Review: New Keebler JIF Cookies & NBA Talk: The Stretch Four Will Not Survive
Junk Food Nation, with Cleveland’s sweep of the Atlanta Hawks last night, I am one step closer to my Finals Prediction of some West team versus Cleveland. Of course, it didn’t happen in seven games as I thought. On the West side of things, even though Houston showed some grit (finally) and pulled one out versus Golden State, I fully expect the Warriors to win one of the next three games to take the Western crown.
Which will leave us with: Cleveland versus Golden State. Both of these teams have different configurations. Golden State with the two amazing guards whose preference is to shoot from outside. Draymond Green at power forward, an undersized big man who plays great defense and the stretch four, bombing three pointers. Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala fill the 3-role, and Andrew Bogut the lone big man on the court at any given time at 7′ tall. This is a team that plays a quasi press on defense, and relies on their smaller size to play faster than other teams, swinging the ball around to hit the open shooter.
Cleveland, in a ways, has a more traditional lineup that plays in an untraditional way: Mozgov and Tristan Thompson clog the lane with their size, while JR Smith and Kyrie Irving (when healthy) can drive and bomb from outside. However, instead of the point guard, it’s Lebron, at the 3, bringing the ball up each time. With Kyrie out, he’s been doing it all on his own, allowing double teams to collapse on him while he kicks the ball to the open shooter.
Both teams that Cleveland and Golden State faced, Atlanta and Houston, relied on the stretch four (i.e., a forward that could shoot long range) to get them to the Conference Finals. Atlanta switched it back and forth, as both Millsap and Carroll took 7-8 attempts between them per game. Same with Houston – Terrence Jones, Trevor Ariza, and Josh Smith all take turns jacking 3s. Look at some of the other teams in the playoffs – Washington. Chicago. Dallas. All of these teams, at some point, went small and employed a stretch four.
I’m here to say it won’t last. It’s simple logic to state that as you get closer to the basket, your shot percentage will go up. The farther away you are, the lower the shot-made percentage. Closer baskets are easier to make, period. So it’s baffling to see more and more teams go for this Euro-style of basketball – tons of ball movement to get to the open shooter and then nailing an outside shot. The problem? If you don’t have a clutch shooter like Steph Curry, you’re gonna miss a TON of shots. Look at the Atlanta series versus Washington – they swung the ball around brilliantly, got Korver the open look, and he would (uncharacteristically) miss. I know Atlanta won the series, but in those games when the shooting was off, they would fall behind by 20 points very very quickly. And you just can’t win, over a long period of time, with a style that has such variance.
I’m not saying that teams need to go back to the Ewing-style of inside basketball, but there’s a reason a team like Memphis does so well each year. Despite taking the second fewest 3-pointers in the league in 2014-2015, of which their made percentage was not good, they ranked 9th in the league in overall FG %. How? They take high percentage shots, inside. That’s it.
Maybe I’m wrong and more teams will trend this way, but I’m betting the nerds in the front office have already realized that this system is unsustainable. As AAU and college basketball continues to churn out athletic freaks, it’s going to be the team that can find and develop a dominant big man that will be at the heart of the next great championship dynasty. I’m looking at you, Anthony Davis.
Cleveland and Golden State are uniquely talented, having Curry and Lebron on the rosters. But taking them out of the equation (i.e., also removing the Heat), every other team that has won in the past fifteen years has had a quasi-dominant big man in the post. Pau. Garnett. Nowitzki. Duncan. Shaq. The blueprint is there. The stretch four will not survive.
Today’s junk food: New Keebler JIF Cookies!!
New Keebler JIF Cookies!! Who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate, all rolled up into a cookie? These sort of look like Samoas, don’t they? But instead of toasted coconut…CRUNCHY NUTS. AND peanut butter?! Enough talking, I need to eat these.
When the first two ingredients of these New Keebler JIF Cookies is sugar and peanut butter, you KNOW that’s a good cookie.
When I opened this package of New Keebler JIF Cookies and sniffed, I definitely got a strong peanut butter smell. Maybe it was more chocolate-peanut butter, but my brain immediately seized on the aroma I got whenever I crack open a new jar of peanut butter. That peanut butter smell was AWESOME. These smelled great.
Each of these New Keebler JIF Cookies were coated in chocolate and encrusted with crunchy peanut crumbs. When I picked one up, the chocolate immediately started to melt onto my fingers (it’s the oils). Each cookie was about the size of a Hostess or Entenmann’s mini donut. Maybe a little bigger, but not much. They felt really light, and were easy to snap in half. Not SUPER crumbly, but they did feel fragile.
As you can see from the cross section of one of these New Keebler JIF Cookies, the inside cookie is chocolate and very porous, like a wafer. It’s coated around the edges with peanut butter, then dipped in chocolate and crunchy nut bits.
Popping a half into my mouth, I chewed, and new EXACTLY what these tasted like. NUTTY BARS. In case, you don’t know what Little Debbie Nutty Bars are, click here. Those choco-peanut butter wafer cookies were a staple during my childhood, and the flavor of these JIF cookies was almost SPOT. ON.
The inside cookie itself was SUPER light and crispy, like a wafer. It might’ve been chocolate flavor, due to the color, but I couldn’t tell because the choco coating and peanut butter layer mixed immediately to form that great, semi-plasticky, choco-peanut butter flavor that I loved with Nutty Bars. A bit more artificial tasting than a Reese’s, and very sweet. I didn’t get a TON of salty peanut flavor here; it was definitely more sweet chocolate and peanut butter mix.
The crunchy nuts added texture and a bit of peanut flavor, but honestly they were an afterthought. The bottom line is that these cookies were light, full of choco-PB flavor, and reminded me of childhood. Thumbs up!
PURCHASED AT: Target, Laurel, MD
Junk Food Guy