TON of fun to watch. And if you tell me otherwise, you just hate smoked salmon. And that’s ok, you’ll like it one day too. And finally, green tea, calming, healthy, and polarizing. Some people love it, some people hate it. Personally, I love all tea, and some good green tea sometimes outranks black tea in my ratings. But, I understand people who don’t like it’s bitterness (I do not, however, understand people who sweeten green tea. You are all criminals to me), which doesn’t change the fact, I will never share their crazy viewpoint. Now, this team, for me, has to be the Suns. I love them, even though many people don’t. I love them because of their very particular taste, not in spite of it. You get my point here, right?

Jacob: Man, I’ve never had salmon or green tea, so I don’t really know what that means. I think you’ve gotta break down the ice cream of the NBA. What flavor are we talking here? If you’re talking ice cream flavors, it pretty much breaks down to vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Everything else is just some mixture of those three, like a color wheel. The vanilla ice cream of the NBA has got to be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Plain, refreshing but not too exciting, they’re going to satisfy your sweet tooth but you’re not exactly going to write home about them. And there’s an awful lot of white dudes in that locker room. Even Brandon Roy is more milk chocolate than anything. I know the blogs and Twitter have squeezed every bit of commentary possible out of how white this Timberwolves team is, but does anyone remember last season, when the Lakers fielded a starting lineup with like three white guys on it? I think there was a feature on ESPN. Whoever wrote that piece should be hopping the first flight to Minneapolis. Anyway, the vanilla Timberwolves, for the trifecta of game, skin color, and icy precipitation. (If there’s a lower road to take here, somebody let me know.)

I just Googled “what does salmon taste like,” and realized I have had salmon. Almost every Sunday for at least a couple of years. Smoky, a little aged and crispy, but still good, still satisfying and filling, and a serviceable centerpiece for a midday lunch. I may be way off base here, and maybe it’s the context in which I’m remembering them (both the food and the team) but to me that’s the Boston Celtics. I don’t exactly seek out Celtics games, and I’m not especially crazy about any one facet of the team, but I can’t deny I’m usually entertained when I watch them play, and I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. I’m not crazy about Paul Pierce, but I have a ton of respect for both KG and Rondo, and with Jeff Green back I expect to find myself enjoying quite a few unplanned Celtics games this season. I’ve definitely never had green tea though. For sure.

Alex Arnon: I suppose this question all depends on your view of these foods. Ice cream to me is something that I legitimately can’t stop eating once I start. It’s either all or nothing for me - one bite turns into one pint and one pint turns into one huge night of bloating and regret. So on one hand there’s this thing which is so captivating that I constantly need more but getting more just leads to regret -- doesn’t that sound like the Golden State Warriors to you? A team that has so much delicious offense that you can’t help but watch every Klay Thompson three or David Lee pick-n-pop(sicle). But upon too much gorging you can’t help but notice that the Warriors are behind due to a complete lack of ability (or even disregard) on the defensive end and while you’ve fallen in love with them during the good offensive times, you can’t help but feel disgust at yourself for being entrapped by their offense so much that you completely disregarded their defensive woes until they were almost magically down 120 - 102 with a minute to go in the first half.

Smoked salmon is one of those foods that is fairly - uh - caucasianly biased when it comes to fandom. I could go for the easy joke here and say that this means that the Timberwolves are the smoked salmon of the league (COUGH HEY JACOB HOW YOU DOIN' COUGH) but I think that while they’re not the whitest team by roster like the T-Wolves, the Indiana Pacers certainly more than make up for it with the TYPE of players who they employ. Being that you’re here on Gothic Ginobili, you’re most likely an extremely intelligent, incredibly handsome and/or downright beautiful person who knows of all the white player tropes already. But I’ll rehash them here for you anyway -- whenever there’s a talented white dude in the NBA or NFL, all of the analysts praise his “mental fortitude” during tough times when “he keeps the locker room together” through his “blue-collar” “hustle plays” where he’ll “sacrifice life and limb” diving for a loose ball which he’ll always get because he’s “always in the right place at the right time”, with his “deceptive speed” and anachronistic “love of mayonnaise”. Alright, maybe that last one isn’t true, but doesn’t that sound like your 2012 - 2013 Indiana Pacers? They’re a team full of players who play way above their talent level through teamwork, hustle, and defense and I can almost guarantee that someone on SportsCenter is going to talk about them being “scrappy” during every Pacers highlight. And they employ Tyler Hansbrough. Case closed.

As for green tea, I don’t get the hype. Everyone’s always talking about how it’s good for weight loss and good for blood pressure and good for energy and good for preventing diabetes and good for -- well, you get the point. Here’s the thing though, I don’t care how good green tea is for you, because I absolutely despise it. Whether it’s because I had a terrible experience with green tea ice cream once (no, seriously, I once had to deal with a hysterically crying girlfriend in a Vietnamese restaurant over our green tea ice cream dessert as she ranted about how unfair life is because she got a flat tire and the guy made her pay full price for it even after she shamelessly flirted with him) or because I just hate all teas in general (except Arizona teas because god damn who doesn’t love that delicious corn syrupy goodness), I just don’t like it no matter how good it is for reasons unbeknownst to myself. For me, the team that meshes with this rambling, semi-coherent analogy has to be the Hawks. I have no idea why I hate them -- I don’t know if it’s their terrible name, Joe Johnson seemingly sabotaging them for years to get his max contract, being forced to watch their mediocre basketball in the playoffs each year, or their practically non-existent fanbase. While the NBA blogosphere at-large seems to love them this year because of whatever black magic Danny Ferry worked to get rid of Joe Johnson and clear up some cap space, there’s just absolutely no love going their way from me. And, thankfully, there’s currently no love going in that aforementioned crazy girlfriend’s way from me any more as well.

