Monday Bullets

  • An interesting look at this year's Laker roster. This team is deep in the sense of having ten players who can contribute, but it is not thick with Hall of Fame talent, which, David Friedman argues, could punish the team in playoff crunch time. Last year's recipe of throwing your best defenders at Kobe Bryant and daring someone else to beat you may still work.

  • Whenever a team plays Boston this year, a fan or two of that team e-mails me to say: Why isn't the league doing something to stop all the excessive taunting and trash-talking from Kevin Garnett? But Friday night -- when Boston's defense put Portland in its place -- there was a special incident (video) along these lines, with Kevin Garnett getting himself on all fours to make some kind of point to Jerryd Bayless. Think about that for a minute. A grown man on all fours to make some kind of point. It was as crazy as it sounds, if not crazier. I'm of two minds. My first thought is that this probably isn't the precise brand of heroism people most want to see when they buy those expensive tickets. My second thought is that no matter what the referees do, I'm certain the best way to shut him up is not to complain to the league, but to win.

  • Last week, a TrueHoop reader pointed out that LeBron James has improved his mid-range shooting. It's one of those ideas that's out there. But is it true? From a few spots, yes. But in general, the evidence is that his mid-range game in total has not improved, and has never been nearly as good as Kobe Bryant's. And checking out some other assessments of LeBron James' game.

  • Amare Stoudemire -- sometimes a great rebounder.

  • Sifting through some Brandon Jennings stories, and getting a sense of what going to college does not do for a lot of basketball players: Make them mentally tough.

  • The Memphis Flyer's Chris Herrington on O.J. Mayo: "Mayo is not generally an explosive player, but can be hypnotic to watch when he's in a groove, as he was in dominating his match-up with fellow rookie Eric Gordon tonight. I'm continually delighted by his ability to make any kind of shot anywhere on the floor. His jumper is a thing of beauty off the dribble, coming of screens, and spotting up. He's got deep three-point range and a precocious mid-range game. He's mastered the crossover-dribble-pull-up sequence. He's got the kind of floater I've been waiting to see our point guard develop. And he's showing more and more that he can get to the rim and make plays. His game is smooth and calm and he's going to be a 25-point-a-game scorer in near time. With Mayo on the bench in the fourth quarter, seemingly for good with the Griz up double digits, the offense went stagnant, going scoreless for four minutes. So Iavaroni sent Mayo back in, where he calmly scored three baskets in two minutes, capping it off with an unexpectedly thunderous left-handed dunk on Gordon."

  • Chris Bosh has been playing like an alpha dog lately ... but I did not at all like his crazy runner with the game on the line yesterday.

  • This is not the script anyone envisioned for Joakim Noah in Chicago when he was drafted as the lynch pin of a two-time NCAA champion.

  • Mark Cuban with some ideas for the auto industry.

  • Grappling with the proper role for Allen Iverson in Detroit, where the winning seems to have left town with Chauncey Billups.

  • Since Jerry Sloan took over the Jazz, 223 NBA head coaches have been fired. The 223rd was, of course, Randy Wittman -- a firing that ESPN's Marc Stein predicted yesterday.