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.
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson 0
- Report: Vinny Del Negro to meet with Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling this weekend 2
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose 24
- George Hill injury jeopardizes Pacers’ identity 1
- Memphis Grizzlies have new anthem: “We Don’t Bluff” 8
- Swimmer Phelps denies comeback rumors
- PHT: Crosby's hat trick powers Penguins past Senators
- PFT: Jets' Goodson gets five gun and drug charges
- PFT: Gronkowski 'probably' needs back surgery, too
- PFT: Seahawks' Irvin suspended for violating PED policy
- Orb favored to take Preakness, set up Triple try
- What to watch for at the Preakness
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay