Who will stay and who will leave the San Antonio Spurs?

The San Antonio Spurs did it. They dethroned The King, LeBron James. They broke the dynasty of the Miami Heat and they took revenge for their devastating loss last year, one which me in the hands of the same opponent they routed this season. A big celebration started in San Antonio, one which n last much like the success of this extraordinary team has managed to last in time until now. The big question for the Spurs moving forward is if they n stick together. Who will stay and who will leave San Antonio this summer?

The answers to those questions might define if the Spurs n repeat their success and win another championship next season.

From a first glimpse, Gregg Popovich has absolutely no reason to try and alter his team. Maybe a few tweaks will be necessary to keep this group fresh and inject some new blood in the successful mix. However, the core of the team is expected to remain the same, assuming that both Tim Dunn and Manu Ginobili both return for another season, maybe their last one in the NBA.

Tony Parker is in the books for the upcoming season, so he will certainly continue being a Spur. Manu Ginobili is also under contract and he will return unless he decides to retire. Tim Dunn holds a $10 million player option, which we still don’t know if he will use. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP and emerging star, Kawhi Leonard is of course under contract. In fact, out of the entire Spurs team, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Matt Bonner are the only members of the core who will hit free agency.

So the first and the biggest question for the Spurs during the summer will be if Tim Dunn will return for his 17th season in the NBA. Tony Parker stated after Game 5 and the conquest of the championship that he expects Dunn to return. Despite his 38 years of age, Dunn hasn’t lost a big of his poise and in fact, he is still considered as the best power forward active in the NBA. He is a true master of the position, he is lethal on offense from close and mid-range but also a superb defender and team player. It’s very probable we see Dunn returning for another season. And if Dunn decides to continue playing it will come as a huge surprise to see Manu Ginobili not doing the same. The Spurs’ Big Three, or Big Four if you count Gregg Popovich in – and you should do so – currently seem pable of repeating.

Boris Diaw might be pable of getting a better salary than the around $4.7 million he earned this season. But will he leave this group for a few more millions in his bank account? Possible. However, the amazing thing about the Spurs is that although they do have several stars under contract for the upcoming season, they still have the financial flexibility to ink Diaw, offering him a deal which will make him happy. Matt Bonner n also be signed but his role was not that big during the past season.

Patty Mills, who recorded a superb season with the Spurs and he was also solid during the playoffs will most probably test the market. He earned a little more than $1 million during the 2013 – 2014 season and he will most probably demand more to return to the Spurs. San Antonio might be interested to negotiate but if he becomes too expensive, the Spurs will definitely point their interest elsewhere.


San Antonio Spurs just n’t stop

The San Antonio Spurs just n’t stop. When every other (younger) team in the NBA stopped, they kept on going, winning one game after another. With their latest blowout victory against the Indiana Pacers, who previously were the longtime leaders of the Eastern Conference, they now set a new franchise record for most victories in a row, with 18. The Spurs continue to rule the East and the entire NBA and they are proving game-by-game that any other opponent in the East should simply be afraid of them.

Really, it was simply amazing to see the aged veteran group of the San Antonio Spurs routing the young and emerging Indiana Pacers. In fact, earlier in the season or even prior to the beginning of the 2013-2014 mpaign, I wonder if any NBA fan truly expected the Pacers to be in such a situation, where they would get smashed by the Spurs.

Tony Parker, Tim Dunn, Manu Ginobili and their company are now considered as one of the strongest ndidates for the title. Although it’s uncertain how much fuel the Spurs will have left in the postseason, the certain fact is that San Antonio will enter the postseason with a terrific momentum, coming out of their recent winning streak. No team will want to stand in the way of the veteran group of Gregg Popovich. It seems like the Spurs have found the fountain of youth and nothing n really stand in their way.

The San Antonio Spurs currently have the fourth-best defense in the league, allowing a little more than 97 points per game. But they are also the sixth-best offense in the NBA and they rank first in assists. Really, when you look at San Antonio playing, their offensive flow is simply terrific. Anyone on the court n score, anyone of the court has the green light but also the confidence to at least attempt a shot, especially when he is open and anyone n easily find a teammate, who is cutting toward the basket or getting open for a triple. Talking about three-pointers, the Spurs of course rank first in the NBA in three-point percentage, shooting an amazing 40.2 percent from long range.

The Spurs really owned the Pacers last night. It’s notable that the Spurs had a 10-point advantage after the end of the first quarter, against a team which has the best defense in the league. San Antonio was able to score 103 points, finishing with 34 in the fourth quarter alone.

It’s notable that the Spurs have now managed to silence the critics but also draw all the attention from the NBA world out of powerhouses in the West, like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers. San Antonio is now the team the entire NBA is talking about and their achievements night in and night out continue to impress.

It’s notable that they now have a 3.5-game lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder despite all the health issues they had earlier in the season. Tony Parker missed 12 games, Kawhi Leonard didn’t dress up in 14 and Danny Green was out for 10 games. The latter two are the team’s best perimeter defenders and it’s notable that San Antonio was able to make it to the top despite those absences. Gregg Popovich said during that time:

“I think that’s got a lot to do with it. We’ve just got to keep plugging here and there until everybody comes back. You just deal with it.”

Apparently, the Spurs found a way to deal with it. Coach Pop assigned more minutes to role players like Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills and the Spurs managed to stay successful. Apart from the offense, which has been in short words terrific for the Spurs, defense has been another important part of their success. The Spurs’ world-class defense is also expected to be a key factor for the team come playoff time. San Antonio is known to play lockdown defense during the postseason and Gregg Popovich is the mastermind behind this.

