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Wednesday Bullets

  • Oklahoma City voters vote overwhelmingly to raise and spend $121 million or so on arena upgrades and a practice facility for an NBA team to be named later, but likely named the SuperSonics.

  • Steve Kerr tells ESPN's Chad Ford that the Suns have lacked a clear leadership structure among the players.

  • More fallout from Dirk Nowitzki's takedown of Andrei Kirilenko.

  • A mess of numbers in support of the notion that giving the open man the ball helps your team win. Also, from reading this I learned about the Prisoner's Dilemma. Very interesting. One thing worth adding to the mix of this conversation is that players playing for free -- without the monetary impetus to shoot that exists for NBA players -- tend to chuck as much or more than NBA players. I think that's because people play sports in part for thrills. And making a bucket is a thrill, even if it's not attached to a paycheck. I like to think that thrill motivates NBA players.

  • Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star quoting Sam Mitchell on Andrea Bargnani: "'What I'm trying to get y'all to understand is Andrea has to learn to do a lot of things,' said Mitchell the other day. 'Andrea has to learn post-up moves. He has to learn face-up moves. And then he also has to work on his game at the three-point line because he can shoot threes. ... There's a lot more that Andrea's got to get than the average centre. And that takes more time.'"

  • Steve Nash will be playing in shoes made of recycled garbage. They're $100, and made out of garbage, but I find myself thinking I should get some.

  • Whoa. End-of-season-is-approaching warning. I just got the following email from an ESPN expert on such things: "Boston can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win OR with losses by New Jersey, Atlanta and Indiana." That rumble you hear in the distance? It's the playoffs.

  • Speaking to the faces of Blazer broadcasters, on their broadcast, David Stern calls local broadcasters "homers." Hilarious.

  • The stereotype is that those white outside shooter type players don't play aggressive defense. Here's a picture of Kyle Korver doing nothing at all to help prove that stereotype wrong.

  • The Wizards are trying to make a push here in the East, and they may or may not have the aid of Gilbert Arenas. One thing that could keep him on the sidelines? Money. Arenas confirms to Mike Jones of the Washington Times that he still intends to opt out this summer, and talks about the effect his contract situation is having on his ability to return to action: "The contract is what is on my mind when I'm thinking about coming back. Let's be real. If I get hurt again, who's gonna want to pay somebody who's had three knee surgeries? So that's the part that's going in the back of my head right now." That attitude is 100% OK to me for a golfer or a singles tennis player. But this guy has teammates.

  • Wow. This is not new for Chicago fans. But for the rest of us, Benny the Bull on Jerry Springer is really amazing. Licking some lady with enormous beef tongue, then throwing down with her jilted boyfriend ...

  • A friend just pointed out a funny website called Stuff White People Like, and #4 on the big list has to do with basketball: Assists. "Trying to be a white guy who dunks and stuff is like trying to be a white rapper -- yeah, there are a few, but you have to work twice as hard for half the results."

  • Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes: "'I want to play good and that's what I'm trying to do,' said Yi through his interpreter. 'Right now, the reason I feel I'm playing not so good is that I'm tired. I've been playing since last summer, all through this season, all these games without a stop. I'm tired out.' Asked how long it had been since he'd been away from basketball, there was a long pause as Yi looked skyward and tried to recall. Finally he said, 'Last year in April I had about two weeks of rest.'"

  • More word that Kevin Johnson will run for mayor of Sacramento. Can you imagine if he won, and the oft-rumored effort to move the Kings out of town actually came to fruition? That would be an NBA political battle royale.

  • If you are trying to stop a team from getting three points on a big possession, would you rather have the guy shoot a three, or shoot three free throws?

  • A Stephon Marbury sighting at the Knicks training facility.

  • The Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro on why Sean Williams isn't playing more: "Sean isn't doing anything intentional to tick off anybody, outside of the fact that he can't defend pick-and-rolls like he's supposed to, can't play the four-spot, and can't shoot beyond six feet. That's OK, though. He's working, he's a good kid, and his head is still into it. He is just a rookie -- one who isn't playing as much as some of you would like him to play, but one who they're committed to working with until they're convinced he can't learn. And he will."

  • Nate Jones writes a long post about Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James, and it concludes: "Take it from me, when it's all said and done, we'll be calling LeBron James the best player of all time. Just not quite yet. So for now, let Kobe have his shine and give him his just do as the greatest player of the post Jordan era." Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo makes a reasoned case that LeBron James has been better than Kobe Bryant this season.

  • Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail: "Jamario Moon told me once he doesn't like to read scouting reports because he'd prefer to play his man straight up and with a fresh eye. His point was that guys are so good that if you are expecting them to do one thing, they'll promptly do the other. My take would
    be the scouting report is there to help you force guys into tendencies they're less comfortable with. Sometimes they even capture the way smart players make their weaknesses strengths. So my bet is the scouting report on Hedo Turkoglu is that even though he's right-handed, he' s more likely to drive left and finish left. Moon doesn't seem clear on this in the early going, as Turkoglu burns him left a couple of times."