Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 1:43 am  |  28 responses

Links: Odds and Ends

Live from Vegas…

by Lang Whitaker

Yeah. So I’m actually in Las Vegas right now, out here for Blogs With Balls 2.0. On the flight out here, I decided that this is going to be Kobe Bryant’s best season ever. I’ll explain why I’m convinced of that in a day or so.

In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of stuff to catch you guys up on.

• The new SLAM cover will debut here on SLAMonline tomorrow, and it’s our 15th anniversary issue. Really? Really. Yeah, SLAM’s turning 15. And I actually taped two podcast appearances last week to talk about SLAM turning 15. Here’s a link to me on the FreeDarko presents Disciples of Clyde podcast, and here’s me with my main man Dan Levy on his On The DL podcast.

I tried not to talk about the same stuff on both shows, but there’s a little overlap. Either way, that’s about two hours worth of podcasts full of SLAM stories and NBA talk to help you waste your day away. Have at it. And thanks to both Dan and the FreeDarko/DOC crew for having me on. Hopefully I’ll be back on both soon enough.

• All you guys who won a copy of Live 10, you should be receiving it soon — EA had a shipping delay but the game will go out to you this week. Thanks.

• One thing you can look out for in the new SLAM is my NBA preview. Two hints: I picked Philly to finish higher than most people are probably expecting. And I’m not as high on the Blazers as most people. For explanations and all the rest, pick up the new SLAM when it drops next week.

• I got some heat (pun intended) last season for talking about how bad a lot of the Heat players were last season. Well, the other day, after the Heat signed Carlos Arroyo, the renovated Supercool Beasley was asked what Arroyo will bring.

“Some of the guys who have been in here — not to downgrade guys, but — (Chalmers) has been a landslide better than them. Carlos can do it all. (Chalmers) not only has somebody to go head to head against, but somebody to look up to and to learn from.”

That means you, Chris Quinn! I like how he threw in the “not to downgrade guys” line, right before he started downgrading guys. Arroyo could help them a lot. But I’m still not convinced that the Heat are a Playoff team. Eboy, where you at?!

• Is the Warriors implosion surprising to anyone? When they managed to shock Dallas a few years ago in the Playoffs, I wrote at the time that I wasn’t trying to ruin things for Warriors fans, but that this was a team that was clearly built for the short term instead of the long haul. And the Warriors fans came out of the woodwork to excoriate me. Now? Well…

I do like, though, that while everything was going nuts the last few days, Stephen Jackson was spotted at the Oakland Zoo.

Probably the only place to get any peace and quiet in G-State.

• I’ve been to a lot of morning shootarounds for NBA teams, and absolutely nothing happens. Well, except for one time in Atlanta, when the Hawks were still playing in the Georgia Dome, and one of the Hawks players at the time commandeered a golf cart and drove it out onto the court and put a big scratch on the corner of the court.

All that happens at the shootarounds is that the players show up around 10 or 11, they literally walk through some plays on the court, the coach reminds them of a few things, they shoot some free throws, and then they leave. Never lasts more than an hour, and never

Anyway, Mike D’Antoni announced that he’s canceling the morning shootarounds for the Knicks this season and instead having the players arrive around 3:00 p.m.

It makes sense for a couple of reasons. One, the Knicks practice in Tarrytown, about an hour outside New York City proper, so most of the players live up there, which meant a lot of driving back and forth on game days. (Isiah used to rent a bunch of hotel rooms across the street from the Garden for the guys to stay in for a few hours.) And B, by going over the same stuff closer to game time, the guys could be more likely to remember the game plan.

The downside, and this could potentially be a huge one, is that I think one of the main reasons for the morning shootarounds was basically to discourage guys from staying out too late the night before. It’s kind of like homework, the busy kind of homework that my pre-algebra teacher used to assign night after night. You don’t want to do it, but you have to do it. D’Antoni is now the cool teacher.

Or maybe he just heard that LeBron hates shootaround.

• You guys know I’m always on the lookout for MuscleWatch™, and I’ve got a few more MuscleWatch™ updates to go. But this Subway diet that Al Jefferson went on has me confused.

First, we need to stop in Boston and take a look at Paul Pierce. Over the summer, Pierce apparently went on an extreme diet. As he told WEEI, “I’ve just changed up my eating habits as far as eating a lot of fish, chicken, vegetables, not as much red meat — almost no red meat — no sodas, not a lot of juice. I drink a lot of water and Gatorade and Powerade.”

Sounds like he was pretty committed, right? And you know how much weight he lost?

Two pounds.

That’s it, two measly pounds.

Now, let’s zip over to Minnesota, where Big Al Jefferson went on a Subway diet. According to Al, he had either a ham or turkey sandwich from Subway for lunch every single day, and then he had soup or salad for dinner. How much weight did Al lose?

Thirty pounds! By eating a sandwich for lunch every day?

Something sounds fishy to me. Jared must’ve been slipping Al some diet pills in those sandwiches or something.

• That’s all I got. Catch you guys next week after Blogs With Balls 2.0.

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  • Jer Boi

    “Or maybe he just heard that LeBron hates shootaround” haha probably

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Ryan Howard is on the same Subway diet. Anywho, Great work from vegas, Lang. Always appreciated.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Can you put a bet down for me on “Joey Crawford crosses picket line to ref game against Spurs”?

