The Thunder have announced Michael Cage as Grant Long's replacement. Keep reading »
Hello Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Getting warmer.
It was Serge Ibaka’s 25th nameday on Thursday, meaning the Thunder’s primary core are no longer under 25. But that also means they’re finally headed for their actual prime, and with Ibaka’s ability and skill refining year over year, that prime could be something else for OKC’s monster in the middle.
SI.com’s top 100 players ranks Serge Ibaka No. 19: “Ibaka is effective in all the ways you’d expect of a 6-10 athletic specimen: He rolls well, he finishes strong around the rim and he’s great at converting second-chance opportunities. Beyond that, Ibaka boasts a confident mid-range game that builds with every season. From the base skill of making 18-footers off a teammate’s drive-and-kick, Ibaka has begun to branch out in two interesting ways: He has dabbled in spacing all the way out for corner threes and has experimented with taking a dribble or two on the catch to get a better look. Both make Ibaka (and the Thunder) that much more difficult to defend. Elite defensive players with enough offense to get by are premium commodities, as are floor spacers with any defensive ability. Ibaka satisfies those minimum criteria with enough surplus skill to rank as one of the best players of his kind.”
The Thunder are No. 3 in the NBA in ESPN the Mag’s Ultimate Standings, and No. 7 overall. Ahead of the Thunder are the Spurs, the Ducks, the Seahawks, the Grizzlies, the Kings, and the Lightning. Keep Reading…
Kevin Durant to Esquire on mentoring: “I try to talk to the younger guys. I don’t want to force myself on anybody, so if somebody asks me for some advice, I just try to give it to them as real as I can. Especially high school kids, who are about to enter into this life. I’ve been through so much, even though I’m twenty-five years old, that I can spread some knowledge. And, you know, it feels great just to know that you’re helping, and know that the experiences you’ve been through, even though they were tough, that you can help someone else try to prevent those. Just another voice in the air, to help.”
Joe Atmonavage of Hoops Habit on Russell Westbrook’s good and bad: “And as a team, they are simply better when they are on the floor together. They score more points per possessions (1.129 compared to 1.107). There is more ball movement (57.5 of field goals are assisted when they are both on the floor compared to 53.1 percent with just Durant.) The Thunder get many more layups because of how good Durant and Westbrook are, but also because defenses are so locked in on them, players have a better chance to get an easy bucket. With both on the floor, 21 percent of the Thunder’s field goals are layups while 16.8 percent are when Durant is on without Westbrook, according to NBAwowy.com. There is still room for Westbrook to grow. Maybe he should defer to Durant at times. But again, it all goes back to Westbrook being a total wildcard at times. It can drive people crazy (I am a victim), but you have to remember he is going to win the Thunder more games than he loses them.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder have hired Michael Cage as their new television analyst, the team announced on Wednesday.
Cage replaces Grant Long, who resigned over the summer after reports of financial misconduct surfaced. Long had been with the team the last six seasons.
Cage spent 15 seasons in the NBA from 1984-2000 playing for the Clippers, Sonics, Cavs, 76ers and Nets. He led the league in rebounding in 1988.
“Thank you to the Oklahoma City Thunder for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to join the franchise. I’m looking forward to working with an already terrific broadcast team,” Cage said. “I’ve been involved in basketball, sports broadcasting and charity work for over 40 years and I look forward to getting to know the passionate Thunder fans in Oklahoma! My family and I are excited and feel very blessed.”
His broadcasting experience includes serving as TV analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies, FOX Sports West, Prime Ticket and Westwood One radio.
Jim Pagels of Five Thirty Eight on international play improving players: “Of course, there are a few limitations to this analysis. First, Team USA members aren’t randomly selected, and it may be that the coaching staff now picks players they deem to be on the rise. It’s also worth noting that the Simple Projection System is a metric designed for use on the average NBA player, so it may need tweaking when applied to the stars of Team USA. Also, the system is probably too conservative about adjusting for a player’s age. Still, it appears instruction from Coach K and training and playing with peers atop the basketball universe may have positive, long-lasting effects. That may be reason for NBA teams to think twice before holding players out from international competitions.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider on future rankings: “Four of the five teams between 10th and 14th in the projections come from the Eastern Conference. It’s from this group (Charlotte, Indiana, Toronto and Washington) that the third-best team in the conference over the next three seasons will come, and they’re close enough that decisions over that span and old-fashioned luck may determine which one. Of them, the Wizards have the best chance of making a big leap if they can create max cap space in the summer of 2016 and land Kevin Durant as a free agent.” Keep Reading…
A moderately clever commercial featuring Russell Westbrook, but I would say that the fact the employee has Russ sign the basketball kind of gives the impression he was making up all the other stuff he was telling him. Then again, it’s a commercial and it was decent enough for me to feel like I should post it, so job well done U.S. Cellular.
KD on Allen Iverson: “Chuck too real. He changed the way we play ball. He changed the culture of ball. He is pound for pound the best. He paved the way. I can go on and on. But he’s a legend and I’m just walking the path he created.”
Mike Wallace of ESPN.com on the 2007 draft: “The 2007 class boasts both the league’s reigning MVP (Durant) and defensive player of the year (Noah), marking the first time that has happened since the 1999-00 season. But it also produced a class in which seven of the first 21 players selected are no longer in the NBA. Oden would become the eighth if he’s out of the league again this season. Oden’s arrest also places him among a far more disturbing distinction associated with that draft’s first round.” Keep Reading…
Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com on the league’s globalization: “The story the NBA tells itself about the emerging, globalizing force of basketball is a good one, and I wish it were completely true. I love how the 2014 champion San Antonio Spurs dominated with an international approach. The sport is better for diversifying, for absorbing perspectives and approaches from all over. AAU camps now teach American kids the Eurostep because Manu Ginobili brought his diagonal stylings to the NBA. As thrilling as the collectivist Spurs are, they don’t boast potential international stars. Kawhi Leonard is from the Inland Empire. The horizon isn’t replete with young Manus, Yaos and Dirks. Sadly, Team USA’s success represents a failure of basketball on the global level — for now, at least. The sport hasn’t grown by leaps as it seemed it would in the mid-2000s. The NBA still uses the story of world conquest as a bulwark for the insecurity caused by football’s stateside dominance. That narrative can’t survive so many Team USA victories.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com on Team USA’s victory: “No one out there seems capable of even pushing the Americans at the moment, which is obviously the disheartening part. Especially when another 10 or so top Americans were back at home. Krzyzewski himself admitted that, until Irving and Harden went off in the title game, this edition of Team USA “had to invent new ways to score” after Durant removed himself from the roster and took much of the intended offense with him. Ball pressure to create turnovers and offensive rebounds to generate extra possessions became the go-to sources of point production for this group, which didn’t have anyone scoring better than Harden’s 13.1 points per game — and thus no clear-cut MVP candidate — until Irving did what he did in the title game.” Keep Reading…