Saturday, November 29, 2014



Visualizations. They’re telling us more and more about how the game works in space.

Written and spoken language. It is the universal conduit of thought, the line human beings use to connect with each other.

Is there a gap between visualizations and language in modern NBA discourse? Let’s see:

(Via Nylon, duh)

“As you can see, Anthony was excellent shooting from the wings last year, particularly the left wing. He practically never shot from the corners, though, a result of his having the ball in his hands constantly and not having a lot of opportunities to spot up in the corners. His midrange game consumed a lot of possessions but wasn’t particularly effective, except from the right baseline, where he devastated defenders with his patented post-up turnaround jumper. Anthony could expand his game by moving off ball more, but New York has a dearth of point guard options and the Triangle Offense isn’t necessarily designed to create corner looks, at least not yet.”

(Rips off the tweed sweater they made me wear to deliver that LECTURE, takes off his old person glasses and replaces them with cool, black rimmed young person glasses, the international symbol of a cool, smart guy)

Translating symbols into language: PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! Where is the visceral jolt of basketball’s movement, given to the reader like so many hot hamburgers straight from Bob Ryan’s grill? But what if we were to combine a bunch of contexts TOGETHER to create a NEW LANGUAGE we can use to talk about basketball in a way that is informative and universal and exciting?

Ladies and gentlemen. Today, while I was taking a shower, I created that Language. Behold:

Is it complicated? Absolutely. But I will explain: take in this ABSURD Eurostep from Giannis Antetokounmpo:

Now Giannis took off from behind the free throw line on the left wing, landed right above the foul line, and took his shooting step in the middle part of the key. Are you bored yes? Me too, or I WAS before I put this bad boy together!

As you can see, with THE EUROBOARD OF BASKETBALL DELIGHTS, that boring ol’ explanation of that unreal play becomes “Giannis went from the Mediterranean to Croatia to Southern Poland on a single Eurostep, then dropped it right in the Baltic with a sweet finger roll!” So expressive. So moving. A crisp, clean visualization never worked so well with high caliber prose. Two dancers, one mighty and strong (Visualization) spinning a beautiful, lithe ballerina (Prose) and moving the jaded ballet audience to tears in their seats.

Damian Lillard loses Parsons on a Wes Matthews screen in Bulgaria, catches the ball in Spain, near the border with France, Andorra-ish, and drills the game winning three pointer.

Wade retrieves the ball on an expedition in Northern Africa, dishes to Chalmers, riding on the Black Sea, who passes to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern resident Norris Cole, who tosses it up to Lebron James, who is SPRINTING across the Former Soviet Republics and JAMS it home over Jason Terry, who foolishly decided to try and challenge him in Lithuania!

This one is a classic, a “Jet Setter’s Play” that goes to all of Europe’s hop spots. We got Manu killing some time in Turkey. Then he and Tim Duncan execute a pick and roll in the Black Sea. Manu passes to Patty Mills, chilling with a sweet drink in the Med, who passes to Tim Duncan, ROLLING across Western Ukraine, who dishes RIGHT to Boris Diaw, all alone in the BEAUTIFUL green hills of Scotland, who BEATS THE BUZZER with a corner three pointer!

So, if your strategic writing is getting “A little dry,” get on the train! Carmelo Anthony is waiting for you in Russia, posted up and ready to launch one of his PATENTED midrange turnaround bombs!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


(This is the first edition of a new daily (Really Corbin?) feature at Biscutball where I review Highlight mixes on the internet. I hope it's not too square.)

Stephen Curry Full Highlights 2014.11.25 at Heat - 40 Pts, 7 Assists, 8 Threes, PLAYSTATION Curry!”

Steph Curry drills a lot of three pointers off the dribble. It’s a tremendous magic trick, but is it one the audience is used to? Fans of good screening should turn their eyes to 1:08, when Draymond Green takes out Shabbaz Napier with extreme screen prejudice. I’m not even one review into this project and I am obsessing over screening. I am wildly unqualified to do this.

We’ve seen Steph cover this round already. Is there something he can do to take his off the dribble three point assaults to the next level? May I suggest, and I realize the critic is endevoring to become the artist here, Steph spending a game exclusively taking three pointers a step or two out from the line? Riskier from a “Winning the game” perspective, but it would be an asthetic achievement par excellence.

