Trust me, I’m a Doctor

Doctors are highly venerated in our society. Even their coats, shining white, conjure associations of health, cleanliness, and truth. But the coat, along with the sleek veneer of the hospital itself, is a mirage, obfuscating an unfortunate reality – that many times, a trip to the doctor’s office may do more harm than good.

Let’s start with the coats themselves. The loose white coats of doctors are sanctuaries for bacteria. Even worse, because these coats receive so much exposure to the various chemicals floating around a hospital, those bacteria are heavily resistant to drugs. But as symbolic as it would be for doctors to ditch the whites, the issues with the institution of medicine are not simply one layer deep; they stretch both through medical history and across medical disciplines

Medicine has long been an inexact science, riddled with remedies that were not simply ineffective, but actually deleterious. We can skip over the misguided therapies of the pre-industrial age, when leeching, bleeding, and shock therapy were fixtures on the therapeutic scene. But even in relatively modern times, there are several instances of frightening medical practices.

In 1935, Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz performed the first ever lobotomy, sparking a decades-long trend during which the practice served as a popular “cure” for mental illness. But evidence against the procedure was mounting; Moniz won the Nobel Prize in medicine 1949, but in 1950, lobotomy was outlawed in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, in other countries, including the U.S. where over 40,000 lobotomies were performed, the practice persisted for years longer.

In oncology, breast cancer was long treated by radical mastectomy, a procedure in which the breast, underlying chest muscle, and lymph nodes are all removed in an effort to excise every last remnant of a tumor, to prevent any possibility of relapse. Unfortunately, it didn’t work – the surgery led to no improvements in outcomes compared to more modest procedures. It did, however, leave patients horribly disfigured. Nevertheless, radical mastectomies were the default treatment for breast cancer for over a hundred years, until it was generally abandoned in 1975.

Perhaps most horrifying, though, are instances of drugs harboring dangerous, unknown side effects. Thalidomide was first commercialized in 1959 to treat many of the symptoms of morning sickness. It was widely hailed as a “wonder drug”, but was soon banned after it was linked to severe birth defects in the children of women taking the drug. Over 10,000 children were born with Thalidomide-related disabilities worldwide, with several of these children missing some or all of their limbs. In the 1990s, estrogen pills were recommended to postmenopausal women to lower risk of heart disease. It wasn’t until 2002 that a careful trial established that estrogen pills don’t decrease the risk of heart disease, and may in fact increase it. Darvon & Darvocet was a pain reliever that killed over 2000 people from 1981 to 1999. The list goes on, too lengthy to feature in full.

Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising, given the perverse alignment of incentives between the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Drug manufacturers frequently sponsor doctors, paying for them to fly out to conferences and to trial drugs, and this sponsorship predictably impact doctors’ behaviors. The correlation between the sponsorship doctors receive and the amount of related medications they prescribe suggests that the drug market is not entirely a meritocracy; patients are likely not being prescribed the drug that is most suited to their symptoms.

Pharmaceutical companies are also highly involved in the drug approvals process itself, often funding the studies that test a drug’s fitness for public use. These studies are far from unbiased: tests funded by pharmaceutical companies whose drugs are being tested, are much more likely to find those drugs safe and effective, even when controlling for study design. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies often employ former FDA employees in a potentially dangerous relationship. The cumulative result is several drugs of low or no effectiveness being pushed into the market, and then pushed onto doctors to prescribe.

But pharmaceutical companies are not alone at fault; doctors must face some of the blame. Medical technology that can now detect smaller and smaller issues, along with the push toward early detection, is leading to unnecessary testing, financial and emotional stress in patients undergoing said testing, and even many cases of entirely unnecessary operations. But there’s another, more nefarious, force at play – conflicts of interest among physicians. As stated earlier, doctors can receive significant funding from drug manufacturers, and this funding affects their behavior. Additionally, doctors often have stakes in medical device companies – and these companies sell their products to the hospitals in which these doctors work in or preside over – another questionable relationship. Some surgeons even own surgery and advanced imaging centers, incenting them to suggest more and costlier treatments. In fact, patients were referred to an MRI scan 7 times more frequently in physician-owned institutions than non-physician owned institutions. The very payment model used by most institutions, fee-for-service, encourages doctors to perform more tests and provide reactive care, rather than focusing on patient outcomes.

