meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2016-12-18

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.

Friday, December 23, 2016

George Karl, Not a Good Idea, diude.

I haven't read Coach George Karl's book and probably won't, not that I don't admire George's contribution to the NBA. He was a heck of a coach, and was always considered a player's coach, whatever that means.  I wrote my own account of my one year as a head professional coach of the Carolina Cougars of the ABA in which I criticized Jim McDaniels, our non defensive minded center and Joe Caldwell, our over-rated super star. Much later I reread my book and found it sounded a lot like whining.

What I didn't understand back then, and what George doesn't understand now is that it doesn't do a bit of good blasting any of  your players. Whether true or not, it always comes off like sour grapes. George, in your case, everyone who knows the game of basketball is aware of Carmelo's reluctance to play defense, even today when it appears as if he's trying. And anybody with eyes recognizes JR's "unbelievable shot selection." They also realize JR can shoot his  team into a game as well as shoot his team out of a game. In this regard there are a few other players with a similar game malfunction. As for posses, that's a subject that has already gotten Phil Jackson into hot water. Kenyon Martin, from the start of his career, was always a loose cannon. And, really, not too many average sports readers remember Kenyon anyway.I thought he was a knucklehead, but I admired the courage it took for him to come back after a horrendous knee injury at the end of his college career.

On to other things.

Classy move by Pat Riley to honor Shaq. Bravo to both men. I'm finding Shaq more lovable in retirement than I did on the court. Deeply impressed that he went on to get a Ph.D.

Here's an example of some fancy (or not fancy) equivocation by Coach K on his player Grayson Allen. "If we start counting up the mistakes of every player - I'm not saying tripping is the right thing to do [No, Coach, it's is  absolutely the wrong thing to do.] , whether a guy curses or shows a bad attitude - we're going to find that a lot of players do something wrong," ......No kidding. Are you equating cursing with tripping? "That he [Allen] did something he did last year that wasn't good, that's not good." Dance around the verbal flagpole a little more, coach. How about saying tripping an opponent is wrong under any circumstance. and I and my staff will not tolerate it. The young man will sit on the bench until he believes he can improve his behavior on the court. If he doesn't, he's off the team.

My years of playing sports are taking their toll on me in my old age. Here's a poem I wrote on the subject.

Looking at an X-Ray of My Back    by Tom Meschery

I say to my doctor, my spine
looks like a curve ball,
and he says
it's a breaking pitch
to the inside. I think that's funny,
so I say I can still win a game 
or two even at my age,
you know. And he says
you can't fool anybody
with that pitch at any age.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

You Reap What You Sow

One could argue that the Sacramento Kings, by not standing up to DeMarcus Cousins from the start of his career, have reaped what they sowed. Last night's melodramatic performance by Cousins is a perfect example of Cousin's ongoing personality disorder. He scores 56 points, leading his team to victory with a super heroic effort, after which he goes into a look-at-me-look-at-me hysterical performance that included spitting his mouth guard out at the feet of the opposing team' bench. The referee closest to the scene called the spiting of the mouth-guard inadvertent, rescinded the T, and called Cuz back onto the court where he hit his free-throw. Instead of being thankful, after the game on air with Kayte Christianson, he rants against the referees, his message being they (the refs) have it in for him. Oh, woe is me!  I thought the entire scene during the game (including the mouth piece spitting) was a display of unsportsman-like taunting of an opponent. We'll see what the NBA office on review thinks.

This morning Bee provided a long list of Cousins' antics since he came into the league. At the end of the article it quoted an ESPN analyst who pointed out that DeMarcus Cousin's trade value around the NBA is low.

The poor, poor Kings. What on earth are they going to do? They have a gigantically talented headcase that has lost his trade value and a supporting cast of players that will not bring the Kings much on the trade block. The Kings missed their opportunity at least three years ago when they could have received players and draft choice for Cousins.

