Friday, September 30, 2005

Bing: It's a Good Thing

Alternatively infuriating and heart-warming. Suffice it to say that former NBA star Dave Bing is at the center of a crapstorm over a (get this) $200 million donation to Detroit public schools.

People are so maddening sometimes. Thankfully, Bing isn't.

SI's Dwyer on the Pacific

Kelly Dwyer - noted blog commenter and Sports Illustrated funnyman - has published his Pacific Division preview. It's good.

He doesn't seem wholly impressed with Sacramento's squad, saying it's certainly not a contender. He does say it's a 50-win team and a possible second-round loser, though.

He thinks Phoenix will still win 60 and contend for the Spurs' title. He thinks the Lake Show will compete for 7th-seed (and bring back the real triangle offense) and the Warriors could make the playoffs. I'm not sure what he's predicting about the Clips - they could be good or they could be bad.

I'm going to flesh my thoughts about the division out in the next few weeks, with some help from fellow bloggers. But suffice it to say that I think Phoenix will suffer by not having a shooter like the Q. All it would take for the Suns to fall below 60 wins would be for their 30-year-old point guard with a bad back to come back to Earth.

Don't get me wrong - Nash was at the top of his game last season. But can he sustain it another year? We're not so sure.

Throwing Elbows at FEMA

I doubt there was a player I despised more in the 1990s than Karl Malone. He was dirty, he was arrogant and he beat the hell out of the Kings every time he came to ARCO.

But I'm not sure there's a better guy out there. The USA Today reports on the Mailman's relief work in Mississippi in today's issue.

The story is vivid enough that you can almost picture Malone down there, intimidating the hell out of the bureaucrats and private contractors trying to keep his crew from helping out. I know I wouldn't say a word to him if he drove a bulldoze down my block.

I never thought I'd say it, but the world needs more Karl Malones.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Sports Guy vs. Sportsbloggers?

I read the Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman column that's getting some heat from sportsbloggers who think the writers took some cheap shots. I didn't feel anything when I read it (I actually was pissed that they were taking themselves seriously instead of referencing 24 or talking about Kill Reality, more than anything).

I'm not sure they were even referring to sportsbloggers in particular. Klosterman's offending passage was, "They just write, 'Oh, look at this terribly archaic New York Times story. Isn't it pathetic?' But that sentiment is being expressed by someone who's never done an interview and has no tangible relationship to journalism." Simmons follows up with, "What's the point of writing about people who write about sports/movies/politics/music if you're not backing up your words with your own columns or features? How do you have credibility then? I could write for a living, I just choose to rip everyone else. What? How does that make sense?"

Again, I just kind of breezed through this part of the column, looking forward to the promised Gheorge Muresan dialogue. That's what I go to the Sports Guy for, not state-of-new-media addresses. But some sportsbloggers, especially the Mighty MJD, took offense.

MJD says, "I think Klosterman misunderstands the intent of sports bloggers. I don't want to do interviews. I have no interest in engaging in journalism. I have my opinions, they're new, they're mine, they're individual, and I present them." I get that and respect that.

But MJD doesn't speak for all of us. Blez at Athletics Nation has secured interviews with Billy Beane and a number of players. Dave at The City said he's gotten clearance to attend Warriors practices. Henry at TrueHoop has a journalism background and writes features for his blog pretty consistently.

It's easy to generalize blogs and bloggers as talk-radio-in-print. Lord knows I've bashed Mark Kreidler and Grant Napear and the Bee and KHTK. But why shouldn't I be able to, along with posting sentient thoughts, reaction to others thoughts and new ideas about the game? Remember, we don't get paid for this.

The Sacramento Sports Shuffle

Carl at Arranging Matches says he thinks a Kings move in 2007 could lead to an A's move to Sacramento a few years later.

It's an interesting thought - stranger things have happen. But I doubt the Kings leave Sacramento (there will no doubt be more on this subject soon) and I actually think the new A's management will get a stadium somewhere in the Bay Area.

A Trip to the Hood

Warning: politics ahead.

True Hoop links to a Etan Thomas speech (yes, that Etan Thomas) on the hypocrisy of modern conservatism. I never knew this guy was so well-spoken (probably because I never really paid attention).

I don't necessarily agree with Etan's statements or endorse them by linking to his speech. But I think it's definitely worth a read.

Peja Will Get Paid

The only question is: by whom?

Chad Ford has laid out the top 2006 free agents. Peja is #2, right behind Ben Wallace (who may be locked up by Detroit any day now). Ford says his production this season will decide whether the Maloofs pay him or someone else does.

The rest of the free agent class is pretty unamazing. Bonzi Wells will be out there, of course. Eddy Curry and Joel Przybilla will be the only top-flight centers, and Nene will be the top power foward available. Not overwhelming, like the 2004 offseason.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pardon Us

Excuse us for the apparent laziness this week - our rooting interest is in San Diego this week.

Baseball's on our mind, so visit Kurt's handsome new shell around Forum Blue and Gold. Be warned: it's a Lakers site. That means Lakers fans comment on the site. Be careful what you step in.

Don't worry, though - once our Giants finally decide to break down and just give up (they will at some point, we've been trained to understand), our full attention will be back on ARCO Arena, where it rightfully belongs.

Until then, um, go Giants!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Charley Rosen: Dead Since 1997?

Charley Rosen - beating his list fetish to death - compiling the best 23 (?) teams that didn't win a title.

