I took a week or so off so there’s a lot I want to cover. I’ll waste no time on frivolous intros! Here we go!
If you’ve read or listened to any NBA talk in the last week, you’ve no doubt heard that Russell Westbrook is now averaging a triple double. The talk has mostly been about whether or not he can keep it up, but there’s also been significant talk comparing Russ to Oscar Robinson. I personally think it’s a little obsessive compulsive that we as a sports society are CONSTANTLY comparing one guy to another, especially across different eras. Let me throw some breaking news at you….Oscar Robinson averaged a triple double DURING THE FUCKING 1961-62 SEASON. You think that maybe…just maybe…the NBA has changed a little bit in 55 years?
Why can’t we just appreciate both? Oscar Robinson averaged a triple double. That’s dope. Russell Westbrook is currently averaging a triple double through 19 games played so far and that is also dope. It will be dope finding out if he can keep it up. And guess what? If he ends up averaging 30ppg, 11 apg and 8 rpg…THAT WILL STILL BE DOPE!
But I understand the optics of people always wanting to compare…SO if we’re really going to suspend reality for a second and compare the merits of both of these accomplishments there’s two very quick things I’d look at.
- During the 1961-62 season, the average shots attempted per game across the entire league was 107.7 (Oscar’s Cincinnati Royals averaged 105.2). Let’s compare that to today. So far this year the average shots attempted per game is 85.6 (Russy’s Thunder sitting at 88.5). So in Oscars day, his Royals played at a much quicker pace, averaging 20 more shots a game than Russ’s Thunder, meaning 20 less chances for Russ to score, assist or rebound. That’s kind of crazy. Point Westbrook
- During his triple double season, Oscar averaged 44.3 minutes a game and played 79 games. Russ has thus far averaged 35.4 and has played in all 19 of his games. So that’s also 9 extra minutes for The Big O to accumulate stats. Point Westbrook.
So if we MUST compare the two accomplishments…I’m going with Westbrook as more impressive. But how about lets just not? Seriously. Sure lets give a tip of the cap to Oscar because he’s the only person who’s ever been able to do it but these were two completely different eras of time, with major differences in playing style, health management, legal defenses and about half a million other things. Let’s just enjoy both.
If I just overwhelmed you with too many fantastic pictures of Russell Westbrook… I do not apologize. There are just so so many to share and so little time. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you obviously don’t click on my links.
Giannis has been incredible for the Bucks so far this season. He leads his team in points (22.8pg) rebounds (8.6pg) steals (2.1pg) and blocks (a gaudy 2.1pg) and he’s second behind Delly in Assists (5.9pg compared to Delly’s 6.3). I love him and he is everything that’s good and happy about the world. If you haven’t seen him play, I urge you to check it out. The way he moves is just…so… unexpected. Like seeing a shark on a mountain top. Guys that big aren’t supposed to play like he does. And yet he does. The Bucks are a middling 8-8 and are really missing Khris Middleton, who had surgery to repair a severely injured hamstring. It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play this year but for the love of Giannis…please let him play!
While I’m handing out recommendations of teams to watch…if you’re trying to get into the NBA, I highly suggest you check out the Houston Rockets. They really do look at times like Steve Nash’s Suns with James Harden playing the part of Nash. Except Harden doesn’t have the physical limitations Nash did. Harden can back guys down, dunk over them and grab rebounds. They are so fun to watch and I would suggest seeing them on a night when they’re playing another team who likes to score and thinks defense is boring. They play Golden State on Thursday on TNT at 9:30 but that could be a blow out. They play in Denver Friday night on ESPN also at 9:30 and that might be a better game.
