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.
• The 10 best/worst suits of Craig Sager. Glad somebody finally put this together.
• What is the life of a professional dunker like? (No, not Blake Griffin, come on now.)
• Chase Budinger is back doing light workouts with the Timberwolves following knee surgery. That’s a very good sign.
• Jermaine O’Neal is going to be out for a while in Golden State with sprained knee and a strained groin, and he’s a versatile player that will be hard for the Warriors to replace in the rotation. At one point some people in their front office considered asking Brian Scalabrine if he wanted to make a comeback.
• You keep hearing about “small sample size theater” and to be careful with stats this time of year (with good reason). But what stats tend to hold up from now through larger sample sizes? Which ones should you pay attention to?
• Apparently the final holdovers in Boston have now figured out that Jeff Green, for all his skills, is not now nor never was going to be an alpha dog scorer. OKC fans could have told you that a few years and a big contract ago.
• In the wake of Matt Barnes using the “N word” in a tweet, Charles Barkley talked about using the word and backed Barnes.
• Fun interview with Hall of Famer Gary Payton.
• Jrue Holiday liked seeing his old Sixers teammates this weekend, but he’s quite happy where he is now.
• Dwyane Wade has launched a tie collection. I will let the people who wear ties or have fashion sense comment on this, I’ll go stand quietly in the corner.
• Several NBA teams have made donations to Typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. The Pacers Foundation donated $50,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme to help bring in food to those desperately in need. The Lakers made a donation to the Red Cross to help the victims as well.
• Finally, well done by Cavs sideline reporter Allie Clifton — she got hit in the head with the ball and doesn’t even flinch.
When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.
So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.
Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.
“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”
There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.
In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.
There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.
(Hat tip NBA reddit)
If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.
Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.
One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.
Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.
Yikes. That’s serious.
I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.
Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.
Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.
Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.
Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.
And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:
“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”
He’s even smart at not getting fouled.
Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.
“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”
Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.
And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.