Oklahoma City won another NBATV Fan Night, this time with a game against the Lakers Tuesday.
Dime looks at five D-League players that could get called up: “Mustafa Shakur: Shakur has followed the footsteps of guys like Ed Cota and Hollis Price as college stars who couldn’t find a niche in the NBA. But so far in the D-League season, Shakur is displaying attributes that should catch the eyes of NBA scouts. Shakur is showing effectiveness both as a scorer and distributer. His shot selection and accuracy has improved since his Pac-10 days. On the road last week against Maine, Mustafa had 21 points, 7 assists and 6 steals. If he can cut down his turnovers (he’s averaging 4 turnovers per contest), then he will get serious consideration for 10-day contract.”
Westbrook slumping: ”After missing a fourth-quarter layup against Dallas, Russell Westbrook jumped up and slapped the net out of frustration when play stopped. Westbrook isn’t a great shooter but he’s rarely experienced a slump like his current one. Over the past seven games, Westbrook has shot 32.1 percent. Remove a solid outing against Memphis and Westbrook has shot 28.0 percent in OKC’s other six December games, 17.6 percent on 3-pointers. “He has a good shot and has good form,” said coach Scott Brooks. “He just has to keep getting reps in practice… It’s going to improve. It’s not improving at the speed that he probably wants, or I would like, but he’s practicing hard. That’s all I can ask.” Westbrook shot 39.8 percent overall his rookie season, 27.1 percent beyond the arc. His shooting stats are similar but have dipped slightly below last year’s pace because of his recent slump.”
Tim Legler has OKC as one of his top storylines: “The emergence of Oklahoma City in the West. Kevin Durant, no longer a one-dimensional player looking for his next forced shot, has become an MVP candidate by learning how to make the game easier for his teammates, conscientiously defending and becoming a dominant rebounder at his position. Coach Scotty Brooks has done a fantastic job with this group in making them believe they can matter now. Along with Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and rookie James Harden, Durant has the Thunder poised for a run at the playoffs, and we have another relevant team in a league that has become increasingly top-heavy in recent years.”
SI has the Thunder as one of its early season surprises: “That the Thunder are much improved isn’t surprising. But their road success — usually an elusive thing for young teams — has been eye-opening. With third-year forward Kevin Durant blossoming into a superstar, the Thunder already own road victories against San Antonio, Miami and Utah. In fact, with six wins in their first 11 road games, the Thunder are only two short of last season’s total.”
A lot of people have seen the similarities in the rise of the Thunder and the rise of the Blazers a couple years ago. Well, in 2007-08, through 24 games, the young Blazers were 12-12 and then they won six straight. Just sayin’.
Who would have thought shoes would make such a story? Here’s another on KD’s new kicks: ”There’s an obvious reason the Thunder lost to the Mavericks on Wednesday night: It’s gotta be the shoes. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant broke out his new sneakers and most of his teammates also joined the action — sporting the bright Creamsicle Nike shoes. A new, less-blinding design may need to be in the works after Durant matched his lowest scoring outing of the season — 12 points — and ended his streak of nine straight games scoring 25 or more.”
Dime has Scott Brooks as one of its top five coaches: “If the playoffs started today, the Thunder would not be in the playoffs. Odds are, they probably won’t be come April. But what Brooks has done with the Thunder has been nothing short of amazing. Brooks is a young coach, who is coaching an even younger roster in a loaded Western Conference. They’ve dropped 3 straight, but the Thunder are still 12-12 and have had big wins against the Spurs, Jazz and Magic. Now that he has the confidence of his extremely talented young core (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden), Brooks could grow up with them in this league and be the coach that will take OKC to a championship some day.”
The Thunder welcomes the one-millionth fan this evening. Maybe it’ll be you!
Update: I feel like this is worth mentioning. Last night KD tweeted about how he wasn’t on Twitter because he wasn’t into all the negative messages he had gotten. I sent him a tweet saying we’re still behind him. Now comes this today from our friend Mr. Traber, via Twitter: “@Ch0daBoy I read your tweets to Durant. You are sick!! Jock sniffer. You and Royce. Do you feel good cause you tweet KD? JOKE!!! … These little punks who come after me tweet NBA players like they know them. ” Great game KD” and “get ‘em next time” Pathetic … No wonder they hide behind their computers. ” Shaq, you gonna play tommorow”. Im sure they answer you. LOL!! Little Royce and his boys. Cute.” His fascination with me is slightly disturbing.