I'd put the 2002 Kings somewhere on this list - probably top five. (The 2000 Blazers and the 2003 Lakers would also be on my list.) The Kings had the best record in the league, the best offense and a top 10 defense, not to mention the best home-court advantage at the time. They lost the Western Conference Finals (and the de facto NBA Championship) by a shot - twice. They took a team led by the greatest tandem since Magic and Kareem to the brink and held them over the cliff for three games. And they didn't win the title.

Do the Kings make Rosen's list? Of course not. Apparently, Charley died somewhere around 1997, because the most recent team on his list in the 1997 Jazz (that team should be very high on the list as well). No mention of the up-by-20-in-the-second-half-of-Game-7 Blazers. No mention of the would-be-four-peater Lakers (coached by Rosen's man-crush, no less). No Kings.

Instead, the list is mostly made up of old 76er teams and a number of squads who lost in the playoffs a year after winning the title. Per usual, not much to read here.

So when does FoxSports come out and admit they found a shoebox full of Rosen's old musings and are churning those out instead of hiring a sentient hoops columnist?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Barnes: MIA

Since we saw and posted the training camp roster yesterday, we've been wondering why Matt Barnes doesn't make an appearance on it. The Bee's Joe Davidson is apparently curious, as well.

Barnes had tryout with San Antonio, but their signing of Michael Finley killed that idea. Barnes hasn't been invited to a camp yet, but is confident he'll latch on somewhere. I can't imagine him not getting an NBA contract - did something happen to him while I was asleep? Barnes is a good bench player.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Training Day

Training camp starts Monday, Oct. 3. Here's an updated training camp roster, courtesy of The Bee (asterisk denotes player has multiyear contract from team).

Mike Bibby*
Bonzi Wells*
Jason Hart*
Kevin Martin*
Francisco Garcia*
Ronnie Price
Luis Flores
Ricky Paulding

Shareef Abdur-Rahim*
Peja Stojakovic*
Kenny Thomas*
Corliss Williamson*
Jamal Sampson
Erik Daniels
Dan Langhi
Eric Sandrin

Brad Miller*
Brian Skinner*
Anwar Ferguson
Lonnie Jones

This week, we'll pound out some research on the players we've never heard of. It's doubtful any of them will make the squad, but there could be a surprise roster addition in the frontcourt.

Friday, September 23, 2005

When You Diss Sacramento, You Diss Yourself

One interesting side note to the whole winning a WNBA championship thing is that jealous small-town sportswriters now get their big chance to slam Sacramento.

Exhibit A: Mike Dimauro, assistant sports editor of New London, Connecticut's The Day newspaper.

Dimauro cleverly rips into Sacramento in a recent column, saying he never knew the town existed before covering the WNBA Finals, that the city rivals a horse's stable in its omnipresence of flies, and that ARCO Arena is a barn. He also calls five days in Sacramento (where, of all the difficult and unrewarding jobs in the world, he got paid to watch basketball) "punishment." Poor guy.

Other than dissing Sacramento, he also launches into a tirade about the how the success of rich white people infuriates him, calling our beloved (beloved?) Maloofs "bratty, spoiled, out-of-touch corporate stiffs."

That leads me to this candid thought: Nothing makes me more angry than full-of-shit, whiny, holier-than-thou moron sportswriters who actually think they have a difficult job. There are thousands (millions?) of people in America who would love to attend professional sporting events for free, let alone get paid to do it. There are thousands of sports fans who would absolutely love to see their name in print attached to their thoughts on the game.

And Mike Dimauro, he has that opportunity. Instead of actually publishing reasoned ideas or coherent thoughts, he tries to trash a city whose WNBA team just beat his city's WNBA team. Classy.

If the Sacramento trip was so tough, Mike, why don't you just find a new job? I'm sure people would line up to make your paycheck for the chance to watch sports, lay out a few pages and bloviate at will.

And I bet they wouldn't bitch about road trips and successful businessmen too much, either.

UPDATE: We e-mailed Dimauro to ask if there's anything else he wanted to say to the people of Sacramento. His reply: "I don't think I need to add anything else. I feel bad enough you people have to live there. Why rub it in?"

Clever, witty and bitter. Whatta guy!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The NO/OKC Hornets

It's not Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bad, but the Hornets, displaced by Hurricane Katrina and broken levees, will play most of their home games in Oklahoma City this season. Thus, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

The Kings' schedule was modified slightly, according to Sam Amick in the Bee. Instead of opening the season in Houston on Nov. 2 and then playing in New Orleans on the 4th, the Kings will now open the season in OKC against the Hornets on Nov. 1. They'll still play at Houston on Nov. 2.

Bad news first: We're not complaining, because getting one game switched is absolutely positively incredibly minor compared to moving your franchise 1,000 miles for a season, but that's a tough back-to-back to open the season. Houston is a top four team in the West this season, so we could definitely see SAC opening the campaign 1-1. (Could be 0-2: who knows how motivated the Hornets will be - remember the Saints in Week 1? Plus, Plains states fans haven't seen NBA hoops in their backyard since the Kings left Kansas City in 1985. Might be a small grudge to factor in, a la Cleveland Browns v. Baltimore Ravens in 1999, though John Thomas was no Art Modell.)

Now the good news: the season starts one day earlier! Woohoo! Mark your calendars and set your watches!

Nice Guys Finish... First?

Ah, Geoff Petrie. Intelligent, shrewd, calculating and um... a sweetheart?

