Kevin Love The Best Big Man In The NBA? WAT?

As I was tooling around Los Angeles this, former longtime NBA post player and current Laker announcer Mychal Thompson said something on KSPN-AM that blew my mind.

Kevin Love Statistics Don't Lie

(If you’re going by stats, sure looks like it)

During his weekday L.A. Sports Live show with co-Host Andrew Siciliano, Thompson wondered aloud, “is Kevin Love the best American big man in the game?

Thompson cited Spain’s Pau Gasol as the best overall post player in the NBA, but after that, he gave every indication that he thought Love was number-two amongst paint purveyors.

Kevin Love Statistics Don't Lie

(Pts/Reb/Asst) / Rebounds per 48 min)

Ahead of Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire and anyone else you can name.

Kevin Love Best Big Man In The NBA Stats

(Efficiency / Double-Doubles)

As amazing as it may seem, if you were to make the call solely on statistics, Thompson is, somehow, right.
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Amare Stoudemire Nude ESPN Mag Pic: Digitized

Here’s a photo of Amare Stoudemire from ESPN The Magazine’s annual “The Body” Issue:

Amare Stoudemire Nude ESPN The Magazine photo

1 for the ladies.

Series Now Tossup After Game Sick Performance

Suns Coach Alvin Gentry last night at Staples during Sun-Lakers WCF Game 5:

If Phoenix is to extend the series on Saturday, it’ll once again come down to bench play.

Advantage: Suns. Read more…

Sager Finally Clowns Someone Else: Stoudemire

After Lamar Odom scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the Lakers’ Game 1 Western Conference Finals win over the Suns 128-107 Monday, Amare Stoudemire said of Odom’s performance, “He had a lucky game in Game 1.”

Wednesday’s Game 2 saw Odom  score 17 points with 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Lakers won 124-112 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. After the game, circus-suited Craig Sager cornered Stoudemire about his earlier, unfortunate choice of words.
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Amar’e’s Mom: Mugshot And “Bizarre Recording”

MyFoxPhoenix.com has a follow to the initial arrest report of Amar’e Stoudemire’s mom Carrie. Ms. Stoudemire was taken into police custody on Saturday in Scottsdale after being pulled over for speeding, erratic driving and failing to have a court ordered-Interlock ignition device on her vehicle.

Amare Stoudemire's More Carrie Stoudemire Mugshot

The FOX-TV outlet has what it calls a “bizarre recording” of Carrie taken from the back of a police cruiser as the NBA player’s mom was taken to a local lockup.

The report read: “(Carrie) had a lot of money inside her wallet that was located inside her purse… she wanted her purse to go with Amare, but she wanted the wallet to go with her. Carrie stated, ‘I don’t trust him, he will take all my money!’”

Amare Stoudemire's More Carrie Stoudemire Mugshot

We also find out from the police report where Ms. Stoudemire claimed to be going when she was pulled over. Read more…

Amare Expands Arizona Immigration Law Protest

As one of the players who made a political statement about the Arizona Immigration law by wearing a Los Suns jersey last night, Amare Stoudemire apparently decided to expand the protest:

Amare Stoudemire Expands Arizona Immigration Protest To Latin Community

(Gone old(est) school!)

Translation: Nos suscipio Latin commuity. They es seorsum of 12 tribus of Israel. Is 1 Populus sub YAH ( deus ). Let’s convenio. Vadum!!

Speed Read: NBC, NHL Screw Local Hockey Fans

One of the most jarring aspects of the Stanley Cup finals, other than the ease with which the Red Wings dispatched the Penguins on Sunday night to push the series to 3-2, has been NBC’s hardball with fans in Detroit and Pittsburgh. For the duration of the playoffs, both teams have been able to hold massive viewing parties in and outside their arenas. It was such a wonderful, organic expression of the communal nature of fandom that it was basically destined to be ruined by business in short order.

JoeVision Detroit Red Wings
(Thousands of fans watching the game with each other? Nope, can’t have this!)

