Mark Lelinwalla of the NY Daily News: “Kevin Durant broke a 36-year-old U.S. record for total points scored during a single FIBA World Championship tournament when he dropped in 205, leading the Americans to a gold medal victory three weeks ago in Istanbul, Turkey. Durant’s feat brought up a name that hasn’t been heard in these parts in quite some time – Luther “Ticky” Burden The former Knicks guard – from 1976-78 – wants basketball fans to consider this about the FIBA record he previously held for nearly four decades: “I did not start one of those games . . . I came off the bench in all of them,” says Burden, who set the record with 182 total points and led the USA to a Bronze medal in 1974. “I was playing on a severely sprained ankle, didn’t put up as many shots (as Durant), and did it with no 3-point line. So now you tell me?”
Adrian Wojnarowski writing about LeBron’s marketing adviser Maverick Carter mentions KD’s social media and marketing guru Nate Jones, who is an excellent dude: “Carter’s been innovative with marketing LeBron the way Turtle was innovative with tequila. Maverick’s invited closer inspection of his self-proclaimed genius and the results have been unflattering. The irony of James leaving Aaron Goodwin several years ago was that his old agent ended up cultivating one of the bright, young minds of the digital marketing age, Nate Jones. Jones works with Kevin Durant now, and, well, Carter could learn a few lessons from a riser even younger than him.” Nate will be running the NBA in 10 years. You watch.
Susan Bible of HoopsWorld looks at six things to know about the Thunder: “As the season progressed and the team’s post weaknesses were repeatedly exposed, it was assumed Ibaka would take over starting duties from Nenad Krstic. Now with rookie center Cole Aldrich on the scene, the questions are many: Will Aldrich replace Krstic as a starter? Will Ibaka start at the power forward position, sending Jeff Green to the bench? Will Ibaka start at center or come off the bench? Perhaps Brooks will switch it up all year, depending on match-ups.”
Darnell Mayberry with some thoughts on the scrimmage: “Durant’s playmaking was perhaps the highlight of the night. During the fourth quarter, Durant had the ball in his hands and orchestrated the offensive sets, bringing the ball up and running pick-and-rolls with the bigs or reading and reacting to whatever he saw. Durant set up Aldrich and Mullens for uncontested dunks and also got White an open baseline jumper. He looked much more comfortable with the ball in his hands, as he did in the FIBA World Championship.”
Chris Silva with a nice practice report: “The final 20 minutes of Saturday’s practice provided a snapshot of how the first week of training camp went for the Thunder. The team was going through another controlled scrimmage, and there was no shortage of intensity or emotion in the final two minutes of play judging from teammates’ reactions to Royal Ivey’s three-pointer at the top of the key or the foul call Morris Peterson and his teammates were looking for on the other end of the court. Even when the team wrapped up the session with a full court layup drill, there was never a dull moment. Whether Russell Westbrook was yelling to his teammates to, “c’mon, push it!” down the floor or head coach Scott Brooks was stopping the drill to stress the importance of making a crisp two-handed outlet pass, the competitive juices kept flowing until the very end.”
ESPN.com will have a Heat blog and they’ve pulled one of the best, Brian Windhorst, to run it.
Remember, single game tickets on sale at 10 a.m. today. If you read this post after that, well, you’re screwed I guess.