Monday, February 22, 2010

Daryl McDaniels (DMC of Run-Fame) Raps About LeBron

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 12:38 PM

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tangentially Related: 'Parma State of Mind' Video

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Ingenious take on Jay-Z's song from Chad Zumock, Alan Cox, and others at WMMS.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Does LeBron Take Too Many 3's? — An Analysis

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 2:24 PM

While it's certainly hard to quibble with a performance like the historic 43-13-15 line that James put up against the Nuggets last night— and yes, historic, as in triple-double numbers reached for the first time since Pistol Pete and Oscar Robertson — the 118-116 loss to Denver presents a perfect case study for one of the few glaring problems in LeBron's game: 3-pointers.

It's not so much his ability to drain shots from behind the arc (he's shooting .353 from there) that drives fans' consternation so much as when and how often he decided to let it fly from deep. He always seems to get 3-happy a) When he's not hitting 3's, and b) When the game is close. The Nuggets game is a perfect example.

That 43-13-15 line looks and is impressive, but look deeper and you'll see how much more impressive it could have been. LeBron was 12-16 from the field within ten feet of the basket last night — just about where you'd expect him to be — but was just 3-17 from everywhere else, including just 1-9 from behind the arc. Four of those misses came in overtime, including the last second shot where LeBron slipped. Two more came in the fourth quarter and, specifically, during the last 5:30 of the game when the score was either tied or close.

(Note: It's not entirely fair to say his 1-9 from 3-point land is a perfect example, because we all know LeBron will shoot better than that on most nights. However, it was the sort of close game where the Cavs were forced into some possessions when they had to take 3's that is surely going to present itself again in the playoffs.)

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His only make, and the reason why many gloss over the problems in his shot selection, came with the Cavs trailing 103-106 with 46 seconds left to play, after Anthony had just put the Nuggets up three points. Of course, he nailed a dagger to tie the game. Clutch LeBron shows up again. We'll forgive the errant bombs because when the pressure is on, when no one else seems to be able to do anything, LeBron can make that shot.

But should they have been in that position? It's not fair to peg the loss on LeBron, but it's also not fair to ignore his role in making the game a lot closer than it should have been. The Cavs gave up way too many easy baskets in the 4th, couldn't hit a free throw to save their life, were playing without Z for the first time, didn't have Jamison on the court, had all sorts of rebounding troubles, and had Mo Williams trying to find a rhythm in his first game back after missing significant time with a shoulder injury. And, oh yeah, they were playing the Nuggets, Western Conference contenders.

Whatever the reasons, the game was close, and as so often happens in situations like that, LeBron takes over the offense in the fourth quarter. Fine. We want the ball in his hands, and, more often than not, he makes the right decision in that position.

Hoisting 3's doesn't qualify as the right decision, however. Not when he can get to the rim whenever he wants — for example: the tying layup and subsequent foul shot with 23 seconds left in OT, or the 15 assists he dished out. And not when his shot chart for the season looks like this:

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Sometime during the last minutes of regulation or in overtime, TNT went over to the analysts during a timeout and Mike Fratello was asked what the Cavs were going to do. His response, and I'm paraphrasing was, "Well, if LeBron wants to shoot a 3-pointer, that's what he's going to do. It certainly looks like he feels like he's got something there."

If you need a quick reminder — LeBron on 3-point attempts for the game: 1-9.

But Fratello is right. If that's what LeBron wants to do, that's what he's going to do. And do you know how often LeBron feels like hoisting a 3? A lot. A freaking lot. More than he should ever even consider. More than anyone on the team. In fact, more than only four players in the entire league.

That's right, LeBron ranks 5th in the NBA in most 3's attempted with 286 so far this year. Only Danilo Gallinari, Aaron Brooks, Peja Stojakovich, and Travor Ariza have more.

25.7% of LeBron's field goal attempts are 3's. 286 out of 1110.

His 35.3 shooting % on 3's, however, ranks 77th in the league among qualified players.

Make sense? Probably not, especially when you have Boobie Gibson (ranked 2nd in %), Anthony Parker (ranked 6th), and Mo Williams (ranked 8th) on your roster.

For what it's worth, in the Cleveland's 12 losses, LeBron averages 6.5 3-point attempts per game (season average of 5.2 attempts per game), and is connecting on only 33% of them (season average of 35.3%).

Here are LeBron's stats on 3's for his career:

03-04: 63/217 (29%)
04-05: 108/308 (35.1%)
05-06: 127/379 (33.5%)
06-07: 99/310 (31.9%)
07-08: 113/359 (31.5%)
08-09: 132/384 (34.4%)
09-10: 101/286 (35.3%)

So while LeBron's on pace to set a career high in 3-point percentage, he's also on pace for a staggering 426 attempts from long range. If this trend continues, he's also on pace for about 1624 field goal attempts, and a higher percentage of those will be 3's than ever before in his career. Take a look:

3's Attempted/Total Field Goals Attempted

03-04: 217/1492 (14.5%)
04-05: 308/1684 (18.2%)
05-06: 379/1823 (20.7%)
06-07: 310/1621 (19.1%)
07-08: 359/1642 (21.8%)
08-09: 384/1623 (23.6%)
09-10 (Projected): 426/1624 (25%)

This in his 7th year, when he's developed a better post game, grown into a beast of a linebacker athlete, become an absolute magician at getting to the rim and finishing, is on cruise control to a second consecutive MVP award, is surrounded by three very legitimate long-range sharpshooters who are among the league's leaders from behind the arc, and causes foul trouble for the opposition whenever he gets into the lane (as evidenced by the fact that LeBron's on pace for a career-high 836 FTA this year). You'd think becoming a better 3-point shooter, as he has become, would be something LeBron would strive for at this point in his career, but jacking up more 3's seems incongruous with what is naturally good and dominating about his game.

