TrueHoop: Kwame Brown
- 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."
"Leadership" is one of those tricky things to define. It can be quietly dignified, boisterously vocal, even late-blooming. Does your team have it? The TrueHoop Network sorts through the distinctions:
Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell: "In San Antonio, everything is measured in championships. No one gets too excited about another pedestrian playoff appearance. These things are expected. A couple weeks back when the Spurs clinched, we all yawned. But this was, perhaps, the worst regular season of the Tim Duncan era. 54-28 is scraping the bottom of the injury-tarnished barrel. This season felt like a nadir. The Big 3 missed over 50 games. The team never developed a rhythm. It just punched its way to 54. It was a struggle. Last night's OT victory against the Hornets was, in many ways, an ending fitting for the start. On the season the Spurs played in 18 one-possession games and 6 overtimes, 3 of which doubled-up the extra stanzas. But for the Spurs to have fought their way there is no less glorious than if they had arrived on cruise control. This regular season was remarkable in its own way. Let's not lose sight of these easily overlooked achievements, even if they're only silhouettes standing against a much brighter light. Let's not take them for granted. Greatness is measured in the 'small' things too."
Rob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "With the playoffs looming and the Mavs playing their best basketball of the season, one can't help but feel the slightest bit of optimism. Without the weight of expectation, Dallas might just be ready to soar. It's what I want to believe and what I hope. But all of that hope, the very basis of that possibility, hinges upon the ability of this team to maintain a certain level of consistency. As I understand it, the source of that consistency is solid leadership ... For the Mavs, that responsibility falls on Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry. Each can dominate the opposition on the court, and each brings a different dimension to leadership on the hardwood. Dirk is the face of the franchise, the best player on the team, and the established star. Jason Kidd has a winning pedigree, Hall of Fame credentials, and a reputation for leadership based on the nature of his position. Jason Terry's play begs for him to assume the role, and his rapport with the fans and his teammates don't disagree."
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold: "For a long time, Mitch Kupchak was the guy that couldn't get the job done. He was the man who couldn't build a team. He was the butt of fans jokes and the victim of media scorn. It seemed like Mitch would never measure up to the man we called the Logo ... This was our GM? I mean, this was the guy that traded Shaq. The man that thought it was a good idea to exchange Caron Butler for Kwame Brown. The guy that signed Smush Parker and then kept him. The guy that made a lottery pick out of an unproven center straight from high school ... over more proven college players who could have helped the team right away. Needless to say, there was definitely reason for concern about the direction of this franchise. But what none of us understood was that Mitch had a vision of a team and he had the patience to execute his plan. Throughout all the criticism that he received, he never wavered from the path that he laid out to rebuild and transition the Lakers from a Shaq-centric team to one that could compete with Kobe Bryant at its nexus. We just had to wait for it to all come together."
THE FINAL WORD
Hardwood Paroxysm: A visual montage of everything you love about the NBA Playoffs.
Piston Powered: It's the bench.
Valley of the Suns: Grant Hill, Basketball Professional.
(Photos by D. Lippitt/Einstein, Barry Gossage, Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)