Wednesday Bullets

May, 25, 2011
5/25/11
3:58
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
  • A beautiful, must-watch video on the history of the crossover. Allen Iverson is fantastic talking about when he famously crossed up Michael Jordan: "The craziest thing about it is I hit him with my best move ... and he still almost blocked it. ... that just lets you know how great of a defensive player he was."
  • Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano on Mike Brown: "When the Cavs were eliminated in the playoffs and Brown’s offensive creativity (or lack there of) was questioned most, the opponent was the Celtics. Those same Celtics that dissected the Triangle in 2008 and gave the Lakers all they could handle in 2010. Those same Celtics that know how to limit a key offensive weapon and force other players into positions where they need to make plays to loosen up the defense. If you’re going to measure Mike Brown on his ability to diagram offense that’s great enough to topple those defenses you’ve raised the bar pretty high. This isn’t to absolve Brown, but I think perspective is needed if judging his offense solely on the results from those series."
  • Fans in Oklahoma City and Chicago take note: The teams that have come down from 3-1.
  • It's fun to talk to Ryen Russillo.
  • M. Haubs of the Painted Area is about as sober and solid a dude as there in hoops. He's just not flying off the handle. And he gently explains, with lots of specific examples and without hate in his heart, why it was always rational to pick LeBron James as this year's MVP. Then he adds something tremendously true: "Neither LeBron James nor Dirk Nowitzki will be soft nor lack clutch ability if and when one loses in the Finals next month. One will win, one will lose."
  • Last year there were strong signals that Paul Allen does whatever he wants.
  • Yesterday's post comparing evidence of skill in America vs. Europe provoked strong reactions. I'll concede almost every point: Yes, the NBA features many of Europe's best players. I'll take it as gospel that an assist in Europe is tougher to come by than an assist in the NBA. Yes, there are a hundred problems with comparing stats from different leagues. We're squinting here, for sure -- so don't take those statistics as precise evidence of anything. These are not valuable as rankings. HOWEVER, if the general accusation were true, that NBA players are lagging horribly behind in skill, there is no way even these imprecise statistics could show what they show, for instance that NBA has the best free throw percentage and 3-point shooting in the world, and high assist rates.
  • There's a newish Derrick Rose commercial out there. To me, they still haven't quite nailed how to tell this guy's story. He's presented as a gladiator or super athlete. Which he surely is. But the real appeal to me is that he combines all that strencth with an intense sincerity. When he talks, it seems it wouldn't be that shocking if he broke into tears. Combining that with all that physical dominance ... would be thrilling, if somebody can figure it out.
  • Good defenses get opponents to shoot long 2s, and the Bulls are doing that to the Heat. But they're just hitting them.
  • Rick Welts for the Hall of Fame. It's not what you think it is.
  • Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak: "As you can see in the video, Boozer made just about every mistake in the book: failing to step up on a Mike Miller drive, twice failing to hedge on LeBron James which allowed James to get to top speed attacking the rim, and over-helping on the inbounds play that resulted in a wide open Bosh jumper."
  • I love that Jerry West is publicly discussing the merits of giving someone their first head-coaching job. The truth of the matter is that that's undoubtedly where a lot of the value is among the current candidates.
  • John Hollinger on Kevin McHale's candidacy to coach Houston: "The other interesting part is the report that Houston is only offering a two-year deal. This is fairly radical right now, but in time I'm wondering if it won't be common. If you look at the average shelf life of an NBA head coach, it seem faintly ridiculous to hire them to four-year deals, which is what a lot of teams have done. They're virtually guaranteeing that they'll get free money to NOT coach.
  • A prison so crowded they're in bunk beds all over the basketball court.
  • This article includes basketball insight about the motivation of the Mavericks but also, far more importantly, the phrase "toppermost of the poppermost."
  • Dick Ebersol talks to the Wall Street Journal about how NBC produced the Olympics, and in that I think we get a lot of insight into how it is that so many sports narratives get shoehorned into good guys vs. bad guys narratives. "The Olympics were produced absolutely the same way from 1960 through 1988. It was always the Western World against the Eastern Bloc. You didn’t even have to spend one second developing the character of any of the Eastern Bloc athletes. It was just good guys and bad guys. In November of ’89, six months or seven months after I got this job, the [Berlin] Wall fell, and there were no more automatic bad guys. In order to aggregate the largest possible audience, you had to make these athletes accessible to the audience, particularly to women who don’t normally follow sports. We would train for months before the games. Not giving them the precise words, but, 'On this night in this block of time, you’re going to tell this story, so that when these people meet two nights later,' and all of that."
  • Bulls made a change, moving their Derrick Rose pick and rolls to the side of the floor.
  • Would love to hear some expert on vocal chords talking about Tom Thibodeau's most important tool. Those puppies are spent.
  • People who are really anti statistical analysis ... you've got to understand this world we're living in now. There's more objective evidence than there used to be, and it's suggesting things that matter.

Henry Abbott | email

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