Jan 2, 2013, 8:22 PM EDT
Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• Kevin Durant for NBA Most Improved Player? Over at Sports Illustrated, Rob Mahoney looks at guys who made big strides this season and says the already impressive Durant should be on the list. A more likely MIP candidate is Serge Ibaka.
• Russell Westbrook‘s shot 45.7 percent last season, this season that has fallen off a cliff down to 40.4 percent. Why? Royce Young at Daily Thunder does a great job looking at why Westbrook’s jumper has gone askew.
• In what is a fitting and easy analogy, the Nets new home the Barclay’s Center had a number of bad bolts in it that could have led to serious structural issues.
• Ranking teams on how well and often they shoot the corner three, which is one of the most important shots in basketball. Teams that are really good at it this season include the Heat, Spurs and Knicks, not so coincidentally.
• I’ve never believed that they do, but here is some statistical evidence that those players-only meetings do help teams.
• Pretty soon you’re going to start seeing more and more D-League call ups to the NBA. Here’s a fantastic primer from Mark Deeks on guys to watch for.
• The Hawks’ Larry Drew and the Clippers’ Vinny Del Negro today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month for December. Del Negro was pretty much a no brainer as his team went 16-0 and didn’t lose a game all month (should Vinny have to share the award with Chris Paul?). The Hawks are playing well this season for Drew and were 10-5 in the month.
• Along those same lines, the Heat’s LeBron James and the Clippers’ Chris Paul have been named Players of the Month by the league. Again this is about as shocking as Democrats and Republicans fighting about anything and everything.
- Report: Anthony Bennett pulled from pro-am by agent, possibly due to his inclusion in Kevin Love trade talks 12
- Report: Sixers fighting against immediate changes to NBA Draft Lottery system 20
- Team USA going small ball, but how many bigs do they keep on the bench? 4
- Report: LeBron James more popular than he ever was with the Heat 13
- Durant says 2014 USA team better than 2010 version that won gold 6
- Kevin Durant knows you’re talking about his free agency but isn’t giving many clues. He liked what LeBron did. 16
- Byron Scott makes ridiculous optimism sound reasonable 40
- Derrick Rose told Carmelo Anthony that if he came to Chicago “the game would be easy” 42