Sam Amick reports that Petrie has rescinded the qualifying offer made to Darius Songaila, allowing the Scrapmaster to sign a one-year deal with Chicago.

Typically, restricted free agents can't sign a one-year. But when Petrie rescinded the qualifying offer, which allowed the Kings to match any offer sheets signed by Darius, the Lithuanian became an unrestricted free agent.

Amick writes that Songaila will try to free agent market again next year. We're not sure how many minutes he'll get in the CHI, but just by being on the open market as a UFA next July will get him more money than he could've otherwise this fall. So it's a win-win for Darius.

We can assume two major reasons Petrie didn't try to re-sign Darius: minutes and money. Shareef Abdur-Rahim is the starter, and will play 30-38 minutes per night. Kenny Thomas is the back-up, will probably the sixth- or seventh-man, and will get 20-25 minutes between the 3 and 4. That leaves little for a guy like Darius. Plus, with the back-up 4 making $7 million +, even a paltry $2.2 million for Songaila is overpaying the position.

But what about next season? If Petrie can move KT during the season or early next off-season, isn't there then room for a young guy like Songaila? Darius might get to mid-level status next offseason - he could've demanded $3.5-4 million early this offseason. If there's an open slot at the back-up 4, Darius and his agent Mark Bartelstein could very well remember Petrie's good faith dealings and pick Sacramento over other teams waving the $5.1 million mid-level around. That's worth some thought.

Darius, it's sad to say goodbye. But we wish you well in the CHI (except when you're playing us). Hope to see you back in royal purple soon.

God Hates Sacramento?

Funniest. WNBA-related. Screenshot. Ever.

Also, the fact that YAYbasketball (which might not have even launched yet - very funny site, though) files that post under both "WNBA" and "Things Nobody Likes" is hilarious in several ways.

Yes, we're bitter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

SHOCKING: Unrest in Serbia-Montenegro

The AP has the story on Serbia-Montenegro's shockingly bad performance at the Euros and what's happened since the typically dominant squad was vanquished.

S-M's coach, Zeljko Obradovic, said players including Minnesota's Marko Jaric and Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic were involved in separate fistfights with teammates during the tournament. Obradovic and players Dejan Tomasevic, Zeljko Rebraca (of the Clips) and "greatest Euro not playing in the NBA" Dejan Bodiroga have all resigned from the team.

What's this mean? Well, Peja sat the year out, saying he needed to focus on resting and tightening up his game. I'm even more glad now that he sat it out, because being involved in this sort of catastrophe is nothing but negative.

Also, Serbia-Montenegro finished outside the top six in Europe, which means they don't get an automatic invite to the Worlds in 2006. They could still get a wild-card berth, though. But with the team's undisputed leader in Bodiroga gone, Vlade Divac getting creakier than grandma's attic door and Peja seemingly distancing himself from the national team, you wonder if this isn't it for the nation's 2006 hopes.

Peja will probably have a pretty busy offseason next year, anyways. You know, winning a NBA title, negotiating a discounted salary to stay in Sacramento and solving world hunger. Lots of stuff on his plate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Your 2005 WNBA Champion Sacramento Monarchs

Burn the city down! Yo and the Narchs beat the Connecticut Sun Tuesday to win Sacramento's first major sports title in history (if the WNBA counts as a major sport - questionable, says I).

They did it with defense (gasp!) and toughness (double gasp!). Maybe the vibe will linger in ARCO through at least, say, Oct. 20. Not likely, though.

Good job, ladies. But, um, we got next.

Hot Shot

Todd from 120 Proof Ball commented on this post on assist numbers that Sonic Ray Allen has a better shot than Peja.

Ladies and gentlemen: the math.

Using the very popular effective field goal percentage to compare the stars, we see that Peja is a notably better shooter than Sugar Ray. (For those that don't want to follow the above link, eFG% counts made three-pointers as 1.5 field goals - it makes sense because three-pointers are worth the same as 1.5 two-point field goals.)

Peja's eFG% last year was .530, while Ray's was .498. In 2004, Peja had a .566 eFG%, while Ray's was .512. In 2003? Peja, .556. Ray, .512. The career averages are .538 for Peja and .516 for Ray. Peja's high-point was that .566 eFG% in 2004; Ray's was .561 in 2002 (and the last time Ray beat Peja in this category).

Thanks to 82games, we can look at last year closer. On just jump shots, Peja has a .493 eFG%. On jump shots, Ray had a .476 eFG%. And if these new-fangled stats don't buy your lunch, Peja beat Ray in overall FG%, as well (.444 to .428).

From the free throw stripe, you ask? Peja shot 92% there last season, and Ray shot 88% from the line. For their careers, Peja has a 89% FT% and Ray has an 88% FT%.

So, how is Ray Allen a better shooter than Peja? And since he isn't, can anyone else think of someone who might be?

If not, this guy's getting a championship belt.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen: Your Albuquerque Thunderbirds!

The NBA just announced the NBA Development League affiliations. The Sacramento Kings get to use the Albuquerque Thunderbirds as their minor league of sorts.

The Kings share the TBirds with the Phoenix Suns, the Seattle Supersonics and the Utah Jazz (oh, and the noted basketball-lovers of the great state of New Mexico). Here are the rules on assignment, thanks to unusually informative

-- An NBA team may assign any player on its Active List or Inactive List to play in the D-League, provided that the player has zero or one Years of Service at the time of Assignment.
-- No players may be given more than three Assignments during any season. There is no minimum or maximum length of a D-League assignment.
-- During the 2005-06 season, no NBA team may have more than two players on assignment at the same time.
-- A player on Assignment will be carried on the Inactive List of his NBA Team.

