Are the Warriors better off with Keith Smart?

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The tea leaves read “Nellie is done.” And though Nelson long and distinguished career is certainly worth respecting, you can still hear the collective sigh of relief, followed by the sharp intake of anticipation from Warriors fans. A fresh start. A new beginning. A change in the winds.

Or, you know, not really any of that.

Warriors World discusses Smart and his brief reign last season as head coach of the Warriors, and the results are not good:

I have no clue how prospective
Warriors coach Keith Smart would handle all that, I just want him to
eschew his December 2009 self…which was a facsimile of modern Don
Nelson:

12/7 @Okc L 104-88
12/9 @Njn W 105-89
12/11 @Chi L 96-91
12/12 @Det L 104-95
12/14 @Phi L 117-101

That rancid roadtrip lies in
obscurity’s hamper, but like an elephant I never forget-I also never
stop eating the stale peanuts fed to me by GSW HQ. Smart was given the
reins for an entire jaunt, and he promptly ran the carriage into an
Alligator swamp.

It wasn’t Smart’s first rodeo at the helm. He also took over as interim coach of the Cavaliers in 2002, going 9-31.

Ouch.

If the Warriors are going to really turn a corner if and when they do decide to let Nelson go, Smart may not be the best option. After all, he’s been working under Nellie in that whackadoodle system of his for years, and the Warriors don’t need more of that. They need a fresh start. Smart may do as a temporary solution, but there’s evidence to suggest he may not hang on like Jay Triano has in Toronto (although his defense will still probably be better than Triano’s.)

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.