Darnell Mayberry tries to solve the defensive mystery: “Several players admit that Adams’ departure has been a significant factor. ‘Ron Adams was a big part of our defense,’ said Thunder center Nenad Krstic. ‘He was always talking about that. He was always getting on some guys if they don’t play good defense. We really miss him.’ Practice sessions are said to be the same this season as last year’s. And from a scheme standpoint, the Thunder hasn’t changed anything. But having Adams harp on all the finer points made a major difference, players say.”
Another pretty excellent example of how awesome KD is: “I met Kevin Durant during his junior year at Oak Hill and began working him out that spring. He then transferred to Montrose Christian for his senior year (I was the team’s strength & conditioning coach). Fast forward to today. KD is an All-Star and one of the NBA’s most potent scorers. Even though I no longer work him out, we have kept in touch after all these years. This past weekend, Blair and I flew to Oklahoma City to see the Warriors play the Thunder. It was a whirlwind trip – in and out in less than 24 hours. But it was one I will never forget. KD rolled out the red carpet for us. He had us picked up from the airport, let us stay at his house, autographed some stuff for our friends and family, and gave us an inside look at what NBA players do on game day (not to mention gave us courtside seats for the game).”
Jonathan Givony takes a good look at Cole Aldrich after the D-League Showcase: “Aldrich isn’t being spoon-fed minutes or touches the way you normally see allocated NBA players in the D-League, as he’s averaging less field goal attempts per minute than he did in college and is playing just 27 minutes (of 48) per game. It appears that Tulsa is trying to more closely replicate the role he’ll be expected to grow into on Oklahoma City eventually, which is that of a gritty role-player rather than a go-to guy. Aldrich’s offensive numbers thus aren’t impressive at all relative to other far less talented players in this league at 9 points per contest, as foul trouble and injuries have also held him back somewhat this year.”
Aldrich had eight blocks the other night against New Mexico. That gives him 17 in his last three games.
KD’s MLK shoes. Or as they’re called, joints.
Matt Moore on PBT on how contenders close games: “Perhaps most interesting is the Thunder, though, with the second worst win percentage when leading, third worst when trailing, and third worst fourth quarter differential while having the worst total point differential. The Thunder very much seem like a young team that still struggles with closing out games from this data set, despite their reputation as a team wise beyond its years. While this data set is fraught with caveats like the one listed above and well beyond the boundaries of context, it’s an interesting set nonetheless.”
David Aldridge: “Thunder has won six of eight going into tonight’s playoff rematch with Lakers, but OKC still not the defensive team it was last season (103.6 points allowed during that stretch).”
Who is the Thunder’s MVP? FS Southwest: “While it is OK to hope Durant and Westbrook continue to refuse to be led by their egos, leaving little reason to internally answer the team MVP question, the conclusion reached here is that distinction belongs to Kevin Durant.”