Russell Westbrook is not THAT Good

The NBA media can’t shut up about Russell Westbrook’s recent run of play, and for good reason. He’s a beast. His body parts keep exploding, yet he keeps coming back stronger. The basketball gods said “we’re going to ruin Derrick Rose and Westbrook. They’re too good. And we’re assholes.” Rose went down, but Westbrook threw up two middle fingers and continued to rampage through the league. He’s a monster. One of the best players in the league. Yet, he still makes plays like this:

There he is, throwing up an airball. It happens, even to the greats. Thankfully for the Thunder, Enes Kanter grabbed the rebound and put it back in. OR DID HE.

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Assist? What?! Call me the Andy Rooney of basketball, but if that’s an assist Westbrook’s whole “streak” is tainted. Westbrook makes a move to try to get the rebound, for Christ sakes. Imagine how mad Nick Young would be if he found out that all his terrible missed fadeaways that somehow led to putbacks could have been called assists? How can we take any of these numbers seriously? We can’t. NBA stat keepers are like the NSA. They track everything, catalog it, and manipulate the data to promote their agenda. No one can be trusted. I had to fight back, so I did the only thing I could do. I spent 10+ hours ignoring real responsibilities, braving the unforgivably bad NBA League Pass player, and watching every Westbrook assist from his last five games. I had to see how many of them were flaming piles of inaccurate horse shit. ( I might be a little too hyped up after watching Citizen Four.) 

I found two assists that made me go “eh, that’s fishy” and three that made me think we might as well just scrap the stat altogether. Somehow all the bad ones involved Kanter. I think part of the trade paperwork stated that if Kanter scored in the halfcourt and Westbrook was anywhere near him when it happened, RWB gets the assist.

The NBA rule book says that an assist should be “credited to a player tossing the last pass leading directly to a field goal, only if the player scoring the goal responds by demonstrating immediate reaction to the basket.” That definition is vague enough to make the dodgiest political press secretary proud.  I’ve always thought that assists should be given when the scoring player either catches a pass and shoots without dribbling, or he takes one dribble but it’s obvious that the passer set him up for the basket.

With that as my criteria, here are a few recent Westbrook “assists”, from least to most egregious:

Morrow takes a dribble, throws a pump fake, and hits a midrange jumper while getting fouled. Sure, RWB hit him on the hands with the pass, but Morrow did quite a bit after that play to create the score. In the grand scheme of things, this is not so bad.

I’ll admit that Westbrook hits Kanter in an open position under the basket, but the fact that this turned into a score had a hell of a lot more to do with Kanter. He pivoted, threw three pump fakes, and then finished with a lefty reverse around two defenders.

Oh man, here’s where the blood starts to boil. Kanter, spins, takes two dribbles, and finishes with a reverse just over Alex Len’s hands. Westbrook’s role in this play topped out at crossing half court, passing, and silently applauding his new friend Enes.

Good god. One dribble from the elbow and finish over two defenders, while getting fouled? Maybe focusing on assists is the wrong thing, and the real lesson is that Enes Kanter is the next Tim Duncan.

Enes strikes again! This time he merely pump fakes, takes two dribbles,  then hits a one handed spinning fadeaway over the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. But that pass, right?

Again, Westbrook’s amazing.  I just hope that with the advanced stat revolution we can start to clean some of this up. It’s not fair that if Westbrook was the inbounder on this play instead of Brad Sellars, he would have been given an assist.

 

 

 

 

Harvard Has No Use for Your Satire

In the next few weeks, I will apply to the HarvardWood mentorship program. HarvardWood may have the douchiest name of any alumni organization in existence, but it’s a great resource for the struggling writer. Not all Harvard grads have instant success when they set out to find a job in the arts. For every B.J. Novak…

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“I feel bad for anyone who hasn’t been cast in a hit sitcom by age 25.”

 

 

There’s a D.A. Housman…

Now THAT'S the look of someone who knows what they're doing with their life.

“I’m confused.”