• • •


"... What."


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

Posted on Fri 26 October 2012 in GG's One-Year Retrospectacular by Aaron McGuire

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.

• • •

QUESTION #1: What are your thoughts on Dion Waiters and rookie performance in general? As I've discussed with Conrad for Fear the Sword, I'm somewhat spoiled when it comes to watching rookies as a Cavs fan, as the two I've paid the most attention to (LeBron and Kyrie) have been two of the best ever. What are some realistic expectations for Mr. Waiters? What should I consider to be an encouraging rookie year, assuming he doesn't suddenly break out and start turning heads like Kyrie did last year? In an unrelated note: what are your favorite omelet toppings, and what are you going as for Halloween? (Asked by Angelo Benedetti)

Excellent first question. Although it's more like a first five questions. Good try, Tangelo B.

To address the idea of rookie expectations, I did a pull of every rookie guard in the last decade that qualified for that season's MP/G leaderboard. These rookies didn't all turn out extremely well, but the fact is, you need to be comparing rookie performance to past rookie performance to get a good sense of whether a player's ahead of the curve or far behind it. And you know what? Your expectations need to be relatively low. In the past decade, rookie guards who qualified for the MP/G leaderboard have averaged 9-3-3 on 42-33-77 shooting. "So, Aaron, if he averages less than that, his year was an unqualified failure, right?" Well, no. Here are a selection of three players who averaged below or at those totals and still turned out quite alright.

  • Andre Iguodala averaged 9-6-3 on 49-33-74 shooting.
  • Rajon Rondo averaged 6-4-4 on 41-20-60 shooting.
  • George Hill averaged 5-2-2 on 40-32-78 shooting.

So, it really isn't the end of the world if Waiters struggles and has a bad year -- as long as there's something to build on, a bad year on scant minutes isn't the end of the world. I've been outright dismissive of Waiters' potential at times, but this is a good moment to remind people of the somewhat obvious -- rookies are generally pretty awful, at least at first. If Dion Waiters averages around 12-13 points on halfway-decent percentages with a few boards and a few assists, that's actually a pretty phenomenal rookie season. He does have the potential to do that, and while it probably wouldn't win him any rookie of the year hardware, it would be a good sign for the future and indicate a potential for quite a bit more.

As for the last two questions? As a vegetarian, I'm big on eggs -- tons of protein, tasty, and versatile. I'm not the biggest omelette guy, as I prefer the frittata and the scramble to the omelette medium. But nobody can turn down a good omelette. My go-to toppings are mushrooms and onions with swiss cheese -- simple, traditional, solid. When I get the chance, I'll add some asparagus too. Cooks pretty evenly and adds a nice bite to the omelette. That's rare, though. One topping I can't stand whatsoever is the tomato -- it makes your omelette soggy, wet, and often inedible. Gross. As for Halloween, my girlfriend is sewing a costume to dress as Princess Daisy from the Mario franchise, so if we do anything, I'll be throwing together a last-minute Luigi. Seems unlikely that I actually do it, as we currently have no plans, but if the opportunity arises, that's my plan.

• • •

QUESTION #2: How many words have you written on Gothic Ginobili? How many words per day does it average out to? How much sleep do you get in an average night? (Asked by Wes Schierenbeck)

Without a lot of backtracking and work, I wouldn't be able to get you exact numbers for this -- I don't have word documents with my posts, as I tend to post within-the-site framework and just backup the site weekly. But here's the rough story. For the player capsules, I tend to go for ~ 1000 words a capsule. At three capsules per post and fifteen capsules per week, that puts me at writing roughly 3000 words a day during the capsule season, not including double duty on days where I do a capsule (plus) or days like today where I'm writing a ton more. So there's that. Pre-capsules, I tended to write three 1500-2500 word posts a week. So during that time, my writing production was more like 1300 a day, or thereabouts. As for sleep, I tend to get to sleep around midnight to one AM and wake up around 6:30 AM on weekdays. So, 5-6 hours, usually. (I also run on clean coal.)

• • •

QUESTION #3: If Gothic Ginobili was an NBA player, who would it be? If Gothic Ginobili was an NBA coach, who would it be? Explain both choices. (Asked by Wes Schierenbeck)

Interesting. First thoughts that come to mind:

  • Anderson Varejao. Sure, people aren't necessarily huge fans of ol' Flopsy. He's injured a lot, he has a bit of an undeserved reputation for flopping, and he's generally forgotten in discussions of the league's best big men. But Varejao's defensive game is aesthetically beyond his hype, and he's the kind of pesky defender that most desperately wish their team had. He's solid, stable, and he's got fantastic hair. Gothic Ginobili is not a Manu (or a Spurs) blog, despite most people thinking it is. Sometimes we're too busy to post a lot. It's not the first place that comes to mind, ever. But we work hard and we've carved a nice little niche for ourselves. Also, our hair is collectively fabulous and Dewey is the greatest flopper in the history of existence.

