Category Archives: NBA

NBA 2015: Top Dunks


If you’re an NBA junkie like me, you stayed up way too late to watch Good Josh Smith and Good Dwight Howard decimate the Mavs. If you didn’t, well you probably missed a good bit of the NBA season as a whole. Never fear, because with the playoffs come NBA video dump time, and here are the top 10 dunks from the 2014-2015 season.

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten that Coach Budz won Coach of the Year. I’ll be bragging about my coach/my predictions once all the hardware is handed out.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Playoffs 1st Weekend + A Big(ish) Announcemet


Hello NBA Playoffs. RIP to my sleep schedule.

Philadelphia got it’s first taste of spring this weekend, and while I did enjoy a brief taste of sunlight and fresh air, I was consumed by these here NBA Playoffs. We did the preview thing last week, but I just want to talk about 3 things I saw Saturday and Sunday that will remind everyone why this is the greatest time of year.

1. DRose Back!

And not like cautious, his knee looks okay I guess maybe, kind of back. All the way back. Sure, he’s basically made of off brand legos, and could fall apart at any moment, but for one game, he was all the way back. 23 points matched the output of his LAST full playoff game…in 2012. I hope this was a glimpse of things to come, and not a tease of what could be, since the Bulls/Cavs war is looming in round 2 and is already DVR worthy.

2. Aron Bynes – Grand Opening, Grand Closing

If you didn’t stay up to watch Spurs/Warriors last night, I can’t blame you. But, Chad and I are sadists, and we both stayed up.

Chad-Daniel

I don’t know Aron Bynes. I have nothing against Aron Bynes. I enjoyed watching Blake Griffin ball all over Aron Bynes more than I thought possible. Some will commend Mr. Bynes for having the guts to challenge these three dunks. I don’t celebrate stupidity, so I’m not one of those people.

Buster.

3. General Surprises

Beno Udrih turned into an axe murderer. Anthony Davis shook off jitters early to play a lights out second half. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love made statements in their first postseason games. Dwight Howard looked more than competent, showing flashes of his well documented defensive greatness. Rondo hitting threes. The NBA. It’s FANNNNNNNNNNNNTASTIC.

Enjoy these next few weeks, because once playoff basketball and hockey end, you’re left with 3 months of pretending to like a sport that builds 80% of it’s appeal on weather and day drinking. Concepts we all enjoy yes, but not essential to a successful sporting enterprise.

Announcement Time

I’m moving back to Atlanta at the end of this month, and leaving the north east forever (again). I started writing on this site because I missed talking to my friends about sports, and knew that finding a UGA focused group in Philly would be damn near impossible to find. Fortunately, Chad had just started writing here, and I demanded he introduce me to the guy who ran the place to see if he needed an extra hand on the site.

Andrew and I hit it off, we collectively launched Dude You Podcast which has peaked as a top 100 Sports and Recreation podcast on iTunes. We’ve had our growing pains, but I’m insanely proud of where the podcast stands today. At the same time, writing here rekindled not just my love of talking about sports, but for writing in general. I’ve cranked out some of the best pieces in my life over these past 2 years for this site and others, but without DYC, I’d still be someone who used to write. Now, not only am I someone who currently writes, but also someone who gets pushed to write better by Andrew, Chad and Jason. Well, maybe not Chad.

So, why should you the reader care? Actually a damn good question, in that we’re just words on a webpage or voices on a podcast to most of you.

1. More writing. I’ll be less ‘geographically isolated hermit’ this football season, much more ‘finger (or other appendage) on the pulse of fans’ which will either add a layer of understanding to my writing…or drive me to mock our own fanbase more.

2. More podcasting. There’ll be much less fighting through Skype connections, and much more barnstorming a hungover Chad’s condo and shoving a microphone in his face.

3. More fun. The whole team has plans for events this fall, and being able to be there, whether it’s for a lock in at the College Football Hall of Fame, or running audio while Chad embarrasses himself on camera, more feet on the ground of these things is always a good thing.