“PLAYSTATION CURRY” is a silly thing to out in the title, but I am here to review highlights, not marketing.

GRADE: ONE WHALE, it’s a whale and that’s awesome, but you’ve seen a whale before. It’s time to see TWO WHALES, or, god forbid, THREE WHALES from Steph.

Wesley Matthews Full Highlights 2014.11.26 at Hornets - 28 Pts, 6 threes, SiCK Shooting!”

Workmanlike big night from Wes Matthews, who hits a lot of spot up threes. I watched this game, because it is my eternal curse to watch even the MOST average Trail Blazer games. Mike Rice said that Wes Matthews leads the league in “Three pointers made off an offensive rebound” which is the biggest nothing stat of all time because:
ONE: There’s no way that sample ever gets big enough to be stable year to year.
TWO: It’s completely dependant on his team’s offensive rebounding production, for which he accounts for like 5%.
THREE: Not pace adjusted. Let’s see those “Highest percentage of three pointers made off of the the percentage of possessions where his team got an offensive rebound,” and WE’LL TALK.
The pleasures of Wes Matthews are subtle, for refined pallets only. He makes a nice leg kick at about 1:50. If you can’t appreciate it, you’re a pedant.


Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts lit up the Blazers for the second time this year, pouring in a career-high 24 points in the loss. Unspectacular, aesthetically, a lot of spot up threes and some solid drives to the basketb. The final baskets that take him over the top occur when the game was out of Charlotte’s reach, giving them an air a deep melancholy. Most of his outburst took place in the first half. He gets that look that so-so players get when they’re on the war path, the moment when their innermost basketball soul merges with their physical being and show its face to the world:

Always an unsettling moment, when pure basketball rage flashes to the surface. This highlight package also features Michael Jordan in a black turtleneck.



C’mon. Wiggins didn’t do hardly any of the work here. Young gets up the REAL contest and Wiggins cleans up on the weakside. Call me when is is man on man, at the rim two eyes locked, someone has to die here, winner makes the Hall-of-Fame, loser gets shipped out to Europe to spend the rest of his days getting “Where is he now?” articles written about his meager production for PBC Levski Sofia LTD.



A good Vine, where Gerald Green catches an inbounds pass and reverse dunks at the rim. Aaron Afflalo, a basketball player with dignity, also flails in a vain attempt to disrupt the pass. Someday a player will really figure out hot to guard the inbounds and it will become something people write articles about. On a podcast, Zach Lowe will be all “We know about Dave Basketman’s savant like ability to guard an inbounds,” and you’ll nod, all “Yeah, I always thought that.”


Best Plays of the game: Grand Rapids Drive vs. Los Angeles D-Fenders, 11/26/2014

This video is 85% show dunks in an Airplane Hangar.


Thursday, November 20, 2014


The best play in basketball is the open floor chasedown block. It is a mix of all of the best basketball elements. A block at the rim, a tremendous high athleticism play and a perfect moment in time when precision and power meet at the apex. It's an open floor play which mean it never stops moving. It generally creates a fast break opportunity on the other end, a potential four to five point swing, which, I'm not into "Momentum" or any crap like that, but it is an impressive two way flexing, a classic basketball face rub.

It also involves a very brief moment, a thrilling moment, where the blocker is running down the floor, and slooooows down just a litttttle bit so he can size up his opponent and get perfect timing on the block. Have you ever seen an osprey hunt in person?

I don't think this video captures it, but an osprey will fly over a pond, spot a fish (When I saw it in person, it was a trout at a recently stocked Klineline Pond in Salmon Creek.) and then ever so subtly slow down by pumping its wings and them BOOM, swoop down and snatch a fish right in it's fucking talons. I spent all afternoon trying to captrure this on a shitty camera once, but you have to see it in person to really see the whole range of motion, the little movement an osprey makes with its wings before it dives five stories to nab one fish. Every time I see the little foot shuffle before the big block, I am taken back to the osprey yanking it's own body back before it dives into the water and yanks a fish out of a pond

A given, Lebron is the king of the chasedown. He makes a play so difficult only a few players can properly execute it seem like an inevitability.

