ONE AND ONE.
Holy mackerel, your Suns are going to the playoffs.
Yes, as I accurately predicted in a prior Madhouse, Phoenix dusted the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, 124-95. It was a less than conventional win.
For most of the game the Suns did not shoot well from behind the arc. At one point in the fourth quarter they had connected on just six of their twenty-three attempts. Kelly Oubre Jr. finished the game 1-6 from three.
Buddy Hield scored a great many points. Devin Booker was guarding him most of the time. That Hield was able to pour in 28 despite being forced to sign a very insulting contract extension of $86 million over four years is nothing short of heroic.
Two nights ago your Suns had 31 assists against 14 turnovers. They collected 13 steals. They beat the Kings without the three. They beat the Kings with above average defense (Booker aside) and timely bench scoring. And you know what?
I DIG IT.
I’ve relayed many times in the Madhouse that I am not a fan of the advanced metrics basketball people default to these days. It goes deeper than that. I also very much dislike the reliance on the three-point shot that is everywhere, all the time, in today’s game. I refuse to believe that’s the only way to win a match of professional hoop-filling in 2019.
You can show me the simplest math about how a three-point shot is ALWAYS better than a two-point shot and I will still disagree with you. Because I’m 37.
Let’s move this game inside the arc. I miss those days. Take a time machine back to 1992 and you’ll probably see me lamenting that the game is too slow and that teams need to jack up more threes. Because guess what? I’m also a hypocrite.
NOTE: The following was written before we knew that Deandre Ayton had received a 25-game suspension for no good reason whatsoever. I firmly believe that the suspension will be rescinded, and if it is not, the Chinese may as well just take over the NBA.
Rubio-Ayton, Rubio-Ayton, Rubio-Ayton. Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s the ticket. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. You know which four teams shot the most threes last season? Houston, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Dallas. Those were the only teams to attempt at least 3000 triples last season. Those are four very different teams.
Phoenix took 33 shots behind the three-point arc Wednesday night. That’s too many, We’re on pace for 2,706 this season. That’s too many. I’ll allow 2000 three-point attempts in 2019-20, and I think that’s plenty generous. That’s 24 a game. That’s plenty.
After Rubio, Ayton and Booker had the most touches with 29 on Wednesday. I need those numbers skewed a little bit. Ayton needs to have the ball in his hands more than Booker. I’m sure of it. In fact, I stake my entire reputation on it.
So if we learned anything this week it’s that we need to and will see more games like this and that your Phoenix Suns are undoubtedly playoff bound. Here’s what you are going to see before we meet against next Friday:
Friday: @ Denver L (predicted this BEFORE Friday night)
Saturday: vs. Clippers L
Monday: vs. Utah W
Wednesday: @ Golden State W
Wow that’s crazy. The Suns are going to be 3-2. Looking forward to it.
Marvin Bagley III is out 4-6 weeks after the Suns beat the crap out of the Kings on Wednesday night.
The vice-president of the United States, Mike Pence, has inserted himself into the conversation involving the NBA, the Chinese government, and Nike.
And film producer Andrew Duncan has a plan:
“I’m seeking ex-NBA players to take a trip,” Duncan said. “And the idea is to go to Tokyo, Japan, Taipei in Taiwan. And then try to go and take the group of players, on behalf of the NBA Player’s Association, on a fact-finding mission and fly into Hong Kong and see if we’re admitted, so we can go speak to Joshua [Wong] and the other democratic leaders in Hong Kong. And let’s get some basketball players to go and spread democracy.”
And I’m sure if there’s some cameras and there’s some money to be made, that’s fine too.
The fine people (robots?) at SportsBetting.ag think that Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards will be the first head coach sent packing this season.
Shaquille O’Neal thinks ESPN’s NBA studio shows are garbage.
The most exciting city in the United States, Salt Lake City, has been awarded the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.
When considering endorsement money, here the top 10 earners in the NBA.
What I’m listening to: Whatever the 70s station on DirecTV is called. I think it’s just called ‘70s.’
What I’m watching: Golden Knights, Suns, World Series, and getting back into South Park for unknown reasons.
What I’m Thinking
You know what’s not a story? Sam Darnold being ‘mic’d up’ against the Patriots last week and saying, “I’m seeing ghosts.” That’s not a story. Stop trying to make stories where there are no stories.
You know what is a story? Howie Kendrick, man. I had Angels season tickets for four seasons and loved watching him play. By all accounts a genuinely good dude. Very cool to see him raking in October.
Kurt Suzuki, too.
There was a little bit of discussion in the comment section of last week’s Madhouse regarding my comments on the NBA and China. Unfortunately because of time restraints I was not able to participate. I have a one-year-old and you have to feed and water these things like every day. But moving forward I’ll do a better job of participating in the discussion.
In any event, I don’t know that I have anything additional to say, so I’ll just double down. The NBA in China is not going to work. And that’s ok. The NBA doesn’t have to be in China.
The only reason to try is money. Some people will talk about “growing the game.” As I said last week, that’s just another way of saying “making money.”
My thoughts only pertained to making money. That’s all. Not diplomacy. Not goodwill. Just money. Adam Silver said they took a bath in China, so pull the plug.
“But they can do so much good!”
They can do good anyway without subjecting the Chinese to the Hawks and Timberwolves. They do it all over the world. You want to do good? Adam Silver can do it just as easily as you or I. Find a GoFundMe or something.
“But they can turn it around and make money again!”
Can they? Don’t they sometimes call that ‘chasing bad money with bad money?’ I don’t know, I’m no Jimmy Buffett.
Every time I see a story on this I feel even stronger. That it’s a gigantic waste of time.
So I’ll say this week what I said last week and will probably say next week.
“Winning is overrated. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.”