TrueHoop: Anthony Tolliver
- NBA stars are severely underpaid vis-a-vis their market value to their sport. They're not the only ones. From Paul Doyle, a track and field agent, via Sports Illustrated and Forbes: "'Bolt is the highest-paid athlete in the history of track and field, but he’s also probably the most underpaid athlete in the history of track and field.' ... His appearance at the Penn Relays in 2010 resulted in the highest single day attendance (54,310) in the event’s 118-year history."
- Younger (and newer) Clippers fans need to appreciate that if some of the longstanding fans of Clipper Nation seem cautious headed into 2012-13, they have their reasons. From John Raffo of Clips Nation: "I'm old enough (and grey enough) to have seen this before. Twice before. While, admittedly the long winter of the nineties is not nearly as interminable as the distance between 2005-6 and now, but I believe I've learned my lesson. Unless the Clippers are very very careful, unless they commit to inspired coaching and visionary management."
- As Rob Mahoney writes at The Two Man Game, teambuilding is rarely a linear process. And at Red94, Rahat Huq wonders if most "young cores" are destined to fail.
- Philadunkia's Tom Sunnergren chats with new Sixer Nick Young. If anyone in Philly has a place to lease, Swaggy P is looking.
- Former Atlanta Hawks standout Dan Roundfield tragically died while swimming in Aruba. Roundfield was a pro's pro -- a dogged defensive player and a three-time All-Star while with the Hawks. Danny Solomon, a Hawks ballboy during the 1980s and my classmate at the Hebrew Academy of Atlanta, told the AJC's Michael Cunningham that Roundfield was “the nicest dude in the world," but that, "[b]ack then, all the centers were very, very strong. That’s back when it was ‘real’ basketball and if you tried to go to the hole against a guy like Roundfield, you would go straight down to the floor. He was known for being really rough. He was a stud down low."
- Chris Bernucca of Sheridan Hoops runs down the remainders in the free agent market. The list isn't void of useful players: Carlos Delfino, Anthony Tolliver, Mickael Pietrus and Jannero Pargo might not be world-beaters, but worse players have been signed to guaranteed deals this offseason.
- When economist Tyler Cowen hosts a talk, he often has the audience write out questions in advance. Cowen says that, at one recent event, "I was asked about Jeremy Lin, and whether he or LeBron James did more to maximize global wealth. I suggested that Lin did more to maximize utility, as his fame in Asia did not much detract from the fame of any other NBA player, but that LeBron did more to maximize wealth, in part through endorsement income."
- Get ready for the "Obama Classic" with Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Patrick Ewing.
- A man from central Illinois is picking up and moving his family to Haiti to build a basketball court and to teach.
- Attention Phoenix press corps, especially those in the locker room: Kendall Marshall values his personal space.
- Your team has finally clawed its way out of futility and has a reasonable chance to sneak into the postseason as a low seed. If they do, they'll forfeit their draft pick. That's the rub with the Detroit Pistons heading into 2012-13. Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered, writing for the Detroit Free Press, explores this internal conflict.
- Rahat Huq of Red94 writes a smart postmortem of the Kyle Lowry-Goran Dragic era in Houston: "Lowry stands as perhaps Morey’s crowning achievement, reeled in for Rafer Alston’s corpse (a return value less than some carbonated beverages). The 25-year-old seemed on a sure path to All-Stardom and might have made the team this year had his own team won more games. No one played harder than Lowry and from the start, no one more seemed like a natural leader. Word of the discord with Kevin McHale came as shocking."
- Zach Lowe of Point Forward sizes up the Western Conference's middle class. The big question for a bunch of those teams? The defense.
- Ben Swanson of Rufus on Fire delves into Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap's persona as a first-year NBA coach, but basketball lifer: "Mike Dunlap is typically characterized as a general, which is apt. He's what people call in layman's terms a 'hard-ass.' He's fiery, passionate and particular. And Dunlap's forceful, in a guiding way. As Byron Mullens can attest, he'll rip a guy apart, but to build him up even higher. Dunlap thrusts himself into practices, instructing on driving angles, tweaking shooting form, setting picks. The more you see and read about him, the more you realized change is well on its way. He will be the fire beneath the feet of every player on this roster."
- Brett Koremenos of The Post Game handicaps the four teams capable of challenging Team USA in London.
- Rob Mahoney of the New York Times on the emerging chemistry of LeBron James and Kevin Durant: "Team U.S.A. has constructed an organized set that brought the N.B.A.’s two best players into glorious concert. James and Durant run unconventional pick-and-roll style plays on their respective N.B.A. teams, but bringing them together makes for an impossible cover."