 If you watch enough Blazer games, you also come to appreciate Nicolas Batum's approach, which is a little more graceful and hand flicky than Lebron's nightmare train:

But I am only writing this to illuminate Demarcus Cousins's crusher on Jrue Holiday on the 18th.

Look at that open court sprint and size up! Onetwoonetwoonetwo One Two BLOCK. It's not a traditional chasedown masterpiece where you get a real sense of the player's eyes zeroing in on the target. But it's a real rumbler, all six-tenish 250ish of Demarcus thunderin' down the floor and snatching two right out of Jrue's hands. A human being that big shouldn't be able to keep up and make a play like that on an NBA guard, and a very good NBA guard at that. Almost more straight up eagleish than osprety-esq like the small forwards. The Steel Eagle, Stealin' from Jrue, if you will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


(the original draft of this post is contained below, sort of like how "Song of Myself" is in the Whitman anthology twice.)

HEY, DENVER FANS. It’s your good friend, prominent blogger CORBIN SMITH. You heard of me!? Of course you have. I am a fan, just like y’all! I was reading this stuff about the DENVER NUGGETS FRONT OFFICE SITUATION and boy oh boy, it got my bloog (that’s my name for my blood) a-boilin! The fans deserve better. The fans deserve a GM who loves ball, and loves people, and love making HARD DECISIONS.

The Good People of Denver deserve me, Corbin Smith, a beloved and intelligent basketball blogger. I have all kinds of qualifications:

ONE: I love basketball and understand it pretty good. If I watch a play a few times, I usually know what is happening.

TWO: Modern GMs need to have a knowledge of database operations and management, and an understanding of advanced math. I PROBABLY don’t qualify on the second front, but, whatever, we have calculators now. What do I need to know about long division in the 21st century But as far as databases go, shit, I am ALL OVER THAT. Check this out:

See that!? That is a spreadsheet with information about EVERY Denver nuggets season, even the ABA ones. It has Offensive Ratings, Defensive Rating, Basketball-Reference WIn Shares Leader, all the stuff you need to know. I made it in like, five minutes. There was a problem with the Drive or something, so not all the years pasted right, but whatever, I can fix that. I can also do equations in databases. Look at this:

Then, I press enter, and…

BANG! I am all over this database thing. And if something more complicated presents itself, I can figure that out, because I am a millennial, with a mastery of computers, and a graduate of The Evergreen State College, which means I am a gifted independent worker.

THREE: I UNDERSTAND THE CAP, UNLIKE THESE GUYS. Proposing trades you can’t do under the CBA!? C’mon, guy currently running the Nuggets! Get your act together! Here’s a little book I’ve been reading lately:
I’m learning so much from this thing, you guys. Like, “The Players Association agrees to provide the NBA League Office with a list of (a) all agents certified under the Players Association’s Agent Regulation Program, and (b) the players represented by each such agent.” If one of these players tries to get an Unlicensed Agent by me, I am going to be ready, because I will know to consult the list the Players Union sent over, and make sure the agents I am talking to are certified. I am ALREADY a step ahead with how much information I am getting from this thing!

FOUR: I UNDERSTAND FREE AGENT VALUE. Last year, the Nuggets signed JJ Hickson and Nate Robinson to multi-year deals. Hickson is a known sucker bet, the king of fake hustle; a volume rebounder who flagrantly steals boards from teammates, provides no shooting, and is an abysmal defender who destroys your team’s rim protection. And Nate Robb’s only consistence is inconsistency. Coming off a pair of one year deals and playing his last stint with Tom “The Coach Who Always Seems To Make Bad Guards Good”* Thibadeau, the Nuggets brain trust did themselves no favors in assuming he could keep it up in Denver. You get me behind the desk in the Summer of 2013, things go a LITTLE DIFFERENTLY for the NUGGETS.

(LIGHTS UP. Corbin, a very good GM, is talking to LINUS, his assistant. Linus has his phone and stuff, but Corbin is lying down on the floor so he can get blood and good ideas in his very big brain, hardwired for GMing.)

