Bucks Diary

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Selling of Mr. Yi

If you thought the Bucks wouldn't milk the Chinese market for all it was worth, you better think again. No sooner did they sign Yi Jianlian than the exploitation of his profit potential began.

Check out the Bucks website. Is that Milwaukee in the background, or Shanghai?

And how about the Chinese lettering? Who is that aimed at? The only Milwaukeean I know who might have a shot at deciphering those Chinese letters would be Long Wong, and I'm sure they're not meant for him. The Bucks have officially gone international.

I just hope with all their fancy new cosmopolitan sensibilities, they don't forget us provincial beer guzzling louts here at home. You know, the people who actually attend Bucks games.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Now Donaghy is a moron AND a rat

I don't get this Tim Donaghy fella at all.

First of all, he just looks like an idiot you feel compelled to slap the taste out of. Every video I've seen of him shows a guy who just looks so completely smug and smarmy, with that grade school haircut and that perma-smirk. He's a guy you just want to hate... or beat up... or both.

Second, his whole gambling arrangement with the "Gambinos" (wooooo, sweatsuits and greasy hair) sounds like it was set up by Moltisanti and Paulie Walnuts ("Things change, my friend"). From what I know of it, it sounds utterly idiotic. I've read the criminal complaint against him and I still can't figure out what advantage he was providing the Gambys that they might have found useful.

Allegedly, what he was providing them with was some sort of "insider nonpublic information". Insider nonpublic information? On what? What model of black Reeboks his fellow refs were wearing? Violet Palmer's choice of underwear? What else was he privy to?

According to the complaint, the information included reports on the "physical condition" of NBA players. But what "nonpublic" information could he possibly have had access to on that front that the Unwiseguys couldn't have gotten themselves by reading the Newark Star-Ledger (Tony's newspaper)? Was he peering into locker rooms to see who was getting a rubdown and where? Or was he providng his co-conspirators with on-sight eyeball assessments ("Shaq looks really buff tonight! Take the over!")?

The indictment also says he provided the mobsters with his "expert picks" on NBA games. Excuse me... I'm laughing really hard. Those must have been worth a lot. I bet his mob nickname was "Timmy the Greek". Timmy's expert picks. Beautiful. I would have loved to have seen what his winning percentages were. I'm sure they weren't overly impressive. Why didn't the Unwiseguys just call one of those ridiculous gambling hotlines that annoy me so much when I hear about them on the radio ("Call me now. Get my absolute lock of the week, free!")

Finally, I now hear he's going to rat out his fellow refs for gambling in violation of their contracts. Why would he do this? How does it advance his cause one iota? The petty gambling of fellow referees he is said to be singing about does not sound like criminal behavior to me. And the fact that media reports refer to "contract violations" makes me assume he's singing to the NBA, not the federal authorities. I don't get it.

Why would he sing to the NBA? His NBA future is deader than disco, so it doesn't benefit him at all to help them. Maybe he's just that vindictive. Or maybe its some sort of misdirected PR campaign ("they were doing it too"). But does he think that tattling on his former peers somehow rehabilitates his image? Because, Timmy boy... it doesn't! It just makes you look like an even bigger creep. And, while I don't know much about prison life, I'm pretty sure I've heard somewhere that the residents in those places don't really appreciate song birds and tattletales, so... I don't know... watch your back when you get "inside".

My advice to you, Timmy, is to just grow up and go away and do your time and shut your mouth and, above all, stop harming the game and the Association that I love so much! You moron you!

Yi signs with the Bucks -- what's Chinese for "finally"?

As predicted!!

Almost exactly a month after I pissed a lot of people off by saying his signing was imminent that day, Yi Jianlian finally... finally put his backwards name on the dotted line and signed with the Bucks.

So, water under the bridge, and all's forgotten, and all those other reconciliation cliches, right? To tell you the truth, I never really had any doubts that this would happen. In my mind, it was always just a matter of time. There really was no other sensible outcome than this one.

But for all you who were so worried, you can finally sleep at night. Yi mania has arrived in Beer Town!

And not a moment too soon. The Brewers are just painful to watch. Ugh. They're just kind of limping to the finish line... actually its way worse than that. Its sort of like watching that chick in the '84 Olympics who had a seizure when she was finishing the marathon.

Anyway, let's start to get into Bucks mode. I can't wait to get back to the Bradley. So with training camp coming up, look for regular postings starting about a week after Labor Day, with intermittent posts between then and now. Bucks ball!

Oh, btw, I saw Michael Redd being interviewed in conjunction with the USA Basketball coverage on ESPN. He looks really svelte. His face has thinned out, and he says he's been working with a trainer and a nutritionist. And he looks good on the floor.

I can't wait for Bucks season!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bucks score poorly under new defensive ratings

On 82games.com, Jon Nichols has developed an interesting defensive rating system that compiles several different defensive numbers and awards each player a composite score between 0-100. The top defensive player in the NBA (Tim Duncan) scored a 100, while the bottom two defensive players in the NBA (Tyronn Lue and Jeff McGinnis) scored zeroes.

Last year's Bucks, as you might expect, all received either mediocre or downright poor defensive scores. The top Bucks defender was, unsurprisingly, Ruben Patterson, who scored a 58, which is merely okay. The second best defender on the Bucks, very surprisingly, was Dan Gadzuric, who scored a 53. He was followed by Skinner and Bogut at 43 each, Michael Redd at 42, Charlie Villanueva at 31, Mo Williams at 24, and Charlie Bell at 15. Oh, by the way, the completely useless Earl Boykins scored a team low 7. The whole team fared pretty poorly by this guy's measure, when you consider that the immobile Chris Webber scored a 78. (which calls into question the entire rating system... I watched Andrew Bogut isolate on Webber last season and absolutely eat him alive! But lets just go with it for the moment).

Of the Bucks pickups this off-season, Desmond Mason scored a dismal 14 (hey oh! he doesn't play defense either!), and Jake Voskuhl scored a 27, which is extremely low for a big man. I guess our new found commitment to acquiring defense is just empty talk.

But I don't know how much I'm sold on this system yet. Here are some stunning numbers compiled by former Bucks. TJ Ford compiled a 76! Maybe he was a better defender than the naked eye could capture. Another seeming nondefensive former Buck, Zaza Pachulia, scored an 86. And Rafer Alston, who never appeared to play much defense in Milwaukee, scored an incredible 92. It goes further. Tim Thomas, the disinterested one, somehow scored a 72. On the other hand, Jamaal Magliore scored a measly 35, which sounds about right.

All in all, it may not be a perfect rating system, but it does provide some intriguing information on just how bad the Bucks might be defensively this season.

Celtics finally have the Cool Factor

I'm not as convinced as others that the Boston Celtic trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett will automatically return them to their glory days of the 60s or even the 80s. If you look at Allen and Garnett's +/- numbers, neither has been much of a difference maker on the court throughout their careers, and that includes the times when they have had decent supporting casts. Besides which, of the new Big Three of Allen, Garnett, and Paul Pierce, Pierce is the only one who has shown any propensity to take the ball to the basket or do the dirty work necessary to win games.

That said, the one thing the Celtics will certainly be is cool. If you asked me last season to name the 3 coolest players in the NBA, I would have said Garnett, Allen, and Dwayne Wade (for some reason, I just don't find Kobe, LeBron, or Shaq all that cool. Kobe and LeBron are too self important, and Shaq, at this point, seems like a caricature of himself). The first two, especially, have that sort of effortless charisma on the court that makes them compelling to watch. And now the Celtics have both of them in Kelly Green.

The New Cool Celtics, of course, will stand in stark contrast to those who remember the Old Uncool Celtic teams of the 80s. The 80s Celtics were rugged, dynamic, talented, successful... but they were the very antithesis of cool. I remember because I used to tool around the playgrounds in a #33 Larry Bird jersey and used to catch extreme hell for it. And remember how odd Larry Bird looked in the early 90s when he succumbed to fashion and started wearing those baggy shorts? Ugh! Its brutal to look at even now on ESPN Classic.

So next season, to see such a huge cool factor sporting the same kelly green and white of those great, but uncool, players of the past will almost be something of a culture shock for me.

Footnote: I'm sure many will question my ranking of Ray Allen amongst the top 3 coolest players in the NBA. I admit some bias there. But remember, he was Jesus Shuttleworth, so he's got that whole Hollywood thing working too.

Chinese official will look to end Yi impasse

According to a report on ESPN, China's top basketball official is headed to the United States to try to break the Yi/Milwaukee Bucks stalemate. He will meet first with Yi to determine what exactly Yi's opinion on the whole matter is (a novel idea, to be sure), and then he will subsequently meet with the Bucks -- and do what, I'm not sure. Whether this is good news or bad news for BucksNation, I have no idea, and I'm beginning not to care.

This whole Chinese Hamlet story is starting to get as tired as the Barry Bonds home run chase, the Michael Vick dog scandal, the Kevin Garnett trade rumors... oh wait, that last one's been resolved.