Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to answer the question of who is the greatest shooter in NBA history...




Ever since Stephen Curry won the 2015 NBA MVP award, I have been thinking about this question a lot. Who is the greatest NBA shooter of all-time? Initially I was just trying to figure out if Curry actually deserved the MVP or not. After doing my research I concluded that James Harden was the real MVP. Twenty-one playoff games and an NBA championship later, I feel the same way. You can read about my thoughts on the NBA awards system here. But we digress...

When I was looking into Curry's numbers, I thought to myself, Holy shit! Is Curry the greatest shooter of all-time? His numbers seemed ridiculous. Then someone accused me of being a "fair weather" fan because I stopped writing my blog after the Lakers started sucking. I can assure you that is not the case. 1) My blog is about much more than just the Lakers, or sports for that matter. 2) I wrote several articles about how much the Lakers suck.  The real answer to why I stopped writing is that I got too busy with real world responsibilities. But this Curry question has got my wheels turning again and made me motivated to neglect my wife and kid so here it goes.

After doing some serious googling, I broke it down to 16 players who are candidates for the greatest shooter title. Why 16? Because a 4x4 collage was the best fit for my webpage, that's why. Deal with it.

First, I should give some honorable mentions to guys like Del Curry, Mike Miller, and Wesley Person. Also, especially with the way the NBA is played nowadays, there is no doubt youngsters like Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving will crack this list in the near future. Before I get into the list, here is a very important question.

What factors go into answering who is the greatest shooter of all-time?
Not particularly in any order...

1. Stats - This is important. However, it may be true that numbers never lie, but stats sure as hell do. So they cannot be the only factor when judging a shooter.

2. Degree of difficulty on shots - This is also known as the eye test. A lot of the players on this list mostly shot wide-open uncontested 3's from their favorite spot on the floor. Others created their own shot with their dribbling or height advantage and shot with a hand in their face. There is no way in hell you can't factor that in.

3. The clutch factor - I could probably seriously hang with one of these guys in an empty gym shooting contest IF I caught them on a bad night and I was having a hot streak. But NBA games aren't played in an empty gym.  And everything that a player does in a game matters most in big moments towards the end of a close game.

4. The fear factor - A player's reputation matters. Why? Because the defense will react to that reputation and change the way they play. Kobe Bryant may not be great statistically when it comes to game winning shots. But the Black Mamba has a fearsome reputation so I guarantee the defense will be shitting their pants if he has the ball at the end of a close game. There is a difference between this and the clutch factor.

5. 3-pointers matter more but mid-range and free throws also count. - Shooter typically means 3-point shooter but you have to account for other kinds of shooting at least a little bit. A pure shooter should be great at the mid-range game as well as free throws. Otherwise, it just makes him sort of a gimmicky player. Bruce Bowen would be on this great shooter list if it wasn't for the fact that he was a career 57% free throw shooter. He wasn't a pure shooter. He was just great at shooting wide open 3's from the corner. That's what I call a gimmick.

Using these factors, who is the best shooter of all-time?

16. Pete Maravich


"Pistol" Pete was a player who was truly ahead of his time. He was your grandfather's Stephen Curry. Although he mostly played in an era before the 3 point line, he is on this list for 2 reasons: Factors 2 and 4. He was one of the best players ever at getting off his own shot. Probably one of the first players ever to dribble between his legs in an NBA game. And he has one of the most feared reputations amongst people of his generation.

15. Drazen Petrovic


Unfortunately, Drazen died in a tragic car accident in 1993. I never saw him play but he belongs on this list for the same reasons as Pete Maravich. He was a great shooter who could get off his own shot. From watching tapes he was porbably one of the best shooters with a hand in his face. As far his reputation is concerned, anyone who saw him ball will tell you Drazen Petrovic didn't take shit from anyone. Not even Michael Jordan. He never backed down from a fight. The 6 years he did play in the NBA, he ended up shooting better than 50% from the field and 43% from the 3. Had he lived, Drazen Petrovic probably would have been one of my favorite players. And he very well might have ended up number 1 on this list. RIP.

14. Dale Ellis


In the beginning of his career Dale Ellis was more of a well rounded scorer than just a shooter. Later on, as a role player, he became a deadly 3 point specialist. At first glance you would imagine a 17 year career of shooting almost 48% from the field, 40% from 3 and being an all-star caliber player at one point would land you higher on this list. But for some reason, Dale Ellis wasn't a great free throw shooter. He wasn't awful like Bruce Bowen, but he is the only player on this list to have a career free throw percentage in the 70s, at 78%.

13. Mark Price


A historically underrated player, Mark Price was Steve Nash before Steve Nash. Along with Nash and Steph Curry, Price is the only other player to have a career free throw percentage better than 90%. Nash has him beat by 0.001. A four time all-star, and career shooting percentages of 47/40/90, Mark Price probably would have ended up higher on this list had he played longer than 12 seasons.

12. Jeff Hornacek


Famous for rubbing his face as part of his free throw routine, Jeff Hornacek's name was synonymous with the word accuracy. Any time there was a dorky looking guy who could shoot on the playgrounds, he would be compared to Jeff Hornacek. No doubt playing with the likes of Stockton and Malone helped him get tons of open shots, but Hornacek was a consistent 40%'er from 3 long before he arrived in Utah. The only reason why Jeff Hornacek is not higher on this list is because he didn't quite shoot enough. With only a little more than 2000 3-point attempts, most of the other players on this list have around twice as many.

11. Glen Rice


If asthetics were a factor, Glen Rice might be number 1 or 2 on this list. He had one of the sweetest looking jump shots ever. Much like Dale Ellis, for the first half of his career, Glen Rice was more of a scorer than a shooter. Think Paul Pierce or Carmelo Anthony. As he aged, he gained a little bit of weight and became less athletic, but was nevertheless a deadly 3 point shooter. A career 40% 3 point shooter despite being his team's number one scoring option (and a target for defenses) for most of his career earns him a spot on this list. 