  • David

    … “and never” … what?!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    “measly two pounds.” pierce will always be a fat lard. play wit it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Mr. Whitaker, if you scoured the archives of this seasons SLAMOnline previews….you’d be able to read my take on this seasons squad. But in short…..Dwyane’s going to have to be extrordinarily good for them to think about the playoffs. Not sure if he’s got an ’87 Jordanlike season in him. Hornswaggle be damned!

  • Jacki Jormp-Jomp

    Real two pounds is better than fake 15.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com/ Seth

    Subway’s sandwiches aren’t too bad, but the vegetables could be a bit fresher (brown lettuce is not appetizing). And talk about great marketing for the business at no cost! I’m sure Big Al will get some kinda compensation out of it, though.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Eboy, you think Lang reads this site? Good stuff, Lang. Hold it down for us out there.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Oh, and I don’t like how Subway stores smell.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com/ Seth

    They smell like bread, Ben. You don’t like the smell of bread? Come on.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Wow. I laughed at Pierce’s accomplishments. AHHAHHa. And I believe the Al J diet. I mean, JUST SOUP OR SALAD for dinner is a big difference than what you and I probably stuff ourselve for dinner.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    That is why I hate Paul. Could be better then he is if he trained and did what he was suppose to.
    Very interested to hear about Kobe though.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    Agreed (unfortunately) on the possibilities for Kobe. I think this Lakers team has the makings of the 95-96 Bulls team.

  • Bishop1405

    Ben I am actually with you there.

    It makes me feel kind of nauseous!

  • dma

    Jared has AIDS!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    The Subway diet does sound fishy but Ive seen Al a couple of times this summer/preseason and he definitely lost 30 pounds. Kevin Love looks like he lost about 20 himself.

  • JB

    Lang, gotta disagree with you on the W’s situation from the “long haul” stance you had/take.
    Management is inept, clearly, and point blank. We have great young players (AR, Morrow, Curry, hell even though I don’t like him much, Beans is like 22-23).
    The problem started when Bobby “Business Guy” Rowell blinked to the good deal that was in place to re-up Baron. Being the “smart” “business guy” that he thought he was, he figured Baron wouldn’t opt out and go into free agency leaving 17m on the table.
    He did, the rest is history.
    Monta Ellis was a retard and id something clearly stated not to do in his contract, there you have our PY season.
    I don’t know how you can say we were built for now at that time. Even the year after the playoffs, we posted a GREAT record in a ridiculously competitive West.
    We gained nothing from Baron outside of Maggette, so we gained nothing. We drafted well (all things considered) so if we would have just been able to keep Baron and not have someone’s EGO get in the way, there’s no way you couldn’t argue the opposite of your stance.

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    Shaq returns to SLAM cover glory

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    @Anton:My predicitons are Iverson on Slam because 15 year anniversary and AI is arguably the most important guy for Slam in the last 14 years. But why would AI be on the season preview issue? Grizzlies! no way. But I want to see that cover. It probably will be Shaq and what would be dope is Shaq and Bron in the same pose as Kobe and Shaq were on one of the covers.

  • MikeC.

    Time for the long overdue Patrick Ewing cover.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Why Kobe will have his best ever season:
    1. Learning more complex post moves = saving his body from slashing from the top for harder pull up jumpers, layups etc + ability to dictate the flow of the game from the post which is another offensive threat within the triange.
    2. Having Artest on the team means he’ll play more “quality” minutes, therefore saving himself for more important facets of the game.
    3. Being the “leader” of the team heading for a repeat means more responsibility and creates legacy especially with “crazy” Ron Artest etc etc etc.
    4. He’s the undisputed main man of the team.

    I dislike the Lakers and Bryant but I appreciate him as a basketball player, and those reasons are logical for his success this coming season.
    But Lang is just as likely to be a smart@ss about this too so eh haha.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Aaron Brooks looks more solid this year than last.
    Trevor Ariza looks awful, quite unconfortable out there.
    Chase Buddinger for 1st Rookie team this year. He can really play.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Hey, is Jaric still in Sota? If so, maybe Adriana showed AL some of those tried & true model “dieting” tricks?? (mmmh, Aaaaahhhdriana) oh, and can’t wait for Lang’s Kobvalidation (what, we stopped making up words for the slam nba dictionary? Sue me)

  • Andrew

    @ ben osborne I hate the smell too… must be the same the world over, cos in Melbourne it’s all onions and crappy mustard.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    ^ Andrew – thats because Melbourne is a cr@p city?
    Note: that wasn’t actually a question. More like a quasi-rhetorical statement based on fact.
    Or something.

  • JoeMaMa

    Hursty, another reason for Kobe: He knows that only 1 ‘chip does not make one an all time great, which is what he wants to be. Now that he knows how to win it, these next couple of years could be the “Kobe Champion” era.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Lang… enjoyed the podcasts – especially the DL one which is usually good anyway. Unfortunately I find the host(s) of the Disciples of Clyde podcast completely god awful, but I got through it. Actually, a Shoals/Whitaker podcast would be quite good. But then, I thought a weekly podcast with yourself and a different SLAM staffer each time just talking NBA would have been great when the idea was mooted here a few months back. What’s another spinning plate, Lang?