Thursday Bullets

  • You ever wonder where NBA nicknames come from? There's actually a minor deity that creates them from scratch, and bestows them in dramatic fashion.

  • Not all assists are created equal. If I draw a double-team in the lane, and shovel a pass to an uncovered big man ... I have essentially created two points for my team. However, if I am about to lose the ball, and bail out to a covered teammate who happens to hit a long 2-pointer ... that's less valuable. Here's a new way to account for assists that takes those realities into account.

  • The Magic dunking in warmups. It's undeniable that the goofy silliness of players like Dwight Howard and LeBron James does something uplifting to their teammates.

  • Remember when James Posey was the big acquisition of two summers ago? The Hornets nabbed a key role player from the champion Celtics. Since then, the Hornets have had some injuries, and some trades. And Posey has been largely quiet. Niall Doherty of Hornets247 on Posey's performance in a loss to the Thunder: "James Posey missed all four of his field goals (three from deep), grabbed three rebounds, had one steal and delivered four hard fouls in 13 minutes. Not cool."

  • On his SIRIUS XM Mad Dog Radio show “Stack’s House,” Bucks swingman Jerry Stackhouse talks about Richard Jefferson's performance in San Antonio: "I just don’t think he’s as good as everybody talked him up to be, to me. I mean, I think he has some talent, he’s an athlete but a lot of the best basketball we’ve seen from Richard Jefferson came when he played with Jason Kidd, when he was just pretty much spoon-fed at the basket and was able to run out and just be an athlete. When it comes down to a half-court set and just being able to play half-court basketball I don’t think he’s that special of a player, in my opinion. It’s just one of those things where it’s just not a good fit. It wasn’t a great fit for him in Milwaukee when he was here. He had some big games but really nothing special. He wasn’t a guy that really helped them go to another level as far as wins and losses. And I think they’re finding out in San Antonio that he may not be the right fit for what they want to do. If I know [head coach Gregg] Popovich like I know him I could very easily see him not in a San Antonio uniform next year."

  • Dallas fans eager to see the Mavericks atop the power rankings, read this. UPDATE: Fascinating. Hollinger goes through the dozen teams ranked ahead of Dallas (Insider) in his power rankings, and explains why he'd pick just about every one of them (exceptions: the Spurs, Celtics and maybe Hawks) to beat the Mavericks in a playoff series.

  • John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog on Sebastian Telfair and point guards: "On the court, a great point guard is a detective. They succeed by figuring out what’s going to happen before anybody else does, and that’s how they get their baskets. Steve Nash is Sherlock Holmes on the court. Not only is Nash usually the smallest and weakest guy on the court; he’s often the slowest guy on the court. But he more than makes up for it by knowing what’s going to happen before it happens. Steve Nash always has a plan. If the defense goes under the screen, he’ll hit the jumper. If they trap, he’ll find his man in the seam for a layup. In the open floor, he always knows where to go with the ball. It’s beautiful to watch, and it’s the nuance that separates basketball from the other major sports. Sebastian Telfair isn’t just a point guard. He’s a New York point guard. If Steve Nash is Sherlock Holmes, New York point guards are Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon. Spade was only a half-step ahead instead of three steps ahead, but he made it work because he had the bravado of a man who was holding all the cards. That’s a New York point guard. Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, and many more. None of them quite made it at the pro level, but oh did they have style. Pulling massive crossovers on hapless defenders. Baiting the help defender with a shameless mug at the man on their right side before dropping a slight-of-hand masterpiece to the trailer before a dunk. Putting a defender on his heels by feinting a drive, then putting him on his tuckus by snapping back for a pull-up jumper from 20. Maybe they didn’t always make the right play, but their confidence never wavered."

  • Jeremy from Roundball Mining Company, on J.R. Smith's 3-point barrage against the Timberwolves: "Up until J.R. converted his barrage of bombs the Nuggets had the body language of a first grader who did not get to eat the last cookie."

  • Mark Ginocchio of Nets are Scorching: "After last night, I refuse to believe the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets are the worst team in NBA history. Their final record may very well suggest otherwise and the schedule-makers certainly haven’t done them any favors as 12 of their final 17 games are against teams in the thick of their respective playoff races. But the Nets should be better than a 7-win team right now. Forget should. The Nets are better than a 7-win team right now. If you want physical proof of why I believe this, look no further than the first quarter between the Nets and Dallas Mavericks last night. Yeah, you could say that the Mavs were caught napping and were taking the Nets lightly, and went on to eventually take care of business in their 96-87 victory, but the worst team in basketball history doesn’t come out on the road against a team that has just won 12 straight games, and knock them silly en route to a 33-19 first quarter. The Mavs missed some open shots in the period, but the Nets also took it to them, by being aggressive in the paint. During a two minute stretch where the Nets grew their lead from 9-1 to 17-3, Jersey made five consecutive field goals off layups and dunks."

  • Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom: "Let’s get this out of the way, first and foremost. [Tyreke Evans] was credited with his first triple-double of his career -- 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. A couple of days ago, I decided to take Warriors’ play-by-play announcer’s challenge of watching the Hornets win over the Warriors in which Darren Collison was credited with 20 assists. He asserted Collison didn’t actually have 20 but more like 13 assists. I checked it. He really had 16 assists and was given four extra based on shoddy stat keeping. Well, I feel confident in saying that Tyreke’s ninth assist of the game was EXTREMELY questionable. It was a pass to Francisco Garcia on the left wing. It didn’t lead him to the scoring play. Well, I guess it did technically. But in reality, he passed it to Cisco and then Cisco decided to drive to the basket. Four or five dribbles later, he scored inside and Evans was given his ninth assist. Again, it was very questionable and probably unwarranted. But until they take it away, Tyreke had his first triple double of his career." And, from NBA Playbook, a deeper look at how Evans got his triple-double.

  • Orlando Magic players running around tethered to each other by velcro. If the "defender" is doing his job, the offensive player will never get enough seperation to sever the velcro tie.

  • Lovely little chart showing how geeks are different from nerds, dweebs and dorks. (Thanks Aaron, who got it from Ed Kupfer and Ryan Parker on Twitter.)

  • This is sort of PG-13, but check out the latest twists in the professional life of Mengke Bateer (who, it should be pointed out, has more NBA rings than Karl Malone.)

  • The Blazers essentially never win in Golden State. One more try tonight.

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune with more tales from the road: "We arrive at the Walt Perrin International Airport in Detroit. I’ve named it such after the Jazz’s vice president of player personnel, who’s one of the many people behind the scenes who work to contribute to the Jazz’s success. Perrin is the lead college scout and lives in suburban Detroit. Most amazing to the two beat writers, he almost reached Diamond Medallion status as a frequent flyer on Delta last year. This is a Ruthian number (125,000 miles) that even those of us who spend our lives on planes can’t fathom. Of course, Perrin’s not around to catch the Jazz’s annual visit to Detroit. He’s on the road scouting college tournament games. Soon he’ll be attending predraft camps and setting up workouts and filling out summer-league rosters. Every time you watch Wesley Matthews, credit Perrin and Kevin O’Connor with seeing something in the undrafted guard from Marquette that everybody else missed. You can say the Jazz missed, too, but they were on the phone reaching out to Matthews before the 2009 draft was even over."