View Full Version : 370 NBA Player Capsules

12-31-2012, 03:45 PM

Are you a completist? Obsessive about making sure no collection in your home has a missing component? Do you get nervous if you lend out Season Three of your favorite TV series and are now staring at a hole on your shelf?

Meet Aaron McGuire of TrueHoop Network blog, Gothic Ginobili.

For the better part of six months, Gothic Ginobili has been rolling out their player capsules three at a time. The capsules, ordered at random, each contain eyeball observations, advanced stats, external links to interesting stuff. You learn that Nikola Vucevic taught himself English by watching "He Got Game," and that Daniel Gibson was barely below average for an NBA Finals point guard by statistical measures. You'll also have the pleasure of reading descriptions like this one:

If the NBA was performance art, [Andre] Miller would be the town's muted bladesmith, performing in front of a nearly-empty house. Always quiet, never elaborate, extremely effective. Spends these long hours pounding away with his scaling hammer on a piece whose beauty is rarely appreciated as much as their application to war. Never gets wholescale appreciation for what he brings to the table, but always comes back and puts the same loving care into every pass thrown and offense built. Miller is simply brilliant, and there's a rare few players in the league that are anything like him.

In all, the Gothic Ginobili capsules come to 374,000 words. The best way to sample? Navigate toward your favorite players, and go from there.

Wow. Post any interesting stories/facts you see read on this thread

12-31-2012, 03:50 PM
Ladies and gentleman, I present you Deshawn Stevenson, starter of 30 games for the Nets last season hahaha.

DeShawn Stevenson took 7 layup attempts in the entirety of last year's 66 game season. He made two. (The five missed layups were all hilarious, by the way. If you have Synergy access, go look at them. Wish I had the video know-how to share it.)

DeShawn Stevenson has not even attempted a dunk since March 8th, 2010. This... this is only scarcely related to 2012, but it's still sort of hilarious. He's small, but he's strong. The man simply doesn't have a vertical anymore. Not "a small" vertical. He does not have one.

DeShawn Stevenson shot three 3-pointers per night in the 2012 season. He made 28% of them. That's barely one in four, which would stand to reason that the man had several games of zero-three-pointers made. Turns out to be a true story. DeShawn Stevenson had 28 games (out of 51 games played) where he didn't make a single three. He's a 3-and-D player. That... that is not very optimal, I do not believe.

12-31-2012, 06:10 PM
Dude, I get so bored at work. I sit in a call center and sometimes have nothing to do but wait for calls. Do you know how much time this is going to take up for me to read? Your the man for posting this!

12-31-2012, 06:49 PM
Dude, I get so bored at work. I sit in a call center and sometimes have nothing to do but wait for calls. Do you know how much time this is going to take up for me to read? Your the man for posting this!

I'll probably get fired from mine now.

12-31-2012, 09:54 PM
Kobe- Kobe Bryant elicits fundamentally intense reactions. There's disgust from some -- the echos of scandal and a controversial style loom over his game, and detract from his brilliance among that faction. There's devotion from others -- the style that others so hate endears him to many in such an overwhelming fashion. It's a rare few who watches Kobe Bryant and thinks "oh, that's neat, I can take it or leave it though." There's a core challenge to the fan in Bryant's play. A challenge to accept, to understand, to love despite his faults.

And faults? They're there, whether the devotees like to admit it or not. Becoming a devoted fan of Kobe Bryant necessitates becoming a devoted fan of a man who -- despite being one of the most gifted passers of his generation -- simply doesn't pass very often. Becoming a devoted fan of a player whose defensive effort waxes and wanes from an all-defensive peak production to ridiculously low effort-level performances on 90% of the possessions of a season. Becoming a devoted fan of a player who, inevitably, will make life a bit harder for himself every few possessions solely in the name of style.

In a vacuum, these are all things we learn to hate in other players. We learn to dislike the passers who keep avoiding their talent. We learn to dislike the players whose defense yo-yos through incredible highs and impossible lows. We learn to throw up our hands and yell at the player who takes the awful shot when there's an easy shot seconds away. But there's an element of self-respect and self-awareness in Kobe Bryant, in his most quiet moments. This is a man who rates out as one of the most knowledgable basketball scholars of his generation. He's studied the annals of the game, the breaks of history. He understands that he makes the game a bit harder for himself. Internalizes it. He knows that he often does things inexplicable at best and actively harmful at worst. Things that increase the difficulty of his road, or might make the team worse.

And -- surprise, surprise -- he doesn't care.

12-31-2012, 09:58 PM
Oh and the White Mamba himself, before anyone else gets to him....