  • Monty Williams. Few people know much about him, but when you learn about him, you usually come to appreciate the man. He excels in the little things -- picture perfect defensive rotations, a fantastic player coach, and a great crossover despite being years from his last game. Also: he's my absolute favorite non-Pop coach, although few people agree with me on this. And, understandably (I think), I am very proud of this site and feel it's always getting better. So the analogy works for me.

What do you think, readers? Comment if you've got better ideas. Would love to hear them.

• • •

QUESTION 4: What's your sleeper team for this year; that is, one who will outperform expectations by the media and fans? (Asked by Wes Schierenbeck)

Honestly? The Memphis Grizzlies.

I can see the compulsion to simply write them off, and to think that they can't hack it against the top-3 teams in the West. The Spurs, Thunder, and Lakers are all pretty phenomenal units, and it's going to take a miracle for any team to break through any of those three in the playoffs. And no team in the East really has more than a token shot at taking out Miami. But the Grizzlies are about as frightening as they ever were, and very quietly, they've improved in most of the ways they needed to. Darrell Arthur is going to help the Grizzlies rest Marc Gasol quite a bit more, which will make them more dangerous when the playoffs roll around. He's a very good player whose absence hurt a ton last season. Bayless and Ellington are immediately the 2nd and 3rd best three point shooters on a team that was formerly dismal at it, and Tony Wroten could be helpful. They could still use a player like Gary Neal or James Jones, but the Grizzlies are deeper than they were last year and (theoretically) more healthy. They still won a pro-rated 51 games last year, despite having no real presence from Randolph all year, overplaying Marc Gasol to the point of exhaustion, and featuring one of the worst three point shooting offenses ever. With both of those improved, I think they're going to push the Spurs for the Division crown, get home court relatively comfortably, and stand a pretty good shot at making a Western Conference Finals. None of the top three teams match up with the Grizzlies particularly well, if they're healthy. I think -- at the end of the year -- they'll be one of the 5-7 best teams in the league, even if Randolph doesn't return to full form. So they're my pick.

• • •

QUESTION #5: What's your favorite team of all time? Not franchise but like a singular year, what team captured your love the most? Mine's definitely one of the 7SOL Suns teams. (Asked by Wes Schierenbeck)

The 2012 Spurs. Which is partly why the loss hit me so hard.

• • •

QUESTION #6: Why are you such a butt? Why is your butt so big? Who's the G-Man? (Asked by Kathryn Reardon)

This set of queries were sent in by my girlfriend. I will proceed to answer these in fragmented sentences.

  1. I blame David $tern. Always.
  2. "Because it's not the butt I need, but the butt I deserve right now."
  3. Gordon Ramsay's new rapping alter-ego, who will be teaming up with G-Unit for a new album this winter.

Thanks for the patronage, hon.

• • •

QUESTION #7: Which of your cats would be a better basketball player? (Asked by Chris)

This is my favorite question ever. Back in May, I got two cats -- Bitsy and Scratchy. Had I not adopted them from a friend-of-a-friend, they would've been either put down or thrown to the pound. I could not abide such notions, so I adopted them instead. They are as any cats are -- alternatingly finicky and snippy, attention-seeking and bite-happy, food-desirous and... okay, well, they always want food. So that one doesn't alternate. But still. Scratchy is a large gray male cat, Bitsy is a thin small female cat. At first, I was thinking that Bitsy would be better -- she's a lot faster than Scratchy, and more active. She bites if she gets annoyed, moves you around when you're sleeping, and runs around the apartment like a chicken with her head cut off on the regular. So I was thinking she'd be pretty great as a change-of-pace defensive guard like Avery Bradley, getting into your grill and draining set-shot threes. But then I remembered.

Scratchy has hops, son. No, seriously. Bitsy can jump pretty high when she wants to, but I've never come home from work only to find her standing on top of the refrigerator staring expectantly at me. That thing is 6-7 feet off the ground. To put that into perspective, Scratchy is about a foot tall. So, he can jump 7 times his height, despite having had no weight training whatsoever in his life. Translating this to human height, and assuming that an NBA training regimen would increase his strength exponentially... if Scratchy was basketball player sized (and he's a big cat, so he'd be a power forward at worst), and he maintained this relative jumping ability, I am going to estimate that Scratchy would be able to jump roughly 4,900 feet into the air (plus or minus 4850 feet). Could be about one mile. Not only could he dunk from the three point line, he could dunk from the Madison Square Garden three point line to the Barclays Center basket. So, given this breathtakingly complex and completely mathematical evidence, I must admit -- Scratchy would make the better basketball player. Sorry, Bitsy. Your frenetic energy would make you a good defender for a little while, but when you got tired, you wouldn't be able to sleep adorably like this in-game.

... Well, unless you're Carmelo Anthony.

• • •

QUESTION #8: Who is the most swagged out player in the NBA Basketball Association? (Asked by Adam Johnson)

Brandon "Swagger Double" Jennings, of course.

(Also, now that his shoes are actually worn by the president, he's going to go for a "Swagger Triple.")

• • •

QUESTION #9: Which team has the potential to make the biggest jump? Whether it's bottom feeder to 30 wins, or first round exit to CF? (Asked by Utsav Panchal)

I'd say the Timberwolves. Most advanced-stat projections have them winning 45-50 games solely on the back of their replacing "remarkably below average" players like Beasley and Johnson with "at least remotely average players" -- it will help their depth, and will help them stay in games when the starters aren't in it. The Love/Rubio injuries will hurt, undoubtedly, but this is still a team that could make the leap from a bottom-feeding team to a playoff contender. Despite the fact that they went 1-13 in the last 14 games of last season (look it up, it's astonishing), I think they've got a puncher's shot at being that team. Brooklyn is another, obviously -- should be a 4-5 seed in the East after being well out of playoff contention in 2012. As for that last one... well, I just said the Grizzlies had a title shot, didn't I?

