Monday, December 10, 2012
By Henry Abbott
- Garbage Time Ghost is a new tumblr blog that marks the return of the NBA-themed cartoons of JF Frankel. In Frankel's latest work, David Stern gets a lovely head of hair and a slap on the wrist for being schoolmarmish with players.
- Kevin Durant almost threw down an insane dunk over Andray Blatche ... but as Blatche moved in under the skying Durant, the Thunder high-scorer toppled over and missed. On Ballerball Tyler Parker writes: "Blatche needs to be in church tomorrow saying his thanks a bunches and tossing up a Hail Mary or two Hov’s way for saving him from being on NBA TV for the next eighty years."
- John Hollinger (Insider) on Andrea Bargnani: "A PER of 12.80 just doesn't cut it for a big with little to no defensive value and a severe rebounding allergy, and [Coach Dwane] Casey has earned criticism for leaving him in the game in crunch-time situations despite his struggles and the strong play of Ed Davis and Amir Johnson off the bench. Bargnani is shooting only 39.9 percent overall and 32.6 percent on 3s; while these percentages are likely to improve (um, they will improve, right?), Bargnani's justification for playing time is as an uber-efficient floor-spacer who makes up for his soft defense and historically awful rebounding by knocking down shot after shot. Instead he's been something of a Charlie Villanueva clone, and there's not a great need for that kind of player."
- Gambling for steals, getting lost on picks, losing sight of opponents ... watching the Lakers, including Kobe Bryant, on defense.
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is back on the court after an eight-month layoff. His post game is looking much better than his knee feels.
- We need explanations, people. Jesse Taylor of WarriorsWorld notes a David Lee oddity: "Well, Lee is already off to a bad start as he loses a strange, half-speed foot race with Steph Curry just before tip-off. Did anyone else think this was weird? What are they doing? Do they do it before every game and this is the first time CSN caught it on camera? Why did I feel compelled to rewind it three times? From what the camera caught, here’s what happened: as they finished shaking hands at mid-court and the ref was just about ready to toss it up for the jump ball, Curry and Lee locked eyes, then turned and raced to the baseline basketball stanchion. Curry won the race, then Lee turned and gave him a forced and awkward handshake hug thing."
- Wow you can mess with this for hours. Fascinating interactive charts showing how the shot selection of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant evolves over the course of a game. Late in games all tend to shoot fewer mid-range jumpers and more high-efficiency 3s and layups.
- Speaking of efficient spots on the floor ... Andrew Nicholson shoots almost everything in the paint.
- Mark Jackson wants you to know Steph Curry is an amazing player and an amazing person who is finally healthy again. Curry talks to Grantland's Zach Lowe, and talks about putting his ankle injuries behind him.
- Alexey Shved is a hell of a lot of fun to watch with the ball in his hands. (Seriously, click to see the highlights.) And he's on the same roster with Ricky Rubio. Can they possibly both be at their best together? Here's a case that the answer is yes, and the proof is ... the Allman Brothers who thrived with both Duane Allman and Dickey Betts demonstrating lots of lead guitar.
- Fruit, ranked. Pineapple at 18 is outrageous.
- Dissecting a very fancy Knicks play that ended in an alley-oop dunk.
- A few weeks ago, after a hell of a lot of training, I attempted to run the Philadelphia marathon in under three hours. On ESPN.com's new endurance page, a tale of how that went.
- And here's a Joakim Noah story that's, amazingly, somewhat related. The story is that Noah has been in incredible shape after training in the offseason with, of all people, big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Now here's how that's related: As a runner I have put a ton of trust into the evidence-based insight of Jay Dicharry, who has written a book about running form and the like. I met Dicharry when I interviewed him at SXSW, and at that event he said that he thought one of the best things an athlete could would be to train like ... Laird Hamilton. The main reason he says that is that Hamilton goes to great lengths to put himself through new things, rather than spending all that training time perfecting well-known skills. Hamilton and Dicharry are also both very into working on balance, something that isn't a big part of most workout regimens, but that I've been working on for the past several months and that I believe has made big impact. I'm guessing Joakim would agree.
- An interesting conversation about young ball players: Is it better to be single-minded, and to think NBA or bust? Or is it better to realize playing overseas and the D-League are real and decent possibilities? Draymond Green weighs in.