Hoop Logic

Hoop Logic with God Forbid’s Doc Coyle: All-Star Gamed

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Hey MetalSucks B-ball junkies! What’s up, this is Anso DF welcoming you to another awesomely excellent Hoop Logic with Doc Coyle of God Forbid. Come on in, lace up, run our lay-up line, take some shots, and get ready for the game! 

This is an exciting time of year for us! Pesky NFL football is vacating our choice broadcasting hours. Unexpected excellence is persisting in sleeper teams and under-the-radar players. And best of all, fast approaching is our very special three days of screwing around, partying, and NBA camaraderie: NBA All-Star Weekend!

I love every minute, the young stars matches and skills challenges, the cheery presence of evergreen Hall of Famers and drunk-ass Charles Barkley, the dunk contest and three-point challenge, the dazzling All-Star Game itself, supernovas Kobe and Durant, first-timers Tyson Chandler and Paul George, and ruffians Z-Bo and Joakim Noah. I’m pumped — and so is Doc, seer of all NBA truth. Feel the excitement below: 

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ALL-STAR MADNESS, SADNESS

Hey Doc, two Thursdays ago the 2013 NBA All-Star team starting line-ups were unveiled. Which selections make u wish for a revision of the selection process?

Doc Coyle, God Forbid: I have to say I’m not happy with the current process where fans vote for the starters. To be blunt, the fans are kind of dumb. It’s them who voted Yao Ming to the 2011 All-Star team when he hadn’t played one game that season, and then this year almost voted in Jeremy Lin — who is having an average season — over the NBA’s best point guard, Chris Paul. The NBA is very fan friendly and this will probably never change, but it’s frustrating when the deserving get left behind. Especially guys that may never have another chance at All-Star honors.

With that said, I think Kevin Garnett‘s selection really screwed up the East’s front court. KG is an all-time great in the midst of a fine season, but Boston has is under .500 and doesn’t deserve two All-Stars (and Rajon Rondo is a lock). Tyson Chandler (New York), Joakim Noah (Chicago), and Brook Lopez (Brooklyn) are having better seasons for teams with good records. Especially Lopez — his exclusion is a major snub. He is the NBA’s top-scoring center and the Nets’ best player this season, and his team’s record is very good. It’s even surprising that Chris Bosh was selected over Lopez. Although Bosh is shooting a career-high 54%, his other numbers are down slightly. Like KG, he is having a good year, but I lean toward the practice of getting new stars onto All-Star teams. I feel like the coaches — who vote on the All-Star non-starters — get used to voting for certain players and are less welcoming of new faces.

And I am surprised that Chicago Bulls F Luol Deng was selected over Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks. J-Smoove is widely recognized as the most talented and accomplished NBA player to never make an All-Star squad. It seems like poorly-timed misfortune (his team’s nose-dive, a one-game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team”) really hurt his seemingly inevitable All-Star selection. A bad reputation can really follow you in the league. It’s a shame. I smell a trade coming soon.

Now as for the West, they mostly got it right. The Lakers do not deserve two All-Stars, but Dwight Howard’s numbers are still good enough to merit high consideration. Of course, the coaches would not have voted him in, especially since his reputation is not so great at the moment. So fan votes saved him, but it’s Tim Duncan who deserves to be the starter. And I’m sure a healthy Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Love could have taken that spot if able. And then there’s the much-lauded Marc Gasol, who is great, but his teammate Zach Randolph has been the best player on Memphis this year. Well deserved for that dude.

But there’s an obvious snub in the West too: Golden State’s Steph Curry. The Warriors are great this year, and he is their heart and soul. His numbers are All-Star caliber and could easily get him on the East’s team;  but in the West, he’s battling for the same spot as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Tony Parker. That’s just not fair. Like I said, the coaches always go with the familiar faces in a pinch, but Steph Curry is as deserving as any of those guys. Maybe an All Star will be sidelined by injury and then Curry will get his due.

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Doc, you are hereby charged with the task of selecting seven All-Star bench players for each conference! What say you, sir?

