Why Adam Morrison is the Godfather of Hipster NBA Players

Morrison was a trendsetter for Hipster basketball players today.
Morrison was a trendsetter for Hipster basketball players today.

Adam Morrison generates all kinds of different opinions depending on who you ask. The most common viewpoint on Morrison is “bust“, and you would be totally in the right to say that. After being drafted third overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats (and being personally selected by Michael Jordan), Morrison had a decent rookie season which really wasn’t as good as it seemed. Yes, he averaged 11.8 ppg and 29.8 mpg his rookie season, but the advanced stats don’t paint him in quite as positive a light. His PER was 7.9 that season (i.e. horrendous) and he was worth negative-1.5 Win Shares as well. That’s right negative-1.5! That basically means the Adam Morrison COST the Bobcats victories when he was on the floor.

It is not surprising that Morrison was so ineffective his rookie year. He struggled from beyond the arc (33.7 percent 3-PT % on a 27.3 3-PT attempt rate), and he didn’t have the strength or ballhandling to consistently get to the rim (only 11.9 of his shots came between 0-3). Add that with little-to-no post game (which he didn’t have at Gonzaga), and Morrison basically turned into a jump shooter who wasn’t good at jump shooting (and his 45 percent True Shooting Percentage proved that). And, Morrison was terrible defensively. Very, very bad. At 6-feet, 8-inches, Morrison had the potential to be a matchup nightmare for small wings or stretch-fours. The only problem? He lacked any lateral quickness whatsoever. I mean, Hedo Turkoglu looked like an all-NBA player compared to Morrison. And thus, despite advantageous height, his total, utter lack of athleticism killed him from ever being a slightly-below average defensive player (and that is putting it nicely).

But, I love Morrison. Yes, Morrison only played 83 more games and 952 more minutes in the NBA over the next three seasons (he missed his entire sophomore campaign to a knee injury, which only further killed his lack of athleticism). He did win two titles as a bench warmer with the Los Angeles Lakers, but safe to say he had as much contribution to those Lakers teams as Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times did. Case in point, his “contribution” was so ridiculed, that Jimmy Kimmel had a segment on his show featuring “Adam Morrison Highlights“.

That being said, I love Morrison for two reasons. First off, I am a Gonzaga alum, who saw the heyday of the Morrison era my freshman season. The shaggy hair, the thin mustache, the retro socks, the crying on the court after the loss to UCLA in Oakland, etc. I loved all that, and even to this day, that still remains the most enjoyable Gonzaga season I have ever followed in my lifetime as a Gonzaga Bulldogs fan and alum. This recent team was awesome. Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, Domas Sabonis (who’s slowly climbing up the ladder as my favorite Gonzaga player ever), Przemek Karnowski (with him and Sabonis forming “Low Bloc” the best nickname for a pair of post players ever)…that team was certainly the best and most talented in my lifetime. They didn’t have the charm of that 2005-2006 team. They didn’t have the big Brazilian JP Batista who literally couldn’t jump. They didn’t have Mamery Diallo who earned a technical foul before a game for dunking in warmups. They didn’t have PMAC, whose mixtape still earns legendary status amongst hardcore Gonzaga fans (please watch it…it is a DELIGHT!). They didn’t have David Pendergraft, the redhead who was completely and utter position-less and yet still somehow contributed. They didn’t have the Battle in Seattle where Morrison banked in a three pointer to beat Oklahoma State, despite having 3 defenders on him (it also happened to be one of the all-time great Gus Johnson-Bill Raftery called games, which are now a relic of ancient times; also, check out Pendegraft and Morrison yelling at each other during the timeout at the :50 mark; I have no idea if they are yelling at each other to get each other pumped up or if Morrison said something to piss Pendergraft off; one of the great mysteries of our time).

So yes, Morrison brings all kinds of nostalgic memories for me as a Gonzaga fan. However, another reason I love Morrison? Morrison was in my mind, the ultimate basketball hipster. He was the ultimate basketball hipster in college, the NBA and even abroad when he was playing for Serbia Belgrade. Whether it was his style, his antics, his game, Morrison embued “hipster” in every conceivable sense of the word in basketball circles, and to me, that is something I have grown to appreciate about his legacy, even if every other aspect (i.e. being the next “Larry Bird”) deteriorates each passing day. Here are the three major reasons why Morrison will always be the “forefather” of “Hipster” basketball players in my mind.

1. His college days were against-the-grain from what was typical of a college basketball player

Morrison stories are somewhat legendary at Gonzaga. Even before I stepped on campus as a freshman in August of 2005, everyone and their mother had a Morrison story about his freshman and sophomore years living in Desmet, the primary All-Male dorm. Let’s take a look at some of the stories.

  • The most popular one was that Morrison listened to Rage Against the Machine and considered himself a communist. Never mind that he probably was the furthest thing from a communist because he was the one that built up his image as the next Larry Bird for marketing reasons which is probably the least communist thing you could do. But Morrison, in his eyes, was a damn hammer and sickel flag-waving commie up there with Ivan Drago. His communist views (as well as his battle with type 1 Diabetes) were so widespread that they were intimately featured in a SI profile about him his freshman year, a bigger deal in retrospect than when I initially thought (I mean, to have a Gonzaga player, let alone a freshman, profiled in Sports Illustrated was really rare since Gonzaga was known more as the “chic” mid-major school rather than the budding powerhouse that they are known as today). I don’t know if Morrison still holds his communist views as passionately as a 30-year-old today as he did as an 18-year-old freshman, but his political views definitely pushed his hipster-meter to the max.
  • Morrison also was widely known for a lot of his personal upkeep quirks. If you have not watched “The Season” profiling Gonzaga basketball in 2004, drop what you’re doing and start watching Episode 1 NOW (it’s free on Youtube…as I say that, it will probably be taken off soon). One of the most underrated joys of watching the series is how the team and even Few constantly bash Morrison for his dress and his hygeine. Consistently, they bash him for the shirts, he wears, not showering, not wearing a tie, etc. It really is hilarious, especially since Mark Few just does it in the most dry, “Mark Few-esque” way possible. And Morrison really plays with it, and sorta gets annoyed with their comments, but keeps his whole routine because he likes to be noticed, even if he acts like he doesn’t care, but you can tell that he probably does (sound confusing? Yeah it is, but that is the case with most hipsters).
  • Morrison really brought back the whole retro style thing, which to be honest, was kinda cool. Yes, were the Larry Bird comparisons unfair in terms of his game? Probably. But, you had to love the “Larry Bird”-style he brought back to the college game. The striped, mid-socks, the baggy jersey, the shaggy hair, the mustache, etc. Morrison harked back to a style of the 70’s that was widely missed. Morrison reminded you of ABA, Dr. J, and a time where wearing black socks with sneakers was considered sacrilege. Did Morrison look ridiculous at times? Absolutely. His hair always bordered between aging beatnik and possible “Thomas Harris-esque” serial killer. But I liked how unabashed Morrison was in being a “throwback” without actually overtly mentioning he was going throwback while he was in college.
  • And speaking of “throwback” Morrison’s game goes totally against the grain of what is expected today. Morrison struggled to get to the rim both in his college and professional career. He wasn’t the greatest ballhandler or playmaker, and he really wasn’t that much od a dead-eye beyond the arc (yes he did shoot 42.8 percent from beyond the arc his final season at GU, but this was before they extended the line back; and only 28 percent of his shots were from beyond the arc too). Morrison in all ways was a mid-range shooter, and man was he an entertaining one. And it wasn’t like he had some great “Kemba Walker”-esque step back or some great Iso move. He just would catch take a dribble and shoot over in the mid-range, and somehow be really effective offensively. Yes, that kind of game is archaic in today’s “3 or Key” style of basketball play, but it was pretty retro, since many NBA players in the 70’s and 80’s made their bread on mastering the mid-range jumper. Thus, was Morrison probably in retrospect inefficient? Most likely. But you can appreciate the artistry and nostalgia his game summoned.

