Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gambling & Being Old: Requirements of an NBA referee

The year is 2001. Late into the NBA conference finals heading into game 6 of a Bucks vs 76ers series featuring the current league MVP (Iverson) and THE greatest shooter of all time (Ray Allen) - then entering his prime. The series thus far had been evenly matched and wildly entertaining - with no shortage of controversy.

Coming on the heels of a crushing 1 point loss in game 5, Allen felt as though his team was getting the short end of the stick.

"I think there's no question about that. The league, as a marketing machine, the bottom line is about making money," Allen said. "It behooves everybody for the league to make more money, and the league knows that Philadelphia is going to make more money with L.A. than we would with L.A."
 His comments come with good reason considering the way the Bucks lost the game. In the waning minutes of the game Sam Cassell received a technical foul then both Glenn Robinson & Tim Thomas committed flagrant fouls resulting in a 5-point possession and two 4-point possessions which ultimately put the nail in the bucks coffin - or if you're into hunting - put the arrow through the male deer's brain? What these 3 types of fouls have in common is that they are subject to the discretion of the referee - and open to the possibility of bias in an occupation that requires strict fairness at it's fundamental core.

Even 13 years ago the reffing of the NBA was questionable. Today is no different.

But are the refs corrupt? Do they follow an agenda set out by the commissioner of the NBA to fix games so that the most profitable matchups are seen in each playoff round?

The Gambling Ref
I am not a conspiracy theorist (at least when it comes to the NBA) and as entertaining it is to explore the possibility of conspiracies in the NBA, I just don't buy it. I do, however, fall into the emotional trap of getting all worked up over close (and sometimes outright terrible) calls that go against my team. And don't for one second 'kidd' yourself that Jason Kidd & Joe Johnson's comments criticizing the reffing in last years epic 7 game series vs the raptors didn't win the series for the Nets. (the series was EXTREMELY close - over the 11 games they played each other over the seaseon the point differential was with in 5 - enough that a few swayed calls was the difference in the series). But ultimately I do not believe that refs favor one team over the other (unless they are gambling on the game...).

I think the issue with refs is that they are subject to human follies. This goes two ways. Refs are prone to persuasion. When players, media and the like make scathing comments about the officiating I believe that the refs become subconsciously worried about what was said and alter the way they call the next game or two. Additionally, when fans see a perceived injustice in the officiating it becomes magnified to the point that they only see the mistakes - and it makes the officiating seem worse than it actually is.

Are games sometimes called unfairly? Absolutely, but over the course of 82 games or a 7 game series I think that these things have a way of averaging themselves out. The best teams make the playoffs and the best team wins the series - 90% of the time. But for the 10% of the time something strange happens, look to Sir Charles for inspiration:

"We don't need refs, but I guess white guys need something to do."
— Charles Barkley

These are the offseason thoughts I have had on officiating and I am sure that once the season starts I will almost certainly change my mind based solely on emotion. I have come to terms with my perceived injustice that is NBA officiating and realize that it is mostly created from my own perception. I feel like just knowing and understanding this will help me to enjoy the game - although it will always be fun to yell at a TV and scare my infant children.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I still like the NBA

Hey Paddies,

I still follow and love the NBA. I also remembered that this blog was one of my more enjoyable hobbies (2 years ago!!!). As this new 2014/15 season approaches I really hope to revive this blog even if I am the only one that is writing new posts. So to get started, I have controversial predictions.

First, Paul Pierce will not make the Washington Wizards better - in fact they will be a worse team than last year.

PP is aging and hasn't been an effective SF since he left Boston. The only reason he made things interesting in Brooklyn was because he became a new-age small ball PF and stretched the offensive floor for everyone else. Going to Washington he will move back to the SF spot where he's a step too slow defensively - which is the opposite of what they just came from in Trevor Ariza (and  don't forget that defense is what made them successful).

Second, Lance Stephenson will poop all over the Hornets.

I hate to say it (because I love everything about the change from Bobcats to Hornets) but I think that Stephenson is a headcase that was only held in check by not being 'the guy' in Indiana. Give him the keys to the franchise and he will kill what momentum they had last year. Not to mention he doesn't make sense for their team... they need outside shooting. Out of Kemba Walker, Stephenson, MKG, Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson only ONE (walker) is a decent 3pt shooter. I hope I'm wrong, but they could be horrible on offense..

