LaQuinton Ross going NBA, Sixers keep losing, and Community: While We’re Waiting

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I’m currently writing this while fighting a fever, so this will probably be a little shorter WWW than I normally write, so please bear with me….

LaQuinton Ross going pro? I heard whispers all season long that Ohio State junior forward LaQuinton Ross would be heading to the NBA after this season. I never really believed it. I believed he wanted to, but I didn’t he was good enough to actually do it.

Well, I don’t know if I was right or wrong on whether he’s an NBA player, but he evidently really is entering the draft. I don’t really get it. I understood why Deshaun Thomas went pro last year. He had probably peaked as a scorer and he was getting in a shallow draft while avoiding this year’s supposedly loaded draft. But Ross lacks the consistency that Thomas showed and he’s entering what some consider to be one of the better draft classes in recent memory. I hope it works out for him, but I really don’t get it at all.

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A couple quick Cavs thoughts… I was extremely busy this weekend and unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of the Cavs games. But I’ve been reading up on what I missed, in particular a nice comeback win over the Knicks on Sunday night. Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack have really been trying to step up as much as they can in Kyrie’s absence, and it’s been encouraging seeing the Cavs hang around with much better teams despite not having Kyrie.

It’s frustrating being in March once again and having to more or less just play out the string with nothing real on the line. I don’t know how much the Cavs are really learning as a team without Kyrie around. It’s been a recurring theme from me this year, but Dion Waiters’ development is the most important thing in the world for this franchise. If Dion can be a true #2 with Kyrie, which includes playing more minutes together with Kyrie, then maybe this will be a playoff team next year. But right now, I still think this looks like a team that has a really long way to go.

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Sixers losing streak update: The Sixers lost to the Spurs last night, bringing their losing streak to 25 games. They are now just one behind the Cavaliers’ record. The Sixers next game is on the road against the Rockets, which means they have a real chance of tying the Cavaliers. The Sixers’ next game after that will be at home against the Pistons, which could be a winnable game. So it’ll be interesting to watch this week and see if the Cavaliers’ have a partner in the record books. Misery loves company, indeed.

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Is anyone else watching Community? I think network sitcoms are dying. I know people love Modern Family, apparently Two and a Half Men is still around, and Big Bang Theory is a mega hit. But for my money, Community remains the most interesting comedy on network TV (no offense to Parks and Rec, another show I really like).

I watched Community from the beginning, but it wasn’t until the Goodfellas-themed ‘Chicken Fingers’ episode in Season 1 that I really saw what this show was capable of. It plays on all kinds of pop culture tropes while remaining intensely self-aware of itself in a charming way. But for all the wackiness, the show continues to do an admirable job of staying grounded in showing the growth and ever-evolving dynamic of a group of broken people who have found something bigger and more complete in their group than any of them ever found on their own.

But the most remarkable thing about Community is that just over a year ago, the studio fired the show’s creator, Dan Harmon. Harmon is a fascinating individual with a giant ego who can at times apparently be prickly to work with. But he’s also some kind of genius, and without Harmon, the show lost all of its spark last season. That’s when the unthinkable happened, and the studio brought Harmon back for the 5th season which is airing now. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a show survive this kind of transition. Who knows if Community will get to achieve its self proclaimed goal of Six Seasons and a Movie, but its been a fun ride.

Anyway, Alan Sepinwall just posted an incredibly long and fascinating interview with Harmon, and it’s well worth the long read for anyone who is a fan of either the show or of Harmon’s work in general.

***

Stream the new Cloud Nothings album now! Typically I talk about new music releases on Tuesdays, and sure, if you want, go check out new albums from Obnox, Animals as Leaders, and The Hold Steady. But I’m much more excited about the new Cloud Nothings album, “Here and Nowhere Else”. The album doesn’t come out until April 1, but NPR has it streaming now. I’ll talk about the album more next week when it’s released but this is one of my absolute favorite albums of the year from one of my absolute favorite bands on the planet right now. It’s just another really great album from the Cleveland natives.

  • AJ

    Good luck in Europe Mr. Ross!! You have no chance in the NBA right now!

  • Pat Leonard

    Andrew, I’m a big fan of Community as well. It’s a brilliant show, and there really isn’t anything on TV like it. I could see how some people might not be a fan of the way each episode is basically a different genre, but I really love that. What I don’t love is Donald Glover leaving the show. Troy was hilarious and there’s a huge hole where he once was.

  • @SnakeLaFleur

    I’m a Greendale Human Being through and through. Season 1’s “Comparative Religion” Christmas episode, the Chicken Fingers episode, and the 1st Paintball episode were all ones that skyrocketed Community to the top of my “favorite sitcoms” list. I think this season has been very strong with Harmon back at the helm, especially considering he’s behind the 8-ball with the departure/semi-departure of Chevy and Donald Glover. Brining in Mike Ehrmantraut wasn’t a bad consolation though :-)

    #SixSeasonAndAMovie!