I could go into way more “Why Morrison was a hipster before hipster was a fad in college” here, but we need to move on. Some highlights I didn’t mention: his affinity for Halo 2 (even as a junior, he would come to the frosh-soph dorms and play Halo 2 on the network against all of us); living in an all-male college dorm for two years (pretty unheard of since most college star basketball players would live in an apartment with just basketball players); and chewing tobacco (yes, he dipped…Grizzly I believe was his preference).

2. Morrison seemed content, but uncaring he was a bench player in the NBA

I am sure being a bench warmer gnawed at Adam Morrison following his rookie year. I know he and Larry Brown struggled to co-exist, and he went to a loaded LA Lakers team that really had no spot or plan for him (really, they just acquired to get Kwame Brown the hell out-of-town before Kobe Bryant murdered him). But, it seemed Morrison seemed content with being a bench guy, and I think that is refreshing because if I were in his boat, I’d be pretty content too making almost 10 million dollars over two years to be courtside to two NBA championships. Seriously. Sign me up for that now.

But the one thing that was pretty “hipster” of Morrison was that he gave off an “uncaring” cool about being a bench warmer. He wasn’t pouting, but he wasn’t that Mark Madsen-Mateen Cleaves-esque bench warmer who was always the first one out, slapping butts, waving towels, etc. I mean, to be honest, those guys are annoying, and they get way too much fanfare in my opinion. We know you suck. We do not need you to make us feel less bad about your sucking because you’re the first to give high fives to the starting 5 off the bench. And we certainly don’t need to go batshit crazy when you come in just so you can throw some airballs and bricks from beyond the arc and maybe make 1 out of 10. Whether its college or pro, the lovable end of the bench guys is an overrated arc in our basketball society.

Morrison never seemed to buy into that. Sure, there were a couple of times he got fired up, but for the most part, he was simply a “Well, I’m happy to be here, but I’m bored and I wonder what I am going to do after the game” kind of player. Even in practice, it seemed like Morrison toed the line between “caring” and “not caring”, so much so that he never seemed to get called out on it, but he never really was recognized as the “Ollie from Hoosiers” type of player that coaches recognized or sung the praises of. Check out Morrison toeing that line in a fight that breaks out in practice between DJ “Tacos” Mbenga and Chris “How the Hell Do I make this Much Money” Mihm.

Starting at the :30 mark, you can see that Morrison comes in, tries to break it up as if he cares, but then five seconds later just walks off in a “screw it…this is stupid…I’m breaking up a fight between DJ Mbenga and Chris Mihm” fashion. It’s really the perfect, totally hipster ploy: show you care enough for just enough time to look good in the eyes of your teammates before you are able to do what you really want, which is walk away because the whole moment is asinine in the grand scheme of things (after all, it’s two backup centers fighting).

But, the crown hipster jewel of Morrison’s NBA campaign? His legendary NBA Live commercial which aired on draft day. Bask in its glory below:

The whole things feels like the ultimate fantasy of every middle-aged white corporate executive who wished they could play basketball, but can’t beyond their night rec-league. (“Let’s create a commercial that echoes what really matters to us in basketball! Not dunks! Not great play! Not athleticsm! But EMOTION! PURE COLLEGE BASKETBALL EMOTION PEOPLE! THE NBA DOESN’T GET THAT!”). Even Morrison seems not really in the whole thing, but is doing it a.) because he knows its part of his image and b.) because he’s probably getting paid bank to do this commercial. The whole “I appear I care, but I don’t really” persona of Adam Morrison. And you wonder why I consider him the “Godfather” of Hipster basketball players. That ad above should clinch it for you.

3. His Tenure with Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade

Some people will say that him playing in Serbia was an absolute sign of failure. Personally, I loved it. Euro ball is so underappreciated in general. I would rather watch the Euroleague championships than any high-major conference tournament nowadays. Euro ball is actually great ball to watch, and the fans are so “soccer-esque” that the environment are more batshit insane than soccer games because it is all happening indoors and seems like a firehazard to the max. If you have not seen any European games, Google it or Youtube it or something. I guarantee you that if you’re a basketball fan you’ll slowly come to love it.

And with that being said, Morrison playing in Serbia just seemed like the perfect fit. It was counter-cultural and he seemed to be truly appreciated for his throwback style and game. In the highlights below, check him stepping inside the arc for a highly inefficient long two, get in the face of opposing players who probably don’t speak English, and get all kinds of Serbian fans riled all up. All this, while looking like a guy who plays Magic the Gathering in Comic Book shops but hits the gym five times a week and is in really good shape. Truly a sight to behold and take some time to do so below

The Legacy of Morrison

Again, Morrison without a doubt was a disappointment at the NBA Level. But he needs to be appreciated. Appreciated as the true NBA Hipster pioneer that he is. He cared, but not cared about style, both his personal and playing before it became cool to do so. He was unapologetic for who he was and he left us a lot of great memories and anecdotes to associate him with. There probably will never be another player like Adam Morrison, simply because players will be too self-conscious to ever pull the stunts and stuff he did.

