Dear Ricky Rubio: Thanks, buddy! Yours Truly, Tyreke Evans

By: Freaknick

Look: I don’t want to write about Ricky Rubio any more than you want to read about him these days.  The truth is, I wish he would hibernate for a while and then only communicate by waving a series of colored flags.  The GREEN flag means he’ll play for DKV, BLUE means the Timberwolves, RED means he’s playing for another European team, and WHITE means, “You know what guys?  I think I’ll just stay underground and sew flags.” We now know one thing: in my hypothetical hibernation, Rubio will not be waving the green DKV flag.  Right now, I kind of wish he would raise the white one.

People are jumping all over this new non-news as if it’s new non-non-news.  Speaking of double negatives, you cannot not blame Ricky Rubio in all of this.  At first I gave him a pass; you expect naîvete from a youngster like him.  But my patience wore thin right as the NBA Draft rolled around. Ricky wants to play here.  Ricky won’t play there.  Ricky wants to play near a beach.  Ricky’s mom doesn’t like the cold.

I’m betting Michael Jordan’s mom wasn’t in a big hurry to hit the streets of Chicago and bust out her new windbreaker, either.  But somehow, she soldiered on. Now, uttering the words “Sam Bowie” in Portland is akin to yelling out “Voldemort” in the halls of Hogwarts.

MJ over Bowie.  Paul over Bogut.  Rubio over...almost nobody right now.  But that's entirely up to him (and apparently a cavalcade of lawyers who all suck at their jobs).

Hurricane Katrina displaced Chris Paul in his rookie year; now he has shoes to trudge through puddles…and they’re named after him. Deron Williams probably isn’t a Mormon; he’s doing just fine in Utah.  Marvin Williams?  Andrew Bogut? Solid, but not All-Stars.

After going from Baltimore to Syracuse, Carmelo Anthony probably Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months ago at 1:27 am.

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Wally’s World Needs a Reality Check

By: Freaknick

I live in Atlanta, Georgia.  Home of the Hawks, and formerly the home of one Josh Childress.  So naturally my conversations about the Euroleague start quite similarly: “How’s that Childress fella doing?”…or something like that.  I briefly touch on his triumphs and his troubles, and most folks focus on the latter.

This is when I hit them with my qualifiers and conditions to justify Childress’ lack of statistical success: “Well, Childress’ game really isn’t ideally suited for the style of play over there, which can take some getting used to.  He makes up for it with his athleticism, but it’s not fair to expect him to dominate from day one.”

Inevitably, then, the follow-up: “What do you mean?  How is it any different?”

So I give my oral presentation of a few keys to succeeding in a Euroleague backcourt:

  • high-percentage shotmaker with decent range
  • clever and crafty without the ball
  • the ability to dribble drive and finish with authority—even occasionally—separates the stars from the contributors
  • smart, productive passer who can execute the pick and roll (nearly to perfection)
  • Effective on-ball defender who is-at the very least-skilled enough to funnel the ball toward his help.  Again, excellent defense is a plus.

Based on those little bullets, it sounds like there are a few folks riding pine in the NBA that could reinvigorate their careers with a little hop, skip, and a jump overseas.  Exhibit A: Wally Szczerbiak.

After averaging 10 or more points per game in each of his first nine seasons (with a high watermark of 19 as recently as ‘06), Szczerbiak has had to sacrifice minutes and attention playing for the Cleveland LeBrons over the past season and a half.  In those 95 games, he’s averaged under eight points in only 20 minutes per game, and both of those numbers look to drop with the addition of 2-Time Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker, who will likely fill his role as a shooter who can guard 2’s and 3’s.  To make matters worse, Cleveland has not even made him an offer this offseason.

So imagine my dismay to hear that Szczerbiak turned down an offer from Real Madrid to play, most likely Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months, 1 week ago at 2:36 pm.

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Walter Herrmann can dunk naked while avoiding stray geese…so lay off

By: Freaknick

Besides Tonya Harding, there may be no Olympian who gets less respect than our boy Walter Herrmann.  The Argentinian gold medalist has endured spotty NBA minutes and heckling from American fans who kindly point out that he slightly resembles a woman, but now he will have the last laugh.  Tau Ceramica announced today that they will enlist the services of Herrmann and his flowing, blonde locks for the 2010 season.  So I rummaged through all of my favorite Herrman home videos and compiled my ode to Walter (and yes, in one of them he dunks naked-ish).  The top 5:

5.  What do you when you spend 1,939 of a possible 7,296 (73.42%) minutes on an NBA bench?  You become far too skilled at super awesome things like this.

4.  The plan was flawless.  All he needed was the perfect ricochet, and his name would forever be etched in basketball lore.  The only problem?  Kendrick Perkins’ fat ass.

3.  Here, he gets drilled…oh wait…damn…you mean, this isn’t Walter Herrmann?  Oops.  Well, while we’re all here , here’s Fabio’s face’s ass getting kicked by a goose on a rollercoaster.

2.  Reason #1,604 that Walter Herrmann is more of a badass than you: he can palm a ball…without even using his palm. Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months, 1 week ago at 1:36 am.

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Olympiacos: The NBA’s Newest Addition

With just one signing and the threat of a few others, Olympiacos now have their chips laid on the NBA table.

