Hollinger: Jennings goes to Plan B in Rookies' win
Not a bad night for Brandon Jennings and the rooks. Jennings scored 22 (11/23 fg) along with eight assists, six boards and four steals as the rookies snapped a seven year winless streak against their older opponents. DeJuan Blair was the star for the rookies with a beastly 22 points and 23 rebounds, though Tyreke Evans (26 pts) won official MVP honors (probably since voting was throughout the game and Evans was the star early). Next up for Jennings is the skills challenge, which to be honest I generally find pretty boring. I hope he wins but mostly I just hope he doesn't need 20 attempts to hit the pull-up jumper.
Strangely, most of Jennings' points seemed to come on tough shots--the kind of fadeaways and runners that have helped contribute to his sub-40% shooting and which you usually don't need to take in an all-star game. But he drilled a well-defended 22-footer from the left wing in the first minute, seemingly giving himself a heat check to see if his jumper was on. It was, and he wasn't bashful about jacking up a team-high 23 shots in addition to his game-high assist total. Sounds familiar. John Hollinger writes that Jennings seemed to adapt quickly to a shooting role after earlier setting his sights on the game assist record.
"I just felt like that's how the game flowed," said the Milwaukee point guard. "I was trying to help the team win ... You've seen four guards out there playing all together and willing to sacrifice for the team to win. That shows a lot out of all of us I think."
ESPN: NBA players' association chief says league has torn up its CBA proposal
There's a lot of sound and fury right now surrounding the next CBA, though it's tough to say whether any of it will really matter when all is said and done. To me the big question really starts with the players' share of revenues--currently around 57%, but slashed to 45% in the owners' initial strawman proposal--and revenue sharing among teams. Of course I may be a bit biased, since those are such big issues to small market teams struggling to break even in the current environment.
All the stuff about a hard cap, guaranteed deals, and max contracts is a bit secondary to me and speaks more to distributional efficiency among players. It'd be great to have a system where every team didn't seem to have a huge contract that they regret offering, but the irony of owners wanting to police their often idiotic spending habits shouldn't be lost either.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, the union president, said the players made clear there was "not any way that we were going to be able to use [the proposal] as a starting point for future collective bargaining negotiations."
"I think what we made clear today is that where they are is not relevant to where we are. We're not going to begin where they say begin," Fisher said. "I think that was the purpose of going in today, to make sure they understood that their proposal was not the beginning of the conversation."
It's also interesting to see the big name players becoming more involved. I'm not sure how the power dynamics of the union work, but is the majority of the union really that worried if LeBron gets $15 million instead of $18 million per season? As long as the total pie is the same, most players would naturally prefer to have more cash available to the middle class, so I'm curious to see what if any internal politics might crop up around the max contract issue.
Indy Cornrows: What Do The Milwaukee Bucks Have To Offer?
Tom at IC provides some Pacer perspective on the Troy Murphy talk. Kind of interesting none of the Bucks' young players (like Ilyasova) are mentioned, though there is talk of trying to poach the Bucks' first rounder. If I'm John Hammond that's where I'd draw the line, as I just don't think Murphy's near-term benefits are worth a mid-first rounder.
Courtside Analyst: The Race for 8th
Ty takes a look at the rival brewing between the Bucks and Bulls. Though the Bobs and Heat have higher playoff statistical probabilities than their midwestern rivals, I'm curious if both teams can keep up their current pace as well. Most notably, what if Wade or Gerald Wallace miss any kind of time because of injury?
Dime: Jodie Meeks & Hakim Warrick Talk
Aron Phillips talks to Meeks and Warrick about the NBA grind--and the title chances of their alma maters.
Order of the Court: Clash of the Titans
Ben Steele looks back at one of the greatest matchups in NBA history: the 1972 meeting between the Bucks and Lakers.