By Rob Mahoney
• A lovely introduction to Bradley Beal comes courtesy of Michael Lee of the Washington Post, who highlights the new Wizard by showing us those around him. Bradley's brothers, Bruce and Brandon, have moved in with him to provide support and good company:
Brandon, 26, is a manager at an area gym and works most of the time, but he is around when the brothers go to the movies or eat at Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings or Bradley’s personal favorite, Friday’s. Bruce is home most of the time, sometimes taking Bradley to practice or the airport.
When Bradley is on the road, he’ll often text Bruce pictures before making purchases, waiting for his approval.
“I can’t complain, honestly,” Beal said. “They don’t really want to shadow me or be a chaperon. They don’t want to crowd. They give me my personal space or whatever. We all figure we’re going to be fine on our own, but there are going to be times when you’re going to need help. I knew I just couldn’t sit here all day by myself. That would be terrible.”
We'll just ignore that part about Friday's. Everybody has their flaws.
• Smart looks -- courtesy of Ian Levy of Hickory-High and Jonathan Tjarks of Real GM -- at players capable of breaking out into rotation roles this season. Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and Alec Burks found a home on both scribes' lists, and for good reason.
• The lab geek rats at Basketball Prospectus come out with their paneled predictions for the 2012-13 season, with decidedly less love for the Nuggets than you were led to believe (Or really: a less promising result than SCHOENE projected).
• On a somewhat related note: Rohan Cruyff of the Hornets blog At the Hive has put together a fascinatingly simple projection system based on individual player ratings and eyeing a particular threshold of contention. I'd encourage you to first read Cruyff's quantitative look at contention, then his treatise on the role of luck in sports analysis, and finally, those aforementioned projections. Great reads all three.
• Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie laid out a thorough history of Eddy Curry, as rich in detail as Curry's own story is in novelty. I'd say that Dwyer has forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know, but I'm not sure he ever forgets anything at all.
• Zach Lowe lays out Serge Ibaka's weaknesses for all to see over at Grantland, effectively highlighting a handful of areas in Ibaka's game worth watching carefully both this season and beyond:
Let's be clear: Ibaka is not a poor defender or even an average one. He's better than that, and last season he became more effective and disciplined in the post, and in containing pick-and-rolls on the perimeter. But he is prone to helping too much, and, more damaging, helping for a couple of beats too long. That can make him late recovering to shooters on the perimeter, and it adds a layer of confusion to a Thunder defense filled with young players already prone to breaking from core "on a string" defensive unison. If one player is late, a teammate might take up his assignment, opening a hole elsewhere and creating chaos, with multiple defenders rushing in a panic at the same shooter.
• I struggle to think of a better ticket campaign than this one. Brilliant meme-imitates-life-imitates-meme work by the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.Nikola Pekovic this wonderfully edited video