By Henry Abbott
You might know Rus Bradburd as the author of "Paddy on the Hardwood" and an English professor. But Jerryd Bayless (and Tim Hardaway, and Shane Battier, and many others) knows him as a ball-handling coach. This is Bradburd's nicely told tale of coaching Bayless this past summer.
Golden State of Mind's season preview includes lots of funny stuff, like this. There are strengths and weaknesses for each player. Stephen Jackson's first strength is listed as: "Bamboozling Warriors President Robert Rowell in contract negotiations that don't need to be happening in the first place."
Young Sixer Thaddeus Young tells Philadunkia about new head coach Eddie Jordan and his Princeton offense: "Our plays used to just key in on one person -- okay give the ball to ‘Dre or give the ball to EB, give the ball to Thad, give the ball to Louis – and let them go to work. Now it’s pass it around, move, cut and whoever gets the first open look, he takes the shot. We’re playing off each other now. So we’re trying to adjust to it and it’s hard, I’m not going to lie. But things get hard before they get easier and it's getting easier now."
John Hollinger (Insider) on Kevin Durant and plus/minus: "The other number he'll have work on is 'minus-8' -- the past two seasons he's had horrific plus-minus numbers, worse than 8.0 points per 100 possessions each season. Some of that is almost certainly random noise -- plus-minus can be fluky even with season-long samples -- but contributing factors include his deficiencies on defense and at times iffy shot selection. Regardless, he seems a shoo-in for his first All-Star team."
From a press release: "Former New York District Attorney and County Court Judge Jeanine Pirro will be calling the shots as she referees a legal match-up between five-time NBA Champion Dennis Rodman and his good friend and assistant Thaer Mustafa. The case of Rodman vs. Mustafa will come before the Judge in an episode airing Monday, November 2nd. Check local listings for station and tip-off time. 'It's not about the money. It's about the principle,' said plaintiff Rodman, who's on the offensive against Mustafa. Alleging that Mustafa gambled away $4000 of Rodman's money after a promotional event in Atlantic City, the former NBA All-Star says he will donate any winnings from the hearing to charity. For his part, Mustafa claims that he was simply doing what his boss and friend asked him to do, trying to earn back money that Rodman had drunkenly gambled away himself earlier that evening. Noting that his pal isn't exactly hurting for cash, Mustafa also reveals for the first time that the NBA's most notorious 'bad boy' may also be one of the most financially savvy. According to Mustafa, Rodman received $10 million to wear the much publicized wedding dress during his book signing in 1996 for Bad As I Wanna Be." Everyone get the message the Rodman camp is trying to send? He has tons of money. He doesn't need money. He's not desperate for money. Is that clear? My only question is: Then why does he make so many presumably paid appearances at second-tier events?
From Forum Blue and Gold's live blog of last night's Lakers vs. Clippers: "Craig Smith (recall: built like a tank) has a full head of steam and Jordan Farmar (recall: not built like a tank) stands in the paint to accept the charge. I believe he breathed a gigantic sigh of relief when Smith wiggled his way around without any contact. Farmar immediately calls over the equipment manager for a change of shorts."
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "I’m really not sold on starting two guys who can’t shoot, and I remain more convinced than ever that Shaq should be coming off the bench. ... There needs to be more movement. There needs to be high-to-low post action. The bigs need to be active freeing up the guards on the perimeter. LeBron can’t be in bailout mode for 45 minutes. Hopefully these things will come."
Brody from Rockets-Buzz: "The way I picture it, I imagine the Rockets season unfolding like Chase Budinger’s first game in the NBA: Phase I: Gets in game, misses first shot, turns the ball over twice. All in three minutes of playing time. Phase II: Bench. More bench. Phase III: Back in the game, finally. Finishes off the night strong with a drive, shake and one-handed dunk that left three defenders going three different directions. Put it this way, the start may not be pretty, the middle will be forgettable, but by end they could be good -- very good."
Note about the Rockets: They rallied to within six points with two minutes left. Then fizzled. It's a dilemma for a coach, right? He had key players like Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza and Chuck Hayes on the bench, and kept them there. Chase Budinger, David Andersen and Carl Landry on the floor (with the excellent Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry). In that situation do you stick with the players who got you back into the game, or go with the starters?
David Berri of the Wages of Wins: "I think the NBA championship will be won by Cleveland, Boston, or Orlando. But only one of the Eastern Conference titans will appear in the Finals. Who will this team play? The Western Conference Champion will probably be Dallas, the LA Lakers, Portland, or San Antonio."
The Washington Post's Michael Lee: "Before the game, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said [Gilbert] Arenas's move from being one of the most open and talkative athletes to going silent is an excellent way of promoting himself."