TrueHoop: 2006 Playoffs

The Warrior with the biggest neck tattoo was interviewed by Eric G. Satterwhite for HoopsAddict. Here's a key section:

Matt Barnes: It has been a dream come true playing for Coach Nelson. I was in Philadelphia prior to coming to Dallas and I was thinking retirement. I was disrespected badly by Mo Cheeks while in Philadelphia and was contemplating pursuing a football career. Then over the summer I worked hard on my game and God blessed me with the opportunity to play in Golden State. Coach Nelson has been a father figure, an uncle, a brother, a mentor, a cousin, and more importantly a friend. You can talk to Coach about anything. When he arrived in Golden State he explained my role and allowed me to flourish. He has given me and my teammates a freedom we felt we never had in the NBA and when it comes from a coaching legend its more powerful.

HoopsAddict.com: Since I've known you since High School I'm aware football is your first love and you were an All-American receiver as a prep setting National records for touchdown receptions. I find it interesting you were contemplating retirement to pursue the NFL. Elaborate on the 76er experience.

Matt Barnes: I had a bad experience with Mo Cheeks. No Coach ever talked to me in the matter and he did beat down my confidence. I was wondering if his view was how the league (NBA) thought about me. God blessed with this opportunity at Golden State after I worked hard on my game this summer and I feel most fortunate where I am at right here and right now.

Game 1: All Good

April, 23, 2007
4/23/07
12:59
AM ET

Not really a dud in the bunch (I'm giving Cleveland vs. Washington a pass, since it was actually closer than it looked). Wow. And now we have Miami, Dallas, San Antonio feeling some serious heat, with Denver and Golden State playing some very exciting basketball.

This ride is going to be wild. I approve.

ESPN asked me to hang out in the Conversation page on the game story for that Dallas vs. Golden State game. Come on over if you'd like.

UPDATE: A couple of Dallas vs. Golden State notes I just learned: with DeSagana Diop in the game, the Mavericks were +8. Without him, they were -20. Wonder if that's goodbye, small ball.

Funny quote from Great 125 ongreat125 on the Conversation page: 

warriors fans, you dont seem to realize that the mavs have been through everything you guys are goin through. we had don nelson and a bunch of mismatches and shot a bunch of 3's. it doesnt work. it makes things interesting but it wont defeat a better team.

I don't agree that Golden State has no chance. But funny idea that the Mavericks were the Warriors ... As in: That's so eighties.

He's all pissed because Dwyane Wade reportedly said that Dirk Nowitzki didn't display leadership down the stretch in last year's Finals.



Just this morning I made the case that Dirk Nowitzki ought to be a serious candidate for MVP. I love Dirk.



But Dwyane is on point. With the title on the line, I remember Dirk more than once giving up the ball, hoping Jason Terry or someone else would win the game for the Mavericks. He has also had some memorable meltdowns at the end of close playoff games (to go with more fantastic plays than I care to count).



I don't think Dirk would repeat those disappointments. But they did happen, and that's the kind of thing Wade was talking about. It was perhaps a little mean, but it wasn't nuts.



Mark Cuban's response is a spaz. Of course he's going to defend his guy, but this is the flimsy logic of the tired, the desperate, or the insane:

You are right, endings are remembered. And the ending of 3 of the games of the Finals will be remembered alongside Game 6 of the King vs Lakers Conf Finals a few years ago.



I guess you have earned the right to criticize Dirk with an obvious display of your own leadership skills.



I know Shaq appreciates your leadership as well. He called out your team a few weeks ago saying it was "embarassing'. Great leadership DWade. Your coach sat players for being fat. I guess you couldnt lead them away from the buffet.



You are an amazing player Dwayne. I love watching you shoot free throws. What you know about Dirk's leadership skills is non existent. You don't have a clue. Your ability to evaluate leadership skills....well you obviously have an overinflated value of your own. Did you take business classes at Marquette ?