- Chills for New York sports fans: Marv Albert rehearsing the opening night call between the Nets and Knicks.
- New Clipper Grant Hill is such a good dude and had such remarkable skills in his prime that he compelled ClipperBlog's D.J. Foster to wear this around town as a kid.
- It's never a rivalry until some local pol opens his mouth. (Hat tip: Chris Hooker of Nets Are Scorching)
- Anthony Tolliver's household is embroiled in a debate of enormous consequences (via Twitter): "CAN PIZZA BE LEFT ON THE COUNTER OVERNIGHT AND STILL BE EATEN THE NEXT DAY? I need answers!"
- Marketplace's Tess Vigeland chats with Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner about whether hosting the Olympics pays off.
- Mad Men's John Hamm (Don Draper) explains to Vanity Fair why the presidential election is like the NBA season.
- Phoenix rookie Kendall Marshall is clearly not a grammarian.
- A 25-minute documentary on the Coen Brothers' classic, "Fargo."
December, 28, 2011
- Kyle Weidie of Truth About It offers up a multimedia presentation of how Deron Williams tied the Wizards in knots with ball screens.
- The Heat posted unsightly numbers against the Celtics' zone on Tuesday night but, as Zach Lowe of The Point Forward writes, the Heat had a coherent strategy to combat it: "A great example came with about 3:30 left in the game, when the Heat flashed a key potential zone antidote they used a lot: starting a possession with one of their wing stars (Dwyane Wade on this one) as the only person on one entire side of the floor (the left side in this case). That forced the Boston defense to tilt heavily to the right, where James handled the ball on the outside, near all his teammates except Wade. As LeBron dribbled, Chris Bosh flashed from the top of the three-point arc to below the foul line, drawing the man closest to Wade (Dooling) down into the paint, and forcing him to temporarily turn his back to Wade. At that exact moment, LeBron tossed a pass to Wade, who caught it on the move toward the middle of the floor, his momentum taking him the opposite direction as Boston’s defenders, including Dooling, now tilting madly from James’ side of the floor to Wade’s. Wade did not hestitate: With Dooling wrong-footed, Wade drove into the paint, where Dooling fouled him. Without a shot, the play almost vanishes from game logs everywhere, but it represents one key way the Heat can combat a zone; both James and Wade got layups against it out of action just like this."
- Historiographers have identified the origins of sports panic -- the phenomenon dates back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th Century. Is it time to panic in Boston?
- Tony Allen kindly asks that you set up your voicemail already.
- You should buy the full 2011-12 PDF from Basketball Prospectus, but if you want the crib notes from Kevin Pelton -- a single paragraph and projected record for each of the 30 teams -- click here.
- An interview with Clippers vice president of basketball operations Neil Olshey at Yahoo! Radio.
- Be Milwaukee!
- The Trail Blazers are 2-0 and when you take inventory of LaMarcus Aldridge's versatility as a big man and the smart pieces around them, they look primed for a pretty decent season. Tom Ziller of SB Nation: "[T]he way in which the Blazers have played, mixing the tough defense you know Gerald Wallace and Wesley Matthews will bring with the smooth scoring ability of LaMarcus Aldridge and deft shooting of Matthews and Nicolas Batum, mixed with able playmaking from Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby -- despite the caveats and despite the great misfortune of losing Brandon Roy forever and Greg Oden for a while longer, Portland looks like a real contender in the West."
- The Bucks led the Timberwolves 94-84 with under 4:00 remaining. Then Minnesota ripped off an 8-0 run to close the deficit to two points. The lineup on the floor for the Timberwolves? Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Anthony Tolliver. Zach Harper describes the final play call of a frustrating night for Minnesota: "Finding themselves down three with seven seconds left, they devised a play without much action away from the ball to free up Kevin Love for the game-tying attempt. Love set a down screen for Luke which enabled Luke to catch the ball roughly 35 feet from the basket. Love then set a screen for Wes near the top of the arc and then ran to the other win. Luke took two dribbles passed it to Love and he took a contested 3-pointer with four seconds left. It was one of the most basic plays you would ever find coming out of a timeout and it resulted in Love taking a contested 26-footer to try to tie the game."
- Bret LaGree of Hoopinion on Joe Johnson: "Can still get anywhere he wants on the floor, presuming where he wants to get isn't within 15 feet of the basket."
