Wednesday Bullets

  • Britt Robson of The Rake: "Comparisons to Michael Jordan have become hackneyed, not to mention unfair, for NBA players over the past decade -- it is like anointing a singer-songwriter the next Dylan or a reggae artist the next Marley. But there is one trait Kobe possesses that involuntarily brings up memories of MJ -- an almost maniacal need to be the straw that stirs the drink when the game is on the line."

  • A big mess of Kevin Duckworth links.

  • There are SO MANY sports arguments out there. Way too many to ever settle. I don't mind a good argument, but I like to be able to win, you know? Or at least learn something useful. That's why the purely hypothetical arguments -- Bill Russell vs. Shaquille O'Neal, or whatever it is -- strike me as a never-ending death spiral of meaningless conversation. There's just no way out. They're never going to play each other, and they're from entirely different times. Anyway, in that vein, here's a simulation of a seven game series between the Dream Team and the Redeem Team. For what it's worth, however it works, the Dream Team won 4-1.

  • MetLife, reportedly, can decide which top players don't get to play for their national teams. It's not as straightforward as I'm making it sound. But they have decided to put Luol Deng on their list of players who will not be insured while playing for his national team, which could cost Great Britain an opportunity to play in the Olympics they will be hosting. (Yes, they get an automatic berth, but reportedly only if they're reasonably competitive.) The only hope is coming up with something like $2.5 million to insure Deng for the next five summers -- or to somehow get MetLife to reconsider. I have already heard from conspiracy theorists pointing out that players with big salaries and injury histories (Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant) have been greenlighted for Team USA, but players like Deng and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have been sidelined by insurance issues.

  • Traveling. (Watch the Spanish bench!) In Spain, a lot of things Team USA players did would have been called. Some more video.

  • Unbelievable story about a young boy with cancer getting a lift from the 1991-1992 Golden State Warriors.

  • Ryan Schwan, Hornets247 blogger, stokes up his geek cred four to seven notches.

  • TrueHoop reader Jason: "This is how you know they love basketball in Lithuania."

  • The Pistons lose their biggest corporate sponsor, which was oddly, a subsidiary of the company that is run by the guy who owns the Cavaliers. (Via Detroit Bad Boys and MLive.com) In early July the Pistons owner criticized the mortgage industry, and the sponsor they lost was a large mortgage lender.

  • David Berri of the Wages of Wins on the Celtics' summer: "Obviously when you sign a player that a doctor said isn't going to play anymore [Darius Miles], you can't expect much. You certainly can't expect such a player to replace Posey. But even if Miles is healthy, the version we saw in Portland and Cleveland wouldn't help much anyway. So what else has the Celtics done this summer to improve? Well, not much. J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker were added in the draft. And Patrick O'Bryant -- a 2006 lottery pick who has logged 218 minutes in his NBA career -- was signed as a back-up center. Such moves hardly compare to what this team did last summer."

  • More good news for Tim Donaghy. A prosecutor is assessing whether or not Donaghy may have violated Arizona state laws by refereeing games there.

  • Player introductions jump the shark -- a video retrospective.

  • Matt Kamalsky of DraftExpress is profiling the Nuggets. Anyone care to guess who he's talking about here? "Offers very little on the defensive end. Doesn't hustle back on defense, and is often one of the last players back. Can stay in front of good ball handlers for a time, but isn't able to change directions quickly when he's forced to move laterally. Closes out too high, making it easy for slower defenders to move past him to the rim. Will sell out on steal attempts. Takes a lot of risks to force turnovers. Will bait players into making bad passes, but is a defensive liability on the perimeter. Has the strength to be a solid post defender, but tends to just foul shooters rather than try to defend their shots. Will get in foul trouble from time to time for this reason. Starting to spend more time defending the paint, leading to improved production as a rebounder. Will get down and box out, but not always. Pursues the ball off the rim, and shows great anticipation and explosiveness when cleaning the glass. Needs to show better defensive intensity and discipline."

  • TrueHoop reader Jakob e-mails: "If I were an NBA coach and had a young player who has to develop I would definitely try to get him into team USA. I mean, if you think about it, it's a way better experience than anything before. For instance, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade got to spend the entire summer with players like Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd. I think they could become much better players because of that experience. Chris Bosh could go at it with Dwight Howard. Those guys are competitors, they love challenges. They love to play with the best and against the best. They're gonna improve a whole lot just by being there. In my opinion Team USA is the best thing that could happen to young and talented NBA prospects!!"

  • Wayman Tisdale, who has one of the best post-playing careers ever as a successful jazz musician, loses part of a leg to cancer.

  • Brian McCormick: "I seriously do not know how anyone would defend the Cavs if they ran their offense through James at the high post."

  • Jerry Sloan gets nominated to coach Team U.S.A.

  • Channing Frye is looking to
    purchase some local Portland artwork.

  • Eric Musselman reads like crazy. This latest book he's blogging about I have never read, but it makes four points I take very seriously.

  • Team USA players, ranked by all kinds of different ranking systems in a pretty colorful chart.