Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Too Deep

This article is to announce the end of High Basketball IQ as we know it.

It is with great sadness that I make this announcement because I truly love writing about the NBA here.

But let there be no doubt that at this point I am simply in too deep.

Since I started HBIQ (known as "Basketball IQ" back then), the task of completing stories has become much greater than I ever imagined it would. This blog started with no direction and as a hobby to keep me occupied while I was between jobs in my chosen profession.

But the more I got into it the more serious and focused it became, and the amount of prep time for each story became more and more, more film study, more reading other writers to stay ahead, more stats, more research, more games, more thinking and figuring, more pioneering, more analysis, more detail, more professionalism, more fact-checking, more editing, more everything.

And it has gotten to the point where I can no longer give the time required to maintain the high standard I have set for myself here.

I may still post stories from time to time, but they likely won't have the same depth, scope and frequency as they have in the past.

I apologize to all of my readers and everyone who has supported me and thank you for that support. Nothing would please me more than to continue covering the NBA as you have come to expect.

Unfortunately, I can no longer do it.

Best wishes to all of the writers out there who continue to cover the NBA and give readers what they need to help them understand the game better and enjoy it more.

See you around.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

News And Views

Minnesota introduced new coach Rick Adelman on Wednesday.


No team in the NBA was more poorly coached and in more desperate need of a good coach than Minnesota.

And David Kahn did a wonderful job of bringing in a guy who has everything it takes to turn the franchise around.

You never know with these coaching hires.

And I can't say for sure that Adelman will succeed in Minnesota, but there is absolutely no doubt that Kahn did his job by putting Minnesota in the best position to win.

There is nothing more you can ask of him than that.

Credit must also be given to owner Glen Taylor for doing what it took financially to get the deal done.

I want to introduce some new terminology.

When people talk about shooting guards and small forwards, they refer to them as "wings." And when they refer to power forwards and centers, they call them "bigs."

I've never liked the terms wings and bigs.

So when I write about what people call wings, I'll refer to them as 23s because shooting guards are also called "twos" and small forwards "threes."

And when I write about bigs I'll call them 45s because power forwards are called "fours" and centers "fives."

Point guards will be labeled 1s.

So when you see me writing about 1s, 23s and 45s, you'll know what I mean.

This Stephen Jackson trade is starting to grow on me.

It's why it is sometimes best to not do an instant reaction when a trade goes down.

I was extremely high on Milwaukee last year. Injuries totally derailed their season.

When they picked up Jackson in a three-team trade back in June, at first I thought they were throwing in the towel, a small-market team that took its shot and gave up too soon to save money when it didn't work out.

But the more I look at this team, the more I like it. I like the combinations they have at almost all positions.

The one hole I see is at small forward.

Carlos Delfino is a good player, but I don't think he's good enough to be a starter on this team if they want to be a legitimate contender.

A higher-caliber, starting small forward who can push Delfino to the bench would make Milwaukee a serious threat.

That is assuming Scott Skiles is up to the task.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kevin Love: 2010-11 Season Highlights

Minnesota had a rough season.

One of the few bright spots was forward Kevin Love.

Love had a breakout season and established himself as a rising star in the NBA.

Included in these highlights are some very high compliments from some of the guys Love competed against, including Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutiser@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Amar'e Stoudemire: An Open Letter To NYC

When Amar'e Stoudemire signed with New York last summer it was the first step toward what the team hoped would be championship contention.

Carmelo Anthony soon followed, and the team now has the start of a core which may be able to take them all the way.

Stoudemire boldly stated, "The Knicks are back."

And New York made the playoffs and brought true excitement to the Garden for the first time in years.

Balling to the Beastie Boys and "An Open Letter to NYC," take a look at Stoudemire's highlights from his first season in New York.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

Josh Smith: This Is War

The Atlanta Hawks shocked everyone by nearly making it to the Eastern Conference finals last season.

And versatile forward Josh Smith was a big reason why.

Smith, Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia and the rest of the Hawks were ready for battle.

30 Seconds to Mars and Josh Smith highlights, "This is War."

It's a brave new world.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Devin Harris: Smooth Operator

The Utah Jazz trade of Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets is swinging in Utah's favor more and more every day.

Not only did Utah get Derrick Favors and two first-round picks, they also netted a starting point guard who is right outside the group of top point guards and still in his prime.

Devin Harris is a smooth operator.

And these are his Jazz highlights to Rage Against the Machine's version of Eric B and Rakim's "Microphone Fiend."

Silly rabbits.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shaun Livingston 2010-11 Season Highlights

This is a feel-good highlight reel.

Shaun Livingston suffered a major setback early in his career. I always liked his game, but I thought he would never make it back this far.

And I just feel like his accomplishment and his perseverance should be celebrated.

"The play" is not included in the highlights.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

SPS: The Holy Grail

In writing about DeShawn Stevenson a while back I leaked my most top-secret player evaluation tool.

I had no idea what would happen after I leaked the information, but since that time at least one well-known writer has silently slipped the tool into his player-evaluation toolbox.

So now that the cat is out of the bag, I might as well go ahead a release the entire system.

It is called situational performance splits, or SPS.

SPS is the reason why I keep praising Baron Davis while others keep ripping him and why I had TJ Ford rated as my top free-agent point guard before I did away with the list.

Any good player evaluation system should look to find players who will lead their teams to championships.

And SPS does that by paying less attention to games which take place outside of championship environments and focusing more on players and how they perform against the best players and best teams and in the biggest games.

And if it involves the final two minutes of a one-possession game, that's even better.

Whenever I'm watching games and breaking down players I pay very close attention to the following things, which make up the essence of SPS.


After a team reaches the second round of the playoffs, you can pretty much bet that the teams are going to be loaded with the best players in the league.

In order to know if a guy can lead a team past this point, you have to know how he performs against the best players in the league at his position.

So whenever you're watching games, pay particular attention to specific matchups against top players. And at the very least you want to see specific matchups against very good players.

Some guys are better on one side of the court.

In these cases, for example, you would want to watch how a small forward plays on offense against Ron Artest and Tony Allen and on defense against Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce to get an idea of what he is capable of in big games.

Carmelo Anthony is someone who scores highly on my board.

For all of the stat-geek criticism, Anthony sports a 10-1 career record against Kevin Durant and a 9-4 career record against LeBron James.

And based on the swag and audacity Anthony plays with when he plays against James, I would never know James was the better player.

Anthony goes hard at James like James is some scrub in a pickup game at Rucker Park.

And that's what you look for in these individual matchups, guys who don't back down against the best competition.

And guys who are productive and win against the best competition and relish the opportunity to go against it rate highly in SPS.

It must also be pointed out that good performance is very much a product of good coaching and good teammates.

