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 biggest news of this week was the hiring of Phil Jackson as New York Knicks team president. There were plenty of stories written about the signing, but the best take might have came from Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Lowe wrote that Jackson can make a difference in many different ways, but only if the Knicks start to run their organization a bit differently. Lowe mentioned that surprisingly the Knicks do many of the same things as the league’s smartest teams, but their upper management overrules many of the smart things that they do. For the Knicks to get to the next level, Jackson, as well as the rest of the staff, needs the trust of James Dolan to successfully run the Knicks.
In Detroit, many have questioned Rasheed Wallace’s ability to become a competent coach in his post-playing career, but Wallace has done a great job this season to squash many of those concerns. SBNation’s James Herbert took a look at how Wallace has attempted to transition from outlandish and emotional basketball player to suit-wearing and calm assistant coach and found that Wallace hasn’t really tried to change anything. On the sidelines, Wallace has remained the notoriously outspoken player that became the league’s all-time leader in technical fouls as a player, but he has also used the knowledge that was evident during his playing days to help some of the Pistons young big men take the next step as players.
Somehow a year older than Wallace, Steve Nash tried to comeback to the Lakers this season, but ultimately just couldn’t get back on the floor with a nerve problem in his back. With the realization that he many never play in the NBA again, Nash has become very candid in in his dealings with the media and his interview with Bruce Arthur was no different. Nash talked a lot about how frustrating it was too be in great shape, but not be able to stay on the floor because of a nerve issue. Something as simple as brushing knees with another player can sideline Nash now because of how interconnected the nerves in his back are to the rest of his body. Nash tells Arthur that much of the reason for his documentary series on ESPN is a need to release his creativity since he can no longer do so on an NBA floor.
One player that has not struggled to show off his creativity on an NBA floor this season is Sacramento Kings guard Isiah Thomas. This week, James Herbert also took some time to talk with Isaiah Thomas about his life before the NBA as well as his role as a leader on the Kings. Thomas talked about his unique fanhood as child living in Seattle, but having a father that was a diehard Lakers fan, which led to a fanboy moment when Shaquille O’Neal started working with the Kings and texted Thomas for the first time. One of the more interesting things Thomas talked about was that he feels like a leader in every situation he is in on the court and though he doesn’t consider himself a veteran, he felt it was his responsibility to call a players-only meeting with DeMarcus Cousins earlier this season.
Though he hasn’t received quite as much credit as Thomas has for his ability as a leader, Andre Igoudala has helped the Warriors change their identity this season and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard attempted to explain how that has happened. Ballard wrote that many have questioned Igoudala’s effectiveness because of his relative lack of offensive output this season, but explained that looking at Igoudala’s offensive numbers would be a mistake. When Ballard asked Igoudala about his offensive numbers, Igoudala responded that he willingly gives up shots because he has already gotten his contract and wants guys like Klay Thompson to “get his money” by putting up some more points.
Speaking of guys looking to “get their money”, Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders broke down the numbers of the NBA’s “One and Done” Era. In doing so, Koutroupis found that out of 63 freshmen that were drafted, eight of the draftees have made it to the NBA All-Star Game. On the other hand, nine of the 63 players are now out of the league and six of them never even played a single minute in the NBA. The list of players is interesting to look at just to see the wide variety of players that were drafted after a single season in college basketball, ranging from NBA All-Stars all the way to players that never even got a chance.
Though he was not a “one and done” player, Blake Griffin did leave school early and eventually became the 2011 Rookie of the Year for the Clippers after sitting out a season with an injury. Since his first season, Griffin has been much maligned for “only dunking” and not developing as a player, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Much has been made this season about his development as a shooter, but this week Scott Rafterty at Hardwood Paroxysm took a look at Griffin’s incredible skill in transition. Many see Griffin catch lobs in transitions, but few credit Griffin for running the floor and establishing early position to get easy layins, as well as actually handling the ball adeptly in transition.
Griffin’s development this season has led many to believe that the Clippers could actually do some damage in the playoffs and Marc Stein revealed that an Eastern Conference scout now sees the Clippers are a real threat in the Western Conference. This anonymous scout’s take was one of four Stein posted this week in a series trying to see where teams stand as we approach the playoffs. The scouts Stein talked with also mentioned: the Bulls bothering the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, the Rockets’ championship chances, and Phil Jackson’s fit with the Knicks.
That’s all for this week. Remember…reading is FUNdamental.