Now we know why Charles won't put you in his 5.
Business classes? To lead a basketball team? Did Dirk even go to college at all?



Oh, and Mark, it's D-W-Y-A-N-E.



Beef with the referees all you want, Mark. But Dwyane Wade took the ball to the hole and forced them to make a call. Fire it up on Synergy Sports. Look at every touch for both players in the clutch of the NBA Finals. Be honest about who was the better leader in that part of those games. You'll hate some of the calls, but I'm guessing you'll also see what Dwyane's talking about.



And you know what? Just let it go anyway. Your team is having a dream season. You're the favorites to win the whole enchilada. Dirk is unstoppable. Josh Howard strikes fear into the hearts of everybody. You have a lot to celebrate.



UPDATE: I have been thinking a lot about this post. My main thought is... wow. Mark Cuban just loves Dirk Nowitzki. A lot. I mean, his non-sensical ramblings remind me, more than anything, of the way a mother defends a child. It's the whole "don't you dare question my baby" thing. And that makes sense to me. In fact, in a weird way it makes me like both Cuban and Nowitzki a little more.



I have found, in fact, that people who are close to Dirk Nowitzki really seem to love that guy. Through all the hype and buzz, and the creepy way that television makes caricatures of everyone, I imagine his real character must be getting lost. Because people who know that man, like Mark Cuban, are super-passionate in his defense, and that's admirable. I don't write a lot of lengthy player profiles anymore, but the next time I do, I'd love to write about Dirk Nowitzki, to try to see the part of him that everyone loves so much.



And another point: I was a little sloppy in how I explained Nowitzki's playoff record. Yes, he has been awesome so many times. But he, more than any other current MVP candidate, has had notable meltdowns in playoff crunch times of his career. The two that stick out to me were the closing minutes of an elimination game against Phoenix a couple of years ago--remember that freak out?--and one possession during these past NBA Finals (anyone else remember this?) when the Mavericks really needed a bucket. I swear I remember that Nowitzki caught a pass, dribbled across the lane, and dished it to someone else, never to touch it again that possession. At the time I thought "wow... not heroic." (He also, as it happened, had a tough time with Udonis Haslem's defense through much of the 2006 NBA Finals. Everyone was talking about that at the time.)



Nowitzki has always been amazing at the whole "taking what the defense will give you" thing. But sometimes you have to take just a little bit more, especially in the NBA. I'd bet that's what Dwyane Wade was talking about, and in that regard I think there is a certain case to be made.



But I also think there's a case to be made that Nowitzki is the kind of player who just keeps getting better and better. It's a real tribute to him that he's not only fantastic, but still improving, even at this stage of his career. I'm prepared to believe any playoff weaknesses we may have seen thus far in his career have been growing pains, and unless some injuries reshuffle the deck, I expect Dirk to blow all our minds in the way he leads the Mavericks to the NBA title this June.
Avery Johnson and Bennett Salvatore, 2006 NBA Finals Game 5, by Ronald Martinez

As someone who loves the NBA, I hate that Bennett Salvatore played such a prominent role game five pictured above. I can't shake the feeling that it hurt the league's credibility just a little--not to mention outraging plenty of people (who would, it appears, be wise to appoint Avery Johnson as their avenger-in-chief).



This Ronald Martinez photo, one of my favorites of last season, is part of Getty Images Year in Focus, and is reprinted with permission.
In Jack McCallum's new book about the Suns, Seven Seconds or Less (which I have already raved about so much that I am beginning to impugn my own credibility) there is a fascinating bit of Kobe Bryant news:

  • When the Lakers were in Phoenix, McCallum reports, someone left a page of the Laker scouting report at the Ritz Carlton which found its way to the Suns. It reportedly read: "Everyone must contribute offensively. We can't win this series if Kobe shoots over 30 shots a game. Balance our attack."
  • Meanwhile, most of the Suns' coaching staff totally agrees. For instance, Marc Iavaroni is quoted saying " ...for every shot he makes, the other guys are saying, 'Oh shit, Kobe's doing it all again...'" On the other hand, Iavaroni says, the Lakers sometimes play with a team concept that's tougher to handle. The Suns want to avoid that.
Kevin Pelton's article from a while ago made a case (I'm paraphrasing dreadfully) that Kobe Bryant makes his teammates more effective even when he's being a ballhog. Guess that's true compared to when he's not on the floor at all. But it's fascinating that at least some of the basketball professionals on the staff of both sides in that series thought the Lakers would have a better chance of winning if Kobe Bryant shot the ball less. It's the superstar's burden, and Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Allen Iverson, and others all have to deal with it.



What's especially interesting is that the Lakers ended up losing a game seven in which Bryant was criticized for not shooting enough.
Who wants to see all that whining, when they pay to see basketball? Dave from Blazers Edge loves the idea of less complaining to referees, but has his doubts about how it will pan out over time:

First, nothing's been done to change the NBA star system. Favoritism is still alive and well. The refs will have no compunction about tossing coaches and second string point guards, but they're not going to toss the guy whose jerseys sell out in the concourse at $115 a pop. It won't take long for the big names to realize this. And if you think they're going to remain silent just to keep the appearance of fairness I've got some Braniff Airline stock to sell you. You're going to end up with a lot of guys in Portland, Seattle, Toronto, and Utah uniforms getting teed and tossed while the KGs, Kobes, Shaqs, and Wades say whatever they wish. Opposing crowds will lift irate cries for justice-bearing technicals that never come. Eventually the whole thing will be viewed as a mockery that cements the league's image problem instead of solving it.



Second, they don't often put microphones on refs but when they do it becomes evident that many disruptions are at least escalated, if not caused outright, by the referees themselves. They jaw at the players and coaches, occasionally use offensive language, and generally engage in banter that wouldn't be considered stylish at the company Christmas party. It's not every ref or every situation, but it's enough that you notice. This ruling puts far more power in the officials' hands. The criteria for offense are both nebulous and slight.
Good points all around Dave, but in the spirit of "eighteen wrongs don't make a right" I also can't see the league throwing its hands in the air and doing nothing simply because some referees are jerks or the way games have been called has always tilted in favor of stars. No, there's not going to be a perfect solution, especially in the short term. But sometimes doing your half-assed best to make the game better for the fans is worth it.



It could be part of a mini, in-game, cultural evolution. If the majority of players don't complain the majority of the time, Mark Cuban starts looking crazier and crazier on the sidelines. Now he's often joining a chorus. But eventually he might be all alone. (Dirk Nowitzki has already asked him to tone down his public complaining.)



And, I'm sure that everyone once in a while, just for good measure, superstars will get tossed. They have in the past, and they will in the future.

Monday Bullets

October, 2, 2006
10/02/06
12:53
PM ET
  • Know how many days of rest (when he wasn't filming a commercial, playing for the national team, or signing a contract extension) Dwyane Wade got this summer? One.
  • The top five moves of the off-season, from a bettor's perspective. I totally agree that T.J. Ford belongs on this list.
  • There is a knee-jerk tendency to think the Heat have made a mistake by not adding any youth this off-season, which might extend their window of opportunity to win a title. But they didn't change a thing, and Mitch Kupchak puts that in perspective for Ira Winderman: "A lot of franchises," he says, "they never actually have a window to win a championship." Message being: if Miami's window is still open now, they're in good shape. R.C. Buford, Pat Riley, and Dwyane Wade all chime in supporting roster consistency.
  • Report: Michael Heisley has agreed to sell his chunk of the Grizzlies to an outside investor. The minority owners have thirty days to match the offer, so, likely for the next month, no one knows who will own the Grizzlies. If the outside owner takes over, Jerry West is likely out of a job in a cost-cutting move. More to come later today.
  • Rick Karcher on Sports Law Blog says legal precedent dictates David Stern has to give Larry Brown all or nothing, not something in between: "A proper legal analysis here does not allow for an in-between award. IF you determine that Brown was terminated without cause, the Knicks will attempt to argue that they have been monetarily damaged as a result of Brown's criticism of players, roadside interviews and attempting to make unauthorized trades, and that the $40 million owed should be offset by the damages flowing therefrom. But the only way the Knicks could possibly be entitled to any damages as a result of these breaches would be if the Knicks asserted claims for these breaches BEFORE terminating Brown. Instead, the Knicks decided to terminate Brown, and, if they did not have the right to do so, they materially breached and are not entitled to any damages."
  • Did you notice that Gregg Popovich was called into those Larry Brown hearings in New York too? Speculation from Howard Beck: "It was not clear whether he was summoned by Brown or by the Knicks. Team officials have accused Brown of trying to broker trades last season, and it is possible that Popovich — a longtime friend — was involved in one of those discussions."
  • Basketbawful: Still plenty of reasons to hate Tony Parker.
  • NBA Blog Previews. It's big, it's bad, it's lots of bloggers previewing their teams. Thirty teams in thirty days. One of these days I'll be doing a Blazer preview.

  • Remember when the Lakers got mad at Shaquille O'Neal for waiting all summer to have surgery he couuld have had in June? Then he missed a bunch of training camp, and had to work to get in shape during the season. Well, Phil Jackson is having his hip replacement surgery now, and will miss much or all of training camp. Not suggesting for one second it was intentional. Just ironic, that's all.
  • Mark Cuban to people posting things on YouTube: "Thats right sports fans. If they know who you are, and you post something that doesnt belong to you, they might have to give you up. And if you are are the guy/girl that posts the NFL, Daily Show, Letterman highlights every night, and any of the owners of those items decide they dont want to be on youtube, then there is a good chance that your days on youtube are numbered." He also uses the phrase "more prevalent than even Dwayne Wade free throws in the finals."
  • Steve Kerr: "I think that Denver is in for a fall this year. I didn't like the way the Nuggets folded last season, losing eight of their last 12 and then getting bullied by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. I don't like Denver's chemistry, and its roster doesn't fit together. The Nuggets have no real post-up players among the bigs, and they have very poor three-point shooting."
  • New Orlando arena news with fancy graphics.
  • Those new cardiac tests the whole NBA does now? The Mavericks started it.
  • Video of a Chauncey Billups game winner.
  • Donnell Alexander has been rolling (on the little donut tire) with Ron Artest: "Ron Artest had agreed to meet me and Max, the photographer at 10 am on Sunday. Now, I’m lost in Sacramento once you talk north of Arden Fair Mall, so you know I was lost when I tried making sense of the John Doolittle country address sent to me by Ron’s label publicist. What did I expect of Ron? It’s sort of hard to say. Dude and I had met back in, I think, the spring of 1998, when I was toiling for that sports magazine. Maybe that’s why he was so cordial up in the main room of his beautiful, expansive home. More likely though is that Ron’s just an overall cool muhfucka. His kids are extremely cute and funny and his wife is hecka nice." He also has praise for the Artest album.

  • Piston Trainer Arnie Kander is the keeper of the secret remedies.
  • The Hornets are offering cash to the Oklahoma City Council as part of their relocation arrangement from last year, which called for profits over a certain amount to be shared.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com caught up with Shaquille O'Neal for a long-ish Q&A. Plenty of good stuff. Here are some of my favorite moments:



On intensity, or lack thereof, in the regular season:

We let about nine or 10 games slip away by not focusing or just by being lazy. The NBA is all about winning a certain amount of games and sitting in position for the playoffs. We wanted anywhere from one to four, those spots, any type of home-court advantage. Pat is a perfectionist, you know. He wanted us to be in first all year. But I was telling the guys, "Don't worry about it. Don't get down on yourselves. The No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 spot is fine, because I've won at every spot." So we got the No. 2 and our playoff record was set. We just had dinners. We just had meetings. We just hung out.
On Pat Riley's motivation:

