Oklahoma City is well respresented again in ESPN’s Award Watch. Scott Brooks is No. 1 for Coach of the Year, KD is 10th in the MVP race, James Harden third for Rookie of the Year and Thabo is second for defensive player of the year.
Sam Presti was reportedly intersted in Nate Robinson last year around the deadline, and it looks like the Knicks are open to trading him: ”But Robinson is another matter. He is on a one-year, $4 million contract, which the Knicks can simply let expire next July. Unlike Stephon Marbury, who was benched and then banished last year, Robinson is not a corrosive influence in the locker room. There is little risk to keeping him around as an insurance policy. The Knicks are open to trading Robinson, but as a player on a one-year deal, he would have veto rights. It might also be tough to find a trade partner; no team offered Robinson a contract over the summer, when he was a restricted free agent.”
The Thunder’s tracking deflections: ”You won’t see it on a stat sheet, but one area the Thunder has improved is deflections, a stat Brooks and his staff tracks in practices and games. Deflections lead to steals or can milk seconds off the shot clock. OKC recorded 10 steals and several deflections in Monday’s win over Golden State. “We’re doing a good job getting our hands on balls,” Brooks said. “That’s what we want, to use our length.” Shouldn’t Coach Brooks have tossed a “pause…” in there? Or maybe a “That’s what she said”?
The Daily Wildcat has a nice Q&A with current Tulsa 66er Mustafa Shakur: ”DW: The Tulsa 66ers are owned and operated by the Oklahoma City Thunder, so have you envisioned playing alongside Kevin Durant and company? MS: I haven’t really envisioned myself with the Thunder or any other team. I’ve just been focusing on doing the best I can with my teammates every day. When that day comes, it will be a pretty good transition because we actually run the same plays and offense that Oklahoma City does.”
As noted yesterday, Jerryd Bayless evidently wants out of Portland: ”I don’t think there’s any question Portland needs another big man, preferably a power forward but possibly a backup center. And to get one, you have to give up something. Multiple sources in the NBA have told me that Jerryd Bayless seems to be the most available player on Portland’s roster. A couple of sources indicated over the weekend that Bayless has asked the team to trade him, because of his lack of playing time. I wouldn’t blame him — young players want, and need, to play. And if he wants out, the team should try to accommodate him.” If you’re thinking Nick Collison, just say no. He’s more valuable right now to the Thunder than Jerryd Bayless.
Sporting News too: “Tough enough for the Blazers to watch C Greg Oden go down again to a knee injury. Even tougher when you get a look at Kevin Durant.”
As some noted in the comments, most of us saw the team winning 34 or 35 games. And if that were to still happen, the Thunder would have to go 23-39 the rest of the way. Do you really see that happening? I saw the team being 10-15 through 25 games. Now that that’s impossible, I think MAYBE we should all start raising our expectations a little. Not too high, because I’m still tentative to accept that this team might actually be GOOD, but I think they are definitely better than we all thought.
Matt Moore of HP on OKC’s playoff hopes: ”And here we see something pretty cool. I understand the allure of history and tradition and sappy violin music, but I think this is pretty awesome. You have a whole new fanbase on the verge of a new accomplishment. A young roster filled with likeable players that work really hard, and they’re within a very far-off sight of every expansion franchise’s promised land. I hope they get there. Mostly because if they win 46 games Zach and Jared are buying me a cake. And just to mess with Harper I’m going to make it a Greg Oden cake. What? I haven’t made a single joke about it! I get one! Just one!”
The Baseline reviews the first quarter of the season: “Rising in OKC. They hustle. They play defense. They have better-than-expected depth. The Thunder are on the way up, and there’s a lot more to this group than Kevin Durant. They’re going to challenge for a playoff spot.”
Broingtons shirts are being printed right now and should be ready very soon. As will another batch of the others. So get them credit cards ready!