Lang Whitaker from SLAM, with some good Keith Closs insight from a nightclub in China, and this: "Can't believe we all missed the D-League Draft Lottery last night. The Draft itself is on November 7, live from Atlanta. I especially like that the draft goes in "serpentine format," meaning the team that picks first in the first round picks last in the second round. It's like a fantasy draft, except you actually get to meet the players you choose."
I saw an NBA promo last night featuring Dirk Nowtizki and it included the line: "Where My Best is Yet to Come Happens." He's 30. The Mavericks are making changes (point guard and coach in the last year) trying to get back in the elite. You think that line in that commercial is true? Is Nowitzki getting better?
ESPN's Maurice Brooks says coach of the year is Nate McMillan's to lose. He also predicts LeBron James will be MVP, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Young Shaquille O'Neal video -- leading the break and everything.
Brad Miller and Kevin Martin were awake. Too bad about the Clippers.
Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog wants you to know about Eric Gordon: "... last night, Gordon had arguably his finest night since he graduated North Central High in Indianapolis. In simplest terms, EJ took over the game in the fourth quarter. He scored 33 points -- 21 in the 4th quarter -- on 26 true shot attempts [63.4 TS%]. That paralyzing crossover and sweet follow-through were on full display, as was the handle that EJ-partisans insisted could translate into legitimate PG duties. Neither Bobby Brown or Bobby Jackson had a chance against EJ in the 4th, as the Clippers rolled."
Why is Quinton Ross struggling to make the Grizzlies? Perimeter D is valuable.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle on John Calipari's continuing ed. program: "University of Memphis coach John Calipari sat at midcourt through Wednesday's first half to check out former Memphis star Joey Dorsey. It was far from the first time they have talked. 'That's my mentor,' said Dorsey, who said he speaks with Calipari three or four times a week. 'I look to coach Cal like a daddy. I've been talking to him and Rod Strickland (a Memphis assistant) a lot about what's going on. I need to talk to Cal, to somebody, while I'm going through my ups and downs.'"
Hardwood Paroxysm is sending out this T.S. Eliot to the Clippers, Nuggets, Mavericks, Wizards, and Suns: "We are the hollow men/We are the stuffed men/Leaning together/Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!/Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/Are quiet and meaningless/As wind in dry grass/Or rats' feet over broken glass/In our dry cellar."
Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo on Michael Curry coaching the Pistons: "Teams have a tendency to fall apart when they're working under older brother-ish types as opposed to father figures, and Curry definitely comes off as the seemingly cool big brother who is going to buy them a case of beer on the slide and allow for a bunch of three-pointers in early transition. How well that works in the postseason remains to be seen, but I don't think it will matter much in the regular season. My win prediction (Detroit won 59 games last season) is based more on an improving East than a faltering or fading Pistons roster. And the roster, I'm sorry, but it should scare people. Plenty of greybeards, I submit, but most of those greybeards know how to work it, and their production will be sound. Throw in the work of a formidable crew of youngsters, and you have another championship contender in Detroit. Again."
Imported Raptor guard Roko Ukic tells Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail that you have more time to score in the paint in the NBA than in Europe: "Here, for sure, you have more time. Because the court is bigger and everyone goes inside because they want to steal the ball or block the shot. There they use more principles because they know they're not as athletic, so they use a little bit more teamwork, and the court is smaller. There it's easier to break the man, but when you break the man there is not so much space to use. Here, they are better defenders one-on-one, it's harder to break them. But when you break them you have more space to find people, especially on the perimeter. When you play on a team like I do with great shooters, it should be easy to find them for a shot."
Steve Nash sprained an ankle. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic: "It sounds like Steve Nash is going to be just fine. Suns general manager Steve Kerr was called by head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson at halftime of Wednesday night's 102-100 victory in Atlanta to let him know that Nash had suffered a mild right ankle sprain. Nash tried to continue and wants to practice today but the Suns aren't going to let him do that or play on Friday. This is where the emphasis on resting Nash will come into play more this season. A year ago, Nash probably talks the staff into letting him play. This year, they will use any chance to give him a break and be safe at the same time. Plus, Goran Dragic could use the minutes and the practice situation of having the onus of running a game plan. You can see instincts in Dragic but he is still feeling his way around an overwhelming amount of new things."