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Just messing around, getting triple doubles
April 11, 2013Posted by on
We started so many spring weeks ago with a list of 52 NBA father/son combinations and through a series of contentiously competitive and occasionally antagonistic two-on-two battles, we’ve arrived here in mid-April with a list of eight families that we’ll be chopped in half by the end of this post. We always knew we’d arrive here, but there’s still a surreal element to it; the Final Four of Fathers & Sons. If this is your first time joining us, we welcome you with the open arms of loving fathers. And if you’ve been following the tournament since day one, welcome back, take a seat, enjoy yourself and let your imagination take you on a journey to neverlands and alternate basketball universes where everyone’s frozen at their peak in a basketball stasis of sorts.
The first matchup today is brought to you by Hamilton (@rh_asme), who was the best man in my wedding and as a 5’11” (maybe 6’0” on a good day) shooting guard dropped nine threes against North High School in his senior year:
Rick/Brent Barry (1-seed) vs. Rick/Jon Barry (2-seed): (total disclosure: in this neverland I described above, Rick Barry can exist on multiple teams at the same time. That’s the beauty of this tournament and universe—we know very few constraints. And as you read this, if you find it difficult to figure out which Rick Barry’s being discussed, just imagine how hard it was for Jon and Brent in the game):
Rick and Jon advanced by beating the 6th seeded Bibbys in round two. They’ve had a better on-court relationship than Rick (we’ll call him Barry, for clarity’s sake) and Brent because Brent wants to get his shine on too, while Jon, always a daddy’s boy, has allowed Rick hog the glory. Brent and Barry got here by defeating Kevin and Stan Love in a fun, insult-laden game that saw Barry go for 19 of 21 points.
The prevailing thought going into this game was that the Jon versus Brent matchup would be crucial. To some extent, the Ricks could cancel each other out. All four players knew some version of this was true.
Just before tip, the teams went over final strategy. “Look,” Barry said to Brent, “you’ve always been my favorite son. Jon … he’s just so damn judgmental. I don’t know where he gets it from … All you gotta do is play Barry ball and we got this game.” Meanwhile on the other side, “Brent’s soft. He might have dunked from the free throw line and won a couple rings, but you!? You’re an asshole and you’re my favorite son. That’s what we do! You follow my lead, and we’re moving on.”
Brent and Barry were awarded the ball first. Rick checked the ball to Barry and said, “You know something, you’re a really pretty guy … Real cute. But you’re not getting a damn thing on me today.” Barry being Rick Barry, had to come back at him, “That’s the thing. I won’t have to. You got the weak link on your team. Everyone knows Brent plays more like me than Jon does. Jon’s a scrub. Drew is better.” Barry passed to Brent and tried to go back door. It failed as Rick was in perfect position to recover and cut off the passing lane. Brent, intent on keeping his dad happy, took a couple dribbles and found Barry for an open jumper. Good. Brent and Barry on the board first.
Brent checked the ball to Jon and gave him a half step of space. He knew if Jon got by him, Barry wouldn’t slide over to help. He’d rather verbally abuse a teammate than help out and risk leaving his man open. Jon tossed the ball to his dad who had gotten good post position on Barry and cut to the basket. Rick dropped a quick bounce pass, but Barry got a hand on it and came away with a steal. It was becoming evident that the Ricks were indeed going to make it hard for each other to get comfortable on offense.
Much to the Rick Barrys disgust, neither one could shake the other. “If you weren’t so damn handsome, I’d put trademarks around your fucking eyes. I’m so tired of seeing you right in front of me every time I get the ball,” Barry remarked to Rick. “I told you a long time ago, fella. I’m the greatest Barry. I’m the one who taught the fish how to swim,” Rick arrogantly replied.
Back and forth the game went for several possessions. This, after all, was a 2-on-2 game that had occurred countless times in the past. Each Barry had a good idea of what the other Barry was thinking, what he might do next, where he liked to shoot from and how his shots would likely come off the rim. Brent was more than a spectator tonight. Following Barry’s jumper to open the game, Brent accounted for 10 of his side’s next 16 points going 2-3 from three and 2-4 on twos. Jon for his part scored 8 early points before a visibly frustrated Rick began to force the issue.
Down 18-14, Rick called for a ball screen. Once Jon was set, Rick took one dribble, stepped back and let fly. All net. Not even Barry could believe that Rick had taken, and made, that shot. The score now was 18-17, Brent and Barry in the lead.
Barry, eager to respond took a pass from Brent and drove to the lane. As Jon collapsed to help, something odd happened. Rick Barry passed the ball in a big moment. A chance to respond to himself, to his own ego, and he passed the ball. From under the rim he found Brent all alone at the top of the key. Brent elevated, his form was true, and so was the shot. Straight cash. Brent and Rick won, 21-17. Barry looked at Rick and shrugged his shoulders, “What did I tell you before the game? Jon isn’t that good. If there was ever a question about which Barry son was better, this settles it.”
Brent and Jon shared a roll of the eyes and gave each other a hug. “You know what?” Brent asked, “They don’t even realize my team won the game because dad got me the ball; let me shoot. It feels better than I imagined it would.”
The final stats: Brent Barry: 2-4, 3-4, 13 Rick Barry: 1-3, 2-4, 8; Jon Barry 3-4, 0-1, 6; Rick Barry 1-4, 3-7, 11
Glory be to the Brent and Rick Barrys; the first Final Four qualifier in the father/son tournament. The next matchup was witnessed (or imagined, I’m not sure) by Bug (@bugfoster515). Bug was a 6’0” wing and the best defender on our 1997-98 high school team that went 23-1 and lost the state championship on a whistle at the buzzer. If it feels like I’m living in the past, then it must be true.
It’s no surprise that the top-seeded Bryants made it to the final game of their own quadrant. It’s been a relatively easy path for them to advance to this point in the tournament. They’ve steamrolled both the Davis duo and the Maravich crew to arrive at a showdown with the Rivers’ with a trip to the Final Four of the Father/Son Tourney on the line. The Rivers’, on the other hand, have had to scrap and claw their way to this point by battling through huge size disadvantages against the Horfords and Ewings.
The Rivers’ know they have a tall order dealing with Kobe, so Doc wants to make sure they get to the game a little early to go over strategy to at least try and slow down Kobe. As they get out of the car to make their way to the courts, they’re so focused on their strategic conversation that they don’t notice the small crowd already surrounding the court. As they get closer, Doc notices that Austin isn’t paying attention to him anymore. Instead he’s watching Kobe, who is already on the court dripping with sweat; the young Rivers has a deer in headlights look on his face. Doc sees what’s going on, and tries to re-focus Austin, but the damage is already done (word quickly spread that Kobe had been there since 6am putting up shots). Austin is shook, and Kobe can sense it.
As the game starts, Kobe is in his zone, right in Austin’s ear from the jump. Joe Bryant mumbles to Doc as he checks the ball “ooh wee, y’all in trouble today.” Not only did Kobe relish the challenge of shutting down the younger Rivers, he completely humiliated the kid and figuratively ripped out his heart (think of that scene in Temple of Doom). With Austin unable to get off against Kobe, the Rivers’ just didn’t have enough scoring punch to keep up. Austin’s confidence was completely shattered early on, and Kobe delivered the death blow by going on a 13-0 run all by himself to close out the game. The Bryants dominated 21-6 with Kobe scoring 19 of the 21 points. Austin, meet Mamba…Mamba, this is Austin.
The next matchup is all mine. In case you’re wondering, I’ve always been an undersized “big” at 6’1”. In translation, that means I was just above average height but highly average skill. My game has often been referred to as “old man” in nature and the older/heavier I’ve become, it’s become an older, more horizontal game.
