Q: I know it’s impossible. But, for argument’s sake, the Knicks grab the 8 seed, and then beat the Heat in the first round, would that be the greatest sports upset ever? Would USA-USSR 1980 finally be outdone?
—Mike, New York, NY
Only took us one question to get to more mindless hyperbole. People are fucking idiots. They really are.
SG: Settle down. Besides, it wouldn’t even be the greatest NBA first-round upset ever.
[Denver-Seattle 1994 video]
And I'm not even sure that's right--the 1994 Sonics won 63 games while the 1994 Nuggets won 42. That was a five game series, which makes things easier on the underdog. The Nuggets also had a +1.5 PPG differential over their opponents. In 2007, the 42 win Warriors beat the 67 win Mavericks in a seven game series, and that Warriors team was outscored by their opponents on the season.
Q: Could you see Kevin Ollie being the next coach of the Thunder if they crash and burn in the playoffs?
—Ricardo, McAllen, TX
SG: Had the same thought as I watched Ollie coach his ass off last weekend, then abandoned that thought last night when I remembered that OKC can still make the 2014 Finals because they’re such a horrendous matchup for the Spurs.
“Most definitely. Kevin Ollie, he was a game-changer for us. He changed the whole culture, I think. He might not say it, but he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City.
Now, I can’t see the Thunder changing coaches unless they get bounced in Round 1. Not because they’d be unhappy with Scott Brooks, but because they’re too friggin’ cheap to pay two coaches.
Q: I’m ready for your annual trade value column.
—Jake, Gold Beach, OR
SG: That was this month’s winner of the Backhanded Compliment Award.
Q: I can’t think of a scenario where Frank Kaminsky isn’t at least useful in the NBA. Seven feet, can shoot it from anywhere, quick, good free throw shooter, good intangibles. I spent 30 minutes trying to find him in the top 100 NBA prospects, but could not. Am I missing something?
—David Moore, Charleston
SG: FRANK KAMINSKY SHOULD BE A LOTTERY PICK! WHAT IS EVERYONE MISSING HERE?
(See, I love overreacting.
Q: What would be the most IMPROBABLE BUT FUN thing that could happen in the 2014 NBA Playoffs?
1. “The Heat are swept in any round”
2. “Knicks enter as 8 seed and beat Indiana or Miami”
3. “Phoenix goes to the Conference Finals”
4. “It gets leaked that Prokhorov offered 5 hookers to each Net if they won the East.”
What are we missing?
—Mauricio, Santa Monica
SG: You missed the comedy of NBA TV getting stuck with every single Indiana-Charlotte game. Has that ever happened before? An entire series getting the NBA TV hammer?
Q: I almost died when I read the title of this TED talk: “Dan Gilbert: Why We Make Bad Decisions.” Unfortunately, it’s not the Cavs owner, just a namesake. But imagine if it were!
—Francois Aube, Montreal
Player A: 21.6 ppg, 6.4 APG, 41.7 fg%, 32.4 3-point%
Player B: 21.3 ppg, 8.9 APG, 42.8 fg%, 33.5 3-point%
Player C: 21.1 ppg, 6.2 APG, 42.8 fg%, 36.6 3-point%
Player A is Steve Francis Year 3.
Player B is Stephon Marbury Year 3.
Player C is Kyrie Irving Year 3.
—Kyle B., Indy
Q: Look at this.
Player A: 20.7 ppg, 6.4 apg, 1.3 spg, 3 tpg, 45.3 fg%, 35.4% 3fg.
Player B: 21.1 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 spg, 2.7 tpg, 42.8 fg%, 36.6 3fg%.
Player A is Isaiah Thomas. Player B is Kyrie Irving.
—Aamir Shakir, San Francisco
SG: My counter to Kyle and Aamir …
Player A: 21.1 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.6 rpg, 43.1 FG%, 36.6 3FG%, 20.1 PER
Player B: 21.3 ppg, 6.9 apg, 3.3 rpg, 43.8 FG%, 29.1 3FG%, 21.6 PER
Player A? Kyrie. Player B? Devin Harris in 2009.
(YES! I just won the “Who Could Freak Cleveland Fans Out The Most With a Blind Player Comparison To Kyrie Irving” Contest!!!)
Q: What is your opinion on Vivek Ranadive’s “V Plan” to stop tanking?
