4 Jazz Director Suggestions for Vivek Ranadive

After firing head coach Mike Malone earlier this week, Sacramento Kings owner made the age old comparison of basketball to jazz by stating the Kings needed to get away from a rules based organization to something more character based and free flowing. So of course he said the team needs a jazz director.

Instead of letting this tired narrative of NBA jazz go away, let’s give the guy some suggestions!


Peter Brotzmann

Sure Ranadive wanted a more uptempo offense for the Kings, but have they thought about a huge wall of bleating sound kind of offense? Brotzmann has the attitude and facial hair of Gregg Popovich, his native European living has probably provided him with some innovations and could turn Boogie Cousins into a touch pass big. Also, as with his famous Machine Gun session, he has experience with a large group going off.

Charles Mingus

The hulking bass player was known for developing young talent (Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond) and although he brought a lot of innovation, he was firmly against the New Sound that was brought into the jazz fold. He’ll be cranky about certain innovations, but is so good within his own realm that it’s worth the cost.


Herbie Hancock

Herbie studied under the best in Miles Davis and helped shape his electric sound, but then went on to lead two of the most innovation groups of the fusion era with Mwandishi and the Head Hunters. Hancock is willing to embrace almost all new technologies and techniques. And even though he’s not above a good throwback performance, he has a track record of keeping great bands on track for years.


Sun Ra

You think Phil Jackson is a Zen master? Sun Ra is from Jupiter and has a spiritual side the size of all of the interstellar space. Sun Ra had the most out there group for almost every year he was alive and could go from traiditional piano tunes, to far out space jams and even the soundtrack to the Batman (1966) movie.  He turned a Philadelphia rowhouse into the collective spot where the milky way was ripped open on the regular, which is more than you can say about some guy that read Alan Watts a couple of times.

Last Nights Number: Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers


The Atlanta Hawks attempted 76 field goals and hit 49 of them for 64.5%. Their three point percentage was 57.1% and only five Hawks players scored in single digits including the surprising Kyle Korver with 4 points and only three field goal and three three point attempts.

Shelvin Mack went off for 24 points and only missed one shot the entire night.

The Cavs has lost three of their last 4 games after winning eight in a row.

Bonus Number


It took 3 overtime periods for the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the San Antonio Spurs 117-116, even as the two teams traded buzzer beaters. The two Southwest division rivals always try and play up when they meet and this was no exception. Zach Randolph ended with 21 points and 21 rebounds. Kosta Koufos had 16 points, his highest scoring game of the season.

Victor Not So Victorious

He was the second pick in the 2013 draft, a lottery class that still hasn’t found it’s footing in the league, but Victor Oladipo is still trying.

Oladipo missed the first nine games of the season with a facial injury and then started off really slow in November; in ten games he only scored over fifteen points twice. But in seven games in December he is averaging 18 points a game. And this is without rising star big man Nikola Vucevic, rookie defensive star Aaron Gordon out for the season with a foot injury, a rookie backup point guard in Elfrid Payton and Evan Fournier have a season of shaky shooting.

But Oladipo is shooting 47.5% behind the three point line and is slashing to the rim to get 59.5% at the rim. It leaves the perimeter open for guys like Ben Gordon and Channing Frye. He is also benefitting from the uprising of Tobias Harris who is starting to pull away from Oladipo’s shooting stats: 39.1% behind the three point arc and 74.1% at the rim.

One thing Oladipo has to get together is his assists. Yes the Magic have some holes in their offensive system, but with Harris, Frye and Fournier shooting above 40% in their FG attempts, he should be able to drive and kick since he’s going to the rim so frequently. But so far he is only averaging 3.6 assists per game.

Is he a slasher like Westbrook? Not yet anyways. He has the size to be more of a jump shooter, but he hasn’t really taken his game there yet. It’s fair to say he could always just be a tweener, but with how jumbled the Magic lineup is and Jacque Vaughn not exactly instilling confidence as a great head coach, but the front office has some great pieces to extend into the future.

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The average Variance Consistency is 4.8 and Oladipo is rocking a 0.96 which leads him to the more consistent side of the spectrum. His Consistency grade of 2.91 is above the average of 2.3. But again, this is with a small sample size and underscoring on a team that could really use his points.

