Friday, November 6th, 2009 at 3:31 pm  |  29 responses

Links: Future Shock

Brandon, Sheed, Rafer, TV, Radio…and Fri-Day!

by Lang Whitaker

So…long time, no talk. I hope you don’t take it personally. We’re
still friends, right? Still cool? Good. Because you understand,
don’t you? You, you SLAM readers and fans, you guys know we are
grinding over here at the SLAM Dome, working hard to put out the very best magazine we possibly can, month after month after month. You may have just received or finished reading SLAM 133, the tenth anniversary issue, but here in the Dome, we just yesterday got SLAM 134 out the door and to the printer. It is another dope issue, this time a theme issue, one I’ve been hoping we could pull off for a while. It wasn’t easy but we pulled it off. You’ll see it here on SLAMonline soon enough.

In the midst of all that, I also had to work on the season premiere of
 “The Beat” on NBA TV, the show I’ll be appearing on every week for the remainder of the season. I’ve done more radio show appearances than I can even begin to tabulate, and I’ve discovered the secret is to be able to talk in coherent sound bites for 20-30 seconds at a time. The host asks you a question, and then your job, as an “expert” guest, is to carry the show for a few seconds. You need to say something interesting and insightful that people haven’t heard elsewhere, and you can’t stammer and stutter. And then, if you can manage to be funny on top of that, you’re good.

(Speaking of radio, the L.A. Times’ Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky had me on their 
Lakers podcast yesterday
for ESPN 710. Fun stuff.)

(And while I’m immersed in schedule notes and shout-outs, when the Hawks battle the Knicks here in NYC on Wednesday night, Nov. 11, I’ll be sitting in with Steve Holman, the Voice of the Hawks, doing color commentary on the Hawks radio broadcast of the game. I’ll post a link where you can listen online as the date approaches. Might need help getting someone to record it again, too.)

I’ve done a fair amount of TV, but usually either as a guest being
interviewed, or on taped stuff, where you can screw up and it doesn’t really matter. On “The Beat,” I’m responsible for an entire segment about the internet and blogs, where I’m gabbing and moving things along and introducing new subjects. That’s something I’d never done before, so it was interesting to do it for the first time on live television. It didn’t help me look any smoother as I was on with three pros — Marc Fein, Shaun Powell and David Aldridge. But they carried me and the show was good. Here’s the final segment (I’m doing it via Skype live from my desk in the SLAM Dome)…

And don’t miss our second show on NBA TV, this Tuesday night, live at 6:00 p.m. EST.

• It’s been interesting to watch the first week of the NBA season, if for no other reason than to see Brandon Jennings killing everyone he comes across. If you are a SLAM reader, it should not come as a total surprise.

Now, our good friend Chad Ford from ESPN.com wrote a story noting that he had Jennings in the top five of his mock draft for the last year, but then he runs down a list of reasons teams passed on Brandon.

Ford quotes one NBA GM as saying:

I’m not sure how you take a kid without a real body of work that high. I know this is a weak draft, but are we really taking kids who have struggled to produce in college or Europe in the lottery? I’m all for upside, but it’s ridiculous. If Jennings can’t get on the floor in Italy, how does he help my team in the next couple of years?

Without a real body of work? You mean like the way he dominated at Oak Hill Academy in high school? Or played on national TV in the McDonald’s Game? Or played on international TV in the Euroleague last season? That’s a body of work.

Now, maybe you’re a GM and you saw him play and you decided for whatever reasons that he wasn’t a good fit for your team. Fine. But if you looked at his skill set and deduced that he wasn’t going to be an effective NBA player, you were wrong. Brandon can play, just like most reasonable people knew he’d be able to do. You can admit that you were wrong, that’s fine. Some teams didn’t need a point guard, and I can understand passing on Brandon because of that. Other teams say he didn’t test well or didn’t play well in their one-on-one workouts against other point guards. Hey GMs, if you’re looking for a great one-on-one player, I think The Professor is still available!

Brandon’s numbers in Europe weren’t eye-popping, but his ability was. I guess you had to see him play to understand that. And I guess a lot of GMs didn’t do their jobs.

