Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

One Sport, Two Continents, and the International Men of Mystery

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Editors Note: Please welcome new Staff Writer, and CtB European correspondent, Ben Werth.

I yell out “Check up top.” General dillydallying continues, and I yell again.  “BALL UP TOP.”  Okay, maybe something is lost in translation.  I try a different tactic.  “Der Ball ganz oben, bitte?”  That combined with the well known International Sign of “putting my hands out to receive a pass” have the desired effect.  I’m pretty sure my whack literal translation was not what yielded the ball.

“What do you guys usually play?  12 win by two, or 21 straight?  All ones?”  I generally detest playing with ones and twos in pickup ball.  The NBA short corner three is ridiculously inefficient compared to that two for one advantage.  Good thing most normal people can’t shoot.

“Okay!” says one lithe baller.

“Okay, what?  Bis zwölf, oder was?”  Have I been talking to myself?

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#WellActually You’re Wrong to be Outraged about the Lottery

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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I promise to pen only one rant-post a season.

Let me start by saying I currently have two enormous pet peeves frequently generated by journalists/pundits.  The first is the use of the word “nuance” or “nuanced” which is code for “I am enlightened and/or reasonable enough to understand that the world isn’t black and white, there are “shades of gray” and therefore my “nuanced” discussion or analysis is superior to your opinions, which are essentially Neanderthal grunting”.

This thinly-veiled hubris is insufferable, and the phrase du jour has permeated every sector and level of journalism.  It’s one thing when the almond-milk drinkers at The Atlantic are using it; it’s another when sportswriters writing about…well sports, revert to it over and over and over.  Can we go back to talking like characters from “da Bears” sketches already?  It’s just as intelligent, only without the overwhelming smugness.

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Congratulations! You Won the Lottery. Now Don’t Screw it Up.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Urban mythology is filled with the tales: people who won the lottery, and woke up three years later at the bottom of an empty swimming pool clutching a bottle of Jack next to a passed out former XFL cheerleader and a Tibetan Mastiff named Chodak, while the sounds of the flatbed truck cranking up the winch to repossess the Bentley echoed in the distance. “That guy had everything, and pissed it all away,” the documentary always says…

The Cavs don’t want to be the NBA version of that story. After winning their pick of the NBA prospects in the greatest draft since 2003, we Cavs fans, and I’m sure the front office, are euphoric. With this pick, two picks next year, and $40 million to spend, the Cavs have sooo many options. I don’t know about yours, but my head has been spinning for the last 24 hours — dazzled by the overwhelming number of possibilities. David Griffin has acknowledged all these possibilities, too.  And to his credit, he’s been setting off smoke screens since the minute the pick was announced.  I’ve heard that Parker, Embiid, and Wiggins are all at “the top of the Cavs list.” I’ve heard that the Cavs will look at more than just those players. I’ve heard that Griffin’s phone has been ringing with trade offers since the moment they got the pick, and that the Cavs “will be open minded.” But like someone who just won the Powerball, Cleveland needs to disconnect the phone for a day or two and figure out what’s really important.

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Mike Brown’s Unfair Firing

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Yesterday, the Cavs officially changed directions. The attempt to recapture the magic of the first LeBron era is over. A couple hours after I predicted that the Cavs would let Mike Brown twist in the wind until after the finals, they did the merciful thing and cut Brown loose (again). But let’s not mince words. David Griffin got rewarded and Brown got screwed. Mike will get a lot of money to go away quietly, but this situation was completely unfair from the start. I’ve been a Brown detractor many times over the years, but after a night’s worth of contemplation, I doubt any coach could have made the playoffs with this team.

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The Crawl to Judgment

Monday, May 12th, 2014

It seems Dan Gilbert took my advice. This spring Mr. Gilbert did not give us his best Sonny Corleone impersonation, he gave us his best Michael. Instead of impulsively firing the coach and hiring his replacement a few days later after one dinner interview, Dan waited…got the lay of the land, reportedly interviewed “four or five serious candidates,” and decided to offer the GM position to David Griffin. According to Jason Lloyd, “David Morway, Bryan Colangelo, Donnie Walsh and Joe Dumars” have been linked to this front office search. I don’t know about any of you, but I never heard those names linked by any other method than my own wild speculations. I wonder if this is Lloyd’s way of saying, “I can’t tell you who they interviewed, but this is who they interviewed.” First, kudos to the Cavs for keeping it all under wraps. But, if that’s really the case, then only Morway and Walsh seem like legitimate candidates. Still, I like this new slow and deliberate Dan Gilbert over the impulsive one. If he thinks, after a couple weeks, that David Griffin is the best man to run the Cavs, all I can ask is that Gilbert empowers Griffin to do the job. Now, what do they do about Mike Brown?

