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Friday Bullets

  • Here's a 1,000+ word preview of a preseason game that is still more than two days away. Bloggers, I think, it is safe to say, are pumped for the season to start.

  • The 100 most influential people in sports, according to Business Week. Golf (Tiger Woods) and football (Roger Goodell) took the top two spots. I wonder if that bothers this draft's third pick, David Stern, or not. Some other NBA-related names: Michael Jordan is grandfathered into the top ten, presumably because no one has ever sold sneakers like he has. LeBron James is 17th, Kobe Bryant is 28th, Paul Allen is 36th, Mark Cuban is 44th, Casey Wasserman (CEO of Wasserman Media Group, generally seen around the NBA as "Arn Tellem's Agency") is 46th, Stern's deputy commissioner Adam Silver is 53rd, Magic Johnson is 58th, Jerry Colangelo is 60th, Celtics' chairman Wyc Grousbeck is 90th, Bobcats' majority owner Robert Johnson is 92nd, Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke is 94th, and Arn Tellem is 98th.

  • A thorough review of the different NBA preview magazines that are out there. As a kid in the grocery story magazine aisle, I had my own method of reviewing those magazines: The better they said the Blazers would be, the more I thought the authors were brilliant.

  • Basketbawful's ongoing experiments with learning to jump higher: "A quick note on recovery: Chris, the issuer of this challenge, e-mailed to warn me of the painful aftereffects of using the Strength Shoes. He explained that his legs were almost useless the day after his first training session, and that he briefly considered amputating them and fitting the stumps wtih bionic implants. (Okay, I made up the second half of that sentence. As far as you know.) Fortunately, I had read about the Strength Shoe hangover, and I was ready. So in addition to the proscribed stretches, my post-Strength Shoe workout recovery period also includes icing my calves, 15-20 minutes in a Whirlpool tub, and 10-20 minutes of vigorous therapy from an electric handheld massager. I skipped recovery once and my legs felt like they were trying to contract to 1/5th their normal size the next morning. I didn't skip again."

  • A bunch of internet geeks get to meet the Blazers brass, and get some weight loss tips in the process.

  • The Toronto Globe and Mail's Michael Grange, from Raptors training camp: "So far in camp I've pretty much avoided the whole Andrea situation. Yes he's put on some muscle and he's not shy about taking his shirt off when the opportunity permits, so it's hard to miss. And he's generally seemed to have a bounce to his step and smile on his face that was missing for much of last year. In the scrimmage last night one of his first touches was a driving lefty lay-up to the middle from the low block that got a basket with Bosh guarding him. A move like that clearly comes from gym time: He simply didn't have it in his arsenal before. On another occasion he caught the ball at the three-point line but took a determined dribble to create a better shot for himself from about 18 feet, much to Sam's delight. In fact Sam has gone out of his way to praise Bargnani after practice on a couple of different occasions while in the earshot of reporters, for what that is worth. But then again Bargnani was brilliant in training camp and the exhibition last season, so I'm saving my Bargnani proving doubters wrong column until December or so. But yes, he looked pretty good last night."

  • I am way behind reading, after spending all week on the court -- more stories and video to come from from Training Like a Pro -- but of course the Pedowitz report is a something I'll be talking about at length. Here is one interesting reaction.

  • Speaking of video from Training Like a Pro, Hoopsworld's Steven Kyler and Bill Ingram are all over it.

  • Over the last week, I have gotten emails and calls from all kinds of people saying that they expect Jason Williams to be back in the league. I wonder what percentage of the time an athlete under 35 retires and it sticks. In the end, that NBA ... it's a pretty good job.

  • Eric Musselman says that being "clutch" is something you can see in a player's eyes, but not on the stat sheet. If "clutchness" exists, and I'm prepared to believe it does, wouldn't it have to present itself in some statistical fashion? I mean, in the end, we're talking about playing well, as in getting stops, making buckets, and doing other things that are trackable. And if they're not trackable at all, doesn't that mean you're seeing an attitude that doesn't translate exactly to being clutch? UPDATE: 82games has looked at clutch stats several different ways. Sort them for +/- and you'll see: It is good to play with LeBron James.

  • UPDATE: I was at the rookie shoot, with Kevin Love much of the day, but somehow I missed his remarkable trick shot demonstration. I wonder how many misses they had to edit out.