Told ya so.

By the way, my favorite part of this dunk over Paul Milsap was how Melo pounded his heart afterwards and yelled, “I’m back!” Now go back to this and look at the end of the post, and look at what Melo told me back in August.

• The CP3/Rondo cold war is amusing if only because I wonder if this could turn into something more long-term. Remember how Jordan supposedly kept Isiah from being on the Dream Team and winning a gold medal? Well, you know how CP3 is close with LeBron and all the guys currently involved in USA Basketball? Will CP3’s private recourse be keeping Rondo from ever getting a gold medal?

• How about the contract extension the Nuggets signed with Renaldo Balkman? It’s a three-year deal, and I’m assuming it’s for a reasonable amount of cash, but what’s really interesting to me is that they put in bonus money for minutes played and for the amount of wins the Nuggets have. Balkman can’t really control his own minutes, obviously, but according to Hollinger his money escalates at either 1100 minutes or 1250 minutes, as long as the team wins 42 games. If he averages about 14 and a half minutes per, like he did last season, he’ll total just over 1200 minutes this year. And if Balkman is logging more than 1200 minutes in a season, will the Nuggets be winning more games than they lose? Either way, fascinating contract.

• I miss Sam Mitchell. His press conferences, mostly.

• Hey, remember Robert Swift? He’s bringing tattoos back…to the D-League!

• I like that Lou Williams was “stunned” to hear that Pearl Jam dedicated a song to him at a recent concert in Philly. He was probably mostly surprised that there was a band called Pearl Jam.

• Jerry Sloan is still gangsta, by the way.

After the Jazz got knocked off by the Rockets earlier this week, Ross Siler wrote in the Salt Lake Tribune that Sloan “called out his team in so many ways after the game, I couldn’t even get them all in my game story.”

Sloan unleashed!

“Well, we couldn’t keep them in front of us,” Sloan said. “I mean, what am I supposed to go guard them? Hell, no, I couldn’t guard them, and neither did we.

“When then drove by us, they’d find somebody open and they’d make a pass for an easy shot and that’s what we had. That’s basketball at its best, and they showed us what it’s like.”

More on the defensive shortcomings: “If you’re looking at a guy’s rear end all night, how can you say that’s good defense? And that’s what we looked at as the guys drove by us – - we got a good look at their rear ends and that doesn’t give you much of a chance to stop them.”

• Check out Rafer’s response at the end here when asked about nobody on the Nets retaliating after Chris-Douglas-Roberts took a hard foul. I love that he began his answer with, “Indeed.” Who is he, Sherlock Holmes?

• How about Rasheed Wallace picking up a technical foul after he felt he was fouled and the refs actually called a foul on the play! Guys normally get T’d up when they don’t get a call, not when they get the call. But not Sheed. Which is why we love him.

That’s that for this week. Have a great weekend and catch you all next week.

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  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    I just got a sneak peek at SLAM 134: it’s Iverson and Zach Randolph.
    Tagline: “Balls of Fury – AI & Z-Bo Want More Touches”

  • http://tudobola.blogspot.com/ Edu

    Open the zoom of your webcam, Lang (by the way, how they didn’t tell you to do that before you went on air?). Did fine!

  • Fat Lever

    Lang, you do know Lou Will’s a DJ here in Philly with a pretty good knowledge of music. I think his dad was a dj, so I’m guessing he did know Pearl Jam. Just pointing that out, no big deal. Good to have the links back, if only for a NY minute.

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

    Lang, did you do that recording from a hallway closet?

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Jerry Sloan don’t play!

  • jumpman3224

    I love Brandon Jennings game and attitude. It seems like he learned a lot in Europe. And, even tho he didnt put up gaudy numbers that learning will probably do him better in the longrun than the automatic 20 and 9 he would have hung on most NCAA teams without using anything more than his athleticism. I think he learned to think the game more than anything, which makes him scary.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Edu: It’s the built-in cam on my Mac, but when I was looking at it, it looked fine. Not sure why it was so zoomed in on NBA TV.
    @Fat Lever: Just playing with Lou…though if anything he might be too young to remember when they were putting out hit albums.

