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Late Thursday Mini-Bullets

  • A lot of great players defy their positions: Is Tim Duncan a forward or a center? What is LeBron James? (Power wing? Is that a position?) But if you had to pick the prototypes for the five positions, whom would you pick? On HoopsWorld, Mike Moreau makes the case for Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, and Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA's five prototypical position players. UPDATE: A conversation I just had with Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game. Rob's in bold: "What do you think about MJ as the prototypical shooting guard? Yeah, weird to me. Prototypical shooting God, perhaps. But who's like him? No one at all. I guess every other shooting guard ever is doing it wrong."

  • Tony Parker, playing better than anybody in the NBA over the last two games without Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, inspires the radical new idea that a post-Tim Duncan Spurs team could be good. I don't buy it, but at least now I can think it.

  • A Cleveland fan who is praying for the return of Joe Smith.

  • Roundball Mining Company's Jeremy on watching TV in Denver, and sniffing economic slowdown: "Has anyone else noticed the decrease in commercials during breaks in Nuggets games? I first noticed this during the Bulls game last week when they frequently seemed to come back from commercial very quickly. The standard timeout used to contain four commercials and then sometimes an NBA or team promo. Lately they are down to three and sometimes only two commercials before a team or NBA promo and then they also include a brief spot from the sideline reporter or some commentary by the announcers to fill the additional time that used to be filled by commercials."

  • Britt Robson of Secrets of the City often criticizes whoever happens to be coaching the Timberwolves. But he has some praise for Kevin McHale, who installed a whole new offense when Al Jefferson got hurt: "I can't remember -- ever -- an entire quintet of Timberwolves moving without the ball any better than the starters did in the first half against Utah. Randy Foye -- the hero of the January surge and the remaining cornerstone with Jefferson out -- was the fifth best player on the floor for Minnesota. Miller, who had nine assists and zero turnovers against Toronto but still frequently set up his teammates (especially Telfair) to fail at a rate higher than if he'd taken the shot himself, finally blended sharp passing with smart shot selection, hitting all six of his first half FGA. Perhaps he's more comfortable going for his when he knows (o thinks) all of his teammates are sufficiently involved, because he turned down some dime temptations he almost always seizes. Meanwhile, Gomes continued to be aggressive toward the hoop, and Telfair wasn't short-circuiting the offense by shooting. Perhaps even more impressively, the Wolves were exerting the effort on defense, heeding McHale plaint from the previous night in Toronto. Their feet were moving and their necks were swiveling to counter Utah's steady diet of nifty back cuts and crunching picks, and everyone's hand were active with deflections and bothers if not steals. It was a very pleasurable 24 minutes of hoops."

  • Basketball blogs slowly taking over the world: There's band called The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. TrueHoop reader Edward pointed out that they were recently interviewed by Pitchfork Media, and when asked about the last great book they read, bassist Alex Naidus said: "'The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac'; Gifted by Richard Brautigan. There's this basketball blog called FreeDarko.com, and they put out a book that's philosophical musings on basketball, with weird stat charts interspersed, and really cool illustrations. It's awesome, and there's nothing else like it at all."

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "The visiting locker room at Target Center is so small, Kosta Koufos and Kyrylo Fesenko had to share a locker. I'm pretty sure Minnesota is the only NBA stop where there aren't a full 15 lockers available for the visitors." Notice they picked basically the two biggest guys to do the sharing?

  • Channing Frye meets a celebrity: "the bestest bat swinger." And Greg Ostertag loses at ping pong to a young man in plaid.