There you have it. While I think the title is a bit misleading, I feel that I achieved a moderate sized announcement to help cap this blog off.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Playoff Preview


I know you’re still basking in the greatness that was the DYC NBA Awards post, but there’s playoffs to be discussed, and not a whole lot of time in which to do it. Seriously, the last night of the NBA season started with two playoff spots up for grabs, and six EIGHT different seeds still undecided. So yes, while it is typical of this site and this author to wait as long as possible to write things, it’s not (entirely) our fault this time.

We’re gonna break down the teams that made it in, mock some teams that didn’t, and make some picks for the first round. Chad’s sent me another email of first round odds, and while we agreed on a lot of the awards last post, he’s gone full Joker with some of these predictions. Let’s get it started.

Close, but no cigar…

Oklahoma City Thunder: Their season was plagued by injury, as Durant went down, then came back too soon, went down again, and then had season ending surgery. Along the way, Serge Ibaka was lost for the year, Dion Waiters remained allergic to passing, Scotty Brooks fell asleep every night weeping holding a photo of James Harden, and Russell Westbrook evolved into a real life superhero. Still, they were a win away from sneaking into the playoffs, and even that may cost Scott Brooks his job. After next year, KD can opt out, and going cheap on the coach is a great way to lose a top 3 player of this generation.

Indiana Pacers: I actually have no Pacer jokes. I’m glad Paul George looks moderately healthy, and anytime Larry Legend succeeds, we’re all doing better. Honestly, I’m just really happy the Hawks don’t have to play them in the first round, because their defense has been on point all year, and PG playing himself into shape against my team scares me. There. I said it.

Eastern Conference

1. Atlanta Hawks (60-22): I may have mentioned them once or twice this season in celebration of their unprecedented greatness, but it bears repeating: they’ve been not only great on the floor all year, but an absolute must-watch from an entertainment perspective.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29): They were interesting and then they weren’t and then they were a juggernaut. They playoff run will be educational, as teams tend to lock down one-on-one players, but the Cavs have two of the top five one-on-one players in the world. The interesting thing that could decide how far they go will be the state of Kevin Love’s back for the next two months.

3. Chicago Bulls (50-32): Derrick Rose is only kind of hurt at this point, but tip of the cap to the Hawks for letting Chicago win the last game of the season. They’ll probably win the first round, and the WAR looming between Cleveland and Chicago should make hoops fans salivate.

4. Toronto Raptors (49-33): When Rose went down, and the Cleveland LeBrons started slow, it looked like the top of the East was ripe for pillaging. Too bad the Raptors are the Raptors, and faded after a hot start, maintaining home court only through the overall putridity of the East.

5. Washington Bullets (46-36): Look, they’re updating the logo and BEGGING us not to call them the Wizards. I’m just an early adopter. John Wall had his best year ever, coming off of Team USA and last year’s playoff run, and Washington wasted it with Scott Brooks East AKA Randy Wittman. And this 5 seed might let him keep his job. Damn shame.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41): GREEK FREAK IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!111!!!!

7. Boston Celtics (40-41): Brad Stevens and his crew somehow got better after trading Rondo for spare parts, and muscled their way into the playoffs. They’re going to get murder-death-killed by the Cavs, but with a million first round draft picks this year, the playoff experience will actually help this squad.

8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44): Your punishment for costing the Hawks a lottery pick will be four games of me picking on Joe Johnson. You did this.

Western Conference

1. Golden State Warriors (67-15): Everything you’ve heard is true – they are a buzzsaw and a machine and a problem. They got to avoid Russy, and will be largely unchallenged until the conference finals where the Spurs wait like Shang Tsung: old but constantly dangerous.

2. Houston Rockets (56-26):James Harden has been automatic in his efforts to frustrate teams and get to the line easily for his squad. Teams will adjust to this winning strategy in the playoffs, but it is yet to be seen how effective that will be.