CORBIN: Linus. We have cap room, we have mid level exceptions, let’s make some magic. I will tell you one thing, right now: JJ Hickson and Nate Robinson, OFF THE TABLE. I ain’t signing either one of those guys! Hey, how about this one: we need a reliable Center, and I am thinking that TIAGO SPLITTER could do a lot of good for us! Good defender, underrated roll man! What do you think!?

LINUS: He doesn’t want to pay taxes, so he resigned in San Antonio.

CORBIN: Oh, bummer. Well, that’s okay, because, even though he has some defensive limitations, I think we can get AL JEFFERSON on the cheap.

LINUS: His agents aren’t interested. Apparently he doesn’t, uh, like Denver.

CORBIN: WHAT!? C’mon, it’s beautiful here! Mountains, bike trails. Where’s he going if not here? No one who might make the layoffs has cap room! Let’s get back to the big man thing later. I want some guards, some backup guards, I’m talkin Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Marco Belinelli, maybe Aaron Brooks if we’re looking to get weird!

LINUS: Their agents are looking to get them into Texas. Taxes, again.

CORBIN: Huh. Bummer. Well, we just need to, uh, really Moneyball this. Who’s left!?

LINUS: (Pokes at device.) Nate Robinson and JJ Hickson.

CORBIN: DAMNIT LINUS. Think outside the box! I am going to take this binder full of pictures of players into the SAUNA and I am coming back with some KILLER ASSETS who will help us WIN!

(Then, I do that, and everyone thinks I am a genius.)

Can we just agree that College Basketball and European youth development have been sucked dry, and we need to find the next HOT, GREASY VEIN full of PLAYER GRAVY!? What about China!? They like basketball, right!? I’ll send like three scouts to China, they’ll come back in two with a whole basketful of dudes who are shorter Yao Mings. Buyouts? Sure, great! We’re a PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE NBA, we can DEAL with buyouts!

Two words, Denver Nuggets owners: Dominican. Republic. Baseball loves that country and baseball is hard as hell. Tellin me there’s not some 7-Foot tall Dominican junkballer we can turn into a 15 PER center? Move around in the paint and try to stand in the small dude’s way. Block shots when you can. Catch and dunk the ball. Go for rebounds, but not too often or for too long of a time. Shoot 75% at the line. He’ll be worth like six wins, six times as many as he would produce for a baseball team.

As a “member of the media,” I could someday talk to a basketball player so I can learn something and write about it for a website or a newspaper. That means I am already mentally prepared to talk to these guys about stuff like money and playing time. I have some rules:
1: KEEP IT LIGHT. People like it when you tell jokes, and make a comfortable atmosphere.
2: PAY ATTENTION TO POP CULTURE, AND REFERENCE IT WHEN I AM TALKING. Hey guys, I am an older man who is your boss, kind of, but I can “rap” with you fellas about Drake and the newest episode of Bones, which we’re all into!
3: JUST TRY TO AGREE WITH THEM. “I’m not getting enough playing time.” Yeah, absolutely. I will talk to Brian about that. “You don’t pay me enough money.” Absolutely. I will talk to some guys about getting a few extra dollars your way. “Someone is getting on my serves.” We will see about trading them to another team, they really annoy me too.

THERE IT IS! My COMPREHENSIVE LIST of reasons why I would be A GREAT GM FOR THE DENVER NUGGETS (Nuggz) ORGANIZATION. If you are from the team and are interested, please Ello me, @BigCorbs. Thank you.

*Aaron Brooks!? What the hell, man!

( I wrote this post twice. Here is the first time I wrote it.)

HEY, DENVER FANS. It’s your good friend, prominent blogger CORBIN SMITH. You heard of me!? Of course you have. I am a fan, just like y’all! I was reading this stuff about the DENVER NUGGETS FRONT OFFICE SITUATION and boy ho boy, it got my bloog (that’s my name for my blood) a-boilin! The fans deserve better. The fans deserve a GM who loves ball, and loves people, and love making HARD DECISIONS.

