Tag Archive | Analysis

NBA Finals Recap

Well the NBA Season is finally over and it was quite an ending series. I know this wrap-up is a few days late, but I’ve been working! Plus the few days between the end of the season and now have helped me process a few things and I now have a few thoughts to get across here. 

Before the series got underway, I gave a prediction that the Warriors would win in 6. I ended up being 100% correct. How they would win did surprise me a little bit, though. No one expected that Kyrie Irving would go down with a bad injury. No one expected that the Cavs would be that competitive after Kyrie went down. So why did they stay competitive? Because LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world and he showed that masterfully. He averaged 35.8 points, 8.8 assists, and 13.2 rebounds a game. He was the best player on the floor for every game, except game 4. The Cavaliers had the best player in the world and no one else. Matthew Dellavadova played good defense, but his play was overhyped by people like Skip Bayless and he was beat by Curry in games 5 and 6, which cost his team the series. Tristan Thompson played well, but wasn’t quick enough to give enough offense. Timofey Mozgov had one spectacular game in game 4, but no one else played well enough to give Cleveland a win, as they were blown out at home. And the rest of the bench was weak, with Shawn Marion and Kendrick Perkins there in cameo roles at the end of championship careers. 

Golden State was the better team the whole way. ESPN frequently set up the series as a duel between Steph Curry and LeBron James. It’s an easy dichotomy to try and work with, and the NBA has done this sort of thing to market its series with varying levels of success in the past. 

Russell vs Chamberlain was a fabulous success because they were the best players at the most important position of the day: Center. They won many championships and combined for some of the best match ups of NBA history.  

 Magic vs Bird was also a fabulous success because the Celtics and the Lakers were involved, they had similar roles on their teams, and were two of the greatest players of all time.  

 Hakeem vs Ewing worked because of the similar position and role in the team, and because of the college connection. But it didn’t last beyond 1994.  

 Clyde Drexler vs Michael Jordan was interesting. Same position, same roles, great teams. But it only lasted a year, 1992, and Jordan was so clearly the better player and it wasn’t that terribly interesting a matchup, to be honest.  

 

Steph Curry vs LeBron doesn’t really work because while the two are the best players on their respective teams, they play completely different styles of ball. Curry thrives on his ball handling, passing, and shooting. He is the epitome of a finesse player. But he isn’t big or strong and hasn’t shown that he can take a beating like Allen Iverson could, for example. LeBron James is a physical freak. He can play physical basketball better than most who’ve ever played. His dunks are monster jams like no one else, and he can make interior passes like no ones business. But he can’t shoot the outside shot at effectively. These two are not comparable players and they are not rivals! They are too different to be comparable players. 

The series wasn’t a duel won by Curry over LeBron, it was a battle between Cleveland and Golden State, and Golden State was a better total team. Curry had a cold start, but special games in the 5th and 6th games. Thompson was consistently good. Draymond Green played well, and Andre Iguodala was special when he was out in the starting lineup. While LeBron was the best total player in the series, Iguodala could to defend LeBron and limit him enough to give Golden State a chance to win. And his offense was enough to put the Warriors over the top.  

 The team was better than Cleveland’s injury riddled mess of a basketball team. The series was that simple. 

  Now to take a few months off from hoops before the next NBA season! 

There’s no Place like Home: Wampanoag Golf Review

I’ve got some time to relax and enjoy my home state of Connecticut before starting my summer work. While I’m home, I may as well kick off my reviewing project with a golf course that’s near and dear to my heart: Wampanoag Country Club. It’s where I started playing golf. I’ve enjoyed many fond memories out here. Today was my first round of golf at Wamp this summer. This also serves as the first in my series of golf course reviews. I’ll grade it on a scale of 50 points with 5 categories, each category on a 10 point scale. The five categories for golf course reviews will be:

General facilities.      Fairway play.     Greens.       Aesthetics.       Total Difficulty.

Also included will be some miscellaneous things, including favorite hole and most difficult hole. So here goes the review.