I don’t know where to begin with this matchup. In boxing, we say styles make fights and if there was ever a stylistic contrast, it was here where the gritty streets of Detroit meet the sprawling sandy beaches of the California coast. The black Walker/Rose vs. the white Waltons. The street game vs. the gym game. Freewheeling Fab Five vs. hyper-structured UCLA. Father/son strife vs. Father/son cohesion. But for all the contrasts between these dads and their sons, the uniting features of both teams are their innate feels for the game. Rose and Luke Walton are, and have always been, tremendous passers with 360 degrees of vision. Walker was a scorer extraordinaire while Walton combined an earthy feel of all things with a scholar’s understanding of the fundamentals and nuance of the game. For all of Jalen’s chatterbox tendencies, he’s locked in and focused from the opening check-ball of this one with Luke guarding him. The Waltons, with John Wooden and Jerry Garcia acting as their spiritual and basketball yogis on the sideline, have decided to take a fully democratic approach to defense and guard whoever’s closest with no static matchups. The quickness, as Wooden discussed with the Waltons beforehand, was going to be a mismatch for father or son so the strategy was to give a slight cushion on 3s, but let Walker/Rose shoot the mid-range jumpers all day.
And it began with the seriousness of a heavyweight fight. The Bryants and Barrys (all four of them) sat in the stands watching while Wooden calmly asked Garcia to stop playing his guitar and “please Jerry, focus on the game.” The teams traded haymakers and blows. With every layup Jalen and Jimmy put in, the Waltons looked inside to Bill whose long red locks bounced with his drop steps and jump hooks, up and unders and lobs. It wasn’t a lack of effort on the defensive end by either team, it was just terrible matchups. Luke was easily the least-talented player in the game, but despite fans heckling him and accusing him of riding his dad’s coattails, he played his secondary role with seriousness and passion, cutting at the right times for easy layups on passes from pops and busted his ass on defense where Walker/Rose continually abused his slow feet.
The fans, even the father/son combos in the stands, were worn out from this marathon matchup that sat at 23-22 in favor of the Waltons (reminder: games are to 21, win by two or first to 25) with the ball in the hands of Walker/Rose. The Waltons knowingly defended the three ball, willing to cede any penetration. Luke was matched up with Jimmy who wasted no time attacking the young Walton with a quick inside-out move that shook Luke off balance and forced Garcia to cringe (“whoa man!”). The lane was wide open for a layup and Bill refused to help off Jalen (this had been Jimmy’s goal), but Jimmy passed on the layup and sprinted out to the far corner (Jalen and Bill were at the top of the key) as Luke chased after him. Bill turned to body Jalen and Jimmy let it fly …
The shot was just long, but Luke was soaring through the air to contest and was out of position for the rebound which fell in Jimmy’s hands. Bill instinctively took a couple steps away from Jalen to help, Wooden squinted nervously at the bit of daylight given to Jalen. Everyone saw it unfolding, the Walker pass zipping through the air, Jalen stepping into his shot just as the ball arrived, Luke swinging his backside into Jimmy in a textbook box out, Bill extending that impossibly long frame, hand and fingers outstretched attempting for all the world to disturb the Jalen’s concentration, a flock of birds flying overhead paused in midflight, hovering over the court to watch Jalen’s lefty release just a tic before Bill’s arrival, Jerry Garcia’s slow disintegration …
And splash … the net caught fire and the Waltons hung their heads. Jimmy and Jalen nodded at each other cooly. The long ice age of their relationship still unthawed. Congratulating each other, Bill embraced Jimmy and whispered in his ear: “You got a good kid there, don’t be afraid to tell him you love him.”
Walker/Rose 25, Waltons 23
The final battle is covered by the west coast’s own Jacob Greenberg (@jacobjbg). I don’t know what Jacob’s basketball game consists of, but I do know he’s one of my favorite bloggers on the planet and is not prone to trite platitudes or thoughts.
For the first time in the tournament, the Schayes were confronted with size to match their skill sets. Both Dolph and Klay are 6’7” combo scorers, while Danny (6’11”) matched up nicely against Mychal (6’10”). As such, the crowd was treated to one of the more balanced and enjoyable 2-on-2 matchups this side of the Mississippi. While the pivot battle between Danny Schayes and Mychal Thompson was entertaining, the real show was Dolph vs Klay. Where Dolph played inside-out — backing up to the basket and stepping back for jumpers, or foot-workin’ for up-and-unders — Klay played outside-in. the teams traded baskets until 20-20. Win by 2! At this point, it was the modern team’s game. After Mychal rebounded a short lefty hook from Danny (who had a respectable game, 9 points and 16 rebounds) and kicked it out to Klay from behind the arc, everyone knew it was over. Silky smooth jumper from Klay ends the instant classic 23-20 in favor of Mychal and Klay.
Man, I feel like I just lived through a war with these matchups. We’re down to a Final Four that consists of all #1 seeds and while the predictability of a top-heavy Final Four would normally cause me some sort of consternation, I’m extremely comfortable that the best teams are here and the matchups have been quality since the opening round. The tournament’s scheduled to wrap up this weekend so let’s all grab a couple beers and ruminate on the battles to come.
April 10, 2013Posted by on
It’s the tail end of the NBA season and we all know what that means: Unpredictable lineups, superstars and future franchise players randomly sitting games because there’s nothing left to play for, tanking accusations and of course, the wide world of bizarre statlines. In a game tonight that had no meaning at all except for developmental reps, possible performance-based incentives and a chance for Orlando to improve their odds at winning the lottery, the Bucks of Milwaukee went down to Orlando to face the Magic. I didn’t watch any of this game until overtime when I realized some variation of the NBA Twilight Zone starring John Henson was unfolding at the Amway Center.
Henson is well known for his lanky frame and Phil Jackson-styled walk which includes a sort of hitch in or around the hip area. I’m no physiotherapist, but Henson’s gait looks like something that will give him trouble in the future. It certainly didn’t give him any trouble tonight as evidence by this tremendously unpredictable line:
It was a game overflowing with unpredictable oddities and copious amounts of rebounds to be had by all. Nikola Vucevic of “Guess I’m Strange” fame recorded his league-leading fourth 20/20 game with 30 points and 20 rebounds (that’s back-to-back 20/20s for Vucevic) and the recent Magic addition Tobias Harris (picked up in a trade with the Bucks in February) had a career night against his former team with 30 points and 19 rebounds including a game-tying three that sent the game in OT. It was an ultimate expression of NBA-condoned vengeance.
But it was Henson who caused destruction with his spindly arms and hands blocking and disrupting shots on his way to that 25-rebound total. His 17-point, 25-rebound, 7-block combination is the only one achieved by a Bucks player since at least 1985-86 (that’s as far as Basketball-reference’s game finder goes back for blocks and boards). That piqued my always-inquisitive mind so I asked the basketball machine who was the last player to beast mode like Henson did tonight. The basketball machine told me:
*Ed’s note on the larger table above: the rebound filter is set to 20. On the second table, the accurate 25-rebound filter is set–which actually puts Henson in a more exclusive group. Also, interesting to see Hakeem’s destruction of Orlando back in 1989 on the list. I explored the conditions of that game in a previous post here.* Lot of great games and names that list, including the most recent by Joakim Noah just over a month ago, but John Henson? This string bean of a basketball player? This long legged leaper in a league full of long legged leapers? 25 boards? We haven’t seen another player this young put up at least 17 and 25 since a 21-year-old Shaquille O’Neal went for 24 points, 28 rebounds and 15 blocks (while only attempting a single free throw—so strange) back in 1993.
Yes, it’s highly esteemed company that Henson joined tonight, but I don’t have a clue what type of player he is or will become. Even in the dying embers of overtime, Henson’s length and leap timing was an obvious skill, but something (something named Larry Sanders?) has caused Henson’s minutes to decrease over the past few months from 17mpg in January to roughly 10mpg in February and March to just four mpg in four April games. Then there nights like this and nights like November 21st, 2012 when he went for 17pts and 18 boards against the Heat. So who is John Henson and what is he to you?
April 8, 2013Posted by on
In a vacuum, I think all of us can agree that what Kobe Bryant’s doing in his 17th NBA season is mostly ridiculous. With a handful of games remaining this season, Bryant has amassed 1,456 games (playoffs and regular season) and spent 53,897 minutes on the court. To list off his accomplishments, both statistical and of the award variety, would be like reading through a ledger that includes every sin any of us committed. It would go on and on and we’d fall asleep out of monotonous exhaustion and boredom and then we’d wake up and the voice would still be droning on.
For me, and I assume, for many of us, one of the most impressive aspects of Kobe’s long, long run has been remarkable consistency of it. So many games and years later and the man is still performing at a level that exceeds his career averages (his career averages are admittedly tipped by his first three years in the league). His game is as identifiable as any player’s in the league. Just when we think he’s lost a step and is on the decline (2011 appeared this way), he bounces back with Orthonkine therapy and back-to-back 27ppg, +20PER seasons—at ages 33 and 34.
Being the lightning rod he is, Kobe’s accomplishments come hand-in-hand with overreaction from the pro-Kobe and con-Kobe camps which are both bolstered by millions of basketball fans who sit at computers or on smartphones pounding away at the keys and venting through Kobe-based superlative arguments. The objective or indifferent fans marvel at Kobe’s resilience and shot-making ability while shaking their heads at the head-scratchingly bad shots or lackluster defense that we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.
But as I started this post, I’ll reiterate: In a vacuum … I’m not interested in opening up or hashing out or re-hashing debates that have no ending. After Kobe’s game yesterday, a 14-point loss to the Clippers that gave them a 4-0 sweep in the Battle for Los Angeles; a game in which Kobe played 47 minutes (Mike D’Antoni’s never been shy about running guys into the ground and most elite athletes need someone to force them to rest, so the Kobe/D’Antoni combination is mostly a poor match when it comes to the long-term consideration of Kobe’s physical health), I found myself asking: Who does this? Who plays 47 minutes at 34-years-old? Who’s 34 and putting up 25 points and 10 assists? So I did what I do, I had to answer this question for myself and the answer was interesting enough to share it with you:
I took Kobe’s season-to-date stats (as of 4/8/12) and plugged them into Basketball-Refrerence.com and took a look at how this season compares historically at a couple different levels. First off, I just focused on players who have averaged at least 38 minutes/game at age 34 or older. I don’t know what my hunch was going into this, but as I think more about it, it makes sense that only a few times in league history has circumstance demanded a player of this age pour so much of himself into the game and only so many times has the player actually been able to hold up to the rigorous demands of an NBA schedule for so many minutes every night:
It’s an interesting list. Of the 15 seasons included there, only three players went on to win titles (Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain in 1972). With the exception of Lenny Wilkins’ Cavs in 1973 and Anthony Mason’s Bucks in 2002, each player did make the playoffs, although it’s worth noting that several teams were low-seeded playoff teams that needed every ounce of production available from their best players—similar to the Lakers dependency on Bryant this year.
To take it a step further in terms of production at age 34 or older with 38 minutes or more played each night, I layered in points, PER and Usage%. Only a single other player compares favorably to Kobe in these measures:
MJ edged Kobe in PER (25.2 vs. 22.7) and usage rates (33.7% vs. 31.8%), but in both cases, these teams relied on these shooting guards for so so much production. The results were drastically different and the purpose of this post isn’t to delve into that aspect of these post-34 seasons, but to explore the rarity of what an aging Kobe Bryant’s doing this season which is about as rarefied company as you can come across. As an aside, these explorations often reveal some unexpected random piece of information and in this case it’s Karl Malone’s 2001-02 season where he averaged 38mpg as 38-year-old power forward and had a usage rate of 28.8%. For perspective, that 28.8 would rank 8th overall this season and place him ahead of James Harden—and he was 38.
Someday we’ll say goodbye to Kobe, but it appears it’ll be a lot later than a whole gang of people thought…
April 7, 2013Posted by on
As we wind down this 2012-13 season, Dancing with Noah has just a few planned posts remaining. Like the entire “Guess I’m Strange” series, there’s potential for players in the league to deliver these unexpected, incomprehensible performances that kick and push me into exploring said performance in brief write-ups. So while there are just a handful of posts to go, who can say what tomorrow will bring?
Before the season, if someone would’ve put us all in a room: A great big ballroom for basketball fans with chandeliers that have mini basketballs for light bulbs and chairs covered with the worn, dimpled leather of a basketball, and asked us two questions, none of us likely would’ve answered anywhere near correctly for these specific questions:
- Who will lead the league in 20/20 (points and rebounds) games?
- Who will come out on top of the Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum megadeal?
The answer to number two is abstract and can’t be measured today or tomorrow or yesterday, but I can write, with a fair amount of certainty, that Doug Collins is as frustrated with the results of that trade as anyone and that’s saying something given the complete shitshow it’s turned into for the Lakers. The reason for Collins’s frustration can’t be limited to Bynum’s health concerns or Andre Iguodala’s continued consistency in Denver. Nay, it must take into account the accelerated development of the league’s leader in 20/20 games and the answer to question number above: Nikola Vucevic: a 22-year-old listed at 6’10”, 240lbs, but who looks to be a solid 7’0”, 250lbs+ and rebounds with the competency of an all-pro.
Regardless of your fondness or Rob Henningan’s fondness or the fondness of Vucevic’s own parents for his development this season, none of us expected this type of growth and development. Keep in mind, Vucevic, didn’t even arrive in the states until 2007. He averaged 12rpg as a senior in high school and never over 10.3rpg in his three seasons at USC. He showed promise as an NBA rookie averaging 10.9rpg over 36min/game, but nothing, not even his lineage (his dad Borislav was a pro player for 24 years—24!), predicated this season’s rebounding explosion.
So it was that we arrived at the Magic-Cavs game on this Sunday afternoon and saw the developing Vucevic take advantage of a bruised and battered Cavs team to the tune of 21 points and 21 rebounds for his league-leading third 20/20 game of the season.
Nikola Vucevic: Catching NBA fans off guard since 2012.
April 4, 2013Posted by on
In the midst of all the Father/Sonning that’s been going on here at Dancing with Noah, real life actual NBA games are still going on and that means players are still doing strange things at strange times. Last night I was out and about until 9:30 PST and when I arrived home, I saw this intriguing stat line by Spain’s own wonderchild, the imaginative visionary Ricky Rubio: 19pts with 5-6 from deep, 12 assists and 8 steals. Say word? Word.
It’s pretty damn phenomenal if you start wrapping your head around it and not just in NBA historical terms (as you’ll see below, Rubio’s the only player in league history to accomplish 12sasts/8stls/5 3s in the same game), but in Rubio terms as well. A little over a year ago on March 9th 2012, the rookie Rubio, all of 21 years-old, tore his ACL. At that time, his career highs in the aforementioned stats were 14 assists, 6 steals and 2 3s. And in the 49 games he’s played this year he hadn’t bested any of those career highs. Then last night shows up and the Bucks and maybe some Brandon Jennings, maybe some Monta Ellis, maybe some JJ Redick are splayed wide open in front of an attacking Rubio who didn’t just exceed his career-high of 2 3s, but more than doubled it. The steals are equally impressive for this opportunistic defender who’s been averaging over 2.5 steals/game from February to now. And all this occurred in a mere 34 minutes of play.