Mark Cuban had already set the parade route. It was in the paper and Pat just put it on the board and said, "Take the day off. Take tomorrow off and I'll see you for the game." And we didn't practice for two days. A lot of people don't know that. We didn't even practice. Because everybody was counting us out, Mark had the parade route and he just taped it up there, handed out fliers and said, "We know what we gotta do in Game 3. I'll see you later."
On what makes Dwyane Wade so relentless:

...everybody always talks about Carmelo and LeBron and they kinda leave him out. That kinda pisses him off a little bit. It really does. It pisses him off. And I remind him all the time.
On Yao Ming's language skills:

...you know what's crazy about Yao? He speaks perfect English. A lot of people don't know that. Perfect English. When I was over there, I called him. He's like, "Whassup big fella?" Perfect English!
I realize I've been hitting the YouTube pretty hard lately. But seriously. You have to watch this. And as you do watch it, consider this: it seems to me that having Dwyane Wade in his prime on the roster, all by itself, will make it very tough for the US not to win this World Championship. Yes, because of his skills and athleticism, but mainly because of his ferocious determination. No one wants to coast playing alongside that guy. He's a jaguar on the hunt. Amazing to watch.



And, the way he blows by NBA defenders? I'd hate to be an international coach trying to draw up a defensive scheme to prevent that with a roster full of players who are, on average, not as athletic as the NBA studs he has been leaving in the dust all season.

Thursday Bullets

August, 3, 2006
8/03/06
1:11
PM ET

Tuesday Bullets

August, 1, 2006
8/01/06
1:10
PM ET
  • The Indiana Pacers have too many players. Literally. They have to get rid of some people soon.
  • The Warriors get in touch with John Canzano to say Baron Davis is absolutely not on the trading block. Canzano doesn't believe them.
  • You know those summer pickup games in Houston that have had NBA stars in them forever? Used to be the big names were guys like Sam Cassell and Clyde Drexler. Now young whipper-snappers like T.J. Ford, Gerald Green, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis, and Royal Ivey are taking over.
  • Jason Williams is recovering from surgery--which reportedly could take a while--which means the defending champions need a point guard. Ira Winderman says they had their eye on Jannero Pargo but he apparently prefers to play overseas. I'm telling you, Euroleague and the NBA are competing hardcore for talent. It's like the ABA vs. the NBA days.
  • J.A. Adande on UCLA recruit, and Oregonian, Kevin Love: "Frank Burlison has chronicled college and prep hoops for a long time, long enough not to get caught up in each and every 'next thing.' But he says Love will make the Bruins Final Four material and that he already has better low-post moves than most NBA centers."
  • Isiah Thomas and Andy Miller are using every trick in the book to pry Jared Jeffries from Washington. Burning bridges by saying publicly he doesn't want to be in Washington is only the beginning. They also structured the free agent offer sheet so that it will get the Wizards dangerously close to luxury tax territory. Why go to so much trouble? What's so great about playing for the Knicks? Frank Isola says Jeffries has known Isiah Thomas since he was 12. The Wizards have until Monday to match the offer or lose Jeffries, and Ernur Grunfeld says he'll use the whole week to make up his mind
  • European basketball nets that make a delicate fashion statement.
  • Haikus about the Lakers. Here's Shammond Williams:
Quite short shooting guard

Not good enough to play point

Two mil down the drain.

  • Four USA Basketball Players update their NBA blogs, still don't have anything interesting to say.
  • I like this though: a report from USA Basketball camp describes NBA stars playing defense like desperate college players. So fun to watch? And you know why it would't work in the NBA? Because the season is too long. Shorten the season, I say.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Etan Thomas, Jarron Collins, Brian Scalabrine, J.J. Reddick, B.J. Armstrong and others are at the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine, teaching basketball and peace to young Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Americans. I once went to a Nets game with Seeds of Peace, and blogged about it yesterday.

