…This should be the response to anyone who finds it noteworthy that a woman has been hired as a coach (assistant be damned) for an NBA franchise.  Becky Hammon, the new assistant coach for the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, should be congratulated for being selected to the premier coaching staff of sports, not simply because she’s the first female on a sideline not named Violet Palmer or Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.  The fact that this is groundbreaking in 2014 should be appalling – not lauded; women have long proven themselves to possess the acumen to be successful leaders of women and men alike for quite some time (reference Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Oprah Winfrey, Chancellor Angela Merkel or a well-mannered child raised by a single mother in your neighborhood).

Coaching has absolutely nothing to do with ability, and everything to do with mentoring, analyzing and creating opportunities for players on the court.  It is accessing the game and developing methods to succeed at that game.  Becky Hammon stated this herself, “But when it comes to things of the mind, things like coaching, game-planning, coming up with offensive and defensive schemes, there’s no reason why a woman couldn’t be in the mix and shouldn’t be in the mix.”  Mental aptitude in a sports game is not – nor has ever been – gender specific.  Moreover, the NBA has plenty of male coaches who exemplify the adage that “those who can’t do, teach”.  Rick Carlisle, Doc Rivers and former NBA coach Larry Brown – with successful tenures and 4 NBA titles as coach between them – were measurably better drawing up plays from the sidelines than wearing a jersey.  Meanwhile, the struggles of Isaiah Thomas and Michael Jordan as mentor/coach/GM/Owner are in stark contrast to their careers on the court.

The Spurs, with their mix of young and seasoned talent, are the definition of precision basketball.  In 2013-2014, the Spurs boasted – rather did not boast about – just four entries in the top ten for any major statistical category (blocks, blocks per Game, three-point percentage and steals).  As a team, the Spurs shot and assist percentages, combined with their lack of offensive rebounds as well as low number of team fouls solidify that they clearly are the masters of execution and smart play.  Precision like this befits a team that does not have a player with the physical presence of an LBJ, KD or D12, akin to WNBA players who overall lack the physical presence of their male counterparts, even of their own contemporaries.  This is why the women’s game is more fundamentally sound.  This is why Becky Hammon is already prepared to excel; she transitioned from a head smart player to a coach on a team with a similar approach to the game.  Her gender will not be the reason why she fails or succeeds; it’s her ability to understand basketball.  The Spurs have a history of acquiring talent who understand basketball, and this is why sustained success remains in the forecast for the Spurs by adding Becky.

What’s up sports’ fan? It’s ya’ main man Barbershop J here to give you my “winners” for week 4 of the 2013 NFL season. Why do I wait until the fourth week you ask? Because unlike most pundits, I don’t think one can make accurate predictions without having a big enough sampling size. Making predictions at the beginning of a season may work for some, but not for those who pride themselves on getting it right the first time! Thursday night’s match up between the 49ers and Rams was already a done deal at the time these predictions were made. So, without further ado, here they are.

(1) Ravens @ Bills: While I think E.J.Manuel has the poise and moxy to be an NFL starting QB, he is still a rookie. And like all rookies that make their way to the NFL, Manuel must take his lumps before before blossoming into a bona fide QB. Ravens in a close one.

(2) Bengals @ Browns: Dalton & Co. are no slouches by any stretch. I get the feeling though that the Browns may have found their starting QB in Hoyer. Regardless, it’s high time the Browns start winning heir home games, and doing so against division opponents; Browns are 21-60 vs. the division since 99′. That has to change if fans are to stop with skepticism and start taking them seriously. Home cookin’ prevails, Browns by 3

(3) Bears @ Lions: We know what to expect from Stafford/Megatron, but Lions running game is paltry without Bush. On the other hand, I didn’t expect the Bears to be this good so early after losing Lovie and Urlacher. Bears’ D is still Super Bowl caliber, and Cutler to Marshall just may be enough to see them through. Bears by 7

(4) Seahawks @ Texans: Tate wants out Foster had choice words for the NCAA, and Schaub looks ordinary. Seahawks can beat anybody, anywhere, anytime; Lynch’s fumble inside the 5-yd line of the Divisional rd against Falcons cost them — I believe– a Super Bowl appearance last year. Seahawks won’t make the same mistake twice. Seahawks by 10

(5) Colts @ Jaguars: On the Jags side of thing’s, where’s Tim Tebow when you need him? Jones-Drew has got to be boiling in his own stew. Luck and Co. beat Frisco in Frisco. Who the he!@ ya’ think I’m pickin! Colts’ in a yawner.

