TrueHoop: Michael Redd
- Jason Richardson was hoping to go as one half of Milli Vanilli for Halloween, but might have to settle for Cameo.
- Del Harris, now in a dual role as head coach and general manager of the D-League's Texas Legends, tells Rob Mahoney of the Two Man Game that he's been working with advanced stats for decades: "I’ve been doing metric analyses since the 60s and was the first in a lot of areas in the 80s to implement electronic data systems and things when I was coach and Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bucks. Then that continued on with the Mavericks in a more elaborate system of metrics. But the basic metrics that I use for coaching a game really only involve basic chart-keeping, so we will be utilizing things that I’ve done for over 40 years to evaluate our points per possession, our pace of the game, our momentum. I can train a guy to do that in 10 minutes."
- From Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Major League Baseball has put the kibosh on Dirk Nowitzki's throwing out the first pitch in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night in Arlington, Tex.
- Hakeem Olajuwon and LeBron James, all smiles.
- One of the few beneficiaries of the NBA lockout -- the Basketball Channel. They'll stream yet another star-studded exhibition on Sunday, this one in Oklahoma City.
- The Lakers had the most expensive secondary -- or resale -- tickets in the NBA last season, while the Pistons were the cheapest ticket in the league. Of note: the Raptors placed 5th, the Clippers 9th and the Jazz 28th.
- The Timberwolves were markedly better with Wes Johnson on the floor. Ben Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves has a theory: "First, despite his inexperience in most phases of the game, Johnson moves the ball willingly and with some vision. Second, Johnson was second-to-last on the Wolves in usage last season, ahead of only Anthony Tolliver. He didn’t shoot well, but he also didn’t shoot too much or turn the ball over too prodigiously. On a team with Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Jonny Flynn contributing a full portion of heedlessness each, such judicious self-awareness counts as a genuine skill."
- In its Euroleague opener, CSKA never stops moving against the zone -- and all that motion pays off. For a primer of Euroleague's first round, visit The Painted Area.
- More impressions of Michael Redd, who has likely played his last game as a Buck, from the gang at Bucksketball.
- Four players have won titles in both NBA and Euroleague. Can you name them?
- Mark Ginocchio's enduring love affair with Drazen Petrovic continues, as Nets Are Scorching counts down the 44 greatest Nets of all time: "I would argue that Petrovic IS the Nets in a solitary player encapsulation. A guy who couldn’t break into the rotation of a far superior team who emerged as a borderline all-star with the Nets only to shockingly die less than two years later. The other elements -- his PER, his scoring average, his lack of an All-Star Game appearance, his intentions to leave the US after the 92-93 season -- come across as irrelevant when you think of Petro in these terms. He is both what’s awesome and overwhelmingly depressing about being a Nets fan wrapped into one player. Someone who was never expected to amount to much, yet left us before we could actually say without question what he was actually worth to the organization."
- Trolling for celebrities who could potentially buy the Hornets.
- A gay American playing professional basketball in Europe comes out to an old friend back in the U.S. via text.
- Shop early and stuff your stocking with Goodman League swag. Proceeds go to Project GiveBack in Washington.
- On LeBron James, straw men, a hero's journey and conspiracy theories.
The Dallas Mavericks were outscored by 16 with Chandler on the floor, outscored by 10 with Nowitzki on the court, and outscored by nine with Jason Kidd a part of the action. But somehow, when Mahinmi was on the court, they outscored the Cavaliers by 22.
Mahinmi scored 11 points, fewer than fellow bench mates Jason Terry (23) and Shawn Marion (17), but his presence was beneficial to a 60-point bench effort.
Coincidence or not, it was an unusual game for Mahinmi, whose 20 minutes were one shy of his season high. He typically sees only a few minutes of action and had more games with a negative plus-minus rating (15) than a positive one (12) this season prior to Monday.
It was part of an odd statistical night in the NBA, one in which Carmelo Anthony scored 50 points, the first 50-point no-assist game in the NBA since Michael Redd for the 2006-07 Milwaukee Bucks.
Anthony didn’t have any assists, but helped his teammates with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. A check of Basketball-Reference.com shows that he’s the seventh player in the last 25 seasons with a 50-point/10-rebound/3-block game, and he’s in extraordinary company. The others to do that are Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Nowitzki.
