Let me begin by saying that I don’t care if you think I’m crazy. Kyle Anderson plays basketball as if he were lethargic-ized. He always looks like he’s playing underwater. He makes everyone else look like they’re moving in fast-forward. He seems like he’s moving through time at a slower rate than the rest of us. It’s always surprising to see him actually move the ball up the court or drive to the basket or, y’know, move around another human being who plays at regular “us” speed. He’s like the Anti-Flash: Dr. Molasses or Captain Take-Your-Time. I could never put my finger on how exactly to describe Slow Kyle’s method of play, let alone the abnormal space/time frequency he operates on. It’s hard to explain to someone: He’s, y’know, slower than everyone else. In what way? Uhhhhh…
But, Sunday morning, everything changed. On this rainy Sunday morning I awoke too early because I forgot about Daylight Savings. I was suffering from a condition commonly referred to as “post-Saturday night.” As I, bleary-eyed and with mashed potatoes in my skull rather than a brain, drank my coffee outside, perplexed by the strange sky above and wondering if we could somehow outlaw large trucks and loud car horns when I have a headache, a stray pair of neurons fired within my mashed potatoes mind, and suddenly everything made sense. Slow Kyle Anderson plays basketball like Kris Kristofferson sings “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down”!
There is a lag in both Slow Kyle’s pace and Kristofferson’s tempo, as if they only advance begrudgingly, like a spreading oil slick or magma meandering down a mountain’s side. Both the song and Slow Kyle’s game are adagio AF. You can feel Kristofferson’s hangover in the song; you can feel the same thing as Slow Kyle “moves” his body on the court. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; quite the contrary. I respect and admire anyone who can operate under such conditions. Slow Kyle’s smooth, frozen-river style of play is fascinating to observe and I’m glad he’s on the Spurs so Popovich can experiment with using his anti-speed mutant powers on unsuspecting, regular “us” speed teams. Also, so Pop can update the military, in case Slow Kyle’s powers are replicable and we can shoot slo-mo cannons at enemy armies, effectively slowing them down to Superhero-CGI-Fight speed where eevvverrryyythiiinnnggg taaaakkkkeeeessss loooonnnnnggggeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr.
Anyway, I’ll never be able to separate Slow Kyle from Sunday Morning Comin’ Down. It led to me wondering who Kristofferson’s friends, all music greats, would be if they were NBA players. Can we identify all of the basketball Highwaymen? (By the way, this video was the apex of technology at one point; in many ways, it still is; check out Johnny’s smile at the end!)
Willie Nelson is easy: Rasheed Wallace. Duh. Ball don’t lie: it’s always the time of the preacher.
Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, He Who Walks the Line, has to be an all-time great, perhaps the greatest, so it’s kinda impossible not to say MJ. I sorta wanted to say Oscar, though. One thing we can be sure of, he’s not Stanley Johnson: Johnny Cash could see.
I didn’t want to think about Merle Haggard because I didn’t want to think about all the dumb things he said in his life and because I didn’t want that thought hole to lead to a thought hole about all the dumb things that NBA players have said through the years.
Unfortunately, due to the conditions I found myself in, I did fall into that thought hole. Siiiiigh. Dumb things NBA players say. Grrrrrreat.
So! Kyrie Irving and his dismissal of the Earth being round and of man landing on the moon.
First: a question regarding Kyrie’s recent declarations of doubt: do you think he knows that he wouldn’t be able to play basketball if the Earth were flat?
To be honest, I am not very forgiving to people who are willfully ignorant. Kyrie’s “questions” are reported as healthy, if silly, skepticism by much of the sports/media. This kind of allowance for corrosive denials of the historical record and of scientific fact is repulsive. Real people work real hard in order to accumulate real information that helps us all, and real people work real hard in order to accomplish feats that expand our reservoir of knowledge, and real people work real hard in order to pass this learning on to our young, lest we lose the lessons learned, through work, through money, through blood, through tears. “Real work” in this case is meant to be understood to be “toil that is less enjoyable than playing a children’s game for millions of dollars and being able to retire basically whenever you want to.”
Skepticism is healthy; but, denial of scientific fact is not. In fact, it’s downright bad. And not for nothing, but real people have really suffered at the hands of people who denied facts and despised things they couldn’t understand, or didn’t want to.
The only pertinent question in response to Kyrie’s voluntary ignorance is this: what else does he deny? His answer to that may scare you.
