Monday, October 24, 2016

2016 Sixers Thoughts, Complaints and Other Stuff that I Felt Like Posting on my Blog and my Blog Only and No One Else's

Name a more iconic duo. I'll wait. 

It's been almost 1,000 days since Joel Embiid last stuffed a basketball down a white person's throat.

1,500 since the Sixers were relevant.

And nearly 4,000 since Metta World Peace ran into a crowd and tried to fight an entire city.

And while the whole Malice in the Palace thing has nothing to do with the Sixers' upcoming season, it's important to sometimes sit back and remember that an NBA player once leaped into the stands and ran up 27 rows to pummel an innocent man (and his friend). The Pacers/Pistons melee remains the most incredible sports moment I have ever seen in my life, right along with that time Clint Malarchuk got his throat slashed by a man's ice skate and anytime Manute Bol did anything, ever.

But now the Sixers are ready to do some stuff!

Finally armed with a roster that does not include Isaiah Canaan, it's time to almost sort of maybe care about Sixers basketball. A few weeks ago, when I woke up on the day of Joel Embiid's first preseason game, I registered a whopping 17-feet 3-inches on the JoJo #bonetracker.

When I got home later that evening, I had trouble fitting through my own doorway -- and then subsequently knocked over three lamps on my way to the couch to watch the game. Suffice it to say, Sixers fans are FLYER'D UP for this coming season.

So let's take a look at some of the most compelling storylines going in -- while also complaining about stuff because this is my blog and I can do what I want.

All right, JoJo, enough with the twirly bird shit. 
It's time to ram on people's necks.

Look, we get it. The guy's got good footwork. And I love seeing his little dipsy do's just as much as the next dipshit. But when JoJo catches the ball in the post, faces up, and then shoots that little 15-footer, HE IS BAILING HIS DEFENDER OUT. Not that his jumper's not wet. It is. It is so, so wet. But at 7-foot-9, 485 pounds, not even Hakeem Olajuwon and his magical dream dick can stop him.

There were two possessions this preseason when JoJo seemed to recognize this. On the first, he had a MOUSE IN THE HOUSE and demanded the ball down low, but was called for an offensive foul for being too big and strong for his wimpy defender. On the second, he got the ball, lowered his shoulder and barrelled to the hoop -- and was once again called for an offensive foul. But you know what?


This isn't a goddamn tickle fight!

Make the refs blow their whistles!

In this era of small ball -- as little midgets are running around and whining to the refs any time they get breathed on -- you gotta turn into a guy's chest, stick your elbow in his throat, go straight up and capitalize words at the end of sentences for EMPHASIS.

As a former point guard who played high school ball with Jesse Federman, I like to think that GUARDS.R.E.A.M, but the truth is that big men dominate. That being said, I do love watching JoJo launch threes like Glen Rice, so yeah, I'm honestly not really sure if I really agree with anything I just wrote in this section ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Nik Stauskus is TRASH

I'm sure Nik Stauskus is a very nice person. In fact, I interviewed him once and he was just that: very, very nice. Had the personality of a mailbox, but nice. There was just something missing with him.

Ugh, Nik and his dad look so happy. Now I feel bad for calling him trash. 

That pretty much sums up Nik's game, too. For a knockdown shooter, Nik rarely knocks down shots (which should be enough of a scouting report right there), but he also coughs up the ball anytime anyone applies even the slightest bit of heat on him. And sure, sometimes he'll drive down the lane and mega two-hand ram on some guy's tits and you'll be like, "WHOA, NIK STAUSKUS WITH THE TIT-RAM" but the only reason you react that way is because you would never expect Nik Stauskus to ram on a guy's tits. Because he sucks.

Once again, nice guy. Loved that vid of him hitting 46 straight threes in the rain. Loved when he blew kisses to Michigan State's fans after taking them down. Even loved that corny-ass handshake that he did with his dad on draft night. Just a terrible, terrible basketball player who I will now be calling "Trashcan Johnson" from here on out.

Shoulda signed Matt Barnes!

The biggest mistake the Sixers made this offseason was not going after unrestricted free agent and undeniable lunatic, Matt Barnes. Barnes is known around the league as one of the absolute best teammates (listen to JJ Redick interview him on his podcast -- great story about how in Orlando, Jason Williams called everyone "Bubbs" and when Redick moved to the Clips, he started calling everyone "Bubbs" and then the Clippers flipped it on him and now everyone calls JJ Redick, "Bubbs."). Anyway, Barnes will stand up for his guys on the court and teach them how to shove a guy's face into a Cuisinart off of it. I'm not saying Matt Barnes woulda signed here, but we could've at least offered him more than the paltry 2 years/12 milly that Sactown gave him. C'MON.