• • •

QUESTION #10: By advanced stats, who's the most ridiculous player ever? (Asked by A Guy from Argentina)

I like this question, because I can go basically anywhere with it. I choose to put the spotlight on Trevor Winter. You may look at poor Trevor and wonder what he's done to deserve such acclaim -- his career averages of 0 points on 0 shots per game with 0 free throw attempts in a single game played do seem rather pedestrian, when you put it that way. But look deeper, my friends. Look deeper. Winter played a single game for the 1999 Minnesota Timberwolves, coming off a four-year college career at the University of Minnesota after going to a Minnesota high school in his Minnesota hometown. He... he liked Minnesota, okay? Anyways, Winter's statline in his one game looks very pedestrian until you get to the last line. In five minutes on the court, Winter -- somehow -- managed to accrue five personal fouls. That's good for a per-36 rate of... well... 36 fouls per 36 minutes. Come on, get it together. Heh. This is the "best" foul rate of all time. It's incredibly absurd. I really wish Winter had gotten the chance to play more minutes, if only because a maintained rate of this nature would make him -- statistically -- the best player a tanking team could ever _sign_. He's a superstar of teams that want to lose. Instead, Winter lives on only in our dreams. Our wildest, most ridiculous dreams. Alack.

• • •

QUESTION #11: Where do you expect to find Gothic Ginobili in a year? (Asked by Kathryn Reardon)

Same bat time, same bat channel.

Nah, honestly? I'm hoping that in a year we have a bit more on-location reporting, perhaps a new face or two, and the same brazen dedication to absurdities that we have now. I hope we're all a bit better at writing, a bit better at deadlines, perhaps a bit more well-known. But no humongous plans. Not yet.

• • •

QUESTION #12: If GG were a Pokemon, which one would it be & why? Original 151 only. (Asked by Angelo Benedetti)

After way more deliberation than I've given any other question ever asked of me for one of these Q&A sessions, I think I'm going with Slowbro. His vacant stare closely resembles me after a week's work on the capsules, and the giant toothed shell affixed to his tail closely resembles Dewey after a week's work on writing Lovecraftian horror stories I will proceed to read and file away, never to be viewed by human eyes again.

Also, everyone loves Slowbro. He's the dude.

ADDENDUM: On request, contributing writer Alex Arnon answered this question as well. His exceptionally accurate answer: "A combination of Alakazam and Drowzee. Because while the articles are usually pretty smart, they're also long enough to make you fall asleep."

• • •

QUESTION #13: If Gothic Ginobili existed in the 70s, would it be called Swashbuckling Silas? Also, If GG were an ABAer, who would it be? (Asked by Josh's Pseudonym)

You are a beautiful person for thinking of that name. Yes. Yes it would.

I'd probably think it'd be George Gervin. Several reasons. First, his style -- wasn't an astonishing defender, but watching his highlight reels is always compelling and the several classic full-game downloads I've watched point to a player whose overall aesthetics are one of the more original to ever play the sport. An oddball stroke, a strange lurch to his drives, but an overall smoothness that's unparalleled. Very cool. Also, as Simmons reported in his excellent basket-book, Gervin has one of the strangest speaking styles of anyone to play the game -- just like Dewey!

Actual Gervin quote: "Whereas the Spurs' gig is havin' fun, otherwise the Spurs be comin' atcha." Seriously! Another actual Gervin quote: "Whereas I never went fly like some of the boys, I'm conservative. I got the short hair, the pencil 'stache, the simple clothes. Plus I'm 6'8", 183—no, make that 185—and when you look at me all you see is bone. Otherwise in Detroit I'm known as Twig according to my physique. I just do my thing and stay consistent. I figure the people be recognizing the Iceman pretty soon now. Whereas I be up there in a minute." Doesn't that read exactly like an Alex Dewey post? I think so too.

Finally, he's rockin' the double-G name. Whereas we don't even need to change the tags!

• • •

QUESTION #14: In their respective primes, who do you think was better: Steve Nash or Jason Kidd? (Asked by @EvilGrayFox)

Steve Nash. The thing with Kidd that always sort of bugged me was that while his numbers were dominant, he never really led elite offensive teams -- while maximizing one's talent to its fullest was always the goal, I always got this sense that Kidd's best teams (up until his late career joust with the Mavericks) were more dependent on the defenders behind him. Obviously, Kidd himself helped -- he was one of the better perimeter defenders, for a time. But in his prime, he helmed Nets teams that were in the bottom third of the league, offensively. He doesn't deserve all the blame for that, and he doesn't deserve to have his career belittled for it, necessarily. But you're comparing him to someone like Steve Nash, one of the very few players in the history of the league whose mere presence raises his partners' shooting percentages by 2-3%. He's among the best passing talents in the history of the game, and he's led 4 of the 5 best offenses in the history of the league. He's not a great defender, but he's one of the best shooters of all time. It's a lot closer than most think, but when you sift to the particulars, I think Nash comes out on top.