These problems are large and complex, and they won’t be fixed overnight. Some are unavoidable: limits of on knowledge will always exist, as will limits on the resources realistically available to test drugs. But there are issues that can be addressed.

Science writer John Horgan has a few recommendations: “First, the fee-for-service model should be replaced with a different compensation scheme—perhaps one that gives physicians a flat salary with bonuses for improved patient outcomes. The Mayo Clinic and other hospitals that have adopted this practice deliver better care at lower cost. Second, malpractice laws should be revised so that doctors don’t prescribe tests simply to avoid lawsuits. Third, we need better evaluations of the efficacy of all medical tests.” Fourth, consumers should try to educate themselves about the risks and benefits of tests.”

You may have read this piece and become discouraged. Perhaps your trust in the medical system was slightly shaken. That was never my intent. Modern medicine has saved countless lives and is still by far our best tool to improve our health and wellness. But even our most venerable institutions are not above scrutiny – how else will they improve, and evolve? My intent, rather, was to aid Horgan in his fourth recommendation – to help us become more responsible consumers, patients, and citizens (and perhaps future doctors). So that the next time you visit the doctor’s office, you can be aware of the risks, ask the right questions, and, collaborate with your doctor to reach the best outcome possible.

Bibliography:

White Coats as a Vehicle for Bacterial Dissemination – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471503/

The doctor’s white coat: A valuable tradition of a dangerously dirty habit? – http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2016/10/doctors-white-coat-valuable-tradition-dangerously-dirty-habit/

12 Crazy Historical Medical Practices That Did More Harm Than Good – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-belofsky/crazy-historical-medical-_b_3516415.html

The Surprising History of Lobotomy – http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/03/21/the-surprising-history-of-the-lobotomy/

History of mastectomy before and after Halsted – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19623880

The history of breast cancer surgery: Halsted’s radical mastectomy and beyond – http://www.amsj.org/archives/3019

Evolution of cancer treatments: Surgery – http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/thehistoryofcancer/the-history-of-cancer-cancer-treatment-surgery

Thalidomide – http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/themes/controversies/thalidomide

Thalidomide: The Canadian Tragedy – http://www.thalidomide.ca/the-canadian-tragedy/

Estrogen & Hormones – http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/risk-factors/estrogen-hormones

35 FDA Approved Prescription Drugs Later Pulled from the Market – http://prescriptiondrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005528

Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC156458/

Industry sponsorship and research outcome – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.MR000033.pub2/abstract

Drug-Company Payments Mirror Doctors’ Brand-Name Prescribing – http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/17/470679452/drug-company-payments-mirror-doctors-brand-name-prescribing

Is the FDA Too Cozy With Drug Companies – http://time.com/4510025/fda-drug-companies-pharmaceutical-industry-medical-reviewers/

Cancer drugs, survival, and ethics – http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i5792

TMI in Medicine: the Problem of Overdiagnosis – http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/08/20/tmi-in-medicine-the-problem-of-overdiagnosis

What Can Patients Do In The Face of Physician Conflict of Interest? – http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/04/10/what-can-patients-do-in-the-face-of-physician-conflict-of-interest/

Higher Use of Advanced Imaging Services by Providers Who Self-Refer, Costing Medicare Millions – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648989.pdf

How Can We Curb the Medical-Testing Epidemic? – https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/how-can-we-curb-the-medical-testing-epidemic/

Experimenting with a new format for sources that features fewer in-text hyperlinks. Would be great to hear thoughts on this, and the post above, in the comments!

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What To Do If You Get Fired

Below is a post I made for the BHP Senior newsletter. Ccaggarawala told me to make a funny post piece about what to do if you got fired from your job, but I guess this was too funny for him, since it got vetoed by BHP staff. You may not get some of the references if you’re not in the BHP class of 2015, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

_____________________________

It’s your first month on the job and you’re having a blast. Hundred hour weeks, piece of cake. The spreadsheets are practically filling themselves in, and oh man, the free food. You wish you had started working years ago. Definitely beats dozing through Poliodro’s management class, or whatever his name is. But then you get a email from your boss titled: We Need to Talk. Uh oh. Hopefully, this isn’t some new project where you’ll be staffed in Angola or Kansas or something. That would suck.

Still, it won’t be all bad, you suppose. At least you’d get to see the world. Maybe Kansas has some cool farms or some shit. You stroll over to your boss’s office, wondering how many years it’ll take until you have your own office. Not more than four, at the most. You’re going places. You take a seat across from your boss and ask him what’s up. Did you watch the game last night? He’s silent for a few seconds.

