Game Theory: An NBA Podcast w/ Sam Vecenie

Sam Vecenie is joined by friends to discuss the NBA, NBA Draft, college basketball, high school basketball, and everything in between. Oh, and they'll randomly talk about movies and more.
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Game Theory: An NBA Podcast w/ Sam Vecenie







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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 31, 2018

This is a two-part year-end episode. In the first 40 minutes of the episode, Rob Dauster and I talk about UCLA and Steve Alford being fired. It's a realistic assessment of what he accomplished, didn't accomplish, where the job sits in the hierarchy of college jobs, and who are the realistic candidates to replace Alford as the UCLA head coach? 

Then, I spend an hour and 20 minutes with Cole Zwicker, where we jump around. First, a realistic assessment of where UCLA's prospects are from an NBA Draft perspective (hint: not good). Then, a discussion of the Patrick McCaw contract. Then, we discuss Dennis Smith Jr., and his role on the Dallas Mavericks. Why we're both a bit higher on Smith than most seem to be, and an interesting assessment of his trade value if the team decides to go that direction. Then, we have a theoretical discussion about big men in the NBA Draft. Finally, we talk about NBA Draft Risers for the last hour of the podcast. Who are the guys who have really helped themselves in the 2018 calendar year as it refers to the 2019 Draft? It includes Jarrett Culver, Ja Morant, Ty Jerome, Admiral Schofield, Grant Williams, Jaxson Hayes, and many more. 

Dec 28, 2018

In this episode, Dieter Kurtenbach joins the show and we break down all angles of the Pelicans-Anthony Davis situation. Given that Davis is making public comments about it, LeBron and Giannis are publicly courting him, and the Pelicans have fallen to 15-20, the time is right to start looking at this seriously. What should the Pelicans do to try to keep him? What should they be looking for in a trade? Who matches up best with what the Pelicans need when this potentially comes to fruition in the summer? 

Then, we move on and talk about the Warriors. Specifically, this is a two-star team right now that needs its other two stars to step up. Do we believe in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green right now? 

Then, we move on to the Celtics and Sixers, and proceed to freak out a bit about both. 

Finally, in the things we like section, Dieter talks about D.J. Wilson hours before the Bucks' sophomore went off for his first career double-double, and I talk about the unique path the Pacers have taken to building a team. 

Dec 22, 2018

Making a triumphant return to the podcast, Cole Zwicker joins to chat about a few interesting player development and evaluation topics. 

First, we chat about the Suns. The Suns had won four straight games at the time of this recording, and seemed tailor made for a long-form breakdown to start by Cole and I given the sheer number of young players on the roster. 

Then, we move into The Rookie Class. How insane has Luka been? What do we think of Jaren Jackson, Wendell Carter, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Miles Bridges, Marvin Bagley, and more. 

Then, we chat about the draft class. Where are we on the draft class? Is it as bad as everyone says? What do we think of Romeo Langford, Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett, and some of the elite players? 

Dec 19, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Dieter Kurtenbach about the NBA and life and technology apparently. 

1:30-11:00: Could Skip Bayless beat Tom Brady or LeBron in an eight-mile race?
11:00-24:10: LOL Trevor Ariza, what happened? Breakdown of the madness of Friday's non-trade, in addition to the trade that eventually happened sending him to the Wizards for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers' contract. 
24:10-30:15: Spencer Dinwiddie Extension makes sense for everyone
30:15: 32:10: Intro to the Nuggets section
32:10-33:10: POLICY GENIUS AD
33:10-42:20: Nuggets section in full. Just how good are they? Are they legit the No. 2 team in the West? Do we buy the defense now?
42:20-44:15: ROBINHOOD AD
44:15-57:35: The 76ers have depth issues. What can they do to fix the depth issues? Also, why the Markelle Fultz situation just continues to be a bummer all around.
57:35-59:05: HIMS AD
59:05-1:11:20: Dieter goes on a rant about technology in today's day and age, spawned by Malika Andrews' piece on the Bucks and Bulls teaching their players spacing and the gamification of practice. I think that's about the best way to describe it. 
1:11:20-1:16:50: I like Emmanuel Mudiay! He's good, and why the developmental system in the NBA is kind of a little fucked right now.
1:16:50 to end: we chat about Little Drummer Girl and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.
Dec 14, 2018

In this episode of the podcast, Dieter Kurtenbach makes his triumphant return from his sojourn to South America. 

