Monday Bullets

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
2:44
PM ET
By kevinarnovitz
ESPN.com
  • Thank you, Bruce Arthur, for compiling "The year in lip," the most hilarious sports quotes of 2012.
  • Andrew Han of ClipperBlog estimates that, coming into the 2012-13 season, Vinny Del Negro had served as an NBA head coach for 10,080 hours. Those who subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule would note that that's the amount of time it takes for a person to achieve mastery at a skill: "Another factor in parsing out Del Negro’s evolution is what David Thorpe refers to as “royal jelly”; the stuff that turns baby bees into queens. Thorpe suggests that some players would be able to thrive anywhere. But others need the right environment, the proper nurturing to reach their potential. Without it, these players could struggle or even fall out of the league. This could be a case of royal jelly not being just for the players, but for the coach as well. Maybe being paired with the smartest point guard in the league, three of the most coach-ready active players ... is what will enable Del Negro’s continued improvement. Already, this season, the Clippers run cleaner sets out of timeouts. Vinny’s rotations, substitution patterns and timeouts hint at a definable thought-process."
  • Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold sees a Lakers team under Mike D'Antoni running sets and working within schemes that would look at home in a Mike Brown playbook.
  • Brook Lopez makes strong reads without the ball, and destroyed Cleveland and Charlotte over the weekend. Beckley Mason of the New York Times: "Though Lopez actually does pretty well from the post, he is not a great passer, and the Nets prefer to make him the finisher rather than the creator. Against the Cavaliers, the Nets frequently used Lopez in early pick-and-rolls. Deron Williams is a master of the pocket bounce pass, and a couple of times he found Lopez on the roll where the seven-footer could pull off his odd but effective lunging finishes. But even when the Cavaliers rotated to take away the initial pass, Lopez was still able to establish great position for a post up. It’s an action the San Antonio Spurs have used for a decade to get Tim Duncan to his preferred spot on the left block and one that can be similarly effective for the Nets. Perhaps we will see a steadier stream of Lopez-Williams pick-and-rolls to initiate the Nets offense going forward."
  • Gregg Popovich tells the San Antonio Express-News' Jeff McDonald that he still hasn't been informed by the NBA what the guidelines are for resting players in the regular season.
  • A most unlikely tandem is named the NBA's Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation names Jimmer Fredette as his early favorite for Most Improved Player: "Jimmer doesn't even resemble the confused, overwhelmed rookie we saw in Sacramento a year ago. Last season, Fredette was an infrequent scorer, a poor shooter, an iffy passer and an overmatched defender. This season, he's a really frequent scorer, a dope shooter, a decent passer and ... well, an overmatched defender. The calling card to Jimmer's improvement is this: Thanks to improved shooting and more aggression, his points per 36 minutes has risen from 14 to 22. Right now, he sits behind a (mostly) elite list of scorers in scoring frequency: 'Melo, Kobe, KD, LeBron, Harden, Kyrie, Brook Lopez, Chris Copeland (I said mostly) and D-Wade."
  • The Score's slideshow of the year's 26 most Outrageous NBA outfits is such fun viewing, it's destined for syndication.
  • The Raptors have won seven of eight, and Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic has some New Year's resolutions for the newly resolute Raps.
  • As a kid, Kendall Marshall once camped out with his Dad at the mall at 4 a.m. to be the fourth and fifth people in line for a pair of Altitude 13s.
  • For $2,000, Vin Baker will be your fourth on the links, and will regale you with stories of life in the NBA. Or, for the same amount, Anthony Mason will hang out at your fantasy basketball draft for a couple of hours or, better yet, your Bar Mitzvah.
  • It's hard not to be impressed with the condiment selection at T.J. Ford's house.

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