• Steve Blake and his wife, Kristen, pay $130 per month to sponor a young girl in Rwanda. The Blakes recently traveled to Rwanda to meet the girl and observe life there, and they told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times about their experience.
• A very strange player-versus-coach saga is playing out in the WNBA, and I can’t imagine how much attention this would be getting in the NBA.
• A look at the locations from which Sacramento’s offense, a bottom-ten outfit last season, gets its shots.
• Matt Moore, writing at ProBasketballTalk, on the strange brew that is the Kings’ roster.
• Martell Webster is excited to join the Wizards, and told reporters this week not to pigeonhole him as a spot-up shooter — something the shooting-challenged Wizards desperately need (via Michael Lee of the Washington Post):
“I wouldn’t call myself a three-point specialist,” Webster said during a conference call. “I’m more of an all-around player, as far as that’s concerned.”
That kind of hunger is nice to see, provided it doesn’t lead to Webster overstepping his bounds within Washington’s offense. That’s always a tricky balance to strike.
• Tom Ziller at SB Nation is continuing his countdown of the top 50 free agents who might be available next summer, and with Nos. 11-20, he’s into some heavy hitters — including two high-profile guards coming off rookie contracts and two star Utah big man. Who’s ranked higher: Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson? Tom and I appear to disagree on this one.
• Tom Haberstroh and Beckley Mason, writing at ESPN.com, look at how Jrue Holiday can increase his scoring efficiency now that Andrew Bynum is in Philly.
• Jason Friedman, who does bang-up work at Rockets.com, chats with Patrick Patterson about Patterson’s post game, the influence of Luis Scola’s moves (including the “Scola ice cream scoop”) and Patterson’s sudden status as a Rockets veteran.
• Dwight Howard week continues at Magic Basketball, as Sean Highkin tries to figure out if Howard is the greatest player in Orlando franchise history.
• Here’s a look at what NBA teams can gain from using the D-League more effectively. The new collective bargaining agreement (is it still “new”?) gives teams the right to assign young players (rookies through those with two years of experience) to the D-League much more often than the old CBA allowed.
• Isiah Thomas is going back to school. Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows, is randomly mentioned here for some reason.
• A look at the Blazers’ depth chart. There is a lot of positional overlap here, and as I’ve written before, it’s clear this season in Portland is going to be partly about throwing a lot of young, new and cheap players on the court. The Blazers will see who might stick in as an NBA rotation player.
• Phil Jackson reflects on his relationship with Sam Smith, the longtime NBA writer for the Chicago Tribune and NBA.com, whose book on the 1990-91 Bulls (“The Jordan Rules”) created a stir when it came out. The Hall of Fame has named Smith this year’s recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award, and Jackson talks in this piece about how Smith got there, the impact of “The Jordan Rules” on the Bulls and Smith’s visit to him in Montana.
• Jesse Buss, the youngest of the Buss siblings, talks to Mike Trudell at Lakers.com about his role in the team’s scouting operation, the D-League, the influence of his older brother (the semi-controversial Jim Buss) and lots of other Lakers-related things. A good read.
• Ethan Sherwood Strauss just comes out and asks: How good, really, was Allen Iverson?