Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com says the Thunder was his favorite team last year: “It began in the prairie and ended in the clouds, started in training-camp potential and finished in earned playoff credibility. It opened in local pride and closed in national respect. What a ride. What a historical, hysterical ride. The team in the place that never should have had the NBA, with the general manager who never should have been hired — with a coach who never should have been hired — became the group that changed a region and went to work altering an entire league.”
Ethan Sherwood Strauss of HoopSpeak on the MVP race: “Remember this when you read about Kevin Durant’s anointment. For Durant to get this award, his team must exceed expectations. As the Hoopspeak founder evinced, Oklahoma may be a tad over loved. Prospectus posits 49 wins, which might disappoint a cognescenti so committed to seeing Jeff Green through rose-colored lenses. The question is: If Kevin can’t win big, who can contest his popularity?”
HoopSpeak previews the Thunder: “Who knows, maybe the longtime stalwarts of the West will crumble like ancient caryatids and the Thunder will escape the falling stones for a second straight year. If they do, they may have the talent to emerge from the rubble of the good Western Conference teams and challenge the great Lakers. But to make it, the baby-deer legs of Kevin Durant must carry this Thunder team while balancing on a uncomfortably thin margin for error. If the Thunder finish right where they were at the end of last season, my guess is that it won’t be great expectations that cause them to slip, but the harsh realities of being a small market team playing an 82 game season.”
I picked the seven teams to get for League Pass Broadband and of course one was our little team.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is doing a one-on-one tournament and KD is in the semifinals taking on Michael Jordan.
Matt Moore for Pro Basketball Talk on KD’s positon swapping: “Both LeBron and Durant play small forward, but they’re so much more than that. Because they’re so talented, they receive the ball in a myriad of ways. High post. Wing. Top of the key. Off the cut. Low-post. All of these positions are classically maintained by positions other than the one they occupy. And that’s the genius component. LeBron is able to post a small forward defending him as a power forward. Durant is able to take a small forward off the dribble as if he were a point guard. It doesn’t mean that Durant actually is a point guard, anymore than it means that Kevin Durant is a small forward at this point. He may need to be surrounded by two bigger players, and two smaller players, but that still doesn’t make him a small forward.”
Eddie Johnson of HoopsHype ranks his top 25 players: “3. Kevin Durant: He has rushed to the top of the ladder in a hurry and I don’t think anyone will argue this point. Durant comes from the Kobe Bryant School of Dedication to his Craft. He seems to be a wonderful teammate and leader. The show he put on this summer for Team was an all-time classic. He basically willed himself to become the go-to guy on an All-Star team. If you have played the game at a high level, you’d know how difficult that accomplishment is. Durant can score on anyone at any time and what I admire most is that it’s always in the flow of the game. I would pay to watch him play anywhere.”