I will write more posts about hipster basketball players in college, the NBA, D-League and even abroad. But in all honesty, I doubt any of them will ever touch the heights of hipster-ism that Morrison set before them.

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Kings Retro Draft Journal: The Short, but Lasting Negative Legacy of Tyreke Evans

Despite winning Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans failed to live up to expectations in Sacramento
Despite winning Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans failed to live up to expectations in Sacramento

With the Draft coming up on Thursday, I felt it was time to look at some of the Kings’ previous draft classes. In this post, I am going to focus on the 2009 draft and specifically Tyreke Evans, the Kings’ first draft pick (No. 4 overall) out of Memphis. Though Evans was a highly heralded prospect out of college (and even high school), he is best remembered for being drafted over All-Star players Demar Derozan, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday (who he is teammates with ironically) and famously Stephen Curry (yes…All-Star, Regular Season MVP, NBA Champion and father of cute kid Riley Stephen Curry). And yet, Evans has been productive in his NBA career (he ranks 11th in Win Shares in a loaded draft class that also includes Blake Griffin, James Harden and Ty Lawson just to name a few) despite injuries, and he did win the 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year award, which gave a lot of Kings hope in his future initially. So he hasn’t heard total bust status in the Greg Oden or Adam Morrison mold, but it’s obvious that the Kings got hosed in what was a legendary draft class.

Let’s take a look at the brief, but lasting legacy Evans left with the Kings and if there is anything the Kings or Kings fans can learn from Evans’ four years in Sacramento.

The Theus-Natt Disaster, Looking to Rebuild and Settling for Fourth

The 2008-2009 season, you could argue with good and valid reason, was the worst in the history of the franchise. After a 6-18 start, the Kings fired second-year head coach “Hangtime” Reggie Theus and assistant Kenny Natt took over in the interim to disastrous results. Under Natt, the team finished 11-47 and 17-65 overall, the worst record in the NBA that year. The Theus-Natt-led Kings that season were catastrophic on all kinds of levels and let’s compile a list of what they were putrid at:

  • They ranked dead last in SRS (Simple Rating System) at negative-8.60.
  • They were awful defensively, as they rated dead last in defensive rating, allowing 114.7 points per 100 possessions, and were second to last in points allowed per game, allowing 109.3 ppg.
  • Kings fans noticed this too, as they ranked second-to-last in attendance. While you could contribute the empty seats mostly to a lousy team with no recognizable stars, this season was also the beginning of the Maloofs losing money and looking to sell and possibly move the Kings.

The Kings had a couple of pieces to build around. Rookie Jason Thompson had a decent, though unspectacular rookie campaign, helping satisfy fans who thought the product out of Ryder was an over-draft at No. 12. (For a while former GM Geoff Petrie was really good at drafting unheralded guys and getting the most out of them). Thompson averaged 11.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg and put up a 49.7 percent field goal percentage while average 28.1 MPG. Furthermore, Thompson was the only King to appear in all 82 games that season. Second-year center Spencer Hawes complemented Thompson in the low block, and greatly improved from a lackluster rookie campaign. In his second year, Hawes appeared in 77 games and started 51 and put up a similar stat-line to Thompson, averaging 29.3 MPG (over double his 13.1 MPG average his rookie year ) as well as 11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.9 apg and 1.2 bpg. With his balance skill set and surprising passing ability for a big, Hawes reminded many Kings fans of Vlade Divac and Chris Webber, who also were adept passing big men during the Adelman-era Kings.

Beyond Thompson and Hawes though, things looked rather bleak roster-wise. The Kings the past couple of years tried to toe-the-line in NBA no-man’s land, trying to still be competitive as a playoff team even though they didn’t have the firepower to get past the first round. Theus kept the team respectable in his initial season as coach, helping the Kings go 38-44 after the 1 year disaster of Eric Musselman when the Kings went 33-49 after making the playoffs the year previously. But it was obvious that the Kings needed to go a different direction after 3 seasons with Ron Artest (i.e. Metta World Peace) and playing in that 8-12 seed level. The Kings traded Artest to the Rockets before the season, and as the team floundered, they also traded John Salmons and Brad Miller (a long-time Kings standout) for practically peanuts (i.e. Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons). Martin was heralded as the “star” of the group and he put up gaudy numbers (24.1 ppg and team-leading 19.1 PER and 4.7 win shares), but he only played in 51 games, and his frail frame and lack of defensive value made Kings circles wonder if he really was the “man” going forward.

Due to a mixture of incompetency and subtle tanking, the Kings earned the worst record and thus, the most ping-pong balls in the lottery. It was obvious that Blake Griffin was going to go first, and even though the Kings were already set with Thompson and Hawes in the post, Griffin was such a special player that they could make room for him amidst their crowded front court. However, as typical with the Kings, luck bounced them out of the Top-3 (LAC, Memphis and OKC earned the top-3 picks), and they had to settle for the fourth pick, which put them out of the franchise-changing Griffin sweepstakes.

“Stuck Between a 1 and 2”: Evans vs. Curry

With Griffin out, it was obvious that the Kings needed to focus on the perimeter (Center Hasheem Thabeet was a consensus Top-3 pick, but with Hawes, he wouldn’t fit in the Kings’ plans anyways). Beno Udrih was expendable, as he put up a lackluster 12.3 PER and 1.2 win shares in 73 appearances the previous season. So, the shift focused on upgrading the point guard position, (James Harden was known as the most polished player in the draft, but with Martin manning the same position, there didn’t seem to be a lot of outcry for Harden from Kings fans at the time).

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as the draft was loaded with point guard prospects such as Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, just to name a few. However, the “pure” point guard prospects certainly had their concerns. Rubio wasn’t averse to playing in Sacramento, but he was still signed with his Spanish club DKV Joventut, and he would have required a $6-8 million dollar buyout to come state-side. Though Rubio certainly had the most upside out of any of the point guard prospects in the draft (he was only 19, and he impressed people with his performance with the Spanish National Team in the Olympics the previous summer), it didn’t seem like the Kings were all that hot on Rubio sporting a Kings hat on Draft Day. Jennings was another impressive prospect who ended up skipping out on college to play a year in Europe, but stories about his struggles with Roma as well as maturity issues seemed to push him out of the No. 4 pick discussion.

