The NBA playoffs are in full swing, and as the amazing continues to happen, the Grantland crew wants to help you buff up on some of the lesser-known faces who are populating basketball's second season.
Who Is He? Patrick Beverley.
Where Is He From? Arkansas.
Years Played: Rookie.
What’s His Salary? $298,092.
His Game in 25 Words or Fewer: Athletic point guard who can get to (and finish) at the rim, as well as shoot from 3. A willing and effective on-ball defender.
In case you were out just driving, man, just hitting the open road, here's what you missed in sports Tuesday.
The Houston Rockets tied the NBA record for 3-pointers but were denied the record outright after a flurry of ejections marred the end of their 140-109 win over the Golden State Warriors. Houston point guard Jeremy Lin, who led the way for the Rockets with 28 points and nine assists, said after the game, "It was total Linsanity out there, huh?" before pausing dramatically for effect. "I mean, I've seen some things in my day, but that was totally Linsane." Lin then paused again, before admitting, "Guys, I have a lot of T-shirts to move, so if you could remind people of Linsanity, that would be really great. My cousin is all like, 'Get these boxes out of my garage,' and I'm like, 'Whatever, Tom. You said I could leave them in there as long as I needed,' and he's all like, 'Yeah, but I thought they'd be gone in a week,' and I was all like, 'Yeah, me, too.'"
Here's a video of Lionel Messi scoring 86 goals in the year of our Maradona, 2012, breaking Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals for club and country in a calendar year.
It's hard to pick just one. There was the cheeky chip against Valencia, a shooting-star free kick against Atletico Madrid, the time he froze the Bayer Leverkusen backline in carbonite like a bunch of German Han Solos, and when he invented the geometry of the future against Granada. I liked when he backed a pickup truck into a compact parking spot on the roof of Zaragoza's keeper's garage, and when he made Philippe Senderos look like Lennie from Of Mice and Men against Switzerland. I loved the free kicks against Uruguay and Real Madrid, and the snapshot against Deportivo La Coruña. Nobody's better at their chosen sport than Lionel Messi is at football, right now. Watching him score 86 goals, either during the games, or in YouTube compilations, for Barcelona or for Argentina, was one of the greatest gifts we received this year. He'll be justly rewarded for these accomplishments with trophies and silverware, but I just wanted to give him my thanks. Watching him play is one of the best things I did with my time this year. — Chris Ryan
I was standing outside of Madison Square Garden, waiting for my friend, when a middle-aged Asian American man in a fancy suit walked by me and smiled. It wasn’t quite like the throes of Linsanity, when a new constituency of Knicks fans began showing up to the Garden, but last night’s game against the Houston Rockets definitely had a different, faintly festive vibe to it. Someone surged toward the man in the suit and asked him what entrance he should use for his seats, and he didn’t seem to understand when the man in the suit told him he didn’t work at the Garden. The man in the suit looked at me again, not smiling this time. Everyone projects whatever they want onto a man wearing a suit. My friend showed up a few minutes later, we shuffled into the Garden, and cheerfully bought some beer and two bowls of sesame chicken noodles.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Mark Sanchez finished with five turnovers, including three on the final three possessions, as the Jets lost to the Titans, 14-10, and were eliminated from playoff contention. "So many asses," said Sanchez ruefully. "Just so many asses out there, getting in the way of good football. This sport used to mean something. Now they just put you out there like a Christian in the lion's den, attacked by a thousand asses."
How many adjustments does a team need to make before you just throw up your hands and call it broken? If you read any of the papers in Los Angeles or listen to any sports talk radio or scan through the dozens of purple-and-gold blogs, you’d believe there must be some master solution that will make all the Lakers' disparate parts cohere into some unstoppable basketball force. Once Dwight learns to play with Pau, everything will be fine. Or once Nash learns to play alongside Kobe, the team will stop looking slow and confused on offense. Or once the bench players find their roles, the second unit will look like something more than five random dudes who happen to be standing on a basketball court together.