Again, it's hard to quibble. A TS% of of 0.610, eFG% of 0.550, a 31.8 PER, and an average-per-game line of 30.1-7.2-8.4. But it's hard to imagine that Cleveland's offense, and James' stat line, couldn't be better with fewer 3's and more efficient and smarter shot selection from LeBron.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dawg Pound Mike Would Like to See You Partially Naked

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Jesus. It's not like it's fun writing about Dawg Pound Mike more than once every couple of weeks, but this guy really makes it hard to ignore him.

He's launched a "Sexiest Browns Fans Contest" and wants you — yes, even you Mr. 250-pounder and you Mrs. 50-year-old — to send him pictures of yourself dressed up all sexylike.

He's even posted some suggestion photos to get your mind going in the right direction and to give you a better idea of what he's looking for. He's helpful and horny, how nice.

Here's two of the actual pics he put up. Let's see what he wants.

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Oh, shit. Looks like you're out Mr. 250-pounder. You too, Mrs. 50-year-old. Mike wants only the flesh from the chiseledest of chiseled bodies landing in his inbox.

So, just to be clear — and I'm only trying to be accommodating to Mike's quest based on what he laid out on his personal page — if you're a super model who is a Browns fan, or if you're a bald dude with a stacked, shaved chest and a spare set of football pants laying around your house (the lace-ups are a must), Dawg Pound Mike would like to hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Sports Science Breaks Down LeBron's "With No Regard for Human Life" Dunk

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:21 AM

If this gets pulled from YouTube, just search around for it.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Secret of LeBron's Greatness Landed in My Inbox

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 3:31 PM

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Ever wonder how LeBron got to be the gifted basketball god that he's become? Practice? Hard work? Coaching?

Nope.

Presented below, without comment, is an email I received this week (Subject line: LeBron the "Christened One.") that explains the true origins of LeBron's talent.

My name is Rolando Pharr. I'm a 49 yr. old Cleveland Ohio resident. There’s an unknown chapter in the LeBron James story that has to be told. I waited until LeBron turned 25. Now I think he’s mature enough to understand the significance of the story I’m about to tell you. This story is about the divine powers of the Universe and how those powers can be influenced.

Growing up, my parents told me the story of when Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) visited our neighborhood. My mom took my sister and I to see him as he was hanging out on E.55th and Central Avenue in front of the old Majestic Hotel. Ali took me out of my moms arms, raised me in the air several times, put me on his shoulders and carried me around for the duration of his stop. I was touched by the future “Global Icon.” A local newspaper captured that moment in time.

Fast forward to around February 1985. I was the assistant manager at the Bottom Half clothing store inside Rolling Acres Mall in Akron. A young lady came in and asked if we were hiring. She introduced herself as Nikki. We weren't hiring at the time but I told her to check back periodically. Shortly thereafter, my manager developed a staph infection and was off for several weeks. During this time Nikki, who later revealed that her name was Gloria James, started visiting the store regularly, often times running store errands. Gloria would always talk about her baby boy LeBron, and would some times bring him to the store.

I was a member of Akron’s best adult male basketball team. We had won the Park and Recreation League the year before and always had a great squad. Our team was comprised of former Akron U. ballplayers and campus standouts. We called ourselves "Free Afrika.” On one memorable occasion, LeBron was sleeping, so I watched him while Gloria ran store errands. While she was gone, a few of my teammates stopped by. Someone commented about LeBrons’ large palms. I hadn’t noticed but they were pretty big for a little baby. It reminded me of my idol, Julius “Dr.J” Erving, as he also has large hands. We joked about what LeBron would be able to do with a basketball. At that moment I picked up LeBrons seat, raised him toward the heavens (Kunta Kinte) style and said, “I Christen Thee the next Dr.J”. I encouraged my teammates and they chimed in “To the next Dr.J”. When Gloria returned, I told her what I had done and proceeded to do it again. For the second time, I raised LeBron over my head and boldly said, “I Christen Thee the next Dr.J”.

Remember, Michael Jordan was only a rookie. Nike hadn't refined his "Air" persona yet. Dr.J was still the face of the NBA, its most marketed player and “Goodwill Ambassador”.

I moved back to Cleveland not long after that and never saw Gloria or her baby again until I recognized her in an article about the high school phenom, LeBron James. Needless to say, I was shocked. Nearly 18 years later it was obvious that the Universe had been listening at the mall that day. Another bizarre twist of fate is that LeBron recognizes Eddie Jackson Jr. as a father figure. Eddie, who knows nothing about these events, is my cousin. His grandma and my mom were sisters. He and I don’t talk very often.

So there you have it. The unknown chapter in the LeBron James story. The fact is Lebron, at three months old, was "Christened" to become the next Dr.J by the best basketball team in Akron and by a man that was touched by the grace of "The Greatest of all Time".

I welcome the opportunity to take a polygraph. Gloria James will remember me, not by name but she’ll know the guy from the mall. After being reminded, she should remember the “Christening”. I have found a couple of my teammates. I have the Ali newspaper photo and the Champions trophies from the Park and Rec. League. LeBron must know this story. It will change his life.


Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

McLovin' Catches a Ride to Dallas With LeBron

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Because it's Friday...

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