In the spirit of keeping things fresh and avoiding that stale cracker (no racial reference) texture, I guess Ricky’s strange:
April 4, 2013Posted by on
Here we are in mid-April and the first ever NBA Father/Son Two-on-Two tournament is in full swing. As we head into the second round of this once-in-a-lifetime imaginary five-round tournament, we’ve been privy to teasing, taunts, familial rivalry, allusions to cannabis consumption, controlling parents and meanderings deep into the digitized vaults of Youtube.
16 teams remain and by the time you get done reading this post we’ll have cut that list in half and arrived at the Great(est) Eight father/son combos as contrived by this batch of misfit writers.
First up, I’m tackling the Bryant Quadrant:
A couple of shot-taking, head-faking, basket-making sons steal the spotlight here. I remember being a kid and watching a biopic about a young Pete Maravich, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. My memories are of a sappy, Hollywood flick and a little white kid with a crew cut who would walk through the entire town spinning a ball on his finger. It doesn’t matter if this actually happened or not; the point was clear: the myth of Pistol Pete was greater than Maravich could ever actually be. And so it is in this father/son battle where Kobe finds himself being motivated by a combination of Jordanesque perceived slights and the surprisingly shrewd prods of his father who tells Kobe before the game, “I heard the Pistol saying you’re not even top-10 all-time….in Lakers history.” Kobe’s appalled, incensed, bites at his jersey, thrusts out his under bite, flares his nostrils while Jellybean grins to himself relishing the skills he picked up as a WNBA coach. Press Maravich is a non-factor and the Maravich family is destroyed by Kobe’s fury and the Bryant’s superior athleticism. The number one overall seed advances: 21-10.
In the first game we saw a couple of sons take the spotlight, but in the later game, it’s a pair of dads from the 80s that dictate the flow which escalated into a war of sorts between Glenn “Doc” Rivers and former teammate Patrick Ewing. As a master motivator, Doc is in his son’s ear throughout warm-ups. He pokes, prods, he encourages, he’s builds up and up and up: “You played more games in your first month in the league than Patrick’s kid played in his entire career.” Young Rivers’ confidence is visibly growing while young Ewing shrinks—and this is before the game. No one, especially not this observer, was surprised to see Austin Rivers attack Ewing Jr. from the opening check, but what stood out was the physicality with which Doc delivered on Ewing Sr. The Ewing game-plan was painfully obvious: dump it into Sr. and let him work. Old Patrick got his buckets, but he had to earn every one as Doc reached, stripped, hacked, hipped, bumped and reminded Patrick of why he loved that turnaround so damn much. In the end, the speed and quickness of the Rivers’ was enough to pull out the tournament’s first overtime victory: 23-20 on bomb from 25-feet from Austin. After hitting the game-winner, Austin, mockingly asked, “Patrick!?!?!”
This time around, Jacob (@jacobjbg) tackled the surreal Barry quadrant:
Going into the match, there was some uncertainty about whether the Barrys could hold seed and defeat the upstart Loves. Kevin was balling out of his mind, and despite Stan’s limited skills, mind and mustache game were both formidable. But it was all over from the very start. As Stan checked the ball in to Rick, he committed the cardinal sin: trash talking an insecure San Francisco resident. “Yeah, you may have averaged 25 points per game for your career, but you didn’t even crack single digits in the sack for your career total!” Stan’s taunts rang through the gym, reverberating through tense silence. “Know why you didn’t get laid, Rick?” Stan asked. Rick stared back at him, hard. “It’s because you were bald around both your heads! Ya dig?!” Stan shouted gleefully, spun around disco-style, stroked his awesome mustache and got into a defensive stance. That was that. Rick calmly lined up a three, drained it, and stared back at Stan. “Three-nothing, you nobody,” Rick hissed. It was on. A man possessed, Rick had a game for the ages: 19 points, 17 rebounds, and one begrudging assist to a frazzled Brent on their way to 21-15 victory in a game that was never close. Never trash talk a Top-50 All-Time player, especially about their follicle regions.
Jon/Rick Barry (1-seed) vs. Mike/Henry Bibby (6-seed):
Though Rick would never tell you himself, he greatly preferred playing with Jon over Brent. There was a reason Jon worked for ESPN: he was a shill. He’d do whatever his superior said, no questions asked. Always hard working, and simple in a sort of lovable way. Though Jon can shoot, he knows his dad can shoot better. And his dad, still feeling sort of miffed about the shenanigans of Stan Love, is all too happy to keep shooting. This time the shots don’t fall as freely — Barry yells “Goddamned shame!” each time his shot clanks off the rim — and the Bibbys are able to use their speed to penetrate and get buckets. It’s a close one, but in the end, Jon gets enough second chances under the rim over the smaller Mike Bibby to snag the win, 21-18. Rick finishes with 17 points in this one, but an even tougher choice: which son will he choose in the finals?
In round two, Bug (@bugfoster515) gets the Walker/Rose bracket:
After breezing by the David Vaughns in the first round, the Walker/Rose duo faces a much stiffer competition in the second round against the Brewers. The Brewers come in with confidence oozing from their pores after a mild upset of the Smiths in their first round. There’s no advantage physically as the dads and sons measure up equally from a size and athleticism standpoint. The clear advantage lies in the offensive firepower of Rose/Walker. The Brewers, known as role players/defensive stoppers, just can’t keep up offensively enough to pull off another upset. Ronnie does a good job keeping Jalen in check, but once Jimmy Walker starts putting on his moves the Detroit duo pulls away for a 21-15 win.
And call this name dropping all you want, but basketball sage Peter Vecsey (@petervecsey1) picked Walker/Rose as his greatest father/son combo of all-time:
Luke/Bill Walton (2-seed) vs. Jim Jr & John/JonPaxson (6-seed):
No one expected the Paxsons to be here after facing off against the Mikans in the first round, but like the great sport of boxing, matchups make fights. The Paxsons find themselves in a similar matchup against the Waltons. They’re at a huge disadvantage in the size department going against one of the NBA’s all-time great big men in Bill Walton, so they will once again rely on outside shooting to attempt pulling off another upset. Unlike the slow, prodding Mikans, the Waltons can move on defense and bring much more offensive diversity. Any true hoops fan that has read The Breaks of the Game, knows that Walton in his prime (on the rare occasion he wasn’t injured) could carry a team and do it all. The Paxons were able to hit a few threes to keep it close early, but Jim Paxson Sr. (only played two years in the NBA before going into the insurance business) trying to guard Bill Walton was almost as silly as Mark Cuban drafting Brittney Griner to play in the NBA. The Waltons basketball IQ and overall skill level was too much for the overmatched Paxsons. Waltons keep truckin’ to victory with a 21-13 win.
And Hamilton (@rh_asme) gets one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the second round: Schayes vs. Currys:
This second round matchup featured the top seed in the quadrant, the Thompsons, squaring off against the 5th seeded Hendersons. The Thompsons feature the truest inside-outside threat in the field and set out to utilize Mychal’s size to their advantage. With an array of pick and rolls and slips, the Thompsons looked like a machine oiled up for a long run. Klay’s 3 point shot at 6’7” with Mychal’s length and strength allowed them to cruise to an easy 21-12 win. As one might expect, the Hendersons competed on both sides of the ball but were simply outgunned. This was a bad matchup for 6’2” and 6’5” Gerald and Gerald and the upset just wasn’t meant to be.
This wasn’t the first matchup of contrasting styles in the father/son field and it probably won’t be the last. The Currys are always confident in their shooting and for good reason. Coming off a 7-10 3-pt performance in round one it was clear going into the game that the three-ball would be the Currys’ biggest advantage. Predictably (though not in a bad way), the Schayes focused on playing the game as close to the basket as possible. On each of their offensive possessions, Dolph checked the ball and backed his Curry into the paint (Mark Jackson style) before deciding upon shot or pass. It was one of the oddest two man games you’ll see, but it was effective. As noted earlier, the Currys intended to replicate their round 1 game plan by focusing on their three-point shot, pulling the defenders away from the paint and spacing out to allow room for each other to drive. Unfortunately, when teams live by the three, they die by the three. And tonight, the Currys father/son title hopes died on a 4-14 3-point shooting performance. After the game, Danny Schayes said, “We knew they’d be willing to trade 2s for 3s, so we had to make sure we finished in the paint and contested their shots. Luckily from us they weren’t as sharp as they were in round one … this could have easily been a different game.” Final score 21-14, Schayes advance to the Great(est) Eight.