10. Peja Stojakovic


The most overlooked quality about Peja Stojakovic was his strength and size as a shooter. Because he was only a shooter, he never used this in any other part of his game. Towards the end of a long grueling game, most shooters begin to fall short on their shots as they rack up the minutes and get tired. But at 6'9/220 Peja had the strength to keep shooting accurately. If you asked me who could hit the most 3's out of a 1000 straight shots, my answer would Peja. Simply because some of the other guys might not be strong enough to shoot well towards the end. 

9. Kevin Durant


If this was a list about the best scorers, Kevin Durant would be much higher. Durant is such a good offensive player in every facet of the game, that his abilities as a pure shooter are often overlooked. He probably has the longest range out of anyone on this list. As a 3-point shooter, he is very streaky, resulting in a career 38%. That's pretty good, but most of the other guys on this list are at 40-plus. He is only half way through his career however, and as the legend of Kevin Durant grows, there is no doubt he will end up much higher than 9.

8. Dirk Nowizki


Like Durant, Dirk is also has a career 3-point percentage of 38%. But also like Durant, Dirk is much more than just a shooter. Unlike most players, who depend more on long-range shooting as they age, Dirk has gone away from the 3-point shot as he has gotten older. He has learned to play closer to the basket. He has also maxed out factors 2-5 mentioned above. Dirk rarely gets an open shot, and more often than not he is shooting with his back to the basket, off one leg, over the hands of multiple defenders. The degree of difficulty on Dirk's shots is unmatched in the league. He is also as clutch and fearsome as they come.

7. Steve Kerr


This seven-time NBA champion may turn out to be the next Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich. As a player, there was no one more accurate in the history of the league at shooting 3-pointers than Steve Kerr. His career 3-point percentage of 45% is unmatched and has to be respected. Why is he not higher on this list? For one, he didn't shoot enough. (1599 3-point attempts) Probably because he was a very limited role player and didn't play a lot of minutes. Kerr also played with multiple hall-of-famers his entire career who did nothing but get him great wide-open looks from the arc. You still have to give him credit for hitting those shots though, especially in the clutch.

6. Kyle Korver


Besides Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, there is no one better on this list at hitting jump shots coming off screens. Kyle Korver holds the record for 3-point percentage in a single season at 53% in 2009-2010. That's insane. Do you realize what that means? Kyle Korver can hit 3's more accurately than a lot of players can hit lay-ups. Over the last 4 seasons, he has been shooting 41%, 43%, 45% and 47% from the 3 with increasing attempts. With a career of 43% from 3 and 88% from the free throw line, Kyle Korver may end up a lot closer to 1 by the time he retires.

5. Larry Bird


A two time member of the 50/40/90 club, Larry Bird has the clutch and fear factors oozing out of his pores. There was no bigger trash talker and mentally tough player than Larry legend. He was so confident in his abilities as a shooter, he would tell the defender where he was going and how he was going to shoot it. Then he would swish the shot and do it all over again. The 3-point line was relatively new when he played, and it wasn't as big a part of the game as it is today. Had he played in today's league he would have had much better numbers in that department. But if you go by the eye test alone, Larry Bird might be 1 or 2.

4. Steve Nash


When you think Steve Nash you think of passing first. For that reason, when you combine his abilities to shoot from the 2, 3, and free throw line, Steve Nash might be the most underrated shooter of all-time. The man is the greatest free throw shooter in the history of the NBA at 90.4%. For 14 of his 18 total seasons in the league, he shot at least 40% from the 3-point line. 5 out of his last 6 seasons, he shot better than 90% from the free throw line. And perhaps most incredibly, he shot better than 50% overall field goals for 5 seasons. As a point guard! That's almost unheard of. He is also a four-time member of the 50/40/90 club. No other player has done that more than twice. He probably didn't deserve his 2 MVP's, but definitely deserves more credit as a shooter.

3. Ray Allen


For much of his career, Ray Allen was a scorer. After he was traded to Boston and became the third option on the Big 3, he made himself into a Reggie Miller type pure shooter. He became incredible at coming off screens and hitting crazy 3's fading away from the basket. Just ask the Spurs. When it comes to practice, there is no shooter who works harder than Ray Allen. A two-time champion, he hit clutch shot after clutch shot for his teams. As a Laker fan, I can tell you he scared the shit out of me in the two Finals we played against Boston. His accuracy stats have always varied greatly depending on his team situation, but right now Jesus Shuttlesworth is the all-time leader in 3-pointers made and it's not even close.

2. Reggie Miller


How much of the fear factor did Reggie Miller have in him? Well, enough for ESPN to make an entire 30 for 30 documentary about it. When Reggie Miller had his legendary playoff battles against the Knicks, he made the entire city of New York clench their assholes with fear every time he took a shot. He famously scored 8 points in 8 seconds to win a playoff game against the Knicks. He was so much of a Knick Killer that the word "Knicks" comes up 22 times in his Wikipedia entry. Besides Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller might be the single biggest reason the Knicks don't have a title since 1973. There was no one better at moving without the ball, coming off screens, kicking his legs up in the air while shooting to draw a foul, and pissing you off. Just ask Kobe Bryant. 