3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26): Congrats to this team for overcoming adversity all year, whether it be injuries or a weak as hell bench. Coach Rivers did an outstanding job winning despite the deporable job GM Rivers has done, and his reward is the Spurs in round 1.

4. Portland Trailblazers (51-31): The Blazers have a worse record than the 5 and 6 seeds, but get a top four seed because of winning their division. However, because of their record, they do NOT have home court which is based on record. Confused? PERFECT.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27): Injuries plummeted my favorite Western Conference team to this spot, and now they get to have an injury-off with the Blazers. I just want ZBo and Gasol in a Finals, is that too much to ask for?

6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27): It’s gotta stop at some point right? Apparently not.

7. Dallas Mavericks (50-32): They aren’t gonna bring back Rondo next year because he doesn’t fit in that offense. Still, if someone is going to stymie Harden’s gameplan in the playoffs, I bet Carlisle provides the blueprint in round 1.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37): For those of you JUST tuning into the NBA, Anthony Davis is 1000% a must watch, and he’ll be the best player in the league for the next few years.

He’s only 22 years old. Yeah man.

Round 1

As I mentioned, Chad prepped this part via email. I will run his picks and comments, with any corrections or mocking to follow.

Eastern Conference

Hawks v. Nets: Chad says, “Okay, so this is slightly compelling, because bitter Hawks fans will boo Joe Johnson lustily, and had the Nets missed the playoffs the Hawks would be in the lottery with their pick. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have had career revivals of sorts over the past 6 weeks, which makes the Nets potentially dangerous even as a #8.” Hawks in 6.

Daniel says, “Chad is intentionally trying to get me to overreact to his nonsense. I’m not falling for it.” Hawks in 4.

Cavaliers v. Celtics: Chad says, “Yawn, although these are the two best teams in the East since the trade deadline.” Cavs in 5

Daniel say, “This is some genius level trolling. Did Chad forget this is the first round?” Cavs in 4.

Bulls v. Bucks: Chad says, “an Jason Kidd coach? I think Jason Kidd can coach, as the team overcame the loss of #2 overall pick Jabari Parker and still made the playoffs comfortably, albeit a year ahead of their rebuilding schedule (again, gotta love the weak East). If Derrick Rose can re-integrate himself into the lineup, the Bulls become dangerous again. They at least win the series.” Bulls in 6.

Daniel says, “At least now I know he’s awake.” Bulls in 6.

Raptors v. Bullets: Chad says, “There was a time where the Wizards looked to be a legit 2 or 3 seed this year. That time has passed. The two most unpredictable teams in the league square off in the first round, and I’ll take the home court, because Toronto actually has a decent advantage there in the playoffs.” Raptors in 7

Daniel says, “Dammit. Chad’s right. The Drakes take this one.” Raptors in 7.

Western Conference

Warriors v. Pelicans: Chad says, “The league’s most entertaining offense and a top-5 defense against a team with a hobbled point guard and no playoff experience? I’ll give the Pelicans one ‘Anthony Davis does incredible things’ win.” Warriors in 5.

Daniel says, “That’s a lot of faith to put on a first time playoff kid.” Warriors in 4.

Rockets v. Mavs: Chad says, “I can’t say I fully trust Houston, for whatever reason. The Mavs have playoff Dirk, which is a terrifying thing, along with a balanced Chandler Parsons/Monta Ellis attack. GIVE ME THE UPSET!” Mavs in 7.

Daniel says, “Someone take Chad’s keys! He’s drunk!” Rockets in 5.

Clippers v. Spurs: Chad says, “The Spurs did what the Spurs do, playing on cruise control for 4 months before turning it on (and threatening for the #2 seed as recently as a week ago). I don’t bet against Pop.” Spurs in 6.

Daniel says, “Can Team President Doc fire GM Doc? Or does Coach Doc take the fall for this one?” Spurs in 6.

