Here’s another follow-up post. In fact, it’s a follow-up to a follow-up. Since the NCAA’s Final Four will be contested today, it’s worth looking back–and maybe a little forward–at the DFR’s case study in what’s wrong with college basketball, the career of coach Shaka Smart.
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Villanova’s Jay Wright: the poster boy for ‘stick around and succeed’?
Two and a half years ago, this space examined the ramifications–pun intended–of Smart’s move from VCU to Texas. That post put forth the proposition that maneuverings such as the Longhorns poaching Smart away from the Rams are ultimately detrimental to college basketball overall, except that they benefit a small cadre of elite schools like Texas. I also noted that, despite superficial considerations, there was a strong chance that the move would not be to Smart’s benefit either.
The early returns were not promising. How’s it gone since then? Well, I don’t want to say I told you so… Continue reading DNS-CD
Why are there two three-point lines on an NBA half-court?
We tend to think of the three point arc on an NBA basketball court as one continuous line, but in fact that’s not true. There actually are three separate but joined lines that define three-point distance in an NBA game: there’s the actual arc that curves 23 feet and 9 inches away from the center of the basket, and then there’s the straight 22-foot lines that parallel the sidelines on each side of the width of the court. All those lines join at a couple of soft corners to form one continuous stripe that defines three-point range.
OK, that’s all easy to understand; it’s even easier to visualize when looking at the court versus describing it. (You can see all of this laid out in the diagram available at this site.)
What’s not easy to understand, if you pause to think about it, is why that’s supposed to make sense.
Continue reading The Mystery Of NBA’s Arc
A Muted Sound Of Thunder
On an idle Thursday night, I happened to tune in to the second half of the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets game on TNT. To the surprise of seemingly everyone–except yours truly–the Thunder are not playing like the new superteam that they were supposed to be.
The conventional wisdom going into the season would have had the newly reformulated Thunder easily handling the Nuggets. Instead, Denver pulled away from OKC and sent the struggling Thunder to a fourth straight loss. The presumed “big three” of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George are now looking that much further up at the Nuggets from last place in the Northwest Division.
It wasn’t supposed to be like that, for sure. The apologists are saying that the new-look Thunder just haven’t gelled yet; that once they get to know each other, they will surely right the ship and take their place as at least the third, and maybe even the second, best team in the West.
This result is a surprise, if you look at the thing as adding two All-Stars to a third. However, if you view the new additions, Anthony and George, in terms of accomplishment, the wisdom of the move suddenly becomes much less clear. Continue reading A Muted Sound Of Thunder
Swag Goeth Before The Fall?
I am (pretty much) back from my summer vacation, the one that had me driving across the country to visit relatives in Philadelphia, and included visits to major league ballparks along the way.
It was difficult to keep track of a lot of what was going on, though I did make sure to watch every one of the NBA Finals games and see the Warriors get their sweet sweet revenge on Cleveland. All that came across quite clearly to me, and it was–from a Dubs fan’s perspective–quite delightful.
What’s not been so clear has been the most recent of the newly re-crowned champs’ off-season moves. In fact, the latest news has left me a bit groggy, surprised, and not quite certain that I heard that right. As in:
“Wait…Nick Young? As in, Swaggy Goddamn P?” Continue reading Swag Goeth Before The Fall?
Kevin Durant = The Difference