So rookies and sophomores can be assigned to the DLeague team, which means current Kings/camp invitees Francisco Garcia, Kevin Martin, Ronnie Price, Luis Flores and Erik Daniels are eligible for Albuquerque (note: Daniels isn't an official camp invitee yet).

Noted ex-Laker Michael Cooper is the head coach of the TBirds, and Andre Agassi is among the owners. Each NBDLer that has a contract with an NBA team will wear that team's logo on his jersey, seemingly to remind fans that like the WNBA, the NBDL does have some relationship to big-time pro basketball.

The furthest west the TBirds are slotted to play is, well, Albuquerque, and the farthest north they'll play is Tulsa. Needless to say, it doesn't appear this fan will be loving it live this season.

The NBDL's move west is encouraging though. It seems the league revolved around SEC territory last season - franchises in Fort Worth, Tulsa and Albuquerque this year is good news. Maybe someday we'll get a Stockton, San Jose or Vallejo squad to enjoy. Let's hope.

(While we're here, let's set the over/under on "times SKB will misspell 'Albuquerque' this season" at 163. Want to pick up this future, BoDog?)

Caution: Bandwagon Overload

Don't go near ARCO Arena Tuesday. Should the Sacramento Monarchs lose their bid to win the WNBA Championship, one hell of a bandwagon might burst.

We're all for our female counterparts playing ball and doing it well. We're not going to lie to you though: We watched all of 45 seconds of Sunday's game, found out the Monarchs won via the swaying bandwagon at the Bleacher Mob and know the possibly clinching game is Tuesday only because Mrs. SKB has a friend taking her kids to the contest.

We won't be parading through Old Sacramento when/if the Monarchs claim the title, we won't be watching the game Tuesday and we probably won't raise our eyelids when the next WNBA season starts.

This trend line from IceRocket shows the teeming bandwagon at work. The Kings have had steady blogospheric coverage throughout the summer (we'll take some of the blame), while the Monarchs got nothing until their playoff run.

So, enjoy yourself, Sacramentan bandwagoneers. True Monarchs fans - congratulations and have fun with it, by all means! And to the organization and team - awesome job and way to go.

To Kings fans that can't be bothered - the preseason is three weeks away.

ESPN: The new MTV

A staple of my high school career (1994-98, for those who care) was bitching about how MTV never played music videos, thus negating its title as "Music Television."

Sentiently humorous blog Off Wing Opinion accuses ESPN of the same thing, and it'd be difficult to argue the issue. OWO questions a comment in a Monday morning Page 2 column saying that the writer flipped between the Raiders-Chiefs game and the Emmys.

The problem is, there's nothing wrong with switching between a game and another program (especially if you're a Raiders fan whose life is being made increasingly more painful by the sight of Kerry Collins). But the correct answer would not be the Emmys, it would be "The Family Guy."

Pop culture references, done correctly, are fantastic in sportswriting. Done poorly, well...they're poor.

Attention Sacramento Waitresses: Brian Skinner = Good!

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Brian Skinner leaves a quality gratuity when dining out. So, servers working Morton's or the Esquire Grill: Skinner gets all the extra sour cream and chives he wants.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sharing is Caring

Basketball IQ and Forum Blue and Gold got our brains pulsing (always a frightening endeavor): Is this Kings team still the passing maniacs of old?

BBIQ (why haven't I seen this site before?!) looks at league-wide assists per made field goal statistics for 04-05, and the Kings were th 7th highest squad in the L, behind notable offensive juggernauts like Utah, New Orleans and Minnesota. Needless to say, the statistic doesn't necessarily measure offensive fortitude.

But it does measure something seemingly valuable - which teams are score via the pass and which score via the great individual effort.

Sacramento at 6th seemed low, so we decided to look back over the last couple seasons to judge whether 04-05 was an aberration or a trend. The 04-05 number was 62.7 percent. 2003-04 was markedly higher, at 69.4 percent. The 2002-03 season has an assist per made field goal rating of 62.7 percent. The lovely season of 2001-02 (I hate L.A.) came with a 59.9 percent rating.

Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, at least on a season-wide basis. The Chris Webber Effect (the complete halting of the offensive cogs when one player gets the ball, for you non-Sacramentans) seems pretty defined by this, however.

This would be misleading, though. In the 2003-04 season, when assistedness was peaking, the Kings had a 68% assisted field goal rate when Webb was on the court (limited minutes, thanks to the knee). It was 69% when he was off the floor.

Brad Miller showed his value in this category - with him on the court, 71% of made field goals were assisted, versus 65% with him on the bench. Vlade? Same numbers - it makes sense because Vlade and Brad were typically on the floor together.

Peja's on-court/off-court split for assisted field goal rate was 70% to 64%. Bibby's was 72% to 60%. Christie's? 70% to 65%.

The second team dropped the statistic, with Anthony Peeler, Bobby Jackson and Darius Songaila having on-court assisted field goal rates near an above-average 60%. So it wasn't The Chris Webber Effect - it was The Bench Effect.

Miller remains essential to the passing game of the Kings. In 2004-05, the team's assisted field goal rate was 66% while Big Brad was on the court and 57% with him off. That's a very significant difference. Bibby also has a nice split, 64% to 54%. Peja had a 65% to 56% split. Mobley, a starter for much of the season, had a 61% to 63% on-off split (versus Doug Christie's 69-60 split) indicates he was as much of quick trigger/ball hogger as we believed. So, The Chris Webber Effect will now be dubbed The Cuttino Mobley Effect.

