Take It And Make It Your Own
Count Kobe Bryant as the latest NBA-ite to pledge a smashmouth brand of basketball to his team and fans. This follows a recent trend of players and coaches pushing the tough-guy adjective as their team motto. Which got me thinking: when did a picture-perfect football term spillover to basketball jargon? As you can imagine, a lazy, five-minute Google search revealed some interesting tidbits.
For example, according to the totally shady New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, the word smashmouth originated in 1965 as a way to describe "passionate kissing," which totally blew my mind because here I was, Mr. Innocent Millennial, thinking the only things "smashing" in the ‘60s were timeless music, pencil skirts, and riot gear.
Editor's Note: If we're going the kissing route, am I the only who feels like "smashmouth" more aptly describes a first kiss? Think about it, before that seminal moment you're totally clueless about the Three Laws of Semi-Adequate Kissing: 1) Rate of Trajectory, 2) Cranio Angle a.k.a Head Tilt, and 3) Pucker Radius. So, naturally, on your very first attempt you zoom toward your target with Millennium-Falcon speed, flop your head side-to-side like Apollo Creed, and round your lips the size of a tarantula. Next thing you know you're on the couch at home nursing a bloody lip (darn braces!), guzzling down three Ibuprofen, and watching Star Wars for the umpteenth time, mourning the fact that you and Chewbacca seem to be the only creatures alive that can't rope in a significant other.
As for when smashmouth first showed up on the NBA radar? The earliest reference I could find was from 2005. Sports Business Daily championed "smashmouth basketball" as a major reason why the NBA had reestablished itself as a viable threat in the sporting landscape.
Then came 2011, when Frank Vogel introduced his very first smashmouth edict. The following year, his trusty sidekick, Brian Shaw, brought the movement to Denver for all of about five minutes.
Not that any of this matters to the Pacers. Sure, they say they want to play smashmouth basketball, and knowing their coach, they'll try their dippity-doo-dah darnedest to make it happen. But you and I know better: with Lance Stephenson and Paul George gone, David West ailing, and the likes of Luis Scola, Rodney Stuckey and Chris Copeland in line to get regular minutes, we should prepare ourselves for a swift transition from smashmouth to open-mouth.
Name game: If you could describe, in one word, your expectations for the Pacers' play this year, what would it be?
Preseason Be Gone
For eye-gouging reasons, the Week-In-Review Crew (WIRC) recently tossed around the idea of eliminating game recaps from the commentary. But since it's only the preseason and there's a "Tupac's still alive" chance the Pacers can turn this thing around, WIRC has elected to temporarily resume publishing them for your reading displeasure.
Game #1 - Pacers at Timberwolves: The Andrew Wiggins-less T-Wolves shellacked the Pacers in a game that saw Copeland launch another six threes. In six preseason contests, Cope fired off 52 field-goal attempts, 35 of which were from downtown. That's good for 67% of his overall FGA. Though it's a tortured six months too late, it feels like the Pacers finally found their three-point specialist. Final score: Timberwolves 107 - Pacers 89.
Game #2 - Pacers at Hornets: In a game featuring a bevy of missing starters (on both sides), the Pacers came away victorious behind C.J. Miles' 23 points. But enough about him. WIRC needs to take a moment to apologize to Donald Sloan for previous barbs slung at his expense. Dude's developing into legitimate backup point-guard material. Also out of Charlotte, no news yet on if Lance and Shane Whittington wingmanned the club circuit after the game. Final score: Pacers 88 - Hornets 79.
Sad Bill and Jalen
Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose aired their 2014-2015 Pacers' Season Preview on Wednesday, and it was a mostly morbid affair. I'm guessing most of you have already seen it, but for those who haven't here's a rundown of some of the highlights, lowlights, and oddities:
0:22 - Let the misery begin: Bill gloomily predicts the Pacers won't make the playoffs
0:29 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 1
1:01 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 2
1:07 - Bill "Voldemorts" Pacer fans by invoking "basketball standard" instead of stanchion
1:17 - Jalen "Harry Potters" Pacer fans by invoking the real word: "stanchion"
1:33 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 3
2:30 - Bill and Jalen swear off their usual Preview gimmicks out of respect to Paul George's injury (Reference No. 4)
2:49 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 5
2:53 - Obligatory reference to Derrick Rose's injuries
3:17 - Jalen tortures Pacer fans with critique of Roy Hibbert's second half of the season
3:53 - Jalen predicts bounceback season for Roy
4:20 - Bill says "oof" when recapping the Pacers' offseason
4:49 - Bill questions the C.J. Miles' signing
4:52 - Bill likes the Stuckey signing
5:27: Bill calls Lance Stephenson an above-average defensive player. Snickers heard from Ignatius31 and KingPG21.
