Alexander Johnson, formerly the overweight guy at Florida State, is in incredible shape now thanks to David Thorpe, and is getting consideration as high as the 16th pick. He's 6-9, super athletic, and can shoot. Chad Ford: "His coach ran the most grueling workout I've seen this spring, and Johnson looked like he could've gone for more." Draft Express: "On physical appearances alone, he is certainly one of the most impressive players in this draft, if not the most impressive. Once he starts bouncing around the floor and getting up to punish the rim, that impression only increases."
Golden State commentary from SFist: "Owner Chris Cohan and crew have quite the huevos muchos grandes to think that Bay Area fans should actually be paying more for their chance to see NBA futility." (via Golden State of Mind)
Also from GSM: Jason Richardson and teammates make a classy apology to Golden State fans.
Chris Broussard agrees with me, says the Heat will win in six. "...the Heat did not advance because the Pistons fell apart. They advanced because they're better. Pure and simple. And they're better than Dallas as well." John Canzano makes the same pick.
The Association: "Before we move on to the NBA Finals, we should take a moment to pay our last respects to the Detroit Pistons."
A bad sign for Jordan Farmar's assessment of his own draft stock right now: he's actually playing at games in Orlando.
Chamique Holdsclaw's bad month: two cancer diagnoses in her family, her brother in a car accident, and the death of a friend's parent. She's a class act. I wish her well.
What the other owner? Doug Smith profiles the Heat honcho.
Bird-dogging Paul Allen's toys, at least one of which cost more than fixing the Blazers "broken business model."
Liz Robbins: "The Madison Square Garden chairman, James L. Dolan, does not have a timetable to remove Brown, said several league executives who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about Brown's relationship with the Knicks. The lack of urgency appears to be a calculated move to see whether Brown will grow weary of being in limbo and agree to leave for less than the $40 million remaining on his contract."
Shaquille O'Neal is the bettor's third favorite for Finals MVP.
Dirk Nowitzki's trainer says that in two more seasons, Nowtizki will be fully developed.
Bernie Bickerstaff on cutting Avery Johnson on Christmas eve, and Nate McMillan on how the two coaches are birds of a feather.
Neal Pollack: "Being a Suns fan is the basketball version of being a pre-2004 Red Sox fan, without the attendant publicity because 97 percent of Arizona citizens are either functionally illiterate or white-collar criminals."
Jeff Van Gundy and new Houston "Moneyball" executive Daryl Morey get acquainted, find they both enjoy suffering.
Yao Ming, who I once compared to a giraffe in a national publication, pipes up for elephants.
Steve Kerr speaks from experience: the first time you play in the NBA Finals, there is every chance you will be overwhelmed and play poorly, like he did.
Lakers Blog: "According to Lakerstalk.net, the L.A. Times will be employing Kobe Bryant to do a bi-weekly advice columnist for the paper."
Forum Blue and Gold: "due to a couple rule changes, speed and perimeter play are becoming more valuable in the NBA — and pretty soon how to defend that speed will be a big concern of GMs and fans."
Scout to Ira Winderman: If Avery Johnson tries to match up with Miami (using his big men against Shaquille O'Neal, or Adrian Griffin against Dwyane Wade) that will help Miami. If Dallas puts an offense-oriented team on the floor, Dallas has the upper hand.
Ira Winderman: "There is this impression that the Heat cannot play an up-tempo game.The notion comes from those who haven't watched much of the team this season."
Jason Williams' dad criticizes Rick Adelman, who made White Chocolate a star. Sactown Royalty has Rick's back.
FreeDarko: "If the Mavs win, it won't be Nowitzki's "leadership" or socio-cultural valence that'll deserve the historic swerving and plunge into fissure. Rather, it'll be Avery, who found a way to heal all that was broken within this sport, who has welded a truly memorable amulet up against the clouds."
Terry Pluto: Andre Miller would make the Cavaliers a big-time team.
Sekou Smith: "Shaquille O’Neal is the most underappreciated player in the history of professional team sports."