What We’re Reading: Extremely Good and Extremely Bad

From Flickr via NSNewsflash

From Flickr via NSNewsflash

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, every Saturday, we’ll gather the articles we’ve found interesting and put them together for you in one place.

The Seattle Seahawks won the Lombardi Trophy last Sunday and Kirks Goldberry wondered if the Pacers would be able to follow a similar blueprint to win the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy this season.  Goldsberry extensively broke down how the Pacers may attempt to use an elite defense to come out on top just like the Seahawks.  After showing that the Pacers defense is in a class of its own, Goldsberry broke down the three reasons that their defense is so impressive: Roy Hibbert, an insistence on forcing teams into midrange jumpers, and allowing the lowest number of threes in the entire league.

In Brooklyn, Devin Kharpertian took a closer look at a single defender attempting to reach the same level defensively as the Pacers.  Kharpertian interviewed Andrei Kirilenko and even had him break down some of his own defensive plays.  Throughout the piece, videos containing Kirilenko’s narration of a defensive play accompany a skillful dissection of Kirilenko’s defensive goals and tendencies.  This piece was just a sublime breakdown of Kirilenko’s play and thought process when he steps on the floor.

One of the products of great defense is abhorrent offense and that has been the best way to sum up the offensive exploits of the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.  Jared Dubin of Bleacher Report broke down why the Cavaliers offense has been so bad, no matter who has been playing the defense.  Dubin did a fantastic job looking at the numbers and figuring out which ones should be disregarded for any number of reasons and stumbled upon the most important facts.  The Cavaliers don’t take and convert the easiest shots on the floor at a high enough rate and they simply take too many midrange jump shots.

A player who has long been accused of doing the exact same thing is current Sacramento King Rudy Gay.  This past week, ESPN’s Marc Stein caught up with Gay in Sacramento and discussed what’s been different with his new team and took a look at his future.  Gay continued the tradition of giving non-answers to any reporter that asks why he has been more successful in Sacramento.  The most interesting portion of the interview was Gay being non-commital towards using his player option this summer to stay in Sacramento.

Non-answers from players and GMs allow people to run with the wild trade ideas that they think about in their free time and Royce Young of Daily Thunder wrote an interesting piece about how completely fictional trade rumors are created.  Young outlined how a fan post written on Yahoo!’s “Contributor Network” about a trade that would send Russell Westbrook to the Knicks got picked up by multiple sites and each site used a more sensationalized headline in order to gain some more page views.  Young reminded fans that when the trade deadline comes around, it is very important to think and check the sources of rumors before running with them as fact.

Speaking of rumors, Doug Eberhardt at SB Nation stopped dissecting things for a little bit and instead wrote an open letter to Steve Nash asking him not to retire.  In recent weeks, some have suggested that Nash should retire instead of continue to fight through injuries as he tries to comeback and finally play for the Lakers.  Eberhardt’s request comes from a personal history and connection he feels with Nash as they come from similar parts of Canada, but there is a little bit more than that to his request.  Eberhardt details his desire to continue enjoying Nash’s “delight at seeing your teammates succeed” and Eberhardt’s own “wonder of imagining what the empty spaces on the maple floor would produce if you only explored them”.

Nash will be taking minutes away from Kendall Marshall, who has been a bit of a revelation since the Lakers asked him to take control of the team.  SB Nation’s James Herbert wrote about Marshall’s journey to Los Angeles this past week and just how disheartening part of the journey had been for Marshall.  Many viewed Marshall as a failed draft pick when he was forced to occupy a spot in the D-League with the Suns and again this season after he was traded to and dropped by the Wizards.  Herbert was able to interview a bunch of the people that shaped Marshall’s journey and showed that Marshall’s major concern has always been being a good teammate and leader.

A lot has been made about Kansas center Joel Embiid’s comments about possibly staying at Kansas for another season and Tom Ziller broke down some of the fallacies regarding players staying in college an extra year.  One of the reasons presented for players staying in college for an extra year is to “become more NBA-ready”.  Others have pointed to Anthony Bennett and Ben McLemore as examples of players not “ready for the NBA”, but Ziller pointed out that you can find examples for any argument you might want to make about the NBA Draft.  The key to Ziller is that, in the NBA, players are paid to play basketball, while college players are not paid for their decision to become more “NBA-ready” and no writers or analysts should be telling players to not make money in their pursuit of becoming a better basketball player.

If Embiid would decide to declare for the NBA Draft, a player he might want to model his game after is former Knicks center Patrick Ewing.  Ewing made news this last week when he said that there is a bias against big men as coaches in the NBA in an interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.  In the past ten years, Ewing has been an assistant coach for Wizards, Rockets, Magic and now the Bobcats.  Spears detailed Ewing’s belief that NBA front offices are much more likely to hire a former guard than big man because they believe that big men just don’t really understand the game as well.

We’ll wrap up this week’s edition of What We’re Reading with some breaking news from Cleveland as Fear the Sword’s Sam Vecenie has spoken with sources close to Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and found out that Nick is looking to change his favorite NBA team amid the Cavaliers’ struggles this season.

That’s all for this week.  Remember…reading is FUNdamental.

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