So should he be off the ball? Elfrid Payton is averaging more assists. When Oladipo is hitting his 47.5% on his three point attempts 78.9% of them are assisted. But his at the rim percentage is only assisted 27.7%. From three feet to the three point line, the assisted percentage is even worse. So he’s not getting passes in the perimeter, driving to the hoop unless he sits on the line to receive a pass. These are either bad habits or the fault of floor spacing.

The expectations of the Magic are still low but at this point they have enough pieces to be doing something in the right direction and if Oladipo is part of that direction, I’m not sure where they’re going.

Russ Never Sleeps

Guess who’s back? Russell Westbrook has been affected by injuries for three years and with the future of the Oklahoma City Thunder holding in limbo to Kevin Durant’s decision in 2016, the team could be headed directly to  a trash fire.

But then Russ showed up and started scorching the earth. Granted it’s only 10 games into it, but he has a PER of 33.15, shooting 48.9% , three point percentage of 35.7%, 6.8 assists, 5.8 rebounds with an average of 25.8 ppg.

And he’s doing it with total slashing.  A look at his Heat Map-

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Almost entirely right at the basket. Compared to his previous shot chart, where Russell was still slashing but also more diverse. So what’s opening up the paint for him? Thabo Sefolosha is gone to join the Hawks and Kendrick Perkins is now coming off the bench. Steven Adams isn’t crazy athletic in the center spot, but he does move better than Perk. He also draws more defenders because he has something resembling and offensive game. Whereas previous defenders could leave Perkins on the regular, because his threat just wasn’t going to happen. Adams now demands at least some coverage, so the doubling has to go down.
So it’s possible that the new squad on the floor is just more tuned in to floor chemistry and letting Russell have his way. Given his stats about his shot range, they should keep letting him do it.

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73 attempts at the rim shooting 61% with only 26% of those being assisted. Russell should be getting the nickname Nash the Slash if it wasn’t one of the more obscure and obnoxious reference I could make.

With Durant’s decision always looming and Scott Brooks coaching out of his mind so far, the day before Hanukkah the Thunder are one game out of the number eight spot of the playoffs. They have won six in a row, won seven of their last nine and beat the Cavaliers by nine points and put up 114 against the tough defense of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Keep your fingers crossed for health, but the Thunder might have crossed over into sneaky contender if they can keep the paint open for Westbrook.

Q&A with Tom Scharpling

Tom Scharpling is most know for being the host and creative force behind “The Best Show on WFMU” the much beloved cult radio show on a listener supported station in New Jersey. Despite it’s humble locations, the Best Show was known world wide for it’s ability to turn the mundane into a surreal world often occupied by the imagination of Scharpling and his comedy partner Jon Wurster.

Tom has also written for television shows such as “Monk” and “Tom Goes the the Mayor” directed music videos, helped create the (now defunct) Low Times podcast, and  made in an appearance in the RE2PECT Derek Jeter commercial.

Last December, Tom announced the Best Show was going away. It was a bittersweet moment for Friends of Tom, but after thirteen years of slugging away for no money, it was easy to understand why he would leave the siren call of the Best Show for other opportunities.

But he couldn’t escape the call of the show entirely, The Best Show is returning, but no one, even Tom, is entirely sure when. The show will now be unaffiliated will be streaming on its own at http://thebestshow.net/

But it’s not just the show that’s coming back, as I was lucky enough to do a quick Q&A with Tom Scharpling via email.

The Best Show went away almost a year ago, but the call of Newbridge seems to have brought you back in front of the microphones. What can fans expect of the show now that it’s not on WFMU?

I don’t know what else would or could change from what came before – I like where everything was at. I like where Jon Wurster and I have gotten to with our calls, I like the sound collages, I like Gary the Squirrel and Vance, I like the callers, I like talking on mic and telling stories and goofing around.
I would say the biggest changes would be that since I own all the equipment, I don’t have to do the show for only three hours once a week. I can turn things on and do a show if I really wanted to on a different night. Or the show could go past the three-hour mark.
And I plan on pushing really hard to take the show to some new places that we haven’t gone yet. It’s incredibly liberating to do something without worrying about failing, and that’s how I plan on doing this show. I’m gonna just do it and have a blast doing it and see what is out there around the corner.