1. Stephen Curry


Stephen Curry excels at every single factor discussed earlier. As far as the stats are concerned, in his 6 seasons so far, Curry is shooting the 3-pointer at 44%. That's only 1% lower than the all-time leader, his coach Steve Kerr. But the degree of difficulty is at least 10 times higher on most of Curry's shots. Because he is the primary ball handler, distributor, AND scorer on his team, he doesn't always get wide-open looks. Besides Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki, there is no one better at creating his own jump shot. But unlike those guys, Curry is a 6-foot guard, which makes it even more impressive. There has never been anyone better at pulling up and shooting off the dribble. His quick handles help create just a tiny space, and his quick release, perhaps the quickest ever, helps him get a shot off in that tiny space. He is also great at catching and shooting off screens. We saw in these playoffs he is developing into a clutch and feared player. His accuracy is something we have never seen before when you take into account the amount and difficulty of long range shots he takes. He is also a career 90% free throw shooter so far. What more can you ask for in a shooter? Now that he has his championship, a couple more crazy clutch shots like he had against New Orleans in the 2015 playoffs, and there will be no doubt Stephen Curry will be a unanimous choice in everyone's mind, for the best shooter of all-time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3 HUGE lessons to learn from the Donald Sterling saga


The last time I wrote an article on this joint, I defended Dwight Howard and blamed Laker fans for unfairly criticizing him. Then the traitorous bastard left us for Houston and I stopped writing for a while. So first of all, even though I was 100% right about what I said about that asshole, I apologize to all my fellow Laker fans for not joining on the hate early. (Although that very same hate might have been responsible for him leaving in the first place.) So anyways, 12 months, a trip to the motherland, a pregnant wife, and a baby later, I am back! (I thought about writing about the baby as my first article back but hey, you have to keep your priorities in order. So I chose to write about Donald Sterling instead.)

Lesson # 1: All press is good press...Sort of...

Answer this: If the Sterling tape was never leaked, and if Donald Sterling put up the Clippers for sale because he wanted to sell the team, without any controversy, would he have gotten the same price? Before you answer, keep in mind that the Forbes 2014 valuation for the Clippers was at 575 million. The highest any NBA team had ever been sold for was 550 million. (Milwaukee Bucks last month.) My answer is no. 

The Donald Sterling controversy was responsible for two very big factors that lead to the Clippers being sold for 2 billion dollars. The first and most important being that it increased the profile of the team. The Clippers became a household name in the non-sports household. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's extremely likable superstar leader Chris Paul. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's wise black coach who is beloved by everyone that knows him. The controversy shined a spotlight on the high flying Lob City duo of Blake Griffin and Deondray Jordan. As a direct result of this increased profile,  the Clippers franchise became more desirable in the eyes of those who can afford to buy a team. Prime example: Do you really think Oprah even gave two shits about the Clippers before the Donald Sterling controversy? I HIGHLY doubt it. She might not even have known they existed. And all of a sudden we hear that she wants to buy the team? The line of billionaire celebrities that wanted to buy this team went up to the Staples Center 300 section. And most of those people wouldn't have been in that line if this was a regular controversy-free sale of an NBA franchise.  

The second factor that came into play because of the leaked tape is a very basic economic principle. When you have a motivated seller, you will get a better price if you are the buyer. But a seller who is being FORCED to sell and is willing to fight to the death for his right NOT to sell? You can only imagine what motivated billionaires that want something will try to pay for something they can't have. And that is exactly what happened. The bidding started and everyone knew they had to go high in order to get Sterling to stop fighting and sell, and Steve Ballmer's bid turned out to be the highest. So ironically Donald Sterling's moronic words were responsible for him getting $2 billion for a team that he was FORCED to sell, which is more than TWICE as much as he would have gotten had he wanted to sell the team on his own. If I had not seen how much of an imbecile he looked on Anderson Cooper, I would have guessed he had planned the whole thing all along...Or maybe even that was just an act...Nah, he's too much of a moron for that. 

Lesson #2: The NBA only cares about one thing: The NBA

When everyone was calling for the NBA to do something about Donald Sterling, I was asking myself, why would they do anything? They already know he's a racist. It's been well documented in the past and the NBA has looked the other way. But of course when you are in the middle of the playoffs, and it's been one of the greatest first rounds of all time, in a point in time when the NBA has never been more popular or profitable than now, THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU CAN HAVE PLAYERS BOYCOTTING PLAYOFF GAMES. Besides a swarm of killer bees being unleashed in the arena during game 7 of the Finals, playoff boycotts would basically be the worst case scenario, the 9/11 of any sports league. THAT was the difference between Sterling's discretions in the past and this one. This one affected the league's money/brand/popularity/image. So when NBA commisioner Adam Silver uttered the words "Banned for life" and imposed a maximum fine on Donald Sterling, forgive me if I didn't join in on the Martin Luther King Jr. comparisons. If you disagree, I need you to click on this link for me. Don't worry...it's not porn or some sort of virus.

Lesson #3: Steve Ballmer DID NOT overpay for the Clippers

According to Forbes, the Clippers net operating profit is approximately $15 million per year. With the $2 billion price tag, it would take Steve Ballmer about 133 years to break even if he never sold the team. Obviously these are rough estimates and I am not taking into account future improvements on operating profits, TV deals, and other factors. But even WITH all of that, this is not a very good investment in roughly financial terms by any estimation. Of course that could all change if another billionaire wants to buy this team for even higher. But what I am getting at here is that this is not a business investment. This is a toy. This is like me and you buying an XBOX. Let me put it in a context everyone can understand: 

If you loved taking it up the ass, but you weren't gay, and there were only 30 dildos made on Earth, and out of that only one dildo was immediately available for sale, and cucumbers/carrots/eggplants/bananas were all extinct, and you had pretty much an unimaginable amount of money, how much would you pay for that dildo? Exactly. Steve Ballmer's dildo is the Clippers. 

Lesson #4: In the end, Donald Sterling got EXACTLY what he deserved

Yes, you read that correctly. First of all, in a cosmic/karmic way, Donald Sterling should have been punished. Yes, he was illegally recorded and he has the freedom to say what he wants. So maybe he shouldn't have been punished for this specific incident, but he has gone unpunished for all the bullshit shenanigans he has pulled off in the past. The housing discrimination, the media manipulation, the unfair treatment of employees, all of the stunts he has pulled off with Clippers players coaches and executives. So I have no problem for punishing him for this when all the shit before has gone unpunished. 

