Welcome! (I guess...)

For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Words of Wisdom from Jeff Van Gundy

So I happened to be watching the waning seconds of game three of the NBA Finals, which had the Los Angeles Lakers trailing the Orlando Magic by four points and scrambling to score a basket of any kind to cut into the Magic's lead. The Lakers had a number of shot attempts as time disappeared with the Magic unable to gather the rebound, but then the Lakers finally scored two points to cut the lead down to two with just five tenths of a second remaining on the clock. The Magic inbounded the ball to Rashard Lewis, who was quickly fouled by Kobe Bryant, and that's when the fun began.

Okay, so the fun actually began a little bit earlier when as the officials were reviewing whether a made shot by Lewis should be a three (as originally credited) or a two, Van Gundy, in looking at the replay and seeing that Lewis's foot was actually on the three point line when attempting the shot, said something along the lines of "a player is coached to never attempt a three point shot with his foot on the line." Van Gundy was seemingly forgetting, of course, that if a player's foot is on the three point line when attempting a shot, he is in fact attempting a two point shot and not a three point shot. But this was relatively minor, and I was content to leave well enough alone until the last five tenths of a second came around.

Well, after Lewis was fouled, Van Gundy said without hesitation that no matter what Lewis should miss the second of his upcoming free throws intentionally. Now this was among the stupidest things I've heard Van Gundy say during these playoffs, though it does have competition. And let me paint the entire picture so that you can get a fuller picture for why this analysis was so stupid.
  • After Bryant's foul, two tenths of a second remained on the clock.
  • The Lakers had no timeouts (and I absolutely abhor this word as I think that it should more properly be times-out) remaining.
  • Without any times-out remaining, the Lakers could not advance the ball to midcourt after a made free throw.
  • NBA rules do not allow for a player to catch and shoot a ball with under three tenths of second remaining.
  • With under three tenths of a second remaining, the only score that can be made (barring a foul of some sort prior to inbounding the ball) is a tip in attempt.
  • If Lewis did make the second free throw, the Magic would be ahead by at least three points.
  • Assuming the Magic were up by three points, the Lakers would have had to tip in a three point basket off of a pass launched from underneath the Magic's basket to tie the game.
  • Assuming the Magic were up by four points, the Lakers would have had to tip in a three point basket off of a pass launched from underneath the Magic's basket and get fouled in the process to have a chance at tying the game.

So what happened? Well, it seems that Jeff's brother Stan, the coach of the Magic, obviously does not subscribe to the dumbass strategies of his younger brother as he evidently did not instruct Lewis to miss the second free throw. Lewis made both free throws and the Magic won the game by four. (The Lakers simply inbounded the ball and allowed the last two tenths of a second to expire.)

Jeff Van Gundy is a poor analyst in my mind because it almost seems as if he has these pre-programmed strategies in his mind that he will blurt out without actually taking the time to rationally consider the scenarios. If he had truly rationally thought about the scenario with two tenths of a second remaining, he would have realized that it was (currently) humanly impossible for the Lakers to win game three at that point (absent a foolish foul of course) if Lewis made the second free throw. (If someone really, really wants me to go over the physics of this, I can certainly do so in another post.) But Jeff Van Gundy knows basketball strategy. Good call Jeff!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The LeBron James Fake Controversy

So, some huge fake controversy has arisen lately over the fact that LeBron James left the court last Saturday night following the Cleveland Cavaliers' Eastern Conference Finals series losing game six loss without shaking the hands and congratulating the victorious Orlando Magic. People are whining aloud that James is a poor sport for not giving the Magic kudos on a job well done. And my thoughts are, of course, that all of these critics need to relax and get a grip.

Because after all, why should LeBron James give a damn what someone like Jay Mariotti thinks? And more to the point, why should LeBron James feel compelled to act in the way that someone like Jay Mariotti wants him to act? When it's all said and done, LeBron James is an adult. He is not Jay Mariotti's child (and I am kind of singling Mariotti out here because I don't think that he is very talented, but there are certainly others who have done similar whining about this non-issue) and does not have to do a damned thing that Mariotti would like for him to do.

Let's ask ourselves a few questions: Did LeBron James kill anyone? Did James injure anyone? Did James hit any traffic cops with his car? Did James hurt the feelings of the Orlando Magic players? If James did hurt the Magic players' feelings, as a result, will they be unable to play at their best in the NBA Finals? If James did hurt the Magic players' feelings and, as a result, they will be unable to play at their best in the NBA Finals, should we blame James or should we blame the Magic for being pansies? (If you so desire, please feel free to reply with your answers to these questions in the comments section.)

Okay, so I'm pretty sure that you know where I stand on this, but let me provide another example of one who has a counter opinion to my own. Alright, of course you have no idea who this author is - neither do I. However, I included this piece because of the following quote that he makes:

Professional athletes are supposed to be role models for young athletes all over the world. What is a young, aspiring LeBron fan suppose to think when he sees his idol storm off the court without shaking anyone's hand after losing?

He's probably going to side with his role model and think it's okay not to shake the winning team's hands.

Since when are professional athletes supposed to be role models for anyone? At best I think you can say that professional athletes are supposed to be role models for their own children, not yours. But let's assume for the moment that a scenario happens precisely like described above where a young athlete refuses to shake the hands of players on the opposing, winning team because he saw LeBron James refuse to do so. To the extent that there should be any "blame" assigned for this, the blame should be placed on that young athlete's parents for not teaching the athlete the "proper" way to behave after losing.

And one final point before I leave this stupid subject alone, if you are really that deeply offended by what James did, and you really feel like you have to get back at him for this horrible display of sportsmanship, I'll tell you exactly what you can do. You can stop going to his basketball games, stop watching his basketball games on TV, stop buying the products he endorses, and finally, yell and scream about how poor a sport he is and even write about how poor a sport he is. Obviously a number of people have already gotten these last couple of things down perfectly, so they only need work on the rest. Good luck, you'll show LeBron!

(Oh, and David Stern is getting involved! Fantastic!)