So the discussion centered on two guys who were considered point guard prospects in the draft but really weren’t pure point guards in college: Memphis’ Evans and Davidson’s Curry.

If you look at Evans and Curry’s Draft Express profiles, it is funny how they both are labeled “stuck between 1 and 2”. Evans made the transition to the Point midway through the year at Memphis and helped Memphis rally to a No. 2 seed in the tournament (though they did get bounced in the Sweet 16 by Missouri). Evans size and ability to get to the rim was lauded and pointed out as a key reason why Memphis was able to not miss a beat after their National Runner-up campaign a year ago. Furthermore, Evans’ strong season at Memphis was constantly compared to Derrick Rose, who led the Tigers as the point the previous season. Evans averaged 17.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 3.9 apg, and some people at the time preferred Evans to Rose due to Evans’ size and rebounding ability, which was superior to Rose in college.

As for Curry, he was known for his strong performances in the 2008 tournament, but he played mostly off-guard that year and had a much deeper, polished Davidson team. In 2009, with a lot of players gone, Curry took the reigns as point, and suffered some growing pains, as the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament after making the Elite 8 the previous year. Despite missing the tournament, Curry was lauded for carrying the shorthanded Wildcats, as he averaged 28.6 ppg and 5.6 apg his junior season, all career highs.

Curry had the shooting touch, NBA pedigree (his dad was long-time NBA sniper Dell Curry) and the “star” value to merit the No. 4 pick in the draft, but Evans had the size, the tutelage (Calipari was being dubbed a “point-guard whisperer after getting successful one and done season from Evans and Rose back-to-back) and the versatility that attracted Kings fans more. Even if Evans didn’t pan out as a point guard, the thought amongst Kings fans was that he would develop into a versatile enough wing that would eventually push Martin out-of-town, and then the Kings could get the point they wanted down the road. In Mock Drafts, the consensus seemed to be Evans at 4, even with the sharp-shooting Curry available.

Quick Start, Regression and Internal Strife Lead to Departure

For a season, it looked like the Kings made the right decision. Evans got off to a hot start with a couple of buzzer-beaters, and his strong, confident demeanor was backed up by an impressive 20.1 ppg, 5.8 apg, and 5.3 rpg line in 72 games for the 25-57 Kings. Evans was most impressive in the beginning of the year, as were most of the Kings, as they got off to an 8-8 start and were 18-34 at the All-Star break, not bad considering that was 1 win better than they had all season a year ago. But new head coach Paul Westphal failed to keep any momentum as they struggled in the second half (they went 7-23 post All-Star break) and on the road (7-34 away from Arco). Evans also suffered regression after the All-Star break, with his scoring declining (from 20.3 to 19.8) and shooting regressing as well (53.8 to 51.3 True Shooting pct. from first to second half). The silver lining in all of this? Evans’ rebounding jumped (from 4.8 to 6.2) as well as his assists (5.1 to 6.9). Despite all the concerns with his “tweener” status, Evans showed hope to Kings fans that he could be the Kings primary playmaker (the assist jump was a nice sign) as well as bring different strengths to the Kings lineup (such as rebounding).

Despite Curry’s solid campaign (17.5 ppg, 5.9 apg, 43.7 3-PT percentage), Evans’ hot start and gaudy triple category numbers (points, rebounds, assists) earned Evans the Rookie of the Year award. After that season though, Evans simply struggled to replicate his rookie year in the subsequent seasons with the Kings. Evans battled through injury (he suffered through plantar fascitis) and played in only 57 games through a rough 24-58 campaign. Evans’ numbers tumbled down as his PPG (17.8), RPG (4.8), True Shooting (48.2%) and PER (14.4) all regressed greatly. And to make matters worse, the Kings, hoping Evans would turn into their versatile point guard of the future, rarely played the position. After earning 10% of his floor time at point his rookie year, Evans only played the position 1% of the time his sophomore season. This proved to be a trend, as Evans hasn’t played point guard more than 1% of the time until this season (where it bumped up to a whopping 2%).

As Evans floundered, Curry improved, posting 18.6 ppg and a 19.4 PER his sophomore campaign under Keith Smart. But a coaching change to Mark Jackson his third season, who gave Curry more leash and ability to be creative really marked the difference in Curry going from fringe-star to bonafide-star. Since his third season, Curry hasn’t posted a PER less than 21.2 and has totaled 49.1 Win Shares from his third-year on. And Curry has been a two-time All-Star, won a MVP award and helped the Warriors win their first title since 1975.

As for Evans, well he didn’t quite have the continuity in Sacramento that Curry benefited from in Golden State. Though the Kings upgraded in talent the following year by drafting Demarcus Cousins, the two never really fit and struggled to concede Alpha Dog status in the three seasons they were together in Sacramento. And it made sense. Cousins needs the ball to be productive, and Evans, who showed glimmers of ability to be a playmaker, ended up showing his true colors: as a score-first guard. These two styles were bound to clash (which they did) and considering where both players were at in their careers (just starting out) and without good leadership on the coaching staff or front office, it was just bound not to work out in the long run for both of them despite their talent. Add that with the fact that Evans never seemed to mesh with either Paul Westphal or Keith Smart (who replaced Westphal in the middle of the 2011-2012 season and coached the entire 2012-2013 season as well), and the emergence of another shoot-first guard (Isaiah Thomas) and Evans, who was originally seen as the cornerstone of the franchise, seemed expendable.

And he was. With a new ownership (Vivek), a new coach (Mike Malone) and new GM (Pete D’Alessandro), Evans seemed to be a relic of the old guard that wasn’t worth keeping around. On July 10, 2013, Evans was traded to New Orleans in a three-way trade (along with Portland) that basically saw Evans swiped with more pass-first oriented Grievis Vasquez.

What went wrong with Evans in Sacramento?

After being traded to New Orleans, Evans signed a four-year extension worth a little over $43 million. The money really isn’t that bad when you think about it. Despite the disappointing tenure in Sacramento, he still has a career PER average of 17.3 and has accumulated 21.7 Win Shares. In terms of traditional stats, his career ppg average is 16.8, his career rpg average is 4.9 and his career apg average is 5.2. Yes, Evans struggles from beyond the arc (career 27.8 3 PT percentage), and he still seems privy to taking that shot (he shot 2.9 3 point attempts per game last seasons). But Evans finishes well around the rim (55.8 fg percentage on shots 0-3 ft out) and has demonstrated a decent mid-range (39.8 fg percentage on 16<3-pt shots) to still merit himself as an above-average NBA player. Also, his improvement defensively (he was consistently less than 1 when it came to defensive win shares, but he actually earned 2.2 defensive win shares a year ago) also demonstrates that his game is maturing and becoming more well-rounded in New Orleans than it was Sacramento.

