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NBA Links: League-wide trade bait, Mutombo's retired Hawks jersey, and more

Dikembe Mutombo doing his thing. That and more in this morning's links.

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Mutombo A Hall-of-Famer On And Off The Court -- (Hawks)

Dikembe Mutombo had his No. 55 Atlanta Hawks jersey retired Tuesday night.

Lots of good stuff in the article.

Mutombo struggled in his first attempts at basketball.

"It was not good," Mutombo said. "I was like 17 and a half (years old). I fell down so bad and I cut my chin, and I had to get 18 stitches. I still have that scar. You can see it on my face. When you look at me near my chin, you can see I have a big cut. My brother and I always talk about it."

Still, he stuck with the sport, eventually earning a spot on the national team and attracting the attention of legendary college coach John Thompson. Fewer than three years after trying the sport for the first time, Mutombo traveled halfway across the world to enroll at Georgetown University. At the time, he spoke five languages and several more African dialects, but English was not one of them. Nonetheless, he learned it as quickly as a freshman before starting his American basketball career as a sophomore.

How the small-ball virus has infected the NBA -- ESPN (Zach Lowe)

With the amount of minutes (35.8) Drummond is already logging, if the Pistons were to make The Finals (chuckle chuckle) they might have to go with Morris or Ilyasova at center for long periods. Drummond will be gassed as all get out.

Just a no-win.

Golden State's success has teams wondering just how small they can go. If Draymond Green can play center for extended minutes, who else could handle it? The question becomes especially pressing for teams that have to match up with Golden State in the playoffs. Perhaps the Spurs would have to cut Tim Duncan's minutes, and give LaMarcus Aldridge and Boris Diaw more time as the lone big man. Maybe the Clippers would have to sacrifice DeAndre Jordan and slide Blake Griffin to center. Why can't Kevin Durant log time there? Or LeBron? Or Paul George?

Everyone is beating this horse to death.

5. The Pistons' sad bench

The Pistons are one player away from being really interesting, but as things stand now, their bench is gagging up leads almost every night. Stan Van Gundy has been diligent about keeping one starter on the floor at all times -- often Marcus Morris -- but even that hasn't been enough to prop up this group.

The backup point guard position has been especially troublesome; teams are outscoring Detroit by 17 points per 100 possessions -- not a typo -- when Reggie Jackson sits, per research. Van Gundy promoted Spencer Dinwiddie over Steve Blake last week, but the team's all-bench lineup with Dinwiddie at the helm has been a disaster so far. There are reasons for hope. Anthony Tolliver finally hit some shots Monday against Milwaukee and even a recovering Brandon Jennings might be better than the Blake/Dinwiddie combination. Stanley Johnson will be a good two-way player with some off-the-dribble chops.

But it feels as if this may be a season-long problem, barring a trade.

'East Coast Splash Brothers': George, Miles lead Pacers' 3-point barrage -- Indy Star

C.J. Miles and Paul George were unconscious from downtown Tuesday night.

According to Elias Sports, George-Miles became the fifth pair of teammates in league history to both make seven 3-pointers in a game. Through all his years around the NBA, Pacers coach Frank Vogel has never experienced something like this.

"No. We might have had some Pierce-Walker moments when both of those guys were going off," Vogel said, recalling his time with the Boston Celtics with Paul Piece and Antoine Walker. "But not 8-for-9, 7-for-8. I don't think that's ever happened."

Steve Novak and J.R. Smith were the last pair to both make seven 3-pointers in a game (2012).

Assessing Magic's Competition in Eastern Conference, 11/24/15 -- (Pure Magic)

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons are ranked last in the league in assists and 3-point percentage. That's quite shocking for a Stan Van Gundy coached team. They are a good defensive team and because of Andre Drummond's presence an elite rebounding team. You just wonder long term if a team can have success when their point guard takes as many shots as Reggie Jackson does. He's averaging 16.7 shot attempts per game and just 5.9 assists

Breaking Down Each NBA Team's Early-Season Trade Bait -- BR

Detroit's section here:

Dumping Ilyasova either helps the Pistons clear the decks in time to become major free-agency players or, when partnered with Brandon Jennings' expiring contract, enables them to make a headlining move long before July.

Oklahoma City's section here:

Anthony Morrow is no more than excessive firepower to one of the NBA's best offenses.

Or so it seems.

New Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is more apt to roll with Andre Roberson and Dion Waiters to fill the time at shooting guard, and most of Kyle Singler's minutes have come at small forward. Morrow's playing time has plummeted as a result; he's on pace to average under 17 minutes per game for just the second time in his career.

Three-point specialists are at a premium as the league continues chucking treys at unprecedented rates. Morrow isn't going to get the Thunder a lottery pick, but he's raking in just under $3.4 million this season, and his $3.5 million salary in 2016-17 is non-guaranteed. He's the perfect addition to a playoff hopeful looking to address a shooting deficiency.

Let's make it happen. For a better tomorrow, acquire Morrow!

Warriors' interim coach Luke Walton's car stolen -- NBA Sports

Not all good news for the dominant 16-0 Golden State Warriors:

If you're looking for a "when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors" moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Enjoy Wednesday night's potential first round playoff preview all!