Trailblazers v. Grizzlies: Chad Says, “If Marc Gasol were healthy, this would be an easy Grizz ‘upset’. It’s worth noting that Memphis actually does have home court advantage because the Blazers get the higher seed and won their division, and sometimes the NBA makes no sense.” Portland in 6.

Daniel says, “CRIPPLE FIGHT!!!! Both teams are too injured to do much in a later series, but this will still be fun.” Grizzlies in 7.

There you have it. WAY too many words about the NBA Playoffs. Check back here Monday for a very special Dude You Crazy announcement, and maybe me cracking Billy King jokes.

The playoffs start Saturday at 12:30 with the Bullets taking on the Drakes Raptors on ESPN. Enjoy the games.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

 

 

 

DYC NBA Award Season


Earlier this year, I broke down the 2/3 Awards for the NBA and talked about the biggest stories of the year so far. Well, since then, all the important stories can fall under two umbrellas: Season Ending Awards and Playoffs. I’ll be making some officially official prognostications later on today, but before we get to the business of collectively losing money, I thought it’d be nice to circle the wagons with everyone else on the site who cares about the NBA, and is just as excited as me for the Playoffs. How excited?

That excited.

With that gif shared, here are Chad and I’s picks for All-NBA Teams, and all the individual awards for the 2014-2015 NBA season.

All-NBA Teams

Every year, the Illuminati assign 126 media members vote on three All-NBA Teams, as a way to chronicle the season. And while everyone remembers the big individual awards, the All-NBA Teams have been traditionally considered the best way to get a full snap shot of the year that was. For this, we’ll be sharing Chad’s ballot, followed by my ballot, followed by me ridiculing Chad’s ballot. Fun times!

First Team

Chad: Stephen Curry G, Russell Westbrook G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, LaMarcus Aldridge C

Daniel: Stephen Curry G, James Harden G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, Marc Gasol C

Second Team

Chad: Chris Paul G, James Harden G, Jimmy Butler F, Al Horford F, DeMarcus Cousins C

Daniel: Chris Paul G, Russell Westbrook G, LaMarcus Aldridge F, Paul Milsap F, Tim Duncan C

Third Team

Chad: Kyrie Irving G, Klay Thompson G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Marc Gasol C

Daniel: Kyrie Irving G, John Wall G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Al Horford C

This list was sent by Chad, along with the following disclaimer:

“Palmer wouldn’t let me count James Harden as a swingman, which is a load of horsecrap, and I’m a Bane Westbrook apologist for life.”

Ahem. I didn’t let him count Harden as a wing player because he’s CLEARLY a point guard/shooting guard/only source of offense for his team, especially with the late season loss of Patrick Beverley and the non-existence of Dwight this year. No matter how blatantly we played with positions here, I had to draw a line with Harden. That said, there are 20 versions of my list where I eschew the seemingly hometown choice of Horford for the transcendent years from Boogie and DeAndre Jordan.

I left Cousins off because of inconsistency that was not of his own doing; the Kings front office is why he’s on the outside looking in. Blame them Mr. Cousins, they did this. And leaving off DeAndre Jordan is one part a middle finger to his hyperbole prone coach, and one part appreciative head nod to what Al has brought to his squad coming off injury. Besides, the Hawks went all year with no one ever scoring more than 30 points in a game, so it feels right to honor them here.

End of Season Awards

The sad part about these awards is that Chad and I agree on all of them. Either he’s getting smarter or I’m getting…Chad-ier. Either way, it makes me nervous. Like the 2/3 awards, we’re going to hand out the hardware, list the other contenders, and make cases where need be.

MVP: Stephen Curry (Runners-Up: James Harden, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Anthony Davis )

If Chad were writing this, there’s no way that Westbrook gets left of the runners-up list because he’s manically obsessed with making sure Russy gets his due respect. But the MVP race doesn’t go to a single-minded force who failed to drag his team kicking and screaming into the playoffs. It doesn’t go to the young player who saved his coach’s job (along with a good chunk of the front office) by getting his team an 8 seed (Davis). It doesn’t go to the consensus best player on the planet when he takes a two week break mid season (James). And it doesn’t go to a player who while still being the best point guard alive, kept a poorly constructed team together in the midst of losing their second best player, and armed with no bench at all (Paul).

