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.
Though we are not at the All-Star Break yet, every team in the league has played at least half of their games and Zach Lowe at Grantland decided to name his NBA All-Star team this week. Lowe didn’t factor in any of the fan voting or a player’s career achievements, but rather named a squad by determining which players have had the best season thus far while following the same positional rules as the actual All-Star game. In the Eastern Conference, many were likely surprised to see him list Kyle Lowry as his starting point guard. While in the Western Conference, none of Lowe’s picks for starters were particularly surprising some might be upset that Lowe used one of his wild card spots on DeMarcus Cousins.
One of the people that might be surprised by Lowe’s selection of Cousins is Sam Amick of the USA Today. Cousins is always an interesting topic for many writers, but this year the stories have all remained relatively positive as the Kings organization has said Cousins is making massive developments as a leader. Though some of this may be true, Amick could not stand by as the true story was going untold. Amick wrote a particularly scathing piece earlier this week detailing the continuing problems Cousins has with maturity and the lack of growth he has actually made. He seemed to believe that the events have remained quiet because the Kings rely on Cousins for so much and writers have seemingly tired of writing about Cousins’ indiscretions.
In a piece that nearly epitomizes exactly what Amick wrote about, Jonathan Abrams wrote a profile of Cousins detailing Cousins’ life from his childhood all the way to his time in Sacramento. As always, Abrams does an incredible job and talked to a ton of different people that have helped shape Cousins along the way. Some of the most interesting quotes come from Cousins and his discussion of what it means to be a leader. In the end, Abrams concluded what most of us already knew: Cousins is a supremely talented player, but his career path going forward will be up to him and no one else.
Like Cousins in Sacramento, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant will dictate what the Lakers will become going forward. Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding caught up with the Lakers and attempted to figure out why Gasol and Bryant reject Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball system. Ding talked with those three, as well as Erik Spoelstra, to figure out why Gasol and Bryant reject the system when the last two seasons have proved the validity of utilizing a small-ball system in the NBA. Last season, it wasn’t just the NBA champions that utilized small ball, but also the team they beat in the Finals, the San Antonio Spurs. Ding’s ultimate conclusion was that though there might be a lot of different names for this style of basketball, it is really all about playing “team ball” and there is no doubt that “team ball” is effective in the NBA.
Many in Los Angeles were unhappy with the D’Antoni hiring and instead wanted Phil Jackson to be the Lakers coach for a second time. In promoting the paperback edition of his book, Jackson stopped by Fox Sports Live and had some interesting things to say. In the interview, he talked about his impressions of the Lakers and his belief that he would be hired as the next Lakers coach in his meetings with the team. Though his discussion of the Lakers was interesting, his most interesting anecdote might have been about the meeting Kobe Bryant had with Michael Jordan in 1999. Jackson arranged for a meeting between both players and Kobe’s first words to Jordan were pretty much exactly what you’d expect them to be.
Jordan was also featured prominently in Tom Ziller’s post recapping the 30 biggest moments from David Stern’s 30 years as commissioner of the NBA. Though it rarely gets mentioned, Stern is retiring in just one short week on February 1st on the 30th anniversary of being named commissioner. Ziller decided to take a look back and document some of the greatest moments Stern presided over as commissioner and there has been some great ones, but also some very bad ones, which led to Stern making some decisions that completely changed the way the league looks today.
One of those moments was the NBA’s ownership of the New Orleans Hornets and the Chris Paul fiasco. Just a few years later, New Orleans is in a position to once again trade one of their players and this time that player is Eric Gordon. Bleacher Report’s Ian Levy decided to take a closer look at Eric Gordon and see just what type of player he has been in New Orleans. In New Orleans, Gordon has missed over 100 games, which has led many to think of the Gordon they remember as a member of the Clippers rather than the Gordon that actually exists today. At this point, Gordon is a shell of his former self and though he is putting up much respectable numbers, they are nowhere near the level that you would expect from a player being paid the way Gordon is being paid. Levy’s analysis is top-notch.
We’ll end with more top-notch analysis, but this analysis will come from Kirk Goldsberry at Grantland. Goldsberry took out his charts again this week and showed why James Harden is such a unique player in the NBA today. Harden is unlike other players in that he does everything that he can to get to the foul line and gets to the foul line with startling regularity. One of the most interesting graphics showed where Harden gets fouled on his shooting attempts and some are close to the free throw line, which shows Harden’s propensity to use long strides and euro steps to get himself to the basket.
That’s all for this week. Remember…reading is FUNdamental.