Monday, July 20, 2009

NBA vs. Congress: Mandatory Minimum Age Debate

"However, my concern is that the players who must abide by this rule are harmed by the league's pursuit of these business interests," the congressman wrote, adding that the "age discrimination" prevents players from supporting their families.

What I really don't understand from the article (linked above) and the excerpt above is how the Congressman has any basis to question the NBA on what seems like a legitimate hiring practice.

Businesses contain minimum ages for positions all the time, or do so indirectly by requiring college or advanced degrees. Congress has a minimum age for senators and legislators because it is in the best interest of the Congress to have competent, educated, and experience people making laws. If the NBA thinks it will benefit from having only older, more mature young men allowed into their business, I really don't see the ground that Congress is standing on here to have an investigation/hearing. Both private entities and government entities have minimum age requirements, so it seems like they are singling out the NBA unfairly on this one. It isn't like they are being unreasonable and making kids wait for years and years to be able to enter the NBA. All they want is a 1-year waiting period to make sure boys enter the NBA with a mature backing.

Additionally, a lot of young men who do enter the NBA often get caught up in the glamor and riches and waste a lot of money while making bad decisions. The NBA wants players to transition from high school to the NBA through college or a year somewhere else, so that they learn how to better manage themselves once they get all the fame and fortune. I would think that Congress would appreciate the fact that the NBA is promoting more prudent behavior from young, often minority, and potentially very influential men. Even if they are only doing it because it will help their revenues and profits, the seemingly additional social benefits make this a win-win.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do You Consider Yourself Moral? Think Again....

Why We Are All Immoral...

Interesting utilitarian perspective on morality and how we all seem to not worry about things that are "out of sight and out of mind", but those same things directly in front of us are of huge concern.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lakers Repeat? In Terms of Other Contenders...

In order to judge a possible dynasty I feel like u have to look at the other contenders…

The Cavs upgraded with Shaq. The Lakers would have beaten the Cavs pretty easily in 2009 if they made it to the finals, this addition simply puts them in the discussion. But, now the Lakers got better as well (in terms of talent + guarding LBJ). The Cavs are somewhat of a threat, but if we re-sign LO and everyone is healthy we would beat them in a 7 game series.

The Spurs look to be more healthy and added young Richard Jefferson. We beat the spurs in 2008 but Ginobili was a bit injured. It was a close series, but we didn't have Bynum or Ariza. Now that we have Bynum and an upgrade with Artest, if the entire Spurs team can stay healthy, this is a pretty even matchup in my opinion with the Spurs' additions.

The Nuggets haven’t made any big changes yet…and if they don’t, they won’t be a real contender.

The Celtics won the title in '08, but they were pretty unconvincing in doing so, even against LA (except for game 6). They beat us without Bynum and Ariza, and i feel like if we had those pieces we would have been champions in '08. Regardless, they are back to '08 form with KG minus James Posey but with a new-and-improved rondo, plus a Rasheed Wallace. But, Bynum+Artest>>>Wallace, just isolating those pieces, it looks like we would be able to handle them like we didn’t do in 08, because we are MUCH better without the injuries in 08 and the Artest addition, and they are marginally better than the 2008 Celtics (remember the Big 3 are aging as well).

The Magic have lost Turkoglu, Gortat, and Lee, while they’ve added Vince. I think AT BEST they’ve stayed even, and we’ve improved with Artest after already beating them pretty easily in the '09 finals. I think the Lakers would handle them if things don’t change much.

All in all, I see the order of highest threat to repeat to lowest threat as:
Spurs, Celtics, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets.

The Celtics have a big time player coming back from injury + a new addition, but we didnt have 2 key players when we faced em in '08.

If the Spurs come back healthy and Jefferson is effective, they look scary, but again we beat them in '08 without Bynum and Ariza and now we’ve upgraded Ariza to Artest.

The net change from the 2008 matchup between the Lakers and Spurs becomes:

A healthy Ginobili (injured in '08) + Richard Jefferson VERSUS Bynum + Artest. I'd take Bynum and Artest in that matchup, but even if that is a wash, the Lakers still have the edge after winning in 2008 against the Spurs.

The drop-off after that in my opinion is pretty steep. The Cavs and the Magic are still one piece away.

