• Pistons guard Peyton Siva, the 2013 No. 56 pick, nails a one-handed, over-his-head halfcourt shot during the NBA's rookie photo shoot, leading Kings guard Ben McLemore to dust off his shoulders in celebration. Video via YouTube user NBA.
• It was a pretty good week for Siva, who officially signed with Detroit on Tuesday. Dan Feldman of PistonPowered.com had a nice breakdown of Siva's strong performance during the Orlando Summer League.
During summer league -- an extremely chaotic environment, given the players’ inexperience and lack of time working with their teammates -- Siva had 24 assists and just six turnovers. His 4:1 assists to turnover ratio led summer leagues, counting both Orlando and Las Vegas.
The only other player in Siva’s stratosphere, Dwight Buycks (24 assists, 7 turnovers), got a guaranteed contract. The other two assist leaders with assist-to-turnover ratios even half Siva’s, Nate Wolters and Kendall Marshall, also have contracts for the next season.
• Zach Lowe at Grantland.com examines the implications of the "best contract in the league right now," a four-year deal the Rockets handed out to 2011 second-round pick (and full-time starter) Chandler Parsons that will pay him less than $1 million over its remaining two seasons.
Like George Costanza, Al Jefferson is The Man again, and historically speaking, that’s not a very good role for him. Big Al’s been The Man, to varying degrees, for the last six seasons in Minnesota and Utah, and that’s resulted in a grand total of four playoff games for his teams, and (obviously) zero wins. But then again, it’s been a minute since he played on a team with expectations as low as this Bobcats team has, where merely leading them to a 27-win season might get Jefferson hailed as a conquering hero. Helping his case this time around is that he’s not replacing Kevin Garnett or Carlos Boozer, he’s replacing Brendan Haywood and DeSagana Diop. It’s about as good a position to “succeed” as Big Al could ask for.
When the Bobcats first snagged Jefferson, I thought it was one of the dumbest signings of the offseason, an overpay to a player who’d never prove he was worth all that much in the first place, and who even in a best-case scenario wouldn’t make that huge of a difference. But I think I get it now. You can’t just be the worst forever, and if Jefferson makes them 15 percent less bad — not good enough to drag them out of lottery contention, but good enough to get the team’s line graph moving noticeably and encouragingly along the Y-axis — that’s probably something worth the short-term investment.
• At TrueHoop, Robert Silverman previews a "Linsanity" documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
From the moment that a mop-haired, grade school Jeremy pounds out the same tune at a piano recital three years running, you’re hooked. It’s easy to forget, in the midst of the never-ending punning and the crass denigrations of Lin’s Asian heritage, that he, personally, is such a captivating, charming person. So genuine and unassuming. It’s clear that the last thing in the world he ever wanted was the trappings of fame, fortune and celebrity, and that if he had his druthers, he’d play without anyone watching, existing solely in a realm where perfecting his chosen craft counts for more than the result of his labors.
Once the film rolls clips from the Feb. 4, 2012 game versus the Nets, the incredible, boisterous, implausible energy that drove Linsanity comes barreling back full force. Even if you can recall each game during the wondrous 8-1 stretch, the instant those oft-replayed highlights begin to roll, you’re right back in the thick of it, wholly swept up in the feverish giddiness of it all.
Tyreke Evans, Pelicans -- The career path is not supposed to go from winning Rookie of the Year to having your scoring average decline in each of the next three seasons. But after languishing in Sacramento, much of it is his own fault, Evans is getting a chance to shine in New Orleans. Yes, the backcourt is crowded with ball-handling scorers. All-Star Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon are likely to start, which could work to Evans’ benefit by making him the main offensive option off the bench. At 6-foot-6, he didn’t like playing small forward with the Kings, even though it could be required in a pinch for the undersized Pelicans. Evans says he’s ready and willing to embrace the sixth man role and with his dynamic talent, he could really shine.
• Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk turns his attention to Rookie of the Year candidates.
1) Trey Burke, Utah Jazz. He fits the formula perfectly -- he is a point guard going to a team that desperately needs a point guard, and he has some young but potentially impressive talent around him (Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter). Burke is going to be asked to do a lot in Utah and he should put up good numbers as a rookie. He needs to be steadier from the outside, we’ll see how he defends, but he is the preseason favorite.
2) Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic. He’s not a point guard (we saw that in Summer League) but he is a guy who's going to get a real opportunity to learn on the job and play a role in the Orlando offense. The question is does he sit a little behind Aaron Afflalo, still he should be able to carve out space to put up numbers, particularly in transition. He could be the best defender of the top rookies.
• Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie lets off a little steam about the NBA's new sleeved jerseys.
Because playing basketball with sleeves on, apologies to the children in the audience, sucks. Or, at the very least, playing basketball in anything more than a jersey or shirt without sleeves is a hard habit to for me to break. Over a quarter of a century of playing the game has driven home some habits, even if my pasty upper body does tend to frighten from a quarter-mile away.
I realize that this is shooting fish in a barrel. I understand that complaining about transparent corporate greed, some two years after the NBA put thousands out of work in order to commence a lockout that could have been avoided by sound financial planning in the years leading up to it, is an easy dig. Big, dumb NBA, always out for a few more bucks at the cost of a game that we still think is pure and whole. You can roll your eyes, whenever I get haughty.
2. Where do you stand on Walt? You still rooting for him or do you think he’s pure evil?• Speaking of "Breaking Bad," Steve McPherson compares the show's characters to NBA teams at Grantland.com.
I’m rooting for him and I think he’s pretty much pure evil at the same time. I’m not sure what that says about me. I think it has to do with the way they have built Walt’s character and how they tell the story. It’s more about the character, whom I feel I know, and less about the terrible things he is doing. I feel the same way about Don Draper (Mad Men), Tony Soprano (The Sopranos), Nucky Thompson (Boardwalk Empire), and a lot of the drug dealers on The Wire. These are guys who kill innocent people, cheat on their wives, and sell drugs, among other activities that are traditionally looked down upon in TV and movies. In the past those have always been the guys who get what’s coming to them in the end. I think I root for these guys because they have just enough of a heart to make me feel like they are really good guys who have just let the power get to them … and they are also badasses.
This is pretty much why girls fall for guys they know are bad for them. They think deep down he really is a sweet guy who needs a girl like her to change him. They think about him sitting on the couch with her watching “The Bachelor” and nodding while she constantly criticizes the hottest girl. She will think he’s agreeing with her when really he’s thinking of all the different ways he would … sorry I got a little off track. What's the next question?