Royal Ivey to Grantland: “Grantland: Complete this sentence: The Thunder would have beaten the Mavericks if … Ivey: “The Thunder would have beaten the Mavericks if it was 2013. It’s experience. Those guys have been there before. They tasted a little bit losing in ’06 against the Heat, and experience goes a long way. They got that savvy and they played with it. It was their year, and they won and went through everybody and they played well. That goes to show: Experience does win championships.”
The Smoking Section on KD and hip-hop: “This brings us back to Kevin Durant, who happens to regularly speak about music on his @KDTrey5 Twitter page and even appeared on Wale’s More About Nothing mixtape. Already widely considered a top five player in the league, and the world’s best scorer, KD’s visibility still trailed behind the likes of Kobe Byrant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. What a difference one summer can make. Durant seems to have adopted Hip Hop’s method of creating a buzz by releasing a maelstrom of viral videos that show him touring the world and hooping at different spots forming a genuine frenzy around his name. He’s not just a superstar seen on TV for a few months out of the year anymore. This guy could literally show up in your city, ball at your court and blend right in. As fans, we appreciate stuff like that. We love it, actually.”
Interesting piece on team chemistry from SI: “Coaches and managers are particularly frustrated at the paradox of players fraternizing less with their own teammates, and more with the “enemy.” Players from opposing teams, they say, too often get each other’s cellphone numbers and start calling or texting back and forth, often griping about playing time and occassionally giving up little secrets about their teams.”
5-on-5 about the Cavs. With a Thunder comparison!
Howard Beck of The New York Times: “Lead negotiators for the N.B.A. and its players union will hold a bargaining session next week — just the second since the lockout began — with an unofficial deadline fast approaching to save the start of training camps. Four people involved in the talks said the sides planned to meet in New York, although the day and the location were still being arranged. They might not be in a conciliatory mood when they arrive. Union leaders are still steaming over comments made by Commissioner David Stern in a recent podcast with ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons. In the interview, Stern insinuated that players were not well informed on the issues. He also framed the economic debate in terms that the union considered misleading — most notably an assertion that players were being asked to take a pay cut of just 8 percent. ‘It’s not true,’ Maurice Evans, a member of the union’s executive board, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. He added, ‘Blatantly, it’s just lying.'”
Darnell Mayberry on KD’s fantasy football advice: “Scoring champ. Playground king…Fantasy football guru. What can’t Durant do? There are probably thousands of drafts taking place over the next several days. Why not hit up Durant for advice? Based on Wednesday’s debate, I’d listen. Because KD absolutely destroyed @waldorfsfinest in that debate.”