All-in-all there is a good shot the Lakers can repeat if they stay healthy and driven, but look for other teams to make more moves from now till before the trade deadline in February.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lakers Buy Time on PG Situation

Lakers salary breakdown (link)

The Lakers are signing Brown to a 2-year, 4.2 million dollar deal. The way I see this is that the Lakers are basically buying time to decide who is going to take over as Fisher winds down the last year of his current contract. If Brown can continue to develop on the flashes of brilliance he showed in the playoffs, he could overtake Farmar for next-in-line. He's actually making more money than Farmar next year, which probably won't make Farmar, who is known for hiw confidence/cockiness, too happy.

Farmar has shown great potential as well, compensating for his size with grit, quickness, and decent outside shooting. His ball-handling is solid as well, but he has a long way to go to call himself the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers will develop both these guys in the triangle with Kobe/Pau/Bynum, then re-sign the one that they want after their respective contracts are up. They'll probably let the other one go to another team because they won't be able to pay the future market value for the fully developed guy they don't take, and won't really have to because they can sign someone cheaper (a veteran most likely), to come off the bench.

Ironically enough, Jackson doesn't like starting/using young point guards, so it should be interesting to see how this plays out along with Jackson's future with the Lakers. If he does come back for more than just next year, he might want a trade for another veteran PG unless Fisher can somehow still start in a few years, which I don't think he will be able to. That could be something Brown and Farmar should think about when they consider a future in LA.

Some NBA Preview E-Mail Thoughts


Just wanted to know everyones thoughts on all the most recent free agent developments. Of course I'm most interested in Boston's signing of Rasheed and the likely signing of Big Baby by the Spurs. Hedo to the Raps and the Pistons signings are not as much of an issue in terms of turning them in to contenders in the short term. I think Rasheed is a great fit for the Celtics off the bench, a huge upgrade over Big Baby because while Big Baby can hit the midrange, Sheed can hit from just about anywhere on the floor. Big Baby to the Spurs by itself is not a huge deal but if the Spurs are healthy they have to be the favorites after the Lakers out of the West..a healthy big three, + the new blood of Richard Jefferson, DaJuan Blair, Jack McClinton (Eddie House style player out of Miami) and Big Baby is pretty scary. In light of all the movements I'm warming up to Artest more and more, the Lakers couldn't have just stood still during this off season. If we keep Odom, this could be an amazing team.
What do you guys think about the other teams moves?


Rasheed is 35 years old and the Celtics are betting on experience, which is crucial in the playoffs. This move is similar to the lakers moves to get gary peyton and karl Malone in the 2004 season. I think age will (has) caught up with the Celtics and the rigor of keeping up with Cleveland and Orlando in the rest will takes its toll on the 4 30 something stars that they have - RA,PP,KG and RW.

The lakers probably have a deal with lamar which will be announced on Wednesday and, with artest, they get a good defender, a good three point shooter as well as someone who will use some technicals to intimidate opponents. Phil coming back is a huge deal and he probably pushed for the artest trade.

If Portland had landed turkoglu that would have been a definite upgrade for them and I am glad he went to Toronto. The magic are weakened and, unless Dwight learns some other moves (and improves his free throw shooting) the magic will not make it back to the finals.

Shaq will disrupt lebron's game too much and Cleveland will regret getting him. At 37 shaq is too heavy to be effective on a consistent basis, expecially in 7 game series that are played over 14 days. He helps them against other big men but will not work out overall.

Finally the lakers (and kobe) have to play just as hungry and motivated this year as they did this past year. Kobe has to enforce. Bynum has to come out strong and consistent.


The Spurs biggest knock has been their age but they just got a huge upgrade with Richard Jefferson and if Big Baby or Shawn Marion go to the Spurs they look scary out West. They could match the Lakers in shooting for a 70-win season if everyone stays healthy.

Ginobili is a scoring beast and any team is going to have difficulties matching up with both him and Jefferson on the wing, as well as Duncan down low and a quick-as-hell Tony Parker.

Just looking at the Lakers, we are probably the only team in the league that can truly guard the Spurs' wings effectively with both Kobe/Artest, but we would still have trouble with Duncan and Parker.