Tuesday Bullets

August, 1, 2006
8/01/06
1:10
PM ET
  • The Indiana Pacers have too many players. Literally. They have to get rid of some people soon.
  • The Warriors get in touch with John Canzano to say Baron Davis is absolutely not on the trading block. Canzano doesn't believe them.
  • You know those summer pickup games in Houston that have had NBA stars in them forever? Used to be the big names were guys like Sam Cassell and Clyde Drexler. Now young whipper-snappers like T.J. Ford, Gerald Green, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis, and Royal Ivey are taking over.
  • Jason Williams is recovering from surgery--which reportedly could take a while--which means the defending champions need a point guard. Ira Winderman says they had their eye on Jannero Pargo but he apparently prefers to play overseas. I'm telling you, Euroleague and the NBA are competing hardcore for talent. It's like the ABA vs. the NBA days.
  • J.A. Adande on UCLA recruit, and Oregonian, Kevin Love: "Frank Burlison has chronicled college and prep hoops for a long time, long enough not to get caught up in each and every 'next thing.' But he says Love will make the Bruins Final Four material and that he already has better low-post moves than most NBA centers."
  • Isiah Thomas and Andy Miller are using every trick in the book to pry Jared Jeffries from Washington. Burning bridges by saying publicly he doesn't want to be in Washington is only the beginning. They also structured the free agent offer sheet so that it will get the Wizards dangerously close to luxury tax territory. Why go to so much trouble? What's so great about playing for the Knicks? Frank Isola says Jeffries has known Isiah Thomas since he was 12. The Wizards have until Monday to match the offer or lose Jeffries, and Ernur Grunfeld says he'll use the whole week to make up his mind
  • European basketball nets that make a delicate fashion statement.
  • Haikus about the Lakers. Here's Shammond Williams:
Quite short shooting guard

Not good enough to play point

Two mil down the drain.

  • Four USA Basketball Players update their NBA blogs, still don't have anything interesting to say.
  • I like this though: a report from USA Basketball camp describes NBA stars playing defense like desperate college players. So fun to watch? And you know why it would't work in the NBA? Because the season is too long. Shorten the season, I say.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Etan Thomas, Jarron Collins, Brian Scalabrine, J.J. Reddick, B.J. Armstrong and others are at the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine, teaching basketball and peace to young Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Americans. I once went to a Nets game with Seeds of Peace, and blogged about it yesterday.

Tuesday Bullets

August, 1, 2006
8/01/06
1:10
PM ET
  • The Indiana Pacers have too many players. Literally. They have to get rid of some people soon.
  • The Warriors get in touch with John Canzano to say Baron Davis is absolutely not on the trading block. Canzano doesn't believe them.
  • You know those summer pickup games in Houston that have had NBA stars in them forever? Used to be the big names were guys like Sam Cassell and Clyde Drexler. Now young whipper-snappers like T.J. Ford, Gerald Green, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis, and Royal Ivey are taking over.
  • Jason Williams is recovering from surgery--which reportedly could take a while--which means the defending champions need a point guard. Ira Winderman says they had their eye on Jannero Pargo but he apparently prefers to play overseas. I'm telling you, Euroleague and the NBA are competing hardcore for talent. It's like the ABA vs. the NBA days.
  • J.A. Adande on UCLA recruit, and Oregonian, Kevin Love: "Frank Burlison has chronicled college and prep hoops for a long time, long enough not to get caught up in each and every 'next thing.' But he says Love will make the Bruins Final Four material and that he already has better low-post moves than most NBA centers."
  • Isiah Thomas and Andy Miller are using every trick in the book to pry Jared Jeffries from Washington. Burning bridges by saying publicly he doesn't want to be in Washington is only the beginning. They also structured the free agent offer sheet so that it will get the Wizards dangerously close to luxury tax territory. Why go to so much trouble? What's so great about playing for the Knicks? Frank Isola says Jeffries has known Isiah Thomas since he was 12. The Wizards have until Monday to match the offer or lose Jeffries, and Ernur Grunfeld says he'll use the whole week to make up his mind
  • European basketball nets that make a delicate fashion statement.
  • Haikus about the Lakers. Here's Shammond Williams:
Quite short shooting guard

Not good enough to play point

Two mil down the drain.