The evening was also unusual in that the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New Orleans Hornets for the second time in two meetings this season. Minnesota is unbeaten against New Orleans, but 10-39 against everybody else.
Kevin Love, helped by going 14-for-14 at the free throw line, scored 27 points and had 17 rebounds, his 37th straight double-double, tying Kevin Garnett’s team record.
A double-double in his next game would give Love the longest double-double streak since Moses Malone ran off 44 for the 1980-81 Houston Rockets.
Today marks the beginning of the NBA's third season -- the free agency chase and transactional bonanza. The Bucks have a mess on their hands with the departure of Charlie Villanueva. Meanwhile, Ben Gordon and the Bulls enter their third year of contract negotiations.
Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm: "In theory, you shouldn't let go of assets without compensation. C-Nuv is a fairly valuable player, as evidenced by the insane amount of money the Pistons will pay him shortly. But did the Bucks really have any call to re-sign him? Was there really any possibility that a non-star scorer should be at the core of this team, tying the purse strings and giving Scott Skiles an aneurysm? [Charlie] Villanueva is a better talent than [Ramon] Sessions, and one that fills what is likely a greater need in regards to both position and skill. Yet, when it came down to deciding between the two, the Bucks' hands were tied. Sessions isn't likely to receive anything more than the midlevel, while the subtle sexiness of Villanueva's game could net him some serious dough. I'm definitely of the opinion that he doesn't deserve that kind of cash to begin with, but that's not really the issue here. The market for Villanueva's services is about to be set, and we'll soon see that the Bucks never really stood a chance. Even if the Bucks reserved the right to match offers for Charlie, the decision was never really theirs. The Bucks' hands were tied when they signed Bobby Simmons to an absurd contract, when they gave Michael Redd more money than he was worth, and when they made Dan Gazuric the richest man ever named Dan Gadzuric. Some of that is mismanagement and some of it is the horrors of small market basketball, but all of it has ensured that Villanueva isn't sticking around with the Bucks."
Matt McHale of By the Horns: "Losing [Ben] Gordon -- his 20 PPG, his big shot-making ability, his enormous biceps -- would partially cripple the Bulls this season, even as it left them with some serious financial flexibility going into the already-fabled Summer of 2010 ... Keeping Gordon would almost certainly mean shipping off Kirk Hinrich, which would sort of make team defense the sacrificial lamb. And who, exactly, would back up Derrick Rose? A sign-and-trade involving Gordon is possible, too. Man, anything seems possible at this point. How long has Gordon's contract been an issue? Three straight summers now? ... However this thing ends, one thing is certain: The Baby Bulls Era is over. Team building blocks are going to be discarded and rearranged. In all likelihood, this squad will look remarkably different in the next year or so. Something unknown (and, currently, unknowable) is being put together here in Chicago, we just don't know what it is yet…and we don't know whether Ben Gordon will be a part of it. "
Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell: "When the dust settles, Kobe Bryant will have played the majority of his career between two definitive eras. Between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. I suspect Kobe Bryant will be remembered as the best player of his era, but careful historians with caution against a quick response to the question. Kobe is not alone. Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal stand alongside him as the defining players of the post-Jordan/pre-Lebron parenthetical. All three players have won 4 championships. Their accomplishments surpass Hall of Fame talk. They walk where Kobe walks. But here's where it gets fun. LeBron James and Dwight Howard are pounding on the gate, but they've not yet stormed the castle. There is still time for Kobe, Duncan and Shaq to break the tie that exists between them. It's early to say this, but the 2009-10 season will feature 5 legitimate contenders: the Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, Magic, and Celtics. The Nuggets and Blazers could get there, but are still wait and see. Three of the five surefire contenders feature Shaq, Duncan or Kobe. The stage is set for a proper send off. It's not too late to arrive at a definitive answer to the question of who claimed majority ownership of this decade."
THE FINAL WORD
Orlando Magic Daily: Your Orlando Magic, summer league edition.
Warriors World: A Q & A with Davidson assistant James Fox about Stephen Curry.
Cavs the Blog: Learn more about Tarence Kinsey.
