Update: Marc Stein’s power rankings: “No one would dare claim for a second that the Thunder are better without Durant or that the competition during their 5-2 surge without him was as good as February’s. OKC’s defense was stingier without him, though.”
The New York Daily News looks at draft slam dunks and potential misses: “Hasheem Thabeet, UConn, junior: The defensive force averages 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks. “He’s a lot like the Sene kid, but he’s already better,” said one scout, comparing him to the ex-Oklahoma City backup center, Mouhamed Sene. Like Sene, Thabeet is also limited at the offensive end. Listed at 7-3.”
Kevin Durant is using Twitter. Or at least it looks like someone pretending to be Kevin Durant is using Twitter: Highlights – “Any girls lookin for a 6’10 skinny dude???? holla at me.” “I need a Girlfriend.” “icing my ankle. hopefully i can bump tomorrow….shout out to everybody. much love.” “my brother from another russ westbrook had a triple dizzle….if he aint rookie of the year den its a travesty.” Maybe it’s him, maybe it’s not. Either way, it’s no Shaq Twitter.
HoopsWorld says Scott Brooks deserves to have the interim tag dropped: “When asked if he had talked to any other interim coaches about the challenges associated with the position, Brooks replied: “I just went with my gut. I believe you have to stick with who you are and what you’re about and coach with your heart. If you’re trying to do what other people do or coach how they coach, players can see that immediately and you don’t want to be looked at as a phony or a fraud. But if you’re true and authentic, players respect that. “Talking to some of the Thunder’s players both on and off the record, it sure seems like Brooks is winning the respect of the locker room. Don’t be surprised at all if Brooks has the interim tag removed and is the head coach of the Thunder moving forward. Thus far his performance very much warrants it.”
Basketbawful Worst of the Weekend: “Still more from Jason K: “Lucky for the Suns, they were facing the ‘prove that your team is back by handily beating us’ team. Considering the standard for success was set at 140 points, I suppose the Thunder deserve some credit for holding the Suns to only 106, including a 34-point 4th quarter (as opposed to 37 points). Nash had some disgruntled words about the team’s feel-bad win: ‘We didn’t have a great performance, but we found a way to win in the fourth quarter, which is where we’ve been lacking the last two weeks.’ Something about this makes me think that the Suns will not win a single overtime game for the remainder of the season.”
Bullets Forever is talking draft and whether or not to trade up for Blake Griffin: “This is an interesting team. The Thunder Management has made a full out commitment to playing their young players; and the results have been very good. With a core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and Nick Collison; a sprinkling of veterans (Earl Watson, Nenad Krstic, Chucky Atkins) and some nice young bench players (Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Weaver) – the only thing they need is a solid big man. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Griffin would fit right in at OKC…. So unless the Wizards could come up with a WOW package that included a bona fide NBA starting Center, I doubt OKC would trade the #1 pick.”
Something I was looking at on NBA.com’s stats page: In their standings, you can look at a team’s record based on turnover margin, rebounding margin, scoring 100 points and so on. One thing that caught my eye was that OKC is 5-8 when turning the ball over fewer times than its opponent. The craziest thing about that stat? The fact that the Thunder has only 13 games out of 66 that they have turned it over less than their opponent. That’s incredible (in a terrible way). The closest team to the league to the Thunder in that category is the Rockets and they’re 10-9 when turning it over less than their opponent. Most teams have at least 20 games where they’ve turned it over less than their enemy.
Darnell questioned Brooks’ decision to sit Earl and didn’t have any news on whether or not there was an injury issue: “Thunder coach Scott Brooks went with Chucky Atkins over Earl Watson tonight, marking the first game Watson has missed this season. Not sure if Watson is injured or not. But if he isn’t it’s a questionable decision on Brooks’ part considering Watson was coming off his best game of the season on Wednesday night in Denver.”
But then in today’s notebook, there was this: “Veteran point guard Earl Watson and rookie Russell Westbrook were the only players to appear in the Thunder’s first 65 games. Watson’s streak ended Saturday night. “Nothing against Earl’s play, I just wanted to give Chucky (Atkins) some minutes,” said Brooks. “I’m going to stay with Chucky for a while. I don’t know how long. They’ve both earned minutes, but you can only play one backup point guard.” I have to say, that’s a little strange. Something is obviously amiss, but who knows what it is.