No, the term valuable this season goes to the two most outstanding performers on two of the best teams all year. Both were integral parts of their offense, with Harden being Houston’s literal only option on the offensive side, and Curry masterminding an offensive hydra that blew teams away by a historic margin. Some would argue that Harden had the harder task carrying the Rockets’ injury plagued, poorly shooting roster to it’s final tally of 55 wins, but you risk underselling just how important Curry is to the Warriors attack.

Both stepped up in different ways defensively for their squads. You done laughing? Well finish, I’ve got more words to throw at your face. Curry found great pride in his improved ability, fitting in beautifully one an underrated defensive juggernaut. While Harden hasn’t quite had the renaissance that Curry has on the defensive end, he’s no longer the source of nearly hourly Reddit examinations of how one player can be so bad at defense. He’s still not Scottie Pippen, but considering the energy he has to expend to keep this squad in games with his scoring, I’m surprise we haven’t seen this James all year.

Both players have stand out highlights, and a case can be made for either. But I’ll be dammed if a team can finish with 67 wins, and you don’t recognize the best player on that team.

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (Runners-Up: Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan)

That suffocating team defense the Warriors employed that I just referenced? None of it runs without Draymond Green. None of it. He’s the anchor that makes the 67 wins possible, and he can defend 1-5 with little to no drop off. His ability to stymie true centers has allowed the Warriors to play their best brand of basketball with a smaller line up, and see absolutely no drop off in defensive efficiency. As offenses get more mature, look for other teams to mimic the switching, swarming defense Golden State employs. Related: Draymond Green is a restricted free agent this summer. Draymond Green is going to be RICH.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins (Runners-Up: Alternate Universe Jabari Parker, Nikola Mirotic)

Any further questions?

Sixth Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas (Runners-Up: Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams)

We agreed that getting traded mid-season because other players hated you and doing your work for the award only since February 19th would not preclude him from winning this. What? They’re our awards.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Klay Thompson (Runners-Up: Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler)

Three Warriors taking home hardware? Three Warriors taking home hardware. The media may not agree with us, but I’ll be interested to see what the inaugural Player’s Association Awards give us.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer (Runners-Up: FOH)

Ain’t even a race. He won 60 games. With the Hawks. SIXTY.

We’ll be back later today with a full first round playoff preview.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

 

Sincerest Apologies for More Basketball, Dear Reader: A Sweet 16 Primer


As it always does, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament gave us some great moments. Great moments, such as R.J. Hunter’s buzzer-beater (and his torn-Achilles’d dad/coach falling out of his stool) will echo in eternity, as the NCAA’s corporate partners use buzzer beaters and catatonic losing players to somehow convince you that Pontiac still exists as a producer of automobiles. These moments also overshadow what can be some pretty shoddy basketball.

N.C. State/Villanova, won in the waning seconds on a tip-in? Preceded by seven minutes of atrocious basketball, with both teams apparently trying to throw the game South Park style. Georgia/Michigan St.? Teased us for a few minutes because Michigan State fouled on multiple layups, missed some key free throws, and won on the strength of Georgia choking just a little worse.

The Sweet 16, at the very least, is where the cream starts to rise to the top. Your top NBA prospects (referenced in last week’s tourney primer) are almost all still in play. Kentucky is still undefeated, Duke is still alive with its 3 lottery picks, and that big white dude from Wisconsin is still set to have that awkward Naismith Award interview during halftime of one of the Final Four games.

BASKETBALL ON!

Thursday/Saturday Brackets

Midwest: #1 Kentucky vs. #5 West Virginia, #3 Notre Dame vs. #7 Wichita State

By FAR the most intriguing bracket, because 1) Kentucky, duh; 2) their opponents/potential opponents. Bob Huggins’ 2010 West Virginia squad stopped the John Wall/DeMarcus Cousins Wildcats cold with a ruthless, attacking 1-3-1 defense back then, and history has a way of repeati….HAHAHA JK. But, go Mountaineers anyway.

