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“We’re not supposed to root in this business — for people or for teams or for outcomes — but when it comes to Dawson, the rules can wait until tomorrow. I know him well because I worked for the Browns for almost a decade, and in three different columns since leaving in March of 2010, I’ve advocated the Browns signing him to a long-term deal. If the Browns let him walk — or even if he wants to walk — come March, there should be no hard feelings. Just a bunch of thank yous.” [Amico/FSO]
“The problem is not that “First Take” is awful; every industry has hucksters aiming at the lowest, lamest, easiest fruit in the orchard to score quick, cynical profits. Most industries see this for the dreck that it is — even when it’s successful dreck — and know that you need to balance the lowest-common-denominator approach with at least obligatory nods at quality, at discourse, at value. The problem is that, in the same way everyone in sports blindly aped the successful “Pardon the Interruption” (which led to “Around the Horn”), everyone now is trying to copy the “success” of “First Take.” (And it’s key to put “success” in quotes there.) It’s horrifying to ponder what the Xerox’d, third-level removed, “Around the Horn”-esque version of “First Take” could possibly be. My guess: a show with monkeys throwing feces at each other, or maybe two people hitting themselves in the head with rocks.” [Leitch/Sports on Earth]
“A lot of teams can have cap space after next season, including the Cavaliers. While he will have the opportunity to return home, will he have motive? The reason for believing that James will return to Cleveland is built on the lingering idea that he needs to go home to make things right. But I disagree with that. James doesn’t need to return anymore.
The crucial word here is “need.” James’ accomplishments this year show that he is far past having to worry about making things right for The Decision of 2010. He brought a lot of pain upon himself for the way he chose to leave Cleveland. It was still haunting him throughout 2011, and maybe at that time it made sense to predict his ultimate return to Cleveland. It made sense because at that time LeBron was incapable of redeeming himself.” [Thomsen/Sports Illustrated]
“Huzzah for reason! Varejao — the league’s leading rebounder, at more than 14.4 boards per game, who is playing balls-out for 36 minutes a night — has finally leapfrogged Bynum and Stoudemire — neither of whom has logged a solitary second of floor time this season — in All-Star voting.” [Dewine/Ball Don’t Lie]
“On offense: Thompson battles issues with scoring the ball. According to ESPN, of 75 qualified power forwards, his true shooting percentage ranks 47th, despite using only the 56th highest frequency of possessions. The TS% serves as a significant improvement over last year, however that is aided by a (strategically solid) 4% reduction in his usage rate. His 56% career free-throw shooting has not helped, but he converted 62% this month. Battles with quickly collecting passes and attacking, or innovating when his shot isn’t there, lead to obscene amounts of his shots getting blocked (10th most in the NBA through 12/17).
He shines as an offensive rebounder though, proving his elite collegiate skill transitions to the NBA. Of 327 qualified NBA players this year, his rebounding rate ranks 24th. As a willing pick setter, and a player constantly battling to extend possessions through his board-work, he offers some offensive benefits.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog]