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Wisconsin Hasn't Been Outscored in a Single 2nd Half in 2019 (7 Straight Games) ... Yet the Badgers are Just 4-3 in January
Wisconsin was outscored 53-42 in the second half against Western Kentucky on Dec. 29, 2018, but the Badgers have now outscored seven straight opponents (all seven being Big Ten opponents) by a total margin of 60 points (8.57 points per game) in January 2019.

What's up with the Badgers in the first half?
submitted by SportsMonitor to CollegeBasketball [link] [comments]

NCAA College Basketball Odds, Betting Lines & Point Spreads

NCAA College Basketball Odds, Betting Lines & Point Spreads submitted by Carnatic12 to u/Carnatic12 [link] [comments]

Free College Basketball Picks, Betting Lines and NFL Betting

submitted by petermantu to CollegeBasketball [link] [comments]

Expert picks, best bets for college basketball Saturday, odds, lines, schedule

Expert picks, best bets for college basketball Saturday, odds, lines, schedule submitted by Robotzombie196 to CollegeBasketball [link] [comments]

What is your favorite sport?

submitted by mikeneedsadvice to sportsbook [link] [comments]

How the hell is one supposed to choose a career? Related: Please help me choose a career.

Hello, SSC. I am using a throwaway.
This is a beast of a post. A few thoughts related to its size:
  1. Sorry
  2. Please don't read the whole thing; it's skimmable.
  3. TL;DR – lawyer, doctor, psych researcher, or (jokingly, unless…) novelist?
To make a long story short, I'm an unhappy software engineer (unhappy with my career, not with life in general), and I committed about a year ago to making a change. Since that time, I've vacillated wildly in my thinking on the various career options available (never able to fully commit), and at this point it's causing me a ton of anxiety: I've gotta choose something, but there just doesn't seem to be a clear answer. My family and partner are running out of patience, and I feel the same way: It's time to get a move on, already.
"Getting a move on" is super fucking hard, though (not to mention terrifying, given the stakes). How are you supposed to compare, on the one hand, cognitive fit (i.e. being good at your job) with, on the other hand, likelihood of being able to pursue your own lines of inquiry or expression (i.e. not feeling like a cog)? Where does money fit into all of this?
The sheer number of different paradigms for career choice seems to be evidence that nobody else really has a clear idea either:
"Do what you love."
"Do what you like the most out of medicine, law, finance, and engineering."
"Work sucks: Make money and retire."
"Working for someone else sucks: Start a business or be your own boss."
Then there are the more complicated ones, like Ikagi, or the Waitbutwhy octopus, or 80,000 Hours' five-star system.
Every different paradigm comes up with a different answer, and the same paradigm often comes up with different answers depending on things that seem like they should not be able to shift paradigms, like what mood I happen to be in at the moment.
I do have some concrete things to work with, namely that I think I've been able to pinpoint why I don't like software engineering. Three main reasons:
1 - Lack of Cognitive Fit:
On pretty much every sort of standardized test thrown at me, there will invariably be a huge imbalance between subscores (verbal = higher, math = lower), with further cleavage between the mathematics subscores (numeric = higher, spatial = lower). This comports with my general "feeling" about these things: Reading and writing are easy and enjoyable; statistics is doable and tolerable; spatial math is difficult and unpleasant.
This has manifested itself in difficulties with software engineering, which is, after all, concerned with how best to build complicated, invisible structures. My in-the-major grades in school were mediocre at best (they were high outside of my major); my work performance is middling. The overall feeling of working in software engineering is that of wading through cerebral molasses, and at no time is this feeling more acute than when I'm working with other computer people: They just get it, and I just don't get it. With all due respect to grit, conscientiousness, growth mindset, etc., I often feel like I am simply running up against the limits of my mental machinery. All fine if it's worth the fight, but...
2 - Lack of Subject-Matter Interest
CS as an academic discipline is interesting enough, but it's never "grabbed me" in the way that some other academic disciplines have. I've never found my mind wandering towards topics in CS in the same way that it often wanders towards topics in, e.g., biology, psychology, economics, literature. I would never read a book on software engineering or computer science for fun.
Why the hell did you major in it, then, you stupid, dumb idiot?
I wish I had a better answer, but it was some combination of peer pressure (the cool, ambitious kids were ALL majoring in CS in 2011 (that may still be the case now, IDK)) and a desire to be employable.
3 - Lack of Workplace Autonomy
A product manager tells you to build the thing, so you build the thing. You (sometimes) get to choose how you build the thing, but if you don't have any underlying interest in how the thing is built, the whole experience just feels like drudgery.


With all that in mind, I was able to build a pretty complicated paradigm that would take an entire post by itself to explain but basically boiled down to the following: Emphasize cognitive fit, subject-matter interest, workplace autonomy, and ability to do good, while trying as best you can to hold onto some of the positive features of software engineering (tons of stability, quite good pay, not-terrible working hours).
That got me down to four main possibilities. For the sake of simplifying the discussion, let's say that remaining a software engineer isn't an option. Here they are:
Law (JD):
On the one hand:
- Super high points for cognitive fit. Rules governing human behavior mediated entirely through the English language? Lots of reading and writing? Beautiful; give me more.
- The potential (if done in a certain way) to feel like you’re “fighting for the good guys.”
- For better or worse, I “vibe” with lawyers. Even the greedy ones tend to be "words people," because “money-driven” + “good with words, sucks at math” tends to equal “lawyer." I've never met, for example, another group of people who like crossword puzzles as much as I do.
On the other hand:
- Nearly every lawyer I’ve talked to says it’s straight-up difficult to get a job where you fight for the good guys and much easier to get a job where you’re fighting for the “neutral-at-best” guys.
- At the end of the day, I’m more interested in the law and less interested in being a practicing lawyer, mostly because of the same autonomy problem in software engineering: A higher-up tells you to do the thing, so you do the thing. In an ideal world, you solve the autonomy problem by, say, working at a think tank or in academia. But I’ve gotten that beaten out of my head by the chorus of voices saying, “Don’t go to law school if you don’t want to practice.”
- Long hours and a culture of overwork lead to high stress. Varies between firms (and between firms and government), but a work-hard-play-hard culture seem to pervade the profession, and, to put it bluntly, most of the lawyers I know seem pretty fucking stressed.
- When I tell lawyers that I’m considering law school, many of them say, “Don’t do it.” People in other fields don’t say that when I tell them I’m considering their field.

Medicine (MD) or Research Medicine (MD/PhD):
On the one hand:
- High level of interest in the subject material. I self-studied AP Bio back in the day by reading the textbook cover-to-cover. When I’m reading nonfiction for fun, there’s a pretty good chance it’s bio or medicine-related. To this day, I don’t really know why I didn’t study it in college. Network effects, probably.
- I could see myself being interested in practicing psychiatry, endocrinology, sleep medicine—any field where the emphasis is more “This strange concoction of chemicals makes you feel a certain way!” than it is “The machine that synthesizes urine broke down again.”
- I put “MD/PhD” because I find the idea of being a physician-scientist more appealing than one or the other. Being able to treat actual real people and then retreating to the lab to do solitary mind work really does sound like the best of both worlds. Either way, though, the process would start with a postbacc, so I guess technically I don’t have to decide yet.
- I did a thing where I downloaded the SSC dataset and looked at all the different careers, and doctors had the highest levels of life satisfaction out of anyone (for whom I could find a coherent career field in the spreadsheet). This held even when they were in school and residency (i.e. couldn’t be entirely explained by income (although it could, I suppose, be explained by “income or the expectation of future income”)). Two main ways I can think of to explain this: 1. Being a doctor is (relatively) fulfilling and makes people happy. 2. Becoming a doctor is so difficult that only (relatively) happy and well-balanced people are able to complete the process. This might sound naïve, but my honest bet is number one. In what other profession do you get paid SO MUCH MONEY to work so intimately with other people? So many high-enjoyability, low-pay professions (teaching, social work, etc.) are basically about taking a pay cuts so that you can work closely with other people. And in medicine you don’t have to take the pay cut.
On the other hand:
- Maybe there are doctors reading this and thinking, “You naïve little twerp; do you know how hard you have to work and how good you have to be to do what you’re talking about doing? Genetic research? Neuroscience? Start honing your colonoscopy skills, bucko, because you’re going to have to pay off your loans just like the rest of us.”
- On a related note, I know a lot of lawyers but no doctors, so I have heavy doses of “realism” from the law side, but not the medicine side.
- Med school, from what I understand, is the most demanding of the professional schools. I honestly can’t say for sure that I’d be able to get through it.
- While I like reading popular books about medicine, I don't really get off on academic papers about medicine. Maybe it’s just because I don’t know the lingo yet, or maybe it’s a warning sign that my interest in the field is going to turn out to be superficial.
- It would take a long time. Between postbacc, med school, (maybe) PhD, and residency, I’m looking at another decade before I make money again. Which is fine if I enjoy the process like I think I will. But if I don’t enjoy the process, it’s going to be a long ten years.
- Less reading and writing than I’d like, although that’s partially mitigated by doing an MD/PhD rather than just a PhD. I just really want a job where I get to read and write on the daily and the quality of the writing matters a good deal. “Just do that outside of your job!” Yeah, but in practice it’s hard.

Academia (PhD in Psychology):
On the one hand:
- I like sitting down at a desk, reading about things, thinking about things, doing what it takes to get the answer to something that’s been nagging at me, and then writing about the process of finding that answer. The fundamental idea that I could get paid to do something like that is still mindblowing to me.
- Checks ALL of the boxes that bugged me about software engineering: You have a degree of autonomy, and you presumably get to work in a field that you’re interested in and that you’re a good cognitive fit for. Law stumbles a bit in the autonomy department. Medicine stumbles a bit in the cognitive fit department. This baby don’t stumble.
- To test my enthusiasm for academia, I read as many research papers as I could get my hands on from as many different fields as I could get my hands on. The result? I enjoy reading research papers. I could see myself writing them. This is a good thing, as I understand it, for a career in academia.
- In terms of which disciplines “won” (greatest level of interest), three were head and shoulders above the rest: Psych, soc, and econ. I talked to some econ PhDs, and I honestly don’t think I have the mathematical acumen for it. Between (cognitive) psych and soc, neither of them has great career prospects, so it’s a wash there, and I’m slightly more interested in psych, so I might as well just do psych.
On the other hand:
- Due to mediocre undergraduate GPA and lack of research, I’ll probably have to do a masters or a postbacc first (time and $$)
- You gotta always be scrapping for grants and funding. Nobody likes scrapping.
- For better or worse, there is a distinct “good” outcome (tenure) that I might not achieve. I know that this is a really contentious topic, and I don’t mean to get anybody riled here, but yeah: I’m gonna be gunning really hard for the outcome that allows me to teach, do research, get paid well, and be difficult to fire. And I might not get it. And that’s extremely worrisome to me. “Making it” in academia, if you have the basic chops, is probably not as unlikely or fluky as, say, making it as an actor. But it’s still unlikely (depending on your field) and still fluky! You could get an advisor you end up not gelling with, and then you’re fucked. You could pursue a line of research that nobody really cares about, and then you’re fucked. (This is what people have told me, anyway). That’s all super scary to me, and it’s definitely an argument in favor of law or medicine, which have more of a “get the degree and collect your job” feel to them.
- Arduousness: Everyone says that it’s difficult and demanding and stressful and that you have to make sacrifices. I believe them. And, while I think I’m willing to make those sacrifices, it’s one matter to say that you’re willing and another matter to actually not drop out of the program when you really feel like dropping out.
- Covid-19 is currently in the process of upending higher education. It might be fine! But the next few years are a bit of an event horizon: We don’t really know what things are going to look like on the other side. In other words, more risk.

Writing (MFA):
On the one hand:
- A cool “wild card.”
- In the “You find out you have 5 years to live, what do you do?” thought experiment, I get an MFA and write a novel every time. Writing creatively is an activity that both hits a ton of neurons AND is somehow infused with meaning for me.
- It’d be super fun.
On the other hand:
- Risk. Risk, risk, risk, risk, risk. Follow your dreams, they say. But what if my dream was to be a professional basketball player in the NBA? Should I follow that dream? To put it another way: I know that I’m a good writer, but it seems like you enter the realm of “luck not optional” when you’re seriously trying to make a living by writing books. I ballparked my odds of eventual success (defined as “I get to write without doing anything else on the side”) at 25% if I get into a top MFA program (which I probably won't anyway). That number is already scarily low to me, and it may well be generous.
- My past is littered with the carcasses of unfinished novels. I’ve managed to finish short stories, and I’ve managed to finish screenplays. The novel is the white whale. I think I could do it from within the structure of an MFA program, but who knows?
- If I don’t “make it” straight out of the MFA program, I’ll have to go back to doing something pay the bills, and that something will probably be software engineering. And then I’m back where I started: Doing software engineering for money while writing on the side. If I end up just “Doing X and writing on the side,” then I would have been better off spending my grad school golden ticket getting up to speed in an X—law, medicine, psychology—that I enjoy more than software engineering.
Where I'm at right now:
Trapped in a terrible cycle, pretty much. It goes like this:
I choose medicine, and a voice goes, “Really? Once again subjecting yourself to a career where reading and writing artfully isn’t really an integral part of the process? Doing ‘science,’ which we suspect you might not be great at doing? You should do law instead, where your mental machinery seems more suited to the process and the people seem more like ‘your people.’”
So I choose law, and a voice goes, “Really? Once again committing to a dynamic where you show up to the office and a superior throws a bunch of work at you and you do the work and go home without having pursued your own lines of inquiry or advanced human knowledge?” “I’ll be a professor,” I say. “No, you really won’t,” the voice says. “Think of all the unhappy lawyers who said they were going to be a professor or go into human rights or whatever. If you want to do research, you should get a PhD instead.”
So I choose a PhD (in psychology or sociology), and a voice goes, “Really? A non-econ social science given the state of academia right now? Do you really think there’s a nice tenure-track job waiting for you on the other side of this? If you’re gunning for the risky thing you might as well go all the way and do an MFA.”
So I choose an MFA, and a voice goes, “Really? And have to go back to software engineering in two years when you write a book and nobody gives a shit? Why subject yourself to that? If you’re going to write on the side, just be a doctor: It’s better than software engineering in terms of subject-matter interest and humanistic elements, but it offers similar stability and predictability.”
Then we’re back at doctor, and the cycle begins anew.
Since I listed pretty much every career option out there, I feel compelled to address some of the few that I left off my list.
FIRE: Just gut it out for ten more years and then retire! But the thing is, I like working—I like sitting at a desk, reading, writing, doing stuff—and I can think of nothing more enjoyable than embarking on one of the career paths that I listed above. So all I would get by FIRE-ing is more financial stability when I finally pursue one of them. WHICH AIN’T NOTHING. Believe me, I know. But I don’t think it’s worth the tradeoff of being miserable for another 10 years and starting round two close to age 40.
Become a Product Manager (PM): Okay, so you don’t like making pie. How about you supervise the people that make pie; wouldn’t that be more fun?
No, I just fucking hate pie.
***Further Wrinkles:***I applied to law school last cycle and got into a school just outside of the T14. Still on the waitlist for pretty much all of the T14 except HYS. I am what the kids call a “splitter” (high LSAT, low GPA), so I don’t have any expectations of getting into HYS, and if I do get into CCN it will probably be because Coronavirus fucks everything up and they have to let a bunch of people off the waitlist.
If I decide to not do law school this year (either because I decide to do something else or I decide that I can’t commit when I’m this unsure about things), I will be giving up something in-hand that I might not be able to get back. Which is scary.
A Final Miscellaneous Thingy:
Since I haven’t actually DONE any of this stuff yet, it would be cool if there were some sort of way to dip my toes into two of the options and see which I like better (the proof, as they say, is in the pudding). Something like a premed postbacc program that would allow you to volunteer in a psych or neuroscience lab. I don’t know if that’s a thing, though. Or maybe it is, but by doing it you just make yourself a weak candidate for BOTH med school and psych PhD programs.
Okay. Phew. If you’re still here, first of all, thank you, and second of all, sorry. Thoughts? Feel free to be super discouraging, too. “I’m a doctor, and every vibe you’re putting out says, ‘flunks out of med school.’” That’s information! That’s helpful!
Thank you again. God bless you, SSC.
Edit: Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful answers! Tapping out of the thread for a bit while I go eat and do work and that kinda stuff. Gonna look at and respond to all of these, though; I've just been kinda responding in a random order, but I'll get to 'em.
submitted by throe_aweigh_ to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

