Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside with a response to last week’s D-League post: “Keep in mind that no other team has come even close to getting creative and creating this sort of bond between their NBA and D-League team with even one player — and the Thunder have done it with three of their draft picks from the past two seasons. It might not be the easiest way to utilize the D-League, but the Thunder have proven that where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kevin Pelton on James Harden’s progression: “Harden’s improvement has been twofold. First, in addition to minutes, he’s getting most of the extra touches and shot attempts that once went to Green — whose replacement in the lineup, fellow second-year standout Serge Ibaka, is less of a scoring threat. Harden’s usage rate has increased from 17.9 percent of the Thunder’s plays to 23.5 percent. Even with the increased responsibility, Harden has been accurate from the field. His 63.8 percent mark on 2-point attempts has powered a true shooting percentage of 62.7 percent, up from 59.2 percent before the deadline. Harden won’t continue to shoot so accurately inside the arc, but that figures to be somewhat offset by an improvement in his 3-point shooting (just 32.8 percent since the deadline, down from 36.7 percent).”
Susan Bible of HoopsWorld on the development of Serge Ibaka: “After absorbing the news of Oklahoma City Thunder’s February acquisition of Kendrick Perkins, thoughts turned to Serge Ibaka. Would the 6’10″ player finally take over the starting power forward position on a permanent basis with Perkins at center? Coach Scott Brooks did insert Ibaka into the starting lineup the day following the trade; now with Perkins healthy, the two start together presenting a formidable frontcourt tandem. One thing was immediately known with this trade: Ibaka would learn invaluable lessons from the champion veteran center. The bonding between the two teammates has already commenced.”
The Onion zings KD and Brian Davis: “Amidst a hot streak Sunday in which Thunder star Kevin Durant hit four field goals in a row against the Raptors, excited and extremely realistic play-by-play man Brian Davis could be heard singing the forward’s praises at the top of his lungs while carefully acknowledging that those previous positive results had no statistical influence on future shots. “It seems like he’s on fire, but it’s more a mathematical anomaly than anything!” Davis yelled, noting that Durant’s lifetime field-goal percentage, weighted toward his current season tally, was a better indicator of whether or not he would make the next shot than anything that might be inferred by his hitting four in a row.”
Cole Aldrich throwing down a big dunk pre-game. Who saw that coming?
A lot of people mentioned to me that yesterday on SportsNation, Michael Vick said his favorite team is the Thunder and the reason for it is simple: Kevin Durant.
Tom Ziller of SBNation: “Lest we overrate Kendrick Perkins’ impact a little, Toronto did a solid job scoring on OKC on Sunday, and the Thunder’s West foes certainly have big men who can step out like Andrea Bargnani did. A bigger concern is that the Thunder don’t seem dialed in quite yet. When’s the razor focus Kevin Durant has become famous for going to return?”
Someone compiled the Space Jam box score. What we learned: Both teams shot a high percentage.
MVP watch from NBA.com: “Some in Oklahoma City are calling Durant’s effort at Miami Wednesday the greatest game of his career. Hard to say, but the thin man did score 29 points with seven rebounds and six assists, and his 13-of-21 shooting included 10-of-15 when guarded by LeBron James.“