David Berri: "...in basketball the word 'intangible' appears to mean 'contributions that are not scoring.' In other words, a player’s tangible contribution is scoring, and intangible is everything else." That's so true. And as further evidence of how our obsession with scoring has warped our view of what's important, there have been several articles in several publications about how hard it will be for the Knicks to win without mister big scorer Jamal Crawford, when by many measures David Lee is the much more important player missing for the Knicks.
Johan Cruyff is a legendary soccer player (watch this) and manager who, for a period after Pele retired, was considered the best player in the world. Why does this matter? Because recently he was writing about a soccer match that featured selfish stars and a lack of teamwork. To make his point, he likened it to the NBA All-Star game.
Macho Man Randy Savage says Kobe Bryant is stealing all of his moves.
Eric Neel explains why Nowitzki isn't a big star: "No signature move. No defining moment (as of yet). No edge, no magic. Think of him next to the other top-tier players in the league right now. Play word association. Nash is Miraculous, Wade is Relentless, James is Terrifying, Arenas is Nutty and Garnett is Fierce. Nowitzki is, I don't know, Proficient?" My take is that there's plenty to love about Nowitzki, but he's not made for TV. He's not over the top. He's not theater. He's not going to wear makeup, and bask in the glow of the lights. He's genuine, and subtle. Maybe he should let a long-form documentary film crew, or a New Yorker writer follow him around for a month. Someone needs to tell his story in a way that we can grasp--because people who know Nowitzki love that guy.
Todd Mintz: "While many entertainers have done the Anthem well, only two 'transcendent' versions really matter. The Hendrix version at Woodstock exposed the horror of Vietnam way more effectively than any hippie protest. And then there was Marvin’s version… I was not quite 2 years old and 3,000 miles away when Jimi played Woodstock. However, I was blessed to have a near-courtside seat for Marvin…"
The Warriors (who, I should point out, were befuddled by the Blazers) had no trouble at all with the Mavericks, and Golden State of Mind is loving it: "This was a near perfect game for the Warriors. Check that, it was a near perfect 3 quarters for the Warriors because that's all they really needed to put the 'best team in the NBA' in their place. The Warriors shots 57% from the field vs 42% for the Mavs. They forced a ridiculous 23 Maverick turnovers and had just 14 themselves. The most impressive feat of this game is not as noticeable in the boxscore, the defense. They were everywhere tonight. It was organized chaos. At times it felt like the Warriors had 6 guys on the court because they were in every passing lane, contesting every shot, and basically were everywhere. They had 13 steals but that doesn't tell the whole story. Stephen Jackson gave Dirk Nowitzki fits all night. He's so long that he contested his shots and didn't let Dirk get a clean look. Notice the numbers on Dirk, 3-11 from the field, 7 turnovers. How about Josh Howard, 5-15 from the field. It was like he didn't exist this game. Their two big scorers got absolutely shut down after the first quarter. Dirk had 10 in the first and finished with 13 overall and I don't think Howard scored in the 2nd half. It was an absolutely wonderful job by the Warriors on defense, something I haven't seen all season." Weird side point: the Mavericks killed the Warriors on the glass, and the Warriors even had more total assists than rebounds.
Peter Vecsey tosses around a lot of names who are candidates to become Portland's new GM. Unclear what evidence, if any, there is to support these names.
Kevin Martin, according to George Karl, is too good a player to get that Most Improved Player award. The reasoning, I guess, is that you don't give the cutest puppy award to a hunting dog.
Sekou Smith has seen Joakim Noah in person: "Do you have any idea how much scoring Noah will be asked to do on the NBA team that drafts him? Hardly any. In fact, his value is greater in me eyes because he’ll be a guy can that can do all the other things. There are a handful of players on every NBA team can score major points for their team on a given night. Scoring is the least of the NBA’s problems. But highly skilled big men who can run the floor, play with passion, pass effortlessly, handle the ball far better than someone his size should, defend around the basket and do all the little things are fare more valuable to NBA teams than a guy who’s No. 1 marketable skill is scoring (on inferior competition in college but not so much in the league). Seriously, if Noah’s available anywhere after Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the teams that passes on him is absolutely NUTS!"
David Thorpe on J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison (Insider): "What should Morrison focus on this summer? He needs to learn how to use his size in this league, via post-ups or simple attack moves into a pull-up jumper. He should clean up his footwork from the triple-threat position -- right now it slows him down. But most of all he should focus on the other aspects of the game, because as he grows as a defender and rebounder, his offensive feel will improve, too -- the game is interconnected. What should Redick focus on this summer? He should tighten his handle and gain supreme confidence with the ball in his hands. He needs to make his left hand a strong scoring weapon around the basket. He needs to learn to find ways to be a factor on the boards despite his lack of size, specifically by studying bounces and where he needs to be to gather long rebounds. Also, I've noticed that he kicks his legs out in front of him when he shoots -- he should clean that up and get more balanced on his start and finish."
ClipperBlog: "Think about that reality for a second: Tim Thomas is the best passer on the Clippers’ active roster. When there’s nobody on the floor who can pass the ball, nobody who’s willing to move off the ball, and only one guy who can create off the dribble – and does so indiscriminately – you get a miserably stagnant offense, and rigor mortis sets in."
David West talks to Darnell Mayberry about the Hornets' offense: "West said teams know the Hornets are going to feed the ball into Desmond Mason in the post and run the screen and roll with either he and point guard Chris Paul or Paul and center Tyson Chandler. While opponents have adjusted to those plays, West said, the Hornets simply stand around watching ineffective one-one-one basketball."