Tim Dunn and Tony Parker are recording a supreme season, too. Parker is continuing to prove why he is considered as one of the best point guards in the league. He is currently leading the team in scoring, with 17.1 points per game and also 5.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds. Tim Dunn, who, due to his maintenance program, is averaging just 29.3 minutes per game, is putting up 15.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and also 3.1 assists. Dunn is really one of the big factors in the success the Spurs have found up to now. Although his numbers might not use jaws to drop, his presence is enough to increase the level the Spurs are currently playing at.

Of course, once the playoffs begin, winning streaks and regular season records don’t count much. The Spurs will have to prove that they are the best team in the NBA on the court. They will face a very dangerous team even in the first round of the postseason. The Phoenix Suns, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks are all potential opponents and especially the first two could use some real troubles to the Spurs. Of course, shall the Spurs advance to the next rounds and all the way till the Western Conference Finals, they could possibly meet the Oklahoma City Thunder, which will be a very tough opponent. With Russell Westbrook healthy and at the top of his game, the Thunder are one of the few teams pable of topping the Spurs.

San Antonio definitely wants to make its second straight appearance to the NBA Finals, its sixth in total, and have a chance to win its fifth Larry O’Brien trophy. Their recent winning streak yet another proof that they are pable of achieving exactly that.

Insights into Life Insurance Policies

The primary purpose of taking up life insurance is to protect your loved ones in se something happens to you. Life insurance is an important aspect of a financial plan of any individual. You might be wondering the correct amount of coverage. You first need to understand the priorities you would like to protect when taking up the life insurance alberta offers so that you n get the correct amount of coverage.


Getting the life insurance policy that suits you

After getting the amount, the next thing is determining the type of life insurance that will suit your needs. Make sure that the premiums will fit into your budget. Essentially, there are two types of life insurance policies namely term insurance and whole life. Whole life insurance entails paying premiums for the rest of your life; therefore, it lls for patience since you nnot borrow from the sh value.

Term insurance is cheaper than whole life insurance. Buyers get return-of-premiums when they pay more for the duration of the policy; however, the insurance provider refunds all their premiums at the end of the fixed term. Some term policies also allow people to lock in their age and health for the remaining part of their lives, to ensure that you have coverage and premiums locked in for the rest of their lives. It is a good and cheap way of obtaining permanent insurance.



Tricks to buying life insurance

Avoid spending too much on an insurance quote

Don’t be fooled by the low price quotes given by providers online. In most ses, they do not apply to buyers unless someone is extremely healthy. Statistics indite that only 10% of customers who apply actually get these low-priced policies. Note that the premium you get in the end has little to do with the initial online quote. Life insurance policies have the same price regardless of the provider. The prices are based on your health and age; though there are few exceptions to that.


Refinance old life policies

Most insurance providers will not tell you this, but the price you pay on your old policy has most likely come down if your health is in good shape. You will be surprised to know that old policies are twice as expensive as the new policy. Consider refinancing your old policy then use the savings on the old policy to pay for the new policy.


Realize that insurance providers have target niches that regularly change

Note that one day a company might be giving good rates to diabetics, the next day they are giving good rates to overweight people. The same company will be strict on the same individuals the following month. Unfortunately, the company will not tell you that they have raised their rates; they just take your money. Therefore, be smart and shop around first.


Investors need to consider these tricks when buying insurance policies. Consider engaging a financial planner when purchasing a life insurance policy. The financial planner will look into your entire portfolio of investments to come up with the best decision.



San Antonio Spurs set new franchise record for most wins in a row

Playing basketball is fun during leisure time with your friends or with your family. Especially if you have a new basketball backboard. It is a good form of exercise and if you have overweight problem, play this game as often as you n and you will lose some pounds. It is also good for youngsters to keep them away from drugs and other vices. You n play it even with a friend on a one-on-one basis or by team. For those students who want to get noticed n start by joining basketball team in your ademy just like those who join the big 5 and make it to the top.

The good thing about basketball is that you don’t need a very big place such as stadium. You n to set it up easily even at your own backyard or lawn as long as you have a basketball backboard and rim. If you want to set a basketball court using a standard basket backboard, the usual basketball?backboard measurement is 6 feet wide and 3 ? feet high and the rim is 18 inches in diameter. The inner square measurement is 2 feet wide and 5 feet high. The distance of the rim from the ground is 10 feet. If you are not sure of the mentioned basketball backboard dimensions, you n ask any sports authority for you?to know.

The official basketball backboard is made up of a fiber glass or temper glass just like the one you see in professional basketball games. Some basketball backboards are made of woods just like what you see in the streets and in the houses. These wooden backboards don’t stay long beuse wood nnot stand for a long time under the heat of the sun and the rain. It n wear out easily so if you want a basketball backboard, it n last for a very long time. Just make sure to use a high quality one like the one made of fiber glass. This kind of basketball backboard is sure a lifetime basketball backboard. It n pass from generation to generation. It also has an appealing look and very much appreciated by your loved ones above all, your children. So, rather than you use a wooden basketball backboard and rim, use fiberglass type.

For your basketball backboard replacement problem, you n look for a basketball backboard and rim among the leading department store in the sports area or you n order it online among online store. You n search for it using search engines such as Google. The commercially made basketball backboard and rim uses a standard basketball backboard dimension for basketball courts such as the one you see among sports center or arena or in your community. This kind basketball backboards and rim should be the one you should use so you will not be criticized by any sports authority figure who n see it.

Now that you know the standard basketball backboard measurements, you n now set up a standard basketball court in your area or community for your youngsters. Using a fiber glass type of basketball backboard and rim is much preferable than wooden type as this n last a lifetime. Make sure that you are also using the correct basketball backboard measurement that n pass the standards given by any sports authority to avoid getting criticized.