7:20-12:00 -- Dieter goes to Uruguay and Argentina, and likely avoids needing to be subpoenaed. 
34:00-36:15 -- RXBar ad read
36:15-50:30 -- The Lakers! They're good! The defense is good now. Kyle Kuzma has taken a leap. SHould they trade Brandon Ingram? 
50:30-52:45 -- Simple Contacts ad read
52:45-1:04:00 -- The Thunder are who we thought they were! They're super good!
1:04:00-1:12:40 -- The Top-12 Rookies in the 2018 Rookie Class have all been pretty good! That's weird. 
1:12:40-End -- Allonzo Trier signs deal, end of podcast. 
Dec 7, 2018

In this episode, Michael Pina from over at Vice Sports joins the show to talk about a lot of different teams. First, we chat about the Raptors, the best team in the NBA currently. Kawhi's adjustment to Toronto, Lowry's adjustment to the DeMar trade and having Kawhi, and some of the other incredible players we've seen step up, including Pascal Siakam. 

Then we chat about the Spurs, and their problems. What should the Spurs do? Why is their defense so bad? Why is their shot distribution so bad? Where do they go from here this season? Should they consider tacitly losing some games and moving off some spare pieces?

Then we talk Wolves. Why has the Wolves defense been so good since the Jimmy Butler trade? Should Robert Covington be the defensive player of the year in the league so far? What is happening with Karl Towns? Have I finally given up a bit on Andrew Wiggins?

Finally, we move to the Pacers. Despite the Victor Oladipo injury, the Pacers are holding steady and stable. Why? How good has Domantas Sabonis been? What's going on with Myles Turner? Finally, how depth has really helped them this season. 

Dec 4, 2018

In this episode, Ricky O'Donnell joins the podcast to chat about Fred Hoiberg getting fired by the Chicago Bulls. What do we make of the Hoiberg era? How did the Bulls front office undercut the scheme? Do we have faith in the Bulls getting out of this long-term bad run with John Paxson and Gar Forman involved? Was this really their fault and not Hoiberg's? 

Then, we move on to something positive and chat about the Raptors, who we're super excited about! How did the Spurs not get any of their good young players in the Kawhi trade?

Finally, we chat about Ricky's takes on the NBA Draft. 

Dec 1, 2018

In this episode, Chris Stone of Sporting News joins the podcast and we chat about some NBA Draft matters. Ja Morant played one of this two most critical games of his season this week, and dropped 38/9/5. What does that mean for him? Is he a potential top-10 pick? We then chat about Darius Garland's injury, and whether or not it hurts him and his stock (it doesn't). We throw Coby White and Tre Jones into the mix as well and compare and contrast the group of top point guards. 

Next, we talk about Romeo Langford and Quentin Grimes' early season performances. Both have been up and down. Where are scouts and evaluators on them? 

Next, we chat about how Duke's offense has developed over the first seven games. How has RJ Barrett changed his approach? How has Zion Williamson's leap changed things for them? 

Then we chat about Bol Bol, who I wrote about at The Athletic this week. Finally, we finish with some early season standouts who seem to have helped themselves, including Brandon Clarke, Alpha Diallo, Jaxson Hayes, and more. 

Nov 29, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Dieter Kurtenbach about a variety of NBA topics.

Intro: Start to 2:20. 
Bucks: 2:20....
Bucks Offense is best in NBA: 2:20-10:45
Bucks Defense is good too (and overall): 10:45-14:55
Eric Bledsoe/Bucks Supporting Cast/Depth have been great: 14:55-20:00
Giannis is MVP at the quarter-mark of the season: 20:00-24:25. 
AD FOR HIMS: 24:50-27:25
The Magic...
The Magic are fun! -- 27:25-30:20
What is JOnathan Isaac? -- 30:20-34:50
What do the Magic do at center, and how good as Nikola Vucevic been? -- 35:20-43:35
Aaron Gordon is good, too! -- 43:35-48:45
The Celtics...
The Celtics don't really have an identity yet. It's 50:00-1:06:00. Not really sure where to cut, though. 
The West has been really good and deep. Dieter and I pick the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference through the quarter mark of the season. 
Dieter likes the fact that Kawhi Leonard has signed with New Balance. Why does he like that? It's the perfect blend of function over style. I also make a lot of semi-offensive jokes about white basketball players. 1:15:50-1:21:45
I like Allonzo Trier balling out for the Knicks: 1:21:45-1:28:00
Nov 26, 2018

