Rahat Huq of Red94 emails with Rockets' senior vice president of basketball operations about the unique relationship between the big club and the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Through the D-League's single affiliate partnership model, the Rockets are able to better place their handprint on the player development process: "The Vipers run sets from Rick Adelman’s playbook, not only giving prospects a chance to acclimate to the big-league offense, but also providing the Rockets opportunity to test out new wrinkles in an environment with lesser stakes."
How should we evaluate Nate McMillan's performance as head coach of the Trail Blazers? That's the question Sean Meagher of OregonLive.com posed to Henry Abbott in an email. Henry's response: "When Nate McMillan retires, I suspect he will have won multiple championships. But I also suspect he will have had no greater coaching accomplishment then taking some duct tape, paper clips and rookie Jeff Pendergraph and coaching them to 50 wins this season. That was really something. One key factor was all the talent Kevin Pritchard assembled. Another was the never-say-die attitude, and efficient offense, that are staples of McMillan teams. Maybe he plays it a little safe. Maybe he fears turnovers more than he loves virtuosity. Maybe Rudy Fernandez will blossom in another system one day. Maybe Brandon Roy shouldn't have played so much in the playoffs. Maybe he's a little rigid. But thinking like an optomizer can kill you. The simple fact is that this young team has played hard, smart basketball and has achieved a ton."
Dwane Casey continues to be one of the finest head coaching candidates on the market, and will likely be employed in the capacity of head coach somewhere this fall. Kelly Dwyer makes the case for Casey in Atlanta.
Don and Chris from Blogs With Balls break into Joakim Noah's home gym. Noah's walk-in closet could house a Sesna. Among the items Noah preserves in there is his maize bow tie from draft day 2007.
At Fanhouse, Tom Ziller measures the offensive ratings and usage rates of the incoming draft class of big men (and some from previous classes, too). The results might surprise you. Did you know Gani Lawal's usage rate under Paul Hewitt was greater than Derrick Favors'?
Marvin Williams will forever wear a millstone around his neck for being drafted ahead of both Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Bret LaGree of Hoopinion breaks down Williams' quirky, somewhat regressive season in Atlanta.
Why did the Lakers have so much trouble defending Phoenix's second unit? Seth Pollack of Bright Side of the Suns cites one factor: "A defense that had adjusted to the Nash/Stoudemire attack was suddenly faced with the relentless two-headed speed demons in Goran and Leandro, who were able to penetrate the Lakers from the perimeter and force the defense to collapse." Dragic didn't put up a gaudy scoring line, but his Nashian performance (eight assists in 17 minutes) tells you how much control he was exerting while manning the point for the bench during their two prodigious stints in the second and fourth quarter.
The Suns modified their zone in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers managed only 22 points.
Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball: "But if the Magic want any chance to do the impossible, to win four games in a row against a former champion, they need to ride on the Jameer Nelson-Dwight Howard pick and roll until the wheels fall off." Ben Q. Rock pores over the data and concludes that the Magic need to keep Howard moving in the half-court.
Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops is a very analytical, measured guy, but Gerald Henderson's shot selection causes him to yell at his television.
Self-awareness is an elusive trait for high-profile athletes whose images, comments and behavior are projected externally almost every day. Dan Feldman of PistonPowered looks at the curious case of Charlie Villanueva.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had some fans rallying in support of Arizona's new immigration reform legislation prior to Game 4. Among the signage: "Nash Ramble Back to Canada. Don't Come Back."
The Manute Bol, Get Well Soon! Facebook Group. Bol is suffering from kidney failure and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
NBA players be warned: You'll find the least healthy restaurant entree in America on the menu at The Cheesecake Factory.