(6) Giants @ Chiefs: Still hard to imagine the Giants being 0-3; nt so much when you see them play. Chiefs’ are probably one of the most underrated teams’ in the league this season. Don’t be surprised if Andy’s boys get to the dance this year. Chiefs’ by 6

(7) Steelers @ Vikings: Boy oh boy, this battle between 0-3’s is a hard one to call. How often do you hear o-fer with either of the two? Especially the Steel Curtain! I’ll let you decide… Pick em’.

(8) Cardinals @ Buccaneers: Josh Freeman is starting to look like a bust, and a brat; not a good combination for a guy who wants out and another NFL QB job. Dissention and Dysfunction are the Bucs'; Arians’ will have Cardinals’ more focused and fed up with losing. Cardinals’ by 3 (or more).

(9) Jets @ Titans: Say what you will about the Jets, but New Yorkers’ (in general) seem to have a resiliency when ever someone tells them that they can’t. Jets’ embody that so far this season. Titans’ play good ole’ fashion football from the both sides of the trenches. Whoever wins this matchup could very well end up with an AFC Wildcard. Jets or Titans by…

(10) Eagles @ Broncos: Welcome to the NFL Chip! no matter how many plays you run, or how fast you are, NFL defensive players hit hard enough to slow down any type of gimmick; so my friend, you’re gonna have to try again. Peyton is playing this season like he’s mad about what happened to the Broncos’ in their lose to the Ravens last year;- AT HOME! Where I’m from we call that man on a mission. This version of the Broncos’ is darn good. Super Bowl good. Broncos by a spanking!

(11) Redskins @ Raiders: No need to be RGIII drama redundant; Skins’ finally get of the snide. Raiders’ are an accident waiting to happen. Although at home, I’d be surprised if Raiders pulled this one out. Redskins’ by 7

(12) Cowboys @ Chargers: Jerry might finally have a team to validate the cost of building “Jerry’s World.” Dez Bryant is the real deal, and Romo doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to mess it up like usual. Redgular season is not the Boys’ problem; it’s the playoffs I’m waiting to see. Rivers is overrated; can’t blame Norv for what is starting to feel like yet again, another season down the drain. Boys’ get r’ done– by 7

(Pats @ Falcons: Despite throwing the ball to Larry, Curly, and Moe, Brady continues to prove why he is one of the best (ever?) and a passing surgeon to boot. Falcons lost a tough one to Dolphins late, and their defense is susceptible on the edges. That being said, Matty Ice may have just enough to beat Tom in the dome. Falcons by 3

(13) Dlphins @ Saints: Cameron Wake’s absence could be a key in this duel at the dome. Phins young talent is playing well and could challenge Patriots for division crown, but Brees and Payton are hard to over come down in the Bayou. Who Would’ve thought that Rob Ryan could actually coach a top ten defense? Doplhins in a stunner… by 3

Well, those are my week 4 winners. If you disagree or think you can do better, e-mail theshopreport@yahoo.com and voice your displeasure!! Until next time…

D. Gulley for TheShopReport –

There was a familiarity in what I experienced on Saturday night’s boxing pay-per-view and the WWE event that followed on Sunday.  The familiarity isn’t in the price-tag (the WWE event was cheaper by around twenty dollars – when, if ever could one say that about a WWE event?), but in the culmination of events that led through the conclusion of the bouts – Mayweather vs. ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Randy “The Viper” Orton vs. Daniel Bryan.  It was after about round 4 that I realized, “I’ve seen this before”; and based on the current state of affairs in boxing, I’m very likely to see this at least another 4 times (the remaining obligation of Mayweather’s fight deal with Showtime).

Mayweather being Mayweather  – a worked-shoot

In pro-wrestling lingo, a work is an arranged event presented as if it were in fact real.  In contrast, a shoot is an event that is truly authentic.  For casual and semi-informed wrestling fans, think of a typical back stage argument as a work and the “Infamous Incident in Montreal” that occurred at the 1997 Survivor Series as a shoot (arguably the most famous shoot ever).  A worked-shoot is a hybrid of those events, whereas elements both real and arranged are combined.  Mayweather does a masterful job of presenting all three facets through the span duration of the All-Access episodes leading up to the fight.  ‘Money’ Mayweather performs the work – trash talking his opponent during his training.  Floyd Mayweather performs the shoot – speaking candidly about how De La Hoya’s blueprint has never delivered a victory to anyone he offered it to, and defending his lavish lifestyle as a celebration of hard work and dedication to boxing and not the pursuit of nefarious ventures (no argument here).  Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather performs the worked shoot – showcasing the shopping spree for the ladies of ‘The Money Team’ (TMT), and the shopping spree for his daughter in nearly equal time.  It would appear as if Floyd resigns himself to knowing that he’s the heel (wrestling term for bad guy) of boxing even if he’s the featured attraction.  This reminds me of a guy named Paul Levesque (more on him later).

