Short Corner: Nicolas Batum's rebounding, O.J. Mayo's tailspin and more
Welcome to the Short Corner, a celebration of the NBA in the pithiest form possible. Below are a collection of notebook-style items, laid out for your buffet-style enjoyment.
• Portland's blowout-turned-gut-punch loss to Dallas on Friday brought about the end of Nicolas Batum's improbable run as the NBA's most productive rebounder. In the three games prior, Batum grabbed 49 boards over the Lakers, Nuggets, and Hawks -- an average of 16.3 a night. For perspective, that's just three boards short of Kevin Love's best three-game rebounding stretch this season.
• Players, coaches, general managers, and public figures of all types are often reduced to simple assessments of good or bad, but the front office of the Pelicans -- headed by GM Dell Demps on the basketball operations side -- offers proof positive that such descriptors rarely cover the half of it. Draft Anthony Davis, overpay Eric Gordon. Trade for Jrue Holiday, give Tyreke Evans the kingdom. Unearth a solid rotation piece in Brian Roberts, use a lottery pick on Austin Rivers. As is the case with so many things, New Orleans' track record is littered with victories and failures, both. It's complicated, and that's okay.
• Hollis Thompson easily fades into the background of this dreadful Sixers team, but he demanded notice with his performance against the Magic earlier this week: In 25 minutes, Thompson didn't notch a single point, rebound, assist, steal, block, or turnover. You can always tell a Milford man.
• DeMar DeRozan is getting better as a passer, and certainly more willing to give up the ball now than he was early in his career. But there's a reason why you don't see his feeds pop up as a highlight reel; his career-high 3.9 assists per game largely come by way of quick drops to open cutters, post entry feeds, and passes out to kind-of-open shooters. Toronto's heightened activity off the ball has given DeRozan more targets on the move, but overall his feel for making plays is merely fair.
• How the hell does this happen? (via r/NBA)
• Kudos to Tayshaun Prince, who on Monday put up 21 points against the Wizards -- his highest single-game output since Dec. 2012. Kudos to regression to the mean, too, as Prince went scoreless in the two games that followed. Order restored.
• There's not much joy to be had in watching the Hawks in their current state, though the shot-happy Mike Scott provides one of few bright spots. The man knows how to get his. While not as blatant a chucker as some, Scott is no stranger to those Marreese Speights-like outings in which he launches up 10+ shots in around 20 minutes of action. He's just successful enough -- and effiicent enough, in his first season as a three-point threat -- to keep it fun, and useful to the point that Elton Brand's consecutive games of 42+ minutes played are all the more baffling.
• I wish there were a better way to talk about how terrific Trevor Ariza has been this year for Washington, because "surprising" doesn't even begin to cover it.
• Eight months ago, the Bucks gave O.J. Mayo $24 million to provide needed perimeter scoring over the next three seasons. Since then he's bounced every which way in Larry Drew's rotation, been benched in favor of players who might be bothered to try, took a mid-play break to tie his shoe, and most recently: Went out of his way to get into it with Pelicans big man Greg Stiemsma, who had the nerve to set a screen:
Mayo's had some rough patches over the past few years, but we're getting dangerously close to tailspin territory.