When coaches predict, in August, who will be doing what next April, it's to be taken lightly. About this time a year ago, for instance, Portland Coach Nate McMillan told the Oregonian that Taurean Green was likely to hit a number of game-winners for the Blazers. Then McMillan kept Green stapled to the bench more or less every moment until he was traded (a couple of times, in fact) and eventually cut. However, for what it's worth, Jason Quick of The Oregonian: "Back home from the Olympics, where he was an assistant coach for Team USA, Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on Thursday could finally reveal the two-week struggle he endured in Beijing. There were sleepless nights. A self-imposed muzzle on his emotions. And the uneasiness of choosing an allegiance. All because of Rudy Fernandez. The high-energy shooting guard for Spain, who will join the Blazers this month, excelled during the Olympics, which included a team-high 22 points in the gold medal loss to the Americans. And after getting a front-row view for many of Spain's games, McMillan said Fernandez, 23, is so talented that he will 'definitely' play, and play a lot, for the Blazers. ... McMillan said he envisions Fernandez playing in the second unit with Jerryd Bayless and Travis Outlaw, with the scoring focus centered on Outlaw and Fernandez. He also guaranteed Fernandez and Roy will play together."
A pretty boss collection of Julius Erving stories. Not the tossed off comment about Erving endorsing a local politician after extracting promises from him for recreational programs in his hometown. You don't see a lot (or any?) of that kind of dialogue in today's NBA.
Dave from BlazersEdge is talking about Sergio Rodriguez, but same goes for essentially every unproven NBA player: "He doesn't have the luxury of ramping up slowly when he gets inserted. This is not to say he has to spaz out or break the offense when he comes in. That'll just get him benched again. But if he has an open shot he has to take it and hit it. If he has a lane he must drive it. If he has the ball he has to push it up now, not three plays from now. This is the reality of life off the bench in the NBA. The league is full of guys who could probably put up respectable numbers if they were just granted 25 minutes to do it, but we never see them because they can't give that same production in practice and for 5 minutes in a game."
Sam Rubenstein, formerly of SLAM and now saving the world one child at a time, pops up for a spaz of a jellyfish and Cameron Diaz-laden guest post that includes high marks for the Nets' owner, after Sam's experience at a Brooklyn (minor league baseball) Cyclones game: "I was a guest of a friend of a client of Bruce Ratner's. The same guy who is moving the Nets and the evil incarnate of gentrification in Brooklyn. I'll tell you what though, the man has a nice luxury box full of hot dogs and free booze. Go Nets!"
David Berri of the Wages of Wins on free agent Ben Gordon: "When we look at Wins Produced, though, it is clear Gordon's productivity is inconsistent with the money he is demanding. In fact, given Gordon's lack of production, it's not clear that the Bulls should even bother signing Gordon to the offer the team has already made. ... Relative to the other players on Chicago in 2007-08, though, Gordon was one of the most efficient scorers on the Bulls. This fact, though, does not increase Gordon's value. The proper comparison is not Gordon's shooting relative to the rest of the Bulls. No, a better comparison is to look at everything he does (including shooting) relative to the average shooting guard in the league. And by that comparison, Gordon should not be the highest paid player on this team (or any other team)."
Many links on the brain's role in sports.
Exporting loud mouths.