Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whoop-De-Damn-Do: Your Two and Five (Six?) New Jersey Nets

So, as my blog posts can completely control the events of basketball games, it is clear I jinxed the Nets with my post last week. I could either hate myself, but instead I turned my rage outward to this damned team. Read all about it here.



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Your Undefeated New Jersey Nets

Well, I've been to two games this season, and have lost several years off my life. But, for the first time since 2002, and only the sixth time in franchise history, the Nets are 2-0. It is also the first time since 1968 that a team has started 2-0 after having less than 20 wins the year before. So pop the bubbly! Just thought I'd share some thoughts:

I still love this new arena. As mentioned in my last post, the crowd really gets into these games like I haven't seen before. Granted, these were two of the more exciting games of the past few years, but there is a palpable difference between Newark and East Rutherford. I felt the opening game had a better crowd, but the surprising number of Kings fans at Friday's game led to some entertaining back-and-forth.

Sidenote: Maybe it is just me, but I always had a soft spot in my heart for the Sacramento Kings. They are like the Nets West: they sucked for a while, then randomly became contenders in the early part of the decade, then have been stuck in a strange rebuilding quagmire. Stay strong, Sacramento.

Haterade: With Bobby Simmons gone, I had to pick a new least favorite Nets. Congrats to Travis Outlaw! Sure, he had one bad game and one good game, but that contract is still indefensible. He's a sixth man at best, and you shouldn't sign bench players to five-year deals. Other players may suck, but they won't be sucking for $7M.

Sidenote: I watched a bit of the Wizards-Magic game on Thursday. How pleasant is it to watch Yi Jianlian suck for another team? There was a moment in the third quarter where the Wizards had a fast break, and it kicked out to Yi running straight down the middle. My roommate was in the bathroom when this happened. When he came out, I described it to him and asked him what he thought the result was. He said, "Blocked by Jameer Nelson." He was close: Yi was blocked by JJ Redick.

It is nice to celebrate, but I still don't see this team making the playoffs. My prediction before the season was 29 wins, and it included winning these two games. However, it is very nice to just be a bad team again, rather than a historically bad team.

Final notes: I was on the Brad Bogner show recently, and got all my NBA predictions recorded for the Internet to hear. Check it out here. I will also be doing stand-up comedy at New York Comedy Club Friday, November 12th at 10PM. If you are interested in attending, leave a note in the comments or e-mail me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Preseason Unhype: My First Game Back

I've had basketball fever since August. Unfortunately, as you can tell by my lack of updates, there hasn't been anything that has really got my juices flowing. Sure, Rod Thorn left, Troy Murphy arrived, and Carmelo did a little of both, but nothing got my fired up. So, yesterday, I embarked on my first trip to the Prudential Center to see the Nets hoop it up.

They are the view from my seats. This is the 16th year that my family have purchased some type of season ticket plan (usually a 10 game package or half-season tickets), and this is the closest we have sat. It is perfect "storming the court if there is a big fight" distance. Needless to say, I am pumped to sit here this year.

Everyone has praised the Prudential Center as a huge improvement over the Izod Center, and usually hit the same points - nicer seating, better food, easier to get to, etc. However, the thing I noticed and loved was the types of fans that came to this game. Now, I'm crossing my fingers and hope I don't jinx it when I write this - but the Nets might have a good crowd. Moving to Newark, a large city with easy public access, allows for a younger, "hipper" demographic to come. The Izod Center played to more of the family type atmosphere. But the people I sat around knew basketball and followed the game closely, cheering the Nets and heckling the Celtics. The crowd was sparse, but pretty solid for a Thursday night preseason game. The moment that stood out to me was during the fourth quarter, when Derrick Favors got called for a questionable moving screen call, and the crowd rained down upon the refs with deafening boos. It was the loudest I've heard the crowd in years for something that didn't involve throwing free t-shirts. So, that's my optimism.

However, I am very pessimistic about the Nets' chances this season. Usually, I try to hope that with some lucky breaks, they can will themselves to 40-ish wins and an improbable playoff run. This year, I hold out no such hopes. I do not dislike any player in particular, it just seems that, chemistry-wise and experience-wise, the personnel is clearly a year away. As obvious as this sounds, they clearly look like a team that was just put together this month. So, 25 wins is exactly what I am expecting, and am telling all my loyal readers to brace for the rough times.

My final plea is to be gentle on Derrick Favors. As a #3 pick and the potential Carmelo trade hanging over him, expectations will be high. But, he is a 19-year-old kid (the youngest Net ever) trying to play the toughest position in the NBA. Please don't give up on him before Thanksgiving. Clearly, after Christmas, he is fair game.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Whoop-De-Damn-Do: Summer of Meh

Why didn't I write anything this summer? Well, despite all the hoopla around the NBA, the Nets' offseason was basically a sedative. For the full details of this snooze-fest, check out my article on

Also, I've been busy this summer with my stand-up comedy. Please become a fan on Facebook to keep up-to-date on the places I will be appearing next.

I've also made two great appearance on the Brad Bogner Show, talking basketball on episode 40 and talking television and comics on episode 44. Get involved!

Thanks for your continued support!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Whoop-De-Damn-Do Post: Solid As A Rock

As in with my past adventures, I've chronicled my draft night trip to The Rock for Click the link, I'm sure you will not be disappointed!

Also, I have a show at the New York Comedy Club on 24th and 2nd, Friday, July 16th, at 10PM. Let me know if you are interested in coming!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Whoop-De-Damn-Do Post: Rivalry Weak

Hey guys, I'll be contributing from time-to-time at Whoop De Damn Do, a new Nets blog. I will still be making updates to Slippery When Nets, too. Make sure to check out my latest entry: Rivalry Weak, which documents the Nets best rivalries. Here's a small preview:

"The greatest NBA rivalry is underway. Yawn. Didn’t we just see this two years ago? Bird-Magic-Chamberlain-Russell-Scalabrine-Morrison blah blah blah.

The Nets franchise has never been successful enough to create what could be called a classic rivalry. However, there have been significant flare-ups with other franchises through-out the year. Let’s examine the Nets top five rilvaries!"

Just an update on my stand-up comedy, I will be performing:

6/9 - Broadway Comedy Club, 53rd & 8th, 8PM, $10 + 2 drinks
6/18 - New York Comedy Club, 24th & 2nd, 10PM, $10 + 2 drinks
6/22 - Caroline's, 49th & Broadway, 7PM, $5 + 2 drinks (need to call 212-757-4100 to reserve tickets)

I'd love to see you guys there. You can e-mail me or leave a comment if you need more info. Thanks for your continued support!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Danny Thoughts - Draft Prospects 2010

This is my friend Danny. Danny has many thoughts. They will be presented here in this segment called simply....Danny Thoughts.

So now that people have stepped back from the ledge after finding out that our beloved Nets were getting the third pick in this year’s draft, the offseason can REALLY start rolling. And there’s no better Nets fan to take you through it than yours truly, me.

If you think you’ve heard it all, hold on to your seats because here are some loony ideas coming your way.

With the third pick of the 2010 NBA Draft… The New Jersey (Brooklyn, Russian, Siberian) Nets select….

Derrick Favors

Pros: He is crazy, stupid athletic. As you can see from the Youtube clip, yes…he went between the legs STANDING STILL. He has a 7’4” wingspan and is 6’10” with shoes on (but who plays basketball without shoes on?).

I’m a big UNC fan and I’ve seen this kid play on TV. He can FINISH and catch the damn ball, something a current “power forward” on the Nets cannot do. He’s terrific around the basket and is STRONG. He has an NBA ready body. He also runs up and down the floor like a gazelle (not a deer), is a fantastic rebounder (offensive and defensive rebounds) and from what draft pundits have said, he’s a great kid that’s willing to learn. Definitely someone you want to build your team with (not around, however).

