Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 4:15 pm  |  42 responses

Links: Awards, Sidekicks and Humans

Fri-Day! Yes!

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

What up, people? It’s Friday and things are sloooow here at the SLAM Dome, which is nice because the last week or so was a sprint to finish our next issue, with a 4,000-mile round-trip to Los Angeles over the weekend thrown in for me, so I could report this next issue’s cover story. Our office was closed on Monday for MLK Day, so I took the redeye back to NYC that left Sunday night, worked on the plane the entire time and didn’t sleep, got to NYC on Monday morning and went directly home. I slept three hours, woke up and did a conference call for Tuesday’s episode of “The Beat” on NBA TV, went back to sleep for a few hours, woke up and recorded this week’s episode of The Hangtime Podcast (link below), went back to sleep for a few hours, then woke up and got back to work on the cover story for this issue of SLAM.

Then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday featured all of us in the Dome running around like chickens with our heads cut off, finishing writing things and editing things. And now we’re done with the issue that will drop right around All-Star Weekend. I get the weekend off, and then I’m leaving town again, to work on a different story, and coming back later next week. It really don’t stop.

On “The Beat” this week, David Aldridge and I did our midseason awards, and it was much tougher than I expected to make my choices. Perhaps that was because of my zombie-like state of unsleep, but I really struggled deciding.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: This one was so easy that we ended up not even debating it on the show — Blake Griffin, obvs — and instead talked about whether or not Blake will be an All-Star. We both agreed that he will be, because there’s no way Stern would miss this marketing opportunity. I should also mention that I wrote the John Wall cover story a few months ago arguing that he was a legit ROY candidate. And he was. But he’s only played in 28 games because of injuries, and as good as he’s been — he’s 5th in the League in assists — Blake Griffin has been unstoppable.

MOST IMPROVED: DA and I also agreed on this one, as we both went with Kevin Love. I thought about choosing either Wes Matthews or Dorrell Wright, because they’ve both been terrific, but I couldn’t overlook what Love’s doing. You know, he averaged 14 and 11 last season, both perfectly respectable averages, but this season he’s averaging 21.4 and 15.6. So he’s averaging more rebounds per game this season than he did points per game last season. Some of that is an increase in playing time, sure, but he’s only playing about 7 minutes more per game. As DA said, if it was that easy to average 15 rebounds a game, everybody would do it.

COACH OF THE YEAR: I think this is the most wide-open category. DA went with Popovich, which I totally get. I thought about Thibodeau, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle, even Jerry Sloan, but eventually went with Erik Spoelstra. It was just a few months ago that there were rumors about whether or not Spoelstra was the right guy for the job. They started 9-8, and since then are 21-5, which includes that 21 of 22 run when everyone was healthy. They’ve lost Haslem and Mike Miller to long injuries, but nore than anything, I went with Spoelstra because he’s had a bigger spotlight on him than any other coach, and he not only didn’t screw it up, but he’s also been very successful.

MVP: I thought hard about Derrick Rose and Amar’e, and DA went with LeBron and made a good case for him. I came really close to going with Rose, but to me, the two best teams for most of the first half were Dallas and San Antonio, and the main reason Dallas was there was because of Dirk Nowitzki. Before Dirk went down with that injury, Dallas was a crazy 24-5. He’s averaging about 24 ppg, right around his career average, but the most impressive thing to me is that he’s the most efficient he’s ever been, shooting a remarkable 54 percent from the floor. As if to prove Dirk’s value, when he went down injured, Dallas went 2-7 without him. Since he came back they’re 1-3, and trying to figure out how to play without Caron Butler. But that 24-5 start suggests to me that there are big things ahead.

But what do I know? Give me your picks down below in the comments section.

• Here’s this week’s Hangtime Podcast. This week Sekou and I welcomed the guys from The Basketball Jones, Tas and Skeets, who are celebrating their fifth anniversary this weekend up in Toronto. We also had Jenni Carlson from The Oklahoman on with us to talk about her efforts to get Charles Barkley to visit Oklahoma City for a game.

To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here. Or you can listen via the flash player below:

Other links…

• I’ve always enjoyed the BBC nature series like Blue Planet and then the Planet Earth, especially getting to watch them in HD or on Blu-Ray. And now there’s a new BBC series about a different animal: Humans!

Check this clip out, and if you can, click the little button on the bottom right of the YouTube player and blow it up full-screen, because it’s pretty amazing.

• The most stone-cold outside shooter this season has to be my main man Rolandas Dovydaitis. Who? Exactly. In an amateur game in Lithuania, Dovydaitis attempted 124 three-pointers in one game, and he made 24 of them. And I love that he finished the game with 73 points, so he scored 72 on three-pointers and also got one free throw. His team won 103-70, but I particularly liked this note in the story:

Despite collecting a total of 73 points, Dovydaitis managed to get a total efficiency ranking of minus-30, mostly due to a hundred missed three-pointers.

Great story here on Robert Swift, the high schooler drafted by Seattle who was injured a lot and got mad tattoos, then stepped away from basketball. He became an amateur ultimate fighter and ballooned up to 340 pounds, but now is back playing in Japan and playing pretty well.

