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.
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.
Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.
And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.
Three thoughts here.
1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.
2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.
3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.