- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “There is a theory being perpetrated by ESPN’s Skip Bayless that the Van Gundy brothers are simply trying to heap undue pressure on the Heat. If it were any other coach but Stan Van Gundy, I might buy it. StanVan Gundy, at least from my experience, calls them as he sees them, much like his brother Jeff Van Gundy does as an analyst. The fact is, the Heat have put together a virtual Dream Team of talent. Of course, nobody knows how all of these gifted players will mesh together, and the Heat still have to go out and prove they can win a championship. But, on paper, they are the best team ever assembled in the modern-day NBA.”
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com cautions fans to be wary of trade rumors.
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Can you consistently knock down free throws? If so, you stand a good chance of beating Dwight Howard in H-O-R-S-E. And if you have the money, you can get to play him. Howard is auctioning off the chance to play H-O-R-S-E against him to raise money for Usher’s New Look Foundation. That organization trains youth to be the leaders of tomorrow, and in doing so increases their chances of graduating from high school and going on to college. It’s a good cause, a good place to put your money.”
- Want to know a team that does an excellent job of defending pick and rolls? Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook says it’s the Orlando Magic: “Orlando is one of the best teams against the pick and roll, and in my opinion they are the best at hedging screens. This is because they have bigs in Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis who can show and get back to their man quickly. The goal of hedging is to force the defender to either pick up his dribble or turn towards the middle of the court. Doing this prevents the ball handler to get the rim and makes a pass harder.”
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie ranks Vince Carter as the 23rd-best shooting guard in the NBA right now: “Yes, I had him sixth last season. Why? Ask any Nets fan who watched him in 2008-09: Carter was a borderline All-Star that season. Not last season, where he floated and occasionally helped and absolutely disappeared in the playoffs. Carter has an all-around game, he can still rebound and make the pass while working a screen-and-roll, and he’s still a threat to shoot his way toward 37 points every so often. But he just never applied himself when the going got tough. Pity.”
- In the same rankings, J.J. Redick is pegged at 17th. Go figure.
- Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie: “I don’t know what’s gotten in to the Van Gundy family, but they seem to be suffering from an acute case of Heat stroke. Miami Heat pun zing, for sure. First, Jeff spouted off about Miami breaking every conceivable team record in the history of the NBA, which is to be expected because he’s paid to have opinions. Now, his brother Stan, the Orlando Magic coach — is refusing to take sides against the family and echoing Jeff’s sentiments. Those crazy Van Gundys and their outlandish predictions. [...] In actuality, Stan isn’t totally crazy. I’m not entirely convinced that Dwyane Wade is better than Scottie Pippen. Offensively Wade tops Scottie, no doubt. But when it comes to the other half of the game — defense — there was no better or more disruptive perimeter defender, ever, than Pippen. That’s a big deal, and I’d be willing to offer a tie on that comparison. Furthermore, I will concede Toni Kukoc is not the equal of Chris Bosh, but Bosh’s corollary should probably be Dennis Rodman who is better at rebounding and defense than Bosh, just as much as Bosh is a better offensive player. We can call that one a wash as well, or give a slight nod to the Heat if you’re feeling generous.”