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Saturday, October 6, 2012

IN THE NET W/ MATTMAN NBA Podcast: 10/06/2012

Glad to say that this weekend's show was a huge success!

I had the opportunity to interview and talk about basketball as a lifestyle with professional women's baller, Milani Malik (@MilaniMalik), and I broke down the Los Angeles Lakers with Jabari Davis (@realtalkonsprts), where we spoke about pro's and cons, x-factors, the coaching staff, realistic expectations, and much more.



Special thanks to both my guests!

Enjoy:






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Thursday, October 4, 2012

TheOpinionation.com NBA Panel Questions: The First Edition

Welcome back to the NBA and everything that makes basketball great: opinions, analysis, statistics, drama, highlights, emotion, and basketball shoes (I'm not kidding).

To celebrate tomorrow's inaugural NBA preseason game between the Boston Celtics and Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul, I had the pleasure of speaking my mind as a member of the Opinionation's panel of NBA enthusiasts where we all took a few minutes to answer a couple questions about next season's biggest story lines.

From TheOpinionation.com NBA panel:
 
With the additions the Celtics made (draft, healthy Jeff Green & Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, etc) is there a chance they could dethrone the defending champion Miami Heat? (Keep in mind the classic 7-game ECF series)

As long as the Celtics continue to play Doc Rivers' brand of NBA defense, the Celtics will be contenders in the Eastern Conference.  Given that they have a very different team than we've seen over the last few seasons, keep in mind that with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo still in the lineup, Boston is a very talented, very cerebral squad that has the capability to dictate the tempo and rhythm of any game night in and night out.  Also, their off-season NBA draft and free agent acquisitions keep them athletic and young enough to keep up with the big gunners out east.  All in all, Ray Allen's departure hurts, but with a budding star in Avery Bradley, not to mention the arrival of the "Jet" (Jason Terry), the Celtics still have NBA Championship ingredients: a solid PG, good shooters, and lock down defense.



Reports are, Derrick Rose is ahead of schedule in his healing process. He's already running, working out, and jumping. Say he's able to return closer to February, rather than the initial reports of April, can Tom Thibodeau keep this team in the mix? What are your expectations for the Bulls' upcoming season?

Tom Thibodeau is an excellent coach that preaches defense, hustle plays, and camaraderie, and most of the time, that's all a basketball squad needs in order to be competitive.  However, in an NBA world filled with teams that sport two, three, and now four all-stars in their starting lineups, I fear that Chi-town is going to struggle to keep up offensively.  With Derrick Rose completely sidelined (not in and out of games), the Bulls will have to look to Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer to take on the brunt of the scoring load, and after watching Deng struggle as Great Britain's lone scoring threat as well as the steady decline of Boozer in almost all facets of the game, I just don't foresee good things for the Bulls.  Nowadays, NBA teams can't fall behind at the beginning of the season because there are too many talented franchises to keep up with.  Although I like Taj Gibson as a prospect, and signing up veterans in Bellinelli, Hinrich, and Fesenko should help ease the pain, I don't expect a contender-type season out of Chicago in 2013.


According to ESPN's rankings, NY Knicks SF Carmelo Anthony is the 17th ranked player in the NBA. Is that fair/accurate?

Absolutely not.  First of all, ESPN's rankings were supposedly based on the "current quality" of the NBA players, and if that's the truth, than the voters obviously forgot about Melo's Olympic performance in London just a few months ago where he put up a record setting 37 points in one game and came up big in some of Team USA's most competitive match-ups to date. The problem with Melo is that he has yet to play for a coach that truly puts him in a place to play his best game, which is slashing to the free throw line, coming off picks, and operating against weaker small forwards/guards in the post without worrying about whether or not he'll get enough touches to be effective (ahem..Amare' Stoudemire).  Remember how many problems he gave Kobe and the Lakers a few postseasons ago?  Also, the league still views him as a defensive liability, which is confusing because Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and Blake Griffin were all ranked ahead of him in this years player rankings.



What's your surprise team of the Eastern Conference for the upcoming 2012-13 season? (Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Washington, Toronto, any other?)

Recently, it was brought to my attention that even though the Atlanta Hawks lost a great player in Joe Johnson, they still managed to retain and add enough offensive firepower to make their presence known out east.  Josh Smith and Al Horford are still elite NBA players, Jeff Teague is primed for a break out season, and GM Danny Ferry was able to bolster the Hawks' offense with off-season signings in Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, and Devin Harris.  Korver and Morrow are debatably top-5 shooters in the NBA, and Devin Harris has had a very successful NBA career averaging over 13 points and 5 assists a game over eight seasons, which includes an all-star season with the New Jersey Nets in 2009, but the addition of Lou Williams should pay out dividends for the Hawks.  Voted second behind James Harden for the NBA's Sixth Man award last season, Williams is instant offense, not to mention an effective full-court defender.  Between all-star snub J-Smoove, a healthy Al Horford, and a plethora of outside shooters that can spread the floor, the Hawks definitely have some good things going for them heading into the 2013 season.