Portland, Blazing A Path Towards A Promising Future

Over the last 6 years, Portland has been nothing but consistent, it’s been in the playoffs year after year with little signs of slowing down till this year. In a season following a Western Conference Finals appearance many people, me included, had high expectations for this Blazers squad. With Dame at the helm and CJ, Nurk, and the rest of the squad to back him up a top-three finish in the wild western conference didn’t seem outrageous. Hell, maybe they’d catch a break with another team suffering an injury and make a run at the Finals. Instead, this season, the Blazers were the ones getting injured. Nurkic missed the whole season due to a gruesome leg injury that he experienced towards the end of last season. C.J. struggled to stay on the court consistently. Similarly, Collins missed extended time due to a shoulder injury that required him to have surgery, said surgery would sideline him for four months. These injuries, along with the loss of defensive stalwarts Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu decimated any hopes Portland had of being a contender this season. Instead, Dame was forced to spend a majority of the season backpacking the whole team, in an attempt to blaze his way towards the playoff (see what I did there). Despite Dame going demigod mode and dropping averages of 28.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists on 45.7/39.4/88.8 splits it’s not looking like the Blazers will be making their seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs. But it’s not all bad for Blazers fans. Dame is signed through the 2024-2025 season, C.J. is locked up through the 2023-2024 season, and Nurkic is on a team-friendly deal for the next two years. But what I wanted to talk about is the young blazers. The youngsters that will shape this franchise's future and ultimately decide whether Portland will be in the race for the title in the coming years. So without further delay let's talk some Blazers!
Anfernee Simons:
Simons is perhaps the most hyped up of the young blazers. The 21-year olds game is reminiscent, funnily enough, of C.j.’s. He projects to be a three-level scorer, who can get you a bucket from anywhere. He uses his speed and crafty ball handling to break down defenders, creating separation so he can get his shots off. Simons, in limited minutes, has shown to be able to get to the basket with relative ease, his shots don’t always fall when he gets there but he shoots solidly enough at the hoop. He’s shown glimpses of an ability to finish through contact, giving Blazers fans hope that he could one day be something more as an interior scorer. His shooting from both the midrange is impressive for his age. He’s shooting 45.2% from 15-19 feet away from the basket. To get these buckets he uses his arsenal of stepbacks and fakes to create separation and get his shot off. Can’t get to the midrange, no problem. Simons has shown the ability to be a high-end three-point shooter despite his career 33.9% shooting from behind the arc, he just needs to be more consistent. There are nights like April 10, 2019, where Simons shot 7-11 from downtown, scoring 37 points when it was all said and done. But there are also nights like December 3, 2019, where he will 1-5 from three. His shot looks good and he looks confident taking them which gives me hope that he will figure it out. He is a career 78.7% free-throw shooter as well, which points to him being able to one day knock down threes at a high clip. If Simons can improve upon his finishing at the basket and improve from deep I could easily see him being a three-level scorer who puts up 20+ points a night at his peak.
How’s the passing? Well, his 1.5 assists a game this season may not stand out but in his limited minutes, he has shown to be at least an adequate passer. Similarly to his shooting he just needs to be more consistent. For every full course pass or perfectly placed lob pass, he makes there will be another moment where he misses the open cutter or shooter in the corner. It’s more of his pass perception that needs some work, not as much his passing fundamentals. Despite the stats, I have faith that Simons will develop into a 4-5 assist guy in his prime.
What about his defense? For now, it’s pretty poor, but I do have hope for Simons on the less glamorous end of the court. Simons is an elite athlete which points to defensive upside. He has the lateral quickness to guard the perimeter while still having the hops to get up and contest shots around the rim. He lacks the strength to be an effective interior defender but with some NBA weight lifting training, that problem could be solved in no time. Simons is yet to fully understand how to defend opposing offenses and isn’t too great and reading passing lanes which limits his ability to disrupt the other team's offense and come away with steals. If Simons can figure out how to read other team's offense and get more steals it could be huge for the Blazers as Simons is an absolute menace in transition. If he can get on a fast break with the ball few players can stop him as he uses his speed blow by defenders and throws down some rim rocking dunks. His biggest fault on defense is his inability to be reliable on that end. He lacks awareness on that end, often losing his man and forgetting to provide help defense for his teammates. In the long run, I think Simons could be a strong perimeter defender and a blah interior one. His strength will likely always hold him back on the inside but if he can figure it out on the perimeter he will at least be serviceable on that end.
So the Blazers have a potential star on their hands. If Simons realizes his potential I could see him putting up 20+ points, 4-5 assists, and 4-5 rebounds on strong efficiency. All while being a solid defender. Of course, there are a lot of questions with Simons, but if it all works out I believe the Blazers have a star on their hands.
Nassir Little:
Coming out of high school Nassir Little was one of the nation's top-rated prospects (#2 overall). He had an underwhelming season at UNC which led him to fall to the 25th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft where the Blazers snagged him up. His first season in the big leagues was a mixed bag. His stats were rather underwhelming and if you didn’t watch the games you’d think this guy is a bonafide scrub. After all, he did put up just 3.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists on some garbage efficiency (23% from three). But where some see a dumpster fire I see potential. So what does he have going for him? Let's talk about it!
Little's biggest draw as a prospect is his freakish athleticism. We're talking about a 6’5, 220lb small forward with some serious bounce. I mean pretty much every highlight of this guy is either a dunk or a put-back. He’s got the ability to quickly accelerate and then just like that, stop on a dime. That same acceleration allows him to rapidly reach top speeds, making him a potential force in transition. He’s also pretty strong considering his 6’5 frame, however, a few extra pounds may not hurt.
His athleticism alone has allowed Nassir to be an average defender thus far in his career but it’s clear he has room to improve. He’ll use his speed to keep up with most players on the perimeter and use his strength, agility, and bounce to get up to contest shots at the hoop. He’s even shown to be able to get up multiple times in short succession, allowing him to block multiple shots in quick succession. He’s adept at covering for his teammates and being in the right position to assist his teammates on defense. Like many rookies Little struggles to consistently give 100% on defense all the time but on most nights he manages to stay locked in for the most part. He will hustle for open balls and try to make plays on defense, even if it doesn’t always work out. He’s also not too great at reading opposing offenses. He’ll miss out on steal opportunities because he’s unable to predict what the offense will do next. Similar to Simons, it would be huge if Little could improve upon his defensive awareness as it would lead to more steals which would result in more transition buckets for Little. Little could be a really good defender given some time, he has all the physical tools to effectively guard other forwards, he just needs to learn the mental part of the game.
Offensively Little is pretty limited. He’s proven to be an effective lob and put back threat, he’s shooting 59% at the rim. He’s also been able to use his athleticism to help him burst past defenders and get shots up 5ft-9ft away from the basket where he shoots 66.7%. That's it, there's not much to his offensive game. His playmaking in both College and thus far in the NBA is non-existent. His shooting has been poor from three-point range and from the line. His handle is okay, but not good enough to reliably create space and get shots off. I see some potential with Little as a shooter simply because his form looks solid enough, but it’s not assuring that he’s shooting 63.6% at the charity stripe. Still, I wouldn’t be shocked if he managed to shoot something like 33% from three in his prime (he’s 20, he has time). I see Little as a player that will need his offense made for him, whether it’s through lobs, cuts to the basket, or put backs off the rim.
I seriously doubt Little is ever going to be a star. He’s got all the physical tools to be a proficient offensive player but it’s his skills that are keeping him back. I think Little, at his peak, will be a 10-12 point scorer who operates mostly down low for his points. As I said previously I don’t think his shot can’t improve, I'm just not sure it will ever be even average. I have faith in his ability to become an above-average defender due to his physical prowess however it’s the mental aspect of the game that will decide if he will be a good or great defender. Ultimately I think Little’s best-case scenario is a fourth or fifth starter on a good team. If the Blazers can turn this athlete into a basketball player, they could have a very solid player under their wings.
Zach Collins:
Coming out of college Collins was seen as a perfect player for where the league was going. His crazy 47.6% from three in College to go along with his high-end blocking ability had scouts drooling over the possibilities with this near 7-footer. But thus far in his career, only one of those skills has come to fruition. That would be his shot-blocking. In his two full seasons as the Blazers center Collins has routinely shown the ability to keep up with ball handlers on the interior and swat away their shots at the basket. This has been his hallmark skill so far in his career but if he ever wants to be the player people projected him as coming out of college he’s gotta start hitting from outside. Between his rookie and sophomore season Collins has shot just 32.1% from three, not bad for your average center but a far cry from his 47.6% in college. So his shooting isn’t there yet but is he likely to improve. Hell yeah, he is. For one his shot looks clean and he seems to be fairly comfortable taking them (both of which are good signs). His free throw percentage, while not great at 72%, is still solid enough to make you think that he just hasn’t hit his shooting stride yet. He’s also improved all his shooting percentages from his rookie year to his sophomore year, giving further hope that he will figure his shot out.
Collins scores most of his buckets on the interior. He’s very skilled at using fakes, turns, hook shots, and even the occasional fade away to score within ten feet of the basket. Collins also uses his 6’11 stature to his advantage, always cutting to the basket or positioning himself to throw down a well-placed lob pass. Collins doesn’t have a go-to move, rather he uses a wide variety of post moves to get his shot up around the rim. Despite not being the fastest player on the court Collins still manages to be a threat in transition as he uses his size and length to his advantage, throwing down dunks with little regard for the defenders in front of him.
As a ball-handler Collins is subpar. He lacks the acceleration/burst to blow by defenders and he doesn’t have a crafty enough handle to make up for it. I don’t think being a shot creator will ever be one of Collin's main skills. But I do see some hope for him being a playmaker out of the post. In games, Collins has shown the ability to see cutters and get them the ball for an easy bucket. He hasn’t shown to be a good outlet pass to the perimeter but any sort of playmaking from the center position is a positive (even if he’s never anything special as a playmaker).
Collins isn’t a great rebounder for a center. He has the length and athleticism to be a solid rebounder however it’s his strength that has held him up to this point. He’s not weak, he’s just not as large as many other centers. Like if it’s between Collins or Karl-Anthony Towns to grab a rebound you can bet nine times out of ten Towns is getting that rebound simply because of his size and strength. This leads me to my main concern with Collins. I’m not sure that he’s ever going to be big enough to hang defensively with the upper tier of bigs in this league. He gets bodied by the larger bigs in the post and it makes me wonder if he can play the five long term. Ideally, Collins puts on some muscle to address this problem (hopefully he does) but even then I’m skeptical that he will be able to hold his own against the Embiid’s, Jokic’s, and Giannis’s of the league (then again few big men can). On the perimeter, Collins can hold his own against most other bigs but I would by no means call him a lockdown perimeter defender at this point in the league.
So what do the Blazers have with Collins? Well if he figures it out I believe they will have an ideal modern NBA big man who can score from both the interior and stretch the floor while playing plus defense. He could be the type of player that any team could want, not because he’s a star, but because he does everything you want your center to do. If he doesn’t figure it out he has at least shown to be a solid bench big who can score a bit and play some solid defense in limited minutes. Collin’s future is in question, his potential is not.
Gary Trent Jr.:
Gary Trent Jr. showed out this season. He emerged as a bench scoring option when the Blazers needed it. With McCollum missing time in the middle of the season, Trent showed what he could do to the tune of 7.7 points on 38.8% three-point shooting on 3.8 threes a game. This shooting ability along with some semi-respectable defense made him an attractive option off the bench for the crippled Blazers squad. His shooting from the rest of the court also impressed, shooting 45.8% from 10-14ft and 56% at the basket and 83.3% at the line. His handles are nothing to brag about but it was good enough to occasionally break down his defender and get an open shot off. He’s also a threat in transition as his speed allows him to cruise down the floor and get open for attacks at the basket or transition threes. Other than his shooting, transition scoring, and occasional shot creation Trent didn’t bring much more to the offense. But I mean our boy was selected in the second round (37th overall) so let's cut him some slack. Him being a contributor at all is a dub. He lacks the passing vision and accuracy to be an effective playmaker and isn’t much of an offensive rebounder (or rebounder, in general, to be honest).
Defensively Trent is just okay. His perimeter defense is better than his interior defense, which is not surprising considering his 6’5 stature and 210lb weight. He’s light on his feet which allows him to keep up with most guards. The problem comes when bigs get switched onto him as he’s not exceptionally strong or lengthy, leading him to being pushed to the side like Will Smith in his relationship with Jada (poor Will). He seems to have a solid idea of how to read opposing offenses as he’s been pretty good at identifying where passes are going and accumulating steals.
Of all the young Blazers we’ve talked about Trent is probably the least interesting in terms of long term potential. I don’t know that he will be anything better than a solid bench shooter who provides a bit of defense but that's alright. Considering his draft position (37th overall) the Blazers getting Trent was absolutely a win. I think Trent will be a 9-10 point scorer on good efficiency for years to come. That’s not bad for a second-round pick.
The Young Blazers:
If we look at all the young Blazers it’s pretty impressive what Portland has been able to do with their late lottery and non-lottery picks. Simons is a young, athletic guard who has all the potential in the world as a scorer. Collins has the makings of the perfect modern NBA big man. Little has starter potential with his interior scoring and high-end defensive upside. Trent was a nice pick up in the second round a couple of years ago. The Blazers have done an impressive job not only competing in the present but setting themselves up for a promising future. Maybe one day these young players could blaze Portland towards their second championship.
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I’m not understanding why a 9-4 LSU is favored to win against a poor little 12-1 HOG team.

I’m not understanding why a 9-4 LSU is favored to win against a poor little 12-1 HOG team. submitted by Mabl_ProteGe to razorbacks [link] [comments]

What's Next For The Atlanta Hawks? Part 2: The Draft

In a year where the Hawks 20-47 they find themselves, yet again, atop the lottery with a high chance of snagging yet another top prospect from the draft. In a year with no clear standout studs above the rest, this draft could go a multitude of ways. A player like James Weisman could be drafted with a top 3 pick or he could just as easily slip to the end of the lottery. There's no saying what will happen with this year's draft. We can, however, look at the top prospects and see how they could fit in with this young, burgeoning, Hawks team.
Team Needs:
So without any more delay, let's talk some draft...
Lamelo Ball:
One of the top prospects in this year's draft Ball can play make like no other prospect in this draft. His elite court vision, feel for the game, and ball handle should allow him to be an effective playmaker and scorer at the rim. His large frame and size point to a high defensive upside yet he still had some struggles on the defensive end overseas. His shot looks pretty funky (not unlike his brother) plus he’s had a hard time scoring efficiently from behind the arc. Ball would be a very interesting fit for the Hawks. On one end I like it because he would provide a much needed secondary playmaking presence for the hawks. He could run the offense on some possessions allowing Trae to play off-ball more, creating an interesting offensive dynamic where the Hawks would have two elite playmakers on the court. He could also help run the second unit while Trae rests, that way the Hawks always have a high-end playmaker in the game at all times at one of the guard positions. If Ball figured out his defense, he could be a very nice fit next to Trae and the rest of the Hawks measly defensive roster as well, plus he could help grab some of the boards the team will miss out due to Trae’s poor rebounding. It’s not all sunshine and roses with Ball though. His jerky shooting motion as well as his inefficient scoring make me worry about his upside as a secondary shot creator (something the Hawks desperately need). It’s cool that he could potentially be a playmaker and serviceable defender but the offense will continue to be limited without another shot creator. There’s also some reason to worry about whether or not Trae and Lamelo’s skill sets are too similar. Trae is already one of the league's best passers and I'm not sure you want to be taking the ball out of his hands as much as you would be with Lamelo. With the two of them playing together you would likely be forced to give Lamelo the majority of the playmaking opportunities since he doesn’t look to be an effective off-ball player (other than as a cutter). I like Lamelo and his skillset but I’m not sure he’s the right pick for the Hawks.
Fit Grade: C+
Killian Hayes:
Arguably this year's top shooting guard prospect, Killian Hayes has a lot going for him. He’s a 6’5, 215lb guard out of France that’s shown to have high upside as both a shooter and facilitator. Hayes may not make the same electrifying full-court passes that Ball does but he’s not super far behind him as a playmaker. He has the ability to hit open cutters and shooters along the perimeter with pinpoint accuracy as well as a lethal jump shot to keep opposing defenders honest. This shooting ability along with his solid handle point to him having lots of upside as a shot-creator. Hayes lacks the athleticism of some of the other top prospects but he makes it work with his natural feel for the game. He knows how to attack passing lanes and is always a threat to intercept an opposing player's pass. His size also makes him able to guard opposing wings as he will not easily be overpowered. Hayes’s biggest flaw is simply his lack of athleticism. He lacks the burst to blow by quicker defenders which could potentially limit his scoring abilities on the interior. His handle, while adequate, could use some work as can sometimes struggle to create enough distance to get his shot off. Overall I like Hayes and his fit with the Hawks. I think he could fill the team's needs of a secondary playmaker and secondary shot-creator (as long as it tightens up his handle). He looks to be an above-average defender at the shooting guard position which could greatly benefit the Hawks. His shooting ability would allow him to play off-ball and further solidify the Hawks as an above-average shooting team. The biggest knock I have on Hayes is that he lacks some of the upside of other prospects due to his limited athleticism. It also doesn’t help that Hayes, while being a good defender, would not help solve the Hawks defensive woes as much as some other prospects. In the end, I think Hayes would be a really good fit on this Hawks team as he could spiff up their offense while also helping them on defense.
Fit Grade: A-
Anthony Edwards:
You want athleticism? Say no more. I present to you Anthony Edwards, a 6’5, 225lb shooting guard with a 6’9 wingspan and enough hops to jump out of the building. Edwards shot up onto the scene this year with his herculean dunks and jaw-dropping athleticism. Edwards, in his lone season at Georgia, has shown to be a dynamic ball handler with the ability to create space and hit shots around the rim. His elite athleticism and burst allow him to blow by defenders and his 225lb mold allows him to score through contact. He has tremendous upside as a defender due to his frame as well as his size and agility. Edwards isn’t always a lockdown defender despite his physical traits. He often loses focus when defending off-ball and sometimes simply lacks effort. The same can be said for his offense as when he’s not playing with the ball he can be a bit lackadaisical at times. Edwards is an alright passer but he’s not going to be constantly creating opportunities for his teammates. Edwards would certainly be interesting on the Hawks. I think his ability to create shots and get to the basket could do wonders for the Hawks offense. His defensive potential is through the roof and if he figured it all out he could one day be an all-defensive type player. He does lack the shooting and passing abilities you’d want in a shooting guard however playing next to Trae Young would help alleviate some of those problems. Despite not being much of a playmaker, I love Edwards fit with Atlanta. He has monumental upside as a scoreshot creator and could be a huge asset on the defensive end (as long as he can stay locked in). The only thing keeping Edwards from getting an A+ fit grade is his lack of playmaking. If the Hawks find themselves with a top pick, don’t be surprised if Edwards ends up staying in Georgia.
Fit Grade: A
Tyrese Haliburton:
And we're keeping it rolling with the guards. Haliburton may just be the least exciting of all the top lottery picks. He lacks elite athleticism and wow plays but he makes up for it with his playmaking and off-ball defense. Haliburton is one of the most gifted passers in this class. He seems to always make the right play and can launch the ball to cutters and shooters. He’s not all that athletic but his handle as well as his ability to fake out defenders allows him to create some shots for himself. His shooting was solid but not spectacular in his two years at Iowa State. On defense, he thrives off-ball where he uses his basketball IQ to attack passing lanes, make rotations, and disrupt plays. On the ball, it's a different story. Haliburton lacks the burst to keep up with quicker guards and his 6’5, 175lb frame makes him prone to getting bodied by opposing bigs and forwards. His shot creation is also a concern as he may have a hard time creating separation in the pros. Haliburton seems more like a complementary piece than anything. Frankly, I think the Hawks would be making a mistake taking Haliburton. Yeah sure he would serve as a solid secondary playmaker and play some good defense but I don’t know that he does either of those things well enough to warrant the Hawks selecting him with what will likely be a top-five pick, I simply don’t think he has enough upside (now watch him be a 15-time all-star).
Fit Grade: C
Onyeka Okongwu:
Defense! Defense! Defense! That’s what Onyeka Okongwu is all about. Okongwu has the unique ability to guard bigs on the interior while also being able to keep up with the quicker guards. His hustle paired along with his insane 7’1 wingspan make him a top-notch shot blocker and transition defender. His positioning is well ahead of his age and he’s almost always in the right position to snag a rebound or contest a shot. At USC Okongwu also showed himself to be an elite interior finisher. He can throw down some monster lobs while also being able to softly lay it up when in transition. He has an arsenal of post moves that he uses to score down low. He also finds ways to be useful off-ball as he is a smart screen setter. His passing is also impressive for a big as he is more than capable of making outlet passes to shooters when working in the post. He’s also got a pretty solid handle for a big man and can get to the rim on some defenders. The biggest drawback Okongwu has is his inability to shoot. His mechanics are less than ideal and I’m not too high on him as a shooter. He also can foul a bit much and chase on blocks that he really shouldn’t. If it weren’t for Clint Capela finding his way to Atlanta this last season I would have urged the Hawks to take Okongwu if they got the chance. He checks a lot of the boxes. He can be an elite defender, check. He can act as a secondary playmaker, check. He can create his own shot, kinda check. I just worry that his playstyle would overlap too heavily with Capela which is why I don’t see the Hawks going and getting him. I love Okongwu as a prospect (he’s my favorite in the draft) however I can’t deny the overlapping skills he has with the Hawks roster.
Fit Grade: A- (without Capela), C- (with Capela)
Devin Vassell:
If the Hawks are looking for a 3 and D wing, Vassell might just be their guy. Vassell saw great improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year at Florida State. In his second year at the university, he put up 12.7 points on 41.5% three-point shooting. His overall scoring wasn’t mind-blowing but his efficiency sparked many scouts interest and put him in a place to be a lottery pick in this year's draft. Vassell showed some ball-handling chops in College but largely struggled to get to and finish at the basket. His passing was solid but he’ll likely never be the lead initiator of an offense. He’s much more suited to being a secondary playmaker. On defense, Vassell is an absolute dog. He hustles for open balls, interrupts passing lanes, and uses his length (6’7 with a 6’10 wingspan) to disrupt bigs. Despite lacking burst Vessel often uses he’s defensive IQ to attack passing lanes and come up with the steal (1.4 steals a game in college). He can effectively guard most guards and wings while also displaying food off-ball defense. He could use a few extra pounds on him since he isn't quite big enough to hang with most bigs in the post. I think Vassell is one of the surest things in this draft class. He seems like the type of player to find a way to be impactful regardless of his role. I don’t see a way this guy could be a complete flop of a draft pick, he just does all the little things so well. In terms of his fit for the Hawks, he is pretty interesting. I really like his defense and shooting for the hawks. His solid playmaking could make him a quality secondary playmaker for hawks. I’m just concerned about his ability to create his own shot. He has shown some craftiness and ability to create space despite his lack of athleticism but I wonder how high his ceiling is in that aspect of the game. It’s also not that assuring that he struggled to finish at the basket in college. I think he will become better at creating his own shot, I just don’t know how much better. It could very well be the difference from him becoming a star or him just being another solid 3 and D wing. There’s also some concern that his game might just be too similar to Deandre Hunter but in my opinion, you can never really have too many good wings. If the Hawks are looking for more of a surefire bet of a prospect I think Vassell should be atop of their list.
Team Fit: B+
Obi Toppin:
Toppin was a pleasant surprise this year at Dayton. After being a red-shirt his freshman year Toppin burst onto draft boards when he led Dayton to a top record in college basketball. Toppin made highlight plays with his ferocious dunks and ability to swat balls away at a high level. Toppin was a huge transition threat in college due to his galvanizing burst and surprising ball-handling skills. Toppin was able to be an effective interior scorer, despite not having a deep bag of low post moves. He was able to do this because of his monumental strength and burst, oh yeah, also because he’s 6’9 with a 6’11 wingspan and a hulking 220lb frame. Toppin even flashed some playmaking abilities, leading some scouts to believe he could act as a playmaker from the post, kicking the ball out to open shooters. Toppin was also a very solid shooter in his one year at Dayton. He shot 39% on 80+ three-point attempts in his shortened season at Dayton. It is a bit worrisome that in his two seasons at Dayton he never shot better than 71.3% at the free-throw line. But overall I have lots of faith in his jumper as it looks good and his percentages have overall been good. Now let's get onto the less positive side of Toppins game. Toppin is, quite frankly, a catastrophe on defense. His interior defense isn’t that good despite his physical gifts because he lacks lateral quickness. Opposing players can blow by him and get to the rim before he can get up for the contest. Yes, he’s a good shot-blocker when set but the problem is that he doesn’t position himself effectively. His high center of gravity makes him prone to getting bodied by shorter, more bulky wings/guards despite his physical gifts. He tends to get lost on defense and doesn’t always seem to know what to do. He doesn’t have a good sense of what opposing offenses are doing and has little awareness of screens. It doesn’t help that he simply lacks effort on defense. On offense I love Toppins fit with the Hawks. Problem is that he is, in many ways, a spitting image of John Collins. He struggles in many of the same ways and they fill a similar role. Toppin is an absolute nightmare fit for the Hawks defensively. He is simply atrocious on that end and doesn't show much room for improvement on that side of the game (other than maybe his shot-blocking). Toppin is too similar to Collins and too poor of a defender to be selected by the Hawks.
Fit Grade: C
Deni Avdija:
The top international prospect this year, Deni Avdija is a polarizing prospect. He’s a 6’9 wing with guard-like skills. He is a strong passer and playmaker who uses his basketball IQ as well as his solid ball-handling skills to find open shooters in cutters in both full-court and half-court situations. His handle allows him to get to the rim where he finishes more often than not. He’s a crafty interior player that can use a combination of fakes and post moves to score. It’s also worth noting that he can score effectively with either hand making him an even more versatile interior scorer. Deni likes to avoid the mid-range and prefers to take shots along the perimeter or at the basket. His shooting overall hasn’t been too impressive. He really struggled from three and from the line prior to the league's suspension, however, since they’ve come back Avdija has been shooting much better which gives me hope for his shooting in the long term. Defensively, off-ball is where Avdija shines. He positions himself close enough to his defenders so they’re never fully open while still roaming passing lanes in the hunt for a steal. His on-ball defense is less prolific. Avdija simply lacks the lateral quickness to keep up with faster wings and guards, despite putting in lots of effort on that end. He’s also not quite strong enough to stop bigs in the post. His ball handle could also use some improvement as it’s good, not great. So what do we get with Avdija? Well, we're getting a player that can play make, score at the buck, play off-ball defense, and defend off-ball effectively. We’re also getting a player who struggles to defend quicker players as well as bigs, limited athleticism, suspect shooting, and somewhat limited shot creation abilities (though he could very well improve at all these things). I like Avdija’s potential, if he just put on some pounds and did some agility training he could very well be an effective defender for the Hawks. If he worked on his handle his shot creation abilities could also take some strides. I think he could fit nicely on the Hawks.
Fit Grade: B+
Isaac Okoro:
To round out the list we have Isaac Okoro from Auburn. In his one season at Auburn Okoro flashed the ability to drive and finish at the rim at a high rate. His handle is pretty strong and when paired with his ability to finish with either hand makes him a tough player to guard down low. He often uses a variety of spin moves, fakes, and misdirection to throw defenders off and get shots off at the basket. When he does get to the basket he’s shown to be good at drawing fouls. When he meets opposition when driving to the basket he will often find an open shooter instead of forcing up bad shots. Okoro also thrives on defense where he can play effectively on-ball and off-ball. His high motor paired with his high defensive IQ makes him a menace to go at on offense. He rotates well, fights past screens, and stays with cutters at a high level. He’s also strong enough to stand his ground against bigger players. Okoro has shown to be a poor shooter thus far in his basketball career. He shot just 28.6% from three in his one year at Auburn while also shooting a measly 67.2% from the free-throw line. This leads to him not being very good at creating his own shot along the perimeter and from the midrange. On the bright side he’s not the type to force up shots he’s not good at (cough* cough* Russel Westbrook). There are some questions about how his athleticism will hold up when he gets to the NBA, he has adequate burst but there’s a chance it won’t be good enough to get past higher level defenders. If the Hawks were to end up with a later pick I definitely wouldn’t be mad if they selected Okoro. I see him as at least being a solid NBA defender with some upside as a shot creator and secondary playmaker. His shooting is pretty worrisome but he would be paired with one of the best shooters in the league in Trae Young and a strong shooting supporting cast. Okoro’s transition into the NBA may not be flawless but I think he could blossom as a player in Atlanta.
Fit Grade: B+
Side Note: I avoided talking about James Weisman as I don’t see a situation in which the Hawks draft him due to their acquisition of Clint Capela.
Join me for part three next week when we will be discussing possible free agents the Hawks could target to help lead them to contention.
Thanks For Reading! Any feedback is greatly appreciated!!!
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[OC] The Chicago Bulls rebuild imploded again this year. How can they pick up the pieces and make it better next time?

As we continue to wait for real basketball to happen (or not?), it may be a good time to monitor teams that will definitely be missing out on all the playoff bubble hijinks.
Here's a look at the CHICAGO BULLS, with a special shoutout to true Bulls' fans like celsius_two_3_two for helping me review the content.
PART ONE: From Playoff Challenger to Challenger space shuttle
Like any proper degenerate, I like to make a few Las Vegas "oveunder" bets before the season (note: don't try it at home, it's usually a waste of time and money.)
Still, a few win totals jumped out at me. Among them: the Chicago Bulls, oveunder 33.5 wins.
Now, the logical move may have been to pound the "under" here. After all, this was a team coming off two seasons with 27-55 and 22-60 records. However, I couldn't help but overthink this one. Sure, the Bulls had a very bad 2018-19 season (highlighted by Fred Hoiberg getting fired and Drill Sergeant Jim Boylen taking over). At the same time, they played better in the second half of the season. Boylen (douche or not) would presumably keep improving their defense. Moreover, Boylen and the front office were on shaky ground in terms of their job security, which usually motivates an organization to push forward and win as much as possible.
The front office clearly had that in mind as well, signing Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young to sizable $10M+ contracts. Neither are great players, or perhaps even good players, but they're solid and reliable veterans whom the team could immediately plug into a rotation. These Bulls felt deep, balanced, and perhaps ready to strike. After all, star Zach LaVine would be set to enter Year 6 in the league. Otto Porter would be entering Year 7. Some of their other "young" pieces weren't that young; for example, Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine are both 26 right now.
Overall, this felt like a recipe for success. Or at least, semi-success. The Bulls were ready to take a jump. Making the playoffs may have been unrealistic, but 35-38 wins felt doable. "OVER" it is!
Flash forward nearly a year later, and I've got so much egg on my face that vegans won't even talk to me anymore. Turns out, these "new Bulls" were the "same ol' Bulls." They'll end the season with a 22-43 record, which would have put them on pace for 27.8 wins over 82 games, well under the 33.5 set by Vegas.
So what went wrong? How did this potential darkhorse run so far off the rails that it needed to get shot and turned to glue? Let's take a closer look.
PART TWO: Missing Otto Porter III + D
One of the major reasons the Chicago Bulls disappointed in 2019-20 was injuries. Center Wendell Carter missed time, and Otto Porter III barely played due to lingering hip injuries. He appeared in 14 games, and only drew 9 starts (averaging 23 minutes per game.)
On the surface, Porter shouldn't feel like a huge loss. After all, this is a player who's never averaged as much as 15 PPG in any season in his career and has never sniffed an All-Star team.
That said, the loss of Porter had a trickle down effect that hurt the team in numerous ways.
Offensively, Porter is a low-usage player who's about as efficient as anyone in the league. For his career, he shoots over 40% from three (40.4%). Better yet, he's only averaged 0.8 turnovers per game (1.1 TO per 36 minutes.) He's what you'd call a role player / assassin. He gets in, hits his target, and slips out without being noticed. Porter actually has a little more versatility to his offensive game than the average catch-and-shoot player (he can take you down on the block, for example), but most often, he's used as a spacer and he thrives in that regard. Without Porter's shooting, the Chicago Bulls' offense looked even more sluggish than usual. Their offensive rating ranked 27th out of the 30 teams in the league.
Porter's loss also showed up in other ways. Porter's not a great defender -- he's probably "above average" -- but that's still an asset to have in your lineup. He's a savvy player who's usually locked in defensively, despite one infamous Shaqtin' A Fool moment. He also has good size and length for his position at 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan.
That size is a key element to this discussion. Porter has "plus" size as a small forward. In his absence, the Bulls struggled to fill that void with the same. They ended up shifting Zach LaVine (6'6", 6'8" wingspan) over to small forward quite a bit. LaVine played 67% of his minutes at SF this past season according to basketball-reference. You can take those positional play-by-plays with a grain of salt because it's not easy to track and label, but that's still a notable difference in terms of the roster composition. The Bulls were smaller than average at SF, and smaller than average at SG with rookie Coby White (6'4", 6'5" wingspan) playing the majority of his minutes there.
The natural follow up to this may be: so what? Even with those size limitations, Jim Boylen's Bulls still finished with the 14th best defense (up from 25 last year.) However, the lack of size on the wings helped contribute to the Bulls' problems on the glass. They finished 30th (out of 30 teams) in total defensive rebounds, and 28th in rebounding differential (-3.6 per game). Using rebounding totals isn't always the best metric to use because bad teams miss more shots (and thus allow their opponents more rebounds). However, if you dig deeper, the numbers still aren't pretty. The Bulls' grabbed 75.6% of their potential defensive rebounds -- 5th worst in the league. Overall, they grabbed 47.9% of all potential rebounds -- 2nd worst in the league. "Rebounds" may be not be an en vogue stat in general, but it's a weakness that still hurt the team at the margins. When you're a mid-level team, those extra few possessions per game could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
The good news? Porter will likely be back and healthy next season. The bad news? He's not cheap. He'll almost certainly pick up his oversized $28M player option. In another circumstance, he may try to rip it up and renegotiate a long-term deal with the Bulls or another team instead, but the murkiness around the cap and around his health makes that too difficult to imagine. Barring a trade, he'll be back with the Bulls next year, and will help the team win a few more games.
PART THREE: Misusing their offensive weapons
The Chicago Bulls are a young team, built around young stars like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Both LaVine and Markkanen have some limitations overall, but they're both gifted offensive players. So given that, how is it that the team only finished 27th in offensive efficiency?
In terms of the national media, a lot of the blame tends to fall on Zach LaVine. After some inefficient play early on in his career, the narrative has stuck that LaVine is an "empty calorie" or "volume" scorer. However, the results on the court don't really justify that anymore. Sure, LaVine shoots a lot, but he doesn't take as many bad shots as you may expect. He takes 8.1 threes per game (and makes an above-average 38%). He takes 5.6 free throw attempts per game (making 82% for his career.) Overall, that's a winning formula. LaVine's efficiency and true shooting is above league-average, no small feat for a player averaging 25.5 points per game this year. You'd like to see him hammer his way to the line even more, but he's not the problem for this team (offensively.)
Meanwhile, Markkanen has some work to do. For a 7-footer, he's a gifted shooter. He shot 42.3% from three in college (and even flirted with 50% early in the season.) He carried that success over to the NBA for his first two years, netting over 36% from three each year. His results at the free throw line (84% then 87% as a second-year player) illustrated his potential to keep improving from there. 7-footers tend to get labeled as "stretch bigs" if they can get anywhere over 30% from three; Markkanen has the potential to get closer to 40%.
However, that leap didn't happen in Year 3. Markkanen sagged to 34.4% from three, and "only" 82.4% from the free-throw line. But those percentages aren't what bothers me. Percentages will go up and down over smaller sample sizes like that. What's more concerning is how Markkanen's role shrunk offensively. After averaging 15.3 field goal attempts last season, he slipped down to 11.8 attempts this season per game. Even if you account for a few less minutes, he dropped from 17 FGA to 14 FGA in terms of "per 36" numbers.
As mentioned, Markkanen is an offensive player. He's a shooter. I'm no coaching genius (and neither is Jim Boylen apparently), but I'd encourage a shooter to SHOOT. Because if Markkanen isn't a focal point of your offensive attack, then he's not doing much good for your team. He's not a good defender -- he's not a good rebounder. This is like the Justice League sending Aquaman off to the find evil aliens in the desert; we're misusing his talents here, people.
Practically speaking, the next Bulls' coach needs to rethink the approach with Markkanen. Personally, I believe he has more in the tank offensively than he's been allowed to show so far. Maybe he's not Dirk Nowtizki, but he's still an extraordinary talent as a shooter for his size; I'd make a point of funneling him the ball. And if the problem is that he's getting marginalized by ball-dominant LaVine, then Markkanen should come off the bench as a 6th man scorer instead. He needs to be an offensive priority whenever he's in the game. And consequently, a better offensive philosophy and system needs to be installed in order to allow that to happen.
PART FOUR: Natural growing pains
When the Chicago Bulls' playoff chances slipped away, Jim Boylen and the front office finally unleashed their rookie, Coby White.
White took advantage of that greenlight and turned up the gas as a scorer. He'll end the season with a modest 13.2 points per game, but that undersells his impact as a scorer. Per 36 minutes, he averaged 18.5 points per game. That trended upwards over the course of the season as well. White averaged over 20 points per game in February and March (albeit over a limited 14 game size.) If White can do that as a 20-year-old rookie, then it's fair to suggest that he could be routinely scoring over 20 PPG in his prime.
While Coby White has some obvious virtues -- highlighted by his quickness and his cool hair -- there are some natural concerns and growing pains that he showed. He scored, but he didn't necessarily do that with efficiency. He shot only 39.4% from the field, and netted only a 50.6 true shooting percentage that's well below the league average.
Defensively, White also struggled. Playing "up" at SG for 71% of his minutes (and even at SF for 17%!), White's limited size and limited experience showed. ESPN's real/plus minus metric graded him as -1.9 impact per 100 possessions. If you wanted to count White as a point guard, that would rank 89th best (out of 94 qualifiers.) If you envision him as a shooting guard, that would rank 134th (out of 137 qualifiers.)
That debate -- is Coby White a point guard or shooting guard? -- is an important one. Sure, we're in an era of "position-less" basketball to some extent, but players still have certain roles offensively and certain assignments defensively. White's limited size and length (6'5" wingspan) projects best as a point guard. However, he's more of a scorer than a natural distributor. He only averaged 3.8 assists per 36 minutes this season, not far removed from the 5.2 assists per 36 minutes he averaged back in college at UNC. His playmaking can improve, but he's more of an attack dog by nature.
This combination of strengths and weaknesses makes you wonder about the long-term fit next to Zach LaVine. If the Bulls' long-term plan is to play White at SG and LaVine at SF, then they're always going to be behind the eight-ball in terms of length and rebounding (especially with Lauri Markkanen at the 4.) If their plan is to start White as a point guard, then they're going to have to rely on LaVine to be more of a lead facilitator, or on the entire team to adopt more of a ball-moving offense 1-5.
Most realistically, White projects best as a super-scorer off the bench, a la Lou Williams. To excel in that role, he'll need to continue to draw more free throws (he was at only 2.0 FTA per game as a rookie), but the potential is there to improve his shot selection and become a big-time scorer. Staggering White and LaVine would also allow them to be aggressive as scorers without stepping on each other's toes.
PART FIVE: Done with Dunn?
The other reason that it'll be important for the new Bulls' coach and front office to devise a long-term plan for Coby White is because it will affect other decisions on the roster. Among them: the fate of Kris Dunn.
Like Coby White, Dunn has some extreme strengths and weaknesses -- they just happen to be in opposite order. He EXCELS defensively. He has a big frame (6'9" wingspan) and natural instincts on that end. He nabbed 2.0 steals this season in only 24.9 minutes of action. A lot of times, "steals" can be misleading because they amount to gambling. For Dunn, it's more reflective of his actual talent. He has extremely quick hands; he could have made a lot of money as a gunslinger back in the Old West. In some ways, he reminds you of Andre Iguodala on the ball defensively, combining length, strength, and savvy.
The rest of Dunn's game is a mixed bag. He's not a bad distributor (averaging 6.0 assists in both 2017-18 and 2018-19), but he's a poor shooter. He's also had injury issues flare up over the course of his career. As mentioned, he's already 26 years old, so it's unrealistic to expect him to become a wholly different player in the next few years. With Kris Dunn, you mostly know what you're getting to get. So the question is: do you want it or not?
The Bulls will have to make that choice this offseason, as Dunn enters his (restricted) free agency. There's a chance that COVID will infect the cap and allow them to retain him on his one-year qualified offer of $7M. Alternatively, there's a chance that another team will swoop him and sign him to an offer sheet. He'd make some sense for a team like the Detroit Pistons, who could invest in him as an heir apparent to Derrick Rose at PG. If a team like that offers Dunn a deal in the 3 year, $8-10M per year range, will the Bulls match it? TBD.
Again, a lot depends on their views regarding Coby White. If they envision White as a future starter at PG, then there's less of a need for Kris Dunn. The Bulls would be able to start White at PG as soon as next year, with Tomas Satoransky as a combo guard off the bench and Ryan Arcidiacono serving as a third point guard and insurance policy. If the team envisions Coby White as a SG (or combo guard off the bench) then there's more of a need for Kris Dunn to platoon with Satoransky as a lead guard.
This game of musical chairs may be getting more crowded, because there's also another element at play: yet-another lottery pick.
PART SIX: Drafting some Help
Currently, the Chicago Bulls are slated in the # 7 position in terms of the NBA Draft order. They have a 9% chance of moving up to # 1, and a 32% chance of moving into the top 4. If they can make that leap, then that would mean adding another potential star to the fold. It's not a strong draft by any stretch, but SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia) and C James Wiseman (Memphis) have the potential to be good starters. If they can land someone like that, you ignore "fit", take the potential stud, and work out the rest later.
More likely, the Bulls will be picking in that 7-8 range. That's still a good pick, of course, but not one that should cause you to throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore the composition and needs of your team.
Again, this is why the "Do the Bulls need a PG?" question becomes so critical. This is a poor draft, but it's strongest in terms of its point guard depth. According to ESPN's draft experts, 5 of the top 13 prospects are point guards (LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony). A few of those -- namely Hayes and Anthony -- are "pure" point guards who don't have enough size to switch around and play minutes at the 2.
Among the crop that's likely to be available around pick 7, here are some potential fits.
PG TYRESE HALIBURTON, IOWA STATE (# 8 on espn). Haliburton is one of the easiest "fits" for the Bulls and for basically every team, because he offers a versatile set of skills. He's technically a point guard (averaging 15.2 points and 6.5 assists last year) and can capably fill that role. Better still, he can be effectively off the ball. His three-point shot looks a little wonky, but he converts it well, hitting 42.6% of his threes in college. Defensively he's got good size (6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan) and instincts (2.5 steals, 1.3 fouls last year). In a sense, Haliburton can be a "3 + D" point guard that plays alongside a ball-dominant player, be it Zach LaVine or Coby White. If the team drafts him, you figure it'd be with the intention of using him as an upgrade on Dunn (slightly worse defense but better offense.)
SG DEVIN VASSELL, FLORIDA STATE (# 16 on espn). Like Haliburton, Devin Vassell is another player who could fit well on virtually every team because of his 3+D potential. He's hit 41.7% of his threes in his two years at FSU with a good-looking form that's aided by good size for his position and a higher release than Haliburton. Right now, Vassell is listed around 6'6" with an estimated 6'10" wingspan, but he looks bigger than that to my eye. That's crucial because it would allow him to play both SG and SF and draw some different assignments defensively. I also like Vassell's personality off the court; he seems like a good kid that should continue to improve. Like Haliburton, Vassell is the type of player that should easily into a lineup with LaVine and/or White.
SF DENI AVDIJA, ISRAEL (# 5 on espn). I'm not going to pretend to have as much confidence in my projection of Avdija, who's played in the international youth circuit and has been a rising star with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Based on what I do know, he could be an intriguing boom/bust pick around # 7. He's a big forward (6'9") who can convert inside, and better yet, has a real knack for playmaking. The Bulls' young stars -- Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen -- are all better scorers than passers right now, so perhaps Avdija can operate as a de facto point forward and help the offense click into place. Right now, his shooting results have been shaky though, so he's not someone you can just throw out there and tell to stand in the corner as a 3+D option. If you take him, you need an actual plan to highlight his skill set. The Bulls' top exec Arturas Karnisovas is from Lithuania originally, so you presume that he'd have no qualms about selecting an European like Avdija (whose dad is Serbian) if need be. Of course, that logic didn't quite work out for Sacramento GM Vlade Divac and Luka Doncic.
SHAKIER FITS. Alternatively, there are some players in the Bulls' draft range that may not be ideal fits. As mentioned, Killian Hayes and Cole Anthony are more of traditional ball-dominant point guards; I don't love the idea of that next to Coby White and Zach LaVine. I'd also be wary of Dayton's PF Obi Toppin. Toppin has strong scoring potential with a decent shot and good athleticism inside. That said, he's a little stiff in the hips defensively, and may duplicate Lauri Markkanen in that regard.
PART SEVEN: Buh-Buh Boylen
One of the Chicago Bulls' biggest decisions will be among their first. Technically, the new front office has not fired coach Jim Boylen yet, but it appears that his clock is ticking on that decision. It's only a matter of time.
Candidly, Boylen gets too harsh of a rap from national media and fans. He's not a complete asshat. He's had success as a defensive assistant in the past, and did help the Bulls' defense improve some over the past few years. He'd be a fine assistant coach somewhere in that limited capacity.
However, he does seem woefully out of his depth as a head coach. He's never had success in that role before, and he didn't have any now. His offensive system is virtually nonexistent, and his attitude is boarish. Usually those "Drill Sergeant" coaches get a short-term year or two of improvement from a young team, but he couldn't even do that. We need to pull him out of there before there's a full-on Full Metal Jacket rebellion here.
Looking ahead, the Bulls need to pick a coach that can get the team back on track, especially in terms of their offensive philosophy. That said, the Bulls have to be careful not to "zigzag" too much in their coaching hires. They went from Tom Thibodeau (the gruff, defensive-heavy coach) to the Anti-Thibodeau in Fred Hoiberg (likable, low-key former player), and then jumped on the seesaw again with the complete opposite in Boylen. There's always a tendency to go for the opposite of your last coach, but presumably there's a happy medium in between these two poles. Goldilocks was happy to find something "just right," so Karnisovas should be as well.
According to media reports, Ime Udoka is a top candidate, and would be a natural fit. While Udoka doesn't have head coaching experience yet, he's about as "ready" as any first-time coach would be. He's a former player, and a long-time assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio (and now has worked the last year in Philadelphia.) The Spurs' philosophy is an ideal template for the Bulls to use, both in terms of their offensive ball movement and their locker room culture.
I'd also recommend Kenny Atkinson as a viable candidate. He didn't mesh with the new superstars in Brooklyn, but he'd done a great job prior to that in terms of rebuilding a broken Brooklyn team. He specializes in pace and space offense, and player development. That sounds ideal for this team right now.
There are a few other candidates out there that would be worth interviews (Chris Finch, Wes Unseld Jr., Chris Fleming, Nate Tibbetts, Alex Jensen, Dave Joerger, etc) but Udoka and Atkinson represent a very solid top two. Hiring either of them would be a great first step for this new administration.
The Chicago Bulls' "breakout" didn't happen; instead, they broke down. However, the foundation isn't bad here. If the new front office wants to push for the playoffs next year (manifested by keeping Otto Porter and continuing to play veterans) then it's not unrealistic that they can get up to 35-40 wins with better health and a better offensive system. Conversely, the team may decide they're further away than that, and take a step back to collect their bearings.
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Indianapolis Colts Top 5: Quarterbacks

Indianapolis Colts Top 5: Quarterbacks
With the season (hopefully) on the way I thought I'd put together some lists for top 5 players at each position in Indianapolis (not Baltimore) Colts history. I'll start with QB, and work my way through. This list is purely my opinion as a die hard fan since the early Manning days, and if you think I have no clue what I'm talking about, please feel free to let me know.
Fun fact, out of the 26 QBs to start a game for the Indy Colts there are only 7 players that have a winning record. Three of them are Colts legends Josh Freeman, Gary Hogeboom, and Craig Erickson.

5. Jack Trudeau
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
198-93 18-29 0-1 52.9 9,647 41 62 6.3 64.4

How He Got Here

After the complete disaster that was attempting to draft John Elway #1 in 1983, the then Baltimore Colts stuck with Mike Pagel at QB, who had just led them to a winless season in 1982. Team owner Robert Irsay decided to move the team to Indianapolis before the 1984 season the team stuck with Pagel as their main QB despite him clearly not being their future at the position. This led to 2 season with losing records and last place finishes in the AFC East. Entering the 1986 draft, the Colts were clearly looking for a franchise player at QB. The obvious choice was Jim Everett out of Purdue, but unfortunately he was selected #3 to the Houston Oilers when the Colts had the #4 pick. Instead of drafting the only other franchise QB in the draft, Mark Rypien, the Colts decided to select promising Illinois QB Jack Trudeau in the 2nd round. Trudeau had shown a lot of promise in his career, leading Illinois to a Rose Bowl in 1984 and finishing 2nd in the Davey O'Brien Award (Best College QB) to Doug Flutie. Unfortunately for him and the Colts, this talent would not translate well to the NFL

Colts Career

After trading Mike Pagel to the Browns the starting job was set for Trudeau entering the 1986 season. Unfortunately the Colts were still a very bad team overall and Trudeau was not set to overcome that. In 11 starts he had 8 TDs, 18 INTs, and a 48.9% completion rate for an 0-11 record. It was immediately clear he was not the savior the Colts needed to bring legitimate football to Indy.
Fortunately, a contract dispute between Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson allowed the Colts to trade for Dickerson midway through the 1987 season. Dickerson was an immediate breath of life to the fledgling Indianapolis Colts franchise and helped lead them to their first playoff berth. Trudeau shared starting duties with Gary Hogeboom, and both were successful in not screwing things up too bad, giving the ball to Dickerson, and staying out of the damn way. Trudeau started in his only playoff game and actually played decently well: 251 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, but it wasn't enough as the Colts lost 38-21 to the Bernie Kosar led Cleveland Browns who would eventually lose in via "The Drive" in the AFC Championship.
It was clear the Colts would need a better QB to compliment their new superstar in Dickerson, and thus they drafted future Pro Bowler Chris Chandler in the 3rd round in 1988. However, Chris Chandler was most definitely not a Pro Bowler for the Colts. Chandler didn't impress despite an 9-7 overall record, and was replaced by Trudeau following a bad start to the 1989 season. Trudeau had his best year as a pro in 1989: 2,317 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs, but the Colts still finished 8-8 and outside of the playoffs.
Trudeau was improving, but was still clearly not the QB of the future, which they hoped to get by trading All-Pro Tackle Chris Hinton, Future All-Pro WR Andre Rison, and the #3 Pick in 1991 for the #1 Pick in 1990 which they used to draft QB Jeff George (Wow). Trudeau was kept as the backup and was a spot starter for the Colts from 1990-93. Despite the horrific play of George, Trudeau couldn't muster much better in his limited playing time and was released in 1994.

My favorite highlight


Jack Trudeau was at best a mediocre QB you could somewhat rely on to manage the game and allow more talented players to make plays. Unfortunately the late 80s, early 90s Colts didn't have too many of those so his play suffered as well. His numbers aren't great and he wasn't much beloved by Colts fans, but he did help lead the Colts to their first playoff appearance which helped me put him on the list over Matt Hasselbeck and others. Trudeau has actually hung around Indy doing various radio and TV appearances talking about the Colts and even has a couple of DUIs as well.

4. Jacoby Brissett
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
2017- 11-19 0-0 59.8 6,042 31 13 6.6 84.6

How He Got Here

The Colts had their franchise QB in Andrew Luck, but leading up to the 2017 season it was revealed during the preseason Luck had a shoulder injury which would eventually lead to him missing the entire 2017 season. This left the Colts scrambling as they knew QB Scott Tolzien was not the answer at QB, so 8 days before the start of the season the new GM Chris Ballard traded 1st round bust Phillip Dorsett for 3rd string QB for the Patriots Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had looked at least competent spot starting for the suspended Tom Brady and hurt Jimmy Garoppolo in 2016, so he was the best option the Colts had available so close to the beginning of the season.

Colts Career

Bringing in a new QB for a team 8 days before the start of the season and asking him to play is like asking a train engineer to launch a rocket to the moon, so Tolzien started week 1 for Colts. He continued to not impress going into week 2, and was replaced for Brissett. Brissett was an improvement, but it was clear he was overwhelmed by the change of scenery and the rest of the Colts roster and staff was not talented enough to make up for it. He finished with competent numbers: 3,098 yards, 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 58.8% completion rate, 6.6 Y/A, but was merely a game manager for a bad team as the Colts finished 4-12.
Andrew Luck was ready to return in 2018 and the Colts were willing to give Brissett the benefit of the doubt and kept him on as the backup. The Colts saw a major resurgence with Luck and an incredible draft and free agent class by Chris Ballard, leading to their first playoff appearance since 2015, eventually losing to the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. The Colts were looking to improve going into 2019, but a now too familiar announcement led up to the season when it was revealed a calf injury was going to cause Andrew Luck to retire 2 weeks before the start of the regular season. The spotlight was once again shown on Jacoby Brissett, who was asked to take over Luck's team. Fortunately this time Brissett was able to get all the first team reps in the preseason leading up to week 1 and was much more familiar with the system.
That familiarity paid off as Brissett led the Colts to a 5-2 start, including wins over playoff teams like the Texans and Titans along with the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Brissett was not putting up All-Pro numbers, but had clearly improved from 2017 and was still not making game losing mistakes. Through week 9 he had 190 YPG, 11 TDs, and 6 INTs, and and the eye test had shown he was a good leader and could occasionally make big plays when needed. However, after a knee sprain in week 10 he was clearly not the same player. His injury either hampered his physical abilities or his confidence but his poor play for the rest of the season allowed the Colts to fall to 7-9, including an embarrassing 34-7 loss to the Saints that I made the trip over to New Orleans for and watched as Brissett sailed the ball over every receiver's head. Brissett will likely be the backup for the 2020 season behind free agent Phillip Rivers, but he's shown enough flashes of ability that his career is long from over, whether that ends up being on the Colts or somewhere else in the league.

My favorite highlight


I believe I'm with the majority of Colts fans in that when I see Jacoby Brissett I see somewhat of a tragic figure. He got thrown to the wolves in 2017 and did the best he could, but was basically set up to fail. It's honestly not too much of a stretch to say his play through week 9 of 2019 was the best QB play by an Indy Colts QB not named Manning, Luck, or Harbaugh. You could tell he was well-liked by both fans and teammates, especially through the first half of 2019, but his limitations as a player were clear. Colts fans have been spoiled in the 21st century by 2 all-time great QBs, so any deviation from that, especially when it's not by a QB we drafted #1 overall, will be seen as a major failure. I think people came down a little too hard on Jacoby by the end of 2019, and that he's still a solid pro capable of being the QB on a winning team in the right situation. However, he showed in the 2nd half of 2019 that situation is probably not in Indy going forward.

3. Jim Harbaugh
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
1994-97 20-26 2-2 60.7 8,705 49 26 7.1 86.6

How He Got Here

The Colts had come out of the Eric Dickerson/Jeff George era looking like an absolute dumpster fire. The Colts had been in Indy for 10 years and Indy was still very much a basketball town. The only signature player the Indy Colts had was Eric Dickerson, and he had a very sour exit in 1992 after 2 bad years. The Indianapolis Colts were still in the woods, searching for the player that could give their franchise hope that they would be treated as a legitimate threat in the NFL and generate significant interest from the fanbase. That hope came from an unlikely source in Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh had led the Chicago Bears to 2 playoff appearances in the late Mike Ditka-era, but his play had fallen off and by 1994 he looked somewhat washed. The desperate Colts made a surprisingly wise decision in not drafting QBs Heath Schuler or Trent Dilfer. Instead they drafted future Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to replace Eric Dickerson (this is the "Who the hell is Mel Kiper?" draft) and signing Jim Harbaugh.

Colts Career

Harbaugh didn't come out guns blazing in 1994 as he traded starting duties with Green Bay castoff Don Majkowski. Harbaugh put up decent numbers but the Colts finished 4-5 in games Harbaugh started, 8-8 overall. Harbaugh entered the 1995 season as no sure thing, the Colts actually traded their 1996 first round pick for young Tampa QB Craig Erickson in another baffling trade for an unproven QB. Erickson and Harbaugh competed for the starting position in training camp and Erickson was selected as the starter by head coach Ted Marchibroda.
Erickson played poorly the first 2 weeks, being replaced and outplayed by Harbaugh in both games. By week 3 Harbaugh was the full time starter and didn't look back. Harbaugh was showing that he meshed well with new Offensive Coordinator Lindy Infante as Harbaugh put up some of the most efficient passing numbers of any QB in the NFL in 1995: 2,575 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.7% completion rate, and a league leading passer rating of 100.7 (ahead of guys like Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and Dan Marino). Even more importantly he was a becoming the tough effective leader to energize the entire team, leading the Colts to 4 game winning drives that season, including one over the 1994 Super Bowl champion 49ers. The Colts were just outside of the playoffs going into week 17, but Harbaugh led the Colts to a win over the Drew Bledsoe led Patriots in the RCA Dome to sneak the Colts into the playoffs at 9-7. Harbaugh earned his first Pro Bowl appearance along with NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Colts were going into the playoffs as 5.5 point underdogs against the San Diego Chargers, a team they had just lost to in week 16. However, thanks to 3 TDs from Harbaugh and an out-of-nowhere 147 yard, 2 TD performance from rookie FB Zach Crockett, the Colts overcame the odds. They were heading into a gauntlet of Arrowhead stadium against the best defense in the league and a Marcus Allen led 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs. In an ugly game where the wind chill was -15oF, luck worked in the Colts favor. Harbaugh didn't throw well, but picked up several key 1st down with his legs. He had 1 INT and 3 fumbles, but fortunately lost 0. Chiefs QB Steve Bono had 3 INTs and K Lin Elliot went 0/3 on field goals in a season where he made 80%. Colts K Cary Blanchard made 1/3, and that was enough to upset the heavily-favored Chiefs 10-7. Harbaugh's most defining moment as the Colts QB would come in the AFC Championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harbaugh's cinderella story continued on against Bill Cowher and Neil O'Donnell's Steelers. The Colts and Steelers traded scores throughout the game. With 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Harbaugh threw a dime to WR Floyd Turner for a 47 yard touchdown to put the Colts up 16-13. Unfortunately the Colts couldn't run out enough clock on their next drive and the Steelers rushed down the field for the go-ahead score to put them up 20-16. Harbaugh wasn't done yet. With 88 seconds needing 84 yards, Harbaugh willed the Colts down the field to the Steelers' 29-yard line for a hail mary shot with 5 seconds left. Harbaugh tossed up a prayer that was very nearly caught by Colts WR Aaron Bailey, but he couldn't come up with it. The Cinderella story was over, but it was a defining moment for the Colts franchise. The 1995 Colts were within a hair of making the Super Bowl, and that 1995 playoff run led by Harbaugh created a real fanbase for them.
Harbaugh's stats regressed some in 1996, but he still led the Colts to a 9-7 record and the playoffs, this time getting whooped by the Steelers in the wild card. In 1997 his stats improved some but the wheels fell off of the team as they started off 0-10, eventually falling to 3-13. Fortunately their record would net them the #1 pick in the 1998 draft. After it was clear the Colts were using the pick on QB they traded Harbaugh to the Ravens.

My favorite highlight


“A lot of people use (the word) ‘culture,’ but the attitude, everybody was team-first, from the front office, together with the coaches, together with the ownership, together with the players, the equipment staff, the training staff, I mean it felt like we were family.” - Jim Harbaugh on 1995
I don't think enough can be said about the effect of Harbaugh and that 1995 team had on the Colts. He gave us our first source of pride in the Colts and set the tone for the franchise to not be the laughingstock of the league. He paved the way for the decades of excellence that came after. Harbaugh will never be a HoF QB, but his effect on the Colts is severely underrated.
For more details on the 1995 Cinderella season, read this IndyStar article:

2. Andrew Luck
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
2012-18 53.33 4-4 60.8 23,671 171 83 7.2 89.5

How He Got Here

After a serious neck injury to franchise stalwart Peyton Manning, the Colts went from perennial playoff contender to nearly winless in 2011. It was unknown if Manning would ever be the same QB again, so the Colts opted to release their most valuable player and use their #1 pick in 2012 on a QB. There was some debate on possibly drafting the Heisman winner out of Baylor, Robert Griffin III, but new GM Ryan Grigson made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Andrew Luck. Son of former Oilers QB Oliver Luck, Andrew Luck blossomed under head coach Jim Harbaugh to revitalize the Stanford football program while also graduating with a bachelor's degree in architectural design. Luck was hailed by nearly every scout as a can't miss prospect, having nearly every physical tool you want from a QB along with a clear handle on the mental and intangible aspects of the game.

Colts Career

Expectations for Luck were high going into 2012, but not so for the team overall. Many experts put the Colts at or near the bottom of all power rankings. Not only had the team lost Peyton Manning that year, but also many key pieces from the Manning era such as Pierre Garçon, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, and Gary Brackett. To make matters worse, new head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and missed weeks 5-16. However, despite all odds, Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 record. Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians proved to be a diamond in the rough by helping Luck turn a 2-14 team that lost multiple starters into a playoff team. Luck's stats weren't always pretty: 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 54.1% completion rate, and a 76.5 rating, but he could clearly make plays happen with an absurd 7 game winning drives. The miracles came to an end with a shellacking by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, but this season proved Luck would be no bust, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Luck continued to grow in 2013 and 2014, improving in every category to crescendo in 2014 with a league-leading 40 TDs, 16 INTs, 61.7% completion rate, and a 96.5 rating. In 2013 he led the Colts to his first playoff victory in spectacular fashion. After being down 38-10 early in the 3rd quarter to the Alex Smith led Chiefs, Luck led a furious and unbelievable comeback 45-44 victory. Any Colts fan could tell you after seeing all the comeback victories Luck had led to never count him out, and he cemented that in this game. In 2014 Luck led the Colts past their old god of Peyton Manning in Denver in the divisional round, but were given a thorough ass-whooping in the AFC Championship by the soon-to-be Super Bowl champions New England Patriots in what is now infamously known as the "Deflategate Game."
Andrew Luck was a very physical player and was known to take many hits, sometimes making spectacular plays through those hits. However, that punishment started to pile up and wasn't helped by GM Ryan Grigson's poor draft classes and inability to build a competent offensive line to block for Luck. This culminated in the injury plagued 2015 and 2016 seasons. Luck only played 7 games in 2015 and severely regressed in every statistical category, clearly hampered by various injuries such as a lacerated kidney. Luck's stats improved in 2016, but the team did not as they finished 8-8, partially due to an astounding 7% sack of Luck. Either some of Luck's good fortune had finally run out or the team and culture built by GM Grigson had completely failed to support their superstar QB. Owner Jim Irsay bet on Luck and fired Grigson after 2016.
Hopes were high heading into 2017, but unfortunately an unknown snowboarding accident aggravated a previous shoulder injury for Luck. News was very slow to come out, but fans were shocked to find out he would likely miss the entire season 8 days before week 1. New GM Chris Ballard made a quick trade for Jacoby Brissett, but fans were worried after 3 years of being hampered by injuries Luck may never be the same player.
In 2018 we believed those doubts were proven wrong. Luck had an incredibly resurgent season, leading the new look Colts back into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 with a 10-6 record. Luck's numbers were back to form: 39 TDs, 15 INTs, and career bests of 67.3% completion rate and 98.7 rating. Fans were pleased to finally see Luck playing behind a solid offensive line that prevented which prevented him from being sacked for 5 weeks and giving him a career low 2.7% sack rate. Luck led the Colts to a Wild Card win over the Deshaun Watson's Texans, but were stopped in the cold in Arrowhead against Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs. However, hopes were high leading into 2019 that the structure given by GM Chris Ballard would protect Luck and allow him to lead us to our Super Bowl.
Sadly that did not work out as Luck appeared to have a calf injury leading up to the 2019 season. Fans held out hope he would be ready to go for the start of the season, but after the years of rehabbing Luck had finally had enough. 2 weeks before the season opener during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears it was leaked that Luck planned to retire. Fortunately his backup Jacoby Brissett was put in a better position to take his place as opposed to 2017, but the sudden and unexplained retirement of their franchise QB right before the season led to some fans to boo Luck as he left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the last time.

My favorite highlight


Andrew Luck will forever be one of the greatest "what if?" stories in American sports history. Unlike many "what if?" stories, we got to see what we could have had with Luck. What the Colts had in Luck from 2012-14 along with 2018 was nothing short of incredible and it was clear he was improving to potentially become one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. Instead he's a tragic story where fans will forever be left to wonder what could have been with Andrew Luck. Would Luck have brought the Colts back to the Super Bowl if he he didn't play the majority of his career under the poor management of GM Ryan Grigson and HC Chuck Pagano? All we do know is that his sack rate under Grigson was 5.5%, and in one year on GM Chris Ballard's team it was 2.7%, coincidentally also one of his best statistical seasons. Peyton Manning's sack rate for his career? Tied for the NFL record with Dan Marino at 3.13%. Maybe if Luck had been better protected and coached better to avoid hits he could have made it up there with Manning, but as fans he'll forever be a "what if?" Luck seems like a smart and content man who's just starting a family, so I doubt he will ever return for any team. Even if he did we'll forever be robbed of what the best version of Andrew Luck could have been. However, in his short time here, he delivered enough incredible moments to give us hope and make us love the team. I, along with hopefully many other fans, will forever love Andrew Luck for his time with the Colts and am grateful for a helluva run.

1.Peyton Manning
Years Record Playoffs Comp % Yards TDs INTs Y/A Rating
1998-11 141-67 9-10 64.9 54,828 399 198 7.6 94.9

How He Got Here

The Indianapolis Colts under Jim Harbaugh had finally established themselves as a legitimate team, but the Colts knew Harbaugh wasn't the long-term answer at QB. He was 35 going into the 1998 season and had just led the Colts to a 3-13 season, bad enough for the #1 overall pick. There was some debate about drafting Heisman finalist out of Washington, Ryan Leaf, but new GM Bill Polian made no doubt in the fact that he was drafting Peyton Manning. Leaf had some incredible athletic abilities, but there were some doubts raised about his ability to handle the mental aspects of the game. He also basically made the decision for the Colts when he skipped their draft interview, a passive-aggressive declaration he wouldn't play for the Colts. Peyton Manning, son of former Saints QB Archie Manning, was also a Heisman finalist out of Tennessee. No scout doubted Manning's ability to become a franchise QB in the NFL, but some wondered about his potential ceiling due to a complete lack of running ability and some arm strength concerns. However, he was clearly one of the most mature and mentally ready players to ever come out of college for any position.
"I'll leave you with this thought. If you take me, I promise you we will win a championship. If you don't, I promise I'll come back and kick your ass" -Peyton Manning to Colts GM Bill Polian on the day before the 1998 draft

Colts Career

The 1998 Colts were still a pretty bad team overall, and the rookie Manning was not enough to overcome that. He had one of the best statistical rookie seasons ever: 3,739 yards, 26 TDs, 28 INTs, 6.5 Y/A, and a 56.7% completion rate, setting records for yards, TDs, and INTs (yards and TDs are currently held by Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield respectively). However, the deficiencies of the team and Manning's record number of interceptions helped give the Colts a 3-13 record, including a week 5 win over Ryan Leaf's San Diego Chargers.
Fortunately Manning helped lead one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history in 1999, turning the 3-13 Colts in 1998 into the 13-3 Colts in 1999. People weren't exactly ready to give up on Manning after 1998, but 1999 was critical for showing Manning could improve and be at the helm of a winning team. Partially this was helped by sending Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk to St. Louis in exchange for the draft pick to select Hall of Fame RB Edgerrin James, who had a phenomenal rookie year. The Colts ended up losing to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, who had just completed the Music City Miracle the week before and would come within an ass hair of winning the Super Bowl against the Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis Rams.
Manning was up and down from 2000 to 2002, still posting good stats but missing the playoffs in 2001 ( ) and having first round exits in 2000 and 2002. Whispers started turning into legitimate arguments about how Peyton Manning was a good stats, dome team, regular season QB that just didn't have it in the playoffs. In 2003 Manning started his absurd streak of 12+ win seasons (7 years) and picked up his first MVP award, the first (and still only) Indy Colt to win it. He also got his first playoff wins in 2003, but was quickly put to shame in a 4 INT performance in the AFC Championship against the Patriots, now known by Colts fans as "The Ty Law Game."
The 2004 season is well known by Colts fans for cementing Manning among the all time greats. Manning was white hot all year, throwing for 4,557 yards 49 TDs, 10 INTs, and a 121.1 rating while only getting sacked 13 times. The 49 TDs was a record, which has since been broken by Tom Brady and Manning again while a member of the Broncos. Manning won MVP for the 2nd year in a row, but once again disappointed in the playoffs with a 0 TD, 1 INT performance against the Patriots in the divisional round, losing 20-3. Those arguments of Manning's postseason jitters were starting to feel more and more like reality for Colts fans. They knew they had their franchise QB, but his inability to perform in the playoffs continued to be baffling.
2005 was supposed to be the season that changed all that. Manning's numbers came back to earth somewhat, but he still posted a very efficient performance (104.1 rating) for a much improved overall team. GM Bill Polian had proved his days building the "Four Falls over Buffalo" Bills dynasty was no fluke, he now had a team with the #2 scoring offense and the #2 scoring defense. This was the year to break the Manning postseason curse. Unfortunately in one of the most upsetting games of my life, the Colts could not break that curse against the Steelers in the divisional round. Manning played relatively well: 58% completion rate, 290 yards, and 1 TD with no INTs, but watching the game the Colts struggled to maintain momentum and get stops against the rookie Ben Roethlisberger. Despite the inconsistent play, the Colts still had a shot. Steelers HoF RB Jerome Bettis attempted to ice the game with a goal line carry, but fumbled for the first time all year. With the entire Steelers offense stuffing the line, Colts CB Nick Harper was free to pick up the ball with a nearly open field ahead of him. Normally Nick Harper is one of the faster players on the field, however, as every Colts fan knows, Harper had been stabbed in the leg by his wife in a "supposedly accidental" altercation the night before. This possibly allowed the falling down Ben Roethlisberger to catch Harper by his shoe strings, preventing the nearly sure thing TD by Harper to put the Colts ahead. Instead Manning led the Colts into basically chip shot field goal position for one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history (Mike "Idiot Kicker" Vanderjagt) to tie the game. We all know what happened next. It was a shocking loss to say the least, and it was hard to blame it all on Manning, but it still felt like there was some sort of mystical VooDoo curse hanging over Manning and our franchise.
If the Colts couldn't win it all in 2005 it felt like they never would. 2006 wasn't looking like anything special compared to the past few seasons, especially considering the defense regressed from #2 in scoring in 2005 to #23 in 2006. Manning was still putting up great numbers, but those were starting to feel like an exercise in futility. Fortunately the Colts caught fire at the right time, with oft-injured All-Pro Safety Bob Sanders getting healthy towards the end of the season and the trade deadline addition of Buccaneers DT "Booger" McFarland. That momentum pushed them to an AFC Championship, where Manning would match up against the source of his ultimate playoff failures, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Fortunately, this time it was in the RCA Dome, not Foxborogh, MA. Manning and the Colts started off cold, being down 21-3 at one point after a Manning pick-6, but the Colts rallied behind some incredibly orchestrated drives by Manning to finally get the monkey off his back. On a last second drive, Manning drove the Colts down the field to put them ahead 38-34 with 1 minute to go. A Marlin Jackson interception of Tom Brady sealed it, Manning and the Colts were going to the Super Bowl for the first time in Indy history. Manning played well in the Super Bowl, winning the MVP against the league-best Chicago Bears defense.
Manning continued his solid play in 2007 and 2008, including his 3rd MVP in 2008. Both seasons ended with heartbreaking first round playoff exits to the San Diego Chargers, 2008's being the "Sproles and Scifres Game." 2008 also showed the first signs of physical weakness from Manning, having a knee surgery before the season that led to a slow start for the Colts. That was not the case in 2009, as Manning led the Colts to start the season 14-0. In a decision that's still derided today, new head coach Jim Caldwell decided to effectively bench Manning along with many other starters rather than go for the perfect season to prevent any injuries. Many had seen the Patriots in 2007 nearly complete the perfect season, but fall in heartbreaking fashion in the Super Bowl against a less talented Giants team. Caldwell, like many others, decided that any rust from not playing for nearly a month was worth the decreased risk of injury to his stars. That decision nearly backfired in spectacular fashion as the Colts were behind the New York Jets (a team they effectively let into the playoffs by letting them win in week 16) in the AFC Championship game until Manning led a furious comeback. It all ended poorly in the Super Bowl however as Manning threw a pick-6 to Tracy Porter that still haunts my dreams to Tracy Porter, allowing the Colts to lose to Drew Brees and his stupid baby and the New Orleans Saints.
2010 was one of the first signs of weakness from Manning. He had apparently injured his neck on this play in 2006 ( ) on a hit that would now be extremely illegal. Manning apparently aggravated that injury in the lead up to the 2010 season, and it showed in the stats as he had how lowest rating since 2002 (91.9). For most other QBs a rating of 91.9 is a pretty solid season but for Manning it was a massive fall. This led to a quick playoff exit to the Jets in the first round. In the lead up to the 2011 season, Manning had several surgeries to relieve the pain in his neck which led to him missing the entire season. It was unknown if he would ever be the same QB again, or even play again. Manning's absence showed how incredibly important he was to the franchise, the only major difference between the rosters in 2010 and 2011 is Manning, yet the Colts went 10-6 in 2010 and 2-14 in 2011. This poor record led to the Colts earning the #1 pick in the 2012 draft, which fueled their decision to release Manning and draft a QB in 2012 (Chandler Harnish...and Andrew Luck).

My favorite highlight


"Fellas, if 18 goes down, we're fucked, and we don't practice fucked." -Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore on why the backup QBs don't get more reps
Nothing to me cements Peyton Manning's role in Indy as much as this quote. Even his first 5 years before he became an all-time great, that was still the best sustained stretch of QB play in Indy Colts history. Once he ascended to another level in 2003, it was clear we needed to put every egg we could find into his basket. Manning was the perfect franchise QB: a steady presence on and off the field, consistent delivery of either incredible numbers or game winning performances (usually both), and he made nearly everyone else on the team a better player. His drive and commitment to team victory made him the guy every franchise needs if they want to field a consistently great team. Peyton had somewhat of an authoritarian leadership style, my way or the highway, but you can do that when you show that you're willing and able to give every ounce of yourself to the team and deliver the kind of results that he can.
I think some people are disappointed in the Manning Era considering how historically great his stats are but he was 1-1 in Super Bowls in 12 years here. Honestly I think that's not too far off for any all-time QB. Drew Brees is 1-0, Brett Favre is 1-1, Aaron Rodgers is 1-0, Fran Tarkenton is 0-3, Jim Kelly is 0-4, Dan Marino is 0-1, all of these guys are all-time great franchise QBs but it's not abnormal for them to only win 1 or lose several. There are some exceptions: Tom Brady (6-3), Joe Montana (4-0), Terry Bradshaw (4-0), and Troy Aikman (3-0), but honestly you could trade any of the former QBs for Terry Bradshaw and they would also probably be 4-0. There's lots of luck in every playing career, and some get luckier than others. The only season I'd say the Colts were "robbed" of a Super Bowl is 2005, otherwise I think Manning's Colts career went about as good as it could have.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Hasselbeck (5-3 record, probably our best backup ever) and Dan Orlovsky (just for saving us from a completely defeated season).
Dishonorable Mentions: Jeff George and Kerry Collins (being very bad at QB isn't very uncommon for Indy Colts QBs, but these guys were so bad and toxic they dragged down the abilities of everyone on the team and are actively hated by most fans)
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Story Time You Degenerate Fucks--Top 5 Novels of the 21st Century

