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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:


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:

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: