Chris Sheridan in a chat yesterday when asked if he thinks OKC is making a deal: “I would say they are in the best position of practically any NBA team to make a serious upgrde somewhere, because they have Mo Peterson’s expiring $6.2 million contract plus the rights to a Clippers No. 1 pick to use as trade chips. Plus, they appear to be the quintessenial “one player away” team.”
Daniel Leroux of Real GM trying to get Kevin Love to OKC: “That said, Oklahoma City can make Minnesota an offer they can’t refuse. Part of what differentiates Love and Griffin in terms of trade possibilities is the blossoming of Michael Beasley and the rocky relationship between Love and coach Kurt Rambis. I’m not saying the Wolves are or should be looking to trade Love- the sole issue at point is that they would not hang up the phone immediately if Sam Presti came calling.” It’s fun, but Minnesota’s not trading Love.
Bill Simmons’ trade value column is coming soon and it made me look back to what he said about Westbrook last year (No. 30): “As for Westbrook, he’s running a precociously young playoff team, he’s exciting as hell, he’s capable of the occasional 17-12-14 line, and he seems like a great teammate (like everyone else on the Zombies, actually). These things outweigh his lack of point guard instincts, carelessness with the ball and gawdawful shooting. (On an excellent site called hoopdata.com, they break down shooting by zones and Westbrook is shooting 47 percent at the rim, 39 percent from inside 10 feet, 32.7 percent from 10-15 feet, 36 percent from 16-23 feet and 27.3 percent from 3. That’s Lindsey Hunter/Montresor-level bad.) With that said, the Zombies could absolutely win a title some day with Durant as their No. 1 and Westbrook as No. 3. They just need a No. 2.” Pretty sure Westbrook is that No. 2 now.
KD was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
Darnell Mayberry on Aldrich and Mullens’ future: “If Nenad Krstic isn’t re-signed and for whatever reason Aldrich and Mullens aren’t getting minutes next season, then I’ll be closer to writing them off as undesirables. Mullens much more than Aldrich. But, big men are known to take longer to develop and the Thunder is operating with that in mind. They continue to be patient. But at some point you would think these two need some time. The thing that’s easily forgotten in their nightly DNP’s and stints on the inactive list is that both of these guys are 22 (Mullens will be in a week). They’ve got a lot of time left to develop into something.”
Great stuff on adjusted efficiency rankings here. OKC is third offensively.
Marc Stein’s power rankings: “Amid the obsession with the Thunder’s dips on D and on the glass compared to last season, sometimes we could all do with a little perspective: OKC was mired at 12-38 at the 50-game mark as recently as February 2009.”
KD is No. 4 on NBA.com’s MVP rankings: “The committee loved Durant’s efficient 43 points on 14-of-19 shooting Wednesday vs. New Orleans. It was Durant’s fifth game of 40 points or more this season and the Thunder is 5-0. He has 17 such games in his career, joining Shaquille O’Neal (21) and LeBron James (17) as the only guys since 1985 to have that many in their first four years.”
Russell Westbrook is No. 9: If Kevin Durant is OKC’s ice, Westbrook is its fire. This is more Justice League than Batman-Robin now, with Westbrook alone in the NBA in averaging at least 22 points, five rebounds and eight assists. His triple-double vs. Washington (35-13-13) was his third of the season.