Wednesday Bullets

  • This could become a familiar refrain for a gifted gunner who doesn't play a lot of defense: Adam Morrison has good numbers (7-14, 19 points) in his first NBA preseason game and the Bobcats lose. In what could also become a familiar refrain: Dwight Howard had a big game, and the Magic won.

  • Linas Kleiza also had a good game, playing shooting guard, or small forward, or whatever. Coach calls him simply a "wing."

  • Rudy Gay goes 5-18 and the Grizzlies still beat a Yao-less Rocket squad.

  • Andy Katz reports on the delicate political dance that will determine where the U.S. has to go next summer to qualify for the Olympics. Caracas, (in Venezuela, a country led by a man who called President Bush the devil while--imagine--quoting Noam Chomsky) is still in the running, although San Juan, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas are suddenly looking like places with the infrastructure and cash to get the job done.

  • Remember when Jordan was brand new to the league and no one knew what to make of him? Excellent video at FreeDarko.

  • We should all be learning about Brian Davis, former Duke hoops star and potential future owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. Someone told me that he is "the black Mark Cuban." I'm thinking that could be good for the league.

  • Welcome to the NBA, Anthony Parker. Now you get to be the designated stopper on a Toronto team with pretty lame defense, oh, and even though you may prefer to go by Tony, you can't really, because someone in the league already has that name.

  • They threatened to give Erick Dampier's starting spot to DeSagana Diop, and Dampier turned into a monster--at least for a little while.

  • ClipperBlog ponders the signing of Lamond Murray. "Hell, the guy shot below 40% last season. Murray has never been much of a rebounder and that trend has continued since he left Cleveland three years ago. So what we have here is a player of deteriorating talents - behind the arc, from the field, at the free throw line and on the boards. His paltry defense hasn't improved with experience. He must be a great clubhouse guy because why else would an organization brimming with young talent, a team that desperately needs minutes sign a guy who, quite simply, is a minus everywhere on the court."

  • Brian McCormick at an international hoops tournament for university teams: "Italians apparently revere Marco Materazzi, as Italy's center followed the new national hero's lead and made a very inappropriate remark to one of our players. A preacher, no less! Italy has two teams entered and each team was whiskers away from bench clearing brawls."

  • Keep an eye on this! Ira Winderman: "Shaquille O'Neal has apparently developed a new free-throw stroke. The arc is higher, the rotation reduced. He converted his lone two attempts." In the event that he just figured that out, the Heat just got a lot better, because imagine Shaquille O'Neal trying to get fouled. He'd foul out anyone he wanted, and score a bunch in the process, or get dunks. Not to mention getting the ball in crunch time for a change. Course, we're only two free throws into the season, but still, worth watching.

  • MJD on the whining of the Pistons.

  • Wow. Lang Whitaker puts together the stats from the games so far to see how that new ball is doing. Could just be pre-season, but those are big turnover numbers, and bad three-point shooting numbers. Anyone feel like comparing these to last year at this point? UPDATE: The Painted Area points an analysis of summer league with and without the new ball. Not much difference.

  • The Blazers, by and large, tell Mike Barrett the new ball is not so bad.

  • Indianapolis police are reportedly taking the unusual step of DNA testing to determine whose marijuana that was in Jamaal Tinsley's car.

  • Caron Butler tells Ivan Carter he played with a broken thumb last year, but the public story was that it was sprained. "I didn't want anyone knowing how bad it was because then guys would have been hacking at it every chance they got." These kinds of things happen a lot, and I understand team broadcasters and beat writers wrestle with whether or not to tell the public. (via DC Sports Bog)

  • Steve Kerr on Don Nelson's aversion to big men: "Remember, not only did Nellie have trouble with Webber in Golden State, but he couldn't fit Patrick Ewing into his offense in New York. That's why I think this current Warriors team is a good fit for Nelson. Troy Murphy is the perfect center for Nellie's offense. Murphy will spread the floor and shoot from the perimeter, allowing Baron Davis and a slew of wingmen to roam the floor and do what they want."

  • Steve Kelley praises Brandon Roy.

  • Isiah Thomas thinks Jerome James was a good investment. As reported by Howard Beck: “I wasn’t looking for Jerome to be an offensive player. I’m more than confident that the things that I want out of him, in terms of defending and rebounding, he’s very capable of doing. And he will do them. If you’re asking him to be a 20-point scorer and you want to judge him on his low-post game, then you’re looking at the wrong guy. But for a $5 million investment, and we didn’t have a center, I know exactly what I was doing. And you should keep that in mind. It’s not $30 million a year, it’s only five. I’m just saying, for centers in this league, backup, starting, whoever, we got a pretty good price there.”

  • NBA players are maddening sometimes aren't they? Just when history is ready to write off Michael Olowokandi as one of the worst draft picks ever, he grabs ten rebounds in eight minutes, and will make it hard for someone not to give him a job.

  • The Nets minority owner is unretired from his rapping career. Via Nah Right.

  • Chauncey Billups has a new tattoo that says "My Family is by Backbone." And his youth was his hair, I guess.

  • Jermaine O'Neal still dealing with the legal outcomes of the brawl in Auburn Hills. He'll miss a game to testify tonight.

  • Brian Robinson has been thinking about the recently cut Noel Felix: "I find it amazing that, in the age of reality TV and people’s obsession over individual stories and struggle that more attention is not paid to the working class culture of semi-professional athletes. Behind the scenes these young men and women are shaped and molded under intense pressure and face long odds for survival. Many will spend their entire formative years chasing the dream, donning NBA uniforms each September only to wind up finding work as a construction worker as they approach their thirties. They will be chewed up and spit out by a process they cannot control. Others will broaden their horizons as they chase financial rewards overseas and still others will see the dream come true like NBA players Bo Outlaw and Charles Oakley."

  • Hard to root against Richard Jefferson.