Wednesday Bullets

  • Jaime from Basketball.org makes a point that makes you think and maybe protest a little (how good would the Celtics be with Garnett but without Paul Pierce?): "I want all the experts and casual fans to stop telling me how amazing Paul Pierce is. Since last year season and the NBA Finals, I have heard over and over how great Pierce is. How he lead his team to an NBA championship. How he deserves to be mentioned in the MVP voting. Even last night by Doug Collins, how he has the heart of a champion. Yes, Paul Pierce is a good player, but he has some great players along side of him and the true heart of a champion on this team is his injured mate Kevin Garnett. If the Bulls get one rebound, the Celtics would be down right now 0-2 in this series and staring elimination dead in the face. The same Bulls who are playing without Luol Deng and have a rookie coach in Vinny Del Negro. Without KG, the Celtics are obviously not very good. The heart and soul, the MVP of Celtics, is in street clothes with a bald head on the bench. Do you think the Celtics give up a 115 points with KG in the lineup?"

  • Hmm ... now that the season's over, what's Shaquille O'Neal up to? That's what Twitter is for: "Breakfast Egg white omelette Lunch Cobb salad," he says.

  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, writing for ESPN Insider about Andre Iguodala: "The other area where Iguodala shines when we look deeper at the statistics is a familiar one: defense. Again, Iguodala has the traditional stats, having averaged 1.6 steals per game to rank 10th in the league. What that fails to capture is Iguodala's ability to contain his own man. According to 82games.com, opposing small forwards averaged 16.5 points per 48 minutes and a .492 effective field-goal percentage against the 76ers when Igudoala was playing the position this season, as compared to 20.2 points per 48 minutes and a .495 eFG for all small forwards in the NBA this season. Basketball Prospectus' defensive statistics also show Iguodala holding opponents 4.7 percent below their normal production -- virtually identical to Battier's performance. Again, Iguodala has been slow in getting recognition for his defense, drawing only a single vote for last year's All-Defensive teams. But using the same methods to adjust plus-minus data that Michael Lewis drew upon in his Battier profile, statistical analysis shows Igudoala to be an elite defender. His defensive adjusted plus-minus last season, as calculated by current Rockets consultant Eli Witus, was tops among wing players. While adjusted numbers are not yet available for this season, Philadelphia allowed 7.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when Iguodala was on the court. Largely because of his defensive presence, Iguodala has been one of this year's standouts in terms of the adjusted plus-minus calculated by BasketballValue.com, one of seven players in the league worth more than 10 points per 100 possessions to their team."

  • When it comes to home and road team's free throw attempts, there's no place like Chicago. Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub: "At home, the Bulls are taking 4.2 more FTAs per game on average than their opponents -- 27.2 attempts to 23.0 for the visitors. That home FTA margin of +4.2 is the sixth-highest figure among playoff teams (behind, in order, Orlando, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland and Utah), but the gap between their overall FTA margin (-0.3) and their home margin (4.2) is the biggest among all 16 playoff teams -- and it's not even close. Other teams with large positive home FTA margins generally have solid overall FTA margins to begin with. Chicago is an outlier here."

  • Larry Bird says there's no chance Jamaal Tinsley will be back in Indiana.

  • A while ago, The New York Times had an interesting little story about NBA players shipping their cars home for the off-season. And look at the comments today: People freaked out. They can't stand the Times for running this story, and the Times was even accused of attempting to instigate some kind of class animosity, as such a story was certain to enrage people dealing with actual poverty in an actual recession. I hear that, and understand it. My take is very different: People like interesting stories. Period. Has always been so. In good times and bad. And a lot of stuff that happens around sports stars is unique, bizarre and therefore at least a little interesting. If you're an NBA fan, you're already thinking about people like Eric Gordon all the damned time. Is it so weird to be a little curious about his personal life? If you had a beer with Eric Gordon, wouldn't you ask him about these kinds of details of his life?

