Thursday Bullets

December, 11, 2008
12/11/08
12:16
PM ET
  • Steve Nash tells the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro about losing Raja Bell (and Boris Diaw) as teammates: "He is my best buddy and he's my best friend and the guys loved him. ... It's hard. I have a hard time committing to this as a business. I take this personally and I take my career home with me. I care about my teammates. When you lose two of your best friends on the team suddenly, it's hard."
  • Bull assistant Pete Myers is the ultimate stand in. When Michael Jordan left the Bulls, Myers got the call as starting shooting guard. And now the BBC needs someone to pose on the basketball court as Barack Obama for a documentary, and Myers is getting the call.
  • Vinny Del Negro, as reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, telling why he hasn't been playing Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah much: "Commitment is coming in with energy every day, with focus, trying to get better, lifting weights, being on time, paying attention in meetings, being ready to play, knowing what your role is, who you're guarding, what their strengths and weaknesses are, how you can affect the team in a positive way. Commitment is being a professional, working every day to get better individually. As that happens, the team gets better."
  • Darius Miles gets a workout with the Clippers and reportedly there are other teams in the mix, too. 
  • Deron Williams, still recovering from an ankle injury, has not been at his best, and it's taking a toll on both Williams and Kevin Ollie.
  • In a New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell explains that in professions like picking NFL quarterbacks or good teachers, it is nearly impossible to know who will succeed until you see them try. That means that the best way to find good ones, long term, is to try a lot of them and weed out the bad ones. I'm thinking the same line of thinking could be used in finding NBA players. If you tried it, you'd expand rosters with more inexpensive players. This could work in conjunction with the D-League, which could offer minutes to some of those players, especially the ones who weren't killing it in the NBA. A key part of Gladwell's article (excuse the references I haven't explained): "In teaching, the implications are even more profound. They suggest that we shouldn't be raising standards. We should be lowering them, because there is no point in raising standards if standards don't track with what we care about. Teaching should be open to anyone with a pulse and a college degree -- and teachers should be judged after they have started their jobs, not before. That means that the profession needs to start the equivalent of Ed Deutschlander's training camp. It needs an apprenticeship system that allows candidates to be rigorously evaluated. Kane and Staiger have calculated that, given the enormous differences between the top and the bottom of the profession, you'd probably have to try out four candidates to find one good teacher. That means tenure can't be routinely awarded, the way it is now. Currently, the salary structure of the teaching profession is highly rigid, and that would also have to change in a world where we want to rate teachers on their actual performance. An apprentice should get apprentice wages. But if we find eighty-fifth-percentile teachers who can teach a year and a half's material in one year, we're going to have to pay them a lot-both because we want them to stay and because the only way to get people to try out for what will suddenly be a high-risk profession is to offer those who survive the winnowing a healthy reward." UPDATE: TrueHoop reader Brad e-mails: "Isn't what you recommend based on his findings exactly what the Spurs are doing? They bought a D-League team (Austin Toros, 90 minutes up I-35), and as 48 Minutes of Hell wonderfully explicate, the brilliant San Antonio management uses 10-day contracts like ongoing job interviews. They stash and/or farm young guys and bring them up every so often to see how they react. Even if they won't be playing this year, they're grooming them in the "Spurs Character" (not to mention Pop's basketball) system, so that next year, or the year after that, they will be more than ready -- and management will have seen who fits and who doesn't. Remarkable stuff, and this has been going on now for the last couple of years!"
  • Video of the 73-year-old who made a college team. "If he starts partying," Roane State coach Randy Nesbit tells Knox News, "there's no way he's going to see court time here."
  • TrueHoop reader Nicholas Netzer with a report from a Shanghai sauna (where people disrespect Yao Ming almost as much as Anthony Randolph does): "After a nice workout at my gym, I decided to hit the sauna. In there were were a three Shanghainese guys chatting in Shanghainese (which I don't understand), so I asked them to speak Mandarin. They were delighted a foreigner would talk to them in Mandarin and gladly obliged. It cracked me up, because they immediately started asking me about basketball. I perked up and the first thing they did was start talking smack about their Shanghai representative in the NBA, Yao. This surprised me, because aside from his injuries and early playoff exits, he's one of the best centers in the NBA. So, I asked them if they were bagging on him for that, they said, 'No, he's just weak and plays soft. He should play like [Dwight] Howard, but I don't know if he can, I don't think Howard is human (while making the Superman pose). Yao walks like a robot.' That cracked me up, so I just let it go. Then, we got into a subject I just read on your blog, Kobe v. Lebron. The two older Shanghainese guys were both telling me that not only is Kobe better, but they'd rather let him have the last shot. I towed the Lebron Line and said, ok, he can have his last shot, but I'd rather have James with the ball in his hands for the last few ticks on the clock and see what he does with it. They laughed and said, 'Lose!' But I did my best to explain that while Kobe is a better shooter, James is better at every other facet of the game. The younger guy laughed and agreed with me, but the older guys scoffed and just said 'No, no, Kobe.' When the older guys left, the young one told me that the older two didn't get it and that Lebron was the 'Kin ge!' (King)"
  • Numbers you won't hear from Corey Maggette's agent.
  • Dwyane Wade says he has been playing as well as anyone in the NBA.
  • A Detroit Pistons state of the union.
  • Don't expect the Knicks to get salary cap relief when Cuttino Mobley announces his retirement. From Larry Coon's salary cap FAQ: "Teams are not allowed to trade for disabled players and then apply for this salary cap relief. Only the team for which the player was playing when he was disabled may request this relief. If a player retires, even for medical reasons, his team does not receive a salary cap exception to acquire a replacement player."

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