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Chris Kaman

Rolling it back: Chris Kaman’s constant rebuilding of value

A year ago, Chris Kaman had to be fighting some mixed emotions. He had just fought through a tough year with the Dallas Mavericks, struggling to build long-term value on a one-year, $8MM make-good contract. Kaman’s goal was to show the league that, after a throwaway year with the bottom-dwelling New Orleans Hornets, he was still able to put up All-Star numbers on a good team. Paired with Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo and Shawn Marion, the “Kaveman” looked to be exactly the type of player that could take advantage of the team’s lack of low post options. It seemed like a great gamble.
Unfortunately, none of that really came to pass. In 66 games, with 16 missed largely due to injury, Kaman put up some solid stats with 10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg and nearly one block in 20 minutes per contest. They were good numbers certainly, but with his growing defensive deficiencies, age and the fact that the Mavericks missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, Chris wasn’t going to get the lucrative long-term deal he desired.
That being said, his one-year, $3MM pact with the Lakers was still somewhat surprising. The fact that Kaman couldn’t get even two years at a low annual value seemed strange, as his rebounding and offensive contributions seemed to merit something even at the modest range of two years and around $6MM. But if Kaman was again going to rebuild value, what better platform to do it on but with Mike D’Antoni, whose offense-first basketball philosophy seemed to accentuate everything that Chris brought to the table.
(Read on at SS&R)

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Ugly NBA Player Power Rankings, version 2.0

This is mean.

If you have any sense of compassion, an emotion of which my once human core is bereft, then that’s what you’d be thinking. This isn’t nice. I’m fully aware of that. But, I have no doubt that the barren wasteland of ugliness has been the scenic horizon these gentlemen have long trekked. The song “Born This Way” resonates deep in their monstrous souls, vibrating at a tune that perhaps only lower evolutionary lifeforms like them can hear. Whether you’re a religious man or an atheist, even those two diametrically opposed parties can come together and decree that yes, God took a big fat crap on their faces.

This isn’t news to any of the men listed below. I can say with a great deal of certainty that Luis Scola wakes up every morning, washes deep into the pores of a face that resembles the Aggro-crag, shouts “FOR THE SCORE, LET’S GO TO MO” in Spanish and then realizes that no, he is not a good looking man.

But that’s not what makes me utterly unapologetic about writing not one, but two of these posts. It’s that these guys are rich. Filthy fucking rich. Despite all the obstacles that the good lord has put in front of them–directly in front of them–each of these men have grabbed the opportunities that their freakish bodies have enabled. Yes, indeed, they don’t fit in seamlessly with society or normal clothes sizes, but in the world of professional basketball, seven-foot wingspans and hands that won’t fit into conventional baseball gloves only fatten your wallet. Even the most anonymous of these players, one Gustavo Ayon, will earn $1.5 million dollars next season…just to play basketball.

No matter how much their distended limbs, battered faces and disproportionate upper bodies may affect them aesthetically, money talks. I have zero doubt that each of these gentlemen have banged women far above their destitute stations of attractiveness. Like a young Oliver asking for more, these poor street urchins of physical allure have broken past the script that Charles Dickens wrote, bought the whole orphange and turned it into a brothel. It’s violently apparent to me that million dollar paychecks can’t cover up drinking a five dollar bottle of vodka while pregnant. But even that can’t stop these sasquatches from living full, healthy, virile sex lives.

So don’t feel bad folks. They’re not just living better lives than you – they are better than you. Gosh, when did America get so sensitive?

The rules here are simple, loyal Mambinites. In order to make this prestigious list, the player has to be out and out ugly. The guidelines for such an adjective? I’m talking about “your daughter grabs your leg and cries” or “your significant other stops what he or she is doing mid-motion to ask you “Who is THAT guy? Ugh!”” type of situations. Thus, out goes goofy (Jared Dudley), freakish (Hasheem Thabeet) or merely funny looking (Blake Griffin). We’re not just going for the base hits of hideousness Mambinities; we’re going for the World Series-winning home runs.

Also, as the very title of the post indicates, the candidates here are only qualified if they currently are active NBA players on a NBA roster, or in this case, be a shoe-in to make someone’s roster at the end of training camp. Make no mistake; guys like Greg Oden may not have a place in the NBA anymore, but he’d certainly have a place on these power rankings if he d… Read more...

