Monday Bullets

  • On the day the Lakers hold their parade, here's an amazing collection of Laker title celebration videos.

  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference on Kobe Bryant as Finals MVP: "I definitely don't think it's fair to say Kobe was 'bad' in the Finals. He didn't have a great offensive series, but it really wasn't horrific -- 25 P/36 on a 53 TS% is actually not that different from his regular-season numbers, and this was against one of the league's best defenses. He also played legitimately great defense, and did a surprisingly good job on the boards. Watching last night, my initial reaction was that it was extremely unfair to give Kobe the Finals MVP after he very nearly shot his team out of the biggest game of the season. And it's true that for most of Game 7, the selfish Kobe we've all come to criticize showed up. But looking at the numbers for the series today, it's hard to make a case for him not winning Finals MVP honors. As a stats guy, I usually come down against Kobe (and I still think he's nowhere near Michael Jordan or even LeBron James' level), but in this case I have to give credit where credit is due. Gasol had an eye-popping efficiency, but if you employ a trade-off and take him up to Kobe's usage level, plus factor in Kobe's defensive edge, Kobe deserved the MVP." (Via Cavs: The Blog)

  • Steve Weinman of D-League Digest: "Since Thursday night, I’ve heard and read a lot from Celtics fans about how proud they are of this team, with some even going so far as to claim that it’s the proudest they have been of any Celtics team they have followed. I do know that I don’t share that sentiment, at least not to that extent (and that’s leaving aside for now the arguable silliness that accompanies the notion of taking pride in being a fan of a ball club of complete strangers). Without question, this team put on a show during the postseason that made me prouder to be a Celtics fan than I felt during the season. But I would be careful with the hyperbole beyond that. For my part, I had more admiration for the 2008-09 club, just to name one, a team that began the season 44-12, finished it 18-8 even after Kevin Garnett’s devastating injury in Utah (though he did play limited in minutes in four of those games during a short-lived comeback attempt), won perhaps the most dramatic first-round series ever in seven grueling games against Chicago and then took eventual East champion Orlando to seven games despite Paul Pierce and Ray Allen running on fumes and the frontcourt being so depleted by injuries that Mikki Moore was expected to make key contributions. That was a team that earned our respect with its effort all season long and left everything and then some on the floor in the postseason before finally succumbing to elements too big for anyone to overcome. This year’s team put in some terrific work in a two-month burst at the very end, but much of the adversity it overcame was of its own creation. It finished with the better result, but I can’t say I loved the 2009-10 team quite the same way I did the 2008-09 group. Comparing this team to the 2007-08 group that treated every game like the seventh of the Finals would be an exercise in kidding ourselves."

  • An amazing and forthright (and a little PG-13) account of Ricky Rubio's draft night last year, from the man the NBA assigned to escort the just-drafted Spaniard through the media routine.

  • Matt McHale of Bulls By the Horns wonders how Michael Jordan's legacy might affect LeBron James' chances of signing with the Bulls: "Magic Johnson’s place as the Greatest Laker Ever seemed pretty secure until recetly. Now that Kobe Bryant has won another title in L.A., some people -- including ESPN’s Chris Broussard and even Shaq -- are already annointing him the Greatest Laker Ever. So nobody’s place in history is unassailable. In theory. But Jordan’s is pretty close. The only thing we don’t know is: Would that challenge motivate LeBron or scare him away?"

  • The top ten stories in European basketball. The video that tops the list will give you chills.

  • How the TrueHoop Network's own Hoopinion conspired with some smoked mussels, whipped cream, Cheez-its and white wine to rouse the Twitter volcano that is Buzz Bissinger. Most assuredly, this is full of adult language.

  • A big, serious, video look into whether or not Gilbert Arenas and John Wall can play together. My biggest worry would be that Arenas is a terrible defender, and when you're pairing a rookie with a veteran, that's not what you want from your veteran, you know? 'Cause even rookies who go on to become great NBA defenders are seldom effective the first time around.

  • In case you're wondering if Paul Allen is still willing to invest in Kevin Pritchard's vision, here's a small sign, from a Warriors press release: "The Golden State Warriors have conveyed their second round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft (the 34th selection) to the Portland Trail Blazers, in exchange for the Blazers’ second round pick (44th overall) and cash considerations, the team announced today." And more signs in a press release from the Blazers, regarding two of Pritchard's most trusted staffers: "The Portland Trail Blazers have extended the contracts of Michael Born, Director of NBA Scouting, and Chad Buchanan, Director of College Scouting, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard. The two-year extensions will keep Born and Buchanan under contract through June of 2012."

  • Marcus Thornton says he has spent a lot of the offseason with Darren Collison.

  • Alvin Gentry deserves a raise.

  • Vince Carter's best game of the season.

  • Avery Johnson says the Nets will have a defensive system. That's good! They need that! But what will it be? Here's a smart look at how the Mavericks defended under Johnson.