Does anyone really want to get into last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls? Okay, besides Chicago Bulls announcer Stacey King? I’ve mentioned my journalistic respect for King before, and for those of you lucky enough to be living outside the Fox Sports South region, he was in fine form last night. He’s basically the sonic equivalent of a hyena shrieking in protest over a bad call by scraping the nails of one paw against a chalkboard while firing up a power drill with the other. According to King, the Bobcats committed roughly 250% more traveling violations, 3-second violations, offensive fouls, defensive fouls, flops, illegal defenses, moving picks, goaltending penalties, and child molestation felonies than they were called for. And even though we’re a week removed from the All-Star selections, King still hasn’t gotten over Carlos Boozer not making the team, a crime against humanity that I imagine he ranks just below Dachau.
Actually, give or take an astonishing four Ramon Sessions’ misses from 2-feet or less, the Bobcats were right in this one. I felt bad for Ramon, because he usually cans those like sit-com laughter. For whatever reason—bad luck if you’re me, intimidation if you’re Stacey King—they just didn’t fall. For Chicago, Joakim Noah was long, and strong, and down to get the friction on. Noah scored 13 points, grabbed 18 boards, and dished out 7 dimes, all without slurring a single gay. He also had 5 blocks, including two tremendous ones on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, stuffing the ball down poor MKG’s throat as if MKG were Gana Diop and the ball were a Triple Whopper. Finally, Jimmy Butler exploded for 19 and 6 off the bench, though I wonder if that had more to do with the Bobcats’ defense being too busy marveling at the weird coincidence of Jimmy Butler’s emergence and the recent creation of “Jimmy,” an actual butler on Downton Abbey.
For the Bobcats, though, the night—much as it once belonged to Michelob—belonged to Jeff Adrien. He got his first start of the season—his career, actually—and played 35 minutes, putting up a 14-10 in the process, along with two blocks and +7 plus/minus. There might be legitimate reasons to be excited about this kid. Okay, first of all, he’s only averaging about a 12 PER for his career (I said there might be legitimate reasons to be excited, I didn’t say that there are legitimate reasons). But did you know he’s averaged a double-double on a per-36 minute basis all three seasons he’s been in the league? Wait, first of all, did you even know he’s been in the league for three seasons? Moving on, his offensive rebound rate ranks 46th in the league, which might not exactly give you a statistical boner…until you realize it’s 127 slots better than Tyrus Thomas and 144 better than Hakim Warrick (though seeing how depressingly low those two are might kill your boner all over again). It’s a similar story with Adrien’s defensive rebounding rate (in all aspects—his rate, Thomas’s rate, Warrick’s rate, and the subsequent limp statistical boner).
But get ready to arouse yourself again, because when you pull up Adrien on NBA.com’s Advanced Stats tool, it’s like reading statistical Penthouse Forum. Adrien’s manly torso thrusts its way onto the stat line, sending waves of sensuous pleasure throughout the Bobcats’ net-point rating: they’re a staggering 21.1 net points better with him on the court as opposed to when he’s on the bench. Everything gets better with Adrien out there—the offensive points scored, the defensive points allowed, the turnover rate, the shooting percentage, my belief in a providential God—everything.
Adrien’s gotta cut down on the fouling; he had four last night and he’s averaging 4.5 this year per 36 minutes, a stat that probably has Bismack Biyombo advising him to ease up. But in every other respect he’s the clear choice over Thomas and Warrick—that is, at least until he starts chucking those long-range two’s, at which point I’m going to just watch Bulls games at full volume until Stacey King causes my brain to explode, Scanners-style.
(Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)