• Does Carmelo Anthony’s strong, decisive play in the Olympics bode well for the 2012-13 Knicks?
• Sebastiain Pruiti, writing at Grantland, with a video-based scouting report on Russian guard Aleksey Shved, who is set to join the Timberwolves.
• Shved is easily the worst dancer in this video (hat tip: Zach Harper of ESPN.com). Andrei Kirilenko brings it, though.
• SI.com’s Ian Thomsen breaks the news that any move to make the Olympics a 23-and-under tournament likely won’t kick in until the 2020 Games. Not a surprise. It took a decade-plus fight to get NBA pros Olympics-eligible, and with so many stakeholders sounding some initial opposition to the NBA’s plan for a World Cup and an Olympics limited to younger players, it’s going to take another long fight to change the status quo.
• Marc Stein of ESPN.com looks back at the ultra-controversial U.S.-Soviet Union gold-medal game from the 1972 Olympics. A great read.
• The boys at Raptors Republic are happy with what Jonas Valanciunas showed for Lithuania at the Olympics. It’s a testament to the difficulty of analyzing NBA defense that several writers I respect came to such drastically different conclusions about Valanciunas’ performance on that end of the court in Lithuania’s quarterfinal loss to Russia. Judging defense remains the diciest task of an NBA analyst. It requires so much research beyond the numbers — watching tape, talking to scouts, understanding a coach’s game plan, etc. But I’m generally bullish on Valanciunas as a big man with Roy Hibbert-level potential.
• The full remarks from Terry Stotts and Portland GM Neil Olshey at the news conference introducing Stotts as coach.
• After that news conference, Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge asked Stotts about the biggest regret of his coaching career. His answer is fantastic and surprising.
• Jason Quick of The Oregonian gets perspective from some who played for Stotts in Atlanta and Milwaukee. Some telling quotes here.
• Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports on whether we should read much into Stotts’ losing record in Atlanta and Milwaukee.
• Hibbert, trying to make a difference amid a sad situation.
• Ken Berger of CBSSports.com assesses Chicago’s puzzling offseason, which might not be so puzzling after all.
• Jeff Green opens up to Josh Zavadil of CelticsBlog about his recovery from heart surgery:
“The surgery itself was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. I had to start from, basically, double scratch. Walking was an issue — just being able to have the stamina was a problem. Everything just kind of shuts down. The nervous system breaks down, and it’s kinda like a jump-start. You have to get it going, and it was just difficult.
“You take for granted all of the little things — whether it’s just an easy crunch or ab exercise, or moving to the left or moving to the right. I couldn’t lay on my stomach for the first two-and-a-half months. I couldn’t lay on my side. The first couple of weeks I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t do a lot of things, but it helps you appreciate the little things.”
Lots more from Green on his health and the Celtics’ future in that link.
• Rob Mahoney of the Mavs-themed blog The Two Man Game on team-building and the draft, with this aside on Dallas’ much-panned acquisition of Brendan Haywood:
Consider this a preemptive strike against that line of thinking, much like the one that was needed when Dallas re-signed Brendan Haywood to a six-year, $55 million deal in the summer of 2010.
Faced with the inevitability of trading away Erick Dampier’s instantly expiring contract for some asset or another, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban agreed to a long-term deal with a capable defensive center. Were they to know that Tyson Chandler was the eventual bounty of Dampier’s deal, they may have proceeded differently. But given the Mavericks’ circumstances (aging core, no chance for cap room, no readily apparent starting-caliber alternatives), it was a move that needed to be made. You may disagree with the total dollar amount or the length of the contract, but at the time that agreement was far more reasonable than the Twitter snark would have you believe.
• Russia coach David Blatt certainly seems to imply that he thinks Spain lost its last group game (against Brazil) on purpose. It wouldn’t be an issue for me if the Spanish did. If you structure tournaments in a way that occasionally incentivizes losing, you can’t blame teams for losing in those circumstances.
• This is where we are with athletes (and other rich people): We need advisers to monitor the financial advisers.
• An upcoming paper on whether unions like the National Basketball Players Association should be able to essentially bargain away the rights of younger players who will enter the union someday (i.e. high school players who can’t come to the NBA because of the collectively bargained age limit).