Bulls v. Lakers: Inaugural Ultimate NBA Finals

We made it, rail riders. We fuckin’ made it. The entire season has been simulated, and we have a champion. Not only do we have a champion, but that champion is the one we deserve. Like I said in the Eastern Conference results blog…was there ever any goddamn doubt?!?!?

The Chicago Bulls are your PBM Covid-19 Ultimate Fantasy NBA kings! They swept the damn Lakers, baby. The Bulls went 16-4 in the playoffs. They fuckin’ dominated this shit, baby. The lone shocker? Allow me to introduce you to your Finals MVP:

ROSEFINALSMVOP

Jordan can’t win the award every single time, I guess. MVP-level Derrick Rose is getting his flowers in our simulated universe and it’s a beautiful sight. How lucky is the rest of the NBA, and especially LeBron James, that this guy couldn’t stay on the floor in his prime? Rose could’ve been a top 20 player of all time, people. Basketball fans were ROBBED of some amazing moments by his faulty legs. It brings me great joy to celebrate D Rose via this forum, and I’m stoked his best season shined through in this medium.

…and that’s the end of that, rail riders. Hope you enjoyed reading the content this concept yielded as much as I enjoyed creating it. I’m going to try and deliver more elaborate material such as this throughout the pandemic, and any feedback is truly welcome.

Until next time – wash your goddamn ass, passengers. Deuces.

Co-vid 19 Ultimate Fantasy NBA: How The West Was Won

Happy Monday, rail riders! Mondays no longer have a feel in quarantine, right? No days have a feel anymore and it sucks. If it wasn’t for STL Sports Columnist Ben Hochman’s insistence to use non-stop Seinfeld material in 2020, I’d post Costanza’s understanding of days with feels. Can’t be a hypocrite, family. Let’s get into the real reason we are here and discuss how the western conference unfolded in my ultimate NBA simulation. ALL ABOARD!!!

Last week I unveiled the fantasy rosters of all 30 NBA teams and only hoped I could take it further. Immediately after posting, I remembered a site I used to be heavily involved with called whatifsports.com. This site allows for users to make dream teams in all the major sports – it’s nerd heaven. Twelve or thirteen years ago, ya boy PBM used to mop fools up in simulated NBA seasons. My squads won trophies, people. It was the perfect way to waste time in the corporate office setting. Alas, upon getting out of the corporate world and giving up my oxy addiction meant whatifsports.com leaving my life. Until this weekend…when it returned with a bang!

Whatifsports.com isn’t perfect. It’s not god-level AI. But it is the best free sports simulation available, and I wanted to take this concept further.

I didn’t simulate an entire season in the traditional NBA format – that would’ve taken me until 2025 to do. Instead, I had all the western conference teams play their division opponents six times (three at home, three on the road). Based on those results, I seeded the playoffs. The playoffs were executed in the traditional playoff format – best of seven games in the 2-2-1-1-1 rotation. Here’s who made the playoffs:

  1. Lakers (20-4)
  2. Sonics (19-5)
  3. Mavericks (18-6)
  4. Spurs (14-8)
  5. Kings (13-11)
  6. Pellies (13-11)
  7. Jazz (12-22)
  8. Blazers (11-13)

The Blazers went on the road to beat the Clippers in a play-in game for 8th slot. The box score is below (whatifsports.com brings the statistical thunder).

clips_blazers_final

I was deeply saddened by how limited this Clippers team ended up being. Steve Francis and Blake Griffin aren’t the best team basketball players and it showed. Pippen and McHale deserved better, and I’m sad about it. However, the biggest takeaway from this game is the Hakeem / McHale battle in the post. The two deadliest post players of all-time went back and forth and rarely missed. The advantage was Dream’s, as he crushed McHale on both sides of the boards.

The rest of the western conference played out in a way which illicited more sadness…I made the Lakers too fucking good. Also, the Sonics flamed out in the playoffs despite dominating their regular season schedule. Bad times all around for ya boy.

WESTBRACKET

I pulled a few noteworthy box scores along the way. Find them below.

spurskingfinal

Game four of the Spurs / Kings series. TMac did all he could to not flame out AGAIN in the first round of the playoffs. Alas, he was swept. Only TMac could get a Bill Russell team swept in the first round of the playoffs. George Gervin absolutely lit up the Kings’ wings this entire series.

spurs_lakersfinal

Game six of Lakers / Spurs. The Spurs blew a twenty point fourth quarter lead…ugh. This Lakers team might be the ultimate showcase of how under appreciated Jason Kidd, Pau Gasol, and Anthony Davis really are. I should’ve given them Nash, McAdoo, and Dwight Howard instead – sweet moves, PBM.

lakersmavsfinal

Game two of the western conference finals. Look at the FT shooting.

EVEN IN SIMULATIONS THE LAKERS GET ALL THE FUCKING CALLS!

This happened twice in the Spurs series and once more in the finals. The Lakers are going to win my fake league and/or lose to LeBron’s Cavs. Eastern results coming tomorrow. Stay safe, family. Please allow this throwback heat from G-Unit to play me out the door..it’s been in heavy rotation for ya boy this month.

PBM’s Current NBA Love’s & Hate’s: Unbridled Passion Unleashed

The NBA stretch run express train has entered the station, rail riders! Hop aboard and stand clear of the closing doors. Don’t be frightened by the realization that today’s journey will be inspired by none other than ESPN’s Zach “Don’t Call Me an End Theory” Lowe. Despite our deep seeded hatred for ESPN’s coverage of literally everything, the Zach Attack’s format works perfectly for PBM to unveil all the elements of his consistently tumultuous relationship with the national basketball association. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know if I love what I love more than I love what I hate…it’s weird spot to be in for a budding mental health professional such as myself. But ya know what? Weird is good. Weird is new. And weird is gonna yield a breakdown of my current top ten love’s and hate’s in the polarizing stratosphere of the NBA.

Chip Tha Rip and Bun B – get this fuckin’ party started!

  1. I love Zion Williamson in every way you can. However, what I love the most how he walks during every moment outside of live game play. It’s a hybrid of  “March of the Penguins” + “Go to your room, young man!’ Take it away, Chuck!

In addition to the humor residing beside his inexplicable gait, Zion has failed to disappoint in almost every quantifiable way. Peep the young king in action:

2. More Zion! Because using Zion to gaslight LeBron STAN’s from now until eternity is going to be just delightful! Zion has started his career better than Bron, did you know that? Using #numbers and #facts, Zion is officially a better hooper than the Kid From Akron until further notice. Here’s the evidence (which I can guarantee isn’t fake news):

2020-03-05
Stats courtesy of modern media’s absurdity.

3. I am enamored with Bradley Beal’s electrifying, unrelenting, and inexplicable hot streak that is driving his team towards possibly being the 8th seed in the East. I’ve always loved Beal because he’s an STL guy that plays an effortless style of basketball in the mold of TMac, Manu, and other elite scorers of year’s past. I’m now fully infatuated with him due to his insane competiveness and next-level elevation of each facet of his game. Peep his 2020 game log, please:

beal

The man is a human torch right now. He’s rising his level and competing via peak performance in an era where most dudes would get elective surgery in lieu of playing alongside Beal’s supporting cast. His second best player can literally only shoot 3’s, and his third best player is a rookie from Gonzaga who is constantly overmatched at this natural position. Here’s the current Wizards squad in all their mediocrity infused glory:BEAL2

Beal’s officially a made man around these parts. Any aggression upon him will be met with equal or more extreme measures from the caboose.

4. Keeping it in STL – I love that Jayson Tatum is making a push for a spot in the top ten players in the league. Tatum has gotten his flowers incessantly via mainstream media, but I couldn’t leave him off the debut love’s.

5. I’m romantically invested in the Clippers savvy deadline moves, continued improvement, and constant one-upping of the Lakers. I’m way more enthralled by the Clips bringing in Reggie Jackson than them trading for Marcus Morris, but the facts are that these two additions have enabled them to run TEN DEEP via two solidified five-man units.

They’re starting PG, PBev, Kawhi, Zubac, and Marcus Morris

The second unit is Trezz, LouWill, Reggie Jackson, Landry Shamet, and Jamychal Green.

The crunch time five includes Kawhi and PG +  any 3-man combination of Trezz, LouWill, PBev, Reggie, and Marcus.

Versatility in spades, children. You know who doesn’t have anything close to this roster? The Lakers. You know who plays on Sunday? The Clips v. The Lakers. You know who’s gonna remain undefeated again LeBron’s merry band of buttheads? The Clippers.

Closing out my loves…

6. I love Golden State taking a chance on Andrew Wiggins while also being in position to add Obi Toppin via the lottery. I love even more how Steph is going to run with their young, role player laden roster to determine who fits and who doesn’t for next year’s unit. A starting five of Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Donkey, and Toppin has to be the favorite in Vegas, right? I’m salivating over this team being another squad equipped to dominate Akron’s only son.

7. I love Nick Nurse and the entire Toronto Raptors organization. Ujiri might be a top five executive of all-time, folks. The Kawhi trade + the Nurse hire + drafting Spicy P, VanVleet, Anouby, and Boucher makes one insanely scorching executive hot streak. Celtics v. Raptors in the second round is gonna be a dog fight – Tatum lining up against Siakam to determine best wing in the east has me drooling.

8. I love Charles Barkley’s hatred of the Rockets…”team full of munchkins.”

9. I love the battle for the 8th seed in the West. The Grizzlies, Pelicans, and Kings all have incredible young cores that are jockeying for invaluable post-season experience. Hopefully Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke (Grizz) and Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley (Kings) get healthy for the stretch run. I didn’t forget Portland – the Blazers don’t have a shot in hell to make the playoffs, and we’ll get into that shortly.

10. I love Giannis and the Lopez Twins setting the tone the Bucks via WWE inspired pre-game antics.

Shit like this makes me think they aren’t as fatally flawed as they might be.

Here’s where it gets fun, mafuckas! Preemo, Nore, and Blaq Poet – set it off!!

