It's weeks before the All-Star game, and John Hollinger's playoff odds are already saying that nine teams -- nearly a third of the League -- are essentially out of the running for the playoffs. The Wizards are given about a 5% chance of making it. Trailing that miserable standard are the Sixers, Pistons, Clippers, Pacers, Warriors, Nets and Timberwolves. For the sanity of the people who support those teams, I'd love to see them have some potential for something positive on the horizon, for instance some of the various proposals for a playoff play-in tournament at the end of the season, or some way they could play themselves into a better draft pick. Two-thirds of a season is too long to go without hope.
One thing the Nets appear to be playing for is John Wall, the supernova Kentucky guard. If they're sitting around Nets headquarters wondering if they should trade Devin Harris while he still has value, to make room for Wall, well, here's a bunch of mathematical formulas to help them analyze that decision. Seriously. I was involved in the conversation that led to that intense analysis, but one thing I forgot until now. When the Nets were in line to have Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and an arena in Brooklyn I think they had to be considered extremely attractive for LeBron James. Harris is like Delonte West mashed into Mo Williams. He can run the break, draw a double-team, get to the rim, guard fast guys and punish anyone who leaves to double James. Would James want to play with a rookie point guard? Probably not at this stage of his career. However, if James-to-the-Nets is a dead meme anyway, then I guess this line of concern could be moot.
Elite European players, amazed that in America college players are expected to buy their own basketball shoes.
You remember when the Rockets drafted Sergio Llull in the second round last summer? He's a Spanish point guard. The Rockets have everyone so freaked out with their ability to pick productive role players, that as soon as the pick was made I know I started thinking: "Well, of course that's brilliant ... I wonder why?" Which is an insane way to think. But, for the record, in fantastic detail -- even video -- here's Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations Sam Hinkie explaining the appeal of Llull.
I wrote weeks ago that Monta Ellis was a gunner. What I meant by that was that when he has the ball, as much as any player, it's a good bet he'll shoot it. People got mad, and pointed out his field goal percentage, which is good for a little dude who shoots so much. Nevertheless, he's top ten in the NBA in usage rate. Which is not necessarily bad. He can flat-out score. Honestly, if you had me pick one player to get a bucket, this season it might be him. But on the flip side, he does also often leave wide-open teammates standing there, with their hands ready to receive a pass. And people are starting to get annoyed.
With all of the talk about Derek Fisher's bad shooting this season, it's worth noting this eyewitness account of warm-ups yesterday, from Zephid on Forum Blue and Gold: "There were a few striking things I noticed during warm-ups. First of all, Derek Fisher didn’t miss. It was just three after three after three, all of them going in."
Yesterday we heard about the special way Tyson Chandler's son wakes him up from a nap. Here's the video that goes along with that.
J.J. Hickson -- of he of the length and athleticism -- was blatantly a factor in Cleveland's win. John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Hicksomania! A day after I got done absolutely burying the guy, he goes ahead and has his best game in a Cavs uniform. 4-6 from the field with some nice finishes at the rim, 3-4 from the line, and an insane 14 rebounds. And wouldn’t you know that he tied for the game high with a +6. Wonderful game for JJ. I hope the Wizards brass was watching."
Parenting aides, for raising your own Big Baby.
From yesterday, but a one-man game-winning defensive stand must be acknowledged. Nicely done, Shawn Marion.