Bill Simmons talks about the financial situation of the NBA and mentions why he thinks the Tyson Chandler deal fell through the way it did: New Orleans tried to give away Tyson Chandler (only its third-best player) for expiring contracts before [the Oklahoma City Thunder] vetoed the trade because it “didn’t like his physical” (or, as many insiders believe, because co-owner Aubrey McClendon had second thoughts about taking on Chandler’s contract since McClendon reportedly lost close to $2 billion in the Wall Street crash).
Durant reminds this writer of… Kobe?: “And yes, it’s not a fair comparison. Bryant was playing on a championship team with Shaquille O’Neal, while Durant is doing his best just to keep his team in games on a nightly basis. It’s a valid argument that on this Thunder team Bryant’s numbers very well could be higher than Durant’s, but that’s not necessarily the point. The point is that at 20 years old very few players are able to produce as much as efficiently as Durant is doing this season. Not a new concept to be sure, that Durant is a very good player with greatness written all over him, but it bears notice. It’s also worth noting that Cleveland’s LeBron James has better overall numbers at the same age – his 2004-05 season – but that his shooting percentages weren’t nearly as high as Durant’s. In fact, if you add together the shooting percentages in all three categories for any player in the top ten in the league of scoring, none of the other nine can touch Durant. And yes, this is a bit of a long way to say that Kevin Durant guy is going to be pretty dang good…”
Durant at power forward? One person thinks so: “There are two reasons I think the Thunder should deploy Kevin Durant at power forward more often than they do. (1) Although the sample size is small (7% of Durant’s overall pt), Durant has been tremendous at power forward, where his MWS is an MVP-like +4.3. I think he can defend the position with his length, and his ability to hit a high percentage from the perimeter would draw one of the opposition’s better rebounders away from the defensive glass, similar to the effect Dirk Nowitzki has on oppo rebounders. (2) The team’s other young frontliner, Jeff Green, is much better suited to small forward (where his MWS is a slightly above average +0.1) than he is suited to play the position he is normally deployed at — power forward (where he is a suboptimal -1.3).
(Stands and claps for KD): “I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but once they played the video highlights and unveiled the jersey, I got real emotional,” Durant said. “It was one of the best days of my life. I’ve come a long way. “A lot of people doubted me when I was growing up. A lot of people doubted me and said I wouldn’t be anything at Texas. It feels good to prove all those people wrong and shine some light on the university and Oklahoma City. It was exciting for me and my family.”
Thunder TV ratings stink: “Ratings for Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37) for its 45 regular-season telecasts range from a season-high 2.8 for Boston on Nov. 5 to 0.3 for Memphis on Nov. 29. KSBI-52 (Cox 15) is averaging 1.0 for its 12 telecasts, ranging from 4.3 for the season opener against Milwaukee on Oct. 29 to 0.2 for Miami on Dec. 6 – the night of the Big 12 football championship.”
Maybe it’s not necessarily the injuries that are holding Greg Oden back: “I’m not quite ready to deem Oden a bust, but I’m nearly there. We do have to remember that this is technically only Oden’s first year and he has had some occasional monster games. But with Kevin Durant pouring in more than 25+ a game in Oklahoma, while setting the NBA on fire during All Star Weekend during the Rookie/Sophs game, and looking like a mature, focused, hungry individual in the process, I can’t imagine that the Blazers aren’t having second thoughts about who they drafted in 2007.”
This guy from Bleacher Report has OKC winning 26 games this season – and he’s prediciting that now: “Looking at the last 25 games of Oklahoma City’s inaugural season, the Thunder will finish just under .500 at 12 – 13. They will face 16 playoff caliber teams before this season closes. This team has it in them to upset a few of these teams but also lose games that they should win. This will have the Thunder finishing at 26 – 42. At the beginning of the season many in the Oklahoma City area said that a mid-20s season would be a success, and this would easily qualify. The team has gone through many growing pains this year. The loss of a Head Coach, constant changes in the line-up, and the failed acquisition of a possible star have all contributed to a crazy, yet enjoyable, season. They have been in almost every game that they have played in this season. The team, as a whole, has grown because of each of these games and these lessons will one day become the basis of a strong playoff team.”
OKC should sign Stephon Marbury not just for his sake, but for all of us: “From orchestrating a trade to get him out of Minneapolis and into a larger market, to torpedoing the 2004 Olympic team’s gold medal hopes, to driving the final nail in the Isiah Thomas era for the Knicks, Starbury has always been about Starbury. And Starbury needs attention.Signing with Oklahoma City could shatter that perception. Here, the only coverage he’d receive would be being televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma, and nightly questions from Darnell Mayberry. His publicist could spin it as Marbury trying to get back to his roots and remember his love for the game. They might even toss in some, he wanted to help the young stars take the next step cliches. In the meantime, Marbury’s desire for attention would be satisfied by “The Simple Life: Hardwood in the Homeland” cameras following him everywhere.”