He plays good with the potential to be great defense, especially in the post, moves his feet, blocks or alters a lot of shots, and was the number one rated HS player going into college (yes, over Wall and Cousins). Think about it this way: he’s similar to Blake Griffin but way younger, compliments Brook Lopez pretty well, and has been compared to Al Horford, Josh Smith (without the stupid threes), Antonio McDyess IN HIS PRIME, and Chris Wilcox (unfortunately). I like the kid! He makes our decisions way easier in that we won’t have to max out a good power forward (see David Lee, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire) as opposed to a superstar player (see ONLY Lebron and Wade).

Cons: Doesn’t shoot that well and isn’t the best free throw shooter. He has some offensive moves but isn’t someone I would compare to Pau Gasol (or even Marc Gasol). I’m also not sure he can really create for himself at all, he’ll have to be set up, BUT isn’t that what it’s always like with pure athletes that we call basketball players? Also remember he was on Georgia Tech, which didn’t have the best group of basketball players surrounding him. This could mean he’s a softy for going with the sentimental choice of going to Georgia Tech (he’s from Georgia) or that he has poor decision making skills.

Evan Turner

OK, I understand. The Sixers would be crazy for not taking Turner with the 2nd pick. But I don’t think it’s as clear cut as everyone thinks because they’re lineup currently looks like this: Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembert. Now… what happens if you replace Elton Brand with a talented big man that can play the Center/Forward position, such as, oh I don’t know, maybe a DeMarcus Cousins?! Think about it, it’s not THAT far fetched. But I digress, here’s my analysis.

Pros: Boy, this guy is so smooth it’s crazy. His game looks so much like Brandon Roy’s that they’re practically clones. Turner can handle, shoot, pass, and rebound. He’s tall for his position and moves real well. Sure, he had the two broken vertebrae, but he was back in two weeks after the surgery! Now THAT’S tough. You ever have two broken vertebrae? Didn’t think so. He’s a leader and he likes to take (and make) clutch shots. He’s got a great floor presence and is a little older, supposedly more mature. He’s a good defender as well and is a player you could fit many types of players around. As a Nets fan, I’d consider trading Devin if we got Turner. Play Turner at the 1! That’s what he did at OSU!

Cons: He’s not extremely athletic. His game, as much as it screams Brandon Roy, also screams Danny Granger in that he knows how to get it done, just not in a flashy way and he needs the ball a lot. Sure, he’s long, but will he be able to guard the superstars at his positions (Kobe, Wade, Granger, Lebron, Durant, Melo, Roy)? That means he’s not a superstar, only an all-star. It also means he’s on par with the Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, and Wesley Johnsons of the world.

DeMarcus Cousins

Pros: Jebus, this kid is huge. I mean, he is a LARGE INDIVIDUAL with an NBA ready body. Long arms, legit height, big body. On top of all that, he’s got a terrific skill set for a big man as he can finish left and right, has great footwork in the low post, and has a lot of offensive moves in the post. He’s a terrific rebounder and protects the basket very well. Upside is a taller Al Jefferson? Better be a HEALTHY Al Jefferson!

Cons: Well, here he is folks, the kid with all the physical talent but is mentally “unstable”. He’s the Zach Randolph of the draft, tons of talent, but immature and whiny. He’s also tubby because his body fat’s at 16% and he’s supposedly in the best shape of his life! He also gets into foul trouble and proceeds to mentally check out of some games. But boy… he’s really good…

So there are the big three at the third position of the draft. But that’s not all folks! We also have the 27th and 31st to get to! Since it’s only separated by three picks, let’s just list some players available at the spot, shall we? This is in no order, just a list with some general thoughts.

Stanley Robinson

UConn ATHLETE that’s 6’9” and can jump out of the gym and defend. Really inconsistent, though.

Larry Sanders

VCU 6’11” Big man project that has crazy measurements and is very athletic, especially for his size, but he’s rawer than sushi.

Dominique Jones

Late Sleeper for this draft! He’s a 6’4” Combo guard that’s got a great first step, is really strong, and plays with tons of hustle and activity, especially on defense. Doesn’t have a great jumper, though, and needs to improve on his off-hand (right) dribbling.

Willie Warren!

6’4” Smooth jump shooter that lost a lot of appeal to NBA scouts after going back to Oklahoma for a year. He has a great jumper, ball-handling skills, and a lot of POTENTIAL talent but hasn’t lived up to it.

Quincy Pondexter

6’6” Tweener that played PF in college and must play SF in the NBA. He’s a GREAT hustle player that is efficient and extremely active on both ends of the floor. He has leadership qualities and doesn’t take many bad shots. However, he is WAY undersized for the position of PF and hopefully he doesn’t take too much time to adjust to playing SF in the NBA.

Gani Lawal

6’8” athlete that rebounds and scores fairly well. He’s a high energy hustle player that needs a little more polish and could be a solid role player in the NBA.

Jordan Crawford

Another sleeper in the draft! 6’4” Combo guard that can really light it up and has a knack for being clutch. (See: NCAA Tournament). Is very inconsistent but is a great slasher. Doesn’t play well as a role player but that might be his fate in the NBA regardless.

Elliot Williams

6’4” Lefty that’s great in transition and plays active D but can’t finish right and doesn’t really have a midrange game.

Craig Brackins

6’10” Big man that can shoot and create from the free throw line area. Again, his defensive intensity is a question mark but he could be a good tweener role player at the NBA level.

Miroslav Raduljica

Standard foreign big man that could be a Euro Stash player for the Nets. He’s 7’0” and has good offensive low post moves as well as a decent jumper but isn’t that athletic and has suspect motivation on defense.

There is your draft analysis, folks. Hope it somewhat clarifies what the Nets will do.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LeBron James and the Dangers of Living Vicariously

Are LeBron and I kindred spirits? No. But...well, no.

When it comes to analyzing sports, athletes are often painted in broad archetypes. You have your heroes. These are the fantastic teammates. They play the right way. They rescue player-pianos from burning houses. They win. Going through the NBA, you can rattle off "heroes" with ease - David Robinson, Steve Nash, and, of course, your favorite player on your favorite team. As a Nets fan, I am dying to list Jason Kidd here.

Unfortunately, I cannot. More often than not, athletes are seen as "villains". Not the "scheming to rule the world" type (although I don't rule out Stephen Jackson having a grand machination), but selfish, entitled jerks. Even those with spectacular on-court displays often find themselves tarnished by off-court mistakes, like Kobe Bryant and the aforementioned Kidd.

I followed basketball too much in high school. I knew entire rosters around the league, knew where the players went to college, and watched more than 70 of the Nets' 82 regular seasons (and caught every playoff game). Back then, I was totally into the "heroes" and "villains" thing. The first villain to feel my wrath was Stephon "All Alone 33" Marbury. Marbury and many others probably laid awake at night, unable to sleep due to my scathing criticisms. "This guy doesn't work hard!" "He's not a team player!" "He only cares about the money!"

This dynamic changed in 2003. After graduating high school, LeBron James entered the NBA. Few high school classes can clearly identify who their most successful graduate has been. For the Class of 2003, however, the answer is clearly LeBron James. And, now, there was a player my age (well, 35 days younger) in the NBA.

(Side note: I consider myself a Nets fan, and usually don't buy into following a specific player that some fans do. I know it doesn't make much sense - as I am basically rooting for a corporation [or "laundry" as Jerry Seinfeld once put it, but nowadays even the laundry changes]. It is akin to cheering for Universal Studios movies. But, with LeBron, I've made an exception to my silly rule.)

As the years progressed, LeBron grew and adapted to his new world, and so did I. Younger players continued to infiltrate the NBA, and soon my criticisms seemed petty and cantankerous. I don't work hard. I'm not a team player. I only care about the money. Where do I get off criticizing these kids?