Brian Scal- I admit, I was a bit lost on ideas for this capsule. How does one distill down the complex mix of respect and mockery that make up the soft-serve swirl of Brian Scalabrine's relationship with his fans? Luckily, in a relatively unrelated conversation last night with my good friend Dave Murphy, the inimitable Lauri brought to my attention a rather amazing little piece that made clear the way forward. It was sufficiently absurd to get my attention -- it's essentially an ode to the Totino's Party Pizza, a 99 cent mockery of the concept of pizza available in frozen food aisles everywhere. For those who aren't familiar with the "party pizza", don't let the advertisement fool you. It's hardly a party at all, at least in the traditional sense. It's a personal-sized pizza with a relatively thin crust, less-than-real cheese, and a mysterious red sauce that may or may not contain more tomatoes than salt. If you were to actually try and serve this pizza at a party, I'm pretty sure the first question would be one of the other partygoers wondering how exactly they're supposed to cut a 10 inch pizza to feed more than a single person. It isn't really party food, unless you somehow have an oven big enough to make one of these things for every single guest at your party. (On second thought, that would be a hilarious party. Someone do that.)

As for Scalabrine? His career-high PER was achieved last year, where Scalabrine put up a still-below-average PER of 13 in just 122 minutes over the entire season. Beyond that, Scalabrine's only had a single other year in double digits. Which is pretty abominable -- a PER above 15 is above average, but a PER below 10 is gutter-level. Very tough. If you examine the stats (or, alternatively, watch any game film whatsoever of Scalabrine's game) you'll start to see why. He's simply not an NBA player -- there's this sense watching him that he stumbled into a draft room drunk as a skunk and won a game of poker with a team's front office, forcing them to sign him to pay off their poker debt. People would argue that he was better when he was younger, but I don't really buy that -- he had a few decent performances when he was younger, like this 29-10 explosion against a permissive Golden State defense. But his game was still fundamentally flawed. He was never all that far removed from where he is now, a plodding and unathletic white tweener with a talent for self-promotion that's as bountiful as his basketball abilities are minimal. You never really looked at Brian Scalabrine and thought "wow, this is a guy who I'd trust to be a starter on a contending team." You never really looked at him and got the idea he'd even be a serviceable bench player -- you got the image of a guy that, if he wanted to be good, would have to be playing big minutes next to one of the greatest point guards of his generation (Jason Kidd, in his early career) or be playing insane minutes for a team that's so bad they're feeding him the ball like he's Kobe.

The real key with the pizza -- and the reason something like that deserves an ode at all -- is that there's a weird mental grip that the Tontino's Party Pizza has on the minds of those who ate it. When I eat it, I tend to think not of the taste. I think of how delightfully inexpensive the pizzas are, and all those times I had it as a kid. I'm not at a place in life where I really need to rely on 99 cent pizzas, but on the rare occasion I get a chance to eat one, I generally reflect on the days of my youth. Those days where I'd want something to eat but didn't know how to cook, so I'd fire up the oven and put a Totino's pizza in. Those days where I began to expect that all pizza would have a terrible crust like the one out of every freezer, and became faintly disappointed when they didn't. When you eat something often enough, it moves the focus of your taste buds away from "food that's tasty" and towards "food that resembles." Some call it building up your palette, but it's easy to forget that you can build a palette in the opposite direction as well. You can eat bad food often enough to make your mind think bad food's good and good food's bad. That whole concept of a flexible palette is useful for understanding why Brian Scalabrine inspires such hilariously fierce loyalty among his fans. He's the Totino's Party Pizza of the NBA. When you distill him to the core, that's exactly what he is.

Sure, you can focus on the hilarious negatives. The crust tastes exactly like the corrugated cardboard it's packaged in. The cheese is explicitly stated to be "less than 100% real." The sauce would make any other pizza curl up and die. But you know what? It's still actually really tasty. Call it nostalgia, call it my thriftiness, call it a perfect blend of every awful individual component into more than the sum of its parts. Whatever you want to call it, I'm game. But the Totino's Party Pizza was an absolutely essential part of my youth. In the same way, Brian Scalabrine is an essential part of the NBA to quite a lot of people. He's got a bunch of ridiculous component parts -- the incomprehensibly silly shots, the reporter-insulting (but also hilarious) postgame interviews, the utter inability to contribute as a true rotation player in the NBA. But he combines it all in a way that's a bit more than the sum of its parts. He's cheap, so fans don't really need to view his salary as detrimental to the team. And he has enough showmanship to make his garbage time minutes into a hilarious ball-dominating tour de force. No, Scalabrine isn't a good player -- it's an open question whether he's been a player at all over the last few years. No, the Totino's Party Pizza isn't a good pizza -- it's an open question whether it's been a pizza at all, ever. But both rise above their somewhat pathetic appearance on-paper and become important despite themselves. Hilariously so.

Long story short? I'm no big fan or anything, but yes, I'm going to miss Scalabrine. I hope he's a good press analyst.

12-31-2012, 10:02 PM
Maybe just bold the best parts from now on? haha