Click here for the piece.
Honestly, personally speaking, this was the most interesting basketball piece I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing I find more fascinating in sports than the ‘crossover dribble’ and its history and varieties. I would love to one day film a documentary piece on the move.
Posted in musings Tagged news&links
via Houston Rockets reach deal with Kevin McHale to be new coach, report says – ESPN:
The Houston Rockets have reached agreement on a contract for Kevin McHale to become their new coach, Yahoo! Sports is reporting.
I’m personally excited. This could be a complete and utter disaster or it could also be a homerun. And that’s what excites me. This franchise right now needs to be swinging for the fences.
I’m particularly most interested to see what McHale can do with Hasheem Thabeet and am curious to hear his thoughts on the youngster. I’m one of the few that still feel there is hope for Thabeet and as it stands, he’s the single most high-potential prospect on the roster. If he develops, it’s a franchise game-changer.
Posted in musings Tagged news&links
As the Oklahoma City Thunder exit the main stage of the playoffs and go on to a summer that I’m sure will be stuffed to the brim with Call of Duty and Capri-Sun, the young outfit from the Midwest likely takes the last shred of indie credibility that this tournament had left. Yes, for the hipster set, they can all now pack up their Odd Future digital releases and Kevin-Durant-backpacks and go home as the mainstream (groan at your own leisure) takes its typical spot in the NBA Finals. There will be those who will stick around long enough to see some Dwyane Wade Eurosteps and LeBron-run fastbreaks, but the status quo seems to have fully taken precedence this June.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about when I use the words “indie cred” or “hipster appeal”, allow me to clarify my nonsense. Similar to an earlier discussion this year about “buzz teams” in the first round of the playoffs (when all was right because everything was wrong, and Chris Paul could be easily mistaken for God), the idea of an “indie” team runs along the same vague, arbitrary path, although while “buzz teams” generally need some respectable level of success (a winning record, a trip to the playoffs in the East), a team that appeals to the scenesters need only have some fascinating angle, such as a star with strange tattoos that thinks he’s Jewish or a collection of screw-ups assembled by a mad man. Oh yes, almost any team can have its own crowd of Tweeples and bizarre devotees… except the Houston Rockets.
While watching the Oklahoma City Thunder crumble down the stretch in tonight’s game, completely unable to execute anything resembling a basic offensive set, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I’ve seen this tale before and it didn’t end well.”
Like Russell Westbrook, Steve Francis in his time was the most scintillating point guard prospect the league had seen to date. Francis was spectacular and seemingly an unstoppable offensive force, at times. But the similarities run deeper.
It’s often asserted that the Thunder are at their best with Westbrook at the ’2′, or at the least, James Harden running the show from the wing, allowing the former to focus on scoring. Rockets fans prayed for years that management would one day find a true point guard big enough to defend the league’s shooting guards, allowing Francis to focus on his strengths. It never happened, Francis never learned the game, and the rest is history.
The Thunder are in a far better position, already having James Harden to quarterback. (A point forward might be one of the rarest commodities in basketball.) But from the Francis experience, I’ve felt that there’s something truly problematic about a young point guard not being able to run a team. While it happened for Rajon Rondo, age and experience does not always translate to maturity.
I don’t know if Russell Westbrook will go the way of Steve Francis or if he’ll ever actually get it. He has youth and inexperience on his side. But from my seat, there are painful similarities between the two and the last time I watched this script, it did not end well.
From the Ninetyfourums, this was an exchange I found fascinating. A reader, chicos, wrote:
McHale has the reputation of developing bigs. But I don’t think Thabeet is mean (or crazy) enough to be a real contributor to any team. In this league people talk about toughness, which is just code for borderline cheap tricks and a willingness to bang bodies. Chandler looked like he was about to fight half of the Thunder’s bigs on every play. I think Thabeet wilts under the pressure of playoff veterans playing him “tough.”
A reader, Jeby, replied:
Thabeet may not be “mean” by nature, but “meanness” can be learned. I live about ten miles from where Kevin Garnett grew up in SC. People tell stories around here about how players would go out of their way to agitate him on the court in high school, but he was too polite to react.
After enough scouts told him he needed to change, he developed a Jekyll/Hyde complex for when he stepped on the court.
You can learn meanness, you can learn offensive/defensive sets, and you can learn to make smart basketball decisions.
You can’t learn 7’3.” You also can’t teach a [i]desire to improve. As long as Thabeet displays those two qualities on his own (he’s got the first pretty much nailed down), I think he’s salvageable.
Posted in musings Tagged questions