Extreme narcissism allows me to continue to track my life along with LeBron. That's why I'm writing this. After his defeat in the second round of the 2010 Playoffs, the media came down on him, and began to write him off as another NBA "villain". Maybe his teammates weren't the problem - maybe LeBron just couldn't win a title. Maybe he'll abandon his team for selfish reasons. Maybe his mom is banging his teammate.

Extreme narcissism (and perhaps some delusion) allows me to deny these insinuations. I mean, LeBron is MY generation. It cannot be over already, right? Sure, he's been in the NBA for 7 years without the all-important ring, but he is (and I am) only 25. Sure, we're all a bit scared and thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore. The Class of 2003 hasn't had their lives go according to the script - there haven't been multiple titles, but we do have our highlights and game-winning shots. And we're still fighting, trying to cement our legacy.

So what should LeBron do? You know just as well as I do. However, I felt my life significantly improved once I left my hometown. That isn't an indictment of Nutley, New Jersey, mind you. I was just forced to get out of my comfort zone and experience new challenges. I'm a Nets fan first and foremost, and would love to see him come here, but I do not see it happening. But, for his sake, I believe he needs to leave Cleveland behind.

Furthermore, I think Cleveland is cursed. Like the Los Angeles Clippers, the city has openly mocked Native Americans with the Cleveland Indians for far too long. It is no wonder that bad karma has always gone this city's way. So, pick a new team LeBron - if not for yourself, then for your generation. It is a town full of losers, and he has to pull out of there to win.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Draft Lottery - Quick Thoughts

I know it has been nearly a week since the draft lottery did not go the Nets way. But, there was a ton of hullabaloo about the Nets this week, so I figured it is best to sit out the shitstorm, and come at it with a fresh mind. A few quick thoughts:

- Well, my dorky white guy corollary did not come true this year. This lady won:

...and I should have seen it coming. This seems to be the year (possibly decade) for old ladies. First, Nancy Pelosi is instrumental in passing national healthcare, then Betty White hosts Saturday Night Live, then Irene Pollin takes home John Wall. What's next? I'm betting on Estelle Harris winning an Oscar.

- It isn't the end of the world. Duh. Assuming there are no crazy trades involved, taking Favors (or Cousins) alleviates the Nets need to sign a power forward to a big money deal (although I think they should try for a one year rental of Troy Murphy, but that's another subject). The main targets - Amare, Boozer, and David Lee - will probably get huge contracts that may end up looking like Jermaine O'Neal's or Tracy McGrady's contracts in a couple years. Granted, if Philadelphia drafts Cousins at #2 and the Nets take Turner at #3, I'll probably be taking all of these words back.

- I know nothing about college basketball, but I do know that every time the Nets were involved with someone who had character issues before being drafted, it did not end well. One is an 11th man in the NBA (Marcus Williams), one is out of the league (Sean Williams), and one is deceased (Eddie Griffin). With that in mind, I'd prefer the safe pick of Derrick Favors rather than the "high risk" DeMarcus Cousins. Plus, "Der-rick Fav-ors" is way easier to chant. But, knowing the Nets, whichever one of these two they draft, the other one will have a better career.

That's it for now. The draft is just a month away, and the free agent speculation is heating up. While I don't like doing mock drafts and mock offseasons, I do hope that the Nets play it conservative this offseason. Obviously, I'd love LeBron on the team, but I'd be happy with drafting Favors, a shooter, and a backup point guard, then making a move for a player with an expiring contract (such as the aforementioned Murphy or Andrei Kirilenko). Rome wasn't built in a day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mikhail Prokhorov: "I am Iron Man."

Mikhail Prokhorov is just days away from getting approval by the NBA to control the Nets. This is, quite easily, the best piece of news for Nets fans in the time that I've been running this blog. While having an uber-rich owner does not guarantee success (see Dallas and Portland), it will surely signal the hopelessness we as Nets fans have felt since Ratner took over and started cutting costs in 2004. With a limited budget, the Nets could only get so far and offer so much. In a way, Prokhorov coming to the Nets is reminiscent of Iron Man coming to America - he cannot guarantee world peace, but goddamn, it is awesome having him around. Also...

Both Tony Stark and Prokhorov are billionaires, using their vast resources on something completely impractical. Basketball teams are notorious for operating in the red. And, Iron Man? Not only does the suit cost billions, but you have to factor in the evil scientists stealing the technology and the billions of dollars caused in collateral damage during the fights in Iron Man 1 and 2. Hey Tony, it is probably better to use that money to, say, feed the poor, build hospitals, etc. But...

Both have a flair for the dramatic. Tony Stark loves to ride around in his Iron Man suit and hold parties with garish neon lights in Queens. Prokhorov loves to ride on jet skis, while a video team films it, and then set this footage to hardcore metal. Gotta say, these are the types of things that an 8-year-old would come up with if given that type of money. This attitude can cause problems, as....

Both have trouble with government bodies. Gary Shandling was busting Stark's balls in Iron Man 2, while the French government busted Mikhail for buying prostitutes for his business clients. However, it all worked out for them: Shandling was forced to basically kiss Iron Man's ass; and Prokhorov was forced to sell his company weeks before it would lose nearly half of its value. Finally...

Both love the ladies! Both are bachelors well into their 40s, but it isn't because they are immature men-children with tons of money and commitment issues. God no. They just haven't found their soul mates! Tony needs a woman who can keep up with his lust for life, and Mikhail needs a lady who can cook!

Now, from what I can gather from the two movies, Tony Stark does have some more advantages. He's thwarted villains (I am eagerly anticipating the rivalry between Prokhorov and Jim Dolan), has a trusty token African-American sidekick who changes appearances from film to film (I have a feeling this will be what happens to the coach), and he has a father with one of the most disturbing hair dye and fake mustaches in film history (seriously, what was with that?). But, unlike Iron Man, the Nets will be one continuous summer blockbuster this year, as the coach search, draft, and free agency will give Prokhorov more opportunities to make a name for himself.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Idiot Tax - Fixing the NBA Draft Lottery

Every May, the NBA holds its draft lottery to determine the top 3 picks. It gives every team that missed the playoffs varying odds on winning the top pick. This system is based on the idea of no tanking. If you purposely lose games, there is only so high of a pick you can guarantee yourself. The Nets (who did not tank, but rather perfected losing) are this year's worst team, and are guaranteed no lower than pick number four.

Now, as a fan of the Nets, I am dreading the draft lottery. I just suffered watching the worst season in team history, and now there is a 75% chance that the pain will increase. Does this system make sense? Let's examine.

As mentioned earlier, this system relies on the "no tanking" principle. However, there is still tanking that goes on regardless among non-playoff teams, as they will shut down their top players to get more "lottery balls" for the draft. Furthermore, there are also cases of playoff teams tanking to ensure a favorable first round match-up. So, the system is already broken and not carrying out its sole purpose. I say we scrap it.

My idea: back to basics. The worst team gets the top pick. Sure, you may have some tanking, but will there be more than what is going on right now? It gives fans of losing teams some optimism, rather than another kick in the teeth. It is also in the league's best interest to have all teams being competitive - so why not give the worst team a shot at the best player? The NFL does it, and they are only the most successful sports organization in the country. Furthermore, we get an extra month of mock drafts! Who doesn't love those?

But, obviously, this won't change the Nets' current situation. I am fully bracing myself for a Derrick Favors/Wesley Johnson debate. My advice for the Nets: send me to the NBA Draft Lottery. Why? I am a dorky white guy. Teams usually use this opportunity to send players, coaches, or celebrities associated with the team (Jay-Z went two years ago to represent the Nets). But who wins? Well let's see...

Lewis Katz represented the Nets last time they won the draft lottery in 2000.

In recent years, the Bulls were represented by this guy when they won...

And this dude represented the Clippers last year...

Notice the trend here? Dorky white guys are winning the draft lottery! And I'm the dorkiest, whitest, guyest guy I know! Prokhorov, I await your call.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Season Eulogy: The Disease of Less


Now that I've got your attention, let's talk about the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets season.