• • •

QUESTION #15: ¿Qué piensas de las posibilidades de manu de ingresar al muro de la fama? (Asked by A Guy from Argentina)

Dios mio. Quizas este fue un idea terrible. Mi espanol es horrible. Lo siento. Mi opinion es que Manu Ginobili va ingresar al muro de la fama rapidamente. Yo pienso que Manu es un de los mejores a su posicion en la historia del sport, y si Manu no es un primero boleta miembro, la mundo es loco. Pero... la mundo es loco. En realidad. Tan quizas yo sé nunca.

Posdata #1: Mi diccionario en espanol fue muy util para este respuesta. Gracias, diccionario!
Posdata #2: Todos los abogados encantan gatos.
Posdata #3: Gracias por leer mis garabatos. Yo aprecio sus efuerzos. Esto es dificil para mi!

• • •

QUESTION #16: When is Iman Shumpert's player capsule? Do you want to do it as a Capsule (Plus) for HP? Isn't he the best player in basketball? (Asked by Jared Dubin)

I can't tell you -- a watched Shum-pot never boils. I'd rather do it as a Capsule (Minus), to represent the offensive performances of players Shumpert covers. And while he is not the best player, I cannot deny that he has the best non-Bynum hair at the moment. (Bynum's hair is better, though. Sorry Jared.)

• • •

QUESTION #17: Cats or dogs? (Asked by Quixem Raimirez)

I believe the answer to question #7 tells you all you need to know, friend.

• • •

QUESTION #18: Uh, I would like to know your feelings on the NBA and its anti-flopping campaign. (Asked by Nick Flynt)

Honestly? I think they're pretty awful. One fact about them that's gone relatively underreported is that the current fine structure actually has the potential of completely taking out a player's earnings if a 10-day contract guy were to actually get warned and fined. In the NBA, 10-day contracts pay something around $30,000. The fine structure, as it stands, goes $5000, $10000, $15000. If a player were to make it to the NBA on a 10-day contract but be assessed to have flopped in each game, it's a remote possibility that the fines would wipe out the entirety of the salary they would've earned from the ten day contract. That, to me, seems like a pretty silly oversight, and points to the general issue with the fines as a whole. Big-name players make more money, enough so that $5000 is basically just a day at the Cheesecake Factory rather than a significant percentage of their income. By making the fines a raw total instead of a percentage-salary fee, it creates a disparity in the severity of the punishment relative to your place in the league, made even worse by the fact that as the rule stands it's likely to be enforced more harshly on the NBA's lesser lights. I don't mind the idea of legislating flopping as much as some people, but if you're going to do it, at least do it right. Just try to avoid institutionalizing that kind of a disparity.

• • •

QUESTION #19: Worst team in the West? (Asked by Mavs Raccoon)

Three teams have a case. The simple for/against case for each being the worst team in the west:

  • HOUSTON ROCKETS: The case for? They have a questionably fitting roster with virtually nobody who's played together before. They have little depth outside their Nutcracker army of tweener forwards. Also, their coach is awful. The case against? They have a very solid defensive center, a decent point guard, and a lot of high-upside rooks. At least one of them should pan out.

  • SACRAMENTO KINGS: The case for? A dreadful roster with little depth and an atrocious defense. Keith Smart isn't bad, but he's never been fantastic at realizing defensive potential. Perhaps the best case, though, is their ownership -- the Maloofs are penny-pinching Scroogelike phantasms, and they'll sabotage this team with poor trades and firings if they think it'll help them move it. The case against? Demarcus freaking Cousins is a beast, and although the Maloofs will do their best to sabotage it, I can't help but think that Thomas-Thornton-Tyreke-Robinson-Cousins is actually a really solid starting five. Can't defend worth a damn, but that's a lineup that can score til the cowbell comes home.

  • PHOENIX SUNS: The case for? There is exactly one player on this roster who's ever played all-star caliber ball, and his all-star flirtation lasted for half a season while Steve Nash played alongside him for over 75% of his minutes. Nash has been known throughout his career for raising the shooting marks of everyone he plays with, and Dragic's more a scorer than a passer -- seems like a recipe for a team that suddenly can't make a damn shot. And again. Those wings? Yikes. The case against? Scola and Dragic shouldn't be THAT bad, and there's always the possibility Beasley or Johnson figures it out. And Gortat is, admittedly, pretty good. Probably will never make an all-star team, but he's nice.

Me? I'm going with the Suns. I simply don't see where this roster is getting anything -- it was a gigantic mystery to me that Nash was able to drag this roster to a 0.500 record, and I'm going to bet that Dragic's results aren't quite as tidy as Nash's. I suppose when it comes right down to it, I believe in Asik/Cousins more than I do Gortat. Adam Koscielak will now brutally disembowel me. It's been fun, world.

• • •

QUESTION #20: Will Hedo ever learn to jump on two feet when he shoots? (Asked by Chris Barnewall)

The saying is wrong, Chris. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it's just very difficult.

... Too bad Hedo's a human being, rather than a dog.

Because there's no way in hell he ever actually learns how to do that.

• • •

QUESTION #21: Who is your favorite NBALinks poster? (Asked by Chris "LeBron" Bosh)

My pal Caleb, definitely. He's a bro for life and I really hope he feels better soon. Shout-out to my main man.

• • •

QUESTION #22: What year will aliens contact us? (Asked by @HoopPlusTheHarm)

They already did. What else would you call Rondo's pregame routines, smart guy?

• • •

QUESTION #23: How many future all-stars are on the Jazz right now? If you say less than 4, you are wrong. (Asked by Heath Mecham)

Gee, Mr. Mecham, I sure don't want to be wrong...

