Evanz of Golden State of Mind has a fascinating report from the Sports Analytics Innovation Summit, including news of how the NBA oversees its referees and how NBA tickets will increasingly be priced like plane tickets. For instance, here's a report on something the Thunder's Ben Alamar has been working on: "Alamar has developed tools to test a player's decision-making ability. The example he showed was a picture clearly depicting a 3-on-1 fastbreak opportunity, with three of the offensive players labeled A, B, and C. The player taking the 'test' (which is more like a game to them) would have to decide within five seconds of seeing a very short video clip which of the three players scored on the play. It wasn't clear yet how much the test correlated with winning, but Alamar did tell us that so far, the players who have taken the test have performed much, much better than, say, the folks working in the front office who have taken the same tests (think of them as the 'controls' in this case). Unfortunately, OKC is not allowed to bring the test to the draft combine yet. They can only test players at the Portsmouth Invitational, in addition to members of the Thunder. It wouldn't surprise me, however, if other teams around the league are starting to go down this road, if they haven't already."
Colin McGowan of Cavs: The Blog: "I’ve spent the last few hours scouring the interwebs for articles about and interviews with Dion Waiters to get a sense of who he is -- where he comes from, his demeanor, what those squabbles with Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim were all about, which Macaulay Culkin vehicles are in his DVD collection. I’m doing this because I anticipate Waiters -- whose name is an anagram for Saint Weirdo, which is just terrific -- is going to be my favorite Cavalier. Kyrie Irving will be the genius of the Cavs’ offense, no doubt, but he’s blankly perfect as a public figure and will, once the national media gets ahold of him, ascend to the mantle of Kevin Durantian hyper-talented amicability he’s destined to occupy. ... Irving is great, but he doesn’t confound you in any way. Dion Waiters is more a brooder. ... I think this interview with Comcast Sportnet’s Danny Pommels and this New York Times piece by Pete Thamel are the best glimpses into his character. The first line of Thamel’s piece contains an awesome senes of foreboding: 'Everything should come easily for Syracuse guard Dion Waiters.' But it never does."
Dirk Nowitzki is due for a good year, says John Hollinger (Insider): "Nowitzki's stock in trade is turning the usual rules of offense on their head. As I wrote a year ago, for every other player in every other league a long 2 is not a desirable shot. Nowitzki shoots them so well that it is. He made 50.3 percent beyond 16 feet last season, the second-best figure in the league, and that opens up everything else. Defenses foul and double him because of it, making him a threat in several other ways, especially because he rarely turns the ball over despite all the attention. This is a roundabout way of saying I don't expect Nowitzki to decline much, if at all, despite being 34 this season. He was good in the latter half of last season, and his two differentiating skills -- being 7 feet tall and shooting 18-footers like they're layups -- won't diminish with age."
You know those crazy trampoline dunk teams that take over NBA timeouts now and again? Here's how you get on one of those teams.
Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger ... David Thorpe (Insider) says these are players the Celtics can use to great effect, most importantly in getting their aging stars meaningful rest. Also, Terry is motivated.
All kinds of celebrities singing the Beatles for a good cause, and Michael Jordan pops up a little after the two-minute mark.
A thought about running sports leagues, inspired by the NFL and the rage it is inspiring today. Yes, big business often demands tough decisions, and drawing hard lines. But it's a great thing to treat people well, and chief among the people who ought to be treated well are the fans who are the lifeblood of the sport, the players who star in the sport, and the referees who keep it all working on the field. Sending out inferior referees, in a money making business ... just seems indecent.
Stephen Jackson says he'd run back into the stands for any of this teammates, Auburn Hills-style. Later in the same talk, he says he would not go back into the stands. He also says he shot up a strip club for one of his teammates. He says a lot. But then there's this: After Auburn Hills cost him $3 million in fines and lost pay he did not get a thank you from Metta World Peace. He also says he can't vouch for World Peace's rap. And he does not work out at all in the summer, which puts him in a category with several players who have had good longevity, like Andre Miller. There's also a tale of a wedding that was lost to a pre-nuptial game of chicken. And then he starts rapping.
Andrew Gnerre of Nets are Scorching on the Barclays Center: "'It’s pretty cool. Never been this excited about a building.' – Me. 'So weird.' – My girlfriend"
Ranking the Thunder. It's getting close to the end. Eric Maynor is ahead of Kendrick Perkins, which I support.