With that said, many people are saying that Sterling walking away with $2 billion is not a punishment. But Sterling was worth 2 billion BEFORE the sale of the Clippers. When you are in your 80's what's another 2 billion when you already have 2 billion? Money doesn't mean shit to Donald Sterling at this point. The $2 billion is just a consolation prize for being illegally recorded in his own home. He already has so much money that he doesn't get off on making a huge profit. What the old racist bastard gets off on is being an "owner" of a franchise. He gets off on being an "owner" of black athletes. He gets off on sitting court-side as the "owner" and everyone looking at him and saying, look, that's Donald Sterling, the "owner" of the Clippers. He gets off on being the boss of people and paying them money for working for him.  He gets off on heckling and criticizing his own players (Baron Davis) DURING the game. He gets off on negotiating contracts, evaluating and devaluating players, and firing coaches and GMs, and not paying them according to their contracts. He gets off on bringing his friends and mistresses to the game of HIS franchise of which he is the "owner". And now, he cannot do any of that! He can't be the "owner." That is is a HUGE punishment for someone like Donald Sterling. If you can't understand this, it's simple...just go back and use the dildo analogy...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Unfair Criticism of Dwight Howard. What Gives?



As I do everyday, I woke up this morning and sat on the shitter going over the Facebook newsfeed on my iPhone. There I noticed some people had a couple of not-so-nice things to say about Dwight Howard. Without mentioning any names, here are a couple of them:

Dwight please don't resign with the Lakers. You'll never win a championship.

I rather have 2014 cap space and draft picks anyways. #signandtradeD12

As I read these comments, I panicked. I thought Dwight had signed somewhere else. So I checked ESPN. Fortunately, he hadn't left yet. (Then I remembered he's not a free agent until July 1st.) Immediately, my next thought was to dust off the old jizz-stained laptop keys and write my next blog article. Here is a nice first thought:

EVERY LAKER FAN THAT IS HATING ON DWIGHT IS FUCKING INSANE! YOU NEED TO GET SOME PERSPECTIVE ON THE LAKERS 2012-2013 NBA SEASON. THINK WITH YOUR BRAINS. NOT YOUR EMOTIONS...So here is that perspective...

Let's get something clear. I am not saying Dwight Howard is the best player in the league or better than Kobe or even a #1 franchise player. He has two huge flaws:

1. His head
2. Limited offensively

But is there another NBA superstar without any major flaws not named Lebron James? The answer is no! These flaws are no reason to get rid of Dwight. He is still the best center in the league. Who would you rather have in his place? Blake Griffin is an athlete who happens to play basketball. He is not a basketball player. Roy Hibbert has had a good playoff series. Let's see him turn that into multiple All-NBA seasons before we turn him into Hakeem Olajuwon. Marc Gasol? At some point I would like to write an entire article on why he is overrated. Omer Asik? Andrew Bynum? Tyson Chandler? Not even close. There is a reason why every team with cap space is chomping at the bits waiting to get their hands on Dwight. There is a reason why the Lakers have made Dwight their number 1 priority despite having their worst season ever. These GMs are smarter than you! (and me.) So before you unfairly blame Dwight for this past season, try to gain some perspective on the situation:

1. The back injury was a real thing. I know it sounds like an excuse, but Dwight himself is the one who came back early from the back surgery, so everyone expected him to be 100%. If he had not come back early, people would have realized the back injury was more serious and maybe they would have cut him a little slack. Remember in the beginning of the season, Dwight wasn't even supposed to come back until January. And the dude ended up playing in the freaking preseason! For the sake of the team!  This set him up from the very beginning to have a season with lingering injury issues. He wasn't 100% at any point in the entire season. 

Injuries weren't only an issue for Dwight. This was the most injury riddled Lakers team EVER! Look at the number of games missed by key Lakers players:

Dwight Howard: 6
Pau Gasol: 33
Meta World Peace: 7
Kobe Bryant: 4
Steve Nash: 33
Jordan Hill: The whole season!
Steve Blake: 37

With even 10% less injuries the Lakers could have had a better record and much better playoff situation. I mean they had freaking Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock starting in the playoffs!!! That kind of injury situation, combined with all the bullshit that I wrote about in the next paragraph, is a bad situation for any superstar. Forget Dwight Howard, Michael Jordan could not have had a positive outcome playing for the 2012-2013 Lakers.

2. Within a span of about 6 months, the Lakers traded for a different starting center, traded for a different starting point guard, signed two new key role players, installed a new offense, fired their head coach 5 games into the season, ditched the new offense, hired a brand new coach in the middle of the season, installed a brand new offense in the middle of the season. Are you fucking kidding me? This is not Major League Baseball. You cannot put together a bunch of different parts together and hope to win right away. Basketball is much more of a team game. It requires continuity and chemistry between the players and the coaches. The 2008 Boston Celtics does not happen very often. None of those changes can be blamed on Dwight Howard. The Lakers management is to blame here. Firing a bad coach to hire another bad one. Trying to implement a run-and-gun offense with an aging team. Handling the coaching search in the worst way possible. Maybe the Laker fans should all unite against Jimmy Buss instead of Dwight Howard. 

3. Dwight Howard cannot guard 4 players by himself. The Lakers' defense was horrible this year. But I don't understand why people are blaming D12 for that. I don't care how good of a defender you are. If you are surrounded by the worst defensive starting 4 in the league, you are not going to look good defensively. Everyone is raving about Roy Hibbert's defense in the playoffs. He played great. But don't be so quick to declare him better than Dwight. Let's compare the defensive help they had:

Hibbert's PG: George Hill (Young, athletic, excellent defender)
Dwight's PG: Steve Nash (Old, slow, maybe the worst defender in the league at his position?)

