Mark Cuban didn’t like sleeved Christmas jerseys, but they didn’t really impact shooting

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It was the first question about all the games on Christmas Day:

What did you think of the Christmas Day NBA sleeved jerseys?

Personally, not a huge fan. It’s not the sleeves, those don’t bother me (I know some people hate sleeves, I just see Patrick Ewing at Georgetown). However, the oversized logos and the color schemes didn’t work.

But I liked them a lot more than Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — he told ESPN he hated them.

“Hated them,” Cuban said before the Mavs hosted the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. “I just thought it made our guys look more like a high school wrestling team or a college wrestling team…

“I could have thought of better ways to sell [the short-sleeved jerseys] and a lot of different ways by having them in a casual-wear situation,” Cuban said. “We would have been better off, if we want people to wear them casually, to get the trainers and everybody else to wear them to show them in a realistic setting. So I would have done it a little differently, but we’ll see what happens.”

There were two arguments against these uniforms. I get Cuban’s argument that they didn’t look good and I’ll trust his judgment on marketing over mine.

The other was that they would impact shooters — LeBron James even had talked about players being concerned this would somehow change their shots.

That didn’t happen.

Jared Dubin broke down the numbers at BSports.com and found that the shooting numbers were pretty close to season averages, especially once you accounted for the 10 teams playing and the fact two were day games (in the NBA, day games tend to be sloppy). Two point shooting was down slightly but hook shook shots went in at a much higher rate.

First, only two-point jumper conversion rate went down; three-point field goal percentage was actually up by 0.1 percent yesterday when compared with the rest of the season. Second, the first three games of the Christmas slate featured teams playing without star players. The Chicago Bulls were – as they’ve been for the last few weeks and will be for the rest of the season – missing Derrick Rose. The Brooklyn were without Brook Lopez. The New York Knicks squared off against the Oklahoma City Thunder minus Carmelo Anthony. And the Los Angeles Lakers were once again down Kobe Bryant for their game against the Miami Heat. Having those players would obviously have affected field goal percentage on Christmas day….

Considering all these factors, it seems unlikely that the sleeved jerseys threw shooting performance off by very much, if at all, despite Beno Udrih’s assertions to the contrary. It’s far more likely that the absence of certain star players, along with the simple randomness associated with using such a small sample is behind the slightly lower shooting numbers on Christmas day.

So it wasn’t the shooting, it was just they were ugly.

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.