A while back, one of the faithful, u/fuzzyblankeet, tried to start a book club, in which you fucks were somehow supposed to generate literary suggestions. The project was akin to asking a gaggle of sociopaths to share their feelings. There were some decent suggestions, but most of you held the understanding that literature started with Harry Potter and ended with Ready Player One. It was fucking embarrassing.
Time to get a little lesson in modern literature so you fucks can begin to understand why you make the poor decisions you do, and maybe get in touch with one or two of the synapses that try to muster some action potential whenever you try to suppress the time Daddy touched your no-no-zone. It might just help you understand why you're buying high and selling low like the rabble of idiots that you are.
We're just over twenty basis points into this god-forsaken century. Now is as good and arbitrary a time as ever to list my top five books of the 1/5 mark.
A lot of people make the distinction between favorite and best. I'm ambivalent on the matter, as you should be too, because finding objectivity within any rendering of our essentially conscious experience is the child of folly--though I'd expect nothing more from you bumbling lot of bairns. It's not that I much care anyway; my bias is what makes my taste, and my tastes inherently signal to my brain that I think more people should think like me. This is the kind of thinking that churns the democratic engine. God bless America.
So on with it then:
  1. A Naked Singularity, by Sergio De La Pava: The best self-published book of all time, period. As the story goes, De La Pava had tried over 100 agents before shelving the masterpiece, as it was too 'difficult' for us Americans, who need more time and brain-space to money-grub. It's particularly telling when a child of Colombian immigrants gives up. But his wife, Susanna, didn't. She published and promoted the thing herself. After selling tens of thousands of copies, it was picked up by the University of Chicago Press, which is obviously an odd placement for a mammoth Joycean effort. Anyhow, the novel follows a young Manhattan defense attorney, Casi--as Sergio was himself at the time of writing. In preparing a defense for an appointed client, our protagonist overhears the specifics of a drop for a drug deal. In an unlikely twist, Casi teams up with a pseudo-rival--a colleague with reproachable morals--to steal the money from the drug deal. To say the book is about this heist is like saying Ulysses is about Leopold's horniness or something. ANS is simply indescribable. The prose is purely revolutionary, hilarious, poetic, and infinitely cutting, all in the same breath. A paradoxically oblique yet accurate picture of the novel and its author can be gleaned from a piece by Garth Risk Hallberg (author of City on Fire, which was the bloated and underwhelming sophomore effort of a genius), about how he came to love this book as well:
  2. In the Distance, by Hernan Diaz: We're now 40% of the way through the list of my five favorite novels for 20% through the 21st century, and we haven't run into a single straight white male yet. I am become the radical left. How about this for an endorsement: In the Distance was a finalist for the Pulitzer. Enough said. But you should still keep reading, for the sake of seeding your barren cognitive landscape. Seriously, you people are fucking idiots. But for those of you who still peruse snail mail catalogs and participate in book clubs in which major points of discussion include whether a book boasts an 'exciting plot'--i.e. those of you who should seriously consider alternative methods of living your lives--don't worry: Carys Davies of The Guardian--an editorial ranging between worthless and adding negative value to society--as a "thrilling narrative, full of twists and turns." Thanks, Carys. Set in the time of Manifest Destiny (for you illiterate pieces of shit, that's when the pioneers went west, my sons), In the Distance follows Haukan, an incredibly large and hulking Swedish immigrant. Haukan loses--as in literarlly, he can no longer locate--his brother on the way to America. In spending the rest of his life in search of his lost brother, his legend waxes and wanes, he loves and loses, he fights and he makes peace--the whole gamut of contretemps and vicissitudes that go with any good epic. Only, with this one, the language is perfectly colloquial to the time period, while sacrificing none of its potential given the modern technology of English literature. Meanwhile, you ragged curs can't even find the bone hidden in your own yard. Seriously, you disgust me.
  3. The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner: We're 60% of the way through listing my five favorite novels through 20% of the 21st century, and we haven't encountered a single straight white male. Look at the strides we've made. It's probably just me. This one you might have heard of, if you've ever red a bok 1nce. Represented by Jonathan Franzen's agent, Susan Golomb, it's no wonder Rachel slipped this one into the list of fat contracts handed out by Scribner that year. It certainly was deserving. A good friend of Sergio De La Pava's, Kushner is no stranger to baroque prose. Whether pulling us into the Italy of yore or the New York of 1976, Kusher's obsession with actualizing time and culture is impeccable. Speaking of Garth Hallberg (remember, the writer I mentioned twenty minutes ago--adjusting for the reading pace of you homunculi?), City on Fire was lionized for, if anything other than its bloated narrative, its verisimilitude of 1970s New York. However, I think Kushner did a far better job, and didn't limit herself as Garth did for the sake of a commercially viable project. Meanwhile, you all would sell your filthy prostates to the first horny codger handing out a fiver. From certain writers, I've heard of Rachel Kushner's faith to story and craft, likened to the old masters' obsession with art, which you don't find today among the tripe that's plastered with a generic vertical title and assortment of colors that passes for cover art (you can bet your bottom bitch that I do in fact judge by its cover). Prior to an earlier novel of hers that's set in Cuba, Kushner disappeared for for years, allegedly there, for research. This dedication shows in her work, contrary to what you see around this sub.
  4. Emerald City, by Brian Birnbaum: This is probably the most flawed book of the bunch, even more so than ANS. Still, Emerald City is an incredibly dynamic novel about a college basketball player whose father is defrauding the government through subsidies for deaf teleconferencing technology--with the catch being that his parents are deaf as well. The story pulls in two other 'protagonists'--a Romeo and Juliet sort of deal in that there are warring crime families behind the fraud scheme. The novel exhibits the best blend of plot and prose. There are more than 150 named characters and a ton of action, and yet every line is pyrotechnic, lyrical, hilarious, or all three. It also offers as much a blend of genre, from crime novel to campus drama to family saga. You got your Raymond Chandler, Chad Harbach, and Jonathan Franzen all in one novel. Not that any of you would know the first thing about any of them... Also a good friend of De La Pava (who blurbed Emerald City), Birnbaum's path to publication was somewhat similar. He actually did get signed at a big agency before his agent left the business. EC is the first novel of a small press that's putting out their second this September, so it's got a similar feel to A Naked Singularity in its upstartishness. It's also challenging, if not quite as much as ANS. This one might help you dimwits forge a few electrical connections before graduating to the big leagues.
  5. Stephen Florida, by Gabe Habash: Speaking of writers that blurbed Emerald City, Gabe Habash rounds out the list, safely keeping straight white males in the minority. Good job, me. To call this book unique is like saying it was unlikely that the Golden State Warriors would lose two of their top three stars to injury in the playoffs last year. The obvious stated, but you're still out of the loop. Allow me to fill you in. Whereas Emerald City boasted one antihero-cum-protagonist (it's latin, you fucking pigs), Stephen Florida's first person perspective comes from the antihero of all antiheroes--the eponymous Stephen Florida. Weirdly, that's actually not how his name is spelled, but Florida allowed a clerical error made by the school he wrestles at and attends to ride uncorrected. Florida's goal is simple: win the NCAA D-III wrestling title. As a senior, he's got a shot. The only problem is himself: he's batshit fucking crazy, the type who pisses into water fountains and gets into fights with people because it's a day that ends in 'y'. He makes for a novel that's as hilarious as it is intense. This one is perfect for you fucks. Maybe it's because he grew up with his grandmother after losing his parents as a child. Maybe it's because he's his own worst enemy. Maybe it's simply the fact that he cares as much as he does. Somehow, you find yourself rooting for the kid. But the purpose for reading this book hinges on far more than the outcome of his championship run--it hinges on what drives us to accomplish our goals, what makes the sort of people that are as driven as Florida is, and what happens when people like him are deprived of their ambition.
I expect all of you to read all of these novels within the year. If not, you'll continue to lose money. That's all I have to say. Wasting any more breath on this digital cesspool would only begin to incur on my spirit. Do yourselves a favor and fucking educate yourselves.
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Perception and the Betting Line

Note* I initially wrote this lesson about 8 months ago.
Quick Lesson on Perception
This lesson is about perception and oddsmakers posting lines with perception factored in, I’ll explain. In baseball you can pretty much assume the totals for every game will be as low as 8 and as high as 11, with exception to games played in Colorado it can be upwards to 14 and we see some 7/7.5’s on occasion with either struggling lineups or two aces pitching. For the most part it’s right between 8-11. Hypothetically, Let’s say an oddsmaker runs the numbers on their model or whatever the process is for their operation. This MLB Game and this particular matchup is showing a low scoring game, let’s say their “true number” for the o/u is showing 5.5. Of course they can’t list a total at 5.5 because it’s outside the norm and might invite blind one way over action. Or say their “true numbers” on an NBA total are 252, if they listed it that high it may invite under action because it’s just a number much higher than we are used to seeing.
Of course I’m not saying to look to bet overs when the total is high or unders when it’s low. It’s just interesting to note that oddsmakers are limited in some cases to deal a true number and as bettors we have to think outside the box and realize the number isn’t high enough or low enough and have the balls to make that uncomfortable situation going against the norm. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. In sports betting unconventional thought is better more times than not.
Just the other night in college basketball we saw Virginia with a total closing at 101 which is about as low as we will see a CBB total. I know it looks tempting to bet over that number, well the game finished well under the 101 total.
I just back tested some random numbers on the lower and higher end of the spectrum. In the past 5 years in the NBA totals that closed 206 to 210 which are considered low, the under has a slight edge at 529-474-14 /52.7% and in MLB totals listed at 10 or 11 the over has a slight edge. Of course these aren’t examples to use as systems to bet but just know that because a total is low doesn't mean there is value on the over and Vice versa with high totals. The oddsmakers do have to consider what the normal range is and posting numbers outside that norm may result in one way action
Again, there are some people that will read this and think I’m saying to bet every time these situations arise. As always it’s just something to consider and as much info as possible is best when placing a bet and hardly anything I will write is enough in itself as a stand alone reason to bet.
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(really long) no other romantic pairing worked for jackie and hyde other than the one they had with each other

