Tuesday Bullets

  • David Berri of Wages of Wins on Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James: "Both players are above average with respect to almost every statistic. King James, though, does more. In fact, LeBron has done more across the past four seasons than Kobe has done in his four best seasons. And the difference is even bigger if we look at what each player has done in 2008-09. Turning to Wins Produced we see the same story. Across the past four seasons, LeBron has produced 79.8 wins and posted a 0.295 WP48. As noted, LeBron is even better this season. At the All-Star break his WP48 stands at 0.406. Again, Kobe is quite good. But even his best seasons don't come close to LeBron. In Kobe's four best seasons he produced 63.7 wins with a 0.250 WP48. Again, these are excellent marks. But Kobe has never surpassed the 0.300 mark and he certainly has never been close to what LeBron is doing this year. And what Kobe did against the Knicks, or the 2009 All-Star game, doesn't change this story."

  • The strangest part of the Suns' demise is how thoroughly Phoenix players, executives, coaches, and the like have embraced the idea that the current model is broken. They're 3.5 games out of having home court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. They have a winning record. And yet it's unanimous that this team is totally broken. Not that I disagree, but it's just weird beyond belief to see a winning team trash itself like that.

  • Coach of the Year candidates -- with a big photo of Stan Van Gundy. Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer writes: "He's created a knockout defensive team while essentially playing without a power forward, working with two small forwards who have had poor defensive fundamentals their entire careers. He's developed a top-5 offense based around a starting center who still fumbles the ball incessantly, working without a go-to move to boot. He's dealt with injuries, he hasn't dealt with J.J. Redick, and he has the Magic in position to cling onto the third slot in the East even playing without Jameer Nelson the rest of the way. He's our coach of the year, and the likely Coach of the Year."

  • DJ Mbenga and Chris Mihm, Laker teammates, have some words after Mbenga's elbows whisper awfully near Mihm's face in a scrimmage. Mbenga was briefly restrained, but it's no big deal. This kind of stuff happens all the time. But this time it's on video.

  • Celtic fans are taking sides. Who's the better bench big man: Leon Powe or Glen "Big Baby" Davis? I'm a Powe man, myself, based almost entirely on his performance in last year's playoffs.

  • Holly MacKenzie makes an important observation: Roko Leni Ukic looks a little like a grown-up Sam from Freaks and Geeks.

  • Chris Bosh gets Phoenix restaurant recommendations by Twitter, but then ignores them to go to ... the Cheesecake Factory.

  • Trying to close a loophole that has been letting recruiters go after seventh and eighth graders.

  • Several key Bobcats see their PER rise considerably when Boris Diaw is on the court.

  • An All-Star sideshow/mystery, from SLAM's Lang Whitaker (who needs some help seperating the sheep from the goats in his mind -- Lang a ram is a male sheep, and there are such things as mountain sheep and mountain goats): "It was twilight on Saturday night, and Ben and I were leaving the hotel to go to All-Star Saturday Night. As the sun crashed into the desert behind us, I made my way to the media shuttle bus, where I came across a group of three or four NBA volunteers in identical white polyester jackets pointing furiously at the top of a butte rising high behind the media shuttle bus. I hustled outside, curious to see what was going on. Was it a UFO? A pot of gold? 'Look!' said one of the women, urgently. 'It's a black-tipped mountain sheep!' I took a look and, sure enough, there was some sort of fluffy white animal atop the hill, sitting in the shade on a rock outcropping. There appeared to be some sort of upper body movement going on as well, but I couldn't clearly discern what was happening. The three older women in the volunteer jackets were totally engrossed. I asked if there were a lot of mountain sheep around the area. 'No, not really,' the ringleader volunteer said. 'It must have escaped from the zoo.' She said this like it was her final answer. This was apparently not open for discussion. 'And the zoo, that's about two or three miles away,' said one of the other volunteers. 'It's amazing it made it this far.' Indeed, I thought, it's amazing that a sheep escaped from the zoo and made it two or three miles and NOBODY SAW A SHEEP RUNNING AWAY FROM THE ZOO! I still couldn't get a good view of this alleged sheep, which was about 40 yards away from us high up on this hill. I started thinking about it - isn't it goats and rams that can live in mountains? Sheep need grass and stuff, right? 'Do you have a camera?' The lead volunteer was desperate to document this. I lied and told her I didn't have a camera and climbed onto the bus. The bus driver was a man in his 40s with gray skin, wearing an ill-fitting NBA baseball hat. As I walked past him he said in a conspiratorial whisper, 'Hey buddy, you know that's not a sheep, right?' 'I can't even see it,' I said. 'What is it then?' 'It's a cat,' he said, disgust ringing in his voice. I laughed and asked, 'Are you sure?' 'Yeah,' he responded, smiling. 'Sheep don't lick themselves.' So that's what that sheep was doing! And from then on, we referred to the animal as The Sheep/Cat."

  • UPDATE: A nice look at Paul Silas, and his relationship with his son Stephen, who is a Warriors' assistant coach.