Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
Kurt from Forum Blue & Gold will have his eye on Jazz rookie Kosta Koufos during tonight's Lakers-Jazz game. Kurt cites David Thorpe's description of Koufos' arsenal: "Want to get an idea of how diversified Koufos' offensive game is? Here's how he scored his buckets in the Jazz's big win over Dallas: Offensive-rebound putback, layup off a dive in low-high action, step-through off a loose ball, race to the rim from the left-hand side, left-hand dribble and right-hand layup over Erick Dampier, rim-to-rim sprint and dunk, pick-and-roll left-hand finish, dive-to-the-rim dunk in low-high action, right-hand hook (and 1!) off a pick-and-roll."
In response to Bill Simmons' claim that Steve Nash's numbers were inflated under Mike D'Antoni, Michael Schwartz from Valley of the Suns counters: "[W]hy is Nash averaging just 14.8 ppg and 8.3 apg this season after his stellar four-year run under D'Antoni? Simmons makes the point that those numbers are in line with what Nash averaged in his final season in Dallas. And although they're down from what he's done in Phoenix, who can complain about the 34-year-old Nash's numbers being in line with his 29-year-old self? Sure, I'd attribute some of the decrease to Nash getting up there in age and fighting injury issues such as the back spasms that have kept him out of most of the past two games. But also the Suns just don't need him to be the same kind of point guard he was under D'Antoni. Nash used to be the engine that made the system go, a vital cog that would result in the entire system blowing when he's not around. Now he's more of a propeller, as the Suns still need him to run their best, but they have a Diesel to carry the load if need be."
Sorting through his mailbag, Dave D'Alessandro defends Nets coach Lawrence Frank against the pitchfork people in New Jersey: "[I]t's pretty clear that this coach has a) devised a pretty potent offense for the talent they've assembled; b) inspired terrific starts from his two best players; c) is right on schedule in developing one of their rookies into a top-10 center; and d) used the role players as well as anyone could (possible exception: Najera), given their glaring limitations. Maybe he's made mistakes, but that's just a second-guess - he had seven new guys he is still learning about. If they get out of this month with anything close to a .500 record, he should be a COY candidate."
Aron Phillips at Dime wonders, "Will there ever be another team with so many NBA coaches" produced from its ranks as the 1985-86 Boston Celtics?
The new-look Bobcats are 4-5 since the big trade. Queen City Hoops says that Boris Diaw deserves some of the credit, but that much of the progress can be chalked up to the upward trajectory of Emeka Okafor and Gerald Wallace since the deal: "Since Boris' arrival, Gerald has been unreal - 20.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks...With Boris around, Okafor has gone off to the tune of 17.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game."
Raja Bell will be out of action again tonight. Rufus on Fire doesn't like Larry Brown's depth chart behind Bell: "Matt Carroll, inexplicably, gets another start in Raja Bell's absence. Morrison's a wreck right now, Carroll's just as bad, and starting two point guards is a recipe for rejuvenating Michael Redd. How badly does Shannon Brown have to practice before Larry Brown realizes he has a perfectly capable stopgap solution already on the roster?"
Micah Hart has some New Years resolutions for the Atlanta Hawks. Compensating for Mike Bibby's defense at the point is among them: "One of the main reasons New Jersey swept the Hawks back in November was the performance of Nets' PG Devin Harris, who used his quickness to get into the lane as he torched Atlanta for 63 points in two games. Other quick point guards have done very well against the Hawks also, and defending their penetration has really been the biggest achilles heel for the Hawks D. We all know Mike Bibby won't be making any All-Defensive teams anytime soon, but knowing his shortcomings on the defensive end...the Hawks are going to have to figure out other ways of clogging the lane to keep the Harrises and Roses of the world from forming a lay-up line."
Kelly Dwyer notes that it's a great night for League Pass subscribers, because every team in the NBA is in action. Even lonely ol' Channel 764 will have a broadcast.
On the docket is a Magic-Heat contest. Third Quarter Collapse isn't buying that "it's just another game": "Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has said countless times that playing the Miami Heat is just another game .. but everyone knows, including the Magic players, that he delights in beating his former team. "
Peter Robert Casey's examination of the descriptive verbs highlighting each one of NJIT basketball's 40 losses will remind Infinite Jest fans of Jim Troeltsch's hijinks as the in-house sportscaster at Enfield Tennis Academy: " I decided to riffle through the archives see exactly how the SID went about this challenge over the last, say, 40 losses. After being topped, toppled, carried, stopped, propelled, held off, beaten, edged, thwarted, pulled away, upended, defeated, chilled, worn down, lifted, fallen, and lost multiple times, it doesn't surprise me that Casciano had to take a T.O. for health reasons."