And that's All I got. As I write more little posts my goal is to both spawn interest and get better at writing quality. I feel like this is an easy and fun hobbie to have and if any paddie would like to contribute (including and outside of the original 4) just ask and I can make you a contributor.

Thanks for reading you losers.

Now disagree with my controversial predictions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Give Thanks

It has been 336 days since the last post on Patrick Ewing's Knee Pads. We basically missed an entire season...I'm not going to let that happen again.

Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving. Yesterday was also the Utah Jazz' first preseason game. Between the 2 events happening simultaneously, it caused me to reflect on what I was thankful for this NBA season. Here are 8 (weird number...but that's how many came to mind right away) of those reasons, in no particular order:

1. James Harden's Beard - It's just big and cool. It makes me happy every time I see it, and I can only hope to replicate it one day.

2. a) No Lockout - This time last year I felt like every hocky fan today: depressed. I don't have to hope for a repeat birthday present from last year, which was the day they announced the end of the lockout.
2. b) No Hockey - I don't specifically have anything against hockey other than it overwhelms every media source in Canada and we miss out on more NBA coverage.

3. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the Lakers....psych!

4. Blake Griffin's dunks - I have to admit, some of the novelty has worn off, but I haven't been this excited about watching someone dunk since before Vince Carter gave up on his career. We all know that he will have at least a few dunks that we will see on the highlights more than 50 times this season.

5. Jonas Valanciunas - I don't have super high expectations for him, or the Raptors, this year but I think this is someone who will change the future of the franchise for the better (I hope).

6. The Utah Jazz - It's nice to cheer for a team who either makes, or comes close to making, the playoffs every year. If only they could make it past the first or second round again. At least their future looks like this

7. Lebron's NBA Championship - I am thankful for this for 3 reasons: 1) I like Lebron. He seems nice and cool. 2) We can finally stop hearing everyone in the media talk about how he has never won a title. 3) It puts him one step closer to stealing Michael Jordan's title of "Greatest of All Time." Speaking of which...

8. Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats - I don't wish for bad things to happen to ol' MJ, but I have to admit that it is extremely satisfying to see the man who "single-handedly" stole two championships from my team be the absolute worst at something. Remember how the Bobcats were the worst team of all time last year? Yep, Michael Jordan helped that happen.

I can only hope to be thankful for even more by the time American Thanksgiving rolls around.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mark Cuban Peeing in a Urinal With Larry O'Brien's Trophy

It's time for Miller Regent's most Ultimate post of all time.

Taking a break from the Previews for one second, I thought I would just drop the greatest blog post ever written. Then I realized that there's nothing to write about.... There's nothing going on in the NBA and the next best thing (NFL) just isn't the same.

Yesterday (Monday) I finished my last mid-term of the semester. I am so accustomed to winding down from mid-term season by catching the Raptors play at around 7 ET 5 our time that by habit I ended up watching Monday night football with Michael Vick's Eagles taking on Erlacher's Bears. Other than championship games, this was one of the first times I have ever sat down to watch an ENTIRE football game from start to finish. Starting from watching some of the pre-game show to the starting cinematic I was more than pumped to see som pigskin flinging, bonecrunching action. I felt as excited as I ever have been for a regular season NBA game... so much so that I almost forgot there was a lockout and I almost believed that I could get into the NFL and completely forget the NBA. I even wanted very badly to forget the NBA and replace it with the NFL so that I could boycott the NBA to show my hatred for the greed on display in what they call the LOCKOUT.

However, after the first quarter I was bored. I wanted to fastforward to sportscenter after the game and just watch the highlights. Football just doesn't offer what basketball does. On rough estimate, there is a dunk or 3-pointer every 2 minutes in the NBA (including commercials and timeouts in the time). Every time there is a momentum-changing play in the NFL? Probably every 10 minutes (on average). It's the stoppage of play, a necessary evil, but terrible for those of us who want to maximize their TV sports watching experience.

Despite it's pitfalls, the NFL has it's place. I would argue that it is the best sport to watch when you get together with the buds. There is ample time for catching up, eating, belching and (of course) Farting the Big Farts. But as far as watching a football game by yourself?? It will never be as good as the NBA.