The fans deserve GM Blue-Footed Booby, the water bird who isn’t scared of humans and loves basketball.
I love basketball, I have a background in coaching and scouting, but I have a profound understanding of modern database management, statistics, negotiation and people management skills, and a magnetic personality. I am forward thinking, and I am looking into programmers to utilize new SportsVU data. And unlike most of the Bird Candidates applying for this job, I am also not scared of humans, because I evolved on an island where there were none until Darwin arrived on the Beagle expedition. I don’t think I need to tell you about when Orlando hired that sparrow and he got scared when Van Gundy walked in the room and was never seen again.

Blue Footed Booby is ready. He knows the cap back and forth, up and down. Here’s a picture of him with the CBA, reading and learning and mastering the finer points of transactions.
(Boobie is more than qualified to be a GM but his eyes aren’t what they used to be.)

Your opponents get a trade call from GM Blue-Footed Boobie, you know it’s going to be valid. “Hey, Sammy (Hinkie). It’s Boobie. Look, we’re both in a pickle here. We have some junky, junky rosters. Can we be honest? Just between us? But we have Hickson, and we’re tired of him, looking to offload, clear the cap, I am thinking, we get you a second round pick, you get us, uhh, Shved and Hollis Thopmson. No one gets better and jams a pumpkin into the tank, because Hickson, on the d/l, he is TERRIBLE at basketball, but the last administration were kind of and don’t tell people I said this, Sam, you gossippy bunny, suckers. They were suckers. I mean, Robinson and Hickson in one offseason? I have “DO NOT SIGN THESE GUYS TO MULTI YEAR DEALS” tattooed to my heart, right underneath my ample plumages, with little pictures of their faces on either side. I hear you thinking, Sam, and I have one more drop of honey to sweeten this tea; how about, next time you’re in Denver, I take you and your wife, you have a wife, right, Sam? Anyway, me and you, we go to the SLaughtered Cow. Peyton Manning loves it, I hear. You can get a surf and turf, and they can get me a bowl full of dried bread crumbs and seeds, because that’s the kind of thing a bird like myself eats.”

Now, does Hinke take that trade? I don’t know! He is pretty crazy about keeping his cap clean, so I doubt it. But, it’s a trade that WORKS UNDER THE CAP and is SOMEWHAT CONCEIVABLE. Also, that confidence, that banter, that lust for life that makes a man a power player in his industry. Blue-Footed Boobie has “It.” No more “Projecting a lack of confidence” in Denver. This is one charming man just one of the fellas, tearing up the phones. He is going to be the engine in  HOT ROD organization, VROOM VROOM!
The 2016 Denver Nuggets, ready to tear up the league on their way to the fifth seed.

Looking to get rid of Brian Shaw? Who isn’t! Boobie has a guy he is looking to hire, and you are going to be interested:
I am talking about the bear, not one of the human beings. They might come on as an assistant, though, since they played under him at Cal, and this guy is really into establishing a coaching tree to scratch his back with.

He is tough. Very tough. During the off season, he sits in a cave and starves while he plays tape on a loop so he can receive visions of the future of the game. No wife. No kids. No obligations at all. Just film and discipline. Swims three miles a day. And, since Denver is openly unwilling to pay management talent, they will be happy to hear that he can be paid in honey, salmon, and ziploc bags full of a female bear’s estrus juices. Will the janitorial staff need to make accommodations? Sure, but you’re already paying them too much, you’ve been looking to get some more value out of that slot anyway. He thinks the triangle is archaic as hell, and just encourage midrange jumpers. Spread screen and roll, ICE defense, motion elements, giant fur coat for handing the cold Denver winters, this is a coach up on all the latest trends.

(Caitlin Obom helped edit the second draft of this piece.)

Monday, November 17, 2014


THE NBA D-League is always looking to expand, so more teams can farm out their B-Level talent to go shoot exclusively threes. They should expand into Tacoma, Washington, and play their games at the legendary Tacoma Dome. Why!?


ONE: The stadium’s capacity is basically in line with the needs of the NBA D-League:

The Dome has a basketball capacity of 17,100. That would make it the largest stadium in the D-League, the crown in the jewel of an up-and-coming enterprise One has to think the only reason they haven’t already invaded Tacoma is that they are intimidated! C’mon, D-League! Dream big! I mean, five hundred people in Bakersfield? Be a little more ambitious!