But first, back to sex.

"Every generation thinks they invented sex" is an old and overused expression. I think all previous generations think they invented that expression. Furthermore, why stop at sex? Every generation thinks they invented dance music, children's entertainment, and armpit farts. What does this have to do with the Nets?

These Nets did not invent losing. There have been losers before them, and losers after them. But, goddamn, they gave it their all to put a lasting imprint on how we think of losing in the future.

On a macro-level, the Nets putridity is indicative of an overall trend in American sports of the strong teams getting stronger, and the weak teams getting weaker. It has been like that in baseball for the last decade, and has recently been showing up in football - in the last couple years, there has been a 16-0 and a 0-16 team.

But, looking just at the Nets, the team was designed to fail, and executed wonderfully. They expelled all leadership when firing Lawrence Frank and bringing in Kiki. Putting Kiki at coach had the same effect on the team as starting Kiki at power forward would have. Furthermore, they amassed a healthy amount of grouchy veterans playing for contracts (Bobby Simmons, Keyon Dooling, Rafer Alston) and clueless young talent unsure of their roles on the team (Chris Douglas-Roberts, Terrence Williams). The shining achievement that future generations will study about this Nets team will be their creation of the "Disease of Less".

What is the "Disease of Less"? Well, first let me tell you about the "Disease of More". In Pat Riley's book Show Time, he described the "Disease of More" by saying "success is often the first step toward disaster." The success of his Lakers teams in the 1980s led to players demanding more - more playing time, more shots, more money, etc. This disrupted the chemistry of the team and caused them to fail.

Well, let me introduce you to the radical "Disease of Less". Failure is often the first step toward disaster. As the Nets lost more and more, everyone turned on each other. Instead of banding together and taking on a "nobody believes in us!" mentality (as the Bucks did this season, and as the Wizards did for a few weeks in February), they started to look at each other as the enemy. "That's the guy that's making me lose!" So, all the players demanded more, and started looking out only for themselves. So, in this case, less led to more. The cause was completely different, but the effect was the same.

What is also interesting about this team is that they have OWNED the losing. Unlike other failed teams, they are not blaming injuries or any other types of externalities. It seems like they have accepted the fact that they built an awful team, thus the awful performance is acceptable.

I have to commend the Nets on this. One of my pet peeves in life is when people make excuses for not succeeding. In a management class of mine, I learned about "lotus of controls". A person with an external lotus of control blames the world around them for their situation, and these people are often lacking in maturity and do not become very successful. A person with an internal lotus of control sees themselves as in control of their situation. The Nets, despite the losing, are not looking outward for scapegoats, but understand they brought this futility upon themselves. This, my friends, is the razor-thin silver lining among the shit-colored cloud.

Most importantly, Nets fans, do not internalize this season and carry it with you. It is over. It's not your fault.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Enough with the winning already!

Seriously, guys. You couldn't have played this way all season? If you guys fuck this up, and end up tying Minnesota for the worst record and somehow get the 5th pick in the draft, I'm going to hurl feces from assorted animals on the court.

I've been neglecting this blog recently because I am taking an improv class and working on my stand-up comedy. Enjoy some Nets-oriented humor in this set:

My next show at Caroline's is this Monday, April 12th, at 7PM. If you'd like to come and support me, please call 212-757-4100 to reserve tickets (make sure to say you are there to see Rory to get the discounted price). It is $5 with a 2 drink minimum, and it is a hell of a show.

Finally, I'll also remind you that the link to the items I'm selling on Amazon is along the right. I'm trying to unload some nerdy/awesome comic books in order to have money to buy MORE nerdy/awesome comic books!

I'll have my post-season thoughts up on April 15th. Until then, someone please break up this Nets team!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Yes, kids, that is $6 Brut California Champagne, or as I like to call it, the beer of champagnes. It the most symbolic way I could have possibly celebrated this Nets win. Don't get me wrong - every time the Nets win, it makes the day a little brighter. But, let's take a step back. That was their 10th win of the season. They are 48 games out of first place. They suck.

There are still plenty of reasons for hope. I absolutely loved the 60 Minutes interview of Prokhorov - can't wait to see him in action. And, as Nets All New points out so astutely - there will be something new each month for the next four months. But you know what will not be happening? Winning meaningful games.

Every offseason is exciting for NBA fans. New rookies, new free agents, and, in some cases, a new coaching staff. But, I'm sick of the hype, the predictions, the trade rumors, etc. And I know, at some point, I'll be contributing to this. But, this season is a sobering reminder: just give us results.

For now, I'll just sit back and watch the rest of the NBA Playoffs, and reacquaint myself with how the game is supposed to be played. If anybody cares, I'm throwing my support behind Cleveland. I know that makes me sound like a front-runner, but out of all the teams I've watched this season, the LeBrons were the most aesthetically pleasing. It was basketball the way it was meant to be, and the camaraderie reminded me of the 01-02 Nets.

As for now, congrats to the Nets who tried this season: Keyon, Devin, Courtney, Brook, Terrence, Boone, and the Hump. You all deserve a sip from the Brut. The rest get Natty Light.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two Anniversaries!

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of Slippery When Nets! I would like to take a moment to give my thanks to all my readers. It is your comments, e-mails, and death threats that have made this blog so much fun to write. I hope it is fun for you to read! Stay strong Nets fans, hopefully the tone of this blog will change next year.

But, why I am I writing this today? Wouldn't it make more sense tomorrow? Glad I asked myself these questions! Today marks the 15th anniversary of the first Nets game I went to! My memory isn't that strong, but I do remember my early basketball trips went like this: first game was Knicks versus Jazz, then Nets versus Jazz, then Nets versus Knicks. Not sure why my parents took me to so many Jazz games, but hell, I was just pysched to be seeing live NBA action. Through the joy that is, I was able to pinpoint the exact dates: the Knicks/Jazz game was January 14, 1995, the Nets-Jazz game was March 17, 1995, and the Nets-Knicks game was April 2, 1995. Not surprisingly, the Nets lost both those games. I should have taken that as a sign to abandon ship immediately and take up following the Florida Marlins.

But, I have to say, with a deep breath and sigh, that I liked the past 15 years. They made the playoffs 7 years, won 4 division titles, and made the Finals twice. I got to watch an MVP candidate and first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in his prime. And, while there have been traumatic losses (including this season), at least there were very few playoff gut-wrenchers, as the Nets never lost a series where they had home-court advantage. Aside from the teams that have won championships (Chicago, San Antonio, the Lakers, Detroit, Miami, and Boston), I'd say the Nets' last 15 years can compare favorably to most of the other franchises.

That being said, I really hope I am saying this again in another 15 years. The future is questionable in regards to free agent signings and draft picks (there's a 75% chance of being unhappy with the result). As any sports fan should, I am bracing for the worst.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Podcasts, Comedy, and Other Things

Hey everybody! I've got a lot to take care of in this post, so here we go:

- I made another appearance on the Brad Bogner Show. You can listen to it here. If you like the show, you can subscribe to it on iTunes. Give it a nice rating and review, please!

- I will be appearing at Caroline's this Monday, March 1st, at 7:00PM. Call 212-757-4100 to reserve tickets. If you say you are there to see me, you will get a discounted entrance fee - $5 instead of $15. I haven't added any new clips to the Youtubes yet, but you can see the old clip here.

- Finally, I'm trying to unload some comics on You can view my offerings here. These are all great reads, but I'm just trying to clear some space for more random Nets crap.

This upcoming week will be very busy, so there may be a bit of a gap between entries, but I should be back up to speed by the middle of the month.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Suffering - It's Everywhere To Me

This season of Nets basketball will probably go down in history as one of humanity's most heinous crimes. As I near the end of my first year of Nets blogging, I've run out of ways to say the word "awful". So, for the rest of this rant, I'll be checking in my thesaurus. See if you can catch me! (Yes, I know this game is abominable, but bear with me. This is a ghastly season.)

As harrowing as it is watching the games, the YES Network has been implementing a new torture strategy on Nets fans. They have been rerunning the same 10 or so commercials over and over again. This would not be so abhorrent if I was watching a 30 minute sitcom, but a two and a half hour games for seven months? It becomes scaring to the psyche.

The most deplorable spot comes from my bank, Chase, and an old Michelle Branch song.

Perhaps you have seen it? I swear, this commercial airs multiple times per timeout! By the second quarter, I am aware of a couple facts:

1. Kiki cannot coach.
2. Chase is everywhere to me.
3. Yi Jianlian doesn't lift his arms to rebound.
4. When I close my eyes, it is Chase's logo I see.
5. Stay tuned for an all-new Michael Kay show!

This 30-second section of the song has been so drilled into my head. I'm convinced that the real song is just 30-seconds long. I get it. There's a lot of Chase banks. Walking around Manhattan has made me keenly aware of this fact. Using Chase's branch locator, I've found 22 Chase's within one mile of my apartment. And that isn't including the ATMs available at all the Duane Reade's!

Here is my list of songs I would use in future Chase commercials, involving the money and the "everywhere" theme. If I've missed any, please list them in the comments:

"Moneytalks" - AC/DC
"Takin' Care of Business" - Bachmann Turner-Overdrive (as long as they get to the "working overtime" part fast)
"Here, There, and Everywhere" - The Beatles
"You Never Give Me Your Money" - The Beatles
"Call Me" - Blondie
"Peace of Mind" - Boston
"Money For Nothing" - Dire Straights
"Take Me Home Tonight" - Eddie Money
"Reach Out (I'll Be There)" - The Four Tops
"Will You Be There?" - Michael Jackson
"Opportunities" - Pet Shop Boys
"Every Breath You Take" - The Police
"Right Here Waiting" - Richard Marx (this gets my vote!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Your Nets Coaching Nightmare Scenarios

In the past couple weeks, there have been tons of rumors regarding who will take over the coaching position for the Nets next year. As I opined in the fan mail last week, the Nets have needed a REAL coach since December. With that being said, here's my run-down of the possible coaching candidates. Just to note, the college coaching candidates have all publicly denied being interested in coaching the Nets, which makes sense given they are in the middle of a season and are currently recruiting for next year. However, it should be known that all college coaches are egotistical scumbags, and nobody would be shocked if they stabbed their respective colleges in the back. At the end of each candidate, I'll put a rating, indicating how satisfied I'd be with this coach taking over the Nets.

Mike Krzyzewski

Duke's Coach K has been referred to as the Nets' number one choice. Mikhail Prokhorov wants to make a splash, and luring away college's "top prize" would do so. He also has the respect of many of 2010's top free agents due to coaching the United States basketball team in 2008.

However, I don't trust college coaches in general. Aside from Larry Brown, no college coach has had any significant NBA success. The game is completely different. Furthermore, Coach K's alumni haven't done much either, as only one Dukie has an NBA championship ring (Danny Ferry, as a 13th man on the Spurs). Plus, he's a Dukie! I don't follow college sports that much, but I do know one thing: Duke sucks!

Approval Rating: 6/10

Rick Pitino/John Calipari

Both these guys are cut from the same cloth in my mind. Like Coach K, they are highly coveted college coaches. Unlike Coach K, both these guys have proven that they are NBA failures. Pitino has failed miserably in both New York and Boston, but he does say success is a choice. Maybe failure is too, and the third time will be the charm.

I'd stomach Pitino over Calipari, my sworn enemy. Calipari already tortured Nets fans in the past. He constantly brings up in interviews how he would have drafted Kobe Bryant. It is such a revisionist look at history. Let me just say this, Coach Cal: Kobe would not have stayed long in New Jersey. He didn't become mega-Kobe until year 5, and by then I'm sure he would have bolted via free agency (ala Tracy McGrady). Furthermore, by saying this, you are inadvertently throwing Kerry Kittles under a Greyhound. Kittles was a soldier for your Nets teams and holds a special place in Nets fans' hearts. So quit your complaining. At least Nets fans don't need to wonder where Chris Douglas-Roberts got his bad attitude from.

And just to wrap this up: Rick Pitino paid for his mistress to have an abortion. John Calipari has gotten two college programs suspended. I'll pass.

Approval Rating: Pitino 4/10, Calipari 2/10

Byron Scott

Since Calipari is being brought back up, why not Byron Scott? Now, if you've followed my blog, you will notice I take occasional pot shots at Lord Byron. And that is because I hate him. He never watched game tape. He never made in-game adjustments. He was notorious for taking naps before games.

But he did one thing very well: he delegated responsibility. The Nets' coaching staff from 2001-2003 was stacked in assistant coaches, as Eddie Jordan and Lawrence Frank went on to have notable careers. Byron let Jordan run the offense and Frank run the defense. And it worked! I always thought Frank's assistants were never this strong, and his refusal to delegate is what eventually made the Nets lose.

Is delegating responsibility enough to rehire Byron? No. Then why bring him up? Well, the man is EXTREMELY LUCKY! Seriously, his career has been boosted by falling ass-backwards into playing with and coaching three of the greatest points guard spanning three decades - Magic Johnson (as a player), Jason Kidd, and Chris Paul (as a coach). With Byron on board, I have no doubt the Nets would end up with John Wall.

Approval Rating: 3/10

Jeff Van Gundy

Van Gundy has been cracking wise on ABC for a while that it is tough to remember that this guy was once a highly respected coach. He has a .575 winning percentage, and has been to an NBA Finals (in the awful 1999 season, but still). However, I get the feeling that Van Gundy would be better off with a more veteran team, as it is tough to recall the youngsters that Van Gundy has turned into superstars. I do like him, and I think he will succeed as an NBA coach in the future. But I'm not quite sure he will fit entirely with the Nets.

Approval Rating: 7/10

Avery Johnson

Yes! This is my man! Everybody I talk to seems to have a negative opinion of this guy, and I'm not entirely sure why. In just 3 full seasons, he has a .735 winning percentage and made the NBA Finals once. He has the reputation of being high strung, very honest, and very demanding. Which is exactly what this team needs! There has been too much immaturity, selfishness, and backstabbing in the Nets organization. The Nets need someone to go in there and crack heads. I believe Avery can be this guy.

Approval Rating: 8/10

Kiki Vandeweghe, Year 2


Approval Rating: -45/10

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Random Tangents - New Name For Nets

As the Nets prepare to move to Brooklyn sometime in the near or far distant future, there has been some speculation that they might change their nickname. While many have assumed that they will just be called the "Brooklyn Nets", I see this as the perfect opportunity for the team to exorcise itself from the past demons associated with that name.

First of all, the name "Nets" has to be one of the worst in sports. They are named after a piece of equipment used to play the game! It is like naming a football team "The Pylons". I prefer team names that are intimidating, like the Bulls or the Warriors. Or, failing that, name the team after a geographical feature of the region, such as the Pistons, named after Detroit's auto industry. I do enjoy those types of names even if the team moves - such as what happened with the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Jazz. So, let's immediately scrap the Nets.

The Nets used to be called the Americans in their early days, but given the proliferation of foreign players (and in the Nets' case, their owner), this seems stupid. In a podcast, Bill Simmons suggested going back to the Dodgers, but that will inevitably cause confusion when talking. It is tough enough when people think you are a Mets fan, but now you have to differentiate between another team that has the EXACT same name as your team.