However, why didn’t things work out for Evans after so much promise his rookie season? How come Evans didn’t progress like Curry did in Golden State? Yes, a NBA title and MVP for Evans might have been a bit of a stretch, but you think a guy who earned Rookie of the Year in that draft class would have at least one All-Star appearance in Sacramento, right?

Well, what killed Evans was management’s lack of building around him in the right way. Yes, it’s hard to argue the drafting of Demarcus Cousins, but if the organization was really serious about making Evans the centerpiece of the Kings, they would have drafted somebody more complimentary, such as a Greg Monroe, who would have complemented Evans more with his passing ability from the high post. (And I am NOT supporting drafting Monroe over Cousins BTW…I am just saying that is what they should have done if they were serious about building the team around Evans). And Cousins is really the tip of the iceberg: the drafting of Jimmer Fredette, the acquisitions of John Salmons and Marcus Thornton, these were all decisions that really clashed with Evans truly being the “man” in Sacramento. If you look at Golden State, they took the opposite route of Sacramento. Instead of getting talent that clashed with their “franchise” player, they built around him, even letting talent go (Monta Ellis) in order to build around their star player. That lack of foresight didn’t just hurt the Kings (they have consistently been a lottery team since drafting Evans), but hurt Evans as well, who was never able to find the right cast around him to succeed beyond his individual numbers.

Of course, to play Devil’s Advocate, you could argue that all the chaos in ownership and the front office hurt Evans’ development in Sacramento. You could also argue that they never felt Evans was a franchise guy to begin with, and that when they had a chance to draft Cousins, the writing was on the wall for Evans in SacTown. You could also argue that Evans was subject to bad coaching in Sacramento, and if that he had the kind of coaches that Steph Curry had in Golden State maybe Evans would have closed that gap between them a little more and maybe he would be wearing purple and black still. There are a lot of scenarios of course, and all are plausible. Evans really is a fascinating case because the talent is there, still productive and he is still young at 25 years old. One would think there is still hope for the guy even if he will never, ever touch Curry’s career heights.

And really, a comparison to Curry isn’t fair because they aren’t the same player. Curry really is a point guard who needed time in the position. Evans probably never was and was unfairly expected to be one because he played half a season in the position at Memphis in a pinch. But it’s tough to stomach for Kings fans because they were initially seen as the same type of player in the draft, they were only 3 picks apart, and they were just hours apart in terms of their respective teams’ distance. Maybe the Kings would be celebrating their title and the Warriors would be looking at the lottery if Curry and Evans swapped. Maybe the parade would be a couple of hours north in Downtown Sac rather than in the Bay Area.

It’s those kinds of things that gnaw at Kings fans. And it’s those kinds of things that really make the drafting of Evans over Curry hurt more and longer than it really should.

Food Truck BBQ, Growlers and Sour Beer: The Joy of Cinder Block Brewery

Cinder Block is a relaxing place for great, unique beers in Northtown
Cinder Block is a relaxing place for great, unique beers in Northtown

Craft breweries are becoming a bigger and bigger thing in the psyches of warm-blood, alcohol-consuming Americans. Samuel Adams started the trend of the “popular” craft brewery, but across the nation, craft breweries are growing in popularity and name recognition. Many breweries are doing well that they are rightfully representing the cities they brew in, even amidst the “major breweries” that brew nearby. New Belgium and Blue Moon Brewing Company are well-known nationally despite being in Coors territory (New Belgium and Blue Moon brew in Denver while Coors brews in Golden, which is not too far). And despite Anheuser-Busch being across the state in St. Louis, a pretty solid craft brewing culture is developing here in Kansas City. In fact, while it may be lacking in years of tradition or presidential visits, the craft brewing culture here is so strong that it is giving Kansas City another thing to be known for other than BBQ (though BBQ is pretty damn good here).

The most major craft brewery is Boulevard and rightfully so. Created in 1987, Boulevard has really done an excellent job bringing different varieties of quality beers to the mainstream here in Kansas City. Whether it’s the popular year-rounds such as Boulevard Wheat, KC Pilsner, Bully Porter, the Single-Wide IPA or the 80-Acre Wheat (their best year-round beer; it combines the best aspects of a Wheat and IPA beer and the result is really refreshing) or their Smokestack series beers such as The Calling, Tank 7 or variety of limited edition seasonal beers (their Chocolate Ale was so popular that people would buy it in bulk from bars because it was so difficult to find in liquor stores), Boulevard has the variety and taste to be mentioned in the best craft breweries in America discussions. I most likely will do a whole post on Boulevard and their beers, but I figure any Kansas City beer discussion merits the mention of Boulevard to start off.

But one of the best, most underrated and slowly gaining steam craft breweries has to be Cinder Block in North Kansas City. I am not going to lie: most of my life in Kansas City has been in Kansas City, Kansas. I love KCK and Wyandotte county and for my first two years living here, I was hesitant to really frequent a drinking establishment beyond the Strawberry Hill area (much love to 403 and Chicago’s). But when I moved north of the river, one of the reasons I have enjoyed my migration to the Missouri side has been because of this place.

First and foremost, this is not a bar, but a brewery with a taproom. I know it sounds really “ticky-tack” when I describe it like that, but it’s important to know. They do not serve wine or hard alcohol drinks. Hell, they don’t always have every beer available every day. But the amount of variety they offer will suit even the most discriminating of beer drinkers. So if they don’t have a variety you want? Well, they got enough on tap to give you the diversity you would want from any craft brewery tap-room.

Cinder Block wins one over with their charming, relaxing decor, which is designed with a bar, a variety of high and low tables and stools, and a couple of couches in the corner with a coffee table between them (there are some board games like Jenga if you come with a crowd and want to go beyond just talking about the beer). There are only two televisions, but believe me, this is a place where you won’t notice the lack of viewing spectacles. With the quality of the beer, as well as the dozens of barrels racked in the far end of the taproom, there is plenty to observe that missing an inning or two of the Royals game will be hardly noticed. Some breweries try to go over the top in really giving off that “brewery” feel. Cinder Block does a good job of making the place welcoming but authentic: in fact, the brewery really speaks to the industrial demographic of North Kansas City in general, as gray and brown stands out the most in the taproom area, giving it a blue-collar but chic feel.