And lo, in stepped NBC, stopping the broadcasts. As HOCKEYBUZZ.COM reported, initially, they blamed the NHL, despite the NHL’s assertion that that was quite not the case. Then came the truth, that it was a business decisions (all the crappy ones are), and their “business is ratings driven.” CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS has the, ahem, money quote:

A near-sellout of Joe Louis could shave a ratings point off the local television ratings measurement, and such ratings are used to establish advertising rates.

So to that, if the all-important ratings model can’t deal with 8-10 thousand people watching a show in one place on one screen, you know what? The ratings model is completely worthless.  Seriously. How can NBC or Nielsen not figure out what to do with a giant honking party of some of the most hardcore fans all watching one screen? Is that really a deal-breaker?

And if so, if they’re really curious as to what the ratings would look like if everyone stays home, away from the shared community aspect from which most of the value of a ticket to a game is derived, there’s a really easy answer to all of this. You ready? Dick Ebersol, you taking notes?

All NBC has to do is announce that in exchange for showing the game outside both arenas, attending fans have to fill out a simple, anonymous survey about where they would otherwise watch a game (their place or someone else’s), with how many people, and whatever other information the network needs to most closely approximate what ratings would look like. Use that and Nielsen data to extrapolate what the final ratings would be with that many eyes on a TV, and adjust. That’s it. Easy.

This is a rare, rare opportunity for the NHL and NBC. At no other point are they ever going to be able to get this kind of a free pool of television watchers from whom they can mine valuable demographic information. Forcing them back into their homes and away from a group of thousands of like-minded, passionate fans for the sake of moving a needle one or two points does the city, fanbase, and team a disservice. It’s so easy to work around. Figure it out.

Speaking of soccer [I thought we were talking about hockey. No, I’m dead certain of it.–ed.] [Shut up.–AJ] [You have problems.–ed.], UEFA just got a seismic news flash as Real Madrid, evidently furious at having seen FC Barca take the title, has bought the contract of Kaka from AC Milan. Too bad UEFA contract holder SETANTA SPORTS probably won’t survive to see him in the new kit.

Kaka Kiss
(This is where we mention Kaka’s wife and fine whatever you’re all perverts.)

Kaka, a sensational striker from the one-word-name factory that is Brazil, will reportedly command a 6-year, $94 million contract. That’s enough to make it the most expensive in soccer’s history, barely beating out Zinedine Zidane’s 6-year, $65 million deal with Juventus from eight years ago. Meanwhile, David Beckham is running around for a crappy MLS team in Los Angeles for 30 cents on the dollar and going home to a bag of antlers with oversized sunglasses and the “I’m married, but still vain” haircut straight from Jon & Kate + 8. Sic transit gloria mundi: Glory is fleeting.

We mentioned Andrew Thomas Gallo, the man accused of killing Angels rookie Nick Adenhart and two others in a drunk driving collision, yesterday. Gallo pled not guilty to murder, drunk driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident charges yesterday. Great.

Nick Adenhart Killed In Hit and Run Accident
(No, nothing criminal led to this. No way.)

But as we (rightfully) focus on the three people killed far before their time, we should point out that one passenger in Adenhart’s car, 24-year-old Jon Wilhite, has, in fact, survived the crash that left him in critical condition (via the RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE). Wait, that doesn’t appropriately convey the gravity of what happened. He survived internal decapitation.

As MANOLITH explains, internal decapitation, which is exactly as horrifying and life-threatening as it sounds, happens when the skull detaches from the spinal column. It’s usually fatal. Wilhite somehow survived without total paralysis, which is unbelievably rare, and he’s now in rehab with the help of several major leaguers. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s on the right track.

Since we need to get back on a higher note, here are some more links to consider while you’re riding in a cab with former Beach Boy Brian Wilson:

Nick Collison Red Afro
(Yes.)

What do the Raiders need the most on offense?

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Speed Read: Clippers’ Balls Have Dropped Again

The Los Angeles Clippers won the most favored martyr award last night in the NBA Draft Lottery and, with it, the top pick in the 2009 NBA Draft next month (likely to be Blake Griffin). The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder now follow, leaving the Grizzlies to pretend Mike Conley, Jr. is the answer to anything but “Name one theoretically famous Junior” and draft Hasheem Thabeet.

Michael Olowokandi

Oklahoma City, your Ricky Rubio awaits. (Ricky will love the fried bologna sammich at Toby Keith’s I Love This Restaurant a block away from the arena.) A staff containing Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, Rubio, and your dear departed grandmother should be capable of 50 wins in two years. If you find it less ghoulish, we’ll refer to your passed loved one as Nenad Krstic. Same mobility, anyway.

(By the way, please send your love to Sacramento tonight as they had the league’s worst record and washed out with the fourth pick.  And you thought living in Sacramento was punishment enough.)

Sacramento Kings Flip Off The Camera

Your intrepid correspondent pulled into a local sports bar in the Phoenix area just thirty minutes before the NBA Draft Lottery truly started (which was, of course, thirty minutes after it officially kicked off).  That will be the best way to take the pulse of the community regarding the first lottery draft pick for the Phoenix Suns likely to play for the team since Amare Stoudemire, your correspondent said to himself rather self-consciously.

It can be officially reported that the patient is dead; there was no pulse in the greater Phoenix community regarding the draft lottery.  The normally-popular bar was half-empty and the televisions kept being turned from the NBA lottery to practically any other sport.  In fact, the only person to keep half an eye on the proceedings was Dan Majerle’s brother.

Surely, much of the passivity came from having such a slim chance at a top-three pick, but the collected crowd seemed much more interested in the Western Conference Finals for the NBA and NHL.  They chose wisely as the Denver Nuggets couldn’t hold their late lead  against the Los Angeles Lakers and therefore provided another thrilling finish, a 105-103 Lakers victory to kick off the NBA edition of the Western Conference Finals.

George Karl of the Denver Nuggets

Also, game 2 of the NHL edition ended in the first overtime with a 3-2 Detroit Red Wings victory over the Chicago Blackhawks to extend the series lead to 2-0. The ‘Hawks could not stop giving up the puck in the most exposed fashion possible, leading to two breakaway goals, including the three-on-one clincher.  You’d think a battle between a dinosaur and a human would turn out differently.

Chicago Blackhawks Detroit Red Wings

(The bar didn’t care for that result; Arizonans are either transplanted Colorado residents or former Illinoisans.  No love lost for Detroit from either quarter.)

On the other hand, the true locals were left to stew yesterday over news that a federal bankruptcy judge couldn’t bring the NHL or the former and future owners of the Phoenix Coyotes together on a deal regarding the sale of the team and a possible move back to Canada. Instead, he sent both sides into mediation and told them to hash it out themselves.

Jobing.com Arena Phoenix Coyotes

Of course, the NHL couldn’t resist putting gun to skate during yesterday’s proceedings.  For starters, the lawyer for the city of Glendale, AZ, had to admit that he’s never been to a Coyotes game.  Then the judge said late in the day, “The NHL is like a dog chasing a car. The question is, ‘What do you do if you catch it?’”  Bury it in Arizona, perhaps?

The relocation hearing in late June won’t answer the question, either; multiple rounds of appeals will surely follow if all sides can’t talk it out.  It all adds up to at least a month of indecision, misdirection, and public proclamations.  It’s not unlike the buildup to the NBA Draft, really.

When Arizonans aren’t paying attention to hockey mirages or 14th picks or UFOs in 2009, they might be taking in this hail of bullet points:

Where should the Phoenix Coyotes end up?

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Speed Read: Penn St. & Illinois Stink Up The Joint

Basketball: it’s a beautiful game. Or fantastically ugly, depending on which game you watched last night. On one hand, you had the Phoenix Suns putting up 140 points for the second straight game in their 142-119 victory over the depleted Los Angeles Clippers. On the other, there was Penn State and Illinois, who combined scored exactly one-half as many points as the Suns did in the Nittany Lions’ 38-33 upset victory over the Fighting Illini.