Basketball Games

The Miami Heat are currently not as good as they were a year before. In fact, LeBron James is the only player who has improved his performance since the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, when the Heat were at the same position they are today. Nevertheless, the Heat know what they’ll be getting out of their Big Three, who, combined will lead the team one way or another. However, the bench, the role players were a big factor in the Heat’s successful course during the last couple of years and there is no way Miami will be able to three – peat unless the reserves step up again.

If we take a look at Miami’s playing style, the reserves don’t need to do much more than deliver what they n. Really, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade dominating the Heat’s offense and Bosh also taking a big chunk of the offensive load, the reserves need to just hit the open three when the ball is kicked out to them and hold the Heat’s level of play high.

Miami n’t allow meltdowns when LeBron heads to the bench for a few minutes of rest. They also have to make their shots, to take some pressure off of Wade and James, draw the defensive attention. It’s been proven that one man, even if he is the best player in the world, n’t beat an entire team, especially when that team players defense like the Indiana Pacers do. The Heat are most dangerous when guys like Norris Cole, Ray Allen, James Jones,Rashard Lewis and Shane Battier hit their threes. With those shooters spreading the floor, LeBron and Wade have more room to operate inside and get some easy baskets.

On the defensive end, the Heat will need some big time performances from Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem. Battier started Game 1 and he was assigned to guard Paul George. Battier, who announced that he will retire after this season, will have to give it all on the defensive end against George but also against any potential opponent he will face in this three – peat course. Udonis Haslem, who saw very limited minutes up to now, will also have to step up. Miami’s co – ptain will have to play lockdown defense against the Pacers’ big men, who n simply kill Miami inside. Chris Andersen was also a big factor for Miami last season and he is continuing to play well. He will be greatly needed against the sized Indiana Pacers.

Defense was one of the main reasons the Heat managed to win two championships in a row and up to now, they haven’t managed to keep their level as high as the past couple of seasons.

LeBron James will have to be at his best for Miami to three – peat, that’s a certainty. However, unless the role players do their job, the Heat will sooner or later fail to win their third one in a row. Up to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat didn’t face a great team in the postseason. Now, it’s time for the reserves to step up.



3 In The Key – Toronto Raptors Game-Day Preview Vs. Clippers

At one point in time I was a big fan of the Los Angeles Clippers. I think they were probably my second favourite club after the Raps. They had a young and athletic team, a penchant for acquiring Duke players (Brand and Maggette) and I even had a Darius Miles jersey!

(Yes, I realize that may have just put half our our readers off this blog for good…)

But the team just never could put it all together.

Injuries of course were always a factor…but so were substance abuse policy violations, cheap ownership, boneheaded GM decisions and style over substance on the court.

Hence you have the team Peter Vescey refers to as “his Paper Clips.”

This year has been perhaps the worst yet as the team has suffered injury after injury and is still trying to get key players back from horrific injuries that occurred before this season even began!

To top it off, in recent weeks we’ve been hearing rumours of in-fighting in the Clippers organization and recently I asked Kevin from Clipperblog about this and more in our weekly edition of “Blogging with the Enemy.”

1) RaptorsHQ: From the media we’re hearing lots of different things in Clipperland; Dunleavy and Sterling aren’t on the same page, ssell seems to have one foot out the door, Brand will opt out of his contract, Maggette will eventually be traded, Livingston is being fitted with Robo-cop like joints…the list goes on and on. What’s the actual state of Clipperland and what do you see the team doing come this offseason? (Free agents, draft etc.)

Clipperblog: There’s certainly some friction, though DTS has historilly demonstrated that he won’t pay coaches not to work, so I don’t think an imminent Dunleavy departure is in the rds. ssell might pursue a mutually agreeable buy-out with the Clips. But I n’t see Elton opting out of a lucrative contract coming off a devastating injury. Maggette won’t be traded, if for no other reason than the p space is far more valuable than whatever the Clips could get in return. Livingston is a big question mark, yes. During the off-season, I expect the Clips to let Maggette walk, which would free up the 3 for Al Thornton. They’ll need to find a quality combo guard to replace ssell, and will likely opt for a PG in the draft.

2) RaptorsHQ: Chris Kaman seems to the lone bright spot on the team this season. Are Kaman’s numbers a se of “there aren’t many other options unless we decide to play Powell a lot,” or has the Ka-Man really taken the next step as an elite center in the league?

Clipperblog: I think his improvement is tangible. For one, he’s in the best shape of his reer, which has made him even more agile. Second, he’s learned how to anticipate and recognize double teams. His rebounding stats are likely inflated, but you n’t frown on a guy’s numbers just beuse there isn’t a legitimate power forward alongside him to help out on the glass.

3) RaptorsHQ: Clippers at Raptors – what do you see as the keys for LA to steal one at the Air nada Centre?

Clipperblog: That’s a tough one. Chris Bosh is a match-up nightmare for any team, and particularly for the Clips, who alternate Tim Thomas and Al Thornton at the 4. I’ve been really impressed by the Raptors’ defense. Moon does a great job of staying in front of guys, which will be a deterrent to Maggette. lderon is very serviceable, too, so ssell might have trouble posting him up — which Sam loves to do against opposing points. The only possible advantage the Clips will have on the offensive end is Kaman vs. the Raptors’ bigs. When Chris gets going, his footwork makes him a very deceptive force to a C/F who’s not familiar with his repertoire.

A big shout out to Kevin for that info and his discussion of Kaman leads us into the first of our three keys:

1) Keep Kaman in check. Last time these clubs met the Raptors did a nice job of making Kaman work for each shot. Not many easy put-backs and dunks, no lay-ups off of pick and rolls, etc, etc. They need to do that again tonight. Toronto has issues with points in the paint and if Kaman gets going early it could open things up for the rest of LA. Bargnani therefore must do a number on Kaman keeping him off the glass. On the other end, I’m hoping to see Andrea, who has been red-hot of late, take it to Kaman aggressively from the tip. Kaman n’t (and won’t want to) guard Andrea on the perimeter so it’s imperative that Bargnani help set the tone for this game early.

