• In tracing the development of All-Star forward Paul George, former Pacers assistant (and current Nuggets head coach) Brian Shaw called to mind a counterintuitive turning point. On Dec. 9, 2012, George wheeled around a high screen from David West, collected himself in long strides, and launched himself toward the rim. Waiting for him there was Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka, who promptly stuffed George's take before it ever hit iron. Yet Shaw, as he told Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows, was delighted:
"We used to always tease him," Shaw said. "Paul grew late and he would go to the basket a lot and get his shot blocked and a lot of times by smaller guards. We'd say, you know, you're 6'9 you should think about dunking the ball when you get close enough that you're underneath the basket."
Shaw quickly recalled the dunk attempt against Oklahoma City as a milestone in the young player's development as he took the ball to the rim and attacked one of the league's best defenders in the lane.
"Now, Serge Ibaka blocked the shot but that was the first time, I was like, OK he went up like a man that time." Shaw said. "I mentioned that to him and told him that even though you got your shot blocked that's the way you have to go in."
• A look at the age-defying brilliance of Dirk Nowitzki by the numbers.
• Also, if Dirk singing Ace of Base doesn't sell itself, I know not what does:
• Remembering the career of Jeff Foster, a career Pacer and a role player any team would have been lucky to have on their roster.
• Along those same lines, Ian Levy also explored the fascinating relationship between Rajon Rondo and his jump shot – in which general perception and Rondo's self-confidence play as pivotal a role as his makes and misses.
• This oriented Venn diagram offers a quick reference for offensive and defensive success as it relates to player age.
• I don't necessarily agree with all of the alleged causalities here, but these are worthwhile thoughts on teambuilding from Grantland's Brett Koremenos:
It’s difficult to figure out exactly how many losses it takes before young players (especially ones already prone to bad habits) stop caring about situations like this, but that number — as [DeMarcus] Cousins’s improvement and [Kyrie] Irving’s recent malaise suggests — does exist. Had the Cavs gone the other way, both Irving and the team could be in very different places ... Though the current trend is to build through multiple trips to the lottery, the bottom line is there is not necessarily a surefire way to rebuild a franchise. Continued losing for the right to draft a second young star is a risky proposition. The Cavs are dealing with the fallout from their gamble while the Kings are looking to bypass that approach. It’ll be interesting to see who else around the NBA takes notice.
• Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer is doing all he can to jump-start the game of reserve guard Lou Williams, though thus far hasn't had much success. That effort continues on Wednesday, when Williams will assume a starting spot in the backcourt alongside Jeff Teague.
• Few are the first-year players immune to the rookie wall. That barrier claims yet another victim in Philadelphia. • I don't often say this of anything involving Randy Newman, but: This is freaking brilliant.