I have three thoughts on the matter of the team name, all going in different directions. First, perhaps the Nets should name try to appeal to the major opponents of the Brooklyn move - hipsters. Freddy's Bar in Brooklyn is spear-heading a movement to keep my team out of town and without a new home. So, I suggest they give the Nets a new, hipper, ironic name. How about: Baseball Team. The Brooklyn Baseball Team. To keep the ironic theme going, this could be the logo:

My next idea is dedicated to our savior Mikhail Prokhorov. How about: The Red Scare? First of all, Proky would definitely approve this. Also, the team can embrace the theme, inviting numerous Russian celebrities to sit courtside. I love it because it would easily be the most intimidating team name in American sports. Seriously, are you more afraid of Knickerbockers or the FUCKIN' RED SCARE? Plus, all those stinking hipsters are liberal commies anyway, so I'm sure they'd embrace the proletariat teachings of their new team. My biggest concern would be the Barclay's endorsement deals.

The final suggestion is my personal favorite. I read this on a message board a while ago, and would love to know who came up with the idea. It is: The Brooklyn Knights. First, it is a delicious play on the term for a Brooklyn-born person, a Brooklynite. Also, it is an intimidating name that is easily associated with identifiable images for logos and mascots. My biggest concern is that the name is "regal", which has not led to much success in professional sports - see the L.A. Kings, Sacramento Kings, Kansas City Royals, etc.

So, those are just my humble suggestions. Let me know yours in the comments!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reader E-mails - Yup, that's pretty much the gist of it...

The other day, I received this e-mail from a SWN reader named Ken. Ken shares a few things that I believe all of us are thinking (I've edited for spelling). To share your thoughts on the season, please e-mail slipperywhennets at gmail. Thanks, and I appreicate the support!

Hi there,

I found your page a few weeks ago, people who still follow the Nets seems to be few and far between. I am a long suffering fan - since Dr. J and the ABA days. We make a yearly trek to a game - was just in Detroit and watch the Nets lose another game and darn near kill each other with that collision!

I have been very disappointed in Harris's play this year and made it a point to focus on him the whole first period. I was amazed at what I saw!

I for one would have a heart to heart talk with him and decide if he takes the floor again!

His play was...well, in a word...useless.

Not ONCE in the first period did he make any attempt to score. Not a shot, not a single pick and roll...fact is, I do not believe he once dribbled in the paint.

He would get the inbound pass, dribble over mid-court, pass the ball, and slide off the the side. Then, he'd stand there. On occasion, he might run down low and back up, but did nothing. He was subbed for Dooling, who, in a matter of minutes, was driving the lane, passed off, and got two easy baskets.

At the end of the game, he still got 20, but he could have had twice that. Every time he did drive in and pull up, he scored. They lose by 7...awful.

They look so lifeless for most of the game. Yi should be getting a handful of minutes. The number of rebounds he loses because he doesn't get his hands on it is also awful.

They are playing like stiffs. There they were with a lead late int he game, and then manage to miss 9 out of the next 11 shots, with almost none of them being drives to the basket (which is how they got back into it.

The only good news is a great draft pick, but as we all know, they will manage to lose out on that also!

Keep up the blogging!

Rochester, NY

There's a lot of truth to what Ken says. Now, the excuse you will hear for Devin Harris is that he is playing injured. This may be true, but every NBA player is playing slightly injured. But, there's two names left out of this scathing e-mail - Rod Thorn and Kiki. The team DOES NOT HAVE A COACH. I know there is a power struggle between these two bozos, but we are paying fans GODDAMMIT! We deserve a complete team, with a real coach, as soon as YESTERDAY.

I completely feel for you, Ken. I haven't been watching YES, attending less games, and even staying away from other Nets blogs during this season. Making one pilgrimage to a game this season must be painful. I've fortunately had good luck attending the games so far (if you can call 2-5 good luck).

And, sadly, I agree with you about that draft pick. I'm banking on #4 as well.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Fantastic Four!

So far this season, the Nets have only managed to scrape together four wins in 45 games. They are on pace to be the worst team in NBA history. This is old news, however. Because, the real story is...

This is the most memorable season in Nets history.

You read that correctly. This is the most memorable season in Nets history. Because, in the long term, you will remember EVERY time the Nets won this season. Your memories will blur all the losses together, but each win will be truly special. Do you think fans of the 96 Bulls remember all 72 wins? Of course not! In fact, those 10 losses probably provide the fuel in the memory fire. Let me recap the Nets four wins to date, and how each memory was special.

Mr. Fantastic

December 4, 2009 - Nets 97, Bobcats 91

The opening of the Nets season began with a losing streak that stretched forever - just like Mr. Fantastic. It claimed the health of several players and the job status of Lawrence Frank. But, thankfully, one cold December night, the stars aligned. I had bought a bottle of champagne the night before, ready to pop it when/if the Nets would get their first win. I watched this game in my girlfriend's new apartment with her and her mom (who had helped her move in). The win was pretty ugly, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time - wondering how the Nets would blow it until there was 0.00 left on the clock. Once the win was secured, we all enjoyed some of the cheapest Cristalino around.

The Thing

December 8, 2009 - Nets 103, Bulls 101

Boy, this game was pretty ugly. I forget where I was earlier in the night, but I remember checking the scores on my cell phone as I walked home. By the time I got home, I was able to watch the last two minutes as the Nets gained leads, blew them, got the lead back, blew it, but then eventually won. Only Alicia Masters would want to watch this game again.

Human Torch

December 30, 2009 - Nets 104, Knicks 95

Nets just came out and torched the Knicks this game. Really, I did not see this victory coming at all. But, what made this more special - it was one of the few games I actually went to! At half-time, my ticket rep surprised me by moving me up to courtside!

Nice picture, huh? A courtside seat is unlike any other seat in sports; it is a completely unique viewing situation. Anyway, this was the first win I saw in person this season (0-3 before). But, fortunately, it was not my last...

Invisible Woman

January 27, 2010 - Nets 103, Clippers 87

Well, this is another game I went to courtside. This time, however, I purchased the tickets in advance. This game was a gift to my mom for Christmas. I bought the tickets right after the Bobcats win, and have prayed for the last two months that the Nets would win this particular game. My prayers were answered! (I have to say, in between my courtside sitting appearances, I went to two other games. Sadly, I can't go back. Courtside is too nice. I've tasted the high-life, and it is tough watching games amongst the commoners again. And yes, I am a tremendous douche. But the Nets are 2-0 when I sit courtside, so maybe I am good luck!)

Well, the Nets' backcourt was invisible this game, as both Courtney Lee and Devin Harris were injured. I immediately wrote off our chances of winning. Fortunately, Baron Davis and Marcus Camby also pulled out their invisibility cloaks, and the Nets soared to a win behind Keyon Dooling and The Hump (my new favorite Net).

And there you have it, the Fantastic Four. These memories will last throughout our lifetime. Memories of game winning shots by Damien Wilkens, Dwyane Wade, and Earl Boykins will fade, as will the numerous blowouts and....

Ah...who am I kidding? Somebody, help us! We don't have a coach! The players hate each other! The management hates the fans! Help us, Obi Wan-Prohorov! You're our only hope!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good Grief

Something has to be said when your team goes 0-4 versus the second and third worst teams in the league. Unfortunately, I've run out of ways to say "WE SUCK!", so take it away Charles Schultz:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, We're Half Way There

The Nets are half-way through this "season", which is destined to go down as one of mankind's most heinous crimes. In New Jersey fashion, I'll organize this week's rant in Livin' On A Prayer fashion. I'm not sure where this will go, but I'm sure there will be some tears shed by the end...

Once upon a time, not so long ago...

The Nets were winning Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles. Just trying to remember the good times. OK, now back to reality...

It's tough.

Without exaggeration, this is the most infuriating time I have had as a sports fan. First and foremost, as a sports fan, you demand your team to show effort. Acting like you give a crap is the largest chunk of the battle in winning over sports fans, moreso than winning. It is why Raptors fans hate Vince, even though he brought that team more success than any player. Since Kiki took over from Lawrence Frank, these players have all checked out. I am convinced that nobody on the team is friends, either.

