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This is a short piece I wrote at the start of the NBA lockout during which time I was applying for the course I am currently on – this article supported my application. Due to this some of the relevance and facts are out of date.

 

Boston, San Antonio and Los Angeles have all been swept aside (in some cases literally) from this year’s title chase. Many have begun professing that this is the year we say our final farewell to all the ‘elderly’ teams, and with good merit, but they are forgetting one major principle in how next year’s championship race will play out.

The Lockout.

If the NBA has a repeat of the 1998/1999 lockout season each team will have a regular season of just 50 games. The teams that feature more 30 year old’s than twentysomethings will have benefitted from the extended rest-bite and their bodies and games will be in their peak midseason form by the time the playoffs arrive.

Even if every playoff round goes to a deciding game 7, the final two teams battling it out in June will have played 78 games when a victor is crowned. This is 4 less than they will have had to endure during a regular, regular season.

Of the top 4 teams in each conference 1999; 7 of them featured in the ten oldest teams for that season. 6 of them were in the final 8, 3 of them in the final four and the two left standing were the 3rd (San Antonio) and 6th (New York) oldest teams in the league.

When you compare that to the regular season leaders of this past season from each conference, 6 of the teams are amongst the ten eldest, proving that age an experience still counts for a lot in an 82-game run.

By the time 100 games starts rolling around, that is when the bodies started giving up on the aging teams.

San Antonio are surprisingly young at the moment and only just creep into this year’s ten oldest teams. It’s the starting five, and main receiver of minutes that log in at 33.2 years old. On the other side of the argument, Miami are the oldest team in the league, but their starting unit is an athletic 29.6.

The slightly fresher legs have kept Miami in the heat of the championship run mainly because their slightly fresher legs can still run.

Of course every team needs a mix of wily veterans and youthful energy to throw at competitors. Boston, LA and San Antonio have this mix but the knees of Garnett, Bryant and Duncan hold out for long enough. The main difference will be that in the potentially shorter, partly locked out season of 2011/2012, the wily veterans will still have some youthful energy stored up of their own and will look to take back the crown from the young pups for one more year at least.

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Under my course timetable it states that I have a lecture in the slow of 12-13.30 and it simply says ‘Post-Graduate Research Preparation’. No module code. Nothing.

It turns out the class is M81MC run by Adrienne Evans and technically it’s for CCM students (Communications or something) but during the course of the lecture I discovered that as a journalist I can take part if I want. My first instinct was ‘SEE YA!’ but I’m not entirely rude so I stuck around and it turned out I’ve elected to take on yet more work than needed.

The lecture was genuinely quite interesting though. It discussed different types of research but focused on telling us about one for this session. Quantitative Research.

Over the summer I wrote an article about the NBA lockout to apply to university but I also sent it to basketball writers (of whom presented me with positive feedback), for the article I compared average age of each basketball team in 1999 and this year and I found myself doing a lot of quantitative research – I just didn’t know it.

Quantitative (type it it’s fun!) research is interested in mass amounts of data, hence the word quantity in there. It prefers facts over complexity and it must be reliable, in the sense that if I ran data about a certain subject and so did someone in China, about the same subject, the results would be the same.

An interesting quantitative research study was the Global Media Monitoring Project, which counted the use of words or conjoured images from newspapers and media outlets around the world. Whilst we only looked at a small section of the results in class I can imagine it would be quite interesting to read more about it.

We then also ran a task while watching a real M&S advert then a spoof one, and the results would be identical in quantitative research because this form doesn’t take in to consideration such events like irony or humour.

So quantitative research obviously has it’s flaws but for a journalist it can be a very intriguing  tool that can be used to create some interesting stories and viewpoints on major events.

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This is Bogut's second appearance in the Top 50 list

Number 49 on the Top 50 NBA player list is an Aussie called Andrew Bogut. Bogut is presented as a should-be hero by his profiler Todd Spehr, for the same reasons that other international players are.

By glancing at the previous blog entry, you may notice that the spotlight focuses on an athlete who was not born in the United States of America. Luol Deng has become popular in his split homes of Britain and Sudan. Without doubt the same has happened for fans of basketball in Australia with Bogut but not to the same extent but Spehr references other NBA players; Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol have become more than just basketball players, they are now considered celebrity in their respective homelands of Germany and Spain.

This is where Spehr’s written profile of Bogut is weak. He writes about Bogut with an overly blaze conversational tone, this tone can be used to great effect but it should still be able understood by someone who has never understood the game of basketball before.

This is one of the negatives of the genre and style that SLAM is famous for. Luckily for its readership it’s rare that this device ever has negative conotations but on rare occasions it can creep into online articles as nbk – a regular commenter mentions “this write up is good but it said nothing about why he is number 49, or even what he does positive on a basketball court”.

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