“Look, Kevin, I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s never an easy thing to say, but…”

You tilt your head to the side, quizzically. “But what?”

“But… unfortunately, we’re going to have to ask you leave. Times have been real tough, lately.”

You scratch your head. “So does this mean I get the day off?”

“No, Kevin, sorry if I was unclear the first time,” your boss responds. “You’re fired.”

You say the first thing that pops into your head: “You can’t fire me! I quit!”

Then you realize, by quitting you don’t get severance! Shit!

You head home dejected, head hanging low. You’re angry. You’re heartbroken. You’re devastated. You’re fired. Now what? Well look, Kevin, or whoever you are. It’s not the end of the world. Getting fired, sorry, getting laid off, opens up a whole new world of opportunities. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, you need some money. Unemployment benefits, here you come!

Now that you have a steady stream of income, it’s time to pursue your dreams. You didn’t grow up wanting to be an investment banker. You hated it there anyway. That job was a cocoon, but now you’re a beautiful butterfly and you’re ready to spread your wings and fly. In fact, that’s the first thing you do. You’ve always wanted to see the world, so you book a ticket to Mexico City. First class, you deserve it.

Mexico City es muy divertido! Your Spanish is coming along well, you bought yourself an awesome sombrero, and you now have a glorious handlebar moustache to match. But your signing bonus is almost gone, so you book a flight back to los Estados Unidos, economy this time. You wish you had gotten that severance package. Just one more week here would have been so divertido.

They foreclosed on your place, since you didn’t pay rent while you were in Mexico. So you move back in with your parents. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The home-cooked food is sweet too, since you’ve had enough burritos to last a lifetime. But your parents start pestering you and pestering you, so you decide it’s time to start applying for jobs again. You were in the Business Honors Program back in college, so you have great resume. In no time, you’ve got a bunch of interviews lined up. It’s time to get back in the game, Kevin. You’ll probably be asked this, so just remember: you didn’t get fired. You quit.

Fiction Writing

As many of you know, I’m currently working on writing short stories for my Fiction Writing class. Some of you have asked, so I will be posting my short stories here for your reading pleasure. I’m still working on the first one (it’s coming soon!), but in the meanwhile, below is a link to one of my all time favorite pieces. I think you all will enjoy.

http://americanshortfiction.org/2014/08/01/wormhole/

Fantasy Fantasy

Like most members of the Roundtable, I am in a fantasy football league. And while I love the game, I really wanted to take it to the next level this year, so me and my buddy Vikram decided to do a fantasy fantasy football league. Yeah, you read that right. A fantasy fantasy football league. What does this mean? Well, our league is a standard scoring 10 team league, and from that pool of 10 teams, Vikram and I will draft our own fantasy team of fantasy teams.

In this post, we’re going to go through the strategy for a fantasy fantasy league and walkthrough our draft.

First, here’s our league, in all it’s glory. I’m in a respectable second place, and land fourth in the points for metric. A novice fantasy fantasy player might simply just draft based on the standings, going straight down the list. But past performance does not predict future performance, especially in a game as fickle as fantasy football. No, my fantasy fantasy criteria is much more elaborate. But before we dive into that, it’s important to know the rules of any league you’re participating in. Here are our rules:

  • 3 Starter Teams, 1 Bench Team – So two teams are going to be left out as free agents. How embarrassing. More importantly, the bench space is quite small relative to the starter space.
  • Scoring: Each starter team scores points equal to the points they score in the fantasy league. Each week, the fantasy fantasy team with the most points is awarded a win. If both teams have the same record at the end of the season, the fantasy fantasy team with the most total points wins. Pretty simple stuff.
  • Waivers: Doesn’t really matter. Two of the teams in our league suck, so they will probably go on waivers and stay on waivers.

Ok, so now to my drafting criteria:

  • Team Strength – Obviously, you need a team with great players who are going to score a lot of points.  Moving on…
  • Team Depth – This is a huge one. Over the course of a grueling fantasy football season, injuries happen. Several have happened already.  I definitely don’t want a team that will be derailed by injuries or lack production during bye weeks.
  • Management – In my opinion, this is going to be hugely underrated on draft day. A fantasy team is not going to win on its own, and a good owner can transform a decent team into a great one, through a combination of waiver wire pickups, good trades, and smart start/sit decisions. Likewise, a crappy owner can easily mess up and screw up a top tier team.