At long time ago in my fourth year playing for the Golden State Warriors, our coach Alex Hannum told me that he would trade anyone no matter who, super star or not, if he thought such a trade would improve his team. "That means you," he pointed at me. I took it personally and for a while was mad at my coach. I'd had a strong three years in the league and was playing well. Once I calmed down, I realized Alex was right, and I was grateful for his honesty. It kept my ego in check throughout my ten year career.

Clearly the Kings do not have the wisdom of Coach Hannum and the Warriors who later that year traded Wilt Chamberlain to the 76ers. A great trade overall for the Warriors. And as it turned out a great trade for Wilt. Cousins is no Wilt the Stilt, but you get my point.

The Kings have reaped what they sowed and are up the proverbial "Sh-t Creek."

Is there a solution? Clearly they're not going to get anything of real value through trades. There will be a team willing to take a chance on Cousins, but the Kings won't get value in return. Said team, like the Kings, will reap what they sowed.

For the Sacramento Kings, that leaves the draft or free agency. After trading Cousins, Mr. Ranadive, the King's owner, must open up his pocketbook and go after at least three strong free agents of which there will be a good selection to choose from at the end of the season.

Free agency is the only way. But not for simply one star. The Kings need solid first tier players. With respect, (I do believe they are trying) there is not one player among the King's starter who would start on any of the playoff bound teams in the NBA. Perhaps, not on any of the NBA teams. Perhaps Rudy Gay on one of the lower tier teams.

Enough said. It is time for the Kings management and ownership to man up and trade Cousins. Sacramento deserves more.

Here's a wonderful little poem that is funny and true about football. Would work for rugby as well.

Heaps on Heaps    by  Matthew Concanen
                                         from A Match at Football (1721)

And now both Bands in close embraces met,
Now foot to foot, and breast to breast was set,
Now all impatient grapple round the Ball,
And Heaps on Heaps in wild Disorder fall.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Post First Basketball Doesn't Work Anymore

If you haven't noticed, the NBA is no longer a post first league that way it was in the Sixties and Seventies. The last big that was called upon to provide essential scoring was Shaquille O'Neil.
It's not that the bigs are not needed in today's game. They are still crucial as shot blockers, rebounders, and paint protectors. The best example of this was Andrew Bogut of the Warriors' championship team. Anther example is the great shoot blockers Hassan Whiteside and DeAndre Jordan.

Very few teams today rely on their centers for big point production. Towns for the Timberwolves, Gasol for the Griz, Anthony Davis for the Pelicans (but I don't consider him a center in the strict sense of the word; ditto Porzingis of the Knicks.) Joel Embiid, still a ? but looking like a stud. The Sacramento Kings, as far as I can determine, is the only team that if their Big doesn't score, there is no way they can win. 

It used to be a team acquired a great center and built a team around him. Doesn't work anymore. Game is too fast and too fluid. Without a solid point guard (one that can score) a team in the NBA today is lost. Without three point shooters, a team in the NBA is lost. It is a bonus if your Big can score, but that's not where the emphasis is anymore.

This is a problem the Kings have not been able to figure out, although it's been staring them in the face for the last four years. 

Got to love seeing Villanova and the Bruins one two in the college basketball standings and not any of the usual suspects: Duke, Kentucky, and N. Carolina. Shades of Rollie Massimino.

Does anybody see any signs of energy coming from the 49ers? Owner, GM, and coach got to go. Why owner? Because this  York kid has no idea what constitutes a GM who knows how to build a team. Maybe if the dad took over???? How about Walsh back from the grave?

Instead of a poem, here's another tribute to Bill King, sports broadcaster extraordinaire in honor of him being inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.

A quote by Dave Henderson  (A's player from 1988 -1993, who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley town of Dos Palos.) It has a sort of Jack Kerouac feel to it.

   Down in the valley, remember, these were farmers and workers that didn't have the money to go to games, so they listened on the radio. They equated Oakland A's baseball with Bill King. If they heard his voice, baseball was going on and it was summertime and everything was rosy. He gave everybody that feeling that everything was okay, Bill was on the radio, nice warm day, baseball was going, everything was fine in the world.