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01/18/2019 - 2:21pm Yeah, Leonard plays hard, as…

Yeah, Leonard plays hard, as do most guys who aren't superstars - they have to, to get minutes and stay in the league. 

LeBron is so damn good he can have an impact on D without even trying - when he does put forth effort he's incredible D. I get it too - he's 34, the season's long, and he conserves his energy.

Klay is one of the best defenders in basketball, and KD can be dominant when he goes all out. Harden, OTOH, just doesn't care about D - D'antoni's style is like earlier Beilein - outscore the other team.

As for the NBA not listening to fans, I don't agree with that - the NBA just has a different approach. I think Silver is very fan-focused, and he realizes fans care about NBA stars.

NFL and MLB are about teams, NBA is about players. They don't wear helmets and there are only 5 guys on the floor - the league has marketed individuals for years. It's a "player's league" because star players make the league click with fans, and superstars drive team success.

When the W's move into their new arena next year some say it will be up with the Cowboys, Yankees and Lakers among the most valuable franchises in sports. That doesn't happen without Steph and Klay and KD - those players have added literally billions to the value of the franchise.

It's not Warriors v. Pelicans - it's Steph and KD vs. Anthony Davis. Been that way since at least Bird v. Magic.

The league was super popular during Jordan's Bulls era - and did they really have a "rival"? No one could beat them, and fans couldn't get enough.

01/18/2019 - 1:44pm To me it's the "Grandma test…

To me it's the "Grandma test" - would my grandma have heard of the player? LeBron, Steph - yep.

That's about it. Over the years, I'd include only Wilt, Bird, Magic, Jordan, LeBron, Steph, maybe Rodman or Shaq. That's it.

In terms of current top players, should have mentioned Leonard, but the fact I forgot about him kind of proves the point - he's just not a "star", despite the fact he's an amazing player - he's the moody/weird Mike Trout of basketball.

He's also been stuck in San Antonio and Toronto, and sat out a season for a mysterious "injury" - probably being butt-hurt.

Could also have mentioned Embiid or Simmons or Klay or Kyrie or a few others, but they're not nearly as famous as LeBron or Steph. KD is the only guy who approaches them, and he's not on their fame level IMO. 

I'm not sure about the "Super Team" angle; personally, I'd prefer a more balanced league, but I'm not sure the league does. Those Bird/Magic super teams dominated the league, as did the Jordan/Pippen Bulls and Kobe/Shaq Lakers. Seemed to help league popularity.

01/18/2019 - 12:43am The fans have not noticed.

The fans have not noticed.

Last year saw a temporary drop in NFL ratings; this is just a similar blip for the NBA.

The NBA is far more popular now than it has ever been, by any measure (other than MgoBlog message board posters, apparently).

Despite the recent drop, ratings in this era are higher than ever, even though there are way more televised games now; attendance and gate are higher. Franchises are far more valuable. 

In the US, the NBA has probably become the second most popular pro sport.

Furthermore, NBA players are international celebrities, and a good chunk of the highest paid athletes are NBA players (Forbes says 40 of the top 100 world-wide).

 

01/18/2019 - 12:18am Sadly, I'm an insomniac…

Sadly, I'm an insomniac. Even when I lived on the east coast, I watched plenty of late-night west coast games. I envy your sleep-ability.

01/18/2019 - 12:00am You're technically correct…

You're technically correct Michigan4life, but that doesn't mean it's not a travel by historical standards of basketball.

That NBA travel rule drives me crazy. And Harden still often travels, despite that rule.

James Harden is my least favorite basketball player. His ball-hogging, ISO, push-off, travel, low efficiency style drives me nuts.

He's unquestionably talented, but I hate his style of play.

01/17/2019 - 11:54pm I hated those Knicks-Heat…

I hated those Knicks-Heat teams. That style was so damn ugly, I don't get the love for it.

Then again, I don't understand UFC either.

I'd like more of a happy medium, where they don't call every ticky-tack touch foul, but don't let defenders maul guys.

01/17/2019 - 11:48pm Wow, really UMx? I get that…

Wow, really UMx? I get that you like the Pistons, but to me that era was awful - those ugly Pat Riley Knicks teams, ugh. Too much hand-checking and dirty fouls. Took away a lot of the beauty of the game, IMO.

Only the pre-Bird/Magic cocaine era was worse.

01/17/2019 - 11:44pm It's weird though, bronx - I…

It's weird though, bronx - I don't remember people saying the same thing about Jordan's Bulls.

Maybe people did, and I just wasn't aware of it.

Sure seemed inevitable the Bulls were gonna win, but it was fun to watch them play.

