I’ll be heading to Dallas a little later this afternoon, so I’ll be a bit out of touch. But I’ve got you covered for the weekend. I’ll be your eyes and ears (and nose, if you like smell descriptions) with live blogs, tweets and other updates from the All-Star Game. Tonight is the Rookie/Sophomore game so do join us for it.
Berry Tramel on Russell Westbrook: “Do you detect a pattern? Westbrook keeps showing up on lists with the likes of Magic Johnson, Chris Paul, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose. Doing remarkable things at a remarkably young age. I have no idea what kind of player Westbrook will become. I do know what kind of player he is. Among NBA point guards, Westbrook is second in rebounding, seventh in assists, 12th in assist/turnover ratio and 15th in scoring. And he’s 21 years old. Something special has come our way.”
Darnell Mayberry looking at how many minutes KD might see: “Oklahoma City’s first-ever All-Star, forward Kevin Durant, could be in store for big minutes on Sunday, a rarity for most first-time selections. Historically, the All-Star game has seen coaches balance minutes, using set substitution patters to get everyone a fair shot at some shine. Excluding the 2003 double overtime thriller, there have been only 15 occasions in which a player has logged 30 minutes or more since 1997. Those 15 occasions were given to only nine players — Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd (twice), Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant (three times), LeBron James (four times), Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard. You’d have to go back to Jordan in 1991 (36 minutes) to find a player who received more than Garnett’s 35 minutes in 2000.”
Scoop Jackson talking with KD: “Jackson: So this isn’t going to be one of those “I’m just happy to be here” moments for you? You are really going out there to serve notice? Durant: I don’t want to be that guy … I’m going to be happy that I’m there, but I’m going into this All-Star Game with the same mindset as I do every game I play: Always be aggressive, always come out playing hard. That’s the kind of competitor that I am. I just want to, you know, come out there and try to show the other guys out there that I belong.”
A preview of tonight’s Rookie Game: “Any beatdowns are certain to stay verbal in a dynamic that the participants have navigated well since the format change in 2000 from an all-rookie event. It’s pretty common, year to year, with two such standoffs in 2009 (the Clippers’ Al Thornton vs. Eric Gordon and the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Jeff Green vs. Westbrook). This time, Durant — who scored 46 points against Westbrook and his fellow rookies a year ago in Phoenix — will gang up with Westbrook as the West’s assistant coach, the two of them determined to beat Harden.”
Chris Mannix looks at trade options for all 30 teams: “The injured Harpring, whose contract is being paid by insurance, is an appealing trade chip. The Thunder’s conservative GM, Sam Presti, is believed to be interested in making a deal before the deadline before he ties up the team’s future payroll with an extension for Kevin Durant. A defensive-minded center is still No. 1 on the Thunder’s wish list. The Clippers’ Camby is an option.”
Fox Sports power rankings have OKC seventh: “Durant deserves much of the credit for OKC’s emergence, but Scott Brooks has done a remarkable job getting a young team to play defense and compete on the road.”