For the love of Lithuanian basketball

The FIBA Basketball World Cup gets underway Saturday in Australia, and while the eyes of most of the NBA media are squarely on the United States team, there’s one American hoop junkie whose eyes are firmly cast to the east when picking a squad to root for. It’s not that I’m against USA Basketball per se, it’s just that one country has such an inspired history both with the sport and as a country that I have to root for them out of a go-get-em-guys admiration. I’m talking about Lithuania. “Lietuva” in the local tongue over there. For one thing, …

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Basketball is the Ultimate Sport About Failure

Move over, baseball. Your title as biggest sport about failure has just been usurped by basketball. Because in baseball, “you can fail 70 percent of the time and be an All-Star” is both untrue (batting average is dead; all hail on-base percentage, and you’d better be getting on base closer to two times in five if you want to be a true star) and irrelevant; once you are out, you are back in the dugout and your ability to contribute meaningfully to your team’s success is done for another two or three innings. In basketball, on the other hand, some …

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On NBA Sidelines, We See the WNBA’s True Value

As a business entity, the WNBA is just about a complete non-factor, a small blip on the NBA’s balance sheet, a league that makes barely more money in a year than one NBA player on a four-year supermax will in Year 4 of that contract. But in terms of its contributions not just to women’s sports but to sports irrespective of gender, the WNBA punches far above its weight—like on a Little Mac in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out level of punching above its weight. Kara Lawson, WNBA and Olympic champion and Washington Wizards broadcaster, was hired by the Boston Celtics to …

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Dell Demps, Sam Hinkie, and the Meaning of NBA Genius

  Dell Demps just managed to do completely by accidental bumbling what Sam Hinkie did by deliberate, willful arrogance, and in the Process managed to prove once and for all that the gods have one heck of a sense of humor. After all, what difference is it truly between New Orleans being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, lucking into a couple of top draft picks, and rebuilding the franchise into a contender under a smarter GM, and Philadelphia being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, whiffing on a bunch of draft picks and …

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The Pacers’ Point Guard Options Are All Terrible

The Indiana Pacers have so many trade and free agency rumors swirling around who is going to start at point guard when the 2019-20 season tips off that you could plug any name from the entire NBA into a Mad Libs and send it off for editing and readers would tweet it far and wide with no regard for its credibility. Part of this is because every offseason for every team at every position of need is like this and part of it is the simple fact that the Pacers, by virtue of Darren Collison being about to turn 32 …

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NBA Awards and the “Media Doesn’t Watch Games” Argument

Every time the question of analytics and the “eye test” comes up, someone starts in with the “these media guys never played the game” argument, suggesting that you have to play the game at a high level to fully understand it. Now, I don’t buy that argument for a variety of reasons. For one, most former NBA players who get into coaching tend to be awful at it. Sure, they’re great at the management of egos and the team cohesion side of the job, but when it comes to the Xs and Os, most former players revert to the style …

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Point Guards and Supermax Contracts Don’t Mix

The 2019 All-NBA teams came out Thursday, and the biggest winners out of all 15 players included on the list were Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker. By virtue of their second and third-team selections respectively, both are now eligible for the NBA’s “supermax” extension in their next contracts. If your first reaction to the term “supermax contract” is “oh gods, no”, then you’re probably a Wizards (John Wall), Rockets (Chris Paul), or possibly even a Thunder (Russell Westbrook) fan. Each of those players will be making well over $40 million by 2023, and each one of those players has either …

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Is Zion Williamson Already Better Than LeBron James?

Tuesday morning, an interesting question came over the wire on Twitter. Who is the BEST FORWARD currently in the NBA that Zion will instantly be better than once he gets drafted. — Justin Grant (@ThePackageJG) May 14, 2019 “Who’s the best forward that Zion Williamson will already be better than when he gets drafted?” And I thought about it for a minute. Because Zion is, of course, so obvious a lock for Rookie of the Year that they might as well just engrave the trophy now and hope he doesn’t blow out his ACL like Blake Griffin. And then I …

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Frank Vogel and Jason Kidd to Coach the LOLakers

Women with children across Laker Hater Nation got a great Mother’s Day gift from the NBA’s most verklempt franchise—move over Knicks, at least you guys have a fighting chance at getting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on your team. Frank Vogel is reportedly going to be the new head coach of the purple-and-gold Dumpster fire in Tinseltown, and Jason Kidd is going to be one of his assistants. This is the same Frank Vogel who got himself run out of Indiana for failing to adopt anything remotely resembling modern offensive principles—even Nate McMillan looks like Mike Budenholzer compared to him—and …

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The NBA has a Baseball Problem

With the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks shooting three-pointers in the playoffs like there’s an invisible electric fence installed in the arc that will shock anyone who shoots the ball between it and the restricted area, Gregg Popovich’s comments about how the NBA has devolved into a three-point shooting contest have once again been all over Twitter. To wit (and hat tip because it inspired this article)… More efficient basketball does not equal higher appealing basketball. Whoever makes the most 3’s wins. Fun sport — Billy Cliff 🏆 (@BillyCliff4) May 6, 2019 You’ll notice that the objection isn’t about analytics. …

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