Zach Lowe of SI likes a new play by OKC: “This can unfold in a variety of ways, but the basics are the same: Russell Westbrook and a Thunder big man will run a pick-and-roll at the top of the arc while Durant lurks elsewhere — sometimes along the baseline, sometimes on the wing. After freeing up Westbrook, the screener will begin his roll to the hoop only to suddenly veer in the direction of Durant’s defender just as Durant is curling out to the perimeter and preparing to catch a pass from Westbrook. The action is designed to free Durant for a jumper, but it can also produce a second pick-and-roll, with Durant as the ball-handler.”
An amazing post from Sham Sports looking at each team’s unsigned draft picks: “[Pleiss] is one of the best players on a Brose Baskets Bamberg team that is absolutely blowing away the rest of the German Bundesliga. Since the end of the ALBA Berlin dominance, there have been six champions in the past seven Bundesliga seasons, including Bamberg, who won it last season. Casey Jacobsen was a big part of why, as was Pleiss, and they’ve both been key cogs again this year as Bamberg have stormed to a 27-2 record.”
Darnell Mayberry: “But if Durant wants to see his team hang onto fourth place in the Western Conference, he might want to make it a point to mark off the Mile High City from his list Tuesday night. Suddenly, the Thunder is in a tight race with Denver for the fourth seed in the playoffs. At stake for the winner of said race is the Northwest Division crown and home-court advantage in the first round.”
NBA.com power rankings: “The Thunder have been excellent defensively (95.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) in 246 minutes with both Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka on the floor, but they’ve struggled on the other end in dropping two straight. We get a playoff preview with two Denver-OKC meetings this week.”
ESPN.com’s rankings: “What a difference a week makes. From a 14-2 record in March, OKC’s April has begun with two road Ls … and with its lead over No. 5 Denver down to three games before the likely first-round foes hook up twice this week.”
Nick Collison wasn’t on SI’s player poll of top 10 floppers list, but Eric Freeman of BDL wonders if he should be: “Take, for instance, the case of Thunder forward Nick Collison, who’s been lauded for his ability to take charges even though, like most NBA players, he surely flops on a good number of them. However, instead of being called a sissy who won’t play like a man, Collison has been praised for his toughness. This isn’t because he’s any tougher than players who take similar amounts of charges — it’s just that Collison had the good fortune of becoming a charge-taking savant when the play was already widespread enough to be seen as a useful move and not the coward’s way out of playing defense.”
The winner of the DT bracket contest was Adam Allenbaugh. Congrats to him and thanks to everyone else for playing. Derek Campbell finished second by just 20 points. Thirteen people in the group correctly picked UConn. I came in a solid 131st. My wife beat me by quite a bit. I’m sure she’ll never mention that to me ever.