White American NBA Player Power Rankings, v. 3.0

If you’re a white American player in the NBA, it seems to me that you’re going to be one of two things: 1) a hustling banger big man down low who fights for rebounds, and gets most of his points through put-backs or dunks in transition or 2) a designated shooter who’s best strength is to move ever so slightly, catch the ball and shoot it from no closer than 25 feet.

Combing through all 30 team’s rosters just now, I found that what I felt was true actually wasn’t very far off from reality. From now on, we’re going to use these numbers and designate them to white NBA players, when necessary. Here’s a list:

1) Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough, Greg Stiemsma, BJ Mullens, Luke Harangody, Jason Smith, Nick Collison, Joel Pryzbilla, Aaron Gray

2) Troy Murphy, JJ Redick, Steve Novak, Kyle Korver, Ryan Anderson, Matt Carroll, The Immortal Brian Cardinal, Chris Anderson, Chase Budinger, Jorts

I don’t have an official count of white Americans in the league, but suffice to say that the 19 men I just listed above illustrates my point finer than a Norman Rockwell painting. They all have one thing in common: they’re role players. They have a specifically defined role, and for the good of the team, rarely step outside of it.

We’ve reached the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season, as brief as it was, and as we here at MAMBINO HQ give out awards such as Coach of the Year, All-Rookie Teams and All-Defensive Teams, we also have to finish out the these 66 games with White American Player Power Rankings, version 3.0.

Just like any season since 1961, compiling a top 5 has been a tough task in a mostly black league, but that’s why we’re here my friends; to do the dirty work. In case you want to check them out, here’s our first rankings, and then version 2.0. Let’s get to it:

1). Kevin Love

What strikes me most about Love is that while most of his caucasian brethren are so closely ratcheted to one of the two aforementioned designations for people of their pigmentation, number 42 has managed to take both roles and combine them together into a sublime hybrid of white glory. Whereas most players only have the skill set to either be a hustling rebounder or a long range shooter, Love does both better than almost anyone. He finished off the year scoring 26 points a game, with 13 boards (2nd most in the league, with the 5th most offensive rebounds), all while shooting an amazing 37% from beyond the arc.

When he was traded to the Timberwolves in a draft day transaction with the Memphis Grizzlies, most of us thought that Love would be glorified hustle player, whose effort and determination would get him by in a profession where most make it through athleticism and natural ability. I remember thinking that, at best, Love would end up having Brad Miller’s career, who with two All-Star appearances, isn’t a bad thing.

Kevin Love is going to end up finishign in the top 5 or 6 in MVP voting. Pretty good for the winner of the Young Burt Reynolds Facsimile Contest.

2). Ryan “The Assassin” Anderson

It’s ironic that the Magic just got rid of Rashard Lewis’ $121 million dollar deal, only to hand out what will probably be a 4 year, $45 million dollar deal to Ryan Anderson this summer. Yes, you’re only paying him for half the price for the same production, but you’re still also paying money to a power forward who’s just a tall designated shooter and has zero post game. Brilliant stuff, GM Otis Smith.

Regardless, Anderson is having a fantastic year and absolutely deser… Read more...

White American NBA Player Power Rankings, v2.0

(Check out our updated version 3.0 right here!)

The response to MAMBINO’s White American NBA Player Power Rankings post was stronger than we ever could have expected. Moreso than any other trivia question in the league (best foreign players, best player ever to come out of Duke University, best second round pick, etc.), finding the highest quality white American players is tougher than you can imagine.

As we got more and more feedback, we realized that the rankings not only had to be revised, but made over almost completely. Here we go:

1. Kevin Love

Still, with a bullet. Now with a new 4-year deal in hand (with an opt-out after the third), the Wolves will be even more aggressive in trying to improve their team in order to convince what will then be a 27 year-old Kevin Love to try and stay. As Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio become more comfortable with their shots, I expect Love’s 25 ppg scoring average to go down, but for his assists to go up. Get used to the altitude Kev – you’re not leaving this power rankings perch any time soon.

2. Ryan “The Assassin” Anderson

OH YES. Just a week after I posted the inaugural rankings, I attended a Magic/Knicks game at MSG. Now, ignoring the fact that the 2012 Knicks couldn’t guard the Liberty, Ryan Anderson went absolutely bonkers in that game at the Garden – draining 7 for 12 three pointers and ending up with 30 points and 7 rebounds. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, all while shooting 42% from beyond the arc. Anderson has become the second best player on this Magic roster, and one of the prime reasons why GM Otis Smith thinks his team is much better than they actually are. Besides Kevin Love and Joey Crawford, there’s no deadlier threat from a white American than Ryan Anderson right now.

