Wednesday Bullets

  • My office plants are looking great today, thanks for asking (really pleased so many of your are looking out for my plants). They have stared death in the eye and laughed it off. Now they have swagger like Kevin Durant at Barry Farms. But no, they are not the three magically healthy plants that I just learned about from Tim.

  • Kevin Love made some news with his Twitter account yesterday. But that was hardly the best thing he Tweeted. Consider these entries: "A beautiful Hispanic woman walked up to me and said 'Señor Amor may I take a picture with you?'... Señor Amor, I like that." He also pointed out: "Twitsx are for kids." (Thanks, Neil.)

  • "I forget how many. I go blank-headed, I'm traveling so much." That could be me, talking about how many times I ate at the same good cheap restaurant near Orlando. But it's actually Earl Clark, quoted by Ben Couch on the Nets website, talking about how many times he has worked out against James Johnson.

  • For the week of June 8-14, a show called "The Mentalist" was the fifth most-watched show. Everything that was watched more than that was an NBA game or trophy presentation.

  • Tom Chambers and his multi-jurisdictional peacocks. (Honestly, read this.)

  • David Berri's thoughts on winning the TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown.

  • If Diamon Simpson of St. Mary's is a reasonably high draft pick, this guy called it first.

  • At one point during the NBA Finals, somebody said something about how Ricky Rubio's numbers were suspect, coming from the Spanish ACB, and several other people rushed into to say that league is tougher than the NCAA. Debate ensued. I'm on the side of those who say the best European teams would wax the best NCAA teams, mainly because people who have played in both places always agree on that point. To that effect, here's James Gist, telling Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell about his time playing for Angelica Biella in Italy, after being a standout player at Maryland, drafted in the second round last year by San Antonio: "As far as the competition goes, international basketball is a lot more competitive than the collegiate level. In college you usually have one or two, if you're lucky three, good players on your team. That's enough to carry you to a national championship. In Europe, every person on the team makes nearly a million dollars and they have been playing together for years. Countries stand behind their hometown team. It's bigger and the competition is greater. In college when a team or player misses a defensive assignment, the opposing team may not be good enough to execute and punish the team for messing up. If you leave someone open in Europe they will punish you every time. ... Europe is perfect for learning how to play the game right. Knowing when to make the right passes, when to run on a fast break or slow the tempo down, who to get the ball to when the time is right, all comes in to play when you play team basketball. ... I had the chance to play with and against some good veteran players. They may not have been as young or as athletic as me, but they made it work and found other ways to be effective on the court. That helped me understand how to play the game and the important things I needed to know, whether a small trick and how to effectively use technique without relying on pure athleticism. I learned how to be more physical, improved my shooting, and worked hard on being at full energy the entire time I'm on the court. But most of all, I improved my basketball IQ."

  • Similarly, consider Brandon Jennings telling the DC Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg about Italian basketball: "I think it's more physical overseas. You know, they don't call anything. You can grab, you can choke a player out, you can do anything. It's real rough over there, so I think it'll be kind of easier for me in the NBA. You know, I won't mind getting bumped or being hit, because I've been hit all year."

  • There are many different reports out there that Omri Casspi is one tough dude. I don't know who his agent is, but this is good pre-draft buzz. In a draft where many players are seen as similarly talented, toughness sells.

  • And as long as we're in a Euro-hyping portion of the bullets, Ettore Messina has been mentioned many times as a candidate for NBA jobs, and he just left CSKA Moscow which is in financial trouble. He says on his blog, however, that he has been in talks with Real Madrid.

  • Joey from Straight Bangin' shows up with conviction on FreeDarko, examining how it is that the Knicks have managed to be a relevant and oft-discussed team, even through a decade of meaninglessness on the court.

  • On Ball in Europe, Francesco Cappelletti re-caps Brandon Jennings' European experience: "Scouts aren't so interested in Jennings' stats (5.5 points in 17 minutes per game, 20 percent shooting on 3-point FGs, 2.3 assists, 1.5 turnovers and 2.1 steals per game), but are analyzing his 2008/09 season in other ways; meanwhile, forecasts with Jennings as a high lottery pick increase daily. Why? Jennings still uses one and only one speed (the maximum, naturally); he's not good enough at reading teammates' moves; he too often goes for the spectacular steal instead of defending man and ball; and he hasn't improved as a shooter. On the other hand, Jennings gets credit for his unstoppable first step to the basket; his open-court transition play on fast breaks, at which he has few rivals; and a positively developing passing instinct. ... draft-centric websites put him in Golden State as 7th overall pick or to New Jersey at 11. B.J. is still considered the second-best point guard in the draft ... So congratulations, Sonny Vaccaro! You've worked well for your client's reputation and current account (keep in mind that B.J. became Under Armour's frontman), but in the end, the entire balance of Jennings' season was in the extreme negative.

  • Pete Pranica, Grizzlies play-by-play man, talked to General Manager Chris Wallace and said trading the second overall pick is a possibility, as is drafting Ricky Rubio. Then there is this: "They could pick Hasheem Thabeet at #2, inspiring Grizzlies promotions manager and music maven Carly Knight to commission a local band to cover the Go-Go's song 'We Got The Beat' with re-worked lyric
    s: 'We got Thabeet.'" (In recognition that some of your are too young, too old, or too cool to know that reference ... this is what he's talking about. And you know what? Listen to the original -- you don't have to re-work a darn thing. It sounds precisely like they're saying "We Got Thabeet" already.)