The Best and Worst Franchises in the NBA

The Best Franchise in the NBA: San Antonio Spurs

- 4 NBA Championships (since 1999)

- 11 Division Titles (since 1999)

- 17 consecutive playoff appearances

- Above .500 in 24 of last 25 seasons.

The Spurs are always a factor deep into the playoffs, they consistently win 55+ games a season, and are led by one of the NBA’s all-time greatest coaches… but you’ll very rarely see them as someone’s preseason pick to win the title. The Spurs don’t have the pizzazz, the big-free agent signing, or the guy that will drop 35+ on any given night. San Antonio has made the most out of the draft, has kept its core intact, and has kept the same man in charge for the last 18 years.  By comparison, the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA right now is Erik Speolstra, who was hired by the Heat 6 years ago.

Tim Duncan, 3-time Finals MVP and 14x All-Star

The team’s general manager is R.C. Buford, who was hired as head scout for the team in 1994 by then-GM Greg Popovich. Two years later, Popovich fired Spurs head coach Bob Hill and named himself coach. Injuries decimated the Spurs roster that season and they won only 20 games. The silver lining of that situation was a #1 pick in the NBA draft, which they used on a lanky power forward out of Wake Forest – Tim Duncan. The only other time the Spurs had a #1 pick was in 1987, which was used to draft Hall of Famer David Robinson. Popovich also had hugely successful drafts after taking over as head coach, picking up Tony Parker with the 28th pick of the 2001 draft, as well as Manu Ginobili with the second-to-last pick in 1999. Buford became general manager in 2002, and continued the Spurs penchant for drafting foreign players. The best move thus far since Buford took over was likely the draft-day trade for Kawhi Leonard, who has become one of the up-and-coming stars in the NBA.

The Spurs were mere seconds away from a fifth NBA title last season, and they will go into the 2014 playoffs as the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Label the Spurs boring, call them old, say they won’t do it again – and then watch them win another 60+ games. Duncan will go down as one of the game’s greatest players, Popovich as one of the game’s greatest coaches, and the entire team as one of the NBA’s best dynasties, and it’s because the made the most out of every opportunity. The same can’t be said for the next ball club I’ll discuss.

The Worst Franchise in the NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves

- Losing record each of the last 8 seasons

- Averaged only 22 wins from 2007-2013

- Worst record in Western Conference in 2009-10 (15-67)

- Worst record in NBA in 2010-11 (17-65)

- Lost in first round of playoffs every year for 7 consecutive seasons (1997-2003)

The Timberwolves were once a solid team, reaching the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons culminating in a #1 seed in the 2004 playoffs. That season ended in a 4-2 loss in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers, and Minnesota hasn’t been back to the playoffs since. A combination of terrible drafts, mismanagement of coaches, and a bevy of other bad choices by general manager David Kahn put the T’Wolves in the midst of a 10-year postseason dry spell – the fourth longest in NBA history and longest current active streak.

Minnesota’s best management move was in 1995, when they took high school big man Kevin Garnett with the #5 overall pick. Garnett went on to win an MVP in Minnesota, as well as countless of other accolades. The problem was that GM Kevin McHale couldn’t seem to find any pieces to put around him. McHale made a secret deal with free agent Joe Smith to circumvent salary cap rules, and the Wolves were subsequently stripped of their next five first-round draft picks (later reduced to three). While Minnesota found some success with Flip Saunders at the helm, McHale fired him during the 2005 season, which is the last time Minnesota had a winning record.

McHale’s backroom dealing damaged Minnesota for the long haul

Garnett, who at the time had spent more seasons with one team than any other active player (12), was eventually traded to the Celtics for five players and two draft picks. Garnett went on to win a championship with the Celtics and the T’Wolves continued to fall down the standings in the years to come. The only player Minnesota got back that was of any use was Al Jefferson, who was eventually traded to the Jazz.

While the Garnett deal is the most high-profile trade Minnesota ever made , it’s the moves the Timberwolves front office has made over the last five years that were the most damaging. David Kahn was hired in 2009, and in his first draft used the first three of Minnesota’s four first-round picks on point guards. Ricky Rubio was picked #5 overall, but decided to continue playing in Spain for the next two years. Jonny Flynn was selected #6 overall and played in Minnesota for only two seasons before being traded to Houston, and now currently plays in Australia. The point guard that was picked immediately after Rubio and Flynn:  Stephen Curry.

The bad draft picks continued with drafting Wesley Johnson #4 overall in 2010, who played for the Wolves for only two seasons before being traded to the Suns. The next year, Minnesota drafted Derrick Williams out of Arizona with the #2 overall pick. Williams was also traded after two seasons. With all the bad decisions on draft day, the worst move still might be refusing to offer Kevin Love a max-year deal.  Love, one of Minnesota’s few success stories, has become one of the best players in the NBA. Kahn refused to extend Love’s deal to five years, instead giving the max deal to Rubio. Now Love will likely leave for greener pastures at the end of the 2014-15 season, likely leaving Minnesota to fall back down into the cellar of the Western Conference.

