Tuesday Bolts – 4.28.09

Final blogger Rookie of the Year voting: I promise I wasn’t the one that voted for Kyle Weaver or gave Russell a first thunderbolt2318place vote. My ballot looked like this: 1. Derrick Rose 2. Russell Westbrook 3. Brook Lopez 4. Kevin Love 5. O.J. Mayo.

I wish people would quit fantasizing about this, but yet another “the Blazers screwed up, what if they had Kevin Durant?” story. But the reality is, the more Greg Oden picks up five fouls in seven minutes and the more 30-point games KD puts up, it won’t go away: “Now, there is plenty of time for Greg Oden to become a star. He might become just what Portland needs – a defensive anchor, a dominant big man. But he looks more like a guy who is going to average 13 points and 11 rebounds, block a few shots, and struggle to stay healthy. Meanwhile, Durant turned 20 this season, and here are his relevant stats for Oklahoma City this season: 25.3 points on .476 shooting, .422 from three-point range, and .863 from the line; 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks. He is a genuine superstar, right now … With Durant and Roy, Portland would have been a legitimate threat to topple the Lakers this year, and in many years to come. With Oden, the Blazers are a nice team that might one day get serious. This point has been made before, but it’s being driven home right now. This is the first playoff run for Portland’s collection of young talent, and the first chance to see just what — besides experience — it is missing. And it is missing a third scorer, and another star. Right now, this is Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.”

Draft Express statisical analysis on shooting guard (pay attention): “Harden’s biggest shortcoming ended up being in the perimeter shooting department. He was terrific on the very few catch and shoot opportunities he received with his feet set (2.4 Pos/G), but really struggled when being contested (.85 PPP) or shooting off the dribble (.73 PPP). In fact, the 27% he shot from the field off the dribble is the lowest of any of the nineteen players in our sample. Fortunately for Harden, this is clearly a part of his game he can work on, but he’ll have to put in the appropriate time in the gym. In terms of things a team can count on him to do well in the short-run, his ability to score with space deserves consideration at the top of that list.”

How about that Hornets game last night? Holy Charles Barkley in a manger, what a butt-kicking. Fifty-eight points? At home? In the playoffs? Yikes. At a certain point a game like that crosses the boundary between boring blowout into this-is-really-interesting-how-much-do-you-think-they’ll-win-by territory. And you’re glued to your TV. Forty points? Nah, they couldn’t win by 40. OK, 50 points? No way. Oh my heavens, 60? Could they win by 60? The most amazing stat to me is not the 58-point deficit necessarily, but that the Hornets went 17-54 from the field. Yeah that’s 31 percent but they only took 54 shots? What the crap? I guess the fact they had TWENTY-SIX turnovers didn’t help. Oh, and one more thing – Tyson Chandler’s line last night: 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 4 fouls in 13 minutes. Not sayin’, just sayin’.

FanHouse on Clay keeping his money: “Of course, it’s unlikely Bennett — or David Stern — ever realistically believed that money to be at risk. For the guff we’ve given Bennett (trust me, there has been plenty), the legislature is really showing its culpability on this issue. Bennett went about things in a completely devious, destructive fashion. But in the end, he has basically been shown to be correct in terms of Washington’s lack of will in keeping these Sonics fans happy, and in keeping Seattle an NBA town. It’s sad, all around.” I think you could almost say Bennett was bailed out in more ways than one. Sure he gets to keep his money, but the more Seattle refuses to stand up and do what’s necessary to bring the game they supposedly love so much back to town, the more Bennett is vindicated.

HoopsWorld wonders if Carlos Boozer played his last game in a Jazz uniform: “The scenario that may work best for both sides this offseason is a sign-and-trade. While Boozer’s injury history might scare away some teams, the fantastic numbers he has put up in the postseason should draw a number of suitors. This would allow Boozer and his agent to target certain teams that have interest in him but don’t have the cap space to sign him outright. It would also help the Jazz by allowing the team to get something of value in return for Boozer.”

Interesting article by Ian Thompson on charge or block: “Bernie Fryer, the NBA director of officials, cries foul at the notion of star treatment. Against the vast weight of anecdotal evidence, Fryer insists that the relative status of players has no influence on a call. The NBA’s grading system ultimately decides which referees work in the playoffs and earn extra money, Fryer argues, so it’s in the refs’ best interest to get the block/charge right, whether it’s LeBron James or Jerome James barreling to the hoop. In an attempt to quell the controversy around block/charge rulings, Fryer recently invited a reporter to his office to view replays of 13 calls. A difficult one from last season showed Miami guard Smush Parker driving around the Knicks’ Renaldo Balkman and straight into a suddenly appearing Jared Jeffries. In slow motion you can see that Jeffries gets position, but in real time the players seem to arrive at the same moment. “In the old days you know what [prominent former refs] Joe Gushue or Jake O’Donnell would call?” says Fryer, breaking into a smile. He rotates his forearms, the signal for traveling. “Because he didn’t know,” says Fryer. “He didn’t know, so he’d say, He must have walked.”

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