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.
We’ll start today with one of the NBA’s biggest surprises. The Portland Trail Blazers are off to a 17-3 start and Adrian Wojnarowski was on the scene in Portland as MVP chants rained down on LaMarcus Aldridge in the Rose Garden. No one really saw this coming from Portland this season, but Wojnarowski spent some talking to general manager Neil Olshey about how he put this team together and why he thought it was so successful. Surprisingly, Olshey didn’t spend much time talking about the composition of the team, but rather about how much the team meant to the city of Portland and his fear of disappointing their passionate fans.
Another surprise this season has been the dreadful start of the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets obviously had a bunch of new pieces and a first-time head coach, but many believed the infrastructure around the team would be able to keep them afloat until the new pieces were able to figure it out. This has not been the case and once again, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports had the details. Wojnarowski has the details about a heated meeting that deteriorated the relationship between head coach Jason Kidd and his lead assistant Lawrence Frank.
In other coaching related news, Denver Nuggets former head coach George Karl gave his first interview in quite some time and had some interesting things to say to Dave Krieger. The comments Karl made to Krieger about Andre Igoudala being the “mole” during last year’s made some headlines last week, but the rest of the interview is an absolute delight. Karl is one of the great basketball minds on the planet and it was interesting to hear so many of his thoughts about the NBA in general as well as his thoughts about his situation with the Nuggets.
Like Karl, the Van Gundy brothers are never shy to share their feelings and they did so this week with Sam Amick of the USA Today. Amick took an interesting look at the profound influence the Van Gundy’s have had on the NBA’s current coaching landscape. One doesn’t have to go far to find some sort of connection to the either Van Gundy brother as their former assistants and players are littered among coaching staffs around the league. One of the more interesting anecdotes came in their feelings on Patrick Ewing’s future as a coach in the NBA.
The profound influence of coaching in the NBA can be seen in the development of Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov has had a pretty great season this year and much of the credit has been given to Nuggets assistant coach Melvin Hunt. Benjamin Hochman at the Denver Post took a closer look at the special relationship that has developed between Hunt and Mozgov. This was an especially great story to read especially after reading that Karl (in his interview with Krieger) revealed that he thought one of the players he didn’t give a fair shake to in Denver was in fact Mozgov.
Let’s move from Mozgov to another player that improved during the offseason, Harrison Barnes. Scott Rafferty at Hardwood Paroxysm took a look at Barnes’ improvement this season and the new commitment to his post game. Last postseason, Barnes had a bit of a coming out party as a stretch four and many, Rafferty included, thought that the postseason might have been a bit of a fluke and not indicative of Barnes’ future as a NBA player. Rafferty takes an impressive look at why his prediction was incorrect through analysis of Barnes’ shot chart and some great film work.
Also at Hardwood Paroxysm, Derek James examined the expectations levied upon a high draft pick and how those expectations can affect a player and their development. James used the case of Derrick Williams in Minnesota and how Williams will now be able to play expectation-free basketball in Sacramento. This piece was an interesting look at how much a player can be affected by their situation in the NBA. Sometimes it’s not about how good you are as a basketball player, but rather the situation where you drafted.
One player that has always had dealt with insane expectations and actually been able to deal with the pressure that comes along with those expectations is LeBron James. This week, Kirk Goldsberry at Grantland spent some time with James and discussed the inner workings of the Miami Heat’s offense. Goldsberry took an interesting look at how the Heat’s offense has developed over time and how James perfectly understands the role of each of his teammates. Though it defies all logic, James just continues to improve as a basketball player.
Jared Dubin at BSports also took a look at the statistics this week as he examined who the best drivers are in the NBA. He broke the statistics down to include which players were shooting the best percentage on drives, which players were helping their team score most on drives, and which players were scoring the most points on drives. Many of the players you would expect to be on the list are there, but there were also some surprises as Monta Ellis has returned to the form he showed years ago in Golden State and Jeremy Lin is looking more and more like the player he was for the Knicks.
That’s all for today. Remember…reading is FUNdamental.