Today Minnesota sits one win away from its first .500 season since 2005. Rick Adelman has done a decent job as head coach, but with both he and Love likely departing soon, the Wolves might have missed their small window at a playoff run. If Love does head off to bigger and better things after next season, Minnesota might just break that 14-year postseason drought record after all.

Oh, and Darko Miličić.

Rangers Opening Day As Told by Twitter

It was an unusual Opening Day for the Rangers, with multiple players out with injuries, including Cy Young finalist Yu Darvish. Despite a heart-breaking loss after coming back from a six-run deficit, Rangers fans were some of the loudest on Twitter during Opening Day, logging an impressive 7,082 tweets with the hashtag #RangersOpeningDay in just 24 hours.

We’ve gathered and analyzed more than 30,000 OpeningDay tweets to identify the top hashtags, conversations, and people leading discussing around the Rangers for Opening Day 2014.

Top Hashtags
#RangersOpeningDay, #Texas Rangers, #GoRangers

Top  Conversations & Breakdown

  • Opening Day statue incident (23% of Tweets)
  • Texas Rangers give up Opening Day record for runs (17%)
  • Major players being out & Tanner Scheppers starting as pitcher (10%)
  • Texas Rangers sell out of “Bacon on a stick” at Opening Day (7%)

Top 10 Tweeters

@hannahbaugh

@hannahbaugh - Small town girl. 22. SOSU Senior. Hopeless Romantic. Baseball is my love. Life-long Texas Rangers fan. Texas Forever.

@TexRangersFan34@TexRangersFan34 – Texas Rangers Baseball since 1994, Sons of Anarchy, SNL, The League, Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer, sarcasm, screenshots #RangersAfterDark

@espn_durrett@espn_durrett - Writer and blogger covering Texas Rangers and other sports at ESPN Dallas. Host of Turf Talk with Cowboys CB Mo Claiborne on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

@lmweatherall@lmweatherall - Lifetime Texas Rangers fan who is misplaced in CA. Staff Writer for Nolan Writin’.com. I love the Aggies, Nolan Ryan and the Great State of TEXAS.

@drewdavison@drewdavison – Cover the Texas Rangers for the @startelegram, along with Big 12 hoops and Texas Motor Speedway.

@dwcash159@dwcash159 – Long-time Rangers fan and blogger. You can listen to Ben Dieter and me on the Ranger Report weekly on BTR. Co-Editor for Nolan Writin

FSSWGirls@FSSWGirls – FOX Sports Southwest Girls, Kaime and Liddy, are Fan Ambassadors for #Rangers, #Stars, #Mavs, #Cowboys, #Texans, #Big12, #TMS

@davysee9too@davysee9too – DJ to my own party. The best diamonds are the ones we play on. Everything’s bigger in Texas. Rangers correspondent for The MLB Talk 101. ΔΑΩ 81.

@Tx_Baseball_Fan@Tx_Baseball_Fan – I love baseball & I will live-tweet most Ranger games. Also I’m not even gonna pretend I’m not obsessed w some MLB catchers & Mike Napoli.

@JeffWilson_FWST@JeffWilson_FWST – Covers the Texas Rangers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Monster Squared

The Monster Single Cover

The Monster Single Cover

When I first posted about the Monster Tour, there was not exactly a bonanza of information available. Well, now I’ve got more info than you can shake a burning map at. Not only have dates and venues been announced for the promised three cities, demand for the shows was so strong that additional shows were added.

Eminem and Rihanna will be playing 2 shows each at the Rose Bowl, MetLife Stadium, and Comerica Park this August. Sales in Detroit have been particularly strong for the home town hero.

2014 Monster Tour Schedule:

  • Aug. 7 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
  • Aug. 8 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
  • Aug. 16 – MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • Aug. 17 –MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • Aug. 23 – Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
  • Aug. 23 – Comerica Park, Detroit, MI

Pick up tickets for the Monster Tour on the Eminem schedule page.

Here’s the latest Rihanna video, “What Now” from the Unapologetic album. Speaking of unapologetic, I resent the implication that doing another post about the tour has anything to do with the need to carefully screen Rihanna videos for content. Besides, screening Eminem videos for content is the very definition of playing a losing game.

I’d say this is the one where the video budget ran out. Granted, there are worse ways to spend 4 minutes and 8 seconds than watching Rihanna lip sync in a plain white room, sometimes with the lights off. Arty use of stock footage at the end didn’t really do much to enhance the experience.

The Week in TicketCity Search – Rounding up the Top 10

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Mar. 10th
Previous
Week
Event
Searched
1 4 Houston Rodeo
2 2 WWE
3 - Lana Del Rey
4 - Maroon 5
5 3 One Direction
6 - World Cup
7 5 Luke Bryan
8 8 ACC Tournament
9 - Bruno Mars
10 6 Tool

The Houston Rodeo takes the top this week. The rodeo is officially underway, and fans have until the 23rd to see some of the biggest shows in Texas over the next couple weeks. Likewise in Texas, the WWE will be bouncing around the state next week, including a show here in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center tomorrow night.