3. David Lee

Not for lack of trying or a dip in numbers (still with 18.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game – both higher than his career averages), but David Lee has to take a back seat to The Assassin. If you ever watch a Warriors game, a lot of Lee’s points come from spot-up jumpers, put-backs and easy baskets. He’s a fantastic rebounder, which helps him clean up on the frequent misses from the unconscionable chuckers on his squad. However, when was the last time you saw D Lee play against your team and you left the game thinking “damn, Lee really destroyed us tonight”? In his 8-year career, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. I’ve already had 3 moments like that regarding Ryan Anderson this season.

4. JJ Redick

At that very same Knicks/Magic game, I had this conversation with a friend: “Did you ever think that JJ Redick would amount to anything in the NBA?”. He laughed, and as Redick torched the Bockers for 21 points, he responded “No. Never”.

In his first two seasons, Redick got more DNP-CDs than Renaldo Balkman, playing in only 72 games. He looked so stiff on the court, as if he was parodying his nonathletic white American brethren. He largely played in garbage time of blow-outs, thus making his numbers from those seasons somewhat unreliable. Redick looked scared every single night. It seemed like he felt what we were all thinking: “You’ll be wearing a Maccabi Tel Aviv jersey in a month”.

But something happened the last 3 seasons. Redick started playing over 22 minutes a night, in ever game. He began to shoot the ball with more confidence, playing within Stan Van Gundy’s system of inside-out ball movement instead of doing nothing but hinder it. Every year, hi… Read more...

White American NBA Player Power Rankings

(For an updated version, WITH a starting five, check out our new White American NBA Player Power Rankings here)

There are a lot of really good white players in the NBA. Obviously there is a far larger depth of really good black players, which maybe even enhances the appearance of how talented their fairer skinned co-workers are. Regardless, no one could possibly debate that Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Luis Scola and Andrew Bogut are amongst the very best the NBA has to offer. But what do all these guys have in common besides a lack of melatonin and an undoubted common love of The Wire? They’re all foreigners. I am counting Canada as a foreign country. They’re savages up there, you know.

A couple weeks ago, I was in attendance as YOUR…Los Angeles Lakers played the Utah Jazz in Staples Center. With MAMBINO correspondent Alvy to my right, we had engaged in our usual repartee of egregious over-reaction, merciless player heckling and general bile-filled negativity. It was glorious. In the middle of our conversation, we looked at the court and noticed that the Lakers’ on-floor squad was Steve Blakers at point, Jason Kapono at the other guard, Metta World Peace and Josh McRoberts at the forward spots and Pau Gasol holding down center. We laughed at the prospect of the 2011 Los Angeles Lakers looking more like the 1955 Minneapolis Lakers squad. It wasn’t that the team had a mostly white line-up on the floor; it was that most of them were American.

The most skilled white players in the league are either European or South American (Argentine, to be specific). End of discussion. For whatever reason, since the 1980’s America hasn’t been able to produce Caucasian ballers that are anything more than role-players or fringe All-Stars. The last wave of prolific white American NBA-ers came almost 30 years ago, when Kevin McHale, John Stockton and Larry Bird all played on the level of the best black players in the league.

So as always with Alvy, the Lakers thrust us into yet another sports minutiae discussion. This time, it was one of our favorite all-time questions: who currently are the top 5 best white AMERICAN players in the league?

In the past few years, the list was a pretty easy call – Brad Miller was always towards the top, or close to it, with Troy Murphy somewhere trailing. Raef LaFrentz, Keith van Horn and “White Chocolate” Jason Williams were perennial considerations for this prestigious top-5 list that absolutely no one took any value in.

However, the old generation has been overturned and a new set of set of rhythmically challenged pasty ballers have been crowned. Congratulations gentlemen, and welcome to the top 5.

1. Kevin Love

With a bullet. Not even a question at this point. Love has done something that no white American player has done since Larry Legend – be one of the best 10 to 15 players in the league. In 6 games in this young season, Love is averaging 25.7 ppg, 15 rpg, while shooting 48% from the floor, 77% from the stripe and a staggering 42% from behind the line. Even more amazing beyond the fact that a big man can so astutely shoot the three-ball from 30 feet out and still manages to lead the league in offensive rebounding (one of the most amazing stats I’ve ever heard of), is that he’s done this for a second year in a row after losing nearly 20 pounds. Love is probably the most unique player even in a league with LeBron, Dirk and Dwight. Him topping the White American NBA Player Power Rankings is a mere formality.

2. David Lee

David Lee’…