Let us never forget how thoroughly Vince Carter once fulfilled just about every hoops fantasy any of us ever had. (Caution with that video around children or at work, language gets more than a little intense when Mike Tyson shows up.) A thought: When your greatness is tied to jumping, your time is short.
There is no basketball. There is no basketball. There is no basketball. But ... there is basketball. Olympic qualifying is coming around shortly, with six qualifying tournaments kicking off around the globe in August. The Painted Area has insight, while NBA Playbook is, as always, digging into the X's and O's, starting with Slovenia's holy-mother-of-off-ball-movement offense.
Unfortunately, here's an in-depth recap of one of the more painful seasons ever for Blazers fans like me.
Earl Watson doesn't play much offense, so he's always described as a defensive specialist. But not playing offense is not the same as being great at defense. To my eyes, there are plenty of better defenders.
Revisiting the playoffs, and using average margin of victory and opposition to rank the team's performances, the Mavericks were the best, of course. But by that measure, the Heat, Thunder, Bulls and Blazers rounded out the top five. The story is the Blazers were unlucky to have faced the Mavericks, but I wonder if for the purposes of this analysis, the opposite is true. They got to put up decent numbers against the champs before they got their sea legs, which boosted their rankings.
Working too hard to talk. Warriors World's J.M. Poulard distills lessons from “Larry Bird Drive”: "The more he scored, the more attention he got; thus it became important for Bird to become a sophisticated scorer to counter defenses. Consequently, he spent every summer practicing. And when he was done, he practiced some more. One of the key elements of his summer regimen was that he did everything alone. Having a shooting partner according to Bird, would often lead to distractions and thus getting less work put in. Hence, he always practiced alone. Later in his professional career he might have a ball boy present, but no communication would occur during these sessions, in order for the focus to entirely remain on practicing."
Scott Stewart, Harvard Business School classmate of incoming Sixers owner Joshua Harris, as quoted by the Inquirer's Kate Fagan: "I can't see him using this as a toy or a status symbol or some kind of crown jewel to illustrate his success to people or to himself. He's a serious businessman, and he wants to make it a serious success. Is this a toy? No. There's just no way ... The way to be successful in this case in the NBA is to win NBA championships. It's a very definitive and tangible goal. His track record of success would lead you to believe that that's his ambition with the team: not only to win one but win multiple. I think [Dallas Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban treats his team as a toy, and it's his ticket into the glitz and glamour. He's on 'Entourage,' for crying out loud. You're not going to see Josh doing that."
Kevin Durant scores 66 points at Rucker Park. He shoots over double-teams like crazy. It's cool and all when they go in, but it's not helping his carefully cultivated "Mr. Team" reputation. Says it was one of the best experiences of his life. Zach Harper on HoopSpeak: "Some people would be yelling that Durant was in video game mode last night, but that’s an incorrect assessment. Video games give you a system of checks, trends, and equalizers in how players shoot. It’s almost impossible to make five straight baskets in a video game these days because they weight the odds against you. Durant just took on double teams for five straight possessions and ended them with long 3-point makes. You can’t really do that in a digital and pixelated realm of existence, let alone one comprised of flesh, blood, and bones. It would take some serious Game Shark-Game Genie splicing to create a level of artificial intelligence and self-awareness that would cause Skynet to take a step back and wonder if we’ve gone too far. Forget video game mode. That’s serial killer mode. That’s some Dexter-level villainy. He was killing in a similar way, but each time getting more and more graphic and extravagant in the way he killed his victims and then gratified himself sexually over the bodies. He got sloppy with each one, leaving evidence at the scene. It was like he wanted to get caught. He wanted to even the playing ground between him and the detectives working hard to stop this trend of bodies he was leaving all over Harlem. The scary thing is they never caught him. He’s still out there. He’s lurking around the perimeter, waiting to enter your domicile and kill again."
Here's something to try in a lockout: A recipe for Elvis Presley's favorite fried chicken.
Chris Paul's insight into how to guard Marcus Thornton, and how ball hogging makes you easy to stop.
This makes me think that athleticism is a key in scoring against good defense.
Also reportedly named in the NBA's latest legal complaint, in addition to the National Basketball Player’s Association and its reps, Jimmer Fredette and Charles Jenkins. It's pro forma, but doing anything to those guys just seems cruel.
Ari Paul in the Nation: "The reality here is that the owners are using a recessionary market to justify economic restructuring that would put more money in their pockets, taking it from the highly skilled laborers who make the product so singularly mesmerizing. There is an impulse in the United States to say to skilled workers that they can afford to take some cuts. But that impulse typically stops at CEOs and owners. Maybe this high-profile labor struggle is an opportunity to confront that logical inconsistency."