What We’re Reading: Taking a Look Back

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.

As mentioned in last week’s What We’re Reading, David Stern has stepped down as NBA commissioner and Adam Silver has officially taken over as of today, February 1, 2014.  With Stern’s departure, there were a number of pieces written about him this week and one of the best came from David Aldridge.  Aldridge interviewed a staggering number of executives, players, and Stern employees to compile a masterful oral history of Stern’s thirty seasons as commissioner.  Aldridge did a fantastic job putting the quotes together and telling the story of Stern’s time as commissioner with praise from some and questions from others.  Stern’s thirty years were not without controversy and Aldridge was able to take a look at each of the controversies as well as the triumphs of Stern’s time as commissioner.

While Aldridge’s piece would likely be viewed as praise of Stern by most, Jason Whitlock took a different look at the situation and took this chance to look more critically at Stern’s tenure as commissioner.  Rather than crediting Stern for the game’s growth, Whitlock asks if Stern didn’t just get lucky as commissioner as he benefited from transcendent stars like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.  Whitlock posits that the league underachieved with Stern as commissioner and should actually be doing considerably better than it is today.  He even goes as far as to call Stern “a self-important dictator”.

With Stern stepping down as commissioner, it is time to look ahead with Adam Silver and Howard Beck of Bleacher Report did just that.  Beck got together with some of the other writers at Bleacher Report and “surveyed a spectrum of NBA stake holders—players and coaches, executives and owners, analysts and agents” to find out what they thought the league should look like in the near future.  Those surveyed had many interesting ideas about a variety of topics including tanking, scheduling, the NBA draft age limit, global expansion, and the next television contract.

In Boston, fans were looking to the past while also keeping an eye on the future, but on a much smaller scale.  As Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to Boston for the first time since being traded to Brooklyn this offseason, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports described the emotional scene at Boston Garden.  Many might question why fans in the Garden were crying as the tribute video was shown, but Wojnarowski did a wonderful job detailing just how much each of those players, especially Pierce, meant to the city of Boston.

As the crowd looked to the past, on the floor, Rajon Rondo was looking forward to his future in the NBA as a Celtic.  Rondo suffered a career-changing ACL injury last year and took some time with Jessica Camerato to discuss the injury and his new outlook.  In the interview, Rondo told Camerato that he had started to compare himself to He-Man as he was able to take on a larger physical toll as the main creator for the Celtics before the injury and that the injury would force him to question himself in ways he had never been forced to before.

Injuries to other point guards have forced their teammates to step up around the league and one place that has happened is in Los Angeles as Blake Griffin has taken on a larger load with Chris Paul injured.  Paul’s injury has put a brighter spotlight on Griffin and Seerat Sohi at ClipperBlog took a closer look at what makes Griffin special.  For years, Griffin’s critics have talked about his lack of a post game and his inability to to defend, but Sohi brilliantly used statistics and some game film to show just how much better Griffin is than the perception many fans have of him.

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant has also taken on a much larger role with Russell Westbrook injured and put up some mind-blowing numbers in the last few weeks.  While many were marveling at Durant in more of a point guard role, Jose Martinez at Complex Sports decided to take a look back at the time Michael Jordan played point guard for the Bulls in 1989.  Martinez wanted to make sure to remind everyone that Durant wasn’t the only person that could put up gaudy numbers as a point guard as he recapped how Jordan was able to record triple-doubles in ten of 11 games near the end of the season as a point guard.  If you needed a reminder of just how good Michael Jordan was, this should do the trick.

Aaron Afflalo has taken on a larger role as a playmaker in Orlando for the entire season and the results have been fantastic as he’s put together a season worthy of All-Star consideration.  Ramona Shelburne of ESPN profiled Afflalo and attempted to figure out what has been the reason for his breakout season.  As she interviewed Afflalo, she found that he believes he has had the talents he is showcasing this season all along, but no team has ever asked him to take on a larger role offensively.  Instead, his previous teams have asked him to be a great defender or a spot-up shooter.  This season, the Magic have asked him to be the man and he has responded by averaging over 20 points per game with gaudy shooting percentages.

Finally, as the 2014 offseason is approaching, many have started to talk about where Carmelo Anthony will end up and much to the delight of many Bulls fans, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report gave 7 reasons why Anthony won’t end up in Los Angeles.  The first and most important reason why he likely won’t be a Laker is Kobe Bryant.  In his pregame media session in New York, Ding pointed out that Bryant didn’t seem all to excited to join forces with Anthony and then also pointed out that the two players are likely not a good fit alongside each other.

We’ll end this edition of What We’re Reading with a hellacious dunk from Terrence Ross on Kenneth Faried in video form, as well as this mind-boggling picture.

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

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