• Most exciting news this week for me is that the Sidekick is coming back! I was among the world’s most avid Sidekick users for years, until a few years ago when I realized that I wasn’t a 7th grade girl. But the interface was amazing and intuitive, and the keyboard on it was the best phone keyboard I’ve ever used. A couple of years ago Microsoft took over the Sidekick and then everyone had all their data deleted somehow, but luckily I was out before then. I used a G1 for a while, and really liked the Android O/S, but didn’t like the keyboard. For a while I used a Blackberry, which worked fine but isn’t really much fun. For the last few months I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy S, which is a beautiful phone, but doesn’t have an actual keyboard, which keeps me from typing/texting as much as I probably would otherwise.

The new Sidekick is going to be Android-based, which is awesome, and if the keyboard is even close to as good as the old Sidekick keyboard, I am so in.

• Finally, I’ve been a fan of Natalie Portman since Beautiful Girls, but after she uncorked a laugh on the Golden Globes, the internet has run with it. Here’s a funny video from College Humor where they took the Portman laugh and recut it a bit, to great effect.

• That’s it. Have a great weekend everyone, catch you next week.

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Can’t wait to check out Human Planet. And great news about Rob Swift… though I’d like to see a current photo (370 pounds at one point? Really?)

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Ryne: Actually it was 340. I just corrected the post.

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    Great Links, Lang. The 124 3′s in one game is one of the funniest/craziest things I’ve ever seen

  • Bruno


  • Pic

    Your next cover HAS to be Blake Griffin. Please! Or the whole young Clipper movement.

  • Double J

    i still don’t get the mad love slam gives to swift. dude was a punk gettin smashed on by intramural kids here at my college after his days in the nba. just a big ol’ hillbilly

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    among the many reasons that android is great is the tecmo super bowl app i just downloaded yesterday. sure i can play it online more easily, it’s just the fact that i could play it at work if i wanted. and i did for about an hour yesterday. voice texting is also the bee’s knees.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    LANG, DID YOU SEE THAT THE FEDS POISONED BIRDS IN S DAKOTA?!?!. …………. How did u miss that?

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Chiqo, I dont know what voice texting is, but it seems to be similar to a phone call. You know, that thing people used to do to communicate with each other that didnt involve typing with their thumbs and staring at a tiny screen attempting to explain what you really mean when it would have been understood the first time if they had actually been talking to each other……… Spol? Pop is coy, but thats not the important award, neither is mvp. ……. Blake and love should not be all stars. Lwolves are lik 10 32 right? ….. If al jeff couldnt make it on a bad team, why should love?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I think so far LeBron gets MVP
    Blake is obviously the ROY
    D Rose for MIP…yup. I don’t care about who’s stats improved more, show me someone who’s overall GAME has improved more.
    Thibs for COY. Yeah, I’m a little biased. But they’ve bought into his system and have the third best record in the East with 2 or their 3 top players missing a chunk of games.

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    I miss my sidekick something fierce. Especially since I’ve been stuck with this HTC HD2. But I think after today I might be just washing my hands of T-Mobile once and for all.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I miss T-Mobile. They don’t have that up here in Alaska.
    So I went with Apple and got an iPhone, but an Android phone would be my first choice.

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    I think I’d go with Rose as MVP. I hate advanced stats and the damage they do to raw numbers. Before all this advanced stuff a point guard putting up 25, 8 and 5 wouldn’t get all the backlash for being considered MVP.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Rose is my number 2 choice for MVP and if he keeps this up, he may snatch up my number 1 spot. He’s (Luda voice) comin’ fo that numba one spot!

  • MikeC.

    I have to roll with Amare for MVP. His numbers are good, but it’s more the effect he’s on his team. Sure, there are plenty of newcomers in NY, but Amare has galvanized that franchise and rallied the city around him. The Knicks are better than I hoped for this year and will probably make the playoffs if Amare and Felton don’t get worn down. This is going to sound totally nerdy, but I don’t care. What Amare has done for the Knicks is like what Theoden and Rohan did for Gondor. The Knicks are Gondor, getting their arses handed to them in battle by the legions of Mordor/the entire NBA, and Amare/Theoden shows up with the army of Rohan/Felton and proceed to even the odds. Thusly, Amare is my MVP. As for MIP, Love gets my vote. COY is either Thibs in Chi, or Pop. The Bulls have persevered through tough injuries to their entire frontcourt, while Pop has masterminded another way to win with his aging and declining stars. Either/or works for me. Professor Griff is absolutely an All-Star or I’ll eat my hat!

  • MikeC.

    As far as the Sidekick goes, I’ve never used one. No T-Mobile in Canada. If T-Mobile releases their exclusive rights to it, I’d love to pick one up as a spare phone. I have to have a Blackberry for work, but I’d love to stick my SIM card into something that’s nice for texting. Android O/S is very nice. I have a Motorola Backflip right now as my non-work phone. It’s a little laggy compared to other Android devices, but a nice phone.

  • buzzkut

    Erik Spoelstra? Gotta be kidding me. Miami’s run has not been to Spoelstra’s credit. Personally I’d go with Doc Rivers, the way that team has handled injuries he’s balanced minutes has been incredible.

