Monday Bullets

  • Malcolm Gladwell has a new book about "Outliers," as in, people who are extraordinarily successful. The lessons apply to sports as much as anything. He explains the lesson of the book on his website: "My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances -- and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds --and how many of us succeed-than we think. That's an amazingly hopeful and uplifting idea."

  • ESPN's John Hollinger points out that in an age of alleged smallball, teams like Sacramento and Toronto have been playing some huge lineups, and New Jersey and some other teams (I'd add Portland to the list) have the potential to follow suit.

  • Kwame Brown with a pretty good game. There's something about the water in Detroit.

  • DraftExpress has a very thoughtful analysis of Brandon Jennings' progress evading American college while making big dollars in Europe. (In a nutshell, he's doing quite well, all things considered.) The article also has this memorable note about Jennings' teammate in Rome: "The most important backcourt player is clearly Slovenian Sani Becirovic, though, a very aggressive and extremely skilled combo guard who is having easily his best season ever as a pro. Becirovic is averaging 15.5 points per game in just 23 minutes per, shooting outrageous percentages, getting to the line at an amazing rate, playing almost no defense (as usual), and doing a fair amount of ball-handling in most minutes he's on the floor. He has the green light to do basically whatever he pleases on this team, and he can seemingly do no wrong this season thus far."

  • Everyone in the next couple of bullets is fired up. Blazer fans are fired up about a couple of good games from Greg Oden. I'm thrilled to see it, but this is nothing compared to what I believe is coming. Dwight Jaynes is fired up: "If you want to make a case that Greg Oden is injury prone and is never going to be healthy enough to help the Trail Blazers win a championship, I can't argue with that. There's not enough evidence at this point to prove you right or wrong. Who knows? But if you're going to try to make the case that he's not going to be a very good player or that he's not talented enough or big enough to be a big factor on the floor, well, I'm going to have to fight you on that. Man, he's starting to come out of his shell now -- and he's showing enough that you can see what a major influence he can have on a game."

  • BrewHoop's Frank Madden is fired up about one particular Buck: "As for [Luc Richard] Mbah a Moute, let the record show that he actually became the starter before Villanueva hurt his hamstring, and at the moment it's difficult to see why Skiles would change things up once Villanueva returns. Mbah a Moute is simply a baller: just put him on the court and he'll find a way to help you. While he's undersized for a 4, his boundless energy and athleticism allow him to be productive guarding either forward spot. And though scouts were adamant that he could neither dribble nor shoot, he's shown a decent ability to put it on the floor along with a rather smooth 18-footer. It's a bit strange that he never showed much improvement during his three years at UCLA, but Bucks fans can count their blessings that John Hammond, Dave Babcock and Scott Skiles were one step ahead of everyone else when they picked him 37th overall. His finishing around the hoop could definitely use some work--21% of his inside shots have been blocked--but it's difficult to complain about a second rounder putting up 10.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg along with excellent defense." Basketbawful is fired up about PG-13 anagrams for Mbah a Moute's name.

  • The sweatiest players in the NBA, according to a very sweaty player, Channing Frye. I challenge the guy at the top of the list, Nick Collison, to a sweat off. Ask anyone who was at Training Like a Pro: I can sweat.

  • Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog is not loving Baron Davis' defense.

  • The Thunder's offense is not good.

  • A rare instance of a referee explaining a call to the media. A less rare instance of Phoenix fans thinking referees are full of it.

  • Very interesting analysis of the Lakers' offense thus far, complete with the case for finding Pau Gasol open in the corner to shoot a 3.

  • Gilbert Arenas reacting to shady political practices: "... if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."

  • Once upon a time the NBA blogosphere was all proud of our local resident who made motion pictures. Then he made so many motion pictures, he stopped being a basketball blogger. Now Brian, formerly of YAYSports! is kind of blogging again, and he has a trailer of his latest movie project.

  • Both Donnie Walsh and Stephon Marbury have signed the same piece of paper. It's just not the right piece of paper.

  • UPDATE: The Anthony Morrow highlight reel. 15-20 for 37 points in his first NBA start. He plays for the Warriors, by the way. (Courtesty of Kaifa in the FreeDarko comments.)