  • John Hollinger (Insider): "We've had a lot of talk about the 'Hot Hand' study presented at the Geekapalooza conference in February, especially about situations that tend to disprove it, such as Ben Gordon's torrid finish to Game 2 on Monday. However, I tend to think the more common scenario is what happened with Ron Artest on Tuesday night in the Rockets' 107-103 loss to Portland. During the first quarter he took a few questionable shots and made all of them, and as a result he seemed to recalibrate his definition of a "good shot" to include those attempts. Artest took several poorly chosen attempts during the second half, something coach Rick Adelman seemed to allude to in his postgame comments without specifically naming Artest. The Rockets' forward finished the game 8-for-20 with only two free-throw attempts, on a night where the rest of his team was scoring fairly easily."

  • Piston fans, summoning memories of being down 0-2 in the 2004 Finals. Joey from Straight Bangin' isn't feeling it (a little PG-13): "Let's be honest -- never since June 23, 2005 has the team really seemed to believe it was the best, and it has failed in progressively worse fashion ever since. It crapped out and lost its cool against Miami. Then against Cleveland. The against the Celtics. The Pistons have had their spot blown up in every critical moment for four years, now. Not only is it sad for a Pistons fan, but it's sad because it destroys the personal brands of so many players. Roscoe seems silly to always act so surly and mean mug when he consistently punks out. Same for Tayshaun, who will never really 'arrive.' And there is something about Richard Hamilton that always has and always will seem a little Mickey Mask Mouse. Real stars don't need gimmicks."

  • V
    ery often I come across work that would seem to deserve more time than I can give them. For instance: The idea that humans might now be close to their maximum possible athletic achievement.

  • Wizznutzz has word of a rejected LeBron James commercial, which starts like this: "Hi, I'm LeBron James. In between playing myself in commercials and spraying baby powder all over the place, I sometimes play basketball."

  • And, oddly, another fake beer-inspired Cavaliers' commercial. (Via Cleveland.com)

  • If your team drafts Ricky Rubio, they are going to have to wait two years or deal with a serious buyout from his Spanish team. Of course the team can only pay a small amount of it. One idea floated in that DraftExpress article is that perhaps DKV Joventut might accept a portion of Rubio's second NBA contract.

  • With the game on the line last night, I was shocked at the Jazz's lackluster play. Carlos Boozer wanted the big shots, but everyone else seemed eager to avoid the spotlight. Mainly, the whole thing was just so slow! Tick tock tick tock -- you're down five with a few dozen seconds left. And Deron Williams can shoot like crazy. I may not have been tapping into my inner Red Auerbach, but I just wanted Williams to shoot 3s every time he touched the ball.

  • Kevin Arnovitz just got his season ticket renewal package from the Clippers, and he intends to negotiate a bit: "My intention isn't to needle the Clippers, or their sales team who, in my experience, are polite, responsive professionals. They're not trying to rip you off any more than the home seller asking $529,000 for a $400,000 house. This isn't about kicking the organization while it's down. If you have season tickets to the Nuggets, Magic, Hawks, Bobcats, Dodgers, Padres, Seahawks, Flames, LA Phil, or Geffen Playhouse, the same principles should apply. We negotiate home purchases, car leases, and gym memberships. The bank that holds my mortgage just went into receivership, and my assumption is that the FDIC will turn around and negotiate the sale of my loan at a discount. We're in a recession - everything is negotiable. There's no reason why season ticket packages to professional sporting events shouldn't be subject to the same rules of the free market. The only reason they wouldn't be is if sports fans behave irrationally -- and who'd believe that?"

  • A coach wonders at the best kind of game face: Calm like Derrick Rose, or fiery like Kevin Garnett?

  • Subterfuge! Espionage! Shane "Spymaster" Battier! Last night I blogged about Nate McMillan hiding his play call signals in his jacket. Benjamin Golliver of BlazersEdge followed up with the coach today. What McMillan had to say points to one of the benefits of Shane Battier that does not show up in the box score (but, I might point out, does show up in plus/minus, if it works): "Well, [Battier's] picking it up sometimes in the backcourt. Which gives them time to call it to the bench, the bench get it in, then what the bench does is call out a play that they have that is close to the play that we are about to run. So what we do is we don't call the play until we get across halfcourt. Now they don't have as much time to call out and to adjust. What [Battier] was doing, on free throws when they are shooting free throws, he's looking at the point guard and looking at me and trying to get our plays. So we knew that, we made our adjustment with our point guards, not to call out the plays, use signals, and in situations like that, dead balls and free throws, we call the plays once we cross halfcourt."