By Rob Peterson, NBA.com
SHORT PEOPLE ...
Like veterans reporting to training camp three days after the rookies, Click and Roll finally checks in a couple weeks into the season.
But then again, look who's sitting on the sidelines with us: Ray Allen, Jamal Mashburn, Jerry Stakchouse, Wally Szczerbiak, Troy Hudson, Elton Brand, Chris Webber, Antonio McDyess and, of course, Grant Hill.
Yet, Click and Roll is feeling spry. As spry and as fast as the next two guys.
To paraphrase Randy Newman, short people got no reason to play basketball. It's a big man's game, right? The bigger you are, the better you can be. Not so fast, say two of the faster and shorter men who are quickly making big names for themselves this season.
In Denver, the 5-5 Earl Boykins has been a spark plug off the bench for the Nuggets, averaging 14.4 points per game, good for second on the team behind super-rookie Carmelo Anthony.
In the much ballyhooed matchup between Anthony and LeBron James last week, the shortest man in the league may have been the best player that night as he scored a team-high 18 points to lift the Nuggets over the Cavaliers 93-89.
Boykins said his height has never been an issue with him. Winning has.
"I always play with a chip on my shoulder, but not because other teams have passed me by," Boykins told the New York Times. "That's just the way I am. It's never personal. My goal is to win. I've always felt that wherever I was, if I got the opportunity, I would win."
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, T.J. Ford, generously listed at 6-0 (and if you think he is 6-0, then check the photo to the right; that's Ford, standing next to NBA Commissioner David Stern), has driven opponents nuts with his quickness. He's also led the Bucks to a surprising 4-3 start and even received an initial stamp of approval from the man he replaced, Gary Payton.
"He's got a lot to learn," Payton said. "He's got to work on his shot a lot. But he is going to be a good point guard."
Only time will tell if these short guys have long, successful careers.
A WHOLE NEW TUNE
Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has never won the IBM NBA Coach of the Year award during his now 16-year tenure in Utah.
And with John Stockton retired and Karl Malone searching for an NBA title in Los Angeles, it looked like the Jazz would play many a discordant tune this season. After the first two weeks, the Jazz are in second place in the Midwest Division with a 4-2 record.
And if he can lead the Jazz to 54 wins, their pace right now, wouldn't it be about time to give the award to Sloan, one Salt Lake writer asks?
"You have to be realistic -- if you look at the talent, it probably isn't that high," Sloan told the San Francisco Chronicle. But are you gonna play or are you gonna go home? It's like the old saying -- are you gonna fish or cut bait?"
Go fish, Jerry.
THE "SAY WHA?" IDEA OF THE WEEK AWARD
This week, Indiana coach Rick Carlisle raised some eyebrows when he suggested widening the rim by five percent to increase scoring.
-- Philadelphia Inquirer
"I've had this idea for about two years," Carlisle said.
And while Carlisle's idea has yet to gain momentum, he has one fan in the author of the article, who thinks Carlisle's Frankenstein-sized rim is insane enough, it! just! Might! WORK!
"Sounds crazy. Perhaps, though, it's worth asking one more question: Don't most noteworthy ideas initially endure such ridicule?"
Discuss among yourselves.
Even at 6-1, the Pacers are still learning Carlisle's offense. I would hate to be the Pacers' opponents when they learn it.
-- Indy Star
.375 -- combined winning percentage of last year's NBA Finals teams, New Jersey and San Antonio These numbers are brought to you in honor of Harvey Pollack, the longest-serving and best numbers man in NBA history. -- The Oregonian
The "leaders" in the Atlantic right now? Washington and Boston lead the division with identical 3-3 records…
Speaking of that division, Orlando captain Tracy McGrady thinks his Magic ship be sinking in the Atlantic.
"Over the last five games, I've had some crazy thoughts, man," McGrady told the Orlando Sentinel. "I was thinking that after this year, I'm done with basketball.
"Done with basketball, period. That's how frustrated I've been."
Mr. McGrady, everyone knows the captain goes down with the ship. Or does he? McGrady can opt out of his contract after next season.
Chris Webber got schooled … and enjoyed it.
In Seattle, they've gone head over heels for Flip Murray. Who? Maybe you know him as Ronald Murray? As the understudy who's been thrust on stage because of star Ray Allen's injury, he's only seventh in the league scoring at 23.5 points per game. As if you didn't know.
Superstars don't come cheap in the NBA, but the author of this piece argues that this one is a bargain, especially when you compare him to other high-priced players.
From starting to out of the NBA in one season.
What if they held a celebrity roast for Charles Barkley and none of the jokes made it into this article? Disappointed? Don't be because the most important news coming out of the roast was the Suns will add Charles Barkley into their Ring of Honor. And, oh, courtesy of Suns’ CEO and Managing General Partner Jerry Colangelo, there is one joke at the end of the article. Heh…
While Barkley will be feted in Phoenix, Dominique Wilkins will be given more responsibility in helping run the Hawks, a move that is a long time in coming.
We liked Carlos Boozer when he as a rookie. Now, in his second season, others are finally catching on to how good he is. We love being ahead of the curve.
Kirk Penney for your thoughts (and for someone who can spell his name correctly)…
As a guy from Milwaukee who lives in New York city, watching the old hometown team beat the new hometown team twice in four days brought a slight smile to my face. Of course, I don't (cough, cough) root for any team (ahem) …