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Thursday Bullets

  • Kobe Bryant, who neglected to even join his team in the locker room or in huddles during a tuneup in Las Vegas, says Team USA needs better chemistry.

  • The WNBA gets what every league must dream of: the championships to be decided by a winner-take-all final game. The only bummer: the big game five is getting bumped from Auburn Hills for a Mariah Carey concert, and will be played in Detroit's downtown Joe Louis Arena.

  • The Maloofs say a Sacramento arena could be built in a to-be-determined location.

  • Stephon Marbury has been saying his $15 shoe is the same as a $100 major brand shoe, and if you don't believe that's true you can cut it in half and look for yourself. NPR did just that, and asked a shoe expert to critique it. The verdict: he's very impressed and amazed it can be made so cheaply, but would like a little more arch support to prevent injury. Marbury is on tape saying he'll wear it all season. (Man, if he gets injured from them... ) The verdict from some streetballers NPR talked to: this is a ploy to raise Marbury's street cred and marketability.

  • Kyle Korver watches a lion devour a wildebeest. That ought to change everything.

  • Young, non-USA players who impressed Jay Aych at the worlds. Chad Ford charts some of those who might be drafted next year, including Brazil's Tiago Splitter ("scouts have to pleased with his progress"), Italy's Marco Belinelli ("while he doesn't project as a superstar in the NBA, his versatility, shooting and knack for scoring will make him an intriguing commodity") , and China's Jianlian Yi ("...scouts came away impressed with what they saw of Yi at the Worlds. While the Chinese coaches inexplicably didn't play him much, he also had his best game against Team USA, posting a line of 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. Yi has the size, skill and athleticism to be a legit NBA lottery prospect.")

  • Hear Ron Artest rap! An MP3 from AOL's Sportsbloggers Live. (via The Basketball Jones)

  • Mike Krzyzewski is opposed to the NBA's age limit, saying forcing kids to college for a year does little for their academics. Ken Tysiac of the Charlotte Observer reports: "There are a lot of successful people in this country who didn't go to college," Krzyzewski said. "They should be given the right to do that. We have one of the richest men in the world (Bill Gates) who didn't finish college, giving away hundreds of millions of dollars. To me, I'd rather have it the way it was (with no age limit)."

  • Ira Winderman says Miami still needs a backup point guard. They're not the only ones. I also thought this was interesting: "Re-signed Payton and Mourning to minimal deals (with Mourning getting more since he had a mid-level offer on the table from San Antonio)."

  • In addition to Kobe Bryant, who might make the Team USA roster next summer? USA Assistant Coach Jim Boeheim talked to Andy Katz: "'We need more mobile big guys,' Boeheim said. 'We need to switch on the pick-and-roll. We were able to score anytime we wanted against [Greece], but we've got to figure out a better way to defend on the perimeter.' That means getting big men who can defend on the outside -- someone like Lamar Odom, who sat out this summer after the tragic death of his infant. Billups also would be a likely replacement for one of the guards because of his size and strength on the perimeter." In an interesting conversation about the World Championships, Mike Krzyzewski mentions the names Chauncey Billups, Shawn Marion, and Kobe Bryant.

  • Brian McCormick: "In Sweden, the best players benefit from (1) National Team try-out camps held throughout the year involving a region's best players and coaches; (2) The potential to play with adult/professional clubs at an early age. This experience is not always good, as some players play for an adult team, never play and fail to develop. However, for most players, the constant, gradual progression prevents the player from reaching a plateau."

  • Jon Burkett on Maurice Cheeks: "He’s a great guy who should have a job with the organization doing something (ask World B. Free), but might not be cut out to be the head coach."

  • John Hollinger apparently didn't read this TrueHoop post, as he writes this in today's New York Sun: "Two changes in particular are important: a smaller, slicker ball that some of players had trouble shooting and handling, and the lack of an illegal defense rule that made it much easier for teams to clog the lane."

  • Latrell Sprewell's latest choking incident reportedly will not result in charges. No matter where he plays, for the rest of his days, whenever he misses a big shot and his team loses, there won't be a single 14-year-old in the building who doesn't scream CHOKER! By the way, has anyone heard anything about if/when he might be playing again?

  • Something funny going on involving Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, people getting fired, and pregnant women.