I guess I'll just have to skip this one!

• • •

QUESTION #24: Yes Aaron, I have a question. Will I ever find true love? Will I ever find out what my true calling in life is? (Asked by Jordan S. White)

Ah, Jordan. Love is sweet, but love is fickle. Truth is relative, especially in these waters, and things are always changing. Relationships grow and evolve and the person you are in a coming tomorrow bears scant resemblance to the person you are today! Look at what you've written, look at the bridges crossed. I've come to feel true love's more about finding a person you can find an overarching peace with rather than some eternal match made by God. A person with whom you can embark on life's journeys, knowing full well you both will change into unrecognizable shades of the people you once were, confident in nothing more than the overarching truth that you're a duo prepared to grow and learn together. You don't know what you'll learn, nor what the journey holds. But you're prepared to hold their hand and step forth blindly together in a world of unknowns and pitfalls. And personally? I don't think there's such a thing as a true calling. There's a softly ringing phone you put on hold as you funnel your actions to an endeavor you've conditioned yourself to love. The key is figuring out the right mix between enjoyment, profit, and enlightenment. And it's different for everyone. There's no one right answer.

Will you find these things? Good question. You tell me, Jordan.

• • •

And with that, I happily close the book on another interesting Q&A. Very few statistical questions this time. Never even got the chance to break out a graph! I'll try to hold another one of these in a few months, perhaps when we have a bit of a season to digest and our sense of wonder starts to wane. Good day, dear readers. Thanks for all the questions, and I hope you have an absolutely lovely weekend.

Continue reading

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

Posted on Fri 26 October 2012 in GG's One-Year Retrospectacular by Aaron McGuire

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.)

• • •

_Tuesday the 22nd, December 2009 -- 6:26 A.M._

Here, we delineate the exact goal that would inspire us to eventually try our hands at basketball writing -- truth in the half-fact.

[06:26] Aaron: god what a feeling to be mortal is such a great post
[06:27] Aaron: it should be really contrived
[06:27] Aaron: these sort of metaphors almost always are
[06:27] Aaron: but there's something so humble in that presentation
[06:28] Aaron: "But they don’t, and each night on the schedule is another exercise in celebrating everything that is theirs to lose."
[06:28] Aaron: and the greatest part, perhaps
[06:29] Aaron: is the response below it, the comment from "coachg"
[06:29] Aaron: that just misses the point entirely and in doing so makes the point even more jarring
[06:30] Alex: yes. it's almost like it exists in the universe of the post and provides a picture of the opponents within it
[06:30] Alex: lol
[06:30] Aaron: and nash is perfect for this sort of a moral
[06:30] Aaron: he is so chill, so excellent off the court
[06:31] Aaron: he has this sense about him of a man who has simultaneously put everything into something, but in doing so figured something out
[06:31] Aaron: something most people haven't, something he shares with a select few
[06:32] Aaron: and i wouldn't be presumptuous to say this post got the entirety of it, what nash found is probably both greater and smaller than this
[06:32] Aaron: but
[06:32] Aaron: damn if it doesn't get to the heart of its existence
[06:32] Aaron: and doesn't try and hide conjectures
[06:32] Aaron: doesn't try to be completely right
[06:33] Aaron: because being right in spirit and finding the gist is oftentimes more important than exactitudes
[06:33] Aaron: "the lakers are devious and talented"
[06:33] Aaron: "the cavs are inconsistent and optimal"
[06:34] Aaron: "tolstoy wrote the world"
[06:35] Aaron: none of those are really entirely correct, and neither is "the suns are at peace with and has found that the journey of basketball is preferable to a championship and an accomplishment that betters it, and have discovered that each game is a battlefield where all things are at stake"
[06:35] Aaron: but it sure as hell gets to the heart of something
[06:35] Aaron: something true
[06:36] Aaron: and that's what's important, damnit
[06:38] Alex: yes, damme u on a roll

• • •

_Wednesday the 30th, June 2010 -- 1:02 A.M._

Here, we have a conversation we will eventually have roughly twenty seven million times over the course of our partnership, where we try to figure out how we're actually going to communicate with people who aren't inside our disturbed minds. Also, we float our first actual idea for a blog.

[01:02] Alex: lol, does this idea make any sense?
[01:02] Aaron: not really
[01:03] Alex: is that a negative thing? or just an orthogonal thing, a chain of logic incomprehensible to your worldview, for reasons that are themselves incomprehensible to me
[01:04] Aaron: uh... no, it just means you truly are not explaining this in a way that is comprehensible to any non-dewey individual
[01:04] Aaron: i say that because
[01:04] Aaron: if i can't understand it, well... we think about as similarly as two bros can think, you know?
[01:06] Alex: see, but that might be too simplistic. we obviously have very similar views of the world and experiences, however, this could be an end process thing, while the neurological and philosophical machinery for getting there is entirely different
[01:07] Aaron: ... what? heh
[01:08] Aaron: the point is that if you are saying something i cannot understand related to your trains of thought, it is extraordinarily unlikely there are magical ppl elsewhere who can -- we basically think on the same wavelength for virtually every relevant subject we've ever discussed, to an extent that is alternatingly interesting and sketchy. we are crazy-alike. if the blog fails (whensoever we get it going), it'll probably be more because we were too similar to effectively determine how to make a blog readable to anybody who isn't exactly like either of us
[01:10] Aaron: the whole methodology thing is cute, but it is virtually required to have a similar method of thought to have the sort of overlap our general tastes and patterns exhibit -- it's not like you're on mars yelling to a guy on pluto, they have to be approximately somewhat convergent, because otherwise it's virtually impossible for the previously determined coinciding opinions to all exist
[01:10] Aaron: even if i am a guy on pluto and you are yelling at me from mars, it is unlikely there is anybody particularly closer in methodology than i, perhaps i am the only one in this particular galaxy, to use that metaphor until it is shot
[01:11] Aaron: look basically the point is
[01:11] Aaron: i have no idea what you're talking about
[01:11] Aaron: or what i'm talking about
[01:11] Alex: lol
[01:13] Aaron: completely unrelated note, we should try and get blog + twitters up by, like, this weekend
[01:13] Aaron: so we can try and break stories that do not exist
[01:13] Aaron: lol
[01:13] Aaron: "LeBron and Burl Ives signed by the Spurs for the Biannual Value Mart Exceptionals."
[01:14] Alex: oh yeah, the Pete Seeger Sessions Rights, those always catch you by surprise

