Update: David Thorpe has a really cool Rookie Watch out – which player should each rookie study? For Russell Westbrook, he says Dwyane Wade: ”When Wade is at his smoking-hot best, he’s both a dynamic athlete and a skilled midrange shooter. That combination is necessary for Wade to be special, because some teams often build a wall around the rim and force him to make jumpers. Westbrook is incredibly athletic with and without the ball, so imposing his will on most possessions by using that gift gives him an advantage almost every time. And he is learning to do that now. But if he also gets his midrange game to work efficiently, he’ll be headed to the All-Star Game and the Thunder will be playing in late spring.” Also interesting is who he has O.J. Mayo studying.
Good to see P.J. Carlesimo has found work: “I can’t remember the last time I saw Carlesimo on-air, but I don’t remember him being that bad. He always seemed to have a surly disposition to me, but maybe a fun environment like TNT Basketball is what the former coach needs. We shall see.”
In the comments of Darnell’s blog he says he’ll have a Serge Ibaka update Monday in the paper and had this interesting note: “Basically, the front office loves how he’s developing over in Spain. The plan is to bring him over to join the team for summer league play and evaluate him in an NBA-type setting. It’s still unclear if the team will bring him over for next season. My guess is no. But again, that’s just my guess.”
Kevin Durant evidently bruised his hip against the Spurs, but he acts like he’s OK: “I couldn’t run like normal,” Durant said. “I just wanted to stick it out and fight through it. After I get some treatment [Wednesday] hopefully I’ll be all right.” Oklahoma City’s next game isn’t until Friday against the Blazers.” He did it early in the second quarter and he went on to score 15 more points so yeah, I think he’s OK.
Sporcle is a great time waster and here’s a good one: Name all the NBA Jam teams. I did better than I thought I would.
David Thorpe’s rookie rankings: Westbrook still sitting tied (I guess), and there’s no updated thoughts. So I’ll give you some of my own: He had an excellent week leading the charge against San Antonio on the road as he controlled the game for 48 minutes. His shooting numbers were particularly low last month, but a lot of that was due to Kevin Durant being out and Westbrook having to take over more of the offensive load.
The Lost Ogle on Shaun Livingston: “The thing is, he’s only 24 years old. He has time to recover, and luckily, his primary abilities were not tied to him having freakish athleticism. The court vision, passing craftiness, and basketball IQ were unaffected. Just watch the highlight video that appears right after the jump. Doing his thing does not require him to have freakish leaping ability.”
The Suns could be looking to lower their payroll this offseason. Which is good because OKC has that 2010 unprotected first rounder. So lower away Steve: “Kerr said the front office has a “pretty good idea of what we’d like to do” but carrying it out is another matter. A financially strapped league puts few teams in the role of being buyers to trade for high-salary Suns such as Amaré Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal, who were part of trade talks in February. Asked if the Suns must make a move to bring down their payroll this summer, Kerr said, “Maybe.” “The biggest thing is we’re working from a position of strength because we do have a lot of talent,” Kerr said. “We have some gifted players. Because of the circumstances, it hasn’t clicked.”
Updated 2009 free agent list: Anybody really jump off the page at you there?
Sam Presti on Shaun Livingston: “We’re not looking at it as a project,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. “We’re looking at it as an opportunity to work with a talented player, someone that continues to have a great focus about getting back to where he wants to be. And we’re excited to have him.”
SI roundtable talking about offseason moves: “I’ve been hearing whispers that the losses being incurred by many teams are a lot more substantial than what is being reported, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few players with sizable contracts are unloaded for cheaper alternatives. Especially since there will be a few buyers out there, specifically Detroit, Oklahoma City and Memphis.”
Tyson Chandler talking about his injury: “I’m in a walking boot now and I’m traveling with the team. The plan was to put me in a cast for a week and for me to completely stay off of it. And then come out of the cast into a walking boot and stay in that for another week. Then, start rehabbing. So, I’ll probably stay in this boot for a little bit less than a week and then start rehabbing to come back. It’s super frustrating, because it’s that time of the year. When I came back, I felt like we had an opportunity to make a push for the second spot and also win our division. Back-to-back division titles. We went on the road and won seven straight.”
Pictures of the Thunder coaching staff doing a community service project. I know they are doing good deeds and that’s wonderful, but seeing Sam Presti in that situation made ne chuckle a bit.