Analysis: The Hunted and The Hunters

Jan 12, 2001... Young Bill Krieger

Well, well, well... ten games down, fifteen to go. Or, put another way, we've burnt 40% of the regular season. Seems to me, at this point, that we've got three different classes of teams: hunted, hunter, and comatose.


Made-up quote of the day

"Okay, okay... I'll give you Jason Terry back"

- Don Fenton, owner West Chicago CleavageBeaters

The Hunted

Three teams have separated from the pack: Napa Valley, Capital City, and West Chicago. Nap-uh and Cap-uh have a whopping 3 game lead over a 3-team pack in the East, and the morphing CleavageBeaters have a 2 game lead in the West.

Now, please put your "this is an outrage" pens down! I know, I know... these leading teams just happen to be run by three of the least bearable owners in the NIBL. Aside, from that I wonder aloud (further irritating my wife), "will these early leads hold up?" Hmmm... let's see:

  • Napa Valley (8-2)

Eric finds himself with the NIBL's best team. With a backcourt of Kidd (36 npg... nibls per game, that is) and McGrady (43 npg), it's no wonder. The Whiners, however, are more than their two superstars. When starting Andre Miller (32 npg) and Ron Mercer (30 npg), Napa fields a lineup that has four (yes, that's four) players grabbing more than 30 nibls. Napa's bench is even deep with Predrag Stojo at the ready in case of slippage in the starting lineup. In short, Eric is awesome. Then exactly how did the doof score 276 nibls this week and lose to Joliet?

  • Cap City (8-2)

Ah, Cap City! If Napa is rock solid, Cap is jello gelatin. Gary Payton (40 npg) is a rock star, but after that the Tool is a crap shoot. Paul Pierce (33 npg) is Cap City's second best performer on a Celtic team that is in chaos. Cap's second round pick, Eddie Jones (29 npg), is a disappointment, and Jermaine O'Neal (28 npg) and Juwan Howard (26 npg) round out the shaky starters for the Tool.

  • West Chicago (8-2)

I'll hand it to The Fentons, this is the youngest, most exciting team in the NIBL. Kobe (41 npg), Nowitzki (32 npg), Baron Davis (29 npg), and Jason Terry (32 npg) are awesome and all under the age of 18! Well, they're young in any case. West Chicago is sort of the NIBL's version of the Clippers, but he's winning! So, will it last? Well, I think even Don expects to come back to earth a bit, but the West is the weak sister this year and even if he slips a bit, Don has to be caught by two teams to miss the playoffs. This doesn't seem likely.

It's cool to have a lead, but it's an awfully long race when the pack is breathing down your neck all the way. If you can call three games behind, breathing down your neck.


From the Wall Street Journal this week:

"It's comforting.

If you can see her all the time, you really have those wonderful memories."

- Jackie Hibbard, on her dog Itchy...

she freeze-dried the dog after it died and placed it on her bedroom floor.

The Hunters

This is my favorite group... sort of like the misfit toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There's something not quite right with each and every one of these teams. Let's get right to my favorite "hunter" team:

  • Aruba (5-5)

As fresh and young as West Chicago's bright stars are, Aruba's team is god-awful old and stale. Duncan, Rose, Van Exel and f'ing fossil Sam Cassell lead one of the most boring starting lineups in the NIBL. Did I mention god-awful? The Thong are nowhere near 300 nibls a game as a team and are a long-shot to make the playoffs. In fact, a loss last week to Elk Grove probably would have pushed Aruba into the comatose category. Blech.

The rest of the hunters, like the Thong, are a quirky lot.

  • Vegas (5-5)

In his 4th season, Tommy continues to be snakebit. Vegas again leads the league in losses by 10 nibls or less. Vegas has impressive scoring totals based primarily on his stud forwards, Garnett (41 npg) and Antoine Walker (37 npg). The rest of the Vermin are a motley crew: Theo, Spree, and Tim Hardaway. One of these guys is probably going to have to improve for Vegas to move up. Oh yeah, hey Tommy... you've got Spree and Timmy Hardaway... why don't you pickup Chris Mullen and complete the Run TMC trilogy?