Hibbert's SG: Lance Stevenson (Young, athletic, energetic, no pressure or expectations)
Dwight's SG: Kobe Bryant (Old, at one point a great defender, now he chooses not to play defense, plays too much help defense forgetting about his own man, gambles way too much to go for steals, way too much pressure on him on the offensive end to also play excellent defense)

Hibbert's SF: Paul George (Young, athletic, maybe the best defender in the league, was even able to contain Lebron)
Dwight's SF: Meta World Peace (Old, slow, fat, good hands but maybe the slowest SF in the league when it comes to foot speed)

Hibbert's PF: David West (Strong in the post on both ends, one of the toughest players in the league)
Dwight's PF: Pau Gasol (Getting older, questions about being soft)

So before we all get out our pitch forks and run the best center in the league out of our city, just take a second to breath, and remember that Dwight still led the league in rebounding, was the starting center on the All-Star team, and made 3rd team All-NBA in a year where it was impossible for him to succeed. That is his worst year. If you ask me, that's pretty damn good for a worst year. His best year will consist of an MVP and a trip to the finals. Will he be the best offensive player or the emotional leader of the team when that happens? Probably not. But he was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future, the best center in the league. So unless you are prepared for life without him, beware watch you ask for Laker fans...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The One and Only Certainty for the Lakers: CHANGE


As I sit at my desk writing my first article after the longest break I have ever taken from this blog, I amreminded of the first time I took some time away from writing. It was back in June 2012. Here is the first article I wrote upon returning. At the time, I strongly felt the urge to drain my man period, or manstruation, if you will, by cursing, ranting and raving. This time, it is different. I don't feel the urge to spend an entire paragraph saying the word "fuck" or call people retards or make racist comments. Don't get me wrong. I still have those feelings. I am still the same angry racist asshole you know and love. But I just don't feel the need to go out of my way to express my inner asshole. (Instead I just vent my frustrations through my outer asshole sitting on the toilet.) Maybe I am getting old. Maybe my testosterone levels are slowly declining. Or maybe I am just getting fatter and lazier. Whatever it is, here is the point:

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE.

Brace yourselves Laker fans (and haters). Changes are coming. BIG TIME! If there is one thing we can all learn from this Kobe Bryant injury, it is this: Kobe Bryant will rehab and work his ass off and be back and he will be a top tier player when he returns. No doubt. He will be ready. But will the Lakers be ready? I am more worried about the rest of the roster hell of a lot more than I am worried about Kobe Bryant with a torn achilles.

Back in 2009, I was talking with a friend of mine from pharmacy school. We were discussing the upcoming NBA playoffs. I casually mentioned to my buddy that I didn't think Dwight Howard was serious enough to win a championship. I thought he goofed around too much. I thought he liked to laugh and smile and make jokes just a little too much. Then a few weeks went by and Dwight Howard single-handedly carried a weak Magic team to the Finals. "I guess I was wrong," I said to myself. In reference to that thought, today I sit here saying "I guess I was wrong," once again. (I am sticking to my original thought of Dwight not being serious enough.) So here is the bottom line: Unless he dramatically changes his on-court personality(not impossible), Dwight Howard will never win a championship being the best player on his team. 

I think whether Dwight Howard resigns with the Lakers or not is irrelevant. Here is why: Whether he resigns or not, the Lakers are not going to be good enough next year to win a championship. Due to the contract and cap situations, the Lakers will be limited in what they can do to their roster. And whether he resigns or not, after next year, the Lakers will be contenders. Why?

Because they have only one player signed for the 2014-2015 season. Wait. Let me repeat that. The Los Angeles Lakers have only one player signed on for the 2014-2015 season!!! That player is Steve Nash at around 9 million. That means they have more than 80 MILLION DOLLARS coming off the books in the summer of 2014. Now of course some of that money will be used to resign Dwight, Kobe (at a much lower price) and maybe Pau (also at a much lower price). Regardless, they will have more cap room than they have ever had in the modern free agent era. And being the Los Angeles Lakers, they will attract some big time free agents. Here are some POTENTIAL free agents in the summer of 2014:

Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker
John Wall
Dwayne Wade
Lebron James
Chris Bosh
Luol Deng
Paul George
Carmelo Anthony
Zach Randolph
+ A bunch of other really good young role players and upcoming players that can be available.

With all the good team trying to limit their spending in order to avoid the luxury tax bill, and the bad teams not being as good of a destination as LA, I think the Lakers are going to revamp their entire team with a  bunch of new free agents in that summer. I am not saying all of these players I listed want to come to the Lakers. The Lakers may not even have a shot at some of these players. But if they can just sign a couple of those young big names, or maybe three, put them along side some sort of combination of Dwight/Pau (will be getting paid much less than now if he sticks around/Kobe (will be getting paid much less than now)/Nash, and recharge their bench with some young athletes, the Lakers will be contenders again...soon.

Lakers being contenders is not so surprising. Almost everyone can predict that will happen, just because they are the Lakers. But whether or not they will be perennial contenders on a verge of starting another dynasty will all depend on the coaching situation. I have been frustrated with the Lakers coaching situation for a while now. Every day I go to a wishing well near my house and through in loose change wishing the Lakers would fire Mike D'antoni. Lately I have been throwing in hundred dollar bills. Short of winning the first round playoff series against Pop (The best coach in the league) and the Spurs, I don't there is anything D'antoni can do to save his job. The problem is, I am not running the Lakers. Jimmy Buss is.

And as far as all the Laker haters are concerned, laugh it up right now. You have this short window until the summer of 2014 to clown on the Lakers all you want. They may be down right now, but the greatest franchise in the history of sports will rise again. Change may be inevitable when it comes to their roster, but one thing that never changes and never will, is that the Lakers will always be good again... 
...and that's just the way it is...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers State of the Union: 0-3

Before I begin this article, I would like to just say one thing:

When I go back and read this at the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season, I hope I can say I was wrong. I fucked up. I misjudged the Lakers. I overexagerated their problems. I overreacted to the bad start. I underestimated this entire team. My bad. If I can say that about myself in mid June 2013, I will be a very happy man. Let's begin. 

If you analyze this Laker team, you can come to one of two conclusions:

1. The Lakers have many problems.
- Bad defensive strategy
- Bad offensive strategy
- Unexplainable coaching decisions
- Lack of fundamental skills
- Carelessness

2. The Lakers have only problem.
- Mike Brown

Here is the kicker: No matter which conclusion you chose to believe, it all leads back to the coaching staff...and who is the head coach of the Lakers??? MIKE FUCKING BROWN! Let's address all of his problems, one by one.