Penn State vs Illinois

Let’s talk about the latter game first. It wasn’t the lowest scoring game since the 45-second shot clock was introduced in 1986, but it was close. (That distinction belongs to Monmouth’s 41-21 win over Princeton in 2006.) They also flirted with the record for fewest combined points in a half, with the two team’s output of 32 just eclipsing the record of 28 set by Mississippi and South Carolina back in 2003.

The box score tells you all you need to know about the debacle. Exactly one player scored in double digits: Penn State’s Talor Battle, who put up 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Heck, the Nittany Lions as a team shot 28.3 percent from the field, and they won.

At least the two teams didn’t let a little thing like not being able to hit the broadside of a barn stop them from shooting the deep ball: they combined to go 6-for-33 from the three-point line. And Illinois didn’t attempt a free throw. For the game. Way to be aggressive, guys. But I guess a win’s a win, even if it’s the most embarrassing and pathetic kind possible. Congratulations, Penn State, I guess.

Steve Nash and Al Thorton

And then there are the Suns. You’ll excuse me if I don’t get too excited by the sudden return of the high-scoring, fast-paced, exciting Suns with Alvin Gentry as head coach after putting a hurting on the Clippers on back-to-back nights. First off, it’s the Clippers to begin with, but if a team with Amare Stoudemire (for now) can’t murder a team that’s missing Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, Brian Skinner and Zach Randolph, then something is seriously wrong.

Check back with me on Sunday after you guys visit Boston, and we’ll see how you’re doing.

But the Suns have a date with Oklahoma City before then on Friday, which will be without newly-acquired Tyson Chandler. Permanently. That’s because the Thunder rescinded their trade with New Orleans from Tuesday and sent Chandler back to the Hornets after he failed a physical with their team doctor.

Tyson Chandler

As TRUEHOOP notes, it’s probably going to be pretty awkward in New Orleans as Chandler has to return to the team that just unloaded him for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. (By the way, is Joe Smith involved with every strange trade or free agent signing in the NBA?) What makes things even more odd is that Chandler didn’t fail the physical because of his sprained left ankle - it was because of a big toe injury he suffered in 2007. And the Thunder’s doctor was the one who performed the surgery.

And speaking of injuries…Ken Griffey Jr. is back with the Mariners! All joking aside, I think most people of my generation will think it’s pretty neat to see Junior back in a Mariners uniform (presumably) for the rest of his career. And the story of his signing with the Mariners is unique; the SEATTLE TIMES says that apparently the No. 1 salesman for Seattle was Harold Reynolds, a close friend of Griffey’s. He had been working on Griffey to sell him on the move to Seattle when he played his trump card: hugging Willie Mays.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Reynolds set up a phone call between Griffey and the Say Hey Kid, who was Griffey’s idol and the reason he wears No. 24. And sure enough, soon after having the phone conversation with Mays, Griffey told the Mariners that he would sign with them. A great story, although I’m not sure I’d take advice from Willie Mays on how to end your career gracefully.

More sports stories to learn about as you ponder if anyone’s life could be stranger than Tracy Morgan’s

Which star athlete’s end of career death spiral was most painful to watch?

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NBA All-Star Friday: Durant’s Win, HORSE Peek

(Ed. note: The party’s in full swing in Phoenix and SbB correspondent Tuffy reports from a busy Friday night at the NBA All-Star festivities.)

Where Amazing Happens - NBA

It’s damned near impossible to see it all at the NBA All-Star weekend.  Between the varying levels of privilege (catered All-Star tipoff party projecting the TNT feed onto the side of the Arizona Science Center? Off-limits.  Nash’s party? Riiiight… and so on) and the sheer number of activities, you’d need the whole ShamWow kit to absorb all the action in Phoenix this weekend.

The Block Party

That’s despite a drop in sponsor involvement this year (though don’t tell that to T-Mobile; they’ve got everything from the side of the Bank of America Building to free bike-driven rides to T-Mobile subscribers) and an uneasy feeling that this might be the last weekend Phoenix sees its former prodigal Sun.

And now a few words on HORSE-not-HORSE, Kevin Durant’s rookie hazing, and why 3800 kids ordered the Corbin Bleu last night at the Rookie-Sophomore game…
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