DOC: I’ll pick three for the front line, two guards, and two wild cards for each conference:

Eastern Conference:

Tyson Chandler C New York Knicks
Joakim Noah C Chicago Bulls
Brook Lopez C New Jersey Nets
Jrue Holiday G Philadelphia 76ers
Kyrie Irving G Cleveland Cavaliers
Josh Smith
F Atlanta Hawks
Paul George
G Indiana Pacers

Western Conference:

James Harden G Houston Rockets
Russell Westbrook
G Oklahoma City Thunder
LaMarcus Aldridge
C Portland Trail Blazers
Zach Randolph
F Memphis Grizzlies
Tim Duncan
F San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker
G San Antonio Spurs
David Lee
F Golden State Warriors

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NBA ON TV: PRETTY, REPETITIVE, PRECIOUS

Doc, let’s talk about the NBA viewer experience. NBA on ESPN deserves cheers for their jazzy new bumper music, but might you agree that they should reconsider that 24/7 sports ticker? Over two consecutive NBA games — six hours — a viewers eyes are drawn to the same headlines like 13 kajillion times!

DOC: It doesn’t bother me that much. If I don’t care what’s happening with Women’s Lacrosse at Weber State, I tend to subconsciously ignore it. (I think my favorite thing was the Manti Te’o news rolling across the ticker. It reads like a middle schooler’s gossipy text message.) The ticker is almost obsolete though. If you’re a sports fan with a smart phone, you have a million apps to keep you up to date with your teams. I also check twitter in addition to the box score to get a more fleshed out moment-by-moment reaction from my favorite journalists.

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As a dude who has often travelled the US, do you love that an NBA viewer can revisit cities just by watching game broadcasts? Is your heart warmed by post-break exterior shots of beautiful cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles?

DOC: I have to say no. Anyone who has done an arena tour or open, parking-lot tour like Mayhem or Ozzfest will tell that those shows feel like groundhog day. An arena in Los Angeles looks just like the arena in Columbus, OH from the inside. Same thing with a parking lot looking out at a sea of people. Plus many of these arenas, fair grounds, and amphitheaters are in the middle of nowhere. Club tours are the ones where you feel like every show has its own personality.

I may not connect to the geography of these places I see on TV, but I do notice that some NBA crowds are way more excitable than others. For example, I loooooooove watching Portland Trailblazers home games. They have a real home court advantage because their people are so amped. I think the enthusiasm is more amplified in small markets. The same can be said for OKC, Denver, and Memphis. A viewer picks up a college game vibe. Those people are much more invested emotionally and I love that.

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Doc, a few days ago began the best time of year for NBA fans: Sunday afternoon doubleheaders on ABC! Do u wanna have brunch with me and watch? How many mimosas u drink?

I always get psyched for Sunday NBA to start. Sure, I like football, but B-Ball is my shit. While half of the country mourns the end of football, I relish that we get the whole spring to ourselves.

And I fucking love brunch and mimosas, so count me in. I’m pretty sure I could polish off a pitcher. I haven’t drank in a month so this should be fun.

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MARK JACKSON IS GOLDEN

Speaking of Sunday afternoon games: Former ESPN commentator Mark Jackson — once a Sunday first-team broadcaster with Mike Breen and Coach Jeff Van Gundy — took his debut coaching gig last season at the helm of the Golden State Warriors. This season, his squad is achieving way beyond their talents (25-15, fifth in the West). Are u surprised at their success and/or thrilled for Jackson?

DOC: I expected that, along with the Warriors, the T-Wolves, Hornets, Wizards, and Raptors would take big steps this year because of their talent. Unfortunately, all of those teams from outside the Golden State have been hammered by injuries. They’re improving as they get healthy, but for now, the Warriors have achieved more than any of us thought.

At the beginning of this season, my main concern was the uncertainty about health, namely Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut. Curry has been there and has been great, but I didn’t think it was possible for them to be great without a healthy Bogut in the middle. Yet, a few things have made the Warriors very good: David Lee has proven that he is the real deal; people forget that he made an All-Star team as a Knick in 2010. He seemed like a guy like Monta Ellis or Kevin Martin who puts up great numbers with bad teams. Now his consistent 20-10 production is feeding a winning formula. I mean, who thought he would be a more productive power forward than Amar’e Stoudemire? Plus, Golden State has a solid supporting cast via Klay Thompson, Jarret Jack, Carl Landry, and rookie Harrison Barnes. The Warriors are not a great defensive team, but they have improved over previous years when it was just a perpetual shootout.

So if Bogut can come back strong, his Warriors could climb the ladder to the upper tiers of the Western Conference. They need him in order to become a great defensive team. As constructed, they must be considered a second-tier team. They just don’t have the star power or depth of headliners Thunder, Clips, or Spurs. If they can hold on to Curry, Thompson, and Barnes, than they have a nice young core to move forward.

–Doc Coyle, God Forbid

Like most hoop junkies, Doc gabs about NBA stuff on the internet, so join him @Doc4bid. Get music, tourdates, and merch for his awesome band God Forbid here.

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