To find out why someone is underperforming you may have to look beyond his individual shortcomings and look at the coach he's playing for, the system he's playing in and the teammates he's playing with.


The next thing you want to look at is team matchup.

Specifically, you want to see how someone does on offense against the best defensive teams and how they do on defense against the best offensive teams and how they do against the teams with the best records and coaches in the NBA.

All information against teams like Minnesota and New Jersey must be excluded.

Based on last year's coaches, rosters and records the following teams would be of best use: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

And of course, things change.

Denver, Memphis and Portland were all on fire toward the end of the season. And Oklahoma City played much better after Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed were integrated into the lineup.

So games against those teams during that time would be useful as well.

But I wouldn't go much further than that because you start getting into serious mediocrity at the coaching and/or talent levels after that point.


All games are not created equally. Some games are simply bigger than others.

And SPS looks to identify those big games and draw more conclusions from them than the other games on the schedule.

What is at stake here?

That is what you want to find out in determining the magnitude of a game.

Is it a NBA championship? A series? A division title or playoff berth? A reputation? Nothing?

It goes without saying that in order to win it all a team is going to have to win some big games, and at least some of them on the road.

And you can't win big games without big-game players.

As best as I could I built a list of the biggest games, in order of importance:

1. NBA Finals games
2. Conference finals games
3. Second round playoff games
4. First round playoff games
5. Elimination games
6. Playoff position games during the last few weeks of the season
7. Games after the All-Star break
8. Games against top teams and players
9. Playoff position games before the last few weeks of the season
10. Road games, especially those in hostile environments
11. Games during long winning streaks (in general, 10 or more wins)
12. Games on national television

Some of those categories blend into one another.

In short, what you're trying to do is turn the pressure, the intensity, the competition and the attention levels way up to get them to match what someone will face as he tries to win deeper in the playoffs.

And playoff games clearly get bigger the further you go into a series, with game seven of the NBA Finals being the biggest game possible.

Watching guys under these circumstances tells you all you need to know about them.

Coaches too.


When I say game situation I am obviously talking about the clutch, the last two minutes of one-possession games.

Getting back to TJ Ford, he led Indiana to a win over the Lakers in Los Angeles six days after beating the Heat in Miami. And Baron Davis also has a few wins over the Lakers and Heat (one with the lowly Cavaliers) on his resume from last season.

Ford led the charge in Indiana's win over Los Angeles by flawlessly executing clutch plays down the stretch.

His play was what basketball is all about.

Let's take a look at the SPS factors and try to put some sort of value on the win.

There are some qualifiers.

Andrew Bynum didn't play. He was matched up individually against Steve Blake, who isn't a very good player. Although it clearly became a big game by the end, this wasn't a big game for Los Angeles coming in.

So you could say Indiana was able to sneak up on them and catch them by surprise with their strong play. And because it was so early in the season and the teams' records so far apart, there was very little at stake.

All that being said, this was still a significant accomplishment.

TJ Ford led lowly Indiana to a victory over the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers by outdueling Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the clutch, on their home floor.

I don't have a problem with that victory.

In addition, Ford led Texas to the Final Four in college and took Milwaukee and Toronto (Milwaukee and Toronto!) to the playoffs two times each.

And there is no doubt he would have helped Indiana to the playoffs with a much better record last season had he not been benched in the middle of the season for no good reason.

Mike Bibby is the only one who can match Ford's level of accomplishment among free-agent point guards, but Ford is younger than Bibby and significantly more athletic.

And that is my ultimate player evaluation tool, and it is the Holy Grail of player evaluation systems.

So when you read my work and see that I seem to be speaking a different language and operating on a different wavelength than others who cover the NBA, now you'll know why.

We are looking at two totally different things, at least.

I put little stock in 82-game performance. I put my stock in situational performance and try to pick the situations which most resemble championship caliber.

And I seek out and praise players who excel in those situations, among others.

Note: HBIQ is notorious for jinxing players and teams.

So now that I have big-upped Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis and TJ Ford don't be surprised if they totally flame out and suck beyond all recognition for the rest of their careers.

But don't let that discourage you from using the system.

It works fine as long as I'm not the one issuing the praise.

Carmelo Anthony's career record against Kevin Durant was posted by Sarcastic on Inside Hoops. His records against Durant and LeBron James are from Basketball Reference.

And TJ Ford had Milwaukee in the playoffs during his rookie season before he got injured and missed the rest of the season. Milwaukee went on to make the playoffs without him.

I counted that in his favor because there is little doubt they would have done the same with him healthy and in the lineup.

Some of the additional Ford information I learned from Mark Medina.

To wrap it up, I would like to say that I am only one man and can't possibly keep track of all of this information by myself.

But I do the best I can with what I have.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Manu Ginobili: Let Me Entertain You

This is a Manu Ginobili highlight reel to "Let Me Entertain You" by Robbie Williams.

Although he doesn't get much fanfare, Ginobili is well respected for his game.

And he deserves every bit of it and more.

So let him entertain you.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Advanced Passing Stats: The Nickel And More

It's been too long since the last time I brought out some advanced statistics.

But it's that time again.

Passing is the part of the game I've been working on most recently.

So I want to show everyone what I've been working on and get you all familiar with these concepts.


A nickel is when a guy makes a nice pass only to have his teammate (1) miss an open jumper, (2) get fouled, (3) turn the ball over or (4) miss a shot close to the rim.

Nickels will generally be credited only for the fouls and turnovers which take place close to the rim.

And missed contested jumpers aren't nickels because there is no real expectation for a make on contested jumpers, and getting someone a contested shot isn't an indicator of strong passing ability.

Missed shots close to the rim which are contested will be judgment calls.

For misses where it is determined that the contest was a major factor in the miss, no nickel will be credited. For misses where it is determined that the contest didn't play a major factor in the miss, a nickel will be credited.

And when a player is fouled off of a nice pass and goes to the line and makes one free throw, the passer will get a nickel and a penny (or six cents); and when the player makes both free throws the passer will be given a nickel and two pennies (or seven cents).

To see this in action, let's look at Terrence Williams in his debut with the Houston Rockets.

Williams makes three nice passes here: plays starting at 1:42 to Patrick Patterson, 2:41 to Jared Jeffries and 3:08 to Courtney Lee.

But Patterson is fouled. Jeffries misses a layup. And Lee misses a three.

In these scenarios, Williams would be credited with three nickels plus the penny from Patterson's made free throw.

Looking at Williams' box score, you wouldn't think he did much of anything in this game. But the story from the ground paints an entirely different picture.

Looking at the game, you can see Williams was effective and made contributions to the team which the box score didn't capture.

And that is what the nickel is here to do, give what the box score doesn't and properly evaluate every player's passing skills.


This is an extension of the hockey assist, but it takes it a bit further to include not only the pass before the pass but all passes before the pass leading to a made basket.

