Charlie from Roundball Mining Company on the (undefeated!) post-Melo Nuggets: "Just a few days ago, this was a zombie team hardly recognizable as the former contenders they once were. The only thing driving them was the undead rumor mill of Melo speculation that manifested itself in a new form after every attempt to kill it. I have to be honest, I no longer cared about the team I love. The games seemed meaningless and the players proved it in their demeanor and team spirit on the court. I felt as empty watching the games as Melo must have after every time he scored 30 points on 25 shots in a losing effort, knowing that each time he put on a Denver jersey would be one closer to his last. Now, after what in many ways was one of the saddest moments in Nuggets history, I feel as reborn as I imagine this team might feel too. Melo got what he wanted, after a long nightmare that consumed not only the Nuggets’ season but those of all the new players who arrived in Denver tonight via trade. Finally, a vision for a team fully committed to each other. Players who want a future now with the meaningful role and the environment to grow into themselves. The Nuggets are finally fighting for something real and exciting as for the first time in months they are a real team."
A thorny issue in hoops geekery is assessing the value of being able to create a shot. If you had 12 guys who rebounded a ton, you'd have a very efficient team, but, likely, many possessions where nobody could even get a shot off. That seems wrong. So ... who are the guys who are best at creating shots? Depends how you look, but names like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook come up a lot: The NBA players who create the most shots for their teams.
How do uncreative offensive players hurt your team? Consider Bret LaGree of Hoopinion on how the Hawks lost to the Lakers: "Yes, the Hawks missed several open shots in the fateful first half but they also made themselves easy to guard. Whatever defensive value starting Jason Collins against Andrew Bynum had was overwhelmed by the value the Lakers gained by being able to defend five-on-four in the half-court. Atlanta's primary ball-handlers, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, approached a defense overloaded to the strong side with lots of dribbling. The resultant offensive stagnation further encouraged Josh Smith to continue his evolution into a spot-up shooter which in turn magnified (possibly exaggerated) the damage of the turnovers he committed when attempting to make an aggressive play."
Caltech won a league game for the first time in 26 years. (Via College Basketball Nation Blog.) Great stuff. Couldn't be happier for Caltech coach Oliver Eslinger, who has been a friend of TrueHoop since he was back at M.I.T. (you may recall my linking several times to his blog "Doc's head games" -- he has a Ph.D. in counseling and sports psychology). A footnote (literally) to that game: Click that link above, and look for #22, a guard with his back to the camera as the final free throw is attempted. That's Collin Murphy. Met him on Sunday morning, and he's an Alaskan Packer fan, and as nice as can be. And here's the funniest damn thing: Look at his shoes. They're outrageous yellow Adidas. Now, in yesterday's bullets I linked to some video from a blogger game early Sunday morning. Look what I'm wearing: Outrageous yellow Adidas. Same exact pair! ESPN has restrictions on the kinds of gifts journalists can accept, and I take it seriously. When I happen into free sneakers -- even though the vast majority are below the value outlined by the policy -- I give them away. In this case, Adidas offered me some shoes. I had two pickup games to play in and no shoes. So I accepted them, knowing I'd use them for just a morning before finding somebody who'd want them. I wrapped up the final run of the morning in Caltech's gym, as Murphy walked in, and he just happened to be size 11.
The craziest thing about this Dwyane Wade layup is that after throwing up a preposterous falling down dream of a shot, he bothers to look to see if it's going in. Most unlikely thing ever ... until it does. (Via SLAM Online.)
How the Heat beat the Kings, in comic form.
"Here We Stay" picking up steam as a group eager to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
An American in Barcelona does not understand the talk that Ricky Rubio is disappointing.
Chris Paul's health is a major NBA factor. On that topic, GM Dell Demps spoke to season ticket holders, and Hornets247 blogger "42" has insight: "He feels it takes 2 years for a player to return to pre-surgery level after these kinds of surgeries. The issue is the strength of this quad muscles after bring inactive following the surgery. The first year is largely about building trust in the knee. Chris is fiercely committed to his rehab. The knee brace was a request by the team to provide some insurance of sorts while the knee was healing. Chris honored that request. The knee brace is officially gone." Also, for those worried about relocation, know that Demps says he just bought a house.
Recapping the off-court risks associated with Carmelo Anthony. A major factor in that conversation is his appearance in that "Stop Snitchin'" video. On that topic, I accept things are complicated, and this is must-read.
The battle is on! The battle between Madison Square Garden and Staples Center to be the place celebrities watch NBA basketball. It's a weird battle, I know. But a battle nonetheless.
Magic Johnson's Twitter account is fascinating and worth the follow. He says the Lakers need to make a small trade before the deadline. (Via Mark Medina.) He also plugs MSG in the battle I just mentioned.
Michael Redd on video: Still lefty, still draining shots and due back soon.
If you want to see a technical foul, put John Wall in a room with the Pacers' front line.
"Corned beef, pastrami, salami, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing on rye bread." Per Ian Begley at ESPN New York's Knicks blog, those are the ingredients of the Carnegie Deli's new Carmelo Anthony sandwich. The Russian dressing is said to be a dig at Mikhail Prokhorov, although I'd like to point out the other ingredients practically demand it.
The NBA wants play to start faster after timeouts are over, in the name of speeding up the game. Hooray! Now if they could see about keeping those timeouts to the 100 seconds specified in the rulebook, instead of those epic playoff timeouts, during which you can amble at your own pace and still make a trip to the bathroom and get a snack.