Don't forget to tune in this Saturday for IN THE NET W/ MATTMAN at 1PM Pacific time and 4PM Eastern Time.  It's going to be a great show.


Thanks for stopping by,

The Mattman



**Leave comments below**

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"In the Net W/ Mattman" NBA Podcast 09/29/12: NBA Predictions, NBA History, and the Evolution of Basketball

Another Podcast in the books!

I had the privilege of being joined by Bob Rathbun, an Emmy award winning, tenured sports broadcaster for the ACC, the SEC, and the Atlanta Hawks.  We spoke about basketball history and the evolution of basketball, as well as the follies of preseason NBA predictions.  I also took a few minutes to critique ESPN's NBA player rankings.

Enjoy:



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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Imperfect Officiating, Sports Integrity, and the Accountability of Professional Athletes

With the inclusion of instant replay, digital timers, and multiple referees, it's only fair for sports fans to expect nothing less than flawless officiating when it comes to pro sports.

We don't want miss-calls, make-up calls, moronic calls, or inconsistent refereeing, we want perfection.  Plain and simple.  And frankly, you can't blame us.



But, what happened to the human element of officiating in professional sports?  You know, those tiny HUMAN imperfections that create the drama and set the stage for big time, legendary competitions between our most coveted franchises.

What happened to taking responsibility for what your team did or didn't do?  Where has the accountability for the performance of the athletes themselves gone?  What happened to the accountability of poor coaching strategy and broken game plans?

Is it all gone?

Whether you want to admit or not, the officials, refs, and umpires do not determine who wins or loses a game because one play, or one call, has never been the "end all tell all" of any sports competition.

Allow me to explain myself.

Given that the whole debacle over the Green Bay and Seattle NFL game came down to that final hail mary toss that was incorrectly called, nobody seems to remember that QB Aaron Rodgers got sacked eight times by the Seahawk defense or that the Green Bay defense didn't knock that end zone toss to the ground.  Not one player on Green Bay is taking responsibility for their poor play during the better part of that game.

With or without those replacement refs, the Packers did not execute for most of that game, which led to Russell Wilson's TD toss as time expired.

Now I'm not making excuses for any referee that manages to blow an obvious call or ruin the rhythm of any sporting event, I'm simply stating that there's more to it than a bad whistle or bad officiating.

Let's take the NBA for example.

Probably the worst part of the NBA last season was the propensity of athletes to sit in the paint and flop around like dying fish, but you can't convince me that any single flop changed the outcome of any of last year's NBA games.  You can't tell me that the NBA refs molded last years playoffs into their own competition based on their own agendas because they can't control whether Lebron goes off for 30, or Kobe drops 81, or if DRose tears his ACL.



The only time that this might not have been entirely true was when Tim Donaghy gambled on several NBA games between 2000-2007 that he officiated, including the Lakers/Kings Western Conference Semifinals in 2002.  However, Donaghy, nor any of the refs that officiated that series, made the three pointer that ultimately swayed things the Lakers' way.  Plus, the Kings had opportunities to put a stranglehold on that match-up, but failed to close out games effectively.  However, that postseason may need to have an asterisk next to it because of the integrity of the officials that were involved.

 

Personally, the NBA as a governing body should have stepped in and kept a better eye on their officials because Stern and company are the buttheads that hired those idiots, and let those morons slip through the cracks.

They are the ones who failed to hire individuals with better character, and they are the people who hired NBA officials with gambling problems.

The bottom line is that the refs are there to maintain and interpret the rules of pro basketball to the BEST OF THEIR HUMAN ABILITY.  That's it and that's all. 

Referees don't get "practice games," or two-a-days, or dress rehearsals, they just get the privilege of enforcing the rulebook on a live stage under the big bright lights of professional sports.  It has its upside and it certainly has its downside, but the bottom line is that they are human beings, and human beings aren't perfect.  They make mistakes, but it isn't the mistakes that ruin ball games, its inconsistent officiating.

If two opposing teams play according to the same interpretation of the rules ("scab officials" or not), than neither side gets an advantage because they are subjugated to the same treatment.  What happened in 2002 was obviously not fair, nor consistent, but like I said earlier, the "zebras" don't shoot free throws, execute plays, or turn the ball over.

Sure, every once in awhile they get stuck in the middle of things and run into athletes, or don't see who touched the ball last, or don't realize that a player traveled, but that's what its like to be an imperfect human, and as much as you hate to admit it, you wouldn't be a perfect ref either.



In a nutshell, Roger Goodell, David Stern, and any other professional sports governing body that chooses to incorporate incompetence into their leagues are at fault here.  Given that they aren't perfect either, they are the individuals that have the power to right the officiating wrongs, and they are the people who ultimately deserve the blame for threatening the integrity of their sports.

Case and point.


Thanks for tuning in,

The Mattman





*COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED*




Saturday, September 22, 2012

In The Net W/ Mattman NCAAB/NBA Podcast: 09/22/2012

This weekend, we covered more NBA/NCAAB insider content for this weekend's "In The Net W/ Mattman" featuring Tony Ramsey (@A_ramseyLTSB), a Fox Sports/Yardbarker/BleacherReport contributor, and David Daniels (@therealDDaniels), a TNT/Bleacherreport insider for the NBA.