Bonzi Wells, our new SG, had a 61%-60% split last season with Memphis. SAR had a 60%-58% with an overall poor assisting Portland team, which is much better than Kenny Thomas-with-a-good-assisting-team's numbers.

Anyways, who knows what this really means. We try to use math and shit to prove things, but sometimes we just use math and shit for the hell of it.

Guards Galore

Sam Amick of the SacBee has Petrie confirming that Luis Flores will be in camp and mentions that the Detroit Free Press is reporting that smallish two-guard Ricky Paulding will also be invited.

That brings to training camp total to 15. Here's the depth chart:


I expect Barnes will be an invitee, barring a guaranteed contract from somewhere (and San Antonio, who was allegedly Mattie's other suitor, seems to have filled its bench). Price would seem to be the only NBDL candidate right now - Flores and Paulding don't have contracts, and Flores at the least could expect to get a 10-day with some squad this season and latch on. Unless we swing a trade for a big, Sampson has a roster spot, especially given Brad's injury history and Skinner's feet.

Petrie can invite up to 20 to camp. Five spots left. Comment starter: Which available scrubs, err, free agents would you invite to training camp?

Shaking a Bad Rep

Henry at TrueHoop is pretty angry over continued use of the JailBlazer moniker by sports reporters, fans and bloggers, despite the complete makeover the team has had over the past 1 1/2 years.

He's right - the JailBlazers of 2001 have been scattered around the league, with one of the "bad seeds" landing here in Sacramento. But it's tough to expect a nation of hoops fans to forget a pretty damning era of tomfoolery and criminal hijinks just like that.

The best way to shake it? Call people on it (like Henry and his readers have been doing for months), and hope that the TrailBlazers stay out of trouble. There's not much else a fan can do.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 Tomorrow's News Today

We really do hate to pat ourselves on the back (no really, we do!), but the SacBee today reported that Luis Flores will be in camp and that Francisco Garcia did awesome when he represented the Dominican Republic at the FIBA Tournament.

Readers of knew about Flores Tuesday and Francisco at FIBA on Sept. 6.

The Bee does inform us that Bibby is taping an episode of "Wheel of Fortune" today, and it'll run around the start of the season. Now THAT's news you can use. Sorry that we missed the memo.

So, who's getting paid to do this? We forget.

(Yes, our head is so large that it's on the verge of exploding.)

Bill Laimbeer Without The Fangs's Mike Kahnranks Brad Miller at the 5th best center in the league. He also refers to Big Brad as "sort of a latter day Bill Laimbeer without the fangs.'' Photoshop, here we come!

This is probably Kahn's best ranking overall so far - he's done the other positions previously. Shaq is undoubtedly number one on the list, Yao is #2, Amare is #3 and Ben Wallace comes in at #4. All very fair, and all are better than Big Brad.

The Z, Camby, Magloire, Dalembert and Chandler fill out the top 10. The Chrises of Los Angeles (Mihm and Kaman) make the honorable mention list - but then again, so does about 12 other centers.

In his previous positional lists, Kahn had Bibby as the 6th best PG, Peja as the 7th best small forward and Shareef as a honorable mention PF (Webber - yes, 2005 Webber - ranked 8th on that list).

Mini-Carnival, Every Day

If you're not checking True Hoop a few times a day, you're way behind. Every weekday, Henry throws up an NBA roundup from around the web - like a mini-Carnival of the NBA.

Today's is monstrous - Laker rumors (hmm.. Christian Laettner or Michael Olowokandi? Which one would make us laugh harder?), the Sixers male dance team (guaranteed not to be as funny as the Warriors' guys) and Vitaly Potapenko's new shoes. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

World's Second Largest Ball of Twine

Two parts Kings bench shooting guards, one part former Peja back-up
Thanks to the intrepid posters at the Bleacher Mob Forum, a discussion on the long limbs of Kings youngsters Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia and former King Matt Barnes turns into a quip on Donald Sterling's frugality. Joke courtesy of TheBigO and Hallama.

Not in My House, Beyotch

The guys at 120 Proof Ball, where the only drinking problem is when there's not enough sauce to go around, collected some amusing tidbits from the world of sports. Among them, they reveal that Earl "The Munchkin" Boykins had 16 blocks last season.

We doubt they were of the "Not in my house, beyotch" variety, and guess that at least 75 percent of them were from behind or were strips (get your mind out of the gutter, Torsten). Can you imagine getting Noxema'ed by The Munchkin? That's a possible career-ending injury to the ego.

Bonzi: Not the Guy He Plays on T.V.

OK, so we've run out of clever puns involving the word "Bonzi." We've failed you - please find it in your heart to forgive us.

The Bonztacular One (whew) was on the Rise Guys this morning, chatting about second chances, defense and crappy golf scores. Less than informative and certainly not hard-hitting, but the interview gave some nice insight to who Bonzi will try to be in his Sacramento career. If KHTK archives it on the site, it's definitely worth a listen.

Bonzi's best quote was on his defense, where he told fans not to expect him to lock down the opposing two-guard every night. There's no doubt the trade for Bonzi immediately made him the best defender in the starting five - but really, a 65-year-old Bill Russell could be the best defender on this squad. But it appears Bonzi grasps that this team won't be holding many teams below 90 points this season, and also that the West still has some pretty decent SGs (hi, Kobe and Manu and Sugar Ray).

