A Story Suggestion for Henry Abbott

Why not look into whether the Portland Trailblazers medical staff is at all responsible for the career-ending injuries suffered by Greg Oden and Brandon Roy?

Greg’s imbalance was so distinct that I even advised that staff that if he didn’t improve the weaknesses in the short-term and continue some of the rehab-like exercises for the entire season, his career could be at risk.
And you can believe it or not, but the medical staff laughed off my recommendations.



No time for old men

I don’t have the time to break down Henry Abbott’s latest veiled attack on Kobe Bryant, but I will note that his contorted defense of Andrew Bynum’s attitude continues to get funnier and funnier (His exasperation and bad attitude is a good thing! Surely it excuses him coming out for game 3 “not ready” right?!).

I am also very happy that Henry quickly gets a wash of comments from people that see right through his bias and same old arguments. It used to be just a bunch of kneejerk Kobe defenders, but now every Lakers post Abbott writes (still the most popular articles on TrueHoop I’m sure) gets a quick blast of reasoned arguments against.

I guess one thing I’ve learned from Henry Abbott is that harping on the same angle over and over can indeed change people’s minds.

Those videos with Henry Abbott and Scott Raab are definitely worth a watch

Because they demonstrate to you the same feelings I come away with from all of my engagement with Henry Abbott, that he is simply incapable of following the thought process of a conversation from moment-to-moment.

He comes into the interview with a clear agenda, even though it doesn’t seem like he’s really read the book or come away from it with any interesting questions. Meanwhile Scott Raab calls him directly on a number of points and veiled insults, most of which Henry either dodges or backs away from.

Or he picks some strange little wrinkle to argue about, such as when Raab responds to a question saying “millions of sports fans feel this way” and Abbott, to absolutely no rhetorical advantage whatsoever, says “we’re not talking about sports fans, we’re talking about you” which is equivalent to saying “nanny nanny boo boo sloan institute”.

But I’ll leave the most concise critique of Henry Abbott and TrueHoop to Raab himself:

This insistence that you somehow have hold of some truth that I’m just blind to is just lunacy.

A perfect summary of Henry Abbott’s particular blend of arrogance and ignorance.

(I actually forgot about Raab’s book until this series, so thanks to Henry for the pointer, as I purchased the ebook version to play on my Newton. The book itself very clearly declares its agenda in the title (The Whore of Akron), is very clearly set up as one man’s dystopian walk through fantasia and schadenfreude, and not some journalistic, objective enterprise. It’s a fun read if you hate LeBron and love handjobs.)

A little blip about Hero Ball

Just wanted to note here that Henry Abbott has now heard from Jeff Van Gundy and Daryl Morey directly a handful of different reasons why coaches go to iso in clutch situations instead of running set plays, and yet Henry still persists in his opinion. He just keeps shifting his argument, because something in it doesn’t feel right. There must be some reason why Kobe Bryant isn’t as good as people think he is!

NBA Today: David Thorpe on trades, Knicks, hero ball (or: don’t waste your time listening to this podcast)

What a service I provide to you, WAH readers. I’m currently listening to Henry Abbott and David Thorpe on the NBA Today podcast so you don’t have to. I’ll summarize the episode for you.

  • They talk about all the trades. David Thorpe thinks Portland gave up too early in blowing up the team and tanking. Henry tries to convince himself that the Trailblazers are not tanking but perhaps are going to try to retool through free agency. Your favorite NBA team just threw in the towel, buddy. It’s probably a smart move. But that hardworking team that was pretty high in SRS is still giving up on the season. They’re obviously tanking. Accept it.
  • Henry continues to harp on hero ball, trying to cast sideways aspersions on Kobe without saying it.
  • First, he criticizes new Knicks coach Mike Woodson for saying that the late game balls will go through Amare and Carmelo. Thorpe responds by saying the Knicks aren’t even in any close games so it’s basically a media dodge to try to get people to not discuss how New York is just plain bad. Henry ignores this and continues to harp on hero ball. He literally does not even acknowledge Thorpe’s point, just goes right back to his same calcified positions.
  • Henry demonstrates that he doesn’t know anything about the movie business. Henry also doesn’t understand why the Knicks market Amare and Carmelo instead of “floor spacing with Steve Novak”. Which means he doesn’t understand marketing. Or he thinks marketing is the same thing as coaching.
  • They then congratulate themselves on how ESPN is educating basketball fans to be smarter observers of the game. Personally I think most of the work being done in advanced stats is just arming morons like Abbott with a few extra Excel printouts to support their misconceptions.
  • He then reiterates that coaches have to play hero ball because of the alpha nature of their top dogs, using Phil Jackson as an example (and his book). Thorpe responds with an anecdote about Stephon Marbury and how he didn’t want to improve his skills, then uses TIm Duncan, Magic, and Jordan as examples of coachable players who were always looking to improve. I wonder which category Kobe would fall into? (Also, please note again that Phil wrote about Kobe breaking the offense in his book The Last Season, and then re-joined the Lakers to coach the supposedly uncoachable Kobe Bryant, and then they won 2 more championships.)
  • Also, it’s pretty laughable that Abbott is trying to paint Phil Jackson as a coach that couldn’t get what he wanted on the floor. “He couldn’t get his way with his players.” Poor Phil Jackson. Aww. Those mean old players bullied him into winning 11 championships. Sniff.
  • It’s just an accident of the vernacular, but Thorpe almost refers to Tim Thomas as a great player.
  • Some Wizards anecdote takes up like 5 minutes or something. Henry responds by saying “the optics are wrong”. Some days I wish Michael Lewis had never written that book. But you can’t blame Led Zeppelin for Wolfmother, I guess.

Oh, and a random thought: which NBA teams do you know that have won games, and playoff series, through this egalitarian “whoever is open has the best shot” fantasy? I’m just curious which successful teams haven’t revolved around some kind of pecking order?

My favorite part of this podcast was “Ryen Russillo will be back on Monday.”

A few thoughts about Henry Abbott’s “Hero Ball” obsession

Henry posted an interesting list of FG% in crunch time in support of an article once again harping on how Kobe isn’t the closer everyone thinks he is. In that list, the Laker’s late-game field goal percentage was higher than the Thunder, the Blazers, the Suns, the Clippers, and the Bulls.

It’s a shame that Henry wrote what he did (or rather, rewrote or republished). Rather than see that list as a potential window for a more insightful investigation, he put the same axe on the same grindstone and churned away. Whereas I was thinking: How do the Lakers have a better late offense than Durant/Westbrook, the team-oriented Blazers, the unselfish PG-led Suns and Clippers (headed by Chris Paul, the leader of the best crunchtime offense in NBA history or somesuch at New Orleans), and the Bulls?

But what’s even better is he then followed it up with a video of Derrick Rose winning a game by going iso with the last shot. And remember, Rose beat the Lakers on an iso shot over a doubleteam earlier in the season, a fact which went unmentioned in a post where Abbott criticized Kobe for going iso over a doubleteam IN THE VERY SAME GAME.

There are a few thoughts I might think about if I were going to write about the Lakers. Thoughts that might lead to more interesting questions than the same idea that Henry Abbott keeps hitting.

  • There is not a Lakers fan in the world, including me, who doesn’t think Kobe is taking bad shots.
  • The reason for that, and the suggested solutions, are up for debate.
  • Is it possible that things like fatigue, game decisions, usage, and turnovers would be different if Kobe were playing with a competent point guard? Particularly in a new offensive system that, like most NBA offenses except the triangle, needs a PG?
  • Before you go harping on about how wonderfully efficient Gasol and Bynum are, make sure you watch them play. See how often they assert themselves and demand the ball. Note that Bynum described his demeanor in the loss to the Wizards as “loafing”. Is he the next LA alpha male?
  • Did Kobe Bryant’s ballhogging somehow force Andrew Bynum to turn the ball over 7 times against the Wizards?
  • Just because a player shoots 6-11, does it mean he would shoot 12-22? 18 for 33?
  • Where are Henry Abbott’s articles about Kobe when he goes 13-24 against the Kings or 14-23 agains the Heat?
  • Would giving Darius Morris serious minutes really be that much worse than what Fisher and Blake currently bring? (Morris was just sent down to the D-League.)
  • How is Kobe responsible for losing 10 points of the lead against Washington when he was sitting on the bench for the last 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter?
  • Is there a team in the league with worse players in the 4 through 12 slots on the roster?