Scott Carefoot of The Basketball Jones ranks the top 10 point guards: “7. Russell Westbrook – After his 2008-09 rookie season, a lot of people wondered whether Westbrook would be better-suited as a two-guard in the NBA. Nobody is wondering about that after he increased his assists per game from 5.3 to 8.0 last season. Westbrook is big and fast and uses those attributes to drive aggressively and get to the free throw line five times per game. He’s smart to do that because he still has a lot of work to do on hitting outside shots. He also needs to focus more on the defensive end, where his play doesn’t quite live up to his reputation just yet.”
John Hollinger projects the Thunder roster and shares thoughts every player: “At this point, shooting is the only thing keeping Westbrook from being a perennial All-Star. Otherwise, he’s awesome: He ranked third at his position in usage rate and rebound rate, eighth in free throw attempts per field goal attempt, and is one of the best defenders at his position. Even his point guard credentials, often chided by scouts, are vastly improved — he climbed to 13th in pure point rating and had a solid assist ratio.”
Darnell Mayberry on how Cole Aldrich fits: “For now, it appears the most likely route for Aldrich will be a similar one taken by Ibaka during his rookie year. Ibaka played sparingly in much of the first month before earning more time as the season progressed. But Ibaka had proven by last season’s open scrimmage that he possessed natural abilities that Brooks couldn’t afford to keep off the floor. In Aldrich’s case, his ticket to court time might be in his savvy.”
The Basketball Prospectus superbook is out and like last year, I’m happy to say I made a small contribution.
Chris Silva looking at the four camp invites: “Millsap came here wired like the rest of the Thunder in that he enjoys the defensive end. At 6-5, he grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game as a junior at UAB. Asked how he did it, Millsap simply stated that he has a nose for the ball and that he loves attacking the boards. Defensively, Millsap said he tries to pattern himself after players like Thabo Sefolosha, Ron Artest and Luc Richard Mba a Moute. And Millsap said he’s relying on his defense to make a name for himself at camp.”
It’s 2K11 day. Yay.
Great note from Mayberry on yesterday’s practice: “Some near fireworks nearly went off when Westbrook and Ibaka almost went at it during the mini-games. Ibaka appeared to take exception to what he deemed a cheap shot by Westbrook during a fastbreak. Ibaka began yelling at Westbrook on his way back down on offense after taking the ball out. It looked like the two were just horsing around, jawing back and forth, until Ibaka set a screen on Westbrook with bad intent. Ibaka raised his arms near Westbrook’s head, and Westbrook then took exception, barking at Ibaka to not elbow him. The sequence clearly showed how these guys can be great friends off the court but are all business on the court. Westbrook and Ibaka have bonded since Ibaka arrived last season. Westbrook was a mentor of sorts to Ibaka last year. But that all went out the window for a brief moment. And Brooks will tell you that competitive fire is a good thing to see on the practice floor.”