Now let’s see how this criteria plays out in practice. Without further ado, here’s the draft:

  1. Team Vik – ZeeSean McCoy
  2. Team Shrin – Graham Crackers
  3. Team Shrin – Team Pham
  4. Team Vik – Los Cunados
  5. Team Vik – ()
  6. Team Shrin – Team Nayak
  7. Team Shrin – New England Murderers
  8. Team Vik – Johnny Hiesmanberg

Free Agents – Hakeem Snickers, Rice Owls

—————————————————————

I meant to post this four weeks ago when we had our draft…so the above draft order might seem weird to you now. But anyway, now that I didn’t post it, I have four weeks of results to fill you in on!!

Team Shrin 4-0

Team Vik 0-4

Fantasy fantasy championship here I come!

The Real Winner

So it’s fantasy football season, and I really wanted to write an article discussing draft strategy and player projections and stuff, but unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to do that, because my league hasn’t drafted yet and I don’t want to help any of them out. But I am the best in our league, so I might throw them a bone next week.

Some of the members of my league would argue, however, that I’m not the best in the league, simply because I didn’t “win”. Whatever that means. If you’ve ever played fantasy football, you would know that it’s involves a great deal of luck. Some of the Roundtable’s members know this.

Why does it involve a lot of luck? Well for one thing, football players themselves are very inconsistent, not only from year to year, but from game to game. This means owners will often get lucky with draft picks and unlucky with bad draft picks. Even the experts aren’t very good at this, with the top experts only reaching about 60% accuracy. (As an aside, here’s how fantasy pros measure “accuracy”). Basically, there’s so much randomness and so many variables involved in the sport that prediction becomes very difficult.

But that’s not really an excuse. You can still make optimal decisions to improve the expected value of the points that your team would score. The owner who made the best decisions would end the season with the greatest amount of fantasy points. And over a large period of time, this owner would also end up with the greatest number of victories. Here’s the real problem: the fantasy season is only about 15 weeks long. Let’s look at why this is a problem:

My league page isn’t loading now for some reason so I’ll post the picture once it does.

For those of you who don’t know, in fantasy football, pairs of owners “face off” each week, and the owner with the most points at the end of the week is deemed the “winner”, and receives one victory. It’s a totally binary system that doesn’t account for margin of victory at all. Also, due to the touched upon inconsistency, the best team doesn’t always win the week. The result is an inefficient week that does a poor job of rewarding good decision making and places a high degree of emphasis on luck. We can see this because of the correlation between points scored and wins, which stands at ___. This is because the distribution of points each week is far from even, and so there will be several weeks in which even the worst team would beat the best team.

As you can clearly see, I scored the most points in my league by a significant margin. The margin would have been even greater, but after I lost in the playoffs, I didn’t even set my lineups for two weeks, and had two injured players in each week. Regardless, I was still undoubtedly the best owner in our league this year. The eventual champion was 3rd in points scored, so I can’t be too pissed about him winning, but the guy in second place was a lowly 7th! The owners of my league will point and laugh at me and say that I’m just bitter about losing. And I am. But only because I think I demonstrably deserved to win. But it doesn’t matter. I know I was the real winner.

Assorted Links

The below is a guest post by my friend, ESPN’s Nick Borges. Enjoy. Fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine. This is harder than it looks so I’ll just actually add real words. I met Nick playing basketball in Yonkers, NY when I was in middle school. He kind of sucked, so I showed him the ropes and made him much better.  He got noticed by some scouts for his amazing skills that I taught him, but then he was hired by ESPN to be a basketball journalist and he is forever in my debt. I think that’s seventy-five but I’m not actually sure.

