<
>

Monday Bullets

  • One year to win it all. That's the kind of pressure informing the decision-making of the Cavaliers. And it's not entirely distinct from what Jason Kidd might be thinking. He has more than one year, certainly. But hell yes he wants to win it all, and the clock is ticking. Brian Windhorst wrote a stellar article over the weekend about free agency and the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have their full mid-level. I know it's amazingly unlikely, but wouldn't you just love to see Kidd take it? Don't we want to see LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Kidd give it a go? (Trevor Ariza is also mentioned, which is especially interesting given that weakening the Lakers is also a goal of any team hoping to win the 2010 title.)

  • Did Marc Stein foul Steve Nash? The penalty was called, but later the call was reversed.

  • This could be very interesting. The stat geeky Rockets are taking over operations of their own D-League team. Now they'll have a place to test theories and stash projects.

  • The Web. It's where athletes say things they wouldn't say on TV or radio, which in the big sweep of history might count as a mini-scandal for how it offends audiences. Even more, though, I think it's where audiences grow accustomed to how athletes really talk, and shrug. Today, your professor is Brandon Jennings. And a post amalgamating various reasons to worry about Jennings.

  • An analysis whereby DeJuan Blair, Blake Griffin and Ty Lawson were the most productive players in this draft.

  • Jonny Flynn ... a player who is not feeling complicated about Minnesota. "When they called my name, I just put my head down and said 'Thank you God.'"

  • Consider your team's roster, and then tell me which players are foxes, and which players are hedgehogs. A fascinating look at what does not work for the Clippers.

  • Tyreke Evans drove a vehicle from which his cousin shot and killed a man. His cousin was convicted. Evans, who is adamant he did not know his cousin had a gun, was not charged. This was all in the Philadelphia papers some time ago ... So, that whole thing was regrettable, terrible, dangerous and all the rest. But here's where I tip my cap to Evans. Reportedly, he was very frank about the incident in meeting with teams. Not sweeping it under the rug was the right move, and the Kings imply that frankness played a role in how they view the player they picked fourth. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports: "'I don't get the impression from him he's an excuse maker in any way," [Coach Paul] Westphal said. "He pretty much faces things head-on, and I have lot of respect for that.' [Tyreke] Evans said he told 'every team' about the incident during interviews at last month's NBA combine in Chicago. The 6-foot-5 guard from Memphis said he knows questions about that night will come as long as he's in the spotlight as a professional athlete. 'I didn't want to hide nothing from nobody,' Evans said. 'I wanted to be straight up because I wanted them to be straight up with me. I just thought I'd let them know the incident did happen.'"

  • The Hornets had a draft that strikes right to the heart of best player available vs. drafting for need debate. Everyone thinks they need a big man, so they took a backup point guard in Darren Collison. They also took shooting guard Marcus Thornton. Interesting money wrinkle from Hornets247: "Marcus Thornton was acquired to eventually replace Rasual Butler in the near future as the Hornets' shooting guard. The most important part of that, however, is financial. The guys Collison and Butler could replace, Daniels and Butler, also happen to have expiring contracts. Should the Hornets find other homes for them, taking advantage of their expiring contracts to move them to teams in return for cap space or draft picks (or send Butler to Miami for their $4 million trade exception) then suddenly the Hornets have almost entirely solved their Luxury Tax issues."

  • M. Haubs of the Painted Area argues that several of the best point guards -- Ricky Rubio and Ty Lawson, for instance, went too low. Which means he questions, for instance, Sam Presti's pick of James Harden third overall. Haubs on Harden: "I watched Harden play three times: vs. Washington, in the disastrous NCAA Tournament loss to Syracuse, and then recently in a game vs. Arizona that I had saved up on the DVR, mainly because I wanted to give the guy another chance. There's a lot I appreciate about Harden: strength, wingspan, ability to draw fouls, court vision. I understand where the Brandon Roy comparisons come from, in terms of being guys a little under the radar from the Pac-10 with sneaky athleticism and good basketball IQ in general. But on a certain level, I don't get the comparisons at all. Harden is a much less efficient player than Roy across the board. On top of that, Roy has always been such an assertive player who's controlled his team's offensive decisions, whereas Harden has been much more passive in the games I watched. He did not step up and take charge in any of the three games I saw, even though ASU desperately needed him to do so each time -- he just kind of drifted through the games offensively. In the Arizona game, his numbers looked good: 7-12 FG, including 3-6 3PT, but all 3 threes were created by others, wide-open shots because of a brain-dead Arizona zone, and another was an easy dunk inside off of a nice assist. Harden didn't really create any offense for himself, though he did create some open shots for others. I will note that he did rebound and pass well when I saw him, though he is also a high-TO player -- Arizona knocked the ball out of his hands on several occasions. Harden's defense was somewhat amusing to me. For all the talk about how no one's been able to see Brandon Jennings play, every time I watched him for Roma, I saw a guy who got out and pressured the ball defensively, scrapping against smart guards in pick-and-rolls and pro-style sets. Meanwhile, I watched Harden basically stand on the elbow all day in Arizona State's zone -- there were several possessions against Arizona where he literally did not move from one spot! I feel like I have essentially no information about Harden's defensive ability, though he does seem to get his hands on a lot of balls, aided by his wingspan."

  • Acie Law and Mike Woodson are both quoted making clear they were like oil and water.

  • Christian Eyenga? Really?

  • The Nets honor their bottom line ... and spin that various different ways.

  • Wow. Really weird and cool graphic showing how much Shaquille O'Neal has scored.

  • UPDATE: The man who has recently been called one of the greatest owners in sports, and who famously keeps the company of extremely young women. It's gotta be the hair. (Via Jeanie Buss' Twitter feed.)