Saturday, January 16, 2010

Random Basketball Notes, 27th Edition

So I think I've proven that my long column privileges need to be revoked. My Iverson hopes were quickly dashed and now my musings on Gilbert Arenas have been shot to Hades. Crap.

And while Allen quickly found a new home at his old home in Philly, Gilbert will probably have an even tougher road to a potential new destination. AI didn't play a "prank" on a teammate that invoked the most stereotypical assumptions of NBA athletes as well as leading to a felony charge upon further investigations. Gil shoulda known that people like you a lot more if you just inexplicably complain about everything rather than own and display hundreds of firearms. Funny how that works.

But who really cares about them, huh?

My real NBA story of the season so far, besides inglorious amounts of injuries to every single team, is the ... *drum roll* ... Lakers. These Lakers are legitimately playing the worst basketball I've seen out of them since Kwame Brown was on the roster. Since the Cleveland Christmas blowout, we've managed to get rocked by the Suns, Clippers, Blazers, and Spurs all on the road. And while some people quickly excuse road losses against any decent opponent, I say, "screw that". Trust me, I just said it. Playoff series are won by the team who can break the other's home stand. Unless you trust your guys for every Game 7. Which I don't. And then we've let the Kings (twice), Warriors, Rockets, and Mavs all hang with us before squeaking out wins with Kobe ball-dominating and often shooting a terrible percentage.

And yet even with this subpar run piled on with Pau missing 17 of 40 games, Kobe playing with a gimp shooting hand and handicapped back, our bench sucking 90% of the time, questions of Andrew being able to play effectively with Gasol, and a still mysterious Artest Christmas concussion incident ... the Lakers have the best record in all of basketball. Suck it, suck it, suck it. 31-9. Currently a game and a half in front of the Shaq-lugging Cavs. It's unbelievable. While everyone clearly isn't healthy, we now have the complete roster at our disposal for the moment with Luke Walton now in the picture. So we'll see the full starting five with its full bench mob in the coming days. Watch out, league. These sucky Lakers are the best team out of all of you.

Speaking of the Kentucky Wildcats ... (?) ... they're undefeated. 18-0. We've been tested by all our opponents this month (Louisville, Georgia, Florida, and Auburn) and had highly shaky seconds halves, but we wound up beating all of them. Our RPI seems to be decimated by the day since our opponents from our (supposed-to-be) signature wins (NC, UCONN, and UL) have all had relative floods of losses come their way. Let it be known, though, that I appreciate each and every win, because runs like these are never guaranteed to come back around. But still ... we definitely got some work to do. John Wall has tapered off noticeably in the recent games. You wouldn't ever have suspected that if you look to ESPN headlines and highlights for your information. He's easily become the face of college basketball (as well as SI and Sporting News) and a breakaway candidate for Player of the Year at this point midseason. But fans who watch him day in and day out would be more inclined to look up that he's only shot 44% from the field in the last 6 games since our Drexel beatdown for the program's signature 2000th win. And while that's still a perfectly legit and applaudable percentage for a guard or literally any freshman, it doesn't even touch the 53% that he had been shooting in the first 11 games he had played. You can chalk that up to improved competition or increased defensive attention or anything else you want, but true UK fans will notice there's just been a slight drop-off in #11's game impact. He's still easily the greatest thing to come to Lexington in a decade and the most talented baller out there, but this is just an observation. Which I believe is highly correctable, by the way.

The flip-side to that is the recent emergence of DeMarcus Cousins as potentially the best big man in the collegiate ranks. Though he's prone to a record amount of first half foul trouble, he's actually become our go-to player, as hard as that is to believe. He proved it immensely in the last four close games that when the ball is dumped down to him late in the game, he will deliver. And that's something that I never thought I would see after the Stanford overtime game where he nearly blew the W singlehandedly in regulation. On a per 40 minute scale, Cousins is averaging 31 points, 18.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks. That is monstrous, ladies and gentleman. And that's not even mentioning his magical free throw turnaround since the Cancun Challenge where he's shot 75% from the stripe in 12 games after hitting at a clip of 50% in the first 6 games. He's proven that even when the opposition's entire game plan is to get him pissed off, in foul trouble, and try to make him hit someone, he can still remain cool and be amazingly productive, regardless. He's a beast who's improved exponentially from where he was physically and mentally earlier in the season. And I believe he's the one who is going to define our continued national legitimacy with his unstoppable work in the post. Wall will continue to garner all the attention and be the next big thing, as he deservedly has earned and very well will be, but look out for Boogie. I'm telling you.

Now let's just hope my idiotic predilections are only ruthlessly disgraced when it comes to professional sports. Because I can't afford to be wrong about my University. Plus there's the fact that Wall & Cuz are right down the hall at this very moment ...

... but do take my word for it.

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so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?