Around the World (Wide Web)

Phillip Barnett —  June 14, 2011

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Kobe Bryant can still make it happen, but not nearly with the same frequency as he once did. According to Hoopdata.com, Bryant’s shot attempts at the rim dropped by nearly 1.5 a game this season, while his attempts from 3-9 feet jumped from 2.3 in 2009-10 to 3.1. By way of comparison, in 2007-08, those ratios were very different: 5.1 attempts per game at the rack, 1.5 from 3-9. Night to night, his free throw attempts have declined over the years, as well. All of this confirms what we basically already know: Bryant is much more a post up/jump shooter, not the unstoppable penetrating force off the wing he once was, certainly not over the course of a long regular season. He’ll fire up the WABAC Machine from time to time, but picks his spots far more judiciously than the Kobe of yor

From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: In the circus known as the NBA, Bill Russell has long been considered the ring master for the unprecedented 11 bands of championship jewelry he won in his 13-year playing career. But when you think about it, Phil Jackson should be known as the league’s true lord of the rings. The 13 rings Jackson earned — two from his 13-year career as a player with New York and New Jersey, and 11 from his 20-year run as head coach in Chicago and Los Angeles — outshine the rings of Russell, who is widely acknowledged as the greatest winner in team sports. (Russell also won two championships in his eight seasons as a head coach, but they came in his final two seasons with the Celtics when he was player-coach, hence his ring collection wound up at 11 rather than tied with Jackson at 13.)

From Daniel Buerge, Lakers Nation: The NBA season came to an end last night in Miami when the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat to win their first championship in team history. They beat one of the most publicized and scrutinized team in history, and did it emphatically. After winning Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the series the Mavericks knew they had two chances to eliminate the Heat, but both games would be in Miami. That didn’t sway the confidence of the Mavs, as they rose to the occasion and beat Miami in Game 6 to win the crown.  ?As is the case with almost any NBA champion, the story for the Mavericks centered around their best player and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. After a solid series and an unbelievable playoffs, Dirk found himself struggling to find the range throughout the majority of Game 6. However, Dirk’s determination only grew stronger and he continued to fire up shots. At the end of the night he had a poor shooting percentage, but he also had an NBA championship.

From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: When the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the second round of this year’s playoffs, the major topic surrounded the possibility of acquiring Dwight Howard.  As some time has passed and the Laker community’s shock of an abrupt departure from the postseason has started to fade, the true needs and weaknesses are in full exposure, waiting to be addressed.  ?With the recent hiring of new head coach, Mike Brown, the first need can be checked off the list.  One of the Lakers’ needs is to become more youthful and athletic.  However, the issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible relates to the point guard position. Derek Fisher will without a doubt go down as one of the best point guards in the history of the Lakers.  Even though Fisher maintains the ability to make shots in the clutch, his level of performance for the entire 48 minutes of each game has been diminishing over the past two years.

From David Murphy, Searching for Slava: Our long national grind is over. It ended where in many ways, it began – Miami, FLA – home of the best that money could buy, the master-plan, the decision.  Superstars shelled into submission by a lanky bridesmaid who couldn’t spit in the ocean in the first half, supported by a gang of misfits who could.  It’s how it should be, the basketball gods must have been smiling. The knock on Nowitzki for years, has been that he’s soft, can’t or won’t play the interior, doesn’t come through when it really counts, in the playoffs, in the finals. This year was different - his Mavericks played like a recommitted team but the perception remained – they had failed too often and the public had turned away. Until they wound up in the finals, pitted against a team that had gone from media darling to pariah.  Suddenly, the game had new meaning.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: They don’t call him the “No Stats All-Star” for nothing. He consistently guards the opposing team’s best player and holds them under their season averages in points and shooting percentage. He provides a positive locker-room presence and thrives on mastering such intangibles as tipping loose balls to teammates, boxing out an opponent to free up a teammate to clean glass and showing remarkable efficiency in his shot selection. Battier has plenty of veteran experience and would earn immediate respect from many Lakers, including Kobe Bryant (who knows how suffocating Battier can be on defense), Ron Artest (who used to be his teammate at Houston) and Pau Gasol (who used to be his teammate in Memphis). There’s no need to wonder how Battier would fit in the pecking order because he’d be the guy making everyone else’s job easier. With Coach Mike Brown wanting to implement a defense-first mentality, Battier would be a perfect addition in fulfilling that philosophy.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: On paper, it appeared to Lakers forward Ron Artest that the team’s Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Dallas Mavericks would prove to be just another blip toward another championship run. It turns out he was wrong. “They blitzed us,” he said Sunday while appearing on ABC 7′s Sports Zone regarding the Mavericks’ four-game sweep against the Lakers. “We did not expect them to play like that honestly. I thought we were going to sweep them.” On paper, it appeared to Artest that the Miami Heat would win in the NBA Finals in either five or six games, believing the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the team’s lockdown defense would prove too difficult in stopping. Instead, James disappeared most of the fourth quarters, Dirk Nowitzki continued to make difficult shots and the Mavericks displayed the type of depth Artest argued is needed to win a championship.

Phillip Barnett

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36 responses to Around the World (Wide Web)

  1. Maybe there would be a better venue then this, but I’m disappointed with Kurt. I loved it when he blogged on this site he founded and when he was picked up by True Hoop, it did nothing but improve the product, if the not the comments. Now he is with the CBS Sport blog, pontificating about Eric Dampier and his being at the Dallas party after the game on Sunday.

    “That just crosses a line. Losing in the finals should hurt. I am good with Chris Bosh breaking down in tears after the game — he wanted this. He cared. It bothered him. As it should. He was not in a place where he could a couple hours later go party with the enemy.”

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/06/14/report-miami-players-joined-dallas-post-title-party/

    Who is he to tell readers how another human being should feel about anything. Who is Kurt to tell anyone how they should behave or what they should feel after any event in their professional career? I realize I’m being critical of Kurt and participating in a similar sort of activity. I think there is a significant difference between my action and his.

    Kurt is stating cant, where any human being aught to have a certain emotion and behave in a certain fashion, yet he provides no good insight into how and why Dampier behaved as he did. He will not follow this story up. He is simply filling the story count on the CBS Sports blog. I’m defending a citizen’s personal space, where one might be an individual and have their own personal reason to behave in any manner they wish and where they need not be judged if they have not harmed another. My second point is that these sort of editorials are what is wrong with journalism. A rush of stories with no significance are imbued with moral significance only to sell papers or manufacture clicks on a website. It then propagates a sense of moral outrage that a society could do without. How about saving our moral outrage for something other then one man’s desire party with his friends, or another man’s desire to post pictures of his junk. We are wasting our outrage on nonsense.

  2. #1. Just wondering, but did you make this same comment at the site where he wrote it? Did you email him? He’s still a pretty accessible guy in that way.

    As an aside, and not to defend him, but he’s running a different type of site now. You’ll still find plenty of great insight there (from Kurt and others) but the objective is to also provide opinion on a variety of topics related to the NBA both on and off the court.

    And speaking to that story specifically, I’m not going to tell Bosh how he should or shouldn’t feel/act, but as a fan I’d prefer not see one of the marquee players I root for going out to party with guys that just beat my team for the championship.

  3. P ami,
    What happens outside the game and practice hours can definitely impact how players perform during the game. It also demonstrates the level of dedication that players have.

    What Kurt wrote was not inappropriate.

  4. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t it just a year ago that a lot of haters were saying Kobe had a crap game 7 – never mind his 15 rebounds, the game is only measured on the points you scored?

    Now I hear the best thing about Dirk is that he kept shooting when his 1st half stats were 1 for 9.

    One more bit of evidence that you actually have to watch a game to know what was going on. Statistics simply cannot describe how the game moved or who played at the right time. Stats do help us define our observations, but they sure shouldn’t drive them.

  5. 1, dude, it has the NBC peacock logo right at the top of the page! He works for NBC Sports!

    I too prefer Kurt’s work when he was here at FB&G compared to his work at PBT, but PBT is meant to target the mainstream audience, and thus the types of stories reported are typical mainstream fodder and the depth with which they are presented is as minimal as possible, since the general public doesn’t enjoy critical thought, in general. In this way, it’s much easier to have targeted, thoughtful, insightful articles when serving a niche audience, like FB&G. Plus the comments section, as obviously evidenced, is much more nuanced and personal than the comments section at PBT.

    But he does get paid more, so that probably makes up for it :-P.