Is it real son, is it really real son, let me know it's real son, if it's really real. 

Richaun Holmes is better than Nerlens Noel 

Chew on this bad boy for a sec: In 2011, Nerlens Noel was voted USA Today's High School Player of the Year (Ben Simmons won the award in 2015, Jahlil Okafor in 2014).

For those of you who don't understand words when you read them, that means that Nerlens Noel was considered THE BEST high school player in the country a mere five years ago.

Since then, he has played one year at Kentucky, spent one year rehabbing his knee with a professional basketball organization, and played two years of NBA basketball -- and yet he has still yet to develop one single solitary offensive skill.

On one play this preseason, Nerlens caught a pass in the paint (which is a whole thing in and of itself), then turned and flipped up a right-handed jump hook that missed the entire basket. And while, okay, whatever, sometimes people miss the entire basket, and there are many reasons why a person might miss the entire basket: the ball slipped, the person felt dizzy after running up and down the floor over and over and over again, the person's name is Shawn Bradley, but this type of missing-the-entire-basket-stuff happens with Nerlens ALL THE TIME.

I know, I know, he's a great defensive player. He can guard all five positions. He might be the first player ever to complete a flip dunk. But dude only averaged 1.5 blocks a game last year (which is not that many blocks!) and now he's having a minor surgery on his knee because the words "minor" and "surgery" normally go really well together and that's fine.

Hi Richaun

Then there's Richaun Holmes -- who has no business being better than Nerlens Noel, but is way better than Nerlens Noel. Richaun finishes at the rim. He throws people's shots. And he doesn't blindly fling the ball at the hoop with his off hand like my next-door neighbor Irene. Maybe Nerlens will be better in the future, I don't know. But as far as I can tell, his NBA ceiling is someone like Taj Gibson. And Richaun Holmes's ceiling is also someone like Taj Gibson. And Taj Gibson is not going to make or break your roster, so it's time to cut ties with Nerlens and trade him for a running back who can hold onto the ball when we're trying to milk the clock late in the fourth quarter.

Also, for the record, I think I am one of the 11 people left in the Philadelphia metropolitan area who still thinks that Jahlil Okafor is good. And I get it, I'm not sure if he can co-exist with JoJo either, but at least he can take a round leather ball and put it through a ten-foot hoop. Plus, as a Duke guy, he must know how to play basketball a little bit, and normally when you take a guy who knows how to play basketball and put him next to other guys who also know how to play basketball, they end up all being pretty good at playing basketball together.

I read this article a few weeks ago by Don Nelson about Nellie Ball. Basically, all Nellie was trying to do was find a way to get his five best players on the court at the same time, regardless of position. Essentially, let players who are good at basketball play basketball together and they'll figure it out. I'm not saying the Sixers should do that (especially with a surplus of bigs), but if they did, their best five would be: Ben Richard Simmons Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and a half-pound plastic bag of Cooper Sharp cheese. That being said, I will fucks with Cooper Sharp cheese (and Ben Richard Simmons Simmons) any day of the week.

Shameless plug alert!

A few weeks ago, the Kobe-Evster vid that we made on Comcast Sportsnet won a (regional) Emmy for "Best Sports Interview/Discussion."

First of all, yes, regional Emmys are a thing. I know, I didn't believe it either, but they actually give you real Emmy statues when you win one (sort of). Sadly (and fucking bullshit'ly), CSN did not list my name in the credits as one of the six (6) people who contributed to the video, despite the fact that the Emmy literally has the words "Kobe and Evster Reunited" engraved on it. They also did not give me a trophy, because I'm not a "full-time employee." But hey, as the great Chuck D said, "WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT A GODDAMN GRAMMY?!"

BFF Forevs

TJ McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez are both semi-decent point guards who are perfectly fine and at least know how to play basketball (which is nice)

I know this fall we're supposed to be all excited about Dario Saric and drinking tea and wearing #vests, but it is still REALLY FREAKING SAD that Ben Richard Simmons Simmons got hurt. Don't forget, you're allowed to be sad about that. It's a major, major, major body blow to this franchise. That dude would make this team SO much better, but still, TJ and Sergio are both very capable point guards who in no way, shape or form suck.