  • Michael Hunt of the Journal Sentinel: I haven’t been this excited about something so potentially bad since “Miami Vice” went into syndication. That’s because the Bucks, at least for the short term, have finally gotten it right. Seriously, their ingeniousness is to be applauded. Not only have they accomplished something remarkably healthy by ridding themselves of Brandon Jennings’ immaturity and inaccuracy, they have almost completely turned over the roster with fresh, happy faces in time for one of the NBA’s all-time drafts. With a much-needed change in philosophy, general manager John Hammond has assembled a team of young, willing, hustling souls around Larry Sanders and John Henson that just might finish last in Central Division. But… There will be none of the ego-driven nonsense that destroyed the locker room last season and alienated the fan base during the grim march to another one-and-done playoff experience that added nothing to the Bucks’ growth.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN: NBA power agent Jeff Schwartz will have conversations with Minnesota Timberwolves president of operations Flip Saunders sometime in early 2015. Those talks will center around whether All-Star Kevin Love will opt-out of his 2015-16 contract and choose unrestricted free agency, or sign a more lucrative extension. In other words, Schwartz is someone the Wolves want to maintain a solid relationship with. But that could be compromised with Schwartz also representing Wolves restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic. Saunders was in New York City earlier in the week to meet with Schwartz. Word is it was cordial gathering. But one central issue remains, according to sources: money. The Wolves are offering Pekovic a four-year, $48 million extension. Schwartz wants more. In fact, at least initially, a lot more. One league source said his opening asking price was in the vicinity of $15 million/year.
  • Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: Carmelo Anthony admitted “my window is closing” and that he’s “trying to bring a championship to New York ASAP.” But the clock is ticking on Anthony’s career as well as his time in New York. The All-Star forward can become a free agent on July 1, and he will almost certainly opt out of his contract because it makes financial sense. The Knicks can offer Anthony the most money but the Los Angeles Lakers will be players in the free-agent market next summer and there has already been talk of Anthony joining Kobe Bryant, and even Anthony and LeBron James joining forces in the purple and gold. “As far as ruling anything out, I haven’t even, to be honest with you, thought about anything past today,” Anthony said on Saturday in Queens, where he was hosting a youth camp. “My mind is not even thinking about next season, next offseason right now. I’m just trying to do what I do this offseason to get right, work out, train and get right and prepare myself for this season. When that time comes, I’ll deal with that.”
  • Roderick Boone of Newsday: Paul Pierce bled Celtics green, courtesy of playing 15 years with the franchise that plucked him out of Kansas with the 10th selection in the 1998 draft. He was attached to the Celtics, a part of the team’s fabric. But the proverbial umbilical cord was cut when he was shipped to the Nets in the blockbuster trade that also brought Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn last month. Although the emotional trauma won’t be easy to get over for Pierce, Rivers thinks the move could rejuvenate the 35-year-old forward’s career. “I think in some ways, it may give him more life,” Rivers said Friday after being honored with a Sports Pioneer award at the National Association of Black Journalists convention. “But I just think it’s tough for him personally. Like he said in the press conference, he wanted to stay and wasn’t allowed to, and that’s tough for him.”
  • Staff of The Dallas Morning News: This summer, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban once again failed to land the big fish. But he didn’t go down without fight. On his personal blog, Cuban posted why he decided to go all out for Howard and even revealed his pitch to superstar big man. Here is excerpt from his post and the video created to attract Howard to Dallas. Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture. We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did, is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work. if not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset. But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets. I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for. He is also a very, very good listener. Unlike most people, he spent far more time listening than talking. And he had the best response to an opening question that I have ever heard from a player, or anyone for that matter. When we asked him what his goal was, his response was very specific ”I want to be Epic” . Which was a perfect lead in to the video we created for him. Although the video is pretty cool, it wasn’t enough to sway Howard to join an aging Dirk Nowitzki and questionable supporting cast. But Cuban says he doesn’t regret his go big or go home attitude as it relates to his pursuit of Howard:
  • Andrew Gilstrap of ArizonaSports.com: Alex Len isn’t the only Phoenix Suns center struggling with foot problems. Suns starting center Marcin Gortat returned to the U.S. on Thursday to undergo medical tests on his right foot according to EuroBasket 2013’s website. Gortat had been working out with Poland’s national team as they prepare for the EuroBasket 2013 tournament, which starts Sept. 4 in Slovenia. The six-year NBA veteran took a leave of three weeks from the Polish team. He is expected to return in time for the tournament to start. Gortat suffered an injury in the same foot in early March and didn’t play the rest of the 2012-2013 season for the Suns.