The whole organization is toxic, and needs to be blown apart. Nets fans have debated whether Devin Harris or Brook Lopez should be "untouchable" - I'm sorry. This is the worst team in the history of sports - there are no untouchable players. Refresh yourself with the 72-73 Sixers - see any untouchables on that roster? The only Hall-of-Famer was an ancient Hal Greer, who played half the season and then retired.

I blame this lack of effort solely on Kiki's shoulders. Frank's 0-16 team would trounce this current incarnation. I have found myself sometimes wishing physical harm on Kiki, but talk myself out of it. I want him fired immediately, but want him to get hired by another moronic organization that he can destroy. The Nets need to compete against 29 teams every year for a championship - with Kiki running one, that number goes down to 28.

We've got to hold on to what we've got, 'cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not

I'm afraid the Nets will make a panic trade, and bring in a player who will destroy their cap space and cost them several draft picks. As mentioned before, the Nets need a complete make-over, not a touch-up. Ten draft picks in the next three years and $30M in cap space can do that, Caron Butler or Andrei Kirilenko cannot.


That's all the Nets fans can hope for: the power of prayer getting them those seven more wins to avoid the worst record ever, or getting the number one pick in the draft. Teams don't luck into wins, they have to be earned. This team WILL NOT EARN THEM. I have been saying this since November 19th, 2009. Will any free agents want to join this circus? That remains to be seen.

Bottom line: I'm angry, and, if you are reading this, so are you. The frustrating thing is: nobody cares. Nobody is talking about how Kiki is stealing money from the organization. It is utterly hopeless. I bet you feel like running away, and you are crying in the night.

Baby - it's OK. Someday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gone Podcastin' - Part 6

OK, this post is going to shatter my personal record for shameless self-promotion. First, here is the link to my latest appearance on the Brad Bogner Show. Might I say, this may be my personal best appearance. If you enjoy the Brad Bogner Show, please subscribe to the show on iTunes, or, if you are already subscribed, leave a positive review for the show.

Next order of business involves my second appearance at Caroline's on Broadway. It is this Monday, January 25th, at 9:30PM. Here is a clip from my first show:

This time I am doing what struggling new comedians call a "bringer" show: the more people who come, the better it is for me getting future appearances at Caroline's. So, if you are interested, please call Caroline's at 212-757-4100. Make sure to say you are there to see me. It will be $5 and two drinks. I've seen a couple of these shows, and let me say, they are worth the money to go to, even if you are not there to support me. At one show, both Nick DiPaolo and Darrell Hammond performed. Not bad for $5.

That's all for now. There will be a new post up later this week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Random Nets Crap - Mardi Gras Beads!

As a long-time Nets fan, I've compiled a shitload of Nets memorabilia and freebies throughout the years. Now, feast your eyes on the more ridiculous and obscure paraphernalia in a blog feature I call....RANDOM NETS CRAP!


Since the Nets are currently heading to New Orleans, I figure I'd bust out a recent addition to my ever-growing collection of Nets paraphernalia: Mardi Gras beads! These were acquired on a trip to New Orleans during Thanksgiving Break 2009, so like I said, no dust on this gem.

This trip was the first time I've ever been to New Orleans. Sure, the food was good, the people were friendly, and touring the French Quarter, Garden District, and Warehouse District was lovely. But the main thing I thought during the trip was, "God damn, this would be a kick-ass place to be homeless!"

Now, I'm not trying to make light of the situation faced by many unfortunate people during Hurricane Katrina, nor mock those with mental disabilities who often find themselves in homeless situations. I am speaking, of course, of the "lovable scamp" brand of homeless man. You know, the kind of bum who hops trains, carries his belongings in a handkerchief tied to a stick, and steals pies from windowsills.

You see, I never take anything I have for granted, such as my job and my home. I know that bad luck can strike anyone at any time, and I like to prepare myself for terrible situations. It is always one of my life-long dreams to help people escape from an airplane, as well. Trust me, while others zone out as flight attendants explain how to buckle your seatbelt, I am carefully studying how to open the escape hatch and where the nearest exits are (It's behind me? Sneaky!). You bet your ass I'll be putting on my oxygen mask first before assisting others. This kind of "prepare for anything" attitude is also why I like when gay guys hit on me. Now, I'm NOT gay, but in the instance I wake up one day and CHOOSE to be gay, I like to know that I'll have someone interested in me.

Back to the homelessness: Should I find myself having to ride the rails, I like to know where I'm going to be headed to. There are definitely two cities to avoid:

Boston: This should be obvious. The subway system is terrible. The weather is awful. The city is full of drunk college kids who will set your gristly beard on fire for kicks. Plus, the sports teams suck!

Nutley, New Jersey: My hometown. Basically, this is just too boring. Everything will be closed by 10PM. There's not a lot of fun to be had when you have money here.

So that's that. Now, the place where I currently live, New York City, is an interesting subject. It is pretty much a middle ground when it comes to homelessness. It suffers the weather problem that Boston does, but the subways are much better for being mobile and staying warm/cold. Everybody complains that it is expensive, but food is practically free if you know where to look. The biggest thing with being homeless in New York is this: how bad are you willing to smell? First of all, everybody in New York smells a little awful. There's no helping it: you cram that many people into confined spaces, and things are going to get rank pretty fast. As a homeless guy, you'll run into this problem almost immediately. But, to be a successful bum, you'll need to dumpster dive. If you don't mind the smell, dumpster diving in New York will lead you to a bevy of riches, and you'll probably end up living a better style than people with homes in Boston and Nutley. So if you do find yourself homeless and stuck in New York, I'd suggest destroying your sense of smell with a bottle rocket ala Selma Bouvier.

Now onto my two favorite cities:

New Orleans: This is my second favorite city to be homeless. First, you can pretty much be drunk all the time. Drinks are allowed on Bourbon Street, and many times a drunken tourist will leave a cup along the street. Pounce on these, and you can waste your days away rather than look for a job. Drinking in public is a HUGE advantage over most cities. Also, you are by the water, have access to good food, and will come in contact with a slew of tourists each day. The town is known for chicanery by the locals, so you could probably learn a few scams along the way. A casino nearby is a definite negative, though. Also, the weather is helter-skelter, which could be awful. These two downsides are why it only places second to...

San Diego: I haven't been here in a while, but from what I recall and through collaboration with others: this place is sunny and 70 degrees all year. It is by the water, which is indispensable for a vagabond like yourself: you can either fish for food, or hop a boat for adventures in the Orient. It is also near Mexico, which is good for escape from the federalis. It may not have the plentiful booze of New Orleans, but it does have Comic-Con once a year. For four days, women will see you as one of the non-weirdos.

Anyway, back to the beads. The tourist shops in New Orleans sell all kind of beads you could imagine. And, after flashing my boobs, these Nets beads were all mine! I also bought Spider-Man duck beads.

I have no idea why they painted rubber ducks to look like Spider-Man. I must have missed that issue. You could also buy beads with the logos of every major sports team. The Nets were one of the tougher ones to find, probably because everybody was buying them for their loved ones for Christmas. It is nice to see the dark blue is still part of the color scheme on the beads, as it has all but vanished from the Nets' uniforms.

So with all that said, I think the key to the game tomorrow is if Devin Harris can neutralize Chris Paul. Also, rebounding and points from the bench will be key. My prediction: 108-93, Hornets.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Netcade - Bottom 10 Nets Players of the 00s

Once the calendar hits December of any year ending in a 9, it is time for the masses to declare the top 10 of whatever the previous 10 years provided us. I have seen numerous lists recounting the best of film, television, music, sports, etc. But, where is the New Jersey Net love? As always, Slippery When Nets is hear to provide a voice for the little man! And now, I embarrassingly present:

The Bottom 10 Nets Of The Zeros!

(Please note for this list, I am putting weight on the expectations associated with each player. Therefore, I will exclude second round picks and minimum contract players.)

10. Zoran Planinic

Wow, remember the 2003 NBA Draft? That will go down in history as one of the greatest drafts of all time. LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade at the top. Tons of other starters litter the first and second round, including late picks David West, Josh Howard, and Mo Williams. And who did the Nets come away with?