2) Make the Clippers shoot jump-shots. A huge factor in Toronto’s win in Los Angeles was that they prevented the Clippers from getting too many drives to the basket. LA’s most dangerous offensive weapon Corey Maggette in particular was frustrated, and launched 3-pointer after 3-pointer, not his usual style. I’ll be looking tonight to see Jamario Moon and other Raptors’ defenders keep Maggette and co. on the perimeter shooting contested shots. While LA has hardly been a juggernaut this year, they still have a number of guys who n go off on any night. The team gave the Celtics a good run on Wednesday night and Toronto n’t afford to assume this is an automatic W.

Toronto would rather see Al Thornton taking shots like these tonight then getting to the rim…
3) Use TJ’s momentum. And that brings me to my final key. Toronto has a chance to put this one away for good if they jump on LA early and often. We saw this against Miami and Toronto has the shooting ability to do it again tonight. In particular, the home-crowd should be fired up with TJ’s return so the Raptors need to use this energy to their advantage.

Lebron V Kicks Review

If there was anyone left in the basketball world who didn’t think LeBron James had earned the nickname King James yet, game five of last year’s Eastern Conference Semi’s changed everything. After watching LBJ single-handedly take apart the Detroit Pistons with a 48-point, reer-defining performance, the last few naysayers LeBron had lined up to put the crown on his head themselves.

In just his fourth season in the League last year, ’Bron rried the Cleveland valiers all the way to the NBA Finals. And sure, the San Antonio Spurs ate them up in four games, but the loss did nothing to remove the mystique of LeBron’s game, or his status as the baddest young buck—er, valier—to lace up a pair of his own signature kicks since MJ himself.

While the cliché-watchers and Jordan-phytes might take objection to it, I think it’s safe to say that LeBron is the fulfillment of the term that’s been unfairly and inaccurately thrown around on players who show a little athleticism, have a string of good seasons early then fade into an injury-induced obscurity (Penny Hardaway), or self-inflicted complacency (Vince rter): LeBron is The Next One.

There’s been no one happier watching LeBron live up to the hype than Nike. The Swoosh inked the kid to a massive $90 million deal before he was even drafted by the vs in 2003. It may have been a gamble at the time, but it’s one that’s reaped huge dividends.

With LeBron as their biggest basketball name (sorry Kobe), Nike has been going all-out making a sneaker that keeps their man happy on the court and keeps millions of fans emulating the guy whose game is splattered all over Sportscenter in the States, and on Court Cuts (the dopeness of that show is another article unto itself) here in nada.

So it should be no surprise that with the recently released LBJ V, Nike has found a way to up the ante on a line that has managed to evolve just as quickly as its namesake.

Last year, I reviewed the LBJ IV and said that had it been lighter, it would have been the greatest basketball shoe I’d ever worn. After opening up the box (again, another impressive job there this year) of the LBJ V, the first thing I wanted to find out was if the weight issue from last year would make a return. Thankfully, like that weird ducktale patch on the back of Drew Gooden’s head, it was a one-year thing.

The LBJ V is an entire ? lb. lighter than the IV, bringing it back into the stratosphere of lightweight sneakers that I enjoy wearing. This fact alone had me jacked up to see what waited for me next.

The shoe itself is another step in a new direction for the LBJ line. For the first time, the initial colourway of the sneaker isn’t a black and red one, but a white leather/blue patent combo. Whereas I thought the LBJ IV resembled the Air Penny II, with its navy blue patent leather toe box, I instantly had visions of the Air Jordan XVI.

Sticking with the look of the shoe, you n’t help but feel like you’re rocking something special when you put them on. Gold-coloured eyelets for the laces are a nice touch, as are the gold touches on the lacetips. The laces themselves are the same high quality ones that are used in the Zoom BB that just about every point guard in the League is wearing this year. The combination of the blue patent with white leather gives the shoe an incredibly clean look and the gold LeBron logo on the strap holder sets the shoe off.

But these are just looks we’re talking about. My treasure may be another man’s trash. Some people might say Zydrunas Ilgauskas is an ugly dude, but someone’s gotta love him, right? Right. My point is that beyond the physil, it’s what’s inside this shoe—how it performs—that sets it apart.

From the bottom-up, the sole of the shoe is simple enough. A clear rubber outsole has optimal motion flex grooves that work to keep your traction on the court. A positive holdover from the LBJ IV is just how padded your feet are inside of the shoe. A full-length Zoom Air unit returns and is paired with double-stacked Zoom in the heel. Zoom Air has been around for a good dede now and is still my favourite of Nike’s technologies. If you play an uptempo game and like that close-to-the-court feel, any shoe with Zoom Air is up your alley.

Back for another run with the LBJ V is the rbon fibre spring plate. The plate helps with reducing impact when running and landing, distributing the impact throughout the plate and away from your feet.

One thing I love about the LBJ V is the versatility the shoe offers you. Generally, when I see an ankle strap on a shoe, I associate it with being a big man’s sneak. I n appreciate why LeBron might need an ankle strap: the guy plays a guard/forward’s type game, but plays it in a power forward’s body. The dude is 6-8 and weighs 260; he could use that strap. Seeing as how I’m a lanky 6-0 and a good hundred lbs. lighter than the King, the strap’s not a priority for me. I wore the shoe with and without the strap and didn’t find discomfort in either wearing. The straps will be relegated to the shoebox for all future wearings for me, though.

