– Greg Oden and the end of microfracture surgery (from Sean Deveny, Sporting News):
” Monday night was something of a milestone for Greg Oden. He made his fifth start for the Heat, playing a season-high 15 minutes, and did so against the Blazers, the team that drafted him with the first pick in 2007, only to see him undergo an exhausting series of injuries to both knees that limited him to 82 games in the last seven seasons before this one.
What’s especially disheartening about Oden and his injury history is that he might have only been a few years away from entirely different knee-repair protocols, ones that could have kept him from requiring the three rounds of microfracture surgery—one in his right knee (in 2007) and two in his left knee (2010 and 2012)—that have interrupted his career.
That’s because doctors are largely moving away from microfracture surgery as a means to fixing defects in a player’s cartilage. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, microfracture was a reasonably well-known and often used procedure. But it’s possible that Oden will be the last NBA player we’ll see trying to come back from that surgery.
“I don’t think anyone in 2014 would advise Greg Oden to get microfracture if he had the same issues he showed back then,” one NBA team doctor, who asked to remain anonymous because he was discussing another team’s player, said. “The thinking has changed. It is still a good surgery in some cases, but not for high-level athletes.”
– Why Washington Wizards Are Finally Thriving with John Wall (from Jared Dubin, Bleacher Report):
” John Wall is something of a passing impresario. He’s proven throughout his four NBA seasons to be an extremely willing and creative disher, and as such, his per-36-minute assist average (via Basketball-Reference) has risen every season he’s been in the league.
Like all great passers, though, Wall needs the player at the other end of his pass to actually connect on the shot attempt in order to tally an assist, and that’s where Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster come in.”
– John Wall still has areas to improve (from Mike Prada, bulletsforever.com):
” The Wizards’ star point guard has made strides this season, but he’s far from a finished product.”
– Has Dion Waiters (finally) arrived? (from Scott Sargent, Waitingfornextyear.com):
” ‘I think he’s done a hell of a job these last few games with Ky being out, stepping up making plays,” said Jack. “He’s still a work in progress, but I think he’s doing a hell of a job. Leaps and bounds from where we were at the beginning of the season—decision making, being more assertive, talkative, being more receptive to criticism but him also being able to lead others as well.’
Right now. A work in progress. Sure, all signs for Waiters are currently pointing up, but just like their head coach, his veteran teammates know that with life comes with qualifiers, with praise comes the notion that things are far from over. No matter where you are, no matter how far you’ve come, the rug can be pulled out from under your feet at any time—it comes down to how quick you can adapt to the altered landscape. For Waiters, to this point, his NBA career has been stocked full of almosts and what-could-have-beens. Fortunately for him, he’s just 22 years old and has shown that he finally knows what everyone else has for the last two years— just because you want to go to your left doesn’t mean the defense is going to give it to you.”
– NBA Players Talk About Their Pregame Warm-ups (from Jared Dubin, Grantland.com):
” The secret pregame rituals, habits, quirks, and hang-ups of NBA players has always fascinated me. Which players go hardest in warm-ups? Who takes it easy? How are the routines crafted? Who warms up with a partner? Does anybody work on defense?”
– Westbrook uncertain if minutes restriction will be lifted come playoffs (frorm Jeff Caplan, NBA.com):
” Russell Westbrook returned to action Tuesday night for the first time since his knee scare four nights earlier in Toronto. He remains on a minutes restriction, up to 32 a game, a precaution he’s not yet sure will be lifted once the playoffs
start in little more than three weeks.
“I’m not sure,” Westbrook said prior to Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks. “Once I talk to the doctors, the coaches and the people I I need to talk to about that, then we’ll figure it out.”
What is known is that coming off three surgeries in eight months, and with Friday night’s collision with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry reminding him of his vulnerability, Westbrook is embracing the bigger picture.
“I feel great, but it ain’t about this year,” Westbrook said. “I’m 25 years old, you know? It’s not all about right now. You got to think about the future. I can’t just think about what’s going on right now. I’m still young, I’m trying to play as long as I can.”
– Roy Hibbert: Where you been (from C.Cooper, Indycornrows.com):
” In the Pacers’ two most recent games, Roy Hibbert has attempted a grand total of 10 field goals. What are some statistical causes for his disappearing act and lack of touches? Is their a remedy for what ails the Pacers and their All-Star? ”
– Requesting more screens for Paul George (from Tyler Bischoff, Indycornrows.com):
– Examining Anthony Davis, the most unique star in the NBA (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):
” After a single season in the NBA, Anthony Davis is already beyond comparison. His production might be measured against his contemporaries or his exploits gauged against those of former greats, but in both cases Davis seems more juxtaposed than truly connected. There isn’t an existing template that could possibly hold his wealth of idiosyncrasy; Davis’ style and skillset are so distinctly modern that even the games of more progressive NBA big men seem dated in relation.
“He has the soft touch of a skilled shooter, the blanket reach to anchor zone defensive principles, the vertical extension to dominate opponents on a different plane, the balance to slither through crowds on the pick-and-roll, the height and timing to rack up rebounds, and the ball control to improvise as necessary. Were a forward-thinking coach to list out the basketball qualities that would best position a player for NBA success, it would likely read similarly if it weren’t dismissed as wishful thinking. That arrangement of skills and size is fantastic in the purest definitional sense — so expansive that it hardly seems real.”
– The unintended consequences of the 2011 CBA (from Nate Duncan, BasketballInsiders.com):
– Who will think of the Basketball PhDs? (from Tom Ziller, SBNation.com):
” Fear can be an irrational thing. But of all the things that scare people, basketball players being afraid they won’t be able to work in basketball after retiring is a rather small concern. The NBA and college ranks are filled with former players at every single level. Rasheed Wallace got hired in player development immediately after retirement. Rasheed Wallace. Fear about heart disease, saving enough for retirement, driving in the rain, remembering to record Cosmos — these are all fears way more valid than basketball players being afraid they won’t be able to work in basketball after retiring.
That’s what made this curious ESPN.com story apparently written by Chris Broussard so … well, curious.
If there is a divide (within front offices between stat guys and basketball lifers), that’s a problem individual front offices absolutely need to figure out. Front offices need to be united. But the concern that quants are taking jobs from ex-players is really overblown.
– How the Grizzlies got back on their grind (from James Herbert, SBNation):
” I don’t think people really understand how tough the West is,” (Mike) Conley said. “It’s just been a dogfight from the beginning.”
While the Grizzlies are just trying to survive, their opponents have a different perspective. They see most of the pieces that took Memphis to the Western Conference Finals last season. They see a team that wants to rough you up on defense and that possesses an improved offense implemented by Joerger. If the Grizzlies do hold onto their playoff spot, no one’s looking past them.”
– Grizzlies Playbook Breakdown: Elevator Doors (from Andrew Ford, Grizzlybearblues.com):
” Dave Joerger has done a remarkable job expanding his playbook throughout his first season as an NBA head coach. One of his latest installments is a side elevator doors play for sharpshooter Mike Miller.”
– Waiters and Zeller proving Cavaliers can go for wins, still develop talent (from David Zavac, Fearthesword.com):
” Should the Cavaliers be trying to win basketball games, or should they be trying to develop their young players? It’s a false choice.”