In this episode, Tony Jones chats about the team he covers, the Utah Jazz. We break down some of the issues that currently exist on both sides of the floor, and why we think the defense is a bit more concerning than the offense right now. Then we move to some weird potential shake-up trades, including why we think the Jazz and Wizards line up really well for a big deal in January if things keep going this same way. 

Then, we chat about some of the terrific rookies who have played this season, including Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Next, we move to the Lakers, who are quickly figuring some things out. LeBron has been ridiculous, lineups with Lonzo have been working, and why Brandon Ingram's numbers seem a bit deceiving on the surface. 

Finally, we chat about some college players. Why Tony is super high on Bol Bol, why Zion Williamson is the favorite to go No. 1, and some of the other guys who are exciting us so far. 

Nov 21, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Dieter Kurtenbach about a variety of topics. First, we hit on Gordon Hayward moving out of the Celtics' starting lineup in favor of Aron Baynes. Then we talk about the Terry Rozier tweets.

Then, we move to Kemba Walker, who is a legit MVP candidate right now. Can the Hornets get him some help?

Then, we chat about the Warriors, and where they're going from here. Also, Dieter tells us about the time he wrote about Klay Thompson making 14 3s in a game was unimpressive, and about Klay's response. 

Then, we spent a bunch of time on Markelle Fultz, and the weird situation surrounding his shoulder and its potential injury. Having said that, the Fultz situation and experiment probably needed to end for the team in its rotation. 

Then, Dieter says why he likes the Clippers, and I explain why I love Luka Doncic beyond even having him at 25-1 to win Rookie of the Year. But more than that, I give my take on why I think the Trae-Luka trade made sense for both parties even with all of the information we have. 

Finally, we chat about Thanksgiving and the Crimes of Grindelwald being a disappointment. 

Nov 19, 2018

In this episode, Dave Dufour from over at Count The Dings joins the podcast to chat about Woj's report of the Wizards potentially listening to deals. How should they go about blowing this thing up? Should they move John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter? How do they best move forward after that point? 

Then, we talk the Kings. Why are the Kings like this? Why would they get rid of Dave Joerger in the midst of what has been a really fun season spurred by the growth of De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield? Why? 

Finally, we bounce around some of the stuff Dave has seen and liked in the NBA. Why Kemba has been one of the four best players in the East so far. Why the Clippers have been so fun to watch. Also, a PSA for Cavs' fans to maybe just chill out about Collin Sexton. 

Nov 16, 2018

In this episode, Chris Stone joins the podcast to give some thoughts on the NBA Draft through one week, as well as preview centers. 

Here's the order: 

Zion Williamson is an alien: 2:00-10:25

What is going on with Nassir Little?: 10:25-15:40

Kevin Porter Jr.'s start at USC: 15:40-23:05

Quentin Grimes/Romeo Langford: 23:05-29:20

Some thoughts on Kentucky: 29:20-34:15


Daniel Gafford: 35:30-39:15

Bol Bol: 44:20

The rest: Jalen McDaniels, Charles Bassey, Jalen Smith, Jontay Porter, Naz Reid, Killian Tillie, Goga Bitadze, Moses Brown, Sagaba Konate, Simi Shittu, Reggie Perry, Bruno Fernando, Kenny Wooten, Aric Holman, Udoka Azubuike, Dean Wade, Austin Wiley, Ethan Happ, Jericho Sims, Tacko Fall, Filip Petrusev

Nov 14, 2018

In this episode, Dieter Kurtenbach joins the episode and we chat about a bunch of different subjects: 

