Handicapping the early favorites for the scoring title, including Corey Maggette, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Kevin Martin, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. This award is fool's gold, and means nothing to me ... but just for fun, I'd put my money on the guy from Akron.
The longest article anyone has written in five years on Jarvis Hayes. He's a Net now, in case you lost track.
When Brandon Jennings -- a top American high-schooler last year -- decided to spend his mandated pre-NBA year overseas instead of atttending college, there was speculation that he might not play very much. European teams play to win now, and seldom give valuable floor time to young point guards. But The New York Times' Pete Thamel's report from Italy makes it sound like Jennings will play: "The 6-foot-2 Jennings, Roma's youngest player by five years, is coached by the demanding Jasmin Repesa, who also coaches Croatia's national team. The team practices twice a day, with skill work and weight lifting in the morning and more traditional practice at night. Jennings is comfortable because he has three American teammates, and the team's primary language is English. He lives with his mother and half-brother in a posh apartment provided by the team. Yet during training camp in September, Repesa, whose booming voice could quiet an Oktoberfest beer tent at last call, threw Jennings out of practice one day for not cutting hard in a drill. 'I was like, Man, I got kicked out of practice for that,' Jennings said. 'But it was lesson learned, and we moved on.' That moment was an anomaly. Repesa said Jennings had improved significantly, especially on defense, during his first month. He led the team in scoring, averaging about 20 points through five exhibition games. Roma's general manager, Dejan Bodiroga, said he had been impressed with Jennings's attitude, work ethic and determination. That has coalesced with his natural ability. 'He's one of the top talents that I've ever seen,' Bodiroga said. So far, Roma seems happy with the result, and Jennings is likely to play plenty of minutes when the 65-game season begins later this month."
I still remember very clearly the day that Alonzo Mourning addressed reporters at Nets' media day and essentially said that he thought his team sucked. (I'm paraphrasing, but not all that much.) It was most unusual, especially as his microphone was amplified throughout the gym for his teammates to hear. Uncomfortable, and not classy. (Before too long, he was traded to Toronto, where he refused to report, and was eventually bought out for no small price before joining the Heat.) In Alonzo Mourning's new book, he talks at some length about his complicated relationship with the Nets.
There seems to be some real anti-Monta Ellis sentiment on Golden State of Mind. He's their guy. The sticking point is lying about his injury. This is a powerful lesson in why you come clean -- because not coming clean is insulting to people, and people hate to be insulted.
Part 2 of Hoopsworld's video from Train Like a Pro. And in Part 3, you'll learn David Thorpe's jab step, and see a bunch of white guys dunking on low hoops.
Of the high school players I'm aware of, the one that is the most fun to watch on internet video is DeMar DeRozan.
Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer points out something that might concern Grizzlies fans, especially as around the hoop and behind the 3-point line are the most efficient places on the floor to score: "Last year, the Grizzlies opened the year with a proven post scorer (Pau Gasol) and two elite three-point threats (Mike Miller and Juan Carlos Navarro). Those elements are sorely missing from this team, which doesn't necessarily mean the Grizzlies are doomed to be worse offensively, but does mean that points will come in different ways this season. Expect fewer post plays and three pointers and more free-throws, fastbreaks, and mid-range jumpers. On the latter, expect a lot of them to come from frontcourt players. After Mayo, the three best mid-range shooters on the team will probably be Warrick, Gasol, and Gay."
David Berri of Wages of Wins wonders about players complaining of a lack of discipline: "A few days ago I thought I heard Rasheed Wallace in an interview make the same argument. Apparently Saunders is not enough of a disciplinarian. This whole argument is not a new to sports, but still strikes me as odd. And it's not something that just players argue. Professional athletes are well paid and it's the owners who agree to these contracts. These very owners -- who freely pay the salaries of professional athletes -- often argue that a salary cap is necessary because owners cannot control themselves. In other words -- like players -- owners need external discipline. Again, this strikes me as odd. You often hear people want to find ways to get other people to behave better. But I just don't hear many people outside of sports argue that they personally would behave better if someone simply made them behave better. At least, I can't imagine a person accused of a crime getting very far with the argument that the crime wouldn't have been committed if someone just stopped them from committing the crime. Yet in sports, this kind of argument about discipline is offered frequently. Aren't owners and players generally adults? Given the money being paid, shouldn't these adults simply discipline themselves? My sense is that Flip Saunders would argue that players are indeed adults. And as adults, they have to do more than blame their own perceived failings -- and remember, in the case of Hamilton this was just a perception -- on the coach." I understand it though. Think of it like your own office. Hypothetically, if half the staff is regularly a half-hour late to the 45-minutes staff meeting, don't you have a lack of discipline? You might be super professional. But you still might complain that your boss needs to crack the whip.
A little while ago, in the midst of the latest Josh Howard brouhaha, I made a comment about his putting himself in the position of a civil rights leader. People e-mailed to say that they thought I was insane. But think about it. Josh Howard, by being famous and saying these kinds of things, threatens to get himself on something like Larry King Live. And when he gets there, one of the topics they'll have to cover is: Why might being bla
ck give you second thoughts about the national anthem? It's a deep and rich topic, and one that people should think about. But is Josh Howard the best person to lead that discussion? I have met the guy, I like him. But I think that conversation would be better served by any number of other people, namely actual civil rights leaders.
Britt Robson of the Rake watches a Timberwolves' scrimmage and says Sebastian Telfair still can't shoot. Then, describing Rafael Araujo, he writes two sentences you'll seldom encounter: "For all you old Wolves fans, he reminds me of Stoyko Vrankovic. Jason Collins can't come back too soon."