• • •

_Tuesday the 10th, August 2010 -- 2:44 P.M._

This is where the initial framework for Gothic Ginobili was formed. We had some vague idea of a general NBA blog we'd start called "Juwan a Blog", but we wanted to generate an audience for our work so that we'd have feedback and the ability to get better. In one of the most convoluted and ridiculous ideas we've ever had our lives, we decided the best way to get viewers would be to falsify love of Duke University and write a blog about Duke sports in an effort to become an SBNation blog and make NBA connections through SBNation so that we could then be better at Juwan a Blog's purpose. Why, yes, this does sound remarkably more dumb when actually stated outright in retrospect.

[14:44] Aaron: oh my god
[14:44] Aaron: brilliant idea, ok
[14:45] Aaron: sbnation... has no duke blogs
[14:45] Aaron: if we start a duke column at juwanablog, and do it right, and make it awesome
[14:45] Aaron: we might be able to parlay that into a duke team blog!
[14:45] Aaron: which we could crosslink to our final-state version of juwanablog
[14:45] Aaron: and get other people at duke to blog with me so we won't be spending too much time on it
[14:46] Aaron: so that we can switch to juwanablog after handing the duke blog over to duke students and figuring out the blog game!
[14:46] Aaron: foolproof
[14:46] Alex: obviously i'd have to help you with the duke blog too in the beginning, gettin our name out
[14:46] Alex: lol
[14:46] Aaron: the soul stealing part is that we would actually have to write about duke
[14:46] Aaron: yuck
[14:48] Alex: so ok... are we going to just make this a side-column at juwanablog?
[14:51] Alex: like
[14:48] Alex: are we are using juwanablog to get the blogging expertise so they trust us with the duke blog so that we can advertise juwanablog
[14:48] Alex: just getting this straight
[14:49] Aaron: ... yes, damnit

• • •

_Thursday the 10th, September 2010 -- 1:17 A.M._

In this excerpt, we begin to tire of the concept of writing endless recaps and realize we definitely aren't suited for the recaps-on-recaps-on-recaps business, and are more suited to random stories and absurdities. The picture in question? A stern picture of Bethlehem Shoals, lost to the abyss.

[01:17] Alex: so when we post this on the blog
[01:17] Alex: we need to have that picture
[01:17] Alex: three times
[01:17] Alex: punctuating the review
[01:17] Alex: a la fd
[01:17] Alex: lol
[01:17] Aaron: no, ok, better idea...
[01:17] Aaron: we need that picture repeated infinitely
[01:17] Aaron: as a frame for
[01:17] Aaron: JACK REBEL SLIMS
[01:18] Aaron: aaron mcguire is the foremost criminal mind of this generation
[01:18] Aaron: lol
[01:18] Alex: heh awesome
[01:18] Alex: how about
[01:18] Alex: the first picture is of an escher painting
[01:18] Alex: the second one will be a lewis carroll illustration
[01:18] Alex: and then, right after that
[01:18] Alex: i will get into the negatives
[01:18] Alex: and that will be posted after the end
[01:18] Alex: lol
[01:18] Aaron: how about a jackson pollock painting
[01:18] Aaron: almost completely covered
[01:19] Aaron: by repeated iterations of that picture
[01:19] Aaron: lol
[01:19] Alex: sometimes i wonder if this kind of shit is our real calling, not long-form write-ups and recaps

• • •

_Tuesday the 28th, September 2010 -- 11:30 P.M._

We reflect on the fact that -- in writing a bunch of tedious crap that we've long since lost to server churn -- we actually did gain a lot of subject matter knowledge. For me personally, this general sense of knowledge-gain through tedium ended up creating the initial impetus for the first stage of Player Capsules, back in 2011, posted on a private basketball discussion group.

