Huge thanks to my lovely wife, Patrick James and anyone else that chipped in for keeping this place afloat in my absence. Because I’m thankful, here’s a special Thanksgiving edition of the Bolts for you fine people, complete with my thoughts on Collison’s extension and Aldrich’s D-League demotion.
Darnell Mayberry on last night’s game: “If I’m a Thunder fan, I’m worried about the attitude Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his players took after this one. Those 3-point bombs provided a convenient excuse for how this one got away. Players and coaches explained this loss by Dallas getting hot from 3 at the right time. And that, of course, makes it easy to overlook what the team didn’t do right at the other end. The offense was again dismal in the fourth quarter. The Thunder shot 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) in the final frame, and had it not been for a few early Serge Ibaka buckets (one being a putback) and a few garbage time scores, this one would have looked much worse.”
Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game: “Russell Westbrook had 13 points on 13 shots. Is that good defense? Partially, sure, but Dallas can in no way claim full credit for keeping Westbrook in check. For whatever reason he just wasn’t as assertive as he could have — or should have — been.”
The KDIII’s look seriously excellent. Love the subtle color usage.
A quick thought on Nick Collison’s contract extension: As already mentioned, Collison is getting about $11 million over four years. (Record scratch.) What? Eleven over four? I don’t know if that contract is more just Sam Presti being the brilliant GM that he is or Collison being a super cool dude that wants to stay with the team. Marc Stein points out that the deal is very unique and pretty much entirely frontloaded. So for this season, Collison’s going to make over $13 million because of a signing bonus. But when his extension starts in 2011-12, he’ll get just over $3M. What a freaking outstanding deal. I love Nick Collison and am stoked to have him on this team for the future. He’s the kind of player that if you don’t have him, you’re looking for a player just like him. And for that price? Well geez, I’d almost keep anybody of semi-value, much less Collison.
KD talks about why he wears No. 35. We all know the story already, but it’s cool to hear/watch Durant say it on camera:
And a quick thought on Cole Aldrich’s demotion to the D-League: It makes sense, though it kind of sucks. We all had visions of Aldrich being a contributor and someone to help strengthen the team inside. He showed flashes of making an impact but really, he was in over his head a bit. Not too much, just some. So with Collison back, Serge Ibaka playing extremely well and D.J. White moving ahead of him as an emergency big, Aldrich was simply squeezed out of playing time. So the Thunder did what other teams seem to be scared to do. Instead of letting their rookie sit on the bench an entire season, they sent him to the D-League where he could learn and actually play. Aldrich is a piece for the future and in the Thunder way, this is all about patience and development. It’s not an indictment on the pick or an admittance of a mistake, it’s just what you’d expect the Thunder to do with a young talent that needs work.
FanHouse power rankings: “We told you in last week’s rankings how the Thunder’s win over Utah might have been something to build on, and as it turns out, we were right. That win was the first in a streak of five straight, which even managed to stay intact while Kevin Durant was sidelined with an ankle injury for the team’s wins in Boston and Milwaukee.”
Shoals and Ziller give thanks for things: “Sam Presti. I’m sorry, is it wrong for a column to suck up to GMs? Kevin Durant love is hardly worth writing home about at this point. Russell Westbrook isn’t far behind. But Presti, mastermind behind it all, is the architect who has made this all possible — right down to handing the keys to Scott Brooks and letting him manipulate the Thunder’s unusual roster. The cult buzz may have died down, but this team is still the absolute cutting edge of postmodern basketball research. Getting Durant may have set the wheels into motion, but it’s Presti, who I think is younger than I am, who we can really thank for sustaining a team that’s somewhere between a thinktank and secret weapons facility.”
Andrew Sharp of SBN says KD is the stuffing: “Because stuffing is pretty much impossible to hate. But then, everyone has a habit of yelling about how “AMAZING” stuffing is, and it becomes a little harder to love it. Stuffing IS amazing, but when everyone goes on and on and on about it, you can’t help but step back and be like, “It’s basically just bread.” Clearly, I’ve got some conflicting thoughts to work out on Kevin Durant.”
Finally, thanks to all the readers and commenters of Daily Thunder. The turkey will be ready in about 15 minutes ya’ll.