Blah blah blah Phil Jackson mind games: “In another era, Phil Jackson could have been Eddie Haskell, giving the business to the Beav and buttering up Mrs. Cleaver. Prior to playing Phoenix, the Lakers coach talked about referees letting Steve Nash carry the ball on his dribble. That followed his discourse on Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant getting away with traveling. Now he’s after Boston’s Kevin Garnett and his physical ways.” Jackson actually complain, if you recall, about KD getting star treatment with fouls. The playoffs are that long that writers get their stories mixed up.
ESPN hits another homerun with an NBA gimic machine. First it was the trade machine. Then the lottery generator. Now the free agent slot machine. There goes my afternoon. In my first three spins, David Lee wound up in OKC every time. That’s like a sign or something.
The Big Lead looks at five questions for the NBA Draft, one being about DeMarcus Cousins: “Pundits have him all over the place (he seems to have no idea or is playing coy). The talent to go 1st? (Won’t happen.) According to David Aldridge (near bottom), the 76ers, who pick 2nd, will work out Favors and Cousins one week before the draft. Or, he’ll be the big slider who becomes a steal late in the Top 10. He is most likely to play center (same size as Kendrick Perkins) and basically everyone picking 3-7 could use a center (the Wolves have Darko, but come on; the Warriors could try Cousins at 4 with Biedrins in the middle). How does Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins at the 4-5 in Minnesota sound? Slow and immobile, or rugged and burly?”
Every Finals preview out there recounts the OKC-LA series. It’s kind of cool to see things like this: “Oklahoma City certainly stepped on his cape at the end of April, holding him back in the Lakers’ 110-89 blowout loss that deadlocked the first-round playoff series at two games each. The Lakers, the top team in the West during the regular season, were in jeopardy of being erased by the eighth-place Thunder.”
Big important things being done in Oklahoma here – new leglislation will create Thunder specialty car tags: “House Bill 2918 would create several other specialty tags, too. If the governor approves the legislation, the Oklahoma Tax Commission would have to receive at least 100 paid applications for a new specialty tag.”
Clark Matthews on Kelvin Sampson: “Of course, Sampson’s weakness has always been recruiting. He thrives convincing marginally gifted basketball players to flop wildly and play goon-y defense. Those players were buoyed by his (less than professional) tendency to throw tantrums at the referees and histrionically toss his tie after player mistakes. The downside was that unwatchable style of play and semi-abusive behavior deterred athletes who can play elegantly to sign with him. Now, all three of these franchises hope to pin their hopes of signing the reigning MVP, and most naturally gifted player in the league, on Sampson’s ability to connect with the star.”
KD and James Harden are now officially in China.