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The 2014 Playoffs — What does the First Round Mean for the Cavs? Part II

Monday, May 5th, 2014

As evidenced by last night’s scores, the playoffs are still bananas. Did anyone predict Indiana and OKC getting blown out at home? Speaking of playoffs, Yesterday, Kevin covered the Eastern Conference, in his series of glass half full/glass half empty first round breakdowns. Today I continue the series by tackling the Western Conference. We’ll pretend that Dallas and Memphis wouldn’t be top four teams in the East. Thankfully, (Glass Half Full) the Cavs play in the lesser conference.  Frighteningly, (Glass Half Empty)  if the NBA ever re-seeds the playoffs to ignore conferences, Cleveland could be hosed.

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The Obligatory Donald Sterling Discussion

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Editors Note: The following is a dialogue and an amalgamation of chats written over a couple of days between Tom Pestak and Nate Smith. The topic of discussion: Donald Sterling and the L.A. Clippers.  As such, it was edited to include topical information, such as Adam Silver’s press conference on Tuesday. Please note that all opinions expressed are solely Tom’s and Nate’s and are independent of opinions of the rest of the CtB staff or our affiliates.

Nate Smith: I know. I know. It seems everyone who’s anyone in the NBA has a take on Donald Sterling’s racists comments to his mistress V. Stiviano and on the lifetime ban imposed by Adam Silver. The tale has it all: a ribald March-December affair, a filthy rich villain getting his comeuppance, an aggrieved fan-base, a jilted wife, and superstar NBA players caught in the middle of it all. Sterling’s comments strip off thin veneer of civility covering the ugly racial tensions just under the surface of our public discourse… It’s no wonder that the story has touched off such a firestorm. But, Tom, as anyone who’s followed the Clippers for any length of time knows, we should have seen this coming. Sterling is a sleazebag, and he has been for years. The New York Times published a litany of his years of offensive behavior, Monday.

In 2009, Sterling paid a $2.725 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department accusing him of systematically driving African-Americans, Latinos and families with children out of apartment buildings he owned.

That racist pattern of action is much more reprehensible than Sterling’s racist comments. Multiple ex-Clippers have commented over the years, on what a D-bag Don Sterling is. Former franchise centerpiece, Elton Brand noted, Monday, that “there have been allegations for many, many years and nothing has been done.” This Deadspin article entitled, “Donald Sterling is a Sack of S**t Part 982,” details Sterling’s verbal abuse of Baron Davis during Baron’s time with the Clips, and the article is from 2010. What’s my point? It’s hard to feel bad for stars like Doc Rivers and Chris Paul who chose to work for a man known to be a racist <insert epithet here>.

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Breaking News: NBA Suspends Donald Sterling for Life, Will Push for Sale of Team

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

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There wasn’t much envy for Adam Silver’s position the last couple of days. On Saturday, TMZ dumped the audio version of a 20-pound bag of frozen shrimp that’s been left out in the sun all afternoon into the lap of the still dewey Commissioner of the NBA. Worldwide debate elbowed its way into the start of this year’s (truly, truly remarkable) playoffs as questions shifted from “Will tonight’s Thunder/Grizzlies game go into OT again?” to “Should Chris Paul and the Clippers even play?” in the wake of an ignorant stream of racist comments allegedly made by Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

It’s “allegedly” no more now as Silver passed his first real public test as Commissioner with flying colors, suspending Sterling “for life,” fining him $2.5 million (“the most allowable” under the league’s Constitution) and calling the NBA’s Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

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Get Your Motor Running (for next year)…

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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Momentum: the greased-up pig of professional sports. It’s the one thing losing teams can look to for signs that next year might turn out better. It’s the one thing the Cavaliers have had to play for since being eliminated from the playoff race last week. And it’s the one thing that has, with every swipe, slipped through the Cavs fingers.

Looking past overall team success, though (and, really, why would that matter in a team sport), there are some bright spots – bright, forward-moving, momentum-fueled spots on this roster that should give the team and its fans some crumbles of hope heading into a fourth straight off-season of lose … lottery… repeat.

So, who in this organization is good at putting one foot firmly in front of the other and who is standing in place?

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The Cavs Really Should Trade Kyrie Irving (Probably)

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

In the words of Magnum P.I., I know what you’re thinking: “Nate is nuts.” Kyrie Irving is a 21-year-old two time All-Atar who was just the NBA All-Star Game MVP, was the No. 1 pick of the draft and rookie of the year in 2012. In the NBA, players like that are untouchable. But the dirty little secret of this Cleveland playoff push is that the Cavs may play better without Kyrie, and at the very least, they don’t play any worse. I’m actually worried about the Cavs missing the playoffs if Irving comes back. Am I a hoops blasphemer?

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