Let's look at an imaginary scenario to see how it works.

Shaquille O'Neal passes the ball from the post out to Kobe Byrant, who swings it over to Rick Fox, who kicks it over to Ron Harper, who whips it over to Robert Horry for a three.

I know Kobe Bryant would fire up a shot the second the ball grazed his fingertips (I kid, LOL!). That's why I said this is an imaginary scenario.

In this case, here is how the assist would look: team assist: O'Neal-Bryant-Fox-Harper.

The last person listed in the assist string (Ron Harper) is the one who gets credit for the individual assist.

Looking at another imaginary play, let's say Kevin Love gets a rebound and zips an outlet pass to Ricky Rubio and three-quarter court.

Rubio throws a touch pass to Wes Johnson under the basket, and Johnson dishes a behind-the-back pass to Michael Beasley for a dunk.

The assist string would look like this: team assist: Love-Rubio-Johnson.

Calls will have to be made as to exactly where the assist string begins, but this is for rapid-succession passes which lead to made shots.

It's not for guys who catch a pass and hold it for five seconds, then dribble around and pass it to another guy who holds it for five seconds and dribbles it around some more.

It is for quick passes leading to buckets.

And it is designed to reward team play and give everyone credit for their contribution to the field goal.


Extra passes create better team chemistry. And better team chemistry leads to wins.

An extra pass is when someone has an open shot and passes it up to give a teammate a shot.

Guys who make the extra pass are unselfish, team players who make offenses go and who everyone loves playing with.

And the camaraderie they bring with their unselfishness brings the team closer together and encourages others to do the same.

So I'll be looking at guys who make the extra pass and what impact it has on how their teams perform.

And it is well understood that you don't want to get too carried away with these extra passes to the point where it hurts the team.

As I say with all of my advanced statistics, I don't have anywhere near the resources or the manpower to track and log this information as I would like.

But I will track some games or parts of games from time to time.

Note: It took me years to come up with the name nickel for the concept of one-half of an assist.

It finally came from the realization that you need two things to get an assist, or a dime: (1) a pass and (2) a made shot. A pass and a missed shot is half of an assist, or half of a dime.

So I named it the nickel. Sounds simple but it was really hard.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Bad News Wolves

Last year, the Minnesota Timberwolves had one of the weirdest seasons I have ever seen of any team in any sport.

What started as a season of promise and potential devolved into a season of misery and frustration and left Minnesota without a coach and without a major step forward in the process of winning.

I want to take a look back at some of the unbelievable things which happened to Minnesota last season and contributed heavily to their comic losing.

Sometimes you have to laugh to stop from crying.


Things actually started quite well for them.

They came out in the preseason and jumped out to a 5-1 record, and Martell Webster was looking like Michael Jordan the way he was able to finish difficult layups in traffic.

On top of that, he was on fire, drilling shots from all over the court and establishing himself as a powerful weapon for the team.

Minnesota created a little national sizzle after their fast start.

Then an old back injury flared up and required surgery and required Webster to miss the first six weeks of the season.

Even when he came back, he rarely was able to have the same impact he was having in those few preseason games or that he had at times in Portland.

It was the first sign of many bad things to come.

The Timberwolves played at Orlando in early November.

Orland was scheduled to play in New York the night before, but the game was postponed due to asbestos at Madison Square Garden.

Instead of playing an Orlando team which had flown in and played in New York the night before, they played a team on more than four days rest and which still had the bad taste in their mouths of being blown out by Miami in their last game.

The result was a disaster.

Not saying Minnesota would have won the game or anything, but they probably wouldn't have lost by 42 points.

In what had to be the funniest moment of the season (not the ankle sprain but the timing), Darko Milicic sprained his ankle against Portland on the opening tip.

The opening tip!

How do you sprain your ankle on the opening tip?

And I'm not lying. You can look it up. This is tragic stuff.

And Nikola Pekovic, one of his backups, sprained his ankle in about two minutes in the same game.

Again, tragic stuff.

Minnesota played the early part of the season without the injured Jonny Flynn.

When Flynn finally came back, he was to play a few games in the development league to help his rehab.

At least one more game in the development league was scheduled for Flynn. But he got caught in a snowstorm and couldn't play because the game was canceled.

I swear I'm not making this up.

After losing 11 of 12 games, Minnesota was able to get a breakthrough win in a blowout over Toronto only to see Luke Ridnour have to leave the team for personal reasons before the next game and miss the next six.

And after winning four of eight games in early March it seemed the team was undone by untimely reports that Kurt Rambis would be fired after the season.

They would lose their next 15 games.

And that pretty much sums up the season for the Timberwolves.

It was a disaster movie.

As bad as Kurt Rambis was, and he was bad, you can't blame him entirely for the 17 wins.

And you can't entirely blame the players.

Last season it was like the Timberwolves were riding on the Titanic as the special guests of a man named Murphys and his favorite son Law.

It was that bad.

So as Minnesota looks for a new coach and tries to capitalize on the buzz created by the breakout seasons of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley and the arrivals of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams, we can only hope that next season is better than last.

It can't get any worse.

But that's what I thought last year.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

LaMarcus Aldridge: All The Right Moves

LaMarcus Aldridge really came into his own last year.

For about two months he basically set anyone who stood in front of him on fire, and his season is the perfect example of why you can't measure someone by All-Star appearances.

This is his reel to "All the Right Moves" by OneRepublic, a song I love.

And for good measure, let's throw in some Gerald Wallace from his time in the Great Northwest.

I like the way things are looking up there.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

John Wall Mix: Put It On The Line

These are John Wall's rookie season clips to the song "Put It on the Line" by CIU.

Washington has a lot of good, young players and added three more prospects in the draft last month.

And they have new uniforms. Things are getting interesting in DC.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Look Around The NBA

I tried to put together a list of top free agents yesterday and ran into a huge problem.

I couldn't do it.

This is my top five: (1) Tyson Chandler, (2) Marc Gasol, (3) Samuel Dalembert, (4) TJ Ford and (5) Jeff Green.

The list was based on making myself the general manager of a NBA team trying to put together a group to win a championship and listing the guys in the order that I would try to sign them.

But what about Oklahoma City?

There is no way they would go after Chandler when they already have Serge Ibaka, who does essentially the same thing.

Marc Gasol would be their first choice.

As I looked through the rest of the 15 guys, I saw this same thing everywhere.

You can't definitively rank individual players. You have to know the teammates they will be playing with and the coach they will be playing for.

I ended up scrapping the list and killing the story.

Mike Prada completely disrespected DeShawn Stevenson and himself last week when he wrote that there are "plenty" of guys in the D-League who can fill in for Stevenson in a pinch.

He deserves a $1,000 fine and a one-week suspension for lack of basketball knowledge.

