Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Exercises in Internet NBA-Related Postings/ Training Camp Quick-Thoughts 10.6.08

  • KD's got a plea for all of us: Be Patient With Shaun. Dealing with the D-League as much as I do, patience is something I think about and talk about a lot. Essentially it comes down to this. People talk about how there's not enough talent for expansion or how there's a limited amount of great basketball players. That's not necessarily true. There's a limited amount of elite basketball players. The real problem is that here's not enough resources or time to develop great basketball players. So many guys need time to work through a variety of things. In Shaun's case, it's injury. In others, it's off the court maturity. Some people don't naturally have a big upper body frame and that takes time and resources to develop. And while this is a "what can you do right now" world, teams are slowly getting to a point where they're clearing a high enough profit to spend time developing players. And "developing" does not mean "sitting on a bench and letting him work out with the team." It means investing time and resources into a player because of his skill. Because on the other end, instead of quality reserves, you get guys that just "do enough." And there's room for those guys, too. But why not have both? So many guys with legitimate talent are wasted because teams are unable to spend the time and money into investing in their long-term prospects, it makes it a crapshoot on whether they'll succeed. With Livingston, if you take a long-term approach to him, it could have huge benefits.
  • The fact that the Spurs are willing to participate in Yoga is another reason Popovich is so ahead of the curve. You've got an aging, stiff roster. What do you do? Have them do something that has considerable emperical support for improving athletic ability in older bodies. Of course, when Fabricio Oberto does downward dog it must look like a female Hippo preparing for mating, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
  • Deron likes the 1, thanks. Which I think is interesting, because he's less of a creator than Paul (cue the hordes of Jazz fans that refuse to admit that Paul is better at anything; I swear, if I said Paul was better at making peanut butter sandwiches, they'd send me a 1,000 word email on how Deron understands that creamy is better than crunchy). Deron's long-term prospects are becoming more interesting to me than Paul's. We know what Paul's going to be barring tragedy. William's scoring instincts are a little better, and when this Jazz nucleus disbands (be it next year or, according to Jazz fans "never ever because Jazz players are a higher caliber of person; seriously, everytime Boozer gets blocked an angel gets its wings), Williams may decide to assert himself offensively even more. With a stockier body size and a pure scorer's touch, couldn't he become Baron Davis if Baron Davis never got hurt and actually had discipline and better vision? The idea of him controlling the whole of the offense (even more) with the ball in his hands is intriguing.
  • This is the story of your red right ankle. As opposed to this.
  • The Nets nailed it by getting Ben Couch on their web team. Ben was with the .Com before this and he's funny, he's fresh, and he's a good interviewer. Case in point. Jarvis Hayes thinks his three point shooting should be up in the video game version of himself. I wonder if any NBA player plays the game and goes "Man! They think I am WAY better at shooting than I am. I could never hit that shot! What game were these guys watching?"
  • In other news, Clay Bennett did NOT just buy the Sonics to move them, there ARE weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and you should not pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
  • My dislike of Jameer Nelson is strangely offset by my slight affection for Rafer Alston. Both of them are often criticized, both of them have received tremendous front-office support, and both of them feel that they are backcourt leaders on their team. The difference to me is that there are times when you can clearly see Alston go "Screw it. I'm knocking this down." And he does. He scores in short bursts and fights for his team when he's on the floor. The thing that's really turned me this offseason is that while Nelson has been saying how he's the leader and he's the guy and he's the weapon, Alston has said everything you want to hear from your point guard. He's been working on watching film, improving his handle, committing on defense, and has said publically that he wants to do whatever he can to facillitate the three-headed beast of McGrady, Yao, and Crazy Pills. He's not concerned with minutes or points, he said he just wants to do what he can to help. The Shake needs to get a grip.
  • I have to admire Pounding the Rock's honesty. While some teams are blathering about how they're underrated (say hello again, Jazz fans!), Spurs fans seem to be coming to grips with the death knell that hangs over the AT&T center. I keep going back on my feelings on them. I want to bury them. So desperately do I want to bury them. And there are actual reasons this year! But then I look and I see that Greg Popovich, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan are all still working together. Do I think Manu's going to be 100% this year? No. But is there anyone in the league better equipped to handle the load than Tim Duncan? I'll guarantee you this. If they do go down, they're going down guns slinging, and they're probably taking a few of you with them.
  • Oh, Good. NOW Amir Johnson is ready to contribute. Because I thought last season when he was a terrifying presence was nothing. It's really unfair how good Joe Dumars is. Seriously. He's just better at his job than most people are. What's that? Aging power forward problem? Oh, hey, I've got one right here under my desk. What's that? Billups getting exhausted? Hey, look! Rodney Stuckey! Neat! Try and imagine for a second what the Pistons' film room looks like. I imagine it as some sort of 3D environment like in Minority Report where you can watch multiple images on a touch screen at once. And the scouts and Dumars just go in there and absorb knowledge. Sick.