  1. I loathe everything about James Harden as a person, as a player, and as a microcosm of our nation’s general insanity. This deserves it’s own blog, kids. It really, really does. In lieu of that happening right now, just watch this compilation of the self-proclaimed MVP doing non-MVP things:

2. I despise Doris Burke’s steadfast commitment to contradicting herself, fellating LeBron, and never delivering anything insightful via her horrfiic commentary. HEY DORIS! SHUT THE FUCK UP, K?!? LEBRON ISN’T IN THE DISUCSSION FOR MVP WITH GIANNIS. THIS IS NOT A NARRATIVE WORTH EXPLORING. IT’S NOT A DOOR TO BE LEFT OPEN. YOU WANT ME TO SHOW YOU WHY? HERE’S GIANNIS’ SEASON COMPARED TO LEBRON’S (keep in mind the Bucks thrashed the Lakers H2H and are 53-9 next to LA’s 47-13).

giannis_bron

Doesn’t take a math major to determine who’s having the better statistical season, right? Here’s the kicker though, Doris. Bron might not be the most valuable Laker! His “best teammate” is the third best player when using advanced stats in NBA history! Let’s look at Brow v. Khris Middleton for good measure, Doris:

brow_middleton

You know what grinds my gears, fellow travelers? You see the stats WS & WS/48? That means “win shares” and “win shares per 48 minutes.” It’s essentially how much an individual has contributed to his team winning games this season. That sounds like a way to determine a player’s “value” on their respective team, right? It appears as if the Unibrow is rocking around at 9.9 WS and .264 WS/48…wait, what? That’s more than LeBron’s 8.8 WS and .212 WS/48?!?!? RIDDLE ME THIS, DORIS! HOW THE FUCK IS HE THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE WHEN HIS TEAMMATE IS WINNING MORE GAMES FOR THE LAKERS THAN HE IS??!??!? God damn it, I hate her.

(BTW – Giannis is leading the league with 10.3 WS and .287 WS/48)

3. I hate Trae Young’s drowned rat face, but I hate his ridiculous hype machine even more. I guess it’s a hot take to think Trae Young is vastly overrated. If it is, consider me Scalding Smails. I’m going even further with this – Trae Young will NEVER make the playoffs as a team’s best player. You know how I know this? Because he’s never been a winner before…at any level. He’s 38-97 in his two NBA seasons. He lost to a garbage Rhode Island team in the first round of the NCAA tourney at Oklahoma. He never won a state title in high school, people! This clip sums up everything about Trae Young in a swift two minutes:

4. I hate that Dame Lillard is going to miss the playoffs because the Blazers acquired + empowered Carmelo Anthony.

Admittedly, he’s been better as Blazer than a Rocket. But that’s like saying gonorrhea is better than herpes. Here’s his shooting numbers at a glance:

melo

What I want you to take away is that he’s averaging the third most attempts on the team despite ranking 15 out of 18 in shooting percentages / efficiency. He’s also preventing young players like Simons, Little, and Trent from truly developing. I hate Carmelo, and I hope Dame does too.

5. I’m angry and hateful that injuries have not allowed to see the Pacers play to their potential. Oladipo missed half the year and has looked beyond rusty upon returning. Brogdon has been banged up all season. Lamb is done for the year. Turner can’t consitently stay on the court. Their one constant force, Damontas Sabonis, is having his breakout year drift into the NBA ether due to his team’s pseudo irrelevance. And that’s a damn shame.

That’s enough hate…here are my honorable mention love’s to end this obscenely long blog on a positive note.

  • Chris Paul’s remarkable season in OKC – CP was an All Star and is doing his thing via true excellence as a leader.
  •  Ja Morant trying to collect All Star bodies any chance he can – he’s gonna dunk on an All NBA guy soon. My bet is Gobert.
  • Bam Adebayo’s emergence as a legitimate stud.
  • Refering to Kyrie Irving as “the butterfly catcher” with ATrain. Never gets old.

PBM has left the building. Tip your servers, family.

PBM gives Zion & his Pellies their Nickname + Examines the Brow Trade

I just saw the image above on IG asking for a nickname for this duo and had to blog it. I’m inspired to write a free agency preview post tomorrow, so this is a mere taste of things to come. I will also give shine to the Raptors/Kawhi in said post, because someone needs to do that and it sure won’t happen as long as LeBron James is in the league + fans get treated as bigger than title teams.

Ballislife asked what should the duo nick\name be for Zion and Lonzo? I’m going on the record again with many fellow sports nuts, but it might the first time hear in steadfastly believing Zion is to be called the “Zion King.” People never hesitate to take the shine off of “legends,” right? Let’s put some gas on LeBron’s supposed burning desire to be the consensus best of all time. I love it. Magic Johnson tried to be Mufasa in LA, but instead of LeBron being the king in waiting he went full Scar and killed the man who built the pride of the Lakers. Scar brings in his hyenas (Brow as the Whoopi Goldberg one and two other middle levels in my prediction) and the lush Lakers franchise gets burned to the ground serving the undeserving usurper aka LeBron/Scar. Enter young Simba aka “Zion King” to best his false royal uncle and scene.