- Want to talk Pacers-Raps after tonight's game? Visit with Jared Wade and Tim Donahue on Pacers Talk Live at Eight Points, Nine Seconds.
- Ricky Davis will start his NBA comeback as a Red Claw.
- NBA commentators put Google+ hangout to use.
- Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: "Last night there was a pick-up game played at Verizon Center on our practice court. There were many NBA players in attendance and a few NBA All-Stars played as well. I stumbled into watching purely by accident. Gilbert Arenas played last night. It was a very good evening of basketball. Gil -- our All-Star --matched up against another NBA All-Star. It was quite a show and quite a display of talent. I won’t comment yet on Gilbert or who was in the gym last night but suffice to say Gilbert looked trim, fit and explosive. His shot was sweet and he did one left handed dunk that was something to see. It had everyone talking. I was impressed and am happy." (Update via an email from Unprofessional Foul: Was it Chris Paul?)
- Andrew A. McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell uses some sharp diagrams to illustrate San Antonio's prompt, low-risk, stay-at-home defensive principles.
- On the heels of the presentation of the prestigious Fields Medal to French mathematician Cedric Villani, Tom Ziller of AOL FanHouse asks, "Does defense really come down to atomic physics?"
- Steve Perrin of Clips Nation on Eric Gordon's inclusion on Team USA's final roster: "He came in less well known than many of the other players, a fact that Coach K acknowledged last week. But his work ethic in practice and his solid play on the court has given Team USA no choice but to keep him. He may be less flashy than the other guards on the team, but coaches tend to covet solid unspectacular play, especially from their role players. EJ plays unrelenting man to man defense, he doesn't need the ball on offense, he moves the ball well, and in the end Coach K and his staff appreciated the little things he was doing. It hasn't hurt that he has lived up to his reputation as a knockdown shooter."
- It hasn't been all confetti and champagne for the Lakers since 2000. Jeff Skibiski of Forum Blue & Gold walks you through the Lakers' 10 most forgettable moments of the decade.
- Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns says Phoenix could actually field a five-man small forward unit if it wants to: "Such a small forward lineup could put Hedo Turkoglu at the point, Josh Childress at the two, Grant Hill at his natural three, Jared Dudley at the four and Earl Clark at the five."
- Dudley asks a pretty interesting question via Twitter: "Imagine if the NBA had Int rules.. U think the All Star teams would be different?"
- Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company on why the grass is greener for Carmelo Anthony in Denver.
- Milwaukee did some intriguing things to its roster this offseason -- some of them curious, some of them clever. However we size up John Hammond's maneuvering, one thing is clear: The Bucks should finish at the rim at a measurably higher percentage this upcoming season.
- Mark Cuban says it's time to stay liquid: " If you don’t fully understand the risks of an investment you are contemplating, it’s ok to do nothing. In times of massive uncertainty like we are facing today, doing nothing is a valid and IMHO preferable investment strategy. Just put your money in the bank."
- Rob Mahoney of Pro Basketball Talk on Andre Iguodala's role on Team USA: "Iggy is easily Team USA's top perimeter defender, but offensively, he moves the ball, is a decent spot-up option (just don't ask him to shoot off the dribble...yeesh), and is a good positional rebounder."
- Some video of Wizards draft pick Kevin Seraphin.
- When Gary Grant ruled the world ... for one night.
- How to apply your childhood piano lessons to your NBA viewing habits.
- If the Wizards win 50 games this upcoming season, credit the new red stairs in the Verizon Center.
- Via J.E. Skeets, Living and Dying by the Jazz unearths some sharp threads from Jerry Sloan's playing days with the Bulls.
- FreeDarko revisits how Kwame Brown came to be a No 1 draft pick and the hazards of the pre-draft workout.
- In retrospect, exactly how bad for Cleveland was the Luke Jackson pick at No. 10 in the 2004 draft?
- Press row will be a cozier place next season in Miami.
- Somewhere in Italy is a bedroom treasure trove of NBA goodies.
- The Warriors have made crafty use of the D-League in recent seasons. Rasheed Malek of Warriors World tells D-League Digest's Matt Hubert: "Players such as Kelenna Azubuike, C.J. Watson and Reggie Williams are some of the players who’ve secured multi-year deals from NBA teams after initially being called up by the Warriors from the D-League. Add in other players such as Anthony Tolliver and Chris Hunter who’ve experienced significant playing time with the Warriors and it’s clear that the Warriors are the model franchise when it comes to utilizing the D-League."
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