Thursday Bullets

  • Chris Sprow of ESPN the Magazine talks sports and "Outliers" with Malcolm Gladwell, and they address the Round Mound of Rebound: "Then who do you like to watch, based on all you say in the book about the implications of limitations. Who is the best? I think it makes you appreciate the genius of Charles Barkley. People said that coming out of college he was too small; and there's this kind of thinking taken to an absurd level. The truth was he was big enough. And once you're big enough, what matters are other things -- your court sense, your intelligence, your doggedness, all of which he had, as well as sort of an extraordinary physical grace. So outliers don't always mean optimal? Well, we fixate on this idea that if you're 6-foot-6, then it must be better to be 6-foot-7, just as we fixate on the notion that if you have an IQ of 120, it must be better to be 125. But it's not better to have an IQ above 120. Everything above that is superfluous, you're smart enough. You can do everything you need to do as a human being. And Charles is just another Bill Gates? I'll say this: if you could put together a team of guys who were thought to be too small for their role in the NBA, you'd have a pretty amazing team." Also, Eric Musselman is reading the book, and has ideas about how young basketball players can learn from the Beatles.

  • Can this really be true? Does the NHL really have more attendance than the NBA? Sad little chart. And, an imagined conversation between an aggressive reporter and David Stern about attendance.

  • The whole gang of FreeDarko contributors talks to The New York Times.

  • At this very moment Gilbert Arenas is scheduled to unveil a wax figure of himself at Madame Tussauds in Washington D.C. It's not a bad club to join -- according to the website, the sports lineup includes Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, and Babe freakin' Ruth.

  • A deep look at what's working for the remodeled Cavaliers.

  • BlogaBull on last night's debacle in Portland: "Didn't count. You see ... Vinny started Aaron Gray and Larry Hughes. Aaron Gray. And Larry Hughes. Hughes at SF! Gray at a basketball position! In a regular season NBA game! So, yeah ... think of that as preseason. Didn't count. I came home with about an hour of saved game to catch up on. I saw that Larry Hughes and Aaron Gray were starting, thought: "what the hell". Then the Blazers clowned a team starting Aaron Gray and Larry Hughes. Expected. The Bulls couldn't quite match up, because they had Aaron Gray and Larry Hughes in their lineup. After seven and a half minutes, the first substitution. Noah for Gray. The Bulls are down 23-7. Why it took that long to realize that it wasn't working. ... well I guess if you don't go into the game realizing it won't work in the first place, the chance that a few minutes will change one's mind is remote, no matter how bad it looked. Around then I muted the TV and was liberal with the fast-forwarding. No reason to listen to analysis of a game where one team started Aaron Gray and Larry Hughes, and the other didn't. (I mean, if the Blazers started Gray and Hughes too ... I suppose the game could count again) Speaking of analysis, wasn't it cute how we tried to discuss how the Bulls would match up with the Blazers today? Now it's not really fair, we were operating under the premise that the Bulls would treat it like a real game. Where the record counts and everything. Nah, they started Aaron Gray and Larry Hughes. Wish I would've known that ahead of time."

  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel: "[Michael] Beasley said this is the first time at any level that he has had to play man-to-man defense."

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Andrei Kirilenko dropped some knowledge on us after the game. With the Jazz losing Carlos Boozer to injury yet still beating the Bucks, Kirilenko borrowed from the tale of King Pyrrhus defeating the Romans in 280 B.C. yet losing most of his men in the process. The victory came at such a cost, Pyrrhus supposedly said, 'If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.' That would pretty well sum up the Jazz if they beat another team yet lose another key player. I'd count it as the second most surprisingly intelligent thing I've heard an NBA player say postgame after Philadelphia-kid Kobe Bryant once borrowed from Ben Franklin in saying, 'We must all hang together or we will all hang separately' after a loss to the Clippers. Ronnie Brewer was still around when Kirilenko was talking about Pyrrhic victories. I told him what Bryant said as well. Brewer promised to share some wisdom from the great philosopher Martin Lawrence the next time he has a big game."

  • Royce from The Thunderworld, trying to keep a stiff upper lip after a bad loss to the Clippers: "The Thunder gets Oklahoma City's first born, the Hornets Friday night. Should be a special night, until the Thunder starts bouncing the ball. (Ok, negativity over. I just had to get it out.) As we all know, going through these horrible, horrible growing pains will make it that much sweeter when we turn this thing around."

  • A sophisticated proof that putting together a bunch of quality young talent is not at all the same as succeeding.

  • Jeremy at Pickaxe & Roll: "I am really trying to remain calm and collected about this season. After all I have told myself that I am not going to get to excited until I see how these guys do through the end of November. An 8-4 start is nothing new for the Nuggets as they have accomplished that each of the previous two seasons and we all know how those campaigns ended. There are still 70 games left to play so many conclusions we could draw now could very well end up proven false by the end of the season. That being said, this season's 8-4 start feels completely different from their previous two 8-4 starts. The Nuggets are winning with defense, they are winning on the road, they are winning on the second night of back to backs and I think I can get used to this."

  • Yahoo's Johnny Ludden summarizes the Spurs' defensive philosophy: "Keep ball-handlers out of the middle of the lane; funnel them baseline into the arms of their shot-blockers; and don't give up open 3-pointers from the corners."