True to NBA form, upsets have been fleeting. Just a single under-seeded team has advanced to the quarterfinals: The Rivers’. Nothing was too surprising coming out of the second round except the contrasting motivational techniques used by the Doc Rivers and Jellybean Bryant. One propped his son up while the other motivated through chopping down. As we step into the semi-final round the most intriguing matchup in the bracket is the Barry family quadrant where Rick/Brent will face off against Rick/Jon. We’ve seen a lot of Barry-fueled aggression already so I can’t wait to see how Rick Barry deals with the complexity of Rick Barry. Other questions to ponder as you lie in bed struggling to doze off at night:
- · Can the tenuous relationships of the Bryants hold?
- · Will the Walker/Rose combo confront issues of abandonment?
- · Will Jerry Garcia magically leap forth from the afterlife to support the Walton boys?
- · Is Mychal Thompson capable of allowing his son the freedom necessary to develop into his own man?
These questions and more will be answered next week when we play out the semi-finals of the greatest of Two-on-Two tournament this side of White Men Can’t Jump.
April 1, 2013Posted by on
As we enter into the Father/Son quarter-finals, I think it’s worthwhile mentioning some of the shenanigans that have gone on behind the scenes of this ongoing battle for familial pride. The day of the first-round of games, fathers and sons showed up in an a variety of ways: Dads driving sons, sons driving dads, moms driving fathers and sons, fathers and sons arriving in separate cars, chauffeured rides, etc. There were even a few sketchy scenes like the one below which was recounted to me by one of the tournament officials:
These two guys show up and you can tell one is clearly wearing a wig. And, well, I’ve been around the game a long time, long enough to know Horace and Harvey Grant when I see them—even under that corny wig. So the Grant twins are there and they’re already looking sneaky, but looking guilty and nervous, you know? Horace was wearing some goofy-colored goggles, you know those rec-specs he used to wear? Meanwhile, Harvey’s in the back, peaking out around a corner and this silly wig keep dropping down into his eyes. I’m thinking, what’re these knuckleheads up to? So Eddie Rush is managing the registration and he knows all these guys too. You know he started officiating back in the 60s. He knows the Grants. I swear; I don’t know what these guys thought would happen, but here’s how it goes down:
Ed Rush: Horace, is that you?
Horace, (in a voice that obviously wasn’t his natural voice): Nah, nah, this ain’t Horace.
Rush: Take off those goggles.
Rush: What you trying to do?
Horace: I got me some chumps in this father-son tournament. Let me get by.
Rush: Get the fuck out.
Horace: Alright, look man, you need some twins. There are some crazy fathers and sons in this tournament … lot crazier than me.
Rush: No. Everyone knows there’s no father-son Grants. You think I’m stupid? You think all these people are stupid?
Harvey Grant, walking up from behind a corner where he’d been observing the interaction: Come on, Horace, let’s go.
The Grants sauntered off dejectedly with some of the father/son tandems (named the Currys, Mychal Thompson, and Rose/Walker) sparing no expense to clown them on their walk of shame out of the gym. Subsequent calls to the Grants and their representatives have either been ignored or rejected with a curt “No Comment.”
March 28, 2013Posted by on
I had this dark moment on an airplane a few days ago where I lost all faith in the Father/Son idea as a blog post. It was some combination of plastic cups with red wine and sleep deprivation that shook me up, but damn it, I said we’d power through this imaginary tournament and power through we will. Today’s post looks at what happened in the first round of father/son play and spells out the rules/parameters of the games:
- Single-elimination. You lose and you’re out. No running it back, no best out of three, no pissing, no moaning (looking at you Kobe and Rick Barry).
- Referees will be included. There was some discussion around keeping this more of an informal, park-type game a’la White Men Can’t Jump (part of me wishes the title was in singular form: White Man Can’t Jump; like it’d be this specific guy. Perhaps there’s room in our culture for Black Man Can’t Jump? – sorry for the digression), but the thought of current and former NBA players calling their own fouls was too much to bear. Kobe’d shoot 100% because he’d be calling fouls every time the ball didn’t go through the hoop. So refs are involved.
- Games are played to 21 points with twos and threes. It’s win by two or first team to 25.
- There is no make-it-take-it rule. Imagine the Currys, Dell and Steph, bombing away from 25 feet and winning a game 21-3.
- As for the presentation of the first round; the quadrants have been divvied up amongst the four of us:
- Hamilton gets the Bryants quadrant
- Bug gets the Thompsons
- Jacob gets the Walker/Rose
- I/Fenrich get the Barrys
And the Barry bracket is where we’ll begin:
Rick/Brent Barry (1-seed) vs. Eric and Walt Piatkowski (8-seed):
On the one hand, we’ve got one of the top father/son combos in NBA/ABA history in the Barrys. Rick was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, NBA champion, league scoring champ, and all-around antagonistic ass (for more information on this, read Barry’s section in Bill Simmons’s Book of Basketball). He’s paired with his dunk contest-winning son, Brent “Bones” Barry; a lanky wing with his father’s build and athleticism, but not quite the skill. Meanwhile, the Piatkowskis, a couple of tall wings who attempted to make a living on jump shots and grit. It worked for son Eric, but not father Walt who appeared in three seasons of pro ball, but ultimately left to become a paper salesman. In this game, the paper salesman and his son simply can’t compete with the multi-skilled Barry’s who run pick and pops and give and go’s en route to a 21-9 victory. Much of the game is spent cringing at the paper salesman barbs slung from Rick in the direction of Walt. Clearly embarrassed, Brent Barry immediately walked off the court following the victory; despite his dad’s calls for him to “come back” and “celebrate like a winner.”
Stan Love is such a swanky ass name. Can’t you picture a man named “Stan Love” strolling through clubs and lounges in the 70s with huge lapels on his leisure suit, spouting out cornball lines to any woman in earshot while flashing a massive smile and introducing himself as “Dr. Love” or “Stan the Man, but ladies call me the Doctor of Love.” That’s what I picture and then I see what Stan Love used to look like: A 6’9” brute with a Fu Manchu-style furry moustache. And the height matters here. The elder Love only appeared in four seasons, but the Loves are just too big and versatile for the slightly built Dunleavys who go 6’3” (dad) and a lean 6’9” (son). The Loves get the boards and pound the ball inside and out while Stan’s brother, Beach Boy member, Mike Love, strolls along the baseline singing ad-libbed songs about how Love conquers all, especially the Dunleavys. It was a mostly tactless move by Mike Love, but the laid back tunes and 60s throwback lyrics had most fans and even the players in a California state of mind. Loves, 21, Dunleavys 15.
The Wilkins’s have a clear size and athleticism advantage over the shorter, slower Bibbys, but the pedigree of the Bibbys (one of three father/son combinations to win NCAA championships) had fans and analysts wondering how the Dunleavys received a 5-seed while the Bibbys got a 6. Seeding aside, the little Bibbys (both 6’1”) had to rely on their superior perimeter shooting and point guardish sleight of hand. Wilkins to Wilkins on lobs (straight over the little Bibbys), post-ups and penetrations were flashier than the Bibbys perimeter approach, but in the end, the slower, sleepier combination of Mike and Henry got the upset with a 21-18 win.