In all seriousness, that nickname is gonna be what I use. The question that made me jump out of bed to write this post was about the duo. I’m going to give the duo nickname I threw out to the whole Pelicans team (like “Lob City,” “The Bad Boys,” etc.). They’re to be called “STEADY LOBBIN” and only that in my presence. I shouldn’t have to explain why, but I will because pop culture history isn’t relevant to Gen Z. The only things that are seemingly allow you to do very little to be entitled a “legend” or “The GOAT.”

That’s one of Wayne’s four best track ever along with “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Let The Beat Build,” “Shine,” and his “AMG Cannon Remix.” Zion plays in New Orleans and this track has the two biggest N’awlins Hip Hop stars to ever do it going BANANAS on a fire beat. You’re welcome to all the people who care about making nicknames with purpose. No more initials only nicknames and no more allowing guys to give themselves a handle (Kobe…this is on you).

Why do I think the Steady Lobbin’ goon squad won the deal? Because they got a better package than last year by snagging the fourth pick. I believe if they hold on to it they will select DeAndre Hunter or Jarrett Culver.  Either one will provide Zion a true roll dog to go out and claim the league as his own. Hunter reminds me of a Kevin Love/Lamar Odom hybird while Culver is a lot like young Igoudala. Not too bad as for as ceiling goes, eh? They also got a guy an Ingram who has shown he can be a Tayshaun Prince level talent with the right leadership. Luke Walton’s pre-LeBron year showed this. When LeBron stabbed Walton while looking right him as opposed to the back, Ingram regressed and LeBron publicly showed his disgust quite literally removing himself from the current team’s plans. I can’t wait to hear the next generation speak freely on LeBron…narrative change shall come in time.

The other two young players they got have serious value as well. Hart should be a better because he will know his job every night. He’s Jrue’s backup, and I expect a bounce back season from him. Lonzo might not be here long, as rumors suggest he’s being packaged for more draft assets from a few teams, a few sign-and-trade scenarios, and my personL fav of him and the number four pick to Memphis for Ja Morant. Then we could the Zion King and Ja Rule. God damn, I’m good.

Lakers Likely Destined for Migraines Instead of Champagne

For those of you thinking the Lakers are title contenders, please stop. They have no one other than LeBron, Brow, and the young asset kept in the trade for Brow. That player is Kyle Kuzma, and there was no way I thought he would survive the complete disrespect he showed for Bronnie during LIVE GAME PLAY!

LeBron is going exact his pound of flesh…you can put a guarantee on that. Maybe he’ll convince Kuzma to sign a cheap deal in a year or so and then leave the team because he always does that upon his ideas not panning out to his liking. I hate this trade because it has no foresight and it has no contingency plan. Please don’t compare it to what Masai Ujiri did with the Raps…that’s as foolish as you can get, family.

Why is it different, you ask? It’s different because Ujiri traded a guy (DeRozan) who obviously wasn’t good enough to be the best dude on a championship team. It’s different because Ujiri didn’t gut an existing roster  + a top 5 pick to snag a former finals MVP (The Klaw) along with a title winning combo forward who shoots 3’s + plays defense (Danny Green). It’s different because Brow has zero young, potential all star talent to groom waiting for him like Kawhi did with Siakam. It’s different because Kawhi is a true leader with compassion whom knows how to win via building team culture. Did you see what he said to Lowry after the deal for him happened?

Nothing like Kawhi to Toronto is like Brow to the Lakers because of those reasons. Above all their totality different scenarios because of Brow’s consistent nagging injury history compared to Kawhi’s refusal to let what happened to Durant happen to him + Kawhi’s skillset and championship pedigree transcend Brow’s sporadic elite play. Brow is now going to have the expectations of both the irrational Lakers’ fan base AND the delusional, narcissistic LeBron whilst attempting to contribute at a level foreign to him. Not to mention that LeBron most likely dictate that the Lakers spend their remaining dollars on either Kyrie or Kemba. That leaves five or six roster spots for guys willing to take the league minimum to be a clown in LeBron’s quest to have his career be more than a three ring circus (I’M EN FUEGO TONIGHT).

This FA class is truly incredible, but it lacks guys who are likely to do that. I just don’t see em. Best case scenario yields Nene, Ariza, Dudley, Barea, and other gas with seemingly have little to no gas in the tank filling out a roster that includes Unk Drew or Kemba. The Warriors were able to pull off having a similar top heavy roster because they possessed THE THREE BEST SHOOTERS EVER IN A SHOOTING OVER ANYTHING LEAGUE in addition to locked-in deals for the donkey, Iggy, and Livingston. Also, the Splash Brothers took pay cuts to make it all work. LeBron is reportedly asking Davis to sacrifice his trade kicker in order for his grand plans to come together. His first public interactions with his running mate included asking the man to toss aside over 4 million bucks…what a prick.

2019-06-17
The King’s road includes steep taxes for franchise’s fans and teammates. NO EXCEPTIONS.

