Andrew Wiggins Era Begins & NBA Season Bet

I’m excited for the NBA season to start. On Monday night the Twolves had their first pre-season game and it looks like Andrew Wiggins could be the real deal.  A summary of his performance from the blog post

Andrew Wiggins. There is obviously a player here. He led the team in minutes (32) and points (18). He took some poor 20 footers and wound up shooting 4-11 overall, but got to the line 10 times and made both of his threes. He also blocked 3 shots and grabbed 3 offensive boards. There is obviously stuff to work on, including getting stronger around the rim and ball handling, but there was a lot to like.

There’s also a good YouTube video of his action here: 

As we do every year, we place a friendly bet in the office for the season.  This year it’s between Niraj and Ian.  Here is how our teams are projected to do: 

  • Timberwolves: Projected 26.5 games won
  • Nuggets: Projected 35.5 games won
  • Pistons: Projected 35.5 games won

The bet we’re making with each other is whichever teams performs the worst relative to their projected win count, the loser buys the winners a lunch of their choice at Rio Grande.   Now, let’s get it started!


Looking back at 2011

Some things i’ll remember about 2011:

Steve Jobs’ Death & Legacy. As Esquire says…

No one ever died the way Steve Jobs died. Other people have died of cancer. Other people have died in the public eye.  But no one has ever died with the inexorable logic of their mortality feeding into a logic of expectation that they themselves created and aroused.

Reading about Steve Jobs in 2011 was a terrific experience.  He inspired me to take my passion in products to the next level.  He was truly a special individual and will be missed.

Mavericks vs. Heat. The stage was set: a team of underdogs who lost to the Heat in 2006 vs. a team of selfish divas. Down 2-1 and nearly 3-1, the scappy Mavs fought back and took the title in the most exciting NBA Finals I’ve ever seen. Continue reading “Looking back at 2011”

Jonny Flynn and the Timberwolves

jonny flynnThere’s been lots of talk about Ricky Rubio and all the he could potentially bring to the twolves.  And while i think he’s pretty special, I’m also very excited about Johnny Flynn.  What happened on draft day is that the the Timberwolves had ranked Flynn as #1 on their board of people they thought they could get (above Curry).  Somehow Rubio dropped to the number 5 spot so they felt they had to choose him.  Then with the number 6 they were faced with the option of choosing someone they believed was worse to fill the shooting guard spot or choose the best guy remaining which was Jonny Flynn.  At least that is the explanation that the GM provided.

I was skeptical but i just watched this video (below) of Flynn’s summer league play and he looks fan-fricking-tastic.  I’m very excited to see what he can do with KLove, Big Al and rest of the squad.

Also, i want to touch on the fact that Mad Dog Madsen was traded to the Clippers.  While not the best player in the league i think he’s done a great job of communicating with the public.  His blog is good read and he’s clearly a very smart dude (from Stanford). He’s missing Minnesota and I’ll miss him too.

Check this out:

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Basketball, David & Goliath, and Underdogs

I read a great article by Malcolm Gladwell last week called How David Beats Goliath.  It talks about a Silicon Valley CEO who has never coached basketball before and how he takes a novel approach towards basketball strategy when coaching his 12-year-old girl’s team.

Picture 6Realizing his girl’s team is lacking the talent needed to compete, he decides to change the rules.  Instead of falling back into their half to play defense, they do a full-court press each time.  Their number 1 goal is to steal the opening pass.  After that, they try to keep the team from crossing the halfway line.  This approach is never used and its unconventional nature results in great success. He also pulls in the former San Francisco 49er, Roger Craig, as his assistant coach which makes the story that much more entertaining.

If that was the end of the story, it’d be an interesting piece but he overlays into the piece other stories of underdogs.  He talks about the battle of David vs. Goliath and Lawrence of Arabia’s revolt against the Ottoman Army near the end of the First World War.  In both cases, changing the nature of the game was the difference.  Gladwell remarks:

David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases.

