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 Southerners like fried food….
• So, you think you’re good at pop-a-shot? Think again (via The Awesomer).
• The case for Chris Webber to make the Hall of Fame. I’ve already told you I think he should be in.
• Friend of the blog Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com makes a rational plea to Lakers fans: This season should be about having fun again, enjoying the experience and not the end result.
• We told you how the NBA was paying to put high tech, motion recording Spurts VU cameras in every NBA arena, which is going to track the detailed movements of players on the court and provide this wealth of information. What kind of information? John Schuhmann at NBA.com gave us a little breakdown, complete with some videos. Some interesting stats: In the 27 games the cameras tracked of his (remember they weren’t in every arena last year), Rajon Rondo had 37 “free throw assists” where he made the pass and it led to a foul and at least one made free throw; Tony Parker averaged almost two “hockey assists” a game (the pass that leads to another pass that leads to a basket). You get the idea, we are going to get a lot more information, and that is good for us fans.
• Things that may blind those cameras — Dwyane Wade’s light-up shoelaces:
• Mark Wahlberg talks the Bulls, Jimmy Butler and Boston.
• Tyreke Evans enjoys some time back in Philly.
• Memphis has invited swingman Tony Gaffney to training camp. He already has a contract to play in Germany this year, it is a camp invite only.
• Bill Cartwright with an interesting story of what it was like coaching in Japan.
• Magic Johnson has started a great program for at-risk youth.
• Finally, good to see Louisville’s Kevin Ware is dunking again.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.