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The Madhouse - Week of 8/23/19

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Wins. Losses. Negele Knight. Suns pride. Shut up, James Harden.

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll be curt, I don’t have time for a lengthy intro. The thing is 2,000 words as it is guys, get off my back. I need to wrap this up, the floors won’t mop themselves, and I need to get into the backyard and take some measurements for growing kale. That’s a kale reference for the third consecutive week. HANG A BANNER.

Suns Stuff

Ok, now we’re getting into the meat and potatoes of the upcoming season. Rod’s Monday article talked wins and losses, always a fun discussion, regardless of how dreary the outlook may be.

Firstly, before I forget. You need to go back and read Center of the Sun, if not for the analysis, then for the calendar of upcoming important dates. Rod has done a good job outlaying what is going to happen.

Now, on to the projections. Rod linked to an article where FiveThirtyEight projected that the Suns would win 36 games this season.

That’s absurd. Flatly. Sometimes when I think I might come around on advanced statistics I see something like that and I fallback to the “eyeball test.” Don’t you hate when people say “eyeball test?”

That said, I want to believe it, and I want to be wrong. So if there are metrics out there that show our Suns can get closer and closer to 40 wins, then please. Link to those articles in the comment section.

At least one Vegas book had the Suns at 29 wins, and I thought THAT was optimistic. Truthfully, before seeing any numbers or even before the schedule came out, I was thinking 25-27.

I think a lot of us are doing a good job maintaining realistic expectations for the upcoming season. Better than we’ve done in the past. Maybe the basketball gods will reward us for being reasonable. For once.

I’m trying to be positive so I’ll bump my number up to 30. But I have to stop there. I’ve said it many times before, but the thing I want to see most is the Suns staying competitive in more games than not.

Those guys also discussed which game played before December 1st could be a “surprise” win for the Suns.

Half the team picked Boston in Phoenix and I’m inclined to agree. I think the Suns’ fourth game of the season, against Utah, is also winnable. That would do a lot to foster optimism moving forward.

They also talked blowouts. And I’m not going to go into great detail, but the third game of the season when the Suns host the Clippers.....well that could get ugly.

NBA Stuff

This one was fun. Remarkably talented artist Jules Mack painted a spectacular mural of Larry Bird in Indianapolis. The mural included Bird in his Indiana State Sycamores gear and featured a number of tattoos. Larry Legend wasn’t crazy about it. Because he has worked hard to build a “brand.” And his “brand” isn’t a tattoo-related “brand.” Evidently the “brand” does feature plenty of lawyers, though.

Donald Trump awarded Celtics legend Bob Cousy with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

More Celtics and more presidents. Barack Obama is in the process of purchasing a Martha’s Vineyard estate from C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck. The property is valued at just shy of $15 million.

Team USA beat Team Australia 102-86 on Thursday. Perhaps most impressive is the attendance. Over 51,000 were present, the largest hoops crowd in Australia’s history.

Sounds like Charles Oakley, who finds himself in the news more often than many retired NBA players, has some serious skills in the kitchen.

Sounds like Ben Simmons, who finds himself in the news more often than many current NBA players, may have something going with Scottie Pippen’s estranged wife Larsa.

Rich person Kevin Durant is joining rich person Rich Kleiman at a conference to speak to young people who may already be rich, but certainly aspire to be significantly more rich. It’s late October in Detroit. Detroit. To talk money. In Detroit.

James Harden spoke to 97.9 The Box this week about not winning the 2019 NBA MVP Award. This is what he said:

“Once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and just run with it the entire year,” Harden said during the in-studio interview. ”I don’t want to get into details. All I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level. There’s only a few other seasons that anybody has ever done that before.”

Shut up, James Harden.

New Warriors unis may have leaked on NBA2K.

Holy ****, in his new life former NBA referee Steve Javie is a Catholic deacon.

Other Sports Stuff

Soccer superstar Carli Lloyd drilled a 55-yard field goal at a Baltimore Ravens/Philadelphia Eagles practice this week. More than one football person thinks she should get an NFL tryout.

There’s a confusing thing going on with the NFL, Jay-Z, Damon Dash, Colin Kaepernick, and Jermaine Dupri that I do not fully understand. But it’s “socially charged,” as many things are these days.

ESPN named Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins MVP of its All-Decade Awards.

Auston Matthews helped Arizona State hockey reveal its new uniforms and in my completely accurate opinion they are fantastic.

Here’s a good article about the opinions of Little Leaguers on Major League Baseball in 2019.

Gas station sex pills are a threat to our nation’s pastime.

My Stuff

What I’m reading: The other day I ordered copies of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List and 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Yes this is probably something I could access online without parting with my dollars, but I like having something in my hands to flip through while I’m sitting on the couch and my wife is engrossed in whatever incarnation of The Bachelor we’re on.