General Facilities 7/10

Wamp has generally good facilities. The locker room is comfortable, I can store my stuff efficiently there, and I can get prepped there well. The driving range can get a little cramped when it’s a busy day, as today was. But it doesn’t lose points for that. That’s a general point for all driving ranges. The food also was good on the 19th hole, which is golf lingo for post round merriment. A full meal of tremendous food and excellent beverages, while sitting on a porch as the sun rests in the western sky is a wonderful way to end a good day on the course. So what costs the facilities points? The practice green. First off, they don’t allow you to chip there. I understand why that’s not allowed on that green, but to chip, you have to go down to a chipping space which sits between the fairways of the first and second fairways and the green of the ninth hole. It’s out of the way, and inconvenient for all involved. And it’s quite possible to get hit by someone on any of those three holes. It’s a fine space to practice on, but the location is not optimal. The regular putting green is also not optimal. The location is excellent. However it’s in bad shape. Many patches aren’t seeded properly, and because of that, big parts of the green don’t have holes to shoot at. This means the holes that are available have more people shooting at them, which makes the green feel smaller than it is. This makes it harder to warm up on arguably the most important part of the game: putting. The green costs points on a category where generally Wamp is very strong.

Fairway Play 10/10

 

(Just an FYI, I’m counting drives in this category.)

No major complaints here. There is a proper mix of long, short, wide, narrow, and any other kind of fairway you could want. They play comfortably, and give the player enough of a challenge to be enjoyable. The only point I could take off would be for the 14th and 15th holes, which are in poor condition now. But the holes still play well enough that their conditions did not affect play and thus do not cost the fairways any points.

Greens 7/10

Most of the greens played fine. They mixed sizes, slopes, and were generally pleasant and fun to play. There were, however, a few greens that were in bad enough condition that cost points. Specifically, the 14th green was in terrible condition. Getting there was not the real problem. But the 14th green was patchy and poorly seeded, similar to the practice green. That affected how you played it and took points off the enjoyment of it. There were other greens that weren’t in the best of conditions, but the 14th was the worst. Also, there were green side bunkers on both 11 and 16 that had ground wasp nests in them that led me to pull the ball out so as to not agitate the wasps and get myself stung. So yeah, points off for that.

Aesthetics 9/10

I got everything I could have wanted out of the course aesthetically. It was wonderfully green, wonderfully colored, and had plenty of cool water features running through the course. There was shade enough to keep you from getting too overheated, and it’s a good course to walk, which I did. The only point off is for the wind, even though that’s not really the course’s fault, and for the ground wasps. I’m not a fan of those. I already took a point off the greens for the wasps, but they affect other aspects of the course as well.

Total Difficulty 8/10

The total course isn’t the hardest I’ve ever played. It still provides a fair challenge. The final hole is widely considered the hardest closing hole in the state, and the course gives plenty of chances to put a ball in deep brush or water. It also has plenty of wide fairways that can lead to a ton of shots as you casually work your way to the green. The only points I take off on this section are for a bit of repetitiveness and relying on a few holes to even out the challenge. A good amount of the front nine are fairly easy to play, and the more difficult holes, 2, 8, and 9 are a big enough jump that it is a little unbalanced. The final hole is the hardest on the course, and it feels like the back nine depends on the final hole to give the hardest challenge with many holes not giving that hard a challenge. On aggregate, it’s a fun challenge to play the course.

Hardest Hole: 18

 

As I said before, this is often regarded as the hardest closing hole in the state. It’s a long hole, with a big pond you have to clear, then you have to go up a sharp hill to get to the green. If you get to the green and hit it too hard going down hill to the pin, it’s possible for it to go all the way down the hill, forcing you to start this part of the hole all over again. There are plenty of ways to mess up on this hole and it is the hole that everyone who plays the course remembers most vividly.

Favorite Hole: 6

This has always been my favorite hole to play on this course. You hit a tee shot over a hill, then let it roll a ways down a hill as you descend through a forest and try to drop the ball onto a wide green without putting it into the frontside bunker. I have so much fun playing that hole.

Total Score and Final Comments: 41/50

Wampanoag is a fun course to play. It’s a good mix of challenging, entertaining, pretty, and fun. It’s an early season day, so the greens will get in better shape as the year goes on, but they were in tough shape today. They’ll get better. They always treat people well at this course, and I would recommend it to any golfer looking for a good course to play.