I think the Lakers realized that they were good, but with Ginobili/Garnett/Nelson injured they did have an easier time than they would have. With that said, the path was easier but we still struggled at times, and the Artest upgrade merely matches the trades other teams have made and the teams that have people coming back from injury. We need one more piece in ADDITION to LO in my opinion to match all the improved and now-healthy teams out there.

That piece could be internal: Andrew Bynum being as dominant for a season as he is for certain stretches we have seen. It could be Farmar taking over the point from Fisher and flourishing. It could be Vujacic returning to 2008 form. But other than that, Kobe, Odom, and Gasol are basically playing the best they will play. I think the Lakers will make one more move before the trade deadline involving Odom/Morrison/Yue/Farmar/Vujacic/Walton and MAYBE, maybe, maybe even Bynum (even though he has been off-limits in the past) if they can convince themselves to part with him.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Who Came Up With The "Expect Great" Slogan?

Must have been a woman...

NBA Tandems To Watch In 2009-2010

Kobe/Pau, LeBron/Shaq*, Duncan/Parker, Dwight/Vince*, Pierce/Garnett, Bosh/Hedo*.

Big/Small combos in championship-contending teams and the recent, big moves to make them possible (the * combos) are just so prolific.

(Hedo/Bosh aren't really contenders, but I've included them because of the relevance to the moves the Magic have made and the big names involved)

Sunday, July 5th Bullets

  • Andy Roddick's 2nd set tiebreak in the 2009 Wimbledon Final is probably going to haunt him the rest of his career. He was up 6-2 with a serve, lost the set point on a missed backhand volley that could have easily been a winner as Federer was stretched all the way to the right of the court. Federer held his 2 service points and Roddick lost on his serve again at 6-5 for set point. Then he lost his next service point and Federer won the tiebreak 8-6 on his serve. That set would have given him a 2-0 set lead and might have dampened Federer's resolve.
  • The third set tiebreak was Federer's all the way, but you have to wonder about the "what if" in the 2nd set with the way Roddick was serving. Roddick wasn't broken until the last game of the entire match, and if he can hold through the 3rd or 4th set after winning the 2nd set, he's got a great shot at winning the 2009 Wimbledon. Really heart-breaking.
  • Roger Federer seems a bit off when he talks after winning titles. He told Roddick not to feel bad after the tough loss because he went through the same thing in 2008 at Wimbledon with Nadal, and Roddick joked back that Federer had already won 5 at that point, but seemed genuinely upset by the comment. Federer is a humble guy, but not as humble sometimes as he could be. He talks about winning more grand slams and winning in straight sets and things like that which greats usually avoid doing. Most will just talk about how fortunate they are to win at all and don't touch on any of their confidence in facing opponents or winning again. The best way I can put it is that he talks about winning with "certainty", whereas other greats talk about "possibility".
  • Tiger Woods competing in his own tournament seems a bit weird, but I guess when you're the best in the world you can do whatever you want. He does donate all his personal winnings to his charity foundation. Federer should have his own tennis tournament.
  • The first day that NBA free agents can actually sign contracts is Wednesday. Look for any surprises with all the players who have "verbally committed" to teams including but not limited to: Turkoglu, Artest, Lamar Odom and Ariza. Players like Iverson, Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Marbury, Johnson, Marion, and David Lee are still undeclared.
  • It's weird to imagine that sports is really just a bunch of random happenings. When sports can be merely reduced to statistical probabilities it really takes the fun out of it: Some amazing thing happens only 5% of the time, and when it does happen we celebrate it and remember it and revel in it, but would we do as much if we knew it was just something that had a 1-in-20 chance of happening and just happened to occur?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday, July 4th Bullets- A 2009-2010 NBA Season Preview and A Little Bit On Injuries

