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Court Vision: Harsher luxury tax widens divide between big- and small-market teams

The NBA's luxury tax could make it difficult for teams like the Pacers to both stay together and improve. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) The NBA's luxury tax could make it difficult for teams like the Pacers to both stay together and improve. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

• The NBA has a number of mechanisms -- the luxury tax, first and foremost -- installed for the sake of parity. Yet Mark Deeks, in a piece for HOOPSWORLD, explains in full why some of those measures serve only to further stratify the league. His thesis:

The NBA’s system permits for those teams that get lucky enough to land star talent and smart enough to build around it to form competitive teams. With a soft cap, it effectively permits anyone to pay as much as they want, if they can afford it. And the revenue assistance does genuinely help to assuage the operating losses incurred by struggling teams in smaller markets. But what kind of parity penalizes a small-market team for being good more so than a large-market rival? Parity in this instance is a misnomer, mere lip-service to an ideal we aren’t seeing.

• Tyson Chandler's leg fracture might have transpired in a fraction of a second, but the Knicks have been building to this point -- and to their looming, apparent helplessness in Chandler's absence -- for some time. Grantland's Zach Lowe recaps the saga before launching into a thorough examination of where New York goes from here.

• Before the formal announcement of Chandler's injury, Tom Ziller riffed on the then-potential prospect of the All-Star center missing time. That led him to this brutal framing of Andrea Bargnani's rebounding work -- a basketball subject worthy of ridicule if there ever was one:

If Chandler misses appreciable time, [coach Mike] Woodson either has to revert to 'Melo-at-PF smallball or find a genie to grant him a wish that gives the 7-foot Bargnani an ability to rebound at a level better than a 5'11 guard. No, really: there are four players listed at 5'11 or shorter who have played at least 50 minutes this season. Bargnani's current 5.5 percent rebound rate is lower or equal to the rebound rates of three of those guards. On Tuesday, Woodson chose the worst of all worlds: a big, plodding lineup that struggled to defend, couldn't rebound and didn't score. What a nightmare. Remember when just about everyone who doesn't root for the Knicks laugh maniacally when New York traded for Bargnani? This is why.

• Honestly, these quotes come across as being from a coach who doesn't really know what he wants.

• ... And this doesn't exactly assuage my concern.

• The Sixers have apparently broken the shooting form of Nerlens Noel down to its base elements, intent to help the rookie reconstruct his shot from the ground up. Dei Lynam of CSN Philly spoke with Sixers coach Brett Brown about that process, and included this terrific bit from Brown on the shooting mechanics of other players on the roster (via Kelly Dwyer):

“I think everyone['s shot] is tweakable,”Brown said. “I think Nerlens is a total rebuild. You would do something with [Evan Turner’s] footwork and we have done that. You would do things with different release points. You would exaggerate the follow through with Tony Wroten’s shot because everything is a hot stove."

• TrueHoop has launched a snapshot series of sorts, capturing the mood of respective NBA cities and fan bases. Royce Young, of Daily Thunder fame, kicks things off with a look at OKC and the legions of Thunder fans, specifically in the wake of the James Harden trade:

When Harden departed for Houston, Oklahoma City lost more than his significant production. He also took the team’s innocence. After four years of riding the good times to the top of the standings, the trade was the official "welcome to professional sports" moment for a new fan base, and its fallout is still rippling down the Oklahoma prairie. People still aren't over it, and they may never be. Something was taken from them -- not necessarily Harden, but the chance to really see what that Thunder team could do.

Outside the arena before Sunday’s game against the Suns, a fan approached me -- we do casual encounters with strangers in Oklahoma City. After exchanging introductions, the first thing he said was, "I think I'm ready to hit the panic button."

The Thunder were 1-1.

• Chicago's offensive profile in this young season: Lots of shot attempts in the paint and very few free throws. Which is more likely to sustain?

• Pour one out for Hoopdata, a pioneer site for shot location data in the NBA that will be closing up shop. Writing about the game took a big step forward with Hoopdata's arrival, which helped set the stage for many of the wider-ranging and more detailed resources available today.

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