Zoran. Planinic.

Zoran was always a favorite of mine, but his international game just never adjusted to the NBA. It is terrible to look at all the other players that were passed up in favor of Little Z, especially considering this was the last s eason the Nets would be truly competitive for an NBA title. Well, it was nice knowing you, Zoran. I'll see you every four years in the Olympics, fighting for fifth place.

9. Marcus Williams

Really, he is the same story as Zoran: an heir-apparent to Jason Kidd, brought in when the team was competitive, ended up stinking up the joint. I ranked him higher than Zoran because, quite frankly, I just liked Zoran more. Marcus had a lot of hype surrounding him, as he "fell" in the draft because of character issues. These character issues were enormous, and have bugged him wherever he's gone. Fortunately, the Marcus Williams saga had some benefits, as he was traded for a conditional Golden State pick, which may end up being a good pick. Also, there have not (yet) been any All-Star caliber players selected after Williams.

8. Bobby Simmons

I had this guy at 10, but as this season just wears on, he will climb this chart. Clearly, he was only acquired to be a large expiring contract in 2010. However, now he will go down as the highest paid player on the worst team in NBA history. What a joke. How does he sleep at night? Probably like Reiner Wolfcastle: in a large bed, surrounded by beautiful women. He may skyrocket to number one if the Nets fail to acquire anything positive with their caproom this summer, which I feel is the most likely scenario. Single tear.

7. Sean Williams

Ah, SWat. My old nemesis. My hatred for you was one of the first things I've documented. And nothing's changed. The supposed "raw talent" is not enough to make up for his lack of fundamentals. It is a shame that you can describe tons of first round busts that way. GMs never learn.

6. Chris Childs

Well, I've ragged on all the draft busts of this decade, now time to rag on the horrific free agent signings. I will start with 2002's signing of Chris Childs. Supposed the backup point guard to help spell Jason Kidd, Childs showed up insanely overweight and was suspended by the team. In fact, one of the funniest moments I can remember was the nascent YES Network showing a "behind the scenes" in the Nets locker room. Peaking around the corner, they showed Chris Childs on a trainer's table - EATING A SANDWICH! Needless to say, he only played 12 games before getting the boot (his stay was so short, I could not find a good picture of him for this entry). Fortunately, steady Anthony Johnson was able to return back to the Nets.

Now, onto the top 5, or as I call them, the Malicious Ms

5. Jamaal Magloire

Basically, this was Chris Childs, part 2. This signing makes me angrier, however, since it was the THIRD strike by Nets management (Childs being number 1, and I will get to number 2 in a bit). As soon as they made this signing, I remember telling everyone who would listen, "Well, it would just be easier to light $4,000,000 on fire." But that's just stupid, nobody would do that. Except, perhaps, Ed Stefanski and Rod Thorn. This signing did have one upside, though. Defenders of the signing would always bring up "He was a former All-Star!" Yes, so was Chris Gatling, but nobody is reaching out to sign him. After this failure, though, I have yet to hear another casual basketball use this argument. Thanks, Jamaal!

4. Dikembe Mutumbo

Pat Riley used to speak of the "Disease of More" destroying basketball teams. Succinctly, once a team becomes successful, the players stop looking out for the greater good of the team, and start demanding more for themselves. They want more shots, more playing time, and ultimately, more money. However, what the 2002-03 Nets succumbed to was the "Disease of Mutumbo". In this disease, a competitive team thinks they can improve themselves by trading away role players for an aging veteran. This veteran does not mesh with the team's style at all, and everything falls apart. Examples include: 2000-01 Sixers (Ratliff and spare parts for Mutumbo), 2002-03 Nets (Van Horn and McCulloch for Mutumbo), and the 2007-08 Suns (Marion for Shaq).

Anyway, Mutumbo never meshed with the Nets, got injured early, and eventually was bought out of his contract in the largest buy-out in NBA history. I still wonder what Van Horn's outside shooting would have done to bust up the Spurs' zone defense in the 2003 Finals.

3. Stephon Marbury

"All Alone 33" was mercifully only on the Nets for a brief period of time this decade. However, I never felt more hopeless as a fan than in the 1999-2000 season. The Nets had no young prospects, no real coach, no cap room, etc. At least with this current menagerie, you can look at youth and cap room as positive indicators. Not so when knuckleheads like Marbury and Kendall Gill are running the joint.

Once Marbury had left the building, Nets fans knew it was only going to get worse. I secretly delighted in watching him sabotage the Suns and the Knicks. I loved watching Knicks fans trying to talk themselves into Marbury in the 2004 season, knowing full well what craziness they were about to get into. I didn't bat an eye when "truck party" splashed across the New York Post's back page. Hell, I bet Marbury also led to Kevin Garnett's knee injury and the collapse of the 2009 Celtics. I'll just end this with a highlight real of Marbury's greatest hits.

2. Alonzo Mourning

Unlike the other horrific signings mentioned earlier (Childs, Magloire), I was very pumped when the Nets got Alonzo Mourning. Perhaps it was a by-product of my happiness about resigning Jason Kidd, which occurred the same day. But little did I know the crap-show that would unfold.

After Mourning joined the team, the Nets had a glut of big men. They knew this once signing him, but for some reason, Rod Thorn waited until just before the season to buy-out Dikembe Mutumbo (mentioned earlier). This ticked off Mourning, as they were both teammates at Georgetown. I did not like this either, as the Nets were always prone to injury, and depth soon disappeared quickly. I mentioned this in my woefully accurate preseason hype article. So the Nets eventually had to battled the 2003-04 season with just Jason Collins and Aaron Williams.

After the 2004 fire sale, Mourning continued to complain. And whine. And cry. Eventually, the Nets moved his ass to Toronto as part of the Vince Carter trade. He got bought out there, and since he did not have enough talent to win on his own, he decided to ride the coattails of the Miami Heat. Since he sucked hard, they didn't play him that much, allowing him time to take pot-shots at the Nets, accusing Lawrence Frank and Rod Thorn of trying to kill him. By 2006, however, Mourning and his new-found steroids....

(Hold on, just take a look. Before:)


Anyway, he won a ring in 2006, along with some other guys you will always associate as great team players and winners like Jason Williams and Antoine Walker. This Finals will always go down as one of the shadiest series, as the refereeing has been constantly called into question. He would continue to show his class by taunting Nets fans at games in New Jersey the following season. Eventually, he destroyed his knee and had to retire. Good for him. Here's a Mourning highlight reel to end this:

1. Jeff McInnis

Has any player more appropriately worn the number 0? Jeff McInnis was strike 2 in the "Let's find a backup point guard for Kidd" idea. And, the Nets clearly did not learn their lessons from the first time with Chris Childs. So they failed with an aging, selfish point guard - and decided to sign an aging, selfish point guard for MORE money and MORE years? That, my friends, is what pushes this to number 1. Many of the previous mistakes (Magloire, Mutumbo, Childs) were resolved within a year. The McInnis drama dragged out for two excruciating years. Off the court, it hurt not only because of the roster spot, but the money pushed the Nets dangerously close to the luxury tax. On the court and in the locker room, he made it crystal clear that his cancer reputation was not given to him frivolously, but dutifully earned.

On other Nets teams, McInnis wouldn't be so bad. Either the team was good enough to overcome this roster blunder (as the 2002-04 Nets did with Childs, Zoran, Mourning, and Mutumbo), or they weren't good enough for these blunders to even matter (the 2007-09 Nets with Simmons, Magloire, and the Williamses). But the 2005-07 Nets were so tantalizingly close to being very competitive - hitting the second round twice - that this gaping wound on the roster just grew and festered. After a year and a half, he was shipped out for Bernard Robinson (who?), who was eventually turned into David Wesley, who just flat-out never showed up and retired. Something I wish Jeff McInnis did.