meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2012-12-23

What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rethinking the NBA for 2013

I'm looking at the roster of the Timberwolves and the Rockets and imagining them (sans injuries) as playoff teams. Lin and Hardren might turn into one of the great NBA backcourts. Kirilenko of the Wolves continues to show that you can be an All-Star as a defensive player - great hands, great instincts. And he's Russian like me, what more can I say.

When Bogut gets back and in form, count the Warriors into the playoffs and deeper than the first round. You heard it here first.

I don't care how good Nash is, I'm not sold on the Lakers, nor am I sold on the Clippers for exactly the opposite reason: the Lakers have no bench and the Clippers have too much bench. Predictable rotations are essential.

The Heat have a rebounding problem, the Talking Heads say. They may, but LeBron is a powerful force of nature. As I watched the recent Thunder/Miami game, it seemed to me that the players on the Thunder were frightened of LeBron when the big mon made his powerful moves. How to beat the Heat? Let LeBron shoot the long ball and don't let him drive and get cheap baskets. After awhile as LeBron realizes he is being given the free three, he'll start thinking and he's going to start missing.

I do not believe in the Knicks. I am not impressed with Carmelo, nor am I impressed with JR Smith. Great instinctive basketball but no IQ for the game. Kidd might help in that department, but its a long season and he's 38 years old. And Felton is not a starting guard.

The Spurs remain steady and skillful. The key to their winning big will be how healthy the Big Three will be come playoff time. A consistent Diaw, and the continued development of Diago Splitter. I see them upsetting the Thunder and taking Miami to the seventh game. The Winner is: __________________for the NBA Championship.

Chicago. Not this year. But with Rose back, next year might be their time. They should trade to get Korvar back.

What about the Grizzlies? What about them? Pretty predictable if you ask me, which means easy to defend. They can't run with Gasul and Randolph. So Gay, Conley and Allen have to play slow down ball.

Here's a trade for the Grizzlies: The Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins, Tryreke Evans, and Aaron Brooks (Tyreke is a Memphis guy) for Gasul, Randolph and Pondexter? The Kings get a Vladi Devac type player back and a defender in Allen. The Grizzlies could create a running team and clear cap space by getting rid of Randolph and Gasul. Lionel can hire his old teammate Bill Walton to work with Cousins all summer.

What can I say about the Nuggets? Great coach. Faried is fab, but can't shoot a lick. Gallinari is inconsistent. McGee doesn't seem real bright to me, and he's the key to the team going beyond the first round of the playoffs.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jimmer Fredette might actually learn to play in the NBA.

By the end of the season, barring injuries, the most improved team in the NBA will be the New Orleans Hornets. Vasquez is the surprise point guard of the season for me. The Hornets and the Jazz should trade names. There's no jazz in Salt Lake and probably a lot of bees.

One last thought. If the NBA ever wants to create real parity, it needs to increase the 24 second rule to 30 seconds. The additional 6 seconds will allow for four extra passes. The additional 6 seconds will allow a well trained, disciplined team to execute plays better, create a little more slight of hand, and allow coaches more opportunity to coach. It would not inhibit those teams that want to run and overpower an opponent with athleticism, but it would allow a team that does not have those kind of super, super stud stars to compete. Level the playing field and discourage teams like Miami from loading up. Smarts instead of brawn.

Hilarious poem about boxing

The World's Worst Boxer   Lucilius  translated by Humbert Wolfe

Apis! the men you boxed with, grateful that you
never hit one of them, erect this statue.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Cousin's Dilemma

It's about time the Kings suspended DeMarcus cousins. Phil Jackson is right to recommend psychological counseling. Without counseling, Cousins will wind up bouncing around the NBA, moving out of trouble into trouble, always far short of playing to his potential, and let's be clear, DeMarcus Cousins has enormous potential. The only quick fix I can think of is trading him to the Boston Celtics and let Garnett, Rondo, and Pierce, and Coach Doc Rivers have crack at him. Perhaps, surrounded by strong, intelligent, hardworking superstar players and directed by a coach with a strong reputation, the kid might, (I stress might) get his act together. The Kings could ask for Jeff Green, Jard Sullinger, Avery Bradley and a first round draft choice. They might go for that, or something close to it. The Kings would get young talent and two first round picks in 2113.  The Celtics would be a force with DeMarcus in the middle.

Enough said on the mental health side of things and trades.

Last night as the Cousin's drama was unfolding I was watching NBA Gametime listening to Isiah Thomas talking about how the NBA game has evolved from a center dominated game to a point guard/penetration type game. I knew that, but Thomas provided some extra food for thought.

This morning I read in the sports page that one of Cousin's big grips is that his teammates don't pass him the ball enough or at the right time (the reason he had a fight with Donte Green). Humm, I thought, perhaps the kid has a legitimate grip. As I recalled the King's games I've watched, I came to the conclusion that the ball does NOT go in to Cousins nearly enough. If I had my way, 65 % of the offense would start with the big man. But, that kind of inside/out offense does not fit the new NBA paradigm.

It would be interesting to me to see what would happen if every time the Kings could not create a fast break opportunity (however they wanted to structure that), they started their half court set with a pass to the big man. Cousins is an excellent passer. He has good vision and soft hands. Create a passing and cutting offense, players filling in from the weakside. In and out, set and reset, side to side. The more Cousins becomes a force in the low block the more defenses must collapse on him to help, which opens up outside shooters. Freddette, Brooks, and Thorton shooting without a hand in their face? I like that idea a lot.

As for Cousins, force him to be the player he can be. Make him the lynch-pin of the offense. Tell him exactly what he needs to do: DeMarcus you must produce 18 points a night, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists and block shots. Challenge him to be a triple double man.

Will this happens? Who knows? But, in Cousin's case, it might be good idea to return to the old school post-up offense. Models change all the time. Pendulums swing back.

Here's a small poem I wrote about Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan   by Tom Meschery

His air curves upward
while all the rest of us,
say we "hang."
Disconsolate and
earthbound, we know
our air merely descends.
He stays aloft,
legs splayed, tongue
a puppy flap.
Happy, so happy
four centuries later
to prove Newton wrong.