Points in the Paint

» April 23, 2009 8:17 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports:  “For Anthony, there are no more excuses. The Nuggets have given him a wise, battle-tested point guard in Chauncey Billups. They’ve provided him his deepest bench, equipped with a spike-haired, shot-swatting backup center (Chris Andersen) and one of the league’s most feared (and unapologetic) shooters in J.R. Smith. They’ve even given him home-court advantage, opening the postseason on their own floor for the first time in 21 years. No one expects the Nuggets to replace the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals, but they do need to win a round. ‘With the team I have now, it’s like I’m born again,’ Anthony said. ‘Things are fun now. Basketball is fun.’ Fun has never seemed to be much of an issue for Anthony. After the Nuggets traded for Allen Iverson two seasons ago, they played fast and, according to their NBA peers, partied faster. A few opposing executives even dreaded the Nuggets’ annual visit, fearful their own players would be swept up with the late-night frivolity.”
  • Brad Townsend for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:  “Cuban’s youthful appearance, drive and exuberance have changed little since, at age 41, he signed a letter of intent to purchase the Mavericks on Jan. 3, 2000. In reality, he is now 50, a married father of two girls, has an artificial left hip and according to Forbes is at least $137 million lighter in the wallet where the Mavericks are concerned. ‘I’m not going to comment on our P&L [profit and loss] specifics,’ Cuban said. ‘But I have always said I’m in this to win, not make money.’ For most pro sports owners, such a bottom line would be cause for alarm. In Cuban’s case, the subject evokes a sweat-dripping shrug from atop the StairMaster outside the Mavericks’ locker room, where he churns before most home games.”
  • T-Mac on his early relationship with Kobe Bryant:  “My first year, me and Kobe was really good friends our first couple of years in the league. I used to go to his house and stay the night. I was real close with his family. This guy, I thought he was crazy. This guy used to tell me, ‘Man, I’m telling you, Mac. I’m better than Mike. I’m better than Mike right now.’”
  • Bill Simmons of ESPN.com:  “I don’t know if you noticed, but in Game 2, Garnett obliterated the record for ‘most playoff F-bombs dropped on the bench by someone in street clothes.’ Honestly, it was like Wilt’s 100-point game for F-bombs; all it was missing was a postgame picture of KG holding a sign with ‘100’ written on it. As Vegas reader Frank B. joked, ‘My roommate and I just invented a new drinking game. Whenever they show a close-up of KG on the bench, you drink. If he drops an F-bomb, you drink again. If he drops the MF-bomb, you chug. Important note: You need a case of beer to play this game.’”
  • Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News:  “The people trumpeting the decision of 6-11 center Jeremy Tyler of San Diego to leave high school before his senior year and turn professional in Europe as some sort of transformational event for the American game appear to have misplaced this essential fact: The way this country trains basketball players may not be perfect, but no one’s doing it better. Tyler announced Wednesday he would leave San Diego High and pursue a job playing in a foreign country. This development was given the same ‘trailblazer’ treatment as when erstwhile Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings decided last summer to spend the 2008-09 season playing point guard in Italy. The word ‘pioneer’ hasn’t gotten this much of a workout in basketball country since Daniel Boone was plowing through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky 240 years ago. Pioneers are supposed to move forward, though. Every piece of evidence we have suggests Tyler is traveling in reverse — going from a nation and a system that have given the basketball world Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala to one that has produced precisely one all-NBA first-team player. Ever.” DeCourcy makes a good point. The American game churns out more pros than every other country combined. But he also ignores the most important aspect of our success. Every player — from LeBron James to Mark Madsen — has a ceiling. The American game isn’t producing more pros because its player development methods are superior to Europe’s. The United States develops more professional basketball players because American-born players, as a group, are bigger, stronger, faster and can jump higher than their European counterparts.

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