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – is this his moment?

Young, strong, fast, powerful, determined, hungry are just six words to describe the upstart challenger.  At just 23 he was a prime formidable challenge for a still great – and aging – 36 year old Mayweather.  In my analysis, Alvarez posed a greater threat to win than Miguel Cotto before him.  Alvarez has a similar fighting style to Cotto – which clearly gave Mayweather more trouble than anyone in recent memory – and unlike Cotto, he was only partially battle-tested but yet not war-weary.  A photogenic face with a personality that appears in stark contrast to the champion makes it him a better face (aka babyface, wrestling term for good guy) than WWE’s Daniel Bryan compared to Randy Orton.  A look at the trail of destruction that Canelo left (e.g. the punishment he delivered to Austin Trout in April) is a solid case that Mayweather’s undefeated streak was near its long and illustrious end.

The Direct Link – The World Awaits & WrestleMania XXIV –

The World Awaits – Mayweather’s 2007 (not-so-surprising but lackluster) victory over Oscar De La Hoya – wasn’t Money’s (then nick-named as Pretty Boy) first main event, but it was arguably his first significant headliner.  To clarify by comparison of pro wrestling, there’s a distinction between the main event of WWE Raw (weekly), compared to Night of Champions (monthly pay-per-view) moreover compared to headlining WrestleMania (the preeminent pay-per-view).  The Mayweather fights against Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales were compared to Raw, his Night of Champions Moments were vs. Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti, and The World Awaits was Mayweather’s first WrestleMania.  There was significant build up to this fight, the constant disclosure about the purse of the fighters, the first incarnation of a 4 part mini-series leading up to a fight, and the beginnings of ‘Money’ Mayweather – the worked shoot.  However, during the promo to The World Awaits, something went awry.  The main idea of the promotion is that the case for both fighters winning is supposed to be made, the ambiguity of the finish should be ever-present; not the logical winner.  The little doubt that I had of a Mayweather victory prior to the promotion was completely gone before fight night.  It could’ve been due to De La Hoya who has historically has trouble with faster (or better opponents) like Hopkins, Mosley and Felix Sturm [but I digress].  It could have been due to actions of Floyd Mayweather Sr. – Oscar De La Hoya’s former trainer – that led to De La Hoya choosing Freddie Roach for this bout.  This situation gave a the heel (wrestling term for bad guy) a sympathetic element – which was good for family but horrible for promotions.  On a minor note, Mayweather’s claims (later somewhat substantiated) on De La Hoya’s character also aided in sabotaging the contrast of character which was a foundational element of interest in the fight.  Mayweather would learn quite a bit from these missteps by working his match against WWE superstar ‘The Big Show’ in WrestleMania XXIV in 2008.  A rarity in crossover matches that feature athletes from other sports, Mayweather actually played the heel against the massively larger seven foot, four hundred pound pro wrestler.  “Money” Mayweather was by now fully defined – the arrogance, swagger, dedication and preparation that made him boxing’s biggest attraction crossed over rather convincingly to the world of sports entertainment.  Working with the talent of WWE, primarily Triple-H on how to sell a match, particularly the building of a match paid off well.  Let me note, the match itself was not that great, but the building of the match was remarkable.  Mayweather and WrestleMania XXIV is an often overlooked event that foreshadows the discontent that even some Mayweather fans have with the era’s greatest fighter.