  • Who else is looking forward to the 2009-2010 NBA Season? So many title contenders (Lakers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Magic, Celtics), not to mention the up-and-coming Nuggets and the improved Toronto Raptors. If Yao and Tracy can somehow manage to both come back, the Rockets look dangerous as well. The Lakers are prohibitive favorites to win the title followed by the Cavaliers.
  • The Lakers knocked out a healthy 2008 Spurs team on the way to the Finals, and most would argue the Lakers are now better than they were in 2008 (Bynum and Ariza were injured), and they've added Artest. But, the Spurs are also better than they were the last two years with the addition of youthful Richard Jefferson. The Western Conference Finals looks like it'll be Lakers-Spurs, unless the Nuggets and Mavs make some moves.
  • I really feel for the Houston Rockets. They can't ever seem to find out whether McGrady and Yao can go far in the playoffs. Every year at least one and sometimes both of them are out by the time the playoffs roll around. For all we know they could have been the next big/small dynasty. Let's hope that in 2009-2010 they finally get their chance to make some REAL noise in the West.
  • The Celtics can use Garnett's injury as an excuse for their 2009 playoff run coming up short, but if they lose Rondo him coming back might not be enough at all to do better on 2010.
  • On the topic of injuries, every year a few teams have to deal with it. Some win despite it, but most don't. So when people want to say the Lakers in 2009 were lucky that Ginobili and Garnett were out, the same is true for most other title teams. Out of the 5 or so contenders every year, at least 1 or more deal with injuries almost every year. Last year it happened to be two teams, but that doesn't make one championship any less earned than any other championship. Teams with injuries need players to step up, and this is where depth comes in. Glen Davis did it for the Celtics last year and it wasn't enough, but who's to say if they had Garnett they would have done any better? Davis nearly matched what Garnett's production would have been.
  • Part of professional sports is dealing with and preventing injury. Certain players are better than others at shaping their bodies to avoid injury. Kobe Bryant specifically works on his ankles, wrists, and knees to strengthen the muscles surrounding them to avoid injury. The other part is that if you do get injured, can you deal with it? Kobe is playing with a broken finger and has for almost two years, while some players are quick to give in and take injury time off as opposed to fighting through injuries. Avoiding injury and injury that forces you to take time off takes a lot of luck, but there are elements of effort and skill. Credit those who are able to maximize their healthy probabilities, or tough it out with injuries. I would argue that Kobe's work ethic towards avoiding injuries and him playing injured more than outweigh any decrease in credit the 2009 Lakers and Kobe should get due to other teams' injuries.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday, July 3rd Bullets - Obama's Lose-Lose

  • The Lakers upgraded the 3 spot with Artest, Bynum at the 5 is looking for a strong return from 2 years of injury, and Kobe didn't go anywhere. But what about the point-guard position which was the most glaringly inconsistent of the 2009 Lakers?
  • Shannon Brown is seemingly locked up for slightly over $1 million dollars in a qualifying offer. With all this trade talk involving the mid-level exception and qualifying offers and unrestricted/restricted free agents and sign-and-trades, it would be useful to read up on the NBA Salary Cap.
  • Tiger Woods is looking poised at the tune-up Memorial to have a good shot at capturing the 2009 British Open next week, what would be his 15th major.
  • Palin resigns as Governor to "effect change outside of government". Sounds like something's up on her agenda, and I don't think it's about effecting change anywhere.
  • People are criticizing Obama for taking a soft stance against the injustices in Iran, but what can he do? Using any sort of military force to hold a re-election or remove Ahmadinejad would bring up the memories of a mistaken Iraqi war to the general public, and not doing anything attracts the scorn of all conservative hard-liners AND liberals who want democracy for Iranian citizens. If he acts, most criticize, at least in the long-run, if he doesn't act, all criticize to some extent. Maybe this is how conservative war-hawks usually get their way, by constructing lose-lose situations...
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces his intent to liberalize the banking and investment in the country and free it from Malay-favorable ethnic quotas and other limiting reagents.
  • Asian countries have absorbed the blow of the worldwide recession much better than their western counterparts. This is due to the theory/concept of "decoupling" (
  • The US economy doesn't seem to be going in any particular direction. 1 piece of good news is met by 2 pieces of bad quarterly profits, which is then followed by 2 reports of credit markets opening, and then one bad employment outlook. Obama's policies are still in the wait-and-see column; not successes yet, but not failures either.
  • Come November 2010 Obama's policies are going to be a large part of either the Democratic platform if the economy recovers and his policies had some part in that, or the Republican platform if the economy is either 1) sluggish or 2) recovering but his policies had no part in that.