Monday Bullets

  • Royce Young of Daily Thunder talking James Harden with Rahat Huq of Red94: "He knows how to fit, how to gel, how to work with teammates. But I’m not sure he’s mastered consistently taking over games without having a hand in it from somewhere else. It’s a tiny, probably meaningless sample size, but in a preseason game this year with Westbrook and Durant sitting meaning Harden was the featured player, he went 2-of-17 from the floor and forced shots horribly. There is a little Joe Johnson phobia to be had with Harden though. It’s extremely easy to see him in almost exactly that same mold and situation. Good player but missing something. Most likely, great teammates."

  • The mood in Oklahoma City has a hint of: Let's find out whose fault this was.

  • John Hollinger's model (Insider) says the Harden trade will cost the Thunder four wins this season. The whole process affects your team too, because, in Hollinger's words, after he took four wins from the Thunder and added ten to the Rockets, things were a bit out of whack, and it was time for "sucking 6/28th of a win from every club's projection." In other words, Harden went to Houston, and the tickets you have to some game in March now just might be for a loss that might otherwise have been a win. This why people hate math -- it's like the opposite of Christmas.

  • Michael Jordan tells the Bobcats to stick together, not too long before boarding his private jet to his better life.

  • NBA League Pass free trial starts on Tuesday.

  • I'm against this.

  • 18 minutes in the life of Arron Afflalo, including the lasting impact of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party two decades ago.

  • Perspective on the Frankenstorm from Jupiter.

  • Not your regular season preview: "Tomorrow begins the chase for the throne, the season of unrest. Scribes, peasants and rulers will watch and root, urging forth their troops for the claim of the throne. For the Throne brings glory and glory rules the world."

  • Mark Cuban is hungry for a third political party in the U.S. Not really a joiner, that guy.

  • I was recently asked by ESPN.com to predict a rookie of the year. I picked Andre Drummond. Which is maybe a bit nuts -- but not totally nuts. Anthony Davis makes sense. Damian Lillard. Lots of more likely players who'll get plenty of minutes and put up big numbers. But Drummond appears likely to contribute mightily, too, and picking him comes with the advantage that if by some crazy chance I'm right, I'll get to brag about it for years.

  • Criticize Chuck Hayes however you want, but never say he can't move.

  • Gothic Ginobili seeks a player to compare Kenneth Faried to, and suggests DeJuan Blair. Aaron McGuire writes: "People scoff at the comparison given how good Faried seems right now, but it's a lot more apt than many would like to admit. To compare them on the same baseline ... per 36 minutes, Faried averaged 16-12-1-1-2 on 59 percent shooting. Blair averaged 15-13-2-1-1 on 56 percent shooting his rookie year -- he was a slightly more effective rebounder, a slightly worse scorer, and just about as shiftless and difficult-to-play defensively as Faried. He had his dominant nights -- and still does -- but Blair's height and talents are fundamentally not well-suited to the defensive end, and until he figures out a way to operate within a real defensive scheme, his flaws on that end going to continue to chip away at his minutes and keep him off the court. Even with excellent per-minute productivity, as Blair has maintained throughout his career. While I think Faried's future should be better than Blair's present, I think it's worth noting that Blair represents a very possible future if Faried's defense doesn't get in order quickly."

  • Brandon Jennings could learn something from Beno Udrih, and it's the art of pulling up for an open mid-range jumper.

  • Well worth spending some time with these delightfully bonkers Seth Rosenthal power rankings. Insight you can't get anywhere else, like: "When the Raptors dine as a team, Landry Fields is always the one who remembers to grab napkins."