Jason Kersey of NewsOK is thinking political about today’s game against Iran: “I’m fully aware that many people watch sports to get away from things like Iran’s nuclear program. But sometimes sports can add intrigue to the big political issues of the day. The Miracle on Ice, anyone? So, apologies all around if you couldn’t care less about the political implications of a United States vs. Iran basketball game. I, on the other hand, find it captivating.”
Jonathan Givony of Draft Express on OKC’s new hires: “Some interesting front office moves from OKC Thunder. Promoting Rob Hennigan is a great move. Future GM material.”
SLC Dunk is doing some mythbusting: “The other thing that OKC has going for them is that a new CBA will hypothetically help owners more than it helps players. Maybe a max contract for Westbrook in 2012 will mean a lot less than they just shelled out to Durant. This is why it is so smart for OKC to make Jeff Green wait for a contract extension until the next CBA. The Thunder might lose one or two of these young players, but Green isn’t close to a max contract and Ibaka and Harden aren’t going to be either. As long as they can retain Durant and Westbrook, this team will be contenders. And I think at worst, they will be able to afford Durant and Westbrook at max contracts and either Harden or Ibaka at a quasi-large contract. But more than likely, future contract extensions will keep the whole core from staying together.”
Neil Paine of Basketball Reference has advanced stats for the Worlds. Interestingly, Russell Westbrook leads the American’s with a floor percentage of 59.6 percentage (the percentage of possessions that he scores at least one point divided by total possessions). He’s also second in 2-point field goal percentage also and No. 1 in true shooting percentage. A lot of it is because he’s scoring at the rim at will, but still. Also, KD is second on the team in defensive rating. So that’s cool.
Rob Mahoney of PBT doesn’t like what Coach K is doing so far: “Yet thus far, in games against Team USA’s most skilled opponents, Mike Krzyzewski has turned to a top-heavy rotation heavily dependent on its starters. It’s an understandable tactic for most NBA and NCAA teams, but given how talented this roster is? And more importantly, how roughly congruent every non-Durant talent on the roster happens to be? It’s ludicrous.”
Why Russell Westbrook wears No. 0? Because he needed to get his swag back.
Ziller making a case for Melo in Sactown: “The Kings have modeled themselves after the Oklahoma City Thunder; like OKC, Sacramento hit the depths, drafted a superstar, drafted well again and is ready to rise. Evans isn’t Kevin Durant, but one could argue Cousins is a bigger chip than Russell Westbrook and that the Omri Casspi-Donté Greene dragon outstrip the Thunders’ third tier … Look at it this way: who wouldn’t want to get traded to the Thunder right now? Two years ago, stars would have crossed Oklahoma City right off their list — too country, too many losses, too far from contention. They say the same about Sacramento right now, and while no one can guarantee the Kings are on the path of the Thunder, ready to contend in 2-3 years’ time, it’s a pretty straightforward analogy.”