Thursday through Saturday the Back Rack BBQ food truck sits in front of the brewery and serves food to customers who are looking for a bite to eat amidst tastings. Kansas City is known for BBQ, but Back Rack can compete with the best, with a simple, tasty but affordable menu. Back Rack offers everything from BBQ staples (ribs, pulled pork, brisket, beans, slaw) to BBQ Pub Food hybrids (Brisket nachos, Smoked Salmon sandwich) and the crew doesn’t just serve quality, filling dishes, but they do so quickly and actually deliver to you in the bar (you don’t have to pick it up from the truck). While everything on the menu rates as above average for BBQ fare, the burnt ends and onion rings stand out as Back Rack’s signatures items.

Burnt Ends are common in BBQ places here in Kansas City, but they vary in consistency from place to place, ranging from good to bad depending where you go. Candidly speaking, Back Rack’s Burnt Ends rate as some of the best I have had from any BBQ place in Kansas City. Unlike some of the major places, these ends aren’t sauced ahead of time or chopped up, but are juicy, cubes of BBQ beef goodness served on white bread with sauce on the side. These burnt ends offer a nice balance of lean and fat, important since burnt ends needs to stand out from their brisket counterpart (after all, burnt ends traditionally were saved for the pitmaster and his crew while the brisket went to the guests…that’s right, Burnt Ends were bogarted by the cooks, which shows you how good they are). The sauce is a tangy, sweet, not as thick or tomato-based as a traditional Kansas City sauce, but closer to a Carolina-style considering its tangier and more liquidey consistency. The sauce, burnt ends and white bread make a perfect trio that will satisfy even the most peculiar of BBQ enthusiasts.

The onion rings though probably stand out though as Back Rack’s best item. Battered in Northtown Native beer, the onion rings are crisp and fresh and will go quickly whether consumed in a group or solo. Onion rings tend to be a difficult dish for me to enjoy. Way too often I found out that the onion rings come from the frozen, Sysco-produced variety, and they often feel like a waste of money. The onion is too soggy. The batter is not crispy enough. There is no flavor but bland, watery onion, and halfway through you end up regretting not just sticking with the fries. But these onion rings buck that trend, and made a fan out of a guy who normally would rather just save the buck or two on french fries. If you want to get a side for yourself or to share, get the onion rings. In the words of James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio, “It is a delight!

That being said, while Back Rack is a nice benefit of visiting Cinder Block on the weekend, the reason to go there is for the beer. Cinder Block offers a variety of what is expected from a craft brewery: Pale Ale (Prime Extra), IPA (Block), Porter (Pavers) and a Wheat (Weathered Wit). Of their year-round selection, the Northtown Native is my favorite, a California Common that is a delicious hybrid of an Ale and Lager. It goes down smooth, but it has a distinct taste that is usually missing in the common American Lager. If I were going to compare the Native to anything, it reminds me of the Boston Lager from Samuel Adams (which I like, but not as much as the Native).

Another plus of Cinder Block is they offer growlers, which I think is secretly my favorite aspect of craft breweries. There is something special about going into a brewery with an empty jug and asking for it to get refilled. I mean, in what other forum could you carry in a big jug of something that could also be used as an instrument in a how down and see it filled with the refreshing nectar of the Roman gods? (I say Roman because we always use the Greeks in this kind of analogy; it’s pretty much the same thing and the Roman gods need their due too; go Mars!) Craft breweries…and yeah I am done at that. I mean, I know Shatto Milk offers milk refills with their milk jugs, but getting my milk refilled in a Whole Foods makes me feel like a 38-year-old husband who works at Sprint and lives in Overland Park and sends their kids to the Olathe Public School System. That isn’t for me.

To get back to the point, yes they have growlers, which are all kinds of wonderful and great because I can take my beer home, in a massive quantity and in a cool-looking jug. They offer three kinds of growlers: the traditional glass, a plastic and some kind of hybrid plastic, graphite-ish…thing (I don’t know, it looks like it used to store plutonium, not beer). Go with the traditional glass. You’ll bring out your inner logger inside and that will have all kinds of benefits down the road.

And lastly, one of the phenomenons Cinder Block turned me onto was the existence of sour beers. I had never had a sour beer until a couple of days ago, where I tried the KC Weiss. A lot of their sour beers are brewed in chardonnay barrels, which I believe contributes to some of the sour flavor of the beer brewed (I base this on no research or Googling of sour beers prior to this post). The KC Weiss was unbelievable beyond measure. I had to take a look at it every couple of sips to just bask in what the hell I was drinking. It was as if a great wheat beer and a top-shelf chardonnay made love to Keith Sweat’s “Twisted” and their baby was delivered into my glass. Constantly I was in flux with every sip (“Is it a beer masking as a chardonnay? Or a chardonnay masking as a beer?”) slowly appreciating the sour beer more and more until its completion. For a person who loves beer and appreciates chardonnay, the Weiss sour beer hit on all cylinders for me. (I know that statement will elicit all kinds of comments considering not many men drink chardonnay but keep in mind this: it’s cold and it doesn’t stain your teeth, an important thing to remember if you are at a function of some sort that only serves wine; last thing you need is for people to not just see you sloshed, but looking like Hannibal Lecter after he surprises the cops when he gets out of his handcuffs to escape his cell in “Silence of the Lambs” and bites into one of the cops…yes gross, just like red wine stained teeth). Today, I had the Peach Sour Beer (can’t remember the name, started with a “V”, which I will update soon), which also shared the same sour but refreshing qualities of the KC Weiss. I do plan on making sour beers a more regular staple of my beer rotation. They are pretty much like the Shannyn Sossamon‘s of beers (hat tip if you understand my reference; if not just enjoy the picture).

Cinder Block is a mecca for beer enthusiasts and a pretty damn good place to go to for anyone else who likes beer and likes cool places in different areas of Kansas City. For Northlanders, Cinder Block requires visiting on a regular basis, and if you are not in the Northland, it is worth the trek for their venue, their beer and Back Rack BBQ if you happen to be there on a weekend. Kansas City is becoming home to a great beer scene. And Cinder Block, both its brewery and tap room, are a testament and shining representation of that scene that is growing on a national basis.