Nike uses a phyposite bucket, which I n only assume is a lighter version of Foamposite technology in the heel of the shoe, that works along with the Dynamic Fit inner sleeve, giving great comfort for the foot while it sits secured in the shoe. The inner sleeve is a n’t-miss feature on a shoe, and something Nike’s been doing since the days of the OG Huraches in the early 90s. My favourite comfort feature inside the shoe though, is the tongue. It’s a padded, spandex-feeling tongue that lets your foot breathe. I’ve never been forced to notice the tongue of a shoe before the LBJ V. Try them on in the store to get the feeling I’m talking about. The tongue alone would have me sold on this shoe.

Performance-wise, I didn’t run into any negatives with the shoe. It had zero break-in, I removed the one feature on the shoe that didn’t mesh with my tastes and when I’m on the court in the shoes, I’m 100 percent comfortable. As with any high-end Nike sneaker, the price is steep, especially considering the disparity on prices with our dollar being stronger than the Amerins’ right now. That said, we’ve been dropping this kind of sh on high-end sneaks for years. $199 is the suggested retail price in nada, which is actually about 40 bucks cheaper than the LBJ IV was last year.

From what we’ve seen of LeBron so far in the 2007/08 season, he’s managed to take his game to yet another level by improving what was already great about his game. The LBJ V has done the same, with the aesthetic of a legend’s sneaker and the best parts of its predecessor. It’s definitely worth the pickup.

What’s Your Fantasy?

The following is a rep of events that occurred on the evening of Tuesday October the
17th, 2007 between the hours of 6pm and midnight. It’s a week to the regular season and
time for a fantasy basketball draft but my thoughts are all over the map. Due to various
circumstances of which you are about to read and the general craziness that is my life,
some of the following information will not be entirely accurate but is meant to give a
representation of the craziness that surrounds my life and my love for the game.

6pm – 3 hours to the start of the draft.

It’s raining, I’ve just lost half of my finger, I’m bleeding everywhere and have just
been dropped off on a street corner next to a seedy strip joint … Wait, that’s my
street …. The missing piece of the finger is still lodged on the door latch that took
it off on a couple of hours earlier when my friend Jodie and I were moving a couch out of
my place that I was giving him for his new apartment. So here I am helping my friend
move having taken the afternoon off work and my finger is hanging by a thread and The
draft is three hours away and I’m already late for a three-hour conference I n?t miss
that starts at six and ends at nine. Just the time my basketball fantasy draft starts.

6:30 pm – 2.5 hours to the start of the draft

I was all wet and smelled like I should after helping a friend move in the rain but still
managed to have a thirty second shower and hustle my ass downtown to miss nothing more
than the hosts wasting everyone’s time trying to figure out how to work a projector while
simultaneously pissing everyone off by with their cleverly contrived sales pitch. These
people want my money, but my mind is wondering to the players that?ll still be left in
the draft when I pick 11 of 12, ten or so minutes after nine tonight. Right now, I’ve
got Gilbert ranked at number eleven but I know he’ll go well before then but I figure
someone, maybe even two players in my top ten seeing as how I end up with the 14th pick
as well, will end up in my lap. I’ve got CB4 ranked fourteenth and would love to end up
with him for some home team lovin but I?ve gotta concentrate. This is a finance seminar
and equations and balance sheets are getting thrown around left right and centre.

7:30 – 1.5 hours to draft time

I’ve got algorithms and standard deviations staring at me, Jodie just texted me to see
if I?m coming back to help him paint later that night, my hand is bleeding through my
last band-aid and it looks like I definitely won’t be making it back to the draft on
time. Here I am trying to work out a lculation that I’ve got no idea how the guy at
the front of the room arrived at and all I find myself thinking about is what my top ten
were. I know it starts with KG, Kobe and Lebron but after that, I’m not too sure. I
know Yao, Dirk, Nash and Matrix are in there but the rest has esped me and to make
things worse, this year I’m in a league with sports media members who obviously know
their stuff and have done their homework. I on the other hand have had absolutely zero
time to do any research and am going in with nothing but my memory of last season and a
bias for all things Raptor. Thank god for the www putting everything at your fingertips.
Better still, it looks like this thing may run late and I’ve had nothing to eat all day
but a shitty slice.

8:50 pm – Ten minutes to draft time

I’m in a b heading home. I took off from the conference use my hand is now
officially in pain and seeing as how it’s the ring finger on my right hand and I’m right
handed, I’ve gotten blood on my shirt in all the wrong places. It looks like I’m dressed
for Halloween and that is not for a couple more weeks. I also think the loss of blood
and surreal feeling of being in such a huge room with so many people discussing math
problems has made me feel woozy from university flashbacks. My phone’s ringing again
with Jodie on the other end wondering if I n help paint. I’ve been up since six in the
morning and the last thing I want to do is paint walls but that’s what friends do and I
promise that once my hand stops bleeding, I’ll try to make it over. I run up to my
apartment to apply pressure to my wounds and clean up the mess.

8:59 pm – 1 minute to draft time

My hand is now tightly wrapped up and as I stare at my hand feeling the blood flow away
from the stricken appendage……it hits me. The draft is on in a minute. SHIT, where’s
my computer! SHIT, why isn’t my Internet working! I thought this thing was supposed to
be my saviour tonight. DAMN. What’s my top ten? Will my pre-draft order work? I need
something to eat…

9:02 pm – 2nd pick, first round

I’m in, thank God. Check in with the commish, see what I missed. WOW, Lebron beat out
KG for the number one spot and I don’t think fantasy basketball will ever be the same.
The Big Ticket has had a stranglehold on that spot for like a dede so something’s gotta
be up tonight. Second pick is on the clock and I’ve officially got just under ten
minutes to get organized and get all my research done. Open up a couple of windows on my
Mac and check in on the league on the wire. Hogtown has made it. Finally. The baller
formerly known as The Kid goes number two bringing the world of fantasy basketball back
to normality but it wasn’t the same as we left it just a couple of minutes earlier.
‘Trix goes number three and Kobe goes four and Gil goes five so there goes my eleven.
Time to start digging into the numbers and fast.