  6. Has Simmons come out with 9-27 like he bandied around Kobe’s 6-24? Who cares.

    Re: Kurt. I do peruse his site and it’s a bigger viewpoint because he’s covering the whole league now. And since he and his cohorts do not do beat writer reporting, he has to go off other blogs/internet sites/beat writers to get his stories. People are fascinated by what NBA players do off the court, especially since people who are not Lebron James live a pathetic and banal life.

  7. BTW, Robert Horry’s daughter passed away today. She was battling a rare genetic disease. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Horry family.

  8. I don’t like Bill Simmons. At all. Never have I seen a clearer case of homerism than with that Bahstan bufoon. He parades around Kobe 6/24 but neglects how his Celts where out rebounded and out hustled by the Lakers (including Kobe’s 15 rebounds). Who calls himself “The Sports Guy” yet only cares about Boston teams (or just the Pats and Celts, and maybe the Sox and Bruins when they are in the world series/finals)? Only time I even read his stuff is when he eats major crow whenever the Celts are eliminated or when the Lakers win, otherwise to hell with him! /end rant

  9. I just had 1,000+ words erased w/o being saved for this afternoon’s post. My apologies but there won’t be a new post today.

  10. Darius – perhaps we could all toss around absurd and unfounded trade and draft scenarios instead?

  11. Thoughts, prayers, love, and strength goes out to the Robert Horry family.

  12. Regarding my criticism of Kurt’s take on the Dampier situation… I understand why people decide to cover these stories. I further understand why people decide to pontificate on them. Recognizing that there is a market for it does not mean we aught to have our money and mind wrapped up in such things. I think it degrading. I get that the combustion petroleum powers our civilization, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be looking for alternatives, and pronto.

    It’s easy to talk about, it’s easy to sum it up when you talk about a party. Kurt’s supposed to be a basketball blogger and he’s talking about a party. Listen, he’s writing about a party. Not a game, not a game, not a game. He’s writing about a party. Not the game he went out there and wrote passionately and rationally about every day on this site. He’s writing about a party, man.

    I get it, the writers need somewhere to publish and it’s my fault too for for not being careful where I step.

  13. #13. I can understand your take, but it’s not like that’s all he does now, is it?

  14. Darius,
    It just seems the world is spiraling down to the lowest common denominator in all our communication vehicles.

    While this will always make money, it begs the question – Is this all there is to humanity? The lowest common denominator was well examined in a Luke Wilson comedy called “Idiocracy” in 2005. It is really scary to think that some of those ‘predictions’ are coming true centuries earlier than predicted.

  15. Definitely thinking of Robert Horry and his family at this time. A terrible loss to experience.

  16. @13 P Ami, I disagree with your interpretation of that. I don’t think it was all about the party and a non-basketball situation. I think there’s a certain amount of validity in his point about being hurt and investing in the game.

    Dallas was a team of veterans who had so much invested in the game and had lost a ton over their careers. As a result, they completely bought into Carlise’s system and played every possession hard and never gave up. They had went through the trial and tribulations.

    Contrasted with Miami that is just starting on that road and never completely executed a team system. Dampier and the other role players who attended the party obviously didn’t have the same level of investment. That could be seen as another piece of evidence that Miami hadn’t come together as a team over the course of the year. They didn’t have that bond up and down the roster like it seemed with Dallas.

    Somehow if Miami had won, I doubt if anyone on the Dallas roster would have attended the party. Can’t prove it of course. Just my feeling based on what I’ve seen and heard about the team.

    So I had no problem with that story because I thought that was the angle Kurt was using. I’d have more issues with it if it was a TMZ type article talking about the excesses of the party.

  17. Let’s say it was Chris Mihm, or even Trevor Ariza that came to us to party afterwards. Not sure if I’d criticize them for it, but I’d be probably miffed if they were on my team because it will make it seem as if they don’t have their hearts in the right place.

    If it was LeBron, the story would be so completely relevant and would have been used to say that he never cared.

    So in a way, the who matters more than the what here, and Dampier to me is somebody that falls somewhere inbetween.

    As for Kurt moving to PBT and all, well, he doesn’t seem to have the same ‘care’ for the site as he did with FB&G, mostly because you just can’t care about all those random visitors with random viewpoints the way you can with Laker fans on Laker topics. It’s all understandable and expected, and unfortunately for him, I don’t really see that FB&G lost much after his departure, in part because this is more of a community. Sure I miss his presence and his insight, but it doesn’t change the FB&G much.

