Friday visits us, and at least for our Gremlin-like appetites there is some basketball to be consumed tonight. All is mostly quiet on the OKC and Memphis fronts, so let's glean as much as we can as to what is going on.
Tramel writes a good piece on the psychology of playing a series playoff. In a place like OKC, where college sports and the concept of "one and done" have long prevailed, the team and Coach Scott Brooks have had some interesting experiences in helping the fanbase understand how the NBA is a little bit different.
"We did a poor job of giving (Randolph and Gasol) alleys to work with. We worked on that and refreshed our memories. Guys just have to give better spacing." - Mike Conley
Here is the next chapter offered by DT in their CBA primer series. This time out, they take a look at the potential for a franchise tag in the NBA. I hope NBA players can avoid using that awful term "slavery" when talking about their contracts, because nothing short-circuits the debate faster (and kills public support) than resorting to such Godwin-esque hyperbole. At its core, the debate surrounds the idea that pro leagues are trying to fuse two economic systems - capitalism and socialism - that are by their very nature incompatible.
"He's basically a 7-footer who can sit at the 3-point line and jab (step), jab and jab, and then shoot 3s like no one is there guarding him. K.D. is always in an attack mode." - Sam Young
The Deadspin guys imagine how a 16-Man one-on-one tournament might go down. Seriously/semi-seriously, if there is in fact a protracted lock-out, and there was a sponsor out there (Nike? Sprite? Gatorade?) that ponied up a cool million in prize money...Do you think that a tournament could be constructed that gets, if not the absolute best 16 guys, at least 16 all-stars to compete for that money? With that kind of money, we could be treated to underpaid guys like Tony Allen trying to mug LeBron James for that sweet, sweet action, and by and large succeeding.
More links after the jump.
Unterberger does a great job in this post doubling back on his earlier visit to Memphis and writes about the changing experience. It is pretty exciting to see what the Grizzlies are building and how the city is being drawn to it.
If you're a fan of an Eastern Conference team that is currently on vacation, this is the post for you to hopefully give you some hope for next fall.
This story, Lakers-Mavericks specific, does highlight one thing we know about the Thunder - OKC was able to counter the Lakers' height and really exposed some of their weaknesses, particularly with how they guard the perimeter. Also, in case you didn't know this, OKC was second in the league in attacking the paint off the dribble (can you guess who is responsible for that stat?).
A bit of attention is given today for Nick Collison and his integral role in the Thunder's performance. Another story can be found here. I think what he brings to the table now, more than his play, is the perspective of the big picture and the urgency of the moment.
Celtics guard Delonte West is a strange and cool cat, and it looks like he's exploring similar grounds as former Thunder player Desmond Mason. This story also gives me an excuse to link to this story about Delonte, which is still hands-down one of the greatest things I, as a man, have ever read.
I have nothing to add about this event, but if you follow the Euroleague, knock yourself out.