After the announcement of the boxset, Adult Swim aired The Newbridge Tourism Board video. Can you talk a little bit about how that came together?

Jon and I have been interested in doing things that expand the world of the Newbridge characters beyond the calls. And we’ve both worked on a bunch of things for Adult Swim over the years, both together and separately. We finally started getting down to brass tacks with Ollie Green, one of the bigwigs at Adult Swim about us all working together. So the first version of this was to do one of the 4 AM infomercials; it was a great way to do a one-off thing that would convey the tone of our stuff and try to show what the world would be like visually.
Hopefully we can figure more out to do with them down the road, because the video was super satisfying and I would love to pursue cracking open the world of Newbridge even more.


Like many long-time listeners, I think fans became just as interested in the regular callers like Laurie from Miami and Spike. Have you kept up with any of them since the show has been off the air?

I’ve talked to some callers on email and on Twitter. I don’t think I talked to Laurie or Spike specifically. I do see their Twitters and Instagrams and they seem to be doing well. Hopefully they return to the show and call in again. We will see!

Many people know you as a big NBA fan, what’s been the most surprising thing for you in this season so far?

I guess the dominance of the Golden State Warriors is the biggest surprise. I knew they’d be good, but they are so super hot and fun to watch. Very exciting to see. And I’m surprised at how lousy the Knicks are, but then again I’m not – they have Melo and a great second squad, but they’re missing the second, third and fourth best players. I always thought Phil Jackson was a fraud and this travesty is exposing him as such.

Is Philly Boy Roy the only thing that can fix the 76ers?

The only thing that can fix the 76ers is the team deciding that they’re gonna stop tanking everything in a quest to stockpile players. It makes me root against them because they’re not even trying to field a decent team anymore. And Philly Boy Roy would only go through the players’ gym bags while they’re on the court, so he wouldn’t be much of a help.
You can find info on the upcoming Sharpling & Wurster box set here. And follow Tom on twitter

How the Memphis Grizzlies Won 17 Games

The Memphis Grizzlies started off to their best start in franchise history this season and but for the Golden State Warriors apparently soaring directly into the sun, the Grizz would be the number one seed in the West. So how did the Grizzlies get to 17 wins? We investigate.

105-101 win over Minnesota Timberwolves

Marc Gasol got a haircut, the rest of the Grizzlies hung out with the best team in Minnesota, the WNBA Lynx.


97-89 win over the Indiana Pacers

Mike Conley took the team shopping for wooden bowties.



71-69 win over the Charlotte Hornets

Tony Allen played Hugo the mascot in a game of one-on-one and lost.


93-81 win over the New Orleans Pelicans

The entire team crashed Jon Leuer’s room and had a Veronica Mars marathon.


102-91 win over the Phoenix Suns

Courtney Lee went to the mall to buy DVD’s and the rest of the team went and made fun of him for not upgrading to Blu Rays.


91-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder

Beno Udrih lead the team in an hour long group hug.


107-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers

The team went out to visit some clubs, while rookies Jarnell Stokes and Jordan Adams stayed in and built a blanket fort.


111-110 win over the Sacramento Kings

Tayshaun Prince thought about going out, but instead just stayed in and read a good book.


95-88 win over the Detroit Pistons

Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos re-enacted the end rap battle from “8 Mile”.


119-93 win over the Houston Rockets

Zach Randolph spent most of the afternoon trying to find a burrito place he remembered. But he couldn’t find it.


117-100 win over the Boston Celtics

Quincy Pondexter drove to Quincy, Massachusetts to get his picture taken near the highway sign.


107-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers

Nick Calathes thought about getting a new haircut.



99-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers

Mike Conley wished his mom a happy birthday. Courtney Lee made a pretty funny vine.


112-99 win over the Portland Trailblazers

Vince Carter sent tweets to Kumail Nanjiani asking him about locations where Portlandia was filmed.


97-85 win over the Sacramento Kings

Jarnell Stokes and Nick Calathes thought about asking Zach Randolph if they could play more than a minute but then didn’t ask.


103-87 win over the Miami Heat

Jon Leuer broke out the guitar.


114-105 win over the Dallas Mavericks

Tony Allen found an old Dance Dance Revolution game in a basement and got some moves in.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies