- “Mike D’Antoni would be a bold and smart hire for the 1-4 Lakers after their surprising dismissal of coach Mike Brown on Friday. It is a move that would pay off at both ends of the floor. D’Antoni has been telling friends for months that he looks forward to hiring a “defensive coordinator” in some form (the exact title to be determined) the next time he becomes an NBA coach. In those conversations, D’Antoni has acknowledged that he allowed his prolific gains on offense to define his persona as a coach, creating an impression that he was indifferent to defense — an impression that he has promised to change with his next head-coaching job.”
- Roy Hibbert knows he’s not playing like a max contract player. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star has the story: “‘I’m not finishing in the paint the way I want to finish,’ he said. ‘My teammates are doing a good job of getting me the ball.’ It’s those types of performances that have frustrated fans. ‘It’s a funk that I have to get out of,’ Hibbert said. ‘People can say what they want to say. I know they’re going to say things. I know what I’m worth. I know what I can do, it’s just a tough stretch now.’”
- Sam Anderson of the New York Times Magazine has an excellent account of the Oklahoma City Thunder, called A Basketball Fairy Tale in Middle America: “N.B.A. scoring champions are, as a rule, weirdos and reprobates and in some cases diagnosable sociopaths. Something about dominating your opponent, publicly, more or less every day of your life, in the most visible aspect of your sport, tends to either warp your spirit or to be possible only to those whose spirits are already warped. Michael Jordan, when he wasn’t busy scoring, was busy punching a teammate in the face and gambling away small fortunes. Allen Iverson, in his spare time, recorded an aesthetically and morally terrible rap album and gave an iconic speech denigrating the very notion of practice. Kobe Bryant is and shall forever be Kobe Bryant. Wilt, Shaq, Pistol Pete, Dominique, McGrady, McAdoo, Rick Barry — it’s a near-solid roster of dysfunction: sadists, narcissists, malcontents, knuckleheads, misanthropes, womanizers, addicts and villains. While it’s true that plain old N.B.A. superstars do occasionally manage to be model citizens (cf. Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Steve Nash), there is something irredeemable about a scoring champion”
Jeremy Bauman is a 2011 Indiana University alum who is an aspiring scout and shooting coach. After covering last June’s NBA finals for this site, he’ll be blogging for SheridanHoops.com weekday mornings (and clearly some afternoons) during the 2012-13 basketball season. Follow him on Twitter.