An offseason breakdown from Bleacher Report: “Kevin Ollie—Oklahoma City Thunder: Ollie’s a glorified assistant coach who’s role with the Thunder will be to play defense and move the ball for 16 minutes, while teaching Russell Westbrook about playing defense and reading the court as an offense. Since the Thunder are putting all their stock in the future, a mentor to Westbrook is more important than talent. Should Shaun Livingston fully return from his horrendous left leg injuries, then Livingston will slide into the backup point guard role over Ollie.”
Susan Bible with a great look at Kevin Durant and a potential third year leap: “Rising star Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, named the NBA’s 2007-08 Rookie of the Year, is headed into his third season in the league. There has been some speculation that those players seemingly destined for superstar status experience a performance “jump” in their third year of play. With this in mind, we wondered if previous ROY winners saw a significant third-year improvement, perhaps indicating a correlation to predict how Durant’s 2009-10 season could play out. So we set about looking at box score averages and varied sources of statistical information of those players named Rookie of the Year the past five years.”
This guy has some weird preview for the Lakers season, and here’s his prediction for OKC’s first matchup with the champs: “Lakers survive on the road against upstart Thunder … The Thunder’s young core, led by Kevin Durant’s 30 points, give the Lakers a scare, but the Lakers’ experience leads them to victory. Even with the loss, the Thunder establish themselves as a legitimate playoff contender. Coincidentally, that night Seattle suffers its worst thunderstorm in the city’s history.”
This whole NBA labor talks thing is starting to look not awesome: “Alarmed by the bad economy and struggles of a number of the league’s 30 teams, NBA owners continued to paint a bleak financial picture Tuesday in Manhattan when they opened labor negotiations with players on a new contract. Ten owners, including the Knicks’ James Dolan, used the 3-1/2-hour meeting to potentially lay the groundwork for major changes in the current system that pays players 57% of basketball-related income. Walking out of a midtown hotel with Laker executive Jeanie Buss after the session, Dolan engaged only in small talk with reporters. Owners are under a gag order from commissioner David Stern, who also refused comment. The two camps called the meeting “productive and cordial.””
A nine-year-old basketball prodigy. Put him on the 2020 Big Board folks!
David Berri takes a look at the most overpaid and underpaid players in the league: “When we look over the list of underpaid we see the work of two institutions in the NBA; the rookie salary scale and the limit on how much can be paid to any individual player. The limit on rookie pay allows teams to dramatically underpay players like Paul, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Roy, David Lee, Kevin Durant, and Al Horford. LeBron, Dwight Howard, and Dwyane Wade are each paid quite a bit, but nowhere near what these players would command if each win cost their employer $1.7 million. And then there are players like Dominic McGuire and Jamario Moon. These players are underpaid because what they do is underappreciated (or underrated). If a general manager employs one of the players listed in Table One he is either smart or lucky.”
I don’t know why, but this made me chuckle a little – some guy suspecting that Yi Jianlian is on steroids.
Shoals was having none of that from Berri and wrote a little retort: “Ordinarily, I don’t like quibbling with—or maybe picking on—Dave Berri. The author of the illustrious Wages of Win, which sold poorly, angered many people and yet somehow helped bring advanced basketball statistics to a wider audience, has no common sense. As far as I can tell, he only cares about numbers, doesn’t watch basketball and refuses to exercise any common sense he may have. This is, of course, the opposite of all the good stats folks who know how to tell a patently absurd conclusion from an eye-opening one. Berri, he just follows the numbers and tunes out all else. However, the off-season is slow, and Berri’s just unleashed one of those monstrously stupid slabs of WoW-aganda that practically demands a response. Even if that’s exactly what he’s trying to provoke, since his theories are designed as much to incite as they are to help us better understand and judge basketball.”
Kevin Durant making an appearance in this highlight video of Jermaine O’Neal getting dunked on repeatedly.
Also, new Peace, Love and Thunderstanding talking schedule stuff: “When will the Thunder get their first win of the season? Hopefully, Wednesday, October 28th. The home opener is also the season opener, and it should be a very winnable game. With the home crowd and playing against a team that thinks Tyreke Evans is a point guard, the Thunder will hopefully get their first win of the season…okay, only five days earlier than last season’s nightmare start. I was as surprised as you when I looked it up to find out that the Thunder won their third game of the season and their second home game.”