If Brent Barry acts as a balancing weight against his dad’s irascibility, brother Jon is the lighter fluid on the flame. Jon and Rick go back and forth stirring the pot with one another in a way that makes it hard to understand if they’re secretly motivating each other or intentionally needling one another. It doesn’t matter much in this game against the taller, but overmatched Ferrys who’ve made more of an impact on the game as executives than players. Rick’s on the attack from the opening ball check and proceeds to score 19 of the 21 Barry points. The Ferrys seem confused about whether they should utilize their size or do what comes natural—drift to the perimeter. The confusion and inability to defend Rick are the key reasons they lose: 8-21.
Up next is the Bryant bracket which was closely observed by Hamilton (@rh_asme):
Being the #1 overall seed comes with the weight of pressure, expectation. It’s easy to see how a group of amateurs between the ages of 18 and 22 might fall victim to that weight; but not the #1 overall seed in this tournament – the Bryant tandem of Joe and Kobe. Everyone knows Kobe’s bio … Joe (Jellybean) is probably mostly known, even as a player, for being Kobe’s pops. But the dude could play some ball too. The Davis duo is made up of current Memphis Grizzly Ed, and his old man Terry. Ed Davis has his moments, but aside from those, his ceiling is likely a rotation player. Terry and Ed Davis go roughly the same size at 6’9 and 225. Terry played from 89-01 (no shit?), mostly for Dallas and never on a playoff team. Jellybean measures up a lanky 6’9 at 185. Jellybean was a member of the 76-77 Sixers that lost in the Finals to Walton’s Blazers. He and Kobe know how to win, and easily do so here, 21-5. Kobe’s tenacity and Jellybean’s length make the Davises uncomfortable on offense. Kobe scores a breezy 16 of the 21, but Joe’s tip slam over Ed to secure the win is the highlight of the game. Jellybean proudly skips off the court yelling “LaSalle! We up in here!”
Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe Jr and Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe III make up team Vandeweghe. Peter (Press) Maravich and Peter Press Maravich are the 4th seeded Maravichs. Two names shared amongst 4 men – this could get confusing. The elder Vandeweghe goes by Doc (he is a physician) and the younger shall be Kiki. The Maravich’s answer to Press and Pistol. Doc played for the Knicks during the NBA’s infancy from 1949-56 and averaged 9 ppg over his career. His greater contribution to athletics was as chairman of President Ford’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports where he was instrumental in the development and passage of Title IX and the Amateur Athletic Act. Kiki was one hell of a player despite a strange career arc. Press only played his only season of pro ball in 1947 for the Pittsburg Ironmen of the Basketball Association of America (side note: The BAA merged with the NBL in 1949 to form the NBA we know and love today). Pistol is the gem of this matchup and Press is content to stand back and watch his son execute all the things he coached him up to do. Even though Kiki has the most size in this game, he fails to use it to his advantage just as he did in during his pro career (6’8 and only 3.4 rpg) and Pete’s wizardry prevails. Final score: 21-18, Maravichs.
Size vs. speed? It’s an age old basketball question, and great points can be made for the supremacy of either one. In a full court game, speed is the stronger trait. But this is half court 2 on 2 and as such, speed is less of an asset. The advantage for the Rivers team is the three-point shot. Austin loves to chuck but doesn’t do it efficiently. Doc coaches like he played: smart, prepared, even tempered. As teammates, he and Austin are a yin and yang of sorts. Austin’s brash scorer’s mentality and Doc, with his steady thinking man’s approach, have evident chemistry. The Horfords on the other hand are lumbering post players – basketball zombies in this setting. Al has had the misfortune of playing center his entire career when he could do much more as PF. Tito is 7’1 and might appear next to the word stiff in certain dictionaries. He played a mere 63 games over three seasons and is the weakest player in this matchup. The Rivers boys are happy to trade 2s for 3s and utilize the defensive cushion the Horfords must yield to get clean looks. The result is a 21-14 win for Doc and Austin.
Patrick Sr. was a beast around the rim before he fell in love with that baseline jumper. He knew going into this matchup that he’d need to make Wally and Walt pay for showing up in smaller bodies than his. Patrick Jr. is an athlete but doesn’t have a great deal of skill. Wally and Walt are similar players. Both like to shoot A LOT and both are prone to getting real fussy. Walt was notorious in the Long Island pickup circuit for calling phantom fouls on his shots. When he saw that this tournament had real referees, he knew it didn’t bode well for his steez. In the most bizarre game of this quadrant, Wally became enraged over Walt’s excessive shooting and helped Patrick Jr. execute a fundamentally sound double team on his father. The result of that double team was an easy dunk for Patrick Sr. to seal the deal. Spectators could be overheard remarking that they’d never seen Wally give that much effort on a defensive possession. The dysfunction started early, but was over quickly, as Patrick and Patrick moved on with a 21-8 win.
Jacob (@jacobjbg) reached deep into the recesses of his imagination to take on the Rose/Walker bracket:
Walker/Rose (1-seed) vs Vaughns (8-seed):
Internet research yielded little information about the David Vaughns, except that David Jr. went from being an NBA champion (he was on the 1997-98 Bulls) to being homeless. So there’s that. Instead, we can (and probably should) look at the basics here: the David Vaughns are plodding journeymen power forwards (Senior is 6’11’’, Junior is 6’9’’) who have six years of professional experience combined, and never averaged double figures in anything, while Jimmy Walker and Jalen were both quick, dynamic scoring guards who could penetrate and shoot from the outside. I feel fairly safe giving this game to Jimmy and Jalen (provided they’re on speaking terms; Jimmy played no role in Jalen’s upbringing). 21-10 Walker/Rose.
N/D Smith (4-seed) vs Brewers (5-seed):
This seems like it would be the most entertaining matchup in the Walker/Rose bracket; a high-flying, quick-paced guard-fest. Derek would likely have to carry Nolan on offense, who has not found his stroke in the bigs. Derek, as it turned out, was averaging nearly 24 points per game for the 1985 Kings before he blew out his knee. Ron and Ronnie Brewer would perhaps be in a similar situation (his dad averaged a little over 10 a game for a few seasons), so it’d be scrappy and fun. In the end, Ronnie will shut down Nolan, and the Dad-off will produce a 21-17 victory for the Brewers. Upset city!
Mikans (3-seed) vs Paxsons (6-seed):
I remember playing YMCA ball back in the day. The coach’s kid was on the team with me, and he wasn’t all that great as a basketball player. Of course, Coach Dad ran him at the point, and drew up a bunch of plays for him, none of which really ever worked. You could tell the kid really didn’t like playing basketball; it must’ve been something that his dad forced him to get into, and here he was, 10 years later, still getting shouted at by Coach Dad to care about something that clearly was an incidental – perhaps even forced – interest. You almost see the same situation in the Mikans in this tournament. Father George was the Shaq of his era; the first modern pivot whose dominance led to the widening of the lane and the shot clock. Son Larry played one year of pro ball with the Cavs, averaging 3 points per game in about 10 minutes per game. There couldn’t be a bigger talent (and motivational) gap possible. So, you can imagine the ire George would show when the 6th seeded Paxsons – a renegade family of sharpshooters – step up and beat the Mikans 21-19, with George scoring 18 of their 19 total points. It’s gonna be a quiet, tense ride home in the Mikan Chevy Windstar.
Waltons (2-seed) vs Mannings (7-seed):
This would probably be the best game in the bracket if soft tissue, ligaments, and bones didn’t exist, and we were all Rubber Men instead. Both Bill and Luke Walton lost partial or entire seasons due to various ailments in their backs, knees, ankles, shoulders and feet. And though Ed Manning seems to have been fairly durable, Danny’s disappointing career (considering he was the #1 overall pick out of Kansas) was due to a series of blown out knees. So we’ll all cringe and look away as Waltons and Mannings smash into each other, joints creaking and bones clattering, all the way to a spirited 22-20 victory for the Waltons on a sneaky little jumper from Luke Walton. Father Bill will say “this was the greatest two-on-two match in the history of basketblog fantasies” and then go off to find some ganj.