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21 Steps To Get Through an Agency Workday

How to get through the day when you work at Hollywood talent agency:

  1. Show up to your desk in the morning. Realize you forgot to do something the night before. Endure some scolding from your boss.
  2. Blame your bosses previous assistant for the error, no matter what went wrong. “I’m sorry, I guess _____ never filed that. Some people just don’t respect the job.” (Harder to pull off after you’ve established yourself as average and the previous assistant was amazing. But, as the great Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.)
  3. Start feeling a little down, because it’s only 10:30 and you’ve already shown your boss how to copy and paste four different times.
  4. Cheer up, because while you don’t drive a Maserati and own a purebred labradoodle, at least you know how to fucking copy and paste.
  5. Massage your feet on a golf ball. Don’t worry about the looks you get for being in your socks. Your feet smell great!
  6. Roll your glutes on a lacrosse ball. Again, discard the wayward looks. Tell them to enjoy having limited mobility their whole life and that you hope medicare pays for their knee replacements. Or, something less mean.
  7. Tear the right side of your dress pants with the lacrosse ball. Feel foolish. Let a call go to voicemail while you try to fix your pants.
  8. 45 minutes later, rip the left side of your pants with the lacrosse ball. It’s minor. Shrug it off!
  9. Stand up. Do full, deep, toe-touch stretches.
  10. Go to the big bathroom stall for 10 minutes. Do a series of one legged squats and hip stretches. Pause when someone enters to use the stall next to you. Be grateful you can’t smell very well.
  11. Nervously laugh when you return to your desk and your co-workers start making fun of an “agent” they saw doing squats in the handicap stall. Cover yourself by chiming in about how weird that guy must be.
  12. See an online advertisement for a car racing game. Feel smug for not playing video games. Then, remember how many hours of your youth were spent playing Cruis’n USA on Nintendo 64.
  13. Think about Cruis’n USA for a while. Let another call go to voicemail. Contemplate why they chose to spell “Cruis’n” the way they did. Question the sanity of those fans who would stand right behind the finish line while Ferraris skidded toward them at 147 miles per hour.

 

 

Just watch from the side!

At least two of those people are about to get badly injured.

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Inside the Mind of a Disgruntled College Athlete

Basketball players and their coaches have two kinds of relationships:

Blissful and symbiotic –

 

Awwwwww

DOC: I love you guys. PAUL: I still don’t know what ubuntu means. KG: One day, when you’re coaching a different team, I’m going to say some unforgivable things to you and your players. I love you, but I’m a sociopath.

 

Or nasty and toxic –

 

I've had some wild coaches, but I've never seen someone get kicked. Too funny.

I love how nobody on the sidelines even reacts to the coach executing a running kick on a player. Just another day at practice!

 

 

I know players who loved their coaches, and players who wouldn’t have helped their coaches if they’d found them trapped in a burning car. There’s not really an in-between. It’s a love/hate thing, in my experience.

I thought it’d be interesting to look back on a time in my life when I was convinced my old college coach, Tommy Amaker, was a sadistic person. I truly believed that he was determined to ruin my life and drain me of every last vestige of enjoyment that I could get out of basketball. This should offer a glimpse into the psyche of a college athlete, and allow you to understand how nuanced player-coach relationships can be.

For some context, know that I used to be incredibly bitter regarding stuff that happened in my college basketball career. The more time that passes, and the further I get from the world of organized spots, the more I realize that I was way too myopic/intense/obsessive when it came to basketball. I’m proud of how hard I worked, but holy shit do I wish I could go back in time and swap out a few lifting sessions for some quality time with a therapist. Six-foot-nothing Jewish kids from the suburbs should be thrilled just to be playing college basketball, let alone starting for an Ivy League team.

Also, for what it’s worth, Coach Amaker and I are on great terms these days. I will always be grateful that he took the time to give me a solid recommendation to my team owner during my second year abroad.

So, after my sophomore year of college, the team was summoned to the locker room for a meeting with Frank Sullivan, our head coach at the time. We filed into the locker room and sat in folding chairs while Coach Sullivan paced back and forth, rocking a tight leather jacket. We knew something was up, since he normally wore the same four shirts. Either he was having a three-quarter life crisis and was inviting us on a ride with his new motorcycle gang, or he was no longer a part of the program, and thus no longer gave a shit what he wore. Turned out to be the latter. He told us that the athletic director was letting him go.

As much as that must have sucked for Coach Sullivan, I was excited. Our team was pretty terrible, and I thought some new blood would be good for the program.

To be clear, I never asked for Coach Sullivan to be fired. I didn’t have that power anyway. I was the third fiddle on a team that just finished at the bottom of the standings. It wouldn’t have been like MJ demanding that Doug Collins be ousted.

I'm the GOAT, and you're some dude with a perm who's only famous for losing to the Russians in the Olympics. Get out of my face.

Doug: “You’ve gotta pass the ball to Brad Sellers!”   MJ:  “…”

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Why Players Don’t Listen to Their Coaches

European basketball coaches, and especially Israeli league coaches, have an obsession with strategic, aggressive fouling. “USE. YOUR. FOWWWWWWWWLS!!!” was easily the most frequent thing I heard during timeouts. The idea was to make the game choppy, take the offense out of its rhythm and prevent fastbreaks. The strategy made a lot of sense to me, but it also represented the most jarring difference in transitioning to the European style of basketball.

Let me quickly say that I always found it interesting that so many Israelis identified as “European.”  This was most noticeable in the way they dressed. You looked out of place if you weren’t rocking capri pants, an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt that was two sizes too small, and a faux hawk. But it wasn’t just a look. It was a mindset. I once got into an argument with a teammate after he proclaimed that Israel had “the best doctors in Europe.” I pointed out that we were in the Middle East. He would not budge. “Best doctors in Europe,” he insisted, while taking a drag off a cigarette, chugging some Turkish coffee, and slipping into his Crocs. Continue reading

Dog Clothing

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http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-powerball-winner-20130808,0,7732164.story

I was doing some reading about lottery winners, and came across the above article. I was struck by how the winner planned to spend her 300,000 dollars:

“Now, Stephens says she can focus on a company she started about a year ago that sells Hawaiian shirts to dogs.”

You’ve gotta be kidding me. It’s those kinds of dumbass investments that cause so many lottery winners to go broke. Or so I thought.

I decided to do some research into the dog clothing industry. I wanted to prove just how ridiculous it is to waste your lottery winnings on such superfluous nonsense.

Turns out, I’m an idiot. There is a HUGE market for doggie clothing. A google search for “Dog Clothes” gets about 93 million hits, and “Hawaiian Shirts for Dogs” gets 215,000 on it’s own. (“People Who Dress Their Dogs: Technically Psychopaths?” didn’t yield a single result.)

How have I never met a person who dresses their dog? Am I dumb for not knowing that people actually purchase Ed Hardy hoodies for their poodles?

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At one point my search led me to the comment section of a women’s fashion blog. I found a thread that was started by LVobsessed415, who lost control and spent $500 on dog clothes. She was afraid that her husband would be furious. She seemed to be genuinely upset, wondering if she’d gone too far. Well, she came to the right place for support. Everyone told her that she had nothing to worry about. This comment from LeeLee sums up the thread: “I love that your dog is so well dressed and that you love her so much. Don’t worry about overspending. It really was for a good reason–your baby!”

No, LeeLee, that’s not a good reason. I bet Lvobsessed415 has a real kid. A kid who’s malnourished because the food budget went toward a designer mini skirt for the Chihuahua.

Unless it’s -30 outside, I doubt the dog is ever happy to be treated like an American Girl doll. I didn’t even know this subculture existed until recently, but I already feel like it has gone too far. Let’s all stop dressing our dogs.

M2qnk

My Health Obsession

I’m not exactly sure when I realized I was a full-blown health obsessed maniac. It could have been when I spent 70 dollars on 10 blood ketone monitoring strips in order to see if I was producing enough beta-hydroxy-butyrate. Or maybe it was when I started taking off my shoes and squatting on the toilet bowl to go number two because I was convinced it was the natural human position for evacuation. Or possibly it was when I ripped a hole in my dress pants because I was rolling my hamstrings on a lacrosse ball while sitting at my desk. Or the second time that happened. Or the third. Somehow, despite these warning signs, the first time I actually took a step back and thought “maybe I’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole” was after spending time at work digesting this article:

Undercarboxylated Osteocalcin: Marker of Vitamin K Deficiency, or Booster of Insulin Signaling and Testosterone? Continue reading