By: Freaknick

There was Ben Gordon. Then Ron Artest.  And James Posey.  Hell, Hedo Turkoglu even threw his name into the discussion after  his uncontrollable waffling.  Each rumor came and went.  And then came again.  And then went again.  And after sifting through the wreckage we found Ben Gordon in a Piston’s jersey, Artest in L.A., Turkoglu in Portla—er—make that Toronto—and frankly I really don’t care about James Posey and neither should you.

But something else happened this summer.  No hands were shaken, dotted lines signed, nor charter jets boarded and bound for Greece. By way of hushed whispers and not-so-hushed pundits churning the rumor mill, Olympiacos established themselves as a legitimate player in the NBA’s meat market for years to come.

The latest rumors involve the vertically challenged pogo stick, Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks.  Whereas the other names (except for James Posey who, again, should not be allowed to penetrate your thoughts) seemed a bit farfetched, this whole Robinson thing feels kind of real.  Consider the following:

  • Robinson is due $2.2 million next year under his current contract, and Olympiacos supposedly can show him a bigger number.  Mini-feuds between Nate and Coach Mike D’Antoni make me think the Knicks won’t rush to match such a lucrative offer sheet.
  • The Knicks say they want to renew Robinson’s deal, but I’m calling their bluff.  The oft-mentioned offseason of 2010 is only 82 games away and every dollar spent today is another dollar they’ll be without next summer.  LeBron, Bosh, Wade, Ginobili and Co. won’t come cheap, salary cap or not.
  • Olympiacos was at the forefront of the movement to allow three non-EU players on Greek teams so that they could snag some more Americans.  If they want to maximize the benefits from the ruling, they’ll have to sign a talented American in a place of need.  With Lynn Greer off the team, it makes perfect sense to replace one small scoring American point guard with another.  Papaloukas could then be free to quarterback the offense and distribute.

Nate Robinson is not a star, but he has all the intrigue and marketability you could hope for in a free agent signing.  Just as Robinson cleared Dwight Howard to win his second Slam Dunk title, so would he leap over Josh Childress—afro and all—to become the highest profile signing in this new era (the Childress era? Nah, we’ll work on a name later) that’s barely a year old.

Until, of course, next week’s rumors roll around.

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Posted 4 months, 1 week ago at 5:15 pm.

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Brandon Jennings and Joe Budden: What two idiots say to each other when left alone

By: Freaknick

The video below is a conversation between Bucks draft pick Brandon Jennings and hip-hop wash-up  Joe Budden.  The audio is a bit fuzzy, so Freaknick offers a translation (WARNING: video contains explicit content, and listening to these two  engage in conversation will most likely leave you dumber than you were before clicking play).

Joe Budden (1 min 18 secs): I got [girls]  in Milwaukee, I aint even gonna front. LOL.

Translation: I wish girls still believed me when I told them I was famous. : (

JB (2:38): Don’t f*** it up.

Translation:  I’ll f*** it up for you myself.  I’ll have this on YouTube in no time.

JB (2:55): If you’re trying to be like Joe Budden then you’re doing the right thing.

Translation:  You’re on speakerphone and I’m recording this call on my webcam. Because I’m a loser.

Brandon Jennings (4:42): Man, f*** the Knicks.  Them [people] skipped out on me, man.  F*** the Knicks.

Translation: I had myself going 1,2,3,4 and 5 in my mock draft.  And they finally got rid of Starbury and Isiah!  They need a new headcase…I could be that guy!

JB (4:52):  Yo, you feel to the Knicks how I do about Jay-Z?  The Knicks are your Jay-Z? (Very pleased with himself, Budden laughs hysterically.  Jury’s still out about what was funny.)

Translation:   Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 months, 4 weeks ago at 1:16 am.

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Who the hell is Christian Eyenga?

Glad you asked.

And I wish I could help.

The sad truth is, once David Stern butchered the name of the Cavs first rounder, I grabbed my cell phone and my computer.  Neither device could immediately satisfy my Christian Eyenga curiosity.

So I made some calls, checked all the prospect sites (because ours admittedly didn’t foresee Danny Ferry’s genius), and here are Freaknick’s Five Fun Facts, Christian Eyenga style:

1. I spoke to a Euroleague source who says he recognized some of the clips that ESPN showed after Cleveland took him with the 30th pick.  ”I was at some of those games,” he told me.  ”And I don’t remember Christian Eyenga.”   Hmmm.

Your heart will get dunked on.

2. Christian hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Did you know that the DRC is the largest French-speaking nation in the world, with 66 million folks?  Take THAT Celine Dion.

3. There are only two other Congolese players in the NBA: 1) 4-time Defensive POY Dikembe Mutombo and 2) NBA Champion and Laker legend, DJ Mbenga.  While these two are known mostly for their defense, however, Eyenga is an offensive dynamo, averaging an astonishing 0.8 PPG in 4 games for DKV Joventut of the ACB League.

4. After extensive Googling and YouTubing, I couldn’t find that LeBron post-game interview I was looking for.  Remember?  After they lost to the Magic? When he said, “The only way we’re going to take our team to the next level is if we draft a virtual unknown Congolese player who averages under one point per game and probably won’t suit up in an NBA uniform until I’m a Knick.”

5. If you YouTube Christian Eyenga, the first video that comes up is the inspiring tale  of two hippies who raise a lion cub named Christian.  Frankly, it was the more entertaining of the two videos below.

Freaknick: out.

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Posted 5 months ago at 5:42 pm.

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