Basketball 101 with Professor Mamba


Kobe Bryant is days away from making his return to an NBA court. As a fan of basketball and the NBA, I’m ecstatic. No matter how you feel about the man, the game is better with him in it.

As an observer though, I’ll be watching his return to see if there’s a change in his leadership style.

We’ve seen Kobe go from 17-year old rookie to all-time NBA legend. But there’s one thing we’ve never seen Kobe do and that’s be a teacher. With the way this team is setup, there are a lot of young, unproven, but very talented players on this roster. For the 1st time in his career, the Black Mamba has to become Professor Mamba.

There’s a reason great players are never great coaches. They don’t have the patience to deal with the mistakes, lack of passion, and low bball IQ’s of lesser players. We’ve seen this from Kobe as recent as last season in his failed relationship with Dwight Howard. I hope he’s learned that approach will not work with this youthful cast.

Now more than ever, Kobe needs to grab Nick Young, Xavier Henry, and Wesley Johnson and take them under his wing and TEACH these guys. He has to instill confidence and trust in these guys. He can’t go out there and do it all on his own, that’s how he ended up with a popped Achilles.

With the Lakers signing Kobe to a 2-year $48 million extension today, it’s imperative for their future that KB24 handles these young guys the right way. After riding the pine his whole career, Henry is finally flashing the goods that had him ranked as the best high school player in the country only a few years ago.

So much talent, looking for the right hand to guide them. My eyes will be glued on LA to see if class is in session.

– N.D. Face

Where Brooklyn At???


Man, what’s going on with the Brooklyn Nets?

Most experts figured they wouldn’t light it up in the regular season, due to the maintenance program that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be on. “This team is built for the playoffs” is what everyone was saying, but will they even make the playoffs?

Sitting at 3-10 and currently on a 5-game losing streak, its time to hit the panic button.

There’s a lot of things wrong with this team, but since we all have short attention spans, I’m heading straight to the lead problem…Deron Williams is not a franchise player.

I hate to put all of this on him, but when you’re a max salary player, you get max blame when things go array. Billy King and the front office traded away their future to bring this guy in and build around him. The 1st sign that he wasn’t the one was when he complained about the offense and ended up getting Avery Johnson fired.

The 2nd sign was his inability to beat a shirt handed Chicago Bulls team at home…in the playoffs…in a GAME 7. He needed to step up and lead this team, but he blew it and was outplayed by Mighty Mite Nate Robinson.

The 3rd sign for me is his lack of leadership this year. Jason Kidd was supposed to bring out his A-game and I just havent seen it. I know he’s injured and you can’t do anything about that. But even before he sprained his ankle, I just saw a reluctance to take over games from the guy who was supposed to lead this big named roster past the Miami Heat.

Its like he’s sitting back, waiting for someone else to do what his salary commands that he should do. I’ve said this before, with Max Money comes Max Responsibility.

In order to turn it around, this team needs the D-Will who was in the conversation for best point guard in the game. He needs to put his stamp on this roster and on this organization. Otherwise, they’ll be the NBA equivalent of Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins. Big names, Big dollars, NO rings.

GM Billy King will most likely be the fall guy if this thing doesnt get turned around soon. I have a feeling the big Russian has had a couple of heart to heart meetings with King already. I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov didn’t invest all of this money for some paper champions.

Looks like Jay-Z knew what he was doing when he sold his ownership stake in the squad…


Yep, this guy is still winning.

– N.D. Face

All is right in the world

TJB Readers:

Check out the new Foot Locker ad campaign as Kyrie Irving tries to put right all that is wrong in the world.  I particularly loved the fact that Craig Sager set fire to his closet full of hideous blazers.  Enjoy!!


It’s just business…

I am just going to come out and say it.  Jason Collins is the best unsigned big man right now.

C’mon son, you say? Crazy, you say?  Perhaps.  But I say yeahhhhhh, sonnnnnnn crazy like a fox.

Collins has a career average of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game over his NBA career.  Those statistics are not setting the league on fire.  However, Collins has always been a rugged post presence and gladly uses his 6 fouls to fill up the stat sheet in ways that his limited offensive skills do not.  He has a wealth of playoff experience.  He has also shot 70% from the free throw line in the last few seasons, so you do not have to bench him to hide him from the “Hack-A-Shaq” defense.  Yes, I know that Big Aristotle has been retired for a few years now, but none of the TV talking heads have come up with a better name than “Hack-A-Shaq”.  Collins has never been a locker room cancer.  He knows his role and embraces it with a smile.  Lastly, his salary should be barely over $1million for the season.

Let’s compare him to the available players on the market.  The first candidate is Eddy Curry.  He is a talented, but overweight center with a faulty ticker (both literally and figuratively).  Curry is definitely not one of those players who makes you believe that he would be playing basketball if it paid like a pizza delivery guy.  Curry has been overweight and undermotivated for his entire career. Let’s leave him on the big man scrap heap where he belongs.

Next up, we will evaluate Joel Przybilla and Darko Milicic.  Przybilla has been an injury prone player his whole career and played up to the low expectations that basketball fans had for him at Minnesota.  Przybilla has averaged 7.0 points over his 14 year career, but he has never played for a championship contender.  Further, he has only played a full 82-game season an amazing 1 time for his whole career.  Milicic’s woes have been well documented over the years, so no need to dwell on them any further.  He was a victim of the hype machine that continues to follow European stretch fours and fives.  He never should have been drafted in the lottery (#2 pick in 2003).  Despite Joe Dumars’ brilliant career as a Hall of Fame player and successful tenure as general manager, he ensured that Detroit would not build a dynasty by picking Milicic over Melo, D-Wade, Chris Bosh and David West.  Don’t accuse me of having crystal clear vision because I have the benefit of hindsight.  The Milicic pick was a “WTF?” choice at the time among the baller community.  I watched Melo destroy guys during March Madness.  I knew that he was going to be a star.  Nuff said, I have already given Darko more ink than his career deserves.

If you look at power forwards, there is only one who merits discussion — Lamar Odom, affectionately called “Lam Lam” by his Kardashian in-laws.  You knew that it was curtains for a power forward from Queens who allowed himself to be called “Lam Lam” on national television.  It is like getting dropped off at the North Pole without a compass or cell phone.  There was no way back.

Teams for the past few seasons have tried to manage the media circus that comes with having a Kardashian family member in the locker room.  Even if you ignore the bizarre season that Odom had in Dallas, it is hard to ignore the fact that his Mavericks’ teammates showed him no pity when they took his playoff bonus money.  Odom earned a roster spot with the Clippers and then developed an unconfirmed crack habit.  As a GM, I think that you’d rather have Odom take some time to get his life together rather than have to worry about him trying to steal the team’s championship trophies or medical supplies from the training room for crack money.  C’mon, you know that everyone would suspect him as soon as the owner’s Rolex goes missing at the team facility.  Okay, poor joke.  I am sorry.  Seriously speaking, you cannot have a guy who is unstable in your locker room.

So where does this  lead?  Back to Jason Collins.  He works hard.  He could mentor your team’s young bigs on the fundamentals of post defense. He’s no Big Fundamental, but he can get the job done.  He would sell thousands of jerseys and put fans in some seats as you know the LGBT community is extremely well-capitalized.  He would generate a lot of good press and Collins is intelligent enough to handle the spotlight.   Signing Jason Collins is good basketball and good business.

PSA: GMs of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, NY Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers, I hope that you are reading this blog.