Scoop Jackson of ESPN.com on KD’s pickup tour: “Durant has what we call the “Up North” philosophy of the game. A philosophy owned by former NY streetball legend Seth “Up North” Marshall. “God blessed me with talent,” Marshall used to say. “But it’s not mine to keep. It belongs to these parks.” A philosophy often lost when a silhouette of Jerry West starts appearing on your checks. “He just wants to ball,” as his agent says. Which says it all. Just like those three words: “I do this.” Which is, right now, exactly what the game needs.”
Bill Simmons broke down KD’s legendary performance at Rucker: “Dropping 66 points at Rucker Park? Impressive … but not legendary considering Steve Burtt Jr. exploded for 68 there in 2007. Hitting five straight 3s, including two from at least 30 feet? Now THAT was the stuff of legends. My favorite Durant/Rucker clip was called “Kevin Durant Catches Fire in the 4th Qtr (Unedited),” which featured first-class camera work as the clip slowly morphs into complete chaos. I love how everything crests with the fifth 3 — which had to have been 35 feet and was the spiritual Godfather of Larry Bird’s falling-into-the-trainer’s-lap 28-footer that led to two Hawks jumping off their own bench in disbelief.”
Kevin Pelton for ESPN.com on the Sonics’ history: “At least players like Wilkens got the chance to experience a traditional jersey retirement. That wasn’t the case for Kemp and Payton, the Sonics‘ two most popular players. Because their careers ended shortly before the move, neither No. 40 nor No. 20 was ever formally retired. Both have said they have no interest in a ceremony in Oklahoma City, which would be an insult to Seattle fans. Until the Sonics return, Kemp and Payton will be two of the most accomplished players never to see their jerseys retired.”
Nate Robinson did go to Seahawks practice after all, but as a spectator.
The Washington Times on KD’s summer: “I cannot hate on that and that is why Durant is doing the best thing a player can do: play. If the owners don’t want to pay you then just go play. Play in exhibition games, rec leagues, overseas, whatever, just play. Don’t hide, don’t tweet about the media and fans picking on you, just play. Can’t hate on that.”
Chris Sprow of ESPN.com on Russell Westbrook’s win value: “While the wins disparity with and without Westbrook isn’t as significant for the Thunder as the one the Bulls would face minus Rose, it doesn’t mean Westbrook is worth any less. Based on this, he’s essentially the difference between the Thunder being legit contenders and a bottom-feeder among the playoff pack in the West. In fact, while you’d expect some diminishing marginal utilities for stardom when you have to share the ball (see: Heat, Miami) Westbrook may not be worth much less to Oklahoma City’s overall title profile than Mr. Rucker Park himself, Kevin Durant. Let him go without a star to replace him, and the numbers say you’ll back in No. 8-seed range.”
An on the scene take from KD at the Dyckman: “But about halfway through the first half, Durant drove to the hoop and took a hard foul. Thunder fans in the crowd probably contemplated kidnapping Durant from the court after the play, as nightmare headlines danced in their head. He was fine. And soon, he was looking like Kevin Durant. He never did hit a 3-pointer. Oh-for-the-night. Probably the first time since he was 6 that he had such a poor shooting night from deep. Still, he scored 32 – or 29, reports differ. His buckets came on driving dunks, alley-oops and a couple of sweet-looking stepback jumpers. On several occasions, including on back-to-back possessions in the first half, Durant beat Beasley off the dribble, crossing over and going between his legs with remarkable ease.”
Got a question about anything in general? I’m putting together another mailbag and I’m taking all comers. Email is dailythunder at gmail dot com.