So if LeBron didn’t need so desperately want the Finals spotlight to be off Kawhi and the Raps epic title run he would have 8MM more to find true support for his squad. How can the Lakers allow this to happen? How can people view this as anything other than Bronnie once again trying to take the quickest road possible to a title? He is the “Scorched Earth” ruler of the NBA. He dries up his new land’s resources and leaves them to live in futility. If he was a truly great leader and basketball mind, he would have at the very least waited to pull this off under a handshake agreement. You then do not waste all your cap space on a shoot first PG that isn’t your boy like you think he might publicly state to be. Kyrie hates LeBron…that will end horribly for both of them. Signing Kemba is not as bad as Kyrie, but it limits them presently and completely murders any chances for long term success.

LeBron’s Scorched Roster Plan vs. PBM’s Collectivist Approach

Bron’s attempting to have himself, Brow, Kyrie/Kemba, Kuzma, and then a whole bunch of guess taking the league minimum. We mentioned those names…it’s not pretty. The best values in this righteous FA class aren’t taking less 3.5/5MM a season. Sorry, LeBron, You’re overdrawn, pal. Here’s what I’d try to make happen.

  1. Kemba is priority #1. He’s actually better than Kyrie now and will not do anything other than be NAILS in the clutch. Plus, no past cat fighting. He’s cheaper than Brow.
  2. Sign JJ Redick to a 16-18MM deal. LeBron needs shooters around him.
  3. Sign Paul Millsap to your mid-level exception to nurture your young talent base (he nailed that job in Atlanta and Denver).
  4. Draft Jarrett Culver with the #4 pick. Igoudala the remix, baby.
  5. Execute a sign-and-trade with Sacramento sending Kuzma to them for Willie Cauley-Stein and a future second round pick. Willie does everything LeBron hates and brings true toughness with him. Young
  6. Execute a sign-and-trade with Charlotte to send Lonzo to them (another Hornet named Zo) along with Hart for Jeremy Lamb. Lamb is Kemba’s boy and already said he wants to anything to play with him forever. Including a pay cut. Lamb also is turning into a Lou Williams level scorer.

LeBron’s Lakers:

Starters: Kemba/Kyrie, Brow, Bron, Kuzma, and someone who isn’t better than Rodney Hood.

Bench: Barea, DeAndre Jordan (if he agrees to take piss), Nene, and G-league callups. Think Alonzo McKinnie’s bum ass for a comparable player.

PBM’s Lakers:

Starters: Kemba, Redick, Bron, Culver, Cauley-Stein

Bench: Lamb, Ingram, Millsap, and more money to fill out your bench with guys like Dewayne Dedmon, Wayne Ellington, Wes Matthews, and the re-signed phenom…Alex fuckin’ Caruso.

My team has shooting, quickness, depth, and the blend of players to beat anyone this season and barring disaster any team for the long-term future. LeBron’s squad has three dudes who all need tons of touches and zero flexibility or room for injury. Brow gets injured A LOT, man. He literally MUST stay healthy. Their bench will be worse than Golden State’s this year by a wide margin. Their core isn’t as beautiful, too. Not to mention nothing close to Draymond, yet Kuzma might have his attitude. Keep on PUSHIN, young buck!

Judge PBM has reached his verdict / sentence for the case of the Usurper known as LeBron, the LA Lakers, and dumb basketball fans vs. Common Sense and Hoops Fans with Brains. LeBron is to be exiled from his delusional reality and receives a lifetime sentence consisting of being properly educated in how to truly embody greatness. He also may never post on Instagram again as well as renounce his intentions to be a Global Icon. Lastly, he is to refer to Michael Jordan as the GOAT and wear the number 37 for the rest of his career (his likely Finals record when it’s all said and done). The Lakers rceive what LeBron is giving them…enjoy your futility LeBron Stan’s are allowed to continue to be morons. May God have mercy on your silly, foolish fouls. Thanks for coming to my NBA court room, fam.

Defining Greatness: NBA Dynasties

All aboard, rail riders – if ya not inspired then ya leave something to be desired. Because ATrain is lighting fire to TV’s Iron Throne, and Prone Bone Malone is about to ignite a pyre inside ya NBA comfort zone. Time to disown any falsities about building truly great teams – LeBron fuckin’ James, you might want to see what I mean. High beams and bright lights brought out their pinnacle performances…and made PBM a cynical hoops snob who reps tough for Michael Jordan’s ish. Unwarranted and abhorrent stat-laden truths shall be ignored! Triple doubles down twenty don’t mean a thing in this hoops forum. So sip a couple or blaze some flowers, baby. Maybe you’ll see the choice is yours, but just know there are consequences when blueprints aren’t followed true to form.

Elements of an NBA Dynasty (Post 1980-Present)

Get ready, laymen hoops watchers (I’m looking at you, gym teachers of the world). I’m about to present to you the surefire, five component formula to apply to understanding whether you’re watching a dynasty in motion or if you’re watching an easy-bake championship grab that isn’t built to last.

Component #1: Three finals victories with relatively close to the same player and management personnel. The Showtime Lakers, Bird’s Celtics, MJ’s Bulls, Kobe/Shaq Lakers (kind of an outlier – we’ll get to that), Duncan’s Spurs, and the present day Warriors (The Durant signing will also be addressed – truth be told, they don’t need him) all fit the bill. Sorry Bad Boys Pistons and Hakeem’s Rockets…you’re out. That eliminates personal bias, fools. Those are my two favorite teams ever. Joining them on the outside looking in are the Kobe-led Lakers of the late 2000’s and the LeBron/Wade Miami squad.