Teague vs. Schroder: Who’s the Hawks’ Better Long-Term PG Option?

teague-schroder
Jeff Teague (right) is the man for now, but don’t count out Dennis Schroder in the next year or two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stumbled upon this post by Brett LaGree of Hoopinion, an Atlanta Hawks blog that used to be part of the True Hoop Network on ESPN. I have always had massive respect for Brett and his blog, even though he doesn’t write for it much anymore. First off, I think a lot of what I want to do this blog stems from what I’ve seen and read on LaGree’s blog, as it is obvious he is a NBA junkie, but he is able to write about different topics and subjects. And second, he is a KC native. While I am a KC Ex-Pat, I do admire someone from KC writing a quality blog about something other than the local sports teams (i.e. Royals, Chiefs, etc.). While I love KC, I do feel the sports blogger scene in this area wanes beyond the major teams (though I do believe Royals Review is the best blog in the KC area). To see someone get over that hump is a bit inspiring, and helps me believe that maybe I can do something with FPP similar to what Brett did with Hoopinion.

Anyways, Brett makes some good points about building for next year, pointing out that the Hawks may be closer to a modern-day Mavs rather than Spurs (which is the common comparison, mostly due to the fact Mike Budenholzer was a long-time assistant), and the Hawks’ best chance may be to keep the gang together as much as possible and hope for a lightning in a bottle moment to help them get over the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. The point he makes is practical and sound: the Hawks are not a free-agent destination, and probably won’t be anytime soon (after all, if they could not attract Atlanta native Dwight Howard, I don’t know who else they could get). The Korver injury demonstrated that they need more shooting on this roster, but after this Warriors championship, more teams are looking for shooting, so that may be a taller (and more expensive) task than one would initially think. And thus, the Hawks might succeed best by just staying pat, and hoping Al Horford can stay healthy a full year and lead this team in 2015-2016, with the hope they can get hot and catch a cold Cavs team in the Eastern Conference Finals. LaGree really hits this point hard, and for more details, I would suggest reading his full post, as he goes into the nitty gritty details about the Hawks’ cap space, draft possibilities, etc.

However, I felt the most compelling story concerning the Hawks last season (other than them having the Eastern Conference’s best record) was the play of their two points guards: Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. Without a doubt, the Hawks’ improved point guard play was a key reason why this Hawks’ team reached great heights in 2014-2015 after sort of running in the middle of the Eastern Conference pack the previous 3-4 seasons.

First off, let’s take a look at Jeff Teague, who really thrusted himself in the discussion of being a Top-10 Point Guard last year, unthinkable a couple of years ago. If you think my comment might be exaggeration, take into consideration these numbers: he ranked 31st in the league in Win Shares at 7.7, ahead of other big-name PGs such as Kyle Lowry (7.1), Ty Lawson (7.0), Eric Bledsoe (7.0), Goran Dragic (6.8) and Mike Conley (6.8). In terms of PER, Teague (20.6) was rated better than not just all those previously listed, but also John Wall (19.9). In fact, he was only a shade worse in terms of PER than Damian Lillard, who had a 20.7 PER (though Lillard was much better than Teague in Win Shares at 10.6). A couple of years ago, Teague was not even in the Top-10 discussion for Point Guards. Now, he seems capable of cracking the Top-5, not an easy task considering that position is the deepest and most talented currently in the NBA.

Teague has always been consistently a force for the Hawks in his six-year NBA career, but the past three seasons he has really come into his own as a playmaking force for Atlanta. In addition to his advanced numbers such as PER and Win Shares, Teague sports a near 2-1 assist to turnover ratio in his career, and has a 3-year True Shooting percentage of 55 percent, which included a 56.6 percent mark a year ago. Add this, along with a 15.9 ppg, 7.0 apg and 46 percent FG% over a 73 game span in the regular season on the Eastern Conference’s best regular season team, and one can understand why Teague made the All-Star squad this season.

Most of Teague’s strengths come on the offensive end, especially when it comes to his ability to score. Teague proved to be a versatile, playmaking guard who finished well at the rim, but also had the ability to stretch defenses out with his shooting on the perimeter. Let’s take a look at Teague’s shot chart last season.

Shotchart_1434770842701

 

Teague preferred to get to the rim as a scorer as nearly 55 percent of his field goal attempts came within 8 ft. Considering the high percentage of shots relative to his other field goal attempts, the fact that he is only 2.5 percent below league average is pretty impressive, especially when you remember that he is a point guard.

An area of the court Teague proved to be strong in was in the middle of the court, especially on floaters in the middle of the court, around the free throw line. He shot 10.6 percent better than league average in that area. Another strong point in Teague’s ability to score was his ability to hit the shot from the top of the key, as he shot 8.5 percent above league average on 52 attempts from the top of the key to beyond the arc.

So, as you can see from the shot chart as well as his numbers, both traditional and advanced, there is a lot to like about his game. Furthermore, Teague is under contract for the next two years at $8 million per year, a relative bargain when you consider the contracts of Lowry (who is making $12 million per year through 2017-2018) and Conley (who is making $9.58 million next year, after which he will be a free agent and will see a significant pay increase whether in Memphis or elsewhere), both players whom Teague performed better against when it comes to PER and Win Shares. And thus, it seems hard to believe that the Hawks would be willing to part with Teague in any way considering the value they are getting from him and will be getting from him going forward as long as he remains healthy and around the same level of performance.

That being said, Schroder is making a case as star-point-guard-in-the-making off the bench for the Hawks. In this player-by-player comparison via NBA.com, one of the strengths of Schroder’s game is his defensive value and versatility, and his ability to keep opposing guards from scoring in the paint. Though only 6-feet, 1-inch (an inch shorter than Teague), “the Menace” has gained praise from scouts as a Rajon Rondo type thanks to his hands and ability to use his length on the perimeter. Thanks to his craftiness, Schroder also proved to be a solid rebounder as a point guard, as he bested Teague in rebounding percentage (6.3 to 4.8).

That isn’t to say of course Schroder is in the same level as Teague by any means. Teague is obviously the better player and should be the starter and catalyst for the Hawks next season. No doubt about that, and him besting Schroder in net rating, effective field goal percentage and assist ratio prove that point as well. But, Schroder’s improvement from year 1 to year 2 was pretty phenomenal. In 2013-2014, Schroder was pretty pedestrian posting a 5.8 PER in 49 games and seeing some time in the D-League to help him adjust to basketball Stateside. This year? 15.7 PER, 2.5 WS (compared to -0.7 the previous season), and an 18.5 ppg and 7.5 apg on a per 36 minute basis with his turnover rate staying pretty much the same from year 1 to year 2 (3.4 to 3.6 from rookie year to soph season, respectively). Whether it was maturity, more opportunity, or a full off-season to digest Budenholzer’s system, this much was clear: Schroder took a leap from fringe role player to fringe starter and impact player (pretty big difference in the “fringe” stratosphere).

