The Northwest could belong to OKC. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Carmelo Anthony plans on leave Denver.
Nathan Begley of Portland Roundball Society with a smart look at Russell Westbrook’s jumpshooting: “Actually one does not need to “look beyond” statistics to check Mayberry’s claim that Russell Westbrook is an improved mid-range jump shooter. They just need to select the right statistic. For instance, HoopData has Westbrook’s FG% and eFG% by shot location and more specifically, NBA Hot Spots will tell you that there was only one spot on the floor where Russell Westbrook shot even a remotely acceptable percentage from midrange and that poor spot is drowned by Westbrook’s attempts from elsewhere. Russell Westbrook has not become a “much better” shooter in the midrange and even the one spot Westbrook hit a good percentage from was on a paltry 84 attempts. Now, I’m no Westbrook hater—he is a good passer and an exceptional rebounder for his position. Westbrook brings a ton of athleticism and physical tools to the table, however, what he does not bring, is a decent midrange jumpshot.” Now I think it was pretty clear that in the last month or two, Westbrook hit that midrange jumper with a lot more consistency. But is he a better shooter overall? I think that’s yet to be determined.
A little piece from the NY Daily News on KD: “Kevin Durant took the losing personal, even in middle school. Watching the 2002 World Championships was the “toughest,” the 21-year-old said, unbecoming of the top talent in the world. It was a low point for USA basketball. In a tournament they hosted, the Americans finished sixth – behind lowly New Zealand – sandwiching the embarrassment between disappointing third-place finishes in the 1998 and 2006 World Championships. Durant now uses the failures as motivation, as well as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of selfishness.”
Chris Silva on the how Team USA brought the Thunder’s trio a little closer: “But when three of the Thunder’s core players who are also the teams’ top scorers were able to spend time together in a controlled environment like USA Basketball, it was almost inevitable that the trio would become closer. Without their Thunder teammates, Durant, Green and Westbrook still spent time together at the team hotels, on the nearly dozens of team bus rides, in the locker rooms, huddles, team meetings and film sessions, and especially on the court. There were moments where Durant, Green and Westbrook actually shared the floor together, like the first time the team opened a scrimmage to the media in Las Vegas, when the sight of three Thunder players on the same team, only in USA jerseys, stirred conversations from onlookers.”
Darnell Mayberry finishes up his schedule slicing exercise and pegs OKC with 54 wins: “October’s three regular season games were excluded from our series, meaning we think Oklahoma City could climb as high as 57 wins. If that happens, it’ll be the franchise’s highest victory total since the 1997-98 season when the Seattle SuperSonics went 61-21. It also would mark only the fourth time since 1998 that the franchise won at least 50 games. But here’s the payoff. Last year’s Lakers wrapped up the No. 1 seed with their 57 wins. A 54-win season landed Phoenix the No. 3 seed. Let the games begin.”
For those interested: At least for the immediate future, I think it’s best to go back to the old commenting system. The new one doesn’t offer enough of a plus at this current time and until its real-time commenting tool is going, I don’t see the benefit. At least for now. It was just a test run and I didn’t personally love it.