Warriors Draymond-KD blow-up: 5:10-27:15
The Celtics losing four of five: 27:30-44:50
Melo Career Retrospective/Rockets actual problems: 44:50-55:15
Caris LeVert Injury: 55:15-1:05:45
DraftKings ad: 1:05:45-1:07:15
Towns Fuck-You Game in Minnesota: 1:07:15-1:18:30
Dieter loves the Pelicans, Part 1532: 1:18:30-1:19:50
I love the Hornets: 1:19:50-1:25:30
Overlord Movie Thoughts!: 1:26:15-1:27:26. 
Some other random TV thoughts: 1:27:30 til the end. 
Nov 10, 2018

In this episode, we break down the Jimmy Butler deal from ALL angles. In the first half of the episode, Derek Bodner joins to break down the Philadelphia 76ers side of the deal. In the second half, Jon Krawczynski breaks it down from the Minnesota side. 

FULL DEAL: Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a second round pick. 

Nov 8, 2018

In this episode, Dieter and I chat about basketball, including Duke and Kentucky, the Warriors and the West, the weird Terry Rozier thing, fake Wizards trades, and more. Here's the full rundown: 

3:30-28:20 -- Duke-Kentucky stuff, breaking down Zion, RJ and Cam (also Kentucky being weirdly bad)
30:15-37:20 -- Warriors are so far and away the best team in what is now a down Western Conference
37:20-42:20 -- TIN FOIL HAT NARRATIVE TIME on how we think the Al Horford for DPOY narrative is forthcoming because he's only been all-defense once.
42:20-53:10 -- Terry Rozier trade speculation stuff on how there is a report that Rozier likely won't be traded, but that the Celtics should probably look to Phoenix and move him. 
55:35-1:05:00 -- Sixers offense is a mess.
1:05:00-1:08:45 -- Is Damian Lillard the closest thing the NbA has seen to Stephen Curry ever?
1:08:45-1:24:30 -- Four fake Wizards trades to blow the whole thing up
1:24:30-1:27:30 -- The two things we like (Jaren Jackson and Chris Clemons)
1:27:30-end -- Bohemian Rhapsody is a genuinely bad movie
Nov 3, 2018

In this episode, Jared Weiss joins to chat about the Celtics and the Bucks at the top of the Eastern Conference. Why are we confident these two teams are two of the top four in the East? What could each of them do to improve their position down the road? Then, we chat about the Lakers. Magic Johnson had a conversation with Luke Walton about the team's success so far this year? What are we even doing here? Why is Magic even complaining about this? I mostly just rant about this whole thing being silly. 

Then, Chris Stone joins and we chat about the potential forwards in the 2019 NBA Draft. That includes Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Sekou Doumbouya, De'Andre Hunter, Rui Hachimura, Louis King, Jaylen Hoard, PJ Washington, Dedric Lawson, Admiral Schofield, Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby, Cam Johnson, Markis McDuffie, Oshae Brissett, Eric Paschall, and more. 

Oct 31, 2018

In this episode, Dieter Kurtenbach joins and we chat about a variety of topics throughout what has already been a chaotic basketball season. First, we chat about Klay Thompson's eruption against the Bulls, and how it somehow might not even be a top-two Klay game ever.

Then, we spend 20 minutes and chat about the Markelle Fultz situation in Philadelphia. What should the 76ers do at this stage after their slow start, and with the Simmons-Fultz pairing that seems to not be working? 

Then, we dive into two of the bigger disappointments to start the NBA season. First, we break down the Rockets, and how things seems to be going poorly there due to faulty transition offense and bad halfcourt defense. Then, we break down the Wizards, who seem to just be careening into a rebuild as this season starts in such a messy way. 

Finally, we chat about the Kings! The Kings! I like the Kings! #TheKingsAreGood

Oct 29, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Joe Vardon of The Athletic about Ty Lue's firing. How did he break the story? What factors inside the organization played a role in his departure? Where do the Cavaliers go from here? 

Then, I chat with Jared Dubin where we break down why the Houston Rockets' defense has been so bad to start the season. Then, we chat about Jimmy Butler trade rumors to Houston, and why the four first round picks don't really pass the smell test. Finally, we chat about Miami's culture of development and prospect identification, and I give some Johnathan Williams stories as the former Gonzaga big man breaks out for the Lakers. 

