Kelly Dwyer dominates this season wrap-up column on the Thunder: “Because this Thunder team is something special. Because, I’m sorry, it’s just not that good, but it plays so great. Jeff Green? This should be a seventh man on a 50-win team. And yet, save for the playoffs, he works. Nick Collison? He’s your highest-paid player entering the summer, he’s only played since 2004-05 and yet postseason announcers were acting as if he’d jumped tip during the Clinton administration. Serge Ibaka’s our hero and yet at best he’s the dirty work power forward alongside a great scoring center. Russell Westbrook has as many 4-11 games as he does Scottie Pippen-games, Harden’s an acquired taste, and Thabo Sefolosha can’t score on you. That’s right, you. And yet, they won. Over and over again. This team screams of championship potential, but individually it tops out at something far, far nastier.
John Hollinger names his All-Defense teams. OKC players are a-plenty in the honorable mention sections. Nick Collison, Thabo, Serge, Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor.
The NBA has put out a cool feature where you can create your own Amazing Is… ad with Thunder stuff.
Simmons had a column yesterday about Laker fans: “Just know that the Lakers aren’t going away. I thought they had been afflicted by a fatal case of the Disease of More — Pat Riley’s theory that, when you win a title, everyone wants more (minutes, money, shots, etc.) and it ends up sinking the title defense — but an upstart Oklahoma City team apparently rekindled their competitiveness. When Kobe manages the game, picks his spots and pounds the ball down low to his big guys, they are nearly unbeatable. Everything hinges on No. 24. He’s the most competitive guy in the league, but he also wants to be the hero of every game, and sometimes, you can’t be both. Tuesday night, he found the right balance. Spectacular. It was one of those nights when you watched him and thought, “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that he is one of the best 10 or 12 players ever.”
Ziller writes about why Tom Thibadeau can’t get work. As I read it, I can’t help but relate it back to Ron Adams, another defensive specialist: “Further, isn’t this the exact opposite of how players are treated? If a player isn’t intense enough, he’s lazy or lacks heart. Few players are considered too intense. Thibodeau’s power forward Kevin Garnett might be one of the only ones who’s been asked to dial it back. And he was an MVP. Intensity is a good thing among players. A desired quality. But for Thibodeau, has it been as albatross?”