The Blazers have the worst defense in the league to this point and might be lucky to be sitting at 9-10. Dame is amazing, CJ is a stud and they have some other nice pieces but maybe they over achieved a little last year and maybe they tweaked their defense a little too much by adding Evan Turner to the roster. They badly need to make a trade but the issue is they’d most like to trade Turner or Crabbe who both have real value in the NBA in the right situations but are both severely over paid and wouldn’t get much in return. They’d get more for Harkless or Plumblee but Plumblee weirdly might be invaluable to the team as a release valve when Dame or CJ get trapped and Harkless has shown solid potential averaging 12 points and 5.5 rebounds to start the year shooting 50% from the field. My solution? Shop CJ. I’m not the only one saying this, Zach Lowe and others have correctly pointed out that the Blazers could get the most bang for their buck by shopping him, and I think I have a trade partner. CJ for Boogie Cousins straight up. If Sacramento is hesitant, Portland throws in a future first round pick. Who says no to that? Keep in mind Sacrament has to trade Cousins or lose him the summer of 2018 because there’s little to no chance of him re-signing.
Wait, what am I thinking? The Blazers have Jake Layman, who according to the Portland broadcast team, is better than Michael Jordan. And it’s hard to blame them with stats like this.
The Warriors have won 12 games in a row.
The Pelicans have arisen from the dead thanks to getting back an actually competent point guard in Jrue Holiday. It’s a small sample size since he’s been back but it goes to show you how drastic improvement can be allowing Anthony Davis even ONE above average player.
The NBA All-Star game should have a 4 point line. Why not?? Think how fun it would be watching guys pull up from like 33 feet out for 4 points. It’s not like the All-Star game means anything and people hardly watch it anyway.
Welcome to the Tank Train! We’re deep enough into the season that I’m going to begin alerting teams that they should be tanking. I don’t truly believe anyone other than the Sixers are currently okay with having the worst record in the NBA. And I would say even they are trying to win more often than they have in the past few years, although that’s not saying much. Rather than actively trying to lose I’d say they just now have a sort of ambivalence to winning. Without further adu, the teams who should be tanking and why:
Dallas (3-13) – good lord. This team is a mess, largely due to injuries. However it is what it is and they find themselves with the worst record in the league, playing the Spurs tonight. Cuban is notoriously against throwing in the towel on a season but honestly they should be looking to trade Derron Williams (if anyone wants him that is) and Andrew Bogut (who someone would want, though I’m not sure who)
Philadelphia (4-14) – Already talked about them above but they just really could use another top 5 pick to put around Embiid. That’s not to say they don’t need to make a trade though.
Miami (5-12) – Pack it in, trade Dragic and race to the bottom. This team all the sudden has found themselves with no real identity and they might need to bottom out not only this year but next. Trade Dragic and Whiteside for future picks, young assets or other tradable pieces they could turn into future picks or young assets
Phoenix (5-13) – Just not a lot going on here either. Devin Booker is the real deal and there is genuine excitement around him but they need more and they should start with a top 5 pick next summer.
That’s all for now. Brooklyn would be on the list but they incredibly don’t have the rights to their pick this year or next (or this last year) because of the legendary trade they made with the Celtics for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Cavs and Warriors Loss Watch:
Let me brag for a second and declare how that I was CORRECT in my first pick for the Cavs to lose. I chose the Pacers on November 16 and thanks to LeBron taking the night off to rest, I ended up correct.
My next pick for a Cavs loss: Either vs Milwaukee on Dec 20 or Dec 21. Yes they play one another in back to back nights, one in Milwaukee and one in Cleveland. How dumb is that?
I was wrong however, about my Warriors loss prediction. I said they would lose to Milwaukee on November 19 (I obviously have a bias problem for Milwaukee). It was a 3 point game and they almost pulled it off, but alas, I was wrong. My next pick for the Warriors to lose is in LA vs the Clippers who absolutely hate the Warriors.
My record on the year for these picks: 1-1
Time to also update you on my chucker award, given out to the guys who put up the most shots while completely ignoring their teammates and refusing to pass. Again, my highly scientific formula here is: field goal attempts + minutes / assists. (minimum 300 combined FGA and minutes)
Luc Mbah a Moute – 101.2 (just 5 assists on the year in 430 minutes)
Jerami Grant – 88.6 (Why did OKC trade for this guy again?)
Pascal Siakam – 81 (I’d never heard of him either, plays for Toronto)
Tyson Chandler – 78.5 (Wasn’t sure he was alive)
Enes Kanter – 67.25 (his name rhymes with penis)