  • Carlisle wants to focus on the corner three. I'm just not seeing a dearth of shooters on this club with Stack and Kidd approaching Mummy Returns status. I mean, you get those corner threes out of solid rotation from the inside out, then the additional pass to the corner man. In the Mavs' offense last season, that was JET. You really want to make JET into a perimeter shooter instead of a dartgun to the rack? It's not like people are going to leave Dirk open. Oh, wait, I know, Kidd! BLAM!
  • Two thoughts on Skiles (this Blog is amazing, by the way). One, the fit for him taking over a team that was defensively lazy is so natural. Bogut with some focus could be something tremendous and he's got a young Ramon Sessions to hammer and mold. Bad news? Yet again, Charlie Villanueva manages to somehow lose his starting spot. The thing with Skiles is that if you don't produce, you sit. It's simple, it's brutal, it's short. Like life. But Villanueva needs a guy who believes in his talent and is willing to put in the time to bring the most he can get out of him out. Skiles doesn't really flow like that.
  • So Sactown Royalty says to me (and by me, I mean everyone, on the blog), it says, "Kevin Martin could win the scoring title." I say "You out yo' mind." He says, "No, fer realz, Kev Martin can winz teh scorin tahtle." I say, "OMG, LOL." Then I read it and I think about it and I hate Sactown Royalty for being so good at what they do. I want to say it's not possible. Then I think about that early season fadeaway floater I saw Martin hit where he drifted about twenty feet and nailed it from behind the basket. And I remember that Kevin Martin is not pleased with my lack of faith. *urk.
  • Add Dominique Wilkins to the crew that says that if he had played in the lax defensive era of now, he would have ruled. The thing is, none of the undersized power forwards are really success stories. And personally, I'm a fan of more basketball, less trash talking and less pounding the crap out of one another. I have five months of football to get my violence fix, thanks.
  • I've been thinking a lot about muscles and how so much of professional sports is specialized muscle control. My brother-in-law is a huge Crossfit geek and took me to one of their events two weekends ago. It was insane. You're seeing guys who are linebacker to defensive end size and they just ruin everyone on boxjumps and agility exercises. Granted, linebackers and defensive ends are equally impressive but they're also under constant professional training. Crossfit teaches functional fitness, so that you're able to do really applicable things at a high intensity level really well. So much of what basketball players do is predicated by a select series of muscles in progression. I wonder what would happen if you added high intensity Crossfit-style workouts to an NBA regimen. All of this is a lead up to saying that Tyson Chandler is unfathomably athletic and strong.
  • Ed Stefanski is another guy that I just marvel at for doing his job. Consider this. He has somehow managed to take a team that was built young, encourage a veteran point guard to the front, developed the young kids into not just talented, but winning players, and then added a true, legit, superstar power forward to put a lock down on the rotation and resign the other "superstar" on the team (for way too much money, but you can't do everythig perfectly). Case in point? No more floating Thaddeus Young from spot to spot. He's looking at the starting small forward spot. A 6-8, 220 small forward. I keep envisioning this Sixer squad as like the floating airships from Super Mario Bros. 3. Strong, sturdy, mobile, tons of big powerful weapons. East better gets some invincibility stars.
  • I cannot stress this enough. If you haven't been checking out Posting and Toasting's training camp stuff, you need to. Absolutely phenomenal work. The guy deserves an award all by himself for it.
  • Kevin Durant, best practice player, ever? He just sounds like that type of guy. We'll see how big the jump is this year.
  • Here's a terrifying thought that would drastically change my perception of the Jazz. If Koufos comes in like a man on fire down low to give them a legit big man who doesn't hang out too much on the perimeter or enjoy getting blocked repeatedly? Yikes.
  • This is the nicest thing to come out of Bobcats camp... and all it really means is Brown has to completely change how he's coaching. Yipee.
  • There's probably some truth to this. While Matrix isn't all about scoring, he often defers when he needs to, the money is about right on.
  • Oh, Lamar. Good to know you've finally got your head in the right place. Here's the thing. If you told Ron Artest he's coming off the bench in Houston, he'd say "Cool. Whatever. I'll get mine. If you think we can win, let's do it." Now Odom is telling one of the greatest coaches of all time that he's nuts for thinking about having him come off as the sixth man, which just means he'll get more points with fresh legs a la Manu, and he's complaining? On second thought, keep him out of Miami. They don't need that kind of attitude.
  • I've been hearing a lot about Marc Gasol's work in camp. Don't be surprised if he locks down the center job and becomes a fan favorite quickly.
  • Previews start tomorrow, y'all. Holler.

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