  • tekno

    124 3′s!! Dang!
    And ‘Toine would say: ‘It’s because they don’t have 4 pointers!’

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    You’re right MikeC, that sounded really f*ckin nerdy. But you owned that sh*t so it’s all good.
    Anyways, Amare has done great things for the Knicks, brought them back to being a playoff team, but if the season ended today, you really think a player from a team with the 14th best record in the league deserves to be MVP?

  • Jose

    “My goal was to score twenty out of a hundred, but what’s most important is that I broke the record, . . . Thats a teammate focused on winning right there. haha,the 108 rebounds were an eye opener until i realized, well 100 missed shots gotta go sumwhere. . .

  • K.a.

    Dude missed his 1st 19 shots n still won? Geez. How bad was the other team? A bunch of quaraplegic midgets?

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    I’m pretty sure I will be very pleased with the next cover…

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Lang you didn’t mention Defensive Player of the year?
    Anyways, these are my picks:
    MVP: Rose
    ROY: Blake
    DPOY: Dwight
    MIP: Love
    6th Man: Big Baby
    Coach: Thibodeau
    NBA Champions: Celtics
    Check out my full predictions here: http://hoopistani.blogspot.com/2011/01/meet-me-halfway-mid-season-predictions.html

  • Pingback: Links: Awards, Sidekicks and Humans | Internet Life Style King

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

    MVP – LeBron; playing alongside 1.5 superstars and still owning the league statistically and in the W column
    ROY – J.Wall (Griffin was drafted LAST YEAR…this makes his rookie class last years)
    MIP – Derrick Rose; dude is basically the 2nd most worthwhile vote for MVP, his improved leadership and 3pt skill improvement necessitates he gets this award if not the MVP
    DPOY – D. Howard (I’m impressed that he’s stopped smiling like a clown however)
    COY – Greg Popovich; how is it you take an aging slow team, re-inforce quickness and high octane basketball and then arrive at a record setting win-loss column again…? I thought the 3 superstars were on the east coast…
    6MOY – Glen BigBaby Davis

  • hoodsnake

    How can it be a SideKick if it runs on Android? Its probably just another HTC that will have another name in the rest of the world. Plus they were major headaches software-wise. T-Mobile had their service centers down here in South Africa for 3 years and that piece of junk gave me headaches!

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Lang – you didnt grab that 124 attempted 3′s off Russ or Holly did you? I linked them that on twitter 4 or 5 days ago, just curious.
    And any chance Kyle Lowry gets SOME MIP love? He’s played great this year.
    (Love is my MIP though, no doubt).

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Dacre – Griffin didn’t play a single game last year due to injuries.
    That makes this year his official rookie year and thus makes him eligible for the ROY.
    It’s the “Gred Oden” rule. Oden also could’ve won the ROY in ’08-’09 despite being drafted in ’07.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Grampa is eligible for roy next season

  • andrew

    superblake on the cover

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

    Enigma – I hear what your saying good sir…. Dudes not playing like a rookie though – are we SURE he’s allowed to be in the running?

  • http://bassbesteck.blogspot.com bassbesteck

    @dacre he’s already been named rookie of the month i think so yes he is.
    My predictions:
    MVP: DRose
    ROY: Blakezilla
    MIP: Love (althouh if Drose doesn’t get the MVP he’s also legit)
    Coach: Pops without a doubt. Spurs atm have the record everyone predicted the heat would have.
    DPOY: Dwight (his shoe is called Beast for a reason)
    6th Man: Probably Big Baby cause he is the steadiest in producing. Still there are other players that can have great outbursts…
    Champs: My heart says bulls but my head says Spurs or Heat

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

    @Hursty: Actually, I saw it on Deadspin, I think.

  • http://www.garrettelliott.com Garrett

    Hey Lang, if you think Humans looks cool, you should check out Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi. They’re a bit older and somewhat dated (especially Koyaanisqatsi) but they’re really cool. Koyaanisqatsi is probably one of my favourite movies of all time, but I’m a huge nerd.

  • http://www.myczechrepublic.com SAB

    co-sign Koyaanisqatsi!! great film

  • http://www.b-ballistics.com Darksaber

    Lango, if u can try the HTC Desire Z (t-mobile G2 in the US). Have had one since Dec. Lurrrrve it. Android 2.2 and a physical keyboard. Don’t miss my Iphone one bit.

  • http://www.b-ballistics.com Darksaber

    124 attempted 3′s, by ONE guy?
    *brain just exploded*

  • http://www.slamonline.com THE REAL RIGGS

    sidekicks were a horrible phone, the keyboard was the only good thing about it.

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

    That laugh killed any love I may have ever had for Natalie Portman. Killed it dead.

    midseason co-MVPs: Dirk and Amare
    Coach of the midseason: Doc Rivers
    Pull the plug on: Cleveland.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    Robert Swift plays in the bj-league……..

  • Ape
  • San Antonio Gunslinger

    Robert Swift looks EXACTLY like Brendan Frasiers basketball character in the film ‘Bedazzled’!!!! Crazy likeness!!!!!!