  • @SnakeLaFleur

    I am certain we’ll be seeing Troy again this season, but I don’t know what his status would be if the show if picked up for a 6th season. I’ll hope for the best on all accounts. I am still holding out hope that (SPOILERS) Pierce is still alive somehow.

  • Pat Leonard

    I think it depends on the success/failure of “Childish Gambino”. If Glover can’t get any traction there, then he may come back to the show full-time. I’m not expecting more than a couple spot appearances though.

    Personally, I’d be shocked if Pierce Hawthorne shows up on the show again. Mike Ehrmantrout looks to be his replacement, even though the characters aren’t too similar. I know that Chevy Chase and Dan Harmon have supposedly mended fences, but that means the fence is still there. I don’t think they’re likely to work together again.

  • Garry_Owen

    Glover had only signed on to do 5 episodes this season, and all 5 are done. He’s not coming back. (I would love to be wrong, though. He is a huge missing part of the show.)

  • Garry_Owen

    Community has somehow avoided the curse of Arrested Development. It’s a brilliant show that unfortunately doesn’t attract a huge audience. But whereas Arrested Development was cancelled due to “low” viewership, Community has survived (if life support is “living”). I hope it continues to survive, but I think it’s a sad long shot. I love the show.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    How does it work with scouting when people are in HS and college: Is it basically the ‘scorers’ that make it to the next level? I’ve often wondered why players who are particularly gifted in other aspects of the game, even if they’re average or even below average on offense, seem to get ignored. Ben Wallace played D-II basketball and wasn’t drafted. Aaron Craft doesn’t seem to be viewed as a legitimate NBA player (and perhaps that’s appropriate).

    It just surprises me that teams don’t focus originally on getting players that are legitimately superstars in other facets of the game (passing PG, rebounding/defense interior) even if they lack scoring ability when they’re younger and develop those players into role players for the future.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Re: sitcoms, I think that the oversaturation of shows (and re-runs), Netflix, etc. make sitcoms choose one of two ways to go, and some try to do both with varying success: Shows either need to be standalone each episode (a la Seinfeld), or one long storyline (like a HIMYM, which after a poor couple seasons is great this season wrapping it up), and each has its own drawbacks [I don’t need to watch each one/I need to have watched every one]. Some try to mix both, and the ones that can do that well play incredibly in syndication, where there’s sometimes more money to be made.

    But shows often struggle when they try to switch from one to the other, especially from standalone to storyline, and while I hated Community the couple times I watched it, I wonder if that’s part of what it’s going through.

  • @SnakeLaFleur

    He’ll be back for the finale this season for sure. They can’t send him on a quest and then not bring him back.

  • @SnakeLaFleur

    It all depends. Childish Gambino has been relatively successful for a while, but a lot depends on his schedule versus a potential shooting schedule for next season. Assuming it’s another short season, it might work out even with his other projects.

    I am a big fan of Jonathan Banks on Community (I also love me some Mike Ehrmantraut). I would be surprised if he signs on for anything other than his extended guest role for this season since he looks to be heading back to AMC for Better Call Saul. I guess it doesn’t really mean much though, because Allison Brie has been able to work on both Community and Mad Men…the shooting schedule could work for Banks to do more Community.

    As for Pierce, my hope for him would not be to return full time. I’d just like him to show up in the final episode of the series and reveal some crazy scheme where he faked his death. If Starburns can do it, why not Pierce?

  • Dominic Bascone
  • Garry_Owen

    I hope you’re right, but that tweet could mean anything (even though it appears to be clear).

  • Garry_Owen

    I think Chevy Chase burned so many bridges there’s no way to get back in.

  • Pat Leonard

    I got a chance to read the article that Andrew linked, and it seems like it’s Sony who won’t allow Pierce to come back to the show. The hologram was a work-around/loophole, so I guess they may be able to exploit something like that again. I dunno though.

  • Pat Leonard

    Re: Community, I think the thing about that show is that you don’t need to know the characters and the storylines, but you do need to know what kind of a show you’re watching, otherwise it’s just weird. I can imagine that if I hadn’t really been watching the show and then I sat down and watched the Halloween – Zombie Movie episode, I wouldn’t know that they were playing to a specific genre for that one episode and would miss what makes the show so cool/interesting.

  • Pat Leonard

    Re: Community, I think the thing about that show is that you don’t need to know the characters and the storylines, but you do need to know what kind of a show you’re watching, otherwise it’s just weird. I can imagine that if I hadn’t really been watching the show and then I sat down and watched the Halloween – Zombie Movie episode, I wouldn’t know that they were playing to a specific genre for that one episode and would miss what makes the show so cool/interesting.

  • Pat Leonard

    Completely agree. I think that, for me, the show that parallels best with Arrested Development is Happy Endings. That show moved really fast and is packed with humor in the same way, and the actors fit perfectly with their characters. You can re-watch episodes and find a bunch of jokes that you missed on the first go-around. I was really bummed when it was cancelled and couldn’t understand why more people didn’t watch it. Brilliant show.

  • mgbode

    Here is the only reason that LaQuinton needs to go to the NBA right now. He thinks he will be drafted and he needs to support her (below). I have no qualms about people making family decisions.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lwfoUN4OCuI/T75eyTMEJ3I/AAAAAAAAAEs/Apq0udUKA-4/s1600/IMG_0223.JPG

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    In the interview I posted with Dan Harmon, he makes it sound like they will indeed lose Banks if the show is picked up for Season 6. Which is really sad because he’s done such a great job bringing a different energy to the show. He couldn’t be more perfect for a Dan Harmon show.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I agree, losing Troy has been a difficult transition. But it’s also been fascinating watching Abed’s character try to work through it as well.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Yeah, Harmon’s return instantly righted the ship. This season has been great and as much as I didn’t care for Season 4, I really like the way Harmon has taken on the events of last season and built on them. Making Season 4 just be a dream would have been the easy route, but Harmon has taken the more difficult path and I think the show is better for it.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Every year I say there’s no way Community will get another season. But then somehow they defy the odds and come back. I feel the same way this year. No way do they get a 6th season. But if anyone can, it’s this show. There’s something to be said for having a show that critics love and that has a passionate, if small, fanbase that is extremely loyal to the show.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I liked Happy Endings as well, and I was pretty happy to see that Harmon brought on one of Happy Endings’ writers this year.

  • mgbode

    first, the best athletes tend to be able to score easier at younger ages just because it is easier for them to get into open positions due to their athleticism. but, it’s not as much scorer as it is measurables. otherwise, McDermott would be a top pick (and I think mocks still have him higher than he will go).

    in the NBA, you have to have incredible length, quickness, and perfect form just to get a decent chance at an open look on offense. otherwise, your team is playing 4on5 (as Detroit pretty much did with Ben). that can be done, but you need to be truly elite on defense for that to work (and hopefully a good passer).

    defenses have evolved so much over the past 10yrs that passing PGs who don’t shoot are found out quickly and forced into taking their own inefficient shots more often.

    the one area where you can get away with a mostly pure defensive player is if they can have an acceptable 3pt shot. then, you have a 3&D player. they can sit out at the 3pt line and just worry about hitting the open look if their defender wanders.

  • @SnakeLaFleur

    I think Community had a chance for another short run season if only because NBC has literally nothing else except Parks and Rec as far as comedies. They keep trying new ones and canceling them. Losing The Office and 30 Rock last year has kind of put them into a position that it makes sense to keep Community, because at the very least it’s a show people have heard about.

    I am hopeful for a 6th season (and a movie), but I don’t think I’d wager any money on it.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I don’t begrudge or have qualms about him going pro from an OSU point of view. My issue is that if he really wants to play in the NBA, I don’t believe him going pro this year makes much sense. I will be stunned if he’s a first round pick in this year’s draft. But next year? He could potentially be a first round pick next year and earn that guaranteed contract.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    So that’s where I think the mistake is. If teams had truly dominating defenders or rebounders or the like, I don’t think it would matter that they’re lacking offensively. The average possession sees the ball go through 2-3 players’ hands regardless. Being able to eliminate other teams’ scorers, or get extra possessions, or open up the floor with passing, etc. are huge.

    I understand the 4-on-5 point, but Wallace shows why that’s worthwhile: Because the other team is playing 3- or 4-on-5 on the other end, which is perhaps even more difficult, because that 3- or 4- is losing your best scoring option, not your worst.

    If a player is the 5th option on the floor and touch the ball to finish 5-10% of possessions, who cares if their EFG is 20 points lower, especially if you’ll reduce that to 3% of possessions, if they can lower the opposing *team* EFG by 5-10-20 points? We see the value of great D personnel in the NBA, imagine if you had a couple of them on the same D (especially if that led to more transition buckets which have a high EFG).

    We need @WFNYJacob to analyze this. :P (I think it won’t let me tag him since he’s not on the thread… @AndrewWFNY:disqus do you know?)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    That said I do understand the athleticism point and did think of that, but I imagine that even great athletes get turned away if they don’t have great scoring ability as they’re finishing HS.

    On the flip side, I think there’s an undervaluing on great shooters who aren’t supremely athletic.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Has no bearing on this discussion but I personally hope the NBA raises the minimum age with which to enter the NBA draft again. I feel all of these “kids” entering early is a huge reason why the NBA is so watered down.

