Tuesday, November 6

You Play Ball Like A Girl: Mike Brown

'You Play Ball Like A Girl' is a weekly feature (I swear I'll try to make this a weekly feature) for HooPH wherein we look at a player/team/coach in the NBA who sucked the most in the week that was, that even a blindfolded Brittney Griner could easily beat in a one-on-one pick up ball. Okay, Griner is a beast and it may be possible that she is still *that* good blindfolded, but you get the idea.

No offense to girls. Or Brittney Griner.

Mitch Kupchak was unofficially awarded the title Greatest Magician That Ever Lived after securing two blockbuster trade deals that sent superstars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to the land of Purple and Gold.

Soon, there was beer-passing on the LA freeway and hush talks about the possibility of hoisting a 17th championship banner (and Kobe Bryant's 6th ringgzzz) became loud discussions in the streets of Los Angeles and Lakers Nation online.

It was an off-season of rainbows and unicorns; an orgy of joy, if you will. Just like how quickly a magician amazingly pulls not one, but two rabbits from an old, worn hat, the Lakers were once again a force to reckon with.

But the God of Hardwood is one cruel master.

In a startling twist of fate, the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers started 0-3 for the first time since 1978. Counting their winless preason, they were at 0-11 before securing their first season win at the expense of the (obviously lesser talented) Detroit Pistons. (Some arguing that it wasn't a legit win since it was against the Pistons but whatevs.)

With a city and a fanbase that have become accustomed to glittering success, panic ensued in Lakerland. Twitter exploded with clamors of firing head coach Mike Brown (they also wanted, nay, demanded the Zen Master back) and abandoning the newly adopted Princeton offense.

So much have been said about the team's lack of chemistry, which becomes very evident in poor play executions, which, in turn, result to a high TO rate, or their perennial problem in defense. But what I would really want to highlight in this 'You Play Ball Like A Girl' feature is the stinky garbage na nagkakalat known as the Lakers' head coach, Mike Brown.

If it isn't obvious enough, this Lakers team is playing uninspired basketball. When people say 'something is wrong in that locker room', they meant to say it's that bald man with a smiling face. The most obvious of the team's problems boil down to bad coaching.

My biggest gripe against Mike Brown is about the Lakers rotation-- it's a mess. It has been since last season. To say that Brown puts out inconsistent player rotations is an understatement. He's worst than a middle aged woman who still manages to get her period when he changes his mind regarding who should back up whom.

Two players I want to put a spot here to drive my point: Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. Their addition was supposed to plug a hole in the sinking bench boat, but they were placed in a conundrum instead.

Jamison (who was an all star PF, BTW) is playing back up to Metta World Peace (instead of Pau Gasol), when in fact he hasn't played as a SF since, what, 2001? Meeks was signed to be Kobe Bryant's back up, which he did on their first game against the Dallas Mavericks. But then Brown made Devin Ebanks play back up SG the next two games when he should be backing MWP instead. This resulted in Meeks playing a measly 5 minutes against Portland and didn't even get to suit up against the Clippers.

The thing about inconsistent rotations is that it makes your players confused. If he doesn't know at which position he should play, or if he is constantly thinking day to day if he will play or not, how can he practice a routine? How much more to find his place in a foreign offensive strategy?

It doesn't take an NBA analyst to figure out that the lack of set rotations greatly affect player production. So it doesn't surprise me that not one in the Lakers second unit has a positive +/- statistic. Not to mention it puts bigger pressure on the starting five, where they are forced to play longer minutes than they are supposed to. Like how Bryant went to play 43 minutes last Friday against the LA Clippers on an injured right foot, primarily because Brown wanted to snag a win. GOOD LORD.

Of course, it is too early to say that Mike Brown will be the death of the LA Lakers. There's too much talent on that team that could easily take them to the playoffs. But it takes more than raw talent to be able to parade down Figueroa again. The Lakers need a coach that doesn't play ball like a middle-aged blonde spinster.

