It’s official – Keith Bogans will earn $5,058,198 next year. All guaranteed. Keith Bogans.
July 15th, 2013

Happy? You should be. Keith Bogans has an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. He has become throughout his NBA career the archetypal three-and-D wing role player, the kind of piece you want around star point guards or big men (or both), who’ll defend opposing stars for a few pesky minutes a night and not risk anything more offensively than taking some open threes. Yet despite not being significantly above average at either, and in no way any more of a stand-out talent in relation to the dozens of other suitable candidates for the role, Bogans’s medicority is nonetheless a sure thing, a known commodity, a risk-free contributor who’ll neither say nor do nothing confrontational. Teams like that, and, because of this, he has time and again landed starting roles, often on competitive teams. In a talent vacuum, he’s not worth this opportunity or luxury, yet by continuing to land these gigs, Bogans is doing something right. Normally, of course, this role doesn’t earn very much. Keith has mostly been a minimum salary player throughout his career, only rarely exceeding it, and this reflect his minimal contributions. None of this is meant pejoratively – Bogans plays a role, plays it fairly well, and yet the role is small and replacable, so so is its salary. This, however, is all change in light of Keith’s new contract. The rebuilding Boston Celtics insisted upon Jason Terry (and, primarily, his salary) being included in the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with the Nets. Either he or Courtney Lee. Brooklyn could afford it and were prepared to pay it, but, in light of all their recent roster turnover, they didn’t have the necessarily medium-size expiring contracts that are so useful in trade scenarios that would have facilitated it. In […]

Posted by at 4:10 PM

The Absurdity Of The Bulls/Celtics Series
May 1st, 2009

I feel obligated to write something about the Bulls/Celtics playoff series. It has been untold drama, brilliant excitement, and well worth the fortnight of 7am finishes. It’s been better than Megan Fox’s shadow, worse than De Niro’s moustache in Cop Land, and awesome to a fault. And I feel inclined to write something that describes it all. But the truth is, I don’t want to. I don’t think I can. The series has been so unilaterally brilliant, so unrivalled in its drama and so and flawlessly flawed in its execution, that I’m not capable of writing the words to accurately describe it. I don’t think anyone is. It’s as though someone decided the Coach Carter series of films should rival Police Academy, wrote six of the most implausibly cheesy scripts ever written, and nailed them all on the first take in front of an audience of millions. The drama, for lack of a better word, is perfect. Disregard game three for a minute. (The Bulls forgot to turn up to that one, so it’s best we pretend that it didn’t happen.) Over the other five games, the other 275 minutes, and the 1,000 or so possessions, the difference between the two team’s aggregate score is one freaking point. There have been seven overtimes in four games, and one game that was decided in the final second of regulation. Never before has there even been more than two overtime games in a series. And yet we’re at four already, with one still to play. It is almost unfathomable how close these two teams are. It will never happen again. It doesn’t matter now about the peculiar series of events that made it this way; what we have now, quite possibly, are the two most evenly-matched teams in the sport’s history. All […]

Posted by at 8:09 PM

It turns out defence does indeed win championships
June 18th, 2008

In the unlikely event that you hadn’t noticed, defence wins championships. In the six games of this NBA Finals series, the Celtics ran about two perimeter isolation plays, not including ones at the end of quarters. They didn’t need to run any. The offence took care of itself from running only the simplest stuff. All they had to do was push the ball off of Laker misses and turnovers, occasionally post up Kevin Garnett, have the shooters run to the wings on the break, and keep setting screens. As well as let Ray Allen shoot open threes. The defence is what won it. L.A.’s offence was contained with relative ease. The only times the Lakers could get the ball in the paint in the last three games were on entry passes to Pau Gasol, and Pau’s options from there were limited to the extra-pass, the re-feed, or staggering to the rim like a drunk teenage girl. They became nothing more than a turnover, a shot-clock waster, and a back-rimmer respectively as Boston routinely denied the Lakers every option possible from their multi-option playbook. Kobe Bryant could not get to the rim. The best player on the planet at contorting his body and knifing his way through holes that the defence did not know they that had left, suddenly found a defence that hadn’t left any. All but a handful of Bryant’s points came from contested jump shots, a resource which dries up eventually, no matter how good you are at plundering it. Whenever the Lakers attempted to make the skip, extra or entry passes that Boston made so routinely, a turnover ensued, as a Celtic defender always managed to get a hand in the way. Not a single thing came easy. And that’s how it should be. The Lakers defence […]

Posted by at 5:52 AM

2008 NBA Finals Talk
June 10th, 2008

By unpopular demand, I won’t talk about baseball. Instead, I’ll talk about basketball. I shall retread the observations of the hundreds of other writers who are covering the subject, while adding no unique spin. It’s how we roll around here. 1) There’s no reason why Lamar Odom shouldn’t be able to defend Kevin Garnett better than he does. None whatsoever. He has the length to bother his jump shots as well as anyone can bother them, the athleticism to prevent any easy drives to the basket, and the reasonable man-to-man post defence to cope with the rare times that Garnett plays back to the basket. But he doesn’t do it that well. And not only does he struggle at it, but he doesn’t do it much at all, as Pau Gasol seems to end up with the assignment a lot of the time. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Also, this is somewhere where Andrew Bynum would come in handy. 2) Something that also doesn’t make a lot of sense is Vlad Rad starting and playing as much as he is. I understand the Lakers’ need for shooting and spacing. I do. But Radmanovic is bad in all other aspects of the game. (His rebounding numbers in this series have been quite good, but try and think of a single Radmanovic rebound. You can’t – they were all gimmies that his replacement could have gotten, too.) And when you’re matched up against a team that starts Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Garnett at the 2-3-4 spots, you’re left with the unattractive prospect of having Radmanovic guarding one of those three, particularly when Kobe Bryant spends so much time on Rajon Rondo. And Radmanovic just can’t do that. Leave him in as a token starter if you must, but […]

Posted by at 5:04 AM

Dreaming about Mark Madsen
March 16th, 2008

Do you ever stop and think about that time that Mark Madsen shot seven three-pointers in an overtime game, when Minnesota and Memphis had the most blatant tank-off that history has ever seen? No, nor did I. That is, not until this morning, when I woke up thinking about it. It’s not an entirely normal thing to wake up thinking about, even for the most hardcore Madsen fans amongst us. (For we are all Mark Madsen fans, obviously.) But some part of this must have ruffled my feathers, stoned my crows and enraged my loins, because this was all that i could think about for about three minutes after waking up. It is now a permanent blot on the NBA landscape. The situation Minnesota found themselves in – not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to bottom out without trying to – left them deliberately trying to lose games. It needn’t have done, but General Manager Kevin McHale had already trded away Minnesota’s first rounder that season, as it was owed to the L.A. Clippers along with Sam Cassell in exchange for Lionel Chalmers and┬áMarko Jaric. The pick, however, had top ten protection, and so in order to be able to keep it, Minnesota had to lose with a bit more regularity and finesse than they were doing up until that point. They did this with aplomb, telling Kevin Garnett to stop playing (or so we thought), playing their better players for merely token minutes, and letting their lesser players do whatever the hell they wanted, in what then-head coach Dwane Casey called “letting them have some fun” (to be read as “playing really badly so that we lose”.) The fact that they met an equally-tanking Memphis team, who were tanking for a different reason, was an […]

Posted by at 3:43 PM

30 teams in 56 or so days: Minnesota Timberwolves
November 9th, 2007

Players acquired via free agency or trade: Greg Buckner (acquired from Dallas) Michael Doleac (acquired from Miami) Antoine Walker (acquired from Miami) Theo Ratliff (acquired from Boston) Ryan Gomes (acquired from Boston) Al Jefferson (acquired from Boston) Sebastian Telfair (acquired from Boston) Gerald Green (acquired from Boston)   Players acquired via draft: First round: Corey Brewer (7th overall) Second round: Chris Richard (41st overall)   Players retained: None   Players departed: Mark Blount (traded to Miami) Ricky Davis (traded to Miami) Kevin Garnett (traded to Boston) Trenton Hassell (traded to Dallas) Troy Hudson (bought out) Mike James (traded to Houston) Justin Reed (traded to Houston) Bracey Wright (left unrestricted, signed in Greece)   Bobbins: You probably want me, or expect me, to burn Kevin McHale in this space, as I have done in the past. But it’s not going to happen. I actually think he’s done a nice job this offseason, all things considering. The reason I say “all things considering”, is that McHale has done a rather nice job of restructuring a team that, apart from New York, was about the hardest possible team to reconstruct. With multiple long and bad contracts, and also with first-round draft picks still owed to Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Timberwolves were roundly screwed. With only a couple of young players worth a damn and with only superstar Kevin Garnett providing any value worth a damn, McHale had only one option – to trade Kevin Garnett and start again. He could have gone the other way, signed a veteran, and made another playoff push, hoping that the impossible would occur and that the Timberwolves would suddenly have enough firepower to rival the West’s best teams. That would have been a stupid thing to do, though, It was also a stupid thing […]

Posted by at 11:54 PM