PROBLEM #1: Defense
Isn't Mike Brown supposed to be a defensive coach? He earned his stripes in Greg Popavich's staff as a defensive specialist. He was supposedly responsible for all the great defense they played when they won those early rings. Something tells me players like David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Mario Ellie, Bruce Bowen, and Avery Johnson had more to do with that great defense than Mike Brown. He left the Spurs and they haven't really skipped a beat on defense. I will admit, during Mike Brown's fist year with the Lakers in 2011-2012, I felt the defense was much better than with Phil's last few years. (At least in the regular season.) But so far, contrary to what everyone believes, the Lakers biggest problem has been defense. Here are the point totals for their first 3 opponents of the season: 99, 116, 105.

You tell me. When you have Dwight Howard (easily the best defensive player in the league), Meta World Peace (former defensive player of the year), Kobe Bryant (9 time All-defensive team), and Pau Gasol (> 7ft wingspan, better than average defensive player), and you give up those kind of point totals, especially when 2 of those 3 teams (Dallas and Portland) aren't expected to make the playoffs, there is something internally wrong with your strategy. The Lakers keep wanting to funnel everything to their 7 footers. That is a good strategy only if your defense breaks down. But to use that as your primary defensive strategy? That's a flaw. Here is why:

1. Risk of Dwight getting in foul trouble when he keeps having to pick up driving guards. 

Evidence: Game 1: Dwight fouls out. Game 2: Dwight has 5 fouls. Game 3: Dwight has 3 fouls in the first half and has to spend most of it on the bench meanwhile Clippers take control of the game and never look back.

2. When Player A funnels his man funnel towards Player B, Player B becomes a help defender. In turn, Player C becomes a help defender since he now has to account for Player B's man. In turn, player D becomes a help defender and so forth... When you play a decent offensive team, they will get wide open looks all game long when you keep having to play help defense and run towards offensive players with the ball. 

Evidence: Game 1: Brandon Wright goes 5-5 when his man Dwight Howard keeps having to help on Darren Collison, Elton Brand, and Beaubois. Game 2: This time they picked up Dwight's man. But that left the perimeter open. Wesley Mathews goes 4/6 from deep, and Batum had 9 good looks from deep. Luckily he only made 3 of them. 

How do you fix this? It's not easy. I admit. Especially when you have a major defensive flaw at point guard. First of all, they have to play straight up. Chances are, the PG will not be able to keep his man in check. But that's fine. They have Dwight on defense as a BACK UP if it breaks down. The guards also have to do a better job of fighting through the screens and recognizing who they are playing. If it's a good shooter, they can't go under the screen and they can't go softly. They have to fight OVER the screen with strength and speed. If it's an average shooter but someone that can drive, they should go UNDER the screen and take away the drive. More often than not, the players make wrong decision. That's a coaching issue!

PROBLEM #2: Offense 
When Mike Brown was asked why he doesn't run more pick and roll, he said the pick and roll offense is too simple and predictable. Well, if that is the case, why does every single team in the league run it? Especially in the moments that matter. And if it so simple and predictable, how come the Lakers cannot stop it on the defensive end when the opposition keeps running it against them over and over again? Especially now with all this criticism, Mike Brown will not turn to the pick and roll because that would mean him having to admit he was wrong. If you don't want to run it every single time, at least run it two or three times per quarter. At least run it once in crunch time. How can you not, when you have the perfect players to do so? At some point, you have to admit you were wrong, and do the right thing.

And why does everyone think Eddie Jordan is some kind of offensive genius of all of a sudden? If he was, he wouldn't have been available for an assistant coaching gig. He would have been a head coach somewhere. The guy 257-343 was as a head coach. That's only a 428 winning percentage. That Princeton offense of his doesn't have a great track record.

PROBLEM #3: Bad coaching decisions
Why does Mike Brown insist on sitting Chris Duhon? I understand he is not a great NBA player. Maybe not even a good NBA player. There must be a reason why he was just a throw-in in the Dwight Howard trade. But surely, he must be better than Darius fucking Morris. Duhon is a seasoned vet with starting PG experience. That has to mean something. He has to be good enough to be a 3rd point guard on an NBA rotation.

On the same token, what is the fascination with Devin Ebanks? He's garbage. I don't understand why the Laker organization is so enamored with this guy. Any other team would have cut him a year ago. They keep hoping he will turn into Trevor Ariza circa 2009. I got news for you. Don't hold your breath.

PROBLEM #4: Lack of Fundamental Skills
I don't mean dribbling or shooting or footwork. I am talking about specialized fundamental skills based on the make up of your team. For example, Ray Allen mastered the fundamental skill of running without the ball and getting himself open for 3's based on his team's offense in Boston. Mainly, it involved Rondo's passing abilities. Blake Griffin and D. Jordan have mastered the skill of trailing a play or cutting towards the hoop for alley-oops when Chris Paul is driving or making plays. David West mastered the skill of setting a screen and then popping open for an open jump shot with Chris Paul in New Orleans. In the same way, the Lakers have great post players. So the perimeter players need to master a skill that takes advantage of that. That skill is the art of the post entry pass.

It sounds simple. But it's not. When there is heavy pressure on the passer and/or the post player, it is very tough to make a pass into the post player. That doesn't mean its impossible. Right now, the Laker players (MWP, Blake, Ebanks, Jamison, Morris, etc) just take one look at the post-up guy calling for the ball, and then decide to swing the ball to the weak side. That's why Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol only end up with 7 shots in the entire game. That's why they get frustrated. That's why they pick up fouls. The Laker dynasty in the early 2000's was based entirely on this skill. Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Ron Harper, Brian Shaw, and yes, even Kobe Bryant were masters at getting Shaq the ball no matter how much defensive pressure there was. Ironically, Kobe is the only guy on this team that knows how to make a post entry pass. Mike Brown needs to realize this and run some drills in practice that allow the players to master the skill of making a post entry pass.

PROBLEM #5: Carelessness
Why are the players so careless with the ball? Because they are not scared of the consequences. Why are they not scared of the consequences? Because they don't respect Mike Brown. Would you? Just look at the following picture. No successful coach in the history of the NBA has ever made that face.


Thanks for reading!
Yours truly, 
The King of Nothing

PS. Before the season I was 100% sure I was going to switch Time Warner Cable since Directv hasn't picked up the Lakers yet. Now, with each loss, I become one step closer to not caring about watching the Lakers this season. Not because I am a bandwagon fan, (Cuz I am not.) But because I know I will ultimately be disappointed as long as Mike Brown is the head coach of the Lakers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Religious Algebra 101

Recently, I had the opportunity to help out a loved one solve some hard ass high school math problems. When I was in high school, and this stuff was fresh in my mind, these problems were tough, but solvable. Now? It was damn near impossible. I felt like an idiot. Now I know what a black kid feels like in remedial math. Anyways, the whole experience gave me an idea for my next article. I was already thinking about writing something about religion...so why not throw in some mathematics in there to take me back to my glory days at Laguna Hills High School? For all of you dumbasses, don't worry, this is not a math article. It is about religion. The points are just in the format of equations. But don't worry, you won't have to solve for X. This article is an extension of something I wrote earlier, entitled, "From God to Vegas...".

Please read this note before you begin reading: Just like with my first article about religion, I am not trying to promote one belief over another. It is neither my intention nor desire to make someone waiver from their faith/beliefs OR convince someone into believing something one way or another. It is not my intention to offend anyone's religion. But it IS my intention to offend their intelligence. (kidding) Through these "equations" I am merely presenting various observations/possibilities/theories that have come across my mind in the hours of sitting on the toilet thinking about this stuff. I am not promoting my beliefs, quiet simply because I myself don't know think I know the truth 100%.

Religious Algebra Law #1: The Spare Wheel Theory



IF Sadness > Happiness THEN God > World/Self
IF Sadness < Happiness THEN God < World/Self

Here is what a theist (someone who believes in God) would/should say to this equation: 
"Unfortunately, this is true. Many people use religion and God as a spare wheel. FDR prayed over the radio with the entire country when the Allies invaded Normandy in WW2. When the Challenger went KABOOM on live television, everybody and their mom prayed in front of their TV sets. Same thing on 9/11. At times of misery, we turn to God. Which is good, but what about the times of happiness? Is that all God is good for? To help us when we are down?  How about praying when DON'T need something? How about praying just for the sake of praying? How about praying just to please God?"

My two cents: If the very people that promote their belief in God didn't use him like a spare wheel, the whole God/religion concept would seem more legitimate to non-believers.

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: 
"Doesn't surprise me. You know why? Because this is one of the very specific reasons why God and religion were invented in the first place...in order to cope better with tragedy. The psyches of human beings are too fragile to come to grip with the fact that bad shit just happens...randomly. And when it does happen, they are too fragile to handle it. So God and religion are not only a way of coming to terms with why bad stuff happens (God's wish, God's plan, God's test, etc), but also it provides a sense of comfort in tragic times." 

My two cents: So what? I am not saying God and religion are false, but even if they were, the sense of mental support and comfort they provide in times of sadness is very real...and probably unlike any other type of support this world has to offer. How would this be any different than taking prescription antideprassants to unnaturally alter your mood and using chemicals to trick your brain into thinking you are happy?

Religious Algebra Law #2: The Insurance Policy (AKA Pascal's Wager)



IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Positive
IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Negative

Therefore: Possible Outcomes: 
If you believe in God - Positive or Zero
If you don't believe in God - Negative or Zero

Here is what a theist would say to this equation: "This is absolutely correct. The only outcomes for you if you believe in God are positive and neutral. The worst possible thing that can happen to you is NOTHING! Why take the chance? If you don't believe in God, there is a negative possibility you may be punished. So don't risk it!"

My two cents: There are so many other complications and factors involved. Almost every major religion has a large list of rules and gray area in their philosophy that it is not a simple equation that if you believe in God you will have a good afterlife. And who is to say God will definitely punish those who don't believe in him? And if you are going to be using this logic, then please admit that you believe in God not because of your love/attachment/devotion/desire to please him, but because you want to save your own ass. (I am not saying this because I am an atheist, because I'm not one. When I do religious stuff, I fully admit I do it out of fear of what will happen if I don't. I want to save my own ass. I admit it.)

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: "God believers like to only use logic when it is convenient for them. Whenever there logical arguments brought up against the existence of God, the believers always say God/religion/spirituality are above human logic. They are on a different plane of understanding. We cannot possibly begin to understand them. So then why use this logic? And even if this insurance policy logic makes sense, it doesn't make you right, and it doesn't prove anything."

My two cents: Different people are motivated by different things. Even though this logic may seem kind of hypocritical, if it used to make people live better lives and be better people, then what is the harm? On the other hand, if it used for wrong reasons like religious wars or personal gain, that is a whole different story...and probably a whole different article."

I think this is enough God talk for one day. I wanted to write more equations and shorter explanations but with this topic, no amount of words are enough to cover an issue. So I will leave you with this.

Many of you may already know about this. It is nothing new or original. But nevertheless, it is extremely interesting. It is the omnipotence paradox. You can read about it all you want on Wikipedia. If you don't want to read about it, here is the gist:

Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

Whatever your answer or comment is, feel free to post it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 25 Restaurant Foods I Have Ever Eaten (Part 2 )

In case you missed numbers 25 to 11, here is Part 1. Before we get into the top 10, here are some more honorable mentions that I either forgot to write about, or just recently tried. 

