Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is Paul Pierce The Rodney Dangerfield Of The NBA?

Ask around to your group of friends and family who their favorite stand up comedian is and you will not receive one Rodney Dangerfield answer.  Ask around to your group of friends who their favorite NBA player of this generation is and you will not receive one Paul Pierce answer. 

Yet both of these men were elite in their profession.  How could this be?

Rodney started his career off to a rocky start.  He barely got any gigs. Struggling to obtain any solid and consistent work, Rodney (who use to use the name Jack Roy) changed his name to Rodney Dangerfield and developed a character for himself to play on stage, someone relatable.

Paul Pierce started his basketball career at Kansas, where he eventually earned MVP honors in the Big 12 his sophomore and junior year.  However, his teammate, Raef LaFrentz was drafted 3rd overall in the 1998 draft, a draft where Paul Pierce fell to the 10th pick.

Rodney Dangerfield was born in Deer Park, New York but moved to Englewood, NJ with his first wife in his 20’s and 30’s.  Paul Pierce was born in Oakland, CA but later moved to Inglewood, CA where he would go on to become a high school basketball star.

After Dangerfield divorced his first wife, he quit the suburban life and became his stand up career again in his 40’s, this time finding some success.  He was a last minute replacement on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 and from here on out, his career took a turn for the better.

Pierce’s start to the NBA was bumping.  It was this way for everyone because it was the shortened lockout season of 1998-99.  The Celtics finished with a 19-31 record.  Pierce played 48 out of the 50 games and averaged 16.5 points in 34 minutes as a rookie, missing out on the Rookie of the Year award.  He finished on the All NBA Rookie First Team and was poised to start a promising career.

Rodney continued to book gigs on late night television shows like The Tonight Show and the Dean Martin Comedy Hour in the 60’s and 70’s.  He eventually landed his first movie role in the Projectionist in 1971.  For almost 20 years, Rodney had to grind his way into the spotlight until his big break in the 1980’s.

Things were looking up for Pierce as his minutes increase, his scoring increased, his assists, steals and shooting percentages were all improving.  Pierce was on top of the world in the 1999-2000 season. 

Then the 2000 stabbing incident occurred.  He was stabbed 11 times in the face, back and neck in a night club in Boston, the Buzz Club by gang members from Made Men.  He also had a bottle smashed over his head and would have not survived the attack if not for the Battie brothers.   The most impressive thing during all of this is the fact that Pierce did not miss any time.  This was just the beginning of Paul Pierce’s history of being one tough athlete.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How The Restricted Free Agent Class Spent Their Summers

What happened to the restricted free agent class of 2014?  The market definitely bottomed out for this core of players who were looking for their first BIG paycheck. With Lebron opting out and changing the NBA landscape, these 4th and 5th year players were put on the back burner in some cases.  Let’s take a look at how each restricted free agent fared during the offseason:

Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz

One of the more polarizing players, in terms of what the fans think of him, saw one of the bigger paydays from the restricted free agent class this summer. With speculation that the Celtics (and ex-Baylor coach Brad Stevens) were going to pony up to bring Hayward to Boston, many expected Hayward to receive decent offers.  No one thought the 4 years, $63 million offer sheet from the  Bobcats Hornets was even an option. 
The Jazz wisely let the let the market determine his value and matched that offer.  Some still think it is an over payment. It’s not like the Jazz have free agents lining up to sign with them.  Some cities have to keep the stars they draft, as was the case with Gordon Hayward.

I happen to really like the signing.  Gordon is getting quality experience while participating in USA basketball camp with the elite players around the league.  He reported to USA camp weighing 10 pounds more than the end of the season. This is usually a bad sign, if you are Raymond Felton, but this is a good sign for a wing player who has to go up against the likes of Lebron and Durant.

Hayward has been a pleasant surprise in the NBA.  Nobody plays harder on defense than him and he always asks for the tough assignments.  Most people will discredit him because he doesn’t jump out as a terrific athlete but when push comes to show, you want a guy like Hayward on your team who has excelled at every level of basketball to date. 

Eric Bledsoe – Phoenix Suns (?)

The Bledsoe situation this summer is one his camp hopes to soon forget.  Primed to be a big dollar young star in the making, Bledsoe suffered a meniscus tear causing him to miss over two months of basketball, which dropped his value.  The Suns continued to play great during this stretch which minimized the value Eric brought to that roster, which were running a duo point guard system.

Even with all this bad luck for Bledsoe, the injury and the market, Rich Paul and his “team” butchered this situation badly.  Hoping and holding out for a max deal is two different things, something I think Rich Paul and Bledsoe learned the hard way.  Not only did Bledsoe not receive any max offers but no other team signed him to an offer sheet.  This was poor management from his agent on understanding the market and the situation.  It’s hard to really know what an Agent goes through if you’re one and only client at the time is Lebron James.

To quote a RealGM commenter:  “This dude was selling jerseys out of the back of a van and Eric Bledsoe is wondering why he doesn't have a contract.”

The Suns and Bledsoe will eventually hammer something out. Eric has not signed the qualifying offer yet (more dumb moves by his inexperienced agent) in hopes of signing a longer term contract. If Eric and his camp truly believe he deserves a max deal, the wise move would be to sign the qualifying offer and proving to the league he is worth that much. His play has got him this far. Now time to go out and earn that max deal.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NBA Summer League Is Working, Financially

The NBA Summer League is working. The participation of fans has increased and more money into the league.  Not much to this blog but thought I'd share the numbers from the press release.

Record Attendance:
· 71,942 total attendees -- an increase of 16% from last year’s previous record -- and a new all-time single-day mark of 8,013 attendees on Monday, July 14.

NBA TV Viewership:
· 2014 was the most-watched Summer League ever on NBA TV, averaging 103,000 household impressions and 116,000 total viewers, increases of 40% and 28%, respectively, over last year.
· The network delivered six of its Top 10 most-viewed NBA Summer League telecasts ever.
· NBA TV's opening night Summer League game from Las Vegas – the Milwaukee Bucks and Jabari Parker facing the Cleveland Cavaliers and Andrew Wiggins – netted an average of 220,000 total viewers, becoming the second-most viewed NBA Summer League telecast of all time.

NBA Summer League Live:
· The NBA Summer League Live subscription package, which delivered televised and online access to all live games from Orlando and Las Vegas, received a record number of subscriptions, up 73% from the previous season.

NBA Digital:
· and NBA Mobile set new records, with visits up 80% and videos viewed up more than 70% from the previous season.

Merchandise Sales:
· Samsung NBA Summer League merchandise sales were the highest on record.
· Overall, sales were up a double-digit percentage from 2013 and a triple-digit percentage from 2012.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

USA Basketball - Press Release

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 22, 2014) - Featuring eight players owning USA Basketball experience, including four members of the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie first team, USA Basketball today announced 13 players for the 2014 USA Men's Select Team that will train July 28-31 with the 2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 Named to the 2014 USA Basketball Select squad were: Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Trey Burke (Utah Jazz); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls);  Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks); Tobias Harris(Orlando Magic); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic);Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).

"USA Basketball's Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game's brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director.  "Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

"Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball's National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team."
Friday, June 13, 2014

Summing Up The Finals So Far Without Words

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Sheridan Hoops