Wednesday, July 25

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals

Last Sunday, the PBA Governor’s Cup finals between Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and B-MEG Llamados took off to an exciting start. There was a great deal of pushing and shoving between players, technical fouls were called one after another, there were plenty of not-so-nice words exchanged, and a monobloc chair was thrown onto the court.

You can’t be bothered to care, really, but this presents an impending predicament: no thanks to this rather titillating Game One, your boyfriend is now pumped up for Game Two, and it looks like your usual quiet Wednesday dinner date is going to take a raincheck. And it’s a bigger problem, when he says, “Hey, this should be an exciting series.” Then count out your Friday and Sunday soirees as well.

Let’s face it. Not all girlfriends are created equal. Some are more understanding of their boo’s obsession with watching grown men chase and shoot a ball, while others sit at the end of the sofa, arms crossed and an eyebrow raised, everytime their boyfriends have the telly tuned to basketball.

It’s not a crime not to love sports, ladies. But since you’re with someone who eats, breathes, and thrives with the excitement sports bring him, you might want to come to terms with it.

The Dwight Howard Saga Continues

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It all started with the running candidate for the world’s most awkward interview, and thus began the mighty, confusing, and for most part, annoying, Dwight Howard saga. Until before yesterday, it seemed like it was coming to an end. But like the Howard deals in the past, the potential four-team deal involving the Magic, Clippers, Cavaliers and Nets oddly fell apart.

Whether it was because Kris Humphries didn’t want to play for the Cavs (seriously, who would?), or because the persistent Mitch Kupchak came up with a better deal, the Magic has not been much farther than where they were at the start of the off season: coachless and stuck with a disgruntled superstar.

It’s a little bit embarrassing that as it stands right now, it seems like Dwight Howard is steering Magic’s future, instead of its new General Manager, Rob Hennigan. As we all remember, Howard played a crucial role in the unceremonious exits of then Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. That little antic left the franchise without a coach and with the youngest (not to mention the cutest! :p) GM in the league.

Instead of keeping his mouth shut and to just wait for his free agency out, Howard spent the better part of last season whining about not getting traded, opted in to his one year extension, and got his coach and GM fired. And now he’s demanding a trade ala Carmelo Anthony, by publicly wanting to be exchanged to the team of his choice, which in this situation, is the Nets. This, along with the fact that he refuses to sign an extension with any another team, has given Howard complete control of the whole Orlando Magic organization. (Don’t you wish you can do this at your job.)

Howard has given the Nets a lot of leverage for them to acquire him, even to the point of low balling the Magic, because the Nets know Magic will not keep a ticking time bomb like Howard. But that deal has since collapsed in a matter of hours. New talks of a possible trade scenario between the Lakers, Rockets and Magic have been unveiled today. In my opinion, and I’m not saying this just because I am a Lakers fan, if the teams involved are looking at rebuilding anyway, this might be slightly better than any other standing trade possibilities at hand. One thing is for sure: neither Howard nor the Magic management would want the superstar still hanging out in sunny Orlando.

If and when the indecision finally ends, Howard will easily pass LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the guy who handled his impending release completely and utterly wrong. Now that LBJ has finally secured a championship ring, most NBA hooligans are looking for a new person to hate. Sorry, Dwight. But it’s not too hard to hate on you after all the crap you pulled this season.

The Magic, on the other hand, will be known as the team that shamelessly gave away the keys of their franchise to a petulant superstar, only to have him drive the whole organization off of a proverbial cliff into the NBA wasteland.

After everything that have been said and done, the clear losers of this whole Dwight Howard fiasco, looking at it in all angles, are the Magic fans. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of the ridiculousness of this situation as a loyal follower. I, too, hope that at the end of this week, a deal could be reached, so we can all let go of this useless anticipation and go back to living our normal, happy lives.

Because to tell you honestly, I’m so ready to wake up from this Dwightmare already.

*This post also appears on http://hoops.blink.ph/2012/07/11/the-dwight-howard-saga-continues/