Component #2: Your head coach is Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, or Steve Kerr. Unless your core is Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, and Dennis Johnson. Then whomever Red Auerbach appoints as coach is sufficient. No team in history had ever held four players of that caliber at the same time until KD went ring chasing. And Auerbach did so via the draft and savvy trades…not one single FA signing during his all-time great executive tenure.

Of the last thirty nine seasons NBA, twenty seven of the championship winners come from a team coached by the aforementioned men or was built by Red Auerbach. Riley was the lead executive behind the three championships won by the Heat (pre-LBJ title included), so really 30/39 title winners had these legendary basketball brains at the helm. Point being? EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP AND COACHING ARE EXTREMELY FUCKING IMPORTANT FOR SUSTAINED GREATNESS IN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL. Longevity is an impossibility when individuals place themselves above their franchises! I wonder whom I’m thinking about right now…

 

Component 3: Three foundational players attained through the draft. You may also draft two and attain one via trade if the trade acquisition is done in the prime of their careers. Exception here for the Shaq / Kobe Lakers three-peat. Having the most dominant big of that era and the best wing of all time other than MJ supersedes any formula. Especially when they’re surrounded by championship pedigree players like Robert Horry, Ron Harper, Derek Fisher, and others. SHEEEESH.

For each squad, I’m assigning one of their core three ballers to one of Newton’s Laws of Motion. Because it’s all about continued forward motion for dynasties – moving forward to repeated championship seasons for a singular franchise = ultimate success. Here’s Newton’s laws for those in need of a refresher:

First Law: If an object is at rest, it remains so, and if it’s in movement, it will keep moving at a uniform velocity until it is affected by an external force.

Second Law: Force is equal to mass times acceleration.

Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The Showtime Lakers (coached by Pat Riley):

First Law: Magic (drafted), Second Law: Worthy (drafted), Third Law: Kareem (traded for)

Magic was the engine. Worthy was unstoppable along side him on the break. If a team made the mistake of challenging Kareem, they saw the entire makeup of the second greatest player of all-time’s repertoire on both sides of the ball.

Bird’s Celtics (assembled by Auerbach):

First Law: Kevin McHale/Robert Parrish (drafted via trade and trade for – SAME DAMN DEAL!!!), Second Law: Dennis Johnson (traded for), Third Law: Larry Bird (drafted)

When McHale was in the zone, the Celtics were unbeatable. One of the best offensive post-games of all-time along side Hakeem, Kareem, Duncan, and Shaq. DJ was the guard version of Pippen – apparently all the way down his dong size. Bird was unflappable and if you engaged him via words, he ate your soul verbally and with his game.

MJ’s Bulls (coached by Phil Jackson):

First Law: Jordan (drafted), Second Law: Horace/Rodman (drafted/traded for), Third Law: Pippen (drafted)

The Bulls might have flummoxed Newton. They really only needed Mike and Scottie to cover all three laws. Jordan actually did it himself, but that makes sense because he’s the GOAT. I settled on this because when MJ sat for reasons unknown, the dynasty stalled. Horace/Rodman handled the enforcing via very different skills/tenacity, and Pippen is arguably the best two-way player ever outside of MJ, Hakeem, Duncan, Kobe, and LeBron.

Duncan’s Spurs (coached by Gregg Popovich):

First Law: Duncan (whom gracefully passed his spot here to Kawhi – both drafted) , Second Law: Parker (drafted), Third Law: Ginobili (drafted)

Duncan got to San Antonio and the winning never stopped. Parker’s speed ate teams for all three meals. If you challenged this team, Ginobili dunked on your head.

Shaq/Kobe Lakers need not fit this portion of the programming. Phil coached them for the record.

Splash Bro’s Warriors (Coached by Steve Kerr):

First Law: Steph (drafted), Second Law: Draymond (drafted), Third Law: Klay (drafted)

I’ll say it again, Durant doesn’t matter for this blog’s material. As ATrain stated to me via phone the other day, Durant being a Warrior is more important due to him not playing for a team that could potentially derail this dynasty. Steph’s shooting has changed the league and kept them moving forward, Draymond’s energy overwhelms teams with it’s size/force/acceleration, and Klay has made more big stops and big shots than anyone other than his teammates over the past five seasons.

Pretty simple, no? I’ll mention it here that Kerr played for both Phil and Pop + studied the finer points of each’s vastly different styles. Kerr is damn legend.

Component 4: Established veteran players with a willingness to sacrifice individual output for the good of the team. Essentially, teams whom avoid what Pat Riley coined as “the disease of more.”

