Thursday Bullets

  • The Thunder's schedule is about to take a turn for the easy, and all this will be forgotten. But they did just lose to the Nuggets and Grizzlies, which counts as worrisome for a team that's used to nothing but sunny news. Meanwhile, there has been some eye-opening ball-hoggery from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Against the Nuggets, the star duo combined for 44 field goal attempts and just 11 assists. Against the Grizzlies, it was 53 shots to a piddly six assists. Remember, their offense has long been at its best when the other players on the roster shoot more. Dean Oliver and Alok Pattani know this. I know this. I assume Scott Brooks know this. But until Durant and Westbrook know that victories are on the fingertips of open Serge Ibakas and Kevin Martins ... that offense won't be all it can be.

  • Chris Paul becomes the NBA's first real-deal superstar to be called for a flop, after a whole mess of people on Twitter, and Beckley Mason on TrueHoop, insist on it.

  • Thinking about LeBron James, Michael Jordan, minutes and exhaustion. A key difference I'd point out: The NBA has changed such that guys who play very long minutes don't win titles like they did in Jordan's day. Rest appears to be more valuable now than it once was, likely because defenses have become more active.

  • Kate Fagan making wonderful points: "So, to recap: Women's basketball is maligned for not being as athletic as the men's game, but as women become more athletic, these players are often labeled unfeminine, and therefore unwatchable. Feel free to pause here and scratch your head."

  • The West's top teams keep losing to the Nuggets.

  • Is Portland locked into mediocrity?

  • Mark Cuban sure does make the NBA more fun and interesting. There's no arguing that.

  • Travis Wimberly of The Two Man Game talking Mavericks: "Here, I’m lodging a grievance with one thing in particular: the ability to consistently get the ball to the Mavs’ best scorers. As noted above, Dirk Nowitzki finished the week on an incredible shooting tear, yet had very few opportunities to actually put up shots. ... A large part of OJ Mayo’s struggles this year have stemmed from the Mavs’ need for him to handle the ball excessively, which again draws back to the same underlying problem. If the Mavs had point guards with credible fundamentals, they could get Mayo the ball at the appropriate times (as with Dirk) and allow him to focus exclusively on scoring. And you could probably say the same of several other Mavs scorers. Anybody miss Jason Kidd? Just kidding — I already know you do."

  • CBS News asked economist David Berri about paying college athletes. His response includes this: "Every student that we hire to do things on campus we pay. I have a grader. She grades my exams for me. We pay her. We pay her enough so that she will not go work at Arby’s. That is what you do. In a market economy when people do things for you and they generate revenue for you, you pay them. Everybody does this. Everybody who is arguing the players should not be paid, have a job where they are being paid by somebody else. And if you told those people ‘We have a rule that says cannot get paid. Those are the rules.’, they would sue. That is not a rule that would stand up in court."