Ron Artest’s top two players in the NBA: “Kobe’s got five rings, six game winners [last season], 23-straight points in [Game 5 of the Finals] off mostly jump shots. [He’s] the biggest shot maker, big shot maker. So, that said, Durant’s the second best player in the NBA. He’s the second best player in the NBA,” Artest said of Durant, ranking the youngest scoring champion in league history behind only teammate Kobe Bryant.” And what about LeBron? “I only count to two.”
Darnell Mayberry’s game notes: “Former Duke guard Trajan Langdon unofficially becomes the first opposing player to provide the first compliment of Harden’s defense. “I tell you what, James Harden is a darn good defender not just on me but even watching him on the floor against other players,” Langdon said. Fitting since Langdon threw up the old goose-egg on 0-for-5 shooting after scoring 20 against Miami on Tuesday.”
Oklahoma City was named one of the five fastest growing cities: “Oklahoma City–with its business-friendly environment and abundant oil and natural gas reserves–ranked No. 11 in Forbes’ list of the best big cities for jobs. A KPMG study named it the least costly metro area to do business among U.S. cities with populations between 1 million and 2 million, and according to the Census Bureau Community Survey, it has the third-shortest commute time among the 52 largest cities. Such factors–plus its exciting new basketball star, Kevin Durant–have definitely attracted plenty of new residents. An article in the Sacramento Bee reported that many Californians were migrating to the former Dust Bowl town in search of jobs and more stable housing prices, and its population, at 1.2 million, is expected to grow 9.8% in the next 10 years, according to the Greater Oklahoma City Partnership.”
The official Daily Thunder preview starts Monday so get excited. I’ve got a little something extra planned and I hope it works out to be as neat as I think it is.
Discussing the fantasy value of Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose and John Wall.
Paul Forrester of SI has a really nice piece on Russell Westbrook: “Russell Westbrook is not just another player on another team trying to prove itself. He’s a leader of a team trying to prove itself, and the pressure is on him this season to lift the Thunder to even greater heights than last season. Oklahoma City was one of the biggest stories of the 2009-2010 season, more than doubling its victory total (from 23 to 50) and pushing the champion Lakers to six games in a hard-fought first-round series. Now, Westbrook and the Thunder have their eyes on the next step: advancing in the playoffs, something the franchise hasn’t done since 2005 when it was located in Seattle.”
A Thunder preview from SLAM: “In the four years I’ve been writing the Thunder season preview, with apologies to the Seattle fans, I began to wonder: Is there a less polarizing team in sports than the Thunder? Who doesn’t want to see this group succeed? That sentiment begins with Durant, but it doesn’t end there. The Thunder has created an appeal not by going out and acquiring top-tier free agents but by cultivating a culture of winning through developing their own players. This long-term approach to success is especially unique in modern sports, where free agency often dictates success, or leads to disappointment.”