Andrew Sharp of SB Nation with a counterpoint to Tommy Craggs: “Durant has shown no signs of wanting to be the biggest celebrity on the planet. He’s fiercely competitive on the court, and deferential among the media. He stayed in Oklahoma City; LeBron left Cleveland. You can debate the merits of hating LeBron James, but it’s hard to quarrel with someone that loves Kevin Durant because he’s not LeBron James. They seem like two very different humans. At least for now. Maybe, as KD’s profile blooms, the added spotlight will reveal shades of his character that none of us had ever imagined. For now, though, Kevin Durant seems to love basketball more than he loves attention, and that’s pretty great.”
Mike Prada of SBN had this to say about it: “Craggs’ point isn’t that we have Durant judged all wrong; it’s that we can’t really judge Durant well in the first place. Loose comparisons to other stars of his era are faulty, because, as Craggs notes, LeBron was once judged positively because he wasn’t Kobe Bryant, and Bryant was judged positively because he wasn’t Allen Iverson. When we write and think about athletes, we have to ask ourselves whether we’re judging them positively on their own merits or on the way they compare to others. If it’s the latter, we have to think about just how accurate we are with these character judgments. It’s too bad that Durant has to be the example used when bringing this subject up, but that shouldn’t stop us from thinking about it.”
Shoals looks at both sides of the KD issue: “The solution — as if this were remotely possible — is to let Durant be Durant without it coming at the expense of, say, LeBron. This drains him of much of his moral valence, and leave you with an athlete who neither triggers all sorts of suspicions simply because of our day and age, nor one whose image can’t absorb, say, the wearing of a mildly lewd t-shirt on a night out. In a way, Craggs and Jones are talking past each other. Craggs scoffs at the way Durant has been deified — prematurely, naively, and with little regard for the historical record. Jones doesn’t want our cynicism to prevent us from letting Durant just be himself, regardless of whether or not it helps his career. As someone who actually knows KD, this is his right — even if he has to recognize that doing so as part of the Goodwins’ operation does raise some eyebrows. In other words, if you’re writing about Kevin Durant these days, try and keep a little perspective. Otherwise, we run the risk of making both too much and too little of this budding superstar. If that happens, everyone loses. Except for the terrorists.”
Nenad Krstic looked pretty terrific yesterday against Argentina. Chris Silva recaps the action.
Tom Haberstroh wrote one of the finest positionality pieces out there yesterday on Hardwood Paroxysm: “[W]e find that Miami Heat point guard Carlos Arroyo deviates the most from the shot selection of a traditional point guard. In particular, 65.3 percent of his shots come from long twos and he barely attacks the basket or launches from downtown. His z-scores total to 8.19 which is the highest sum of the point guard bunch. Perhaps is good that he doesn’t attack the basket, as he only converts on 47.8 percent of his tries which is far below new Charlotte Bobcat Shaun Livingston’s 71.4 percent success rate.”
Nick Collison, haircut fail: “When I was 9 I asked my barber for a flatop when I really wanted a gumby. Ended up looking like Eric Montross #1989″