Friday Bullets

  • Did you know there already is a basketball court at the White House? It's outdoors. But still ... not bad.

  • Tyrus Thomas! His next matchup with LeBron James will be must-watch, because last night Thomas got himself on the short list of defenders who can bother LeBron James once in a while.

  • Jerryd Bayless! He has been splendid in his choppy and limited minutes, but he has come up terribly in all the statistics because his touch has been missing entirely. Layups, long balls ... the whole deal. You can visibly see that he is amped up. But we know he can shoot. He more than proved that in college. One of these days he'll start knocking down 3s again, and then watch out. Jason Quick of the Oregonian quotes Brandon Roy: "'He's strong, strong as hell,' Roy said. 'Just play against him and you'll see why he gets there. Tell him to drive on you one time. He puts that body on you ... I mean, I was falling back (going) 'Whoooooa!'' After that happened a couple times in Blazers practices, it struck a chord with Roy. This was not common, he thought. It got him thinking which other players in the NBA posed the same problem when he was guarding them. 'It's the Dwyane Wades that give you that type of problem,' Roy said. 'You look at the young players, it's Rodney Stuckey. Those dudes that get low and power to the basket, those are the toughest to guard. And he has that.'"

  • The coach of a high-school team that won 94-1 talks about how important it is not to humiliate opponents. (UPDATE: Less funny, but more accurate, if you put that quote in context.)

  • David Berri of Wages of Wins on the Hawks: "Atlanta's improvement can be linked primarily to three players. As noted, Bibby is playing very well. In fact, Bibby -- in his eleventh season -- is having his best season ever. And this improvement is tied to the fact Bibby is making fewer mistakes. His shooting efficiency -- especially from beyond the arc -- has never been better (in other words, he is missing fewer shots). And he has also dramatically reduced his turnovers. Although Bibby's improvement is the biggest change in Atlanta, the play of Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia should also be noted. Both of these players were very bad last year (Pachulia had injury issues). This year each player is slightly above average. For Williams, the specific changes -- like Bibby -- can be seen with respect to shooting efficiency and turnovers. Pachulia's improvement is primarily tied to rebounds. Beyond this trio, the Hawks are also receiving above average contributions from Al Horford and Joe Johnson."

  • In yesterday's bullets, we learned that both Laker point guards look pretty bad in the team's adjusted +/- numbers. How could that be? Aaron Barzilai, who runs Basketball Value, sent me a spreadsheet (you can see it here) with all of the Lakers' lineups, and -- to make a long story short -- you can see that the many lineups without Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar have performed pretty well. Many various combinations of Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol, Sasha Vujacic, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Josh Powell have gotten the job done. Also, some insight into Lamar Odom's place among the league leaders in adjusted +/-.

  • Speaking of fancypants stats, Queen City Hoops is getting into some very interesting stuff. (So interesting, in fact, that I'm worried some team will hire him away and make his stats private.) In any case, he's looking at how many possessions this or that player guarded another player. Then you look at what typical production would have been for that opponent, compared to what actually happened. In this first post we learn, better than numbers could ever tell us before, that Gerald Wallace can play D.

  • The other night, Chris Paul got 33 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, and 7 steals. A lot of people pointed out that he almost got a quadruple double. He was 100% of the way there in three categories, and 70% of the way there in a fourth. That's kind of like 370/400. That's 92.5% of the way there. But blogger Tom Scocca points out that what makes quadruple doubles so rare, is that the fourth category -- steals or blocks -- is always something that's really tough to get. Chris Paul is a league leader in getting steals, and even he often goes a whole game without getting the three he needed here. Scocca is a little livid that anyone thinks Paul was close. To me, Paul was close compared to an average performance by an average player. But not close, empirically. So, point taken, I guess. Then Scocca finishes his mildly PG-13 rant like this: "Attention, sportswriters! Here's what counts as nearly getting a triple double: When a guy gets at least 10 in two categories, and 9 in another. Less than that, and what you have is a 'nice game.' Oh, and please shut up about the 'double double,' especially for big men. You know what getting 10 points and 10 rebounds was called before somebody invented the 'double double'? It was called doing your f------ job."

  • People are upset that Yi Jianlian might be voted an All-Star starter. Ask yourself this, though: Have you ever gotten your All-Star ballot, and just voted for all the players on your favorite team? Is that wrong? Is that so different from what Chinese voters are evidently doing? Good questions being asked by Rob Mahoney.

  • Some razzle dazzle, and some insight into the love affair between Kobe Bryant and China, at an afternoon press conference at some nightclub in Los Angeles.

  • The 2001 San Antonio Spurs win the dubious prize as best NBA team of recent years not to win a title.

  • Timberwolves GM Jim Stack talks to Britt Robson of Secrets of the City about all kinds of interesting things. Here he is on playing time for Kevin Love, and rookies generally: "The thinking is, if you give things to these guys, the rookies, too soon and too easily, they take it for granted and don't appreciate it enough and they don't work at it. Even going back to my days in Chicago; we had Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen, all these guys and we started Brad Sellers and Charles Oakley and we made the younger guys earn
    their spurs. As we go on near the halfway point, Kevin's minutes will go up. But that's why we have a Brian Cardinal out there. Because he does provide some elements of comfort and some cerebral elements that Kevin can learn from and appreciate the way he goes about his job. That's the thought process there. Now if we had a LeBron or a Carmelo or some special talent, that is a little different. But this is the way we are approaching it."

  • Graphs showing how being taller improves your chances -- no matter your position -- of making a shot close to the rim.

  • After watching this you will never again complain about the hassles of trying to jump through life's various hoops.