  • J. Michael of CSN Washington: A primary benefit of moving so fast in the off-season for the Wizards is that they have their ducks in a row almost two months before training camp begins. John Wall’s $80 million extension could’ve dragged on until Oct. 30, but they worked out a five-year deal with him in three weeks. Free agents Eric Maynor, Martell Webster and Garrett Temple were secured in the first three days of the signing period. Coach Randy Wittman couldn’t be happier, and he let his feelings be known on what he thought president Ernie Grunfeld and CEO and majority owner Ted Leonsis should do -– and why. “I expressed to him my beliefs. I got to do that,” Wittman said of his conversations with Leonsis. “I’ve got to be willing to express my beliefs.”
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: To appreciate what the Heat could be getting in new addition Greg Oden, consider that the last time he played (21 games in 2009), he had the NBA’s eighth-best efficiency rating and also had per-48 minute averages of 22.2 points, 17 rebounds and 4.6 blocks. “Heat fans have to be even more excited. Low risk, high reward,” TNT’sReggie Miller tweeted. “He just has to clog the lane and block shots.” With 13 guaranteed contracts and a looming $19 million tax bill, the Heat has told people it feels no urgency to make any other veteran pickups, though Mo Williams at the minimum cannot be ruled out. Some assuredly will lobby for a Heat roster spot, including guardDeShawn Stevenson, of all people. Stevenson, who once calledLeBron James overrated, tweeted Saturday night: “Miami Heat Where I Wanna Go!!! LeBron Make It Happen.” Stevenson was waived by Atlanta this week.
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: Badly misunderstood in certain instances, having made heinous mistakes in others, Delonte West has run the gamut of experiences in his NBA career. He’s 30 now, married and a new father, and he’s looking to return to the NBA, hoping teams can overlook his past troubles and provide him with a sliver of an opportunity. West, who last played for the Mavericks, said he will accept a nonguaranteed deal, just hoping to impress a coach and make a roster. He was waived by Dallas last October after a dispute with coach Rick Carlisle, then played briefly in the Development League. West, who has had a pair of stints with the Celtics, said the time away has been rewarding and therapeutic. “This, in a way, has been the biggest blessing of my life,” he said. “This has given me time to grow. I’m just looking for answers, and all of the things I have been searching for, as a man, not as an athlete, to complete me. In that time period I met my wife and have had a beautiful son, and it’s like everything is falling in place. Back in December or January, I stopped trying to trust in man and fight these battles by myself. I just handed the keys to the man upstairs and let him drive. It’s been the biggest blessing of my life. I have so much to be grateful for, thankful for, and I have a lot to play for now.” West said fatherhood has changed him.
  • Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press: A year into what looks like a potentially long NBA career, Draymond Green already has given and taken away some strong impressions. Biggest trash talker? He gives the nod to Pistons free-agent pickup Josh Smith. Rival? Houston, after Green was tossed from a February game with the Rockets. He put a hard foul on Patrick Beverley to prevent Houston from setting a single-game three-pointer record, and jawing and the ejection ensued. “It is what it is now,” Green, a Saginaw native and former Michigan State All-America forward who is entering his second season with the Golden State Warriors, said Saturday after some pickup basketball at Lansing Everett High. “They hate me. I dislike them.” The difference between MSU coach Tom Izzo and Golden State coach Mark Jackson? Jackson is as low-key as Izzo is high-volume, Green said.
  • Paul Jones of Sportsnet.ca: It didn’t end the way Damon Stoudamire wanted it to, and he wishes it had been different. Stoudamire, the first ever collegiate player selected by the Toronto Raptors has made it known every chance he has had since he left Toronto in a huff and was traded to Portland in February of 1998. It was turbulent time in Toronto for the neophyte franchise. Ownership of the team was in limbo thanks to a shotgun clause that was enacted forcing one of the two owners to either cede their share of ownership or put up the money to buyout the other side. Unfortunately for Mighty Mouse, he was on the side with minority owner Isiah Thomas who couldn’t put the cash together in time to buy the entire franchise. … But it’s history that the diminutive guard wishes would have taken a different course. “I was young,” said Stoudamire with a smile. “Basketball is a business and as you get older it’s more about building relationships and that’s more important than the selfishness in which I left here. For me, I wish I could have done that over again because it just wasn’t done the right way.”
  • Chris Haynes CSNNW.com: Longtime NBA assistant Elston Turner has accepted a lead assistant position with the Memphis Grizzlies, a league source relayed to CSNNW.com. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Turner was the No. 1 option for newly crowned Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. Turner, 54, is considered to be one of the great defensive minded coaches in the profession. He also had talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves in regards to rejoining Rick Adelman’s staff. Turner has been a top candidate for several head coaching vacancies over the last few years. He most recently interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats this offseason before they eventually hired Steve Clifford.