More on the debate that won’t go away: “Even in his second year in the league, LeBron James was a significantly better dribbler, passer and finisher than Durant was last season. Last time I checked, those are NBA skills. The only argument in favor of Durant is that he is younger and he has a better jump shot. Well Reggie Miller had a better jump shot than Michael Jordan, but no one is putting those two guys in the same sentence. I will agree that jump shooting is the most aesthetically-pleasing element of the game, but I will argue every time that a strong layup is far more effective when it comes to winning games. And LeBron does that better than any other player in the game.”
Fanhouse’s mailbag looked at it: “Kevin Durant personally wants no part of any comparisons to LeBron James; he said so himself via Twitter. But yes, Durant seems poised to be the guy that takes that leap into the LeBron/Kobe/Wade stratosphere.”
Susan Bible of HoopsWorld ranked the Western Conference and OKC finshed in the top 10: “After a 23-59 season last year, it would seem quite a stretch to place the Thunder in the playoffs already – it will be close, but they probably need another year to develop their young players before having a post season. Rebuilding through the draft (with recent key additions of Shaun Livingston, Thabo Sefolosha, Nenad Krstic) around franchise face and future All-Star Kevin Durant is GM Sam Presti’s plan, which should net them at least 15 more wins next year. Shooting guard James Harden, drafted third overall, will be an immediate contributor. PG Russell Westbrook’s performance in the summer league was off the hook showing growing maturity in his play and decision-making. Acquiring defensive-minded Etan Thomas will provide needed frontcourt depth and bodyguard duties for Durant. Most of you know I cover the Thunder – surely you’ll give me a little credit for not placing them in the playoffs just yet (believe me, other homers are not resisting the temptation) but you have to admit, they are a team on the rise.”
Nick Collison bringing the funny: “Downside of sausagefest on boat is when one of ure boys has to apply sunscreen to your back. Its ok tho cause we talked bout football and war.”
Tony Meija ranks each team’s offseason from best to worst: “5. Thunder – Sam Presti did the bulk of his work in-season, plucking Nenad Krstic and [Shaun] Livingston as wise reclamation projects. Dealing Chucky Atkins and Damien Wilkins for the expiring contract of local boy Etan Thomas will benefit the Thunder in the short-term, while draftees James Harden, Byron Mullens and Serge Ibaka will have the team’s back long into the future. Ditto for Scott Brooks, who was wisely kept at the helm.”
The Hoops Doctors look at the bets players under the age of 23. I think you can guess who made the list.
Chris Silva with Etan Thomas: “With the Thunder trying to establish itself as a strong defensive team, what are some of the important things when it comes to playing team defense? Helping. You have to work as a string. So if somebody goes to help, you have to go help them. Everybody works on a string. If somebody gets beat you have to go help them and the other person has to go help you. Then everybody has to have each other’s back and have the confidence to know that if they’re going to go and help, somebody’s going to come and help them, especially when guys who go for steals or guys who block shots, that’s something that’s really important for you to feel that confidence where if you go for it, you know your man is not going to score easily. That’s one of the main things, trust.”