5:48 - Duh: Bill calls Pacers' bench bad
5:53 - Clip of a dancing Jean Claude Van Damme airs
6:29: Bill and Jalen wonder if Pacers should tank
7:14: Jalen says they should
7:27: David West trade chatter begins
7:58: Roy Hibbert trade chatter begins
8:05: Bill predictably floats Hibbert-to-Knicks trade idea
8:51: Paul George Injury Reference No. 6
10:08 - More inexplicable dancing by Van Damme
10:17-10:42 - Jalen courtesy laughs at a bunch of Bill's jokes
10:50 - Enter gimmicks
11:00 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 7
11:23 - Jalen states OKC as preferred trade partner for David West
11:35 - Nick Collison picture appears ... for Steven Adams
12:33 - Bill pushes David West trade to Charlotte
13:32-13:43 - Jalen piggybacks on "Pacers won't make playoffs" bandwagon, predicts they'll move David West, and hopes for speedy recovery for PG (reference No. 8)
13:57 - Paul George Injury Reference No. 9
15:48 - Just like the Pacers' season, the aftershocks of Paul George's injury shuts down the rest of Bill and Jalen's 2014-2015 NBA Season Preview
17:02 - The merciful end
Call it ... Progress?
Back to your regular smashmouth programming. While reading Conrad Brunner's report on David West's injury status, I came across this exciting snippet:
"I don't think we're real tied together right now on the defensive end," Vogel said. "I still think we're learning each other. Newcomers are learning our system, some guys are learning new positions and I think we have a long way to go in terms of tying ourselves together on the defensive end and getting used to each other on the offensive end. I still think we're very sloppy with the basketball and we've just got to learn each other's tendencies, be sharp with the pass-and-catch and become a better executing team."
At first, I wasn't really into it. Frank talks defense remarkably well, like the Presidents Bush when talking about invading Iraq, or the Clintons when not talking about Afternoon Delight. It kind of felt like same ole' Frank: defense first, offense never. But then he gave that little shpill on ‘be sharp with the pass-and-catch...', and while I don't know exactly what that means, the Spurs seemed to do a whole lot of "passing and catching" while carving up Miami in the Finals. And since just about every non-Spurs' fan seems to have Spurs' envy these days, how can you not hope that it was Vogel-code speak for: "We gonna do as the Spurs do..."?
Miscellaneous Tweets and Threads
Uh-oh, other fan bases are starting to notice:
This Pacers team is pretty bad
don't wanna see it against anyone in the West
Jacob9: The poster who does the most with the least natural ability.
T-Wolves' fan obviously not named David Kahn:
Ricky still cannot shoot after 10 years of playing professional basketball
Washing their hands:
Love that pass from Pek
And a great cut by Bennett too. Love.
We don't use the word "Love" anymore
You "freedom" that pass from Pek.
Overzealous Hornets' fan:
The thing about Neal that's different from a lot of 3 point specialists is that he can drive, shoot 2s, get to FT.
That's why he puts up occasional huge games in limited minutes.
Hendo and Taylor are gonna improve on threes this year and I hope MKG and BIz really balls out this year. Welcome to Marvin Williams, Vonleh, Stepehenson, PJ, Roberts.
Neal, 1 for 10
Donald Sloan Charlotte Hornets' fan club:
Sloan is so underated
they (Pacers) didnt use him enough last year
What's worse? Grown men wearing jerseys? Or:
Grown men getting left hanging on high fives by the tunnel is my favorite thing.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 20, 2014
Until two weeks...