Bonzi came off of as incredibly personable and even funny (we laughed twice). Of course, he's not going to come out and be a jerk in one of his first media appearances in town, and the Men of Rise were obviously (and correctly) soft in their few questions about Bonzi's checkered past. He responded to one of those questions by saying he's "not the guy he plays on T.V." - that because he's a tough, physical, mouthy player, his rep as a meanie is blown up.

We were all for Bonzi when it was rumored, when it happened and when it appeared he would be the only big move. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was a fantastic signing, but who's to say the Bonzi move won't be bigger for this team if the one-year stint turns into a several-year tour. Perimeter toughness, a low post presence and some positional versality - that's a pretty good package for an oaf and damaged goods.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bull-lieve It Or Not

Ha ha, puns are like the nectar of God or something. Matt of the oft-linked-to Bulls Blog has penetrated mega-blog-corporation SportsBlog Nation with hoops goodness, introducing to all Blog-A-Bull - his new stomping ground.

Pay attention to Blog-A-Bull especially in the next few weeks, because if something breaks on Darius-to-CHI, Matt will definitely have it first (we'll be second - I blame time zone differences).

Also, congrats to a hoopsblogger making it big! Ad revenue ahead!

Santo Domingo North

Former Manhattan U. standout and Dominican national Luis Flores is reportedly about to be a King.

He's a 6'1 point guard, and would be the fourth one-guard on the roster. He's likely training camp or NBDL fodder, and will surely compete with rookie Ronnie Price for the last roster spot.

He played alongside Francisco Garcia in the recently completed Tournment of the Americas. Flores was the third-best player on the Dominican team (behind Garcia and center Jack Martinez), racking up 21.7 points per 40 minutes, 4.9 boards per 40 and a 1.77 assist-to-turnover ratio over eight games against questionable opponents (Charlie Bell was the "star" of the US team, and Tyus Edney was also prominently involved). He also put up a nice 59.5 true shooting percentage and shot a little better than 91 percent from the line.

I can't imagine four point guards make the squad this fall, and I can't imagine Bibby or Hart an all-expenses-paid season off. So all you, Utah Valley State and Manhattan U. fans - get ready for Ronnie v. Luis - coming this October.

Far Too Kind

Mega-super gambling blog Oddjack categorizes us pretty well:
We love obsessives. We love the type of people who use all sorts of math and shit to prove a point. And then there is Tom Ziller, whose Sacramento Kings worshipping is quite legendary, thanks to his SacKingsBlog.

Emphasis ours. We're so printing a t-shirt: SACKINGSBLOG: We use all sorts of math and shit to prove a point. Helluva motto. Thanks, AJ!

UPDATE (3:47 p.m.): Oddjack's sister site Deadspin (sorry, Will - not questioning your sexual identity) calls me "the Alan Greenspan of Sacramento Kings wagering." If they think I'm a nerd for throwing together a 30-minute spreadsheet on the team's performance against the spread, what'll they say when they see Dan Rosenbaum's adjusted defensive plus-minus rating system?

Vlade and Sactown, Sitting in a Tree

Everyone's favorite chain-smoking Serbian flop artist Vlade Divac has been raising money and collecting goods for the victims of Hurricance Katrina.

Being that he's still under contract with the Lakers, and his first American home was in L.A., you'd think he'd be doing all this down south. You'd be wrong. Vlade has been taking up the collection here in Sacramento, and we heard yesterday on KHTK that he was looking for a second truck because the good samaritans of the River City had donated too much for one truck.

It's clear Vlade will be officially retiring very soon - it's likely a matter of weeks. Some fans have suggested signing him to a one-year deal to back up Brad and help convince Peja to stay.

Rather, I'd like to see him on our bench as a coach. We don't really have young bigs we need help molding like the Lake Show does. But Vlade brings a sense of spirit this team seemed to be sorely lacking towards the end of last season.

We could use Vlade's spark, if even he never takes another dive for us.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Comments, Sadly Obliterated

Sick of the spam, has moved over to Haloscan for commenting purposes.

Unfortunately, along with the spam, we lost all our previous comments, including a couple from epicly quick commenter PookeyGuru and our first friendly regular reader ever, Carl from Arranging Matches.

Sorry, but let's fill these ones up!

Kings to Vegas, Explained!

Now we know why those Wild and Crazy Maloofs want to move the team to Las Vegas: it's all about the book, baby!

The Kings were .481 against the spread last season, according to's crack research team, making bookies everywhere a little richer. Here's the graphical breakdown by game location and size of spread:

Playoffs included. As an example, "Home Fav 10+" means that the Kings, playing at home, were favored to win by more than 10 points. "Pick" means Vegas threw up their hands and didn't give a line. "Dog," of course, is the opposite of "Fave." You get the idea.

You can also deduce that the Kings were favored in 54 games, expected to lose 29, and had 4 toss-up games. They ended up winning 51 total, which means bettors like the Kings a little too much (the sub .500 versus the spread figure also reveals that).

You can have at it with the data, too, if you're so Excel-inclined.

Here's the short and the long of this: based on last season, don't ever wager on the Kings when they're on the road, no matter the line. They suck at winning on the road, and they suck at covering the spread on the road.

If you are going to wager on the Kings, do it when they're at home and they're favored between six and nine points - they beat the spread almost 70 percent of the time last season. But in games Vegas thinks will be close, the Kings won't cover. It's probably because they lose a lot of close games. So there you go.