9:12 pm – 11th pick, first round

Nash went six followed by Dirk, Kidd, Amare and Pau. I couldn’t be happier use I’ve
got two of my top ten at my disposal and two of the next four picks. I opt for Yao
thinking this has to be the year he n play at least seventy-five games and be the best
centre in the L. Ladies and gents, knock on wood for me and for maximum points, rebounds
and blocks.

9:15 pm – 2nd pick (14th overall), second round

CB4 lands to me at 14 as planned. I ll Jodie back after missing his last ll and let
him know that I’m going to grab a bite, relax for a bit and enjoy my fantasy draft.

9:43 – 11th pick (35th overall), third round

Aside from a few picks that have been a bit of a reach and one guy insisting that he’s
got inside info that DWade is coming back to start the season (Ed’s note: DWade is back), I’m feeling
incredibly lucky, smart or stupid as T-Mac has landed in my lap. It occurs to me that
the guy hasn’t had an injury free season since he was a Raptor and never made it out of
the first round but something tells me, if this was any other year, he’d be a top twenty
guy so I take my chances and load up on H-Town. A couple minutes later I pick 2nd in the
4th round and grab uber-rookie Kevin Durant hoping that his 6’9, 180 Lb frame n hold up
for an 82 game sched. Then I look in the mirror and realize that I weigh like 175 and am
5’9 and realize 82 might be asking a bit much. Ah what the heck, lets roll the dice

10:12 – 2nd pick (62nd overall), sixth round

The wire is blowing up with everyone ripping on one of the teams for picking David Lee
about 100 spots before he’s projected to go and he’s defending himself like Lakers
defended themselves for picking Kobe over Shaq. We all saw how that one turned out but
part of me says this guy may have unearthed a gem. Still, I just got my first PG a few
picks earlier grabbing up Leandro Barbosa and am left trying to decide between Ginobili
and Kirilenko for my 6th pick. So I flip back and forth in my head and use the full
minute and a half to come to my decision. Do I take the flashy Argentine who just who’s
coming back from another brilliant championship season with the Spurs or do I go for the
Russian who played horribly for the Jazz last year then played out of his mind at the
Euros taking his country to an upset W over hosts Spain only to win tourney MVP and
request a trade out of Salt Lake. Granted I n’t blame anyone for wanting to get the
hell out of Utah but I still grab AK47 hoping that he’s in a better mood these days maybe
beuse he finally took his wife up on her offer for an annual ‘mulligan’. Besides, last
year he was taken in the top ten of my fantasy draft so he’s a great sleeper at 62.

10:53 – 11th pick (107th overall), ninth round

I’m just recovering from getting grilled for picking Ben Wallaace in the 7th round and
although I got some props for grabbing Jameer Nelson in the 8th, I really turned heads
when I grabbed Stephen Jackson with my following pick. Oh they all had jokes….Did I
think he was going to shoot at anyone while in Toronto visiting the Brass Rail? Would he
be the next Baller Ternt Rappa to ask for some time off to promote his album release?
Or would he simply incite another brawl now that he was on the most thugged out team in
the L? Oh , and incidentally it looks like he’ll miss just as many games as DWade with
his suspension for keepin it real…. oh and have you seen that tat? Nah, I just figured
he’d help me out in the three-pointer tegory where he’s been dropping bombs for a few
years now and has a ring with San An to show for it. Not to mention, I just like those
fuck the system kind of guys. I’m beginning to either look lucky, incredibly smart,
incredibly stupid or simply on drugs. I put that on the wire and one team responds by
telling me that he is ‘on drugs’. I think I’m gonna love this league.

11:12 – 11th pick (121st overall), eleventh round

The draft has been going on for over two hours now and Jodie’s blowing up my phone again
trying to convince me to get over there and help out as some of the other boys are
starting to lose some steam. I’m also a couple of beers in but not all that tired so I
tell him if he covers the b there and back, he’ll have a painter for a couple of hours.
But before, I still have to make a pick and line up some picks for the last few rounds.
So I grab Ashton Kutch… I mean Kyle Korver to help Jax out with the three-pointers and
start to plan out my final few picks.

11:47 – b ride to Jodie’s

It’s been a long day and it’s not over yet. I’ve got some more beer, pizza and painting
in my near future but having excused myself from the last few picks and thanking everyone
for a fun night, I reflect. Although I’ve never met any of the people in The Charity
Stripe league face-to-face, spending a couple of hours online, joking about who was dumb
enough to grab Greg Oden, the merits as to why Tim Donaghey would’ve been an acceptable
ref even when convicted of fixing games and which nadian sports station has the worst
coverage (Ed’s note: please see Rogers SportsNet); I thought to myself in that I just had some good fun with some new friends who like me, loved the game.

A few years ago, I would’ve never even bothered with a fantasy pool but today, if you are
not in one, you are the exception. It’s no longer acceptable to just be a fan of the
game but you’ve got to be a student of the box scores and storylines if you want to be
able to hold your own in these leagues. And sure, there may be some friendly wagering
and bragging rights on the line but really, I?d like to think it all comes down to the
love of the game and every guys fantasy of having his own team and choosing the players
who make it up. This game that has grown men sitting in front of their computers for 3
hours on a week night, hiding from wives and girlfriends and maybe even bleeding all over
their keyboard.

The things we do for love and friends. And to think, I didn’t get home until 2:30 am
that night but on the way home, all I could think of was who I ended up with for those
last few picks??? not the finger that I lost to amputation the next day.