  • mgbode

    potentially, or he could be another year older and downgraded on all of those analytical value sheets if he doesn’t make a big leap forward on the floor. agents are good at figuring out what teams value and how they stack their boards.

    here’s my best guess: he has talked with the NBA board or agents have discussed things with him (likely through Matta/OSU or however things are done to avoid NCAA penalties). The options were laid out to him and he was likely told that he’ll be a fringe 1st rounder that may fall to the 2nd. The other option is that he could end up in Europe or China if he wants to get paid now.

    As long as he has thought through all of that and has decided that he needs the money in order to support his family, then I think he can be happy with his decision.

    I have noticed over the years that many of the surprise NBA entrants have real life issues that they are dealing with and just need the money now in order to help them out no matter how it affects their career.

    Josh Selby was the guy who really tipped the scales for me on the matter. I couldn’t believe a guy who spent his freshman year injured or underperforming would jump to the NBA, but he did. I couldn’t make sense of it, so I dug and found that he had a really crazy personal life with family still living in the projects and they were being harrassed and threatened (as everyone there knew he was going to be a millionaire but his family couldn’t move because they were broke). He signed with an agent, got an advance, and got his family the heck out of there in the quiet of the night. Since reading up on him, I try to find some context in these puzzling decisions. When there is a family context to it, I just accept it and move on. He can make plenty of money overseas if he doesn’t make it in the NBA.

  • Pat Leonard

    Bill Lawrence has a new comedy coming out on NBC called “Undateable” that my friend is writing for, but they keep pushing back the start date. I can’t figure out what NBC is doing with their comedies these days… they just can’t grab much of an audience with anything they do.

  • mgbode

    You mean like Adam Morrison and Jimmer Fredette?

    You need guys like JJ Redick now that are great shooters who at least meet the NBA minimum athleticism as defenses have gotten good enough to destroy great shooters who cannot get open IMO.

  • mgbode

    I don’t know. The best example I can think of is the Indiana Pacers with Stephenson and Hibbert. Guys who can be plus on offense but are really on the floor for their defense (though both have come around on offense as they have matured and that is what has made Indiana so dangerous overall). The thing with those guys is that they have areas on offense where they can thrive and Indiana does what they can to get them those opportunities.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Hibbert specifically is a good example, though he also could score in college a bit. It’s easier to think of Cs but what about on-ball defenders?

    Rather than Jimmer et al I was thinking of the Steve Kerrs of the world.

  • Jay

    They brought Starburns back….they’ll bring Troy back.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    …especially if they’re concerned about injury and/or having a bad or underwhelming year. On top of that, getting out of that situation – if they really believe in themselves – they may believe will help them hone their talents further, away from distractions and the like, so even if it’s not as optimal long-term they figure it’s better than gambling it all.

    It’s like Buffett saying he would (if Quicken allowed it) offer someone who was getting close to a perfect bracket (say going into the final) not $500M, but $100M or even less. Sure, the ‘value’ of the bracket could be more, and he said openly that he wouldn’t take such a lowball offer, but “you would” – because $100M now is way better than zero later for something currently worth $500M to someone who’s not already a billionaire. Same thing here, with less 0s.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Simple solution: Let kids earn some portion of the revenues they bring in in the NCAA, and people will stay until they’re ready.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t think it’s that simple in fact I think that’s a nightmare scenario myself. But we are all partly to blame for collegiate sports becoming more like professional.

  • mgbode

    I think that is my point. Jimmer could have been Steve Kerr if he played in the late 80s / early 90s before teams figured out how to stop guys like him.

    Centers are the one position where size and rotational defense ability is still valued (Hibbert, Chandler, even DeAndre Jordan type guys), but they now need to have a very good sense of their responsibilities or they will get out-moded like Kendrick Perkins.

    Best on-ball defense-only guy I can think of is Tony Allen.

  • mgbode

    I wish it were that simple. There are lots of legal issues and fights to be had once that inevitability comes to pass.

  • mgbode

    yes, exactly. If I somehow had a perfect bracket going into the elite8 and he offered me $50mil, then I would take it without even thinking about it. It’s not worth the risk and that is an absolutely great analogy to the situation we are discussing here.

  • Harv 21

    agree on all. Guys like Ross can often make a very decent living overseas if they aren’t quite NBA material. Seems really paternalistic to browbeat them for leaving college and supposedly being unrealistic. These guys usually aren’t generic students; they’re guys who have been used and separated from non-athletic age peers and manipulated since early adolescence. If Ross sees leaving to earn wages while he’s still young and healthy as a better option than another year as an OSU “student”-athlete, go for it.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Oh, agreed. I’m just saying that outside of the no-doubt successes in the NBA, most people will be a lot more patient on jumping.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Yup.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Yup. In fact, you’d probably take $10M. Or even $1M.

    (Personally, I’d be scrambling trying to find a bank willing to lend me the money to hedge in Vegas. :) )