Friday Mini-Bullets

  • Steve Aschburner writes for MinnPost.com about how the Timberwolves are wholly different since the departure of Kevin Garnett. One player who has noticed is Randy Foye: "'One thing I miss about him is, he just let me go. That's why I was so successful my rookie year,' said Foye, who has sputtered in the season-plus since. 'No matter what happened, if I made a mistake, I'd look at him and he'd go [Foye balls up a fist and pumps it], like 'It's all right. Keep your head up.' It makes you feel better. It'd be like that for anyone in their work, if there was a legend who pumped you up. For a young player, that just boosted my confidence. Sometimes, in my rookie year, I felt like an All-Star out there because he let me do what I wanted and when I got it going, he let me go.' In games, Foye said, it was like having your big brother there to hold your coat in a schoolyard fight. 'There was a swagger,' he said. 'KG would come out and hit a shot, and it was like, 'Everybody, we're in this together. I'm patrolling it, but everybody who's got a white jersey on, we're in it together.''"

  • ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard with Brandon Jennings -- the first top American player to skip college for professional basketball in Europe: "This sure ain't LA. It's culture shock, and a hoops reeducation to boot. 'It's tough, I'm not going to lie,' says Jennings while eating pizza between practices. 'I don't see many kids coming over here to do this. All that stuff about trendsetting? I don't know about that. You really have to be mentally tough.'"

  • Nearly two months ago, exhausted, I was attempting an insane number of dunks on a nine-foot hoop at IMG in Bradenton Florida. Guys like David Thorpe were barking instructions, but agent Jason Levien was the loudest guy in the gym. We were sharing a hoop, and he was firing me up with screams of enthusiastic support. That attitude makes a difference. Turned my mentality around. Now, according to Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee, Levien will be trying to have the same effect on the Sacramento Kings -- where he us said to be Geoff Petrie's new assistant GM. One thing that is important to know: Levien is smart. A cut above. A slice of his biography, from Amick's article: "Levien, 37, has earned a reputation as a versatile talent, having negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in NBA contracts while showing an ability to find little-known players who come up big. Although Levien no longer will be an agent, Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin was chief among his clientele. A graduate of Pomona College in Claremont who earned his law degree and master's in public policy from Michigan, Levien played basketball at Pomona and considered a career as a coach. According to the biography on his agency's Web site, he has a "comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement." Levien has a background in politics as well, having worked with former President Bill Clinton and then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House in 1994 and written the keynote speech for Congressman Harold Ford Jr. at the 2000 Democratic National Convention."

  • Video of a little inter-Laker tiff, between Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic.

  • A blog post suggesting that players who blog are somehow cursed.

  • Deron Williams raises a referees hackles even from his spot on the bench.

  • Neil Paine of BasketballReference.com: "[Kevin] Durant's early returns aren't exactly those of a future megastar; no alpha dog in the past has had such horrible teammates and still played down to their level in terms of efficiency. Durant still may very well develop into a solid player, but if the history of similar players (alpha dogs saddled with poor teammates) is any indication, it's doubtful he'll live up to the considerable hype that surrounded him when he first came out of college."