Secondly, a small announcement: We are discontinuing the Zombie Sonics t-shirt. Thunder management had some issues with it and instead of making a big stink about it, we just thought it best to avoid any dust up and pull it down. But the other designs should be printed and re-stocked sometime very soon. So put those credit cards in a holster and get ready.
Chris Paul was named Western Conference player of the month for January. While Paul had great month, how does Durant not win this? 32 ppg, 8 rpg and 50-50-90 shooting? Come on! And then I see this from Hornets 24/7 after last night’s game: “I gotta say I was rather irritated by the Thunder announcers when they were complaining about how Chris Paul got the Western Conference Player of the month over Kevin Durant. They just couldn’t believe it. Paul went for 21 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2.4 steals and his team went 12-5. Durant went for 32, 3, 8, 1.1 and his team went 8-7. I would think the last number in each of those lines may have swayed some people.” Oh. Well, I guess I disagree.
KD will be coaching James Harden as an assistant in the Rookie Challenge. He’ll be with Adrian Dantley. Chris Bosh has the sophomores with Patrick Ewing.
Darnell Mayberry on last night’s game: “In his best English yet, Serge Ibaka explained how he’s gone from wide-eyed rookie to poised impact player. How, in his first year in a new country and inaugural season in the world’s best basketball league, he’s transitioned from a player who registered one “DNP” after another to one who is capable of 11 minutes, 46 seconds of crunch-time action at New Orleans on Wednesday night and manages to be effective despite all the difficulties. “I don’t feel pressure because I am 40 games into the NBA,” Ibaka said. Something about the simplicity of his explanation summed up his maturity over four short months and potentially foreshadowed what’s in store for the 2008 24th overall pick.”
James Harden seventh on NBA.com’s rookie rankings: “Harden is looking forward to ending the rookies’ losing streak in the Rookie Challenge — and doing it against teammate Russell Westbrook, who was chosen for the sophomore squad. “[The rookies] will definitely win,” Harden told the Oklahoman. Westbrook, who was a part of the rookie squad last season, is confident it will be eight in a row for the sophs. “They don’t have a chance,” Westbrook said. “Look at our team and you make the prediction. They really don’t have any bigs.” Harden slips in the rankings this week after going just 10-for-31 from the field.”
David Thorpe ranks the Thunder rookies eight (Harden), 15 (Ibaka), 22 (Maynor) and 43 (Mullens).
Thorpe also mentioned this about Ibaka: “Runner-Up, Best Shot Blocker: “Ibaka is one of the rare big guys who can block shots while standing next to the rim and also get down and defend smaller guys out on the floor as they try to take him to the hole. He had a block on Monta Ellis that was truly spectacular, staying low and sliding as Ellis tried to dribble past him, then exploding and swatting the shot as the ball left Ellis’ hands. He also does a terrific job on close-outs by getting his contesting hand up and out on the shooter’s shooting hand, which not only helps to distract the shooter but occasionally earns him the block, as well.”
Mike Prada on SB Nation breaks down each team’s trade situation: “The Thunder seem like they’d rather take their cap space into the summer and do something then. They’re very young, so there’s plenty of time to make that final move. But don’t be surprised to see something, well, surprising. Remember, the Thunder traded for Tyson Chandler last year until he failed his physical, and that came out of nowhere. If they do so again, they’ll probably again look for a center that’s relatively young, but has a big contract. The Thunder have five draft picks in next year’s draft in addition to expiring contracts, so they have the assets if they want to use them.”
OKC sixth in FanHouse’s rankings: “Any day now, Kevin Durant looks ready to be your new NBA scoring leader. Durant trails Anthony by a meager 29.74 to 29.69 points per game, Durant has scored 25 or more in 22 straight games, leading the team in 21 of them. It’s no surprise the Thunder has gone a solid 14-8 during Durant’s magnificent stretch. While we’re at, it throw Scott Brooks’ name in the mix as a possible Coach of the Year.”
Durant third in SI’s MVP race: “The 21-year-old has become one of the few players for whom opponents’ main focus is shutting him down. The third-year player already has guided the Thunder to more wins than they recorded all of last season while putting them on pace to make the playoffs. Did we mention he’s only 21?”