Britt Robson of the Rake: "[Kobe] Bryant has become so talented that this almost effortless 29.2 points per game licking he put on the Spurs probably enhanced the defensive reputation of his primary matchup, Bruce Bowen."
ESPN's John Hollinger writes: "[Doug] Collins might be the most extreme slow-pace coach in the past quarter century." My thought: Derrick Rose chose to go the Memphis, a team distinguished by an aggressive, wide-open style where he could use his athleticism and cretivity. If I was Derrick Rose, and if Collins really was headed to Chicago, I'd see if my agent could get me traded or drafted elsewhere.
Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune: "One Internet story also reported that former Jazz star Jeff Hornacek will be hired as Collins' lead assistant, with the idea that he would take over when Collins steps aside. I have not been able to get ahold of Hornacek, who spent this season as a special assistant with the Jazz, but it is a logical scenario. Hornacek grew up in suburban Chicago, where his father was a coach, although he once told me his favorite sports as a kid was hockey and he spent more time watching the Blackhawks than the Bulls. Hornacek also has a son attending Notre Dame, which is not far from Chicago and might make leaving home in Phoenix for eight months out of the year a little more palatable."
You know how it is generally assumed that the European club system is a superior way to develop young players? It wasn't always so. From a 1990 William C. Rhoden New York Times article (thanks Eric): "What makes the United States system attractive to foreign athletes is that it provides top-grade competition at virtually every skill level, from grammar school to college. Foreign sports clubs see America as a farm system that refines their less seasoned players, polishes the more advanced and prepares them all for eventual professional and national team competition."
TrueHoop reader Tim (a Spurs fan) e-mails: "To my mind, it's a foregone conclusion that the Lakers will win the title. They are simply fantastic. I think they're the best team in the league since the 02-03 Kobe-Shaq Lakers. This, you already know. Add Bynum's D to the equation and you're staring a dynasty in the face. And, of course, it's cliche, but Kobe Bryant is unstoppable. He's beautiful to watch. My guess is that every other team with legit title aspirations (Celtics, Pistons, Cavs, Spurs, Hornets, Rockets, Suns, Mavs, Trailblazers, and the Jazz) will need to retool this off-season with the one thought of matching up well against the Lakers. It's folly to think in any other way. The lone exception might allow for teams to spend a little time scheming for Chris Paul. But, honestly, the Lakers are the only team that has that luxury. But this goes beyond the contenders. My guess is that Sam Presti and Pat Riley tweak their master plans to respond to LA. Earlier this year, Kevin Garnett said that the flurry of big name trades was a collective effort from teams to get past San Antonio. That might have been true. But the tide has shifted, and matching up with the Lakers is now priority #1. Tough life if you're a GM."
John Hollinger, writing in the New York Sun, addresses NBA referees and accountability: "The league's belated statement on Wednesday night that the refs blew the call probably doesn't provide the Spurs much solace. But it does, at least, represent the first tangible evidence of increased accountability and openness in the wake of the betting scandal involving disgraced former ref Tim Donaghy last summer. Much ado was made of this before the summer, but once the games started, it seemed to be business as usual, and the NBA's secretive instincts regarding its officiating took over. ... Consider, for instance, that there were actually two blown calls in the final seconds of Game 4. Moments earlier, a shot by Fisher at the end of the shot clock grazed the rim before being knocked out of bounds by the Spurs. This should have given the Lakers a new shot clock with only five seconds to play, which would have forced the Spurs to foul immediately and, if the Lakers converted, put them up four and made everything that happened with Barry a moot point. Instead, the zebras ruled Fisher's shot an air ball, leaving L.A. with only two seconds to shoot. Kobe Bryant forced up a jumper off the inbound pass that missed badly, and the Spurs had their last chance at an equalizer. Pull the camera back more and ask another question: Why was Joey Crawford on the floor? ... In Game 5 of the Hornets-Spurs series, Crawford and the Spurs had more testy exchanges - most notably an argument with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich that ended with Crawford pointing his finger in Popovich's chest and Popovich having to be restrained from decapitating him ... even though it was Crawford who had blown the call (a delay-of-game warning given to both teams that should have only been given to the Hornets)."
Sasha Vujacic's meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer meant a lot to sports gamblers -- it was the difference between the Spurs covering the spread and not. By one estimate, that meant hundred of millions. That's about what an NBA team is worth. On that stupid shot. Wow. There's a lot about this world we fans don't understand fully.
People are upset that former Memphis executive Jerry West would be part of the Lakers' Western Conference Champions trophy presentation. Man, let me tell you, I have no problem with that whatsoever. We're humans first, and West is a human who is extremely invested in that team. You can see it here. Not to mention, the idea that people from one NBA team would, off the court, hate people from another NBA team -- that's a belief that's unique to fans.
Nate Jones: "This season is also a testament to the vision and the guts of Jerry Buss. Buss was ridiculed for his decision to trade Shaq in the summer of 2004. But Buss was level headed enough to know that Shaq had maybe two good years left in him, and that it would be a mistake to re-sign Shaq at the amount he was demanding. Getting rid of Shaq allowed the Lakers to go young and grow around their superstar Kobe Bryant."
From a Save Our Sonics press release quotes Seattle area lawyer and Save Our Sonics advisor Paul Schneiderman: "In a civil case, unlike a criminal trial, it is not necessary for a plaintiff to prove a legal case beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Schultz's business entities, as the plaintiffs, have already presented a strong factual case, which should meet the necessary legal elements to prove intentional or negligent misrepresentation by clear and convincing evidence. In reality, the Oklahoma based ownership group had such interest in bringing an NBA team to their state that the owners were willing and did engage in misrepresentation in their purchase of the Seattle SuperSonics. The evidence shows that PBC never had any
intention to engage in the one year good faith agreement to keep the team in the Seattle region, a requirement outlined in the sale contract. For example, PBC presented a flawed arena plan late in the 2007 Washington State legislative session while refusing to commit private money or pay for cost overruns. The recently released e-mail communications among PBC members leave no doubt about the group's intent to defraud Schultz and the citizens of Seattle. Although the Schultz legal action may be considered unprecedented in the professional sports world, it is still a strong legal case. Mr. Schultz's rescission lawsuit could change the landscape of how professional sports owners behave in the years to come. The PBC misrepresented their intentions to not only the former Schultz-lead ownership group, but also to the Washington State Legislature and the NBA. Rescission of the purchase sale agreement is the proper remedy for these misrepresentations. It is necessary for a judge to place this franchise into a constructive trust to ensure the franchise has an ownership group that will engage in a true effort to keep the Sonics franchise in the Seattle region, its home of 41 years."
Spelling bees make me nervous. Travis Diener, too.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress from the pre-draft camp: "For Team 2, the best player on the floor (and likely of the day) was clearly Gary Forbes, stringing together one of the best single-game performances (30 points, 7-16 FG, 15-16 FT, 26 minutes) we've seen in the last five years of the pre-draft camp. Forbes was incredibly aggressive putting the ball on the floor with either hand and making very strong moves to the basket, being very physical once there and in turn getting to the free throw line at will. His scoring instincts might be the best of any wing player at this camp, as he makes up for his lack of freakish athleticism with phenomenal footwork and body control, being able to quickly read and exploit angles, or move intelligently without the ball, in turn showing a very good basketball IQ that impressed many people here. Although his perimeter shot wasn't a huge part of his game once again, he knocked down one of his two attempts from NBA range, which leaves optimism in that regard. He's making a strong push for consideration in the early second round or possibly higher."