Thursday Bullets

  • If you like conspiracies, you'll love this article. I don't love conspiracies, but enjoyed the read all the same. Note: I heard a theory that the lottery balls have some kind of magnetic paint so this or that ball would be drawn. Counterpoint: They use the same balls for picking the first, second and third picks. They make the first pick, dump the same ping pong balls back in, make the second pick, etc. Could the same balls be rigged to make multiple different picks? How does this work? And if there were magnetic paint on the balls, would they really have let Dell Demps take them home with him? And why isn't the whole drawing itself televised? Having been in the room where the balls are drawn, I'm not worried it's rigged. Why not let everybody in there via the magic of television? The NBA is not so good at transparency, and in the void of knowing what really happens, people project things from their own imaginations. People from all kinds of NBA teams have their gripe and theories, I've heard them too. But for the record, before the lottery, the one thing the conspiracy theorists I heard agreed on that of all teams, the Hornets were the last ones who'd win if the league were picking it. For one, it would look all wrong. For another, it is very likely the market least likely to turn a profit. The conspiracy theorists I heard were just sure Charlotte was sure to win, to do Michael Jordan a solid.

  • Ethan Sherwood Strauss on HoopSpeak, addressing LeBron James referee conspiracy theories: "Where are the conspiracy theorists on why San Antonio so rarely gets whistled? If the presumption is that 'lack of fouls' equals 'ref favoritism' then that team would be a logical place to direct such illogic. Also, Andre Iguodala -- another great wing defender -- averages 1.5 fouls per contest. Are we assuming that the fix is in for Iggy and his ratings-galvanizing troupe of Sixer superstars? Not only is this 'Refs don’t whistle LeBron!' meme stupid, but it turns an accomplishment into an insult. LeBron James plays fantastic defense without fouling. This is difficult to do and helps his team immensely. In a smarter world, we’d praise James for this."

  • Weird thing I learned at the lottery: Andre Drummond has lost a whole bunch of weight. He was there, looking skinny. Word was he has lost more than 20 pounds since the end of the college season. watch him on video from college and you'll see how he is enormous and Andrew Bynumish -- and incredibly young. (Don't you always wonder how a team like the Lakers gets a player like Bynum with the tenth pick? This is how ... by taking a flier on a very raw young player. It's an approach that leads to the best, and worst, draft picks.) But watch that video and you'll also see times when he is slow to explode to the rim, to find his man to keep him off the glass, or to flash into the lane. Invest in a player like Drummond and you're investing in no small part in that body. Invest a player like that 20 pounds lighter, and my thought is that's a much more useful body that'll get places faster, be more explosive and better resist injury. The news that he has lost all this weight ... it means something.

  • This amazing Kyrie Irving "Uncle Drew" video ... Irving's agent says the whole thing was Irving's idea.

  • Back in March I was lucky enough to be part of an event at SXSW talking about how evolving thinking about running form might spread into other sports, including basketball. Fascinating stuff, to me anyway, featuring the insight of Jay Dicharry. Here's Dicharry explaining more about how the lessons driving minimalist running apply to basketball.

  • At Arizona State, James Harden wouldn't shoot in practice, preferring to use that time to get his teammates going.

  • Devin Kharpertian of Nets are Scorching on Billy King who says nothing changed for the Nets at the lottery: "Stay the course is King’s message for now. Nothing changed, he says. And he’s right. Nothing did. It stayed exactly the same. Nothing’s changed from three seasons of watching, waiting, hoping that some star will join Brooklyn of his or King’s volition and save the franchise from its own dirty history in New Jersey, a history they’re frantically sweeping under the rug. The plan is always under evaluation, he’s said, but after three years of failure, nothing’s changed. The Nets have four players guaranteed under contract, a second-round pick, and loads of cap space heading into free agency. Nothing’s changed. They played Russian roulette with basketball dynamite at the trade deadline, and one stick expectedly exploded. This is all part of the ultimate plan, one built on Dwight Howard’s rickety conscience and Deron Williams’s signature. Nothing’s changed, and the Nets didn’t need to lose their lottery pick for us to learn that."

  • A robot that can shoot.

  • Watch how the Spurs get open shots, and a hell of a lot of the time the video shows the Thunder collapsing into the paint, with two or even three defenders tracking the ball. They're saying basically "no way in hell we're letting Manu Ginobili come in here and get a layup over one guy." Ginobili attempting a layup over one guy is better, I'd argue, than the other option, which is almost every single Spurs shot all night is uncontested. Because Ginobili is kicking that ball out to the open dude. A lot more staying home would mean a lot more contested shots. And when you're not contesting shots, just getting a defender in the vicinity is a big victory. Also, for all everyone worries about matchups, no covered player makes a terribly high rate. Some defense there is a lot.

  • Wizards fans, who do you want with that third pick? I have a feeling it may be impossible to resist the idea of Bradley Beal next to John Wall. Although Ernie Grunfeld said something or other about power forwards, which might suggest Thomas Robinson.