We at Bulls by the Horns realize that you’re busy and don’t have the time to go searching through website after website for some interesting, NBA related reads. So, from time to time, we’ll gather the articles we’ve found interesting and put them together for you in one place.
Today, we start with an interesting story from the Bulls this week as we attempt to figure out if they let just anyone in the locker room in Oklahoma City. Nick Friedell chronicles an unusual story that occurred after the Bulls-Thunder game on Thursday night. Apparently, Noah went to the Thunder locker room to talk with former teammate Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins had a serious problem with an opposing player visiting his locker room. The two players had words, but the situation did not escalate any further.
Staying in Chicago, Andrew Lynch at Hardwood Paroxysm took at the league leaders in passing, as well as those who tend not to pass the ball very often. Two Chicago Bulls, Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah, could be found near the top of the list in passing percentage. Lynch compiled these numbers by using SportVU data to find touches per game and passes per game and then dividing the two to find the percentage of time a player passes the ball. For Bulls fans, seeing Noah on the list makes plenty of sense because the Bulls facilitate much of their offense through Noah, but Hinrich being near the top of the list points to part of the problem with the Bulls right now. With Hinrich running the show instead of Rose, the Bulls have struggled to find players to actually take shots and the offense has floundered.
There is a prevailing belief that coaching can greatly affect a team’s defensive ability and with nine new head coaches this season, Tom Ziller at SB Nation decided to test this notion. Ziller studied the defensive numbers of these teams last season and compared them to the numbers this season to find that, at least with this batch of coaches, that theory is simply not true. For the most part, the difference in numbers has been negligible and in a few cases the defense has actually gotten worse. The lone stand out has been Steve Clifford, who has turned one of the league’s worst defenses into one of the league’s best in Charlotte.
Some of those new coaches have struggled because of injuries to key players and one coach that really stands out in this regard is Jason Kidd. Kidd’s Nets have just not been able to stay healthy this season and might have suffered their worst injury of this season on Friday night. Brook Lopez broke his foot for the fourth time in three seasons and Ken Berger is ready to officially write off the Nets for this season. The All-Star center is likely out for the rest of the season and the Nets will once again look to shuffle their lineup in an attempt to find a way to win some games and salvage what was supposed to be a championship run this season.
Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated wrote an incredible feature on the Spurs’ championship run last season and the final 29 seconds of their loss in Game Six of the NBA Finals. This is the first Jenkins piece included in What We’re Reading, which is a shame because Jenkins is an absolutely incredible writer and there are few better in the business than him. In his piece, Jenkins interviews just about everyone involved in the insane events that led to the Heat somehow pulling out Game Six while trailing by five points with just 28.2 seconds remaining. Some highlights include: an insane drill Ray Allen invented in Milwaukee, first person accounts from season ticket holders who left American Airlines Arena, and Jill Popovich sarcastically prodding her husband Greg a week after the loss.
Another writer who does incredible work that has yet to be featured in What We’re Reading is Jonathan Abrams. Abrams has been doing some feature writing at Grantland for the last couple years and rarely disappoints. This week, Abrams took a look at Xavier Henry and his interesting journey to Los Angeles. Many people fail to realize that Henry is only 22 years old and could still turn into a great player in the NBA. Abrams interviewed Henry and a few of his family and friends to discuss the year he spent at Kansas and whether or not he made the right decision in leaving college after only one season.
Much of Henry’s career thus far has been affected by injuries that have kept him off the floor and now injuries have once again kept his teammate Kobe Bryant off the floor. Jeff Weiss at LA Weekly took a look at what he describes as the Kobe Myth. For most of Bryant’s career, he has operated with an absolute confidence that given him the strength to prove his critics wrong time and time again. This time though, that self belief was unable to keep him on the floor and Weiss took an interesting look at how Lakers fans have attempted to approach this reality.
Steve McPherson took an interesting look at something else that has reached near mythical levels in NBA circles: Kevin Love’s outlet passes. Love has long been mentioned in the same breath as Wes Unseld when it comes to outlet passing, but Love’s ability hadn’t been seen as truly special until this season. McPherson believes this is because Love has never had a recipient to catch his majestic outlet passes. He goes on to detail the special connection that has developed between Love and one of the league’s premiere leak out artists, Corey Brewer. Both skills are extremely underrated and McPherson does a wonderful job explaining why both players have been able to form such a special connection.
Finally, in our unusual story of the week, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post was able to track down the most random player featured on the original arcade version of NBA Jam. Hochman details his love for NBA Jam, but also mentions the fact that the Mavericks featured Mike Iuzzolino and that no one knows Iuzzolino. It turns out Iuzzolino played in the NBA for two seasons and Hochman managed to stumble upon him in the airport, which led to an impromptu interview and picture.
That’s all for today. Remember…reading is FUNdamental.