Lana Del Rey returns to the countdown at #3 with the announcement of a longer US tour. She will be helping concertgoers with sleeping disorders with 16 new dates all over the country.

Maroon 5′s Houston Rodeo show didn’t quite achieve the same demand that Usher enjoyed last week, but it got them to #4.

In at #6 is the thing that’s a huge deal in pretty much every other country but the United States, the World Cup. Sunny Brazil hosts this year’s outing. The kicking of balls begins this June, but this is definitely one to shop for early, as Brazil is a little harder to get to than the average Lakers game. Travel packages anyone?

Luke Bryan hangs onto #7 and the ACC Tournament stays put at #8. Bruno Mars’ tour rolls on, and back to the countdown, while Tool’s brief climb to sixth place ends where it began, back at #10.

So, Lizzy’s back. Let’s see… title track to last’s year’s album, Born to Die. The new one, Ultraviolence, isn’t out yet but the tour announcement suggests it is probably on the way soon. I’m sure the title track is a sold choice, just have to make it through the video. Hmm, she’s sitting down, with tigers. Wow, sounds like she’s not really updated that torch-song tempo of old. I’m sure things will… <yawn> …pick up soon. Any second… zzz now… ZzzzzzZZZZZZZ….

2014 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Venues and Seating Charts

Last year, Florida Gulf Coast were the talk of the Regionals

 

48 games, 4 days, and 46 teams later the NCAA Tournament Bracket has been chiseled down to 16 teams. This phase of the tournament has become recognizable in more ways than one and whether you call it the Regionals or the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, one thing is undeniable, this is the most exciting part of the NCAA Tournament.

The 2014 West Regionals will head to Anaheim, California on March 27 where the Honda Center awaits the arrival of the 4 best of the west. Normally home to the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL, the Honda Center provides a great 360 view of the entire arena from nearly every seat. The levels of the Honda Center include the floor, Plaza (200’s), Premium (300’s), and the Terrace (400’s). Due to the ticket demand of the Regionals the window of getting into these games under $100 closes pretty fast. $100-$200 will get you into the Terrace level which is not a bad seat by any means, especially at the Honda Center. Beyond that you’re looking at a couple hundred per ticket.

HondaCenter-Basketball1000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memphis, Tennessee’s FedEx Forum will bring some southern hospitality to the tournament with the South Regionals. The FedEx Forum is another one of those ideal basketball venues, as its home to the Memphis Grizzlies. While the basketball team has seen better years, few have seen better venues. The circular video screen above center court gives every seas a look at replays, contests, and game footage. The surplus of seats also drives some of the ticket prices down getting you in the Terrace level for around $100 (plus or minus) depending on the section area. The corners are you’re cheapest option on every level and if you’re really looking to get up close the plaza sideline sections 103-107 will get you right behind the players’ bench at $400+ a pop.

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As it does for most things “Midwest” related, Indianapolis, Indiana will host the Midwest Regionals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Perhaps one of the most unique setups of the tournament, Lucas Oil Stadium is so massive it only has to utilize half of its capacity to accommodate for the tournament. The transformation will take over an end zone and provide several floor sections surrounding the court. These floor sections will be the only seating changes to the venue, the remaining sections will continue on as the 100 – 600 level sections. For a football game the 600 level is high but reasonable when looking at a 100 yard field. This metric doesn’t quite transfer over to basketball, which is probably why seats in the 600’s are so cheap. Along with the 600 level, the 500 level seats, though cheap, are really high up for a basketball game. You can still find some good seats in the 300 – 400 levels from anywhere to $100 to $180, and these are a bit more reasonable when it comes to viewing the games. I would guess that the 300 – 400 level is approximately where anyone of the other basketball specific arenas would measure up to at their highest section. The 100 and 200 levels are not outrageously priced as you can get into some high row 100 seats for just under $200. These seats would probably give you the best value to seat ratio for this particular stadium.

LucasOilStadium-NCAABasketball1000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are few venues I would say are a must attend when the NCAA Tournament strolls through but one that for sure makes that list is MSG, and that’s just where the East Regionals are headed. What better way to watch the most prestigious basketball tournament than in a venue that carries the same stature. The Madison Square Garden has been a stage for some of the most exciting and historic basketball games of all time. With a capacity just under 20,000 MSG has a lot of room and knows how to get the most out of every seat, including the money out of the occupant’s wallet. The NCAA Tournament at MSG is not for the frugal minded because they are some pricy tickets, and well worth the money to experience an event like this. At the tip top of MSG is the Bridges, Balconies, and Lounges, the 300’s sections. For the most part this is going to be your cheapest way into the venue for the games and that price starts at close to $200. The price continues on from there as you get closer to the court with the 400 sections, 100 – 200 corners, baselines, and sidelines, and then there’s the floor or where Spike Lee sits. The price comes with the territory, but one thing is for sure if you’re attending the East Regionals at the Madison Square Garden it will be an experience you won’t soon forget, I guarantee it.

MadisonSquareGarden-2013basketball1000