Throw Some Game Into the Money

“Triple-H” or “The Game” (the Paul Levesque guy mentioned earlier) is name likely to be exclaimed from the mouths of anyone in awe of seeing WWE’s current COO accompany Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather to the ring in 2009 vs. Juan Manuel Marquez and 2012 vs. Miguel Cotto.  The Game has built quite a legacy for himself from his in and out of ring moves (his wife is the daughter of WWE owner Vince McMahon).  Paul Levesque has quite a bit of creative control behind his Triple-H character and other talent in the WWE.  Most significantly, Paul has a keen awareness of the perception of both Triple-H (the character) and Paul Levesque (the person) as a heel and has made a career of using this to his advantage.  Interestingly enough, Mayweather’s post fight scuffle with Shane Mosley occurred after the Marquez fight where Triple-H first accompanied Mayweather to the ring.  Since this incident, I argue that Mayweather’s pre-fight promotions have been measurably better, each eclipsing the former, and the only missteps have been the chosen opponents (more on that later).  Mayweather stays consistent in making sure that he’s the heel of the match, and the opponents are viewed as the face.  Like his boxing prowess, he’s turned a flaw in the “Money” character into a strength of that very character.  The sympathy for repairing an estranged relationship with Floyd Sr. has evolved into a repaired relationship where Floyd Sr.’s trash-talking has only helped to further push “Money” Mayweather has a heel.  This is akin to the disclosure of the budding romance and eventual marriage of Stephanie McMahon to Paul Levesque (Triple-H) during a time when Triple-H was involved in a feud with a tyrannical owner – and father-in-law – Vince K. McMahon.  The Levesque-McMahon family has been able to work the relationship into its current state where COO Triple-H and his wife are the heavy-handed, manipulative, heels of the company.

All Will be Revealed – Why am I Surprised?

Of all that I knew and have known, I didn’t connect the dots until the fourth round of the Mayweather-Alvarez fight.  Once it became apparent that Alvarez was not going to get around the straight left jab of Mayweather, and Alvarez’ boyish haircut would tell the tale by waving every time he was hit, I felt a sense of Déjà vu.  This sense of Déjà vu that made me think back to this year’s WrestleMania XXIX where The Undertaker defeated CM Punk to extend his undefeated streak at WrestleMania to 21-0.  My logic and decades of following the sport (such as it is) of wrestling dictated to me that I knew the result before the match began; The Undertaker would win.  Nonetheless, the match was a capstone of masterful promotion that captivated an audience by making the best case that each competitor could win the match; CM Punk, the era’s longest reigning WWE Champion vs. The Undertaker  a former WWE Champion that has always found a way to win at WrestleMania, if nowhere else.  The idea of CM Punk winning defied and compelled me against my logic, and I bought in (and paid $59.95 for it).  And in the fourth round of Mayweather-Alvarez, I found the familiar element; I realized that I was being duped into believing that Alvarez posed a serious threat to dethrone a fighter of Mayweather’s skill much like believing that CM Punk would be able to end the Undertaker’s legacy when he has not matured into his own.  Like The Undertakers streak, the product of a decades-long push (wrestling term for a scheduled program/story), Mayweather’s undefeated record is one worthy of history books.  The difference is that Undertaker – the sports entertainment athlete – appears to have faced greater tests than Mayweather – the combat sport prize-fighter.  And this is unfortunate for Mayweather.  He has the utmost respect for his profession and his work ethic defines as such.  I shall clarify, as I am encroaching on making an argument that Mayweather’s fights have been somehow fixed, that I do not suggest that Canelo and/or any of Mayweather’s preceding opponents took a dive.  I firmly believe that Mayweather, Alvarez or any of the aforementioned boxers in this piece have too much self-respect to force a conclusion to a match.  I submit that the field of competition in professional boxing is incredibly fragile, even far weaker than the field of WWE champion candidates.  This is the reason why Alvarez and before him Robert Guerrero, and before him Victor Ortiz – but not Miguel Cotto – have all disappointed; they were never a match for Mayweather.  Most smart marks (pro wrestling term for fans who allegedly have sense of the inner-workings of the enterprise) of boxing realize this, and this is why they rather look at what could’ve been compared to what actually was.  The smart marks of boxing state that Mayweather should’ve fought Cotto prior to Cotto’s controversial wars with Antonio Margarito, or perhaps should’ve given Paul Williams a shot. More persistently, the echoes of the Filipino sensation-turned-politician-who-must-not-be-named still remain, however faint, considering that his most recent year proves that he has lost any advantage to pose a threat to Mayweather.

The Ultimate Choice

Ultimately, Mayweather dictates his destiny, and deservedly so.  Like it or not, he’s undefeated, unblemished, and has never been knocked down as a professional.  He has the power and notoriety in the sport unmatched by any other active fighter.  With this power, he can stay the current course, selecting the fighters that showcase Mayweather’s best talents rather than their own.  He can also force and influence the type of change by an athlete most recently expressed in 2010’s infamous “Decision” that changed the landscape of franchise building and contract negotiations in the NBA.  Mayweather has accomplished a great deal in his career and his willingness to do things by Mayweather’s own terms is understood and respected.  Though, his accelerated work rate in this stage of his career is a sign that he does acknowledge the murmurs of his fans and detractors.  It is within Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather’s ability to create the type of fights with challengers that truly possess the skill to give Mayweather the challenge he deserves.  Otherwise, I will continue to have more belief that an arranged decision in a WWE match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton is less certain than the outcome of the next fight between Mayweather and his next opponent.