Up until last week, the dominant excuse/adjustment was something called the “Princeton offense,” which, due to its Ivy League origins and all the requisite unathletic associations, never sat well with the locals who had grown up with Showtime and Shaq. (As a side note, the Princeton offense was mostly a branding problem — if Mike Brown had just called it “the system” and not said a word about New Jersey’s capital of secret societies and lax bros, every sound bite about Princeton and the Lakers would never have existed. They still might have lost a ton of games under Brown, but he at least wouldn’t have been the guy who — gasp! — tried to get Kobe Bryant to play within something as uncool as the Princeton offense.)
Now that Mike Brown and Princeton have bowed out of the Lakers excuse show, the adjustment story has shifted over to Mike D’Antoni and his own system and what will happen when Steve Nash comes back from his injury. That particular story line won’t even get started until Nash comes back sometime next month, which will then set off its own little barrage of separate adjustment stories. And ad infinitum till the Lakers either win or, more likely, do not win the NBA championship.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Chicago Bears intercepted Tony Romo five times, returning two for touchdowns, in a 34-18 rout of the Cowboys. In the press box, angry Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tersely addressed his servant. "Lyle, please maneuver my face into a frown for the cameras," he said. "And don't mope about it. You already have second-hand botulism, it's not like it can get worse."
Yesterday we looked at Jeremy Lin and why his ability in the pick-and-roll could wind up warranting the contract that the Houston Rockets gave him. With regard to the Rockets' half-court offense, Lin and his pick-and-roll play is a very good match. However, in basketball, you don't play only offense, and that offense isn't limited to pick-and-roll play. Once you start taking into consideration Lin's ability in transition and how the Rockets want to play in the fast break, you start to worry a little bit. Start looking at Lin's one-on-one defense, and you worry a lot.
After having Jeremy Lin pre-Linsanity, the Houston Rockets made up for cutting him before last season by agreeing to pay Lin around $25 million over the next three years. While that may seem like a lot for a player who had success for just 36 games as a New York Knick, Lin is coming in as the presumed starting point guard for the Rockets, ready to prove that those games weren't a fluke. As it turns out, Houston wanting to make up for their mistake might be the best thing for Lin, because when looking at the tape and the numbers, the fit seems pretty good, especially when you look at Lin's play in pick-and-roll situations, and especially in comparison to how Kyle Lowry — who ran point for Houston last season and is now on the Raptors — played in the pick-and-roll last season.
Here's the bad news for Rockets fans: It's looking more and more like Houston won't be getting Dwight Howard. Here's the good news: All the assets that Houston piled up in their attempt to get Dwight are going to make up a team that is fun as hell to watch.
The New York Knicks face a slew of questions heading into the 2012-13 season, now that Jeremy Lin's bolted for the Houston Rockets. How will the Knicks' rebuilt backcourt fare with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd in the fold? Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire stay injury-free and productive all year long? And if we're talking intangibles, can the Knicks recapture New Yorkers' hearts and minds now that Linsanity is no more?
You can add one more question to the pile: How will parent company Madison Square Garden Company's stock fare with Lin out of the picture? The answer is, it's complicated.
It's been a while since Chuck Klosterman and I banged out one of our marathon "We thought it would be 45 minutes but ended up going for nearly two hours, so we had to belatedly record an 'out' for Part 1 and an 'in' for Part 2" podcasts. Discussed in detail this time around: satellite radio, best music books, The Doors, the concept of eras for music and movies, Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky/Penn State, the NCAA versus Roger Goodell, Kentucky basketball, Jeremy Lin, the upcoming Olympics, our favorite Olympic sports and David Stern. I know, it's just as weird as it sounds.
You can listen to these podcasts on iTunes or you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 on the ESPN.com PodCenter.
Amid the echo chamber of dissent surrounding the Jeremy Lin signing, there's a very interesting historical question that hasn't really been answered. As sports fans, we often want to believe that we're seeing something new and fresh, something that's never happened before. The reality is that most things we see have happened before and will almost surely happen again. The last nine months of Jeremy Lin's career, though? That might actually be unprecedented in the history of American sport.
Think about it. Try to find a historically comparable situation where all three of the following things occurred:
1. A player at the beginning of his professional career without any status as a top prospect was acquired by a team off of the waiver wire/from the free agent market as freely available talent.
2. That same player promptly played at an elite level for a portion of exactly one season.
3. That player departed the team during the subsequent offseason.