Trade Winds – Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Stein have the latest rumblings on Asik.
Injury Report – Via the Houston Chronicle: James Harden’s ankle sprain was of the “high” variety, which is not good. Also, Jeremy Lin is now seeing a specialist for his back spasms. If you like watching the Rockets run their offense through Dwight Howard in the post, this week is an excellent time to tune in.
Welcome Back, Mac – Kevin McHale returned to practice on Tuesday, and his players were happy to have him there.
“Not having his voice or his face over there, it makes a big difference,” Chandler Parsons told reporters. “I’m just glad to have him back. He seemed like he was in good spirits today. As players, we’re going to do everything we can to make him feel comfortable and at home and just continue to play hard and try to win games for him.” [read more…]
Unlike yesterday when Jeff Green’s name started really making the rounds, there isn’t really anything new to report that hasn’t been mentioned. That’s why I’ve decided to compose a random stream of consciousness of my thoughts at this hour to fill the time. If you’re looking for updates, you won’t find any on this particular page.
- I’ve mentioned this a few times, but is there any player in the league regarding whom there is greater variance between actual ability and fan perception than Omer Asik? You gotta see some of the stuff that’s come up on my timeline: opposing fans think this guy is a complete scrub with bad hair. After I tweeted about the Aldridge report hinting at a Cavs swap involving Varejao, someone from the Cavs end actually said they’d only do it if Parsons were included too and even then, “maybe.” Uhhh, what.
Beyond the compilation and gelling of talent, beyond the fine-tuning of playbooks and familiarities with self and other, comes another level of NBA challenge—pace. The undoing of many a title competitor, knowing when to ease off and slam down on the acceleration pedal throughout the slog of the season is often the difference between having or not having the most important factor of all on your side. Health.
Much is made of the Chicago Bulls’ incessant pressing of this pedal. Fans and pundits alike have suggested it to be the cause of their never-ending injury problems. It’s not just Derrick Rose—the team’s other four starters have already missed a combined 16 games this season. And we can all remember what malnourished version of themselves they were by the time they got to the Miami Heat last year.
It would seem insane that Tom Thibodeau and his cast of excellent heads could not figure out that their hard work ethic, their ceaseless pressing in practices and games, is potentially their achilles heel. But at the end of the day, it’s also the source of the edge his teams have had.
Laying off the pedal is a privilege granted to the mega-talented in this league. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have showed their aptitude to spin their vaunted on-off switches as needed, but it’s a team skill for the very elite, the most crème of NBA outfits. Before developing a touch with one’s speed-shifting, a team must first do the hardest work of all and create a system of patterns and roles effective enough to warrant speeding and slowing.