By Ben Golliver
• The Point Forward took a crack at surprises and disappointments on Tuesday morning. Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus writes that no player has underachieved more, relative to preseason projections, than Rockets guard Jeremy Lin.
There are two factors at play here. First, Lin simply hasn't been very good so far with the Rockets, playing at a level barely better than replacement. Beyond that, his initial projection was highly uncertain because of his limited action the last two seasons. Add it up and Lin's projection has dropped far more than anyone else in the league. Of course, when Houston signed Lin, Daryl Morey imagined him in a very different role than the one he is now playing next to James Harden. Lin is best with the ball in his hands, and poor outside shooting (24.3 percent on threes) makes him little threat spotting up. The decline has been even more severe inside the arc; Lin has shot 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) on long twos, per Hoopdata.com, after making 43 percent a year ago. The rest of Lin's game has been solid -- his steal rate is back near where it was in garbage time with Golden State as a rookie -- so he can live up to his above-average projection for the remainder of the year if he finds his missing jump shot.
The city is under new management.
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) November 27, 2012
• Then the New York Daily News got in on the Jay-Z punning, as noted by Trey Kerby.
• NetsDaily.com has a cool look at what it was like inside Barclays Center from the Nets fan perspective.
There would be no let-up in support, no stoic resolve when the Nets slipped behind as they did almost all game. It was all about volume, about shouting and standing and chanting that now famous, goosebump-inducing, rhythmic, pounding "Brook--lyn," until it hurt the vocal cords as much as it hurt the guys in orange and blue near us.
As Avery Johnson said after the game, a knowing smile crossing his face, "Every time some sort of Knick contingent started to cheer, our fans got louder. This is what we've been dreaming about since I've been here. Its a nice feeling. I'm glad we rewarded our fans with a victory. They deserve it."
Raymond Felton was not cooking soup. Raymond Felton took all the ingredients one might use to make soup and splattered them against the rim and backboard. There were stretches in the second half in which Felton was penetrating but just unable to finish at the rim, and others in which his pick-and-rolls fed Chandler quite nicely. All that is fine, but everything else was downright ghastly. Brooklyn gave Felton a ton of space over picks and he busily exploited that space to chuck increasingly off-balance (like, by the last one, I think he was standing on one hand and shooting with his ankles) jumpers and bust out some borderline obscene runners off the bounce. I'd love for Felton to incorporate a teardrop floater into his game. Side-arming a low-arcing push shot three feet short of the rim does not qualify as a teardrop, though it does generate teardrops from those who bear witness. Anyway, I'm not as totally appalled with Felton as some people seem to be, but 3-19 shooting is 3-19 shooting. Very, very bad.
• John Hollinger slips in a clever current events reference in a rundown of the Knicks.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have lost three of four, but their start was so strong that they still hold the second spot -- especially when one considers they've played only five home games. In New York's case, it's been a series of unrelated surprises expanding its talent base, with factors such as a position shift (Carmelo Anthony), an unretirement (Rasheed Wallace), an unexpected rejuvenation (Jason Kidd) and the bankruptcy of Hostess (Raymond Felton).
It's fascinating to play the "What if?" game here: What if Philly had passed on playing the facilitator role in fear of Bynum's knee issues? Would Howard still be in Orlando? Almost certainly not. Would Brooklyn have gotten back in the game on January 15, when Lopez, scoring like gangbusters now and playing better defense, becomes trade-eligible under his new max deal? Or would the Magic have dealt Howard to Houston in August? And if that had happened, where would James Harden be now?
With Houston out of the Harden sweepstakes, would Toronto (Jonas Valanciunas and picks), Golden State (Klay Thompson and other assets) or Utah (two young players and a couple of picks) gotten deeper into Harden talks? The removal of Houston might have simply bought Oklahoma City more time to feel out its internal finances, monitor Kendrick Perkins as an amnesty candidate, and take Harden's temperature on accepting a five-year deal after the season. It has been reported widely that before October 31 Oklahoma City could offer only a four-year extension to Harden, having used its five-year "designated player" bullet on Russell Westbrook. But had the Thunder controlled Harden's rights this summer in free agency, they would have been the only team allowed to offer him a five-year contract at that time. Would Harden have been willing to accept a discount in exchange for that extra year?
Meanwhile, there's Jan Vesely, the Wizards lottery pick from two years ago. So far this year, Vesely has more fouls than points, which is just perfect. But to be clear: He's not actually this awful. He's on an awful team. If Jan Vesely went to the Spurs he'd probably turn into a next-generation Andrei Kirilenko one day. On the Wizards he's hopeless.
• Lakers forward Metta World Peace hawks a cell phone that's also a watch. • Spin Magazine runs down NBA shout outs in rap songs. The Heat apparently get the most love, edging out the Knicks, Clippers and Bulls.