  • Four USA Basketball Players update their NBA blogs, still don't have anything interesting to say.
  • I like this though: a report from USA Basketball camp describes NBA stars playing defense like desperate college players. So fun to watch? And you know why it would't work in the NBA? Because the season is too long. Shorten the season, I say.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Etan Thomas, Jarron Collins, Brian Scalabrine, J.J. Reddick, B.J. Armstrong and others are at the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine, teaching basketball and peace to young Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Americans. I once went to a Nets game with Seeds of Peace, and blogged about it yesterday.

Tuesday Bullets

August, 1, 2006
8/01/06
1:10
PM ET
  • The Indiana Pacers have too many players. Literally. They have to get rid of some people soon.
  • The Warriors get in touch with John Canzano to say Baron Davis is absolutely not on the trading block. Canzano doesn't believe them.
  • You know those summer pickup games in Houston that have had NBA stars in them forever? Used to be the big names were guys like Sam Cassell and Clyde Drexler. Now young whipper-snappers like T.J. Ford, Gerald Green, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis, and Royal Ivey are taking over.
  • Jason Williams is recovering from surgery--which reportedly could take a while--which means the defending champions need a point guard. Ira Winderman says they had their eye on Jannero Pargo but he apparently prefers to play overseas. I'm telling you, Euroleague and the NBA are competing hardcore for talent. It's like the ABA vs. the NBA days.
  • J.A. Adande on UCLA recruit, and Oregonian, Kevin Love: "Frank Burlison has chronicled college and prep hoops for a long time, long enough not to get caught up in each and every 'next thing.' But he says Love will make the Bruins Final Four material and that he already has better low-post moves than most NBA centers."
  • Isiah Thomas and Andy Miller are using every trick in the book to pry Jared Jeffries from Washington. Burning bridges by saying publicly he doesn't want to be in Washington is only the beginning. They also structured the free agent offer sheet so that it will get the Wizards dangerously close to luxury tax territory. Why go to so much trouble? What's so great about playing for the Knicks? Frank Isola says Jeffries has known Isiah Thomas since he was 12. The Wizards have until Monday to match the offer or lose Jeffries, and Ernur Grunfeld says he'll use the whole week to make up his mind
  • European basketball nets that make a delicate fashion statement.
  • Haikus about the Lakers. Here's Shammond Williams:
Quite short shooting guard

Not good enough to play point

Two mil down the drain.

  • Four USA Basketball Players update their NBA blogs, still don't have anything interesting to say.
  • I like this though: a report from USA Basketball camp describes NBA stars playing defense like desperate college players. So fun to watch? And you know why it would't work in the NBA? Because the season is too long. Shorten the season, I say.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Etan Thomas, Jarron Collins, Brian Scalabrine, J.J. Reddick, B.J. Armstrong and others are at the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine, teaching basketball and peace to young Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Americans. I once went to a Nets game with Seeds of Peace, and blogged about it yesterday.
This is probably beating a dead horse, but remember when I did a bush-league analysis of the referees' performance in game five of the Finals?



Roland Beech of 82games.com has been wearing out the heads on his VCR showing how to do a much more sophisticated job.



I don't really want to paraphrase his extensive findings. You should read the whole thing.



But to me, the most important thing he found was this: when you analyze the questionable calls, all together, Beech found Bennett Salvatore's calls skewed heavily in favor of the Miami Heat, which was a pretty big deviation from what Beech found from the other referees.



You hear that? That's the sounds of conspiracy theorists getting all excited.


SPONSORED HEADLINES