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The Stephen Malkmus Interview

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to my interview with Stephen Malkmus – lead singer and founder of the classic indie-rock band Pavement. My favorite bands in 1993 were Pavement, Sebadoh and Sugar. Bob Nastanovich taunted me with a set list written on a small paper plate after Pavement's performance at Lollapalooza in Indianapolis in '95, but didn't hook me up. Who knew that I'd end up playing in a fantasy hoops league with a couple members of the band 13 years later? I'm just glad I didn't get hit with a rock-filled mud cake while I was standing near the stage.

I was pretty stoked (and surprised) to be invited into Malkmus' league this year. He commissions the league and is one of those guys who will always field a strong fantasy team, regardless of the sport. He's smart, committed, does his research and is active on the waiver wire. Regardless of what else you have going on, those ingredients are the start to a recipe for fantasy success. I'm dealing with some major injury woes and probably don't have the horses to win this thing, but Malkmus' team is coming on, giving him a legitimate shot at a championship.

Our league is of the 12-team, nine-category variety with daily lineups and owners include several more names familiar to the indie-rock masses. I hope to post interviews with Bob, Janet and Joanna from the Jicks, Doug Martsch and a few others throughout the season.

20 questions with Stephen Malkmus

1. How long have you played fantasy hoops and how many leagues are you in? Do you also play baseball and football?

Stephen Malkmus: Just two hoops leagues that I've been in for about five years or so. The first year we played just five categories – and Allen Iverson was the king of five-cat!!! I also remember Brevin Knight being quite the stud in five-cat as well. As for fantasy, I play all three sports. It's a tossup between baseball and B-ball for me. Different fish. Baseball is all about the roto, basketball is all about head-to-head match ups...

Steve Alexander: That might be the first and last time we've heard the words 'Brevin' and 'stud' in the same sentence. Thanks.

2. What is your team name and why?

SM: It was initially "Widespread Patrick," but I changed it to "Widespread Perkins" after the season started because one of the other owners in the league displayed some HUGE man-love for Kendrick Perkins. I think he is in love with him so I gave him something to fantasize about...It's essentially a tribute/reference to the jam band, Widespread Panic.

3. How do you keep up with your leagues/setting lineups when you're on tour? Has touring ever cost you a championship?

SM: Last year (or was it the year before?) I picked up Ron Artest (after he decided to play again in March) on my laptop while standing in line at the X-ray machine in the security area at the airport. I later found out I beat a guy to Artest by five minutes - that is dedication!!!!!

4. How does your family feel about your fantasy sports addiction? I've been married for 18 years - Once we got the first five fantasy-sports filled years out of the way it was all gravy.

SM: My wife gets pissed when I'm on the waiver wire or live scoring on the computer when I'm cooking dinner...but it's better than internet porn, right??? - especially during dinner!

SA: Who are we to say that dinner and internet porn don't mix?

5. You and many of the league members are in Portland. Who is your all-time favorite Trailblazer and why? (mine is Clyde the Glide).

SM: Without a doubt--Jeff Lamp. He played for UVA right before I got there. He RULED!

SA: I think I saw Lamp and the Virginia Cavaliers play in the 1981 Sweet Sixteen with Ralph Sampson in Market Square Arena. Lamp was drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Blazers in 1981.

6. Do you draft with your head or your heart? Is it better to have a bad team full of guys you like to root for, or would you rather own players you don't care about and win at all costs?

SM: Heart, within reason. I'm not a fan of guys who get hurt all the time, except Caron Butler. I don't think I have a (stud) guy on my team I can't root for-- except Shawn Marion in one league. Fact is there are mostly cool dudes in the NBA. Off the top of my head I'd skip Melo, Baron, Garnett, Artest, Yao, Kobe, Pau, Boozer, Vince Carter, Marion, Brad Miller, Zach Randolph and Jason Kidd if at all possible. Those cats are not my bag.

7. Who is consistently the savviest owner in our league? Who are the people to beat in this league every year?

SM: It's hard to say. Matt Hogan knows his hoops, Billy Slater has a roto mindset, cold - very math. There is a method to Sam Coomes' madness. Joanna Bolme is always in the playoffs, give Dimitri Dziensuwski LeBron James and he won't screw it up. Maybe Dimitri is the best, but, like Joanna, he's not out to win at all costs - not so busy on the wire, maxing games played, etc. We all have our blind spots, that's for sure.

8. What player did you draft that you're most disappointed with? Will you ever draft him again?

SM: I did fine in the early rounds – Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Rashard Lewis, Jason Richardson (so-so), Andris Biedrins, Ben Gordon, David Lee – But then I wimped out on the rookie PGs (I sorta decided to punt dimes when they irrationally flew off the board). I guess Beno Udrih was pretty damn bad in retrospect.

9. Will Tyrus Thomas or Andrea Bargnani ever become reliable fantasy studs?

SM: Bargnani has more rope, more hope in Toronto. Hard to get a handle on Chicago's rotation, let alone Tyrus. I'm pulling for Tyrus though - I really want him to make it.

10. What is your dream word to post in a game of Scrabble? Or better yet, do you recall the one you're most proud of?

SM: It's still when I spelled "chutzpahs" for a double-double word Bingo! That was deep.

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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