Other than the Mets missing out on Sunday Night Baseball this season — though more than half of Sunday Night Baseball’s schedule is decided during the season, usually two or three weeks in advance of the game — we’re light on Mets news today. How about some basketball analysis via the New York Times instead:
Shot creation has long been crucial to ascendancy as a premier scorer, but Michael Jordan’s eminence brought that particular skill to unprecedented heights. Jordan revolutionized one-on-one play with his electricity; one of his many enduring legacies is the way scorers are perceived and evaluated today.
. . .
But with scoring efficiency valued now more than ever, perhaps it’s time for us to look beyond those who take difficult shots when in search of dominant scorers. Rose, Bryant, and Durant all combine production and efficiency (hence their current standing as the centerpieces of their respective teams’ offenses), but so do some of the league’s most impressive off-ball scorers.
- Rob Mahoney, “Bosh and Anderson, Efficiency Experts”
The New York Times
That’s an excellent point about Michael Jordan revolutionizing one-on-one play. I’m young. When I play basketball, I’m all about little fakes to create space — jab steps, step backs, and fadeaways, things like that. My moves are aimed at beating someone in isolation, and I think as much is true for everyone who learned to play basketball after Jordan.
But does anyone ever play pickup basketball with old guys, or at least watch old guys play pickup basketball? Old guys are all about moving the ball and finding the open man, and once the ball passes halfcourt, there’s very little dribbling. I’ve found that off-ball defense against old guys is more important than on-ball defense, because old guys almost never face the basket while dribbling. They’re only going to look for and find easy baskets in a cutter or by running someone off a screen. And old guys love backdoor cuts. It’s like they play a different game.
Michael Jordan changed his sport all the way down to the way amateurs play pickup games. Babe Ruth, who decided to swing with an uppercut and ended the deadball era, is the only other athlete to do so, right? Jordan made one-on-one play acceptable, and Babe Ruth made trying to hit the ball over the fence acceptable. Has anyone else changed their sport as dramatically as those two?
Moving on. Jon Bois writes about the startling decline of athletes named Bob:
Again: only one of 1,844 Bob-athletes are currently active, and most of the rest were playing only a handful of decades ago. If that slope were a road, it would have been gated off years ago. Very few trends drop off at such a startling rate without some sort of explanation: yes, people are buying fewer typewriters in favor of computers and the like. But who usurped Bob? Where is our better Bob?
- Jon Bois, “The Bob Famine”
The Mets should have R.A. Dickey, Robert Carson, Bobby Parnell, and Rob Johnson all in camp this Spring. All have the first name Robert, yet none of them go by Bob. I know two fellows my age named Robert: One goes by Bobby, the other by Rob. I actually don’t know if I’ve met anyone named Bob, even though “Bob” or “John” are still what I consider commonplace names. Why has Bob become so unpopular? Where are all the Bobs?