[23:30] Aaron: i feel like our basketball knowledge in the past year has gotten a lot better, despite how awful and tedious this is
[23:31] Alex: oh yeah. heh just getting exposure to the fiba players is going to help us interpret the thunder, lakers, 76ers, and (sigh) nuggets next year
[23:31] Alex: lol
[23:31] Aaron: well, it's also just the modes of analysis
[23:31] Aaron: my grasp of hoops stats is a lot better, and in general, i just watch games better now than i did a year ago
[23:32] Aaron: the analysis i had in the last few recaps were mostly things i would have had no possible way of seeing a year ago
[23:32] Alex: it's sort of like there is an emergent causal structure to our knowledge, in that we will watch one tournament, immediately internalize a new perspective, and in turn, use that new perspective towards the creation of still other perspectives
[23:33] Alex: what's more, we have been taking (not full, but decent) advantage of the blogosphere's existing knowledge
[23:33] Alex: like..i get the feeling that we are more able to see horribly invalid reasoning
[23:33] Alex: and not just by kobe fanatics
[23:33] Alex: by like
[23:33] Alex: the national guys
[23:33] Alex: (who are mostly awesome, it should be noted)
[23:33] Alex: lol
[23:34] Aaron: yeah, we spent the last year reading blogs voraciously and, for me personally at least, i now can look at the twitters of all the bloggers, take all the knowledge they're presenting, consider it, and push out my own analysis that incorporates their observations with my own to make something legitimately valuable. we probably will get tired of this duke crap at some point but i think more than ever i'm pretty sure we can make an nba blog that might actually be worth reading. someday.
[23:34] Aaron: not yet tho. we need more subject matter expertise, and blog experience. heh

• • •

_Tuesday the 22nd, February 2012 -- 3:27 A.M._

Conversations like this one happened for roughly a year. Then, in about 4 weeks, we got all serious, worked our butts off, and made this site and with it a bunch of content. But instead of actually showing you any of that, we're just going to show you this, because this far more effectively demonstrates our state of mind when starting this blog than any pretensions of serious rigor could.

[03:27] Aaron: holy crap, i wonder if we could get a .lol domain for our blog
[03:27] Aaron:
[03:28] Alex: yes
[03:28] Alex: also i think we can still do juwanablog
[03:28] Alex: and as our image
[03:28] Alex: have the image of juwan pushing that guy down
[03:29] Aaron: see... i want this to be
[03:29] Aaron: a blog entirely of good feelings
[03:29] Aaron: hence the lol
[03:29] Aaron: the duke blog... was OK, i guess
[03:30] Aaron: but terrible
[03:30] Aaron: i want this to be a fun thing to write for that ends up being resourceful, entertaining, and not some chore to write for
[03:30] Aaron: you know?
[03:30] Aaron: lol

• • •

_Monday the 7th, May 2012 -- 10:45 P.M._

After our first real period of genuinely poor performance for Gothic Ginobili -- hits bottoming out, very few external links, and a lot of pressure in our outside lives that was cramping our content production -- we start to think back and figure out what to do going forward. And realize we're about as bad as we were when we started, and we need to improve. Also: we know absolutely nothing, as we terrifyingly realize.

[22:45] Alex: you know, we can get better and better
[22:45] Alex: and you know what? we have to. there are perfectly rational, intelligent journalists that don't seem to feel a lick of bias or emotion. but i don't want to become that. i want to develop into an complete person and have the expression follow that growth. the class can be a constant pressure on my actions, but it can never stop me from asserting myself in a clear, honest, social way, any more than it can stop the spurs from taking an open shot
[22:45] Alex: the taciturn, unexpressive route works in situations in which the best strategy is to be strategically and morally unobtrustive
[22:46] Alex: but writing is all about being obtrusive. not being mean-spirited or gainsaying
[22:46] Alex: but being assertive with the truth as you believe it and holding to that truth until you are moved by a stronger interpretation
[22:46] Alex: open-mindedness is a virtue, but without assertiveness we're just adrift forever on a shallow sea
[22:46] Alex: if we let the debate control us, we can never go deeper than that framework allows us to go
[22:46] Alex: to get to the truth we have to control the debate
[22:48] Alex: the "count the rings" thing is widely derided on the blogosphere because it's simply not an argument without context. it is at best the starting point for a real debate and at worst the ending point for a fake debate.
[22:48] Alex: this is... how do i put it, this is my attempt to get out of writer's block, by increasing my understanding of my own role in the blogosphere
[22:48] Alex: and in turn, my own role in this great society of ours
[22:48] Aaron: fair and true, although i caution as i always do. it's never quite that simple, and when it comes to creating something of value for both you and the reader, well.
[22:48] Aaron: there are some things that are worth saying.
[22:48] Aaron: there are others that simply aren't.
[22:49] Aaron: we've been blocked and busy and way too out of it. we need to figure out what's worth saying and write about it, not just write stupid little puff pieces in an effort to get back to beefcake.
[22:49] Aaron: although, well. maybe it would help. after all this time we still don't really know for sure, do we? heh.

• • •

_Thursday the 23rd, August 2012 -- 10:51 A.M._

Christ, this was barely 2 months ago. We're exactly the same as we were when we started. Damnit. Hope nobody reads this far.

[10:51] Alex: so... man, deron williams makes a lot of sense to me
[10:51] Alex: but technically
[10:52] Alex: he doesn't count
[10:53] Alex: f*** your clown teams
[10:53] Alex: lol
[11:05] Alex: Alex Dewey is an eclectic intellectual that wakes up in the dark in a cold sweat and bloodshot eyes wondering what would have happened if he had chosen to play basketball instead of write about it, and then he remembers that he has no motor skills to speak of and falls asleep with perfect placidity. Every night this happens. In between, he writes about NBA basketball. And eclectic intellectual things that are not remotely athletic.
[17:23] Aaron: alex
[17:23] Aaron: what in the literal f***

• • •

"And now you know the rest of the story."

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