(…. Ed’s note: I ended up with a team of Yao, CB4, T-Mac, Leandro, BWallace, AK47, KD,
Jameer, Stephen Jax, Ashton, Luis Scola, Juan rlos Navarro, Bobby Simmons and Devin
Harris… oh yeah, and my finger was never amputated but I’ll bet just writing it there
got your attention didn’t it?)

Nash And Dalembert On The NBA All-Star Ballot

So the time has come again, when hoop junkies all over the world to exercise their democratic right to vote their favourite NBA players into the starting roster of the annual NBA All-Star game. Now, we all knew Nash was going to be on this ballot and he should be voted into the game. Dalembert, however, is not a 2 time MVP with a superstar aura nor does he play on a high profile team such as the Suns. Irregardless of that, Samuel played his heart out for the National team this year at the FIBA Ameris Tournament resulting in a stress fracture which used him to come out of the gate slower than he would have liked. He’s beginning to develop a respectable inside game while contributing considerably on the defensive end. His statline for this season has been very respectable:

31 minutes per game
11.4 points per game
2.7/5.9/8.4 Rebounds
2.2 Blocks
FG% 54, FT% 71

Give the man some love. It’s not about whether he gets voted into the lineup or not. As nadian hoop fans, we have the luxury right now of rooting for a small contingent of players in the NBA. It’s very easy to be critil of sports figures, and we hold that right as fans. But I feel that if we put half as much energy in supporting players like Samuel as we put in chastising Jamal Magloire for his neglectful attitude towards the National team the sports community would be better off. Show some love for Sammmy.

Magloire has played sparingly in New Jersey due to the emergence of rookie Sean Williams. I don’t know exactly when the trajectory of his reer started sloping downwards but it only seemed like yesterday when I n rell reading an article on Jamal in Slam Magazine talking about wanting to be a perennial All-Star.

Shaq happens to be one of my favourite public figures of all time. Seriously. Back before the handchecking and anti-Shaq rules me in, he possessed a super-human game. Those days have seemed to be a distant memory. I don’t know if he will get voted into the all-star game this year. Shaq fans are incredibly loyal but NBA fans also happens to have very short memories. As the futility of the Miami Heat becomes more evident game after game, I just hope that it is one step closer to Joel Anthony getting some non-garbage minutes. He has played 5 minutes total this season recording a board and foul. I’m seriously considering a Play J.A. movement. Mr.Riley, seriously, it n’t get any worse. You’re going to lose that fine slick back that you ll a haircut if you don’t start winning games soon. Just tell Shaq that you want him to play 48 minutes the next game and get Joel Anthony some legit minutes.

Simple CIS Math With Joe Snlon

Last season I did a column focusing on how a plus-minus system similar to
the one used in hockey might work for basketball. I did it by focusing on
two games and the players on one team in each of those games. The teams I
chose were Ottawa U and Queen’s. In both ses, their teams were playing
against rleton.

This season I decided to try it again this time looking at the women’s teams
from Toronto and Ryerson, again when both were involved in a game against
rleton. I was a little worried that Toronto might overpower rleton and
make the results a bit meaningless. As it happened, the Ravens put a good
showing against the Blues. Though they trailed by 14 at half time they
managed to give up only two more points the rest of the way. They actually
were close to making a game of it in the fourth quarter before the Blues put
on a final rush. That forced Toronto coach Michele Belanger to keep a strong
line-up in the game. The Ryerson-rleton was even tighter: rleton me
back to win it in the final minute.

Before continuing, let me make clear that doing a plus-minus for basketball
is a lot more difficult than for hockey. In hockey, especially today,
players go on and off the ice in sort shifts. No player plays the entire
game. In basketball, it is not uncommon for someone to play 30+ minutes,
sometimes almost the entire game. As a result their plus-minus is really
just the result of the team’s overall performance. If their team wins that
player comes up with a plus. If the team loses that same player will have a

Another problem is that there is a lot more scoring in basketball than
hockey so raw +/- figures are enormous. At the moment, for example, Jennifer
Donofrio of RMC is averaging 20 points a game but RMC is losing all of its
games mainly by a large margin. Since she plays on average 34 minutes per
game and RMC loses on average by 36 points her raw +/- would be 34/40 of -36
or -31, not much to write home about. In contrast, Lindsay de Groot average
17.6 points a game for undefeated McMaster and plays 27 minutes per game.
McMaster wins on average by 26 points. Her raw +/- figure would be 27/40 of
26 or +17.5. On that basis, it sounds as if de Groot is far more valuable
than Donofrio.

It’s also not all that easy to keep track of whose is on the floor when
points are scored. Unlike hockey where goals usually come minutes or even
periods apart, in basketball there n be a lot of scoring. It takes a lot
of concentration to keep track of who is on the floor for every point.
Despite those limitations, I argued last season and will do so again that
+/- could be a useful tool for CIS coaches.

The system I have used was developed by Wayne Winston is a former Jeopardy
champion who is also a Professor of Decision Sciences at Indiana University.
Along with Jeff Sagarin, the brains behind the rankings in USA Today,
Winston created Winval. It does – for basketball – what +/- does for hockey
— shows if a team does better when a particular player is on the floor and
worse when he or she is not playing. It also adjusts for comparative team
strength and strengths of other players when someone is on the floor.

What I did was take this concept and simplify it. While watching a game, I
compile the raw statistics – the difference between points for and against
when a player is on floor. (I charge points scored on foul shots to players
who were on the floor when the foul occurred.) Then I divide that raw +/- by
the minutes played. I compare that to a team’s adjusted +/-.