What also is interesting about Schroder’s offensive game is how similarly he compares to Teague. Almost all the areas that Teague excels in Schroder excels as well. And the areas where Teague struggles? Well, Schroder has issues too (jump shooting, the corner 3, etc.). Let’s take a look at Schroder’s shot chart from a year ago.

Shotchart_1434770222954

 

Teague is a bit better finishing around the rim, but Schroder proved to be a much better outside shooter, especially beyond the arc, from the top and left side of the key. Schroder still has to work on his mid-range, as he doesn’t have a go-to spot in that area of his game. All his categories were average to below, which was a knock on his game when he first entered the league (scouts figured he’d struggle to find a consistent mid-range jump shot). However, the shot chart shows marked improvement from year 1 to year 2, and his ability to shoot from the top of the key and top-left displayed his ability to broaden his range beyond the arc.

When you think about it, when you compare the two, Schroder compares favorably. After all, this was year 2 for Schroder, while it was year 6 for Teague. Teague is expected to outperform the younger Schroder (Teague is also six years older than Schroder). However, here are some key things to consider about Schroder when comparing him to Teague:

1.) Schroder is only 21 years old and made a tremendous leap from year 1 to year 2. It makes you wonder how he’ll progress in year 3. In 10 games as a starter, when Teague was out of the lineup, Schroder averaged 14.1 ppg, 7.7 apg, 3.4 rpg and a 51.7 TS percentage in 29.2 MPG. That’s pretty impressive when you compare Teague’s season line of 15.9 ppg, 7.0 apg, 2.5 rpg and 56.6 TS percentage in 30.5 MPG. Teague has obvious advantages in shooting and scoring, but Schroder holds a slight advantage in assists and has a bigger advantage in rebounding.

2.) Teague obviously led the Hawks’ best 5-man unit (Teague-Korver-Carroll-Millsap-Horford) which played 915 minutes and had a plus/minus of Plus-170, according to 82games.com. But, with Schroder inserted for Teague in the same lineup, the Hawks didn’t miss much of a beat. The same lineup with Schroder actually performed better on a Points scored per possession basis than with Teague (1.18 to 1.12). Defensively, the Hawks were better with Teague, but not by much (1.04 to 1.07). Either way, it makes you wonder what the Plus/Minus would look like (Plus-170 for the Teague-Led to Plus-21 for the Schroder-led) if the Schroder-led lineup had more minutes (i.e. Schroder started more games).

3.) Teague’s contract is a bargain now, but don’t think that the Lowry extension won’t have an impact on his desire for a bigger contract two years from now. While Teague is signed through 2016-2017, he and his agent will certainly have a lot of bargaining power if Teague continues to be the player he is. After all, he is an All-Star, Top-10 PG on one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams (and to make the case for Lowry money, Teague’s team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals this year while Lowry’s Raptors squad got bounced again in the first round despite having home court advantage). Teague will want to get paid something similar to Lowry, if not more. However, if Schroder continues to make strides in year 3 and 4, there’s no question he may be a Teague-like player who’ll demand less money and be a much easier sign (if the team exercises their option in 2016-2017, he’ll still be only making around $2.1 million). Teague may be the same or a slightly better player after 2016-2017, but there’s no question Schroder will most likely come cheaper than Teague, and that difference (anywhere from 3 to 5 million dollars per year is my estimate) may be the reason the Hawks management (i.e. Tsar Budenholzer) might hand the keys over the Hawks Train to Schroder in 2017-2018.

So what do the Hawks do? The next two years the decision is easy: stick with Teague. He’s an All-Star caliber point guard who offers a lot of offensive upside and some good playmaking skills. There is no reason why the Hawks should cut him loose now, especially considering they are a Top-3 team in the East presently (they are competing only with Cleveland and Washington). However, Schroder’s development will be interesting to watch. I expected improvement from his rookie season, but not this much, and you can’t help but feel Schroder is going to get better as he logs more NBA minutes. Considering his rebounding and playmaking upside, he certainly is an enticing player that will certainly put more pressure on Teague and make things interesting a couple of years from now. But until the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season, the Hawks can simply enjoy the dynamic duo they have at point, an advantage they have over every other team in the Eastern Conference going into 2015-2016.

A Primer to Flannel, PBR and PER

So, if you are looking at this post, that means you have found “Flannel, PBR and PER” a NBA-centric blog that focuses primarily on NBA and Sacramento Kings analysis from a hipsterish guy who lives in Kansas City. I have created a lot of different kinds of blogs, but hopefully FPP satisfies everything I want to write about: basketball and my affinity for Kansas City hipster culture. This blog is meant for two types of people: people who enjoy reading about the NBA and profressional basketball (with a little college sprinkled in) and what Kansas City has to offer to young professionals who like to go against the grain from what is typically expected from those in that demographic (i.e. people who aren’t into the whole being married with kids by 25 thing).

Also, this blog will focus primarily on the Sacramento Kings. Why the Kings? Well, I am from Sacramento originally, and though I grew up a Warriors fan, I have grown in affinity for the Kings mainly because A.) I am a perennial sucker for the underdog and B.) Kansas City reminds me a lot of Sacramento, and the Kings used to be in Kansas City, so it only makes sense that if I am living in Kansas City, that I should primarily root for the Sacramento Kings. With the help of league pass and my own general following of Sacramento Kings blogs, I will also be analyzing and covering the Kings on a regular basis throughout the year (though do expect general NBA analysis as well as some D-League coverage).

What to expect from FPP? Well, a different kind of NBA blog that’s for sure. There are a lot of great basketball blogs out there, and hopefully, FPP can offer something that is different, fresh, analytical, and a source that Kansas City hipsters can appreciate. Maybe me promoting this blog in this kind of fashion in the first post may not strike a chord with the KC hipster scene, but to be honest? I am doing this blog in the way I want to, whether it satisfies that scene or not.

After all, how many hipster NBA blogs are out there anyways? Only one on tumbler for all I know (but props for its post on Jason “White Chocolate” Williams).