Ball Don’t Lie has a 2-on-2 tournament going and Chris Paul and David West are taking on Jeff Green and Kevin Durant: “Another phenomenal first round match-up: Chris Paul and David West vs. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. Last week, when we slammed down the quarters, many of you picked the Hornets to win this entire 32-team tournament. Makes sense. With CP3 runnin’ the show and D-West choppin’ heads, they very well could. But first they’ll have to get by this pesky, young Thunder duo. Could Durant be too much of a one-on-one nightmare? You tell me.”
SLAM says KD could be Sam Cassell’s heir. To what you ask? Read on: “A budding assassin, he’s already got himself a very nice reel of game-winners. He’s still growing into his personality, and it could benefit him tremendously to give OKC fans a healthy amount of swagger to get behind. But still, his combination of height, shooting ability and confidence all absolutely scream future assassin. Cons: Let’s see how the kid does when he’s got actual pressure put on him. This is a decision we can’t afford to be wrong about.”
Kevin Durant one of SI’s breakout stars: “After an uneven rookie season, Durant has become a much more efficient shooter and improved his rebounding (the latter in part because of his switch from shooting guard to small forward after Oklahoma City’s early-season coaching change). The No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft is averaging 25.5 points (on 48.1 percent shooting) and 6.6 rebounds.”
Kyle Weaver likes his spot and doesn’t want to give it up: “But Kyle Weaver doesn’t want to go back to the bench, and the rookie guard is using his improbable rise from second-round pick to NBA starter to prove he belongs in the league. Adding some stability to the Thunder’s shooting guard position for the final 31 games will only help bolster Weaver’s case. “I definitely feel like the situation that I have with starting now, I have to make the best of it,” Weaver said. “Because you never know what can happen.”
Shoals recapping last week’s feverish NBA action: ”Last week, the first Kevin Durant/Greg Oden match-up ended with a Thunder victory and a clear reminder of just how much better Durant is than Oden. There’s a rematch Wednesday in Portland; will Oden give Portland fans reason to stop second-guessing the pick? And, more importantly, at what point does the second-guessing reflect poorly on Kevin Pritchard?”
The Lost Ogle on the new mascot: “Regardless, it will be nice to finally have a mascot. Now when your girlfriend catches you looking at The Thunder Girls, you can say “I’m just looking for Mr. Energy, isn’t he silly!” instead of the standard “man those girls sure do dress slutty” answer. Also, I think we should organize a movement to have Gary England baptize The Bison at center court before the pregame prayer. That would be a nice, and it would probably help ensure success for the team and franchise.”
One forum user came up with some names for the new mascot: My favorites? Bison Chandler and Hoemann Derrange. Clever.
Too much pick and rolling: “You see pick and rolls run from the wing, run from the corners, from the middle, from the elbows. Sometimes run 30-35 feet from the basket, other times within good shooting range. Pick and rolls are used to swing the ball from one side of the court to the other. They are used for jump shots, used to hit the roll man, used to penetrate. You see combinations of guards and centers involved, forwards and centers, guards and forwards, forwards and forwards, guards and guards. The other night I saw a point guard pass to a center, and go over to set a pick on the center to run a pick and roll. Crazy! You see pick and rolls run as a set offensive play, or run just randomly, when players don’t know what else to do. Surprisingly, what you do not see very often is the dribbler pulling up and shooting after coming off the screen, which was the original point of the pick and roll.”