TrueHoop: Kendall Marshall
- Thank you, Bruce Arthur, for compiling "The year in lip," the most hilarious sports quotes of 2012.
- Andrew Han of ClipperBlog estimates that, coming into the 2012-13 season, Vinny Del Negro had served as an NBA head coach for 10,080 hours. Those who subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule would note that that's the amount of time it takes for a person to achieve mastery at a skill: "Another factor in parsing out Del Negro’s evolution is what David Thorpe refers to as “royal jelly”; the stuff that turns baby bees into queens. Thorpe suggests that some players would be able to thrive anywhere. But others need the right environment, the proper nurturing to reach their potential. Without it, these players could struggle or even fall out of the league. This could be a case of royal jelly not being just for the players, but for the coach as well. Maybe being paired with the smartest point guard in the league, three of the most coach-ready active players ... is what will enable Del Negro’s continued improvement. Already, this season, the Clippers run cleaner sets out of timeouts. Vinny’s rotations, substitution patterns and timeouts hint at a definable thought-process."
- Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold sees a Lakers team under Mike D'Antoni running sets and working within schemes that would look at home in a Mike Brown playbook.
- Brook Lopez makes strong reads without the ball, and destroyed Cleveland and Charlotte over the weekend. Beckley Mason of the New York Times: "Though Lopez actually does pretty well from the post, he is not a great passer, and the Nets prefer to make him the finisher rather than the creator. Against the Cavaliers, the Nets frequently used Lopez in early pick-and-rolls. Deron Williams is a master of the pocket bounce pass, and a couple of times he found Lopez on the roll where the seven-footer could pull off his odd but effective lunging finishes. But even when the Cavaliers rotated to take away the initial pass, Lopez was still able to establish great position for a post up. It’s an action the San Antonio Spurs have used for a decade to get Tim Duncan to his preferred spot on the left block and one that can be similarly effective for the Nets. Perhaps we will see a steadier stream of Lopez-Williams pick-and-rolls to initiate the Nets offense going forward."
- Gregg Popovich tells the San Antonio Express-News' Jeff McDonald that he still hasn't been informed by the NBA what the guidelines are for resting players in the regular season.
- A most unlikely tandem is named the NBA's Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week.
- Tom Ziller of SB Nation names Jimmer Fredette as his early favorite for Most Improved Player: "Jimmer doesn't even resemble the confused, overwhelmed rookie we saw in Sacramento a year ago. Last season, Fredette was an infrequent scorer, a poor shooter, an iffy passer and an overmatched defender. This season, he's a really frequent scorer, a dope shooter, a decent passer and ... well, an overmatched defender. The calling card to Jimmer's improvement is this: Thanks to improved shooting and more aggression, his points per 36 minutes has risen from 14 to 22. Right now, he sits behind a (mostly) elite list of scorers in scoring frequency: 'Melo, Kobe, KD, LeBron, Harden, Kyrie, Brook Lopez, Chris Copeland (I said mostly) and D-Wade."
- The Score's slideshow of the year's 26 most Outrageous NBA outfits is such fun viewing, it's destined for syndication.
- The Raptors have won seven of eight, and Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic has some New Year's resolutions for the newly resolute Raps.
- As a kid, Kendall Marshall once camped out with his Dad at the mall at 4 a.m. to be the fourth and fifth people in line for a pair of Altitude 13s.
- For $2,000, Vin Baker will be your fourth on the links, and will regale you with stories of life in the NBA. Or, for the same amount, Anthony Mason will hang out at your fantasy basketball draft for a couple of hours or, better yet, your Bar Mitzvah.
- It's hard not to be impressed with the condiment selection at T.J. Ford's house.
December, 26, 2012
- From Pablo S. Torre's ESPN The Magazine feature on Kyrie Irving, what every eager young basketball player should have in the drawers of his nightstand: pork rinds and Sour Patch Kids.
- At BallerBall, an expanded visual of Russell Westbrook's legs at a 105-degree angle as he launched Oklahoma City's final field goal attempt -- the most controversial shot of Christmas.
- Royce Young of Daily Thunder tackles the prickly question of Kendrick Perkins' usefulness and wonders why Kevin Martin and not Thabo Sefolosha was on the floor for a crucial defensive possession in the game's closing seconds that resulted in an easy bucket for Chris Bosh.
- A video roundup of the notable Christmas Day commercial spots featuring big-name NBA players.
- How many minutes should an NBA coach play a raw, young player? That's one of the most contentious debates in the NBA, and it's one that can drive a wedge between a head coach and management, a fan base and its team, young guys and oldsters in a locker room. Andre Drummond has put up solid numbers per minute in Detroit, but he's not seeing all that many minutes.
- Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting implores Raymond Felton, who has only seven functional fingers, to take a night off: "At last, we may have found the injury threshold at which Raymond achieves self awareness. Yes, Ray. Take the night off. Take a couple if you have to. I don't know why having sore, lifeless hands emboldens Felton to attempt MORE feats of dexterity (now attempting 19 shots per game in December after 14.2 per game in November), but it's really not helping matters."
- Andrew Han of ClipperBlog factored the decision-making judgment of Caron Butler: "Midway through the third quarter, on a secondary break, Caron Butler pulled up for a wide-open 3-pointer. Open as far as the eye can see. So open, in fact, that when he elevated, Iguodala (who was 10 feet away) simply turned around to seek out the impending rebound. But Butler didn’t shoot it. He dished it to an equally wide-open Willie Green for a corner-3, who promptly drained it. I mention it because I wondered why Butler passed on his shot; he’s been an effective 3-point shooter this season. And so I checked the stats: Caron Butler: 37.8% 3PT% from above-the-break-3. Willie Green: 48.3% 3PT% from the corner-3. They were similarly wide open, but Butler understood that the corner-3 is a higher percentage shot, and a much higher one for Willie Green. You play the hand you’re dealt. And while, to others, it seems like you’re on a hot streak, it’s all about counting the odds."
- Jamal Crawford with a move Billy Crystal calls "Shabbat Shalom" ... even on a Tuesday night.
- Keith Smart cast his lot with DeMarcus Cousins last season, a gambit that's become a lot more dicey for the Kings' head coach in his second season with the organization.
- Warriors rookie Draymond Green can't shoot, lacks a natural position even by the more fluid definitions of today's NBA and is putting up some ugly numbers. So how come the Warriors are inordinately better when he's on the floor?
- Something to contemplate as the Hornets get ready for the return of Eric Gordon -- he's a sturdy, efficient defender.
- The Washington Wizards don't do much of anything right, but as Jordan Khan of Bullets Forever illustrates, they sort of know how to press.
- Kendall Marshall celebrates the miracle of touchpads.
- 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."
July, 22, 2012
By Andrew Lynch, Hardwood Paroxysm
- The Bobcats brought a large chunk of their regular-season roster to Las Vegas Summer League, and it's shown. James Herbert of Hardwood Paroxysm shared his thoughts on the new additions and what they might mean for Kemba Walker. Is Walker primed for a breakout season? As Herbert points out, there was no summer league prior to Walker's rookie season. He and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are making the most of their opportunity this year to develop a rapport. That chemistry and Walker's emergence as a leader will go a long way toward determining how this season goes for Charlotte.
- The word around Kings observers, both writers and fans alike, is how poorly Jimmer Fredette has played this summer. Over at Cowbell Kingdom, James Ham gets to the root of Fredette's problem: "Jimmer Fredette is too nice. He wants to fit in too badly. He doesn’t want to steal the spotlight, he just wants to be one of the guys and by doing so, he has lost the edge that made him great."
- Andrew McNeill recaps Cory Joseph's struggles Friday night, when Joseph turned the ball over 10 times, as well as how summer league as a whole went for the Spurs. Joseph's disappointment in his own play shows he's committed to getting better. That's been a common sentiment among young players who have struggled here in Las Vegas. Overall, the week was a success for both Joseph and the Spurs.
- When the Phoenix Suns signed Goran Dragic and drafted Kendall Marshall, there was talk about pairing the two in the backcourt. Regardless of that possibility, the Suns re-signed Shannon Brown to a two-year, $7 million deal to shore up their depth on the wing. Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns details how that deal fits into Phoenix's long-term cap situation. That story also includes a quote from Grant Hill indicating Hill would have liked to return to Phoenix. He, of course, ended up in Los Angeles, across the hallway in Staples Center from Steve Nash.
- The team that dines together garners gold medals together. Don't let the demonic look on Anthony Davis' face distract you from the real star of this picture -- Chris Paul's shirt. Even Russell Westbrook has to respect that sartorial selection.
- One of the scariest moments of summer league was Portland's Nolan Smith falling to the floor after a hard foul earlier in the week. Smith suffered a concussion and was taken off the court on a stretcher. He should be fine going forward; said Smith, "I’ll just keep playing with the same confidence and just being aggressive. That’s when I’m at my best. This injury isn’t going to slow me down."
- Greg Stiemsma is living the dream for which so many summer league participants are striving. The restricted free agent has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the same team that offered him his first NBA contract way back on April 13, 2010.
- The curious case of the vanishing Terrico White and his re-emergence with the Los Angeles Clippers' squad this summer.
- Even the referees at summer league are looking to capture the memories of their week in Las Vegas.
- For my money, the most fascinating team in action has been the D-League Select team, which vanquished the Phoenix Suns on Friday night and held a 45-35 lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves at halftime Saturday evening before eventually losing 86-78. The Select players are playing with the massive chip on their shoulder that one would expect from those who see themselves as just as talented as the franchise-affiliated summer league invitees.