Showtime Lakers: Michael Cooper (five rings), Byron Scott (three rings), Kurt Rambis (four rings), AC Green (three rings), Mychal Thompson (two rings – KLAY’S DAD!!), Jamaal Wilkes (three rings), and Bob McAdoo (two rings)

Wilkes and McAdoo were both All-Stars in hugely reduced roles – especially a former MVP in McAdoo. Cooper, Scott, and Green played their formidable years with the same teams instead of fleeing for a bigger spotlight. Mychal fathered Klay – one of many connections between each of these dynastic squads.

Bird’s Celtics: Bill Walton (two rings), Danny Ainge (two rings), Scott Wedman (two rings), Gerald Henderson (three rings), ML Carr (two rings), and Cedric Maxwell (two rings).

Walton was a former MVP playing as a 6th man. Ainge stayed despite other offers (and went back to the finals as player three times + won a ring as a GM). Maxwell was the MVP of their finals victory and the key piece of the trade Auerbach made to acquire Walton. Wedman was a 2x All-Star who went from playing 36 mins/game and averaging nearly 20pts per to playing 15 mins/game and scoring only 6pts per. What would John Lithgow call this noble act?

 

Jordan’s Bulls: John Paxson (three rings), Bill Cartwright (three rings), BJ Armstrong (three rings), Stacey King (three rings), Ron Harper (five rings), Will Perdue (four rings), John Salley (four rings), Toni Kukoc (three rings), Luc Longley (three rings), and a bunch of other dudes who stuck around during either three-peat.

The most astonishing thing when you look back at the Bulls is their limited roster turnover every year during each three-peat. In addition to having the GOAT player, the arguably GOAT coach, and a top ten two-way player of all time the Bulls had serious consistency in their locker rooms. Take notes, Daryl Morey and Rob Pelinka/LeBron James. More championship connectivity to call out – Kerr (he’s the only person involved with three of the dynastic organizations – UNREAL when truly appreciated), Harper, Perdue, and the aforementioned Ho Grant earned ‘chips on more than one of these profiled squads. Salley and the aforementioned Rodman were both 2x title winners for the Bad Boy Pistons. Rodman won five tiles throughout his NBA career.

Duncan’s Spurs: Steve Kerr (five rings), Mario Elie (three rings), Will Perdue (four rings), Bruce Bowen (three rings), Beno Udrih (two rings), and Robert Horry (seven rings).

This component is where the Spurs differ from most – due to the spread out nature of their success, their title teams consistent presences were the three laws of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. Duncan won five rings, and the other two men won four. What the Spurs culture fostered was sincere talent taking lesser roles in order to get a title (both homegrown or acquired via trade/FA) – for most of the men about to list, it was their sole journey to the promised land. They include David Robinson, Sean Elliott, Michael Finley, Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, Steve Smith, Kevin Willis, Brent Barry, Danny Green, and Speedy Claxton. I credit this anomaly to the iron rule of Popovich + consistency of Duncan. Kerr’s and Perdue’s second appearance each in this component must be noted.

Shaq/Kobe Lakers: Robert Horry (seven rings), Brian Shaw (three rings), Derek Fisher (five rings), Rick Fox (three rings), Ron Harper (five rings), Horace Grant (four rings), Devean George (three rings), AC Green (three rings), and John Salley (four rings).

Glen Rice popped his head in here for a ring. As did Mitch Richmond. The Lakers core of Shaq/Kobe was bolstered each year by Horry, Fisher, and Fox more than the others. Like I said, a third law need not apply to Shaq + Mamba.

Splash Bros. Warriors: Andre Igoudala (three rings), Shaun Livingston (three rings), David West (two rings), JaVale McGee (two rings), and Zaza Pachulia (two rings).

This component is tough to apply to the Warriors due to the Durant element. However, the three laws of the Splash Bros. + Donkey have been joined by Iggy and Livingston the entire run. Kerr is their coach (Kerr’s NBA life is unmatched – need to say this one more time. Didn’t even mention his two FINALS clinching shot until now!) They’ve won three of four titles (soon to be four of five), and half of their chips are going to be without Durant on the floor. The one finals they lost, they shouldn’t have. They were up 3-1 and officiating decisions were HIGHLY questionable. If they had won in ’16, there would be little debate in calling them the greatest team in modern NBA history.

Component Five: A transcendent player that defines or co-authors their era’s largest moments.

Showtime? Magic Johnson. The best offensive PG of all time who could play every position on the floor due to his incomparable size + speed + handle combination.

Celtics? That’d be Bird. An offensive assassin who’s game hadn’t been seen or replicated until Durant (the best offensive player in the modern aside from MJ and apex Shaq).

Bulls? The GOAT. Michael Jeffrey Jordan. I’ve discussed this in length…read my past “defining greatness” blog.

Lakers? Shaq w/an assist from young Kobe. The most dominant offensive big man since Wilt, and he did so against vastly superior competition. Although Hakeem ate him up in their finals showdown (mandatory PBM Hakeem dick tug). Kobe won three rings as the second option and another two more as his team’s undisputed alpha dog. He’s a B+/A- Jordan at his best, and a top-ten player of all time.

Spurs? Duncan. The most consistent superstar of all time and the best power forward to ever lace them up. Duncan vs. LeBron in the NBA Finals? 11-5, Fundamental. I love that stat.

