December, 27, 2010
By Benjamin Polk
- Those of you who are sick of reading about how good LeBron James is, should definitely not read this fine Hoopspeak post. Although if it means anything to you, it's also about how Ron Artest didn't play so well on Saturday. I'm kidding, of course. Everybody should read it.
- Right now, all NBA journalism is threatening to devolve into the "did you see what Blake Griffin did yesterday?" show. On a totally different note, did you see what Blake Griffin did yesterday?
- John Wall is stunningly quick and he can do a wicked Dougie. But last night Tony Parker, like the good Spur that he is, was the one playing the extraordinarily efficient basketball. I'm sure he's also a great dancer.
- At the Heat Index, Kevin Arnovitz tells us--exactly and exhaustively--what the Heat's defense did to the Lakers on Saturday. As always, it seems, great defense comes down to trust and a "fundamental, almost religious, devotion by the entire team" to the group concept.
- I'm not what you might call a visual learner. Before I really understand a map or chart I usually have to go through a few rounds of staring, folding, unfolding, wearing it as pants. Nonetheless, the folks at Hoopism made a visual representation of every player on every team ever that is really pretty cool. As a Wolves' fan its hugely rewarding to see the names "Gundars Vetra," "Lance Blanks" and "Charles Shackleford" all in one place.
- Whenever the Timberwolves win, we at A Wolf Among Wolves have ourselves a party. That this party includes extreme expressions of exasperation at aimless defense and mind-blowing shot selection just comes with the territory. Do we care that two of the Wolves' seven wins have come against the Cavs? We do, sort of.
- Missing from my discussion of the new Suns was an assessment of the blockbuster trade that brought Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus into the fold. Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns gives us just that. Here's the short term and the long term.
- At Basketball Prospectus, Sebastian Pruiti tells us that although Derrick Rose has indeed added the three to his arsenal, his midrange shooting has actually gotten worse. Just another example of the disappointing fact that, although Rose does almost everything beautifully, he doesn't always do it effectively.
- Aggressively hedging screens is a great way to deter a dynamic ballhandler like Rose. But NBA Playbook tells us that if you do it too early, you could be cooked. Yes, I just made two separate Sebastian Pruiti links. It's because he's awfully smart.
- Brian Robb of CelticsHub talks to Celtics' radio play-by-play man Sean Grande. It will make you want to listen to Celtics' games on the radio. Most interesting, I thought, was their discussion of the effect of Rajon Rondo's absence on the C's offense.
- On the New York Times's Off the Dribble blog, Rob Mahoney describes the ebb and flow of the Thunder's fortunes as a "Spursian rhythm," which sounds awesome. He also provides a really nice chart that I had to stare at for a while. Regardless, says Mahoney, you should get ready for OKC to surge. You should also read Rob Mahoney whenever you can.
- Please watch Kurtis Blow rap about basketball. Hear him say that "basketball is my favorite sport/I like the way they dribble up and down the court." See the strange way he stares at the camera as he lip-syncs. Notice that the players in the video seem to be playing on a six-foot hoop. Then watch Master P's (slightly PG-13) "Make 'em Say Ugh." Notice that there is a gold tank on the floor and a gorilla playing for a team called "The Hustlers." Then wonder about our weird culture.
- Whenever someone tells me that Pau Gasol is "soft" I disagree, and reply that he's actually just "not strong." But now even Phil Jackson is getting in on it. What does it mean when your coach says that a player is "not shooting the ball with a base, he’s kind of just lollygagging, putting a soft kind of release on his shot."? That sounds like a bad thing.
- Apparently, LeBron James literally does not know the meaning of the word "contraction." Yet another example of why I'm really glad I'm not a famous person.
- Bethlehem Shoals gives us the final word on Kobe and LeBron (kidding again): "Not only will we never see the question of 'who's better' satisfactorily resolved," says Shoals, "what keeps it going is that, at bottom, the two represent two very different approaches to the game. It's the impossibility of one ever really surpassing the other that keeps this debate going."
- A sad looking, 33-year-old Steve Francis has been cut from his Chinese professional team. After four games. Think about that and then think about this (check the 1:50 mark).