Bug (@bugfoster515) had the final quadrant and after spending an evening downing beers with him, I walked away convinced he’ll be the first person I know to purchase a Dolph Schayes jersey and spent the evening asking anyone with even a shred of basketball knowledge, “What’s your opinion on Dolph Schayes?” My morning was capped off by his text message referring to Schayes as “Bill Russell minus the defense.” Likely an absurd statement, but it does a great job conveying Bug’s newfound fondness for Dolph.
The Thompson’s possess one of the most potent inside/outside combos in the tournament, and they come into this matchup as heavy favorites. The 1978 #1 overall draft pick, Mychal, is a physical specimen with an athletic 6-10 frame, while Klay provides a silky shooting touch from downtown. On the other side, Rex is no slouch either. He was a two-time dunk contest entrant and dropped 39 on Jordan and Pippen (and got a W) in the midst of the Bulls 72-10 season. His father, Wayne’s career as a pro was short-lived, but he had great success coach winning two NCAA D-II championships. The Thompson’s gameplan was clear from the opening check, let Mychal do work on Wayne. The 6-10 giant is simply too much for the 6’6” Wayne to handle in the paint. They didn’t even need Klay’s shooting to roll to a 21-7 victory. Never the one to pass up a chance to teach his son to do the right thing, Mychal gave Klay an advance on his weekly allowance to treat the Chapmans to a couple of Gatorades after the game.
Tim/Tim Jr. Hardaway (4-seed) vs. Gerald/Gerald Jr. Henderson (5-seed):
His anti-gay comments aside, Tim Hardaway was one of the best PGs in the NBA during the 90s. The fact that the Hardaways still got a 4-seed despite the fact Tim Jr. hasn’t been drafted yet speaks to the level of his game. Little did the Hardaway’s know, they were in for an all-out war against the fundamentally sound Hendersons. The Hardaway’s jumped on them early with a barrage of 3s, but Gerald Sr. (a starter on the ‘84 Celtics championship team), and his son would not go down without a fight. They clawed their way back into the game with solid defense, and a slight mismatch in Gerald Jr.’s favor against the leaner Tim Jr. With the game tied 19-19, Gerald Sr. comes through on the defensive end like he did in the 84 playoffs, strips Tim Sr. on a pull-up attempt, and hits a cutting young Gerald for the 21-19 victory.
Dell/Steph Curry (3-seed) vs. John II/John III Lucas (6-seed):
Insulted by the 3-seed they received, the Currys came out breathing fire to prove a point against their first opponent, the Lucas’. The Currys come equipped with the most lethal outside shooting touch of all the father/son combos, and the smallish (5’11”) Lucas III is just too small to bother either Curry’s stroke. While John Lucas II’s turnaround from drug addict to NBA head coach was a feel-good story in the 90s, there was not a happy ending for the Lucas’ in this one. The Currys put on a fireworks show going 7-10 from deep to roll to a 21-10 victory without attempting a single shot inside the 3-point line. This game was a blowout, but at least we got to check out Dell’s wife, Sonya, on the jumbotron between points.
The Matthews’ come into this matchup with a distinct advantage in the speed and quickness department, while the Schayes’ overwhelming size advantage (6’1”/6’5” vs. 6’7”/6’11”) is their biggest weapon. Dolph is one of the best forwards in NBA history as a 12-time all-star and Hall of Fame inductee, and his son Danny was also 18-year NBA vet who went to battle in the paint against the likes of Olajuwon, Ewing and David Robinson in his day (although nowhere near their skill level). Despite the Schayes’ enormous size advantage in the paint, Dolph caught the Matthews’ off guard with his outside shooting skills by using his patented 50s-style two-hand set shot that he releases without lifting his feet off the ground (like some shit straight out of Hoosiers). The only way the Matthews’ have a chance in this one is if they use their perimeter skills and quickness, but the Schayes’ know that Wes Sr. has a sketchy outside jumper (career 23% from 3) and dare him to shoot all game. The plan worked to perfection, and the Schayes’ rolled to an easy 21-9 win.
To be completely honest, I’m surprised with the outcome of some of the matchups. I thought for sure the Vandeweghes would advance and the Paxsons over the Mikans was a stunner, but these are the breaks of the father/son two-on-two tournament. The most intriguing matchup of the second round looks like the patented Curry marksmanship vs. the mismatch of the Schayes’. Vegas doesn’t have odds yet, but it’ll be fascinating to see if the length and versatility of Dolph and Danny can throw off the momentum of Dell and Steph.
March 20, 2013Posted by on
As I sit down to write this introduction, I can tell you with the utmost honesty that I never intended to create an imaginary bracket during March Madness. I actually considered pushing this out into the off-season, but some ideas grab hold and refuse to let go and that’s what’s occurred here.
The premise is this: In NBA history, there have been some 50-odd father/son combos including a few dads that spawned more than one NBA-playing son (looking at you Rick Barry and Jim Paxson Sr). I started wondering what would happen if those father/son combos laced up the kicks for a good old fashioned two-on-two tournament. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself when embarking on an endeavor like this, but I decided to keep it simple: 32 teams, single elimination tournament.
The participants: Due to death, mortality and the plain impossibility of a real-life father/son tournament, the whole thing has to be played out in the minds and imaginations of actual, living human beings. I’ve invited a couple long-time friends of mine: Hamilton (@rh_asme) and Bug (@bugfoster515 – he doesn’t really know how to tweet though, so don’t bother following him) and new friend: Jacob Greenberg (@jacobjbg) from www.TheDiss.com.