  • Rip City (6-4)

Rob Ripper Triol is having an impressive newbie season, but he's streaky. While the Rippers lead the league in points, they come in bunchs. We all remember the Ripper's record-shattering 429 nibl game, and Rob can't forget sub-300 nibl losses to Aruba and Elk Grove. With starters from Vancouver (Abdur-Rahim), Houston (Francis) and the Golden State twins (Jamison and Hughes), Rip City's "playoff teams be damned" thesis will be put to an interesting test this season.

  • Elk Grove (5-5)

Shaq (48 npg) is NIBL MVP. McDyess (38 npg) is a monster. These guys can cover up a lot of nibl-holes in a lineup, but Stockton, Brandon, and Doug Christie?!? Dang, that's a whopper of a pothole to fill. Still, with his twin towers, Moz's Cougar can't be discounted.

  • Nantucket (6-4)

First the bad news... Mark Jackson and Ben Wallace are starters. Ugh. The good news... Malone (38 npg), Stackhouse (40 npg) and Shawn Marion (31 npg) are all rock solid. With a little nudge, Nantucket could be the only team with two 40+ npg starters! Can these three drag Nantucket's other two anchors into the playoffs? It'll be tough.

  • St Louis (5-5)

The Scammers are probably the weakest of the hunter teams. Vince Carter (40 npg) rocks, but he seems a little frail these days. Is Rasheed going to average 37 npg for the rest of the year? Nope. Lamar Odom's 32 npg, on the other hand, are in the bank. That's where the happy trail ends as Sully's remaining starters are Rod Strickland and Eldon Campbell. Yuk and yuk.

Which of these hunters will step up? Well, the Western Conference hunters have an easier job. First, most are only 2 games behind. Second, they are only trailing one team, not two.

QOD Addendum

Okay, I can't resist... here's Mrs. Hibbard's dog Itchy before and after:

Before: Itchy in life

After: Itchy freeze-dried


Memo to Manila, Burlington, Diablo, Joliet, and WallaWalla...

Sorry, dude, wait till next year.

I hate to pile on, so I'll make the obits short and sweet:

  • Diablo - Now, Diablo, I know that you're just 2 games out of second place, but that point total does not bode well, and last I checked, Kobe isn't coming off injured reserve to save the less-than-mighty Spawn this year. Early returns are in, and I am prepared to declare the reigning champions' Spawn 2001 season DOA. Rest in peace Danny.

  • Manila - Draft strategy: pick guys who have the same last name. This could be the most innovative draft approach since the "guys related to Syracuse University" strategy used in year 1 by the Shorewood Scepters. Next.

  • Joliet - Joliet can put four starters on the floor with 30 nibls a game: Iverson (38 npg), Mashburn (33 npg), B Grant (30 npg), and Steve Nash (32 npg). So what's the prob? Got me. Tim loves to rack up the fantasy points and miss the playoffs from what I've heard.

  • Walla Walla - The Bailey Boys' first round pick, Grant Hill, is done and so's Walla. Moral of the story: don't draft over the phone or don't pass on Kobe.

  • Burlington - At least Steve is consistent. Every year: move your team, draft first or second, lose a lot of games, repeat. C-Web (44 npg) is his only player averaging more than 26 nibls a game. Crikey.

WilliamT QOD

Ah, the Krieger family motto:

"Nobody beats Bill Krieger... Bill Krieger beats himself"

- Young Bill Krieger


Well, let's see... we have 3 hunted teams, 6 hunter teams, and 5 comatose.

So, in the first 10 games, 5 teams dropped out of contention. By week 20, we'll probably whittle the horse race down to 5-6 contenders and 8-9 pretenders.

After this week, inter-conference follies conclude, and we get down to b'ness. As owner of a hunter team, I am heartened to know that I will get two head-to-head meetings with each of the hunted teams in my conference. I lost to both Eric and Johnny Rai in the first go-round. I think I speak for all the hunters out there... "don't count your chickens just yet boys".

So, let me answer my inner monologue here:

"Will these early leads hold up?"

"Well, I will predict that for 2 of the 3 leading teams, yes! I predict West Chicago will hold fast and make the playoffs against of the hunters in the West. I think, however, that Cap City or Napa will stumble and be caught by one of the mad dogs in the East. But which hunter will succeed? Aruba? He he. Nobody beats Bill Krieger..."


yow, bill

PS - The NIBL Note "Tag" (tm) system seems to be working well. Thanks to all. Teams that we still need to hear from: St Louis, West Chicago, Nantucket, Elk Grove, Joliet, Walla and currently tagged Rip City.