Reducing Stevenson's contributions to threes and D is insulting and makes me wonder what games Prada was watching, not to mention that Stevenson's threes and defense were against the best players and teams and on the biggest stage the game has to offer.

I'll let Tyson Chandler, someone who knows what he is talking about, describe some of the other things Stevenson provided Dallas.

In short, Chandler is saying Stevenson knows how to play basketball.

Knowing how to play the game may be a "minimal" contribution in Prada's eyes, but it's invaluable to this little thing called "winning."

Being unselfish and a total team player? Means nothing. Minimal contributions.

And Chandler forgot to mention that Stevenson can bring the ball up the floor and initiate the offense, like he did at times during their playoff run.

Zach Lowe, in a wildly inaccurate and reckless statement, wrote that Mike Bibby "can't guard anyone." Lowe should know better.

Ask Rajon Rondo about Mike Bibby's defense.

And ask Derrick Rose. Bibby played so well against Rose that even the player-haters at Heat Index had to give it up to him for his defense.

Bibby did struggle against JJ Barea in the Finals, and I can't explain his playoff-long shooting slump, but to write that he can't guard anyone is false and irresponsible.

If Lowe made that statement on the witness stand, he would be prosecuted for lying under oath.

Finally, David Kahn made the news again.

Not that he actually did anything, so the best way to put it would be that the media made David Kahn make the news again.

Kahn fired Kurt Rambis, but apparently there are standing orders at every media outlet that no story about Kahn can be written without portraying him in the worst possible light.

So the narrative developed that Kahn took too long and is some sort of bad guy for not firing Rambis three months ago.


As far as I'm concerned, anyone towing the "David Kahn is a buffoon/bad guy" company line is a peon.

Fortunately for you, I am my own man; so you'll never have to worry about me following the crowd or being bullied into writing something I don't truly believe.

It's one of the many perks of being independent.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DeMar DeRozan Mix: Toronto Star

Everyone should remember DeMar DeRozan from the dunk contest.

His "Show Stopper" dunk was one of the best we've seen and certainly had the crowd and the announcers buzzing.

But most people probably don't know DeRozan from watching Toronto games.

He's turned into a pretty good player and is a rising star in the NBA as long as he continues to work hard and improve his game.

Here are some of his highlights. Music starts at 2:07.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Film Room: Michael Jordan's Defense

These are the highlights that didn't make SportsCenter.

But don't think for one second that they weren't just as important to the greatness of Michael Jordan as the switch of hands, the shots on Craig Ehlo and Bryon Russell, the cradle dunks and all of the other Jordan plays that you see all the time.

Although Carmelo Anthony, Monta Ellis and Amar'e Stoudemire receive all of the criticism, there are many more players in the NBA who to one degree or another need to step up their games defensively.

And Michael Jordan is here to show everyone how to do it.

Notice how spectacular he is at so many different aspects of defense: ball denial, being physical, staying in front of his man and stopping dribble penetration, helping his teammates out, hustling and never giving up plays, reading and anticipating plays and taking the ball away from the other team.


Jordan was kind enough to tell exactly how he was able to pull most of these things off.

It started with his mental approach to the game and knowing the strengths and weakness of his opponents and trying to force them to do things they weren't comfortable doing.

Techniques like off-ball defense and keeping his eyes on his man and the ball at the same time helped him as well.

This is how it looks in game situations.

His defensive stance and the placement of his hands to block the passing lane with one and swat at the ball with the other helped him contain his man and get steals.

And eating right, staying in shape and getting plenty of rest gave him the energy to go all out and be a force on both ends of the floor.

There it is.

Michael Jordan, who is a great teacher, has laid a solid foundation for defensive improvement; so don't blame him if guys aren't better on defense.

And don't blame Scottie Pippen.

Between the two of them, those in the NBA have all of the examples they need to dominate the defensive end of the floor.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Just A Dream: Vince Carter And Nelly

Do you remember Vince Carter?

I mean do you really remember Vince Carter? Or did you think it was all just a dream?

This is Carter to Nelly's song "Just a Dream."

Let's travel back down that road.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Never Too Late: Allen Iverson Mix

Allen Iverson was recently quoted saying he wants to finish his career in the NBA.

Three Days Grace wants him to know that it's "Never Too Late."

That's the song from the band used on this Iverson reel.

And here is some more Allen Iverson for those who want an extended version.

They're right. It's never too late.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Thursday, June 30, 2011

110th Street: Baron Davis And Bobby Womack

This video makes me want to cry.

First of all, the song is a classic, "Across 110th Street" by Bobby Womack.

But the soulful track only makes me miss seeing Baron Davis play for the Clippers even more.

The film is one of the best I've seen.

It has the look and the feel of something straight out of Hollywood, with professional credits and everything.

And at the same time it is a sad reminder of how much fun it was watching Davis play with Blake Griffin and how those days are over, never to be seen again.

There's no telling how long it will take Los Angeles to find another point guard like Davis, a big-game player with an extremely high basketball IQ who can dominate a game on both ends of the floor.

So let's look back and have fun with the little time we had.

The movie starts at 1:14.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Tried: LeBron, Bone And Akon

Fasten your seat belts!

This is what I'm talking about, baby!

This is how you make a mix!

Take a hit song which relates to the person you're making the mix for and go from there.

The song is "I Tried" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (From Cleveland) and Akon.

It really makes you feel for LeBron James and his struggle to win a championship.

The second song (with a few bad words) is "Till I'm Gone" by Tinie Tempah and Wiz Khalifa, which basically vows that James will "be back one day."

Hot stuff.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Highlights: Kobe, Music By Lil Wayne

When the best rapper in the game makes a song about the best basketball player in the game and someone makes a cool highlight reel out of it, you almost have to show it.*

At least, that's my thinking anyway.

The song is "Kobe Bryant" by Lil Wayne, and the game is Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Have fun and enjoy!

*Note: Calling Bryant and Wayne the best is not my personal opinion but me expressing what many people believe. I'm more old school in hip hop and find it impossible to rank the best NBA players individually.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Michael Jordan: The World's Greatest

Today must be my lucky day.

I found the old Michael Jordan reel which got removed and a new one to R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest" on top of that.

I've been looking for Jordan to this song for a while because I wanted his clips to be the first I showed featuring the song.

I can start using the song for a few others now that Jordan is the first to put his touch on it.

Here are some more highlights to the same song.

I like the first one better, but you can decide for yourself which one you like most.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HBIQ One-Year Anniversary

May 22, 2011, was the one-year anniversary of High Basketball IQ.

And Dallas beating Miami in the Finals marked the official end of my first year covering the NBA here.

Congratulations to me!

It's been a long road, and I've enjoyed every minute of it!

And I learned so much and got so much better at analyzing the game and dissecting and correcting my own weaknesses.

I want to take a look back at my first year and some of my greatest accomplishments and failures.

And hopefully, I'll be even better next season!


1. Picking Dallas as a Contender Before the Season

After being embarrassed and humiliated by some of my picks earlier in the season, it felt so good to get one right, and on such a grand scale.

Absolutely nobody had Dallas on their radar when I did.

At the time Dallas was thought to be nothing more than an old team of soft chokers whose window of opportunity had closed and been nailed shut.

But I went with my system and called it like I saw it.

Not only that, I also nailed their championship rotation (almost to a man) by calling out Rick Carlisle for the minutes he was giving Rodrigue Beaubois and wasn't giving DeShawn Stevenson and JJ Barea.

When you consider the enormous strength of the "Roddy B" movement and how popular the anti-Dallas sentiment was at the times I took both stands, I almost deserve an award for my audacity alone.

And when you add in the fact that I was right on both counts and everybody else was wrong on both counts, it is even more proof that HBIQ stands alone when it comes to breaking down basketball, at least in some areas.

Even still, I must admit that I got lucky with the pick.

I made the pick before I knew how to, or even that I should, include the coach as part of the team evaluation.

And it so happened that Rick Carlisle was able to master the game and get his roster to live up to the overflowing amount of talent which was on it.

I had no idea when I made the pick what kind of coach Carlisle really was.

But I would like to thank Carlisle and Dallas for making me look good!

It is very much appreciated!

2. Predicting the Rise of Blake Griffin and the Clippers

While everybody else was busy riding around on their high horses and judging LeBron James for "The Decision," I was busy analyzing basketball.

And the greatest fruit of my labor was the sensation which became known as Blake Griffin.

Griffin took the world by storm and helped lead the NBA to popularity not seen since the last days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

And HBIQ was there from the start, telling you how unbelievable Griffin was when everybody else was still using the Clippers as a punchline.

It is yet another example of HBIQ being one step (at least) ahead of the competition when it comes to player and team evaluations.

3. The Introduction of Groundbreaking Advanced Statistics

One thing you'll notice is that you'll never see me quoting PER, points per possession (PPP), plus/minus, adjusted plus/minus, win shares, WARP or many of the other popular metrics which are all the rage these days in certain circles.

That's because they are all flawed and therefore meaningless.

Points per possession is a legitimate statistic when tracked and logged from actual possession from real games, but that is not how it is done.

PPP is typically figured using a formula like this one, so the numbers it comes up with are nothing more than guesstimates and not accurate based on what actually took place during real games, which makes it wholly invalid.

Most of the others are based on box-score data, but the box score itself is flawed, and so will anything be which comes from the box score.

I believe in getting things right here at HBIQ. That's why I created my own advanced statistics.

It started with the introduction of my own floor chart and a way to track every little ball movement and deflection and count what the box score doesn't.

Individual plus/minus (IPM) makes plus/minus and adjusted plus/minus look like the jokes that they are.

What difference does it make that Golden State allowed more points when Monta Ellis was on the floor if he wasn't directly responsible for the points they allowed?

IPM tracks individual players and counts all of the points their teams allow as a direct result of their mistakes and failures to give you the exact and specific person responsible for the points a team allows and not just a guess based on who was on the floor at the time.

And unlike plus/minus or adjusted plus/minus, you don't have to gather a year's worth of data to come to a foggy "conclusion," which will be full of noise, error rates, question marks and black holes.

All you need are a few select games, and you'll know exactly what's what on the defensive end of the floor.

My advanced defensive statistics track stops and take measuring defense to a level never before seen in public.

And I redefined clutch to make it match what I saw as clutch based on watching the flow of the last few minutes of close games.

Put it all together and you'll be analyzing basketball better than anyone else on the planet.

4. The Creation of HBIQ Cinema

Not everyone is a stat geek.

Some people just want to sit down and have a good time.

And that is why I came up with HBIQ Cinema, HBIQ Legends Cinema and HBIQ Underground Cinema.

The highlight reels which came out at the end of the season were so inspiring that they needed their own special place.

So all you have to do is click either cinema label at the end of an article, and you'll link to all of the videos in that category and can entertain yourself for as long as you wish.

It's one of the best ways around to spend a morning, afternoon or evening.

5. Comprehensive Rookie Evaluations

Have you ever wondered why one rookie went on to have a great career and another was terrible beyond description?

Or why it took someone five years to find himself?

It's much deeper than the genius of the personnel man who drafted him.

HBIQ put together a full breakdown and gave the answers to how and why this happens.

And a week later I did a follow-up which looked at some late bloomers who went on to have or are having outstanding careers after getting off to somewhat slow starts.

It's the most thorough analysis I have seen.

6. Coaching Analysis

Don't think for one minute that you can look at the talent on a roster and determine how many games a team will win.

What if Kurt Rambis decides that Anthony Tolliver is his sixth-best player? Or installs an offense which runs through turnover-prone big men?

You would be in big trouble.

It didn't take long for me to figure out that incompetent coaches are blog-killers.

And unless you want to end up like I was during the season, irate on a nightly basis and ready to throw your remote through the television due to all of the miscalculations, gaffes and bungles of bad coaches, please consider the ability of the coach before you make a prediction.

7. The NBA's Best Point Guards

As we all know, it is a point guard league.

And my article on the NBA's best point guards is by far my most popular based on feedback from those who have read it.


1. Picking Detroit to Compete for the Central Division

This was my most humiliating moment of the season.

It's so bad that I feel one-inch tall as I write this. My only consolation is my Dallas pick was as good (and more) as this was bad.

You can see a full breakdown of what happened under the "Coaching Analysis" link.

2. Missing on Toronto

I ripped Toronto to shreds in my Eastern Conference preview and in my article on the best point guards in the NBA.

I whiffed on that one.

It's hasn't shown up in wins and losses yet, but they do have some talent there, and I got it wrong.

3. Lack of Respect and Recognition from Peers

Not that I care, but you would think that someone who has accomplished as much as I have in such a short period of time would be the toast of the sportswriting world, with quotes and interviews and links to all of my articles swarming the blogosphere and job offers to write about the NBA (I do care about the job offers).

But that hasn't happened.

It hasn't happened despite the fact that I know that they know I'm here.

Only one person has ever linked to anything I have written, so I would like to thank Tom at Indy Cornrows for the love he showed me last August.

And no one has contacted me about getting approved so that I can have HBIQ linked to, if that's even the process.

Why I am getting ignored like this despite all of my great work is one of life's great mysteries and at the same time is also very frustrating.

I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing I can ever do to get the respect I deserve and have accepted the fact that this is the way it is going to be.

But I've decided to continue to kick their asses anyway and analyze basketball better than ever.

And maybe one day I'll land that job and become a paid sportswriter.

Note: Format from Hawks Str8t Talk at Peachtree Hoops.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

What We Missed During The Finals

I didn't cover any other stories during the Finals because both teams worked so hard and accomplished so much to get there that I felt they deserved my undivided attention.

So here are some of the things we missed.

Shaquille O'Neal retired. I won't be writing much about it.

When someone retires they deserve to have their stories written by their most adoring fans, and while I admire and respect O'Neal, I am not one of them.

I am looking for a good highlight reel of him, and when I find it I'll put it on Legends Cinema for all to enjoy.

Los Angeles hired Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson, and Golden State hired Mark Jackson to succeed Keith Smart.

I don't like either hire.

I judge coaches by one standard: Will he lead his team to a championship?

And Mike Brown did enough in Cleveland to show that he is not that guy. As for Mark Jackson, how anyone could listen to him call games and think he would be a good coach is quite unbelievable.

People say you can't listen to an announcer and learn anything about how he will coach.

I fully disagree.

Listening to Jackson call games the past couple of years has been like a two-year job interview, and I heard more than enough to know he needs to stay in broadcasting.

For example, during the Finals Jackson talked about how much he liked Miami's lineup with LeBron James at power forward.

May as well have been Don Nelson or Keith Smart in the booth.

With James playing power forward, exactly who's going to defend the paint? LeBron James? The guy who averaged .6 blocks per game this season?

I don't think so!

Mark Jackson's endorsement of small ball is one of the many red flags which popped up during his broadcasts.

Brown and Jackson deserve the opportunity to prove themselves with their new teams, so no conclusions will be drawn until some games are played.

But as for now both hires look like ginormous mistakes.

I don't do trade rumors, but I do want to give some general thoughts on the Monta Ellis for Andre Iguodala trade speculation.

Here's what teams like Golden State don't understand: It's not about Stephen Curry or Monta Ellis, and it's not about Monta Ellis or Andre Iguodala; it's about Curry, Ellis and Iguodala, and Dwight Howard too if they can get him.

When Golden State finally figures this out, and I hope it's sooner rather than later, they'll be ready to run with the big dogs.

Finally, Houston hired Kevin McHale as their new coach.

You know what that means ... they're about to trade Yao Ming to Boston for Al Jefferson (LOL!).

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com


Dallas defeated Miami to end what had to be the greatest season in NBA history.

I hadn't realized it until Bill Simmons wrote a few months ago what a great regular season it had been. I just took it for granted that I was going to sit down and watch an incredible game every night, even when not watching one of the top teams in the league.

Chicago and San Antonio surprised everybody by running out to the best records in each conference, only to silently bow out in the playoffs.

And Atlanta and Denver played above expectations (Denver in the regular season and Atlanta in the playoffs) and gave everyone something else to talk about in the closing months of the season.

More than a few people are writing that the regular season is meaningless after seeing the playoff results.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The regular season has plenty of meaning and tells much about what will happen in the playoffs.

You just have to know what to look for.

(1.) Dallas
(2.) Miami
(3.) Oklahoma City
(4.) Chicago
(5.) Los Angeles
(6.) Boston
(7.) Memphis
(8.) Atlanta
(9.) San Antonio
(10.) Denver


It's looking more and more like Kyrie Irving will be the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.

As we all know by now, Cleveland won the lottery with the pick they got from Los Angeles in the Baron Davis trade.

Los Angeles should have never made the trade, ever. And it is so bad on so many levels, the most important being that Davis, at his worst, is still better than Mo Williams.

I'm not as intrigued by the talent in this draft as I was by the talent in last year's.

So my draft coverage will probably be pretty light in comparison.

(1.) Cleveland
(2.) Minnesota
(3.) Utah
(4.) Cleveland
(5.) Toronto
(6.) Washington
(7.) Sacramento
(8.) Detroit
(9.) Charlotte
(10.) Milwaukee

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dallas KOs Miami

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, who defeated the Miami Heat four games to two to win their first championship in franchise history!

No one who saw Dallas play in the '90s could have ever imagined that this day would come.

But Dallas played with the heart of a champion and won a series which will go down as one of the most memorable and entertaining of all time.

It was so good that I wish it didn't have to end.

The heavyweight fight analogy is the only way to describe what happened.

Miami came into this series like the undefeated heavyweight champ who had won all of his fights by knockout in the first five rounds.

And when LeBron James hit that fade-away, 25-foot three-pointer at the end of the third quarter in Game 1, judging by Dallas' body language as they walked off the court, you wondered if they wouldn't be Miami's next quick knockout victim.

James' two powerful and sensational dunks to finish Dallas off that game were like a fighter flashing his skills and showboating against a dazed opponent, and by early in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Dallas was clearly on the ropes.

But they somehow landed a lucky punch (might have even swung with their eyes closed) and cut the champ.

And when they saw the champ was cut and bleeding they realized he wasn't so invincible after all, and the champ's aura of invincibility, his greatest advantage, disappeared forever.

Toward the end of Dallas' unbelievable comeback in Game 2, you could see that the dynamics of the series had completely shifted.

Dallas had gained confidence and had its swag on full throttle, and when Dwyane Wade's shot missed at the buzzer you knew that if nothing else Miami would be in for the fight of its life if they wanted to win this time.

The two teams sparred for the next two rounds (Game 3 and Game 4), with round four being a battle of wills like few we have ever seen.

Both teams were exhausted by the end, and it ended up being less about basketball and more about courage, determination, character, heart, guts, endurance, will power, mental toughness and every other sports cliche you can think of.

Whoever wanted this game would have to pull something out of themselves that maybe even they didn't know they had.

And with Dirk Nowitzki playing with a fever which sometimes reached 102 degrees, Dallas was the team that did it.

Dallas looked up after four rounds and saw they were even on the scorecard when every other contender had been knocked out by then, or at best was on the verge of being knocked out.

And what happened next is what typically happens to champs who routinely knock their opponents out early: They don't have the stamina to last into the later rounds.

Dallas took the fight to the champ in the next round (Game 5) and put its entire array of punches on display in the process, from the quick jab (JJ Barea) to the body blow (Brian Cardinal), and at the same time was able to consistently land their knockout punch (the three-pointer) for the first time.

By the time the second half of Game 6 arrived, Miami was out on its feet.

All of the outward indicators which told you the fight was still on where there, the crowd, the announcers, the two teams still going at it, the fact that it was only round six; but Miami had nothing left.

Even the body language had turned completely around by then.

When Shawn Marion got an offensive rebound over Dwyane Wade and scored on a put-back in the third quarter, Miami's body language said it all.

And the look on Dwyane Wade's face after he scored over Dirk Nowitzki and was fouled early in the fourth quarter said even more.

There was no swag, no mean glare, no nasty snarl, nothing.