—Lawrence Faulkner, Sacramento
For those who don't want to click the link, the Kings' owner's idea is to 1) freeze the lottery order at the All Star Break, which, no, and 2) implement the idea Bill has presented many times (but almost surely didn't make up) of the top seven teams in each conference making the playoffs, and then the eighth spot going to the winner of a single elimination tournament among the remaining teams in each conference. Bill has a name for it--it's too dumb for me to reference it here. Nevertheless, rest assured that A) these are idiotic ideas and B) Lawrence Faulkner from Sacramento should be kicked in the balls for pandering to Bill like this. "Hey Bill, this guy likes and idea you like! What do you think of his thoughts on your idea???"
SG: Put it this way — if I bought a small-market team, gave my polarizing young head case a massive extension, overpaid an injury-prone free agent to become the sixth power forward on my roster, told my local TV cameras to shoot my reactions as much as possible during our home games, then traded for one of the league’s worst contracts who doubled as the least popular player in the advanced metrics community at the time, I would not have the balls to call this “The B.S. Plan.” Just kidding, Vivek. But you might want to check the Internet.
In retrospect, though, what’s worse: Tankapalooza 2007 or a young team winning two straight lotteries? Did it negatively impact TV ratings, attendance or general fan interest to have a suddenly stacked Magic team? Were you turning off your TV in the mid-’90s because Shaq and Penny were on? The NBA’s crucial mistake was forgetting that it’s better to have more quality teams, even at the expense of a few extra doormats. This isn’t the NFL; parity can’t work.
Q: Could you please make sure that near the end of the NBA season you tease us with a breakdown of what your Entertaining-as-Hell Tournament would look like?
—Scott Scattergood, Korea
SG: I thought the lopsided 2013-14 NBA season vindicated the Entertaining As Hell Tournament premise.
When the 2014 Suns can miss the playoffs and the Knicks can make it, we’re fundamentally doing something wrong.
OK, so here’s how the EAHT would play out if the season ended on Wednesday (before Thursday’s games). Remember, here’s the premise: The top seven seeds in each conference make the playoffs, then it’s a single-elimination tournament for the last two playoff spots.
First-Round Winners: No. 1 Memphis over no. 16 Milwaukee (“Welcome to Tru TV!”) … no. 2 Phoenix over no. 15 Philly (Sam Hinkie: “Hey, Thad and MCW, it’s OK to try in this one”) … no. 3 Minnesota over no. 14 Orlando (yes, ’Sota could absolutely blow this game) … no. 13 Boston over no. 4 Denver (OUR FIRST UPSET! LET’S GO CELTS! HERE WE GO GREEN!!!!!!!) …
Lingering first-round thoughts: Can you really go wrong with a single-elimination tournament featuring
Second-Round Winners (re-seeding): No. 13 Boston over no. 1 Memphis (MASSIVE UPSET! BRAD STEVENS LOVES TOURNAMENTS!!!!! RONDO WITH A 17-19-16!!!!!!) … just kidding, no. 1 Memphis over no. 13 Boston (golf clap for the C’s) …
Lingering second-round thoughts: I really, really, really, really, really enjoyed pretending to watch all of those games. Look at what we accomplished already. We convinced Kobe to come back.
Final Four Winners: no. 1 Memphis over no. 8 Cleveland (too much Big Spain, too much Z-Bo, too much Mike Brown), and no. 7 New Orleans over no. 2 Phoenix (the Brow! The Brow! THE BROW!!!!!!!!!!!).
Excellent fake cheering. Top notch fake fanboyism.
All right, so we found our last two playoff teams. Now what? The more I think about it, the more I think (a) the EAHT should end after three rounds (it doesn’t make sense to have a championship game),
So, why not? Why wouldn’t we want an extra week of rest for the best playoff teams?
And doesn’t re-seeding 1-through-16 for the actual playoffs, NCAA-style, make more sense than what we’re doing now? You’d still have your best team in each conference on opposite sides of the bracket,
How would the EAHT affect tanking?
Worst Six Teams: 9 percent chance of winning
Worst Teams 7 through 12: 4 percent chance of winning
Worst Teams 13 through 16: 2 percent chance of winning
Wait, that’s only 86 percent. Hmmmmmmm … let’s give each of the 14 playoff teams 1 percent odds. That’s right, we’re putting everyone in! TRY TANKING NOW!!!
Oh, and Adam Silver? You’re shopping your next slew of media rights packages right now to ESPN/ABC, Turner, Fox and everyone else, right? And you’re thinking about adding a third package that includes a Saturday-night regular-season bundle, right? Wouldn’t it make the most sense to combine that bundle with the Entertaining As Hell Tournament into a third, mack-daddy package?