    Still, I’d like to see him in the comments…

  18. Darius,

    It’s not all he does, true. I guess the biggest issue I have with it, is his climbing up on the moral high horse talking about where Eric Dampier should and should not be. You ask me? The players should have been in a hotel with their families having some tea and crumpets. Thats me. Kurt did a fabulous job discussing the Lakers on this here blog. I think he created and fostered one of the top basketball blogs in the English language, and that is saying a lot. I respect him for that. I’m not only talking about Kurt here. This is a societal disfunction that I think Kurt has fallen into. Where the heck does Kurt’s experience and talent in writing about basketball give him the chutzpa to tell the world how Eric Dampier should have dealt with his team losing the championship to his former teammates?

    Craig,
    I don’t think this is all there is to humanity. This blog here, it manages to take a game that has been co-opted by the most base of human endeavors, business, and often elevates it to a reasonably high intellectual level. Obviously there is more to life then the lowest common denominator. I think it fair and right to criticize folk for permitting themselves to fall to a base level. I’ve seen Kurt keep a level head and maintain rational thought in the face of games that, as a Lakers fan, I think he cared much more about then some party that the Mavs had in Miami. The fact that Kurt is capable of that makes his taking that easy story and building a soap box out of it, that much more disappointing.

  19. It seems to me that there’s two different issues here with the common point of one writer. First is the idea of Dampier at the party and whether it’s a legitimate story to write about. My personal feeling is that all expression is valid but then I have to take that view – my own writings on basketball tend toward the absurd. The other (and I think bigger) issue, is how people feel about Kurt. Every blog/site has its own particular feel and FB&G has a reputation for taking analysis seriously. Kurt has history here. And so, it’s easy (and fair) to compare and contrast. I don’t think the party piece was his best work but nobody hits the mark each and every time. I think he still cares about the game and about what he writes and, he does it well. I’ll continue to read his stuff but then, I read way too many blogs. I’m supposed to be working right now, haha.

  20. Why was basketball almost unwatchable for me this year? Aside from some early-season blips when the Lakers were passing beautifully the game had no poetry for me. The “dominant” defenses looked more like benefactors of pound the rock-itis. The Heat were granted timeless status by ankle-biter Van Gundy before the firework smoke cleared the arena last Summer. Shannon Brown is still dribbling the ball with limited understanding of flow for the game.

    With Dallas’ post-season demolition of the Lakers I would have thought that somehow the rules had changed. So-called defenders chased the lilliputian guards around like Keystone cops instead of appreciating that the basket does not move. “Defenders” left 1000% career 3-point shooters wide open as though arrogance alone should suffice as an adequate close out. Dribble, dribble, dribble, hoist! Dribble, dribble, dribble, flail arms and bellow for a shooting foul… Wink, wink.

    Did the finger roll somehow become worth less than 2 points? Do you get extra credit for continually going against the screen and breaking plays? Will the CBA have a new provision for louder bad music at the arenas and a mandatory luchadore masked player per team?

    Most of these players look like complacent hacks, relatively. They get their contract then go to the club. On the court, they are bringing same set of moves that helped their team win a whopping 35 games for the third consecutive year. Dwight Howard, you got your money and decided it was past time you did something about that horrible hole in your game and studied at the temple of Hakeem. In your face again, Ewing.

    I like to watch the young players grow. It’s the only hope right now because the game itself right now is predictable in movement and regularly ugly.

  21. Sorry to hear the news about Robert Horry’s daughter, my prayers go out to the family.

  22. I just think there isn’t a reason to criticize the fact that Dampier partied with the Mavs.

    He was there for like 1/2 a season at best? How much is he really invested in that team versus the Mavs which he was there for a few years and knows the former teammates? Maybe he’s just geniunely happy for the Mavs? Maybe it’s just good sportsmanship? Ever thought of that?

    Is this a rivalry on the terms of the Lakers and Celtics with generations of hate layered within it’s dynamic?

    Basketball ends once the game buzzer sounds. Real life begins again.

    Maybe he just wanted some free booze?

    All things that are just as plausible and devoid of being negative.

    I don’t think Kurt is pulling an Abbott, Simmons or Simers, but just getting a reaction.

    Bye.

  23. There are many who are surprised that Miami didn’t win the championship. I’m surprised that they did so well–especially losing Miller and Haslem for much of the season.

    It’s a matter of holes and overlap. The holes remain at center and point guard. The Heat ended unsuccessfully with Chalmers at point guard, but there was a revolving door throughout the season at that position–no guard for Miami compared favorably against either Jason Kidd or JJ Barea. Miami reverted to Anthony at center, but he did not compare favorably with Chandler–or even the Chandler backups.

    Then the key overlaps: Haslem and Bosh; Wade and James–and backups. Both Wade and James thrive as shooting guards, but neither as a small forward. Both can’t be effective at the same time at the same position. Neither Miller nor Jones meshes well from the bench.

    Haslem is a decent defensive power forward with some offense; Bosh is an excellent offensive power forward with some defense–but both can’t play at the same time.

    Spoelstra deserves credit for hiding the team weaknesses so well behind a pressure defense. Still, producing the kind of diversity and balance that Dallas exhibited with a throwaway bag of virtually unpaid role players seems to be even more difficult for the Heat than it was for the Celts. The Heat better not bet too strongly about returning to the championship finals.

    Of course, the Lakers have their own holes and overlap. . . . . . . .

  24. P. Ami,

    You don’t want Kurt to ride his “moral high horse” and speak on how Eric Dampier should spend his evenings. But in doing so, aren’t you riding your “high horse” and in criticizing the way Kurt is running his blog and hoping that he’ll stick to on the court stories?

  25. Basketball is a job that’s it and that’s all. I would party with ex-coworkers if the mood struck me. I know we all want to pretend that pro-sports has come grand meaning but they really don’t

  26. Off topic, I’m still curious what will be the move of the Lakers in the forthcoming draft of 4 2nd round picks. Will they trade some to get a veteran PG, trade starters for all those rumor trades or wait for the end of the lockout period and evaluate players who will be waived in every team. It seems those are the speculations in the off season, if Lakers opt not to do anything at all and cling status quo, how do we envision the 2012 season would be?

  27. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Horry family. God, be with the family during this difficult time to provide them with peace.

    God Bless!

  28. Johnson,

    In a word, no. Kurt puts his opinions out there with the express purpose of producing a reaction and gaining readers… maybe even a response. It is the business he has chosen. Meanwhile Dampier went out and partied with his buddies. While the public might observe his actions in public, if his actions invite public comment it is in a totally implicit manner. Kurt’s expression of disgust with Dampier was an explicit call for reading and then commenting on his ideas and a huge part of what makes his job what it is.

    Last point, I can and have discussed why I think Kurt fell to the lowest common denominator in his comments on Dampier. I have a reasoned and well thought out argument for why it is none of our business to judge anyone in the way Kurt judged Dampier. Kurt provided no rational for why it was wrong for Dampier to behave as he did, beyond “he should feel too much pain at that moment to go out and party with the enemy”. The internal reality of Eric Dampier is none of out business. Now, it might hold some weight or meaning if Kurt interviewed the guy and managed to gain the players perspective. Then Dampier has himself agreed to let us in on the story. But, a bloggers perspective on such a matter is worthy of ridicule. The laziness of his pontification is worthy of criticism. The blandness of his take deserves to be spit out into napkin and sent back to the chef.

  29. P Ami,
    ” The laziness of his pontification is worthy of criticism. The blandness of his take deserves to be spit out into napkin and sent back to the chef.”

    Laziness and blandness? He was making valid points.

  30. exhelodrvr

    I would be curious to read what was valid about his points.

  31. Valid point is this. Benedict Arnold would have partied with the British the way Dampier did with the Mavs. That’s a point that should be made!

    I wouldn’t want him in my locker room and that’s newsworthy and OBVIOUS without a 1 on 1 interview. There are some unwritten rules to competition and this is one of them.

    If you don’t like what Kurt is doing, stop reading. If you want to go further, start your own blog.

  32. Johnson,

    So, to you, watching a basketball game and that sportsmanship, is the same as watching live footage of a war and moral in battle. Besides the absurdity of your metaphor, clearly you have forgotten that in WWI there were ceasefires during holidays and some shared interaction between combatants. This did not stop Germans from killing the Brits the next day. You ask me, your response, it’s lack of perspective is a problem individuals might want to investigate.

    As for starting my own blog. Not interested. Blogs such as this one are doing a fine job. Most of what I think does not merit a blog post. What I do have to say is served quite well enough by comment sections, such as this one.

  33. Get Real P. Ami