September, 19, 2012
By Henry Abbott
- On Jay Leno, Steve Nash makes a self-deprecating little joke saying he can't bake. The guy to his right, likely the NBA's newest incoming team co-owner Justin Timberlake, cuts in to add, with waggling eyebrows: "I can get baked!!" Also, Nash is asked, with time running out, who the Lakers have to worry about, and mentions only the Heat, which I'm sure will serve as bulletin board material in Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
- Without question the best article about sea snails, safety pins, fireworks and Steve Nash. It comes from Danny Chau and Hardwood Paroxysm, and includes this: "The drastic change will come in Nash not getting the ball back if nothing is in place. With four dominant offensive options, the control that has come to define Nash’s game will diminish. He may initiate the offense, but if opportunity collapses and the offense resets, he most likely won’t be the one pressing the button. Mike Brown calls Nash the quarterback leading a new system, and it’s true. Yet, even that sounds like a demotion when he’s been his own system for the past seven years."
- Gustavo Ayon knows a moving-without-the-ball trick Dwight Howard ought to use, especially playing with Nash.
- Austin Rivers explains why Derrick Rose is the MVP, talking about how much he makes teammates like Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver better. But that's not the reason Rose is so amazing, right? His elite skill is attacking with the ball, something Rivers also loves to do. One of the stories of the last two years has been that Noah, Deng and Thibodeau's Bulls are surprisingly effective even without Rose. When I hear Rivers give this reason why Rose is the best, I hear a young shoot-first point guard saying, in essence, "shooting a lot can be good for the team, right?"
- Related: Joakim Noah's agent would like you to check out the last two charts here.
- John Hollinger (Insider) is rolling out player profiles, which are just a forest of clever evidence-based insight, much of which cuts right through poor assumptions. For instance, since draft day the idea has been that Russell Westbrook can play some serious stinking defense. He looks like a Greek god, works his butt off, and his tenacity is through the roof. Those observations more or less equal elite defense in the eyes of many observers. Hollinger points out that it just hasn't worked that way so far: "Defensively, Westbrook has the talent to be awesome, but in reality is pretty average. Synergy Stats rated him the worst defender on the team and decidedly below the norm for his position; the Thunder weren't any better or worse with him on the court defensively, and opposing point guards had a 15.7 player efficiency rating against him, according to 82games.com. Westbrook is actually too aggressive for his own good at this end, often running himself out of position and overgambling, offsetting his advantages in size, quickness and athleticism."
- NBA TV has a reality series, "The Association," that is a knockoff of HBO's NFL-behind-the-scenes series "Hard Knocks." Because it's produced by the NBA, and not HBO, this version includes far fewer juicy details. However, for the record, while last season's featured the Denver Nuggets, this year, the NBA just announced, it'll be the Brooklyn Nets in the crosshairs.
- Jay-Z and his more popular wife hosted a political fundraiser that Barack Obama, but not his more popular wife, attended.
- Within the NCAA, uncertainty about ethics and legality of longstanding practices. Interesting stuff.
- Best part of this is that through it all, Kendrick Perkins totes two gallons of milk.
- #NBArank goes local, with TrueHoop Network blogs ranking the Nuggets and Wizards.
- Four NBA players -- Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and now Kevin Garnett -- now have no-trade clauses.