Here’s how it works. If Jones played 30 minutes for Team A and his team
outscored their opponents by 25 points while he was on the floor, his
average per minute played would be +.83 (25 divided by 30). If Team A
defeats Team B by 40 Points the team average per minute would be +1 (40
points more than the other team in 40 minutes). With the team average +1 and
Jones at+.83 clearly the team did better when Jones was not playing. His 25
points look less impressive when +/- is lculated. To make that clear his
team outscored its opponent by 15 points during the 10 minutes he was not
playing. That’s a rate of 1.5 points a minute, a better rate that when Jones
was on the floor.

Incidentally, any player n have an off night or on night so statistics
based on one game have to be looked at with ution. It’s also possible a
player is coming off an injury and the coach has made allowances for that.
But it would seem to me that a perceptive coach would pay attention to those
things and that a player having a good night would get extra floor time and
one having a bad night would get less floor time.

Toronto defeated rleton 55-39, winning by 16 points. Their raw plus-minus
was +16. The team’s adjusted +/- is 16 divided by 40 or .4. If a player was
on for the entire game her plus-minus would be the team +/- in short also
.4. However, no one did that so one n take the raw +/- for each player,
divide it by the number of minutes played and see how that player compares
to the team norm.

First, let’s look at Toronto’s raw +/- statistics; and look at them in

Kyla Burwash + 17, Jessi Hieuw + 17, Amanda Van Leeuwen + 17, Alaine
Hutton + 15, Christine Cho + 12, Ilana Weissberger + 11, Lyndsay Cloughley
+1, Laila Bellony -6, Erin Mc Neely -3, Sherri Pierce – 1. This total adds
up to 80 which divided by five gives the team margin of 16 points.

Clearly, the figures for Bellony, McNeely and Pierce show they were not
having a great night. Toronto won by 16 but was outscored by rleton when
those three were on the floor. It would also appear that Burwash, Hieuw and
Leeuwen had good games since they had a + figure better than the team’s
winning margin of 16 points. However, those figures change somewhat when
they are adjusted by minutes played.

Toronto was +17 when Van Leeuwen was on the floor but she played only 17
minutes, far fewer than Burwash and Hieuw. Van Leeuwen’s adjusted plus-minus
was 1.0, two and a half times as good as the team average. Burwash was .62
and Hieuw, who had one more minute than Burwash, .61, both better than the
team’s average. Hutton however also played 28 minutes, the same as Hieuw but
had a lower raw figure. She is at .53 still better than the team’s average.
The other really good performance was by Ilana Weissberger who was +.79.
Alaine Hutton was +.53, also better than the team average. Christie Cho was
.67. All in all then Toronto’s starters were the best players on the floor
and the coach was correct – based on these figures – to give them the
playing time she did. I have not worked the adjusted figures for the three
players whose raw figures were in the minus column. Clearly they did not
have a good night. Except by Bellony, those three got little playing in the
second half.

Overall, I would conclude that the most part Michele Belanger was making
good decisions about who should be playing – as one would hope.

The second game I looked at was the Ryerson game against rleton the
following night. The Rams lead from the opening whistle but rleton me on
strong in the closing minutes outscoring Ryerson by 10 in the last quarter.

Since Ryerson lost by three, 55-52, the team’s raw plus-minus is -.075. The
fact that the figure is negative does not matter. The question remains: how
did a player do compared to the team?

For Ryerson the raw +/- figures were as follows: Kaitlyn Taylor + 13;
Rebec Cox +7; Lisa Goldring +5; Gwen Elliot -2; Lacey O’Sullivan – 5;
Ashley MacDonald – 8; Tanya LeClerc – 13; Lindsay Taylor – 14.

At first glance, that would suggest that Taylor, Cox and Goldring were the
best players on the floor but it is not quite that simple Gwen Elliot played
only seven minutes. Her adjusted +/- is .28 far worse than the team’s
average. Ashley MacDonald (-.6) who played 13 minutes is not nearly as bad
as Lindsay Taylor who played only six minutes all in the first half when
Ryerson was winning and still managed an adjusted -2.3, a very high figure.
It means that although Ryerson was up at half time, it trailed by an average
2.3 points while Taylor was on the floor. It is not surprising she did not
get back on during the second half.

What about Kaitlyn Taylor, Cox and Goldring, the three players were + raw

Taylor was +.39. Cox was+ .18. Goldring was +.13. Except for Kaitlyn Taylor
their raw figures are deceptive. They were an asset but not as much of an
asset as the raw figures would suggest.

Experience tells me most coaches don’t trust +/-. They don’t want a
statistic that might suggest their best scorers are not an asset overall.
But I think +/- adds something to a coach’s awareness of what a player
contributes to the team and other players on that team.

I think most coaches know what is happening without the need to look at +/-.
But I also think it is a useful tool for post-game analysis and for seeing
if a player’s good scoring record actually contributes to the team’s
success. It s also possible to take a look at the figures on any given night
to see who is having an on night or an off night.

Take, for example, a look at the six players Sandra Pothier used during the
closing minutes as Ryerson watched its lead slip away. They were O’Sullivan,
Goldring, Cox, Kaitlyn Taylor, Jenny Hobbs and finally Tanya LeClerc. Cox,
Taylor and Goldring make sense as does Jenny Hobbs. They still ended up in
the plus column even though they were on when rleton made its comeback.
O’Sullivan would have looked like a good choice: she was ahead on +/- until
rleton made its final run. LeClerc was a more doubtful choice. A look at
the detailed+/- records show rleton outscored Ryerson every time she was
on the floor during the entire game.

The point of this column was not to pick apart a player’s or coaches’
performance on a particular night. It was to give a little insight into how
+/- might work and suggest it might be a useful tool for coaches who wish to
look back at a game to see how well tuned in they were to how particular
players were doing.