He always jumps back to the basketball example and has interviews with amazingly successful NCAA basketball coach Rick Pitino who talks about the press and overachieving.

Great article, check it out

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Music and Basketball

Another good quote from The Sports Guy.  He had an email exchange with Macolm Gladwell and the subject of music and basketball came up.  The Sports Guys responds:

We had lunch a few weeks ago and discussed the parallels between music and basketball. The structure is fundamentally the same: You have a lead singer (the NBA alpha dog, like LeBron or Kobe), the lead guitarist (the sidekick, like Pippen or McHale), the drummer (an unsung third wheel, like Parish or Worthy), the bassist (a solid, reliable and ultimately disposable role player: like Byron Scott or Anderson Varejao); and then everyone else (the other rotation guys). Bands can go different ways just like successful basketball teams. McCartney and Lennon were two geniuses who ultimately needed one another (like Young Magic and Older Kareem, or Shaq and Young Kobe), whereas MJ and LeBron were more like Sting or Springsteen (someone who could carry the band by themselves). And if you want to drag hip-hop or rap into it, the best parallel would obviously be Jordan’s post-baseball Bulls: MJ was Chuck D, Pippen was Terminator X, and there is no effing doubt that Rodman was Flavor Flav.

It’s a great read if you’re into the NBA and what’s happening right now.  I like The Sports Guy’s take about Lebron.  This is a great time to be a viewer as Lebron is doing what Michael Jordan did in the early 90’s. He’s just destroying people and making it great to watch.  Plus, there’s a Spinal Tap refernce in there.  How could it be a bad article then.  It reads:

As the 2009 postseason rolls on, the King has become its most compelling story, not just because of his insane numbers, that Jordan-like hunger in his eyes, even the fact that he’s still on cruise control to some degree. (Note: I would compare

LeBron James
Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

him to Nigel Tufnel’s amp. He alternated between “9” and “10” in the regular season, and he’s been at 10 in the playoffs, but I can’t shake the feeling that he has an “11” in store for Kobe and the Finals. An extra decibel level, if you will. In my lifetime, Jordan could go to 11. So could Bird. Shaq and Kobe could get there together, but not apart. And really, that’s it. Even Magic could get to 10 3/4 but never quite 11. It’s a whole other ball game: You aren’t just beating teams, you’re destroying their will. You never know when you’ll see another 11. I’m just glad we’re here. End of tangent.) But his relationship with his teammates continues to fascinate me; because of his character and the spirit of the players that surround him, it’s like watching a more animated/funny/bombastic version of Duncan’s Spurs, or even last season’s Boston team. I really get a kick out of them. Only LeBron and Magic could foster a climate like that just by being themselves.

Any other insight from my readers?

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OneSeason for Sports Betting


There’s an interesting new website called which is a virtual market of sports players.  You buy shares in athletes and players and based on market demand of those shares their value raises or lowers.  For example, two weeks ago Lebron James was at $1.10 and today he’s at $18.50 because his shares have been rising steadily.

The fun part is that new players come out each day in an IPO (Initial Player Offering).  For instance Yao Ming came out at $5 and immediately traded up to $15.  Each day there’s a reason to get back in

There’s a NYTimes article about this where it talks about the “value” of a share:

Mike Sroka, OneSeason’s founder, a former hedge fund analyst, compares OneSeason stock to collectible playing cards. “The cards have no intrinsic value, but due to limited supply and notoriety of the player, they fluctuate in value,” he said.

The one problem i see is that every player is appreciating right now.  No player has gone down which means nobody has lost any money.  A quick way to put OneSeason out of business would be for everyone to request their money back.  I’m guessing this won’t happen but still, you’ll need losers eventually.

I’m putting in a couple bucks and trying it out.  It’s definitely interesting.  Am i moron for falling for this?  I just bought 3 shares of Adrian Peterson for $25 bucks a piece.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m selling if he hits $50

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