Friday Mini-Bullets

  • Nick Collison's travelogue from his UNICEF-lead trip to Africa is a must-read.

  • ESPN LA's Andy Kamenetzky looks back at Game 4 of the Lakers-Thunder playoff series and explores how Dwight Howard and Steve Nash could have made a difference. Related: Seven minutes of Kobe Bryant fade-aways.

  • New data from STATS, LLC tells SI's Zach Lowe how the Nuggets' offense became the NBA's best last season: "Andre Miller and Lawson ranked among the half-dozen “best” point guards in the league by this standard, with 67 percent of Miller’s potential assists and 56 percent of Lawson’s leading either to threes or shots at the rim. Only Jeremy Lin (68 percent) had a higher percentage of potential assists fall in those areas, a fact I suspect Houston’s geeky brain trust is already aware of. On the flip side, relatively few of Miller’s and Lawson’s potential dimes led to two-point jumpers longer than 15 feet; they had two of the four lowest marks in the league among surveyed point guards. Lawson is super speedy and Miller is a basketball professor, but there is something broader going on here — something good, considering Denver had the league’s third-most efficient offense last season. The Nuggets attempted the fewest long two-point jumpers per game in the league, a remarkable thing, considering their breakneck pace of play. Their ability to earn heaps of free throws obviously helped, since shooting fouls wipes away shot attempts on the stat sheet, but you don’t earn those free throws by simply chucking long twos."

  • Who should the Bucks play at power forward? My vote would be for the one who can shoot. A shooting power forward goes a long way to establishing a reliable half court offense.

  • On Nets Are Scorching, Devin Kharpertian notices a strange trend in the Nets shooting: they were way, way more accurate from the right side of the court.

  • With a solid defensive coach, a fiery teammate to push him, and a world-class pick-and-roll partner, Dwight Howard seems primed to succeed in LA.

  • DJ Foster on Blake Griffin/Major League II for ClipperBlog's "Sequel Week" series: "If anyone got a crash course on the impact of raised expectations last season, it was Griffin. Like Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, people wanted Blake’s fastball all the time. When he started messing around with jumpers to start the year, it was like Wild Thing throwing curveballs and acting all yuppie like. It wasn’t right. People wanted the heat. Oh sure — they clamored for Griffin to develop a jumper, the real missing piece to his offensive repertoire. Everyone accepted that, but they just wanted it to come as quickly as one of his dunks — nuts to the whole, “having to actually implement it in games” thing. When the jumpers didn’t land right away? Overrated stamp. There’s nothing America loves more than to build someone up and then tear them right back down. Well, maybe there’s one thing America loves more than that: a real redemption story."