Mostly Basketball Stuff Today

Today is National Calvados Day.  If you like cognac, you will also like calvados.  Too many folks go out of their way to create cocktails using calvados.  My preference is to enjoy it neat after dinner.  I stop short, however, of just sticking a straw in the bottle…

The NBA tipped off the 2021/2022 regular season last night with two top-shelf matchups – – Lakers/Warriors and Bucks/Nets.  The NBA regular season consists of 1230 games; it could well be the case that the next night when there will be four comparably qualified teams meeting each other will be in the NBA Semi-Finals.  That is the problem with the NBA regular season; there are far too many games that have very little meaning and do not put on display either balanced talent levels for both squads or sufficient talent on one or both teams to make the game interesting.

That may sound cynical, and it may not be what dedicated NBA fans want to hear, but I am hardly alone in my thinking that the NBA regular season takes a very long time (indisputably correct) without a lot of surprises or drama involved.  Barring significant injuries, we all pretty much “know” the outcomes.  The Las Vegas sportsbooks allow fans to wager on the winners of the 6 NBA Divisions.  Here are the numbers; the oddsmakers signal here that they are confident they know the winners in the divisions:

  • Atlantic Division:  Nets at minus-275
  • Central Division:  Bucks at minus-1,000
  • Southeast Division:  Heat at even money
  • Northwest Division:  Jazz at minus-225
  • Pacific Division:  Lakers at +110
  • Southwest Division:  Mavericks at minus-225

Only one of the divisions offers bettors a choice where every team pays out more than even money if the pick is successful; that would be in the Pacific Division where the Lakers are at +110 partially because the Warriors are in the same division, and the Warriors are at +180.  The oddsmakers go further in their expression of confidence in the ultimate outcome of the NBA season.  Here is an overview of the odds for teams to win the NBA Championship next summer:

  • Six of the thirty NBA teams have odds of +50,000
  • Nine other teams have odds between +10,000 and +50,000.

[Aside:  I know most everyone understands the odds notation here but just to be clear, odds of +50,000 means if you bet $100 and you win the bet, you collect your original $100 PLUS $50,000.]

Looking at the data above, the bookmakers believe that half of the teams in the NBA have no real shot at “winning it all”.  But those 15 teams will take part in plenty of those 1230 regular season games.  I cannot wait until I have the chance to tune in to see the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Sacramento Kings.  Wake me in early or mid-March so I can begin to care about half the games on any given evening.

Moving along…  You may recall that a whole bunch of NFL players stand accused of defrauding the healthcare plan that covers retired NFL players and about half of them have pleaded guilty.  The way it worked was that they filed false claims for expensive items – like hyperbaric chambers – and kept the reimbursements.  There were forged prescriptions and receipts involved; it was a sordid mess.

Well, one of two things seems to have occurred here:

  1. Great minds run in similar channels – – OR – –
  2. NBA players “went to school” on how NFL players were cashing in.

Eighteen former NBA players have been charged with defrauding the NBA’s healthcare plan and pocketing between $2.5 and $4M in bogus claims.  According to reports, Terrence Williams – originally drafted by the then-NJ Nets – concocted the scheme and is the alleged “ringleader”.  The indictment in the matter alleges that Williams provided “false invoices” to the other players so that they could file claims and in return for those false invoices Williams got a kickback from the players once they were reimbursed.

There are a few recognizable names among the accused including:

  • Tony Allen
  • Glen “Big Baby” Davis
  • Darius Miles
  • Sebastian Telfair

Dwight Perry’s take on this fraudulent scheme is interesting:

“Eighteen ex-NBA players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan out of about $4 million for claiming fake ailments.

“Even worse, they won’t get their $35 copays back.”

Finally, apropos of nothing, here is a response made by English essayist Samuel Johnson to an unnamed author:

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………