What I’m playing: I’ve not started it yet, but when I’m finished with this I’m firing up the Vasara Collection on the Nintendo Switch.

What I’m listening to: Work phone calls on the way to work mean I’ve only had time for the CU Podcast these days.

What I’m watching: Not much lately. The Angels and White Sox are not playoff bound so I’m mixing in some National League baseball. I also watched Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in its entirety the other day only because I took the batteries out of the remote so my daughter wouldn’t get after them. Even after she went down for a nap I couldn’t find the energy to return the batteries to their home.

Suns Swag

Jerry Colangelo Signed Letter: Once upon a time in 1974 some dude named Martin Bauman from West Roxbury, Massachusetts applied for a job with your Suns. Marty did not get the job.

What he did get though, was a signed letter from the one-and-only Jerry Colangelo. No one can say the path that letter has traveled, but someone, somewhere, sometime, elected to have that signature authenticated.

You’ll get the envelope as well. All for a thirty-dollar bill.

Negele Knight Game Worn Signed Sneakers: Negele Knight was one of my favorite players growing up and if you can’t say the same then I suspect you’re wrong about many things virtually all the time.

Knight played six seasons in the NBA, the first three with the Suns. His best season game in year four with the Spurs, but it’s the Spurs so who really cares?

$200 plus another $20 is ship is the ask, but the seller will hear your offers.

1986-87 Suns Game Used Signed Ball: Seller states that they won this item as a kid and has the picture to prove it. It’s listed at $300, but offers will be heard. Signatures included on the ball:

Alvan Adams

Rafael Addison

William Bedford

Walter Davis

James Edwards

Kenny Gattison

Grant Gondrezick

Jeff Hornacek

Jay Humphries

Larry Nance

Ed Pinckney

Mike Sanders

Bernard Thompson

Nick Vanos

Dick Van Arsdale

2005-06 Suns Bobblehead Set: Bobbleheads are cheaply made. I suppose when you make 20,000 of anything of that nature and have it shipped across across the world, that’s to be expected. Have the Gorilla Glue ready.

With that said, I love them. I have a dozen in my office today. If you want to add some flair to work or home, this is a great place to start. Sixty bucks gets you five, not a bad deal. Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Raja Bell, and Kurt Thomas for $12 a piece, after shipping.

Phoenix Suns Bobbleheads and Other Junk: Similar deal, but a little lighter on the coin purse. Six bobbleheads, a Matrix puppet, a Matrix figurine, and a couple of Nash cards. No bids and no buy it now price, but for what it’s worth the seller has posted this a couple of times with no success. Fifty bucks after shipping.

What I’m Thinking

I’m giving thoughts to picking up an old “unlocked” Blackberry and throwing my sim card in there. I miss the keyboard. I need the keyboard. Can I do that? Will it work?

When I was a kid, I always considered the Suns one of the top franchises in the league. Obviously that encompasses a lot of things, but after the Lakers and the Celtics, I considered the Suns firmly in tier two.

And let me go off on a tangent for a second. The Knicks history and their role in the NBA is vastly overrated. Vastly. I’ve thought that for a long time. Now, when I wasn’t watching Western Conference basketball in the early 90s, I was fascinated by New York. I was a big fan of John Starks, simply because he had a short fuse. And 12-year-old Keith had a short fuse.

That said, we make too much of the Knicks. Are they more important to the NBA than Milwaukee? Are they? I submit that they are not.

But back to my original point. The Suns were very important. Lots of wins, fun basketball, cool uniforms, big crowds. I appreciated this 1600 miles away in Evansville, Indiana. I actually got to watch them a lot, Sundays on NBC. There’s a reason they were on frequently.

Obviously we have fallen upon the hardest of times. We know that being one of the winningest (not a word) teams in NBA history is something we can no longer beat our chest over.

So what’s the narrative today? I’m 37 and that pride as certainly faded, but it’s not altogether gone. A couple of winning seasons and I’ll be real quick to rediscover my obnoxiousness as a Suns fan.

Do others in their 30s feel the same way about the Suns? Is that pride linked to history still there? Do young people care? I think about this a lot. I’ve even gone so far as to ask my daughter about it. But she doesn’t talk so we don’t get far.

You know what is cool, though? When you have a little one around there are lots of balls. Some bounce well, others don’t. When you find one that does bounce well, kids are going to want to chase after it. And they play AWFUL defense. It’s great. I put her on skates daily.

The Suns will be back. Probably about the time my daughter starts to understand basketball. I will never tell her about this dark, dark time in Phoenix hoops history we are suffering through.

Some Quote

“This [basketball] is the second most exciting indoor sport, and the other one shouldn’t have spectators.”

Some Question

What sports video game are you best at? Bonus points for claims you can wreck all competition.