Oct 25, 2018

In this episode, MGrads comes on and chats about a bunch of stuff in the basketball world, and explains himself. Specifically, we talk about the G-League contracts, some one-and-done stuff, Darius Bazley, what some one-and-done kids should do, trainers, and more. 

Oct 24, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Dieter Kurtenbach from the San Jose Mercury News about some of the things that have surprised us early on in the NBA. Here are the topics we discuss: 

Boston Celtics Offense

The Pelicans and League-Wide Pace

Denver Nuggets Defense

The Thunder are Rough

The Bulls are Awful but Zach LaVine is not

The Spurs, DeRozan, Aldridge, and offense

The Kings are Feisty

The Raptors are great now

Oct 22, 2018

In this episode, Tony Jones from The Athletic joins to discuss the great spitting controversy of 2018, and we lay out prediction about what the punishment should have been for Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram, and Chris Paul. We also discuss how this type of stuff will affect how we remember Rondo's career. 

Then, we break down Utah vs. Golden State, which was the game of the young NBA season. How you know Golden State thinks Utah is a real team (they actually tried to win), how Stephen Curry is basically going god mode this season, and how the Jazz need to find a way to get more offensive creativity to reach that next level. 

Then, Chris Stone joins the show to give a quick preseason breakdown on the 2019 NBA Draft's potential wings. Why it has potential to be this draft's position of strength. Names discussed:

RJ Barrett, Nassir Little, Romeo Langford, Keldon Johnson, Kevin Porter, Tyus Battle, Jarrett Culver, Kris Wilkes, Charles Matthews, Jarrey Foster, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Matisse Thybulle, Jalen Hudson, Kellan Grady, Zach Norvell, the Martin twins, John Petty, Fletcher Magee, TJ Gibbs, Herb Jones, Jordan Poole, Kerwin Roach, Lagerald Vick, Xavier Sneed, Josh Reaves, Desmond Bane

Oct 21, 2018

In this episode, Dave DuFour joins to chat about all of the NBA's opening few days. We run through something we saw from every team, what we're excited about, what we're watching, and what we are expecting going forward. 

First though, we break down the Lakers-Blazers in-depth, then we break down Milwaukee's new offense, Houston's continued defensive questions, New Orleans' athleticism, Minnesota's weird game with San Antonio, and then we run through everything else that happened over the first three days. 


Oct 17, 2018

In this episode, Dieter Kurtenbach joins Sam to break down Great British Bake Off, Hereditary, Haunting of Hill House...well, for the first seven minutes at least. 

But if you want to skip forward to the basketball, the Celtics win over the 76ers takes up half the conversation due to the fascinating nature of the game. Jayson Tatum making the leap? Gordon Hayward's return? Kyrie's game, the bench, etc. Then, they chat about the 76ers, the Simmons game, their offensive gameplan, and particularly Markelle Fultz, and what the Sixers should do with him right now. Also, Joel Embiid and turnovers. Mostly, it's why I'm not melting down about Philadelphia.

Then they move on to the Warriors win over the Thunder, Stephen Curry's monster outing, the stars' play, and more. They also focus in on the center position, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney, and the Warriors bench. 

Finally, they chat about the teams they're excited for this week. Dieter wants to watch Indiana, I want to watch Minnesota, and we're both excited for Utah and more. And then we finish on Venom. Because Venom is getting underrated. 

Oct 14, 2018

In this episode, Tony Jones joins the podcast to chat about Jimmy Butler coming to practice, Joakim Noah being gone, and some NBA awards predictions. 

First, Jimmy Butler came to practice (shout out MGRADS), and totally destroyed his teammates. Why is he still in Minnesota? Why are they seriously going to play him this season to start the year? What a bad idea. 

Then, we chat about why stretching Noah now is a bad idea versus later, and some of the other cuts around the NBA. Finally, we chat about Mike Muscala's dad, why the 76ers did the right thing getting out in front of it, and why there's no place for that bullshit. 

Finally, we give predictions on MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, first time All-NBA player, Western/Eastern Conference Finalists, NBA Finalists, and NBA Champion. 

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