So why am I telling you these things my friends? Well, I'm not too sure (but I'm willing to bet Cam's Penis might know). Maybe it's because there is nothing to talk about in the NBA right now. I should be coming home to the raptors game raring to go at 5pm on Monday's Wednesdays and sometimes Fridays. I should be watching game highlights on my laptop at school while I should be paying attention. I should be looking forward to catching a couple games at The Grey Nathan's Parent's house over the christmas holidays but then never actually getting around to do it. We should be talking about how much we hate the Mavs because they are only good due to a wealthy owner. And we should be debating right now whether the raptors and jazz have what it takes to squeak into the playoffs or not.

But, we are not doing these things. And we might not be able to this year. And I can't decide whether I hate myself for liking the NBA too much or I hate the players and owners for loving money too much. Let's just hope something changes soon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA Lockout

(I might as well join in with Sam)
The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers are proof that Lebron James should have been the season's MVP. With him they were one of the best teams in the league (maybe the best - they might have had the most regular season wins, I don't remember and don't feel like looking it up). After losing him and little else, they instantly became the worst team of all time. That might sound like an exaggeration, but as far as I'm concerned, setting the all-time record for the longest losing streak (something like 30, maybe the highest in all professional sports) makes you the worst team ever.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are much like the Chevrolet Cavalier I drive: they're both poorly put together. Anytime a team completely disintegrates after losing one player - no matter how good that player is - it's safe to say the organization was flawed. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson aren't going to turn things around any better than Cam's penis would. I was about to say they're on the right with those draft picks, but I'm not so sure. I still don't understand why Irving was the consensus number one pick after having only played half a season of college ball. I won't say he'll be a huge bust, but I think he'll struggle. I don't know much about Tristan Thompson other than that his first name is my middle name and he's Canadian, so I think he'll be just fine.

But a prediction: the Cavs will be the worst team in the league next season, and it will be a while before things start looking up for them. Some NBA experts will pick them to be a surprise, but they won't be.

Another team that won't be a surprise: Minnesota. They'll be in the running for the worst in the league. Another prediction: many NBA experts actually will pick them to be a surprise. Another team that won't be a surprise: the Toronto Raptors, as much as I hate to say it, and as much as I'm really trying not to say it.

I was going to go on for a while and try to say something interesting and creative, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a subject, that is difficult to do. I was also going to post this a long time ago, because it has been finished for a long time, but I couldn't force myself to do it. I can't get excited about the NBA because I hate the NBA. Considering the NBA is actually my favorite thing on earth, that last statement isn't a true one, but yet it somehow is. As this lockout continues and millionaires continue to squabble about money, my anger grows. And I'm not mad about not watching basketball. I don't think anyone is. We're mad that this thing is happening at all. It's so disgusting that I've even had the thought that I don't want to watch it whenever it comes back. Now, I know that I won't be able to do that, but the fact that I've thought about it says a lot. Why should I associate myself with this abstract giant that is so greedy, selfish, manipulative, and uncaring towards me and all the other people who support it - the people who, were we to stop supporting it, could bring about its demise?

But I love basketball. I love watching it played at the highest level. And there's nothing I can do. That might sound pathetic - that I actually cannot separate myself from it - and it might not be completely true, but I feel it. Following the NBA has become part of my identity. The NBA means nothing, it's pointless, and it's even stupid - we spend hours watching, dissecting, and arguing about grown men throwing a ball through a hoop - but it's part of my life. Some of my best memories involve the NBA. But the memories aren't about the NBA itself. They're about the people who experience the NBA with me: my friends and family. They're the people I get excited with, argue with, text to, scream to.

I had actually thought I could leave the NBA behind, until our old friend Bill Simmons pulled me back. Item 55 in his recent "Proactively Mourning the NBA" column says, "Those random nights when three straight awesome crunch-times happen within a frantic span of 45 minutes, with my buddy Hirschy's inevitable 'Are you watching?' text happening somewhere along the lines." That's what it's all about. Those texts, and those phone calls before texts existed, and those next day conversations before we thought to use the phone, and those re-enactments on NBA Live when the actual games weren't happening, and the constant discussions we have anytime we meet up, and this blog.

That's why I care about the NBA. But the NBA doesn't care about me.