Isn't it time for James Harden to get his own shoe? And should it be modeled on this?
John Hollinger argues that R.C. Buford should have been Executive of the Year (Insider). The trade Buford made with Larry Bird (who won the award) that sent George Hill to Indy for Kawhi Leonard is just one example of Buford's unappreciated brilliance: "That's a solid move for Indy, and for the chunk of the league's GMs that just throw stuff at the wall and hope something sticks, that's about as deeply as they saw it. But for San Antonio, I don't think people realize what a spectacularly good trade this was. Not just because it gave the Spurs a defender at the 3 who proved better than people expected, but because of the cap ramifications. Leonard is on a rookie contract and will make $1.8 million, $1.9 million and $2.9 million in the coming three seasons; Hill, meanwhile, will re-sign a somewhere between $5 and $7 million a pop as a restricted free agent. Over the next three seasons the Spurs will save about $12 million as a result of making this trade, without losing anything on the court."
Meanwhile, ClipperBlog's Charlie Widdoes doesn't understand why Clippers GM Neil Olshey didn't win EOY: "The Clippers made a bigger improvement this year than the Pacers, and no one can question that they did so because they got Chris Paul. When you get a player of that caliber and the move works as planned, history says you get rewarded with the Executive of the Year award. It doesn’t matter how it happened, when LeBron James signed with the Heat, Pat Riley won the Executive of the Year award. In my mind, when you get Chris Paul, every other executive has to top that."
Even after Duncan retires, the Spurs will be good for as long as Gregg Popovich and his system are in place.
Chris Bosh's absence puts a strain on LeBron James, and reveals just how terrible the Heat's top role players have been.
Mike Meister, founder and head coach at the Thunder Sports Institute, e-mails a question some stat geek may be able to address: "Looking at how the Thunder made their comeback reinforces what I teach my teams: Players love to practice halfcourt shots or running 3s, but mine get chewed out for it all the time. My experience with almost 70 teams and my own playing experience is that you win more games with layups and free throws than you will with jumpers, especially 3s. I don't have access to Synergy or Elias, but I scanned through articles and tend to find more instances of this trend. My question, which maybe will be something you would look into anyway, is: Are more NBA games won on free throws and layups than on jumpers? Especially deeper mid-range and 3s. I know overall for the game, yes, but just looking at crunch time scoring and maybe especially the last two minutes."
What can the Clippers do to slow down the Spurs offense? Perhaps they'll try to make Boris Diaw a scorer.
We noted on Wednesday that the Lakers and Thunder don't draw a lot of charges. (TrueHoop reader Michael's great point: Teams with quality rim protectors, like these two, don't have to resort to charges to stop layups and dunks.) Charges are not the same as flops. But they are prime opportunities to flop. And sure enough, there won't be a Flop of the Night today, for the simple reason that after a night of Sixers, Celtics, Lakers and Thunder, we can't find clear video of an obvious flop. Now, if history is any precedent, tonight's action, which includes the Heat, Clippers and Spurs, will feature plenty.
The Brooklyn Nets logo has roots in old New York City subway signs.
Grantland's Michael Kruse digs deep into why we don't have ads on jerseys: "Tradition is an incomplete explanation. That $370 million sits fat like a hanging curve. It takes a special kind of credulity to think owners of teams in major American sports who are so resolute in all manners of revenue extraction simply shrug their shoulders here because of some particular reverence for convention. Ads on jerseys will unsettle the fans? They will not. It'll be like new Facebook or something, when everybody bellyaches for about 10 minutes and then it's just Facebook. We'll get used to ads on jerseys, and fast, and the owners know this. Because we always do. Because we get used to things like the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl and extra points getting kicked into not just a net but an Allstate ad. That's a Coors Light Cold Hard Fact. So what's really the reason for this country's faux-prudish reluctance to put ads on jerseys?"
Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe have been a tremendous combination in the playoffs, and were in the regular season too ... so why don't they play together more?
SI's Zach Lowe on James Harden's role in Oklahoma City's end-of-game offense: "Oklahoma City players attempted 120 shots in the regular season during games in which the scoring margin was three points or fewer in the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. Durant and Westbrook took 103 of those shots, per NBA.com. Harden took five. He made one. James Harden, Sixth Man of the Year and likely All-Star next season, made one basket the entire season in the last three minutes of a close game. He has already taken five such shots in six postseason games, compared to six attempts for Durant. This is a sea change happening instantly, a strategic switch so dramatic you almost wonder if Scott Brooks has been waiting all season to unleash Harden on unsuspecting defenses.
Thunder fans react positively to their Game 2 win. (Via @Okastro)
Wait, left-handed Greg Monroe is actually right-handed?