The approach: We started with a list of 51 NBA fathers and sons plus Tim Hardaway and his son, current Michigan Wolverine, Tim Hardaway Jr. The list also includes Rick/Brent Barry and Rick/Jon Barry, but not Rick/Drew Barry. Likewise, the Paxson family actually has three players and rotates in sons Jim Jr. and John. The task at hand was to whittle this list of 52 down to 32 which was more difficult than one would think. I’ve followed the league since the late 80s and have always been a fan of the history. I consider myself to be relatively well-versed in players who’ve come and gone, but the list of dads led to a lot of basketball-reference and Wikipedia lookups. Hamilton, Bug and I each ranked the top-32 teams. This was a completely subjective process so if you feel that say, Brian Cook and his father Norm should’ve made the top-32 and you think we’re nuts for leaving them out, we acknowledge that you know something about Norm Cook that the stats (27 career games, 2.4 career ppg) didn’t tell us. And this was the case at times (see the David Vaughns). Once ranked, I did a simple aggregate to arrive at a final rank which indicated the overall seeds you’ll see below. For teams that weren’t ranked, I assigned them a completely arbitrary rank of 37 just to balance the overall aggregates. The table below includes all 52 father/son combos, the individual rankings and the final aggregate for each father/son:
|Father||Pos||Son(s)||Pos||Bug Rank||Milton Rank||DWN Rank||Agg Rank|
|Joe Bryant||F||Kobe Bryant||SG||2||1||1||1.3|
|Rick Barry||F||Brent Barry||Gs||3||2||2||2.3|
|Jimmy Walker||G||Jalen Rose||G/F||6||4||5||5.0|
|Mychal Thompson||F/C||Klay Thompson||Gs/Fs||1||13||3||5.7|
|Bill Walton||C||Luke Walton||SF||5||6||6||5.7|
|Dolph Schayes||C||Danny Schayes||C||4||11||4||6.3|
|Rick Barry||F||Jon Barry||G||7||3||11||7.0|
|Patrick Ewing||C||Patrick Ewing, Jr.||SF/PF||9||7||7||7.7|
|George Mikan||C||Larry Mikan||F||8||9||9||8.7|
|Dell Curry||G/F||Stephen Curry||G||12||8||8||9.3|
|Gerald Wilkins (aka Doug E. Fresh)||G/F||Damien Wilkins||G/F||10||14||16||13.3|
|Doc Rivers||PG||Austin Rivers||SG||11||15||15||13.7|
|Tim Hardaway||PG||Tim Hardaway Jr.||SG||17||12||14||14.3|
|Stan Love||F||Kevin Love||F||14||10||19||14.3|
|Derek Smith||G/F||Nolan Smith||G||13||19||13||15.0|
|Press Maravich||G||Pete Maravich||G||15||5||27||15.7|
|Ron Brewer (aka Boot)||G||Ronnie Brewer||G/F||18||18||12||16.0|
|Gerald Henderson||PG||Gerald Henderson, Jr.||SG||20||22||17||19.7|
|Mike Dunleavy, Sr.||PG||Mike Dunleavy, Jr.||SF||16||25||22||21.0|
|Ernie Vandeweghe||G/F||Kiki Vandeweghe||F||29||25||10||21.3|
|Henry Bibby||PG||Mike Bibby||PG||27||16||21||21.3|
|John Lucas II||PG||John Lucas III||PG||28||21||18||22.3|
|Jim Paxson, Sr.||F||Jim Paxson, John Paxson||Gs||22||17||30||23.0|
|Tito Horford||C||Al Horford||F/C||23||24||24||23.7|
|Bob Ferry||C/F||Danny Ferry||PF||19||27||26||24.0|
|Walt Szczerbiak||F||Wally Szczerbiak||SF||30||23||23||25.3|
|Ed Manning||F||Danny Manning||F||21||31||28||26.7|
|Wes Matthews||G||Wesley Matthews||SG||24||24||37||28.3|
|Wayne Chapman||G/F||Rex Chapman||SG||26||30||31||29.0|
|Walt Piatkowski||F||Eric Piatkowski||SF||25||26||37||29.3|
|Terry Davis||F||Ed Davis||F||32||28||29||29.7|
|David Vaughn, Jr.||C||David Vaughn III||F||37||20||32||29.7|
|Scott May||F||Sean May||PF||37||29||25||30.3|
|Leroy Ellis||C||LeRon Ellis||C||37||37||20||31.3|
|Darren Daye||G/F||Austin Daye||F||31||37||37||35.0|
|Milt Wagner||G||Dajuan Wagner||PG||37||32||37||35.3|
|Wali Jones||G||Askia Jones||F||37||37||37||37.0|
|Rod Higgins||F/C||Cory Higgins||G||37||37||37||37.0|
|Sidney Green||PF||Taurean Green||PG||37||37||37||37.0|
|George Karl||G||Coby Karl||G/F||37||37||37||37.0|
|Butch van Breda Kolff||G/F||Jan van Breda Kolff||G/F||37||37||37||37.0|
|Earle Higgins||F||Sean Higgins||SF||37||37||37||37.0|
|Al McGuire||G/F||Allie McGuire||G||37||37||37||37.0|
|Bill Hosket, Sr.||C||Bill Hosket, Jr.||F/C||37||37||37||37.0|
|Al Salvadori||F||Kevin Salvadori||C||37||37||37||37.0|
|Jeff Taylor||PG||Jeffery Taylor||SF||37||37||37||37.0|
|Walker Russell||SG||Walker Russell, Jr.||PG||37||37||37||37.0|
|Norm Cook||F||Brian Cook||PF||37||37||37||37.0|
|Rich Dumas||G||Richard Dumas||SF||37||37||37||37.0|
|Matt Guokas, Sr.||F||Matt Guokas, Jr.||SG||37||37||37||37.0|
|Leo Rautins||F||Andy Rautins||G||37||37||37||37.0|
|Tony Price||G||A. J. Price||G||37||37||37||37.0|
Again, the process of ranking the father/son combos was more challenging than I thought it would be. Along the way, I learned some random information about dads (Nolan Smith’s dad Derek died of a heart attack at the age of 34, Ernie Vandeweghe [father to Kiki] was a pro basketball player, an Air Force pilot and a physician, Gerald Wilkins’s nickname was Doug E. Fresh), but mostly learned that guys like the aforementioned Derek Smith and LeRoy Ellis were strong pros that were either overshadowed by bigger names who came along at the same time or were just forgotten over time.
Jacob’s Rankings: Per my email instructions, Jacob selected 32 teams to be included in the tournament, ambivalent of ranking/seeding. The result was a handful of teams on Jacob’s list that didn’t appear on anyone else’s and thus wouldn’t have impacted the overall seeding at all with the exception of the Mays (Scott and Sean). Depending on how the Mays would’ve been ranked and how Jacob would’ve ranked some of the lower teams (the Piatkowski’s, Davis’s, Vaughn’s or Chapman’s), things may have turned out a bit differently, but for the sake of our exercise, I won’t make any changes here. Just know that The Diss is well-represented and involved.
After all that methodology talk, let’s move onto the brackets and the first round matchups:
Stay tuned for a deeper analysis of the first round matchups, recaps, father/son dynamics, teamwork challenges and so much more in the follow-up edition to the NBA Father-Son Two-on-Two Tournament. And if you’re familiar with any of the dads on the list (aside from the obvious Ewings, Waltons, Barrys, etc) and have stories or specific details, let us know.
March 19, 2013Posted by on
23 in a row! Crown the kings! Plan the parade! The season is over!
“It’s only March,” cried the masses, “you front-running posers!”
We looked to Riley, pomading his hair. He consulted a calendar, made a few calls.
The season wasn’t done, “Let’s practice, get out the balls!”
“Not those balls, Bird!” and the team had a laugh
They played catch for a bit, then sat at the chalkboard and worked on the math
“23 wins in 23 games, 100% success, now isn’t that great?”
Asked Juwan and Mike Miller as they calculated the rate
“23 is the number that I used to wear,”
Said a goofing LeBron, but nobody cared
Spoelstra diagrammed and analyzed equations
While Chalmers and Cole were mesmerized by chalk dust, “amazin’”
Meanwhile in China, McGrady poo-poo’d and moaned
Over in Boston, Jet Terry clutched his aching back and groaned
Video replay showed the Death Machine flying without wings
Riley used a Chinese calculator to tabulate his rings
In the locker room where they filmed the famous Shake
The team gathered around the schedule looking for a mistake
Nope, the games were all there, everything was all clear
The Cavs were on Wednesday, there was nothing to fear
“Going home, going home where they love and hate me so much”
Sang a balding LeBron while Bosh made up his lunch
Then it’s the Pistons, Bobcats and Orlando
“For that last one, I just might go Commando”
Said a chucking Birdman while he sketched a new tattoo
And Battier hummed that he was feeling blue
About what he wouldn’t say
After all it was Pierce’s copious behind that ended the game the previous day
Wilt the Stilt rolled over in his grave
Passing along ill-intentioned curses that the Heat would misbehave
Jerry West laughed and said they had a nice run
But he hoped that the boys from Miami could continue their fun
If you love them, it was a blast, but if not you hated
And only a Heat loss would leave you satiated
Screw off LeBron and you too Dwyane Wade
Superstars or not, you’re both overpaid
Why so much anger and blood curdling envy?
They’re just playing and winning and Shane seems so sophisticated and friendly
“But what happens if we get to 24, 5 or 6?”
Asked little Chalmers, his face in a twist
Everyone hushed and looked on at old Riley who lit up a fat stogie
Stared back at the team and puffed out so slowly
“It’s not a title, but it’s more and it’s less
Little Mario Chalmers, consider yourself blessed”
23 couplets for 23 wins
It sure is something and no one can say if we’ll see it again