Happy Memorial Day. I’m coming to you live (well, not really live) from beautiful Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I hope this weekend was everything you dreamed it would be. Obligitory yet sincere thank you to servicemen and women goes here.
Chris Mannix on Kobe Bryant’s status in the league: “In all probability, Kobe Bryant’s collection of MVP trophies will remain at one. An award that requires otherworldly effort throughout an 82-game season is a young man’s prize, one that the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo will fight for over the next decade. No, Bryant’s 31-year old body won’t allow him to sustain that kind of dominance. Nor should it. Bryant’s body, ravaged by sprained ankles and broken fingers, is built for the playoffs, where the game’s most cold-blooded closer remains utterly unmatched.”
Shoals on LeBron-Durant-Kobe: “This dichotomy was here before LeBron-Kobe, and it won’t go away when Bryant bows out in a couple of years — with James, presumably, still riding high. Kevin Durant, this year’s scoring champion at age 21, is by any earthly standards, freakishly versatile and preternaturally skilled. Still, he’s no LeBron. Yet what differentiates him most from The King is his need to win, the sheer angst you see on his face when a game ends in a loss. It’s bleak, morose, and makes even Kobe seem like someone concerned mostly with his reputation. Durant feels wins and losses way down in his gut. We question sometimes if James has such an organ. Unfortunately, this year he’s no longer around to prove us wrong. And if Kobe does beat the Celtics, not only will he unexpectedly, and definitively, overtake LeBron for the time being — he’ll also resurrect the Russell-Wilt question. It’s up to James to, at very least, convince the public that it’s apples and oranges. Otherwise, before he knows it, Durant will be breathing down his neck in much the same way.”
The NBA Draft is about 24 days away. That’s like three weeks-ish. We’re tossing around the idea of a Daily Thunder draft watch party. Is that something you might be interested in?
Dime looks at the winners and losers of the combine: “Hurt stock: DeMarcus Cousins: 23.5 – 27.5 – N/A – 11.4 – 3.55 Cousins started off on the wrong foot as he measured in with 16 percent body fat. His vertical was worse then Aldrich, as his max vertical was 27.5 inches. Also, Cousins declined to do the bench press because “he doesn’t lift weights.” But with all that being said, Cousins is not a raw athlete. What he is, is a very skilled big man that could make an immediate impact next year. Nonetheless, questions will continue to circulate about his work ethic and maturity.”
Scott Howard-Cooper on the unique story of Gordan Hayward: “Gordon Hayward wanted to quit basketball as a high school sophomore in Indiana. Had the speech all ready for his coach. Practiced it in the shower and everything. Went to Butler, a relatively unknown player headed to a school relatively unknown outside the Midwest. Became the Horizon League Player of the Year in 2009-10, led the Bulldogs’ improbable run through the NCAA tournament to the championship game, nearly hit the shot at the buzzer. His world hasn’t stopped spinning since.”