(Photos by Rocky Widner, Larry W. Smith, Harry How/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James, jump shooter? Michael Redd, the paragon of offensive efficiency? Julian Wright, the answer to the Hornets' depth problems? The TrueHoop Network explains all.
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Now, everyone pretty much can agree that LeBron shooting more Jumpers would be a bad thing -- the league's absolute best jump shooters off the dribble shoot jumpers at around an eFG of 47%, and LeBron's overall field goal percentage is at 50%, and when he's at the basket he converts 72% of his opportunities, and that's before you factor in the fouls he draws.
So the theory goes that his making more jumpers would not only help his percentage by having him make the shots he's going to take anyways, but that having a good jumper would 'open up' his game and allow him more space for drives to the basket.
Tonight's game stood as direct evidence against that theory. For the second straight game, LeBron was uncharacteristically unable to finish at the rim early (4-9 in the immediate basket area), or get foul calls. (4 free throws all night, with two of them coming from a dead-ball foul)
So in the third quarter, LeBron went to the perimeter and started firing deep twos. And making them. LeBron had a 14-point quarter, but it didn't open up any more driving lanes-in fact, it just made him shoot more jumpers, as every field goal attempt LeBron shot in the 3rd was from outside the paint. And since all of LeBron's non-layup or dunk shots come against the 1st defender, it didn't open up lanes for his teammates either-the offense became entirely dependant on LeBron making very tough shots, and LeBron went 1-6 on jumpers in the 4th before just deciding to screw it and flying through the entire defense for two left-handed layups, including one after they tried to double-team him 30 feet away from the hoop. Again, LeBron bailed the team out by making the shots."
Rob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "The Mavs could do no right in their 133-99 humbling by the shooting hand of the Milwaukee Bucks, an outing in which the Mavs' offense came up as lame as its defense. If you name a classic defensive blunder, it's likely that the Mavs committed it in this one; the gambles were fruitless, the close-outs on shooters were awful, and the rotations were either sloppy or nonexistent. Milwaukee simply ran a relay race last night, with the baton passing from Ramon Sessions (perfect 7-7 from the field) to Richard Jefferson (near triple-double) to Charlie Villanueva (32 and 10) to Michael Redd (27 points on 16 shots). Not only could the Mavs not keep pace overall, but were virtually beaten at every position. This game is certainly Exhibit A1 in the case against the Mavs' defense."
Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: "Four losses in five games later and the Suns are moving further and further behind the pack in the West, lucky to stay in a playoff spot if the season ended today only because of the struggles of Dallas after their 114-109 loss in New York. In that stretch the Suns have lost to two teams they should have beaten (Minnesota, Knicks) and suffered an embarrassing blowout (Boston) after losing a hard-fought overtime game in Denver. And nobody has any clue just where the Suns are right now."
THE FINAL WORD Hardwood Paroxysm: Kicking off the "88 Lines About 30 Teams" series. Roundball Mining Company: A video demonstration of why the Nuggets might want to rethink their defensive strategy on the perimeter. Hornets247: Julian Wright builds his case.
I have been hearing whispers.
In defiance of everything you have ever heard about professional athletes, I have heard some tales lately of this or that player who is either a virgin, or is in some kind of revirginizing celibacy process.
Not the kind of thing you can get people to talk about much "on the record" in my experience, but ESPN's Chris Broussard did! Check out this passage of Broussard's profile of Milwaukee's Michael Redd:
A preacher's kid and devout Christian, he's known as a man of his word.
Who is going to question an NBA star who, because of his religious beliefs, was celibate for three-and-a-half years before he tied the knot in August 2006?
Honeys knocked on his door at 2 a.m., followed him to his car after games and left seductive messages on his phone, but through it all he was faithful, to his Lord and to his future wife, Achea. His teammates thought he was crazy.
"You gay, man?" they asked. "Scared?"
Once they realized he was neither, they got behind his decision.
"We used to joke with Mike about it," guard Mo Williams says. "But we never doubted him because of how he carries himself. He's so sincere you can't help but respect him 100 percent."
I'm going to squint, and pretend I am not seeing the implied "amen you're not gay" there, and choose instead to kind of celebrate the fact that there are always people out there ready to shatter stereotypes. I applaud those people for speaking up.