Note: This got extremely long, so I wouldn’t suggest reading it unless you have a strong opinion on their relationship. I’m sorry for the length-I intended for it to be much shorter. It’s basically an essay at this point.
Although most people seem to feel the same way as me, I know there are a few Jackie/Kelso, Jackie/Fez, and Hyde/Donna shippers (or even Jackie and Eric shippers). Usually I don’t have strong opinions on things but I have to say this is pretty much not subjective. Hyde and Jackie belong together and that is final. If you feel differently you just haven’t read into the show enough.
Oh...Jackie and Fez. The opposite dynamic of Jackie and Hyde in every way and a terrible match, especially by season 8. He is willing to drop everything for her which she loves. He has always been attracted to her. Well...guess what. Fez is attracted to EVERY GIRL (and possibly Kelso). And not just every girl. Fez is attracted to random bottles of breast milk. He doesn’t feel anything special for her. He doesn’t wait on her hand and foot because he loves her, he does it because he wants to have sex. She only likes him (for VERY limited parts of the show) because he will do anything for her. Both are terrible people to each other. As much as I like Jackie, she is racist or xenophobic (not trying to dismiss this-it is terrible but it makes sense for her background in the 1970s) and won’t consider him as an option because he is “foreign”. How could anyone date someone that has been that racist to them, even if they somewhat get over it after many years? And it’s not like Fez is some kind of angel. Although he has his funny moments, Fez is a glorified pervert, hiding in bathrooms and in closets and stealing womens’ clothes. How could anyone date a guy who once stole their sweater to jack off to while they were dating someone else? A guy who tries to kiss them while they’re vulnerable and asking for advice from their “nice” friend? A relationship built on such a foundation of both racism and sexism is a TERRIBLE one, and I don’t see how anyone can ignore this. Especially by season 8 (when they finally got together) when Fez went from a somewhat pervy kid to a full blown creep.
Next up is Hyde and Donna. On the surface, this could maybe work since they have some similarities. But they didn’t have the long term potential Hyde had with Jackie, or Eric had with Donna (Eric and Donna fans, this is for you too). During Hyde’s crush on Donna in season 1, he is portrayed as the unlikeable asshole trying to steal his friend’s girl. He doesn’t listen when she tells him to move away his hand, he kisses her after she rejects him during the ski trip, he shows up at Eric and Donna’s first date to selfishly get her to reconsider choosing Eric after the whole ski trip incident and she says she’s not interested. Those last three words are important. Not once does Donna ever express any kind of romantic feelings or even physical attraction for Hyde. Hell, Eric is more physically attracted to Jackie (at least in the scene when Hyde helps him realize that she’s hot). And we get to see an alternate future where they get married in It’s A Wonderful Life that doesn’t end too well. Although it might not be THAT dark if they ever got together, we have reason to think he would hold her back from following her dreams or become distant in a way Eric never would. They had a great friendship, but a romantic relationship between the two wouldn’t make sense and neither of them has feelings for each other after season 1. As soon as Hyde’s crush on Donna ends, his character is fleshed out to be more sympathetic as we see his hard home life and kindness to Jackie, a girl he initially wants nothing from in subsequent episodes. If there’s even a shadow of a doubt that his crush on Donna was bigger than his love for Jackie (of course there are way less scenes to compare but I have seen a few people comment on videos such as the disco dance “wow he never talked to jackie like that” etc, Hyde himself puts that to rest when he tells Kelso “I’ve never felt this way about a girl before” as he tries to get Jackie back.
I guess I might as well quickly address Jackie and Eric since there’s a weird number of people that seem to want them to get together (I even saw someone say donna should’ve dated fez though once haha). Yes, there were some values the characters shared (or desire to go to a doll expo) but even those are limited. Although they might agree on traditional gender roles in a relationship, Eric would not be able to provide the lavish future Jackie would want and Jackie would not be able to keep up a house and be a good mother like Eric was used to from Kitty. Neither character had the power to change the other like Jackie and Hyde did, so they would grow to resent each other pretty quickly. And this is only IF they developed romantic feelings for each other, neither of which either character showed the slightest sign of during any part of the show. Oh, but Hyde hated her too at first and she just wore him down, you might say. Jackie/Hyde in early seasons and Jackie/Eric have a very different kind of dislike for each other. Jackie and Hyde were shown to take a special interest in each other from the beginning, with scenes such as Hyde revealing Jackie’s embarrassing middle name with glee. Way back in episode 6 (The Keg) Hyde even gets annoyed when Eric wants to lie to Jackie because he says that’s his thing. Jackie dances to her music right in front of Hyde’s space. Eric and Jackie largely ignore each other-their scenes usually begin with Jackie looking for Donna and settling for talking to Eric. Jackie and Hyde hated what the other stood for (classwise etc), but as they got to know each other better they began to see there was a good person underneath. Even before they became better friends in episodes such as “Cat Fight Club” where Hyde teaches Jackie to be Zen to stand up to Laurie’s insults, Hyde and Jackie go to prom together and he tries to expose Kelso for cheating on her, so on some level he doesn’t hate her. She picks up on this and runs past Eric and Donna to hug Hyde when she finally finds out about Kelso cheating on her. Eric could care less about what Kelso is doing to Jackie. Hyde and Jackie also admit to being physically attracted to each other early in the series “I bet you clean up real good” “If you want to make out the answer is PROBABLY no” “You’re beautiful” “I’d think you were totally hot” (if I didn’t know you”, etc), while Eric and Jackie never said anything remotely similar about each other (Jackie clearly thinks the opposite about Eric).
Lastly, addressing Jackie and Kelso since they are the most likely alternative to Jackie and Hyde and the one that is explored the most in the show. “But Ashton and Mila are married in real life!”. Yeah that’s pretty cute. But did you watch the show? They were a funny couple with the occasional cute scene that worked when both characters were sixteen and immature. They were also incredibly incompatible, and the characters themselves even figured that out right before their last breakup when Kelso went to California. They brought out the worst in each other. They hated each other’s personality and their relationship was based almost purely on lust. That’s fine for a quick hookup, but not for characters who are actually in a relationship. Jackie bossed Michael around too much and he didn’t know how to deal with it so he went and cheated on her. Women like Brooke were able to get through to Michael and occasionally force him to appreciate them for things besides their looks, but Jackie’s bossiness was far from doing that. He constantly put her down, and she had no patience with his stupidity. I’ll give it to you from a purely comic standpoint they might have been the best couple on the show, but that was only because they were so horribly unmatched as a couple. I’ve even heard people say they should be together purely since they looked the best together. Yeah...think about that some more. There’s a scene near the end of season 3 when Jackie and Kelso get back together and he gives her a promise ring in front of Hyde and Fez. Before giving it to her (after she rudely says “I want my promise ring and I want it NOW”) he says, “Jackie, from the first minute that I saw you I knew I wanted to fool around with you”. She looks back at Hyde and they roll their eyes at each other. I think that says enough.
On the other hand, Jackie and Hyde had exactly what the other needed to find better futures, happiness, and become better people. Neither of them were great people all the time, but when put together they had more integrity than maybe anyone else on the show. Before Hyde, Jackie was spoiled, selfish and bossy. Hyde wasn’t going to take crap from her like Kelso or Fez would, and she loved him enough to become a better person, thinking less of material objects and more of others. She learned she couldn’t just assume he would do things with her but she had to ask nicely, and that she should consider working herself instead of just waiting for a man to provide for her, which she did. Hyde realized that in order to be in a long term relationship he would have to be more compassionate and learn how to show he cared about someone. He was scarred from his parents abandoning him, but his relationship with Jackie (in addition to people like the Formans and Leo) began to heal those wounds. Jackie pushed him to call his father back and start a better life. Even in earlier episodes such as “Jackie Bags Hyde”, some of those qualities are shown. Jackie demonstrates a lot of empathy for Hyde on their date as she describes his situation and doesn’t force him to go on some kind of lavish date he would hate. In turn, Hyde is protective of her (punching guys that call her a bitch, which Kelso would never do) and shows his nicer side when he gives her his pop and coat and admits he doesn’t want the date to end. This is seen even in “Prom Night”, where Jackie asks if she should go in and meet Hyde’s mom although she is supposedly disgusted by poor people, and sincerely thanks Hyde for taking her to prom. Hyde, in turn, buys Jackie flowers, tells her she looks beautiful, and awkwardly (since they haven’t had much interaction up to this point) tries to comfort her about Kelso and Pam going to prom together. Also, although they appear very different on the surface, they share some core similarities. They can relate to each other’s bad home lives (both characters are abandoned by their parents during the show). Jackie trying to downplay her situation by saying “I’m fine” when they discover her living there with Hyde and asking her if she needed help was completely something he would do. I wonder why he was the only one that understood why she did it? They also share a similar feistiness (notice their compatible ability to burn people), and pride (which leads to some of their arguments, but their love for each other brings them back together). Throughout the show, Hyde is there for her when Kelso isn’t. Jackie has a unique ability to see this and understand that behind his rough exterior he is a good guy. Think of an episode like “Kelso’s Serenade” in Season 2, which is right after Jackie catches Kelso cheating on her and breaks up with him. Kelso and Fez are vocal about their “love” for her, trying to serenade her and win her over. Hyde isn’t perfect to her, admitting he finds her “abrasive” and not seeming interested in spending more time with her as they go out to dinner together, but Jackie doesn’t get mad at him since she can see past the surface and notice how he also genuinely comforts her and tells her she’ll find someone better than Kelso. Generally, Hyde would probably rather get exposed for dancing to Luck Be a Lady when no one’s around than serenade Jackie, but he is the one that actually comforts her over the breakup, teaches her his emotional distancing technique, punches guys that want her for the wrong reasons, and even gets arrested in place of her. Jackie recognizes this through his claims of dislike for her. The show kind of dropped the ball with them for a couple seasons after their date near the beginning of season 3, but we can see clearly Hyde felt something when they kissed and is sad when she says she didn’t feel the same way, but he doesn’t want to admit it after she spent months chasing him and he claimed to not return her feelings. In some ways, I’m glad Jackie got back with Kelso again before dating Hyde since she began to get more mature and realize having a boyfriend to just boss around and do what she wanted wasn’t necessarily going to make her happier. Although they have limited scenes together during this time, it’s clear Hyde likes her better also (my take is that he secretly kind of liked her for all of season 4 but he tries to push away those feelings). He scares off a clown trying to touch her, high fives her after she burns Eric, flirts with her in her cheese maiden outfit, expresses his dislike of her getting back with Kelso many times, and generally insults her less behind her back. Although Jackie is given even less lines to Hyde than he is to her, she kisses him on the cheek on his birthday, so they seem to be closer than at the beginning of the series. And when they finally start dating in season 5, we can see there is so much more to their relationship than what is shown on the surface. When they are caught making out, both characters deny their feelings for each other and call it a “meaningless fling” etc, but we can see they are unable to break it off and that they like each other beyond their looks. Jackie says she hates his beard to Eric and Donna but then admits she likes how scruffy he is. Eric asks Hyde how he could possibly like her and he says he ignores what she says and just focuses on how hot she is. Later in the same episode, Jackie uses an analogy about setting her hair when talking to him and asks him if he is listening to her. He says, “God help me I am”. Also, in the Thanksgiving episode, Hyde says “so much for talking” to her when they can’t agree on conversation topics and they start kissing, but we can clearly see them happily talking in the background in the next scene. As they grow into having a real relationship, we can quickly see the difference between Jackie/Kelso and Jackie/Hyde. We see them changing themselves for each other. Hyde shaves off his beard to cheer Jackie up, comes up with a pet name for her, goes to school dances he wouldn’t be caught dead at before, overcomes his commitment issues to tell her she looks beautiful in a wedding dress, and finds a place for her to live when her parents abandon her, explaining to Donna that she only said she was too popular to live with her since she was humiliated by the way she asked her. This shows how Hyde understands there is a good person behind Jackie’s sometimes rude remarks. Jackie settles for a cheeseburger wrapped in tinfoil as a shiny gift, doesn’t tell Hyde her birthday to be less shallow, saves him from being kicked out of the Formans’ house even though they were arguing, and helps him start his new life when he calls his dad back and gets a more high powered job, baking him cookies when he is having trouble to cheer him up even though she doesn’t like cooking. As high maintenance as she is, she doesn’t get mad at the little insults Hyde sometimes tells her that come with nice things he says to her and is able to look past them (ex. “You’re really cute so no one ever told you to shut your piehole” to which she just says “You think I’m cute?”), so she recognizes there is a good person behind his rough exterior. One of my favorite scenes that show how far both characters have come is in the episode when Hyde finds out it is her birthday and Kelso gives her a pink sweater he later admits to have stolen. Hyde points out he is only doing it since he wants something from her (for her to leave Hyde for him), and at the end of the episode there is a great scene where he gives her his favorite Led Zeppelin shirt. Jackie legitimately tries to fake excitement at the present for his sake even though she hates Led Zeppelin (well, she thinks Led is hot), and she would have preferred a more expensive gift. Hyde giving her his favorite shirt demonstrates his long term commitment to her. This politeness is something she learned from being with Hyde-just think of how she would have acted if Kelso had done the same thing. Eventually she can tell Hyde knows she is faking it so she says “Do I have to wear it?”. He isn’t offended at all and says no, and this time she legitimately says “Steven, I LOVE it”, caring about the gesture even if the present didn’t cost anything, and they smile deeply at each other. This scene proves how well both characters understand each other, and how much they have both grown together.
Also, they have great natural physical chemistry. Jackie sits in Hyde’s lap in many scenes, and they often keep a hand on each other or around each others’ arms. We can see many of their cute background moments, such as Jackie pinching Hyde’s nose and smiling at him when he goes in for another kiss, Hyde and Jackie playing chess together, Hyde kissing Jackie after she makes a shot in basketball over his hand (who would’ve thought she’d go near a basketball), and both characters comparing the sizes of their wrists to each other while she is sitting on his lap. Even when the focus of the scene isn’t on them, they look very happy to be with each other in the background. Although they clearly have sex with each other (comfirmed in a few scenes, especially when Jackie says she could have used the fake pregnancy card with him) the relationship is one of the only ones on the show that clearly goes beyond that as few of their storylines revolve around sex, and Hyde let Jackie stay with him when her parents left her without sex in return.
Parallels are drawn many times between their relationship and the most “mature” (due to the fact they have been together for many years) relationship on the show: Red and Kitty’s. The more you think about it, the more deeply obvious it becomes how similar Red is to Hyde and Kitty is to Jackie (except that they are more mature, but Hyde and Jackie are on their way to having more respect for others like Red and Kitty). Kitty shows Jackie how to “pick your battles” in a relationship and gets Red to leave his beer alone to get a magazine for her. Jackie is worried that Hyde thinks Brooke (Kelso’s new girlfriend) is hot, but she learns to look past that and asks Hyde to get her a magazine and leave behind his ice cream. Hyde obliges in a way that is very similar to Red, showing how similar the two couples are. Also, the four of them go to a car show together (in which Hyde actually stays with Jackie when Red won’t stay with Kitty), and Red and Hyde hide from Jackie and Kitty when they catch Pam naked (and at the end of the episode, Jackie and Kitty hide from Red and Hyde when they catch Bob naked). Although Eric and Donna have more screen time and Red and Kitty are Eric’s parents, not Jackie or Hyde’s, these parallels are never even drawn with Eric/Donna and Red/Kitty, which hints at the long term compatibility of the characters.
The most common criticism of Hyde and Jackie’s relationship I see is that they wouldn’t have wanted the same future. This is true at surface level, but think even of their visions of the future-neither of them had an ideal view. Jackie had a very superficial view of a high class life where she wouldn’t have to do anything herself, while Hyde envisioned himself ending up in prison, or at best, sitting in the Formans’ basement depressed his whole life. However, when these two views are combined, we end up with a realistic, decent life. As established earlier, Hyde and Jackie were willing to change for each other and compromise, so with a few more years of maturity I believe they would be able to have a decent life together. We see Jackie getting through to Hyde about getting a real job and not wasting his life away, and Hyde getting through to Jackie about not just waiting for a man to provide for her and that material objects aren’t the only important thing in the world. With this, they are becoming closer to wanting the same future.
Also, I’ve seen people say that they didn’t “deserve” each other. But Hyde cheated on Jackie just like Kelso! Let’s address this. Yes, cheating is wrong and he should have talked to her first when he saw her with Kelso. But Kelso cheated on Jackie out of lust for another woman, while Hyde cheated on her only because he was so hurt when he saw her comforting Kelso and assumed she was cheating on him. In some ways, that showed how much he really wanted to be with her. Kelso probably would have never told Jackie about Laurie (and Pam Macy, etc.), and he cheated many times, but Hyde only cheated that one time and immediately told Jackie about it. He even told her he loved her afterward, which showed incredible character development as he probably would have said something like “love is paranoid delusional crap” in season 1. A few others seem to think he never truly had enough compassion to be with her, but Hyde’s expression of compassion was often shown through actions instead of words (with a few exceptions even), which few of the other couples on the show are able to do (think of how Kelso pushed Jackie out of the way in the season 2 Halloween episode when he thought he was in danger-Hyde even said that was wrong back then). Is getting arrested in place of her, offering her a place to live, protecting her from men with the wrong motives, and changing his appearance to the way Jackie wanted it among many other things not showing compassion? Other people don’t like Jackie and find her annoying and bossy throughout the entire show. Although she starts out this way, it is clear she is a complex character and she is a good person even if she can be rude and shallow. As the seasons go on, she realizes how bossy and materialistic she is (mostly with the help of Hyde) and begins to change (except for season 8, where the writers didn’t understand the complexities of her character-I’ll address this more later). Her nicer moments are not limited to her interactions with Hyde-she pays for Eric and Donna’s promise ring when Donna tells her she’s hard to live with despite not being a big fan of their relationship, feels bad for Donna when she is having a hard time and gives up going to the mall (one of her favorite things) to spend time with her, and sincerely forgives Kelso after years of him cheating on her. She is high maintenance on the surface, but also is forgiving, likes to help people, and actually has a lot of pride and can find sympathy humiliating which is where she is similar to Hyde. There is so much more to Jackie than a spoiled princess, and her good qualities beneath are what Hyde needs for a better future.
I will say, the writers weren’t always that invested in this relationship as their seasons together went on (which makes sense in some ways, as Kelso had a child, Eric and Donna were engaged, while Hyde and Jackie were happy together but they didn’t always see the need to focus on them with a storyline etc.), so they occasionally acted out of character to each other, such as in the infamous episode “Winter” or their whole last reconciliation in season 7 where they reduce their whole relationship down to the fact they enjoyed sneaking around in the early days and ignored seasons of character growth they had together. (It wasn’t just dumb, it was confusing-as obsessed with this relationship as I am, the first time I watched the show I actually didn’t fully realize that scene had gotten them back together. This just might be my young mind speaking that’s used to “hookup culture” but when Hyde said they should make out again I didn’t necessarily take that as them actually getting back together). Although the writing wasn’t always there or sacrificed for a quick joke, from what they did establish it was clear the characters belonged together. And I don’t want to say they did a bad job before season 8-they managed to write many great moments between them.
Unfortunately, as many people know the showrunners really did intend for them to be together at the end (and Danny Masterson himself has said multiple times they should be together) but this didn’t end up happening. It’s hard to find sources years after the show ended (I only watched it for the first time two years ago) but from my understanding, this is what happened. I’ve heard that the scene at the end of season 7 where Hyde comes to see Jackie in Chicago was originally supposed to be a proposal or a promise at commitment, but it was edited to have naked Kelso come in and leave on a cliffhanger when the show was renewed for another season at the last minute. The season 8 showrunners used this cliffhanger to break Jackie and Hyde up for good. Bonnie and Terry Turner, who were creators of the show, wrote Moon Over Point Place and were the original fans of Jackie and Hyde getting together. They were promoted to showrunners in season 4, which probably had something to do with them getting together in season 5. Unfortunately, they left at the end of season 7. The new showrunners for season 8 didn’t like Jackie and Hyde together since they didn’t like Jackie in general and they thought she should be with Fez. As dumb as that is (Jackie clearly isn’t a bad person the more you watch especially in later seasons-just look at how much criticism Donna gets on this subreddit compared to her), I get that everyone likes the show for different reasons. There are many other things about this show that are great other than the relationships, and Jackie and Hyde in particular are so much more than surface level, appreciating Jackie and Hyde’s relationship takes some work. Still, I can’t believe that these new showrunners ignored so many years of their growth together. Clearly, this isn’t an unpopular opinion. Even for people that aren’t invested in Jackie and Hyde’s relationship, between the absence of Eric and Kelso, the addition of Randy, and just the general decline in comedy, season 8 is almost unwatchable. Even David Trainer, the director, said season 8 was like an alternate reality for the characters that didn’t make sense after the other seasons. I heard once that their goal was to make the show like season 1 again, which makes some sense, but they clearly failed. Despite the mess at the end, Jackie and Hyde would have been together had things gone differently.
Okay, so I’ve written about ten times more than I possibly thought I would and pretty much exhausted every possible alternative. If you’re wishing they could have gotten together with a minor character (like Hyde and the girl he likes at his party in season 4), I’d say it’s not a fair comparison since we didn’t see enough of their interactions although theoretically this could possibly work. I guess the only other option is that the characters are better off single, which I’ll address. In early seasons, Hyde may seem like he won’t ever be invested in a long term relationship. Are you wondering, would he have been happier the whole time if he wasn’t tied down by Jackie? In season 7, Hyde admits himself he was less pissed off when he was with Jackie. He is clearly unhappy with all of their breakups, and most of his most genuine expressions of happiness occur when Jackie is there. Therefore, Jackie was a positive influence in his life. This is a harder case to argue for Jackie, since throughout the show she expressed interest in being in a romantic relationship, but it’s clear she also enjoys being with him as she says so herself, says he likes that he makes her think, tells his father he is “perfect”, and also cannot stay broken up from him for long. This is probably only a legitimate option for those who truly hate the character and want her to suffer alone. Based on what I have established before, there is more to Jackie than a bad person. I guess if the direction of the show had gone very differently Jackie or Hyde ending up with a side character or by themselves could have worked out, but by the time they had been together for a few seasons it clearly wasn’t the best option for either character. There we have it-I’ve argued against every possible alternative and why Jackie and Hyde together is the only option that makes sense. I probably annoyed a few people at the beginning, but I hope I’ve changed your mind if you felt differently. I just want to apologize for the length of this-I’m in college and my summer internship got cancelled because of coronavirus so I won’t even try to claim to have a life right now. Thank you if you actually read any of this. I understand if the only comment on this is something like “chill they’re just fictional characters” haha. And of course there are many other great parts of and characters on the show-I’m not trying to say that they are the only thing about this show that matters.
TL;DR: Jackie and Hyde were different on the surface and didn’t start out on great terms, but beneath that they were exactly what the other needed for long term happiness and to grow up. No other pairing for either of the characters makes any sense.
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Tuesday 2/18 College Basketball Betting Odds and Picks

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