43 thoughts on “February 8, 2023: 38,388”

  1. I think he is the greatest, but I also think GOAT talk can be a little silly. Hard to define eras but the game(s) change as time goes on. So not exactly apple to oranges but also not apples to apples.

    What a fun career to watch though. I didn't see much of Jordan and obviously nothing before really so seeing this develop in real time has been great.

    1. Also, what doesn't get acknowledged a whole lot is that Lebron is pretty decent off the court as well. Appears to be a good husband and father, active in social issues and puts his money where his mouth is (google his school in Akron). Pretty rare for someone worshipped for his athletic abilities since around age 15.

      1. Yes. To date, I think his biggest challenge has been his stance towards China. NBC News story.

        He was caught between a rock and a hard place at the specific time of this interview (I think they were in China at the time), but his comments about Daryl Morey were pretty sad.

        He's a businessman first, professionally. Not an activist along the lines of Bill Russell.

    2. I guess I am one who will try to argue (or at least tell you my opinion). The only reason I am not stronger on this topic is that MJ took a few years off. Michael Jordan was simply the best closer in the game. He broke far more hearts than Lebron did. He has more hardware. I don't always subscribe to "he has more hardware" in most sports arguments, but in basketball... it fits. But then, I could be wrong too.

      1. You definitely are wrong to go with the hardware argument. Basketball is a bigger team game than the other major American sports. Jordan left and his team kept making the playoffs. LeBron left and his team was bad enough to be contracted. The guy was good enough to win championships with nobodies.

        1. I don't think I agree with the premise, but I kind of do with the conclusion? In no other sport does a single superstar have a bigger impact. And a couple of them? Forget about it. It's why the draft matters more in basketball than any other sport. It absolutely can be a team game, and a great team with great coaching can overcome the lack of a superstar. But traditionally, it's the superstars who make the difference.

          I think that's precisely why LeBron is so impressive - his superstardom (at times) came in the absence of other superstars on his teams. Whereas Jordan had an amazing supporting cast. It's part of why I loved KG so much - he pretty much consistently willed the Wolves to the playoffs single handedly, since he always had such an awful supporting cast. Compare and contrast with Duncan/Robinson - the presence of just one more superstar transformed that team. If you're a star lucky enough to have another one, that's huge. Thus hardware is more a reflection on groupings of stars than it is individual stars. I'm rambling now.

          My premise: superstars matter more in basketball than other sports. My conclusion: hardware should be discounted when discussing individual GOATs, because it reflects groupings of stars, not individual ones.

        2. There's also, I think, the matter that LBJ played against two dynasties during his run: the Spurs and the Warriors. Jordan never beat a team of that caliber in the playoffs. Ever. LBJ beat both of them. Both of those teams also drilled LBJ in the Finals because... they were great.

          1. I think part of the problem with the Jordan comparison is aesthetic. I don't think there's ever been a player with more style than Jordan.

          2. There's also, I think, the matter that LBJ played against two dynasties during his run: the Spurs and the Warriors. Jordan never beat a team of that caliber in the playoffs

            You could argue that Jordan did not allow a dynasty to emerge as he kept beating all comers. Something Lebron has been unable to do. There were a lot of great teams during Jordan's run. A handful with multiple all stars/hall of famers. In the end, my opinion is based upon Jordan having a stretch of play where you felt like it was inevitable he was going to win. I have never felt that way with Lebron. Even when he was on stronger teams favored to win. They are both top 3 players in NBA history.

            1. LeBron never had the benefit of playing for a coach who had a three-peat with an entirely different team. Jordan’s amazing, but it’s not like he did what he did in a vacuum.

        3. Basketball is a bigger team game than the other major American sports.

          Really? I can't disagree more.

  2. Attended my first concert of the year last night: Cécile McLorin Salvant was in town with her quintet (piano/bass/drums/guitar/flute). She’s one of my favorite active vocalists. Her band was excellent.

    Her main set featured several originals, from albums released last year and next month, including “I Lost My Mind,” an absolute knock-out piece she wrote as the isolation of the pandemic set in, and a wide range of other tunes — Sting’s “Until,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” Bessie Smith’s “You’ve Got to Give Me Some,” “The Trolly Song” from Meet Me in St. Louis, and Kurt Weill’s “Barbara Song” from The Threepenny Opera.

    I see Cécile will be performing at the Walker twice at the end of February. I encourage anyone who can make one of the dates to not miss her.

    1. It’s as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone won two billion dollars. How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won.

    1. Amen. He's not a perfect dude and sometimes he can rankle, but he's like a miracle. Born to a single mother, destitute as a child, then has the expectations of the basketball world thrust on him as a young teenager (his high school games were on national TV!!!!). He has NEVER been anything but an elite player for 20 years. Simply impossible. He's done the impossible.

    1. Conley has one year left at $24.36M on his contract. He's in his age-35 season and has been worse that Russell (age-26) this season on every dimension save turnovers. Plus Russell's contract is expiring.

      1. What do you consider every dimension? Conley has more assists per 36 minutes than DLo (9.3 to 6.8). Rebounds, steals, and blocks are essentially a wash. DLo is definitely a better scorer -- better 2P%, 3P%, FT%. But Conley takes fewer shots than DLo, so it's not entirely clear to me that swapping them nets you fewer points per possession on average.

        Conley's on a smaller contract, but it doesn't expire, which I would argue is a good things for the Wolves from a cap management standpoint. Somewhat lower tax this year, but primarily they get to keep a piece around that they can use for matching salaries in a future trade.

      2. More back-of-the-napkin math.

        Per 100 possessions, Conley is +3.5 assists versus DLo. Wolves average 2.28 points per made shot, so 3.5 assists is roughly worth 8 points.

        Per 100 possessions, DLo is +8.4 points versus Conley.

        Per 100 possessions, Conley is -1.1 turnovers versus DLo. Wolves average 1.13 points per possession, so that's maybe +1.2 points there.

        That nets out remarkably close to 0 -- arguably +0.8 in Conley's favor. Things swing more in Conley's favor on assists if you think his teammates are worse (as it means they are less likely to score when he passes to them, so less likely to get assists than he would be in Minnesota). I'm calling rebounds a wash between the two, but you could give a bit of credit to DLo there and I wouldn't really object.

        I will freely admit that my bias is always for point guards that are better at passing and taking care of the ball.

      3. Pretty good analysis from KG.

      1. What the hell are the Jazz doing?

        With the picks, I like this a lot for the Wolves. It gets them a veteran true PG who isn't D'Lo and picks they can package down the road.

        1. I am seeing a few trade grades in which people seem to agree with you on the Wolves doing well. My only worry on Conley is durability. Also wondering how KAT reacts.

        2. I agree. At least they get to see how the team looks with a pass-first PG to get an idea if that’s the direction they want to go. I don’t rate 2nd-round picks very much, but it’s better than nothing.

  3. Was just approached about an interesting potential venue in my area. Do I pursue the trifecta of culinary ventures?


      1. Kind of a crazy idea, but maybe crazy enough? An empty lot downtown where a previous joint burnt down. A buddy wants to make it an outdoor eating venue. Bar and kitchen in a small rectangular building to the side. Artificial turf over cement on the lower level with picnic tables. An upper level deck in the sun. 100 seats. Simple concept. Counter service... no servers. A few bartenders, a few cooks a couple food runner/bussers. Probably 90% chance I don't do it... but having some fun conceptualizing how it could work.

    1. I really enjoyed the podcast interview you did a while back, and definitely respect your thoughtful approach to the business. If you go ahead with it and have more to share about the venture, I’ll be interested in reading about it vicariously following along.

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