Many NBA teams divvy up minutes to young players based on which guys have guaranteed contracts. Sometimes this results in more promising and/or productive players getting buried on the depth chart behind someone the front office and coaching staff feels has to play in order to justify that deal. The San Antonio Spurs are not one of those teams.
A fact, then a question: Allen Iverson missed a ton of shots as an NBA player. In fact, nobody in history racked up more seasons of 1,000 misses (six) than Iverson. Here's the question: Is that stat damning in and of itself? Or does it require a little more context, namely, was the player able to compensate in other areas?
Aaron McGuire of Gothic Ginobili poses an interesting question for your NBA coffee klatch: "How much better can Kevin Durant really get?" I feel like there's a ton of room for growth on the defensive side of the ball, not just because Durant is tireless in his pursuit of mastery, but that body of his, once he learns how to use it, lends itself to perimeter stoppage.
My 89-year-old grandfather has, in the words of Howard Beale after his crack-up in "Network," "run out of bull****." You probably have older relatives who fall into this category. You hang around this world long enough and you get to a certain point in life and career where you find that filter between private thoughts and public utterances to be unnecessary. Having observed Rick Adelman up close and in person, Zach Harper senses that's the case with the Timberwolves' veteran coach.
Some more evidence that Martell Webster could be a useful player for a team that knows how to maximize his good-at-a-lot-of-stuff-but-great-at-nothing skill set. Could Randy Wittman's Wizards be that team?
Love this Kelvin Sampson quote picked up by Jason Friedman at Rockets' practice: "Basketball is not a game of great plays; it's a game of eliminating mistakes." This isn't scintillating marketing material for the NBA, but when you peruse the list of the NBA's most efficient offenses, you're more likely than not to find teams that contain turnovers at the top. In the same vein, teams that play the best brand of defenses often don't have a lineup of stoppers. They simply rotate well, make smart decisions on pick-and-roll coverages and gamble selectively. And that's why the oldsters prosper in June.
Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby asks what he feels is a rhetorical question of Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns, but one that actually has a range of legitimate answers: "What do you want us to do? Do you want us to be bad so we can get good? Are you willing to live through two, three, four seasons?" Is living through two, three and four seasons of 34-win ball a decidedly different experience than enduring two, three or four seasons of 23-win ball? Babby continues: “How do you go to work every day and how do you lead a group of people both in an organization and players playing to make their living when either the conscious message or the subliminal message is ‘We want to lose’? ... I don’t know how to do that. So does that condemn us to purgatory for longer? I hope not. Could you come to work every day if you thought your boss was trying to be bad? How long does that take and how many front offices use it as an excuse?”
Now throwing his hat in the right for the NBA's 2012-13 Most Improved Player award: Eric Bledsoe. The gritty third-year guard was the talk of Vegas in the Clippers' preseason loss to Denver on Saturday night. He scored 25 points (12-for-17 from the field), gobbled up eight rebounds and tallied five steals. Charlie Widdoes of ClipperBlog: "Simply put, last night marked the continuation of a streak in which he has done anything and everything the team could possibly ask of him. Starting in last year’s playoffs, to his brief stint in summer league and through last night, he has been their best defender, their best wing scorer, and even their best facilitator."
After emerging as League Pass darlings in 2010-11, the Clippers put on the black hat in 2011-12 as a team many fans -- and a slice of NBA players -- love to hate. Count Rudy Gay among those who find the Clippers insufferable, and Chris Paul in particular.
Adam Kaufman of No Regard for Human Life offers up another installment in the NBA/Presidential previews: The Atlanta Hawks through the prism of Plains, Georgia native Jimmy Carter.
Portland rookie big man Meyers Leonard is learning the piano. He's got some of the beginner standards down, but he really wants to master the theme song to "The Office."
Two great tastes that taste great together: Chris Singleton starts his day with a bowl of Fruit Loops and last night's episode of "Dexter."
Are you a hoops junkie with a vision for new ways NBA basketball -- and, more specifically, the Dallas Mavericks -- can be covered in a blog format? If so, please reach out to Rob Mahoney at Two Man Game. Mahoney will join Ben Golliver as the new two-man game at Sports Illustrated's Point Forward blog.