<
>

Friday Bullets

  • An analysis saying Will Bynum has been better this season, per minute, than Allen Iverson. Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports takes it 60 steps further, and nearly implicates Iverson in the collapse of modern society. One thing in particular stuck in my craw: "In 2001, after the Sixers embarrassed him with threats of an offseason trade and with Larry Brown brow-beating Iverson nightly, he put together a remarkable, MVP season and carried Philadelphia to the NBA Finals. That season was the one glimpse at what Iverson should've been. He won a career-high 56 regular-season games with Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, Tyrone Hill and 34-year-old Dikembe Mutombo providing support. Focused and motivated, Iverson reluctantly listened to Brown and pretended to be a winner. Of course, it didn't last long. Iverson's narcissistic play and demeanor prevented him from developing a Tonto, a Pippen, a McHale, a Worthy, a Dumars. Iverson has never been accused accurately of making the players around him better." The thing about that 2001 team, which I covered quite a bit at the time, was that while there was that trade threat, there was also a ton of love. Pat Croce got Larry Brown and Allen Iverson on the same page, and it was a genuine and beautiful thing. Doesn't seem right to re-tell it as a mirage.

  • There is some debate that homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals may not be as meaningful in earlier rounds because of the 2-3-2 format. But I see it as almost the opposite: The lower-ranked team has a nearly impossible task just to hold serve at home for those three games -- likely necessitating two wins on the road.

  • A nice preview of the Euroleague Final Four from Ettore Messina, the coach CSKA Moscow, who is coaching in his fourth straight Final Four. Also worth noting: Messina is mentioned today by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski as a candidate to coach various NBA teams, including the Nets: "There's significant belief inside and outside the organization that Lawrence Frank will be fired, but some reliable sources think Frank's fate is still unresolved. If a change is made, GM Kiki Vandeweghe is expected to have the autonomy to make his mark on the organization. Several sources suggest that he will push for Messina, who has won two Euroleague titles with CSKA Moscow."

  • As a youngster, Pistons Coach Michael Curry reportedly had a job picking up trash at Augusta for the Masters.

  • Tom from Indy Cornrows sees Danny Granger flying towards the hoop on the break, with only Quincy Douby to beat. A great moment of basketball ... until Douby wraps up Granger for an intentional foul. It's in increasingly common play, and I suspect there is evidence showing its effective (not fouling in that situation is probably worth X points per possession, while fouling is worth X - a little). Tom writes: "On this play alone, we were robbed of a potential highlight play everyone may have talked about for a couple of days. Granger could've crossed up Douby and finished in spectacular fashion at the rim. On the other hand, Douby could've slowed up Granger enough for Chris Bosh to come flying in for a swat at the rim. Who knows? Douby may have picked Granger's pocket and set off a play at the other end that we'd still be talking about. These are just a handful of potential plays snuffed out by Douby taking the foul, and in essence robbing the fans of a chance to ooh and/or ahh. Again, I understand the strategy, but it stinks. Besides that, it's boring. You don't want to be on a poster? Then get better or get out of the way, but let's see the play."

  • Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee, via Twitter last night: "An 'I' from a Kings dancer's belt fell on the floor and was removed by an official. Thus, there is no longer an 'I' in 'Kings.'" (Via Matt Watson)

  • Offensive rebounds and easy putbacks may be the best way for Yao Ming to dissuade opponents from fronting him in the post.

  • I buy the theory that the Laker defense, when motivated, is excellent. Anyone disagree?

  • Rudy Fernandez doesn't want to talk about the "Trevor Ariza incident" and is moving on. But Blazer fans aren't and Dwight Jaynes has advice for them.

  • Anyone feeling sorry for themselves -- for instance, I always feel for the NBA's deep bench players who are some of the best players in the world, but never get to play -- would do well to watch this.

  • Time for the Phoenix Suns annual yearbook. Very funny fake note from Steve Nash to Shaquille O'Neal.

  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference makes a bold claim -- Steve Nash likely won't be a Sun the next time they make the playoffs. You agree? Then he looks back at the Suns era that was: "... it was actually the defense that led to Phoenix's downfall in 2009, as the Suns fell to 26th after hovering around the league average throughout Mike D'Antoni's tenure as coach. What's especially ironic is that the mainstream media's biggest criticism of the D'Antoni Suns was a perceived lack of defense on their part (an illusion of the Suns' breakneck pace and proof of the fallacy of looking at points allowed per game to assess defensive ability), and that Porter was largely hired by Kerr to "fix" Phoenix defensively. Instead, the Suns declined in literally every defensive metric, save for a slight increase in the % of opponent possessions on which they recorded a steal (and they still ranked just 23rd in that category)."

  • A bunch of Blazers and Grant Hill talk about how they handle their NBA money.