Warriors? Steph Curry. The greatest shooter to ever live. He is rivaled only by his two teammates for this honor, and it needs to be mentioned that he has won at every level he’s played at. Remember Steph in college? The guy beat future NBA all stars while playing with dudes whom are selling real estate and trading stocks right now. In an era where shooting is the undisputed king trait needed to win, Steph wears the crown. Piss off, kid from Akron.

And that concludes this edition of “Defining Greatness.” Be well, Rail Riders. And don’t quote stats if they don’t have wins behind them. Peace.

No More Parties in LA

 

I love making cross-cultural comparisons. Not like Bill Simmons does in his current form, but I’d be lying if I didn’t credit his younger, hungrier self for showing me the brilliance of using this method for humor + universal relevance. In my brain, I tend to use Hip Hop, wrestling, the NBA, and epic film or TV as baselines. Hip Hop is far and away my most used medium to cross-cultural compare because I know the most about it, and MC’s are highly visible publicly + in their art.

Now…I always thought I had LeBron pegged with Drake as his perfect MC equal. They’re both front running dudes who don’t have an ounce of “hard life” in them. They constantly are positioning themselves as the leaders of their craft without acknowledging era-specific advantages and/or glaring flaws that distance them from the true greats. It’s seemed like a match made in fake beef wins + meaningless stat accumulation heaven. Turns out Drake is actually a far better match for Steph Curry…you can’t ignore the fact that Drake is the biggest hitmaker alive and Steph being the GOAT shooter. They make their teams better (get Drake on a feature and explode), and neither one is a disruptive emotional being. Where does his leave the false prophet LeBron James?

ENTER LEBRONYE WEST.

I mean…just the wordplay is enough for me to be encapsulated with joy. But when you look at the complete and utter chaos + dysfunction of LeBron’s Lakers season, doesn’t it remind you of the false idol “Yeezus?!?!?” The two of them leave their hometown for LA with delusions of grandeur and their sights set on expanding their brands wayyyyy outside of their lanes – LeBron to join the iconic Lakers + produce films/TV/music and Kanye to bolster his media exposure through a marriage to Kim Kardashian + run for President + who knows what the fuck else. Each one fell of the rails really damn quickly – I don’t know if each one realized that the team/family they were joining was a false bag of goods or if their complete lack of self awareness simply caught up to their lifestyles, but you know the rest of the story. Let’s go over LeBron first because it’s so damn glorious to see all of it together:

  1. Got an absolute legend to step down out of nowhere – Magic basically pulled an Irish Goodbye
  2. Drank wine on the bench while nursing injuries
  3. Was all alone + fake crying while he passed Jordan in total points
  4. Got another team’s GM fired + torpedoed his chances at landing a premier free agent this off-season
  5. Missed the playoffs
  6. Got a game winner blocked by Mario Hezonjia

7. Throw an inbounds pass off the backboard as the Lakers playoff chances CRUMBLED due to his need to push for a trade for Anthony Davis

8. Got bitch made/forcefully shoved into a defensive position by Kyle Kuzma

9. Can’t get anyone to join him in “Space Jam 2” – rumors say Chris Bosh and Wade are in…so the Monstars are jacking the powers of a guy who had to retire b/c he almost died + a retired dude. That’s worse than Shawn Bradley, man. Honestly, if he wasn’t devoid of a semblance of creative impulse, he should have just used his Lakers teammates. Rondo, JaVale, Lance, and Lonzo/Ingram would be perfect Monstars! LeBron’s a moron.

10. Stole the plot from “The Running Man” to make a CBS show…with Tebow tied to it. Didn’t realize people like “The Running Man” because of death + comedic villainy, and the show tanks instantly.

11. Served as the Fake A&R for 2Chainz’s latest effort that was Tity Boi’s worst in years. Didn’t realize that knowledgeable people such as myself know what A&R’s do, and that there was no way he was inputting lyrics into Genius and/or negotiating features. He DEFINTITELY wasn’t clearing the fucking samples. LeBron’s a huge fucking moron.

12. Distanced himself from legends such as Kareem, Duncan, Kobe, Magic, and Russell in the All-Time greatest player rankings.

13. Was such an ass clown that it finally feels like everyone is tired of his antics, and expects a SHRED of maturity or awareness from him.

I’m engorged by that list. Kanye’s disruptive nonsense wasn’t as diverse, but extremely disturbing and indefensible nonetheless. The guy had the audacity to call slavery “a choice” and openly support + kiss the ass of our racist, buffoon of a President with zero regard for how people would receive such brazen ignorance. Didn’t turn out so well for him, I’d say. His “masterpiece” album “Yandhi” has been shelved (just like LeBron’s 4th championship hopes), and he lost the support of long-term allies such as Jay Z, Talib Kweli, Tip, and Common. I’m going to go ahead and say LeBron’s glass of red on the bunch was Kanye’s rocking of the red “MAGA” hat….SHEEEEEESH.

I’m working on developing a LeBronye West character – I hope to debut him when more of the Space Jam 2 cast is released. Hopefully each of these men will continue to surround themselves with people who don’t have the answers…I really like watching douche egomaniacs face consequences.