Thursday Hotness

  • It's very, very early in the season, so any extrapolation of data can fall victim to small sample size theater. But a quick glance at the performance of the Heat's 5-man units shows that the starting five for Miami have outscored their opponents 138-103 in 120 possessions. That's good for an offensive efficiency rate of 114 points per 100 possesions. Among units that have played together for at least 36 minutes, Phoenix's 5-man group of Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu and Robin Lopez are running away from the pack with an offensive efficiency rating of greater than 125 points per 100 possessions.

  • As previously reported public radio affiliate WLRN in Miami has been conducting a poetry contest in honor of James' arrival in Miami. The estimable Ben McGrath of The New Yorker offers an update on how the contest is progressing, noting that Clevelanders have been using the opportunity to submit "hate poems." Overall, P. Scott Cunningham, the contest's organizer, has been pleased with the results and has noticed some trends: "'The majority is a loose version of iambic pentameter or iambic tetrameter,'Cunningham said, after a first pass through the pile, the other day. 'You even sort of hear the Robert Frost imitations.' Inspired, Cunningham penned one of his own: 'They shall be telling this with a sigh, / Somewhere ages and ages hence. / Two roads diverged on ESPN, / And LeBron took the one more traveled by: / Rush hour on the 826.'"

  • Bill Walton tells Tim Weir of USA Today that LeBron James has made the NBA a 12-month enterprise in the public imagination: "The entire off-season, the NBA was in the news every single day because of LeBron James. I applaud him, I congratulate him and I thank him for what he's doing in terms of growing the game of basketball."

  • Zach Lowe of The Point forward documents how James is able to be everywhere at once on the defensive end of the floor.

  • Have the Heat become the Mike Tyson of the NBA? The SunSentinel's Ira Winderman: "Yes, that's exactly what they will be. And soon then they will eat the opposition's ears, as well."

  • Raul Takahashi of Hot Hot Hoops assembles a video montage of James' highlights from Tuesday night's game against Minnesota.

  • Isiah Thomas was the central figure on one of the more hated teams in the NBA during his run with the 80s-90s Pistons. Thomas thinks a little hate goes a long way in the league: "When the building is charged like that, the city comes to a stop, and you’re the hated team that’s coming in and it’s your job to make everybody unhappy in that building, it’s a great feeling and a great challenge when you can accomplish that ... Hate is not a bad thing in sports. You need the good guy and the bad guy and not everyone can be the good guy. When you have the good guy matched up against the bad guy, that’s what we all want to see. We don’t want to see two good guys go at it. We want to see the adversaries and the rivalries. Right now I think it’s great for the NBA and it will be great for all these guys in their careers as time moves on that having a little hate and being a little despised that’s not bad all the time."