This week's subjects included Pac-12 Conference Basketball and recruiting as well as the NBA's rising stars for 2012-13.

Don't be a silly goose, just listen!



Listen to internet radio with The OpinioNation Network on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012-13 NBA Predictions: All Questions, No Answers

Can we all agree that the plethora of NBA predictions publicized on a daily basis are getting a bit redundant?

Would it be out of line for me to call them played out? An example of sports journalism mediocrity? An easy way to bring homeristic journalism to the forefront of the sports page? A lazy journalist's way of pumping out a product to meet a deadline?



Is it so wrong to ignore the "necessity" of NBA predictions and focus on the major questions of the 2012-13 NBA season in hopes of formulating the very beginnings of an identity for the new NBA year?

Do we even have to produce answers to the questions?

Can't we just be content with the unknown?

Am I just losing it? (don't answer that)

Losing it or not, what are these "all-important, identity-defining" questions going into the 2012-13 NBA season?

1.  Is Anthony Davis primed for NBA success or is he doomed to be the latest draft day bust (i.e. the next Kwame)?



2.  Can Jeremy Lin provide the fuel to propel the Houston Rockets into the postseason, or is he a one-hit (or one season) wonder?

3.  With Steve Nash and Dwight Howard suiting up in purple and gold next season, are OKC's Western Conference "dynasty aspirations" an afterthought out west?

4.  Following big-time injuries, what does the immediate future hold for Rubio and D-Rose? Can they bounce back into the mix and produce at a high level, or will we see new versions of these rising stars?

5.  If Dwight Howard is the best center in the league, does his relocation to the west coast automatically make the Western Conference stronger than the East? Which conference is the power conference?

6.  Now that the Brooklyn Nets have fortified their presence in NYC, which NY-based NBA squad is the "Baron of the Burroughs?" The Knicks or the Nets?

7.  As the Celtics begin an era of "life without Ray," will the addition of Jason Terry be enough to keep them in the title hunt despite their age?

8.  Can the Bobcats outdo themselves and set more historic lows in losses, effort, and overall embarrassment, or is Ben Gordon their savior?

9.  Are the Spurs still a relevant team out west, or can we finally count them out of the title hunt this season?  Will we finally see the San Antonio youth transform into something more than just "role players?"

10.  After dominating international play in the London Olympics, is this the season where Melo finally earns his way into the MVP conversation?

11.  Now that the Heat have effectively removed the "overrated, never going to win with Lebron" moniker from their franchise, are we seeing the beginnings of a South Beach Dynasty? Are they still the team to beat this season, or will their lack of a dominant center/post player haunt their "repeat championship" dreams?

12.  Given that the Kings are stuck in Sacramento for at least one more season, where will the Maloofs drag them in a year? Las Vegas? Virginia Beach? Anaheim? Seattle? Mars?  Is any place off limits?

13.  Speaking of Seattle, is it finally time to make amends with Seattle's NBA community and plant a franchise there?  Is the league due for a new squad?

14.  If OKC and LAL are the unanimous (and obvious) top-two teams in the Western Conference, than who comes in at number three? Memphis? San Antonio? Denver? The Clippers?



15.  Can Orlando get past the Dwight/Van Gundy saga of yesteryear and redeem their franchise glory?  Is there any chance that they can be competitive out east anytime soon?

16.  Will flopping and acting continue to hinder the league as a whole, or will the NBA take action to nip these problems in the butt?

17.  Following a premature retirement spurred by too many knee injuries, what kind of production can we expect from a "knee-less" Brandon Roy in Minnesota?  Are we on the verge of witnessing the second coming of Roy in the NBA or are we doomed for disappointment?     

18.  After an impressive postseason last year, is it fair to consider the Indianapolis Pacers a contender for the 2012-13 NBA title, or are they still a season or two away?

19.  With recent additions in Andrew Bogut, Jarrett Jack, a solid draft class, and two almost new ankles for Stephen Curry, are the Golden State Warriors a playoff team this year?  Or is this another case of "high hopes" for befuddled Warriors fans?



20.  How will Andrew Bynum respond to the heavy spotlight of Philadelphia sports fans, and what kind of team will the Sixers be next year?  Will Jrue Holiday step-up his game and prove himself to be a top-tier point guard in the NBA?  Can Bynum grow into the dominant center that Lakers fans hoped he would be, or will he continue to just have "potential?"

Did you think anybody could produce an insightful sports blog (I'm being modest..) on questions alone?

Neither did I.


Thanks for stopping by,

The Mattman

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In The Net W/ Mattman NBA/NCAAB Podcast: 09/15/2012

I got active on this weekend's NBA/basketball podcast and kicked off my weekly NCAAB power conference breakdown with featured guest Bob Sullivan (@thebobsullivanshow) who helped me break down the Big-10.

Also, I had the pleasure of being joined by USA Today and Hoopsworld.com NBA columnist, Lang Greene, and we went over NBA rumors, pre-season expectations, and some insider NBA information.

It was "muy fresca:"





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