Personally, I think Sergio is better at basketball than TJ -- but that TJ is the better basketball player. Does that make sense? I feel like that makes sense. Sergio is niftier, has better skills, a better beard, a wayyyyyyyyy better haircut. But TJ ain't no muthafuckin slouch. He grinds. Has great vision. And is not afraid to get all up in Isaiah Thomas's face when Isaiah is trying to bring the ball up the floor all business casual-like. Also, TJ (ugh, I'm embarrassed to even think this out loud let alone write this) does all the little things that help teams win (sorry).

Other stuff that may or may not be worth talking about

- I think Jerami Grant is not horrible/somewhat good? I like that he attacks he rim. I like that he takes pride in his defense. I'm not saying dude can be Dennis Rodman, but maybe dude can be Dennis Rogbert (my next-door neighbor Irene's father whose name is actually Dan and is absolutely nothing like Dennis Rodman or Dennis Rogbert (who is not real)).

- I know that Brett Brown has had noooooooooo talent whatsoever before this year (and still lacks real talent), but he needs to do SOMETHING with this team. The sheer fact that he played Isaiah Canaan EVER made me really question his basketball IQ. And yes, I realize that I'm a guy who once wrote a 5,000-word article demanding that the Sixers sign Chaz Villanueva, but I stand by that article and by his totally bonkers wife. Brett Brown on the other hand? I dunno. He needs to lay down the hammer more. I still think that Chuck Villanueva would be a solid veteran pickup by the way, especially as a guy who could show Ben Richard Simmons Simmons how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Lamborghinis.


- I think Gerald Henderson is fine, whatever.

- Robert Covington is also fine, sure.

- Jerryd Bayless is muh dude.

- I was really skeptical about how KD would fit in with Golden State this year. Based on the Hakeem/Clyde/Charles/Scottie Rockets and the Shaq/Kobe/GP/Mailman Lakers and the Kobe/Pau/Nash/Dwight Lakers and the Rodman/Rogbert/Dan/Ding Dong Bing Bongs, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Then I watched one of their first preseason games and they kept popping the ball around, swinging it from side to side, passing and moving and passing and moving like they always do, and then the ball got to KD and he just pounded the dribble and jacked up an off-balance 20-footer and I thought this is going to be a nightmare. Then, a week later, I saw this video and am now convinced that they are going to be the greatest team in the history of everything.

- I saw a great movie the other day on Netflix called Güeros. It's a Mexican film, and it's really slow and really dry, but it's also really funny and really subtle and really well-shot and really sweet and I absolutely loved it. It's basically about a little brother who is sent to live with his older, slacker brother in Mexico City, and the two of them and their idiot roommate go on a little journey to find some dying musician. But the movie's not really about that, it's about other stuff, and I can't imagine that any of you fuck face Billy Ripkens will actually watch it, but if you do I will give you a free subscription to TVMWMWMMWWM for life.

- Here are some guys who I am looking forward to see play this year: Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn, Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wigglesworth, every single player in the history of the T-Wolves franchise, Eric Bledsoe, Kristaps Porzingis, Tomas Satoransky (he's a foreign dude on the Wizards and he's absolutely incredible), John Wall, Russy (obvs), everyone on the Warriors (obvs), literally everyone in the whole league, Kawhi, Kyrie, Bron-Bron, Dame Dolla, Kemba, Rondo, D-Wade and Butler together (I mean, all three dudes know how to play basketball, how are they not gonna be good?), Blake, DeAndre, DeAndre, DeAndre, J-Crossover, Nic Batum, literally everyone, Julius Randle, how could you possibly still be reading this, Jabari Parker, Kenneth Faried, Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay, seriously everyone, Dario Saric, how did I not talk about Dario more in this article, Gary Harris, Steven Adams, Andre Iguodala, Joakim Noah, Dennis Rogbert, Dennis Frogbert, Dennis Johnson RIP, Dennis the Menace, my brother's next-door neighbor who is named TJ and honestly reminds me so much of Dennis the Menace, he sometimes shows up at their house and knocks on all their windows to see if they're home and I recently played a game with him called "let's throw sticks at that tree" where we took sticks and threw them at a tree, Matt Barnes, Lance Stephenson.

All right, enough of all this blibber blabber!

Enjoy the season, everybody!

It's showtime!