Steve Nash used to shun offers to be a corporate pitchman. Now he is a founding partner of a non-profit and several businesses that partner with all kinds of corporations. A key part in the transformation, as told by Chuck Salter in Fast Company magazine: "Nash's change of heart came a few years later, after he reconnected with Jeff Mallett, a family friend who was president of Yahoo in its go-go years. They talked about life after basketball, and Nash admitted he hadn't given it much thought. After building Yahoo into the Web's No. 1 destination by the age of 40, Mallett himself had wrestled with the What now? question. 'I challenged Steve with an email that said, 'It's 20 years from now and you have 15 minutes to tell what you've done in the last 20 years,'' Mallett recalls. '''If you mention basketball, you fail.''"
John Hollinger says Larry Brown is the NBA's coach of the year so far. He's a strong candidate, having made the NBA's best defense out of the Bobcats. The Blazer fan in me is still making a case for Nate McMillan. No Greg Oden. No Joel Przybilla. (No centers!) No Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez or Nicolas Batum for long stretches. Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Steve Blake have all been in and out. Now Jerryd Bayless is hurt. McMillan himself can barely walk after a ruptured Achilles. He's leaning hard on players who didn't expect to play much this season -- right this way, Juwan Howard, Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham. McMillan has also come to see eye-to-eye with Andre Miller, who has been playing out of his mind recently. Through it all, the team is a factor in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The New York Knicks' dreams of Ricky Rubio are, reportedly, intact.
Sundiata Gaines hit a game-winner for the Jazz. Now it looks like he'll be sticking around beyond ten-day contracts.
Rahat Huq of Red94 on Derrick Rose: "I don’t think I have ever seen a guy with a first step similar to that of Rose. A lot of times, what people consider to be ‘quickness’ is actually just a manifestation of deception or evasion. In the case of Francis, he wasn’t necessarily that much quicker than his peers – he just possessed a devastating arsenal of hesitation moves with which he could completely freeze his defender before blowing by. Rose is different and for reasons which make the above image appropriate for our discussion. Honestly speaking, the first time I watched Derrick Rose play last year, the thought conjured instantly was of The Rocketeer comic book hero from the ‘80s. In my mind, the comparison seems so obvious that I’m almost expecting to find that that it’s already been made. Watching Rose make his move off the dribble, he literally explodes, almost as if possessing some jet pack, propelling to his spot of choice. Derrick Rose’s first step is the 100mph heater when it comes just moments after the 81mph curve. You’ve suddenly been blinded. Explosion. You can only back off or hack away in fear."
Ben Gordon will be back soon for the Pistons.
Dig around in these spider-web type graphics. Get comfortable with them. You'll see who is using most of your team's possessions. Then keep scrolling down, and you'll see how that compares with their PER. And after all that, you'll find yourself thinking: Wow, Pau Gasol should get the ball more.
You know how rare fights are in the NBA these days? The following incident, as described by Dan Feldman of PistonPowered, has been described in some places as a fight or a brawl, even though it was just a bunch of shoving: "Late in the third quarter, Rudy Fernandez drove to the basket, and Charlie Villanueva decided to make Fernandez earn the points at the free-throw line. It didn’t look like Villanueva fouled him that hard, but Fernandez spun around and crashed to the floor. Maybe Fernandez was acting a bit, or maybe Villanueva’s foul was worse than it appeared to me. Either way, Juwan Howard took exception and got in Villanueva’s face. They were quickly separated by several players, but Villanueva tried to go through the crowd and get to Howard. Howard saw Villanueva coming and got more upset. Jason Maxiell pushed Howard away, and Rodney Stuckey held onto Villanueva. Tensions cooled. If anyone deserves blame, it’s Villanueva – and that’s still assuming his initial foul wasn’t with malice. Howard was just playing his role by sticking up for Fernandez. Once they were separated, Villanueva should’ve let it die. That said, I don’t think the incident was a big deal. And I’m not upset with Villanueva for being fiery. I just wish he constantly showed that attitude with the ball in play. When the game resumed, the officials began calling a tight game."
Jeremy of Roundball Mining Company on J.R. Smith's mentality: "J.R. is posting his poorest statistical season as a Nugget. His shooting percentages are down across the board, his turnover rate is the highest of his career and his assist rate is down. Even with all of his struggles, his usage rate is a career high. All in all his PER of 12.76 is lower than every season he has played save his rookie campaign as a Hornet. We all know Smith is too good of a player to put forth an entire season like this. At some point he will absolutely explode. The problem is, he knows that when his shot starts falling, it might not stop for a while and he is eager for that day to come. As a result he is chucking threes every chance he gets in anticipation of the incendiary streak that is undoubtedly around the corner."
If you're in the dunk contest, fishing for creative new ideas, the second video here has a decent one: Off your partner's head. UPDATE: So wrong. Amare Stoudemire has already done this off Steve Nash's head. And another soccer-themed dunk from the same contest.
UPDATE: Amazing tale, with video, of a basketball prank gone wrong.