Clutter About Light

BREAKING: First huge trade. I like to think this means Miami gets a center, straightens out their frontcourt for Beasley's sake—though Ziller points out that Brad Miller could've done the same thing for cheaper—and the Raptors now get their run on. It also depends on how much you believe Marion and JO are "done" or, for the purposes of this site, irrelevent. It would be funny if this lead to the real creation of "Suns North", with Marion once again the lynchpin of it all. Would say more, but I'm off to see Joan Rivers.

I have a celebrity birthday to tend to this weekend, on top of Valentine's Day, so I'll be low-key until my Sunday TSB column sums it all up. There might be a live-blog but at some point, but for all intents and purposes you can consider this an All-Star Weekend open thread.

To get you in the mood:

-Read me at The Sporting Blog, where I've been writing a decent amount about this weekend.

-Those zany Jupiters now have their own site, and a 2009 version of their annual All-Star role call.

-Me, among much bigger names, on a virtual ESPN mag panel on the Dunk Contest. My answers were edited, and this was all before J.R. Smith was in, but it's nice to see my name up in lights like that.


I spent the first part of the week in Portland, including a Powell's experience was overwhelming in every way imaginable. Also, big ups to the Comcast post-game television show. I read this novel once in college about a Nazi doctor who fucked with people's vocal chords to the point where their ability to speak (and thus think and exist) was reduced to something primordial, and with it, he felt like he was getting at human nature itself. That's what "Talkin' Ball" is like when the comedian is on.

The game I took in on Wednesday, which I wrote up here, really illustrated something myself and Ziller have been talking about. Greg Oden had 10 rebounds, almost all of them memorable. Jared Bayless chipped in a career-high 8 assists, and I only recall one or two of them. This brought me back to a conversation Tom and I had, where I pointed out how easily, maybe even unimpressively, LeBron had racked up his assists in his MSG showcase (like that it's not even a Knicks game?). His contention was that very few assists stick with you; I took it further, and now firmly believe that consistent production in either assists or rebounds is almost always ambient in nature, occurring seamlessly within the flow of the game. These plays only stand out if they are either flawed, or risky and thus imperfect in the formal sense, or dramatic, which usually comes with one or both of these other two characteristics.

When Oden's active, his springiness and size are truly awe-inspiring, but they're made all the more evident by how often he bobbles a rebound, or has to go up twice to reel it in. On the other hand, Russell Westbrook—who takes my "blocks like he's dunking" axiom and applies it to rebounding—was a monster on the glass, but almost always lept in out of nowhere, or over multiple Blazers. Obviously this "noteworthiness" is better than the other not only because it works, but because it's intentional, rather than accidental. In Bayless, you have assists showing up in the most "ambient" way possible. Tom pointed out that Chris Paul has plenty of these, two, and that his highlights often result from exploiting opportunities others can't see. This is familiar FD territory, I know, so I'll shut up after this: Contrast that with Nash, whose pre-Shaq assists always stick with you. That's because almost all of them are risks, based on assertiveness rather than patience, and often take unfamiliar paths.

Anyway, happy weekend, and keep us in your thoughts!

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At 2/13/2009 1:53 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Your comment about the Nazi who messes with vocal chords sounds a lot like the premise of the brilliant movie, "Altered States."

At 2/13/2009 1:54 PM, Blogger Reverend Paul Revere said...

For the sake of all that is sanctimonious in basketball, please let this be the unshackling of Beasley. Please.

At 2/13/2009 2:23 PM, Blogger Jon L said...

For some reason this gets me thinking about Antawn Jamison, who averages double digit rebounds every year or damn near it, but who, to my knowledge hasnever had a rebounding game that made you say "wow." Unrelated/related? I think Jamison is probably top-5 most creative guys in the league around the rim.

At 2/13/2009 2:29 PM, Blogger johnny5 said...

So is Marcus Banks to be now known as The Player To Be Included So The Salaries Match Up?
I like to think of him as Marion's constant traveling companion, his Sancho.

wv: acuffein - 3 cups of this is what gets country musicians going in the morning.

At 2/13/2009 2:32 PM, Blogger The Nateorious B.I.G. said...

good lord, thank you for giving J-Rich the credit he deserves for that ridiculous off the glass through the legs. i'm not sure everyone realizes just how unbelievable hard it is to elevate, hang and manipulate the ball in under a second like that. i could easily throw it off the glass and dunk it during my playing days at 6'3, but i couldnt execute J-Rich's on a 7.5 foot room.

At 2/13/2009 5:43 PM, Blogger W2 said...

Does this move by the Heat put them out of the Amare Derby. I hope so. I would like to see the Pax-Less (formerly the Sack-less) Bulls step up and do something with their stock pile of youngs and contracts.

Not sure if Beasley gets unleashed with Jamario coming over in the trade. Speculation is that the dude might get the starting spot at the three and there is this talk of Take it Easy Micheal Beasley going to the Grizz.

In other news, Rondo turned in a dynamite second half against the Dirks. The Mavs limp into break- land with Cuban still unable to admit the Devin Harris gaffe. Good times.

Let us hope this is the start of more trading fun. Whos next?

At 2/13/2009 8:43 PM, Blogger ethan said...

I haven't watched a ton of Jamison on the Wizards, but in his year with Mavericks, I was always amazed by how quick and smooth his release was near the basket. Nice Call.

At 2/13/2009 9:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

When asked about HORSE, Durant smiles and says, more or less, I'm just going to make shit up when we're out there. And he was the one I thought might come in with a definite strategy.

At 2/13/2009 9:55 PM, Blogger Jon L said...

ethan: Jamison this year is settling for a few more jumpers, but he still breaks out some crazy reverse teardrop every now and then. The bad thing is that Mike James has started to imitate him.

Also, on the larger point, I wonder if this is why for a lot of people (at least me and many I know) watching rookies and young players can be more "fun" than watching older players, because they're still figuring things out and don't always take the right angles. All-Limbs McGee (JaVale) is certainly interesting to watch, but most of the talk is about how he needs to rebound "better."

At 2/13/2009 10:03 PM, Blogger FunWithLogic said...

Trade, not ASG related....

Quick question about the recession-era team restructuring: how bad (if at all) is this going to make the NBA, at least in terms of team cohesiveness?

At 2/14/2009 5:46 AM, Blogger StreakShooter McFloorburn said...

Durant was insane in the rook-soph game. Just that he cared that much in an exhibition was impressive, and the salute after a made three has to be the classiest bit of swag ever. Now Portland has been the team that missed the two most exciting never-were possible player pairings of all time. If the Blazers had drafted Durant they could be a conference finals team THIS YEAR. Damn. Then again, never were means that we still can't be sure whether any of the four players in question would've been held back by their being teammates. I am reasonably sure that Jordan didn't hold Pippen back, though. Damn again.

At 2/14/2009 1:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Was that a salute to anyone in particular? Like, were there troops there or something? I'd like to think not.

That possessed kids audience, who I'd like to think weren't responding to cues, made the whole thing somewhere between the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the Children's Crusade.

Dreamt last night that Varejao did a flip to get a rebound. A back-flip, actually. Fell forward, sprang off of his hands, flipped, and at some point extended to pull the ball in. My whole dream was replays of this. HORSE prophecy?

At 2/15/2009 3:42 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Anthony Randolph's rebounds are memorable. They look ... askew.

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