Points in the Paint

» October 7, 2009 3:36 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Good Gregg Popovich quote on Dejuan Blair following the rookie’s monster performance (16 points, 19 rebounds) in SA’s preseason opener:  “I don’t want to denigrate anything he’s done in the past, and I don’t want to over-emphasize anything he’s doing well. I don’t know exactly where to put him yet, as far as what kind of impact he might make. When you’re an undersized big in this league, the first thing you learn is, offensively, is it’s a whole lot tougher than you thought it was going to be. When you’re going after 6-10 and 7-foot guys every night, it’s a lot different than college, when your ass got you over every night. Offensively, it’s a comeuppance. Or, maybe he’ll say, ‘Pop, you’re full of it,’ and he’s Barkley. We know it’s not going to happen, but I want to wait and see what’s going to happen offensively, because of that. Will he get down? If he does get down, how long will he be down? How will he fight back? But rebounding-wise, he can rebound with anybody. He’s a monster on the boards.”
  • Mike Barrett at Blazers.com recaps Portland’s first exhibition game:  “Oden, who showed off some of his new offensive moves in this game, ended with 18 points and 9 rebounds in just over 25 minutes. He had dunks, he had jump hooks, he went to the left hand, and even hit an elbow jumper when he was left open. Mostly though, he showed that he’s a very difficult match up, especially if he continues to play with the second unit. He’ll be playing against backup centers in this league, and there won’t be many who can hang with him.”
  • Kevin Broom takes Wizards beat writer Mike Jones to task for citing box score statistics. I don’t expect beat writers to become advocates of advanced statistics overnight, but it’s past time for them to modernize their statistical analysis to help fans better understand the game. Step #1: Switch from per game stats to offensive and defensive efficiency. I cringe every time I see a beat writer cite points allowed next to defensive field goal percentage.
  • Now raging in the blogosphere: a disagreement between some Cleveland sports bloggers who think the Cavaliers were justified for including NBA Finals tickets with their season ticket packages and Brett Pollakoff and J.E. Skeets. My take: It strikes me as totally unnecessary. Make no mistake, this will be relayed to Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy, and needless to say, their teams will not be amused. Which begs the question: Why give your opponents extra incentive to beat you?
  • David Stern on Michael Jordan’s HOF acceptance speech, via Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune:  “‘What I took from Michael was that he needs to feed off of perceived disrespecting,’ Stern said. ‘He looks for the motivation – - not uncommon in our league. And I think that is what drove him to probably be the greatest competitor in the history of our game. And he put some of that on display for us and he knowingly did it. He said, ‘I want to tell you what motivates me’ and then he shared it with us. I think it’s interesting for those of us who seek to be great, it was an interesting insight into how one great athlete in this history of the world probably uses perceived slights, real or imagined, and likely if those weren’t the slights he would have invented a few more because he motivates himself.’”
  • Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com:  “A question, readers: What would it be worth to you to have your employer’s charter flight touch down on a runway in the tropics 20-25 times per season, to climb down those airplane steps at 3 a.m. and fill your lungs with refreshing 70-degree air as you toss your winter coat into the trunk of your convertible, put the top down and mosey on home? Seriously, what would you pay for that privilege? Would you do it if it meant you would realize only 85-90 percent of your earning potential for three straight years, although the chances of you fulfilling your career dreams would increase? Those are some of the questions the Miami Heat would like a few of the top 2010 free agents to ponder as the NBA counts down to the start of what promises to be the craziest free-agent summer in league history. There’s an idea floating around the Heat’s front office that they can pull off a monumental rebuilding coup next July if they can convince three max-level free agents — Dwyane Wade, plus two others — to take a little less than the maximum salary and sign long-term contracts with opt-out provisions after three years. (After those three years, the thinking goes, those same three guys could opt out and go get longer max deals that would take them into their mid-30s).”

3 Responses to “Points in the Paint”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    “Why give your opponents extra incentive to beat you?”

    The players/coaches have absolutely nothing to do ticket sales.

    You’re right, I’m sure SVG will use something like this “fire up the troops”. Lots of teams do this every year, and in the case of the Cavs (who will sell out the reg season) it makes sense from a business standpoint. I’m not sure how this is news NOW since lots of teams do this and the Cavs have done it the last 3 years, as Skeets pointed out.

    Brandon, I know you will tell me I’m just a delusional cleveland fan, but this summer I have felt like there has been a whole lot of negativity OUTSIDE of cleveland surrounding the Cavs.

    Everyone made a big deal out of LeBron’s apparent “big ego” because he worse an MVP shirt and because he didn’t shake hands with reporters. Then there was this huge deal made out of Nike confiscating tapes. Danny Ferry was criticized for his Varejao deal because pretty much NO ONE (except J Hollinger) reported the fact that a lot of it wasn’t guaranteed money.

    What’s your honest non-Laker fan opinion. Every time I go to any NBA topic on ESPN.com or Yahoo.com there are just hoards of people trashing LBJ and the Cavs. I don’t quite understand it, what’s your take?

  2. Tsunami Says:

    “shake hands with the Magic, or talk to reporters”

  3. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Tsunami:

    * First things first, I think LeBron deserved every ounce of criticism he received for not shaking hands with the Orlando Magic after the Eastern Conference Finals. The fact that he showed no remorse a day later only fanned the flames. Simply put, it was a very poor display of sportsmanship.

    * I don’t know what role, if any, LeBron played in “dunkgate.” But given his carefully cultivated image, it’s easy for fans to picture him ordering Nike officials to swipe the tapes. At the very least, it’s within the realm of possibility.

    * I don’t think you’re a “delusional Cavs fan.” I never said that. I just think you have a tendency to look at things through wine and gold lenses.

    * From my understanding, the Cavaliers signed Varejao to a six-year contract that guarantees him $42.5 million plus incentives. I don’t know what the incentives are, or if the deal is front or back loaded, but it’s a little steep to me. Worst of all, the Cavs bid against themselves. I know Varejao was an unrestricted free agent, but Portland and Oklahoma City were the only teams with cap space, and neither franchise showed the slightest bit of interest, despite what Dan Fegan would like you to believe. Remember, David Lee and Paul Millsap were available as well.

    * You wrote, “I’m not sure how this is news NOW since lots of teams do this and the Cavs have done it the last 3 years, as Skeets pointed out.” Lots of teams? Or just the Cavs, Blazers, and T-Wolves? Call me crazy, but I don’t think this was a business decision designed to cut costs. Cleveland has the sixth highest payroll in the league. I highly doubt Dan Gilbert is worried about printing/postage expense reports considering he spares no expense when it comes to nearly every other facet of his franchise.

    I think the Cavs included Finals tickets with their season ticket packages because they expect to advance to the Finals, and they want to drum up excitement for the coming season. The idea in and of itself is not bad. Confidence is key. But the Cavaliers don’t exist in a vacuum.

    Again, I think it’s a mistake because Cleveland and Orlando will use it as bulletin board material. Great players, and great teams feed off of this type of stuff.

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