Friday Bullets

  • Ensemble teams never work. Right? We know this. We learned this. Karl Malone, Gary Payton and the 2004 Lakers taught us this. The Miami Heat taught us this. The Boston Celtics ... oh wait. The Heat won a title. And, of course, so did the Celtics. Well, at least we have the 2004 Lakers, right?

  • Enormous soda drinks are now banned in New York, doubtless leaving a lot of Knicks, Nets and their fans with the same question Steve Martin has.

  • As calculated by the Wages of Wins' Wins Produced, the minutes' delved out to centers are pretty out of whack. By the same measure, however, minutes handed out to guards are surprisingly efficient. Makes you think that whatever coaches are seeing in guards is pretty similar to what Wages of Wins sees in them. Also, of note today, when Tracy McGrady is in the news working out for the Knicks and others ... he looks like a guy who was not bad at all last year.

  • A rehabbing Derrick Rose, through tears at a sneaker event, as transcribed by Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie: "With all of the stuff that's going on in this city, a kid from Englewood has got something positive going on. That makes me feel so good. This shoe is great; all this is great. But I can't explain this. I can't. I went through so much. To have, like, true fans, that means a lot to me. And I know it means a lot to my family, because we're not supposed to be here -- at all. But God made the way." By the way, we need to all agree real men can cry, right? That came up a while back in the NBA, hopefully for the last time.

  • The Blazers are high on Elliot Williams, but wow -- the injuries. He missed his rookie year with knee surgeries. He played for a while his second year then had shoulder surgery. This was going to be his year, his third year, the one where he shows his stuff. But he just ruptured his Achilles tendon.

  • Hakeem Olajuwon is coaching ever more people in the post. Somewhere every other coach of post moves is wondering: What's a guy got to do to get a reputation in this market?

  • Talks between James Harden and the Thunder continue. Around draft time, I asked some people with direct knowledge of the talks about other teams making strong plays for Harden, and was told that wouldn't happen ... unless things dragged on with the Thunder until the end of the summer. Summer, the season, officially ends in about a week. Tic toc.

  • Limiting the minutes of starters, especially Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, will be essential for Mike Brown's Lakers, but not simple.

  • How did Andris Biedrins get his power boat from the U.S. to Latvia? Probably something boring like "cargo ship," but dare to dream.

  • On Raptors Republic, Blake Murphy describes various items of Raptors swag for sale online. One item is essentially a wine bottle, tarted up with Raptors and NBA logos, and filled with Christmas lights: "I guess the logic here is that if you cheer for the Raptors, you’re probably a drinker. Safe bet. Not sure how this would look in a grown-up’s house, but any in the college crowd may appreciate it."

  • Nervous times for Kings fans, parsing reports from Seattle and Virginia Beach for signs the Kings may be headed one place or the other.

  • A significant topic in Ohio sports circles -- would LeBron James ever return? -- got a chunk more interesting now that James' agent is Rich Paul.