01/17/2019 - 11:37pm You could make a similar…

You could make a similar criticism of the NFL, turtle. How many interference/holding/roughing calls until an NFL game isn't fun anymore? 

I think both sports favor offense too much, but people forget how awful it was to watch those dirty Pat Riley hand-check, grab and hack Knicks teams, and NBA games with 85-79 scores - woof.

Both sports seem to feel that more scoring = better ratings.

01/17/2019 - 11:29pm I like the NBA, but I agree…

I like the NBA, but I agree uofmfan.

It's frustrating to watch Harden and LeBron stand around on D. I don't know how you can help that without shortening the season (won't happen). There's WAY more D played in the NBA than people here seem to believe, but there are guys who don't go all out until absolutely necessary - playoffs.

OTOH, in college you have guys who are simply not capable of playing D. Those guys get exposed in the NBA pretty quickly. You'd better be a damn good shooter if you can't guard anyone.

The other frustration I have with NBA ball is traveling. I don't understand why they feel it helps the game to let stars take as many steps as they want.  LeBron and Harden (and Jordan before them) don't need the help.

 

01/17/2019 - 11:21pm I agree about…

I agree about competitiveness; the NFL has perfected parity (makes it even more amazing that NE keeps winning - and Lions keep losing).

OTOH, the NBA features an insane level of athletic skill. I enjoy the NBA for two things; living in SF it's fun to watch the Warriors, and I'm in awe of the skill and athleticism of NBA players. Those guys are just unbelievable athletes.

Comparing athletes in different sports is an unwinnable argument, but sometimes I imagine how great Iverson might have been if he spent his life playing soccer, or Kobe tennis, or LeBron football. Conversely, I can't imagine too many athletes in other sports being able to compete in the NBA (I know, I know, Jordan couldn't hit a curveball).

When I was at Michigan I played hoops with/against a bunch of football players, and while they were really good and crazy athletic for their size, they weren't close to B1G level hoopsters. Many of them said if they had their 'druthers they would have played hoops.

01/17/2019 - 11:01pm I don't agree about Steph…

I don't agree about Steph. He's SUPER popular among kids, and he's transformed the game with his shooting. He's a mega-star internationally, too. Top selling jersey in NBA.

Kids relate to him because he looks so small and frail, and has perfected a skill that any kid can see him/herself doing.

Giannis has the misfortune of an unpronounceable name, KD has become a villian, and Harden and Westbrook aren't very likable characters. Anthony Davis plays on a mediocre small-market team. 

It's really all about Steph and LeBron right now.

01/17/2019 - 10:46pm Agree with your main point…

Agree with your main point Froze, but baseball's had the same number of regular season games for almost 60 years, and the least bloated postseason of the big 4.

Many disagree, but I love the 1 game wild card in MLB - it rewards and provides an incentive to win your division, but doesn't completely exclude really good teams that get stuck in great divisions. And it makes a first-round postseason game really exciting.

NHL and NBA both have way too many playoff teams IMO. More than half the teams should not be rewarded with playoff berths. 

 

01/17/2019 - 10:36pm Yep, I agree stephen.

We're…

Yep, I agree stephen.

We're nearing the end of the road for a transcendent player - LeBron (he'll probably play for a number of years, but his decline is inevitable). 

If LeBron had gone to Philly we might be looking forward to an epic finals showdown; now it seems inevitable the W's will win again, barring injury.

Russell's Celtics (so I've read) and maybe Jordan's Bulls were the only teams that seem so overwhelmingly favored to win. Even the Shaq/Kobe Lakers didn't seem that much better than the rest of the league.

01/17/2019 - 10:24pm Just tell them to watch the…

Just tell them to watch the Warriors. They play a fantastic, unselfish style with brilliant spacing and a mix of superstars and effective role players.

Golden State plays a similar style to JB's Michigan, except they play much faster and have 3 of the greatest shooters to ever play the game. Spacing, angles, positionless players, unselfish passing and lots of 3's.

I agree there was a time when most of the best NBA guys just wanted to attack the rim. Spacing the floor and outside shooting were de-emphasized, and the style was more like streetball. That's totally changed. 

If you want to teach great fundamentals, just show tape of Klay Thompson or Andre Iguodola, on both ends of the floor. Draymond Green is one of those guys you hate unless he's on your team.

Steph and Durant play fundamentally sound basketball considering their otherworldly skill, but it's probably not great to teach kids to hoist 35 footers or have your 7 footer handling the ball. 

I understand lots of people are sick of the W's, but they do play beautiful basketball.

 

01/17/2019 - 10:08pm I agree. Much lower-scoring…

I agree. Much lower-scoring games and outsize impact of a hot goaltender make hockey more of a crapshoot.

That said, a truly dominant team like the Gretzky Oilers can still be almost certain to win.

In the NBA, superstars have a huge impact. It's been almost impossible to beat Jordan/Pippen, Kobe/Shaq and the current Warriors at their peak. You might get them once or twice, but 4 times in 7 is a tall order.

01/15/2019 - 4:06am I tend to think 2019 has a…

I tend to think 2019 has a slight edge, but you make a good point, McGreenB. 

Teske might be able to get the better of either Morgan or McGary, but rotating them could wear Teske out or get him in foul trouble.

Livers might fare ok when Teske gets a blow; Morgan and McGary were strong but not that tall.

Burke>Simpson, but Poole>>freshman Stauskas.

01/15/2019 - 3:38am TrueBlue, it seems we're in…

TrueBlue, it seems we're in almost total agreement.

In my mind, I'm imagining a 2013 v. 2019 championship game, not mid-season. If they played at this point, I'd definitely put my money on 2019 - all those freshmen on 2013 improved a lot by tournament time.

2013 was on a roll in the NCAAs, but most of 2019's guys experienced that kind of streak last year too. And both Burke and Poole had a truly heroic moment.

More than any player comp or statistic, this year's team just feels like Beilein's best to me.

They're tough, mature, and play such great D. 2013 had a bunch of talent, but they were young.

JB's offense was more innovative then - the basketball world (outside of EL) has caught up, but in 2013 Beilein's Michigan had a reputation for being amazing on offense but soft and porous on defense. That's certainly not the case now!

01/15/2019 - 3:03am That, TrueBlue, is good…

That, TrueBlue, is good stuff. +1 to you sir, for making me smarter.

01/15/2019 - 2:59am I could imagine if they…

I could imagine if they played 10 times, at least once 2019 would come out smoking hot and put the clamps on 2013. Could blow them out like the NC game this year.

I agree with everything else you said.

01/15/2019 - 2:56am My bad.

You're right, it's…

My bad.

You're right, it's not a lock, but if I were a betting man I'd say a win at Wisconsin gets us the top spot. Time will tell, and frankly, in the long run it doesn't much matter.

01/15/2019 - 1:44am I'm not sure how that's…

I'm not sure how that's relevant to this discussion.

2013 Michigan was a 4 seed. It's seems likely this year's team will be a higher seed unless they go through a really rough patch.

01/15/2019 - 1:37am My main disagreement UMfan…

My main disagreement UMfan is Poole. He's much better than freshman Stauskas IMO.

I think people are imagining the soph version of Stauskas; in 2013 he was pretty much Just A Shooter, and his footwork on D was atrocious - he pretty much couldn't guard anyone.

Iggy's better than freshman GRIII too.

01/15/2019 - 1:28am Overall, I'd take this year…

Overall, I'd take this year's top 6, and 2013's bench. In a game without foul trouble or injury, I'd take this year's team in a tight one. 2019's defensive advantage > 2013's offensive advantage IMO.

Couple of things in 2019's favor:

- Most guys have already experienced the FInal Four. They're battle-tested and experienced. 2013 was a really young team, especially for JB's system.

- This season still has a long way to go - advantage 2019. At this point in 2013, McGary and Caris weren't showing much, and Stauskas couldn't guard anyone. They all got better by tournament time. Hopefully Iggy and Johns will show similar improvement - it would be pretty scary if Iggy has a lot more in his incubator!

Matchups:

Teske over McGary - McGary was a tournament beast, but Teske's more experienced, has played great all year, and should continue to improve. Would never have believed this based on last year's Teske.

Burke over Simpson - Simpson might just make this matchup a push with his incredible D. FT shooting and clutch gene give Burke the nod.

Poole over Stauskas - Freshman Stauskas was pretty much Just A Shooter. Poole is more experienced with a far more developed all-around game. Freshman Stauskas couldn't really guard anyone.

Iggy over Robinson - Iggy's a better scorer. Frosh Robinson could jump out of the arena, but Iggy's a better ball handler and shooter/scorer.

Hardaway over Matthews - Barely. This is the closest matchup IMO. Hardaway gets the nod because he's a better shot creator and ball handler. Matthews is a better defender than Hardaway was.

Livers over Morgan - Mainly because of Livers' 3-pt. stroke. Morgan played so damn hard, and was a solid defender and rebounder. Livers has better offensive tools. Close, but Livers will probably be even better by tournament time.

Spike/Caris over Brooks - Spike had his magical game in the Final, and Caris showed flashes of what he'd become. Both were pretty limited as freshmen. Caris could guard and run, and Spike could score, but was a defensive liability. Brooks can shoot, and is ok handling Beilein's point. 

Horford over Johns - Soph Horford definitely more developed than Frosh Johns. 

 

01/14/2019 - 9:44pm Dominant, please.

It hurts…

Dominant, please.

It hurts my weary brain to see "more dominate"

01/14/2019 - 9:41pm Duke was lucky as hell the…

Duke was lucky as hell the other night against FSU - should be 2 losses in a row for them.

Love to see them struggling!

01/14/2019 - 9:38pm They may still be a "bubble"…

They may still be a "bubble" team, but this win probably gets the 'cuse into the tourney - that's a really big road win for them.

01/13/2019 - 9:33pm Zavier Simpson is such a…

Zavier Simpson is such a great leader. You can see how much work he's put into his game.

It's great to hear Coach B just rave about him.

Great job Michigan - 17-0 Baby!!

01/13/2019 - 9:29pm Coach Beilein is such a…

Coach Beilein is such a great interview - so interesting, every time. 

What a fantastic coach and representative of our school. Love ya, Coach B!

01/13/2019 - 9:24pm Things I especially liked…

Things I especially liked tonight:

- Came out flying - 10-0 out of the gate.

- Teske playing like Ewing down low, and like Pittsnoggle outside

- Simpson shooting like freaking Steph Curry!

- All the guys attacking the basket when things started to get a bit shaky

- BEST START IN MICHIGAN HISTORY!!!

01/13/2019 - 9:19pm I'm in for that! What a…

I'm in for that! What a fantastic performance by our guys.

This team is looking more special by the day!

01/13/2019 - 9:17pm Again!

Again!

01/13/2019 - 9:15pm It is so much fun watching…

It is so much fun watching this team play. You never know who's gonna step up.

And almost stress-free too!

01/13/2019 - 9:12pm Z wants 30

Z wants 30

01/13/2019 - 9:11pm OMG - Z is on fire!!!

OMG - Z is on fire!!!

01/13/2019 - 9:09pm There ya go - up 20 again. 

There ya go - up 20 again. 

01/13/2019 - 9:08pm Incredible block by Matthews!

Incredible block by Matthews!

01/13/2019 - 9:07pm Wow, what a great game by Z …

Wow, what a great game by Z - career high!

01/13/2019 - 9:05pm Basketball is a game of runs…

Basketball is a game of runs; it's unrealistic to expect an entire game without the opponent winning a few minutes.

Sure, Michigan played poorly for awhile there, but I really like their response.

Instead of hoisting up 3's, they started attacking the basket. That turned things right around.

Michigan is a damn good team, and is playing a good game, yet again.

01/13/2019 - 9:00pm Damn NW is suddenly on fire…

Damn NW is suddenly on fire. 

I'm liking Michigan's response - drive to the hole.

01/13/2019 - 8:59pm Keep attacking the rim - NW…

Keep attacking the rim - NW is slow 

01/13/2019 - 8:58pm Great attack by Matthews!…

Great attack by Matthews! Time for he and Iggy to step up.

NW doesn't seem able to stop us when we attack the rim

01/13/2019 - 8:55pm Doesn't bother me in the…

Doesn't bother me in the least. We're consistently winning by comfortable margins - that's plenty good as far as I'm concerned.

Whether we receive a #1 seed will depend on how we fare against the Sparties IMO. Seems inevitable we'll be either a 1 or a 2 unless we have a really bad streak, which sure doesn't seem likely.

01/13/2019 - 8:52pm Both teams playing good D…

Both teams playing good D last couple of possessions.

01/13/2019 - 8:49pm Well, here's NW's run and…

Well, here's NW's run and our period of missing. Gotta step up the D.

01/13/2019 - 8:47pm Much better to have that…

Much better to have that than a bunch of ticky-tack fouls and good players forced to sit.

01/13/2019 - 8:41pm Wow, tough take by Pardon…

Wow, tough take by Pardon. That guy is pretty tough

01/13/2019 - 8:40pm Hope they keep up pressure;…

Hope they keep up pressure; would like to see the bench guys get some run

01/13/2019 - 8:33pm Wow, awful by NW. What the…

Wow, awful by NW. What the hell were they talking about at halftime?

Didn't guard anyone, and didn't figure out offensive positioning. Sheesh.

01/13/2019 - 8:32pm Teske hitting threes makes…

Teske hitting threes makes Michigan almost unbeatable.

Someone earlier compared him to Pittsnoggle, but Teske is a FAR better defensive player and much more intimidating inside force - Pittsnoggle was a really good sniper, but just ok inside. Teske has become a dominating presence inside, and he seems to be continuing to improve.