Playoff time is here, and the West is the best when it comes to matchups fans really want to see. Seeds are in parenthesis.

(1) Oklahoma City vs.(8) Houston: Thunder have a dynamic 1-2 punch in Durant and Westbrook. Problem is, Westbrook’s style of play can be asymmetrical to the offensive flow. Instead of working with K.D., Westbrook seems to work against him. The Rockets would win this series if they played any kind of D! Because they don’t, OKC wins 4-2.

(2) San Antonio vs.(7) L.A. Lakers: This one is hard to call believe it or not. Both Teams are playoff savy and experienced. It doesn’t matter that the Lakers roster has not been together for a long time, or that the Spurs are dealing with a rash of recent injuries as of late. This is a pick em’ series all day long.

(3) Denver vs.(6) Golden State: Denver was a league best 38-3 at home! Not having Galinari put a severe dent in their attempt to go all the way, but that won’t be a problem against the Warriors. Golden State has improved significantly on both ends of the floor under coach Mark Jackson and have one of the league’s most dangerous player’s in Curry. It’ll take more than that to win this series. Denver wins 4-2 in a series that will be played better than the end result.

(4) L.A. Clippers vs.(5) Memphis: Although the Griz’ have been playing well in the absence of Rudy Gay, I still think at some point it will come back to haunt them. Slow it down is the recipe for the Grizzlies. The Clippers outside shooting has been up and down this season, and the interior is inferior to the Griz’ despite Blake Griffin. Memphis wins 4-3; they better not make a fool out of me.

Well, that’s a wrap for this year’s predictions… Let the Madness begin!!

Now that both the East and West contestants of what is the 2013 NBA Playoffs are set, here’s my take on the winners/losers of each matchup starting with the East. Seeds are in parenthesis.

(1) Miami vs. (8) Milwaukee: LeBron (DNP), Wade (DNP), and Bosh (DNP); Miami still wins 4-0. The Heat have 3 of the Olympic starting 5; Bucks have Jennings, Ellis, and a bunch of no names. The Heat should have been granted a first-round bye. That’s how horrible this series will most likely turn out.

(2) New York vs. (7) Boston: The Celtics should not be underestimated because of their age. Doc Rivers knows all to well – as do his players- what playoff basketball is all about. Only the Spurs Popovich is better at getting the most out of his squad. As long as health is not an achilles heel, Boston has more than a puncher’s chance of winning this series. The Knicks have 2 of the league’s premier shooters in Melo and Smith, but need Chandler to balance everything out. Sometimes when the shots are not fallin, the Knicks get caught holding the ball to long and standing around. The lack of ball movement in halfcourt sets will be their undoing and exactly what the doctor ordered for the Celtics. The Knicks should win; I won’t be shocked if they don’t.

(3) Indiana vs. (6) Atlanta: Pacers are to inconsistent; one minute they look as though they could beat anybody, and then turn around and look as though couldn’t compete with the recently crowned state champ Mentor Cardinals. Hibbert’s production is critical to the Pacers advancing to the next round. 8 points and 5 rebound type numbers will not get it done. Horford and Smith can tip the scales in favor of the Hawks if Josh stops poutin’ and start playin’ up to his ability. Al will bring it every night; will Smith help him out? Indiana wins 4-3 by default.

(4) Brooklyn vs. (5) Chicago: Lopez, Johnson, and Williams make up a nice core for the Nets, but Carlesimo and inexperience may count against them in the end. The Bulls are battle tested like no other. Chicago needs to only put points on the board; everything else will take care of itself. Rose’s return (off the bench) would be a huge bonus. Bulls win this series 4-2 on grit alone.

Of all the playoff teams’ I’ve previewed up to this point, the Boston Celtics are by far the one playoff squad that is surrounded by a myriad of questions. Can Pierce and Garnett pull it together for one more championship run? Will they survive a playoff series without the playoff- walking triple-double- Rondo? Are Avery Bradley’s shoulder seperations a thing of the past? I’m not sure what the answers to these questions are, and I may never know if the Celtics get handed a first-round exit ticket by the Knicks, but I do know one thing: no matter who’s name is on the back of the jersey at the time, putting on that Celtics uniform has enabled all those who wear it to perform. How else would you explain 17 championships?

Doc Rivers is second only to Greg Popovich when it comes to being a complete coach. As has been mentioned before with the likes of Jerry Sloan, both Pop and Rivers were former players who’s teams’ seem to have taken on the identity of each. Despite the rash of injuries that have befallen the Celtics this season, Doc has managed to keep his troops moving forward towards another possible championship run that many think the Celtics are too old to pull off. Never underestimate the heart of a champion; did not the tortise beat the hare? This team’s horses may have lost some it’s Kentucky Derby speed, but their high playoff basketball I.Q. more than makes up for that.

The Celtics stack up pretty modestly against the rest of the league from a statistical standpoint, but we all know know numbers never tell the whole story when it comes to the tenants at T.D. Bank North. They rank 11th in points allowed (96.5), and 18th in points scored (96.6). I’d be worried if these numbers were attached to the Atlanta Hawks because of their style of play. In the case of the Celtics these are grind it out numbers, and grind it out is what Boston does best; slow you down and be physical in the process. Because of this fact, I believe the first-round matchup against the Knicks is a toss up.

Yes, Melo and J.R. Smith are two of the game’s hottest shooters who have an uncanny ability to shoot the three. However, without an inside presence to compliment what the Knicks can do from the perimeter, the Celtics win this series. We all saw what happend to the Thunder in last last year’s Finals. Tyson Chandler is the key element for both teams in this series. The Knicks need him to balance out their half court offense, and the Celtics need his absence in order for their 29th league rank rebounding position to not rear it’s ugly head. Last but not least, the Celtics do a much better job of moving the ball in the halfcourt offense than do the Knicks.

With the playoffs set to start about a week from now, this is the only Eastern conf. matchup I look forward to seeing. The Celtics D vs. the Knicks love for the 3… Win or go home!

At 37 wins and 43 losses, the Milwaukee Bucks having the 8th seed in this year’s playoffs is more formality than deservingly. NBA rules say that there must be 8 teams’ in both conferences to make the season ending tournament. Because the Sixers, Cavs, Pistons, Raptors, Wizards, Magic, and Bobcats are all so bad, the Bucks get a free pass. How does a team with a losing record make the playoffs at all? Even from a statistical standpoint I can’t figure out how to make a case for the Bucks that would give them any chance against the Heat in a first round matchup. This team is 20th in points allowed (100.4/per) and 12th in points for (98.8/per); what chance do the Bucks have realistically against any team if they can’t score enough, and can’t stop the other team from scoring too many? Not to mention a league rank 10th in the turnover dept. The Heat should be allowed a first round by instead of having to play the Bucks; the Bucks are not worthy of being called a basketball team let alone a playoff team.

The Bucks do have 5 players’ who average double digits in points per; Monta Ellis (19.2), Brandon Jennings (17.6), Ersan Ilyasova (13.2), J.J. Redick (12.0), and Mike Dunleavy (10.4) can all put the ball in the basket, but it all seems to be perimeter oriented. At times Jennings and Ellis will put the ball on the floor and get to the basket, but of the five aforementioned, Jennings, Ilyasova, and Dunleavy shoot better than 36% from the three. Can’t win in the playoffs being to jumpshot heavy; especially when those shots are long three’s. Long jumpshots lead to long misses and fastbreak oppportunities for the opposition. The Heat will feast on any and all runouts going the other way.

Despite the no chance at all proclamation I put forth when the Bucks play the Heat, there is one area for this Buck team that is worthy of mention and is a mandatory criterion for playoff basketball- offensive rebounding. It makes no sense to me how this team is ranked number 2 in both offensive (1033) and defensive (2475) rebounds with 43 losses on the season. Whether you agree with me or not, there is a direct correlation between the two. Teams’ who rebound the ball well -especially offensive- usually have a winning record.

Stern should insitute an NBA rule that disallows a team to make the playoffs if said team has a below .500 overall record. If only for this season, Stern should allow the loser of the 8th spot in the Western conference to take the place of the winner of the 8th spot in the East. I guarantee the Lakers’ or Jazz would make for a better series against the Heat than Milwaukee. Instead of playing to their strength that is rebounding and punishing the Heat on the inside, the Bucks will settle for jumpshots on the outside. Playing harder and not smarter is a recipe for disaster; a disaster that is the Milwaukee Bucks.