(And before anyone starts calling us stupid, we know the Kings -- and possibly the NBA -- would be off the books if the team moved to the Thomas & Mack Center. Any gains the sportsbook at The Palms would make from people thinking the Kings are better than they are and wagering on it would be thusly be negated. We know.)

Nick Denton, One Step Closer to World Domination

Damn that Nick Denton. With one fell swoop, he's arrived in sports blogdom, launching Deadspin earlier this week.

Denton is behind the Gawker Media empire, of course, which has such luminous blogs as Gawker, Wonkette and our favorite Oddjack in its stable.

Before you click, here's a sample of what you'll get from Deadspin: a post on the paternity suit recently served on Warrior Jason Richardson gets the headline of "Richardson Nailed For A Costly Dunk."

No Sacramento Kings posts yet, despite mentions of sporting luminaries Jerry Crasnick, Zach Duke and the University of Nevada freaking Wolfpack. We're sure, and the editors assure us, it's because of the slow NBA news month.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bananas in Boston

It's nice to know there's some hoops news in one NBA city. Check out the new-look Celtics Blog - there's tons to read. Red Auberach in the hospital (godspeed to the greatest coach ever), Pierce-to-Denver rumors (look kinda silly), Tony Allen allegedly involved in a shooting.

Any one of those things would dominate coverage in slow slow Sacramento, but we've got nothing. How many days until camp starts, exactly?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Royal Relief Effort

The Kings and radio home KHTK 1140 AM have put together a neat auction to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Among the items up for auction:

-A one-hour practice session for your kid with the Coach Pete Carril. (Coachie may or may not make your little one cry during that time.)

-Dinner with Geoff Petrie and his wife Ann Marie.

-A round of golf with Rick Adelman. (We bet he uses the same five clubs throughout the entire afternoon.)

-A video game challenge with a Kings player. (We choose Kevin Martin and F1 2004.)

-Guest host spots on The Rise Guys, Sportsline 1140 and SportsTalk with Jim Kozimor.

-And our personal favorite ... courtside tickets to watch Kings v. Timberwolves on Dec. 4 with the Maloofs following dinner in the Maloof Suite prepared by the Maloofs' personal chef. Mmm.

All auctions start at $1,000. As of noon Tuesday, there's one bid total... on a 2006 Monarchs road game package. (Yolanda Griffith's stalker lit up when he saw this auction item.) We assume bids will come in soon for all the auctions, however.

(Also, check out KNBR 680 AM's relief auction if you're a fan of the surging Giants, A's, Raiders, Niners, Sharks, Warriors (ha ha), Earthquakes or Sabercats. Great auction items there, too. The one for the W's -- starting at $2,500 -- includes a luxury suite for 16, four parking passes, food and drink and a Baron Davis signed jersey.)

If you would like to donate but you can't drop a couple large on these fabulous prizes, you can always visit the American Red Cross. Their minimum donation is $1. Also, several Sacramento radio stations will be broadcasting live from Arden Fair Mall today and tomorrow to collect funds.

Francisco, Dominican Scorer

Our rookie Francisco Garcia recently finished up playing the Tournament of the Americas, which serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Francisco was representing his home nation of the Dominican Republic, who also happen to host the tourney.

Francisco did awesome, scoring 23.4 per 40 minutes, 5.1 rebounds per 40 and 2.1 steals per 40. He got to the line a lot (9.4 attempts per 40) and shot a Peja-like 45% from three. His effective field goal %, which factors in the added values of threes, ended up being a very nice 63.3%. He was on the tournament's all-first team, even though the DR finished sixth and didn't qualify for the 2006 Worlds.

The bad? Well, he shot a smudge less than 70 percent from the line, and he had 27 turnovers with only 14 assists. Of course, he was the primary scorer on the squad -- but that's still almost 4 TOs a game.

Leandro Barbosa of the Suns, who repped Brazil, was probably the biggest NBA name in the tourney besides Francisco. Tyus Edney, Kris Lang and Charlie Bell were among the US representatives (the US did place fourth, just out of the medals but clinching a 2006 Worlds spot).

A couple of other players have gotten interest from the L based on their performances, including Brazilian guard and tourney MVP Marcelinho Machado, who seems to close to a deal with Cleveland, and Uruguayan Esteban Batista, who reportedly has a deal in place with Atlanta.

What's all this mean? Probably not much more than the summer league. At least we know that Francisco has found his shot. We'll see how that translates this preseason, which is, ladies and gentleman, only five weeks away.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hornets, Staying Close

I know it's not basketball, but um, the actual Sacramento State Hornets are only down 10-3 to the #19 Cal Bears at the halftime. And their QB is injured. And their back-up SUCKS. Like SUCKS.

Sac State could actually be leading this game. Absolutely insane. I mean, Vegas wouldn't even post a line for this game.

Our favorite red-headed sports broadcaster has been saying since the game was scheduled last spring that the Hornets would lose by more than 30. The line probably would've been around 40 or 45. This is insane.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. Whoops.

Peja: 7th Best At His Position?

Mike Kahn at FOXSports has Peja as the #7 small forward in the league.

There's little to argue with - King James tops the list, followed by Matrix (still riding that wave of fame - I doubt he'd have been top ten on this list a year ago), AK47, Richard Jefferson (kind of iffy), Artest, The Truth and Peja. Rashard, Melo and Lamar Odom round out the top ten.

Peja could certainly be better than Jefferson all-around, and could surpass Pierce this season if he grabs a couple more boards. That's the thing with Peja - you know what you're getting: Great shooting, offensive flow and decent defense (at least in the past two seasons). Those other guys are more unknown entities on a game-by-game basis.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Carnival of the NBA #15

It's with a heavy heart that this 15th edition of the Carnival of the NBA comes to you. All our minds are on not the hoops world, but the Gulf Coast. It's the most horrible tragedy of my life by far, and I have to admit my eyes have been glued to CNN, not ESPN or NBA TV.

If you can, please donate. Help is needed in New Orleans, Slidell, Gulfport and Biloxi, and they will need it for a long time to come. Blood is needed, as well. And homes for the refugees, too. Here's a comprehensive list of charities - there's something out there for everyone.

Ron at Hornets247 puts everything in perspective. Basketball hardly seems important right now. The fact that no one has heard from PJ Brown is very distressing - we all hope and pray he and his family are well, as we do about the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coasters, even if the images on CNN tell us otherwise.

With our hearts and minds on the victims of the disaster, here are the hoops links for this edition of the Carnival:

Henry at True Hoop has been blogging up a storm, per usual. He tackles the issue of publishing athlete-smoking-dope rumors on the internet, continues to discuss the Sebastian Telfair bio and grins at a Mighty Mouse quote about Pau Gasol (it's a must-read if you haven't seen).

Kurt at Lakers-blog Forum Blue and Gold thinks Jerry Colangelo is moving Team USA in the right direction by looking towards Kobe to join the squad. Kurt also attacks the notion that last year's team lacked fundamentals, pointing instead at the lack of proper scouting, the lack of understanding for the international game and the lack of a pure shooter.

The hilarious NBA Source looks at the funnier things in the NBA, including redhead players, Sir Charles's philosophy and Bob Marley's tattoos. There's also a second edition, which tackles Rasheed's bald spot, the Brian Cardinal Phenomenon and some laugh-out-loud quotes from Shaq.

Dave at The City - a Warriors blog - completes his end-of-season review by looking closely at Baron Davis and Derek Fisher. It's determined that if Todd Fuller were a point guard, he'd be about 20 percent of Baron.

The SportsBiz Blog looks at the cultural hurdles Adidas and Reebok will have to overcome to make their recent merger, citing their substantially different corporate cultures.

Todd, who runs Orlando-blog BELIEVING IN MAGIC, posts on why the Magic may very well be the least improved team in the league. Hard to argue with that, though I think the Warriors and Supersonics could compete for that title.

Nels at Give Me the Rock looks at the effect of Michael Finley on the Spurs and on fantasy basketball teams.

The readers of the imitable Celtics Blog compare and contrast two of Boston's funnier characters: Manny and Ricky.

Matt at Bulls Blog - the guy who started this whole Carnival thing - says next summer is the moment of truth for the franchise.

SuperSonicSoul - king of the brief post titles - has already granted new Sonic Mikki Moore a nickname and questions a "technological breakthrough" by the franchise that resembles Lil' Penny.

RaptorBlog contemplates the play-by-play guy's dark side.

Ryan at the aptly-named Ryan's Ramblings shakes his head at Earl Watson's decision to go to Denver.

When Dan Rosenbaum posts, everyone notices. His recent post on how high the bar is in terms of really grasping the statistics of basketball.

Celtics 17 addresses recent bad press surrounding Danny Ainge, both locally and nationally.

Runnin' With The Bulls likes the solid financial ground the Chicago franchise is building itself on.

Cavalier Attitude says Luke Jackson has a role on Cleveland's squad this year, despite getting the Darko treatment last season.

Motoring Pistons manages to wish Finley and the Spurs turmoil and conclude the Clippers have a superior line-up to the Lakers, all in one post.

Pacer Nation looks at possible trade scenarios to get under the cap.

A couple weeks ago, Crazy from the Heat compared recent Miami addition Gerald Fitch to recent tradee Andre Emmett.

Father Knickerbocker trolls around the NY Web and finds some entertaining musings from fans of variable knowledge bases.

Solid Gold questions the notion that George Karl's 2005 Nuggets are ready to compete with the elite of the 2006 Western Conference.

If it's a look of the best tantrum throwers in all of sports you want, 120 Proof Ball has you covered.

easyMarksman, a fantasy blog, discusses the player's that upped their fantasy value the most as the season ended. Vince Carter is prominently involved.

Despite Yao's Houston extension, Lakers blog Show Time is still looking forward to 2007, when Dirk, Rashard and The Truth and Vinsanity are all on the market.

Rising Suns is disappointed about Finley-to-the-Spurs, to say the least. Spur of the Moment, on the other hand, wonders about Fin's defense.

Visit these blogs, bookmark them and feel free to leave comments and read other posts! There's a ton of great hoops writers out there not getting paid by ESPN or SI or CBSSportsline. Support 'em!

And please give what you can to help preserve and rebuild lives.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Cash? You Can Still Help

As a recent college grad, I know how it is to not have any spare cash.

But there are ways you can help those devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods - give blood. Sacramento has a number of blood centers - the link can help you find one wherever you are.

The sick and injured need help down there, and they will need it for some time to come. If you can't afford to slice a little green off the top of your paycheck, then please try to help another way.

Tom Ziller

The Sacramento Kings are a tough act to follow, literally.

SKB does the dirty work so you can forget about the blood, sweat and tears.

Oh, you'll still need the tears in April, though.

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