Last year, an eighth-seeded Kentucky squad knocked…guess who?…Wichita State from the ranks of the unbeaten on the way to the finals. STORYLINES! And Notre Dame is the hottest team in the country. Undersized, yes, but their four-out-one-in offense is probably the best recipe to crack Kentucky’s ridiculous defense.

The pick: Calling Kentucky over Notre Dame here.

West: #1 Wisconsin vs. #4 North Carolina, #6 Xavier vs. #2 Arizona

Until today, I didn’t know there was a (decidedly one-sided and petty) beef between Wisconsin and UNC, but hey. My favorite excerpt:

Williams told a throng of national reporters: “Are you going to tell me you don’t like this more than 19-17 at halftime? I’m not a nuclear physicist, but you make the choice. We’re trying to make it a game of basketball skills, not a weight-room contest.”

This was in reference to a 2000 Final Four game in which Wisconsin played, where the halftime score above was correct. The Badgers are still that hateable, playing at the nation’s 346th quickest tempo. They are, as you might expect, a bunch of white guys with bad haircuts, so join me in cheering for UNC. There’s my pitch.

Arizona is still the most dangerous yet unpredictable team in the tourney. All three of their losses came to teams who failed to make it to the final 64 68, and their offense occasionally disappears. If they’re on, though, they’re a match for Kentucky.

The pick: Unfortunately, I have a gut feeling about Xavier (whom I haven’t seen play in YEARS) knocking off ‘Zona. Wisconsin tempos North Carolina to death by not allowing them to get into transition. Wisconsin is the beneficiary and advances, at which point I may actually lean towards supporting Kentucky in the Final Four*.

*- There is a very real, very horrifying chance that both Duke and N.C. State make the Final Four. This is my hell. Go Big Blue, assuming Carolina has been shown the door.

Friday/Sunday Brackets

East Bracket: #8 N.C. State vs. #4 Louisville, #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State

The Wolfpack and Spartans, respectively, knocked off #1 Villanova and #2 Virginia in the opening weekend, throwing the East into wide-open chaos. State actually won AT Louisville earlier in the season, but Rick Pitino is the March Mobster (has anyone taken this joke before? Not in those exact words. Fun links anyway. ‘No cuddling on the bathroom floor’ is my new rally cry for UL games).

I know little about Oklahoma, but their Big XII brethren took the GAS in week 1. #3’s Iowa State and Baylor didn’t survive the first four hours of play, #2 Kansas lost to little brother Wichita State, and #5 West Virginia draws Kentucky. Counter that with what I said about Pitino above, take out the mobster part, and demonstrate more success and overachieving in the tourney, and you get Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. Don’t bet against Tom Izzo.

The pick: I choose to believe N.C. State has had its moment and Louisville wins by 8-10 points. And DON’T BET AGAINST TOM IZZO! Sparty beats Louisville, although I honestly didn’t know they were going to qualify for the tournament until I saw them paired with Georgia.

South Bracket: #1 Duke vs. #5 Utah, #2 Gonzaga vs. #11 UCLA

Utah is big, physical, and has athletes at the guard position. Which could beat Duke. Self-delusion over.

Gonzaga/UCLA is a fun matchup, because it means we get to see Adam Morrison crying about 12 times in the minutes leading up to, during, and after the game. The Bobcats drafted him third overall over about 40 guys who had better NBA careers, and I’m still bitter about it.

Let me taste your tears, Scott!”

The pick: Step 5: acceptance. Duke rolls over Utah, rolls over a Gonzaga team that actually reaches the regional final for the first time since 1999, although they’ve been to every tournament since.

 

Kentucky/Wisco, Michigan State/Duke. And I’m free to do something else next weekend.

 

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