  • JB

    Lang, we’re still cool cuz any links update is better than no links at all.
    But the formatting on this one? Did you do it from your SK41058190?

  • ciroqobama

    Good to see you showing love to B-Jennings. Down with the Rubio evil empire!!!

  • larrylarry

    Mookie Blaylock dedicated a song to Louis Williams. Haha, I love it.

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

    Don’t get a big head, Lang.

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

    how about dem hawks Lang? Down by 20 points, about to take a loss to my Bobcats? Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • http://dgcoursereview.com Bro D.

    Hey now, that’s OUR Bobcats. Lang, your head looked huge, like the Wizard from Oz.

  • Doc15

    I’m confused with the hype surrounding Jennings – to me he’s played to what he was predicted to be capable of in the first place…except he’s knocking down the jumper.
    I think he’s a talented ball player, that doesn’t understand how to play the pg yet. I’m not trying to hate – and this is only a 1 game assessment (vs Chicago) but the kid doesn’t understand pick and roll play, doesnt know when to move the ball and when to create, and struggles in the transition game unless he has a numbers advantage. Yes, his skills are off the charts, and he’s putting up numbers – but right now I see an indecisive, ball dominating pg who’s slightly selfish in regards to him needing to forcefully create the score/assist rather than letting the play develop…
    He’s going to be good, but he’s miles away just yet – right now he is the point guard I’d hate to play with…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Nice win for the BETcats — Hawks on the tail end of 4 games in 5 days in 4 cities, figured they had a loss coming.

  • Double J

    Gosh dang Robbie Swift back ballin’ again, i’m glad dude has been hangin’ around my d2 school for wayyyyyyyy tooo long

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    charles barkley said recently that brandon jennings was one of those special kind of guys taht can actually LEARN well by watching from the bench – I think there is some merit to that. But I would go and take that one step closer and say that he would be the hardest working rook (in practice) this year. Would that be fair to say? He just seems so much more poised on the floor, and that is really noticable when looking at PG’s of all positions.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I think Jennings has shown a great deal of capableness as a floor general. I know what Doc15 was highlighting, I saw that Bucks CHicago game on ONEHD earlier this week (Aussie 24hr sports channel) too, and there was a particular stretch where he started to ONLY look for his shot and he got some ‘tunnel vision’ happening. TWO things were going on though, the line-up on the court at that time was geared to an “Allen Iverson” type setup, where coach was looking to get his offense going again, that outside shot was sweet all game and they were trying to draw more defensive pressure to him (the bigs were staying home on a foul-troubled Bogut) so he could move the ball better. It didn’t work as they wanted it too, but thats the learning curve and I have no problem with him today as a rookie PG in the NBA.

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

    CP3 is not a petty ass like Jordan was so no, Chris Paul will not be the reason Rondo never wins a gold.

  • matt

    hey lang, nice that the new Slam (134) is getting printed but here in europe i couldnt even find the Slam 132 or 133 …. so what up with that?

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Hey Lang, your Kobe prediction is looking pretty good so far too.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    lang, 133 was 15th ann. not tenth. ha

  • burnt_chicken

    this article made jonny flynn laugh.

  • http://slamonline.com niQ


  • Will

    Indeed. That’s a taste of Omar Little talkin.

  • chintao

    There’s alot to love here, Lang. Many thanks. Skip might as well be Sherolock Holmes. He’s one of the few Nets who seems to have a clue. I am very much digging the shine given to ‘Melo and ‘Sheed getting his point across. Was the Donnie Walsh the unnamed executive quoted on Jennings? Being a Knick fan is like getting a hydrochloric acid enema on the daily.

  • Jeronimo

    Hey Lang, are you guys planning on doing posts with fake covers again? That was hilarious. Actually, here’s an idea: why not make some monthly contest where us readers can send you fake SLAM or KICKS covers and post the best of them? You’d only need to give us readers the SLAM logo for the cover, and then pick a few winners. I’m sure you’d have a lot of people participating, even if there weren’t prizes involved. Keep up the great work!

  • Paps

    I miss Sam Mitchell too.

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

    Oh, indeed. Indeed.