Darnell Mayberry with more good stuff on Kevin Durant: “The event exemplified how Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s franchise player, has bucked the allure of big cities and bright lights — which often lead to big dollars — and instead has seized sponsorships in small-market Oklahoma City. “I always told myself if I play the game the right way, if I always get better, things like this are going to come to me,” Durant said. “I don’t have to go other places just to get this. I don’t want to sound like a prima donna. But if companies want to come out here and be a part of what I have going on, they’re going to have to come to Oklahoma City.” That’s precisely what’s taking place before our eyes.”
Ken Berger of CBS Sports on OKC’s early issues: “But some context reveals there’s no reason for panic. (And trust me, there won’t be with the ever-consistent Sam Presti and Brooks always keeping success and failure in perspective.) On the positive side, the Thunder were able to win at Portland and lost to Boston and at Utah. And against the Blazers and Celtics, two of the bigger teams in the league, they didn’t get physically manhandled. (They didn’t get outrebounded by either team.) The best thing about the Thunder, their coach and their superstar, Kevin Durant, is that they don’t change when things get a little rocky. And it’s way too early to call the Thunder’s struggles anything close to that.”
Marc Stein’s power rankings have OKC at 12: “Will too much be made of the fact that OKC has been beaten at home on back-to-back Sundays with plenty of preparation time in advance of both games? In the world of inflated expectations? You know our answer by now.”
PBT’s power rankings: “Turnovers killed them against Boston. The offense is stagnant and relies too much on isolation. The defense isn’t creating turnovers that lead to fast break points. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are good enough to win them some games, but the Thunder are not yet right.”
John Schuhmann’s power rankings from NBA.com: “How bad has the Thunder’s ball movement been? Their 14.8 assists per game is the lowest average in NBA history and their assist rate of 43.8 percent is the lowest since the 1978-79 San Diego Clippers assisted on only 41.4 percent of their field goals. By that measure, it’s the worst ball movement in 32 years.”
Jeff Green remains day-to-day and is questionable for Wednesday against the 76ers.
KD is seventh in NBA.com’s MVP watch: “Media darling? The anti-LeBron James? That didn’t matter much after Durant sputtered through a 6-of-24 shooting night against the Clippers in L.A. Wednesday. His field-goal percentage is at 37.4 percent now, and 28.6 percent from the arc, neither very MVP-like. Oklahoma City is playing at a 49-33 clip as well; no big deal when the Lakers or the Hornets might go unbeaten!”
Fran Blinebury: “So maybe there really is something to the notion that becoming a real championship contender is a step-by-step process and Kevin Durant and his young Thunder have many rungs on the ladder still to climb.”
I finished The Wire last night. What an experience. I strongly urge you to sink yourself in to that series if you haven’t already.