TWO: The Tacoma Dome is good as hell.
Look at this very good building and the mountain it sits in front of. Here are some fact about the Tacome Dome any dummy can glean:
ONE: It is mountain coloured, so it kind of looks like the mountain’s little round brother.
TWO: It is a dome, a powerful and elegant structure.
THREE: It is very good at holding people for events, such as professional wrasslin’, hockey, Walking with Dinosaurs, Justin Bieber concerts, high school sports tournaments and, ESPECIALLY, basketball games!

You see those beams? The scaffolding of this ultra-modern, nearly futurist building is made of none other than OLD FASHIONED PACIFIC NORTHWEST WOOD! It’s like the world’s biggest ski lodge that you can play basketball in! As a matter of fact, the Tacoma Dome is the LARGEST CLEAR SPAN (I don’t know what that mean, but it sounds good!) TIMBER BUILDING IN THE WORLD! This blog post, over at “Working Wonders with Wood” can tell you EVERYTHING about it! What a good building!

THREE: There is only one Major Pro Basketball team in the Northwest!

Why has the NBA all but abandoned North America’s Pacific Northwest? They understand we stop going outside after like September, right? We're captive audience! Three Major cities, and only the smallest one is blessed with an NBA team. What the crap, guys! I know Canada weirded Steve Francis out so much they they just couldn’t have a team in Vancouver anymore, and a malevolent fracking magnate thought that owning a team in a place where a lot of people actually live would be downright Unamerican. But c’mon! Seattle Metro is a FIVE MILLION PERSON MARKET that is COMPLETELY UNTAPPED!

Putting a D-League team in Seattle proper would be a slap in the face, a fucked up consolation prize. But Tacoma, that’s a mighty distance. Even when the Thunder come back to Seattle when the franchise collapses after Durant leaves, it can exist independently. Hey, maybe you even make it Seattle’s D-League team! Did you know that the Mariner’s AAA Affiliate plays in Tacoma, at a stadium where I once say Joe Biden speak? It could be a cute little thing!

Would Seattlites take the trip? I don’t know, let’s ask ACTUAL SEATTLE RESIDENT DAMON AGNOS!
Not even Nate Silver can complain about that sample size, because he LOVES Tacoma, AND minor league basketball, and the mix of those things would make him say all sort of irrational things!

In conclusion: Tacoma demands a D-League team. The Pacific Northwest is underserved. The Tacoma Dome is a cool building. The D-League needs to stop fucking around with 500 seat venues if it wants to be an actual thing. Also they should do something about teams exclusively using it to develop three point shooters and engineering their entire offenses to only shoot threes at obscene rates, but that wasn’t the topic of this. TACOMA. FOR. THE. FURUTE.

Friday, November 7, 2014



You, a consumer, want this hat. You crave this hat. But you’re not a millionaire athlete who can either buy this masterpiece with your riches or even get someone else to pay you to wear this badboy! So what do you, a poor consumer with a CRAVING for this awesome hat, do?


First, lay out your supplies. You’re going to need sturdy paper, a pencil for making temporary marks, ribbon, and a bottle of glue!
Then, measure your head, to find out how big the hat is going to need to be!
Glue the pieces together, so it will wrap around your head!
Then, glue the side…
...and make it into a tube!
Set your tube onto another shoot of paper, and glue them together.
THEN, put a little bit of glue on the top of tube…
...and set another piece of paper on top of the tube!
Cut the top paper into a fitting circle.
Then, cut out a hole in the bottom piece!
Use your scissors to form a circular brin at the bottom of your hat!
Cut a piece of ribbon and glue it to the bottom of the hat!
As you can see, you now have a “Very good hat, that many people will enjoy.” But is it Melo’s masterpiece yet? I submit, NO!
So, pull out your watercolor set (Mine was under my bed)
Lookin’ Good? Lookin MELLO-W, if you ask me!
Whatever you do, don’t make sure you have a backup hat in case you lose! They’re the Nets! They stink! You’ll win, you’ll have a cool hat, and everything will be fine!
Now, go out there, and talk to those reporters!

EDIT: Kenny Ducey brought the unlit match to my attention, which I somehow forgot to include in the hat. If you squint, you will see that  I have rectified that here:
Thank you.