Thursday And-1 links: Heat looking at Harrellson, Birdman

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like James T. Kirk loves green women.

• The Miami Heat need some depth up front. On Thursday former Knick and Rocket Josh Harrellson worked out for the Heat on Thursday. Chris Andersen also has let the Heat know he is interested in a deal. Any deal would be for the league minimum as that is all the Heat can offer this far over the cap. There also will not be a lot of minutes — Miami is going small ball with Chris Bosh at the five and likely playing Udonis Haslem there as well. But they want some size on the bench besides Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman.

• Lakers fans, watch this video from BBallBreakdown.com (love their work) of how your offense will look with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol… then stop drooling. This is going to be a very good offensive team once they find their groove. For them (as it was in the last title runs) the question is will they defend well enough?

• Lakers fans, Kobe Bryant turned 34 Thursday. SLAM celebrated by picking out his 34 best dunks.

• Who were the most unlikely 50-point scorers in a game in NBA history? Here’s a pretty good list. I didn’t remember Tony Delk doing that at all.

• Here’s a link to a video of Jeff Green talking about his return to Boston.

• Wizards fans looking for a detailed scouting report on Martell Webster, here you go.

• Former Raptors head man Jay Triano is getting the job as the head man of the Canadian national team.

• Royce White is a writer. But the Rocket doesn’t write about basketball.

• Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren is on the Sixers radar as they keep looking for a new general manager for next season.

• Rodrigue Beaubois is working out with boxing this offseason.

• Who wouldn’t want a Manu Ginobili bobblehead?

• Maya Moore is leading the WNBA in jersey sales this year. She’s a star.

• Jumaine Jones signed to play with Bnei Herzliya in Israel.

• I loved this poll on RealGM of what NBA writers would make good GMs. First, happy not to be on it. Second, Jason Givony of DraftExpress.com with ESPN’s Larry Coon as the capologist might not be bad (Sebastian Pruiti will be a scout for them), but the rest of these guys… not moves a smart owner makes. With no offense intended to Woj.

• ESPN’s Bill Simmons should not be a GM, but he might be part of the ESPN pregame show (NBA Countdown) next year. And that could work.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.