Honorable Mentions
Counter Burger, Los Angels/Irvine CA
Javier's, Las Vegas
Island Burgers
Patxi's Chicago Style Pizza, San Francisco CA

Number 10: BRAR's Food Culture of India, Toronto Canada
All you can eat buffet that includes all kinds of Indian food, pasta, pizza, ice cream, etc - Easily that best Indian restaurant I have been to in North America. I don't know if it was because I was having fun messing around with my cousins or just enjoying spending precious quality time with my east coast family, but to me, BRARS was the best Indian restaurant meal I have ever had...and I am not just saying that because it was 'all you can eat.' This place had both quantity and quality!

9. In N' Out
Animal-style grilled cheese and fries - Holy shit In N' Out is good! A grilled cheese sounds pretty simple. How much better can be than any other grilled cheese? But somehow, even without the delicious animal-syle sauce, they make the grilled cheese taste special. Add that sauce on there along with the bomb ass animal style fries and In N' Out is something special. It's one of the few things the West Coast has that the East Coast can be jealous of.

8. Veggie Grill, Los Angeles/Irvine CA
Quality imitation-meat menu including burgers, sandwiches, wings, and everything else that is usually made out of meat - In number 13, when talking about Ike's Place, I talked about options for vegetarians. Veggie grill takes this concept all the way. It is dedicated entirely to vegetarians. They got everything from chicken wings to chili to carne asada and carb cake sandwiches. I've never eaten meat so only a true meat-eater would be able to tell you if this compares to the real stuff. But for people like me who will never experience the delicious, savory, juicy taste of actual meat, Veggie Grill is the next best thing!

7. Udupi Cafe, Tempe AZ
Manchurian - This is a south Indian restaurant but most of the food is not so great. Ironically, easily the best tasting thing on their menu is not south Indian food. It is their Manchurian. Holy shit that is some bomb ass tasting shit. I nearly jizzed in my pants when I first had it. If I forget to go to this place whenever I go back to Phoenix, I am going to shoot myself in the mouth. And if I do remember to go, I am still going to shoot myself in the mouth because there aren't many better tasting things it will experience.

6. Bleecker Street Pizza, New York City
Pizza - Bleecker Street Pizza is often given the designation of New York's best pizza. In a land known for having a great pizza joint on almost every block, that is a great accomplishment. It is like being the cheapest Indian, or the dirtiest player on the Celtics. Overall, Bleecker Street does have the best tasting pizza I have ever had. Yes, that includes Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. There is something in that sauce that gives it a subtle yet distinguishing spicy flavor. The crust, the cheese, the short wait time, you name it, Bleecker Street excels at every category that has to do with pizza.

5. Little Italy Pizza, 33rd and 5th New York City
Pizza - I have to specify the intersection of this place because there are like 10 different Little Italy Pizza joints in New York City and I am sure they are all awesome because that's just how New York City is! I just wrote about the number 6 entree (Bleecker St. Pizza) being the best overall pizza I have ever had. So why the hell would Little Italy be number 5 on the list? I promise it will make sense after I explain it. Here it is. If I use my brain, Bleecker Street is ranked higher. If I use my heart, Little Italy is ranked higher. Bleecker Street is like Lebron James. Logically, the best in almost all facets of the game. But Little Italy is like Kobe. Even though you know statistically, logically and practically Kobe does not match up to Lebron, if you are Laker fan like me, you will take Kobe over Lebron because you judge with your heart. When I had my rotation at a small pharmaceutical company in Midtown Manhattan, I ate lunch at this place almost every single day for 6 weeks. So I am much more familiar with Little Italy than with Bleecker Street. Also, if you are comparing only the crust, no matter what you use to judge, your brain or your heart, Little Italy has the best god-damn crust I have ever had! There is an element of crunchiness and an unbelievable texture to that crust. I have never seen that kind of crust duplicated anywhere. So Bleecker Street is the best pizza I have ever had in the world, but Little Italy is my favorite pizza in the world!

4. Yard House
The Gardein Menu - Yard House's gardein menu is fucking awesome! Buffalo and firecracker wings, Thai chicken pizza, chicken strips, and a bunch of other fake meat stuff! Meat eaters have told me it is pretty close to the real deal. And those god-damn truffle fries! Easily the best sports bar/restaurant combo I have been to!

3. Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen, West Hollywood CA
Vegetarian chicken wings - Bulan Thai is an all-vegetarian Thai food place. But it's only on here because of it's chicken wings. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THOSE WINGS ARE GOOD!!!!! Whenever my buddies and I go to LA, we pretty much HAVE to make the obligatory stop to Bulan Thai to eat those wings. Even if we are going eat somewhere else, we will go to Bulan Thai and grab some wings as appetizers. The texture of those wings is unlike any other kind of imitation meat I have ever had. It HAS to be the closest possible thing to actual meat. If you are a vegetarian but have a fantasy about eating meat without actually eating it, go to Bulan Thai and grab some of these wings!

2. Mamoun's Falafel, New York City
Falafels - Ok I am sure there are many great falafel places in New York City. I have only been to a few of them. But forget about falafels...Mamoun's has the best overall restaurant food I have ever had. That goddamn falafel is so simple yet so fucking GOOD!!!!! And it's not just about the food. This particular location has no seating. I mean just look at the picture. The place is tiny! But there is always a line there. (Except apparently when that picture was taken...) But the whole Mamoun's food experience is awesome. At night, you will see a bunch of people standing on the street struggling to eat falafels while sauce runs down their hands. (If you watch the show Louis on FX, you can see this scene in the opening credits as Louis CK walks down the street into the Comedy Cellar next door.) We always walked down the block, sat on the curb and gobbled those falafels down like a couple of homeless men. It's a great experience! My dream night in New York City would be to eat some Mamoun's, then go to the world famous 'Comedy Cellar' comedy club next door and catch a set of Louis CK. And I don't know what is in that sauce but it is HEAVENLY!!!!! If cum tasted like that sauce does, I would become a cocksucker overnight.

1. Taco Bell
Everything - There is so much good food at Taco Bell, I didn't know what to put in the picture. So I just put up a picture of the whole menu! I am not going to go much into talking about Taco Bell, because I have already written an entire article about it here!

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing