There is a lot of talk about the Cavs reportedly tanking for LeBron, but Kelly Dwyer said this: “Everyone’s current darlings, the Oklahoma City Thunder, tanked last year, the year before, the year before that — and by not signing any money on free agents last summer, one could argue that they’re tanking this year, despite the team’s playoff potential.” I don’t really agree that not signing free agents equals tanking. Some might call that smart management.
Sebastian Pruiti has an EXCELLENT breakdown of Russell Westbrook’s game tying shot and the failed last possession against the Spurs: “These two plays are very interesting, because they are basically the same play, with Kevin Durant being denied the ball. In the second play though (the one from overtime), there is a chance for Durant to get the ball. Is it Durant’s fault or Westbrook’s fault?”
Oklahoma has that affect on people: “Me and my bros in houstouns talkin about females and settling down..A couple of us are ready for a real relationship. [from @KevinDurant35]
Kevin Arnovitz breaks down DeJuan Blair’s 20-20 against OKC:
Russell Westbrook is one of the Five on the Rise: “Last season, no player in the league turned the ball over more than Westbrook. His miscues were to be expected, though, as a rookie point guard not only learning the NBA game but, in many ways, learning the point guard position, too. Of late, Westbrook has shown improvement in not just managing his mistakes, but also getting the Thunder into position to climb in the Western Conference. After averaging a season-high 3.8 turnovers per game in November, Westbrook has drastically cut his turnover stats each month, getting that down to 2.5 turnovers per game in December. He’s at 2.3 turnovers per game this month. How has that influenced Oklahoma City’s on-court product? The Thunder were 7-8 in November, 9-6 in December and are 3-4 this month.”
John Schuhmann of NBA.com actually says the Thunder have actually underachieved and should expect 49 wins.
Darnell Mayberry thinking about DeJuan Blair: “But the draft, as we all know, is based on potential. Are we to assume Blair has more upside than Mullens? The Thunder might have made the right call in passing on Blair. OKC might have blown it. Only time will tell. But where will Blair be when Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Jeff Green are hitting their strides five years from now? How will those knees, with their missing ACLs, have held up? Will Blair still be the same outstanding dirty worker or just an ordinary 25-year-old with no lift?”
Prepare yourself to get smarter – Jon Nichols of HP writes about if steals are worth the gamble: “In conclusion, based on the evidence I’ve presented today, I would suggest that lineups (and, theoretically, players) that record more steals are often better on defense. To some, this may be obvious, but to others it may not be. We can never know for sure how important steals really are, but the stats think they matter.”