Guys in the NBA who make a play like that almost always celebrate it, and Wade should have been chest-bumping, giving high-fives to fans behind the basket and posing in front of the nearest camera to let everyone know that he is the mf'er.

But there was none of that.

Wade didn't have the look and swag of someone about to lead his team to a championship in the next two games; he had the look of someone who wanted to be knocked out.

And over the next several minutes, Dallas did knock him and Miami out and put them down for the count.

And when it was all said and done, the invincible champ was flat on his back, knocked out cold by a more skilled and more experienced fighter with more endurance and a much better trainer.

Coming into the series, I felt Dallas had the following advantages: Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, shooting and their bench.

And Miami had these advantages: youth, the talent of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

But Erik Spoelstra took away Miami's youth advantage by playing James too many minutes.

A young guy playing extra-heavy minutes against an older guy playing the right amount of minutes is more or less a wash, and you could argue that the extra-heavy minutes took away the talent advantage too because fatigue drains talent.

And whatever talent advantage which might have been left was stomped away by the paint dominance of Tyson Chandler and his ability to redirect ventures into the paint and take away dunks and layups.

Before the Oklahoma City series I wrote that Dallas was better at playing winning basketball than Oklahoma City was, and they were better at it than Miami as well.

What I mean by winning basketball is Dallas passes the ball around until they get a good shot, and then and only then do they shoot the basketball, with no regard for who ends up taking the shot.

That's winning basketball!

But a lot of teams can't play like that because they don't have enough guys with the skills to pass the ball without committing turnovers, the unselfish mentalities to not care who scores or the experience to read complicated NBA defenses.

Dallas has all of the above and more, and that is why they are the best team in the NBA.

There are so many lessons from this win, one of which is how much better Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry got late in their careers.

Nowitzki is much better with his shot selection. Kidd is a better shooter. And Terry is a better passer and playmaker.

Dallas doesn't win it all without those individual improvements.

And from playing Corey Brewer against Los Angeles to benching Peja Stojakovic in favor of Brian Cardinal to starting JJ Barea, everything Rick Carlisle did in the playoffs turned to gold.

Kevin Pelton wrote that Carlisle out-coached the opposition in every playoff series, and I would have to agree with that 110 percent. He put on a coaching clinic and made all the right moves at all the right times against every opponent.

Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd carried Dallas on defense. And Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and JJ Barea carried them on offense.

Throw in a little DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal and Brendan Haywood and what you got was a total team effort which was a joy to watch.

Finally, Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and their support staffs deserve credit for putting this team together. And the coaching staff deserves credit for developing it.

Now that Cuban has the blueprint, there may be no stopping him.

When you consider how far this franchise has come, enough can't be said about Cuban and Nelson and the jobs they have done.

On to Miami, they deserve credit for getting this far and coming so close to winning it all.

Dallas is simply better than they are.

To those who want to throw Erik Spoelstra under the bus, I won't argue with you on that one.

At the same time, I would like to see him with a better team before I make a final judgment.

Miami needs a Tyson Chandler.

We all knew they were weak at center before the season started, and while Joel Anthony does a good job, remember that he is only 6-9 and the only true shot-blocker Spoelstra used.

That means when Spoelstra chose to play Udonis Haslem up front next to Chris Bosh, Miami was essentially playing small ball with no interior presence in the paint who could block or alter shots at the rim, a formula for disaster.

I've railed against small ball so much that I don't feel like touching it right now, but you all know how I feel about that coaching decision.

Bosh and Haslem averaged .5 blocks apiece and were no match for Nowitzki or Barea on their drives into the paint.

After helping Miami get here with his defense on Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, Mike Bibby couldn't break out of his shooting slump or contain JJ Barea.

And LeBron James could have been better, but I won't kill him for his performance.

I give all of the credit to Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson ("Blow the Whistle"), Brian Cardinal and the rest of the Mavericks.

As Zach Lowe pointed out, they put James in a vice; and there was little he could do surrounded by three to five guys at a time other than play the team game and pass the ball to the open man.

Their defense clearly had him flustered and confused.

But remember that he is only 26 playing against a more experienced, deeper and better-coached team.

In all likelihood, he will one day shred those same schemes as he gets older and as Miami surrounds him with better and more consistent and versatile contributors.

I never expected James to carry Miami to a championship by being Michael Jordan.

And I've always known that basketball is a team game, so this series wasn't a reminder of anything to me.

And Miami plays a team game. It's just that Dallas plays it better.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dirk, Maino And T-Pain: All The Above

It's cool when a man and a song come together.

And this mix featuring Dirk Nowitzki and "All the Above" by Maino and T-Pain is just that occasion.

For anyone who has suffered and fought long and hard to get through it, this song by Maino is the perfect anthem for them.

Of course, the same would apply to Jason Kidd and some guys on Miami.

But Nowitzki beat them to the punch.

This is another video to get you ready for the NBA Finals.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Invincible: Miami, Tinie Tempah And Kelly Rowland

These are some videos to get you ready for the NBA Finals.

The first features some highlights from Miami's season and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh coming together.

The second is from Miami's first-round series against Philadelphia, with "Invincible" by Tinie Tempah and Kelly Rowland.

It's a beautiful song and a beautiful film.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mavericks And Heat: NBA Finals Preview

It must first be pointed out that I have been a strong supporter of both teams from the very beginning.

I may be the only sportswriter in America who named Dallas as a contender before the season started.

And while everybody had Miami as a contender, not all of them stuck with Miami after they started 9-8 like I did.

I have been all over both coaches (Rick Carlisle criticism, Erik Spoelstra criticism) because they both deserved it based on the decisions they were making at the time.

But never did I back off my claim that each team had the talent to win it all.

The closest I came to writing Miami off was when Boston traded for Jeff Green, but after Miami countered by signing Mike Bibby I put them back in the game and gave them a near 50-50 shot to win the East.

I still think a fully-healthy Boston is the best team in the East, but as we all know with injuries, sugar-honey-iced-tea happens.

And going all the way back to September, I never liked Chicago as a legitimate contender because of the limited amount of talent on their roster, though I gave them an equal chance to win the conference finals because anything can happen.

As far as me questioning Spoelstra's ability to lead Miami to a championship, it's amazing how much better a coach can look once a few extra guys start contributing.

With Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller knocking down shots and snatching rebounds, Spoelstra suddenly looks like Red Auerbach.

Other than his disastrous decision to try to play small ball against Chicago in Game 1 and LeBron James' heavy minutes, I have little problem with anything he did in the conference finals.

He has the Cadillac on cruise control right now, with the AC blowing, listening to some Al Green or something.

With Miami in position to win it all, as they told everyone they would, other writers are coming to grips with the sad reality that the man and the team they love to hate could be hoisting a championship trophy soon; and it's not sitting well with them.

As I said before, I couldn't care less about "The Decision."

I wouldn't give a damn if LeBron James went on national television and announced his decision to leave Cleveland while talking out of his ass like Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

It has nothing to do with basketball.

I cover the game, not the soap opera, the petty gossip and the ridiculous nonsense outside of the game, like "The Decision," James' mother getting arrested, Allen Iverson's Lambo getting impounded, how many children someone has out of wedlock or who Kris Humphries or anybody else is dating.

It's asinine.

And I thought Miami's introduction was fun and entertaining.

What else was I supposed to do in July? Watch baseball?

I haven't made any predictions in the playoffs so far and won't do so in this series.

Each team has advantages and disadvantages which could go either way when they collide against each other over the course of several games, and which way they will go is anybody's guess.

Both teams have a legitimate chance to win it all, and I can't tell you what the deciding factors will be in determining which team that will be.

But it should be fun to watch and find out.

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Dallas are the good guys.

LeBron James and Miami are the villains, the Evil Empire.

Will Dallas be able to fend off Miami and save everything which is good and pure about basketball?

Or will LeBron James and Dwyane Wade lead the NBA to hell in a hand-basket of super teams and big-market or warm-weather monopolies?

Tune in Tuesday at 9:00 to find out as two teams from opposite parts of the country battle for the future of the NBA.

I don't really believe that, but it's how the series is being billed by some people.

Note: This is an article I wrote on the valuable lesson I learned after picking Detroit and other teams to do well and watching their disappointing play during the season.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nick Young: Young Gun

Featuring a low-key version of "Coming Home" by Diddy and Dirty Money, these are highlights of Nick Young of the Washington Wizards.

I was hesitant to use this video because Carmelo Anthony already has his clips to the song, and I don't like using the same song over and over for different players because it takes away the meaning and the identification the more you use the song for different players.

And "Coming Home" is most definitely Carmelo Anthony's song.

But it is played kind of low and sort of used as background music more than anything else, so it's not as bad.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Linkin Park, Kevin Durant And Russell Westbrook

Here are some highlights of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from the season which just ended for Oklahoma City.

"Leave Out All the Rest" by Linkin Park is the song.

And I've been waiting to post this reel of Westbrook for a few days now, with "All Black Everything" by Lupe Fiasco used as the instrumental.

For some perspective on Oklahoma City, it would be instructive to read this article by JA Adande and pay particular attention to the "Age of Champions" chart he provides.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kanye West And Boston's Big Four

Boston Celtics fans can send thank yous to my inbox.

It took me 10 days to find this! But it was worth it.

I tried searching for Paul Pierce, then Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and finally Ray Allen. I even tried searching for the team but couldn't come up with anything of note for either individual or the team.

I stumbled across this video on a Ray Allen search. It's nine minutes long but worth every second.

The first song is "My Time" by Fabolous and Jeremih. The second is "All of the Lights" by Kanye West and Rihanna.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

Coming Home: 'Melo, Diddy And Dirty Money

This is it!

Some things just grow on you.

I saw this video a few days ago and wasn't crazy about it. But after surfing the net for several days I ran back across it and was blown away.

The song is "Coming Home" by Diddy and Dirty Money.

And the basketball is Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.

It was made before the playoffs, so Anthony's big games against Boston aren't on there.

But never have a song and a situation been so perfect for each other.

And the way it is all put together is a sight to behold.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

JR Smith: On The Rise

Shaquille O'Neal had a song back in the day where he said he didn't need a hook.

And neither does JR Smith!

While these mixes go better with a song, Smith shows all he needs is a ball, an arena and an instrumental to get it cracking, and a little help from some game announcers.

I had to create a new category for players like Smith, HBIQ Underground Cinema.

Underground Cinema is for young players on the rise, underrated players who aren't stars but can play, players who are stars but not like the biggest stars in the game or who aren't as fun to watch as the other stars and anything which doesn't fit easily into another category.

That will allow me to showcase more players and at the same time make them easy to find.


Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Carmelo And Jay-Z: Empire State Of Mind

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a good highlight reel.

And for some reason, some players don't have anything out there while others have enough for themselves and five other guys.

Carmelo Anthony has quite a few, but they don't measure up in one way or another, so I'm still waiting for that perfect one.

You would think that with all of the filmmakers in New York that something more would be out there, but there isn't.

This is something to hold you over until that knockout mix comes.

It's a Carmelo Anthony reel to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

It's a little short (under two minutes). That's my only problem with it.

The song has explicit lyrics.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Encore: Jay-Z, Monta Ellis And Stephen Curry

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were fortunate enough to have mixes of them made to two different Jay-Z songs.

The Curry mix is to "Numb/Encore" with Linkin Park.

And the Ellis mix is to "Run This Town" with Rihanna, Kanye West and Drake.

The Ellis mix is missing some plays.

But I guess when you make a highlight play every other game there are bound to be some things left off. These videos can only be so long.

As far as Curry's, missing some plays but there isn't a complaint in the world.

It's about perfect.

I'm still looking for a Monta Ellis one as good as that.

"Numb/Encore" contains explicit lyrics.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winner: Kevin Durant, Jamie Foxx, JT And TI

I'm searching for a good reel of Kevin Durant for this season and can't find one.

But I was able to find a nice one from just before the season started. It has footage from Team USA included.

The song is "Winner" by Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake and TI.

This may have to do until after the playoffs because it would be best to have Durant's playoff performances included on whatever highlights I come up with.

Oklahoma City is tied 1-1 with Dallas right now, so there is no telling how long they will be playing.

But I'll keep looking and will provide the newest one when I run across it.

The song contains a few explicit lyrics.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com

Friday, May 20, 2011

Classic: Dwyane Wade and Lupe Fiasco

I posted some Derrick Rose highlights with Kanye West this morning.

But since Dwyane Wade is from Chicago too and is also playing in the playoffs, and there are other Chicago musicians around with hit songs, I thought it only fair to find something showcasing Dwyane Wade.

And I was very fortunate to come up with a nearly flawless video of Wade's 2010-11 season with music by Chicago's own Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On."

It has almost everything from Wade's season that you would expect.

And what would a good Dwyane Wade highlight reel be without his famous, "This is my house!" antics?

The footage I found of Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose the past couple days inspired me to start HBIQ Cinema and HBIQ Legends Cinema.

Some highlight reels go beyond being just highlights and turn into total entertainment experiences.

So I'll use the HBIQ Cinema label for them and use HBIQ Cinema as a place where you can go to watch them and just be entertained for as long as you wish.

HBIQ Legends Cinema is for players no longer in the NBA like Michael Jordan.

But be warned: In what has to be some sort of internet record, the Michael Jordan highlights I linked to just last month have already been removed; so you might want to watch these as quickly as possible before they disappear forever.

Comment or e-mail: thenbaoutsider@yahoo.com