FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS. Here are five quick NBA thoughts about some players around the league.
1. JASON KIDD (Knicks): Watched their game at Brooklyn on Tuesday night. As great as Melo was for them - when it came time to make the clutch plays this man made huge shots and as always provided excellent playmaking and defence. What a brilliant pick-up by former Raptors GM/current Knicks GM, Glen Grunwald. He has brought in a bunch of proven and savvy veteran players and it's gone a long way towards stabilizing the play of JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony. Kidd is an amazing competitive player and his basketball IQ, toughness and skill give him a winning combination even at this late stage of his career.
2. NOLAN SMITH (Blazers): Saw him Monday night in Portland and like his quickness and the pressure he puts on the defence with the speed and pace he plays at. Not a great shooter but he understands and accepts his role quite well. Tough to guard in open space and is a solid defender himself.
3. MARCO BELINELLI (Bulls): Getting major playing time for his squad. He plays better when he knows he can settle in and get into the flow and be able to make a few mistakes and not get yanked. The former Raptor is a good distance shooter and has solid passing instincts. He can play in the slower pace of this squad due to his excellent fundamentals and ability to use screens to get open. Without Derrick Rose, they're trying to minimize possessions while maximizing the talents of what they do have in a 5-on-5 half-court setting. He has done a pretty good job of holding up his end of the bargain.
4. ANDERSON VAREJAO (Cavs): Having really nice year. Healthy and playing with awesome energy as always. Love his passion and persistence. He has done a very good job with his second effort on the glass and is a very underrated passer. For a young team, he is an ideal role model for how hard your supposed to play to be a good pro. I'd take him on my team any day of the week. Competitor and winner. Offensive game has improved in his years as a pro and a big reason - his work ethic. Self-made man.
5. MATT BARNES (Clippers): Good addition to the Clips. Plays with an edge. Guards you and will be relentless. Smart role player who keeps the ball moving and makes the solid plays. Respectable shooter with a decent first step who fits into what this team is trying to do. Has bounced around but you have to respect that when it's game time he's prepared to play and will give you his all. The second unit here is excellent due to the selfless nature of the personalities involved. Barnes deserves a lot of praise for sacrificing his game for the common cause.