Oh, and if you think that the Earth is flat, then I wholeheartedly invite you to walk to the edge. Let us know when you get there, will you?
Anyway, on to the Week 4caster!
- Four teams play only two games this week: Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota and Sacramento. Here’s the NBA schedule for season-long planning.
- You know what’s hysterical? Only one team in the NBA has a 5-game week: Sacramento!
- Six teams play four games this week: Brooklyn (load up), Boston, Indiana, Miami, OKC, and Phoenix.
- Giannis and Porzingis are the only players averaging 30+ points per game right now (as of 11/5).
- Only two players are averaging 10+ 3s per game: Eric Gordon & James Harden.
- There are four players whose plus-minus is at least 10 (at least 7 games, 20+ minutes per game): Curry, KD, Eric Gordon, and Al-Farouq Aminu.
- Al-Farouq means “The Chief has arrived”. That is undeniably awesome. The Here-Now Chief is actually gone now: he unfortunately cooked himself up a lil ankle trouble and will be out for a couple of weeks. But, bright side: that just means we get to properly welcome him back when he returns. Say it with me, the Chief has arrived!
- Four teams are holding opponents to under 100 points per game: Celtics (best at 93.7 point per game), Memphis, Chicago (...?), and Oklahoma City.
- Five teams are scoring less than 100 points per game: Chicago (worst at 91.9 points per game), Sacramento, Dallas, Utah, and San Antonio.
- The five teams with the fastest pace on the season are Brooklyn (first), Phoenix, the Lakers, Philly, and Orlando.
- The only team with a sub-50 true shooting percentage is...Chicago.
- The Bulls are also the team that averages the most rebounds per game. The Bucks rebound the least. Nothing makes sense.
- LeBron is averaging the second-most minutes, 38 per game (Boogie is first). Does this season remind anyone of Cleveland right before LeBron left for Miami? Is Zydrunas Ilgauskas going to show up soon?
- Out of the six players who are averaging at least eight 3-point attempts per game, Steph Curry is the only one shooting better than 40%.
- Victor Oladipo is still in the top 10 on the ESPN Player Rater. Dipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Sabonis, and Myles Turner: there are some fun players to watch on the Pacers. The Paul George trade is looking less awful by the minute. (On the other hand, it still seems awful. But, maybe this is the new normal in the NBA? Stars, or “stars,” getting traded might not get you a haul, especially since contracts are so short now, and, presumably, a star doesn’t want his new team to suck, so they would be against trading good assets. Dunno. This Eric Bledsoe trade, which seems inevitable, may be another indicator that you shouldn’t expect too much in a trade.)
- Cincinnatus Gallinari, one of the most revered Roman dictators/Italian wings, is injured. I know, gasp. Before he went out of Sunday’s game, he was ranked 120th on the player rater (which is still better than Lonzo Ball and Stanley Johnson). Il Gallo was shooting, hmmmm, opposite-of-well on the season, so hopefully he gets healthy soon and returns to his maybe-good basketballing.
- Curry 2.0, aka Buddy Hield, is ranked 169th on the player rater. He’s shooting under 30% from three. Goddamn, he’s a generational player. I can’t wait for him to change the entire sport of basketball, just like Steph Curry 1.0 did! Vivek Ranadive is a smart person who says smart things.
- What is up with Allen Crabbe? He had a great game against the Lakers but...that was against the Lakers. The game prior he shot 2-10 against Phoenix. Phoenix. You know, the Young Guns team that doesn’t have their starting point guard and is giving up the second most points in the NBA? Crabbe has the lowest FG% since his rookie year; he didn’t score AT ALL against the Knicks (and, only shot twice?). Brooklyn paid a bunch of money for a guy coming off their bench. I like Crabbe, and I thought the Nets were smart to grab him, but this crowded backcourt is really hindering him. Why isn’t he starting if you paid that much for him? Also, if Jeremy Lin were healthy, would that mean Crabbe would be playing even less? Were I the Nets, I’d be looking at trade offers for one of their guards (not DAR, obviously).
- Man, the Nets are strange right now. Their most-used lineup is DAR, Caris Levert (Go Blue!), DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Timofey Mozgov. Is that a good team? I kinda feel like that’s not a good team. They look best when T.A. Dinwiddie is playing, and their three best 5-man rotations in plus-minus all have him on the floor. In my humble opinion, Dinwiddie should be playing more. How else will he be able to get on tenure track?